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!


Saturday, 7 September 2019

Using up the left overs

Hello crafting friends!

It was time for a tidy-up of my desk today and as I was clearing away the failures experiments from the other day, I realised some of it could be used for another card. You can see my inky tribulations here, and here is my salvaged card:

When I had stamped the buildings onto the sponged background here, the windows, which would have looked alight if stamped over the yellowish colour, were badly positioned and the buildings were blotchy. To solve those problems, I cut away the patchily stamped parts of the panel and used my gold Stampin' Dazzle pen to artily colour in the windows, giving a nice metallic look. 

The sentiment, from Stampin' Up's Merry Christmas to All, was heat embossed in gold to increase the metallic theme...

... and then (really running with that gold theme now!) I added a sprinkling of gold dots in the sky to represent stars and drew a gold line to the left of the panel. Scored lines were added either side of the panel to anchor it although it's hard to see in the photo.

I've had Less is More's Metallic challenge going on in my head ever since last weekend, so this is my entry for that. Also, Eva and I will romp over to the playground at Pixie's Crafty Snippets Challenge where we are required by Miss to use up our snippets :)
My visiting son was supposed to be going to a music event this weekend but the friend who was supposed to be reserving the ticket for him had forgotten to do so. "Oh no!" I said. "You must be really disappointed!" He shrugged. "Oh well, that's life," he said. "If you want something done, you're better off doing it yourself." I have to admit to having a 'who are you and what have you done with my son' moment but, the fact is, he is just growing up!

Thank you for visiting me today. See you soon,

Friday, 6 September 2019

King of the autumn leaf pile

Hello crafting pals!

Autumn has not so much snuck up on us as barged through the door without so much as a 'by your leave'! Ok then Mr Pushy Autumn, you have inspired me! Come and see what I've made:

Just look at that bold cockerel! I begin to understand where the term 'cock-a-hoop' comes from now - he is definitely pleased with himself at being king of the leaf pile! He's from Hen Pecked, a set bursting with hens, chicks and other useful images, and is made by Artistry Inc Ltd, a small company based in Leeds.

I stamped him on thick cardstock and coloured him in with Spectrum Noir markers. To make the leaf pile, I drew a sloping line under his feet with a fine liner and sponged autumnal colours under it. The leaf pile and the cockerel were cut out together and I then stamped leaves over the sponged area. Those leaves are among my most used stamps I think! They're from a retired Clearly Besotted set, Flower Arrangement, but there are lots of sets around that include small leaves like this.

The sky was sponged into a masked off area on the card base before adding the most 'cock-a-doodle-doo' sounding sentiment I could find! Finally, the cockerel and his leaf pile were attached using dimensionals so that he could stand even prouder!

It wasn't just Mr Autumn that inspired me today. I'd been having a stroll round the internet and had wanted to join in with LeAnne's 'Down on the Farm' challenge at the Paper Players. While I was visiting her blog, I spotted a new (to me) challenge, Inspired By, with the most gorgeous inspiration photo. I had also noted that The Male Room was looking for autumnal cards so I shall enter this card there too. 

My oldest son has come to visit - yay! He did tell me he was coming but, in the time-honoured way of young men, was unable to tell me exactly when! He strolled in yesterday evening, surprising Eva and me. Eva wove around his legs trying not to jump up, making ecstatic hen noises as she does when her special people come home. I was rather more restrained, settling for a big hug and a kiss on the cheek - but I was just as delighted!

Thanks for visiting me today :) I think the summer is over in the UK. I'm off to see if I can remember where I put my woollies! See you tomorrow,

Thursday, 5 September 2019

The Stubborn stamper

Hello crafting pals!

Crafting isn't all skipping through the tulips is it? Sometimes, we want to do something that just doesn't seem that possible. But crafters are obstinate folk (or is that just me?!) and when we want to produce the thing in our heads, we will darned well produce the thing in our heads!

Take this card for example:

A perfectly reasonable-looking card you'd say - or at least I hope you would! Well, this innocent-looking card has been responsible for sleepless nights and some very ink-stained fingers! It all started with this gorgeous colour challenge from the As You See It challenge:

Despite all the talk at AYSI about summery colours, I felt this palette was perfect for a 'midnight over the city' Christmas card I'd been planning with my new Cityscape stamps from Clearly Besotted! The problem? I had no Pretty Peacock ink and nothing even vaguely resembling it amongst my new Stampin' Up ink pads. I did have an Island Indigo reinker though! Great for the background - but when it came to inking up the stamp... not so much! So, why didn't I make a temporary ink pad using wet wipes you may ask? Because I don't own any wet wipes (and here is why.) How could I get round this?

My solution (and I promise it isn't really a solution...) was to put plenty of ink onto a plate and sponge it onto the solid stamp, huff on it like a mad train and stamp over my sponged background. I tried three times (new background each time!) and on the third time it was slightly less unacceptable than the previous times! A bit blotchy at the bottom - but that just gave me the opportunity to cover it up with a sentiment strip! I used words from Merry Christmas to All and gold embossed them.

Never mistakes, always opportunities! Now, let's focus on the sky and do a little star gazing! The stars have come out courtesy of a gold Stampin' Dazzle pen that I bought years ago and is still going remarkably strong :)

September has arrived and we are now reaping the 'rewards' of all those beautiful days with the French doors flung open to invite the outdoors in. Along with the much-appreciated perfume of the roses, and the smell of newly mown grass, come less welcome gate-crashers. My son was the hero that hunted down this invader - and this is not a glass by the way, but a large vase!

PS. No spiders were harmed in the hunt - Stephen Spider was released into the garden (where he's probably rounding up a few of his mates to take revenge for the indignity of that vase!)

Thank you for popping in today. See you again tomorrow :)