Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Light It Up Blue For Autism Awareness Blog Hop - Love You To Pieces

Hello and welcome to a special blog post today! I am taking part in a huge blog hop to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day, so thank you for joining me. You can read all about the blog hop and find the links for all the amazing artwork here on Veronica Fletcher Zalis' blog. If you would like to find out more about Autism I recommend checking out the websites for The National Autistic Society (in the UK) or Autism Speaks (in the USA).

I also have a very sweet friend whose eldest son is Autistic, so I am delighted to participate in this event to help raise awareness. For those that are interested, my friend Galina writes very eloquently about the subject on her blog Chez Maximka (where you can also find some lovely recipes).

I can also highly recommend My Son's Not Rainman, an amusing blog written by the comedian John Williams, who is a single parent to "The Boy" - who also happens to have autism. John is also writing a book (also called My Son's Not Rainman) about life with his son. My Son’s Not Rainman will be published by Michael O’Mara Books in 2015 (it will be dedicated to the memory of Connor Sparrowhawk and a percentage from each book sold will go to Express CIC.). I am very much looking forward to reading this later this year.

Anyway, on to the artwork! Here is my "blue" card, which was a total labour of love since it took me well over twelve hours to make! I am thrilled with how it turned out though! Please click on the photos for a clearer view. 

Yesterday my new Distress inks arrived, just in time for me to have a play use them on my card for this blog hop! 

For my main focal point I chose to stamp this gorgeous image, Norma J. Burnell's Mid Summer Dragonflies, available from Sweet Pea Stamps. I used VersaFine Onyx Black ink to capture all the fine details and to enable me to watercolour the image with Distress Markers, without them bleeding. I also used Strathmore Bristol Smooth paper, which I cut with a Lawn Fawn stitched rectangle die.

I also decided to stamp and colour some extra dragonflies and flowers so that I could layer them up for more dimension. I highlighted the dragonflies wings with my clear Wink of Stella brush pen - you can just make out the lovely shimmer if you click on the photo to enlarge it.

The photo below shows the selection of Distress Markers that I used to watercolour the stamped images. Previously I have used a clear acrylic block to scribble the ink onto before picking it up with a damp brush. However I recently saw a video on Kristina Werner's blog where she had laminated some white card to use as a palette for watercolour markers, so I thought I'd try it out. I'm glad that I did and I have to say that it's so much better than using a clear block as you can actually see what the colours will look like against the white background.

Below is a close up of the stamped panel after it had been decoupaged with clear foam pads. The background panel was sprayed with blue and silver glimmer mists, then repeatedly stamped (using Memento Teal Zeal ink) with some tiny hearts from the "You're my Fave Valentine" stamp set by Studio Calico. It's lovely and shimmery in real life! I tied a double bow with some Hug Snug "Elegant Peacock" seam binding and added a tiny silver dragonfly brad - so cute!

For the sentiment I die cut the word "Love" (by Papertrey ink) six times out of white card and stuck them all together for added dimension. I coloured the edges of the word with my new Mermaid Lagoon Distress marker and covered the top with some blue holographic foil - it's so pretty and shiny! (Now you know why my husband calls me a magpie - LOL)! I used three puzzle pieces from a blank white jigsaw and coloured then with Tumbled Glass Distress Ink and an ink blending tool. Then I used my Mermaid Lagoon Distress Marker to selectively ink up some of the letters from the sentiments in the Waltzingmouse stamps "Nutcracker Sweet" stamp set so that I could stamp the rest of the sentiment onto the puzzle pieces. I thought that this was appropriate since jigsaw puzzle pieces regularly appear as a logo on many of the Autism websites.

Finally I die cut some leaves using a Crealies leaf die set (CL CS 12) and added some details with Shabby Shutters and Peeled Paint Distress Markers. I added some tiny forget-me-not type sweetheart blossoms (from Wild Orchid Crafts) and added the arrangement to the corner of the card with some clear foam pads.

Thank you so much for reading this long post! Don't forget to leave a comment on as many of the blog hop posts as you can, as there are a whole load of fabby prizes to be won from the following kind sponsors! 

I had so much fun taking part today! Huge thanks to Tenia Renee Nelson and Veronica Fletcher Zalis for organising it all!


Monday, 30 March 2015

Indigo Blu Challenge # 26 - Off The Edge

Hello! Today's card was made for a friend who likes cars, whose birthday is also today. I am also entering it in the Indigo Blu challenge # 26 - Off The Edge (I'm hoping it qualifies since the map images are stamped over the edge on my background). You can see all the details of the challenge on the Indigo Blu blog here .

I started by stamping the large Indigo Blu Map Background four times onto smooth white card using Watering can Archival ink, to give the impression of a much larger map. I then carefully watercoloured the entire map with Tumbled Glass, Antique Linen, Shabby Shutters and Bundled Sage Distress Ink markers (by scribbling ink onto an acrylic block and picking it up with a water brush). 

The car image and fun sentiment are from the Indigo Blu Little Voice stamp set and were stamped directly onto the map with Black Archival ink. I then stamped the car again four times onto some dark green card and fussy cut the layers to decoupage using clear foam pads. I used Spring Moss card and ribbon to mount my stamped images onto a 5" x 7" white landscape card blank. Finally the bodywork of the car was emphasised with a thick layer of Glossy Accents to make it nice and shiny! The photo below shows the car in more detail, with it's traditional racing green bodywork. I hope my friend Arthur likes his new car!

Thank you for looking and for your lovely comments!


Friday, 27 March 2015

Word Dies and Heat Shrink Craft Foam.

I am currently taking part in the Online Card Class "Stretch Your Dies" which is run by Jennifer McGuire and Kristina Werner. The lessons are spread over seven days and there are loads of useful tips and galleries full of inspiration. I was late to the party, due to ongoing problems with our broadband connection and not being able to view the video classes until recently - but I plan to work my way through all of them and post my cards here as I get time.

The very first lesson was a video by the very talented Jennifer McGuire, showing how to use word dies to create a tone on tone background and how to make fun little embellishments out of die cut Craft Foam. Here is my finished card. It was very time consuming to make (I was fiddling with it for about three days), but I am so pleased with the finished result!
I started with a black C6 card blank and used WOW opaque white embossing powder to heat emboss the long border stamp from Waltzingmouse Stamps "My Heart" set down the left hand side. The white background panel was made using several die cuts from a Papertrey Ink Birthday die (I used Stick It on the back of my card before cutting each word out, so that they would be easier to adhere to my card). I added a strip of gold foil and mounted the panel onto a rectangle of white craft foam, before adding it to the card.

Then I got rather carried away die cutting all these individual small flowers and leaves from Craft Foam! I used a selection of dies from Papertrey Ink, Waltzingmouse, Impression Obsession, Magnolia, Poppystamps, X-cut and Simon Says Stamp.

Next came the fun part! I used my heat gun to heat shrink the flowers and leaves until they were much smaller. The Birthday word was cut from black foam and shrunk in the same way. The photo below shows the foam before it was shrunk on the top row, with the smaller heat shrunk versions below.

I stuck everything to the card front using Ranger's multi - medium matte and added pearls as a finishing touch. 

Thanks for looking!


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Cure for the Monday blues # 46 - Rise & Shine!

Hello there! I have been having trouble with our internet connection this week and haven't been able to post on my blog for what seems like ages! I've made a card for the Cure for the Monday Blues challenge # 46 - Rise & Shine! You can find all the details on Taheerah's blog here . The inspiration photo this week has a monochrome palette with a pop of yellow here and there.

I decided to focus on the yellow pillow with clouds and the sweet little bird - and here's what I came up with.

I started with a white card blank and added a layer of Papertrey's Soft Stone card followed by a layer of Lemon Tart card. Then I diecut several white clouds using my Memory Box Marshmallow Clouds dies, stuck them to the yellow card and trimmed the edges. The cute bird and sentiment are both from Waltzingmouse Stamps Sewing Box Hugs stamp set. I used Memento Tuxedo Black dye ink to stamp the bird three times onto Soft Stone and Lemon Tart bitty dots papers, cut them out and layered them up with clear foam tape. That's it - so CAS for me, LOL!

Thanks for reading and for your kind comments,


Friday, 6 March 2015

Spring Coffee Lovers Bloghop

Today I am joining in with the Spring Coffee Lovers Bloghop which has been organised by Amy Tsuruta for the coffee loving cardmakers group. You can find all the details and other entries here. We were asked to make a card with the theme of Coffee, Tea or Cocoa and a Spring feel to it. I chose to go with tea, since I have more stamps and dies that are tea related than coffee ones. Here is my entry.

I used a 5" x 7" white landscape card blank and added some pretty patterned paper from Graphic 45's Botanical Tea collection. Where the papers joined I covered the seam with some Spring Rain Papertrey card which I had diecut with a Cottage Cutz "Tea Time Border" die. I used some of Ken Oliver's Stick It adhesive before I cut the border and I can highly recommend it as it saves so much fiddling about with glue and is really secure. 

The fancy teapot, cups and saucers and teaspoons were all cut and stamped with My Favourite Things Die-namics "Always Time For Tea" stamp and die set and more of the Graphic 45 Botanical Tea papers. They were added to the card with some clear foam tape for added dimension. Finally the sentiment, also from the same MFT stamp set, was added (appropriately) in Espresso Truffle Memento dye ink.

I decided to make a second card, which was almost identical to the first, apart from the design and position of the tea set. I wanted to ensure that the text on the background paper was visible on each card since it is a quote about tea and friendship and ties in nicely with my chosen sentiment.

There are already over 400 entries in this blog hop - that's an awful lot of beautiful inspiration! Thank you for taking the time to read this far! 


Sunday, 1 March 2015

Cure For The Monday Blues # 44

I decided to play along with Taheerah's Cure for the Monday Blues again this week as I liked the inspiration photo and had an idea for my own interpretation of it. You can find all the details on Taheerah's blog here.

The inspiration photo is an eclectic pinboard collection, but my eyes were drawn to the "notes" pinned at the top right. So here is my offering for this week. Sorry about all the dots before your eyes, but I decided to photograph my card against my lovely new polka dot tablecloth!

I started with a 6" square white card blank and some Core'dinations Whitewash card that had a black core. I embossed this with a Spellbinders embossing folder and sanded it back to reveal the black core "holes" for my faux pinboard, then I set about making my "notices". The small notepaper stamp is by Mama Elephant from their "Type It" set - thanks to my good friend Penny for the loan of these lovely stamps! I used Memento Dandelion dye ink and a small scalloped border stamp from a set called "Always Time For Tea" by Die-namics to make my yellow patterned paper. All other stamps used are from Waltzingmouse stamps. I found that the small "bars" type stamp from "Free Spirit Boy" was perfect to make the marks on the top note and the middle sized heart from "Sweethearts" was just right for the one in the centre. A couple of colourful brads were ideal for the pins (and I have loads of neglected brads just waiting to be used up)!

The bottom note was a bit more problematical as I couldn't find a tiny horse stamp anywhere - so I adapted the little reindeer from "Nordic Winter" and just didn't ink up his antlers. The lovely scripty hello sentiment from the "Happy Hello Thanks" set was just the job though. I used a resist technique, stamping it in Versamark ink and clear embossing it, then I used a Tuxedo Black Memento marker pen to draw the speech bubble and colour it in, before ironing off the embossing between two sheets of copy paper. A little pink washi tape was used to mimic that in the top photo. The final touch was a bow tied from thick black thread - I liked the effect of the loops as there were also several in the inspiration photo. I'm really pleased with the finished result!

Thanks for looking,


Sunday, 8 February 2015

Catching up!

It is such a long time since I last blogged - so sorry that I've been AWOL for so long! December saw me frantically making several birthday and thank you cards, together with over 100 Christmas cards - which then had to be written and posted, so there was no time to write blog posts at all. Over the Christmas and New Year period we were busy entertaining our family and friends, then we came down with the dreaded lurgey and were forced to retreat to bed to hibernate until we felt better.

Anyway, now that things are getting back to normal, I thought that I would share a few photos of some of the cards that I made over the last couple of months.

The first one is a thank you card made with a Lili of the Valley cute image stamp and papers, Spellbinders dies and sentiments by Waltzingmouse Stamps. We took this to the Stroke Unit at Fairfield Hospital, Bury to thank the staff there for looking after my husband David when he first had his stroke last year.

My second card was for my Brother-in-law Les' 80th birthday. He loves the countryside and there are squirrels in the trees behind their house, so I decided to go with a woodland themed card. I used a Spellbinders embossing folder for the green background panel which I added to a 5" x 7" white card blank. I embossed the Papertrey Ink tree cover plate onto Bockingford watercolour paper, watercoloured the tree trunk and leaves, then stamped the trunk with the co-ordinating PTI stamp to get the bark effect. The tree panel was matted onto chocolate brown card, which I also used to cut some branches and an assortment of small birds with a selection of Memory Box and Poppystamps dies. The squirrels and acorns were cut with Impression Obsession dies, then I highlighted the acorns and the squirrels' eyes with a tiny amount of glossy accents. I was really pleased with how this turned out.

The next card was made for my Sister-in-law Alison for her birthday. I used a similar technique to the previous card, this time using a Papertrey floral coverplate and watercolouring as before. The small stitched flag was cut using a Li'l Inker die and stamped with a Waltzingmouse stamps sentiment. Lime green and pink card layers and some co-ordinating ribbons were all that were needed to complete my design.

Below you can see a similar version of the card above, this time using Papertrey Bitty Dot background paper and matching ribbon, with an orange and lime green colour scheme.

My next card was designed to be produced en mass and was based upon a card that had been featured on the Less is More challenge blog. The stitched rectangle die is from a set of Lawn Fawn dies, the sentiment is a Magenta stamp, the snowflakes are by Waltzingmouse stamps and the legs are part of a Prima Valentine doll stamp. I used Memento dye inks and Copic Ciao markers to colour the legs and shoes, adding a touch of clear Wink of Stella pen to the shoes to make them sparkle. The snowflakes were stamped with Versamark ink and heat embossed with WOW sparkling embossing powder. I made a total of 65 of these C6 sized cards - which took me ages!

Finally we have my other batch Christmas card for 2014. I made about 35 of these 6" square green cards and stamped the backgrounds using red Memento dye ink and a candy stamp from Waltzingmouse. Then came a red linen card layer and a square of mottled green card embossed with a Cuttlebug candy cane embossing folder. The striped candy canes, bow and gingerbread man were all Waltzingmouse stamps, cut with their matching dies and coloured with Copic Ciao markers. A touch of red and white bakers twine completed the look.

Apologies for the long post and thanks for reading this far!