Saturday, 17 June 2017

Toy Soldiers

I'm getting behind with my blogs a bit, only getting the Christmas Card Throwdown ones posted at the moment - I'll have to have a catch up at some point, there's a really big project I want to share!

In the meantime, here's the new Christmas Card Throwdown challenge:

I don't have anything that would pass as a nutcracker, but in my "12 days of Christmas" set I have a drummer, who makes a lovely Toy Soldier.

I started by stamping him four times onto scraps of card. The outline isn't particularly clear, he needs to be coloured. I used distress markers in barn door, stormy sky, black soot and mustard seed.

I cut them all out with different dies, in different sizes.

To get started with the background, I cut stencil card to size and placed it under the Clarity harlequin stencil. I brushed over fired brick first, then moved the card and used salty ocean. For the final layer I used antique linen.

My camera doesn't focus well on the pattern!

As I liked the waste piece so much last time I did this type of pattern, I made sure to use a clean paper underneath!

For a sentiment I cut another piece of card with a die, and added "Happy Christmas" with a Clarity stamp.

I used a Sheena texture stamp and watering can archival ink to add detail to the soldiers and sentiment.

I used the same on the background, and added red around the edge.

At this point I got a bit stuck! Some cards just come together, others make me work for it! My mum is staying with me at the moment, and we were both standing over it at 11pm, trying different ribbons, colours, arrangements.

Having slept on it, we came up with some ideas! This is where we went.

I added a Clarity holly corner stamp to the background, with salty ocean.

I then used an embossing folder as well - I'm not sure where I got this one, it may have been from a magazine.

The background is now much more interesting!

I added antique linen round the soldiers.

I also added little holly leaves on the sentiment, in blue and red, to tie it in.

I added ribbons on the background. I've just sorted out my ribbons, I got a ribbon organiser from Stamps Away last year, and I finally put it together. My ribbons are now all neatly wound onto the hangers, it's very pleasing!

I mounted the soldiers and sentiment with 3d glue gel. I made a matt layer, with salty ocean distress ink, and mounted onto a 5x7 card blank.

It took a bit of trial and error to get this to card to work, but I'm pleased with the final result.

To join in with the challenge, go to the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until midnight BST on Friday 30th June to enter. I look forward to seeing what you do with our theme.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Pretty pearls

Here's another take on the current Christmas Card Throwdown challenge - gems, pearls or sequins.

This is based on a tree I created as part of the Creative Sandbox Way play a while ago - I think it's ridiculously pretty, so wanted to put it onto a card.

I started with the border though - after a few trial runs and measurements. I used stormy sky distress marker, applied to the snowflake corner stamp from Clarity. I stamped it four times to make the frame.

I then used the tree stamp - a wooden one I got in a charity shop. I used distress markers again - tumbled glass, with dots of stormy sky and faded jeans.

I do like stamping with the distress markers, and being able to mix up the colours.

I stamped a sentiment from Clarity, using the same colours.

I found some teeny tiny pearls in a pack in my stash, so added these onto the curls of the tree. Forgetting any more photos!

I edged this piece with the stormy sky marker. This took a few tries, and some trimming in between - sharpies are easier!

For the background, I used another Clarity stamp, I can't find the name, it's an abstract swirl pattern. I inked it in tumbled glass, then added stormy sky with the marker. I stamped a frame, then trimmed it down to fit a 6x6 card blank. I edged this as well.

I mounted the background flat, then used foam tape for the topper.

I struggled to get a good photo, but this is very delicate and pretty in real life!

To join in with the challenge, head over to the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until midnight BST on Friday 16th June. 

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Sequins and pearls

As my stint hosting the Christmas Card Throwdown comes to an end, it's time for a stash challenge. We would like to see your cards with gems, pearls or sequins.

I'm not usually one for a lot of gems, and I can't remember the last time I used sequins. But that's the point of a challenge, to push you to do something a bit different.

I decided to go for a busy, mixed media style. Not sure that's how it worked out, but anyway!

I started with a selection of Christmas papers, and cut a base layer then built up smaller pieces on top.

The first one was red colours, as I have red sequins, but then I had other offcuts of paper to use, so made another arrangement, more cream and brown.

These were the pictures I took to remember the lay out as I took them apart to edge and stick them - how organised is that!

I edged each piece of paper/card in gold wax, and scribbled in gold pen around some too. I then stuck them together with tape pen - I was going for a background so wanted flat rather than too many levels to navigate.

This is what they looked like put together, I really like the random, overlapping look.

Next I raided my ribbon bag for crochet lace, ribbon and twine, to create a band across the middle. I raised this on foam tape for the red base.

I die cut snowflakes from a selection of the papers, and gold card, and arranged them around the ribbon band.

I used a wider, mesh band for this base, so the snowflakes ended up more widely spread. I attached this with red tape.

At this point I forgot to take more photos until I'd finished!

I tied a triple bow with the twine and added it to the ribbon. The images are from designer paper that I cut up, I edged them in the gold wax and mounted on contrasting card, before mounting on foam tape. I added another snowflake in the corner, and then the all important red and orange sequins.

I mounted it on cream zeta hammered card, edged with the gold wax again, then onto a 5x7 card base.

For the cream base, I used an image from another design paper. I cut a gold frame with a die from a magazine, and backed with the cream zeta hammered card, with the gold wax. I used 3d glue gel to mount it over the ribbon. The twine bow went on the top corner, and I added pearls and gems to the card. This one I mounted on a dark red patterned paper with, you guessed it, gold wax. Then onto the 5x7 card base. (I also straightened out the pearl on the bow, but after I'd taken the photos!)

If you want to join in with our "gems, pearls or sequins" challenge, pop along to the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until midnight BST on Friday 16th June to play along.

Friday, 2 June 2017

A boy's card

One of my daughter's friends turns three this month, we have his party tomorrow. So I made this little card for him. 

It ties in with the Berkhamsted Creative Challenge for the month as well, which is "All about the boys".

The background is something I'd wanted to try for a while. I used the harlequin stencil from Clarity, and brushed through with distress ink, offsetting the colours. I used brushed corduroy, weathered wood and antique linen. Where they overlapped, they gave a beautiful green.

I also really like the waste - I'd taped the stencil to copy paper and then moved the card under it, giving different ares of colour, then I wiped the ink off the stencil with a make up sponge in the centre.

I didn't manage a focussed photo though!

The letters are an alphabet die set from The Range. I cut them in a double layer of copy paper, just to try them out, then liked it enough to use them. I stuck them on with a glue pen. Most stuck together naturally from being pressed in the die then glued, a few came apart into layers so I glued them together.

After edging with the brushed corduroy, I mounted onto an A6 card base.

Simple but quite stylish. Possibly a bit "old" for a three year old, but I reckon at this age the cards are more for the parents than the kids anyway.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Noel, Noel....

Our May colour challenge is still ongoing at the Christmas Card Throwdown - yellow, kraft and gold.

I have some stamps that I really wanted to have a play with for this challenge, they're a Clarity Noel set.

Here they are stamped in black archival ink on kraft card.

I cut them out with a die from a nested set from The Works.

I tried gold embossing them on kraft initially, which looked great, but the detail was lost.

I also tried stamping these on yellow card, both a darker colour and a really zesty yellow.


I cut the gold lattice above with another die (not sure of the make) to layer onto kraft to make a background, but it wasn't working. Now I have the background, which I think will need more layers over it, maybe foliage built up, and the yellow letters, in my stash to play with.

So I took a different tack to make a yellow and gold background for the kraft letters. I used the darker yellow card, and stamped around it in versamark with the larger holly and ivy stamp from Clarity. I heat embossed in gold.

Not great to photograph, but I like the pattern. I mounted the letters in the middle, on foam tape, and created a kraft matt for behind. The whole thing went onto a 6x6 card base.

I had another go as well, making a very simple background. This was inspired by Deborah Frings DT card with yellow and gold snowflakes in the background. I used my favourite old holly stamp, with mustard seed distress ink and a gold pigment ink.

If you'd like to join in our colour challenge, pop over to the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until midnight BST on Friday 2nd June to play. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Turning yellow

It's time for my second challenge as host on the Christmas Card Throwdown. This one is a colour challenge (which I love!) but a really unusual combination to play with. 

This took a bit of thinking about, but have had lots of ideas, hoping to get one or two more cards made this week.

For my first card I CASE'd one of my favourite cards from last year (see the original here).

I started with an inky background, made with a plastic folder. I used mustard seed and squeezed lemonade distress inks, with some yellow felt tip pens. The first version was a bit green - blue contaminant in the folder from a previous project! After a clean I had another go, with some wild honey added. Looked good, but quite orange, so I left that out for the final version, which is what I've used.

You can't quite see the detail and variety of tones in the photo. This is the trimmed down card.

I cut a mount from kraft card, and cut the sentiment (using a Tattered Lace die) from the centre - I never usually remember to do this!

For the gold, I stamped around the yellow card with my old favourite rubber holly stamp, in versamark ink. I then added moon gold mica powder. I sprayed it with cheap hairspray (without all the conditioners) to fix it.

This photo is angled very careful to show the shine of the mica all the way round!

I put the card together (on a 6x6 card blank) using a tape pen, so it's flat for posting. I used a zig glue pen for the sentiment.

The insert and envelope I decorated with the same holly stamp, and gold pigment ink.

This is another one of those cards that is hard to photograph! I've tried to get the angle to show the holly here. It is quite subtle in real life. You could heat emboss to get a more striking result.

To join in with the challenge, post your entries at the Christmas Card Throwdown by Friday 2nd June, at midnight BST.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

A quick thank you

Hubby asked me this evening if I could make a thank you card for his form to sign (he's a teacher) - for tomorrow! But not to go to too much trouble...

So an exercise in quick and simple - which is refreshing sometimes.

I found this feather stamp a few days ago - it's a Stamps Away one I bought last year at a workshop with Ali Reeve, but hadn't used yet (and had forgotten about). This was good excuse to get it out; I simply stamped it across a 7x7 piece of stencil card. (As this needs to be signed by lots of people, I'll use an 8x8 card blank, so won't be cutting down the background for once.) I used iced spruce distress ink for a subtle colour.

I then got out this big ribbon writing Thank You stamp from Clarity. I stamped with versamark and heat embossed in silver. To make the words stand out more, I filled them in with a dark grey pencil (Faber Castell polychromo).

Then I simply edged the piece with a grey sharpie, and mounted on the card base.

Quick, simple, but pretty and clean, and quite elegant I think.

This stamp will look great in multiple colours, and shimmer - will have more of a play next time!