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

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Spell it out - Tonic Studios new launch

Hello I'd like to share some inspiration for the new Tonic studios launch of Alphabet and frame stamps, on Hochanda this weekend with Paula Pascual
Two sets of alphabets and number stamps, one plain, one cursive, and a set of matching frame stamps which fit individual letters, or, as you might see from the inspiration on the show, fit all sorts of interesting things in them...
One pretty little wall-hanging I made featured the word HAPPY stamped individually into frames. Using the recent DL Layering dies as a background, you could put childrens' names, sweet words or whatever you fancy into a frame like this. I built up the edge frames to make it look a bit more authentic and used sequins to bling it up a little!

Whilst I was feeling creative, I found an MDF heart which I simply covered in paper and inked up a little. I mixed and matched frames, stamping and heat embossing on different colours, then added my letters and a few flowers to finish

For this card I decided to make a little frame wall, using flowers instead. I found some woodgrain paper which I stamped on and cut out to make my frames, and again the possibilities for names and special words are endless!

A contemporary new home card, with the house number in a frame

I was just playing with numbers, having them tumbling everywhere. It made a fun bright background for a quick and easy A6 notelet style card to send to a friend. 
Enjoy Paula's shows this weekend and remember they can be viewed on catch up for 7 days. I have had a sneaky peak at the rest of the design team's work and I KNOW it's going to be a creative show - I can't wait to watch them all myself!

Until they are on general sale, products from these shows can be bought on Hochanda
Happy Crafting

Nicky x

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Time for Visible Image

I'm so excited to share my first make with the amazing new release from Visible Image, Somewhere in Time. Released on 9th June, Helen and Mark are taking advance orders now over on their website and will be sharing their brand new releases and inspiration on Create and Craft on the very same day! it's going to be an awesome weekend!

For this 7x5" card I started with an A6 piece of white, stamped the smashed pocket watch and then masked off the whole thing with Pebeo Drawing Gum. Once I had allowed this to dry I went crazy with colour - Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade and Carved Punpkin, adding detail to the background and some coiled springs in black to the foreground. Then I simply rubbed off the gum and added a hint of colour to the workings behind the watch face.

I also prepared the base card too, but only the inch around the edge, as once the design is mounted, that's all there is to see!  
The designs and words in this set are amazing, I am going to investigate more with different phrases, as there are so many ways to work with them, and indeed the other two sets which are out very soon too! Get your orders in as new Visible Image releases are notoriously popular and have sold out time and again on Create and Craft!

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