Friday, 31 May 2019

Favourite Ice Creams

It's summer - allegedly - and that means the chimes of the ice cream cart can be heard every afternoon. Or maybe you'll buy one to enjoy as you stroll along the prom beside the sea?

I've used stamps that came with a copy of Creative Stamping last summer, and arranged them in a fan shape, coloured them then cut them with part of a scalloped die. I think it gives a fan-window look, like you might get in an old fashioned ice cream parlour. I cut a slightly larger plain circle and stamped the sentiment, and finished with matching Candi.

I am sharing this with

CASology - week 344: Summer 

Watercooler Wednesday - Anything goes

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Triple Stamping at Back to Basics

Our new challenge at Back to Basics is just starting and this week we'd like to see Triple Stamping, where the image is broken up into three layers separated by narrow mats. You'll see lots of examples on our challenge site.

I've used my much loved Woodware dragonfly stamp and simply stamped it in black on white to make a very serene sympathy card.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Butterflies with love

I've had lots and lots of stamping and stencilling fun making this card!

I used an A4 sized stencil from Crafters Companion,  selecting various areas of it and stencilling them in different colours to fill the card, making sure the drippy lines were roughly where I wanted to stamp the sentiment. The green butterflies are stencilled, the black ones stamped.

This is the mood board for the current challenge at Use Your Stuff  and I've been inspired by the butterflies, the arrows (the vertical lines),  and the colours.

Monday, 27 May 2019

To the Lighthouse

A few weeks ago I saw a really beautiful tag that used a lighthouse and seashore themed stamps, and it inspired me to use an old Kanban stamp, of a lighthouse as part of a scene, but to snip away the sea and rocks and leave me with just the lighthouse.

I currently have a bit of a craze for watermark stamping in Versamark on Kraft, so I had to incorporate some of that too. I've used snippets  for  everything but the base card, tearing the edges and covering the corrugated kraft, which has a blue chevron pattern, with thin gesso then sanding some of it away to give a weathered driftwood look. The background is stamped with an old fashioned map stamp that was a recent magazine freebie.

I am sharing this with

Pixie's Snippets Playground challenge 353 

Sweet Stampin - Birthday Boys 

Festive Teddy

I love this little teddy - a magazine freebie stamp from some years ago -  and because of the Santa hat I tend to always colour him in traditional Christmas colours, but today I wanted a change. And I remembered that before the convention for red clothes came along, Santa usually wore green or blue. It's often said that the red robes were introduced as part of a Coca Cola advertising campaign, but then again I've heard that that is an urban myth.  Anyway, I coloured the hat green and let that be the starting point for everything else about my card.

And in the way of best laid plans that go aft a-gley, I added yellow into the mix because I had a cute large green and yellow bauble button that I also wanted to use, so picked a shade of yellow that went perfectly with it and used it for the stripey paper and  the colouring.... and then when i started to put the card together, the bauble looked all wrong, it was just the wrong shape, the wrong style, the wrong everything. But the card looked bare without it, so I die cut a tree and ran it through a snowflake embossing folder and everything came together much better so I used that instead.

I am sharing this with

Christmas Kickstart - Christmas Kids 
Rudolph Day at Scrappymo's - with apologies for being a couple of days late to the parry, blame my battle with the bauble that delayed my completion of the card!
The Library Challenge - The Art of Stripes 

Bird on a border

While looking for one of my embossing folders the other day I spotted this pretty fern folder and I have absolutely no recollection of where or when I got it. But I do know I've never used it before - and I can't think why. It gives such lovely crisp embossing and reminds me of the bracken at the edge of  forest. 

I've added a little die cut bird perching on it and looking up at the stamped sentiment. I cut the bird in cream and sponged on his plumage using a light touch with a finger dauber and several shades of brown ink. 

I am sharing this with

Less is More - Embossing   
Alphabet Challenge - Embossing folder  

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Gold and silver

I think in all my years of stamping this must be the first time I've ever used two different colours of powder for heat embossing. It was bound to happen sometime!

I used the Christmas text background stamp from Uniko, stamped it with Versamark ink then covered the top two thirds in silver embossing powder, leaving a roughly diagonal line at the edge of the powder, shook it off then covered the rest with gold powder,  sprinkling a little into the silver area to create a blended edge rather than a hard border,  before heat embossing the whole lot.

It's a pity my silver powder is shiny and my gold is sparkly, as it makes it very difficult to take a photo where the two show up equally well, so you'll just have to take my word about all the sparkle  in the gold area!

I am sharing this with

Jingle Belles - Text Me 
Sparkles Monthly Challenge - The Colour Purple 
Fab'n'Funky - Christmas 
Crafty Hezelnut's Christmas Challenge - anything goes/ silver 
Inkspirational - Gold Dipped 

Wake up and smell the coffee

I did an online colouring class! It's the first time I've ever followed an online class and as I'm normally not  much of a watcher, whether it's of TV, videos or demos I wasn't sure I would enjoy it. But I loved it.

I had won the class and materials for it when Sweet Sentiment sponsored a giveaway in the Swedish House Facebook group,  and the class was the April one which included this beautiful coffee cup stamp and four matching sentiments.

I coloured the cup and flowers according to the class instructions, except that I have Promarkers rather than Copics, and the thicker tips mean it's going to take me a while to get used to creating the very fine lines used in the video - it's all very different from the techniques I'm used to, and I'm pretty leased with the result for a first attempt.

Keeping on with the coffee theme, I made a background of a stencilled coffee cup top - it's one of the stencils you are supposed to hold over a cup of coffee to sprinkle chocolate powder through  - and some stamped  coffee cup stains then added the sentiment and popped the image on with foam pads.

I am sharing this with

Shopping Our Stash - Get your drink on 
Addicted to Stamps and More - Make Your Mark 

CD Sundays #11 - Anything Goes

Welcome to the latest CD Sundays challenge - once again it is anything goes using something from a CD. It's great to see how many of you are joining in now most of our challenges are Anything Goes ones!

Today I've made a simple side-stepper card. The images and borders come from the Crafters Companion CD "The Tales of Beatrix Potter" and the green papers are from a very old Anna Griffim mat stack.

I am sharing this with this week's All About Occasions at Watercooler Wednesdays.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Beside the Seaside at Cardz 4 Guyz

It's my turn to choose the theme at Cardz 4 Guyz and  as our thoughts turn towards summer days, I have chosen Beside the Seaside.

These fab stamps are all from one of my favourite Woodware sets. I stamped the gull and post onto the card and onto suitable papers, coloured the gull and then pieced the papers onto the base card.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Ghostly humming bird

I've been playing around with Versamark resist, a technique I've not used for  ages, and Cosmic Shimmer Colour Cloud Blending Ink which gives a very subtle, almost ghostly, image. I thought the effect perfect for a humming bird, as they appear so briefly before fluttering away that you often think you just imagined them.

I chose one of my boldest flower stamps and coloured it with brightly coloured Promarkers,  partly to contrast strongly with the ethereal humming bird image and partly to give the bright, brash look of the kind of tropical flowers a humming bird would be drawn to.

I am sharing this with

Allsorts Challenge - Happy Birthday 

Little Red Wagon -  Happy Bird-day 

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Walk like an Egyptian

.. and now you're singing it, too, aren't you?

The new challenge at The Library Challenge is Death on the Nile, a book I last read in about 1970. I decided to go with the Egyptian aspect of the story for my card.

First I stamped the hieroglyph border repeatedly on an old scrap of handmade paper, then used a wet paintbrush to paint a tear-line around my stamping, so that the edges would get a feathery, torn papyrus look. A little distress ink over the torn areas gave it an aged look. Both the water and the distress ink caused the colour in the stamping at the edges to separate a little - I think it's added to the antique look and is an effect I might experiment further with.

The Tutankhamun death mask is stamped and heat embossed with gold detail powder, and everything added to a gold mirri background with distressed edges.

Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers #135 - I for Ironmongery

It's our Steampunk challenge over at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers - I is for Ironmongery

I used some gorgeous Crafty Individuals stamps that came with a recent issue of Creative Stamping

Pretty CAS for a steampunk card, don't you think? Now let's see YOUR Steampunk, with or without snark - you may be crowned Queen or Princess of Snark!

I am sharing this with
Uniko Challenge - Anything Goes/Masculine 

Watercooler Wednesday - Masculine Anything goes 

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Gin makes everything better!

As lots of you will know, Di from Pixie's Crafty Workshop, home of the Snippets Playground,  has been suffering from a bout of gout (ooh, poetry!) so I made a get well card to cheer her up, and now I know she's received it I am sharing it with you.

I know that Di had to have a blood test this week so it's extra-appropriate!  I hope she got a nicer nurse.
The sentiment stamp is from Crafters Companion, stamped in the closest colour I had to "gin bottle green" and the image from Hampton Arts, coloured with Promarkers.

I'm sharing this with
Addicted to stamps and more - Anything goes 
Less is More - Beverages (a rather sideways take on the challenge!)
Sweet Sentiments - Teacher appreciation or anything goes 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Guest Designer at The Male Room

I'm sure you all know how much I enjoy making masculine cards, so you can understand how delighted I am to have been invited to be Guest Designer at The Male Room where the new challenge is #111 - Origami or Anything Goes

I  decided to make an origami sailing boat.  I fiddled about with some origami papers in the evening, then went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, the  poem "The Owl and The Pussycat" was going through my mind, and when I looked at my craft table and saw again the colour of the boat I'd made, I realised why! 

I'd already prepared the background from a selection of snippets, and stamped the sentiment, but I simply HAD to die cut an owl and a pussy cat to sail away in my pea-green boat!  They, too, were cut from snippets,  so I'm heading over to Pixie's Snippets Playground to share my card. 

Shrink Plastic at Back to Basics

It's time for our new challenge at Back To Basics and this time we would like you to use Shrink Plastic on your work.

I can clearly remember my first encounter with shrink plastic, when the children were small (doesn't time fly, my oldest is about to turn 40) and my husband had to work in America for a few weeks. He came home laden with exciting toys for them including one set called Shrinky Dinks. The children were fascinated with  colouring and shrinking the little figures - but not as much as I was! So I was delighted to discover the grown up version some years later.

When the plastic is heated it becomes 7 times smaller in every direction so you can use quite large images on it - this card is A5 sized and the actual stamp would have filled the whole of the card front.  The image is from Daisy Mae designs and the sun and clouds from a magazine cover gift.

I stamped it onto the rough side of my plastic using Stazon ink, and then coloured it using pencils. The colours need to be applied lightly as they intensify during shrinking, and it's best to use pencils as both alcohol based and water based markers can rub off the plastic.

Shrinking can be done in the oven or using a heat tool. I find a heat tool best, and have a wooden handled pokey tool in my other hand to ease the edges apart if, as it curls during shrinking, they threaten to touch and stick together. As soon as I remove the heat, I slap a heavy acrylic block down on the shrunk motif to make sure it lies flat.

I find shrink plastic a great way of using larger images, although they do need careful shrinking because of the curling. It's also useful for making buttons and button-style embellishments and key fobs - but do remember to punch any holes you need before shrinking!

I am sharing this with Use Your Stuff - Weather 

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

A Vintage Christmas

It's a glorious sunny day today, summer's well and truly on the way - and so, naturally, I'm bringing you my second Christmas card of the day!

The bauble - a very old unmounted stamp I got in a grab bag many years ago - is heat embossed in gold on green card. The label is die cut with one of the original Spellbinders label sets and then, with the die still in place, stamped with some random text and inked around the edges.

On the inside I've added a doyley, layered onto plaid paper that coordinates with the holly paper, and on both the front flap and inside, I've added a strip of ribbon-wrapped card.  The other inside panel, facing away from the camera, is left blank for the sender to write their greeting on.

I'm sharing this with

Jingle Belles - an old fashioned Christmas 

Christmas Crafts All Year Round - Christmas Ornaments 

Merry Christmas

Last year i won a super collection of Christmas stamps, dies and embossing folders. I thought they were from Crafters Companion but I've just checked the site and can't see anything from the collection I won on there now, but then something I've noticed recently is how quickly brands change their ranges so products appear and disappear very quickly, meaning if we see something we love we have to grab it while it's hot!

Anyway, this card uses several elements of my prize.

I embossed turquoise card with the bauble frame  and mounted it onto chocolate brown card. Then I stamped the bold words onto chocolate brown and heat embossed them with silver powder. Next I die cut them - with some trepidation as I always worry that die cutting heat embossing is going to crack it. A bit of bling to make it festive and the card was finished.

And as always with dark colours, my camera has made the brown look black, so here's a close up  to give you a better idea of the colour (and also of how lovely and sharp the embossing is - if only I could remember what brand they are, I'd definitely buy that brand's folders again, they all give a lovely crisp finish!)

I am sharing this with

52 Christmas Card Throwdown - Brown, silver and turquoise 

Just us Girls -  Bold letters 

Monday, 13 May 2019

Flower crazy!

Do you remember your first encounter with heat embossing? I clearly recall seeing it done at a craft show when I first started stamping about 25 years ago. The way the flat stamping was transformed into a shiny, dimensional delight struck me as real, actual magic! And now, after having used the technique many thousands of times, I still feel a bit of magical joy every time I do it.

For this card, I coloured a piece of card randomly with brightly coloured distress inks and then used Versamark ink to stamp flowers and leaves  all over the card and heat embossed with clear powder. Then I used a cotton wool ball to apply black ink all over the card - using cotton wool instead of a sponge gave me the ability to rub really hard, which helps the embossed areas to resist the ink and "pop" out.  The stamps are from the set that came with the current issue of Creative Stamping. It's always useful to have a solid flower stamp!

Because the flower stamp I'd chosen had a ring around the centre that was left unstamped, doing this gave a black ring around the centre of each flower, which I didn't like, so I used the corner of a water based baby wipe to remove the ink from that area. It took out not just the black  but also the distress ink underneath it, leaving a white flower centre.

I backed the piece with pink card, then used some of the same pink to cut a sentiment, swiped it with Versamark ink and embossed it with clear powder.

I'm sharing this with

Stamping Sensations - in an English Country Garden 

A Place to Start - Showcase your favourite technique  (heat embossing)

Tales from the craft room - Floral Frenzy 

The Flower Challenge - Embossing, heat or dry 

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Twofer a penny farthing

Sounds like the price in a Victorian sweet shop, doesn't it?

But actually I'm referring to the penny farthing bicycle stamp, which along with the other stamps I've used on this card, came with a recent issue of Creative Stamping magazine.

As you can see, I had lots of inky messy fun making this card. All the stamps came from the set, and I added a screw-head brad to the tag.

I am sharing this with

Allsorts Challenge Blog - Transport 
Watercooler Wednesday - Occasions 

In the magazine that the stamps came with, I'd seen a suggestion of using the larger wheel of the penny-farthing stamp to create a scalloped borer around a card. I thought I'd give it a try, but alternating the large and small wheels.

Well, when it was done, it didn't say "penny farthing" to me at all, it said "Oriental paper parasols"!

So I stamped a kimono onto some gorgeous origami paper my daughter brought me from Japan,  and added an Oriental sentiment wishing love, joy and happiness, then coloured in my "parasols" to complement the kimono.

Now for the two cards together

And of course I am heading over to Twofers to share these in the Things With Wheels challenge.

CD Sundays #10 - Anything goes

It's time for our latest Anything Goes challenge at CD  Sundays and we'd love to see what you can create - including, as always, something printed out from a craft CD.

I've used an image and paper from the My Craft Studio Click, Print, Go  - Flawless Florals & Sentiment Toppers CD. I've added lemon card to pick out the yellow flowers and given the whole thing a shabby chic feel with a lacy die cut, distressed edges and ribbon and pearls.

I'm sharing this with
Alphabet Challenge - Distressed 
Crafty Calendar Challenge - Distress it

Saturday, 11 May 2019

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care....

...In the hope that St Nicholas soon would be there.

I've stencilled a brick background to represent the chimney piece and added a stamped stocking, which I coloured then finished with a tiny bit of sparkle, and stamped the verse from The Night Before Christmas.

I'm sharing this with

Crafty Hazelnut's Challenge 437
Fab'n'Funky - Anything Goes  
CAS Christmas - Stocking 

Friday, 10 May 2019

Daisies and Forget Me Nots

This morning on the drive to the supermarket, I was pleased to see the roadside verges teeming with ox-eye daisies, a flower that I always feel marks the start of the transition from spring to summer. So of course I had to come home and make a card to celebrate them!

I'd been sorting through some old craft magazines and found these pretty daisy and forget me not papers in an old Making Cards special. I thought they'd work perfectly with this floral stamp, which can really be almost any flower you want it to be, depending on how it is coloured. It's an unmounted stamp, one of my oldest  so it must be getting on for 25 years old, and I've used it dozens of times over the years - I'm sure you can see why I love it so much.

Here I have stamped it in black Versafine ink and heat embossed it with clear powder, then coloured with Promarkers. I made the card up according to the sketch at Little Red Wagon, with a sentiment stamped on the background card and some tiny buttons to echo the daisy centres.

I am sharing this with

Cardz 4 Galz - Recipe 
1 x Topper (image)  --  1 x Sentiment
2 x patterned papers --  3 x embellishments.

Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge - May

Retro Rubber - May Flowers 
RRCB 110

Shopping Our Stash - May Flowers 

Little Red Wagon - Sketch 

The Flower Challenge - Embossing Heat/Dry

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Bold and Bright

Goodness I'm late to the Snippets Playground this time - I  thought I'd already played and then realised that although I've had my card made for several days, I'd not actually got round to taking a photo of it, so many other things keep getting in the way! So before Parsnip starts to look at the register and get all jittery about attendance records,  here I am with my snippety make.

The dies I used are a very old ones - the background square came with my first Cuttlebug, many years ago, and the smaller one, that reminds me of a contemporary version of a rose window, from a set of dies I bought very soon after that and I think after all these years it's the first time I've used it.  There were two corners and two squares in the set - I use the corners all the time but never think of using the squares.

Naturally  I used snippets for all the die cutting. It was a great way of using up all those "not quite small enough to throw away" scraps of black in my snippets box. I think they are all the same shade of black, as I've had my current batch of black card for quite a while, but if they aren't, well, the gaps between them and the vivid die cuts make it impossible to tell the difference.

I hadn't planned to add a sentiment but it had a rather unfinished look, so I used a Craftwork Cards pre-printed sentiment that doesn't hide too much of the bold, bright pattern.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

RECIPE - Halloumi with Lentils and Sweet Chilli

Next week (May 11th to 19th) is National Vegetarian Week, so even if you are not a vegetarian you may be looking for easy meat free meal ideas. And this couldn't be much easier!

To make two generous servings you will need:

100g lentils - these are the small greenish "everyday" ones, but any whole lentil would do, as long as you use the cooking time given on the pack
1 small carrot
1 small onion
drizzle of chilli oil
about 120g halloumi cheese
oil for frying
Sweet chilli or Sriracha sauce to serve

Chop the carrot and onion very finely and place in a small pan with the lentils. Cover with about two fingers depth of cold water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender - 20 minutes for very fresh ones, a few minutes longer for older ones. Because slightly stale ones can take longer to cook, I like to do this part in advance as it's hard to be sure how long to allow. The lentils will reheat beautifully when it's time to dish up.

Keep an eye on the water level - by the time the lentils are cooked, you will be looking for most of it to have evaporated to give a texture similar to that of a creamy risotto. If they appear to be too dry before they are fully cooked, add a little boiling water. If they are tender but there is still rather a lot of liquid, remove the lid and boil hard to evaporate some of it.

Next, slice the cheese into four thin slices. Heat plenty oil in a frying pan - ideally it should come halfway up the sides of the cheese slices - and quickly fry them over a high heat until brown and slightly crispy on each side. Remove from the heat and blot off any excess oil on absorbent paper.

Taste the lentils and add salt and a dash of chilli oil - I was using a Portuguese one we brought back from holiday. It is fiery hot and I only needed a few drops, but if you have a milder one you may need a bit more according to your preference.

Divide the lentils between two plates, top with the cheese and then drizzle with sweet chilli or sriracha sauce. Again, this is a matter  of taste as every sauce varies in heat and every diner likes a different amount of heat, but I used a home made one, made to this recipe, and found that a generous teaspoonful per person was exactly right.

I served this with tabbouleh and a salad of watercress, cherry tomatoes and roasted shallots.

I am linking this up to Food on Friday at Carole's Chatter