Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Butterfly Jewels

It's ages since I had chance to enter the Butterfly Challenge, but I noticed that the current theme is Butterflies and Brads and having a few spare minutes, decided to make a card.

I've just bought the Joy Crafts corner die, and was itching to use it. Using four together makes a pretty frame for the butterflies (a Cheery Lynn die) and the sentiment (Inky Doodles). I cut off part of the diecuts (it has a pointy sticky out bit in the middle!) so they didn't take up so much room in the square, and attached them to some patterned paper (Melissa Francis) along with some pearl brads. This was then matted onto some pink pearlescent paper. That's about it really.

It was a rush job because I started making the card and then realised I had about 30 minutes to finish it, get it photographed and upload it in time to meet the challenge deadline! I think I just made it! Phew! Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Five Favourite Stamps!

Our current mid-month challenge for the DT at Stamping Sensations is to choose our five favourite stamps and make something using some or all of them. This month it's my turn. Five stamps??! I have hundreds, if not thousands of stamps in my collection! How can I possibly choose just five favourites?! If I were to think in terms of favourite stamps, it would probably be my newest, or whatever I happened to be working with at the time. However, let's try and narrow it down a bit.

My favourite topics are nature themed - trees, butterflies, flowers, grasses, country scenes, etc.  so my preferred stamps are likely to come from those categories. I could pick any of Chocolate Baroque's flowers or butterflies, for instance, or just about anything at all by Inkylicious. I tried to make a shortlist, but by the time I was on to the third A4 sheet (of narrow-lined paper!) I gave up!

In the end I decided to think about which stamps I find myself reaching for most often and have selected five of those. That was today. Tomorrow it could well be a different five!

Anyway, here's what I've made. As well as the stamps, three of my cards also use diecuts, to reflect this month's challenge theme of Dies and Punches. Don't get me started on favourite dies.....!

My first card uses one of my oldest stamps, a butterfly by Hero Arts. The original is wood mounted, since then I have also acquired the later clear and cling versions! To me it's just the perfect butterfly, both in shape and in scope for colouring.

Backing paper  - Docrafts Papermania, diecuts - Spellbinders, music stamp - Stampington, sentiment - Technique Tuesday, butterfly coloured with watercolour pencils and cut out by hand.

Next another oldie, by Funstamps, bought over 20 years ago in 1994! I still often use this anemone stamp as its fine lines and open areas make it ideal for one of my favourite techniques; using a waterbrush to draw the ink out of the stamped image to colour it in, as I have done here.

Backing paper - Prima, circle die - Joycrafts, border die - Die-namics, butterfly die - Cheery Lynn, sentiment - Prickley Pear, image stamped with Distress Inks.

My third stamp is probably in danger of becoming worn out, I have used it so often! It makes a regular appearance not just on Christmas cards, but all year round, although sometimes you wouldn't recognise it as it can make excellent little bushes or shrubs when turned on its side. The background tree group is from the same set, and I almost chose that stamp as my favourite instead of the single tree. But I think I've used the single one more.

Both tree stamps are from the "Lovely As A Tree" set by Stampin' Up, Sentiment by Inkylicious. I used a Spellbinder die as a mask to make the background, along with my Inkylicious Ink Dusters and Mountain Valley Stencil, and Memento inks.

My final two choices are both by Inkylicious. It was really hard just to pick two of theirs, as I love ALL their nature stamps. Stamp No. 4 is a fairly new one, which combines trees and grasses into a scene but which can have different looks according to how the background is done, so it was high on my list.

Again, I used an Inkylicious Mountain Valley Stencil along with the ink dusters and Memento Inks to make the background before stamping the image. The pheasant is by Clarity Stamp, and it was cut out and added afterwards.

Finally, Stamp No. 5. I've saved the best till last! You probably won't be surprised to find that this one was top of my list right from the start, and if I had to choose my single most favourite stamp ever, this would be it! It is, of course, the Old Beech Tree - "my" tree, (not really mine, sadly, but I see it every day across the fields from my house), which Deby at Inkylicious so cleverly made into a stamp for me.

I used a Spellbinders die as a mask to make the ink dusted background, cut it out with the same die and adhered it to the card with foam pads. "Delicate Vines" stamped around the edge of the card, sentiment cut out with a Spellbinders ribbon tag die (I cut off the ribbon slots).  All stamps by Inkylicious.

Hard though it was, I've really enjoyed choosing my five "favourite" stamps and making my cards with them, and thanks for looking at them. There's still plenty of time to enter the Stamping Sensations January Challenge and be in with a chance of winning the fabulous Sizzix dies. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

A New Challenge For A New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Are you ready for our first challenge of 2015 at Stamping Sensations? Our theme for January is

* * * * * DIES AND PUNCHES * * * * *

We'd like you to show us what you can do with your dies and/or punches, either one or the other, or a combination of both, it's up to you.

Our lovely sponsor this month is the ever popular Sizzix, who I'm sure need no introduction. They have kindly donated a fabulous selection of their dies and embossing folders. The lucky winner will also receive a bonus prize of some gorgeous ribbons from Crafty Ribbons.

For my card I have used both dies and punches.

The background paper is by Bo Bunny. On top of that I placed the white punched square (using both the border and corner punches from a punch around the page set by Martha Stewart), followed by the scalloped and plain circles (both cut with Spellbinders dies). I stamped the sentiment (from Hydrangea set by Inkylicious) and the branch and flower (from the Majestix Oriental Blossom set by Card-io) and finally added the butterfly (stamp by Hero Arts) which was cut out with the matching Sizzix Framelits die, coloured with Promarkers and affixed with foam pads. Here's a close up.

One of my crafting resolution for this year is to break out of my comfort zone and try new things, so for this card I've gone for a colour combo I wouldn't normally use. The jury is still out on whether I like it or not! Another resolution is only to buy crafty stuff that I really need, as opposed to want, and to get some of my existing stash used up instead. Hmm. Wonder how long I'll stick to that one! Of course, the definition of "need" is open to interpretation........!

Anyway, I hope one of your resolutions is to join in our challenge every month, and we can't wait to see all your lovely creations! If you should need any inspiration, hop over to the Challenge Blog where my talented teamies have all made excellent use of their dies and punches. Thanks for looking!
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