Sunday, March 31, 2019

Bright Watercolouring at Happy Little Stampers

Welcome April! Where I live, we seem to be welcoming the month with... snow. At least I can also welcome the month with a new challenge at Happy Little Stampers Watercolour Challenge! Our optional challenge this month is Bright - not always the first attribute one might associate with watercoloring; it is often used for a more dreamy, ethereal look. But bright can be done! 

I've used the pretty sweet pea stamps from Studio Katia with Gansai Tambi paints to achieve my bright floral cluster. Using a dot stencil I added some bright yellow polka dots behind it, then mounted the panel on a matching yellow card base. Some iridescent confetti (also from Studio Katia) finishes the card. I'm adding this card to the current Anything Goes challenge at Simon Says Stamp

The Happy Little Stampers watercolour team have some beautiful cards to share with you, so why not head over there, be inspired, then join us! 

Supplies: Neenah white & (?) yellow cardstock, Canson watercolour paper, Studio Katia You're So Sweet stamps & dies, Clearly Besotted Fancy Sayings stamps, Versafine smoky grey & Catherine Pooler tiara & sauna inks, Wow clear & Hero Arts clear sparkle embossing powder, Gansai Tambi watercolours, ARTplorations dots all over stencil, Studio Katia crystal clear confetti, fun foam

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Spring Birthdays

Where did March go? Here we are at the last Thursday in March, which at the very least means we are officially into spring - scientifically if not yet in my backyard. So what better optional theme for today's new Seize the Birthday challenge than SPRING

Our toppings are always optional, but for me, spring colours or themes on a card offer a nice antidote to the snowbanks that right now seems like they will be here until July. :D At first I was going to do flowers - and not just any flowers, tulips! They epitomize spring! Then followed two days of tulip frustration. Layering stamps refused to layer, techniques refused to cooperate... you get the idea. Then I had a middle-of-the-night epiphany... spring peepers! Those little frogs that chorus in the evenings once it's warm enough to crack open a window. In real life, spring peepers are kind of... brown. Thank goodness this doesn't call for photorealism. 

I knew I wanted my frog to have a nice place to live, so I ink smooshed a background, first with tumbled glass distress ink all over, then broken china just on the bottom third. Once that was dry, I needed to find a way to add some wetland plants to separate the pond from the sky. I ended up using some tiny layering stamps from a couple of different floral sets, double stamping to get the varying shades of green. Then it was frog's turn - he was watercoloured with Zig markers. I cut his lily pad from a previously smooshed scrap of watercolour paper. For the sentiment, I had to surgically remove the "hoppy" from a sentiment so I could pair it with "birthday" from an entirely different set. Without the pun, there didn't really seem to be justification for making a frog birthday card. :D Finally, his spots and lily pad have some Wink of Stella for random sparkle. 

I'll add this card to the current Anything Goes challenge at Simon Says Stamp

Photography assistant

Having at last achieved a small amount of success making a card, I went back to one of my earlier tulip attempts. I had stamped some newsprint-patterned tulips over a cloud-stencilled background, but didn't like how much the clouds showed through the petals. (I had first stamped them on plain cardstock and decided they were boring. It was just that kind of card-making session, know what I mean?) Looking at them again, I realized I could add a bit more structure by shading them in with a matching watercolour pencil. This reduced the clouds showing through the petals while leaving the textural interest the newsprint pattern provides. 

It even worked out that I could use the current Paper Players challenge sketch, as I'd originally planned. 

Now it's your turn! You'll want to visit the Seize the Birthday blog to see all the pretty spring creations the design team made (bet there are more flowers than frogs...) as well as our current surprise party guest, Tenia! Dream of spring and join us! 

Supplies: (frog) Neenah white & Stampin' Up garden green cardstock, Canson watercolour paper, Paper Smooches A Little Lovin' & Birthday Buddies & assorted small layering stamps, Stampin' Up garden green & tumbled glass & broken china distress inks, Wow clear fine embossing powder, Spellbinders oval die, Marvy-Uchida corner-rounding punch, Scotch washi tape, Wink of Stella clear glitter brush marker; (tulips) Neenah white & Hero Arts cerulean layering cardstock, Memory Box Brioche patterned paper, Hero Arts newspaper tulips & Clearly Besotted Say What stamps, Stampin' Up garden green & tumbled glass distress ink, Stampin Up Stampin' Write markers, MFT clouds die

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Saturday, March 23, 2019


I am thrilled at the way Edna is supporting the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers newest challenge, U is for Unicorn. The sisters have discovered that some of us are more Team Unicorn than others - in fact, other than a couple of digital ones, I don't even own any unicorn images. 🙀 And as it turns out, I'm not the only one. Do the Sisters let that stop us? Of course not! Luckily for me, I had a stamping playdate lined up where I asked my friends to bring any unicorn sets they might have. Naturally, with lots of stamps to choose from, I made two. My first: 

That sentiment had just the right amount of snark to balance the sweet and delicate unicorn! I tucked her into the sentiment as well as I could and coloured her in lovely pastel unicolours. I used three of the same colours for the rainbow, and added a glittery cloud. Her horn is given texture and sparkle with icicle Stickles, and it only seemed right to use Tiara Stickles for her farts. The rainbow and her mane have several coats of Wink of Stella for shimmer. 

My second card ups the bright and lowers the snark:

The parents of the young person I plan to give this to might find the sentiment somewhat snarky, and that's good enough for me. For this card, I used a classic Paper Smooches unicorn, paired with another sentiment from the same Essentials by Ellen set as my first card. I went for the full rainbow treatment both for her mane and down the left side of the card. Because I keep cardstock scraps, it was easy to match each mane colour! ;) This time I used glitter marker and glossy accents for the horn. I'm adding this card to Simon Says Stamp's current Wednesday challenge, CUTE. 

Some of my sisters have devised quite original unicorns, so be sure to stop by the blog - and welcome our latest Queen of Snark and guest designer, Jenny! Break out those magical unicorns and come play along! 

Supplies: (unicorn farts) Neenah white cardstock, white glitter paper, holographic gradient printout from Creative Market, Essentials by Ellen Unicorns & Rainbows & Pure Magic & PinkFresh Studio Dream On stamps, Versafiine onyx black ink, Wow neutral ultra shimmer embossing powder, Memory Box Puffy Clouds & Sugar Pea Designs card front element builder dies, Copic markers, icicle & tiara Stickles, Wink of Stella clear glitter pen; (why fit in) Neenah white and assorted coloured cardstock, Paper Smooches Spectrum & Essentials by Ellen Pure Magic stamps, Versafine onyx black ink, Wow clear embossing powder, Copic Markers, Gelly Roll clear glitter pen, Glossy Accents, fun foam

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Friday, March 22, 2019

CAS Mixed Media


CAS Mix Up challenge is celebrating its third birthday, and I wanted to play along! Their definition of mixed media is just like mine - I always think if I've stretched myself to use a couple of different techniques, or colouring mediums, or the like, it's mixed media! :D 
The technique called for this month is faux stained glass, and here's mine: 

There are a few different faux stained glass methods suggested on the Mix Up blog, but I knew I wanted to use vellum and Copics. I started by stamping and embossing this gardenia stamp on vellum (embossed to make sure the ink would stay put) then coloured the flowers and leaves on the reverse side. Next I die cut the covering panel and adhered it so just a little of the stamped lines showed - in my brain, added a bit of leaded glass look. To keep everything CAS, I added three scored lines down the left side of the card before adhering the focal image. For just a hint of dimension, I added an extra layer of cardstock under the panel.
To sum up, my card includes: faux stained glass, stamping, die cutting, heat embossing, scoring and alcohol marker colouring. 
I'm also entering this in the The Flower Challenge #30, anything goes. 

I'm back bright and early tomorrow with the new Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers Challenge! 

Supplies: Papertrey Ink white cardstock, vellum, Neat & Tangled Gardenia Blooms stamp & die, Clearly Besotted Sweet Little Sentiments stamp, Versafine onyx black ink, Wow clear embossing powder, Copic markers, Studio Katia Pink Tourmaline crystals

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Saturday, March 16, 2019

Christmas Kickstart - with Hooves

A new challenge has started at Christmas Kickstart and the theme is "Moves on Hooves". My snarky sister and challenge host, Jo, may be surprised at how traditional I chose to go for this prompt: 

I have a feeling faceted stamps are no longer an *in* thing, but I like this reindeer too much to give him up. And I'd never thought of stamping him on black for a fancy silhouette, so here he is! A simple sponged snowscape and a peaceful sentiment was all I felt he needed - along with a thin black mat. It's amazing how much a simple layer of cardstock can add to an otherwise very CAS card. It refused to show up in the photographs, but along with the gold tinsel on the hooved guy, the sentiment twinkles with sparkly embossing powder. 

Supplies: Neenah white & Stampin' Up basic black cardstock, Essentials by Ellen Season to Sparkle stamps & die, Versamark, Versafine onyx black & milled lavender, faded jeans, blueprint sketch & chipped sapphire distress ink, gold tinsel & Hero Arts clear sparkle embossing powder

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dots and Stripes for a Birthday

All of a sudden, we're close to halfway through March! Time for another Seize the Birthday challenge, and our new topping is • Dots and ⁄ Stripes

Remember, our *toppings* are always optional - if you're not feeling in a dots and stripes mood, we love to see any birthday card. 
I don't normally mix dots and stripes - I think it's my upbringing :D - but in honour of the challenge, I did! 

I went floral to go with the dots and stripes, though to be honest, I sometimes hesitate to use them for Seize the Birthday, as my teammates are masters at using flowers! But I wanted to test-drive this new-to-me stamp set from Catherine Pooler - and yikes, the flowers have FOUR layers! Using reds might have been easier, but no, I decided I wanted purple. My first attempts came out way too dark, so I adapted and used the same light coloured ink for the first two layers, saving me from going super dark for the final one. Similarly, I just used two green inks for the three-layer leaves. I could probably have experimented all day with various ink combos. :D I almost cut a strip of polka dot paper to layer over the vertical stripes, but chose ribbon instead - the dots were a little more spaced and seemed to cause less eye buzzing. :P The card still seemed to need a little something, so a few clear sequins finished it off. The overall design is inspired by the current Freshly Made Sketches challenge. 

The design team has used our topping theme in all sorts of original ways - as has our newest surprise party guest, Tenia! You're sure to be inspired. 

Supplies: Neenah white cardstock, MFT Dots & Stripes neutral patterned paper, Catherine Pooler Rose Garden stamps & dies, Unity sentiment stamp, Versafine onyx black, Stampin' Up almost amethyst & lavender lace, wilted violet distress & Memento new sprout & bamboo leaves ink, Wow clear embossing powder, Sugar Pea Designs cardfront element builder die, May Arts ribbon, Pretty Pink Posh sparkling clear sequins

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

The Return of Tag You're It

My friend Tracey has brought back the Tag You're It challenge! It's been on hiatus for just over a year, but Tracey and her design team decided to bring it back. The current challenge, as you can see, is "The Luck of the Irish". Here's my contribution: 

On my own, I have approximately no St. Patrick's Day-themed supplies. I did at some point die cut several shamrocks at a friend's house, so that was my starting point for the base tag. I adhered three to a darker green tag, then stencilled some translucent embossing paste over the entire tag. While that dried, I die cut a rainbow from the top tag and coloured it with Copics. I also printed some vintage images from The Graphics Fairy, cut them out, added a little extra thickness with chipboard and added them to the ends of the rainbow.  

This tag will likely end up as the focal point on a card - I make one St. Patrick's Day card a year for friends that we get together with for dinner every March 17th, a fun tradition. In the meantime, I'm also adding this tag to the current Paper Players challenge, Colours of the Rainbow. 

Supplies: Neenah white, (?) green & Stampin' Up garden green cardstock, The Graphics Fairy vintage St. Patrick's Day images, CUTplorations manila tag, MFT rainbow, Paper Smooches Spring & Spellbinders circle dies, Stampers Anonymous/TIm Holtz burlap stencil, Dreamweaver translucent embossing paste, Copic markers, scrap ribbon

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Saturday, March 9, 2019

I've Got the Ombré Blues at the Sisterhood

Edna is looking lovely in teal ombré, and we want you to look good in ombré, too! The newest challenge at the Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers is O is for Ombré. Light to dark, dark to light, show us some colour fade on your card or other paper creation. I didn't have a complete plan in mind when I started my card, I just knew I want to play in blue. Here's what I ended up with:

I decided to use this new stencil to add an ombré element down the left side of my panel. So I had the ombré, but where to go from there? Browsing through my stamps, I decided that you can never go wrong with alcohol! I mean stamps and dies on that theme, of course. While the martini glass die has a coordinating stamp, I simply sponged a bit of cardstock with the same three inks and die cut the shape, as well as a few extras that I adhered together to add some dimension. I also spritzed it with some shimmer mist, since who wouldn't want a sparkly blue martini! Using the darkest blue, I stamped and embossed the sentiment. I also used the dark blue to ink the edges of my card base before offsetting the main panel on some fun foam to pop it up. 

My snarky sisters have so many different ways to interpret our challenge, you will have to check it out! We also have a new Queen of Snark and guest designer, Pip. Add some ombré and join us!

Supplies: Neenah white cardstock, MFT Martini Time stamps & dies, Versamark, tumbled glass, mermaid lagoon & chipped sapphire distress ink, Wow clear embossing powder, Carabelle Studio Mosaique stencil, Tsukineko clear sparkle shimmer spray, fun foam

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Friday, March 8, 2019

Triple Challenge Christmas Card

I had a chance to play with a few card challenges today! I wanted to play along with my good friend Jo's Christmas Kickstart challenge, and decided to combine it with two other challenges. Jo's challenge asks for bears, the current Jingle Belles challenge wants music, and I found a sketch to try on Just Add Ink. I'm not totally sure the trifecta was a good idea in the end, but here's my card: 

The bear part was easy! I knew I wanted to use one of the sweet bear images from a wooden stamp cube I've had approximately forever. While none of them are overtly musical, I thought this could easily have carols playing quietly in the background. :D I really liked the card sketch until it actually came to use it - so many layers for CAS me! I did the best I could with it. 
I'm back in the morning with the newest Sisterhood of Snarky Stampers challenge! 


Supplies: Neenah white cardstock, Ranger/Tim Holtz watercolour paper, Teresa Collins Santa's List patterned paper, Stamp Barn polar bear & Uniko Simply Said Blocks Christmas stamps, Versafine onyx black & Altenew sapphire inks, Hero Arts white satin pearl embossing powder, Zig markers, Tim Holtz/Ideo-ology tissue tape, scrap of wrapping paper

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

ABC Christmas Challenge: E, F and G

The first Wednesday of the month brings with it a new ABC Christmas Challenge, and this month we are offering THREE letters of the alphabet as themes for you. (So inconvenient, having only 12 months but 26 letters...) For March, we are offering for your inspiration E for Embellishments, F for Fabric and G for Glitz. Let's begin, shall we? My embellished card: 

My Christmas tree is stencilled with some green reinker mixed into embossing paste. Once it was dry, I masked it with a post-it note to preserve the snow on the branches and used a stencil brush to add the sky. After I added the sentiment and adhered the panel to a green card base, the fun part began - adding all the ornaments! This is a great confetti mix, and I could easily start buying it in bulk for Christmas cards. :D 
Next, a trio of cards with fabric: 

Some of my earliest Christmas cards and tags were made by tracing stencils onto cardstock, using an Xacto knife to cut the pieces out, then backing the panel with patterned Christmas fabric. So I returned to the idea, but thank goodness for dies! These could easily be made with patterned paper, but using fabric adds a softer look to the finished cards. 
Finally, my glitzy card: 

My glitz comes from the gold tinsel embossing powder used for the reindeer and sentiment, gold glitter crystals and a mat of gold foil paper. The black cardstock keeps everything elegant. I'm adding this last one to the March CAS Christmas challenge, where the theme is DEER. 
With three different prompts to choose from, you are bound to find a theme to inspire you - and of course for extra inspiration, be sure to check all the creations of the ABC team. Just think, if you follow all three themes separately, you'll have three more cards for the holiday stash! Or if you're like me, more... ;)

Supplies: (warm winter wishes) Canson watercolour paper, Craft Smith green card base, Stampin' Up Winter Memories sentiment stamp, Versamark, Ranger lily pad & chipped sapphire distress ink, Wow clear embossing powder, Dreamweaver glossy white embossing paste, Stampin' Up wild wasabi reinker, The Crafters Workshop mini evergreens stencil, Winnie & Walter Katharine cutaway die, Studio Katia Classic Christmas confetti, Little Things from Lucy's Cards gold dust star; (fabric trio) Neenah white, Stampin' Up real red, American Crafts textured dark red & (?) dark red cardstock, Papertrey Ink Think Big Favourites #8, Studio Katia Holiday Wishes & Hero Arts Rocket Thanks stamps, Versamark, Altenew sapphire & Brilliance galaxy gold ink, Wow clear & pirate's gold embossing powder,  Essentials by Ellen Geo Tree & Winnie & Walter In a Word: Merry & Katharine cutaway dies, fabric scraps; (joy) Stampin' Up basic black & $ store gold foil cardstock, Stampin' Up Dasher & Winnie & Walter In Bloom: Frenchie's Festive Florals stamps, Versamark ink, gold glitter embossing powder, MFT stitched rounded rectangle die, Studio Katia gold sparkle crystals

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