Friday 31 May 2013

Circular thoughts

This seemed like an appropriate title to tonight's blog post as I have been going round in circles all week trying to join in the circles challenge at There She Goes stamps  I tried a few of my favourite character stamps but nothing was really working when I tried to fit them in circles, so I took a different approach with a couple of the first ever sets I bought from them going back nearly 3 years now and I think it works quite well and there are LOTS of circles!

I used "Branches" as my focal point, coupled with what is still one of my all time favourite sentiment sets - Sentimental - don't you love that big curly "you".   I die cut a circle from some DP which also features circles (in fact I'm not sure I could have shoehorned any more circles into this card if I'd tried!) and used it back to front as a mask whilst I stamped my branch twice in black.  I secured the DP in place the right way round and then stamped the sentiment into place.  I filled the circles in the stamp with petal pink and hydrangea liquid pearls and finished with some dotted lines with a pink glitter pen.

Are you dizzy with all the circles???

Thursday 30 May 2013

Happy Birthday Ardyth (a little late....)

Yesterday was Ardyth's birthday and Darnell through her a surprise party on her blog where she is asking us to CASE an Ardyth card (gulp) and make a birthday card for her based on it

I selected this happy dotty one layer creation and set about trying to do it justice.  I think I started with a base card that was a little too small, but other than the fact that my design doesn't have quite enough space to breathe, I am quite pleased with the rest of it.

I pulled out my favourite of the moment quilt pattern stamp from WPlus9 and stamped it twice side by side.  I masked off the edges so I could get a nice straight edge finish and then stamped a rainbow of colours to the diamond pattern as nothing says Ardyth to me more than a bright and happy rainbow!  I finished with a big (perhaps a little too big) sentiment from PTI.

It's Ardyth's week to host OLW too and she wants a card she'd like - hopefully this fits the bill - and it helps keep the birthday celebrations going a little longer!  Happy Belated Birthday Ardyth!

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Button Blooms

So, the tidying thing isn't going very well - my desk is clear and my unit is in situ, but the stuff that needs to go in the unit is still in a mess - but what's a girl gunna do - as soon as you start to tidy up you find something fun to play with and get distracted....

Isn't this inspiration photo from Just Us Girls delicious?  I do love yellow and grey as a colour combo, yes I can make cards without teal sometimes ;-0  I also realised I needed a special card for an upcoming birthday and this inspired me to play with my newly rediscovered stash to make this:

I chose a couple of papers from the park bench collection from fancy pants design to cover the card base using shades and patterns from the inspiration image.  I decided to separate them and wanted to add some texture like on the middle layer of the cake so I used a strip of my embossed felt.  I stamped lovely bubble flower from woodware twice onto thick card and fussy cut it out, colouring up the leaves on the second image with grey copics and layering them up on the main image for a little dimension.  It was then simply a case of going to town with my button box and adding rhinestones and faux pearls to the bubbles.  The sentiment is from the same set stamped in smokey grey versafine.

I must quickly link it up to the challenge before it closes in a few hours.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Donkey Humour

Just a quick post today - I'm desperately trying to not be distracted by crafting whilst I try to re-organise my craft room.  It really is a mess and I still haven't managed to organize everything into my new storage unit that I got for my birthday before Christmas!  I thought I'd get it done over the bank holiday but I haven't even started yet - good job I got an extra day off.....

Anyhow, I did manage to make a quick humorous for this week's Less is More Challenge for our nephew's birthday today

I used my favourite donkey from There She Goes Stamps - coloured in copics, fussy cut and then paper pieced his clothes and hair.  You get a whole range of sentiments to fit on his t-shirt but this one fit the humour level for the recipient!  I used a few scraps of DP and a new embossing folder I picked up at a fair in Lincoln on Sunday.

Right - that's the fun over - back to tidying!

Saturday 25 May 2013

A jar of flowers

Combining challenges is often quite tricky and you can end up with something a bit "meh" but then other days, like today, everything just aligns perfectly and challenges just combine themselves.  Today is one of those days.

I'm joining in the blog hop at papertrey ink and I picked the second bouquet for my colours  and as the theme at a passion for papertrey is all about nature - flowers fall nicely into place for that challenge too

Then for my layout, I followed Lesley's photo inspiration at Fusion challenge

So I pulled out "The Sweet Life" stamp set and matching dies along with inks as close to the pti colours as I could find in my supplies and this is what I made....

I stamped and cut 3 large roses and one small one in pinks and oranges and then some leaves in olive greens.   The little mason jar is actually a clearly besotted die cut from white striped vellum and then coloured with copics on the reverse for a watery look.  I stood the jar on some grey dp which I ran through my new stampin up fancy fans embossing folder.  I finished with a large PTI sentiment across the jar.

Friday 24 May 2013

Red White and Blue

I'm squeezing in a super quick post in a final pitch for the new Pollycrafts DT team.  In my first two cards I used a lot of layering and wasn't as CAS as I normally am these days so I thought I'd colour up one of the new Candy Floss Crew - in this case Ebony as I love the wink - and make something more my style.

I printed her 4 times onto copic colouring card, coloured her and layered her up using pinflair glue for a little dimension.  I took my colours from this week's CASual Friday challenge - red white and blue

I used 3 strips of washi to the side and then popped the coloured base panel up on foam.  Adding a happy birthday strip (Elzybells) down the edge.

Do go and check out the new digis - they're all adorable!

Happy Birthday Jessica!

It's Jessica's birthday today and I'm thrilled to have been asked to join in the surprise Birthday Blog Hop that the DT and There She Goes Stamps fans are throwing for her today.

I used this week's sketch as my inspiration and pulled out one of my older TSG sets - A Little Treat - as you can't have enough cake on a birthday right?

I stamped and paper pieced the chef and cake and added lots of sparkly red gems to bling up the cake on top of the glittered icing.  A couple of layers of DP behind complete the sketch layout, but there just wasn't enough cake for me so I repeat stamped the cake all over the base card in grey ink.

Hope that's a suitable amount of cake to help you celebrate your birthday Jessica - have a fabulous day!

Thursday 23 May 2013

Feathery trigger

Kath's provided a stunning trigger image this week that had me jumping for joy as it gives me another chance to play with what is possibly my favourite Clearly Besotted stamp set ever (and yes I have a lot of "favourites" amongst Stephanie's stamps I know!) as the image features feathers ;-)

I was inspired by the colours of the birds - even though they are some sort of tit I believe, the colours in them screamed peacock to me so I inked up the lovely peacock feather in the stamp set using all the little bits to build it up and came up with this:

I used peacock distress ink and cottage ivy mixed directly on the stamp to get the two tone effect on the feathers and then used 3 inks for the "eye" plus sakura glitter gel pens to get that subtle shimmer you see in peacock feathers.  I stamped the same image 3 times in a fan, the way a peacock does when he is showing off and shaking his tail feathers!  I used a little gross grain ribbon to separate the sentiment which is stamped in peacock DI and Paris Nights momento ink.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

The Royal Meow

For my first entry at Less is More I ended up with 2 dogs and 1 cat - now I'm definitely more of a cat person than a dog and I'm sure our Lottie has been particularly difficult this week just to show her disgust!   So I thought I'd better even up the score a little and this week's CASology cue word of "Royal" gave me the perfect way to do it.....

I used the sketch at this week's retro sketches for my layout and cut a frame from DP.  The focal image of the rather royal feline is from Elzybells (no longer trading) and I just love it.  I paper pieced her onto the cushion and used copics to colour and add shading to the paper piecing.

I added some washi tape to finish the sketch and then used a double sentiment from the same stamp set stamped directly onto the DP frame so this will be my entry to this week's CASual Friday's challenge too

Tuesday 21 May 2013

More Pollycrafts

I said I'd got another of the lovely new Pollycrafts digi stamps coloured up ready to be made into a card and I've finally managed to get it finished tonight.

I used the sketch at Seize The Birthday as my starting point to create the card behind the super cute hippo I coloured with copics and fussy cut

 I stamped and embossed in white ep the HA numbers background and then used 3 shades of distress inks to blend over it.  I selected some stripey DP in co-ordinating colours and layered it up as per the sketch.  I die cut a couple of balloons and coloured them with ink and stamped sentiments that came with the matching stamp set (whimsey) linking them to the hippo with some twine.

There's a new crew over at Pollycrafts now - the Candy Floss Crew - do check them out  I'll be colouring them up asap.  I'm entering this to the DT call again

Saturday 18 May 2013

Ho cubed

I was very happy with the theme at Less is More this week - nice and simple - just feature cats or dogs (or both) and in my case I opted for both

For me it was a clear opportunity to start on my Christmas cards (yes I know it's only May but it's never too early!) with an image I got last year too late to make my cards as it's an exclusive from Simon Says Stamps in the USA.

I used a falling snow embossing folder on a 4" square card leaving the bottom clear so I could sit my trio on a hill of snow.  I stamped them onto coated card stock and coloured with copics and then paper pieced their hats and scarf before fussy cutting them out and gluing in place.  I know I fussy cut and paper piece a lot and I've had a few comments about it - my top two tips are to find some scissors you are comfortable with - I like Westcott's Titanium Ultra Smooth (I even do most of the "innie" bits with them as I'm not great with a craft knife) and then to move your image not your scissors and you'll get a much smoother cut.    I hand drew the hill and stamped the sentiment from the same set which I just love the humour of.   I'll be making a nice set of these for Christmas for sure.

Right - I need to get ready as I'm off to an art exhibition today - an one day event by our favourite local artist Pete McKee and this one is all about Sheffield so should be full of nostalgia!

Friday 17 May 2013

Blooming Marvelous!

You'd think that the cue word of "BLOOMING" would be a blooming breeze - we all love flowers - have tonnes of flowers in our stash and loads of ways of using them right?  Well, it is the cue at CASology this week  and I've been VERY unsuccessfully trying to do "something different" with flowers all week for it.....

I played with felt, with masks, with stamps, with die cuts - you name it - I probably played with it - but everything was just bleugh!   I did spot this card by Maille as part of the new release for PTI this week though and I was really drawn to how she "squared off" the stamped and die cut images and I decided to try and case it.  I went with a die cut daisy which it turns out, is not the easiest shape to do this with - too much open space between the petals (hence the double daisy for the largest flower) but after a lot of messing around and taking things on and off about 2,638,452 times - I ended up with this.....

I used PTI embroidered blooms to add interest to the die cut centres and layered them up for dimension using the die cuts in the xcut daisy set (it has round and scalloped centres of different sizes to match)  The card stock is American Crafts Tropical set (another lovely bargain from TK Maxx) along with some spotty DP from my snippets draw.  I thought it needed quite a large sentiment to balance the flowers so went with one of my favourites from Many Birthday Wishes from Hero Arts

I'm also going to enter this into the simon says flower power challenge this week

and into Di's Sunday Snippets challenge - I didn't make much of a dint in my stash with this one - just half of a left over half sheet - but as the famous supermarket says "every little helps!"

Thursday 16 May 2013

Birthday Mood Board

I loved the inspiration photo on the Monday Mood Board over on the WPlus9 blog this week - the orange and green really spoke to me.   The Birthday theme is because both Dawn and her DH have birthdays coming up - so what better way to celebrate than with a gallery full of birthday cards ;-)

I wanted to add some solid blocks of the orange and green so immediately jumped on Quilt Prints and stamped up a full background with pear tart and morocco momento inks using the dotted diamond to pick up on the confetti in the image.  I LOVE stamping up this background - it's so relaxing - and soooo thrilling when the last bit of the pattern is stamped in place and all the little bits mean the design possibilities are near endless!

I took further inspiration from the stacked cups and threw in some red using my new favourite Fresh Baked set stacking up bowls and a jug and coating in glossy accents and adding a thin fussy cut black border to help it stand out from the quilt pattern.  Simply finished with an embossed black sentiment also from Fresh Baked and a black mat before mounting onto a 3 x 3 card base.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Pollycrafts is Back..........

Well I don't know about you, but I for one was very pleased when I found out that the closure of the Pollycrafts Digi store turned out to be much less of a permanent thing that we'd feared!   Good to have you back Paula - and with some GORGEOUS new designs and a DT call too - woo-hoo!

For my first play I went with the "udderly" adorable birthday cow (comes with a sentiment too) - isn't just great?  I love the slightly fed up facial expression - looks like me whenever anyone tries to take my photo!!!  She's coloured with copics and fussy cut then layered on a circular nestie and on DP with a vellum border using an old MS punch as I'd forgotten just how much I like those too - sometimes its good to dig out your old stash.  Finished with some faux stitching to tie it all together and a HA sentiment forced into a curve around the nestie.

I have a hippo coloured up and ready to be made into a card from the same animal set so watch this space!   Pop on over to the blog and store to see the new designs (there's even a discount code for your first order....)

Saturday 11 May 2013

Clearly Besotted Day

I'm having a lovely crafting and reading day today - inside with the heating back on as it's blinking freezing in Yorkshire today.  I've played along in a few challenges - all with my new stash from Clearly Besotted.   Firstly, my favourite challenge of the week - the original CAS challenge - Less is More and this week is one layer week with the challenge of using a coloured base card.  I went with a sheet of purple card from Stampin Up so cut it in half and made two sympathy cards.

I stamped and embossed the stunning orchid from Thinking of You in white detail and then embossed the large vase from Just Fabulous underneath.  I coloured the orchids with pencils - polychromos from faber castel - they work really well on dark card stock.  I finished each with different sentiments from Thinking of You and a little gentle splattering of watercolour paint using colours found in the flowers.

Next up, when I saw Lesley's challenge image over at Fusion, I knew I had to play along using my new My Cup of Tea stamps.

I decided to try the fusion approach and use Jackie's sketch as well and this is what I came up with.

I used two of the tea cup stamps in 5 different shades of ink and die cut them with the matching cup die.  Once adhered on the black backround I added some co-ordinating ribbon, made a flag with more black card and added a sentiment and die cut teapot on top to finish.

For the final card I used the same stamps but this time for the 10 minute craft dash

Annoyingly, I didn't press stop on my phone stopwatch when I finished the card so I don't have my time clock to share, which is a shame, as it's my quickest one yet!  It was on 7 min 44 seconds when I thought I pressed stop!   Very simply die cutting, stamping and a couple of hand drawn stitch lines.  I love the teapot in blue - reminds me of Wedgewood.

Embossed Felt

Even though it's been a 3 week trigger, I've only just found time to play along with the gorgeous image that Kath chose to inspire us all

I really loved this image (well it features cake and I LOVE cake!) but I really liked the thick texture of the woodgrain icing background and I really wanted to replicate that element of it in my card.  So to get the depth I wanted, rather than embossing paper with my SU Woodgrain folder, I decided to try embossing felt - the problem was it doesn't "hold" the detail, it just springs back to practically flat and normal.  So I was toying with the idea of trying a diluted pva on it but I was worried I'd ruin my folder, when I hit upon the idea an old fashioned household product - spray starch!   (Apparently you use it when ironing, but as I don't really know where the iron is kept I wouldn't know about that lol!)   However, it does work BRILLIANTLY in this instance.   I simply trimmed an oval of white felt, sprayed it heavily with starch and then popped it in the folder and through my big kick.   I rolled it back to the centre to keep the fold shut and left it there for 20 mins so it could "dry" in situ.  It came out a little damp still so I left it flat to air dry over night and washed the folder straight away.  In the morning I had a beautiful little crisp oval with deep embossed detail (it really doesn't show up nearly as well as I'd like on the photo) with lots of thick dimension from the felt.

For the rest of the elements of my card I took inspiration from the pretty cherry blossom flowers on top of the petits fours - I stamped the cherry blossom twig from the delightful Happy Everything stamp set from Clearly Besottted and embossed it with white EP and then coloured it with watercolour pencils and a waterbrush adding a gentle blue highlight around with a broken china distress marker.  I fussy cut it leaving a border and mounted it over my felt oval.

I brought in the darker pink from the flowers for the background to my sentiment which is also from Clearly Besotted, this time the newly released Just Fabulous set.  I then made one large pink petits four as a pink mat behind the oval and mounted onto a small square card.  This is one of my favourite recent makes - much more girly than my normal style but really pretty.

I'm also going to link it up the "just add woodgrain" challenge over at Just Add Ink this week -

It's turning out to be a Clearly Besotted Day - will be back with another post featuring more of their new stamps shortly.

Friday 10 May 2013


Punctuality has never been one of my strong points - ask any of my friends - and here I am, almost too late to join the party again with a card based on this week's Retro Sketch which expires in a couple of hours!

I went for a masculine card today, and used my favourite technique again - paper piecing - only this time I did it a little differently as I did both digi and traditional paper piecing using the gorgeous freebie image from Birdie Brown so I'm entering her freebie challenge  and as it's paperpieced and for a fella, it's also my entry for Here Come the Boys this week too 

I imported the image into word and copied it 5 times and then imported some digi papers to the same document and layered them behind the images so that I had one sheet with all the papers I wanted to piece together plus one plain base image.  I coloured the face and skin with copics and then went about fussy cutting all the other pieces and layering them up on the base image.

To match the sketch I added a rectangle of paper from the bargain 12 x 12 packs I picked up recently at TK Maxx and tied a piece of twine with a pair of plyers (a metal charm) hanging off and finished with a simple masculine sentiment banner using the very useful Essential Messages stamp set from Hero Arts - I use this simple Happy Birthday lots on masculine cards as I like the plain lines of it.

Thursday 9 May 2013

Down on the farm

You've probably heard me mention how much I love paper-piecing as a technique - I love getting my sharp scissors out and even holding tiny bits of paper with tweezers to allow for all that fussy cutting - so naturally, I had to piece one of my There She Goes stamps this week to join in their paper piecing challenge

I selected the lovely farmer's wife from Oh Crop and decided to try and use the pretty colours from this week's ColourQ to direct my piecing choices.   For the layout I went with this week's Freshly Made Sketch

I picked some papers that matched 3 of the colours and then stamped my sentiment in the paler pink colour.  I used a background from the same stamp set to add some interest behind the main focal element using the top line of it as my straight line on the sketch.  I left that as an outline - can't decide if I like it or not really but hey ho.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Foodie Gift Tag

I don't often make gift tags - not sure why - it just never seems to occur to me.   However it just so happened that I had a small cookbook I was passing to a friend as a gift today and I saw that Kath is running a gift tag challenge over on the Moxie Fab world to promote the Cards and Gifts Special issue of Paper Crafts Magazine so I thought I'd make a tag for the book and join in.

I used my new and VERY handy set of baking related stamps from Wplus9 and stamped a selection of images from the set in browns, blue and black as the gift is for a guy so the tag needed to be masculine (I don't think he spotted the flower on the dish "wink")

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Watercolour wings

This is my 3rd attempt at making this little piece of art - I had to experiment with different watercolour papers until I found one that was smooth enough to bring out the detail of the swallowtail when embossed, but also thick enough to take the water for my luminarte paints.

I actually ended up using the back of the watercolour paper but the embossing still sank into a little more than I wanted but all the lovely detailed lines are still showing.  I then used shades of purples, pink, orange and yellow luminarte shimmer watercolours on the swallowtail and once that was dry I used the lovely soft blue called "northern lights" to create a background that gently faded away the further you get away form the butterfly.  Rather than making this into a card, I wanted to frame it, so I went with a sentiment that was everyday but uplifting.

I am going to enter it into the following challenges:

Moxie Fab's watercolour challenge -

and Make it Mondays anything that flies challenge -

and the Gift challenge Kath is running to celebrate the Special Edition of Paper Crafts "350 Cards and Gifts"

Sunday 5 May 2013

Colour Wheel

This week's challenge at Less is More is to use opposite colours on the colour wheel

I didn't get time to take part yesterday as I was out in Leeds for the day with my friend - 8 hours of shopping and we barely bought a thing (not enough craft shops for my liking lol!)  So now I'm playing catch up and I went with yellow and violet - so NOT my go to colours, but I love the results which is why I love these challenges as they make you make cards you'd never create alone.

I used a freebie set from PTI ink and stamped the sunburst shaped flowers in dandelion and grape momento inks.  The sentiment is from another PTI set stamped in grape also.  I finished with a purple gem in each centre and a matching purple mat to make it all pop.

Time for dinner, then back to browse this weeks entrants.

Friday 3 May 2013

Fresh Baked

I've been having a little play with some new stamps from WPlus9 - I fell in love with both sets the second I saw them.  I was lucky to win a challenge so got them shipped from the USA, but they will no doubt be in stock soon at Make the Day Special.  I used them to make a simple card for this weeks
 CASe this sketch challenge.

I used the quilt stamp set to stamp the band on the sketch with vibrant red and orange gingham.  I used a tag die to create a little shelf and heat embossed a sentiment onto it.  I then stamped the crock pot from the Fresh Baked set onto a piece of kraft cut with the matching die - I cut 4 more die cuts and layered them up for dimension and after colouring the little flower with pencils I covered the whole front with glossy accents.

Here's a link to the challenge and the sketch to follow -

Time for a bath now - early start tomorrow as my friend and I are off to check out the new shopping centre in Leeds - we're long overdue a shopping trip so Leeds, you have been warned......

Wednesday 1 May 2013

His and Hers

I'm behind on this week's lessons already and there are so many brilliant videos that there are a lot of homework options to choose from so I'm even further behind on that!

It looks like I'm favouring Jennifer - it's just the way it went - I do want to do some of the other techniques I just happened to do these two first!

I really liked this stamping below the line idea and for my HIS I used Elzybells Floral Ferver leaves, a hero arts sentiment and some black pearl dots.  I double stamped in neon green and chocolate inks.  For my HERS version I used stitched flowers and stitched sentiments from the Crafts Meow with copic colouring.

Whilst I had the leaves stamps out I used a single one to have a go at the kaleidoscope technique but I just did the HIS version - you know me by now I LOVE kraft card!  I used white pearl, soft grey and teal inks only and instead of background stamping I used my new SU woodgrain folder for some embossed detail instead.  The sentiment is from hero arts embossed on vellum and folded aruond the card with a teal matt behind to make it pop.

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