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Sunday, 23 July 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 13

Our challenge at International Art and Soul for this fortnight is to use dies. Now, I don't know about you, but the number of projects I complete without using dies is small compared to the total, so as it stands, this wasn't much of a challenge. So, I decided to use dies in a way I don't normally, and this is what I came up with.

The image is from a rubber stamp I've had for many years, and I coloured the image with Derwent Coloursoft pencils. I cut the image and mats with dies, and in the case of the mats, I added stitching after using my Tonic Sew Pretty layering dies to cut the holes. So far so normal. For the background, I used a fairly pale paper from Papermania, but I jazzed it up with some die cut flowers. The smaller flowers use a Crafter's Companion die, and the larger ones used a Sizzix stamp and die set. I coloured these flowers with Promarkers, and finished both sorts of flowers with stick dots from Craft Creations.

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 193

This fortnight's challenge at Crafty Cardmakers is to make something with lots of layers.

For this, I made a card for a colleague and friend who's leaving the school we've both worked at for quite a long time.

For this, I used an image from Delicious Doodles that I'd already coloured - probably using a mix of Spectrum Noir and Derwent Coloursoft pencils. I matted it, then added some layers with Papermania papers, and then a computer-generated sentiment. I completed the card with some Tattered Lace flowers.

I hope you can join us with your layers this time.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 12

Our theme this fortnight at International Art and Soul is Elements of Nature. You're free to interpret that as you wish! My ideas were around horses, trees and leaves!


This is a card for one of my two (twin) brothers-in-law, and I've kept it fairly simple as a result. I've used an image and paper from Joanna Sheen's Pamela West CDRom. I've found this CD to be a really useful one for the folks who I find difficult! It's got a lot of landscapes and garden images (as well as some gorgeous floral images). I added the cream background and sentiment in Photoshop Elements before printing, added some matting and a couple of leafy borders cut using a magenta-coloured die which I think might be Crafts Too but I may be very wrong on that. It's a gorgeous die, and despite being fairly detailed, always cuts well - definitely a favourite of mine.

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 192

This time, at Crafty Cardmakers, we're playing Tic-Tac-Toe. Although were I come from, that's known as xs and os. The grid allows lots of possibilities, and you can follow any horizontal, vertical or diagnonal line.


I've followed the left-hand vertical line, so my card includes gems, stitching and has a summer theme.


I started with a Tonic Sew Pretty die. Now, I really like this range, but I can't help but think that whoever designed them hadn't done much embroidery on paper (or maybe they're just really, really clever.) That's because, to me, the obvious way to start and finish your thread on the back of paper embroidery is to use sticky tape, and these gorgeous dies just don't have enoough solid area to do that. So, after cutting out the shape, I stuck the die cut to a contrasting piece of card, and then used a paper-piercer to follow the holes through both thicknesses. I stitched the holes with stitches 2, 3 or 4 holes long depending on the degree of curvature using my usual machine embroidery thread. (I don't own a sewing machine and any attempt at using one would probably end up with a visit to Accident and Emergency.) I then accented some of the swirls with stichy gems. for the background, I got out a punch I've had for a long time - in fact, I think I used it in my first ever DT card at Crafty Cardmakers in July 2010. If you're at all interested, the post is here.

Anyway, you can see I've got stitching and gems. What about summer? Well, the summer theme is the butterflies, of course!

Apart from that, all I've added is some matting. I had intended to add some flowers, but when I saw how these elements combined, I decided to leave well alone!

I hope you can join us this fortnight.


Sunday, 25 June 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 11

This fortnight, our theme at International Art and Soul is Flowers.  So, any flowery creations are welcome to join the fun.

The card I made wasn't  made with fun in mind. A friend has just lost her father, and I needed a sympathy card.


I combined die cuts made using dies from several companies - Sizzix, Sue Wilson, and Crafter's Companion among others. It's a simple design - I needed the card in a hurry, and the beauty of die cutting is that it can give you something good very quickly.

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 191

This fortnight, the theme at Crafty Cardmakers is Here Comes Summer.

For this theme, I made a card for one of my husband's brothers who has a summer birthday.


I've used an image and paper from Joanna Sheen's Pamela West CDRom, and apart form matting and a computer-generated sentiment, that's it. The men in our family don't do fussy when it comes to cards, so I never tend to do anything too complicated.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 10

Our challenge at International Art and Soul for this fortnight is to make something for a man. It could be something for Father's Day or for some other occasion - it's up to you!

I made a card for my eldest's birthday. He's a Mathematician by background, and so I thought he'd like the effect in this card.

I fiest discovered that sort of pattern as a child - drawing lines on squared paper, and I remember how pleased I was when my dad made me a board so I could wrap thread arounds nails to get the same effect. I was very pleased when I saw there were some stacking dies from Tonic Studios that would do the same thing - both circles and squares, and I've used both varieties here to make this card.

I've completed the card with a die cut sentiment, and that's it!

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 190

This time, at Crafty Cardmakers, we want you to make something for a special man. It could be for Father's day, but it could equally be for any man who's important to you.

I chose to make a card for my husband's birthday.



It's fairly simple, as that's what he likes. I started with a stamp from Crafty Individuals, and I coloured the image with Promarkers. I used a Spellbinders's die to cut the mat, and I threaded it through with some Perle cotton in cream and green. The backing paper is from the Papermania Persimmon collection which is so useful for male-themed cards. And that's it!

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 9

This fortnight's challenge is Stitching. That can be real of faux, as you wish.

A while ago, I finally got a craft room. Previously, my crafty stash was in various rooms of the house, and I was finally able to get (almost) all of it into one room. (Yarn for knitting and crochet still seems to live in my wardrobe ...)

The upshot of that is a somewhat renewed interest in stitching. I've been doing a little cross stitch, some Hardanger, and recently was reminded about Blackwork.

As you can see, I haven't gone for the traditional black-on-white option. To be honest, that's a very unforgiving option. Mistakes that require unpicking tend to leave some debris and it always looks poor, in my experience. But, I've got loads of bits of Aida and Evenweave, and a complete set of DMC cotton and rayon threads, so I've got lots of options.

For this one, I've used some evenweave in a rather nice dark peachy colour, and two shades of brown rayon thread. The main squares are my own doodling design, although I adapted the outside border from a pattern I found online here.

I do love the scent of lavender, and I find stitching these quite theraputic. The don't take too long, and are just complex enough to give a sense of achievement, but simple enough to do while indulging in a marathon of whichever TV show I'm currently watching. (This was done to X-Files!)

I do hope you can join us this fortnight!

Monday, 22 May 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 189

Hello! This time, at Crafty Cardmakers, our theme is Floral Profusion! So, anything you like so long as there are lots of flowers.

I had to make a card for a colleague who was loves blue and was having a birthday and leaving our school within a few days. This is what I came up with.

For the background, I cut a Sue Wilson Striplet die twice from some pale blue card, and then cut used the same die to cut from white card, adding that as a central panel. The swirly shapes were cut using some Sizzix dies I've had for ages - they're Sizzlets, and I make a point of not buying them because I really don't like the rubber-backed type dies as I don't find they're very forgiving if you don't cut them first pass. Having said that, I've never had a problem with this set, but then they're quite small. For the flowers, I used a Crafter's companion die, and I cut the computer-generated sentiment using a Spellbinder's die. To finish, I added a touch of glitter glue.

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 8

Our challenge this fortnight at International Art and Soul is to use hot colours - other than that, you can make anything, for any occasion.

My immediate thought when I started this was to head for one of the collections of Kate Knight papers I've got. Many of her designs are extremely vibrant! Having found one that met the bill, I designed a card around it.

See what I mean about vibrant? I wouldn't normally have the confidence to mix magenta and orange, but with her papers, combinations like that just seem to work.

I used a Spellbinder's die to cut the background for the flower, and I think the dies used for the flower are from Crafter's Companion. I used some Pan Pastel to give some shading to the petals, leaves and stem, and that's about it! The colours are so bright, I really didn't want to add anything else.

I hope you can join us this fortnight.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 188

This fortnight, our challenge here at Crafty Cardmakers is to use a sentiment.

I like to keep well-ahead with DT makes, but for the past month, I've been fighting some sort of virus which, while it hasn't kept me from work, has left me feeling drained when I'm at home, so I've done almost no crafting. As a result, I'm short of cards for birthdays that are coming up soon, and defninitely needed to get some done. Fortunately, while the silly lurgy is still lurking, I've finally got some energy from somewhere, and I've managed a day in my craft room, and this is one of the results.

I've got a mixture of very old and very new here! The circle dies here, and the medallion set are among the first dies I bought, while the flower die and the embossing folder I used for the background are fairly new (to me). Some are from Crafter's Companion but most are Spellbinders. When I first bought a die cutter, it was a Wizard, and I stuck pretty exclusively to Spellbinder's dies because, despite the advertising, the Wizard didn't really do a good job of most others. But, that's water under the bridge (or a die cutter consigned to a cupboard), and now I've got a Big Shot Pro which has been cutting most of what I've used with it for the past three years or so!

So, die cuts and some Coredinations card which I embossed and then sanded down, and the whole thing is finished with a computer-generated sentiment.

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 7

Our theme this fortnight, at International Art and Soul is Vintage. Other than that, your project can be anything you want.

My first thought for this theme was to look out a sepia-toned photograph, but then I decided I wanted something a little brighter, so I headed for a Debbi Moore CDRom I've had for many years - in fact, I think it was the first CDRom I bought for cardmaking purposes. It contains lots of Art Deco images, most of which, I think, are vintage, although they may have been 'cleaned up' a bit for the CD.

I love the colours in this - the pale golds and pinks with that bright, bold blue! I matted it, and used some Dovecraft backing paper in a soft beige tone and completed the card with two strips of lace and two strips of pearls. Believe it or not, deciding on the embellishment for this took most of an afternoon, as well as a whole load of efforts which had to be binned! But, once I saw the lace, I realised I needed something to break up the blue, and the pearl strips seemed idea.

I hope you can join us this time!

Monday, 24 April 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 187

It's my turn to host the challenge at Crafty Cardmakers, and I'd like to see your gem-studded creations! Anything goes so long as there are gems or pearls on the project somewhere.


For this challenge, I've used a new die from Hobbycraft which was branded Intricut. It's really pretty, and cut somewhat more easily than other large lacy dies I've bought in the past. (It still took multiple passes and a metal shim, but it did cut. I had hoped that this sort of problem would be no more when I bought my Big Shot Pro a few years ago, but I suspect all machines have problems with some things. At least with the BSP, you don't feel like it's going to break as you crank through a difficult sandwich.)

I've backed it with a contrasting mat, and then added pearl gems to various parts of the cut. I completed the card with some ribbon and a stamped sentiment which I embossed in white. (Sorry, don't know whose stamp that was. I keep text stamps together on a couple of sheets and don't often have a record of the manufacturer.)

I'm really looking forward to seeing all those gems and pearls this fortnight!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 6

Our theme this fortnight is 'wings'. Lots of possibilities there, and we're looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

I have a friend whose family are really into angels, and I often seem to be making cards for her. The Joanna Sheen Josephine Wall CDroms are ideal for this, and I just love the colourful artwork.

I've used one of the backing papers from the CD too here, I did some layering in Photoshop Elements and added the sentiment before printing, then adding another layer to the image. To finish, I've added some lace flowers and ribbon.

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 186

This fortnight, our theme is Things with Wings.  So, not too hard - anything from fairies to angels to birds or butterflies or some other flying insect.

I decided to go for a bird in this case.


The main image uses a stamp from Crafty Individuals while the background is from Kaisercraft. I coloured both with Coloursoft pencils, keeping the tones quite soft. The flower was made using dies from Sizzix and the leafy additions from Crafter's companion. Both parts are shaded using Pan Pastels.

I hope you can join us this time!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 5

This fortnight's challenge at International Art and Soul is to distress something! Other than that, it's up to you.

Now,  distressing is not a favourite technique of mine. I'm not particularly fond of things looking aged or damaged, so it's something I find rather hard.

The background uses some Coredinations card which I've distressed with sandpaper. (My go-to technique for distressing!) The image was stamped using a stamp from, I think, Woodware using Memento ink. I then added some background colour to the cream card using Promarkers scribbled onto a perspex block and then sprayed with some clear alcohol, which I then applied to the card. In honour of the theme, I then distressed the edge of the image and later the mat using a pair of scissors. It's not at all obvious, but that's not too surprising given that I didn't want to overdo it.

To complete the effect, I've added a wooden butterfly. I shaded it roughly with Distress Ink and a little Alchemy Wax around the edges, and then stamped it with more Distress Ink using a Docrafts wood-mounted stamp I've had for ages.

And that's it! I do hope you can join us this time. I'd really love to see your distressing techinques and understand why people love these techniques!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 185

This time at Crafty Cardmakers, we want you to Spring into Spring!

For me, spring means trees just coming into bud.

For the central image, I used a Clarity stamp stamped with Versafine which I coloured using Promarkers, and edged with Distress Ink. The background was made using a repeatable background stamp from Inky Doodles. I stamped and shaded the background with Distress Ink. The dies are all from Spellbinders. The Springtime die is a wood mounted stamp I got ages ago from a reduced bin somewhere. There's no manufacturer's label on it so I don't know its origin.

I hope you can join us this time!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 4

Here we are, ready for the fourth challenge at International Art and Soul. This time, we want to see embossing. Any type of embossing is fine, as is any type of project.

I decided to do something I haven't done much lately - I stamped and heat embossed an image.

The stamp I used is a recent purchase, and it comes from Woodware, I think. I stamped with Versamark ink and embossed with gold embossing powder. Then I coloured the image using Derwent Inktense pencils, although I admit that the very fine 'berry' effect I coloured using a fine liner. I matted the image onto gold card, and rounded the edges. Then, I stamped the sentiment - sorry, no idea whose stamp that is - I keep all my sentiments together on a couple of sheets and didn't think to record who made the stamps. Again, I stamped with Versamark and embossed in gold. I cut the sentiment using a Spellbinders die, and threaded some ribbon through it. I finished the card with some gold beads around the image.

I hope you can join us this fortnight!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 184

This time, at Crafty Cardmakers, our theme is For a Special Woman/Girl, or Mother's Day.

 It's my daughter's birthday this week, so choosing someone to make for was easy.

As a centrepiece, I've used a die from Crafter's Companion, and matted the cut with an old favourite from Spellbinder's threaded with ribbon. The ribbon was originally white, but it's amazing what a little Promarker can do! The background uses a Crafter's Companion embossing folder, and I've used some Coredinations Whitewash card which I sanded, then I picked out flower centres with some sticky dots from Craft Creations. The sentiment is also Crafter's Companion, and the butterfly is cut using I die I've had for a long time and I'm no longer sure whose it is, although it's blue, so I suspect it's Marianne. For that, I've added a layer in Shimmer paper and a top layer with glitter card.

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 3

Our challenge at International Art and Soul for this fortnight is Fancy Borders. Other that that, you can make anything you want!

I needed to make a card for my son's birthday, so I needed something that isn't too girly.

My fancy border was cut using a Sue Wilson Gemini die. The main image was cut using a Sizzix die, and the sentiment die is one I can't remember. The wording was stamped in Versafine ink using a rubber stamp which I've had for a long time.

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 183

This time, at Crafty Cardmakers, we want you to go green! Other than that, you can make anything you want.

Unusually, I chose to make something that isn't a card!

The pattern is one I've had for a very long time, from a set by Barbara Thompson Designs. There is a series of Rennie Mackintosh style designs, but as this one is mainly green, it fits the bill for this challenge!

I used to do a lot of cross stitching, and I'm trying to get back into it. The blocks of a single colour here make for a fairly simple start, especially as my eyesight isn't as good as it used to be. That's not so much a problem for doing the stitching, but more for following the pattern.

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

International Art and Soul Challenge 2

Our theme this fortnight is Recycle. Other than that, no restrictions, although it'd be better if it's obvious what you've recycled!

I do a lot of recycling, but normally just take a container and use it, not bothering to decorate or anything. I've got an IPad box that was being thrown out at work that holds my blending sponges, for example. Very useful, but not really attractive. So, for this challenge, I had to put in some effort.



So, I took a coffee tin like that one, and wondered how on earth I could cover it. I don't do a lot of that sort of thing, so I had to try something a little different. In the end, I decided to try using embossing paste. I've had some jars of that for, probably 15 years, and have never really had much success with it. In fact, when I checked out the jar of metallic gold paste, it was rather too thick for this purpose. The copper was ok, and so I used it to cover the tin. When that was dry, I applied a Sheena Douglas masking stencil to the tin. I applied more paste through the stencil, and added glitter to this layer. The stencil wasn't big enough to cover the whole circumference, so there was still a smooth panel. This, I decorated with some die cut flowers, cut using dies from Crafter's Companion and Sue Wilson and completed the effect with some braiding. And that's about it! I'm not sure I'd do another one of these, because I'm not completely happy with the result, but it's definitely better than the original coffee tin, so I'll use it!

I hope you'll play along this fortnight!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 182

This time, at Crafty Cardmakers our challenge is to make something with lots of texture! Other than that, it's up to you.

I chose to make a card using the leftovers from another recent make.


The patchwork background is made using a Sizzix die, and I've embossed or debossed each of the squares using s Cuttlebug folder. The flowers were made using Tattered Lace Ditsy flowers dies, and I love all the texture in those layers. The background leafy bits are made using a Sue Wilson die set.

I hope you can join us.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

International Art and Soul First Ever Challenge!

That's right, it's a brand new challenge blog, and this is our first challenge. Our theme is Love is in the Air, so very appropriate for this time of year!

And for this, I made a card for my husband for our anniversary which is next month.

A little bit of a cheat. I made the background for this card ages ago using stamps from Inky Doodles and Distress Ink. I do like the way their background stamps can be combined like this to give a (fairly) regular background pattern.

The hearts and sentiment are all cut using Sizzix dies, and the sentiment is computer generated. To complete the card, I've added some embellishments from my stash.

I do hope you can join us for our first challenge!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 181

This time, at Crafty Cardmakers, our theme is Love!

For this, I made a traditional valentine's card - which will of course be sent anonymously.

A few months ago, I fell in love with one of the then new die sets from Sue Wilson and treated myself. I haven't actually used them beyond a single label, so I got them out for this. I completed the card with a computer-generated sentiment and some punched hearts.

I hope you can join us this time.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 180

For our first challenge of the year, our theme is New Beginnings. This can be any new beginning you want, although most of the design team seem to have gone for new babies! And, not to buck that trend, so have I.

I've used a range of die cuts. The main image is and word are from, I think, Marianne, while the patchwork in the background is from Sizzix. Each of the squares has been dry embossed to give a more varied patchwork effect without introducing any more colour.

I hope you can join us!

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