Saturday, 8 April 2017

Branch Of Grace (Penny Black), Photo Album Style Card, Female

I'm trying out an idea today...

You see, I've decided that I love quite a few of the Penny Black flower stamp sets that are around - which means that I've got to try and find a way to make them 'work' for me.

By 'work', I mean I'm trying to fit them into a style that's all of my own...  which is very, very, very hard when you see just how many talented people out there in blogland have already posted such amazing versions/designs and layouts of the stamps I like.

It's also hard because I quite genuinely admire their design flair and the way they've paired things up.

So it's a challenge...  and one I'll be working on this year as, as much as I love my dies I want to broaden my horizons a little.

So I'm posting this one a little apprehensively.  It's a style of card I've also never tried out before.  And if this style has a name, I haven't a clue what it is!

So here goes...










The main issue I had with this is that I wanted something that wouldn't detract from the stamped branch (which I really love, by the way), yet I didn't want it to look too bare and 'unfinished' either.
And I have to confess, I only added the strip going from left to right as I was writing this post up.


You know when you're working on a design and you just know that it's not quite right but can't seem to put your finger on it?
Do you?
Please tell me that happens to you, too?
Pretty please?

Let's just say that I'm glad the 'penny finally dropped' (I think it quite genuinely got stuck!) as now the design looks better than it did.

 I've realised that I don't really have an awful lot of self confidence when it comes to trying out new ideas, but I am very blessed and oh so very, very talented when it comes to being critical of my craft 'work'.
(Hands up if you can relate to that.  And if you can't I'm genuinely quite jealous).



But before I give a quick 'how to' of how this card was made, let me fill you in on March - where very little happened craft wise...




You see, Husband has this thing where he brings home the germs from work and gives them to me to make me sick.
(He likes to share, you see)...

So He caught a cold at work (where they were all snotty and sneezing) and then passed it on to me.
(Both of our colds lasted for about a week.  On my worst day I had to eat with sunglasses on as my eyes were streaming and couldn't tolerate light.  I also slept with my Winter hat and scarf on for most of that week)!
Then I get better for a day or two before He has to work through the weekend (on top of his usual working week) for a show at the NEC  (a work exhibition four day extravaganza where you're not even allowed to sit down) - which meant extra house chores for me as He was coming home later than normal - and He was understandably very tired.
Then He gets sick again within a day of the show finishing  (He actually came home from work early)...  and this time I'm on Nurse Duty as He's confined to the bedroom (my attempt to quarantine Him).
And just as He's well enough to come out of quarantine (He had to go a full day of NO sneezing at all - which took five or six days,) who got ill again?
Yep.  Little Old Me...  For another week!

So barely any craft time...  but plenty of time to craft shop online.

That's the price He pays for making me sick!!!

And then two days later the boiler broke.  And it's still broken to date.  And the house is so cold with no heating.
And I don't do 'being cold'...


So that's why I've been so quiet - even for me.


Oh yes.  There's just one other thing (and I know I've mentioned it before) but maybe I should mention it every time - I don't know?!!

You're not looking at a black card base.
It's a very, very dark shade of brown that I just love to use, but I know that a lot of you perceive this as black on your monitor screens and I often forget to say as I know what colour it is!

...  And more one thing...

If this design is 'pants' please be gentle with me when you tell me.  But please tell me.
I'm having a rough year and although things are getting easier in some ways they really aren't in others.
Sometime's it's just too hard...





Supplies Used:

Stamp:
Penny Black 'Branch of Grace'

Dies:
MFT Die-namics 'Flutter of Butterflies' - Lace
MFT Die-namics 'Photo Corners'
Memory Box 'Sketchbook Imagine'

Punch:
Martha Stewart Pop Up Butterfly Border

Memento Inks:
Gray Flannel
Rose Bud

Holtz/Distress Inks:
Tumbled Glass
Broken China
Seedless Preserves

Embossing Folder:
Crafter's Companion/Textures 'Wood Grain'

Other:
Ranger Perfect Medium
Wow Clear Embossing Powder
Pebeo Gilding Wax - Silver




Challenges I'm Entering...

Pixie's Crafty Snippets Workshop
(All snippets except the base card).


(Foliage and Flowers)


Penny Black and More Challenge
(April Challenge - Spring)


(Spring or Easter)
(Anything Goes)


NBUS 
(Challenge #11)


(Challenge #132  -  Spring)


(Challenge #345  -  Flowers)





I've also moved my photo set up today as it just wasn't getting enough natural light.
I now have room for two light sources (if needed), as well as a 'rig' for bouncing a silver/gold sheet off.
It's not a professional set up, but 'make shift' works for me...
and with the expense of a new boiler I have to be a good girl for a while!

Enjoy the sunshine if you're lucky enough to have any today...

Donna. x

Friday, 7 April 2017

'Googly Eyes' Pom Pom Creature, Folded Tag, All Ages

As many of you know, the challenge at Tag You're It is always based around a design made especially for us.
You don't have to CASE it, but in order to play along you must find something about it that inspires you - and then tell us, please tell us in your write up somewhere.

We don''t always know just by looking!


Well today, our Featured Artist (Hello Joyce) used a Pom Pom!!! 
 So I couldn't help but make this 'Pom Pom Creature Feature' tag...



HELLO  



It would have been rude not to!

And speaking of rude...  my husband took one look at this tag and responded dryly with 
'how old are you'?

I know how old I am, thank you very much (although I must confess that one year neither my husband or I could actually remember how old we were and spent far longer than I care to admit on trying to figure it out.  And we are both the same age). 

But I digress!

I simply responded with...  'You do remember why I've made this tag, don't you'?
'It's for my DT at Tag You're It and the inspiration piece used a Pom Pom'.

And him?  
He has a new phrase he likes to quote at me.
'I only remember useful information'!!!

So all ideas of retorts to this statement are welcome.
Be creative, dry, funny...  whatever works for you.

All I know is that 'useful information ' is a subjective terminology at best...  and 'useful' doesn't necessarily mean helpful now, does it? 

Hmph...




Let me show you the Inspiration Tag set for this challenge...



Now that's One.  Big.  Large.  Fluffy.  Pom Pom!!!
You do see why it would have been rude to ignore it, don't you?

Now I could be clever and tell you that I knowingly took inspiration from the cat for my Pom Pom that has eyes and feet, but if I did it was purely on a subliminal level.

I simply saw a Pom Pom and ran with the idea...  and only later when contemplating how to incorporate it into the actual tag design did I stop and think that sometimes a part of 'never giving up' (the stamped sentiment on Joyce's tag)
actually involves having something, however small it is, to smile about.
So based on this thinking, my Pom Pom Creature takes centre stage with room on the inside to write/read a little note of encouragement or to send some love.

As you can see, I've made a two colour Pom Pom - just like Joyce did, but my 'inking' is a pattern through a stencil instead.  
I've kept a little of the pink, too...  but used hot pink and bright green rather than pink and red.
 But it's still just the two colours, though!
Joyce's tag base colour matches the colour tone of her Pom Pom and so does mine.

And as for how I made my folded tag?

Elongate one Spellbinders 'Deckled Rectangle' die cut.
Use a Tim Holtz 'Notch Punch' and punch at one short end.
Fold other short end of card up and into the Notch to make a small folded tag.
Then...
Cut a standard size Spellbinders 'Deckled Rectangle'. 
Glue to underside of folded tag.
Add a hole punch.
Decorate using a Tim Holtz 'Splatters' stencil with Colorbox 'Frost White' pigment ink.
And
Add a piece of twine/leather cord.

Oh yes...  and as for the Pom Pom feet?
They are from a die set made by Marianne Designs Collectables series called
'Eline's Hedgehog'.
And if you don't have these (or any feet) I'm pretty sure a heart shape will work just as well.



So that was 'easy peasy', wasn't it?
And if you don't have a Notch Punch you could always move the Pom Pom Creature forward on the tag and use the base of its feet as the 'fastener'.
(Just be sure to add a card backing to the feet if using felt - I don't see felt feet holding anything in place otherwise).  




I know that one of my team mates on this challenge will love this little guy just as much as I do.
Can you guess who that might be?
And did you notice him (my Pom Pom Creature) saying 'hello' to you?




Thanks for stopping by today.

Come and join us if you can.

I know I've been quiet lately.  Will fill you in on a future post...

Donna. x

Thursday, 16 March 2017

8x8 Layered/Mixed Media Tag Card, Butterflies/Time, Female

If you saw my last post, you should (hopefully) recognise this tag.
If you did but you don't, then...  well...  I can either go crawl back into bed and have a good cry or decide that you've had a very long day.  
And if the latter's the case, maybe you should go crawl back into bed and take a nap, or sit down for a bit with a good book to read.
Or...  or...  what do you like to do when you are tired?







My challenge for myself was to take this layered/CAS tag and to turn it into something not CAS at all.  Yet overall, there's still a 'clean' look to this design. 
Let me tell you what I've used...




Supplies Used:

Dies:
Mama Elephant 'Tags A Lot'
Lifestyle Crafts/Quickutz 'Clock'
Poppystamps 'Theo Butterfly'
Sizzix/Holtz 'Tiny Tattered Florals'
Papertrey Ink 'Wet Paint Cuts'
Memory Box 'Peaceful Butterfly Wings'

Embossing Folders:
Spellbinders SCF-002 'Fabric Weave'
Crafter's Companion/Textures 'Wood Grain' (8x8, 5x7)
Crafter's Companion/Textures 'Hessian'
Crafts Too 'Cherry Blossom'
Cuttlebug 'Butterflies 3x3 Tag Team Combo Set'

Holtz Distress Inks:
Frayed Burlap
Walnut Stain
Bundled Sage

Stencil:
Crafters Workshop 'Ferns'

Other:
Crafter's Companion 'Spray and Sparkle' - Pearl Diamond
Ranger/Holtz 'Distress Collage Medium' - Crazing
Pebeo Gilding Wax - Silver
Dew Drops - Clear
Crocheted Lace
Paper Tearing Rulers x 2
Raffia/Thick Paper String - White
Silver Twine
Tonic/Holtz Distress Tool
Paper Punch



 I may have beaten my personal best for how many different elements to incorporate into just one card - and trust me when I tell you that this was not a labour of love, but of sheer grit and dogged determination.  
(Now there's a phrase I'm going to have to try and remember to look up).

I hate being beaten by a card that refuses to 'play nice' - Don't you? 
And I hate how my lace strip in the photo looks like a badly drawn straight line...  which it isn't.
It's as perfectly straight as straight can be.  There are just some very strange optical illusions at play - mainly caused by where the white raffia wraps around the card, I think).
Grrrr...  Maybe my card got it's own back on me after all!




Challenges I'm Entering...

(Handmade Flowers)



(Week #406    'Ladies and Girls')


(CFC169    'Off The edge')



(#255     'Dry Embossing')


(Trend Week #384     'Use A Stencil')






Wishing you a 'Happy' day, wherever you may be...

Donna. x

Friday, 10 March 2017

Butterfly Clock Tag, Textured/Layered/CAS, Female




This is an exceptionally simple, but textured/layered CAS tag, created for the new challenge starting today at Tag You're It.

I don't think you can tell from the photo, but there are two layers of glitter varnish on the base tag - sprayed on and left to dry between coats to build up that sparkle that so many of us know and love.

I have to confess, I'm not much of a glitter girl at heart, but this spray gloss varnish with added glitter had me hooked as soon as I saw it being demoed on a UK craft channel.  
It's subtle...  just the way I like it.
(And I just so happen to know that the company that make this product launched into the US market last year).



My tag was inspired by this very pretty creation by Marion Vagg...



It really is quite beautiful, isn't it?

I wanted to stay true to the beauty and the texture and the layers...  but in a simpler, more CAS form.  So I've kept the clock face (mine's die cut and embossed rather than using texture paste), swapped out the layered flower with that pretty central focus for a butterfly with a central feature and swapped out the foliage for the clock hands.  

Many, many thanks go to my oh so very lovely friend Pam who very kindly sent me this butterfly die - along with a few others to play with.  
I actually didn't know that I liked this die at all until it arrived in the post and I used it.  I'd looked at it so many times in 'die' form and discounted it as not for me.  
How wrong was I...  and how right was Pam.
It's actually turned out to be just what I needed and one of my favourites, too.
(Seems she knows my craft tastes better than I do)!
But in my defence, I am still learning...
(Don't be surprised if I still use that excuse in five or ten years time).
Shhh...  Don't tell! x



So what exactly have I used to make this tag?
Let me tell you...


Supplies Used:

Dies:
Mama Elephant 'Tags A Lot'
Lifestyle Crafts/Quickutz 'Clock'
Poppystamps 'Theo Butterfly'
Sizzix/Holtz 'Tiny Tattered Florals'

Embossing Folder:
Spellbinders SCF-002 'Fabric Weave'

Holtz Distress Inks:
Frayed Burlap
Walnut Stain

Other:
Crafter's Companion 'Spray and Sparkle' - Pearl Diamond
Raffia/Thick Paper String - White


Think of this as Part 1 of a two part post, as next time I'm planning to show you how I used this tag to create an 8x8, Clean and Layered/Mixed Media card.

And why do I want to show you?

Because I'm hoping to inspire you to play along - I'm not going to lie about it!

You see, a few of you very lovely people (you know exactly who you are)! keep telling me that you don't make tags - yet you make very lovely cards or I wouldn't stop by for a visit.
So I've decided to come up with a few ideas as of late that show how to use a tag in a slightly different way.  In other words - you've inspired me to try and think 'out of the box' - even if it's only just a little bit.
I've made a bookmark, a CAS tag on a CAS card...  and so this time the obvious choice was a CAS tag on a non CAS card.
You see, there's a perfect logic to what I've been doing!
Make a CAS tag, play along with the challenge...  and then spend time making it into a card.
Like I said, perfect logic...

(If you could see me now I would have a big grin on my face at this point)!

So if you can, come and play.
And if you can't, thank you for looking/for stopping by/for sharing your time with me.
Because either way, it's people like you who make people like me very happy to be a part of 'blogland for crafters'.    

Bye for now...

Donna. x

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Mini Lindt Bunny Treat Boxes, Easter Gift Idea, All Ages

I know that one or two of you spotted this on FB yesterday evening, but for those of you that haven't seen it, I'm just stopping by today to share a little Easter treat idea that I had.
Like many of you I like to be inventive from time to time!  

But before I show you, let me just say this...
Yes, I could have added more detail - even if it was only to lightly emboss the boxes.  
But taking my time out of the equation, these are a little 'test piece' idea that I'm taking to sell for a very small profit margin on my craft stall this coming Saturday.


Am I looking forward to it?  No...
Did I take up this wonderfully time consuming hobby with illusions of making money in any way, shape or form?  No...
Do I think that my stuff is actually good enough to sell?  (If I consider you to be a very good blog friend then I'll PM you and let you know after Saturday)!
And yes, of course I dread the idea of everyone walking by and ignoring me...

But it's given me a goal to work towards this past few months and to be perfectly honest, that's what I need.
Grief is a long, hard journey...  and although my daughter is not dead, she is gone.
And that's so hard to bear some days.

...  And crafting/craft shopping/sorting through my craft stash are the only things that seem to help.
Plus talking/messaging some of you who have been so very, very kind to me.
(You know who you are). x


I know that others of you may be uncomfortable with my grief and/or simply do not know what to say. 
And yet others of you have your own difficult journey to walk through and like me, use blogging mainly as a distraction.
So as much as is possible I do tend to try and ignore it when blogging online.

That's why I took the decision to do the mini blog.  It keeps it separate and saves me from having to explain or apologise yet again as to why I'm so infrequent with my blog posts or repaying your kindness if you've been kind enough to stop by and leave a comment.
But I don't want to pretend either...  
Especially when it's relevant to what I'm 'talking' about.



So...  I guess I should show you these little treat boxes?





I did come up with a few alternative design ideas that I've also made to sell on Saturday - but this was my favourite by far.
But just to give you a few more ideas, a well placed die cut 'bow' or some punched/die cut 'grass' work equally well as deterrents to stop bunny from falling out of the box!


As these are pretty straightforward to make, I won't include any 'how to' details other than to say that I used a Sizzix Bigz/Where Women Cook 'Cake Pop' die for my boxes...
but I will share this idea over at The Playground as 
a) I've used up some of my craft scraps/'snippets'  
and 
b) I'm wanting to try and get a 'gold shiny star'. 

Of course, these super bright and shiny gold star's are very rare and therefore very hard to come by, so I may have to try even harder next time.
But I will keep trying...
I just hope that The Playground cat (Parsnip, to those of you that know him) doesn't scare the bunnies away!


Speaking of which,  I had the fright of my life early last Friday morning...

To make a long story short, I went to feed the bird's just before leaving to go food shopping rather than after (as I normally do).  After all, it is finally getting brighter earlier in the morning's now.
The bird food is stored in the garage.  It was about 6.45am.   
Who did I not notice at all, sitting in a bag of Suet Pellets, completely unaware that it was well past the time that they should have been tucked up in bed?
Well a little Wood Mouse of course!
The first I knew of it being there is when it jumped about a foot in the air because I had plonked a lid down very close by and not very gently at all.

I'm not sure who actually had the bigger fright out of the two of us!

I think Wood Mice are adorably sweet and we have a whole family or more living under our shed, but when you are just going about your business this is not a sight you expect to see.

Needless to say I got my husband to deal with poor Mousie - who was taken back outside to the shed.
Just as well we know where they live!

As for the bird food? 
Everything now has a lid on it, so they can't help themselves any more.
But I do put out a little food for them every evening - I have since discovering them there a month or two ago.
Rice Krispies and Porridge Flakes are particularly popular - as is a crushed Digestive Biscuit.
I wonder what Parsnip would make of those - the Wood Mice, not the food?!


Challenges I'm Entering...



Challenge #68     'Something New'
(Although it's an old die, I've only recently purchased it and never played with it before).





If this idea inspires you to make a treat box of your own, stop by with a photo of it - if you can. x

Wherever you are, enjoy the rest of your day...

Donna.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Bird/Heart Tag Card, Missing You, Female

I have noticed that many in Blogland are suffering from what I'm going to refer to as 'Lost Mojo-Itus'.
It does seem to be reaching pandemic proportions, doesn't it?
I think that the cold and a lack of sunlight affect many of us far more than we realise.

So with that in mind, perhaps my tag card for today's new Tag You're It challenge is paying homage to what so many of us seem to be missing...





It's a simple offering that shows just how easy it can be to make a tag into a card.

A bird stamped on vellum, some sparkle from the ink used (and a pen) plus a tiny gem and clear embossed sentiment just give this a little something extra to add visual interest whilst still keeping to a clean look.

Where did my inspiration come from?
Let me show you...





I was inspired by the colour scheme but wanted softer, gentler colour tones for my design.  As you can see, I also stuck with the heart and animal theme but swapped out the cute critter for a bird.
And for those of you who haven't seen it (inspiration can be a funny thing like that.  For some it's obvious, yet for others it's anything but) Lisa's 'tag on a tag' has become a 'tag on a card'.





Supplies Used:

Die:
Paper Smooches 'Gift Tags'
Memory Box 'Heart Delights'

Stencil:
Creative Expressions 'Birch Tree'

Stamp:
Inkadinkado 'Luv Ya'

Inks:
Holtz/Distress 'Pumice Stone'
Brilliance 'Starlite Black'
Tsukineko/Memento 'Gray Flannel'
Ranger 'Perfect Medium'

Other:
Spectrum Noir Sparkle Pen - Clear Overlay
Vellum
Emboosing Powder - Clear
Raffia - White
Tiny Gem - Clear
Sentiment stamp from stash




Challenges I'm Entering...

(I Heart You)


(Tag, hearts and vellum bird all from Snippets)



(Inspired By Words...  Friends are connected heart to heart, distance and time can't break them apart').



(Young at Heart)


(Challenge #39    'Shimmer and  Shine')







Wherever they may be hiding, I hope that Mo and Jo come back soon for those of you who can't seem to find them! 

Stay warm...

Donna. x

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The Unfolding (Penny Black),Easel Backed Card w/Acetate,Female

I'm showing you something very different for me today.
Do you want to see it?
Well, here goes nothing...





That's a lot of colour for lil' old me, isn't it?
Did you think you'd gone to somebody else's blog by mistake?

Here's the card from a different angle...





And just look at what I've done with the back...







I stumbled across this 'find' (Sizzix/Holtz 'Small Easel') and just knew that I had to have one...  and I plan to have a lot of fun using it this year - just so you know!



Now...  if you were on FB yesterday you may have noticed just how 'over the top' happy I was to find out that Penny Black had released some more Brushstroke stamps to their range.
When I tell you that this was my first ever go with a Brushstroke stamp you'll understand why I was so elated.
You do understand, don't you?

I mean seriously, I am not a stamper and I know that this card isn't perfect...
but when my husband saw it for the first time he thought I'd painted it!
(I wish.  I'm no artist, either)!

Now if this style of stamp can make me look far more talented than I actually am then it's a no-brainer for me.  
More Penny Black Brushstroke stamps coming my way.  And they are natured themed to boot.
Woo hoo!!!
(You did cotton on to the fact that virtually everything I make is nature themed, didn't you)?


So that's me very, very happy...
And I may as well spend my pennies on that, hadn't I?




As I'm not sure about just how much detail you can actually see in the photo, I'll do a very brief 'How To'...

Stamp image using MISTI (or similar).
Ink around edges.
Cover flower stamped image with scrap paper, then wet hands and 'clap' over inked edges.
Blot to dry and 'lift' some ink.
When dry, use a score board and 'draw on' some random, broken lines.
Cut a piece of acetate to size, emboss it and attach with screw brads.
Cut a bigger piece of brown card to size, emboss it, then add some gilding wax.
Glue acetate fronted image to card back.
Cut a larger green piece of card to size, slightly sand it and distress the edges.
Cut a slightly larger white piece of card to size and distress the edges.
Glue all layers into place.
Add cut, glued and stacked word die cuts.


Now I glued several pieces of card together to create a sturdy base for all of this - which is why I needed to use the easel.





Supplies Used:

Stamp:
Penny Black 'The Unfolding'

Tsukineko/Memento Inks:
Lady Bug
Rich Cocoa
Bamboo Leaves
Pistachio
Stormy Sky
Broken China

Embossing Folders:
Sheena Douglass 'Snowfall'
Sizzix/Holtz Texture Fades 'Woodgrain'

Dies:
Memory Box (Sketchbook) 'Create Art'
Sizzix/Holtz 'Small Easel'

Other:
Pebeo Giling Wax -  Silver
Screw Brads
Acetate




Challenges I'm Entering...

(Your Favourite Flower and Why)
My favourite flower is the Magnolia - a stunningly beautiful flower.  Mine flowers right on the cusp of Spring...  which makes me happy as I hate Winter!!!


(Use Your Favourite Stamp)


(Try Something New)






I may look super duper inactive online right now, but I have been busy beavering away.
Honestly I have!

Have a good week...

...  and thanks for stopping by...

Donna. x