Note to self…

You know that phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff”? I think I should have it written large on the wall of my craft room. Many times over in fact. Cover a whole wall. Maybe every wall.

Why am I considering this drastic redecoration? Because, I kid you not, when I was happily stamping and sticking here it actually popped into my head that I should be sure to mention no butterflies were harmed in the making of this card. Really. Fleetingly, but it happened. Now, a kind person could suggest here that perhaps it is just an example of political correctness gone mad. Possibly.

But wait, there’s more. I also thought that aesthetically I would have preferred more butterflies in the jar, so colours (wings) overlapped. But I couldn’t overcrowd them, could I?! So now I have non-sentient stamped butterflies endowed with rights to a reasonable space in which to flap a wing…

The third one is the charm they say (although I never really understood that saying): I had to have some of them escaping the jar so it was clear they were not being held prisoner…

If my family feel they need to get me sectioned after this, well, to be honest I’d think they had a point…

This is made using a lovely stamp set by Dreamees. It has four different sizes of jar (this is the largest), a really cute fairy castle, a sail boat (for ship in the bottle fun) and some small butterflies, hearts and flowers plus a few other elements. This is the first time I have used any of their stamps and I was impressed: they took the ink really well, stamped beautifully, and are really well priced.

jar of happiness pink

I have kept things very simple here (when is it ever any different?!). So one flat layer, just masking off the jar to allow it to be grounded. I considered masking the sides too, and stamping the butterflies over the edge, but y’know, I thought it might be a breach of the Butterfly Rights Act 2016. I cut the layer with the stamping a bit smaller than usual to show off some of the gingham-y goodness underneath. I added a couple of bits of Candi for extra pinkness. With the exception of the sentiment all the inks used are from Altenew: Moon Rock for the jar, Evening Gray for the ‘table’, Frosty Pink, Cotton Candy and Coral Berry for the butterflies. The sentiment was stamped in Brilliance Graphite Black as I was using vellum and the dye ink was just taking too long to dry. I wish I had waited because it has dried fine now, and it would have been nicer to have it in the same grey. Never mind. I have much more important issues of butterfly welfare and husbandry to keep me occupied.

So, card number 2. No anthropomorphising issues this time. Just hearts. Who cares if they get broken or damaged along the way?! Weeeeeell…I stamped the hearts in blue and then wondered if that was an indication of misery of the romantic kind. Feeling blue? Heartbroken? Guess what? This uncaring, unsympathetic eejit has put your suffering in a jar… and stuck a garnish on it… Seriously over-thinking here!

jar of happiness blue

I used a Reverse Confetti die called Falling Confetti for this one. Except the confetti is, erm, reversed and falling upwards… Must remember the packaging is the brand name, not an instruction!

For card number three it would appear that some sanity has been restored. Three small jars in pretty papers. This was made with the Trimcraft Floral Muse pack. I have used it a lot, but that is because it is beautiful, so why not? The border is a Magnolia Tilda Lace die which I have had for years but gets pulled out every time I want something pretty and lacy.

jar of happiness trio

Still not ‘feeling it’ craft-wise. I am hoping that some Christmas projects, maybe gift bags and gift wrap instead of cards, might just get me a bit more motivated. I think that makes me a ‘glass half full’ kind of chick.

 

Christmas already?

I know non-crafters will look at this and think ‘what the bleep?’ But card makers know that you have to start Christmas cards early. In fact, I am probably already cutting it a bit fine. Especially considering my production rate at the moment is about two or three cards a week. plus a bin-full of disasters of course.

So, hopefully, a slow trickle of Christmas cards to come. I don’t even have to produce hundreds, meaning there really is no excuse. I always make some for my mum to give first, but somehow despite my best intentions I am often finishing mum’s cards in December and have no time or inclination to then set about making more. This means I end up either buying them or, shamefully for a woman with a room crammed full of card making stuff, actually not sending any at all.

I had hoped writing a blog might have pushed me to plan better, but I cannot bring myself to think about Christmas in June, it just won’t happen. However today was windy and rainy and a bit ‘October’ so I didn’t feel quite so bah-humbug about tackling the festive theme.

I used the Tree Landscape die from Clearly Besotted. I like the clean lines, and the brilliant price of £3.00! The snow is a small Altenew stamp called, unsurprisingly, ‘Snowing’. It is only 4.5 x 7cm, but you can easily repeat stamp as I did here until you cover the required area. I stamped in Versamark and used a white embossing powder.

The sentiment is from The Ton Holiday Lyrics, embossed with Stamps by Chloe Wow silver embossing powder onto white vellum.

CB Tree Landscape

A bit of a mix and match of various products, but I am so bloomin’ happy to have produced something, anything really. I am aware the size of the snowflakes would concuss any individual daft enough to attempt walking in such a freak blizzard but y’know, in the spirit of Christmas I am hoping we can gloss over that!

CB tree Landscape detail

 

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!

 

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

 

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!

 

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

 

Covered with spots, and confusion

I have something I need to get off my chest. They say confession is good for the soul. So, here goes.

My lovely, supportive sister had to build this site for me. She kept telling me I should do a blog and got all the usual vacillation and dithering in reply. Then one day she just rang me and said it was done and talked me through how to do my first post. Actually she got me into card making as well. Apparently she saw how long I take to wrap a present (30 minutes is fine!) and decided I needed a creative outlet.

There is a chance I might have got around to starting a blog myself, at some point, but it was about as likely as Johnson, Cameron and Gove going out together tonight for a curry. Or many a continental breakfast?!

Everything since has been all my own mistakes work. I think my sister (with amazing tecchie skills) has deliberately left me to find it out for myself – she knows me too well!! I have been let loose to do what damage I may since March of this year. Yep, four whole months. When I tell you my confession, bear this time period in mind. It only makes it worse.

(Big intake of breath) So, fellow WordPressers, you know the ‘manage your notifications’ button in the top right had corner of your screen? The one with the little red spot? Well this week, yes, yes THIS WEEK, I actually clicked on it to see what it did. I believe I mentioned in a previous post that I am not a random button pusher by nature, so some pluck was called for. No guts, no glory, right? Then I saw what I had been missing. Majorly mortified at my own ignorance I explored further. ‘This is marvellous’ I thought. ‘This will save me replying to everyone through my email, or going back to their site, and save me going back into my site to ‘like’ and so on‘, because that is what I had been doing. Nuts, I know.

Sadly though my happiness was a little premature. The same day as I discovered it I managed to delete at least one lovely comment, and I have nearly done it again since! I won’t bore you with the details, my keyboard is doing strange things at times which does not help (doubling up on letters, adding loads of spaces when I haven’t touched the space bar etc), but I’ll just have to try and work it through so it doesn’t happen again.

Now the case for the defence. I work for the NHS, and in our appointment and patient records software we have a silent panic button we can click on, providing we can reach it whilst being strangled or punched. It is a little red button in the top right hand of the screen. See where I am going here? Hit that button at work and everyone in the building descends on you, like the stretcher-bearing vultures at the football match in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. They then troop back disappointedly for a false alarm (which it almost always is, by the way). So I had some natural reluctance to overcome. It looked like it was saying ‘don’t touch this’! The completely hilarious thing is, where I work, my IT skills are considered pretty darn good! Are you allowed to laugh at me? Hell, yes!

Anyway, today I also managed to change my profile picture! I just changed it to a card I had made, rather than those mosaic shapes you get given. Although on some sites I was a pink one-eyed monster which I was quite fond of! So that was more button pushing, which I think is why I was drawn to making a couple more quick cards with spots. Black and cream is a classic combination and suits clean and simple designs well. These both took hardly any time to make.

AG cream and black duoAG cream and black bannerAG cream and black smallAG cream and black banner detailAG cream and black small detail

Supplies: Anna Griffin cake and sentiment stamps; Creative Expressions card in ‘milk’; Altenew ink in Jet Black; spotted paper I made myself using Serif CraftArtist; ribbon and pearls from stash

Boys in blue

A couple more baby boy cards today. Both quick, both using Serif CraftArtist and Louise Tiler Baby Bloom digikit. Simple images, so I thought a bit of decoupage would be in order.

For each one I only need to use one sheet of cardstock. I decide the size and shape of the finished card and then add my ‘material’ (Serif name for a bit of backing paper you can resize) and make bigger/smaller as required for the base card. Then add the ‘Embellishments’ I want and again resize. Once that is done I copy and paste the resized embellishments as many times as required to be able to make multiple cuts for the decoupage. Shuffle everything around a bit to fit, print and craft.

LT baby booties

For the ‘washing line’ one I just cut the three main items out again, used a 3d foam pad low down on the cut-out and glued the top part (the pegs, basically!) flat onto the image below. Hopefully to give a breezy feel (thought about saying ‘windy’ but decided against it!). With such simple cards just a little bit of extra detail or interest helps, I think. Maybe?

LT baby washing line

Hope you like them!