A warm welcome to all my visitors,

Thank you for taking the time to come and look at my blog, I really do appreciate it. I would love you to leave me a comment, even if it’s just to say Hi. It means I can come visit you!

All my designs are original, so copyrighted to me. If I have been inspired by someone elses work, I have named them in the post, and where able, I have provided a link.

Please feel free to use my designs for inspiration, I just ask you to credit me, and provide a link back to my blog.

Thanks, Shaz XX

Friday 28 February 2014

Blending Solution/Rubbing Alcohol

We all know the Tim Holtz blending solution for using with alcohol inks- and we all know its around a fiver for a 57ml bottle. A while back, some ladies were talking on SCS about using Rubbing Alcohol instead, and Kyla mentioned this stuff a few days ago,which reminded me about it.  I bought some via E-bay, although you are supposed to be able to get it from chemists, but I just got blank looks when I asked. There seems to be two strengths available, 70% and 90%. The 70% costs around a fiver for 500ml- so roughly 10 times the amount for the same price. The actual name of it is Isopropyl Alcohol, and it is one of the ingredients in Tims blending solution, the other two are other solvents. But, does it work? Actually, it works extremely well, these two pieces I did below, one with blending solution, one with the rubbing alcohol.I used the 70% one, by the way.
 Those of us of a certain age will remember the old 'Taste test' adverts between butters and margarine,so this pic uses that old standard- can you tell which is which?

The colours are slightly different, but only because its impossible to get the same blend on a felt twice!
 Both times I used Stream, Cranberry and Terracotta inks.

Wider shot with the respective blenders behind them. I used an old hair dye bottle (heaven knows I get enough of them) to put the Isopropyl in.

I was also interested to see if it would work as a blender with Alcohol based pens- Promarkers, for instance. In short, the answer is no, it doesn't. But I did discover that you can get some interesting effects with it.

You can see where I tried blending two colours together- it removes the ink rather than blends it. So then I tried stamping with it,onto a patch of card coloured with Promarker, and that does work. It removes the colour to give you a ghost like image.

I made a pad from a sheet of kitchen roll,then stamped the butterfly on it and then onto the Promarker coloured  bit of card. If you enlarge the picture you will see the result a bit better, I think. By the way, it does smell a bit stronger than Blending Solution, but not much, just in case that is an issue for anyone.

Wednesday 26 February 2014

WOYWW #247

Happy WOYWW everyone- if the weather with you is anything like it is here on Tuesday evening, its looking distinctly possible that spring may be on the way. Skip over to our Mistress of Desks, Julia, at The Stamping Ground and dive in.

Most of the mess on my desk was tidied up after the weekend, I actually managed to get quite a lot done, all in all. The other cards I made and stuff I bought are in the previous posts.

 Here's a better view of the dandelion heads card:
Matted it on to copper, then silver metallic card, although looking at the picture, the copper looks an icky sort of yellow! You can see the sheet of copper card in the picture above, and it looks completely different. Go figure. So, scheduling again, as I will be at work, I will link as always as soon as I get home, before I go to bed. Have a great day all, I'll be visiting later.

Monday 24 February 2014

Resist embossed Birthday cards.

These two cards are made using the Papermania Urban stamps of Butterflies & Dragonflies I cut down in the previous post.This is the sort of thing I wanted to be able to use them individually for.
 First I stamped the Butterflies in white on a strip of scrap white card, and heat embossed with WOW Bright white embossing powder. Two things I discovered here, it was best to stamp one size of butterflies and heat emboss, and that embossing powder has a shelf life. The first one I tried, I used a different white embossing powder that I've had for a very long time, and when I came to heat it, it simply would not melt. The next one I did, it was too difficult not to accidentally smear the powder on previous butterflies. So this one was the third attempt.The inkpad I used for this one was the Studio G inkpad, by the way. After I'd completed the stamping on this, I did the Dragonflies on the second strip, this time using the Hampton Arts pad. Before putting the stamps away, I stamped an image onto post-its, peeled off four post-its and cut them out, for later.
Pink and Purple Distress Inks were sponged onto the Butterflies, and Blue and lighter Purples onto the Dragonflies.Both were then wiped over with some kitchen towel to remove any ink from the images. Both strips of card were a bit longer than my card front, I left them like that till I'd finished, in case there were any bits I wasn't happy with.

Now the post it masks came into use- I wanted to overstamp with a texture stamp. The one I used for this is from a sheet by Aspects of Design, from The Stampman, of mesh, or netting. I used DI Dusty Concord for this bit.
For the Dragonflies, I used a stamp by Designs by Ryn, of water droplets stamped in salty Ocean DI. Possibly, I didn't need to mask, as hopefully the ink would have just wiped off the embossing, but I didn't want to take the chance it wouldn't.

I took two sheets of A4 white card for the card bases, scored and folded.

I'd already decided I wanted to add a little interest by placing a score line down either side of the stamped strip, so I marked on the inside of the card where these two lines should go, and scored on the Hougie board.

By some fluke, where I wanted them lined up exactly with marks on the board! You can see all the post-it masks in the background too, lol.

A stamped greeting, and for the Butterfly one I used Versafine  Imperial Purple, and the sentiment comes from a Butterfly Kisses clear stamp set.
 I think you may just be able to see the score lines on the Dragonfly one, especially if you enlarge the picture. They don't show up very well in the pictures. I used the same greeting on the Dragonfly card, this time stamped in Versafine Majestic Blue.
 You may have noticed that very often I leave my cards without any sentiment on them, I do that so that I have a little leeway with what I can use the card for- Birthday/Retirement/ get well etc. Although this sentiment will cover a multitude of sins, so I may use it more often.  The Water Droplets stamp I bought a while ago, and this is the first time I've used it, and I love the effect it gives.

 Papermania Urban stamps, Butterflies and Dragonflies
Designs by Ryn, Water Droplets
Aspects of Design, Mesh- sorry I think this is retired
White inkpad
Wow Bright white EP
Distress inks in blues/pinks/purples
White scrap card, approximately 2" wide
 2 sheets A4 card, scored and folded.
 Scoreboard and stylus
Sentiment stamp

 While finding links for the stamps from Papermania, I also discovered they have a group of Ladybirds- so sweet, I had to have them, lol.

Sunday 23 February 2014

Update on the new toys....

A couple of hours later, and I've trimmed the stamps, tried the ink, embossed with the folder and punched out the border punch.
 So first off - the stamps, and when I got them out of the packet and turned them over, I realised I'd have been trimming them down regardless.
I really hate stamps that have so much excess rubber! 10 minutes with the non-stick scissors, and they are sorted.

They are both Papermania Urban stamps, simply called Butterflies and Dragonflies.

 Next the embossing folder, and the one on the left I swiped with a Tea Dye Distress inkpad so you could see the detail better.The one on the right is for my samples folder, when I remember to look in it.
Its called Chronology Clocks, by the way.

 I liked the border punch, as it has a nice lacy pattern- punches through copy weight paper with ease too.
The packaging said its called Sparkler.

 Lastly, the white inkpad. Doesn't stamp a detailed image too badly, and almost has a chalk effect on black card.Definitely not as strong a white as the last two I tested though.

Then I added WOW Bright White EP to one and heat set it. Have to admit, that doesn't look too bad.So not a bad white inkpad- I've got worse- but not the best either. I do think the unembossed one went paler as it dried too.

Some new toys......

So, a couple of shopping trips over the weekend  produced the bits and pieces on my desk. Friday we made a trip to PCWorld in Kidderminster, for Beloved Hubby. On the same retail park is The Range, which generally has quite a large craft section. From there came the Clocks embossing folder, the X-cut border punch, two Papermania Urban stamps, Butterflies and Dragonflies, which I will probably cut down into individual stamps, as I can regroup them on the block if I want them in a group, or use them singly, which is more likely. Also from there were the three Artiste Pallette inkpads- a white, and a nice strong blue & red, which were three for the price of two. All pigment pads, although they did have dye inkpads too.
On Saturday we went to Webbs of Wychbold, to get some plants & fish for the tank, and some wild bird food, and they have a Hobbycrafts on site, so as there had been a 20% off total spend voucher up on Facebook,valid till today, I popped in.  I have to say that I have gradually become less impressed with Hobbycrafts over time, and would not make a special journey to go there, but will pop in if I happen to be by one, because sometimes they do have good deals on basics I use. Or like today, a voucher I can use against basics.  From there came the sheet of Cut'n'Dry foam, a tube of Dovecraft silicone glue to try out, a pack of 6 fine nozzle glue bottles, as well as four of the tape rollers you can see at the back. The glue bottles were about £2 for the six, which was a great price, and it remains to be seen how the silicone glue turns out. I did try Hobbycrafts own brand a while back, and was not at all impressed- it started setting in the tube after it was opened. Not just at the opening either- it went half an inch down the tube. That ended up in the bin, and I went back to my favourite Stix2 brand, which I have never had that problem with. Now I am off to cut up my stamps, emboss a sheet of card for my samples folder, and try out those inkpads- results will be up in a later post. I am particularly interested in how the white turns out, so I will do some embossed and unembossed samples for that.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

WOYWW #246

Good Morning everyone- this is what currently resides on my desk, for this weeks Show & Tell, hosted as always by our Head Desker, Julia, at The Stamping Ground. Click the link and join in the fun.
Looking a whole lot tidier than it has for the last week, what with glitter for the Valentines card, and then gilding flakes, in my last two posts.Although I have to say, gilding flakes make glitter look positively well behaved.
 This card came from the scraps in my last post- the pieces that didn't come out as well as I wanted. I'd punched out some squares from them, and luckily got 9. It sort of shouted 'Oriental' at me, so that was how I went. Matted the squares onto black, then embossed gold card, then black again. Mounted that onto a square of Origami paper, then onto a square black card base. I also managed to punch a few dragonflies from the last remaining scrap bits,with an X-Cut punch that surprisingly goes through quite thick card easily, so added a couple of those, and a Chinese coin to finish the theme. Got a few dragonflies left over, and three more images to turn into cards. A few bits at the back, from a UFO a few weeks ago. Sat staring at me, waiting for inspiration to strike. So that's me, short and sweet this week- there's a novelty! After this has posted, I shall also be entering it into Pixies Snippets Challenge, as it came from scraps.

Monday 17 February 2014

playing with gilding flakes and sticky stuff.

Two products I've had forever, and never actually tried out. A tub of Judikins Sticky Stuff embossing powder, and some metal leaf. I also have some tubs of gilding flakes in various colours- rose gold, variegated green etc.
I thought I'd try it first with this stamp, Wishing Tree from Lavinia stamps.
Basically, you stamp your image in a pigment ink, I used plain old Versamark for mine, but as you can use this product with glitter as well, you could also use a coloured ink. I also worked on black card, as I thought the image would 'pop' more.

Sprinkle the Sticky Stuff embossing powder on as you would normally. Its quite coarse grained, so this is never going to work well with a highly detailed stamp, so choose accordingly.

Tip off the excess and heat with your heat gun.What you will discover is that it melts VERY quickly, much faster than normal embossing powder, and apparently it is important NOT to overheat, as it will loose its sticky. So as soon as you see it start to melt, move your heat gun.

However, once it is melted, it stays tacky for a long time, so you have plenty of time to work with it.  I lay a sheet of the leaf over the image, and now you need to burnish it well with your fingers, to make sure its attached to all the image. This will also start to flake off all the sheet not stuck to anything, so a sheet of scrap paper underneath your project, to catch the bits, is advisable. As is  not sneezing, coughing or breathing hard! Be very gentle with moving any sheets of paper/card, and DO NOT tap the back to get stray bits off- the slightest air movement sends this stuff everywhere- it makes glitter look positively restrained! After you've got most of the excess off, you need to go over it again to tidy it up, and I found a stiff paintbrush was ideal. The fine brush I used to remove any stray specks of the embossing powder.
Next I thought I'd try a more solid image, so stamped a row of mushroom groups, and a word stamp, again by Lavinia stamps.

This worked quite well, it definitely looks better on a more solid image.

Here I tried a row of Dandelion heads, Lavinia stamps. There are three in the set, but after I'd put the flake on, it didn't work so well.Two of the heads just ended up as a solid block, so I put this to one side and tried again, just using the head that came out well.

The lines of the image are far enough apart on this one for it to work, and I tried flakes on this one, a variegated copper.


The process is the same though, I found dabbing a clump onto the Sticky Stuff worked well, then burnish with your fingers, finishing with the brush.

Next up I wanted to see if I could create a scene, so I tried the Two Fairy Houses stamp, and although its quite detailed,the image remained clear enough to use.I used the sheet leaf for them, which is called Abalone. Above I stamped Trailing Vine, and used the Variegated green flake for those.

The Sticky Stuff stays tacky for a very long time, so you have plenty of time to get your leaf/flake on, there's no need to rush. With the flake,it was easier to pick a clump up in my fingers and dab it on, rather than tipping a whole pile over the image.

I added a couple more trails, some small and large mushrooms,cherry blossom branches and finally some dragonflies. The dragonflies were done in silver, the 'shrooms in Variegated Copper.When you add more images, you need to check previously flaked parts for powder, as it will stick to it, and when you heat it you will get leaf sticking where you don't want it. A few of my leaves have silvery bits on them.
With the Wishing Tree earlier, I also tried adding a Footpath stamp, and didn't like how it came out. So from this one, along with the Dandelions heads row that I didn't like,and a few off cuts from trimming down the Fairy Houses image I punched out squares. Sheer fluke, I got 9 squares.

So I matted them as a mosaic onto black card, then some gold card run through the 'bug with an embossing folder, then onto black again. Don't know why, but it screams 'Oriental' at me. Maybe the colours, maybe the cherry blossom. I don't know, lol.

I gave the Mushrooms row the same treatment.

I added a couple of Dragonflies to the Dandelion Heads row too,  in a silver/gold mix.
 So these will get turned into cards over the coming week,and I will be trying the Sticky Stuff out with glitter, as I was very impressed with how well it worked.

 Metal Leaf, Eberhard & Faber , or there is a Fimo Brand too.
 Metal Gilding Flake, mine came from Crafty Notions , bought at the NEC
Judikins Sticky Stuff embossing powder
Versamark Ink
 A lot of Patience!!!!!

Friday 14 February 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

 I saw some Visible Images stamps back last year, and was very taken with the gothic style. When I saw this set at the NEC last November, I knew instantly that they would be perfect for this years Valentine card for my Beloved Hubby, and I knew exactly how I was going to use it.

 First part of the plan involved making some post-it note masks of the two roses, and some heatproof acetate.

This is the two sizes of rose, and I stamped onto the acetate with Versafine Onyx Black, so I could add Black detail embossing powder and heat set.

I started by stamping a large rose in one corner, then adding a mask over it.

 I continued adding rose images, both small and large, and masking each one.

  The first corner completed- as its on acetate, I could do all the stamping, then emboss it all, as the ink won't dry. It WILL smear though, so you need to be careful.

Now I repeated this process in a second corner, just not making it as large as the first one.Added embossing powder and heat set.Then I cut around the rose edges, to give me two corners.
The plan was to glitter the roses on the reverse, and the heated embossing powder would preserve the rose images.

The first rose getting the glitter treatment. One tip, when you add your glitter, let it sit for a few minutes to allow the glitter to sink into the glue, that way you get a much stronger glittered image.

 2 roses done with red glitter, and the glue added for the black glitter. On the smaller corner, just one rose was glittered in red.
  Black glitter added, and you need to make sure you get right up to the red, so you don't have any gaps showing.

Now it needs to dry, and I left mine on the top of a radiator overnight.

 I don't think it shows in this picture, but I lay the two corners in place on my cardstock, in opposite corners, and lightly drew around them in pencil, so I could position the remainder of the stamping.
 The barbed wire was stamped to make corners( good old stamp positioner again),and I tried out the Love word in black and red on my scrap- I preferred the red. Everything was heat embossed with clear embossing powder, by the way.

 I made a pair of triple embossed hearts, Aged Mahogany DI on the base card, then three layers of UTEE.

 I had already cut a card base, in black card, 8x8, from an A3 sheet. Then a burgundy mat layer, then the white layer for the stamping.

Now to put it all together- the glittered roses were added with Pinflair glue gel, the larger one in the bottom right corner, the smaller top left.

The hearts were added the same way.

As I'd hoped, the detail of the roses is still clear thanks to the heat embossing.

It came out exactly as I'd pictured it, and I'm also entering it in the Visible Images blog February Challenge, LOVE.

 Black Cardstock, A3
 Burgundy Cardstock
White pearl cardstock
Visible Image stamps, Immortal Love
 Heat proof acetate
Red & black glitter
Clear drying glue, for the glitter
Versafine Onyx black
 clear detail Ep
DI Aged Mahogany

An End of an era

An end of an era

I write this with a broken heart, that only time can heal My beautiful, wonderful wifelet Shaz (Silverwolf) passed away peacefully in the ea...