Saturday 20 April 2024

An Oxide Experiment

Hello, crafting friends!
I had some time to play today so I brought out my new distress oxide inks, a present from my youngest son. He is not only very good at getting me to waffle on about my latest craft enthusiasms, but is also a total nerd who became very excited himself when told about the reactive nature of these hybrid inks!

I know I'm late to the distress oxide party but I was particularly excited about the opacity of the ink. It means light colours show up on darker card, and this card was an experiment to see what would happen if I used the inks with a stencil. I chose a dark yellow card for my background panel and blended Spun Sugar and Picked Raspberry inks into Uniko's Gerbera stencil. I added Squeezed Lemonade to the seeds in the flower centre and also sponged a little round the edges of the panel.

After that, I masked the flower and added some stamped lines (but wish I had used a tone on tone dark yellow instead of the black!) The sentiment from Clearly Besotted's Simply Said fits nicely in the lines though :) Before mounting the panel on a card base, I sponged Spun Sugar ink round the edges of the card front. The card was embellished with some delicate iridescent sequins from SU.
I used Hannelie's Yellow and Pink palette at Color Hues so I'm linking up there; also at the Stencil Fun Challenge where there's an optional theme of Spring/Flowers; The Sisterhood of Crafters' latest challenge is Showers or Flowers which amused me :D

Drier weather has come at last and I am giddy with it! The golden girls and I are able to do longer walks and there's no need for any spa baths or even foot baths. What more could we ask for?

Perhaps, says Lulu, we could get a real puppy...? Don't tempt me Lulu, don't tempt me!!!

Sending hugs,

Monday 15 April 2024

The accidental card

Hello, crafting friends!
We're halfway through our challenge at The Flower Challenge and we'd love to see your card in the gallery! Layers are the theme this month.

My card was a total accident! For another project, I'd cut a panel with a cover die called Country Garden by Gemini. It needs a shim but I'd forgotten about that, so had ended up with an uncut version. My Arteza watercolour brush pens were (as usual!) out on the table so I amused myself by using some pretty spring colours with a little water and a paint brush to colour the image. It was just ordinary card stock so I wasn't expecting it to work, but I quite liked the result and it was just right for layering.

I used a small flower die to cut daisies out of snippets of white card. These were layered over the largest flowers and I found enamel dots in different colours and sizes to decorate the other flowers. The panel was then attached to a card base.

My final layer is a frame from the UFO box which had been cut from white card with a double stitched rectangle die. I backed the frame with foam tape for a bit of extra dimension. The sentiment is from MFT's All Occasion Sentiments, stamped on a snippet of white card, cut out and popped up on dimensional pads.

Okay, so it's your turn! My talented team mates have made some gorgeous cards to inspire you and you'll find them over on The Flower Challenge blog post. You'll find the Linky Tool at the bottom of the post too and can use it to share your own layered floral creation with us. You have until April 25 and we can't wait to see what you make!
I'm off to The Snippets Playground with this card! Sorry I didn't take photos of my snippets because I didn't know it was going to be a snippets card but the floral panel was a rescued failed die cut, the frame was a left over, and all the other elements were snippets of white card.

Lulu is in the doghouse! We'd had a locksmith round and I asked him if he'd make a fuss of the dogs before I shut them in the kitchen while he got on with his work. Once Eva knows who is in the house she is fine, and Lulu took her lead from Eva so there was no barking at all. When the locksmith left, I released the dogs and praised them for their excellent behaviour. I then got on with cleaning the living room. I wanted to give it a good sweeping to get rid of any dog hair, so I popped the pups out in the garden so they wouldn't walk in the sweepings. But twice in a row proved to be a step too far for young Lulu...

... and she had started digging a hole before I noticed and was able to stop her! Very frustrating but totally my fault for pushing her further than she could cope with. She will now need to be supervised carefully in the garden so that behaviour is not repeated. Sigh!

Sending hugs,

Sunday 14 April 2024

Inspired by primulas

Hello, crafting friends!
I have been looking after a friend's cat while she (the friend, not the cat!) swanned off in search of fun and sunshine. To welcome her home, I arranged a bunch of spring flowers and made a card to go with them. I was short of time, so this is a very quick but cheery card, just right for the back-from-holiday blues.

I reached for a retired Stampin' Up set called Bloom by Bloom, which I've never inked up. It is absolutely perfect for quick stamping! The large flower reminded me of the bright pink primulas which come out in my garden at this time of year, with their happy yellow centres :) I stamped a pattern using a group of three of the flowers to anchor it, and positioned a bold sentiment from Pinkfresh Studio's Perfect Sentiments in the centre.

The panel was trimmed to size with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodle and I mounted it on a Bermnuda Bay panel cut slightly larger. This was attached to a card front and decorated with a few matching gems.

The bright colour palette is from Claire's challenge at the Paper Players this week; I'm also linking up at Little Red Wagon where Kate wants us to be inspired by a photo (see In Other News below); and, since this set is seeing ink for the first time, I am visiting Darnell's NBUS Challenge

I have a really tiny garden but I take great pleasure in it. It has a tiny patch of grass, just big enough for a pair of golden retrievers to sunbathe on, which I 'mow' with a little handheld electronic gadget. I don't like the look of naked fence, so I have grown ivy up the fences which attracts loads of little birds for feeding and nesting. And there are flowers (although never enough!) which brighten my days throughout the year :) There's the bright pink primula which inspired today's card and which was one of the first things I planted 23 years ago when we moved here. 

It has self seeded and the one in this photo has settled on the edge of the gravel path. It's not the ideal spot as we trip over it on the way to the water tap, but I thought it was so friendly growing there, close to the house, that I've let it remain.

Sending hugs,

Thursday 11 April 2024

It's a wonderful life

Hello, crafting friends!
Lorraine at Allsorts Challenge has chosen a theme very close to my heart this week: For the Love of Animals. "It would be great to see entries with the animals we have as pets," she says on the post. Say no more Lorraine, I need absolutely no encouragement!

As a golden retriever owner, you'd think my shelves would be groaning with retriever stamps, but no. Stamp manufacturers don't seem to understand that these are the best dogs in the world (this may actually be just my own biased opinion!) and golden retriever images are sadly few and far between. I do have a Penny Black set though, called Doggone Sweet, which does represent my pair of rascals pretty well! 
The dog nearest the hedge is Eva. At nearly ten years old she is the sensible one of the pair and occasionally demonstrates this. She has no toys near her - we, the humans, are her toys! She plays us for fools all day long, taking breaks for well-earned snoozles. If we aren't available, Eva does like to tear apart a toy sometimes, imagining herself to be a great huntress, and if we have guests she likes to rummage about in the laundry basket and parade through the room showing off our oldest underwear!

We adopted Lulu last year. She was four years old and will be five in June. She still behaves like a puppy despite my efforts to train her to be a Grown Up Lady Dog. She expends a lot of energy chasing things and trying to communicate her urgent desire for snacks, so she needs plenty of naps too. She loves a ball and her little plushie toys and uses them as a comfort blankie when she gets confused about life. Her sleep style is pretty much always on her back with her paws all over the place. Both dogs' hobbies include getting wet and muddy, snacking, rolling in nefarious stuff and pretending they have no idea what 'No' means.

The card is very simple: edges of card base masked off with low tack tape; dogs stamped and masked; sky and foreground sponged in; hedge and trees stamped with retired SU sets; masks removed and dogs coloured and detail added with ink and paintbrush. The sentiment, from an old Clearly Besotted set, was chosen with a chuckle - there aren't any days that aren't wonderful in these dogs lives. The worst that happens is that Mum goes out for an hour or two to replenish stores of Meaty Chunks and Fishy Treats!!
I'm linking this card up with Allsorts but also Stamping Sensations, where I've been inspired by the spring mood board, and We Love Stamping where the theme is also Spring. Double D's challenge this month is Cute Little Animals and although I explained to the golden girls that they are NOT little, they insisted that they are extremely cute and practically handbag dogs, so I'm joining in there too ;)

I've been very light-hearted about the dogs but when Lulu came to us, she was very stressed, had lost a lot of weight and was really scared to be in new surroundings. She had begun to be reactive around other dogs and had to be toilet trained all over again. She didn't want to let me out of her sight and barked her head off if I left the house. She slept on the bed right from the beginning and would wake multiple times in the night whimpering. I would just cuddle her until she fell back to sleep. Eva is not a dog that likes to be in close contact with other dogs but gradually, she began to help to comfort Lulu. They bonded on our daily long walks which really helped Lulu to unwind and let go of her fears. This is a (very bad, sorry!) photo of her in the early weeks cuddling up at night with Eva and with a stuffed toy as her comfort blankie.

Today, she has put on weight and become beautifully fluffy! She knows our routine and is no longer stressed. We have just come back from a long walk and she has swum and fetched sticks from the river and frolicked about with Eva. We met several dogs and she greeted each of them calmly with a friendly wag and a sniff. On the way back I bumped into a lady I know with a lab and a wolfhound, and we all walked back together while the dogs sniffed and played. I am so proud of Lulu's progress and of Eva who has helped to rehabilitate her sister.

Thank you for reading my ramblings about my beloved dogs! Sending hugs,

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Floral notes

Hello, crafting friends!
There's a new colour challenge in Blogland! It's called AAA Colourful and is the sister challenge to AAA Cards and AAA Birthday which we all know and love. The challenges start mid-month and close on the 14th so there's time to join in. Come on you crafters - let's show some support!

I missed the first challenge but here is the mood board for this month and I couldn't resist these gorgeous colours. Here's what I made:

There was a discarded piece of white card that had been die cut with an Arch die on my table, so I stamped it with Waffle Flower's Poppy Hawthorn stamp set which was also out on my desk. (Do you think I should clear up?!) I coloured the flowers with Arteza  watercolour brush pens (also out on my table!!) and left the panel to dry.

Meanwhile, I trimmed a piece of Stampin' Up gingham DSP to size and glued it to a card base, adding a coordinating strip of card on the top. The dry floral panel was stamped with a sentiment and a line and secured to the card front with dimensional pads.

I'll be linking this card up at AAA Colourful :)

Eva has disgraced herself I'm afraid. We went for a walk at a location we haven't been to for a long time and she was so excited she had a little roll in something very foxy indeed. The drive home was a little er, 'fragrant' and I don't think my OH will be coming out with us again for a while! After a full shampoo and blow dry, normal nasal service was resumed, but Eva looked like this:

Sending hugs,

Saturday 6 April 2024

Special Delivery

Hello, crafting friends!
A rummage in my card drawer revealed that I have no baby cards left and I am going to be needing some by the summer! After a further investigation in my stash, I came to the conclusion that I needed some new stamps! The beautiful Waffle Flower set I used today was a bargain find and I am delighted with it! Come and see:

The set comes with a solid background and some stamps to fill in the gaps, which makes it very versatile. I used Spun Sugar distress oxide ink for the background - a stamping platform is a must for even coverage here! - and coloured in the flowers and leaves with Arteza brush pens and a white Posca acrylic paint pen.

The adorable little bird was stamped on a snippet of white card. I added details with the paint pen and a black fineliner, then fussy cut him and popped him up on dimensional pads. The card was finished with some pale green enamel dots.
I can't wait to play with this set some more!

Krafty Chicks latest challenge is to use Stamps so I'm linking up there; I was inspired by the pastel colour theme at Colourful Options - I adore a pastel colour scheme! Triple B are celebrating Blooms Birds and Butterflies as usual, so I'm joining in there as well. Special Delivery is a new stamp set to me so I shall pop over to Darnells NBUS Challenge with this card :)

After a lovely walk in the sunshine today, the golden girls and I were able to relax in the garden for a bit. Eva is my cover girl today and what a beauty she is!

She is the sweetest girl who loves people and other dogs and makes friends wherever she goes. She has enjoyed her training and is pretty reliable now - in fact it's hard to remember that when she was Lulu's age, she had only just settled down from being a terrible wild puppy!

Sending hugs,

Thursday 4 April 2024

Playing with layers

Hello, crafting friends!
Welcome back to The Flower Challenge where we are going for layers this month!
I'm not usually very comfortable with lots of layers, but I've gone all out on this card with a layered background and a spring bouquet layered up with foliage and flowers!

The design started with a neutral background, layered with a strip of an ancient SU paper. I trimmed this to size with a stitched rectangle die from Heffy Doodle and stamped the bottom corner with my sentiment from Pinkfresh Studio's Perfect Sentiments.

The bouquet was made up of the Greetery's Inside Out foliage dies, cut from black card; and the Wildflower dies, also from the Greetery, cut from white card and coloured with inks and daubers and coloured pencils. I glued everything in place and finished with a rustic twine bow.

Okay, now it's your turn! Do hop over to The Flower Challenge blog won't you - there is some incredible inspiration from the design team! When you're ready to share your own design, you can use the Linky Tool at the bottom of the post. Do make sure flowers are the focus of your design and have fun creating!

I'm linking this card up with Seize the Birthday where Linda has chosen the Topping of Spring Floral. Also Addicted to Stamps and More where the challenge is to Use Dies and/or Stencils.
There's lots of talk about spring but, after a reprieve of a day or two, the rain and the mud is back :/ But the golden girls don't mind a mucky walk and they get to have a spa treatment or two afterwards before a cordon bleu dinner in the Kitchen Restaurant and relaxation in The Lounge Area.

Lulu wonders what happened to those cucumber slices for her eyes...? You ate them Lulu!

Sending hugs,

Wednesday 3 April 2024

An accident and a snippety save

Hello, crafting friends!
Things have gone quite quiet here after the Easter celebrations and more rain has driven me back indoors. But the great thing is that my NBUS box contains some pretty florals I have been saving for a rainy day! One of my favourite ways to relax at the moment is to sit and watercolour flowers, so I pulled out some inks and Poppy Hawthorn from Waffle Flower and settled in.

The flower cluster was stamped with Stampin' Up's Sea Foam ink and the leaves and flowers watercoloured with Garden Green and Flirty Flamingo. When it was dry I fussy cut it, intending to lay it across a card base. But then I thought it would be better on a classic stitched rectangle panel and decided it would be a nice touch to trim the side of the flower cluster with the stitched rectangle die so it would look as if was part of the panel. I had to use the partial die cutting technique for this and I'm not sure whether it was because I was doing it in the semi dark or whether I'm just a Fool of the West, but it all went horribly wrong and I cut all sorts of bits off the flower cluster that I hadn't intended to!!

After all that watercolouring, there was no way it was all going in the bin so I sat down and, after a bit of arranging, head-scratching and re-arranging, I ended up with this...

... which was much nicer than what I was intending to do!

The flowers are layered up in the corner of the panel with a few stray leaves snipped off and tucked in. I finished off with a pretty 'thank you' sentiment that is part of the set.

Thought you might like to see the snippets I ended up with after my booboo!

Thought Miss Di and Head Prefect Sarn at the The Snippets Playground would approve of my refusal to bin the bits, so I'm romping over there with this card (and to find any stray eggs!); The colour palette came from Rachel's beautiful choice at CAS Colours and Sketches; Ann has a fun Tic Tac Toe board at The Paper Players and I chose the bottom row Flowers/Thank You/Pastels; and of course I shall nip over to Darnell's where I've not only got some NBUS to link up but have also remembered to join in with her IDEAS challenge - an encouragement for those who want to pep up their crafting life! This week is ink/colour mediums.

The chocolate eggs may have all been eaten but my eldest son, who is staying with us, is still very much in egg mode. He popped into the kitchen to make himself a sandwich for a snack to keep him going until lunch time and couldn't understand why I dissolved into giggles when I came in.

Here is his mega egg sandwich - and he was just frying up some bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes to garnish it with. He did full justice to lunch too! In his defence, he is very tall and slim and needs a lot of energy. And for those that are wondering what the golden girls made of it, they sat watching him the whole time. But he is wise to their 'starving orphan' act and ignored their wide eyes sending 'I've never been fed, not even EVER' messages!

Sending hugs,

Sunday 31 March 2024

On the third day

Hello, crafting friends!
I am here to wish you a very happy Easter Sunday, the happiest day of the year for Christians all over the world!
I made a few of these one-layer, masked, inked and stamped design this year - come and see:

The most difficult thing about this card was working out which order to do everything! This is the way:
1. Stamp the lilies from Clearly Besotted's Perfect Lilies on a sticky note and cut it out to create a mask.
2. Stamp the lilies off the edge of a thick card base using pale blue ink. 
3. Cover the lilies on the card base with the mask and add low tack tape around the edges of the card front.
4. Sponge pale blue ink over the card front.
5. Stamp the main sentiment from The Greetery's Amen & Alleluia in black ink.
6. Remove the tape and mask and colour the lilies.
7. Add the 'He is Risen' part of the sentiment.

Here's a close up of the lilies, coloured with Arteza watercolour brush pens, an SU marker, coloured pencils and a white acrylic paint pen. Get me, going all multimedia!

I'm linking this card up with Allsorts where Sarah's optional theme is Keep it Simple; also Word Art Wednesday where Anything Goes;  Triple B Challenge wants to see Birds, Blooms and Butterflies and I'm joining in with my bloom; Beautiful Blossoms Challenge also wants to see flowers as the focal point of our cards.

I know the question burning on your lips: Did the golden girls get any eggs today? Well no, but they DID get the next best thing - some cheese hidden in egg boxes! They have to get them open to access their treats and they have very different ways of doing this.
Eva's way is slowly and methodically getting the lid open - she knows the cheese is going nowhere and likes the anticipation.

Lulu is more of a 'rip the box to shreds' kind of girl. She wants the cheese and she wants it NOW! But then it's all over so quickly, she can't quite remember it... is there any more?!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to sample some posh little eggs that my OH bought from a high class chocolaterie on his travels. He knows the way to my heart!

Sending hugs,