Thursday, 11 May 2017

ATC Watery Inspiration

I haven't made any ATC's for a while, but I joined a facebook group set up by the wonderful Jodie Johnson and she recently set up an ATC Swap with Jodie group after the success of the Tonic Studios ATC die launch, although you don't have to use the dies to be part of the group.

The theme for the first swap was anything goes, its really about getting people new to the medium playing and sharing their creations, so without a theme and having elected to send 2 ladies an ATC I sat for ages scratching my head and no clue what to make, then I had a brain wave (yes gentle reader it does happen sometimes lol!) I decided to get out all my 'small' stamps, dies and bits that would be perfect for ATC making and went through my Maybe Someday box and found scraps of paper I'd coloured the background on the 'Dancing in the Rain' ATC and the ferny seaweed on the 'Mermazing' ATC were left over scraps of pieces I'd coloured for other projects.

As I went through my stamps I came across an Altenew set called 'Dancing in the Rain' that I "just had to have" last year and shamefully until this ATC I'd never used it! As an aside this ATC group has made me take a look at my stash and also do a little bit of a clear out as a result.

For the first of my two ATC creations I knew that I wanted to use the little girl dancing, raindrops and "Happy Rainy Day" sentiment stamps from that set, the images in it and the sentiments are perfect for ATC and will be appearing on other ATC's in the future.

The background is a remnant from a cat in the window autumn card I did last year. The scrap wasn't big enough to be a full ATC on its own, hence backing it on to silver foiled card the correct size which for those not familiar with ATC is 2.5" x 3.5" or 64 mm × 89 mm if you do metric.

From what I can gather some people don't mind a little over hang, others keep strictly to the standard ATC size so they will fit in plastic folder pockets in an album, for the same reason lots of people don't like too much dimension and height on the ATC as they won't fit in an ATC plastic pocket. That said, there are only 2 official rules for ATC's that they are 2.5" x 3.5" and that they are only ever swapped/traded and never sold.

For those interested my background scrap was done with distress inks on a piece of Neenah Solar White cardstock which was then spritzed with some gold shimmer mist. To make the ATC, I inked up the rain drop stamp with Versamark and stamped on to the piece, having first used my powder tool to prevent any sticky finger marks, then I covered the stamped raindrops with silver detail embossing powder and heat set it. I put the panel in my MISTI again and positioned the little girl where I wanted to be then inked up the stamp with My favorite Things 'Black Licorice' Hybrid ink and stamped the girl where I wanted her.

I'd forgotten that an embossed image would resist the ink, but in this case it was a happy accident because I found I liked the raindrops being visible over the girl, looking more realistic in my humble opinion :) I covered the black ink with clear embossing powder to seal the ink and created a raised shine. The final touches were to heat emboss the sentiment with the same silver embossing powder on to a piece of powder blue vellum and attach that to the back of the panel. I rounded the corners of both the stamped panel and the silver backing piece and glued them together. I decided to add the swirls which I cut from the same silver cardstock using some small Xcut dies that came free with 'Creativity' magazine called 'Flourishes'. I was a happy bunny with the finished result and it was time to move on to the next one.

If I'm honest this one was hard to part with, when I finished it I was happy with the result and I'm chuffed to report the lady I sent it to really liked it as well :) I didn't manage to capture gold mirror card or embossing very well on this one due to the rubbish lighting in my room. I really must make a light box!

The image was in my MSD box and comes from my Crafters Companion 'Flights of Fantasy' CD, I use this one a lot as it has some lovely fairy and enchanted images. The sentiment was done with Versamark again and WOW Metallic Rich Gold Super Fine embossing powder using the sentiment from my Hero Arts 'Color Layering Goldfish' set. The gold embossed 'rocks' are also from that set and after die cutting them out I went over the piece with some 'Gathered Twigs' Distress Ink to colour the background like sand.

I found scraps for the 'seaweed' also in my MSD left over from some distress ink backgrounds I used to make the herbal cards last year and a scrap from some green pixie powdered papers I used for the background on the leaves on my Pixie Powdered Roses cards. Pleased I kept them now, and there are more where they came from!

I used 2 of the dies from my Tattered Lace Paradise Ferns set that I got for £5 earlier this year because I don't have any seaweed dies and I wanted to add some greenery to the ATC. After attaching the image to the mirror card, I glued down the 'seaweed' and trimmed off any over hang.

The final touch for this 'Mermazing' ATC was to use a couple of small 3D foam pads to raise the height of the 'rocks' slightly and to glue on a couple of clear Nuvo Crystal Drops that I'd made previously. I'm finding it better to make the drops ahead of time in different sizes and store for future use, that way you can get the right size and you just glue them on, and you don't have to wait several hours for the crystal drops to dry if your impatient like me lol!

I now have a set of drawers full of ATC bits and bobs and a notebook where I've started writing down ideas, I may have already added a few ideas to a board on Pinterest as well. I'm looking forward to making more and taking part in more swaps in the future, just need to finish sorting the stash and then I can get cracking making new ATC's to my hearts content.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Creating Craft Foam Flowers

I've been captivated by the gorgeous flowers I've people making with a new (to me at least) material called Foamiran, which by all accounts is a very fine foam which is around 0.6mm thick and comes in A4 sheets, it can also come in 0.8mm thick sheets as well. It comes in a good range of colours and varies in price from around 99p. The Foamiran can be cut by hand using templates, or you can run it through a die cutting machine.

There are loads of YouTube videos showing the flowers being made using specialist dies and by hand, they can be coloured using lots of mediums to give the flowers some dimension. Check out Emilia Sieradzan blog for the low down on Everything You Need to Know to Make Foamiran flowers.

Making the exquisite creations is definitely on my crafting horizon but I have lots of things that I want to get this month with my craft allowance and more materials for new hobbies like the Rosy Owl dies and sheets of foamiran are not on this months crafty shopping list, that said I did want to have a play. So I decided to look and see what I had and see if I could make flowers with stuff from my existing stash.

In my stash I had some A5 sheets of pastel coloured craft foam that is 2mm thick and a large variety of flower dies to play with, I knew that the flowers I made would be a lot thicker than the Foamiran flowers but I decided to go for it anyway.

The first foam flower I made yesterday using my Sheena Douglass 'Wild Rose' die from Crafters Companion. The flowers were stuck together with a hot glue gun and I used Altenew dye ink to add some highlights to the stamen and petals. Sadly the ink smeared very easily and didn't colour the foam as I wanted it to. I also made the bee using a new die I treated myself to from Hobbycraft, more on that in a future post.

The centre of the rose I added a dot of 'Orange Soda' Nuvo Glitter Drops to add a touch of bling, I layered the large rose up with 3 lots of die cut petals and the smaller rose with 2, in hindsight it would have been better to just use 2 on both flowers. People who stamp the rose and doe cut mostly use just one layer, but I wanted to add more dimension. My first attempt wasn't too bad, but I wanted to make more flower shapes and try colouring the petals in other ways.

The pieces to make the flowers in the first photo were each die cut and then coloured and finally I used a Tonic Studios Floral Crafters Tool (12mm-8mm size) to round and curl the petals, it works on foam but not as well as on paper, below I've listed the dies and colours used : -

Purple Daisy - Cut from lilac craft foam and consists of 2 layers of the same size pieces, cut using dies from the Xcut 'Petal Posy' die set, plus a stamen cut from the stamen die in the Wild Rose die set above.  I coloured the petals with a 'Grape' Gelato and also a 'Metallic Purple' Gelato, the stamen I coloured with Metallic Gold and when the flower was glued together I finished it off with some 'Purple Rain' Nuvo Glitter Drops.

Yellow Marguerite - Cut from cream craft foam using dies from the Crafters Companions Floral Delight 'Pretty Petals' set in both sizes. I used a 'Lemon' Gelato to colour the petals to be more yellow in colour and once glued together I added 'Honey Gold' Nuvo Glitter Drops to the centre.

Pink Hollyhock - Cut from pastel pink craft foam using 3 different sizes of die from my Leane Creatief Multi Die 005, I used a 'Metallic Red' Gelato to colour the edges and finished off with 'Sherbert Shimmer' Nuvo Glitter Drops.

Marigold - Cut from peach coloured craft foam, I used the other flower petal shape from the Crafters Companions Floral Delight 'Pretty Petals' set to cut both sizes of petals. The centre of the marigold was finished off with 'Orange Soda' Nuvo Glitter Drops like the Wild Rose and I used a 'Mango' Gelato to colour the edges of the petals.

Forget-Me-Not - This was the only flower that I did as a single using the small and medium dies from my Crafters Companion Floral Delight 'In Bloom' set. I edged these with a little 'Blueberry' Gelato and finished the centres off with some 'Dandelion Yellow' Nuvo Crystal Drops.

As I took the photos of these flowers, I was still waiting for the Nuvo drops to dry, when the centres are completely dry I will cut some greenery from card and use the flowers on some projects I have planned. Whilst my craft foam flowers aren't as delicate and lifelike as the Foamiran flowers, they are usable for decorating cards and other items. I have a few other flower dies sets that I can play with next and lots of leaf and greenery shapes so I should get some good effects.

I found the best way to add the gelato to the petals was to use a baby wipe, just run it across your gelato stick and then 'paint' your petal. I have seen people colouring Foamiran with Distress Inks, I've not tried that yet medium on craft foam yet, I will and update this post if it works. The foam flowers have a nice soft velvet like texture to them and go together very quickly once you've cut, coloured and shaped the petals. I can see me making more of these even after I get my hands on Foamiran. I'm pleased that I managed to create something with what I had in, rather than buying lots of new things.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Distressed Enchantment

It's May already, ummm where did April go? I had so many good intentions of posting about cards I'd made, but I failed to do it, mostly because I was busy working on the garden and off visiting places and people, we also seem to have sorted out the problem of the noisy neighbour, its coming up to two weeks since it came to a head and so far she's been quiet. I can't tell you what a difference that has made to my state of mind the relief is huge.

I hope you've all had a lovely bank holiday weekend? We went to Mablethorpe for a few days visiting the Seal Sanctuary there and we went to a couple of National Trust places as well and saw the most beautiful exhibition of Pre-Raphaelite art by the De Morgan's, Evelyn De Morgan being my favourite Pre-Raphaelite artist so it was a joy to stand in front of her painting called 'Flora' this weekend and get to study every exquisite detail.

I walked in to the room and actually said WOW! as I entered, I didn't expect to come face to face with so many of the paintings that I've admired for so long, and having the time to look at every detail and brush stroke was a real treat, its filled me with floral ideas for cards for the future and yes I'll be going back to the exhibition at Wightwick Manor again.

It's a co-production between the National Trust and the De Morgan Foundation that will run for 10 years and each year from what the lady I spoke to said, items will change. I have to say that Wightwick is already one of my favourite NT places to visit, and we go at least twice a year, but I can see me going back a lot more times than that over the next 10 years. #lovedemorgan

Okay my art fan girl thing aside I'll get to what most of you are here for, and talk about the cards I recently created, I was chuffed when I saw what the free stamp set with issue 42 of Creative Stamping was full of enchanted fantasy characters like knights, princesses, dragons, unicorns and even a fairy tale castle to boot. The set also contains playing cards and and other elements and lots of useful sentiments.

When I got my copy I immediately started to play with the set stamping the Unicorn on to white card and colouring it in with my Zig brush pens. Then yesterday I decided to have a play with my new Distress Oxide inks. By the end of the evening I'd created 3 A6 cards in bright colours for my box.

I started by creating backgrounds with the Distress Oxides laying down bands of colour that blend so easily. Once I had the colours I wanted I placed some masks over the inked panels and sprayed water on to the unmasked area. I left it a few minutes then used some kitchen roll to blot up the excess water, this created the lighter pattern on the background. During this exercise, I realised that most of my masks were Christmas or cat orientated so I had a limited selection, which has now been rectified thanks to Ebay lol!

I removed the masks and left the pieces to dry completely, then I die cut the panels with a stitched edge die and placed the panels in my new Tim Holtz Stamping platform, I used a powder tool first then stamped the images with Versamark and heat embossed in white and gold.

Once the image was heat set I used some bleach in a water brush pen to change the colour of the oxide inks to make the images pop, when the bleached area was dry I added some shimmer pen to finish. I used the sentiments from the set and heat embossed each one on to some vellum strips and finished with some sequins from my stash.

I love this stamp set so much, and know that it will get lots of use, I've already created some different styles of toppers since I got the set, I may be a little addicted, especially to the unicorn. The stamp sets with Creative Stamping  just keep getting better, in the future I'd love to see some cat and kitten stamps, and maybe a signs of the zodiac set with some month sentiment stamps. I can't wait to make more cards using this set, I will certainly be making more distressed backgrounds using the oxide inks as well.