Wednesday, 16 December 2020

An Announcement!

 It was just an ordinary Wednesday afternoon. I'd been making a few Christmas cards, and watching Jean Hardy's Facebook Live on the Crafty Individuals Facebook Page, when my phone pinged. It was a message from Jean, asking me if I would like to join the Crafty Individuals Design Team! It took a few seconds to sink in. What? Who, me?? Really?? Then the excitement set in! Wow! Crafty Individuals was one of the first British stamp companies I bought from, many years ago, and they have always been right up at the top of my list of favourites! To be on their DT would be a dream come true! I was so excited! I thought I'd better ask Jean for some time to think about it, because I didn't want to make a commitment unless I was sure I could fulfil it. Jean said that was fine, so I had a think, and about 5 seconds later messaged her back to say yes please! Did I say I was excited?!!

The next development was the arrival of a parcel of the newest stamps and papers! They are all fabulous (you can find them here) and I was so excited to get to play with them. Did I say I was excited?!!

Here are some of my first makes as a DT member! My favourite of the new stamps, which have all been designed by Sharron Bates, is the wonderful "Of The Sea" (CI-559), which is an old boat with a lovely vintage feel. I thought it would make a suitable subject for pyrography.


I stamped the image with Memento Desert Sand ink on to Cass Art 300gsm hot press watercolour card, a good strong card with the ability to take the heat of the pyrography tool. I then used the tool to outline and shade the image. I overstamped one of the papers from the new "Wonderfully Weathered" Set 1 with some text from CI-397 before mounting the image over the paper. I added a few elements from CI-397, CI-272 and CI-349 to complete the project, which is a free standing plaque. Here's a close up of the lovely old boat.

My next play was with the gorgeous "Flower" CI-560, Sharron's stunning interpretation of a cone flower (aka Echinacea). I decided to make a journal. 

I made front and back covers from mountboard and covered the outside of them with papers from the "Aurora Borealis" A4 background paper set and the insides with one of the designs from a brand new paper set "Vintage Style Journaling Papers". The pages are a mixture of watercolour card and black cartridge paper, as you can just about see in the next photo. The covers and papers were bound together with my Bind-It-All machine.

Next, the flower was stamped on to encaustic art card, clear embossed, watercoloured and covered with Ranger Glossy Accents to seal it. Then alcohol inks were sponged over to make a background. An aperture was cut from a piece of textured card with a die from The Works, the imaged affixed behind it and then matted on to contrasting card to frame it. This was then adhered to the front of the journal, along with a book plate holder which has been in my stash for years! The wording inside it was computer generated. 

My final show-and-tell for now is the utterly fabulous "Pablo the Penguin" CI-557! I had finished all my Christmas cards, so I made a gift bag instead and put him on that.

I stamped Pablo, various elements from CI-257 and CI-326 and the snowflake (which I think was a freebie) onto fabric with Versacraft ink, which I heat set, and then added colour with Arteza fabric pens, which also needed to be heat set. I fringed the edges of the panel and stitched it to the front of the bag. I was quite happy with the result, but felt it needed just a little something else to finish it off. Had a rummage through my stash and found some tiny bells, which I attached to his antlers. Perfect!

Here he is in all his glory!

I've loved working with these fantastic stamps, and have more ideas for future projects, so thanks for looking, and watch this space!

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

Feathers and Paint

I've been playing with some stunning new stamps from Crafty Individuals,  Dawn Serenity and Dawn Hideaway. They were designed by Sandma, who combined various existing Crafty Individuals stamps to make these gorgeous scenes. They are all beautiful, but my favourite is the kingfisher, not only because they are amazing birds and I love their colours, but also because they were my late father's favourite birds too, and they remind me of him every time I see one.


I made an easel card for the kingfisher. The lake scene behind it was created with masks and Memento dye inks, the distant birds being hand drawn. The foreground grasses and the butterfly were stamped separately, cut out and adhered to the upper part of the card. The kingfisher was likewise stamped and cut out, then coloured with Arteza coloured pencils and fixed to the card with foam pads. A stamped sentiment provided the stopper for the card. All stamps used are by Crafty Individuals. The background papers are from my own photos of peeling paint on some old forestry machinery, which had the most wonderful colours and texture. 

My second card shows the lovely robin.

The background for the scene was created first, again with masks and dye inks, then the robin scene was stamped over it. It was stamped a second time on plain white card, the robin was cut out and coloured and adhered over the top of the first one. The sentiment is also by Crafty Individuals, and the background paper is another of my peeling paint photos.

These stamps have gone straight into my list of all time favourites. There are two more in the series, so watch this space!

Here's a photo of some of the old forestry machinery, which I am reliably informed are ditch diggers!

This is one of the original unedited photos of the paint. I have edited the photos for use as backgrounds.

It was a dull, damp day when I saw the old machinery, and I wasn't expecting to get much in the way of decent photos. However, a closer inspection revealed the possibilities! As well as the rust and peeling paint, various mosses and lichens added even more texture. Just goes to show that even if the bigger picture doesn't look promising, it's always worth checking out the details! 

Thursday, 8 October 2020

Sunsets and Friends

One of the best things about blogging is that I have made some wonderful friends through it. There is a group of five of us who regularly chat online together. We have recently formed a chat group, where we natter about crafting, blogging, putting the world to rights and generally have a good laugh. It's very therapeutic! I had posted some photos I'd taken of some of the stunning sunsets we get where I live, and a discussion took place as to what might be the best ink colours etc. to recreate the scenes on a card. I challenged them each to create a card representing one of the photos, and they all accepted the mission!

These were the photos they had to choose from.

The single tree in the second and fourth photos is a wonderful old beech tree which stands alone on top of the hill and is a local landmark. We can see it from our garden, and quite often get people stopping outside our house to photograph it! A few years ago I turned one of my photos of it into a digistamp, but being a stamper at heart I really wanted it in rubber. I sent the photo to Deby at Inkylicious, knowing that she is a kindred spirit when it comes to trees, and hoping to persuade her to turn it into a stamp, and she did! Not only that, she added a couple of buzzards and a sentiment to make a fabulous set, which you can find here.

Having set the challenge, I thought I should also try and make a card myself. I decided to use the photo with the three trees. As luck would have it, I have a Crafty Individuals stamp (sadly no longer on their website) with three trees on it not too dissimilar to the ones in the photo, so I went with that. The sentiment and leaf stamps are still available.

To see what my lovely friends came up with, please do go and have a look at their blogs. You will certainly not be disappointed, their cards are all absolutely brilliant! They are all super-talented crafters who inspire me every day with their amazing creations, and, even more importantly, with their support and friendship. You'll find them here:

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Just For A Change

Much as I enjoy my card making, which I've been doing for over 30 years now, I do like to pursue other crafts as well. The silver lining in the lockdown cloud has been having more spare time to revisit some of my old favourites and also to try new ones. I've been needle felting for quite some time, but it was only recently that I attempted my very first wet felted picture. I used one of my photos for reference. The scene is Criffel (the hill) viewed from Newbie Barns, on the Solway Firth. 

And here is my felted interpretation of the photo. Had to use a bit of artistic licence for the oystercatchers - there are several in the photo, but you'd need a magnifying glass to see them!

It was a steep learning curve, but I was quite pleased with my first effort. I've also become a big fan of Mum's Makery needle felting templates (designed and produced by the wonderfully talented Samantha Loughlin, owner of Mum's Makery), which make it so easy to produce beautiful felted flowers and other items which are 3D rather than flat pictures. These are a few of my makes with the templates.

The templates can also be used for 2D felting, as with the mushroom in the next picture. The conkers, acorn and berries were made freehand, and the small leaves with mini sugarcraft templates.

The beauty of the templates is that they enable consistency in shape and size of the felted pieces.

I returned to 2D felting for a birthday card which featured a detachable bookmark, with the addition of some hand and machine embroidery over the felting. Having made the bookmark, I used coloured pencils to extend the picture on to the base card.

For anyone who would like to take up a new creative hobby which is easy to learn and doesn't require a lot of expensive materials to get started with, I can definitely recommend needle felting. Check out the Mum's Makery YouTube channel  for loads of brilliant tutorials, and also the fabulous and very supportive Mum's Makery Facebook Group to see what it's all about. As well as deriving great satisfaction from being able to produce the finished articles, I also find the process very therapeutic. Must be all that stabbing..........! 😉

Sunday, 6 September 2020

Summer's End, and September Challenge At Stamping Sensations

 I don't know about where you are, but up here it is definitely beginning to feel like the end of summer. The temperature has dropped, leaves are beginning to turn, blackberries are ripening, the barley field opposite our house has been harvested, ploughed and resown (the local gulls have been very interested!), and the new crop is already sprouting. Over the last couple of weeks we have had just about every type of weather except snow, and including much more rain and wind than is usual for this time of year. I am hoping, though, that there will still be a good few fine days for being outside in the fresh air, whether it be on a walk or just in the garden, before the winter starts to close in.

Which brings me nicely to our theme for this month's Stamping Sensations Challenge, which is 

* * * * * THE GREAT OUTDOORS * * * * *

As the title suggests, we want to see outdoor scenes - countryside, mountains, hills, valleys, lakes, rivers etc. Our usual challenge rules apply, in particular the main element of your project must represent the theme, and must be hand stamped, or a hand coloured digital image. 

Our September winner will receive two A4 stamp sheets from the Rare Earth Illuminated Florals Collection, a prize well worth entering for. Full details are on the Stamping Sensations Challenge Blog.

My Great Outdoors scene uses the majestic stag which is part of the Stag & Hare set from Hobby Art.

I stamped and masked the stag, made the background by sponging pigment inks over hand cut hill and valley stencils, and stamped various other images to complete the scene. All stamps are by Hobby Art.

The inspiration for my card was the beautiful scenery around where I live, though I've taken a bit of artistic licence! We don't have far to travel to be out on the moors and hills. We are sometimes lucky enough to see foxes and roe deer in our immediate vicinity, but we would have to go a bit further afield to see a big red deer stag with its magnificent antlers, such as this one! 

Should you need any inspiration for your Great Outdoors projects, my teamies have plenty of stunning vistas to show you over on the Challenge Blog. We look forward to seeing your entries.

I'll leave you with a few photos that I've taken in or from my garden this week.

"You needn't bother tiptoeing, I'm just resting my eyes."

"Three wings? They're just showing off!"

"Oy, you lot, don't forget your masks!"

"It's ok, lads, I think we've got this social distancing lark sorted."

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

More Masculine Makes

 Here's my mid-month reminder for Stamping Sensations August Challenge, where our theme is "Make It Masculine". 

The background was made with Distress Oxide inks on watercolour paper, which I stencilled over with a stencil by Aall & Create. The music stamp is also by Aall & Create. The sentiment is a magazine freebie. Background paper from my stash.

We have had lots of lovely entries for the challenge so far, but there is still plenty of time to enter and be in with a chance of winning a fab trio of stamp sets by Crafts Too, all of which would be perfect for masculine designs. The challenge ends on September 2nd.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

A Difficult Subject?!

Do you, like me, often struggle with cards for men, or boys? If so, never fear, Stamping Sensations is here! Our August challenge theme is 

* * * * * MAKE IT MASCULINE * * * * *

and the Design Team have some fabulous samples for you to give you some inspiration. You can see them on the Stamping Sensations Challenge Blog. Not only that, the prize for this month is this trio of gorgeous stamp sets, all of which would be suitable for male relatives and friends (though I'm sure that anyone would appreciate the beautiful designs).

To be eligible for the prize, the masculine element of your project must be the main image, and it must be hand stamped, or a hand coloured digital image. Please take a few moments to read carefully our challenge rules, which are HERE. It is such a shame when we have to disqualify an otherwise gorgeous entry because it doesn't fit our requirements.

I don't often use clean and simple designs on my cards, though I do like them, but I needed a birthday card in a hurry, and I thought the CAS style would suit this lovely new Oystercatchers image from Woodware.

I simply stamped all the images straight on to the base card and coloured the birds' beaks and feet with Zig Clean Colour pens. A touch of Gelly Roll clear glaze pen gave them a glint in the eye. The large oystercatcher image and the small flying birds are from the Woodware set, the sentiment is a magazine freebie. It probably took me about 10 minutes from start to finish, very simple but I do like the graphic effect, monochrome except for the pop of red. 

Saturday, 18 July 2020

More Creatures!

There's still time to enter our July Challenge at Stamping Sensations, where the theme is "All Creatures Great And Small". Our lovely sponsors this month are Crafty Individuals and I've made another card using some of their products.

The background paper and the papers I used to paper piece the birds and butterflies are from various Crafty Individuals Background Paper Books.On the background sheet I toned down the area I wanted to stamp over with some diluted acrylic paint. I stamped the Three Birds ( CI-544) on the background and twice more on different sheets. I cut out their bodies and wings from the 2 extra sheets and and mixed and matched the different sheets when assembling the birds. The wings were popped up on foam pads.

I decided to give the birds some fashion accessories! The right hand bird's hat and middle bird's bag are from elements plate CI-335, The left hand bird's hat and the "Hats and Bonnets" sign were cut from the CI-285 "Hats and bonnets" stamp. The butterflies (from CI-231 elements plate) were also stamped on the patterned papers and cut out. All of these were also attached with foam pads. I added some colour to the birds' beaks and legs with Arteza brush pens.

There's a super prize on offer from Crafty Individuals, a £25 voucher to spend in their online shop, where you will most definitely be spoilt for choice! If you haven't entered already, why not have a go? All the information you need, along with our challenge rules, can be found on the Stamping Sensations Challenge Blog.

Sunday, 5 July 2020

Creatures of all sizes!

July already, and time for a new challenge at Stamping Sensations! It's one of my favourite themes too!


We want to see any type of real creature on your projects - animals, wild or domestic, birds, bugs, butterflies - but no teddy bears or fantasy creatures such as unicorns or dragons! And please note our usual rules, that they must be the focal point of your entry, and they must be stamped and fit the theme. A small stamped element added to a mainly stencilled or die cut project will not be eligible. We prefer conventional hand stamping, but do allow digital images as long as they are hand coloured.

If you don't have any creature stamps, look no further than our wonderful July sponsor Crafty Individuals, who have the most amazing designs of all types of animals, birds and butterflies, as well as all sorts of other stunning stamps, papers and accessories. The have donated a fab £25 voucher for the winning entry, to be spent in their online shop.

Crafty Individuals have been one of my favourite companies ever since I first discovered them, many years ago now, not just for their fantastic products but also for their excellent customer service. All the stamps I have used on my card are by Crafty Individuals.

During my most recent craft room tidy up I rediscovered some old ink sprays. Many of them were dried up and had to be disposed of, but a few were still ok, so I decided to use them to make a background. A couple that I had were shimmery, the others were plain. My background is a mixture of both.

I stamped the Hare And Moon (CI-508) first on watercolour card, and masked it, before spraying the background. I did actually spray some of the shimmery ink through a stencil (by Bee Crafty) but it doesn't show up very well, though I rather like the effect. I grounded the hare by using another mask and sponging with pigment ink. I stamped the crow (from the Crow Plate CI-361), and the grasses from CI-495 Perching Pied Wagtail (masking off the bird before inking) and from CI-207 Ferns And Grasses set.

It just so happened, (quite unintentionally!) that where I stamped the crow was over some of the shimmery spray, and the shimmer showed through the ink. It gave the crow a sort of ethereal, dream-like quality, which tied in rather nicely with the sentiment, which is also from the Crow Plate. Serendipity!

My teamies  have come up with some superb samples once again, so do pop over to the Challenge Blog and have a look at them. I promise you will not be disappointed. I am really looking forward to seeing this month entries!

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Even More Colour!

I'm loving this month's theme at Stamping Sensations! Entries are coming in nicely for our "Make It Colourful" challenge and it's great to see such bright and cheerful designs.

I made another card using stamps from our June sponsor, Visible Image.

I stamped the flowers and butterflies with Versafine Clair Ink on Cass Art hot press watercolour card and coloured them with diluted Distress Ink reinkers, using a waterbrush to blend the colours. I splattered drops of the inks over the design with a fan brush and added liquid pearls to the butterflies' bodies. I hand wrote the sentiment and stamped the colour splash (a magazine freebie designed by Visible Image) over the appropriate word.

It was a very quick card to make, and I really enjoyed the process. Sometimes I prefer to work with more muted colours for a softer effect, depending on the subject, of course, but at the moment I'm definitely going through a bright and colourful phase!

Our June challenge runs until the 1st of July, so there's still plenty of time to enter if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning a fab voucher to spend in Visible Image's online shop.