Saturday, May 28, 2016

Miss Krystal is 24 today!

Today my 'big girl' celebrates her 24th birthday!

Krystal's birth was actually quite eventful.  My ex-husband and I had just bought our first home and moved into it.  I knew I was supposed to take it easy since I was so late in my pregnancy but I figured that if I got everything sorted out for the 'baby' (we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl) then I could rest and take it easy once everything was done.

We moved into our home and spent all weekend rushing around organising things and getting boxes unpacked... and then the baby stopped moving!  I was ordered to go home and put my feet up... which I actually did!... but by the next afternoon there were still no movements from baby so my midwife said that I needed to go to the hospital to monitor baby's heart beat.

After several hours on the monitor it was decided that it would be best if baby came early... she was actually due June 16th!  They induced me and we got ready to be parents.  Mum and my two younger sisters arrived during the labour.  After saying I didn't want Mum in the delivery room all through my pregnancy she arrived at the hospital to hear me say she could come in.  Little did I know that one of my sisters actually watched the entire labour and birth from the window in the hallway!

Just after midnight my youngest sister called out from the corridor that 'if I waited 24 more hours the baby could be born on HER birthday'... and I remember yelling back to her that 'I didn't want to wait 24 more minutes let alone 24 more hours!'

As it was, Miss Krystal was born just after 1.30am and she and my sister have been 'almost twins' ever since LOL

Here's a very early photo of Miss Krystal (I think she was just a few weeks old):

Krystal has always loved girly, pretty things... along with anything sparkly, pink or purple so I decided to try and make her a special card to celebrate her special day.

I have to admit that I stamped and coloured a couple of images onto scrap watercolour paper first but wasn't entirely happy with them before I finally settled on my card design.

I picked a piece of patterned paper from Kaisercraft's 'After Five' collection.  I really liked the varnished feel of the paper and it was super neutral in terms of colour.  I die cut the card front using my Lawn Fawn stitched rectangle dies and then used some of the left over paper to die cut the word 'birthday' using Tim Holtz Celebrate dies.

Then I used the die cut 'birthday' to help me place the 'happy' stamp.  This stamp comes from Simon Says Stamp and it stamps perfectly every time.

The next job was to place the stamp for the flower stalk.  I decided to use Simon Says Stamp's Spring Flowers set.  I bought this stamp because it was so pretty but hadn't actually used it yet so it counts as being NBUS (Never Before Used Schtuff)!

I decided to stamp using Versa Mark and then heat emboss with silver embossing powder to try and match in with my patterned paper.

Once the stem, flower and bubbles were all heat embossed, I coloured the images using Faded Lilac, Picked Raspberry and Mowed Lawn Distress Inks.

I totally adore how the Faded Lilac and Picked Raspberry inks blended together on the flower... super pretty!  I did get some darks and lights too by simply drying the coloured image and then going back and adding more colour on top.  Very simple but also very effective!

Next, I adhered the coloured watercolour cardstock card front to the Kaisercraft patterned paper.  The photos don't clearly show the lovely pattern, or the varnish finish, of the paper.

Of course I had to add the 'birthday' die cut that I'd made earlier:

Since Krystal loves 'sparkly' things... and since I've had a bit of a thing for sequins and rhinestones lately I decided to add some to the card and here it is all finished:

I wish I could show you just how sparkly and pretty it all turned out but I'm really loving this card and hopefully Krystal will too.  She's at work right now but we're taking her out for dinner tonight to celebrate her day.

Thanks so much for stopping by xx

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Be awesome... Be yourself

Hi there :)  I've got some more cards to share today.  After I made my card yesterday I uploaded it to the Unity Stamp Facebook group and I had some lovely comments.  I also had someone ask 'how' I'd done the background so I thought I'd make some more cards and take all the necessary photos so here you go!

Today's cards are slightly different than the one I made yesterday... and I made the background using Distress Ink instead of Peerless watercolours but the process was largely the same.

I started off by die cutting four pieces of Distress watercolour paper using my Lawn Fawn stitched rectangle dies.  Once they were all ready, I took each one in turn and used Micropore tape to hold it flat on an old mini clipboard (I bought the Micropore tape at a local chemist for $2).

After trialing lots of different tapes I've found that the Micropore tape is the best for temporarily holding my watercolour paper onto the board... and it NEVER tears my paper!

Then I use a wide paint brush and applied clean water to the Distress watercolour paper... this helps the inks move around much more than if you apply them direct to dry paper.

Next comes the fun stuff... COLOUR!  I wanted to start with a blue background so I chose three Distress Inks: Blueprint Sketch, Salty Ocean and Peacock Feathers.  I just dabbed some of each colour onto a plastic place mat that I keep on my art table.

Then I used a soft, wet brush to pick up some of the colour and added it to my Distress watercolour paper.  I did some of each colour and let the colours flow into each other and react with the water.

Next I dried my paper with the heat gun... it's super fun to watch the colours change and mix as they dry.

I really love how you get darks, lights, and patterns over the background.  I wasn't finished yet though because I went back in with some more of each colour to create a bit more depth.  I also decided to add some splatter effects by just adding lots of water and a bit of colour to my paintbrush and then tapping it over my background.  It looked awesome when it dried!

When I was totally happy with my background I peeled off the Micropore tape and my background was ready.

Here's my blue background using Blueprint Sketch, Salty Ocean and Peacock Feathers Distress Inks:

I decided to make each card 'the same but different' so here's my orange background using Wild Honey, Carved Pumpkin and Rusty Hinge Distress Ink:

The pink background using Shaded Lilac, Picked Raspberry and Abandoned Coral Distress Ink:

And finally the green background using Cracked Pistachio, Mowed Lawn and Lucky Clover Distress Ink:

I love colour, so seeing my backgrounds all come together was pretty fun for me!  You can get very similar effects using Peerless watercolours, paints and lots of other mediums... the key thing I've found is that you MUST wet your paper BEFORE you start adding your colour so that it can move and blend right from the start.  Here's my completed backgrounds:

My next step was to start stamping... and I'm SOOOO pleased that I have a MISTI stamping tool because I had to stamp my 'Live Love Laugh girl' five times on each card to get the area perfect... I think it might have been because I was using watercolour paper and I wanted a really solid black for the image.  In the end I found my Tsukineko Archival Brilliance ink (Graphite Black) gave me the very best results... and my Simple Green stamp cleaning solution cleaned the stamp up perfectly when I was done!

I stamped the same girl on all four cards and then heat embossed her with clear embossing powder.  She looks quite funky against the coloured backgrounds too!

I wanted the finished cards to be a set but also be user friendly for a variety of different situations so I grabbed my Simon Says Stamp 'Be' set and got to work.  I stamped all the sentiments using Hero Arts Hero Hues Black ink... this ink is quickly becoming a favourite with me!

I used my MISTI stamping tool so I knew my stamp was going to be perfectly placed for all the cards... takes all the worry away that's for sure!

Next I stamped 'amazing' so that it read "be amazing"

And then I had another idea... or maybe that should be an 'expanded' idea because I came up with this:

Now the cards can be used for any occasion... and with a variety of colours to choose from it's even better!

Since these cards are designed to be a set I decided to back them with Bazzill's Beetle Black cardstock.  In spite of the name I actually find it to be a really soft black... more of a charcoal... which is exactly what I wanted for these cards.

Then I layered them onto some white cards from my stash:

I probably could have called them finished at this point... but I wanted to add a little bling in the form of sequins!  These are Simon Says Stamp Moonshine sequins which come in a pack of 3mm, 6mm and 10mm sequins all in one pack.

Here are my finished cards:

And here they are all together... loving the colours!

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today xx

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Finally... something creative to share!

Hi there :)  It's been so long since I've made something creative... in part I've been busy with all the regular day to day things... and in part it's the weather... with winter well on it's way it's just a little bit more challenging to leave the house and head out to my art studio... (there's no internal access from the house).

Yesterday, I was catching up on some of my favourite bloggers and I noticed that Amy had done a video about her latest purchases from Unity Stamps.  She also mentioned that they were having a big sale so I headed on over for a 'look'... and before I knew it I had placed an order!!  I'm really looking forward to getting my new stamps.

After all the browsing around the Unity Stamps website I suddenly thought about a stamp I'd had in my stash for a while.  It's one I bought several years ago because I used it to make my swap pins for a retreat in 2011.  I hunted out the stamp and the swap pin but I'd long since ditched the packaging... darn it!

The next step was to do a bit of searching using Google and I came across a photo of some stamps and one of the stamps looked a lot like the stamp on my swap pin:

I was still no closer to naming the stamp but had a fairly good idea that it was in fact a Unity Stamp so I emailed them to explain what I was after and sent them the photos.

I was hoping that I might hear back from them in a few days but they literally got back to me within hours and confirmed that my funky girl was definitely one of their products.

It is called "Live, Laugh, Love GIRL" and here is a link to her (she's still available!):

Anyway, after Andrea's lovely email I started to have a few ideas about how I could use my Live, Laugh, Love girl to create a funky card.  The one thing I didn't do was take 'in progress' photos... oops!

The background was created on a die cut piece of Distress watercolour paper with Peerless watercolours.  Then I stamped my image using black ink and heat embossed with clear embossing powder.  Next up was the sentiment which was a Simon Says Stamp set called 'Be'.   After all that I just added some clear sequins to create a more 'dreamy' quality to go with the sentiment.
Here's my completed card:

Thanks so much for visiting xx
p.s. the Unity Stamp sale is on until the end of May!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

More organising in the art studio

We've had such a busy week at school this week... and to be honest I haven't had 5 minutes in my art studio to create anything!  I did steal a little bit of time last weekend though to continue my organising... and I LOVED it.  I think I might secretly be a little OCD about my storage solutions!

I've previously shown you how I'm using Jennifer McGuire's storage tips with most of my stamps... and it certainly works for me.  My baskets with the stamp storage pockets and dividers is fabulous and I'm finding it much easier to find what I'm looking for.  PLUS... having all my things organised really does make me HAPPY!

One thing that I hadn't worked out yet was how to store my Ranger stamps... mostly Tim Holtz ones but I've got a few Dylusions sets as well.  They were far too big for the regular stamp storage pockets and besides... I quite liked the idea of keeping them separate from the other stamps.

When Esther came up in January I had ALL my Tim Holtz stamps out on the table and we had them EVERYWHERE!

To be honest, that photo doesn't show how bad the situation really was... I had stamps missing... stamps on the 'wrong' storage sheets... everything mixed up... it was a MESS!

I REALLY liked the pocket idea and it got me thinking... what if I could use much bigger pockets??  So I went hunting and came up with the perfect solution for me.  I bought a packet of A4 heavy duty expanding pockets!  They were the perfect width and depth but way too tall so I chopped the tops off with my guillotine!

Then I got out my label maker and got organising:

Each pocket is labelled with the name of the stamp set, the individual code and how many stamps each set contains:

As I was sorting the stamps out I found that lots of the stamps weren't sticking to their storage sheets so I jumped back on the internet and searched out some stamp cleaning ideas and found two really fabulous 'home made' stamp cleaner recipes.

The bottle on the left is my Glycerol and baby shampoo cleaner and the bottle on the right is diluted Simple Green.  The Simple Green recipe I made works fabulously on some of the more difficult stains and the glycerol/baby shampoo recipe smells divine and actually conditions the stamp rubber as well!

I now have a stamp cleaning container complete with extra 'ingredients' for making more cleaning solution, an old tooth brush and my super clean stamp blocks!

Getting back to the stamps... by the time I'd finished cleaning and sorting my stamps I'd actually managed to find ALL of my stamps.... SO HAPPY!  Then I needed a container for storing all the stamps in.  My cane baskets weren't wide enough and I didn't want to hide them away after going to all the effort to have them well organised.... and then I remembered that I had an old antique suitcase that would be perfect!

I think Tim Holtz himself would be happy with this storage solution!

At the moment I've got the suitcase of stamps sitting on my big table and it's fantastic!  Best of all, there's still room to add more stamp sets to the suitcase LOL

Before I go, I thought I'd share an amusing little snippet from this morning.  Krystal came inside to have a chat and she decided to have a toasted sandwich while she was talking to me.  Within SECONDS she had TWO sets of eyes watching her and hoping against hope that she would give them a little morsel!

It reminded me of a picture I saved from Pinterest last year:

Here's our version of the picture:

Toby sat all the way through Krystal eating her sandwich... Nivea only sat once Krystal got down to the last of it... the desperation was setting in by then!  In spite of them sitting so nicely there were NO tasty morsels for puppies!

And if Toby could have opened the fridge by himself he would definitely have done this!

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today... I hope you're having a great weekend xx