Quirky Owls

Having had a long week at work, like many of us I am sure, I turned my head to card making this evening. I was looking through Paper Playful challenge site and two challenges took my fancy. The first was from Double D challenges, with the theme of things that fly, and the second was from Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge, with the theme of things with wings.

I had bought a quirky stamp set from ‘Hampton Art – Laugh Out Loud’ stamps either last year or maybe even the year before, but haven’t had a chance to add the sentiments to a card. The sentiments on the stamp sets are quite different, and I am sure they couldn’t be used on everyday cards, and certainly not on the cards I make for charity.

I decided I would use one of the sentiments along with one of the images from this stamp set from Stamp Addicts ‘Owl Be Yours’. I went with the three owls which seem to be saying ‘speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil’ as it reminded me of when my two close friends and I go away together. We would have so much fun, and I am sure at points during the days away, one of us would be covering our eyes, one of us would be pretending not to see, and one of us would be pretending not to hear. Aaaahhhh – the memories!

I started by stamping the three owls with Ranger Perfect Medium, and embossing in detail black from Cosmic Shimmer. I new I was going to colour, but was not sure whether to water-colour or just normal colouring. I stamped images several times so I could play……

The colourful owls I spent some time with my Zig markers, not using any water, just blending two tones of the colours together. I wanted vibrant – and I think I got vibrant. I didn’t know what I was going to do with the colourful images, but they are ready for something in the future.

My entry into the two challenges was quite simple. I stamped and embossed in black, and gave a water-colour wash as the background using my Aquatints. I did make a mistake – again – and coloured the background in a yellowish colour, then went below the owls with green – so far so good, then I went above the owls with blue. So – what do you get when you mix blue and yellow? Yep – green! I therefore had a totally green background. So – wet the background down, removed most of the colour from the top half, then added a washed-down blue. Sorted.

I didn’t want the owls the same colour as the background, but didn’t want to colour them, so I used good old kitchen towel, wet it, and removed the colour from the owls, and slightly around the outside of them. A sort of bleach effect – but not totally removing the colour. It almost gives the impression of a halo, I think.

Final touch was adding the sentiment from the Laugh Out Loud set, stamping in black Versafine, and layering on the bottom of the card.

A good bit of playing to conclude the weekday…….


I suddenly realised today how close we are to the end of March – hasn’t time flown? It only seems yesterday that we were celebrating the New Year, and we are now celebrating the appearance (probably) of Spring. I love the flowers which are now starting to appear – the daffodils in full bloom, then we have the Bluebells to look forward to. We have loads of bluebells covering the gardens around here, and a carpet of blue is definitely something worth seeing.

For this card, I have used inspiration from the Altenew challenge for March with the gorgeous inspiration photo full of colour, the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge of ‘Anything Goes’, and Make My Monday Challenge with the theme of ‘white embossing’.

When I looked at the inspiration photo, I thought of my Tulip stamp and die set, but I didn’t quite know where I was going with it. I stamped approximately 16 full tulip heads in black Versafine, and embossed with clear embossing powder. I didn’t want a thick outer line, which is why I used the Versafine, but just something to outline the flowers and differentiate them from the background. I also stamped and embossed the stems, all of the variety in the stamp set, just in case I wanted them.

I wanted to water-colour again, so took my Derwent Inktense pencils and had a play. I did some flowers all in one colour, then added a darker colour, merging the colours together. I know that tulips are usually a single colour, but my  variety of tulips are a mixture of two, if not three colours! I used the three coloured pencils in the photo above – Tangerine, Sun Yellow, and Poppy Red. The pencils certainly do pack a whole load of ink and I really, really enjoyed playing with them.

I then cut out the whole bunch of flower heads with the matching die set. I must admit, it took a bit of manoeuvring to get the dies to sit just right around the flower heads – some cut off to one side, but I think I finally got the hang of it.

Once I had the flower heads and stems, I started with put them onto a 7 inch square card base. I started laying the flowers down, added the stems, removed the stems, re-arranged the flowers – this process took me approximately 20 minutes, until I was happy. I decided not to use the stems, and arranged the flowers into a shape which slightly resembles a heart. Can you see it? Is it just my imagination?

For the background, I wanted to add some interest, so used my Sue Wilson A4 embossing folder ‘Checkboard’. This is a dimensional embossing folder, called a ‘PinPoint’ embossing folder, and gives an impression of a trellis. I know that tulips don’t climb trellis’s – but artistic license is certainly used whilst making this card. I embossed white card, and added straight to the card base, re-arranging my flowers yet again, and sticking them down using foam pads.

Now for the sentiment. I didn’t have a whole row to place a long sentiment, so used two of the ones provided in the tulip stamp set, and cut them out with my Stampin Up ‘Bunch of Banners’ framelits, putting one on the top left, and the other part on the bottom right. That way I thought the eye would be drawn across the whole card.

Quite a simple card, but it took a lot of fiddling around – colouring, die cutting, arranging. All good fun.



Simple layering

The card I have made today is to enter the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge, theme being using more than one die cut or punch and Clean and Simple on Sunday with the theme of using a sentiment, but no image. I decided to go back to my wonderful Birch Press ‘Sevilla’ layering dies, and added a sentiment I have had for a few years – the lovely ‘Thank You Extravaganza’ from Memory Box. Such a wonderfully ornate sentiment die.

I started by putting some ‘Wonder Sheet’ double sided sticky paper (Be Creative) on the back of three white pieces of card. I then cut the three layers from the Birch Press die out, and stacked them on top of each other. I still think the best way to add these layers is by using double sided sticky sheets, as I found that the Crafters Companion sticky spray wasn’t – sticky, that is. It didn’t stay stuck down on previous cards, and was so disappointing.

I then put some double sided sticky sheet on another piece of card the same size as the die cuts, and – once I added the base die cut to it – sprinkled on some Cosmic Shimmer sparkles. I am not sure whether the Sevilla die is supposed to be flowers or stars, but feel that in this case they are stars – and need a little sparkle. Just a touch…….

I then die cut the sentiment twice from black card which also had the double sided sticky tape on it – the best way to layer……but watch out for it sticking in the wrong place to the wrong thing! I did one sample and it stuck completely cock-eyed.

I wanted the sentiment to be quite bold, and for it to stand out from the layered base, which is why I cut it out in black. I didn’t think a colour would be as vivid, and didn’t want to cover the background with a tag that size. I added some glue in strategic places, to support the lacy sentiment.

Even though there are several layers, I still feel the look of the card is quite simple, and it didn’t take long to make it at all. A little bit of fun after my workday.




Pink, Purple, yellow


For this card, I was inspired by two challenges. The first was Paper Play Sketches with the theme of yellow, purple, and pink, and the second was from Cardz 4 Galz with the theme of pink. I decided to go back my roots and use a lot of die cutting and embossing.

The base card is 8 inches square, with a slightly smaller purple layer, cut with my Sue Wilson stitched square dies, and embossed with Tattered Lace ‘Lily Spray’ embossing folder. The purple and pink card is from Creative Expressions, but the yellow is a textured card from my stash – no clue where I got that from!

I used the Sue Wilson Noble Dies ‘Ornate Pierced Design’ to cut the pink portion of the card, in-laying the lacy layer for interest. On top I used the next embossing layer, and cut the smallest die from that set for my sentiment, which I decided to do in yellow, to match the flowers.

I was trying to decide which flowers I wanted to use, so turned to Sue Wilson yet again. I used the Finishing Touches ‘Delightful Daisies’ cut all four of them out, and then added them to my card. The photgraph was taken with sunshine streaming through the sindow, but it does show the embossing and flower dimesnion quite nicely, I think.

As I didn’t want to add ribbon to an already ornate card, I then used the embossing strip folder from the same tattered Lace pack and placed my flowers underneath that strip. I left the flowers unstuck at the top, so they add some movement to the card.

The sentiment is from Heartfelt Creations ‘Timeless Sentiments’ which I stamped in Catherine Pooler ‘Flirty Fuchsia’.

I did enjoy doing a virtually completely die cut and embossed card, and used the tattered Lace folders for the first time – even though I’ve probably had them for a couple of years! The embossing folder set has an 8 inch folder, two strip folders which are 2 inches wide, and a corner folder. It also comes with matching stamps and dies for the flowers and other elements,

Before I became more comfortable with stamping – and before I had my Misti – I very rarely did any stamping. I found I couldn’t really get the hang of it, something always went wrong – whether that was a blurry image, an incomplete image, or I smudged everything. The main thing I learnt was that I had to use the correct inks for the correct card, and the technique of actaully stamping was then easier.

As for die-cutting, I am sure I am not alone in saying I have more than one machine. I have several. Well – at least five. All different, and bought for different reasons over the years. The main machine I use is the Big Shot Express which is on my desk. I use this all the time, my main machine. As it is electronic, it is so easy to use. I tend to send my dies one way then bring them back – I don’t have to stand up, then!

As this is only for dies which are 6 inches or less, I also have my Big Shot Pro. The Beast. He is sitting on a table my sister altered to make it ‘shabby chic’ for me at Christmas. He is the one I use to cut anything bigger than 6 inches, and to emboss with my A4 embossing folders. He is heavy, and huge – but love it. So gald I now have a table for him, as he was taking far too much room up on my desk.

I enjoy particpating in challenges, as I use them for inspiration. that isnpiration also leads me to try different techniques, but still I am able to use a lot of the products I have bought over the years, and sometimes even mix and match together. The cards I make go to my firends, but mainly go to the charity for them to sell. So – any excuse to make cards, right?










Coloured Rose

It’s been a couple of days since my last post, with the previous week being very productive for me. My husband is back from his travels, so today is the first day since his return I have been able to go to my craft room and play – he has gone golfing.

I went to Crafting Live in Doncaster yesterday and came away with quite a lot of goodies. I went there with mum, and we had a good time, a few laughs – and bought lots of stuff! That show is amazing. I tend to go in the summer, with mum and sister, and we always find what we are looking for, the stall staff are very friendly and helpful, even though it does tend to be very, very busy. I think we were there for over four hours, and sometimes go back for the second day, too – but the weather is gorgeous, I have time to play, and time to go into the garden – so decided not to this time.

This rose stamp is a new buy from Honey Doo crafts called ‘Roses are red’ and comes with a matching die. I decided not to do one card, or two, but four in total. I used my Crafters Companion water-colour card, and stamped and embossed the outline twice in detail black, and twice from white. I knew I wanted to add the colours from the CAS colours and sketches challenge, and wanted to play with different techniques. The colours are named from Stampin Up, and I do have the exact colours, so I didn’t have to think about which colours matched.

After embossing the outlines in white, for one card I used my water-colour brush and took ink from the lid of the ink casing, and coloured the flower for a muted look, and on the other white embossed card I used my Stampin Up markers of the same colours for a slightly more vibrant look – but still drew the ink out with my water-colour brush, adding a blue wash around the flower, before die-cutting the image and sticking to a 6 inch square white card.

For the images embossed in black, I coloured the image using the markers and drew the colour out slightly with my water brush, and for the other I coloured the image with the pens without drawing the colour out, for a more vibrant look.

I love how versatile this stamp is, and how the different techniques can give a totally different look. My favourite is the more vibrant look, and of the cards the two embossed in black seem to stand out more.

I shall also be entering one of these cards into the Crafty Challenge Calendar and Addicted to Stamps and More




Colour challenge

I was beginning to panic yesterday, as I saw one of the challenges I wanted to enter was closing – and I hadn’t even started my card! The challenge is from ‘Just US Girls’ and has the theme of using three colours – pink, purple, and grey. I had an idea in my head, and just didn’t get round to doing it. Until yesterday.

I was using a grey ‘Narwhal’ card from Lawn Fawn, which I had bought from Sevens Hills Crafts, and thought that would be a good base for my card. I was going to use the unicorns from the Avery Elle stamp and matching die set ‘Pegasus Duo’, and I wanted to make a shaker card. I haven’t had much luck with shaker cards, but I still keep persevering, and having a go. I look at quite a few videos on YouTube – and usually still get it wrong!

This time, I stamped the unicorns, embossed the outline in black, coloured them in with my Zig pens, die cut them, and then planned to have them on the outside of the shaker shape, with clouds and stars from the same set – then I changed my mind. As always!

I cut a heart-shaped aperture in white card with my Sue Wilson fillable die ‘Fluttering Hearts’, added a piece of acetate then added two layers of white foam, raising the white card enough to add sequins and glass beads. This is where I usually go wrong – I forget the acetate. This time, I kept concentration enough to remember. Yay!

Once I layered them together, I searched my sequin and bead stash for colours of sequins with the purple and pink theme. I found a few, but they were mixed with other sequins. How much time did it take me to get enough out of the pile that I wanted? You don’t really want to know….honest.

I placed them in the aperture behind the acetate – then how do you add the base card so it is square, and the beads don’t fall out whilst doing it? I guessed! I tried adding the base grey card with no glue and felt how close to the edge it was, added the glue, then went for it. It worked….!

This is where I decided not to use the unicorns and to stamp the three little stars around the aperture instead. I can hear you now – what if it goes wrong? What if the stars don’t stamp correctly, what if I make a mess of it? I know, I know. But I did it anyway.

You could probably hear my squeal of delight across the whole of Chesterfield.

I wanted a sentiment, and I wanted it in purple, as I had just realised that the purple I was going to add was on my unicorns – and I wasn’t using them. I used my purple Zig on the sentiment stamp, and stamped it a couple of times with my Misti, on a spare piece of card, as I wasn’t brave enough to stamp it directly onto the card. (I can hear you all again, breathing a sigh of relief) I also wanted to have a grey layer underneath the white sentiment strip.

The white sentiment and grey layer were cut out using my Sue Wilson ‘Frames and Tags’ die set, as they layer together quite nicely, and have a stitched inner part. I did consider making the banner slightly raised and wavy, but kept it flat to the card, feeling that the shaker element added enough interest.

I am very, very pleased with the way this shaker card turned out. There are a few tweeks I want to make to future attempts, but all-in-all I had fun. Isn’t that the name of the game? I’m having LOADSA fun playing with it.



Green and gold


Whilst I am at home today as my car is being serviced, once again I look for inspiration for making a card from a couple of challenges. The first challenge is from Daring Card Makers with the theme of green with gold, and the second is from the Colour Crazy Craft Challenge with the theme of anything goes.

I took the opportunity to use my stamp set from Altenew ‘Faithful Feather’ and also tried again for a clean and simple card. I have attached the photos of my crafting progress, which I haven’t done before, so thought I would give it a try. I was going to give this to my friend today, as she was nipping round for coffee, but unfortunately she is unable to make it. So – she will have to look and admire it on this blog before she receives it!

I stated with Crafters Companion water-colour card, as I didn’t know if I was going to water colour, or just stamp, and as the card has some texture, I used my Misti to ensure good coverage of the stamp outline. I stamped and embossed the feather outline using my Ranger Perfect Medium, and Detail Gold embossing powder from Cosmic Shimmer.

Once I had the outline embossed, I moved onto the inner part of the stamp, and again stamped and embossed this detail. I wanted the outline and detail to stand out which is why I embossed both layers. In this stamp set there are several other layers which can be used, and I may try them out soon – seeing as how the set is on my craft table currently – but wanted this card to be simpler.

I then moved onto the colouring. I knew I wanted green, but didn’t know which green to use. I have several different pens, distress inks, Zig brushes……then – again – my eyes fell upon a recent purchase I had made through Hochanda craft channel……my brand new Derwent Inktense Pencils. Ideal opportunity to see how they worked.

I have the 12 pencil set, which came as a bundle with some water-colour paper, water brush, and set of 5 line painters. The lady who demonstrated during the shows for this product was absolutely inspiring. She made it seem that anyone could achieve the results she had….we shall see!

I tried three of the pencils on some spare water-colour card and they all blended absolutely smoothly, which made me be brave to add straight to the stamped feathers. I used Apple Green, only the one colour, and drew straight down the middle of the feather, using my water brush to blend out from the centre each side. I purposefully didn’t blend the whole of the ink as I wanted a darker line down the middle of the feather.

During this process – I smudged. Blinking Heck!!!. Just beneath the middle feather…..but decided to carry on and think of some way to disguise the area. No-one will know. I won’t tell anyone. It never happened…..

I stamped and embossed the sentiment from the same stamp set, then tried to decided what colour card base to use. I decided on a darker green just beneath the water-colour card, and a ‘Topsy Turvy’ card from Create and Craft channel – darker green on the outside and lighter green on the inside which I have tried to show in the final photograph.

Now onto the mistake I didn’t make! I made the decision to add three sequins, in a colour which seemed to match the green, and also had a hint of gold in them. Bingo! Sorted!

Well – in hindsight I wouldn’t have added them, but there we are.





‘L’ for Lady

So what on earth is a girl to do when home from long day at work, hubby still away? Yep – make another card!. I had a look through the Paper Playful challenge web site, and came across three I could enter with the same card.

The first inspiration was from Just Add Ink, with the theme of using an element which began with the letter ‘L’. The second was from Seize the Birthday with the theme of black and white, and the third from Cards in Envy with the theme of black and white and one other colour.

The use of black and white to me, was to create a silhouette, and what better die set to use than that of the Tonic ‘Chepstow Bonnet’ die set. This die set has a couple of bonnets with the lady die, including a fascinator hat, but I liked the look the bonnet gave with the lace around the head.

I used an 8 inch square white card base, and added a slightly smaller layer black layer, cutting it with my Sue Wilson pierced squares die, and then cutting one slightly smaller in white card. Even though the white card had some pattern to it anyway, I embossed it with the Crafters Companion background script embossing folder for extra interest.

I die cut the lady and bonnet in black adding her to the card with one layer of mounting foam, and added the bonnet on top of her head. The sentiment is from another set of Crafters Companion dies, cut in black, and attached with the Stick and Stay spray – also from Crafters Companion.

I thought I had finished there, then remembered that I had to add one colour for the Cards In Envy challenge, but I didn’t want too much colour. I hunted through my ‘bling’ drawer, which has brads, and sequins, and gems, and came across these. They are red, but such a deep red, they almost shine black. I thought they would be a good addition to the card, and also thought they would enhance the bottom right corner – which seemed a little empty.

That’s it. Card done. Today’s playtime over………but there is always tomorrow!!






Buttons for wheels

You may wonder why I seem to be posting quite a few cards this week……well, my hubby is away for a few days, so I can do as much crafting as I like, without having to worry about anyone else. I can please myself when I eat, what time I go to bed, and how long I can craft for………..all good. For a short time, anyway.

This card is a clean and simple card, as a complete opposite to my gold card from yesterday. I didn’t want to do much to the background, I didn’t want to add embellishments – I just wanted to play along with the challenge from 4 Crafty Chicks and have fun.

The theme for this time was to use buttons. I actually didn’t have to think for a long time as I immediately thought that buttons could be the wheels on this bicycle stamp from Stampin Up. I bought some buttons recently as I wanted to do a mixed media project with lots of buttons – not yet got down to doing it! – and one of the colours matched quite nicely, I thought.

On the Whisper White card from Stampin Up, I stamped the bicycle in Ranger Archival ‘Coffee’. I determined where I wanted the bike on the card by cutting out my Lawn Fawn ‘Road Border’ first, and moving it around the card. Did I want the bike straight across, did I want the bike going up or down one of the hills…? I decided I wanted the bike straight, with the connotation that for the hill coming up – I would pedal for a while….Almost soppy and sentimental, if you think about it.

I didn’t want harsh lines for this stamp, as I knew I was going to add a black road. The coffee colour was just the right shade for adding some colour to the bike frame and bars – with my Stampin Up pens ‘Pumpkin Pie’ and ‘Daffodil Delight’ – and also was the right colour to stamp the sentiment from the same stamp set. I only used a couple of colours purposefully, not wanting to add too much to take away from the sentiment. I did originally plan  to stamp the two sentiments more off-set from one to the other, but forgot!

The stamp set also comes with items you can put on the bike, including a basket, into which you can stamp some bread, some flowers, some hearts, but I didn’t want to determine  whether to card was for male or female. I didn’t want any addition to the plain and simple stamp, I just wanted simplicity. I didn’t emboss anything, I didn’t glitter anything. I know, right? I resisted……….

I added the buttons as the wheels of the bike, then added the road lastly, and adding the whole thing to some Stampin Up ‘Crumb Cake’ card stock.

I like using Stampin Up, and I have a great demonstrator, Shell Bower, who has been to my house a couple of times to have a crafting few hours with some of my friends. Quite a reasonable price for a few hours, and even the non-crafty friends enjoyed it. She is very helpful, and spent some time a year ago talking to me about being a demonstrator.

I did consider joining as demonstrator – but I have so much stuff from other companies – and you’re not supposed to sue anyone else’s products – that I refrained both this year and last year. I have too much Tim Holtz, Lawn Fawn, Altenew, IndigoBlu, MFT………..to consider not using them. I like to use a lot of different products when I craft, I don’t like to be restricted from what I want to do. If I want to use Tim Holtz with Stampin UP – then I can…..Oh dear. Did someone say control freak who doesn’t like to be told what to do? Who doesn’t like too many rules? You’re right. I work within a ‘rules’ orientated work-place (NHS Hospital) and so when I craft I don’t want rules. I want to spread my wings, as it were, and harness my inner artist. (That could almost be a sentiment, couldn’t it?)

Final word (for this post) –  having fun, loving crafting, some sunshine today (Derbyshire, UK)……….jolly good day for me.








Flowers and colour throwdown

I have quite a bit of time to play this weekend, and I am enjoying every minute of it. There are a few challenges about to close, so I thought I would combine two challenges with this card. The ‘Colour Throwdown’ and ‘Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge’.

The first challenge is to use the colours green, black and gold, and the second challenge was to use hand-made flowers. When I want to use gold, I see cards as being quite decadent, and sumptuous, and then thought how I could incorporate flowers and decadence.

I returned to my roots, by using quite a few of my Sue Wilson dies. I have a few of her flower sets, and wanted a solid flower for this card. I also spied my Corner Garden from Stampin Up – I haven’t used that for a while.

I started with a brown Kraft base card of 8” square, used my Sue Wilson stitched squares for the layers of black, green, then black again. I used my embossing buddy over the smallest square, and stamped the ‘Corner Garden’ stamp with my Ranger Perfect Medium, using a Cosmic Shimmer ‘Detail Gold’ and heat embossed the image. The image didn’t come all the way across the bottom of that square, so I decided to use my flowers to cover the blank area to the bottom left. I usually put my flowers on the bottom right corner, so this is a little change for me.

To get the flowers to match the gold of the embossing powder, I covered a piece of black card with ‘Be Creative’ double sided sticky tape, added the same gold embossing powder, and heat set it. I then cut out several sizes of the flowers from ‘Perfect Peony complete Petals’, so I could put several layers on the flowers. I curled the edges of the petals slightly, and layered them together to create three flowers. I like the way the embossing with this tape isn’t completely smooth, I think the added texture gives some more interesting detail to the flowers. I didn’t put anything in the middle of the flowers as I couldn’t think of anything which would work, so left them as is.

I then used the remainder of the gold embossed black card to cut out the leaves from the matching set ‘Perfect Peony Open Petals’. I didn’t want the leaves solid, as I felt it would cover too much of the base card, so only used the outline dies.

I added the flowers and the leaves to the card with Pinflair Glue gel, so I could manipulate their position, and insert the leaves where I wanted them. I did move them around that corner a few times until I was happy with the placement of them.

The sentiment is from ‘Paperartsy’ and is part of a guest designer collection. The set has a number not a name – ELB05 – is has 6 sentiments relating to flowers, some of the quotes from William Blake, and Henri Matisse. I chose the one I used as it fit the open space perfectly. I used my Perfect Medium again, and the same gold embossing powder.

I was nervous to stamp it, but I stamped it using my Misti, before I added the flowers – just in case. I find the Misti has made me use stamps more than I ever have as I can just go over the image again and again if it hasn’t stamped well.

I was tempted to use some dew drops, some other embellishments – but I restrained myself, and am overall liking what it came out like. I liked the clean lines of the card base and the layers, leaving the eye to be drawn to the flowers, stamp and sentiment.

It felt good to get back to my die-cutting roots with the Sue Wilson dies, and also incorporating some newer stamp sets from Stampin Up and Paperartsy. As always – loving embossing!