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Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Using WOW! embossing powders to create simple but striking cards

Hi everyone

I wanted to share with you a quick tip for creating striking cards in minutes using stamps and embossing powders.

You know those stamps with lots of surface area for applying ink to? If you use them on coloured card, with a contrasting colour of embossing powder, you can achieve a really striking result. Here's one I made a few years ago now, but it's still one of my favourite cards!

As you can see, I used a turquoise card base and chose a stamp with lots of surface area, which I stamped onto the card using embossing ink. I sprinkled a contrasting colour embossing powder all over, tapped off the excess, and heat embossed it. I think you'll agree, it is very impactful because of the colour contrast.

This stamp was only large enough to cover one half of the card, so I stamped it twice to cover the whole of the card. Top tip: to disguise the "join" in the middle, choose some ribbon or embellishments to strategically place so that they hide any gap between the two stamped images. In my case, I stamped and embossed some butterflies to match the card, cut them out and fixed them all the way up the centre, with a gap for a sentiment.

This card was finished simply with some cream lace, adhesive pearls and some pearl drops.

This kind of striking design would work with any stamp with lots of surface area, such as lino cut stamps for example, and it only took a matter of minutes!

Why not try this yourself? We have a great selection of stamps and WOW! embossing products for you to choose from!

Back soon!


Birthday card made using Designer Boutique stamp and Sakura Koi Colouring Brush Pens

Hello there!

Today I'm sharing a birthday card made recently using Designer Boutique stamp Floral Bubbles and Sakura Koi Colouring Brush Pens.

I began by stamping the gorgeous goldfish image using Versafine Clair Nocturne. This ink pad is great for stamping detailed images crisply.

Next, add colour! I had great fun colouring in the image but as I'm not always the best at getting my head around light and shade, I did use the printed image on the stamp packaging as a guide, although mine looks nothing like that one! The Sakura Koi colouring brush pens are very easy to work with and are available from our shop in a selection of themed packs.

For most of the design I chose to just use the brush pens direct to the image with no added water, for a really strong, impactful design. For the water I applied colour from the colouring brush pen to an acrylic block, added water to it, and then applied with a brush. The bubbles stand out as a result of applying several layers of colour, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. I added glossy accents to the bubbles and the goldfish's eye to make them shine.

I wanted to layer some of the flowers up for added dimension so I stamped the image again and then fussy cut the flowers, coloured them in and adhered them to the main image using foam pads. I added final highlights to the design using a white pen.

The coloured image was layered onto black card to give it a frame, then onto a white card blank. The two sentiments are from my personal stash.

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Pion Design Mr Tom's Treasures birthday card

Hi everyone

I don't know what it's like where you are today, but here it's rainy and breezy and set to get quite wild tonight and through tomorrow, even with hail in the forecast! So, perfect for staying indoors where it's cosy and dry and doing a spot of card making!

Pion Design are a long established Swedish company who design and manufacture lovely vintage-style paper designs which are perfect for all kinds of projects from card making to scrapbooking and off-the-page projects. I first discovered them through a card making group which was run by some creative colleagues who have now retired. I loved the designs and knew I wanted to bring them in to my shop. Today I'm sharing a 7x5 inch birthday card I put together using Pion Design's Mr Tom's Treasures papers. This card was actually for my Dad, who turned 85 last month. In his youth he rode motorbikes and was a trained mechanic. He was also very good at DIY and a keen gardener. He was the first member of his family to own a car and he knew an engine inside and out!

It was great fun cutting out all the elements I wanted from the 12x12 sheets to pay homage to him, juggling with positioning until I was happy with the layout. I tried quite a few combinations before I arrived at something I was really happy with.

I kept inside really simple as my Dad doesn't like anything too fussy, so I just replicated a little of the design on the front.

There are so many possibilities with these papers and I'm sure I will use them time and again when I need something more "masculine".

You can find a great selection of Pion Design papers over on the website.

Back soon!


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!