I beg to differ

The sentiment on this card says ‘a cup of tea solves everything’. Well (a) it hasn’t. I am still in the crafty doldrums, and (b) I don’t like tea. There it is. I am British and I don’t like tea. I try: every now and again I give it a go, but no. Think of an eight year old asked to drink a broccoli and sardine smoothie and that is the face, right there. Bleagh! Gimme beans, any day.

But, I do love teacups, and these stamps are so, so cute. Lovely old-fashioned wide-rimmed teacups. Gorgeous. I haven’t done them justice today, but I have done something, after ages of nothing. Maybe tea has helped, a little, after all.

The pictures are a bit odd – I took them in that evening light that changes the colours a bit. The red is way more scarlet and less neon in reality and the yellow and blue a bit brighter.

Supplies

Dies and stamps: Clearly Besotted Warm Solutions and Diagonal Stripes stamps

Inks: Altenew Mango Smoothie, Persian Blue, Jet Black;  Lawn Fawn hippo. The red is Vivid! Hot Red but I am not sure if they are still around? I searched but just got a lot of tattoo sites!

 

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Mojo Doldrums, located 51° N, 0.1° W

I have made nothing, for days and days. In my previous post I said I was inhabiting the Mojo Doldrums (small group of islands populated by burnt-out crafters). Now it feels like the other inhabitants have called a meeting, decided I am some kind of evil spirit sucking the creativity from all of them, and voted to set me adrift in a small boat. Of course the boat is fabulous, fashioned from pipe cleaners and squeezy bottles, covered in glitter and with crochet sails and knitted bedlinen (crafters are kind, after all). I do have a tiny complaint about the practicality of the macramé water bottle though… So, becalmed in a toxic fog of crafter’s block I sat, and tried, but could do nothing. Not even an idea, never mind trying stuff and it going wrong. That would actually be progress, this week!

This evening, a tiny little glimmer. Just a simple card, combining digital content, dies and stamps. I used Serif CraftArtist and resized some of the various Louise Tiler ‘materials’ to make some close-patterned squares, then die cut balloons and gave them glittery cord strings (sorry, Myra, if you read this!). The ’friend’ Altenew stamp and die is one I made a while ago and didn’t use because I messed up the rest of the project. Like that never happens!

That’s all I have. Tonight I plan on drinking the sea water.

Pretty balloon bunch

 

Quite..erm..pinteresting?

Whilst I was away from Bloggyland recently, my most ‘successful’ personal creation hit 1000+ pins on Pinterest. I have already posted about this before when it hit 500+ pins and I was cock-a-hoop pretty pleased, and this post is not just another excuse to do that, although I see no reason to be falsely coy or say ‘oh, that old thing?’ Now though, they stop counting, and it just has 1k pins beside it, so, fickle to the end, I have rather lost interest! Maybe, if it ever gets to 2k, I might get excited again. I might also be in a residential home eating pureed vegetables and telling inappropriate jokes, who knows?

This post is more about what does, or does not, get re-pinned. Again, I did mention this previously: I am fully aware that the card is not a work of genius, and it has been made with a very popular and relatively new range of stamps which undoubtedly helped. It is nice, I think, but I am not deluded. It is not ‘amazing’. It is though, perhaps, something which, as a beginner with an interest in card making, you could look at and think ‘yes, I can do that with no problem’. And to be honest I think this of most of the cards I make. I know I generally ‘execute well’, and my work is neat and well finished, but not exceptional. I am ok with that (no choice really!).

But what interests me is: how do we make our pinning choices? Why do we re-pin? Because something is achievable, or aspirational, or just because we may as well save it ‘because we can‘? I have boards and pins for hundreds of things I am pretty sure I may never make, or buy, or visit…. I pin cards that I could never hope to produce the like of if I lived to be 150. Is that just me?

I have a few cards now that have a few hundred pins, but it has taken a long time. I’m sure for other people this happens way, way quicker. For me, I thought to use it as a gauge of what people may or may not like. But here is where I am stuck, and going back to the “what appeals“ question. It seemed to me that Pinterest would be a good way to check this.

Here is my example of the dilemma. Months ago I pinned two cards on the same day, which were, broadly, the same card but upside down and downside up. One has had WAY more pins than the other: 427 vs 110. So is one visually much more pleasing?  If so, is it obvious to everyone except me, and is there a reason? Feel free to say (nicely!) – I’d like to know! I made them so I cannot tell for sure; I do have a slight preference, but it is only slight.

Or, is it just luck? Of all the pins in all the world, someone comes across one of yours, but only one…

I am thinking about doing an experiment. Two cards, in the ‘same but different’ category, probably pretty much the same layout as these. Then I will pin them and wait (for months, I know) to see if none, one or both get re-pinned. I would have made them to include in this post but any creativity I had is hiding behind the sofa this week and refusing to come out.

If anyone else fancies trying the same experiment, let me know and I’ll re-pin yours. Oh, and to be fully scientific (because I have been rigorous so far, right??!) there should probably be a ‘control’ as well, so something entirely different but pinned on the same day. Pehaps even make it a howler, just to see!

If you should choose to accept the mission, good luck, and get sticking! This post will NOT self destruct in 5 seconds…

 

It’s beer, but not as we know it…

These two cards are made using a beer bottle die. Fabulously useful for cards for men, but you always want to get the most from your tools, so I tried using it for celebratory cards that are more feminine. I think they came out ok! Five bottles cut from coordinating papers, plus a glittery greeting.

AN bottle die - Tea PartyAN bottle die - Floral Muse

I have not been meeting my glitter quota lately so need to make amends and use it on everything. Just as a heads up, it is not good on cereal, adds nothing to a salad (apart from attractive sparkle) and makes uncomfortable pyjamas.

Supplies-Altenew bottle die; Poppystamps Fancy Celebrate die; Dovecraft papers: Tea Party and Floral Muse

 

 

93 to go….

Three cards, six red balloons down…

Today I set myself a challenge to use this one set of stamps only, and tossed in a limited colour palette for good measure. I often try to use just the one set, but as these only have a single image (the balloon) and everything else is a sentiment it required a little thought. Five minutes of cold hard staring pass, then, ping, lightbulb moment. I can use the balloon to be the dot on the ‘i’ of ‘wishes’. Super.AN birthday balloons red trio

So, three cards followed. I allowed myself to use the die for the balloon (no point in trying to fussy cut if you have the tool), and my own polka dot background fits in with the red, black and white colour scheme.

For the simplest two the stamping and die cut are exactly the same, just on a different sized cards. The other has a little bit more going on, and the balloons now a bouncy air-filled border, but all were super-quick, again!

AN birthday balloon red mid sizeAN birthday balloons red largeAN birthday balloons red small

Seems I am still in minimalist territory!

 

Supplies: Altenew Birthday Greetings stamps and balloon die; Altenew inks in Jet Black, Ruby Red and Grapevine; 3d foam from stash.

 

Simple tulips

Having not made anything for the best part of two weeks, last Friday night I had to get back to my happy place, just briefly. I gave myself 30 minutes to produce two cards from scratch, with no preplanning. For me it is always the planning, composition, and general indecisiveness that takes the time. But on this occasion I made it with minutes to spare! These two little offerings are simple, simple, simple. With a side order of simple. I considered ribbon and baker’s twine but was not keen on the look. Pared down is what I am after, probably because we have been stepping round boxes and moving piles of stuff so we can sit down for days now.

Tulips are my favourite flower. Unless I am in ‘blow the budget’ territory in which case it is peonies, but, on any given day, a bunch (or two) of tulips makes me a deliriously happy woman. Altenew stamps + plus tulips = happy clappy dance. Nobody need see.

I decided to try out my grey inks again – the ones that went green when I used them before. Different card this time: an all-purpose one, but it is marketed as good for stamping, plus it is a high gsm/lb weight so you can use it for your base. I stamped the leaf/stem first, then stamped it again directly over the top in the same shade as it was just a bit too pale for my liking. Then the leaf/stem detail. I am not kidding you, again they were grey to start with, then morphed into something greener. I carried on with the flower head, unconvinced of a happy outcome, but everyone and everything deserves a second chance, right? Using the next dark shade for the flower head, I had a definite and absolute grey, no question. And now, was it a reaction with the card again, or just a trick of the eye? The leaf/stem looked more grey than green…

AN tulip grey

Because the colour change drama happened overnight last time, I just waited to see, but, hurrah! Definitely all over more grey than anything else. The stamping isn’t perfect but it’s fine. I’ll give it to someone who has mislaid their glasses…

AN tulip purple

The second one was just to make a colourful contrast. And whilst you have the stamps out, you may as well make two. I really wanted to use pink, but am trying sooooo hard to choose other colours!  like the way the ‘h’ is wishes follows the line of the tulip stem. Little things….

What’s your favourite flower?

 

 

Using up leftovers

I don’t mean making a gourmet meal from the remnants of today’s feast. I cannot do that. If what was left was a few cold roast potatoes or a vegetable medley then that is exactly what you would get served back up again. With perhaps a garnish of fresh herbs, if I have them. But I am BRILLIANT at saving leftovers, because we all know we should do it. Unless you are clever enough to only prepare exactly the right amount of food in the first place. Not me: there is always a bit of surplus. So everything gets covered, wrapped or bagged to protect it against unspecified dangers and added to the contents of the fridge. Then, somewhat surprisingly and pointlessly given that the universe needs to be protected, the chaps from Men in Black turn up, erase my memory with their special mind-wipe gizmo and the delicious morsel is forgotten. Completely. And rendered invisible too, just for good measure and in case I should happen to go back to the fridge in the next few days (?!) and spot it. This lasts only until fridge clear-out day, obviously, when I rediscover the leftovers and do a comedy forehead slap to indicate my own stupidity. I don’t actually leave them in there until they evolve into a sentient life form, able to walk out on their own, introduce themselves in Esperanto or Panglish and ask for a razor and a  decaf latte…

So, crafty leftovers then, grab the attention rather more. These cards were rustled up from superfluous Altenew Painted Flowers lying around on my craft table. Rather than squirreling them away, doubtless never to be found again, I am determined to use up such scraps somehow. They won’t be any good for bubble and squeak (sorry, probably only Brits will know what this is!) so cards it is.

This is (almost) the last of the yellow flowers I have stamped recently.

AN yellow leftovers card

 

These pink flowers are quite muted. When I first got the stamps I tried and loved a black outline, but also tried it in grey and was less sure. But now I have put them with more grey and a softer look works fine, I think. Also, I made the spotty background myself! Whoo-hoo!

AN pink leftovers card

Both cards are really quick once the stamping is done, and even that doesn’t take long!

 

An accidental Yoda

This is a second card from the Paradise Crush pad designed by Louise Tiler. I have used the same template as last time too. Working with the different shape is really doing it for me at the moment.

Awesome Paradise Crush

I have stamped and die cut another of the Altenew Super Script words and then decided to cut a window in the front of the card as a bit of an extra feature. But it looked a smidgen unfinished so I decided to frame it with an asymmetrical shape. Not quite as easy as I thought, partly because I am allergic to asymmetry, and partly because you have to make the aperture in a surprisingly large piece of card and then cut it down to size at angles to achieve the shape you want. There is a lot of opportunity to get it wrong, as my first few attempts prove. I also tried the frame in black but it was a bit too severe and, figuring another pattern might just give me a migraine, white it is. I knew I wanted the ‘you are’ sentiment in their too, but the only place it looked right to me was where it is now, thus creating my accidental Yoda “Awesome, you are”. I will bluff it out and claim that as it is higher up, the ‘you are’ should be read first!

Part way through, watching the Wimbledon tennis final, I realised I should have used this sentiment with some tartan so I could dedicate it to Andy Murray. Probably missed that opportunity now as I am pretty sure glittery flowers are just not quite his thing. Ah well there’s always next year!

Flamingo-a-go-go

Some bright and juicy colours today. This card is made using a paper pad called Paradise Crush. It is really strong greens, oranges, pinks and teals, plus a few more muted colours. Not something I would usually be drawn to, but I am a fan of the designer Louise Tiler’s artwork and, hey, it’s good to step out of the comfort zone and challenge yourself a bit.

The flamingo paper caught my attention first. Flamingos are everywhere at the moment. Well, not literally obviously. There isn’t one sitting on the sofa reading a paper, or driving a mini cab, or working at the local chippie (he’d eat all the fish, right?), but you know what I mean. Anyway, I wanted to feature it, and not cover it up too much. Then I remembered I had a few templates to make quirky shaped cards. Given that flamingos are, themselves, the quirkiest of shapes, I thought it might be fun.

I have had these templates since the internet was a toddler, and they are probably are bit redundant now that we can download anything, but it was nice not to have to do the research and make the template myself, just draw around and cut.

I used a second sheet of card from the same pad for the inside layer and fussy cut a couple of elements from other pages for a bit more interest. The ‘hello’ was left over from yesterday’s post, so I just added 3d foam and Glossy Accents. I need to neaten up the glossy Accents a bit before I can give it to someone!

A template for an envelope is also included. It needs A4 size paper at least and the pad is much smaller, so I searched my Louise Tiler digikits in Serif CraftArtist and found a splodgy (technical term) design to coordinate.

flamingo hello with twineflamingo hello with twine 2

I really enjoyed doing this one, and I love the interesting shapes the templates offer.

Supplies: Trimcraft First Edition Paradise Crush 6 x 6″Paper Pad; Serif CraftArtist Louise Tiler Fashion Florals digikit; Altenew Superscript dies and stamps; Ranger Glossy Accents; Ribbon Room Baker’s Twine

The peril of unexpected mirrors

Does this happen to you? You are getting ready to face the world for the day, perform all your necessary ablutions, dress, do your hair, put on your face and, well, in the mirror at home, the one you look into every day, you see whatever you see. You aren’t delusional, you know it is not the face of your youth, you know every real line and probably imagine a few extra too. But it’s what you’ve got to work with and you are used to it. Sometimes you might even dare to give yourself a little compliment. Nothing over the top, of course, but maybe your hair is looking shiny, or your eyes are bright, or the face lift has worked…whatever….

Then you go out. Perhaps a little shopping? Why not! Why not? Because of this. You are happily wandering around, making important decisions about your purchases and then BOOM! You see some old/greying/dumpy/scrawny woman wearing your clothes. And realise it is you. In the unexpected mirror. The mirror that reflects you nothing like old faithful at home! They should have warnings, like speed cameras, so you can make the necessary adjustments in good time (dark glasses are a start), or just choose to go another direction entirely.

How did I onto this subject today? Happily no mirror horror. I made these two cards really quickly, and they are fine, but, funnily enough the camera has made them look a bit better in the picture than they do in reality. And no airbrushing!

ss blue helloss hello duoss yellow hello detailss yellow hello

They are made using Altenew stamps. I should have planned the blue one a bit better. I thought I was ahead of the game by stamping the ’just saying’ and a ’hello’ alongside it first, to give me an idea of where to stamp the remaining ’hello’s, but I didn’t really have a plan after that, apart from knowing I was going to 3d a die cut ‘hello‘ over the top of my original guide stamp! It worked out OK though and next time will be better. I like the simplicity.

The yellow one is Altenew Painted Flowers made into a background, the same ‘hello’ stamp and die and another Painted Flower die cut to just make a little cluster at the centre, with an extra pop of green on the leaves.

Both are very quick to achieve.

Supplies: Altenew – Super Script (Hello) and Painted Flowers stamps, Jet Black, Frayed Leaf, Peach Perfect, Mango Smoothie and Caribbean Sky inks; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable black card; baker’s twine from stash