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Thursday, 24 September 2009

Happy birthday bro'

Well, brother-in-law actually and it's not for a couple more weeks but we're going up to see the in-laws this weekend so we thought we might as well take pressie and card up at the same time.

I'm hoping he won't think the card is too immature for him (he will be 32!). He loves our labrador, Poppy (and she him!) so I thought he might appreciate a dog themed card. I used DCWV's Pets Stack paper that I bought from Bunny Zoe's Crafts just the other week. It's also the first time I have used Kraft card - and I love it! Now I get why everybody else loves it! I used Elzybell's Kraft card (which is darker than the Bazzill's) and the colour match was much better with the DCWV papers. I also used the dotted border stamp from the Hot Off The Press Bold Patterns stamp set and heat embossed it in white. You can't really see it, but I also doodled a black dash around the main mat.

I have (nearly! Still half done!) more cards to share, but will have to wait until Sunday when I'm back. Thanks for looking!

Papers/cardstock: blue Core'dinations cardstock, DCWV Pet Stack papers,
Stamps: Papermania Sentiments,
Hot Off The Press Bold Patterns, paw stamp from stash
Mediums: Staz On in Saddle Brown, black pen 0.3
Accents: ribbon and bronze brads from stash, Robin's Nest Dew Drops in Cowboy, Bazzill button
Tools: Netstabilities Labels 2 (for inside card), Woodware star punches

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Bunny Zoe's blog candy!

Have you been to Bunny Zoe's Crafts yet? This is owned by Nikki Fairbairn, who is one of the loveliest people I've never met! LOL!! I love buying from Nikki because she provides fantastic customer service and orders all my favourite stamps for me (Greeting Farm and CC Designs). Although she's UK based, she ships worldwide too.

Another fantastic thing about Nikki is that she is a very talented cardmaker and stamper too and luckily she likes using all the stuff I do! She's celebrating her 150,000 hits to her blog and she's celebrating with blog candy - and we all love candy! Go and take a look here. And this is what you can win...

Ain't she a doll? Anyway, I know I still have to share my recent creations, but still working those late nights! Will definitely post something tomorrow night - a well earned break for me! *Speak* tomorrow!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Spreading the love!

Another blog candy! Have you seen Kristine's Lost in Creativity yet? She's giving away a mega blog candy so you really should go and join in!

I can't believe it's now been over a week since I've done an entry. It's been manic at work and quite a few social activities, but I have been doing some cards when I can catch a spare minute or so. I'm still working on those Xmas cards and have around 30 partly finished cards! I am going to work on them tonight and tomorrow and then I'll get some published asap!

Have a great weekend and good luck if you join in to win the blog candy!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Friday Sketch - my submission

Whew! Just getting this done in the nick of time! Was going to do this earlier in the week, but of course got caught up with other things, including making (for the first time) an envelope for my mum's card as it was way too fat for any of my stock ones! I made it and very pleased with myself as I didn't even use a template! I'm also quite pleased with my very first Xmas card of the season. I used Amy Rysavy's Friday Sketch.

If you haven't come across her yet, she designs for CC Designs (in the UK you can buy from Bunny Zoe's Crafts and Dies to Die For). I've never done one of her sketch's before but had to have a go as she's one of my fav designers and card creators. Anyway, here's my card...

It's not exact to Amy's sketch, but I just can't cope when things aren't symmetrical enough! I got the tension wrong on my mini sewing machine (yes, still loving it!), but I decided I quite liked the rough effect of the stitching so I didn't correct it. You can't see it in the photo, but I also used a Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust pen on the image and writing on the tag. I love that pen - just adds a touch of subtle shine. I'm considering using a glaze pen or Diamond Glaze all over the ornaments but not sure if that would suit the style of the card.

I bought the K&Co Mat Pad and Tag Pad last year but didn't use them - they were too beautiful to be wasted by this novice! But what with all the beautiful paper designs that keep being released I was determined to use it up before I bought a new xmas collection - and I have! I have a whole production line going now and will have about 30 cards made up. Not bad for September! They are are all in a half finished state and hope to finish them this weekend.

Enough said, list of supplies below.

Papers/cardstock: various Bazzill and Core'dinations cardstock, K&Co Brenda Walton's Peppermint Twist Mat Pad and Tag Pad
Stamps: none for a change!
Mediums: Versafine Onyx Black, Sakura Gelly Roll Stardust pen,
Accents: ribbon from stash
Tools: sewing machine, Fiskars Upper Crest border punch

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Happy Birthday Mum Take Two!!

I'm going to keep this one short after all my waffling yesterday! As I said then, I just wasn't happy with the card I made for my mum's birthday (yesterday's post here). After some cogitating I came up with this version instead...

And here it is front on...

I much prefer this! I think the balance is better and I prefer the less fussy flower arrangement. Now just to create an insert to go with it. And to find someone to give the other card to!
Papers/cardstock: various Bazzill cardstock
K&Co Amy Butler Lotus Floral stamp set, sentiment from Hero Arts Great Flourishes Messages
Mediums: Versafine Onyx Black, VersaMark Dazzle in Frost, for the butterfly VersaMagic in Purple Hydrangea, Perfect Plumeria and Eggplant
Accents: ribbon and flowers from stash, button from BasicGrey Wisteria
Tools: sewing machine,
Fiskars Upper Crest border punch, Spellbinders Label Four

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Happy Birthday Mum!

Luckily my mum is IT illiterate and wouldn't know what a blog was if it was staring right at her! So I can upload the photo of the card I made for her birthday (this coming Friday) and I won't spoil the surprise. Because it's for my mum, I obviously wanted this card to be as special as possible. I'm still not 100% happy about the end result, but I have some time to experiment and improve it before Friday! Anyway, for this card I had three "wants":
  1. To create a card purely from my own imagination and not to rely on any sketches or challenges
  2. To use my sewing machine that she bought me last year and I only learnt to use it a couple of weeks ago (see here)!
  3. To use my DCWV Far East papers as my mum originated from Hong Kong
I failed on the last one. No matter how much I played around with the Far East papers, I just couldn't get any inspiration! I still wanted to stick with the purple shades in there though and ended up creating this...

What do you think? I don't think it's too bad overall, but I don't like the flower arrangement - there's something not right about it but I'm not sure what it is!! It doesn't balance with the sentiment properly either. And I think the satin ribbon is too thin. Will have a think on that...
I do like the butterfly though! It's from the K&Co Amy Butler Lotus Floral stamp set. It wasn't easy to find in the UK, but I managed to buy it from Charmed Cards & Crafts (scroll down half the page via the link). I haven't used it before because I wasn't sure how to make the best of it and what I eventually did was to colour it with three varying shades of purple ink and then used a character shaper and moulding mat (normally used for floral punch craft) to make it pop - I think it worked quite well. You can buy the tools from Crafts U Love here. I also wanted to give the butterfly a slight sheen to it too. You can't see it in the photo, but I used a VersaMark Dazzle in Frost and stamped it directly onto some white thick card. I then dried it with my heat tool and then stamped the inked butterfly onto it. Originally I stamped the butterfly and then the Versamark ink on top but it diluted the colours too much. I then cut out the butterfly and stuck it on with PVA glue.
I used to be rubbish at cutting, but I found micro serrated scissors and now it's easy peasy! Before my cut outs looked messy, but now they look like professional die cuts! Well, perhaps not that good, but pretty close!
The other thing I wanted to mention is that I've eventually done some research into improving how I photograph my cards. I found some very easy cheap solutions but in reality it's really hard to buy the lighting and spend less than £70. Does that sound a lot or not? It's probably not, but I've read on blogs that they've done it on the cheap so I'm reluctant to spend any more than I need too! Anyway, what I did was to create the background using a white A4 folder, thick white paper, double sticky tape (lots of it!) and a cheap £20 desktop adjustable lamp. I haven't yet sorted out a full spectrum bulb but thought the results with the energy saving bulb (11 watt, equivalent to a normal 75 watt) that came with the lamp worked quite well. Here's how it came out on this first experiment...

Not too bad, but I had to crop the photo to focus just on the card and still had to use auto correct as it was still a little too dark. The big plus was that there was no yellowing that I got from my normal home lighting and I didn't even use a full spectrum bulb. The cheap lamp I got was really wobbly too which could be dangerous! It's definitely going back for refund and looks like I'll be spending that £70 afterall.
I don't know about your parents, but it's always really difficult to buy for mine. Firstly, they own everything they really want or need and, secondly, they don't want me to spend money on them - sound familiar?!! Instead of buying something my mum will just go and get a refund for, I thought I would make her some Christmas cards she can send this year. She seems to love my creations (even takes them into work to show them off! Talk about rose tinted glasses!) so I think it will go down well and we won't end up with our usual argument about "wasting money on her"! I don't mean to make her sound ungrateful - she just prefers me to put my hard earned cash towards my mortgage - what great mum!
Anyway, I'm waffling now. Must be the reduced champagne we got from Morrisons! ;)

Papers/cardstock: various Bazzill cardstock
Stamps: K&Co Amy Butler Lotus Floral stamp set, sentiment from Hero Arts Great Flourishes Messages
Mediums: Versafine Onyx Black, VersaMark Dazzle in Frost, for the butterfly VersaMagic in Purple Hydrangea, Perfect Plumeria and Eggplant
Accents: satin ribbon, paper flowers, heart pin, string - all from stash, button from BasicGrey Wisteria
Tools: sewing machine, Fiskars Upper Crest border punch, Spellbinders Label Four

Blog candy gone mad!!

You should see this on Tara's blog - more candy to win! Look at what she's giving away...

I love the way Tara creates such interest in her cards - she's a pro with those accents! See what I mean here - isn't it well put together?

You should also go and check out this candy by the lovely Helen.

She is a great source of all the sketch challenges out there! And, of course, lovely creations of her own too. Check her out here!

And if you need to stock up on your Christmas stash, take a look at Caryn's candy here.

If you like alcohol ink based pens, then you'll like her blog as she's passionate about Promarkers! And I love the name of her blog - "Glitter Me Silly" - fabulous!

Whew! I have my fingers crossed for myself, but also for you! Good luck!

Sugar Nellie Manga blog candy!

Want to win some blog candy? Not from me, but from the very talented Stephanie. She's celebrating her 1 month blog anniversary by giving away some Sugar Nellie Manga stamps along with some other goodies...

Isn't she the best?! I love Stephanie's creations - so eye catching with plenty of interesting detail but not at all fussy. See her version of Miss Anya Rain here. Beautiful!

Good luck (although of course I hope I'm the winner!!).

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Thank you very much!

Gosh, another week gone by without a blog entry, but I've got a good excuse! We went away for the Bank Holiday weekend to my friend's wedding (who I made this card for) in Gloucestershire. It was held at magnificent Clearwell Castle and my friend looked like a princess! I also got to spend time with a whole load of friends that I used to work with. It has been over 6 years so it was wonderful to catch up with them all.

Being away meant that I've been a bit tardy in making my thank you cards for all my lovely birthday pressies from my parents and my in-laws last week! I've been dying to use some Laura Ashley Contemporary paper (2008 release) that I bought ages ago and never touched. I thought one of the papers would go really well with my Hero Arts Four Dolls stamps. Some of the flowers in the paper are in grey/lilac so I decided to enhance that with my Copics and accents. I used dew drops as I thought the cards were a little plain, but are these now a little out of fashion to use? I still love them! Anyway, here they are...

I've also been experimenting to improve my photos. I think this is better, but I still need to get the lighting right! Daylight bulbs here I come... Anyway, I quite like them and I hope you too! A skill I still need to perfect!

Papers/cardstock: Bazzill Basics cardstock, Laura Ashley Contemporary paper pack
Stamps: Hero Arts Four Dolls
Mediums: Copic Caios
Accents: Orchid Dew Drops, gems and ribbons from my stash
Tools: Fiskars Scalloped Lace border punch


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