Thursday, 31 July 2014


A dog in a parachute, landing in the waves?  Yup!  That's my card today.  I just love the look on the dog's face.  It's such a happy, live-life-to-the-fullest look and it makes me smile.

It's all about the word "splash" at Inkspirational Challenges:

And over at the Sketch Frenzy Friday Challenges, it's all about the sketch:

While over at the City Crafter Challenge Blog it's all about animal magic:

Okay, I could stop right there because that little face just enchants me.  But this isn't about that adorable face, it's about a card I've made and want to share.  It began with a stamp I couldn't resist.  And then I saw the card I wanted to make when I saw the challenges.  It's nice when everything comes together like that.

My base cardstock is Marina Mist followed by a layer of Cherry Cobbler and then the layer of Whisper White onto which I stamped everything.  The waves at the bottom of the stamped area were created first by tearing some Marina Mist  and then "capping" the waves with some of my Chalk Marker.  Colouring was easy with my Blendabilities and I did a bit of sponging on the sky using Soft Sky ink.  

I like the card just the way it turned out.

But it could also be made more occasion-specific by adding a banner if you wish:

Whichever way you finish it off, the card is simply fun and makes a person smile.  It's great when a card can do that, isn't it?

Check out more cards in the Inkspirational challenge here.

Check out more cards in the City Crafter Challenge here.

Check out more interpretations of the sketch at Sketch Frenzy Friday here.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Woo-Hoo --- A steampunk owl!

Birds are a miracle!  That they can sing songs to make one's heart swell, fly like gravity-defying acrobats, and look like a painting-come-to-life are only some of the reasons I feel that way.  They touch me and move me in a way that I can't fully explain.  And then there are owls.  I love taking photographs of birds.  I've managed to capture some wonderful images over the years.  But never an owl.  That would be one of the top items on my Bucket List:  to photograph an owl.  I really don't care which of the many species of owl it winds up being, but I want to take a photograph of a live owl in the wild.

I have many pieces of jewellery and also some pieces of art that feature either owls or an owl.  They draw me to them and I can't resist them.  I love owls.

At the Farmer's Market last week there were several dies that caught my interest but none quite so much as the pair of steampunk-style owls.  The shapes were unmistakably owls and the steampunk style simply made them more interesting.  I had to have them and, luckily, they were within my budget.

How serendipitous, therefore, that I found a challenge that is featuring owls this week!  It immediately caught my interest and I began throwing ideas around in my head, thinking of the many ways in which I might use my dies.  In the end I found another challenge that seemed perfect as a jumping-off point for my design and so a card was born.

I kept the colours to a neutral white and black with some silver thrown in.  The owl is cut from Whisper White and then I coloured three of the gears contained in the die-cut with my Silver Stampin' Dazzle Marker.  The gears (also discovered at the same Farmer's Market) were cut from Silver Foil.  The ribbon is the Stampin' Up! 1/8" Silver Ribbon.  For the background I stamped the Basic Black layer using the retired Off the Grid stamp and Silver Encore ink.  The sentiment, which is a combination from the Just Sayin' stamp set and the Hello Love stamp set, is heat embossed using Silver Embossing powder.

It's a deceptively simple card with a lot of levels of interest.  I loved creating it.

The challenge featuring owls is the (PIN)spiration Challenge.

The challenge that provided the sketch on which I based my design is CAS(E) this Sketch!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Noel --- How elegant is silver?

Have you ever fallen in love on the spot?  Well I did when I saw the wonderful Memory Box die, Glowing Candles.  I knew the moment that I saw the die precisely how I wanted to use it.  So, of course, I bought it.

As Fate would have it, I found a challenge that was made for the idea I had in my head.  How cool is that?  Of course I had to enter it and so I proceeded to create the card I had imagined.

The first thing I did was to cut Silver Foil with the marvellous die.  I wasn't at all disappointed.  You know how sometimes things aren't as great as you think they'll be?  Well, this was every bit as great as I thought it might be.  The silver foil die-cut was perfect...or almost so.  I had to add a couple of little details.  First of all I coloured a number of rhinestones using my Cherry Cobbler Blendabilities.  While they dried, I used my Old Olive Blendability to put light veins along the holly leaves.  Then I added the coloured  rhinestones as berries and the die-cut really was perfect.

I kept the background simple.  It took a bit of work to be simple, but then there are degrees of simple in card-making.  First I heat-embossed "Noel" across the bottom of the Whisper White cardstock using Silver embossing powder.  After that was good and cold and dry, I proceeded to create a background.  I used a large sponge and lightly added "blobs" of So Saffron, Pistachio Pudding and Pink Pirouette inks.

After that I took my retired two-step Watercolour Winter stamp set and used the Poinsettia stamps, both the sketch one and the "fill-in" one.  I triple off-stamped Strawberry Slush with the "fill-in" stamp and double off-stamped Pistachio Pudding with the sketch stamp.  I wanted the images to show up but very lightly.  The die-cut was, of course, the star of this card.

Once all that was dry I used a base of Pistachio Pudding and then added a layer of Silver Foil (with the corners rounded).  I glued the die-cut directly to the coloured up Whisper White because there was no way to properly raise it with Dimensionals.   Then I rounded the corners and adhered the piece to the rest of the layers.

And that's the card.  I love it when everything comes together just the way you've imagined!

Yes, I'm showing the same card twice.  It's hard to photograph silver.  So I've added the first with a flash and the second without.  The real colours are much more like the second photo but the shine of the silver barely shows and therefore I had to have one with the flash.

For more cards in this challenge, check out Just Add Ink.  This is their challenge inspiration:

You can also check out more cards in the City Crafter Challenge Blog where I've also entered the card in their challenge.   The spray of Vanilla Shimmer Smooch Spritz all over the background really gives it this look in real life.  Their inspiration photo is here:

I also entered the card in the Christmas Card Challenge #35 which, this week, is for "anything goes".  You can check out more of their cards here.

And finally I entered this card at Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Fairy Kisses and Birthday Wishes -- Top pick at Sunday Stamps Challenge

*I'm so thrilled that Sunday Stamps Challenge has named me their Top Pick*

I enjoyed making that butterfly/star card so much that when I saw a challenge that was, again, a single layer card, I jumped at designing another one with the stars as templates and masks.  Obviously I wasn't finished with that idea yet.

This time I used two different sized stars as templates and masks.  On Whisper White cardstock, I stamped inside the star templates to get the fairy and the single mushroom.  I used sponge daubers outside the masked stamped images to create a background.  While the masks were still on, I sprayed the background with a layer of Smooch Vanilla Shimmer Spritz.

The fairy stamp set is one I've had for a while but haven't used.  This seemed like the perfect time to use it.  The details in the set were simply beautiful.  Colouring the details with my Blendabilities took quite a while but in the end, it was worth it.

I wanted more separation between the stars and the background and so I traced inside the templates with my Basic Black stampin marker to get a nice dark line around the stars.  Then I stamped the sentiment in black ink as well and finally, I also mounted the Whisper White onto a base cardstock of Basic Black.

A final touch of three stars punched from Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer paper, topped with three star-shaped Coastal Cabana sequins, and then topped with rhinestones, finished off the card.

For more cards using this template, check out Sunday Stamps.

For more cards at Curtain Call for their "anything goes challenge" just click on Curtain Call.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Sweet Moments

I saw a challenge on a new site and knew I wanted to do something to play along.  For this particular challenge, one of the design elements has to be die cut, whether with an e-cutter or manual device.  I chose to use my Big Shot, primarily because I don't own an e-cutter but also because I love using my Big Shot.

For my base cardstock, I used Naturals White followed by a layer of Hello Honey and then a layer of Early Espresso.  The die cut piece would be cut from Hello Honey with my Hexagon Hive thinlit.

I decided to use only one row from the Hexagon Hive die-cut.  I chose a row of five cells, two of which were not open.  In the open cells, I planned to place images that spoke to me of summer and fun.  What could be more fun than flip-flops, ice-cream, and the sun itself?  I stamped each of the images onto Whisper White using my Memento ink and then coloured them using my Blendabilities.  I attached each into an empty cell with Dimensionals.

To finish the card I heat embossed "sweet moments" with White embossing powder.  I felt the card still needed a little something and so decided to stamp a paper airplane on Whisper White and then cut that out carefully.  I attached that using Dimensionals and then drew "flight lines" with my white Signo pen.

For more cards using die-cuts, check out The Cutting Edge Challenge.

I also decided to join the "anything goes" challenge at The Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge.

And then I noticed that there was another "anything goes" challenge and joined it as well at the Sister Act Card Challenge.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

You Make Me Happy -- two challenges

I love Melon Mambo.  I wear a lot of things that are either completely that colour or have that colour in them.  It's a bright and happy colour and I love it.  You'd think, under the circumstances, that I would also use a lot of Melon Mambo in my creations, wouldn't you?  I don't.  I seldom do.  This time, however, I found a colour challenge that actually asks for Melon Mambo.   So I've used it, of course.

I kept the card simple because I wanted to enter it into another challenge, this time for a sketch.  The sketch itself is very simple.  Considering the strong colours plus gold that were part of the colour challenge, however, I  felt that simple would be the best way to go.

I also used a technique that I learned through a video created by Jennifer McGuire.  She shows in her video how to combine a plain shaped framelit or thinlit with a word or other shaped thinlit.  I went a step further (surprised?) and cut a thin oval by layer two ovals down together.  That way when I combined it with the leaves that I chose to put inside, all that would remain in the end would be a thin oval with the leaves strung across and attached to it.  Since I planned to use Gold Foil, it would look like metal.

For my base, I used Basic Black cardstock.  Then a layer of Gold Foil and another layer of Basic Black.  Then I attached the cut-out Gold Foil in the top third of the card.  Then I stamped some of the flowers from the Forever Florals stamp set onto Whisper White using my Memento ink and coloured them using my Melon Mambo and Daffodil Delight Blendabilities.  Then I cut out all the flowers carefully and coloured the centres using my Gold Stampin Dazzle Marker and followed that by putting a bit of Tombo glue in the centres of each flower.  On top of the glue I sprinkled a layer of Gold Stampin Glitter.

While the glue dried, I stamped the sentiment using Versamark ink in the empty area near the top of the oval design and heat embossed it with my Gold embossing powder.  When the glue was dry, I attached all the flowers using Dimensionals.

For more cards using this colour challenge, check out Colour Me...!

For more cards using this sketch challenge, check out CAS(E) this Sketch.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Joy -- SCCC #34

I love the weekly Christmas Card Challenges and this one, especially, appealed to me.  One of my favourite sets of framelits, the Holiday Collection, retired along with the coordination stamp set, Scentsasional Season.  Luckily I can still use them for my own enjoyment even though I can't sell them.

I used the framelits to cut the little gingerbread person out of the new Kraft Specialty paper and the little candycanes out of last year's Season of Style paper stack.  Then I used the Joy stamp from an old retired set, Perfect Presentation.  I cut that apart so that I could mount the J O Y vertically.

My base cardstock for this card is Garden Green followed by layers of Cherry Cobbler, Pistachio Pudding and Whisper White.  The scattered stars were cut with my little star punch from the Red Glimmer paper and the Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer paper.  I drew the face on the gingerbread person freehand using some Inkssentials White Enamel Accents.

This was the challenge, to use the following photo as inspiration:

For more cards in this challenge, check out the Weekly Christmas Card Challenges.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Woo Hoo it's your birthday!

I had been considering a beach themed card for a while but until I decided that I would begin using any and all stamps that met my fancy, I hadn't found inspiration.  Finally, I did.  I had bought a Sarah Kay stamp a few years ago that had never met ink before and this seemed like a great opportunity.  While the stamp wasn't necessarily meant for a beach theme, that is what it was going to be used for.  Along with that I used some cute beach stamps from another company.  All in all, I could see the card coming together in my mind.

I used my Blendabilities to colour the images but not the background.  For the background I chose to do a watercolour wash using my re-inkers, water and a broad brush.  It's a lighter, less dense finish than the Blendabilities and I like the effect.  The base cardstock in Hello Honey and matte of Pacific Point finished off the card nicely.

For the sentiment I decided that the small script from the Hello Love hostess stamp set was perfect for a banner that I "supported" on coloured toothpicks.  I also added the "Woo Hoo" from the Just Sayin' stamp set and the matching framelit to cut it out.  Then I covered the starfish with some Crystal Effects and knew it was done.

It's a fun card that I'm hoping my sister will like for her birthday.  Shhhh...don't tell her about it before she gets it tomorrow, okay.

I've entered the card in the Dream Valley Challenges Summer challenge.

A Little Kindness -- Two challenges

I love the Kinda Eclectic stamp set.  The images work so beautifully together.  I wanted to use all the colours for the ColourQ challenge and found this stamp set allowed me to do so without any problems at all.

First of all I began with a base cardstock of Basic Black.  On top of that I adhered a layer of Coastal Cabana which I first embossed with my Decorative Dots embossing folder.  Then, using the sketch for the Seize the Sketch #24 challenge, I made a smaller, diagonally leaning layer with Basic Black and a piece from the Gold Soiree Specialty Designer Paper.  That provided the Crisp Cantaloupe and Calypso Coral for the colour challenge.  My final layer was smaller yet and, again, had a layer of Basic Black followed by a layer of Whisper White which I had stamped using the Kinda Eclectic stamp set and Pistachio Pudding, Crisp Cantaloupe, Coastal Cabana, and Black Memento ink.

I used my Bitty Butterfly punch to cut out the Crisp Cantaloupe butterfly and placed that on top of the larger Coastal Cabana butterfly using a Glue Dot.  To finish off the butterflies, I added three rhinestones which I had coloured using my Coastal Cabana Blendabilities.

This is the sketch from the Seize the Sketch Challenge:

And these are the colours from the ColourQ Challenge #250:

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Let It Snow (at least on my card!)

It's July and I am not inviting snow to fall.  Please take back the tar and feathers and calm down!

I've decided to enter a Christmas Card challenge and the one necessary item for the card was that it has sequins on it.  Well, the very first thing that popped into my head was a Christmas tree and I proceeded to look through my stamp sets for an appropriate image.  As luck would have it, the first set that I came across had the most amazing "Let it Snow" text on it along with a cascade of snowflakes.  It appealed to me immediately and so the card was born.  The sentiment---don't take it seriously.

I added some additional snowflakes from another stamp set and then set out to choose my colours.  The only sequins whose whereabouts I knew were the most recent ones I bought from Stampin' Up! in last year's In-Colors.  That decided me on my colours because one of the In-Colors is Coastal Cabana, a gorgeous blue that I knew I could accent with white and also Island Indigo.  I chose to do all my stamping in the Coastal Cabana as well as have the base cardstock in the colour.
Then I rounded two of the corners of all the layers and the base and assembled my pieces.  Last of all came the sequins.  Some of them are stars, some are round and all are in Coastal Cabana.

For more cards in this challenge, visit Merry Monday Christmas Card challenge.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

For the love of butterflies -- Top 3 Winner in 2 Challenges

Sometimes you find something and it has a deeper meaning for you.  I found a challenge, for example, which is entirely about butterflies.  That's right!  Butterflies!  Every challenge includes a butterfly (or butterflies).

I happen to love butterflies and always have.  I love their colours, even those that are monochromatic are incredibly beautiful.  I love their shapes.  I love how they flutter.  There is very little that I don't love about butterflies.  I've even had dreams where I have the wings of a butterfly.  But that's another story.  I've always dreamed about flying...

My daughter was a watcher.  She didn't do a lot of babbling.  She would watch the world with those enormous blue eyes of hers and internalize everything.  Oh, she said the requisite "Mama" and "Dada" but little more.  And then she saw a butterfly and was mesmerized.  Her first real word was "butterfly".  It wasn't crisp and clear but it was definitely easy enough to understand.  Even she knew that there was magic in butterflies.

So entering this butterfly challenge was a natural for me.

I like to punch out or cut out my butterflies.  Actually I just bought a butterfly framelit as well.  I like my butterflies to appear as if they're actually fluttering on the card or box or on whatever project I happen to be using them.  This challenge was for a single layer card.  In other words the butterfly would have to be directly stamped on the paper.

Okay, I can do that.  But if I have to stamp the butterflieson the paper, I will use my Blendabilities and see about using a mask.  Maybe the new Stars framelits could provide a good mask.

And that's what I have done.

Basically I took some letter-type printing paper and cut out the second to largest star in my framelits set.  Then I took my two-way glue and ran a thin layer of glue around the perimeter and let that dry.  I did the same with the star shape.  Letting the glue dry makes it removable and that's what you want a mask to be.  I just wanted to make sure the masks would stay in place while I stamped.

First I stamped my butterflies through the open star template and, after removing the template, covered the butterflies with the solid star and stamped my poppies.  After that it was a matter of colouring and, finally, mounting the finished piece onto a base of Basic Black.

It's one piece of cardstock with stamping and colouring but looks like so much more, doesn't it?

For more butterflies and single layer cards, check out Butterfly Spot Challenge.

I've also entered this card in the Stampin' Royalty for their "anything goes".

Sunday, 6 July 2014

STS 23 -- Virtuoso Music

I saw the sketch on Seize the Sketch and loved its simplicity.  Just an oval with a banner, but a world of possibilities.

I had just bought some Steel Craft Dies at the Farmer's Market from a lady who runs a Craft and Scrapbooking business from her home.  Since she's from a town at least an hour from here, I would probably not have heard of her had she not attended the Market.  Serendipitously she did.  

The die I knew I wanted  to use for this sketch is made by Memory Box and is called Virtuoso Music.  I knew it would cut my Silver Foil beautifully and the result was stunning.  For the oval, I decided not to add a layer to the top of the base cardstock but instead I used one of my Ovals Collection framelits to cut into it.  Behind that I planned to adhere a piece of Vellum Cardstock embossed with my Beautifully Baroque Embossing Folder.  I ran the vellum through my Big Shot four times to ensure that the embossed image would be very, very deeply embossed.  

I decided to back the musical notes with Basic Black cardstock to make the silver "pop" against the black rather than be mediocre against the vellum.  I hand cut the black, fitting it around the musical notes but allowed a larger margin at the bottom so that there would be room to heat emboss a phrase.  For the phrase I pieced together words from several stamp sets.  For the sentiment I kept it simple with a little banner held down with a fancy arrow.

For a view of other takes on this challenge, visit Seize That Sketch.

Saturday, 5 July 2014


I'm putting together this domain for myself.  This is my place for insights as well as all the projects that I create or all the creative challenges that I enter which use other products than simply Stampin' Up!  Yes, I love many of the Stampin' Up! products, but it's a big world out there with lots and lots of wonderful products just begging to be tried.  I plan to post the results here.  Join me.  It's going to be lots of fun reaching deep within to find inspiration.