Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Proud Grandma (and Grandad) Alert!

It was our wedding anniversary last weekend and for a surprise present, our grandsons, aged 9 and 6, gave us a picture which they themselves had painted. Knowing how much I admire the work of artist Julie Dumbarton, they had decided to try and emulate her style. Their subject was to be a view from our window. They did lots of research first, looking at photos of Julie's paintings and noting for instance her bold brush strokes, use of colour and that the colours she chooses are not always the "right" ones for the subject, and the fact that her paintings show an impressionistic representation of the scene, rather than a realistic one. They even got their mum to drive them past our house (without our knowing!) so that they could check the view. Unfortunately it was a bit foggy that day and they couldn't see it properly, so instead they looked on Google images, and added some bits from memory. This is one of my photos of the scene, which I see straight ahead of me through the window when I'm sitting at my desk in my craft room. (The boys didn't use this photo to paint their picture from.)

And here's their picture.

The method they used to construct the picture is interesting. Their mum cut four sections of paper for them and they each painted two sections, which were then put together.

Here's a closer look at the detail.

Have a look at Julie's portfolio and see whether you think they managed to capture her style. I'm biased, of course, but I think they did a pretty good job! We both agreed it was our best present ever!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

I'll do anything....

And so, we hope, will you! It's a nice and easy February Challenge at Stamping Sensations,  where our theme for the month is

* * * * * ANYTHING GOES * * * * *

We're delighted to welcome back the fabulous Little Claire Designs as our sponsor, and the prize which they have generously donated is a fantastic £35 gift voucher to spend on their site.


I've used stamps from Little Claire's "Hot Air Balloons" set for my card. The balloons and the ground are all separate stamps, giving scope for an endless variety of designs. 

Having first made a background with my ink dusters, I stamped all the stamps on various patterned papers (Basic Grey), cut them out and paper pieced them to create my design. This was then diecut with Spellbinders dies, mounted on to another Basic Grey paper, matted with a yellow border on to a 7" square card and embellished with a ribbon and sentiment (Craft Stamper magazine freebie). 

As always, you'll find plenty of inspiration on the Challenge Blog, and we'll look forward to seeing all your amazing creations!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Butterfly Jewels

It's ages since I had chance to enter the Butterfly Challenge, but I noticed that the current theme is Butterflies and Brads and having a few spare minutes, decided to make a card.

I've just bought the Joy Crafts corner die, and was itching to use it. Using four together makes a pretty frame for the butterflies (a Cheery Lynn die) and the sentiment (Inky Doodles). I cut off part of the diecuts (it has a pointy sticky out bit in the middle!) so they didn't take up so much room in the square, and attached them to some patterned paper (Melissa Francis) along with some pearl brads. This was then matted onto some pink pearlescent paper. That's about it really.



It was a rush job because I started making the card and then realised I had about 30 minutes to finish it, get it photographed and upload it in time to meet the challenge deadline! I think I just made it! Phew! Thanks for looking!


Sunday, 18 January 2015

Five Favourite Stamps!

Our current mid-month challenge for the DT at Stamping Sensations is to choose our five favourite stamps and make something using some or all of them. This month it's my turn. Five stamps??! I have hundreds, if not thousands of stamps in my collection! How can I possibly choose just five favourites?! If I were to think in terms of favourite stamps, it would probably be my newest, or whatever I happened to be working with at the time. However, let's try and narrow it down a bit.

My favourite topics are nature themed - trees, butterflies, flowers, grasses, country scenes, etc.  so my preferred stamps are likely to come from those categories. I could pick any of Chocolate Baroque's flowers or butterflies, for instance, or just about anything at all by Inkylicious. I tried to make a shortlist, but by the time I was on to the third A4 sheet (of narrow-lined paper!) I gave up!

In the end I decided to think about which stamps I find myself reaching for most often and have selected five of those. That was today. Tomorrow it could well be a different five!

Anyway, here's what I've made. As well as the stamps, three of my cards also use diecuts, to reflect this month's challenge theme of Dies and Punches. Don't get me started on favourite dies.....!

My first card uses one of my oldest stamps, a butterfly by Hero Arts. The original is wood mounted, since then I have also acquired the later clear and cling versions! To me it's just the perfect butterfly, both in shape and in scope for colouring.

Backing paper  - Docrafts Papermania, diecuts - Spellbinders, music stamp - Stampington, sentiment - Technique Tuesday, butterfly coloured with watercolour pencils and cut out by hand.

Next another oldie, by Funstamps, bought over 20 years ago in 1994! I still often use this anemone stamp as its fine lines and open areas make it ideal for one of my favourite techniques; using a waterbrush to draw the ink out of the stamped image to colour it in, as I have done here.

Backing paper - Prima, circle die - Joycrafts, border die - Die-namics, butterfly die - Cheery Lynn, sentiment - Prickley Pear, image stamped with Distress Inks.

My third stamp is probably in danger of becoming worn out, I have used it so often! It makes a regular appearance not just on Christmas cards, but all year round, although sometimes you wouldn't recognise it as it can make excellent little bushes or shrubs when turned on its side. The background tree group is from the same set, and I almost chose that stamp as my favourite instead of the single tree. But I think I've used the single one more.

Both tree stamps are from the "Lovely As A Tree" set by Stampin' Up, Sentiment by Inkylicious. I used a Spellbinder die as a mask to make the background, along with my Inkylicious Ink Dusters and Mountain Valley Stencil, and Memento inks.

My final two choices are both by Inkylicious. It was really hard just to pick two of theirs, as I love ALL their nature stamps. Stamp No. 4 is a fairly new one, which combines trees and grasses into a scene but which can have different looks according to how the background is done, so it was high on my list.


Again, I used an Inkylicious Mountain Valley Stencil along with the ink dusters and Memento Inks to make the background before stamping the image. The pheasant is by Clarity Stamp, and it was cut out and added afterwards.

Finally, Stamp No. 5. I've saved the best till last! You probably won't be surprised to find that this one was top of my list right from the start, and if I had to choose my single most favourite stamp ever, this would be it! It is, of course, the Old Beech Tree - "my" tree, (not really mine, sadly, but I see it every day across the fields from my house), which Deby at Inkylicious so cleverly made into a stamp for me.

I used a Spellbinders die as a mask to make the ink dusted background, cut it out with the same die and adhered it to the card with foam pads. "Delicate Vines" stamped around the edge of the card, sentiment cut out with a Spellbinders ribbon tag die (I cut off the ribbon slots).  All stamps by Inkylicious.

Hard though it was, I've really enjoyed choosing my five "favourite" stamps and making my cards with them, and thanks for looking at them. There's still plenty of time to enter the Stamping Sensations January Challenge and be in with a chance of winning the fabulous Sizzix dies. We hope to see you there!



Sunday, 4 January 2015

A New Challenge For A New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Are you ready for our first challenge of 2015 at Stamping Sensations? Our theme for January is

* * * * * DIES AND PUNCHES * * * * *

We'd like you to show us what you can do with your dies and/or punches, either one or the other, or a combination of both, it's up to you.

Our lovely sponsor this month is the ever popular Sizzix, who I'm sure need no introduction. They have kindly donated a fabulous selection of their dies and embossing folders. The lucky winner will also receive a bonus prize of some gorgeous ribbons from Crafty Ribbons.


For my card I have used both dies and punches.

The background paper is by Bo Bunny. On top of that I placed the white punched square (using both the border and corner punches from a punch around the page set by Martha Stewart), followed by the scalloped and plain circles (both cut with Spellbinders dies). I stamped the sentiment (from Hydrangea set by Inkylicious) and the branch and flower (from the Majestix Oriental Blossom set by Card-io) and finally added the butterfly (stamp by Hero Arts) which was cut out with the matching Sizzix Framelits die, coloured with Promarkers and affixed with foam pads. Here's a close up.

One of my crafting resolution for this year is to break out of my comfort zone and try new things, so for this card I've gone for a colour combo I wouldn't normally use. The jury is still out on whether I like it or not! Another resolution is only to buy crafty stuff that I really need, as opposed to want, and to get some of my existing stash used up instead. Hmm. Wonder how long I'll stick to that one! Of course, the definition of "need" is open to interpretation........!

Anyway, I hope one of your resolutions is to join in our challenge every month, and we can't wait to see all your lovely creations! If you should need any inspiration, hop over to the Challenge Blog where my talented teamies have all made excellent use of their dies and punches. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Winter Wonderland

No, we haven't had any snow yet, although the weather forecast is saying we might get a bit this coming week! In case the post title has misled you, let me hasten to explain that

* * * * * WINTER WONDERLAND * * * * *

is our December Challenge theme at Stamping Sensations!

We have a cracker of a prize for you this month! Once again we are sponsored by Chloe of Chloe's Creative Cards (Stamps by Chloe), who has generously donated a bumper bundle of her gorgeous stamps and accessories, and our lucky winner will also receive a bonus prize of beautiful ribbons from Crafty Ribbons.


I like this month's theme so much that I've made two cards for it! 

The first one uses a stamp from Chloe's "Snowflake Cluster" set for the background, along with a sentiment from her "Christmas Mini Messages" set.  Country Landscape die is by Memory Box, Santa's sleigh stamp by Crafty Individuals, and the snowflake die, which is by X-Cut, was a magazine freebie. The snow is made with Fluffy Puffy Stuff (love the name!) from Inkylicious, to which I've added some glitter. The background snowflakes are also glittered.

My second card is an easel card. All stamps are by Inkylicious. The tree scene (Treescape 1) in the oval is, I think, my new favourite stamp! It reminds me very much of the countryside around where I live, and it could be used to create a scene for any time of year, as it wouldn't be difficult to add some greenery to the bare branches for spring and summer, or suitable colours for autumn. However, it certainly makes a gorgeous winter scene too. 

I used my ink dusters to colour the sky, having masked off the lower part of the picture, and a moon, and added a touch of glitter glue on the snowy fields.
The deer and rabbit were stamped and cut out, and mounted with foam pads, as was the sentiment. The oval was cut with a Spellbinders die, and I cut out the sentiment panel by hand, having first punched out the little snowflakes with a Fiskars corner punch. Background papers were a freebie from Making Cards Magazine.

Here's a side view.

I think the tree scene will be featuring on many of my Christmas cards this year. And probably some spring, summer and autumn ones too!

Well, I'm really looking forward to seeing lots of  lovely Winter Wonderland scenes. Last month we had a phenomenal number of entries, over 300! Can we better that this month, I wonder?! If you should need any inspiration, have a look at the DT's stunning examples on the Challenge Blog. My terrific teamies have really outdone themselves this time, and I know they would really appreciate it if you were to visit their individual blogs too.

Thanks for looking!




Sunday, 2 November 2014

Christmas? No, it's ages away yet! Isn't it??

After a brief chilly spell a couple of weeks ago, the weather has turned so unseaonably mild again that it doesn't seem possible that Christmas is just around the corner. But it really is only a few weeks away! So to get us in the mood, the November Challenge at Stamping Sensations is simply

CHRISTMAS!

If, like me, you've hardly even thought about making any cards yet, now's the time to get going and show us your festive creations. Our lovely sponsors for November are the wonderful Little Claire Designs, who have generously donated a £35 voucher for the lucky winner to spend in their store.

Now of course, I don't do cute, but I make exception for some of the gorgeous Little Claire stamps, especially their Owl designs, one of which I've used for my card. This is the Christmas Owl Tree.

I stamped the owl tree, coloured it with Promarkers, cut it out with a Spellbinders die and sponged green pigment ink around the edge while the card was still in the die. 

The base card was stamped with the Classic Holly (Hero Arts) and the sentiment (freebie from Simply Cards & Papercraft magazine). The Owl Tree was matted on to patterned paper (Hot Off The Press) with foam pads and adhered to the base card. Oh, and the photo bombing (or should I say card bombing!) character in the corner who couldn't resist getting in on the act (and who for undisclosed reasons I'm calling Steve!) is from another Little Claire owl stamp, the Little Owl Family!

As always there is plenty of gorgeous inspiration over on the Challenge Blog, so do go and have a look. For more details of each project, click the name link above the relevant photo to go to my teamies' individual blogs. I look forward to seeing all your Christmas creations!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness

Although my favourite season is spring, I do love the glorious autumn colours and misty mornings. And evenings, come to that. When I looked outside last night just before bedtime, it was like looking at a fantasy world. The sky was quite clear, but there was a low mist lying over the fields, with just the tops of the trees peeping above it. Lit by the moonlight, it was an eerily beautiful scene. Just wish I could have photographed it, but my camera sadly isn't up to the job. On Friday we had a day and night of torrential rain, quite a shock after such a dry September, and the river here flooded over its banks for the first time in several months. The weather has turned decidedly chilly too, time to break out the winter woollies, methinks!

Anyway, let's warm things up with our October challenge at Stamping Sensations, where we are celebrating the season with a theme of

WARM AUTUMN COLOURS

We would like to see lots of lovely greens, browns, yellows, oranges and reds.

Our sponsor this month is the fabulous Imagination Crafts, who are donating a very generous £35 voucher to the lucky winner.

I've used the Lillies Decoupage Stamp Sets by Imaginations Crafts for my card.

I began by stamping the image with black Brilliance ink and heat embossing it with clear embossing powder. The background was then coloured with Distress inks. I decided to leave the flowers uncoloured so that they would stand out. The Decoupage stamp sets are, obviously, ideal for 3D decoupaging, which would also have given more prominence to the lillies, but as the card was to be posted, I wanted to keep it quite flat.

I matted the image on to a piece of textured green card and layered it with a diecut by Britannia dies on to to the base card, which had been stamped with one of the stamps from the set, in the same Distress ink colours. The same stamp and inks were also used on the tag, along with a sentiment from the set. Some diecut leaves (Cheery Lynn) and autumn-hued threads completed the card.

For some truly gorgeous autumn inspiration, do hop over to see the wonderful projects my talented teamies have posted on the Challenge Blog. Thanks for looking!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Been doing the dusting....!

Inspired by Sally's fabulous new Inkylicious ink duster video tutorial and her stunning sample cards, I decided to have a go at doing something similar with my Inkylicious tree.



I kept it quite simple, a) because that's how the tree looks, up there on its hill all by itself, and b) because I needed to make it quickly and get it in the post for a friend's birthday!

Having first cut a circle mask for the setting sun, I made the ink dusted background using the colours of Memento Inks which Sally used, but substituting Danube Blue for the Bahama Blue, which I don't have. An Inkylicious Mountain Valley Stencil helped to produce the receding hills. I love these durable and reusable masks, much better than fiddling about with torn pieces of paper.

Once I was happy with the background I stamped the tree and buzzards with black Versafine ink. I wanted the base of the tree to go right across the card so I extended it using a black pen. The sentiment was ideal for filling in the space at the top left of the picture. All stamps are from the Inkylicious Old Beech Tree set.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Come and have a flutter!

Last month at Stamping Sensations we had a bumper crop of entries - over 350 - which was fabulous, and huge thanks to everyone who joined in. This month our theme is

***** THINGS WITH WINGS *****




One of my favourite topics, of course! My winged thing is a beautiful fairy by Lavinia Stamps. I've set her against a background created with Inkylicious ink dusters and Memento inks, surrounded her with foliage by Inkylicious and Lavinia Stamps, and glittered her wings. The gorgeous poppy ribbon was bought at the Stamp Magic show earlier this year, but unfortunately I can't remember the name of the company selling it.

Here's a close up of the fairy, gazing at the moon!

Our lovely sponsor for September is Crafty Devils, who have donated a very generous £35 voucher to be spent on their website, and I can promise you that the lucky winner will be spoilt for choice!


As always, do have a look at the stunning projects my brilliant teamies have made to inspire you. Thanks for looking, and I will be looking forward to seeing lots of beautiful Things With Wings fluttering by to join our challenge.


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