Sunday, 25 January 2009


These are the ATCs I made for the Crafty Individuals ATC competition./swap. Can't wait to see which ones I get in return.

The first two use the "tissue paper" method which I learned from Jean at Crafty Individuals. Stamp on to tissue paper, tear out the portion you want to use & apply it to the card with Mod Podge (or similar). It's a great method because it enables the use of only a part of a stamp. The tissue paper turns transparent when the glue is applied.

The next three are self-explanatory, I think. All stamps by Crafty Individuals apart from the quote on the right hand one (unfortunately I can't remember now where it came from) and the alphabet set by Hampton Arts which I used on the middle one. The butterfly ATC on the left is similar to one I showed in an earlier post.

The one on the left, below, has a background of Crafty Notions sprays, and the flowers and flourishes are highlighted with a Ranger Inkssentials white pen. For the one on the right, I cut a circular aperture, sponged it with pigment inks, stamped over that & then backed it with a Crafty Individuals paper.

The next one (left) has an alcohol ink background, while the final one (right) is interactive! Open the shutters and you can peep into the secret garden!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

New technique

Well, new to me, anyway. I was blog surfing yesterday evening & came upon something called the StazOn Cleaner Technique, by Annemiek v.d.G. on It involved using StazOn cleaner to take some of the colour off glossy card, & the results looked good. I wanted to try it, but didn't have any glossy coloured card. I did have some encaustic art card, which is quite glossy, so I thought I'd try colouring it with Distress Inks & see if that worked. Needless to say, it didn't. The colour didn't shift one iota. So I tried dabbing with acetone, & that worked a little bit, but not enough to get the effect I was hoping for. Then I tried Isopropyl Alcohol. I use that as a dilutant for my alcohol inks. It's much cheaper than the proprietery blender and does exactly the same job. You order it in a huge bottle from the chemist, although first you have to convince them that you want it for a respectable purpose and not to go out and get drunk with.

Anyway, I digress. I surmised that the IA would work because it lightens the alcohol inks. It didn't work. Getting a bit fed up by then, I spilt some IA over the card I was working on. Grabbing a babywipe, I mopped up the spillage. The colour came off the card beautifully. Serendipity! Of course, I should have realised, alcohol inks being mixable with water. I'll plead tiredness (it was by then well past midnight) and the fact that I had been basing my thinking on StazOn. I guess if I'd used StazOn ink to colour the card, taking some off with the cleaner would have worked, but I only had black and brown StazOn to hand. One other thing I did like, though, was the effect of the Distress Ink on the encaustic art card. It came out much paler than on ordinary card.

So, having eventually found a method that worked, I set to & made a few backgrounds. Here's how I did the first one.

Step one was to wipe a Distress inkpad all over the card (I used Tea Dye for this one.)

Next I dabbed over with the scrunched up babywipe where I wanted to take off some colour. (Another digression here. I use the cheapest supermarket own brand, often called "value" type. They're what I clean my stamps with. I don't worry about whether or not they contain alcohol, though we're often advised to avoid it for stamping purposes. I also have a bottle of proprietery stamp cleaner made by Tsukineko, one of the leaders in inks etc. for stamping. The first ingredient in that is ethyl alcohol......! I've been stamping for about 20 years, still use the first stamp I ever bought and it's still as good as new.) Here's the result of the babywipe stage.

Finally I stamped all over with a Crafty Individuals stamp

The CI stamp reminds me of tree bark. A single Crafty Individuals tree over my babywipe background was all it needed, I thought, and not much else besides.

Here's the second card I made using the same method. Shabby Shutters Distress Ink to begin with, then overstamped with a flourish using Tattered Rose DI. The Old Fashioned Girl seemed to belong to it, so I gave her some colour by painting her with Distress Inks, & added a few flowers & a sheer ribbon as finishing touches. Both stamps by Crafty Individuals.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Plum and Gold

This is my first ever card made specifically for a challenge, in this case the Graphicus Monthly Challenge. The colour scheme for January is Plum and Gold. I made the background with alcohol inks and Krylon gold pen, then stamped and embossed the fern leaf from the Elusive Images "Wild Meadow" plate. The same stamp was used on the edges of the card. The text was made with a label maker.

I really enjoyed making this card for the challenge, & look forward now to next month's!

Monday, 19 January 2009


I love trees. I love their elegance, their colours. I love the sound the wind makes in their branches, the tracery of their silhouettes against the sky. I love walking amongst them, whether through forests of tall, mysterious pines, or in gentle woodlands of oak, ash, beech and my favourite silver birch.

In honour of trees, I made a book about them. Most of the stamps, papers and pictures I used are from Crafty Individuals. I think they must like trees too! I made the book as a present for my daughter, who also loves trees.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Harlequin Rose

I've just bought the latest plate from Graphicus, Harlequin Rose. It's so beautiful I couldn't resist it. Had to try it out straightaway, and here's the result. I sponged the background with pigment inks, stamped the image in black and then highlighted the rose and leaves using a damp brush to pick up some colour from the inkpads. The border along the bottom is part of the set. It will be so versatile and will work well with many of my other stamps. I felt the card needed a simple embellishment to finish it off, so I added a sheer ribbon bow, tied between two eyelets.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Now you see it......

Well, I looked at my blog at lunchtime from a different computer, & my lovely new background had disappeared! Then when I got home this evening I looked again & it was back. Very strange. Presumably something to do with the problems that Cutest Blog on the Block have been having. Anyway, they seem to have sorted things out now, because I was able to get on to the site this evening, tried out a few more backgrounds, and settled on the one that you see here. At least, I hope you do!

Monday, 12 January 2009

Back to work

Creative Lynks has a nice new look to begin the New Year! Thanks very much to Lesley, aka The Messy Crafter for pointing me in the direction of The Cutest Blog on the, who supply free backgrounds. Unfortunately their site is experiencing problems at the moment, but hopefully they'll soon be resolved.

It was a bit of a shock to the system, going back to work after the Christmas break, but at last my cold has gone, & I'm coping! I've even managed to make some ATCs for the Crafty Individuals ATC competition. There are so many talented artists who send samples to the Crafty Individuals gallery that I'm not expecting to win anything, but in true ATC tradition, all entries will be swapped, & I'm looking forward to getting some back in return for mine. The card class restarts this Wednesday, & I'm going to do ATCs for that. I'm quite addicted to making ATCs. I think it's their small size that appeals to me. Also they're quick to make and can become the focal point of a card if you need one in a hurry. I'm not going to post my competition entries here until after the closing date! But here are some I made earlier.

All of the people depicted in this first set are members of my family, grandparents and great grandparents.

The second set uses facsimile cigarette cards with stamped backgrounds. I tried to go for an aged look with these.

The "stamp" stamps in the next two are by Cherry Pie. Their website has some wonderful samples in their galleries.

The final two use mostly Crafty Individuals stamps.

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