Monday, 18 June 2018


I'm a bit late posting my 52 Christmas Card Throwdown card this week - the photo went up on Saturday, but not the blog behind it.

Andreja has chosen "Wreaths" as her theme challenge.

I wanted to do a multicoloured repeating pattern with this, but time wasn't on my side this week - lots on at work and at home!

So I went for a simpler design - not sure I'm that taken with the result, although the idea could work better with a few more tries I think.

For the wreaths, I made a black and white background to die cut. I used sentiment stamps, mostly from Clarity, and memento black ink, first, second and third generation.

For the background, I wanted bright colours to contrast, and square shapes to contrast with the round curly wreaths. I looked for my abstract squares stencil from Clarity, which has lots of different size squares and rectangles, but couldn't find it - that's the second one I've realised is missing. Hopefully when I eventually organise my stash they'll turn up!

So I used the framework squares instead, the result wasn't quite the same though. I used brushed corduroy, crushed olive and aged mahogany distress inks, with a Clarity stencil brush.

I edged the background with a black sharpie.

I arranged the wreaths on the background, cutting off the overhand and using it on the opposite side.

To finish I used my favourite tattered lace sentiment die, cut simply from black.

To join in, head over to the 52CCT blog. This challenge ends on Friday 22nd June.

Saturday, 9 June 2018

So simple in the end!

This week's challenge on the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown is colour:

I have to admit I really struggled with this one. I started (went quite a long way) down the road of texture paste words with various mediums over them - this is where I got to:

Four cards nearly done, I like elements of all of them, but none of them quite right. And too tired and uninspired to "rescue" any of them - maybe I'll come back to one or two later!

So I went for something simple.

A brusho background in yellow, orange and brilliant red:

And a Clarity stamp in fired brick distress oxide:

And there's my card, so easy but I like it a lot more than the ones I'd been working on for ages!

If you'd like to have a go with these sunny colours, head over to 52CCT - the challenge closes Friday 15th June.

I hope you get on with them better than me!

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Gel plate sketch

I'm a little late posting my card for Andreja's first challenge as host of 52CCT this month.

As usual, we kick off with a sketch.

I had such a fun session last Monday, making backgrounds with my gel plates, acrylic paints and some stencils. 

But I couldn't think how to use these for the sketch immediately, so made some more in more uniform colours.

And then I ran out of time, and was away for a few days, so have only just got around to finishing the cards!

In the meantime, I've had an idea of how to use the multicoloured backgrounds without it all being too much - use black!

I cut strips of black card to make the vertical and horizontal banners, then used dies to cut the circle (I didn't have concentrical oval dies!) and sentiment (an old favourite from Tattered Lace - I must get the Happy Birthday equivalent).

I then cut the sentiment again from gold and layered as a drop shadow (or highlight) to help the sentiment stand out.

I layered onto black to frame, then onto a 6x6 card base.

I like the drama the black creates.

Not wanting to waste the other backgrounds, I did make up the card with the green and purple backgrounds (the other multicoloured ones are in the stash).

I cut the green for the base layer and oval, then the purple for the banners and sentiment.

I edged the banners in purple stazon ink,and the base with a purple sharpie.

I cut the sentiment from black to give a drop shadow again.

I also cut another oval from black card to frame the green oval - I drew round the die and cut by hand.

This one went onto a 5x7 card base.

I'm not so sure about this one!

To join in with our sketch challenge, head to the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until Friday 8th June to share your card with us.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Use some lace!

My last challenge as host of the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown this month is a stash challenge, and I've asked you to use lace to make your card.

My design team card uses lace in three ways.

Firstly, I used the gel press plate to apply gold pigment ink through a piece of lace to give my background. I then used the ink left on the plate to stamp the piece I used for my topper, giving a reverse impression of the lace.

Secondly, I added lace across the centre of the card, with dark red ribbon.

Thirdly, I used a lace border stamp to frame the background and topper - in gold pigment ink and cranberry adirondack respectively.

I stamped the sentiment (a Clarity stamp) in the cranberry adirondack too, then used a gold pen to highlight it. I used the gold inkpad around the edges of the background and topper, and mounted both on dark red card. The whole was added to a 5x7 card blank.

This looks far too neat to be one of my cards!

To join in with the challenge, go to the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown.

Have fun!

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Simple stars

This afternoon I suddenly remembered a gorgeous stencil I have that's a Christmas star, so had to have a play and make some more star themed cards for our next challenge on the 52CCT.

No step by step photos for this one, but it's a technique I've done before, here.

I spritzed through the stencil with water onto watercolour card. I used my posh super smooth stuff, as the stencil is so detailed.

I then removed the stencil and sprinkled on brushos to react with the water. Put aside carefully to dry, then flick to remove the dry powder.

The first attempt is shown at the top - the best of the lot!

Here are the others:

Simple but pretty.

I also have 6 others that didn't work so well - mostly because I kept forgetting to remove the stencil before adding the brusho. They're still lovely but the star shape isn't clear. I'll have to think about how to use them - maybe emboss over the top. But not this evening.

I also have another star card I'm half way through I'd like to finish, but won't be in time for the challenge launch. I struggled for ages to think what I wanted to do, then the ideas have come flooding in!

To join in with the 52CCT Star challenge, head over to the blog page - you have until midnight BST on Friday 25th May to enter. Have fun with this one - I have!!


Time for another challenge at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown! For my theme challenge, I chose "Stars".

I decided to make a panel card.

I started by die cutting stars of different sizes from a sheet of mask film. I cut two of each size to have a variety.

After cutting card to size for a 6x6 card blank, I masked off my panel. For my first colour, I added tattered rose, using a Clarity stencil brush.

I then added a few of my star masks, and added more colour - tattered rose and worn lipstick, getting darker gradually.

I added the rest of the stars and darkened the colour further, with picked raspberry, seedless preserves and dusty concord.

As well as the brushes, I used sponges to wipe the ink from the masks onto the card, to make the edges crisper.

Time for the big reveal!

While digging out the mask film, I found my sheet of Clarity star masks (ready made) so thought I'd try a version with these.

I chose blues and purple for this one.

And the reveal:

I did more layers of stars in this one, so there is more variety in the colours. But I only added purple at the end, so they don't blend as well, and the stars are more similar in size, so I think I prefer the first version with my home made stars!

To finish off, I edged the panels with a black drawing pen. I stamped a sentiment onto the panel with black archival ink.

It didn't stand out particularly, especially on the blue, so I added white highlights around it with a gel pen. I used the stamp platform for the sentiment, so once I'd added the white I could re-stamp in black to repair where I'd gone over the letters, and be sure it would line up perfectly.

The final step was to edge with a black sharpie pen, then mount onto a 6x6 card blank.

So that's two more Christmas cards to add to my collection for the year!

I do like panel cards, they always look so crisp and clean.

How will you interpret our "Star" theme?

To join in, go to the 52CCT page. This challenge closes at midnight BST on Friday 25th May.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Monday, 14 May 2018

Birthday butterflies

Today I'm sharing a card I made for my best friend.

This was a mess, painty project, and so much fun!

I started with my pieces of card - one piece for the background and one for the butterflies.

I pulled out a variety of acrylic paint colours I wanted to use - teal, magenta, purple, yellow, lime green. I brushed them over the card with a wide brush.

I dried in between layers, so the colours didn't go muddy.

This was the background piece:

and here's the piece for the butterflies.

I kept the colours more separate with the latter, so the butterflies had some contrast. I also dry brushed some gold over the top for shimmer.

I overstamped the background with a variety of texture stamps, using the same paint colours. There were some Indigoblu stamps in the mix, plus a lot more!

I then stamped my three butterflies onto the other card. One is a Clarity stamp, the others I think came with magazines.

The middle one went a bit blotchy - I pressed a bit hard, which is fine for the Clarity stamp, but not for the cheaper, squidgier stamps! So I painted another piece of card and restamped. I fussy cut the butterflies out, then mounted onto black card and cut round, leaving a narrow border.

I also added white pen round the border, to lighten it.

To help the butterflies stand out on the background, I overstamped the middle section with white gesso, using a checked pattern texture stamp.

I also scribbled round the edge with a black and a white drawing pen.

To tie the butterflies in better, I stamped with the swirl stamp using the gold paint, just at the edges.

I mounted onto black card, then onto an 8x8 card blank.

Finally, I added the butterflies, using tiny foam pads down the centre.

It looks flatter in the photo than in real life, you don't see all the layers. Maybe if doing it again (and if I'd had more time, this was made to a deadline!) I'd add texture paste, or use an embossing folder to add more dimension.

Nonetheless, I really like this! I hope my friend did too.