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 :)