Sunday, 7 December 2014

Walking in a Winter Wonderland...

My goodness, time flies at this time of year. There is so much to do before Christmas, but there's still time to make a few cards and this month we are making it easy for you at Stamping Sensations. Share one of your handmade Christmas cards with the theme of "Winter Wonderland"and you could win a fabulous prize from Stamps by Chloe. Before you head on over to our challenge blog to see my teamies' wonderful creations, here's a little inspiration from yours truly...


The background uses the new distress spray stains. Texture paste is added through a stencil to make the trees, and the deer in the background stamped. The foreground deer is diecut from adhesive cork which gives a fabulous texture, and to finish it off I added one of my decorated wooden snowflakes. Have fun making your cards and we can't wait to see what you create.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tuesday Technique - Decorating Wooden Shapes with Distress Spray Stains


Have you ever wondered what to do with those wooden embellishments that you bought (it seemed like a good idea at the time m'lud!). The new distress stains are great for this. They make it so easy to decorate a load of shapes at the same time as making some cool backgrounds for your cards.

1. Place a sheet of smooth white card on your non-stick crafting sheet and arrange the wooden shapes over the top.

2. Spray splodges of different coloured distress stains. I used Picket Fence first, then added Tattered Rose, Broken China and Faded Jeans.

3. Remove the shapes to a clean sheet of paper and sprinkle heat-emboss in clear. I used a clear holographic powder on these snowflakes for added sparkle. The great thing about distress stains is they stay wet for a while, so it's a perfect ink for embossing.

4. Here's the free background you created once the shapes are removed, and below are some more closeups of the snowflakes...


If you like, you can turn the shapes over and repeat the process, then add some jump rings and use them in your cards or in jewellery or ornaments, etc. I'll be sharing a card next week that features one of these snowflakes.

This is why you need a big non-stick mat (some people use a box to spray in, but I'm not that organised)! Don't worry though, it cleans off with a wipe. Oh, and don't waste all that lovely ink on the mat. Spritz with a little water and drag some card through to create another background :-)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Christmas is coming..'s only November, but Christmas is just around the corner and this month at Stamping Sensations we have a nice and easy Christmas theme for you, so get started on those Christmas cards!

The background of my card is made using Tim Holtz' snowflake stamps with an embossing resist technique and Peacock Feathers distress ink. The sentiment is cut from a scrap of the decorated card, and the card itself is finished with a few gems, some ribbon and a couple of handmade stickpins.

As always, we have a fantastic prize for the winning entry on our challenge blog, which is a £35 store voucher for Little Clare designs.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Goldfish Bowl

This card was a lot of fun to make!

"A Goldfish Bowl"

I started by making a box from white card and cutting the aperture before decorating the front with some wood patterned paper and blue distress inks. Some acetate was sealed behind the aperture and the background sealed in place.


The background actually started out as this inked scene...

"Inked Scene"

I wanted something really colourful, and found this in my "ones I prepared earlier" file lol! Anyway, I used a Sizzix stamp and emboss set over the top of this together with some clear heat-embossing to create the "fronds", and went over the whole thing with darker inks to mimic the bottom of the sea. It was cut down to size to fit the base of the box, and the fish were attached using little strips of acetate and dabs of glossy accents so they wiggle when you move the box.


Before glueing the lid down, some little drops of glossy accents are added to the acetate and some seed beads and shells glued into the base of the box to look like the bottom of the bowl.


The white box is wrapped in a brown card wrapper decorated with door stamps heat-embossed in gold.

"Happy Birthday"

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Warm Autumn Colours - October at Stamping Sensations

Wow, October is here already. What a wonderful warm September we have had here in Northern Ireland, and the trees are looking fantastic in all their Autumn glory, so what better inspiration than nature for this month's theme at Stamping Sensations and we are asking you to produce something with "Warm Autumn Colours". Share your creation on the challenge blog and you have a chance to win a fabulous prize from Imagination Crafts.

For my project this time I chose to make an easel card a la Sue Wilson. You can make the front of the card any size you like (as long as you have an envelope to fit!), and then just adhere an easel stand to the back cut using the Tim Holtz Sizzix Bigz easel die.

I started with a piece of faded orange backing paper from DCVW Pumpkin Patch, then overstamped with some of my favourite meadow stamps, colouring some in and creating a leafy frame. Various autumnal shades of archival inks are used to give some depth.


The bird is stamped from a Stampers Anonymous Tim Holtz set in archival, and overpainted using watercolour paints. I love the effect you get using this technique, which allows some of the stamp detail to show through the translucent paint. The branch and tree trunk are painted in by hand to match, using the same colours as the bird to tie the scene together.

I matted and layered onto gold and brown cardstock and could have left it like this...

... but instead diecut a lot of leaves from Pumpkin Patch patterned paper and used them to decorate the frame giving the feel of a bird peeping through the leaves.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Small frame

This small frame is decorated with diecuts, paper flowers, paperclay embellishments  and texture paste, covered with a couple of coats of good quality gesso, then sprayed with water-based inks to decorate.

The inner scene is stamped with a Heartfelt Creations stamp, coloured and set into the matching Chateau Gate die. Bricks are added to the scene by pushing texture paste through a stencil and allowing to dry before inking. I added a thin wash of gesso over the scene to tone it all down to match the frame.


Sorry for the washed-out photos. The pictures came out too dark and I tried to rememdy by increasing the brightness. I'm finding photography a bit challenging with the deterioration in my eyesight, I'm not too sure what I've snapped until I see it on the big computer screen, but I'm learning. Next time this happens, I'll take the photos again :-)

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Things With Wings - September at Stamping Sensations

This month at Stamping Sensations we are asking you to submit projects with the theme "Things with Wings". This can be anything you like, even fairies or angels, but I went with the obvious and chose birds and butterflies.

"Things With Wings"

The background is inked with my favourite subtle distress colours and overstamped using lots of different nature stamps and a grey archival ink.

"UTEE Bird"

The vintage graphics bird and butterfly are dipped in clear, melted UTEE before adhering to the card with Pinflair glue gel.

"Honeycomb die cut"

The honeycomb frame is cut (using the new Tim Holtz die) from old cardboard packaging, sanded and stained with metallic distress stain. Inner pieces are added from spare pieces of the background stamped card.

"It's the Little Things that Make Life BIG"

That is so true!

Well, that's my Stamping Sensations "Thing With Wings" Design Team piece for the month. I do hope you will visit the blog to see my team mates' creations, and enter our challenge. As always, we have a fantastic prize. This month, Crafty Devils are offering the winner a massive gift voucher to spend on anything in their store, so why not go have a browse and dream what you could spend the winnings on :-) Maddy x

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Anything Goes in August at Stamping Sensations

"Anything Goes" this month, so I'm sharing something very different, a pair of altered shoes! I couldn't resist a pair of comfy Clarks shoes at a tenner in their sale, but I'm really not ready for beige shoes. They had a lovely nubuck finish which is just ideal for stamping on, so I got out my new birthday stamps from Crafty Individuals and set about changing the look...

"Altered Shoes"

There are lots more pictures to share!


Of course, shoes have to look like a matching pair, so I was careful to repeat the stamping on both shoes.

And again on the outside edges.

These tiny meadow stamps are just perfect for the velcro straps.

And a butterfly always makes a great focal point :-)


I used Ranger Archival ink for nice, crisp images that hopefully should resist the water (not that it rains in Ireland...)


...and stamped without using an acrylic block, just holding the stamp and pressing onto the shoe.


My Nan (you know, the one who was a cross between Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax who alwyas said she wasn't superstitious) wouldn't let us put our shoes on the table because it was bad luck. I thought of her while I was taking the photographs!

Anyway, I hope you can join in with our challenge this month. You can share anything you like, as long as stamping is the main element. The winner will receive a fantastic prize from Tonic...

The newly released Twisted Twine 674e and 584e, together worth nearly forty pounds!

Friday, 1 August 2014


I won this "Love" wooden blank from a blog challenge earlier in the year, but am posting it today to say a "Happy Anniversary" to my husband Tom. We have been married 25 years today, so are celebrating our silver wedding anniversary with a big party in the garden. Please keep you fingers crossed for us that we have good weather!


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Shabby Chic Altered Mirror

I've been altering a lot of stuff lately instead of making cards. Don't know what has come over me! Anyway, this Ikea mirror has been in my stash for ages and I had a sudden inspiration on what I wanted to do with it.


First I covered parts of the mirror with net lace, sticking it on with Claudine Hellmuth Mat Multi-Medium.

Then I cut some of my favourite diecuts from white card and used them to make a scene. Once happy with the layout, I stuck those down too.


Next I covered the whole thing with a couple of coats of white gesso, added some flowers and clay embellishments, and picked out highlights with gold Pinflair Buff-it.


The final step is to add some colour by spraying with distress reinker diluted in mister pens. I used lots of Tattered Rose, Antique Linen , Tumbled Glass and Bundled Sage.

This last photograph gives you an idea of the dimension achieved at the bottom of the frame.
We've had some gorgeous weather here in Northern Ireland this week. Today is overcast and they are forecasting rain, but that's OK. The sun will come out again soon. Have a great weekend everyone. Maddy x

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Summer Blooms at Stamping Sensations

This month at Stamping Sensations we are asking you to submit projects with the theme "Summer Blooms". It can be anything you like, but must feature some stamping. There is a brilliant prize on offer of $60 to spend at Heartfelt Creations (please note that PP&S will apply outside the US). They are one of my favourite companies so it really is a terrific prize this month! So, on to my DT card.

"Summer Blooms"

The background is stamped in Archival using Kaisercraft's "Secret Bird Society" stamp set and coloured using distress markers. This is matted onto card and decorated with lace before layering and fixing to the base card.


The Heartfelt Creations Chateau Gate die is used to cut the window from brown card. There are matching stamp sets for this die which can change the look from wood to stone, etc. but here I've just added some gilding for an old painted look. There is a tutorial to make the window box. I couldn't resist adding a bit of bling in the form of these teardrop gem sprigs that I bought in a tiny craft shop just outside Derry / Londonderry. That lovely image is from the Graphic45 Birdsong paper pad. There are a host of images just the right size for this window if you are careful which part of the paper you use.

Well, that's it from me. Don't forget to enter our challenge and you might win this:

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Stencil it! at Countryviewcrafts this month.

I'm honoured to be guest designing for Country View Challenges this month.  Country View Crafts  is one of my favourite companies. They have a huge range of craft stash at reasonable prices and free P&P, even to here in Northern Ireland! For July the challenge is "Stencil it!" and it gave me a great excuse to get the texture paste out.

"Peace at Home"

I came across some blank Artemio frames in a local department store. They are probably the largest pieces I've worked on to date, and this first one to be finished is probably a bit full of small details, but it was great fun to do. I thought you might like to see some of the intermediate steps and some closeups of the details, so there are plenty of pics to follow.


The paste is layered through stencils a few at a time, leaving the project to dry between applications. I strated with the brickwork around the window and then built up the leaves and branches in layers, finishing with the largest leaves which are from a handmade stencil.


Bought stencils are great, and I've used a few in this project, but it's also easy to make your own from acetate by diecutting. The best dies to use to cut acetate are the steel rule type, such the Sizzix Bigz and Originals dies. Here, I've used the Tim Holtz Sizzix Bigz "Garden Greens". After diecutting the plastic, I like to spray the back with repositionable adhesive and this makes it easy to stick the stencil to your artwork while applying the paste, and to remove it when you're done.


Steel rule dies are best for cutting plastic, but you can use thinner dies to make temporary stencils from card, which is how my cat, birds on branches and these flowers were made.


Here's an intermediate view of some of the leaves on the brickwork. a little colour is added as the layers are built up so the finished project isn't too uniform. Living in Ireland makes me very aware of all the different greens!


More colour is sponged on using distress inks.


This window uses a diecut from white card with lace stuck on behind the diecut, and the whole thing is covered with a layer of white gesso.


Once the texture layers and sponging is complete, the board is fitted into the frame. The frame itself is decorated with diecut flourishes and given a good coat of white gesso at this point. You can see that I've also added a window box to the window, cut from plain, white card. (This is the same type of window box as the one I use for my cards).


The last few steps are to add the flowers, the clay and wooden embellishments and to spray the whole project with inks. I made my own spray inks for this project using a pipette of distress reinker in a mister pen.


To make kitty furry, I added some flowersoft to the texture paste while it was wet. he looked great white, but our cat is black aso I went over the whole thing with a black marker once it was dry. He's hiding near the gate eyeing up the birds :-)


The flowers are a mixture of paper and clay. Those ferns and butterflies are made from Martha Stewart white paperclay which picks up the colour of the spray inks beautifully.


Did you spot the little bird and his nest?

Or the one at the top of the gate? There are lots more birds hidden in the finished picture, but I'll leave them for you to find. I hope I've inspired you to get your stencils out and join in with the challenge - there's a fabulous prize on offer for the winner!