Monday, 15 October 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 220

Our challenge for this fortnight is hosted by Jackie, and we want a project which includes some sort of mythical creature - fairy, unicorn, dragon etc.

I got out a stamp set I've had for a very long time. I haven't used it a lot - probably because the main stamp is rather big for standard sized cards.

The stamp set is Rose Bay Willow Fairy or similar by Crafter's Companion. I've put her on a card that's just under  6 by 6, so there wasn't a lot of room for matting. I stamped three corners from the set using my stamping platform, and completed the stamping with a couple of individual flower stamps from the set. I rather liked the jaunty angles of the corner stamps! To colour, I first did hair and skin tones using Chameleon markers. I can't say I've taken to these. I bought one set - the skin tones - and I've found them very hard to use. The rest of the colouring uses Crafter's Companion Glitter markers in a couple of colours, with the clear marker to blend. After colouring, I added a faint tint of blue to the background using Tumbled Glass Distress Ink, and edged with Peeled Paint. To complete, I added a hint of gold from an Edding Paint marker which does give a good, opaque gold tint.

I do hope you can join us this time!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 44

Our challenge for this fortnight is to use the colours orange and black. Otherwise, the world, as they say, is your lobster!

I've collected the stamps from quite a few issues of Creative Stamping magazine, and I've found them to be really rather good. Of course, I tend to wait to buy them when they're reduced, but this time, I spotted a set I had to have, as I doubt this issue will be available on sale! It's got some beautiful wild animals, as well as the ones I've used here.

A very simple card, really. First, I applied ink to some card - a mix of Ripe Persimmon and Spiced Marmelade. Then I stamped the main image and birds using Versafine ink. Then, I tried to reproduce the effect in the magazine to get a reflection. However (note to self): Do not use Versafine ink for this!

I stamped the image again onto what I thought was the back of a wood-grain stamp. (Obviously, it was actually the front.) Still, I thought, that'll be fine! So I used that imprint to make the reflection. But, Versafine ink used this way sticks so well to that stamp, that I got only the faintest image. I repeated the imprint using the back of the stamp and got absolutely nothing. However, I decided that I quite liked the effect, so decided to leave well alone! So, I matted as you can see and thats it.

I had a hard job cleaning both the front and back of my wood grain stamp - the ink seemed determined to stay there, so whatever else happens, I'll have to remember to use a different ink for this technique in future.

I do hope you can join us!

Monday, 1 October 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 219

The challenge for this fortnight is to use ribbon or lace - other than that, you can make whatever you want.

This spring, I got an email from a site called Crafts and Me to say there were closing down, and had significant reductions on their stocks of rubber stamps. Now, some years ago, I used to buy from them fairly regularly. And then I got into digital crafting and went in that direction for a while. But since I stopped work (and now I've got a dedicated room where inks can sit on a shelf in easy reach) I've been more inclined to stamp. So, I headed over to the site and bought quite a few - mainly their own label stamps. I made a card for a friend for her birthday using a stamp from their Art Deco range.

.I stamped with Memento ink and coloured mainly with Promarkers, although I added a coat of clear sparkl pen to feathers and jewelry and the background circular area. I was determined to use some paper from my under-used collection, and found this one from Dovecraft. The semi-circular/flower shapes were white, but I added some Promarker to them so they would match my image perfectly. The lace was white, but again, courtesy of my Promarkers, was made to match.

I do hope you can join us for this challenge!

Sunday, 30 September 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 43

Our challenge for this fortnight is Layer it Up or, in other words, not clean and simple!

One of my acquisitions at Ally Pally in April was a stamp from Dimension Fourth which is a segment of a map of around Paris. My son's girlfriend lived in Paris for a year as part of her degree, and I know she loves the city, so to be honest, I bought the stamp with her in mind.

I used it with some images from Crafter's Companion Destinations CDRom.

I stamped and shaded with various Distress Inks, and, as you can see, used several layers.

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 218

Our theme for the fortnight at Crafty Cardmakers is Autumn Colours. No other requirements, other than to link back to the challenge blog, so it would be lovely to see what you can come up with.

I've reached the point in the year when I'm pretty up to date with cards, and I've got a reasonable selection in my box, but of course, the biggest card-sending occasion of the year - Christmas - is looming. So, especially since I've got a couple of Autumn Colour challenges to make for, I've made some autumn-hued Christmas cards!

This first one started as a first print off my gelli-plate. I added some acrylic paint then applied a stencil (Sheena Douglass). While the stencil was in place, I brayered a piece of copy paper on top,and got the grid pattern.

Once it was dry, I got out my Kaleidoscope Autumn Colours ink pad, and shaded the background with my Ink Dusters. Then, I used stamps from a Leoni Pujol set of swirls and snowflakes, and added those. The sentiment was stamped with the same ink pad, using a stamp from a Sweet Dixie set, and again, some colour was added in the background.

The die cut was done with a Joanna Sheen border die.

I edged the backing and sentiment with some Rusty Hinge Distress ink, and added some matting.

The background for this one came from the same gelli-plate as the last one, but this time, I used some mixed-media card after the stencil had been removed. There still seemed to be a lot of paint on the plate at that point, so I used another piece of card and took a second impression. I used that sheet for the immediate background to the tree.

Dies used are from Sizzix (the frame) and Joanna Sheen (the tree). To complete, I added some sticky gems, some translucent gold snowflake ribbon and some rust-coloured ribbon from my stash.

So, two more Christmas cards done - but there will be a couple more coming soon!

Sunday, 16 September 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 42

Our challenge for this fortnight at International Art and Soul has the theme Natural World.

I decided to give some stamps from Creative Stamping Magazine an outing for this.

I added a little extra grass using an older stamp, but otherwise all stamps are from the magazine.

I masked the otter, and added some background colour using Ink Dusters, Memento ink and torn copy paper, then finally coloured the otter with Promarkers..

I hope you can join us this time!.

Monday, 3 September 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 217

Our challenge for this fortnight is All Creatures Great and Small. Other than that, you can enter any project you like!

I started with a stamp from Pretty Quick which I stamped with Memento ink, and the sentiment which I stamped with Versafine ink - both in shades of blue. I coloured the result with Spectrum Noir pencils, added a little matting and layering and a few feathers from my stash, and that's it!

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 41

This fortnight, we'd like you to use a non-craft item or recycle something. Now, when I read the requirement for this, I didn't spot the 'recycle' option, so I headed in another direction altogether. I had just got a couple of new dies with images I love, and thought I'd like to do a stained-glass effect. Some trawling around the internet later, and I came across a technique called caught in crystal and I decided to have a go, although I didn't follow it exactly. First problem, find some of the right floor polish. Fail!  Couldn't find any of it in the major supermarkets. Wandered to our local shops, and in the one called Cheapjacks (I'll let you work out what sort of shop that is) there was some polish which, although it was a different brand, sounded like the right stuff. (Astonish is the brand name.) I bought it and had a go.

The die is from Pretty Quick, and as a lover of anything Mackintosh-esque, I love it. I stuck the die cut to the front of a piece of acetate. then, on the back, I used acrylic paint to colour the main image parts. Then, it got really messy. I poured floor polish over the back and added a little perfect pearl powder. With hindsight, I could have added a lot more, but I was wary of overwhelming the image. Then, I added a little glamour dust glitter which really isn't obvious in the photo. Finally, I put some scrunched tissue paper on the back and left it to dry. I attached the result to some silver card with brads, and that's about it. I don't know if I'll use the technique again. It's really messy. You only realise that your work surface has an incline from front to back when you try something like this and find acrylic floor polish heading towards your carpet. And, several other attempts I made failed abysmally!

I hope you can join us this time!

Sunday, 19 August 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 40

The challenge at International Art and Soul for this fortnight is to make something with a marine/ocean or sea theme.

I've used a stamp I've had for several years, and coloured with Spectrum Noir pencils and this is the result.

I stamped the image in grey ink to get a softer result, then combined it with some 'watery' looking paper, and a wooden wheel which I've marked with compass points.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 39

It's my turn to host again at International Art and Soul, and I'd like you do do some Paper Pricking. That's a pretty wide option really. I'd love to see some hand-pricked designs with or without embroidery, but it also includes using dies that prick borders or designs and again, these can be stitched or left.

I've done a couple of examples - one stitched and one not. Of course, you can just put a small element of paper pricking on your project - it doesn't need to be the whole thing! In both cases, I copied the pattern onto copy paper and attached that to some card with removable tape before pricking through both layers.

For this one, I used a pattern from a book by Janet Wilson. The original pattern had pricked circles in some squares, but I decided to use some sparkly peel-off circles instead. To finish, I've got some matting, an embossed background and a stamped greeting.

My second example is paper embroidery rather than just paper pricking.

This pattern comes from a book by Joke de Vette. I used some machine embroidery thread (double-thickness). I like the sheen this thread has, and it's strong enough to cope with being dragged through paper which is much harder on the thread than cloth would be. I completed the card with some matting and layering and a blue sticky gem.

Why don't you have a go? There are loads of free pricking patterns available online, or you can just do a basic border for some other artwork. You don't even need any particular tools. The first time I did one of these patterns, I didn't have a pricking tool, so I just used a needle with the blunt end stuck in a wine cork.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

Sunday, 22 July 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 38

Our theme for this fortnight is Christmas Traditions. So, I suppose, anything you consider to be a tradition, is fine! It would be lovely if you could tell us what the tradition is, if it's not obvious!

My card is pretty obvious: Rudolph! He and his red nose are definitely a Christmas tradition to many people.

Isn't he cute? The die is called Baby Rudolph and it's from Tonic. I do wish there was a solid shape part to this die, but there isn't, so I've had to hand-cut a background to keep all the bits in place!

The paper is from Dovecraft, and the aperture and circular frame were cut using Spellbinder dies. I've got two more of this style ready to go, but I'm steeling myself. Cutting the aperture for this one proved hard work, as I attempted to cut through two layers of card and one of paper in one go. I won't be trying that again!

I do hope you can join us!

Monday, 16 July 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 216

June is hosting this fortnight's challenge, and the theme is Holidays. (That's in the UK sense of the word, not in the Christmas sense.)

I made a card using a variety of die cuts and a little stamping and came up with this - depicting someone off on their holidays.

The landscape was created with dies from Creative Expressions. The rest of the elements (except the lines on the road) used a die and stamp set that came with Die Cutting Essentials magazine a while ago. quite fiddly to do, but I do like the clean lines you get from die-cutting. I've given the trees and car some separation by using foam tape.

I do hope you can join us this time!

Sunday, 8 July 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 37

Our challenge for this fortnight is Summer Fun!

I got out some dies from Joanna Sheen I've had for a while but never used, and came up with this.

The beach huts and deck chair are Joanna Sheen dies, the landscape was cut using dies from Creative Expressions, and the clouds and sun were a mix of Creative Expressions and Die Cutting Essentials magazine.

The sentiment was stamped using one of a set from Creative Expressions and it was cut using a Sizzix die.

Quite fiddly in some respects, but also quite satisfying to try something different.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 215

The challenge for this fortnight is hosted by Jackie, and the theme is to use at least two dies, or two punches, or one of each. Otherwise, your project can be anything you like!

At the time of scheduling this post, we have just put our house on the market. Prior to that, we did some re-arranging in our kitchen, and the pictures we've had on the wall for many years no longer worked, but we were left with an expanse of wall that needed to be filled. So, I headed into my craft room with three Hobbycraft box frames and set to work

The Final Result
I started with some mixed-media paper, and added acrylic paint in black, white and silver which I brayered on in varying proportions. When that was dry, I stamped some background fragments, and finally, stencilled on some embossing paste in silver.

I made a range of flowers using dies mainly from Sizzix, but also from Cheery Lynn, Tonic, and, I think, Joanna Sheen. I stamped, die cut and coloured a Crafter's Companion butterfly,

I don't know how the whole moving enterprise is going to go. There definitely seems not to be much on the market, so we might end up deciding to stay if we can't find anything we like enough. It's definitely going to put a cramp on my crafting activities. As it is, the woman who came to take photos refused to use the one of my craft room (even though it was uncharacteristically clean and tidy) because it looked 'too busy'! It's all changed since the day we bought this house (32 years ago) when the only photo was one taken of the outside, and visits accompanied by estate agent personnel were pretty much limited to empty properties.

I do hope you can join us this time!

Sunday, 24 June 2018

International Art And Soul Challenge 36

Jane is hosting this challenge and she wants us to something with an Art Nouveau  theme.

Now, I'm sure I've mentioned before that I love things with a Rennie Mackintosh type look, so that's what I've gone with this time.

Here, I've used a stamp by Pretty Quick. I stamped with Memento ink and coloured with Promarkers.

Tom complete the card, I've used a Sue Wilson Striplet die to cut into the card base. I've always felt this die has a very art nouveau/art deco feel to it. (I'm never really sure what the difference is - I just know I like the style(s))!

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 214

Our challenge at Crafty Cardmakers this fortnight is hosted by Peggy, and it's to use embossing - either 'wet' or 'dry'.

I had to make a gift box for a friend, so I chose to add some embossing to that.

I used the Tonic Kaleidoscope box set with a hexagonal lid. I cut the basic box in some very thick card, then completed with panels in black and silver mirror card.

I used a Crafter's Companion folder to do the embossing. It's ideal for this project because, while it has some fairly large flowers in its pattern, it also has a section with much smaller elements which was perfect for the smaller, side panels.

I considered adding some embellishment to the top, but decided I liked the embossing too much to cover it up!

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 35

The challenge for this fortnight is to make something which has a sentiment as its main focus. Obviously a card will work for this, but anything else is welcome to enter providing it's all about the words!

I'm gradually adding to my stash of Christmas cards for this year, and decided to something a little different (for me).

 I cut a circular aperture in the card blank and backing paper (Dovecraft), then cut a wreath and accompanying bow. The circles are Spellbinders, but I'm not sure whose wreath it is! I then added some Cheery Lynn flowers to which I added a seed bead as a centre. At this point, I wished I'd added a second layer of wreath before the flowers as it looked a little bare, so I cut a second wreath and cut leaves from it which I added.

The sentiment was stamped inside using a stamp from Pretty Quick using Versafine ink.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 213

When I went to Ally Pally in April, one of the stalls had lots of very reduced stamps, including some from Studio Light - which isn't a brand I was previously familiar with. I bought several, and thought this one would be perfect in a birthday card for my son.

The image background and background papers were made by 'smooshing' Distress Ink in various shades of blue with water. For the background, I then added some texture using a variety of stamps, including ones from Inkylicous, Crafty Individuals, and Creative Stamping magazine.  I added some very soft blue repeats of the owl itself, but they're hard to pick out in the photo. Finally, I added a sentiment in Versafine ink.

The image was also stamped in Versafine, and I added some pencil in a goldy shade to warm up the paler ares of the bird, and some grey to the branch.

I do like that stamp. It's a lovely image, and there's so much detail on it, it needs very little to bring it to life.

I used Kraft card for matting. The colour was perfect for this, although I've got to say, it's not my favourite card. I can't help trying to hide the imperfections inherent on this type of card!

Sunday, 27 May 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 34

Our challenge this time is No Squares or Oblongs. So, we want to see circles and ovals - or anything else that isn't full of right angles!

I went for something quite simple this time.

I started by making a card blank using a Tonic die. Its a rather jagged circle, but it's definitely not square. Then, I created a couple of backgrounds using Distress Ink, water and some Sheena's Stamping card. I used my two favourite colours here - Peacock Feathers and Ripe Persimmon. There's also some Squeezed Lemonade but it doesn't seem to have made much impact on the final result. I cut a large circle from the lighter of the two backgrounds, and stamped it with some stamps from a new set I bought recently from Printable Heaven. It seems that they now sell physical crafting bits as well as downloadable images. I then stamped an arrangement of larger dandelions and cut it into a slightly smaller circle, intending to use that as the focal point of the card, but when I tried it, it just didn't work at all. So, I stamped just one dandelion head on an off-cut and cut a much smaller circle. Both circles were edged with Distress Ink. To complete the card, I stamped a sentiment in Versafine ink to ensure a good, solid black. Now I've just got to decide what to do with the larger arrangement. I really liked it; it just didn't work for this project.

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 212

Our theme for this fortnight is Things with Wings.

I decided to make a retirement card for my sister.

The image is from a Animal Spirit stamp called Hummingbird. I coloured the image with watercolour pencils before cutting it out. The background paper is from Dovecraft, and I've added a couple of die cuts from Spellbinders.

I used a scan of the coloured bird image to create an insert in Photoshop Elements.

I reversed the main image and added it, and a sentiment. Then I shrank the image and made a border top and bottom as you see. I added some yellow to match the bird's beak, and that's it.

I hope you can join us this time - I'm looking forward to seeing your Things with Wings!

Sunday, 13 May 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 33

Our theme for this fortnight is All About Boys/Men. Other than that, your project can be anything, any style, any technique, any colours.

I chose to make a birthday card for my husband who recently had a birthday. His preference is for plain and unadorned, so I mainly stuck to that.

I know it''s a funny angle, but I wanted to show the Happy Birthday.

here it is so you get a better perspective on the image.

The image is from a Pamela West CD Rom from Joanna Sheen. While a lot of those images are very flowery/girly, there are some beautiful landscape type images too. Unfortunately, having come across a blank stepper card while clearing up, and deciding to use it, neither of the papers provided for this image seemed to work for the small areas you get on these cards. So, I took a small sample of the image in a mainly blue and mainly yellow area and tiled thse to get some papers that tone well. I combined the image with an outline and the yellow paper in Photoshop Element and added a bevel to give better definition before printing. I then die cut a greeting (not sure whose die that is), and my husband's name (using a XCut die) as well as a fairy cake (Marianne die, I think. It's pale blue.) I added a little shimmer (and colour) to the candle flame and shimmer only to the icing using Crafter's Companion glitter pens.

Now, a question. I often see this style of card being made, and I just wonder how people post them. (Obviously not an issue in this instance.) I rarely make this sort of card because I find that the varying thickness of parts of the card when folded leads to the card being warped and looking quite tatty. And that's before you compress it to any extent. So, do people make boxes for these cards? Or do they unfold them out so they're rectangular, leaving the recipient to work out how to display the card? (I know that easel cards can be a puzzle for some people, so could only imagine what they'd make of one of these unfolded. I used to make birthday cards for people at work which were passed around for signing, and with easel cards, I was often taken aside by one of the people signing it to warn me that the card needed mending. It didn't - it just wasn't obvious that the design was intended.)

Any ideas/suggestions will be welcomed. I do like this style of card, but unless I solve this issue, I doubt I'll be making many of them.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 211

Our challenge for this fortnight is No Patterned Papers.

I started with some white card, and 'smooshed' it in some diluted Distress inks. Then, I added some images - flowers and butterflies - again in Distress Ink, using stamps from Printable Heaven. I sprayed the result with water, and repeated a few times. The last time I added water, I sprinkled on some Perfect Pearl powder to give a hint of shimmer.

The die cuts are from a Sue Wilson set, and I've added a sentiment from a stamp set from Creative Stamping magazine.

That's it! I do like the vibrant colours, but then I've got a thing about rainbows, as you might have guessed!

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 32

Our challenge this fortnight is to make something interactive.

Not something I've done much of, but I did buy a die set specifically for making interactive cards, and so this is it!

I started with a beautiful backing paper from Panda Bear Designs which used to be sold via the Stitchy Bear online shop. I can't find any reference to this designer online, but if anyone does know, I'd be very interested to find out. I always loved her designs. This rainbow set is probably the single set of papers I've used more than any other. The flower and butterflies are stamps and dies from Sizzix which I coloured with Promarkers. The sentient uses a die from Creative Expressions.The die set which I used for the interactive pathway is from Apple Blossom.

And that's it! I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 23 April 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 210

Our theme for this fortnight is Birthdays. Your project can be anything so long as it fits the theme.

Not too surprisingly, I decided to make a birthday card.

This is the first outing for a die I bought recently. It's from Crafter's Companion, and I think it's called Toulouse. It cut fairly well in my Big Shot Pro and although it did need a couple of passes, I didn't need the metal shim or to place it close to the edges of the machine. I thought the die seemed so pretty I'd keep everything else quite basic, so I cut a strip of the grey, stamped a sentiment and made the central panel. I added a touch of glitter glue to various points on the die cut (I would have preferred to use liquid pearls, but amazingly I don't have any silver or black.) The flowers were cut using a Tattered Lace die. I added a touch of colour from a silver ink pad and finished with a sticky gem.

I hope you can join us this fortnight!

Sunday, 15 April 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 31

Our challenge for this fortnight is Paper Piecing. (Not to be confused with Paper Piercing!) Other than that requirement, you can make anything, any theme, any colours, so long as there's a piece of paper pieced in somewhere.

This is a technique that I've only tried once or twice before, and I've never liked the result, so I embarked with some trepidation. To my rescue came my last visit to Crafting at Ally Pally where at the Every Craft's a Pound stall, I bought several sets of Gorjuss stamps. I haven't used them much yet as they're quite big - the images are big and the frames supplied with them are huge. But, one of them seemed pretty much made for this technique and this is the result.

I also struggled to find a paper which had a small enough pattern to be useful here, and the one I found here is the last sheet of the design from a pad which was a magazine freebie several years ago. Because it's the last sheet, I've actually had to cut a piece out of the centre of the sheet for the paper-piecing! I coloured the rest of the image with Spectrum Noir pencils, although I did add a little colour to the skin tones with Promarkers too. Mat and layer dies are from Spellbinders. The flowers use dies by Sizzix from the Susan's Garden range, and I've added shading with Pan pastel and completed with a little Liquid Pearl.

I actually quite like the result. The images in this range are sweet, but the Santoro colours are dark and dingy, and if you know me at all, you'll know that's not my ideal!

I've made a box for this too, and if I get a chance, I'll add a photo to the blog later.

I hope you can join us this time!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 209

I'm hosting the challenge this fortnight, and our theme is Water! So, seaside, lake, river, rain  I want to see all manner of water!

This time, I've used some stamps, mainly from Creative Stamping magazine.

I had to use three separate masks for this - given how terrified I've always been about such things, I'm really quite pleased with myself! I coloured the image with pencils, and heat embossed the puddle. I tinted the background with some Distress Ink.. The sentiment is from Creative Expressions. The background uses a several stamps, waterdrops and some linen texture, Distress and Versacolor inks.

The inside uses photgraphs of both the background and image, as well as a computer generated addition to the sentiment on the front.

So, that's my rainy day card. I hope you can join us this time!

Sunday, 1 April 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 30

This fine April Fool's Day, we're challenging you to try something new. So, we want to see a card type you've never made before. Any design, any theme, just try something new!

I don't know what this style is called, but its definitely new to me.

It comes in two parts. This is the outside. I've used some Crafter's Companion dies here to make the triangular panels. They don't cut on the third (hidden) side, so I left a border there for attaching to the backing sheet. The flower is also Crafter's Companion. I started with a gold-coloured card and brushed on some Ripe Persimmon Distress Ink, and finished with some Liquid Pearl.

For the inside, I wanted something colourful that could be glimpsed through the lacy outer pocket. I started by die cutting a square using a Tonic die set. Then, I added some Distress Ink in Ripe Persimmon, Peacock Feathers, Scattered Straw, Faded Jeans and Broken China. Then, using the a heart die from the same Tonic set, I cut some sticky note paper and used it to mask the central area. Then, I got out my Tapestry stamps. I've always loved the idea of these, but this is the first time I've actually been happy enough with the result to use it! I stamped with the same inks as I had used in the background and edged with more Ripe Pesimmon. To finish, I stamped a sentiment using a stamp from a recent Creative Expressions release. I used my Tonic Stamp Platform for this and the very first stamp pad I ever bought! It's a basic dye pad, and I used it because I've always got problems stamping with Distress Inks using clear stamps. They just don't ink clear stamps nicely.

And that's it. I'm looking forward to being inspired by lots of lovely new ideas!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 208

Our theme for this fortnight is Bunnies, Chicks and Eggs. So, make anything you like so long as it has some or all of those represented somewhere.

I make Easter cards for immediate family every year, but I tend to stick to flowers because I don't like the whole 'cute' theme for either Easter or spring. So, I had to give some thought to this, and remembered my Everyday in Moonbeam Meadow CDRom from Crafter's Companion.

So, a card for my husband for our anniversary.

I assembled the background in Photoshop Elements using three different background papers from the CD, and then designed the sentiments using a fourth paper. After printing, I added a little layering and that's it!

One of the things I find hardest to do is to cut out sentiments like that. Yes, I could design them to fit a die, but sometimes that doesn't work with the design. I'm still in search of a trimmer that will cut such things square but most aren't designed for small bits. I bought some layering rulers a while ago and used them here. They do work, but I really don't like the raised edge I always get when I use a craft knife. It gives some funny effects - like the really obvious shadows in the photo, and despite my best efforts, I still struggle to get a really square result. Any recommendations will be welcome, so long as they don't require me to 'do it by eye' because my eye just isn't up to that!

Still, after 32 years, I'm pretty sure my husband knows how much I struggle with these things!

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 29

The challenge for this fortnight it so use humour. I'm normally wary of using humour in cards as I'm very aware that one person's humour can be another's embarrassment, so this was a hard challenge for me. Then, as I sat in my usual chair, I saw this:

That little squirrel lives on the standard lamp in our living room. It was given to me by someone I'd worked with throughout the 17 years I was at the special school I left at the summer. And there's a story behind it.

About 15 or so years ago, I was walking to school. It was summer and I was wearing some open sandals and as I went down a footpath I used regularly, I spotted a squirrel further down. I expected it to climb up the fence and be gone into the nearest tree, but instead, this squirrel ran at me. I stopped dead, rather surprised and a little anxious. Fortunately, it got to within a foot of my poor, unprotected feet and decided to run away again. When I got to work, I told a couple of colleagues who both found the incident hilarious. And ever--after, the story of the squirrel and its 'nut-crunching teeth' became a bit of a standard. (I don't think it was my phrase, but it was attributed to me whenever the story was re-told.) Anyway, the woman who gave me the squirrel when I left has a birthday coming up, and I'd already bought a die set in her honour.

And this was the result. The background paper is from a set by Panda Bear that I got while I was on the Stitchy Bear design team. I've added a tree silhouette and the wording using Photoshop Elements. I think the die is from Tonic, and the set included a couple of branches and leaves which I've added, along with some extra leaves on their own. For the inside, I've used the same background, but expanded it to fit across the inside of the card.

And that's it! The humour is very specific to just a few people, but at least I know it was at my expense rather than someone eles's!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 207

Our Challenge this fortnight is to Go Green. You can make anything you like so long as the predominant colour is green.

The background is one of the digital backgrounds from Crafts and Me, and I enhanced the centre  using a circular layer of pale green over the image and darkened the outer areas before printing. Then, I stamped some fairies and a toadstool (Clarity), and a sentiment and added some glitter pen (Crafter's Companion). The background was created with Crafter's Companion Glitter Pens as a watercolour wash and then embossed with one of their embossing folders. I inked the embossed areas and edge with Distress Ink. The ribbon and lace flower are from one of my ribbon boxes. (I really need to use ribbon more often!) All the ink used was in various shades of green even though it looks fairly black.

I hope you can join us!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 28

Our challenge this fortnight is two-fold. Use a Die and Emboss You can either emboss using a folder, or use heat embossing - the choice is yours!

I decided to use a stamp I haven't used for a while.

The stamp is from the Animal Spirit range. I stamped it in Versamark ink and embossed with gold detail powder. It turned out remarkably well, although embossing means there's very little left to colour! I used Crafters Companion Glitter pens for that, and completed with a border around the image in gold, before cutting the image and mounting it on black card. I've then framed the black using a Spellbinders die cut. The background paper and lacy ribbon are from my collection. I rather like the drama of the final result.

I hope you can join us.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 206

Our challenge theme for this fortnight is Floral Delight. If you're like me, you struggle to make something without flowers, but we'd like to see lots of them for this challenge.

One of my Christmas presents were some Tonic Kaleidoscope box dies, but I haven't had any particular reason to make a box yet, so I decided to give them a whirl and fill one with flowers!

I do love the box! I've only got the hexagon lid at present, but suspect I see the octagon one in my near future.

The paper is from my collection. I'm using less and less patterened paper as I get into making my own backgrounds, so it was good to take a look at what I've got.

The flowers used a mix of dies. Most were Sizzix Susan's Garden dies, but there's a Sarah Wilson set there, as well as, I think, Cheery Lynn and Crafter's Companion. I added shading to petals and leaves using Pan Pastels, and some flower centres using Liquid Pearls.

A close up of some of the flowers.

I do hope you can join us this time, and I look forward to seeing lots of flowers!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 27

Our challenge for this fortnight is to Use Something you Already Own. That's definitely good advice - especially if, like me, you're running out of storage space!

I've really loved seeing all the snow globe dies that appeared last winter. I've been on the verge of buying one more than once, but saw (probably on Facebook) that someone had used a Tonic handbag die to get the same effect. I didn't make a note of it when I saw it, so I can't attribute.

And there it is! I've used circle dies for the globe and moon, and a panel from one of the Tonic Handbag dies for the base. For the pattern over it, I used another die I already had - this one cuts a rectangular snowflake pattern. The background was embossed mirror card, and I've used various dies from my collection to make the hills, trees and houses.

I've edged bits with ink and glitter, and added glitter to the globe before sealing it with glue-gel.

I hope you can join us! Let's see what you've used.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 205

Our theme this fortnight is Love and Romance. So, what better than a Valentine card.

I wanted to do something a little different here. I'd recently made a card for a commission for which I'd used one of the bi-fold cards I ordered by accident several years ago. While looking at one of those, I decided to make a box-style card.

The sides of this card are about a centimetre. I've used paper I've had for a very long time. It's a pad from Papermania which is very pretty but the colours are quite muted and rarely seem to work with what I've got planned, but this time, the romantic softness seemed perfect. I used a Sizzix die to cut a heart out of both some paper and the card. Then, I did a colour wash on some watercolour paper using a glitter pen, and when it was dry, embossed the card, before die cutting a large and small heart, and the letters for the sentiment. I also cut some pale grey 'shadow' letters to give the text a little more depth.

And that's it. Quite simple and plain really, but the dimension makes it a little unusual.

I hope you can join us this time.


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