Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Benington Lordship


Thanks for popping by.
Here are a few photos from our visit to Benington Lordship on 20th February 2017.  The garden is well known for its beautiful snowdrops at this time of year, but its a lovely place to wander around at any time.  There are lakes, wooded areas, formal beds, a Walled Garden and wonderful views out over the Hertfordshire countryside.  It's hard to believe that the Urban Sprawl that is Stevenage is so close!




 These last 2 were taken in Benington village

I hope you've enjoyed scrolling through the photos, your messages are always appreciated
Thank you for visiting

Sketch Double


Things are looking up!  The temperatures are into double figures and signs that Mother Nature is waking up are everywhere,  Now I'm quite well aware that February often has a sting in its tail, so I don't want to count those pesky chickens too soon, but....... 
It's been Hubby's birthday weekend, so he took yesterday of work and we went across to Benington Lordship (in Benington village) to see the snowdrops and take some photos.  The weather was fine; breezy but with some sunshine between the clouds and it was lovely to be out and about.  The pub lunch we treated ourselves to after our walk was lovely too 😜

I never did get round to blogging last week's card for the Sketch File, so today I have two to share.  First up is this week's

All patterned papers are Hip Hip Hooray 6x6  (MME )
Matted on to Peach coloured Bazzill card and a smooth White card blank
The striped papers are foiled in gold - sorry, they don't photograph well!
I glued the two designs together, then cut a circle aperture (Tonic Nested dies).
This layer was then raised on some cereal packet "chipboard" to add dimension and adhered to the peach mat. 
The flower is made using 3 layers cut with a large EK Success blossom punch. 
I inked some stamens to match and threaded them through a hole cut in the centre of the flower.
It was glued into the aperture and highlighted with swirls cut using various flourish dies (Memory Box, Die-Namics, Taylored Expressions) 
The sentiment is by Lawn Fawn, I cut it into sections this time to use on the three banners.  You can see it as a whole piece on this card
To finish the card I made 3 little faux brads from circles punched with a small circle punch and shaped with a ball tool

 Here's the February Sketch

Last week I used a lovely butterfly panel die to make the panel for my card.  I didn't use the whole die cut, there's actually a third butterfly below the larger one.  I wanted to have the "lines" of the sketch a bit lower than the die cut would allow, so I trimmed and overlapped the edge of the frame to make it a better fit.

 Smooth white card blank plus extra of the same card for the raised piece, which was then inked with Distress Inks to make the background for the die cut panel
The panel was cut in deep pink. extra butterfly layers, and tiny flowers were cut in toning shades of pink.
The layered butterfly takes the place of the circle on the sketch LO
Butterfly Panel and other butterfly die set are both by 
Apple Blossom from CraftStashUK
Small flowers are from the Cherry Blossom dies set by Spellbinders
I stamped the sentiment using a couple of stamps from an Apple Blossom set and added jewel flower centres and trails of tiny silver gems to complete

I've put some photos from yesterday's outing on a separate post, which you can find HERE, but here's one of Hubby's macro shots to whet your appetite!

 Thank you for visiting - and hopefully leaving a comment too 😇😎


Friday, February 17, 2017

Square Dancing on a Triangle


I've been an even worse blogger than usual this week, just haven't felt up to doing much of anything at all.  I've had enough of Winter now, I'm sick of irritating coughs and colds, and now I've got a cold sore.  I think my immune system is tired of fighting!  
It was lovely to see some sunshine yesterday and the temperatures were up too so it was good to get the windows open and give the house a bit of an airing!

Not much crafting done this week.  I did quite a lot of moving pikes of stuff from one place to another, then back again - but the mojo wasn't under any of them!

Leo asked us to make our own geometric patterns on our Daring Cardmakers' projects this week, and every time I saw another of my teamies sharing a gorgeous, clever card I grew more despondent!
In the end I grabbed some Washi tape and some inks and made a bit of a chequerboard pattern.  I made it on the diagonal for another geometric element
 Decorative panel created on textured card using lengths of Washi tape applied diagonally, and lemon, yellow, peach, orange and pink inks 
Narrow dusky pink ricrac braid (The Ribbon Girl)
Sentiment and backing square are also cut from Bazzill card.  
Die by Lawn Fawn
I made the flowers from scraps of matching card.  
For the larger ones I used a die by Britannia Dies, for the smaller ones am EK Success punch.  The stamens came from Cuddly Buddly
The leaves are petals from a Punch Bunch multi sized petal punch
A few scattered pearls were added to complete
That's it for now, sorry to be a Moaning Minne at the start, I will try to be more cheerful for next time. P
Please go and check out the amazing geometric patterns the rest of the Daring Cardmakers team have made - they are so clever!

Have a great weekend

Friday, February 10, 2017

In a Reflective Mood?

Hello All
How are you?  Keeping warm, I hope!
After saying that there were no signs of Spring in the garden the other day, I looked again yesterday and there are irises, daffodils and tulips shooting up all over the place.  The birds definitely think Spring is on its way - well before 7am now they are making a right old racket out there! 
It's so good to see Nature waking up, by this time of year it always feels as though Winter has gone on for ever.  February is the most depressing month for me, even though my hubby thinks that can't be so as His birthday is in February!  

Which reminds me, I need to come up with an idea for his birthday card soon!

Anyway, on to this week's card for The Daring Cardmakers, and this time its Sharon setting the theme:

 Mirror, Mirror
At this time of year, with Winter dragging on we really need a bit of 

something shiny to brighten the days. 
So, I simply want to see something 
reflective on your card! 
It could be foiling, shiny stickers, mirri card, or even mirrored tiles. 
Go on, Let it Shine!!!
The first thing that jumped into my mind for this one was to try and use one of the gorgeous resin frames that have come in a couple of Craft Box kits over the last few months. I'm absolutely rubbish at planning out a card before I start, it usually all just happens "organically", which is why frame + mirri card = Mirror, rambled on in my head to "Alice Through the Looking Glass" and Alice in Wonderland generally.  So I went off to hunt on Etsy for some "Alice" themed papers to download.  
Here's what I came up with in the end
Resin Frame was coated with glue then given a layer of Gilding Flakes.  The Mirror is a piece of mirri card
The background paper is from the Alice in Wonderland collection by VectoriaDesigns and are lovely!  I only bought the paper pack, but there are loads of other items on the same theme.  They have lots of gorgeous stuff perfect for Mixed Media type projects 
I made the "drink me" label and the "Enjoy the Adventure" piece in Paint Shop Pro and resized and printed directly onto part of one of the download papers
From Craft Box (various ones): Resin Frame. Tiny black bottle, 2x large flowers, Metal charm pocket watch and Metal crown charm
From other stash: Pale blue ribbon, Tiny pearls and gems, small pink flower
The Playing cards are created from an image found via a Google Image Search
All PC generated items (inc background paper) were printed onto Classic texture white Bazzill card
I really enjoyed making this, and it was good to actually USE some of the gorgeous Craft Box bits and bobs rather than just oooh and aahh, stroke them and put them away again 😉  
The bit that's not so much fun is using Gilding Flakes - they fly everywhere, which is bad enough when you don't have a cold, but when you're all bunged up and can only breathe through your mouth....... Silvery snow all over the desk!
Well that's it for this time, I hope you like it, and will feel inspired to pop over to The Daring Cardmakers blog to see what everyone else made this time.
So much for signs of Spring, as I finish writing this I see signs of snow outside the window. Not funny.  Not funny at all!

See you soon
Please leave a message xx 💙💜💛💖

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Simple Sketch for February

Hello there
I hope you're having a good day - and that like us, you've had some sunshine wherever you are.  I've been out for a wander around the garden, hoping to see snowdrops and daffodil shoots peeping through the earth - but sadly there's no sign of any Spring activity yet.
Now that we're at the first Tuesday of a new month there is a new LO to play with over at The Sketch File blog.  It's a really simple idea this time - but I still struggled with my first attempt at using it - my card didn't really work as well as I'd hoped, but you can't win 'em all!
I wish I'd added the lines of 'text' straight rather than at jaunty angles, I think it would have looked so much better.

All papers 'Heart Day' 6x6 pad (Crate Papers)
Nested Hearts die (Die-Namics)
The Sketch File, February 2017
Just out of interest, are you getting used to the new Blogger Dashboard - do you like it, or do you hate it as much as I do?

Thanks for popping by today, I hope you'll join in with us and try the sketch out this month xx

All for now

Friday, February 03, 2017

The Key to my Heart

Good Morning!
It's lovely to see some sunshine today after a rather dreary, damp week around here, we've both got colds, so definitely need a bit of brightening up!  

We have a new Inspiration Picture to play with over at The Daring Cardmakers this week and if you like arty, steampunky type stuff, you'll love Svenja's picture choice! 
The DCM team is very varied in our card-making styles and favoured techniques so it's always fascinating to see how everyone responds to these inspiration pictures - sometimes its hard to believe that we all started from the same place!

"It's the first Friday of February already, so time for a brand new Elemental Inspiration challenge...
All you need to do is choose at least THREE elements from the photo and use them on your own creation (colours only count as ONE element)."
Don't quite know where to start... ? 

Just head over to the BLOG where there's some wonderful inspiration by the DT members for you."

I planned an inky, painty, narrow panel with lots of embossing (the hexagons), some extra texture and copper leafing - generally mixed media stuff, which would be tied round with wire and a key or other metal embellishment to incorporate my chosen elements from Svenja's picture:

I wasn't intending to make a heart, but that's how it evolved! 

I started with a piece of lovely pearlised "Srardream" cardstock from PDA, which was the perfect aqua-green colour and set about adding more shades using Fresco Finish acrylic paints.
The embossing folder I used is "Honeycomb" by Tereas Collins and I love that you get the two different 'looks', with either the puffy raised hexagons, or the deeply embossed lines around them as the dominant feature.  Obviously I wanted to use both  so I partially embossed the card over a diagonal area, then flipped the card and debossed a different corner. 
I also added some stencilled hexagons, but in the end the part I cut out doesn't really show them.
I used a little bit of copper and gold leafing randomly, and various other things like Alchemy Wax and Glimmer Mist (I never have much luck with these things, I should stop buying them) and anything else that I thought might be interesting
This was the point for deciding which part of the piece I'd made to use on my card and that's when the heart happened. It's die cut with one of the nested hearts from a Die-Namics set and as it was now a bit flat I had to add a bit of extra embossing.
I added more shading around the edge, and then decided to cover part of it with Diamond White Glitter Gel paste.
Then I thought it might be a good idea to give the whole thing a
 coat of Glossy Accents to embed the glitteriness and give a bit of a
 sheen to the piece!
Honestly, the problem with mixed media is that you never know when to stop.
Or is that just me!
Anyway, once dried I added some slightly smaller heart shapes cut from thick card to the back and gently bevelled the edge to get a more rounded rather than flat shape to the heart.  To fix the heart to the base card I used a scrap of extra thick card on one side, so that I could slide the metal cogs underneath at the other side
I just wanted a simple white background, but the smooth white card was "too" plain iykwim, so I used the Honeycomb embossing folder again to match the hexagons on the heart, and matted it onto some matching  sea green Bazzill

To complete the project I added small metal cogs, a length of twill ribbon and a gorgeous key on some beaded wire.  The ribbon, some of the cogs and that beautiful verdigris key came from various of the boxes I've had from Craft Box
I just love going through them all over again and rediscovering the treasures they contain - which is how I came across the little tin of micro beads - I couldn't resist adding some to this project and I love the way they've added an extra bit of texture and interest!
But just how perfect was that key for the colours of the heart!

As yet, I've not decided what to do with this card.  I'm thinking now that it would actually make a lovely canvas.  My OH gave me some small square canvases as part of a crafty goody box at Christmas so maybe it won't end up as a card after all!

That's it for today, do please take a look at our fabulous challenge blog and see if you're inspired to join in with us this week- it would be wonderful if you were!

Take care, have a good weekend and thank you fo taking the time to visit me here

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sail Away, Sail Away, Sail Away

Hi there
Hope you are feeling fine and dandy today - or maybe all "Ship shape and Bristol fashion" as my card for today has a bit of a nautical theme. It's the last week for adding projects to the Linky for the January LO over at The Sketch File, and I finally got around to making the card I've meant to do all month.  I had to change my plan to use yacht shaped buttons ans I couldn't find any - I was so certain that I had some, and they'd have looked so cute in the little porthole apertures! 
Smooth white card blank and extra for upper panel
Other card Bazzill
Stick on letters; Aithentique
Punch for porthole apertures
a couple of zigzag shapes from old QK dies
Anchor is from a Cuttlebug die
2x pieces of ric-rac braid
Little yachts are hand-cut from scraps of card
The Sketch File - January 2017

That's it for this time, thank you for visiting, see you soon

Monday, January 30, 2017


Hello there

My little corner of Blogland is a bit damp and grey this morning,  though not as cold as we've had, which  I suppose is the silver lining.
I think the best thing to do is to settle down to making stuff - with an audio book for company.  A few more chapters of Pride and Prejudice should do the trick.
On Saturday, my lovely hubby found a stack of plain, cardboard ring binders for me (75p each at Wilkinsons ;) ) and brought a bunch home for me to cut down a bit and make into storage files for my dies.  I've made a start on doing that part, but I'm uncertain now as to whether to sort the dies by type or by manufacturer - or whether there's an even better way.  What do you reckon - how do you store yours?

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to make some tags to go on party bags for a Strawberry themed birthday.  Now I've mentioned before that tags are not my favourite thing to make - but I had a bit of a think and came up with an idea.

Kraft card
Red. white, green, yellow card (Bazzill)
Yellow Glitter card
Bakers Twine
Heart Die (Die'Namics, nested set)
Flower Petals (Marianne)
Leaves (Britannia)
Small circle punch  (Xcut)
Seeds cut with circles from holly/mistletoe  die sets
Zutter Corner-rounder to shape the lower corner of the strawberries

That's it for this time, just a quickie, but I hope you like these tags and will leave a message.  Let me know how you categorise you dies and stamps too, I'm really interested in hearing what suits you best.

Thanks for visiting

Friday, January 27, 2017

Bring Me Sunshine

Hello there

Just as I wrote the title of this post the sun really did come out - bang on cue.  Just a shame it didn't last the first sentence before disappearing again!  The other part of the weather report is that its still perishing cold.  At least that means the heating is coming on and all the socks are drying super fast when I hang them between the rails of the towel heater thing! 

Anyhoo, time for a crafty update as its Daring Cardmakers Day
This time its our lovely Miri setting the challenge:

 January is quickly coming to an end, but we’re still at the beginning of the new year. It’s still time to set goals or think about changes you might want to make.
       More, More, More 
This week we challenge you to think about what you 
want more of in 2017!
More glitter? More time? More magic? More vegetables?
 More love? More books? ... 
show it to us on your card and we hope that you'll get it, whatever it is!
 There are lots of great "More of..." wishes over on the blog, some ;
'worthy'  some personal and some craft-inspired. Lots of great ideas and I'm sure all my teamies had a tricky time deciding on just one.
I decided that everything feels a bit better when the sun shines, so more sunshine is what I'd like to see.  
Smooth White card for base and more for the upper panel.
I started by creating the sentiment in Paint Shop Pro on the pc, resizing, printing and trimming down the resulting piece to fit my card.
I felt the need (as you do) of a lovely new font for this, and found this one ('Hallelujah Regular') on the fabulous DaFont website. 
Next I masked off the words and stencilled with 'Mini Spinning Tops' (Crafters Workshop) in yellow.  I intensified some of the colour to add a bit of light and shade.
The circle aperture was die cut (Tonic Nested Circles)
I made the sun ray cutting file in PSP then transferred it for cutting to the Silhouette.  I know there are ways to create what you need within the Silhouette itself, but I've always made my templates this way and it works for me, so I'll continue doing what I know! 
I made the rays within a square frame so that its easy to stick behind the aperture.  It looked a bit flat so I added a punched circle on top, to which I'd added a bit of a domed shape by using a ball tool
To complete the card I added a few nice sunny yellow embellishments; jewels, pearls and various other things

Thank you so much for popping by today, I hope you'll leave a message - and that you'll come back again soon 


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Bit Industrial

How are you?  It's been very sunny here over the last few days - we've seen none, or very little of the freezing fog I hear has shut down several airports - one of which is about 20 minutes drive from here!  Here the sky is as blue and clear as can be!  However it is mighty cold, and I'm quite happy to be staying indoors! I hope you are managing to stay nice and toasty today too.

I've gone a little bit 'industrial' for this week's Sketch File card,  The little bag of metal cogs Hubby added to a Christmas box of crafty bits have been desperate to come out and play, so this week I gave in.

 Kraft card stencilled in reddish-brown colour
Cogs stencil added using Dark Brown ink
Circle and Lines stencil in black for two of the lines from the sketch
The third line is created with a string of beads, coloured with Alcohol Inks, and fixed in place with screw head brads
A lever was created with a metal photo turn and a metallic red star brad, which adds a pop of colour
Thu metal cogs were used to echo the three circles on the LO
Here's the sketch 
The Sketch File January 2017
It's been a while since I got the stencils out, and despite ending the day with inky fingers I had a lot of fun.  I really should make more use of my painty, inky, stencilly stash!

Thank you for visiting, I hope you'll take a minute to leave a message

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Stitch in Time....

It's a lovely sunny morning - but my word!  it's a chilly one.  I know that just by going as far as the doorstep to fetch the milk in.  Yes, I'm happy to say that we do still have a milkman delivering our daily pinta, and other bits and bobs right to the doorstep.

As usual on a Friday its Daring Cardmakers Day and.....
It's Nat here bringing you my first dare of 2017!
This week I am hoping that you'll be raiding your sewing box or dragging your sewing machine out because I want you to feature stitching on your cards as a real eye-catching element!
You can do some good old hand-stitching with embroidery floss and a needle, machine sewing or even feature dies and stamps that do the stitching for you, or why not draw your own stitched designs by hand?
 After several false starts, and a few ideas that bit the dust when I realised I didn't actually have the things I'd need to make it, I came up with another plan - and even this one faltered a couple of times (at least)

First difficulty was getting the printing right - I needed to print on both sides of the card - once for the 'right' side, with only the gold lettering visible, and 
then mirrored in the same place on the reverse.  I didn't want the LOVE lettering to print on the front, but needed them as a guided for my stitching.  Obviously they needed to be mirrored for the stitched letters to be the right way round on the front
That took about 4 tries to get right, and I breathed a sigh of relief when finally I got it sorted......
...... Only to discover that there was no red at all in my meagre cache of embroidery floss - yes I probably should have checked that first, I know!
 I dug out and had a rummage through the box of fibres and tried a rather woolly one out but that looked a mess tbh.
I tried sewing through narrow ribbon to form the words, it looked horrendous.
Eventually I found a reel of red sparkly thread - a bit thin, and the sort that tangles itself up in a heartbeat, but beggars can't be choosers.

By this time my perfectly printed card was a crumpled, holey mess, so I had to go through the complicated printing job again!

So eventually got it done.  As the thread is thin I used four strands, and went over all the stitch lines twice.  I kept the number of holes to an absolute minimum. On the printed reverse there is an 'O', but I converted this to a heart shape when I added the stitching.
Textured creamy-white card for card base and stitched panel
Red Bazzill card
Gold Glitter card
Sentiment pc generated
Red thread with red lurex strand in it
Narrow red ribbon (The Ribbon Girl).

In the end it came out quite well and it looks way to simple to have caused me so much stress and frustration!  Funny how often that happens, isn't it?  Even funnier is the fact that me challenge to try something new gave Nat the same sort of tribulations that her challenge this week has given me.  So I suppose there's some justice in that, eh?

That's all for this time, I hope your Friday is a good one - and maybe you'll find time to join in with us over at The Daring Cardmakers this time ;)

Please leave a message, its always good to know you're not just talking to yourself :)