Colourful cards for men

Because not all cards for men have to be navy or brown….

I have to confess to a crime against craft. This week, whilst once again braving Stash Mountain, I came across a couple of sets of dies I had never used. Actually I have quite a few sets like that, but these ones I had also forgotten about. Tsk! I believe I may have mentioned this before, but the rule is, in order not to further upset the Gods of Craft, once such items are discovered, you gotta make something.

These are simple silhouette dies, all of a sporting ilk. I seem to remember they were a bargain, hence the purchase. Also we have quite a few ‘young men’ (translate as ‘significantly younger than us‘) in our family and I am just never prepared with cards to give them. A bit rubbish really, considering how much kit I have to hand. But stuff for younger people seems to date so fast. The ‘technology’ that was a feature of card toppers I bought, say, five years ago now probably looks to them like it might have been used to steer a tall ship in the 1800s. But hey, a shadow remains constant. Well, no, not at all really, always changing in fact…but last time I checked we all still had one…unless you live in Britain, with no sunshine…and I think there was an issue with Peter Pan…heck this is not going well at all…

Ahem. Let’s get this back on track. Anyone want to see a card? I decided to go bright, and bright-ish for these. Why not? Colour is fun and silhouettes lend themselves to a splosh of the primaries.

For the first card I used the basketball player and three different splat stamps in the primary colours. I was OK with it but though it just needed a little more, so stencilled some grey spots at the top for a bit more interest. I also stamped splats onto the envelope and one behind the greeting on the inside. In the photos the red looks a bit pinkish. It isn’t though!

sporting silhouettes basketball 1sporting silhouettes basketball 2

For the second I was considering doing pretty much the same, but in slightly softer tones and with a footballer (soccer player, to my North American pals). But recently I have seen a few examples of cards with a partial circle cut out at the edge and thought this might be fun for a change. Because the black layer looked a little austere just left plain I also used my Halftone stencil, this time with embossing ink (Versamark) and clear embossing powder. This gives it a bit of texture without (hopefully) being too girlie. Again I decorated the envelope a bit. Well, why not?

sporting silhouettes footie 1sporting silhouettes footie 2

I still have tennis, rugby and golfer dies to play with! I will probably make at least one blue or brown card. Ah well.

Supplies: Trimcraft Sporting Silhouettes dies; Altenew Birthday Greeting and A Splash of Color stamps, Halftone stencil

 

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When the caffeine is taken away…

Yesterday I had zero caffeine. By choice, not some horrible deprivation torture inflicted by a heartless monger of alternative hot drinks. I don’t drink much – usually just one or two mugs in the morning and that is it. Rarely past noon (that is 12PM lunchtime in the afternoon to some TV presenters) as I am a serial rubbish sleeper so why throw another obstacle into the mix? But last night despite being a caffeine free zone I just couldn’t nod off and eventually got up and made a card. And, well, as you can see, I was perhaps a little preoccupied…

Coffee cardcoffee card detail

I wonder what was on my mind?!

I wanted to use some coffee beans in the photo but there are none in the house. A pile of instant coffee is not too appealing. Galaxy Counters are as close as I could get! It’s OK, they have already gone to a good home…

Supplies: Clearly Besotted Warm Wishes stamps and dies; Altenew Coffee Talk stamps; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable spotty and striped card; The Works stitched rectangle nesting dies

 

Ombre stamping

Just a post to share a card. No ranting today! This set of stamps is called ‘Adore You’. The feeling is mutual. There are so many differently sized flowers and leaves, and they are kind of retro, I think.

Last night I had an inkling to make a sort of ombre stamped effect, and also to have the flowers roughly decreasing in size as I stamped from bottom to top of the card. I found it easier to work this way to make sure I had the space to use the larger blooms. Knowing me, if I had stamped from top to bottom I would have run out of card before I got to the feature flowers. A bit like telling a joke but starting at the punch line…

Rather than using lots of small ink pads, which would have been a faff, I had a ‘I think I may have something in the back’ kind of moment. Like in an old shoe shop, not like a Brutus and Caesar showdown. And guess what? I found a very ancient Kaleidacolor Rainbow ink pad in shades from orange through to red, which was exactly what I wanted. And even though it is at least 14 years old, it still is totally fine and juicy with ink. Now that is a good product!! The various ink pads are separate when closed (to stop them mixing or contaminating each other) but you can slide them together to make one continuous ombre ink pad. Genius!

I used a dark grey mat as a contrast for all the red and orange. And although I know nobody in the industry reads this, could I still put out a plea for a decent multipack of grey card? Pretty please? It is so difficult to find, especially a really nice charcoal. Also, patterned, and self-patterned greys too, please, whilst you are not here anyway! If any other crafters know where I can get some please let me know in the comments?!

I used Altenew Lava Rock ink to stamp the sentiment (from Dahlia Blossoms stamp set) and a stitched rectangle popped up on 3D foam. Now I could well have finished here. It was a nice enough card, but I decided to take the sentiment rather literally. So, a bit more stamping and fussy cutting and I had some extra blooms. Then I decided I wanted one full-on coloured flower, but once that was on there I needed some balance, hence the green leaves. Initially they were just stamped outlines in pale green, but something jarred so they became full-on leafy. Luckily bed time came along to stop me from further fiddling!

adore you ombreadore you ombre detail

Supplies: Altenew Adore you and Dahlia Blossoms stamp sets; Kaleidacolor Rainbow ink pad in Desert Heat; Altenew inks in Lava Rock, Frayed Leaf and Forest Glades; The Works stitched rectangle dies

 

Still Stencilling….

Well, it was just sitting there, winking at me…

Another card made with my Altenew Halftone stencil. This time I have opted for a softer look, so just used two shades of grey ink (Evening Gray and Morning Frost) in a fuzzy edged (technical term!) vague circle. I then stamped my flowers and leaves in a darker grey (Moon Rock), fussy cut them and spent a small eternity faffing about with their placement. Ho hum. Some of the elements were popped up on 3D foam. Oh and UK shoppers, I found a great bargain pack of large foam squares and a big roll of foam in Poundland last week. Please forgive my ignorance but I honestly did not know that everything in that shop costs £1.00!! I kept looking for prices….But anyway, it seems like a good deal to me so thought I would mention it.

Once I had the card assembled I decided I wanted to add the tiny text greeting. I wasn’t brave enough to stamp directly onto the more-or-less finished project so chickened out. Stupid, really, because if it had gone wrong I could still have covered it over and ended up with the same card as I have here. Duh!

A few little blobs of Nuvo Jewel drops and we are good to go. I like the sentiment because it can cover a lot of occasions, either happy or not so much.

adore you cardadore you card detail

Supplies: Altenew Halftone Stencil, Adore You stamps and Warm Gray mini ink cubes set; Tonic Nuvo Jewel Drops in Pale Periwinkle; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable card (the pinkish lilac)

Smugglers, baking and boot camp

TiVo, get your act together!

I have to get this one off my chest. Has anyone else ever felt insulted by the ‘suggested recordings’ choices of their TiVo box? The TiVo has only been installed for a couple of years, and the instruction manual was never read because the gizmo worked and there are many more fun things to do with an afternoon. So the fact that there were suggested recordings at all, was something of a surprise. At first I thought it rather sweet that the blinking box in the corner would think of you throughout the day, get to know you a little and consider what TV treats you might like to enjoy later. Even going ‘off piste’ a bit and perhaps selecting something you may not have considered for yourself, but you end up loving. Similar to being given olives to try again, because although you claim not to like them, you like salty things, for example.

In the ‘getting to know you’ stage the suggested programmes were baffling. But early on in a relationship you can easily get the wrong signals, or send mixed messages. So, it proffered the local news programmes, and the BBC News, and the ITV News…. Well, news is fine, but watching it back at a later date is generally not so interesting. Really I have no idea how these things work but figured it would take time to somehow recognise what was watched and build a kind of profile. But then the random selections started to kick in. I can‘t remember specifically what, but they were not impressive.

Why wasn’t it trying harder? Why was it recording shows about border control and smugglers when such programmes were never actually watched, and should surely never be part of the viewing profile?

Then the ‘thumbs’ were discovered. Yes, perhaps this should have happened earlier. For anyone who doesn’t know, you have a green ‘thumbs up’ to say you like a programme, and a red ‘thumbs down’ to show your displeasure. You can hit the button up to three times, presumably to indicate your strength of feeling either way. Now, I get why up to three thumbs-worth of happy viewing might be useful information: I hope that if there was a recording clash between a one-thumb and a three-thumb the lovely considerate box would prioritise. This is an optimistic theory, not yet tested.

But why bother giving any more than one thumb of disapproval? Surely the TiVo is not going to think ‘Hmmn, well, there is very little of interest at the moment, so I’ll just record a single-thumbs-down programme. Can’t sit here doing nothing can I?’ Well, yes actually, you can. If you can’t record something good, don’t bother recording anything at all…

In an effort to train the beast, every time the TiVo is caught red handed i.e. recording something undesirable, the red thumb is pushed three times, still with little idea of why three is necessary but we are sending a clear message here. Same if it does good, although sadly this is less often. So now the on-screen TV guide has more up and down thumbs than a busy day at the Colosseum.

Today, late morning, the box pinged up a message to say it wanted to switch from the current programme (you know, the one you have actually chosen to watch) and record Mary Berry doing some cooking instead. Interesting. Not the choice of programme – for once it was a good choice – but that meant it was sneakily off recording another couple of shows, because it can only record three things if you are watching one of them. On further investigation these turned out to be Police Interceptors (or something like that) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Excuse me?? I honestly don’t think ANY of the viewing history would suggest these as likely to meet with approval. Knowledge of the Ninjas is sketchy, but a programme about the real Donatello or Raphael would stand a better chance!

I have just deleted more suggestions of yet more border control programmes, ones about sheriffs and debt collectors, gadget reviews, and a marriage boot camp, all of which would never have been watched. This feels more like a marriage of convenience, or of one where apathy has taken over. Like those who shop for their spouse’s or partner’s gift in the last hour on Christmas Eve. Just get something, no matter what. Who cares if it is the wrong size and wrong colour? It’s the thought that counts right?

Wrong, Mr TiVo, wrong.

Neither of these cards are for you. We are not friends and you are not awesome.

halftone and super scripthalftone super script 2

I have used current stash from Altenew plus a guilty purchase of a stencil. It cost under a fiver so I don’t feel too bad. Sometimes you just need something new to freshen things up a bit. These cards are very similar to one of the marketing shots, but it is kind of an obvious thing to do and I was just itching to use it! I blended three different colours of Altenew inks onto my base card, then stamped and die cut the Super Script words and cut out the Label Love sentiment. I love the look of the spotty symmetry!

 

Yellow Fever

Just a quick post. Here are two more cards I made this week. It would seem I have yellow fever. Normally I don’t ‘do’ yellow much – although we did go through a small fortune and a bajillion tester pots trying to find the ‘right’ yellow for the hallway and stairs many years ago. To be honest we could have painted the whole space in the purchased tester pots, there were that many. No yellow went untried. Maybe this, or custard tarts, has put me off….

But recently the yellow has been beckoning. Thoughts of, and hopes for spring, I guess. Or maybe I just want to eat a pound of butter. Unlikely. Let’s go with spring.

spring-card-pair

Anyway, two cards, both stamped, one entirely flat, the other almost so. I couldn’t resist adding a couple of Nuvo Jewel Drops as they are so shiny and translucent and yummy.

an-spring-dahlia-blossomsan-spring-tulip

Supplies: Altenew Tulip and Dahlia Blossom stamps sets and various Altenew inks; Tonic Nuvo Jewel Drops; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable yellow card

 

Unnatural selection, and reinvention

I have had this colour scheme in my head for a few days. I wanted a limited but punchy palette, so coloured this daisy stamp in shades unnatural to its species and selectively, so petals only. The centres remain deliberately monochrome (in case anyone thinks I just gave up!), along with the rest of the card.

The bottom section is just random stamping of Altenew Freeform Greenery in black. It reminded me a bit of that 1950s black and white Homemaker china that everybody seemed to have a plate of lurking in the back of the cupboard and threw out the week before it got fashionable again.

red-daisy-1

Recently I rediscovered my Label Love stamps – hurrah! They had been missing for months but resurfaced inside (I know, don’t judge me) an embossing folder. So they get to be used again to add a bit more inky darkness.

Basically, what I have done is just repeated the design of my old faithful Peony Bouquet card (the one I use for my Gravatar) in different colours. But ‘reinvention’ sounds so much more complimentary.

Supplies: stamps are all from Altenew – Spring Daisy, Freeform Greenery and Label Love.

 

 

Getting some zzzzzs

I was going to title this post ‘Time for Z’ but I realised that would make very little sense to ‘across the pond-ers’, as you pronounce it ‘zee’ but we Brits go for ‘zed’. I’m fairly confident ‘time for zee’ would just leave a quizzical look or two (probably not the first time I have done this to you, to be fair!) whereas in the UK we would find ‘time for zed’ as slightly humorous. Hopefully. Then, you see, years ago we had a kids programme called The Magic Roundabout, featuring a moustachioed creature on a spring, whose name was Zebedee (see, see? See all the Z-based fun?) and who always said ‘time for bed’ at the end of each episode…it would have been a great joke …ok, mildly amusing…anyone fallen asleep reading this yet?! No? Good. Let’s crack on.

How come I have never made this z-fold shape before? I think I first saw it with a super card made by fellow blogger Myra, some months back: loved it, resolved to try it, forgot all about it. Then I saw one somewhere else recently and was hooked again, and remembered Myra’s post.

They are easy and although you get a substantially sized open card, it still folds down flat and (this one I made) fits into a standard C6 (UK) envelope, meaning no extra postage charges. Hurrah!

spring-daisies-frontspring-daisies-openedspring-daisies-side

There are all sorts of variations on the theme out there, but I just went with the simplest option. If you want to have a go, here is how to make the basic shape:

Either use a square card blank or fold your own.

Fold the card front in half, back on itself, so what was the opening edge is now parallel with the spine.

Open up the card shape and chop off enough from the bottom to give you the size you want your finished card to be. So, I wanted an 14.5 x 10.5cm (almost UK A6) size card, which meant I took a blank card of 14.5cm sq and then cut off 4cm.

This thin piece then forms your horizontal ‘bar’. It is already folded in the right places, you will just flip it once you have decorated it so the long panel goes across the front of the card and the short section is adhered to the back panel of the card, as in the photos. You can of course trim it down to be a bit thinner if you want, or add backing layers to increase the size. But you know this already….

Now you get to gussy it up in whatever way you fancy. Just check that your embellishments won’t overlap the right hand side of the card when it is closed. The UK has been grey and threatening (or delivering) snow recently so I cheered myself up with some daisies and some gingham. Then threw a load of black in to match the sky….

The flowers are Altenew layering stamps (Spring Daisy), but I stamped just the middle layer using Versamark ink and white embossing powder onto vellum for (ahem) an ‘informal’ look!! The leaves were made in the same way. I used two shades of yellow ink for the flower centres, some embossed panels and job done.

This was a fun make, and I will definitely be z-folding again. Thanks Myra!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun, and colouring

vintage-teacup-pair

Colouring has always given me problems. Both physically, as I am of partly Irish heritage so, basically almost see-through pale and red hair. Prone to ‘lobster’ within about five minutes of full-on British sunshine, which, let‘s face it, on a sunshine scale is still in the ‘could try harder’ range.

Also, craftily. I cannot colour. Helpful TV or YouTube demonstrators say things like ‘just decide where the sun would be, and therefore where the shadow is and you can’t go wrong’. Poppycock. I am aware of the sun (see aforementioned personal issues with the golden orb) and have managed to grasp the tricky concept of shadows since childhood (Peter Pan was a big help with the science bit).

But the demonstrators don’t tell you what to do after that!! Just because I know where the sun is, does NOT mean I know where ALL the shadow should be! And how do I make a shadow anyway? I try just adding a smidgen of a darker shade, or two, and attempting to blend it in a bit, but I still can see it is not good enough, not ‘right’. And when do you stop? When is it finished? How do you know? I have heard people say ‘it will be obvious when you are finished’. Never has been to me. Does that mean I should continue until the paper literally falls apart with the amount of alcohol marker I have slathered it with? Will it be done then?!

Is colouring an ability you either have – like perfect pitch – or you don’t? Was I not in the right queue at the gene pool? Was I still changing into my swimming costume? Or reading the warning notice and wondering what on earth ‘bombing’ was? Or eyeing up the lifeguard? Or did I just see a notice that said ‘do you want chocolate’ and got distracted? Then in the meantime all the colouring genes were handed out, the counter closed and I was left with ‘you will always find comfort in cocoa beans’ as my gift??

So, this first card graphically demonstrates another failed attempt at colouring. I thought I would be strategic and use pearl card, as I hoped the markers would glide and blend more easily. Sadly it still looks like someone did it with a cheap felt-tip pen that was gasping its last. Having spent some time stamping and embossing the cup, saucer and spotty decorative detail I felt demoralised. Even more so when the marker smudged some of the embossing a bit too. I didn’t think that was supposed to happen. I thought that was against the law. But hence all the circling around the embossed dots, rather than gliding over them seamlessly. And I honestly laid down SO MUCH colour, went over and over with the pens but still have ugly lines and blotches. Phooey.

vintage-teacup-blue

After that, I licked my wounds (and a couple of bite size Snickers left over from Christmas) and went back to using colour in a way that works for me. Paper piecing. Stamp it, cut it out, layer it up. Emboss a scattering of random hearts too. Some inner calm was restored, but not enough for me to be able to decide on pink gingham ribbon, or blue gingham ribbon? Therefore, like the witches in Sleeping Beauty, I ended up with both.

vintage-teacup-print

Supplies: Altenew Vintage Teacup stamps and Wam Grays ink cubes; Clearly Besotted Diagonal Stripe stamps; Crafter’s Companion Centura Pearl card; Papermania Blueberry Hill paper pad (old); Create and Craft gingham ribbon

Lickety Split: masking off

This is the ‘series’ I was mentioning in my post on coincidences the other day. It might only be a one-off, but hopefully will be an occasional themed post, if I can come up with enough projects. Who knows? Maybe the universe does, but certainly not me!

Basically the idea is to make a card from scratch in about 10 – 15 minutes. And in real person time, not ‘I had everything out, cut, matted, and all my stamps layered onto different mounts ready to go’ time as they do on craft telly. More like a smash and grab raid on your stash. So obviously nothing too complicated. But I am a fan of ‘clean and simple’ anyway, so this should be fun, right?

Of course a lot of you will know all this, but for those who have not yet tried card making or are relatively new to the party, this is a ‘how to’ post, with pictures, to produce a simple, simple card.

One of the easiest ways to create impact quickly is with a masked stamped area and a clean stamped sentiment. So, you lay a bit of masking tape (you can use any low tack tape, or post-it notes) over a section of the card, but it is very important to make sure it is straight – anything off true will show up big time. Well, for me it does, anyway. To ensure the making of it was super-speedy I used a card blank with scalloped edges. This means I can bypass any measuring and just run the post-it note from scallop to scallop. Easy peasy!

here-for-you-1

Now you want to cover that section with one or more (depending on size) stamped images to fill the space; make sure you stamp over the masked line, as much as possible, because this is what will give you a nice defined look when the tape is removed, and give you a good effect.

here-for-you-2

Here I used Altenew Freeform Greenery, which is a set full of outline-only leaves, in many forms and sizes. When I first came across this stamp set I was not sure, but the more I saw them, the more possibilities there seemed. Then they went on SALE! Which meant they now have a forever home with me. It was an easy decision in the end!

So, we have a masked off area filled as much as possible with stamps. Now remove the masking tape carefully and add a suitable sentiment just above the line of stamping.

Maybe a knotted band of ribbon at the top and job done. Took way longer to write and photograph than it did to make!

here-for-you-8

here-for-you-6

I used more than one stamp set here, but a beginner could easily choose one set with a mixture of greetings and images, just to try it out.

I’d be interested to know if you think posts like this are a good idea or whether I am teaching grandmother to suck eggs. A phrase which I have never understood and always found frankly bizarre. Try a mental image of your gran doing it. See?!

Supplies from Altenew:

stamps: Freeform Greenery, Sentiments and Quotes, and Thinking of You. Inks: Cotton Candy, Forest Glade and Moon Rock

Ribbon and card from stash.