Sunday 26 March 2023

Rudolph Days Challenge - and Snippets Playground Results!

First of all - did you remember to change your clocks. Spring 'forward' by one hour in a lot of countries! 

I found a second piece of card buried on my desk - abandoned after playing without much success with my long-neglected Brushos the other month. After the rather 'flat' looking turquoise blue Brushos result, I dry embossed then sprayed it with Glimmer Mist and added touches of Cadence Silver Gilding Wax here and there ....... before sighing and abandoning it as a lost cause. 

Found it the other day and thought it deserved a second chance. So, here's my Rudolph Days Challenge entry for March over at Scrappy Mo's, and it's also my Sunday Snippets card:

I used all of the snippets, apart from the long blue piece - which looks more purple thanks to the camera

I used:

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

- the turquoise blue Brushos panel, for which I'd used Strathmore Mixed Media card, a Darice 'Snowflake Swirls' embossing folder, Glimmer Mist and some silver gilding wax was trimmed to 5.25" x 4"

- then layered the panel onto a slightly larger snippet of Tonic pearlescent 'Navy Dazzle' card 

- ran a silver Calligraphy pen around the edges of the navy card and adhered the whole panel to the card front using strips of very narrow foam tape

- used a snippet of vellum to die cut the back surround for the Memory Box 'Merry Christmas Posh Script' sentiment and set it to one side

- then die cut the top layer of the sentiment using the more detailed die from the same Memory Box set - twice from a snippet of pearlescent white card then glued them together using a glue pen, before attaching the vellum 'profile' layer to the back

- finally, used micro dots to attach the sentiment

I did dither a bit about possibly adding a few self-adhesive little clear sparkly gems but thought it might be too glitzy - plus, there was a very strong chance that the self adhesion on the gems wouldn't like the gilding wax and they would promptly drop off as I found when attaching the finished sentiment to the card front in the final step of making the card!Glue pen didn't work but, for now, micro dots seem to be doing the trick with the sentiment! The more I use them, the more I like them.

I would like to also enter this card into Darnell's latest NBUS Challenge #48 HERE as the silver gilding wax and the Christmas sentiment die were having a first outing.

Must admit, I'm a bit hooked on vellum backed die cut sentiments right now. I lifted the initial scroll of the white letter 'M in Merry' after taking the photo by the way - before storing it away in my growing box of Christmas 2023 cards as I noticed it had made a bid for freedom. ☺

The results of Snippets Playground Challenge #449 can be found HERE - and there is still one week to run on Challenge #450 HERE.

Dudley Pupdate: It's been a busy week and my snippets card was a bit of a rush. Dudley has spent a lot of time dodging the rain and then sleeping under my desk. It seems to be a cosy kennel for him now! He mislaid Honka Duck one morning during the week and the absolute panic on his face was heartbreaking. I spotted Honka out of Dudley's line of view - on our bed - and as soon as I pointed he leapt up to embrace Honka as if he'd just come back from an around World Cruise! 

Speaking of embracing, on Friday morning we missed the chance of an adorable photo of Dudley - fast asleep, lying on his side literally with both front legs wrapped around Honks in such a loving cuddle. But if we'd made a move to grab a phone or camera he would have woken up and the moment would have been lost - so we just made the most of watching him for a while. 

Sunday 19 March 2023

Snowy Kisses

This is my snippets card to kick off challenge #450 in over in the Snippets Playground. Go HERE to join in the fun!

Bad 'lighting engineer' work means the right hand side of the card is a bit washed out - sorry, Dudley is still learning the ropes, wink!

Sizeable snippets, although I didn't use some of the white card or the piece of vellum in the end

I used:

- 6" x 6" white card blank, made using a sheet of Strathmore Mixed Media Vellum Finish card to match the image panel-  side opening

- used a snippet of the Strathmore card for the image panel (I keep every little scrap - it's not cheap stuff!) using a Sweet Dixie stamp called 'Snowy Kisses' and a VersaFine Clair 'Nocturne' ink pad 

- then coloured the image using Arteza Watercolour pencils and a water brush - trying to pick up the background paper colours as much as possible

- added clear 'Wink of Stella' - to the snow on the trees, the snowballs on the ground and also the little poinsettia flower head - so cute!

- die cut the image panel using a 4" square die from Clarity Stamps 'Nested Square Heart Doodle Aperture Frame-Its' set

- stamped the sentiment onto the image panel using a die from Uniko's 'Most Wonderful' set of Christmas sentiments and a Hero Hues 'Granite' ink pad - the Misti was invaluable!

- then slightly trimmed a rather large snippet of holly patterned paper from LOTV's 'Woodland Wishes' paper pad down to 5.75" square and glued it onto the card front

- die cut a snippet of almost plain green paper from the same LOTV paper pad, using a Presscut die from their huge set of square dies. I did this having tried on a totally unusable piece of card first - to make sure both sizes lined up perfectly

- glued the green piece of die cut paper to the back of the image panel to highlight the pretty die cut edging around the image panel, I used a glue pen - two in fact, with different sized nibs for fear of spoiling all the work thus far!

- used very narrow pre-cut strips of double sided foam (from Amazon a while ago and very useful for a little more 'lift' than my much loved thin sticky pads) to stick around the back of the image panel with a few more pieces inside the area to add extra support

- then used Chrissie Stokes' tip, after removing the protection layer from the foam strips, I ran a glue stick over all the exposed 'sticky' to give it some 'wiggle room' rather than immediately setting itself firmly in place

- and that was it, all finished and one more for the 'Christmas Card box' - which is looking fairly healthy already!

Some things I encountered along the way:

- Arteza watercolour pencils are truly great and the more one uses them, the easier and more variable it becomes. I generally apply water colour pencil to the image and then 'draw it away' using a water pen. It's also a good option to pick up the colour with a water pen - directly from the pencil itself and darker colours tend to work best when doing this.

The use of the set of dies came about thanks to a snippets playmate Pat - I'd all but forgotten I have a set of these dies and one of Pat's recent lovely cards prompted me to dig it out for a first outing.The packaging is huge and it didn't fit into a NBUS basket so was languishing to one side. Thanks for that reminder Pat!

As always, my LOTV pads papers are continuing to gradually diminish in size. I had the foresight to buy some in digital form when it was apparent that digital was the route they were taking. I'm not keen on digital papers or images - but needs must when the devil drives!

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

Darnell's NBUS Challenge #48 - my NBUS is the Sweet Dixie stamp I used for the 'Snowy Kisses' image and the set of Clarity frame dies

Christmas Kickstart Challenge #72  - the theme is 'Wrapped Up For Christmas' and my 'snow people' are wrapped up in their scarves - as well as in one another judging by the carrot noses! Cute! x

Dudley Pupdate - he discovered blueberries during the week. I'd read that dogs rather liked them and so gave him one to try whilst preparing a little dessert for us humans - of fresh blueberries with strawberry kefir yoghurt. Of course, Dudley then ran away with his first one, as he does, to explore and try out his new 'single berry treat' in peace - thankfully on a tiled floor as am sure they will stain both him and anything else they come into contact with! After two return visits to ask for more, the novelty wore off - thankfully! 

As it is, Dudley flings his diced carrots all over the place with wild abandon - mostly as he sifts through his 'veggie dog-bowl' to make sure his much loved diced sweet peppers have all been eaten first. We're not particularly vegetarian but do try to supplement his breakfast of more traditional semi-dry dog foods with evening meals of steamed chicken, other cooked meats - 'preferably grilled steak' says Dudley, the treat of a boiled egg as well as fresh raw and safe veggies at least. 

Fat chance of grilled steak here - the country is in financial meltdown right now and Dudley has to knuckle down ......... and might even need to get a newspaper round at some point. Ha, just try telling HIM that one though! Truth be told - he actually gives SO much more than he ever asks for, just like all dogs do.

Sunday 12 March 2023

Snowy Cabin Christmas cards

Well, my snippets cards are appropriate with all the snowfall most of the UK has had this past week! I made eight cards in one go, over a few days and here are a couple of examples:

I used:

- white A6 card blanks, both side opening and tent style

- then got out my LOTV much loved blue 'Frosty Christmas' and 'Krafty Christmas' paper pads and hauled a load of snippets from the 'halved envelopes' that I pop into the backs of all my paper pads to store snippets

- covered the fronts of all the cards with papers from one or other of the paper pads and, as I expected, most of them were snippets

- die cut the circular scene from a white snippet (I found a load of these whilst looking for the A6 cards) - using a Memory Box 'Snowy Cabin Circle' die

- backed the die cuts with 'snowy' patterned LOTV papers to tone with the background papers I'd added to the card fronts. I die cut them using a Tonic Studios circle die and then glued to the back of the circular scene before reinforcing with a further white card die cut circle

- some parts of the cabin had fully popped out when being die cut, so I added contrasting die cut snippets back into the outline - all still from the same two paper pads 

- coloured the cabin windows (which hadn't popped out - hooray!) with a yellow Polychromos pencil. I would NOT have fancied inlaying those - or even backing the window frames with half inch or less square yellow snippets

- the sentiments were both from a lovely set of NBUS stamps by Creative Expressions called 'Festive Wishes'. Some were stamped onto the 'snow' itself and some were stamped onto circles of white card which had been die cut using a The Works die from a set called 'Circle Stitches'. The inks I used are Brilliance Dewdrop 'Pearlescent Beige' and Hero Hues 'Granite'

- then added all the die cut and sentiment circles onto the card fronts using thin sticky pads

- final touch to the cards with the circular sentiments was to add a few self-adhesive clear Memory Box 'Fairy Drops' to the bottom left corner for a bit of balance

Would I make eight almost the same in one go using the Snowy Cabin die ever again? Probably yes - but I'd simplify the layers/design/process for sure!

One thing I did try for the first time was a tip I picked up from Jennifer McGuire which is to make a 'jig' when stamping repeatedly onto the same die cut shape - for both the cabin circle and the sentiment circle. It's hard to explain without a video but here goes:

- I wanted three sentiments all the same, using the same stamp on the small die cut circles and opted to die cut and then stamp afterwards - for a sentiment on a circle you can do it either way - but I was also facing stamping onto five of the circular scenes later on

- to make the 'jig' I hopped around from one foot to the other and did a merry dance took a piece of spare card (another snippet) and die cut then removed the stitched circle

- popped the spare piece of card with the die cut circular aperture into my small Misti, held it in place with a magnet, then slipped a snippet of copy paper underneath the hole before lining up the 'Cosy Christmas Wishes' sentiment stamp in the aperture, and picking it up with the Misti lid

- for reassurance I then did a test stamp onto the piece of paper - spot on as well!

- then, one by one, I just popped die cut circles into the aperture, re-inked the stamp on the lid, made sure the 'jig' was still seated into the corner (even with a magnet bar I now always double check) and stamped them - one after the other 

Here's the 'jig' set up with a die cut circle in place ready to stamp - using the stamp which is in position on the lid. Another time I would perhaps use a piece of contrasting card when creating the jig but the white obviously did the job:

Flushed with success - I then stamped the sentiments onto the die cut cabin scenes in the same way. Just used the plain die to cut the bigger aperture, popped the complete scene in place, lined the sentiment up where I wanted it and followed the same process as I did for the small circular sentiments. I added a little pencil mark to the outside of the aperture so I could line up the smoke every time to make sure the sentiment was stamped straight.  

I would like to enter the top one of the cards into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #48 as it was a first outing for both the 'Snowy Cabin' die and the 'Festive Wishes' sentiments stamp set. 

Dudley Pupdate: We had 'zoomies' from Dudley around the back garden mid-week, once he got used to 4" of snow. His little legs looked so short, no piccies or video sorry to say -  but he did race around in pure joy, as always.

We did have a laugh earlier this week, decided to try once again to hide the pretty gross (albeit not smelly, thank goodness) 'Honka Duck' ...... when Dudley was totally elsewhere in the house.

I was at my desk in the craft room when he bounded back upstairs - and both of us - Len in his study and me with one eye open for 'the wee beastie' - kept our heads down. Within less than a couple of minutes of him looking for that flipping duck, if that - I spotted Dudley out of the corner of my eye.

AND, I also saw the 'evil Havi look'! He was stood like a statue on a bottom corner of our bed rather like an angry 'moon gazing hare' - literally glaring upwards. At the exact place in a built in wardrobe, where horrible, chewed old Honka, his most loved treasure, was hidden on a high shelf! He truly was absolutely furious and he just KNEW where Honka was! Amazing sense of smell and I think this is one battle we've lost! 

Sometimes I wonder who is the 'boss' here - don't answer that, we already know that it has four legs and a fluffy tail!

Remember that we're halfway through Sarn's Challenge #449 and the latest picks and prize winner are over HERE on the Snippets Playground!

Love, as always, Dudley and yours truly xxx

Sunday 5 March 2023

It started with a swing .......

...... and just grew from there:

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" tent style card blank, cut from 'Syntegro White Linen Silkweave' textured card

- assorted sizes of snippets of the same white card for the image panel and all the little die cuts

- the image panel was die cut from a snippet using a Penny Black set of dies called 'zig-zag stackers', then set aside

- out came my 'recently set up' dedicated storage folder for teeny dies and then the fun began!

- I cut, all from white card snippets, the following die cuts: Memory Box 'Woodland Branch' and a standard hanging swing from 'Set of Swings', unbranded sitting bunny (he also came with a stool). Plus the following Gummiapan dies: one bird from 'Seagulls', crocuses from 'Spring Flowers' and the biggest pot from 'Set with Pots' 

- so, there I was with a lot of little die cuts to colour in - and out came the Distress Oxide ink pads and water brush

- spend a lovely, relaxing time just rubbing a little of each colour in turn onto my glass mat and picking it up from there with the waterbrush to colour the die cut. For my own reference, I used: 'Walnut Stain' for the branch, 'Vintage Photo' for the swing, 'Tea Dye' for the bunny, 'Lost Shadow' for the bird, 'Villainous Poison' for the crocus flowers, 'Peeled Paint' for the crocus leaves and stems - and a mixture of 'Fired Brick' and 'Spiced Marmalade' to get a terracotta for the pot

- then used a large ball ended embossing tool to slightly round/shape the bunny, along with the pot and the flowers, just to add some dimension

- rubbed some Ranger 'Micro Distress Glaze' onto each of the die cut and coloured pieces - just using a finger then buffing it with a clean tissue. It doesn't add a shine but it does 'lift' the 'matt' look - if that makes sense

- stamped the sentiment into the lower left corner of the panel using a stamp from the Clearly Besotted 'Say What?' set of stamps and a SU 'Perfect Plum' ink pad cube. Obviously, I'd checked and double checked the layout and positioning of the other little elements  

- then glued the front panel onto the card front, with a layer of thin foam sheet backing to raise it up a bit

- heart in mouth I then built up the little scene using a glue pen, tweezers, pokey tool and some teensy pieces of thin foam pad behind the pot and the bunny. The trickiest part was adding the swing and piece of tree branch to make sure they were in the right place and trimmed as I wanted them

- finally, using a pencil I added the eye and little nose to the bunny's face

Phew - bit of a marathon and I do need practice using Distress Oxides to colour with but it was huge fun! I think this card might go to Germany for the grand daughters and their Mum.

The swing die set that started it all off was a little gift from a friend a while ago - you know who you are - mwah! x

I send very few Easter cards but do have plans for two different designs for a couple of friends from my school days. More 'scene building', more Gummiapan -  and more of the sitting bunny I suspect.

So grateful to Chrissie Stokes for her YouTube videos, I've learned loads since finding found her channel round about Christmas time.

Out of interest, the micro glaze I used to finish off the coloured die cuts could just work on top of Zig pen colouring - I need to have a play. To be honest, I bet good old fashioned petroleum jelly might work in much the same way - at a fraction of the price?!

I'd like to enter this into Darnell's NBUS Challenge #48 - all of the dies, apart from the 'Woodland Branch' and the 'Zig zag' edging die , were having their first outing.

Dudley Pupdate: It's been an exciting week for the little guy, we've had four different lots of people here doing various things - and once he's been introduced, and is certain that stealing Honka Duck isn't the reason for their visit, he thinks it's great fun. A couple of times he thought it might be a nice change to go home with them when they were leaving!

EDIT: Bad me, I just realised five days later that I didn't tell you that our Sarn has a new Snippets Challenge up and running in the Snippets Playground! Do have a look at her lovely card and join in with the fun - HERE. She's got a super prize on offer as well.