Sunday 5 December 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 123

 The theme for the next four weeks, set by my team mate Maggie, is to use dies or punches. Other that, you can do whatever you want to do.

In April this year, I was very happy to take part in a workshop on spring flowers by Susan Tierney Cockburn. I've enjoyed using her dies for some years, and even have a copy of a book she wrote before there were any dies. There, she showed how to use punched shapes to make a variety of flowers which were remarkably realistic. So, for this challenge, I decided to make a floral arrangement using some of her dies old and new, along with a frame die.

I started by colouring card for the frame. I used a range of blue Distress Oxide inks, and did another sheet for the back board. The frame pieces were cut using a die from box Elizabeth Craft. I bought it quite a long time ago, and have often considered buying another similar die which would allow me to make bigger frames than this die is designed to do - up to 8in end to end. But I've always thought it would be possible to extend the Elizabeth Craft die, so that's what I did here. The frame is 11in end to end, so that I could cut it from A4 card. It took me a few attempts to get it right, and I discovered I need to use a score board rather than my usual trimmer to score the extended fold lines, but in the end, it worked well enough.

The central part of the background was stamped (again in Distress Oxide ink) using a Clarity solid frame stamp. 

That done, I cut a range of pieces for various flowers and ended up using about half of them (as usual...) The orange flowers are Kerria Japonica which were included in the April workshop. The large white flower is a Gerbera Daisy, and the cream/yellow flowers are Forsythia and also uses a Susan's Garden branch die.

And another one - this time using a Tonic hexagonal frame in shades of green, and the flowers this time are Cattleya, again from Susan's Garden.

And that's it. I've no idea what I'm going to do with the results, but I'm fairly happy with it. I think I managed to stop myself adding too much - that's my usual problem.

I do hope you can join us for this, our last challenge of 2021!

Sunday 21 November 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 122

 I've set the theme for this challenge, and it's winter. There are no limits to that theme - if it makes you think of winter, it works, although if the link isn't obvious, it'd be really interesting to know what it is.

I've made a Christmas card, using a style I found on YouTube, courtesy of Jo Rice of Lavinia Stamps, although I've mixed Lavinia with Card-io stamps.

Jo called the technique 'extended landscape', and it definitely makes for an interesting style. The background and landscape shading use Distress Ink, and the silhouettes were done in Versafine Clair ink. I edged the layers with a black Sharpie pen, and the text was from some magazine stamps.

I do hope you can join us this time, and I look forward to seeing what makes you think of winter!

Sunday 7 November 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 121

 The challenge for this fortnight was chosen by my team mate Sall, and she wants projects on the theme of Remembrance

That's a very appropriate theme for this time of year, but I found it hard to come up with a project that I could actually use. It's not normal to send cards for Remembrance day, and while people wear poppies, making your own kind of defeats the purpose of poppies as a way of making money for the Royal British Legion. So, my project has poppies, but no specific mention of Remembrance, beyond the fact that sending someone a card is a sign that you're thinking about them.

I started with Claritystamp stamps. The image and text are from the beautiful Art Deco range, and have the added benefit (from my point of view) of being stained glass style, so they represent two of my favourite styles immediately.

I stamped the image with Versafine Clair, then coloured with Promarkers, although the very narrow borders were coloured with water-based fine liner pens. I simply cannot get Promarkers to behave in that sort of very narrow space. I know they used to supply fine tips for the pens and these were great, but quickly became clogged and unusuable. It's such a pity they couldn't make those work.

The background started with Distress Ink applied to white card. My thinking was a kind of 'out of focus' poppy field, but I'm not sure how well that worked out. I took the result and embossed it with an Embossalicious folder. Then, I used black Distress Ink to pick out the raised areas.

I matted the image on red and then black card, and the background on black, and that's it. I considered adding something (like some poppies) but decided it worked well enough without.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Thursday 21 October 2021

A New Home 'Card'

 I decided to make a 'new home' card for my daughter and her partner, but it had to be bigger than the average card, and as a result, it ended up in a 300mm box frame! 

I started with the letters, and given the town they're moving to, and one of the names, it was never going to be small, so I went a bit crazy. I've blanked out the names, but left the rest.

The background was coloured using Distress Ink in a variety of autumnal shades and using a couple of stencils for some texture.

The flowers are from Susan Tierney Cockburn's Spellbinders collection - the button chrysanthemum and daisy chrysanthemum. All the pieces started as white card, and I shaded, again with Distress Ink before shaping and assembling.

I really wanted a natural wood frame, and Hobbycraft used to do one, but I couldn't get one in the largest size so had to compromise on white. I assume they'll put something else in the frame in the future, but that's fine..

Sunday 10 October 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 119

 The challenge for this fortnight was set by my team mate CG and she wants us to use mainly yellow and orange. That seemed like an ideal opportunity to make something bright and cheerful, and this is what I came up with:

First, the background is stencilled using Crafter's Companion layering stencils and Distress Ink. The main image was stamped in Versafine Clair ink using a Woodware stamp. I coloured the image with Promarkers, added layering as shown. I used a corner rounder on the image and mat - with a wider corner on the bottom than the top, as I thought that worked for the image. The metallic orange band is an offcut I've had for many years - I originally had a few sheets in a 'Payperbox' selection I bought, I think, at Olympia when there used to be an annual craft show there, before it became just for knitting/and sewing. So, a long time! The flowers are from a length of floral lace I bought, also many years ago.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 26 September 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 118

 The challenge for this fortnight was set by my team mate Debbie, and she wants to see projects featuring Furry Friends, so I'm looking forward to seeing your animal-based creations.

I don't have a lot of animal stamps really, but I do have a gorgeous CDRom featuring the beautiful Ivory Cats. I will admit that I've often used it for backgrounds for unrelated projects as some of them are gorgeous, but this time I used an image.

I combined the image mat and background paper in Photoshop Elements. Looking at the flowers on the ground, they looked a little like forget-me-not, so I found my Susan's Garden Notes Forget-me-not die set and created a sprig to go alongside the image. I added a little white pen on the flowers and pale green pan pastel on the leaves, but otherwise, these are very simple flowers.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 12 September 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 117

 The theme for this fortnight's challenge is Fancy Fold and it was chosen by my team mate Christine. 

I generally struggle with these. Unless I use a die to cut an unusual arrangement, I find this type of card hard. But, I found a template for a diamond fold card on the Create and Craft website and decided to have a go.

The fold isn't perfect (the display section isn't quite square), but I decided it was good enough, and it was a perfect  size for an image that's been languishing in my craft room for a year or two. It uses a Hobby Art wood mounted stamp for the image. I'm pretty sure that's amongst the oldest stamps I own. When I first decided to get into stamping, the biggest choice was among wood mounted stamps, and I used to visit Blade Rubber Stamps in London occasionally to peruse their selection. It's a Mackintoshesque image which is a style I love. I coloured with pencils - possibly Polychromos - as I bought three blues to try out, but then decided that a complete set was prohibitively expensive. The greys and greens are probably Derwent Coloursoft.

To complete the card, I stitched a couple of rose heads using part of a pattern from Stitching Cards and Sulky thread.

So, thank you, Christine, for getting me out of my comfort zone (even though I added comfortable things to the basic design.) 

And I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 29 August 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 116

 This fortnight's challenge is hosted by my team mate Chriss, who's chosen the theme Birthday.

I started with a Nellie Snellen stamp. I liked it when I saw it on a website, and loved it when I stamped it. I coloured it with Promakkers and cut it using a Tonic die and matted it on gold mirror card cut with a Spellbinders die. The sentiment was stamped using a pre-inked stamp I've had for many years and cut with a Sizzix die. The background was created with a gell press background of distress ink. To that, I added some feathers from a Pretty Quick stamp set and added some further texture using a text stamp from Printable Heaven. For that, I used a mixture of Distress ink and Versafine Clair.

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 15 August 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 115

 This fortnight, the challenge is being hosted by my team mate Maggie, and she wants something Clean and Simple.

Of course, whether something is CAS is a very subjective judgement. If you normally create something with multiple embellishments, your CAS might be someone else's complicated! I went for something without embellishment, but with matting and layering.

This is one of a series of cards I made while playing with some media plates (John Next Door). All the backgrounds shading uses either Distress Ink or a similar product from Izink. First I created the circular background using the media plate, and stamped the image using Versafine Clair. The stamp is from Studio Light. I added some texture to the background using a crackle stamp (rubber, I think Crafty Individuals). The lower background was created with the same inks and crackle stamp, but I added  splotch stamp which came with an issue of Creative Stamping magazine. I matted and layered and added the result to a gold coloured card from Tattered Lace.

Another card from the same series is:

Different colours and a square format, but only Distress Ink for the image background here, although I did use a stencil on the plate after inking but before printing. The effect is very subtle, but does add a little texture. In this instance, I used a background paper from a Papermania pad I've had for a LONG time!

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 1 August 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 114

 The challenge for this fortnight is a mode of transport, and it was chosen, and will be hosted, by my team mate Hazel.

For this, I delved into my box of Hunkydory toppers again!

The background was created using some Crafter's Companion layering stencils and distress ink. I added an embossed panel, and matted the image, so this ws a fairly simple card.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 18 July 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 113

 I'm hosting this fortnight's challenge at International Art and Soul, and I've chosen the theme, 'Use Thread or Beads'. One obvious option is something stitched, but if you don't want to do that, there are lots of ways of using thread and beads that involve other techniques - including beads as flower centres or eyes or just for decoration. I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

I kept things fairly simple, stitching a couple of designs from Stitching Cards. I like a lot of their designs and given my love of all things Mackintosh, it's not surprising I chose this one.

I used two different types of thread here: the flower heads use a general machine embroidery thread in a crimson shade, and for the rest I used something new to me - a Sulky no. 12 which is varigated in shades ranging from pink and blue through to lilac and grey. To complete the card, I used a Sue Wilson Mini Striplet die to cut out of the white card and placed a silver panel behind. The, I matted with red, and that was that.

This is another Stitching Cards design, but this time I've gone full rainbow! The petals and leaves use machine embroidery thread, but the pots and frames use another Sulky varigated thread - this time in a rainbow range. I used the same striplet die, but this time just mounted the top layer on to some green mirror card directly.

And, for something completely different, I made a Valentine card. (I know, that was months ago, but I tend to make my cards well in advance and then schedule my posts, and I'm typing this on 14th February.)

This card uses a different source - a book called Fold and Stitch by Christa Bushousen. It's an odd mixture of pricking, stitching and tea bag folding, but there are several heart designs. I adapted this from a three-heart design in the book. I'm kind of traditional in my Valentine cards - they've got to be anonymous, although I daresay my husband isn't fooled by the cards that turn up each year. This uses just the Sulky thread I used in the rose card above. To complete, I cut 'be mine' using a set of Tonic dies. The top layer of each uses some card I shaded using a gelli plate and distress ink. I wasn't happy with theoverall result, but I think it worked well for this. I'm just disappointed the set doesn't include punctuation as this really needs a question mark!

I'm looking forward to seeing your thread and bead creations.

Sunday 4 July 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 112

 The challenge for this fortnight has been set by my team mate Christine, and she's asked for projects which are red, white, and blue.

My card was almost a week in the making. I tried a few things, discarded some, kept others. I didn't have any specific ideas beyond using the stamps and the colours.

I started with the image piece. I used a gell press to apply Distress Ink to some card, then did a second layer with the same colour, this time applying a stencil first. The effect is subtle, but it did give some teture. Then I stamped the Lavinia images, and the sentiment which came from a Creative Expressions set. I added some further texture with a text stamp, and added some detail to the flower with a Posca pen in red. I trimmed the result, rounded the corners and matted it on red card and then stopped to think again.

I had intended to make a six by six card, but that was too small, so I switched to 7 by 7. The background started similarly with a gel imprint with the same Distress Ink. Although it's not obvious, I added some red using Versfine Clair ink and a lacy floral stencil. I then used the same text stamp to the background, and edged the piece with Distress ink. I tried several things for the side panel, but finally settled on some red and blue card with some floral lace. And that's it. I hope you can join us this time,

Sunday 20 June 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 111

 The challenge for this fortnight was set by my team mate Jennie, and she wants creations on the theme of 'Holidays, here or abroad'.

This card took a surprising amount of time - especially since I only had two options that occurred to me. I finally decided to use a fabulous stamp from Creative Stamping magazine and went from there.

That's where my problems started. First, I thought I'd try a watercolour version, but didn't like the result. Then I decided to colour the image with pencils, and that worked well enough. The image is of three beach huts, so I've repeated the stamp giving a partial hut each side of the original three. I added a little distress ink to both the sky and sand to even out the tone and edged with some more.

I was playing with multi-coloured backgrounds made using distress oxide ink, and this was actually the third one I did. It's not that I didn't like the others - more that they just didn't work with the image for whatever reason. Finally, I did tis one and it seemed to work for me. I edged it with Versafine Clair ink, matted the image and put the whole package on to a 5 by 7 inch card.

I do hope you can join us this time.i

Sunday 6 June 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 110

 The challenge for this fortnight was set by my team mate CG, and it's to use a pre-coloured topper.  Now, that's not something I do very often, although as I get more in to designing and decorating my own background papers, it's becoming more frequent. I recently bought a couple of packs of Hunkydory Topper Decks, and I've used a couple here.

For both, the backgrounds started as gelli prints. The first was first generation and fairly clean, the second was a second generation print to which I added ink through a stencil. In the case of the first card, I just added some inky colour to the background to take away the whiteness. In both cases, the ink was Distress Oxide.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 23 May 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 109

 The challenge for this fortnight has been chosen by my team mate, Debbie. She's chosen the theme Graduation.

I struggled with this challenge - I don't have any reason to make a card for a graduation. I don't know anyone due to graduate from university this summer, and even if I did, I wouldn't know for sure until next month when degree results are published. So, I had to get creative.

First, I created a graduated background in Photoshop Elements, moving smoothly from green to blue. Then, I added a rainbow, which is a graduation of all the colours present in white light. The dies I used there are mainly Creative Expressions, with the mat for the sentiment being cut with a Sizzix die.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 9 May 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 108

 The challenge for this fortnight was set by my team mate Hazel, and she wants to see our take on a nursery rhyme.

I was just a bit stumped at first, then I thought of a text stamp I bought recently, and from there, I jumped to 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star'

I started by masking off an area for the sky, and I dotted around it with a Versamark pen. I embossed the area using a holographic clear powder. Then, I started to apply ink. First, Distress ink in a range of blues, and then some black to darken the whole thing down. Next, I did the same with the ground, using a green, and again, darkening with black. After that, I stamped the sentiment, embossing with white, and then the trees, embossed with black. Finally, I added the rabbit, who I like to think is wondering about the stars he can see. Stamps are all Lavinia except the rabbit which comes from Card-io.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Saturday 8 May 2021

Paper Embroidery Cards

 I love some of the designs available on Stitching Cards, and have spent some time lately on a variety of their designs.

Two geometric patterns and a floral vine. The vine pattern is available free to try out if you're interested. 

And, I got started on my Christmas cards!

For most, I used Sulky varigated thread, but others, including first, the snowflakes and the grey on the robins, use some machine embroidery thread.

Sunday 25 April 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 107

 The challenge this fortnight was chosen and is being hosted by my team mate Jennie, and it's a card or gift for a man.

I recently donated some cards to a local hospital for patients and families to use, and it occurred to me that there were very few male-themed cards (if any). I do make cards for men - I've got a husband, two sons, my daughter's partner, two brothers-in-law, but I don't tend to make male cards 'just because'. Because, of course, those 'just because' cards are done because I want to make something pretty! Anyway, during the post Christmas sales, I obtained a couple of topper decks from Hunkydory, and one of them, with all vintage style transport images, was intended to give me some inspiration.

I started by creating an A4 background using Distress Oxide inks and smooshing them on to stamping paper.

I added some stamping on top - mainly to give some texture, and used it to cover both the display and base sections of an easel card. The image is simply matted, and I used a die (from Joanna Sheen, I think) to create the stopper. Nothing too complicated, but I think it works.

Also in the Hunkydory sale, I got some stamps, and decided to play with one.

I did like the idea of these stamps - circular landscape type silhouettes, with corners to match, and while I think the card is usable, I'm a little disappointed without really knowing why. Again the background uses distress oxide ink, smooshed on to stamping card, with the images stamped in Versafine Clair ink.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 11 April 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 106

 The challenge for this fortnight is Winged Creatures chose and hosted by my team mate Christine. I normally immediately go for butterflies for this sort of challenge, but not this time. Two cards, and not a butterfly in sight!

I have been inspired recently by some Lavinia Stamps videos, and this has resulted in both the cards in this post. This first one, started with a second gelli plate impression with distress oxide ink and a stencil. (The first impression will be used elsewhere!) The result was very understated, but I liked it, and added some more detail. First, I used a circular mask and Victorian Velvet distress ink. Then I added the foliage and added the raven using stamps from Lavinia stamps. I coloured the blossoms with pencil. I wanted a bit more texture in the background, so I used a couple of stamps from Creative Stamping magazine - some text and another small one with a 'cracked' appearance. And that, apart from some silver mirror card to matt, is that.

The second card used very similar techniques:

This card used similar techniques, although the gelli print was first generation, and a lot bolder as a result. I added some trees, and the fairy on a toadstool image. The fairy was from my first ever set of Lavinia stamps - I think they were a subscription gift for a magazine some years ago. The toadstool isn't opaque - so I added some colour using coloured pencils. And again, some mirror card to finish, and a fairly simple card.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 28 March 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 105

 The challenge for this fortnight has been set by my team mate CG. She wants us to make a shaped card, and is especially looking for creativity.

Now, this is something I struggle with. I think I have a fairly good sense of colour, but I'm not good at shape and dimension, and that's even worse when we move in to three dimensions. But, with the aid of a die set or several, I came up with this:

The main card shape uses a die set from Marianne Creatables. You need three of the die cuts to get this shape. I added patterned paper which I bought from The Works. 

I decorated the inside with a variety of die cuts. I'm honestly not sure about the dies used for the vases. I suspect they might be Spellbinders (definitely bronze coloured). The flowers were made using dies from Printable Heaven. The sentiment here (and the one on the front) are from a set which I think was Spellbinders too.

As you can see better in this picture, the vases and sentiment are designed to 'pop up' slightly when the card is open.

But everything folds together for posting. The hinges you see are part of the Marianne die set, and they definitely add to the strength of the design.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 14 March 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 104

 The theme for this fortnight, chosen by my team-mate Craftygirl is 'Bunny'. Obviously a good theme for spring and Easter, but also for new babies and young children, so lots of scope.

I don't often do 'cute', but I do have a couple of CDRoms with suitable images, so I used them.

The image and paper on this one are both from a Crafter's Companion CDRom - Bebunni Floral. I think this was a magazine version of the collection - ie not a complete collection, but it's rather pretty and suits the theme well. I combined the image and paper in Photoshop Elements, adding a border to the image before printing.

But on my trawls through my CDRoms, I also found a suitable image on Everyday at Hollypond Hill.

That's another Crafter's Companion CDRom - this time, it's a complete collection. Again, I combined the image and paper in Photoshop Elements, adding a border and a bevel before printing.

Both images were matted after printing, so really quite simple cards, but then most of the work was done pre-printing. Inserts for both cards use the same papers as the card.

I do hope you can join us this time!

Sunday 28 February 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 103

 This fortnight's challenge is hosted by Sall, and the them is Natural World at Christmas without robins! I know that last bit caused be a bit of consternation, as every time I thought of an image, there was a robin somewhere. And then I thought of a CDRom I've had for years but rarely used. It's a Debbi Moore CD, and I can't actually remember if it was from a magazine or bought direct from her site. I combined a couple of backgrounds, borders, a sentiment, and an image in Photoshop Elements, and this was the result.

I added some silver mirror card to create a border to the printed image, and that's it.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 14 February 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 102

 The challenge theme for this fortnight is Off to Dinner. I chose to use a stamp depicting two very glamorous ladies drinking cocktails as I imagine their next stop will be dinner somewhere very exclusive.

The stamp is from Crafts and Me which I've had for several years. I know the company went out of business a while ago, and I don't know if the image is available from anyone else now. I coloured with watercolour pencils and added some glittery accents with Sakura Stardust pens. I gave the background area an extra glitz with a Crafter's Compaion glitter marker.

The background started as a simple smooshed piece with Distress Oxide inks, but I wanted to add something to it, so I added a gel press impression with white acrylic paint and a stencil.

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 31 January 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 101

 This time at International Art and Soul, the theme of the challenge is Hearts. You can interpret that as you wish. I decided to make a card using a Gorjuss stamp I bought a few years ago.

I coloured the image with pencils - my newly-purchased Koh -i-Noor Polycolor pencils. I'm by no means an expert at colouring with any media, but I was reasonably happy with this effort. I envy those who can see where to shade darker and lighter and do it successfully, but I do struggle with that.

The bacground uses plain black card and a piece of embossed and Distress Oxide shaded card which was left over from a previous project. I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 17 January 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 100

 The theme for this fortnight is Winter. I must say, I do like winter. Yes, it can be cold, and it can be wet but it's lovely to feel cosy inside when the weather's bad outside. And snowy landscapes are gorgeous to look at.

When I'd almost finished my Christmas cards last year, I came across a text stamp I haven't used for some time. As it's perfect for this theme, I used it to complete my Christmas makes. The text stamp is one I've had for quite a long time but I honestly can't remember whose it is. It might be an Inkylicious stamp, but I don't think it is. If anyone recognises it, I'd love to be reminded! The other stamps used come from Craft Stamper Magazine.

For both cards, I stamped the image and then gave the background a Distress Ink wash. In the case of the second card, I also added some white pencil to key areas before the ink wash as a type of resist. I gave them some different matting, and, for very simple cards, I think they're quite effective. 

In case you can't read it, the verse reads, 'Winter waves a magic want over the world and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful'

I do hope you can join us this time.

Sunday 3 January 2021

International Art and Soul Challenge 99

 The theme for the first fortnight of the year is Landscapes. I'm hosting the challenge, and I'd love to see a landscape for any season. With that in mind, I made some Christmas cards using a range of stamps and stencils from Inkylicious, Creative Stamping Magazine and John Next Door. The background shading was done in Distress Ink, while the darker parts use Versafine Clair.

I did several of this style for last Christmas, and I do like the results, although I have to say I have a significant failure rate with several attempts going into the bin!

The trees here use stamps from Circa Design that I've had for many years.

And finally, for this one I added some heat embossed foliage.

I'm looking forward to seeing your landscapes, so please join us!


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