Wednesday 30 September 2015

Color Throwdown Guest DT card

I'm absolutely over the moon to share this card with you, as it's my Guest DT creation for this week's Color Throwdown which launches today. It is one of my "go to" places for inspiration, the DT is bursting with talent and the colour combos are amazing. I like to play along as often as I can. And today I have the great honour to join Tammy and her team of incredibly talented ladies to hopefully inspire you to play along with the rich colours you can see below. When I saw the colour swatch I immediately thought of an autumn theme, but as I had just created a few autumn watercolour scenes, my brain quickly moved on to Christmas instead because of the red and green. And the orange - what else could it be than a crazy beak? Can you see I still have Crazy Birds on my brain? So my little Crazy Santa was born. He wasn't born without considerable labour pains though, as this card is version three in the creative process. You can see version two below, and you won't see version one unless you have a good old dig around in my bin. But as most mother's would say, you forget the pain when you publish a blog post about your newly born card. Now it's your turn to link up over at Color Throwdown to inspire us with your gorgeous creations!

I created the background using my new favourite toy, the Tim Holtz Spritzer tool. I used the Lawn Fawn Mini Snowflake die cuts as masks, and spritzed several hues of brown distress markers to create the background. I absolutely adore that spritzed look. I stamped Santa birdie and his hat and candy cane onto watercolour paper and watercoloured using distress markers. Version two is coloured with Copics, and although I like the vibrant colours, I still like the muted earth tones of bird number three more. To finish, I die cut a frame using Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangle dies, added some Ice Stickles to the hat and some Glossy Accents to the candy cane. The sentiment is from the Lawn Fawn Joy to the Woods stamp set.

I would like to link up with the following challenges:
The Friday Mashup - Use a die cut to create a frame 
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra - Anything Goes
The Artistic Stamper - Things With Wings
Aud Sentiments Challenge Blog - Christmas
Clear It Out - Theme: Things with wings, stash:glitter (there is some stickles on the Santa's hat although it doesn't show very well in the image)
Papertake Weekly - Take your pick (autumn colours) 

Card: 300 gsm hammered white card, 240 gsm coloured card Chocolate Brown, Daler&Rowney 300 gsm Aquafine watercolour paper
Stamps: Tim Holtz Stamper's Anonymous Bird Crazy and Matching Dies, Crazy Things, Lawn Fawn Joy to the Woods
Ink: Staz-on Jet Black, Tim Holtz Distress Markers Ground Espresso, Gathered Twigs, Vintage Photo, Tea Dye, Antique Linen, Festive Berries, Barn Door, Fired Brick, Mowed Lawn, Frayed Burlap, Spiced Marmalade, Abandoned Coral
Colouring: Copics (on the smaller card) BG 10, R24, R46, R89, YG11, YG13, YG15, YR04
Other: Lawn Fawn Mini Snowflake Dies, Stitched Rectangle Dies, Merry Christmas border die (on the smaller card), Stampin' Up Glossy Accents, Ranger Ice Stickles

Tuesday 29 September 2015

Holly Jolly - Santa Claus

We all have to admit it now, it's no longer summer. Days are getting shorter (well, at least on the Northern hemisphere) and you have to turn up the heater in the car in the mornings. Well, at least here in the UK you have to. Even more importantly, it's ONLY 86 days until Christmas. I'm not saying this to create a stampede panic, just to make you aware that if you haven't started with your Christmas cards yet, we at Holly Jolly have a new challenge to inspire you to do so now. I mean right now. Drop whatever you are doing, including finishing this blog post and get out your Santa themed crafting supplies. Because that's our theme for the next two weeks. Any Santa related Christmas crafts, be it cards or others, are welcome and we look forward to seeing them. If you did link up with our Buttons and Bows challenge, don't forget to check if you are one of the lucky winners. We had lots of prizes, so there is a high probability that you might have won one of them!

As usual we also have fabulous sponsors for our current challenge, Limited Runs and The Stamping Boutique. Our sponsors have kindly provided our talented DT with some images to play with, hopefully our creations will inspire you to get going.

For my card, I got to play with  Limited Runs digi Santa's Stuck. I stamped the roof using the Stampin' Up Hardwood stamp, and sponged Tim Holtz distress inks to colour the roof. I coloured Santa and the chimney using my Faber Castell watercolour pencils, and added some Ice stickles to Santa's clothes and the snow. Although you can't see it very well, I put some Glossy Accents on Santa's boots.  For the sky, I stamped the snowflakes in Versamark and heat embossed using clear powder, and sponged Tim Holtz distress inks. Last, I heat embossed the sentiment in white onto navy card.

I would like to link up with the following challenges:
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Stick It Down (in my case, stick it down the chimney)
Christmas Card Challenges - Anything Goes
Crafting from the Heart - Anything Goes
Craft Your PassionAnything Goes
Crafting With Friends - Anything Goes
Simply Papercraft - Anything Goes

Card: coloured 240 gsm kraft card navy, Hobbycraft 160 gsm white card
Stamps: Limited Runs digi Santa's Stuck, Stampin' Up Hardwood, Lawn Fawn Critters in the Arctic, Dovecraft
Inks: Tsukineko Versamark, Stampin' Up Early Espresso, Tim Holtz distress inks Mermaid Lagoon, Blueprint Sketch, Chipped Sapphire, Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain, Aged Mahogany, Black Soot
Colouring: Faber Castell watercolour pencils
Other: Papermania Seafoam White and Ranger Clear embossing powder, Ice stickles Blueberry ice and Coffee ice, Glossy Accents

Friday 25 September 2015

Lotus love and my re-discovery of libraries

If you are a regular reader, you can't have missed my rants about repeatedly getting stuck in traffic on the A14. On a good day I spend about an hour and a quarter in my car every day, but on a bad that it can be two or even three hours. And it used to frustrate the living daylights out of me. Now I have tried to be a bit more zen about it, and the thing that has really helped me with my newfound calm are audiobooks. I love reading, but it feels like these days I never have time to read a book. I guess it's more fair to say I value other things, like crafting more than sitting down to read a book. Anyhow, I borrowed a few Stephen Fry audiobooks from a friend and really got into the habit of listening to them in the car. It made is so much less annoying to be stuck, at least there was something fun to focus on. So I thought this is fun, I will just get myself audiobooks. This lasted until I got online and saw what audiobooks cost. Oh dear. I almost abandoned the idea. Until I had an epiphany. The library! So I got myself a library card. Turns out the library even has a small selection of downloadable audiobooks. So you don't even have to go to the actual library. And there are e-books as well. A completely free option for keeping myself entertained. And the best bit, I can listen to my audiobooks while crafting as well. Total win.

I had a summer job in the library for a few summers when I was a teenager. It was, to this day, my favourite job ever. I could go on and on about everything I loved about that job... The best bit was opening shipments of new books. It was so much fun to see all the new books, and register them onto the library system. The first summer I worked at the library was back in the days when they didn't even have an electronic system yet, everything was on index cards and every morning the little cards that went into the pockets at the back of the books with return dates needed to be stamped. If you are not as ancient as me, you will have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about. But if you haven't done so in a long time, have a look at what you can find at your local library these days!

Wow, that was a long rant for something completely unrelated to crafting. So I shall quickly get to the main point, today's card. I loved the Lotus Love stamp set from Dee's Artsy Impressions at STAMPlorations the first time I saw it. It arrived a while ago, but I have been so busy playing with my Crazy Birds and spritzer tool that I haven't had time to play with it until today. I filled a whole scrap paper with different stamp combinations, but this was my favourite design. It's inspired by the sketch over at RetroSketches and the colour combo over at Color Throwdown. I was also inspired by two cards over in the STAMPlorations CASE playground, one from Maria F and one from Deepti. I would also link up with the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge where the theme is No Designer Paper, at Happy Little Stampers CAS challenge where the theme is Colouring and last but not least over at STAMPlorations Anything Goes challenge

I stamped the lovely lotuses in Memento ink using some masking here and there. I coloured them in with just a few yellows and yellow-green Copics. I stamped some splotches using the Stampin' Up Gorgeous Grunge stamp set and Tim Holtz distress ink Squeezed Lemonade. Next, I die cut the "you" from black cardstock and stamped part of one of the Lotus Love sentiments. I die cut the scene using a Lawn Fawn Stitched rectangle die, attached the panel to linen textured card using foam adhesive and finished off with a few teeny tiny adhesive gems. I just adore the look of those gorgeous lotus blossoms. 

Card: Hobbycraft 160 gsm white card, 300 gsm white linen textured card
Stamps: STAMPlorations Dee's Artsy Impressions Lotus Love, Stampin' Up Gorgeous Grunge
Ink: Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black, Tim Holtz Distress ink Squeezed Lemonade
Colouring: Copics Y13 Y15, Y19, YG11, YG13
Other: Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangle dies, Stampin' Up Hello You dies, adhesive gems from my stash

Thursday 24 September 2015

One layer forest critters

I am convinced that my newly minted theory about creativity and exercise holds true. They are inversely correlated. I have been more or less living in my craft room this week (apart from the dreary interruptions of work) and lots of cards have been born. At the same time, my trousers are feeling very tight... 

Today's card is inspired by several wonderful challenges. First of all it's inspired by the One Layer theme over at Lawnscaping, I do love the stamping and masking technique, and I had a really great time creating this little scene. I was also inspired by the Forest Friends theme over at The Card Concept.  Additionally, I'm linking up at Make My Monday where the theme is nature, Inspiration Emporium where the theme is Happy (Happy Fall! in addition to working with these critters and watercolours which also makes me happy), Fan-Tastic Tuesday where the theme is Colour me Autumn and Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge where the theme is No Pattered Paper. And who would need any when you can create your own scene!

Although the stamping, masking and colouring of the card are quite intricate and took quite a while, it was very simple to make. I always start out by stamping the scene onto a scrap piece of paper to make sure I get the order of stamping right, what is supposed to be behind what. At the same time I stamp and fussy cut all the masks I need. Then I stamped the scene in Antique Linen Distress ink, and used distress markers for watercolouring and creating that no-line look. I only realised at the end that I hadn't even thought about putting in a sentiment, so I just stamped it in the corner in Ground Espresso distress ink, as I thought a black sentiment would be too harsh.

Card: Daler&Rowney 300 gsm Aquafine Watercolour paper
Stamps: Lawn Fawn Critters in the Forest, Joy to the Woods, Violet's ABCs, Happy Everything
Ink: Tim Holtz distress inks
Other: Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangle dies 

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Fall in the forest

I think there is no denying that we are properly into autumn now. Leaves are turning into those golden autumnal colours, plums and figs are done and the pears are getting perfectly ripe. It's getting chilly in the mornings, I have added an extra shirt on top of my PJs at night and evenings are getting dark by the time I make it home. I know I should be embracing it all, but I just miss the light. Days seem so short now. And it will only get worse. But it's less than 100 days to Christmas, and then it will start getting lighter again! And I know this autumn will bring with it some changes, which is always exciting.

There are so many autumn themed challenges out there right now. And only the other day my order of the super cute Critters In the Forest arrived, so inspired by the sketch over at Viva La Verve I made this little autumn watercolour scene. I so love to watercolour with my Tim Holtz Distress markers, and the colours are so perfect for an autumn card. I made a banner using a Stampin' Up DSP with autumn leaves. 

I would like to link up with the following challenges:
Addicted to CAS - Leaves 
Make My Monday - Nature
Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - Use a Stamp and blog hop 
Our Creative Corner - Shades of Autumn
One Crazy Stamper - Christmas/Halloween/Fall
Let's Craft and Create -Dies or Punches
Crafting Musketeers - Autumnal Colours
Animal Friends Challenge - Forest Animals
That's Crafty - Lovely Leaves
Viva la Verve Sketches

Card: 300 gsm white linen card, Daler & Rowney 300 gsm Aquafine Watercolour paper
DSP: Stampin' Up Colour Me Autumn
Stamps: Lawn Fawn Critters In the Forest
Ink: Tim Holtz Distress markers
Other: Lawn Fawn Scripty Hello dies, Stitched Journaling Card die

Sunday 20 September 2015

Sympathy at sunset

I have absolutely no idea what is going on with me lately. I am usually up no later than seven in the morning, often I even wake up at six and can't go back to sleep. This weekend I slept to 8:30 yesterday and nine today! It's really weird, I feel like I have slept away half the day. But I guess my body needs it for some reason or other, I'm suspecting I'm fighting off a bug or something as my colleagues have all had a nasty autumn cold, so I'm thinking I will take it as easy as my body wants and hopefully stay healthy. On another revelation, I think I have worked out the comings and goings of Mr Mojo. Last week I didn't go to the gym at all (I know, bad bad me) and I've had a very creative Saturday. The week before, I went to the gym, and was hardly able to create at all. I see a pattern forming here. Clearly the gym is detrimental to my crafting Mojo!

On to more interesting things, like today's card. When I saw this week's colours over at Color Throwdown, I just knew I had to play along. I also liked the sketch over at CAS(E) This Sketch, and I thought it would be a great idea to combine them into one. I was also inspired by the beautiful multi-colour sponging in the inspiration card from Time Out Challenges. I'm also linking up over at House of Cards where the theme is Stitch It Up, Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge where the theme is Die Crazy, The Artistic Stamper where the theme is Things With Wings and Craft and Smash where the theme is clouds.

I started creating the sunset image, and although I wasn't planning specifically to make a sympathy card, that's what it turned out to be. I don't have a very good selection of sympathy sentiments, but luckily I had just received an order from STAMPlorations containing the Lotus Love set which had a sentiment that fit the card perfectly. I created the sky using masks I die cut using the Lawn Fawn Puffy Cloud Borders and Tim Holtz distress inks. For the grass, I used the Lawn Fawn Grassy border die. The flowers are stencilled in black distress ink through the STAMPlorations Some Birds stencils. I die cut the panel using Lawn Fawn Stitched rectangle dies and heat embossed the sentiment in white. Last, I added a few sequins inspired by the sketch. The panel is adhered using foam tape onto hammered white cardstock.

Card: Hammered white 300 gsm card, white 250 gsm card, black paper
Ink: Tim Holtz distress inks Spun Sugar, Picked Raspberry, Chipped Sapphire, Black Soot
Stamps: STAMPlorations Dee's Artsy Impressions Lotus Love
Other: Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangle dies, Puffy Cloud border dies, Grassy Border die, STAMPlorations Some Birds stencil, Papermania Seafoam white embossing powder, sequins from my stash

Saturday 19 September 2015

Another feather for your cap

Good morning and happy Saturday! I hang my head in shame and admit I had yet another play with my spritzer tool. Please bear with me as I get through this phase in my crafting life. I promise it won't last forever. But it's just so much fun! And I absolutely loooove the look it creates. It has given me a new appreciation of my stencils, which have been underused for most of my crafty career. 

When I first saw the current sketch over at My Favourite Things I immediately dismissed it. However, it clearly stayed in my subconsciousness. This card just popped into my head as I was laying in bed this morning reading blogs. Actually, it did change it's shape a bit during the creative process, most cards do, but I realised that a Dylusions stencil I bought ages ago would be perfect to create the background for my card. So out came the spritzer tool. I was also inspired by the colour challenge over at Colour Me...! as well as the inspiration picture over at Fusion (any bird themed challenge to me is a reason to pull out those Crazy Birds!!). I'm also linking up over at Addicted to Stamps where the theme is Make Your Mark (my second entry), Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge where the theme is Die Crazy and Alphabet Challenge where the theme is P is for Pelican, Peacock or any other bird. 

I created the background with the spritzer tool and Distress markers in Blueprint Sketch, Mowed Lawn and Peacock Feathers using two stencils, the Dylusions Shattered and a circular one I cut using a die onto linen textured cardstock (I currently have a huge crush on the look of this pretty textured card). I painted the bird with a watercolour brush using the same markers. I have tried to get my hands on the Tim Holtz stamp set which has accessories for the birds, but although ordering it months ago, I still haven't got it, it seems like there are none left in the world. So instead to give my birdie a graduation cap, I used the Lawn Fawn Hats off stamps set. For the sentiment, I used the Stampin' Up Alphabet Rotary stamp which has proven to be a really useful tool indeed. The sentiments looked a bit anaemic on their own, so I matted them onto coloured cardstock to make them pop a bit from the background. Last, I added some Glossy Accents to the graduation cap. I took my spritzing frenzy one step further and created a custom stencil using the Lawn Fawn Scripty Congrats die and spritzed through it for the inside of the card. I love how making your own stencils really extends the use of your dies, so much bang for your buck!

Card: Linen textured 300 gsm white card, Hobbycraft 160 gsm white card, Scraps of card in Navy and Stampin' Up Bermuda Bay and Old Olive
Stamps: Tim Holtz Bird Crazy and matching die, Lawn Fawn Hats off, Stampin' Up Alphabet Rotary stamp
Ink: Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black, Tim Holtz Distress markers Blueprint Sketch, Mowed Lawn, Peacock Feathers, Black Soot
Other: Lawn Fawn Stitched Circle and Scripty Congrats die, Ranger Dylusions stencil Shattered, Stampin' Up Glossy Accents, Tim Holtz Distress Marker Spritzer tool

Thursday 17 September 2015

Spritzed rainbow tag

It's funny how you never know which one of all those weird and wonderful projects you have in your head will work when they are transferred to the real world. Today I made one project that just wouldn't work, no matter how I tried to force it. And then there was this one, which didn't take me long at all to create, but somehow it just turned out better than it did in my head. 

If you have been reading a few of my latest posts, you will not have been able to miss the big news that I finally managed to make my Tim Holtz spritzer tool work (after it's been sitting in the back of the craft room cupboard for over a year due to it's users inability to work this highly complex piece of crafting equipment...). I promise I will get over my spritzing frenzy soon... For another card, I had been slightly playing with the idea of creating a tag shaped stencil and spraying through it to create a background, but it didn't work for that one. Browsing for inspiration, I came across the STAMPlorations CASE Playground, where the September CASE was the cutest ever tag from Gail from The Crafty Nomad. By the way, this tag made me realise to my shock and horror that I don't have a single pig stamp. This great injustice has to be remedied immediately. 

Anyhow, back to today's card. Inspired by the whole tag idea, in another inspiration post I also came across the beautiful rainbow coloured flower card from Maria, and the amalgamation of the two resulted in my rainbow coloured spritzed background. As I was planning to make a one layer card, I used a linen textured cardstock to add some interest, and a stitched die to cut the front panel of the card. All that was needed after that was just one of the gorgeous flower stamps from STAMPlorations Bloom Sketches and a combination of sentiments from Bloom Sketches and Floral Bliss. First, I was going to stamp the flower onto a separate piece of cardstock and colour it with watercolours and fussy cut it, but I just didn't want to cover up those gorgeous colours. I've said it before and I will probably say it again and again and again... rainbow is my favourite colour!

I'm linking up with the following challenges:
STAMPlorations CASEplorations - September
STAMPlorations - Anything Goes
Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge - Love This Technique (stencilling, spritzing - my new fav! and one layer design)
Addicted to Stamps - Make your mark (spritzing done with distress markers)
Mod Squad Challenge Blog - Flower as focal point

Card: Linen textured 300 gsm white card, black 300 gsm card 
Stamps: STAMPlorations Bloom Sketches, Floral Bliss
Ink: Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black, Tim Holtz distress markers Squeezed Lemonade, Ripe Persimmon, Abandoned Coral, Picked Raspberry, Festive Berries, Seedless Preserves, Mermaid Lagoon, Shaded Lilac, Mowed Lawn, Twisted Citron, Fossilized Amber
Other: Lawn Fawn Tag Your It, Stitched Rectangle dies

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Holly Jolly - Buttons and Bows

The theme for the new challenge over at the Holly Jolly Christmas Challenge is Buttons and Bows. Hopefully this will inspire you to create gorgeous Christmas related craft projects, and don't forget to link them up for us to admire and get inspired by. If you played along with our "Die cuts" challenge, don't forget to see if you are one of our winners. Thank you to everyone for sharing your beautiful creations, keep up the good work. 

As usual we have wonderful sponsors who are giving away prizes. This time our sponsors are Eureka stamps, Melonheadz and Bugaboo. Don't forget to visit our sponsors and if you need some new images to help you get creating, digi stamps are a great, versatile and inexpensive way to grow your crafty stash. Not to mention the benefit of digi stamps not taking up any space or cluttering your craft room!

This time I got to play with the gorgeous Bugaboo digi Make It Snappy Season's Greetings. There is a version that comes with the sentiment, and another version without a sentiment. I chose to use the version without a sentiment and stamped the sentiment from the Lawn Fawn Joy to the Woods set. I coloured the image with Copics, and added Ranger Tim Holtz distress stickles in Mustard seed to the bells. I also added some blue Ranger Ice Stickles to the snowflakes. I matted the image onto some lovely paper from the Stampin' Up Nordic Noel DSP which I think matched the image really well. Then I matted everything onto deep red card. I created a little bow using some red ribbon from my stash, and then added a button to the bow using some Tim Holtz paper twine. I have to admit I only own a few buttons, so there wasn't that much to choose from... Quite straight forward and simple, but very beautiful, at least in my mind. 

I am linking up with the following challenges:
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge - Trees or Geenery
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra - Anything Goes
Christmas Cards All Year Round - A Country Christmas
Christmas Stampin' All Year Long - Anything Goes
Jingle Belles and Shopping Our Stash - Anything Goes as long as you use stash which is at least a year old (button, cardstock, ribbon, twine, Ice Stickles, patterned paper)
ABC Christmas Challenges - R is for... (red, ribbon)
Sweet Stampin' Christmas - Festive Decor

Card: Coloured 240 gsm kraft card in deep red, Hobbycraft 160 gsm white card
Stamps: Bugaboo digi Make It Snappy Season's Greetings,  Lawn Fawn Joy to the Woods
Colouring and ink: Copics, Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo black
DSP: Stampin' Up Nordic Noel
Other: Ranger Ice Stickles Blueberry Ice, Ranger Tim Holtz distress stickles Mustard Seed, red ribbon from my stash, Tim Holtz idea-ology paper twine, Stampin' Up buttons Subtle colours

Monday 14 September 2015

Quickie crazy bird

What is a girl to do when she gets home and discoveres there is 1h38mins left on a challenge she was planning to play along with? Give up and look for other challenges? Of course not. Instead she will get into full gear crafting mode asap, and even manage to get a sub-par-quality photo in the fading evening light, and submit the card to said challenge with several minutes to spare! It must be my new Shaun the Sheep shirt I bought and am now wearing. Nothing says inspiration like a shirt full of Shaun the Sheep. 

The inspiration for this card was this week's Freshly Made Sketch (but don't plan to play along unless you can create a card in minutes). I was also inspired by the (also soon coming to it's deadline) ColourQ challenge. Third, I was inspired by the Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge (which was only published today, so plenty of time to play along with that one!!) which is Love This Technique. I have managed to work in not one, not two, but three favourite techniques. First and foremost, my love of watercolouring. Second, stencilling. And third, my newly found love for the Tim Holtz Spritzing tool (if you didn't read yesterday's post, I  have FINALLY mastered the spritzing tool. Only took me a year to get it, duuuuh!). Now that I got it, I'm spritzing away to make up for lost time. I used a lovely STAMPlorations stencil to create the background for the cheery little fellow. Wonder why he is so blue... or should I say purple? Last but not least I would also like to link up with the Happy Little Stampers CAS challenge, where the theme is colouring.

Card: White 300 gsm card, white 300 gsm hammered card, Daler&Rowney 300 gsm Aquafine watercolour paper
Ink: Tsukineko Staz-on Jet Black, Tim Holtz distress markers Fossilized Amber, Seedless Preserves, Fried Brick, Victorian Velvet
Stamps: Tim Holtz Bird Crazy and matching dies, Paper Smooches Sentiment Sampler
Other: Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangles, STAMPlorations Tribal stencil, Tim Holtz Spritzer tool

Sunday 13 September 2015

Texure - my (subtle) interpretation and how I finally mastered the spritzing tool

You know that feeling when you have so many ideas, and whatever you try just ends up being a total disaster and you find yourself with a craft room full of discarded bits, die cuts, dies strewn all over the floor and endless stamps spread all over the desk? If not, congratulations. If you do, let me know, I need to know I'm not the only one. Thanks. Anyhow, I proceeded from this state to eating my bodyweight in stuff I shouldn't be eating, and had a huge mug of coffee (only the second time in over three weeks that I broke my caffeine fast). Now my hands are shaking. 

Anyhow, I finally managed to produce a card which I'm not completely embarrassed about. However, I have to admit the inspiration for this card is not completely from my own head. I have borrowed it from this amazing card from Nichol Magouirk. In fact, this is a long story, but bear with me (if not, thanks for visiting, and do come back on another day when I'm not suffering from verbal diahorrea). Anyhow, I saw Nichol's gorgeous card way back last year when she first published it, and I was just blown away by it's amazingness. In fact, it inspired me so much that I went and bought myself the Tim Holtz spritzer tool as I wanted to create the beautiful backgrounds Nichol was showcasing. Long story short, I just couldn't make the spritzer work, at best I could get a few silly dots of colour come out of it, and that was it. So it just got forgotten. Today I dug it out again, as I thought I do have a PhD after all, and what else is a PhD than the ability to go back over and over to things that failed and eventually get them to work. I also thought that a spritzed background would be perfect for the Texture challenge over at Lawnscaping. Long story short, I ended up with the same problem, I couldn't get any colour onto paper. Then in my frustration I managed to somehow move the pen a bit in the spritzer which inadvertently made it pop into that tiny little groove in the nozzle bit that I hadn't noticed before. And then, all of a sudden there was colour aplenty coming out. I had finally mastered the spritzer tool!! I felt this to be almost as big of an achievement as my PhD...

So happily I spritzed the background in all blues, turquoises and greys I could find in my Tim Holtz distress marker arsenal. Great fun! Then I added some water and blue Perfect Pearls into a mini mister and gave it all a bit of a mist for that watery look and a subtle spark. These were my first two attempts at texture in this card, it's the visual texture of the splotchy background combined with the hammered texture of the cardstock. Then adding a bit more texture by cutting the background with a stitched rectangle die. Then for more texture, I double embossed the sentiment with black and glittery silver embossing powder. The die cut snowflakes also have lots of texture, first of all the sparkly and highly textured feel of the glitter cardstock, and I also built the snowflakes in two layers, the bottom being blue card for added texture in the form of height. Last, I created the multi-layered snowflake, and matted everything onto teal card using 3D foam tape. I hope you think this is far enough from Nichol's original card not to be considered plagiarism. And of course imitation is the greatest form of flattery is all I can say in my defence.

Anyhow, that's more than enough from me for now, thank you for reading all the way through to the end. I would like to link up with the following challenges:
Lawnscaping - Texture
House of Cards - Stitch it up
The Friday Mashup - Glitter 
Jingle Belles and Shopping Our Stash - Use something at least a year old (large snowflake dies, spritzing tool)
NBUS - Anything NBUS goes (the dark grey, blue and silver glitter paper, the deep blue cardstock, and that damned spritzing tool. Well, technically I've *tried* to use it before, but as this is the first time I've ever produced anything with it, I would say it counts as NBUS?)

Card: Coloured 240 gsm card in teal, Coloured 240 gsm card Vanguard Deep Blue, hammered 300 gsm white card, multiple colours of glitter card
Stamps: Lawn Fawn Joy to the Woods
Ink: Tim Holtz distress markers Blueprint Sketch, Mermaid Lagoon, Chipped Sapphire, Faded Jeans, Peacock Feathers, Iced Spruce, Hickory Smoke, Cracked Pistachio, Tsukineko Versamark
Other: Black embossing powder from my stash, Papermania Tinsel Silver embossing powder, Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangle dies, Stitched Snowflake dies, Mini Snowflake dies

Friday 11 September 2015

Birthday card for Mum

Yes I'm still here, I'm still alive despite not having blogged for ages. I had a rotten, rotten day today. Just work related, nothing really serious, but it did get me really down in the dumps for a while. As in crying when driving home, and then hiding under the duvet and crying some more. But some cuddles from the Culinary Consultant made me feel better, and then I came across this link, and felt like an idiot. But I guess your own problems always seem huge until you get a bit of perspective. 

Anyhow, I haven't had any time in the craft room all week, apart from quickly decorating two jam jars the other night. I do love to give little jars of jam as a little "no reason at all" present. I gave a jar to a colleague who has given me lots of runner beans this summer, as well as my colleagues neighbours who gave me a huge bag of apples the other week. Today I'm showing a card I made a while ago for my Mum for her birthday, and since I know she received it it's now safe to show here on the blog.

For this card I used the gorgeous STAMPlorations dogwood stamp from the Floral Bliss set. I used Tim Holtz markers in Picked Raspberry and Seedless Preserves to colour the beautiful flowers with a watercolour brush. I stamped the gorgeous grunge-y frame from the same set onto vellum, and added a Finnish sentiment saying "Congratulations" and added a few pearls just because.

I am linking up with the following challenges:
Addicted to Stamps - Anything Goes
STAMPlorations - Anything Goes
Daring Cardmakers - Wonderful Watercolours
Make My Monday - Something beginning with F (flowers, frame)
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge - Stamp and blog hop

Card: Coloured 240 gsm card purple, Daler&Rowney 300 gsm Aquafine watercolour paper, Hobbycraft 160 gsm white card
Stamps: STAMPlorations Floral Bliss, sentiment stamp from my stash
Ink: Tsukineko Staz-On Jet Black, Tim Holtz distress inks Seedless Preserves, Picked Raspberry, Twisted Citron, Gathered Twigs, Weathered Wood
Other: Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangle dies, Stampin' Up Basic Pearls 

Sunday 6 September 2015

Alpaca my scarf

I am so excited my selected bits and bobs from the Lawn Fawn Christmas release arrived just in time for some weekend crafting. I am trying very hard not to fill my craft room too much, but every time Lawn Fawn comes out with a new release I just want every single bit of it. Sigh. Talk about first world problems. But this time they really outdid themselves. There is an alpaca stamp!! Alpacas are so awesome, they are my favourites. A while ago the Culinary Consultant arranged for me to have a day out at an alpaca farm, and I got to see hundreds of alpacas, including a baby that had been born that day. It was amazing, I put a few pictures from my day on my photo blog here. So I put in my pre-order for the alpaca stamp as soon as I saw it, and was very excited to get to play with it.

This card was inspired by a few challenges. First of all, the layout was inspired by the Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge and the colours were inspired by Cupcake Inspirations. I'm also linking up with Crimbo Crackers where the theme is Small and Cute, and also with Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge where the theme is 'twas the night before Christmas. Last but not least I'm linking up with the Anything Goes challenge over at Christmas Stampin' All Year Long.

I created the background for my card using Stampin' Up Irresistibly Yours DSP and Tim Hotlz distress inks in Blueprint Sketch, Chipped Sapphire and Black Soot. I created the snowy hills from hammered white paper using Lawn Fawn Stitched Hillside Dies. I stamped the alpaca and coloured him with Copics and paper pieced his scarf from the new Lawn Fawn Let's Polka In the Dark paper. I stamped the cute sentiment from the stamp set onto green card and heat embossed it in white. Last, I used the new small snowflake dies from Lawn Fawn to create a few ornaments for the corner. Last, I added a band of the same green paper for the background that I used for the alpaca scarf. It's a small card, only 10x10 cm but I think it's a perfect for this wintery scene. And I just love the funny sentiment that comes with this set, and the alpaca is so unbelievably cute in his little scarf. 

Card: White 300 gsm hammered card, white 300 gsm card
Paper: Lawn Fawn Let's Polka In the Dark
Stamps: Lawn Fawn Winter Alpaca
Ink and colouring: Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black, Versamark, Tim Holtz distress inks Blueprint Sketch, Chipped Sapphire, Black Soot, Copics
Other: Lawn Fawn Stitched Hillside borders die, Mini Snowflakes die, Papermania Seafoam White

Saturday 5 September 2015

Field of flowers

Today when I went to the conservatory to photograph my card,  I saw that we had a little visitor in our garden. A little Muntjac deer was munching away on the apples that have fallen from the apple tree. Unfortunately the little creature was so skittish that I could only snap a few very poor quality photos through the window, but when I tried to quietly make my way outside for a few more snaps, the little cutie had already hopped along elsewhere. I do love these little moments of getting up close and personal with nature.

My card is also inspired by Nature, and the lovely STAMPlorations flower stamps. I was also inspired by the sketch over at Retro Sketches (although the result strayed quite far from the original inspiration) and by the inspiration image over at Just Add Ink. I am also linking up my field of flowers over at Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge where the theme is Make It Colourful and the STAMPlorations Anything Goes challenge. 

Card: Daler&Rowney 300 gsm watercolour paper, 300 gsm linen textured white card, black 240 gsm card
Stamps: STAMPlorations Floral Bliss and Bloom Sketches
Ink: Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black, Tim Holtz Distress markers
Other: Lawn Fawn Scripty Congrats die, coloured pearls from my stash

Friday 4 September 2015

Splish, splash, splosh

I am enjoying a lazy day off. It's grey outside, but I had wonderful visitors earlier in the day and now I'm just playing around in my craft room, seeing where the mood takes me. Yesterday we had fun night out with the Culinary Consultant, we really need to make an effort to go out a bit more often. The evening started with a very good BBQ meal (some of the best beef ribs I've ever had I'm happy to say) in a small place called Smokeworks in Cambridge (if you happen to be local, and like smoky BBQ, you have to try it out!!). We then had a good laugh at (with?) the puppets from the visiting production of AvenueQ. As we didn't make it home until way past my bedtime last night, I was happy I had had the foresight of taking the day off as I'm a bit tired today. 

That was a bit of a detour, so back to today's card. It's inspired by several challenges. The layout is inspired by the sketch over at CAS(E) This Sketch, the theme is inspired by the Splash challenge over at CAS on Sundays and the colours are from this weeks colourQ challenge. In addition, I'm linking up with Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge where the theme is trio of colours.

Card: 300 gsm hammered white card, Stampin' Up Rich Razzleberry
Stamps: Stampin' Up Remarkable You, Gorgeous Grunge
Ink: Stampin' Up Pool Party, Wisteria Wonder, Rich Razzleberry, Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black
Other: Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangles dies, Stampin'  Up Hello You dies