Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Elizabeth Craft Designs Design Team & A Pop It Ups Teapot Card

I have the happy news that I've been invited to be on Elizabeth Craft Designs' first ever Design Team!
The Design Team will regularly be posting on ECD's new blog. Karen Burniston's fantastic Pop It Ups dies are part of ECD's product range, and I have been getting more familiar with the rest of the range, which I can tell you - is a whole heap of fun!

This wonderful lot arrived in the post this morning!

Els van de Burgt recently did a great You Tube video, showing a technique where a peel-off sticker is placed onto some double sided adhesive (stuck to white cardstock), then sprinkled with Warm Diamond Microfine Glitter. The glitter is rubbed in well, which creates a very smooth shimmery surface, which can then be coloured with Copics or other alcohol pens.
This was the first thing I wanted to try, as I've never used the Silk Microfine Glitter before.
Instead of a peel-off though, (I didn't want to waste one on my first ever attempt at this), I used a die cut Teapot and Cups. After colouring with Copics, I cut out the shapes, and added them to the Lucy Label Pop Up card.
I added really pretty peel-off borders, and ECD 'Thinking of You' die cuts, for a simple card design.
The colouring-in is really enjoyable - my friend Donna came over, and we made her a Teapot to colour too... we were sitting there colouring away, as happy as anything!
And look at the beautiful shimmer... (I should also note that as a messy worker, I am also shimmering away too!)

Links to some of the products used:


Pop It Ups Purple Onion Thanks Card

I very much wanted to send Karen Burniston a thank you card (I know she's received it now!), and so used her Lucy Label Pop Up die for Elizabeth Craft Designs for the pop up mechanism, and used the same die to make the green patterned paper layer. I used another die from the set for the cream card stock layer. I used the Lots of Pops die set for the little flags in the corner, and the Agatha Edges die set for shaping the top and bottom of the inner card layer, and for the pink swirl.
 The stamps are all from Purple Onion Designs - the clouds are from the 'Home Sweet Home' set, the letters are from the 'Skinny Dip Alphabet', the owl is called 'Shadow', and the envelope is from the 'Paislee Press Envies' set. I coloured them with Copics.
 For the card front, I adhered felt to some strong double sided sheeting, and then ran it through the Oval Dot Frame Edges dies - a really easy way to stick them down quickly. I used other dies from the Accordion Oval Card die set for the centre, for my message.

Some of the products used:


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Crazy 4 Challenges Music Inspired Oval Accordion Card & Some Calligraphy

 The challenge this week at Crazy 4 Challenges is to be 'Inspired by Music'.
I wanted to create a slightly nostalgic feel card, with the words to the song 'Happy Birthday to You' - just a good old fashioned greeting. The papers are from Crate Paper's 'Maggie Holmes' 12x12 pad.
I used Karen Burniston's Accordion Oval Card die for the card base, and that comes with the other oval layers used on the card.
I wrote the sentiment with a dip pen and white ink (more on that below.)
  Finally, I added layered vellum butterflies cut with Karen's Butterfly Accessory Dies set, from Elizabeth Craft Designs, and some paper roses.

I said in my last post that I wanted to have a go at calligraphy, and this morning a dip den came in the post, and some white ink. Having spent a while reading up on ink, this white Calligraphy Ink from Windsor and Newton seemed to be what a few professional Calligraphers use, and I was delighted at the opacity of it!
The pen nib which arrived is a Brause No. 361, also known as the Blue Pumpkin, because of its colour and shape. Quite a few calligraphers seem to like this one, though I did just read that it might not be best for beginners... oh well! It felt a bit stiff at first, but after a while I got more used to it. I have on the way a Brause EF66, which also seems to be a favourite.

When I was a teenager, I had a cartridge pen with a broad nib, and it feels completely different using a fine nib in a dip pen! Here are my first attempts. (In case you wondered, my middle name is Caton - pronouced 'Kay-tun'. My Mum is a keen geneaologist, and Caton is a surname in my family history.)

There are some fantastic styles of modern calligraphy around which I love, such as this by Anne Robin.

This is a practice sheet I did this morning, copying sentiments etc. from the internet. It's going to take a bit of time to develop a style of my own which I'm happy with, but this was so much fun!

You can see here how thick the ink is. I think it can be watered down if necessary.

The wreckage that was my dining table this morning! (I'm not a tidy worker!)

Some of the products used:


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Hand Carved Rubber Stamp fun, Calligraphy & a Pop It Ups Accordion card

 So I mentioned a couple of posts ago about the stamp carving set from Stampin' Up which I have been playing with, and I have some more pictures.
The kids are off school this week, and we are having a much needed, very lazy holiday at home. It's been bliss. I've spent some time (as I do with all new hobbies!) researching tools, techniques, finding the best blogs, setting up new Pinterest pages - generally just sucking in as much knowledge about my latest obsession hobby as possible. (Oh, and online shopping!)
I've also been keen to get into Calligraphy again, and have been researching that. I used to do a bit as a teenager, and now there is so much beautiful modern calligraphy around, that I need to try it again.

Anyway, here is a Pop It Ups Circle Accordion card, decorated with papers from Pebbles' 'Front Porch' 12x12 pad, and some elephant and bunting stamps which I carved yesterday, plus a Tim Holtz sentiment.
I also used the Square with Circle Frame edges to create the patterned paper frames.

Yetserday I felt like having some elephant stamps, and sketched out a design onto baking parchment, then transferred the image onto the rubber, and carved them out. My initial carving was pretty ropey, and I neatened it up a bit with an X-acto knife.

When I was making this card last night, I wanted to add some bunting to it (no surprise there!), so also carved out a little flag stamp to echo the heart design on the elephants.
I used quite a coarse, thick cardstock to stamp onto, so the stamped images are quite grainy and soft looking.

I also did a bit of doodling last night - wanting to play a bit more with my new stamps. (I seem to be inordinately pleased with them!!)
For the writing, I used the thin end of a Stampin' Up pen, and then went back and thickened out some of the lines.

Also yesterday, my littlest, Harry, asked if he could make a stamp too - of an eagle. He is mad keen on birds at the moment. I told him go and draw me a simple picture of an eagle, and we'd give it a try. The little pencil sketch below is what he came back with a few minutes later, and I carved him his stamp.
He is SO happy with it!! It's a good job I have ordered more rubber - I think we're going to need it!

Some of the products used:


The Stamps of Life - New Dies Release

 Some new die sets are being released today at The Stamps of Life, one of which is the Mini Flowers set, which I used for the following cards.
Not only are the flower dies super-cute, but you get loads of them in the set, so you don't have to spend ages running the same die back through the die cutting machine.

For my first card, I used one of my favourite Flip-it dies, the Fancy Frame #2, along with the Fancy Labels #4 Framelits (for the peach layer in the centre).
Another great thing about the Mini Flower dies, is that they create a hole in the centre of each flower, perfect for brads! (The Stamps of Life brads are wonderful by the way - such gorgeous, perfectly co-ordinating colours!)
The sentiment is from the minionesie2cut set.

 I used the Square Movers and Shapers Flip-its die, with a small square Movers and Shapers magnetic die in the centre, to create a window, for my next card.
I strung some of the Mini Flowers onto twine, and used the wordsquares2stamp set for the stamp.

Lastly, I laid some of the flower dies onto a sheet of card stock and die cut it, using that for the card rather than the actual flower die cuts. The stamp set is minibanners2cut.

Some more of the products used:


Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Using the 'Undefined' Stampin' Up Stamp Carving Kit, and a Lucy Label Pop Up card

 Well I have just had a WHOLE heap of fun!!
I'm a Stampin' Up Demonstrator (though I don't really do a lot - just for myself and a few friends really), and I had a delivery come today, including their new stamp carving kit.
It's the kids' half-term holiday this week - the older two are reading and revising, and the younger two are den building, so I have been playing!! 
Here's a card I just made very hastily to try out one of the stamps I just designed and carved... it uses Karen Burniston's Lucy Label Pop Up die set, along with her Agatha Edges die set for the red swirls.
The papers and stickers are from the 'From me to you' collection by Pebbles.
The Stampin' Up set comes with everything you need to get going - the carving tools, and stuff to make a couple of wood mounted stamps. (If anyone from the UK is dying to get the set, or anything else Stampin' Up, just contact me, and I can arrange for it to be delivered to you. The set is £17.95, and P&P is £4.95 regardless of how much you buy.)
Anyway, I have been wanting a nice chunky arrow/chevron stamp, and within a few minutes of opening the box, had made my first stamp - very easy!! And SO satisfying!
Next I decided to make a sentiment stamp which would fit nicely inside the Lucy Label Pop Up die. I sketched round the inside of the die to get the outside stamp shape, then handwrote the 'hello', and reversed it by writing it on thin paper, then writing what I could see on the back of the paper (the reversed image), then scribbling in pencil on the first side, then leaning it on the rubber and writing over the reversed image on the back of the paper, so it left pencil markings of it on the rubber. (I spent some of the evening researching stamp carving, and have found much simpler ways to transfer the image now - just draw the image on tracing paper in soft pencil, flip the image over onto the rubber, and rub the back of the image.)
I then carefully carved round the outside edge, and carved out the lettering.
The set comes with a really fine carving tool for delicate work, and then a thicker one for speedily carving away big areas.
I stamped it a couple of times as I went along to make sure it was progressing how I wanted, then when I was happy, stuck it to one of the wooden blocks provided. (You get an adhesive foam layer too.)
I can't even tell you how much I enjoyed this!! My mind is whirring away thinking of all the possibilities... (Luckily I also bought the Stampin' Up refill kit which has extra rubber, foam and blocks!)
Here's my stamped image on the card. Not bad, I think, for a newbie carver!

Some of the products used:


Saturday, 15 February 2014

Eileen Hull & Purple Onion Design Card & How to make a deep envelope using an Envelope Punch Board

I spent yesterday helping a lovely lady from church do some packing for her house move next week up to Lancashire. This evening we are hosting a Farewell party for her (so at some point I will tidy the house up a bit, and get the refreshments ready!) but I just wanted to show you a card I made for her this morning.

I used Eileen Hull's Garden Gate Album Scoreboard die for the card base, and just trimmed the tops of the fence posts down a little bit so you can see more of the scene behind.
The stamps are from a Purple Onion Designs set - Stephanie Ackerman's 'Home Sweet Home', plus the 'Doodle Flower Set', and I cut them all out with Cutter Bee scissors.
I used a variety of 6x6 paper pads (shown in the links at the very bottom).
 I drew the brow of the hills, and the garden path myself with a fine Sharpie pen, to imitate the style of the stamps.
 Eileen's Garden Gate Album die comes in two parts, which I attached to each other with brads. You can add some pages if you want to, in the space it creates, but I just kept it as a card, liking the dimension provided.
 I then realised I had made rather a deep card, so made my own envelope using the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board.

If you need to make a deep envelope, here's how:

I wanted a 6 x 6'' finished envelope size, and the instructions on the board told me that I need a 9.5 x 9.5'' piece of paper for the envelope. I added an inch to this, cutting out a 10.5 x 10.5'' piece of paper.
The instruction on the board told me that I should line up my first edge at 4 3/4'', which I did and then punched and scored the line as usual, but then I moved the paper along to the left by another inch (I had to use a ruler to measure this, because the board doesn't extend that far), and punched again and drew in another score line parallel to the first.
I then continued repeating this with the other three sides.

 Adding on the extra inch to the paper dimensions doesn't create an envelope which is an inch deep, but one which is approx. 11/16ths'' deep.
I then scored all the fold lines, and snipped out the extra corner pieces.

I found the best way to stick the envelope together is to put a bit of runner tape on the end of one of the side flaps, and stick the sides together first, making sure the sides look nice and square. Then I put runner tape along the edges of the bottom flap, and with my fingers inside the envelope pushed the taped edge down.

...add a little decoration...

...and my big fat card fits in perfectly!

Pat - the friend who is moving - is a talented artist, and when I went to visit her once, she surprised me with this painting she'd copied from one of my Facebook photos of my husband and I! I was speechless!

Products used:


New Sizzix Flip-its Die Releases at The Stamps of Life

There are some super new Sizzix dies being released at The Stamps of Life today!

The first is called the Triple Fancy Frame Flip-its card, and it is a wafer thin Framelits set which comes with 9 dies.
I made this card with First Edition's 'Floral Pavilion' textured paper, and added wording from Tim Holtz's Typeset decorative strip die, and the Sizzix Owl #2 Bigz die.

My second card shows how great some of the additional dies in the set are - I love the dies which cut perfect layers to sit on top of the card! So easy!

Another die being released at The Stamps of Life today is the Ornate Flip-its 2 card. This is a Movers and Shapers die, with the metal area in the middle so that you can add any of the little magnetic Movers and Shapers dies to create interesting window shapes.
On this card I used another of the new releases - Labels, Ornate 5 Framelits, which co-ordinate to create perfect layers to decorate the Flip-its card.
I also used some of my favourite stamps and dies from The Stamps of Life - phone4you stamps, Phone Dies and Talk Bubble Dies.
 Inside I added another Framelits Ornate 5 layer, and some more cute little phones from the stamp and die sets used on the front.

My next card uses the Ornate Flip-its 2 card, plus matching Framelits again, plus more stamps and dies from The Stamps of Life - boots4rain and Boot Dies. The fun paper s from Prima's All About Me 6x6 pad, and the border die is another of Stephanie Barnard's Sizzix dies just announced this past CHA show.

And finally, one more Ornate Flip-its 2 card, with a stamp from the beautiful Stamps of Life set - formalwords2stamp.

Some more of the products used: