Thursday, 31 December 2015

Dancing for Pleasure

I'm so behind sending out my PIF Swap ATC's that I feel terrible about it, today I put both of them in the post to the recipients and I hope they like what they receive. Late in November I created an ATC for December and as you'll see below I managed to lose both that and the one I did for November, there has been decorating chaos, moving my craft room around and the usual shuffle of household items and furniture to fit the christmas tree in. They will turn up again no doubt, but if I'm honest I prefer today's creations instead :)

The photo above is for the December PIF and the word was 'Pleasure', I decided to go with the theme of 'Dancing for Pleasure' and dug around to see what I could find. I made the musical note back panel a while ago when I started experimenting with alcohol inks, the background stamp was another French find in the Summer and I used copper embossing powder to compliment the colours in the inked paper. The piece I cut this from was just sat in my 'maybe someday' box, today was its day lol!

The card was a special coated glossy card for alcohol inks, so it has a lovely smooth and shiny finish, I created the wording using the No. 3 Dovecraft Wooden Alphabet Stamp set which I simply stamped as close together as I could with some Tuxedo Black Memento ink,  then I used my ink dusters to create bands of Lady Bug, Tangelo and Dandelion inks and edged the cut to size piece by running it along the Lady Bug ink pad. I added the dancing fairy MDF shape with acrylic glue and when dry I 'painted' it using a Wink of Stella brush pen in Gold. Two orange adhesive gems at the top and bottom of the wording completed the ATC.

The above photo is my November PIF Swap, the word for the swap was 'Beautiful' and I chose the sentiment 'Beautiful Moments' and tried to capture a wintry sunset/rise, the photo doesn't show the holographic 'sparkle' on the trees that makes it look like a frosty morning or evening but it is a pretty effect. Like December I did another design for November but in the chaos that has been the past few months, I can't find them anywhere, so today I sat down and put my thinking cap on and came up with two new ideas.

I used my newly acquired ink dusters and Dandelion, Rose Bud and Danube Blue Memento Inks, the trees stamp was free with the Winter Crafters Companion magazine and the sentiment embossed in gold is from the Santoro Willow Sentiment Clear Stamp Set. I over stamped the trees when dry with clear embossing ink and sprinkled Papermania Holographic embossing powder over them. The final touch was an orangey gem from my stash to represent the sun.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Life is Not About Waiting For The Storm...

WOW! It's been over 2 months since I last blogged, life got in the way of blogging sadly, although I did do some card making, albeit not as much as I would have liked and I never made my christmas card target, I just about managed to make enough cards to send to friends and family, next year I'll do better, this I know because I've already made a start on cards for 2016 lol!

I was very lucky and very spoiled this year, for Xmas I was given lots of crafting goodies including sets of Presscut square and round nesting die sets, an inkylicious ink dusting kit, a set of 12 Brusho Crystal Inks, a set of 12 gelatos, various Tim Holtz dies, stamps and carry case and lots more besides, I did very well and was absolutely blown away at the bounty.

So for the past few days I've been playing with my new goodies and over the next week I'll share what I've been making, the photos in this post are my first efforts at playing with my Brusho Crystals, the "Wishes are the magic..." panel in the photo above was my very first play with brusho's, hard to believe that a little water and a sprinkle of the crystals could create such a colourful effect. I embossed the sentiment first using white detail embossing powder from the Cosmic Shimmer range, then applied the crystals in Purple, Emerald Green and Turquoise and spritzed with water. I trimmed and edged the panel with double sided tape to which I applied some Lilac Nuvo Pure Sheen Glitter, the panel was stuck to a 5" x 7" card base that I embossed with a TOGA embossing folder I picked up in France in the Summer,  I used Peacock Feathers Distress Ink to colour the card before spritzing with my homemade silver shimmer mist.

My second panel was created with Scarlet, Orange and Yellow Brusho Crystal powders, again I resist embossed using a Tim Holtz stamp from the Good Thoughts set, the edge of the panel was highlighted with the new Distress Ink for December 2015 Candied Apple, my new favourite shade of red. I picked out the heart using Red Berry Sparkle Pen. I used the same glitter edge technique as I did on the card above this time I used Ruby Red Nuvo Pure Sheen Glitter and stuck the panel on at an angle, more to try to correct the fact that I'd stamped the sentiment wonky! The black heart adhesive strip feels like velvet as was a gift from my nephews and niece for Xmas, they gave me a few other crafting bits items including the dancing fairies in the card in the main image.

The main image cards were my second attempt at using the Brusho Crystals, the sentiment is from the same Tim Holtz Good Thoughts stamp set, the blue design used Leaf Green, Emerald Green, Lemon, Turquoise and Ultramarine crystals. I embossed he sentiment with Black Detail Cosmic Shimmer embossing powder, the panel was then trimmed and matted with a sapphire blue glitter paper and the mdf fairy  was glued in place and the wings were coloured using an Aquamarine Sparkle Pen.

The orange and purple card was made using Orange, Scarlet, Purple and Lemon Brusho Crystals, the sentiment was added again with Black Detail embossing powder and matted on to a piece of Purple Centura Pearl card, once the fairy was attached I coloured the wings with a Silver Wink of Stella brush pen. I'm loving the vibrant colours that the Brusho Crystals create, next I want to try stamping images and using the crystals to colour the stamped images. I also want to experiment with embossing pastes and wax to create resist and relief designs. I think 2016 is going to be the year I begin to experiment more with mixed media projects. Big, bold and beautiful colour combinations are on the horizon :) 

Monday, 19 October 2015

Creative Stamping Woodland Christmas Cards

Yesterday I finally managed to pick up a copy of Issue 27 of Creative Stamping Magazine with the free Woodland Christmas stamp set and I couldn't wait to get stuck in and play. These are four of the cards I've created so far using the set, and amazingly bits and bobs from my 'Maybe Someday' box.

I used four colours of Ranger Archival Ink for all the cards, some embossing powders and a couple of distress inks. The first card is mounted on an 8" x 8" card blank, so it gives you some idea of the size of the stag head stamp, and the background of the card was embossed with a snowflake embossing folder. I used the same embossing folder on all but the last card, where I used the dotty folder that came with my new Big Shot Plus Machine.

For the stag card, I stamped him in Potting Soil Archival Ink and used my water brush to paint with Distress Inks in Rusty Hinge and Brushed Corduroy for the fur, the inside of the ears were painted with Spun Sugar and the nose with a little Black Soot, the antlers I used Ground Expresso and then gave the nose a dab of Glossy Accents when dry. Once I'd stamped and coloured the stag, I built up the greenery around the side using Archival Inks in Fern Green, Library Green, and Potting Soil for the pine cones. The edge of the image was blended with a little Pine Needles distress ink.  Gold card and dark green spotted ribbon from my stash completed this project.

For the next card, I made a panel stamping the top and bottom with the same colours as above, to this I added the holly leaves stamp using embossing ink and Lindy's Stamp Gang Embossing Powder in Fiddlehead Fern Green, its a beautiful shiny metallic bluey green. The berries are also part of the set and were stamped in Vermillion Archival Ink. The Christmas Kisses die cut was done last year using an Xcut Christmas Sayings Die Set and sat in my 'Maybe Someday' box unused, I thought it would be perfect on the topper, and along with some dark green and gold organza ribbon from my stash and a couple of clear gems another card was born.

Of all the cards I made so far with this stamp set this Winter Wonderland Fawn card is my favourite :) The panel is partly an accident but it worked out beautifully, the fawn is die cut using my Spellbinders Deer D-Lites Die, I'd die cut it a few weeks ago when I got the die intending to use it on this years Christmas cards and it went in the 'Maybe Someday' box. So the accident? The blue background... When I was stamping the foliage around the edge of the circle I managed to splatter red and dark green archival ink in the centre, not a huge amount, but enough to stand out. So I decided to use some holographic embossing powder and the snowflake stamp from the set to try and hide it.

As you can see from the detail image above, you can still see a few tiny spots of red (look at the snowflake just under the pine cone and the one under the deer's tail). I decided to give the whole thing a 'sky' background by blending Broken China distress ink over the whole circle, this is where I discovered the magic of archival inks! Once dry they are permanent and don't alter when you go over them with distress ink, I gave the background a light mist with my homemade pearl shine mist and left it to dry.

To finish the panel I stamped some snowflakes using neat Broken China ink, to create the darker blue snowflakes. I mounted the panel on to a circle of gold card and attached the deer to the front. I decided to go over the snowflakes on the embossed card in Broken China and give the card front a mist of white pearly shimmer mist to bring the blue of the centre panel in to the overall design.

My final card created so far used all the same colours of archival inks as above, but on the darker green branches I over stamped with embossing ink and added some Papermania Holographic embossing powder to add a little sparkle and shimmer. The sentiment is from the Woodland Christmas stamp set and I used embossing ink and Whispers Metallic Gold embossing powder to stamp it. I added some bling holly berries, I didn't have any red adhesive gems, so I used a Ruby Red ProMarker to colour some clear gems red. The panel was mounted on to a new Spellbinders 5" x 7" Holly Frame panel that I die cut using red holographic foil card. and was then mounted on to a 5" x 7" white card that I'd embossed the front of with an A4 dotty embossing folder.

I've also made some more panels using the stamp set which have yet to be turned in to cards, the heat gun (pun intended) is on now, because as well as making all the Xmas cards for friends and family and a batch for my local Cats Protection to sell, my future daughter-in-law has asked me to make 50 invitations for their engagement party. We're also making homemade gifts for all the adults, so lots to do and we're already over halfway through October, eeeek! I better get my skates on :)

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

20 Down, 80 - 105 To Go...

Having decided that I was going to make 100 cards for giving to friends and family for Christmas and realising that actually I'll need about 125 if I'm going to have enough for everyone, and have some to give to my local Cats Protection for their November fund raiser, I realised I better get a wiggle on. I little calculating and I discovered last night that I need to make 2 cards per night, 6 nights a week from now until the 12th December! Which left me with an OMG what have I signed up for feeling.

There's other bits and bobs to make as well as we've decided to make homemade gifts again for family. although not sweeties this year, something different with a herbal twist, but those gifts need tags, labels and boxes making. So I'm kind of grateful that the nights are drawing in, that means more crafting time. I will definitely ensure next year I'm card making for Christmas all year round instead of leaving it until October. Although I did try to make a start earlier in the year I guess, when I counted up how many cards I had I discovered with the 3 made last night I had 20 cards made. So all I have to do is make cards 6 nights a week, it shouldn't be difficult and some days, if I make some simple embossed, coloured and bought in toppers I can possibly make 3-4 a night.

I managed 3 last night using the free stamp set and embossing folder that came with issue 145 of Simply Cards & Papercraft, 2 of which are in the photo above. For the blue card, I embossed the image and coloured it with a distress ink blending tool, gave it a spritz of homemade silver shimmer mist and stamped the flying Santa and sentiment in silver embossing powder. I did use distress inks to paint the the church scene but I wasn't very happy with the end result, I think the weather vane should have been done in gold metallic pen or something, so back to the drawing board on that one.

The green deer card in the first photo is the first time I've stamped with distress inks, so far I've painted with them and used them with the blending tool and on the craft mat mixed with water to create backgrounds. I didn't realise you could stamp with them as well, doh! I like the soft delicate water colour effect they create. I did have a second go but I don't think I got the tree ink colour balance right. If these 'experiments' had turned out like I wanted I could have made 5 cards last night.

The above 2 cards were made a couple of weeks ago, I used my Justrite Snowfall Background stamp that I picked up cheap in the January sales, the dark blue was stamped with Blue Sketch distress ink then embossed with Papermania Holographic Embossing Powder and the aqua card was stamped using iZink metallic ink in Metal Green and once again I added the holographic embossing powder. The photo doesn't show the sparkle and shimmer very well, but its there.

The bauble was came free with the September issue of Do Crafts Creativity Magazine and is part of a Papermania 'Folk Christmas' stamp set. I used embossing ink and then silver embossing powder and then fussy cut the baubles out. Once cut out I went over each with distress ink to colour the image, Spun Sugar for the blue cards bauble and Cracked Pistachio for the aqua card. I even made my own card blanks for these two cards using a pad of linen card I got from The Range for £1.99 and a free scoring board that came with a card magazine a while back. Now I just need to find envelopes the right size or learn how to make them lol! There's always something new to learn and some new bit of stash I need to do it :)

Monday, 5 October 2015

Christmas Deer and Tree Cards

I think to anybody that reads my blog on a regular basis, its becoming obvious that I'm in love with distress inks and creating my own backgrounds for cards. This current experiment has resulted in4 cards being created for my stash and six more to be finished over the next few nights.

The technique is simple, first I created inky backgrounds on water colour paper using various shades of green and blue distress inks, first covering the paper with the inks using the inking tool, the misting with water to set the colour and transform it. After the papers are dry I misted them with gold misting spray for the green backgrounds and silver for the blue, then I allowed them to air dry again.

Once completely dry, I cut the pieces to the size I needed to fit inside my embossing folders and embossed the image on to the paper. I used the deer embossing folder from the Sizzix 'Starry Night' set by Brenda Walton for the deer cards and for the tree I used the Darice 10.8 x 14.6 cm Christmas Tree embossing folder. Once I'd embossed the images I used metallic pigment ink, again gold for the green cards and silver for the blue, using a small circular blending tool I lightly rubbed over the raised image to add the ink.

The next step was to sprinkle the wet ink with Papermania Holographic Embossing Powder, this created a sparkle and helped to seal the metallic pigment ink. On the deer cards I added some clear and god adhesive gems from my stash. Each embossed image was mounted on to silver or gold foiled card and then stuck to a 5" x 7" cream card that ad first been covered in a backing paper that went with the image. All the backing papers were printed off from CD's or free downloads.

I'm thinking I may add to the deer colour ways with some red and gold embossed images and some yellow and gold and maybe a purple and silver variation. For the trees I want to do some blue colour ways and again maybe some red. The finished cards look better in real life than the photos, more shimmery and sparkly.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Dark Enchantment - DC Enchanted Challenge

I recently won the Enchanted Challenge over on the DoCrafts Challenge Forum and as a result I got to chose the next theme. I went for 'Dark Enchantment', I like witchy, gothic, dark fiction and horror stories and science fiction to boot, I'm also fond of halloween and apothecary potions and things that go bump in the night but its a little hard to fit those things in to most of the challenges. So I set dark enchantment as the theme to give myself the chance and also to see what others came up with. There were some fabby entries from a pair of earrings to an excellent Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) card which was the winning entry when hubby pulled a name from the hat.

The image is another one from the Crafters Companion 'Flights of Fantasy' CD, I really love the images on this CD and I've posted about it before with photos of some of the cards I've made using it. I printed the image off a few months ago and have been looking for an excuse to use it ever since.  The thing with printing off images is they don't sparkle as much as I'd like or have the bling factor, so to get round this I used a glue pen around the edges of the wings and sprinkled black nuyo pure sheen glitter on them. Everything is stick to a simple 5" x 7" cream card base.

My first layer on the card base is black card which I embossed then rubbed over the raised areas with silver and purple metallic gelato sticks. If you use gelato's or are thinking of using them but been but off by the price I have tip... I was looking for Gelato's on Amazon a few weeks back and came across Faber-Castell Gel Sticks they are aimed at children, but they are exactly the same as the Metallic Gelato's, same creamy texture, they blend with water just like Gelato's do and create wonderful shimmery backgrounds. The difference is if you buy the Gel Sticks, you get 6 metallic colours for around £6 whereas it costs around £9 for just 4 Metallic Gelato's and another £3.50 for the Gold & Silver Gelato sticks.

The flowers are from a pack of Dovecraft white paper flowers,  I coloured them with the same metallic purple gel stick I used on the background and then spritzed them with water to colour the flower more evenly. The edge of the flower was dipped in glue and sprinkled with Nuyo Glitter and a clear gem stone was added to the centre which I then coloured with a black promarker, I also used the promarker to give the petals a little veining.

I attached a piece of black organza ribbon to the card a couple of centimetres up from the bottom and stuck the flowers above and below the ribbon line. For the sentiment I die cut a small tag using black card and stamped a 'fairy wishes' sentiment with silver ink and added silver embossing powder, the sentiment came free with a card mag a while back and I've used it before on another dark fairy card. I die cut the butterfly with a die that came free with Creativity magazine using black card which was first treated with iridescent colours of perfect pearls, once die cut and placed I added another clear gemstone to the centre and coloured black. I'm on the hunt for more steampunk/gothic/vampire/dark enchantment style images and stamps to use for making cards, so if you have any suggestions or know of any suppliers please leave me a comment with the details. Thanks in advance :)

Thursday, 1 October 2015

New Tim Holtz Stash

Back in a post in mid September I mentioned that I was trying to find a stamp set by Stampers Anonymous called 'The Chemist'. I searched everywhere and could only find it for silly prices around £24.99 or more in the UK. Then on Tuesday the lovely people at Craft Stash sent me an email saying they were having a one day only flash sale of Stampers Anonymous Stamps. This sale included 170 Tim Holtz designs! So obviously I went off to have a look, and you could have knocked me down with a feather when I saw they had "The Chemist" stamp set for £13.99 with another 30% off the price due to the sale making the set just £9.75! Whoooo hoooooo!

I took advantage of the sale and also picked up the new Botanical Sketch Stamp Set which I used to make this rainbow thank you card. I used white embossing powder on white card stock and then used a rainbow of distress ink colours Red (Festive Berries), Orange (Spiced Marmalade), Yellow (Squeezed Lemonade), Green (Twisted Citron), Blue (Mermaid Lagoon), Indigo (Chipped Sapphire) and Violet (Wilted Violet). Once I'd added the colour I spritzed with water to blend. The sentiment panel was a die cut circle treated with the orange, yellow and green colours and then I used white embossing powder for the sentiment. The ribbon I got in France and the purple gems were in my stash. The butterfly is from my 'Maybe Someday' and was made a while back when I started experimenting with Perfect Pearl powders.

I also got the 4 stamp "Holiday Collection" set, perfect for toppers and Xmas ATC's, I wanted to get the free p&p you get from Craft Stash if you spend £30, so I also picked up the new Distress Ink colour for September 'Wilted Violet' which I've wanted to add to my ever expanding ink collection since it first came out at the beginning of last month, and I got to use it in the above card.

I loved doing the rainbow effect on the first card so much that I did it again using black embossing powder. I also played with a new stamp I picked up at a local garden centre that has a craft section, its by Creative Expressions and is called 'Herbal Collage' apt for me :) This design I smooshed distress ink on to different sections, spritzed with water and let it dry naturally. I can see this one getting a lot of use, like the botanical sketch stamp.

I also made purchases from Cutting Edge Crafts this month, from them I got a pack of alcohol ink applicator felts, some silver metallic mixative, alcohol blending solution and a bottle of sunshine yellow alcohol ink. The rest of this months craft stash goodies came from my very first order from The Craft Barn, and took the form of two metallic Distress Stains (Brushed Pewter and Tarnished Brass), and the rest of my new alcohol ink colours and the copper coloured mixative.

I did order a stamp from the Craft Barn as well but it was out of stock. I was pleased to note that they sent me an email to say sorry it was out of stock, but they would send it as soon as it came back in stock and in the meantime send the rest of my order, which meant I didn't have to wait for the majority of my crafting goodies to arrive. The invoice had a little handwritten 'happy crafting' note on as well which was a very nice touch. I'll definitely be buying from them again.

I'm not being disloyal shopping around, like many crafters I want to get the most for my money, so I prefer to shop where I can get free p&p or discounts. There's also the fact that so far on my crafting path, I haven't encountered a place where I can get everything I need all in the one place!  Suffice to say with all these new goodies, I'm looking forward to some serious crafting time this weekend, frst I have to decide will I be stamping and colouring with my new set of chemist stamps, or will I be playing with alcohol inks? Bring on the weekend :)

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Deathly Delights and Fright Night Cards

I thought I'd post photos of a couple of the cards I made using the panels and toppers that I made last Friday, I'm really pleased with the way these cards have turned out, although I did want to add a couple of poison bottles to the first card but I haven't been able to find that stamp/die set yet! The backing panel on this card was a free download that you can download if you're a member of Club Inspire that Crafters Companion run, its free to join if you're not and you get free downloads and a 5% discount on prices which moves up to greater discounts the more you spend. If you are a member then look for the "June 2014 - Distressed Elegance" download.

I mounted the backing panel I cut on to black card and attached it to a 7" x 7" card blank. The poison label was made using a Tim Holtz Alterations Embossing Folder "Poison", I coloured it with Vintage Photo and Black Soot distress ink. The skull and crossbones are from a Sizzix Tim Holtz Alterations set called Skull Blueprint, it comes with the dies and the stamps and a trick or treat sentiment stamp.

The sentiment is from the new Graphic 45 Rare Oddities stamp set (set 2), I saw these a few weeks ago in a craft mag and have fallen in love with them, they appeal to my dark side and the papers as have words on them that say things like 'Herbology', 'Medicinal Herbs' and 'Brews & Potions', perfect for the inner herbaholic :) So far I've acquired the 6" x 6" paper pad and 2 of the 3 stamp sets, hoping to get a couple more bits from this range, but I digress...

The frame around the sentiment is part of the stamp set and I stamped that first in clear embossing ink and used Whispers Metallic Copper embossing powder. I then stamped the Deathly Delights sentiment with clear embossing ink and used Cosmic Shimmer Black Detail embossing powder. I added a dashed line around the edge of the black card with a Metallic Copper Sakura Gelly Roll pen and added 4 black adhesive gems from my stash. I did have a problem with the gelly roll pen, after doing 3 rows of dashes the pen started giving out slightly sparkly clear liquid and not the copper line it started with, no idea why, I ended up keeping going over the lines until they eventually showed up, not impressed when I paid £20 for a set of pens!

The Fright Night card started with a white 7" x 7" card blank, I used a Sheena Douglass tree stamp that came free with Issue 8 of Crafters Inspiration and stamped in Tuxedo Black Memento ink to create the black and white edge. I then took a piece of 6" X 6" paper with a grey and cream pattern and covered it with Spiced Marmalade distress ink to create the orange panel, I'm not sure what paper stack the piece I used came from as it was given to me by Lainie as part of a prize for winning a Docrafts challenge. I mounted it on to black card and attached a piece of black ribbon and a bow I made with my new bow making tool, and a couple of black glitter bats I found in my stash, think I got them from Hobbycraft a few years ago?!

The main panel was embossed using the Tim Holtz Alterations Embossing Folder "Halloween Night", I first coloured the panel with Spiced Marmalade and Ripe Persimmon distress ink, which I added some homemade gold shimmer mist to to give it a sparkle. When the ink was dry I embossed the panel, then ran Black Soot distress ink over the raised embossed area. I trimmed it to size and decided to cut around the top of the 'railings' and mount it on a piece of black card that was smaller than the panel so that the spikes of the railings stood out.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Cobwebs, Poisons and Spooky Things

As I'm currently on a 3 day week at work, I have Friday and Monday off, these are becoming my crafting days when I can play with new ideas and techniques, although I lost the past few Fridays preparing for a herb tea workshop I gave in the Cotswolds last weekend. This weekend though I have nothing to do bar  a little cleaning so I figured it was time to play!

When I first started card making last October I bought the Sizzix 'Halloween Night' and 'Poison' embossing folders off the internet, when the folders arrived I embossed the poison label on purple card, decided it didn't work for the card I was making and put the folders in the draw, back then I hadn't discovered distress inks and all the cool things you can do with them!  So as its getting round to Halloween and I have a few friends that have parties and enjoy dressing up I thought it was a good excuse to make some cards and play with some stuff I bought last year and this year that I haven't played with yet.

Back in July someone on one of the Docrafts forums posted that Sixxix were having a sale with some things up to 90% off, couldn't be true I thought, but it was! I picked up the Skull Blueprint die and stamp set for £3 saving around £17, I also got the cobweb, acorn and leaf sets as well, but they were put in my die box until after my holidays. Yesterday I got them out to play and also the water brush pens I'd found in France. The skull above and the cobweb panels in the first photo are the results of my first attempt at colouring with a water brush, I used Antique Linen, Pumice Stone and Hickory Smoke inks to colour the skull, it's actually layered in 3 parts but the photo makes it look rather flat. The colouring isn't perfect but then again not bad for a first attempt, I need to get my head around shading a little more, I'll be practicing by making several more skulls and in some lurid shades of orange, purple and lime green for other cards :)

I've been trying to find the Pumpkin blueprint die and stamp set and some of the stamp sets Tim Holtz released in 2013 namely 'The Chemist' and 'Halloween Blueprints 2' but so far I can't find them at a reasonable price in the UK. I confess I'm becoming drawn to a lot of the Tim Holtz Alterations stuff, things like the Bell Jar and Apothecary Bottles appeal to me because they can be given a herbal twist, i also like halloween designs, they bring out the kid in me and I love the colours, its all wrapped up in that Autumn season I adore so much, I'll keep searching for the dies and stamps I want, you never know I may get lucky :)

The above is a close up of what I've done so far with the embossed poison folder, I used a piece of cream card stock which I trimmed to the out border of the folder image and then distressed the edges of the embossed image with my distress tool, then I went over the raised design with Black Soot distress ink before giving it a spritz with my gold metallic misting spray, I inked the distressed edge with black soot and the 'label' was complete. The other label seen in top photo was cut from the same card but the edge left straight and I used Vintage Photo distress ink on the label and the same gold misting spray, both have come out really well, so glad I discovered distress ink :)

I'll add some more photos when I've finished the cards I have in mind using the bits I've made, I'm waiting for some stamps from the Rare Oddities collection to arrive for some other ideas, I love things with poisons and apothecary type things on them, luckily I have friends where these kind of cards can be given all the year round :)

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

ATC Panel Play

I realise that people who have been creating ATC's for a while will have most likely used these Tim Holtz 'Components' Stamps before, so my excitement at using them is old hat, but I've only just found them. I purchased them on Saturday online from Craft Stash and my order arrived this morning, I was working though so I didn't get chance to play with them until tonight. All of the panels I created tonight are WIP's and still need work, but in my head I already know how they'll look when they're finished, subject to change ;)

I experimented with three different approaches, the 'Birdsong' image had the paper first coloured with Spiced Marmalade and Dusty Concord distress inks, and was then sprayed with the purple metallic misting spray I posted about yesterday, once dry I stamped the image with Onyx Black VersaFine ink. The 'Time' image I used a different approach, I first stamped the image with Black Soot distress ink, then applied Cosmic Shimmer Black Detail Embossing Powder and used my heat gun. Once embossed and the paper had cooled I applied distress ink in Festive Berries, Spiced Marmalade and Squeezed Lemonade. Finely I sprayed the panel with the gold metallic misting spray I made, both panels have a fantastic shimmer which the photo isn't showing very well sadly.

The 'Flutter' panel I stamped the image with clear embossing ink and applied clear embossing powder to the image, after embossing and once dry I applied Picked Raspberry, Cracked Pistachio and Mermaid Lagoon distress inks, once I had the colour blend I wanted, I wiped off the ink on the embossed image and then sprayed with my white shimmer mist. All three panels were stamped on to white 200gsm cardstock, there are so many possibilities and combinations that I think I'll be busy for a while, there are also a lot more of the Components stamps to collect as well to add to my ever expanding craft stash ;)

Tonight I also played with my Spectrum Noir Pens and added a bit of colour to the freebie embossing folder that came with issue 148 of Cardmaking & Papercraft, I embossed a piece of silver foiled card and then coloured in the embossed area, its not perfect, that's because I coloured with my normal glasses on because I was watching TV at the same same. If I'd used my reading/close up glasses I'd have been a little more accurate, still it was just an experiment to see what it would look like and it worked, I think. Will be trying it out using other colours of foiled card and other pens. So in essence, I spent a few hours tonight playing with things and I have no finished project to show, I do have lots of ideas though and 4 pieces to work on over the next few days :)

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

And So It Begins...

The nights are drawing in and growing colder and we're now in the full swing of autumn, which means its a good time to start thinking about making Christmas cards, last year all the Christmas cards I made for friends and family were done using embossing folders and bought toppers, as you can see from this post written back in December last year. Not that there is anything wrong with using bought toppers, I'll certainly be using more of them this year as I bought lots in the sales in January and a few other topper sets since then.

This year though, now I'm playing with distress inks more and getting better at stamping, I can do a few different types of cards like this one that I made tonight. I embossed a piece of 200gsm white card with my Sheena Douglass 'Ornamental Snowflake' embossing folder and then went over the raised area with Distress Ink in Cracked Pistachio and Spun Sugar, after that I used the white pearlescent misting spray that I made earlier today which blended the colours a little and gave the paper a lovely, frosty sheen.

I cut the panel to size and inked the edges lightly with Spun Sugar and attached a piece of pink organza ribbon to the panel. The sentiment came free with an embossing folder in a recent issue of Quick Cards and I've been meaning to use it since I got back off holiday. So tonight I gave it a go, I stamped the sentiment on the same white card I used for the embossed panel using iZink Metal Green pigment ink. I've had problems getting metallic inks to dry without smudging so to seal this one I applied clear embossing powder and which raised the design slightly, but more importantly sealed the coloured ink in.

I mounted the sentiment on silver card, after first rounding the corners and finished it off with some small bluey-green adhesive gemstones from my stash. I made a bow from the same organza ribbon and glued to the ribbon on the panel. When I first put the panel on the white card it was too stark, so I used the Spun Sugar distress ink to colour the edge of the card, blending it to a soft sheen using my white pearlescent misting spray, once dry I attached the panel and the card was finished, I want to try  doing this for a variety of colours, but for a couple of simple elements I think it looks pretty effective and I'm rather pleased with the results, I need to knuckle down though I have 125 cards left to make lol!

DIY Misting Sprays

When I ink paper I like to add shimmer sprays to them to give a sparkle and sheen, I can't help it, as well as vivid colour I love sparkle and glitter, I've been using perfect pearls mists in the past but recently I experimented with a mist of perfect pearls and water but it took a while to dry, which after waiting for the inked paper to dry was a whole new level of testing of my eagerness to move onb with a project.

So when I was recently on holiday in France I found bottles of 74% alcohol that the French use for cleaning, it comes in bottles and is scented with aromas like vanilla, raspberry, peach, green apple... the list is endless, so I picked up raspberry and vanilla to experiment with. To make your homemade misting spray you'll need a spray bottle, colouring medium (re-inker, acrylic paint, food dye, water colour paint etc), alcohol, water and pigment powder like perfect pearls. I've seen YouTube videos with people using eye shadow powder to make their sprays, these recipes involve adding glue or gum arabic to the mix to make the eye shadow stick. If you use perfect pearls, the product is especially formulated to contain a resin that reacts with water which then makes the mica adhere to the surface you spray on.

To make a 50ml bottle of spray you need to half fill the bottle with alcohol (using alcohol will make the spray dry a lot faster), to that add your colouring medium around ½ - 1 teaspoon depending how strong you want the colour to be. I prefer to just have a light coloured mist, but I am thinking about making deeper colours to spray to colour paper where I would use distress inks. Next add your perfect pearls powder, I use a couple of small scoops using a lolly stick, I'd say around 1/8th teaspoon. Put the spray in to the bottle and screw down securely and shake the bottle to mix all the ingredients, once mixed top up your bottle with water, re-secure the lid in place and give the bottle another good shake to mix. You can then use the spray.

I made a white spray that I coloured white acrylic paint with perfect pearl, silver which contained silver metallic acrylic paint and perfect pearls and a purple spray that contained metallic amethyst acrylic paint and small amounts of Perfect Pearls Interference Violet and Interference Blue. I also made a gold misting spray which wasn't as successful, I used DecoArt Ultra Fine Glitter Paint, as my sparkle medium, but the sparkly bits are larger than the mica pigments and once dry then don't stick to the paper, will try adding some glue to that spray and see what happens, its a shame really because the sparkle is very intense.

Above you can see examples of the shimmer I achieved, the purple panel was inked with distress ink on to 230gsm water colour paper, once dry I lightly sprayed with the purple mist, sadly the photo isn't showing the sparkle as well as the second panel that was done in shades of black and grey and was then lightly sprayed with the silver mist, the shimmer is rich and intense, can't wait to use the silver panel for a halloween card idea I have. I love the fact that whilst working with these sprays they give off a pleasant aroma, which does transfer to the paper, although how long it will last... I'm already thinking about making my own autumn and Christmas fragranced sprays using alcohol and essential oils, I like to scent my cards for giving at Christmas and I usually do it by storing the cards in  sealed boxes above wooden balls that have been infused with essential oils, I make blends, to me it adds a whole new dimension to the card, so if I'm successful with the aroma spray metallic misting spray I'll add another post in the not too distant future!

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Laugh ATC for September 2015 PIF

This is my second ATC, still very new to this medium but its growing on me, keeping things to 2.5" x 3.5" is a bit of a challenge as all my stamps are bigger than this mostly, but its an excuse to add more items to my ever growing stash :) When I enquired about taking part in the PIF I went in at the deep end, Vicki who runs it added me straight away, no backing out no, must admit I panicked just a little bit, especially when I found out that the word for the challenge was LAUGH!

Instant panic, I only had one sentiment stamp with the word Laugh on and that was attached to Live and Love and was too big for the ATC. My thinking cap went on, this was a challenge after all, so I googled the word laugh and found a little banner that said "When you LOVE and LAUGH you live a beautiful LIFE", it was perfect, but it was too big! Not a problem as I resized it in word.

The banner already had a antique paper look to it, so I decided that I'd give the ATC an antiquey/vintage look to complement it, so I looked through my stash, my first thought was Vintage Photo Distress Ink, I knew I wanted to add some gold accents and subtle sparkle so I got out some Encore Ultimate Metallic ink in Gold, some Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearl Mist and some Mirror Gold embossing powder.

Next to find the background, I have a huge stack of 6" x 6" backing papers on my desk that cover all aspects florals, christmas, birds, botanical etc you get the idea. Leafing through the stacks of papers I settled on one of the floral papers from the Dovecraft 'Curiosity Corner' stack, which you can see in the above image as the background for the ATC.

Once I'd cut my ATC to size - mental note to self, find out if you can buy ATC blanks to cut out this step - I backed the front with a piece of my chosen paper which I glued on with modge podge, then I distressed the edges with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, the next step was to lightly distress the edge of the sentiment banner, once both had been distressed I spritzed a little Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls Mist on both pieces and left it to dry. 

I glued the banner in to place and inked up a decorative edge stamp that came free with a card making magazine, although for the life of me I can't remember which one now! I used the Encore Gold ink to stamp the decorative edge, but then I remember how much of a pain I've been finding metallic inks to dry even when I used my heat gun on them.

I decided to sprinkle mirror gold embossing powder on to the stamped design to save any smudges and smears and when heat set the embossing powder added the gold bling I wanted and it wouldn't rub off at the slightest touch. Incidentally I have found that adding a little hairspray to metallic inks that refuse to dry helps, but on some types of paper it can leave a surface mark.

Two final touches for this ATC were running my Clear Star Sakura Gelly Roll pen over the word laugh to make it stand out a little bit more, and I glued two small deep pink heart gems to opposite corners of the banner for a final bit of bling. All done, I added information to the back with my name, email addy, date, challenge and signed the back and then used the vintage photo distress ink on it to complement the front of the card. Now I just have to get it in the post and send it off to the lady who is to receive it and hopefully she'll like it?!

Monday, 7 September 2015

Autumn Owl September 2015 Topper Challenge

A few months ago when I first started experimenting with distress inks and water/pearlised mists I made several autumn colour inspired panels, back in early Summer I didn't have a use for them, so the panels went in my 'Maybe Someday' box, a box I keep of die cuts, toppers and panels such as these that don't have an immediate use but may get used one day.

You can see another one of them just below, to create them I used 250gsm water colour paper and a mix of the following shades of distress ink: - Ripe Persimmon, Fired Brick, Spiced Marmalade, Festive Berries and Dried Marigold. I used the method shown in this link posted by over on Craftsy, where my method differs is I pull the paper through the ink more and finish off with pearlised water to give a shimmer to the paper, I do also work round the edge of the paper with one of the darker shades of distress ink which defines the edge and draws the eye in to the middle of the design.

Once the coloured panel is created I can then stamp or emboss, I've shown examples of panels I've worked and embossed in previous posts, for this panel I stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black ink using stamps from the JustRite 'Shabby Chic Leaves' stamp set. I loved the look, the water colour paper adds texture to the panel as well. I've created a couple of panels that I'm going to fussy cut the leaves from to use on a card design, I've also been creating some rich coloured panels and cool frosty iced panels to use on Christmas cards that have been stamped with musical note backgrounds and snowflakes. I just love playing with the water colour effect of these inks, when I first started playing with distress inks I just worked from the craft sheet onto the card or paper, in the early days I didn't realise how well these inks reacted with water.

Back to the topper I made, the owl was die cut from gold foil card using the 'Beautiful Owl' Joanna Sheen Signature Die. The sentiment "Autumn arrives in early morning, but Spring at the close of a Winter day" just seemed so apt, is from the Crafters Companion Wildflower A6 sentiment set and was stamped on to a remnant of a distress dyed piece I did for the Fairy Sunset card I did a while back, I save all my offcuts in a box, you never known when they'll come in useful ;) The sentiment was backed on to a matching piece of gold foil card to tie everything together.

I matted the panel bedecked with the owl on to gold card and attached a small piece of orange ribbon to the panel before sticking it down on a piece of Chestnut Roast pearl card from the Hunkydory Autumn Collection. Each of the toppers layers were rounded using a 10mm Xcut corner rounding punch, the final touch was to add cream adhesive pearls to the owls eyes from my stash to finish off the card. All I have to do now is put the topper together as a card, I have a friend with an Autumn birthday coming up so maybe... I'm waiting for some stamps to arrive from the new Graphic 45 'Rare Oddities' collection to make some Halloween cards for friends, also eager to work with the new Distress ink colour for September from Tim Holtz which is a vivid purple, that for some reason they've called Wilted Violet, its anything but tired and wilted!

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Oriental Birdcage Card

I'm chuffed with the way this card came out, although I did mess up matting the sentiment a little, but that's what makes our cards individual lol! The backing paper, topper image and sentiment are printed off from the free CD that came with Crafters Inspiration Magazine Issue 7 and the are from the Kimono range, which I confess I'm developing a soft spot for. The blue hue panel between the backing paper and the topper is my own creation and is one of the two oriental inspired panels I created last weekend.

The first purple hued panel was inked using a selection of iZink pigment inks which I've mentioned a few times previously on my blog, I fell in love with them when I picked them up in France in August. The iZink's dry with a metallic sheen, I added to the shine by using a little Cosmic Shimmer Enchanted Gold Gilding Wax. I have plans for this panel for another project that I'll be working on soon, the finished panels looks almost like metal when viewed close up, the photos leave the images looked a little washed out and flat sadly.

The blue hued panel I used on the Oriental Birdcage card used Distress Inks I used Broken China, Mermaid Lagoon, Blue Sketch and underneath the blue sketch I used a little Picked Raspberry to add a tiny hint of pink. Once I'd applied the ink I used my usual technique of misting with water and drying then misting again with a pearl mist the one on this project I made myself with a couple of mica powders in water in a misting bottle. Once that was dry I embossed the panel with my Oriental Birdcage Embossing Folder, the final stage was to use an inking tool which I'd inked up with more Blue Sketch ink and lightly rubbed over the embossed image, which darkened the raised areas and made them stand out more. I had the card I ended up making in my mind when I started inking this piece so I was very pleased that it came together so well.

Close up of the two panels hopefully showing the detail a little better, both panels were done on 200gsm white card, nothing fancy, the iZink's dry very quickly but I have noticed when using the card distress inks that have been misted with water take a while to dry, you can use a heat gun to speed things up but I like to let them dry naturally.  Today I've also been making cards from the new Gorjuss Tweed goodie bag that hubby treated me to yesterday, will post some photos when I've made a few more, although I do want to make a few inky backgrounds for Gorjuss cards as well, I can't help it, I'm addicted lol!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Falling Leaves of Autumn

It's autumn officially, my favourite time of year :)I can't help it I love the colours and the aromas, its the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and time to get the nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves out and use them in the kitchen. Spiced Apple Crumble is on the menu this weekend. I've loved the season of autumn since I was a child, something about the crisp autumn air, scrunching through leaves and the riot of beautiful colours makes my inner child smile. One of the Docrafts challenges I entered recently asked for an autumn theme and the card above is what I submitted as my entry.

The card began with an distress ink background piece which was coloured using Scattered Straw, Tea Dye and Vintage Photo inks which were misted with water to merge the colours together, I then added a mist of Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls Mist to add a little shimmer. When the paper was dry, I embossed the panel with an Xcut 6x6 Woodgrain Embossing Folder, once embossed I used an inking tool to gently go over the raised area with Walnut Stain ink, trimmed it to size and then inked the edges.

I was in such an 'autumn's here, hurrah' mood that I got carried away and created another inked piece so I could use Sheena Douglass Leafy Corner Embossing Folder I picked up for just £1. I can see lots more pieces being created using this folder, I inked in diagonal strips using Fossilized Amber, Spiced Marmalade, Rusty Hinge and Ripe Persimmon distress inks, misted and shimmer as above then when dry embossed. After embossing I used Walnut stain on the top and bottom corners and Rusty Hinge in the centre to highlight the leaves. Card yet to be created with this piece but its either going to feature an owl or a red squirrel. If someone had told me 12 months ago that I'd be getting inspired by nature in a whole new way and enjoying creating inky messes I would never have believed it, but enjoy it I do :)

This is another autumn colours card I made a few weeks ago for the Noah's Ark Challenge, you had to use a British Wildlife animal image, and this hedgehog caught my eye. The leaves were printed on the computer, fussy cut and then inked and run over the back of a biro to make them curl slightly. I used the same free background paper because I obviously like it, but I can't for the life of me remember where I got it! It's not all been autumn, this week I've also made a christmas card and a couple of projects using images from my Flights of Fantasy CD, and created some oriental inspired backgrounds for some cards using images from the Kimono collection.

It'll be a Gorjuss weekend this weekend I think, hubby treated me to the new Gorjuss goodie bag from Docrafts today and I can't wait to get stuck in. It's coming up to 12 months since I made my first card, I can't believe how far I've come! Still so much to learn but I can already see a huge difference in the cards I create and since those early days I've discovered I have a passion for colour which over the next few months will be being explored to the fullest. Whatever you do, enjoy your weekend, as well as crafting this weekend, I'm off out for a walk looking for signs of nature donning her autumn clothes.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

My First Little ATC

Thought I'd try something a bit different yesterday, so I made this simple ATC the acronym for an Artist Trading Card for those that don't know, not that I'm claiming to be an artist, far from it lol! The medium is all new to me and this is my very first attempt, I'm not sure exactly what they're supposed to look like or whether I did it right, but I enjoyed doing it, which I guess is the whole point :)

The card was cut from a cardboard posting folder that a book came in, so its got a recycled base, the back of the card was treated with black acrylic paint, then PVA and then orange acrylic paint to create a crackle effect, something I learnt in a Docrafts demo by Mags Woodcock, only I didn't quite get it right and it only cracked apart a little, but I'll work on the technique :)

Once I'd dried and trimmed the ATC to size, I then stamped it with Jet Black StazOn ink using an oak leaf  stamp from the JustRite 'Shabby Chic Autumn Leaves' set. I stamped the image upside down but it doesn't matter to the overall ATC I think. I jumped in after a little research yesterday, all I know is the size an ATC is supposed to be, which is 2.5" wide and 3.5" long, no idea of thickness, shape etc, I have seen some examples of ATC's with rounded corners, hopefully other crafters will tell me what sort of card they use, what thickness etc.

The front I covered with a piece of paper from a free download set of papers from Crafters Companion, available if you're a member of their Crafters Companion Club, its free to join and you get downloads and offers and sales goodies. To get the same papers look for the June 2014 Distressed Elegance download, it has 4 nice distress effect papers plus some embellishments and sentiments.

After I stuck the paper to the front of the card and trimmed it to size I distressed the edges with Walnut Stain distress ink. I then stamped the sentiment in the centre again with StazOn, the sentiment for those interested is from Stampendous and is called 'Witching You'. Orangey adhesive gems in the four corners and a glittery spider with wobbly eyes from my stash to finish. Not as complex as some peoples gorgeous creations but I've dipped my toe in the water :)

Friday, 28 August 2015

iZink Faux Metal Panel

Works all finished for the next 3 days, we have a long bank holiday weekend and I'm looking forward to getting lots of crafting in. I have lots of cards to create and projects to work on but I also wanted to play with some ideas, after seeing the iZink Galaxy video on YouTube that I posted about in my More French Crafty Bargains and Some Crafting Time it occurred to me that the iZink's could potentially be used to create faux metallic effects, and I was right :)

Sadly though my photos are looking rather flat and have lost the gloss and shine, but trust me the finished panel does have it. I used an A5 piece of glossy paper and one of the sponge applicators that you use for distress ink application and laid down my colours bits at a time. The iZink's are wonderful in that they don't blend into each other but sit on the top of the previous layer and dry in about 4-5 seconds so you don't have to wait ages to apply the next layer, just keep building up the colour until your happy with what you have.

I Layered up 6 colours starting with Ambre (Coppery Brown) although its one of the glossy inks and not pearlescent as is the Caviar (Black), as I wanted to create a kind of verdigris effect. I used 4 of the pearlescent colours Cactus (Pea Green), Avocado (Bluey Green), Topaz (Turquoise Green) and Gold. Each colour was dropped on the glossy paper randomly and worked in with the sponge applicator until I had the colour effect I wanted.

When I was happy I ran the paper through my embossing machine using my Toga 'Arabesques' embossing folder I found in France. The paper piece was a little bit bigger than the folder so I trimmed it to size after embossing. To finish I used an iZink pigment pad in shade 19131 Metal Light Green to create some verdigris bits to the raised area, I simply ran the pad over the top of the raised area then rubbed in with my fingertip. No idea yet what I'll use the panel for, but I'm already thinking of using the same effect with cog dies for steampunk cards, the whole point of the exercise was to play with my new goodies and see if the idea worked before I committed it to a card idea only to discover it wouldn't work.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Something Red Floral Challenge

My name is Debs and I adore bold, bright colours I cannot lie! The card above was created for the latest Floral Challenge run by one of the members of the docrafts forum, the design spec given by the lady hosting the current challenge was "The colour red must appear somewhere on the medium of choice, and I would like to see ribbon of some sort." Being the floral challenge, a flower of some description has to be included, which is a given.

When I a signed up to enter on the 15th August I had loads of time, same for all the other challenges, however I've been back off my holidays now for 5 days and last night was the first time I've done any crafting since the 19th August, that's over a week! Considering the number of ideas I have, fun challenges to make cards for and the fact that I have a card to create for the members design team for Quick Cards Made Easy that's daft. Part of my reason I not been crafting is I've been stressing about going to see a specialist dentist re having a front crowned tooth removed and a dental implant done, that is a good reason. What isn't a good reason and I'm rather angry with myself about, like an idiot I installed Fallout Shelter on my tablet and lost days to that, including the last few days of my holiday, gah!

I'd had the idea for this card when I was in France, the idea was a gift of friendship, which is why the design looks a bit like a gift wrapped present ;) Only in France I didn't have access to all my embellishments and I couldn't find a red flower big enough or had a backing paper that 'worked' for me. I was running out of time. so I was relieved when I got back off my holiday to discover that there was a 'Build-A-Flower' die set free with issue 140 of Simply Cards & Papercraft, which I thought I could use it to make a flower! But my stupid brain then decided to have a 3 day leave of absence in game land. As the challenge ends on the 28th August and everyone bar me had uploaded their entries, I decided I better get my skates on.

So last night I quickly made this card, and I love the end result, big, bold, bright and beautiful, just like the friend who will be receiving it :) The flower petals were die cut using 160 gsm red paper that has a slight texture to it, I found it in France with several other colours in the pack. I then used some Barn Door Distress Ink around the edges of the petals, I created lines down the length of the centre petals and smaller lines on the edges of the larger petals with a red promarker to add some detail.

The backing paper was a free download available via this link from the same magazine and is available in 2 other colour ways besides the red and orange one I used, I matted it on to the same colour red paper I used for the flower and added a couple of red sticky gems for good measure ;)I attached a couple of pieces of red organza ribbon to the card and then place the flower on the top.  I'm not sure how other people build up this separate petal flowers, but I cut a circle of card and used it as a base, sticking the first petal down with a 'Quickie Glue' pen and working my way around. The sentiment is from the 'Crafters Companion Wildflower A6 Stamp Set and just seemed apt for the card, I used a sheet of the paper from my pack in golden yellow for stamping the sentiment and cutting the stamen of the flower, trying to pick up colours from the backing paper. I stamped the sentiment using Memento ink in Tuxedo Black, et voila, one card completed for the challenge.

After the dentist appointment this afternoon, and the news that having my tooth fixed and have a decent smile again, and more importantly being able to eat things other than pasta, rice, porridge and scrambled eggs, was going to cost over £3,500 I was feeling a bit down in the mouth, literally :( It's my front tooth and as I give public talks for work and have trade fairs etc to do next year, no tooth would make me massively concious which would make giving talks awkward to say the least, and a false tooth is not a route I want to go down.

We'd already decided that I would be getting it done so we've been saving but still I had hoped it wouldn't cost so much. By way of a distraction I went to the Range, home of crafting bargains and good stash, which is handily 5 minutes drive away from the new dentist, lets put a positive spin on this shall we? I didn't spend much, as I mainly went in for a couple of storage boxes to put my acrylic paints and distress inks in to make it easier to move them about. Also picked up a pack of the new Dovecraft Glad Tidings 6" x 6" papers, a reel of red velvet ribbon and a set of the small x-cut new mini button dies to use on works in progress. So now I've written this, I'm off to unpack the stash I brought back from France along with the stuff I took with me and then to get crafting, and as a bank holiday weekend is on the horizon I think lots of crafting will be taking place here over the next few days, if I can just stay off Fallout Shelter! #addicted

Monday, 24 August 2015

Follow Your Dreams, Wherever They May Take You!

I'm back from my holidays and full of ideas for using all the goodies I was lucky enough to acquire whilst away. Before I left I created several distress ink backgrounds that were then inked and embossed with the Toga folders I picked up from Cultura. Once dry both A5 pieces were smooshed with Crème de Patine paints which gave them a slight metallic edge, the orangey piece with gold, and the purpley blue one with violet.

I posted a photo of the purple piece before, but the photo was taken at night and didn't do the colours much justice, so I took it out into the garden to take a better photo. When I got back home the Inka Gold set of paints I bought from Crafts U Print had arrived, so now I have lots more shades to play with including steel blue, silver, orange and copper :) Inka Gold paints are made by the same company as the French Crème de Patine paints, Inka Gold paints are describe as being "fast drying metal gloss paint" and indeed that's what they are.  I also now have a full set of the iZink pigment inks, so this weekend 'll be playing with them to create new backgrounds for cards.

The card above was the last card I made on my hols this year, I liked the orange background piece so much that I decided to use it as a background to another distress inked piece I'd inked whilst on holiday to make a sunset kind of photo. It's a message to myself, for a while now I've dreamed of visiting the South of France but we've always stayed in the Normandy region, we're back there next year and the year after, but we've laid plans to finally visit the South of France in 2018! Before then I have my stepson's wedding to look forward to and we've decided we'll be moving house within the next 5 years, getting away from noisy neighbours is another dream, time to make it happen and start following my dreams and living them.

My topper was backed on to black card stock and the edges rounded with a 5mm corner punch I picked up in France, I've used that punch a fair bit since I got it, much preferring the rounded corners it creates to stiff pointed corners you get just cutting a square or rectangle. I've just sent for a 10mm one and seen some fancy ones with patterns built in and punches that punch 4 different designs depending how you place them. I'm learning all the time and acquiring craft stuff as I go, talking to other crafter's it seems to be an occupational hazard ;)

There was a mountain of post when I got back, but unusually this time it wasn't bills and junk, instead there was 4 craft magazines waiting for me that I subscribe to, plus I'd been lucky to win a card design challenge set by a crafting buddy over on the Docrafts website and there was a little package waiting for me on my return full of gorgeous goodies, ribbons, beads, die cut shapes, charms, buttons and a pretty die cut that I can't wait to play with, thanks Mary :) I also received some wedding toppers from a giveaway run by another lady over on the Docrafts forum, so I've been very lucky :) With the freebies from the magazines, new craft stash and ideas galore from the mags and inspiration from nature I'm going to be very busy crafting over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Calligraphy Tales and More Paint!

The photo above is mine, but the calligraphy work is down to my hubby Simon, he's always had lovely handwriting, he wrote me a letter when we first met and I his handwriting was a factor in my falling for him, that and many other things, but I'll stop there :) Whilst away he decided he'd have a go at calligraphy, these are practice images but he came up with a cunning idea. He proposed that we work on a joint project, namely an illuminated herbal with modern info in old world style. So ever since he's been practising his calligraphy for the job. The idea is he does all the illustrations and we take photos between us and I write the herbal info! I think it's a wonderful idea and will combine our skills brilliantly.

I love the detail in the first image of the little caterpillar munching on the Dandelion leaf, he's been looking at lots of medieval texts on the internet and also picked up a few calligraphy books whilst we've been in France, as well as pens and inks. He doesn't like to admit he's done something good, and keeps saying its all just practice work, but I really wish I could do what he's done just as practice! I'm looking forward to working with him on this project, we've been saying for a while that we'd do something that combines what we're both good at, whether it turns in to a book is another thing entirely, I need to finish the one I'm working on first, one project at a time.

Whilst Si has been working on his sketches and happily applying ink, I've been working on making new backgrounds for cards and playing with some new ideas and after a tip from a lady on a cardmaking group I belong to on Facebook, I've also acquired a selection of 100ml tubes of Pebeo Dyna Acrylic Iridescent Paints. I haven't played with them yet, mainly because all my brushes are at home and I really didn't want to buy more brushes, when I have loads that I'll have access to in a few days, plus all my large stamps are at home that I want to use with the paints. I found the complete set in Cultura, loving this store for art and craft supplies, only discovered it back in April, but from now on it'll be a port of call when we're in France.

Whilst browsing the paint section I came across a set of 120ml metallic gloss acrylic paints by Lefranc & Bourgeois, another French company which has been making artist paints in France since 1720. The acrylics are very reasonable priced at 3.99 euros per tube. Cultura also had an offer on 3 for 2 so that made them even cheaper, there are lots of colours in the range but I went with the metallic colours for the projects I have in mind to work on over the next few months. If they work well, I'll stock up on more colours when we come back next year, assuming I can't buy them on the internet that is :) As well as cardmaking projects I think that Si will be able to use some of the acrylics on his calligraphy images, rich bold and bright shimmery colours should create some super effects.

Whilst browsing the aisles where the MDF projects and decoupage paints and papers were I found a selection of the Crème de Patine paints for just over 3 euros, some less and they then had a further 20% off!!! So they kind of ended up in my basket as well :) I know to some it may seem like I've spent a lot of money on craft supplies on holiday, and I guess I have, but I have been saving up holiday spends and usually I buy plants or books. I've been very lucky to have found some real bargains and lots of new things to experiment with and create lovely projects with. Some of these new paints are going to come in very useful for some of the projects inspired by our trip to Château de Pierrefonds, some of the rooms there were a fast to the senses. Will post some photos tomorrow when I've finished editing them :)