Saturday, 8 April 2017

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

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:

Penny Black 'Branch of Grace'

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

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'

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)

(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


  1. Stunning card you have created dear friend, cannot remember the name of the fold either!, but it looks fabulous, your take on the stamp is gorgeous, love the colours..
    Hope you have had the last of illness for this year Donna and your boiler is fixed ASAP ..
    Hugs Pam x

    1. Thank you, Pam.
      Guy came 'round for the quote, but won't let us know until tomorrow if he can do Tuesday. If not, he's already told Hubby he'll only be working Tues/Wed and then he's off for 10 days!!!
      Enjoy the rest of your weekend. X
      Guess I find out tomorrow!

  2. What a lovely card! The gradient coloring of the butterfly is both unique and really pretty. I love the cherry blossom look of the branch. So glad you joined the challenge at Four Crafty Chicks this week.
    Guest DT

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Christine.
      I always appreciate feedback... so glad you liked the butterfly colouring.

  3. You are far too hard on yourself Donna my friend! Your work is fabulous! It shows great attention to detail and always fabulous designs! This is no exception! Loving the professional quality of the photos now too (not that there was anything wrong with them before), but you have even managed to kick that up a notch! Fantastic work my friend! Have a lovely Sunday! Luv n’ Hugs. Hazel xx
    My Card Attic

    1. You are too kind, Hazel.
      Thank you... 🙂

  4. What a stunning card, I love that penny black stamp and how you have used it. Your card is perfect and you need to stop doubting yourself. I so struggle with this style so even though I have the stamps I rarely use as they just dont quite work for me. This one I would love to purchase just from seeing it here. You have highlighted it to perfection.

    1. Aileen... you have no idea how much I treasure these words...
      You see, I always feel like I'm the only one who struggles as most people's 'write ups' make it sound so effortless. Designing something new is never effortless for me!
      So 'thank you'... 'thank you'... 'thank you'. X
      Enjoy the rest of your weekend. 🙂

  5. A really beautiful floral creation, many thanks for joining us at Penny Black and More challenge.

    B x

  6. STUNNING card Donna. If you click on the pictures to make them larger, you can see it's dark brown card. This really is a masterpiece and you totally nailed it on the individuality front.

    Yes, been "there" loads of times when I feel there's something not quite right with a card . . . maybe something missing or it's out of balance. You are not alone!

    Hugs, Sarn xxx

    1. Thank you, Sarn. 🙂
      I quite genuinely thought I was running out of time to get this in to the Playground. Was relieved to find I still had plenty of time to go as I rarely play along with the intention of a specific challenge in mind these days.
      Trying to get back into the swing of things a bit more!
      Hugs... x

  7. You card is totally unique to you and I love the result. So sorry to hear hubby has been so liberal with his germs but glad to hear about pay back time. Things not young great guns here either (but I' very nearly up to a full wardrobe!). Hugs Mrs A.

    1. A full wardrobe? Now I'm wondering if you've addd to what was already there or turfed that lot out bit by bit as the new stuff's come in!
      Sorry to read that life's tough for you, too.
      It's really not very fair, is it?
      At least crafting helps a little...
      Take care. X

  8. What a delightful and ever so pretty card. You are far too hard on yourself as I absolutely love your card. Yes I know what you mean...I see many extremely creative and talented crafters using these stamps (of course I buy them) then don't use them as I can't come up with anything nearly as good or as you say in your own style. Hope the boiler gets fixed soon and you've been really unlucky with getting so sicky x You should be proud of this it!

    1. Thank you so much, Mac.
      I found a new challenge blog (that's starting up in a few weeks time) late last night and immediately thought of you.
      I've put the link on my side bar if you want to take a look. It's called 'Mix It Up'.
      Thank you for your kind words...
      Donna. X

  9. I too have been intimidated by these beautiful Penny Black stamps, which is why I don't have any. I know what you mean when you say you've seen some beauties out there in blog land! But I have to say that your card is SO pretty!!!! You've kept it clean and simple, and it's truly lovely!!!!

  10. Oh, dear, Grandma feels like you could use a hug, my little friend. I did think you'd been very quiet and I'm sorry to hear it's because you've been playing Pass The Germ with your inconsiderate husband (she says, kindly!). And the boiler on top of it is really just kicking you when you're down. Horribly unfair! I hope it is fixed soon!

    I give you hugs for that, but a stern shaking for the self-castigation! I won't hear of it! Your talent is far too good for that and you shouldn't be holding it up like a candle to ANYONE else's work! Listen, I'm quite confident that there are new card makers out there surfing through Blogland (and even some seasoned card makers!) who find you and WISH they could make cards HALF as good as yours! Seriously!

    And from a practical standpoint regarding originality, don't you find that if you see a card with an image/design that you fall in love with and then you buy the image and then you start CASEing that artist because (it is a compliment you know) you just loved their card, but pretty soon as you go about CASEing, you find the design is morphing into YOU? I mean, don't you? So you see, you do have a distinct Donna Style! You can't help it. It is just there, in your mind, in your heart, in your fingertips. I'll bet you would have to try really hard to do an EXACT copy of another's card. It's not that easy to do because one's artistic nature wants to push through at all costs. IMHO. I hope you won't worry so much about how to be "different" or "unique" or do something that's never been done before because just being you makes all those things true!! Period. I hope that made sense.

    And as for this card, in particular, it's breathtaking! It's beautifully colored and beautiful designed and beautiful balanced! If I weren't pinning all the NBUS cards, I'd be pinning this anyway!! Thank you so much for playing in my NBUS Challenge #11! Huge hugs, Darnell

    1. Hello Grandma Biscuit 🙂
      We should find out today (as he didn't get back to us yesterday as he had said he would) whether or not the boiler can be changed (new one needed). If not able to do Tues or Wed of this week, we have to wait as he's then off for 10 days. (He was away when it initially broke down, too).
      At least we still have hot water and a gas fire for use in the evenings.
      As for being hard wired to be critical of myself... I've always been that way. It just gets channelled into card making now... and I've never CASE'd a card to date. But I get what you are saying and do take inspiration from the wealth of talent in bloggy land.
      I'm off to get ready for Sainsbury's now as they open at 7am. Prefer it when it's quiet so it's the only time I go.
      Thank you for the hugs and your kindness that knows no bounds for anyone, mf.
      Mwah... x

  11. HI Donna! I can see from the photo that the card base is dark brown, not black and it's a wonderful alternative for black when you want to use a dark card base. Good thinking! I understand your love towards Penny Black stamps, they truly are gorgeous. I love the die cuts butterfly you added. Let's hope you'll be all healthy now in April and germs stay out from your house! Have a fun week!

    1. Thank you, Nonni.
      Boiler's being fixed tomorrow- yippee!!!
      Enjoy your week, too. 🙂

  12. Beautiful card Donna - I love how well you combined everything - so elegant too! Here's hoping you're soon fully recovered and that the boiler is fixed toot sweet!!


    Di xx

    1. Thank you, Di.
      Hope you are taking good care of yourself and enjoying a bit more free time for yourself.
      Hugs to you, too. xxx

  13. Wow, very stunning card, Donna! Looks like you painted it, not stamped! Just beautiful! The gold corner and sentiment are the perfect touch! Thanks for playing with us at 4 Crafty Chicks this week!

  14. A really pretty and elegant card. Thank you for joining us at Inkspirational Challenges.

  15. A really wonderful card! Perfect for our Spring theme. Thanks for joining us over at Inkspirational! 😁

  16. Such a delightful spring-like card! I think it's breathtaking! Thank your for sharing with us at Inkspirational.

  17. such a pretty card and a lovely design using a great colour combo! thank you so much for playing along with us at penny black and more!