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?

 

 

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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

 

Quick, quick, slow…

One super-quick card and one which should have been quick, but….

I am running a bit low on general birthday cards, so wanted to rustle up a few quick ones. And, if I can fool people into thinking they took ages, so much the better. I know you can’t fool a crafter, but most people I know would struggle to define ‘double sided tape’ and would think a bone folder would most likely be an implement of torture or medieval medicine, probably to be used alongside some leeches. So, with a bit of smoke and mirrors I might get away with it.

Super-quick one first. This is Anna Griffin cardstock, already cut to size. I matched the cream colour in the pattern as best I could from my stash and the blue from my inks. I used a Tattered Lace Charisma Frames 1 die, which I ran through an Anna Griffin embossing folder, stamped the sentiment onto the same cream card and cut out with a Spellbinders oval. Some 3d foam and a ribbon flourish to finish. Done in minutes.

AG cream and blue

Now for the one I had to rugby tackle into submission. The only reason it was a bit trickier was getting a good cut on the die. This is a large floral panel from Tattered Lace (I have lost the packaging so cannot tell you the name). Using my Big Shot and with all the tabs on the Universal Platform closed, it felt just too tight to get it through the machine safely. But running it through with one tab open was no good either as it just didn’t cut at all. I ended up with a sort of princess and the pea pile of card underneath the die and cutting plates to act like a booster seat. I had to run it through the machine many, many times, shim certain spots and even then, when it looked ok I realised it hadn’t cut everywhere so ended up attacking it with the craft knife to finish it off. As in, complete it, not hack it to bits in a fit of pique. Although it did cross my mind.

Once cut to satisfaction, it is just a case of trimming round where the flowers join to get the line you want at the bottom. Leave the rest intact until you stick it on to your base card, overlapping the sides and top. Then trim. The stamped greeting is Anna Griffin again, and the die is the same set of Charisma Frames used for the first card. I chose an off-white shade for the card base as pure white looked a little too harsh, and because I have an enormous roll of ivory ribbon!

TL floral panel silverTL floral panel silver detail

I see duck feet in the petals of the flower on the right, no?

 

Kinda Anna?

The UK is reeling from the fallout of the Brexit referendum. I’m giving nothing away about how I voted, but reactions of other people to the result, and to each other, have been interesting. It seems the ’out’ verdict was a surprise to pretty much everyone I spoke to; a few who told me they had voted to exit the EU said they hadn’t thought the (small) majority would vote the same way. I think some were perhaps ruing their choice. Others were slightly stunned that it had happened, but were looking ahead with something like interest or curiosity. At work apparently an ‘in’ voter had to be calmed down after a furious tirade aimed at work colleagues who had ticked the ‘out’ box! Who knows what will happen. There is a strange feel to today.

Anyway, enough of the news, and back to the papers (!).  I’m with my Anna Griffin stash again. I really want to use a lot of it up, not because I don’t like it any more, far from it, but because otherwise it will get battered and tattered, faded and dog-eared. Not a fair way to treat such gorgeousness. Or, indeed, such financial investment!

This card took me a while, just because I could not make up my mind about what to put where. Same dilemma as I had voting yesterday! I think it is perhaps a bit closer to the Anna Griffin look I love?

AG brown cream rose card

I haven’t used a peel-off border sticker in ages. When I first started out card making they were practically compulsory! A long time ago I totally fell out of love with them alongside so many other crafters, but every now and again they are just exactly what I want. This card is old school, so old school equipment is fine! Everything else except the ribbon and Brilliance Pearlescent Olive ink for the sentiment is from my Anna Griffin stash, including the punch to make the border strips.

AG cream borwn rose card detail

Searching for my Inner Anna

Don’t worry, this is not a call to self-examine with a mirror and a yoga position. I mean Anna Griffin, supreme mistress of all gorgeousness. I have bought tons of Anna Griffin products over the years – mostly stamps and papers but a few other goodies too – and I regularly get them out, look at them, shove them around the table a bit and then give up and put them away again. I think it is because I know that whatever I try to make will not come up to the ideal I have in my head. I simply cannot achieve those ‘fully loaded’ cards. I wish I could, but there it is.

However a recent change of mindset has led me to give it another go. I am not going to try and copy Anna’s style; I realise my past failings at this have led to the products not being used, and they are way too lovely for that. It is a crime against paper and ink! So I am just going to use them my way and see what happens.

AG Black grey pink card

This is the first effort. I can’t believe I produced yet another black and pink card! I swear, I don’t even realise I am doing it! Only halfway through did I look down and think ‘oh phooey’ (that wasn’t the word, obviously!!) ‘I’ve done it again!’ So I might have to banish some of the goodies back to the drawers again, to give other colours a look-in.

AG Black grey pink card detail

Because I have had all these products for years, I cannot tell you the names I’m afraid, but the stamp and patterned papers are by Anna Griffin. The sentiment might be from a Chalkboard range, but I can’t be certain! The flower was also made ages ago. Because it is made with paper clay and takes several hours to dry I just have a bag of them all made up in case I have a paper-clay-flower-related emergency situation. The mould was from Tonic.

 

Let’s play a game!

AN Green grey spotty

The game is ‘what is wrong with this picture?’ Let me quickly give you a clue before I get any unwelcome suggestions. What is the word missing from all the following:

Earl ____ tea

Lady Jane ____

50 Shades of ____

GREY!!!!! When I stamped and cut out these flowers yesterday, I used grey inks. They looked pretty good and I had the design all mapped out in my head. When I came to work with them today, they had all turned green! How the hell did that happen? The inner child cries out “Elves!” whilst the more mature brain suggests “the ink must have reacted weirdly with the card you used”. I prefer the first suggestion, as I would hope to be able to train visiting elves to tackle the housework instead, but I guess that the ink and paper not getting along is the more likely scenario. So now I have a whole load of cut out green roses and leaves. I don’t want to bin them as they took a while to do, so a rethink is required. I tried out all sorts of colour combinations but as green roses don’t figure much in the real world, most of what I offered up just looked wrong. Then, I came across the spotty card base and thought it might work better than the pastels I had been trying, and I quite liked it. Black was an obvious choice for this second card, with a pale lemon to soften it a bit.

AN Green grey black

Not at all what I had planned but sometimes it just goes that way!

Supplies: Altenew Vintage Flowers stamps and dies; Craftwork Cards spotty card base; The Ribbon Room striped ribbon

 

Missing Links, and why I have never climbed Everest

So yesterday I mentioned that I had never done bloggy links and was not sure how to do it. But yay! I tried and they worked. My missing links are missing no more.

Really what I should have done was learnt how to do it a few months ago when I first started, but I am a terrible procrastinator with things like this. I tend to think ‘I’ll find out how to do it when the need arises’, as opposed to equipping myself with all the necessary tools and skills at the outset.

That’s why I’ll never climb Mount Everest. I’d get to the first hilly bit (!!) and realise I didn’t know how to say ‘crampon’ in Nepalese. Or Tibetan. Time to resort to the international language of mime, so oft adopted by the English abroad. Then imagine miming ‘crampon’ without resorting to a “sounds like” depiction that would only lead to confusion or embarrassment for all parties, and no satisfactory outcome.

Best leave mountaineering to others, then. However, what I have done is made a card bright and larey enough to leave at base camp and use as a beacon should you get stranded part way up. Actually I think you might be able to see it from space. So, to all legitimate mountaineering expeditions departing for major peaks any time soon, contact me and I will happily make you a beacon card to guide you to safety. (Do I need some kind of waiver here?!)

cwc heritage rose black dotty card

Back to blogging tech things. What I also need to do is go find those little yellow faces that everyone uses. Is there one with its tongue stuck firmly in its cheek? It may be needed….

Supplies: background and green patterned papers, flowers and sentiment are from Craftwork cards; Frame die is Tonic Keepsake Indulgence; gold card from Create and Craft.

 

 

Not rocket science

The mojo is now requiring CPR. Or maybe it just needs a personality transplant. I have decided to take the pressure off myself, stop fretting about it, chill. It‘s only card and paper after all.

So today it is back to basics. Make something (hopefully) pretty with dies and stamps. That’s it. No rocket science, no lab coat required.

Tonic lattice header

tonic lattice header detail

Supplies: the Ton Rose Background stamp; Altenew Cotton Candy ink; Tonic dies – Just for You and the header lattice is part of a set called Ornate Elegance; Xcut dies – for the tiny little hearts; vellum from Woodware

Life stages of the mojo

This is the analogy. Think of the teenager surfacing briefly from their room, summoning up half an incoherent sentence before disappearing back into their cave with no indication of when they may re-emerge, or what mood they might be in. Kind? Loving? Fun? Psycho?

This is how my mojo is behaving. Yesterday I thought it was at least making a cameo appearance. Today it came, went, came, went. Do this – yes. Do that – no. I  love you! I hate you! Where’s the pizza? You get the picture.

This card should have been simple, but the stamping gave me grief. The background was easy and quick but the coloured flower was stamped many, many times before I produced one I could live with. Not love, but live with at least. But then what next? Suddenly the background looked too harsh, the contrast between colour and mono too strong, and there was no finished design in my head. Faff, faff, and faff some more, and finally we have a card.

AN peony lines

 

The top ¾ are covered with vellum to soften it a bit. I decided to do this AFTER I had stuck the ribbon on. No point in doing things the easy way, right??!

Mojo is grounded without privileges.

Supplies: Altenew Peony Bouquet stamps and Red Cosmos mini ink set; Woodware vellum; American Crafts black card. That’s pretty much it!

 

 

See the angry clown?

Again I am a bit short of time today. Hardly an unusual situation for most of us, I know. Lunch out, a spot of gardening and then back to the (paper) mill. Apparently there is some ironing to be done, but I just can’t seem to see it…ah well, later, maybe.

So, continuing to road test my new Altenew Painted Flowers stamps, I chose a smaller flower this time, with no ‘integral’ leaf (although you can still add some if you want). In a rare moment of foresight I had realised that if I used the same flower as yesterday, I could not make a random background in the way I usually would, and a little more thought and positioning would be required. Well, today is not the day for that (but maybe tomorrow)! I just wanna make somethin’ pretty, pretty darn quick.

I used Altenew Coral Berry and Frosty Pink inks, plus Jet Black (from, rather randomly, their green set of colours!)

The black card I used is not quite the gsm/lb weight I would like, so I also made a card mat for the back of the inside to reinforce it a bit. And stamped a happy flower on it for good measure. A Spellbinders Ribbon Tag die, Poppystamps Hip Hello die, silver glitter card and a spotty ribbon that I have had since for ever to complete it.

As for the angry clown, after I had finished stamping my background and removed the paper underneath, well, this is what I was confronted with…

angry clown

Tell me it’s not just me that sees it?!