Friday, 14 May 2021

When life gives you eucalyptus leaves...

Hello, crafting friends!

I had a moment of inspiration today and made a quick card while the going was good! It's still pretty gloomy around here but I'm hanging on to my mediterranean dream with these oranges and lemons, tumbling past a sun-warmed terracotta wall...

... But wait, I don't have any oranges or lemon stamps in my stash! These citrus fruits are in fact eucalyptus leaves from Concord & 9th's Beautiful Branches. Honestly, this has to be one of the most versatile stamp sets I own - the eucalyptus leaves have also been lanterns (here) and sunflowers (here) and the rest of the set has worked very hard indeed too (here, and keep scrolling down for more.)

To make this card, I stamped two different shapes of the leaves onto a card panel and coloured them with coloured pencils. The stamps are textured which really helps give the effect of dimpled citrus skin. I added leaves from one of last year's Stampin' Up Sale-a-bration sets, and doodled stems in with a fineliner pen.

To finish, I scribbled in a loose watercolour background with a paintbrush and diluted ink. When it was dry, I added one of the sentiments from Beautiful Branches and a sprinkling of clear gems before attaching it to a card base with dimensional pads.

Inspired By has inspired me again with both the inspiration photo and the sketch! I'm also joining in with Happy Little Stampers' watercolour challenge.

While our children were growing up, it was a family tradition to go out to a restaurant on birthdays - and the birthday boy or girl got to choose where. We have a wonderful Indian restaurant near to us which was a popular choice even when they were small, and they took to spicy dishes from a young age too! My youngest son used to love the lemon and orange sorbet there, served in the fruit itself and decorated with other fruits and cocktail umbrellas! He alternated them and could always remember which flavour he'd had the last time he was there!

Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, 13 May 2021

Hot flowers

Hello, crafting friends!

I found time for a little stamping and colouring today - always very relaxing and therapeutic. It's a one layer card. I always love making these and seeing how much dimension I can get going with just colour and shading and, in the case of this card, a bit of stencilling too!

I started by sponging a little orange ink into the 'sea' section of Funky Fossil's Scenic Borders -  using it vertically makes it perfect for an abstract pattern rather than the waves it was intended to be. One of the flowers from Clearly Besotted's Fresh Flowers was stamped over the top using the same orange ink for the no line look.

My oil-based coloured pencils are one of my favourite ways to colour an image at the moment. I selected some reds and oranges and set to work blending. The sentiment is an ancient Stampin' Up one that I found the other day and fell in love with all over again! I underlined it with one of the pencils I'd used on the flower for a little extra interest.

I'm joining in at Color Hues, where the hues in question are Red and Orange, and Try It On Tuesday where the theme is Make It Feminine.

It's been pouring with rain today here in the heart of England, and I've been drenched several times. Eva thought it was great larks of course! Perhaps that influenced my choice of colour - that flower looks as if it grows somewhere hot! Looking on the bright side, I managed to cut the grass and do a bit of planting yesterday, so all today's rain is going to be of great benefit in the garden!

Sending hugs,

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Special Delivery by snail mail

Hello, crafting friends!

If you've arrived here looking for some inspiration, I hope that the new challenge at CAS Colours and Sketches will tickle your fancy! Our host, Samantha, is challenging us to use the new mini slimline card format (6 1/4" wide and 3 1/2" high) and has given us a great sketch to inspire us:

I have never used this size card before and enjoyed the novelty! I started the card by sponging a little distress ink into the Postage Frame stencil by Funky Fossil. It wasn't wide enough to do in one go, but the design is very easy to line up. I used washi tape to create the horizontal line across the card base - and if you look closely in the photo you can see that I trimmed my customised envelope with the same tape.

The stamped images are from Funky Fossil's Snail Mail. I stamped the 'special delivery' sentiment repeatedly across an offcut of card stock, using my stamping platform to keep the words straight and to create regular spacing between them. This was layered over the washi strip. I stamped one of the cute snails from the set, doodled a gift, coloured both with coloured pencils and fussy cut them before attaching them to  the card.

So now it's your turn! The team has pulled out all the stops to inspire you so do check out all the inspiration at the CAS Colours and Sketches challenge blog. You'll find the Linky Tool there too so that you can share your creation to our gallery. You have until 11pm BST, Monday 17th May 2021. I can't wait to see what you come up with - but don't forget to keep it clean and simple!

The Day of the Month Card Club challenge is celebrating National Escargot Day this month so I'll be taking my cheerful little gastropod over there to join in the festivities!

My way of organising myself is to write everything down on a wall calendar - birthdays, appointments, dog walks, meet ups with friends and family... it all goes on The Calendar! I keep them so that I can go back and check when things happened too. I was looking at 2016 this morning and I noticed that someone else had written in one of the spaces. On the 20th June, there was a Full Moon apparently, and my daughter had written one word: Arroooooo!

Sending hugs,

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Using a die as a stencil

Hello, crafting friends!

Like most crafters, I see other people's work and am inspired to try their techniques. Today's card was inspired by this card by my bloggy pal Nancy. I loved the way she coloured individual parts of her stencil using small brushes and ink, so I decided to replicate the idea using a large floral die to create a stencil, and coloured pencils instead of ink.

What do you think? It took some time but I am delighted with the way it turned out - it reminds me of some kind of vintage silk fabric! I used a whole rainbow of blended colours and it seems so cheerful :)

I used the die, Country Garden by Gemini, to make my own stencil out of ordinary card stock. It's large enough to cover a whole card front but I masked off a section of it using sticky notes. When I had finished the stencilling, I trimmed the panel with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodle.

The sentiment is from Stampin' Up but is so old that I have no idea which set it comes from! I thought the curviness of it went rather well with the floral design.

The theme at CAS Mix Up this month is to use stencilling with a rainbow of colours so I shall link up there; I'm also joining in at Happy Little Stampers die challenge as well as Happy Little Stampers stencil challenge where Anything Goes; Anything Goes at Stamplorations' Stencil challenge too, so I'm playing along there as well.

During that wet and horrid old winter, I had forgotten just how enjoyable it is walking the dogs - and I think some of them might have forgotten too! Today, I took Eva on a local walk up a disused railway line and around the perimeter of our small market town. It wasn't particularly sunny but there was some real warmth in the air and we just carried on walking for the sheer pleasure of it. We came to a spot where the river runs swiftly over large stones - a favourite place for Eva to take a dip :)

While she was swimming, I noticed we had company. It's an egret - a species that has become quite a common sighting around here in the last decade or so. They are much less shy than herons - this one is fishing in an area that gets a fair few walkers, not to mention their canine companions. Eva was totally uninterested in the egret. If it had been a duck now... but I am always VERY careful to check the river for ducks, especially around breeding season!

Sending hugs,

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Aim high little guy!

Hello, crafting friends!

Happy Saturday and welcome to another fun challenge at Addicted to CAS. Fran is our hostess for the next two weeks and she has chosen a fun code word:

She has also found the gap in my stash! I don't have any bug stamps unless bees count - do they? The loosest definition is 'an insect or creature that resembles an insect' so I guess bees DO count! But I went in a different direction.

To set the scene, I used two sticky notes to form blades of grass and sponged green ink into them. I added additional background grass by sponging the ink into the grass on Funky Fossil's Scenic Borders stencil. I know I do this a lot, but I make no apology for adding a burst of sunshine courtesy of Clearly Besotted's Sunny Day stencil - after all, we need as much sunshine as possible in our lives!

The ladybird was a punched circle of red card stock. I cut part of it away and added a black head and spots with a fineliner pen - simple! I had my bug trundling up the tallest blade of grass and added an ancient Stampin' Up sentiment which I thought was appropriate. I trimmed my panel out with my favourite Heffy Doodle stitched rectangle die before attaching it to a card base.

And now it's your turn! We would be so happy to see your clean and simple bug cards filling up our gallery! The team has produced its usual amazing inspiration, so hop over to the Addicted to CAS challenge blog to take a look and to link up your own CAS creation via the Linky Tool there.

Time Out's latest challenge is Move and although my little bug is not a very fast mover, you can see that he is trundling his way to the top! There's some sad news from Time Out: My lovely bloggy pal Sandie, who has run the challenge so brilliantly for 7 years, is having to step down for health reasons. You can read her farewell message on the blog and I'm sure she would appreciate you leaving a message of support. 

Today's card reminds me of a time when I was a girl, helping my father bring sheep into the farmyard from the far fields. We were all assigned a place to stand along the way, so that we could head the sheep into the lane as they came past. M field was quite near the farm so I had quite a wait on my own. It was a lovely warm sunny day and I lay back in the grass. I have never forgotten that moment as I became super aware of everything going on: the sun on my skin, the buzzing of insects in the grass, the rustle of a breeze in the trees, a burst of bird song - the first time I had really understood what a miracle all of nature really is.

Do you remember having a moment like that?

Sending hugs,

Friday, 7 May 2021

If you go down to the woods today...

Hello, crafting friends!

What's your favourite flower? I've been pondering that question all week and have come to the conclusion that it depends on the time of the year and my mood! I just love all flowers. I'm paying tribute to the bluebell today because I just happen to have been walking up in the woods again and seriously, is there anything more magnificent than a carpet of bluebells stretching as far as the eye can see and scenting the air with sweetness?

I started this card by painting some blocks of blue onto a panel and, when it was dry, stamping the bluebell image from Clearly Besotted's Fresh Flowers over them.

The bluebell was coloured with coloured pencils  and I added some splatters of diluted ink before trimming the panel with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodle.

To finish, I stamped a sentiment from Concord & 9th's Beautiful Branches and added a sprinkling of sequins, following the curve of the flower. The panel was matted onto dark blue card stock and attached to a card base.

The inspirations for this card were Amy's sketch at Freshly Made Sketches, the Periwinkly colour theme at The Rainbow Challenge and of course the Use Your Favourite Flower challenge at The Flower Challenge.

I'm practically living in my local bluebell woods...

... well wouldn't you?! The contrast between the flowers and the lime green of the new beech leaves is breathtaking.

Sending hugs,

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

Simply thank you

Hello, crafting friends!

Welcome back to CAS Colours and Sketches where we have a brand new hostess (hello Samantha!) and a gorgeous colour combination for you to play with.

Reflecting the Pantone colours of the year, these are bang on trend, so I've used them to give some of my older stamp sets a fresh new twist!

To start my simple one layer card, I sponged yellow ink into Funky Fossil's Arched Window stencil, holding it upside down to make a tag shape at the top of a card base. Next came the sentiment, from the retired Letterpress Winter by Stampin' Up, positioned in my stamping platform and stamped in the darker grey.

I masked off the sentiment and used the lighter grey to stamp the flower and a leaf from Uniko's You Are Yes You above it. Coloured pencils were used to colour the petals and as a finishing touch, I added a shadow to one side of the tag to give it a bit more dimension, and a couple of clear dots.

Are you ready to join in with this week's challenge? As always, there is some wonderful inspiration over at the challenge blog where my team mates have pulled out all  the stops. You'll find the Linky Tool there too and will be able to link up your own creation. Don't forget to keep it clean and simple!

Normally, I look for a sketch or photo inspiration to get me started with a card but today I was inspired by the arched window stencil which made me think of a tag! I'm joining in with AAA cards' Up To One Third challenge and choosing not to go with the optional twist this time.

The weekend just gone has been the May Day holiday weekend across the UK and we celebrated with a lovely long walk in the sunshine in a local woods famous for its bluebells. We were all - even Eva - quite tired by the end of it. 

Most of the weekend was warm and dry but on Monday strong winds and showers made our walks much brisker and my crafting more extensive! There has been some damage in the garden which has saddened me - watching everything come out has been so rewarding. But the plants have time to grow back so all is not lost.

Hope you've enjoyed your weekend too. Sending hugs,

Sunday, 2 May 2021

In memory of Ruby the Westie

Hello, crafting friends!

I am very proud to be guesting at Pixies Snippets Playground today, particularly because it is a Ruby's Memory challenge. Ruby was a little Westie rescued by Lynne In NI, one of the Playground's regulars. The little dog was a much-loved family member for many years before sadly passing in December last year. With permission from Lynne, Di from the Playground decided to set up a challenge in her memory, where players could donate prizes and Di would match the amount as a donation to the charity that rescued Ruby.

The challenge is to make a card using up snippets of paper and/or card and any other little snippets you might have lying about. My card uses the last of some free papers I got from this year's Stampin' Up Sale-a-bration promotion. 

I loved the leafy paper and this is the very last piece! It was trimmed to size with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodle. The sentiment is from WPlus9's Strictly Sentiments 2, stamped on an offcut of white card and cut out with a nesting label die from The Works. I've definitely stamped it wonkily but, as I said to Di, that seems appropriate for the times we're living in!

The flowers are cut out of another of the papers and I think they look so chubby and cheerful! There's always a design in a pack of papers that you're not so keen on and cutting elements out of it can often be a great way to use it.

As a little extra, I made a little Sour Cream container with another off-cut of paper and decorated it with one of the left-over cut-out flowers. These take very little paper and are so useful as gift wrapping for small gifts.

The prizes I donated are the sentiment set I used on my card, as well as the cutest little doggy set from Clearly Besotted called Dog Years.  To win them, you simply need to complete three steps:

• Use the Linky Tool there to enter ONE card using snippets of designer paper and/or card
• Leave a comment stating that you'd like to enter the prize draw. 

I'm linking this card up with Dawn's Occasions challenge at Watercooler Wednesday. Addicted to Stamps and More also have an Any Occasion challenge so I'm also playing along there.

About four months ago, we met a little dog on the fields at the back of our house. She was found with her siblings in a cardboard box, abandoned on a Romanian street, and was rescued, brought to England and homed with a lady who lives locally. When we met this pup, she was terrified, hiding in a hedge and barking hysterically. I have never known any dog be able to resist Eva though and, sure enough, this little dog quickly understood that she was no threat. Humans though were a different matter and the dog made it quite clear that I was to keep my distance. It has been four months since we first met this dog and I can report that yesterday, for the first time, she came up to me, tail wagging, and allowed me to pet her. I am as proud as can be!

Sending hugs,

Saturday, 1 May 2021

The happiness of having pets

Hello, crafting friends!

I have had SO much fun crafting this afternoon! I took out my NBUS Let's Stay Home stamp set by Sugarpea and thought I'd make a quick card with it. And, what seems like hours later, I have made a card ;)

Just look at that pure little puss cat asleep on the chair. We always used to say that a house was not a home if it didn't have at least one cat curled up on a chair - and then we got a dog, but that's another story! What took the time with this card was creating the scene for the little kitty. I had the urge to do some paperpiecing so I spent a long time finding suitable bits of designer paper for the chair and cushions. I really, really want a yellow dotty chair like that now!

I stamped the cat, shaded her with a very pale blue alcohol marker and fussy cut her before settling her in the chair. The window has been made by inking part of Funky Fossil's Arched Window stencil. The rug was stamped, coloured and masked so that I could ink in a floor and I added floorboards with a fineliner pen; I stamped the table from the set and added a pot plant to it. The window was masked off so that I could 'paint' the walls a cheerful pale yellow. The final touches were a book left on the floor and a sentiment from Uniko's Simply Said Blocks.

I'm joining in at Time Out Challenges where the theme is Pets and also with Seize the Birthday where it's a birthday theme with the optional Topping of Furry Friends; I'm also linking up at Addicted to Stamps and More where there's an Any Occasion challenge, and NBUS, the place to share your Never Before Used Schtuff!

Today's card made me smile because it reminded me of a thing that our cat Tuppence (sadly no longer with us) used to do. You'd be sitting somewhere and would just get up to get something, and when you returned a minute later, Tuppence would be curled up in your chair. The hilarious thing was she would appear to be so deeply asleep that you almost doubted that you had been sitting there at all!!

Hope you're having a lovely weekend! Sending hugs,

Friday, 30 April 2021

A twofer for a diamond fella!

Hello, crafting friends!

After a tricky few days of nothing going right in the Craft Square Metre, I finally produced a card that didn't get thrown in the bin!

It's a masculine card which nods both to the season, with its pastel colours, and to the game of golf, with its Pringle sweater-esque motif. You won't believe how long this took to make... 

... BUT, I'm pleased to say that  I rescued quite a lot of the duds so this is a very 'use up the leftovers' kind of card :) The panel was cut from a ruined card base that I'd been trying to stencil diamonds on with pencils. The pencil didn't show through so I was able to trim it out with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodle and stamp and heat emboss the plain side with a sentiment from Altenew's Birthday Greetings.

I had tried to make a pattern of diamonds with my Funky Fossil Trellis Background stencil but I couldn't get my pattern to work at all so there was quite a lot of waste! In the end, I used scissors to cut out some of the pencilled, stencilled diamonds and glued three of them beneath the sentiment. Then I used a diamond die from the Spellbinder Optical Illusion Geo dies and cut some more diamonds from snippets of designer paper which I positioned over the top of the larger plain diamonds.

I had just managed to make the Less is More deadline when I realised it was one layer week. Anyone else ever done that I wonder... lol! Well, inspiration suddenly hit again so I made another card which took a lot less time.

I remembered an ancient SU builder wheel with an argyle pattern on it, which I'd unmounted. I used neutral ink to stamp that directly onto a card base, off the edge, and coloured the little diamonds with coloured pencils.

The sentiment is from Clearly Besotted's Simply Said. I stamped it partially over the top using Stazon ink, keeping all the stamping within a one inch strip. There! Job done!

I'm linking Card One up with The Snippets Playground, after rescuing all those snippets; and Dawn's Occasions challenge at Watercooler Wednesday. I'm linking Card yTwo up with Less is More's One Layer Diamonds challenge and AAA Cards' One Inch Strip challenge - that strip was carefully measured!

My crafting is done in my living room and I have made the biggest mess I have ever made, with trimmers, die cutting machines, stamps, colouring materials and off cuts of paper strewn about everywhere. If there's any relaxing going to be happening in there this evening I had better get it cleared up rather than hanging about here chatting!

Sending hugs,