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Thursday, 29 October 2020


Hi all

Just a quick post to share with you a recent little play date I had with one of the Creative Expressions Designer Boutique stamps and some Cosmic Shimmer misters.

The stamp I used was the Bauble Garland stamp. It's a DL sized grey rubber self-cling stamp with fabulous detail. I love baubles, they're probably my most favourite Christmas decoration, and we have so many, collected over the years from our travels, that we have to rotate them each Christmas! So any time I see a stamp or stencil which includes a bauble or hanging decoration design, I can't resist!

I started by creating my inky background on white card using some Cosmic Shimmer Vintage Misters. Once I was happy with the inky mix I dried it with the heat tool. Then I filled in the gaps using Distress Ink Pad Spun Sugar (my favourite of the pinks!).

I applied embossing ink to the stamp using the WOW! embossing ink pad and stamped the design onto my inky background. Then I covered the image with WOW! Ebony Super Fine embossing powder. I tapped off the excess powder back into its pot and then activated it using the heat tool, firstly from underneath to help the powder stick to the ink, and then from above, until it was liquid and shiny. Don't be tempted to touch it at this point because it is super-hot and will burn you and stick to your skin! Once completely cooled down (only takes a matter of seconds really but I tend to wait about a minute), you can rub your finger over the image and feel that lovely raised detail, which I find very satisfying and it always feels a bit magical!

I cut the stamped design to size, layered it onto some black card and then fixed that to the base card.

I didn't add a sentiment because the central bauble does that for me!

Easy peasy!

What I love about inky backgrounds is that you never get exactly the same result twice, every one is different, even when you use the same misters and inks, so each piece is unique. This card turned out so well that I didn't feel it needed any embellishments, and I created another 5 to go with it!

This is just one of the lovely Creative Expressions Designer Boutique stamps. There are several more in the festive collection and I will be playing with them really soon, having already created some new inky backgrounds - my idea of fun!

I hope this inspires you to have a go!

Bye for now, J x

Thursday, 13 August 2020


Hi everyone

I don't know about you, but I'm so glad the temperature is cooler today - trying to work in 34 degree heat is challenging!

I recently had a little play with The Paper Boutique's Christmas Cuddles collection - it helped me to feel a little cooler looking at all the snowy designs! This collection includes pretty papers, die-cut toppers, embellishments to cut out and add to your projects, inserts and a card pack to make Christmas card making easy peasy.

As usual, I've kept the focus on the products in the collection so you can see a little of what's on offer.

Even though I've only made a few cards here, you can make dozens from each collection and it's perfect for a wide variety of home decor projects too!

The whole Christmas Cuddles collection is available here.

Bye for now!


Friday, 7 August 2020


Hi everyone

After a very long absence during what has so far been an extremely challenging year, I thought I'd share with you some cards I made using Bree Merryn's Faithful Friends collection which was launched earlier this year. For those of you not familiar with Bree Merryn, she is a highly regarded artist with a signature look to her pieces which is unmistakable. Her focus is nature and animals. She has recently gone into collaboration with a papercraft manufacturer and we were delighted to bring her Faithful Friends, a series of designs featuring dogs, to our shop. Her collection features printed papers, cardstock, toppers, die-cuts and inserts and provides everything needed to produce a wide variety of projects.

I always try to keep my cards quite simple to show off the lovely papers, etc., in the collections we bring in, but of course they can be embellished and personalised to suit any occasion really.

Anyway, below are the cards I put together, which I hope will give you some inspiration.

Back soon with more inspiration for you all.

Stay safe

Julie x

Thursday, 26 December 2019

2019 where did you go?

Hi everyone

Where has this year gone? We can't believe it's almost the end of 2019!

We hope those of you celebrating Christmas had a fabulous day and managed to ace the Christmas dinner! Our poor oven couldn't cope with all the different things we were trying to cook in it all at the same time, so our planned sit down to eat time of 2.30pm ended up being an hour later, by which time we all had very rumbly tummies! Still, it was worth the wait.

David is spending time with his family today while I have a quiet day at home with our autistic teenager, who needed serious down time after the frantic run-up to the big day. Tomorrow, said teenager is planning to thrash us in various games including MarioKart, which I am totally rubbish at, much to their amusement! It's hilarious, great fun and I don't care whether I win, lose or come somewhere in between, it's the taking part and doing stuff together as a family that matters.

You may have spotted that our end of year sale is in full swing, with more bargains just added today, so do take advantage of the savings on offer.
Here's a link to take you straight there:

So, with the end of the year in sight, it just remains for me to say, from all of us, thank you for your support this year and we hope you all have a healthy, happy and prosperous New Year. Here's to 2020 - a new year and a new decade. I wonder what excitement it has in store for us all!

Bye for now,
Julie xx

Sunday, 27 October 2019

The colours of Autumn

Hi everyone

Where is this year going? I can't believe it's almost the end of October!

Autumn is well and truly upon us here in the UK, with leaves now falling in their hundreds from the trees which, during our hot summer days, provided us with much needed shade. They did a great job and now, in their glorious autumn splendour, they are putting on an amazing show for us. The colours of gold, orange, yellow, brown, that unmistakable rusty colour, but still with some green in evidence, make for some amazing photo opportunities and when the autumn sun catches them, that's a whole new level of wow! Right now, from our garden, we can see a large tree which has a few clumps of earlier leaves which are a gorgeous rusty orange colour, surrounded by the rest which are still green and yellow, which you can probably just about see in this photo - a stunning contrast.

We also have honey fungus every year at this time in our lawn - this is a fungus which grows from the remaining roots of two very large invasive species conifer trees which were in the garden when we bought the place. They were HUGE - easily 40 feet tall and about 6 feet wide each, and blocked out most of the sunshine, so they had to go! But of course there's no way you can remove the roots without digging up most of your own garden and possibly a chunk of the neighbour's garden too, so they got left in the ground and now we get clumps of honey fungus every autumn. The golden colour is amazing! This photo was taken a couple of days before they reached their maximum goldness!

Fungus in all shapes and sizes pops up at this time of year. Whilst out and about recently we spotted this beauty, three large toadstools in a clump, one still pretty much intact, each of which was larger than my hand!

Their colour reminds me of the bark of silver birch trees in the sunlight!

And these little ones. I must look up these amazing fungi and find out their names!

You can probably tell I am quite a fan of autumn. The days are shorter, which I don't like, and the temperatures can plummet, which I also don't like, but on these glorious sunny days, with a gentle breeze and mid-teens temperatures which we have still been enjoying on occasion .... that's my perfect kind of day. The colours are amazing and energizing, and with some flowers still in evidence, such as hydrangea, passion flower and fuschia to name just 3, there's so much colour everywhere that it really lifts the spirits.

Look at the size of this hydrangea bloom! Still in flower and it's almost November!

Speaking of flowers - check out these gorgeous blooms I received from my nearest and dearest for my birthday recently - gorgeous! Autumn in a vase - perfect!

And these ..... so much colour! I'm such a lucky lady.

The other thing I love about autumn, is fruit crumbles! We only ever eat them during the colder months of the year. Any fruit will do - my favourites being apple, pear or plum - and they are warm and comforting as well as feeling rather indulgent after months of salads! This week we made our first crumble of this autumn - yellow plum. It's almost gone now, just one portion each remains, which will be greatly enjoyed later today. Yes, it's looking a bit sad now - but you can see the fruit, and the juices, and the jammy crumble ..... is your tummy rumbling? Mine is!

The colours in this crumble are a very good representation of autumn, with the yellow/green of the plums and the juices which go a lovely golden orange colour when cooked, and having enjoyed indulging in this long-awaited gastronomic pleasure, I felt the best way to mark the occasion was to make some cards with an autumnal theme!

I decided to use papers from the Prima Autumn Sunset collection and made two smaller 6x4 cards and one 8x8. This collection really encapsulates autumn, with the oranges and golds, pumpkins and pears, butterflies and more. There is also an almost-rose-gold foiling on some elements. With such beautiful designs, I try not to use too many embellishments because I feel they obscure the designs on the papers too much, so they are not fussy cards. That seems to be my style, generally speaking - unfussy - but that's because I love the papers so much and want them to shine through in their own right! So here they are:

On this 6x4 card, as well as using paper from one of the Autumn Sunset paper pads, I also used one of the small journalling cards, plus a couple of butterflies from the ephemera pack. I used Sue Wilson's Noble Collection Double-Stitched Rectangles die set to create the double-stitched frame and Lisa Horton's Everyday Ticker Tape Sentiments stamp set for the message.

This 8x8 card features papers from the 8x8 pad, which I only needed to trim down a little to leave a narrow white margin on the card. I added a stitched square made using Sue Wilson's Noble Collection Double Stitched Squares die set, onto which I added another paper which features a fox and a sleeping deer - so adorable - on top of which I used two cards from the journalling cards pack (the 3x4 cards), plus some elements from the ephemera pack, including a butterfly with gold foiling on the wings. I cut the word "LOVE" from one of the papers and then stamped my own word "WITH" using the ticker tape sentiments stamps, using gold embossing powder to give it that foiled look. I added a strip of cream coloured lace on the left edge and finished with a few self-adhesive pearls.

This final 6x4 card features a gingham pattern as the base layer, onto which I added a stitched rectangle with a strip of another paper over the top, overlapping on the left and right. I used 3 pretty flowers from one of the Autumn Sunset flower packs, plus another butterfly. Finished with the word "HELLO" stamped onto white card, and some little self-adhesive gems.

With all three of these cards I used papers on the inside as well, but this is a personal choice and simply leaving the cards white inside is perfectly fine.

The Autumn Sunset collection, the dies and stamps, as well as a wide selection of ink pads and embossing powders, can all be found in our online shop.

See you soon!

Julie x

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Winter Wonderland Home Decor

Hello everyone

We have a home decor piece to share with you today, created using one of the new Woodware Christmas stamps by Francoise Read, called Winter Wonderland.

The products we used can be found in our shop - here's a list to help you:
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic Paint - Prussian Blue Hue
  • DecoArt Crafter's Acrylic - White
  • Woodware stamp - Winter Wonderland (FRS388)
  • Sizzix Thinlits Die Set - Festive Set (662581) (for the snowflakes)
  • White opaque pen (we used Ranger Inkssentials White Pen 2 Pack)
  • DecoArt Snow-Tex (for a textured snow effect)
  • Cosmic Shimmer Glitter Kiss - Frosty Sparkle
  • DecoArt Metallic Lustre - Gold Rush
  • Black archival ink pad
  • Pumice Stone Distress Ink Pad
  • Dovecraft Foam Tape
Here are some step-by-steps if you would like to make this yourself.

  1. Take a piece of corrugated card (an old cardboard box flap would work) and carefully remove some of the top layer of paper to reveal the corrugated texture beneath. Leave the centre complete.
  2. Apply white acrylic paint to the centre and once dry add your sky colours using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic Prussian Blue Hue, mixed with white acrylic to varying degrees to achieve the light to dark effect. Also, dry brush over the distressed areas with the white acrylic to just give it a dusting of colour. Leave it to dry.
  3. Take a piece of white card and repeat the painting. Leave it to dry or if you wish to speed up the process, use a heat tool.
  4. Next, take the Woodware stamp and stamp it onto your background using black archival ink.
  5. Using a white opaque pen, add "snow" to the snowflakes and flurries, the buildings and trees. Use some white acrylic paint to add "snow" to the ground - you could also use white texture paste for this if you wished, such as DecoArt SnowTex.
  6. Add some white paint splatters to the image and to your background card piece.
  7. The next step is to tear around the edges of your design - this will be fixed in place over your painted area on the cardboard base. To make the tearing easier and to minimise the risk of tearing your design, take a paint brush and dip the bristles in some cold water. Then draw a water line around your design where you want to tear it. While the watered area is still wet/damp, carefully tear around the design.
  8. Apply a little white acrylic paint around the edges using a finger tip, to give more definition.
  9. We wrapped fine gold thread around the cardboard base and fixed it to the back with strong double-sided tape but you don't have to do this.
  10. Fix the design to the cardboard base using foam tape.
  11. Next, take some card and either die-cut or punch out some snowflakes to decorate the design. Paint them with white acrylic paint and then remove some of the excess paint by dabbing with kitchen towelling. This leaves a slightly more worn appearance in keeping with the rest of the design.
  12. Fix the snowflakes in place using strong acrylic glue.
  13. Using some Frosty Sparkle Glitter Kiss, or similar product, add small amounts of sparkle to your project - we used it on the snowflakes and on the ground.
  14. Next, produce the sentiment for the bottom. For this we used a left over bit of the painted card which we stamped our sentiment onto and then we tore it around the edges and applied a little Pumice Stone Distress Ink for definition. This was fixed beneath the design using foam tape.
  15. Finally, we added some gold gilding wax around the edges of the design and to parts of the exposed corrugated card to tie in with the gold thread.

We hope this gives you some inspiration for your Christmas makes.

Back soon! x

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Mixed Media Christmas cards

Hi everyone

So, as many of you are already busy making your Christmas cards, we thought we'd share a few we made recently.

We used new 2019 Woodware Christmas stamps, Tim Holtz distress ink pads and Cosmic Shimmer spray misters to create some colourful, inky cards. They were super-easy to make and you can achieve a huge variety of backgrounds, and one thing's for sure, no two cards will be the same.

The first one was created by David at a recent retailer workshop with Francoise Read:

Using Cosmic Shimmer misters to add all the gorgeous colours to create the backgrounds and for colouring the ribbon, creates something quite unique and very pretty. The tree was stamped onto two inky backgrounds and then one was cut out and layered on top of the other using foam pads. This provides instant dimension. The torn green card, the framed sentiment at a jaunty angle and the white card base with a scattering of snowflakes in just one section, add another dimension and work a treat.

These next few were some we put together over a couple of hours in a play date of our own. We white and kraft card blanks and also made a couple of card blanks out of black card. We used distress ink pads to add colour to a craft sheet, spritzed them with water and then smooshed our card onto the watery ink. We dabbed off any excess with kitchen towelling and then dried the backgrounds with a heat tool before stamping our images using archival ink - Versafine Clair worked particularly well because it picks up all the fine detail beautifully.

Creating a second dove, layered on top of the background using foam pads,
adds extra dimension to this design

The larger circles were all layered up, fixed in place with foam pads,
for added dimension

The tree was stamped on another inky background piece, cut out and
fixed in place with foam pads

Using some dark colours in amongst the brighter ones gives this
card real impact

As above, darker tones in with light produces a different look to the card,
but no less impactful than the brighter designs above

We finished the cards off with glitter glue, Cosmic Shimmer Glitter Kiss and clear adhesive gems for some added sparkle.

Head over to our shop to stock up on these gorgeous stamps, ink pads and misters, and have your own play date! We'd love to see what you create and you can share your creations on our Facebook page or via email to us.

Bye for now!