Monday, 6 February 2012

Free bird

Just about everything on this card has Tim Holtz' name on it in one way or another, from the inks, to the stamps, embossing folder, diecuts, and even the distress stickles.

"Free bird"

I love playing with these birdcages (a big thankyou to Lee (Craftyloops) for sending me the birdcage & bird diecuts), but I don't like trapping the bird in the cage, so inevitably end up with the bird peeping in (he's usually looking for his mate, or a bit of food!).  It's a bit of a sad day for us because one of our hens died last night, but I like to think that she's free now. Mind you, our hens have the life of Riley with Tom to look after them! He's still updating his blog with news of our flock and we have some more little ones due to hatch next Monday, but I digress...I've made this quite a detailed account of how to make the card for any beginners who happen to be reading this. If you're an expert, you can just skip the text and look at the pretty pictures :-)

"Distressed & stamped blue background with Perfect Pearls"

There is so much going on with this card it's hard to know where to start, but I'll start at the back and work my way forward. The blank card is decorated with blue distress inks and overstamped with various meadow stamps in brushed corduroy before brushing with Perfect Pearls. It's important to let the background dry completely before using Perfect Pearls on stamping, otherwise it will just adhere to everything.

"Embossed & inked tag with distress stickles"

To colour the tag diecut (another present from Lee - thankyou!), swipe Brushed Corduroy distress inks over the top side of the wood embossing folder before passing through a roller-type machine - this puts plenty of colour neatly into the grooves in the embossing. Next, use foam to work a few other colours into the tag (I used antique linen, crushed olive & walnut stain). Distress the outer edges (I even tore the edges a little), then stain with walnut stain. Finally, the entire tag was covered with a layer of rock candy distrss stickles by wiping it on with a finger.

The birdcage was swiped with clear versamark ink, sprinkled with silver embossing powder, then heat-embossed. This was repeated until a good, even texture was achieved. The birdcage was then shaped out in the middle for some dimension, and fixed to the tag with Pinflair dimensional glue (I find this glue is forgiving and allows some flexibility).

"Hello little birdy!"

The diecut bird was inked with blue, overstamped in brown, dried, then covered in distress stickles. The branch was coloured with brown distress inks. The wing was coloured in the same way and attached to the bird with Pinflair dimensional glue.


This little butterfly was stamped with clear versamark ink and heat-embossed in gold, then cut out and coloured with distress ink to match the background. I tend to make a whole sheet of these in one go with a few different stamps, then cut them out in the evening when watching TV. Kept in a little pot on the craft desk, they can then be coloured to match your project.

"Journalling ticket"

If you want your stamping to be neat and clear, then archival or memento inks are brilliant, but you sometimes want a smudgy, grungy stamp, and distress inks are ideal for this. They seem to "splodge" a bit better (and of course, they are ideal for Perfect Pearls powders). When stamping with distress ink, it is important to do any background inking first (you don't want to blend your stamp into the background!).

To make this ticket, first cut a rough rectangle of white card and ink it with blue distress inks. Next, stamp the journalling ticket with a brown distress ink. Allow to dry, then cut out. Distress the edges of the ticket, then take a piece of cut n dry foam and use it to work some brushed corduroy distress ink around the edges. If you want your ticket to look even more distressed, add some walnut stain ink. Stamp the sentiment nice and clearly with black archival ink. Finally, add a hole with a punch and tie to the top of the tag with some ribbon, setting the ticket at an angle.

"Organza flower with button centre"

To make an organza flower, diecut organza using the Tim Holtz Tattered Floral die. Taking each diecut in turn, hold the flower on a heatproof mat (use a tool with a wooden handle like an embossing tool or similar and NOT your fingers or you will burn them), and gently heat the edges with a heat tool on its lowest setting. If you heat too much, the fabric will just melt. You just want to curl the edges. Once you have a set of diecuts (one of each is sufficient), you can just fix them together with a brad, or sew them together as I have done here, and fix a button to the centre. These were just cheap, black, plastic buttons that I coloured by dabbing with Adirondack alcohol inks in blue and silver.

Goodness, if you read all that I hope you're not cross-eyed!!

Entered for the following challenge:
Simon Says Stamp and Show...Torn Edges, Distress Inks, a Button and some Wings!


  1. Oh wow Maddy I love this! This is the style I am aiming for (have got a long way to go, lol) but love how you have explained things as I am new to these techniques, Brilliant! (thanks for your lovely comments on my tag) Love Jayne. x x

  2. Oh goodness and this is so much of that! Love this, so much gorgeous details and texture! Thank you for visiting my blog and I just became your 80th follower! Stop by anytime!

  3. Fantastic, brilliant, incredible! I love this Maddy and the colours you used are stunning. I love those meadow stamps.....are they a Timmy set too? Sorry to hear about one of your chickens dying. But at least you know that she had a very happy and well treated life. Lee x

  4. Amazing work. I love the design and the colors. Lovely idea on this beautiful card.

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  5. Beautiful card! I love the background color. Your delicate flowers and greenery on the background is wonderful! I love all of your elements. The little bird with the script writing is so cute. I love the organza flower at the bottom. The metal birdcage is really a nice touch as well. Thanks for sharing your art with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. It's always so inspiring! <3 Candy

  6. Lovely interpretation of the recipe and a lovely background. Loving the delicate flowers and your metal bird cage. Lovely to have you join in the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. Tracy x

  7. WOW, this is gorgeous, love the colours and your little flowers are so pretty.

  8. ooo how super ... love it ... love the colours and love the design and love the flowers ... I was also lucky enough to win some lovely bits from lee crafty loops but I cant bring myself to use them they are toooo lovely lol ... happy crafting and love sandy xx

  9. Love this one Maddy (and all the others)once again the colours are beautiful and like how you have put the wee birdie outside the cage. Sorry to her about your hen. Love Kathy xx

  10. A wonderful tag with great details.

  11. Lovely card! The birdcage is one of my fave dies. Saw your link on the Simon Says blog, hope you dont mind me following! I see you've used the ticket stamp from the same Pink Paislee set I used on my challenge piece...great minds think alike!

  12. Wow. Love this card. Love this die, its on my NEED list. Beautifully put together. x

  13. Your creations are truly one of a kind! Thanks for taking the time to explain the steps, it's extremely helpful for newbies like me. Your work is just amazingly inspiring! I came here via Graphics Fairy.


Thanks for leaving a comment, it's nice to know I'm not just talking to myself :)