A word about inks

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We're enjoying lightening and thunder tonight. It's my kind of weather and if it wasn't raining heavily, I'd go out there and dance in the rain.

Papercraft inspirations 168 is out today featuring two sets of my Occasion Cards. Two of my favourite designers are published in the magazine every month, Kat Waskett and Vicky Bailey. Kat's sweet and colourful designs are just up my street. Vicky's Masterclass features cute cards with partial die cuts and I love anything with cute characters on!

I'd been eargerly awating this month's free gift, a layered stamp set with peonies and orchids. I was looking for the right stamps to come along to make a card for my great aunt who loves flowers, not only in her garden but also on her balcony, which is full of them. I always envy her for the colourful displays. Gardening must be such a rewarding hobby but I'm not made for it. I'm glad that it's raining tonight as I forgot to water the plants this week. Anyway, she feels a little down from time to time as she lost her other half only months ago. I hope this card will cheer her up!

I liked Becky James' "Pops of Pink" card made with the peony stamp. The black ink didn't work for me so I decided to heat emboss the outline in white to make it look softer. The leaves and buds were coloured in with Copics as I didn't have green inks.



I'm not a stamper and probably never will be. I have no patience and I'm already cutting out or colouring the image while the ink is still drying. Working with inks means your hands will get dirty and no matter how hard you scrub them with soap, the colour will only start to fade the next day. I'm no fan of embossing powder either as the tiny granules get everywhere. No surprise then that these are the only ink cubes left in my stash:




















Seriously, why make a mess of your desk and hands when you can keep them both clean?

Defying gravity

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I love browsing charity shops, you just never know what treasures you'll find. All you need is time and it helps if you don't have a screaming toddler with you in tow! Whenever I don't craft, I spend my time reading. Our little girl loves books, too ("book" is one of her new words) so we pop into the second-hand book shop in Princes Risborough every week.

I recently picked up a craft book for my friend. It needed a card and the card needed a box, preferably matching the colourful wrapping paper (Isn't it pretty? You can find it at Waterstones). While gift wrapping and decorating is an art I'd still like to master, I had to make do with the few embellishments from my stash: Bakers Twine and a mini peg which I decorated with a die-cut heart.

The card is made up of six layers (foam pads and cardstock) to make sure it's even in all places. When it was finished, I noticed that the balloons were to heavy for the single strip of acetate which they are attached to. I fixed it by attaching a second strip behind and bending it a little to pull back the balloons. Sorted!







































Isn't it funny how in cardmaking so many elements are out of proportion? The thought crossed my mind when I attached the panda to three balloons. Talk about defying gravity. Here's another Flying Panda fun project that I made two years ago.

Inlaid die-cut shaker

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Only five months to go until Christmas... I can't believe I'm already seeing the first Christmas products featured in the magazines! As every year, I'll be making cards for the season last minute. It always works out fine although everytime I think I'm done my hubby keeps adding names to the list of people we send Christmas greetings to. I think I might go for inlaid die-cut designs this year to make the designs lightweight. Most of them will be sent abroad which means the weight limits are different than for the UK.

Here's an example of how to turn inlaid die-cuts into an interactive card. It works beautifully as the inside of the shaker is one flat layer and no sequins get stuck anywhere. Putting it against a black background really makes the colours pop. I like working with black and can never have enough black card in my stash! The shaker is filled with clear jewels and I stuck some onto the acetate, too.



















Time to relax with a cuppa and my favourite craft magazines!

Over the rainbow

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Last year brought a lot of changes for me and my hubby. The biggest adjustment we made to our life was to become minimalists. It was the result of us becoming parents and discovering what's important in life, but it came with a financial benefit, too. I learnt to spend my money differently. There was a time when I splashed a lot on new craft material every month. Some of it never got used until I gave it away.

Crafting can quickly turn into an expensive hobby. Personally, I always felt a little guilty whenever my hubby dropped me off at the craft centre. I'd return with bags full of stuff, sometimes justifying the big amount I had just spent, other times not being totally honest about how much of my hard-earned money I had parted from.

Like everyone else, I have a never-ending wish list of things I'd love to buy. But spending money on crafting means I'd have to miss out on the everyday experiences with my daughter which don't cost the world but they do add up. So for now I've decided to keep a balance. I only buy stuff when it's needed for commissions and once in a while, I treat myself to a stamp or die set.

This card took me a few days to complete. I couldn't decide on a sentiment and what to add to the scene as I didn't have much to play with. The sentiment was heat-embossed in gold which goes perfectly with the Kraft card. The idea of making a rainbow came when I looked for different ways of using my stitched circle dies.



















This card would be perfect for a baby announcement (use blue and turquoise for boys) or Valentines Day.

A new delivery of coloured card will arrive this week and guess how excited I am about that...! 

Comfort Zone

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While I love browsing pinterest and reading papercraft magazines, I often feel there's too much inspiration, it's simply overwhelming. That's why I like to stick to simplicity. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves what we're good at and what makes our designs unique. Ever since I discovered inlaid die-cuts, I've been hooked. It's a technique you don't often see in magazines and I like to think it's special as not everyone masters it.

Right now I'm looking for new ways to fill the circle aperture that I've been using on my cards recently. One of the die sets I've recently invested in is Waffle Flower's Greenery. You'll get six leaves and one of them can even be used as a feather. 

This card didn't look like much until I added the heat embossed sentiment strip and clear jewels. There's is also a layer of acetate on top of the aperture. It keeps the leaves in place which I attached with double-sided tape in some places. I like to avoid glue as it's too messy.



















Crafting is about having fun and making something unique. Every card is a challenge in itself and probably the hardest part is deciding on a layout. Well, you can stick to the same layout and yet create something different everytime. I'll certainly make more of these as I have a growing pile of coloured card!

Hope I inspired you today!

Father's Day

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I hope you enjoyed your Father's Day celebrations. Although we are blessed with hours of sunshine, things are getting a little too hot and our poor little girl is suffering in this heat. We cooled down yesterday evening with a picnic on Coombe Hill. We enjoyed the beautiful views over the Chiltern Hills and tucked into our homemade empanadas.

I don't know about you, but the heat is giving me a headache. Our creative studio is upstairs and in this weather it's the hottest room in the house. It makes you tired. I hope you're better off and that you enjoy crafting in a nice and cool space! I should be getting into the Christmas spirit this week as I'm working on my first commission for the festive season, but it feels odd to be listening to M. Bublé's Christmas playlists in this weather!

A while ago, I made three cards for Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine using a DoCrafts die-cutting set. I'm always surprised how great the products I receive turn out to be! Let's say I wouldn't have bought it myself, but once I started using it, I was sold. I set myself the challenge to combine it with coloured card only and here's what I came up with:











































I really enjoy crafting with coloured card at the moment and I think this is how it all began. I can't stick bows, buttons and flowers on my cards these days (unless the magazines ask for it). You can create simple, eye-catching and colourful designs with coloured card and who knows, maybe I'll specialise in it!

While you're still here, why not think about entering this year's cardmaking competitions? It's a fun challenge to come up with inventive designs while showing what you're really good at.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Splash of colour

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This week, I treated myself to two new die sets which have been on my wishlist for long. It felt like Christmas when they arrived! I don't spend much on new material these days unless it's needed for commissions. There was a time when I spent more on new craft items to work on a feature than what the magazine paid for it. Fastforward one year and I have less money (but more happiness) and I realised that most items in my stash were bought on impulse.

I'm a big fan of American brands and MFT remains one of my all-time favourites. I rarely use patterned papers now as I much more enjoy working with coloured card. However, the heart papers from MFT's Lucky Prints make super cute backgrounds for these cards. The cards feature my favourite dies from Marianne Design which I've used over and over again for my own projects and magazine work. I love these cute animals and won't part from them anytime soon!

The panda card is a baby card, believe it or not! I didn't have any baby sentiment stamps and figured that the lucky recipient will receive plenty of pink cards announcing "It's a Girl!" Booooring... Why not turn it into a "Hip Hip Hooray" instead?





















Here's a quick tip I'd like to share with you. I was running out of black card for my last card (panda) but was determined to finish it. I inked the edges of a white square with my black ink pad. Nobody will ever see the difference!

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