Monday, 9 November 2015

Clean and Simple Christmas Card

Hello there - just a quick blog today to showcase my entry for the November Clarity Challenge whose theme is "clean and simple".

I was feeling quite overwhelmed by the number of Christmas cards that I need to make for family and friends when I have a long holiday coming up and so little time to complete them. Then the clean and simple concept came to mind and I remembered the red and white Keep Calm posters, and decided to do a variation on a theme using a Claritystamp Christmas phrase, and one of the Christmas wee folk - the little elf who is definitely my favourite!

I stamped both images onto a four inch square of red card using Versamark, then heat embossed them using opaque white embossing powder. Finally I mounted the red card onto some small white pearlised square cards that had been in my crafting stash for a really long time - liberated at last!

I think I should be able to whip up a whole stack of these little cards quite quickly - have done half a dozen already!

Hope you like it, and thanks for visiting - any comments would be gratefully received, Susan x

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Today's rain is tomorrow's whisky

Hello folks

Today's card was meant to bring a bit of brightness and cheer to a cold and rainy October day, but actually we've had lovely, warm and sunny weather for most of October which has really made up for the terrible summer this year!

This month's Claritystamp Challenge was to create a project using Clarity Stencils only. I just love the silhouette stamps and stencils that are part of the Clarity range, so I've used one of them on this card, in conjunction with three other stencils and a small printed phrase to set the scene.

Stencils used: Bunting Tree Stencil (to create the raindrops), Umbrella's Stencil (for the background), Umbrella Girls Stencil for the child silhouette and Jo's Bubbles Stencil for the Bokeh effect.

I started by sponging different coloured Adirondak and Distress Inks through the umbrella stencil, then using black archival ink, I sponged through the umbrella girls stencil and the leafy part of the bunting tree stencil to create some raindrops. Finally I used a white ink pad through the Jo's bubbles stencil to create a bokeh effect, and added some clusters of small white dots using a white correction pen to add interest. The sentiment is a traditional Scottish saying, which I printed onto white paper, and tore the edges rougly and inked lightly to finish the project.

Hopefully my fingers will be un-inked by the time I go on holiday - note to self - next time wear gloves!!!

Thanks for visiting and I appreciate any comments that you would like to leave, Susan x

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Crochet project - a simple tea cosy

Hi there

I thought I'd share this little tea cosy with you, as I was so pleased with how it turned out.

I found a free pattern for the stag's head on Pinterest, and thought it would be a really cute silhouette for a tea cosy. I had to modify the original pattern a bit to get the right size, then I made a double crochet close granny square in the contrast colour which was about an inch smaller than the tea pot I wanted to use the cover with, then I added a treble crochet border around the granny square so that I could thread through a tie, and crocheted together the edges, leaving holes at each edge for the teapot spout and handle.

I added about 3 rows of treble crochet v stitching to make a fancy top, made a cord from the two colours of yarn, with tassles at the end, then finally stitched on the little deer head as an embellishment. Very simple, but easy to do, and quite inexpensive as it used less than one ball of each yarn.

 Might try a few more with different colours - there's some Christmas presents sorted, and it's not even the end of September yet!!! Thanks for visiting, Susan x

Shaped Card - Clarity Challenge 31 (September 2015)

I've not had much time to do any crafting this month, as we're still busy, busy, busy in the guest house! However, I've been having a little play with some of my stamps using just one or two colours, and have really liked the results, so this circular card was inspired by my play.

I wanted to create a modern twist on an anniversary card for a young couple, so stuck with red and white as the main colours, with a black mat to create some contrast. As I didn't have any large circular dies, I used a plate as a template for the card shape, a bowl for the black mat, and a saucer for the smaller white card circle, which I then chopped into 3 sections to help disguise any wobbly cutting out with my scissors!

In the top right section I started by brushing some Adirondack Red Pepper ink through a piece of sequin waste using Clarity brushes to give a subtle starry background. Then I stamped the Clarity Live, Laugh, Love stamp in the same ink, and quickly embossed it using Clear Detail Embossing powder and set it using a heat gun. In the bottom right section I stamped the Clarity Wire Heart using the same inkpad, and then overstamped with the young couple from the Wee Folk set, and again quickly embossed the images using Clear Detail Embossing powder. Then I created a faux red mat for that section using a Ruby Promarker.

In the larger section I randomly stamped the Clarity Small Daisy stamp in the Red Pepper ink, then using a daisy embossing folder, I added a bit of texture by running it through my Cuttlebug machine. Then I mounted all 3 pieces onto the black mat, and mounted that onto the round card.

Throwing caution to the wind, and abandoning my usual "less is more" approach completely, I die cut some leaves and seed heads from red and white card, and stuck them to the centre part of the card. Then I added a small bow of white tulle, a double bow of red twine, and a small red flower gem just to cover the knot.

It was fun to do, and a bit of a change from my normal style - love entering these challenges as they really make you step out of your comfort zone and try something a bit different! Thanks for visiting my blog, and I'd love to read any comments you might have, Susan x

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The big 50!

So, in a few days time my little sister celebrates her 50th Birthday, and I'd like to share the project I made for her, and it's matching card.

I've never really done anything 3-d in my crafting before and have never attempted anything that might even vaguely be classed as a mixed media project, so to say I was winging it wouldn't be too far from the mark. Here is the big 50 - what do you think? Hope she'll like it, and it might even make up part of the table decorations!

I started with a big cardboard 5 and 0 from Tesco's childrens crafting section (they had a BOGOF offer, which was lucky for me!), then painted them all over with two or three coats of gesso and stuck them together. I really need to be better at remembering all the details and having my camera to hand when I'm doing a project, but what can I say - I'm just not that organised!

I then used the Clarity Stamp Birdhouse set to stamp the fence, birdhouse, flowers, birds and animals onto white tissue paper, using black archival ink. When everything was dry, I then added a little texture to parts of the project using grungepaste through a honeycomb stencil. Then I had to wait for that to dry too....

About a week later, I started to adhere the stamped tissue paper to the white background, using Indigo Blue's Slap it On adhesive, making sure that the stamped designs went over the edges, and matched front and back for continuity.
Once that was all dry, I covered the images again with another coat of Slap it On to protect the stamping and to prevent the tissue from lifting at the edges. Then I waited again....I added Stickles glitter glue to the fence posts, to the flowers on the trailing boughs and the hollyhocks, and waited again for that to dry. Then I added a bit of distress ink to the honeycomb grungepaste areas, and a bit of dimensional paint to the hollyhocks, and then glued a few sequin flowers to the front for a bit more bling. Finally I used a little creamy lace and sewed some lace flowers as I felt there were a couple of bare areas that needed something extra.

I made a matching card using the same stamp kit, a black and old paper ink pad, and added my sister's name and age, just in case the Big 50 wasn't enough of a reminder!
I really enjoyed making this, even though I had sticky and inky fingers for the best part of a month, and I'd definitely do another mixed media project in the future - might even crack open those lovely pristine Clarity Canvasses that I've had up on the shelf for almost 6 months!!!

I'm entering this project into the Clarity Challenge for August, which is a Bingo Challenge - I've used the diagonal line Flowers, Stamp and Glitter, and also the middle horizontal line, Stencil, Stamp and GrungePaste - not quite a Full House, but definitely more than my usual less is more approach.

I love to read everyone's comments, so please let me know what you think - apologies if it takes some time to get back to you, but I've got a party to go to down in London!! Happy Birthday Jackie XXX


Thursday, 30 July 2015

Anything Goes - Corset Montage

Hello Again

Well July and August are really busy months for me, so apologies for the lack of blogging! Sadly the project I've been working on for my sister's 50th birthday isn't finished yet to enter into this month's Clarity Challenge, but maybe it will fit the brief for one of the months to come. Luckily for me, it isn't Jackie's birthday until the end of August, so I have some more time to get it done and for it to be dry enough to be packed into my suitcase!!!

As a result, here's a little card I did which is part of my "using stuff up" theme for 2015. We all have hundreds of little scraps of coloured and patterned papers left over from previous projects, that we just can't bear to part with, don't we? At least I hope everyone else has them too, and it isn't just peculiar to me!

Years ago I attended a workshop where I learnt about paper piecing, and truly it's not something I've done that often, but it's a great way of using up those little bits of lovely paper, so I've been doing it a lot in my projects this year, and the boxes and files of papers and scraps are gradually reducing.

Here I've used some of the very first Clarity stamps that I ever bought, the lady's corset and corset montage stamp, together with the Feminine script stamp, and some die cut flowers, punched leaves and a few gems for a bit of bling. It's lovely to get out your old stamps and enjoy them all over again, isn't it?

I really like the effect of the scripts stamped onto a patterned background, but as the patterns on the papers are quite busy, I stuck with three main colours in my palette, bright pink, green and white, with stamping done in black archival ink.

I used the same polka dot paper to stamp the corset, for the largest matting layer, and for one layer of the die cut flowers. The corset was then cut out, and stuck onto the corset montage as a contrast layer. The corset montage was matted onto plain sage green card, and offcuts were used to punch out the leaves. A plain pink scrap of paper was also used to die cut the second layer of flowers.

In retrospect, I wish I'd had enough plain pink paper to do another matt around the spotty paper, but hey ho - I was using up leftovers, and there wasn't enough to do that ... maybe next time!

Thanks for visiting, and any comments you have would be really welcome.  Susan x

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Boys, Boys, Boys

I find it so easy to make cards for ladies and girls, but the boys in our lives can be more of a challenge. Maybe that's because, as a female, I know what I would like to receive so I have a bit of a head start!

I've really loved all the new silhouette stamps that Clarity Stamp have been producing recently, and they combine so well with lots of different bespoke backgrounds, so I had a little play around with a few different stamp sets, Jo's Bubbles stencil, and the letterbox kit to create a card for my great-nephew's upcoming 3rd birthday.

To create the background I used a range of blue distress and adirondack ink pads, and brushed through the stencil using those wonderful Clarity stencil brushes to create a soft airbrushed effect. Then I stamped Rocco's name using black archival ink and the letterbox kit, and added some blue colour to the boxes using second generation distress ink.

I added the Boy with the Birds stamp, and two of the characters from the Wee Folk 2 set to create some movement in the card, and extended the rope swing using a black pen to match the black archival ink used for the stamping. Finally I added Rocco's age in one of the bubbles, and added the little black bird on top of the number as an extra feature as I felt it provided a better balance and stayed with the bird theme.

Hope Rocco likes his card as I really enjoyed creating it. Thanks for taking the time to look and if you'd like to leave a comment I'd be thrilled to read them, Susan x

Friday, 5 June 2015

My scrappy cushion

Hello there. Well it's June, but still chilly and windy and intermittently rainy up here in the Highlands, so no lovely warm evening walks for me today!!! Instead I thought I'd share a little project I did recently as part of my New Year's resolution for 2015 - Using Stuff Up.

My great niece will be 6 this year, and for her 1st or 2nd birthday I made her a lovely chevron crochet jacket, but there were lots of leftover bits of yarn. You will all understand, I'm a crafter, so I couldn't throw them away, so they were packed into boxes and put into storage for a while, then they moved with us 3 years ago from London to Inverness!!!

Then they sat in a cupboard for a year, then moved to a drawer in the chest in the hallway...then I saw a fabulous stripy crochet cushion cover design, and their time had come....

So now they grace the chair cushion in my hallway - OK, so the colours don't go so well with the floor tiles, but that's not really the point is it? I really love the effect of the random stripes, and so next time I have lots of scrap bits of yarn leftover from a project I know what I'll be doing with them - hopefully the scraps will be pale blue and terracotta and cream!

Thanks for stopping by, and let me know what you think of the scrappy cushion, Susan x

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Time to try my Brusho Paints!

The Clarity Challenge theme for May 2015 is clocks, and I was struggling a bit to come up with any ideas really this month. In the end, I went with the KISS rule - Keep It Simple, Stupid!

I've been quite inspired by the fabulous backgrounds that I've seen people create using watercolour paper and Brushos, so I thought I'd just have a go, and maybe try the letterpress technique using one of my Clarity Stencils.

What do you think?

I pierced a hole in the top of the Brusho pots, and used it like a pepper pot as I'd read this was the best way to control the amount you dispense. I did 3 or 4 shakes of Emerald Green, and a couple of shakes of purple, then spritzed with water a few times and left it to airdry.

Then I inked up the Clarity clockwork stencil with Black Archival ink, and wiped away the edges to give a rough circle outline. I letterpressed this through an embossing machine onto the watercolour paper, so the final result actually has quite a textured embossed image.Finally I wrote some "timely" phrases around the edge of the circle, trimmed down the watercolour paper, and matted onto some emerald and black card to finish it off.

I thought about adding some flowers and leaves for embellishment, but in the end decided against that - remember the KISS rule - hoping that less is more.... Susan x

Saturday, 25 April 2015

A wee monster tale...

Todays blog post is my entry for the Clarity Challenge 26, which was to design a project using only Clarity Stamps and the Wee Folk.

I had lots of ideas going around my head, but as I live in the Highlands just down the road from Loch Ness, I decided to use the father and child stamp, with the Nessie Stamp and some Scotch Pines to create the wee monster tale. My friend Nigel told me that his young foster son still sort of believes in the myth of Nessie, so this card is for William who is coming to visit us for Hogmanay from Australia with his dad and grandma!

The background to the card was created using the gelli plate, with a mixture of Distress and Adirondak inks in blues and purples, dabbing off some of the ink with crumpled paper to create some clouds. Then I used a circular aperture to create the focal scene, making hills with torn paper and additional sponged ink, with a little shading using Spectrum Noir pencils. I added a very faint castle stamp on the edge of the Loch, and stamped the Scotch pines using first, second and third generation inks to take the scene outside of the circular aperture. Finally I stamped in Nessie and the Father and child to complete the scene.

I added some detail with a black micron pen to define the circular shape and the hills, and to tie in with the black ink of the wee folk stamp, and then added a sentiment using some torn paper with inked edges, adding a few second generation nessies to the word monster.

I was really pleased with the final result, and hope that William will like his card too!

Sunday, 5 April 2015

My crochet zoo....#edsanimals

Hello again and Happy Easter!

A few weeks ago my sister was visiting with her two boys Gerry and Charlie, and she'd asked me to crochet them some doggy jumpers. Anyway, having made up the patterns I just had to guess at how much yarn they would take, and ended up with LOTS left over...

As we're still in the year of using stuff up, I thought long and hard about what to do with tons of black and white washable yarn - then I remembered the book I had for Christmas, Edward's Menagerie by Kerry Lord. It's a fab book with really simple instructions, and the little animals that are produced are really, really cute and are designed and stuffed so that they can sit up on their own. Although intended for alpaca yarn, I used machine washable DK yarn so they could just be thrown in the washing machine with the rest of the dirty washing!

They might be a little late arriving (the zebra took a bit longer to finish), but I thought these would be a perfect easter gift for my great nieces and nephews rather than yet more chocolate eggs. So let me introduce you to Emma the Bunny, Mac the Monkey (made to the gorilla instructions with an added tail), Fiona the Panda, and Alice the Zebra!

I think this book should be sold with a warning though - they are seriously addictive, and I still have more leftover yarn!!! Watch this space.....

Susan x

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Upcycling old jeans

 So, for many years I've been an avid blog follower, and I have learnt such a lot from other people sharing their tips and ideas so freely. Now it seems I have entered the world of having a blog of my own, so if you are reading this, thank you, and please forgive any mistakes I make as I learn!!

After a spring clean of our wardrobes, I suddenly ended up with 5 pairs of old jeans in my craft room - they'll come in useful one day I thought! As my new year's resolution for 2015 is to use things up (all those half empty lotion and potion bottles are gradually reducing in the bathroom too), I decided that my entry for the March 2015 ClarityStamp Challenge would involve those discarded jeans.

Firstly I removed the back patch pockets, and stamped out a little scene using an Archival black ink pad, and a range of Clarity Stamps using the embroidered lines on the pocket as features of the design. I then cut off the bottom of one of the legs, and made the bag shape by stitching the cut edge, and just cutting drawstring holes into the original hem of the jeans and threading through a ribbon.

Finally I restitched the pockets onto one side of the bag - in retrospect I should had done that first before making the bag, but c'est la vie!

I tried to leave some frayed bits of denim sticking out of the seams in places, just to add a bit of character to the final bag, and I put a little sunburst stamp on the inner pocket peeping out - might go back and add a flock of birds above the houses too before I use it as a gift bag.

I won't tell you about all the cursing when I was trying to get the tension right on my sewing machine - I think I unpicked it half a dozen times,
I won't tell you how much I wished I had just used a fabric glue to stick on the pocket edges - that only occurred to me after the event!,
I won't tell you how I could hear my mum shouting at me not to break the needle on the machine as it hit the little rivet in the top of the pocket - even though I live in the Highlands of Scotland and she lives in Essex!!!

What I will tell you is that the bag holds 3 bottles of beer perfectly, and will make a fab gift bag for a man in your life....

Thanks for visiting, Susan x