Saturday, 27 December 2008

Christmas Cards

Time to blog my cards now that they should all have been received. I'm intending to start on next year's cards as soon as possible. Considering all the materials I bought I'm ashamed to say I made only 20 cards this year. I spent far too much time experimenting when the cards should have been long posted. That held up all of my other Christmas preparations and I have plenty of other excuses for being disorganised without adding another. It's a lesson well learnt and should stand me in good stead in future. I am resolved to change my approach as well. I'm going to make a stock of backgrounds and other elements during the year so that I am not doing everything from scratch at the last minute.

This was my favourite card this year and I made several with different coloured backgrounds. The stamp is from the Elusive Images Hearth and Home themeplate and the background and decoupage leaves are from the Artylicious Season's Greetings CD. My non crafting family wondered how I'd made the edging. It is in fact a corner punch from Circa Design.

This card came a close second. My favourite version was all shades of blue but sadly, I sent that without taking a photo of it. The background is inked with Adirondack Purple Twilight and Stonewashed and DI Faded Jeans. The stars and snowflakes are from the Elusive images themeplate Angel and Trees. The Winter Wonderland greeting is from Elusive Images Christmas Reflections and the lacy icicles are from Elusive Images Damask Squares. The snowflake centres are Candy Dots from Pebbles Inc. It's hard to tell from the photo but there is subtler printed insert which shows behind the punched edge.

This was a simple card I made early on after buying the Inkadinkado Winter Trails. The little charm seemed made to go with it. The snowflake background is a printed paper from the Artylicious Seasons Greetings CD and the text is from Elusive Images Angel and Trees themeplate.

I stamped this pear tree a lot of times trying to work out where the partridge should go. I think the clue is there somewhere. The stamps are all from Elusive Images Partridge in a Pear Tree themeplate and the background is from Artylicious Seasons Greetings.

This Sarah Kay "Joy of Giving" stamp stole my heart as soon as I saw it and reminded me of my pre teen days when these kind of images were originally in fashion. The cards I made saw my earliest experiments with colouring. This image was 'watercoloured' with inks and markers and a waterbrush but I'd love to try colouring and blending with pencils. The greeting is computer generated and the background paper is Dovecraft.

This card was made with the wreath from the Hearth and Home themeplate. I stamped and embossed in gold detail EP then coloured it with Sakura pens. The background is from a DCWV set.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas

One of the last jobs on my list yesterday was to make some fresh flower decorations. I started with the most gorgeous collection of flowers.

I left them like this in a vase until I had time to use them but I thought they looked so nice that I probably couldn't do anything that would make them look nicer. But I did want them on the table. Around midnight they turned into this.

I also wanted a foliage arrangement for the high shelf in my living room. That's a bit of a tall order as I have nothing usable in the garden and all I could find in the shops was a bough of spuce. So I went scavenging in the dark and found a wealth of treasures. These came from the grounds of a derelict factory. I put them in the bath to have a good long drink and to give the spiders time to run away.

and they turned into this.

You may have noticed that I haven't yet used the lilies and sea hollies. I'm still trying to decide what to do with those.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Come hither!

I've recently come back from a short break in Venice. One of the biggest draws for me was the architecture and I have hopes of using some of the photos I took in my crafting. I know some of you share this interest in doorways, columns, alleyways, shuttered windows etc so I thought I'd post a little teaser on here. If you are interested I have a selection of my pics in an album you can find here. Apologies to those of you who are serious photographers as my camera and photography skills are distinctly 'low end'. However, you might still find this pushes your buttons.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The sofa wins again

I've had nothing new to blog for a while but I really need to get in the Christmas mood. I have plenty of materials and plenty of inspiration to refer to. But somehow my rear craves the proximity of the sofa when my muse calls! I thought if I put a picture of this lovely ribbon on my blog and stared at it long enough, I would get the calling. I've left the prices on these. Good value huh?

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Another fairy card

I'm on a bit of a roll with the fairy now and happy to go with the flow as I'm still recovering from a 'dry' spell.

Because of the shading , the stamped flowers on the first fairy card look from a distance as if they are set in an aperture. So I tried making a real aperture card with the fairy perched on the frame. This was meant to be an experimental exercise and started with some fairly basic bloopers but I've spent a lot of time on it today and have completed a card. The fairy is layered and I'm quite happy with her. The greeting tag I quite liked but the words seem a bit lost on it and it looked no better matted on one or more layers. Maybe it would have looked better at an angle.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Change of scenery

I'm a bit bored with looking at the birds on my blog page so I thought I'd post a couple of pieces that might look a bit out of place.

I don't do cute or whimsical normally but I couldn't resist buying this fairy stamp at the Ally Pally show last month. I've thrown her in with a piece made with my new hibiscus Rollagraph wheel and some shrinkie flowers. Hope you can see a little bit of the shimmer on her wings and the flowery background.

The second is a box I made more than a year ago for a young friend. I suppose it is an exploding box but I hadn't heard of those at the time. I think it was probably inspired by a sample on one of Glenda Waterworth's shows. But there is no stamping on this and no ink either. The message reads "Your smile makes my day a happy one."

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Chillin' with the birdies

I hadn't really planned on making a wintry picture or I would have chosen a different folder/image/stamp. But I really like the feel of this one.

I liked the results of highlighting the flourishes on the embossed image on my earlier post so I decided to try it with my lovely tree stamp. The flourishes are a little fine for the pen but I still think this looks quite cool.

I'm at the Big Stamp and Scrapbooking Show at the weekend. I think I'll be looking for some purple dye inks to try this with.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Cuttlebug journey

Having marvelled at the lovely pristine white Cuttlebug design, the next step was to get inky. This impression was swooshed in Marvy Blending Blox Shades of Mauve which had been spritzed on my heat sheet. Looked nice but the edges of the design were a bit ragged in places so I submerged the lot in a haze of Candy Apple Red and Iridescent Gold Glimmer Mists. The effect is subtler than it appears here with the gold more obvious in the light.

This one was sponged with Tattered Rose DI and a touch of Fired Brick before spraying with Iridescent gold Glimmer Mist

Then onto Birds and Swirls. Have to admit I can't be sure which inks I used on the green one. I think it was Fresh Green and Greeen Tea Versacolor. The one on the right is Mustard Seed, Spiced Marmalade and Fired Brick.

The next step was to liven things up a bit. I've seen some gorgeous work recently where flourishes have been highlighted with white pen. So I added some depth to this one with a Souffle pen. The text stamping was done right at the beginning, then the embossing and finally the inking with Butterscotch and Lettuce Adirondacks. I'm really pleased with the results and am now going to do lots more like this with all the colours I own!

A card of firsts

Sh! Can you keep a secret? I don't usually like to blog my cards before I've given them. That seems to be an unwritten rule here in Blogland. But I won't be giving this one for a couple of weeks and, because it is the beginning of a little journey, I didn't want to post it out of sync.

It is a card of firsts. It is the first time I've used my Cuttlebug and the first time I've used Stampbord.

I tried to practice stamping my gypsy girl on card before risking the Stampbord. Over my shoulder I could hear Glenda Waterworth whispering, "Allow yourself to waste two pieces." But this escaped the bin, probably because I was so cautious with it. I'd planned to colour the image but it is not very big and I was worried about losing definition so I just shaded her skin very lightly and coloured the rose red.

If I was making it again I'd trim the embossed panel more. It seemed a crime to cut any of it away! The grosgrain looks blue in the photo but is actually purple with white organza behind it.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Not a work of art

Has anyone else found their eyes see things differently since they started crafting? Helen Chilton's flowers on her blog and in Craft Stamper have made quite an impression on me this last week. I've also been clearing out my cupboard to make room for more crafting goodies. I had a box in there where I was keeping oddments to take in to work for the children's collage activities. I had forgotten I'd saved this packaging from a set of glass bowls I'd bought. I haven't done anything to them except to rearrange the layers slightly. And somehow, I felt compelled to put a candle in the middle??!?! What's that all about then?

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Exam congrats!

My boys came up with the goods so I've stolen their cards back so I can post pictures of them here. Well done, chaps!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Men's cards

Four men's cards to make this week. Very testing. So I'm keeping it simple. This was the first time I've used an acetate layer. I hope the fibres on the binding are not too feminine. The neutral colours in the fibres seemed the perfect complement to the card. The only stamping on this is the greeting, which is mounted on the acetate.

The next is not my usual kind of card at all. But I try to make cards to suit the occasion rather than to suit me. I deliberated over this one for a long time. I prefer to use stamping and a minimum of ready made embellishments but I didn't have a suitable stamp for this 50th birthday. I finally chose this bottle peel off, which I stuck onto acetate and then curved before attaching to the card with hidden brads. The wine label was made on the computer and stuck on behind the acetate. The number is just cut out of mirri card. My son thinks this is one of the best cards I've ever made. I hope that isn't a comment on my taste or my stamping!

The next two cards I have to start work on tomorrow are to congratulate my sons on their respective exam results. I really hope that's not tempting fate!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Swirling into infinity

How many swirls or flourishes is too many? Lucky for me flourishes are still hot. But I'm not sure what will happen to my stamping when they go out of fashion. Let's hope that's a long way off because I've just got two more luscious stamps from the US. They are both Inkadinkado, a make I haven't used before. I've been playing with them for most of the day and have had a eureka moment with my Glimmer Mists. I wondered why I wasn't falling in love with them like everyone else. Now I now what I was doing wrong. I just wasn't using enough! I have only three colours, Deep Plum, Candy Apple Red and Iridescent Gold. I never had any intention of using them all together but today I did and got this fantastic rich mix.

The image is embossed in Sparkle n Sprinkle Rust Fizz which gives a lovely sparkly finish.

The pale card the image is matted on is actually an apricot colour glitter card. Dodgy combination maybe but it seems to work, although on the photo you can't see the apricot colour, the glitter or the sheen of the Mists.

Monday, 4 August 2008

It's so quiet in here...

I can't believe it's so long since my last post. I have played quite a lot but not finished much, or certainly nothing I was particularly happy with. But the other day, after messing about with ink and glue for many hours and drawing a blank, I saw a stamp on the web that was a grungy wildflower silhouette on a distressed background. It hadn't really been inspiration that had been the problem but I pushed the laptop aside and dashed to the table where I'd already (almost) tidied everything away. This card was one of those that kind of makes itself while you're not looking. The main stamp is one of my very favourites. The 'buttons' down the side are made with the same inks and stamps as the main image but I've glazed them with Glossy Accents. I think there is still a little too much black space and there is a dodgy bit of background stamping, but at least I felt I'd made something by the end of the day.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Stamp Magic

I played a while longer with the Mini Memories set on Saturday night. I could have gone on until the early hours but I knew it would take me an age to clear away and I needed to make a reasonable start if I was going to make it to the show on Sunday.

This was the last Beautiful Dream card and my favourite so far.

I stamped and masked to give the impression of floating bubbles and wanted to make the swirly border look like hanging vines. It's hard to tell because of my poor photography but there is a subtle background made from the flourish stamp in the set. The background was made with Distress Inks after I was inspired by Lynn Robinson-Hunter's tags at the Graphicus open day. She has achieved some really rich shading on her cards which I'd love to copy. I think there are a couple more of the inks I need in my arsenal before I can even get close.

Anyway, it was a longish journey to Stamp Magic but I was really pleased I'd gone. Highlights had to be Once Upon a Stamp and Crafty Individuals. There were a couple of CI stamps on my wishlist but I talked myself out of them in the end. Not a bad thing after my recent spending. Curiously, I noticed that some motifs from the Crafty Secrets sets I'd just bought also appeared on some of the Crafty Individuals stamps. I asked if there was a connection between the two companies but apparently not.

Overall my purchases were modest. I picked up a handful of Versacolor cubes in colours I felt were missing from my range but will have to experiment with those. I stocked up on EZ Mount and bought a pack of mixed tags. As usual, the biggest shortage is not materials or inspiration but TIME!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Beautiful Dream

Well, tomorrow is Stamp Magic at Doncaster. It's one of the treats I promised myself to get me through this long school term. But I'm still wavering. I've spent far too much on stamps this month already and I'm bound to get found out soon. But if I miss it when do I get to ogle some more serious rubber? Maybe I could go and content myself with demos and soaking up all the inspiration.

I love my mini adventures (thinking of creating a new blog around them). The more obscure the destination and the more forms of transport needed the better. Doncaster is not the most inspiring of places but I do like the Dome and I really enjoyed the last Stamp Magic.

This week I've had another delivery from the US. Crafty Secrets Clear Art Stamps are really something special. I got two sets as I had a voucher from those generous Ebay people. Tonight I've had my first play with the Mini Memories set. They are just right for ATCs and make me want to chop up all my cardstock into little pieces! These two are literally my first impressions.

The card on the left was made by brayering Butterscotch and Wild Plum dye inks over Versamark. The one on the right was stamped partly in Versamark over a sponged background and then embossed in white, sprayed with Deep Plum Glimmer Mist, then overstamped with Wild Plum. I think I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of these stamps.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Special Birthdays

My teenage boys like to take the mickey out of my hobbies from time to time so coming up with cards for them which hit the spot is quite a challenge. So I was chuffed to find some great stamps by Jill Penney and Daniel Torrente. I had the stamps sent direct from Stampotique in Arizona. They are lovely people and I got great personalised customer service. The stamps do all the work themselves really. This one was for my son Peter's 16th birthday.

The background papers, ribbon and swirly motif were a free download; the grungy 16 was printed from my computer and mounted on a kebab stick! The jigsaw pieces were stamped with a damask stamp and coated with Ranger's Crackle Accents and the page finished with a shrinkie.
This one was for my 'adopted' daughter, Anne, who's a bit of an artist. The stamp is Stampotique again. The background papers are K&Co Scarlet's Letter, a pad I was desperate to own but have barely used. Sound familiar?

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Pop Ups

I'm into pop up cards at the moment. They appeal to me on several levels. The ingenius design is wonderful in itself. The way the card is made from one piece and stands in a perfect position even after I've given it a good mangling. And then the diamond space to work on. Images normally occupying a square somehow offer a fresh perspective on the diamond. And the size allows you to use smaller elements as you might in an ATC but still making a proper card in its own right. I think I might have a session cutting all my favourite card into the perfect size diamonds for pop ups.

This is one I made for my friend Jennifer's birthday. I finished it with Iridescent Gold Glimmer Mist. I gasped briefly as the ink in the image started to bleed but then decided I really liked it that way and might experiment with this effect on purpose next time.

Thursday, 5 June 2008


I haven't really gone down the ATC route before but I have a new stamp to play with and this felt like the right way to try it out. The first attempt went well so I kept going and finally came up with quite a little gallery.

I started with the new stamp but added lots more as I gained momentum. Not sure why things went my way today but of everything I made only one card went in the bin. There were a couple that weren't brilliant and several that I'll do slightly differently next time but one I was really pleased with.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Risky colour combination?

Half term this week and at last some time to get all my crafting stuff out of the cupboards. The kitchen has disappeared under piles of paper, inks and tools. I'd really love a craft room. Or even just a stretch of worktop that didn't need clearing everytime I have to get the tea ready. I've had lots of new goodies recently but it's taken a while to get warmed up. Crafters' block I suppose. But I've come up with this today.
I started with the black and red stamped images and couldn't decide what colour card to put them on. I finally decided on this pale gold pearlescent card. I wasn't at all sure about the colour but since I put everything together the card's really grown on me. What I'm particularly pleased with is the Versacolor Topaz ink on the gold card.
While I'm on a roll I might see what other stamps I have that will work with this combination. I'm glad I got several sheets in this colour. My local craft warehouse (Pear Tree Yard in Sandiacre) sells the most amazing range of papers (an amazing range of all crafting materials really) at such great prices that I can afford to throw caution to the wind.
Main image and background stamps are from Elusive images Wild Meadow. Greeting by WS Designs.

Friday, 9 May 2008

The Open Road

Tonight I've made a card for my son's good friend Joe who turns 18 on Sunday. They are both avid bikers. I couldn't find a bike stamp I was happy with so decided to make do with a peel off.
The tickets are made with The Open Road themeplate stamp from The Artistic Stamper. Inside I've stamped the Whitman quote from the themeplate because it seemed particularly appropriate for a youngster coming of age with his life ahead of him. It reads:

"Afoot and light-hearted, I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me, leading wherever I choose."

I've used three coordinating papers from Dovecraft's Kelly Harwood Abstract pack. The torn edges of the bike image have been embossed in black and gold with a bit of help from the Field of Sky stamp.