My inky travels along life's rocky road

Friday, 15 December 2017

It's Been A While...

I've been away for a few weeksand on my return have had many other things to do so crafting has taken a back seat. I made this last month before I went away but didn't have a chance to blog it. A discussion we had had on one of the forums I frequent was about how to use up those patterned papers you get in a set that you dislike and can't find a use for. Someone suggested making envelopes and if the pattern is truly hideous to use the pattern on the inside as a lining with a plain white envelope on the outside (of course this only works with single-sided ugly papers). Another thing to try is to cut the sheet up into smaller pieces - somehow the patterns don't look so bad in smaller bits. An extension of this is to use the paper to cut letters or other die cut shapes. The paper I have used is a very unappealing brown with a thin white floral pattern. I didn't die cut the letters but used an alphabet stamp in a chunky font which is very easy to cut out. I teamed it with a leftover scrap of striped paper, some punched foliage and petals and a Stamping Bella stamp which I coloured in with alcohol markers.
It's very satisfying using papers that you never thought you would touch. Why not give it a go?

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - Theme

The theme for this month's ATC swap is 'Festive'. I used 2 of my old favourite snowman stamps by Funstamps and Hobby Art. I tore some sparkly wallpaper sample for the snow drifts and double embossed the snowmen, first embossing the outline and then using embossing pens for the detail. I used white puff twinkle embossing powder on the hats. The ATC blanks were embossed with the snow folder and the sentiment is a stamp I had made many years ago.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - Technique 2

For my second single layer stamping technique ATC I decided to do something in a completely different style. It's been ages since I used the grid technique and I love the effect.
The focal image is  by Tin Can Mail. I stamped it onto the ATC blank with Versafine onyx black. I used a die to cut out a mask for it and covered it up. The surrounding segments were all done in the same way - post-it notes created a small sector which I coloured with cracked pistachio DI, black chalk was run along the edge of the post-it notes and then I used a stamp with Versafine smokey gray. the stamps are all from a Personal Impressions set called Zendoodles except for the bottom centre swirly one which is by Paper Artsy and the one to the right of that which is by Kaisercraft. So lots of masking and stamping but I'm pleased with the effect.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - Technique

The technique we have to use this month is single layer stamping. I have interpreted this to mean a one layer ATC. I decided to use a Wplus9 stamp set, watercolour anemones, that I fell in love with when I saw what had been made with it. Unfortunately I have not had a lot of success with this set but I decided that a little practice might help. I used scattered straw, wild honey and spiced marmalade DIs after trying a few colour combos. Although the stamps are grouped into sets to help with layering I still find it hard to line them up but I think the idea is to give a loose, watercoloured effect. I added some small leaves which are part of the set with Versafine Spanish moss. To continue the watercoloured look I added some splatters of watered down spiced marmalade after covering up the flowers and then stamped the sentiment from  Kaisercraft's shine bright set.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

People have birthdays in November too...

I have a lot of birthday cards to make in November for friends and family. It's a pleasant respite from Christmas and gave me the chance to use this new die which I loved as soon as I saw it online. It has a joyous quality about it and I decided to pair it with a colourful alcohol ink background. I haven't played with my inks for a long time but the introduction of Yupo paper has seen an increase in their popularity. The base for my inks is not Yupo paper but as I was clearing out some files I found these subject dividers that had an almost plastic feel to them so I thought they would be a good base for alcohol inks. I used cranberry, lettuce and eggplant and left some of the base clean for contrast. A large circle punch gave me a moon and the text is leftover from a Dymo-style sheet. I mounted it onto a cream blank.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Quick & Easy Christmas Cards

The weather has been dull and gloomy and so my pics are unfortunately even worse than usual but hopefully they will give you some ideas if you are struggling to complete handmade cards for everyone on your list. I used to send out a LOT of cards every year but a combination of factors including the proliferation of email, high postage costs and retirement mean that the number of cards I have to make has fallen. I like to make a few different types so I don't get bored but I try and keep them CAS (like me!) The small cards are 4" square, the tree is a standard A6 and the reindeer is somewhere in between (I had some envelopes I wanted to use up).
They are fairly self-explanatory but here's a quick description of each one starting in the top left-hand corner:
1. A Cuttlebug embossing folder with a strip of washi tape. The sentiment by Papermania is on a diecut rectangle (a hinged stamp positioner makes accurate stamping of the sentiment quick and easy).
2. A Tim Holtz die with Stickles dotted on for berries. The holly in the corners is a punch and the sentiment is one I had made many years ago.
3. The tree and the star are from the same die set as card no2. The sentiment is a very old Hero Arts one.
4. A Cuttlebug embossing folder with a Joy Crafts die. The sentiment is by Clearly Besotted. I've added a red nose from the waste from a small hole punch.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - F for Finish/Finale

For the very last ATC in the alphabet series I chose the word Finish or Finale. I used various random diecut letters for the background. Some alpha washi tape and diecut letters finished the ATC.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this swap and am grateful to all the participants who have contributed their art to my set of letters. I will blog details of the complete set later.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - F for Fish

After 2 years we have reached the end of our alphabet journey with the final letter F. The fish were cut with a Cuttlebug die and mounted on a chalked background. The seaweed is a stamp by Kodomo.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Postcard no 4

Last month I took part in a postcard swap but sadly one of the postcards did not reached its destination and so I decided to send another one. I had been playing around with a background using some TH stencils and picked raspberry, peacock feathers, hickory smoke and mustard seed DIs. The stamp is by Woodware called large fennel and the sentiment comes with it. The text at the bottom is another TH stencil. I added some white highlights and posted it off hoping that this one arrives.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Joy of Stamp Positioners!

As regular readers of my blog will know I recently bought a hinged stamp positioner - the Stamping Buddy Pro by Nellie's Choice. I am really pleased with it, at £16 it was not as considered a purchase as some of the others on the market but it does everything I want it to do so I'm happy.

This card was so much easier to make with the positioner and I was able to accurately ink and stamp each word twice to get a deeper colour. The stamps are from Winnie & Walter's the big, the bold and the happy set. I used squeezed lemonade, spiced marmalade and ripe persimmon DIs.
I am entering this into this week's Less Is More challenge where the colour challenge is 'Hot & Spicy'. You can see all the entries here.
While I had the stamps out I decided to make another one in cooler colours - cracked pistachio, peacock feathers and blueprint sketch DIs. I love how this one has turned out especially as this card base has a hammered effect and it is hard to get a clean impression on it.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - Theme

The theme this month is foliage. I started by using crushed olive, peeled paint and shabby shutters over an ATC blank. I ran it through an embossing folder and then rubbed Nuvo embellishment mousse over the raised bits. I cut a circle aperture out of it and mounted it onto another ATC blank. I stamped the exotic palm into the aperture and coloured it with alcohol markers. I added a TH word die and some torn washi tape to finish the ATC.
My second ATC used a background of stamped leaves over which I added some text by Simple Expressions. I coloured some scrap kraft paper with autumnal colours of DI, scrunched it up, smoothed it out and punched some maple leaves from it. These were randomly rubbed with Nuvo embellishment mousse.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - Technique

This month's technique for the Rebel Stampers ATC swap is Colour Gradient or Ombré.

While trawling through Pinterest I have noticed some beautiful ink blends. There are several but the ones I was particularly drawn to were the DI ones by Tammy Tutterow. She calls them Beautiful Blends and has a whole series of them. This month's technique was the perfect excuse to have a go.
This combo is blueprint sketch, peacock feathers, tumbled glass and cracked pistachio. I used blending foam and an applicator and rubbed each colour along in a stripe from bottom to top. Then I went from top to bottom softening the lines where 2 colours met with the lower colour eg where blueprint sketch and peacock feathers met I used peacock feathers to soften the move to blueprint sketch. I loved the effect and instantly thought of sky and land. I spritzed some homemade gold shimmer spray for some texture and shine and randomly stamped some PA text in Brilliance platinum planet. The diecut is by Joy Crafts. I added some tiny silver punched butterflies and a Japanese calligraphy stamp.
As the above ATC used cool colours I decided to use hot colours for my next one.

I made this combo up - mustard seed, spiced marmalade, ripe persimmon and barn door. The stamp is an old Ink & Dog set from PA. I had originally stamped it with the colours the other way around (red at the top, yellow at the bottom) but decided it would look better with yellow at the top so I restamped it but cut the starfish from the first one. The script text - here, now is from a TH die set of travel words.
I love the ombré effect and am going to try out some different combinations soon.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

UK Scrappers Mixed Media ATC Swap

After the success of the previous ATC swap on the UK Scrappers forum we are having another go. You can see my previous ATCs here.
I recently took delivery of my first 2 Distress Oxides (DO) thanks to a voucher from the Craft Barn for my entry in the monthly challenge. I chose wilted violet and broken china and they have been sitting on my desk waiting to be tried out. I started with a larger piece of card and added some blue and green paint with my fingers, then some stencilling with abandoned coral and peacock feathers DI. I rubbed some of both DO's randomly over the card with a foam pad and added parts of a crackle stamp with Versafine smokey grey. The whole card was covered with gesso and when dry I stamped the 'curiouser & curiouser' text from Indigo Blu's Alice 1 set with wild honey DI and a Paper Artsy number stamp with a Kaleidascope inkpad. A bit more stencilling with peacock feathers and some splatter stamping with wilted violet DO was added before I cut the card into ATC sized pieces. Then I used TH's clockwork stencil with broken china DO and spritzed it with water. 
The first ATC on the left has a sentiment from Indigo Blu's wild meadow set and dragonflies punched from card coloured with both DO's. I doodled a scribbly border and added some gems.
The centre ATC has a sentiment that I had made into a stamp a few years ago and a stamped butterfly from Indigo Blu's wild meadow set which I coloured with the DO's and added Wink of Stella to.
The ATC on the right has some flowers from the wild meadow set stamped and heat embossed in the background and some TH diecut wild flowers in the foreground (dandelions? agapanthus? it's hard to tell). The text is a Sizzix die.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Birds on a Branch

Just playing around with a few more of my purchases from Ally Pally I made them into this card. The bird die was an unplanned purchase but I'm very pleased with it. I decided to buy a couple more Distress Oxides - spiced marmalade and twisted citron - to complement the 2 I already have. I actually meant to buy peeled paint but picked up the citron instead. The birds have been cut from a wallpaper sample that was hanging around on my desk, it has a distressed, metallic effect and cut without any problem. The jury is still out on the DOs. I'm not sure I will get as many of them as I have DIs which I love but I may buy a few more basic colours.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Love at First Sight!

Last weekend I was at Alexander Palace for the craft show that takes place twice a year. It was much quieter than previous years and I went more for a look around rather than a big spending spree. I needed some basics like DST and Zig glue. What wasn't on my list was another poppy stamp but look at it and tell me if you would have been able to resist it. It's by a French company called Carabelle and this was the first time they had exhibited at the show although some of their products are stocked over here by the Craft Barn. I did walk away from it once telling myself that I didn't need another poppy stamp to add to my collection but, but, but... (sigh!).
I wanted to have a quick play with it and decided to use softer colours rather than the usual reds so I stamped it with Versafine smokey gray. I used my alcohol markers and then broken china DI for a sketchy watercolour background. The panel was mounted onto a card blank and I used a pink marker to give the impression of a matted layer. A punched sentiment by Paula Pascual finished it off.
I'm looking forward to trying other colour schemes with this beautiful stamp.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Postcard No 3

Recently on Craftsy they had a bonus day when you could watch a selection of classes for free for 24 hours. I managed to find time to watch a little of a technique class by Marjie Kemper. Her work is inspiring and she explains things well. There is a lot of her work on Pinterest and she has a blog here. After watching I decided to have a play on a scrap of card that was on my desk. I used picked raspberry, spiced marmalade, mustard seed and seedless preserves DIs with various stencils and stamps. I added the Dina Wakley image with the help of my stamp buddy and some white acrylic circles with a small plastic tube. The 'dance' text is by Non Sequitur and the 'live' text by Tim Holtz.
As this is going through the post as is I couldn't add any further embellishment.
I hope the recipient is pleased with it.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Wordgirl Postcard No 2

This is the second postcard in the swap I am doing this month. I have used a Wordgirl image again but given her a different background. A while ago I watched a Jennifer McGuire tutorial on making a galaxy background. She used DOs which I only have 2 of so I used DIs instead with a gold shimmer spray and instead of black soot DI I used Brilliance lightning black which has a subtle gold shimmer to it. The quote which I read a few weeks ago and had saved seemed appropriate. I added a moon/planet(?), some punched stars and some washi tape. As this is going through the post as is, I did not add any other embellishments but highlighted her hair and the text on her dress with Wink of Stella.
I hope the recipient is pleased with this. Wordgirl stamps can be purchased from here

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Wordgirl Postcard

I stamped off a few wordgirl images and have been playing around with colouring them in with pencils and alcohol markers. I've blogged a card made with one version here and this is a postcard that I'm sending halfway around the world as part of a forum swap. I used paints, inks, stamps and stencils to make the background and added some washi tape to finish off the postcard. The washi tape at the top says 'do what you love'. I would have liked to have added sequins but as this is being posted without an envelope I didn't want to risk it. I did however add Wink of Stella to her hair and the words on her dress so that she sparkles.
I hope the recipient is pleased with it - we both know the stamp designer, Trish Latimer, so there is a personal connection. Wordgirl stamps are available to buy here.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Monthly Challenge

This month's verse for the monthly challenge on the Craft Barn blog asks for fruit and hunting. I managed the fruit (pumpkins) but decided to depict the birds (hopefully) flying away from the hunter's guns. The stamp is part of a Heartfelt Creations stamp. I coloured it in with coloursoft pencils and added a couple of extra pumpkins to fit the page. The birds are from a Crafty Individuals set.
I was too late to participate in last month's challenge but have managed to catch up although without the added twist of a tractor.

The die is by Spellbinders. I have always had problems getting a good cut with this die but adding some quick release foam to the die and using a metal shim improved things considerably.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - Theme

This month's theme is 'opposites'. I decided to go for black & white. I'm sure there must have been an easier way to do this but I wanted to inlay the pieces so that the ATCs were completely flat. It took some time and was rather fiddly but I removed each piece, glued it and swapped the 2 colours round. The die is from Sizzix's flower card set. I added some heat embossed text.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - Technique

This months technique theme for the Rebel Stampers ATC swap is 'folds'. For my first ATC I decided to make some origami fish - a large angelfish and a slightly easier set of folds for the smaller fish. The background was made by rubbing broken china & salty ocean DIs and broken china DO on a craft sheet, spritzing with water and picking it up with some card. I then overstamped with a water droplet stamp and highlighted with a white pen. I added some twists of coloured card for seaweed.

My second ATC has a Brusho background overstamped with a couple of circle stamps. My 'folds' are some washi tape formed into ruffles and some patterned paper scraps made into rosettes.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - Y for Yearn

I've had this spare Dina Wakley image hanging around on my desk for a while and a small piece of the Brusho background that I had made while playing seemed to go well with it. I added the handwritten text and a small crown for the princess in waiting.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - Y for Yokel

OK so I am kind of scraping the barrel with this one - Y for Yokel. No rudeness intended and the image is of a scarecrow rather than a human but work with me on this. I brayered ink on an embossing folder and embossed the ATC blank. The coloured and cut out stamped image (by Kadoodle) was added along with some punched flowers and dragonflies.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

A CAS Flower Card from Scraps

The background for the main panel on this card was made by wiping off an inked stencil onto an oddment of card that was lying on my desk. The original work I used the stencil on is not quite finished and will appear on the blog later, but after trimming the scrap I inked the edges with picked raspberry and made a quick CAS card. The image is by Hero Arts, inked with Memento bamboo leaves and Brilliance coral and orchid. I used the same stencil (TH scribbles) across a corner of the card base with victorian velvet DI and added the panel on foam pads. The text is the negative from a Sizzix die that was left over from another project.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - Y for Yellow

We are now at the penultimate letter in our monthly Alphabet ATC Swap. I'm happy that I've managed to last to the (almost) end but goodness was this letter a challenge! I decided to go for Yellow and created an ATC with various yellow elements and a touch of black. The background was made with a TH stencil and mustard seed DI. After I had finished I moved the stencil slightly and applied more ink to give a more hazy effect. The focal image is from Altenew's Beautiful Day set which I coloured with alcohol marker pens and embellished with enamel accents. I added some yellow washi tape, some punched photo corners and flower brads.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Flower Card

I was playing about making a background and decided to make it into a card. I started by brayering some broken china and peeled paint DI and Brilliance crimson randomly over some card. I added some peeled paint through sequin waste and stamped the Tim Holtz scratches stamp. A Katzelkraft text stamp completed the background. I found a scrap of scrapbook paper and a small piece of thick card left over from a previous project. I covered the card with the paper and added a flower diecut. A Memory Box border diecut finished the card.
I've left the RHS empty for the greeting which I will probably stamp and punch out with a circle punch.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - August

Blue & white is the theme for this month's ATC swap on the Rebel Stampers forum. I think it's such a fresh and clean combination and I wanted to reflect this in one of the ATCs. I used my stamp positioner with an Altenew layering stamp, it made positioning the layers so much easier and more accurate. I mounted the flower onto an embossed ATC blank on which I drew some straight lines in 2 shades of blue.

 My second ATC used 3 shades of DI smooshed onto a craft sheet and spritzed with water. I picked up the ink with an ATC blank and when dry I stamped the Rubbadubadoo image. I added some stamped splatters and the gems for tears. The text is stamped with an alphabet wheel (like a library date stamp but with letters). Some punched photo corners finished the ATC.

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - O for Owl

Well I had an owl stamp and die set so it would have been foolish not to use it. I mounted the kraft diecut on a book page shaded with brushed corduroy and stamped with some flower stamps from Stampin' Up.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - O for Odd One Out

A bit of a weird one for my second ATC this month but I managed 3 words all beginning with 'O' - Odd One Out. It was a bit fiddly sticking all those candi dots down but when am I ever going to get the chance to use 35 of them in one go again? Not that it has made a dent in my stock.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - O for Oval

I found this month's letter a challenge and spent quite some time trying to find 3 words I could use. My first word is oval. I used some texture paste through a stencil onto a diecut oval and matted it onto a scalloped oval. The profile is a Tim Holtz stamp and I added an ornate corner stamp.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Wordgirl - Before and After

I was looking at the card in my previous post (see above) and felt it looked a bit too plain. I decided it needed some extra embellishment so I added some diecut stars, sequins and gave her some ombré wings:


Monday, 7 August 2017

My First Wordgirl Stamp!

First and probably not my last LOL. I really enjoyed colouring this gorgeous image with marker pens and pencils. This stamp is designed by Trish Latimer and available for sale in her Etsy shop here. I decided to make a quick CAS card by adding some washi tape.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - I for Iris

My final ATC this month is an old favourite Hero Arts stamp coloured with marker pens. The background is made of various shades of blue DI with a crackle stamp.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - I for India

My second ATC this month had to be I for India. I used twisted citron, picked raspberry, and ripe persimmon DIs on an ATC blank and then embossed it with a paisley folder. The detail was highlighted by brushing pumice stone DI over the raised areas. The 2 images are from a Judikins cube and the text is by Paper Artsy. A paisley brad embellished the ATC.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Monthly Challenge

This month's challenge on the Craft Barn blog is to add gillyflowers to our page. I had to check and see exactly what gillyflowers were and discovered they can be stocks or pinks. This is a very simple page as my shoulder makes anything more elaborate problematic. I've used a Hero Arts flower, coloured with picked raspberry DI. I have added apricot coloured raindrops(!) and the all important verse.

Alphabet ATC Swap - I for Invitation

This month's letter is I. I have made a very simple invitation embossed in gold and embellished with pearls. I made a small envelope for the invitation as well.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Dream Pennant

As part of the planned get-together that I couldn't attend (see my previous post) we were all asked to decorate a pennant as a thank you for Sara, the owner of  Cardmaking Paradise. I wanted to use Stampotique's moongirl so I sat her on a toadstool and created a colourful floral scene around her. The flower border is a Memory Box diecut and the text is by Kaiserkraft. I placed it all on an ombré background made with Distress Inks.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Shabby Chic Heart

I haven't been able to do much in the way of crafting this month for various reasons but this is something I made earlier which I can now show you as the person it was intended for has now received it.
A very talented crafting friend called Sara has built a wonderful site ( with templates she has created for shaped cards. There is a forum for members and she very kindly invited me to a 2 day get-together with workshops. I was looking forward to going  but sadly a painful shoulder injury meant I had to cancel at the last minute. This heart was part of a thank you gift for the lady who had organised the workshops. Everyone who was due to attend decorated a heart and they were all attached together to form bunting. This was my contribution.
The template was provided by Sara for uniformity. The heart is @13cm long to give you an idea of size. I wanted to go for a shabby chic look so I used cardboard as a base and tore off part of the top layer to reveal the corrugated part. I gave it a wash of picket fence Distress Stain and added some crackle glaze. Various Sizzix and Marianne flower dies were layered up and added. I used some of my garden jute string to make a flower and added some lace and a few pearls. The quote is by Simple Expressions.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - June technique

The June technique for the Rebel Stampers ATC swap is to use acetate. Not the easiest thing to see in the pic above but the cactus die (a new purchase from Sizzix) is sandwiched between 2 layers of acetate and appears to be floating when held up. I used an oval nestie to cut out the shape from 2 ATC blanks and used a decorative corner stamp on the front.

I decided to use the acetate in a different way for my second ATC. I coloured some acetate with red pepper, pesto and butterscotch alcohol inks and then stamped on the reverse side with Stazon. The cut out butterflies were stuck by their bodies so that the wings were left free. The text is by Paper Artsy and the background is a rose embossing folder but I have used the debossed side and highlighted the markings with Memento bamboo leaves ink.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Rebel Stampers ATC Swap - June Theme

This month the theme for the ATC swap on the Rebel Stampers forum is Childhood. I used a photo quality stamp called butterfly kisses for both ATCs. Looking at both images side by side you can see the difference in clarity between stamping on coated and regular card. The plum coloured image on the left has better definition and the detail is clearer. The right hand image on regular card has more of an ethereal quality rather like the photographs from days gone by.
The text is from a Melissa Frances paper pad called Kitschy Kitchen. The plum background is made with a TH stencil and finished with a punched flower and leaves. The blue background is made with washi tape and a scrap of patterned paper.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Alphabet ATC Swap - H for Hatch

I bought a pile of old craft magazines from a charity shop and one of the attached free gifts was a selection of Easter themed papers and diecuts. I thought the chick emerging from an egg was a good representation of the word 'hatch'. The iridescent flowers were part of another free gift and the text is from Dina Wakley's scribbly birds set.
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