Saturday, 21 July 2018

Out of the ordinary

It's time for our theme challenge at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown.

Myrna has chosen an unusual but inspired theme:

I love this idea, and so many ways to be "non traditional".

I went for an animal not usually associated with Christmas, as well as a non Christmassy colour scheme.

I started with a Clarity stencil, and brushed through mustard seed distress ink.

To this base, I added distress oxides. I applied the ink to an acrylic block, spritzed with water then dabbed onto the card. I dried between colours. I used spiced marmalade, picked raspberry, twisted citron and broken china.

I had a splodge of the orange, so spritzed the card directly to  disperse it - and lost all trace of the stencil underneath!

So I put the stencil back into position and went through with fossilised amber distress oxide.

I wanted more definition, so put the card through the embossing machine with the stencil to emboss the swirls. I also stamped through the stencil with a dotty texture stamp, in spiced marmalade, to add more detail to the swirls.

I cut the card down to size, and added broken china distress oxide round the edge to frame, with a sponge.

For the topper I die cut a flamingo from the same card. The boots and scarf came with it, the hat I borrowed from another set.

I coloured all the pieces with distress oxides and a water pen.

I used a pen for the eye.

I also die cut a sentiment, and coloured in the same way.

To construct, I used foam pads to raise the flamingo, and foam tape to attach the whole to a 6x6 card blank.

The flamingo doesn't stand out so much in the photos, it does in real life!

I think this is really fun - and I had fun making it. Partly because I was sharing the table with hubby doing lego and daughter playing, so it was a lovely family afternoon.

Hubby says this is a traditional Floridean Christmas card - which just goes to show! As we aren't in Florida, I hope this still counts as non traditional.

To join in with this fabulous challenge, head to the 52CCT. You have until Friday 27th July to enter.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Mixed media on a card

This month's colour challenge at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown is black and gold or silver.

I didn't immediately know what to do with this one, none of my ideas really appealed. So I ended up taking inspiration from my BAC birthday card (are you allowed to do that?!?) and making a mixed media style card.

I started by die cutting a fancy square from black card, as well as a reindeer (a tattered lace die I haven't used for ages). 

I also took some net - this started out pink, I painted it with black gesso.

I embossed the square using a tattered lace holly folder on one side and one of their spotty folders on the other.

This was the largest die in the set, so to cut a mount that was larger, I drew round the die on white card and cut with scissors.

I then sponged gold paint over it. This gave a more matt finish than a bought gold card or mirror card, which I prefer for this card. I die cut my favourite Merry Christmas sentiment from the centre to be frugal!

I glued the net and reindeer onto the black square base and trimmed the net. Once dry, I used the sponge from the gold paint to dry "brush" gold over to pick up the detail.

When everything was dry, I added the sentiment to the black, then onto the mount, and attached to a 5x5 card blank.

In real life, the sentiment doesn't stand out as much as in the photos. This was actually a really simple card to make, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out in the end. I'd like to make more in different colour schemes.

To join in with this challenge, go on over to the 52CCT blog. You have until Friday 20th June to enter.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Raiding the gel print stash!

It feels like ages since we've had a new 52 Christmas Card Throwdown challenge - the last one was two weeks. But a new month means a new challenge, and Myrna, our host for the month, has given us this sketch to play with:

I have to admit, I wasn't sure what to do with this one for a while! Having made quite tidy, inky cards for a few weeks, I wanted to do some thing messy and painty again.

I dug out some old gel press prints from my stash as a starting point, here's the first.

I cut them down to size (for a 6x6 card blank), then used solid Clarity stamps to add my circles and border (reinterpreted as a row of petal shapes!) I added white acrylic to a small gel press plate with a brayer to pick the paint up from.

I used the matching outline stamps, with versafine black ink, to edge the shapes. I didn't want it too neat, so tried not to line up exactly - I missed a few times and got it spot on!

I then used a black drawing pen to doodle on and around the shapes, for more interest.

I used gold embossing powder for the sentiment, with the Clarity word chain Merry Christmas.

It didn't show that well initially, especially on this background which has gold in anyway. But a bit of work with a white gel pen and...

... ta da! I love these pens, how did I manage without them?

I also gold embossed snowflakes over the petal border.

I edged with black ink to frame and finish, then mounted onto the 6x6 card blank.

The other card was meant to be the main, one, this was just using a more scrappy piece of card to see how it went, but I think I may prefer this one in the end! Funny how that happens.

To join in with our sketch challenge, pop over to 52CCT. You have until Friday 13th to enter.

Have fun playing!

Friday, 6 July 2018

Happy Birthday BAC

This weekend our wonderful local arts and craft shop, Berkhamsted Arts and Crafts, celebrates its 40th birthday! 

They asked for birthday cards to share, so I couldn't not make one, could I?!?

It also gave me a chance to play with a birthday present. I got some powertex, and related mixed media goodies following a workshop in June with Angela Simpson and Leonie Pujol. We had such fun playing there, so I wanted another go.

(That's my journal middle right - it's really not that dark!)

Angela on the far left, and Leonie next to me in the front. And the other lovely ladies!

I started my card by collecting all kinds of bits and bobs to go onto it.

I added grunge paste to the card base for texture, as well as to the wooden letters and numbers, and some stars I die cut from an old tissue box.

These also came from the tissue box - the plaque has three layers, glued together for depth.

I also had papyrus (which stretches out wonderfully with the powertex), cheese cloth, lace, string, wooden embellishments and some clay balls to play with.

I added them all to the base with the powertex. (It's a fabric hardener, so gives the gorgeous texture to the cloth, but also works as a glue.) I had the transparent one, I decided it was the most versatile, as you can use it with patterned cloth etc and retain the pattern.

This was the result! It looks a bit of a mess - it is! This is not tidy crafting. Powertex sticks to fingers best of all, I was covered by the end, but peeling it off is hugely satisfying!

Once this had dried (keeping the lovely folds and dimension in the fabric), the next step was to paint it all with black gesso.

This took a while to get into all the nooks and crannies! Despite examining it from all angles, I missed loads the first time, so had to go back in for a second pass (and there were still some tiny gaps!). This is where spray gesso would come into its own!

Once dry, time to add the colour and highlights!

I dry brushed with acrylic paints - metallic blue, purple, which I mixed with a pearlescent medium, and gold. I then added metallic wax in gold, with a bit of blue, purple and silver, to highlight areas. Finally, I watered down the paint left over from dry brushing, and splattered on a layer of each colour. I wiped it off some of the words I wanted to highlight.

The final step was to mount onto an 8x8 card blank (using super sticky tape as it wasn't very flat so needed to be held firm!). I added a squiggle round the edge with a black drawing pen, as the plain white didn't look right when the main piece is so full on!

It's maybe a bit over the top for a card, but I had so much fun playing with this! I have plenty of journals and things I can do something similar with. It's really very forgiving too, it's not hard to create something that looks great (in my humble opinion!).

Maybe next time I'll go for something not quite so dark!

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Start with wood...

Oh dear, I'm late again with my 52 Christmas Card Throwdown card.

Andreja has chosen "Wood Background" as the stash challenge for June, so our design team have come up with some really lovely, natural looking, cards for inspiration. 

Here's my contribution.

For my wood background, I used kraft card and the wood design embossing folder from Sheena Douglas' textures collection.

I tried two approaches. I painted one sheet of kraft with white gesso first, the other I left plain. I added distress ink to the folder before embossing - brushed corduroy and crushed olive on the gessoed card, then the darker walnut stain on the plain kraft.

Love this! I've used the plain card this time, but I love the white washed look too, this would go well with dark red toppers.

For these cards I use iced spruce - I love this colour, a neutral that isn't a neutral, so pretty and versatile.

I firstly stamped this great scene from Hobby Art, using distress ink. I then used a water brush to add shade, picking up the same ink from my craft mat.

For my other cards, I used the distress oxide in iced spruce to stamp. I cut each image out with a die.

I didn't use all of these today, but the spares have gone in the  stash for another time.

For each card, I cut the wood background to size, then mounted onto white card, with an iced spruce edge. I wrapped lace and string round, then added the toppers using foam tape to lift above the string. I then added the lot to square card blanks - 7x7 for the two Christmas cards, and 8x8 for the birthday card, which is for my husband's aunt.

Simple and clean, showcasing the wood background and the gorgeous image.

A mixture of images here. I added a bit of foliage to the dragonfly (a Sheena stamp), masking the outside to give a straight edge, to add interest to that square. The sentiment is die cut from a spare scrap of the wood background.

Very simple, using a square stamp as it comes (I don't know the make). I think this one would look good in dark red on the white washed wood background.

To join in with this challenge head over to the 52CCT blog. As there are 5 Saturdays in June, you have two weeks, it closes on Friday 6th July. Enjoy playing and experimenting, I'd love to see what you come up with.

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 overhang 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.