Sunday, 21 December 2014

The Last Christmas card, 2014

Oh please let it be the last ....... LOL.
This was for my work colleague, she loves pink and purple and so her card features this colour scheme.  I gave all the office cards out on Friday and she loved it :-)


I used the snowflakes from Visible Image again, masking off the purple and slightly overlapping the pink.  Then I die-cut to make a panel, using a Nestie deckled edge rectangle.  This was attached to the card and I made an interrupted frame for the sentiment.  I found some purple ribbon to match the snowflake and tied it around the whole card.  Some tiny crystals at the corners and it was finished.

I am pleased with this one, will definitely use the basic idea again, the deckled edges on the panel really set off the image.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Buy it - Try it: The Horse and the Bee

Sounds like it could be a children's story doesn't it?  LOL.  But no, these are actually the Christmas cards requested by my colleague for her daughters - if you'll recall, last year her DD2 married a man named Bee, so she wanted to give her a themed card and of course she couldn't leave out her DD1, who is into horses.  I did think it was a one-off, but she asked me if I could do another two this year:-)

This is what I came up with, first the Bee:


The hive is a Memory Box die, the holly is done with a Martha Stewart punch and the background stamp is by Phil Martin.  The sentiment is computer generated, font is MacHumaine, I die-cut it with a Dienamics banner.

Second, the Horse:


The horse is a Die-versions die, the branch and baubles are from Memory Box and I used Stik It adhesive sheet for the bauble overlays, made it so much easier!  I used a Stampin Up punch for the sentiment tag.

The baubles, branch, horse and hive are all new, so it's a BITI extravaganza today LOL.  My colleague was very pleased with them :-)

I will definitely be using the branch to hang things from again, it looks really effective.  When I first saw this die, I didn't really think it looked like anything much, but Helen over at Fiddlefart used it to such great effect, I just had to buy it!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Out of the Drawer: Last minute Anniversary card

As we were going to bed on Monday evening, DH whispered those words every wife loves to hear ......
"It's my folks' wedding anniversary this week and I need to post the card tomorrow"
He then promptly went to sleep, whilst I lay wide awake!!!  I knew I didn't have an anniversary card in my box, so was still turning over ideas in my head until I finally (much, much later!) fell asleep. 
So I got up early the next morning and in the shower, I remembered a heart die and thought it would fit on one of my previously half-prepped card bases.

This is what I came up with in the end and even managed to take a photo before DH left for work with it.


It's a double OotD really - the card base, comprising the scalloped blank, the patterned paper mat and the turquoise die-cut mat was made ages ago at a crop and stashed in the drawer.  I think the paper is from a 6" paper pad and the mat was a Marianne die.  The heart die (Robert Adams) was bought at the Make it show last year on a vague "it'll come in useful" whim, but has not been christened until now!  I have to say, it cuts beautifully. 

So, early on Tuesday morning, I embossed some cardstock with a dotty embossing folder and punched a circle to frame the heart, stuck it to the die-cut mat.  Then I die-cut the heart - after a frantic search for a suitably-coloured cardstock - and attached to the circle.  The sentiment banner is done with a Dienamics die and a peel-off, no way was I going to risk messing up stamping a sentiment!  The banner was attached to the heart and then I stuck down the flowers using Cosmic Shimmer glue, leaving about five minutes for it to set before DH was due to leave!  I only had time to take one photo, luckily it's a reasonable one :-)

I do hope they like it ...... LOL.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Buy It - Try It : Less is More challenge - Snow

I haven't entered the LIM challenge for ages, but this weeks prompt for a one layer card is anything to do with snow....... I can do that :-)  It just so happens that I have these new snowflake stamps from Visible Image, so this counts as a BITI as well.



I stamped the pink snowflake, then stamped again on scrap paper and cut it out to use as a mask.  The snowflakes were then stamped in purple and the sentiment (Stampin Up) went over everything in a much darker shade of purple.  I wanted a frame to connect the elements and was stuck for a bit as I didn't have a pen which was a dark enough purple.  Then inspiration struck and I scored a frame using my Hougie board.  It's a a little imperfect down the right hand side, but not too bad.

I should use both masking and scoring techniques more often, it always amazes me how good they look, whenever I re-discover them :-)

Monday, 15 December 2014

Buy it - Try it: Zentangle Baubles

Two BITI posts in a row!  Well, I have bought an awful lot lately :-)  Something to do with the festive season, perhaps......  This card also fits in very nicely with week 51 of the 52 cards challenge, a colour prompt.


The baubles are from Personal Impressions, I stamped and embossed in black, then coloured with Kuretake pens.  Then I cut out the baubles, attached to a holly paper matted card blank, added faux nailheads to 'hang' the baubles, and stamped the sentiment. 

I think I can use the stamp to better effect, but for a first go, it's not too shabby :-)

Buy it - Try it: White Christmas trees

During Blogtoberfest, I had a theme called Buy it Use it, but have decided to rechristen it as Buy it - Try it.  I like the sound of it better and also BITI is much easier to say than BIUI :-)

I bought this zentangle Christmas tree from Personal Impressions a few weeks ago, so it still counts as new!  I also bought some zentangle baubles at the same time, they'll be coming up soon :-)  The tree was stamped and embossed in white, then shades of red and green distress ink were applied over the embossing.  I added photo corners (Martha Stewart punch) for a bit of pop.


This is the blue version.  I have left it quite simple, just rounding two opposite corners.


I do like this technique, funny how things come around again as I remember doing it several years ago and all of a sudden it's trendy again!

I am entering the red/green card into the Craft Stamper Take it Make it challenge for December.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Pin-spiration - three layer Christmas card

So, at the time of year when I most need to craft, my mojo is steadfastly refusing to co-operate!  What else to do but search my Pinterest boards for inspiration :-)

Today's Pin-spired card has three layers, two die-cuts over patterned paper.  The original Pin is here, and this is my version of it.


I haven't done the ribbon as per the original, I don't think it needs it.  Both the sentiment and the village dies are from Memory Box and the paper is from Craft Creations.

I am very pleased with this one, I think it's one of my favourites so far this year.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Cross stitch in progress 3

Another update on the Nine Trees :-)  It looks a little lumpy in the photo as I have the frame hanging off my steering wheel LOL.


I plan to finish the central seven trees and then see how to get around the fabric problem - it's not quite wide enough to have an ideal amount of excess on each side for framing, so it would have been tight anyway, plus I started half an inch to the left of where I should have.  There are two options, doing seven and two separate ones to form a triptych, as I mentioned in the last update.  Or..... I might be able to swap the two end trees with each other - the furthest left tree is 35 stitches wide and will not fit onto the fabric with enough left for framing, but the furthest right tree is only 23 stitches wide.  12 stitches difference is nearly an inch and I think it will work :-)
Watch this space!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Out of the Drawer - doily die

I had partially made up this card and decided it needed a doily die-cut .... as you do :-)  I found this die (Hero Arts? - it's difficult to remember when one doesn't keep packaging) and thought it would be suitable.

Well.  I very quickly remembered just why this die was in the drawer!  It is a pig to cut .... many passes through the machine and multiple shims later .... I finally had my doily.


The paper is from a 6" pad, I cut to fit the card blank and added the ribbon, pearls, paper doily and clock face (Robert Adams die).  The dots are done using texture paste through a stencil and then inking them with a gold ink pad.  It was at this point I decided on the doily...... having finally managed to cut it, I coloured it with the same gold ink pad.  Then I stamped a sentiment (magazine freebie stamp) and circle-punched it, with a punched scalloped circle mat.

I am actually rather pleased with the finished card - but I must find an easier way to cut that doily!

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Variations on a theme - resist embossing technique

I was late setting off to the ATDML retreat a couple of weeks ago, even though I had been very organised with everything packed the previous evening.  But on the Friday morning, I decided I wanted to stamp/emboss some images in white to take with me and play around with distress inking them.  This of course took far longer than I had thought it would and so I was late :-)

Having inked and over-stamped the images at the retreat, they have been on my desk crying out to be made up into cards.  Here are three I did using an old Stampendous agapanthus stamp.





I am not quite so happy with the last card, I think it would have been better if I had found a toning background mat.  But it's OK :-)

I have some more images to make up yet, so watch this space!!

Monday, 3 November 2014

52 Cards Challenge: week 45

I had a wonderful time at the retreat as usual, the classes were fab and I spent quite a lot of some money in the shop ..... well it would be rude not to ..... LOL.

It was the first chance I have had to have a bit of a play with my new Stampin Up goodies.  So I had a go with the Petite Petals set and its matching punch, also the Gorgeous Grunge set which I bought a while ago.


I really like the effect achieved with masking off stamped images and using a matching punch means no fiddly cutting out of the mask!  The flowers were stamped first, masked off, then the lines and the splotches were stamped over the top.  Very pleased with this one, I am going to do a few more, they are suited to birthday, get well, thank you cards ..... think I may do a mat next time, though.  The sentiment is from Stamping All Day.

The 52 cards challenge for week 45 is 'botanical', so this fits nicely!  I haven't taken part in this challenge for a couple of months at least, must jump back in.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Off to the ATDML retreat!

I have made it to the end of Blogtoberfest!  Really pleased that Karen persuaded me to take part and I shall definitely be carrying some ideas forward - I have had a lot of fun with the Buy it & Use it, Out of the Drawer and Pin-spiration themes.  A big thanks to Michelle for running it.
Today I am off to the retreat run by A Trip Down Memory Lane in Suffolk - the journey is supposed to take 2 hours, but I have never managed it in that time!  Here is what I am taking with me, somehow my good intentions of packing light this time just didn't happen......


Looking forward to a weekend of crafting and catching up with everyone I know :-)

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Christmas preparation: Mincemeat, part two

Oops!  I forgot that I had shown the first step, but not the finished jar!  When it's matured for a while, I will be using it to make Delia's Christmas Mincemeat cake.  The recipe from her original Christmas book does not appear to be online, the similarly-titled one on her website requires pre-soaking of fruit and has some different ingredients.  For this original version, you literally add mincemeat to the cake-y ingredients (flour etc), mix and bake.  If you can get hold of the book, I would recommend it highly just for this recipe - borrow it from a friend if you have to!


Just for good measure, I have started two more fruit vodkas - blueberry (left) and blackberry :-)


These should be ready to strain and drink just before Christmas.  That should give me enough time to find some nice bottles..... LOL

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Cross stitch in progress 2

Here is the fortnightly update on my current cross stitch project.  I took the photo in the car, thinking that daylight would be helpful, but it was so dismal outside that those trees still look more black than green!


I do have a slight concern with this project - the instructions say the finished design is about 17" long, so I have used a 21" wide piece of fabric.  This should leave 2" at each end, right?  However the tree at the farthest left will fit, but with only half an inch to spare which could affect framing.  I haven't counted out the trees to the right hand side yet, and I do know that I started slightly left of the fabric centre ..... but not by that much!  The middle tree, incidentally, is the one which is currently showing as second from the right :-)

So I have started a few stitches for each of the tree trunks, to see what the spacing is.  I didn't quite get them all done this morning.  I don't think I can just take one tree out of the design, that would leave eight and odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye!  So I would have to take it down to seven, maybe doing the remaining two as separate pieces, thus making a tryptich to hang on the wall!  We shall see......

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Birthday card - Butterflies

First, the good news - my Stampin' Up parcel has arrived and the contents are spread all over the dining room table!  Ten stamp sets, seven punches, two embossing folders and one die set - wow!  I have tested the punches and christened one of the stamps, so far :-)

Now for today's card.  I bought this Authentique paper pad because it looked really nice online, but I was really disappointed when it arrived, I didn't like it at all.  So I am trying to use it up on card-making! 


I embossed a plain sheet with a dotty embossing folder and cut a square to place an image on.  The Memory Box dies are recent purchases, Crafts U Love had the background die on their weekly special a while ago, then a couple of weeks ago the outline came on special too!  I cut the butterfly background from a spotty paper to echo the embossing and then the outline with a plain colour, using Stick It for the outline and this worked brilliantly.  The, ahem, unusual corners are due to the fact that I picked up a corner rounder rather than the intended inverted corner punch..... having made the mistake on the first corner, I went all the way round and then tried out the inverter on the rounded corner to see what happened.  It's not bad, but I don't plan to do it again LOL.

I am really pleased with this card even though I still don't like the paper!!   These butterfly dies are going to be very useful.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Beat the Christmas Rush - October

Oh my goodness ..... I haven't done this challenge since May!!
It also counts as a Buy it & Use it and an Out of the Drawer, so value for money today!

First, the cards - Two more cards with the Memory Box text die, but they also use something new .....


And two more which use an Impression Obsession die, bought sometime ago - these also use something new .....


The 'new' item is a sheet of adhesive developed especially for die-cutting, to enable the most intricate cuts to be self adhesive.  You may recall a while ago I had trouble with a delicate die here, well I think this will be the answer!  It's called Stick It, I bought mine from Craft Obsessions - who have made an instructional video here - but other retailers are stocking it too. So far, it is living up to the promise :-)

Now, this was not actually my planned blog post for today.  What I had hoped to share with you was my bumper parcel of Stampin Up goodies, which I was expecting on Friday or Saturday, so that I could spend a happy weekend playing .... unfortunately they haven't arrived yet!  Fingers crossed LOL.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Christmas preparation: Mincemeat, part one

I haven't made this mincemeat for a couple of years, because I have discovered that Waitrose's all-butter mince pies are much better than the ones I make :-)  I do also use it to make a Christmas cake, but last year I had enough left to be able to do that.  Now that I have finally run out, I need to make another batch!

This is Delia's mincemeat recipe, which you can find here.  I miss out the almonds because I don't like nuts and I also peel the apples - she says you don't have to, but I don't like the little bits of peel in my teeth LOL.  I also can't recommend her suggestion that veggie suet is just as good, because the result is just horrendous and I had to throw it away.  Other peoples' experience may differ, of course ...... :-)

Here are all the ingredients mixed up and ready for the oven:

 

It'll take some time to cool enough to pot up, so I'll share the finished result with you tomorrow.  In the meantime, my house smells wonderful :-)

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Stamped background sheet

I made this at the crop a couple of months ago, but didn't get around to blogging it.  It started in the usual way, with distress inks smooshed over the base and a crackle stamp randomly applied.  Then I over-stamped with various medallions from a Stampin Up set and added some gold swirls from another stamp set which happened to be in my crop bag!


I am not sure what to do with it yet, but I don't think it needs cutting into smaller pieces for cards etc as the pattern is quite large and would be lost.  So I will probably use it as a whole sheet for the base of a layout.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Never smile at a Crocodile :-)

Yesterday, I won a charity raffle at work.  You know the sort of thing, pick the place where the croc comes from, at £1 a go.  The card of place names wasn't quite completely filled out, but the deadline was drawing near and it was very nearly full, so the lady organising it decided to go ahead with the draw.  She revealed the place name to be - fanfare! - Amersham!!!

Unfortunately, no one had picked Amersham, it was of the three place names left blank.  So she put everyone's names in a hat - well alright, a bowl - and the resulting place name was Cardiff, which I had picked because we have been three times and DH's native Hull had already been taken LOL.

Here is Colin the Celtic Croc from Cardiff:




Though sometimes, he dreams mysteriously of Amersham .......






Thursday, 23 October 2014

Throwback Thursday

This layout was completed in 2010, but the photo itself was taken in 2009.  Myself, Sy and Karen are standing outside the Indian restaurant for our after-crop meal. 


The gold borders were done with a Nestie die, with the positive cut at the base of the layout and the negative cut at the top.  I used punches for the purple borders, both EK Success.  No idea what the background paper is, but I used an Artemio stamp set over the splotchy purple paper and also for the gold embossed elements.  The title is done with an alpha stamp from Banana Frog, not sure of the name.
All three of us have scrapped this photo, of course we came up with three different pages!  This is one of my favourite photos and although I still like this layout, I am thinking of scrapping the picture again, just as a bit of fun :-)

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Out of the Drawer - simple Christmas card

I have so many Christmas stamps, it's about time I used more of them.  Out of the Drawer today is this sentiment from a Woodware holly-themed clear stamp set, I think it's about two or maybe even three years old.


This is a quick and simple card, I used some paper from a magazine freebie 6x6 paper pad (maybe Bo Bunny?) for the background mat.  The sentiment is stamped and embossed in silver with the leaves and berries coloured in, then the whole shape was hand-cut.  I attached the sentiment using 1mm foam near the top right corner and added a ribbon down the left side.  Shame I can't tie better knots, but there you go :-)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Buy it & Use It - Birthday and Thank you text dies

Last week, I shared this card, made using the Memory Box Christmas text die.  I have now bought the Happy Birthday and Thank You dies from the same range, they arrived in the post yesterday.  There is also a Best Wishes available, but that's something I would hardly use (if at all!), so I will refrain from getting that one :-)


The papers are from two different Authentique 6" paper pads.  I ran the Thank You through the Bigshot using a spotty embossing folder to see how it would turn out, but I left the Happy Birthday plain.
I really like these dies, I can see them being very useful :-)

Monday, 20 October 2014

More quotation cards

Oooh, I am late with my Blogtoberfest post today!
These cards were semi-prepped, with an inked/stamped background mat and an ATC blank given the same treatment and used as a topper.  I can't remember what brand the quotation stamp is.


I just needed to add a sentiment, so I went for two different birthday stamps (Stamping All Day) and a thank you (Tinchies).

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Christmas preparation: Cranberry Vodka

Last year, Tesco had punnets of cranberries at a reduced price, down from £2 to 25p, so I bought six and popped them in the freezer.  Three months ago, I started this cranberry vodka off, so it would be ready for Christmas.  Although I have used other fruits in vodka before, I have never tried cranberries so only used two punnets - didn't want to waste too much vodka on an experiment!  I usually wing the amounts but this time used an actual recipe (!) from the Waitrose magazine, it doesn't appear to available on their website anymore, so I will type it out here.

Cranberry vodka - original recipe with my adaptations in italics

200g cranberries
1 orange
200g caster sugar
500ml gin - I used vodka

I doubled all quantities
  • Prick the berries to allow the juice to run - I mashed them about a bit with a fork
  • Divide between two 500ml sterilised bottles - I used two x 1 litre preserving jars
  • Peel thin strips of zest from the orange and divide between bottles - I missed the orange out completely
  • Mix vodka and caster sugar, stir until sugar is dissolved, then divide between the bottles.  Make sure to leave a 2 - 3cm gap at the top of each bottle
  • Store bottles in a dark place for at least 2 weeks but not longer than 6 months, shaking them every couple days to infuse - I left mine for 3 months, so I have time to make more for Christmas if it turns out well
  • The recipe ends with: Label before giving as a gift - I don't think it's a great idea to give people vodka with the berries still in it, so that's why I use preserving jars and this is how I continued the process. 
  • Strain jars of vodka through a sieve into a large jug, in stages.  Discard cranberries.  Transfer vodka into a smaller jug for pouring into decorative bottles (washed and sterilised), don't fill the jug too full at a time so that pouring will be more controllable!  Place a muslin strainer or a tea strainer over the top of a small funnel and pour alcohol through this into the bottle.  You will need to rinse the muslin or strainer several times to get rid of sediment from the berries.
The jars:


The finished product:

We did taste a bit ..... well you have to ..... and it is a little tart but not too much so, it is absolutely gorgeous.  Tomorrow I will be buying more vodka :-)

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Pin-spiration: colour block card

Another Pin-spired card today :-)  The original Pin is here and this is my take on it.



I had a rummage through the half-prepped cards box (now doesn't half-prepped sound better than half-done??) and there was this card with just the background done.  I found the rest of the 6" paper pad - possibly My Minds Eye? - the pad cover has become separated.  The three different yellow papers were cut into a square and two sets of two strips, then attached to a square piece of cardstock, which I then close-cut to fit the shape made by the blocks.  The sentiment stamp was free with a card making magazine recently, I believe it's Lily of the Valley and the border stamp is from an old (and mostly unused!) Inkadinkadoo set.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Chocolate birthday cards

No, not real chocolate ...... LOL

These were started off a while ago, I made an inked/stamped A4 background and cut it into mats for two A6 cards and one square one.  Then I stamped the quote(from Paperartsy) onto an ATC blank and inked/stamped around the edges.  After attaching the topper to the card, they were left in need of a sentiment, but instead have been in the semi-finished card box for a couple of months.  The sentiment on the square card is, I think, from Hobby Art, the other two are from Stamping All Day.  I also added the banners to the square card to 'balance' it more and because I had raised the topper on 1mm foam, it was easy to slide them underneath :-).



I really must have a good rummage through the semi-done cards box, to see if more inspiration strikes!  In the meantime, I am rather pleased with these :-)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Throwback Thursday - Spots & Stripes

For today's Throwback Thursday I have chosen this layout from 2010.  DS1 is pictured somewhere in London where there were a lot of decorated tree trunks.  I liked the way he was leaning against the spots in a stripy t-shirt!


I used stripy and spotty papers, cut the title on the robo and then embossed the letters with stripes and spots.  As I remember, the asymmetric frame came from the need to hide an object in the photo and one of the triangle pennants was to hide a mistake, the others were to balance the design ......  I embossed those with stripes and spots as well :-)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Cross Stitch in Progress

I thought I would chart the progress of my current cross stitch project.  So far I have been stitching this for 10 - 15 minutes in the mornings before work, plus I was able to get a good couple of hours in at the crop.  There are nine different trees all together, with some 'snowy' ground beneath them and a lot of snowflakes swirling around them.  I have completed one tree so far and am working on the second :-)  The original chart has letters in the tree trunks spelling 'Welcome', but I didn't like that.  It is quite a long and thin design, about 18" x 6" so will fit nicely above a window.



The lighting is not very good, the trees are actually a deep green, not almost black as they appear here!  Hopefully it will be completed in time for Christmas :-)

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Buy it & Use it - Christmas text die

I had umm'ed and ah'ed over this die for a while and finally gave in last week.  It's a Memory Box Grand Happy Christmas die.  I have made two cards with it so far and will be making several more!


The papers are from Craft Creations.  I think this die would be suited to masculine cards, depending on papers used.  Very pleased with this purchase - there is also a Merry Christmas and a Happy Birthday in the range ... roll on payday!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Snow 2013

I have a terrible habit of leaving things half finished .... you may have noticed :-)  With scrapbooking, I will usually start off a layout at a crop, then decided to finish at home - mostly it's the title and journalling which causes this procrastination.  I have dozens of such half-finished pages, so I need to make a bit of an effort and what better excuse than Blogtoberfest???

It seems strange to post another snowy page so soon after the Throwback Thursday one, but this was a quick one to finish, the title was actually already cut (hangs head in shame).  So all I needed to do was to die-cut the banner for the letters to sit upon and then punch the three little banners at the lower side, it doesn't really need any journalling.  Yes, that was it.  Really.



Luckily there was a piece of the paper with the manufacturer's strip still attached, so I am able to tell you that it is My Minds Eye "Lost & Found 3".  The fancy squares are done with an old Creative Memories punch, the large banner with a Die-namics die and the small banners with a Stampin Up punch.  The letters are silhouette-cut, I think the font is Polo.

One down ..... goodness know how many to go!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Out of the Drawer - gilding flakes

Out of the Drawer is where I will be attempting to use some previously bought item, never used and languishing unloved in a drawer!

Today's item is an Indigo Blu gilding flakes starter kit.  I had waited for a decent subscription gift for a magazine and this was suddenly advertised, so I thought "Ooooooh! Must have!"  But in spite of all that excitement, it has sat in the drawer for a couple of months.

The flakes are very easy to use - though they fly everywhere - the comprehensive instructions did recommend using tumble dryer sheets to combat the static, I can certainly endorse that!  The colour blend included in the kit was Autumn Dawn, mainly silver with a few other colour inclusions.  I had seen a demo table at The Glitter Pot (didn't have time to stay and watch the actual demo!) and this stamp was on the table there so I thought I would try it .... though I was a bit doubtful as it is very detailed.




It gives an amazing effect, all the detail is picked up.  DH did mutter something about couldn't I get that effect with embossing powder ..... to which Sy and I answered No!  LOL.

It's also very difficult to photograph as it changes with the light.  The two pics above are the same card, but it looks more gold than its real silver colour, the mat is actually blue-green :-)  I have now bought another six Indigo Blu colour mixes, plus a Cosmic Shimmer one called Mulled Wine, well how could I resist that??

Looking forward to trying all my new mixes :-)

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Cross stitch disappointment!

A few months ago, I started stitching for 10 or 15 minutes every morning, sitting in my car before work.  I have already blogged the Sun Dragon made in this way here, but there was a piece before that, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment :-(


It's quite simple, lots of squares in various colours - it was a chart from a very old issue of Cross Stitcher magazine, I think.  After I had finished it, I made the mistake of not taking it off the frame immediately and it was left in its carry bag for about three months.  When I came to take it off and frame it, I discovered two things.  One :- the frame had marked the fabric, quite close to the stitching.  Two :- the dimensions of the design would not fit into any standard sized frame.  You would think I could have noticed that whilst stitching, but there you go :-)

So my options were limited - I couldn't cut the whole piece of fabric to a standard size because of the frame marks on the fabric and I couldn't fit just the stitching with a narrow fabric border into a smaller frame because it wasn't a standard size.  I ended up cutting a piece of self adhesive mountboard to size, attached the stitching to it, then attached the whole thing onto another piece of standard frame sized mountboard covered with toning paper.  Then I put it into a frame so that it was protected under glass.

And ... I don't like it.  The design of squares is a nice idea, but I don't like the colours, I think the overall impression of them is too dark, even with some light colours in there - which I did notice whilst I was stitching but only towards the end when it all came together and I persuaded myself that it would be fine, really :-)  Then there is the size issue ......

I think that what I will do at some point, is re-chart the design, expanding it into a standard size and using different colours.  It's not going to be soon, though ......

In the meantime, Sy likes it, so she received an unexpected gift LOL.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Pin-spiration: Circle wall art

A few months ago, Sy showed me Pinterest and I have spent many many hours a bit of time browsing through the  many boards and pinning ideas for cards and other craft projects.  I decided that I should probably stop Pinning and start actually doing something with the ideas! 

Ok, I haven't stopped Pinning, but I have done my first completely Pin-spired project.  A few days ago, I blogged the decorated caddy for my work colleague here, and I did intend to hand it over on Monday.  But I thought I would also make her a surprise piece of wall art, which I started at the weekend crop, but didn't finish in time for Monday.  The original Pin is here, and this is my version of it:



Close up of some detail:


It was very easy to do, at the crop I brushed paint in three colours (two oranges, one yellow) randomly over a 12 x 12 sheet of white card, making sure that there were brush marks and random bits.  Then I used a Paperartsy splotches stamp and stamped/embossed in gold randomly over the whole sheet.  Then it was just a matter of punching circles which had really good bits of pattern on them.

I stuck 12 circles down on a piece of 10x8" card in as neat a grid as I could manage - thank goodness for my centering ruler! - and I think it looks fabulous.  I am definitely going to make more of these in different colours.

But I must be honest ...... this is my second painted sheet of card - the first one went horribly wrong!  I stamped a background pattern in white ink and dried with a heat gun before adding the gold embossed splotches.  It turned out to be not so dried as I had thought and the background pattern picked up the gold embossing powder as well!  Far too much gold for how I wanted the finished item to look ...... so I cut it into pieces and it will appear on a card soon :-)

This afternoon I handed over both the caddy and the artwork to my colleague and she absolutely loved them - what a relief :-)




Thursday, 9 October 2014

Throwback Thursday - White Easter

For this week's Throwback Thursday, I thought I would share with you the only layout I have ever submitted to a magazine, back in 2008.  The challenge theme was "collage", which I interpreted to mean multiple layers, different textures and the odd embellishment here and there.



I didn't win :-)  Not that I really expected to, but I was quite annoyed to see that some of the winning entries couldn't really be called 'collage' at all - that seemed a bit unfair on all of us who had done what was asked.  I have to say it put me off submitting anything else!

But I do still love the layout in my beloved aqua and white colourway.   I seem to remember that the papers were Provocraft and Basic Grey, with silver mesh (attached with brads), ribbon and resin snowflakes.  The large snowflake was stamped and embossed in white on vellum.  The title was robo-cut and the edging strips around the photo were done with a border punch.  I am actually amazed that I can recall such detail from 2008 LOL.

If I were to do it again today, I don't think I would have such a harsh straight line between the Basic Grey snowflake paper and the rest of the page and maybe I wouldn't have split the background exactly in half like that.  Apart from that, it's not too bad :-)

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Christmas cards - Aqua with white hanging baubles

Two Christmas cards to share today, both basically the same, just a slightly different sentiment on each one :-)



I cut a background panel from Bazzill 'Sparkle' and used my south-west corner punch for some tiny detail.  Then I die-cut the hanging baubles (Memory Box die) and stuck them down .... this is easier said than done, the die is so delicate it stretches a bit when you're trying to stick it down!  I actually cut four, but only got two finished cards in the end :-)  I have bought some glue pens to try next time, my usual Herma just doesn't deal well with intricate dies.

I do love the aqua/white combination and this is a nice simple card - if I can get the things glued down more easily ...... more experimentation needed :-)

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Tuesday Travel

I thought I would share some travel photos with you.  My favourite place to visit is Venice, we have been three times now, twice during carnival when the costumes are so fabulous.  These pictures are from February this year.

Gondola on the Grand Canal



Steampunk couple



If I won the lottery, Venice would be the place I would go to first :-)

Monday, 6 October 2014

Stamped background page for layout

At the crop yesterday, I was winding down for the day and decided to mess about with a bit of background stamping.  I used a sheet of Bazzill in Natural as the base.  Most of my backgrounds start the same way - using an ink duster brush to apply and blend distress inks in Antique Linen and Tea Dye.  It looks a bit splotchy and uneven at this point, but that's OK :-)


Next step is the crackles - swoosh distress ink onto a splotchy shaped area of your crackle stamp (I use Indigo Blu) in Tea Dye and apply randomly over the page, especially in the clearer areas between the previously applied inks.  A non-wood mounted stamp is more flexible for this as you can hold in the hand to apply.  I also tried using Antique Linen for some of the crackles.


Next I added the 'speckles', again using Tea Dye and a Paperartsy stamp.


 Now for the corner stamping.  I knew I wanted to have a graduated stamped image, fading out naturally towards the edges and disappearing into the background.  The ink was Kaisercraft 'Vintage'.  The stamp I chose to use is a tile pattern by Hero Arts for the Basic Grey 'Spice Market ' range - another new purchase used!  I applied the ink to one corner and upwards/along from that corner, then blurred the edges of the ink with a baby wipe before stamping.  This gives the 'fade-to-background' effect at the edges of the image.


Finally I blended some Brushed Corduroy distress ink around the edge, then went over the whole lot lightly with Antique Linen again, plus a bit more Tea Dye.


There will be more stamping on this sheet, but that will depend on how the layout is arranged, so for the moment, that's it.  I am rather pleased with it :-)