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".

Monday, 30 January 2017

A Valentine Balloon

This week's Less is More challenge is to use one or more balloons on a card.  I went with one balloon.

I put the stamp in my MISTI, inked up the girl and string in black and the balloon in red, using the little Memento dew drops ink pads - made it easier than my big ink pads. Added a simple sentiment and popped it up on fun foam on a red slightly shimmery card base. I added Glossy Accents to the balloon.

I'll be back with some more Valentine cards soon.

Stamps - Viva Las Vegas Banksy Balloon Girl, PTI sentiment
Ink - Memento Tuxedo Black and Lady Bug
Paper - white cs, red with slight shimmer cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Glossy Accents, fun foam

Sunday, 29 January 2017

NBUS Seahorse

Week 2 of Darnell's NBUS (Never Before Used Stuff) challenge!

Darnell posed a couple of optional elements, one of which is to CASE a card at the same time as using some of our never-before-used-stuff.  I chose this card by Christine Alexander (aka calex on SCS):

Here's my CASE:

This is the first time I've ever tried using Distress crayons.  I laid down three colours in bands across a piece of watercolour paper and then spritzed with water and got them to blend and move with a waterbrush.

It ended up looking like water so it seemed the perfect opportunity to use my new seahorse die and CASE Christine's seahorse card.  I die cut it twice to give it more substance and sponged it with a couple of shades of Distress inks.

Using glass bead gel, I went over a section of a stencil to create the bubbles blown out by the seahorse, as my way of CASEing Christine's stencilled bubbles.

Thanks for dropping by!  And thanks, Darnell, for inspiring to use our NBUS!

Stamps - Rosie's Roadshow sentiment
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black, various Distress inks
Paper - watercolour and white cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Gina Marie seahorse die, glass bead gel, TCW stencil, Distress crayons, clear embossing powder, fun foam

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Advice from Nancy

AA few days ago, I posted two cards using coloured pencils on kraft cs.  I loved the one with the white embossed outline but was not so happy with the one using just black stamping with no heat embossing.

One of the comments on the cards was from Nancy Littrell and she suggested that a black heat embossed outline would make a huge difference so I decided to CASE my own card and try Nancy's suggestion.

Here's the card I was not so happy with - it has no heat embossing, just ink:

          And here's my remake with the embossing:      

Nancy's suggestion made all the difference.  (Thank you, Nancy!)  The heat embossing sets off the colouring of the flowers so much better.   Do you agree?

Supplies for the new card:
Stamps - Penny Black poppies, unknown sentiment
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black
Paper - dark cream, black, and kraft cs
Size - A2
Accessories - coloured pencils, clear embossing powder, fun foam

Friday, 27 January 2017

Tea and Cookies for Santa

Merry Monday Christmas Card Challenge posted this as an inspiration photo:

There is a tiny Santa and sleigh in the back of the picture so it gave me the idea of the tea and cookies being for Santa.  Here's what I came up with:

To represent the texture on the mug in the inspiration photo, I took a piece of corrugated cardboard and painted it white with gesso. 

I stamped, heat embossed, and die cut the mug;  die cut a spellbinders oval for the plate; and die cut two tiny Christmas trees and went around the edges of them with a glue pen and added glitter to them (it shows up better in real life).

I made the sentiment on my computer.  The cs for the card base and the plate has a tiny bit of shimmer in it.

Stamps - SU mug
Ink - ColorBox Chianti
Paper - red and white cs, corrugated cardboard
Size - A2
Accessories - SU mug die, clear embossing powder, gesso, tiny evergreen die, glue pen, glitter

Saturday, 21 January 2017

NBUS Flowers

Darnell over at djkardkreations hosts an occasional NBUS (never before used stuff) challenge.  I love it as it gets me to dig out some of the things I've bought and finally put them to use.  This time, Darnell is offering optional themes.  The theme for the first week is "use coloured pencils on kraft".  I haven't done that technique in ages so a good chance to pull out the pencils.

I went on a bit of a Penny Black spending spree about a year ago and ended up with some of their lovely floral stamps so pulled those out for their first ever inking.

I couldn't decide whether I prefered the look of white ink or black ink for stamping the image so did one in each.  First up, a white heat embossed image:

I couldn't decide where to put a sentiment so decided to just put one on the inside.  I bordered with dark red cs and used a white cardbase.

The second one is stamped in black ink with no heat embossing:

I used the same colour palette for each as I wanted a fair comparison of which ink I preferred for the stamping.

For this one, I bordered with black cs, and used a cream linen cs for the sentiment and card base.  I really like the look of the hemp twine for attached the sentiment tag - it seems to go well with kraft cs.

Now over to you - which do you prefer in terms of whether to stamp the image in white or in black?


Supplies for card one:
Stamps - Penny Black
Ink - ColorBox white
Paper - kraft, dark red, and white cs
Size - 5.25" square
Accessories - white embossing powder, coloured pencils, fun foam

Supplies for card two:
Stamps - Penny Black flowers, SU sentiment
Ink - Ranger Archival Jet Black
Paper - kraft and black cs, cream linen cs
Size - A2
Accessories - coloured pencils, Spellbinders sentiment tag, hemp twine, fun foam

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Gilding Flakes Reindeer

This week's Merry Monday challenge is reindeer:

I decided to make a reindeer using gilding flakes.

I covered some cs with double sided tape, removed the tape protector, and covered it with gilding flakes in a gorgeous range of colours.  I then die cut both the reindeer and the sentiment.

I wish I could get inspired to use up my stash of dp but mostly it doesn't work for the cards I make these days.  But in this case, a piece of snowflake covered dp blended with the gilding flakes really well so I went with it.

Here's a close-up of the gorgeous colours in the gilding flakes:

Thanks for dropping by today!

Paper - cs, American Crafts dp
Size - A2
Accessories - Penny Black reindeer die, Tattered Lace Merry Christmas die, gilding flakes, double sided tape

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Two Very Different Cards

A couple of cards from challenges over at SCS.  First up the Mix-Ability Challenge - "Masterboard Triptych".

I started out with a "paper towel background" in various pinks and oranges. This is a neat technique I learned from Loll Thompson where you save the paper towels you use to mop up various inks and paints from other projects and then transfer those colours (along with the dots from the texture of the paper towel) to a new project. See Loll's post here for details.

Over top of that, I laid a TCW stencil and used various colours of 3D glitter paint through the stencil.

I did a vertical triptych with the panel and added a die cut sentiment. I used a green glitter cs for the sentiment, but in hindsight, I'm wondering if black would have been better to give more contrast.

Then for the SCS Inspiration Challenge,  Audrie chose an Etsy site called "The Altered Diaries". I chose this diary as my inspiration:

The minute I saw it, I thought of a very old iris stamp I've had for years. It couldn't be more perfect as it has lines around the image as well as a similar looking iris.  So I created this card:

First I created the background by spritzing watercolour paper with water, then going over it with Antique Linen and Tea Dye Distress stains.

Using my MISTI, I inked it the stamp with yellow and green Distress markers, and stamped over the Distress stain background. I pulled some of the colour out with a brush and water, and when dry, I reinked the stamp with the markers and stamped over it again to put the outline back in.

I trimmed the stamped panel and added it to rustic cream cs, with a green sentiment stamped below. I popped the whole piece up on fun foam and added to a green card base.

I love the way challenges can encourage me to create radically different styles of cards!

Supplies for the first card:
Paper - green glitter, white, and mixed media cs
Size - A2
Accessories - TCW stencil, Tim Holtz happy birthday die, 3D glitter paints, paper towel, various inks and paints

Supplies for the second card:
Stamps - Lasting Impressions iris, Savvy Stamps sentiment
Ink - Memento Bamboo Leaves
Paper - green linen cs, watercolour paper, PTI rustic cream cs
Size - A2
Accessories - green and yellow Distress markers, Antique Linen and Tea Dye Distress stains, fun foam

Monday, 16 January 2017

CAS Watercolour Snowflake Reminder

It's the middle of the month already and you only have until January 24th to enter this month's CAS Watercolour challenge.

I went with a stamp that Loll Thompson used for her example in the original post for this challenge, but gave it a very different treatment.

I created my watercolour background first by sprinkling blue and black brushos on coated cardstock.  I over-spritzed with water and ending up make the blue more grey than it normally is and not having any of the interesting colour tones the black usually gives.  But I quite liked the chilly feel of the colour and I liked the way I got a nice speckled border that makes a natural snowbank.  I also liked the dip where I situated the tree as snow often piles up outside the tree's drip line and leaves a hollow where the branches have sheltered the ground a bit.

I stamped the tree in Versamark and heat embossed with a very sparkly embossing powder.  In order to get a good photo of the whole card, I couldn't really pick up the sparkle of the tree, but here's a close-up that shows it.

I trimmed it down so that I could have more white space around it, popped it up on fun foam and added a few die cut snowflakes.

I originally stamped a smaller sentiment directly on the focal panel but smudged it on the coated cs.  I had a different sentiment stamped and heat embossed on regular cs, already die cut and mounted on silver glitter cs sitting in my UFO box, so used that to cover up the smudge!

Be sure to link up your clean and simple cards using watercolour and a snowflake or two over at our challenge, and check out today's new inspiration from the rest of the Design Team!

I'm also taking the card over to the Christmas Cards All Year Round challenge "add snowflakes" and to the SCS CAS challenge "Frozen".

Stamps - Penny Black snow dust, Rubber Soul sentiment
Ink - Versamark, Versafine Onyx Black
Paper - white cs, coated cs, silver glitter cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Stampendous Silver Tinsel embossing powder, small snowflake dies, Spellbinders oval dies, clear embossing powder, blue and black Brushos

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Spraying Liquid Colour

It's time for a reminder card to join in the January CAS Mix Up challenge!

Liquid colours can be any colour medium that comes in liquid form.  It can be alcohol inks, re-inkers, stains, liquid paints, sprays, etc.

For my card, I chose sprays.

I used two shades of blue spray, one of which I misted over the mixed media cs and the other I took the applicator out of the bottle and dropped drips of it over the misted blue.  I wanted to use a bit of metallic silver spray as well but the applicator was clogged and all I got was a big splotch and a couple of droplets of it!  I liked the way the blues had turned out and didn't want to waste it so decided to use a silver cs for the cardbase to tie into the silver splotch!

I stamped and heat embossed my silhouette sprig and sentiment, and cut the panel out with a stitched rectangle die.  I popped it up on fun foam for some dimension.

I'm sending it to a friend that I exchange New Year's cards with instead of Christmas cards.

You have until January 24th to link up your card at CAS Mix Up.  Be sure to use stamping, liquid colours, and at least one other option from the list on CAS Mix Up.  My options are heat embossing my two stamps and die cutting my panel.

Stamps - Stampendous Silhouette Sprig, Happy Little Stampers sentiment
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black
Paper - silver and mixed media cs
Size - A2
Accessories - clear embossing powder, Lil Inkers stitched rectangle die, two shades of blue spray, silver spray

Saturday, 14 January 2017

CAS Gift

I bought a few older Penny Black stamps recently.  They look beautiful simply heat embossed - no need for any colouring or anything fancy.  In other words, ideal for making multiples or when you need a quick card.

Beautiful rich gold embossing powder, a stitched square die cut to add interest, a black sentiment and black border, and embellished with a few black gemstones to balance the sentiment.

It's perfect for three challenges this week:

Merry Monday - Make a Christmas card with the word "Noel" on it 
My card is also inspired by the neutral colours in their challenge image.

Jingle Belles - No Time like the "Presents"

Merry Christmas Challenge - Clean and Simple

Stamps - Penny Black Merry Gift, Wordsworth Wee Noel
Ink - ColorBox gold, Versafine Onyx Black
Paper - white and black cs
Size - 4.75" square
Accessories - gold and clear embossing powder, Lil Inkers stitched square die, black gemstones

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Something Old, Something New...

A couple of SCS challenges sparked today's card:

Ways to Use It WT617 = Something Old, Something New....
Free for All F4A359 = "I'm Dye-ing" - use a die on your card

Here's the card:

For the Ways to Use It challenge, I have:
something old = the sentiment stamp
something new = new Ranger Archival Library Green ink pad
something borrowed = the tree die that I borrowed from Loll Thompson
something blue = blue alcohol ink

The background is blue and green alcohol ink smooshed on Yupo. The tree die that I borrowed from Loll before Christmas is fabulous for layering over interesting backgrounds. I might end up buying it as I like it so much and really should return it to Loll!

I'm also linking up to CAS Mix Up where the January challenge is "stamping + liquid colours + your choice from their list of options". My liquid colour is the alcohol ink and my choice is the die cut. Go to CAS Mix Up here if you want to join in.

Stamps - Impression Obsession sentiment
Ink - Ranger Archival Library Green, blue and green alcohol inks
Paper - white cs, Yupo
Size - A2
Accessories - Tim Holtz tree die, fun foam

Thursday, 5 January 2017

An Angel for Merry Monday

A new year of Christmas challenges has begun at Merry Monday.  First up is "angels":

I have a couple of angel stamps but my favourite is the one I chose to use here:

I made a background by sprinklng blue brushos on coated cs and spritzing with water.  When dry, I stamped and heat embossed both angel and sentiment.  I popped the panel up on fun foam.

Because the angel is playing an instrument, I used a song title as my sentiment and a musical score embossing folder for my background.

Love getting my Christmas cards made throughout the year, thanks to challenges like Merry Monday!

Stamps - Deep Red angel, PTI sentiment
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black
Paper - white cs, coated cs
Size - A2
Accessories - blue brushos, Darice embossing folder, clear embossing powder, fun foam

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


It's time for a new Happy Little Stampers' Christmas challenge:

Here's my card to help inspire you to enter:

I made a piece of faux-mother-of-pearl background with a mix of red Distress inks and white shimmer paint. 

To go with the shimmer paint, I used white shimmer cs for the cardbase and the centre of the ornament, green shimmer cs for the border, ornament outline, holly leaves, and the word "joy", and a scrap of red for the holly berries.

Head over to Happy Little Stampers for more inspiration from the Design Team and to link up your card for a chance to win a prize.

And you'll get a head start on your Christmas cards for next December!

Ink - Distress Festive Berries and Barn Door
Paper - shimmer cs in white, green, and red
Size - A2
Accessories - white shimmer paint, Memory Box Cabrini ornament die, Tattered Lace joy die

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Showing Something New

Over at SCS, the CAS challenge for this week is "Show Me Your New".  A great opportunity to use a new stamp. 

Since it's unusually snowy and cold here, it definitely felt appropriate to make a card with a snowy scene.  And it's never too early to start the Christmas card stash for next year!

I used the MISTI to get a good impression on watercolour paper, and then painted with my wonderful Gansai Tambi paints and added some chunky white Frantage for falling snow.

It's popped up on fun foam that is adhesive on one side - this has the added bonus of smoothing out the slightly warped watercolour paper.

Stamps - Crafters Companion cottage, Wordsworth sentiment
Ink - Ranger Archival Jet Black
Paper - white cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, fun foam, Frantage chunky white embossing powder

Monday, 2 January 2017

Snowflake Wishes

The January CAS Watercolour challenge is "snowflake".

I recently discovered this never-before-used snowman stamp in my stash - don't know why I hadn't used him as I really like him!

I stamped him on a whiter-than-usual watercolour paper by Crafters Companion and used my Zig markers to watercolour his scarf and hatband, and shade round his body and the ground a bit.

I then took a tiny snowflake stamp, inked it up with the Zig marker, spritzed lightly, stamped off once, and stamped.  I repeated the process for each of the snowflakes.  I like the way the spritzing fades out part of each snowflake.

I have a new set of tiny Penny Black sentiments and in it, found the perfect sentiment for the challenge as it has the word "snowflake" in it.

Die cut with a stitched square and popped it up on fun foam.

The Snowflake challenge runs until January 24th.  Please remember that your entries must be clean and simple, and must include some kind of watercolouring.  There is lots of inspiration over at CAS Watercolour, including a beautiful card by Guest Designer, Hannelie.

Stamps - Inkadinkado snowman, Penny Black sentiment, unknown snowflake
Ink - Ranger Archival Jet Black
Paper - white cs, Crafters Companion watercolour paper
Size - 4.75" square
Accessories - Zig watercolour markers, Lil Inker stitched square die, fun foam

Sunday, 1 January 2017

CAS Mix Up Liquid Colours

Welcome to the first CAS Mix Up challenge of 2017!  We are challenging you this month to use "liquid colours" on your card:

I chose alcohol inks for my card:

I chose alcohol inks as my liquid colours (using Loll's "Alcohol Inks with Yupo" technique - see her video here for details).  My sentiment is stamped and my choice of other element is die cutting.

I used a new die I just purchased and added a sentiment - definitely a Clean and Simple card!

Head on over to CAS Mix Up for inspiration from the rest of the Design Team and our Guest Designer, Trina.  You have until January 24th to enter.  Please remember to keep your cards clean and simple, and include liquid colours, stamping, and something from the list of choices given over at CAS Mix Up.

Stamps -  A Muse sentiment
Ink - Memory Box Cottage Ivy, various alcohol inks
Paper - white cs, Yupo
Size - A2
Accessories - Memory Box trees in a stitched rectangle die