6 Dec 2015

Stippling (for card makers)

Some artists make fantastic pieces using a stippling, or pointillist technique, but its tricky to master and very tough on the hands.

Stippling (n) Def:  the creation of a pattern simulating varying degrees of solidity or shading by using small dots. Such a pattern may occur in nature and these effects are frequently emulated by artists.

The process of stippling is made far simpler with the use of a stippling pen (aka a Dots Pen). I had a lot of fun trying out the CuttleLola Pen from Creative Products Distribution. Check out some the images in these Facebook Pages using the pen to stipple metal and other materials.

The pen comes in it own presentation box.

Together with instructions, spare ink refills and USB charging lead.

I tentatively tried it out with a greetings card with a cute stamped image from Sugar Pea Designs called Hot Diggity Dog.

My little dog's fleas hardly match up with the work of the artists I've linked to, but I think it shows that the 'amateur' can pick up the pen and use it right away too!

Hope you like my finished card!

Oh, and if you're reading this on December 6th or 7th 2015, you can watch the pen in action in the UK on Hochanda TV crafting channel.

18 Nov 2015

What to do with those Charity coasters

What do YOU do with those charity coasters that arrive in the mail (after you've sent a donation, of course)?

I've been saving mine as I was sure that they'd come in useful at some point. Today I decided that I'd just upgrade, or up-cycle them a little using the laminating cartridge in my Xyron machine.



I used some thin silver paper as a background and cut the Christmas Tree Split SVG file from Sanqunetti Design from gold and white sign vinyl. Then I layered them on the transfer paper and  burnished the cutouts onto the paper. I put the paper through the Xyron, peeled off the backing and burnished it onto the coaster.

DA DAH! Personalised coasters.

Leave a message below if you have any questions.

24 Oct 2015

Introducing Sanqunetti Design - new SVG Shop!

I've discovered a new designer of SVG Cutting Files for the Silhouette Cameo, or other cutting machines; Judy at Sanqunetti Design!

Here are some shaker cards I made with her super cute Christmas Monogram SVG files. 

All they needed was the addition of a card base and and extra hole for the shaker portion. Let me know if you'd like a tutorial.

Oh, and I should declare an interest - I've been selected to be a tester for their SVG Files! Can't wait to see what I'll be working on next week.

28 Sep 2015

Class: Watercolor for Cardmakers

The Watercolor for Card Makers Class covers many different watercolour techniques in several different mediums. On day1 Jennifer McGuire demonstrated how to watercolour with Tim Holtz Distress Ink markers.

Here is my practice piece, stamped in versamark ink, heat embossed with gold embossing powder and coloured with the distress markers, paint brush and lots of water.

Here is the card I made with it, layered on a white square edged with gold embossing and a piece of pale mauve card with stripes of clear heat embossing.

I think I'm going to enjoy this class (provided I find the time)!

You Gnome Me So Well by My Favorite Things 



20 Sep 2015

Wedding Card with Docrafts Wedding Ever After range

Using items from Docrafts Wedding Ever After products I made this folding box card for a very special couple who are getting married next week. 

Their cat featured on their invitations so had to be included on the card. A London cityscape is added around the base of the card.

I love that these cards provide lots of dimension yet fold flat to go into a conventional envelope.

I used the softly patterned paper from the 6x6 Paper Inserts pack to make a back panel for the greeting and to partially line the envelope.

Docrafts Wedding Ever After 6 x 6 Inserts

contoured back panel

assembled card showing back panel

The heavier weight of the paper chains was ideal to make the side panels and the decorative hearts.

Docrafts Wedding Ever After Paper Chains

folded cardstock and gold vinyl hearts

cardstock contoured side panels


#57460  Skyline Borders by Sweet Afton Studio
#54842 Valentines Cats by Megan Hardy Designs Studio
#79504 Mr & Mrs Phrase by Miss Kate Cuttables Studio/PNG/SVG/JPG
Folding Box File - my own design

Items used:
Docrafts Wedding Ever After 6 x 6 inserts and paper chains
Beacon 3-in-1 Craft Glue CPD/AmazonUk/AmazonUSA
Thick Parchment paper
Gold Adhesive Vinyl
Clear Acetate

27 Aug 2015

Online Card Classes BACKGROUND CHECK

Background Check - Day 1

It turns out to be yet another fantastic class from Online Card Classes

Ink blending with Distress Inks and an ink blending tool seems easy to do, but not so easy to do WELL. It's harder than it looks - and messy too!

A stamped water reaction using a large background stamp and a mixture of water and mica powder adds interest (and shine) to the piece. 

Stamping the image again from the ink lifted from the stamped piece further extends the mica mixture.

26 Aug 2015

Using Non Hotfix Preciosa Crystals

The lovely folks at Crystal Parade have sent me some crystals to play with!  

My first project was this framed friendship gift made with the addition of black flocked heat transfer vinyl, a brush stroke font, a Samantha Walker cutting file and my Silhouette Cameo.

I'll cover how to make the flocked part in a separate post. The file required some minor editing before being ready to iron on to the backing fabric (I used a heat press).

The gems are a Crystal Parade mixed pack of rainbow crystals. They are so pretty with a bright sparkle that is difficult to capture, but beautiful to look at.

Being non-hotfix means that they need to be adhered to projects with glue and I used Beacon's Gem-tac glue, a precision glue syringe with a pink tip, and a jewel setter.

The syringe was easy to fill and very (very) precise. I followed directions from a couple of YouTube videos on how to do it to exclude air bubbles. I practiced a few times first, but really needn't have bothered.

A gentle pressure on the plunger delivers a precise amount of glue just where you need it (and more importantly, NOT where you DON'T). 

The crystals, which are 3mm in diameter (SS10) are best picked up with a tool like the jewel setter. It has a waxy end which you manipulate into a point with your fingers. This helps avoid touching the flat side of the crystals which can transfer oils from your skin and make the gems less likely to stick firmly first time.

The trick to keeping your project free from excess glue is to use a small amount of glue and apply minimal pressure, otherwise the glue is pressed to the edges of the gem and none remains underneath to adhere it.

At the risk of sounding smug, I was pretty pleased with how this project turned out. Using a glue syringe might seem like a daunting prospect, but it turned out to be enjoyable and straightforward. More so than my photographic efforts, but that's a post for another day!


#4836 Flower Scalloped Circle Simplified by Samantha Walker Studio/PNG/SVG
#41433 3d Lori Whitlock Easel Studio/PNG/SVG

Black Jack by Typadelic on dafont


Crystal Parade Rainbow mixed pack of crystals
Beadsmith Jewel Setter
Precision Glue Syringe with pink tip
Beacon Gem-tac CPD/AmazonUk/AmazonUSA
Black Flock HTV Prem-flock from MDP Supplies

5 Aug 2015

Docrafts Decoupage - First Steps

I was lucky to receive some samples from Docrafts to blog about recently; a case of right time, right place. However, I was expecting some ready-made toppers, but turns out my mystery envelope contained a generous selection of decoupage kits. I have NEVER done decoupage before, so was slightly intimidated.

Well, I'm no expert at decoupage, but I'm better at Internet searching, so off I went to find some instructions. I discovered some great resources at Docrafts.Com. This video in particular had lots of useful tips on how to use them. Regretfully, I'd attempted to put one of the foiled decoupage toppers together PRIOR to watching the video, and quickly realised the error of my ways once I'd watched it.

I thought it might be useful if I shared some of things I wouldn't do next time.
  • Use really thick dimensional pads (my finished topper was WAY too dimensional)!
  • Use quick grab pads (mine were cheapie ones from The Works and their use resulted in removing a portion of the foiling!).
  • Add dimension to ALL the layers (it was VERY thick).
  • Feel duty-bound to use ALL the layers.
Quick grab dimensional pads resulted in spoiling some of the foiling
 What I WOULD do, is:

  • Add shape to the decoupage pieces (I used a round-ended moulding tool).
  • Remove the paper nibs (I used really sharp scissors).
  • Keep my adhesive to the centre of the pieces (I had covered the entire piece).

Anyway, here is the completed card. I used my electronic die cutting machine to make the aperture in the embossed card. I didn't turn out too bad after all!

4 Aug 2015

Quick Personalised gift with the Cameo

Do you need a gift at short notice? 

I made this in the Silhouette Design Software with a mixture of files straight from the Silhouette Design Store. 

Bottle Tag 
#80567 Balloon bottle tag by Jamie Cripps Studio/PNG/SVG

*27841 3 Invitation Card Kit by Lori Whitlock Studio/PNG/SVG

Wine Quotes
#74101 Always time for wine phrase by Kolette Hall Studio/PNG/SVG
#86256 Happiness is wine phrase by Kolette Hall Studio/PNG/SVG and 
#84682 for the wine glass and swirl by Sandi Idleman Studio only at present, hopefully other formats in the future.
 #43819 'I cook with wine' vinyl phrase by Samantha Walker Studio/PNG/SVG

I just removed the balloon parts from the bottle tag. Duplicated it three times. Personalised it with some text. Then 'Print and Cut'! 

For the labels I selected the fancy shape from invitation cards  Filled a couple of  internal offsets. Duplicated the label and then pasted in the quotes. With a little recolouring and resizing these were also 'Print and cut'. Then I attached the labels to the tags with dimensional foam pads and folded each one. Finally I slipped them over the bottle necks and the job was done!

11 Jul 2015

Making Stencils with the Silhouette Cameo

With an electronic cutter, like the Silhouette Cameo, stencils are cheap and easy to make. 

I make reusable stencils and masks from translucent plastic subject dividers. 
Mine are quite old and were bought in the US, very similar to these, they are softer and less brittle than the polypropylene 'popper'-ed wallets. The slight colouration is useful as they show up on your cutting mat.

They can be used with texture paste, spays, mists or with ink blending tools and stamping ink.

If you have a Silhouette cutter and use the Silhouette Online Store you can download and cut designs very easily; just search 'background', 'overlay', 'mask', 'doilie' or 'doily'.

This one is the Wood Pattern Background by Tanya Batrak, design #49120. I think it works equally well for water as in my Origami Fish project.

This one is Flower Scolloped Circle Simplified by Samantha Walker design #4836.

Other favourites of mine are Antique Doily by Lori Whitlock design #15658 and Scattered Raindrops background by Loni Stevens, design #26878.

I designed this set myself, but it very similar to the Honeycomb Screen by Jennifer Wambach design #56061. It shows how you can easily adapt the design to mask out a portion of the stencil. Folks have been asking me for cut settings and a video - I'll have to get back to you on that!

8 Jul 2015

Origami Fish - wall decor

This week's project was building an origami fish into an underwater ocean scene for wall decor.

Making up the origami fish from the Modular Origami kit was was fun, a great project for a rainy summer afternoon.

The pre-cut paper pieces were precisely cut and each piece was folded into a module, and the fish was built up from the modules - simples!

A little 3-in-1 glue between some of the modules ensured that it didn't fall apart.

Then, a distress-inked background, and some card stock embellishments cut, layered, coloured and decorated were added to the frame,  and the project was complete!

18 Mar 2015

Die Cuts within Die Cuts

I'm loving these cards made from an idea from Kristina Werner from Day 2 of the online card class; Stretch Your Dies.

These are die cuts, cut from hand watercoloured paper, have been placed together on a semi-sticky tape (or sheet) and then die cut with large shape.  Simple shapes seem to work best, and I found that they can also be cut from a template if you don't have suitably sized die. The heart-shaped one was cut from a paper template made by drawing around a coaster.

The die cut pieces are raised up on sticky pads to give greater dimension.

I'm learning to do so many new things in this class and highly recommend it.

The dies used here are:
Leaf Card
Sizzix Movers and Shapers Mini Tattered Leaves [Sizzix UK]
Sizzix Bigz Die - Leaves [Sizzix UK]
Flower Card
Sizzix Bigz Die Flowers and Leaves by Rachel Bright [Sizzix UK]
Sizzix Bigz Die - Leaves [Sizzix UK]
Heartfelt Creations Post Patch die [Icon UK]