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Saturday, 6 March 2021

Birthday Card made using Ciao Bella The Seventies papers


So, it's March already and I'm only just doing my first blog post of the year. So sorry - it's been a busy old time and the days and weeks just seem to fly by.

Anyhoo, I'd like to share with you a card I made recently using The Seventies papers from Ciao Bella. This collection is a nod to the trends of the 70s and whilst some of the patterns might make your eyes water, there are lots of great images in there and plenty of scope for making a huge variety of cards and other papercraft projects.

I love the rainbow, and the rainbow coloured daisies, and so decided to make a bright and cheerful card using those elements plus a few other bits, together with one of those amazing patterned papers! This is a 7x5 card by the way. I cut the paper with the rainbow on it in a curvy line to kind of mirror the curve of the rainbow and fixed this in place over the patterned paper. I fussy cut a few of the flowers and fixed them in place, finishing with some sequins and the words Happy and Birthday.

Inside I added more decoration to tie in with the front.

I love how this card turned out and hope you like it too!

See you soon!

J x

Products used: Ciao Bella The Seventies papers
                         Clear drying adhesive

Monday, 28 December 2020

Painting with Cosmic Shimmer Watercolour Inks

Hi everyone

This will be the last post of 2020 and no doubt many of you will be glad to see the back of this very challenging and for some, very sad, year.

I am sharing some Christmas cards I made. It's always a dilemma every year deciding what products to use and what kind of cards to make.

This year I decided to use some Pink Ink festive stamp sets and colour the images using Cosmic Shimmer Watercolour Inks. Pink Ink brought out some fun festive themed sets earlier this year which feature mice and robins together with the odd fairy here and there for good measure. I decided some of the designs featuring mice would be perfect - A Christmas Carol and Merry Christ-Mouse, together with a lovely big robin called Robin Redbreast, of course.

And I'd been itching to play with Cosmic Shimmer Watercolour Inks so this was the perfect opportunity. The inks come in glass bottles and inside each lid is a pipette. The top of the lid has a centre "button" which you press to suck up ink into the pipette, and then you can drop the ink onto a palette ready to start painting. The pearlescent inks contain mica pigment and these need to be shaken really well to mix the mica into the liquid. They contain a little ball to help with the mixing. You'll need to keep re-mixing the pearlescent inks during painting using your brush to ensure the mica doesn't separate from the liquid.

I stamped the images using Versafine Clair Nocturne ink pad which is the perfect ink pad for stamped images with lots of detail. They were all stamped onto a good quality white card. Whilst the stamped images dried completely I got my Cosmic Shimmer Watercolour Inks together and started deciding on the colours I needed.

In my excitement to get started I had already begun to colour the images below before I remembered to take a photo!

I used Hazelnut for the mice, with a diluted Mighty Magenta for their ears, hands, feet and tails. A variety of colours proved perfect for all the other elements, including the pearlescent inks, which added a touch of shimmery goodness in various places. The inks are inter-mixable to create different shades - for example Fresh Meadow is a really fresh green but it's too bright for pine needles, so I mixed a tiny amount of Liquorice Black into it and this created the perfect pine needles green, and layering Mighty Magenta with Raspberry Jam over the top gave a much richer red colour than the Raspberry Jam on its own, which is quite a light red.

Light and shade are achieved by using either "neat" ink or ink diluted with water. Depending how much water you add to the ink you can achieve a wide range of effects from just a tiny hint of colour so more of a wash, to full-on intense if you use no water at all.

The inks paint beautifully and even fine detail is easy to achieve using a finer brush.

One thing you need to remember is because you're using a "wet" product, you need to be careful to not over-saturate the card, otherwise the surface will start to bobble. It's better to apply the colour one layer at a time, allow that to dry, and you can go back and add more layers if you need more intense colour.

Here are some of my images ready to use to create cards. I couldn't get the lighting right for taking the photos - it was quite late at night when I took them, so I'm sorry they're a bit dark but I hope you can see well enough the finished effect with the inks.

And here are my finished cards!

Some of the coloured elements were used inside the cards so they weren't completely plain.

My painted images look nothing like the images on the front of the Pink Ink packaging, but I wasn't trying to copy what they'd done, their coloured designs were just my guide. This is my take on their designs. And although I'm not the best at colouring, I was very pleased with the finished designs.

I loved using the Cosmic Shimmer Watercolour Inks to colour these images. They are a delight to work with, the colours are vibrant and a little goes a long way. What's not to love?

You can find the products I used here:
Pink Ink stamps
Versafine Clair ink pads
Cosmic Shimmer Watcolour Inks
white card
paint palette

So, all that remains is for me to wish you all a better year in 2021. Keep safe, keep well, keep calm, keep crafting and make time for yourself when you can, because we all need some "me" time occasionally.


Thursday, 19 November 2020

Using Stamperia Cream Paste on a rubber stamp

Hi everyone

I hope you're enjoying the same blue sky sunshiney day that we have here today.

I wanted to share a little experiment with you. It's something I'd been pondering for a while. Some of you may have beaten me to it, and if so, great, you'll understand my excitement right now!

Stamperia Cream Paste is a product which can be used to take a cast from shallow moulds. I guess you could use deep moulds too, but you'd potentially use a lot of paste and I wouldn't like to hazard a guess as to how long it would take to dry completely ... I feel another experiment coming on! I was looking at Andy Skinner's mixed media rubber stamps and Distressed Wallpaper in particular, and decided to test out a theory, that if you can use the product in shallow moulds, you should be able to get an impression from a rubber stamp.

So I bit the bullet and applied said paste to said stamp early yesterday evening and then left it to dry overnight.

It was like spreading icing on a cake.

This is what it looked like as it was drying:

This morning I carefully peeled the cream paste away from the stamp. I took my time because I didn't want to risk tearing it because it was paper thin. I am delighted with the impression that has been created by the stamp. The texture and dimension are fabulous.

Every detail has been replicated in the cast, including really fine detail that you wouldn't necessarily notice otherwise.

So using the stamp to create a cast means you end up with a debossed version of the design. I love it. And it's triggered another idea for yet another experiment, but that's for another day! The cast is as light as a feather, as light as paper almost, and really flexible. You can tear or cut it to use parts of the cast, or use the whole thing in one piece, making it perfect for a wide variety of projects and for fixing onto lots of different surfaces, including cards, mixed media art and home decor such as decorating bottles and jars.

Now I just need to get some colour on there and decide how to use it .... watch this space :)

See you soon!


Monday, 16 November 2020

Weekend Project

Hi everyone

I just thought I'd pop in and share a different kind of project with you today.

When we moved to our present home we inherited lots of dark wood doors. The previous owner was a cabinet maker and clearly loved wood, don't we all, but in small spaces like our little hallway, dark wood really doesn't create a great welcome and leaves it feeling dark, depressing and claustrophobic. We also have a parquet tiled floor which just looked sad because the dark wood simply didn't do anything for it.

We didn't want the faff of having to remove doors and sand them down before painting them so cue chalky finish paint! What a godsend, really. Just giving the surfaces a good clean with warm soapy water and then being able to get the paint on was a joy. In the space of just a few hours we went from dark and depressing to light, bright and feeling twice the size!

Here are the before and after photos, although it still does need another coat, and then wax to seal and protect it and give it a little sheen, but I'm already so happy I just wanted to share it with you!

Here's the "before" shot:

This is after two coats of paint with one more coat and wax still needed to completely cover the previously stained and lacquered surface and seal it:

A big difference and a big improvement I think you'll agree!

And just one more, showing off our lovely floor, which absolutely sings now!

So, if you need to give a piece of furniture, doors or something else a facelift but don't want the faff of sanding back first, I can thoroughly recommend going for chalky finish paint and finishing with a clear wax for a quick transformation!

Bye for now,


PS: We have lots of paints in stock for all kinds of small projects, including chalky finish and chalky finish for glass! Here's a link: Paints Go for it!

Friday, 6 November 2020

Sparkly, shimmery Christmas card

Hi everyone

Just popping in to share with you the finished card made using the sparkly, shimmery panel I created recently (see previous blog post).

I kept it really simple, as is my way, and stamped two greetings from the Designer Boutique Stamp Set Festive Wishes using Versafine Clair Nocturne Ink Pad, inked around the edges with Pumice Stone Distress Ink and fixed it to a white card base. Et voila!

Have a fun, creative weekend!


Sunday, 1 November 2020

Fun with WOW! Embossing Powder and Embossing Glitter

Hi there

Julie here with my second blog post today and some inspiration using WOW! Embossing Powders. I've been a big fan of WOW! products for many years now and their embossing powders never disappoint. But something I've never used before is their glitter embossing powders, so that's what I decided to have a little play with.

I had my inky backgrounds which I'd recently created (see previous post) and decided to use a Designer Boutique rubber stamp to add a design to it. I chose A Wish At Christmas.

In the first one, I used WOW! Ultra Slow Drying Embossing Ink Pad to stamp the image and then used Neutral Ultra Shimmer embossing glitter. I ended up with a lovely glittery translucent image on my inky background which I will definitely use for something at some point! It was difficult to get a decent photograph but I hope you can see the detail.

I think the Neutral Ultra Shimmer would work really well if mixed with other embossing powders or if used with the Freestyle tool or the embossing ink brush over an existing image or surface to make it sparkly without altering the colours beneath.

For my second version I mixed Opaque Bright White Super Fine with Glisten from the WOW! Changers kit. In the Changers kit there are, as well as 3 different powders to mix with your existing powders, also 3 empty jars so that you can save your own mixes for future use. I wrote the mix of powders on the little white disc on the inside of the lid so I know in the future what's in the pot! As before, I stamped the image onto the background using the WOW! embossing ink pad. Then I sprinkled my designer embossing powder mix over the image and tapped off the excess to put back into its pot.

Once I heated my mix it gave me a white image with subtle glitter sparkle, which is absolutely perfect and exactly what I was trying to achieve for a frosty image.

In this last photo is everything I used to create these pretty designs. These will be turned into Christmas cards - but that's for another post!

I hope you will be inspired to have a go with WOW! embossing powders and see what interesting and different effects you can discover and create.

All the WOW! products used can be found in our shop, here's a link: WOW!

Thanks for stopping by.

Stay calm and keep crafting!



Hi everyone

Julie here again and today I am sharing with you some backgrounds I've created using Cosmic Shimmer misters. I love playing with inks and misters. I never know how things might turn out and I find the whole process a voyage of discovery and very exciting each time!

I wanted to see the effects of the pearlescent misters as I haven't used these before. I've dabbled with mica powders in some of my projects, but never a pearlesent mister, so I was curious.

So, I played with six different mister colours to create two different backgrounds which I'm going to use to make some Christmas cards - yes, I've only just started making mine!

The first one I made using Cosmic Shimmer Vintage Misters in Mulberry Mist and Evergreen with a top coat of Tarnished Gold, which is pearlescent.

The misters work really well. You can apply a small amount of pressure and get bigger drops of colour, or apply more pressure which will give more of a mist. Just make sure you cover/protect anything you don't want covered in ink first because they do have quite a reach! I often stand up and spray directly down from above the card to minimise this.

When building up your inky background, you just have to take your time a bit, spritzing your card with the colours, mopping up any big puddles you don't want, using a heat tool on the low setting to gently dry them as you go along. You can continue applying the colours and build up as many layers as you want until you're happy with what you've got. It only takes a matter of minutes before you've got a lovely inky surface in front of you.

When I finally got to applying the top coat of the Tarnished Gold Pearlescent, I was delighted to see that as well as having that lovely shimmering quality from the mica pigment, it also gave a slightly oxidised effect to the whole background where it reacted with areas of colour which were still a little moist. I used kitchen towelling to dab here and there, which really brought out the pearlescent effect on top of the colours. I absolutely love it!

The second lot of colours I used were Cosmic Shimmer Vintage Mister Arctic Blue, together with Cosmic Shimmer Airless Misters in Silver Moondust and Pearl Whisper, both of which are pearlescent.

The Silver Moondust looks really dark in the bottle and when initially sprayed onto the card, but once dry you're just left with a lovely silvery shimmer. The Pearl Whisper gave it that lovely oxidised appearance as well as even more shimmery goodness!

These inky backgrounds are so easy to achieve, and with so many colour combinations available, there are endless possibilities in terms of what your finished inky backgrounds will look like.

I hope you'll be inspired to play, have fun, experiment, and create your own inky backgrounds.

All the misters can be found in our shop. Here's a link: Cosmic Shimmer Misters

I'll be back soon to show you what I did with mine!