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 :)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Experiments in Colour

This week I've been playing around with distress inks to create backgrounds, although some end results don't have full projects laying claims to them yet, they are sparking ideas, like the above image. I took an A4 piece of watercolour paper and used shades of red, yellow and orange distress inks to create a piece of paper that I then cut up and stamped with different images, including the new autumn animals set I got whilst on holiday. Both of the larger pieces have firm ideas, although I'm not happy with the stamped sentiment and will work to disguise it when I'm back home and have access to all my stash. The 'stars' on the centre card were created with dots of gold iZink which I ran a needle point through to form the star points.

My next project involved using 3 colours of distress ink, Chipped Sapphire, Peacock Feathers and Picked Raspberry all blended together, then I misted the paper with homemade pearlised water and left it to dry, this gave the paper a shimmery effect. Next I used one of my new Toga embossing folders I bought in France, the design is called 'Arabesque' and is a really pretty design, I can see me using this to make lots of backgrounds for fairy cards and also for Christmas card backgrounds over the next few months.

After I'd finished embossing I used some of the new violet coloured Crème de Patine paint, which is an absolutely wonderful creamy texture, I applied it with my finger tip, albeit not very expertly, it'll take some practice I think. I am pleased with the results though, I buffed it off with a soft cloth and the result was the paper winds up looking almost metallic in places. Can't wait for the rest of the colours to arrive when I get home, my mind is over flowing with ideas and ways to use them already.

Tomorrow we're going to visit Agincourt and Château de Pierrefonds the place they filmed the BBC series Merlin, I think that will inspire some creative ideas, its apparently the 600th anniversary of the battle of Agincourt this year, so it would be silly not to visit when you're a stones throw away from the location.

Crafting & Relaxing in France

More cards made during the evening and afternoons when its been very hot, the highest temperature we've had so far is 38.6C phew! I brought the Cupcake Boutique and Riverbank Revels with me, buying them from Every Crafts a Pound just before I went away, absolute bargains the 8" x 8" decoupage pads were just £1 as were the 6" x 6" matching paper pads.

They've made some very pretty cards and each decoupage pad contains 3 sheets each of 8 different designs so you can make 24 pretty cards for £1, granted there are other costs like glue, double sided tape and all the trimmings but you still get to make 24 cards for less than £5.00 I reckon. I brought some ready stamped and cut out sentiments with me and I also brought some ink pads and sentiment stamps.

I've picked up even more lovely crafting goodies, including a musical notes stamp that will be perfect for some distress ink ideas I have, I found some tassels in jewel colours for some bookmarks I'm going to make for my book loving friends for Christmas and another embossing folder and a mask for the texture paste projects I want to try when I get home.

I also picked up a couple of Gorjuss topper kits for 90p each, and some more glitter tape in jewel colours, some of which were used on the Riverbank Revels cards above. I discovered some metallic pigment inks in green shades which will be perfect for a verdigris idea I want to try, but iZinks aside the find I'm most excited about is the tubs of Crème de Patine, a beeswax based creamy wax paint that can be used on all porous surfaces.

It works a lot like gilding wax, but its more opaque, I picked up 2 colours but discovered that it can be bought as Inka Gold in the UK from a variety of suppliers, so I've ordered a kit of 9 different colours which should arrive and be ready to play with when I get back home and I can't wait :) I already have lots of ideas for things I want to make with it and techniques to try to make Christmas cards and some ideas for making some MDF boxes.

I've also managed to get all but 1 of the iZink pigment inks, the avocado shade eludes me, everywhere we've been its been out of stock, so I gave in this morning and ordered it online, it should arrive not long after I get home. I've also picked up about 6 of the glossy non-pearlised colours so when I get home I can have fun playing with these inks creating lots of new projects and using them on a variety of mediums. I can see that these, like the inka gold paints are going to make some lovely effects for winter cards.

This holiday has been a lot about relaxing and just chilling, in the past when we visit France we spend most of the holiday off visiting places, so much so we need another holiday to get over the one we had. This time we're doing very little, the cottage has a large garden with woodpeckers, red squirrels and lots of flowers and trees and a variety of other wildlife, it's lovely to just sit in the sun and read and chill with my wonderful hubby,bliss :)

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Smile and Bee Happy Card

So yesterday I posted a photo of me working on the start of the background for this card and today here is the finished card. The lower silhouette stamp I've used before but the larger wild flower stamp and the bees I got yesterday. The photo doesn't show the shimmer on the background to very good effect, but trust me it shimmers beautifully :) Really pleased with the way this one turned out, now to work on some of other ideas I have for the other backgrounds I created yesterday

We visited Cultura today, its a cross between W H Smith and Hobbycraft in the UK but carrying French craft ranges like Aladine, Artemio, and Toga, the latter of which seems to be similar to Docrafts in brands and products but with a French twist, the Toga brand of embossing folders are also a little bigger than we get in the UK, Toga folders are just over 5.5 inches by 7.87 inches. Toga also do a die cutting machine and some fabby dies, I picked up the large feather set that I wanted last year.

More cling stamps were purchased, this one has a large Eiffel tower on, perfect for several projects I've been wanting to do but hadn't found a Eiffel stamp big enough. I also got some autumn and winter themed papers, again by Toga which I'm looking forward to using over the next few weeks. Cultura also sell a lot of in-house products and I picked up ribbons, clock faces and embellishments, and a 12 x 12cm stamping block all with 50% off.

I also found more of the iZink pigment inks and after doing lots of youtube watching and googling I've discovered that they can be used on wood, paper, chipboard, metal, glass, plastic, leather, fabric and if you 'cure' the design in a slow oven you can use the inks on ceramic plates, mugs etc. They are permanent inks, which dry very quickly, which means you can layer them on top of each other and they won't bleed. You can also add water to them like distress inks, and add them to misting bottles, if you use alcohol instead of water you get a much finer mist and softer effect, the bonus is almost all of the colours are pearlised so you get a soft shimmery effect.

I've seen the iZink inks now for 3.95 and 4.95 euros, they come in 15ml bottles and last a long time as a little goes a long way. The inks are made in France by the Aladine company, who also make the Color Box ink brand and here I managed to finally get a full size Frost White pigment ink, happy bunny. still have a few colours I want to get and I'm sure I'll find them before I go home, I have 10 more days here :) The box at the back was an absolute bargain it contains gold, silver and red iZinks plus a misting bottle and was just 5.09 euros for the lot :) Looking forward to getting creative with these inks tomorrow, I now have 7 of the pearlescent inks, I have 5 more to get and I want the caviar black as well, I also have 4 of the glossy non-pearlescent colours.

My hubby Simon, got some calligraphy pens and inks also from Cultura, he's busy in the garden practising writing letters and colouring with inks. Back in April he painted a honesty flower spray for me that is now framed and on the wall of my office come craft room. I've asked him to paint some smaller images that I can turn in to cards, I love doing projects where we can both contribute :) I'm back to card making now, I want to try out the new feather dies I bought this afternoon....

Monday, 10 August 2015

More French Crafty Bargains and Some Crafting Time

Today I visited Loisirs et Création a craft shop that I was led to believe was the French equivalent of Hobbycraft, whilst there were some nice things and bargains there, its nowhere near what Hobbycraft is. It's rather a mish mash price wise as well, some things were cheap, others grossly overpriced 49 euros for a die set I'd pay £9.95 for in the UK, but like Hobbycraft itrems you can find cheaper elsewhere are a couple of euros dearer at Loisirs et Création.

I did find some more bargains mind, stamps and ribbons with 50% off, more iZink pigment inks and a set of Metallic Sakura Gel Pens for just over £13, which was a bargain for a set of 10, I also picked up a corner punch and some delicate wild flower cling stamps that also have butterflies and bees in the set. Happy me :) The iZink's I have wanted to play with since I saw them over here back in April, so far I have 4 of the metallic colours, I'll be picking up a few more before I go back to England so that I can make play with the effects they create, check out this video by American crafter Sandy Allnock like the one in the video below.

Once I'd got back from shopping for crafty goodies it was time to have a little play with some distress inks, I brought some card making supplies with me, our holiday is all about relaxing and recharging our metaphoric batteries this year, rather than zipping around visiting lots of places, so we've bought books to read and my hubby has brought some paints and creative writing supplies and I've got my card making stuff. So earlier today I started making a couple of backgrounds with my distress inks which were inspired by the garden of the cottage we're staying at.

The background still needs some work, and then the stamping can begin, and I can then turn it in to a card, I also inked some other backgrounds to use with the owl and fox stamps I got in the previous post. Tomorrow I'll be making up a few cards and playing with stamps and ink and well as relaxing in the sun, there is another craft supplies place not that far from us, so we may even pay them a visit. Shopping for craft stash is super, but its not nearly as good as playing with it and creating cards and other projects.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

French Crafty Bargains

A short post today from sunny France, day 3 of my holidays and I've managed to find some crafty bargains :) As its Sunday and we were a bit tired from travelling we decided to just visit a local garden centre after lunch as not much is open in France on a sunday, whilst there I managed to find bargain a Tsukineko Essentials Glue Pad for 4.75 euros which at the current exchange rate is approx £3.36, its RRP was 9.50 euros.

I also picked up large bags of flower and heart gems for adding to cards, some A4 sheets of adhesive glitter foam in some bright jewel colours, perfect for xmas card projects. I picked up some narrow orange ribbon and some white so that I can colour that myself whilst away, because yes I managed to pack a "little" card making stuff ;)

There was some adhesive glitter tape, some metallic gold pigment ink, and I finally found some Frost White Color Box pigment ink YAY! Will be playing with that over the next few days. By far the best find though was the stamp set, little owls, foxes and other autumny lovelies, I already have two card ideas using these stamps, just need to create some backgrounds with my distress inks.

In the garden of the  cottage we're staying at, not far from the door a stunning red squirrel is feasting on hazelnuts, trying to get a photo, but the little chap is camera shy, hoping to get a a photo of him though and if I do I'll post it. In the next few days I'm going to be visiting a dedicated art and craft shop, think Hobbycraft but allegedly lots better and another shop that's more like W H Smith's but they do have some lovely craft stuff, will post about them after we've visited. of now to watch the squirrel eat his nuts :)

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Wild Rose Studio Snowflake Corner Die

I know its a little early for Xmas for some people, but as I've promised to make 100 cards for Cats Protection to sell at their Xmas Fair and I have 50 cards for friends and family to make, I thought I'd get a jiggle on!

It's true that all of these are variations on a theme but I think the die is very effective done this way? The die is from Wild Rose Studios Christmas 2014 collection and is called Snowflake Corner. For such a pretty effect that looks like more work went in to the card than actually did, all you need to do is die cut 4 pieces, I used holographic card because it added extra sparkle but you can use any card you desire.

I first added a backing paper, the majority of them are from the 2014 Bebunni Christmas 6" x 6" pad which is still available from Crafters Companion, it was attached to the card with double sided sticky tape. I then put the topper in the centre of the card. The toppers are an assortment from Kanban and Hunkydory that I already had in my stash from last year.

Using Tattered Lace Detail Glue I placed the die cut corners along the edge of the card, they overlap slightly so you have to make a little trim but if you do it right when you glue it down you can hardly notice the join. I then added some adhesive gems to the centre of each of the large snowflakes and finally added a sentiment and viola, a nice card done in under 20 minutes and that includes die cutting. Decoupage cards take longer but on the whole these are nice and quick and will soon have me amassing a decent collection of cards for my local Cats Protection.

Wild Rose Studio have recently released the 2015 dies, one of them is very similar to the snowflake corner, it'll make another terrific edge to cards and be slightly different, so the Snow Corner is now on my wish list. I now have a few Wild Rose Studio dies, they cut beautifully and have such lovely detail, looking forward to amassing more of them and some of their stamps and papers to!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Little Mermaid Card

Another card made for an Enchanted Challenge on the Docrafts site, well if I'm honest it wasn't made specifically for the challenge, I started creating it the night before and it was a happy coincidence when the challenge was announced to include a fantasy character. A mermaid fits the bill!

I inked up a piece of water colour paper with 3 bands of distress ink, the lower band in Peacock Feathers, middle band Salty Ocean and the top band was Tumbled Glass, blending each colour into the next layer. Once I'd filled the paper I misted with water and allowed the  colours to 'run' in to each other. Then I misted again with a homemade pearlescent spray I made using water and some perfect pearl pigment powder to give a lovely shimmer sheen to the background. Sadly this main image doesn't show the effect up very well, but the one below does...

The image was stamped using the mermaid from the Hunkydory 'Lets Pretend' stamp set and coloured - hair and body - with Promarker's and the 'scales' were coloured using Papermania Metallic Pens. The seahorse, shell, starfish and seaweed are all from the same stamp collection as is the sentiment in the first image. I cut the background just less than a 6" x 6" card blank, added a little Chipped Sapphire distress ink to the edge and then stuck everything down. I'm not the worlds best colourer, but I'm learning. I also cheated a little, the images were stamped on to white Neenah Classic cardstock using Memento Tuxedo Black ink, when everything was coloured in and I fussy cut the images out there was a white edge to the images, so I found a promarker as close to the background as I could and coloured all the white bits pale blue and they blending into the background more ;)