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Thursday, 14 December 2017

Altenew Build A Flower - Poinsettia

Back in April I raved about the Altenew Build A Flower stamp and die sets that the company began releasing then, in fact I did a post on the first set which was the Camellia Build A Flower and I haven't posted anything since on these fabulous collections. They've so far done 9 releases and of those I've purchased 5, I intend to buy 3 of the remaining 9, but the Coral Charm BAF just didn't sing to me so I'm not getting that one.

Amazingly though despite having bought 5 of these sets, prior to making these cards above I've only used the Camellia set, the rest are sat in my stuff to be used box! Something I intend to rectify over the next couple of weeks, as soon as the Xmas cards are done. By then I should get the latest release which is the Carnation BAF, the carnation being my birth month flower and also one of my favourite flowers.

When they began releasing the BAF collections I hoped that they would do a Christmas set and the Poinsettia was top of my list, but I wasn't sure they would as they had already released a poinsettia stamp.

Like all the other Altenew layering stamp sets the poinsettia is very easy to stamp, a job made even easier if you have a stamping platform. Because I wanted to make a batch of cards I cut several sheets of card so that I could stamp one image and rotate 90 degrees to stamp another and repeated this process on 3 pieces of card to give me 6 read images.

The process was repeated using green shades of ink to give me a batch of green leaves to use. For both the red and green images I used Altenew inks Red: Crimson, Velvet & Grapevine and Green: Frayed Leaf, Forest Glades and Evergreen, the yellow centre was stamped with a couple of Memento shades Dandelion and Toffee Crunch and I used Jet Black Altenew ink for the stamen tips.

I decided to give the outline a gold embossed treatment and finished off the flowers with some sparkle pen. Once I'd finished the images I started to put together the cards, I wanted to keep them fairly flat because of postage, so all I did was die cut the scalloped base and the stitched top panel from my Tonic Beautiful Day Sew Pretty set, I embossed the white stitched panel with a poinsettia embossing folder I got free last year with one of the card making magazines, although I can't remember which one now.

Next I randomly cut in to the green leaves and after placing the red flower I added the green leaves behind stuck direct to the embossed panel with Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive. I then added a coating of Clear Spectrum Noir Sparkle Pen and attached the panel to my card base, I used gold metallic effect cards that came with matching envelopes that I got from 'The Works' in the January sales. Finally I added a "Warmest Wishes" sentiment in the same gold foil card I Cut the scalloped circle from using a Sue Wilson die and glued that direct to the front of the card.

The process was fast and before I knew it I had 6 cards ready to send to friends, with a few green leaf bits left over for another batch, I glued a few white panels inside the cards with a pre-stamped sentiment and they are now ready to write. I can see this set having a lot of use over the years, I've already started another batch and will add some of them to my charity card pile.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Sizzix Meadowcat

Hello crafty blog land lovelies :) I'm frantically trying to finish off all my Christmas cards, make a couple of birthday cards, some gifts and do the usual wrap presents and write card thing that some of us do at this time of year. I'm winning on some counts, but where the xmas cards are concerned I keep getting distracted...

Like when the crazy cat lady in me stretched out her virtual paw after seeing this shiny new Sizzix Meadow Cat die and knew I had to play with it as soon as I saw it for sale on the Craft Stash website.  So order it I did and as soon as it arrived yesterday I dropped the xmas cards I was working on and had a quick play with Miss Meadow Cat and this is what I created in no time at all.

Like all Sizzix dies it cut like a dream and it made a simple almost 1 layer card very quickly. I die cut the image from black card stock and then using Arteza metallic marker pens to colour the various bits of flora on the die.

Sadly the photo doesn't show the shine of the pens on the black card as well as I'd like, I need a better camera or a light box! The Arteza pens I used are water based, I want to try colouring the die cut with my Promarker metallic's and also my Spectrum Noir Metallic Pencils as I'm sure they will give totally different effects. I made this card to put in my box for the future, I sure hope that I don't have to use it though. I thought I'd make some for giving to my local Cats Protection to sell.

I think that this die can work for lots of different occasions, paper piece the flora in lots of bright colours and add a stamped tiny butterfly to the nose and suitable sentiment for a summer birthday, colouring in red, green and gold could also make an Xmas card for a cat friend and autumn colours will produce a thanksgiving/halloween card. So the die has a lot of versatility and not just a use for sad occasions.

I wanted to keep the card pretty simple focusing mainly on the image so all I added to the white card blank were a couple of rows of pawprints from my Justrite 'Pet Sympathy Sentiments' stamp set and the sentiment comes from the Newton's Nook 'Furr-ever Friends' stamp set and both are stamped in Onyx Black Versafine ink. I added a few gems from my stash to the flowers, but in hindsight may have been a touch too much?

Before I go I thought I'd mention the affliate links that have started to pop up on my blog, I've joined an affliate scheme which means if you click on one of the links on my blog and then you make a purchase at the store I get a small commission. It's a way of earning some extra crafting pennies for me and it doesn't cost you anything, so if you happen to click and buy thank you :)

Friday, 1 December 2017

Step Into An Enchanted Wood


Back in June I became aware a company called Craftwork Cards thanks to the massively talented and creative wonder of a woman Jennifer Kray, she designs for CWC and Tonic Studios, if you haven't checked out her blog I urge you to do so, I checked out the wealth of projects made with CWC products and I fell in love with the 'Enchanted Wood', 'Hedgerow', 'Pampered Pets' and 'Potting shed' designs to name a few. Suffice to say, I acquired a couple of the pads, but some of them are no longer available I found to my chagrin, I missed the chance to play with the Botanica collection sadly.

The first collection to turn up was the 'Enchanted Wood' paper pad and I got a set of the toppers off Ebay of all places, as the Enchanted Wood set is no longer available on the CWC website. The designs that resonate with me most are the ones that appeal to my inner gardening, herb and wild flower loving crazy cat lady, so naturally I wanted to play with these beautiful papers. I was so happy to raid my 'Maybe Someday' box for bits of water colour paper scraps I've kept that were perfect for die cutting ferns to echo the ferns on the papers.

The papers are fabulous, I've since bought the 'Winter Woodland', 'Pampered Pets' and the 'Festive' USB stick which is cram full of lovely papers and toppers, so far I've drafted out a couple of cards that need to be put together mostly for Christmas, I just need to get round to finishing them.

Both the cards I made in the photo above use the 'Enchanted Wood' collection and were very simple to put together, I made a stepper card and an oval easel card and used the backing papers from the set. The flowers are made from cheap craft foam that I added some Nuvo Drops to the centre of. I used a selection of Tattered Lace (fern), Tonic Studios (scalloped circle), Spellbinders (white oval frames) and Crafters Companion (flower and leaf) dies.

The hardest part about putting these cards together was deciding which of the lovely papers to use, I have a problem with collection paper pads, once I buy them I then struggle to use them, because when I do I don't have it anymore!? Ironic as I buy them to use them, but some papers are just so lovely it seems wrong to rip them out of the pad to use them! That's why designs on USB sticks are brilliant because you can print them off as often as you like and never use them all up!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Newton's Nook - Sweater Weather Card

I've not been doing a lot of card making lately, I'm rewriting a course to teach youngsters about the history of robots and been off visiting Oxford and doing the Christmas present shopping lark.

It hit me the other day that I was VERY behind on making all the cards I need to send to friends and relatives for Xmas, so I started yesterday making cards in earnest. I have 60 cards left to make and some gifts also eeek!

I'm entering this card in to the Newton's Nook Inky Paws Challenge #60 'Add Some Sparkle' it was fairly quick to put together, the easel card I'd made last year and never used, so lay in my 'Maybe Someday' box. It seemed like the ideal backdrop for using with the Newton's Nook Sweater Weather stamps and dies.

My colouring still leaves a lot to be desired in terms of shading, these images are coloured simply with Zig Waterbrush Pens and then given a layer of Clear Sparkle Pen, I added more sparkly touches with Tonic Craft Perfect glitter card which I used to cut the snow bank and all the snowflakes. I also used gold metallic cardas the base for the easel layers, to cut the frilled edge to go behind the main image and for the sentiment stopper for the card and the gems are very sparkly as well, but sadly the photo doesn't show them at their best.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

DIY ATC/Gift Card Decorative Folders

These little folders are really easy to make if you have a paper trimmer, a scoring board or a means of scoring the paper and some basic supplies like glue, scissors and ribbon. I can’t take the credit for the idea however, I received my first ATC from the swap I’m taking part in and the lady that sent me the ATC sent it in one of these little folders that she had made, so thank you Carolynne for giving me the inspiration!

I think these folders make the sent ATC’s look nicer than just popping them in an envelope, and they add something to the ‘Happy Mail’ factor of sending an ATC. Plus if you keep the sentiment neutral, the recipient can reuse the folders to put a gift card in, or for sending another ATC to someone else. You can also use them yourself for gift cards which is what I've started to do, decorating the folders to reflect the hobbies/interests of the recipient.



To make my folders I used both 200gsm and 160gsm, of the two weights I prefer the 160gsm mainly because I discovered that 200gsm card or thicker cracked along the folded edge, which made the folder look rough and messy.It's also good if your chosen paper has a pattern either side, but this is not essential, if your card/paper only has a pattern on one side make sure you have the right side facing out when you make your fold.

To create a folder cut a piece of card stock or thick paper to the following measurements: -

Width = 20cm
Height = 10cm

Score and fold the piece in the middle at the 10cm point, then fold and run the back of a bone folder/scoring tool on the fold to make it nice and defined. Round off the corners of left and right side opening edges, front and back, you can skip this step if you want straight edges - I used my Xcut 5mm (S) Corner Punch. Put this piece to one side for the minute and create the inside pocket.

To create the pocket, take a piece of card stock or paper that matches the outside of the folder or contrasts with it and cut it to 10cm wide by 6.5cm tall. Score a 1cm border along 3 sides (bottom, left and right) crease and fold, open the fold up again and trim the corners away.

Glue the 2 sides and fold the bottom piece up so it becomes attached to the sides, hold it in place whilst the glue dries. Once dry add some glue to the bottom folded in piece and the two sides, line the pocket up with the centre and bottom of the inside panel, and press down, apply pressure and leave to dry.

Once the glue has dried you’re ready to decorative your folder, you can stamp on the front or add a label or any embellishments you desire, I added a die cut that I stamped a sentiment on. You can close the folder in the way you would a card and call it finished, or do like I do and punch holes in both sides of the folder and put a little ribbon through and tie it to close. I've also made some small envelopes big enough to take ATC's and some 4" x 4" envelopes that fit these folders perfectly.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Breakout The Stash, It's Time For A Swing Out Sister Card!

Greetings from Warts n All HQ, its been a busy few weeks so I've not been doing much crafting or blogging, we've been away on holiday to France and I've also been organising the cupboards and trying to de-clutter rooms, well every room but the craft room, although really I should try to tackle that room lol!

Over the past few weeks I've acquired lots of jolly new stamps and dies from Lawn Fawn and Newton's Nook and some of the new Tonic Halloween range, so now I have some time on my hands I can Breakout the stash and play, you see where this is going from the title, right?

I've decided this year I'll be making pop up box cards for close friends and family, so I've been cutting the panels to create them like a trooper. I've also cut a few halloween themed panels and some for get well and birthday.

The boxes are quick to put together and I'll show a few examples soon in another post, but I couldn't help but want to try my hand at a new card type, I bought some dies from China off Ebay that were purportedly like the My Favorite Things Die-Namics Flip Flop dies. Only to be disappointed to discover that then don't score and cut like they should, they just cut, grrr!

I'm sure they'll have some kind of use in the future, but they aren't any good as flip flop card cutters. So I had to put my thinking cap on and find an alternative way of making a flip flop card, also known as a Swing Out card. It's really a lot easier than I thought, and you can use any die shape you care to, there are other versions of the swing out cards as well to try in the future that are more complicated than my simple design.


For my first ever attempt at creating a Swing Out Card I used some free papers and toppers from Making Cards magazine (October 2017), a set called 'Christmas Puppy', such cute images and I love the bright festive chevron striped papers, that accompanied the toppers. The toppers were so cute that I decided to add another on the reverse side of the swing out panel.

I finished the card off with a stamped sentiment panel that I stamped with 'silvery Shimmer' Tsukineko 'Delicata' Pigment Ink. It's a fabulous metallic ink which dries really quickly and unlike other metallic pigment inks, it doesn't smudge and smear once completely dried. A couple of snowflakes cut from white glitter card with some crystal diamanté gems in the centre added a finishing touch. In hindsight, I should have put paper on both sides of the Z fold, a point to note for next time.


As the first card went well, I wanted to make another, I have lots of the red metallic pearl card that I got last year but haven't used it yet, and its great for making card bases like these, so what better excuse?

I stamped and coloured the image on the second card whilst on holiday using my Altenew 'Poinsettia & Pine' set.

I gold heat embossed the corner decoration and the inside panels have sentiments on stamped in 'Delicata' Ink again, this time in the 'Golden Glitz' colour.

Whilst I was putting the card together I kept finding myself humming a tune, it took me a while to realise that the tune I was humming was from my early twenties by a band called Swing Out Sister, for all you youngsters who have no idea what I'm talking about, I've added a Vevo video of the song below. Music or not I think there will be a few Swing Out cards on my crafting horizon and using different shapes. Now back to chilling with tunes and putting the box cards together :)

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Bookmark Gift Cards

I recently took out a subscription to Making Cards magazine and this morning my first subscription issue arrived, the free papers this time were adorable and I decided to make a couple of book themed gift cards with them. I decided a few months back that I wanted to start including something on or in my cards that could have a use outside of the occasion I was sending the card for, and book marks are the obvious choice, and partnered with a National Book Token they make an easy all occasion gift as well.

When my subscription issue arrived on my door mat this morning I fell in love with the "Barry the Book Owl" papers that came with it and quickly made 3 book marks and 2 cards, I still have some toppers and backing papers to put to use as well.

As the papers were in shades of red and green, they gave me the perfect opportunity to use up some of the 'Christmas' red and green card blanks that I'd amassed over the past couple of years, having found them buried in a box of card stash recently.

As you can see on the main image for the green card I created a pocket from the papers trimmed from the card to put the bookmark in. All the bookmarks are cut with an Avery Elle Bookmark Elle-Ment die that I got from Seven Hills Crafts recently. I decided to take the white of the bookmark down and used 'Vintage Photo' Distress Ink to age the paper and the edges of the bookmark. I added a suitable sentiment embossed in gold to this book mark, tied a little piece of organza ribbon to the bottom and tucked it in to its pocket.

The leaves are supposed to represent leafs, I cut them from some paper with words on but when I stamped on to it it looked to 'busy' so I flipped the leaves and stamped on to the more muted pattern on the reverse and added some more distress ink to the edges and added them to the card with 3D foam squares. If anyone is interested the leaves were cut with dies from the Crafters Companion 'Scattered Leaves' die set and the wording comes from a set of stamps by Justrite called 'Antique Autumn Tags One'.

The second card I wanted to send a surprise to someone who has just done very well in their exams and I'm proud of them and wanted to send them a congrats for all their hard work.

I clearly managed to disguise the fact that the card holds a gift by cutting two 6cm lines into the card front on my glass cutting mat which were just a little wider than the book mark (5cm) and used the piece it created to slot the bookmark in to the card, in hindsight it would have been better to place the slits a little higher up but I'll correct that next card. From the front you could see the bookmark because I'd used the same paper to back the bookmark with so it blended in nicely, but still I wanted to add a sentiment. So I decided to add a piece that was wider than slot cut and attach it either side of the slot with 3D foam squares, so from the front you can't see what the card contains.

When you open the card on the inside you can see the bookmark, no adhesive or anything is necessary to hold the bookmark in place as the slot holds it firmly to the card. On the other side of the card I added another pocket that is as wide as a gift card and will pop the book token in there when I buy it later. I have already written the card for the recipient hence not showing that part of the card. I think these kind of cards are going to become a new addiction, they can be made for so many different occasions. By the way the congratulations sentiment comes from a set of stamps called "Everyday Sentiments" that came free with Making Cards, if you missed that issue, the stamp sets are available to buy via their online shop. I'll add a post on how I made the pocket in the next few weeks, I just need to take some photos.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

What Bank Holiday Weekend?

I've filed this under not craft related, but as I wound up making something crafty, I guess it is, but its not one of my usual crafting activities so it can stay in this section for now lol!

Apparently we've just had a bank holiday weekend, not that you would have noticed it in this house! Aside from trips to local DIY and paint supply places we didn't venture out much at all. We are at T-minus 4 days now to a Dr Who event that hubby wants to take his replica K9 to, only his replica K9 isn't finished yet!

I think some women would panic, but I'm used to it, Simon's robot projects are always last minute, it seems like a tradition to still be sticking holographic plastic on to Chompalot's panels the night before we go off to film Robot Wars. I admit that this weekend though I got a little peeved, I'd spent all Friday cleaning, in the event that we had any weekend visitors (we never do have any to be fair), but by the time he went back to work this morning the whole of downstairs looks like a bomb has gone off in it. His project has spread all over the front room and he's trod fibreglass bits all through the kitchen and hall, its a good job I love him lol!

I had a weekend of card making and reading planned, but things didn't go according to plan, what with the trips to get supplies, food shopping and getting roped in to making a collar for K9, still its nice to be able to contribute something to the robot projects, my role is generally cosmetic, I do the finishing touches and have a say on design elements/materials used.

The construction was easy enough, I covered a strip of leather with some tartan fabric and added some velcro to the edges to fasten it.  The D ring that the tag hangs from I took off a collar that once belonged to my dog Mitzie, she died 17 years ago now, but I've kept her puppy and adult collars in a pets memory box, I've done that with all my cats as well. It just seemed fitting to use a part of my beloved dogs collar on Si's beloved dog project.

Simon 3D printed the tag, but he wanted the words to stand out, he was going to use a felt tip but I thought it would look better gilded, so I spirited the tag away in to my craft room and applied a couple of layers of 'Empire Gold' Pebeo Gilding Wax to the raised areas. I so wish they did more colours of this wax, because its the easiest gilding wax to apply that I've found and I've tried a few, I think also my application technique has much improved because I managed to get this on just the raised areas and nowhere else.

That's thanks to watching a Sara Davies (Crafters Companion) video on applying the wax I think, I'd been using the tip of my finger, she said its better using the ball of your finger rather than the tip and it is! Fingers crossed that Simon manages to get the K9 finished, he's wanted to make one since he was a youngster, he wrote to the BBC asking for plans when he was about 8 and they sent him back a postcard of Tom Baker, not what he had in mind lol! When he was in his teens he made some small models from balsa wood and even a K9 head (about half scale ) but no full scale K9 materialised, he bought one of Ebay in 2007, paid £100 for it and when he collected it... Well lets just say that the photos of the K9 left a lot to be desired, so much so the K9 went to the tip a couple of years ago.

This one though will not be going to the tip, I really can't wait for him to finish this, he's put so much work in to it, I'm so very proud of him, for this build he's had to learn to master fibre glassing and so much else, my fella really is a robot making genius. Once K9 is finished maybe I can get him to finish the R2-D2 he's been toying with and the Wall-E he promised to build me! But first we have to have a robot free holiday and he has some house stuff to do, I've been making a list lol!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Ken Oliver Tree of Life Cards

I just realised that I made these cards a few months ago now and totally forgot to post about them! I saw this Ken Oliver Tree of Life Die and Stamp Set on the cover of Simply Cards & Papercraft Issue 160 back in February and loved it.

At the time I couldn't find it in the UK so I ordered it from Amazon via a USA supplier and waited patiently for it to arrive.

When it did I couldn't wait to get started, I stamped the first image on to white card stock and coloured it in with my Zig Real Color Brush Markers and added a little sparkle with Spectrum Noir Sparkle Pen and finished the centre of the flowers off with some Nuvo Drops.

The beauty of the die set is it not only cuts the fine detail of the tree, it also cuts the shaped background panel, and its really easy to line up so you cut it accurately. I folded a piece of white card and used the die to create a card blank by over shooting the fold of the card with the die. See this step by step Papercraft Inspirations video on How to Die Cut A Shaped Aperture Card if you're unsure how to do it.

Once I'd cut the card blank I used Mowed Lawn and Broken China Distress inks to colour the background and added the tree to the base with small foam pads.
I decided to experiment with a different medium on black card stock, my inner would be Goth seems to favour black card to white when making cards, in everyday life I tend to go for black, purple, dark blues and browns, my 'invisible' colours.

I made another shaped card blank to attach the finished tree to using black card and coloured that with a layer of Broken China Oxide Ink which gave the card base a look of a black board which I loved.

This time instead of stamping in black ink, I elected to stamp in Versamark ink and heat emboss the image with some WOW Rich Gold embossing powder. I then coloured the tree with some Metallic Gel Sticks which are primarily aimed at children and are a little cheaper than a set of Metallic Gelatos.

Both products are made by Faber Castell and I have both sets but when using the metallics, I actually prefer the kids Gel Sticks because they seem to have more pigment in them and thus give a richer, more vibrant colour. If you're on a budget, the Gel Sticks also offer better value for money in that although they are about £1 more than the Gelatos, you get 6 Gel Sticks, the same colours as the Gelatos, plus a gold and silver gel stick.

Once I finished the darker tree of life card, I added a gold and black sentiment using the Avery Elle Hugs Elle-Ments dies, in my head there was a reference to tree hugging but it didn't translate as well on the card lol! I love this stamp and die set so much, I've been working on some seasonal versions.

If I could change the set in anyway I would have left off the flowers and added more leaves. Whilst the flowers are pretty it would have been nice to colour just leaves for an autumn tree of life.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Playing With Oxide Inks

Greetings lovely blog land people, I've been playing a lot with my Distress Oxide inks lately, I love how they blend together and with the release of 12 new colours and the promise of 12 more colours come October - please have Squeezed Lemonade amongst them - crafting playtime is a lot of fun.

I've also finally got the hang of creating droplets of water to help lift the colour, no expensive gadget, and to my delight I discovered that the failed attempts prior to now were down to spray bottles not right for the job and not down to my being useless. I bought 3 spray bottle misters - the kind that gardeners use - from my local supermarket, the trigger on them is much better than small pump bottles and they are perfect for the job, a short little squeeze makes big droplets, a full squeeze and we get a light mist.


I've been having a lot of fun creating panels to turn in to cards with the oxide inks that I have and adding water drops and splashes, and I'm loving the results. The top creation isn't a card but a panel that I'm going to frame for my wall. I fell in love with the Visible Image 'Curious Cats' stamp set when I saw it and had to acquire it, not sure the 3 bands of colour works well, but I'll experiment with this set for sure.

The set arrived on Friday morning and I had to play, my first attempt at using the set is a tad basic compared to some of the creations I've seen for this stamp, but not bad for 30 minutes work. I have a lot of ideas for using the set. There are a lot of other Visible Image stamps I'd like to add to my collection in the future as well. The stamps are fabulous quality and stamp like a dream.

Another oxide ink play card creation this week was a card for my nephews 16th birthday, how the years have flown, hard to believe that it was 16 years ago that I moved to Derby but it is and this year will mark 15 years of being married, it doesn't feel that long though! Mind you it doesn't feel like 16 years since my nephew was born. I can post the card now as his birthday has been and gone and I'm so glad that he loved it.

I started by heating embossing in white some of the "We Love Music" stamps that came free with issue 31 of Creative Stamping on to water colour card, I then used rainbow shades of distress oxide inks to create a rainbow effect on the card, spritzed with water and blotted off and allowed the card to dry. I heat embossed the 16 and Happy Birthday sentiment in WOW gold embossing powder using stamps from the "Timeless Moments" set that came with issue 44 of Creative Stamping.

The headphones die is by Fuzzy Lemon and I cut it twice in red and black card and paper pieced the image and used a silver Sharpie to colour the inside of the ear cones once I'd attached the headphones to the card. I decided to add a banner on the same black card I made the base card out of and finished the card off with a few star gems from my stash.

I've been playing with the oxide inks a lot recently, I love the creamy look they give and the texture that looks like chalk with shades of velvet but it isn't either. I don't know if its a new thing syndrome, but I'm finding that I'm reaching for the oxide inks more than the standard distress inks, although I do think that original distress ink colours are a lot more vibrant.