'What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you say.'
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Hello 😀
Just catching up with some of my recent playtimes. I've been having fun and when I'm feeling creative it makes me reticent to 'break the spell' in order to blog...how sad is that?

Still using up some of my recent Ecoline backgrounds - in fact, I made these before I made the book I posted last week. They're just very simple, plain but colourful backgrounds, featuring those gorgeous Janet Klein images. I love these words and the images make me smile when I'm using them.

This is an Oxide background. It looks almost hazy compared to the one above but it isn't in real life.

This one was just a quick playtime with the stamp, which I love. Again, it's a simple Oxide background.

This is one of those cards we all dislike making, but it just has to be done. This one was for the sister of an ex-colleague.  

And this one I've just finished. It's mainly acrylic paints, but with some Oxides thrown in for good measure 😉 It's another A5 length card, so quite tall, but this time a little wider. I've used a couple of stencils, too, then coloured the flowers with watercolour pencils. I don't use gold paint often these days but I love the effect when I do. I used it both for stencilling and for stamping.
Linking to 
Crafty Cardmakers, Create your own Background
Make My Monday, Use Stencils
Allsorts, So cute
Sweet Stamping, Create your own background
Alphabet Challenge, F is for Flora or Fauna
Tuesday Throwdown, Anything Goes

Thank you for calling in today
As ever, stay safe!
Back soon
Cath
xxx

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Hello!
I've been meaning to blog this all week, but I just got busy - playing! No excuse other than being so wrapped up in what I've been doing 😉 while listening to videos and music. 
I hope you're all surviving and looking forward to more freedom - if you don't already have it. 'Normality' still feels a long way off but I think I'm going to have to get used to it again soon. 

When I was using up my Ecolines - I still have lots left - I made several backgrounds and really loved some of the more colourful ones. This was one of them. Sorry the light is mixed, but this photo was taken in full sunshine. On the other hand, you can see how the sunlight brings out the best in these gorgeous colours.  Look at the contrast where the sun catches it. Wow! It just looks magical. 
As you can see, I did a little bit of basic background stamping on this bit of card before using it.
I decided it couldn't be for anything other than whimsy and quirky and so I pulled out my little stash of Janet Klein images and words. I love these but I think it's the words I love most. I added very little to the background because a) it's so busy with colour and b) I didn't want to cover it too much!
So I folded it in half, then folded it back on itself, stamped and coloured. 
These are the unfolded pages. Although I stamped them directly on the pages, I also stamped, coloured (watercolouring and Prisma pencils) and fussy cut images to cover over the top.
I did attempt stamping the words directly, but I should've realised they just wouldn't show clearly enough. So I stamped on white card and cut them out, which gave me a little more leeway and is my preferred style anyway.
Here are the individual pages.


And this is the cover page


Instead of making a front and back cover, as I normally would, I  used an offcut folded card to make the book. I wish I'd made front and back covers because it won't open up flat but - to be absolutely honest - I didn't want to have to stamp/decorate the back... 😳... shame on me!
Because of the way I'd made it, there wasn't much room to add a greeting to the person I sent it to (she already has it 😉) so... remembering something I'd seen on Dar's Blog, one of our KCUK members, I opted for hiding a tag behind them. It was a bit late to do it well because I'd already attached the pages, but I found a die cut of a gusseted tag holder, so I managed to fix that to the back of one of the pages and inserted a little tag that I could write on. You can see its ribbon popping out above the second page.

Here's the book as it looked when completed.


As you can see, I added lots of white on this, doodling and stencilling, just to brighten it up a little and to add more interest.
The recipient liked it, so I'm happy, and it was fun to make 😊

Linking to
As You Like it, Digital or Rubber and Why?  
I definitely prefer rubber because they are FAR more versatile and give you lots more options with techniques, placement and double stamping - to avoid cutting out the fiddly bits.
Everybody Art Challenge, Favourite stamps... I have too many loved stamps to have a favourite but right now, these JK images are right up there in my Top Ten, especially the Underwear one)
Use Your Stuff, It's a Girl Thing
Stamping Sensations, Make it Colourful

Back to the Craft Room for me!
Thank you so much for calling in today
Back soon
Stay safe!
Cath
xxx

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Hello!
Just wanted to share some of my playtimes from the last couple of weeks. I watched a video just over a week ago and was really inspired by the technique, so played around a bit, trying out different paints and colouring mediums. I'm still enjoying the technique, so I'm sure it will feature again, soon - in fact, I'm planning to go try something else as soon as I've blogged these.
They're all on watercolour paper, using different types of watercolours.
 (I didn't get to play but I did get to see my little 7 year old granddaughter for the first time since mid March. She's my only grandchild. It was so hard to leave her - I cried - but I got lots of hugs and even some little gifts she'd wrapped up for me, bless her, especially for sharing her precious LOLs with me - even if it was a double 😁)


This is how my first one looked when it had dried and I'd added some text. Far from perfect, of course, but as the stamp says, 'Imperfections make life more interesting', don't you agree?


I tried out more than one set of images for this, pulling them out of my already fussy cut and coloured stash 😉
So here's my first image try out, using Katzelcraft's Les Rats de la Ville. I did like this one, so you'll probably see this design again, but this time I went with the one below, mainly because I liked the addition of more colour. (Katzelcraft again - I love the way the artist gives each animal so much personality.)
It isn't part of anything yet because I used a piece of paper I'd already cut to size, ready for making a book/journal and may well be my front cover because I really love the way it turned out.
This one was an attempt at using Inktense Pencils. I added too much water because I was trying to get the colours to  move a little more, but I think it's still interesting. I only pencilled the colour lightly, but it really didn't want to move, so not the ideal medium for this technique.
In retrospect, I wonder if this would've been better if I'd left areas of more concentrated colour, to give more definition. The circles are also smaller - I think I prefer the larger ones. I added more stamped and doodled circles to it. The colour at the bottom is from when I used it as a stencil mopup. 
This is after the first spray.


I've just finished this one, painted with Daler Rowney Watercolours. I didn't like the butterfly I'd stamped on the bottom circle - but there wasn't much space, so I covered the original stamping with a second Stampendous butterfly. (Only because it's the only one big enough 😁)  I think it would work better with three different types. 
More stamped circles on this one and the words are printed on my labeller. It's been fun to watercolour a little more and just let the inks move around, instead of using pencils or pens.
I'd tried another one on the other side, which really didn't work! The colours seeped through, as you can see at the bottom. I probably also used the wrong side of the paper...I never know which side is best 😊
I will post the video link when I find it, but it's in Dutch, so unless you are fortunate enough to speak Dutch, you'll just have to mute it, as I did...
I'll be back soon to share some other stamping I've been doing, though I can't share one of them yet, until something arrives so I can finish it off - if it isn't lost.

Linking to:
Allsorts, Embossing, wet or dry (all stamping heat embossed)

Thank you for calling in today...
I hope you're all enjoying the gradual relaxation of lockdowns, wherever you may be! 
Stay Safe!
Back soon
Cath
xxx

Thursday, 11 June 2020

Just sharing some of what I've been doing...I keep forgetting to blog them.

Backgrounds are Oxides, mainly smooshed. I've been trying to find a white card that I like, which means I'm trying a few kinds out, with varying degrees of success. I've used the same type of card for around 12 years, or more, but last time I bought it, it had changed. The inks don't move the same way and it doesn't like as much water, which I constantly use. So you may notice mixed background results. I'll still use them 😉

I've also been playing on watercolour paper, using watercolours or Ecolines.
This one is using watercolour paints.

This one uses Ecoline inks - neat - so much stronger colours. I love the effect here. Obviously, I added a little backgound stamping and stencilling, too, but using mainly tone on tone. I love the strong contrast on this one.


And this one was using up a smooshed scrap that was lying around, just adding some simple stamping and using images already stamped and cut out. I left the border one sided - it was the remains of a die cut 😊 and I like the quirky look of it as it is. The faces and wings were toned down a bit by adding vellum - to disguise some unwanted marks they'd gathered in my box.
Linking to
Ellibelle's Crafty Wednesday, In the Summer garden
Stamps & Fun = Creativity, Nature or Flowers
Stamping Sensations, Make it Colourful
Just Add Ink, Just Add 'F' (Flowers)

Thank you for calling in today
Back soon
Stay safe!
Cath
xxx

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Quickly nipping in to show you my card for this week's Allsorts Challenge, which is Magical Worlds. 
So sorry I haven't been keeping up with the challenges, but life took over in some things and I'm definitely less creative on the hotter days. Good job I live in the North West, so we don't get as many as the South do 😉
Back to the Allsorts Challenge.
This background came from the watercolour play taking place in my craft room the last few days. I thought I really ought to try Ecolines in the way they were intended, as watercolours! So I painted this one, using lots of water, creating a much more muted finish. Very pretty. So, I thought it would be perfect for some 'Magical Worlds' stamping. I'd already cut the DL panel, so I wanted to keep this format if possible. Rooting through my fairy world stamps, I thought this little house might work with the fairy I wanted to use. I thought I'd have to stamp again and cut out, but in the end I didn't have to because it coloured up nicely.  The format limited the edge stamping, so I stayed with branches and a few 'shrooms.
I created the moon with a white gel pen through a stencil, then filled in a little with Brilliance Moonlight White ink after stamping, extending it slightly in a less defined way to suggest moonlight. Not sure that worked but it was worth a try 😊. I used Prismas to colour and a white gel pen to highlight, adding touches of Posca pen here and there. The card was edged with Black Soot Oxide after first adding a little Chipped Sapphire, brushing them out a little with a wet paintbrush. It was a nice change to spend some time colouring because I've been doing other things this week. Seemed a shame to darken such a pretty piece of card, but at least you can still see some of the colour. Imagine it as twilight, just as it's turning darker and the moon starts to peep out... faeries, too 😉

Linking to
Allsorts, Magical Worlds

Thank you for calling in 
Stay safe, everyone!
Back soon
Cath
xxx

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

But where did April and May go??? Doesn't it seem strange?

Our lovely sunshine days are over - hopefully just for a short time, though you never can tell in NW England!  It's been too nice to spend much time crafting, but I did play a little most days and these are the results.
Another DL sized card made by adding little bits each day (because of the heat) though the main stamp (StudioLight) is one single image. I stamped twice, cutting out the flutterbies and attaching, then adding touches of colour with the inks I'd used. I used other text stamps around the edges and a little stencilling.

I don't seem to be able to alter the size in the new Blogger, or to move it around much 😒 That's a shame. I haven't yet had chance to play around with the menu but it looks as if some things have been removed, which really affects the functionality. I would think it would be better for mobile bloggers, but certainly not for anyone else. I've reverted to Classic Blogger - thankfully, we'll still have that option even when the new format is rolled out at the end of this month! 
I'll have to check Live Writer and see if they've ever fixed the problems that stopped me using it.

Ink (Oxides) colours were Worn Lipstick and Tumbled Glass.

I came across this Crafty Individuals stamp while looking for a couple of others, so I left it out to try with felt tips. I really like the result. It looks so crisp and cheerful, so I deckle die cut the layers and attached to a white card, to go with the CAS look.

I'd been trying to use up my Ecoline inks to make backgrounds and was really enjoying the vivid colours - unfortunately, they're not lightfast, so they will fade in time. They are so full of pigment and make beautiful rainbow effects. I've had them for years, but only used up one - the yellow - which I really miss.

Anyhoo, I noticed on Godelieve's blog that they now do Markers, so I just had to try them... they're really juicy, and just as bright as the inks, though I found myself wanting some paler blues and lilacs 😞 - I should change my name to Mary - as in Contrary 😀!

This is one of the Ecoline backgrounds, although the photo just doesn't do the colours justice. They almost glow, they're so vivid! 
This is another StudioLight image - yes, I'm a fan - again stamped twice and the flowers fussy cut - including the stem - to add over the top after edging with permanent black marker. 
I did a little Tone on Tone stamping around it, adding a couple of grungy circles, then some stencilling with a White Gel Pen, filling in some circles, but leaving others unfilled, then adding a touch of water to some of them to get slight variations in shade. I also filled in the lettering with white gel pen.
The flowers were watercoloured with Oxide inks. 

For a change, I stayed with the tag format, though this is still only slightly smaller than a DL size. I'm planning on making a book of my tall tags, if I ever get around to it. 
I really, really need to finish some of the UFOs lying around my craft room and making even more mess 😉

It's June, and that means new monthly challenges, so I'm linking to:
Mix it Up, ATG with optional acrylic block stamping
Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, Create your own background
Stamps + Fun + Creativity, Nature or Flowers
Ellibelle's Crafty Wednesday, In the Summer Garden

Thank you for calling in today - I'm always happy to see you!
Back soon
Stay safe!
Cath
xxx

Monday, 25 May 2020

This week, we're
Going Round in Circles
This is my final week in the Designer Spotlight. 
It's been such an honour to be invited and so much fun. 
Thank you so much SSS Monday, for having me and making me welcome 😊
This A5 journal page came from thinking about the current situation, and how even though some of us may feel isolated and alone at the moment, it's not the case - and it won't last forever. I'm a very 'touchy feely' person and enjoy a good hug. That's probably what I miss most - hugging friends and family. I seem to spend hours queuing outside supermarkets, mainly for other people and usually in silence - surrounded by people wearing masks, hiding their expressions, and very few people chatting. There's no physical contact at all. Everyday life feels cold, alien and very surreal.
The colours I chose reflect the way I was feeling when at the time I created this. 
I used Hickory Smoke and Spun Sugar (for hope) Distress Oxides, spritzed with water, to create the smooshed background. 
Playing around with the stamps I'd chosen (Inky Antics Muse News (designed by Andrea), Visible Image You Are Not Alone, Creative Chaos and Total Chaos) I first stamped the flower twice in Hickory Smoke, to give the illusion of fading into the background. 
Next, I stamped the text from Inky Antics Muse News a few times in Hickory Smoke, only inking up random parts of the stamp. (I even accidentally stamped it upside down in one place but I left it because I thought it was a good illustration of the strange situation we're all in 😉). I love these words and often use them as a background element, but they seemed to be particularly appropriate for this moment in time.
After adding lots of circles with the Aall and Create stencil, outlining some of them in grey pencil, I stamped random circles from the stamp sets until I was happy with the way it looked.
Having added pale colour to the flowers with Spun Sugar ink and pencils, I stamped the flower again in Versafine Onyx Black, then clear embossed the whole thing. I love the fact that the Oxides caught the Embossing powder in the wettest places, but not everywhere, giving a bit more randomness.
Stamping the flower a couple of times onto scrap card, I cut both out after embossing and coloured the same way, adding more depth of colour, to make them stand out. I usually extend the stem to fit my page, but this time I wanted them to be 'floating'. I stuck the flower head in place, then cut out the front petals on the second image, adding them with foam tape to make the flower stand out more.  

After I'd stamped, coloured and cut out the hand, I attached it so the finger was touching a petal, then added the extra stamping, using images and words from the Visible Image stamp sets. 

I then played around with pencils and a white gel pen, adding light and shade where I thought it was needed, and finishing off with some ink and paint spattering. I also randomly stamped the words again in white acrylic paint, only adding light touches. 
I love stamping and have really enjoyed this month's challenges, but I think this may be the one I enjoyed most, maybe because I just followed my imagination and the way I was feeling. Journalling can be cathartic 😊
I hope you'll join us in this final May challenge. 
Just link your Going Round in Circles art here and you'll be entered into the draw for a $25 voucher to spend at Simon Says Stamp. Yay!
They carry an amazing range of stamps and supplies and are happy to ship internationally.
Supplies used:-
Distress Oxides, Hickory Smoke, Spun Sugar
Aall and Create Totally Dotty A4 stencil
(Click on any of the photos to enlarge)

Linking to:
Sweet Stampin, Anything but a Square
Artistic Stamper, Journalling
Creatalicious, ATG with optional Pink/Purple
More Mixed Media, ATG with optional Pink

Thanks so much for calling in today
Back soon
Stay safe and God bless you!
Cath
xxx

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The challenge at Day of the Month Card Club for May is Frog Jumping Day... I don't have a jumping frog stamp, but I do have one who's poised to jump if someone doesn't kiss him quickly 😊
I really wanted to add some funny words, but in the end my mind was a blank, so I just used the usual 'Ribbit' from the stamp set. 
It's a small card but at least I finally managed to get one linked to the Day of the Month challenge.
I made another tall tag - 8"x3.3/4" approx - not as wide as the last one. I found a tall scrap of card that was half covered in yellow - not being a big fan of too much yellow, I wanted to change it somehow, so I took out my TH 3D bricks embossing folder and ran it through my machine. I love the depth of the embossing in the 3D folders, though is it just me, or do they sometimes makes the card feel more like plastic!? I swiped some Hickory Smoke and Antique Page Distress Oxides on the folder then spritzed them with water once it was embossed. I spritzed the sponged Oxide inks above the wall, then stamped with a few little 'filler stamps' from my stash.
The cat (and the great words) are from Katzelcraft. I stamped the cat over the embossed wall, then on a smaller piece of card, fussy cutting and colouring before attaching to the tag. I wasn't sure where to put the words, and was thinking of using a set of Signpost stamps I have, but none of them were big enough, so I drew one, coloured and cut out. Oops came from my alphabet stash. I die cut the grass before mounting it all onto a piece of black card and creating a hole with my star punch.
This one was a trial with another 3D embossing folder. It needed more colour because the inks I'd swiped across the inside of the folder were only sparse, so I spritzed with a home made reinker spray (Oxide), then lots of water, but I kept on and on adding water and painting a little of the colour onto the design. When it was dry, I painted some bits of the swirls with Deco Foil Transfer, let it dry, then applied some gold leaf. 
I added Victorian Velvet  and Bundled Sage Oxides to the flowers and stems, then attached to the card front with the words. Although I loved the result, in my mind I could 'see' text here and there, so I added the text stamping after fixing the front to the card. Love the imperfection of the Gold leaf. That's exactly what I was aiming for 😉



Linking to:-
Paper Minutes, Dog or Cat
Day of the Month Card Club, Frog Jumping Day
Sweet Stampers, Animals/Birds
Simply Create, Too, Use Flowers

Thanks for calling in today
Back soon
Stay safe!
Cath
xxx

Monday, 18 May 2020

It's Monday, so that means...
and today, the challenge is
We're All A-Buzz
For my third week in the Designer Spotlight, this is what I made.
and the vouchers are BACK!
Join the challenge for a chance to win a $25 voucher from Simon Says Stamp!
(they have an amazing variety of products 😊)

This is another card that was loads of fun to make, although it seems a long time since I made it because it was back in March 😊

I began by cutting two squares of white card, 5.5", and die cutting the honeycomb in the corners of one of them, using Tim Holtz Mixed Media Thinlits

Random 'bee' and 'buzz' dictionary definitions were cut out and stuck in place before using a credit card to randomly add Gesso over it.
Sponged and smooshed Distress Inks - Dried Marigold and Wild Honey - added the colour and the Gesso adds the variation in shade. (I used Distress Inks rather than Oxides because I wanted deeper shades of the colours I was using, especially the Rusty Hinge ink.) An Aall and Create background, stamped in Rusty Hinge, adds a bit more interest.

I sponged Wild Honey in the corners of the card I didn't die cut, flicking some water on it for some colour variation. 
Lightly dragging Rusty Hinge Distress Ink over the die cut corners, then spritzing with water, gave them a little more definition. I then spattered some Rusty Hinge ink all over the card. 
Applying PVA - for a firm hold - onto the Wild Honey corners with my fingers, I attached the top piece of card. I was pleasantly surprised that the glue gave it a nice varnished look, deepening the colour and making it look a little bit more realistic. (Note to self: Must remember this for future use - as if I will 😉)
I stamped the bees (Pink Ink; Bee-utiful). onto scraps of card, stamping the larger one twice, then coloured with pencils and fussy cut. Stamping the larger one directly onto the card and embossing with clear EP gave me all those lovely swirls and the antennae. Cutting out the wings separately, I layered them, popping them up on foam squares, so that they looked a little more realistic. Nuvo Crystal drops (applied with fingerD) over the wings makes them look as if they're reflecting the light.

The 'Bee' word is from the Pink Ink stamp set and 'Just Beecause' is from a Honey Bee set - 'Hi Honey'. There are some great bee words on it. Both are stamped in Versafine Onyx Black and clear embossed.
Finally, I mounted it all onto a rich shade of brown Bazzill card.
I really love the way this turned out.

Supplies from Simon Says Stamp


Linking to
Get Creative Challenges, Make it Sparkly
Allsorts, Anything Goes
Friendship Challenge, Anything that can fly
Simon Says Stamp Wednesdays, Animal(?!) Fun

Thanks for calling in today
Back soon
Stay safe!
Cath
xxx

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Yesterday, I was talking about the new, larger tags I'm seeing around lately and how much I like them...so we decided to do a tag challenge on KCUK. This is my playtime from this morning. I may well be doing more in the coming weeks...it's far from perfect but it makes me smile, so I hope it does you 😊
I used Distress Inks - Cracked Pistachio and Shaded Lilac, with a little Tumbled Glass for the water area, then Wilted Violet Oxide for the stars. I quite like this format, though it's a lot of space to fill 😉 I used the width of an A4 card, approx 8 1/4" x 3 3/4".

Linking to:
Not Just Cards, Anything Goes
A Place to Start, Custom Background

Thanks for calling in... 
Back soon
Stay safe!
Cath
xxx

Friday, 15 May 2020

Good morning, peeps!
Just popping in to share my playtimes from the last couple of days.

Firstly, I just had to use this word background stamp because I think it's brilliant 😁 
I finally decided to get some more Gesso because I'd been playing with the thickened remains of a pot I'd had for years. 
Leandra from Paperartsy showed us how to use Gesso as a background element at a Katy's Corner Stamp Camp, when Distress Inks were first introduced. So, using an old credit card, I added some to this piece of card, then added Picked Raspberry and Fossilised Amber Oxides over it. I love the randomness of colour the gesso creates. After drying, I stamped and clear embossed the words. I thought this gorgeous Stampendous butterfly would work well over it, so I stamped and embossed it over the words, painting with some very watered down gesso, just to 'knock back' the colour, even though very little of it would be visible when it was finished. I used foam tape to add the stamped and die cut butterfly, then cut out and added some of the words from the background stamp.
I've been playing with backgrounds a lot lately and this was one I'd made with Peacock Feather, and Twisted Citron Oxides, plus lots of water. I wanted to bring out the colours, and take the focus off the yellowy, dingy tones these two inks can make when they blend, so I played around with it, stamping in the same two colours. as usual, but it was still a bit dark. So I added some stamping in white, to lighten it. I'm always amazed at how much a little bit of white can change the whole tone. The white circle was an afterthought, added with the help of one of my favourite stencils. 
This is the photo...
...and this is the scan - which shows the Twisted Citron a bit more.
I love the shape of this flower and the fact that it isn't a flat image, so to enhance that a little, I used foam tape to stick the central one down. I definitely have 'a thing' about foam tape at the moment 😀 I added some dewdrops with Nuvo Crystal Drops and some Liquid Pearls to the flower centres, with some Posca pen dots.
This one is the result of a playtime with Neocolor watercolour crayons on a tall, slim scrap of card. It began with just scribbling blocks of colour, stencilling with a baby wipe, then adding some background words, stencilling the tree, and the words to finish it off.

Linking to
Make My Monday, Tone on Tone
Allsorts, Anything Goes
Dare2bArtzy Challenge, In the Garden
International Art and Soul, Flowers and Butterflies
Friendship Challenge, Anything that can fly
A Place to Start, Create a Custom Background

Thanks for calling in today
Stay safe!
Back soon
Cath
xxx