Monday, 11 July 2016

Monolith

I loved the idea of the new Visible Image monoliths and couldn't wait to order a pack, along with some of their stunning new stamps. Here's what I did with the first one.

I primed each side and the base with gesso, let it dry, then sponged with acrylic paints using a make up sponge to create landscapes. On the butterfly side I used the edge of the sponge to make some little flowers, which looked lovely. However, when it came to stamping the images, I couldn't fit in the ones I'd chosen without covering up the flowers, and I also decided the colours didn't look right, so I covered them up again with more paint!

I was aiming for the mood of each side to be different but still to complement each other, and the flowers just didn't work. The beauty of using the acrylic paint is that it was easy to get rid of them! Because the surface of the MDF became a little rough as the fibres swell a bit when painted, it was tricky to get a good stamped image, and I had to go over them in places with some ink and a paintbrush.

The large bird and tiny bird (Leave Your Fears set) are both on the one stamp, but I wanted the tiny bird to be further towards the corner, so I inked and stamped the two parts separately. I used the tiny bird on the other side as well, again to tie the two sides together. The butterflies (one stamped over the other) are from the  gorgeous new Own Kind Of Beautiful set, which is my new favourite Visible Image set! All stamps I've used are by Visible Image. To finish it off I sponged around all sides with pigment ink.

Here's a close look at each side.



I really enjoyed making my monolith. Now what to do with No. 2.........


Sunday, 3 July 2016

July Challenge at Stamping Sensations

Well, it's time for a new challenge at Stamping Sensations, and we have what I believe will be a very popular theme for you this month!

* * * * * ANYTHING GOES WITH A STAMP AND RIBBON * * * * *

Who doesn't like adding a ribbon or two to their creations?! We're sponsored by the fabulous Crafty Ribbons, who have a superb range of ribbons, buttons, lace and more for your crafting needs. They have given us a fantastic bundle of ribbons and embellishments for this month's lucky winner.


I recently acquired the gorgeous new Bigz Butterfly 1 from Inkylicious, and couldn't wait to ink it up! I stamped it on to watercolour paper and coloured it with Be Creative alcohol markers, then masked it and sponged, stamped and stencilled the background. I added some shading around the butterfly with coloured pencil to make it stand out a bit. All stamps by Inkylicious. Tim Holtz Mixed Media die used as stencil. I mounted the finished design on to the base card along with a strip of patterned paper (PDA), sheer and satin ribbons, and pearl embellishments which I coloured with the alcohol markers to match the ribbon.

The base card is 7" x 5", which gives you an idea of the size of the butterfly, which is simply stunning.

In the knowledge that people will be busy with holidays and summer activities this month we've kept the theme nice and simple, so I hope lots of you will find time to enter for a chance of winning that gorgeous prize! We look forward to seeing your projects!

Friday, 17 June 2016

More Bits & Pieces

You could have knocked me down with the proverbial feather when I found out that my entry into Crafty Individuals' May Challenge had been picked by Malcolm as one of the five winners! This was my winning project (also my DT sample for Stamping Sensations May Challenge). For details of how I made it, and more photos, see my earlier blog post here.

My prize was a free stamp of my choice. I chose the beautiful Butterfly Trio Panel, which I have long admired but for some strange reason never got round to buying, so I was delighted to have the chance to add it to my collection.

The first thing I made with it was a thank you card for Jean and Malcolm.

I embossed it with copper embossing powder on to black card, diecut the corner of the card with a Sizzix/Tim Holtz die and matted it with a paper from Crafty Individuals' "Travels In Italy" background paper book. The girl image is from the Crafty Individuals A4 Glossy Sheet "Domino", mounted on to Spelbinders diecuts. The smaller diecut is also copper-embossed around the edge. Sentiment by Crafty Individuals (a freebie). Can you tell they're one of my favourite stamp companies?! Not only for their stamps, but also for all the other gorgeous bits and pieces they sell to go with them!

I am, though, still loving my Altenew stamps, particular the "Beautiful Day" set, which I have used again for a birthday card for a friend.

She asked me to put it on my blog and explain how I made it. Hmm! I think it was actually much easier to make than to describe the method! But I'll have a go!

1. Stamped the silhouette part of the flower twice and the leaf spray three times on to post-it notes and cut them out to use as masks.
2. Stamped the left hand flower (four-part stamping) and masked it.
3. Stamped the right hand flower and masked that too.
4. Stamped the leaves three times and masked them all.
5. Keeping all the masks in place, sponged the entire background with various colours of pigment inks.
6. Overstamped with the harlequin and text stamps (Cherry Pie), butterfly (Chocolate Baroque) and flower sprays (from the Altenew set). The harlequin stamp was only partially inked as I didn't want the hard edges to show.
7. Removed all masks.
8. Sighed with relief, as that's the point where you find out whether the design has worked!
9. Coloured the butterfly and added shading around it and the main flowers and leaves with pencil crayon to make them stand out a bit.
10.Sponged pigment ink around the edges of the picture to define them.
11. Mounted it on to a 6" x 6" blank card.
Phew! Definitely easier to do than to describe!

Since I wasn't able to get to the recent Stamp Magic show (see my previous post) I decided I was fully justified in cheering myself up by spending the petrol money I saved on new stamps! Thank goodness for mail order! Haven't had time to ink them up yet, but the school hols will be here in a couple of weeks so watch this space! Thanks for looking!


Sunday, 5 June 2016

Creature Comforts!

Well, best laid plans and all that! I should, when this post goes live, have been down at Sally's and getting ready to go with her to Doncaster for some retail therapy at our favourite show - Stamp Magic. However, a particularly nasty virus has put paid to that! I'm fortunate that I'm rarely ill with anything like this, so it's sheer bad luck that I should get it this week, and very annoying! I've had to send Sally my shopping list (thanks, Sally!) but will really miss having the chance to watch all the demos and marvel at new stuff, not to mention meeting people and soaking up the fantastic atmosphere which is the hallmark of Stamp Magic.

However, it's also time for a new challenge at Stamping Sensations, and at least I can take comfort in the fact that we have a great theme for you this month, and a truly fantastic prize! Our topic for June is

* * * * * FEATURE A CREATURE * * * * *

Plenty of scope here, but please do remember that as we are a stamping challenge, your entry must use a stamp (rubber/clear or non-pre-coloured digi) as its focal point.

We are sponsored once again by the fabulous Be Creative, who make an extensive range of innovative and exciting products for your crafting. One of their latest releases is the amazing WONDER CRYSTALS, a set of which will be included in the stash going to the very lucky winner! These extra thick embossing crystals are simply stunning, and they sold out on their recent introduction on Hochanda TV, so if you want to get your hands on some, here's your chance!

For my card, I was inspired by the beautiful heron which we see regularly by the river next to our house. The sentiment I've used (Chocolate Baroque) is particularly appropriate, because the heron will often sit for hours at a time on a tree branch which overhangs the river. Sometimes it will be preening itself, sometimes just watching......

My heron is a stamp by Inky Doodles. I've coloured him with Be Creative Alcohol Markers. He's watching over a lake scene created with Inkylicious ink dusters, masks and stamps, and Memento inks. The background paper is by Be Creative, from their Nature's Portrait 8"x 8" paper pad, which, along with all their other pads, is on special offer (half price!) at the moment.

This is always a popular theme, so I am hoping to be able to sit back, put my feet up and have lots of wonderful projects to peruse whilst I recuperate! Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Bits And Pieces

Just some recent projects, starting with a few cards for friends and family.

Stamps: Altenew & Inkylicious. Stencil: Crafters Workshop.


Stamps: Altenew, Crafty Individuals & Inkylicious. Stencil: Crafters Workshop.




Stamps: Lavinia Stamps & The Craft's Meow (sentiment)



 Stamps: Inkylicious & Lavinia Stamps.

And  few DT makes for Be Creative, using their stunning new embossing crystals.

Butterfly stamp on notebook: Hero Arts. Butterfly diecut on tealight holder: Frantic Stamper. Background papers: Be Creative.









Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

A Blank Canvas!

Our current series of mid-month posts at Stamping Sensations is showcasing various techniques. Each DT member will choose either a favourite technique or one they haven't tried before. This month it's my turn, and I've gone for the latter. I've always wanted to try a mixed media canvas but haven't done so before now because I didn't know where to start. I decided this was the time to have a go!

Step 1 was to sit with the blank canvas (7" x 5") in front of me and stare at it, hoping for inspiration to strike! This took quite some time!

Eventually I decided on a nature theme, and Step 2 was to add some texture using a stencil (by Crafty Individuals) and relief paste (Colourcraft). I took the photo before the paste had dried. By the time it did so, it had sunk into the canvas a bit, and didn't stand out quite so much, but it still looked ok. I pressed on.




I added some punched leaves.

The next step was to paint it all, with acrylic paints. I also added a couple of laser-cut butterflies (Rayher).

So far, so good! I wanted to use some stamped images, but stamping on canvas is tricky. One way to get round the problem (you see - I've been doing some research!) is to stamp on to tissue paper and decoupage it on to your canvas. I stamped some images (Crafty Individuals) and  carefully tore round them. I also printed out some text on my computer.

I used diluted pva glue to decoupage the images on to the canvas. It makes the tissue paper transparent so that only the images show up. That's the theory, anyway!

Before adding the text, I sponged over it with pigment inks to tone it down a bit.

With hindsight, this would probably have been a good point to stop adding stuff, but there was a blank corner, and I felt the base needed something to hold everything in. I decided the blank corner was missing some birds, which I found on a scrap of Crafty Individuals background paper. The base received some small punched leaves, and the sides some chipboard leaves, all coloured with pigment inks.

And here's my finished canvas! Were I to do another, I would probably do some things differently, for instance some of the initial elements ended up mostly hidden, but I'm not too dissatisfied with it as a first attempt.

We already have lots of wonderful entries for our May Challenge, for which the theme is "Anything Goes", but there's still plenty of time to enter. (Or enter again, if you have already! You can enter up to three projects.) And of course, there's the fab prize of a £35 voucher from our lovely sponsors, Crafty Individuals. I hope I might have inspired you to have a go at a mixed media canvas. The hardest part was getting started! Once I'd got over that it was easier than I thought, and although it is a long way from perfect, the main thing, I think, is to experiment and enjoy the process. I certainly did!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Anything Goes!

Well, as you might suppose from that post title, our challenge theme this month at Stamping Sensations is

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

However, it could apply equally to the weather we're having at the moment!  I'm sitting here in my thermals, watching the rain pouring down the window, out of which I can see blue sky and fluffy white clouds just across the valley and snow on the distant hills! And it's the beginning of May!!!

Never mind, I'm sure we will get some fabulous entries to brighten things up. As always, although "anything goes" for our theme we do need to see stamping as the focal point of your project, since we are a stamping challenge.

Our sponsor for May is, once again, Crafty Individuals, who have donated a very generous £35 voucher for the lucky winner to spend in their online shop.


Their mix of products is beautifully eclectic, so whether you are into simple stamping, collage, mixed media, altered art, or styles from traditional to modern and quirky, you will find something in their range to suit you. For a long time now they have been one of my favourite stamp companies (not least for their fantastic customer service) so I had no hesitation in using their stamps and papers for my DT project this month.

Recently I went to a talk and demo of simple bookbinding given by the wonderful Glenda Waterworth. Glenda showed us some some stunning samples of her work. I came home feeling thoroughly inspired, and decided to make a (very simple!) accordion book.

I used mount board for the front and back, which I covered with Crafty Individuals background papers from their Springtime paper pad. The front cover is decorated with one of their newest stamps CI-452, a collage-type stamp from which I cut individual images and coloured them with Be Creative alcohol markers and watercolour pencils.



Continuing the Nature theme of the stamp, the pages of my book hold images from Crafty Individuals' Miniature Image Book "Nature's Beauty. Around each picture I stamped various images which help to tell its story. All stamps by Crafty Individuals. 



I really enjoyed making my little book! It has whetted my appetite for attempting something a bit more complicated, though I will have a long way to go before I produce anything as beautiful as Glenda's.

The DT have some absolutely gorgeous inspiration to show you over on the Stamping Sensations Challenge blog, and if you also check out their personal blogs it would be much appreciated.

I'm entering my book in the Crafty Individuals Blog May Challenge. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

One for the girls



My goodness, where did last month go?! Can't believe it's time for another Stamping Sensations Challenge already! But it is, and our theme this month is

* * * * * ONE FOR THE GIRLS * * * * *

Of course, you can interpret that however you wish, as long as your project includes a stamp (digis welcome as long as they are not pre-coloured) as the focal point of your project. As usual we have a terrific prize for the winner of our challenge, and making a very welcome return as our sponsor is PDA Card & Craft, who have donated a very generous £40 voucher to be spent online or, if you're local, in their store.


For my card I was inspired by one of the beautiful papers in the Dovecraft "Bohemian" 6"x 6" paper pad, which just happened to fall into my basket when I was in The Range the other day! I loved the colours and flowers, and it reminded me of the Crafty Individuals stamp I've used with it, which I thought would be very appropriate for the theme. Crafty Individuals stamps are available from PDA, and though I can't guarantee that they'll have this particular one in stock I'm sure they could order it if required.

I framed the Old Fashioned Girl with a Spellbinders die, to which she was attached with foam pads, and coloured her with Be Creative alcohol markers. She was matted on to the background paper with some Bazzill Basics card. I distressed the edges of all the papers. Finally I added some diecut butterflies. (Large - Frantic Stamper, small - Cheery Lynn).

There are lots of gorgeous girly samples over on the Challenge Blog, and my lovely teamies would be delighted if you would visit their individual blogs too, and maybe leave them a comment. Hopefully this will be a popular theme, and I will be looking forward to seeing lots of beautiful feminine creations! Thanks for looking!


Sunday, 6 March 2016

Celebrate Spring with Flowers!

Well, the nights are getting lighter, the daffodils are in bud, so it must nearly be spring, mustn't it?! We're still shivering in the cold up here in Scotland, there is snow on the hills all around us, but it can't be far away now, can it? One of the things I love most about spring is the appearance of all the spring flowers with their beautiful colours which chase away the gloom of winter. So what better theme for Stamping Sensations March Challenge than

* * * * * FLOWER POWER * * * * *

Anything floral is what we'd like to see, but please do remember that, being a stamping challenge, we need to see a stamped image as the focal element of your project if you want it to be eligible for the prize or a top 3 spot.

And it is a super prize this month! Making a welcome return as our sponsor is Be Creative (see all their details on the Challenge Blog), who have donated no fewer than six of their stunning top quality paper pads, and four packs of pearl and gem embellishments for the lucky winner! These really are the best quality, and the designs on all the paper pads are simply gorgeous.



I've used one of my favourite papers from the Be Creative pads for my card. I just love the colours on this design, and the roses and butterflies.

The Crafty Individuals bicycle stamp with its flower basket came to mind when I was thinking of what to put on the card, and the Be Creative bottle caps just fitted the wheels! Two Prima flowers became the spokes, with Craftwork Cards Candi as the hubs. The bicycle, Prima flowers and Candi were all coloured with Be Creative alcohol markers.

The bicycle was cut out with a Go Kreate die, and a butterfly cut from one of the Be Creative papers was added. The Hobby Art sentiment was, I thought, rather appropriate.

There's lots more inspiration over on the Challenge Blog, and I can't wait to see all your gorgeous floral creations!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Meet Autumn Fairy

The Be Creative design team have been working with Art Caps (bottle caps) and self adhesive Art Cap images from Once Upon A Stamp. I sat looking at mine for a while, waiting for inspiration to strike, then suddenly realised that they were saying to me "Art Doll".

Now, I've never made an art doll before, and I have to say it's not something I've ever previously felt an inclination to make. However, since that's what I was hearing in my head, I thought I'd better have a go, and so I'd like to introduce you to Autumn Fairy.

I didn't really know where to start, and with no clear plan in mind, she just evolved as I went along. I punched out the art nouveau image and stuck it into the bottle cap, and there was her face. Gradually her personality began to emerge. I made a wire frame and covered the torso area with some wadding to fill her out a bit. A rummage through my fabric scrap box produced some burgundy velvet, a piece of white silk, and some gorgeous leaf printed fabric which I bought in the USA in 1995, the remnants of which I've been hoarding ever since. It was the beautiful autumn colours in the fabric which had attracted me to it, and so what else could I name my lady but Autumn Fairy?

I coloured the white silk with Be Creative alcohol markers to match the leaf fabric and made it into a blouse for her. The red velvet became her skirt, with an overskirt of green irridescent ribbon which had once tied up a bouquet of flowers. I cut out some of the leaves and berries and stuck them to her blouse and skirt. She needed some wings, of course, and a Prickley Pear butterfly stamp with a design of leaves and wheat on it couldn't have been more perfect for them. I stamped it on to acetate, coloured it with Be Creative alcohol markers and cut it out.


To help her stand, I drilled a couple of holes into a block of wood which once held an old set of Judikins stamps which I had unmounted several years ago. I had kept the wooden cube as I just knew it would come in handy one day. I painted the cube with metallic acrylic paint and lightly distressed it with sandpaper. A few leaves, an acorn and a ladybird were added to give a hint of her woodland environment. Finally her legs were glued into the block, and thus Autumn Fairy was born!

Hmm. I think she doesn't look very happy. Maybe she needs a friend...............
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