Florals Two Ways

I have a quick post today – two cards using florals and a lot of white space – but with quite different results.

The first was partly a result of playing around with die cut letters on busy patterned paper and partly inspired by a card I have seen somewhere…but I cannot recall. The designer had either stamped a whole lot of flowers and then die cut the letters, or die cut the letters then stamped on the lower portion only. It was a thing of beauty and if I could find it, I could tell you what they had done! I loved the look, but wanted a really quick version so took a shortcut. I selected a floral border from a digikit, resized it, and copied and pasted several times. This would give me lots of choice for positioning my dies. After that I just placed the letters to give plenty of variety in colour and flower. Once cut I popped them onto 3D foam and spent far too long painstakingly positioning them. Not quite as quick as it could have been but there you go. I make my own trouble.

flowered-happy-white

The second card is black and pink. Again. But actually I have been very good and not abused this colour scheme for a while. What can I say? I fell off the wagon and indulged in one of my favourite combinations. The roses are from a Craftwork Cards USB I have had for a while, which includes printables of the totally gorgeous Heritage Rose range. Hurrah! So all to be done was print a page of roses, fussy cut and layer them up. A die cut sentiment from Tonic, a knot of narrow black ribbon and we are good to go.

sent-with-love-and-heritage-rose

So, one understated card and one that kind of smacks you in the face, but smells of roses so you have to forgive it…just mind the thorns…

flowered-happy-and-sent-with-love

Supplies: XCut Wedding Alphabet and Numbers dies; Tonic Sent With Love die; Craftwork Cards USB including Heritage Rose Collection; Louise Tiler Birthday Florals digikit for Serif CraftArtist; card and ribbon from Create and Craft

 

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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

 

Nun spotting

Lately I have been seeing more than the usual amount of nuns. Zero is precisely the usual number so anything above that is notable. This is Southeast London, not the Vatican City. We have no cathedral, no convents. I really hadn’t seen a nun out and about for years. Then, a few weeks ago, there was one on my bus journey to work. Her habit got caught in the door as she got off, but she and her modesty were luckily intact. She laughed it off as two kind and lovely young men came to her aid and no harm seemed to have been done.

A few days later I saw another, foolishly running across the road in front of a bus, whilst looking the other way.  I screwed up my eyes and…nothing…Nun intact and no harm done again. But two nuns in transport-related incidents? C’mon!

More days pass and I see nun number three. This one was licking an ice cream. I am not sure this is within the rules of acceptable nun behaviour (my nun knowledge is sketchy and based on childhood experience) but she didn’t look guilty so I guess maybe things are more lenient than when I was a kid. I think this might have required some reparation back in the day.

Then, two nuns together, walking arm in arm! Now I am really beginning to wonder. It’s like when you get a new car and your consciousness of the make and colour is raised. Suddenly you see your car’s doppelganger everywhere. I am on nun alert. But I am pondering: all their Habits were various colours, which to me means different Orders, I think? I have some dim recollection that clothing for novices is not the same, but then I think maybe I am confusing nuns with martial arts. I’m pretty sure you don’t get a black belt in ‘nunship’. Then again, times seem to have changed. Maybe they have badges like Boy Scouts now?

What is going on? Why the sudden increase in visible nuns? Is it a ‘Call the Midwife’ factor coming in to play here? My curiosity is piqued!

Then, on my way home tonight, a man gets on the bus dressed in colourful monk’s robes, lugging a crammed bag of M&S food and a box of wine! Has the universe changed that much? Did I miss the email? Was I out getting a coffee when it happened? I guess the world has loosened up a little!

Anyway, I had a yellow rose left over from my last card. Shame to waste it, so a card with just one focal flower is required.

yellow rose grey chevron card

Supplies: Altenew Vintage Flowers stamps and Four Scoops inks; Dies: Poppystamps Hip Hello and Sue Wilson Faux Quilled Leaves; Background paper: Serif CraftArtist Louise Tiler Modern Gent digikit

Please, nobody faint…

Because (a) I have done something, for me, vaguely clever with Serif CraftArtist

And (b) I have a handy tip

So (a) then. I have mentioned before how I don’t use my CraftArtist software to anything like its potential. I basically print and then hybrid craft. But, eyeing up my Altenew stamp collection I knew I wanted a black dotty background for the yellow roses I intended to make, but smaller than the spots in my beloved polka dot stamp.

My poor wee Brain told me it must be possible to make my own background digitally, but I had not much clue how. Again, my fault, I should invest some time in learning, which so far I have failed to do. Still, nothing like a deadline (bedtime) to sharpen the mind. I won’t bore you with the details of how I accidentally majestically managed it, but look, I have a random dotty background! Ok it is not perfect, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, apparently. Well of course it wasn’t built in a day. Only the three little piggies managed major real estate construction in a day and clearly that was not a model for success.

Aaaanyway. (b) then. It’s a small tip, but it might be handy. I wanted to stamp one of the roses from my Altenew Vintage Flowers, which is a three layer stamp, in yellows, but I don’t have their range of yellow inks, or any other three yellow-through-orange inks that would go together. I tested some combinations, but they were not pretty. I do though have the Four Scoops set, which has a yellow and a peach that work with each other. I stamped just two layers and actually it would have been perfectly fine, but as I don’t venture into ‘yellow territory’ often I kind of wanted to embrace it totally. Like wallowing a bath full of custard. No point in just sticking a foot in, right?

Quick mental check – apparently Brain is still in the building and happy to be called upon. Hurrah! ‘Try a water-based marker pen’ it suggested. Quite a specific instruction, really. ‘You have loads. You never made proper use of them’. Ok. I get the message. Now Brain is starting to sound like a nagging other half and as far as I am concerned it can bog off until it can be civil again. I am away, a now brainless woman on a vital mission. A pale yellow marker pen is retrieved, stamped over the Altenew inks, works fine, love it, job done.

yellow rose black polka dot

I cannot find my Label Love stamps anywhere, so again I used CraftArtist and made my own sentiment. No fear!

 

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

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

 

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….