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Saturday, 20 May 2017

Turning yellow


It's time for my second challenge as host on the Christmas Card Throwdown. This one is a colour challenge (which I love!) but a really unusual combination to play with. 



This took a bit of thinking about, but have had lots of ideas, hoping to get one or two more cards made this week.

For my first card I CASE'd one of my favourite cards from last year (see the original here).

I started with an inky background, made with a plastic folder. I used mustard seed and squeezed lemonade distress inks, with some yellow felt tip pens. The first version was a bit green - blue contaminant in the folder from a previous project! After a clean I had another go, with some wild honey added. Looked good, but quite orange, so I left that out for the final version, which is what I've used.



You can't quite see the detail and variety of tones in the photo. This is the trimmed down card.

I cut a mount from kraft card, and cut the sentiment (using a Tattered Lace die) from the centre - I never usually remember to do this!



For the gold, I stamped around the yellow card with my old favourite rubber holly stamp, in versamark ink. I then added moon gold mica powder. I sprayed it with cheap hairspray (without all the conditioners) to fix it.



This photo is angled very careful to show the shine of the mica all the way round!

I put the card together (on a 6x6 card blank) using a tape pen, so it's flat for posting. I used a zig glue pen for the sentiment.



The insert and envelope I decorated with the same holly stamp, and gold pigment ink.


This is another one of those cards that is hard to photograph! I've tried to get the angle to show the holly here. It is quite subtle in real life. You could heat emboss to get a more striking result.



To join in with the challenge, post your entries at the Christmas Card Throwdown by Friday 2nd June, at midnight BST.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A quick thank you


Hubby asked me this evening if I could make a thank you card for his form to sign (he's a teacher) - for tomorrow! But not to go to too much trouble...

So an exercise in quick and simple - which is refreshing sometimes.

I found this feather stamp a few days ago - it's a Stamps Away one I bought last year at a workshop with Ali Reeve, but hadn't used yet (and had forgotten about). This was good excuse to get it out; I simply stamped it across a 7x7 piece of stencil card. (As this needs to be signed by lots of people, I'll use an 8x8 card blank, so won't be cutting down the background for once.) I used iced spruce distress ink for a subtle colour.

I then got out this big ribbon writing Thank You stamp from Clarity. I stamped with versamark and heat embossed in silver. To make the words stand out more, I filled them in with a dark grey pencil (Faber Castell polychromo).

Then I simply edged the piece with a grey sharpie, and mounted on the card base.



Quick, simple, but pretty and clean, and quite elegant I think.

This stamp will look great in multiple colours, and shimmer - will have more of a play next time!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Grungy gelli layers


It's time for my second layers card, for the first of the two challenges I'm hosting on the Christmas Card Throwdown.


This one came from a completely indulgent play session with the gelli plates - my big 8x10 one, and the rectangle from my petites.

I got together a load of acrylic paints in Christmassy colours, Christmas stencils, my brayer and several pieces of stencil card (7x7 and 8.5x11), then went for it! I built up patterns with the big plate first, with and without stencils, and also using what was left on the plate. I pulled prints on parts of the card mostly, rather than the whole sheet. I then used the little plate to fill in details. To start with it all looked a bit disappointing (I didn't take photos, I was just playing!), but as I added more variety and built up the images, some really lovely combinations emerged.








I like some pieces more than others, of course. Some will be cards basically as they are, others will be cut up or die cut, or I may add to them with stamps and who knows what else?

I also got this piece, which was on scrap paper from cleaning the gelli plate.


This is the one I used for this card.


I like elements but wasn't sure about it overall, so perfect for cutting up to make layers!

I chose my background first, and cut the piece down to fit onto a 7x7 card blank. I then looked at what was left - the "Joy" stood out to be a topper, then the rest formed strips to lay across. There was some white on the topper when I cut it, so I coloured it with vintage photo distress ink - but that looked so dull - so I added gold gilding wax - but that looked odd with the gold layer - so I added blue gilding wax, and was happy!

Each piece was layered up onto black then gold - and yes, I did remember to gut the big piece!

I put it all together with tape pen - there are 12 layers in all, so I didn't want too much more dimension.


And the finished card again. It's not perfect - I'd highlight the "Joy" more if my white pen had been working and it hadn't been so late!

But the overall grungy, busy, mixed feel of the card I am so happy with!


To join in with the challenge, pop over to the Christmas Card Throwdown page. You have until midnight BST on Friday 19th May to enter. Enjoy playing!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Lots of layers


Sorry I've been a bit quiet for a while on the blog. I've been working on a big project - I'll share when I can!

But this month I'm hosting the Christmas Card Throwdown, so I'm back for now with a new challenge card - or two.

My first challenge as host is a sketch - any shape, multiple layers.


I've draw on an old technique for this one, to make two cards together.

I started with 5 pieces of Clarity stencil card, cut to fit A6 card blanks (9.7cm by 13.8cm).

I left two as they were, then cut the other three with different sizes of concentric dies. I used a set I got recently from The Works, but any framer shape will work.

One card is made with the outers, one with the inners.

I used a Tattered Lace holly embossing folder to emboss alternating layers, to give some interest.

The centres are small, so not a lot of scope for a big scene or picture (although by using different dies you could make this as big as you want!). I kept it simple. 


On the "inners" card, I stamped a "Merry Christmas" sentiment in versa mark, then heat embossed in platinum. I actually took two goes at this (so had to cut a second piece from a scrap of card). I was using words from a longer sentiment stamp and masking, but the masking tape made it hard to line up the two words, and I was way off the first time!


For the "outers" card, I drew round the inside of the smallest aperture on the back card piece, to show where the image needed to go. I stamped a Christmas tree from a Clarity Wee Christmas set in olive green stazon. I filled in the baubles with an orange pen, then added a dot of clear glaze on top of each (this is a new purchase for the big project, which I'm loving using). I then erased the pencil marks.

Then construction, using my thicker foam tape to give real contrast between the layers. It makes for very chunky cards - not ones for posting! - but I think it does look good.





To join in with the challenge, create your gorgeous layered Christmas Card, then link it up to the challenge here by Friday 19th May, midnight BST.


Saturday, 15 April 2017

Let it Snow


The new Christmas Card Throwdown challenge is a technique - shaker cards.



This is a new one for me, so took a bit of fiddling about, but I got there.

I am still feeling inspired by the last challenge, musical notation, so have combined the two. I started with the insert. I made this to fold at the top, although the card opens at the side, and to attach to the back of the card. That way, the front of the insert shows behind the clear shaker section, then you can write inside without it being seen from the front of the card.



I started with my musical score stamp, in sky grey pigment ink. Very subtle.

I then added the words in watering can archival ink. This is a Clarity stamp. And yes, I've been humming this tune all day!




I stamped the inside of the insert with Clarity Stamp snowflakes, in the sky grey.



They're subtle but do show properly in real life!

For the front, I started with a 6x6 card blank and Clarity stencil card cut to fit onto it. 

I brushed weathered wood distress ink over the stencil card to start with.

I joined this and the card blank with a repositionable tape pen, and die cut the aperture, to make sure they'd line up.



I then stamped snowflakes over the frame, in the sky grey ink. I edged it with a stormy sky distress marker.

I cut a frame from white glitter card, using the same die as the aperture and the size up, and attached this around the aperture.



For the shaker confetti, I raided my bag of small waste bits, for shiny silver papers. I also used some of the glitter card, silver mirror card and vellum with a silver design. I cut these with two punches, a musical note and a snowflake.

Some of the papers were one sided, so I had the brilliant idea to press them into a silver pigment ink pad to make the back decorative too. Only hours later when they were still wet did I think that pigment ink on coated card wasn't such a good idea. So I had to wipe it off!



I cut two squares of acetate, and attached the first behind the aperture with super sticky tape.

I don't have any proper shaker foam, I wasn't organised enough to order some in advance and our local craft shop doesn't stock it. So I used normal foam tape, the thickest I had, in two layers. This did make the sides of the "box" a bit sticky, so I'll rethink for next week.



I added all my confetti, then attached the second acetate square with more super sticky.

The whole construction went onto the card blank, carefully lined up with the aperture again, and the insert went into the card behind it.



I also decorated the envelope, using the music and snowflake stamps, and silver pigment ink.




So here we have my first shaker card! I didn't manage a photo that shows the sparkly confetti very well. This is quite a muted version, maybe next week I'll go for the full on bling with sequins!





If you'd like to join in with our shaker card challenge, please go to the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until Friday 5th May, midnight BST, to enter. (You get three weeks instead of two this time, as there are 5 Saturdays in April!) We'd love to see what you come up with.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Happy Easter



I just wanted to share a couple of projects I made for Easter, a card and a present for my mum. Both very simple!

I had a thought the other day - what if I did the smooshing in plastic technique (still don't know if it has a proper name!), but instead of water based inks spritzed with water, I used sharpies and spritzed with IPA? And guide post number 6 of the Creative Sandbox Way is "ask what if?", so I had to have a play and find out!

I was kind of hoping to get more vibrant colours than the dye inks. That didn't work out! But I do love the results I did get, although I only have a terrible phone picture of them!


The ink dries more rapidly and doesn't spread in the same way as with water, giving some lovely details and texture, and it has a gorgeous soft feel.

My next what if.... is what if I use acetate instead of card? That had to wait until more IPA arrived, I used up the little we had, but that came today so watch this space!

I decided to use one of the purple sheets for a super easy Easter card. These ones had a lovely dappled pattern, like flowers, interspersed with touches of green.

I used a die I got relatively recently in a  sale, I can't remember the make, to cut a floral white border to go over the background. I trimmed the card to give a narrow border all round the die cut, and then mounted on an A6 card base.


All my photos bleach out the background a bit, it was a more detailed with stronger colour than it appears.

Inside the card, I used the same colours to stamp Happy Easter. I applied the distress inks to my blending mat, then picked them up with the Clarity word chain alphabet stamps to give the mottled colour.


I also made a little present to go inside. For Christmas I got my mum a transparent phone cover, and made inserts to fit inside to decorate the phone. (I was a bit gutted that my phone is so old you can't get a cover for it!) I don't think I blogged that, here are the original inserts I made for her.


I decided to give her a new one for Spring. She loves hares (remember the hare canvas for her birthday?) and we got some hare stamps at the last Clarity workshop I went to with Angela in Berkshire.

I started by drawing round the template onto stencil card (I'd remembered to keep it - although took me a while to find where I'd put it "safe"!). I brushed a little green (bundled sage distress ink) over the whole thing as a base, then tore some hills from copier paper and added a series up the card, again with the brush and bundled sage ink.

I stamped the hares in potting soil archival ink (I touched up a couple of paws with a coloured pencil). To complete it, I used some wee foliage stamps around the edge, to add grass at the bottom and trees at the top. Finally, I cut it out, including the apertures for the camera etc.


Again, the photo has bleached it a little, the hills are more defined than this shows. My mum loves it, I got a message earlier to say she now has hares leaping across the back of her phone!

The only issue is that this is going to be a hard one to follow. I may have to use the other hare stamps from the set!


Make Art Not War


This is a quick project inspired/prompted by Barbara Gray's blog yesterday. She suggested we make a piece of art with the words "Make Art Not War" as a collective craft community statement. This is my contribution.

I started with an inky background from a mop up of a previous project, which I really liked. Such a pity you can never repeat these!



I stamped the words in black archival ink. I had "art" from a word chain, the other words were made up from the word chain alphabet stamps.



I had thought I'd add more to the background, but actually I really like it as is. So simple!

I just trimmed the card down, added a little purple and yellow round the corners (dry brushing with the ink left on my stencil brushes) and mounted on black card.



I should probably sign this now - but not taking the photos again!

I hope you like my simple statement.