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 March 2016

A Favourite Christmas Carol

This week's Merry Monday challenge is Christmas Carols.  Lori wants to see what our favourite carols are.  Impossible to name just one as I love so many, but one that always makes my top list is "Joy to the World".

I'm trying to use up at least one piece from my UFO box each week.  For those who don't know what "UFO" means for cardmakers, it is an "un-finished object".  I first heard Bonnie Klass of Merry Monday use the term so very appropriate that I'm using a UFO for a Merry Monday card!

Back in December, I decided to make some smooshed Inka Gold backgrounds, not realizing how little Inka Gold you needed to use - I used so much that I ended up with many pieces, several of which ended up in UFO box as they are too lovely to toss.

I stamped my angel and sentiment in black and heat embossed with a sparkly embossing powder.  I bordered it with black and added some silver sequins and sequin stars.

Thanks for dropping by.

Stamps: Inkadinkado angel, PTI sentiment
Paper: mixed media, white, and black cs
Paper Size: 5.25" square
Ink: Versafine Onyx Black
Accessories: blue and silver Inka Gold, silver sequins and sequin stars, sparkly black embossing powder, Lil Inkers stitched square die

Monday, 28 March 2016

Inspired Chickadee

Lydia (UnderstandBlue) over at SCS picked artist Kathleen McElwaine for this weekend's SCS Inspiration Challenge. Kathleen's art is wonderful - incredible flower and animal paintings. Most of her images are just set against a plain uncoloured background - perfect for those of us who like CAS!

I chose this painting by her:

and made this card:

Kathleen's painting immediately made me think of my Penny Black Ode to Christmas stamp. I inked it up with various Distress markers, huffed on it and spritzed very lightly with water, then stamped on watercolour paper. I took my waterbrush and pulled some of the colour out of the bird, and where needed, added a bit more colour.

I stamped a simple sentiment in brown, die cut the panel, and popped it up on foam tape. I hope my fellow CAS fans like it!

Stamps: Penny Black chickadee (Ode to Christmas), Rubber Soul sentiment
Paper: PTI vintage cream cs, watercolour paper
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Ranger Archival Potting Soil
Accessories: Distress markers, Lil Inkers stitched rectangle die, foam tape

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Winging It with Mixed Media

Dini over at Splitcoaststampers proposed a Mix-Ability challenge called "Winging It".

I used up some odds and ends for this card - an odd sized piece of white cs for the cardbase, a corrugated cup sleeve, and a piece of smooshed Inka Gold background.

I punched the bird and branch out of the Inka Gold piece. I randomly painted some white Gesso on the corrugated cup sleeve. And I sprayed some gold spray on the card base to tie in to the gold in the bird and branch.

At first I set the bird on the corrugated panel but it didn't pop enough, and I wanted to work a sentiment in somehow, so the IO joy tag seemed the perfect solution. I embellished with a large gold gem on the tag and a small one for the bird's eye.


Paper: white cs, corrugated cup sleeve
Paper Size: 3.5"x5"
Accessories: SU bird and branch punch, white Gesso, homemade gold spray, various colours of Inka Gold, gold gems, foam tape, Impression Obsession joy tag die

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Wells Cathedral in Winter

This week's Merry Monday challenge, "Take Me to Church", inspired me to use a stamp I borrowed from a friend.  It depicts Wells Cathedral in England on a wintery day.

I stamped it in grey wanting to keep the whole thing wintery and subdued.  Then I coloured using coloured pencils and some gamsol for blending the colours.

I trimmed it and framed it with a pierced frame die cut.  After mounting it on the card base, I went over all the snowy parts with a Quickie glue pen and added glitter.  It's lovely and sparkly in real life - more so than I managed to pick up in the photo.

Another one for my Christmas stash!

Stamps: Art Kure "Winter in Wells", Rubber Soul sentiment
Paper: white cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Memento London Fog
Accessories: coloured pencils, Gamsol, MFT pierced frame die

Friday, 25 March 2016

Mixed Media with Copper Tree

When I was at Loll Thompson's house recently, she generously shared her wonderful copper technique and supplies with us.  One of the pieces I made was the heated copper tree that I've used on this card for The Mixed Media Card Challenge "Trees":

My media are sprays, embossing paste, copper, ink, and embossing powder.

The copper was die cut with a Sissix die (the heavier duty dies are best with the copper) and then it was heated to get the colour variation you see.  I die cut two more trees out of scrap cs and glued the three together to raise it off the background a bit more.

The background is a piece of mixed media cs sprayed with various blue and green spray.  When dry, I used a star stencil and gold embossing paste on the blue part.  I stamped and heat embossed the sentiment and added the tree.  The whole panel is popped up off the card base with a piece of fun foam.

Thanks for dropping by!

Stamps -
Ink -
Paper -
Size -
Accessories -

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Spring Birds

Just lately I've been woken up every morning by the singing of the spring birds - they're so busy starting their nests and courting!  Appropriate then, that I've done two cards of spring birds today.

First up is one that is still a bit wintery as it's got some snow on it, but the snowdrops are blooming on it so definitely a spring card. I made it for the SCS Free for All challenge, "Going to Pot" - use any type of pot or container on your card.

I watercoloured the image with my Gansai Tambi watercolours - love those paints! Added a Quickie glue pen and snow glitter to the snow on the edges of the pot, leaves, and branches, and along the ground lines.  And then popped it up on fun foam.

As some of you may know, I'm a retired librarian so my professional instinct is to rebel against cutting a page out of a book!  But I have an old copy of the Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady that was discarded from the library because it was falling apart so I decided it wouldn't be too painful to take a page out of it!

I found a page in the entries for the month of March that refers to various birds' nests - perfect to use with my stamp of bird, nest, and blossom.

I used mixed media cs for the image as the Zig brush markers work really well on it. And it's a fairly heavy cs so works well when popped up on foam tape. I painted it quite pale first as that's the look I like for blossom, but it looked lost against the book page so went over it all more heavily - and now it looks too bright!

I sponged the edges of the piece of the book page with Distress Brushed Corduroy and then splattered some watered down ink over it.

I'm stamping Happy Easter inside it and giving it to my best friend's mother who has invited me to Easter brunch. The dates on the book page are so perfect for it as it includes the date of the brunch! Ironically my BF's mother is also a retired librarian so I'll see how she reacts to a page cut out of a book!

Happy Easter!

Supplies for the Robin and Pot card:
Stamps: Penny Black
Paper: cream cs, watercolour paper
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Archival Jet Black
Accessories: Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, Quickie glue pen, snow glitter, fun foam 

Supplies for the Bird Nest and Book Page card: 

Stamps: B-Line Designs bird and nest
Paper: cream cs, mixed media cs, page from a book
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Archival Jet Black, Distress Brushed Corduroy
Accessories: Zig brush markers, foam tape

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Three Generations of a Watercoloured Stamp

I am so in love with Loll's and Bonnie's CAS Mix Up challenge.  It is so much fun to choose the extra elements from the list of options and add it to the mandatory stamp and the watercolour elements.

I also want to get better at using my stamps that are suitable for a watercolour look.  Today I chose a Tim Holtz poinsettia and decided to make the most of the inked-up stamp.  Here is the first generation stamping:

I inked up the stamp with Distress markers, spritzed with water, and stamped on watercolour paper.  After I stamped the next two generations (see cards below), I inked up the stamp in black and stamped it on masking paper, fussy cut it, and laid it over the flowers.  I then sprayed with gold glimmer spray, and stamped and heat embossed the sentiment.  The panel is popped up on fun foam.  I added a gold gemstone to each flower.

I'm going to enter this first card in the CAS Mix-Up challenge.  My extra elements are spray, embossing powder, and gemstones.

For the second generation stamping, I re-spritzed the stamp.

It came out very wet with no definition or detail so I took my Festive Berries inkpad, put a bit on my craft mat, and added some detailing to the flowers with my waterbrush.  I then took Antique Linen and Old Paper and did a watercolour wash around the flowers.  With Frayed Corduroy, I added some splatters with a paintbrush.  I had made a huge mess of the top flower so wanted to come up with a layout where I could cover it up a bit.  I die cut with a Spellbinders diamond and then I stamped and heat embossed the word "joy" on a scrap and cut it with the smallest diamond.  Both pieces are edged in gold shimmer paper, and gold stickles added to the centres of the flowers.

For the third generation stamping, I just simply restamped (I didn't re-spritz).  Because the stamp was now drier, I got a bit more definition.

I re-used the mask from the first card and stamped the text stamp over it.  I spritzed a bit of Distress Tarnished Brass spray and then dropped a few larger droplets on it.  It's bordered with copper cs and the centres of the flowers are embellished with copper stickles.

This one would also qualify for the CAS Mix-Up as well as it has the extra elements of spray, stickles, and embossing powder.

Be sure to check back in April for another fun CAS Mix Up challenge.  And please let me know which of the three cards you like the best!


Common to all three cards:  Tim Holtz poinsettia stamp, watercolour paper, Distress markers

On the first card:  gold Glimmer Mist, cream cs, Rubber Soul sentiment stamped with ColorBox gold and heat embossed with gold ep, fun foam, gold gemstones

On the second card:  Distress Antique Linen, Old Paper, and Brushed Corduroy ink; cream cs, gold shimmer paper, Stampendous "joy" stamp inked with Versamarker pen and heat embossed with gold ep, Spellbinders diamonds, gold stickles

On the third card:  Inkadinkado text stamp stamped with Ranger Lakeland Mist, Distress Tarnished Brass spray, cream and copper cs, A Muse sentiment stamped with ColorBox copper and heat embossed in clear ep, copper stickles

Friday, 18 March 2016

Silver and Gold

I'm back to Christmas cards today.  First up is one for Merry Monday's "Black, White, and Grey/Silver" challenge.

I stamped and heat embossed my image in black, then went over the bells with a quickie glue pen and added silver glitter.  I stencilled stars around the dog and used a silver texture paste topped with the same silver glitter.  Bordered with black and added to a white card base.

To help me get all of my Christmas cards before autumn arrives, I take part in the SCS Christmas Card Challenge.  You set yourself a monthly quota and try to stick to it.  Mine is 10 per month so this will be one of my March cards.

I fell behind a bit in February so needed one more for my quota of 10.  Various members suggest optional themes for each month - February's was white and gold so today's card is for that:

A quick card that (with my MISTI) would be easy to mass produce (if I were so inclined). Angel and sentiment are heat embossed in gold, the panel is popped up on fun foam, and some gold sequins scattered about.

Thanks for visiting!

Supplies for the first card:

Stamps: Creative Images
Paper: white and black cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Versafine Onyx Black
Accessories: clear embossing powder, Memory Box star stencil, Heidi Swapp silver texture paste, silver glitter, quickie glue pen

Supplies for the second card:

Stamps: Inkadinkado angel, PTI sentiment
Paper: white cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: ColorBox gold
Accessories: gold embossing powder, gold sequins, fun foam

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Green and White for 52CCT (and St. Patrick's Day)

I had a wonderful crafty day last weekend with some friends at Loll Thompson's house.  Christine (aka calex on SCS) brought some Yupo for us to use with our alcohol inks.  I made a lovely piece of green and silver, and decided to use it for a card for the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown "Green and White" colour challenge.

I dropped different shades of green alcohol ink onto my piece of Yupo and then added some drops of silver mixative.  I let the piece stand as the focal image of the card by bordering it with an inverted scallop die cut window.  Those inverted scallops remind me of the shape of a holly leaf so I used a holly-themed sentiment.

Seems appropriate to post this today as it's St. Patrick's Day!

Stamps: A Muse sentiment
Paper: white cs, Yupo
Paper Size: A2
Ink: ColorBox Evergreen
Accessories: various green alcohol inks, silver mixative, clear ep, Nesties inverted scallop die, Lil Inkers stitched rectangle die

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Bird and Blossom for CAS Mix-up

I just can't get enough of Loll's and Bonnie's new challenge, CAS Mix-Up.  It perfectly suits my style and interests!  The March challenge is stamping, watercolouring, and your choice.

Sponging my stencil with my Distress inks is my choice of another medium this time.

I used a stamp I'd never inked up before. I stamped it on a scrap of watercolour paper, painted it with watercolour paints, and fussy cut it.

The background is a Tim Holtz stencil, sponged with pink and green Distress inks. It's popped up on the card base with fun foam and the nest is popped up on the background with pieces of foam tape. 

You've got until March 24th if you want to join in with the CAS Mix-Up challenge.

I also did the card for this week's SCS CAS challenge - "Spring Critters".


Stamps: B-Line Designs bird, PTI sentiment
Paper: white cs, watercolour cs
Paper Size: 5.25" square
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Distress Peeled Paint and Spun Sugar
Accessories: Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, foam tape, fun foam, Tim Holtz blossom stencil

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

CAS Mix-Up Reminder Card

As this month's Featured Designer for Loll's and Bonnie's great new challenge, CAS Mix-Up, I was happy to make a card for the reminder post.  The March challenge is:


For this card, I used the Tim Holtz butterflies stamp, a great Gina K vertical sentiment stamp, sponging with Distress inks and watercolouring with Brushos for the background around the butterflies, and heat embossing.

I stamped and heat embossed the butterflies in gold on coated cs. 

Then I sponged Antique Linen and Old Paper Distress inks around the butterflies to tone down the white of the cs. 

I spritzed carefully  just in certain spots around the butterflies and sprinkled black Brushos on the wet spots.  I used my waterbrush to move it around a bit more.  And yes, it was BLACK Brushos - amazing the colour it came out, perhaps influenced by the Distress inks underneath it.  Whatever it was, I really like how it came out.

I added the butterfly panel to a black cs background with the vertical sentiment stamped and heat embossed in the same gold.  The cardbase is cream cs.

You have until March 24th to join the fun at CAS Mix-Up.

Stamps - Tim Holtz butterflies, Gina K sentiment
Ink - ColorBox Gold, Distress Antique Linen and Old Paper
Paper - PTI Vintage Cream cs, black cs, coated cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Stampendous Pirate Gold embossing powder, black Brushos

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Watercoloured Butterflies

The March Mixed Media challenge over at Happy Little Stampers is "water".  

For my Design Team contribution, I chose to stamp my Happy Little Stampers butterfly stamps with water and brushos.

I sprinkled various Brusho powders into a paint palette and added water, then painted my butterfly stamps with it - it's hard to judge exactly how much water is needed so a couple of my attempts were tossed.  I used the matching dies to cut them out. 

My Mixed Media are: Brushos, ink, corrugated cardboard, Gesso, and small flower sequins.

I took a strip of corrugated cardboard and randomly painted over it with Gesso.  The butterflies are slightly shaped and attached with foam tape.

I used a vertical sentiment and finished off with a few tiny flower sequins for embellishment.

The Happy Little Stampers' challenge runs until the end of the month.  Come and join in!

I'm also adding this card to the new CAS Mix-Up challenge.  This month the challenge is stamping, watercolouring, and your choice of other mediums.  I used the butterfly stamps and thank you stamp, I watercoloured my butterfly stamps, and my other mediums are corrugated cardboard, gesso, and flower sequins.

Stamps - Happy Little Stampers butterflies, Hero Arts sentiment
Ink - Ranger Archival Potting Soil
Paper - white cs, watercolour paper, corrugated cardboard
Size - A2
Accessories - Happy Little Stampers butterfly dies, Gesso, Brushos, small flower sequins

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Christmas Shapes at Happy Little Stampers

The March Happy Little Stampers' Christmas challenge for March is:


For my Design Team card, I chose a triangle as I have some shimmery red triangular card blanks that are perfect for challenges like this.

I kept the card very CAS to allow the shape to take centre stage.  I die cut the Flowering Christmas Tree in once in shimmery gold cs and twice in white cs and glued the three together to give it dimension.  I stamped and heat embossed "joy" in gold in the corner and added dark gold nailheads to the flowers to tie in with the dark gold of the "joy".

Here's hoping you can join us at Happy Little Stampers.  The challenge winner will receive one stamp set from HLS!

Stamps - Stampendous "joy"
Ink - Versamark
Paper - gold shimmer cs, white cs, blank red shimmer triangle card base
Size - fits an A2 envelope
Accessories - Memory Box Flowering Christmas Tree die, gold ep, dark gold nailheads

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Peaceful Snow

I'm back from vacation and happy to be checking out some challenges.  I made this card for the SCS CAS challenge (Sparkly Sentiments) and the Sparkle Creations Christmas Card Challenge.

For Sparkle Creations we were to be inspired by this photo:

I immediately thought of the old SU set "Solemn Stillness".  I stamped my tree in Versamark and heat embossed in white ep, then sponged around it with Distress inks (more blues than purple as I'm not a huge fan of purple).  I cut two layers of snow banks and added a bit of sponging to them.

Once the snow banks were glued on, I sprinkled with chunky white ep and heated from underneath.

I popped it up on a piece of fun foam and added a die cut sentiment, cut out of glitter cs.

I might come back and try one using the other Solemn Stillness stamp, and maybe even stretch myself and do it in purple!

Stamps - SU Solemn Stillness
Ink - Versamark, Memento Summer Sky, Distress Faded Jeans, Chipped Sapphire, and    Dusty Concord
Paper - Gina K white cs, pale blue glitter cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Impression Obsession peace sentiment die, white embossing powder, Stampendous chunky white embossing powder, fun foam

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

A Fabulous New Challenge!!

For those of you who like to make mostly CAS cards but also want to dabble in mixed media, my good friends Loll Thompson and Bonnie Klass have come up with a great new challenge called CAS Mix Up.  And they've invited me to be their first Featured Designer - I am so honoured!

The March challenge is "stamping + watercolouring + your choice of one other".

On the challenge parameters, there is a great list of the possibilities for the "your choice".  I saw burlap on the list and thought it was a great opportunity to use a piece of cream burlap I bought recently as it keeps the border very CAS.  Here's my card:

My focal image is also very CAS.  I started by doing a watercolour wash for the background.  As it dried, the green bled upwards into the blue, giving a lovely grassy effect.  Perfect for my bird perched on some taller stalks of grass!

I stamped the bird / grass image in green on the watercolour background.  And, because I didn't want the bird to be green, I stamped the image twice in brown on a scrap of watercolour paper.  Working with the two brown images, I cut one of the birds out without colouring it, then watercoloured the other brown bird in shades of brown and cut it out.  And glued the two brown birds on top of the one stamped in green on the background to give it some dimension.

I used my stitched rectangles to die cut the panel.   Watercolour washes often warp the paper so I glued a second rectangle of heavyweight cs to the back of it to flatten it out.  I popped it up with some foam tape.

I'm so excited about this challenge as I think it will help people start to bring in a bit more mixed media to their CAS cards.  The challenge runs until March 24th so there's lots of time to join in!

Stamps - SU Simply Sketched
Ink - Ranger Archival Library Green, Ranger Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil
Paper - PTI Vintage Cream cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, cream burlap, Lil Inkers stitched rectangle die, foam tape