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 September 2018

C.C.C. Eclipse Christmas Cards.

I've seen this technique a lot on Pinterest, and thought it was time I gave it a go, as it looks really good. Simple too, and depending on your die sizes, can be made to fit pretty much any size card.
This fortnights Christmas Card Club entry too, as I don't think I have anything that fits the Challenge- Turkeys, Camels or Sheep.

These cards are an A4 sheet folded, and the top pair were made  using letters from an ICraft alpha die set, which are quite large letters.
 I had wanted to have the word  SNOW on the front,as I was using snowflake stamps, but the letter W was too wide to allow the word to fit, so I settled for NOEL.

To get round the letter size problem, I cut the word SNOW out with my Silhouette Portrait, using 2 different fonts, as the first font was a little difficult to work with. I hadn't considered how thin some of the lines on the words were!

So you can make sure your word is centred, you do need to cut your cardbase and panel to size before you start. I often trim them to size when I'm done, but that won't work here. I trim my card base about a ¼" from the width, as I find a full sized sheet makes it too tight a fit when putting into the envelope, even if the card is totally flat. Any embellishments/raised areas make it impossible. It also gets rid of any misaligned edges from folding, or damaged corners.
 I stamped a selection of snowflake stamps of varying sizes in Brilliance  Pearlescent Blue pigment ink.

 The letters were 'dryfit' first, to get the spacing right, then held in place with a little stencil tape.
 Making sure your letters are level can be awkward, but a 'T' Ruler helps here. Butted up to the edge of the card, you can be sure all the letters are placed the same.

To die cut, I have the plates in my 'Bug swapped around, with the 'B' cutting plate on the bottom, instead of the 'C' plate. That goes on top. This way, you can just lay your card & dies straight down, without needing to flip it over, and potentially having your dies move. Not my idea, I saw a few You Tube crafters doing it, and realised it was a great idea.

The letters die cut out. Make sure to retain any centre pieces from letters, such as the 'O' here, as you'll need to replace it to fill in the letter on the card.

I also die cut the same letters from some fun foam, to give the dimension. You don't need the centre from the O for this.You can use a few layers of cardstock layered up if you don't have any fun foam to hand.

To add the letters on top of the fun foam, I used a ZIG glue pen. Any glue pen will do the job,as will glue with a fine tip applicator, or you could put a sheet of  double sided adhesive on the front of the fun foam before die cutting.

This Zig pen has a chisel tip, and makes adding glue easy. It comes in different nib types too- there is a rollerball version, and a pointed tip version. The glue starts out blue, and turns clear as it dries.

One thing worth mentioning- 'dry fit' letters like the O before you add glue. I was surprised that although they LOOK symmetrical, they are not exact.Even the ones I cut on the Silhouette. Obviously, this depends on your dies- some may be perfect, others, not so much.

Next add the stamped panel to your card front,and I found it helpful to add tape runner to the parts of the letters remaining as well, such as the pointy bits of the N, and the parts of the E, to keep them flat.
You need to replace the centre of the O, and I recommend popping the letter back in place to make sure you get the pattern orientation right. Then just add a little tape runner/glue to the back of the centre, and place it inside the letter and press down.
 Now you can add your other letters.
 The fun foam gives a nice dimension, not too much even for mailing.
 I'd suggest at least 4 layers of cardstock, plus the stamped layer if you do it that way, as I used 3 plus the stamped layer on one of the next cards, but it wasn't as dimensional as I'd have liked. The thickness of your cardstock will have a bearing on this, of course.

 To finish this off, I added a peeloff border either side of the stamped panel and stamped a greeting along the bottom. It comes from a Phill Martin set called Christmas Holly Sentiment Borders. I just masked the Holly embellishment at either end before I inked the stamp, so I just had the sentiment.

The SNOW eclipse cards were done by cutting the word SNOW on the Silhouette, and for my first one I cut the word a total of 4 times, leaving enough room above & below the first one for me to trim the panel down.  I left the cardstock on the  Cutting Mat to do the stamping, for which I used a stamp by Chloe, called Wavy Snowflake Border.
I twisted & turned the stamp to cover the panel completely.

This was the one I used the thin lined font on, and you can see the other words for the layers below the stamped over area.

I decided to make the next version more dimensional, so cut the words again from a second sheet of cardstock.

 I used Silver Encore Pigment ink here, and a silver sparkle embossing powder from WOW! called Blizzard.

 The sentiment for this one is also a Phill Martin one, from another set called  Snowflake Sentiment Borders.

This is the finished four cards.

These are really easy to make, and could also be done using a Patterned paper, so no stamping required! The fun foam makes it faster, as there is no building up layers involved.
 As for dimension, that is totally up to you. From one or two layers of cardstock to keep it low, to a couple of layers of fun foam or chipboard for a real WOW factor, if you are not going to be mailing the card.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

WOYWW #486

....And I'm back in WOYWW land! Had a great week away, weather was awesome, sleeveless tops everyday. I'll put some pics at the end, so you can just bypass them if you want to get around to the other desks.
This is my desk right now, after some crafting on Sunday & Monday. A handful of cards in the middle made using stencil paste & Tim Holtzs' Flourish stencil. In the post below.
 Some sentiment dies,dst, a few more stencilled pieces waiting to be finished. My craft tidy, with beads in. Didn't use any, but the tub they were in had it's lid come off in the drawer, so they were loose in the bottom. Hence the need for some re-tidying.
 Nice and sunny today, after the last few days rain.

  Other pics you may be interested in:
Stuff that arrived while we were away, 3 new Oxides, Mermaid Lagoon,Hickory Smoke & Shaded Lilac.

Two Paper Artsy Fresco paints, Snowflake and a Frosting Glaze.

A great stamp from Bee Crafty.

One purchase from Tims new releases- loved the look of these starry trails when I saw them in the pre-release video.

 This is what the dies actually look like, you have a circle spiral star trail, a wavy star trail, and 7 different sized and shaped individual stars.

Now here's a product that may be useful on occasion. I had a couple of dye inkpads that were not very well attached to their bases anymore. I'd tried silicone glue, and hot glue, but neither worked. Then I saw this mentioned in a forum, when a similar question was asked. This Original Gorilla Glue is activated by misting with water, so works well in any situation where damp is an issue. Couple of blobs onto the inkpad base- no need to mist with water as the pad is wet- and hey presto, job done. Available from Amazon, of course.
.............And finally................................

Leave your link to The Stamping Ground over at Julias place, and we'll all come visit you. :)

So onto some pics from The Netherlands.

  You know you're in the Netherlands when you see Windmills. What really surprised me, as we were driving along, is how much sweetcorn is grown in Belgium and Holland!  Miles and miles of it.

We had a stop off in Bruges on the way up. Amazing buildings to be seen, and this fantastic sculpture made from plastic rubbish, all from the beaches of Hawaii.
 Not entirely sure why they had to import plastic waste, lol.

Look at the detail in that brickwork!

Whilst in Amsterdam, we visited the Madame Tussauds there, as well as the Dungeon. Not so keen on that, but the Tussauds was great.

Closest I'm ever going to get to Johnny Depp!

The names Brooks, Doug Brooks!

Hannibal Lecter.

Dali, left, and Van Gogh, below. We also visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, and the Dali one in Bruges on the way home.

Pretty much all the waxworks were incredibly lifelike. So much so, you found yourself half expecting one of them to be a real person, who'd suddenly move & speak. Quite disconcerting, I can tell you.

Loki was a must see, and there were a few other Marvel superheros, and the props from others.

Finally on the way home, we had an overnight stay in Bruges again. This amazing building was directly opposite out hotel.

And of course, you can't possibly leave Belgium without taking some chocolate home.  There were amazing window displays of novelty chocolate products, I particularly like the Rubber Ducks.

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Mixed Media & Stencil Paste Baby & Wedding cards

Been having a play with some stencil paste and Tim Holtz Layering stencils today. I thought this flourish design lends itself to so many useful cards, it all depends on the colour paste you use. I coloured white paste with pink and blue  Memento inks to make the baby cards, and left it white for the two wedding ones.In all cases, I gave the wet paste a very light sprinkling of Glamour dust, just to add a gentle sparkle.

 Useful things to know about this technique:
  When colouring your paste- and you can colour white or Translucent- you can use a variety of mediums. Inkpads, reinkers and acrylic paints all work fine, and subtler shades can be achieved with mica powders. You can also add mica powders along with your inks/paints, for a pearly sheen. You can also add glitter, for sparkle that doesn't shed!

One thing to remember when using liquid colours to colour your paste is that the liquid will alter the consistency of the paste, so this is one case where you do not want to start with a little, and add till you've got the colour required. Acrylic paint will not be too bad, as it's not so liquid as ink, but with reinkers especially, go for a fairly dark colour, just adding a drop or two. You can always add a little more paste if you want to lighten it.Remember also, when adding to white paste it will lighten the colour anyway, and it will usually dry slightly lighter as well. Also, don't skimp on mixing up your custom colours. If you run out before finishing, you'll never mix exactly the same shade!Any leftover paste can be stored in small screwtop pots, and will last for a few months. If there is not enough to make that worthwhile, you can spread the excess onto a scrap of cardstock, using that to add all your waste paste to. Then, when dry, just cover with a sheet of hot foil, run through your laminator or foiling machine-you can even just iron it on- and you have a sheet of foiled card you can die cut sentiments from.
Use a fairly good thick cardstock to work on, as the moisture from the paste will cause thinner cardstock to buckle.
Here are some I've done in the past.

 Also, Mylar stencils such as these are not going to lay as totally flat on your cardstock as metal ones, so more care needs to be taken when adding paste, so that it doesn't  start to seep under the edges of the design. Try to add enough paste, and use a wide enough spreader to cover the design in one sweep.  Too many spreading motions will increase the likelihood of the paste going under the lines. Sweet Poppy have a fab wide spreader for this, and Lucy Ellis of Sweet Poppy has some cool videos on You Tube showing how to get the best results.
 Finally- cleaning your stencils. You want to do this as quickly as possible, and I take a sandwich box with warm soapy water  in up to my craft room to drop them in, to save going up and downstairs to a sink every time I've used a stencil. Make sure you have a bowl/tub large enough to lay the stencils flat in. Keeping them flat while washing & drying is really critical to keeping them in good condition. The paste comes off easily if you do it straight away. I have found that the Cosmic Shimmer glitter pastes are really difficult to remove if they start to dry on your stencil,so speedily dropping into water is important. I have an old towel on a work surface, and stand the tub on that. A small nailbrush is ideal for removing the paste, then I lay it onto the towel, and PAT dry. That's important, especially if the stencil has unattached parts, like the Flourish one does. If you bend parts through rubbing, they will always let paste/ink etc seep under the design. This applies to metal ones with unattached parts too, not just Mylar.
So, back to the cards. The card bases are topfold, half A4 sheets, which end up as 5¾ x 4⅛. The cardstock I used for the stencilling was 6 x 4 so I had a little to trim down to tidy it up. I finally trimmed the panels to 5¾ x 3⅜.
 As the panels were narrower than my base card, I decided to die cut some borders, you could also use border punches, of course.
 I made some choices from this set by Spellbinders, called Shapeabilities On The Edge. They are just a hair longer than my panels,but these dies are fully repeatable, so you can make a border as long as you need.

I chose pearl papers and cut the edges twice for each card, then split down the middle. The pink one, which was the second up from the bottom in the dies, actually gives you two for one- you could easily use the offcut as a border too.
The pearl papers came from some paper blocks I bought years ago at the NEC, from a company called Craftwork Cards, who sadly no longer exist.They are really useful for borders, or for punching from.

The strips were attached to the back of each panel, along the edges, with dst, then trimmed down to fit.

All four done.
 Now they just need mounting onto the card fronts, and again I used DST for this. Remember to add tape to all 4 sides, as there will always be a little warping of the cardstock from the paste. If you are a wet glue user, I'd recommend laying them down with a weight on top for half an hour or so.

Now to add a sentiment, and I chose to use these Crealies Text dies for the baby cards. They are a small die, but the perfect size for these cards. there is quite a selection of sentiments available too. The 'A New Baby' sentiment is one die, but the three words are all separate, which I love as that gives you freedom of placement. I cut  the die 4 times from white scrap card, then once each from the pink & blue pearl paper I used for the borders. This was so I could layer up the white die cuts twice, then add the
colour on top, for a little dimension.

 I have some stitched banner dies, from Aliexpress, and used the smallest size from the long set for this. It was actually a little longer than I wanted, but the bottom set was a little too short. I sorted that by just replacing the banner in the die, matching up the stitched lines, then trimming it shorter.
A simple fix. You may notice than I am cutting down into my bottom plate in my 'Bug. I saw a few crafters switching the order of their plates, putting the 'B' plate on the bottom, and the 'C' plate on the top. This is great, as you can see exactly what you are cutting, so makes precise placing easy. I'd lain my words on the banner first to decide how much shorter it needed to be.
A ZIG glue pen- in fact any glue pen- is ideal for layering up the words, and for attaching to the banner. Again, laying them down under a couple of acrylic blocks for  a few minutes helps them set.
To add them to the card front, I used a few foam pads. Because the surface is uneven, and glittery, both of which can cause problems with adhering stuff, I added a small dab of Pinflair Glue Gel to the top of each foam pad. This helps to make sure it will stick to the awkward surface, and also gives you a little wriggle room to position it straight.

I decided the banners needed a little something else, so added an acrylic heart to each. I used a clear one for the blue card, as the only blue hearts I had were not close enough in colour to the blue used in the card.

For the wedding cards, I used the same banner die, but added the sentiment with peel offs, as there currently isn't a wedding die in the Crealies line. I have emailed to ask her about the possibility,though. 😀 A small white half pearl was added with some Glossy Accents.

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...