Monday, 26 June 2017

Beautiful Ballerina - Stunning Stamps

Hello! It's 'Dimension' challenge month over on the Visible Image facebook group, so I thought I would share a bit of 3D inspiration from earlier this year.
This is a special 3D project I created, using their stunning Born to Perform set and one of the fabulous MDF monoliths. Alongside the more obvious materials, I also used organza ribbon, gems, brads, heat resistant acetate and lashings of glitter!

I made the background on a piece of strong card, painted up with delicale pink chalk paints, and stencilled through to create a background. I was able then to wrap the ribbons top to bottom at each side and fasten them down on the back, before sticking the whole piece of card onto the monolith. 
I stamped the beautiful ballerina onto heat resistant acetate with Versamark, and embossed with a glittery black powder. I was able to draw in the lines of light with a white pen just to make them stand out a bit more. 
Careful positioning of the text, with added white highlights was followed by stamping, embossing and cutting a few stars, also from the same set - so useful for so many different ideas too.

If you're inspired to create a project using dimension in any way, or you haven't uploaded yet, click on the links to get to the facebook group to join in the challenge - fabulous prizes up for grabs!

And don't forget to add the following to your apps!

Happy Crafting
Nicky x

Pretty Papers and Summer Days - DCE Special English Country Garden

Come back summer, all is forgiven!

On my blog today are some of the cards I designed for the Die-Cutting Essentials special edition kit - English Country Garden, featuring a gorgeous die set, stamp set and embossing folder from Apple Blossom, alongside a stunning set of pretty summer papers in the prettiest of colours and patterns. 

Amongst the papers are toppers and images which can be used alongside the dies and embossing folder, of course, everything matches perfectly, which is what you would expect from a kit of this quality! 

Making these cards made me think of warm summer days, afternoon tea, a glass of cold lemonade - or a small white wine...!

Here is the cover card, which I designed using a bit of everything - and a LOT of some things, like the pretty flowers and butterflies! But it shows the versatility of the kit, there is so much you can do with the trellis die - here I extended it to fit the full height of the embossing folder. On this card, I embossed my white cardstock and then coloured the raised area with green ink to bring out the vines. Everything else just grew around it, my aim was to create a spread of summertime colour around the focal feature through the archway. Full instructions for this and all the other cards are, of course, in the magazine, I hope this taster whets your appetite!

This shows a simple way of using the trellis die to make a border. I only used two cuts and snipped them along the centre. The toppers and backing papers are delightful, this was a quick and easy make!
Another way to use the trellis die is to make white-on-white background panels with it - with a result that almost looks like embossing your cardstock with a trellis folder. Burt of course you control the pattern, the size and style.
The stamps that come with this set include this beautiful quote, and once stamped, I die-cut a simple oval and mounted it onto one of the long toppers that comes with the papers. Of course you can use the outer die from the trellis frame to cut your toppers, so everything is perfectly neat and professionally finished. and again - it's easy!
On this card I ran the leafy vine down the side of the card, just to break up the straight edges of the patterned paper. 

You will see from the cover of this magazine that there are MANY more papers, in so many different styles, and my tiny collection barely scratches the surface! I LOVED looking at all the other designers' work in there, so much inspiration, and I genuinely look forward to playing with the rest of the kit and having a go at some of the amazing ideas the ladies have come up with. 

It's in the shops now - I know because I've done a few little squeaks of excitement when I've seen it in Morrison's, WH Smith and Hobbycraft this last week. If you can't find it, you can order it directly from Moremags where you will also see their enormous range of craft titles, back issues and special kits. 

Happy Crafting!
Nicky x

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Exquisite envelopes and more...Sweet Nothings 2

Hello and today I'm sharing some samples made for the Sweet Nothings 2 launch for Tonic Studios.

This set consisted of
  • a gorgeous square envelope die with interchangeable corner insert panels
  • a little tag pocket and tag
  • the cutest mini envelope with pretty inset details to choose from
  • an ATC sized collector cards box with insert panels, which makes a stunning gift box too
These cards were all decorated using Craft Perfect cardstock. 

This card and envelope are very simply made using the envelope die and panels. They are quick and easy to put together - imagine a set of wedding stationery made in this style...! It would be amazing. The cut-away detail on the envelope really shows through when the card is inside. The colour possibilities are endless!

I played with the corner panel and made up a square for this cute good luck card. The Mini Moments sentiments are perfect for embellishing the little envelope which has a secret message inside! The envelope fits perfectly, and can be lifted out and opened, within the horseshoe from the Lucky Horseshoe set.
Still playing with corners....I went bright and made up a trio of trafic light coloured triangles. I love the masculine cut of this die, and aimed to create a contemporary congratulations card - for a driving test this would be perfect!

I always look at paneled dies and see what else can be done with them. I loved the floral arrangement on this one and cut it three times across the bottom of this card, to make a zig-zag panel. Really easy!
I love touchy-feely cards where you have to look for the message so I created the tag and pocket. and die-cut a special message to put on the tag. 

The ATC dies were such a hit when they were launched a few months ago. It was a complete treat for us to get the box to be able to make and store them in, and again, such a quick and easy piece to put together. I made a couple of matching ATCs to co-ordinate with the box. I used the square from the tiny envelope to decorate the front of the box and the letters were cut from the Postal alphabet die set.

I made this envelope and tag card out of white Craft Perfect, Blushing Pink Satin Craft Perfect card, and some pretty papers I found in my stash. Another touchy-feely card, I created the envelope and stuck it on the front of the card, and assembled the tag and pocket with matching colours and popped it in the envelope, with room for a special message for the recipient. Again, Mini Moments sentiments are perfect for small spaces, and I think the 'for you' finishes off the card just right. 

I hope you enjoyed my little tour of my samples. Please check out the Tonic Studios Pinterest boards for the rest of the Design Team's incredible inspiration using these dies - they are fabulous! Also you can visit their blogs, either through the Tonic Studios facebook page or click on the design team at the top of my blog to see what they have been up to! 

Happy Crafting
Nicky x

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Win and Tonic June Challenge

Here's my challenge inspiration for June - a bit of fiery Tonic Orange!

Do you recognise the stamps? Delicate Detail from not long ago, on this card I used the Henna Flourish Stamp Set.

I used the AMAZING Tonic/Tim Holtz Stamping platform to allow me to position my stamps accurately and stamp with confidence. I have been a stamper for over ten years but I have to say - this stamping platform - game changer!!!

I've gone for the 'colour' part of the theme this month - here are your choices for June below:

Colour - hot colours - in the hope that summer will be arriving!! So reds, yellows, oranges, hot pinks, etc. You can use other colours as well, just as long as there is a hot colour included as well.

Technique - anything goes for the technique

Product – any flower dies or punches

Theme – a card for a girlie or lady

So don't forget to join in the challenge. As usual, fab priizes up for grabs over on the Win and Tonic blog page You can enter this month's Win and Tonic with a chance to win a fabulous prize donated by Tonic Studios themselves, by clicking on the link here. Don't forget to check out the amazing ideas of the design team, always stunning! 

Happy crafting
Nicky x

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Dare to Swim with Visible Image

I'd like to share a special project that I did for Visible Image using their beautiful Dare to Swim stamps. It was a very special undertaking, as part of the design team, to produce three pieces for Creative Stamping Magazine to show the variety of what could be achieved with one design. 

My background colours were achieved through mixing and adding water to Distress Crayons, and the design started off life like this:
Hard to believe - but the way that you can get the crayons to work for you with a bit of water - they are amazing!

I focused on depth, and researched what water looked like from beneath the surface. With strokes of white pen to show the rays of light shining through the water I think I achieved this

Once my background was very dry and I had added some shoals of fish and blue seaweed, I rubbed it with an anti-static bag and stamped and embossed the jellyfish in white. I used the same white marker pen and a paintbrush to soften the ink strokes to add a touch of translucency to the jellyfish before sealing them with glossy accents and a tiny sprinkle of glitter. 
Mark's cleverly designed bubbles and shoals of fish added that final bit of depth to the image, and I split the text of the sentiment into two parts, changing from black to white too, to show, hopefully, how dark it is down there!

I mounted my image on a matching background, created using the same principle of blending the crayons and adding some stamped images. Edge to edge water.
Full details of this card and the two other creations by our amazing Pauline and Teresa are in Creative Stamping magazine, Issue 43, if you were lucky enough to get a copy!

To buy this amazing set of stamps, unrivaled both in detail and size, click here and start swimming!

Don't miss out on all the beautiful creations and ideas, check out Visible Image's facebook pages, accessible via the following links:

And don't forget to add the following to your apps!

Happy Crafting
Nicky x

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Spell it out - Tonic Studios new launch

Hello I'd like to share some inspiration for the new Tonic studios launch of Alphabet and frame stamps, on Hochanda this weekend with Paula Pascual
Two sets of alphabets and number stamps, one plain, one cursive, and a set of matching frame stamps which fit individual letters, or, as you might see from the inspiration on the show, fit all sorts of interesting things in them...
One pretty little wall-hanging I made featured the word HAPPY stamped individually into frames. Using the recent DL Layering dies as a background, you could put childrens' names, sweet words or whatever you fancy into a frame like this. I built up the edge frames to make it look a bit more authentic and used sequins to bling it up a little!

Whilst I was feeling creative, I found an MDF heart which I simply covered in paper and inked up a little. I mixed and matched frames, stamping and heat embossing on different colours, then added my letters and a few flowers to finish

For this card I decided to make a little frame wall, using flowers instead. I found some woodgrain paper which I stamped on and cut out to make my frames, and again the possibilities for names and special words are endless!

A contemporary new home card, with the house number in a frame

I was just playing with numbers, having them tumbling everywhere. It made a fun bright background for a quick and easy A6 notelet style card to send to a friend. 
Enjoy Paula's shows this weekend and remember they can be viewed on catch up for 7 days. I have had a sneaky peak at the rest of the design team's work and I KNOW it's going to be a creative show - I can't wait to watch them all myself!

Until they are on general sale, products from these shows can be bought on Hochanda
Happy Crafting

Nicky x

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Time for Visible Image

I'm so excited to share my first make with the amazing new release from Visible Image, Somewhere in Time. Released on 9th June, Helen and Mark are taking advance orders now over on their website and will be sharing their brand new releases and inspiration on Create and Craft on the very same day! it's going to be an awesome weekend!

For this 7x5" card I started with an A6 piece of white, stamped the smashed pocket watch and then masked off the whole thing with Pebeo Drawing Gum. Once I had allowed this to dry I went crazy with colour - Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade and Carved Punpkin, adding detail to the background and some coiled springs in black to the foreground. Then I simply rubbed off the gum and added a hint of colour to the workings behind the watch face.

I also prepared the base card too, but only the inch around the edge, as once the design is mounted, that's all there is to see!  
The designs and words in this set are amazing, I am going to investigate more with different phrases, as there are so many ways to work with them, and indeed the other two sets which are out very soon too! Get your orders in as new Visible Image releases are notoriously popular and have sold out time and again on Create and Craft!

Don't miss out on all the beautiful creations and ideas, check out Visible Image's facebook pages, accessible via the following links:

And don't forget to add the following to your apps!

Happy Crafting
Nicky x

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Head in the clouds...

Tonic Studios new launch this week, of the gorgeous acetate bubbles and matching dies, along with an amazing set of cloud dies, really got me thinking. With these cards below I will explain all the different ways I worked with the clouds to get different effects. As well as the four different shapes of bubbles, you get these gorgeous stamps and dies to expand their crafty potential. The clouds are there as a stamp set and a die set, so they are super versatile, and here's how I made the best of them...

1. As a mask

I simply die-cut a few clouds and laid them over a piece of mixed media card. i chose this card as it is very absorbent when i'm using water, and in this case, I added two or three drops of Azure Blue Nuvo Aqua Flow to one of my spritzing bottles, and sprayed a blue mist over them. 

Once dry I cut a piece of paper into a wavy hillside and did the same with a few drops of  Evergreen Fern. It's a really simple technique, the bottle washes clean afterwards. However, that left me with some delicately spritzed die-cut clouds...

2. Clouds at night!
Do you recognise the clouds? They are the spritzed waste from the previous card! 
the background for this card was achieved also with Nuvo Aqua Flows, applying with acetate and mixing and blending to get a dark colour palette. Once dry I stamped stars onto them with the Nuvo Clear Mark ink pad and embossed with Nuvo Glacier White embossing powder. 

The stars in my bubble are simply me making use of my gazillion small punches! That way, you can theme your confetti to the colour scheme you wish. 

3. A Mask with a different technique

I wanted to try this balloon idea, I'd seen examples of it but I had never made one before. If you cut multiples of the same symmetrical shape and fold in half, you get the fan effect, and it's so easy, again. But for the clouds on this one I held my little masks in position and used a blending tool and Distress Oxide to lightly apply a blue sky around them.

The hearts and balloons in the stamp set are beyond cute: a swish with a white marker pen, I use a Posca 0.9mm pen which I found in Hobbycraft, for this.

4. Wash the clouds away...
This was real creative fun. if you're into distress oxides, like me, you will be discovering all sorts of magic with them! 
Here I inked all over my card to make a sky, using three different shades, then I dried it and wiped it even drier with my little anti-static bag, before stamping the clouds and embossing with the white Nuvo powder, as above. 

The fun started then when I took a water brush and started washing the colour away from each cloud, blotting with kitchen roll as I went along. With the colour lifted, yet still there, it created, I hope, an ethereal translucency to the clouds, which I think then perfectly complements the focal image of the card.
A nod to the stars in the bubble - I bought those when I first started crafting properly, about 14 years ago. I knew I had them somewhere at the bottom of a box and it was a trip down memory lane and through yearsof collecting bits and bobs, to find them!

5. Cotton clouds (or felt, to be precise)
I am not allowed to name the individual in this picture, he's one of mine, but it was a while ago, so I am allowed to use it! However I did think what a fabulous idea for really personalising these bubbles! The background for this card is just a blend of Distress Oxide, and I can't help myself splashing a bit of water over it to break up the colour and add a bit of fun!. 

For these clouds, I used the only bit of felt I still have, and backed it with a double sided sheet of sticky paper. It was the easiest thing in the world to die-cut, and I had instant fluffy clouds, which were simple to stick down too, I just peeled the backing off. 

That concludes my little tour of the clouds!

Currently availavle on a Hochanda exclusive, these dies, bubbles and stamps will be on sale through all the usual retailers very soon, and I hope that these little cards have inspired you to have a play with them too.

Please leave a comment if you have enjoyed my post, it's always lovely to know people are looking! 

Happy Crafting. I'm off to enjoy the cloudless sky (for once!) 


Saturday, 20 May 2017

Live Life Now

Hello, and happy weekend! For my Visible Image blog post today I thought I would revisit a favourite of mine, but with a new twist... This Live Life Now set has the most enchanting inky butterfly, and it also now has a cluster of tiny ones to compliment the design. So I set myself a challenge of making them work together - hardly a challenge really - they were made for each other!

I wanted to do a simple piece of work this time, or at least, one that looked simple! It is sometimes hard for me to keep a light touch. Here on the Design Team, we all have our own styles, and we embrace our differences, and together showcase a huge range of styles of work. But all of us seek to learn, to add new twists, and to sometimes take ourselves out of our comfort zones. My fear is....white space. Seriously! Where others can make clean and simple cards, with delicate brushstrokes or touches, I seek out colour, depth, vibrancy. I LOVE pastels and pale but I need a stop sign in my head if I am to achieve the kind of results I desire without laying the colour down too thick!

So I tried!
With the help of

  • Tim Holtz Distress Crayons Set 5 (Pastels)
  • a delicate diamond patterned stencil
  • Visible Image Live Life Now stamps
  • Nuvo Clear Mark ink pad
  • Silver glitter embossing powder
  • Broken China Distress Oxide
  • Clear embossing powder
  • Baby wipes
  • a water spritzer
  • Mixed Media cardstock
To make my background I lightly spritzed the card and scribbled bursts of pastel colour around, but I didn't go right up to the edge. I then laid the stencil over and, with a baby wipe, wiped all the colour off. This left the lovely soft harlequin pattern, which I then left to dry.

Once dry, I stamped my feature butterfly in clear embossing ink and added silver glitter powder. I did the same for the tiny butterflies and heat set everything. 

For the sentiment, I stamped in Distress Oxide, but as it looked a bit damp, I sealed it with clear embossing powder, a great technique for keeping your inking where you want it to be! It also adds a beautiful glossy sheen to your work. 

To finish, I matted and layered the piece onto a top folding A5 card. I don't often 'go big' with Visible Image pieces, but I think that in order to show the space, and imply movement, you have to allow for space. And that is how the white on this card managed to remain white!

If you love Visible Image as much as I do stop by their page and join in this month's challenge - 'Express Yourself' where anyone can enter a card or project using any of the many quotes that they have made so beautifully into stamps! 

Click on the links below to get to the following pages!

Shop Blog Facebook Group where you can enter the new 'Express Yourself’ challenge! Facebook PAGE exciting giveaways every week!

Happy crafting! 
Nicky x

Monday, 15 May 2017

Win and Tonic May 2017

 My inspiration for the Win and Tonic May challenge is this framed project I made using five different Nuvo products, and my favourite little muse, Martha Cockapoo. 
I put all of the browns and coppers together and they looked like this:
I used Nuvo Mousse and the Hot Chocolate (what a name!) embossing powder on the 'Love is' which comes from the Mandala Moments stamp and die sets.
I also turned the mousse into a paint and sketchily painted in the detail on my heatrs, embossed with the Hot Chocolate again, and finished off with the Dark Walnut Crystal Drops.
I used some Chestnut Brown Nuvo Pure Sheen glitter on some die-cut 3D double-sided foam to make quick and easy embellishments too. My hearts are all Tonic Studios, layering hearts. As you can see, the colours matched the subject of the project very well! 

You can enter this month's Win and Tonic with a chance to win a fabulous prize donated by Tonic Studios themselves, by clicking on the link here. Don't forget to check out the amazing ideas of the design team, always stunning! 

Happy crafting
Nicky x