Sunday, 7 May 2017

My favourite themes!

I'm loving the Stamping Sensations May Challenge, as our theme combines three of my favourites! Of course, it's


So much scope for beautiful designs and colours. It's the perfect opportunity to ink up all those butterflies, fairies, and other magical images, the choice is up to you. However, we do need to see something stamped and associated with the theme as the focal point (ie. the main image) on your artwork: a small punched or die cut butterfly will not suffice. We don't have many challenge rules (check them out here), but there are a few things we insist on to make it fair for everyone, so please do make sure your project qualifies if you want to be considered for our prize or top three.

And it is a superb prize this month! The stunning Mariposa Butterfly Collection of dies by Couture Creations.

Couldn't resist making two samples this time. My first is a card.

All stamps by Lavinia Stamps. (The tiny birds were hand drawn,) I think this fairy is my all time favourite fairy stamp! The background was made with Distress Oxide inks. They were great for this theme as I found I could get lovely misty, ethereal effects with them.

The idea for my second project came when I saw some logs that my DH was chopping for the fire. One had a sloping face, which I then sanded smooth, stamped on to (stamps by Inkylicious), and coloured with Distress Oxide inks. Once it was all dry, I polished it with wax polish to seal and protect it, covered the base with a piece of self adhesive baize, and I now have a handy paperweight!

Needless to say, I can't wait to see this month's entries! And my teamies have come up with some stunning samples to inspire you, so check them out on the Challenge Blog and then see what you can come up with. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Stamping Sensations April Challenge

First Sunday of the month, so time for a new challenge at Stamping Sensations, and we have a very easy one for you this month as our theme is

* * * * * ANYTHING GOES * * * * *

The choice of subject is entirely up to you, but of course, as we are a stamping challenge, the main element of your design must be hand stamped (or a hand coloured digital image). Please do check that your project fits our rules (see them here), otherwise it will not be eligible for the prize or top 3 and may not be commented on, in fairness to others who do follow the rules.

Our wonderful April sponsor is PDA, who have given us a fabulous £40 voucher for the winner to spend in their store!

I managed to get my hands on some of the new Distress Oxide ink pads last week, and I've used some of them for the background of my card. Think they are going to be my new favourite inks! I'm only just beginning to explore all their possibilities but I'm loving them already!

I stamped over the background with Lavinia stamps (flower border, pods and butterflies), a text by Inkylicious and a sentiment by Visible Image.

Good luck everyone, I'm looking forward to seeing lots of lovely creations!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Oliver Owl

Oliver Owl flew into my craft room recently. He's the stunning new stamp from Hobby Art. Isn't he gorgeous?!

I've put him on an A5 card, so you can tell how large and imposing he is (a good 6" from the top of his head to the tip of his tail). The detail in his feathers is amazing. I coloured him, the ivy leaves and the fence with watercolour pencils.The background is sponged with pigment inks. All stamps on my card are by Hobby Art.

Oliver brought with him his equally fabulous friend, who lives on a Nature Reserve, also by Hobby Art. I'll be inking him (or possibly her!) up soon!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Close To Nature

For our March Challenge at Stamping Sensations we're staying with the natural world, but whereas last month's topic belonged to the animal kingdom, this month we're opening it up to anything nature related, with the theme

* * * * * CLOSE TO NATURE * * * * *

As usual, you may interpret this however you wish, as long as the main element of your design is hand stamped (or a hand coloured digital image) and reflects the theme. Please do check that your project fits our rules, otherwise it will not be eligible for the prize or top 3 and may not be commented on, in fairness to others who do follow the rules.

You certainly would not want to miss out on the chance of winning this month's prize, as it is a stunner!

Quite some time ago I bought the Kingfisher set by Hobby Art, and for some inexplicable reason, as it's the most gorgeous set, I hadn't got round to using it. However, it was perfect for our nature theme, and here's the card I've made with it.

I also used stamps from other Hobby Art sets to build up a scene around the main kingfisher image. I coloured the background with watercolour pencils, and the main elements with Zig Clean Color markers to make them stand out. I matted the picture with some Lawn Fawn paper, the colours of which complemented the kingfisher beautifully. All stamps by Hobby Art.

My lovely teamies have created a wonderfully diverse set of superb samples, which you can see over on the Stamping Sensations Challenge blog. Nature themes are my favourites (you probably guessed!) and I'm anticipating lots of entries for this one, especially with such a fabulous prize on offer! Can't wait to see them all!

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Mid-month Inspiration at Stamping Sensations

The DT's current mid-month theme at Stamping Sensations is "My go-to stamp", and I have to admit that my heart sank a little when I saw it! For me, trying to pick a go-to stamp is like attempting to choose a favourite piece of music - there are so many I like and all so different. How do I narrow it down to one above all? Well, if I have to decide, I guess it must come down to trees or butterflies. And as this month's challenge theme is Animal Magic, I've gone with a butterfly. It's by Hero Arts and I have it in three versions: the original rubber, clear (in a set), and a rubber cling which is part of a Sizzix Framelits set. Oh, and a digi version! Sadly I think they are all now discontinued, but some occasionally pop up on eB*y.

The original one is one of my oldest stamps, but I still use it a lot, often as an embellishment to something else. This time, however, I decided to let it take centre stage, which, since it is so pretty, it certainly deserves to do. And it's wonderful to colour.

I made a background by dusting with Memento inks and overstamping the butterfly in two colours. Then stamped the butterfly again on white card, coloured it with Zig Clean Color pens and cut it out and matted it with Spellbinder dies. Sentiment by Stampingallday. Here's a closer look.

There's still time to enter our Animal Magic challenge, with a fabulous prize from sponsors Tattered Lace. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

February Challenge at Stamping Sensations, and a strange phenomenon

Since Christmas, my mojo seems to have disappeared. I reckon it's taken itself off to warmer, sunnier climes, given the cold, grey, wet and dreary weather we've been having here lately, and I can't say I blame it. However, I need it back, but how to attract it? One look at the state of my craft room was enough to suggest the answer!

A mega clear out was long overdue. The task was so daunting, I'd kept putting it off but I knew that a good tidy up would go a long way towards making me feel like crafting again. One of the main problems was not being able to find anything I needed without having to shift piles of stuff out of the way first. I store all my unmounted stamps in A5 ringbinders, and when I first set up my craft room, five years ago, they all fitted into a small bookcase. Not any more! As my collection grew, the extra binders had to be crammed into odd spaces here and there on other shelves, which was really annoying.

Then, a few weeks ago, my daughter announced that she had a large, tall bookcase that had become surplus to her requirements, and would I like it? Would I??! Of course, that meant I had to bite the bullet and start the grand clear out! To cut a long story short, what once looked like this

now looks like this!

So much tidier and more efficient, don't you think? Anyway, the clear out is just about finished, (as well as the stamp shelves I have two walls of built-in floor to ceiling shelves and drawers to store everything else) and I now know where everything is again.

But - and here's the strange thing - although I have removed a considerable amount of rubbish and stuff I didn't want to keep, and have gained more storage space with the new bookcase, there doesn't seem to be any more room on the other shelves than there was before! If anyone has an explanation for this odd phenomenon, I'd be very interested to hear it!

Fortunately I managed to clear enough space on my desk in time to make my sample for this month's challenge at Stamping Sensations, where our theme for February is

* * * * * ANIMAL MAGIC * * * * *

As usual, you may interpret this however you wish, as long as the main element of your design is hand stamped (or a hand coloured digital image) and reflects the theme. Please do check that your project fits our rules, otherwise it will not be eligible for the prize or top 3, and may not be commented on, in fairness to others who do follow the rules. And you will not want to miss out on this month's fabulous prize, kindly donated by our lovely sponsors Tattered Lace.

For my card I have used some of the latest new Lavinia Stamps, which are absolutely gorgeous. The range includes badgers, foxes, squirrel and snail, all perfect for our challenge theme, as well as some beautiful fairies.

All stamps on my card are by Lavinia Stamps. I stamped and masked the moon before creating a background with an Inkylicious mountain and valley stencil and pigment inks. The badger, fairy, flowers, foliage and distant trees were then stamped over the top, and a bit of sparkle added with some glitter glue to finish.

I'm entering this card in the Lavinia Stamps Creative Challenge for February, where the theme is "The Full Moon".

There's some stunning Animal Magic by my lovely teamies over on the Challenge Blog, so do go and take a look, and they would be delighted if you had time to visit their individual blogs too. I think this will be a popular theme, and am looking forward to seeing your entries.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Coffee and Cream

Happy New Year, everyone, I hope 2017 will be good to you all! As New Year's Day is a Sunday, we're straight in with our first challenge of the year at Stamping Sensations, where our January theme is

* * * * * COFFEE AND CREAM * * * * *

As usual, you may interpret the theme however you wish, but please do remember that we are a stamping challenge, so the main element of your design must be either hand stamped or hand coloured digi and should reflect the theme. Sadly, projects which don't fit the theme or our rules will not be eligible for the prize or top 3, and may not be commented on, in fairness to all those who do follow the rules. If you're not sure what they are, you can find them here.

Here's the prize for this month's lucky winner!

And here's my sample.

I was aiming for a vintage feel, which I think works well with this lovely image by Crafty Individuals. The background paper is from the same Dovecraft pack as the paper I used in my November sample. Although the pack is Christmas themed, many of the designs are suitable for other occasions too, and the one I've used here seemed to go perfectly with the theme. A piece of self adhesive lace. some pearls from Be Creative, and a sentiment by Inkylicious, cut out with a Spellbinders die, completed the card. I thought the sentiment was quite appropriate for the New Year.

My lovely teamies have some really beautiful samples to show you over on the Challenge Blog, so do pop over and have a look at them. I'm just off to put the kettle on. Still got a drop of cream left over from Christmas, so I shall have a final seasonal indulgence and put it in my coffee. Back on the diet tomorrow!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Flowers in December!

It's time for our final challenge of the year at Stamping Sensations, and what better than some bright and beautiful flowers to lighten up dark and dreary December days? Hence our theme this month is

* * * * * FLORAL FANCIES * * * * *

We want to see flowers as the focal element of your entry, and, as usual, because we are a stamping challenge the focal point must be a stamped image (hand stamped rubber or clear, or  hand coloured digi). Any type of flower is eligible, doesn't just have to be winter ones. And please note: if we do not comment on your entry it will be because it does not follow the theme, qualify under our rules, or because we are asked to sign in or provide additional data to comment. We do not want to be rude but we do want to be fair to those who do follow the rules.

Our prize this month is a superb selection of items from Sizzix, and who wouldn't be delighted to win this little lot?!

But that's not all! In the spirit of Christmas, the top 3 will also receive a surprise gift from us this month! So no excuses, get those entries in!                            
I love flowers, and couldn't possibly pick a single favourite, but tulips would certainly be high on the list. I've used the beautiful tulip stamp (A Year of Stamping Issue 2 - February) from Chocolate Baroque for my card, and coloured them with my new favourite pens, Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers, which have such gorgeously vibrant colours, making them ideal for these tulips.

I matted the image on to a Spellbinders diecut and added a couple of butterflies ("Magical Butterflies" dies by Sue Wilson).

The backing paper is some I have had in my stash for years (think it came from Lakeland when they sold craft items) and I've been hoarding it because it's so pretty! However, it was just perfect to go with the tulip image, and fortunately I had two sheets, so I still have one to keep! Sentiment is by Inkylicious.

My  talented teamies have really excelled themselves with some stunning samples for you to admire, so do go and have a look at them over on the Challenge Blog. I am so looking forward to seeing this month's entries!

We have had wonderful support for our challenges this year, so thanks very much to everyone who has entered. It has been a pleasure viewing all your beautiful projects, and we hope to see you again in the New Year.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

November Challenge at Stamping Sensations

I've been a bit quiet(er than usual!) in blogland over the past few months, having been very busy with a non-craft project which has taken up a LOT of my time! However, that is finished at last, and the realisation is dawning that Christmas is not far away and I haven't even begun to think about it yet! So it's perhaps as well that our November Challenge at Stamping Sensations has a seasonal theme, as it has ensured I have at least one Christmas card made!

This month our topic is

* * * * * CHRISTMAS GREETINGS * * * * *

We would like to see a Christmas greeting on your projects, as either the main image or an added sentiment. Also, as always, since we are a stamping challenge there must be stamping (rubber/clear or hand coloured digi) as the focal point. And please note: if we do not comment on your entry it will be because it does not follow the theme, qualify under our rules, or because we are asked to sign in or provide additional data to comment. We do not want to be rude but we do want to be fair to those who do follow the rules.

I've used the stunning Merry Christmas stamp by Inkylicious on my card.

 I  cut a circle stencil and sponged around inside the edge with pigment ink to make a frame for the sentiment. Holly corner punch and patterned paper are by Dovecraft. Poinsettia die set by Marianne Design.

Our lovely sponsor this month is Stamp Addicts, who have given us a £35 store voucher for our winner, and with the fantastic variety of products on offer, that lucky person will definitely be spoiled for choice!

Well, it's a nice and easy theme, but if you should need any inspiration, just pop over to the Challenge Blog and have a look at the beautiful creations showcased by our design team. We look forward to seeing lots of entries. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Autumn Glory

Well, it doesn't seem five minutes since September arrived, and here we are at the start of October! This year is flying by! It means, of course, that it's time for our next challenge at Stamping Sensations, and this month we have one of my favourite themes -

* * * * * AUTUMN GLORY * * * * *

Not my favourite season of the year, as it reminds me that we are getting closer to winter (hate the cold and the long dark nights) but I do love the autumn leaves, trees and colours. So I will be hoping to see lots of those in our challenge entries. As usual, you may interpret the theme however you wish, but please do remember that stamping (rubber, clear or non-pre-coloured digi) must be the focal or predominant element of your project.

Our October sponsor is the wonderful Penny Black, and we have a fab selection of their products for our winner.

Recently I came across Andy Skinner's video showing how to do the alcohol ink float technique. Haven't used my alcohol inks for ages, so I decided to try the technique for my Autumn card. It was very easy to do!

The effect, produced on porous paper or card, is much softer than that obtained by using the inks on non-porous surfaces, and it makes lovely backgrounds. Having made mine, I stamped over it with Inkylicious leaf stamps, which I then coloured with diluted distress inks. Being water based, the DIs didn't affect the alcohol ink background. The next step was to stamp some of the flowers and the butterfly from Penny Black's "Enamor" set, which I also coloured with distress inks. The sentiment is from the same set. 

I added some shading around the leaves, flowers and butterfly with a Spectrum Noir pencil to make them stand out a bit more. The finished picture was then mounted with various layers on to a 7" x 7" card. The patterned paper is by Bo Bunny. A snippet of ribbon, a few punched leaves and a flower button were the finishing touches. I didn't look in my button box for a suitable button until after I had coloured the flowers, and it is a lucky coincidence that I just happened to have one in the same style and colour, which I'd forgotten I had!

I thoroughly enjoyed trying out the technique, and it's one I think I'll be using again. If you'd like to try it too, you can watch Andy's video tutorial here.

 My lovely teamies have some gorgeous projects to inspire you on the Challenge Blog, so do pop over and take a look, and we will look forward to seeing lots of awesome autumn entries!

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