Saturday, 28 November 2015

Getting Christmassy with Digi stamps

Hello All. Well, I've been getting into the groove of making Christmas cards this week - if you're looking for the Copic class that Aileen and I have been doing, please keep your eyes open mid week :)

A few weeks ago images of some unbelievably sweet digital stamps by @mom2sofia were going the rounds on Instagram and after having read Laurie's post about using digi stamps - if you've never read her blog, I can highly recommend as she is very talented indeed -  I decided to take the plunge because the little children reminded me of my two little girls, and I'm glad I did:

They are remarkably cheap (£2.02!!!) and easy to reproduce. I printed these on Copic friendly paper, Neenah Classic Crest 110lb, and managed to print four on one page then cut it to size. They coloured up beautifully as you can tell - I did two in Copics and two in coloured pencils - and were extremely simple to put together.

After colouring with Copics:

as well as pencils:

[Supplies: Christmas Elves Digital Stamp; Neenah Classic Crest 110lb Smooth Solar White card stock; Hobbycraft White Premium Smooth Cardstock 300gsm; Copic Markers; Wink of Stella; Lawn Fawn 6x6 Paper Pads - Let's Bokeh in the Snow; Let's Polka; Let's Polka in the Dark; Derwent Artist's Pencils; Caran D'Ache Fancolor Metallic Pencils; Double Sided Sticky Tape]

I cut them to size to fit an A2 size card leaving a little gap at the bottom for some of my Lawn Fawn patterned paper (I love these!!).

Although they are not as flexible as actual stamps, given you can't use for embossing, or playing around with on paper in different ways, and I'm not sure how they'd watercolour (please let me know if you know!!), I am hoping to purchase some more digital stamps in future. I can see the potential for easy Copic colouring, price wise they are very reasonable and they certainly don't take up a lot of space. I'd say a great addition to my vastly growing arsenal of crafty items.

While I'm here, I'll take the opportunity to remind you of the Mind Crafternoon I was talking about a couple of weeks ago - it's the weekend of 5th and 6th of December and an ideal opportunity to craft with friends and get those Christmas cards going.

Thanks so much for reading. I always appreciate you stopping by and your comments mean a great deal :)

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Make the Day Special November Challenge

Hello there! Well it's gone from wet and windy to bright, sunny and absolutely freezing in a matter of a day here. We even had a flurry of snow the other day. Must be getting near to Christmas - am I panicking about Christmas cards.....well.... just a little BUT I have the Make The Day Special Challenge to thank for getting me into the zone.

It finishes today (Sunday 22nd) at 10pm, so it's cutting it fine, but I was inspired to use my latest purchases of SugarPea Designs stamps to make something for it. I made two cards in the end, one Christmassy (yay!) and another a birthday card for a friend, which is my entry for the challenge.

Birthday card first:

I pretty well went with the sketch cutting a circle from the centre of my A2 card blank. I cut my CB rounded tag die from Neenah 110lb card stock and stamped the French Hen using Memento Tuxedo Black and then coloured in with Copics - not sure you can see it so well, but I tried out some of my texture with the colourless blender for feathers. I cut another tag to adhere to the back as the copics bleed and it was going to be exposed when you open the card.

On the inside of the card I adhered a piece of bright pink card so it would show behind the tag which was adhered over the circle on the card front. I attached a piece of grey baker's twine through the tag.

The sentiment is from the non Christmas additions to the 12 Days of Christmas set - it cracks me up! I stamped it in VersaFine Onyx Black and cut it out with the CB long flag die - I am not very good at cutting these straight so this is easier. I then attached it with foam pads.

The sequins were a kind gift from Kate, whose blog you need to check out, and just added a little bit of bling.

The Christmas card was made in pretty much the same way, but using the LF Let's Bokeh in the Snow paper pad on the inside, and the Merry Christmas sentiment from CB Sweet Little Sentiments.

[Supplies: SugarPea Designs Every Day is Christmas, 12 Days of Christmas, Feeling Sentimental Stamp sets; Neenah 110lb card stock; Hobbycraft Premium White Card stock 300gsm; Memento Tuxedo Black; VersaFine Onyx Black; Papermania Capsule Collection 6x6 paper pack; Foam Pads; Sticky Red Tape; Ranger Multi Medium Matte; Avery Elle sequins; Grey Baker's twine; Spellbinders Grand Calibur die cutting machine; Spellbinders standard circles large; Clearly Besotted rounded tag die; Lawn Fawn Let's Bokeh in the Snow 6x6 paper pad; Copic markers]

I absolutely adore these stamps, so I'll be making as many Christmas cards as I can over the next few weeks - and possibly beyond, because I always think Christmas cards should be allowed between 25th December and 6th January - those are the 12 days after all!

Hope you're having a great weekend. Thank you all for your lovely comments recently. It means a lot to hear from you and that you like what I'm doing. I love visiting your blogs as well, so do please leave a comment so I can come and say hello!

Friday, 20 November 2015

Online Card Classes - Copic Markers for Card Makers Day 6

Hello again Crafty Friends! I've had a chance now to catch up on my Copic marker class. This week it's all been about colouring in 'critters' or cute little animals as well as using the colourless blender to add texture. As Aileen reminded me that the next couple of classes are about using images in cards we've decided to not make any this week and save them for the next class.

I had a lot of fun with this class using as many different colours as I could to see what I liked for fur. It was also really interesting using the blender pen. I found you have to be quite patient with it and leave it to dry before you see if you need to use any more to reach the desired effect. Something that isn't easy, as it's clear!

I enjoyed adding in fur:

And also being creative with patterns:

I loved the use of the blender pen to mark stars on a night background:

I found that some of the images bled quite a bit as I was using odd colour combinations and trying to blend them together - it's all about practice.

The best bit about this course is that my sister, who is staying with us for a few days in the craft room/spare bedroom, watched Sandy Allnock's video with me and was really fascinated by the pens and techniques. I coloured the first two images and then we all headed to bed as it was late. When I came into the craft room yesterday morning I was so confused as I was convinced I had only coloured two not three images when it dawned on me that Rachel had done one after I'd left!!! She did a fabulous job, I think you'll agree, after only one lesson:

Had me laughing all day!

Please take the time to visit Aileen and see how she's been using the colourless blender and what funky colours she chose for her doggies and foxes.

In other news, I've been adding labels to my Copic Ciaos. I've been getting a bit annoyed by not being able to see clearly what the colours are. Some have already unfortunately come off, and added to that, one of the lids on my most used colours is sticking really badly, and despite having given it a bit of a clean, I fear it may break the pen as I'm having to force it. It's making me wonder whether in the long term the more expensive Sketch may be an idea (the lids slip off beautifully on the two I have) - although it will restrict me to fewer pens..... We shall see!

Thank you so much for reading and for the time you take to read and leave comments. Each one of them is truly appreciated. Thank you to those of you who are new to my blog - please leave me a comment if you are, especially if you're over from Aileen. I love to visit other blogs and comment on as many of you as I can. Just make sure you're not a 'no reply blogger' - you probably don't know if you are or not until someone tries to contact you and can't. You can Fix It! really easily.

I have loads of child care this coming week as my parents have taken a cottage nearby, so some time to craft and make the much needed Christmas cards is coming soon!

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

A Tattered Lace Challenge with Lisa

Hello! I'd normally be doing a Copic class post around now, but Aileen and I have postponed it to the end of the week, instead, I have managed to make a card for a challenge that I had going with Lisa (@lisatilson) on Instagram. We both have Tattered Lace dies that we had never used and were considering selling. With some sensible advice from Michelle we challenged each other to use them on a card before we sold them. Lisa's card was simple and beautiful and you can see it on her feed on IG from a few weeks ago. Here is my card using the fairy tale carriage:

I managed to use some of my new Create A Smile stamps that arrived last week (if you follow my Instagram feed, yes, I did buy quite a lot this month!) and quite a few bits of scrap card, so I felt very virtuous!

I used a 6x6 card blank and die cut the carriage from some white scrap card - they do cut beautifully I will say, but I hate having to poke out all the little bits. The circles were cut from Heather Bazzill Basics scraps using my SSS Stitched Circles die and the sentiment stamped in VersaFine Onyx Black. I felt a few French Lavender sequins were needed in the corner.

A couple of close ups:

Supplies: Tattered Lace Fairy Tale Carriage; Pre cut 6x6 white card blank; Hobbycraft Premium White card scraps; Bazzill Basics paper scraps; Create A Smile Make a Wish stamp set; VersaFine Onyx Black; Ranger Multi Medium Matte; Super Sticky Red Tape; Little Things from Lucy's Cards French Lavender (discontinued); Simon Says Stamp Stitched Circles;

I'm still not 100% comfortable with using them, as I find them fiddly and not really my thing. I much prefer colouring images and clean and simple cards, but my sister really likes it, so I think I'll keep the die for now and see if I can use them to make a card for her birthday next year. I did manage to use one of the other ones I got for Christmas last year back in March, but the third is still in its packet..... I'm waiting on some inspiration....

I have a multitude of Christmas cards to make using all the new things I got this month, so that's what I'll mostly be doing for the next 5 weeks - I hope you'll bear with me!

Thank you so much for visiting, hope you're having a great week despite the weather (if you're in the UK at least!) and thank you for all your lovely comments and encouragement, it really means a lot to me and keeps me going.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Online Card Classes - Copic Markers for Card Makers Day 5

Welcome back to Day 5 of the Copic class. This week it's all been about skin and hair - something I definitely need to practice at. Here are my practice sheets - the green skinned and red haired alien woman was Anne's idea as she joined me in a bit of colouring practice, although with her sitting on my knee it proved less helpful to me!


I realised I'd started cutting them out before I took the pictures. Apologies for the shadow in the bottom one, still working on my photo set up.....

So I really liked doing the hair, but I need a few more blonde and greys. The skin I'm OK for Caucasian, and I think my light Asian skin colour was so so. I could do with some different E's I think to improve on my African and darker Asian skin tones too. Oh no - more spending ;)

I did manage a couple of cards with the ballerinas - not something I think I'd ever make a card with, but it was interesting thinking of something. I kept it quite plain:

So simple, just a card blank covered in coloured paper, a piece of white card cut using my LF stitched square stackables and with sentiments from Mama Elephant and Clearly Besotted. I actually enjoyed fussy cutting her out - makes me take time, which means I'm not fiddling about on the internet!

[Supplies: Online Card Classes Practice Images; Clearly Besotted Happy Birthday; Mama Elephant Heartfelt Wishes; Copic Markers; Ranger Dye Inks - Lily Pad and Blue Ribbon; Versafine Onyx Black; Precut Card Blank; Hobbycraft Premium White Cardstock 300gsm; Lawn Fawn Large Stitched Square Stackables; Double Sided Tape; Ranger Multi Medium Matte; Papermania Capsule 6x6 paper pad

I'm having a great time with this class and would love to do another one as I probably have said before. There is one running now called Holiday Style. Can I do a massive shout out to Michelle from The Card Grotto? You know I think she is an amazing crafter, and that she is a lovely and very supportive person too, well she has a guest spot on the new course - yes, that is right!! How fantastic is that??? She hasn't been so well of late, so if you are in mind to share some kindness, you could pop over to her blog and leave her a happy comment.

That's all for class this week - back next week with what look like some fun critters. Again, please go and leave some happy comments on the fabulous Aileen's blog - no doubt she will have done some fabulous colouring and possibly some amazing cards!

Before I go, I also decided to splurge on a stamp with my name and blog details on it. I was running out of the stickers I put on the back of my cards, and felt it was time to get a little bit more professional seeing as I'm an internet sensation (that was a joke, btw, as I am far from that!). I got it from The English Stamp Company. Easy online ordering and excellent customer service - about 2.5 days from ordering to delivery!

Thanks again for reading, see you all again soon!

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Panda Balloons - Muse Challenge #140

Hello, here is a very quick post as I realised the Muse challenge for this week finishes tomorrow morning at 8am. I call this 'doing an Aileen' - i.e. getting in a few hours before the end :)

So the Muse chose this little cute design with pandas and a red balloon with a lovely positive sentiment and a grey background. So I thought, I have balloon pandas and a nice positive sentiment in one stamp set - CB Best Birthday - and I also have red, black and grey inks - Ranger and Versa Fine. So this was the result after half an hour.

It was fun - but my hat's off to all you crafters who love to stamp because I don't know how you keep such a steady hand. It takes quite a bit of thought to get it all right. 

A few close ups:

A huge thank you to everyone who read my previous post about the Mind Crafternoon and said they would put it in their diary. That means a great deal. Thanks also to those brave souls who have signed up to my Facebook page - you're all so kind :)

Thank you so much for stopping by. I'll be back with Aileen and more Copic fun during the week - it's all about hair - some funky colours went down......

Friday, 6 November 2015

Crafternoon for Mind - 5th and 6th December 2015

Hello again! So after sharing with you last time about kindness sharing and card drives, I'm back to ask you to put some dates in your diary. December 5th and 6th 2015. Why? It's the Christmas Crafternoon for Mind.

Last year Mind, a UK mental health charity, ran a Crafternoon. Basically an afternoon get together for crafters to raise money for their cause. I did mine virtually the day before because I wasn't free (I was having a pampering birthday spa day on the actual date) and joined in my friend Verity's Virtual Crafternoon on Facebook and gave a donation. She ran it this way because a lot of people she knew weren't able to get together physically and craft. If I'm honest, it's really what got me started into making cards and so this year I want to do it all again and involve all the new crafty friends I've made in Blogland and on Instagram!

Mind thought that Verity's Virtual Crafternoon was such a brilliant idea, that they are running one officially on the day of the Crafternoon - 6th December. So if you can't get together with crafty friends, you can join in online!

Verity is also having her own again which is THE DAY BEFORE - 5th December. I'm going to enjoy a few hours in the afternoon making cards and painting with the little ones. I shall be posting on IG and my new Facebook page , as I go. I also hope to have some time on the Sunday to do more.

A little about Verity. She's pretty amazing and has so far raised over £15,000 for Mind. She is a triathlete (she has competed for Team GB!), makes amazing cakes which she sells, and does fantastic feats like swimming Lake Windermere two ways - yep, up and back again - all for Mind. You can read her blog Just Keep Swimming Verity for more about her. I want to join in her Crafternoon because I want to help her reach an even bigger target for her fund raising. 

Verity has said you can join in her Virtual Crafternoon on 5th via Facebook if you don't want to set up your own or can't make the 6th. Currently it's Save the Date - Verity's Virtual Crafternoon. She also has a Just Giving Page if you feel you would like to donate.

You can sign up to set up your own Crafternoon on 6th if you want via the Mind website. You'll get an email pack with all the details.

Get some crafty friends round, craft with the children, your husband, your dog, a random stranger in the street (well maybe not unless they're interested!), but it's a good opportunity to get crafty for a good cause.

Why am I joining in? I've had my own battles with my mental health, and I know some of you will have been affected as well. Crafting and its community has been a great help to me in regaining lost confidence, and I want to do my little bit to help others worse affected than I have been.

Please stick the dates in your diary. I would love lots of people to join in from as many places across the globe as possible. There's no pressure to donate, just craft and maybe spend a little time thinking about those affected by mental health issues.

This has been a long post with no pictures, so here is one of a card that I sent to Verity along with a whole pile of Snowdog die cuts that she asked for:

Please feel free to link to this post and pass on the information to other crafters. The aim of the game is awareness, as well as fundraising.

Thank you so much for reading this. If you have any questions at all about this, please leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

World Kindness Day, Share Handmade Kindness and Caring Hearts Card Drive

Hello! I'm away for two weeks and then you get two in two days - must be something in the water....

I've actually been feeling a bit flat since the 30 Day Colour Challenge ended. It's always so inspiring seeing what everyone has been doing and when it ends I go on a bit of a craft downer. Never fear though, because there are a few things going on to get me crafting again, and they are all about spreading and sharing kindness, which is even better:

1. Tracie Pond of Creations for Kindness asked people to send cards out as part of World Kindness Day on 13th November, so I finally got round to popping a card in the post today - one of my leaf ones. Maybe there's something you could try doing on that day to spread a little kindness?

2. Jennifer McGuire has launched her new website and also a new challenge of Share Handmade Kindness. This week the challenge was to share kindness with friends and family. I've been making lots of apple pies as we've had a good crop this year from two of our three apple trees, so I took one round this evening to our handyman as he's been in hospital to have a tumour removed, and also to our direct neighbour as they are really great neighbours and keep an eye on the house when we're away - and water the plants! 

I hope you'll take the opportunity to take part as well - kindness costs little and gives much.

3. The Caring Hearts Card Drive is still going on. Various people in Canada, the USA and Australia are collecting cards for elderly people who live in nursing homes. If anyone in the UK can find me something similar, I will also participate in that!

I had a card that I'd made during the 30 Day Colour Challenge using my recent CB October release stamps, so I thought it was nice and bright and cheery. I'll be sending that off this week.

Ha! You can see my messy craft desk in this picture. Normally I religiously remove everything from it to take pictures!

And last but not least, I have a pile of cards to make and send to various crafty friends I've met online. It really is a wonderful community, as you can see from the pictures I've received in the last couple of months:


I hope that you may be inspired to take part in these challenges and card drives. The world could do with some more kindness :)

Thanks for reading and I hope the rest of your week goes really well.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Online Card Classes - Copic Markers for Card Makers - Day 4

Cor! Where did the time go? 2 weeks since my last post! Been busy with sick children (hand, foot and mouth virus is yucky), half term (in-laws visited which was lovely), and trips out to see friends in the Peak District (non-UK dwellers, check it out, it's gorgeous and where we're retiring too - at least that's what I tell my husband!).

So, Aileen has got a march on me this week with her gorgeous colouring and beautiful card for Day 4 of the Copic class. This week was all about lighting and shading - oh my, talk about a light bulb going off in my head with Sandy Allnock's advice about where to put the shading. So I've been imagining light coming from the top right, top middle and top left and then imagining parts of the image as ovals and shading the furthest away parts. For me it was a really key concept that I've started to understand. 

So here is my practice sheet, with some of the images more successful than others. 

The close ups are from the ones I used to turn into cards.

My first card used the orange flowers - I think I made up the colours :)

And the second used the pink flowers:

In composition they are similar as I simply fussy cut the images out. I then took a piece of white card stock and blended some distress inks over it (Spun Sugar and Ripe Persimmon) - it's my latest favourite thing! I then cut the panels out with my largest Simon Says Stamp stitched rectangle die. I decided the orange panel was too bright, so I cut out a piece of vellum for the bottom. 

Then I took my CB Thanks word die and cut it out of my pink panel and the vellum. For the pink card I cut it again three times from white card and stuck them all together to give some height. I then put some double sided tape on the back of the card, including over the negative of the cut piece and adhered it to my card blank. It was then a case of placing the word in, along with all those little fiddly pieces - don't tell anyone, but I lost one of them! Then the flower and some of my Gilded Rose sequins from Lucy's Cards and that was it.

With the orange panel, I glued it to the orange piece, but I could see the glue and it annoyed me (any advice on sticking on vellum, let me know), so I cut a frame from my SSS stitched rectangles and glued it on top before gluing on the flower.

Thank you so much for reading and leaving comments, it really means a lot to me to know what you think. Please go over to see Aileen's beautiful card. We shall be back next week, all being well, with another card class. In the meantime, keep an eye out for another post at the end of the week about a fun crafty day I'd love you all to be involved in.

PS My apologies about the lighting in the photos. It is unbelievably dull here with the worst fog ever, so I've been relying on my lamp and I think I should invest in some daylight bulbs. I haven't seen the sky for 2 days..... it's a bit miserable....

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