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 January 2018

A Sad Day

Monday was a very sad day for me as I had to say goodbye to Betta, the lovely sweet horse I leased for two days a week for a few years.  See this post here for more on my life with horses.

I had to stop riding Betta a year ago as she was getting old and was developing really bad arthritis in her legs.  But I still went to visit her a couple of times a week, groomed her, took her for walks, and spoiled her with carrots and cuddles.

Last week her owner decided her time had come and her arthritis just too bad and too painful.  So Monday we met at Betta's barn to say goodbye and see her on her way.  I like to think of her spirit cantering through some wonderful grassy field in another dimension of life so I made this card to send to her owner to say thank you for leasing her to me and for all she taught me.

I put the stamp in my MISTI, inked up the body with brown and the mane and tail with black, then heat embossed.  I went over the unembossed parts of the stamp with brown watercolour paint, masked the horse and did a combination of sponging and painting the sky and grass with Distress inks.  I masked the grass and stamped and heat embossed the trees.

Here is a photo of Betta, younger and healthier:

And just last week, in her old age: 

It is so hard watching our beloved animals grow old.  Many of you also know that I'm a dog lover.  My dear old English Cocker, Will, turned 14 today so that is something to celebrate - he's doing well, loves his walks as long as they're not too long or too cold, loves his food, and loves to sleep by the fire.

Here he is ready to head out in the sweater I bought him this year to stop him being chilly:

And here he is in his favourite spot by the fire, warming up after a walk:

For all of you with animals in your lives, give them a hug from me and enjoy every moment you have with them as sadly their lives are never long enough.

Stamps - Local King Rubber Stamp Co. horse, Tim Holtz trees, Chocolate Baroque sentiment
Ink - Ranger Archival Jet Black, Memento Rich Cocoa, ColorBox Evergreen, Distress inks in blue and green
Paper - white cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - clear embossing powder, fun foam, brown watercolour paint

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Chilly Winter Night

AAA Cards Challenge is very appropriate for January:

The most chilled I've ever been is when living in Toronto one year when they had an exceptionally cold winter.  I remember being out late in the evening and how dark and cold it was with large lazy flakes of snow - I was truly "chilled to the bone".  But at the same time, there was something very still and peaceful to that icy air.

I tried to capture that feeling with the background I created for this card:

I made a galaxy background using various Distress oxide inks spritzed with Perfect Pearls spray, and then covered the colours in a rough random fashion with Black Soot ink.  I splattered white acrylic paint on it.

I die cut the little house and trees opening out of a piece of white cs and then trimmed it down with the cross-stitch partial circle.  It's popped up on fun foam for dimension.

Here's a close-up of the galaxy background:

I'd like to do some more galaxy backgrounds - love the way the Oxide colours show through the black.

Stamps - Penny Black sentiment
Ink - Ranger Archival Cobalt; various blue, various green, and black Distress oxide inks
Paper - mixed media and white cs
Size - 4.75" square
Accessories - Memory Box die, Ali Express cross-stitch die, Perfect Pearls spray, white acrylic paint

Monday, 29 January 2018

Ornament Shaker Card

I have to give credit for today's card to Loll Thompson - see her post here.  I made a very similar card:

I die cut the red shimmer ornament, backed it with a piece of acetate, and then a layer of fun foam with the same ornament cut out of it. I filled it with red and green sequins, and then backed it with white cs.

The sentiment is heat embossed in a sparkly powder.

I'm entering it in two challenges:

The Merry Christmas Challenge - optional theme of "ornaments".

SCS CAS Challenge - Keep It Clear - use something clear on your card.

Thanks for dropping by today.

Stamps - Stampabilities sentiment
Ink - ColorBox green
Paper - white cs, red glitter cs
Size - 4.75" square
Accessories - Memory Box ornament die, green and red sequins, acetate, Nesties square die, fun foam, Stampendous Green Tinsel embossing powder

Sunday, 28 January 2018

A Late Seahorse

I'm almost late for linking up this card for the CASology challenge as it closes very soon but that seems appropriate given the challenge:

Here's my card:

I used a scrap of a leftover background (made by smooshing with various blue Distress inks, spritzing with quite a lot of water, and scrunching cling wrap on top and letting it dry).  I framed it with a circle that I cut with two Nesties, added a die cut seahorse, and a belated birthday stamp.

Stamps - SU sentiment
Ink - Memento Tuxedo Black, various blue Distress inks
Paper - white and mixed media cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Gina Marie seahorse die, Lil Inkers stitched rectangle die, Spellbinders circle dies, fun foam, cling wrap

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Needlepoint-Inspired Snow

This week, Merry Monday's challenge is Let It Snow:

I was inspired by something I saw when on needlepoint.com:

I love that Nordic look and in fact I have a red winter sweater with white snowflakes in that style.  Here's my card:

I used my Tim Holtz stencil with white embossing paste on red cs. I layered a sentiment tag over a section of embossing that smudged badly.   I used "let it snow" as the sentiment in keeping with the Merry Monday challenge and embellished with a wooden snowflake.

I'm also posting it on SCS for the Inspiration Challenge.

Stamps - unknown sentiment
Ink - ColorBox Chianti
Paper - red and white cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Tim Holtz stencil, Dreamweaver white embossing paste, clear embossing powder, SU wooden snowflake, Nesties sentiment label, seam binding, fun foam

Friday, 26 January 2018

Christmas Fairy

This week 52 Christmas Card Throwdown is asking for:

I am trying to use up some of my backgrounds from my UFO box so pulled out one that I made when trying out a gelli plate - so long ago I can't quite remember how I did it.

I stamped the Lavinia fairy sitting in the moon and heat embossed in sparkly white.  I went over the inside of the moon with white Wink of Stella and stamped and heat embossed some small snowflakes.  The pale stars, by the way, are part of the gelli plate background.

I tore a rough edge on a scrap of cs and stamped and heat embossed my sentiment.

I ended up with an odd proportioned piece that wouldn't work on an A2 card so found an odd envelope and cut a card base to fit in, then trimmed down my panel to suit it.  I popped it up on fun foam.

Stamps - Lavinia fairy in moon, two small snowflake peg stamps, unknown sentiment
Ink - ColorBox Frost White and Peacock Gold Blue
Paper - white cs, mixed media cs
Size - 4.25x6.25"
Accessories - white Wink of Stella, white sparkly and clear sparkly embossing powder, fun foam

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Love Notes

The current Paper Players challenge is:

My dear friend, Loll Thompson, recently gave me a heart die and I put it to good use today to make two cards.

For this one, I started by spraying red spray on a piece of white cs, and then removing the sprayer and dropping colour off it to get some larger dots.  I added a heat embossed sentiment.

I die cut my new heart die out of white shimmer cs.  And then traced the outline of it on red glitter cs and hand cut that for the backing.  I added foam tape to the upper part of the heart and double-sided tape to the bottom so that it is stuck flat on the bottom but raised at the top.

I was left with a piece of white shimmer cs with a heart cut out of it, and a whole bunch of tiny white hearts so created my second card out of that:

I trimmed the white shimmer panel down with a stitched square die, layered it over red glitter cs, attached three of the small leftover hearts to the inside of the heart, and used a red cs card base.  The sentiment is stamped with StazOn to stop it smudging on the shimmer cs.

I love finding ways to use the negative and positive parts from die cutting!

Stamps - PTI sentiment (first card), Tim Holtz sentiment (second card)
Ink - Versafine Onyx Black (first card), StazOn Jet Black (second card)
Paper - white cs, white shimmer cs, dark red cs, red glitter cs
Size - A2 and 4.75" square
Accessories - Ali Express heart die, Lil Inker stitched square die, embossing powder, red spray, fun foam

Monday, 22 January 2018

We Three Stars

The current Jingle Belles challenge is "We Three Kings" - nothing to do with the Three Kings but rather a card with three of one element.  I chose stars.

I sprayed a piece of black cs with a couple of different gold sprays - one that came out in a mist and one that made bigger blobs.

I die cut three stitched stars out of gold shimmer cs.  Then I stamped the vertical sentiment in Delicata Golden Glitz.  I am really pleased with how all the golds match so well.

Thanks, Jingle Belles, for a fun challenge!

Stamps - Impression Obsession sentiment
Ink - Delicata Golden Glitz
Paper - black and white cs, gold shimmer cs
Size - A2
Accessories - different gold sprays, Ali Express stitched star dies

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Wildflower on Pale Colours

The CAS Colours and Sketches challenge is some lovely pale colours:

I had a piece of paper towel that I'd used to mop up various blue, mauve, and plum brushos and decided I could use it for this colour challenge.

I learned the technique from Loll Thompson.  You save your paper towel after mopping up ink or paint like Brushos, dry it out, then lay it over watercolour or mixed media paper, spray with water, and press down with your fingers.  You end up with a great background that shows the  design of the paper towel - it looks textured as if you'd used a stencil.

I added a bit of text stamping and a sentiment in Memento Sweet Plum, then trimmed the panel down.

I die cut the TH Wildflower die twice, glued it together for more dimension and layered it on top.

Since it's a birthday card and it uses a watercolour technique, I'm linking it up at CAS Watercolour as well where the January theme is "Birthday".

Stamps - Rosie's Roadshow sentiment, Happy Little Stampers text stamp
Ink - Memento Sweet Plum
Paper - white cs, mixed media cs
Size - A2
Accessories - paper towel, Brushos, TH wildflower die, fun foam

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Twofer Birds with a Nest

The wonderful Darnell of djkardkreations has started a new challenge blog called "Twofer".  The idea is to make two cards using the same stamp or die for two different occasions or celebrations.  The first prompt is:

I have no feather stamps or dies but I do have lots of birds.  So here's my Twofer:

I used a new die of a branch, nest, and birds.

First up I made a birthday card for a friend who is an avid bird watcher.

I've always been full of admiration for people who can colour die cuts that have no lines or definition on them.  But I gave it a try.  My results did not make me that happy, but thanks to advice from a few stamping friends, I went back over it and added more shading and definition and am now happier, though I'm going to practice with some less complex dies!

My colouring was done with Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, but then I went back in with Inktense pencils to deepen up the birds, add a bit of shading on the large branch, and some twiggy texture to the nest.

The background was done by sprinkling some blue Brushos on coated cs and spritzed with water.  When dry, I stamped the sentiment with StazOn and trimmed the panel with a stitched rectangle die.

My second card uses the same die to create a pale silhouette against blossom to use as a card to celebrate spring:

The die is cut from a piece of cs I'd sprayed with a slightly shimmery grey spray - it was sitting in my UFO box.

For the background, I sponged various pink and green Distress inks through a stencil, added a sentiment in green ink, and used a co-ordinating pink card base.

It's certainly far easier and quicker to use a die cut as a silhouette than to paint it!!

Looking forward to Darnell's next Twofer challenge - it's fun to come up with two ways of using the same stamp or die.

Stamps - unknown birthday sentiment, Stampendous spring sentiment
Ink - StazOn black (first card); Distress Peeled Paint, Tattered Rose, and Picked Raspberry (second card)
Paper - white and coated cs, watercolour paper (first card); white and pink cs (second cs)
Size - A2
Accessories - Ali Express die (both cards); blue Brushos, Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, Inktense watercolour pencils, Li'l Inker stitched rectangle die, fun foam (first card);  Tim Holtz blossom stencil, shimmery grey/silver spray

Thursday, 18 January 2018


A while back I made a card using the Emboss Resist technique and accidentally used clear embossing powder when I'd intended to use white.  I'd always intended to redo the same image and technique but use the white embossing powder for a comparison.  Finally a year later here it is, spurred on by today's SCS Ways to Use It challenge "Let's Resist"

First a reminder of the original one (for details and supplies for it, see this post here):

and now the version with white embossing powder:

I stamped both the holly image and the small random dots in white, and embossed with white embossing powder. I like the more distinct image I got this time.

I flooded the whole panel with water and dropped a pale blue over the background, then went in with some mid-blue. I then took a fine pointed paintbrush and added a blue-green to all the holly leaves and red to the berries.

I mounted it on fun foam, framed with a pierced frame die, and a small sentiment.  I left the Stickles off the berries on this one as I liked the way the red paint came out.

What do you think?  Is an Emboss Resist better with clear or with white embossing powder?

Stamps - Great Impressions holly, Penny Black sentiment, SU Itty Bitty Background dots
Ink - ColorBox Frost White, StazOn Forest Green
Paper - white cs, Crafter's Companion watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - white embossing powder, Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, MFT pierced frame die, fun foam

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Turquoise Sky, Robin Redbreast

This week's Merry Monday challenge is "Red and Turquoise":

I chose to use one of my favourite new bird stamps, and set him against a turquoise sky:

I started by stamping the bird.  I put the stamp in my MISTI and inked it up with various browns and reds, going over it several times until happy with the colours. I then stamped with Versarmark and heat embossed the robin to create a resist for my background sponging.

I tore a couple of paper masks for snowbanks, sponged my background and the snow shadow, and then splattered with water and white acrylic paint.

Finished off by adding the sentiment and bordering with red cs.

I made a second version, very similar, but with a die cut sentiment and no border.

I had some tiny die cut letters that spell "merry" left from something else so glued them above the robin and popped the panel up on fun foam.

Thanks for dropping by today!

Stamps - Darkroom Door robin,
Ink - various red and brown Memento Dew Drops for robin; Distress Peacock Feathers, Mermaid Lagoon, Broken China, and Faded Jeans; Versamark
Paper - mixed media cs, PTI Vintage Cream cs, red cs
Size - A2
Accessories - clear embossing powder, white acrylic paint, leftover die cut letters, fun foam

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Three Variations on a Snowy Melody

I have a new die that is perfect for the Addicted to CAS challenge:

I ended up doing three variations with the same die.  My favourite is this one:

I made the background by sprinkling a couple of different blue Brushos on coated cs and spritzing with water.  I die cut the music twice and glued them together for more dimension.  I added a simple "let it snow" since it is a song title so fits the music theme.

I made a New Year's resolution to try and make more than one card when I have a stamp, a die, or a stencil out.  So I die cut some more of the music and made two more cards.

I also made resolutions to use one piece of background or one image out of my UFO box (unfinished objects) each week and to use some of my stash of dp on one card a week.  We'll see how well I do with these resolutions!  But at least I've accomplished all three on this post!

Here's the one using up a piece of background from my new UFO box.  It's a piece from a get together with a friend to try out her gelli plate.

And here's the one using a piece of dp:

It feels good to have three cards ready for my November sale!!

Stamps - Old Island Stamp Co. sentiment (first card), Northwoods sentiment (second and third card)
Ink - StazOn Midnight Blue (first card), Distress Blueprint Sketch (second card), SU Brocade Blue (third card)
Paper - white cs, coated cs, Me & My Big Ideas dp
Size - A2
Accessories - Simon Says Stamp Jingle Snowflakes die, Lil Inkers stitched oval die, blue Brushos, fun foam

Watercoloured Thistles

My goodness, January is flying by!  It's already time to remind you about the current CAS Watercolour challenge.

I was inspired to make this card for a friend who does lovely botanical watercolours and she's particularly fond of thistles.

I put the thistle stamp in my MISTI and used Distress markers to colour it - I did each colour separately, applying the marker directly to the stamp, then spritzing lightly with water (the mini mister is best for this as you don't get too much water) and stamping.  When I was happy with the result, I let it air dry.

My fellow Design Team member, Karen Dunbrook (of the Snippets blog), always inspires me with her use of drywall tape for a stencil - I found a scrap of drywall tape on the ground of a new house being built next door so grabbed it!

In keeping with the watercolour challenge, I smooshed a bit of Distress Chipped Sapphire on my craft mat and spritzed it with water to get it paler and thinner.  I laid the dry wall tape over the thistle, and used a narrow flat paintbrush to go over bits of it - it was easy to see where the thistle was so could avoid stenciling on it.  I really like the result as it has a definite watercolour feel to it - as opposed to sponging over a stencil.

I stamped a small vertical sentiment in Memento Plum Berry, trimmed the panel down, bordered it with navy blue cs, and used a cream card base.

It's great to have a birthday card done for a friend a few months ahead of the birthday!!

Please join us with your watercolour birthday cards - you have until January 24th to link up at CAS Watercolour.

Stamps - Hero Arts Elegant Weeds, Rosie's Roadshow sentiment
Ink - Distress Chipped Sapphire, Memento Plum Berry
Paper - watercolour paper, navy cs, PTI Vintage Cream cs
Size - A2
Accessories - various purple and green Distress markers, drywall tape