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".

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Mistletoe Kisses

I've been so busy with gardening lately that I haven't played along with one of my favourite Christmas card challenges - Merry Monday.  I finally had time to get a card made for this week's challenge.

I had my stencils and embossing paste out so decided to use my small Dreamweaver mistletoe stencil - haven't used it for years!

On mixed media cs, I went over the stencil with white embossing paste and then while the paste was still wet, carefully added glitter just to the mistletoe berries.  My trick for adding loose glitter to small areas is to cut a sharp diagonal point on a drinking straw and use that as a tiny scoop for the glitter.

When the rest of the paste was dry, I put the stencil back on and went over the paste with Distress markers.  With a damp paint brush, I pulled out a bit of the Wild Honey I used on the border part of the image to add some shading in the centre area.

I had some decorative paper that went perfectly so created a border with it.  And I had the perfect sentiment for the challenge too!

Now back to gardening!!

Stamps - Penny Black sentiment
Ink - Ranger Library Green
Paper - cream cs, mixed media cs, SEI dp
Size - A2
Accessories - Dreamweaver mistletoe stencil, Dreamweaver white embossing paste, glitter, Distress markers, fun foam

Tuesday, 23 May 2017


This week's CAS challenge over at SCS is "Memories" - interpreted any way we like.

I'm interpreting memories in a couple of ways - my sentiments talk about memories and my flower stamp is from the first SU stamp set I bought way back when I started stamping so brings back memories of the beginning of my cardmaking. 

I did two variations:

The images are watercoloured and a bit of watered down paint is splattered around. 
The first card is die cut with a stitched square, embellished with a few pearls, and popped the panel up on fun foam. 
The second card has some yellow glitter glue added to the flower centres and is embellished with some sequins.  I framed the image with a die cut square that I sponged with Distress Iced Spruce.
I'll link up the first one with CAS Watercolour (flowers) and the second with CAS Mix Up (splattering, stamping, watercolouring, die cutting, and sponging).

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Shades of Blue

The latest Jingle Belles Christmas card challenge is "Blue Christmas" - a card in predominantly shades of blue.  And as many of you know, I love blue!  Here's my card:

I created the background by spritzing watercolour paper with lots of water and dropping in various shades of blue watercolour paint.  I let it air dry.

I stamped the tree image in white and heat embossed with white embossing powder. 

When I went to do the sentiment, I used black pigment ink with the intention of using clear embossing powder but picked up the white ep by mistake and didn't like the results at all.  Luckily it was in the MISTI so I restamped with the black ink and then used my clear ep - I got a very strange blend of black and white but this time I just accepted it, and in fact, I kind of like it!

I added three little silver die cut doves and popped the panel up on fun foam.

Thanks for stopping by today!

Stamps - Penny Black tree, Stamp It Australia sentiment
Ink - ColorBox Frost White, Versafine Onyx Black
Paper - ivory and silver cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Memory Box doves, watercolour paints, white and clear embossing powders, fun foam

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Layering Stencils on Tags

One of the things we did at last week's craft retreat was Tim Holtz's technique of layering stencils on a tag.  I made two - one a Christmas theme, and one a butterfly theme.

I layered with Distress Oxide inks, various stencils, some 3D sparkly paint (on the holly stencil), text stamping, and finally a die cut "merry" (cut once in black and once in gold with the black barely peeking out from behind the gold) and gold die cut stars.  It needs a bit of ribbon at the top but I'll decide on that when I add it to a card.

Here's a close-up of the 3D sparkly paint and the text stamping, and you can see the layered stencils in this section:

The butterfly one might be a work in progress.  I think it needs a die cut or a fussy cut image to add some dimension.  If I do add more, I'll show it in a future post.

Like the Christmas one, it has Oxide inks, some stencil layering (including the butterflies), and some text stamping.  But it also has some word and botanical rub-ons, and some large drops of water.

Here are links to the tags made by the others at our retreat:


Thanks for dropping by!

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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Flowers on Gold

The weeks fly by and it's already time to remind you that you have until May 24th to enter the CAS Watercolour challenge - the theme for May is "Flowers".

I thought I'd go with something more elegant than usual by using some gold.

I stamped and heat embossed in gold on white cs and then watercoloured the flowers with Zigs.  I die cut the panel with a stitched die, and also die cut the sentiment from a scrap of gold cs that matches the gold card base.

Don't forget to link up a card featuring flowers at CAS Watercolour - and check out the inspiration from the rest of the Design Team and our wonderful Guest Designer, Mac Mable of The Sweetest of Peas blog.

Stamps - Rubbernecker
Ink - ColorBox gold
Paper - watercolour paper, dark gold cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Zigs, Tattered Lace sentiment die, fun foam, gold embossing powder

Monday, 15 May 2017

Splattered Snow

Time to remind you to come on over to CAS Mix Up for the May challenge of "Splattering"!

I went with a Christmas card this time as splattering is a great technique for creating a snowfall.


I stamped the cabin image in archival ink and used coloured pencils to colour it.  I also stamped it on masking paper, fussy cut the upper edge and laid it over the coloured image.  I then sponged the sky with three shades of Distress ink.

I splattered it by loading a paint brush with a white acrylic paint and tapping it against another paint brush.

I used a SU embossing folder for my background piece and, after assembling the card, I went over the roof, parts of the trees, and some of the ground with a Quickie glue pen and added fine glitter.

Head over to CAS Mix Up to see the cards from the rest of the Design Team and our Guest Designer, Elaine of Craft-e-Place.  You have until May 24th to link up your CAS card featuring splattering and at least one other element from our list.

I'm also entering this in the Christmas Cards All Year Round challenge where the theme for May is precipitation - splattering is a great way to create a snowfall on a Christmas card!

Stamps - Penny Black cottage, Rubber Soul sentiment
Ink - Ranger Archival Jet Black; Distress Faded Jeans, Chipped Sapphire, and Stormy Sky
Paper - white cs
Size - A2
Accessories - coloured pencils, white acrylic paint, Quickie glue pen, fine glitter

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Eat Sleep Craft Repeat

One of the things we did at our crafty retreat at Christine's house was a "Dirty Pour" - a mixture of various acrylic paints and silicone oil, layered in a cup and dumped on a canvas.  You then tilt the canvas to get the paints to flow and swirl over the canvas.  You then heat (very carefully, moving the heat constantly) with a small torch (like a creme brulee torch) and you get some areas of bubbling.

Here's one of mine:

And here's a close-up showing the bubbled effect:

It is even prettier in real life as there is a bit of silver metallic and white pearlescent paint in it that the photo does not capture.

If you're interested in doing one, here's a very short video, or you can google "dirty pour" for others.

It was a nice change in the middle of our retreat - the rest of the time we worked on card-making techniques.  Here's a photo of the group of us wearing the fabulous aprons Loll had made for us:

Head on over to the other's blogs for a mini blog hop on our results from the "dirty pour":

Loll Thompson - Stamping with Loll
Christine Alexander - It's a Card Day's Night
Nancy Littrell - scandinancy creates

Every one of them turned out very different, but all are beautiful!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Poppies Two Ways

One of the techniques that Loll (Stamping with Loll), Christine (It's a Card Day's Night), Nancy (scandinancy creates), and I did at our craft retreat was stamping / watercolouring with Distress Stains, a technique I learned from Heather Telford (see her video here). 

I used a Penny Black poppy stamp and inked it with two pink stains and a green.  I couldn't decide whether or not I wanted to add some splatters to it, so repeated the stamping and created two cards - one with splatter and one without.

For this one, I watered down a bit of the green Distress Stain and splattered with a paintbrush, then random-stamped a bit of text, and sponged a bit of Distress ink around the edge.  I added vertical sentiment and popped the panel up on fun foam.

I'm linking it up over at CAS Mix Up where the May challenge is splattering.  I have stamping and splattering, and for my "your choice" elements, I have watercolouring and sponging.

For the second version, I was inspired by this image on an Etsy site that is this week's choice for today's SCS Inspiration Challenge:

I used pink and green, ran the sentiment across the stems of the plant like the words in the inspiration photo, and added some trios of pearls like the trios of dots in the photo.

I'm also linking it up to CAS Watercolour as the May theme is flowers.

I really like Heather's technique for watercolouring with Distress Stains and will use it more often - a great way to get more use from the Stains.

Stamps - Penny Black poppies; on the first card - Gina K sentiment and Penny Black text; on the second card - Memory Box sentiment
Ink - on the first card - Distress Peeled Paint and Old Paper;  on the second card - Versafine Smokey Grey
Paper - watercolour paper, PTI Vintage Cream cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Distress Stains - Spun Sugar, Worn Lipstick, Peeled Paint;  fun foam;  on the second card - pink pearls

Friday, 12 May 2017

Stenciling with Alcohol Inks

Another day of great crafting with three friends yesterday - Loll (Stamping with Loll), Christine (It's a Card Day's Night), Nancy (scandinancy creates), and I are spending five days together having our own mini card-making retreat.  Yesterday Trina Pham (My Crafting Closet) joined us for a few hours.  It was so great to meet another Vancouver area stamper!

We did various things with alcohol inks, including Nancy showing us her technique for using alcohol inks and a stencil.  She gives detailed instructions here.  And here are my results:

I used the TCW Poppy Garden stencil and lots of vibrant colours of alcohol inks.  The inks bled under the stencil more than I expected, so Nancy suggested going around the edges of the stencil image with a fine point black marker.

The resulting piece was perfect for dividing in half for two different cards.  The first one has a small heat embossed vertical sentiment, then second has a black border and die cut sentiment.  Both panels are popped up on fun foam.

I'll be back with a couple of tags we made tomorrow.

Stamps - Rosie's Roadshow small vertical Happy Birthday
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black, alcohol inks
Paper - Yupo, white and black cs
Size - A2
Accessories - TCW Poppy Garden, clear embossing powder, Tattered Lace Happy Birthday die

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Splatting and Chatting

I am having a wonderful week with Loll Thompson, Christine Alexander, and Nancy Littrell.  We're all staying at Christine's house and working our way through a bunch of techniques, making backgrounds and pieces for future cards, putting a few cards together, chatting a lot, eating very good food, and drinking some very good wine!  Just a note to self for future reference, wine dulls my creativity so trying to come up with ideas in the evening is just hopeless!

Here are two cards I made using the Distress Stain splat technique that Loll demonstrates on her video here.

It's a wonderful simple technique - simply splat on your cs with the sponge dauber on the Distress Stains (making sure they are primed and the colour is flowing first).

The cards are quite different to my usual style, especially the first one that has a kind of retro look, but I know just the person to give that one to!

Both sentiments are die cut using black for nice contrast, and the focal panels on each card are popped up on fun foam.

Watch for more of the results of our get-together in upcoming posts!

Ink - Distress Stains - Fired Brick, Barn Door, Pine Needles, Tarnished Brass, Brushed Pewter
Paper - mixed media, black and white cs
Size - 4.75" square for red and green one, A2 for gold and silver one
Accessories - Dee's Distinctively Merry Christmas, Simon Says Stamp Holiday Frame, fun foam

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

May Flowers

This week's CAS challenge over at SCS is "May Flowers".

To create my flowers, I placed a flower stencil over watercolour paper and sprinkled different colours of brushos through the openings, then (with the stencil still in place) spritzed with water.

I added my little sentiment square over a section of stem where the colour ran too much and made a splotch, bordered in black, and added three black pearls for interest and balance.

I thought I'd mention that yesterday I had the great pleasure of meeting Nancy Littrell in person for the first time!  After knowing her through SCS for ages (we've been part of the group that does the CAS Favorites thread every week) and more recently, the CAS Mix Up and CAS Watercolour design teams, it was such a thrill to pick her up at the Vancouver airport yesterday.  She's in town for a five day card-making retreat with me, Loll Thompson, and Christine Alexander.   We have taken over Christine's whole house and we've planned great meals, a couple of outings, daily dog walks with my two spaniels and Christine's two golden retrievers, and lots and lots of crafting.  Watch for upcoming posts with photos and the results of our work!

Stamps - unknown sentiment
Ink - ColorBox white
Paper - watercolour paper, cream and black cs
Size - 4.75" square
Accessories - brushos, white embossing powder, black pearls, stencil

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Masked Poinsettia

2017 is flying by!  I am way behind on getting Christmas cards done ahead of time!  If you are too, why not consider taking part in May's Happy Little Stampers' Christmas Card Challenge:

As you can see, the theme is "anything goes".  You don't have to use the optional twist of "mask".  For my card, I decided to try masking my image and then adding brushos to the background.

I stamped, heat embossed, and watercoloured the poinsettia on watercolour paper, then stamped it again on masking paper and fussy cut the flower and leaf.  I went over the stem with masking fluid.

I then sprinkled brushos and spritzed with water.  I moved some of it with a paintbrush around the image and left some areas around the edges with white showing through.  I added a few splatters of the green paint I used on the leaf.

I finished off with a stamped and heat embossed sentiment, then went over parts of the flower with clear Wink of Stella for a bit of sparkle.

I die cut my panel into a rectangle and angled it over a black cs rectangle.  I'm trying to break out of my box of keeping everything straight and symmetrical on my cards!

Come and join us this month at Happy Little Stampers.  There is a prize for the winner:

Stamps - Penny Black Sparkler poinsettia, Great Impressions sentiment
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black
Paper - white and black cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - clear embossing powder, Spellbinders rectangle dies, red brushos, clear Wink of Stella

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Animals on Christmas Cards

I'm getting behind in posting the Christmas cards I make throughout the year so today I'm showing you three, all featuring animals.

First up a reindeer, done for this week's SCS CAS challenge, Wonderfully Wild! (use wildlife), and the April SCS Christmas Card Challenge, Christmas Creatures.

For the background, I laid a TCW stencil on watercolour paper, sprinkled two shades of blue brushos over the openings, spritzed with water, and immediately removed the stencil and let it air dry.

When dry, I stamped a bit of random script on it and heat embossed in white.

I created a stitched circle frame for the background out of shimmery cream cs, and cut it twice more out of scrap white cs. I glued those layers together for a bit more dimension (but not as much as foam tape would give). The card base is the same shimmery cs.

I die cut the reindeer out of shimmery black cs, glued his back legs to the frame and popped the rest of him up on foam tape.

Now on to a cute Christmas dog, done for a SCS Free for All challenge, Cuddly / Snuggly - "something that makes you think of cuddling or snuggling...It could be a cuddly animal, a warm sweater/coat/mittens...whatever it means to you, cuddle or snuggle":

I thought this dog looked pretty cuddly, and he's wearing such a nice warm snuggly scarf!

I kept it pretty CAS and managed to use up a piece from my stash of dp!  And it's nice and flat for mailing.

And lastly a horse on a Christmas card, done for a SCS Ways to Use It challenge - to include elements on your card project that spell out the word "HOPE."

Here's how I used the word HOPE:

H = horse
O = oval die cut for my sentiment
P = "peace on earth"
E = embossing - heat embossing on the sentiment, and heat embossed chunky white embossing enamel for the snow in the sky

The background is two shades of blue Brushos sprinkled on coated cs and spritzed with water.

The challenge was in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness month - it made me think of my riding instructor who is a breast cancer survivor, and who, coincidentally, has a horse she rescued from the slaughter house and named "Hope". I will give this card to her.

Supplies for card 1:
Stamps - Wendy Vecchi script stamp
Ink - ColorBox Frost White
Paper - shimmery cream and black cs, watercolour paper
Size - 5.25" square
Accessories - turquoise and oster blue brushos, TCW stencil, white embossing powder, Lil Inker stitched circle die, Penny Black reindeer die, foam tape

Supplies for card 2:
Stamps - Penny Black
Ink - Memento Tuxedo Black
Paper - white cs, dp
Size - turquoise and oster blue brushos, TCW stencil, white embossing powder, Lil Inker stitched circle die, Penny Black reindeer die, foam tape
Accessories - copic markers

Supplies for card 3:
Stamps - A Muse sentiment
Ink - ColorBox white
Paper - white cs, coated cs
Size - A2
Accessories - white embossing powder, Frantage chunky white embossing enamel, Nesties oval die, StarLit Studio Horse Country die, blue brushos

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Blue Poppies

As a very keen gardener, I'm thrilled to have the May CAS Watercolour challenge be "Flowers"!

Poppies of all sorts are one of my favourite flowers, and blue is my favourite colour, so I love the blue Himalayan poppy.  The Penny Black image I've used here is not a very accurate depiction of the Himalayan poppy, but I was thinking of it when I chose the image so went with shades of blue.

I smooshed a bit of watercolour paper in Broken China Distress ink and when dry, stamped and heat embossed my flowers.  I coloured them in with my Gansai Tambi watercolour paints.  I then added some random bits of text with a Iced Spruce Distress ink, and heat embossed the sentiment.

I framed it with a stitched die and popped it up on fun foam.

Please come over to CAS Watercolour and check out the other cards by our wonderful Design Team and our Guest Designer, Mac Mable (Sweetest of Peas blog).  And then link up your clean and simple card featuring flowers by May 24th!  Can't wait to see what everyone creates!

Stamps - Penny Black flowers, unknown sentiment, Wendy Vecchi script
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black; Distress Broken China and Iced Spruce
Paper - watercoour paper, Versafine Vintage Cream cs
Size - 5.25" square
Accessories - Lil Inkers stitched square die, fun foam, clear embossing powder, Gansai Tambi watercolour paints

Monday, 1 May 2017

Splatters and Wildflowers

Time for a new CAS Mix Up challenge!!  For April, we're looking for "splatters".

I recently bought the Tim Holtz Wildflowers dies and decided to use them for my card.

I started by die cutting three of the wildflowers out of watercolour paper.  I then watercoloured them with Distress inks.  When dry, I smooshed just the flower part of each into their respective colours to add some variation and more intense splats on top of the watercolouring.  I die cut a second set of the same dies and glued them together to add more substance.

For the background panel, I splattered a bit of each of my colours of Distress ink by loading a paintbrush with watered down ink and tapping it on another brush.

I added a simple stamped sentiment, glued the wildflowers onto the panel letting them slightly extend over the edges, popped it up on fun foam, and added it to a white card base.

My card has stamping, splatters, die cuts, watercolouring, and a bit of smooshing.

Come over to CAS Mix Up to see the rest of the cards by the Design Team and our Guest Designer, Elaine of Craft-E-Place.  And please join us with a clean and simple card featuring stamping, splatters, and at least one other element from our list on the right hand side of the blog.  You have until May 24th to link up.

Stamps - Gina K sentiment
Ink - Distress Seedless Preserves, Victorian Velvet, Shaded Lilac, and Bundled Sage; Vivid Tea Rose
Paper - watercolour paper, white cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Tim Holtz Wildflower dies, fun foam