Friday, March 30, 2007

Lythan's Strictly Monochrome Dare

The wonderful Lythan set the challenge for the Daring Cardmakers this week. She said:

This week you can do ANYTHING you like on a card BUT you can only use one colour. I (Lythan) have been very strict with the team and quite frankly enjoy the power when they come begging to be allowed to use just a hint of one other colour. I did in the end allow black for the sentiment particularly if you do an all white card. But the real idea is to have fun with just one colour and see just what variation there is.

Honestly - she was soooo tough on us for this dare - and she looks so meek and mild too! We grovelled and begged but she was adamant we had to use just one colour. My personal favourite was Jo's first effort for this dare, I hope she'll post in on her blog for you to see, it was inspired!

I went for blue - I love this colour but for some reason don't use it much on cards so thought it would be a good choice, and anyway the rest of them would all go for pink wouldn't they? haha that's a joke - seems like everyone felt blue was the colour as cards in shades of blue popped up one after the other - we were sent scurrying back to our desks to have another go with another colour!
For my blue card I started by making asmall sheet of thin card covered with a patchwork of all the blue papers I could find, when it was done I made the flower with 2 layers of freehand cut petals.
The lovely Joanne (AKA Angelnorth) kindly went shopping and bought lots of packs of twinkling H2O-alike paints from The Works the other week and I am the happy owner of one of them. I've used them to make both the backing papers for this card, the lower one is made with thicker, deeper colours and the upper one is the same paint but watered down quite considerably. The corners and the centre of the flower are cut from Bazzill card then coated with Glossy Accents. The buckle is from Cosmo Cricket - I inked and UTEEd it though. The ribbon, fibres, bling etc is all from my stash.
Card 2 didn't really turn out as it looked in my head! It was supposed to be a 4 petal "lollipop" style affair, but I don't think I had the right circle punch to make it work, so ended up chopping them up into these more abstract shapes. I inked the card with cat's eye chalk ink directly onto the card to make the background. Again, I went through my stash and found any orange papers, then cut squares to use for the patchwork pattern. I used UTEE and orange glitter glue to make the big circle in the middle. The stalk and leaves are grosgrain ribbon. It still looked a bit unfinished so I attacked it with a bit of doodling.
Please check out the rest of the cards on the DCM blog, and visit all the team members' personal blogs to get more information on their fabulous rainbow of cards which will hopefuly inspire you to off and make a single colour card too.

These are the "inchies" I've made for the Bubbly Funk swap I mentioned the other day - I just hope they're ok - since I made them I've had a look around and most of these seem to be flatter than I've done. But this is my style and if nothing else, then they reflect that! I hope they'll be ok though

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Good Luck card and Playing with UTEE

This is the card I forgot to add to my last message. It's for someone heading off on maternity leave from Hubby's office, so it needed to be a bit bigger than I usually make so they could all sign it. I'm always fazed by anything bigger than a 15cm square, but at least the big flower on this BG paper, plus of course the love of big blooms all over the place makes it a bit easier. I made this flower with circles of more BG paper - two layers of petals, all tweaked into shape with a dolly peg (my newly discovered tool for doing this job) and given a boost with plenty of foam tape.
I've been "persuaded" to join in a pink themed inchies swap at Bubbly Funk by the cajoling Caroline. I decided to start by covering a piece of fake chipboard (AKA an empty cereal packet) in the serendipity style using lots of torn scraps of paper. I did a bit of stamping over the top - it doesn't show up very well so I gave up on that. Finally I UTEEd all over the piece.
....And left it lying around for a week because I really should have been finishing of stuff higher up my "to do" list!
Anyway, this morning I made my squares but the photo I've done is rubbish so I'll do another one tomorrow.
I've also been playing with monograms over the last week or so. I'm too mean to buy loads of chipboard letters so I've been using the couple of sets I have to make my own. These ones have a couple of layers of cereal packet chipboard then some serious inking and UTEE layers, plus some ultra fine glitter mixed in for extra dimension - I'm really really pleased with the way they turned out - especially the J which started out black but ended up with the most amazing sparkly deep blue colours instead - for this one I used a layer of kaleidoscope embossing powder instead of the glitter.
I've added a close up photo of it so you can see how it sparkles!

The great thing about this sort of thing is you never really know exactly how it's going to turn out - well I don't, anyway! Sometimes it looks as though it's not going to work - the J started like that, but I just keep adding more ink, glitter and UTEE - and sometimes I bung in some beads, wire or even fabric - then give it a thorough inking with my rather manky versamark pad (I've got two, one for this sort of job and the other for cleaner tasks), Utee over the top and it usually works out fine.

The rest goes in the bin!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Good Morning Sunshine

Well, just - if I write quick enough!

Today the Daring Cardmakers have just one word to give you as a starting point for this week's Little Extra challenge, and that word is

This is my card for the dare - I had fun making this, but now need to get back to the more serious business of making my card for Friday's main dare.

I've got another card to show you, but I'll do that later, so pop back if you've time and check it out - I'll also add the £what I used" info for this one too.
The word "Sunshine" always starts me singing - there are loads of songs with the word in the title or lyrics and generally they are the ones that go with the sunny weather and make you feel happy. When I was thinking about what to do for this dare I started singing the Morecambe and Wise theme tune "Bring Me Sunshine" - if you grew up in the UK, however young you are you'll know of this brilliant comedy duo as their "specials" are on TV pretty often - nearly always rolled out for Christmas. Eric Morecambe died several years ago, but they were a British Comedy Institution and their shows always ended with them disappearing off the back of the stage singing the song and doing the daft dance - you'd probably find most British people would know how to do the dance if you asked them! It really was very silly!

Anyway, the card is some orange cardstock, the gingham strip is from paper by pda, the big bloom is from Dunelm Mills (yay! I got some!!!) and the sun is made from a yellow punched circle and some triangles cut from a spare strip. Gold brad and teeny weeny bits of ricrac from my stash.

More later........

Friday, March 23, 2007

It's Keryn's turn today

It's DCM Friday and this time it's Keryn's turn to set the challenge. Now, A relative of our Keryn is expecting twins in September, so with multiple births in mind she challenged us to make cards to congratulate and welcome twins, triplets or more...
There are some fantastic cards from the Design Team, so please check out our blog

I quite like making baby cards but I'm not very happy with this one, it's ok but that's all. I got the baby bootees die a few weeks ago and haven't used it yet so decded that this was a good chance to give it a test run. Sometimes combining two tasks into one card doesn't really work as well as you'd hoped, does it? And I think this was the case here. Maybe if I get some time I'll have another go as I'm sure I can do better than this.

I've been busy this week with other crafty stuff, most of which I can't show at the moment unfortunately. The card above is one I can show, it was made for my SIL & BIL. who finally moved into their new house this week. How come the whole selling and buying of houses is such a long, traumatic affair? This time last year we were almost homeless because everything was gong wrong with the purchase of this house and we'd already sold our old one and had to move out. Not a good situation! The thought of having to go through it all again still makes me shudder.

The litle B&W photo is a sneak peek at one of my "can't show" projects!

Post has just come with the latest copy of the US Papercrafts magazine - goodoh, I'll look at that later. There was also a pack of Twinkling H2Os-alikes courtesy of the lovely, wonderful Joanne from Scrapstars Forum who kindly braved the Metro Centre this week and bought packs of these from The Works for a few of us then kindly sent them out to us. What a star! Thanks Joanne - they look great - 12 gorgeous pots of colour for £2.99

Right, that's me for now.
Cappuccino time I think

Monday, March 19, 2007

I've got a Banner!

Just in case you hadn't noticed, changes to the look of the blog have taken place over the weekend. Lovely Hubby has sorted me out with a banner for the top and colour matched a background to make it look pretty - what a hero!

You might recognize the banner - it's my 2007 photo journal - but he played with the photos to make something that would fit. You'll have to let me know if the orange colour is horrid to look at - we think it looks fine, but if loads of people think it's uggghhh rather than oooooh then maybe we need to think again!

I've been bust with stuff I can't show on here for the moment so instead I'll show you some stash photos. I've been sorting my flowers and ribbons recently as new treasure has come into my possession. So first off I now have 2 drawers for my ribbon, although a few punches share one of them. The bundle of loos ribbon came in the box with my SA Kit the other week - their extra bits and bobs shop is such good value and if you get "extras" sent with your monthly kit you don't pay extra postage - so it would be rude not to, really! The blue and lilac ribbons lying in the righthand drawer are Prima ones and come on a cute stand - they usually live on the shelf looking pretty!

I had quite a few bottles of Prima flowers, plus lots more in some of those cheap spice jars that Tesco were selling a couple of months back. I'm not sure how it happened but all of a sudden the collection of loose blooms outgrew the boxes they were in, so a reshuffle was called for and a "Bloomers Drawer" made room for. A happy afternoon was spent chopping up soap powder boxes and covering them with pretty paper to make finding the right flowers easier, Yes I know I was just avoiding doing the "real" jobs that are on my list! They do look pretty though, don't they? ;-)
The bottles are still on the shelf and the boxes now have room for the big blooms.

Maybe nzt time I'll show you my beads.....Or maybe not

And finally some outdoorsy photos from last weekend.....
Here's the first gorgeous camellia to have opened in the garden. I love this plant, how stunning is that colour? Really cheers me up when I seen the camellia in bud , knowing that Spring really is just around the corner.

And these two are from our blossom-hunting walk last Sunday. Of course, yesterday it was howling gales, and HAILSTONES - plus some bright blus sky - it's all gone weird!

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Random Friday Dare

Kel said:

"Right, this week, I want you to make a list of 10-20 crafty items you have in your stash, whether it be brads, ribbons, peel-off's(!), craft robo, etc, etc. Give them all a number.

Next, ask someone non-crafty to either pick 3-5 of these, or to pick numbers randomly from a hat.

Finally, make a card using ONLY the items chosen. If you want to make it really challenging, list plenty of items that you haven't used in a while, or thought you may never use again...

There you go! Have fun!!"

We said
"Oooh, this looks like fun...."

Well, it did sound fun, and maybe we thought it looked a nice easy dare. Until we pulled the components we'd lumbered ourselves with from our hats!

My list included
*Patterned Papers, inks, Alcohol inks, rubber stamps - things you could make backgrounds from
* Vellum, tags, ribbon, lace - things for the "middle ground"
* diecuts, beads, buttons, brads, eyelets, wire, flowers - the nitty-gritty things I use a lot
* Feathers, Shrink Plastic, Friendly plastic - the wobbly ones I hoped wouldn't come out because they need a bit of extra planning and would be difficult to incorporate into a dare like this.

There's no-one around to help so I put the bits in a box, close my eyes, pull out a little piece of paper, it says:
Ribbon - great, that's a good one
Next one says:
Buttons - ok, I have buttons
3rd draw pulls out:
Flowers - easy peasy, flower, ribbons and buttons work well toegether, this'll be easy!

All I need now is some sort of background making item, paper - or inks would be nice.
I close me eyes, put my hand in the box and take out another piece of paper.
FEATHERS ........oh GREAT!....... NOT! ......... all these bits are embellishments but I've drawn nothing out to embellish!
I didn't dare pick out a 5th item even though it was allowed - with this sort of luck the Friendly Plastic would come out and then I'd be stuck up a creek without a paddle and no mistake!

I've loads of feathers, I like them - they are soft and pretty and fluffy - and the reason I have a lot is because they seemed like a good idea at the time but are really NOT easy to use.
So here you go, the best of a bad job, and only a teeny weeny bit of cheating.

Pink and orange ribbons to make some sort of backdrop for this lovely fluffy orange feather, tiny bright pink button on the top corners, lots of pink and orange flowers. My cheats: Stickles glitter glue and Liquid Pearls for the flower centres. The greeting was printed on the pc and outlined with gel pens
Cheats on the 2nd card: a little piece of white card, some gel pen "stitching" - and I'll also admit to be unable to resist the urge to reach for a cat's eye chalk ink to swipe the edge of the greeting card, and to add a bit of extra shading to it, oh and a bit of shading to the white flower tto

The line of ribbon behind the flower does actually match the rest of the lilac on the card - for some reason only this bit failed to come out right on the photo.

Thanks Kel for tricking us into thinking this was an easy one - I think you caught us all out! This was a really clever dare but I think the team rose to the challenge and the cards are fantastic - check them out on the Daring Cardmakers Blog - and then visit the personal blogs for more photos of the fab cards, and all the stories behind them- there were a lot of gggrrrrr moments with this dare!

Both Kel and Jane are feeling really "under the weather" at the moment so lots of Get Well Soon wishes and hugs to you both - hope you're both feeling much better soon.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

There and Back to see how far it is...

I never did get round to posting some photos from the Canterbury trip, so time to put that right and head back for a whistle-stop tour - as you'll see the weather was a bit (a lot) too grey for getting any decent photographs.

The gateway to the Cathedral Precinct is fantastic. It's also where they make you pay a MAMMOTH fee to get in.
Now I really don't like paying to go inside a church - I think it's just WRONG, like putting a place of worship on a par with Disneyland - surely that can't be right? I know, I know, I've had this rant before - about Ely, back last summer I think it was....
so I'll shut up now.

The Cathedral is beautiful and the sense of peace, despite it's turbulant history - being the scene of the murder of
Thomas á Becket in 1170 - it captures is quite special. "Murder in the Cathedral" was one of the plays I studied for "A" Level English - not that I can actually remember much now!

Here's a tip - you can get through the gate without paying at night! And if the weather is as grotty as it was in February, then early evening is probablty the best time to send your Hubby out to get a decent photo of the Cathedral.

Canterbury is full of wonderful old building
s and winding streets with some great names telling of their history I took loads of photos of street signs, we saw Gas Street, Mercery Lane, Hawks Lane, Longmarket and my favourtie Beer Cart Lane. I have the idea of making them all into some sort of montage or maybe a scrap page some time. We went to "The Canterbury Tales" Visitor Attraction - surely there's a better name for these things? Anyway, it was pretty good, the models, effects and lighting made for an interesting and fun way to hear a few of the stories from Chaucer's famous Tales. And so back to now and some more crafty stuff!

I can't remember the name of the paper I used to cover the square in the middle - it's a sort of cross between tissue and a very soft, fine fabric, I've got it in several colours - this one is white with flecks of gold and silver foil on it.
Other stuff used: Ribbons, alphabet beads and pale blue seed beads, QK mini cross, a bit of vellum and some silver brads and eyelets.

I made this for someone who's been giving me a bit of help - and more importantly doing a lot of listening! I used some of the old papers from an ephemera pack to make the background and the flower - I added lots of cat's eye chalk inks to the paper, and to the cream cardstock. The ribbons, thread and lace are all from my stash - this was a fun card to make, I'd forgotten how nice it is to use old stuff even though I have a drawer full of it!

And finally for today a group of simple Thank You cards - the word made with my craftrobo - I outlined them all with a gel marker pen to help them stand out a bit. The little parcels on the back ones are the QK mini present die.

See you tomorrow with the latest of the Daring Cardmaker's Challenges!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

4 days and the sun is still shining....

I did mean to come and make a blog entry yesterday but I just didn't get round to it, so here goes with the weekend round up, boring maybe, but this is supposed to be a diary of sorts so here's a bit of a diary posting to start with - you can scroll past if all you're more interested in the crafty stuff - let's face it, how would I know?
For a change we actually went out on Friday evening for our pizza - mainly because there wasn't any in the freezer! On Saturday morning, for some weird and unfathomable reason Hubby was up at 7 looking out of the window and seeing blue skies headed outside to put teak oil on the garden furniture - obviously, I stayed safely under the duvet and out of the way. It was Saturday after all. We went out for lunch to a pub in Southill, one of the country villages nearby. It was lovely driving around the lanes in the sunshine - as it seems that suddenly Spring has sprung and the sun has been shining for the last few days. - it's even been WARM! There's something about days like these that has me outside in the garden, gloves on and a garden fork in my hand before I'm even aware of it. So that's what happened on Saturday afternoon, I started digging - we have a weed patch at the bottom of the garden which needs sorting out. The rest of the garden is a weed patch too, but once stuff starts growing the weeds get hidden! I'm going to try and be sensible this year and not spend hours out there on the first day then be too sore to do anything for the following week, so an hour max to start with. Sunday we were both gardening - only because it was the fun stuff though - it was loppers and shredder time and even Hubby is quite happy to use those. An hour later we've lopped and shredded a couple of the overgrown bushes in the front garden - they look a bit sad atm but they'll be fine in a few weeks time. The shredder is FAB, it just gobbles up all the huge big branches and sends them out again as teenyweeny little bits - one of my favourite garden gadgets! We went out for a walk in the afternoon, took the camera as lots of the trees are coming into blossom now and with the blue skies we are enjoying everything is looking very pretty - I'll add photos later. Monday - more sunshine, more digging and a bit of cardmaking. I finally finished an order which I need to get in the post today, and made a Mother's Day card for MIL. Tuesday at the Daring Cardmakers means an extra midweek challenge to play with, and this week we have this little sketch - there are quite a few DCM Design Team cards this week - some oare on the blog, but there are others on our personal blogs and they are all fab, so please have a look around and see what we've been doing with this template. Here's the first card I've made using the sketch - I've used papers from the BG Scarlett's Letter 6x6 pad for this one. I wasn't sure if I liked these papers much when I first received them, but I think they're growing on me. My niece Izzy will be 13 this week - how sacry is that? We've got her a huge magnetic wall board so she can put her photos and messages on it - her parents are getting a photo printer thingie for her, so we thought this would give her somewhere to show her pics and be more fun than an album. I'm going to print off some photos of her and of her horse to start her off. We've also got a tub full of magnets to go with it, which I've attacked with paper and ribbon - did I go a bit over the top? What do you reckon?

This is the card I've made for her
Papers for both projects are Centre City's Murray Hill range, mulberry paper flowers, feathers, ribbons and brads etc from my stash.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Super Duper Dare

It's Daring Cardmakers' Friday again and it's been quite a tough challenge this time, I think - all Jo's fault:

he·ro (hîr'ō) n., pl. -roes
1.A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose;
2.A person noted for special achievement in a particular field

su·per·he·ro (sū'pər-hîr'ō) n., pl. -roes.
A figure, especially in a comic strip or cartoon, endowed with superhuman powers and usually portrayed as fighting evil or crime.

Hi all, Jo here to dare you this week :) and I would like to challenge you to make a hero themed card. It could be a card for the Hero in your life or a Superhero themed card....

I found this really quite tricky,
I really wanted to do do a "Super Heroes of Rock" card but couldn't figure out how to do it, so while I mulled that over I decided to echo the card I made for Hubby's birthday a couple of weeks ago, but with Father's Day in mind.
The rosette is made from pieces of gold card, mulberry paper and a mulberry paper flower, lots of ribbons and a button, it's mounted on red pearlescent card, then blue glossy card and finally onto a large white card blank trimmed with shiny gold edging strips.
I was always a Daddy's Girl, so of course he was my SuperHero. Now sadly, I don't have him around anymore to make a special card for, so what I'd like to do is offer this card as "Blog candy". If you'd like to be in with a chance to have this card to give to your own Super Hero Dad on Father's Day, leave a message with the words "Super Dad" in it and you might be lucky. I know lots of people are cardmakers themselves and won't be interested, but hopefully someone who comes across my blog would like to give this card a good home. It was made with love.

Eventually I came up with a workable idea for my Rock Legends card. I made the background paper using my "Greeting Card Factory" program by adding loads of groups and Rock Gods past and present in lots of different fonts then printing it off. I cut a circle and mounted this on a CD sized peice of holographic silver card - normally not my first choice but it works well for getting the look of a real CD, I think. I inked the white card to get a faded black denim sort of look, added the messages on mini "CDs", the guitar is an Ellison Thin Cuts die, cut in black glitter card, with extra bits of white and silver card - it's a fiddly little beast to make, but great for all those guitar-loving kids among my friends and family. This one is for nephew Andrew, who'll be 13 in May and it's a good feeling to have 1 of the SIX family birthday cards I need for that month all ready to go!

There are some fantastic cards on our blog this week so please go and check them out - we're really excited as we have our very first Guest Designer joining us for a couple of weeks - so if you're sick of the sight of the usual team go and check out the cards made by the wonderful Lynne - our very special Guest Designer.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Cards, Books and Stash

Thank you for all the lovely comments you left about Hubby's photos of the Lunar Eclipse - we're really pleased you liked them - although apparently I didn't crop them properly....ah well, you can't win 'em all!

Ooooh I find myself with lots of crafty photos to show today!
First up is one for this week's Daring Cardmakers Little Extra:
We have another of our recipes for your Little Extra challenge this week.
This time the ingredients are:
3 buttons, 3 different papers, and 3 different ribbons.
I've gone all pastel prettiness this time with a pale blue "woven fabric" paper at the top of the card, then two glittery ones from the DCWV fab Glitter Mat Stack. The buttons and brads are from my stash - don't you just love it when you have exactly the right colours in amongst your stuff? And the ribbons? I hear you ask - later, later - just be patient!

The next two are part of a commission for Mother's Day and various other special occasions (still to be done...).
The fisrt one uses the same sheets from the glitter stack plus various flowers from my "Bloomers" drawer! :-)
The second one is my favourite though. I've used papers from the new BG Pheobe pad - I love the mix of patterns and plains in here, and especially the sheet full of "ribbon" style designs - for this card I've used a plain green sheet to make a border for the pretty flowered paper then used two patterns cut from the ribbon paper stuck one on top of the other with foam tape.
I've been asked about my little Maze book, so thought I'd show it again.

If you want to know how to make one here's the link to the demo
I've decided to fill it with pretty things and have made a start with these two pages.
I'm hoping that some of you crafty people will want to make one too - then hopefuly we can think about getting together and doing some 6cm decorated square swaps - let me know if you're interested in joining in with something like this.

The first page was just a bit of fun in pink - I got out any bottles of Primas with pink flowers in them, plus the boxes of mixed blooms and then just covered my square with loads of them, fixing them down with a selection of pretty round brads.
The second is just some simple ribbon weaving with a set of Prima ribbons that fell into my possession last week.
I think I'm going to do a mongram for my next square - just not quite sure how yet!
Just in case the direct link doesn't work, try this:

OK you've waited long enough. I placed an order with Ribbon Oasis last Friday afternoon and what should drop through my letterbox on Saturday morning but a nice big bag of fabby ribbon in all sorts of styles, widths and colours. I must say I was spoiled for choice and I rather think I'll be popping back there again soon - well, you just can't have enough ribbon can you? I've even used some of it already - on my card for today's DCM Little Extra.

That's All, Folks

Lunar Eclipse Photos

Last night there was a lunar eclipse, and miraculously the weather stayed fine and the skies were clear and cloud free allowing us a great view of the moon. Hubby took these photos - obviously all he's done is moan about how bad all the photos he took were - but I reckon they are pretty good, actually!