Sunday, 22 May 2022

A thank you card

I wanted to send a card to a friend and, when I won a prize over in one of her challenges recently, it was perfect timing! It's to say 'Thanks' both for the prize and also for her generosity with prizes for the Snippets Playground toy box.

As often happens - I hit problems along the way - but I do include how I 'fixed' them below:

I wonder if this is familiar? For a long time the recipient, Brenda of 'Floral Fantasies' had dancing poppies as her blog header - and this card was made, using my prize from Allsorts, with that happy image in mind.

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white linen card, side opening

- snippet of the same card to cut the 'frame' using a die from a NBUS set of dies by MFT called 'Stitched Rectangle Scallop Edge Frame' and set it to one side for later

- then, the fun began. My lovely prize from Allsorts was an IndigoBlu stamp called 'Wild Flowers' - which I adore. I stamped it using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink onto a carefully selected and very lovely gently coloured rainbow piece of paper from a paper pad by Honey Bee called 'Team Tie Dye'. Sigh, and then I got a smudge of ink just a bit above the image, even using the Misti. Totally my own fault!

- having got that far I plodded on and dug out another co-ordinating piece of paper from the same paper pack, which luckily uses the same shade of yellow, to use for the upper part of the card

- fussy cut around the top of my stamped image then glued it below the upper background piece

- used a red Pro marker to colour in the poppies

- stamped the sentiment using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' and a stamp from the Sweet Dixie set called  'Big Sentiments' 

- cut the image panel to the size I wanted and then glued the image onto the back of the 'frame'

- then just glued the image, already glued within the frame, onto the card front onto the card front (don't that sound easy?!) 

- final touch - some of Lucy's Little Things 'Raindrop' gems 

I'd been hunting for some stitched rectangle frames with the smaller scallops for ages! Talk about doing a full scale search of the internet.

I'd like to enter this card into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #38 for May. A first outing for the frame dies.

Also, at 'We Love Stamping' Challenge for May (For a lady or girl).

And, also over at 'Stamping Sensations' Challenge for May (AG with the option of floral and fauna)

Phew, three challenges once again. The Playground always comes first but it's so good to have the time to play more - thanks to Sarn! 

And, speaking of Sarn - remember to hop over to the Playground to see her post for today, with the picks and also the result of the prize draw - HERE.

Dudley has been pretty well behaved this week. He's very interested in anything that needs to be unpacked or opened. It's a bit like having a doggy quality control inspector in the house!

As always, his beloved Honka Duck is never very far away from him:

I was bending down in front of him to take this photo. Dudley was in a world of his own, spreadeagled on the floor with Honka in his mouth. His eyes were half open but even when I asked nicely, he wasn't gonna look up and say 'Hello'. Sorry 'bout that! 

Ha - just wait until he has to pose nicely wearing his Jubilee bandana in a couple of weeks time. I know, ain't gonna happen knowing Dudley Dog!

Other plans are under way and Sarn has already come up with a suggestion for a special cocktail for the occasion - hic!

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Christmas Kickstart #62 - Mini-Slimline

The current challenge for May 2022 over at Christmas Kickstart, HERE, is 'Mini-Slimline'.  Really great theme and I literally just had the very thing to hand ........ raring to go! And, I was homed in on sparkle - right on cue for the current Allsorts Challenge - yay!

A good while ago, I think before Al was so unwell, I won a very 'tricky-woo' looking die over on Rudolph Days Challenge. My Cuttlebug was playing up like it had lumbago and, with everything else that Mo was coping with, I sort of wrote the prize off. However, last week, right out of the blue it arrived here! Thanks again Mo! A lovely surprise!

I set to and quickly made this card for my entry:

I used:

- mini slimline white card blank - sized 6.00" x 3.25"

- snippet of silver pearlescent silver card (looks more grey in the photo), backed with 'die cutting double sided adhesive paper' then die cut using the Gemini. Used the new die from Mo, by Nellie Snellon, called 'Forest with deer and squirrel', and then put to one side

- knowing the full size of the die cut, I could then trim down another snippet of card - this time black with tiny little pieces of silver sparkle embedded all over - to just a little bit bigger than the landscape die cut - it was a close call as well, even with extra full sheets of the stuff here!

- peeled off the sticky backing then adhered the die cut to the black semi-sparkly background and put it to one side for now. It's always best to either run the whole assembled panel through your die cutting machine (slight risk of distortion there to be honest) - OR, do as I did and flip it face down onto your glass mat then give it a really good rub with the Stamping Pressure gadgets that so many of us are loving right now. Bingo - adhesive backing stuck perfectly!

- then stamped the sentiment in the bottom right corner of the card, using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and a stamp from the Woodware 'Tall Tree Gnome' set - happened to be available waiting to be stored away and also the size etc., so itt seemed right

- then glued the image panel onto the card front

- finished off with some different sized clear diamante gems to either side of the sentiment, for extra sparkle!

I really adore this new die, how cool would it look with poinsettias or snowflakes at one of the corners huh? It does take patience to cut, then place the die onto the background. I learned some things I probably would do differently along the way. eg. in future - place the die cut and then trim the outer frame to fit. But - really worth the effort and, SO many different colour combinations can be used as well! Len doesn't like black on Christmas cards so this got the thumbs down for colour but he did like the overall design and die cut.

I would like to enter this into Christmas Kickstart #62.

AND, of course into the current Allsorts Challenge # 676 'Add some sparkle'.

And, equally, into Darnell's NBUS #38 HERE.

And there's another one done for the Christmas card box. Fair to say, the die did intimidate me so I only planned on making a single card - but, would be very happy to make a batch now!

Of course, Mini-Slimline envelopes are as rare as hen's teeth here in the UK. All envelopes and suitable envelope dies are out of stock everywhere I've looked (and so expensive too!) - so here goes with my 'envelope maker scoring gizmo'! Always summick!

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Decoupage rescue!

The other day, whilst doing a bit of craft room sorting out, I came across some Dufex decoupage pieces - which I'd assembled eons ago and then carefully stored in clear cellophane bags. So my snippets card for this fortnight's Snippets Playground challenge (just started over HERE) was pretty easy to rustle up:

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white linen card blank - tent style

- the Dufex foiled 'honeysuckle' decoupage was assembled ages ago - probably bought as part of an A4 sheet at a craft fayre

- used a Penny Black set of dies called 'zig-zag stackers' to cut a panel from a snippet of white linen card, the same I used for as the main card body

- then stamped the sentiment directly onto the image panel. Used the Misti, Memento 'London Fog' ink and a Woodware 'Deco Sayings' sentiment stamp

- glued the die cut panel onto the card front 

- glued the Dufex topper onto the die cut panel

- added three iridescent gems from a shaker pack called 'Snowdrops' from Lucy's Little Things  range of crystal shaker card fillings - done!

It's hard to capture the beautiful foil of Dufex - every bit of the image is shimmery foil. I'm not totally sure whether they're still in business to be honest. A quick online search has thrown up a few smaller UK places still stocking Dufex decoupage and other images though.

It's been a busy week here for various reasons so apologies for the fact that my snippets card only used some leftover white linen card as my snippet to die cut the layer with the pretty zig-zag edge. But, it was a snippet I promise!

I'm still absolutely loving the Gemini Junior - with the still unbent pale green plates. All these years and I never even thought to have a dedicated space for die cutting stuff. So much easier!

Dudley is still up to his antics and the other day he went missing - again. Len had been in and out of the garage and the door into it from the utility room was propped open. When I peeped round the corner - there was Dudley, up on his hind legs in the garage, having a jolly good try at opening a drawer in a storage unit ...... where he knows his favourite treats are kept! When I wagged my finger at him (whilst trying not to laugh) he then pretended he'd been doing nothing - talk about looking guilty! I think he's likely to be checking out weight lifting courses to improve his upper body strength behind our backs!


Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Allsorts Challenge # 675

The current challenge over at Allsorts Challenge# 675 is 'Favourite stamps and/or dies'.

I have loads of stamps and dies that I really love, as am sure we all have. But, there's 'that special one'  - a wood mounted stamp that I return to more than most. It sits on a narrow set of shelves, with some other favourites, right above one side of my curved desk. Straight in my line of vision when I'm swiveled round to work at the laptop. I've had it for more years than I can recall - it's so old it doesn't even have a name and I'm almost sure it was pre-loved when it came to live here! I have loads of other, much more intricately designed, stamps - but this one just sings to me! And this is the, admittedly quick, paper pieced card I rustled up the other day for the current Allsorts Challenge, see link at top of this post:

I used:

- A6 white card blank, side opening

- snippet of plain white card, onto which I stamped the image, using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and an Anita's 'no name' stamp - probably collecting its pension by now! 

- stamped the same image onto a snippet of patterned paper, found in the back of Wild Rose Studio's 'Annabelle's Meadow' paper pack

- used another sheet from the same pack to die cut the patterned darker blue layer, using the Heffy Doodles A6 'Stitched Rectangle - Outside In' set of dies

- die cut the image panel, using a smaller die from the same Heffy Doodles set

- fussy cut the 'gift box' sections out of the image,which I'd stamped onto patterned paper, quick run around the edges with a black Whisper brush pen and then glued them in place, using a glue pen

- glued the patterned paper and then the image panel onto the card front

- finished!

Last week, I spent some time fairly very ruthlessly blitzing my huge stock of patterned paper pads and packs. However, one paper pack, a constant favourite, which escaped 'the cull' - is the one I used today. In fact - I even have a spare paper pack plus a pack of the lovely 'Annabelle's Meadow' co-ordinating toppers. And hooray - vindication for saving the papers at the very least, when I found them to make today's card! 

I'm always dubious about mixing patterned papers - it can work well, but it can also end up looking 'like a dog's dinner' if you don't have the knack of mixing various papers properly. Use them from the same pad/pack is my advice, if you want to have a chance of it working, as the colours will co-ordinate nicely - and the dyes will at least all change similarly in the camera's eye!

Ah, unless of course it's a dedicated snippets project, then the whole idea is to use up those scraps! ☺ Almost a 'home goal' there!

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Dudley update and a results post over on Snippets

We have the latest 'picks' and the draw winner results over HERE, in the Snippets Playground, as am sure you all know by now. Go and take a peek! 

Dudley is his usual crazy dog self. Len opened the door into our back garden very late the other evening, for what we hoped would be Dudley's bedtime 'call of nature' - and, whoosh, he was out like a rocket! Not one single woof - but he'd spotted a very sneaky local cat, who hides underneath the arbour waiting for prey at night. Ha, said cat certainly beat the World High Jump Record when leaping over the six foot high fence! Dudley Dog looked most bemused - he only wanted to play or make friends! 

But, speaking of friends - he can and sometimes will make his feelings abundantly clear if you upset his apple-cart in any way. I have written about him previously when he pushed his head into a corner of a sofa with his back firmly turned to Len and quite plainly sulked - whilst we two almost cried (silently) with laughter at his 'Diva performance', but last week deserves another mention. 

At bed time, guess who was already on his back - snoring - sprawled across right across our bed? Yup, Dudley of course - as usual. Len tried to gently move him and it was like a sleepy Tasmanian Devil sprang into life. I stood back with mouth open at one angry white ball of 'floof' before he charged off in a very vocal and grumpy strop. A little while later we peeped out of the bedroom door and there he was, lying spreadeagled on his front at the far end of the landing, Honka in his mouth, AND - very pointedly keeping his back turned to us in a real 'huff'. How can you not crack a smile or even laugh at that sight! He ignored Len totally when he tried to coax him, just 'blanked' him, and in the end we just left him to come out of his 'teenage rage' in his own time - and it worked fine, at least an hour later though, so that pup has stamina! Of course, then he came back with licks and wanted cuddles - what do you do? Don't even ask!

We finally swopped his very first Honka Duck for a new one, before it became a total health hazard. And, to coin a phrase, Dudley took to the new one 'just like a duck to water'! Snort.

Happy Days! 

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Summertime 'Gnomies'

A gnome isn't just for Christmas and a little rootle through my basket of NBUS goodies turned up a set of non-Christmas gnome stamps with matching dies .... with Summer gnomes on. 

I wanted to create a scene for the current Allsorts Challenge and a further 'rootle' made me check out the Whimsy 'Enchanted Forest' Slimline paper pack that had never been used (bought ages ago, tut, tut!). 

The gnome stamps are quite small, even if you use more than one on a wide card, then 'PING', a little light bulb suddenly flicked on. Who actually said that the background papers HAD to be used for slimline cards? With some inspired juggling about, I would be able to get a mix of two smallish oval/square backgrounds from each sheet - and that's exactly what I did. Some of the papers now have the other half safely tucked inside the packet(s) for future use, thereby stretching the pack contents, meaning more cards can be made. And this can be applied to other papers in Whimsy's Slimline range  - which I did for one card!

Here's what I  ended up making:

I used

- two 4" x 4" white card blanks, and two 5.5" x 4.25" white card blanks - all are side opening

- stamped, then coloured, all four gnomes (using Polychromos pencils) from the 'Your Next Stamp' 'Happy Gnomies' set

- at the same time I also stamped a selection of sentiments using three different sentiments from the 'Happy Gnomies' set and a single sentiment from MFT's 'Itty Bitty Celebrations' set of stamps ('Doing a Happy Dance' - so cute) - using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink

- die cut all of the gnome images using the matching dies - and my Altenew mini die cutting machine. Even though I'm once again fully kitted out and love all of my die cutting capabilities - that sweet little Altenew machine is so handy!

- then die cut the sentiment strips using two of MFT's 'Itty Bitty Strips' dies as well as the 'gnome with balloons' sentiment - using a Frantic Stamper 'Stitched Fishtail Banners' die

- to assemble the cards, I die cut one design of oval background from the 'Enchanted Forest' paper pack, plus one from an (again unused) Whimsy 'Glorious Sky' Slimline Paper Pack - using a die from Presscut's 'Oval Stitch Hole' set

- then cut two different designs of square backgrounds from the 'Enchanted Forest' paper pack - using a die from Lawn Fawn's 'Outside In Stitched Square Stackables'

- the oval card images were mounted, using glue, onto the 5.5" x 4.25" card blanks, which had already been topped white card, embossed using SU's 'Square Lattice' Textured Impressions folder and then trimmed to slightly smaller than the card front

- the square card images were mounted, using glue, onto the 4" x 4" card blanks - having first been backed with a slightly larger square/frame cut from snippets of Altenew's 'Forest Glades' card stock (one of my current favourites)

- then it was just a matter of adding a gnome image and a sentiment to each card front, using a glue pen - finished!

The planning stage took almost as long as making the cards - even though I actually doubled up on each design and made two the same of each one. That's eight cards on standby, for friends and also some of our neighbourhood kids.

I'd like to enter the 'Hello Friend' card into the current Allsorts Challenge Week #674, where the theme is 'Anything Goes, with the option of Scenic'.

And, I'd like to enter the  same card into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #38 for May. My NBUS on this card is the gnome stamp and die set, the Whimsy Slimline 'Enchanted Forest' paper pack plus MFT's 'Itty Bitty Sentiment' die strip.

I had great fun making these cards, it's such a treat to have spare time to make cards 'just because'! Hooray for Sarn jointly running the Snippets Playground!

Sunday, 1 May 2022

May Day - hooray!

Really sorry, been sorting out here, and no snippets card from me, just yet. Working very hard on a little batch of cards for fun, in between sorting the 'Craft Cave' out!

But do I have a tale to tell, oh boy! 'We three' heard a whirring and the sound of an engine (turned out only to be a flipping crane!) in the early hours of the other morning. Then I heard little voice, that I've heard before (gulp), shouting 'down a bit, right a bit, left a bit, up a bit - GET out of the way Dudley' and I knew we had trouble! BIG time.

Good grief - there was 'Little Miss Satchel', aka Sarn, who is in charge for this latest challenge in the Snippets Playground, and was only setting up a May Day pole, dear god! I fully expect to be blamed for it of course.

I gave up, shrugged and went back to bed - and lay with my head under the covers - as you do in these situations! 

Dudley went out later to check - and also needed a lie down and sleep after his findings, sigh. His cute and most relaxed 'on back with paws in the air' pose:

Photo edited to hide his 'manly/doggy part', lest anyone might be offended, couldn't do an ivy leaf easily - snigger! Will a pansy do?

At the moment, the Snippets Playground is in the hands of a 'reet trouble maker', as my Grannie used to say. Goodness help us, BUT do hop over to The Snippets Playground to join in the frolics - if you dare of course. To be honest - it's actually great fun and we hope to see you there, dancing around the Maypole in good old traditional English style! And there's bound to be cocktails involved.

Meanwhile, I need a good lie down too! 

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

I'll be 'gnome' for Christmas

The title of this post is a sentiment in one of the stamp sets I used for these cards:

I used:

- an A6 card blank and a DL card blank - both are white and both are side opening

- stamped the images & additional stars (plus sentiments) onto largish snippets of white card - using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink pad with Woodware's 'Christmas Tree Gnome' stamp for the A6 card and Woodware's 'Tall Tree Gnome' for the DL card

- coloured both image panels using Pro markers - such fun images to colour as well!

- for the A6 card just trimmed it to suit and added a narrow backing of Tonic pearlescent 'Red Velvet' card (snippet!) before then gluing it onto the card front

- for the DL card I die cut it to size, using a die by Creative Craft Products from their Slimline and DL Nestabilities range, called 'DL Stitched Straight Edge' die set - I used the second largest die in the set

- added a narrow backing of the same red card as for the A6 card (I had taken time to match the card and a red Pro marker for colouring the image). Then glued it to the card front

- all that was left to do were the sentiments that I'd already stamped along with the images, so I trimmed those right down, ran a black marker around the edges then stuck them in place using thin sticky pads

I do wish the camera hadn't turned the lovely bright golden yellow of the stars into a mustard shade, as well as 'fading' a perfectly stamped sentiment where the light was streaming onto the card, sigh.

I would like to enter my A6 card (hard choice, as I do quite like both of them, more so in real life) into the following challenges:

Rudolph Days Challenge for April 2022

Christmas Kickstart Challenge #61, where the theme is 'From My Gnome to Yours'

NBUS Challenge #37 - the Woodware set of Gnome stamps were having their first outing

Thanks for calling by! x

Sunday, 24 April 2022

Birthday card for someone special

A lovely friend recently had a Birthday, and this is the card I made for her:

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white card blank, tent style

- a layer of the same white card for the front panel, die cut using a Lil' Inkers 'Stitched Rectangle' die and set to one side

- used a sheet of patterned paper from a Honey Bee 'Team Tie Die' paper pad and die cut the bottom edge using a die from the Simon Says Stamp 'Flower Swag' set of dies - more of this below!

- then die cut the floral piece using a snippet of white card and the other die from the SSS 'Flower Swag' set

- glued the floral layer onto the edge of the patterned paper - using a glue pen - before gluing it onto the white stitched edge layer

- glued the whole panel onto the card front

- die cut the sentiment from another snippet of white card, using a Presscut die called 'Happy Birthday' and glued it in place

- added some clear amber 'dew drops' into the flower centres etc.

I had three attempts at getting the patterned layer as right as possible with the die cut edge at the bottom. Almost lost the will to live and, having watched a YouTube video I now know exactly how to do it of course! I just wasn't thinking properly on the day and the more I tried the more of a flap I got into. It's a stark reminder to look for a video when fiddling round with something where I'm unsure about measurements. The result is passable but not as wide as I wanted - still, said friend is a crafter - which always means that even if your best attempt goes a bit awry - they do understand!

Final say on the die cutting machine adventures. The two Gemini pale green 'double sided dies' cutting plates are brilliant! You use them as the middle part of the cutting sandwich which then only has the two clear matching plates on the outsides. No magnetic shim or thin plastic shim needed. Yes, the plates do score, as one would expect, but nothing like the clear plates score - and absolutely no bending occurs to any of the plates in the sandwich! It's early days but so far I rate it one of Jennifer McGuire's best ideas!

I'd like to enter this into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #37 HERE

Thanks to a prompt from Pauline on the Allsorts DT, I'm also linking this into the current Allsorts Challenge Week 673. The theme is 'Something beginning with B' and so I'm using 'Birthday and Background' for my take on 'B'.

Do remember, today you can find the results of Challenge #425 over in the Snippets Playground HERE

Also, from Monday 25th April to the end of the month it's ScrappyMo's Rudolph Days Challenge.

No real news about Dudley this week, although we did give our local sorting office a giggle apparently. We had something to return via Click and Collect and the online form asks you to declare if you have any dogs on the property. So I typed in 'One small dog, with big bark'. As it happens it was Steve, our regular postman who collected the package and with a huge grin he wagged his finger at Dudley and said 'You're famous now boy'!

Thursday, 21 April 2022

Penny Black Stickeroo Christmas card - simple style

Some days I want to have a quick play making a card without using loads of tools. For this Christmas card I just used my Tonic trimmer (and some glue):

I used:

- DL white card blank, tent style

- Penny Black Stickeroo from the 'Berry Delight' sheet of stickers

- backing card layers are Tonic pearlescent 'Majestic Gold'  card and Altenew 'Forest Glades' - trimmed to size and glued in place

- no sentiment added as I think the image speaks for itself

Made in a jiffy! These days, I tend to pop all the stickers from a Stickeroo sheet straight onto toning backing card for future use, then roughly trim them so I can just flick through the pile. I leave plenty of surrounding card per sticker so that they can then be trimmed straight or die cut to suit. 

Oh, and I write on the back of each image which sheet they came from for when I write a blog post, often months later! 

On the subject of tools, I managed to 'win' a Cuttlebug machine on eBay last weekend. Opened it the other day to have a play and was quite stunned. I reckon it had just the one freebie die run through it, once only from the single score mark on a cutting plate! The machine and plates are otherwise pristine and shiny new - even the free embossing folder was unopened in the original box. It cuts like a dream, as Cuttlebugs always do in their 'youth'. Talk about falling into the river and coming up with a salmon in each pocket! For once I really did hit lucky!

Sunday, 17 April 2022

Penny Black Masterpieces Made Simple - Thank You card

There's a new challenge over in the Snippets Playground - below is my snippets card and how I made it.

We have so many generous and kind Playmates - I received a package here last week and this card is being sent to a very generous lady who sent me a package stuffed with brand new prize goodies very recently (the toy box is stuffed to the brim and looking super healthy!):

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white linen card blank - side opening

- the really pretty image is from the Penny Black 'vintage beauty' Masterpieces Made Simple set of images (no apologies for using these lovely images such a lot lately)

- left the image at full size and used a Penny Black set of dies called 'zig-zag stackers' to cut a panel from a snippet of white linen card, the same I used for as the main card body

- then stamped the sentiment directly onto the image panel. Used the Misti, Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and the Clearly Besotted 'Say what?' set of stamps for the 'Thank You greeting

- mounted it onto a very slightly larger snippet of Olive Green card - just to give a narrow and simple border

- then added it onto the card front before gluing a couple of 'Raindrop' gems in place - finished!

- ha, took the photo before the glue was fully dried so the raindrop gems look a bit milky 

Dudley's coat is growing back nicely - he had a bath this week and is still a fighter. Possibly it's getting to be easier as at least he didn't run and hide beforehand! 

His beloved Honka Duck goes almost everywhere with him. The other morning he was hunting for Honka and nosed open my craft room door, which I'd pulled too the evening before without realising that Honka was in there. Dudley slipped in and whisked Honka from under my desk and (you have to imagine this bit) there was Dudley with the almost life sized Honka Duck, crossways in his mouth, stood at the partly open door with his eyes almost rolling in puzzlement. He couldn't get through the space in the doorway as it opens inwards and of course didn't think to drop the duck!

Then, a sweet friend popped round with an Easter egg for us and whilst I was talking to her, Aslan rolled up. Aslan is the most beautiful Persian cat and super cool and laid back. He doesn't deign to use our gardens as his toilet so he's always very welcome. He decided to take a stroll round the downstairs of our house - a thorough inspection was carried out. Fortunately, Len had Dudley upstairs and I reckon there would have been mayhem had he realised that Aslan had come to visit. Purely interest on Dudley's part as he loves cats - but it could have been fun and games. Thankfully, Aslan doffed his cap, bade me farewell and moseyed off out of the front door again! 


Thursday, 14 April 2022

CASE-ing Linby

Our lovely Playmate Linby (real name Lynn - and one of my greatest enablers, in the book world, as well as crafting) was one of my picks from Challenge #424 - and I couldn't get her gorgeous cards out of my head. To see Linby's cards - please hop over HERE. So worth a look.  

It's such a super way to use up snippets and I already had one of the shadow frame dies to hand. Almost got rid of it the other week as I couldn't see beyond using the fairly repetitive and rather ordinary little decorative dies which it came with - what a numpty!

Plus, a while ago I was whining on here about being sent the wrong Christmas 'Snowflakes range' paper pad by Amazon, made by Crafters Companion. Basically it had the incorrect bar coded label on the back so someone, somewhere, dropped a clanger. Instead of being nicely patterned all over, the designs have lots of 'scenes' featuring woodland animals and Christmas images in the corners - plus loads of matching die cuts. I kept it, as we were still pretty much locked down at the time, and the other day, musing over Lynn's cards, I realised that my shadow box frame die does have huge potential after all!

Take a peek - cute and such fun to make:

I used:

- 5.5" x  4.25" white card blank, tent style using 300gsm white card stock from Hobbycraft

- more of the same card stock to die cut a shadow box frame - using the Creative Expressions 'Christmas Shadow Box' die set

- then decided how to fill the apertures, using papers from the 'wrong' pad (which is actually called 'Watercolour Christmas'), I used one single 6 x 6" sheet and picked out then die cut the pieces I wanted, using the separate straight edged shapes you have to use to cut out the apertures in the main frame (very handy!)

- glued the frame onto the card front

- glued the chosen images and pieces from the paper in place

- didn't add a sentiment - and called it done!

It sounds quicker than it was, but having done it twice over (yup, I made two the same whilst at it, gotta keep the Christmas card numbers growing) next time will be even easier, and faster, I hope. Now want to make even more and still have the dies and paper pad beside me here! I found that using the 'shadow box die itself was the really tricky part - holding all those pieces to also cut the straight edges in place with removable tape to do the die cutting, sheesh!

It was a real joy to use my Gemini and it cuts like a knife through butter - really effortlessly. I've read loads of hints and tips and can really recommend that you do check out Jennifer McGuire if you have issues with cutting plates. Be it be on any machine really, but she has delved deeply into the Gemini and come up with some great solutions. Watch here and be impressed, I am! The video covers avoiding as well as fixing warped plates for all machines and then at the end, a great idea for an unconventional 'cutting sandwich' for Gemini machine owners. I'm already onboard!

Plus, I snapped up a Cuttlebug on eBay the other day - for my thick Sizzix dies and as a back up. Bargain!

Cheers all round on the die cutting front!

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Floral Penny Black Masterpieces for Easter

Finally, finally, finally - I've done some moving around of stuff here and have found the perfect home for my much neglected Gemini Junior die cutting machine. 'Hooray' it shouted, with a sigh of relief! Shame on me - it's taken over six months for me to have it properly and permanently located beside my curved L-shaped desk. It's quite a heavy wee beastie when you have to watch your back - did it all alone without shouting for help once, and am a very happy bunny right now.

To put the machine properly through its paces I decided to use a set of dies that I very much doubt my almost defunct Cuttlebug would have touched. Along with using some new Penny Black 'Masterpieces Made Simple' card toppers - floral images this time, nice too.

And here are three Easter cards, for a couple of my besties from schooldays plus grand daughters and their Mum in Germany - we only send three Easter cards each year nowadays:

I used:

- three 5.5" x 4.25" white linen card blanks - all horizontal and side opening

- the images are from (top row) the 'vintage beauty' set and the one below with the lovely tulips is from the 'bright bouquets' set of images

- left all the images at full size and used a 'new to me' Penny Black set of dies called 'zig-zag stackers' to cut panels from white linen card, the same I used for as the main card body

- then stamped the sentiments directly onto the image panels. I used the Misti, the pressure tool which I love, Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and the Clearly Besotted 'Say what?' set of stamps for the Easter greeting and, as always, the greeting stamped perfectly onto the linen. In fairness, I did test run the stamping alignment, using grid lined acetate!

- mounted them onto very slightly larger snippets of  SU 'Certainly Celery' card, which matched so well - just to give them narrow and simple borders

- then added them onto the card fronts - finished!

I'd like to add these cards into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #37 for April. NBUS goodies were obviously the fabulous Penny Black 'zig-zag stitches' die set. The Penny Black Masterpieces sets are also new but that may be cheating a little.

Sunday, 3 April 2022

New challenge over at the Snippets playground

Hooray - there's a new challenge (#425) over at the Snippets Playground HERE - and it's my great pal and our Head Prefect/Chief Mischief Maker Sarn who is your hostess for this fortnight.

I'm really delighted to welcome Sarn in sharing with me the fun and games of running the Snippets Playground. 

Dudley and I discussed this the other day and we both have a strong feeling that Sarn's mischief will continue, if anything it might get worse. But, we agreed that it's a small price to pay - no doubt Dudley will be hoping for extra treats and cuddles from Sarn ☺

I've seen from the many comments on here, Sarn's blog and also the  Snippets Playground that you're genuinely as pleased as I am to have Sarn partnering me. Thank you everyone from, both of us, for your kind words!

'Pupdate' on Dudley: already Dudley's pale peach coloured ears are growing a bit longer and it's so lovely to be able to stroke the silkiness again. He doesn't seem to notice any difference since being so shorn, although in some ways he's a bit like a Spring lamb chasing round the garden in leaps and bounds doing his 'zoomies'. 

He's very keen on certain raw vegetables so we keep a dish of freshly chopped carrots and chopped baby red, orange, yellow bell peppers beside his water for him to 'snack' at during the day. The other day, Len added part of a green bell pepper and there's obviously a subtle difference in taste. Dudley very carefully sorted through the whole dish and removed each piece of green pepper, lining them up like soldiers beside his bowl. The look of disapproval on his little face was priceless!

A little heads up about a giveaway. Our Playmate Sue, of Zouave Cards is busy doing a craft room blitz and she is giving away two lovely bundles of Little Claire stamps. If you live in the UK, all you have to do is leave a comment on her blog post here.

OK - this coming fortnight, let's see if as many of you as possible can make something using your snippets and play along to make Sarn's first turn at being hostess 'go with a swing'! Being the Playground, that pun was totally intentional!

Happy dance here!

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Rudolph Days Challenge - March 2022

I've been playing again with the brilliant Penny Black Masterpiece card 'toppers' - plus a new set of dies to frame them - made two at the same time.

I'd like to enter Scrappy Mo's Rudolph Days Challenge for March (it runs to the end of the month so I'm cutting it a bit fine this time) - other challenges I plan to enter are listed, with links, at the end of this post:

I used:

- 5" x 5" white linen card blanks, side opening (the images are printed on linen card, so this works well well them)

- images from two different Penny Black Masterpieces sets - 'icy winds' (the bird house) and 'pine cones & peace ' (the solitary bird)'. They are all sold at 3.25" x 4.5" and I trimmed them down to a square shape, very slightly under 3.25" square so they sit just under the frames I later added

- used snippets of the same white linen card to die cut the frame border part and then Tonic Gold Mirri card for the mitred inserts. The set of dies I used is also by Penny Black, called 'framed'  - it's different and much more delicate looking than many frame dies, especially with the mitred inserts

- at that point I could more accurately size up the image and frame, which is why I trimmed just a little bit more off the 3.25" square images I'd created

- glued the images in the centre (ish!) of the card blanks

- then added the frames with the gold inserts using a glue pen

- stamped the sentiments using the Misti, Memento Tuxedo Black in pad and a stamp from  Kirsty Wiseman's 'Many Greetings' set. Not sure if it's still available as I've had mine for many years, it was made by Personal Impressions

- finished!

The sentiment stamp is a sort of higgledy piggledy font and near impossible to get straight - even using the Misti plus acetate grids etc. But hey, a blind man on a galloping horse wouldn't notice - wise words from Len, learned at his Mum's knee!

I'd also like to enter the following challenges:

Darnell's NBUS #36. The Penny Black frame dies were having their first outing

Peace on Earth Christmas Challenge #12. This challenge is pretty new to me (a few of our lovely Playmates are on the Design Teams!) and it runs Bi-monthly with Anything Goes (for Christmas!) allowed and some beautiful inspiration boards to whet your appetite - this is the current one:


My cards are really 'Anything Goes' - although I could say that inspiration came from so much snow! Do hop over to see the DT cards - they're such a clever bunch and deserve our support! 

Speaking of supporting others - I recently placed an order for some crafting 'basic supplies' with the UK based Loobi Crafts HERE. It was triggered when I was looking for the new 'Saltwater Taffy' Distress ink pad and so many places were out of stock. The pot of gold wax in a photo on my blog earlier in the week came from there - and of course 'Saltwater Taffy' TH DI pad (fabulous colour) - plus some other lovely bits and bobs (as you do!). The order came in double quick time and was packaged with so much care with items wrapped in bubble wrap. I think the girls who run the family owned shop/website are well worth a positive shout out - they obviously enjoy and take pride in their work. I for one will be more than happy to buy from them whenever possible. Well done to Lynne and Lisa!  

When you hop over to Loobi Crafts, as I hope you do, be sure to check out their Spring Sale page. I only found it as I was typing this post and it's like an Aladdin's Cave! What choice, plenty of well known brands and products, many at as much as a third off. It certainly beats one or two 'sales pages' I peek at online where you're lucky if there's a reduction of 50 pence at times. Just some of the brands I spotted on my scamper through are Woodware, Tim Holtz, Pink and Main, Paper Artsy and the products are too wide ranging to list here. And yes, of course I placed an order - it just had to be done! Go and see, what are you waiting for - whooooosh!!  

Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Card for the Allsorts Challenge - and a new gadget

First of all, my goal is to enter as many Allsorts Challenges as possible, still bearing in mind that Christmas cards are also a priority - besides the Snippets Playground of course! It's been so heartwarming to read all your lovely comments about Sarn and I joining forces to run the Playground - happy times ahead!

The current challenge over at Allsorts Challenge #668 is 'Feminine' - and flowers sprang to mind here:

I used:

- A6 white linen card blank, side opening

- piece of the same white linen card to die cut the frame with flowers - called 'Tatty Layers - Lily Rose Panel' by Lisa Horton. The frame can be used without the flowers as a backing for images etc. I know it was one of you lovely Playmates who pointed me in the direction of the Lisa Horton frames with flowers - thank you!

- then glued the frame, with the flower outlines attached, onto the card front, using a fine glue pen

- stamped the sentiment using the Misti, my 'new gadget' - see below, Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and a sentiment from the Hero Arts 'Live Life' set of stamps. Sadly, despite being properly stored, the stamps have a slightly yellow hue and are also becoming rather pliable. They're many years old and owe me nothing but I'd be sad if they do become unusable

- and then, as it so often does, the 'red mist of crafting madness' descended upon me and Dopey here decided to infill all the die cut flowers - piece by flipping teeny, tiny piece!

- used one piece of paper from the fabulous Craft Consortium 'Ink Drops - Vivid' set of papers - mostly pink shades on one side and mostly yellows and a touch of green on the reverse, just to add a bit of a varying shades element

- die cut and then pieced each little perisher in place - using a fine glue pen

- 24 hours later - no kidding - it was finally done! Possibly one of the most fiddly things I've ever tackled. The frame just as it is, or with only the inclusion of the die cut floral outlines, is far better for one's sanity, trust me!

I did show the result to Dudley and it was fascinating to see his reaction. His eyes flicked from one side to the other and up and down, repeatedly - taking in every little detail. I suspect he could actually detect stress vibes coming from the card -  he had been party to a few choice words whilst trying to sleep at my feet during much of the process! If he could talk human talk I bet he would say 'Bonkers, Mama, totally bonkers!'.

And the 'new gadget' shown in the main photo above is something that's interested me for a while, since seeing brief glimpses of Jennifer McGuire using one in her more recent videos. As I have arthritis in practically every moving part of my body (apart from my tongue - which does its best to compensate!) - even using the Misti when making a batch of several cards at once gives me wrist ache. So I hunted all over the place and eventually found this:

Ignore the pot of gilding wax, used to prop the tool on its side for a better look (mind you, it's an absolutely gorgeous tone of gold!). Basically the new gadget is a 'Stamping Pressure Tool' - if you're interested in the link then just drop me an email, it took me a lot of searching to find this exact product - with a few blind alleys on the way. It was much cheaper than the one or two branded pressure tools I came across - so long as you can wait for 10 days or so  for it to arrive. It's 3" in diameter and comes with a black self-adhesive felt pad to attach to the base. You then just rub it over the lid of the Misti for a nice even print. And I already love it!

By the way, I've never played 'table top air hockey' but the tool basically seems to be a replacement 'pusher' - someone obviously was quite switched on!

I'd also like to enter this into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #36  for March HERE. The set of dies and the 'Pressure Stamping Tool' were both having a first outing.

If you need me, I can be found wandering around the shrubbery at the local 'Funny Farm'! Gently muttering 'Never again, teeny, tiny die cuts, never again'.

Sunday, 20 March 2022

Snowflakes and a snippet

I've wanted to enter the Christmas Kickstart Challenge #60 from the beginning of the month - the theme is 'Snowflakes are Winter's Butterflies'. So it had to be a snowflake, or several  - and it's also my snippets card for the new Snippets Playground Challenge #424 - over HERE:

Ha, ha - without me swinging from the ceiling - you also got me wearing a red top reflected in the mirri card! I tried believe me!

I used:

- 6" x 6" square white card blank - tent style - snigger, purely as I glued the final elements on with the card not sitting in front of me as a side opening one, but I actually like it!! Could have been top opening so I did OK really - phew

- piece of baby blue pearlescent card stock, just slightly smaller than the card blank, glued in place and it is even on all sides, dratted camera is determined to cause issues if it can

- then came a marathon die cutting session, using the fabulous Paper Boutique 'With Festive Love Doily' set of dies

- first die cut the midnight blue pearlescent background, and set it aside

- then die cut the 'snowflakes circle' from just some white fairly lightweight card stock I found in one of the many boxes of Christmas card sheets lurking here

- followed that by using the circle die in the set to fully create the frame - and set that aside for now as well

- reverted to my small Altenew die cutting machine and used a snippet of silver to cut out the backing for the sentiment. Then used leftover white pearlescent scraps, from the centre of the cut out circle, for the actual sentiment and three snowflakes. Very little was left over!

- assembly time! Just glued all the layers in place, using Collall All Purpose glue for the large midnight blue piece and a glue pen for everything else - bit fiddly at times

- for a finishing touch I added some teeny clear gems around the snowflake border, to the centre of the three separate snowflakes and also to 'dot the i's' in the die cut sentiment - just because I felt like it! 

I originally spotted a very similar die set over at Jules' blog - a good while ago. Needless to say I couldn't track the set down and so sort of gave up for a while. Suddenly, a good few months ago, a similar enough one popped up in an online shop and greedy little pig here had to have it. And also a more Summery one, which will be a future Playground prize as I managed to get two of those. But I need a rest before going down that road again

The first shock was a sheer size of the set of dies, in terms of dimension! You need almost a 6" square background/card blank before you get going. I rarely make large cards so that was my first challenge! In the end I just used all the dies included in the set - putting other ideas to one side. At first it seemed quite limiting and I did wonder if I'd been sold a 'one trick pony', to coin a phrase! However, I do think that, as Jules did on one of her later cards, the snowflakes frame is just so perfect to put round an image. I also fancied adding a round snowflakes shaker element in place of the sentiment - but I went with the flow and stuck to the set of dies whilst ahead.

This is my snippets card over at the Snippets Playground. The prize this time has no connection to the above card - but there's some really exciting news! Whooooosh - byeeeeee, you might have at least read to the end of this post!

I'd also like to enter this into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #36 for March HERE - the set of dies was most definitely NBUS!

Monday, 14 March 2022

Penny Black 'Masterpieces Made Simple'

I spotted Darnell using the relatively new Penny Black 'Masterpieces Made Simple' card toppers fairly recently - and, being up for anything easy, bought a few sets for my own Christmas cards (which are coming along really well right now, thank you!).

I adore PB 'Stickeroos' as you surely know by now - and the 'Masterpiece' toppers didn't disappoint at all. Similar idea and CAS, which I like rather than messy.

And here are a couple - rustled up in next to no time. Kept them quite plain and, I hope, a bit elegant:

I used:

- two 5.5" x 4.25" white linen card blanks - the horizontal one is side opening and the tall one is tent style (the white linen card works so well with the linen card of the PB 'Masterpieces' and also both of them work perfectly for stamping sentiments - which surprised me)

- both images are from the 'icy winds' set. Trimmed the card images very slightly and then stamped the sentiments directly onto the image panels. I used the Misti, Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and the 'Seasons Greetings' sentiment from the smaller version of the Inkylicious 'Seasons Greetings x 4' set of stamps on the deer image. 

 - then used a 'Let it snow' stamp from the Personal Impressions 'Many Greetings'  set of stamps designed by Kirsty Wiseman - onto the snow laden leaf image. A much loved and well used set of stamps

- mounted them onto very slightly larger snippets of silver and gold mirri card - just to give them narrow and simple borders

- then added them onto the card fronts - finished!

There are a lot of few more of these wonderful Penny Black sets waiting here - and also plenty of fun to be had using them. Such a quick and easy way to rustle up Christmas cards.

I'd like to add these cards into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #36 for March. NBUS goodies were obviously the fabulous Penny Black 'Masterpieces Made Simple' images. In the UK, 'Cuddly Buddly' sell them BTW, and they are a reliable and good company!

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Under The Mistletoe

Before Christmas I bought a few of Lisa Horton's 'own brand' products and finally found time to have a little play with a couple of the items:

How very strange, the card looks as if it's behind gauze - yet the sentiment is clear as day and not out of focus. The green of the mistletoe is brighter and the embossing is much more crisp in real life - bet it's that shining silver that confused the camera!

I used:

- A5 white card blank, side opening (not made an A5 card for ages!)

- first hurdle was the 3D embossing. It took several attempts and the whole lot, including the Cuttlebug, almost went through the window at one point. I used white card for my final try which I sort of bent and fondled to break down the fibres a bit and then gave it a good spray of water on both sides using a mini mister - that gave the most successful result

- the slimline embossing folder is called 'Under The Mistletoe' by Lisa Horton and it also comes with a die to cut one sprig of mistletoe

- once the main panel was embossed, I then die cut the mistletoe twice - once from a snippet of pearlescent green and then from a snippet of pearlescent white card

- then embossed both sprigs by sitting them back into the embossing folder and running them through the Cuttlebug before fussy cutting the white berries and gluing them in place onto the green sprig. When I did that gluing step I sat the sprig on the convex sprig outline on the embossing folder so I could press the berries on without fear of distorting either the sprig or the berries - then kept the assembled sprig and berries for later use

- trimmed the mistletoe white embossed panel and layered it onto a slightly larger backing of silver mirri card

- then added the slimline panel to a piece of silver and white trimmed paper from Chloe's 'Crackle' foiled paper pad - my advice, don't expect to find the actual  colours you see on the cover inside the paper pad. - avoid if you expect them

- glued that full panel to the front of the card and, using a glue pen, added the single green sprig of mistletoe   

- thinking my trials were over, I moved onto another Lisa Horton product for the sentiment. It's a very clever idea but loads of issues. It's called 'Festive Banner Sentiments' and is a stamp and single huge 'multiple banners' die 

- having, after a struggle or three, come up with a die cut sentiment I then stuck it in place using very thin sticky pad pieces where it adhered to the embossed panel and thicker pieces where it adhered to the silver 'crackle' paper - to keep it on the same level

- and being a glutton for punishment, I made two at the same time of course! 

Lisa Horton's really great idea with the multiple sentiments stamp and the multiple banners die has even more worrying issues. The stamps appear to be cheaply made of acrylic (too stretchy to risk removing from the acetate backing sheet and no smell - a sure sign, the better quality photo polymer stamps used by larger companies have quite a pong). I left the stamp on the acetate and used removable tape runner on the back of the acetate to stamp, using the Misti. The widest part of the die for cutting the banners is a smidgen over the 6" width aperture on many smaller cutting machines, including mine and despite alignment marks, it still goes 'off kilter'. Almost impossible to not have one or two sentiments cut slightly adrift.

All in all - it's what is NOT said on these products that I have issues with - no definition of the materials the stamps are made from and also absolutely no mention of the overall dimensions of either the width or length of either the stamp or the die, as well as the mis-alignment. And the mis-represented paper pack cover, when I queried it, was blamed on 'photography limitations'. The normal gold and supposed 'rose gold' paper are almost impossible to tell apart - and the rose gold is depicted as a pale metallic rose pink on the pad cover. I actually thought I'd been sent a 'dud' pad of just normal gold and silver but was told pretty sharply, when I phoned to check, that wasn't the case. From the attitude I met with, I bet I'm by no means the first customer to query the discrepancy. 'Null point' for customer service! Buyer, be careful - I could well be wrong but I do smell the aroma of 'overseas production cost cutting' at work.

I suppose the lesson is to drop companies such as those like a hot potato once you find out their true 'modus operandi'.

This is only my personal opinion, but it was born out of bitter experience. To think that one card design would throw up so many problems.

I did want to enter this card into a few challenges such as NBUS - but am now so sickened by what I discovered during the crafting process, I really was hard pressed to even write this post - mostly as a reminder to self!

BTW, I do like the cards I ended up with - it was the journey to get to that point that gave me grief!

Sunday, 6 March 2022

New challenge over at the Snippets Playground

No card from me on here today, I had plans but time just ran out. But, it is the final Ruby's Memory challenge right now over in the Snippets Playground, with a special fun prize to be won! Off you go - see you on the swings (Dudley will push swings for treats - which makes me laugh as his little legs aren't very long to be able to reach up!). Or you may prefer just lounging in the tree house, Sarn's toasted crumpets and hot beverages will no doubt be on offer!