Friday, July 29, 2016

Back to the Comfort Zone

I spent yesterday making a card for OH as it's our Anniversary weekend.  He works from home on Fridays so I wanted to get it done before today.  I am notoriously bad for being a Last Minute Minnie, so actually getting it finished with a couple of days to spare is amazingly good going for me!

As I write, the sun is shining here - but if I'd started this half an hour ago it would have been raining.  I won't be risking hanging the washing out on the line today then!
I'll show you the card I made yesterday next week sometime, but today it's another Friday, and another Daring Cardmakers Challenge Day, so I'm sharing this one, for Lythan's Challenge - and after the stresses of putting pen to paper last week, it's much more of a comfortable card from me this time!  

                 Crochet Away
I (Lythan) have been involved in (also very far behind) in what is called a CAL - crochet a-long, attempting to make a blanket
I suspect mine won't look quite as good as this but I have enjoyed learning lots of new crochet techniques with all the different patterned squares. So I would like you to be inspired by crochet - maybe by the square patterns, or using some wool on your card or even a bit of crochet.

When I was at college I made a blanket with crocheted squares which I joined together then went around and around with more crochet until it was big enough for my bed. I did it mainly because my student house was so cold that working on it meant my legs at least stayed warm!  I don't think I've done any crocheting since, but I'm sure I do actually have a crochet hook that came free in a magazine. Fortunately, I found this lovely little crocheted flower before I needed to think a bit harder!
Papers are from a couple of download sets from Pininkie, resized and printed on to white Bazzill 
I mucked up and double printed on one of them so it's a bit darker and the pattern isn't right, but I decided to use it anyway to make the flower - and the small 'label' die cut behind the sentiment
The flower itself is created using the large Camellia quilling die (Crafters Companion) - I rarely get a nice even result using quilling dies as they are meant, so usually end up cutting one of the petal strips up to add the petals individually. 
I used the Crafters Companion stamen die for the flower centre, which gave a flat surface for adding the crocheted flower later 
A fairly large ball tool was used to get more shape into the petals.
A pretty brad was poked through the crochet flower and a couple of small punched circles, then glued to the coiled stamen of the large flower
I cut the backing piece for the sentiment using the small sized die from Creative Dies.  Using my Silhouette Cameo I made a perfectly shaped and sized oval to fit it then used a homemade decal sticker sentiment 
These colours are so pretty together - I downloaded the papers a few weeks ago but hadn't got round to using them for anything, they were perfect for this one though. There were two sets with the same colours, so obviously I bought both!


Anyway, that's all for this time, thank you so much for popping by - I hope you'' leave a message 


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Five Star!

I hope your week has started well.  Here it's not as hot as it was last week, but it's still nice - that said, the grass in our back garden is looking a bit parched, to say the least.  I checked the Met Office's weather app yesterday and saw the words "heavy rain" forecast for tomorrow - so I didn't put the sprinkler on.... and I'm hoping that's not the end of the good weather!

It's another project for The Sketch File blog today - the last one for the July LO, so there's just one week left if you want to join in with us.

 I thought that the version of the sketch with the five stars and the pennant would be perfect for making those exam congratulations cards we often need at around this time of year, so I made this

The LO is called "Bunch of Five" and here's how it looks:
The Sketch File blog

Papers: "Coral and Grey" download from Grepic on Etsy, printed onto white Bazzill card - I love the added touchy-feeliness you get using different textures of Bazzill to print digital designs onto!
Dull gold card for backing, and Gold Glitter card for a few extra punched stars
Star Nested Dies by DieNamics, various punches used for the small stars 
Sentiment piece created in Paint Shop Pro using one of the paper designs as the base, I added a circle with the Pre-set shapes tool, and filling it ('Fill' tool) with a lighter shade, then adding the words ('Text' tool) to fit.  I then cropped down and resized the whole piece to about 6cms square and printed two copies.  I used a couple of Nested Circles dies (Tonic) to cut the circles and adhered them together with a small piece of chipboard between the layers

I never used to use digital papers till I was asked to join the Funky Hand DT and I was hooked.  I really enjoyed the versatility of digital - and soon realised how easy it is to print exactly what you need, and I learned a few other 'tricks' too!
Anyway, Anice changed career direction a few months back and sadly, Funky Hand closed its "doors". So although I still have all the lovely FH collections to use, I thought I should look around for something new to feed my addiction to digital.

I can't remember why I ended up on Etsy, but I did, and that's where I found loads of lovely stuff to explore.  
I really love the collections from Debbie at Grepic - lots of lovely designs and colours and most sets have 10 or so different designs in them.  Some of the sellers I looked at did lovely sets, but with fewer papers, and I think you need a good selection of patterns along with plainer or 'textured' designs in order to make a collection usable - and it's hard to colour match on screen and see if different sets go together.  
Just in case any digi designers are reading this - it would help so much if you would add a note to say which sets work together - plus we'd no doubt buy the extra ones too! 

With digital papers you get the ability to crop  to use just a part of a design, or change the shape of the eventual print, you can print the whole paper as it is (these ones are for 12x12), or resize design, to print the whole thing to a more card-friendly 6x6, or even smaller if you want to If you look closely at the card above you'll see that the chevron design is used twice, with one being much smaller than the other.

Anyhoo, enough waffling - it would be lovely if you'd see if the sketch works for your crafting over the next few weeks - it doesn't matter what you use it for or how you use it, flexibility is good ;)

Thanks for popping by


Friday, July 22, 2016

Making a Mark

It's a bit cooler today - we had some rain overnight which has freshened the air a bit,  I'm just hoping the last few days wasn't our entire Summer.....

As always Friday is Daring Cardmakers Day ad this week its one of those challenges I dread most - the one that asks for doodling of some sort!  t comes up from time to time, in different guises and this time it's because one of our fab Guest Designers, Purvi uses a lot of her own, hand-drawn elements on her cards.  It seemed the perfect inspiration to have a go ourselves.  One of the aims of the Daring Cardmakers has always been to prevent that old "falling into a rut" thing that can happen, which is why we keep the challenges varied and well, challenging!
So even though I feel really out of my comfort zone when asked to Add a Doodle, I give it a go and usually start off with a little wander around the web, looking for ideas on how I can blag it.
This time I watched a video where someone started with a circle of paper, divided it into segments with a marker pen and then filled in all the segments with stripes, dots, curls, wiggly lines etc.  I could do this!  But then what would I do with it to make it into a card?
What if I used the same technique on some large numerals which would then be the focus "image" for a card?
I didn't even cheat with the numerals - I could have cut them on the Silhouette, but I didn't - I actually drew them with a Sharpie marker pen and then drew some lines to divide into sections.  I filled in the little segments with a fine gel pen then cut the numbers out.
The background pattern is based on the Sketch File LO from February 2016, the series of long rectangles and different sized circles is quite crisp and graphic which contrasted well with the 'fussy' design of the numerals.  I chose a black, white and grey colour theme, with a pop of bright yellow to lift it and a few layers of opal glitter card for bling
Not much in the way of tools needed for this - pens, scissors, guillotine and a set of nested circle dies (Tonic).  
Oh, and I nearly forgot; the white square and circle are embossed, the circle with Spots and Dots (Cuttlebug) and the square with Chevrons (Crafters Companion)
Most of the card is Bazzill, the glitter card is by Best Creations, and there's quite a lot of dimension created using sticky pads and chipboard

 That's it for this time - I hope you'll visit the DCM BLOG - there are some really wonderful cards with hand-drawn elements used in lots of different ways - it's such an inspiration to see.
Thank you so much for visiting today, please leave a comment and I'll come and return the favour!
Have a great weekend


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

5 Little Flowers

Hello from a blazing hot Hertfordshire!
It's another beautiful scorching hot day and I'm definitely not going to moan about being too hot - we see far too few days like this, but it can't be pleasant for those who need to dash around or work in hot and stuffy environments.
Hubby (its a Work from Home day) and I can once again feel smug that we bought a lovely Dyson Fan  one cold winter's day a couple of years ago......

My little card for The Sketch File Update this week is this one
Honeycomb (Crafters Workshop) stencil used to create a peachy-pink background on the card
White Bazzill plus 2 shades of peachy-pink Bazzill card scraps to make the squares and punched flowers (EK Success)
The green card is a piece of leftover printed (Funky Hand) card from another project and used for the punched border (EK Success border punch). the little butterfly (Woodware) and the die cut Leafy Swirls (Spellbinders)
I then cut a frame using nested squares (Tonic) and added "Hello" (Tim Holtz), along with some tiny gems and pearls

That's all for today. I hope you'll check out the projects on The Sketch File - and of course it would be great to have you share some ideas with us over there

Thank you for looking

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fancy a Slice?

Good Morning from sunny (at the moment) Hertfordshire!  I'm going to type quiclkly just in case it changes hahaha
As usual Friday is Daring Cardmakers Day, and this week it's our lovely Sharon who's chosen the theme

This week I'm kind of continuing with the summer theme as my dare is
Strawberries and Cream.
Since we've just had Wimbledon and it's most definitely the time for strawberries in the UK, I'd like you to either feature strawberries on your card, or just take inspiration from a strawberry and cream colour scheme.

The Design Team have some great ideas to share with you over on the Blog

I don't like that a bit weird? 
Anyway, I went down the shaped card route again and made a cake!  I'm really irritated now though, as I feel I should have made the plate section more of a flat base for the cake part - it would have looked better.  I guess I could still do that; make a new "plate" part and attach it in some way so the cake sits on it more realistically.  Although, maybe then the curved base of the cake would look odd - just ignore me, I'm thinking out loud!

I made a template, then a Silhouette Cameo cutting file for all the different coloured bits. I "Built" the cake then attached it to a card blank which had been cut and folded to fit 
The small strawberries around the edge of the plate are made with my tiny heart and star punches - these were part of a really cheap set bought in Tesco and honestly, I use them so much more often than the more 
expensive ones I have!  
The little flowers are die cut with a couple of the smaller sizes in the Cherry Blossom set (Spellbinders).  The flower centres are cut with the berries from either a mistletoe or holly set of dies!
To add a bit of bling I swirled some Glossy Accents over the 'icing' and while it was still wet added Glamour Dust Glitter
The seeds on the strawberries are gold ones from a couple of sizes of Gem Wheel (Anitas's).  I think it's a bit of a strange colour, not really a nice gold at all, but they were perfect for this job!

 It would be great if you'd join in with us this week - to give you some inspiration, THIS is the direct link to the Strawberries and Cream post, with all the luscious ideas from our fab Designers - just don't expect to come away without feeling peckish! 

Thanks for looking, I hope you'll leave a message before you go....

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Paris Canvas

I'm very glad I'm not outside at the moment as we've just had a torrential rain "shower" - the sort when you'd have got soaked running for the kitchen door if you'd only been at the other end of the garden.  Now the sun is out again, but you get the feeling the weather is playing a game of "cat and mouse" with you
Anyway, on to matters crafty and at the end of last week I got the chance to actually do something with the goodies in my first Craft Box which is just as well as the new one arrived yesterday :o

I decided to use the 7x5" canvas from the June box and have some mixed media fun with this view of the June LO from The Sketch File
To begin with I used several shades of Fresco Finish Acrylic paints to make a bluey-beigey-browny background. I added in a few inky shades too.  Next I used a VersaMagic inkpad to add the stencilled design.  The stencil is called "Mini Spinning Tops" (Crafters Workshop), and I placed it an angle over the canvas rather than using it "square".  I'd not used this stencil before, but I really LOVE the effect, and will surely be using it a lot from now!
Next came some pieces of torn paper, cotton lace and velvet ribbon
I cut the Eiffel Tower from one of the postcards in the box, glued  some thick chipboard scraps to the reverse for dimension and matted it on to a mini air-mail envelope and rectangle of patterned paper, adding a large paper clip tied with a piece of ribbon, a small art stone and a couple of "stamp-style" stickers.  This whole element was then adhered to a piece of chipboard before it was glued onto the canvas

The flowers are a mix of those found in the box and some I made up myself from my (large) stash of Primas.  I added some glass beads to the curly wire onto the brown flower from the box (a nod to one of the metro station entrances which caught my attention when we were in Paris last year)
The upper right corner looked a bit dull so I cut the corner element using a die from an old Spellbinders set

I rubbed gold Alchemy Wax (Craft Imaginations) and a few specks of Blue Stickles over the Tower image, and a little of the gold wax onto some of the flower petals too.
The little tower charm was attached to thin wire, the ends of which were threaded under the velvet ribbon and secured under the final flower

Even though I used a lot of things from it, I've hardly made a dent in the Craft Box contents!  I still have my memory album of our Paris holiday on my desk - I've not done a lot lately, so I'll be using more of the gorgeous Parisian=themed elements in there - maybe they will encourage me to get on with it!

Right, that's enough waffling for one day.
Thank you so much for visiting, I hope you'll leave a message - it's always good to hear from you

Friday, July 08, 2016

Summer Party

How is your day so far?  It's quite breezy and not particularly sunny here at the moment.  I hope it gets better as the day goes on.  Today is a WFL Day - which means OH is working from home and the call "What's for lunch?" will be heard in an hour or so... ;)

It's also Daring Cardmakers Day, with our lovely Miri hosting a Summer Party over on our blog - we hope you'll be coming along!

~ ~ ~ A Perfect Summer Party ~ ~ ~

Please create a card that features one ingredient for a perfect summer party.
No matter if it’s a pool party, a picnic party, a birthday party, a Euros football party or a BBQ party:
BBQ (steaks, sausages etc.), sunglasses, a pool, lemonade, cocktails, a water melon, picnic baskets, all kinds of balls (to entertain the kids), colourful napkins, summer fruits, ice cubes, bunting, cake, a parasol …
Please pop across to the blog to see what our fantastic Design Team members 
came up with 

After much humming and hahing and indecision, plus a few false starts, I decided to go for some kind of shaped card.  One of the false starts was a set of different shaped cocktail glasses, so I chose one of them, then made it a bit bigger and fatter to use for my glass shape.

The glass shape was found via a Google Image search, but I altered the shape to make a broader shape, then cut it out to use as a template.
On a sheet of smooth white card, I drew around the shape,  swooshed several shades of yellow, orange and red Distress Inks over the card, then cut out the glass shape
The base is an inked up panel of card with about a 8cms folded section, trimmed to fit behind the glass which was then partially glued in place - I needed to be able to tuck the bits and bobs between the layers.
Orange Slice - circles of card in orange and cream - trimmed around with scissors for a more realistic look.  The inner orange circle was dabbed with inks to look more orangey, then cut into segments, a little of the card trimmed away from each and then they were glued onto the pith circle.  For the centre I drew a really rough star shape on the back of a scrap of card, cut it out and glued in place
Parasol -the very small rosette die from Memory Box was used and a circle of paper made into a wide cone shape for the centre.  This MB die is a real pain, the folds are tiny and very awkward so I don't use it very often! I added a white bead to the centre point and used dimensional glue to fix the parasol to a piece of bamboo skewer. 
Straws - rolls of paper.  The parasol and straws are both made with papers from 'Polka, Mon Ami' 6x6 pad (Echo Park)
Cherries - 2 punched circles of red card, "speared with" (adhered to) a green card "stick", covered with Glossy Accents and highlighted with white Posca pen
Celebrate - Welded word created in Paint Shop Pro.  I also welded a stick section onto the front of the word so it would cut all in one piece,  It was cut in red card using the Silhouette Cameo

The parasol in particular is a bit on the "precarious" side, so I don't think this one will make it through the postal system - or even survive handing over in a box.  So I think this one will be kept here and be displayed on the shelf behind my computer desk!  It will sit nicely beside  a little wall hanging with beach huts on and this beach hut shaped card I made ages ago!

Okay, enough of my waffling on.  Thank you so much for visiting today - I hope you'll leave a comment for me.   I hope you'll visit the DCM BLOG too - we'd love to have you join in with us this time

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

July's new Sketch

My weather report for today (haha) is that it's a bit cloudier than yesterday here and doesn't seem particularity warm.  I'm still hoping that the Summer will turn up eventually.  
It's launch day for the July sketch on The Sketch File blog today, so I've my first card to share this time 
 This month's LO is called "Bunch of Five" and looks like this:
The Sketch File July LO
For my card I kept pretty much to this basic LO, apart from altering the big yellow square (on the diagram above) to use it as the frame section.
The smooth white 14cm square card blank is 320gsm (PDA Woodward)
The coloured card is all either Bazzill or Core'dinations 
Frame is cut using one plain and one scallop edges die from the large Tonic set of rectangle dies.  I used chipboard scraps to raise it above the decorative panel.
The pretty lower panel is cut with  Ultimate Craft's Jadene Free Flourish die.  I cut it twice so that I could cut one of the butterfly shapes from the flourish and use as a 3D element. 
The flowers are cut with 2 similar die sets from Cheery Lynn and Britannia Dies, the leaves are from the former
I added a layer of Ice Stickles to the cut out butterfly, and also for the flower centres

Do you ever look at all the card that's available to you - pile, drawer, shelves, stack, and can't decide which shades to use?  This is why this card took twice as long to make as it really should have. 
In my head there was a palette of 3(ish) pretty pastel colours but eventually I just went with shades of blue and I think it looks ok

It would be lovely if you'd see if the sketch works for your crafting over the next few weeks - it doesn't matter what you use it for or how you use it, flexibility is good ;)

Thanks for popping by


Monday, July 04, 2016


It's a lovely sunny morning here, I wonder what the chances are of it staying like this?  If it does, then that will be two lovely days in a I'm not counting my chickens!

It was my nephew's birthday last week and as part of his present we bought him a t-shirt with the words "I am quite unusually brilliant" on it.  Which he is, of course!  
Well to make it more interesting, I decided to give it the same sort of concealment treatment used to disguise another t-shirt for another nephew a while back

Using a couple of sheets of  A4 card printed with the same digital paper designs, plus another sheet printed with a couple of toning designs to use for trimming
Last time I made one, I just glued up the top once the t-shirt was inside, but this time I punched some holes and used a binding technique and some twine to make the closure.

If you are interested in making a box like this, there are loads of templates and tutorials on the internet.  Just search on ...juice (or milk) carton box...  and check them out till you find one that makes the most sense to you - some are simpler to follow than others!.  Once you've got the basic idea in your hear it's fairly simple to see how you can expand the template to make something as big as this one.  My two pieces of A4 card are joined along the long side, to make a tall box, and I made the base turn-in tabs only about 1.5cms, sticking them to a couple of squares of card (one inside the box, one for the outside base) to maximise the height of the finished carton.
I made a tag to hang from the top of the box, along with a simple pocket - a bit like an old-fashioned dinner money envelope, just big enough to pop cash or a cheque inside.  As am after-thought, I added a punched circle with a little "open me" message on it, just to make sure it wasn't  overlooked when it was hung behind the tag

I did enjoy making this - and it served as a reminder on how much fun they are to make and decorate - although this one was a plain boy-style one, I feel the need to get fancy with the next one ;)

Thanks for looking, have a great day

Friday, July 01, 2016

Hello July

A whole new month - lets hope the weather perks up for July!   We certainly picked the best week of June to go away - I think it's rained every single day since!

It's Daring Cardmakers Day and time for our monthly Elemental Inspiration Challenge.
July's photo is more of a mood-board or collage of several pictures and has been chosen by Lythan and is full of lovely Summertime beach-themes!
As ever the challenge is to create your own card which uses at least 3 elements from the picture.
Suggestions: Bright Stripes, Deckchair, Lollies, Beach, Sea, Slip-flops, Sun hats, Summer-themed words, Clouds, Layout

I've used clouds, a deckchair, Straw Hat, Summer song lyrics and bright stripes on mine 
The first version also had some bright-coloured bunting, but it looked a right mess, so I pulled it apart, cut it down, added an extra matting layer and grabbed a slightly larger card blank to build it on.  It looks much cleaner and more summery somehow

Background is created by cutting some cloud shapes from all-over sticky Post It notes and using them as masks while I swooshed some Tumbled Glass Distress Ink over the card
The song lyrics were created in Paint Shop Pro - I added them line by line, adjusting the sizes, spacing and positioning a bit - I didn't want them being too neat, iyswim
The deckchair and sun hat are cut on the Silhouette Cameo - I had to make new templates this time and I don't think the deckchair is quite right, which is a bit annoying.  Or maybe I didn't quite stick the layers together as I meant to. 
The fabric part is coloured using Gelatos and I always get in such a smudgy mess with them - I was probably concentrating more on getting the pieces stuck together without smudging than taking note of how the frame pieces should have been stuck down.
The lyrics piece is matted first onto a square inked more strongly with the
Tumbled Glass Ink, and then onto black Bazzill
Having cut down the cloudy piece as mentioned above, I matted that onto black too
I've used lots of fairly thick chipboard under the various pieces for extra dimension

Thank you for looking, I hope you'll leave a message.  If you head over to the
Daring CardmakersBlog you'll see what the rest of the team have been making - and meet our lovely new Guest designer too