Sunday, 1 April 2018

April Fool ???

It's hard to believe it's April already, when we still have freezing temperatures and yet more forecasts of snow. Is the weather playing tricks on us??! However, the calendar says it's April, so that means it's time for our next challenge at Stamping Sensations, and our theme this month will hopefully be a bit easier that last month's, which seemed to stump some of you! Plenty of scope this time, with

* * * * * ONE FOR THE GIRLS * * * * *

Anything and everything feminine, or whatever might appeal to the ladies, as long as your main image is stamped and fits the theme, of course. And since we have a fab prize of a £25 voucher from our lovely sponsors Be Creative, what's not to like?

Although the stamp I've used for my card, "Afternoon Tea" by Docrafts Papermania, is old now, it's still a lovely design and works well for various occasions.

I chose only to colour the ladies (with Promarkers), to focus the attention on them and kept the rest of the design quite simple and graphic. The sentiment is by a sadly long defunct company, Eclipse Cards & Crafts, but its small size is useful when I want to convey the message without it detracting from the picture.

There's plenty of girly inspiration over on the Challenge Blog, where my teamies have some gorgeous samples for you. Looking forward to seeing yours!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Right up my street, or rather my woodland path!

One of the joys of living where I do is the abundance of local wildlife, which I love to see. So it should come as no surprise to learn that this month's challenge theme at Stamping Sensations is one of my favourites! We would like to see your creations filled with

* * * * * FOREST FRIENDS * * * * *

Lots of lovely creatures to choose from, but your Forest Friend/s must be the main image of your project and must be stamped (hand stamped or hand coloured digi) if you want to be in with a chance of winning one of our  fab prizes. Our sponsor for March is Tattered Lace, and here's what our lucky winner will receive! Beautiful ribbons, a storage box to keep them in, a bow maker and an inspiration book!

 I decided to make an easel card to showcase my forest friends.

I used paper masks and ink dusters to create the landscape background. The trees, leaves and creatures were stamped individually on a separate piece of card, coloured with Zig Clean Color pens and cut out. The components for the easel card were cut with stitched circle dies by The Works and then assembled. The base was covered with a gorgeous leaf print paper by Bee Crafty, and finally the creatures, leaves and sentiment were added. All stamps by Hobby Art.

The creatures depicted on my card are all to be found in the woods and fields around here, but in fact we have seen all of them on occasion without even having to leave the house! I do tend to spend quite a lot of time by the window with my camera! I could have added otter, stoat, rabbit, owl, mouse, hare and vole to my picture too, but there wasn't enough room!

I am so looking forward to seeing this month's entries! My lovely teamies have got some gorgeous examples for you over on the Challenge Blog, with oodles of the aww factor! Do go and have a look, and remember you can enter up to 3 projects. Hope you can join in, and good luck!

Thursday, 1 March 2018


We tend not to get much snow here. In the six years we've lived here, I could count on one hand the number of significant snowfalls we've had, none of which lasted for very long. This winter is definitely making up for the rest, though! More snow than I can remember for a long time.

The sight that greeted us when we looked out across the field this morning was quite amazing. The gale force wind was blowing the snow over the hill and it looked like water flowing over a weir. One day a waterfall of snowdrops (these are in the garden next door!) ....

.... the next a waterfall of snow! (Best viewed full screen to see the effect.)

Just thought I'd also upload a few photos from the last couple of days, mostly taken through the window! So glad I didn't have to go out in it! I daresay the sheep are used to being outdoors in all weathers, but I do feel sorry for them. The birds have certainly been taking advantage of our feeders, which we are having to top up every day.

"And as I was just saying to Mrs Sparrow...."

Can't remember the last time we had icicles!

So cold, the river froze at the edges

But it looked lovely when the sun shone

Mind your head!
It's been an interesting few days, but if the weather would get a bit warmer and drier very soon I'd be most grateful!

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Blooming Marvellous!

Time for our February Challenge at Stamping Sensations, and what better theme to brighten up this cold, gloomy month than

* * * * * ANYTHING WITH FLOWERS * * * * *

I have a feeling this is going to be a very popular topic, and of course, the scope is endless, but please do remember that the main focus of your project must be stamped and must comply with the theme (ie. your creation should be all about the flowers, not just a couple of tiny ones hiding in the background!) if you want it to be eligible for the prizes or top 3.

Our fab sponsor this month is Bee Crafty, who have given us a fantastic £25 voucher for our winner to spend in their online shop. I've used one of their stamps, the Backdrop Frames Splatter Swirl Upright Rectangle for my sample.

 I stamped it directly on to the front of the base card and cut away the inside of the frame. On a separate piece of card I stamped the tulips (Technique Tuesday), coloured them with watercolour pencils, masked them and stamped the text background (Stampin' Up). I then adhered the image behind the frame. The butterflies (Dovecraft) and sentiment (Hobby Art) are also stamped on to the base card.

I love most flowers, and tulips are a particular favourite. My daughter surprised me with this beautiful bunch the other day.

I'm looking forward to seeing lots of lovely flowers in this month's entries, tulips or not! I'm sure you'll have plenty of your own inspiration for your floral projects, but do go and look at my amazing teamies' creations as well, they're absolutely gorgeous! You'll find them here on the Challenge Blog. Let's brighten up this frosty February with some flower power!

Sunday, 7 January 2018

A Cold And Frosty New Year!

Happy New Year  everybody! Hope 2018 is a year of peace and happiness for all. It's been a bit nippy lately up in our neck of the woods, and that makes Stamping Sensations' first challenge of the year quite appropriate! We'd like you to use

* * * * * COLD AND FROSTY COLOURS * * * * *

We're thinking blues, purples, lilacs, whites, silver etc. for the main colours of your project. And as always, please do remember that we are a stamping challenge, therefore we must see a stamped image as the focal element of your artwork, not just a stamped sentiment or stamping in the background. This means that stamping must be the central subject of attention and interest. 

We have a super prize for our winner, this wonderful assortment of products from Sizzix!

I've used Distress Oxide inks (Broken China and Wilted Violet) and Inkylicious stamps for my card.

This was the first outing for my Splatter Circle, which I bought at last October's Stamp Magic show but haven't had chance to use until now. It's a fabulous stamp, very versatile, and huge! (My card is 7" x 7"). I inked it up randomly with the two inks and then lightly misted it with water to blend the inks. Once the image was dry, I overstamped it with the Winter Birds (another new favourite stamp!) and went over the snow with a white gel pen. I coloured the berries with a Promarker. The sentiment was cut out with a Spellbinders die, and I added a couple of gems for a bit of sparkle. A snippet of glitter paper found amongst my stash was perfect for matting the picture, and I also used some DP which was a magazine freebie. All stamps by Inkylicious.

Although we haven't had much snow yet this winter, we have had some very hard frosts. There are still a few berries around here for the birds, and we have lots of visitors to our feeders every day. Recent ones were these stunning bullfinches. We had three pairs one day, flitting amongst the brambles at the edge of the garden.

  I managed to capture a bit of video of them.

We get not only most of the common garden birds, but also some more unusual ones. For example:

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Redpoll
the gorgeous Pheasant
And my favourite cheeky, chirpy Long Tailed Tits!
I never tire of watching the birds, and I don't even have to leave the house to see them. All the photos were taken through my kitchen window! We are so lucky to live where we do, with nature all around us. I'm never short of inspiration.

Talking of which, if you should need any to help you with our Cold And Frosty Challenge, do fly over to the Challenge Blog and have a look at the beautiful samples which my talented teamies have produced for you. Can't wait to see your cool creations!

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Winter Trees and Flowers

It's time for the final challenge of 2017 at Stamping Sensations, and our theme for December is

* * * * * WINTER TREES AND FLOWERS * * * * *

Last month's theme of one layer cards seemed to be a little too challenging for some of you, but this month we hope you will find it easier, and you can layer and embellish as much as you like!

However, please do remember that we are a stamping challenge, therefore we must see stamping as the focal point of your artwork - ie. stamping must be the central point of attention and interest.

We have a fab prize from Stix2 for our winner, with a smaller prize for second place.

I chose a winter trees stamp from Circa Design (Unmounted Stamp Company) for my main image.

The pheasants, fox and kestrel are by Hobby Art, and the sentiment is a freebie from Simply Cards & Papercraft magazine.

I used a punched circle to mask where I wanted the sun to be, and also masked the top and bottom of the card, and everywhere below the line of the hill before colouring the sky with Memento ink using ink dusters. I then reverse masked the sun and coloured that too. I removed the hill and sun masks, stamped the tree scene and added some shading to give the effect of snow. I had to extend the trunk of the tree covering the right hand side of the sun, with a fine black pen, otherwise it would have appeared suspended in mid air!  Finally I removed all other masks and stamped the fox, kestrel and sentiment. The pheasants were stamped on a separate piece of card, coloured with Zig Clean Color pens, cut out (minus a few extra lines which I didn't want to show in the picture) and glued in place.

As always, if you're not quite sure how to interpret the theme, or just need some ideas, pop over to the Challenge Blog, where my teamies have created some wonderful samples to inspire you.

The run up to Christmas is always busy (and I still have several more cards to make!) but I do hope you will be able to find time to join in the challenge. It needn't take long, or be complicated, and the closing date is not until until the 3rd of January. A bit of quiet card making time between Christmas and New Year will be the perfect antidote to all the stress of the big day!

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Northern Lights

The current mid-month challenge for our DT at Stamping Sensations is to try something new. This month it is my turn to step outside my comfort zone!

Living in the north of the UK gives us the chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis, if conditions are favourable, and since we moved up here a few years ago I have been lucky enough to see them just once, back in October 2015. Not a good photo but at least I saw it.

I follow the Aurorawatch UK website, which sends out alerts when there is the possibility of aurora. Alerts range from green (no geomagnetic activity) through yellow and amber to red (aurora likely). Last week there was a red alert (which doesn't happen very often), meaning that there was a very good chance of seeing it if the skies were clear! Unfortunately not from here, though, as it was too misty.

However, it reminded me that I have been meaning for ages to have a go at the Northern Lights technique, so that is my something new for this month.

I had a look at a few tutorials, and learned that there is more than one method of producing the effect, using various colours of card for the background. The one I decided to follow was by Emma from Inkylicious. I won't go into all the details of the technique because you can check out Emma's excellent video here.  If you want to have a go, Inkylicious have put together a fantastic Aurora Borealis card kit with everything needed to make Northern Lights cards. Emma's method uses black card. Mindful of our one layer theme this month, I worked directly on to the base card (after quite a few practice attempts!). 

Having produced my aurora, I created the scene using landscape stencils which I made myself (though the Inkylicious kit includes a mountain/valley stencil), and white pigment ink for the stamping (all stamps by Inkylicious). I used a stamping platform to stamp the main elements so that I could go over each one a couple of times to get a good dense white and make sure they stood out against the background. I added highlights with a white gel pen and some shading to the hills with a white pencil.

I didn't get the sweep of the aurora quite how I wanted them, and I think less would have been better (got a bit carried away!), but I'm reasonably happy with the final result as a first effort. It was a fun (not to mention messy!) technique to try, and I'll certainly be having another go!

There's still plenty of time to join in this month's Challenge, where our theme for November is One Layer Christmas Cards. Full details and entry rules, along with plenty of inspiration from the DT, are on the challenge post, which you will find here. It's definitely worth entering, as we have some wonderful prizes, but please do remember to check out the rules to ensure that your project is eligible. We look forward to seeing your creations!

Sunday, 5 November 2017

And panic is beginning to set in.......!

Well, there are about seven weeks to go until Christmas, and I have made the grand total of TWO Christmas cards! Don't know where the time has gone this year, but I can now understand why retired people say they wonder how they ever had time to go to work! I seem to be busier than ever, not that I'm complaining! Much better than having nothing to do!

Anyway, one of the cards I have managed to produce so far is for our November Challenge at Stamping Sensations, where our theme is

* * * * *  ONE LAYER CHRISTMAS * * * * *

We would like to see Christmas designs which are one layer only, ie. stamped directly on the base card, with no matting or layering and no die cuts or embellishments. Also, may I remind you that we are a stamping challenge, so we must see a stamped image, sentiment or quote as the focal element of your artwork. This means that stamping must be the central point of attention and interest.

For our main winner, we have a fabulous prize, this super storage collection by Tattered Lace!

I made my robin card with Hobby Art stamps. The robin, branch and leaves are from the gorgeous new "Robins" Set, which has been designed by the wonderfully talented Janie Burnett-Bleach. The little background scene uses stamps from various Hobby Art Scene-it sets.

NB. The black edge around my photo is not part of the card! It is definitely one layer, I promise! I tend to photograph my cards against a dark surface so that they stand out better and the background of the photo doesn't detract from the card.

To build up the picture I used no less than 18 masks! The robin was stamped and masked first, followed by the branch, then the background scene and finally the leaves, with each mask left in place until the final leaf was stamped. Then the nerve-wracking bit - removing all the masks to reveal the finished picture. That's when you find out if it has worked or not!

Fortunately, I think it did! A fiddly technique (lots of cutting out of masks!) but worth it. I completed the design by adding some shading with pencils around the various elements to define them, and giving the berries highlights with a white gel pen.

If you've never tried one layer cards  before, don't be afraid to have a go. They can be as simple or as complicated as you wish! Masking does not have to be involved! A clean and simple design would work equally well. You could add some subtle colouring or go for a monochrome effect.

My teamies have risen magnificently to the challenge, and you can see their beautiful results on the Challenge Blog. I look forward to seeing yours!

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Glory of Autumn

In my previous post, I mentioned that whilst I don't look forward to the shorter days and cold of winter, I do like to see the glorious autumn colours. So I'm very happy that our October theme at Stamping Sensations is

 * * * * *AUTUMN GLORY * * * * *

We'd like to see your interpretation of Autumn. I'm thinking reds, greens, oranges, yellows, browns, leaves, trees, acorns, conkers, autumn flowers, berries, toadstools .......   well, that's what Autumn says to me. What does it say to you?

Please do remember that as we are a stamping challenge, the focal element of your project must be stamped (rubber/clear or hand coloured digital image) if you want to be in with a chance of winning a prize or top 3 place. Our sponsor this month is Stamp Addicts, who are giving a fabulous £25 voucher to spend in their shop or on their website.

I had been having a play with some Distress Oxide inks on watercolour paper, and by accident rather than by design, found that I had a pattern that made me think of a lake scene and morning mists, such as we often get on our local loch at this time of year. I decided to use it as the base for my autumn card.

A few stamps from Inkylicious (including the sentiment) brought the scene to life, and I matted it with some papers in autumn colours which have been in my stash for years! Think I have been subconsciously saving them because the colours are so rich and, well, autumny!

I felt the card needed a bit of embellishment, but I didn't want to detract too much from the lake scene. My recently acquired leaf dies from Concord & 9th fitted the bill perfectly. Considering I had no fixed idea in mind at the start of my project, I was quite pleased with how the card turned out. Something a bit different.

And that's what I'm hoping to see in this month's entries - something different, outside the box thinking, serendipity even! Just so long as they show the beauty and glory of this spectacular season. My teamies have have come up with some simply stunning samples, over on the Challenge Blog. Don't miss them!

I've been looking forward to this for ages, and really hope to see lots of entries on what I'm sure will be a popular theme. Good luck everyone!

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Inspiring colours

September already, the nights are fast drawing in and there is a definite autumnal feel in the air up here in rural SW Scotland. Whilst I love to see the autumn colours, I'm not looking forward to the return of the cold and the dark nights of winter, especially after the washout summer we've had. However, it's time for a new challenge at Stamping Sensations, so I am hoping for lots of lovely entries to brighten things up! This month our theme is

* * * * * PHOTO  INSPIRATION * * * * *

You may take your inspiration from the gorgeous colours in the photo, or go floral with the beautiful iris, but as always, your main image/focal point must be stamped if you want your entry to be considered for our prizes or top 3. And we have some lovely prizes for our winners this month, a first prize of stamp sets from Hero Arts, and a second one of lovely ribbons and gems. See the Challenge Blog for full details.

For my card, I've used a stunning Echinacea stamp by Imagination Crafts, sentiment dies by Brittania Dies, Prima flowers, and ribbon and backing papers from my stash.

For even more inspiration, do hop over to the Challenge Blog, where my teamies have some superb samples for your delight. We hope you enjoy our September challenge!
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