Sunday, 7 September 2014

Yay - back at it

It is has been months since my last post and I have just spent part of last week, and the weekend making cards & playing with my stamps. It's been lovely.

I have read blog posts where people talk about losing their Mojo ... I felt like I had lost even more than that for a while. It wasn't just inspiration, but the confidence to actually sit down and create.
I  looked at challenges but didn't feel I had the courage to start things, or see them through. But I still enjoyed checking out entries to challenges and have seen some awesome cards over the last few months.

It's interesting how when one part of your life is out of kilter it effects other parts. Now I have started a new job and made some decisions about parts of my life, I feel so much better about myself and where I'm headed. I don't have the aswers to anything much - but at least I feel like I have some idea of what the questions and issues are.

Possibly the fact that it is winter (Spring supposedly - though you wouldn't know it) here and the family have all had horrible colds (sometimes more than once) has impacted my mood - so maybe the beginning of spring (if only notional) will boost my confidence.

Some Months ago I bought the Mackintosh Windows & Mackintosh Beauty stamps from Chocolate Baroques. They were so beautiful I almost felt unworthy of them amd, apart from a card for my daughter's birthday I have not used them. But my husband really likes these stamps, and it's his birthday this week so I sat down with them.

I can't show his card because he may well read this blog & I want to keep it as a surprise since he made the effort not to peek while I was working on it. Anyway having been envigorated by my success with his card I went on with the same technique and made a card for  his mum's birthday, which is coming up in a couple of months. This is it and I'm really happy with it.

I thought I'd get my crafty ball rolling by entering this in the Simon Says Stamping Wednesday challenge which requests the use of a rubber or clear stamp - no digi stamps & this is definitely a rubber stamp image.
I stamped the rose window stamp from the Mackintosh Windows set & embossed with copper & coloured it in with copic markers. The 'happy birthday, is from another Chocolate baroque set. The pink card has been versamaked with a selection of the single rose stamps & I popped it onto a dark blue card.
I was so chuffed at how this turned out that I went on to 'experiment' with different colous using the mini version of this stamp that came with a Craft Stamper magazine a few months ago ... & I now have my first Christmas card

 I was nicely surprised by the different effect created by using red for the roses. I still need to stamp a sentiment onto it. None of my current ones look quite right, so I guess I will have to have a look for one - but that's ok - I can handle the shopping :-)

The interesting thing about these Mackintosh Windows stamps is that they are so complete they don't need much in the way of extra work. They are definitely the star of anything they are applied to.
It's back to work for me tomorrow morning - but my crafty mess is still on the table and I have lots of ideas to keep me busy - yay
Thanks for reading & looking.
Happy crafting everyone :-)

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Mothers' Day

It is Mothers' Day in New Zealand this Sunday and I like to make Mum a card - let face it - if anyone appreciates your creativity it's your Mum - especially once you move out of her house and any resulting mess is not her responsibility.

I thought she'd really like the shabby chic card I made a few weeks ago for a challenge (see here), but that had already been nabbed by Eleanor for a friend's birthday card. So I decided I'd do something similar. For the original I copied a Shakespeare sonnet & used a nice font I found.  I was hoping to do the same with a mum-themed poem, but I couldn't find anything on the net that wasn't too cute ... so I decided to write something.

Mum's are complex things - as are our relationships with them - so I thought I'd just write about how it took being an adult and having my own children to appreciate all that she had done for me, and is still doing.
Anyway it sounded ok when I'd finished (though definitely not a poem), however, having written it I couldn't bring myself to tear it into a strip for a card, so I ended up making a bit of a feature of it and building the card around that.

It was another card that used up bits from my stash, so that always makes me feel a virtuous. The little flowers are cut from some vellum & I like the translucence of them.  I was pleased by how willing they were to curve - I thought the vellum would be too inflexible for that.

Now I need to find an envelope to fit it and get it in the post today otherwise it wont make it to Feilding by Saturday's post.
I'm not entering it into any challenges ... except the 'hope Mum likes it' challenge.
Well - enough fun - I'm off to do some housework
thanks for reading, & have a lovely day

Saturday, 3 May 2014

One Layer - Flowers

It has been a couple of weeks since my last posting.
I've wanted to craft and have kept an eye on some of the challenges, but somehow other things took my time. I guess it was good that I had so much productive time over Easter.

Yesterday afternoon I checked out the latest challenge at One-Layer Simplicity Challenge and the theme was 'fabulous flowers'. And, yes I am one of those people with a large collection of flower and nature stamps, so I knew I had to give it a go ... besides I should be working on a science paper I'm in the middle of ... so what better time to stop and do some crafting.

I tried to do some masking with a circle but the effect wasn't what I'd hoped (though I have not given up on it yet) and then uncovered a large single flower stamp that I have always liked. My card grew from that - keeping in mind the element of simplicity.

I masked the top edges and inked the stamp petals with a peony red and the stamens with yellow, I don't often ink with two colours on a stamp - but this time it came out better than I'd hoped.

Then I removed the mask and ruled a border round the stamp.  I really like borders - they add a bit of formality to an image.

I coloured my flower with chalks and popped the sentiment in the opposite corner for balance.
This was a reasonably simple card to make ... coming up with the idea is what takes the time.

Anyway I am really happy with it and will enter it into the One-Layer Simplicity challenge.
thanks for reading and please leave a comment
Cheers, Dianne

PS. I've just read over my post to make sure I have not done anything too stupid with my spelling, and looking at my card again ... I think a bee would be nice .... so I'll go away and think about that one - Dianne

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Still Smiling

Gosh another post in less than 12 hours. I feel so 'on to it'.
I go back to work tomorrow, but I feel like I have had some good crafting time this weekend.

I have another card - this is for the Less is More challenge with the current theme 'Makes me smile'.

I chose this elephant from a Chocolate Baroque set because he has a wicked grin - he looks like he's done something really naughty and hasn't been caught yet. This is the first time I've stamped with him and he has come up so well that I'm grinning too. I coloured him with copic markers at  popped tiny dots of stickles on the red band of his cloth, The sentiment came from the same stamp set.

We have a number of elephant lover's in the family so it will easy to find a home for him on a birthday, and he was pretty simple to put together in this card, so perhaps I'll experiment and try other colour combinations.
Well - that's it for this post. I hope everyone has had a great Easter weekend.
Cheers, Dianne

Shabby Chic

I am loving Easter weekend.
The weather hasn't been wonderful, but it's been heaps better than the previous 10 days so it is looking pretty good in comparison - sort of like when your son finally tidies his room and you tell him how wonderful he is - when he should have been keeping it tidy anyway.

I have been able to spend more time doing some card-making and looking at other peoples cards on blog challenges. Sometimes I just feel daunted by how creative people are, but then I decide to emulate rather than surrender ... it's worth it for the satisfaction of doing something different, and something you feel pleased with.

The Just Add Ink challenge this week is a sketch which looked fun and I could see lots of possibilities for it.
I was thinking that if I had time it would be interesting to make 6 different cards based on the sketch because sometimes I get almost catatonic with confusion because I have so many bits of ideas and want to make it the best it can be. 

As a result of which I have bits and pieces of 'worked' paper that, although nice in their own right, have not been turned into a card because I've not been sure where to take them. But I keep them all on the off chance that I'll find the rest of the inspiration one day.

Meanwhile, back to this sketch - I decided to do something I haven't tried before at attempted a shabby chic card. And I was quite happy with the result. And it all came from my stash.

I started with the script paper by using an Elizabethan-looking font and Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, Then tore it and inked it with distress inks. 
The dark card in the background is a really dark purple that I always have in my stash, The top panel is a piece of Basic Gray and the bottom is a piece of blue card that I embossed and inked about with until it looked more relaxed. The lace is from my sewing stash, the flower I made & then added the skeleton leaves, and some branches from a memory box die. I inked and lightly glittered the branches. 

My daughter thought it looked great and wants it for a friend's birthday next month, so I will pop a birthday sentiment on it then. 

I know there are some faults with it - but I'm not saying ... but on the whole I'm happy with it as a first attempt at shabby chic, so thank-you 'Just Add Ink' design team for giving me the inspiration to push out of my comfort zone a little.

Well - my Easter break ends tomorrow, so I'm off to make another card
Cheers, Dianne

Friday, 18 April 2014


I have a very late card to enter into the Less is More challenge this week. Chrissie's challenge was to show evidence of shadowing - it is also One Layer Week ...

I had a bit of a busy week, but in spare moments I kept playing with shadowing, but my attempts looked unconvincing.

I really wanted to enter the challenge, so after doing some housework and enjoying our first sunny day since daylight saving finished almost a fortnight ago, I got down to it  - nothing like a little deadline pressure to put a rocket under you.

And this is what I came up with - it is not world-shaking but I was happy with the effect.

I have had this little leaf stamp for ages & it is very handy.  I stamped it each time & re-stamped without re-inking to create the shadow effect,  Then I masked the first stamping of the leaves and used a text-like stamp - for this I inked it and then just whiped the left & right edges with my finger to give a fade-out effect.

Initially I just left it like that but it seemed a little low key, so I  chalked the leves with a little soft green to give them a bit of bounce.

I have not added a sentiment because sometimers it's nice to have a card to write a quick note in. I can always add one at the top if an occasion calls for it.

Well so much for our nice day - we are ending it with thunder - so I expect it will be grey and sticky tomorrow - yay
Have a lovely Easter weekend
Cheers, Dianne

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Turquoise Hearts

After my last blog post I checked out the new challenge on 'Less is More' and discovered that it was 'A touch of turqoise' - one of my favourite colours.

I decided I wanted something jewel-like as my theme so I looked up turquoise on Google images and found some geat pictues of pieces of  turquoise.

 To create the same impression I coloured plain card with copic markers (BG13 & BG05). I coloured the whole surface alternately at least three or four times (they probably produce a pen that would be the perfect colour - but I don't own it) then I used my handy crackle stamp and stamped over it using black memento ink.

I die cut two hearts and clear embossed them to give a nice shine. I
 chose a textured cream coloured card to create a contrast with the shiny hearts. I embossed the sentiment (which I wish I had got a little neater - but next time will be better).
I felt it needed a little more so I took a narrow border off the front of the card and ran a strip of the turquise card down the side.

Here's a close-up of the hearts

I feel really pleased with how this turned out (except for my embossing on the words).
This will be my last piece of crafting for the week I think.

I have a science assignment to hand in on Thursday. Lewis and I had fun with a kinex Trebouchet in the weekend and now I have to write up my results and establish my conclusions etc.  So I'm really pleased I have such a productive period of crafting beforehand.
thanks for reading

Saturday, 5 April 2014


Good morning - well it is for me.
We have just turned the clocks back from daylight saving and will have to quickly get used to very short evenings and the beginning of winter here. As long as no-one tells the weather that daylight saving has ended - we have had a lovely Autumn (unlike our nondescript Summer).

I was home alone last night so I had quiet and space to craft in, a creamy chicken liver pasta sauce for dinner (and Tigger was happy because I gave him some chicken livers too), and I watched 'Big'. No one else in the family is interested in watching it, so I've been saving it for when I'm on my own. Tom Hanks is great - even now - decades after this movie was made.

I have been busy recently with non-craft things and had made a few unsuccessful attempts at last week's Less is more challenge 'Round and round' so I was feeling a bit creatively stunted. I saw that the 'Just Add Ink' challenge was 'Just add ... layers', so off I went and put a card together from pieces I had been experimenting with.

I really just let it grow how it wanted. The components just fitted together.
I had been practicing using my distress ink to make backgrounds (I love the crushed olive colour). and then I used a die as a stencil to add the dots. The branch is a memory box die, as are the leaves, and the blossom are mage from a punch. I cut everything out of cream cardstock and coloured it so I would keep more texture. I have added some fine glitter to the stem and centre of the flowers, and a little on the leaves (there is now glitter all over the table). It doesn't show up well on the photo but catches the light nicely in reality.

I was going to tidy the card to remove the edges of my experimental inking - but then decided I rather liked the fading out effect. so I trimmed the sides, left the top & bottom, inked the edges, and looked for paper to layer with it.

I didn't expect more dots, but they echo the smaller ones and the colours looked fine. And red! That was a surprise, but after I tried the red behind my composition everything else just looked a bit limp ... so Red it was.

I'm feeling much better about my creativity now and have started thinking about the Less is More - touch of turquoise challenge.

Hopefully I wont be so long between posts now either - well - I'm off to pack in a little more crafting before I have to round up the family and bring them back to the fold.
Enjoy your day and thanks for reading
Cheers, Dianne

Saturday, 22 March 2014


Gosh - its been a week since I last posted. I need to be more organised.

It was such a busy and disorganised week that towards the end of it I just held out for the new 'Less is more' weekly challenge. This week it is 'Three' - a card with three of something, and an additional challenge to comment on three other card entries.

It is also the last of the four weeks in a row I promised myself I'd do to get started with my blog. It has made card making the focus of my blog so far - but that is totally fine by me. I'm sure I'll get to other topics evenually. Plus I've had so many lovely and supportive comments about my cards - so I will probably carry on following the Less is More challenge ... I may even put my toes in the water and enter a few others. All this practice must be good :-)

The second part of this challenge is easy. I like looking at what everyone has made and how they've interpreted the challenge. There are always so many ideas I wish I'd thought of ...

To the first part ... I'm lucky in a way - being in New Zealand means I get to see the challenge come up on Saturday evening our time - so I can sleep on it. Anyway I woke up this morning with a thought about a stamp I have not used for a while & an idea of how I would like to use it. I have spent most of the day experimenting and now want to try it in different colour combinations.

Here is my card

I masked the corner and inked it with a little wild honey, scattered straw and antique linen. I stamped a couple of leaves onto the edges (using the 2nd stamping so they wouldn't be too bold) then stamped my three stamps, and added a 'Thank you' at the top to balance it and because it is a thank you card for a friend on Geoff's. 

I dabbed my small veramark pad over the thank you and the flower motifs and clear embossed them to give a bit of shine (which you can't really see on this becuase the flash made it too shiny .. so I turned it off).

Here it is with the flash on.


I'm quite pleased with how it turned out in the more traditional tapa cloth colours, but now I'd like to try in in turquise, pinks & purples. I just need some time :-)

Well - it is now early Sunday evening here, so I'd better put this aside and cook dinner for the family
Happy stamping - Dianne

Sunday, 16 March 2014

More Masking

This is just a quick post to show my further masking experiment.
Last night, while catching up with some pre-recorded TV programmes, I carried out my plan to try a card using torn paper to mask the edges of the card front.

Here's what I finished with

I used the ivy leaf stamp that came with a Craft Stamper magazine. It is a nice easy shape to cut for masking.
I wasn't sure about using black ink, but that was the only waterproof ink I have so on it went.
 I don't know if I need a waterproof ink (I'll have to experiment) but I wasn't preared to stamp and mask, and mask and stamp just to ruin it by smudging when I applied the sponging.

Having left it over night I'm thinking that I might try using bronze embossing powder instead of the black ink ... though I may be setting myself up for failure by trying to line masks up over dim versamark stampings.

I need to adjust the width of my torn paper masks and I need to create more contrast with my blues in the distress ink sponging. All that aside, I'm pretty pleased with it. I even like the lighter blue shadow at the top where one of my masks must have moved mid-inking.

I'll experiment further later, but for now I should be working - so back to it.

thanks for looking and please leave a comment - I love reading them


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Masked Butterflies

The 'Less is More' challenge this week is to use masking or stencilling on your card. It is not a one layer card week, but somehow mine ended up as a single layer.

I tried some new things for me and had to think them through sequentially to get it to work.
Always satisfying when it does :-)

So here is my card.

I stamped the butterflies first with a lovely free stamp from the Craft Stamper magazine. Needed to mask the first to overlap the second. 

Then I cut an oval from a piece of thin paper. I masked both butterflies, and placed the oval over them. This is something that would have been easier with a clear shape rather than paper - but I managed to line it up reasonably successfully.

I versamarked a crackle stamp and stamped it over the whole surface and then clear embossed it. 

Then I sponged Weathered wood, stormy sky, and tumbled glass distress inks over the surface with in the oval mask (or is it a stencil? if you are working inside it). 

I peeled off my oval and the butterly masks and, using eyeshadow applicator sponges, I added some distress ink colour to my butterflies.

I wasn't planning on adding anything else, but, despite all the masking, I had managed to get a tiny bit of blue ink above my oval, so I added the sentiment.

This was fun to do and I'm thinking that I might try another soon, but with a torn paper mask.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Eleanor's birthday Card

Recently I bought some beautiful Chocolate Baroque stamps (the Macintosh sets).
From England to here is a long way so I had to wait for a little while (not too long) and while I was waiting I spent quite a bit of time on the Chocolate Baroque design team's blog admiring the cards they were making using these stamps.

When the stamps arrived it was close to Eleanor's birthday & she really liked the the lady from the Macintosh beauty stamp and the CB designers had made some lovely cards with her - the vellum bride was her favourite, so I based my design on it with a few variations.

 I used tracing paper instead of vellum (I know I have some somewhere, but can't find it) and I used my chalks to colour her and added some stickles to the flowers. So I didn't emboss it and I didn't need to colour the reverse.

I tried using my copic pens but the image seemed too bright and I had trouble blending them - so I put that one aside.

The card itself is very dark purple that I have in my stash, as is the paler card that I versamarked with one of the rose stamps from the set. I glued the tracing paper into place, so the little purple gems are there to hide any traces of glue.

I was pleased with how it came out and Eleanor thought it was lovely, so all up pretty successful.

I have to do a quick rave here - the Chocolate Baroque stamps are really great to work with  - this is the second time I have bought their stamps and they are so detailed and beautiful, I feel like it is a head start just having them.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Spring Flowers

Well, I was expecting all sorts of things for the one layer card challenge at Less is More but not spring flowers ... I have lots of nature stamps, but not really any spring flowers.
Also it is Autumn in New Zealand, so I was flumoxed for a while. Then I remembered one of the first stamps I ever bought. I played around with it and then left it for a while and started cleaning up some of my crafty detritus.

I had a light bulb moment when I came across some experiments I had tried a while ago and had forgotten about.  Lesley on her Paper Engineer blog asked us where we find our inspiration and I can now say that I find mine from cleaning up - perhaps I should try it more often.

Anyway here is my one layer Spring Flowers card

I used Tattered Rose and Antique linen distress ink pads to place a square of each onto the card surface. Then I  embossed my stamp image and coloured the petals with distress inks using some little eye make up applicators (picked up at a discount shop for chalking but turning out to be useful for so many things). The shadow and light on the photo is an indication of the lovely sunshine we are having here today - long may it last.
Here's a close-up of the flowers that shows the embossing and inking a bit better.

It is so satifying to see a finished card using ideas that grew from an experiment. I'm thinking that my mum would love a series of these because she likes having notecards to put in when she sends parcels to friends.

The image also looked nice under vellum ... but then it wouldn't be a one layer card.
And now I will go back to trying to make a card for a friend who likes cats .... I have been trying to pull the differnt components of it together for a few days now, so perhaps this success will loosen those inspirational flood-gates.
Cheers, Dianne

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Round two of the 'Little yellow duck'

Well - I took some time to play with my duck stamp today - keeping in mind Chrissie's (at 'Less is More' ) recomendation that I try him straight onto a card without the extra colours.

After this posting I will have to head back & clean up all the card blanks I attempted before finally deciding that this was as good as I was going to get it to look.

So here he is again - same duck - different venue
I am pretty happy with him in his more minimalist setting, and hopefully this will be good practice for next week's one layer card. 

I was surprised at how hard it was to draw the lines - I practiced lots. There are some little shudders in the top left - but I've decided they add credibility to the hand drawn look.

The dark shadow on the top right would not leave no matter what camera angle I used. So I think it is an indication of the horrible weather we are having in Wellington today. 
Still it's a nice day to be at home making cards.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Thank you

I was so surprised and pleased to see the comments the people have made about my first card for a challenge. It is really nice to be part of a supportive crafty crowd. So thank you heaps for your comments they have all been encouraging and helpful.
I have also enjoyed being able to pop into other blogs and comment rather than just admiring by myself, or showing my daughter.

It's Tuesday now and I had so many good intentions to make more cards but work and life have been stealing my time - I'm sure I'm not alone in this.

I had an experiment with Chrissie's suggestion that I stamp my little duck straight onto a card blank ... I even doodled a plan while at work yesterday.
I still feel the plan is good, but the execution wasn't what I wanted, so I will grab some more time tomorrow and try another version or two to see if I can make it happen. So hopefully I will be able to add another picture to my post.

I am still learning my way round my blog and that is taking a bit of my time too. So hopefully as time passes it will start looking, and feeling, more like a 'real' blog

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Yellow and Green

One of my reasons for starting this blog was so I could submit cards I have made to the Less is More weekly challenge. I like their philosophy of encouraging white space and uncluttered cards (though I'm not a stranger to clutter).

I have decided to give myself a personal challenge of entering a card each week for the next four weeks (at least) so I can up my blogging, and cardmaking, skills.

This is my Yellow and Green card. Not my first attempt, but the one I'm happiest with

I had some craft card blanks and have been trying to find ideas for using them, so decided that whatever I came up with would go on craft card.

I've had this little duck stamp for a while and since ducks are yellow I decided to focus on him. I chalked him with yellows and there is green on the dandilion stalk, and lightly around him. I put a little glitter on the dandilion but it doesn't show on the photo.

He is on a blue card back that seemed a little boring so I versamarked it with an ornate leafy stamp, and mounted it to the craft card. Now I'm thnking that a green card base instead of blue might be nice too - but I guess that is one of the fun things about cards - so many possibilities.

I didn't add a sentiment, because I think he has the versatility to be a card for a number of purposes so I'll keep him for the right occasion.

Friday, 28 February 2014

First Post

Wow - I've finally done it. I have been talking about starting a blog for years and have now gotten around to it.
The reason for my decision to 'get on with it' is because I see so many beautiful and clever cards made by other people all over the world and I have taken inspiration from them for mine.

I would like to show my creations and acknowledge the cards that have inspired them. Also I have noticed that can't comment on other blogs & I assume this is because I'm not a blogger, so now I am and hopefully will be able to add my comments.

I must confess to being new to these forms of social media. I have a facebook page (started because I needed a facebook presence to connect with another page I needed for study) that I really don't use. But this blog is for me to write things, show things, and comment on things.
It will be my virtual fridge door where I can pin things I'm proud of, or that I'm interested in.

So - there it is - I have stuck my toe in the waters of the blogosphere. Yay