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".

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Watercoloured Poinsettia

This week's 52 Christmas Card Throwdown challenge is watercolouring.

I took a Penny Black poinsettia stamp and watercoloured it with my Kuretake Gansai Tombi watercolours.

I stamped it in Versafine Smokey Grey and clear embossed the image to make the watercolouring easier, then added some Distress Black Soot splatters for interest and a bit of Distress Old Paper sponging around the image for definition.  The sentiment is stamped with Versafine Onyx Black and clear embossed.  I used a green card base.

Another Christmas card done!  Thanks for looking!

Stamps - Penny Black Sparkler, Rubber Soul sentiment
Ink - Versafine Smokey Grey and Onyx Black; Distress Black Soot and Old Paper
Paper - watercolour paper, green cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, clear embossing powder

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Keep on Playing

I'm a sucker for great sentiment stamps.  And I'm ashamed to say I have too many of them, and many of them have yet to be inked up.

So Darnell's NBUS Challenge (Never Before Used Stuff) is the perfect prompt to get one out.  I love  what this Tim Holtz sentiment says - and I'm inclined to agree with it!

This week's SCS CAS Challenge is Sunshine or Rainbows.  I went with a rainbow as I thought the sentiment would look great against all those bright playful colours.

I made my rainbow with simple swipes of copic markers. Then stamped and heat embossed the sentiment on top of the rainbow. Bordered with black cs and added a rainbow of little flower sequins.

Stamps - Tim Holtz sentiment
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black
Paper - white and black cs
Size - A2
Accessories - copic markers, clear embossing powder, flower sequins

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Cutting up Books!

This week's SCS Inspiration Challenge uses a website called EcoCycled that uses pages from old books as backgrounds for art.

As a retired librarian, it's definitely challenging for me to cut up books! But I have some discards from the library so can manage to take pages out of them!

I ended up making two cards as I wanted to do one with the image stamped directly on the book page, and another where I layered the image on top. I like the first one the best:

I was inspired by the red balloon in this one:

and the red sun and layout with the sentiment at the bottom in this one:

I tore a page with a poem about poppies out of an old library discard of "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady". I stamped part of the Pleasant Poppies stamp in the centre directly on the book page, and then coloured it in with Distress markers.

I sponged the edges a bit to give them an aged look, added a couple of gemstones and a die cut sentiment, and popped the panel up on fun foam.

I'm not as pleased with my second one but it was a good chance to use a die cut / embossing folder combo that I've never used (so I'm entering it in Darnell's recently announced NBUS Challenge that opens in a couple of days):

I chose this image for my inspiration:

Instead of the three small dragonflies, I just used one large one. I die cut and embossed it, and then coloured it with Inka Gold.

The background is a page out of a dictionary discarded by my local library. I used the page that has the word "dragonfly". I highlit "dragonfly" with tiny gold sequins at the beginning and end of the definition. I sponged the edges of the page with Distress ink, added the dragonfly, a sentiment with ribbon, and a scattering of sequins.  Here's a close-up with the definition marked by the sequins:

That's it for today!  Thanks for stopping by.

Supplies for card one:
Stamps - SU Pleasant Poppies
Ink - Distress Vintage Photo
Paper - cream and brown cs, page from a book
Size - A2
Accessories - Tattered Lace Happy Birthday die, Distress markers (Festive Berries, Barn Door, and Vintage Photo), brown gemstones

Supplies for card two:
Stamps - Memory Box sentiment
Ink - Memento Tuxedo Black, Distress Frayed Burlap 
Paper - white cs, mixed media cs, page from a dictionary
Size - 6.25 x 4.75"
Accessories - Tim Holtz dragonfly die and embossing folder, Inka Gold, label die, gold ribbon, foam tape, sequins

Monday, 15 August 2016

Plaster Inspired Flowers

Audrie (aka girlgeek101) over at SCS runs the Inspiration Challenges and has a real knack for picking great Pinterest boards or websites to give us inspiration for a card.  Last week's was this great Plaster Art board.  One of my grandfathers was a decorative plasterer back in London between the world wars so I was really drawn to the challenge.

I chose this image for my inspiration:

I knew exactly the stencil I had that would reflect the spray of flowers and thought that brushos could mimic the splashes of colour.  Easier thought of than accomplished though!!

It was harder to create what I had in my mind than I expected. I made four attempts, two on watercolour paper and two on coated cardstock and experimenting with whether brushos or watercolour paints gave a better effect.

The first one I turned into a card was this version using coated cs and brushos, but tinkered with a fair bit as the original result was much too pale:

I stenciled the flower with pearlescent paste (a mistake there - I decided in hindsight that a plain white paste would have suited my inspiration image better), then when dry, I sprinkled bits of red, blue, and yellow brushos around the image, spritzed with water until I got the colours very pale. Problem was they dried too pale and there was very little colour. 

But I came back to it and took some Distress inks, pressed them on an acrylic block, watered them down, and then painted over the brushos to intensify some of the colour.

Stamped the sentiment, scored the lines, and added some sequins for interest. Popped it up on fun foam for dimension. Phew - finally a card I was reasonably happy with!!

I did end up with a second card from all of my attempts:

This version is one of my watercolour paper attempts using brushos. I stenciled the flower with pearlescent paste, then when dry, I sprinkled bits of red, blue, and yellow brushos around the image, spritzed with water until I thought I had got the colours very pale. Problem was they dried way too dark and it looked horrible and gaudy.  I was ready to give up.

But I showed all my other versions to my friends Loll and Christine when we got together to craft, and Loll suggested toning this one down with some white gesso. So I did that and it really worked well.

Added a heat embossed sentiment and rather too many little flower sequins, then popped it up on fun foam.

It was one of those situations where maybe I should have given up, but instead spent far too much time trying to create something I had in my mind!

Stamps - Hero Arts sentiment
Ink - Staz-on black, Distress inks for the first; Versafine Onyx Black for the second
Paper - white cs for the cardbases; coated cs for the first; watercolour paper for the second
Size - A2
Accessories - brushos, Studio 490 Vintage Floral stencil, Dreamweaver Pearlescent paste, fun foam, Scor-buddy on both; irridescent sequins for the first; clear embossing powder, tiny flower sequins for the second

CAS Mix Up Reminder Card

Don't forget to join in the fun at CAS Mix Up!  The August challenge is "sprays" and you have until August 24th to link up your card.

Here's my card to inspire you.  My choices are heat embossing (the birds and sentiment) and dry embossing.

I randomly sprayed some blue and pink sprays (to give the idea of the sky and the pink of the blossoms on the branch) on cs and trimmed out a section I liked.  I stamped and heat embossed the birds in black.  I found an embossing folder that co-ordinated well with the branches the birds are sitting on.  The embossed panel is popped up on fun foam for dimension.

The sentiment is heat embossed in Silver Pearl ep on black and trimmed into a banner.

Come on over and join us at CAS Mix Up.  Check the list of "your choice" options if you need ideas for what to add to your stamping and sprays.  And please remember to keep your cards clean and simple.

Stamps - Penny Black birds, SU sentiment
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black, ColorBox silver
Paper - white and black cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Craft Concepts embossing folder, clear embossing powder, Wow Silver Pearl embossing powder, blue and pink sprays

Friday, 5 August 2016

Sprayed Journey

I'm having fun doing some of the Dare to Get Dirty challenges over at Splitcoast Stampers.  This one is also perfect for CAS Mix Up's August challenge of "sprays"

My choices are watercolouring with Zigs, stenciling, and fussy cutting.  Here's my card:

I used a turquoise spray through a stencil and when dry, stamped the Journey Script in grey.  The focal image is also stamped, coloured with Zigs, fussy cut, and popped up on fun foam. 

It will go to a friend who is going to Italy for two months in the autumn (I'm so envious!!!).

Stamps - Stampendous vineyard, StampIt Australia Journey script
Ink - Ranger Archival Black, Memento London Fog
Paper - ivory cs, mixed media cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Memory Box stencil, blue spray, Zig markers

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Happy Little Stampers Snowfall

The August Christmas Challenge over at Happy Little Stampers is "snowflakes".

For my Design Team contribution, I made this card:

I made a background using three shades of blue Brushos, sprinkled on coated cardstock and spritzed with water.  I added a sentiment that I love about how a snowfall makes me feel.  It's heat embossed with a sparkly embossing powder.

I die cut the Memory Box snowflake border and kept the tiny snowflakes from it to scatter around the sentiment.  I cut a few more small snowflakes and added them.  The panel is popped up on fun foam to give it some dimension.

You have until the end of the month to join us at Happy Little Stampers with your snowflake creations.  The winner will receive a 15% discount at the Happy Little Stampers shop.

Stamps - Northwoods sentiment
Ink - ColorBox white
Paper - coated cs, white cs, white glitter cs
Size - A2
Accessories - white sparkly embossing powder, Memory Box snowflake border die, Cheery Lynn small snowflakes die, fun foam

Tuesday, 2 August 2016


This week's CAS challenge over at Splitcoaststampers is "Friendship".  I have some great sentiment stamps for this so ended up making two cards.  The first one uses the sentiment as its focal image.

The background behind the sentiment was made by using a technique with ink-saturated paper towel (saved from clean-up for other projects and dried). Loll Thompson showed me the technique and she has instructions here:


The sentiment is stamped and heat embossed, and allowed to take centre stage inside an embossing folder border. I love what the sentiment says about having a friend, and I love the great font it has.

The second card has an image and another friendship sentiment, this time a quote by Charles Dickens.

I stamped my image inside a section of an embossed piece of cs.  I like the old-fashioned look of it so coloured it lightly with coloured pencils as if it were faded.  It's popped it up on fun foam. The sentiment is cut out with a label die cut.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Supplies for card one:
Stamps - Wordsworth
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black, blue and purple Distress inks
Paper - white and mixed media cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Cuttlebug embossing folder, clear embossing powder, fun foam, paper towel

Supplies for card two:
Stamps - Viva Las Vegas and Printworks
Ink - Memento Tuxedo Black
Paper - white cs
Size - A2
Accessories - coloured pencils, Quickutz embossing folder, fun foam, label die

Monday, 1 August 2016

CAS Mix Up - August Challenge

I'm really enjoying being on the Design Team for Loll's and Bonnie's CAS Mix Up challenge.  The August challenge is "sprays":

See the side bar on the CAS Mix Up blog for a list of "your choice" options.

I chose sponging, stenciling, and die cutting as my options.  I had a yearning to use red and royal blue together on a card and came up with this:

I used mixed media cs for my focal image panel.  I partially sprayed over a Texture Mesh stencil with Memento Paris Dusk spray.  I didn't want the whole stencil to be heavily sprayed as I wanted to leave white space to keep my card CAS.  I then stamped and heat embossed my sentiment on it and die cut with a stitched rectangle.

I die cut my flowers and leaf spray out of white cs, and then sponged them with various red and green Distress inks.  I arranged them on the stenciled panel, gluing down the stems and popping up the leaves and flowers with foam tape.  The whole panel is raised off the cardbase on a piece of fun foam.

A blue twine bow finished it off.

You have until August 24th to show us how you combine sprays with stamps and at least one other element.  Link them up here.  Please remember cards must be Clean and Simple.

Stamps - unknown sentiment
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black; Distress Peeled Paint, Mowed Lawn, Fired Brick, Festive Berries, and Barn Door
Paper - mixed media cs, white cs, PTI rustic white cs (for the cardbase)
Size - A2
Accessories - Memory Box poppy and leaf spray dies, Lil Inkers stitched rectangle die, Memory Box Texture Mesh stencil, Memento Paris Dusk spray, clear embossing powder