Friday, 29 May 2015

Reclaiming the mojo

So I feel like I'm back on track with my crafting. No card to show, but I've been playing around with things and as Tim Holtz advocates in his interview in this month's Simply Cards and Papercraft #137, it's important to create as well as make.

I met up with my friend Pat on Wednesday night. I met her in Hobbycraft back in November and we struck up a conversation about which die cutting machine to buy. She very kindly gave me her email address and agreed to meet up for a craft. We've had two so far, and I hope we have many more. It reminded me that for all the great blogs I follow and the wonderful and friendly crafters on Instagram, it's nice to meet up with someone and craft together. Admittedly we do a lot of talking, but we also do manage some crafting! Pat has years of experience over me but last night we learnt about letterpress together - from SCP #137 using embossing folders and what I'd seen of Jennifer McGuire's faux letterpress technique using dies.

A little sample, but I think I preferred the embossing folder technique. We also tried with different inks - distress inks were interesting and could be used for water colouring or spritzing. 

I talked about my new found love of Spectrum Aqua markers and we talked emboss resist techniques, so I tried that on Thursday morning as baby took an unexpectedly long nap (she was up at 3:30am and took ages to go back to sleep, so no wonder!). I loved it. I've seen some gorgeous cards using this for water colouring flowers, so some purchases may be necessary next month. This is to make a secret card for a friend, so just a little peek... I also used some masking techniques on it - there's a new class on at Online Card Classes about this technique (Mask-erade) - I keep seeing these classes advertised and am so tempted!

And I finally sorted my swatches into their new home, the Simple Stories 6x8 Binder with 2x2 insta pockets - it looks a bit naked, but give it some time.... It's perfect storage for them.

I've definitely learnt something this week too about me and my crafting. When I feel pressured to make rather than create, I need to step back, just play and have some fun - and organise too.

Thanks for making it this far and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Crafter's Block? Make swatches!

I've had a serious case of Crafter's Block since Thursday. Despite all the fabulous inspiration I see every day on Instagram, Facebook and various blogs, nothing is forthcoming. What to do? I wanted to make something, so I grabbed some scraps of water colour paper and a brush and did some washes of all my Spectrum Aquas so I could compare and make better use of colour combinations. I also drew them straight onto water colour and plain white paper to see how they differed. I like it.

My next thought went to ink swatches, but I wasn't quite sure where to start, so I stopped by Michelle Short's You Tube site and found the one I needed! She uses a 2x2 card system like Stephanie Klauck and also Jennifer McGuire, who has created a whole host of free downloads to make it easier to create your swatches (links to Stephanie and Jennifer's videos and downloads are on Michelle's video post). I don't have a printer, or I'd have used them! I also don't have many inks at present (but more than I thought I had!!!), so it wasn't too strenuous hand writing them. I used a stamp from the Clearly Besotted Mr & Mrs set that I thought worked well.

I had SO much fun, just stamping! I also had no idea I had so many blue and green inks, then I looked at our carpets and they are blue and green - must be subliminal!

Sorry there's no card today, but I hope you found this useful. I managed to find a UK supplier for the album and the pockets via Hey Little Magpie - I need another store selling goodies like a hole in the head of course!

Here's to crafting when my mojo returns :)

Friday, 22 May 2015

Hooray - You're Engaged!

Honestly, all these lovely people I know getting engaged, and I've got the trials of having to make a card ;). Of course, this latest lovely couple are just lucky enough to get one made with my new Hooray shaker die from Clearly Besotted - it is just yummy and fantabulous in one fell swoop....

I got some inspiration from the fabulous Clearly Besotted design team and gave another shaker card a go and am really happy with the results!

I took a basic card blank - C6 I think it is! - and trimmed another piece of white card stock to fit in the middle. I took some time to line up the Hooray die to make sure it was centred and level (not entirely convinced, but it's close enough!) and cut it from the card stock. I then cut it twice more, once from spare white card and once from some nice light turquoise, having put some Stick It! on the back before cutting. I then cut out the Hooray from each of these and put them to one side to make the shaker section.

I put some acetate on the back using strong red tape to cover the Hooray and adhesive fun foam to give depth and contain the sequins. I used some of Lucy Abrams Glacier selection - these are so beautiful! - and they obviously go well with the shaker dies she designed. With some strong red tape I contained the shaker part with another piece of white card stock, the same size as the shaker piece making it easier to attach to the card. I then attached the extra 'Hooray' words, one on top of each other, to give it depth and colour. I also then stamped the sentiment (should have done this first really!) from the Clearly Besotted Mr & Mrs set in Memento Tuxedo Black.

I then attached two thin pieces of Lawn Fawn Let's Polka paper to either side of the card before attaching the shaker section, to frame it.

Thanks as always for reading :)

Monday, 18 May 2015

CAS-ual Fridays CFC139 - Happy 4th Birthday!

I've decided to try my hand at another challenge, this time CAS-ual Fridays. I love popping along to their blog during the weeks the challenge is on and seeing what people create. The colours appealed to me this time, so I've given it a go. Honestly, my creations are nothing compared to the beautiful cards some people come up with, but it's all about practice, so here you are. I've come up with two because I always like to use the negative from a die cut where I can - waste not want not!

I started with some white card blanks and chose my turquoise and orange from my Papermania Capsule collection. I die cut the circles using my Spellbinders Nestabilities standard circles (large) and the dragonflies using the free die from Simply Cards and Papercraft issue 134. I adhered a dragonfly to its opposite colour circle before attaching as seen. The sentiment dies are from Clearly Besotted - happy and birthday - and die cut from my Papermania collection. I used some Stick It! I got from Make the Day Special - it's great stuff for intricate dies. I fussy cut the happy birthday from some white cardstock before adhering with foam tape to add a bit of lift. I've added a few sequins from the Lucy Abrams sequin mixes I bought with my last purchase from Clearly Besotted Stamps - this one is Glacier. They really are beautiful. 

This card is made from the negative of the happy birthday with a dragonfly and sequins as above. It's a tent fold this time. I tell you, getting all the little extra bits of paper from the die for the 'a' and 'h' etc was rather fiddly! 

So there you are, another challenge - that makes three this month. I'm getting carried away!

Thanks for reading, hope you've all had a good Monday!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Thank You and Notelets - playing with Spectrum Aquas

Hello everyone! Hope you've had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend. I've three cards to share with you that I made using my new Spectrum Aqua markers - my subscription present from Simply Cards and Papercraft.

The first is a Thank You card for my in laws - they bought some beautiful clothes for the little ones and helped keep them occupied when they visited last week, which deserves a card at the very least!

I used three shades of Spectrum Aquas floral set for the outer panel (Blossom, Begonia and Rose Pink), rubbing the pen onto an acrylic block, then adding water and painting it onto my water colour panel. After letting it dry, I splashed water onto it with a brush and dabbed it with some kitchen towel leaving splatters. I love this technique! I then got a bit bokeh and used a star stencil (I got this free with my first ever purchase of Simply Cards and Papercraft!) with some Ranger Glacier White pigment ink and got busy dabbing it all over the panel. I then left it to dry whilst painting up the inner panel with three of the Spectrum Aquas essentials set (Spice, Tan and Peach), leaving it to dry and then splatter painting it too.

Once they were both dry, I made a frame of the outer panel using two of my Lawn Fawn large stitched squares, and a panel of the inner one to fit into the frame. I adhered the inner panel to the middle of a square card blank and then the frame using a lot of foam tape. The sentiment I stamped onto some pink card and heat embossed it with my Wow! bright white embossing powder before cutting out the flag. I added some stick on pearls for a bit of bling.

To the notelets!

The pink notelet was made from the inner panel of the above with another Thank You flag, adhering it with fun foam - two cards for the price of one! I made a 4x4 card blank for that one.

The other notelet was a different technique. Basically I got some water colour card and drew some very basic flowers on it using Marigold, Sunflower and Leaf Green before brushing over it with water and smudging it. I think it looks like old wall paper and I love it. I then cut out four little squares and adhered them with fun foam to another 4x4 card blank. I also made a couple of little envelopes for these with my WRMK Envelope Punch board and some Bazzill basics - they look so sweet!

I love the markers for making backgrounds. They blend well. I'll continue to practice and try different techniques - there are loads of great videos on YouTube.

Thank you for getting this far. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Home - Where the Heart Is

Hello everyone! I've had quite a few goodies arrive in the post recently, not least the Sugar Pea 'Home' die that I've been waiting on for several weeks. It finally shipped over to the lovely people at Make The Day Special!

I've also three friends who have moved house recently, so I have to make those in the next week or so. Here's the first using that new die and also my new Spectrum Aqua markers that I got free through subscribing to Simply Cards and Papercraft. I've been playing around with them and watching lots of videos on YouTube for tips - I love the way they make really beautiful backgrounds so easily. Definitely a great free gift!

I started by taping down a piece of water colour paper onto my glass cutting mat and block colouring it using three of my Spectrum Aqua markers (Heather, Orchid and Wildflower). I then washed them over with water to blend them together. After waiting for it to dry, I splashed it with water and then blotted it dry, leaving nice splatters.

I then took the HOME die and cut it out twice from two shades of purple paper, adhering the houses in the bottom right. I placed the 'Home' as in the picture, accenting it with some die cut hearts from my Lawn Fawn Best Pun Ever set. I used one for the 'O' of 'Home' instead of the house and added some Wink of Stella and glossy accents to make it pop out a bit - Home is where the heart is after all!

I think this might be the first card I've made that didn't have any stamping on it!

I've followed the layout for this month's Make the Day Special Challenge, as I'd like to enter. They give such brilliant customer service, so any excuse to buy things there ;)

Hope you like it and thanks for reading!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

More Bokeh!

Hello again! Hope your weekend is treating you well? I got a bit carried away with bokeh and now I can't stop! I realised I had a birthday card for a friend to make, and so I got my little girl's paints out again and went with a green theme this time.

It's the same technique as in my previous post, but with a few additions. The dragon fly is the Simply Cards and Papercraft free gift from issue 134, embossed using my new bright white Wow! Embossing powder. It's so fine compared to my other powders and gives a lovely result. The sentiment is stamped in Lily Pad Ranger dye ink and is from Clearly Besotted's Sweet Little Sentiments set. I added a few of my new Lucy Abrams' sequin mixes. This one is Phosphorescence and the colours just went beautifully.

Hope you like it, I think I'll enter this one too into House of Cards Challenge!

Thanks for reading, enjoy what remains of the weekend :)

Friday, 8 May 2015

House of Cards Challenge - Bokeh Effect

Hello there! The House of Cards May challenge has started and since I had a lot of fun with the last one, I fancied giving Bokeh effect a go. This is totally new to me, so I had a read of Mynn's instructions and also found a great video from Dawn at Wplus 9, which also taught me how to make my own circles stencil using dies (acetate is very hard to die cut though!). The only thing I didn't have was a dauber, but I improvised with a piece of sponge from the top of a kitchen scrubber - not brilliant, but not bad either.

Here's the result:

I tried a panel of watercolour paper with my Inktense pencils, but didn't like the results. I then tried watercolour paints belonging to my four year old which gave a much better finish. I've now received some Spectrum Aquas, courtesy of taking out a subscription to Simply Cards and Papercraft, so I will try those next :)

I used Ranger pigment ink in Glacier White with the stencil once the panel had completely dried. To finish it, I wanted a simple sentiment that would stand on its own without any embellishment, so I found this from the Clearly Besotted Book Worm collection. In view of the election yesterday, it's something that any government needs to do. I then die cut out a panel using my Memory Box stitched rectangles and adhered it to a Kraft card blank. Simple.

I really love this technique and the results and am planning on trying it out again - how many entries am I allowed??

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!

Friday, 1 May 2015

My first shaker card!

Hello everyone, hope you're looking forward to the Bank Holiday weekend - those in the UK, at least! 

Tonight I'm bringing you my first ever shaker card. I have tried these before, without much success. Now I'm not saying it's perfect, but it does work and half the sequins aren't on the floor. I think I need a bit more practice, so this is hopefully the first of a few. No doubt a splurge on some nice sequins will be required - #impoverishedhappycrafter :)

I've made it using some of the new things I received the other day in my haul. It's a basic 6x6 card blank with a piece of Lawn Fawn Let's Polka as backing. The shaker part is a nice grey from my Papermania capsule collection, die cut with the new Lawn Fawn stitched squares - they cut beautifully - filled with some sequins from Hobbycraft. I need some Pretty Pink Posh

I wanted to see the backing paper through the shaker box, so it is backed with acetate to contain the sequins before attaching to the card - did I mention before that usually they end up on the floor? Some time looking at how to make shaker card videos might be well spent over the next couple of days.

The set is Mama Elephant Up and Away, stamped in various Memento dye inks, coloured with Derwent pencils. The balloons are coloured using my metallic Caran D'Ache, with a bit of Wink of Stella and glossy accents. The fox is hanging on with some red baker's twine.

I'm just so happy it worked, I had a lot of fun making it.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your weekend!

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