Saturday, 28 March 2020

Say it with flowers!

Hello crafting friends

Yes, it's me again - it's a two post kind of a day today!

Even while this horrible virus is causing mayhem throughout the world, there are moments we can enjoy and for me, one of those moments was being invited to Guest Design at Less is More! Here's this fortnight's challenge:

Hmm. I love a one layer card but No Sentiment had me getting the old thinking cap on! Here's what I came up with:

A gift of flowers can say so many things (I'm sorry, I appreciate you, thank you, I love you...) I wonder what this serious looking bear is saying with his bouquet?! He is from Waffle Flower's Books and Coffee and normally holds a book, but I masked the book off when I inked him up. I stamped him directly onto a thick card base and, in place of the book, I added some friendly flowers from Stampin' Up's Under My Umbrella.

I coloured Mr Bear lightly with a pale Spectrum Noir marker (MB1) testing first to check that it wouldn't bleed through the card base. I then went over him with a Creamy Caramel Stampin' Up water-based marker, leaving his spectacles pale. The rest of the colouring was done using water-based markers too, which works if there aren't large areas to fill.

To make a background, I made a mask, by stamping the bear onto a sticky note, cutting it out and using it to cover up my coloured bear, then sponging the area with distress inks. To finish, I stamped a couple of tiny hearts and scored a couple of lines into the background.

Okay! It's over to you now - and I can't wait to see what you come up with! Pop over to be inspired by the oh-so-talented proper design team at Less is More and you can link your card up there as well :)

I'm linking this card up with Cards 4 Galz where the theme is Cute Animals; also The Card Concept where I was inspired by the cute bear in the Woodland Critters photo for my Clean and Simple card; and Addicted to Stamps and More where it's a Make Your Mark challenge this week :)

Bears are cute of course but Golden Retrievers are cuter...

...and even uni students have their cute moments!!

Stay safe and well.


Tiptoe through the tulips

Hello crafting friends!

It's the last Saturday in March and my month as Guest Designer with Just Us Girls is drawing to a close. There's just time for a last hurrah though and this week's challenge is a wonderful inspiration photo:

What do you think? I loved this picture and was inspired by those bright tulips and the curve of the tree, framing the blue of the sky. Here's what I came up with:

I started by masking of the edges of my card base and sponging distress inks over it. When I removed the mask, I had nice crisp edges and the basis of my scene.

I wanted to introduce the idea of an arching tree and came up with stamping the branch from Concorde and 9th's Beautiful Branches onto a card panel and trimming away the inside part. I attached this to the card base on dimensionals. Do excuse the blurry tulips in my photo - I wanted to show you how it frames the sky!

But what about those tulips? They're from Spring Tulips by Clearly Besotted and were stamped, coloured with alcohol markers and fussy cut - that was quite a labour of love I can tell you! I added one of the blocky sentiments I love so much - a birthday one from Uniko's Simply Said Blocks.

What a lot of fun I've had at Just Us Girls! They're such a friendly bunch and there's so much talent on the team. Do go and see the amazing projects they've created to inspire you and enjoy joining in and linking up with this challenge :)

I shall link this card up with The Sisterhood of Crafters where they're celebrating Spring; and also Double D Challenges where the theme is Welcome Spring; and Crafty Cardmakers where Spring is also the order of the day!

I'm finding the news so grim these days that I have to limit myself to a short catch up once a day. But I love hearing uplifting stories about how people are helping each other and how they are learning to cope with life confined to quarters. Some people are more suited to this than others and I can tell you that my daughter and her partner, who live in a flat in London and are working from home, are coping very well. They are sociable people but have overcome their isolation by setting up virtual pub quizzes, movie evenings and board game evenings with their friends. Resourceful eh?

I have another Guest Design post today so be prepared for me to ping into your mailbox again! There will be a cute picture of a fluffy pup in that post too! (Yes, I know, I'm shameless!)

Stay safe and well.


Friday, 27 March 2020

A lily for sympathy

Hello crafting friends.

Is anyone else crafting like mad at the moment? It is such a great escape from the craziness that is the new 'normal'. I was lucky enough to win a stamp set from Uniko in last month's challenge and I've been able to christen it today. Come and see what I made:

The stamp set I chose was Uniko's Pure Florals Lily and when it arrived I was taken by surprise - it's much bigger than I expected! The main lily is huge and can easily carry a card by itself. I stamped it off the edge of a card panel with versamark ink and heat embossed it with white embossing powder.

It was a lot of fun to colour - I used Spectrum Noir alcohol markers with water-based markers for the stamens and the dots. Once it was coloured, I gave the background a wash of barely-there purple using a watercolour crayon, a paintbrush and some water and left it to dry.

When it had completely dried, I cut the panel out with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodles, mounted it on purple card stock and attached it to my card base. The stamp set comes with some beautiful sentiments but I chose a simple blocky one from a different set to contrast with that delicate flower. It's from Simply Said Blocks by Uniko.

I'm linking this card up with Freshly Made Sketches, where I loved the simplicity of this week's sketch; Also, The Colour Throwdown made me want to join in with it's pink, purple and white palette - colours I haven't put together for ages!

It is sobering to remember that while we are trying to adapt to a lockdown situation, elsewhere there are life and death dramas playing out. We, like the rest of Britain, went out onto our doorstep at 8pm and clapped and cheered for the heroes of our wonderful NHS who are working so hard on our behalf. It was extraordinarily moving.

Stay safe and keep well.


Thursday, 26 March 2020

Switching on the lights

Hello crafting pals!

Will Christmas happen this year? In the current uncertain world it's anyone's guess, but I will continue to make cards for a celebration at the end of the year because I certainly hope so. Come and see:

I really enjoyed making this card with this chubby little robin bird (as we call them in this house!) Isn't he adorable? He's from Red Robin by Clearly Besotted and I've stamped him, coloured him with Spectrum Noir alcohol markers and fussy cut him.

I sponged in a background with Tumbled Glass distress ink and perched Mr Robin on a branch from Uniko's Winter Foliage. He is admiring the Christmas lights which are coloured rhinestones on a doodled wire! I sponged a little extra ink round the card panel before mounting it onto a card base.

I think this sentiment from the Red Robin set is going to be a favourite! I always go round singing the old Christmas songs around December time and like them as a card greeting.

I couldn't wait to join in with the fun challenge at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown challenge this month - the theme is Christmas Lights; I'm also linking this card up with Scrappy Mo's Rudolph Day challenge - happy Rudolph Day everyone!

It's such beautiful weather here at the moment and under normal circumstances we might think about a picnic. At the moment though, these...

...are the only rolls we'll be having in the great outdoors!

Hope you are safe and well.


Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Foraging for food

Hello crafting friends

In recent visits to my favourite blogs, I've noticed crafters enjoying 'shopping their stash' and sometimes taking time to try a technique that they wouldn't have had time for before being forced to stay in. I've found a stamp set I haven't used before too! Come and see:

A while ago, I fell in love with English Garden, a stamp set designed by Katy Hackney for the Craft Consortium. They feature some very cute rabbits, so I bought them thinking they'd be perfect for Easter, but today I used an adorable little mouse from the set. He has found some juicy pears while out hunting for his tea!

I stamped the image in the corner of a panel, using Stazon black ink. I'm no watercolourer but I do love having a go, so I got out my inks, an egg cup of water and a small paintbrush and just had some fun.

Once the panel was dry, I added the punning sentiment which I made out of words from another set featuring pears - Apples and Pears by Clearly Besotted. The panel was trimmed and matted onto green card stock before being attached to the cardbase. I'm planning to send this to my daughter and her partner who are stuck in their flat in London. I thought it might make them laugh :)

I'm linking this card up with Happy Little Stampers Watercolour Challenge, where Anything Goes with an optional twist of Flowers (my pears have come with blossom attached!); I used the sketch from CAS Colours and Sketches (always fab sketches here!) flipped to the other side; and I'm also linking up with Allsorts, where this week's fun challenge is Anything in the Animal Kingdom.

I seem to have lost my dog - has anyone seen her?!

She's so funny! She really thinks we can't see her!

Take care everyone. Stay safe.


Monday, 23 March 2020

Say it with gummy bears!

Hello crafting pals!

How are you adapting to your new social distancing/isolation lives? I have been spending so much more time on the phone that it's been hard to fit in any crafting! But here is a little something I rustled up earlier:

Sometimes when making birthday cards for young teenage boys, only sweets will do and everyone loves a gummy bear - am I right?! These are from Retro Sweeties by Skull and Cross Buns - a place you should shop just for the name alone!!! I stamped the gummies in bright colours and watercoloured them, adding a tiny heart on the yellow one when it was dry. The next step was to fussy cut them before smooshing them into a Versamark pad and embossing them with clear embossing powder to make them all shiny and delicious like real gummy bears!

The sentiment needed to be tiny to fit nicely under the yellow bear and his chum. I used just part of one from Cheeky Birthday by Hero Arts, inking up with a marker and using my stamping platform for position. I glued all the gummies to the card base, except the one holding the heart - he was popped up on dimensionals.

Some of you may remember my special floofy mail delivery service bringing me a box the other day (click on the link and scroll down for total cuteness!) Well, when I opened it, I was delighted to find this stamp set, with congratulations from Emily at Skull and Cross Buns - a sponsor prize for being the January winner at the Less is More challenge.

I'm going to link today's card up with CAS(E) This Sketch where there's a fab retro sketch this week; also CAS on Friday, where the challenge is to Make a Birthday Card; and The Male Room where the theme is something you'd find Grandfather's House. I didn't know either of my grandfathers but we did visit my stepmother's father once or twice. I remember there was a dog we weren't allowed to play with in case he snapped, but there were also sweets - not gummy bears but boiled sweets!

If you are in the UK and were celebrating Mother's Day yesterday, you will have had a strange one - but I hope you felt the love. I texted a friend: 'My son came back from uni with a two-pack of loo roll. Best Mother's Day ever!' She replied: 'My daughter says she can't top that! I got breakfast in bed!'

Sending love. Be safe and well,

Saturday, 21 March 2020

The colours of spring

Hello crafting friends!

It's my third week Guest Designing with the talented ladies at Just Us Girls and it is such a pleasure! I was bowled over by all the fabulous techniques you used for last week's Black Background challenge and really enjoyed popping over to visit you all. This week, there's a fabulous colour challenge:

You can use any shade of yellow, blue and green! What do these colours say to you? They yelled SPRING at me, so out came the spring flowers:

I chose tulips and daffodils from Spring Tulips and Spring Daffodils by Clearly Besotted and used the flowers from Stampin' Up's Soft Spring to make Muscari. Parts of the stamps were inked up with a green marker and stamped along the bottom of a card panel, finishing by turning the stamp upside down and using the stems as 'grass'.

A little Shabby Shutters distress ink was sponged over the stems and then the flowers were coloured with alcohol markers.

I searched high and low for a happy mother's day greeting - I swear I had one! - before giving up and making my own from other sets, using a stamping platform and some sticky notes to mask parts of the stamps off. To finish, I sponged in a 'sky' with Tumbled Glass distress ink then used a Heffy Doodles stitched rectangle die to cut out the centre of the card before replacing it.

Now it's over to you! What will you create using these colours? The regular team at Just Us Girls have got loads of wonderful ideas to inspire you - pop over to have a look and you can link up there too :)

I'm also linking my card up with The Flower Challenge where it's Anything Goes this month; with Stamping Sensations where the theme is Spring Flowers; and with Addicted to Stamps and More, where I'm playing along with this month's Anything Goes challenge.

For those of you that think I'm getting a bit ahead of myself with this card, Mother's Day is on March 22nd in the UK this year. It is always celebrated three weeks before Easter Sunday and is linked to the Christian festival. It was called Mothering Sunday and was all about returning to the 'mother church' (the one you were baptised in or your local parish church) before it became associated with the idea of honouring mothers. Read more about it here including why it was also named Pudding Pie Sunday in some areas, or Sunday of the Five Loaves - and possibly still would be in this house if we could actually buy any food from our local supermarket!

Stay safe and well, and I'll see you soon,

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Bunnies galore

Hello crafting friends

I do hope that everyone that is staying home is allowing themselves to enjoy crafting. In a crisis, there's often nothing that can be done but wait, and crafting is definitely an activity that can reduce anxiety.

To celebrate some stray sunshine, which felt pretty springlike to me, I've made a couple of cards involving *lowers voice to a whisper in case Eva pup overhears* rabbits! Come and see:

This one is my favourite - an Easter card featuring two peeping rabbits from Waffle Flower's Books and Coffee, a set I saw when I was looking for something else and which I couldn't resist! Does that ever happen to you?!

The rabbits are sort of peek-a-boo bookend rabbits. I mounted them on the same block, stamped them, coloured them with alcohol markers. It was easiest to fussy cut them as one unit and from there, I could just cut down the middle to separate them.

My bunnies needed some Great Outdoors to live in so I die cut a stitched rectangle, using a Heffy Doodles die, and sponged in a sky and some grass. They are trying to carry a very large Easter egg which I cut out of some pretty retired Stampin' Up paper I'd been hoarding saving for this very moment! The egg is tied up with blue card stock 'ribbon' topped with a bow from an MFT die set called Birthday Cocktail which I've wanted for ages, just for this bow!

I LOVE this sentiment from Lawn Fawn's Easter Party and know I'll be using it all year round. Not the 'Easter' part obviously, but the 'Wishing You A Very Happy' bit! I stamped the word Easter in coral ink to link the greeting to the egg.

I've been thinking for a while that it would be fun to have an animal peeping out from the umbrella from Stampin' Up's Under My Umbrella stamp set. Here was my chance to coax one of these rabbits in there!

I stamped one corner of a square panel with my peeping rabbit and then extended him with a marker before colouring him. If that sounds complicated, it wasn't at all - I just made him symmetrical. I gave him a subtle background by using a soft grey pencil through a stencil made with a circle punch (but you can barely see that.) The panel was scored round the edges for a neat finish.

Time for the brolly! I stamped the umbrella pole directly over the bunny then stamped the canopy in grey on a separate scrap of card stock. I gave it a pretty flower design, cut it out using the coordinating punch, and popped it up to look as if the rabbit was sitting in there. Final details were a punched handle and a tiny sentiment.

I shall be linking both these cards up with the Twofer Card Challenge, where Spring Animals are the theme and we are asked to make two cards of different designs, for different occasions, using the same stamp or die;

With Card One I'm linking up with two new-to me challenges - The Sisterhood of Crafters where Easter is the theme and Creative Inspirations where it's Pretty Pastels.

With Card Two, I'm playing along with Less is More where there's a delicious looking colour palette of Red, Raspberry and Grey.

The news from around the world is heartbreaking. I'm lucky enough to have a beautiful fluffy companion that makes me feel better every time I look at her, so I'm sharing.

This is what happens when you wake Eva from a nice snooze. "Oh hello. Are you bringing me a snack? Or perhaps you fancy a walk? Or a game? Oh. It's just a photograph. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz!"

Take care,

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Scrapped tulips

Hello crafting pals!

I had a little look in my snippets box today. This is not where I store card stock or designer paper off cuts; it's the box where I file things I've created for cards, only to find they don't work or are surplus to requirement. I made a spring note card with bits and pieces from it - come and see:

The card base was one I'd masked off to make a sponged background. I'd used washi tape as the mask but hadn't de-tacked it well enough, and when I came to remove it I tore the card base - grrrr! To save it, I used a hairdrier to get the rest of the washi off smoothly and looked around for something to disguise the tear.

In the snippets box I found some tulips which were a try-out when I first acquired my Spring Tulips set from Clearly Besotted last year. I also found this wide frame which is a by-product of die-cutting a stitched rectangle out of a card panel. They covered the tear nicely!

To add interest to the sponging, I dabbed some Antique Linen distress ink through the Distressed Diamonds stencil from Funky Fossil. Once my frame was attached, and the tulips tucked into it, I placed the card into my stamping platform and stamped a bold 'hello' greeting from Hello and Thanks from WPlus9. A few pink enamel dots added a further touch of spring :)

So proud that my snippety card was the Headliner at the Paper Players 21/3/20

Here's a little peek at my snippets box:

I put that left over frame over the gingham panel - there's definitely a card there! But, hmmm, there are also a few things there that need purging!

I'm linking this card up with the Paper Players where Joanne's challenge is just my thing - CAS and spring flowers! I'm also playing along with The Snippets Playground where using up the bits and pieces are the order of the day - we're like wombles!!

With extra time in the craft square metre, I've been thinking of organisation. I've decided to make a log of all my stamp sets, cross referencing, so that a floral set with a cup and a bird in it, for example, will appear under Flowers, Food/Drink AND Birds. I'm also getting some clear A5 wallets to add to my A4 and 12 x 12 card stocks so that it's easier to keep the snippets with the right colour groups. Perhaps I should do this with my designer paper too - what do you think?

I'll leave you with a photo of my adorable Eva bringing me the mail...

...and what HAPPY mail it was too! Hopefully, I'll be able to show you what it was in the next day or two :)