Saturday, 30 May 2020

Stamp a scene!

Hello crafting friends!

Phew what a scorcher today! So hot that I had to sneak inside and conjure up a cooling lake scene in the Craft Square Metre! Come and see:

I used Stampin' Up's Waterfront to make this card and it's odd but in the 10 months I've owned this set, I've never actually used it as a 'stamp a scene' set! It was the best fun ever and I highly recommend having a play :)

To start the card I pounced versamark ink in the sky area and in the centre of the card where I was going to stamp my water. I heat embossed it with clear embossing powder and sponged distress ink over it. Next came the mountains, stamped with Highland Heather ink and then again with Sahara Sand ink using the rock and roll technique.

I stamped the water, then added more mountains either side. The foreground was stamped in green inks using the other two brush stroke stamps. I added the trees using darker green inks in the foreground and, to get a sense of perspective, masked off the closest mountains and stamped just the tops of the trees so they looked like smaller versions.

After that, it was fun to add interest using the 'direct to paper' ink technique for the sky, sponging for the foreground, and doodling tiny details. I finished by stamping a pair of birds from Take Flight 2 by Inkylicious and a heat embossed sentiment from Clearly Besotted's Simply Said.

I am joining in with Double D's Begins With The Letter M challenge with my mountains; also The Male Room, where Landscapes is the theme; Watercooler Wednesday where they're celebrating Occasions; The Sisterhood of Crafters where it's all about your Favourite Technique - I'd forgotten how much fun it is to make an arty scene with stamps using emboss-resist and sponging; There's an Anything Goes challenge at Addicted to Stamps and More this week too, so I'll play along there.

My lovely friend Brenda popped round today bearing gifts and one of them was this beautiful bunting she sewed herself. I have strung it up in the garden to set the scene for the weekend's birthday celebrations.

Me: Ahhhh! The perfect spot to sit in the sunshine and chat and sip a frosted glass of bubbles!
Eva: Hmm. Not for me thanks but if there's a bone going you could get me interested!
Me: You know Eva, watching you slavering over a bone isn't really going to strike the celebratory note I'm looking for!

I hope you're having a good weekend and taking good care of yourselves.

Sending hugs,

Friday, 29 May 2020

A bit dotty

Hello crafting friends!

Just a quickie today as I suddenly had an idea - and those have been few and far between just lately! Come and see:

This one layer thank you card was first stamped with a bold sentiment from WPlus9's Hello and Thanks. I used a stamping platform for this so that I could stamp it several times and make it good and black, then without removing it, ink it up with versamark before heat embossing with clear embossing powder.

The dotty background stamp is an NBUS (Never Before Used Schtuff) called Halftone by Uniko which I bought it with an order a while ago, thinking it would make a lovely background for florals. Well, there's not a flower to be seen today! I just inked it up with Stampin' Up's Pool Party ink and stamped it off the edge of my card base at an angle. The card was finished with some enamel dots.

I've had dots on the brain this week as Less is More have a Going Dotty one layer card challenge, and Allsorts are celebrating pattern with a Gingham, Stripes and/or Dots challenge. I took my colours from this week's Color Throwdown challenge and I shall link up at Darnell's NBUS challenge too.

We're gearing up for another lockdown birthday weekend here - woohoo! Sunshine has apparently been laid on and there'll be frolics out in the countryside followed by champagne in a rose-scented garden. Guests will be zooming in for dinner and we'll be having a Netflix party!

What do you have lined up for your weekend? Have fun and stay safe whatever you're up to.


Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Merry and bright... colours

Hello crafting pals!

On the 25th of each month it's Rudolph Day, a chance to make a Christmas card for your 2020 stash. I'm a big fan of this as it's very cheering towards the end of the year to be able to start sending even while you're making. Some organised folk even make their whole stash early (no, you're right, never me!) Anyway, I'm only two days late for this month... but come and see:

I'm still all about the bright colours, so I started with a wash of blue ink on dampened watercolour paper. Once that had dried, I stencilled fir trees over it with yellow and green inks using the negative space of a tree from the Tim Holtz Woodlands die set.

To create a strong horizontal, I ran two strips of double-sided tape along the card, peeled off the backing strips and heat embossed with gold embossing powder. I also gold embossed a label from an ancient retired Stampin' Up set called Winter Post, fussy cut it and glued it over the strips. The tag in the centre was stamped with a sentiment from another retired Stampin' Up set, Endless Wishes.

To bring all the elements together, I used some diluted pearlised white acrylic paint to create a snowy foreground and dots of snow in the sky, and added a sprinkling of gold jewels. Finally, I die cut the panel with a Heffy Doodles stitched rectangle die and attached it to a card base.

I used the sketch from CAS(E) this Sketch for this card; I'm also joining in with Jingle Belles' Bling on the Holidays challenge and 52 Christmas Card Throwdown's Embossing/Dig in your Stash challenge. And not forgetting the Rudolph Day Challenge of course!

We have a blackbird fledgling in our garden! This is a really tricky time for them as they spend a lot of time rustling about in the backs of the borders and hopping about on the lawn, but are still being fed by the parents, can't fly properly and are pretty helpless. I have to watch Eva like a hawk as fluttery rustlings are a red rag for her but, on the plus side, she keeps cats out of the garden.

Not the best photo ever, but can you spot the fledgling? He doesn't look like a blackbird yet - has no tail and is a bit speckled.

Hope you are staying safe and well.


Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Save the bees!

Hello crafting friends!

I've been trying to make a Christmas card for Rudolph Day but it's not going well. On the other hand, while wandering around Blogland, I spotted Milka's blog hop raising awareness for this year's World Bee Day and was immediately inspired!

Bees and other pollenators are so important for food production, and numbers have been declining because of loss of habitat, toxic pesticides, climate change and disease. So how can we help? Well, it isn't hard to create a friendly environment for them - check out these ideas. If you don't have a garden, you can still attract bees to balconies, window boxes, terraces etc. There are many other things you can do too - support local bee keepers for example, and don't use pesticides on your plants!

Here's my card celebrating bees:

To make my background, I sponged distress ink through the Honeycomb stencil by Funky Fossil. The cow parsley, from Funky Fossil's In the Meadow stamp set, was stamped over the top in green ink and the flowers coloured with a white gel pen. This doesn't completely cover the green but does give some nice definition. I trimmed the panel with a Heffy Doodles stitched rectangle die.

I don't have any bee stamps! I do have a set on order but it didn't arrive in time, so I had to draw a bee using a fineliner. I tried to make him look nice and fluffy and coloured his body with a yellow marker and his wings with a Wink of Stella pen before fussy cutting him.

For the greeting, I used black ink to stamp a sentiment from Clearly Besotted's Simply Said onto a scrap of card stock and heat embossed with clear embossing powder. I die cut the left edge of it with the stitched rectangle die, snipped the other end into a ribbon tail and glued it onto the card panel. Finally, the bee was popped up on dimensionals and the panel attached to a card base.

Thank you very much you bees - you are appreciated!

I'm joining in with Milka's wonderful To Bee or Not to Bee blog hop; I used LeAnne's sketch from the Paper Players (taking the liberty of flipping the sentiment over to the other side); I'm also playing along with Time Out where the theme is Free (I want bees to live their lives free from the threat of extinction); and I WAS going to link up with Tic Tac Toe but I'm out of time :/

I'm a big fan of honey. I use it as a topping for natural yoghurt with chopped nuts; also to make a chocolate sauce perfect for a banana split or to top ice cream - 1oz melted butter, 1 tblsp cocoa, 1 tblsp honey, dash vanilla extract whisked together. Oh yum! And then there's honey pie...

... here is an ACTUAL picture of an adorable honey pie!

Looks like the lockdown in the UK is really beginning to lift now. What do you think?

Sending hugs,

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Birthday at Club Tropicana

Hello crafting friends!

It's hard not to get a bit down sometimes at the moment isn't it? I've even been finding it hard to be inspired in the Craft Square Metre this week. But colour has an amazing way of affecting our moods and reaching for the brights has got me going again. Come and see:

Yes, it's time to pop the grass skirt on and hula on over to the birthday party! This card started with the Tropical Frame embossing folder I bought from Hobbycraft last year (gracious, remember going into an actual shop?!!) I picked out the palm leaves with some bright alcohol markers.

I felt some bright flowers would up the tropical ante. I painted a pink wash on some watercolour paper and, once it had completely dried, die cut some flowers with the Sissix Geo Frame die set. The centres of the flowers were stamped with a tiny stamp from Stampin' Up's Thoughtful Blooms.

To bring the elements together, I cut a frame using my Heffy Doodles stitched rectangle dies and added a block sentiment from Uniko's Simply Said Blocks.

I used the colours from this fortnight's As You See It challenge, the layout from Freshly Made Sketches and the theme from Seize The Birthday where they've gone Totally Tropical!

While I was having a think about this challenge, my charming assistant searched for something tropical to inspire me with. She trotted off busily upstairs and, having rootled around in the laundry basket, reappeared with a tropical print dress of mine in her mouth.

Thank you Eva. Very helpful I'm sure!

Hope you're keeping safe and well, enjoying your weekend and perhaps getting a little inky!


Wednesday, 20 May 2020

In the wildflower meadow

Hello crafting friends!

Nothing gets my mojo going like some lovely bright colours at the moment. Oh, and a new stamp set...! Come and see:

The wild flowers are from In the Meadow by Funky Fossil, a set I just 'HAD to have' the minute I saw it! I used water-based markers from Stampin' Up to colour my stamps.

This works well if you huff on them before stamping, and you can always add detail to the stamped image with other colours and even alcohol markers afterwards.

Wild flowers often grow in grass so I pulled out my Scenic Borders stencil, also from Funky Fossil. While I was inking through this I realised that I'd not masked the bottom of my card panel properly, resulting in a white band and a rogue strip of green. Whoops - ruined!

But no, there's no such thing as mistakes, as someone once said, only opportunities and that band of white turned out to be a great place to stamp a sentiment! I teamed the curvy 'because' from Uniko's Just Because set with 'I love you lots' from Clearly Besotted's Marvellous Mums.

I cut the panel with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodles then reached for some left-overs to finish the card. A panel of orange card stock I'd been cutting letters out of made a good mat for the floral panel and I attached that to a card base I'd spoilt by dropping an ink pad on it! Finally, a few enamel dots.

Destined for the recycle bin but rescued just in time!
The colours I enjoyed using so much came from Lisa's challenge at Just Us Girls; I'm also joining in with Uniko's May/June challenge where the theme is Anything Goes, with an optional twist of Bright and Happy; I'm playing along at the Snippets Playground too, as I've upcycled bits and pieces that would've ended up in the bin; and hey, this is another one for the NBUS (never before used schtuff) Challenge!

I went to pick up some dog food yesterday. I get frozen food from a local small independent pet supplies shop, which currently has a sensible 'one customer at a time' policy with social distancing in place. When I got home, I tipped the frozen packages into the freezer, straight from the boxes. And then I couldn't find my keys... Yep, you're right. After taking everything back out of the freezer I found the chilly little keys at the bottom - and if you're looking for ways to cool down, I highly recommend it!

How are things going where you are?

Hope you are safe and well. Hugs,

Monday, 18 May 2020

Under the Apple tree

Hello crafting friends!

It's been such a beautiful weekend here in the heart of England, it was hard to think of all the craziness going on in the world. I realise how lucky I am to have my little garden and it definitely helps to be connected to that little patch of nature. I've had gardens on my mind in the Craft Square Metre too. Come and see:

I've gone masculine with this one, with a mix of NBUS (never before used stuff) and older stamps. I cut out an elongated hexagon with my new Sissix Geo Frame thinlits, sponged it with blue and yellow inks and added some grass with another new item, the Scenic Borders stencil from Funky Fossil.

The long ago retired Sheltering Tree stamp set was used to stamp the tree and the rake leaning against it. I used the rubber on the end of a pencil to add arty apples, and markers to add detail. The birds are from Take Flight 2 by Inkylicious. I thought of the wartime song 'Don't sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me' and then had a vision of someone accidentally sitting on the rake and it clocking them over the head! But I digress...

I chose a kraft card base and attached my scene to the front. When you cut the Geo Frame shapes, you also get a really fine frame, so I used a fine tipped glue pen on this and pressed it in around my scene. I'm going to have fun with these I know! Finally I added a birthday greeting from Uniko's Simply Said Blocks.

Delighted this card was chosen as a Cut Above at the Paper Players!

I'm linking up with CAS on Friday where we must Use A Die; The Male Room, where the theme is In The Garden; The Paper Players where they want to see CAS male cards; and of course the NBUS Challenge, where the idea is to share never before used schtuff!

There are some beautiful flowers coming out in my garden:

My peony is out - at least two weeks earlier than usual.

This beautiful pink rose is gorgeously scented and I breathe in deeply every time I pass.

This one's been freshly watered by the looks of it and has a very distinctive fragrance...!

Hope you are safe and well.


Sunday, 17 May 2020

Thinking of magical you

Hello crafting friends!

How nice of the sun to go in mid-afternoon so that I could down tools in the garden and waft about in the Craft Square Metre for a bit! Come and see what I've been up to:

This simple little note card features splashes of blended pink and blue inks for that magical unicorn look! I used the Splatters stencil from Funky Fossil and Blushing Bride and Pool Party inks from Stampin' Up.

The label was stamped with a useful little sentiment from Simply Said by Clearly Besotted, then layered onto yellow card stock with dimensionals. I scored the edges of the panel before attaching it to the card front and added a  sprinkling of stars cut using Stampin' Up's Twinkle punch.

So happy that this card was chosen as a favourite at Color Throwdown!
I've been quite literal with my interpretation of CAS(E) This Sketch's sketch this week, so I think it's pretty easy to recognise. The colours are from this week's Color Throwdown challenge and I'm also joining in with Just Add Ink where they're asking us to Just Add Thinking of You.

While I was in the garden I could hear enthusiastic noises coming from the kitchen. It was my youngest son - all his essays have been completed and handed in and he's indulging his inner chef. He can't simply cook a dish though...

... he is a young man who eats with his eyes too!

Hope you're having a good weekend.


Friday, 15 May 2020

Hello pot plants and books!

Hello crafting friends!

How's it going with you? I have settled into a routine and have found no shortage of things to do with my time. Household chores, walking/grooming Eva, cooking, sewing, crafting, reading and keeping in touch with friends and family account for most of it. Today I made a card that celebrates reading and indoor gardening:

There are lots of avid readers in our family and I knew when I saw the Books and Coffee stamp set by Waffle Flower, that it would be useful. I used a narrow stitched rectangle from Christina Griffiths A5 nesting set to create a base for the books, masking off a ground and blending Antique Linen distress ink upwards.

The potted cactus was stamped on top of the books, then everything was coloured with alcohol markers and fussy cut together. I positioned the group just off the edge of the rectangle and popped them up on dimensionals.

I wanted the sentiment to echo that pile of books so I stamped a blocky 'hello' three times in bright colours, trimmed them out and piled them on top of each other.

The rectangle was mounted onto a good thick card base and embellished with enamel dots.

So proud to be Honourably Mentioned at Time Out for this card :)

I'm linking this card up with Time Out Challenges, where the theme is The Arts (I've only just noticed that the optional twist was one layer... so I guess I'm not twisting this time!) I'm also joining in with this week's CAS challenge at Addicted to Stamps and More, and the All About Occasions challenge at Watercooler Wednesday.

As well as avid readers in the family, we have a keen cactus grower too! My youngest son treats his collection with cheerful neglect and they thrive under this regime, even coming into flower for him! Since he has been away at university, they have continued to grow without any attention from us - he just sorts them out when he comes back!

A couple of bloomin' cacti - how does he do it?!!
It's the weekend tomorrow (yes, I thought you'd appreciate the reminder!) I hear a lot of people are bringing back the Sunday Roast and I see lots of people doing a family walk. How do you mark the weekend these days?

However you're spending your days, I wish you a happy weekend.