Monday, 30 January 2017

Hot off the Press! Congratulations Tonic Studios!

I am so excited to have my work featured in the brand new, and first ever Tonic Design Collection Magazine. An honour and a privilege to see my designs in there along some, quite simply, amazing and inspiring crafters, some of whom I'm lucky to call my friends. 

I was asked last year to design and write up for three Congratulations cards, and I'm going to share the first one here. A top folding shaker card, I built up my frames using the Ribbon and Bow layering die set, white and raspberry Craft Perfect card, and the printed papers that came with the kit. I then made a front panel with a heart aperture, which I filled with sequins and sealed. Full step-by-step instructions are in the magazine along with my two other cards...maybe I might share again soon...

 I have to say, at £12.99, with the die, the embossing folders, the stamps AND a full set of papers and co-ordinating Craft Perfect's excellent value! 
It's a definite NEED for any fan of die-cutting, and indeed any fan of Tonic Studios!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

New Release! Visible Image - Born to Perform

Oh. My. Goodness.

When something comes along that just takes your breath away...

This image of the ballerina, from the Born To Perform set of stamps by Visible Image, is truly the most beautiful image of a dancer I have ever seen. I have sought an image like this, and then Mark delivered, without even knowing how high up on my wishlist this was! 

With the brand new February 2017 release of some ground breaking new stamps, this set, Born to Perform, delivers style and potential in bucket-fulls. I chose to keep my first card simple,to showcase the beautiful ballerina, so here it is...
If you know anything of my style, you will understand (and sympathize) how hard it was for me to achieve this effect. I needed to keep the white space but my, it was a challenge that I enjoyed!

To get the background effect I took three of the new Nuvo Aqua flow pens, in Aqua Splash, Indigo Dawn, and Spiced Ginger. One by one I dropped liquid from each pen onto a large acrylic block and pressed it onto watercolour card, drying with a heat gun between each press.

Two colours:
Preparing to add third colour:

If you don't dry between colours, they can merge and go murky. It's a slow process but SO worth it to get the optimum result! And you can add more colour if you feel it needs it. 

I then stamped the dancer in purple pigment ink, which remained wet long enough to be able to add glitter purple embossing powder, and which I then heated with my heat tool.
You can see here that I then got a little splatty, mixing a couple of drops of ink with water, in my palette, and flicking the brush over the watercolour card. Again, dry with a heatgun if you can. I also dotted around my image with an embossing pen and sprinkled the purple glitter powder over it, just to match the splash of the tutu! 

The final touches were to add the key words, and then some super tiny gems in toned colours. I hope they add a little movement and flow to the project. 

If you want to see more of Visible Image's new releases for 2017 then click here to see their website

The next few weeks are going to be terribly exciting as Helen, Mark and the Design Team showcase all the new stamps from the February release, so be sure not to miss out by liking and following their facebook pages, accessible via the following links:

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

I'm off back to my creating, I look forward to sharing something else from the new release very soon. 

Happy crafting!

Monday, 23 January 2017

Floral Chalkboard - Craftwork Cards

I'd like to share a little about the beautiful new collection from Craftwork Cards, released just today.
What a pleasure - working with pretty things is just a pure joy, so let me talk you through some of the cards I've made...

The kit is available through both Create and Craft and Craftwork Cards' own shop, in a slightly different form, but whichever you choose, you get a whole lot of loveliness, starting with the fabulous A4 Book of papers, with 8 designs, so lots to choose from!

1. The A4 pad means that you can cover your A5 card blank top to bottom:
The circular toppers and sentiments barely need an introduction; here I've used two, and a nice simple lacy circle die to mount them on. A lilac ribbon and bow and the card is complete.

2. Try it a different way:
The background is the bottom 7.5 cms of a sheet from the pad
The 'Have a lovely day' is a chopped up sentiment from one of the circle toppers. A couple of extra diecut flowers curled and arranged in the right places

3. Turn a narrow card upright!
I added a tiny border round the paper to match the white circle that I layered behind the topper. The bows!!! I love the bows in this kit.

4. Round edged card blanks
Craftwork Cards are bringing out all sorts of card shapes, and this, although simple, just adds a little something to the presentation of your card. I do have a corner rounder punch of my own so I took advantage of it and rounded my backing paper to match. I made a lacy lilac ribbon background to lift the topper, but everything else came from the kit - so much to choose from!

5. A Brainwave!
I wanted to do something patchworky, but I didn't want to cover the whole card in squares, so I made eight, and then had a think about which eight letter word might fit in the gaps.....errrrr??? Why 'BIRTHDAY' of course! It was, literally, a lightbulb moment. The letters come from one of the sheets, all little banners with the alphabet on, perfect for personalising your greeting.

6. Challenge: No black
One lilac topper, one lilac sentiment, one square of the lilac background paper, which I stamped on, just because I felt like it. Matching ribbon to finish, but alas, I had no lilac liquid pearls so I brought in the pink and white to finish off. 

7. More card shapes
I kept it simple by layering square on square here, over a blank card coloured with lilac Pan Pastel. A couple of extra embellishments, cut out from the toppers, and a lot of Stickles!

8. It got wacky!
I started edging with Picked Raspberry, and just kept going. The fun was in repainting the little birdhouse in pink too, using a waterbrush. I love folded butterflies, Julie said she was going to demonstrate them on the Tuesday show so look out for that one.

9.More shapes

Such a pretty die-cut card, and again I didn't want to over complicate things, so I selected the right circle die and made eight. You'll see, this also covers over the fold where two of the petals are cut off by the crease. It has to be that way but this restores the balance, in my eyes.

10. One more...
The beautiful minty green paper can't be ignored, and it complements the other patterns perfectly. I just added crystal Stickles to the dots, and had fun making a circle of pearl dots around the central circle topper.

11. And finally...(It goes up to 11. One louder than ten!) My favourite!
I do love an aperture. this card is only about 5x5 inches, but it's just so easy to decorate with a chopped up circle topper and some snipped sentiments. Flowers and voila!

So that concludes my tour of the cards I created for the show, I hope they inspire, please feel free to take my ideas and run with them - that's why I share these makes.

I have one more make to share - be sure to follow my blog or subscribe to email alerts so that you can see when the blog pops's a little project I've made with the papers, and it was a whole lot of fun!

Until then, happy crafting!
Nicky xx

Monday, 16 January 2017

Stamping fun with Pampered Pets - Craftwork Cards

Hello and today I'm going to share some of the stamped cards I prepared for the launch of Craftwork Cards' new Pampered Pets Collection, which came with two superb little stamp sets, and I was lucky enough to play with the dogs one. 

The very first card I made, I looked at the little faces of one of the cuties and made myself some 3.5cm squares. The photo tells the story... all I did to finish off was select three Nuvo Aqua Flow pens and a water brush, and I coloured in the backgrounds in a shades of watery pastels.

Continuing on the theme, I wanted to do a brighter version, and I also mixed up my pooches. I coloured the backgrounds using 'neat' Nuvo Aqua flows, therefore getting a stronger colour. Funky! 

Time for a bit of colouring - but just the feature dog. Can you tell I love my Aqua Flows...they are my go-to colouring medium at the moment! 

Getting brighter now. Nuvo Aqua Markers again to make a multicoloured background, but first I made a heart template out of paper and went round it using my little bone stamp. I then added the colour round it with my waterbrush. The doggies in the middle take moments to colour in, they are very simple, and a drop of colour and a touch of shading are all that's needed. 

Inspired by three cockapoos we know, I used two colours of distress ink to make a background, and made this 'reverse' easel by folding the top part of the card out, rather than in. The three little bones on the base hold the easel up easel-y!!! I used florescent ink to make the little jackets look authentic!

As I said, colouring in the dogs doesn't have to be difficult - this one took about 20 seconds, a spot of beige on the face! I've used the new Craftwork Cards Reveal-Its for the backgrounds, coloured with a combination of red and pink distress inks.

And finally... sharing the love with a heart-shaped die, and some heart-shaped reveal-its too - the colouring in is negligible, but the cuteness overload from these little characters is immense! 

TOP TIP! Notice that on the dogs' eyes that I've painted, I have added a tiny dot of white Sakura Gelly Roll pen, it makes their eyes twinkle and come alive. 

I'm so looking forward to seeing what you crafters come up with, with your stamps and paper sets. You can see eveything that's available at Craftwork Cards.

Have a woof-erly time!

Nicky x

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Win and Tonic - January Challenge

Here's a card I made for the January Challenge, using the THEME - Love and Marriage, and also the technique of LAYERING!
It was a personal challenge to myself to go almost white on white - ok, so it's cream on white, but as a colourful crafter, I wanted to do something a bit different this time. 

Here is a description of what I did and what I used:
  • Tonic Craft Perfect card on Cream and White 
  • 15x15cm card blank
  • Twisting Veranda Dies
  • Miniature Moments Congratulations die
  • Rococo Lucky Horseshoe (bow) and Birthday Bundle (bunting)
  • Tonic Miniature Moments Wedding die
  • Nuvo Crystal Drops Buttermilk
  • Nuvo Glitter drops - White Blizzard

1. I first added a spine to my card by scoring 2cm to the right of the centre fold and removing a 2cm strip from the left hand side of the card. When folded, you then have a matching front and back, and it allows you to decorate the spine - in this case with a diecut Congratulations. I did this as I knew my layers were going to be quite deep within the aperture and I was then able to enjoy building them up, and also the card stands very nicely, like a slightly open book.

2. I die cut an aperture on the front of the card using the Twisting Veranda, then diecut the leafy detail too.

3.I cut a frame the same size as the aperture from the cream card and die cut the leafy detail. I glued the cream frame into position over white frame on the card front.

4. I added bunting and a bow in the matching colours and stuck the ‘Congratulations’ onto white spine of the card. I added two roses from the Wedding die, cut in cream, to the bottom of the front of the card.

5. I decorated the inside of the card 

I diecut a white base, a detailed cream panel to match the front of the card, and another whole white layer, and attached them with sticky foam pads to build up height. A cream diecut of the wedding 'wreath'  completed the layering.

6. I completed the card by adding Nuvo drops where I could, enhancing the Twisting Veranda frames, the bunting, and then some random dots to contrast against the white of the base card.

I hope this card inspires you to join us over on this month's Win and Tonic Challenge on the blog. Click here to pop across for more DT inspiration and to join in with a chance of winning a fabulous prize from Tonic Studios!

Happy Crafting!
Nicky x

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Dare to be Different - Visible Image

My first Visible Image blog post of the year using this incredible set of stamps:

Here is the card I made:
Now let me tell you about the fun I had making it!

Firstly I prepared my background with my newest box of incredible set of Kuretake watercolours, sent to me by a very dear friend. Oh my goodness, the vibrancy in these, I spent a whole evening just playing and making backgrounds by swooshing card over spritzed colour washes and allowing the paint to flow across the was heavenly! 

So when I selected my background for this, fortunately, it was very dry and this enabled me to stamp first the lips, for position and to get the edgy splatty detail, I stamped with clear Versamark and used Cherry Red embossing powder which I then set with my heat gun. I also inked up the top of the sentiment stamp and used white embossing powder, which really stands out, then positioned the word 'lipstick' off-centre beneath the lips, as I had a plan for the lipstick.

However to get a really clean impression, and to get the teeth white, I stamped again onto white card. 

The mouth : red embossing powder then I coloured over the 'open' part with an embossing pen, applying black powder, to create the depth. 

The lipstick: Clear Versamark and careful application of Cherry red over the lipstick, then black embossing powder over the case.

The actual slick of lipstick stamp that comes with the set is just so cool, so I used it under the word. This close-up shot also shows how I created a bit of interest on the background by splatting a bit of watery white acrylic paint. 

I stamped the OXOs with purple distress ink so that it wouldn't detract from the focal images, and I hope that it frames it all well.

Last thing - Lip gloss! Well, glossy accents in all the right places, but mmm mmm, luscious lips!!

You can find this stamp set on Visible Image's own website by clicking here.
Check out the rest of the Visible Image blog here
The facebook group with the monthly show and tell challenge can be found here
And the facebook page for Visible Image with brilliant weekly giveaways can be found here

Don't forget to check us out on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.... Pinterest Twitter Instagram

Happy Creating

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Pampered Pets? Craftwork Cards and I know all about that!

Hooray for the first new Craftwork Cards Launch of 2017 - The Pampered Pets Collection. I have been so excited about this one since we first discussed the concept among our Design Team in July last year, and at last, the product goes out LIVE on Create and Craft today, Thursday 12th January. 

Included in the collection are delightful double sided papers in an 8 x 8 inch pad, as modeled beautifully by the lovely Martha.
I did some wrapping of the papers round a pencil and made straws, which I cut down to 4cm long each (so I got 5 pieces out of each straw I made.) The double sided papers gave me lots of patterns and colours to choose from. 

 Then I lined them up and stuck them down onto a 7x7 inch piece of grey board, with our family favourite picture of Martha Cockapoo in the middle. 

The extra embellishments were created using the fabulous stamps designed in-house by Chloe, which you can get with the collection, there is one set of cats and one of dogs, and I 'cockapooed' the cute fluffy one to make our little lady. 

This is a pop-up card I created with the papers from the Pampered Pets Collection Kit, and a few favourite stamps too.

 The die-cut embellishments with cats and dogs, again, beautifully illustrated by Chloe from Craftwork Cards, are perfect for popping straight out and onto cards, but I cut round this happy duo and had a bit of a play. 
You can see from this picture above that I created a middle section for the inside of the card, by scoring two matching pieces and sticking them together. This guaranteed that my little kennel shape, which I cut out myself, would stand upright when the card was fully open, and I simply decorated round it. 

I used a lovely tree from the Craftwork Cards Mulberry Tree stamping set, and something rather cute for the leaves...can you see?

I made a little 2cm deep pop-up mount for my doggies, to bring them forward from the kennel, as you can see in this next picture:

(I added a spot of velcro to attach the kennel to the back of the card, and if you pull it open that's where a message can be written!)

 So the whole card from the front, with the trees up, looks like this:
But when you close it, and seal it with a little wrap made from one of the borders and sentiment toppers from the kit, you get this:

and it all fits in a C6 envelope!

There are oodles of papers, toppers and sentiment toppers to play with in the kit, and I shall share more over the next few days. 
The shows are on Create and Craft at 9am and 1pm Thursday 12th January, so don't miss them, or find them on their 'catch up' for 7 days. There will be an abundance of cuteness, that's for sure!!

Happy Crafting