Sunday, 7 June 2015

June Challenge at Stamping Sensations

Well, flaming June it certainly isn't up here! We have had a few sunny spells between the showers, but it's so unseasonably cold and windy. However, last month's bumper crop of flowers (well over 200 entries) for our floral challenge at Stamping Sensations certainly brightened things up! I'm confidently expecting this month's theme to be equally popular, as it is

* * * * * DIES AND PUNCHES * * * * *

You can use either just dies, just punches, or a combination of both. And of course, as we are a stamping challenge, we need to see some rubber stamping on your project as well. Making a welcome return visit to sponsor us for June is Tonic Studios, who have given us a full set of their Pretoria Alphabet Dies for the lucky winner! What a fabulous prize!


I have used a die (Celtic Circle) and a punch (Celtic Strip), both by Tonic Studios, for my card.

Other supplies used -
Celtic bird stamp: Non Sequitur
Small Celtic circle stamp: unknown
Background text stamp: Judikins
Sentiment: Innovative Stamp Creations
Background paper: Paper Cellar
I used Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink for all the stamping and to ink around the edge of the BP

I'm still on a mission to revisit/use up old stash, and everything on this card is at least a couple of years old, and some things many years! Had another mini clear out of my craftroom the other week, but still don't seem to have any more space on my shelves! As long as I can keep things from encroaching too much on to the floor, though, I'm happy! I think back to my old tiny craft room, where I had to step over boxes to get to my desk, on which there was never more than about a square foot clear to work in, and remember how lucky I am to have so much more lovely space in the new one.

Here's a closer view of the gorgeous Celtic bird stamp. I've always liked it, don't know why I don't use it more often!

Anyway, as ever, there's plenty of inspiration for you over on the Challenge Blog My brilliant teamies would love it if you visited their individual blogs too, and we look forward to seeing what you can do with your dies and punches.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Floral Delights

Our May Challenge at Stamping Sensations has one of my favourite topics! It is

 * * * * * FLOWER POWER * * * * *

We will be looking for entries with flowers being the main element of your design. Spring is my favourite time of year for flowers, with so many beautiful blossoms bursting into new life, but you can show us flowers from any time of year.

I doubt that there are many people who don't like flowers, so I think this will be a popular theme. It also happens that this month's sponsor is one of my favourite stamp companies, Crafty Individuals.

Once again, Jean and Malcolm have generously donated a fantastic £35 voucher for the lucky winner to spend in their online shop, where they have tons of the most gorgeous stamps, papers and accessories to choose from.

For my card I've used one of their beautiful floral stamps CI-422 , along with a background paper from their "Shades Of Summer" book.

I coloured the image with Promarkers, matted it with contrasting borders and added a simple ribbon bow to finish.

I am looking forward very much to seeing lots of lovely floral entries! The Design Team's samples are a flower-filled feast for the eyes, so do go and check them out on the Challenge Blog. I'll leave you with a photo of one of my favourite flowers, primroses, which have been glorious up here this spring, both wild and cultivated, and which are still blooming beautifully in our garden.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Stunning Sunsets

The weather over the past few days has been absolutely gorgeous, producing some incredible sunsets! Driving home from choir practice on a Monday evening I pass one of our local lochs. I noticed on my way by it yesterday that the sun had gone down right behind the hills overlooking the loch, and the colours were reflected in the water. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me, so I decided that if the conditions were similar this evening I would go down there and take some photos.

If anything, it was even more beautiful today!


Sunday, 5 April 2015


April already! A very busy last few weeks of term have meant I've had little time for blogging, or indeed crafting, but the Easter holidays are here at last, and so is our April Challenge at Stamping Sensations. I think our latest theme will be very popular, as it is

* * * * * PRETTY IN PINK * * * * *

Making a welcome return visit as our sponsor this month is PDA Card & Craft,

who are giving the lucky winner a fantastic £40 voucher to spend on their website or in their shop, where you will most definitely be spoilt for choice!

Pink is not one of my preferred colours, even though it does occasionally make an appearance on my cards, albeit in small amounts. However, I wouldn't normally use it as a main colour, so I had to step outside my comfort zone a bit here!

The focal image was created with Card-io Majestix stamps, from the Secret Garden set and Golden Daffodils set, both sets available from PDA here. I lightly sponged a background with pigment inks on a circular diecut while the paper was still in the die, and then stamped the scene with various stamps from the two sets. This was then matted on to a scalloped circle cut from patterned paper. Both it and the background paper were magazine freebies. The sentiments were also freebies (Simply Cards & Papercraft magazine). Plain Circle and Scallop Circle dies are by Spellbinders, Butterfly by Cheery Lynn and Bluebell by Wild Rose Studio.

It may not be my favourite colour, but I am certainly hoping to see lots of lovely pink creations for our challenge! The DT have some gorgeous samples for you over on the Challenge Blog, so do go and have a look at them and while you're there say hello to our two brilliant new teamies, Gerrina and Viv.

Happy Easter everybody!

Sunday, 1 March 2015

One For The Guys

 Making my sample for our March Challenge at Stamping Sensations was certainly a challenge for me! Our theme for this month is
* * * * * ONE FOR THE GUYS * * * * *

and it is the subject I struggle with the most, being more inclined towards pretty floral or nature motifs than macho masculine stuff !

However, I rose to the challenge and came up with this. I'm on a mission at the moment to revisit some of my oldest stamps, especially those that haven't seen daylight for a long time, in order to justify still giving them houseroom! This lovely Boat Scene (by Stamps Happen, now sadly defunct) was always one of my favourites and I don't know why I haven't used it more often, except that just about all the men in my family have received an example of it at one time or another.

I began by stamping it twice, on white card and a mottled sandy coloured card (another ancient item of stash!). I cut the framed part out of the sandy card, lined it up with the image on the white card, fixed them together and then coloured the whole image with Spectrum Noir pencils. I stamped the birds (Stampin' Up) at the bottom and finally used an old toothbrush to flick various shades of watercolour paint all over the card.

We have a lovely new sponsor for March!  Foil Play have "an extensive choice of over 11,000 products to help you to create beautiful and enjoyable craft projects, including a huge selection of rub on foils, ultra fine glitters, toppers, die cut and traditional decoupage".No minimum order is required, and postage is free if you spend over £10. They are offering the lucky winner a whopping £35 voucher to spend in their online store.

We've had some fantastic entries for our last few challenges, and I'm sure this one is going to be no exception. I'm really looking forward to seeing lots of projects for the men (or boys)! Should you need any inspiration, pop over to the Challenge Blog, where my brilliant teamies have some great stuff to show you. Good luck, everyone, and thanks for looking.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Proud Grandma (and Grandad) Alert!

It was our wedding anniversary last weekend and for a surprise present, our grandsons, aged 9 and 6, gave us a picture which they themselves had painted. Knowing how much I admire the work of artist Julie Dumbarton, they had decided to try and emulate her style. Their subject was to be a view from our window. They did lots of research first, looking at photos of Julie's paintings and noting for instance her bold brush strokes, use of colour and that the colours she chooses are not always the "right" ones for the subject, and the fact that her paintings show an impressionistic representation of the scene, rather than a realistic one. They even got their mum to drive them past our house (without our knowing!) so that they could check the view. Unfortunately it was a bit foggy that day and they couldn't see it properly, so instead they looked on Google images, and added some bits from memory. This is one of my photos of the scene, which I see straight ahead of me through the window when I'm sitting at my desk in my craft room. (The boys didn't use this photo to paint their picture from.)

And here's their picture.

The method they used to construct the picture is interesting. Their mum cut four sections of paper for them and they each painted two sections, which were then put together.

Here's a closer look at the detail.

Have a look at Julie's portfolio and see whether you think they managed to capture her style. I'm biased, of course, but I think they did a pretty good job! We both agreed it was our best present ever!

Sunday, 1 February 2015

I'll do anything....

And so, we hope, will you! It's a nice and easy February Challenge at Stamping Sensations,  where our theme for the month is

* * * * * ANYTHING GOES * * * * *

We're delighted to welcome back the fabulous Little Claire Designs as our sponsor, and the prize which they have generously donated is a fantastic £35 gift voucher to spend on their site.

I've used stamps from Little Claire's "Hot Air Balloons" set for my card. The balloons and the ground are all separate stamps, giving scope for an endless variety of designs. 

Having first made a background with my ink dusters, I stamped all the stamps on various patterned papers (Basic Grey), cut them out and paper pieced them to create my design. This was then diecut with Spellbinders dies, mounted on to another Basic Grey paper, matted with a yellow border on to a 7" square card and embellished with a ribbon and sentiment (Craft Stamper magazine freebie). 

As always, you'll find plenty of inspiration on the Challenge Blog, and we'll look forward to seeing all your amazing creations!

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Butterfly Jewels

It's ages since I had chance to enter the Butterfly Challenge, but I noticed that the current theme is Butterflies and Brads and having a few spare minutes, decided to make a card.

I've just bought the Joy Crafts corner die, and was itching to use it. Using four together makes a pretty frame for the butterflies (a Cheery Lynn die) and the sentiment (Inky Doodles). I cut off part of the diecuts (it has a pointy sticky out bit in the middle!) so they didn't take up so much room in the square, and attached them to some patterned paper (Melissa Francis) along with some pearl brads. This was then matted onto some pink pearlescent paper. That's about it really.

It was a rush job because I started making the card and then realised I had about 30 minutes to finish it, get it photographed and upload it in time to meet the challenge deadline! I think I just made it! Phew! Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Five Favourite Stamps!

Our current mid-month challenge for the DT at Stamping Sensations is to choose our five favourite stamps and make something using some or all of them. This month it's my turn. Five stamps??! I have hundreds, if not thousands of stamps in my collection! How can I possibly choose just five favourites?! If I were to think in terms of favourite stamps, it would probably be my newest, or whatever I happened to be working with at the time. However, let's try and narrow it down a bit.

My favourite topics are nature themed - trees, butterflies, flowers, grasses, country scenes, etc.  so my preferred stamps are likely to come from those categories. I could pick any of Chocolate Baroque's flowers or butterflies, for instance, or just about anything at all by Inkylicious. I tried to make a shortlist, but by the time I was on to the third A4 sheet (of narrow-lined paper!) I gave up!

In the end I decided to think about which stamps I find myself reaching for most often and have selected five of those. That was today. Tomorrow it could well be a different five!

Anyway, here's what I've made. As well as the stamps, three of my cards also use diecuts, to reflect this month's challenge theme of Dies and Punches. Don't get me started on favourite dies.....!

My first card uses one of my oldest stamps, a butterfly by Hero Arts. The original is wood mounted, since then I have also acquired the later clear and cling versions! To me it's just the perfect butterfly, both in shape and in scope for colouring.

Backing paper  - Docrafts Papermania, diecuts - Spellbinders, music stamp - Stampington, sentiment - Technique Tuesday, butterfly coloured with watercolour pencils and cut out by hand.

Next another oldie, by Funstamps, bought over 20 years ago in 1994! I still often use this anemone stamp as its fine lines and open areas make it ideal for one of my favourite techniques; using a waterbrush to draw the ink out of the stamped image to colour it in, as I have done here.

Backing paper - Prima, circle die - Joycrafts, border die - Die-namics, butterfly die - Cheery Lynn, sentiment - Prickley Pear, image stamped with Distress Inks.

My third stamp is probably in danger of becoming worn out, I have used it so often! It makes a regular appearance not just on Christmas cards, but all year round, although sometimes you wouldn't recognise it as it can make excellent little bushes or shrubs when turned on its side. The background tree group is from the same set, and I almost chose that stamp as my favourite instead of the single tree. But I think I've used the single one more.

Both tree stamps are from the "Lovely As A Tree" set by Stampin' Up, Sentiment by Inkylicious. I used a Spellbinder die as a mask to make the background, along with my Inkylicious Ink Dusters and Mountain Valley Stencil, and Memento inks.

My final two choices are both by Inkylicious. It was really hard just to pick two of theirs, as I love ALL their nature stamps. Stamp No. 4 is a fairly new one, which combines trees and grasses into a scene but which can have different looks according to how the background is done, so it was high on my list.

Again, I used an Inkylicious Mountain Valley Stencil along with the ink dusters and Memento Inks to make the background before stamping the image. The pheasant is by Clarity Stamp, and it was cut out and added afterwards.

Finally, Stamp No. 5. I've saved the best till last! You probably won't be surprised to find that this one was top of my list right from the start, and if I had to choose my single most favourite stamp ever, this would be it! It is, of course, the Old Beech Tree - "my" tree, (not really mine, sadly, but I see it every day across the fields from my house), which Deby at Inkylicious so cleverly made into a stamp for me.

I used a Spellbinders die as a mask to make the ink dusted background, cut it out with the same die and adhered it to the card with foam pads. "Delicate Vines" stamped around the edge of the card, sentiment cut out with a Spellbinders ribbon tag die (I cut off the ribbon slots).  All stamps by Inkylicious.

Hard though it was, I've really enjoyed choosing my five "favourite" stamps and making my cards with them, and thanks for looking at them. There's still plenty of time to enter the Stamping Sensations January Challenge and be in with a chance of winning the fabulous Sizzix dies. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, 4 January 2015

A New Challenge For A New Year!

Happy New Year, everyone! Are you ready for our first challenge of 2015 at Stamping Sensations? Our theme for January is

* * * * * DIES AND PUNCHES * * * * *

We'd like you to show us what you can do with your dies and/or punches, either one or the other, or a combination of both, it's up to you.

Our lovely sponsor this month is the ever popular Sizzix, who I'm sure need no introduction. They have kindly donated a fabulous selection of their dies and embossing folders. The lucky winner will also receive a bonus prize of some gorgeous ribbons from Crafty Ribbons.

For my card I have used both dies and punches.

The background paper is by Bo Bunny. On top of that I placed the white punched square (using both the border and corner punches from a punch around the page set by Martha Stewart), followed by the scalloped and plain circles (both cut with Spellbinders dies). I stamped the sentiment (from Hydrangea set by Inkylicious) and the branch and flower (from the Majestix Oriental Blossom set by Card-io) and finally added the butterfly (stamp by Hero Arts) which was cut out with the matching Sizzix Framelits die, coloured with Promarkers and affixed with foam pads. Here's a close up.

One of my crafting resolution for this year is to break out of my comfort zone and try new things, so for this card I've gone for a colour combo I wouldn't normally use. The jury is still out on whether I like it or not! Another resolution is only to buy crafty stuff that I really need, as opposed to want, and to get some of my existing stash used up instead. Hmm. Wonder how long I'll stick to that one! Of course, the definition of "need" is open to interpretation........!

Anyway, I hope one of your resolutions is to join in our challenge every month, and we can't wait to see all your lovely creations! If you should need any inspiration, hop over to the Challenge Blog where my talented teamies have all made excellent use of their dies and punches. Thanks for looking!
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