Monday 31 October 2011

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 55

This time's challenge at Crafty Cardmakers is to use just the following colours: brown, cream and pink.

Our sponsors this time are:

This colour combination screamed 'sepia-toned photo' at me. So, I went in search of something suitable and came across this - it's from the Crafy Image Emporium CD from Crafty Computer Paper. I used some of my Chocolate Box Coredinations card embossed and distressed. The embossing folder is from Papermania. (I find I'm using that one much more than the Cuttlebug ones because it's a much better size. Although the folder is the same size, the embossed area is bigger and much better-suited to the cards I make. One of the irritating things I find is how many craft items are made for card sizes based on US Letter size - which means they're too short for standard A sizes or the 150 ish mm square size I tend to make. /rant)

I finished the card by using my new ribbon punch, a little pink ribbon and some lace.

I hope you can join us this time, and look forward to seeing what you come up with.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
Charizma Cards where anything goes,
Digi Doodle Shop's Best where anything goes,
Polycraft Monday Challenge where anything goes,
Stamps plus Fun equals Creativity where they want vintage,
Pink Elephant where they want distressing,
Bunny Zoe's Crafts where they want lace.

Sunday 30 October 2011

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 86

The theme this week at One Stitch at a Time, is Christmas! I don't know about you, but I make a lot of Christmas cards, so I try to start early in the year, but I'm still making some at the last minute. So, why don't you get out your Christmassy stash and add another card or two to your collection? Our sponsor this week is Stitchy Bear Stamps, and there's a wonderful selection of options there for a lucky winner. So, why not give it a go?

This week, I got to work with a gorgeous image from Lil Diva called 'Winterville'.
It's such a pretty image, I didn't do a lot to it at all! I did sepia-tone it in Photoshop Elements because it's got such an old-fashioned look to it, and then I added a little Glamour Dust to the snow. The backing paper is from Dovecraft, and the ribbon and mirriboard are from my stash.

I hope you can join us!

Charizma Cards where anything goes,
Digi Doodle Shop's Best where anything goes,
The Paper Shelter where anything goes,
Totally Papercrafts where they want us to 'glitter it',

Papercrafting Journey where they want us to use a digi,
Sweet Stamping where anything goes,
Dream Valley where anything goes,
ABC Christmas Challenge where they're looking for vintage Christmas,
Come and Get it Challenges where anything goes.

Saturday 29 October 2011

Christmas Cards

 During the summer, and again earlier this week, I had to go away for a few days to somewhere that I don't have internet access. The problem of what to do with myself in the evenings is a worry - the flat has horrible lighting in the living room, (almost none) and I can't abide watching TV without something to do with my hands. The solution was to take some pre-printed images and colouring paraphenalia and sit in the kitchen! And now, I've finally managed to transform those images into Christmas cards.

But to start, one I've done from scratch this weekend, again practising my brayering!

Of course, if you look carefully, you'll spot the mistake - the mask for the moon didn't stick as well as I'd thought, and the moon has a distinctly blue shadow. I thought it looked like an interesting effect, though, and left it be.

The sky uses Distress Ink in Faded Denim, and the tree image (Clarity split tree) was stamped in Versafine ink. I added the detail in the snow with a stencil brush, and finished the image with some Glamour Dust adhered with Sakura glue pen.

The result is fairly stark, so I decided to continue with that theme, matting it onto black card and adding a hand-written sentiment in silver.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
A Gem of a Challenge where the theme is 'cold and frosty',
Sweet Stamping Challenge where anything goes,

And this one is definitely not stark! The image is Stitchy's Wishing You Well which she generously gave me to help me to stay sane during what I thought would be a summer without much crafting. I framed it and added the sentiment in Photoshop Elements, then coloured the image with Promarkers.

I had been counting on buying some card blanks when I went to the craft show at Alexandra Palace a few weeks ago, but by the time I got around to getting some, all the straight edge cards had gone! (Those things are heavy - I normally leave them to the end.) Knowing I was getting low, I did buy one pack of the scallopped edge cards, but I've found them quite hard to use. In an attempt to find something that works, I dug out my Spellbinders scallopped Borderabilities. The holographic card is from a local 'cheap' shop. It's not the best quality, but for a bit of Christmas glitz, it's perfect.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
A Gem of a Challenge where the theme is 'cold and frosty',
Bah Humbug where they want die cuts,
Card Makin' Mamas where they want die cuts,
Charizma Cards where anything goes,

This card uses a Just Inklined image that was a freebie a while ago. It's coloured with Promarkers, and cut using a Nellie Snellen die that's a perfect compliment to the Spellbinders dies, being narrower and longer. The hand-written sentiment is cut with a die from the same set. I used some paper from Trimcraft and embossed the green panel with a Papermania folder.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
Bah Humbug where they want die cuts,
Card Makin' Mamas where they want die cuts,

Digi Doodles Shop Best where anything goes,

This image was one stamped for me last year by my Secret Santa from a group I belong to. The paper she used wasn't suitable for Promarkers, so last week, while I was limited to my Derwent Coloursoft pencils, I had a go. I've still got some way to go as regards technique with pencils. I used Baby Oil for blending, but suspect that's part of the reason I'm never completely happy with the degree of blending I get. (Then again, it could just be me!) I added a little sparkle with a Sakura Stardust clear pen.

I covered the whole image in some dimensional glaze to give a glass effect then matted onto holographic card cut with a Spellbinders die. The paper was a magazine freebie, and the snowflakes were cut using a Marianne Creatables die set.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges: One Stop Craft Challenge where the theme is 'no sentiments',
Bah Humbug where they want die cuts,
Card Makin' Mamas where they want die cuts,
Crimbo Crackers where anything goes,
Christmas Inspirations where they want die cuts.

And finally! The image is from the fabulous Beccy Muir. All her images (as far as I know) are available as freebies, and she has some gorgeous drawings. I added the frame and sentiment in Photoshop Elements then coloured the image with Derwent Coloursoft Pencils blended with Baby Oil. In the background, you'll see some beautiful fir-tree embossing - a result of an impulse buy yesterday. It's an embossing folder from Sissix which came with another which will be more generally useful despite it's 'snow flower' name. I love how it embossed!

So, there we have it - five Christmas cards to add to what I've got stashed away. Still got a long way to go, though!

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
A Gem of a Challenge where the theme is 'cold and frosty',
Papercrafting Journey where they want a digi,

Friday 28 October 2011


Is there a perfect trimmer out there? I'm beginning to doubt it! I've got three, and none of them is perfect.

The first one I bought was a Ryman own brand, and it didn't cut square. The edge where you'd expect to butt against allowed paper to sneak under it, so you couldn't use it as a guide. I've taken it into school where it's fine as long as you're not layering things too precisely.

The second trimmer I bought was a Hobbycraft one, and on the whole, it's been fine. It cuts square and straight, providing the paper is long enough to butt against the guide. It measures in millimetres. The downside of it is that the guide disappears, making it difficult to cut less than 50mm and keep it square - so it's hard to layer up sentiments neatly. And, now that I've had it for several years, the silver measurement grid and ruler has started to fade around the 60 - 80 mm area - just where I'm most often needing to cut. Another downside is that replacement blades can be expensive, although I bought a load of them recently when they were reduced.

In an effort to get the effect I wanted, last year, about this time, I bought a X cut trimmer, but that just mangled paper, so I took it back and got a refund. Next I tried a Woodware trimmer. The guide on this one allows much shorter lengths to be cut, but you have to exert significant downward pressure to cut, and that pushes the paper or card so it's not square to the guide, and it often isn't straight either, tending to curve. It's pretty good as a scorer - so long as you don't mind re-trimming after you've made the folds you need to square up the final result.

I was looking at a Purple Cow trimmer online - it had both a guillotine and a rotary trimmer, but when I looked more closely at the photo, it only measured in inches, so that's no good. (Why would I want to work in fractions of an inch when I can work in whole number millimetres? So much easier!)

If anyone out there knows of a trimmer that has everything I need - cuts straight, square, copes with small sizes (as low as 20mm would be ideal) and has a good millimetre grid that won't rub off with use, I'd be very interested to hear about it! And, if replacement blades aren't too expensive, that'd be a definite bonus.

Sunday 23 October 2011

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 85

This week, One Stitch at a Time is giving you the chance to win some gorgeous images or papers from the Stitchy Bear shop. The theme this week is embossing - so whatever occasion you're making cards for, add some embossing and let us see what you've done!

My image this week is from Ginger Loft, and it's called Christmas Door. It's so lovely and detailed that I thought I'd leave it just as it is. Well, except for adding some glitter.
The white background has been embossed using a couple of folders from Papermania and my Wizard. The snowflakes were die cut using some Marianne Creatable dies, and the card is standard black that's been sprayed with Crafter's Companion Spray and Sparkle in Irridescent.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
Ooh La La where it's snowing,
Charisma Cards where they want embossing,
Paperplay where they want us to use black,
Shelley's Images where anything goes,
Some Odd Girl where they want a black and white image,
One Stop Craft Challenge where they want no design paper,
Paper Sundaes where they want (among others) black and sparkly
Pan Pastel where they want glitter.

But, because I got carried away with the image, I forgot the purpose of the challenge was embossing, so I made another card first.
This time I added a little colour with Promarkers, and I added a 'wreath' made with gold-coloured jewellery wire and some beads. The background paper is from Trimcraft, and I finished the card with some punched pieces. The border uses a star punch I've had for ages, and gold mirror board, and I used the cut out stars and some larger ones in gold to finish the card.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
4 Crafty Chicks whose theme is 'marker it up',
Christmas Inspirations where they want punches or die cuts.

(I may be late actually linking for these challenges - hope that's ok.)

Hope you can join us this week.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Daylight Lamp

Over one Jak Heath's blog, she's offering some lucky follower the chance to win a battery operated natural light lamp. I'd love one of these, because whenever we're away from home, I want to take some colouring with me. And no one seems to light rooms properly these days. They're all those energy efficient bulbs, and none of them are the equivalent of a decent light level. So, one of these would be perfect!

Monday 17 October 2011

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 54

This time at Crafty Cardmakers, we're sponsored by the amazing Joanna Sheen.
The theme this time is one I struggled with: Cute with a Dark Twist. I thought long and hard about this one, and finally realised that I don't necessarily think of the word 'cute' like most people, so I decided to approach the problem from the opposite direction. So, I thought, what's got a dark twist? And what came to mind is: traditional children's stories. Many have been disneyfied and have lost that darkness, but it's there in the originals.

With that in mind, I hunted through images on my computer and came across one from Dover Books. (It's one of their freebies. If you sign up for it, they'll send you an email every week with a link to some free exerpts from their books. They used to be almost all images, but more recently the exerpts are more general, although there are still some very useful things included from time to time.)
Isn't that a gorgeous image? It's a picture of innocent fun, but it's a scene from The Pied Piper of Hamelin, so the piper is preparing to steal away all those children.

The image was already coloured, so I've just mounted it onto a mat cut with one of my nestibilities. The paper and ribbon are from my stash.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:

Crafts and Me where the theme is 'orange'
The Saturday Challenge where they want white plus one colour (not counting the image)

Sunday 16 October 2011

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 84

This week at One Stitch at a Time we're sponsored by the amazing Joanna Sheen. (So many lovely things in her shop, and she'll send out most without charging extra for postage!)
Our theme this week is 'Shape Up'. So, show us some shapes!

This week, I had this gorgeous image from Sylvie - Kokeshi Group 1 which is available from the Stitchy Bear shop. So, where are my shapes? Well, there are squares and rectangles in my layers and there's flower-shaped lace, but the thing that drew me to that image is the lovely oval shapes of the dolls themselves, so I emphasised those shapes by layering the image.
I coloured the image with Promarkers. The papers are from a MME Spring themed pad which I've always felt had an oriental feel to it. My mats, and the lace flowers are also coloured with Promarkers.

Hope you can join us this week.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
By the Cute and Girly where anything goes,
Emerald Faerie where they want flowers,

Thursday 13 October 2011

A Couple of Christmas Cards

This weekend, I got rather inky, and I've got a couple of Christmas cards to show for it.

This is me back playing with my brayer, and using ideas direct from Barbara Gray. (But then, I'm using her split tree stamp, so I don't feel too guilty about it.)

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
Sweet Stamping where they want clean and simple,
Cute Card Thursday where the theme is 'treemendous',
One Stop where anything goes.

I've used distress inks for the background, and the tree (and extra branches) are stamped in Memento in brown. The paper is from Crafty Individuals, I think.

This one uses a stamp I bought back in the summer, but I can't remember whose it is. (That's one disadvantage of unmounted stamps - if you lose the packaging, you've lost the information.) It's stamped in Versamark ink, and embossed in white. I've used a Cuttlebug embossing folder in the background, and other than some layering, it's very simple.

I'd like to enter this card intot he following challenges:
Mark's Finest Papers where they want no design papers,

Sunday 9 October 2011

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 83

This week at One Stitch at a Time, the challenge is anything goes! So, what're you waiting for? Our sponsors this week are the Stamping Boutique, and I was lucky enough to work with one of their images, and I liked it so much, I've used it four times (so far!)
 In this one, I printed the image onto watercolour paper, and coloured it with Twinkling H2Os.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
PapertakeWeekly where anything goes,
Crafty Emma where they want to see red,
Kraftin' Kimmie where they want sparkle and shine,

Secret Crafter where they want shine,

The other three were all printed onto my usual Ryman card, and coloured with Promarkers.
I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
One Stop where anything goes,
Little Claire where the theme is Christmas,

All the papers and chipboard shapes come from the pad and package that were the freebie with Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine - and I've got to say, I found them fairly inspiring! I added some Distress Ink around the paper edges, and some ribbon, and that's about it!

Our sponsors this week are

Hope you can join us this week.

Monday 3 October 2011

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 53 - Anything Goes

The Crafty Cardmakers Challenge Blog has been quiet for a while. Over the summer, various bereavements, illnesses and family commitments reduced the team to almost no one, so we decided to take a break. But, now we're back, and our new challenge is everyone's favourite - anything goes!

Last weekend, I visited the BSSBS show at Alexandra Palace. I haven't been there before, but I'm pretty sure I'll be going again! (Although I should probably start saving up now!) So, I've been playing with my new toys - including a Speedball Brayer and various stamps. I've had a couple of brayers for a while - the Woodware ones with the metal handles, but I find that the roller comes away from the handle if you put any pressure at all on those - so I've never had much success with them.

For the background, I used a Versacolor ink pad with various shades of blue. (It's a pigment pad rather than a dye one, but it seemed to work fairly well.) Then I stamped the main image (from Lavinia Stamps) in Versacolor in Graphite. The foreground grasses are also from Lavinia Stamps while the branches and leaves are from Clarity. Both of those are stamped in Distress Ink.

Of course, having had my play and created whatever I felt like, I found I had no paper to match. At least, not in the right size. Most of my paper is 150mm square, so finding something big enough for a 5 by 7 card was a challenge. I fell back on my favourite for such occasions - Coredinations card. The one I used is from the Chocolate Box collection, and I embossed it in my Wizard with a Papermania folder, then sanded it.

I hope you can join us this week, and help us to celebrate the fact that Crafty Cardmakers is back!

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
Four Crafty Chicks where anything goes,
For Your Inspiration where there's a lovely photo-inspiration
Fussy and Fancy Friday where they want us to try a new technique (brayering - still new to me!)
Crafts 4 Eternity where anything goes,
Creatalicious Challenges where anything goes,
Card and Scrap where the theme is embossing/distressing.

Sunday 2 October 2011

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 82

This week on One Stitch at a Time, we want you to show us your digis! That's all - just use a digi. And we're sponsored by Bunny Zoe.

This week's image is by Stitchy and it's called 'new doll'. I put the background and sentiment together with the image in Photoshop Elements, printed, and then coloured the central section with Promarkers. I mounted it on card cut with my Fleur de Lis nestibility die.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:

Four Crafty Chicks where anything goes,
Crafts 4 Eternity where anything goes,
Cardmadfairy where it's 'Too Early for Christmas',
Creatalicious Challenges where anything goes,


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