Thursday, 20 April 2017

Wreath of Roses Cards

I think I'll have to change the name of my blog to 'Just Another Floral' or something, I'm sorry but not sorry for the influx of floral images about to come this blogs way but hey ho, its my blog and I'm indulging in a little paper gardening. I blame Tara over at Seven Hills Crafts for getting lots of lovely floral stamps and dies, the latest to fall in to my basket and join my craft stash is this lovely little 'Wreath of Roses' stamp and die from Lil'Inker Designs.

I've discovered that the best way to use this set, is to first die cut the shape, then put the card piece you die cut from and the shape in to a stamping tool like the MISTI, line up the stamp and stamp the image exactly where you want it. I did try stamping first then die cutting but the die is solid so you can't see if you are lining up properly and my image wasn't accurately lined up so pieces got chopped off flowers.

I think I'm having a bit of a light and dark phase at the moment, maybe something to do with the days getting lighter after winter or maybe my brain wants creative contrast. Suffice to say when I make a light version of a card, I can't help but wonder what it would look like if it was done in darker tones?

First the light card, I used two elements from my MSD box for this card, the wood-grain effect panel was done with a Darice Wood Grain embossing folder and was intended for a christmas card background but I decided to go with something else so in my Maybe Some Day Box the panel sat along with the white frame cut from an Avery Elle die set called 'Scalloped Pierced Rectangles', which I confess to being disappointed with because I didn't realise it cut a thin frame, I expected it to cut solid pieces, but hey ho!

The frame from my box even had 3D foam pads on ready to use, I cut it for a card but wasn't happy with the design, so in my box the frame went. I trimmed the wood grain panel down a little and fixed it to a 5" x 7" white card blank and added the white frame. The rose wreath on this card was coloured with my Zig Clean Color Real Brush pens which I adore, I haven't got the shading technique quiet right, but I'm getting there and loving the vibrant results I get using them. I added some shimmer with a Spectrum Noir Clear Sparkle Pen, the effect in real life is amazing, it really does give an added dimension to your creations.

I added a sentiment from the Wreath of Roses stamp set on to a scarp of white card that was cut to fit across the back of the wreath by 2/3rds. As an aside the stamp set comes with 8 different sentiments and the die wreath has the word 'hello' with it. I added the wreath to the sentiment card with 3D foam pads and attached the wreath to the wood grain panel with more 3D foam pads so that the leaves from a couple of parts of the wreath overhung the scalloped frame et voila!

As I pointed out earlier in the post when I make a light coloured card, I'm wanting to make a darker version and this is the darker version of the wreath of roses card. I created the background last week when I was experimenting with Nuvo Mousse -further details can be found in my Proud as a Peacock post from the other day.

To create the embossed panel the shades of Nuvo Mousse used were 'Aubergine' added all over a piece of black card as described in my previous post. Once I had enough coverage I embossed the panel using the 'Rose Garden' embossing folder from Crafters Companion Shabby Chic range. I then used a mini blending tool to apply some 'Peony Pink' Nuvo Mousse to the raised areas to bring out the detail.

I used the same technique to make the wreath panel as I did for the light version, colouring the wreath on this card with metallic gelatos, I bought them last Summer on my holidays but only got round to using them this weekend! I loved the results though so I expect I'll be using them a lot more in the future ;)

I made my own card blank from a piece of the same black card I made the wreath panel from and decided to round off the bottom corners of the embossed panel and the card blank for added interest. I think the end result is rather effective and the light and dark versions of the card have their own merits, but I love the darker version the most. What about you do you prefer the light or the dark version? More from me soon when I'll be continuing to explore my darker side, until then happy creating, keep well and stay safe!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Proud As A Peacock...

I'm really pleased with the way this card turned out, and its the first of what will be a long line of peacock cards that I'll be creating over the next few months, not because I've acquired this die, but because I've been acquiring lots of peacock related stash from embossing folders to stamps, dies and paper backgrounds.

It seems I have some affinity with the peacock, although I'm not sure what or how aside from the fact that the stunning colours that they display has appealed to me since I was a young girl.

The die on this card is another of my cheap Demiawaking bargain dies from Amazon its a lot like the Tattered Lace Peacock die but the Demiawaking Peacock is just £2.99 with free postage. It took a little while to arrive but the cash saving was so worth the wait.  It's different insomuch as the tail on the TL die is longer and points to the left and the the beak and feather crest are more elaborately defined, but for a saving of around £16 I don't mind the detail not being as good. I have to point out that the TL die that is similar to the cheaper one is now retired by TL and they've replaced it with a different peacock which in my opinion isn't as nice.

On to the actual card construction now, I've added 10 different colours of Nuvo Mousse by Tonic Studios to my stash over the past few months, but as yet hadn't played with them. I have seen other people use them including Christine Smith from Crafti Potential and decided I wanted to create some of the lovely silky metallic goodness they seemed capable of, and I wasn't disappointed. I love adding texture to my cards, so I often use embossing folders and I like to add some metallic shimmer and until now have used gilding wax to achieve the result like on these fairy cards I made last year, but as pretty as the effect is, its a bit uneven. The beauty of Nuvo Mousse is it can be used in so many different ways, as a wash, a paint even put in a spray bottle to make a shimmery mist.

I started with a piece of white card in the case of the wood-grain and feather backgrounds and used black card for the rose and script panels. I applied the Nuvo Mousse using a mini blending tool - the kind used for distress inks - it went on smoothly, some colours I noticed seem to sink in to the card a little more than others, but I think that was down to the cardstock I was using.

For the peacock feather background I first applied a band of 'Spring Green' Nuvo Mousse followed by 'Aquamarine' finishing with 'Pacific Teal' blending each colour in to the next to create a smooth blended look. I then let the panel dry, it dries very quickly but if you're impatient, you can use a heat gun to dry the mousse off. Once dry I ran the panel through my Big Shot inside a Crafters Companion embossing folder from the Kimono range aptly called 'Peacock Feathers'. I went over the embossed area with a little 'Peacock Feathers' distress ink to help bring out the pattern on the feathers even more.

I knew from the start I wanted to give the die some colour and I'd been saving something for just the right purpose and I'm rather pleased with the result. I can't take the credit for the idea I picked it up from my card making friend Jackie Trinder from Tiny Rose's Craft Room who makes some fabulous cards. I think Jackie may have got the idea from someone else, that's how this crafting lark works, we learn from each other. When I first read what Jackie wrote, I could have kicked myself as I'd been throwing this things away for ages!

And what was my light bulb moment? Don't throw away paper towels that you use to clean up inky messes generated when you clean your craft mat after making inky messes using things like Pixie Powders that have mica powders in them.

Instead put the paper towels to dry and use them to back die cuts, or glue them to the front of a card and then embossed it to create a really fun card that looks like you've used a piece of fabric. Simples!

The end results are fabulous, I have a box now, full of paper towels pieces in an array of colours some single colours, others in multi coloured tones like this one that I used for the feather background.  To add the coloured piece to the gold foiled card die cut I traced round the die cut with a pen and cut the shape out. Then I added glue to the back of the die cut and put the coloured panel in place and trimmed it to the exact shape where there was any over hang.

If you hold the peacock up to the light the effect is stunning, almost stained glass like, I've tried die cutting the paper towels and whilst it will cut in basic shapes like circles and squares, some of the more intricate detailed dies don't have the pressure required the paper towel doesn't always cut.

I made my own card blank from a piece of dual coloured card from a 12" x 12" pad from The Range and cut a circle from the lighter side to emboss a sentiment from the Wild Rose Studios 'Circle Greetings' stamp set using Metallic Gold Super Fine WOW embossing powder, which seems to be my embossing powder of choice at the moment. I backed the sentiment on to a piece of gold card the same as the die cut after die cutting it out with a die from the Presscut 'Round Dies Stitched Holes' set.

After adding the sentiment I thought that the card still needed something, I tried adding some white feathers I bought for another card but they were too big, then I remembered a die set of small feathers I got recently by EK Success from their Cutter Bee range and after colouring a scrap of white card with some more 'Pacific Teal' Nuvo Mousse, I die cut a couple of the smaller feathers from the set and attached them with a little glue under the sentiment. To finish the card, I added a small blueish green coloured gem to the peacock's eye and there it was my first peacock card of the year created.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Altenew Build A Flower - Camellia

I'm not sure if its due to the herbaholic in me, but whatever the reason is, I think its obvious to note that I adore floral stamps and images. This makes me a big fan of Altenew who make some absolutely stunning floral stamps, many of which have matching dies.

I was thrilled to discover last month that they were introducing Altenew Build A Flower, a monthly set on floral dies and stamps that can only be bought as a set. The first flower to the collection is the Camellia a single bloom that measures approx 8.5 x 7.5cm in size and is stamped in 3 layers.

The set includes a triple leaf stamp again with 3 layers, in the cards I've created with the image I've done the top layer in a darker contrasting ink colour and also using gold embossing powder, I love both effects but think that the gold embossed card looks more regal and would be perfect for special occasion cards. Although I must admit to liking to add gold embossing and splashes of gold to lots of my projects.

The set also comes with 2 sentiments as can be seen on the Altenew product photo here and also on my other card images below. I've been a fan of Altenew now a year or more, I'd seen photos of the products prior to getting a free small rose and Altenew die stamp from Simply Cards & Papercraft last year. But I wasn't sure I'd be able to stamp the images accurately and line everything up.

As it turned out I wasn't 100% accurate, you can see some of the cards I created using the freebie here, but the beauty of these layering stamps is they are very forgiving, and if you don't get it spot on it doesn't matter, if nature things are not always picture perfect! I quickly ordered the Vintage Roses and Beautiful Day sets and have since acquired more Altenew stamp and die sets, even buying some none floral, because I love the quality of the stamps and the beautiful images.

I can see me getting lots of use out of each of the Build a Flower sets, flowers can be used to decorate cards for many occasions and if you use fabric paints, you can use the stamps to decorate fabrics, something I plan on doing in the not too distant future with a selection of archival inks. I've yet to make a card with more than one of the camellia images on, I think being a large bold flower you can get away with just 1 image which makes creating lots of cards a doddle.

I used my MISTI to stamp the images, to save having to keep moving the stamp, I cut some white card in to 9cm x 9cm pieces and worked through stamping all the base layers in one colour, then switching to the next colour and moving on to the second and third layers. Doing this means you only have to align the stamp once making it easier and quicker to stamp lots of the images in one go.

I used Altenew inks to stamp my images, not that I'm a fan girl or anything, I love the fact that Altenew inks come in cube sets that contain light, medium and dark shades of ink that contrast making them ideal for stamping layered images. I used the Red Cosmos and Green Fields ink cube sets for the red camellia card, and Rose Petal and Tropical Forest sets for the pink colour way and Tropical Forest again for the leaves on the peachy orange card and the Warm and Cozy ink cube set to create the orange camellia.

The cards themselves came together really quickly after I'd stamped and die cut the camellia's out, and I have lots more camellias ready to use on other cards. For the card in the main photo I used a card blank from my Maybe Someday box, when I was making the wedding invitations for my stepson, I embossed lots of patterns until I found the one I truly liked, those discarded cards with embossed patterns not right for the invites went in my MSD box for use at another point. I love that when I need something to cement an idea in place, I can dip in to that box and come up trumps.

The embossing folder I used on a 6" x 6" white card blank is by X-Cut and is called "Square Gilt Frame", I think it makes a stunning frame for a clean and simple card. I added the camellia on foam pads to give it some dimension and glued the 3 sets of leaves direct to the card, I finished the design off with a sentiment die cut from gold foiled card using one of the dies from the Paper Smooches Love and Cherish die set. For the other two cards I used some papers from a Wild Rose Studios paper pad called 'Peach Blossom' that I got free when I subscribed to a magazine a couple of years ago, the colours were perfect for the cards I wanted to create.

The stamped edged panel was created with one of my recent bargains found on Amazon, nesting die sets good quality at cheap prices. The postage stamp style set is known as a Square Wave Frame and cost me £3.99 with free postage, not bad for a set of 6 dies where the largest is 12cm x 12cm and the smallest 2cm x 2cm. They cut beautifully as well, and are very strong and sturdy. I have bought from two companies so far Demiawaking and CalistoUK, of the two I've bought mostly from Demiawaking, CalistoUK takes forever to get your items to you, but I could have just been unlucky. There are lots of sets available, I have to say that I've bough some of the expensive Avery Elle and My Favorite Things dies and these cheap one cut just as well.

That said on the waved border dies, one of the dies isn't cut properly so the edge is flawed, but you have to be looking for it to notice and for £2.99 for a set of 4 dies as opposed to £12 or more for a set of 3 similar dies by Lawn Fawn the saving is worth it, if it means that I have more money in my pocket to indulge my passion for florals. Like anything its buyer beware, not all of the dies are good quality, but if you read reviews and ask around you can weed out the good from the bad.

I'm already anticipating the next Build a Flower release which is a gorgeous large Aster image, this one comes with 4 sentiments, I can't wait to play with this beauty, and I'm really looking forward to what the next 10 months with bring in terms of floral images from one of my fav stamp and die companies.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

All Occassion Roses

I mentioned in my previous post how I was a little bit of a rose addict, this upon reflection isn't really an exaggeration, says she sat wearing rose scented perfume, with a rose candle burning and a cat called Rosie sat on her lap all snug and comfy, after coming in from the garden checking what needs doing to all the rose bushes out there, me not Rosie lol! The only thing  I don't have yet are rose tinted spectacles, but there's time and I do need to make an opticians appointment this week lol! I love herbs and flowers and as roses count as herbs due to their myriad of medicinal, cosmetic and culinary uses they have become my favourite herb as well, I make wine and vinegar from the petals and lots of other rose infused products, like rose petal sugar for baking. If people are interested I'll share some recipes and history?

Back to card making, I needed some late night crafting therapy last week, I'm at that funny age that gets called the menopause and is often spoken about in whispers. I've been very lucky so far, and escaped with very few menopause symptoms, one issue I do have though is suffering from crazy sleep patterns, sometimes my body refuses to get tired until 4am in the morning which is an actual pain.

So instead of fretting about not sleeping, I've started stamping or colouring pre-stamped images ready for using on future projects. This level of stamping is enough to keep me occupied without making too much noise, so I don't keep Simon awake and it furnishes me with things to turn in to projects like in the first photo.

I'm using my MISTI stamping tool a lot more these days, I stamp several sheets at a time with a leaf then move it along and stamp more until the A5 sheet is full and I have several sheets of each image I want to die cut. Doing it this way saves a lot of lining up, once you have the first image in position then on the rest of the sheets the images will be in the exact same place.

I decided to make several sets of cards to sell, I say to sell but not to make a profit, I'm just covering the cost of materials, plus every set of cards sold I give £2 to my local Cats Protection. People have been asking to buy cards I make for a while and I've done a few commissions but so far I haven't sold cards.

The rose and leaves are from an Altenew stamp and die set called 'Beautiful day', I stamped each image using Altenew Crisp Ink cubes, they stamp a little splotchy but they even out as they dry to give wonderful results. I've collected so far 11 of the 15 sets of ink cubes that Altenew have released, if you're interested in which colours I used for any particular rose leave me a comment and I'll let you know.

In the image at the beginning of this post the photo shows a few cards where the outline of the stamp was done with Versamark ink and Gold embossing powder, but for these cards I decided to stamp the outline with black ink. I used 'Black Licorice' My Favorite Things Hybrid Ink, it gives lovely crisp images and I can use it with my Zig brush pens and the ink doesn't bleed.

The roses were added to the centre panels using 3D foam pads, regular readers of my blog will have noted that I once again have made use of 2 of the dies from the Tonic Studios Sew Pretty - Have A Beautiful Day Circle Frame. I've used it on a far few cards now, its so versatile. My sentiment banners were all made using the Hero Arts 'Ribbon Messages Stamp & Cut' set and were stamped with Black Onyx Versafine ink. I used pre-made card blanks with a scalloped edge the ones I used this time were 5" x 5" and come with envelopes.