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, 28 February 2018

Christmas Challenges

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you probably know that I love Christmas card challenges!  Here are two cards for a couple of current challenges.

First up for Merry Monday and 52 Christmas Card Throwdown:

I made this card:

I placed the Penny Black Sparkler Poinsettia stamp in my MISTI and used red and green mini Distress inks to ink it up.  Once stamped, I used a variety of Distress inks in reds and greens to watercolour the poinsettia. 

When dry, I roughly masked the flower and splattered with a couple of the greens.

I added a gold heat embossed sentiment, three gold gemstones in the centre, and a gold shimmer cs mat.

And then my second card is for the AAA Card Challenge:

I chose a peace theme for this challenge and made this card:

The dove is die cut in the same gold as the card base, and the sentiment is stamped in gold. The white panel is die cut with a stitched rectangle and popped up on fun foam.

I hope you'll join me tomorrow as it's the start of the new CAS Mix Up challenge and I'll be hosting it.  And it's CAS Mix Up's 2nd birthday so we'll be offering some prizes!

Card 1:
Stamps - Penny Black Sparkler Poinsettia, Paper Smooches sentiment
Ink - various red and green Distress inks, ColorBox gold
Paper - watercolour paper, gold shimmer cs, PTI Vintage Cream cs
Size - A2
Accessories - gold gemstones, gold embossing powder

Card 2:
Stamps - SU sentiment
Ink - Delicata Golden Glitz
Paper - gold shimmer and white cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Penny Black dove die, Lil Inkers stitched rectangle die, fun foam

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Grand Canyon Bird

Carrying on with Christmas cards, I've got a beautiful bird inspired by the colours of the Grand Canyon.

SCS's CAS Challenge this week is called "The Grand Canyon".  I've only visited the Grand Canyon once and I was astounded by the colours - so different to all the greens of the Pacific Northwest where I live.

I wanted to refresh my memory of the exact colours so found this image on line and used the colours in it to colour my bird:

I coloured the bird with pencils and gamsol, then framed it and added it to an embossed background so that I could enter it in the Less is More challenge "Dry Embossing".

They stressed that the dry embossing should ideally only cover a small portion of the card around the focal point.

I'm so happy to be getting Christmas cards made!  And right now it's easy as we've had snow so I feel quite inspired!

Stamps - Serendipity bird, Penny Black sentiment
Ink - Memento Rich Cocoa
Paper - white cs
Size - A2
Accessories - coloured pencils, Gamsol, Crafts Too embossing folder, MFT pierced frame die

Monday, 26 February 2018


Addicted to CAS has a simple code word this time:

In keeping with my personal goal to get lots of Christmas cards made well ahead of time, I went with a Christmas cat.

My Dad lives in a retirement residence and was very lonely after my Mum and then, a year later, his little dog passed away.  We knew he was too old and frail to look after another dog so we talked him into a cat to keep him company.  My sister found a perfect 8 year old indoor cat who had lived with a senior before and needed a new home.  My Dad adores her, despite telling us he wasn't a cat person.  So I made this card with him in mind as she is black and very fluffy.

I stamped and watercoloured the cat, added a sentiment, framed it with a pierced frame die that I cut twice and glued together for a bit of dimension, and popped it up on fun foam.

Be back tomorrow with another Christmas card for another challenge - thank you to all of you who run Christmas challenge blogs as you keep me motivated!

Stamps - Penny Black cat, Make an Impression sentiment
Ink - Archival Jet Black
Paper - watercolour paper, PTI Vintage Cream cs
Size - 4.75" square
Accessories - Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, MFT square pierced frame die, fun foam

Friday, 23 February 2018

Twofer Hearts

Finally getting cards finished for Darnell's second Twofer Challenge:

A friend had asked me to make five Valentine cards for her, one of which is one of my "twofer".  I then had the idea for the second card but only just got it finished - darn those Winter Olympics as they are so addictive they've eaten up a lot of my free time!  But since it's not a Valentine, it didn't matter.

The heart die I used creates a beautiful background of lots of heart shapes linked together.  When you cut it, all the little interior hearts come out of it, giving you many tiny hearts for other projects.

The background for the Valentine was made by sprinkling red and pink Brushos on coated cs and spritzing with water.  I then die cut the hearts background out of cream shimmer cs and glued it down.  I die cut one large cream shimmer stitched heart and popped it up on top with fun foam.

I made the second card for one of my sisters.  She is the most incredibly supportive and encouraging person, and I often forget to tell her how much I appreciate her.

The background is purple and blue Brushos sprinkled on Yupo and spritzed with water.   I stamped the branch and sentiments with Staz-On and added three of the tiny cream shimmer hearts that came out of the background die cut on the first card.  The cardbase is the same cream shimmer cs as the hearts.

Darnell's Twofer Challenge is a great way to get more out of our products and to see ways to use the same thing to make cards for very different occasions.  

Stamps - PTI sentiment (1st card); SU World of Dreams, River City Rubber Works (2nd card)
Ink - Archival Red (1st card); StazOn black (2nd card)
Paper - cream shimmer cs, white and coated cs (1st card); cream shimmer cs, Yupo
Size - A2 (1st card); 4.5" square (2nd card)
Accessories - red and pink Brushos, stitched heart die cut, SSS stacking hearts die (1st card); blue and purple Brushos, SSS stacking hearts die (both cards)

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

A-Colouring I Will Go

Jingle Belles have a great challenge "A-Coloring We Will Go".  I'm watching lots of the Winter Olympics and, during the sports I'm not that interested in, I work on cards, do my email, fold laundry, etc.  So colouring an image fits right in with all that!

I stamped the image, and then coloured it with Copic markers.  I went over the moon with Wink of Stella (but it doesn't show up in the photo) and over the stars with a Stardust gel pen (they do look sort of sparkly in the photo).

I trimmed it, matted it with rainbow glitter cs, and popped it up with fun foam on a white cardbase.

I'm also posting it on SCS Christmas Card Challenge where the suggested theme for February is Santa and his reindeer.

A few more days of the Olympics to go so I'm planning to colour some more images!

Stamps - Crafty Individuals
Ink - Memento Tuxedo Black
Paper - white cs, rainbow glitter cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Copic markers, Wink of Stella, Stardust gel pen, fun foam

Monday, 19 February 2018

Leftovers with Reindeer

The latest Merry Christmas Challenge has an optional theme of reindeer.  I decided that was a perfect way to use up some pieces I made after making the gelli print background for my previous post.  Here it is so that you can see the first print:

The print comes out really nice and sharp the first time.  But there is still lots of paint on the gelli plate so I like to make a couple more backgrounds to use up that paint.  Here's the card I made with the second print:

Because you have to spritz again with water between each print, it gets less crisp and sharp each time.

Here's the card using the third print:

But they are still nice backgrounds.  For both of these cards, I used the same reindeer die, one out of silver glitter cs and one just out of white cs.

I love getting extra backgrounds made when I've got all the supplies out!

Paper - mixed media cs, white cs, silver glitter cs
Size - 5" square, A2
Accessories - Rebecca Baer snow flurries stencil, Ali Express reindeer and tree die, fun foam, various blue acrylic paints

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Stenciled Sky

Back to Christmas cards today, this time for Merry Monday where they are asking for a stencil on a Christmas card:

I recently bought some beautiful stencils from Rebecca Baer so used one of them on this card:

I made the background using a gelli plate, various blue acrylic inks, and my new stencil. 

I die cut the tree line, rubbed it with Versamark, then heat embossed with Frantage chunky green embossing powder.

I contemplated adding a sentiment but didn't want to cover up any of the beautiful sky so stamped one on the inside instead.

Ink - Versamark
Paper - white cs, mixed media cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Tim Holtz tree line die, Stampendous Frantage Chunky Green embossing powder, Rebecca Baer snow flurries stencil, various blue acrylic paints

Friday, 16 February 2018

Straight from the Heart Friend

Time to remind you that you only have until February 24th to link up your CAS Watercolour cards.

Even though it's February, the theme "heart" need not refer to Valentine's Day.  For my reminder card, I made a friendship card for my best friend:

She truly is a wonderful friend who's seen me through my best and worst times, even to the point of taking time off work and flying 3,000 mil es with me when my mother passed away two years ago so that I wouldn't be on my own.  So this Kay Foley sentiment stamp is perfect for a card for her.  I sent it to her for Valentine's Day, with a Happy Valentine's Day sentiment stamped inside it - I firmly believe we should celebrate more than just our spouses or partners on Valentine's Day.

Blue is my friend's favourite colour (one of the many things we have in common) so I did a blue background by sprinkling blue Brushos on Yupo and spritzing with water.  I got some nice puddling, and then sprinkled a bit more to get some grains of Brusho that didn't dissolve.  I then let it air dry.

I stamped a wonderful Kay Foley friendship sentiment that has the word "heart" in it, using black Staz-on as I wasn't sure if it would smudge on the Yupo.  I trimmed it down with a stitched rectangle.

I used a cream shimmer cs for the card base and also to die cut a few tiny hearts and a fleur de lis border.  It's fancier (or maybe just more feminine) than most of the cards I make these days but I think that suits a Valentine.

We'd love to see your heart-themed watercolour cards but please be sure to keep them clean and simple!

Exciting News!!!
Starting March 3rd, 2018
Loll and Bonnie who run the CAS Mix Up and CAS Watercolour challenges are starting a new challenge - CAS Christmas!  Be sure to check back on March 3rd for the first challenge and participate to get those Christmas cards made throughout the year!

Stamps - Kay Foley
Ink - StazOn Jet Black
Paper - Yupo, cream shimmer cs
Size - A2
Accessories - blue brushos, Lil Inker stitched rectangle die, Spellbinders Fleur de Lis rectangle die, little hearts out of another die cut

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Canvas and Cork

Joanna, host of the February CAS Mix Up challenge is asking us to use felt, cork, or canvas on our cards.

I went with both canvas and cork on my reminder card.

I put a piece of canvas (thanks to my friend, Christine, for giving it to me) into my MISTI and stamped the Tim Holtz butterflies and moths stamps onto it, first with Archival ink and then with Versafine to try and get more of the details of the stamp.  No such luck - I think the texture of canvas will always defeat the details in a stamp.

To give you an idea of what I mean, here is how the stamp comes out with Archival ink on white cs - and I didn't even use the MISTI (just an acrylic block):

And here is a close up of my stamping on canvas where you can see how I've lost some of the detail of the butterflies and how the texture of the canvas shows in the stamping:

None the less, I went ahead with it, adding some subtle watercolouring to the butterflies and a bit of splatter with diluted black paint.

Next I took a piece of thin craft cork and stuck it to a scrap of cs with double-sided tape (I did this because my first attempt at making a cork frame did not work - the cork is quite flimsy and fragile, and it started to tear after I'd cut the frame).  Second time with the cs backing worked perfectly!  I used an old Spellbinders long rectangle die to cut out the centre of the frame.

I taped the frame to the butterflies and then onto a linen card base.  I decided to leave it without a sentiment as it keeps it more CAS.  I'll add one inside the card when I decide what occasion I'll use it for.

You have until February 24th to link up your clean and simple card, using felt, cork, or canvas, some stamping, and at least one other choice - I used watercolouring, splattering, and die cutting.  Head on over to CAS Mix Up for some mid-month inspiration from the rest of the Design Team and our Guest Designer, Marianne (of Marianne's Cards 'n Stuff).

Exciting News!!!
Starting March 3rd, 2018
Loll and Bonnie who run the CAS Mix Up and CAS Watercolour challenges are starting a new challenge - CAS Christmas!  Be sure to check back on March 3rd for the first challenge and participate to get those Christmas cards made throughout the year!

Stamps - Tim Holtz
Ink - Archival and Versafine black
Paper - linen cs, scrap white cs
Size - 6 x 4.25"
Accessories - thin canvas, thin cork, Gansai Tambi watercolour paints

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

The AAA Cards Challenge right now is:

I was inspired by the image of the frog and thought it would be fun to do a Valentine with an animal on it so I made this card:

Love that cute pup receiving a Valentine from the butterfly.  My pup Tessa is quite similar so I coloured the pup in her colours:

She looks quite dignified in this photo, but believe me, she bounces around the garden in the summer chasing the butterflies!

I stamped and watercoloured, trimmed with my new wonky stitched rectangle die, and popped it up on fun foam on a red card base.

Happy Valentine's Day to all my blog followers!  Hopefully it involved some chocolate!

Stamps - Penny Black dog, SU sentiment
Ink - Archival Jet Black
Paper - watercolour paper, red cs
Size - A2
Accessories - Gansai Tambi watercolour paints, MFT Wonky Stitched rectangle die, fun foam

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Shades of Blue

My regular readers will probably already know that blue is my favourite colour.  So I had to enter the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown challenge:

I decided to play around with blue alcohol inks and ended up making two cards.

The first one is just blue alcohol inks on Yupo and the second one has some silver mixative added in.  To keep the blue theme on the first one, I bordered it with navy, and to draw out the silver mixative in the second one, I bordered with silver. 

In both cases, I added a die cut Tim Holtz tree and decided to put the sentiment inside rather than cluttering up the front.

I hope I'm not the only one writing blog posts in front of the Winter Olympics!!

Ink - various alcohol inks in shades of blue
Paper - white, navy, and silver cs, Yupo
Size - A2
Accessories - silver mixative, alcohol blending solution, Tim Holtz tree die

Monday, 12 February 2018

Pink and Red Tulips

I came across a challenge I hadn't seen before - the Color Throwdown.

I need to build up my stash of thank you cards so thought I'd use these colours for a spring thank you.

I stamped on watercolour paper with archival ink, then watercoloured with my Inktense watercolour pencils - pink and red tulips with a grey background.

I popped it up on fun foam and added it to an embossed panel.

Now back to watching some more Winter Olympics!!

Stamps - Stamplorations Framed Tulips, Savvy Stamps sentiment
Ink - Archival Jet Black
Paper - white cs, watercolour paper
Size - A2
Accessories - SU embossing folding, Inktense watercolour pencils, fun foam

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Birds at a Frosty Window

I've been wanting to enter the Craft Stampers challenge and finally made a card that I think is worthy of linking up.

I found inspiration at the Merry Monday Christmas challenge:

I immediately thought of the little Penny Black birds that I love so I made this card:

I die cut the window and placed first a layer of acetate and then a little scrap of dp behind it.

I die cut two branches and the word "joy" and glued them onto the panel overlappeing the window with the branches.  I added some Martha Stewart glitter paste on the bottoms of the window panes and rubbed a tiny bit of it onto the branches.

I stamped, watercoloured and fussy cut the birds, placed them on the lower branch, and added some Aleene's paste to the brims and pom poms of their hats.

So glad I got it finished in time for Merry Monday!  And happy to be adding my card to the Craft Stampers challenge.

Stamps - Penny Black birds
Ink - Archival Jet Black
Paper - red, green, and white cs, watercolour paper, scrap of dp
Size - A2
Accessories - Memory Box window die, Tim Holtz branch dies, Inktense watercolour pencils, Martha Stewart snow paste, Aleene's paste, scrap of acetate, Tim Holtz joy die