A blog devoted to the cards I make in my tiny upstairs space. When my sister stays there, she calls it an "artist's garret". I'm not an artist, but am an enthusiastic cardmaker - hence the title "Cardmaker's Garret".

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Much Happier with this Version!

Here's my card for today:

I am so much happier with today's size / shape, layout, choice of sentiment, and placement of sentiment, than I was with this version I made two days ago:

On my blog post with this first version, I was super-critical of it as I just wasn't happy with the layout, proportions, placement of sentiment, etc.  So I had to make another one and figure out what worked better for this stamp.  I'm really happy with today's version.

I used a different sentiment stamp as it fit better than the one that came with the bird stamp.  Also the image worked really well for a square card.  And I like the wider border between the black and the outer edges of the card.

Thanks for looking at something so similar to two days ago!

Stamps: Penny Black holly / bird, Great Impressions sentiment
Paper: cream and black cs, watercolour paper
Paper Size: 4.75" square
Ink: Ranger Archival Jet Black
Accessories: Zig brush markers, Lil Inkers stitched square die, glossy accents

Monday, 28 September 2015

Inka Gold and a Snowflake

The SCS Christmas Card Challenge suggests a theme for each month.  September's is snowflakes with sapphire blue (sapphire is September's gemstone).

The central panel is made with a couple of different sprays to get the blue tones.  It was then embossed with a script folder, and silver Inka Gold was gently rubbed over the raised part of the embossing.  I added a die cut snowflake and sentiment, bordered the panel with white cs, and mounted it on a silver shimmer cardbase.   

The SCS Christmas Card Challenge helps me get my Christmas cards made in time - I set a quota of at least 10 a month.  Most months I've made my quota, but now need to really work hard on them - so forgive me if I inundate you with Christmas cards!

Stamps: Hero Arts sentiment
Paper: silver shimmer cs, white cs
Paper Size: 4.5" square
Ink: ColorBox Colonial Blue
Accessories: various blue sprays, script ef, silver Inka Gold, pale blue pearls, label die, snowflake die

Sunday, 27 September 2015

My Zigs have arrived!

I am so happy to have my lovely set of Zig watercolour brush markers!  They are so different to regular markers with their fine real brush tip - they'll take a bit of getting used to.  But I quickly did a very simple card with them just in time to enter it in the Merry Monday Christmas Card Challenge "watercolouring".  It's also for the "colouring" challenge at Happy Little Stampers.

I also used a new Penny Black stamp I just bought.  Simple stamping with black archival ink, watercolouring it with the Zigs and a water brush, bordering with black, popping up on foam tape, and it was done in time to photograph and get into the Merry Monday challenge with minutes to spare.

Now I'm going to be super critical of myself - which is what happens when I do a card in such a rush.  First of all the image and sentiment are not laid out the way I'd like it so the card looks unbalanced to me - maybe the sentiment in the top right corner would have been better, or moved over further to the right at the bottom, or I could have turned it into a square card.  Maybe some flicking of black ink would have added more interest.  It just looks unfinished to me!  If anyone wants to comment on how they'd improve it, please do!

I might come back with some variations using this stamp and see if I can get something I'm happier with.

Stamps: Penny Black Holly Tweet
Paper: black and cream cs, mixed media cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Ranger Archival Black
Accessories: Zig brush markers, foam tape

Friday, 25 September 2015

Mixed Media Friends

The latest Mixed Media Card Challenge is "Friendship" - the perfect opportunity to ink up two new stamps I recently bought from Deep Red.

I stamped in black the image of the two elderly women with my MISTI (good thing too as it took two tries to get a good impression).  Stamped the sentiment (that I just love - perfect for my best friend and me as we approach our 65 birthdays!) in navy blue for a bit of contrast to the black.  I lightly coloured the women with coloured pencils - I didn't want strong solid colours so used a very light hand.

I masked off the image and sentiment, and used a brick stencil with texture paste to create an arch around the edge.  It looked kind of blah just in white but I didn't want it to look heavy so sprinkled on some rust Perfect Pearls just to give it a bit of random colour.

Yesterday's SCS Ways to Use It challenge is "Punctuation" - I realized that this sentiment stamp has 4 apostrophes and an ellipsis so it is perfect for that challenge too.

Stamps: Deep Red women and sentiment
Paper: PTI Vintage Cream cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Archival Jet Black and Cobalt Blue
Accessories: Tim Holtz Bricked stencil, Ranger Texture Paste, rust Perfect Pearls, foam tape, coloured pencils

Thursday, 24 September 2015

My one and only ever steampunk card

Steampunk is so not my style!  But I decided I would make a steampunk card to thank my best friend for taking me to see a version of Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors that had sets and costumes done in steampunk style.  It was a great production and we enjoyed it so much.  Here's some photos of their set:

The Comedy of Errors

And here's the card I was inspired to make:

I wanted to capture the large clock and gears from the set.  Because I'm not a steampunk person, I had to borrow the gears die from a friend.

I'm entering it in the Mixed Media Card Challenge "Friendship".  I used Distress stains with the clock stencil, ink and embossing powder for the sentiment, and textured cs for the gears die cut.

And it's going into the Less is More challenge "Technology".

That's it for steampunk for me!

Stamps: Printworks sentiment
Paper: white and dark brown cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: unknown dark brown pigment ink spot
Accessories: various Distress stains, TCS clocks stencil, Memory Box gears die, clear embossing powder

Monday, 21 September 2015

Last of the Summer Flowers

I still have some California poppies blooming in my garden so when I saw today's SCS Technique Lovers' Challenge "Floral Frenzy" - a last curtain call for the flowers of summer, I went with poppies. And I went with autumn colours to be seasonal.

I made a Wrinkle Free Distress background on some watercolour paper and added some faint text stamp. I stamped the poppies on top, let the ink dry, and then coloured them with Distress inks. I made a real mess of painting a couple of the flowers in the centre area so restamped, coloured, and fussy cut two flowers and one bud. After I layered them on top, they looked odd so decided to highlight them by adding the square frame over that area. I'm not sure how I feel about the finished card, but it needs to go in the mail to my sister or I'll miss her birthday!

Stamps: SU Pleasant Poppies, Gina K sentiment
Paper: PTI Vintage Cream cs, watercolour paper
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Versafine Onyx Black; Distress Old Paper, Brushed Corduroy, Bundled Sage, Antique Linen, Fired Brick, Barn Door, and Festive Berries
Accessories: Lil Inkers stitched squares dies, foam tape
Techniques: Wrinkle Free Distress

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Happy Little Stampers Blog Hop

Welcome to my blog! 

Happy Little Stampers are celebrating the first release of their stamps with a blog hop! 
Comment on the HLS blog, and then continue on to each Designer. You must comment on all the blogs in the hop to be eligible for prizes.
You should have come to me from Carol Dunham's blog. If you got lost, don't despair. Just start back at the Happy Little Stampers blog.

The blog hop will run for one week giving you enough time to hop through and check out what the designers will be creating.

The prizes

One lucky commenter (selected randomly) will win the whole release! That's four sets of stamps with a value of AUD$69
Four lucky commenters (selected randomly) will win a gift certificate to the HLS store!

My cards have been created using some of the fabulous Christmas sentiment stamps.  For this first card, I used a sentiment that fits perfectly on one of my label die cuts.

I was experimenting at Loll Thompson's house recently with Inka Gold.  We sprayed cardstock with various sprays, then ran the cs through an embossing folder (in my case a star ef), and then gently rubbed Inka Gold over the raised part of the embossed cs.  I sprayed with dark blue and used gold Inka Gold - a lot of the Inka Gold smudged onto the lower parts but I was able to salvage just enough of a good section to die cut a tag.  I added a frosty Christmas tree, punched a few gold stars to scatter around the card base, and stamped and heat embossed my sentiment (love the fonts Kylie used on this stamp set!) on a die cut label tag to give it more interest.  Finished off with a gold bow on the tag.

Next up is a card using two of the sentiment stamps.  And again I'm using something from my fabulous day of experimenting with techniques at Loll's house.  We were testing translucent gel medium coloured with Pearl Ex - in this case, green Pearl Ex used with a holly stencil on black cs.  I'll be back another day to show you a couple of other Pearl Ex / gel mixtures.

When I got home, I added the "Deck the hall" sentiment and heat embossed it in gold.  I have inverted scallop Nesties dies that I think are perfect with holly images so cut part of the image with a smaller one and then a gold border with the bigger one.
I happened to have the perfect shade of green cs for the cardbase - love it when that works out!  Added the "Fa la la la la" sentiment and heat embossed it in black.
A few gold pearls stand in for the traditional red berries.
This is also for the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown challenge "For a Man" - I think the black and muted green colour scheme are pretty masculine, even with a bit of gold and pearls.
  I hope I have inspired you today with my card. The designers and I have had so much fun playing with these stamps! Next you need to hop on over to "Bonnie Klass's" blog. 

Christmas Cheer

This week's Merry Monday challenge is "Sentiment in the Spotlight".  I have so many great Christmas sentiments that it was hard to choose.  I finally settled on one I'd never used before from a Whimsy Stamps Christmas Chalkboards set - but I didn't use it for a "chalkboard" style card.

I spent a great day yesterday at Loll Thompson's house.  Loll, our friend Christine (calex on SCS), and I experimented with alcohol ink techniques.  One technique I suggested was using tin foil and embossing folders.  I ended up with the lovely Christmas background I used here.

The background reminds me of some old multi-coloured tin Christmas ornaments my grandparents had in England when I was a child.

The technique is simple - stick kitchen tin foil on cardstock, run it through an embossing folder, and drop various colours of alcohol ink onto it.  Take care not to let the colours blend into each other too much.  When dry, lightly sand off the raised parts of the embossing to let the silver of the foil show more.

I used a light silver cs for the base and the sentiment panel.  The sentiment is heat embossed in green to be sure it doesn't smudge on the silver cs.  And I had the perfect size and shape of die cut to cut it out with.

Thanks for taking a look!


Stamps: Whimsy Stamps Christmas Chalkboard sentiment
Paper: light silver cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Versamark
Accessories: CB embossing folder, Sissix, Stampendous Pearlustre emerald embossing powder, alcohol inks, tin foil

Friday, 18 September 2015

A Topaz Reindeer

This week's Ways to Use It challenge at SCS is "What's Your Birthstone?" - to make a card with the colour of your birthstone and one neutral.

My birthday is November so my stone is topaz - an orangy-gold colour that is tricky to match. I took my topaz earring up to the craft room and found the closest cs I had - a dark gold. I also had a dp with bits of the same colour in it, so I could fulfill my personal goal of using dp on at least one card a week.

The dp is flimsy and the tape shows through it when you stick it down so I made a frame out of rectangle dies to hide the tape.

Dasher is embossed in the closest ep I have and framed with the same dark gold cs. My neutral is cream.

The SCS Christmas Card Challenge has themes set up for each month's quota so I'm putting this in my November quota as November's theme is Santa, sleighs, or reindeer.


Stamps: SU Dasher, Hero Arts Joy
Paper: dark gold cs, PTI Vintage Cream cs, PaperCo. dp
Ink: ColorBox gold
Accessories: Nesties rectangle dies, Sissix label dies, dark gold embossing powder

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Autumn Leaves

The current Addicted to CAS Challenge is "Leaves".   So I've gone with autumn leaves as the weather here is feeling very much like summer is over and autumn is almost upon us.  My favourite stamps to use at this time of year are in the Stampin Up French Foliage set.

I love the leaves in the French Foliage set but even more,  I love the script, postage mark, and blotches stamps.  So I used all of those extras on my background.  I did an inked acrylic block background with Ranger Lake Mist ink and a spritz of water, then added the script, etc. in the same ink.

The leaf is stamped and heat embossed with Brushed Corduroy, sponged with Frayed Burlap, and then fussy cut.

Wishing all of you a beautiful autumn!

Stamps: SU French Foliage, Inkadinkado sentiment
Ink: Ranger Lake Mist, Distress Frayed Burlap and Brushed Corduroy
Paper: cream and bronze cs
Accessories:  Nesties squares, clear ep, foam tape

Friday, 11 September 2015

Green and Gold

I love Christmas card challenges as they help me get cards made for my fundraising sale at the end of November.  This week's Less is More challenge is not technically a Christmas card challenge but is perfect for one - it's a colour challenge to use green and gold.

I pulled out one of the very first stamps I ever bought - the lovely Solemn Stillness set from Stampin' Up.

The green part of the tree is stamped with a dye ink, the gold part with a pigment ink with sparkly gold embossing powder added.   I took many photos but could not get one that really showed the sparkle.


Stamps - SU Solemn Stillness
Ink - StazOn Forest Green, ColorBox Gold
Paper - green, gold, and cream cs
Accessories - gold embossing powder, gold sequins, Lil Inkers stitched rectangle die

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Flying Reindeer

This week's Winter Wonderland Christmas card challenge is to have the sentiment be the main focal point on the card.  I have several wonderful Kay Foley sentiment stamps so chose one of those and made this card.

One of my goals in 2015 was to make one card every week with some dp on it as I really need to use up some of my paper stash!  I haven't managed to do one every week as I much prefer using all the interesting new background techniques involving stencils, inks, brushos, etc.  But I got one done this week as the sentiment I was using made me think of some dp I had with flying reindeer on it that would go perfectly with one of the lines in the sentiment.  

Thanks for dropping by to look!

Stamps - Kay Foley
Ink - ColorBox Scarlet
Paper - white cs, red glitter cs, Loisirs Harmonie dp
Accessories - detail embossing powder, Nesties oval die,  Sissix Fancy Label die, foam tape

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Seasons, White Space, and Birthdays

When it comes to challenges, I mostly do Christmas ones but I also try to do at least a couple of Splitcoaststampers' challenges each week.  This week they had three in a row that appealed to me and I came up with this card combining all three in one:

The Free for All challenge "Happy Birthday to Me" is to make a birthday card that I would like to receive. I've got everything I like here - some stencilling, some glitter, flowers, a nice quote, and not too fussy.

The Mixability challenge "White Wash" appeals to those of us who like more CAS cards - it is to have lots of white space but still have mixed media. My media are ink, watercolour paints, wink of stella, embossing paste, and glitter.

But the challenge that started the card was the Ways to Use It challenge "Seasons" - make a card associated with your favourite season. Mine is spring - just love the garden coming back to life and all the wonderful spring flowers cheering things up after the winter. Bunches of tulips and daffodils in the grocery store are one of my favourite signs of spring.

The image is watercoloured with Wink of Stella over the flowers. The flourishes are done with a homemade stencil kindly made for me by Loll Thompson. I sprinkled gold glitter on the wet embossing paste. And I used a technique I've seen Sallie (aka hobbydujour on SCS) use a lot lately - instead of using gold cs to border an image, just draw gold lines around the edge.

I'm also taking it over to Happy Little Stamper's CAS challenge "Colouring" as I coloured my image with watercolour paints and coloured the embossing paste with glitter.

Stamps: SU Love is Kindness, unknown happy birthday
Paper: watercolour paper, white cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Ranger Archival Black
Accessories: watercolour paints, clear Wink of Stella, homemade flourish stencil, Dreamweaver embossing paste, Glitter Ritz light gold glitter, Nesties rectangle, foam tape, gold Marvy Opaque Stix

Friday, 4 September 2015

Vintage Holly for Happy Little Stampers

I'm on the Design Team for the Happy Little Stampers Christmas Challenge.  The October challenge is "Holly".  Here's my card:

My good friend, Loll Thompson, of Stamping with Loll, taught me her "faux mother-of-pearl" technique.  I used it for the background of this card.  But it's really hard to photograph!  In real life, there is lovely pearlescent shimmer where you see splotchy sections on the background in the photo! 

Loll did a video tutorial here on the faux mother-of-pearl technique if you're interested.

The style of the holly stamp and the font of the sentiment gave me the slight vintage feel I wanted to go with the faded background colours, and I added a bit of text for good measure.

After dabbing on the pearly paint, I sponged first with Bundled Sage and then with Shabby Shutters.  I stamped the text in Frayed Burlap with some of the ink dabbed off the stamp before stamping, then stamped the sentiment and image in Versafine Olympia Green, and watercoloured the holly with Mowed Lawn and Fired Brick.  I then went around the edges with Frayed Burlap.  The panel is popped up with foam tape and a bow added for embellishment.

Please come and join us at Happy Little Stampers.  The "Holly" challenge runs all through September.

I'm also entering the card in the Merry Monday "Use Holly" challenge.


Stamps: Great Impressions holly and sentiment, Memory Box script
Inks: Distress Bundled Sage, Shabby Shutters, Frayed Burlap, Fired Brick, and Mowed  Lawn; Versafine Olympia Green
Paper: PTI Vintage Cream cs
Size: A2
Accessories: Tsukineko Frost White paint, red/green ribbon, foam tape

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Christmas Dog, Cats, and a Mouse in Ovals

Yesterday I said I'd be back with some more dog-themed cards.  I've only got one dog one to show you, but to please those who prefer cats, I've included one where a cat takes centre stage.

First up is one I made last night for Happy Little Stampers CAS challenge "colouring".  Any medium could be used for the colouring.  I'm eagerly anticipating the arrival of my Zig brush markers (I broke down and ordered them after using them at Loll Thompson's house) as they will be ideal for these kind of images.  But meanwhile I've resorted to my Distress markers and a water brush.

I've made it with a specific friend in mind.  She has a black dog, Sadie, and just recently adopted a little ginger kitten.  Sadie loves the kitten and my friend refers to it as "Sadie's early Christmas present" - this image seemed just perfect for her!

I love Penny Black's dog and cat stamps.  Here is another of her cute Christmas ones:

I love knitting and am in a knitting group with several friends - we meet, chat, eat treats and drink tea, show our latest projects, and maybe get a bit of actual knitting done!  So I had to buy this stamp as it will make perfect Christmas cards for my knitting friends.  I used the "out-of-the-box" technique to die cut it with just the mouse outside of the oval.

In case you missed these earlier posts using more Penny Black Christmas dog stamps, here are the links:

Penny Black Pup with a Snowman
Penny Black Pups

Dog and Kitten
Stamps: Penny Black, SU sentiment
Paper: PTI rustic cs, mixed media, red and green cs
Ink: Versafine Onyx Black
Accessories: Distress markers, water brush, Nesties ovals

Cat and Mouse
Stamps: Penny Black "Gift for You", Rubber Soul "Joy"
Paper: cream and green cs
Paper Size: 4.25" square
Ink: Archival Jet Black, Memento Lady Bug
Accessories: Nesties ovals, Distress markers, foam tape, gold and clear Stickles

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Horses and Dogs, Part 2

A few weeks ago, I posted "Horses and Dogs, Part 1" where I talked a bit about the horses in my life and showed a couple of cards featuring horses.  I thought it was about time I came back and did Part 2 - dogs.  If you only want to see the cards I've made recently that feature dogs, skip down part way through the post.

I've lived with dogs my whole life.  As a child in England, we lived with my grandparents and their spaniel, Lass.  After we came to Canada when I was 10, we got our own family dog - a sweet little spaniel cross, Sandy.  She was followed by a larger spaniel cross, Sasha.  So I seemed destined to have spaniels in my life.  But my first dog as an adult was a rescue Husky / Samoyed cross, Usk, that my boyfriend and I had.  He was so bonded to my boyfriend that I wanted a dog that bonded more with me so I went back to spaniels and we bought a Springer Spaniel puppy, Sheena - to my dismay, she bonded more with the Husky / Samoyed dog than with me!  After the two of them had died, my then-husband and I bought another Springer, Jessie, who saw me through some of the worst parts of my life - divorce, ill health, the death of one of my best friends.  

As Jessie got older, I knew I didn't want to have a period of time without a dog and I knew I wanted to go slightly smaller as I got older, so I got Will - the adorable English cocker who I still have.  I got him as a tiny puppy and when he was three years old, his breeder got back his sister from a neglectful home and asked me to take her.  By then, Jessie had died (a huge heartache as she'd been with me through so much) and I was ready to have two dogs again so along came my sweet Shea.  It took some time to make her feel safe and secure but after awhile, Shea became the most loving and gentle of dogs who followed me everywhere - probably the most bonded of any dog I've ever lived with.  Will and Shea became the best of friends, and when she died of cancer this spring, Will grieved as much as I did.  Here are the two of them (Will is the black one, Shea the brown one):

Will is now 11 - average life span of English cockers is 13 or 14, so after losing Shea too soon, I'm hoping Will keeps on going as his usual robust healthy self.

Now on to cards.  Of course, I have bought whatever English cocker stamps I can find since I started card-making.  And lots of my friends who come to my fundraiser Christmas card sale love dogs so I have quite a few dog-themed Christmas stamps.  Here's one that is both English cocker and Christmas:

I was at Loll Thompson's house recently for a fun day of trying different techniques. One technique we did was spraying cs with various colours of spray, then running it through an embossing folder, and then rubbing Inka Gold over the top of the raised parts. I used one of my pieces for the background of this card.

My focal image is stamped in grey and then heat embossed in a sparkly ep called "marcasite". I used metallic pens to colour the ribbon blue and the sleigh bells silver. It looked a bit too stark so I sponged Distress Stormy Sky around the edges to soften it.

I twisted silver cord around silver ribbon and threaded two metal mini sleigh bells on it for the SCS Ways to Use It challenge "Make It Metal".

All the layers are attached with foam tape so it has nice dimension in real life.

It's also for the September theme "snowflakes and blue" for the SCS Christmas Card Challenge, for the Less is More challenge "sprays", and for the Addicted to CAS challenge "blue".

And here's a non-Christmas one using one of my favourite English cocker stamps.  This particular stamp really makes me think of Shea - the pose, the shape of the head, and the expression.  I made this to send to her breeder to thank her for sending Shea to me and giving me 8 lovely years with her.
I stamped it in Vintage Photo as that colour is very close to her colour. I did a background of stars as the kennel is called Eclipse and the breeder loves all things cosmic.

I made it with a few challenges in mind:

Less is More blog to use sprays - I sprayed a star stencil with gold Mr Huey's spray.
Last week's SCS Color Challenge - gold and vanilla.
The current SCS Free for All challenge - add something gold to the card - I used a gold spray for the stencil and dark gold cs for the border and die cut.

I'll be back again tomorrow with a couple of fun dog Christmas cards.

Christmas card:
Stamps: Creative Images
Paper: white cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Versafine Smokey Grey, Distress Stormy Sky
Accessories: various sprays, silver Inka Gold, Stampendous Marcasite embossing powder, Cuttlebug embossing folder, silver ribbon and cord, silver mini sleigh bells, Atyou Spica blue and silver metallic pens, foam tape 

Thank you card:
Stamps: Grey Wolf Graphics spaniel
Paper: dark gold cs, Gina K ivory cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Distress Vintage Photo
Accessories: Mr Huey's gold spray, Hero Arts star stencil, Dee's Distinctively Thank You die, foam tape

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Blue - my favourite colour!

Those of you who know me (or even look at the design of my blog!) will know that blue is my favourite colour.  So I was very happy to see the ATCAS challenge "Blue".  I have a cousin who loves blue as well, and her birthday is coming up so it seemed the perfect opportunity to get her card made well in advance.  

I  used a piece of a background I'd made by sponging with Distress Peacock Feathers and Broken China, and then flicking with water.  I stamped some text with the Broken China and the sentiment and flowery flourish with Archival Black.   I bordered it with black and added it to an embossed background that seemed to go well with the image.  A few aqua and blue gemstones finished it off.

Thanks for dropping in to have a look!

Stamps: Tim Holtz flower flourish, Gina K sentiment, unknown text
Paper: white and black cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Ranger Archival Black, Distress Peacock Feathers and Broken China
Accessories: blue and aqua gemstones, Crafts Too embossing folder, foam tape