Friday, 20 September 2019

Enjoy life, Enjoy it all!

Hello crafting friends!

Are there any days more beautiful than a warm, sunny, blue-sky one in autumnal England? Perfect for romping about the countryside with a bunch of waggy pups or, if you are so inclined, (and I'm not!) cycling around the countryside on a bike! Which brings me to today's card - come and see:

This is a quick, simple card for the guys in your life that like cycling but don't like fuss or frills. It started with a background made by blending three colours of Spectrum Noir alcohol markers. I then stamped the bike-rider image from Stampin' Up's Enjoy Life over the top using Memento Tuxedo Black ink.

I zoomed in on my bike rider by cropping away part of the image. At the risk of revealing my dark side, I rather enjoyed ruthlessly cutting those wheels down!

The sentiment I wanted to use was a simple 'Happy birthday' from Concorde and 9th's Enjoy it All (quite a theme running here!) but it didn't work with my 1 3/4" square image. My solution was to partially frame the image with some coordinating card stock, so it became the same length as the sentiment but still square. I added some staples for extra interest. They're just ordinary silver staples but I cunningly coloured them black with an alcohol marker before stapling ;)

It was Inkspirational, which currently has 'Crop' as its word prompt, that inspired me to crop my bike image down, so I shall enter this card there. I'm also linking up with The Male Room where the challenge this fortnight is to use embellishments on your male cards.

My golden retriever, Eva, is in my bad books today. On our morning walk, she found a discarded sandwich in the hedge and wolfed it down before I could get it off her. She was very apologetic afterwards but that isn't the point, as I mentioned to her! She has a bit of a thing about finding food 'in the wild' like that - it reminds me of the thing Enid Blyton's characters always used to say about food tasting so much better outside!

Thanks for coming to see me today. I would love to hear about your family cycling champions or naughty dogs so do share in the comments below!

See you soon,

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

A couple of birds

Hello crafting pals!

An email pings into my inbox with a challenge reminder; I look at the stamps already out on my table and a pair of ideas appear in my head... That's how today's cards came into being! Come and see:

Yes, it's a twofer! The Twofer Challenge reminder popped up just after I had used the leaves for this card and, since the leaves usually sport a bird, I thought it would be perfect for this month's Critters challenge. Let's have a closer look:

For the background, I whisked some diluted Pool Party ink over a card panel with a sponge, adding some Craft white ink when it was dry, which gives this sort of glow. Once that was dry, I used markers to ink up just the leaves of my stamps with nice autumnal colours - I do love this time of year! The stamps are from a long-retired Stampin' Up set, called Touch of Nature, that I still love to bits :)

I inked up the bird separately with a light, neutral Sahara Sand marker, coloured him with Stampin' Up Blendabilities and cut him out. I'm not sure what sort of bird he's meant to be, but I coloured him as a blue tit - such friendly little birds! The gorgeous sentiment is from one of my current favourite stamp sets - Beautiful Branches by Concorde and 9th.

My second card is a Christmas card - I never waste an opportunity to get those festive cards made!

For this one, I rootled about for some designer paper and came up with this beauty! It's from a pack of retired Stampin' Up papers called All is Calm, and those snowflakes are silver foiled onto the paper. I sponged it with Pool Party ink, stamped some trees on it (Spruce Trees by Inkylicious), then polished it up with a tissue to make a lovely shiny background.

The background was matted onto Tangelo Twist card stock so my Robin didn't have to make everything merry and bright all by himself! I stamped a good-to-honest sentiment from Clearly Besotted's Cityscape and popped it up on dimensionals.

Robins have sharper, pointier beaks than blue tits, so I adjusted that with a fineliner, gave my bird a longer tail and coloured him as a robin, using Spectrum Noir markers this time. I perched him in a snow drift made by punching out white circles and trimming them to fit the background. It amused me to have him looking up at the sentiment as if to say "Who put that sign there?!"

This is my second go at The Twofer Card Challenge this month - I find it a lot of fun to make different cards, for different occasions, using the same stamp, stencil or die!

My youngest son has been asked to clear out his room before going off to uni. It is a slow process! I recently bought a new vacuum cleaner, a Henry, which I'm delighted with. Henry looks like this:

The state of my son's room will probably be clearer when I explain that today is the first time he has met Henry! He suggested that Henry can be a son substitute when he goes. "Let's face it," he said. "He'll be better at cleaning up than I ever was!" Henry IS very cute. But not as cute as my son!

Thanks for visiting me today - always lovely to have you here :)

See you soon,

Monday, 16 September 2019

Apples and using up the left overs

Hello crafting pals!

One of the things that I love about living in small-town England at this time of year is that you often come across a box of apples outside someone's front gate with a note on it reading: Help Yourself! People have apple trees and plum trees and they can't keep up with jam-making/freezing or whatever, so they share. I thought a thank you card would be nice! Come and see:

This is a proper snippets card! The background was intended for this Christmas card but I messed up was a bit too creative with the sentiment, so I cut it off to make it a square. To reflect the apple-ish nature of the card,  I added some leaves to the background using a long-ago retired Stampin' Up set called Touch of Nature.

The basket from my Hen Pecked stamp set was stamped twice: First, directly onto the background where I coloured the handle with Spectrum Noir markers (I knew it would be too skinny to cut out successfully); then again, on separate card stock, where I coloured the lower part of the image before cutting it out. The basket of apples started life as a basket of eggs but with a dash of colour and a few stalks, you'd never know!

The sentiment (from Clearly Besotted's Blossoms in Bloom) was stamped on a tiny snippet of white card stock - I'm always delighted when I can use those up! I stapled it to the edge of my basket panel and glued it to a square card base.

I am entering this card into Pixie's Snippets Playground Challenge where using up your snippets is the order of the day! I understand Miss has been celebrating a birthday so I will be bringing along a box of birthday cupcakes to share - they're only very slightly shaken up (oh crumbs!)

I've got one week with my youngest son before he goes off to uni. Today he appeared in the kitchen musing about what he fancied to eat (he makes himself lunch these days and is a very good cook.) "There's some chilli on the stove from last night," I told him. "You could make loaded nachos with it." He stared at me as if I were a goddess. "Yes," he said in awed tones. "That is the exact thing I want!" Oh my goodness, I will miss him!

Thanks for reading my nonsense! I'll be back soon,

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Celebrating with stripes and circles

Hello crafting friends!

Today I am celebrating the birthday of a lovely lady who has been a staunch supporter of my blog, both when I ran it as a Stampin' Up demonstrator and also when I returned to stamping and blogging for fun. This card has been made with care to say thank you for all your cheerful, encouraging messages - happy birthday Marisela!

Nothing says happy birthday like beautiful flowers, so I inked up my Blossoms in Bloom set by Clearly Besotted. I coloured the image with a mixture of Stampin' Up Blendabilities and Spectrum Noir markers, including the background in the lightest Soft Sky (the SU pens came in sets of 3, light, medium and dark, once upon a time.)

Here's a closer look at the flowers! I cut them into a circle with a 2 1/2" circle punch and made a frame to highlight them by punching a 2 1/4" circle out of black card stock and then using the 2 1/2" punch around the hole. The result is a thin, black frame which I glued to the top of my flower circle.

To add drama, I laid my floral circle on some graduated strips of black card stock. The card was finished with one of the beautiful sentiments in the stamp set and a sprinkling of Stampin' Up enamel dots.

I was inspired by the new challenge at As You See It which asks us to use our most 'go to' dies or punches. All my punches and dies disappeared in The Great Craft Stash Cull and I've only replaced the circle punches so far - I think that says it all!

Also, I'm so happy to see lovely Joanne James joining the design team, so it looks as if we have a double celebration on our hands! Congratulations Joanne!

Thanks for popping in today. I'll be back tomorrow with a basketful of apples!


Friday, 13 September 2019

Fuchsia fun

Hello crafting friends!

Sometimes, when Eva and I are strolling around the neighbourhood, we pass a garden full of fuchsias in all sorts of shapes and colours. I'm fascinated by these flowers which seem to me to have appeared from another planet! They feature in today's card too - come and see:

The graphic flower image is one I've admired for a while now - it's from the Friendship Fuchsias stamp set by Clearly Besotted (currently available at a 20% discount!) I coloured the flowers with Spectrum Noir markers, added a sentiment and matted the panel onto Elegant Eggplant cardstock. Very quick and simple, but I really think those extraordinary flowers are capable of carrying the show!

I coloured my fuchsias in pink and purple for the Addicted to CAS challenge and will also link up with the fabulous Flower Challenge where this month 'Anything Goes'.

My youngest son is gathering together all the things he needs for uni. I have just withdrawn, exhausted, from a discussion about how many pillows he needs. He has decided that four is the minimum amount of pillows that a young man in his first year must have...!

I'd love to hear what you think - about the fuchsias and the pillows! Let me know in the comments below :)

Back soon,

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

A fast freeze

Hello crafting friends!

Some days you only get a quick 20 minutes to make a card and today was one of those days! Washi tape is one of my stand-bys for a quick card so I had a rummage through my hoard collection ;) Come and see what I made:

The washi tape I chose is a beautiful icy blue Stampin' Up tape (retired). I made a frame on my card base with it, taking care to make the joins very neat.

These shimmery metallic die-cut snowflakes turned up in my embellishments stash, left over from a kit, and I thought they'd be perfect with that icy-looking washi. I layered them together with a dimensional pad and added a gem coloured with an alcohol marker.

The sentiment is from Stampin' Up's Merry Christmas to All and was stamped in Bermuda Bay and Pool Party inks (but, for the hundredth time, I wished I had an Island Indigo ink pad - can SU please bring back this colour?!!!) I matted the panel onto Island Indigo cardstock, added the snowflake and attached the panel to my washi-taped card base. Job done!

I made this card for the Just Add Ink 'Choose Two' challenge, featuring Metallics, Twine and Washi. I'm afraid you can't join in with this challenge though, and neither can I, because I missed the deadline AGAIN!!! I really do need to find a way of organising all my favourite challenges that isn't a scrap of paper on my desk! Do go and have a look at the inspiration from the DT though - there are some gorgeous creations!

We have another of Eva's chums to stay this week - an elderly boxer who is partially blind and almost entirely deaf and therefore inclined to be a little snappy. I only take dogs that Eva gets on with, so when the boxer's owner approached me, I was inclined to decline straight away. But we met up for a walk, which is how I usually introduce new dogs, and I was amazed to see the most unlikely friendship spring up between my bouncy (then) three-year-old retriever and this stately old lady, whom I affectionately nick-named The Baroness. They have adored each other ever since and The Baroness sometimes forgets herself and goes racing about with Eva like a puppy :)

Thanks for coming to visit today. Lovely to have you here :)

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Double Fluffy Furballs

Hello crafting pals!

It's probably just as well that while I was making today's cards, my charming assistant, Eva the Golden Retriever, was having a gentle snoozle. She'd had a busy morning swooshing post it notes off the coffee table with her tail. Every time she did it, I was gripped with the giggles and that made her tail wag harder and harder until there was a snow storm of post it notes and I was helpless with laughter! Anyway, I digress - come and see my creations, which feature *mouths words silently* a pussycat:

Yes, not just one card but two! It's because I'm enthusiastically playing along with the Twofer Card Challenge in which we are asked to make two cards, each for a different occasion but using the same stamp. This month the theme is Critters so I've chosen one of the cats from a very cute stamp set called Fluffy Furball by Clearly Besotted.

The first card I made was a birthday card:

I stamped Harry (I've named him after the red-headed prince), added a doodled smile and a paw, coloured him with Spectrum Noir markers and cut him out. I gave him a paw because he had to hold this balloon which I made by colouring inside a circle mask with the markers and adding the bit you blow into.

I had to draw a cushion as I don't have a stamp for that (does ANYONE have a cushion stamp?!!) Harry was asked to sit on the cushion against a scored background which reminded me of a venetian blind - cats always sit in the window don't they! A few punched stars and a sentiment from Altenew's Birthday Greetings and the card was done!

My second card is a Christmas card and Harry has had a makeover for this one:

We'll call him Robinson (after Smokey Robinson!) I liked the idea of lots of Christmas presents coming into the house and Robinson having to make his way out from behind them.

There he is, looking a bit "What did you put these here for?!" I had great fun making the presents out of snippets of left-over Christmas papers from yesteryear. They were decorated with tiny punches and bits of washi tape.

Do come and join in at the Twofer Card Challenge! It is so much fun, coming up with two different cards to make with the same stamp!

When Eva was a puppy, I trained her not to chase cats. Whenever we came across one, I'd say "Have you seen the pussycat?" and deliver a treat into her mouth. Eventually, she would look at me when she saw a cat because she'd know there was a nice treat coming. The instinct to chase is still there though and if she were off lead and a cat took off in front of her, all the treats in the world wouldn't stop her! She is a dog after all :)

Do you have a dog? Or a cat? Or maybe both? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below :)

See you soon,

Monday, 9 September 2019

Three French hens for Christmas!

Hello crafting friends!

Do you remember when I made this card and said:

I'd really like to have put 3 French Hens or 7 Swans a-Swimming inside the wreath but will have to get myself hen and swan stamps first!

Well, I don't say these things lightly and, although I'm still hunting for a good swan set, Hen Pecked from Artistry Inc Ltd was definitely the hen set I was looking for! Come and meet the girls:

Aren't they gorgeous?! (I do love a hen!) The pair of hens at the back are one stamp and the sitting hen at the front another. I coloured them with a mixture of Spectrum Noir markers and Stampin' Up Blendabilities before cutting them out with sharp paper snips.

The background panel was sponged with Balmy Blue and Crumb Cake inks and the ground stamped with the useful speckled texture stamp provided in the stamp set. I added more speckles with a gold Stampin' Dazzle pen and a white gel pen. Time to assemble the card! I glued the hens onto the background in a group and trimmed the panel where they overlapped the edge. The panel was then matted onto Cherry Cobbler card stock and attached to a Crumb Cake card base.

The sentiment is from Stampin' Up's Merry Christmas to All. I stamped the 'Merry' at an angle in Cherry Cobbler ink and then tucked a black 'Christmas' into the shape it made.

This card was made for the Jingles Belles challenge where Stephanie and Lauren were asking for Christmas cards featuring numbers (such as 25!) or things relating to the 12 days of Christmas? This is my second entry as I was dying to join in with the 12 days of Christmas!

I suppose I should have had a Joyeux Noel sentiment on the card to indicate that the hens are French but I didn't have one. I toyed with the idea of doodling 'Cot cot codet' by the hens (that's what hens say in French!) but it would've ruined the layout. I'll just have to send the card to someone who will wonder what on earth the hens are doing on a Christmas card but who will enjoy the moment the penny drops! If it's you, consider it a compliment!

Thanks for popping in today. I'll see you soon,

Sunday, 8 September 2019

A splash of Autumn

Hello crafting friends!

There's still an autumnal feel in the air here so I've cracked open the warm yellows, greens and browns for today's card. It was a lot of fun to make although I learned one thing from it - The Crafting Square Metre needs more stamps!!! Come and see:

The sketch at Freshly Made Sketches is a beauty this week and I really wanted to play along. 

Large autumn flowers would work in this lay out, I thought. Hours later, after rootling about at the back of the cupboard, I finally came up with a flower from long-retired Stampin' Up set, Touch of Nature. There were no leaves with it though, so I had to draw some! I coloured everything in with Spectrum Noir markers, fussy cut them and laid them aside while I made a background.

That strong circular element in the sketch was easily dealt with - I just inked up the rims of some glasses and stamped them! Don't worry, I gave them a good wash afterwards, so no-one's going around with a surprise moustache! I felt the card needed a bit of texture, so I had a go at flicking inky water at the card. I think it worked quite well!

Once the background was dry I stamped a sentiment from Clearly Besotted's Blossoms in Bloom onto a scored piece of card stock and assembled all the elements onto the card panel. The finishing touch was to add a sprinkling of coloured gems and attach the panel to the card base.

The Allsorts challenge this week is to create something with Autumn colours, so this card is for them too :)

I'm off to London to visit my daughter and it is possible I might just pass a real live craft shop! If so, I think a flower or two - WITH leaves - might just be on my shopping list... Do let me know if there are any you think I should visit :)

Thanks for joining me today. I'll be back soon with more inky nonsense!