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

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Sparkle and Shine...and rub, and drop, and emboss... with Nuvo!

I'm sharing one of my samples for Paula's fabulous Nuvo Monochromatic Bundles show, which was on Hochanda on Tuesday 9th May, so if you've missed them, you can find them on Rewind!

I played with the silver bundle which looks like this:
From left to right you have the amazing Sparkle Dust glitter, I don't think I've found one finer. Next we have the embossing powder, the Nuvo drops I love so much, then the Glimmer paste, perfect for applying through stencils for a strong glittery finish. Finally the Mousse, which I will confess is quite new for me, but I did love it and it was so incredibly easy to use. And of an undescribable squishy consistency. Gorgeous!

I also used the Tonic Studios layered star dies for this project, and long-time Tonic fans may recognise the Sparkle and Shine sentiment from the 'Girls' Night Out range. 

For the glittered card, I used the paste through the falling diamonds stencil and allowed it to dry a few hours. Then I cut my star shape and extra bits to fill the card. 

The stars - I covered a piece of white card in a double sided sticky sheet and cut a larger star. I removed the sticky backing and laid a smaller star over it, and applied glitter all round the edge. I did this in a couple of other places too - and on the small stars - that was fun! 

The sentiment - I started with white card, die-cut my words and rubbed the Nuvo Clear Mark pad over them before covering in silver embossing powder and heat embossing...twice! The lovely metallic finish is so cool!
Making sure I used every product, I rubbed mousse over some of the smaller die-cut stars, and got an instant transformation of a plain piece of card. 

With a bit of spare card it was only right to make a matching gift tag - and besides it gave me a chance to heat emboss a sentiment again...I need to remember to do this more often!

A fun challenge, but loving silver as much as I do, it was great to mix and match all the products together on the one project. 

Happy crafting!
Nicky x

Sunday, 7 May 2017

ATCs - Yes please!

If you're a fan of Tonic Studios you will surely have picked up on the buzz over their new ATC dies, showcased on Hochanda this weekend. 

What a lot of fun you can have with something so small!

Here are a few of my samples, showing the versatility of these little sets, 3.5x2.5 inches to be precise. The same size as a playing card.

A matching trio in red, black and gold, a classic combination. You might recognise elements from the Whimsical Frames, another recent release, and perfect, stamped and embossed, on these little cards.

I decided to try for a shaker ATC with this design, cutting a piece of acetate to place behind the window, and seeking out my sequins! 

Simple and stylish, I stamped with a Tonic Sentimental Strip stamp, It's your Special Day, and used a heart die to pick out some detail. Gorgeous Cobalt Blue Craft Perfect satin card complimented the concept.

My city trio, with the travel dies, I tried to incorporate something from each country, hence the blue-white-red of the tricolore, the famous London Bridge, and the unmistakeable landmarks of New York. Lots of fun, this trio!

Perhaps my favourite? I made a long ticket tape out of the 'A Note to Say' die, well, for long - three cuts isn't exactly an arduous task! But it worked really well with the 'hello' die (my favourite component of the whole set!) 

But these don't just have to be ATCs - build them up on cards-
With this one I used the Delicate Detail stamps and Distress Oxides inks

The fabulous Tonic layering stars die made this card to show off this funky little ATC

I found this zig zag paper in a Tonic paper pad, so the colour scheme was easy, especially given the range of colours in the Tonic Craft Perfect cardstock selection, all of which I have used here making these ATCs and cards!

Love this little dog from the Marmelade and Friends collection of stamps, very cute indeed! I picked colours that matched with the backing paper I found and created this quick and easy notelet card.

Not even a card...
Four ACTs hinged together and an easy base in the bottom, et voila! A tealight holder (artificial candle of course!) 
No end to the opportunities with these little ATCs - I think they are fab! 

Thanks for reading, I'd love to know your thoughts on ATCs, leave me a comment to let me know!

Happy crafting

Saturday, 6 May 2017

What really matters - Visible Image

Today I am sharing some beautiful words from Visible Image. An older stamp, this one was released first in 2015 but that matters not, the words are beautifully expressed and I've mixed them with something very new to create this card -

The stamps I used on this card were What really matters and a couple of the elements from Believe in Unicorns

Firstly I built up a background on Daler Rowney Mixed Media card with Brushos, using blues, purple, a hint of emerald  green and yellow, spritzing with water. Once dry I thinned out a little white acrylic paint and flicked splatters all over my cardstock to achieve that 'galaxy' effect. 
I allowed time for drying again and that's when I started playing with my little stamps from the Believe in Unicorns set. The moon was a perfect choice, and the little starbursts just finished everything off. 
I love stamping and embossing in white. I tried out a new powder for this project, Nuvo Glacier White, and it gave me a perfect finish. 

All that remained was to mount the sentiment onto the base card. For the first time in ages I stayed away from square, so I dug out my Sue Wilson Noble Collection - Essential sized Rectangles, and cut an A6 shape for the base and a smaller one for the words, which I mounted on a foam sheet for a smooth finished effect. 

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!

Monday, 24 April 2017

It's in the (Delicate) Detail... Tonic Studios stamps

Hello and welcome to my blog post sharing the cards I made for the very recent Hochanda Launch of the Delicate Detail stamps. Consisting of four sets of three stamps, plus an extra set of four sentiments, this collection was very inspiring and lots of fun to get creative with. Here are some of the card samples I prepared for the show with a few details and handy hints for recreating them, if you would like to!

This first set of stamps, the Floral flourishes and tag, got me really excited as they were designed by the same artist who created the Craft Perfect gold and silver gilded cards that I loved, last year. My aim was to recreate the pattern by stamping and embossing in white, and using Nuvo Aqua Flow pens and a water brush to paint the colour onto the card. 

I used the tag stamp and the small flourish from the same set on this card, the colour was laid down using Nuvo Glitter markers ( I love them!) I applied them with a water brush too, to thin them out a little for a delicate sparkly effect.

One more play with the same stamps, again, water colouring with Nuvo Aqua Flows. I made a soft background of pale green first, and flicked paint over the background card for a little bit of interest. Once dried, i gave it a wipe with an anti-static bag and stamped the smaller flourish twice, enbossing in white. i stamed the large floutish onto separate card and then painted them all up, choosing Red Apple as my key colour. a little bit of stamping onto a tag, and a pretty twine bow, and this simple card was finished.

If you haven't yet got these gorgeous stamps, take a close look on the Tonic website, or look out for the usual online retailers who will be stocking them very soon! They are excellent value and really easy to use - I can't wait to see what everybody comes up with! 

Happy crafting!
Nicky x

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Strong words - but beautiful ones

My card share this week is a simple affair, as the words need little to distract from them. If you saw Visible Image's show on Create and Craft on Saturday 22nd April you will have seen an amazing array of quotes and inspirational words, and these are just some of those.

The background from this card is simple two colours of distress ink applied with a blending tool onto card. I liked the deliberate contrast of the colours, but I was very pleased with the depth achieved by keeping a bit of light space around the blue. 

For the background stamping I used the fascinating Visometry set, which I must say intrigues me, and I will use this again, I love it! 
I stamped my key text in brown for a change, just to soften the effect rather than using harsh black, for once, and I stamped various shapes from the Visometry set in blue and brown, to complement the background colours. 

There are so many inspirational, motivational and comforting quotes to play with over at Visible Image, click here to see the new range!

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, 15 April 2017

Win and Tonic April Challenge

Hello, and Happy Easter! Seeing as I'm posting this on the Easter weekend for the April Win and Tonic Challenge, it seemed only right that I should choose something appropriate, and here it is:
The sweet treat launch was a resounding success, I am loving seeing everyone's creations popping up all over social media this last two weeks - keep up the good work! 

This Easter treat box was simply constructed from the Tonic Studios Dimensions die set- Cake Slice Box, soon to be available with all Tonic retailers. 
Cut out simply in white, I wanted to keep the colour scheme simple and spring like - one of the themes of this month's Win and Tonic Challenge. I only cut detail into the sides and closing panel, leaving the top and bottom firm, and once I had stuck it together with strong DS tape, I also added a length of acetate up the insides of the box to strengthen it. 

You may have spotted the inspiration for my colours... I saw some foiled eggs in my supermarket and they inspired me, so I used my new Nuvo Glitter Markers, mixed them together and with a drop of water, and delicately coloured in some detail

What's this stamp? well - it's another Tonic Studios brand new collection, out this weekend, being shown on Hochanda by the very talented Paula Pascual. It's called Delicate Detail, this one is the Floral Tag stamp. When I was looking at it I realised that the tiny insert die from the Cake Slice Box would fit in the tag... so that's what I did!

I hope you are inspired to take the April Win and Tonic challenge. As usual there will be a lovely prize available from Tonic Studios themselves, all you have to do is share a brand new card or papercrafting project that we haven't seen before, and that fits at least one of these criteria:

Colour -   think Spring, so anything pastel, greens, whatever makes you think of this season
Technique - make an Easter Treat box or bag or gift
Product – any basic shape die 
Theme – open theme so any occasion

Hop on over to The Win and Tonic blog for full t's and c's and lots more DT inspiration!

and good luck to all those entering!

Happy Crafting

Saturday, 8 April 2017

One stamp - Three cards, Visible Image

It's all about the words this weekend - and how to frame them. 

Another inspiring and fun quote from Visible Image, it pretty much speaks for itself! But here are three different ways I've set them out. 
1. Distress inks and stencils

I have mixed purples and blues in different ways, smooshed them around with water,left them to dry and then added stencils to create a bit of interest, Once completely dry ( use a heat gun to be sure!) I rubbed an anti-static bag over the area then stamped with Versamark, and applied white embossing powder and melted it with a heat gun. The stars come from the very popular Born to Perform set.

2. Distress crayons
I slightly dampened my base card before applying distress crayon and rubbing with my finger. A bit of text, heat embossed with black powder, and a few flowers from the Create It!set, not forgetting a couple of sequins to finish!

3. Aqua Flow markers
I totally love these pens. They are the Tonic Studios Nuvo brand, and here I have laid down thick swathes of colour, allowed to dry and stamped the text over it. Again, heat embossing in white makes the words really stand out!
A simple border round the edge with a fine-liner pen makes for a funky finish

There are so many inspirational, motivational and comforting quotes to play with over at Visible Image, click here to see the new range!

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

Monday, 3 April 2017

Belle Boutique - Tres belle!!!

Gorgeous new stamps, inks and Glitter Markers from Tonic Studios this week - what a launch it has been, joining Hochanda and getting all this loveliness out there in the space of a couple of days!

Today's share is a trio of the cards I've designed with all of these features, the main one being the beautiful Belle Boutique stamps, three gorgeous characters and a charming couple, these stamps are large and can be central features on any card. With the Tim Holtz stamping platform now available to guarantee perfect inkings every time, and a depth of colour you can only get with the accuracy of a system like this, it has been easy to make these samples!

This first card, I used the Metro Grey Nuvo Hybrid Ink, thinking it might soften the lines on the dress, over harsh black. I found some pewter grey cardstock to make my accent colour for the card base frame and the sentiment, and it brings, I hope, a modern touch to a traditional image. 
Of course I had a fairytale princess in mind, from a certain film that's just come out at the cinema, and I used the Glitter Marker (Golden Ochre) and a waterbrush to define the contours of her dress. I loved scribbling onto my glass mat and then picking up the glitter colour for my stamped image, I did this on all of my cards for this launch.

These colours are amazing - they cover every possibility!

Hard to decide which colour I liked the best, possibly this Imperial Blue?

It complements the Craft Perfect Imperial Blue High Gloss Card perfectly - of course it would! It's Tonic!

I also used Acorn Brown Nuvo ink to stamp my lady first, and stamped again on white cardstock in Empire Blue, to get more colour into the dress. Again, Tonic nail the colour co-ordination! 

Perhaps my favourite colour, by a whisker, is this one though:
Against Craft Perfect Rose Platinum High Gloss card, and stamped again in brown, the Crushed Papaya colour in her dress (and also water brushed onto the background) is just so different.

To achieve a bit of a pinky tone on her skin where needed, I just used a Soft Rose Aqua Flow pen very lightly. 

Pretty princesses and luscious ladies, I'll save a couple of cards for tomorrow, unless you've seen them on Hochanda already? 

Thanks for reading, and I hope, if you get these stamps or indeed any of the amazing products that have been launched this weekend, that you have as much fun playing with them as I did! Check out all the new releases over on Tonic Studios website and don't forget to see Hochanda for all the show times too!

Happy Crafting and Stamping!
Nicky x

Sunday, 2 April 2017

This is not a cake box...!

But it uses all the a card of course!

I decided to make a stepper card using the rectangular and triangular panels from the Cake Slice Box Die Set, and this is how I did it.

To make the stepper I trimmed down a piece of A4 white card to 25x15.5cm. 
Then I did some scoring and cutting. This was the template I made...
The blue lines are score lines, the red lines are cut lines. I used a Hougie board and craft knife and glass mat for those parts.

  • The side score lines are 4.5cm long at each side. It might help to draw a faint pencil line at 4.5cm from each edge to see where to score up to. Then score at 2.5cm, 5cm, and 15cm from the edge.
  • Score a separate line at 12.5cm but only across the middle of the card, this is your tent fold at the top of the card. 
  • Use a craft knife to cut from the top score to the bottom score at each side.
Then gently fold into place like the picture above: The side panels are mountain - valley - mountain. 

Before you tighten the scored lines with a bone folder, use the rectangular lacy panel to cut into the two side panels:
You will see they are a snug fit, this is why I measured the card to be this shape. Then sharpen your folds with a bone folder.
  • I stuck a red piece of card 12x15cm onto the back inside the card, to best show off the lacy pattern, and a 2cm strip of red across the front to match. 
  • I then cut two triangles in white and black card, and die-cut the detail into the black card. 
  • I also put some small pieces of red through the die-cutting machine and used the flower cuts to paper-piece back into the triangular panels.
  • A simple matching sentiment covered the joins in the triangles
  • Black Nuvo drops were just right to put centres into the flowers and add a bit of detail to the bottom of the step. 
Thanks for dropping by to read this, it's much appreciated!
Happy Crafting!
Nicky x