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Tuesday 27 February 2024

Good news and One for the stash!

Hello, crafting friends!
 
As the 25th of the month approached, I thought of how I used to always make a Christmas card thanks to the encouragement of the Rudolph Days challenge. We all thought it would have to close as Maureen, who ran it brilliantly for years, was unable to continue, but today I discovered that the amazing Helen has taken over the reins of the sleigh. Hurrah! Do spread the word won't you, follow the Rudolph Days blog and share the challenge badge. And come and join in - you have until the last day of the month to link up and it's Anything Christmas Goes!
 

I was a bit short on time but I found a little topper I made last year with Altenew's Clasic Pine Cones embossing folder, coloured with inks and daubers and trimmed with a Crimped Frame die from the Greetery. I had added lots of 'snow' with my trusty Posca white acrylic paint pen. To show it off, I made a Faux Book Binding card using three washi tapes that coordinated with my topper.
 
 
To finish, I added a banner-style sentiment from Uniko's Simply Said Blocks Christmas using a couple of tiny staples, and added two enamel dots for berries.
 
And there we go - back on track with my festive stash for the end of the year! Thanks Helen!

CHALLENGES
I'm linking this card up at Rudolph Days but have also been inspired by these challenges: Christmas Craft Creations where the challenge is to use Stencils or Embossing Folders; Christmas Kickstart where the theme is Out on a Limb (things you might find on a Christmas tree!); and Addicted to Stamps and More where the theme this time is Christmas.


AND IN OTHER NEWS
I found a new walk yesterday. Normally there's livestock in these fields, so I've avoided them, but there hasn't been anything for ages and the grass is not under water and is clean and dry... my heart sang I can tell you! However, it is with deep regret that I must tell you that golden retrievers are equipped with a special inner mud divining device and, as we frolicked along, both of the Beige Beasts discovered exciting ditches and puddles and turned into Mud Monsters. They did redeem themselves though... there was a cattle trough in the last field as we returned and the pups discovered that it was full to the brim with water from all the recent rain. Lulu mistook it for a spa bath to rinse off her mud masque and jumped in for a full immersion; I was quite firm in encouraging Eva to follow suit!!

Sending hugs,

Monday 26 February 2024

Swimming in winter

Hello, crafting friends!
 
First of all, here's a message for the lovely lady who asked me what I meant when I used the abbreviation OH. I do hope you see this!
 
When I arrived in Blogland, I too saw people using OH and DD and wondered what they meant. By context I began to understood that DD was Darling Daughter. From there it was clear that DH was Dear Husband. But OH? I could only suppose it meant Old Husband which seemed a bit irreverent but then a friend told me it was Other Half and all became clear. I use OH now because it makes me giggle (but don't tell DH!!)

Okay, let's move onto a little light crafting! There are a couple of challenges in Blogland calling for things with wings, which encouraged me to pull out a favourite stamp set by Craft Consortium called Riverbank featuring a beautiful swan.


My Arteza watercolour brush pens were on my desk jumping up and down shouting 'pick me'!! So I went and got my jam jar of water and my brushes, and used them to create a simple background for the swan. First I stamped the swan on watercolour paper, then I dampened the paper around the swan with water. It is so easy from there to add strokes of colour with the pens and move it around on the paper to give the illusion of cloudy skies or water. I added some simple green shapes for the river banks too and left it to dry.
 

The swan was easy to colour with the same blue grey. I left that to dry while I stamped foliage and twigs and trees over my bank shapes to add detail. After all that, I went in and added darker details and finished off the swan with an orange beak and black accents. The sentiment is a favourite from Uniko's Floral Vines. I trimmed my panel and mounted it on brown card before attaching to my card front.

CHALLENGES
Stamping Sensations' February challenge is all about Animals, Birds and Creatures so I'm linking up there; Liz has chosen the theme of Things That Fly for Allsorts this week and although Mr Swan is currently swimming, I am sure he could put on an impressive display of flying if he chose!


 
AND IN OTHER NEWS

The swan stamp I used today came into my mind when I took the golden girls to walk by the river. I deeply regretted this because although the flood water has receded, the banks are knee deep in mud. That's fine when you have canine claws but not so much when you are wearing old wellies!! We had the place to ourselves (as everyone else had the sense to walk somewhere else!) and half way up the river, we came across a pair of beautiful swans gliding up the river. Eva learned a long time ago that swans are not to be messed with, but I'm afraid having a naughty little sister emboldens her to imagine she is a fearless huntress! I had to be quite stern but we walked past the swans with the dogs on lead and me explaining how we just have to be Grown Up Lady Dogs sometimes and behave with Dignity and Decorum. Needless to say, when we had safely passed the swans and I let them off lead again, dignity and decorum were the last things on their minds! Sigh.

Sending hugs,

Friday 23 February 2024

Left overs and hugs

Hello, crafting friends!
 
I can't even begin to explain how much fun I had today! Some Blogland challenges had inspired me to take a look in my patterned paper drawer and the first thing I saw was the Simple Stories Christmas pad I'd bought to make some last-minute 'patterned background and bold die cut sentiment' cards last year. There were some whole sheets left in the pad but there were also some off cuts and some little journaling cards which I thought I might use to create some non-festive cards. Come and see:
 
CARD NUMBER ONE

 
I started trimming some coordinating strips which I put together in an L shape on a card panel. The large heart, which I found on one of the journal cards, was fussy cut, stiffened by stacking it up with snippets of white card, and popped up on the panel. I added another heart, die cut from a mustard snippet and an enamel heart.
 

The 'hugs' sentiment was cut using the Greetery's Slim Alphabet dies. I thought it would go nicely with the heart theme :)
 
 
CARD NUMBER TWO


Instead of going for the blue and red with mustard accents, this time I focused on the warm mustard with red and blue accents. I LOVE the patterns and muted colours in this pad!
 
 
The mug of flowers was fussy cut from a journal card and I added layered die cut hearts and a sentiment banner fussy cut from another journal card. 



Here are some of the snippets I used (I added more as I went along plus white snippets). Sadly I ran out of time as I would definitely have enjoyed making more of these!

CHALLENGES
I fell in love with Kim's gorgeous sketch at Freshly Made Sketches, and used it for both my cards; I used Patterned Paper on both, so will enter these at Double D where that is the theme; X is for Xtra Hearts at The Alphabet Challenge so I'm linking up Card One there; I'm taking my mug of flowers to The Snippets Playground - I shall give the flowers to Miss Di to cheer her up and then nip up to the treehouse and fill it up with hot chocolate! Liz said something about Baileys... I don't know what that is but it sounds delicious!!

AND IN OTHER NEWS
I tend to walk the golden girls in the park at the moment because it is mostly flooded. They are thrilled with this and I can let them off to zoom around in the water because there are very few people around, and those there are tend to have dogs who are also careering about! We saw a man looking thoughtfully at the football pitch, which is completely submerged. "Looks more like a water polo pitch doesn't it!" he said to me. And then went off into peals of laughter at his own wit!

Sending hugs,

Wednesday 21 February 2024

One layer of thistles

Hello crafting friends!
 
I'm fascinated by thistles, which always seem like some kind of prehistoric throwback plant to me. I love the architectural shape of their heads and their bright flare of petals. But they're perhaps not the plant to be skipping through with bare feet, which leads me on to today's card!
 

It's a quick and simple one layer card made with Funky Fossil's Thistle stencil which I haven't used for a while. Taping the stencil off the edge of a thick card base, I sponged Stampin' Up's Mint Macaroon and Fresh Freesia inks into the image and then added more thistle heads to build up the design.
 

Sometimes, when life gets tough, it can feel a bit like walking through a garden of thistles barefoot, so I thought this would be a comforting sentiment to go with the image. I finished with some clear enamel dots to make it look as if it had been raining too. Probably should have added some mud... lol!
 
CHALLENGES
I've seen some amazing cards around Blogland using a mint and lilac colour combination courtesy of Color Hues, so I shall link this card up there; at Make My Monday the theme is Love and, as Valentine's Day is past now, I hope my 'Love and Prayers' card fits the bill! I'm also joining in at the Stencil Fun Challenge where Anything Goes with an optional theme of Love/Hearts.


AND IN OTHER NEWS
I'm always amazed at the way dogs just gallop through fields of thistles - and nettles for that matter! I understand that their feet pads are like leather so it's as if they are wearing shoes, but pushing their way through nettles and brambles must hurt their little noses surely! Apparently not! My OH comes from the northeast of England where the folk are well known for their tolerance of inclement weather conditions and if you ask tenderly about his well-being, he replies "Felt nowt!"
 
Sending hugs,

Saturday 17 February 2024

A note about pansies

Hello, crafting friends!
 
I always feel so grateful to pansies as they carry us Brits through the dark, dismal winter months, providing much needed colour in window boxes, pots and garden borders. And then they carry on blooming among all the bulbs as they come out too. Today's card is a bit of a tribute to this humble flower!


My pansies come from an old favourite set, Pretty Pansies by Clearly Besotted. I wanted them to be a proper splashy pink so I stamped them on watercolour paper with Stazon ink and coloured them with my Arteza watercolour brush pens - which I'm just leaving out on my desk at this stage as I seem to use them every day! When the image was dry, I fussy cut it with some sharp paper snips.
 

As I wanted this to be a clean and simple card, I thought some subtle embossing on an angle would make a good background. I chose the stitched design of the two embossing folders in Stampin' Up's Little Details set and ran it through my Big Shot using a silicone mat to avoid harsh lines. The panel was trimmed to size with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodle.
 

I spent a while looking for the right sentiment and finally landed on this gorgeous curvy one from Scripted Sentiments by The Greetery, finished with an enamel dot to create a 'group of three' of the bright pink. The panel was mounted on dimensional strips and attached to a card base.

CHALLENGES
I'm linking this card up with Colourful Options where Pink is the inspiration colour; also Simply Clean and Simple, where it's Anything Goes with an optional theme of Pink; and Allsorts, where Dena has chosen Shades of Pink as her theme this week; from the inspiration list at Festive Friday, I chose, Pink White, Embossing and Supportive sentiment; and Linda's sketch at Freshly Made Sketches was my starting point for this card. I've flipped the sketch but that was only because I kept debossing the background instead of embossing so in the end I gave up and just turned the panel over!!
 

AND IN OTHER NEWS
Remember that rhyme 
 
Rain, rain
Go away
Come again another day.

Well I'm past 'come again another day' I can tell you! It can go away and stay away as far as I'm concerned! On the plus side, I've still got some chocolate-dipped retrievers left from Valentines Day ;)
 

Yummy!

Sending hugs,

Friday 16 February 2024

Get better with bright Crocuses

Hello, crafting friends!
 
The crocuses are out - yay! This means that actual spring is on its way! The mud is still here though... but let's focus on the crocuses shall we:
 

My neighbour has gone down with a horrible covidish cold, poor thing, so I thought I'd cheer her up with a card. The crocus image on this card is Uniko's Spring Botanicals Crocus, stamped three times on a watercolour card panel and coloured enthusiastically with my new Arteza watercolour brush pens. I really do need some practice to get the hang of these but I used such bright colours the recipient won't be able to look at it for long lol!
 

I added extra leaves and grass with just simple strokes of a couple of the green pens and scribbled in a sky with a couple of the blues on the damp card. When dry, the panel was trimmed with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodle and matted on a white card panel that I coloured round the edges with a coordinating alcohol marker.
 

I finished with my favourite Get Well sentiment from Colorado Craft Co's Big and Bold Get Well and an enamel heart. Let's just hope the card doesn't give my neighbour a headache as well as well as her cold...!

CHALLENGES
I'm linking this card up with Beautiful Blossoms (where I was thrilled to have my last card chosen as a Top Pick!) There's always a lovely mood board there to inspire us. I'm also joining in with Try it on Tuesday's Hearts and/or Flowers challenge.
 
AND IN OTHER NEWS
The crocuses that inspired me have been planted at the entrance to the fields at the back of our house. Despite all the rain and the mud, and the fact that many excitable paws and trudging wellies pass that way...


... they're not holding up too badly!

Sending hugs,

Thursday 15 February 2024

With love on your birthday

Hello, crafting friends!
 
We're halfway through our first challenge of the year at The Flower Challenge and I'm hoping to inspire you to join in! The theme this month is to add a heart to your floral card.
 
Hearts are not just for valentines of course - I've added a heart-shaped sentiment label to this birthday card:
 

The background was made using The Greetery's Print Shop Floral Frame, which incorporates stenciling and stamping. I went a bit mad and extended my frame to reach the edges of the whole card front! I sponged a bit of blue ink round the edges of the design and then masked the centre off with a die cut heart and sponged more blue ink round that too.
 
 
I cut an extra heart and stamped it with a sentiment from Altenew's Birthday Greeting, then cut another heart and stacked them together for extra dimension. This was offset over the masked heart in the centre of the card front and some clear gems added for a bit of sparkle.

Okay, so now it's your turn! Do hop over to the The Flower Challenge blog where my team mates have made some spectacular cards to inspire you. When you're ready to share your own floral creation with us, you'll find the Linky Tool at the bottom of the post. You have until 25th to join in - have fun!

CHALLENGES
I was inspired by AAA birthday where the team would like to see our birthday cards feature a heart; I'm also linking up with the Stencil Fun Challenge which has an optional theme of Love/Hearts; Hearts are Mervi's optional theme at Allsorts and it's the word prompt at Inkspirational so I'm also joining in with those challenges. 
 

AND IN OTHER NEWS
My eldest son popped round to visit the other day and presented me with a large bag of chilli crinkle crisps. It is true that I'm a fiend for hot, spicy foods and I received the gift with becoming pleasure and gratitude. My son then told me cheerfully that he'd bought them for himself but that he'd just remembered that I liked them! Men really are a different species aren't they? Or 'specie' as my other son would say!

Sending hugs,

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Roses are red

Hello, crafting friends!
 
With Valentine's Day on the horizon I thought it was time to get into the spirit of romance, and what better way than a bouquet of red roses and a wedding or ruby wedding anniversary card!
 

I'm having a wonderful time using my new goodies in the Craft Square Metre! The background of this card was made with The Greetery's Ribbon Maker Large Scallop die. I had seen the DT use the die in this way and fell in love with the look! The card is a lovely suede look cream card that I've had for years (and sadly have very little left.) I cut the scalloped pieces and glued them onto copier paper before trimming to size.


The other new item I'm using is my new Arteza brush pens and oh! I have fallen head over heels with these too! I used them with a water brush to colour these roses from a favourite older set: Modern Roses from WPlus9. I've also found a proper white watercolour paper at Crafters Companion and it's superb.
 
While waiting for the roses and leaves to dry, I stamped a sentiment from Uniko's Simply Said Blocks, and snipped it out. Everything was then arranged on the background and glued in place, then the background was attached to a card base.
 
CHALLENGES
I'm linking this card up at We love Stamping where Hilary has chosen the optional theme of Romance; At the Alphabet Challenge, W is for Weddings so I'm joining in there too., as well as at Try it on Tuesday  where the theme is Hearts and/or Flowers. The background die and the watercolour brush pens are brand spanking new so I'm also off to Darnell's NBUS Challenge to play :)
 

AND IN OTHER NEWS
I'm afraid I can't stay to chat today as I have two chocolate labs to deal with. Someone seems to have swapped my golden girls for them... thank goodness for my kind neighbour giving me those extra dog towels!!

Sending hugs,

Saturday 10 February 2024

One layer sprigs and splatters

Hello, crafting friends!
 
When I get Christmas or birthday money, I immediately run my inner eye over all the craft items I could treat myself to! How about you? This year, after Christmas, I splurged on a some of my favourite stamps and dies from The Greetery (Seven Hills Crafts is the exclusive Greetery retailer in the UK. You're welcome!) Fleur Impressions was one of the stamp sets:


The set contains beautifully drawn roses and other flowers which feel beautifully romantic when used in clusters together. But when I was having a play the other day, I came up with a design using just one of the flower sprigs. I stamped the design from the bottom, filling in either side, and leaving a space for a birthday sentiment.
 

To make the flower sprig you stamp the stalk and leaf image, then you stamp the flowers, then finish with a detail stamp  - and everything is really easy to line up.
 

The sentiment is a favourite from Clearly Besotted which fit perfectly in the space. I used a waterbased marker to add yellow centres to the flowers and splattered some matching ink for some extra movement.

CHALLENGES
Beautiful Blossoms has a lovely blue floral mood board and I'm linking up there, and also at their birthday celebration post - congratulations on your first birthday ladies! Glenda's Topping at Seize the Birthday this month is Splatters so lots of fun to be had there too! The stamp set I used is Never Before Used Schtuff so I'm joining in at Darnells NBUS challenge. I'm also playing along with the Anything Goes option at Allsorts this week.
 

AND IN OTHER NEWS
My neighbour has been having a clear out and hesitantly asked me if I needed any dog towels. I think she was a little taken aback by the enthusiasm of my reply! But it has rained for the last day and a half and that's all it took for the countryside to flood again. One day I'll come in and try to take my wellies off, only to find that they are welded onto my legs!! The girls are not complaining of course...

 
... the fun Water World play park is back - YAY!!

Sending hugs,

Tuesday 6 February 2024

Snippety hellibores

Hello, crafting friends!
 
The other day, the postman came to my house with an exciting package full of stamps and dies. It was a bumper prize from The Snippets Playground that I was lucky enough to win in the draw when we were celebrating 12 years of the lovely Miss Di wielding the keys to The Playground. It was thrilling to examine each item and think about what I could do with it but, because the goodies are Christmas-themed, I have put them to the back of the NBUS box for an fun-filled moment when I'm ready for some festive action! Before I did so though, I spotted a little single hellibore in a Crafters Companion Christmas stamp set...
 

... and I thought I'd rustle up a card with not a fleck of glitter or tinsel to be seen! I stamped the flower in pale pink ink, multiple times on white card snippets, then coloured them with markers, fussy cut them and set them aside. I didn't know what hellibore leaves looked like so I looked them up and found they were similar to passion flower leaves. Bingo! Out came my Uniko Passiflora stamp set!
 

The leaves from the set were stamped onto a card base in two shades of green ink. The hellibore flower heads were arranged over the leaves. I glued them down once I was satisfied with the arrangement, trimming the overhang at the edges of the card base with paper snips.
 

The sentiment is a favourite from a long-retired SU set. I stamped it first in black ink using my stamping platform, then in the dark green ink to create a very dark shade of the green - don't know if you can see that on your screen. I find this is a good way to tie a sentiment into a coloured image.
 

Here are the snippets I used - the off cut strips were the perfect size for the hellibores! I only used one strip in the end, so look out for another hellibore card here soon!!

CHALLENGES
I'm nipping over to The Snippets Playground with my homework and will take advantage of the warmer weather to have a go on the swings. Head Prefect Sarn mentioned there might be hot chocolate in the tree house so I've got some squirty cream and sprinkles in my satchel! Come and join me!


I'm also joining in with the fun bingo grid at Allsorts, choosing the Distress Ink/Green/Flowers diagonal from top left.

AND IN OTHER NEWS
I'm afraid the golden girls found a dead squirrel out on our walk today so I've had to go for a lie down on a chaise longue with the smelling salts at hand. All my 'Give' training paid off and I managed to get the corpse off Lulu (with a poo bag serving as a makeshift glove) and I chucked it over the hedge. Off we went, with the girls on lead until we got round the corner. I thought I had dodged a bullet but as the path looped round, Lulu suddenly broke away and galloped towards the Scene of the Crime! She returned shortly afterwards with the wretched squirrel in her mouth... I know when I'm beaten so I just hurried away with Eva on lead and Lulu followed us and finally dropped her prize. Relating this story to my youngest son on the phone later, he laughed and said she'd probably convinced herself that she had tracked the squirrel for three days and had fearlessly attacked and overcome it all by herself! Bit like those fishermen who have always caught a massive fish but er... threw it back in the water of course!!

Sending hugs,