Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Apologies for being MIA!

Hello there, fellow bloggers!  I'm sorry, I can't post a card today, but I realise it's over a week since I last posted.  This is because we've been told the farm we live on is going up for sale, which is a bit of a shock, as you can imagine.  We have to move house and find somewhere for our horses, too.  We have a dog, and we're finding it difficult to find somewhere to rent that will take pets.  Unfortunately, buying is not an option. 
As you can imagine, with all this going on, I haven't felt much like crafting, but I can promise that normal service will be resumed asap.  Thanks so much, have a great day!
Jane xx

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Tea Time Treats

Hello everyone, I hope you're having a good week so far.
As you know, I spent all day Saturday at a cardmaking workshop.  I'm finally able to show you a couple of cards that we made.
We used the Stampin Up! Simply Scrappin set called Tea Time.  Although I've glanced at this set in the catalogue (UK p101) it's not something I'd buy, so it was great fun having the opportunity to work with it.  The colours used are Pink Pirouette, Early Espresso, Pool Party and Lucky Limeade.  Being SU, of course, everything works perfectly together.
The way it worked was this:  Both organisers, Jo and Ann, made seven cards each.  They were put out on two tables, with a worksheet telling us how to make each one.  So we could go and collect a card from the table and make it there and then if we wanted to.  But if you decided to make each card in its entirety, you'd only get a few made in the alloted time.
SO:  the trick is to take each card, read through the instructions and make all the bits that need ink, embossing folders, die cuts or punches and stamps, etc. so you could put them together at home.  It turns out there is quite a skill to this, and that's the part I found a lot of fun.
So, here is the first card:
The base is some of the dsp that comes with the pack, and the doily on the Lucky Limeade circle is a sticker.  The stickers are really sturdy and lovely to work with.  The sentiment is from a hostess set, with a portion of the Easter Blossoms set, all stamped in Early Espresso ink.  The lefthand border is made using the lace ribbon border punch, which was fabulous to use.
I have been dying to get my hands on this beautiful stamp, Sail Away, just because I've seen some people doing fantastic things with it.  I was so excited to actually stamp it out myself and colour it with Pool Party and Lucky Limeade markers.  I've used a shaving brush (yes, a shaving brush!) to dab in some sky, and was really pleased with it.  This stamp certainly lived  up to my expectations.
I'll show you some more as soon as I can, but I can feel the urge for a Christmas card coming on.  Thanks for making the time to pop in to my humble blog today.  Please leave a comment, I read every single one and am so encouraged by your opinions.
Back soon,
Jane xx

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Less Is More: Week 55 - Theme

Good afternoon, everyone!  I've managed to snatch five minutes in a hectic day. 
Firstly I must say what a fantastic day I had yesterday at the cardmaking workshop.  I arrived at 10am, left at 3.45 and apart from a brief stop for a gorgeous lunch, did nothing but craft.  It was bliss, and I would like to say a huge thankyou to Anne and Jo for putting it on for us.  It must be a lot of work for them from the planning stage onwards, but I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it (and there's another one in April!)  I will be showing you the cards we made as soon as I can.
But for today, it gives me great pleasure to be able to enter a card for the LIM challenge.  This week Mandi and Chrissie want us to use punches or die cuts on our cards, but keeping to the clean and simple style.  I can't believe how many entries there are on there already, but I've decided not to look at them until my card is on, so here is my entry:
This is another card that came to me in my sleep!  I masked off the centre of my 5"x5" cream card, put post-it notes all the way round the centre square then peeled off the centre post-it note.  I inked all over the exposed square with Tim Holtz Old Paper distress ink, just to give it a lovely soft background.  Then I inked up my Letter stamp (Penny Black) with Crumb Cake ink and stamped the background writing (I was quite alarmed at how dark my Crumb Cake ink was, it looks more like Cherry Cobbler!)
Then I stamped the flower from the SU! Posy Punch set.  This is a hostess set that I earned recently from putting in a decent sized order for SU! supplies that qualified me for the set.  I've punched the flower out from the matching punch, and I can tell you now, for that reason alone, that this stamp set qualifies as my favourite of all time!  The thrill of being able to do it just blew me away and to be honest, it's a wonder I don't have hundreds of them all over the house!  Trust me, there's something very addictive about this...
I finished off by popping on the 'Just For You' sentiment, and there you have it.  A relatively quick card to make, which I am delighted to enter as my contribution to this week's challenge.
Thanks for looking in today.  I am off to tidy my craft desk so I can sort through everything we made yesterday. 
Back soon,
Jane xx

Friday, 17 February 2012

Thankyou...

Hello, dear Blogfriends! 
Let me start by saying a big thankyou for all your kind comments regarding the mammogram.  I am delighted to say there is nothing sinister going on, it turns out I have cysts (a lot more than I realised!) which is a major relief.  I have been sick with worry, as you can imagine.  So sick, in fact, I couldn't make it to craft class on Wednesday, which I never miss, so that shows you how bad I've been.
I did have a really lovely day on Monday with the local WI who hosted a craft day.  Everybody took along something they were working on (in my case, cross stitch) and we had a wonderful lunch together.  I decided to walk home to burn off some calories!
I decided to send the hostess a little thankyou note, so this is what I made:

This stamp is from the Fresh Vintage set, and I really love it.  I totally understand that people are using this stamp a lot to go with the Everyday Enchantment paper, and rightly so, as they're designed to go together, but I feel this is a really versatile stamp which will look good no matter what ink you decide to use. 
I have actually used Rich Razzleberry, Elegant Eggplant and Old Olive.  I've obviously used the pens on the stamp, but the background is actually inked in Old Olive and it's come out a lot paler for some reason.  I really like it though.  The sentiment is from my Trendy Trees set.
I'm totally excited about my craft day tomorrow and can't wait to show you what we make.  I am actually babysitting for our neighbour that evening.  I hope the children behave, as I'll be so crafted out, I'll have no control whatsoever!
Thanks for dropping in today, and don't forget to leave a comment, I love to hear what you think. 
I'm off to see if I can make a quick Christmas card...
See you all soon,
Jane xx

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Freshly Made Sketches No. 22

I've had one of those conversations with lovely, lovely hubby.  You know the sort:
DH: Can you make me a birthday card for work, please?
Me: Of course darling, who's it for?
DH: (In a voice of doom) A male colleague  (Cue thunder and lightening!)
Me: (Swallowing) No problem.  When do you want it by?
DH: (Casually) Tomorrow.
Me: You're 'avin a larf!

But have I let the situation defeat me?  No, I have not!  But I would like to say a huge thankyou to Freshly Made Sketches, for coming up with one of the most wonderful, and inspiring, sketches I've ever seen.
This is what they've given us to work with:

And this is the card I made using the sketch:
I actually made a prototype card first, just using paper, as there was quite a lot of measuring to work out before I put everything together.  The card is 5x7" but then I went into metric for everything else (The joys of going to school in the '70's!) I cut a 7cm x 7cm square in white card and stamped the flourish image in the centre of it, then cut the centre piece, which is actually on dimensionals for the centre and stamped it with the Happy Birthday stamp.  Then I cut both side pieces 70 x 44mm to fit in the end sections.  Obviously if you want to use a rectangular piece in the centre, you'd have to adjust your side pieces accordingly.  I've stamped the side panels with the small individual stamps from the same stamp set.
I thoroughly enjoyed making this card and am keeping the sketch, as I'd love to use it again.

Recipe:
Cardstock: SU! Night of Navy and Cajun Craze
Ink: as above
Stamps: Elementary Elegance

Thanks for looking in today, I really appreciate your comments.  Unfortunately I'm off to the hospital this afternoon for a mammogram, which I'm not looking forward to in the slightest.  If you are of the praying persuasion, your prayers would be much appreciated.
Back soon,
Jane xx

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Lots of Love

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I was surprised to find a big box of chocolates and a cake waiting for me in the kitchen when I got up this morning.  We don't officially 'do' valentines, preferring to celebrate our wedding anniversary instead, but this year, I seem to have gone all out on it.
This is how my kitchen dresser looks at the moment:
I've had a bit of a splurge and put all of my 'love' things together.  It makes me smile to see all of these things together, in red, white, pink and cream.  I did want to make a few more things for my display, but apart from the card heart (hanging down on the left) I really haven't had the time.
But I do have a little valentine card to show you:

I thoroughly enjoyed making this card.  My sweet little Forever Friends bear had to come out and be coloured in.  The heart behind him is cut with a Nellie Snellen die.  The paper is actually last year's from Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine, but it's still on their website so I printed off a fresh piece.  The stamp says 'with hugs and kisses' and is in the same set as the bear.  I've popped on a brad to look as though the banner is held in place at that end.
Have a good evening everyone, I'm off to peruse my box of choccies!
See you soon,
Jane xx

Monday, 13 February 2012

Fresh Vintage

Hi all!
It's been a bit of a wild and wacky weekend here, which is why I haven't had a chance to pop a card on until today.  It was hard to choose my favourite of the cards we made last week at our craft group, but in the end I've plumped for this one:
Every so often a card comes along that you keep on your desk for ages and don't really want to give to anyone, and this is definitely one of those (I am basically a very mean person!)
The dsp is the Everyday Enchantment set, which is beautiful.  It's one of those where you want a set to use and a set to gaze at! The cardstock is Lucky Limeade and the little oval is Calypso Coral, which has been put through the oval Textured Impressions EF.  We've added a little lace and stamped the greeting from the Curly Cute set.  Have a look at a close up:

The stamped image is from a retired set (you know the one I mean!) which I stamped using my Stamp-a-ma-jig (which may be called a SAMJ from now on, it's a bit of a mouthful otherwise, isn't it?) But the bit I absolutely loved doing was the layer under the stamped image.  It's actually made by stamping rows of the border stamp that's in the Fresh Vintage Stamp set next to each other before cutting out with an oval punch.  I didn't realise until we'd done it, that it matches the design on the paper itself.  So thrilled with it.
As I've said before, going to craft class is the highlight of my week.  Our two leaders, Anne and Jo alternate in running it and they both have quite different styles and an awesome talent.  It's a privilege to learn from them.  They're holding a day long workshop on Saturday 18th.  Imagine it, nothing but card making from 10-4 with a break for lunch, my idea of heaven!
Thanks for popping in today and don't forget to leave a comment.  I read every one of them and they brighten my day.
Back soon,
Jane xx

Friday, 10 February 2012

Merry Monday on a Friday!

For some reason Fridays always seem to be a good time to get involved with a Christmas card.  Finally I'm able to join in with a challenge I've followed for a little while.  It's at Lesley Croghan's blog called Always Playing With Paper where she gives us a new sketch each week.  This is the latest one:



After a great deal of planning with regard to size and dimension, this is my card entry:

I've had this stamp for quite a while now.  She was packaged as a birthday stamp, but she suits Christmas so well.  The colours, cardstock and dsp are all SU.  The Chocolate Chip piece has been embossed with a snowflake embossing folder and then punched along the bottom with a scallop punch. 
I had a dither with placement of the sentiment as I didn't want to cover the robin up, he's so sweet.  The card base is only C6 and it's made it a really sweet little card, like a little package, you almost want to use it as a cover for a bag of sweets or something.
But still, another card for this year's Christmas stack is made, and I'm very pleased.  Big thanks to Lesley for such a great sketch to work with.

Recipe:
Cardstock: Wild Wasabi, Real Red, Chocolate Chip, all Stampin Up!
Stamp and Sentiment: Little Claire Designs
DSP: Holly Berry Bouquet, SU
Coloured with: Real Red and Chocolate Chip, + Satin Promarker

We made some awesome cards at our craft group on Wednesday night, so I'll try to pop one on here very soon to show you.
Have a great weekend, peeps.
Jane xx

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Birdhouse Garland

Hello blog friends!  Is it still freezing where you are?  It's really cold here and we still have some snow, but hubby hasn't had any problems driving to work, which means I'll be able to get to craft group tonight, thank goodness.  Is it wrong to be so excited about something like that?!
So let me tell you what happened last week.  Over on the Little Claire Designs blog, they've showcased their latest stamp release, and very nice they are too, all very 'summer in the garden' (something I think we're all looking forward to!)
All you had to do was leave a comment on the stamp of the day to be in with a chance of being picked to win the stamp.  And guess what?  I won!  There were 61 comments on the day I was picked, so I was thrilled, as you can imagine.
The moment the stamp arrived, I inked it up and had a play, then yesterday made what I am sure will be the first of many cards with this beautiful stamp:
When I get a new stamp I stamp it into my sketch book and have a play about with it to get a feel for it (do you?)  To be honest, this is very similar to the design on the packaging, but it was so pretty, I decided to leave it.  I've coloured it with my Stamp n Write markers, and cut it out with my favourite Spellbinders die.  I decided to keep it simple and symmetrical with the sentiment at the bottom.  I'm going to stamp one of the bird houses by themselves inside the card and then I'll be happy.
This is because it's gradually dawning on me that, unlike my beloved Promarkers, when you colour with Stamp n Write markers, the ink doesn't show through on the back of the card.  I know you already know this, but it's quite a revelation when it dawns on you.  No wonder people make all those one-layer cards!
This stamp is so beautiful (and big) that you could easily stamp it straight onto your cardstock and colour with the markers, which may be the next thing I try.
Recipe:
Stamp: Birdhouse Garland by Little Claire Designs
Inks: So Saffron, Certainly Celery, Bashful Blue, Chocolate Chip, Regal Rose
Cardstock: Certainly Celery
Tools: Spellbinders Labels One

Thanks for looking in today, dear friends, and thankyou so much for your kind comments, they're very uplifting.  What would blogging be without people like you?
Join me again soon,
Jane xx

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Simply Cards

Hello everyone, I hope you're managing to keep warm.  Most of our snow has melted, but it froze over night and now it's lethal out there.  Good excuse to stay indoors, if you ask me!
I subscribe to Simply Cards and Papercraft magazine, and it's very good (very shabby chic oriented).  There was a wonderful set of free stamps and paper in this month's issue, so I decided to get busy.  Here's what I've made:

The base is actually Chocolate Chip (SU) but the papers are all from HOTP.  This isn't my style of card making any more, as it's just basically cutting and sticking, but I was really pleased with how these turned out. I have stamped the birds nest, though, also in CC.   The stamps are lovely, I'll definitely be using them again.
Here's another one:
The bird house image is part of the stamp set and is very sweet. 
I've made a list of birthdays from now until the end of April and have 13 to make so these will come in very handy.  I am not going to work in  date order though, as I know several people from our craft group now read my blog, (hello girls!) so I have to be careful what I put on here over the next few weeks, as I don't want to show anyone what I could be sending them in the near future (you know who you are!)
I can say, though, if you like birdhouses, pop back tomorrow, as I'll have something quite special to show you.
Have a great day, everyone.  Thanks for dropping by today, your comments are very important to me.
Back soon,
Jane xx

Saturday, 4 February 2012

ABC Christmas Challenge

I have actually made a couple of Christmas cards, but this is the first chance I've had to post one on here.  I have found a couple of challenge blogs to keep me motivated throughout the year.
The first one is the ABC Christmas Challenge.  They set a new challenge every two weeks, so by the end of the year I'll have quite a batch of cards ready for various people.
The challenge this time round is to use Bears and some other things beginning with B.  So here's my card:
I've used this cute James the Bear image from LOTV.  I didn't use him at all for the Christmas just gone, so it's been nice to have him out and about!  I think he really suits pale colours like lilac and blue, so this is the first time I've done him in traditional Christmas colours, and I think I've pulled it off because it goes so well with the backing paper.  The other 'B's I've used are 'bling' for his hat, which I've glittered, and 'buttons' as you can see on the top left.  I've sewn these with green cross stitch thread.  The sentiment is Little Claire Designs and the backing paper is an old piece from Imaginise.  I am definitely trying to make as many cards as I can without spending any money!  Got to cut corners somewhere...
Thanks for dropping in today, and I hope it's not too cold where you are.  Eveyone says it's going to snow, but so far there hasn't been a flake, it's just very cold.  We are supposed to be going out for a presentation dinner, so I hope we can still go (but I don't think I'll be wearing anything too flimsy!)
Back soon, everyone, have a great weekend.
Jane xx

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Simply Soft

Oh boy, I hope I haven't over-egged this yesterday, and you're all disappointed with what you see!
I was asked to make a card for a friend's mum, who is 81.  Because she is an Alzheimer's sufferer, she never knows how old she is, so my friend asked me to put her age on it.  The chances of finding a card in the shops with 81 on are slim, aren't they?
So here's the card:
I need to make it clear that I'm not saying the card itself is in any way exceptional.
The bit that brought tears to my eyes is the stamped image:

As I said yesterday, being told that you're not in the least bit artistic, makes it all the more thrilling when you produce something like this.
This is from the truly awesome stamp set called Simply Soft, and it's beautiful.  I stamped the stem and outer part of the leaves in Wild Wasabi, then got the stamp that has the 'inner' of the petals.  I inked it in Rose Red first and stamped it onto my Stamp-a-ma-jig, as when I did it in the pale pink I couldn't see it.  Then without wiping the ink residue off, I inked the stamp again in Pretty In Pink (the same colour as the scallop behind it). Then I got my Rose Red marker and dabbed it on the centre of each flower, and then stamped... and this is what I got.  I've coloured the tiny stamens with the fine tip of my Crumb Cake marker, and there you have it.
And yes, I just stared at it in awe, and then I started to cry! I would never, in a million years, have thought I could create something as lovely as this. 
So, my advice would be, never, ever let anyone try to stifle your creativity.  You may never paint a masterpiece, or throw a pot or sculpt a statue, but that does not mean you are not creative. 
I just want to say a massive thankyou to Stampinn Up! and all the other amazing companies that make things like this possible.
I bet, if you haven't done so already, this year you make something that blows you away, something that's really beautiful.
Let's go, girls!
Jane xx

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A Little Love

Hello all!
Hope you're well and not too cold.  Thankfully we haven't had any snow yet.  I think because it was so bad last year all my horsey friends are dreading it, but so far, it's just really cold, which I can live with (indoors, hot choc, card making, you get the idea!)
And so it's time for today's card.
Do you remember a couple of week's ago I splashed out and bought my first Martha Stewart punch?  This was my first go with it, to make the heart shaped border along the bottom.
I have a thing about apertures so thoroughly enjoyed making this.  The card base is Cherry Cobbler. I stamped my letter stamp on the top sheet, which is Very Vanilla, then cut the heart shape out.  I drew inside it onto the CC base, so I could see where I had to stamp.  The floral stamp is actually heart shaped anyway (from Penny Black) which I stamped in gold ink and heat embossed with gold ep.  I added CC polka dot ribbon around the top sheet, then stuck it down.  To finish I stamped the floral stamp from Four Frames (in Crumb Cake, I think, the same as the background stamp) and added I Heart You to the centre in Cherry Cobbler with my individual letter stamps and a tiny punched out heart.
This is a lovely card to hold in your hand and I was very pleased with the result.  I am really getting into decorating the inside of my cards, too, but forgot to take a photo of this one, sorry.  Hope you like it, anyway.

And now for something very silly!
My Stampin Up! stuff arrived yesterday.  I have to confess that I felt physically sick all day, it was worse than the build-up to Christmas.
I'm not going to say how much I spent, but I bought all the ink spots and all the marker pens, plus a few other things and it meant I qualified for every item in the Sale-A-Bration (freebies, for those of you who don't know how SU works) plus a couple of Hostess items.
When it all came I was quite overwhelmed and just spent the afternoon playing with everything.  And when hubby came home I placed great emphasis on all the free items so he never actually asked how much I'd spent!
But the other thing is, I started playing with one particular stamp set, and made something so beautiful, it made me cry!  To spend all your life being told you'll never be any good at art is nearly as bad as being told you can't sing.  So to see what was in front of me, and to know that it was stunning and that I'd made it, brought tears to my eyes.  Pop back tomorrow and I'll show you what I mean.
Thanks, too, for all your awesome comments recently, they've been slightly overwhelming, too.
Love you all,
Jane xx