Monday, 17 July 2017

Win and Tonic July Challenge

It's time for another challenge over at Win & Tonic. There's an easy theme this month - ANYTHING GOES!

So here's my Tonic inspiration, in the shape of a fun card that I made with the DL layering dies - not that you'd know that's what they are, but the delicate panel detail on the smallest strips caught my eye, so I set about positioning them in a criss-cross pattern, and this is the result:

You have until 14th August to submit your entries onto the Win and Tonic Blog. The only rule have to use something Tonic. The prize? The stunning new Cathedral Box Die,  so popular and there were some fantastic samples from the design team when they were launched early in July. 

Good luck and happy crafting!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Time waits... for Visible Image

I've been playing with the fantabulous Ahead of our time and Alphabetical stamps from Visible Image, making up my own quotes using the letters, and backgrounds too...can you see the tick tock? Look into the image! Having all these possibilities allows you to really get creative. No constraints, no restrictions...think of something to say and say it!!

I inked up my backgrounds with distress oxides and splashed the card with water to get the bleached-out effect. I stamped my main feature with brown Nuvo Hybrid ink, I love this ink as you don't have to think about what pens to use with them -it's untouchable, there's no 'wrong' medium to use! Alcohol or water-based pens - they can't touch it!
I formed the words with the stamps. They look quite lively here, but once all the other elements are added they will become more of a background.
I DID use my Tim Holtz stamping platform for my stamped features. Just to guarantee clarity and a strong colour. Like I have said on a previous post, I have been stamping happily for years without one. and still would if I wasn't lucky enough to have one, but for guaranteed clear and professional results, I can't recommend one of these enough!
It also came in handy for the boxes from the Alphabetical set which I used to stamp the word 'MAN' into. As you and see, I stamped the central box first, masked it with some sticky paper and stamped either side. 
This masking resulted in a funky display of boxes into which I stamped my required lettering.
Adding extra stamps from the set, in dark colours, and shading from the outside in with distress inks, adds, I hope, to the depth of the image, or at least that's what I tried to create! I also masked over the whole of the 'MAN' boxes to bring the letters to the foreground.

Don't forget to enter the Visible Image 'Splash of Colour' challenge over on their faceboog group this month, to be in with a chance of winning an amazing coupon to spend in their shop. 
Here are all the links you need:
Make sure you check out:

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

Happy Crafting
Nicky x

Saturday, 8 July 2017

One bunny - three ways

Hello, I'd like to share today three cards that I made from the one bunny rabbit die which is by Fuzzy Lemon and is available from I chose to play with this one as it's a cute die, it cuts just an outline but to me it's a perfect starting point for creating a variety of cards. so...this is what I did...
Firstly I die-cut two on plain white card, and used distress inks to shade them. I lifted them slightly with an outline of thin black pen, and this worked well with the stamping I did behind, and round the circle, with freebies from  Papercraft Essentials 144 magazine. I love that you can take the tiniest stamp, like a carrot, for example, and turn it into a major feature of a card. With these two garden bunnies, it just seemed perfect!

With this card, I die-cut carefully, left of centre, into a piece of card slightly smaller than A6. Then I turned my card over and did the same again, to get a mirror image of the rabbit. Although the card does show, at the point of cutting, which way the die has gone through, all that is needed is to place the card between a couple of sheets of paper (no die in it) and run it through your die-cutting machine. This flattens any slight curving on both sides and makes it pretty much impossible to see which was the original cut and which was the reverse cut.A layer of acetate and 3D tape arounfdthe bunnies on the reverse, a handful of sequins, and a computer generated greeting, and this card was complete!

For this card, I dug out a selection of pretty papers and a couple of old embossing folders, and cut my bunny several times. Some on patterned, some plain, some embossed. What's cuter than one bunny? Lots of them! The edge of this square card has been die-cut with some lovely stitched border dies, a neat finish just to add an extra touch to your project. 
I guess you could say, when I finished these cards, I was one happy bunny!

Check out the latest releases from Fuzzy Lemon on CraftStash now, there are some seriously gorgeous dies on there!

Happy Crafting
Nicky x

Friday, 7 July 2017

Christmas is coming...

Christmas is the crafting world at least! 
Here are some cards I made for the Tonic Studios Christmas Buildables launch. Really good fun to make the characters and bring them to life on cards and home decor projects!

I'm going to share a little about each card I made along with a few hints and tips along the way...
Here's Father Christmas on a 7x5" card. My favourite bit of him is his beard and moustache; the dies have slits through them for embossing, and adding a dash of colour through to give a bit of definition.

Did you know his legs and arms are the same die? You don't even need to cut them, just funny little U-bends which make perfect sense when you are putting him together. My second favourite thing about him was using Craft Perfect glossy black card on his belt and shoes. Santa NEEDS shiny boots! The sentiment is from the Christmas banner set. I love it on its own, as much as with the banner, like in this next card...
Such a jolly snowman! 
Now, the coal eyes and buttons ARE provided as a die but if you trust your Crystal Drops, go for it! I used the large DL frame die for this card, and the Christmas Banner set too. Again, you can ink through the scarf sections for a bit of detail. I also lightly inked in blue round each snowball making up his body, to bring him to life!
As if we didn't know who this guy was?!
He's a super character, quite quick to make, and he just oozes Christmas charm. The three signs in the Festive Signpost set are pretty cool, I love the woodgrain effect you get by inking through the individual panels. So realistic!
Check out the snow!!!!! For this background I used Tonic Studios Beautiful Bokeh 8x8" stencil with white embossing paste. It's so simple and gives just the effect you need for a quick and easy background.
The shiny nose - a shading of white pen so that 'you can really see it glows'
Those antlers make magnificent mistletoe by the way! 
Here's a cute elf, in traditional colours. He's a cheeky character, and the die set comes with everything you need to make a female elf too. You'll spot one of the Tonic banner dies behind him. this one is a perfect fit for an A6 card and frames him beautifully, as do the layering ovals, Tonic of course!
I have a whole other blog post on this card, showing how to make a Z-fold card. Mrs Claus is a formidable character, she's the boss on this card!
Last but by no means least, this cute penguin. From the same die set as the snowman, you will see some similarities but he takes on a life of his own with his black capped head and wings, to say nothing of the cutest earmuffs and ice skates that also come with the set. 
What I would like to share is how easy it is to make a beautiful background out of three shades of Nuvo Mousse. They blended beautifully over an embossed A6 piece of card to make a pretty wintry background. Nuvo mousses will remain close at hand for future projects, of that I am sure!

Check out the other DT blogs and Tonic Studios facebook and pinterest pages for more festive inspiration

Happy Crafting! 

Nicky x

Saturday, 1 July 2017

A splash of colour with Visible Image

Inspiration today for the Visible Image 'Splash of Colour' challenge which starts on 1st July and runs on their facebook group for the whole month. All you have to do is make a card or project using Visible Image products adding your interpretation of 'A splash of colour' and upload it into their dedicated album. I for one can't wait to see what that looks like, once everyone gets creating! It's going to be glorious!

For this card I used two set of stamps, Ahead of our Time, and Alphabetical, which are available to buy on the Visible Image website.

I also used 5 colours of Tim Holtz Distress Oxides and a Versafine Onyx Black ink pad.

First I 'splashed' my colour by laying a square of ink from a pad onto my glass mat and spritzing with a little water. I then used an old small poly bag to pick up the ink and apply it randomly around my cardstock. drying in between colours.
Once I was happy with my end result I stopped dabbing. 
I udes my Tim Holtz stamping platform to get a really good print from my bowler-hatted man. I did him three times to be sure but two would have been enough, as you can see, careful re-inking gets an incredibly black result!
I never had a stamping platform until recently. I was a happy stamper before, I guess you could say I'm even happier now! It's a great safety net, perfect for positioning your stamps and for getting the depth of colour you might not achieve on one inking, plus it is so much cleaner (or should I say I am so much cleaner) when I use it! 

All that remained was to use the letters and characters from the Alphabetical set to complete my project. I also stamped the two past and future images from Ahead of our Time onto spare card and stuck them down with 3D foam.

I look forward to seeing all the contributions to the 'Splash of Colour' Challenge - don't forget there is a prize draw at the end of it all too!

Make sure you check out:

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

Happy Crafting
Nicky x

Friday, 30 June 2017

Behind every good man...and he IS a good man! a very good woman!

And in this case, we're talking MRS CLAUS. And on this card, she's taking centre stage!

Christmas is coming early with Tonic Studios' launch of the eagerly anticipated Christmas Buildables, and I'm sharing one of my samples showing what you can do with them. Here are Mr and Mrs Claus on one of my all-time favourite shapes - a Z-fold card.

Although the characters come with all of the component dies each to make a full body, plus extra cute accessories, I decided to focus on the detail on the faces for these two instantly recognisable special people. I cut, embossed, and assembled Father Christmas' head - 

and Mrs Christmas' head and upper body, but as you will see with the picture below, I cut out, with scissors, the bottom of the heart shape that I had placed her on.:
In doing so, I made myself two matching toppers for the front and inside of my Z-fold card, and I just added the die-cut sentiment, some snowflakes, and some Craft Perfect coloured card to make them stand out.
If you want to know how to make a Z-fold card, its SO simple: - 

1. Take a standard square card (this one is 14.8cm square, but you can use any size) and score vertically exactly half way down the front of it. Then trim off a section to make the Z panel, on this card I trimmed so that my base was now 10.5cm high, ie an A6 card with a side fold. (so roughly 4-5cm but it's not an exact science!) 
2. Then fold the front back on both sections and flatten the crease with a bone folder or scoring tool.
3. Finally invert the small panel - flip it over and position the short flap against the back of the card with the long flap going across the folded back section
Can you see how it's going to come together?
There are no rules as to how high you position your little Z panel, it will fit perfectly across, just remember to only glue half way across the long one.

 It is easier to decorate everything before sticking the Z panel down, and then as you can see, the final touch was adding this festive couple for a truly special Christmas card.

Check out all the Tonic facebook, Pinterest, Instagram pages, the other Tonic DT blogs (they have prepared some incredible samples for the shows, as usual!) and of course Hochanda this weekend, beginning with the launch today, (Friday) 

Christmas in June? We're crafters, that's how we roll!

Happy Crafting
Nicky x

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