Saturday, February 07, 2015

Oooh lovely new stamps

If you have been following my blog for a while - hello :)
You might remember that I used to frequent the wonderful craft shop Imagine That in Upminster where I was lucky enough to teach a few classes as well. The shop is no more, but the brand lives on and the fabulous Emma Godfrey who runs it also works for Paperartsy and has just brought out a range of stamps under the Paperartsy umbrella. How happy was I when she contacted me to see if I would like to do some samples?
Very.
is an understatement.
You can see the whole range here. I had plate three to play with.
Here are my samples
This one took sooooo long to do.
That is because I tried to do a Paperartsy type of background to begin with - splodges and stencils and all sorts and it was a massive failure.
So I sat in the corner and cried a bit.
And then decided that as Emma knows my style then my style would be perfectly fine.
I'm still a bit sad about not being able to achieve what I had planned but hey ho.
As well as the stamps I was sent some lovely, lovely Paperartsy Fresco Finish paints in pinks and teal and a gorgeous old gold.
The background to this had lots of teal to start with but now has a colour scheme that reminds me of a licourice allsort :)
So instead this has layers - Sherbert, Old Gold and plain white cardstock. The top and bottom layers had slightly diluted Old Gold flicked on them. The pink strip was painted with Candy Floss . While all of those layers were drying I stamped and painted various elements from the stamp set. I had to add a Sharpie outline to everything (I really did)  and then stuck it all together. I tried to write "Christmas" to match "selfie", but didn't really manage it :)

Whereas this one took about 10 minutes....
The paints are just the bees knees for doing ombre effects. They manage to both hold their own AND mix beautifully. I didn't try to paint the outline of the frame, instead I used a krylon pen - my hand is too wobbly for such detail :) But I did paint the camera with slightly watered down paint so you could still see the text.

I loved the ombre so much I did it again!
this time just with the pink colours. I stamped directly onto the painted surface (with my toes crossed. I would have crossed my fingers but that would have interfered with the stamping) and it all lined up perfectly. Again I diluted the paints so that the text would show.
And I have just discovered a mistake - some bits that should have been painted - have you?

thanks again Emma for doing me the honour of asking me to be a Guest Designer - any time! (as long as you don't want the signature Paperartsy style...)

In other news as it is past Friday that means I have another Daring Card to reveal.
And as it was the first Friday in Feb it was a fabulous Elemental Inspiration, this one chose by Sharon

For this challenge we need to use at least three elements from the photo on our cards.
I went with the doodling, the paisley feature, the scallop and the blue edging. I doodled the image and coloured it in using water colour paints. Some pink cardstock was put through a paisley embossing folder and I dug out my old scallop scissors for the edging. Some black pen work, a Dienamics die and a Clearly Besotted sentiment and it was all done.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Rising to the challenge?

Having a few hours off and nothing on my craft to do list (well loads really but nothing urgent), I decided to play along with a few challenges. I save sketches and card challenges to my computer but almost never, ever use them - let alone manage to be able to submit within a time limit :)

The first one to share is Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge which has a photo to draw features from.
 Here is my card...

 Some more hand drawn watercoloured lines. I decided that hand drawn chevrons was beyond my skill set :) I added pennants in the featured colourways but also an old sizzlet heart die, some silver and red large sequins and a hand written sentiment. The papers used are mostly very old Kaisercraft.

I managed to complete two of Nat's card challenges for the month (the other one scares me a bit - don't know why!) but as it is only 2nd Feb I still have time to give that one a go too.
Firstly a colour inspiration
Mmmmmmm meringues
I have these wonderful WPlus9 Spring Blooms stamps that I have seen so many amazing cards created with. I still haven't quite got the measure of them. Sigh. Anyway I stamped with pale distress ink onto watercolour paper and stamped the flowers, colouring them with watercolour paints. The little blue flowers, leaves and stems are all hand painted. Everything was outlined with gold pen and sprinkled with Heidi Swap mist - as was the base Crate Paper layer. I added a gold outline to all the papers and some extra stripes to one of the papers. The gold is where I departed from the inspiration piece. The flowers were all given a Wink of Stella glitter covering
The sentiment was stamped with Delicata gold ink and cut with a fishtail die. Finally a big pink Docrafts button was added with some gold thread. It actually tones better with the card in real life than in the photo.

Then came a card sketch...
which I kept to quite slavishly. I either follow a sketch completely or you can't tell I used it at all...
The papers are from the Park Bench paper pad by Fancy Pants. I used a brand new Avery Elle dotted borders die and an almost as new Lawn Fawn stitched circle  combined with an old school retro daisy flower punch. I punched the flower three times and stuck them together and then after shaping the petals smothered it in glossy accents. A Clearly Besotted sentiment was embossed with Liquid Platinum embossing powder.

And finally (because if I put this in a different post I would probably not get round to the post so its better to put all of my eggs in this basket)
a scrap book sketch from Studio Challenges
Again, pretty well followed to the letter - even down to the yellow border. The striped paper had to be moved over slightly to hide a dirty mark on the white cardstock otherwise there would have been even more matchiness
There is a mix of papers here - some are Studio Calico, but there is also some WRMemory Keepers (Kaleidescope and Natural) and Simple Stories DIY Boutique (the background yellow). I was going to use a circle frame I have had for ages to draw around - and the circle was going to be yellow. But then I decided that I might as well use the circle in the layout and add some more of the colours from the photo. So first I traced and cut anyway for the green backing paper and then gessoed and watercoloured the chipboard circle a soft blue. When that was dry everything was given the black pen outlining treatment. The chipboard stickers are American Crafts, the stars are from Chickaniddy Crafts, brad and some of the stickers Simple Stories and the black/white one is Theresa Collins. The leaf is a Prima canvas one, inked with Mowed Lawn Distress ink.

Because of using the chipboard circle, the page has ended up with oodles of dimension.
and using the sketch means it came together really quickly.
Right, off for a lie down after that burst of creativity....

Saturday, January 31, 2015

It even snowed in Torquay

for 10 minutes on Thursday.
I hope if you have been affected by the weather that it is back to normal now. I know the children were disappointed round here but it does make life difficult for people who are not so steady on their pins when there is a lot of ice and snow. I know that if it is snowing here then it must be bad for everyone else...

I have had a wee bit of time for crafting this week. Photographing it successfully has been another matter...
Here is this weeks Daring Cardmakers effort. Zuzana gave us the fab challenge of using envelopes in some way and as I knew I had this little lovely left over from an old Quirky Kit (and knew where it was!) that was the basis of my card
I had also rediscovered some old MME papers and had earmarked them to use on some cards so out they came. They are not all from the same collection but still go together.  I used a Clearly Besotted die and lots of different papers. I put some adhesive into the envelope to stop all the thanks falling out :) Lawn Fawn Milo stamps finished off the sentiment.

I also made two layouts (well three really). As often happens the first one took aaaaaaaaaaages and the second one no time at all.
Here is the one that took the time which is apt really considering the subject
Sorry for the gangster lean but I am doing my best to be level and it looks it in the viewfinder :(
I have used an old Fancy Pants collection here - Collecting Moments. You only get one of each cardstock in the pack but I like the idea of using different backgrounds with the same papers so went with that idea. I gave the papers a bit of black pen treatment both to give them all a bit more oomph and to unite them a bit more. I chose some of the embellishments from the matching pack to add in and they didn't escape my black pen either.

I've been trying to find in my blog when I last used these sequins. I think they came from a very, very old Crafty Templates card kit. They have been saved up as they are a fabulous matte silver on one side and sparkly on another. A layout about somewhere amazing deserves special embellishments so I used them all on the layout, making sure some were shiny way up and some vice versa.

The black chipboard sticker is from a newer Quirky Kit and the Celtic Knots were bought from a wood turning company at a Craft show (aka the details are upstairs and I am too lazy/cold to source them for now). They were backed with more paper from the same collection.

I decided that most of the writing would go on one side - and I knew I had a lot to say. As I was writing the Bible passage came to me and I like the balance of some writing on the other page
The second layout was inspired by a sneaky peak at the next Quirky Kit. I spotted some black/white stripy paper that looked kind of hand painted and decided to go for that myself
I put masking tape down before using navy water colour. Apart from the gold/white heart paper the papers and stickers all come from a Basic Grey Christmas collection - Evergreen. All the embellishments are from Quirky Kits. I have a little box that I put all the leftovers into and then try and use them.
Oh how I love the chipboard clouds. And the Prima tin flower that looks like the sun.
I'll be back again soon :)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Frankenstein's monster

So here's the thing.
Last January I realised that one of my many (100 plus) moles was itching and bleeding. Not a good sign especially as me mam has had a few bouts of skin cancer. I went to the Doc who referred me to the hospital and I had two moles removed. One turned out to be definately a melanoma - but in the fairly early stages and the other was so small they really couldn't tell but decided that both sites should be excised (ie 1cm all around the site removed). Which happened last May. I now get examined at the hospital quite regularly (should go down to once a year. Eventually) And now I have another one waiting to be excised (though in even earlier stages than the first) and another mole that might change. It is better to be cancer free and have bits gouged out than leave things as they are - and it is something to be taken seriously, but I do feel as if I am going to be a cross between Gorganzola and Frankenstein's monster at this rate....
Which is all just a reminder to check your moles for any changes and do try and be sun smart. I am a prime candidate due to family history and having over 100 moles but any sun damage I have done will not help. You can be just as liable if you are not sensible with the sun though - so be careful out there! (OK so not a worry in the UK in January but even so!)

Anyway enough of me and my health issues (next week: hypothyrodism...) what about some crafting.
I have had a tough but fun assignment this week that I will share when I can but for now there are two Daring Cards to show you.
Last week we were challenged with the January Blues. As it was my brother's birthday yesterday and he is a massive Man City fan I thought this would be the perfect assignment for his card.
This is the Man City logo
 and this is my twist on it
I turned a chipboard butterfly and a Stampin' Up bird punch with gold card into an Eagle (well, sorta) and added the striped background with watercolour and gold pen. The shield has a Papertrey Ink boat stamped on it in Delicata gold. The Clearly Besotted label has a handwritten sentiment using Krylon pen. "Superbia in Proelio" means "Pride in Battle".
Confession time: In my head the embossed background was going to be raised gold letters on a blue background. But that doesn't happen when you swoosh gold ink over this particular embossing folder. Ah well.

This week we have been invited to add a hat to our cards. Mine is mostly hat.
I knew that I had a packet of cute Basic Grey pompoms in my stash that I have failed to use because they are completely round and just look too big on a scrapbook page. So I decided to find some watercolour paints to match the pompom. I then discovered the Fancy Pants paper that had stripes remarkably similar to the colours I had been trying out from my lovely new vivid Kuretake watercolour set I had for Christmas (if only I was as good at colouring with watercolours as I am at buying them!)
I hand drew the party hat and painted it on watercolour paper.
Twice.
Because the first time I didn't dry each colour enough first. And then I tried that cool shading look under the hat and completely ruined it.
When this version was all dry, (note the sensible lack of shading) I went round the edges with a fine black marker and added Wink of Stella shine to the stripes but you can't really see that. I added the pompom with double sided tape and one of my favourite Paper Smooches stamped sentiments to finish it off.

Right off to stare at my moles again.... grumble, grumble



Friday, January 09, 2015

The times they are a-changin'

On the Daring Cardmakers blog we have, for the last few years, had a monthly colour challenge on the first Friday of the month. This year we are changing up a bit, with some Elemental Inspirations and Kathy has been the first to find something to base our card on.

Here is the inspiration from Victoria's Art Visions
and my interpretation
It strikes me that the inspiration reminds me of a very old Basic Grey collection - Fusion which I think was one of Kathy's favourites. I wish I had thought of that whilst putting my card together as I reckon I have still got a few sheets. Instead I cobbled together some random pink/red/cream/grey papers. Actually some were more white than cream so I added some Vintage Photo to them to tone it down a bit. There was then a further coating of Black Soot distress ink around all the papers. I cut some into strips and used an American Crafts border punch on another, before adhering them to a spare piece of card and stabbing that with a piercer to do some faux stitching. I've never tried the faux blanket stitch before, but quite like it. A hand cut heart was added on the top along with some enamel dots and this was stuck down to the top folding card base. The extra layer of card underneath gives some dimension and more was added with the hand written sentiment strips being raised on foam pads.

I do hope you will pop over to the DCM blog and maybe get inspired yourself. I love all the different details that the team have run with and look forward to seeing your additions to the blog too.

As my December blogging was woeful (ok, non existent) I should share the few Daring cards I managed to make. One of which I have just discovered I hadn't even put on the blog. Tsk! Its there now - my Shaker card (with extra warning)
It was made using Basic Grey papers, some of which were given a silver embossed outline. I used some Spellbinder dies to make my Shaker part, sandwiching acetate and some pretty sequins I had from a Quirky Kit a few back. So why (with extra warning)
Well, see how the acetate layer is a leetle warped? That will be becuse I decided to heat emboss the sentiment after everything else was stuck down. And a heat gun gives acetate the shrinkles. Sigh. still it meant that some of the sequins don't move, which I quite like myself!

The other card I managed to make was for the December colour combo
this was Dawn's lovely choice and I kind of took it literally

I die cut a circle from a panel of white card, and smooshed a few different blue distress inks over it. I then die cut a smaller circle and added embossing powder, glitter and distress ink to try and make a nice shiny bauble. The wreath was originally going to be behind but was too small so came to the front (die cut from silver card). I added berries (aka red stick on gems) and a Paper Smooches sentiment embossed with silver pearl powder. There are foam pads behind the bauble so it doesn't really swing. I have to say this is one of my most favourite cards ever. But it was more fiddly than it looks to make so may not be duplicated any time soon.

And that is a catch up :)
Will I keep up with the Dares every week? Tune in to find out....

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

New year, new me?

 Well I doubt it - faaar too long in the tooth for that (so much so I have come to the age when toffee = danger). But I am going to try my best to blog twice a week if I can. Last year was pretty woeful - especially December.
And to get involved with a few more challenges. I want to do more faith related art - I have bought a Bible with big margins to express yourself in but am frankly too terrified of spoiling it to start that yet! But I am planning to be part of some reflective journalling type stuff. Maybe.

To dip my toe in, I have joined in one of the lovely Nat's challenges which I have long admired and never participated in.
This month there is a colour prompt
and here is where I went with it

The blues are a lot nearer green in real life but it is still more blue that green. I used it far more as an inspiration piece than colour!
I began with a top folding card and added some patterned papers. The bottom layer was a bit short so a Crate Paper border was added. That paper is the same one that the two "blue" circles was cut from and it has ended up nearer the correct shade that the rest is in real life (stop apologising, woman)

The next layer is a random piece of cream cardstock that I used to wipe off a load of glitter paste I had used with a mask. it left it nice and sparkly. Same with the cream circle in the pile.

I used some just out of the envelope Lawn Fawn circles, along with some Spellbinders ones that nest quite nicely. This combined with the wipe the dust off its so old ribbon centre and cream ribbon that got sandwiched in .

I then used two dies - "thank" usually has an "s" on the end and is from Clearly Besotted. "You" is PTI. The top layer was cut from some rather lovely cream glitter card from Card Creations.

VERY late last night I decided that more pearls were needed as per the inspiration photo and so I got out some Bisque Liquid Pearls which makes quite a good cream (a colour hard to find in glitters, pens etc). Not all the blobs are quite as accurate as they might be....

What I did do in December, and I have really almost finished it (but not quite) is an Advent journal. I used a study by Bernice Hopper and Diane Marra called Pause, Ponder and Prepare which they did in November but I stored until December.
I used one of those cute 4x4 instagram albums
which I have added to, but not much (will photograph it soon).
I added some die cut pieces to all my 4x4 cards just to start me going. In hindsight I should have used all bright papers as I then wrote on these making them hard to read!. But I love playing about with see through pages as you can see with these Day 1 photos

I wrote out the bible verse in script writing with a special pen (aka baby writing by Phil), my reflections in my normal writing and then a verse relating to the Christmas story in gold pen, trialling how I might write in my Bible

I have added the stickers to the see through page as well as some Cameo cut numbers in gold foil. Not all the pages have stickers yet. Many of them don't have splatters but all are written up.

And now I am EX-hausted - except I need to blog on the Quirky Kits site - I have one done there already
See you Friday (maybe!)



Monday, November 24, 2014

Here come the layouts - albeit a bit wonky

As well as loads of work as mentioned before, Phil and I have just spent a lovely week in Mevagissey in the tiniest cottage in the world. When they say "Cosy Cottage" they are not kidding
It seems to be made out of odd bits of other cottages. I suspect it was once a three storey place with one room per floor. The bottom floor is now the kitchen of the house next door and there is a little extension with a kitchen and bathroom in what is left (the white part on the right). But it was perfect for two (and a dog) and right in the centre of Meva (as we locals call it) (or at least we people who do not want to have to keep spelling it out)
It is a lovely place. Sometimes it looked like this
but just as often like this
when I was allowed to stay in and do some scrap booking!

Some layouts were for Quirky Kits and you can find more details on the blog



as I have noted there I have discovered that if I straighten a photo in Picasa then it looses focus and that is not good with layouts as the writing in particular goes all funny. So next time I will take more care hanging them up so that they can be a bit straighter and in focus!

I also made two more. One of which features a lovely ribbon from the kit that was perfect with the page
When we were going away I put some kits together - basically grabbing papers and embellishments that I thought would go together, plus some extra enamel dots etc. So this features random papers - some are Fancy Pants, there is some Heidi Swapp as well - but mixed with Maggie Holmes die cuts.
Works for me!


This other layout was based on a sketch I have from somewhere and uses a tag die set as well. It came together pretty fast
Again a range of papers - Crate Paper the Pier plus some Studio Calico mixed with Basic Grey die cuts
because I am a mucky pup I got some black marks on the cardstock and my usual cover it up with gems just didn't work. Neither did a little white pen. Any other suggestions? (It doesn't look quite as bad in real life though)