Monday, 16 January 2017

Warm Wishes in Red

What's your favourite hot winter drink? As much as I like a good cup of coffee, I have to admit my favourite is hot chocolate. With full fat milk and lots of good quality hot chocolate. Maybe a marshmallow or two as well. Now I'm really starting to crave a hot cuppa... maybe a slice of cake too? Or a cookie? 

The first inspiration for today's card was the wintery inspiration image and sketch over at Fusion Card Challenge. I was inspired by the colour scheme, the red mugs and the snow. It's also Fusion's third birthday, Happy Birthday Fusion and thank you for all the inspiration so far and here's to many more. The DT has as usual provided incredible inspiration and there are some stellar guest designers as well, so worth hopping over to see. The background was inspired by the All Over Stamping challenge over at Just Us Girls. I'm also linking up over at Time Out where the theme is Winter (this is my second card for the challenge, and again I chose not to take the optional twist of white on white).

Card: 250 gsm white card, Hobbycraft 160 gsm white card, scrap of red car, 300 gsm Daler&Rowney watercolour paper
Stamps: Lawn Fawn Love You a Latte and matching dies, Winter Alpaca and Toboggan Together
Ink and colouring: Tsukineko Versafine Onyx Black, Stampin' Up Soft Sky, Gansai Tambi watercolours
Other: Lawn Fawn Stitched Circle nesting dies, Lawn Fawn Let's Polka Mon Amie paper

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Winter Birthday

Good morning, I hope it's not as grey where you are as it is here. Although, I'm using they grey and rain as an excuse to not go for a run. I'm telling myself I'll see if it clears out towards the afternoon. But we all know I'll just spend the day in the craft room. But yesterday was about exercise for my body, today is about exercise for my soul. How about that! 

Today's card is a birthday card for a friend who likes snow flakes. She will see it on the blog before it will reach her on the other side of the world, but I wanted to make a few challenges with deadlines soon approaching. This card is inspired by the sketch over at CAS(E) This Sketch and the colours over at Color Throwdown. I was also inspired by the "Be Square" challenge over at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge and the Winter Birthday theme over at Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge and the Winter theme over at Time Out (with an optional twist of white on white which I obviously didn't take...). Last, but certainly not least I was also inspired by the Snowflake theme over at CAS Watercolour Challenge. Needed quite a bit of inspiration this time to get things going...

I started by creating the background, randomly splotching blue watercolour onto watercolour paper. After drying it with a heat gun I also splattered some darker blues onto the card. I then die cut the background into a square. I adhered the other die cuts and stamped and heat embossed the second word of the sentiment. When I had put everything together I felt the card still needed some little last finishing touch, so I got out my Picket Fence Distress Paint and splattered it over the card (after first covering the top half with a scrap paper to protect the image and sentiment). 

Card: Stampin' Up black card, 300 gsm Daler&Rowney Watercolour paper, scrap of yellow card, white glitter card
Ink and colouring: Tsukineko Versamark, Gansai Tambi watercolours, Tim Holtz Distress Paint Picket Fence
Stamps: Lawn Fawn Party Animal
Dies: Lawn Fawn Stitched Snowflakes, Mini Snowflakes, Stitched Square nesting dies, CUTplorations Happy Word die
Other: Papermania Seafoam White embossing powder

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Wow it's been a busy day today. I started the day at the gym with the release of the 100th Les Mills Body Pump programme. It was great fun, I really love this class and I've been doing it for at least 10 years now. After that I walked into town to find out my favourite clothing store is closing, so they were selling everything for half price. I splurged like I haven't splurged for years. Now this is a great motivation for me to not gain weight, as I have bought several beautiful suits and a dress as well. I hope your day has been great too, whatever you have been up to.

While in town I also managed to mail several birthday cards, including this one for my Grandma who is turning 92 years soon. I wonder what it feels like to have lived for so long. How strange must today's world seem, with things like the internet which is completely foreign to her. What are the things I will have no idea about when I'm old? I already feel like I have no idea what the kids are doing these days with Snapchatting and whatnot. Sometimes it feels very comforting to create cards, read physical books and write in an analog journal. I love that one of my friends started writing me letters, and I have been responding to her. I used to write so many letters when I was younger. It's amazing to get a letter in the mail, make a cup of coffee, maybe get some chocolates and read the thoughts of your friend. It's very retro!

Anyhow, on to today's card. I started by inking with Distress Inks through the gorgeous Peony Number Two ARTplorations stencil. I then cut a strop from the inked flower to match the sketch I was inspired by. I also cut a strip of patterned paper from Lawn Fawn Let's Polka in the Meadow. Next I used the STAMPlorations Sketchy Alphabet to create the custom sentiment (it's not very easy to find Finnish sentiment stamps...). It just says Congrats in Finnish. I stamped the letters in black Versafine onto white card and fussy cut them. After adhering them to the card I added some Ice Stickles and pink Ranger Distress Sticklers. To add a bit more of a grunge look I splattered pink inks and water over the front of the card and added a few gold sequins. 

As I've been struggling with fining my crafting mojo, which clearly hasn't still returned from the wild New Year's party it went to, this card required quite a few challenges for inspiration. I was inspired by the sketch over at Freshly Made Sketches and the gorgeous inspiration image over at The Card Concept. My card is CAS and I was inspired by the black, pink and gold colour combo, the gorgeous flowers and the stripes on the mug. I'm also linking up with Shopping Our Stash where the theme is Stickle me Elmo (use Stickles), Clean and Simple on Sunday where the theme is black, white and one other colour and Happy Little Stampers CAS Challenge where the theme is Stencil. 

Card: 300 gsm white card, Hobbycraft 160 gsm white card
Stamps: STAMPlorations Sketchy Alphabet 
Stencils: ARTplorations Peony Number Two
Ink: Tsukineko Versafine Onyx Black, Tim Holtz Distress Ink Spun Sugar, Worn Lipstick, Picked Raspberry and Abandoned Coral
Other: Lawn Fawn Let's Polka in the Meadow paper, Ranger Ice Stickles, Ranger Distress Stickles Worn Lipstick, gold sequins from my stash

Thursday, 5 January 2017

January STAMPlorations CAS Challenge - Anything Goes With Silver or Grey

I'm so excited that I can continue to be part of the STAMPlorations CAS challenge in 2017. I am always looking forward to the first Thursday of the month to show you what I have been inspired to create and more importantly to be inspired by the work of the rest of the DT and by all the wonderful creations you submit to each challenge. I'm also excited to remind you that you can get 20% off your STAMPlorations order by using my discount code STAMPGIRLKAROLA at checkout (more info at the end of the post).

This year the CAS challenge continues very much along the same lines as last year - each month there will be a main challenge post on the first Thursday of the month, and an additional inspiration post two weeks later. The challenge will run until the end of the month. 

Each month there will be an optional colour twist, and this month it's silver or grey. You don't have to use STAMPlorations products but if you have any we would love to see you use them. However, the main thing is that you create something Clean and Simple, link back to the challenge so others can play along and that you remember to display the below challenge graphic. You can submit up to 3 creations for each challenge. And then the most important thing, prizes! The DT favourite will be rewarded by a $10 gift certificate to the STAMPlorations store, and the runners up will receive a $5 gift card. 

For my first CAS card of the year, I used the gorgeous wedding couple from Becca's Funny Kinda Love stamp set. I usually find it really hard to create wedding cards, but I absolutely love this image. Which is actually strange, as I never like any stamps with images of people. You can check it - just scroll back though my blog, and you will hardly find any cards with images of people. Flowers yes, cute creatures yes, but no people. However, this image is so gorgeous that I couldn't resist it. I stamped the image in Versamark and heat embossed in a sparkly silver before colouring with Gansai Tambi watercolours. Last, I die cut the sentiment using the Celebrate Word Die from sparkly silver card and stamped, heat embossed and watercoloured the heart. Unfortunately the photo doesn't show it very well, but I coloured the space around the couple with a glittery colour to give it a very subtle glow. You will have to trust me when I say it's quite enchanting.

I'm linking up with the following challenges:
AAA Cards - Silver
Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - Start Afresh (new stamps!)
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge - Something New (new stamps!)

Card: 300 gsm Daler&Rowney watercolour card, sparkly silver card
Stamps: STAMPlorations Funny Kinda Love
Ink and colouring: Tsukineko Versamark and Gansai Tambi watercolours
Dies: CUTplorations Celebrate Word Die
Other: Papermania Silver Tinsel embossing powder

STAMPlorations discount code: If you want to save 20% when shopping at the STAMPlorations store you can use the code STAMPGIRLKAROLA at checkout. The discount applies to all normal priced and discounted stamps, stencils and dies. The code cannot be combined with other discount codes. If you have any questions or problems, just let me know!

Monday, 2 January 2017

Cozy Warm Thoughts

Well, it's officially the end of the holidays. Tomorrow it's all about getting up at an ungodly hour, out in the cold and dark. I've been trying to keep myself busy in the craft room to keep me from thinking about going back to work. It always seems harder when you have had a good few weeks off, doesn't it. 

I was inspired by a few new challenges to create a card today. I was inspired by the neutral colours against the navy and deep green in the inspiration image over at Paper Smooches. I also thought the feathers would go with the theme of cozy -  soft and fluffy, like the soft fluffy skins in the image. I was also inspired by the sketch over at Freshly Made Sketches and just about made it before the deadline of the challenge. I was also inspired by the new theme over at CAS Mixup where the theme this month is stamping + liquid colours + your choice (I chose die cutting).

I used Distress Paints in Mowed Lawn, Chipped Sapphire, Hickory Smoke and Black soot on watercolour paper and after drying it out with a heat tool I die cut it using a Paper Smooches die. I also used some Paper Smooches feather dies and a sentiment stamp. The pattered paper is from Stampin' Up.

Card: 250 gsm white card, 300 gsm Daler&Rowney watercolour paper, scraps of dark blue, green and beige card
Stamps: Paper Smooches Sentiment Samplers
Ink and paints: Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black, Tim Holtz Distress paints Mowed Lawn, Chipped Sapphire, Hickory Smoke and Black Soot 
Dies: Paper Smooches Feathers 2, Criss Cross
Other: Stampin' Up Colour Me Autumn

Sunday, 1 January 2017

New Year, New Journal

And so it's 2017. Do you feel different? You would think that in all my many, many years I would already have learned that nothing magically changes when that clock strikes 12, but every year I have this tiny little hope that maybe somehow it will feel different. And again, I will try to go into the new year hopeful that next year will be better than the last. That things will keep on changing to the better. I think it's really important to remember that things won't magically change. For things to change, you need to change things. A good motivational read about it here. Also, when thinking back on 2016 all I could think of was the bad things. But we should focus on the positives

Before I go on with my musings, I have some very exciting news to share with you. I can offer you a 20% discount code for the STAMPlorations shop. If you want to indulge in a bit of shopping, all you need to do is enter the code STAMPGIRLKAROLA when checking out. The discount will apply to both normal price and discounted stamps, stencils and dies. The discount cannot be combined with other codes in the STAMPlorations store. If you have any questions or problems with the code, just let me know.

As usual there will be no New Year's promises from me. But I will continue on my journey on trying to live healthily most of the time. And enjoy the good things. This year I will try to focus more on being present. Not trying to multi-task everything. Focus on the person in front of me or the task in hand. It will be hard - I always type away on my blog posts while watching TV, or read emails while I'm in meetings. I will try my best to do less of that.

I will continue to journal. I loved having an analog calendar. I will continue to write more by hand. And I will try to incorporate some art in my journal - at least one page a month. However, I have struggled to get started with the new journal - I carried it with me on my Christmas trip but didn't write anything in it at all. I guess it's similar to a writer's block. When I received my recent crafty stash from STAMPlorations that seemed to break the block. I got so inspired that I just crafted without thinking and created my journal title page which is very different from anything I usually create. I even used my Tim Holtz Distress Crayons which I have been hiding in my desk drawer for months and months. I just kept colouring, stamping and adding stuff like there's no tomorrow. 

I started by smudging the crayons thorough the stunning ARTplorations Two Feathers mask, blending the crayons as I went. Then I used the gorgeous new Scribbly Splattery Grunge stamp set in black and grey around the edge of the stencilled image. I die cut the panel using the Crazy Double Running Stitch Rectangle Nesting Dies. I stamped a sentiment from the Life In Full Colour stamp set in black and stamped the paintbrush from the same set on another piece of paper. I coloured the brush using Copics and fussy cut it. Then I stamped and fussy cut the numbers for the year using Sketchy Alphabet from a scrap piece of rainbow coloured card I created last summer and haven't been able to throw away. I used the same leftover piece of coloured card to die cut the Hello, Seriously and Awesome and then die cut the same sentiments from black card which I used to layer the sentiments. I added loads of Ice Stickles on the "2017" as a finishing touch. I also used grey ink though the feather mask to create the background for my brightly coloured panel. I sure don't know what 2017 will bring but at least I'll receive it in psychedelic colours!

I'm linking up with the Time Out challenge where the challenge is to be inspired by the sentence "With each sunrise we are given a chance for a new beginning". I was inspired by the words "new beginning". I'm also linking up over at Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge, C.R.A.F.T, Brown Sugar and 4 Crafty Chicks where anything goes. Last but not least I'm linking up with Cut It Up challenge where the theme is Out with the old, in with the new (my old thing - those old Distress Crayons which have been in my drawer for at least six months, my new things - Scribbly Splattery Grunge and Life in Full Colour stamp sets have never been used)

Paper: Hobbycraft 160 gsm white card, scraps of black card, scraps of rainbow coloured card created with Tim Holtz Distress Paints
Ink: Versafine Onyx Black, Stampin' Up Slate Grey, Tim Holtz Distress Crayons, Tim Holtz Distress Ink Hickory Smoke, Copics
Stamps: STAMPlorations Scribbly Splattery GrungeLife In Full ColourSketchy Alphabet
Dies: STAMPlorations Crazy Double Running Stitch Rectangle Nesting Dies, Hello Word Die, Seriously Word Die, Awesome Word die
Other: STAMPlorations Two Feathers mask, Ranger Ice Stickles

STAMPlorations discount code: If you want to save 20% when shopping for STAMPlorations products you can use the code STAMPGIRLKAROLA at the checkout. The discount applies to all normal priced and discounted stamps, stencils and dies. The code cannot be combined with other discount codes. If you have any questions or problems, just let me know!

Friday, 30 December 2016

Two Ombre Feathers

How are you? Did you have a nice Christmas? What did Santa bring you? Tell me, tell me, I would love to hear! I have been in a weird mood for the last few days - we recently came home after a Christmas spent with family and friends back home. I feel like I'm in a bit lost in the haze that covers the days between Christmas and New Year (I'm lucky I'm able to take some annual leave and extend the holidays until after New Years). I feel like all I do is eat and sleep. I just put marshmallows in my coffee, that's how bad it is!! And the worst part is, I'm failing to enjoy the time off as I'm already stressing about having to go back to work on Tuesday. 

Luckily I got my new crafty stash from the amazing Shery over at STAMPlorations so today I feel a bit better after spending most of the day in the craft room. New stash always helps when the Mojo has gone AWOL. I even managed to start my new Journal for next year - I have been trialling what I like to think of as my own version of the Bullet Journal since September and as I feel like a analog journal seems to be working quite well for me I decided to continue in the new year, and even upgraded from a small A6 size notebook to an A5 to give me a bit more room for my weekly layouts. But I have struggled to get started with it - some sort of blank page paralysis I guess. Luckily the crafty stash got me super creative. I can't wait to share with you my first page, but I'll leave that until January 1st. I will also have a great surprise for you relating to STAMPlorations in that post, so please check back as I promise it will make you happy if you are planning to order any of Shery's amazing products.

But enough rambling - today's card is a quick and simple creation using the amazingly gorgeous Two Feathers mask which I have been craving ever since I first saw it in the STAMPlorations store. After Christmas there is a need for thank you cards - so I thought I would get cracking with them. This one goes to my wonderful godparents who hosted us for the last night of our trip back home. 

Sometimes these very intricate masks can be a bit fiddly to work with - there's no way of taping the mask down onto the cardstock. My top tip is to put a couple of tiny drops of Tombow multi-purpose glue (you know, the glue with the green caps) on the mask. After the glue dries, it becomes removable - it's sticky enough to keep the mask in place while inking (as long as you use the foam applicators gently) but it's possible to remove without leaving any marks. Just make sure to only use *tiny* drops of glue. After using Tim Holtz distress inks to create the ombre background I splattered water with a watercolour brush. Last, I die cut the sentiment from silver card using the Thanks word die

There aren't many challenges around this time of year, but I managed to find a few to link up with:
AAA Cards - Silver
Just Add Ink - Just Add N (for navy blue)
Daring Cardmakers - Thank You
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge - ATG
CAS(E) This Sketch 

Card: 300 gsm Daler&Rowney watercolour paper
Ink: Tim Holtz Distress Inks Cracked Pistachio, Peacock Feathers, Mermaid Lagoon, Blueprint Sketch, Chipped Sapphire
Stencil: ARTplorations Two Feathers
Dies: CUTplorations Thanks word die