Sunday, 10 August 2014

"The Shire"

Proud Grandma alert!! My young grandson, Andrew, aged 5, saw the picture I made with my tree stamp and Brusho paints (see here) and he wanted to make one.

First he punched a circle from a post-it note to make a mask for the moon. Next  he made the Brusho background by dipping a paintbrush into the powders and tapping it over the paper where he wanted the colour. Then he sprayed water over the picture until the colours had merged to his satisfaction. He did all of that with instruction but no physical help.

Having finished his background, he compared it with mine and decided that my picture was too plain, as it only has the tree and a bird. We looked through my stamps, and he found the Hobbit Door (Lavinia Stamps) and said that he wanted his to be a picture of The Shire (from Lord of the Rings. He's a big LOTR fan!) He chose some other stamps to go with the Hobbit Door (from Lavinia, Inkylicious & Hobby Art) and decided where they all should go. I helped him to hold the stamps as he was stamping them, just to make sure that he didn't smudge the images, because it would have been a shame to spoil his lovely background, but everything else was entirely his own work. He finished by colouring the door surround and the tree with coloured pencils.

We both decided that his artwork was far superior to mine!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Anything Goes at Stamping Sensations!

Summer certainly arrived last month at Stamping Sensations  and it was an absolute treat looking through all the beautiful entries full of gorgeous summer blooms! But now to this month, and we have an open theme for our August Challenge. It's

*****  ANYTHING GOES  *****

You can enter any project on a theme of your choice. The only stipulations is that as we are a stamping challenge it must contain some rubber (or polymer!) stamping done by hand. Any project which uses only digital "stamps" (which are of course not stamps but clipart) will unfortunately not be eligible for the prize. And it would be such a shame for you to miss out on the prize opportunity, because this month it's a stunner!

Our wonderful sponsors are Tonic Studios, and just look what they are offering the lucky winner! Absolutely gorgeous and newly released!

For my card I've gone with a Scottish theme. I took my inspiration from the thistles which have now replaced the spring bluebells on the bank across the road from my craftroom window, and also from this month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
I'm still loving my Brusho paints, and have used them to make the background. I'm also trying to challenge myself to go outside my comfort zone a bit with my colour choices. Not too sure about this one but I *think* it works ok.....! I'd got in my head that the official Games tartan had orange in it, but when I checked later it's more pink! Oh well, never mind! The thistle silhouette (Chocolate Baroque) was stamped on to the background and surrounded with the Tonic Studios Celtic Circle die (from which I cut out the middle with a Spellbinders circle die to make it into a frame). The border at the side was made with the Tonic Studios Celtic Border Strip punch. The final touch was the tag with the sentiment (Chocolate Baroque) which I thought was quite appropriate to the ethos of the Commonwealth Games as the "friendly games".  I sponged around the edges of the tag with pigment ink, trying to match the Brusho colours as closely as I could.
I love open themes, as there are always some lovely surprises among the entries! I look forward to seeing yours!


Monday, 14 July 2014

The Tree - the sequel!

The Brusho has been put to one side for a moment while I tell you about something far more exciting!

For the background to this story you need to read my earlier posts about The Tree, see here (scroll to end of post) and here.

The Tree is an old beech tree which stands alone on top of a nearby hill. I see it every day from my house. It is quite a landmark, and, tree lover that I am, it has fascinated me ever since we came to live here. I have taken hundreds of photos of it. I don't know how old it is, but it must be quite old. It has been there through all seasons and withstood all weathers, buzzards and crows dwell in its leafy heights, the sheep and cows enjoy its shade and shelter. What a story it would tell if it could speak!

This is the view I see of it from my garden, up on its hill in the distance.

I managed to make one of my photos into a digistamp, but being a stamper at heart, I really wanted it in rubber. Chatting about it with my good friend and fellow Tree lover Sally, it occurred to us that Deby, the lovely lady who owns our favourite stamp company Inkylicious, and who is surely a kindred spirit as there are none of her stamps that we don't like, might be interested in turning my digi into a stamp. So when we saw her at Stamp Magic last month we asked her, and she was!

This is the photo which became my digi.

You can imagine my excitement when I received the stamp this morning! Not only has Deby made the tree into a stamp (and you can see from the photo above how faithfully she has reproduced it), she has also included two buzzards and two sentiments to make up a brilliant set! I love it! Of course, I had to ink it up straight away, and here's the result!

For the first card I wanted to show the image of the tree alongside a photo of it in its setting, so have kept it quite simple, with just some stamped greenery around the edges of the card as a backdrop. (All stamps by Inkylicious, of course!) The background to the tree was lightly coloured using ink dusters and Memento ink.

Back to the Brusho for my second card! I masked a circle for a moon, sprinkled and sprayed the Brusho over, stamped the tree, extended the base to fit the frame with a black pen, stamped the buzzard, and matted it with a black border on to a 7" x 7" card base. I think I will frame this one.

This will be a great design for a man's card. All the men in my family will probably be getting a variation on this theme for their birthdays for the next year!

Well, I have lots more plans for The Tree, but wanted to share these with you just now. I have to say a huge thank you to Deby for my fabulous set. She's a star! And by the way, if anyone else likes it, I think Deby will be putting it on the Inkylicious website in the near future.


Thursday, 10 July 2014

Brusho Meadow

On a roll with the Brusho now! This card took about 15 minutes to make!

Sprinkled various colours of Brusho on  to water colour paper, sprayed it with water & blotted it. Stamped over with Crafty Individuals stamps. Mounted it with a narrow black border on to a 6" x 6" blank card. Quick, easy and colourful!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

One layer at the Butterfly Challenge

Challenge No. 10 at the Butterfly Challenge is One Layer. I decided to see whether I could recreate the card in my previous post in a one layer format. It involved a lot of masking! My base was a 7" x 7" blank card.

To begin with, I outlined the main image area very lightly with pencil, so that I could see where to place the masks. I used a waterproof masking film. The first ones went around the outside of the area so that I could stamp and clear emboss the grasses inside. With the masks still in place, I then sprinkled on some Brusho (this time sandstone rather than black, for a change), lightly sprayed it with water and blotted off the excess. The butterfly was then stamped with Versafine ink. As before, all stamps are by Chocolate Baroque.

I removed the outside masks and then masked the main panel instead. Next I stamped the grasses at the edge of the card. By this stage it was looking okay but a bit untidy where a bit of the Brusho had leaked under the mask. The final step was to draw the black frame around the main image with a drawing pen, which covered the untidy edges and pulled everything together.

Looking at the two cards side by side, I don't think this one is quite as crisp looking as the original version and I think I prefer the effect of the black Brusho rather than the sandstone. Perhaps brown ink rather than black would have gone better with the sandstone. However, given the limitations of the one layer format I was quite pleased with it, and it was an interesting exercise to try.

Monday, 7 July 2014

More Brusho

Here's another card I made while playing with my Brusho paints (see also my earlier post here).

For this one I embossed the ferns first with Versamark ink and clear embossing powder on watercolour paper before sprinkling with the Brusho powder (I used black only) and lightly spraying with water. The embossing resisted the wet paint. I blotted it with a paper  towel to remove the excess ink. Next I stamped the butterfly, followed by the ferns again, this time with Versafine ink on the right hand side of the card blank. I had considered colouring the butterfly, as on my earlier card, but decided not to as I rather liked the graphic quality of the black and white, with just the hint of colour in the Brusho background. I matted the picture with a thin black border and stuck it to the card. All stamps are by Chocolate Baroque.

In this close up you can see the effect of the Brusho more clearly. It's great stuff to work with. Think I'll be playing with it again before long!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Summer at last!

Just hoping the last two weeks aren't all we're going to get! For once, Scotland seems to have had better weather than the rest of the country but as we start our school holidays this week, I fear things will probably revert to form before long!

Anyway, it's a new month, and at Stamping Sensations we are brightening things up whatever the weather with a theme of

***** SUMMER BLOOMS *****

Garden glories or wildflowers or weeds, we don't care which, just show us flowers galore! But please do remember, as we are a stamping challenge there must be some hand rubber stamping on your project. Entries containing only digital images will not be considered for the prize or top 3.
Making a return visit as our sponsor for July is the wonderful Heartfelt Creations, who are generously offering a voucher to the value of $60 to spend in their online store.
They have asked us to point out that should the prize winner live outside the USA, a charge for postage, packing and shipping will apply.
For my card I've taken inspiration from the masses of beautiful wildflowers adorning our hedgerows just now.
The background was colour washed with diluted Distress Inks on water colour paper, then various flowers and a couple of butterflies were stamped over. Some of the flowers were coloured with Inktense watercolour pencils. Stamps used were from Lavinia Stamps, Chocolate Baroque and Crafty Individuals. The sentiment is by Inkylicious.
Flowers are, of course, one of my favourite topics for cards, so I am really looking forward to seeing lots of lovely entries full of summer blooms! My fabulous teamies have definitely excelled themselves this month with their gorgeous creations, so don't forget to check them out on the Challenge Blog if you are in need of inspiration. Thanks for looking!

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Just playing

Woo hoo, it's the school holidays! No work to prepare, nowhere I needed to go, nothing I needed to do for the time being, so I decided it was time for a play!

Recently on Pinterest I've been admiring various artworks (some of which I've pinned on my Bister and Brusho Art board) using something called Bister, or Bistre. Having never heard of it before, I had to investigate! It seems to be popular in The Netherlands, and there are some great examples using it on the Stampinback Blog. I really fancied having a go at something similar, but I don't have any Bister. Then I remembered that, quite some time ago, I bought some Brusho powder paints, although I didn't do much with them at the time. As far as I can tell, Brusho and Bister appear pretty much to be the same kind of product. I'm not quite sure whether to call the Brusho paints or inks, as they behave similarly to both.

Right, I thought, I'll have a go with the Brusho and see whether I can get similar results. The trouble was, I couldn't find them! I knew they must be somewhere in my craft room. So I spent a whole day and a half (yes really!) going through all my stuff with a fine tooth comb, so determined was I to find them. I even looked in cupboards in other rooms in the house, just in case for some strange reason they had migrated elsewhere. By last night they still hadn't turned up, but at least I now have a very tidy craft room!

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I eventually realised there was one box I hadn't looked in, one I keep under my desk. It used to house a mixture of bits and pieces, a microcosm of my stash, if you like, that I could just pick up and take with me if I was going away anywhere. Since we moved up here there are very few occasions now when that would happen, so during my last reorganisation I had put all the bits and pieces away with their fellow bits and pieces and the box underwent a change of use. And, of course, that's where I finally found the Brusho!

It's brilliant stuff. So many different ways it can be used. I won't go into them all just now, but there's lots of info here. For my first card, I sprinkled some Brusho (sparingly - it's very concentrated) over watercolour paper and lightly sprayed it with water. The powder magically turned into paint and spread out over the paper.

I overstamped  it with stamps from Art Journey, Stampinback, Lindsay Mason and Hobby Art and filled in the gap at the side with a Memory Box diecut. I used a white gel pen to add highlights to the flowers.

For the second card my method was similar, except that I used plain smooth card instead of watercolour paper and coloured just part of the card with Brusho. The interesting thing here is that I only used black Brusho. When you mix it with water to use as a paint  it comes out black, but as a powder it's a composite of different colours which separate out when you spray it or drop it on to wet paper. The butterfly and grasses are by Inkylicious. I mixed a little turquoise Brusho with water to use as a paint to colour the butterfly.

The third card uses watercolour paper again, but this time I dampened the paper first before sprinkling the Brusho on to it. I stamped the flowers and butterflies (Lavinia Stamps) and painted the flowers as above. Sentiment is by Indigo Blu. Flower border punch by X-Cut.

The fun of the sprinkled backgrounds is seeing how they turn out. No two will be the same. I guess it may be possible with practice to control it a little more, but I'm not sure I'd want to. I like the randomness of it.

I've barely yet scratched the surface of what can be done with Brusho, and I'm sure I'll be doing some more experimenting, so thanks for looking, and watch this space!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Magic Weekend!

Last weekend I made one of my biannual visits back down south for the Stamp Magic show at Doncaster, staying overnight with Sally. The June one is always a flying visit, as it's not during the school hols, unlike the October one, but it's amazing how much we can pack into the weekend.

I wasn't particularly looking forward to the journey down, as thunderstorms and torrential rain had been forecast, but apart from some good downpours along the A66, the rest of the way wasn't too bad and by the time I got to Sally's it had brightened up enough for us to sit out in her garden with a cuppa. The next day dawned warm and sunny, and we were soon on our way to Doncaster. Stamp Magic is definitely our favourite show, just the right size, great selection of exhibitors including many of our favourite companies, and everyone is so friendly and helpful.

Our first port of call was the Inkylicious stand, which usually accounts for the greater part of my show spending. True to form, Deby had some gorgeous new stamps, which soon found their way into my basket. I also stocked up on her silk art card, which is perfect for using with ink dusters, and a few other bits and pieces. For a long time I have debated whether to get a stand for my ink dusters, thinking I would use them a lot more if I had them to hand all the time, instead of put away in a drawer. This time I really wanted one, but having decided on my budget, and being determined to stick to it, it was either the stamps or the stand, and the stamps won. I reasoned that I couldn't make the stamps, but if I put my mind to it, I should be able to make myself a stand. Another factor was that the commercial stands hold eight dusters, and I have nine!

By the time I got home, an idea was beginning to take shape. I scouted around in my craft room for some raw materials. Some offcuts of thick cardboard and a good strong cardboard tube, both which had been in my stash for about a million years. (Well, at least 30, which just goes to prove the value of never throwing away anything which might one day come in handy.)

I also found a sheet of paper (K & Company) with a lovely butterfly design all over it, rolls of self adhesive tin foil, clear self adhesive film and green baize, an old cotton reel and a button.

I cut five circles from the thick card, stuck three together to make a firm base, and the other two for the top. The trickiest part was cutting the slots for the ink dusters to hang in. Once I had all the elements cut to size and shape, I neatened all the edges with the tin foil and then covered the pieces first with the butterfly paper, followed by the clear film for durability. The base was covered with the green baize. I painted the cotton reel and stuck a button on top to hide the hole. Finally, everything was ready to assemble. Some glue seeped out at the bottom when I was joining the base to the cardboard tube, so I stuck a diecut (Spellbinders) round to cover it up. It looks quite pretty, so if anyone asks I'll just say it was part of the original design.

And here's the result.

And here it is with its cargo.

I must admit to being quite pleased with it, not least that it cost only pennies to make, with the added bonus that I've freed up a bit of drawer space and used some old stash too!

It so happens that it fits with the theme for the Butterfly Challenge No. 8, which is "Butterfly Bingo", so I am entering it there. My stand has used the line Die Cut - Butterflies - Designer Paper.

Now to go and put those ink dusters to use ........

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Animal Antics

My goodness, isn't this year flying by! The first of June already, and being a Sunday that means it's time for another challenge at Stamping Sensations. We had a fantastic amount of entries for our anything goes theme last month, and a big thank you to everyone who entered, it was a real treat looking through all your gorgeous projects.

For this month, however, we have narrowed things down a bit, although I think our topic will be equally popular as it is

***** ANIMAL ANTICS *****

We would like to see your depictions of creatures from the animal kingdom.

NB. Please remember that we are a stamping challenge. If you wish your entry to be considered for the prize it must include hand stamped elements. Digital stamps (which are in effect clipart) do not qualify. Sadly there were several entries last month that were ineligible because we could not see any hand stamping on them, so please do make sure that your project includes some hand stamping. You can check out our full challenge rules here 

For our sponsor this month we are delighted to welcome back Crafty Individuals, who are very generously inviting the lucky winner to choose anything from their website up to a value of £35! Besides their fabulous stamps, they also have a gloriously eclectic range of papers, printed images, masks & dies and many other crafting accessories and "must haves", so the winner will truly be spoilt for choice.

I've made two cards for this month. Inspired by the fact that we live next door to a farm, and it is so lovely to be able to watch all the animals out in the fields, I've used some of the gorgeous images from the Crafty Individuals Miniatures Book "Nature's Beauty". and stamps from their "Winter Trees" Elements plate (code CI-209).

My second card is completely different!

Of course, I don't normally do cute, but I couldn't resist the "Max & Whiskers" paper pad by Basic Grey when it came out, as it is just so bright and cheerful. Unfortunately it is now discontinued, so I am hoarding the sheets I have left! Fortunately there are two sheets of each design, so I could use one of the cat backgrounds here! The large cat stamp (Funstamps) has been in my stash for years, and gets an airing every now and then if I have to make a card for a cat lover. I cut and mounted it with Spellbinders Nestabilities dies. The small cats, words, and the cheeky dog in the corner are from a freebie set from Papercraft Inspirations magazine. All the cats were coloured with Promarkers.

Lots of delightful animal antics going on in the DT's samples, so do go and take a look at them on the Challenge Blog. Thanks for looking at mine, and I look forward to seeing yours!
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