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".

Friday, 29 September 2017

Blue Nativity

The current Sparkle Creations Christmas Card Challenge is "nativity".  Here's the inspiration photo:

I like the blue tones in the photo so used that to spark my card's colour scheme:

It's back to my old style of card-making - some simple stamping and heat embossing, some dp, a sentiment label attached with ribbon.  I added a bit of Stardust gel pen on the Christmas star.  Because I sell Christmas cards at my fundraiser, it's good to have a variety of styles!

Stamps - unknown nativity, Paper Smooches sentiment
Ink - ColorBox Blue
Paper - white and navy cs, star dp
Size - A2
Accessories - Stardust gel pen, Spellbinders sentiment label, blue grosgrain ribbon, clear embossing powder

Thursday, 28 September 2017

NBUS Ornaments

Here's my second card for Darnell's great challenge that gets me using my unused stuff!

This time I'm using an ornament stamp that I've had for at least two years.  You'd think I'd try it out first with ink, but no, I went with the trickier technique of glue and gilding flakes.  And with guidance from Loll Thompson, it worked!

I sponged (using cut and dry foam) some Cosmic Shimmer glue on my stamp, getting a good even coating, then stamped on mixed media cs.  I immediately cleaned the stamp with some soapy water and a toothbrush.  By the time I'd done that, the glue was tacky enough for the gilding flakes - added them, pushed them into the glue with my fingers, brushed off the excess, and then burnished with a piece of Tim Holtz Rub-It Scrub-It.

I stamped and heat embossed my sentiment in copper, trimmed the panel down, and popped it up on fun foam on a copper cardbase.

Here's a close-up to show you all the lovely colours in the gilding flakes:

Thanks, Darnell, for getting me to use this gorgeous stamp that's been lingering unloved in my craft room!

Stamps - Impression Obsession Ornament Collage, Tim Holtz sentiment
Ink - ColorBox copper (for the sentiment)
Paper - copper shimmer cs, mixed media cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Ranger copper embossing powder (for the sentiment), Cosmic Shimmer Mulled Wine gilding flakes, Cosmic Shimmer glue, fun foam

Monday, 25 September 2017


I love Darnell's NBUS challenges as they get me to use stamps or dies that I've bought but not yet used.

For today's card, I used a sweet Stampendous bird on a branch stamp.

I stamped it in brown archival ink on watercolour paper that I'd splattered some liquid Frisket on, then used my Gansai Tambi paints.   I painted the sky very loosely which meant that, when I rubbed off the Frisket, the masked splatter (meant to be snow) didn't show up much (unlike on the bird where it is a little more evident).

A stitched rectangle for more interest, some fun foam to pop the panel up, a red card base, and some Stickles on the snowy bits on the branch and berries finished it off.

Stamps - Stampendous bird, PTI sentiment
Ink - Ranger Archival Potting Soil
Paper - red cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, liquid Frisket, Lil Inkers stitched rectangle die, fun foam, Stickles

Friday, 22 September 2017

Wrinkled and Embossed

Splitcoaststampers used my friend Loll Thompson's great video on "Tissue Paper Watercolouring and Techniques" to demonstrate this week's Technique Lovers' Challenge "Watercoloured Tissue Plus Embossing".  It's such a fun technique and I really enjoyed using it again.  Here's the card I made:

I coloured a piece of tissue paper with various blue Distress inks. When dry, I wrinkled it up and glued it to a piece of white cs, leaving some of the wrinkles in place. When the glue was dry, I rubbed white pigment ink over the wrinkles and sprinkled with a sparkly white embossing powder.

I added a die cut snowflake and sentiment, cut once out of sparkly cs, and twice out of white cs, gluing them together for added dimension. I framed the panel and popped it up on fun foam.

There's no time limit on SCS challenges so do give it a try!

Ink - Distress Broken China, Faded Jeans, Salty Ocean, and Chipped Sapphire; ColorBox Frost White
Paper - white cs, SU white shimmer cs, tissue paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Lil Inker Joy die, unknown snowflake die, Judikins White Diamond embossing powder, Impression Obsession frame die

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Tag on a Card

Merry Monday's current challenge is to add a tag to your card using texture, bling, and die cuts.

I had the most perfect tag in my UFO box so I turned it into this card:

I've got texture from my embossing folder background, die cut trees, and bling in the form of glitter all over the trees.

The background on the tag was made with blue and green Lindy's sprays (quite sparkly IRL).  I used my Tim Holtz tree line die, and stamped and heat embossed the sentiment at the bottom.  I went over the trees and the snow line with a Quickie glue pen and sprinkled with glitter. 

Thanks for dropping by today!

Stamps - Rubber Soul sentiment
Ink - ColorBox aqua
Paper - mixed media and white cs
Size - A2
Accessories - SU embossing folder, Die-namics tag die, aqua ribbon, Tim Holtz tree line die, Lindy's blue and green sprays, clear embossing powder

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Pink Poinsettia, Red Berries

Trying to get lots of Christmas cards done, so was sparked by the Christmas Card Throwdown's colour challenge of pink, red, and green.

I had the perfect stamp that lent itself to the three colours:

I stamped on watercolour paper and painted the image with my Gansai Tambi paints.  I added a very pale pink wash around the outside of the image but it scarcely shows up in the photo.

It's bordered in red cs and embellished with some pearls in the centre of the poinsettia.

Thanks for dropping by!

Stamps - Penny Black florals, Great Impressions sentiment
Ink - Archival Jet Black
Paper - cream and red cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, white pearls

Monday, 18 September 2017

White Embossed Poinsettia

I've made a card for a couple of great challenges:

The Addicted to CAS challenge is:

The Flower Challenge has Tic-Tac-Toe this month:

I chose the left hand vertical column - embossing, gems, and white - and created this card:

I stamped and heat embossed the poinsettia twice on vellum and then fussy cut one whole flower and one just the inner part of the flower.  I layered the two and slightly curled up some of the petals.

I die cut a deckle-edged background layer and stamped and heat embossed my sentiment in silver.

I added silver gems to the centre of the poinsettia.

Vellum is so easy to fussy cut when it's heat embossed so I might make a couple more of these in other colour variations for my Christmas stash.

Stamps - Penny Black poinsettia, Rubber Soul sentiment
Ink - ColorBox white and silver
Paper - white cs, heavy vellum
Size - A2
Accessories - white and silver embossing powder, silver gems, Nestabilities deckle-edged rectangle die

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Holly Leaves on an Ornament

I really need to get busy with Christmas cards!  So hope to do lots of the Christmas challenges that are out there to get me inspired.  The current Christmas Cards All Year Round challenge is to use leaves.

I went with holly leaves:

My Christmas ornament is NOT a die cut - it's the gold card board from underneath a French pastry I recently bought. It was still very clean after I'd eaten the pastry, and too perfect to through away - and perfectly ornament shaped with the tab at the top!

The holly and sentiment are die cut. I die cut the holly from a shimmery green cs that looked too pale so I rubbed it with Evergreen Bough ink and got it looking more holly-coloured. Red gemstones are the berries.

I'll be back with lots of Christmas cards in the next couple of months!

Ink - Distress Evergreen Bough
Paper - cream, green, and red shimmer cs; gold cardboard cake board
Size - A2
Accessories - Penny Black holly die, Tattered Lace "merry" die, red gemstones, gold cord

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Delicate Silhouette

It's time to remind you that it's mid-month and you only have until September 24th to enter the CAS Watercolour challenge:

My reminder card uses a very delicate silhouette:

I did a wet smooshed background on tissue paper using Oxide inks.  See Loll Thompson's video on tissue paper watercolouring for the technique.

I then trimmed it and glued it to cs.  I stamped a delicate silhouette sprig on it, framed it, and popped it up on the cardbase with fun foam.

Check out the other wonderful creations from our Design Team and our very talented Guest Designer, Birgit, (Rapport fran ett skrivbord) at the CAS Watercolour blog.

Stamps - Stampendous sprig, Great Impressions sentiment
Ink - Distress Oxide inks (Twisted Citron, Broken China, Salty Ocean), Versafine Onyx Black
Paper - white cs, tissue paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Dienamics Peek-a-boo window, fun foam

Friday, 15 September 2017

Wash with Snowflakes

It's the middle of the month already - and that means time to remind you that you only have until September 24th to enter the CAS Mix Up challenge:

For this card, I did a wash that fades out in the upper middle area to allow a paler section for my stamped sentiment.

I masked a rectangle on watercolour paper, then created my wash by painting from both top and bottom, adding more water when I got to the point where I wanted my sentiment.  It was hard to keep the wash nice and smooth, and get it to fade at the same time.

I stamped the sentiment and heat embossed it with a sparkly embossing powder.  I die cut the snowflakes out of silver glitter cs.  The panel is popped up on fun foam and a variety of sequins added for embellishment.

Please join us and remember to keep your card CAS, with some stamping, a watercolour wash (see the CAS Mix Up challenge for videos on various types of washes), and at least one other element from our list of choices (I chose heat embossing and die cutting).

I'm also adding it to the Jingle Belles' Christmas card challenge:

I used the centre vertical column - snow, cs, and blue.

Thanks for stopping by!

Stamps - SU sentiment
Ink - Versafine Smokey Grey
Paper - white cs, silver glitter cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, Stampendous Stardust embossing powder, Impression Obsession and Tim Holtz snowflake dies, fun foam, variety of sequins

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Framed Silhouette

I've made an extra card for this month's CAS Watercolour challenge:

Here's the card:

I made a smooshed background by pressing my Faded Jeans Oxide ink onto my craft mat, spritzing with water, and then splashing my piece of watercolour paper into, drying, then repeating, and then doing the process with Cracked Pistachio Oxide ink.

When it was thoroughly dry, I stamped and heat embossed the wildflower silhouette and sentiment onto it.

I framed it and popped it up on fun foam.

So much fun to play with the Oxide inks - the resulting backgrounds are perfect for silhouette stamps or dies.

Stamps - Tim Holtz wildflower, unknown sentiment
Ink -  Versafine Onyx Black; Distress Oxide Cracked Pistachio and Faded Jeans
Paper - PTI Vintage Cream cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Impression Obsession frame die, clear embossing powder, fun foam

Friday, 8 September 2017

Joyful Snowflakes and Stars

I'm happy to see that the Merry Monday Christmas Card challenge has started up again.

The image in the challenge photo inspired the colour scheme of my card, and also the snowflake in the "Joy" on the pillow inspired me to use snowflakes as my theme.

I die cut the snowflake wreath out of SU shimmer cs (it's more shimmery in real life than in the photo), glued it to a kraft cs panel, bordered that with the shimmer cs, and mounted on a red cardbase.  I die cut "joy" out of the same red cs.

I'm behind on getting Christmas cards made so decided to make another variation on this theme, keeping this one very simple and flat - easy to mass produce and easy to mail.

I die cut the starry wreath and "joy" out of gold glitter cs and added it to a cream cardbase - I love gold and cream together.  I glued the tiny stars that fell out of the wreath at random around and inside the wreath, and used one as the dot above the "j" in joy.

I'm also adding both of them to the SCS Christmas Card Challenge "wreath" theme.

Paper - card 1: red and kraft cs, white shimmer cs;   card 2: gold glitter and cream cs
Size - 4.75" square
Accessories - card 1: Memory Box Frostyville Wreath, Lil Inkers joy die;  card 2: Memory Box Starry Wreath die, Tim Holtz joy die

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Winter Sky

When I was growing up in Ontario, I always loved the pale winter skies with the silhouette of bare tree branches against it.  I tried to capture that in this card:

I heat embossed the image in sparkly embossing powder on watercolour paper.

I did a watercolour wash background using Distress Stains and lots of water - the stains give a lovely pale look, typical of a winter sky on a cold day.  I put a bit of each on an acrylic block, spritzed with water, and brushed on with even more water.  Love the way the colours blended into each other perfectly!

When I stamped the sentiment directly on the panel, it ended up crooked so I restamped it on a scrap of watercolour paper, cut it into a thin banner, and taped it over the crooked one.

I popped it up on fun foam on a pale blue card base that tones in nicely with the middle band of colour.  The final touch was adding some glitter along the snow lines.

It's going off to the following challenges:

CAS Watercolour "Silhouette".

CAS Mix Up "Watercolour Wash" - I have stamping, the watercolour wash, and heat embossing / emboss resist as my "other".

SCS Ways to Use It "Oldie but Goodie" - I used one of my oldest stamp sets for it.

SCS Christmas Card Challenge for September "Trees or Outdoor Scenes".

Stamps - SU Lovely as a Tree, Penny Black sentiment
Ink - Versafine Smokey Grey
Paper - watercolour paper, pale grey blue cs
Size - A2
Accessories - SU Irridescent Ice embossing powder, glitter, fun foam

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Silhouettes and a Watercolour Wash

A card for both of Loll's and Bonnie's challenges, CAS Mix Up and CAS Watercolour:

For CAS Mix Up, I have the watercolour wash, a stamped sentiment, and smooshing and die cutting for my choice.  And for CAS Watercolour, I have die cut bird silhouettes.  Here's my card:

For the background, I did a graded watercolour wash as shown in this video.

For the focal image, I smooshed various blue, green, and brown oxide inks into watercolour paper and then die cut the globe out of it.

I added three small silhouette bird dies with their wings spread, flying high above the world.

I am also entering it in the SCS Free for All challenge, "Spread Your Wings and Fly High".

Stamps - SU Happy Birthday
Ink - Ranger Jet Black, various green, blue, brown Oxide inks
Paper - PTI cream cs, watercolour paper, black cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Ali Express world die, Impression Obsession bird dies, blue watercolour paint, fun foam

Saturday, 2 September 2017

White Silhouette

I can't believe it is September and that means summer is basically over!!  The new challenge for CAS Watercolour is:

My first thought was that a silhouette should be black but for our challenge, it can be black, white, metallic (gold, silver, etc.), navy, brown, etc.  I was glad it could be white as I had this wonderful die cut of children heading off to a birthday party that I wanted to turn into a simple CAS card that didn't involve colouring the die cut.

The background was made with blue brushos sprinkled on watercolour paper, then spritzed heavily to get good coverage.  For added interest, I splattered a bit of darker blue brusho that I'd watered down on an acrylic block.

I stamped a sentiment onto the silhouette, glued it onto the brusho background, and trimmed the background to fit the silhouette.  It's popped up on fun foam for some dimension.

Head on over to CAS Watercolour to see the inspiration from the rest of the Design Team and this month's Guest Designer, the wonderfully talented Birgit of the Rapport Fran Ett Skrivbord blog.  You have until September 24th to link up your card.  Please be sure it is clean and simple, and includes some kind of watercolouring and a silhouette, either stamped or die cut.

Stamps - Savvy Stamps Happy Birthday
Ink - Memento Tuxedo Black
Paper - white cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - blue brushos, Spellbinders Party Kids die

Friday, 1 September 2017

Flat Red Wash

Another month has rolled around and it's time for CAS Mix Up to start a new challenge!

There are various types of watercolour washes but I chose to do a flat wash for this card.

I mixed two red tones of my Twinkling H2Os to get a Christmas-y red (though I think it's still a bit too pink).  I followed this video (it's one of several listed on the CAS Mix Up challenge page).  I used a hot press watercolour paper to get a nice smooth finish.

I die cut a holly sprig out of green shimmer cs and glued it to the red watercolour.

I stamped my sentiment in green and die cut a window out of my card front.  When I went to assemble it over the red washed piece, there was a bit of uncoloured section in one corner (and I'd been sure that rectangle opening would be just right!!). 

So I added some gold peel off strips inside the opening to hide the uncoloured section.  When I snipped them off to fit, I ended up with some tiny squares of the strips, so randomly stuck them around the holly.  All in all, I was pleased that I'd ended up with the uncoloured section as I really like the addition of the gold!!  Another happy card-making fix!!

Please come and join us at CAS Mix Up between now and September 24th.  There is lots of inspiration from the rest of the Design Team and our fabulous Guest Designer, Cathy of Cathy's Card Spot.   Just remember to keep your card Clean and Simple, have some stamping, a watercolour wash, and at least one option from our list of options (mine is die cutting).

Stamps - A Muse sentiment
Ink - Ranger Archival Library Green
Paper - white cs, green shimmer cs, hot press watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - Twinkling H2Os, Tim Holtz holly die, Spellbinders rectangle die, gold Star-form peel-off tape