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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.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

We wish you a merry christmas...


Time for my second "Musical Notation" card for the current Christmas Card Throwdown challenge.



For this one I played with my gel plate petites, and a music stencil from stamps away.

I used the rectangle gel plate, with distress ink. I started with aged mahogany and wild honey on the plate (spread with a brayer). Placing the stencil over the card (Clarity stencil card cut to size for a 5x7 card blank), I pressed the plate through it.



The gel plate had the ink left where the stencil had been, so I printed this onto a separate piece of card.



I repeated this to cover the whole card, using brushed corduroy ink as well.



This was the main piece...



... and this is the "waste".

And this time, I preferred the waste and ended up using it for the card! I'll use the other another time.

I also thought I'd use the ink left on the stencil, so put it through the grand calibur with some card.



Oops, I have a reflected image! Pretty though, so I could do this with the other side of the stencil some time.

But turning it over, the embossed image is lovely too.



Another one for another day.

So, to get back to today and this card. I trimmed the piece I'd made down, to avoid the blotchy corner. I cut another piece of stencil card larger, to frame it. I wanted to write the words to the song around it, but couldn't work out how. I didn't have a suitable stamp, I tried some alphabet stamps but they looked wrong or were too big. So in the end I ruled some pencil lines and wrote it in - trying to stay upright as my normal handwriting slopes backwards and looks odd for this kind of thing! I changed some of the letters, they're more curly than my normal writing, it still looks a bit strange to me but I hope if you don't know my writing it can pass as okay!



I rubbed out the pencil, and edged the centre piece with wild honey distress marker, and the frame with black sharpie.

I attached to a 6x6 card blank with a tape pen. The final touch, some mdf music shapes. I saw these in a little shop when I was visiting my mum earlier in the week, and thought they were perfect for the challenge! I could have coloured them, but I like the natural colour on this card. I attached them with silicon glue.



Another take on this challenge, with two more musical backgrounds in the stash for another time - I think this theme is so versatile, there are so many cards I could make!

To join in, visit the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until midnight BST on Friday 14th April to enter. Good luck!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Missed a beat....


Oh dear, I'm very late posting my design team card for the latest Christmas Card Throwdown challenge.


I love this challenge, musical notation is so lovely to craft with.

For my first card I've made a version of this Valentine's card, from February.

I started with card cut to size for an A6 card blank, and brushed over with antique linen distress ink to age it. I then stamped my music notation, in archival black. I've had this large stamp for years, I don't know the brand.


It wasn't quite tall enough, so I repeated a section at the bottom.

I then stamped around the edge using the smaller holly and ivy stamp from the Clarity set. (I got this as I love the sentiment font, but haven't used that yet!) I stamped in pine needles distress ink.


As this is an outline stamp, it needed filling in. I brushed round the edge with the distress ink, then applied some to a blending mat and used a paint brush with a little water to paint into the leaves.


While that dried, I sorted out my toppers. I stamped a sentiment from a Sara Davies traditional Christmas set that fitted with the musical theme! I then stamped a frame around it and cut out. I also cut some musical notes with a punch, then stamped onto them with the musical stamp and the holly and ivy stamp. All on kraft card with black archival ink.


I edged the background with a dark green sharpie, then wrapped some gold elastic around, secured with tape on the back. 


I added some gold gilding wax to the toppers as well.

I used some kraft to give a border around the card, then onto the card blank. The toppers I mounted with foam pads, to lift them up a little.

I have to admit, I haven't done the insert or envelope for this one yet!

The kraft notes blend in more in real life than in the photo, I was worried about them disappearing (hence the gilding wax).

Despite the clear link to my valentine's card, I think this one has a character all its own.

To join in with this challenge, go to the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until Friday 14th April, midnight BST, to enter.


Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Flowers for Mother's Day


For Mother's Day this year, I made a Groovi card for my mum, with an inky background. I had the idea for the February Clarity Groovi challenge, which had the theme Flower Power (same as the stamps and stencils Clarity Challenge) but didn't come close to getting it made last month. I only just had it done for Mothers Day - it required a first class stamp to get there in time!

I started with the nested squares, and embossed the corners of the largest square, to define my space. I then used smaller squares to make those corners into squares and rectangles, and filled in a  series of different sized and shaped rectangles between them. This created a variety of spaces for me to work in.


Then the fun bit - filling in! I started by deciding which way up I wanted the grid I'd created, and where to put the words. I then added these using the alphabet on the universal framer plate. Then it was time for the flowers! I used a whole range of plates and borders for this - the henna border, the poinsettia plate, Jayne's humming birds plate among them. I used the wishing well plate - the roof patterns went into a couple of smaller spaces.


I also used the piercing grids to emboss some simple patterns.


This is the finished line work.

Time to add colour - I used my Faber Castell polychromos, from the back.


I'm not sure if it would have been better to stick to fewer colours - but I don't have many pencils so would have been limited to only using three or four!

The next step was to cut out - and I decided to go for the picot cutting. I tried using the straight grid to pierce through, but didn't get on with it, so used the two needle tool. I'm not sure I shouldn't have persevered!


The picot cutting is a bit uneven - I'm out of practice! The angle seemed to make a big difference, where I could hold the parchment below the cut line I found it easier than in the indents, where it was harder to hold the parchment flat. More practice and experimentation required, again!

Time to make a background - on much more comfortable ground for me!

I put some distress ink onto my blending mat - chipped sapphire, dusty concord and a bit of picked raspberry. Spritzed with water, then pressed some stencil card into it. The picked raspberry really stood out!

It was lighter than I wanted for the background, I needed the white embossed lines to stand out, so I repeated with just the blue and purple inks. This filled in the gaps and intensified the colour nicely. (The photo bleaches it a little.)


Using chipped sapphire and the bouquet outline stamp, I over stamped selectively round the edge. I don't want too much fussy detail behind the parchment, but do want the interest in the gaps around the outside of the parchment.


To mount, I used tiny pieces of super sticky tape under the coloured areas of the parchment, then attached the background to a 6x6 card base with a tape pen.

I can't claim to be a parcher, I don't have the skills, and it's not a priority right now to learn them. But I do like being able to produce pieces like this, using the crisp white line art, adding colour, and making a co-ordinating background. And dabbling in a bit of cutting!



Saturday, 18 March 2017

Wall of colour


Our second Christmas Card Throwdown for March is a colour challenge.


For this one, I started with a brickwork stencil, and sponged through with cream acrylic paint.


Once it had dried (and the stencil had been cleaned) I added antique linen distress ink, and a touch of brushed corduroy, for texture.


(Awful photo I'm afraid, and it's not nearly as yellow as this.)

After cutting down to fit a 6x6 card base (finally breaking my run of 5x7) I stamped words over the "wall". I had a graffiti type idea on mind, although my fonts aren't what you'd usually find spray painted on a wall!

For the main "Merry Christmas" I used Clarity word chain stamps, and claret stazon ink.

I don't have a lime ink, so for the other words I inked up the stamp with yellow then leaf green pigment ink, then went over with light green and light yellow Faber Castell polychromo pencils.


The stamps are Clarity sentiments, and an alphabet set used for the "Noel".

I added a holly stamp to the corners, one I've had for years and love for the detail. I used the pigment inks again, then coloured with the pencils.


To edge, I went a bit grungy (thinking back to the graffiti idea) and used one of my Sheena Douglass distress stamps. The ink is the claret stazon again, but second generation.




I mounted it flat on the card base (with a tape pen), thinking about postage at the end of the year.








For the insert and envelope, I kept it simple, just brushing through the outside of the stencil with antique linen distress ink, to give a frame.



To join in with our colour challenge, head over to the Christmas Card Throwdown, you have until the 31st March, midnight GMT.