Tuesday 28 February 2023

Rudolph Days Challenge - February 2023

Eek, Mo's February 2023 Rudolph Days Challenge is due to close - so I'm racing in with an upcycled Christmas card:

I used:

- 6.5" x 3.25" white mini slim card blank, tent style

- piece of Tonic 'Scarlet Organza' Tonic satin mirri card, die cut using a die from the Lawn Fawn stitched border 'Mini Slim Stackables' set and glued onto the card front

- I'd already chosen the card to upcycle, so I chopped it down to sit inside the red satin mirri 'frame'

- next I added a silver mirri card sentiment, backed with a white card die cut for dimension - cut using a Tonic Studios 'Mini Moments Merry Christmas' die

- then backed the image layer using thin white foam sheet and Collall All Purpose glue

- then glued it onto the red layer and called it done

I do so love the Tonic range of mirri, satin mirri and pearlescent card for Christmas cards. Their variety of red mirri shades is quite extensive and 'Scarlet Organza' is such a perfect match for the red car!

When cutting down the upcycled card I was pretty ruthless and cut off  the top half which was a background scene of a horse and cart, some hills, trees and a few houses in the distance. I like that the focus is now drawn to the tree with the cardinals - as well as the car - and furry passenger! The card is still quite busy but the original was over fussy, IMHO.

And I still have a good selection of 2022 bought card fronts from ones we've been sent, in reserve to play with!

Monday 27 February 2023


I very recently discovered the 'Outside the Box' Memory Box challenge, where you need to use at least one Memory Box stamp or die. I have a ton of Memory Box products so this was exciting news. Sadly, they don't send prizes outside the USA/Domestic area - but it's great to get you thinking for sure!

It was such a recent discovery that I more or less decided to wait until March to play as the February #92 challenge closes late on 27th February. But the theme of 'I'll Drink to That' kept on swirling around in my head - and so I whipped up a card on Sunday to enter, here's the link to the Challenge.

I had a load of fun making my card:

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" card blank, made using 'Syntegro White Linen Silkweave' textured card, side opening

- a snippet of black card (from the fancy folders that Royal Mail post online postage supplies in) - die cut using the Memory Box 'Piestra Tile' die

- the cocktails are by Tattered Lace from the 'Cocktail Glasses' die set - gifted to me by a very kind friend a good while ago. I die cut them using snippets of the same white card, on the reverse smooth side 

- then spent a happy hour (ha, ha - see what I just said, totally without thinking!) colouring in the die cuts, using Zig pens and a waterbrush

- tickled the contents of the glasses with clear Wink of Stella - not playing game and showing up in the photo of course

- layered the little cocktails onto another layer of the same die cuts for rigidity

- then I could place things in place and work out where I wanted the sentiment to go, before they were actually glued down

- stamped the word 'Celebrate' using a Paper Smooches Stamp from the Sentiment Sampler' set of stamps and a VersaFine Clair 'Nocturne' ink pad - a lovely intense black

- then added the 'Piestra Tiles' panel using a glue pen before adding the cocktails, again with a glue pen ........ along the top of what I imagine to be a rather elegant bar in a swish hotel!

This was such fun to make - I didn't think to use my Arteza Watercolour pencils until I was popping the water brush away. Bad me, sorry Santa! I suspect they would be better for such small detailed areas but we live and we learn.

Apart from linking into the Memory Box challenge above, I'd like to enter this into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #47  - the cocktail glasses die set was having a first outing.

Also, the current Allsorts Week 717 Challenge - under the 'Anything Goes' option.

As to the contents of the cocktails - ask me another! No idea but from left to right I'd hazard a guess at a 'Limoncello Serenade', a 'Mojito' of sorts and finally a 'Peach or Strawberry Daiquiri or Bellini'. Yup, I've been round the cocktail menus in my time. Kept these names clean, you ought to see the ones listed in the menus in Covent Garden's cocktail bars. I used to meet up with a friend there pretty regularly after work before she and I tottered tootled off to find somewhere nice to have a meal - happy days!☺

Sunday 26 February 2023

Uniko's 11th Birthday

Bev, over at Uniko, is currently celebrating 11 years since she started off her brilliant business. So I made a snippets card to join in with the fun:

My snippets, although I didn't use the black after all

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" 'Syntegro White Linen Silkweave' textured card, tent fold

- a piece of the leftover A4 sheet I used for the card card to cut the panel - sized at 5" x 3.75" - then set aside for a while

- stamped the flower head and the leaves onto snippets of bright pink and light green card, using stamps from Uniko's 'Gerbera' set and a  VersaFine Clair 'Nocturne' ink pad

- then die cut the flower head and leaves using the matching dies

 - next I pulled out a 'Happy Birthday' stamp from Uniko's 'Floral Vines' set of stamps and fiddled around working out placements of the flower and the sentiment

- I wanted to add something extra to the background and ideally would have used an embossing folder to partially emboss the panel where the flower would go. However, it was Uniko products only so I settled for using a score board to add a couple of sets of double lines above and below where the sentiment was to be stamped 

- stamped the sentiment using the same 'Nocturne' ink

- glued the panel onto the card front, raised up with a layer of foam sheet for dimension

- then glued the leaves in place, and added the flower head using thin sticky pads for more dimension

- stepped away and resisted the urge to add anything else!

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenge:

Uniko's 11th Birthday Celebrations - you must use only Uniko products (there are some links to freebies if you want to play along), end date is 28th February

Sarn's post for the picks and winner of Challenge # 447 can be found HERE in the Playground.

Dudley Pupdate - poor little guy was pooping for England during the week. He's fine again now thankfully. He's such a little trouper and just gets on with things - unless there's any risk at all of anyone, including Len and myself, stealing his beloved Honka Duck of course. If one of us is left alone with Honka Duck and then dares to move around, such as standing up to open a cupboard - he charges back into the room like a little rocket to carry out a rescue mission. At the same time almost squealing with indignation! I keep telling him that he's a 'big girl's blouse' - Northern expression for being a bit of a wimp. ☺

Sunday 19 February 2023

Christmas 'Joy and Cheer'

This is my snippets card to kick off challenge #448 in over in the Snippets Playground. Go HERE to join in the fun!


It's a bit deceiving as the vellum on top of the mirri card makes it look as if there's some pale pink card as well!

I used:

- 5.75" x 5.75" white card blank, side opening

- first of all I wanted to cut and assemble the sentiment in order to confirm that the patterned paper I had in mind would work well - the NBUS die set I used is by Memory Box, called appropriately 'Joy and Cheer'

- die cut the actual sentiment once from white card and once from Tonic 'Rose Platinum' mirri card - both were snippets - then glued the mirri layer onto the white one for rigidity as well as dimension

- then die cut the background profile from a vellum snippet

- popped the mirri sentiment onto the vellum layer - using a glue pen 

- trimmed a piece of Tonic (Rose Platinum) mirri card to 5.5" x 5.5"

- I cut the middle out of the mirri card, in a moment of thrift, using a square die by Presscut measuring about 4.5" x 4.5" so I could save that piece for future use

- glued the mirri card 'frame' onto the card front and leveled out the centre by gluing in a piece of white card, die cut using the same square die to be a perfect fit **

- then trimmed my chosen piece of paper from the Crafter's Companion 'Frosty and Bright' paper pad - down to 5.25" x 5.25" and glued it onto the mirri edged layer

- finally, glued the vellum backed sentiment onto the card front - making sure the glue was only behind the actual lettering. The vellum is 150g so it's heatproof and quite thick but I wasn't taking any risks at that stage!

Whist at it, I made a second card exactly the same - of course. 

** The 'cutting out the centre' of the mirri card wasn't one of my better ideas to be honest. It did make gluing the mirri card frame onto the card front less easy to get straight than if it hadn't had so much of the middle removed, basically as it's not rigid of course. C'est la vie - we live and learn! It's still worth bearing in mind if you're desperately trying to get as much out of a particular piece of paper or card as possible of course. Perhaps I'll have a try at taping the 'filler insert' into the card 'frame' from behind before gluing it to the card front another time.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:

Darnell's NBUS Challenge #47 - the Memory Box die set was having a first outing, certainly won't be the last though.

Dudley Pupdate - we think he's going through a 'spotty teenager phase' at the moment. Seeing how far he can push the boundaries - until he's forgets himself and still comes for cuddles of course! 

One example of him being a 'rebellious kid with his baseball cap on backwards' was him going on 'hunger strike' two evenings running - purely as he could smell our meal cooking and thought he might join in and have a share! Pizza one night and boeuf bourguignon the next? I don't think so young man. Nice try though!


Wednesday 15 February 2023

And then, I met you

I wanted to make a CAS Valentine card for Len - nothing super-slushy - and came up with this:

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" side opening card blank, made using Syntego 'White Linen Silkweave' textured card stock, scored, folded and trimmed to size

- die cut a row of hearts from a snippet of plain red card stock, three times and glued them on top of one another for dimension before setting them aside - the die I used is from Positively Papercraft's 'Two Piece Heart set'. 

- then cut a panel measuring 5.25" x 4" from the same sheet of card and scored it on all four sides at .25" from the outer edges

- dug through my stamp sets and found the sentiment I used - from an Avery Elle set called 'And then'

- stamped the sentiment onto the panel, checking where I wanted the row of hearts to be placed, used a Hero Hues Core Inkpad called 'Granite' for a softer look then straight black

- then glued the panel onto the card front

- finally, added the row of triple layered hearts 

The card is a pure white in real life, I forgot once again to tap my lamp setting to the daylight setting when taking the photo. Dumbo!

It went down well with Len, he likes CAS style cards! The sentiment is quite special, I met Len through work in London when we'd both been through traumatic marriage break-ups. We were colleagues and just friends for a good while, I never really expected that he would be into making another commitment. The words 'And then, I met you' sums up that you just never know what's around the corner!

I picked up a great tip from Chrissie, which a lot of you might very well know already. When folding your own scored or even a bought scored card blank, lay the opened out blank onto your scoreboard, butting the top edge of the card and left hand side against the raised edges. Then fold the right hand half over the left, along the score line to butt up against the raised edges then run your bone folder down the fold line - and you should have a folded card blank with perfectly lined up front and back edges.

I'd like to enter this card into:

The current Allsorts Challenge Week 715,  where the theme is 'A/G with the option All About Hearts'. 

Darnell's NBUS Challenge #47. My NBUS items are the hearts die and also the Hero Arts 'Granite' ink pad (thanks to Jennifer McGuire for the tip).


Sunday 12 February 2023

Playing around with Gummiapan dies

Chrissie Stokes on YouTube is a huge fan of the Swedish company 'Gummiapan' and I can absolutely see why. Their sweet and quirky little dies in particular are SO detailed, very reasonably priced - and postage to the UK is very fair as well.

So, I had a first play the other week and came up with this 'one-off' Christmas card, making up a story as I went along:

I used:

- 5" x 5" square white card blank, cut from Syntego 'White Linen Silkweave' textured card stock, scored, folded and trimmed to size

- then used the flat/plain side of the leftover snippets to make the die cuts for the card of the card - hence no photo of just a bunch of white snippets

- I did cut a piece of the same linen weave card for the image layer, just a bit smaller from another sheet - my middle name isn't Houdini!

- and then the fun began and I used the leftover snippets of white card to die cut a selection of Gummiapan dies - teeny and so sweet as well. I used the following sets, 'Sitting Gnome', 'Fluffy Trees', 'Gift Bags' and 'Lantern with Candles'

- coloured them with my Ziggy Pens and then whined to you lot about how 'flat' the colours looked, even after spraying them with some clear Glimmer Mist

- for the sake of not ruining my work, held off playing any further with coatings and sprays

- the little lantern was a late addition and such fun to make - die cut the lantern and candles from white card, same as all the rest. Coloured the lantern frame with a silver calligraphy pen then decided it would be fun to add some clear acetate (from a snippet of packaging) to look like glass. It looks so good in real life, with the candles stuck in place behind the acetate, using micro dots

- then added all the elements to create a little scene whilst trying to stick to a bit of CAS too

- before sticking things down - using a mix of glue and mini glue dots, I did run some grey Pro marker 'grounding' lines along the bottom of the image panel

- then stuck every little piece into place - even the gift bags are so detailed, one has a teeny lifting handle for goodness sake!

- once everything was in place - I added a spare layered sparkly silver die cut sentiment (another snippet?) that I found in a little pot, left over from my 2022 Christmas card making sessions 

- glued the whole panel onto the card front - finished!

My little story, woven around the card, is that Papa Gnome had been last minute Christmas shopping. Buying his personal gifts for his beloved wife, Mama Gnome. He was well on the way home, but was also really tired from all the other male Gnomes fighting and jostling in a panic just before Christmas. Then he, then spotted a little candle lantern in the woods beckoning to him, beside a tall tree - so he dropped his shopping and immediately leaned back for 40 winks! The gift bags are now leaning against the Gnome's leg! That's the thing with glue dots - they can move around a bit!

This did remind me of many years ago when I worked in Newcastle City Centre and we were rather cruelly made to wait on the 'whims of senior management' but usually did get 'let out' slightly early on Christmas Eve. I loved to walk up the 'main shopping street', all lit with Christmas lights, where the biggest department stores were, to the bus station, past the likes of Fenwicks etc. and quietly smile at the last minute 'male buyers' straight from the pub or an office party. 'Weebling into the stores' .... totally at the mercy of the awaiting and smiling perfume, jewellery and lingerie shop assistants! At that stage they truly didn't care what they spent! Memories!

This past week was kinda busy with this and that, including the optician for me on Tuesday just gone. Absolutely no change, which is really interesting given the cataracts panic button business three years ago by my previous optician. I have total trust in my current practice though - which is a good feeling. If you find a good optician then try to stick with them. Avoid the ones who are there purely to sell their latest frames.

Dudley was 'super-charged' from Monday morning onwards! As soon as we stirred he hopped back up onto the bed, licking, bouncing and generally trying to wake us up - PRONTO! It shows how down he must have felt after the vaccines - it was like having a Jack-in-a-Box in our bedroom!

We've had some warmer days lately so he's had loads of walkies this week and that too has given him some more 'bounce'. Won't be long before it's warm enough for me to go along as well - yay!

Remember that we're halfway through Sarn's Challenge #447 and the latest picks and prize winner are over HERE on the Snippets Playground!

Love, as always, Dudley and yours truly xxx

Sunday 5 February 2023

More Arteza colouring

Sarn's post starting off Challenge #447 is up and running and can be found HERE in the Playground.

Whilst I had the pencils, waterbrushes, label die etc. out over a week ago, I stamped a second image using the same sweet little Altenew flower stamp onto a further snippet of Mixed Media card, added a snippet of green spotty ribbon - and, shock horror, used the best part of an entire sheet of background paper. This is the result:

My snippets!

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" 'Strathmore Mixed Media' card blank, tent fold, used the same card as for the water colouring to be sure of a matching shade of white

- stamped the flower image and the word Hello from the same set onto a snippet of 'Strathmore Mixed Media' card using black Archival ink and a stamp set by Altenew called 'Bold Floral'

- coloured the image using the Arteza pencils and a fine waterbrush - this time trying for the look of a poppy

- die cut the image with sentiment using a label die from an un-named set of dies

- trimmed a piece of paper from the Altenew 'Essential Black & White' paper pack to just smaller than the card front and glued it onto the card front

- threaded a snippet of spotted green satin ribbon through the top of the tag and fixed it to the card front using sticky pads

- finished!

The poppy reminds me that Spring and then Summer will surely be on the way. Let's hope so! The odd thing is, I read recently that this coming Summer might be even more of a scorcher here in the UK than last Summer. Can't we stop the clock at late Spring/early Summer and then skip the intense heat in the UK then begin ticking during Autumn?

Dudley Pupdate: it's been a fairly adventurous week with Dudley. We trimmed his claws, no mean feet feat which usually takes the two of us - me hugging a wriggling bath towel wrapped 'burrito' to my front - with just one paw at a time poking out - plus a rather cross little face glaring and rolling its eyes. Len then sits in front of me to do the 'deed'. The little monkey (Dudley) managed to get his other front paw out and clocked me right in the mouth at one point. Then, desperation set in and he buried his head under one of my arms in sheer surrender - for a few minutes until the fight kicked off again. It's such a shame he doesn't realise it's for his own well being, but the towel trick is a big help. Then later in the week it was tsunami time when we all he had his bath - followed on Friday by his annual trip to the vet. 

It's the first time Dudley has been fazed by going to the vet - even when he went back after his mole removal he was fine. He was really uneasy in the waiting room for some reason. But, he passed his checkup fine - although on the way home, reading his record card I realised that he'd been given his three yearly DHP jab in addition to the annual Lepto jab. He was unwell after the one three years ago so I just kept quiet and crossed my fingers

However, within just a few hours a reaction set in - nothing too serious but Dudley not eating his evening meal is a sure sign he's off colour! He lay around pretty listlessly for the whole evening - but perked up by midnight and allowed Len to hand feed him his favourite meal of steamed chicken breast. Then he slept beside the bed rather than in between us - I think hopping onto the footstool and thence onto the bed was just too much effort for him. Thankfully, by the morning he more or less was back to his usual self. So all in all he's been through the mill this past week - poor little sausage!

Thursday 2 February 2023

Salvaging a Brushos disaster

I decided to have a go at using my long-neglected Brushos the other week. And, as usual, instead of the really pretty mottled results that others achieve - I ended up with a mess of very slightly variegated greens, partly from over-zealously using two shades of green ...... as well as too much water. So, I dumped it to one side and did something totally different. Brushos and I just do not work well together. Am sure I'm just too heavy handed - but c'est la vie as they say.

However, a day or so later I picked up the discarded Brushos panel, peered at it then gave it a few squirts of Glimmer Mist to add a slight sparkle - then suddenly it began to have possibilities - this is what I ended up making:

Bright mirri gold card, with my red top reflected!

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.125" white linen silk weave card blank, tent style (just slightly smaller than USA A2 size) - confession, due to the odd size Brushos panel I ended up with once I cut the grotty edges off!

- the green Brushos panel, for which I'd used Strathmore Mixed Media card and later I'd also sprayed with some ancient clear Glimmer Mist

- ran the panel through my Cuttlebug using a NBUS Gina K embossing folder called 'Holiday Flora' and hope began to rear its head - that is one fabulous folder!

- trimmed the panel and added some gold gilding wax using NBUS Cadence 'Inca Gold' Finger Wax, I need more practice, please be kind - although I used my right ring finger I suspect that a finger sponge would have less 'give' than the pad of my finger!

- then layered the panel onto a slightly larger snippet of Tonic 'Inca Gold' mirri card and glued it onto the card front

- used a snippet of vellum to die cut the back surround for the word 'Christmas' using a NBUS die from Julie Hickey's gorgeous 'Christmas Profile' die set and set it to one side

- then die cut the word 'Christmas' - using the same Julie Hickey die set - twice from a snippet of white card and once from a snippet of 'Inca Gold' card then glued them together using a glue pen, before attaching the vellum 'profile' layer to the back then setting it to one side

- die cut the word 'Merry' using a 'small Merry' die from years ago by Britannia Dies, two from snippets of white card and once from a snippet of 'Inca Gold' mirri card - glued the layers together using Stix2 'Micro Dots'

- then positioned the two parts of the sentiment die cuts where I wanted them, using some very small Stix2 craft dots to adhere the word 'Christmas' and the fine glue pen to adhere the word 'Merry'

And there it was, done! I used quite a few a lot of items from my NBUS (Never Been USed) baskets. I truly don't need to buy anything crafty for the rest of this year, apart from essential and basic items. Ha, define THAT one! ☺

I also used some items like Stix2 tiny glue dots as well as micro dots for the first time. What a revelation (thanks to Chrissie Stokes on her YouTube Channel). The micro dots are a right 'so and so' to get into if I'm honest - I sat for ages trying to separate the two layers. But, SO worth it! And, I was wise and popped a teeny tiny piece of paper in the corner where I'd worked the layers apart to make life easier in future.

I would like to enter this card into Darnell's latest NBUS Challenge HERE - so much NBUS I almost feel ashamed to admit it! The embossing folder, the gilding wax (in fairness my cheapo ones had solidified) and the lovely Christmas word die as well. I guess the tiny glue dots and the micro dots also count!? Man - me needs to put the spending brakes on!

I would also like to enter the Christmas Craft Creations Challenge HERE  The theme is snippets and you still have time to join in!