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".

Saturday, 23 April 2016

Earth Day Tree

Splitcoast Stampers is celebrating Earth Day with some of its challenges.  The Ways to Use It challenge is "Plant a Tree" and the Free for All challenge is "Mother Earth".  I created this card:

I used alcohol inks on Yupo paper to create a background of earth and sky. I die cut a tree to go on top of my background.  The panel is popped up on a piece of fun foam for dimension.

Paper: cream and brown cs, yupo
Paper Size: A2
Accessories: alcohol inks, fun foam, Memory Box Coastal Tree die

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Pearl Ex Holly

This week's 52 Christmas Card Challenge is "Christmas Foliage".  I went with holly.

I used a Penny Black holly stencil with texture paste on black cs and sprinkled interference green Pearl Ex on the embossing paste while still wet.  I like the variegation in colour it gave.  I want to try other colours of Pearl Ex on embossing paste.

I trimmed down the panel and bordered it with pale green shimmer paper, and put it on a white shimmer card base.

Red glitter dome embellishments finish it off.

Another one ready for Christmas!

Supplies:  Penny Black stencil, embossing paste, Pearl Ex powder, red glitter dome embellishments, white and pale green shimmer cs, black cs

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Stenciled Flowers for Julie

This week's SCS CAS challenge is "It's About Birthdays".  The perfect opportunity to get a birthday card made well in advance of my sister's birthday.  And it's another card for the CAS Mix Up challenge "stamping + stenciling + your choice" - my choice was the Color Burst powders I coloured the flowers with.

I placed a flower stencil over watercolour paper and sprinkled different colours of color burst powders through the openings, then (with the stencil still in place) spritzed with water. Most of it came out really nicely but I had one big unattractive muddy splotch so put my sentiment on a die cut and covered it up! Thank goodness we have die cuts!

I added little strips of black cs to the top and bottom so that I would end up with a perfect square which I popped up on fun foam on my card base.

A few of us got together at Loll Thompson's (Stamping with Loll) house on Saturday and played around with different products.  We compared Color Bursts to Brushos.  I own Brushos and have used them a lot.  For this card, I used Shirl's Color Bursts just to try them out.  My general feeling was that the two products give very similar results so if you own one already, you don't need the other.  So I'll be sticking with my Brushos.  I also think the Brushos are better value (more product for the money) and, if you keep them in their original containers with small holes poked in the lids, you have more control over how much powder comes out.  I found that too much powder would come out of the Color Burst containers.

Thanks for dropping by.

Stamps: SU sentiment
Paper: watercolour paper, PTI Vintage Cream, black scraps
Paper Size: 5.25" square
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Color Bursts, flower stencil, Sizzix label die, fun foam
Techniques: stenciling with color bursts

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Put the Kettle On

My friend Christine (aka calex) was in the UK recently and brought me back a lovely tin of tea - on the outside of the tin, it said "keep calm and carry on", so when I saw this stamp saying "keep calm and put the kettle on", I just had to buy it so that I could use it for a thank you card for her.

Both my background and the small tag were made by sprinking mostly blue and a little bit of red bister on coated cs, then spritzing heavily and letting the colours run, then leaving it to dry on its own.

The larger tag was cut from a piece of aqua blue dp over which I stenciled a tiny script stencil with texture paste.

It's finished off with a scrap of ribbon and a few sequins that were exactly the right colours!

I'm entering it in the CAS Mix Up challenge for April - "stamping + stenciling + your choice". The things I chose from the list for "your choice" are bister and die cutting.  And in the SCS Mix-ability challenge "Nesting Shapes" - to use the same shape twice but in different sizes. I used two different sized tag dies. My mixed media are bister powder and embossing paste.

Stamps: Stampendous "Keep Calm..."
Paper: white cs, coated cs, Little Yellow Bicycle dp
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Staz-on black
Accessories: blue and red bister, ribbon, sequins, Die-namics tag dies, TCS script stencil, texture paste

Friday, 15 April 2016

Inked and Spritzed Background

Today's SCS Free for All challenge is "Happy Birthday" (to make a birthday card). I made this one for my friend, Gerald.

I made the background by patting Broken China and Faded Jeans on the centre of a rectangular acrylic block and then Brushed Corduroy around the edges (love the Distress mini ink pads for things like this!). Then I spritzed with water and pressed in on my cs. I let it air dry.

I inked up a large text stamp with Brushed Corduroy and randomly wiped off parts of the ink, and stamped on top of the background. Then stamped the plant and sentiment in dark green ink and heat embossed with clear ep.

No puppy pictures today but I'll definitely be posting more in the future!


Stamps: Impression Obsession plant, Inkadinkado text, A Muse sentiment
Paper: cream and dark green cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Versafine Olympia Green; Distress Brushed Corduroy, Broken China, and Faded Jeans
Accessories: clear embossing powder, Nesties rectangles

Thursday, 14 April 2016

An Attempt at Shabby Chic

I wanted to do a card for the SCS Ways to Use It "Shabby Chic" challenge as it seemed a good opportunity to use up some "shabby" dp I have.  I've never been too clear on the differences between vintage and shabby chic so I hope I've done something more or less the right style!

I stamped a peony and stem, watercoloured it (with Zig brush markers in colours that matched the flowers in the dp), fussy cut it, and popped it up on foam tape. I added lace (not sure if that is shabby chic or vintage?) and a tag with a sentiment.

So what do you think?  Is it shabby and chic enough?

I can't resist putting in a couple more puppy photos.  I love the first one (and put in the second in case you were wondering where the other three puppies were).

They are all gaining weight (not surprising as they nurse / sleep / nurse / sleep all day long) and turning into lovely plump little things.  They wriggle around on their bellies, and won't be able to see or hear for another week or so.

Thanks for indulging me!

Stamps: Tim Holtz peony, unknown sentiment
Paper: PTI Vintage Cream cs, Paper Studio dp, watercolour paper
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Archival Jet Black
Accessories: Zig brush markers, lace, blue twine, tag punch, foam tape

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Puppies and Petunias

If all you're interested in is cards, skip down through this post to see today's cards.  If you like puppies, read on.  Many of you know that Shea, the brown dog in my photo on my sidebar, died of cancer last spring.  Her brother, Will (the black dog), is 12 now so I'm thinking if I want to be sure I don't end up dog-less (that would be a dire state of affairs for me!) when he passes away, I'd better get a puppy soon.

Their breeder has become a good friend of mine and invited me over to watch her lovely English Cocker Spaniel, Snow, give birth this weekend.  It was quite a thrill watching the miracle of birth.  We were up all night as she started panting and pacing and went into the whelping box late in the evening, and then labour started at 3:00 a.m. when her water broke.  The first pup was born at 4:35 a.m. so we were up most of the night.   She had 3 girls, 1 boy.  They were all born by 6:00 a.m. so we got a couple of hours of sleep after that.  Here's a couple of photos:

One day old puppies aren't the cutest things in the world but give it a couple of weeks, and they will be adorable.

It amazes me how animals have such strong instincts to know exactly what to do.  Even though she'd never had puppies before, when each puppy came out, Snow immediately started tearing off the birth sac and licking the pup vigorously to get it breathing and then chewed through the umbilical cord.

In 9 or 10 weeks, one of the sweet girl pups will be coming home with me.  So expect to see quite a few puppy pictures!

Now on to the reason you visit my blog - a couple of cards.

I've been following Karen Dunbrook's lovely work where she stamps images using brushos and water instead of ink.  I made two variations of the same image, one just with the outline of the image, the other with the outline coloured in.

For the basic technique of stamping with the brushos, see Karen's tutorial on SCS.  That's all I did for the first card before adding the sentiment, die cutting with a stitched square and popping it up on foam tape.

The second one required more work and is going to be taken over to April's CAS Mix-Up challenge of Stamping + Stenciling + one or more other elements of your choice.

My other elements are brushos, watercolour paints, texture paste, splatter, and gemstones.

I painted the stamp with various purple, violet, and green brushos that I'd watered down a bit on my craft sheet. Then stamped and let it dry a bit. Then using my waterbrush, I picked up more of the colour and filled in the flowers and leaves. When that was dry, I did a blue wash around it with watercolour paints. I stamped my sentiment in grey. I laid a stencil over the top, went through just areas on the corners and sides with texture paste, and let that dry. Last touch was a light splatter using the sentiment ink watered down a bit. The panel is popped up on fun foam and a couple of purple gemstones added to the flowers.

Thanks for dropping by (even if you didn't read all the early part about puppies!).


First card:
Stamps: Rubbernecker Petunias, unknown sentiment
Paper: PTI vintage cream cs, watercolour paper
Paper Size: 4.75" square
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: purple, violet, and green brushos, Lil Inker stitched square, foam tape 
Second card:
Stamps: Rubbernecker Petunias, Impression Obsession sentiment
Paper: PTI vintage cream cs, watercolour paper
Paper Size: 5"x4.25"
Ink: Ranger Hickory Smoke
Accessories: green, violet, and purple brushos; purple gemstones, TCW stencil, texture paste, blue watercolour paint, fun foam

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Mixed Media Wings

As part of the Happy Little Stampers' Mixed Media challenge Design Team, I was thrilled to see that the April challenge is "Wings".  But then my dilemma was whether to go with birds, butterflies, or dragonflies!  I love them all!

I started mucking about making a mixed media background and it evolved into a butterfly theme since there are stenciled butterflies as well as the die cut one.  Here's my card:

I laid down some purple and yellow acrylic paints on a piece of mixed media cs, thinking mauve and yellow are perfect spring colours.  Then stamped a text stamp over it.

I love The Crafters Workshop stencils like the one I used here - it's a mish mash of circles, lines, and a trio of butterflies.  I stencilled it with a texture paste and then sprinkled gold Perfect Pearls over most of the wet paste.

The purple and yellow were definitely spring-like but way too bright with too much contrast between them, so I sponged over the whole thing with Distress Brushed Corduroy ink to tone it down.  Then darkened the edges with more Brushed Corduroy.

I stamped, heat embossed, and die cut the Tim Holtz butterfly and the sentiment and popped them on top with foam tape.  The whole panel is popped up on the card base with a piece of fun foam.

I hope you like it!  I'm still trying to get comfortable with mixed media!  Thanks go to my friend, Christine (aka calex on SCS), for inspiring and encouraging me, and teaching me different techniques!

Come and join us at Happy Little Stampers!

Stamps - Tim Holtz butterfly, Stamp It Australia text stamp, Textures Words of Wonder sentiment
Ink - Archival Jet Black, ColorBox gold, Distress Brushed Corduroy
Paper - white cs, mixed media cs
Size - A2
Accessories -Tim Holtz butterfly die, The Crafters Workshop "Specimen" stencil, texture paste, purple and yellow acrylic paints, gold embossing powder, gold Pearl Ex, fun foam, foam tape

Monday, 4 April 2016

Stenciling for CAS Mix-Up

The April challenge at CAS Mix-Up is stamping, stenciling, and your choice of at least one other thing.

My choice is embossing paste.  Here's my entry:

I stamped my image and sentiment, and then laid a homemade stencil of raindrops (made for me by Loll Thompson) over top. I inked the stencil first with Memento Sky Blue but it was too blue and too pale, so went over it with Distress Stormy Sky and ended up with a colour I liked. With the stencil still in place, I went over it with clear glossy embossing paste. I coloured the puddles in with a bit of Stormy Sky.

I rarely (more like, never) do one layer cards - I find them incredibly hard but I also made this for the SCS Try a New Technique challenge "Hellos and Goodbyes on a One Layer Card".  I actually feel like I managed to pull off a decent one layer card!!!

It's also for the SCS CAS challenge "April Showers" and the Dragonfly Journeys challenge "April Showers / Umbrellas / Rain".


Stamps: Deep Red woman, PTI sentiment
Paper: white cs
Paper Size: A2
Ink: Ranger Archival Jet Black, Distress Stormy Sky, Memento Sky Blue
Accessories: homemade stencil, clear glossy embossing paste

Copper Die Cut for Happy Little Stampers

Happy Little Stampers' April Christmas challenge is "die cut/s".

I was at Loll Thompson's recently and she generously shared her copper sheets with us and had us heating the copper to get beautiful colour tones in it.  It works really well with the Sizzix Bigz dies so I ended up with this lovely die cut reindeer that takes centre stage on my card for the HLS Design Team.

I kept the card very CAS as I didn't want to detract from the reindeer.  I made a faux mother-of-pearl background with various green and brown Distress inks and some pearlescent paint.  I sponged a bit around the edges for definition and added a vertical heat embossed sentiment.

The card base is textured shimmery cream cs with a simple piece of knotted copper cord to balance the focal panel.

Come and join us at HLS and show us some Christmas die cuts!  There are great prizes - a $30 gift certificate to the winner and a $10 gift certificate to each of our Favourites, to spend at the Happy Little Stampers' shop.

Stamps - Northwoods sentiment
Ink - Versafine Vintage Sepia, various green and brown Distress inks
Paper - white cs, shimmery textured cream cs
Size - A2
Accessories - copper sheet, embossing powder, copper twine, pearlescent paint, Sizzix reindeer bigz die

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Villages and Odd-Sized Cards

Today I finished off my March quota of Christmas cards for the SCS Christmas Card Challenge - I do 10 a month.  I base some on the suggested theme (it was villages, windows, doors, houses, etc. for March) and do some on whatever theme I feel like or that fits another challenge I might choose to do.

Here are two village-themed cards and one that uses up a bit more of my Inka Gold background from my UFO box.

First up a standard-sized card:

I used a starry dp for the background and added glitter to the village.  I like it framed in the circle, but also like using the whole village die spread across a card like this one:

Every so often if I'm in a stationery store, I pick up some single envelopes in different sizes.  And occasionally they work better for a certain image.  The full Memory Box village die will barely fit on a standard A2 card and I wanted to use its proportions in a way that I found more visually appealing so I made my card 6"x4" as I had a stray envelope that would fit that size of card.  It worked perfectly for the full village die, allowing for good proportions of die cut area to sky.  A long ago boyfriend of mine was an excellent photographer and he taught me that photos of landscapes should never have the horizon in the middle - it should always be one third / two thirds. 

The sky is the polished stone technique using various shades of blue alcohol ink and silver mixative on glossy cs.

It's popped up on foam foam to give it dimension from the card base.

I used the same size envelope and card base for this next card, but in a vertical orientation:

I made it for today's SCS Inspiration Challenge.  The inspiration I chose was from this journal entry with its photos and sketches of tall pine or cedar trees in the mountains like the left hand side of this one:

It appealed because the journal entry was about traveling in Washington and British Columbia (where I live).  And it made me think of my Tim Holtz stamp of tall trees.  I used a leftover piece of smooshed Inka Gold background from my UFO box, embossed in green the tall Tim Holtz trees and sentiment, and popped it up on fun foam.

The 6"x4" dimensions of the card really emphasized the tallness of the trees.
That's it for crafting for today!  I'm now heading out into the garden to do some spring tidy-up as it's a gorgeous afternoon.


Village in Round Circle:
Stamps: Paper Smooches sentiment
Paper: white cs, Paper Co. dp
Paper Size: A2
Ink: ColorBox Colonial blue
Accessories: Memory Box village die, Spellbinders circle die, embossing powder, Quickie glue pen, white glitter 
Village against Polished Stone:
Stamps: Rubber Soul sentiment
Paper: white and glossy cs
Paper Size: 6"x4"
Ink: Archival Brilliance Pearlescent Sky Blue
Accessories: various blue alcohol inks, silver mixative, fun foam, clear embossing powder, Memory Box village die
Techniques: Polished Stone

Tall Trees:
Stamps: Tim Holtz trees, PTI sentiment
Paper: white cs
Paper Size: 6"x4"
Ink: ColorBox Evergreen
Accessories: blues and silver Inka Gold, green embossing powder, fun foam
Techniques: smooshed inka gold