Monday, 30 November 2015

Clean and Simple

Just time to post my ClarityStamp Challenge card for the month.

The challenge this month was clean and simple - my usual approach is "keep going until you're happy" so this was a bit of a departure.

I really wasn't sure what to do, so in the end I went for something very simple indeed! I used my "borrowed from under the Christmas Tree" Wee Folk stamps again. They have gone back in the stash now!

Clean and simple resist embossed Christmas card, red, yellow and green

To make this I stamped the sleigh and reindeer onto Clarity stencil card with watermark ink, and heat embossed with clear powder.

I then positioned the abstract squares stencil so that the biggest square was over the middle of the page, and masked the rest with sticky notes.

Resist embossed Christmas image with masks

Using squeezed lemonade distress ink and a blending tool, I filled the square with colour. I had thought I might need to add a bit of orange to make the colour intense enough, but actually it came out very strong.

Resist embossed Christmas image, yellow, with masks

Clean and simple resist embossed Christmas image, yellow

I then moved the stencil and, using the same square, added red and green on either side. I wiped the image to remove the ink and bring it back to white. The overlapping areas end up orange and lime.

Clean and simple resist embossed Christmas image, red, yellow and green

And then I stopped! It took a bit of willpower not to add more - a bit of faux stitching, a doodle or two… but I decided to stay true to the theme and leave it perfectly clean!

Just folded A4 kraft card in half to make a simple card base.

Clean and simple resist embossed Christmas card, red, yellow and green

It's not my usual style, but I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I think I could try a version with the image stamped in black instead, or with blue ink to give an impression of sky in the squares, with snowflakes. After Christmas of course, when I officially have my wee folk stamps to play with!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Family and Friends

This week's 52 Christmas Card Throwdown challenge has the theme Family and Friends.

I had to cheat a little bit on this one - I don't have a lot of character stamps, so I have "borrowed" one of my Christmas presents bit early, the ClarityStamp Christmas Wee Folk.

I had a great idea about how to frame the little stamped scene one night, I was really pleased with it, until the next day when I realised it's basically the same as a demo Barbara Gray had done on her blog. Ah well, at least they're going in at some level.

I started by cutting a bauble shape from card, keeping the inner and outer shapes to use and masks.

Putting the outer shape down first, I brushed in some landscape lines using iced spruce distress ink and a stencil brush. I also brushed round the outside to give a faint outline on the card.

I then stamped the tree and two of the wee folk figures in olive pigment ink.

Next I swapped the masks and covered the bauble to add colour round the outside. I mixed red and a little blue acrylic paint, then applied it with a make up sponge, sweeping from the middle out to avoid leakage under the mask.

I quite like the texture that the strokes of the sponge create.

Once the paint had dried I added more texture with a snowflake stamp and aged mahogany distress ink, first and second generation stamping.

At this point I had a bit of a disaster and managed to splodge red paint into the bauble!, So, start over again! I may be able to do something with the first attempt by covering it, or making a tag, but it won't do for the challenge. Unfortunately the bauble didn't come out as cleanly on the second attempt, but no time to redo it again. The pictures are a mix of the first and second run!

In the meantime, I stuck an adhesive sheet onto copy paper, and covered it in gilding flakes. Such a gorgeous finish!

From this I cut several large snowflakes using a tattered lace die.

I trimmed down the card to a square, and attached the gilded snowflakes, over the outside edge, and cut back the excess.

For the mount, I brushed iced spruce over the first layer to match the bauble, then made a second layer (or mat? I'm never sure) with double sided tape and more gilding flakes.

And there we are! Ran up to the last minute in the end, but I got it done!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Couldn't resist!

Green and purple Christmas card with snowflakes

It's no good, I had to have a quick play with these backgrounds I made for the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown green and purple Colour challenge.

Green and purple watercolour backgrounds

So here's a last minute card, quick and simple but I think quite stylish.

Green and Purple

Green and purple Christmas card with ribbon and zentangle stockings

This week's 52 Christmas Card Throwdown Challenge has a green and purple colour theme. Really challenging this week, they're not typical Christmas colours, and I'm not the only one who had to give this a bit of thought. However, the reason for doing these challenges is to stretch myself and see what I can do (as well as getting my Christmas cards made). And there are some amazing cards on the challenge this week as people have been pushed to be innovative, lots of ideas and inspiration for other cards.

My card is quite simple. I cut a piece of watercolour card just smaller than my 5 x 7 card base, and faux stitched round the outside in purple. I attached lengths of green and purple ribbon, weaving them to form a pattern.

To make the stockings I drew the shape on scrap paper, then transferred it to watercolour card the old school way. Literally, this is how we did it when I was at school. I scribbled over the back of the shape with a soft pencil then put it onto the card and drew round the line, pressing quite hard. The benefit of this is I can erase the lines when I've done with them.

I then zentangled the stockings in purple and green, and cut round the shapes. I triple heat embossed them with clear embossing powder to give them a lovely, glossy shine.

Then I simply attached them with foam pads, and mounted the card onto the card base.

Green and purple Christmas card with ribbon and zentangle stockings

As a bonus, I have these backgrounds that I made as my first idea of how to use green and purple.

Green and purple watercolour backgrounds

I haven't had time to do anything with them for the challenge this week, but I have some ideas how to use them for more cards for my Christmas stash.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Deck the halls

Christmas card with holly pattern border and banner

So, another week, another 52 Christmas Card Throwdown Challenge.

They've put out a Design Team Call, which I'm throwing my hat in the ring for, so I really wanted to do something special for the card this week. An ill baby has made that challenging, but here's what I've managed to come up with.

The challenge this week is this sketch.

52 CCT banner sketch

I decided I'd start by making a patterned paper to use. This is based on a demo Barbara Gray did on her blog last Christmas - I reckon if it's stayed in my mind for nearly a year, it was time to try it. She made a panel card, I'm using it a bit differently.

I started with Clarity Stencil card, and built up a background using distress inks - squeezed lemonade, crushed olive, bundles sage, pine needles and aged mahogany - and my new Clarity stencil brushes.

Background with distress inks and stencil brushes

It looked a bit messy, but so did Barbara's at this stage, which reassured me.

Next I stamped a holly image over the background with stazon black permanent ink.

Coloured ink background stamped with black holly images

The background looks better already, but now for the magic bit - faux bleaching the leaves and berries with water to lighten them.

Coloured ink background stamped with faux bleached holly images

I love the way this looks, such a pretty effect.

At this point I started to plan the card. I've been making cards from the centre out, and they end up strange sizes, so I wanted to get this one to fit a 5 x 7 card base. Which meant the patterned section I'd done wasn't quite wide enough! So I expended it out - fortunately with this technique you can do this easily, as any colour that goes over the holly images can be lifted out again.

Coloured ink panel stamped with faux bleached holly images

So I have my panel of patterned paper. I want to use it for a frame and for the banner in the sketch, so I cut out the centre. I cut a centre panel from the rest of the sheet of stencil card.

Coloured ink frame and centre stamped with faux bleached holly images

Next I think about the topper. I want to use the holly again (I looked at other holly images I have, but don't like any as much as this one). I used a scrap of the card, aged it with antique linen distress ink, then dusted with an anti-static bag and stamped the holly with watermark ink. I heat embossed in platinum and then cut out the image.

Holly image heat embossed in platinum

Next to the background panel. I wanted to use an embossing folder to add pattern without more colour as the holly pattern I've made is quite forceful. I started with a Tattered Lace holly pattern folder, but this was a bit much as well, so settled for a simple dotty embossing folder, also from Tattered Lace.

Panel embossed with dots

I aged this piece with antique linen as well, before embossing as I didn't want the ink to pick out the dots and make them more prominent.

Next the sentiment, from a stamp set I got with a magazine. It's appropriate for the design and is a bit different to your usual "Merry Christmas".

I stamped onto more aged card, then mounted on a spare scrap of the patterned paper.

Deck the halls with boughs of holly sentiment

Now I have all the pieces, I can put the card together and see how it looks. Immediately the embossed holly gets lost, so I decide to mount that too. I apply the same colours of distress inks to another scrap of the card, and cut a small rectangle. I edge it with the same platinum embossing powder.

Platinum embossed holly image on coloured mount

I just need to cut a triangle out of the end of the banner, and edge all the patterned pieces in black. I use the stazon ink pad, then swap to a sharpie pen for the bits on the banner that it won't get into.

I age the front of the card base so it all ties in, then it's time to stick it all together. I have got some more foam tape after my frustration with the mini pads making my last card, which makes it all much easier!

Christmas card with holly pattern border and banner

Christmas card with holly pattern border and banner

Christmas card with holly pattern border and banner

I think this is a very pretty Christmas card, and a little different to the norm, although it uses a very traditional palette of colours.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

A Sleigh on a Journey

Sleigh Christmas card

The theme at the Sweet Stampin' Christmas challenge for October is Travel and Transport.

This card has been, appropriately enough, quite a journey, with several false starts and detours along the way. 

False starts and different approaches to sleigh Christmas card

But in the end I found my way to the card I had in my head.

I started with an A4 sheet of silver centura pearl card, which I cut into 4 A6 sections. I was hoping to make a few copies of this card, although in the end only one was usable.

I covered the card with Atlantic versa color ink, then stamped the sleigh image, which is from a Papermania set I've had for a couple of years, in watermark ink. I embossed it with white powder. The anti-static pad is definitely needed when stamping onto pigment ink. I did then same with the ClarityStamp Street stamp along the bottom, doubling it up to put houses across the whole width of the card.

I coloured the sleigh image using mica powder with a little water; moon gold for the reindeer, white for the sleigh and beard, and a touch of red on Santa. I also used a little chateau mica powder on a few of the houses. By leaving the windows lighter, it gives an impression of lights on at night.

Lastly, I used a white pen to add snow in the sky and ran a chipped sapphire distress ink pad round the edges. I mounted it on white card a couple of millimetres larger.

Sleigh stamped image

For the frame mount, I used Clarity stencil card, and stamped the swirls round the edge using watermark ink. The stamp is a tree, but I just wanted the curly branches. I heat embossed with clear powder, so the white of the card showed through.

I blended tumbled glass distress ink over the embossing, then to tone it down a little, and tone in with the main image, I added a touch of chipped sapphire distress ink on the edges.

Blue swirl resist embossed background

I mounted this on white card, again 2 millimetres larger, then mounted the main image on this using foam pads. I've run out of foam tape and only have the tiny candy pads at the moment, which are a bit of a pain to use, I must get more tape.

I used the same foam pads (with gritted teeth!) to mount the whole thing onto a white card just under A5 in size.


Sleigh Christmas card
Sleigh Christmas card