Lobster, anyone?

Today I have been communing with nature. Well actually I have been doing some gardening for my mother. I am not designed for gardening on warm days. After about 5 minutes in the sun I fry better than bacon. It’s not surprising really, it’s in the genes, can‘t fight it. My grandfather got sunstroke. In Ireland. In March. Really.

So, mum’s garden looks tidier, and I look a mess. A living illustration of Newton’s law in glorious technicolour. Well, lobster pink, anyway. I am back to work tomorrow (booo) after a lovely week off and still have a million things to do, but I also want to make something, because I am trying to make something daily, but it will have to be something quick. That’s a lot of somethings and a lot of making!

No time for dawdling, decisions will have to be snappy. Yesterday I found (yep, looking for something else again) an ancient Martha Stewart set of stamps that actually look quite current. I also have a half-finished stamped background. Half finished because it is just plain stripes, completely adorable, nightmare to stamp. I have tried it many times and just get a patchy image each time. I’m not giving up on it though, I just might need to go trawl the internet for tips on how to get a good result. I’ve tried dye and pigment, putting the card on top, underneath, even made up my own sandwich and tried running it through the die cutter but no luck. Not to be defeated in the meantime, in idle moments I have been painstakingly masking off each stripe and inking them again individually to get that dark, dark shade I want. Nuts, I know, but I don’t care! Two stripes left, won’t take long.

I used Altenew ink on the flower and sentiment, fussy cut the flower, trimmed it all up a bit. Something glittery was required – I remembered some sticky tape I found in a supermarket stationery section. Now I wish I had bought more!

For what was more or less a rush job I am pretty pleased with it.

Hope everyone enjoyed the sun today and if you have any suggestions on how to make my stamp work better I’d love to hear them.

P.S – I should have said the stamp is 15cm square, red rubber on cushioned mount. It is not on a wooden base xx

More for Men

More from my Louise Tiler kits using Serif CraftArtist. The card is the same kind of layout as the baby one I posted a few days ago. I can’t resist a pennant or banner. Guess I should have been a boy scout. Ah well. Another missed vocation.

I’m not making the most of what the software can do. Adding a drop shadow is about the pinnacle of my achievements with it so far. Oh, and making my own sentiment so I don’t have to keep re-typing Made by… every time (which, I am embarrassed to say, I was doing for way too long). Actually I can’t remember how I saved the sentiment so it might have been accidental! Still, one of my favourite sayings is “luck’s as good as brains, as long as it lasts”. Socrates? Descartes? Confucius? Dick Van Dyke in Diagnosis Murder – you get all the highbrow stuff here.

I need to invest some time in learning CraftArtist better, but for now I am happy to print and stick, same as always.

Oversized tags on gift bags make me ridiculously happy, as do those in novelty shapes. Presents should always be the most fun they can be, right?

It’s nice to be able to make stuff for men in light, fresh colours. I am pretty happy with my afternoon’s efforts. How has your day been?

So, today I opened a box and….

…found this inside. Along with about 10 other cards I had made goodness knows how long ago and then, clearly, put in a safe place (!!) and forgot. I quite liked this happening though. It’s the papercraft equivalent of reaching for an old handbag and finding a ten pound note nestling in the interior. An unexpected and happy surprise. So often we get caught up in the now, the latest purchase, the newest thing, and coming across a reminder of something you have had for a while just makes you excited about it all over again.

fabulous cakesThis was from a House of Zandra CD called Fabulous Tea & Cakes. The artwork is imaginative and whimsical, yet cleverly reproduced so the decoupage layers are easily achievable but you still keep all that lovely fine detail. Love, love, love it like a long lost friend. Can’t think why we were apart for so long!

Made with free stuff!

Imagine the joy. I am in a well-known high street stationer-cum-bookshop just to kill a little time before meeting friends for lunch and I find Altenew layered rose stamps and dies FREE, yes FREE with Simply Cards and Papercraft magazine (naming it so you can go get yours). I have some Altenew stamps already and have been trying to get accompanying dies but they seem to be rarer than hen’s teeth in the UK. So I had to purchase. It would have been rude not to. Just to give it a go, right? Who am I kidding. If the fire alarm had sounded I would have saved them before saving myself.

Today was my first chance to play. I have one I am happy with and think is finished.

freebie altenews blue

I tried to stick with the ‘free stuff’ theme as much as possible, so the wood grain embossing folder is one that came with a Crafter’s Companion magazine a while ago. The FREE (can’t help the capitals, still got the smile on my face) rose was stamped using Altenew inks. My stamping is still a bit rusty, but these inks seem to blend into each other over time; so, if you stamp with them and think it looks a bit harsh, give it a little while (pour tea, coffee, wine) and then look at it again. Chances are it will have mellowed quite a bit. Just my experience, anyway.

They also came with a diagram showing how to align them, which is really helpful. I have heard some people saying to work from the lightest to the darkest images and ink colours, and others saying they do the opposite. I have tried both and, for me, it depends on the image as to what I find works. This time round, I tried both and found it easier to do neither…

So, the set is a three layer image. Select your three inks, dark, medium and light. I still used the stamping guide, but started at image two in the sequence, in the medium shade. Then I layered the smallest stamp (image 3 in sequence), in the darkest colour over this and finished with the biggest stamp in the palest colour over the top.  So 2, 3, 1, basically. It just worked better for me, so if you have them and are struggling, it might be worth a try.

Card number two I think still needs a little something. Perhaps just be a greeting, maybe in a nice clean font?

freebie altenews red

Or ribbon tied at the top. Can’t decide. Both? Neither? What would Scarlett say? Tomorrow is another day…

 

If these cards were dogs….

….my mum would call them Heinz. For those too young to know what this means, a mongrel dog that was the result of generations of non-pedigree breeding was often referred to as a Heinz 57. Because Heinz made 57 varieties of soup, so the story goes, and the dog had about the same number of DNA contributors. Didn’t make the dog any less loveable though, right?

They are a bit more ‘random’ than I normally produce, with colours I don’t usually choose and brave (or misguided?) pattern mixing, plus some added textures. If paddling at the beach is my comfort zone, this is like swimming with great whites. With a paper cut.

I might go swimming more often! With plasters though….

In case you want to know:

Base cardstock from Hunkydory
Honeycomb embossing folder from Crafter’s Companion Embossalicious
Patterned papers from Louise Tiler (using Serif CraftArtist)
Circular greetings from Craftwork Cards
Butterfly die and embossing detail from Cuttlebug
Roses made with a Tonic mould and paper clay
Can’t remember where the miniature pegs came from!

 

Hydrangeas revisted

Full-on, blowsy flowers, that’s what hydrangeas are. I have previously blogged a card using the Tattered Lace Charisma Hydrangeas which was in, to me, the more traditional colours, but I love the punchy pinks here too. I teamed it with a sentiment from the Anna Griffin Interchangeable (UK version) or Mix and Match (USA/North America version) embossing range. Two continents divided by a common language, right?! United by the love of Anna Griffin though, I think. Next to Mount Cardstock (see previous post) is Metaphorical Mount Griffin. It’s not really stacked in a mountain shape so anything would spoil, but the potential for a mountain is there…! I need to use it up, and I will try, I promise….

Charisma hydrangea 3

The base card needed a little something so I just randomly embossed large-ish spots over it with an embossing tool. And do you know what? I think I need to work on my random-ness!!! How ridiculous it that?!

 

Special Birthday

A work colleague and friend will be turning 60 next week. I wanted to make her something celebratory. Sometimes the big number birthdays carry so much angst with them that you need frivolity to fight it off. Champagne and prosecco are the best weapons. Both delicious and equally useful for hitting the enemy smack in the forehead with a well aimed cork.

tonic champagne header

The header, greeting and swirl dies are all from Tonic Studios.

Quick and simple cards for men

You can rearrange the title into your own joke!

These were made using the Take it Easy set from the Craftwork Cards A Pocket Full of Paper USB stick. The alphabet dies are from Docrafts (I can’t see a font name on the packaging).

Score card. Print background, cut to size and stick down. Die cut your word and add 3d sticky foam. Almost there.

For the Cheers one I used the 3d foam on alternate letters, for a bit of wobbly alcohol-based jokiness. Job done.

For AHOY! I went overboard (sorry!) and used a bit of translucent vellum to separate the two quite busy patterns. And then I pushed the boat out (sorry again, but I really can’t help myself) and punched out some pretend rivets from the same striped paper.

Maximum of 15 minutes per card.

Clean & simple with layering stamps

This is made using different items from Stamps by Me, designed by Toni Darroch. They are fresh and clean images and the layering, or laminating as it is branded, is so, so easy. The stamps deliberately don’t make an exact fit, edges overspill and extra little dots add interest, so ‘perfect’ is not possible. Hurrah! Pressure off! Love them.

Here’s the first attempt…can’t wait to play more.

MBE hydrangrea blue

 

Peony Bouquet

More of the layering style stamps. Next up, Altenew Peony Bouquet. I loved the Altenew Vintage Roses so much I had to have more.  This image from the Peony Bouquet set has an additional thin outline, which I tried, but decided to leave out this time as a softer edge is much more forgiving for cutting out. Know your limitations, right?!

Altenew peonies 1

Always love a pinstripe! The greeting is also Altenew, from the Label Love set.