Monday, 29 February 2016

Love - ClarityStamp February Challenge

The Clarity Challenge this month has the theme of love. Great, I thought, I can make something for hubby for Valentine's, two birds and all that, and I'll get it done in plenty of time. T'was not to be!

This bookmark (which I have given to the ever patient hubby) was meant to be the trial run before I tried my tentative hand at a canvas, but the end of the month is here, so this will have to be my entry.

Hubby and I were both drawn to some of the lovely colourful entries last month, so I wanted to do something in that vein.

I started with stencil card, cut to size for the bookmark holders. The first layer is acrylic paint, applied through the harlequin, Jo's bubbles and abstract squares stencils.

I think this looks very eighties! I have a limited range of paints, mostly primary colours, which probably has something to do with it. I also tried printing onto the card with bubble wrap, but wasn't that happy with how it came out - a lot of it got filed back and covered over later.

Once the paint was dry, the next layer was distress inks (definitely not primary colours!). I used peacock feathers, picked raspberry, mustard seed, spiced marmalade, crushed olive, dusty concord and mowed lawn - I think that's the lot! Applied with a blending tool on the Clarity blending mat.

This completely changes the look, it's much richer, and grungier, now.

The next layer of pattern came from the pattern plates stamps. I used distress inks - chipped sapphire, dusty concord and peacock feathers - and black permanent ink where I wanted a stronger effect.

You can see this is where I've also changed the bubble wrap print with ultramarine acrylic, applied through selected bubbles in the Jo's bubbles stencil.

The last step is to add the letters. I used the wheelie alphabet stencil, with versa mark pen, then added silver embossing powder.

The finishing steps are to drag the black permanent ink pad around the edge, cut a piece of black card to go behind it, and  put them together into the bookmark holder.

And that's it. Not elegant or sophisticated, but I think it's a lot of fun, and quite funky. Maybe one day I'll get round to making the canvas version.

Friday, 26 February 2016

Mmmm, yummy

Gingerbread man Christmas card with candy canes

Gingerbread man Christmas card close up

52 CCT Christmas Baking challengeAnother week, another 52 Christmas Card Throwdown Challenge. I'm not getting much time to craft at the moment, but doing this challenge means I make at least one card a week. This time it's a Christmas Baking theme. I had no idea what design to do, but I knew straight away I wanted to use an idea I saw on TV last year - mixing spices with embossing powder so your card smells Christmassy! It's a bit wasted on a blog, but hopefully the final recipient of the card will get the benefit, and it makes me happy.

Having been through my dies, stamps and papers, I had no images that would work for this challenge, so I had to start from scratch. I folded some copier paper in half and started to draw gingerbread man shapes - it took a few iterations to get one I was happy with.

Creating a gingerbread man template

I drew round my template onto kraft card, and cut it out.

Gingerbread man shape in kraft card

Time to make up the special embossing powder! It turns out we don't have allspice or powdered cloves (or ground ginger), so I stuck with cinnamon. I mixed it with metallic copper, then tried embossing with it. I had to reduce the proportion of cinnamon - I started with nearly a quarter of the mix as spice, but that didn't emboss well, so I added more embossing powder to make it about an eighth cinnamon.

I covered the gingerbread shape in natural pigment ink (I found that worked better than watermark ink, which soaked in), and embossed it.

Gingerbread man shape embossed in copper with cinnamon added

The finish is a bit gritty compared to normal, but looks quite realistic for gingerbread (if gingerbread was shiny!)

Next to decorate the gingerbread man. I'd thought of using white embossing powder and a versa mark pen, but didn't think that would work over the existing embossing. Instead, I dug out some white outline relief paste. I used to do a lot of glass painting; I haven't done any for ages but still have the materials. Using the paste is often compared to piping icing, so I thought it should do the job nicely.

Gingerbread man shape embossed in copper and decorated with white paste and gems

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty impressed with how realistic this looks!

I used black and red little gems for the eyes and buttons.

The only food related item I had in my stash was a candy cane stamp, so I thought I'd use that as well, it'd go nicely with the feel of the card.

I tried it two ways - I stamped it on white in red pigment ink, and heat embossed with clear powder, and also stamped in white on red card, and embossed in white.

Candy cane stamp on red card with white heat embossing
Candy cane stamp in red on white card

I preferred the ones on red, until I cut them out.

Red and white candy cane stamped images, cut out

Now it's the red on white that I think looks better, so we'll go with those.

I cut a mount in white and another, larger one in kraft card, to fit on a 6x6 card base. They look a little plain though, so I got out the harlequin stencil from Clarity, to add a little interest to the background. It's quite a simple pattern which I think works with the simple style of the gingerbread man and canes.

I used a stencil brush to add fired brick distress ink to the white mount, and brushed corduroy to the kraft card.

Harlequin background, red on white
Harlequin background, brown on kraft card

I also got this pice of waste paper, which I think looks great, so I'll save that for the stash.

Red and brown harlequin pattern

I went round the edge of the white mount with a red sharpie and a ruler. I edged the kraft card after I mounted it onto the card base, by drawing outside the edge in a red pen.

I used foam tape for the gingerbread man and the white mount, and tiny foam pads cut in half for the candy canes.

Gingerbread man Christmas card with candy canes

Gingerbread man Christmas card close up

And there you have it, my sweet, aromatic Christmas baking card.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Joyous Gelli Plates

This week's 52 Christmas Card Throwdown Challenge is colours - blue cream and gold.

I thought this would be a good chance to play with one of my new stencils (part of a lovely crafty bundle for Valentine's Day!) and my gelli plate. The stencil is a holly wreath from That Special Touch. I made a collection of different prints, trying out different techniques - with varying success! I've put them here, partly so I can remember what I did.

This was placing the stencil onto the clean gelli plate and brayering the paint (cobalt blue acrylic) over it, then removing the stencil and pulling a print on stencil card I'd already painted cream (linen). I like this effect.

Next I tried the other way, covering the gelli plate in paint then placing the stencil on as a mask.

I tried this a couple of times, one with cream card, the other with white.

This left the paint under the stencil on the plate, so I brayered on a layer on linen and pulling another print, giving these lovely results - such a pity I tore one of them.

I tried doing this with the colours reversed, but it didn't work at all!

I made use of the card by putting the stencil onto it and sponging the linen paint through. Sure I can find something to do with this one.

Next up, I covered the gelli plate in blue paint, laid the stencil on, and left it to dry. I then removed the stencil, the paint under it was still wet, and I lifted it off. The first time (top) I just used copy paper, thinking it'd be waste, but it was so pretty I used cream painted card the second time (bottom). The latter was less clean as the paint wasn't completely dry, but I still think it's so pretty.

This was the print I was going for with this technique - I brayered linen paint over the dried paint on the gelli plate to reactivate it, and pulled the print. This one tore a bit, the second was better but I don't seem to have a photo of that.

So, now I have a choice of blue and cream backgrounds, which to use? Some I don't think will work well with gold, so they are put aside. I play with a couple, the one I have used is using the stencil as a mask to create a void.

To add gold, I inked up the stencil with gold pigment ink and lined it up with the void, then ran it through the grand calibur to emboss (or deboss, strictly speaking). I then added gold mica powder to the transferred ink. One of my favourite techniques, such a reliable option.

So now I have a blue, cream and gold background, what to do with it? I don't want to detract too much, so I go for something very simple.

I sponged linen paint onto some more stencil card and die cut the letters J O Y twice. 

One set I add pigment ink and gold mica to, the other is for a drop shadow behind them.

I trimmed the card back a little, and blended blue distress ink round the edges to give a bit more balance.

I use cream zeta hammered card to mount the card. I cut one piece with a very narrow border, then use a versa mark pen around the outside and add gold mica. The base piece is larger for a cream border.

The whole thing is added to an 8x8 card, trimmed down slightly so it fits exactly, with no white border.

Done! Just need to photograph it and write a blog. And then disaster - I manage to knock my camera off the side and break it. The lens won't extend any more. So I have borrowed hubby's camera, which I'm not used to, so apologies if the picture of the card is a bit off. Although the slightly fuzzy look comes from the softness of the technique, not the picture quality! I'm just not that happy with the way the colours look. Ah well, time to get this posted and get myself off to bed.

Friday, 12 February 2016

White on white - not quite

This is my entry to the week's 52 Christmas Card Throwdown challenge. It's a sketch challenge.

The idea for the card came about as I've been meaning to use embossing folders for a while now, and I saw a great white on white card on another blog, so I thought it was time to give it a go. I also had the present die cuts from last week, so I thought they'd go in too.

I started with centura pearl hint of gold card (the same as the die cuts). I tried out two Christmas embossing folders, a Tattered Lace holly design, and a spellbinders M-bossabilities folder.

Decided to go with the one on the left this time.

I backed the presents with a glitter card, to make them solid. It was an encapsulated glitter card, actually self adhesive, although I didn't use it as that. It's slightly creamy, so my card isn't strictly white on white, but close enough for me!

The bottom picture doesn't really show the glitter, it just looks cream, but in real life they're sparkly!

For the sentiment, I found a stamp that was a bit different, and matched with the presents theme - Don't Open Until the 25th.

I stamped onto the same card, and heat embossed in pearlescent silver.

I cut it out with a tag die, then drew round the die on the glitter card and cut outside the line to give a bigger shape.

I punched a hole in it, then mounted the sentiment giving a glitter border.

I had planned to make a patterned panel; I stamped a strip of the same card with stockings, and heat embossed in pearlescent silver.

But when I put it all together it looked far too much!

So, I went and had dinner and gave it some thought, and decided to go for a ribbon panel instead - I thought the satin finish would work well with the pearl card.

I was thinking maybe a lilac ribbon, but found an ivory, so I could stick with my white on white plan! I used a small folded piece of the same ribbon through the hole in the tag.

That just left the construction - I used double sided tape to hold the ribbon round the embossed background, then foam tape to mount the presents and sentiment, and also to attach the background to a 5x7 card base.

I think this is very pretty - with a quirky touch in the sentiment and presents.