Friday, 24 February 2017

Tyger Tyger Burning Bright....

I mentioned earlier this week that we'd spent a night in Marlow so we could have a meal at the Hand and Flowers. Our hotel was a short walk, through the shops, from the restaurant, and one dress shop had a window display that really caught my eye. Not the clothes themselves, I can't remember a thing about those, but the decoration, which was made up of swathes of tropical leaves in black and gold.

Naturally I had to have a play - I've had this lovely Woodware leaf punch for years, but have only ever punched it in green before. I think it looks very striking in black and gold, doesn't it?

Of course the leaves need a striking image to go with them, and my lovely tiger stamp (an old unmounted stamp, sorry I can't remember the brand) was just right for the job. I've added a background of tiger print paper from a Zeeman pad. It looks textured, doesn't it. but in fact it is plain smooth paper. I have framed the image with a scalloped circle cut and embossed from black colour-core card with a light tan core, using a Marianne Creatables die, sanded after embossing to reveal the core. The button is from a bargain bag I bought on Amazon.

I'm sharing this with It's a Zoo Out There at Cuttlebugmania.

Before I sign off for today, I'd like to quickly mention the Make It Show  which is on in Farnborough today and tomorrow. I've been there today and met up with lots of my crafty friends. I wasn't planning to shop, apart from a few basics (I'm sure I use more brown card than anyone else in Craftdom!) so it gave me time to watch lots of the lovely demonstrations and take part in one of the Make and Takes, an acrylic painting session. I'm not very skilled at painting so it was great to lean some brush techniques. I'm quite pleased with this for a first attempt!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

A workman's tools

Sorry if this post is a bit brief, I've been away overnight and had the most amazing meal at Tom Kerridge's restaurant "The Hand and Flowers" in Marlow, and my mind is still totally on that and not really on my crafting! I made this card before we set out yesterday but didn't have time to post it then.

First I stamped the distressed diamond background - a very old Linda Luckin stamp and created the alphabet panel with a brass stencil and some Imagination Crafts Starlights Metallic Paint in Topaz. I stamped the paint pot and brushes (sorry, I can't remember the name of the stamp set) and coloured them in with Promarkers, then assembled everything adding a corrugated card panel finished with metallic brads.

I am sharing this with
Less is More - Alphabet 
CAS Mix-up - Stamping and corrugated card + 1 (stencilling)
Watercooler Wednesday - ATG masculine

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Under Water at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's my turn to choose the theme at Cardz 4 Guyz this week and I've chosen Under Water. Think fish, divers, submarines, sunken treasure...... there are all kinds of ideas suitable for masculine cards.

For my own card, I have used the beautiful Katzelkraft seahorse stamp.

The background for the stamped panel is watercoloured in blue, green and yellow, then stamped the Katzelkraft waterwall stamp but with the bubbles going upwards instead of down, in grey over the background and used some bare tree branch stamps (these are very old unmounted stamps from my stash - I think they are discontinued Linda Luckin stamps) along the bottom to look like seaweed. Finally I stamped the seahorse over the top and highlighted him with a thin coat of Stickles, although it doesn't show in the photo.
The backing paper is from an old K & Company pad.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Penguin Shaker

I'm not a huge fan of shaker cards. Which is why this little shaker card making kit, a freebie with a craft magazine, has hung around in my stash for a couple of years. I didn't really fancy making any of them yet they were far too cute to get rid of.

Anyway, today I finally decided that if the kit is going to justify its place in my stash, it had better earn its keep. So here is my penguin shaker card!

I am sharing this with:

CRAFT challenge - Christmas 
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Something Green 
Jingle Belles - Clear 
Winter Wonderland - Anything Christmas Goes (in tribute to Eileen)


The Routemaster bus is a British Icon. To many people, all over the world, it is known as a London Bus, but  in fact they were popular all over the UK. Many areas had red ones like the London ones - the main ones going through our little town in the North of England when I was a child were red, but other local towns had blue, green and purple ones. The one thing they had in common, well into my teens, were that they were all classic Routemasters.

And here's a tribute to them.

I've used the X-cut Build-a-Scene London dies and this wonderful piece of ribbon from my stash (It originally came from either Crafty Ribbons or The Ribbon Girl, I can't remember which). I got a tiny blob of black ink on the card while stamping the sentiment, so I turned it into a bird and added a few more. They could be seagulls, ravens or pigeons, London has plenty of each!

I am sharing this with
Cuttlebugmania - Roses are Red
The Male Room - Wheels
Just Us Girls - Red/Black/Kraft

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Using Very Old Stuff

I've dug out some real oldies for this card - a K & Company 12 x 12 pad which I bought on a trip to America which must have been in 2005, and the old favourite Stampa Rosa hydrangea stamp which has the date 2002 scribbled on the side.

The image and sentiment are stamped with green Versafine ink and embossed with clear powder  and the hydrangea flower head coloured with a water brush and watercolour pencil. The benefit a stamped hydrangea has over a real one is that you can always be sure that if you want it blue, it isn't going to come out pink! A pinched border and lots and lots of layering with the papers finish the card.

I am sharing this with
Alphabet Challenge - Y for You choose
Rubber dance - Layers
Sweet Stampin - Flowers   

All "decked" out

The current challenge at Cardz 4 Galz is Crdz 4 Teenz and I immediately thought of the Gorjuss range, as they seem to be specifically designed to appeal to teenage girls, being cute and girly and yet in the darker colours that many girls love at that age.

 The image is a die cut decoupage sheet - I'm not a huge fan of die cut decoupage because however carefully you release and trim it, you still end up with paper tags - I can see one in the photo right now, that I'd missed while making it. But a friend gave me a gorgeous Gorjuss gift set last year and it has lots of decoupage sheets in it, so they are gradually being used. There are a few playing cards in the background of the design so I echoed those with a couple of real cards and a scattering of heart shaped stones.

The lower layer of ribbon looks a lot better in real life than it does on the photo - it is wire edged ribbon which I scrunched up tightly then gently flattened, to give a wavy edge. So what looks like sideways wobbles are actually up and down wiggles, if you get my drift. The wide ribbon looked a bit too big on its own so I topped it with some cute black floral ribbon.

Thanks to those ribbons, I am also sharing this with Glitter and Sparkle - Ribbons or lace.

A breath of spring

There are crocuses flowering now, and some of the daffodil buds are starting to show colour. There's a territorial dispute going on in our garden, as both the blue tit family and the sparrows are trying to lay claim to the nesting box - spring is on the way at last!

So I've delved into the snippets box and come up with a handful of patterned papers in fresh spring like pastel colours:

I simply punched lots of circles and arranged them to make a double border, then topped with a sentiment stamped with a very old Hot Off The Press stamp - it must be at least 15 years old!

Naturally with all these snippets I'm going to head straight to the Playground to join in the fun, but I am also going to share this with

Uniko Studio - Happy Birthday 
Allsorts Challenge - Anything Goes
Retro Rubber - They Say It's Your Birthday

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Sisterhood of the Snarky Stampers challenge #78 - X for Xtreme

 Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor and nature

And here we have a bit of Extreme Edna-ing! Our new challenge at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers is X is for eXtreme but we don't want you to indulge in a spot of  bungee jumping or white water rafting while you are crafting (although....... why not?). What we want is to see your stamping go off the edge of your card.

Something like this

I've stamped  the dragonfly off the edge of the card on each side,  using Versamark ink, and then brushed it with gold pigment powder.

But where's the snark? I hear you cry - well, look no further than the inside of the card.....

I am sharing this with
Craft Rocket Challenge - Anything Goes
Mod Squad - No White  (well there IS white on the inside - how else would you be able to write who it was to and from?)
The Crafters CafĂ© - No red or pink   
World Wide OPen Design Team - Challenge #19

Thursday, 16 February 2017

In a heart-beet

Well, Valentine's Day is over for another year, but what a lot of love themed challenges there still are floating around! So here is a slightly different take on the theme, made using the Hero Arts "Stamp Your Own Salad" stamp set.

Do ignore that black border, it isn't black at all, it's beetroot red, but as you can see I struggled and struggled and could NOT get the white balance on this photo right! I thought it would be fun to have a heart literally skipping a beet, so I doodled a dashed line between  the first and third beets and popped a sparkly holographic heart sticker onto it.

I am sharing this with

Addicted to Stamps and More - Clean and Simple
CASology - Romance  
Watercooler Wednesday - CAS with sparkle
Sparkles Monthly Challenge - Love  

There's a hole in my paper....

When I first read the title of this fortnight's Butterfly Challenge, I thought it said Paper Piecing and I had an idea all ready to start making - and then I looked at the inspiration samples and realised it was piercing and not piecing! So it was back to the drawing board for me. Right back, as I don't think I've done any paper piercing before, apart from making occasional holes to stitch into. Anyway, here is my entry for the challenge, Paper Piercing and/or the colour Fern

I stamped the butterfly collage onto vellum, using Memento ink (which dries frustratingly slowly on vellum, but gets there in the end) in a colour as close to my idea of fern as I could find,  and coloured it from the back with Promarkers. Then I used a stencil and pokey tool to pierce the border. resting it on a foam mat while piercing. I stuck the vellum to the background card with a dab of strong glue in each corner, covered on the outside with dots of candi.

Cat and mouse game

I'm usually one of the first to play at less is More, but I've been so busy with my ink holder (see my previous post) that everything else has been put on hold for a few days and now all the ideas that I'd pushed to the back of my mind are surging forwards and clamouring for attention!

So, first up, my card for this week's One Layer challenge at Less is More, which is Opposites Attract. For my opposites, I've chosen a cat and mouse (stamps from the Katzelkraft "Las Chats Russes" set) who, instead of sworn enemies, have become so friendly the mouse can happily sit on the curled tail of the sleeping cat.

The cat, meanwhile, is sleeping with one eye open to make sure there are no intruders! I stamped the animals in memento ink, masking off the mouse before stamping the cat, and coloured them in with pencils.

And as I write this I've just noticed something - I've stamped the pawprints the wrong way round!!!!  They lead away from the cat instead of to it. Oh well, he was obviously walking backwards.......

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Playing around with mixed media

If you are one of my regular followers, you might have noticed that for a few days my only posts have been planned DT ones, and that I've not been churning out my usual couple of cards a day. You may have put that down to missing mojo or lack of time, but actually I've been busy working on a much more ambitious project than I usually tackle, using several new-to-me techniques. So hre we have....... drum roll...... the ink storage unit.

In recent months I've had several lovely craft prizes that have made me feel like stepping outside my comfort zone. The first was from Oak House Studios, and as well as lots of lovely stamps the prize included some watercolour inks in bottles, and a flat packed MDF storage unit for them. I've used the inks several times but didn't really know how to tackle the storage unit.

That all changed when I won a recent challenge at Stamping Sensations and the prize was a bundle of mixed media goodies including some teal acrylic paint and a tube of Kroma Crackle. I really HAD to have a play, and the MDF kit was the perfect place to start.

You'll have to be kind to me, I'm a total novice at this kind of thing and I've probably thrown far too many techniques at it - but my word it was fun!

I assembled the kit and then painted with the acrylic paint. When that was dry I applies the Kroma Crackle, thickly in some areas and thinly in others, and left everything to completely dry. Next I used Imagination Crafts gold and aqua glimmer waxes here and there all over, then used Pumpkin and Green Stazon to stamp roses (from the Oak House studio goodies), leaves (Card-io peg stamps) and textured areas (Gentleman Crafter stamps) randomly all over. Finally I used black Stazon and a tiny butterfly to stamp all over and finished the butterflies with a hint of white gel pen.

Before I hit you with a gazillion photos I'll link up to some challenges so if that's what you're looking for you don't need to get RSI in your scrolling hand.....

I am sharing this with

A Bit More Time To Craft - Anything Goes
Crafty Creations Challenges - Anything Goes
More Mixed Media - Anything goes (omitting the optional red)

And finally, here are some views of it from several different angles. You can see why it's kept me so busy all week!

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

No Patterned Paper at Cardz 4 Guyz

Our new challenge has just started at Cardz 4 Guyz, and this week our theme is No Patterned Paper. 

For my card, I've used stamps to add lots of pattern where I might otherwise have used a patterned paper. The main image is a Crafty Individuals stamp called "It's a man's world" which I have stamped twice, cutting individual tags from the second image and mounting them over some sections of the first, attaching with tiny metallic brads. The background card is stamped with a border from an old steampunky stamp set and finished around all the edges with a stamp from the Gentleman Crafter's set. I've added a selection of die cut cogs which I've aged a bit with distress inks.

I am sharing this with Sweet Stampin - Masculine

Monday, 13 February 2017

Challenge #222 Die Cuts at Ooh La la Creations

It's time for our latest challenge at Ooh la la Creations and our theme this time is Die Cuts.

I've used a topper and background from the "Edge of Autumn" section of the Paula Oakley CD, which is available here.

I have framed the image using woodland scene dies cut using a set of X-Cut Build-a-scene dies, but before cutting I stamped the two darker brown pieces with a large leaf design background stamp, using Versamark ink, and dusted them with gold and copper metallic pigment powders. The dies seem to fit the proportions of the image so well they could have been designed to work together!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Friendship, Love and Romance at CD Sundays

I'm delighted to tell you that following on from having been a guest designer at CD Sundays I have now been invited to join the permanent design team, and our new challenge is Friendship, Love and Romance.

I've used the Joanna Sheen project book and CD Rom set of amazingly detailed images from Josephine Wall. This image represents the story of Eros and Psyche - I'm more used to calling it Cupid and Psyche, so I don't know who is getting their Greeks and Romans mixed up, me or Josephine! But whether you call the gentleman Cupid or Eros, isn't it wonderful the way he is firing red roses instead of arrows from his bow?

This is a very detailed decoupage image - and with a LOT of layers, too, up to eight in places are provided on the design sheets.  In fact last time I used a decoupage from this CD, I felt there were too many layers and it made the card too thick and very "front heavy" so I just selected three of the layers to give a depth I felt comfortable with.

In the Snippets Playground

I'm very excited, because today Di is revealing the first ever guest designer in the Snippets Playground and she's given ME the honour of the role. Today is the "half term" post in the new two-weekly format, when the winners of the previous challenge are announced, and now the guest designer revealed, so I'm delighted to be the first of many. I believe Parsnip is sulking because he wasn't chosen - I'll have to look out in the playground later as I'm sure he'll be trying to play tricks on me.

Here is my card for you:

The dies I used are called Magnificent Christmas (but I left out the Santa hats), by Yvonne Creations.  The owls and branches are cut from snippets, of course, and the border is a scrap left from a sheet of 12 x 12 that has made numerous cards. It had a scallop border all the way round, so I cut a strip with border and background from one side and then added a strip from another edge of the sheet. Instead of backing the owls in another colour or piecing in the breasts and beaks, I coloured them in with fine markers. The sentiment is stamped using the very useful set that comes with the current issue of Making Cards magazine.

I hope to get round and visit lots of your entries - there is still plenty time to join in here and I must warn you that as long as I'm wearing my Visitor's Badge there is to be no running in the corridors! So why not have a rummage round among all your snippets, trimmings and offcuts and see just what you can create from them?

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Chloe Stems again

It seems like an age since I used my beloved Chloe Stems die, but they've had an outing today in honour of Less is More's 6th birthday challenge, where they have provided us with a colour wheel and want to see a card that uses  three adjacent colours.

I chose the yellow, yellow-green and bright green sections and teamed them with a die cut stitched oval and a simple sentiment stamped using one of the very useful stamps in this month's Making Cards magazine.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Another Valentine's Card

I think I'd better get myself a few boyfriends, as I've made several Valentines Day cards this year! Apart from the one I've actually made for Mark, which obviously I'm not sharing yet as he reads this (oops, better delete that bit about the boyfriends....) this will be my last for this year, so I'm sharing it with several challenges.

The heart stamp is a very old magazine freebie - I think it came from Craft Stamper and it must be at least 10 years old. I stamped it three times in red and embossed with clear powder, then added black squiggles between the hearts and cut around the edges of the whole border - not too close as I didn't want to crack the embossing.

The sentiment is another magazine freebie from about 2 years ago, cut and matted using Gummiapan stitched ovals dies. The dies for the flower and leaves are from my stash - judging by the colour of the metal I'm guessing the flower is a Marianne die and the leaves Spellbinders.

I am sharing this with

Mod Squad - Hearts and Flowers
Sweet Stampin - Love is in the air
Retro Rubber- Cross my heart
RRCB 55 

Cardz 4 Galz - Love is in the air
Creative With Stamps - Valentine 

AAA Cards  - Shape your love

Use Your Stuff - Love is in the Air

Goldfinch on a thistle

Did any of my UK friends join in the RSPCA Big Birdwatch the weekend before last? We took part and it was very noticeable how all the interesting birds we regularly see stayed away from the garden during our hour of counting. But we DID see a couple of Goldfinches, the bird which is the subject of the inspiration photo this week at CRAFT challenge

As soon as I saw this photo, it reminded me of something I'd seen before, but I couldn't place where. I've been racking my brains for days, and then woke up at 4am this morning with the answer - it reminds me a lot of the beautiful goldfinch on a thistle image on Joanna Sheen's Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady CD-rom set. I just had to get up and get printing!

I've combined the image with some coordinating papers from the CD, a stamped sentiment using an Oak House Studio stamp, chosen in honour of today being "International send a friend a card day" (there's a day for everything, isn't there?) and lots of distressing.

Love You at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's a week until Valentine's Day, and  that means many of us are trying to think of a suitably male card for our other halves, so at Cardz 4 Guyz this week we thought we'd help out by making the theme Love You.

My card uses hearts cut with a Gummiapan die, on a black background, because I always think the red/black/white combo is great for guy cards. The gingham bands above and below are some peculiar stuff that isn't really ribbon and isn't really paper, and was sold as washi tape, but it isn't washi tape and isn't even self adhesive. It's just..... peculiar. But it's nice and bold and just what I wanted here!

I am sharing this with
Dies R Us - hearts 
Craft Rocket Challenge - It's a Love thing 
Uniko Studions - anything goes with an optional twist of Love

Monday, 6 February 2017

Sparkling Snowflakes

This card happened by accident - I was rummaging around in my bag of ribbons for one of those elusive scraps that you just know are somewhere, when something fell on the floor and landed at my feet. It was this piece of ribbon, still in its packaging, and I'd forgotten all about it. Well, since it was begging to be used, it would have been rude not to, wouldn't it?

The sparkly silver snowflakes are cut from Cricut vinyl - I think it's meant for making iron on motifs for textiles, but I used it by die cutting in the Grand Calibur (it's quite tough and takes several passes)  then using my heat gun to apply it to the card. It comes out much thinner and flatter than a normal die cut, almost as if it's melted into the card, and yet has an amazing amount of sparkle, far more than I could ever capture in a photo! The stamped tags  are made with an NBUS Funstamps stamp.

I am sharing this with
Crafty Gals Corner - add some sparkle
CHNC - Add some Ribbon
CHNC Extra - February
Jingle Belles - Let the flakes fall where they may

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Man's best friend

As most of you know, I'm a cat lover, not a dog lover, but I know lots of people wouldn't be without their beloved dogs and this card is dedicated to dog people everywhere.

The image is a Little Claire's stamp, coloured with Promarkers and cut with Gummiapan Stitched Ovals dies, and the sentiment stamp was a magazine freebie last year.

I am sharing this with
Stamping Sensations - Animal Magic
Alphabet Challenge - Spots or dots
Just Us Girls - Dogs

My Zombie valentine

I've said before, I don't have a romantic bone in my body. Yes, I do make some romantic themed cards - because I give the cards I make to charities to sell, and lots of people want to buy romantic ones, but I do tend to struggle when it comes to Valentine's Day.

So when I saw that this month's Naughty or Nice challenge is Love is in the Air  I decided to take the Naughty route, but I didn't want to make it an X-rated card. Eventually I came up with the idea that a zombie might love you for your brains rather than your body, and computer generated a suitable sentiment. But where was I going to find a Valentine's Day Zombie image? A bit of Googling took me to Free Dearie Dolls, a blog that publishes free digis on an almost daily basis (I've followed them and am sure I'll be a regular visitor now!) and this image - perfect for my plan!

I couldn't really use the optional colour palette - a pink zombie just wouldn't look right - although I have incorporated plenty pink and red in honour of Valentine's Day. Before tearing out the sentiment, I sponged it with some slime green ink and stamped a speckle background stamp in red over it to look like blood spatters. I've added the same blood splatters to the slime green background paper.

NOT Robins

I've been playing with the lovely Woodware robins stamp set that I won in the Playground this time last year. I thought at the time that it really didn't need to be used just for robins, but I've never quite got round to using it any other way.

However last week I spotted this  pin on Pinterest where the stamps were used for paper piecing, and I thought this would be a great way to use snippets. So here is my CASE of the idea:

I drew the "ground" using the edge of a deckle edged tearing ruler and added a sentiment stamped with a Studio G mini set. Then I stamped a line of "robins" stamping each again onto a snippet of patterned paper and pieced each one onto its image.

I am sharing this with
Pixie's Snippets Playground (of course!)
Allsorts Challenge - Paper Piecing
Little Red Wagon - How Tweet it is
Fab'n'Funky - Birds   

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Sisterhood of the Snarky Stampers challenge 77 - O for Outrageous

Edna is looking pretty outrageous today

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Apparently that thing on her forehead is a "bagel forehead",  fashionable in Japan and Canada, a temporary feature created by saline injections. If you are  - or were - eating this while munching on a bagel, just think how many calories I've just saved you now you can't eat it!

Which is a very roundabout way of telling you that the new challenge at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers is O is for Outrageous.

I've chosen a rather outrageous sentiment from one of my beloved Dylusions sheets, but contrasted it with a shabby chic style which I think highlights the snarky sentiment,  because it exaggerates the outrageousness. And it's just the kind of thing that two elegant society ladies of the 1930s, who secretly detested each other, may well have said, even if it was only in their imaginations. 

The image is a large stamp I won from a magazine, I've had it for a few years and it doesn't say the brand name. For a sepia tint effect, I stamped it with Memento ink  then coloured it by blobbing some Walnut Stain distress ink on an acrylic block and then using a water brush and varying amounts of water to dilute it to several different depths of colour and paint the stamped image. The papers are from a Victoria and Albert Museum pad.

Now how about hopping over to see what the other Sisters have made, and link up your own acts of outrage - you could be our next Queen or Princess of Snark! And if it's anything like our last challenge, you have a great chance of that crown as we only had one entry. Please join  in - we don't bite! (Well, at least, we only bite if you ask us to....)

I am sharing this with
Addicted to Stamps and More - Make Your Mark
Classic design team Open Challenge - February
Shopping Our Stash - Days of Yore   

Lots of owls

When I saw a taster for the latest edition of Making Cards magazine, I absolutely fell in love with the papers enclosed with the magazine - there are two sets, along with a sheet of clear sentiment stamps, but the set that had me racing to the newsagent to grab a copy were the owl themed papers with a Native American feel to them.

I had to set to immediately  - I roughly followed the layouts and design suggestions in the magazine, because  they work so perfectly with the images and papers.

The stamped sentiment uses one of the very useful stamps from the sheet in the magazine. The stamps alone make it a great value mag - these wonderful papers really delighted me too and were a joy to use.