Wednesday 19 December 2018

Congratulations, Christina!

It's been a long time since I've posted here other than as part of my DT duties, but this post is a little different.

One of the DT members on the International Art and Soul DT, CG, has had a baby! So to wish her, her husband and the little one all the best, her colleagues on the team have made cards and posted them to her. And because, with Christmas around the corner and many miles between us, it'll take a while for those cards to arrive, we're also posting here!

I used an image and paper from a Crafter's Companion CDRom with artwork by Rachelle Anne Miller. I added the wording in Photoshop Elements before printing, and cut the result with a Presscut die, and the mat with a Tonic set. To complete, I used some little stars cut using an inexpensive die set I bought in The Range which were given a little shimmer with gilding wax.

So, CG, wishing you all the best with your new little one, and health and happiness for the whole family.

Monday 10 December 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 224

Our challenge at Crafty Cardmakers for this fortnight, and indeed, over the Christmas period is Christmas!

I've used a Woodware stamp set, and coloured the image with Promarkers. I really do like the image - it's simple, yet complex with the knot-work pattern.

I've framed the image and sentiment using a die set from Cheery Lynn which I've had for a long time and used less often than I expected to.

I actually tried several options for this card before I decided on this option. The base card is one I bought at Ally Pally several years ago. It's a beautiful perlescent dark green colour, but I think they'd been badly scored, so I always have to trim a bit off to get a square card. I embossed the side panel using a folder that was a magazine freebie some time ago. To try to accentuate the snowflakes, I gently applied some Versacolor yellow ink to the panel, which had the effect of slightly warming the tone there, but that isn't obvious in the photo.

I do hope you can join us this time, and whether you do or not, wish you and yours a very happy Festive Season.

Sunday 9 December 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 48

Our challenge for this fortnight, and indeed over the Christmas and New Year period is Add Some Sparkle.

For this, I homed in on the word sparkle and got out my Crafter's Companion Sparkle pens. I used them to create a background.
I used water to shade the colours together, and when it was dry, I did some faux bleaching with a very old holly stamp.

I used that same stamp for the main image, stamping with the red and green sparkle pens, and a mounted stamp from Dovecraft. I then added the text using an unmounted rubber stamp which I suspect came as a freebie from the Rubbernecker stall at Ally Pally some years ago. I stamped that with Versafine ink as the sparkle pens didn't give a solid enough result.

I cut various mats, and die cut all four layers with some of my set of Tonic Sew Pretty squares. Then, I stitched as you can see, using a sparkly gold thread.

I often forget how a very simple focal image can be complimented by suitable embellishment, and I must say I went from being rather disappointed with the image stamping to being quite pleased with the complete card.

I hope you can join us this time, and I wish you and yours all the best for the festive season.

Monday 26 November 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 223

Our challenge this time is for Anything but a Card. Any theme, any technique.

When I stopped work, I joined a craft group. Such groups are extremely rare around here. (In fact, this is the first one I've come across which in any way meets my interests, and that's mainly because they're interested in crafts in general!) A session earlier this year was based around fabric painting. This isn't something I've tried before, and since I've got no artistic skills at all, I decided to play to my 'strengths' as a papercrafter. I bought a few Versacraft inks and raided my stamps for ones I could use which had nice, clear open areas for painting. The stamps are from Sizzix, Hobbycraft as well as a variety of others from my collection whose origin is lost due to my lack of making a note before storing on A4 stamp sheets. Versacraft ink is water-based, but should become wash-resistant once it's heat set.

I used the ink, with a little water added, to paint the images after I had used my heat gun to set the images. I was quite pleased with the result, but felt it needed something more. So, once I ot it home, I looked out Exquisite Trims in Thread Crochet by Caitlin Sainio. I chose a two-toned pattern as I just happened to have both pink and royal blue thread in my stash, and completed two borders which I then stitched in place.

My only issue with the finished result is the fact that the Hobbycraft bag is very course and uneven in colour, but that would be remedied by getting a better quality item to start with. I definitely think I'll be using these techniques again.

I hope you can join us this time!

Sunday 25 November 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 47

Our challenge for this fortnight at International Art and Soul is Funny Christmas. You can make anything you like, so long as it meets the theme. It doesn't matter if it's something personal about your make that is 'funny', although it'd be great if you'd share the reason if it isn't obvious!

I used a stamp I've had for quite a few years, and it always makes me smile, even if it's not laugh-out-loud funny.

The image is from Sarah Kay. And I like to imagine those little boys, who'd probably prefer to be playing football, and who've been cleaned and brushed up, trying to be very earnest, but of course, one of them has dropped his music while another has stopped singing while he watches. So, a smile rather than a laugh!

The image was stamped on watercolour paper but coloured with wax--based pencils. I've used a very old Spellbinders label die to cut the image. To frame the image, I've used one of my Tonic Sew Pretty square dies. I like hand-stitching and paper pricking as embellishments, and this way, I didn't get cramp in my hand while hand-pricking all those holes!

I do hope you can join us this time.

Monday 12 November 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 222

Our challenge at Crafty Cardmakers this fortnight is Lots of Layers! So, nothing CAS, we want to see lots of layers - the more the better!

I decided to have a play at using stencils to make backgrounds, and this is what I came up with.

For the main background, I started with a piece of Mixed Media card, and added some background colour using a mixture of watercolour markers and distress ink mixed with water. Then, I used stencils from Crafter's Companion and more distress ink. I finally added some stamped images to the result - but they really only added a little texture.

For the other backgrounds, I repeated a lot of what I'd done previously, although in one case, I didn't stencil anything, and in the other, I used stencils from Crafter's Companion and John Next Door.

For the focal image, I used dies from Susan's Garden Notes, and card shaded with distress inks to match the backgrounds. I finished the card with some matting and some sticky gems.

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

Sunday 11 November 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 46

Our challenge for this fortnight is Wild Animals. My first thought here was to use a stamp set I got recently, but it turns out that llamas aren't wild animals! They seem pretty wild to me, but having checked, I decided to think again. And of course, the one thing we need lots of is Christmas cards, so I looked out a digi I've had for a long time and came up with this.

The die cut in the front is by Frantic Stamper, and the sentiment die is from Tonic.

And there you can get a look at the digi - it's from Stitchy Bear. I shaded the trees dark green in Photoshop Elements before printing, and then I used Promarkers for shading the bears, and a little Distress Ink to give the sky a bluish hue. There's room for a message below the image, and that's it!

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday 29 October 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 221

The theme at Crafty Cardmakers for this fortnight is Explosion of Colour. So, we want to see bright, colourful projects, but other than that, you can make whatever you want.

A short while ago, I made a card using very subdued colours which I really liked. That's unusual for me, because I generally prefer bright colours, so I thought I'd try something similar but make the colours bold and vibrant. But the result of that was awful! I really didn't like the effect at all, so I binned it. And went back to the drawing board.

And then, while looking out a stencil, I came across a template I've had for quite a while. It's a Fiskars paper pricking template, and I haven't used it much since I got my Sew Pretty dies. But it has one big advantage over the dies - if you want several concentric circles, it's much easier than having to line up the dies. And, as a child, I loved the idea that you can get curves out of straight lines so much, I spent ages drawing out axes on paper and pencilling in lines. My dad spotted me doing this, and made me a board with nails so I could do the same thing in a permanent way, and that adorned my bedroom wall for a long time. Anyway, I decided to make an explosion of colour rainbow-style, and this is what I came up with.

I pricked 6 concentric circles , and threaded between the holes to get the pattern you can see. I used machine embroidery thread that more or less cover the rainbow. I framed the result with black card, and cut the aperture and decorative circle using Tonic dies.

The result could be a card, but it's not going to be! It's going up on the wall of my craft room!

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 28 October 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 45

The challenge for this fortnight is Autumn Colours! Now, a few weeks ago, another design team had a similar challenge, and I posted a couple of suitably-hued Christmas cards. But, I actually made four, so here are the other two!

Like the other two, these have background made using my gelli-plate and acrylic paint. I do love the rich colours you get with this technique!

Other than that, I've used dies from Joanna Sheen (border), and a magazine freebie (tree), and I can't actually remember whose die the oval is. I completed the card with some sticky gems - the last five I had of this size and hue.

A different stencil this time - but similar colours and technique. The card was completed with die cuts from Sizzix and Joanna Sheen, and some gold ribbon.

I do hope you can join us this time!

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!


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