Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Thank You Poppy Stamps!

Back in early October Poppy Stamps celebrated World Cardmaking Day with a special blog hop featuring their Design Team. There were lots of lovely cards on display there http://poppystamps.typepad.com/poppystamps/2013/10/happy-world-card-making-day.html and I commented on each designer's blog as I "hopped" along. I was delighted to find that I had won a large Poppystamps die for commenting and the lovely DT co-ordinator, Jeanne Jachna, was kind enough to allow me to choose which die I would like. I have always liked birds (hubby and I feed the wild ones in our garden), so I asked if I could have the lovely Birdie Wreath (no 970) and I was lucky enough to be sent the matching Birdie Wreath stamp too! They arrived from America in November and I immediately fell in love with them and decided to use them to make my Christmas cards this year.

 I normally make a selection of different cards and spend ages designing them, but I was running short of time and although I knew that these would not be Clean and Simple (CAS) cards to make, I decided that I would use the same basic design for all of them this year. I started by stamping the birdie wreath onto smooth white card using Memento Tuxedo Black ink, so that the ink would not bleed when coloured. With a bit of careful positioning I managed to get eleven wreaths onto each A4 sheet of card ... and so the production line began!

I used the coloured image on the die packet as a starting point and selected Copic Ciao markers in similar colours to the pears and assorted foliage. In the UK we don't have red Cardinals, but Robins are a very popular little bird and are a traditional image on Christmas cards, so I adapted my birdie to become a robin. I also decided to change the small pink bell shaped flowers into bluebells (although these are usually a spring flower) and I made the little blue and purple star shaped flowers a bright Christmas red colour so that they looked more festive.

I coloured all the wreaths using the ten Copic Ciao markers shown above, plus a blending pen. The pears and some of the leaves were multicoloured, so where the colours met I softened the edges with the blending pen to get a more natural look. I calculated that I needed a total of 90 Christmas cards this year so you can imagine how long it took me to colour all those wreaths! I also stamped and coloured an additional birdie for each card as I wanted to decoupage them to add a bit of dimension. So that was 180 Robins, 360 Pears, 2,250 bluebell flowers, 4,320 little red star flowers and 5,760 leaves (and a partridge in a pear tree)! No wonder it took me most of December to make them all! 

Once I had coloured them all, I used the two part die to cut out each wreath (first cutting the outside, then the inner piece). I kept the dies in place whilst I cut them by using a little low tack masking tape, which stopped the dies from moving about as I ran them through my Grand Calibur.

I started off using 6" square white card blanks and added layers cut from Green foiled card and red textured card using Spellbinders Marvellous Squares dies and a layer of waxed paper to make removing the die - cuts easier http://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/products/p-811-marvelous-squares.aspx - these were then adhered to the card using double sided tape. The wreath and the extra robin were then added with foam pads for dimension.

I ran out of green foiled cardstock after I'd made 40 cards and had to switch to using a paler green card, which I chose to tone in with the lighter coloured leaves on the wreath. If you click on the photo below you can see the detail of the red textured card layer and the coloured wreath. 

Here are a couple of smaller (A6) cards which I made using gold patterned card as the backing layer.

I also ran out of white square card blanks after I'd made about 65 cards, so I then switched to using rectangular card blanks with scalloped edges. The gap at the bottom needed something extra, so I added this lovely stamped Christmas verse (from Waltzingmouse stamps).

I was really pleased with how all my cards turned out this year and I'd like to say a huge thank you to Poppy Stamps for making it all possible! 

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Wedding Congratulations

Yesterday our nephew Scott and his lovely lady Helen got married on a beautiful sunny beach in Australia. We weren't able to be with them, but before they left rainy England I made them a card for the big day. You can click on the photo below to see it in more detail. 
I used stamps and papers by Lili of the Valley, three Spellbinders dies and embellished the card with pearls and organza ribbon. The bride and groom were coloured with Copic markers and the sentiment I used on the envelope was by Waltzingmouse Stamps.

Huge congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Hardy - wishing you a lifetime of happiness together! 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Another December Birthday!

My lovely Sister - in - Law celebrates her birthday today. She is away in Australia at the moment (for her son's wedding), so before she left I made her this card to take with her. You can click on the photo below for a closer look at the details.
I thought it appropriate to use the "New Hat" stamp from Lili of the Valley as the main image http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/New_Hat.html and the sentiment is from their Happy Circular Sentiments set  http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Happy_Circular_Sentiments.html .
I started with a 6" square lavender coloured card blank and matted and layered using a darker purple card and some of the very pretty patterned paper from Lili of the Valley's "Promises" paper pad http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Paper_Pad_-_Promises.html . The little girl was stamped onto smooth white card with Tuxedo Black Memento ink and coloured with Copic markers. I cut out the image with a Spellbinders Labels Twenty - Two die http://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/products/p-358-labels-twenty-two.aspx and layered it onto another Spellbinders die cut - this time from the co-ordinating Decorative Labels Twenty - Two die set http://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/products/p-910-decorative-labels-twenty-two.aspx . The sentiment was cut out with a circular Spellbinders die and layered onto a die-cut from another circular Spellbinders die.
The embellishments I used were ribbon from Papertrey Ink and a selection of paper flowers from Wild Orchid Crafts. I was really pleased with the finished card but I'm glad that I could give it in person, as I don't think the flowers would have survived the postal system intact!

Monday, 16 December 2013

A Country Birthday

Today is my Brother - in  - Law's birthday, so I made him a birthday card which reflects his love of the countryside.

I started with a six inch square white card blank and added layers of ripe avocado cardstock and patterned paper from Lili of the Valley's "Country Gent" paper pad. I used Tuxedo Black Memento ink to stamp Lili of the Valley's "In The Country" stamp http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Stamp_-_In_the_Country.html on to smooth white cardstock then coloured the image with Copic Ciao markers. This was then trimmed to a square using a Spellbinders square die and it was then mounted onto another piece of ripe avocado card which had been cut with a Spellbinders square leaf edged die. This panel was adhered to the card with double - sided tape.  The sentiment stamp is also from Lili of the Valley - Set 8 Happy Circular Sentiments http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Happy_Circular_Sentiments.html and was stamped as before then mounted onto a circle of ripe avocado card with a loop of ripe avocado ribbon behind it. This was adhered to the card with foam pads to raise it up a little.
I hope that the card made it safely all the way to Austrailia where many of our relatives have gone for a family wedding. "Good day" Les and have a very Happy Birthday!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Happy Birthday Ben!

As promised I am back to show you a birthday card which I made for a family member who celebrates his birthday today. The chap in question plays in a band, so I thought that the "Playing Guitar" stamp http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Stamp_-_Boys_-_Playing_Guitar.html  from Lili of the Valley would be a good choice! Please click on the photo below for a more detailed view.

I started off with a 6" x 6" square white card blank, added a smaller square of  Papertrey Ink's Pure Poppy red card and then added two rectangles of patterned paper from Lili of the Valley's Candles and Cake collection  http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Paper_Pad_-_Candles_and_Cake.html . I covered where the two papers joined with some PTI Pure Poppy satin ribbon and added a bow. I used some baker's twine to hang three small stamped tags (also from Lili of the Valley) from the ribbon bow - two from the Christmas Mini Icon Tags stamp set http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Christmas_Mini_Icon_Tags.html and one from the Sentiment tags stamp set http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Set_24_-_Sentiment_Tags.html .
The boy playing his guitar was stamped onto smooth white card using Memento ink and then coloured with Copic pens. The image was then cut out using a die from the Spellbinders Labels One set and then matted onto a layer of Pure Poppy card which had been cut using one of the Spellbinders Scalloped Labels One dies. This was then mounted onto the card using double sided tape.
I was really pleased with how this card turned out and I hope that the birthday boy liked it too! Happy Birthday Ben!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the card for Gentleman Jim

Firstly I must apologise for my lack of blogging recently. I have been making lots of things, but I can't show them to you just yet until their intended recipients have seen them!

This year our family have been gripped by all things Sherlock Homes and we're looking forward to the new series of the BBC's Sherlock coming soon (magnifying glasses at the ready)!

Back in June my daughter Jessica took part in an art exhibition at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale, where she was studying a Foundation course in Fine Art. Her final major project was based upon Sherlock Holmes and included wall art, costumes, props and a huge six foot canvas. She painted a brick wall onto one of the walls of the exhibition space and added a cardboard drainpipe and a wooden hand painted street sign. The street sign now resides in our living room!

Jess made Sherlock's trademark deerstalker hat and cape from heavyweight tweed fabric, with a cream lining. The results were impressive as she hadn't done much sewing before and she managed to master buttonholes, lining and matching the patterns on all the seams.
A variety of props were displayed on the top of an old upright piano. Jess wanted her Sherlock to be more modern, so she substituted "Baskerville" brand cigarettes for Sherlock's pipe. I showed her how to alter old books by carving niches into them to hold the mock cigarette packet and lighter and we also made one to hide John Watson's revolver inside. The cut edges of the books were coated with Modge Podge to stick them together and the facing pages were open at relevant text relating to Sherlock Holmes. 

The most time consuming part of the exhibition was Jess' large canvas, which she constructed from a king size bed sheet stretched over a wooden frame and primed before painting. Earlier in the year we had been on a trip to London and had taken photos of Speedy's cafe near Euston Station, where the BBC had filmed part of it's Sherlock series. Jess' canvas shows the cafe, next to the entrance to 221B Baker Street. She added a black cab, as these have frequently featured in the series and are somewhat iconic in London. 

The exhibition was a huge success and Jessica passed her course with a distinction. She is now at University studying Creative Arts for Theatre and Film, where she gets to paint scenery and make costumes and props - what fun! We are so proud of her!
You can see more of Jessica's artwork on her own blog, Wild at Art,  here http://jwildart.tumblr.com/

 I bought a set of Sherlock Holmes stamps by Sam Poole for Creative Expressions as I knew I would get lots of use from them http://www.craftie-charlie.co.uk/creative-expressions-u-mount-rubber-stamps-sherlock-holmes-by-sam-poole.html . I recently made the card below for my friend Jim Hankins, also known as The Gentleman Crafter. Although Jim's birthday was at the end of November he has just received his card today, which is why I can now show it to you (I do wish it didn't take so long for post to reach the USA from the UK and vice versa).  Jim loves Architecture, anything Tim Holtz and Steampunk so I thought he would like this. I used Tim's Ranger distress inks to stamp the background with various small images and sentiments from the stamp set, and Tim's Sizzix brickwork Texture Fades embossing plate to make the brick wall on the left of the card. The wall was also coloured by rubbing it with various distress inkpads after it had been embossed. The Baker Street collage and the rather dapper gentleman were stamped onto smooth white card using Memento Tuxedo Black ink, coloured with watercolour pencils and mounted onto the card using foam pads. Finally I highlighted the watch face and the gentleman's top hat, shoes and cane with glossy accents.

If you get a chance I highly recommend that you also check out the lovely Jim's blog - http://www.thegentlemancrafter.com/  - be warned though - you will be amazed at some of his work and are likely to be there a while (best make a cup of tea or coffee first)! He is a very talented papercrafter and is kind, funny and an all round nice person to know!
Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with another birthday card to show you.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is Thanksgiving in the USA, so I'd like to wish all my American friends a very happy Thanksgiving - I am truly thankful for you all!

Earlier this week I made this autumnal themed thank you card for a friend in America who had kindly sent me some lovely crafting goodies.

I started with a square black card blank and added a layer of black and cream paper from Graphic 45's Steampunk Spells Patterns & Solids pad. Another layer of cream card was added with a stamped sentiment from the Waltzingmouse "Blessed By You" stamp set (I actually used parts of two different sentiments to get this particular combination). I embossed a small square of Core'dinations Chocolate Box collection card using a Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades embossing folder by Sizzix and sanded the card to reveal the coloured core inside. The oak and acorn wreath and sprigs from "Peace and plenty" by Waltzingmouse stamps were stamped onto cream card using black Memento ink. I coloured all the images with Copic Ciao markers and cut them out by hand before mounting them onto the card front using foam pads. Finally I highlighted all the acorns by giving them a coat of Ranger's Glossy Accents.

The photo above doesn't really do justice to the card as the colours were much brighter in real life. Poor daylight in the winter in England isn't really conducive to photography! I hope my friend liked it though.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Waltzingmouse November Pajama Party - Challenge 3: Tag you're it ....

Yesterday I made a set of three Christmas gift tags using Waltzingmouse stamps, which I intended to enter into the November Pajama Party over at the Waltzingmouse Makes blog. However I missed the deadline as the software which I use to download my photographs wouldn't load correctly. I managed to get it to work this morning, so I thought that I'd post them to my blog anyway!

The challenge was to create a tag that Claire Brennan (owner of Waltzingmouse stamps) would like herself. There were so many lovely Waltzingmouse stamps to chose from, many of which have fun and quirky sentiments, but in the end I decided to use mostly stamps from the "secret set" - Santa Was Here. I wanted my tags to be from Santa himself - and after all, Claire had designed all the stamps herself, so she ought to like them!


 I started by cutting three large tags from cream, mottled beige and red card stock using the Tim Holtz Tags and Bookplates Alterations die by Sizzix. Then I used the smallest die from the Waltzingmouse Opera Tags die set to cut two tiny tag toppers from each colour card and stamp them with the corresponding stamp from the Opera Tags stamp set. For this project I used just two inkpads throughout - Memento Tuxedo Black and PTI Pure Poppy. I used strong double sided tape to stick the tag toppers in pairs to the tags, punched a hole through each with my Crop-A-Dile and added a pair of red card washers to the cream one, before trimming the tops level with the top of each tag.
On the top  right of each tag I stamped "Ho! Ho! Ho!" from the Nutcracker Sweet stamp set. The stamp is actually set out horizontally, but I wanted to stamp the sentiment vertically to save space, so I just inked up the first "Ho!" and stamped it carefully three times beneath each other. I did the same thing with the "You're on my "Nice" list" sentiment (From Santa Was Here) to fit it onto the bottom left of each tag.
A lot of the Waltzingmouse stamps have been designed to fit with existing Spellbinders dies. This is such a good idea and makes it so easy to get a professional looking finish! I used a Spellbinders label die to cut three labels from cream card and then stamped them with the Santa's Workshop stamp from the "Santa Was Here" set using Pure Poppy red ink. I also stamped a further three images in black ink on cream card, fussy cut the central shaped area and layered them on top of the full labels using foam pads. I also stamped the smaller label a few more times in red and black on the cream and the mottled beige card stock and cut the different layers out - again stacking them up with foam pads. The red and beige tags actually have five layers to each of the labels (and there are four layers on the cream tag).
I have quite a few Spellbinders dies, so I had a look through them all to find a pretty circular shaped one that would fit the Chief Elf badge stamp (from Santa Was Here), together with a small plain circle die for the centre sentiment part of the badge. I cut four of the pretty circles from the red card, one from cream card and one from the beige card. Then I cut two small circles from cream card, one from beige card and three larger circles from the cream card. The three large cream circles were stuck to three of the pretty circles and the remaining die cuts were all stamped with the Chief Elf badge stamp and layered up using foam pads. I wanted to create a "dial" effect to show "Naughty" and "Nice" so I used a fine liner pen to write on the cream circles and made an arrow shaped pointer using one of the elf footprint stamps from the "Santa Was Here" set and the narrow chain effect stamp from the "2011 Holiday Ornaments" stamp set. I trimmed away the lower part of the dial to avoid too much bulk then stuck everything down to the tags using double sided tape. Finally, I added ribbon to the tops of the tags - printed cream twill ribbon stapled to the red tag and red seam binding tied to the other two tags.
Although these tags were very time consuming to make they were so much fun to do! They are also just that little bit different from anything else I've seen so I can't wait to use them on my Christmas gifts this year!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Indigo Blu Challenge no 9 - Chocolate Orange.

This is my entry for the ninth challenge over at the Indigo Blu Challenge Blog  http://indigoblublogchallenge.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/challenge-9-chocolate-orange.html .
This month's challenge was "Chocolate Orange" and I used the "Bare Forest 1" stamp (Code:BF 1) and the "Little Voice" stamp set (Code: LV) to stamp the Get Well Soon sentiment. I had to use separate words and letters from two of the sentiment stamps as I didn't have an Indigo Blu stamp with the message that I wanted!

The embossed panel on the right was a piece of Core'dinations Chocolate Box card stock which I embossed with one of the Tim Holtz Textured Leaves embossing folders from the Alterations Texture Fades collection by Sizzix, before sanding to reveal the orange core beneath.
The panel on the left was a piece of Indigo Blue perfect pastel smooth card stock which I coloured using Yellow Ochre Tint, Orange Tint and Orange Pan Pastels. I then stamped the lovely Bare Forest trees over the top with Memento Rich Cocoa ink. Both panels were layered onto Orange Zest and Chocolate Brown card stock, and an orange grosgrain ribbon was added before mounting onto a white card blank.
The collection of autumn leaves were die cut from the leftover card scraps using Impression Obsession leaf dies. The tiny leaves were cut using a Memory Box die. The leaves were all stuck on with foam pads of varying thickness to give a more dimensional look.
Not content with making just one card, I came up with a similar version for our nephew's birthday next week. The sentiment was stamped using Waltzingmouse "Compact Sentiments" and "Compact Family" stamps as I didn't have the appropriate Indigo Blu sentiment stamps.
I really enjoyed using my Pan Pastels and the Bare Forest stamp is gorgeous, so I shall definitely be trying this again (maybe wintery colours would look nice - possibly with a touch of snow).
EDITED to add that I had problems linking up my blog to the Indigo Blu Challenge blog (my stupid laptop decided to install some updates and then freeze just as I was using the inklinkz widget) - so I'm not sure if  I've actually managed to enter the challenge or not! Never mind - at least I have made two cards that I needed!

JustRite Challenge #108 and #109

I have two cards to show you today - both were originally made for JustRite Friday Challenges, but I misjudged the time difference between the UK and the USA and missed the deadline - twice!

Challenge #108 was a sketch and I needed to make a birthday card for a friend who likes gardening, so I went with a leafy / floral theme.


I started with a mint green 6" x 6" square card blank and added a slightly smaller square of teal coloured card. Then I stamped the Leafy Background Stamp (SW - 04555) twice onto pale green card using Memento Teal Zeal dye ink and trimmed the stamped images to make four equal sized squares to fit my card front with a small gap between them. These were then stuck on with double sided tape. I chose the largest size die from the JustRite Custom Dies JB - 03990 Vintage Labels Two set to cut the label shape out of pale green card. This was then stamped with the matching large stamp from the JustRite Clear Winged Vintage Labels Two and Three (CR - 04465) stamp set, using the same Memento Teal Zeal ink. I cut a small oval from teal card using a Spellbinders die, stamped the sentiment from the same set using Versamark ink, covered it with white embossing powder and heat set it. The large label shape was layered onto the card using foam pads to add some dimension. The card was then embellished with four teal coloured rhinestones and some aqua and white mulberry paper flowers, together with a couple of leaf sprays which were cut from patterned paper using a Spellbinders die. Finally the small oval label with the sentiment was layered on top, again using foam pads for dimension, but also to cover the stems of the two flower sprays.

My second card was for challenge #109 WOW - white on white. I needed a sympathy card for a friend who had recently lost her father and immediately thought of white lilies. I wanted a classic looking card with a lot of different textures, although these are difficult to see on the photo below.

I started with a white 8" x 8" card blank and used the scalloped die from Spellbinders Edgeabilities E8 - 007 Classic Edges One to cut the right hand edge of the card. I trimmed a little off the top and bottom of the card so that the scallops were of even sizes. Then I added a panel of iridescent white quilt effect paper to cover the front of the card. I found a sheet of gorgeous satin effect card stock that I had been saving in my stash and dusted it with an anti - static bag before stamping the long lace panel from JustRite Lace Medallion Labels CR - 03905 and the large Lace Background Stamp CL - 03920 using Versamark ink. I covered the Versamark ink with WOW opaque white embossing powder and gently heat set it from underneath to prevent any scorch marks from overheating. I used the zig zag die from Spellbinders Edgeabilities E8 - 007 Classic Edges One to cut the left hand edge of the long lace border panel and the scalloped die, together with a Spellbinders heart patterned insert die to cut the right hand side. The long lace border was then adhered to the card with double sided tape and the excess was trimmed from the top and bottom so that it was flush with the card base. The lace background panel was cut out by hand, leaving a narrow border all round and then stuck to the card base with double sided tape.

I die cut a label from pearlescent white card with one of the dies from JustRite Custom Dies JB - 03990 Vintage Labels Two and then stamped the matching lily spray stamp from Floral Vintage Labels Two CL - 04455 using Versamark ink. This time I chose WOW vanilla white embossing powder and heat set again from underneath. I curved the label slightly and used foam pads (single layers down each side and double in the middle) to make the panel more prominent. I used a Spellbinders fancy tag die to cut the smaller label from a piece of satin effect card and stamped the "with sympathy" sentiment from JustRite Large Fancy Sentiments CR - 03815, using Versamark ink and WOW vanilla white embossing powder as before. The small label was then mounted on the bottom of the card using foam pads. The finishing touch was a length of white organza ribbon tied into a multi - looped bow and attached to the folded edge of the card.

I was a little outside my comfort zone making a White on White card as I love to use lots of colour, but I was pleased with how it turned out. The lace stamps are really delicate in spite of their size and the lily flower spray was just the job - although I think if I was to make a similar card again I would like to colour the flowers in very pale pastel shades to make them stand out a bit more from the background.
The main thing I have learnt is to check international time zones more carefully and to leave a bit more time to upload my blog posts so as not to miss the deadlines again!!!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Heads up ... A Waltzingmouse Christmas

Just to let you know that the lovely Claire Brennan at Waltzingmouse Stamps is releasing some wonderful Christmas stamp sets and some delightful dies to match existing stamp sets. You can check them all out on her blog here http://waltzingmouse.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/a-waltzingmouse-christmas.html . Everything is now firmly on my stash wishlist - Santa I have been really good this year!

There is also a blog hop from the incredibly talented Waltzingmouse Design Team, so if you're stuck for ideas for Christmas cards I suggest you check it out. You can't beat a bit of crafty enabling!

Papertrey Ink Make It Monday challenge # 140: Ink Pad Designs

Hello there! The Papertrey Ink Make it Monday challenge this time was to use ink pads direct to paper to make the main design for a card. I had a play with some of the small cube ink pads to start with, but wasn't happy with the results so I switched to using the larger curved ink pads. The shape of these reminded me of paisley designs - so that's what I tried to recreate here.

I took an A5 sheet of white card and used three ink pads (Aqua Mist, Hawaiian Shores and Ocean Tides) to "stamp" randomly all over the card. Then I took the smallest stamp from the "Lovely Layers" stamp set and stamped in between the paisley shapes using the same three ink colours. Four more stamps from the same Lovely Layers set were used to decorate the paisley shapes, again with the same inks but this time using the Fresh Snow hybrid ink pad as well. When I'd finished stamping I took a fine black pen and doodled around the edges of each shape to give a faux stitching / lace effect.

I decided that there was enough of my patterned card stock to make two slightly different cards. For the first card I trimmed a square and matted this onto a slightly larger square of Hawaiian Shores card stock, before layering this onto a white 6" x 6" card blank. I used True Black ink to stamp the words "it's your" from the "Wonderful Words: Birthday" stamp set into a gap at the right hand side. Then I die-cut the word "birthday" from Hawaiian Shores card stock, over stamped it with the matching stamp in the same colour ink and stuck it to the card using thin strips of foam tape for dimension.

For my second card I took the remaining patterned piece and joined it to a similar sized rectangle of Hawaiian Shores card stock before trimming it into a square shape. The join was covered with a length of Hawaiian Shores 3/8" twill tape to which I had tied a bow and then the whole piece was adhered to a 6" x 6" white card blank. I stamped the word "happy" from the Wonderful Words: Birthday stamp set using True Black ink then adhered the word "birthday" which I had die-cut from white card stock.

I must apologise for the quality of the photographs as they were taken when it was dark and don't really show off the colours very well. I was really pleased with the finished cards though and think that these designs in this colourway would be equally suitable for a man or a woman.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Thanks Sew Much ...

This afternoon I had an appointment with my Careers adviser Jane. She is a lovely lady who was ever so helpful and, as this was my final appointment with her, I wanted to give her a thank you card.

This is another variation of the patchwork card from my post here http://thehardystamper.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/coordinations-hard-core-crop-challenges.html , this time with a green frame and a combination of four different embossed and sanded hexagons. I used Core'dinations card stock again and I love all the different textures resulting from the embossing. The cotton reels, needle and thread dies are all from Memory Box and the dressmakers dummy and buttons were cut from Spellbinders dies. The cute sentiment is from a small stamp set by Waltzingmouse Stamps - I can see me using this a lot as it fits in so well with anything sewing related and I like the modern font. I'm pleased to say that this card was well received, so I expect I shall be making some more similar ones as the Papertrey Ink hexagonal cover plate die is really lovely to use, producing something that is just that little bit different.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Core'dinations Hard Core Crop Challenges.

Core'dinations are holding a series of challenges this week and as usual I am at the last minute to get my entries in. I was late finding out about these challenges, but as I love using Core'dinations card I just had to join in.

The first is for Kate Nolan's challenge - two stamped tags. I used two different Cuttlebug embossing folders to emboss patterns into two pieces of lavender coloured Core'dinations card then sanded the raised areas to reveal the lighter coloured core. These were then added to two tags along with some lavender coloured grossgrain ribbon, which I attached by tying buttons on with twine. The "For You" sentiments are both by Waltzingmouse stamps and were stamped onto white card which I cut to shape using Spellbinders dies.  The roses and leaves are from the "Roses in Bloom" stamp set by Waltzingmouse stamps.They were stamped onto white card, painted using watercolour paints which contain mica, fussy cut out then adhered to the tags using double sided tape for the leaves and foam pads for the roses to give them some dimension. Finally, you can't see on the photo, but I stamped "To" and "From" on the back of the tags, so that they are all ready to be used.

The second entry is for Tami Mayberry's CAS card challenge. I don't usually do "Clean and Simple" cards - mine are usually more elaborate creations and often take me many hours to make! CAS is a great idea for Christmas cards though, as it's much easier to make them in batches if the design is quick to produce. Here I used a piece of Kraft card to make the base of the card and then added a single layer of red Core'dinations card which I had embossed with a Cuttlebug embossing folder and sanded to reveal the paler core as before. I chose Memento Ladybug red ink to stamp the sentiment and ornament onto kraft card, which I then cut out using Spellbinders dies. Both stamps are from the "Vintage Ornaments" stamp set by Waltzingmouse Stamps - I love these as they all have corresponding Spellbinders dies and it makes it so easy to get great results! I used foam pads to raise up the ornament on the card, then embellished it with a row of sparkly red diamantes. It's at this point that I wanted to start adding ribbon etc, but we were only allowed to use no more than two embellishments, so that's it - my first ever CAS card!

My third entry is for Gail Linder's Patchwork inspired background challenge. This one is totally not clean and simple! In fact it took me well over eight hours to make but I am very pleased with the result. I selected seven different colours of Core'dinations card stock from the Whitewash collection and die cut them all with my Papertrey Ink "Happy Hexagons" coverplate. I decided to use the cream coloured one for the background grid, which I stuck to another layer of similar coloured card using double sided tape. Next I pushed out all of the little hexagons, half hexagons and triangles from the other six die cuts and embossed them all with a variety of embossing folders which had small designs. Each individual piece was then sanded to reveal the darker coloured core, which took ages, and as you can imagine I had sore fingers for a while too! The next step was to insert the hexagon shapes back into the grid, forming the lovely patchwork design for the background. This was then layered onto a piece of pale blue Core'dinations card, which I had sanded around the edge. The panel was then added to a white card blank and embellished with a narrow stitched ribbon and a sewing machine charm. I used the leftover bits of Core'dinations card to die cut the dress form with Spellbinders "S5 - 145 French Frills" dies. It's hard to tell in the photo, but the dress was then stamped using one of the co-ordinating stamps by Samantha Walker for JustRite Stampers (SW - 04105 Ooh La La French Frills) and Papertrey Ink's Fresh Snow ink. The buttons and scissors were also cut from scraps of Core'dinations card with Spellbinders dies and the needle and spool were made with Memory Box dies. I threaded the needle with baker's twine (which was then adhered to the card with double sided tape), used the same twine to "sew" the buttons and also wrapped some of it around the spool, before sticking everything onto the card using foam pads to add dimension. Finally I diecut another small hexagon, this time using the smallest Spellbinders hexagon die, stamped the sentiment (from JustRite Stampers) on it and stuck it in the top left of the card (again using a foam pad).  I really enjoyed making this card and have enough "bits" left over to make a few more with different coloured hexagonal grids. I am planning to send this one to a friend who loves sewing and who has a birthday next week - I hope she likes it!

The final card is for Clare Buswell's Quick and easy Christmas cards challenge.  Clare has just secured a place on the 2014 Design Team for Craft Stamper magazine - which was how I came to check out her blog and discover these challenges. I have much admired Clare's work previously - she used to be on the Waltzingmouse Stamps Design Team until recently and has some beautiful cards on her blog http://clare-buswell.blogspot.co.uk/ . I am really looking forward to seeing more of her wonderful creations in Craft Stamper next year.

I started off with a square kraft card blank and added a square layer of gold textured card. Then I selected a dark green sheet of Tim Holtz Kraft-Core from the Shattered collection and embossed it with the December Calendar folder from the Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades (by Sizzix). I also embossed a strip of "Old Paper" coloured Core'dinations card from the Tim Holtz and Ranger Distress collection, using the music border folder from Tim's smaller Texture Trades set. Both pieces were then sanded to reveal the core and layered onto the card base (on top of the gold layer). My chosen stamps were all from the "Santa's Coming to Town" set by Waltzingmouse Stamps. I filled the gap at the bottom left with the sillouette of Santa and the snippet of lyrics from the Christmas song (I used Memento Northern Pine ink). I chose a vivid red from the Core'dinations Brights collection to diecut my ornament shape with a Spellbinders die, then I stamped it with the co-ordinating image and sentiment using Memento Tuxedo Black ink. A thin strip of the gold card was attached to "hang" the bauble from (again using foam pads for dimension). I think the calendar looks really effective and I might make some more cards similar to this for Christmas.

EDITED: To add that the above Christmas card was chosen as the winning entry on Clare's blog. I am thrilled and have won a 12" x 12" Tim Holtz Seasonal Impressions Core'dinations card pack!
I really enjoyed taking part in these challenges and would have liked to have done more of them, but there were sixteen in total and I just didn't have the time. I hope that you like the four that I managed to finish!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Happy Birthday Little Man ...

Our first grandson, Max, had his second birthday today and by all accounts he has enjoyed himself all day! We bought him a Lego airport set as he loves watching aeroplanes and his Mum and Dad took him to Legoland at the Trafford Centre for a birthday treat.

Here is the card I made him for his second birthday.

I started with an eight inch white card blank and added a layer of gingham patterned paper from the Petal Fresh collection by NitWit Collections for Lili of the Valley. Then I added a large square of pale blue card to represent the sky. I used Memory Box dies to cut the clouds from white card stock and the letters and numbers from blue card stock. I used a Zig 2 way glue pen to stick the sentiment onto the clouds, which I then stuck to the blue card base using double sided tape for two of the clouds and sticky foam pads to raise up the other two clouds.

Little Max is always asking to be taken to the airport so that he can watch the aeroplanes taking off and landing, so I was delighted when I found the "Little Man" mini clear stamp set from Kaisercraft http://www.thecraftbarn.co.uk/product.php/34741/kaisercraft-mini-clear-stamps-little-man . I stamped the cute aeroplane onto blue card stock four times, using Memento Danube Blue dye ink. Then I fussy cut each layer out and decoupaged them together using clear silicone, so that I could angle the wings etc. Whilst the silicone was drying I stamped the vapour trail using Papertrey Fresh Snow ink. Next I added a strip of double sided tape to the back of a piece of bright green card stock before using a Magnolia Doohickey die to cut out the strip of grass. Adding the tape before I cut the card made it so much easier when I came to stick the grass to the bottom of the picture!

Max also likes being held up to look out of the window so that he can spot the birds outside. For that reason hubby is known as "Birdy Grandad" so I just knew that he had to have some birds on his card too! These two are separate dies from Marianne design and I cut them both out of brown card stock. I then used a Versamark pen to colour the leaves on the branches and the wings and eyes of the two birds. Whilst the ink was still wet I applied some pearly pigment powders (I used Blonde Moments pigments powders, which I bought from Dyan Reavely at Art from the Heart some years ago) using a fine paintbrush. I brushed off the excess powder and polished with some tissue before adding the bird and branch die cuts to the card using my Zig 2 way glue pen. Finally I added the plane with a dab of silicone and angled it so that it looked like it was banking round. All done!

You do have to imagine that the birds are in the foreground - otherwise they are far too big and out of proportion to the plane - but hubby pointed out that as Max is only two he isn't likely to complain about the perspective just yet (although he is very clever)!

Welcome Little One...

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family, our second grandson Joshua! He was born on 5th November, on what would also have been my dear Dad's birthday - and there were plenty of celebrations that night! Here is the lovely little man himself - the photo was taken when he was just a couple of hours old.

We went to visit Joshua and his proud Mum and Dad in hospital the following day. I took this photo of a very happy Grandad holding baby Joshua for the first time ...

Of course I had to claim a cuddle too! Baby Joshua is adorable and I was very reluctant to hand him back to his Dad (who took this photo) when it was time to leave.

This momentous occasion called for a special card from his Grandparents to welcome the little man. I had done my usual trick of crafting late into the night (or the early hours of the morning to be more precise) to create this card which we took with us to give to his Mum and Dad.
I  started with an eight inch square card blank, added an outer layer of pale blue card then two rectangles of floral and striped patterned paper from the Petal Fresh collection by NitWit Collections for Lili of the Valley. I used a Cottage Cutz lace border die to cut a long strip of white paper lace which I stuck across the full width of the card to cover the join in the different patterned paper (although you can only see a bit of it on the right hand side). I tied a double bow from "Queen Blue" coloured seam binding using my "Becca's Peg Bow Maker". This is one of the best gadgets I've ever bought! It makes it really easy to tie pretty bows with multiple loops etc. You can read more about it over on the very talented Becca Freeken's blog here http://www.amazingpapergrace.com/today-is-kind-of-special/ . I added a small nappy pin charm to the centre of my bow and adhered it to the card on top of the paper lace using double sided tape. 
The main stamped image is "Special Delivery" from Lili of the Valley http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Stamp_-_Special_Delivery.html , which I stamped onto smooth white card with Memento Tuxedo Black ink. I coloured the little bear with my Copic Ciao markers and blender pen then used one of my Spellbinder dies to cut the circle shape. This was layered onto a blue scalloped circle (also a Spellbinders die) and then onto another Spellbinders die cut circle - this time using the smallest die from the Grand Stately Circles set http://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/products/p-907-grand-stately-circles.aspx. before adding it to the centre of the card.
The sentiment and flourish at the top of the card is from the Papertrey Ink "Boutique Borders: Birthday" small set https://www.papertreyink.com/index.php?p=catalog&mode=search&search_str=boutique+borders+birthday and the blue card I used to stamp it onto was cut with their co-ordinating die. I used two blue pearls from the Hobby House to embellish it either side of the sentiment.  The circular calendar image at the bottom is from Lili of the Valley http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Stamp_-_Calendar.html and I cut it out with a small Spellbinders circle die before customising it with Joshua's date of birth. Finally I die cut the letters to spell out Joshua's name using the same blue card and the "Classic Upper Alphabet Set" of dies from Memory Box http://memoryboxco.com/product_detail.asp?id=98361 . I also have the lower case and numeral sets and they are so useful for personalising cards - I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of them on here in the future! I used a Zig 2 way glue pen to adhere the letters to the bottom of the card and it was finished. 
I don't know what Joshua thought of his card, but he certainly looks peaceful here!

Welcome to the world little one!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Papertrey Ink Make It Monday no 138: Inlaid Die-cuts.

I am joining in the Papertrey Ink Make It Monday challenge for the first time this week. Betsy Veldman has a great video tutorial here http://nicholeheady.typepad.com/capture_the_moment/2013/10/make-it-monday-138-insert-intro-paragraph-insert-video-insert-still-photos-if-you-are-joining-along-.html where she shows how to inlay die cuts to make cards which are easy to post. I was inspired to dig out my Papertrey stamps and dies and give the technique a try.

I chose the "Wonderful Words: Birthday" stamps and die, together with the small "friend" stamp from "Friends 'til the End" to make a colourful ombre style card.

I started by die cutting the birthday word out of four complementary colours of Papertrey Ink cardstock. I chose Aqua Mist, Spring Moss, Hawaiian Shores and Simply Chartreuse card and then stamped each word with the matching stamp in their corresponding ink colours. Then I took some smooth white card and die-cut the word birthday again four times, making sure that I lined them all up so that they were evenly spaced. The white words were removed and saved for another project then I turned over the card with the negative spaces and applied wide tape over the holes (I used normal packing tape for this). The card was then turned face up again and each hole was filled with one of the coloured words - starting with the lightest shade and the top and progressing to the darkest at the bottom. I had saved all the fiddly little insert pieces from the white card and painstakingly replaced them all inside the coloured words so that the background was entirely white. This took me ages but was well worth the effort I think, as the words really pop.

I used the matching ink pads to stamp the words "happy", "to you" and "friend" next to the inlaid die - cuts. The idea is that you sing the sentiment rather than read it as it's the words to the Happy Birthday song! I matted and layered the white card onto a rectangle of Hawaiian Shores cardstock and stuck that to a Limeade Ice card base. Finally I added sparkly rhinestones in four toning colours to add a little birthday bling!

This was a lovely technique to use - why don't you give it a try?

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Missing You ...

My sweet daughter is away at University this year, studying Creative Arts for Theatre and Film. She has an aptitude for anything artistic and is really enjoying her course but, although she has made lots of new friends there, she confessed to feeling a little homesick the other week.

To cheer her up I sent her a parcel containing lots of nice fabrics for her Costume Designs and some of her favourite biscuits and chocolate. I also enclosed a hand made card, to let her know that we are missing her too. Now that she has received everything I can show you the card that I made for her.

I started with an A5 card blank and added a layer of "Springtime" patterned paper from Graphic 45's Secret Garden collection. I thought that a sewing theme would be appropriate so I opted to use the Grandma's Attic background stamp from JustRite Stampers http://justritepapercraft.com/search?type=product&q=grandma%27s+attic which I stamped onto cream card using Memento Rich Cocoa ink. I used coloured pencils to add colour to the dressmaker's dummy, cotton reel labels and buttons then I distressed the edges and used a foam blending tool to add a little Antique Linen distress ink around the edges.  The stamping and colouring was repeated twice, before fussy cutting out all the coloured elements and layering them up on foam pads to give a more dimensional look. You can see what a difference the extra layers made in the photo below.

A strip of brown floral washi tape from We R Memory Keepers was added across the bottom of the card, together with some "Wild Saffron" adhesive paper ribbon from K&Company. Then I added a row of "Sugar and Spice"  pink pearls from the Hobby House, alternating between the 3mm and 5mm sizes, to highlight the "lace".  I tied some button twine through a pink button from my stash and added it to the bottom right corner of the stamped image.

I needed to add a sentiment and wanted to balance the layout, so I decided to die cut a label from cream card using one of the smaller dies from the lovely Spellbinders Labels Six set http://www.countryviewcrafts.co.uk/s4-230-spellbinders-nestabilities-labels-six---6-dies-3647-p.asp . Leaving the die in place I sponged Antique Linen distress ink over the label, leaving it paler in the middle. When the die was removed it left a lovely crisp cream border which looked really effective. I used Memento Rich Cocoa ink again to stamp the "Miss You" sentiment and two small flourishes (which reminded me a little of flowers) from the JustRite Stampers Large Fancy Sentiments stamp set http://justritepapercraft.com/products/large-fancy-sentiments-cr-03815 . I added a couple of 3mm pink pearls to the centre of the flourishes, stuck the label to the card using foam pads - and Voila! 

I am really pleased with the finished card and I'm very happy that my daughter loved it too!

Sunday, 27 October 2013

London Themed Birthday Card

Earlier this week it was our cousin Roy's birthday and I wanted to make him a special card. As he used to live in London when he was younger I decided to use the London Background Stamp from JustRite Stampers http://justritepapercraft.com/collections/cling-stamps/products/london-background-stamp-cl-03765 .

I used a cream A5 card blank and cut a background layer using Botanica patterned paper from the Tropical Travelogue Collection by Graphic 45 and a Spellbinders die from the Grand Labels Twenty-three set http://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/products/p-343-grand-labels-twenty-three.aspx .

I stamped the London Background stamp onto cream card using Memento Rich Cocoa ink and matted and layered onto a piece of chocolate bronze coloured card stock. The images of Westminster (where Big Ben is), the heart, and the postage stamp were coloured with Distress Markers (Antique Linen, Pumice Stone, Worn Lipstick and Tumbled Glass). I stamped an extra two images, coloured the clock tower and the postage stamp as before, then fussy cut them out and layered them up on foam pads to give a more dimensional look. Finally I used glossy accents to highlight the clock face.

I was really pleased with the finished result as I think it's quite hard to get masculine cards just right sometimes. I'm pleased to say that Roy liked it too!
Here in the UK we are due to have a severe storm tonight, so I hope that you all stay safe and warm indoors.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

It's been a long time in the pipeline ...

I have been intending to start a blog for a while now and never got around to it, but I have dallied for quite long enough and need to do battle with technology to make it happen!

By way of a test, I thought I'd start by showing you a couple of birthday cards that I made for friends last year.

This one was made for a friend who kept chickens. The main stamped image of the knitting hens was a Penny Black stamp and all the other stamps used were from Waltzingmouse Stamps. I used Memento dye inkpads and embellished the card with some red seam binding and a vintage cockerel tie pin that I found on Ebay.

My second card was made for a French friend. Again I used Memento dye inkpads (love these). The large rectangular background stamp is by JustRite Stampers and I used coloured pencils to highlight a few of the elements. All other stamps used were from the Waltzingmouse Stamps Paris Nouveau set. You can see the full set here http://www.waltzingmousestamps.com/products/paris-nouveau  . The lovely label stamp fitted perfectly onto a Spellbinders labels 25 die cut - I love stamps that match dies! The Eiffel tower was cut out by hand and raised up on foam pads to give it a bit of dimension. I was really pleased with how this turned out and I think my friend liked it too.
Thanks for taking the time to read this far! I hope that you liked what you saw and will come back and visit again soon.