Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Head in the clouds...

Tonic Studios new launch this week, of the gorgeous acetate bubbles and matching dies, along with an amazing set of cloud dies, really got me thinking. With these cards below I will explain all the different ways I worked with the clouds to get different effects. As well as the four different shapes of bubbles, you get these gorgeous stamps and dies to expand their crafty potential. The clouds are there as a stamp set and a die set, so they are super versatile, and here's how I made the best of them...

1. As a mask

I simply die-cut a few clouds and laid them over a piece of mixed media card. i chose this card as it is very absorbent when i'm using water, and in this case, I added two or three drops of Azure Blue Nuvo Aqua Flow to one of my spritzing bottles, and sprayed a blue mist over them. 

Once dry I cut a piece of paper into a wavy hillside and did the same with a few drops of  Evergreen Fern. It's a really simple technique, the bottle washes clean afterwards. However, that left me with some delicately spritzed die-cut clouds...

2. Clouds at night!
Do you recognise the clouds? They are the spritzed waste from the previous card! 
the background for this card was achieved also with Nuvo Aqua Flows, applying with acetate and mixing and blending to get a dark colour palette. Once dry I stamped stars onto them with the Nuvo Clear Mark ink pad and embossed with Nuvo Glacier White embossing powder. 

The stars in my bubble are simply me making use of my gazillion small punches! That way, you can theme your confetti to the colour scheme you wish. 

3. A Mask with a different technique

I wanted to try this balloon idea, I'd seen examples of it but I had never made one before. If you cut multiples of the same symmetrical shape and fold in half, you get the fan effect, and it's so easy, again. But for the clouds on this one I held my little masks in position and used a blending tool and Distress Oxide to lightly apply a blue sky around them.

The hearts and balloons in the stamp set are beyond cute: a swish with a white marker pen, I use a Posca 0.9mm pen which I found in Hobbycraft, for this.

4. Wash the clouds away...
This was real creative fun. if you're into distress oxides, like me, you will be discovering all sorts of magic with them! 
Here I inked all over my card to make a sky, using three different shades, then I dried it and wiped it even drier with my little anti-static bag, before stamping the clouds and embossing with the white Nuvo powder, as above. 

The fun started then when I took a water brush and started washing the colour away from each cloud, blotting with kitchen roll as I went along. With the colour lifted, yet still there, it created, I hope, an ethereal translucency to the clouds, which I think then perfectly complements the focal image of the card.
A nod to the stars in the bubble - I bought those when I first started crafting properly, about 14 years ago. I knew I had them somewhere at the bottom of a box and it was a trip down memory lane and through yearsof collecting bits and bobs, to find them!

5. Cotton clouds (or felt, to be precise)
I am not allowed to name the individual in this picture, he's one of mine, but it was a while ago, so I am allowed to use it! However I did think what a fabulous idea for really personalising these bubbles! The background for this card is just a blend of Distress Oxide, and I can't help myself splashing a bit of water over it to break up the colour and add a bit of fun!. 

For these clouds, I used the only bit of felt I still have, and backed it with a double sided sheet of sticky paper. It was the easiest thing in the world to die-cut, and I had instant fluffy clouds, which were simple to stick down too, I just peeled the backing off. 

That concludes my little tour of the clouds!

Currently availavle on a Hochanda exclusive, these dies, bubbles and stamps will be on sale through all the usual retailers very soon, and I hope that these little cards have inspired you to have a play with them too.

Please leave a comment if you have enjoyed my post, it's always lovely to know people are looking! 

Happy Crafting. I'm off to enjoy the cloudless sky (for once!) 


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!