Wednesday, 25 November 2015

How shall I colour thee? Let me count the ways!

Here's a card. And before you scroll down to see how I made it, here's a question. How many different types of colouring media do you think I used on it?

 The answer is just one! I've been having a play with my Be Creative alcohol based markers, and I wanted to see if I could create a card using only those to colour all the various elements. Of course, I had to use a water based ink to stamp the flowers and sentiment otherwise they would have been smudged by the markers, but everything is coloured with the markers.

I stamped the flowers (Honey Doo Crafts) with black Brilliance ink on to heat resistant acetate, embossed them with clear embossing powder and cut them out. I coloured them by attaching a piece of felt to a Be Creative mini ink blending tool, rubbing ink from the markers on to the felt, and then dabbing it on to the flowers.

To make the main background paper, I scribbled some colours on to my glass mat, added a few drops of hand sanitiser and smooshed it around with my finger to swirl the colours together. Then I pressed a piece of shiny card (eg. encaustic art card) over it to transfer the colour. An added bonus, (depending on the brand of sanitiser!) is that your card will smell nice!

The next job was to make the background for the sentiment. Again, I used the glass mat method, but instead of the hand sanitiser I sprayed the colours lightly with isopropyl alcohol to merge them, which gave a smoother result. Alcohol ink blending solution would work well, but I didn't have any, and anyway, isopropyl alcohol is much cheaper. You can buy it from the chemist, but they may have to order it for you, and you may be required to explain to them what you want it for!

SAFETY NOTE! If using either the hand sanitiser or alcohol spray methods, make sure your work area is well ventilated and do not use near naked flames. Also please note I cannot be held responsible for any problem resulting from your use of my methods.

For the outer border and that around the sentiment I simply coloured a piece of ordinary white card with a marker.The ribbon was coloured in the same way using two complimentary colours. Finally I used a marker to colour the self adhesive pearl (Be Creative), stamped the sentiment (Woodware) with Memento ink and diecut it with Spellbinders Label 4 dies.

I hope my experiment shows the versatility of the Be Creative Alcohol Markers, and also that you don't need lots of fancy stash to create something beautiful!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

It's getting nearer.....

.... and I have made hardly any Christmas cards yet! Still, at least I have made a start, with a card for our November theme at Stamping Sensations, which is


Can't really go wrong with this one - Christmas roses, holly and ivy, poinsettias, mistletoe, winter jasmine, even amaryllis, snowdrops and more! You may use any materials you choose, from any company. All we ask is that you use a stamp as the main focus of your design.

We are sponsored this month by be Creative!, who very kindly have donated a fantastic prize: a great selection (around £60 worth!) of their products, including papers, glitter glues, blending tools and refills, glue wand, tags, loads of embellishments and, to top it all, one of their fabulous totes to keep everything in!

Be Creative! are a new company, in fact so new that their website is not scheduled to go live until December, but you can check them out on their Facebook page. However, if you can't wait that long to get your hands on their stuff, you can buy it now from Once Upon A Stamp. Only some of the products are on their website, but they are all available from their shop, if you're local to them, or by telephoning your order to them on 01623 818910.

I am very impressed by the Be Creative paper pads. The paper is such good quality, and it's also double sided. I used a sheet from the "Winterland" pad for my card.

To echo the printed trees on the paper, I stamped and cut out a tree (from Stampin' Up's "Lovely As A Tree" set) and affixed it to the card with foam pads. I diecut the poinsettias (Marianne Design) from one of the "Winterland" papers and punched out the fern leaves (Leone Em) from metallic green paper (from my stash). I used a Be Creative glue wand to assemble the poinsettias and fasten them and the fern leaves in place. As the glue wand has a fine ball tip, it is very easy to apply the glue to small, delicate or fiddly items. It sticks really well too! I dotted the centres of the flowers and the stamped tree with glitter glue (also from Be Creative) and finished the design with a sentiment from Personal Impressions.

If, like me, you are still needing inspiration for your Christmas makes, you'll find plenty over on the Stamping Sensations Challenge Blog. Please do visit my teamies' individual blogs too, they would really appreciate it. I look forward to seeing all your lovely Festive Floral creations!

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Paper Bead Bracelet

I do like making paper beads. They are very simple to make and with the vast array of beautiful patterned papers on the market it's easy to find whatever colours or designs you desire. Alternatively, you can, of course, use recycled paper, wrapping paper, magazines, newspaper, etc. or even make them with plain paper and decorate them yourself. Haven't tried that yet but it's on my to-do list!

Having made my easel card the other day using Be Creative papers, I wanted to make a bracelet with the matching papers. Here are the materials I used. (I also used Diamond Glaze to seal the beads, but forgot to put it in the photo!)  The crochet hook, around which the paper is rolled, is size 6.00mm.

The Be Creative paper pads are 8" x 8". For each bead I cut a strip of paper 1cm wide using the full length of the paper. Fortuitously, 8" is just the right length for the type of bead I wanted to make, which was a "Pandora" style bead with metal end pieces. The diameter of the finished bead will also depend on the weight (thickness) of the paper, and again, the Be Creative papers are such that my bead turned out exactly the right size to fit my end pieces, which have a 5mm diameter hole and are basically large eyelets. For different sizes of eyelets you would use a crochet hook (or it could be a knitting needle, or any cylindrical implement)  the diameter of which was 1mm larger than the diameter of the eyelet hole.

I thought it might be fun to see whether I could do a photo tutorial (my first ever!) to show how I made my beads, so here it is!

1. First stretch the paper strip by holding it between your thumb and the crochet hook (wrong side next to the hook) and pulling it through from one end to the other so that the paper starts to curl. This will make it easier to roll, especially when using thicker paper.

 2. Decide which end of your paper strip will form the outside of the finished bead, ie, the end which will still be showing after you've rolled it up. At that end, using your finger nail or (very carefully!) the tip of a craft knife blade, separate the two layers of paper (the Be Creative papers are double sided) and tear off about a centimetre of the inside (or wrong side) layer.

Then, with the wrong side facing you, tear off a tiny piece of the right side (as little as possible so the strip isn't shortened too much). This will prevent a harsh edge on the finished bead. If using thinner paper, Step 2 could be omitted.

3. Begin rolling the paper strip around the crochet hook, keeping it as tight and as even as possible. After the strip has gone round once and met itself, secure the end with a thin layer of glue. You  only need a little. I used the Be Creative Glue Wand. The fine roller ball tip makes precise placement very easy. Make sure you stick the paper just to itself and not to the crochet hook, otherwise it will be very difficult to remove the bead from the hook. I speak from experience! It is important to glue down the inside end so that it will not distort when you insert the end pieces.

4. Continue rolling the paper around the hook. There is no need to use more glue until you get to the end. About a centimetre from the end, stop rolling, add a thin layer of glue making sure the end is covered, and then complete the roll up. You may need to hold it in place for a few seconds until it is stuck.

5. Slide the bead off the hook, and if necessary stand it on its end and gently press down on it with something flat, eg. an acrylic mount, to even it up.

6. Put a small blob of blutack or similar just inside the bead (see photo) to secure it to a cocktail stick.

Seal the bead with a non-yellowing glaze or varnish, eg. Diamond Glaze for a glossy finish, or Ranger Glue n Seal Matte if you prefer a matte finish. Set aside to dry, then repeat with a second coat.

7. Finally, glue an eyelet into place in each end and admire your finished bead!

I needed six paper beads interspersed with various other beads (see first photo) to make my bracelet. Having decided on my design I simply threaded them on to a length of clear stretchy bracelet elastic (from good craft shops or available online, eg. from eBay or Amazon, as are the eyelets) knotted the ends tightly together and tucked them inside a bead. If you're worried about it coming undone, a spot of superglue on the knot should do the trick, but make sure it doesn't touch the beads before it's dry.

My next task was to make a gift box for the bracelet.

The patterned papers I used are all from the same Be Creative paper pad from which I made the beads, also the card in my previous post. Here are some close ups of the details.

 The bracelet being modelled (after some persuasion!) by my grandson, who just happened to be there so he got the job!

Finally a photo of the complete set: bracelet, box and card.

I can definitely see myself making more of these, I think they will make lovely Christmas presents.

The brand new Be Creative website is scheduled to be launched this coming December, but if you can't wait until then, all the products I've used are available now from Once Upon A Stamp. Some of the products are on their website, but others, eg. the paper pads are not yet. However, Once Upon A Stamp will be very happy to take orders for any of the products by telephone. Contact details are on their website.

Anyway, I really enjoyed making my bracelet and doing the tutorial. I hope someone out there may find it useful. Any feedback will be gratefully received, positive or otherwise, especially ideas for how I could improve it, should I ever do another one! Thanks for looking!

Edit: Several people have asked where I got the eyelets from. Here are a few eBay links.

And from Amazon:

Thursday, 22 October 2015

New Stash!!

Had a lovely weekend staying with Sally, so we could go to the Be Creative Open Day at Once Upon A Stamp and also the Stamp Magic show in Doncaster. Sally was doing some make & takes for Be Creative, and I endeavoured to assist her, which meant I got to play with some of their lovely new goodies! I'm certainly impressed with the quality of the new range, particularly of the alcohol markers and the paper pads. I was delighted to be asked by Gordon & Justin to make some samples for them, and here is my first card!

I've used both the alcohol pens and some of the papers. The paper pads (8" x 8") are a good weight (180g) and double sided, and the designs are gorgeous. The pens are comfortable to hold, the ink is top quality and they blend beautifully.

I made an easel card, which I covered with two different designs of papers. They are so pretty that I didn't want to cover them up too much. I stamped the large rose (by Woodware) with Memento ink and coloured and shaded it with the alcohol markers. The stamp wasn't made to go with the papers but it could have been, they co-ordinate so well!

I don't have the full range of markers (yet!) but by blending several colours I managed to get the rose to tone with the papers. I found the Blue Grey (code BG5) extremely useful. By shading with it first where I wanted the shadows to be, and then blending over it with other colours, I was able to achieve the depth I wanted. (At least I hope I did!)

Being alcohol based, the markers are very versatile of course. In the new Be Creative range there are some beautiful embellishments, including tags, buttons, pearls and clear gems. No need to buy lots of different colours, they can be coloured with the markers! I tinted some of the gems blue to act as stoppers and scattered a few more randomly on the card. The tag wasn't quite the right colour, being mostly pink and green, so I sponged some Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink over it and then it matched perfectly! A sentiment by Chocolate Baroque, a length of sparkly ribbon and a butterfly cut from one of the papers completed the card. Here's a side view.

The papers are a perfect weight for making paper beads, so I'm thinking a bracelet and gift box to go with the card might be nice. Watch this space!

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Fall in for our latest challenge at Stamping Sensations!

I can't say that autumn is my favourite season of the year (mainly because it's followed by winter!) but it does have aspects that I appreciate, including the misty mornings and mellow fruitfulness. Most of all, though, I like the colours. It's quite strange, as normally I prefer the cooler shades: blues, purples and greens. I think it is the combination of the autumn hues which appeals to me. So this month's theme at Stamping Sensations is right up my street, as it is

qti   AUTUMN COLOURS  tq s

Naturally you can interpret this in any way you like, as long as we can see some stamping as the main element of your project, along with typical autumn shades of green, yellow, orange, brown and red.

Our fab sponsor for October is Foil Play, who have a massive selection of products for card making and crafts, and they have very generously donated a £35 voucher for the lucky winner to spend in their online shop.

The main image on my card is the gorgeous Year Of Stamping Issue 9 - September stamp from Chocolate Baroque.

 I coloured the poppy pods with pencils (for some reason the colours are much brighter in real life than they appear on the photo) and added just a little colour at the top and bottom behind them to give a bit of depth to the background. I used Promarkers on the butterfly to make it stand out. The large poppy pod stamp is also by Chocolate Baroque and the sentiment is by Inkylicious. Leaves die by Cheery Lynn, and the background paper is from the Autumn Song Collection by Bo Bunny. Real poppy pod tops from my garden.

You'll find plenty of autumn inspiration over on the Stamping Sensations Challenge Blog, and my teamies would love it if you would visit their individual blogs too, where you will find all the details of how they created their beautiful projects. I look forward to seeing yours!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Sew it goes

Wow, what a lot of gorgeous entries we had for our Stamp and Die challenge last month at Stamping Sensations There were some stunning projects and it was certainly hard to choose a winner. However, it's on to September, and this month we'd like to see your creations on a sewing theme, as our topic is

###  SEW SPECIAL   ###

This could include real or faux sewing, sewing related images or embellishments, but it is your choice as to how you interpret the theme. However, please do remember that we are a stamping challenge, so your entry must include a stamped image, sentiment or quote as the focal element of your project, otherwise it will not be eligible for the prize or top 3.

We have not one, but two fabulous prizes this month! The overall winner will receive a fantastic £35 voucher generously donated by Stamp Addicts, our September sponsors, and the second prize will be a ticket for two people to the November Hobbycrafts show at the NEC.

I just happened to have a pad of sewing themed papers, which was a magazine freebie, and I used one of the sheets as the basis of my card.

The stamp is an oldie by Hero Arts (sadly, I think, no longer available). I stamped it with Elderberry Memento ink and just lightly coloured the dresses with pencils. A few buttons, a couple of fabric scraps and a scissor charm to embellish and a sentiment by Rubber Stamp Tapestry completed the picture.

The Design Team once again have come up with some superb samples. You'll find them here on the Stamping Sensations Challenge Blog, and do have a look at them if you are in need of inspiration. I think this will be a very popular topic, and I'm looking forward to seeing lots of entries!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


It's my turn to make a mid-month sample for Stamping Sensations. The current challenge for the DT mid-month posts is to create a project using our least favourite colour to work with.

My first thought was, of course, that it would have to be pink. I'm certainly not a lover of pink.My favourite colour is blue, followed by purples and greens, cool colours. However, I do use pink now and again in my cards, albeit the softer, dusky shades which, depending on what I'm making and in combination with certain other colours, I actually quite like. It's the hot, bright pinks that I really dislike. However, the colour even less likely to figure in my work is orange. I would use it in small amounts along with greens, reds, yellows and browns for an autumn theme, but not as a main colour, so I decided to go with it for my mid-month sample.

Hmm! Easier said than done! I have very little in the way of orange card or papers in my stash! A search produced a few sheets in shades of coral, peach and apricot in a 6"x 6" multi pack, and an odd A4 sheet in a slightly brighter orange which I used to cover the front of the card.

To fit in with this month's theme of Anything Goes With A Stamp And A Die, I chose a couple of Spellbinder dies, and the gorgeous poppy stamp from Technique Tuesday. I coloured the image with Promarkers and was unable to resist adding a touch of pale turquoise for contrast. In the end I was happy wih the result, in fact I quite liked it, but I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy more orange papers!

We've had lots of lovely entries already for our August Challenge, but there is still plenty of time to enter if you are inspired by this or any of my teamies' beautiful projects on the Challenge Blog, and don't forget that there is the fabulous prize of a £50 voucher from Tattered Lace for the lucky winner! Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Anything Goes with a twist!

It's time for our August Challenge at Stamping Sensations, and this month we thought we'd leave the theme up to you, but - there's a twist! It's


Your topic can be anything you choose, but you must use at least one stamp and one die in your project.

Our sponsor this time is Tattered Lace, who have the most beautiful dies designed by Stephanie Weightman. They have generously donated a fantastic £50 voucher for the winner to spend in their Online Store.

I've used a Tattered Lace Owl die on my card (one of a set of two), I believe this set  - Owls -  is exclusive to Hobbycraft. I adhered the owl to brown card and then cut round it by hand.

The background was made with my Gelli Plate and a Crafter's Workshop stencil. The "branch" is by Inky Doodles, All other stamps by Chocolate Baroque, except for the tiny butterfly with the sentiment, which is by Just Rite. The tag die was a freebie from Papercraft Essentials magazine. The "moon" was stamped with white acrylic paint to get a good opaque colour. I gave the owl some twinkly eyes with a couple of stick on gems.

My lovely teamies have some stunning samples for you this month, don't forget to check them out on the Challenge Blog, and I will look forward to seeing all your wonderful stamp and die creations!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Poppy Parade

The poppies in our garden are glorious just now.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Stamping Sensations July Challenge

Another month at Stamping Sensations has flown by! We had some stunning entries for June, but now it's time for a new challenge, in which we would like you to

* * * * * FEATURE A CREATURE * * * * *

Show us your projects featuring a creature (or creatures!) of land, sea or air!

Please do remember that as we are a stamping challenge, your entry must include some stamping if you wish it to be considered for our prize or Top 3 positions. It would be a shame to miss out, as our sponsor this month is once again Little Claire Designs, who have very kindly given us a most generous £35 voucher for the lucky winner to spend on their website.

As soon as I saw our topic for this month, I knew which creatures I would feature! The fabulous owls on Little Claire's Silhouette Owl Tree.

Background papers from my stash were used to create a landscape, over which  the Owl Tree was stamped in Memento ink. It was cut out with a Spellbinders die and the base of the tree design was extended a little to either side to fit the square, using a Memento pen. It was then matted and layered on to the base card, which had first been stamped twice with the Owl Tree, in opposite corners. A suitable sentiment (Woodware), cut out by hand, completed the card.

I love the thought of a treeful of owls, just sitting there, watching, ready for their close up!

However, I'm looking forward to seeing all types of creatures in your entries this month, and of course remember you can enter up to three times with any type of cards or projects. The DT have featured some simply adorable creatures in their samples, so do go over to the Challenge Blog and have a look at them.

I'll leave you with a picture of a recent visitor to our garden, who seemed to be having a very earnest conversation with a hoverfly!

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