Ombre stamping

Just a post to share a card. No ranting today! This set of stamps is called ‘Adore You’. The feeling is mutual. There are so many differently sized flowers and leaves, and they are kind of retro, I think.

Last night I had an inkling to make a sort of ombre stamped effect, and also to have the flowers roughly decreasing in size as I stamped from bottom to top of the card. I found it easier to work this way to make sure I had the space to use the larger blooms. Knowing me, if I had stamped from top to bottom I would have run out of card before I got to the feature flowers. A bit like telling a joke but starting at the punch line…

Rather than using lots of small ink pads, which would have been a faff, I had a ‘I think I may have something in the back’ kind of moment. Like in an old shoe shop, not like a Brutus and Caesar showdown. And guess what? I found a very ancient Kaleidacolor Rainbow ink pad in shades from orange through to red, which was exactly what I wanted. And even though it is at least 14 years old, it still is totally fine and juicy with ink. Now that is a good product!! The various ink pads are separate when closed (to stop them mixing or contaminating each other) but you can slide them together to make one continuous ombre ink pad. Genius!

I used a dark grey mat as a contrast for all the red and orange. And although I know nobody in the industry reads this, could I still put out a plea for a decent multipack of grey card? Pretty please? It is so difficult to find, especially a really nice charcoal. Also, patterned, and self-patterned greys too, please, whilst you are not here anyway! If any other crafters know where I can get some please let me know in the comments?!

I used Altenew Lava Rock ink to stamp the sentiment (from Dahlia Blossoms stamp set) and a stitched rectangle popped up on 3D foam. Now I could well have finished here. It was a nice enough card, but I decided to take the sentiment rather literally. So, a bit more stamping and fussy cutting and I had some extra blooms. Then I decided I wanted one full-on coloured flower, but once that was on there I needed some balance, hence the green leaves. Initially they were just stamped outlines in pale green, but something jarred so they became full-on leafy. Luckily bed time came along to stop me from further fiddling!

adore you ombreadore you ombre detail

Supplies: Altenew Adore you and Dahlia Blossoms stamp sets; Kaleidacolor Rainbow ink pad in Desert Heat; Altenew inks in Lava Rock, Frayed Leaf and Forest Glades; The Works stitched rectangle dies

 

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Best of three…

Well, ‘best’ three times over really!

Banners, pennants, bunting, anything flag-y really, just floats my boat. Always has. Even that rather sad, dusty bunting that is brought out for shows and sales in musty church halls, still makes me smile. I guess the phrase ‘put out the flags’ is close to my happy place. Pull out a pennant, finagle a flag, bang out some bunting and you get my vote.

So, three cards, made with the same stamp and die set. Again, clean and simple in design, but I think the product suits the style. Hopefully!

One general thank you:

best of three 1

Another a bit more girlie:

best of three 2

The final one was meant to be more gender neutral. But I couldn’t resist a few sequins! Tsk!

best of three 3

Supplies: Concord & 9th Best Banners stamps and dies; Crafter’s Companion Elegant Snowfall embossing folder; Altenew Coral Berry ink; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable card in Pashmina (the pink); Create and Craft gold linen effect card

 

 

Still Stencilling….

Well, it was just sitting there, winking at me…

Another card made with my Altenew Halftone stencil. This time I have opted for a softer look, so just used two shades of grey ink (Evening Gray and Morning Frost) in a fuzzy edged (technical term!) vague circle. I then stamped my flowers and leaves in a darker grey (Moon Rock), fussy cut them and spent a small eternity faffing about with their placement. Ho hum. Some of the elements were popped up on 3D foam. Oh and UK shoppers, I found a great bargain pack of large foam squares and a big roll of foam in Poundland last week. Please forgive my ignorance but I honestly did not know that everything in that shop costs £1.00!! I kept looking for prices….But anyway, it seems like a good deal to me so thought I would mention it.

Once I had the card assembled I decided I wanted to add the tiny text greeting. I wasn’t brave enough to stamp directly onto the more-or-less finished project so chickened out. Stupid, really, because if it had gone wrong I could still have covered it over and ended up with the same card as I have here. Duh!

A few little blobs of Nuvo Jewel drops and we are good to go. I like the sentiment because it can cover a lot of occasions, either happy or not so much.

adore you cardadore you card detail

Supplies: Altenew Halftone Stencil, Adore You stamps and Warm Gray mini ink cubes set; Tonic Nuvo Jewel Drops in Pale Periwinkle; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable card (the pinkish lilac)

Smugglers, baking and boot camp

TiVo, get your act together!

I have to get this one off my chest. Has anyone else ever felt insulted by the ‘suggested recordings’ choices of their TiVo box? The TiVo has only been installed for a couple of years, and the instruction manual was never read because the gizmo worked and there are many more fun things to do with an afternoon. So the fact that there were suggested recordings at all, was something of a surprise. At first I thought it rather sweet that the blinking box in the corner would think of you throughout the day, get to know you a little and consider what TV treats you might like to enjoy later. Even going ‘off piste’ a bit and perhaps selecting something you may not have considered for yourself, but you end up loving. Similar to being given olives to try again, because although you claim not to like them, you like salty things, for example.

In the ‘getting to know you’ stage the suggested programmes were baffling. But early on in a relationship you can easily get the wrong signals, or send mixed messages. So, it proffered the local news programmes, and the BBC News, and the ITV News…. Well, news is fine, but watching it back at a later date is generally not so interesting. Really I have no idea how these things work but figured it would take time to somehow recognise what was watched and build a kind of profile. But then the random selections started to kick in. I can‘t remember specifically what, but they were not impressive.

Why wasn’t it trying harder? Why was it recording shows about border control and smugglers when such programmes were never actually watched, and should surely never be part of the viewing profile?

Then the ‘thumbs’ were discovered. Yes, perhaps this should have happened earlier. For anyone who doesn’t know, you have a green ‘thumbs up’ to say you like a programme, and a red ‘thumbs down’ to show your displeasure. You can hit the button up to three times, presumably to indicate your strength of feeling either way. Now, I get why up to three thumbs-worth of happy viewing might be useful information: I hope that if there was a recording clash between a one-thumb and a three-thumb the lovely considerate box would prioritise. This is an optimistic theory, not yet tested.

But why bother giving any more than one thumb of disapproval? Surely the TiVo is not going to think ‘Hmmn, well, there is very little of interest at the moment, so I’ll just record a single-thumbs-down programme. Can’t sit here doing nothing can I?’ Well, yes actually, you can. If you can’t record something good, don’t bother recording anything at all…

In an effort to train the beast, every time the TiVo is caught red handed i.e. recording something undesirable, the red thumb is pushed three times, still with little idea of why three is necessary but we are sending a clear message here. Same if it does good, although sadly this is less often. So now the on-screen TV guide has more up and down thumbs than a busy day at the Colosseum.

Today, late morning, the box pinged up a message to say it wanted to switch from the current programme (you know, the one you have actually chosen to watch) and record Mary Berry doing some cooking instead. Interesting. Not the choice of programme – for once it was a good choice – but that meant it was sneakily off recording another couple of shows, because it can only record three things if you are watching one of them. On further investigation these turned out to be Police Interceptors (or something like that) and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Excuse me?? I honestly don’t think ANY of the viewing history would suggest these as likely to meet with approval. Knowledge of the Ninjas is sketchy, but a programme about the real Donatello or Raphael would stand a better chance!

I have just deleted more suggestions of yet more border control programmes, ones about sheriffs and debt collectors, gadget reviews, and a marriage boot camp, all of which would never have been watched. This feels more like a marriage of convenience, or of one where apathy has taken over. Like those who shop for their spouse’s or partner’s gift in the last hour on Christmas Eve. Just get something, no matter what. Who cares if it is the wrong size and wrong colour? It’s the thought that counts right?

Wrong, Mr TiVo, wrong.

Neither of these cards are for you. We are not friends and you are not awesome.

halftone and super scripthalftone super script 2

I have used current stash from Altenew plus a guilty purchase of a stencil. It cost under a fiver so I don’t feel too bad. Sometimes you just need something new to freshen things up a bit. These cards are very similar to one of the marketing shots, but it is kind of an obvious thing to do and I was just itching to use it! I blended three different colours of Altenew inks onto my base card, then stamped and die cut the Super Script words and cut out the Label Love sentiment. I love the look of the spotty symmetry!

 

Yellow Fever

Just a quick post. Here are two more cards I made this week. It would seem I have yellow fever. Normally I don’t ‘do’ yellow much – although we did go through a small fortune and a bajillion tester pots trying to find the ‘right’ yellow for the hallway and stairs many years ago. To be honest we could have painted the whole space in the purchased tester pots, there were that many. No yellow went untried. Maybe this, or custard tarts, has put me off….

But recently the yellow has been beckoning. Thoughts of, and hopes for spring, I guess. Or maybe I just want to eat a pound of butter. Unlikely. Let’s go with spring.

spring-card-pair

Anyway, two cards, both stamped, one entirely flat, the other almost so. I couldn’t resist adding a couple of Nuvo Jewel Drops as they are so shiny and translucent and yummy.

an-spring-dahlia-blossomsan-spring-tulip

Supplies: Altenew Tulip and Dahlia Blossom stamps sets and various Altenew inks; Tonic Nuvo Jewel Drops; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable yellow card

 

Unnatural selection, and reinvention

I have had this colour scheme in my head for a few days. I wanted a limited but punchy palette, so coloured this daisy stamp in shades unnatural to its species and selectively, so petals only. The centres remain deliberately monochrome (in case anyone thinks I just gave up!), along with the rest of the card.

The bottom section is just random stamping of Altenew Freeform Greenery in black. It reminded me a bit of that 1950s black and white Homemaker china that everybody seemed to have a plate of lurking in the back of the cupboard and threw out the week before it got fashionable again.

red-daisy-1

Recently I rediscovered my Label Love stamps – hurrah! They had been missing for months but resurfaced inside (I know, don’t judge me) an embossing folder. So they get to be used again to add a bit more inky darkness.

Basically, what I have done is just repeated the design of my old faithful Peony Bouquet card (the one I use for my Gravatar) in different colours. But ‘reinvention’ sounds so much more complimentary.

Supplies: stamps are all from Altenew – Spring Daisy, Freeform Greenery and Label Love.

 

 

Getting some zzzzzs

I was going to title this post ‘Time for Z’ but I realised that would make very little sense to ‘across the pond-ers’, as you pronounce it ‘zee’ but we Brits go for ‘zed’. I’m fairly confident ‘time for zee’ would just leave a quizzical look or two (probably not the first time I have done this to you, to be fair!) whereas in the UK we would find ‘time for zed’ as slightly humorous. Hopefully. Then, you see, years ago we had a kids programme called The Magic Roundabout, featuring a moustachioed creature on a spring, whose name was Zebedee (see, see? See all the Z-based fun?) and who always said ‘time for bed’ at the end of each episode…it would have been a great joke …ok, mildly amusing…anyone fallen asleep reading this yet?! No? Good. Let’s crack on.

How come I have never made this z-fold shape before? I think I first saw it with a super card made by fellow blogger Myra, some months back: loved it, resolved to try it, forgot all about it. Then I saw one somewhere else recently and was hooked again, and remembered Myra’s post.

They are easy and although you get a substantially sized open card, it still folds down flat and (this one I made) fits into a standard C6 (UK) envelope, meaning no extra postage charges. Hurrah!

spring-daisies-frontspring-daisies-openedspring-daisies-side

There are all sorts of variations on the theme out there, but I just went with the simplest option. If you want to have a go, here is how to make the basic shape:

Either use a square card blank or fold your own.

Fold the card front in half, back on itself, so what was the opening edge is now parallel with the spine.

Open up the card shape and chop off enough from the bottom to give you the size you want your finished card to be. So, I wanted an 14.5 x 10.5cm (almost UK A6) size card, which meant I took a blank card of 14.5cm sq and then cut off 4cm.

This thin piece then forms your horizontal ‘bar’. It is already folded in the right places, you will just flip it once you have decorated it so the long panel goes across the front of the card and the short section is adhered to the back panel of the card, as in the photos. You can of course trim it down to be a bit thinner if you want, or add backing layers to increase the size. But you know this already….

Now you get to gussy it up in whatever way you fancy. Just check that your embellishments won’t overlap the right hand side of the card when it is closed. The UK has been grey and threatening (or delivering) snow recently so I cheered myself up with some daisies and some gingham. Then threw a load of black in to match the sky….

The flowers are Altenew layering stamps (Spring Daisy), but I stamped just the middle layer using Versamark ink and white embossing powder onto vellum for (ahem) an ‘informal’ look!! The leaves were made in the same way. I used two shades of yellow ink for the flower centres, some embossed panels and job done.

This was a fun make, and I will definitely be z-folding again. Thanks Myra!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun, and colouring

vintage-teacup-pair

Colouring has always given me problems. Both physically, as I am of partly Irish heritage so, basically almost see-through pale and red hair. Prone to ‘lobster’ within about five minutes of full-on British sunshine, which, let‘s face it, on a sunshine scale is still in the ‘could try harder’ range.

Also, craftily. I cannot colour. Helpful TV or YouTube demonstrators say things like ‘just decide where the sun would be, and therefore where the shadow is and you can’t go wrong’. Poppycock. I am aware of the sun (see aforementioned personal issues with the golden orb) and have managed to grasp the tricky concept of shadows since childhood (Peter Pan was a big help with the science bit).

But the demonstrators don’t tell you what to do after that!! Just because I know where the sun is, does NOT mean I know where ALL the shadow should be! And how do I make a shadow anyway? I try just adding a smidgen of a darker shade, or two, and attempting to blend it in a bit, but I still can see it is not good enough, not ‘right’. And when do you stop? When is it finished? How do you know? I have heard people say ‘it will be obvious when you are finished’. Never has been to me. Does that mean I should continue until the paper literally falls apart with the amount of alcohol marker I have slathered it with? Will it be done then?!

Is colouring an ability you either have – like perfect pitch – or you don’t? Was I not in the right queue at the gene pool? Was I still changing into my swimming costume? Or reading the warning notice and wondering what on earth ‘bombing’ was? Or eyeing up the lifeguard? Or did I just see a notice that said ‘do you want chocolate’ and got distracted? Then in the meantime all the colouring genes were handed out, the counter closed and I was left with ‘you will always find comfort in cocoa beans’ as my gift??

So, this first card graphically demonstrates another failed attempt at colouring. I thought I would be strategic and use pearl card, as I hoped the markers would glide and blend more easily. Sadly it still looks like someone did it with a cheap felt-tip pen that was gasping its last. Having spent some time stamping and embossing the cup, saucer and spotty decorative detail I felt demoralised. Even more so when the marker smudged some of the embossing a bit too. I didn’t think that was supposed to happen. I thought that was against the law. But hence all the circling around the embossed dots, rather than gliding over them seamlessly. And I honestly laid down SO MUCH colour, went over and over with the pens but still have ugly lines and blotches. Phooey.

vintage-teacup-blue

After that, I licked my wounds (and a couple of bite size Snickers left over from Christmas) and went back to using colour in a way that works for me. Paper piecing. Stamp it, cut it out, layer it up. Emboss a scattering of random hearts too. Some inner calm was restored, but not enough for me to be able to decide on pink gingham ribbon, or blue gingham ribbon? Therefore, like the witches in Sleeping Beauty, I ended up with both.

vintage-teacup-print

Supplies: Altenew Vintage Teacup stamps and Wam Grays ink cubes; Clearly Besotted Diagonal Stripe stamps; Crafter’s Companion Centura Pearl card; Papermania Blueberry Hill paper pad (old); Create and Craft gingham ribbon

Card wrestling: a new sport

Ever had to wrestle a card into submission?

This has been one of ‘those’ projects. Theoretically whilst not being an easy victory, as it was familiar ground to some extent, or to keep the analogy going, an opponent I had fought before, it should not have been quite such an epic contest. I am still not sure if I have won on points or not.

Whilst browsing Pinterest I came across this card using Altenew Poinsettia and Pine stamps, which I have.

Thinking of you - Altenew Blog:

It also reminded me of a card I made either last Christmas or the one before, using Anna Griffin dies and embossing folders, plus a couple of Tattered Lace leaves as fillers. This is what it looked like (sorry about the photo!):

ag-gold-holly

So the style was already familiar, I was just going to use different products. Now anyone who follows my babbling may remember that I cannot colour. To. Save. The. World. Seriously. If the Martians pitch up and the deal is a bit like Hunger Games, but a nice piece of artwork will send them away happy, just hope they don’t pick me in the colouring lottery. Otherwise, well, it’s been nice knowing you all.

But, I can fill in a few berries with red pen, without hopefully affronting the eyes of those who can colour brilliantly, right? And maybe at a stretch just shade in the mistletoe leaves with a bit of green, perhaps? They are pretty tiny, so what can go wrong?

Here’s the list:

The gold ink wouldn’t stamp too well.

The gold glitter embossing powder therefore didn’t work brilliantly either.

I switched to gold detail powder. I sneezed unexpectedly whilst holding the tiny open container and it went everywhere.

Back to glitter powder then.

I stamped the mistletoe over and over. Dandy.

Alcohol markers – nah. All went too blurry as I didn’t have the right shades of green.

Watercolour pencils? Couldn’t find them. That’s how often they get used.

I settled for a squidge of the same ink colour mixed with water and sloshed on in what I sincerely hope is an artistic, informal way. AKA a chimp’s mum would be happy to use it as fridge art.

By now I was eyeing the holly leaves with suspicion. I had learnt lessons. Just a stamped outline then. Fine. Although I couldn’t help but think they looked like the footprint of either a dinosaur or a duck. Maybe I had been playing with the alcohol pens too long.

Fir sprigs next. These went well. Hurrah!

Now for the greeting. I considered black, or red, but then plumped for gold. Another mistake, as I had forgotten the detail gold powder disaster of earlier, and the small words here work best with detail powder. There was, I confess, an undignified scramble to rescue enough of the scattered powder to emboss ONCE and once only. No pressure then. But it went ok-ish.

an-pine-and-poinsettia-detail

Assembly time! I chose a satin finish base card that I have had for ages. Now I know why it has remained unused. The card is beautiful, no question, but it is a magnet for any stray speck of glitter or embossing powder. I gave up polishing it and decided they were now design features.

Also, the card refuses to fold closed very well, and you can’t use a bone folder or it will mark the satin finish. Super!

Two falls and a submission.

an-pine-and-poinsettia-1

I feel I should add a disclaimer here: I know nothing about wrestling. I might have got things mixed up with boxing in places as I am drawing on memories of Saturday TV as a kid. Sorry if I have been irreverent with anyone’s favourite sport!

Supplies: Altenew Poinsettia and Pine stamps and dies, Altenew Lyrical stamps for the greeting and Altenew Green Fields ink set

 

How do you do it?

Blogwise, how do you roll?

How do you plan your posts? Do you schedule well in advance and have it all written and ready to go?

Do you have an outline plan, to which you add detail as you get close to posting?

Do you post on set days?

And, seeing as we are on the subject, do you set your posts to publish ahead of time?

Or, do you think, write, post as the mood takes you?

So, I’ll go first. That’s a given, right?

Generally, almost everything I post here is spontaneous, off the cuff, however you want to call it. I very rarely have any cards made in advance, or even planned, so if I want to post I have to make something in the evening after work, then the following day take a photo or two, think of a title, write the post and publish. Plus go have a look at what everyone else is doing (in fact I usually do this before posting myself). It can take a lot of time. Don’t get me wrong – I am not complaining. This is a voluntary undertaking and I am having a ball. I also love to visit other blogs and check in with my bloggy pals. It’s the whole flipping point of this after all! But I do wonder if I could do it better?

However, this is one post I did actually plan a bit in advance, mainly because I am really, really interested in knowing how everyone else goes about the task. If you are someone who has to ‘make first, post second‘, how do you do it? How do you make it work? I know some people post WIP, and if you garden, grow, draw, paint, knit, sew, crochet or stitch this makes absolute sense, because your projects can take weeks or months to complete. But if like me your end product is a relatively quick thing, but you also work, have a household, a social life etc etc, well I can‘t help thinking that I should be more organised. Or is the answer just to post less?

Sometimes I have an idea in advance, and then I can plan better, and write something (which I generally change radically anyway), but not often. Usually I sit down, and think hmmmnnn….for quite a while…..

Thing is, this is so against my nature! I am someone whose comfort zone is firmly in the ’be prepared’ department; I am the woman who sends emails to the boss explaining everything I have done and covering every possible scenario when I am away from work for a week. Flying by the seat of my pants would definitely require a sick bag. I have no idea why I am ok to abandon all my natural tendencies when it comes to blogging. Maybe it is just time pressure.

I would love to have nice posts, all neatly lined up and ready to go, like little glittery packages sitting, waiting to be picked up by virtual carrier pigeons. Maybe one day! In the meantime, here’s a quick card, and yes, I had to rustle it up before I could post this!!

cb-elliecb-ellie-detail

Supplies: Clearly Besotted Baby Shower and Mini Basic Banners stamps and dies; Lawn Fawn ink in Hippo