Craft is something that belongs to you in a way that nothing else does. You may share your passion with someone else, and provide inspiration for each other, but at it's very core it is a private joy that feeds your soul. It is there for you on the sunny days, the rainy afternoons and in the middle of the night when your worries are keeping you awake. At the same time it can be restful, meditative and exciting.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Inking with the Cuttlebug

This looks like a fun technique to try =^..^=

The scroll tree is an Inkadinkado stamp and is one of my favourites.  This time I used it with the the Kaleidacolor stamp pad Berry Breeze. This is something I made while experimenting with watercolour techniques.  The two panels beneath the tree panel are handmade paper but I'm not 100% sure about the shade of the ribbon.  Of course, it is spotty dotty, so it had to be used!!!!  =^..^=

Friday, August 20, 2010

This is an oldie......I made it months ago.  In fact I don't think I actually have it anymore.  I really like the colours as I think that they blend well together, but it just feels unfinished to me.  Maybe there needs to be a stamped sentiment on top of the small panel.

Geez, I haven't made a card for a few weeks now.  No wonder I feel a little odd.........=^..^=

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Turning a mistake into a success

This is actually my first attempt at the owl card that I was asked to make.  The pattern and the colour scheme seemed to fit the person that the card was intended for, but because the stamps are so little they completely over-powered the owl image.  Rather than toss the whole card I kept the three panel layout on the cream card and added a decorative horizontal panel and a cream 'satin' bow.  I have since used it as a birthday card.  Often my 'oops' cards go into the bin, so it was nice to 'save' this one =^..^=

Making a card to order

I have now found out that this is much harder than I thought.  All I was asked was could I please make an owl card and I was given a rough idea of colour and preferences.  I thought that it would be so easy!  I love owls, I love the decorative papers and bling that I chose.  But it was HARD.  Really hard!  I played around for ages with the layout, the embellishments and felt hampered by the fact that the owl stamps that I have are all quite small and they didn't seem to want to be the focus of a card.  I am happy with the card I finished up with, and hope that the recipient liked it =^..^=

Original Creations

I've just been wondering lately about creativity.  Can anything be called a truly original creation?  Surely if I have looked at the handcrafted cards that others have made I have been influenced by them to some extent or another.  So do I get to claim as an 'original creation' something that has been inspired by another card?

I'm not talking about when you re-create a card so that it is exactly the same as the one you have seen.  We've all done that at one time or another because the one you have seen is so perfect that any changes you could make would just ruin it.  But what about the ones where the card has many similarities to the one you were inspired by?  What if you use the same layout but change the colour scheme, the papers or the embellishments?

It's just that sometimes I look at cards that I have made and I see the ideas of others' in them.  But then I look at the other things that I like to create - knitting, cross stitch, patchwork.  All of the things that I have made have been inspired by the work of others, or been made exactly according to a pattern.  And I don't think of any of these things as not having been created by me.  Must be something to do with the essence of 'you' that goes into the things that we make.  Even if I do make a card that looks similar to one that I have seen it's my creation because I have used my craft stash in a unique way.  Just blabbing now, so I will sign off =^..^=

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Something a little bit different.  Spotty dotty ribbons, of course, but rub-on sentiments and a self adhesive embellishment.  When I first got the square brad set I kind of wondered what I was going to do with them.  They are perfect for threading ribbon through.  Corrugated white card behind the ribbon balances the colour for me =^..^=

Friday, July 16, 2010

And last but not least, number 20 in the black and white challenge.  This is another Inkadinkado stamp and I have used Blue Breeze Kaleidacolor stamp pad.  This blue pad, unlike the green one, seems to ink and stamp an image without any white lines between the colours.  Can't live without the spotty dotty ribbons =^..^=
I had to post number 19 in the black and white challenge in a bigger size because the detail in the star stamp didn't show up when the pic was smaller.  One of the blue inks is a pearlescent ink pad and it has a beautiful sheen to it. I think that the stamp is fairly versatile, but I do like it in a very simple layout like this that seems to highlight the 'movement' of the star =^..^=

Friday, July 9, 2010

I fiddled with number 18 in the black and white challenge for ages.  So much so that I nearly tossed it out of frustration.  I do love these alphabet stamps and think that I will use them a lot.  The ribbon wrapped around the bottom of the white panel very easily and turned itself into a bow as if by magic.  But then I was stuck.  I couldn't decide what to do.  The only thing that stopped me from tossing the whole thing completely was that I love this colour blue so much.  Anyway, this is the design I ended with =^..^=
Number 17 in the black and white challenge.  These are part of an Inkadinkado dog stamp set.  I was playing around with my Kaleidacolor stamp pad and have had trouble with there being a distinct white line between the colours.  Almost as though the separate parts of the stamp pad are not pushed together properly.  I can't really work out why this would be.  I'll have to have a bit more of a play around with it.  In the mean time I will get the pencils out and colour this one a little so that there is no white line showing.  This is a simple card with the central panel mounted on corrugated cardboard =^..^=

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I really really like this one.......I figure I am allowed to say that because it is an idea that I copied from a magazine and adjusted to suit.  It's a normal sized card with the front scored from top to bottom about 2/3rds the way from the fold.  Three different ribbons were crossed across this second fold and the fold secured with double sided tape.  The flower panel is three daisies cut with a punch and secured with a flower brad to a white square mounted onto a black square.  Then it was set on the diagonal and attached to the card.  Number 16 in the black and white challenge.
I had to post number 15 in the black and white challenge larger than the others because I love the stamp so much.  It is from Lili of the Valley, a U.K. company who have a gorgeous range of stamps and papers.  These stamps look beautiful coloured with watercolours and the Christmas fairies in the range are really sweet.  The card opens down the left hand side and all the pinks are a perfect match except for the heart shaped brads which I think tone well with the others =^..^=
Number 14 in the black and white challenge.  I had to double layer the ribbon at the top and the bottom because it is so sheer that you could not see the green in it at all.  The panel under the cat panel is handmade paper and was a perfect match for the sea foam green ink that I used with the stamp.  I used a corner punch turned upside down to create the scalloped edge.  This was surprisingly difficult because the handmade paper is so soft that it wanted to mold itself to the punch rather than be cut and there was a lot of tidying up to do with scissors =^..^=

Saturday, July 3, 2010

This is number 13 in the black and white challenge and I used the other reverse image stamp in an acrylic set I have. It never occurred to me that you could effectively use a pastel pretty pink with black.  I thought that the black would completely over-power it but thought I would give it a try.  I have to say that I really like the effect, and I think that the black stops the card from being too cutesy =^..^=

Friday, July 2, 2010

Number 12 in the black and white challenge.  I find green hard to work with and this olive doesn't have the zing of a bright green.  I always like using corrugated card and I had exactly the right shade to tone with the olive ink.  A very simple card of course: five layers and four brads.  It's the first time that I have used a stamp that stamps a negative image.  I like it a lot, and I like that it isn't meant to create a perfect image.  I guess I would use this as a 'thank you' or a sympathy or a 'thinking of you' card. =^..^=

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Card number 11 in the black and white challenge.  I still can't decide if I like this or not and made it as more of an experiment than anything else.  I was using a little cat punch and liked the punched pieces that came out as much as the silhouette the punch creates (clear as mud I guess).  Anyway, I played around for ages and was determined that I would not cut another piece of white cardboard to finish it.  Anyway it's a bit quirky and a bit fun. =^..^=
So this is what the card really looks like and it is card number 10 in the black and white challenge.  I'm not really all that fussed on orange, in fact it's my least favourite colour so I didn't think I'd come up with anything that I personally liked.  But I quite like this, if I could only get the centre bits of the flower to co-operate. =^..^=
The cat decided that he needed to get involved in the photography today.  After all, I had ignored him, at least his version of ignoring, for all of half an hour.  I really like this flower but can't seem to convince the middle 'bits' to sit properly =^..^=

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Card nine in the black and white challenge - another that is mostly black and silver but has a white border around the tree panel, so it fits the criteria, just! I had an odd shaped strip of black card left which was just a little larger than the tree panel so I decided to attach this silver heat embossed tree to it. The card opens down the side, so it is much longer than it is wide (does that make sense?) There is a tiny silver brad in each corner of the tree panel and I love the Fiskars corner punch.  =^..^=
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Friday, June 25, 2010

Card eight in the black and white challenge.  This Art Deco style butterfly is great fun to use and lends itself to lots of different styles.  I used cobalt blue metallic embossing powder and three medium sized gems in the bottom corner.  The antennae are always a little tricky if you decide to cut the image out.  After a few boo-boos I gave it away as a joke and decided to cut around the entire image leaving a few millimetres as a border.  Much easier and looks pretty good too.  I love this embossing powder =^..^=

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meow, Meow, Meow.............

I know that we all love our furry buddies, but practically every handmade gift I have ever given has had an extra special present tucked away somewhere if the receiver only looks hard enough.  Of course I am talking about cat fur, black at that (probably would be helpful in my Black and White challenge).  It's not really a problem with patchwork, especially since quilts are made to be washed.  It causes some problems with cross stitch and I know that moment when you get a picture back from the framer only to find that you haven't checked it with a fine enough tooth comb - boo hoo.

I think of all the crafts I do cardmaking is the messiest because there are so many bits and pieces that are essential.  Like ribbons, brads, embossing powders, stamps, ink pads etc. etc.  The cats graciously allow me about 15 minutes completely uninterrupted card crafting time.  Then the wagons start circling and I can see their noses twitching and their tales swishing.  And one of them leaps up onto the craft area, straight onto a sticky embossing pad or piles of brads and decorative papers.  What to do, what to you scramble to make sure that they don't hurt themselves, or some of the precious craft stash.  I tell you, it truly is a fine balancing act.  I was writing earlier about craft discipline and this is another area ( I WILL not reveal all the areas!) in which I dismally fail to have any discipline.  Anyone who has visited my humble abode will know that the cats have the run of the house and that I am theirs, they are not mine.

So what does that mean for card craft?  Take more notice of how I lay my bits and pieces out.  But mostly the understanding of friends and family that a wonky line doesn't indicate lack of care.  Just the nosiness of a whiskered furry face.

MEOW =^..^=

Craft Discipline

Is there such a thing as craft discipline?  I have heard tell of those strange creatures who never start a new project until they have finished what they are working on.........unbelievable.......Personally I have at least a million things on the go at any one time.  Lets see, at the moment there are 2 knitted blankets, 1 appliqued quilt and too many cross stitch pictures to count.  Not to mention the ideas that are percolating away in the back of my mind.

There are probably lots of reasons for this.  If it's a big project it is easy to get disenchanted with the time it is that is the boredom factor.  Then there is the need for fresh inspiration, and having things bubbling away is an inspiring thing for me.  Also there is the fact that you might be making something as a gift so it has a 'date due'.  You might be addicted to many different crafts and you have to spend time with the craft that is exerting a pull on you at that moment.

But what would it be like to finish one thing before you start the next?  Would I actually have a lot more finished projects?  Or would it just take a lot longer to finish each project?  I know not. The other version of this type of discipline I have heard of is having two projects on the go at any given time.  One long term project and a quick one that would give you a sense of satisfaction.

I guess the bottom line is that craft is about creativity and enjoyment, so as far as I am concerned you should do whatever you want to do.  After all, there are not many other things in life that this is true about.  =^..^=

Monday, June 21, 2010

Number seven in the black and white challenge.  I guess it seems to have become the black, white and silver challenge because this is another card with only a smidge of white showing.  But there is quite a lot of white in the ribbon, so I am counting it!  It is made with one of the new stamps from the craft fair =^..^=

Craft Fair

Well, as expected there was nothing worth buying at the craft fair last weekend and I didn't spend any money at all.  And, if you are interested I have a nice bridge to sell you, and probably my nose just grew a little.  There were in actual fact quite a lot of purchases made......and only a few were presents for ah!

My Cuttlebug got a boost with some Spellbinders die/embossing shapes and inking 'pads' to add colour to the raised part of embossed card.  My friend bought me a fab birthday present and let me go round one of the shops and fill a tray with stamps, metallic inks and a brayer.  I only have a vague idea of how to use a brayer so I imagine I will be having lots of fun with it learning some new techniques.  My friend has a good eye because she pointed out the mosaic stamp which I had previously passed by.  It was the first stamp I used when I got home and I am just about to post a picture of the card that I made with it.  I think it's probably going to get a lot of use.

There didn't seem to be as many people at the craft fair as there had been in previous years.  Which was good for us because it made it a little easier to get around.  But not so good for the people trying to sell their products no doubt.  As usual there were some really good deals and it would have been way too easy to spend every single cent in my purse.  Good thing that it's 365 days till the next craft fair. =^..^=

Monday, June 14, 2010

                                                  Number six in the black and white challenge.  Okay, so this is mainly black and silver, but I promise that there is a small white border.  I have had this stamp for ages and found it on special in a discount bin.  But I haven't used it all that often even though I love it.  I just have never really thought of anything really nice to do with it.  It's just a fluke that I stamped the images reasonably evenly and the teal brad fitted well in the middle.  The images were heat embossed and originally I tried to set the panel on point. But that made the card enormous and then you get into the whole problem of finding an envelope to fit.  In the end I liked the final layout. =^..^=

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The craft stash that breeds...........

Do you ever think 'That's it, I'm done.  I cannot buy one more thing for my card making stash, not one tiny little thing or I won't be able to get through the front door'. Or have you scrambled to hide things away when you know someone is dropping by?  Because you don't want them to witness the extent of your obsession.  For sure there is no way that they would understand it! Not to mention the quiet horror inside that you have amassed so much decorative paper, ribbon and bling.  And you wish that your little house was like the inside of Doctor Who's Tardis.  But it just isn't because the special wishings fairies are not listening.

So you have to work out what you can possibly live without...........and you think about all those cross stitch and patchwork magazines that you haven't looked at for ages.  But looking at them just re-awakens your passion, and you wonder to yourself 'How could it possibly have been so long since I took out my cross stitch or put together a quilt block?'  And what you end up with, temporarily at least, is a house that looks like a pigsty with your card stash, your patchwork stash, your cross stitch stash AND your knitting stash strewn everywhere.  It's around this time time you start wishing that you had bought that van instead of that zippy little hatch with the sun roof.  Because surely if they can fit a van out for a plumber, they can fit one out for a crafter.

And did I mention that the annual craft show is on in a few days?  I know that there won't be anything worth buying there......................................=^..^=

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Some new stamps to have fun early birthday pressie to myself, but don't tell anyone okay? =^..^=

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Card number five in the black and white challenge.  It's funny how sometimes the fancy papers, flowers and gems take on a life of their own.  The final design is not at all what I thought it would be.  I am fairly happy with it, but I think that black, white and pink will reappear in this challenge before I am finished. =^..^=
Card number four in the black and white challenge.  The top row of stars is a repeated border punch and the bottom is sheer black ribbon with shimmery silver stars.  The sentiment is a sticker.  I am not 100% sure about the placement of the elements in this card, I may want to play around with it a little more.  But I do like the black, white and silver combo. =^..^=

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Card number 3 in the Black and White challenge.  Actually, this was the first one I made and I really like the effect of the faded, crackled look of the flower pot stamp.  The idea was to create a window sill / curtain effect and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I think that a solid red ribbon would work better though. =^..^=

There was always going to be another frangipani card posted at some point.  The large yellow panel is corrugated cardboard and the top panel is patterned vellum attached to cream cardstock with a large star brad.  The spotty ribbon is threaded through the brad.  The happy birthday sentiment is a sticker.......I'm not sure about stamping on vellum?  Can you do that?  I have heat embossed on vellum, but I haven't stamped it. =^..^=

Some ponderings about Buddhist mandalas.......

My understanding of these mandalas is that once they are completed by the monks they are swept away.  It's hard for me to imagine what it must be like to create such a work of art and then watch it blow away on the wind.  I do understand that they represent the impermanence of all things, but still...............I mean, giving something away that you have made is one thing.  Sure enough it is no longer in your possession, but you know (hopefully) that it is being treasured by the person that you have gifted it to.  But to actually sweep it away..... I just can't seem to get my head around it.  I guess from my perspective it would mean that the creative process itself is more important than the finished product.

I definitely think that I could 'sweep into the wind' a card that I had made, purely because there isn't all the much time invested in it, comparatively speaking.  I don't know that I could ever consider doing the same with something more 'substantial' like a piece of knitting or patchwork.  Do you think that deconstructing a creation is a somehow liberating?  Or is it merely ridiculous (for the non Buddhist) ? =^..^=

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

This card opens down the middle, like a cupboard.  The card itself is black and the first panel layer is cream with black spots.  The second panel layer is black flocked decorative paper. The thin black strip is card and just seems to finish each side somehow.  The sentiment is gold heat embossed and layered onto a small piece of flocked off-cut then onto a piece of black card.  The ribbon wraps around the back and ties in a bow at the side. =^..^=
My favourite flower is the frangipani, and I love it with black and white.  They are transparent stickers layered on a small white panel.  The larger white panel is dry embossed with the Cuttlebug and the corners rounded with a corner punch.  My favourite so far.  This is an alternate version of the black and white butterfly design and doesn't really count in the challenge as it is not different enough. =^..^=
The butterfly is a rub on, and I have attached small black brads in each corner of the small panel.  I dry embossed the large white panel with the Cuttlebug and used a corner punch to decorate the corners.  =^..^=
I really love the three panel look, and this is one of the few times that I have stamped over quite busy decorative paper.  In the past I have used black ink, but this time I have used purples and deep oranges.  I know that there is a fair bit of light reflection in the photo and the right panel shows the colour most accurately. =^..^=

Help - how do you successfully take pics of your cards?

Any advice gratefully received!  As you can tell from the pics I have uploaded so far I am not exactly great at it.  All I can say us thank goodness for photo editing software. =^..^=
This card I am really pleased with.  It is horizontal with the fold on the left side.  The chocolate brown base card is heat embossed with a cobalt blue embossing powder.  The stamp is Hero Arts (I think) and a simple feathery 'vine' that is actually quite small.  I just stamped it fairly evenly over the card.  The sentiment is stamped in a pearly chocolate brown ink that I am in love with, and I attached 3 flower jewels in the corner.  I love off-setting some elements of a card as it creates interest =^..^=

The Black and White Challenge

Every now and then when I don't have cards to make for a specific occassion I set myself a challenge.  Like choosing papers, ribbons and other embellishments from my stash that I wouldn't normally put together.  And I play around with different layouts and try things I wouldn't normally try.

So, right now I have set myself a black and white challenge: 20 different card designs using black, white and one other colour only, maybe red, green or yellow.  But mostly, they are to be black and white designs.  So far I have made two, and I will put up the pictures soon.

I don't really know what entices me about setting myself a challenge, but I think that it's something to do with setting small, fun goals.  I mean, there are so many challenges in life that make you invest your body and soul, how about a challenge that is just fun, fun, fun.  And also, it makes me feel less guilty about having such a big stash!!!!!  And it's not like my other craft stashes - those are fairly well packed in boxes and hidden under the bed and in every nook and cranny around the house.  Not so with my card making stash - it's all over the dining room.  So if I don't get creative with it on a regular basis then it just sits there looking at me.  So setting myself a challenge helps me feel less guilty.

How and why do you decide to get crafty with your card making stash?  Just wondering.........=^..^=

Why write a blog..........

I don't really know why I thought it would be fun to start a blog to be honest.  There are many fab card making blogs around, so what is the point of another one?  I guess one of the things I've been thinking about is the meaning of craft in our lives, whether you have plenty of time for it or you grab your craft time on the run.  Part of who we are goes into the things that we make, and is probably an essential part of creativity.  I have a good friend who says that making something is like cooking a meal.  You can get the same thing at a restaurant but it tastes better when it is home made because there is love in it. 

For me craft helps my life most of the time.  When I am feeling good it kind of celebrates that, and when I am feeling a little blue it takes my mind off my worries and distracts me.  Also, taking time out to create helps keep me sane when everything is crazy busy or so complicated it makes my eyes cross.  Of course, sometimes it's just plain old fun.

What does it add to your life? =^..^=
This was made for the teenage son of a friend.  I find it really hard to make cards for boys and men, I guess like many others.  Even though I like bright and bold styles, that doesn't necessarily lend itself to a male creation.  I stamped the white panels with a black pigment stamp and heat embossed with a clear powder.  I swiped the edges with a silver stamp pad to finish it.  He loved it =^..^=
I tend to usually work with the same size card, 10.5cm x 15cm.  I just find it easier for envelopes and postage etc., but mostly because that is the size my eye creates in.  I guess that I am mostly attracted to bright colours and simple styles because that is what I seem to create.  Which is odd really because I thought when I first started card making that it would be pastel shades and more traditional 'busy' kind of cards.  This one is fancy wrapping paper, some Kindy Glitz glitter glue and some doodling. =^..^=

Monday, May 31, 2010

I had a lot of fun making this card.  The bright colours appeal to me, and off-setting the panels and creating a sparkly border added interest.  And of course the puppies are just too cute. =^..^=