Saturday, 26 May 2018

Use some lace!

My last challenge as host of the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown this month is a stash challenge, and I've asked you to use lace to make your card.

My design team card uses lace in three ways.

Firstly, I used the gel press plate to apply gold pigment ink through a piece of lace to give my background. I then used the ink left on the plate to stamp the piece I used for my topper, giving a reverse impression of the lace.

Secondly, I added lace across the centre of the card, with dark red ribbon.

Thirdly, I used a lace border stamp to frame the background and topper - in gold pigment ink and cranberry adirondack respectively.

I stamped the sentiment (a Clarity stamp) in the cranberry adirondack too, then used a gold pen to highlight it. I used the gold inkpad around the edges of the background and topper, and mounted both on dark red card. The whole was added to a 5x7 card blank.

This looks far too neat to be one of my cards!

To join in with the challenge, go to the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown.

Have fun!

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Simple stars

This afternoon I suddenly remembered a gorgeous stencil I have that's a Christmas star, so had to have a play and make some more star themed cards for our next challenge on the 52CCT.

No step by step photos for this one, but it's a technique I've done before, here.

I spritzed through the stencil with water onto watercolour card. I used my posh super smooth stuff, as the stencil is so detailed.

I then removed the stencil and sprinkled on brushos to react with the water. Put aside carefully to dry, then flick to remove the dry powder.

The first attempt is shown at the top - the best of the lot!

Here are the others:

Simple but pretty.

I also have 6 others that didn't work so well - mostly because I kept forgetting to remove the stencil before adding the brusho. They're still lovely but the star shape isn't clear. I'll have to think about how to use them - maybe emboss over the top. But not this evening.

I also have another star card I'm half way through I'd like to finish, but won't be in time for the challenge launch. I struggled for ages to think what I wanted to do, then the ideas have come flooding in!

To join in with the 52CCT Star challenge, head over to the blog page - you have until midnight BST on Friday 25th May to enter. Have fun with this one - I have!!


Time for another challenge at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown! For my theme challenge, I chose "Stars".

I decided to make a panel card.

I started by die cutting stars of different sizes from a sheet of mask film. I cut two of each size to have a variety.

After cutting card to size for a 6x6 card blank, I masked off my panel. For my first colour, I added tattered rose, using a Clarity stencil brush.

I then added a few of my star masks, and added more colour - tattered rose and worn lipstick, getting darker gradually.

I added the rest of the stars and darkened the colour further, with picked raspberry, seedless preserves and dusty concord.

As well as the brushes, I used sponges to wipe the ink from the masks onto the card, to make the edges crisper.

Time for the big reveal!

While digging out the mask film, I found my sheet of Clarity star masks (ready made) so thought I'd try a version with these.

I chose blues and purple for this one.

And the reveal:

I did more layers of stars in this one, so there is more variety in the colours. But I only added purple at the end, so they don't blend as well, and the stars are more similar in size, so I think I prefer the first version with my home made stars!

To finish off, I edged the panels with a black drawing pen. I stamped a sentiment onto the panel with black archival ink.

It didn't stand out particularly, especially on the blue, so I added white highlights around it with a gel pen. I used the stamp platform for the sentiment, so once I'd added the white I could re-stamp in black to repair where I'd gone over the letters, and be sure it would line up perfectly.

The final step was to edge with a black sharpie pen, then mount onto a 6x6 card blank.

So that's two more Christmas cards to add to my collection for the year!

I do like panel cards, they always look so crisp and clean.

How will you interpret our "Star" theme?

To join in, go to the 52CCT page. This challenge closes at midnight BST on Friday 25th May.

I look forward to seeing what you come up with!

Monday, 14 May 2018

Birthday butterflies

Today I'm sharing a card I made for my best friend.

This was a mess, painty project, and so much fun!

I started with my pieces of card - one piece for the background and one for the butterflies.

I pulled out a variety of acrylic paint colours I wanted to use - teal, magenta, purple, yellow, lime green. I brushed them over the card with a wide brush.

I dried in between layers, so the colours didn't go muddy.

This was the background piece:

and here's the piece for the butterflies.

I kept the colours more separate with the latter, so the butterflies had some contrast. I also dry brushed some gold over the top for shimmer.

I overstamped the background with a variety of texture stamps, using the same paint colours. There were some Indigoblu stamps in the mix, plus a lot more!

I then stamped my three butterflies onto the other card. One is a Clarity stamp, the others I think came with magazines.

The middle one went a bit blotchy - I pressed a bit hard, which is fine for the Clarity stamp, but not for the cheaper, squidgier stamps! So I painted another piece of card and restamped. I fussy cut the butterflies out, then mounted onto black card and cut round, leaving a narrow border.

I also added white pen round the border, to lighten it.

To help the butterflies stand out on the background, I overstamped the middle section with white gesso, using a checked pattern texture stamp.

I also scribbled round the edge with a black and a white drawing pen.

To tie the butterflies in better, I stamped with the swirl stamp using the gold paint, just at the edges.

I mounted onto black card, then onto an 8x8 card blank.

Finally, I added the butterflies, using tiny foam pads down the centre.

It looks flatter in the photo than in real life, you don't see all the layers. Maybe if doing it again (and if I'd had more time, this was made to a deadline!) I'd add texture paste, or use an embossing folder to add more dimension.

Nonetheless, I really like this! I hope my friend did too.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

More turquoise and gold

Here's my second turquoise and gold card for the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown this week.

I made a whole load of turquoise backgrounds!

Most were with brushos. I wet the card with a dilute solution of the turquoise brusho, then sprinkled the powder onto an acrylic block and pressed it into the wet card. I tried a few colours other than turquoise - the sea green one found a use here.

I also made a few with acrylic paint, and sprinkled the turquoise brusho into the wet pain and spread it. One of these became this card.

I cut it to size for a 5x7 card base, then added gold paint, particularly at the edges. I used crumpled rice paper for this, to give a lovely texture (I saw Leonie doing this on telly!). The rice paper also ends up with a beautiful gold sheen - I use coloured pieces I didn't particularly like, it improved them no end!

Having made the background, I then struggled to think how to use it!

I ended up die cutting a panel from one of the plainer brusho pieces as a focal point.

I added the gold paint to a piece of white card with rice paper as above, then die cut a sentiment and some holly, ivy and foliage.

Having edged the panel with gold paint, and added more to the sentiment as well so it was darker, I started to put them together.

Some people seem to intuitively see how to arrange things on their cards and art, I spend ages trying different layouts to find one I like!

The final touch was to run around one side of the sentiment in a turquoise fine liner to give a shadow and bring it out.

I'm struggling to get realistic pictures of my cards at the moment, this looks much flatter and plainer than real life!

To see my first take on these colours, see here.

To join in with the challenge, head over to the 52CCT blogYou have until midnight BST (7pm EDT) on Friday 18th May 2018 to enter your cards.

A new technique gone messy

For my second week hosting the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown, we have a colour challenge.

I love these colours, and got a bit carried away, so have a few cards to share, as well as several bits for the stash! But having missed a few months with morning sickness, I need to catch up to have enough cards by December.

The first set were inspired by a technique Sheena Douglas showed on the telly a few weeks ago. I went out to Lakeland that afternoon to buy floor polish and tissues!

The first step was to emboss a design onto acetate (heat proof of course). I chose two Christmas tree stamps, then used my Sweet Dixie snowflakes. Gold powder, to fit with the challenge theme.

On the reverse of each, I then poured a bit of floor polish, and added turquoise brusho. I swirled it around to spread the colour. This was definitely not as easy as Sheena made it look on the telly! It was running everywhere, I struggled not to spill it and get it all over the front of the acetate. Watching the show back, I used far too much. Sheena added a little then spread it with a paintbrush.

I then pressed a single ply sheet of the tissue into the polish, allowing it to crumple. I used a brush to press it down flat, and to add colour if there were gaps. The tissue tore in a couple of places, I just took a bit from the side and filled the gap.

This is one piece from the back while wet.

I think this technique works better with more than one colour mixing together, so maybe this challenge wasn't the best time to try it! I could also have added gold glitter or gilding flakes into the polish for more interest.

I got a bit fed up with the mess, so for the snowflake piece I mixed the polish and brusho in a tub, then dipped the tissue and added it to the acetate. It didn't unfold readily, so I ended up with a much thicker layer. This would be fine for mixed media, but was a bit much for a card. Rice paper might work better, as it handles being wet with more resilience. Lots of things to try!

Here are the three dry pieces.

I cut each down to a rectangle, and used an embossing pen to run around the edge and give a gold border with more embossing powder.

The small words tree, I added a layer of white with the same gold border, and mounted onto an A6 card blank.

The larger tree I mounted directly onto a 5x7 card blank.

With hindsight, this is a little plain - I may still add something more.

For the snowflakes, I used a sentiment with border on white card. This stamp is from Docrafts, and is designed for tags. I stamped in versamark, then added turquoise and gold embossing powders.

I like the mottled effect this gives. The waste went into a spare pot, and I think will be lovely as a mix. I also edged this with gold.

This was mounted onto the snowflake background with super sticky tape, then I used a gel medium to mount the snowflakes onto a 5x7 card blank.

Lots to improve on with this technique, but I'm happy with this card for a first attempt.

For my alternative take on turquoise and gold see here.

To join in with the challenge and share how you play with these gorgeous colours, head over to the 52CCT blog. You have until midnight BST (7pm EDT) on Friday 18th May 2018 to enter your cards. Happy crafting!

Monday, 7 May 2018


Last month on the Berkhamsted Creative Challenge, our theme was "Water". I managed a last minute entry, another piece of bunting for our shed!

I was making brusho backgrounds. I'd made a dilute solution with the turquoise brusho, and used it to wet watercolour card. I then added sea green brusho powder to a dry acrylic block, and pressed it into the card. 

I re-stamped over the whole area, drying the block and reapplying powder so the sea green stayed more concentrated.

Once dry, I stamped the seahorse stamp from Tim Holtz in potting soil archival ink.

I coloured it using distress oxides (fossilised amber, wild honey, fired brick, vintage photo, black soot) and a water pen.

I didn't cut the triangle before stamping, as I'd misplaced my template!

But it surfaced again so I could complete this one.

To fit the triangle, the seahorse ended up a bit off centre. So I dug out a Clarity stamp that looks like seaweed, and stamped freehand with peacock feathers and cracked pistachio distress oxide. I also edged with peacock feathers.

I hope to get around to weather proofing all the bunting I've made and getting it up on the shed soon!

The May theme for the Berkhamsted Creative Challenge is "Stash - something you've had for ages and never used".

The challenge for this one may be narrowing down the options! Do head over to visit us and join in.