Friday, 25 June 2010

Normal service is resumed!

Back to my more usual style for this card. I love the look of the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals dies, but they are too big for the sort of things I'd want them for, so I decided to make my own distressed flowers using the EK Success retro flower punches. I wanted them to look as though they were made from old book pages. I've been wanting to do this for quite some time. However, I couldn't bring myself to tear the pages out of a book! A friend of mine even gave me an old book which she'd got specially for me to use, but it was a book of wild flowers with some lovely old pictures in, and I just couldn't do it! I thought I would scan them instead. Then I found a website where you can download copyright free books, so I printed some pages from that and made them look old with Distress Inks (Tumbled Glass and Antique Linen, which I also used on the butterfly and sentiment). Having punched out the flowers I just tore the edges of the petals a bit & then inked around them. Not quite the same as Tim's, but near enough to the look I wanted.

The background paper is a digital download from Two Peas in a Bucket, one of the "Art Papers III" digital kit by Vinnie Pearce. The text-printed leaves on it went perfectly with my flowers. It's such a pretty paper that I kept the embellishments to a minimum so as not to hide it. The photo doesn't do it justice. The punched butterfly is overstamped with Hero Arts "Delicate Vine", and the sentiment is by Darkroom Door. The lace and ribbon came from my late mother's stash. She was a crafter, though her speciality was in fabrics and dried flower arranging. She was also a hoarder and loved a bargain, with the result that she had more materials stashed away than she was ever likely to use. I think I've inherited the tendency! But if that's the price of also inheriting her love of arts and crafts and making things, it's one I'm happy to pay!

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Woof woof! And woof!

I'm short on both time and inclination for crafting & blogging lately. Busy at school with preparations for end of term concerts, and not feeling well. I seem to have had a cold for weeks, but without the streaming eyes and sneezes, just the bunged up sinuses & feeling tired and lethargic. I'm beginning to wonder whether it's hay fever instead, although I don't usually suffer from that. But I've heard other people saying the same, because the pollen is so bad this year, so I've just started taking antihistamines to see if they will help. No improvement so far, but I guess I should give them a few days to start working. Anyone else out there had something similar?

Anyway, I did manage to make a birthday card for a friend who has two papillons (also known as butterfly dogs). I bought the Grandma's Parlor Collection Set (digital) from *Wink *Wink Ink, which came with a poodle (not quite a papillon, but I thought it would do!). This isn't at all the sort of thing I usually go for, but there was just something about the set that appealed to me. It comes with 3 types of files - png, jpg outline drawing and jpg pre-coloured. I wanted something quick and easy to make, so I cheated and used the pre-coloured version, with a bit of 3D so I could feel I'd actually done something!

Also couldn't resist the BasicGrey "Max & Whiskers" 6" x 6" paper pad, which made lovely paw print patterned "wallpaper". I was quite pleased with the result, so I made a similar card for my FIL for Fathers' Day. He used to have a border terrier, who sadly is no longer with us. The set is female oriented, so I changed the colour of the chair, lamp and vase using my graphics programme and made a "Happy Fathers' Day" instead of the Mothers' Day greeting which is included.

Friday, 11 June 2010

A mystery!

Several years ago I was given a wooden planter filled with spring flowers. After the flowers died off, the planter was left on the patio and became repopulated with dandelions and moss! Then, three years ago, we noticed a strange plant growing there. It had long leaves which were covered with dark reddish spots. Eventually a single long stalk appeared with a spike of pale pink flowers at the top. "Hmm!" I thought. "That looks like an orchid!" A perusal of the wild flower book confirmed that indeed it was. A Common Spotted Orchid.

The following year there were 3 flower spikes, and along with those there appeared another plant, with darker purple flowers and no spots on the leaves. We identified that one as a Southern Marsh Orchid.

This year there are several more flower spikes, plus more baby plants of both varieties. The mystery is how they got there, especially as there are two completely different species! We certainly didn't plant them. They weren't there when I was first given the planter. When the first one appeared we wondered whether a seed could have been carried there by a bird or something, but when the second variety started growing, that seemed unlikely. All we can think of is that the seeds must have been dormant in the soil, and sprung to life some time after the original flowers had died off. Anyone got any other suggestions?

We may never solve the mystery, but we have some lovely flowers to enjoy!

New Stash

Here's a card using a stamp I bought when we went to Sir Stampalot last weekend. It's one of this year's new ones by Hero Arts. I've had the Basic Grey "Stella Ruby" paper (now discontinued, unfortunately) for some time and had been looking for a suitable stamp to go with it. This one was perfect. The card is for my sister-in-law. I wanted the image to be the focal point, but also wanted the background paper to show as much as possible, so I've kept it quite simple; watercolour pencil on the dresses, Martha Stewart punch down the side, a few buttons from my button box, a bit of ribbon (also from Sir S), but I think she'll like it.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Brilliant Day!

Well, the day finally arrived, and Sally, Megan and I set off to Sir Stampalot for our eagerly anticipated Blog Girl Get-together. It was lovely to be able to put faces to names (and blogs!) and spend the whole day playing, although with all the talking and laughing going on, not to mention eating (at lunchtime a delicious buffet appeared as if by magic!) some of us didn't get quite as much crafting done as we might have!

Brenda and Chris had prepared some wonderful projects for us to make, and since we wanted to try as much as possible, many of them were started and then put carefully aside to finish off at home. Chris's first demo was a really neat little album for recipes, photos, etc, with mini envelopes for pockets, then Brenda showed us how to make a lovely book/album using a new Sizzix Bigz Pro die using distressing and resist techniques. Other projects used brayering, masking and decoupage. I have yet to complete my little photo album, but have just finished the book.

(I used Distress Inks, and stamps by Hero Arts, Penny Black, Magenta, Inkadinakdo, and Crafty Individuals. The flourishes were cut with a die by Marianne Design.)

It was a very warm day, but the atmosphere of fun and camaraderie was even warmer. So to Brenda, Chris, Jules, Linda, Hayley, Rosie, Amanda, Sally and Megan, thanks for your company, and I hope you all enjoyed the day as much as I did. Thanks also to Janice and Andy for keeping the shop open for us to indulge in some retail therapy afterwards (not to mention during as well!) to everyone who contributed to lunch (Jules's heart shaped cheese scones were just to die for!) and huge thanks to Brenda and Chris for teaching us some gorgeous projects and for all their hard work which made the day such a success. Here's to the next time!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Sir Stampalot June Challenge

I've been busy lately dealing with my late father's affairs & effects, and clearing out his house, not to mention having had some sort of cold or virus which has left me feeling quite washed out, so I'm afraid blogging has had to take a back seat. When I did have some time to craft, I didn't have the inclination, but now I've been inspired once again by Sir Stampalot's Challenge. For June the theme is "Punch it", so I decided to make a screen card.

I started it off with the punched flower panel, the idea for which came from Julie Hickey's lovely book "Flower Power Papercrafts" (published by David & Charles), where she shows a beautiful wedding card with a flower panel, all in cream. I wanted mine to look summery, so I used multicoloured flowers.The flowers are not stuck on to acetate, as one might suppose, but only to each other, which adds to the lacy effect and allows the light to come through naturally.

The background papers are by Papermania, and the stamps and printed pictures by Crafty Individuals. I finished off the screen with some more punched flowers, a punched butterfly and some computer generated text. Other punches used were a Dovecraft corner rounder and the border at the top, the make of which unfortunately I don't know. 

Sally and I are very much looking forward to the Blog Girl Get-Together at Sir Stampalot this Saturday, when we will get to meet some of our blog friends, play and generally have a good old natter, just what I need after the last few months. Oh, and I should mention we also get to shop afterwards!
I'm also entering this card for the Charisma Cardz Challenge #22, which is "Flowers".
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