Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Scottish Thistle Card ... and a new technique to try today

Hello Everyone,

I like trying out new techniques ... some work out well, others might be a complete disaster and some are, like this one, distinctly odd  - whatever, I'll put just about anything to the test. Today I've been trying out something I spotted Ali Reeves of Stamps Away demonstrating on a recent television appearance.
I said it was an odd one! It's a homemade stamp block created with garden twine and an off-cut of wood released from captivity ... well, the EM's garden shed :) Ali thought of doing this when she wanted a background stamp that gives only the appearance of script, without actually being legible and, therefore, distracting. One side is kept specifically for a clear watermark type of pad, e.g. VersaMark, and the other for coloured ink which is what I have used for my trial. Here's the result:
You can see the effect of the stamp block in the background. For the topper, I first inked up the stem, sepals, etc., with distress markers, Aged Mahogany and Peeled Paint and the flower head with a combination of Milled Lavender and Shaded Lilac before stamping. That done, it was masked off before stamping the background with the twine block inked up with Shabby Shutters. Finally, the topper was cut using a small X-cut oval die and matted on to an oval, the next size up, cut from black cardstock.

And this is the finished card.

Normally, I'd give a list of materials used but apart from the white card base and the patterned background, recycled packaging, all the supplies came out of the snippets box. Because I'm saving my pocket-money to spend on holiday ... we're booked to go to the Highlands in just a few weeks time ... I've re-doubled my efforts to clear out the snippets and use what supplies are already stashed away in the craft space.

In the spirit of waste nothing, spend nothing, the inside and back have been decorated with the off-cuts from the recycled packaging.

And, of course, having used up quite a few snippets, I'll be hopping over to Pixie's Crafty Snippets Playground, again ... can't keep away from the place :))

So there you are, the something new I tried today ... fun to make, simple, and compared to the cost of most background stamps, very inexpensive.

Will you be trying this too? Let me know if you do ... I'd love to see anything you make using garden twine and a block of wood :))

Happy crafting,

Monday, 29 April 2013

Romantic Sweetheart Abbey - a scrap page layout

Hello Everyone,

It's another typical April day here in Ayrshire, sunny spells intermingled with showers - not bad at all. I hope you are enjoying equally good weather wherever you are and altogether having a good day :)

I've got a scrap page to share with you featuring a couple of photos of the beautiful Sweetheart Abbey ruins located in our neighbouring county of Dumfries and Galloway.

This Cistercian abbey was founded in 1273 by Lady Dervorgilla of Galloway in memory of her husband, Lord John de Balliol - founder of Balliol College, Oxford. When he died in 1268 the grieving widow had his heart embalmed and placed in an ivory casket which she then carried everywhere with her. On her death, she was laid to rest next to her husband’s embalmed heart and the monks named their abbey Dulce Cor (Latin for Sweet Heart)  in her memory.

This layout is based on this sketch for a recent challenge from Jill on the Docrafts site.

I intended submitting the scrap page for Jill's challenge but became ill and missed the date :( However, all was not lost ... I was able to follow it for the UKPC scrap page challenge instead. As you can see, I flipped the sketch completely.

I chose a green and yellow colour mix with just a touch of pinky red here and there to reflect the red sandstone of the buildings. Heart embellishments were a must and these were punched out of a scrap of yellow patterned paper. The co-ordinating paper strips were found in the scrap box too - giving me reason to visit Di at Pixie's Crafty Snippets Playground for the second time this week :)

And the reason for all the pretty layered butterflies! They are there to remind me that the day we visited the abbey the sun was shining brightly and lots of gorgeous butterflies were fluttering about, attracted by the many Buddleias blooming in a nearby garden. The effect was stunning. Sadly, none of my attempts to photograph them were successful.

Materials used: two photographs measuring 5.25" x 3.75"; Papers - Basic Grey Origins collection, Pebbles Sunnyside, American Crafts Dear Lizzy 5th & Frolic, 7th & Sunshine, Pebbles Sunnyside 6x6 paper pad, various strips from scrapbox; Alphas - Papermania Alpha Minis Cardstock Stickers Fun Green, Jillibean Soup Alphabeans Blended Black; Tools - Heart shaped punch, Stampin' Up label punch; Embellishments - Pebbles layered butterflies, Papermania Happy Days Big Bloomers, Papermania Vintage Notes crochet flower, Teresa Collins Fabrications 'canvas' die-cuts, Teresa Collins Fabrications 'canvas' stickers, Riverbank Revels washi tape, Rubon Washi 10mm yellow dot, yellow pearls

Time for a lunch break ... I could do with a nice cuppa before getting back to the real task in hand ... there's a duster with my name on it giving me grief :))

Take care everyone and happy crafting,

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Flowers are Poetry - Icelandic Poppy Seed Head Card

Hello Everyone

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend, as we are here. The weather has been a mix of sunshine and those April showers and I've been able to nip out during the sunny spells and do a bit of garden maintenance - lovely :)

Today's share is a card made for a monthly swap challenge. The requirement for April was to use words rather than just a greeting so I fell back on one of my favourite Hero Arts stamps - 'Flowers are the poetry of nature'.

Again it's the Icelandic Poppy Seed Head digital stamp from Janey's Digi Designs printed on to smooth white cardstock, Neenah Solar, for the topper, cut out with an X-cut circle die, but this time it's been inked it up in different colours, Adirondack Citrus and Sunshine Yellow, and added a dark gold glitter to the seed heads. To make the brown circle for matting, I did what is becoming the usual and traced around the outer rim of the die and cut it out with scissors ... I recently heard this referred to as a 'faux die-cut' ... another term to add to our crafting dictionary :)

A Darice folder, Dandelions, was used to create the backing and the matting and layering is from some leftover brown cardstock from Generations Archival, which has been given a gold edge using VersaMark and Heat-It-Up gold embossing powder ... sadly this is not showing up too well in the photographs. An Ink-It-Up gold metallic ink pad was used to stamp the word sentiment. No photo, but the insert was made in exactly the same way as this purple version posted earlier.

As some scraps of brown cardstock were used in the making of this card, I'm skipping over to Di's challenge at Pixie's Crafty Snippets Playground - now at an unbelievable Week 70 - the weekly challenge spot that encourages us to use up every scrap, leftover and snippet in our possession.

That done, I'm off to have a crafty hour or two in the craft space.

Aww! The EM has just brought me a latte ... what would I do without him :)

Take care all and I hope you enjoy what is left of Sunday.

Happy Crafting,

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Saturday Book Giveaway #5 – The Encyclopedia of Scrapbooking Techniques

Happy Saturday Everyone,

Welcome back to another Saturday Book Give Away – Week 5.

This week the book up for grabs is The Encyclopedia of Scrapbooking Techniques by Karen McIvor & Sarah Mason. This is the perfect introduction to scrapbooking terms and techniques for anyone who would like to dip their toe in the water.  It’s one of the first books I treated myself to when I first started out with scrapping. Back then I there was a lot in the craft of scrapbooking that was a complete mystery to me ... this book helped to unravel the mysteries :)

There are no special hoops to jump through though, if you want to, and, I stress, you are not obliged in any way, you could add the photo to your sidebar with a link back - just to ensure that as many people get to know about the giveaway as possible. Oh, and leave me a comment to let me know you are interested, of course!

Nothing to it, really :)

There will be another book to giveaway next Saturday, 4th May ... which, coincidentally, just happens to be National Scrapbooking Day ... you would think I planned these things J

Look forward to hearing from you.

Happy crafting,

Friday, 26 April 2013

Purple Icelandic Poppy Seed Head Card

Hello Everyone

Hope you are all having a lovely day. The gorgeous sunshine we've been enjoying enticed me out into the garden for half an hour or so, just to do a bit of spring cleaning and tidying up after the winter.

The card I have to share today is one I printed out and coloured just before I became ill. I remember that I suddenly had to make several sympathy cards all about the same time and it concerned me that I had none made up and ready for such sad occasions. So I set about designing one that could be made quickly whenever required.

I created the card using Serif Craft Artist and this lovely digital stamp, Icelandic Poppy Seed Head, created by Jane Clempson. Jane (Janey) is a professional gardener who also draws the most beautiful, and tempting, floral digi stamps. You can read more about her, her gardening 'obsession' and see the gorgeous cards her DT create using the stamps on her blog, Janey's Digi Designs.

The seed head was printed out on to Papermania's white textured cardstock and then sponged with a combination of Adirondack Earthtones Eggplant ink - in the centre - and Tim Holtz distress ink, Shaded Lilac - on the surrounding area. The tiny seed heads were just touched gently with a Lilac ProMarker. The greeting is computer generated using the Ancestry SF font found on my PC.

For me, the beauty of digital stamps is that they can be tweaked making it easy to alter the size for both the insert and the back of the card.

So there it is, a simple design that I've saved on the computer ready to be printed off whenever the need arises - not too often, I hope.

My electronic diary has just today reminded me that National Scrapbooking Day is coming up on May 4th. With that in mind, my plan for the weekend, and through to the day itself, is to spend much of it scrapping. Well, I could not pass up the perfect excuse to get stuck into my favourite pastime :))

Here's wishing you all an enjoyable weekend wherever you are, and whatever you are doing. Oh, and whatever the weather is like :)

Take care and happy crafting,

Thursday, 25 April 2013

A Winter Scene for Rudolph Day & CHNC

Evening Folks

So between bouts of housework, tea drinking and eating, I did find time to make this quick and easy Christmas card to mark Rudolph Day and for this week's CHNC challenge.

I used a Christmas Canvas kit from Just Inklined for the topper (a challenge win from last year). The kit includes the white card base and envelope with two decoupage images on a page. The topper was easy to put together - I've added some iridescent glitter which is not too easy to see in the photos. You can just about see a glint here and there in this shot here.

The backing paper is one of the few remaining sheets from the Graphic 45 Christmas Emporium collection that I have been hoarding for long enough. The lattice band was made with Docrafts Papermania textured card in green, punched with Lattice Chain edger punch from EK Success. The Wild Orchid Crafts mini poinsettia and red satin bow are from stash.

I'm submitting the card to the following challenges:

Sarn's Rudolph Day April 2013 challenge over on Stamping for Pleasure

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge 121 - red and green must be seen - and Hazel's extra challenge where each month the challenge is always 'anything goes' - CHNC Challenge Extra For April

Not a lot of snippets used on this card except, that is, for the green lattice band but that's enough to give me the excuse to pop over to Di's challenge - Pixies Crafty Snippets Playground - Week 69 - giving me the opportunity to see what's been happening in the playground while I've been gone :))

I astound myself sometimes - two cards made in one day! There's a few in the pipeline, already completed but for some reason or another not posted yet. I'll be scheduling them because I want to concentrate on scrapping over the weekend. Oh, and then there's the stamp cataloguing which has been sadly neglected of late ... must find an hour or two for that. It's all go in this department, as the EM is often heard to say :))

I hope you've all had a good day and enjoying your evening.

Happy Crafting,

Sparkling Dandelions for Sketch Saturday

Hi Everyone,

I hope this finds you all well, as we are here. We're enjoying very definite signs that winter is over, even if it is drizzling :) A stroll in the garden is a real pleasure now. We have wallflowers and Pulmonaria blooming up in the 'wild border', big fat buds have appeared on one of the clematis, lime leafed Aquilegia has suddenly shot up and the Sarcococca is covered in sweet scented blossom - it's all beginning to look very much like spring has arrived at last :)

So on to, well, not so much more flowers but seed heads, dandelion seed heads.

You might have spotted the embossed panel lying on my workdesk in yesterday's post. It was leftover from another project so instead of tucking it away in the topper box to be ignored and forgotten, as I would usually, I decided to seize the day and make something with it immediately. The design for the card is based on this sketch, #255,  from Sketch Saturday.

Materials used:

  • Base - Dawn Bibby gold embossed lilac cardstock trimmed to measure 11.5" x 5.5", folded to create a 5.5" square card base.
  • A selection of patterned papers from Hot of the Press Artsy Collage Textured Papers - had this little booklet of papers since Noah was in the Ark - and Docrafts Papermania Heather Collection, for matting and layering
  • Topper - smooth white cardstock, Darice Dandelions embossing folder, Rangers Tim Holtz distress ink pads in Milled Lavender and Shaded Lilac - sponged over the seed heads - and Adirondack Lights Willow ink pad - for the stems and fronds
  • Zig Vellum Writer in Pure Violet for the faux stitching 
  • Small butterfly punch and a scrap of the Papermania patterned paper for the flight of flutterbies embellishment
  • Ranger Crystal Stickles

That's me back to normal ... well, if you can describe me ever as normal! Not exactly churning out cards yet, but chugging along quite nicely ... and I've managed to remove the little piles that were preventing me from getting to my craft sheet yesterday.

Many thanks for all the lovely comments left, welcoming me back ... you are all lovely and I'm your greatest fan :)

Off to have a bite of lunch and ruminate and cogitate over the design for a Christmas card because it's Rudolph Day today.

Take care everyone and happy crafting,

Tuesday, 23 April 2013


Hello Everyone,

I'm back ... did you miss me? I missed you and the weekly excuse invitation to peek and peer at What's On Your Desk.

For those not already in the know about the phenomenon that's WOYWW, click the link and go investigate Julia's Stamping Ground ... you'll find a host of links to fellow crafting bloggers happily showing the space where they craft to all and sundry.

My desk this week is looking rather better than the sorry state it got in whilst I was poorly. It had become a bit of a dumping ground for unfinished projects, unopened mail and anything else the EM could not find a home for. Today, most of that has been cleared away, the unfinished projects are done - that pile of scraps to the left is testimony to that - and I've now got everything else sorted into piles. Towards the back of the craft mat is a couple of mailing receipts to be filed away, a bookmark waiting for me to find the magnetic fasteners ... after the last major reorganisation of my stash, I can't, for the life of me, remember where I've put them ... a random piece of white embossed card (dandelions), a couple of pieces that was used for colour testing ProMarkers and inks on, some recently used Stickles and a jar of mixed card candy.

The pile to the right is some of my granddaughter's art - created when she was 4 years old - and lovingly displayed, by the aye proud grandparents, on the kitchen wall for the last 5 years! I've taken it down with the intention of scanning and printing it off. The plan is to make a scrap layout and preserve it for the next generation :) Next to that, and in front of one of my two treasured MS punches (butterfly border) is a box of page map cards, and one card that I've pulled out to use as a guide for the layout.

The pile centre front is composed of embossing folders, dies and a new Debbie Moore embossing blank (diffuser) I've been putting through its paces. I'd been wondering just how I could get the effect of a frame from my collection of embossing folders, was toying with the idea of cutting out shapes from cardboard, cereal packaging perhaps, and layering them together but then spotted these and thought I'd test out a couple. They work well in my Cuttlebug and I'm pleased with the result but they are only really suitable for use with the larger folders, i.e. 5x7 and I only have a couple of these. I have a ton of the smaller sized folders. Lucky then that I spotted a YouTube demo from none other than Lynsey, The Frugal Crafter - a fellow WOYWWer I believe - in which she shows how it can be done with cardboard - click here to see how - just as I had envisaged. Thanks Lynsey, you've just saved me a fortune :)

Okay, this is rather longer than Julia likes our postings to be so I'll call it a day and take myself off to the blog hop :))

Before I go, I'd like to thank you all for the get well wishes received throughout last and this week. I'm sure it was all those good vibes that hastened the dreaded lurgy on its way.

Have an enjoyable WOYWW experience and a great week.

Happy crafting,

Monday, 22 April 2013

Just saying hi! ... and catching up

Hi Folks,

Well, after a bad week or so, I'm back and over the worst. I'll be taking it easy for a wee while but hope to resume normal service in time.

I hope you are all well and, indeed, been having a great crafting time while I've been out of action :)

So there's a bit of housekeeping to be done ... I mean on this blog, of course. But, there again, you should see the layer of dust here in Worthington Towers! For those of you who have not tested the theory that dust displaces itself if left long enough, you will probably not be entirely surprised to hear there's no truth in it ... the layer just keeps building :(

First thing for me to do is to at long last answer that little teaser I left you all with way back in this post here. I asked if any of you could guess what this was.

Lots of clever suggestions - a boardwalk, a pallet, a bridge, etc. - all wrong, though. Only Lynn, Lynn's Crafty Corner, got it spot on:

It's a very modern beach bench! Clearly maintenance free and stylish. But, I think it would be singularly unpleasant to sit your sit-upon down on it after the sun has been blazing down on it for a couple hours ... particularly in a bikini. Ouch!

The other pressing item that needs to be attended to is the book giveaway, #4, Artist Trading Cards.

Without further prevarication ... only because while I was feeling so grim I forgot to photograph the proceedings ... the winner is:

Congratulations Dormouse ... if you will kindly email me at ellie.worthington@sky.com, giving your postal details, I will send it out to you as soon as possible. 

Dormouse mentioned in her comment that she is just getting into ATCs ... I think this little book is the perfect starting off point so should suit perfectly :)

I'll post another book giveaway this coming Saturday, #5 ... one with a scrapbooking theme this time. So if you are interested in scrapping be sure to look out for it.

I haven't crafted a single thing for over a week and my desk is cluttered high with a mix of various projects I was working on, mail that has come in and not been put away and anything else that the EM could find a home for. 

Talking of the EM, he has been an absolutely brilliant carer - I don't know what I'd have done without him ... oh, and the Boss is eternally grateful to him too :)

I'll leave you with this photograph taken of the Kerria, Golden Guinea, growing in our garden ...

... the bright and cheerful yellow flowers certainly light up a dark corner. I could almost believe that spring has sprung :)

Take care everyone and keep crafting,

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Wild Rose Cards

Afternoon Folks,

I hope you are all well and finding plenty of time to craft.

Apologies for being MIA during the past couple days ... I'm not feeling so good at the moment.

Here's a couple of cards made before I was struck down with this dreaded lurgy.

The toppers on these cards were made from the same recycled birthday card just cut in half and trimmed to fit the base. Too pretty to assign to landfill.

For the base of this one I chose cream card and the strip used to mat the belly band was also rescued from another birthday card.

The base of this card is white. A scrap of printed glitter card was used for the matting and the greeting was punched from the original birthday card too. I've added iridescent glitter to the butterfly, rose centres and the greeting/

Materials used: 
  • a cream card base and a white card base
  • the front of a very pretty card received on my birthday
  • scraps of pink glitter card for matting
  • iridescent glitter
  • Colorbox ink pad, pink, and a best wishes greeting stamp
Of course, I'm submitting these to Di's challenge over at Pixie's Crafty Snippets Playground, Week 68, together with a sick note. 

I'll be back just as soon as I'm fighting fit again ;)

Take care and happy crafting,

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Sympathy Card in Navy and White

Evening Everyone,

Third time today! I thought it was time I shared one of the many cards I've made recently.

This one was made to send to a blog buddy on the loss of her mother. It's a simple design, fairly flat for posting, and, because I personally do not like black for sympathy cards, I've chosen navy and white.

Using another of my flower photographs for the topper, can't remember what this particular flower is called, a simple card made with embossed card and ribbon trim. The sentiment is stamped on the inside.

Materials used:

  • a white card base
  • navy card from a Generations cardstock stacker
  • a scrap of white cardstock
  • Cuttlebug folders, Cindy Loo and the dotty one from the Just My Type embossing borders
  • cropped photograph of a white flower
  • Hero Arts Classic Messages stamp set and Memento Tuxedo Black ink pad
  • length of blue ribbon
Sadly, I have two more of these cards to make. Perhaps it would be wise of me to have a wee stock of them tucked away but I just find them too difficult to make.

On a happier note, it's my sister's birthday this week and I have a card to make for her too.

It's time for the last cuppa of the day so I'm off. 

See you again soon and happy crafting,

Saturday Book Giveaway #4 - Artistic Trading Cards

Happy Saturday Evening Everyone,

Here we are at week 4 of my book giveaways already ... how time flies! 

This week, because many of us have ATCs very much on our mind (due to a certain blog hop's 4 year celebration) I've chosen to giveaway this super little book, Artist Trading Cards by Leonie Pujol. Yet another beautifully illustrated book filled with inspiration, ideas and instructions for creating ATCs of all styles. So if you are into making ATCs - and I know many of you are - this book could suit you perfectly.

There are no special hoops to jump through though, if you want to, and, I stress, you are not obliged in any way, you could add the photo to your sidebar with a link back - just to ensure that as many people get to know about the giveaway as possible. Oh, and leave me a comment to let me know you are interested, of course!

Nothing to it, really :)

There will be another book to giveaway next Saturday, 20th April, so if this one doesn't rock your boat, keep checking - there's still a pile of lovely books up for grabs.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Happy crafting,

Winner of the Saturday Book Giveaway #3 - Outstanding Mini Albums

Hello Everyone,

And happy Saturday to you all - I hope you are all enjoying the weekend so far.

Time to show the draw and announce the winner of this week's book giveaway (week #3) - Outstanding Mini Albums by Jessica Acs.

Eight folk thought they might find this book useful so, in time-honoured fashion, here's the EM doing his stuff.

Names printed out and cut into strips, folded and secreted in the ceremonial jug and there's his hand emerging holding the comment from the winner.

so with all due ceremony the name of the winner is ...

drum roll please ...

Congratulations Janet... do drop me an email, giving me your full postal address and I'll post the book at the earliest opportunity.

Janet said ... this looks an interesting little book and what a great idea to share through a giveway

It's a book full of creative ideas so I'm sure you will find the book of interest, Janet. 

Someone did ask where I got the books - did I have a supplier? No, unfortunately, I don't have a generous source handing out lots of lovely crafting books. I wish! They are all from my personal and extensive library ... as well as being a ribbonaholic, I am a bookaholic too :)) And the collection is now too extensive so, with some regret, I'm giving them away. However, knowing they are going to a good home is making it easier to part with them. 

Sadly, there can only be one winner in any week but I have another book giveaway coming up, Week #4, in a separate post ... which will be uploaded just as soon as I've written it up :)

Happy crafting,

Friday, 12 April 2013

Flower Photo Cards - experiments with my photographs

Afternoon All,

Again! Twice in one day! After the cake comes the cards.

I've been playing with my computer and it's all because I've long admired what Jackie, of Craft Designs, does with her photographs and the cards she makes with them. Since seeing her work I've been keen to try to find my way round Photoshop myself. So, over the last couple of days, in between eating, sleeping and WOYWW blog-hopping, ... not to mention the dreaded 'H' word, all dedicated crafters will know what I mean by that ... I've been having a bash and here's what I've done.

The photos were imported into Serif Craft Artist and then altered using Photoshop before printing off. I'm still learning but it's fun to see the different effects that can be achieved. The flowers, the pink African Daisy (Osteospernum) and blue dwarf Columbine (Alpine Aquilegia) are both plants grown in my garden.

Materials used: 
  • white bases cards
  • linen textured paper for printing
  • scraps of coloured cardstock for matting
  • various greeting stamps and Memento Tuxedo Black ink pad
  • pink gems/Papermania dew drops, aqua, for embellishments
Tools used: 
  • Serif Craft Artist & Photoshop
  • Epson XP-40 printer; Docrafts X-cut dies, circles, spiro circles, flower shapes
  • Stampin' Up label punch
All this experimenting has had the added benefit of using up a few snippets too, so I'm checking in at Di's place to see what action, if any, is going on at Pixie's Crafty Snippets Playground - Week 67.

And that really is that for today ... I'm in the middle of putting a scrap page together and I really do want to finish it. It's raining, and the rain is very welcome, but I don't plan on going out into it ... I'd rather stay warm and dry in the craft room.

I'll be back tomorrow to announce the winner of this week's book giveaway. 

Take care all and I wish you all an enjoyable weekend wherever you are.

Happy crafting,