Did you know there are 3 ‘O’s in Altenew?

Well for me, today there are. As a little pay day present to myself I bought the Altenew Painted Flowers stamps. I have wanted these for a long time, but nobody seemed to have them in stock. But this week, on the off chance, I did a search and got lucky. Delivery received, I rip open the packaging with the haste of a 5 year old child on Christmas morning, dig out the inks and well, this is what happened:

AN painted flower stage 1AN painted flowers stage 2AN painted flower stage 3

Three ‘Oh’s. Count ’em!

Sorry, I  got carried away with myself and cut the last one out before I remembered to take the photo. I’m sure you know the feeling.

I have only tried the one flower from the set, but so far, so super easy. I expect these will feature a lot in the next few projects. In the meantime I just had to rustle up one quick effort before going for a girlie lunch because it would have been rude not to.

AN painted flowers card yellow

Something cheerful, for a sunny day, or a sunny disposition.

Supplies: Altenew Painted Flowers stamps; Altenew inks – Jet Black, Dusk, Ocean Waves; Spellbinders Charmed, I’m Sure tag die; Crafts Too dotty embossing folder; American Crafts yellow cardstock

Deja vu

Same card, but different…

I guess this might be a bit dull for an onlooker, but I don’t suppose I am the only one who, having made a card they like once, more or less does the same thing again. I didn’t mean to, but as I was browsing and wondering what to do next, it occurred to me that the effect I used in my previous post would work well with this Craftwork Cards More Than Words paper. The kit also had some pretty hearts and sentiments, but no pennants. No problem, they are easy to make yourself from scraps.

Can I invoke the rule of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ here? Or is it just that I might as well have two for the effort of one? Well I am trying to diminish my stash, but productively, so anything which helps this happen has to be good. Plus I really, really wanted to make something with this lovely paper!

CWC More than words card

I was going to layer it all on to black, but plumped for grey in the end. I think either would have been fine but today is a day for soft, not dramatic.

 

No Surrender Day

Today I was determined to master my big stripy background stamp. In an earlier post I bored everyone with my struggles (sorry, but that is what the internet is for!). I tried all the tips I was given, and a few of my own devising, but still got a patchy result. Today, it was going to be No Surrender Day. Battle is commenced and I plan to win big.

Using the Versamark ink pad to stamp and emboss had worked, but I didn’t want to have to use embossing powder every time, and also if I want to get a good dark colour I prefer to use coloured pigment ink as well as coloured embossing powder. Or, use a clear powder over the dark ink but then I was back to the problems of inking it up again. Dye pads work best because they are firm, but the ink transfer was not so good. By the time you ink it all up the first part is drying. I inked round a lot of times, but it still didn’t come out great. Pigment ink transfer was better, but because they are squishier (technical term) pads it is really hard not to get ink in the wrong places – particularly with the dotty stamp which has large open areas. It didn’t help that I was using a small black Brilliance dewdrop shaped ink pad though, but the stickiness (another technical term) of this ink had come closest to what I wanted. Basically I need to buy the ink pad in the larger size.

But in the meantime, as I said, today is No Surrender Day. I will not fall victim to my backgrounds!! Then, a thought. Hurrah. About time too. What if I ink it first with the Versamark, then use a dye pad over the top without cleaning it, so mix the stickiness of Versamark with the wetness of a dye pad? I don’t suppose it will do my dye ink pad much good, but I’d rather sacrifice one for the sake of battle, in order to win the war.

And guess what? It worked pretty darn good!

Now though I was running out of time, so this is basically also a ‘same card but different’ day, made with what I had to hand and in a layout I know works OK. But I don’t care. I have solved a problem, I get to use my lovely, lovely stamp and everything can be covered with stripes.

Or spots. Because it was also a day I wanted to make two cards if possible. Smug from the earlier sucess I decided to just do something quick and simple. Now that I had made my point I could be magnanimous in victory. Plus I really wanted some lovely shiny gold spots! So I use an ancient but still totally fine Encore gold ink pad and some gold embossing powder, plus one of the first dies I ever bought. To be honest by this stage I was thinking ‘just stick something on it and quit’. So I did! Clearly I would have made a lousy General.

ton dotty plus hatbox

 

Hello Ellie

I don’t have much cute stuff in my stash. Nothing against it, I just don’t have much need. So if I do buy something, it is because it is totally adorable. That is how I feel about this little fella. He is cute, undoubtedly, but not too much so. The right kind of cute, and not just for kids. Who can resist a  baby elephant? Not me, clearly.

ellie pink gingham

Please make allowance for the imperfect colouring. Time to employ a favourite saying “it’s just not in my skill set”. So, not my fault then!!

Remember yesterday?

Today I set about making the card I intended to make yesterday, before I had rudely interrupted myself and gone ‘off piste’. Or ‘off poste’, maybe?! So if you saw yesterday’s effort, you know it is Altenew roses, pink, vellum and silver. I can’t surprise you. Except that the silver was meant to be for leaves, not the base card. I also had in mind to use wood grain embossed effect again, make some kind of tag and hope for a happy outcome.

Then I got an attack of that well-known crafting complain the Dilemmas. Emboss both the tag and background or just one, and if so, which? I die cut lots of silver leaf sprigs. Use lots? One? None, in the end. I was going to have two different strips of texture and pattern across the bottom of the tag and ended up with one. I was going to heat emboss all the edges of the tag and then decided to leave the bottom plain. Not sure why, but I am glad I did.

Finally I get to the assembly stage and the Dilemmas still have a hold of me. I cannot decide on the base card. White wood grain or linen effect silver?

I’m still not sure which I like better. Anyone got a preference? Also, TWO cards! Just thought I’d mention it….

A happy accident

Today, inconveniently whilst at work, a card idea popped into my head and just would not quit. I could picture it clearly, albeit in a few different variations, and I knew it was achievable and would look pretty, if I did it justice. Once home I set about making it. It was going to take a while as there are quite a few different elements – some of which I have to go on the now daily hunt for – so it was not going to get done today. Who cares? This occurs so rarely I have to make the most of it!

But, having stamped my roses and started to do my die cutting, as I was setting things aside, this more or less happened. And I quite liked it. So, the intended card(s) will have to wait another day or two, but in the meantime I have something unexpected, and quick to boot!

AN rose silver card

The rose and single leaf are stamps and dies from Altenew. I also used Altenew inks. The leafy sprig die is part of a set from Tattered Lace. All the leaves have been cut from Woodware White Shade vellum.

AN rose  silver card detail

Rediscovered Roses

I’m still rediscovering stamping. The inky kind, not the hissy fit kind (although sometimes the latter is tempting). This means trawling through boxes of old stash, usually looking for one thing and finding another. Sometimes I have no idea what possessed me to buy the sorry item I have found, but sometimes a little nugget of gorgeousness fights its way to the surface and winks beguilingly at you, just begging to be used. This has just happened. Whoo hoo!

It is Wednesday, so it has to be quick and easy again. “No point in adding extra pressure by trying to produce a midweek masterpiece” was my original resolve when I decided to try and make a card a day. I have already flunked that anyway, and now I have for some mad reason decided to up the ante and sometimes try for two! I can’t even explain or justify the logic of this to myself…

This Darkroom Door stamp is divine, and straight away a couple of ideas popped into my head. Here is the simplest one to accomplish:

Cream and grey look classy and a bit softer than cream and black – although I love that combination too! The embossing folder is from Tonic, the punch is a Martha Stewart one and the heart was in a mixed batch of embellishments that I have also had since for ever.

OK. now off to try and rustle up card number two…..it might be a plaster stuck on a blank card with Get Well Soon scribbled underneath it….would that count??

 

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

Bad ink day

The card maker’s equivalent of a bad hair day.

Today I sat down full of hope for a productive time. A few minutes spent clearing a space large enough to work in (10cm square) and I was away. Except I wasn’t. Couldn’t settle on what I actually wanted to do. Stamping? Die cutting? CDs? Cards? Notepads? Bags? Boxes? One hour gone by. Stamping then. This one? That one? One I know I have but cannot find? Another hour gone.

In my hunting I found a WIP bottle tag, so the rule of ‘if you touch it you’ve got to finish it’ came into play. There are a lot of rules when I craft. Gilding flakes and a cheery greeting are all that is needed, I thought. So, added gilding flakes and turned to the pc to print out a greeting and try to colour match it by eye. Hmm, what font? So many to choose from. Another hour gone.

Eye swerves over to a stamp I have not yet used, a gorgeous large rose background. Maybe I should just try it out? I need a thank you card anyway. I decided to do a quick and simple one, then something trickier and end up with a Nobel Prize winning effort. Ambitious on any day, even more so considering how things were going.

Card one. I used Wild Honey distress ink. Lovely colour. Never used it before so was taken by surprise when, after diligently cleaning my stamp, I saw my hands looked like I have been smoking 1970s cigarettes for a bajillion years. Nothing a bit of soapy water won’t deal with, I hoped. And a lot of vigorous scrubbing, as it turned out..

The rest of the card was a breeze. Sort of. The die cut sentiment is so fine that adhering it is tricky. So I stick it through the sticker maker. Can barely get it off the carrier sheet and some of the sticky seems to have made it on to the front of the die cut, somehow, but a bit of faffing sorts it out. Sliver of vellum, couple of dotty punches and done. Another hour gone.

rose background thank you

Now for the tricky bit. Really? Were the last four hours not torment enough? What kind of eejit doesn’t learn from such an experience? Not, me clearly. I decide to stick with the distress inks, but to go really subtle. Milled Lavender and Spun Sugar leap to my fingers.

I stamp them out – beautiful. Except, strangely, I have Wild Honey hands again. More scrubbing ensues. Then…nothing. Cannot think what to do next. I look at them for an amount of time I am not prepared to ‘fess up to, and a couple of ideas come to mind. I try stamping onto vellum, hoping to heat emboss a glittery something, but the powder refused to cling to the ink (even thought it was pigment so should have). I tried a dropped shadow with a word die but it looked rubbish. Then I gave up.

BUT, my last idea was to open it up to suggestions. Anyone got any good ideas what I can do with these?

rose background

Apparently Spun Sugar (the one at the bottom if you haven’t come across it) has extra magic qualities and pretty much disappears when photographed! They are actually really pretty, a lovely stamp and beautiful colours. They are each 14.8 cm squares.

Anyone? No prizes, just my eternal gratitude.

Size does matter

You only find out why if you read on….

Today I was out and about. A week off work – whoop de doop – and my mother is hunting for some new furniture so abroad we went. Not in the passport requiring way, just out, really. Window shopping. Except nobody bought any windows.

Aaaaaanyway. Whilst out, I came across some cute small white pegs with heart adornments. Gorgeous. Meant as wedding stationery, apparently, but brides don’t get all the fun. £1.99 for 20 meant they had a new home at my place.

Shopping over, I am home and admiring my hearty pegs. BABY CARD shouted the inner voice, in capitals, so as to not be ignored. I wanted something quick, but really pretty, so the Louise Tiler digikits in Serif CraftArtist seemed perfect.

Happy with my choice I selected the pram filled with flowers as the main image. Then I made my own background paper using a matching floral embellishment, copied, pasted, and twisted around for randomness. Whenever I do this kind of project I try to fill the page with extra bits and pieces, maybe images I was dithering over, because you never know what might happen when you go to put it together and I hate wasting posh paper having to print that one thing you realise at the end is just what you need.

I decide to use a fancy tag die I have had for years, because it is so pretty. I cut the background paper to size for my card and the pram image with the tag die. All going swimmingly.  I fetch the hearty peg and voila!  Except the hearty peg is too big for the pram tag, and stands too proud from the top, and just looks all wrong, really. My balloon is well and truly deflated. But then good old Brain remembers what it is there for…….MATCHING GIFT BAG?? it proffers, tentatively, given my darkening mood. Hurrah. We are back in the game.

Back to Serif, make another sheet of background paper reducing the image size, dig out the trusty WRMK gift bag punch board and rustle up a bag to fit the peg. Yes, really, a bag to fit the peg. Don’t judge me. I can do it fine myself.

LT baby girl floral

LT baby girl floral plain background

And this is why size matters.