Thursday, 26 May 2016

Here Comes The Sun

I think its pretty safe to say that I'm becoming addicted to making easel cards, I think this is the 10th one that I've made, I made oval shapes and circle and I'm planning some rectangular and square easels, I'd also like to make some shaped like stars and hearts, but so far I haven't got dies big enough to make anything but tiny cards, I could uses a template I guess but I'm not that good at cutting very accurately.

This summer sunshine card is my card for the Stamping/Digi challenge for May that I was hosting over on the DoCrafts website, for my challenge I asked participants to make a project using a stamp or digi image that celebrated Summer Sunshine and used nice sunny, bright colours. When I set the challenge we had glorious sunshine, today as the challenge ends its cold and grey and threatening to rain, so its nice to be reminded of the sun. There was some lovely entries, I love hosting the challenges and seeing what others make from the prompts, the DoCrafters are a very creative lot, I've made lots of friends and discovered lots of new card making delights from their creative sharings, and my stash has grown a lot as well lol!

I've not been doing much crafting this past two weeks, which is why I haven't been blogging much, I've been working hard to do my daily steps and try to get a good weight loss, I want to be almost 1st 7lb lighter for my holidays in July so I have a lot of work to make that happen. It's happening slowly, week 3 now, my weigh in day is tomorrow, so I won't know until then how much (if anything) I've lost this week, my clothes are feeling loser though and my Resting Heart Rate is now down to 63 bpm, almost down 10 points. I'm sleeping better as well which is a huge bonus, I did note last night when I was crafting making the sunshine card that my RHR dropped to 59 bpm, the lowest I've ever seen it, proof that crafting relaxes me I think. :)

Back to my card, as I left it until the last minute I did a 'panic' make, I did buy the stamp set with the challenge in mind, when Cutting Edge Crafts has the Inkadinkado stamps in a sale earlier in May, I was originally going to use Brusho's to create a kind of tie die effect and make a hippy kind of card, but due to time it didn't happen. Instead I coloured a circle of card using ink dusters with Dandelion, Tangelo and Cantaloup Memento inks and then used Versamark ink to stamp several stamps from the 'Inkadinkado Stamping Gear Celestial' stamp set on to the circle. I don't have the gadget to guarantee accurate stamping and as the Versamark is clear, it wasn't easy to see what I stamped, so some of the suns 'rays' are a little off.

To make the easel card base and the layers I used sheets of 220gsm card in a golden yellow and bright orange from a 24 x 34cm Craft Sensations pad that I picked up from The Range for £2.99, the pads have 25 sheets and contain a great mix of colours in every colour in the rainbow. To cut the base I used the largest die from the Tonic Studios 483E Scalloped Circle Layering Die Set and used the next size down to cut out my topper panel and the orange base topper. The topper and orange piece was attached to a straight circle die from the Presscut Circle Nesting die set and glued to the front of the easel card.

I used gold Cosmic Shimmer Detail Embossing Powder in 'Bright Gold' for the sun and the sentiment, the sentiment came from a freebie set with a card mag last year, but I forget which one. I really will have to label them with mag and date and keep an index so I can find them! I finished the card off with small amber-orange gems from my stash, I think these were from The Works. I'm off now to get a 5,000 plus step walk in, then maybe later a little more crafting. I'm hoping that I'll have more crafting time this weekend as its a bank holiday? Whatever the weather and whatever you're doing I hope you have a fabulous weekend and thanks for stopping by :) Debs x

Friday, 13 May 2016

Happily Ever After Easel Card

Hello everyone out there in blog land, I hope your week has been good and the sun is shining on you? It's a tad duller here today but at least the rain has gone and we have patches of blue sky, I have a weekend of walking planned and some gardening and hopefully some crafting with a new Wild Rose stamp and die set I just got!

On the crafting from, it's official, I'm addicted to easels! As per my previous post about getting healthier and spending lots of spare time walking this last week, I haven't had much time to do any paper crafting.

That said I did make a few easel blanks and create this card with some new dies I got recently two I mentioned recently in another post,  they arrived on Tuesday morning and I used the Sue Wilson Special Occasion Happy Couple die and the Ornate Framed Happily Ever After die, to create this card. Coupled with the Spellbinders Elegant Ovals die set.

I kept the design very simple, I was originally supposed to be making some invites for someone but they changed their mind, but I'd already bought loads of linen card and purple mirror card, so I have stacks of it to try and use up. I think I'll use the majority of it making xmas cards teaming it with white and silver.

The oval easel I die cut from an A4 piece of card that I folded over and then used the largest die from my Tonic Studios Layering Mixed Oval Die Set, after that all I had to do was use the same die to cut 2 purple mirror panels, then cut two white shapes using the largest die from the Elegant Ovals set. I cut both the Sue Wilson dies out in the purple mirror card and another of the elegant ovals to form the stop for the easel. All I had to do then was glue it all together, I attached the stopper with some 3D foam pads and the card was complete. I did try adding some gems and flowers, but decided in the end that it looked okay as it was. I'm certainly going to make more of these for my charity box, although not in the same colours :)

Healthy Me, Mark... Ummm I've Lost Count

I haven't done as much crafting this week as I would have in previous weeks, that's because last Friday I decided to try and tackle my weight issues and get fitter and healthier. My sister-in-law and a few friends have been using a device called a FitBit and its been helping to motivate them by increasing activity. The gadget comes with an app that you can use to track calories by inputting everything you eat, you can track your activity, how much you drink, your resting heart rate - although not all models measure heart rate - and even how well (or not) you sleep.

So last Friday I invested in a Charge HR and the Aria scales that can be used with it to measure body fat, weight and your BMI, by the time we'd got back from Argos and I'd charged the Charge and set everything up it was gone 7pm so most of the day was over, but I still managed to clock up 4,233 steps. That doesn't sound like much but I estimate that on a very good day where I did cleaning and shopping, I would have managed about 2,000 - 3,000 at best. Only managing more if we went to visit a National Trust place, which wasn't happening that often lately I have to admit.

As you've probably guessed from the title of this post, dieting and cutting back isn't new to me, I've been on so many diets in my life that I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to lose weight, from wacky diets like the cabbage soup diet, to Slimming World regimes and a stint on the F-Plan in the 80's. On every diet I've done well, but as soon as I stopped - and stopped I always have - the weight piled back on with more besides. One thing that never occurred whilst losing weight was taking regular exercise, I'm a keep FAT kind of person and not a keep FIT kind of person. At least I was!

This little gadget may well have been the single most important buy of my life, yes even more than my Big Shot Plus! Since Friday I've clocked up 55,617 steps so far an average of 8,395 steps a day. I've pegged the washing out and changed the bed and a couple of other things since taking my daily step count to over 1,086 so far :) I've seen my my resting heart rate come down from 72bpm to 67bpm in just 1 week and my BMI has dropped by 43.7 to 43.2 not a huge difference but its a good step in the right direction.

I have a lot of weight to loose so I've decided to do it in 1 stone increments, and this morning I got on the scales to discover that I was 19% of the way to my first goal having lost almost 3lb this week. Baby steps but this time I'll get there! Never before have I combined diet with exercise and yes I know I'm not jogging or doing aerobic workouts, but what I'm doing still counts as exercise.

I'm getting extra steps up and down the stairs, for example I bring my breakfast upstairs in two stages now, I work at the PC writing so I generally eat breakfast whilst I catch up with emails or browse Facebook. I bring my coffee up first then go back downstairs for my cereal and fruit, empty bowls and mugs go back to the kitchen the same way, first the bowl, then the mug. I've moved the kettle and coffee etc to the bottom of the kitchen about 5 steps further from its original place, not much but to get to the kettle and back now I need to do 10 extra steps, that's for every coffee I make usually around 4 per day, that's 25,550 extra steps per year!

It's not easy, the photo of me at the start of this post shows me with a very red face halfway round a 2 mile walk, it will get easier! I guess I was hoping that I'd lose a little more weight this week, but its not going to happen over night, I just have to keep working at it, I've started with a goal of 5,000 steps a day, tomorrow I up them to 6,000 and will continue to up them until I reach 10,000 steps a day. I'm watching what I eat, having around 1,500 calories a day, so far I've eaten nothing that resembles diet food, I've enjoyed pasta with mozzarella cheese, green thai curry and even ice cream cones. I've just eaten smaller portions, and I'm now having breakfast, lunch and dinner, I used to skip breakfast or just grab a few biscuits or a banana.

It's very early days, but I'm hoping that the Fitbit will help me get there, as a gamer I'm finding it a challenge to beat my "high score" and try and do better each day. It's the game of life and I have to be better at looking after my health and body, fingers crossed it works, for now we're 1 week in and I'm almost 3lb thinner, I have a lower resting bpm and a lower BMI, baby steps in the right direction. This time I can do this and I will :)

Friday, 6 May 2016

First Ever Easel Card - White Swan

This card felt a little out of my comfort zone when I first decided to make it because I've never made an easel card before. I've seen some of the lovely easel cards created by some of the talented people on the DoCrafts forum and I wanted to have a go myself. Suffice to say I'm now hooked, it was a lot easier to make the easel than I thought it would be, and I can see many more of them in my cardmaking future. I plan to make other circle easel cards and also square, oval and rectangular easels.

The beautiful swan photo image on the card I printed off from a photo taken by my friend Marie, who takes stunning wildlife photos. When I saw this swan, I asked if I could use it to make a card, she said yes, it's taken me a while to find the right 'setting' for it, but here it is. I hope she likes it?!

I didn't want to detract too much from the image so I tried to keep the decoration simple and keep to using just white and silver elements from the card. I die cut the easel base from a 6" x 6" card base, then cut out 2 more circles in Centura Pearl Snow White with a hint of silver card. The frilly edge was cut with the largest die from the Tonic 'Regal Circle' die set, which was part of my prize when I became the Facebook Fan for Quick Cards magazine last year. This is the first time I've used the die and it won't be the last! The 22cm Tonic Trimmer and the comfort scissors that came with it have been in constant use since I got them, the die was in my box waiting for the right project to come along, I think this was it!

I digress... I glued the two die cuts in place next, one on the base circle and one on the top circle, then I matted the photo on to silver mirror card. The feather die came free with Simply Cards & Papercraft early in 2015, I used that to cut two feathers from the white Centura Pearl card.

For the sentiment, I stamped in Versamark and used Cosmic Shimmer Detail Embossing Powder in 'Silver Shine', the sentiment and frame around it are from the Just Rite 'Enjoy the Day Vintage Labels Four' stamp set. It was die cut with a die from the matching 'Vintage Labels Four' die set also by Just Rite. Both of the sets were bargain buys in the January sales last year, I've tried using them before but I always messed them up. Using Versamark they come out brilliantly every time, so it wasn't me, it was the ink, YAY!

Wanting to keep the design simple as I said, I decided to finish it off with just a few white pearls from my stash, in hindsight smaller ones would have been better but I only had these large ones in white. I've made a note to buy some more, some cream ones as well for future projects. I've just ordered the new Sue Wilson Special Occasion Happy Couple die and the Ornate Framed Happily Ever After die, I think both of these would look fab on easel cards. I have ideas for a lot of different easel cards bubbling in my head, woodland scenes, fairy scenes, festive scenes and lots more.

2016 really does seem to be a year of crafting advances for me, all my cards before were standard flat oblong or square cards, but this year so far I've started working with stepper cards (a post on these coming soon) and now easel cards. My stamping is also improving and so is my colouring. I can't believe I'm the same person who thought I wasn't crafty just over 18 months ago, the best part of the hobby though is the lovely friends I'm making and the calm creating brings, its help with my anxiety and helps me relax.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Bumble Bees and Butterflies Card

You can tell we've just had a bank holiday in the UK, the sun is shining again lol! I don't know about near you, but here in Derby we had grey skies and lots of rain over the weekend, so all the planned garden jobs didn't get done. Today its bright and sunny although not that warm, but warm enough to peg washing out and hope. It's looking like the weather is improving, according to the weather man by the end of the week the temperatures will be around 20°C! I'll believe that when I feel it lol!

As I couldn't do any gardening, I decided to spend some time at the craft desk and made a few cards for challenges I'm taking part in over on the Docrafts forum. The card in the photo was made for the Stamping & Digi Challenge (ending 3rd May 2016), the lady who set the challenge  with the subject "Butterflies & Bees" asked that we created "a project with a stamp or digi as it's focal point and include on it somewhere a butterfly or a bee or both (or multiples thereof)".

As I love butterflies and bees I thought this would be an easy challenge, turns out I ended up going blank until yesterday when I created the card in the photo above. I started by stamping 3 butterflies (although I winded up using just 2) in Versamark ink and heat embossing in 'Black' Cosmic Shimmer Fine Detail embossing powder on to white stamping card. The butterfly stamp I used came free with issue 9 of Crafters Inspiration. Once the heat embossing had dried, I coloured the butterflies in with sparkle pens Dark Orange 'Harvest Moon', Yellow 'Moonlight' and Caramel 'Biscuit', its hard to see the shimmer in the photo but its there.

Once the ink from the pens was dry, I fussy cut the butterflies out, my fussy cutting isn't brilliant so I used a black promarker pen to go around the edge of the butterfly to hide any white bits and the cut edge, this hides a multitude of sins and makes the fussy cut images pop. For the background I used a sheet of paper from a Studio Light 'Weathering Woodgrains' 6" x 6" pad, I picked up from Cutting Edge Crafts last week. I again used Versamark and this time 'Gold' Cosmic Shimmer Fine Detail embossing powder to emboss the largest stamp from the DoCrafts Creativity Essentials Stamp Collection A5 Clear Stamp Set 'Forest'.

The bumble bees are from the 'Flowers & Butterflies' stamp set by a French company called Artemio, I picked the set up on holiday last year. I stamped the bees in Black Onyx VersaFine ink and coloured the wings with clear sparkle pen and added some 'Moonlight' sparkle pen to the body of the bees, it helped to lift them off the paper a little I think. The sentiment is from the Santoro Willow 'Sentiments' set. I stamped it on to white stamping card with VersaFine ink and die cut the sentiment using the medium banner die from the Wplus9 banner die set. I inked round the edges of the banner with Vintage Photo distress ink, something was missing from the card though, I couldn't figure out what then it hit me, and all I added was some fine lines underneath the two words of the sentiment using a black fine line pen.

I attached the butterflies and banner to the front of the card with 3D foam pads et voila it was complete. The card has given me another idea using butterflies for a birthday project for a friend, and I still have a butterfly to use which has gone in my 'Maybe Someday' box for future use. I think I'll made a few more in a variety of colours, I think they'd look good heat embossed in white on vellum as well, but I've not been very successful so far at heat embossing on vellum!

Monday, 2 May 2016

Completely Enveloped!

I'm not sure when it happened, or how, but I appear to have transformed from a being a card maker in to a papercrafter! It started with my frustration at the fact that I can only find white and cream card blanks and envelopes at a reasonable price locally. That and the difficulty of finding patterned envelopes in the same size as my card blank, coupled with the fact that sometimes I make a topper and its just not the right size for the pre-bought card I wanted to put it on, so I abandon the project or put it on a smaller or larger card blank so I have an envelope that will fit.

I decided last week that I'd invest in a couple of pieces of kit that would mean in future I could make my own card blanks in any colour and any size I wanted, and in any card weight as well. I asked the lovely people on the Docrafts forum to recommend their favourite score board and I used their responses to do some research and I ordered a trimmer and scoreboard which I'm waiting to arrive. I decided also that it would be a good idea to have a go at making my own envelopes, so I treated myself at pay day to a We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board.

It arrived yesterday and I couldn't wait to get stuck in, so far I've made a few envelopes for A2 size cards, some for 5" x 5" cards and a couple of floral 6" x 6" envelopes. I've been using a variety of paper pads of 8" x 8" and 12" x 12" sizes I've picked up cheaply so far, I did make a few mistakes initially, I'm a get stuck in and don't read the instructions kind of girl, but I've figured it out now, easy when you know how and from this day forward I'll be able to make cards and envelopes to match, go me!

I just need to buy some lick n stick adhesive to add to the edge of the envelope for sealing in the card now and I've cracked it. Suffice to say I'm rather chuffed with my results, I can make any size from a 2" x 3.5" gift card size envelope right up to 6" x 8.5" envelope, which will cover most of the card sizes I make, I'm pretty confident that with a scoreboard I can make 8" x 8" size envelopes as well. If you can't get the hang of the paper sizes and where to score, American Crafts have produced a free to download Envelope Generator App for Android, I think there is a version for iPhone as well if you're so inclined. Using the app all you have to do is input the size of the card you need an envelope for and the app will tell you what size paper you need and which punch guide to use, isn't technology wonderful?!

I did a little further research today and discovered that using the envelope punch board you can also make paper bows and boxes to hold notelet cards in, as well as small envelope boxes for posting cards that have some dimension to them. I love the idea that I can do more than one thing with the punch board, and tomorrow I'll be having a play. I've found the punch board so useful already after just a day, that I'm seriously considering getting their box making punch board and a pillow box board, I already have their crop-a-dile tools on my wishlist for rounding corners on cards.

This weekend I also got round to playing with the box making die that came as part of the starter set for my Big Shot Plus. It makes a 6.5cm x 6.5cm lidded box, that can be used for making wedding favour boxes or small gifts to hang on the tree at Christmas. The box is the perfect size to put a votive candle, a couple of wax melts or half a dozen of your favourite herbal teas in to send to a friend :)

The set came with a floral die that cuts a floral panel in the box side or lid, some butterflies, hearts and a scalloped straight piece that you can decorate the inside of the box lid with, as well as some flower and leaf dies. I decided to use one of the tattered floral roses I made last weekend on the top of this box.

My box was die cut from an 1 x A4 sheet of Lavender Centura Pearl cardstock, although to me it looks dusky pink, hence using the pink flower to decorate the box. I closed the box with a small piece of pale pink organza ribbon, I'm going to have a go at making a fancier box this week using the other dies that came in the kit. The box in the video was made from card covered in pattern paper, it just occurred to me that I could use the same paper as the envelope to make a co-ordinating gift. 

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Outer Space Card

It's been a funny old week this week, we've had wind, rain, snow, hail and bright warm sunshine, my clothing wardrobe is dizzy! The weatherman said it was going to be fine yesterday, so I did a wash, pegged it out in the sunshine, and I swear the sky waited until I'd put on the last peg, gone back in to the kitchen and put the kettle on, to start persisting down! Apparently rain showers are on the cards for the rest of the bank holiday weekend, which will probably mean that I won't be able to plant up my roses and do some other big garden jobs, but I will be able to craft instead, so not all bad ;)

Speaking of crafting... I've been hosting the Enchanted/Fantasy challenge over on the Docrafts forum the past few weeks. I chose the theme  "Outer Space" and asked members to create a project of some description that went with that theme, be it aliens, rocket ships, spacemen, moons and planets, or a starry night sky. I added that the project should "include some kind of star(s) be them die cuts, buttons, stencils etc. And use some silver and blue in the colour scheme, any other colours can be added." The challenge ends today, so I'll have to put names in a hat to pick a winner.

My entry actually didn't wind up looking like I wanted it to, but it didn't do so bad methinks, I couldn't get the balance right and I was disappointed with the spaceman die when it arrived if I'm honest, but I was determined to make it work. A couple of weekends ago I was playing with some brusho's and the new Cosmic Shimmer Pixie Powder and made what I thought ended up looking like a nebula background, it came to me then that it would make a nice space themed card.

I made a smilar piece that I stencilled with a butterfly in orange, red and copper tones and the bit I die cut the Saturn shape from was an off cut from that experiment. I used First Editions 'Space Dies' set and cut the 'Earth' and 'Spaceman' dies out in two colours of sugar paper - or as its now called construction paper - and paper pieced them. When I was younger at school, many, many moons ago we called it sugar paper and I assumed it was because it was made from sugar leaves or some part of the sugar plant. Anyway my friend gave me a stack of sugar paper in lots of different colours and I took it out to use on this project. The thought crossed my mind, why is it called sugar paper, so I googled. Turns out that the origin of the term 'sugar paper' lies in the fact that it was once used to make bags to put sugar in for sale! Well I never!!!

I die cut the spaceman from some dark grey textured card I had in my stash and I added a little glossy accents to the helmet visor to give it a more dimensional look. The sentiment is computer generated and I die cut it with a Wplus9 banner die. The silver and blue speckled papers were in my stash of papers and cards and I can't remember were I got them from, the blue glittery speckled card could have come from The Range, I'm not too sure! I finally added some Papermania star adhesive gems in light blue to finish off the design, the earth, spaceman and banner and attached to the card using 3D foam pads.

That's all from me for now, I hope you have a brilliant bank holiday weekend whatever the weather, I want to sort a few things out in the craft room and I have a few projects in mind, plus a couple of cards to create for up coming challenges. Thanks for stopping by and for any comments you leave, I appreciate it :) Debs x

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Design Teams & Challenges

It's been a busy few days, yesterday I finally got round to cleaning out the greenhouse removing all the dead plants that hadn't made it through the winter. Mainly because my menopause brain completely forgot to keep them watered! It wasn't all dead though, I was amazed at just what had survived and still had green shoots or buds, fingers crossed now they've been cleared of debris, watered and shown some TLC they will make a full recovery!

I've also been busy on the card making front, I was lucky to be chosen for the Readers Design Team for issue 154 of 'Quick Cards Made Easy' magazine, using the designer papers they offer in each issue, I think the issue my card was done for is July issue which will be on sale in June. I've done the QC design team before, last year, I think it was in June?! My owl card wasn't selected for the magazine, but did get posted on the QC Facebook page. I've made my card with the latest papers, and posted it off, I've kept it simple and will post photos after publication, but for now I'm not allowed to share the card or the papers. I doubt my card will be picked to go in the magazine, there are always so many wonderful cards created, but I was thrilled to be selected to take part, if I am lucky though you'll hear me whoop with joy from here.

I signed up to take part in a variety of challenges over on the Docrafts forum and one of them was the floral challenge, the lady setting the challenge asked for "1 or 2 colours + card colour  any type of 3D flower in any form as long as its the main focus". As I'd just finished making the tattered flowers with my Tim Holtz die (see the Making Tattered Florals post) I thought that the pink rose would be perfect for the challenge. I'm not sure if my card is good for the challenge though as technically there are 5 colours plus the back ground - pale pink paper for flower, edged with Spun Sugar Distress Ink, green leaves and the adhesive gem is a deeper shade of pinky purple and finally the black stamped sentiment, whoops.

I like the design whether or not it fits, hopefully it will though, it is very simple design but looks like more time went in to making it. Okay painting the leaves with Starlights and making the paper rose took time but the die cut and assembly took no time at all.

I got the Presscut Stepper die a couple of weeks ago and have made several cards with it which I'll add to the blog soon, I used the die for this card, cutting it out of an A4 sheet of white card from a pad of white and cream linen effect 220gsm card from The Range. The white floral background topper was cut using the largest die in the Floral Frames set from Sweet Dixie, I also used the tag die from this set to add extra interest and to stamp the sentiment on.

I discovered the Sweet Dixie dies around October last year when I picked up some of their Xmas dies and was very impressed with them, they cut really well. The leaves on this card were die cut from the Crafters Companion Leafy Flourish set and were painted with Menthol Starlights paint.

The sentiment stamp I stamped using Onyx Black Versafine ink using a stamp from the Wild Rose Circle Greetings set. The flower centre is a gem from the Dovecraft Back to Basics Berry Blush gems, I attached it to the card with a couple of 3D foam pads, the leaves were glued to the card base tucked under the flower with some Tonic Studios 'Craft Tacky Glue'.

This afternoon I'm finishing work on my Outer Space challenge card for the Enchanted/Fantasy challenge I'm hosting, then I have an Afternoon Tea Party card and a card with Butterflies and Bees on to create, I'm trying to tie the challenge cards in with cards I have to make for upcoming birthdays for friends and family and so far its going well. Although I keep getting distracted because I want to play with other things lol!

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Making Tattered Flowers

I love flowers and anything botanical, I think that's because of the herbaholic in me, recently I've found myself being drawn to creating paper flowers of my own, I've seen projects by some very talented ladies on the Docrafts forum over the past 12 months that have paper and vellum flowers as part of the designs, and they look stunning.

After playing with the Starlights paint to make flowers for some cards I made recently to send to friends, I realised that I wanted to create something a little more florally dimensional. I wasn't sure how to do it, and started to look on the internet and discovered some pretty stamp and die sets that can be transformed into 3D flowers, but it required me to spend around another £40 to get what I want and as I'm saving up for my holiday in July and then the November Hobbycrafts show, that's not something I want to do at this time.

Then I remembered that I had the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals Bigz die by Sizzix on the shelf and I hadn't got round to using it yet, I think I was scared that I'd mess it up. But a very wise lady over the on the DC forum said we learn from our mistakes, and that we expect to get professional results straight away and get put off when we don't achieve them. She was talking about stamping and colouring, but I think that I hit that hurdle every time I feel like having a go at something new. We only get better if we practice and what's the worse that can happen, you lose some time and effort and it goes in the bin! I keep having a go at colouring and I get better each time and the more I do it, the better I'll get.

So I took the die off the shelf and cut 3 large flowers, 2 medium and 1 small out of pale pink paper, I lightly inked the edges with a finger sponge using 'Spun Sugar' Distress Ink. Then used a balling tool I picked up cheaply at the NEC in March, I shaped and moulded the paper in to more life like petals on the back of my 'Stampers Secret Weapon' board.

I did hit a snag in that the paper creased as I applied the pressure and at that point I almost gave up, but I decided to press on - pun intended - and used the balling tool on all the paper pieces. I glued them together and added an adhesive gem to the centre, and used a clear Spectrum Sparkle pen on the edges of the petals to give it a little shine, the finished flower wasn't perfect but for a first attempt I was pleased, thank you Emma :)

I showed the first paper flower to Simon and pointed out the problems and he said it didn't look that bad, and reminded me that nature isn't perfect. So I decided to have another go, Si offered the suggestion that maybe a thicker paper would help prevent creasing? So I painted some A4 sheets of white card with Starlights paint in 3 different shades: - Dried Rose, Dark Orchid and Cyclamen and waited for them to dry.

Once dry I cut out all the pieces I needed to make each set of flowers, From one A4 sheet of paper/card you can make 3 flowers. A 2 layer daisy, a large 5 layer rose and a small 3 layer rose. On the three cyclamen coloured large rose pieces I decided to stamp them with some Hero Arts 'Intense Black' permanent ink using the WOW De-Vine stamp I've used on a few projects recently, once layered the rose has the look of a baroque paper, and I kind of like it.

By the time I'd finished I had 3 sets of flowers and my initial tattered rose. I love the effect that the Starlights paint has given to the card making the flowers look almost metallic. I'm going to make more in different colours, but I think I may give the centres of the flowers different colours, I chose centres that matched the petal colours and in hindsight a contrast would have been better.

I'd like to use some of those fancy decorative brads, but I don't have any on my stash yet. I did find that using the balling tool got to be a little hard on my fingers after a while, so had to take a break, so heads up in you have problems with finger joints for any reason.

For the future, I think I'll measure the shapes and cut squares of paper/card to go over the area corresponding to the shape I want to die cut. Placing the card over the die meant I ended up with a few incomplete flowers that weren't needed. However if that paper/card hadn't been wasted it could have been used for other projects somewhere down the line. The downside to these kind of paper flowers is the dimension, to attach to a card and post the card would need a box of some description and I'm not currently tooled up to make boxes yet.

I think I may also try inking the edges of the petals to make them a little more defined.  All in all though, not a bad exercise and I can see a lot more paper flowers on my crafting horizon, I have more dies to cut foliage and greenery as well! That just gave me an idea... I could make lots of the flowers in matching colours and make my self a rosy floral wreath and if I create some pockets for dried rose petals in the back I could make them scented!

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Starlights Paint

Hello to all the lovely people who read my blog, all four of you lol! I hope your weekend is off to a fine start? I have no big plans, a little gardening maybe if it doesn't rain, and some crafting of course, I have lots of ideas for using all my new goodies, I really must stop buying more stuff until I've used up some of my stash and stop adding to it!

This card making lark and stash buying can get pretty addictive, I picked up a couple of bargains in the Crafters Companion Spring Clearance Sale this week the Flights of Fantasy stamps for 90p each, and a few of the Signature Collection dies for under £3 and free postage as I'm now a silver member of the CC club. Then I went to 'The Range' and found they'd started selling ribbon to match their floral Bronte Charm paper range and they had some pretty rolls of adhesive ribbon with roses on that I couldn't resist.

I hope you don't mind me posting about stash and what I do with it, I just love sharing what I discover, I have to say that I have no affiliations with any of the companies I post about, if I get a product and like it then, for me it makes sense to share that knowledge with others.

So this post is another flash back to my March NEC purchases, this time looking at Starlights Paint from Imagination Crafts. I'd seen the paints on the TV on C&C around November last year, I think it was a demo with Sue from IC painting an MDF Santa Sleigh. I didn't buy any because at the time, I wasn't interested in doing anything with MDF (still not been bitten by that bug) or in to using paint, plus my shiny/shimmer/glitter appreciation hadn't fully developed, it has now mwahh ha ha!

There are currently 28 colours in the collection, so far I've acquired 21 of them, I love them so much and I know that they will get used for lots of different projects, including making die cuts shimmer and sparkle. They'll be fab for winter cards as well as some of the Steampunk designs I'm working on, FYI I used Black Starlights on the die cuts on my Fairy Wishes card post, so you can see the effect via that post. The sparkle apparently comes from the fact that the paints have lots of finally crushed metallic flakes and the flakes are in slightly different shades to the paint colour which helps to enhance the sparkle.

So far I've used the paints wish a brush direct to card, when that was dry - and they do dry very quickly - I used the painted sheets to die cut elements out for future cards (see below). The stencil brush makes adding a thin even coat to a die cut an absolute doddle, I really couldn't get over the sparkle and shimmer you got from just one coat of the paint. Next I want to build up layers and work with the gold, topaz and green coloured Starlights to create a verdigris effect.

At the NEC Lisa Baker, aka Lisa B was doing a demonstration using Imagination Crafts stencils and starlight paints and I was captivated by the sparkle of the paints and the gorgeous range of colours.

There was a special offer on the paints, the stencils and also the stencil brushes, so I bought some of each item. As well as some fabulously bargains on stamps, more on that in another post when I share what I made with them.

Because I bought lots of the show special offers Lisa gave me a piece of artwork she'd been working on. Incidentally the stone wall background in the above card is a done using the Stone Wall stencil from Imagination Crafts, I taped the stencil down and used my ink dusters and Memento ink in 'Potters Clay', after first running the stencil through the big shot using the rubber mat I got from IC. The sentiment on the above card is from the Friendship Sentiments set, also from IC.

I used Amethyst Starlights for the flowers and Emerald for the leaves. The flowers and leaves were die cut using dies from the Crafters Companion 'In Bloom' and 'Leafy Flourish' die sets. The butterfly is a Sizzix die that came as part of the bundle with my Big Shot Plus. I also made some flowers using the Bright Fuchsia Starlights and did a lighter green set of leaves using the Menthol colour, these have been used to decorate other cards and I have some spare for future use.

One of the real bonuses of the Starlights is there flexibility when dry, I painted on to a piece of white stamping card, allowed it to dry and then ran it through the big shot and the paint on the die cuts didn't crack or show any signs of damage. I've embossed pieces of Starlights painted card as well, and again no damage to the paint, its very durable and again that's with just 1 coat.

The texture of the paint is very creamy and it covers really well, and the shimmer you get has to be seen to be believed. Plus they can be easily layered to give two tone effects and also mixed together to make other colours. I've added a YouTube video by Sue of IC showing some techniques including brayering with the paints and using the paint to achieve a gilding effect on MDF.

If you haven't had the chance to work with the paints yet and want to have a go I can highly recommend them, I'd suggest you pick up Pearl (white), Red, Rich Gold (as close to yellow as you can get) and Sax Blue to start with, with those shades you can make shades of green, orange and violet and by adding the pearl white you can get lighter versions of each, if you get Black as well you can make darker shades and achieve a fairly good colour range with just 5 colours. I'm off to play with paint and paper now, enjoy the rest of your weekend and I'll catch up with you again soon :)