31 January 2024

Creative Art Retreat: fun colourful stenciled background aka "card 7"

One of the things I love about Jenn Shurkus classes is she makes colourful backgrounds which normally involve ink blending. This card is no exception and it's even more special as she actually designed the Flower Medallion stencil herself and collaborated with Stuff by Belle to get it made. This was an exclusive item for attendees of her November 2023 Cape Cod in-person art retreat and also for the few of us that were lucky enough to snaffle up a left over kit when they went on sale. 

My last Art Retreat with Jenn the Newton Nook Designs card was one of my favourite cards and this one is even more fun as we have 3 kitty cats with a fun image to colour up. The cat on the left is holding a fire extinguisher and the inside sentiment reads "your birthday is starting to become a fire hazard". One of our family members is actually a fireman so guess Russell may inherit this card for his next birthday but to be honest anyone should LOL at how gorgeous and cute the cats are. 

We've only used half of the A2 panel that we ink blended (we cut it in half) and we just made a quick approximation of the blend we used with the stencil directly to the top of the A2 card base. Isn't that fun! Colours used Mustard Seed, Kitsch Flamingo, Shaded Lilac, Salvaged Patina, Mustard Seed again. You get fun colour combos happening where the colours blend, I also love the big balloon die cut out of Pixie Dust Sparkle card stock (LF).


30 January 2024

Creative Art Retreat: Simple blending for a sky scene aka "card 6"

I really liked a lot of things about this older Hero Art's stamp set we received in our kit. It's called Sky's the Limit Balloons but apart from the images and sentiments which I think are delightful we received in our card kit die-cuts from Cloudy Sky Scene die (also HA) in white and Pearlescent vellum (LF). 

I've never seen a cloud die like this before and the clouds and the balloon looked amazing peeking trough the Elegant Window Fancy die (also HA). You can find the stamp set and the 2 dies on the Hero Arts website plus various stores are still stocking them all (just not in NZ).

We stamped the balloon directly onto our white card and then masked the balloon and the basket and did a really simple sky using Salvaged Patina and Shaded Lilac distress inks. It's quite subtle but it allows the balloon to shine and pop.

Some fab Crystal Glimmer enamel stickers from Honeybee Stamps to finish off the scene. I'm really liking these enamel stickers they really do look like small water drops.

29 January 2024

Creative Art Retreat : Simple ink blending aka "card 13"

I thought I would share today another ink blended background using the same colours of distress ink I shared yesterday HERE plus using the Corner Rainbow stencil again to actually make a quick and easy blended background for our silhouette wild flower images.

This is an easy concept and could be used with any circle mask but Jenn has chosen to use the inside of the sun to get more value from the stencil. I love how at her "art retreats" she uses products from different companies. Here we have Stamper's Anonymous exclusive stamp set created for the retreat with Lawn Fawn's stencil and card stock plus the Distress inks and Ranger Heavy cardstock for blending on. Jenn prefers to use the Distress Inks as they give a cleaner blend as opposed to the Distress Oxides.

These are the same ink's used in yesterday's "cool" rainbow" card. From left  > right: Twisted Citron, Peacock Feathers, Salvaged Patina, Shaded Lilac, Wilted Violet. The A2 card panel was just cut down and matted up on Cilantro and Rainforest card. A wee bit of splatter from the splatter image in the stamp set and a bit of PFS bling (Sapphire jewels).

I think this is a striking but simple card which could be modified to work with many other colours.


28 January 2024

Another Creative Art Retreat kit and card "one" reveal

My favourite virtual class kit in a box last year's was Jenn Shurkus's Art Retreat mid-year and I enjoyed it so much that I told myself it was a definite yes for 2024. As I follow Jenn on social media I looked on as she was planning an in-person retreat at Cape Cod late Nov 2023. The venue looked amazing and I told myself if I won Lotto I would go, of course I didn't win Lotto but think I won the Lottery as I actually managed to snag one of her extra kits that she sold after the event. The day they went on sale her website couldn't cope and kept on returning error messages. I though oh well it wasn't meant to be BUT around 30 mins after it was live I managed to order one. And no I wasn't sitting on my PC trying, think I'd actually given up and gone off and made coffee and toast for breakfast. Shortly after that time they were all sold out, so I was lucky.

I chose the cheapest shipping option and lo and behold USPS got it here in under 2 weeks. This is how my box of goodies looked when it arrived.
Opening the box:
Peeling back the tissue paper; of course it has to be teal ;)
Below; Simon Says Stamp stamp set, Gina K stamp set, another exclusive stamp set from Stampers Anonymous (the images are from other sets but have been resized), last but not least a small pack of Distress Watercolor Pencils from Ranger in the wee striped bag. As I already own all 3 sets I have a few spare pencils now, which I probably will gift to a friend to play with.

Below; stamp sets from Pinkfresh Studio (and bling), Trinity Stamps and Honey Bees (and bling).

Below; stamp sets from Hero Arts and Colorado Craft Company plus a Floral Banner die from Gina K.

Below; Lawn Fawn goodies, Corner Rainbow stencil set and Fruit Salad 6x6" DSP pack, both of the latter I already owned but surprisingly I didn't own the stamp set.

Below; wee racoon stamp from  Purple Onion Designs, stamp sets from Avery Elle and Newton's Nook. Jenn has also collaborated with Stuff by Belle to design her first stencil.

Below; last but not least all 17 card kits ready for us to create with, in each card kit there will be Ranger Heavy or Distress Watercolor card stock if needed. As you can see no stamp sets came with dies this time and finding them can be problematic and expensive to get to NZ. This time quite a few of the sets are quite old so it will be even more problematic to track down would be my only negative I can say about this class kit. It's great value and I love, love that everything is just waiting for me to colour and make colourful backgrounds, it really make it so fun. I normally only try and find the die if I want to play with the stamp set again and it's fiddly like the CCC Hedgehog one.

It's a 3-day weekend here and it's a bit wet and dreary so it seemed the perfect weekend to start on my 17 cards I will be creating. I was very diligent yesterday and Copic coloured up all the stamped images.

This little cluster of sea-faring images have all been fussy cut out by hand and then the outlines have been inked up with a Black Memento brush marker. I can't wait to make this little scene card it is fabulous in the guide book, looking above you can see the wharf scene we still have to colour up.

I'll finish off today's post as it is very long with "card one" in the guide - the main supplies are the Colorado Craft Company's Hedgehog Day stamp set, Lawn Fawn's Corner Rainbow stencil and Fruit Salad DSP.

Isn't this just adorable! There is no doubting that the Anita Jeram images they sell as stamps are stunning but isn't that a fun rainbow too. I also love the Copic dotted "ground", plus of course there is glitter and the bling from Honey Bees (Crystal Glimmer Enamel stickers) gives just a hint and looks almost like a wee water drop.


23 January 2024

Staring into the night sky

I was very excited to see that Sue from Addicted to CAS's design team has stepped up whilst Kylie takes a break and ensured that one of my favourite challenge sites is "business as usual". So I had to join in with their first challenge for 2024 but I've been stewing over in my head lots of different ideas on how to do a SKY Clean and Simple. I've been making a lot of cutie cards lately so I just didn't want to do a circle and use my cloud stencil to make some blue or pink clouds inside it and have a cute animal inserted somewhere.

Now one of the coolest things about being on the DT for AAA Cards is I get to check out more blogs and one of the lovely blogs I visited today was sharing a fab card for a new challenge blog to me called Power of Positivity, I'm sure we all agree we need more of that in our lives so I will enter my card into their challenge as well, as I feel like my sentiment is positively uplifting.

Anyhow I settled on a rectangle instead of a circle and then ink blended a night sky with my distress oxides and then added a wee critter from my Lavinia stamps staring at the moon. I'm really happy with my night sky, moon but wished I'd stamped Pipin using my Misti, he stamped beautifully as a practice run on white scraps but I ended up stamping him 3 times and I got it pretty close but interestingly Lavinia stamps are not really clear photopolymer they're quite hazy. So I learnt my lesson and stamped the tree branch using my MISTI and stamped it 2x. 

I masked the moon with some masking magic when creating the scene but added some scattered straw around the mask after adding just above the grass. When I finished creating the night sky I removed the masking magic and used the base for the moon by stamping it off twice and then the 3rd impression to add a hint of colour (Antique Linen), I then stamped the crater stamp directly with the Antique Linen ink and rapt how it turned out.

Distress oxides used to make my scene:
Grass: Mowed Lawn, Rustic Wilderness, Black Soot
Night Sky: Scattered Straw, Dried Marigold, Wilted Violet, Villainous Potion, Black Soot
Moon: Antique Linen

The other images have been stamped using Versafine Clair Twilight ink

Supply List:
Stamps: Mini Pipin (LAV), Moments in Time (ALT), Mini Moon (ALT)
Other: Grass stencil (LF), Just Stitched Rectangles (LF), A2 Layer dies (WF), masking magic (GK), dark green pencil, white gel pen

EDITED 8/2/24: My lovely night sky and contemplative bunny was chosen in the Top 3 at Addicted to CASAgain this was a first for me, being chosen as a winner at this site,  so very exciting news.


22 January 2024

Inky Bouquet of Flowers

When I saw Just Add Ink's current challenge it really reminded of one of my loved stamp sets in my stash, which normally you colour up the flowers in multiple colours, today I coloured them with the same inks to be representative of the bunch of flowers. I didn't want a grey vase so went for a pale grey ink to stamp with and a pale aqua for the water. 

Playing with this fab vase of flowers also gives me the chance to play along with Pinkfresh Studio's monthly challenge, for January it can be any challenge from 2023; so that was an easy one to play along with as so much scope. I'll play along with April's 2023 Flower Challenge ;)

Supply List:
Stamps: Inky Bouquet and matching dies & stencils (PFS) 
PFS inks: Misty Coast, Sparkling Rose, Bubble Gum, Mint, Ocean Breeze
Other: Additional A2 layers (WF), diagonal stitched plaid BG die (PFS), Morning Mist ink (Versafine Clair), clear embossing powder, Aqua and Blossom glitter drops (PFS), 1/2" blending brushes (PFS), 1mm foam squares and foam strips, Crafty Corners

I thought the flowers looked like a shade of Bubble Gum ink and I should have just gone for that colour alone as the Sparkling Rose has dried a softer pink than I wanted but overall I'm really happy my inky bouquet is reminiscent of the JAI's fab vase of flowers. Do check out their blog they have a blog hop to celebrate 2024 challenges are now under way and some fab inspirational flowers by the DT and the participants.

Thanks for popping in and I'm sending you a "virtual" bunch of flowers to brighten your day.

21 January 2024

AAA Cards Challenge 257: Stinking Sweet

The latest challenge at AAA Cards is "anything CAS goes" but the optional twist is Love is in the Air. My partner and I don't really do Valentine per se but we both like chocolate. I normally stir my young great nieces and send them Valentine's cards from secret admirers, one day they maybe old enough to work out it's me but for the moment I enjoy giving them a thrill.

I just love the pop of the 2 red hearts and tried to emulate that in my card design. Of course it's fortuitous that the Lawn Fawnatics latest challenge is lots of hearts ;) How perfect is that!!

I'm also going to play along with the challenge at Tic Toe Toe who have also moved to a bi-weekly challenge and have chosen the first line down on the LHS (heart, red and die cut).

Supply List:
Stamps: Scent with Love add-on (LF)
Ink: Ballet Slipper (PFS), Sparkling Rose (PFS), Poppy (C9), Memento Tuxedo Black, Versafine Clair Nocturne
Paper: Xpress IT blending, Neenah White
Dies: Square Peek-a-boo Window (MFT)
Other: Falling Hearts stencil (LF), blending brushes (TE), Copic markers, white Gelli roll pen
Challenges: AAA#257, TTTC239LF#165

Copic Markers used:

I hope you can join us this week, you do have 2 weeks for the challenge and it's anything CAS goes with maybe the twist being added.

EDITED: 3/2/2024 my card was chosen at Tic Tac Toe as a Designer's Pick


January Create and Connect: Craft Along

I had a really lovely afternoon crafting along with Heather and Lea from Pinkfresh Studios doing their monthly classes they offer via Zoom. It's great to chat and craft with everyone and if you're brave enough you can chat for real in Zoom. The classes are really reasonable and they have announced February's Craft Along already. Next month they're working with Poppy Mix background stamp which I don't own but I'm going to have a go using my Magnolia background stamp.

But back to this month's Craft Along they were using Nothing but the Best stamp set which I received as part of my kit for their bigger Virtual event in February 2023, so I was rapt I didn't have to think too much about what stamp set I was using this month. That's where my list of supplies ended apart from the ink and I had to be creative as I didn't actually own their slimline essentials they were using but used what was in my stash (Mama Elephant's Slimline Basic dies and SU! scallop circle dies) to "recreate" as best as I could. 

I didn't actually own the slimline Heart Builder stencil but when I saw the instructions I thought how cool is that and I was lucky my local craft store had it in stock and I love it. These are the 2 cards I created and don't they look fab, even if I say so myself.

The first card I was so pleased with my blending using PFS 1/2" small blender brushes on the large images (roses and leaves). I've had the brushes for ages but this was the first time I thought I've done it right, darker in the middle and blending out towards the edge. I was working on my Waffle Flowers grip mat but I have a bigger white glass mat and maybe that helped. It certainly felt more comfortable.

This was a really simple colour palate using only 4 ink colours: Candied Apple, Fruit Punch, Marigold and Atlantis. The intense colours were created with a second stencil. I think the white embossed vellum flowers underneath are a touch of genius. The coloured image had been gold embossed using a detail gold powder. I've used Ruby Glitter drops (PFS) and Balmy Blue card stock (SU!). I also was a bit out on cutting in half the large one piece image but it doesn't really matter. The vellum underlay has been cut in the same "wrong" place and the vellum piece is the "other half". There were lots of places to hide the glue for the vellum layers too. I've used another PFS stamp set Perfect Sentiments as I wanted a bigger Happy Birthday which I have gold embossed in the same embossing powder and mounted up on 2 more plain white die-cuts.

The second card was so easy to create - just a stamped image with glitter drops - all the wow is the fab stencil which has a blend of 3 inks but using one ink would provide a gradient too. This is Lea's card and she used a smaller scallop frame which visually I liked better but I was working with what I owned.

Ink colours used for the blends were:
  • Cherry Blossom, Peony, Begonia
  • Lemon Whip, Sunshine, Sweet Mustard
  • Waterfall, Turquoise, Paradise
Gems I used were Aqua glitter drops, Butterscotch glitter drops, Twilight Ombre glitter drops

The card base is Lawn Fawn's Guava as  I thought it was a good match for Begonia. I think is a really effective card with the black and white image on the coloured background.

Well another fab Craft Along and I'm really looking forward to next month's Craft Along PLUS I did sign up for their next event where I receive new products that they are doing with Pretty Pink Posh. I was in two minds whether I would sign up for the dearer event where I receive product as I am really enjoying these monthly Craft Alongs but I love Pretty Pink Posh and now I see what we are getting in our kit I am really pleased and excited I did go for it.

Well it's another hot and sticky day in NZ, hopefully some rain is coming soon but I think I can hide from the sun in my craft room. Hope you have a great day and thanks for popping in.

19 January 2024

Keeping it CAS for Winter

I am absolutely delighted to be CAS on Friday Guest Designer for their Winter Challenge.

Unlike the Northern Hemisphere it's gloriously sunny and "too hot" for me at the moment as I have been camping at the beach and away from home and my craft room. So my card became a very clean and VERY simple card so I could join in with the fun. 

It's obviously Winter for the majority as Simply Clean and Simple's January Challenge optional twist is Winter cards as well.

This is actually a really easy card which you could mass produce too. I have layered up 2 die-cuts under the glittery one to give it a bit of dimension as well

Supply List:
Stamps: none
Ink: none
Paper: Ballet Slipper (C9), Purple Posy (SU!), Glacier glitter (PFS)
Dies: Let it Snow (Tonic Studios), Arch Snow Globe (ME - tree), A2 Layering (WF)
Other: White Pearl Hero Paste (HA), Snow Flurries BG stencil (LF)

EDITED: 2/2/2024 My card was chosen as the winner at Simply Clean and Simple for January.


16 January 2024

Por-cute Pine with Jenn

The cute porcupines are multiplying at my place. I've just spent the last 2 days doing Jenn Shurkus's Por-cute Pine Class, as well as Copic colouring the  porcupines we got to play with Distress watercolor pencils which was so much fun. She got us doing things with them I wouldn't even think possible. Just playing with them is worth the price of the class alone, as always Jenn has videos for 3 cards and ideas for 2 more, she also provides a written guide to print out at home.

The first class was my favourite we got to colour up die cuts from the Happy Mushrooms set, Jenn's card had a bigger porcupine on it, as well as the baby but I must have spread my mushrooms too close. I was thinking about leaving the little one off but s/he is so cute. All the colouring apart from the porcupine is done with the Distress watercolor pencils.

I love especially the details in the rocks and for the ground that the watercolouring gives. I can also tell you to read the prep instructions properly this technique doesn't really work on Distress Heavy card stock and I had to re-cut all the mushrooms, ferns and rocks. I decided the word "mush" which is on heavy card worked but I was very careful how much water I added to get the colours mixing. All the background panels have been done using Ranger Distress Watercolor Paper.

The mushrooms have had Distress Collage medium added and then "organically" spread with a finger before Distress Rock Candy was added and left to dry. Jenn says she loves the Rock Candy being used on "nature elements". The "mush" letters have Prisma glitter on them.

Close ups of cards two and three whose backgrounds have been coloured with the watercolor pencils and stencils to start the process and get the shape.

My poor Kitsch Flamingo pencil is a bit munted after all the techniques and was probably not dry/firm enough to do this colouring but OMG it is still so cute!

Just a sneak off all the stamped images I Copic coloured (I ended up not using the porcupine holding the cactus but can use it on another card and my wee card image disappeared from the pile after colouring and glittering it and I can't see on the floor, maybe I should check the glitter pot!)

I love that Jenn always does something a little bit different in every class so you are constantly learning. Her classes are really reasonable, most are $20USD for the guide and approx. 5 hours of videos to craft along with. I also love her pace in most instances it is very easy to keep up with but if I want to jot down notes I just push pause.


12 January 2024

Just for You

It's a very hot day so hiding inside and thought I'd play along with CAS on Friday's current challenge "Just for You". I thought one of my favourite stamp sets Farm Fresh could make a small bunch of flowers to give to someone. I'm not a 100% sure of the final card but it's "certainly better than horrible".

I've gone for a very soft pink look but maybe it's a bit too monochromatic. I also sponged the edge of the milk urn with Cherry Blossom ink as well to add a hint of pink. I'm probably not clean and simple enough for a CAS challenge but that's what is fun, you can misbehave a wee bit when you're not the DT and just be inspired by the challenge, but I feel I have lots of empty space on my card as I like it and I have another birthday card for 2024 in my stash. Hope you have time to join in too otherwise click on the links and see what everyone came up with.

Supply List:
Stamps: Farm Fresh (PFS) and coordinating dies
Ink (all PFS): Warm Buff, Doe, Cherry Blossom, Begonia, Sunkissed, Mimosa, Waterfall, Turquoise, Soft Freesia, Hydrangea, Sage, Eucalyptus
Paper: Neenah Natural White (cream) #110, Petal Pink (SU!), Hammermill white 
Dies: Rounded & Braided Rectangles (PFS), Fancy Tags (CTMH)
Other: Bakers Twine; white and ?Calypso Coral (SU!), Pink Opalescent sequins (SP), foam squares (SP)
Challenge: CAS on Friday #274


10 January 2024

Porcu-pine for You

This was the name of the FREE Create with Us class Jenn Shurkus and Chari Moss hosted last weekend using their 2024 Valentine Critter the porcupine, their porcupines are so cute and there's also mushrooms (which makes my heart squeal) but I also love the heart garden stencil that was part of this release. If you missed the live event the colouring guide and links to the video can be found on the Lawn Fawn blog or clicking above where I have highlighted the class. I've seen lots of cute other critters used instead of the porcupine too online.

I've pretty well followed the Class instructions apart from using my own inks as I don't own any coloured Lawn Fawn ink. I used Catherine Pooler's do-si-do (instead of Bubblegum), Cummerbund (instead of Merman). Pinkfresh Studio's Key Lime (instead of Freshly Cut Grass). Concord & 9th's Sprout (instead of Celery Stick). I'm probably a tad light with my blending on "Quill You Be Mine" and a tad dark on "Prickle my Fancy" but they seriously are such cute cards and I will enjoy giving my wee great nieces a thrill again for Valentine's but they should be able to work out this year I am their secret admirer;)