Friday, August 26, 2016

Thoughtful Branches

You all know what it's like, I'm sure.

You see a stamp set in a catalogue or flyer and you think, "Meh, yeah, I guess it's okay," and you decline to order it.

Then a good crafting friend mentions she bought it, so you figure you should give it another look. You do your usual browsing among creative websites and blogs, or - my personal kryptonite - Pinterest, and you begin to see lots and lots of lovely samples made using that stamp set. You see ideas for using it you never would have thought of on your own and you begin to see it in a whole new light.

You all know what happens next, don't you?

Yes, you order the set. You. Are. Hooked.

Line. And. Sinker.

What's that? Did this happen to me? Puh-lease!

Of course it did. Damn you, Thoughtful Branches, with your many pretty fonts, your variety of branches, leaves, petals, trees and others, and your dies that match up so easily you can make a lovely card in less than ten minutes. Damn you!


Okay, here are the samples I've made so far, and I feel it only fair to point out that these were made yesterday at a play day with my enabling (former) good crafting friend, and that my own set just arrived in the post today - so goodness only knows what I'm going to come up with next!

Love, love, love this set for a softly evocative Christmas card:

Materials used:

  • stamps - Thoughtful Branches, Good Greetings
  • card - whisper white, real red,
  • other - softly falling embossing folder, Big Shot, Dimensionals, white embossing powder, heat tool, Thoughtful Branches die set

Two layers of leaves, one in plain card (mint macaron) and one stamped, make a great canopy for a tree:

Materials used:
  • stamps - Thoughtful Branches
  • card - whisper white, mint macaron, baked brown sugar
  • other - Big Shot, Dimensionals, Thoughtful Branches die set, Sahara sand marker

Here I've tried for the hydrangea look and I don't think it's quite worked, but I'll show it to you anyway. I'm still in love with the woodgrain background stamp - another one I was slow to warm to and glad when I finally caved and got it.

Materials used:

  • stamps - Thoughtful Branches, Woodgrain
  • card - Sahara sand, mint macaron, sweet sugarplum
  • other - clear embossing powder, heat tool, Big Shot, Thoughtful Branches die set, sponge dauber

  • If my story and/or samples have finally convinced you to order this set - well, firstly, hurry up because it's only available until the end of this month - and also, I'll happily accept the blame for enabling you. You know what they say - you've got to pay it forward. That's all I'm doing, right?

    Thanks for stopping by.


    Thursday, August 18, 2016

    Christmas Greetings

    Our Christmas stamp-a-stack cards for this month both feature two things: the Christmas Greetings thinlits and some sponging - because you know how much I love getting inky!

    Here's the first, a classic colour combination (and one of my personal favs) of cherry cobbler, crumb cake and very vanilla.

    Materials used:
    • stamps - Holly Jolly Greetings
    • card - cherry cobbler, very vanilla, crumb cake, vellum
    • other - world traveller embossing folder, Big Shot, Christmas Greetings thinlits, gold embossing powder, heat tool, rhinestone, gold cord, wooden snowflake, sponge, two way glue pen, mini glue dot

    Once I'd embossed the map, I sponged over it with crumb cake ink, both to highlight the shapes more and to give it a slight aged look, which is something I love on Christmas cards particularly. The wooden snowflake embellishment is left over from last year and my ladies are going to LOVE me for making them tie a bow in that thin gold cord! LOL.

    Santa makes an appearance on our second card, something light and jolly.

    Materials used:
    • stamps - Holly Jolly Greetings, Cozy Christmas
    • card - soft sky, basic black, whisper white, real red
    • other - Christmas Greetings thinlits, Big Shot, stamp-a-ma-jig, sponge, scrap paper, post it note, 1 3/4" circle punch, two way glue pen

    I stamped Santa and his reindeer then placed my masks for the moon and snow before sponging with soft sky ink. I love how effective this is without much work.

    Hopefully my ladies will have lots of fun making these. Thanks for stopping by.


    Thursday, July 28, 2016

    It Just Has to Gel

    One of the cards we made in class recently is a gel card using the new SU set, Seaside Shore. It's been many years since I made a gel card but I hadn't forgotten how much fun they are - just love squishing the gel around and moving the bubbles!

    Here's our card:

    Clear hair gel was squirted into a zip lock plastic bag and manipulated to sit over the size window we used, then we double-mounted the embossed piece to allow for the depth. The porthole piece was made using two circle framelits and attached with silver brads. Luckily my ladies didn't seem to mind the fussy cutting of the fish and seaweed!

    Here's a close up; hopefully you can see the bubbles in the gel. If you make one, push them around with your fingers - it is so much fun!

    Materials used:
    • stamps - Seaside Shore
    • card - early espresso, crumb cake, smoky slate, whisper white, By the Shore DSP
    • other - markers, scissors, mounting tape, silver brads, circles framelits, Big Shot, woodgrain embossing folder, sponge dauber, zip lock bag, hair gel, paper piercer

    Thanks for stopping by.


    Saturday, July 23, 2016

    Not Even a Mouse

    For this month's Christmas stamp-a-stack we're making two very different cards but I love them both. The first incorporates some sponging and you know how much I love to get inky! This was inspired by two cards, one by Kay Kalthoff and the other by Connie Babbert.

    Materials used:
    • stamps - Ornamental Pine, Gorgeous Grunge
    • card - thick white, island indigo, whisper white, soft suede
    • inks - Bermuda bay, island indigo, garden green, early espresso, whisper white
    • other - sponges, white gel pen, Dimensionals

    Our second project is a CAS - Clean and Simple - card that utilises white space to give additional impact to the image and sentiment. This is a little stamp I picked up somewhere a few years back and never got around to using until now and I must say I find it every bit as adorable as when I bought it. 

    Materials used:
    • stamps - 
    • card - thick white, real red, whisper white
    • other - markers, Dimensionals

    Now we're halfway through our Christmas cards already, which quite frankly is a bit of a worry! Christmas comes around faster every year. 

    Thanks for dropping by.


    Monday, July 4, 2016

    Superhero Hybrid

    A friend of mine has a birthday coming up soon and as she is a Marvel geek like me, I really wanted to make her a superhero card. SU had a great set called 'Calling All Heroes' a couple of years back but we didn't get it here in Australia, sadly, so when the opportunity came to buy it on MDS I leapt at it. Inspired by a card by Ilina Crouse, here's my hybrid:

    Materials used:

    • stamps - Calling all Heroes (digital), One of a Kind (digital)
    • card - basic black, whisper white, retired Bermuda bay dsp, digital crushed curry dsp
    • other - 35mm circle punch, 38mm circle punch, Dimensionals, scissors, cloud embossing folder (retired), Big Shot, computer, printer, MDS software

    I'm pretty sure she's going to love it; I know I do!

    Thanks for stopping by.


    Thursday, June 16, 2016

    Time Warp

    My younger daughter celebrated a birthday recently and asked for a card or something featuring a T-rex - the reason being that T-rex was her nickname at her old high school as she has short arms! So I borrowed the No Bones About It set and scanned my favourite source of inspiration - Pinterest - and came up with this:

    The lava on top is made from a recipe I found online - it's paint, talcum powder and glue - and then I coloured it with orange paint. The dinosaurs are held up with strips of acetate. I was very pleased with it and added a banner with the birthday greeting from the set, but forgot to take a photo of it all finished. Luckily, DD18 loved it.

    More posts coming soon of cards we've done in classes recently.

    Thanks for calling in.


    Sunday, April 17, 2016

    Watercolouring Technique

    If you love watercolouring, check out this wonderful video showing a borderless colouring technique. Marika's skill is mind-blowing and her card stunning.


    Thursday, April 7, 2016

    Happy Birthday Blooms

    Here's another card using the same stamp set as my last post but a completely different look. This one's for our SU team challenge to showcase the retiring in colours and here I've used the three I like the most and will sorely miss. Card design cased from Lisa Young.

    Materials used:

    • stamps - Birthday Blooms
    • card - watercolour, mossy meadow, whisper white (thick)
    • inks - mossy meadow, hello honey, blackberry bliss, black StazOn
    • other - markers, Bohemian washi tape, Dimensionals, pearls, two-way glue, aqua painter

    Thanks for calling in.


    Friday, February 19, 2016

    Floral Delight

    The colours and layout of a card I saw on Pinterest got my creative juices flowing this morning and I sat down to have a play with new set, Birthday Blooms from the Occasions catalogue. I've been seeing a lot of peach and aqua around in bedding and home decor shops lately and the card that inspired me also featured those shades, so that's why I've used them.

    I embossed the front piece then ran my Versamark pen over the stripes and embossed them with clear embossing powder to get the darker stripes. Not a raging success (don't look too closely) but quite happy for a first try. I think perhaps the lace needs something else but by the time I thought of it, I'd already stuck it down (I should tell myself off like I do my class ladies when they race ahead without waiting for instructions!!! lol) so too late! The flower was tons of fun to colour in but a bit of a .... to cut out, let me tell you. If you know the stamp you'll see I've cut off the smaller, finer leaves - they cluttered the card up and I had enough detail already.

    Materials used:

    • stamps - Birthday Blooms
    • card - coastal cabana, whisper white, watercolour
    • inks - Bermuda bay, wild wasabi, garden green, watermelon wonder, crisp cantaloupe, Versamark
    • other - watermelon wonder lace, Apothecary Accents dies, Big Shot, Dimensionals, Veramark pen, white embossing powder, clear embossing powder, heat tool, aqua painter, markers, rhinestones, stylish stripes embossing folder

    Here's the original card that inspired me:

    Thanks for calling in.


    Saturday, February 6, 2016

    Beached As, Bro

    Today is Waitangi Day (aka New Zealand Day) so as I made a card for Australia Day (I'm both a Kiwi and an Aussie), I was naturally obligated to make one for Waitangi Day as well. And by obligated I mean I would never hear the end of it from my Aussie sister-in-law if I didn't! Lol.

    The theme I chose is from a little cartoon series called Beached As, which is about a blue whale that finds itself beached on a shore somewhere in New Zealand and then meets various birdlife and sea life creatures. It was actually created by some Aussies and poked a little bit of fun (read tons of fun) at the Kiwi accent, but it was immensely popular both in New Zealand and in Australia. The first creature the whale meets is a pelican, which I assume was a humorous dig from the Aussie writers as the only pelicans found in NZ (and there's only been a couple of dozen over the centuries) are ones that flew over from Australia! The pelican realises the whale must be hungry and offers him a potato chip (crisp). However, the NZ accent has a flat vowel sound, so to Aussies an 'i' sounds like a 'u' and the word chip becomes chup. Get it? Good.

    So, here's my card.

    I thought there was also a cute parallel with my own situation - ie being a Kiwi who has lived in Australia for going on 19 years, I guessed I'm kind of 'beached' here!

    The (semi) nautical theme of the card ties in beautifully with our Waitangi Day dinner (coz I'm clever that way) - we're having dishes that originated or were very commonplace in NZ when I lived there and all feature seafood. Salmon dip, marinated mussels, smoked trout and seafood chowder (with smoked fish fillets all the way from across the ditch). Dessert was a bit of a problem for the theme - I'm making marshmallow surprise (click HERE for the recipe) - until I thought of a unique way to help it fit in: to accompany the dessert will be a chocolate fish! Hahaha, yes, I crack myself up sometimes (I know - small things amuse small minds). In case you're not aware, a chocolate fish is marshmallow covered in chocolate and shaped like - yep, you guessed it - a fish. Here's a pic:

    Thank you, thank you, you may now all bow down in salaam to the genius that is my brain. (Peers into the blogosphere) Hmmm, I don't see much bowing going on. Ah well - wanna chup, bro?

    Thanks for stopping by. Have a good Waitangi Day!


    Wednesday, February 3, 2016


    I've had another play with the great SAB set, The Sky is the Limit. Here's my card:

    I used a stencil in the background, sponged with crushed curry ink, then stamped my sentiment. The plane was stamped with craft black and clear embossed, then I went over the body of the plane with my Versamark pen (you can see it's turned it slightly grey) and clear embossed again - this enabled me to stencil some sun's rays over the image without the actual plane itself going yellow - because you just wipe the excess ink off the clear embossed parts. Love this technique! The plane was then cut out and adhered with Dimensionals, lining up the rays to match those underneath.

    Materials used:

    • stamps - The Sky is the Limit
    • card - cherry cobbler, basic black, crushed curry, whisper white
    • other - MFT stencil (Sun Ray), Dimensionals, sponge, sponge dauber, clear embossing powder, heat tool, stamp-a-ma-jig, scissors, snail adhesive

    Thanks for stopping by.


    Tuesday, February 2, 2016

    By Popular Request

    This month in class we are dusting off our brayers and getting inky with some brayered backgrounds and silhouette stamps. Not only do they look fantastic, but they also act as enough of a focal feature on your card that you rarely need anything else.

    Brayering is a lot of fun but it does take a bit of practise. I love the wonderful blending I can achieve when I just can't seem to get quite the same effect with sponging. If you're interested, I've got a short video tutorial on brayering over in the right hand sidebar - look for the heading Tutorials - that someone took when I was demonstrating at a Stampin' Up! event a couple of years ago.

    For the first card I used pool party and blushing bride inks and a circle punch mask. I brayered from opposite ends of my whisper white paper and the middle third of the piece is overlapped inks. Doesn't it make an exquisite sunrise/sunset?

    Materials used:
    • stamps - World of Dreams, Wetlands
    • card - pool party, basic black, whisper white
    • other - brayer, 1 1/4" circle punch, post-it note, stamp-a-ma-jig, Dimensionals

    I've used masking again for the next card, this time to mask off an area to brayer in. I stamped first then laid the circle mask and a post-it along the bottom. The sentiment was done on the computer. Ink colours used were delightful dijon, cajun craze, cherry cobbler.

    Materials used:
    • stamps - Landscape Silhouettes (Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps)
    • card - cajun craze, basic black, whisper white, delightful dijon
    • other - circle framelits, Big Shot, brayer, Dimensionals, post-it note, computer and printer, banner punch

    And lastly a 'birdies on the wire' card. This time I brayered with daffodil delight, calypso coral and watermelon wonder.

    Materials used:
    • stamps - none
    • card - Sahara sand, basic black, whisper white
    • other - bird punch, Dimensionals, hello honey thick bakers twine, brayer

    Hope you like the brayered cards and are inspired to give it a go yourself. But be warned - once you get the hang of it, it's terribly addictive! 

    Thanks for calling in.


    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    Happy Vegemite Day

    I actually made a card for it this year; I had an idea yesterday and got up early this morning to put my "masterpiece" together.

    Hehehe, that emu is so darn cute! And happy. Go the green and gold!

    We're off to my sister-in-law's place for a BBQ - naturally - and I'm told there will be pavlova - though as a Kiwi before I became an Aussie, there's a bone of contention over the origins of the humble pav!  If you're a Strine too, have a Happy Australia Day and if you're not - try to have a good day anyway!


    Sunday, January 24, 2016

    The Sky's the Limit

    It's always good to get more guy stamps in a new catalogue as masculine cards are something my ladies often ask for. The SAB freebie set 'The Sky's the Limit' is proving to be very popular and I can understand why - it has great images and a variety of sentiments in nice fonts: what more could we wish for?

    So I sat and had a play with it, also incorporating the new World Traveller embossing folder from the Occasions catalogue. Here tis:

    Materials used:
    • stamps - The Sky's the Limit
    • card - soft sky, whisper white, crumb cake
    • other - world traveller embossing folder, Big Shot, clear embossing powder, heat tool, scissors, Dimensionals, stamp-a-ma-jig, circle card thinlits, two-way glue pen, tweezers, sponge daubers

    The piece of white card is edged with black ink to help define it and this also gives the illusion of another layer without the bulk of more card. My ladies love this trick!

    Thanks for stopping by.


    Sunday, January 10, 2016

    New Year, New Stuff

    Welcome to 2016! I see it's been a while since my last post...hmm, I'm getting bad at this! Not to worry, there's plenty of pretty new stuff to get your juices going today.

    For my first class of the year we're going to be playing with goodies from the 2016 Occasions catalogue and also the Sale-a-bration catalogue - cos who doesn't love free stuff? Especially when the free stuff is so darn cute? Here we go -

    First a celebration card chockablock full of new goodies that my daughter describes as 'just a bit cute'.

    Materials used:

    • stamps - Honeycomb Happiness (SAB)
    • card - basic black, mint macaron, whisper white, various glitter card (non SU) and It's My Party DSP (OC)
    • punches & dies - balloon punch (OC), deco labels framelits
    • other - Big Shot, white bakers twine, Blendabilities - daffodil delight and pumpkin pie, Dimensionals, Sahara sand marker, glue dots

    A sweet pastel card that looks good enough to eat is next up. The ice cream cones were stamped on watercolour card and coloured using aqua painter and inks.

    Materials used:
    • stamps - Honeycomb Happiness (SAB)
    • card - mint macaron, whisper white, watermelon wonder, watercolour and Birthday Bouquet DSP (OC)
    • other - aqua painter, white embossing powder, heat tool, Dimensionals

    And our last card is a clean and simple one with just stamping and nothing else.

    Materials used:
    • stamps - Picture Perfect
    • card - smoky slate, Bermuda bay, whisper white
    • inks - smoky slate, basic grey, basic black, Bermuda bay
    • other - Dimensionals

    There's a Stampin' Up! video tutorial available for this stamp set at the following link:

    Great way to kick off another year of crafting happiness? I think so! Thanks for stopping by.


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