Life changes….

So after next week I will have a lot more time on my hands!   Earlier on this year I decided to address my work/life balance issues and take early retirement, with the aim of doing more of what I want to do instead of what I have to do.  It took a while, but now the time is almost here.

It’s a big step – and less money – so a bit of a scary proposition, but I’m giving it a go.  I’m reassuring myself with the thought I can always do some temping if I run out of cardstock and glue and the pension won’t cover it!

I do have some boring household issues to address first, (although, if I’m going to be in the house more I suspect replacing the boiler will be a good thing) but then my plan is to sort out my craft room and create!

I thought it might be fun to record my progress here… let’s see how I get on…


Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 193 – lots of layers

Chanya 13 is hosting our challenge today, and the theme is Lots of Layers
As usual anything you care to enter is fine, a card, scrap layout, mixed media piece, some home decor, as long as it has lots of layers to match the theme.

Please remember our 15 total challenge rule! 

I don’t normally make cards with lots and lots of layers – my style tends to veer towards the clean and simple with minimal layers on the whole.  But layers don’t have to be frothy or lacy – so I decided to utilise one of my birthday gifts of a hunkydory stacker pad and just do lots of mats and layers.

I used 2 pages from the stacker – one background paper and one sheet of die cut decoupage/topper images.  My base card was my favourite 6 x 6 white card and originally I was going to put the backing paper directly onto it.  Then I thought, no! layers!!!!  and added some gold mirri behind it.  I didn’t have a full sheet of gold, so used the small A6 mirri sheets I use with the little book pages, and covered the join by sticking a further layered ribbon strip on the top to cover it. The layers on the strip was gold mirri, strip of background paper (reverse side) strip of gold mirri and finally a strip off of the embellishments sheet.

I used the edge of the embellishments sheet that had a gold trim as a further ribbon strip to go across the page horizontally (for the bees to stand on at the top!) and then stuck one of the flowers where the strips intersected,  with a small embellishment in the centre.  Finally I used some of the bee diecuts on foam pads to decorate the rest of the card.  I stuck one embellishment slightly too high up at the bottom, which irritated me because it looks wrong to my eye.  You probably wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t pointed it out though,.. which is what I console myself with!

The last touch was a bit of quickie glue and clear glitter around the centre of the sunflower, and 4 AB gems in each corner.

I liked the final effect very much – I think these stackers are really good value and ideal for those times when you don’t have time to pull a design together from scratch.    This one was a gift, but I may just treat myself to some of the others!


Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 192 ~ Tic Tac Toe

Marlene is hosting our challenge today, and the theme is Tic, Tac, Toe. We were asked to choose a line from the grid below, either top to bottom, left to right, or diagonally.

As usual anything you care to enter is fine, a card, scrap layout, mixed media piece, some home decor, as long as your all the items in one straight line from the grid.

Please remember our 15 total challenge rule!

tic tac toe

I used my favourite 6 x 6 card base for this one, and used some nautical backing paper from one of the cds I have in my stash.  I think this one may have been a serif digi kit…

This card was going to be made at a craft club I go to and as I had to make 25 kits for ladies to use, I wanted to see if I could make a card with the minimum of raw materials, and pretty much all of this was printed out on one sheet of A4 paper.  Of course, I could have made it simpler by layering the anchor patterned paper onto the blue pattern paper digitally before cutting it out, but in this case I set the squares on the paper so they could be cut and layered individually.

I used a plainish piece of the blue patterned paper to stamp out my sentiment, which I heat embossed with silver detail embossing paper.  I really like this sentiment and use it a lot – it’s perfect for men’s cards, as it isn’t overly sentimental.

For this card I used a porthole stamp from Creative Stamping magazine that I overlaid on the shape I cut from the scan n cut in silver card.  I didn’t get it quite square on, so I need to rethink how I do this if I do it again!  Maybe the cut image needs to be a smidge bigger…

I love that turquoise/teal blue, and I managed to find some Butchers Twine on the interwebs that was JUST the right colour (I think it’s Eton Blue) and I used it to wrap around the porthole.  This gives an extra embellishment, but again, isn’t as feminine as ribbon and went well with the anchor – with hindsight, I should have had it going through the ring of the anchor, but hey ho!

I used self adhesive pearls to frame the corners of the base card and the main topper, and to make the centre point of the anchor.

The final touch was some faux stitching around the edge of the card and the main topper – Twilight sky promarker around the white card, and white gel pen on the teal coloured topper.

This card can be turned into a feminine one really easily – just swap the anchors and porthole for floral paper and a fancy frame.  And have ribbon, not twine, with a bow!


Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 189 – Floral Profusion

Floral profusion

It’s my turn to host our challenge today, and the theme is Floral Profusion. We would love to see your creations covered in flowers, lots of flowers. Please do not enter with just one flower as that is hardly a profusion of flowers!

As usual anything you care to enter is fine, a card, scrap layout, mixed media piece, some home decor, as long as it has lots of flowers on it.

Please remember our 15 total challenge rule!

I have chosen to make a card in a box – it looks very substantial, but in fact, folds flat and goes into an envelope!

I used a 12 x 12 piece of plain white card for the base and  the standard format for these type of cards – cut to the height you want the card to be (in this case 7 inches) and then score down at 2 3/4 inch intervals, leaving a 1 inch strip at one end.

Then, you score across three of the panels at 4 inchs from the bottom (3 from the top), leaving the 4th panel intact.  Trim away the top half of the extra strip – this will be sticking the box together.

I took some backing paper into serif and created my mats and layers for the box sides, which I stuck in place after distressing the edges.

I used scrap strips of card to make “struts” to go across the box and be the support for the flowers, which were a mix of bought and made from my stash.  The sentiment plaque and the butterflies were diecut and I wrapped ribbon around the base of the box.

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 188 – Add a Sentiment

188 sentiments 2aPam is hosting our challenge today, and the theme is Add A Sentiment. It would be nice if your sentiment is not a tiny peel off tucked in one corner, but more the focal point of your creation, but we won’t insist on that.

As usual anything you care to enter is fine, a card, scrap layout, mixed media piece, some home decor, as long as it has a sentiment, the more prominent the better.

Please remember our 15 total challenge rule!

For my example, I have used a decorated mdf heart that I made for a work friend who left.  I used some backing paper from my stash to cover the base of the heart – you can do it by using white gesso as a base and then stamping and inking etc on the top, but for speed I used the paper.

For the flower decorations, I used a set of Dreamees stamps on another part of the backing paper, embossed them with a glittery embossing powder and cut them out.  I cut some leaves and sprigs out of green card (the dies might have been tattered lace… but I had taken them out of the pack and put them on my magnetic storage sheets so I can’t be certain) and stuck them in and around the flowers.

I stamped the sentiment onto plain white card and then die cut it with a stitched edge die and stuck onto my heart using a foam pad and some silicone glue.  A white ribbon bow finished it off at the bottom, and the final touches were the two butterflies, cut out of the centres of some hunkydory rainbow mirri matts.  (waste not, want not, lol!)

The very last task was to thread some white ribbon through the two holes in the top of the heart to hang it by.

I used a tattered lace box die to cut my box, which I embossed with a butterfly folder before sticking together.


Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 187 – Pearls and Gems

Josephine is hosting our challenge today, and the theme is Pearls and/or Gems. We would like to see lots and lots of pearly pearls or blingy gems, or both.

As usual anything you care to enter is fine, a card, scrap layout, mixed media piece, some home decor, as long as it has some luscious pearls or sparkling gems.

Please remember our 15 total challenge rule!pearls and gems

My card was made using a tattered lace die to create the base stepper card, and as a bonus there was also dies to cut the layers to go on top.  I chose some art deco paper from my stash for the top layer, and used some rainbow mirri card for the the base in the “fan” shaped areas.

For my topper, I chose an image from a Hunkydory little book (my latest “go to” for a quick image!) and fussy cut round it so it could sit neatly in the centre.  It doesn’t show up particularly well, but I also used a quickie glue pen and some glitter on the strands on her dress to “bling it up a bit”.

The final touch was the sentiment, and the pearls.  I used varying sized flat back pearls to fit into the circles going up the fan elements, and three each of the same size to go on either side.

Crafty Cardmakers challenge #186 Things With Wings

186 things with wings3

Mary is hosting our challenge today, and the theme is Things With Wings. Anything with wings will count, birds, butterflies and other insects, fairies, aeroplanes, even hearts as long as they have wings!

As usual anything you care to enter is fine, a card, scrap layout, mixed media piece, some home decor, as long as it has wings.

Please remember our 15 total challenge rule!

* *

My card was made for a friend who was having a hard time.  It is a centre stepper card made with plain white card and some papers from my stash.  Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t really do the paper justice – it’s a Pearlescent Mink colour with black swirls…

The topper and sentiment mats were made using the reverse of the backing paper, which toned in beautifully.  I distressed the topper and then stamped it with a sentiment.  This may be a crafters companion stamp (but it is in the drawer loose, so I can’t be certain.

Finally, I used die cut butterflies and border images cut from the same card to decorate my card

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 185 – Spring into Spring

185 spring

Peggy is hosting our challenge today, and the theme is Spring into Spring. With the Spring Equinox having just occurred in the UK earlier this month we are hopefully springing back into life with new births, and buds and flowers appearing on the trees and shrubs and so we would love to see your Spring themed cards. These can include New Birth as well as flora and fauna.

As usual anything you care to enter is fine, a card, scrap layout, mixed media piece, some home decor, as long as it has a lovely Spring theme.

Please remember our 15 total challenge rule!

* * *

For my card, I chose to use a hunkydory little book image as my main topper.  I used a 5 x 7 plain white base card, and cut the centre of the little book image out using the inner cutting edge from a tonic cherish the moment rectangle frame die set to make a topper layer.  As it has an inner and an outer cutting edge it is perfect for cutting a mat and a layer.  I cut the mat out of rainbow mirri card using the outer cutting edge, and layered it onto the remains of the little book image (as I’d cut the centre out using the inner edge die, it covered the “hole” perfectly!)  This was then layered onto another sheet of the rainbow mirri card and stuck onto my base card

I used glue to stick the image onto the mat, and added a simple chiffon bow to the top left corner, and a sentiment to the bottom of the topper to finish my card.

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 184 – a special woman or a girl


184 aspecial woman

Sally is hosting our challenge today, and the theme is For a Special Woman/Girl or Mother’s Day. As it’s Mothering Sunday on 26th March if you are in the UK, we would like to see your cards for that Special Female in your life. and it would be nice if you shared with us who your creation is for.

As usual anything you care to enter is fine, a card, scrap layout, mixed media piece, some home decor, as long as it’s for a Special Female.
Please remember our 15 total challenge rule!

My card was a quick one this time – I made it using a hunkydory little book image, which I mat and layered onto some mirri card.  I chose a ribbon to complement the colour of the watering can and stuck this onto  a ready cut card base, well two bases actually – the first one seemed to be a bit flimsy when I went to put the additional toppers on, so I cut the back off and layered it onto another shaped card base.   The sentiments were made using peel offs – I rarely use them, but when you are in a hurry they are just the job.

Crafty Cardmakers challenge 183 – go green

Judy is hosting our challenge today, and the theme is Go Green. We want to see lots of lovely lush green on your creations in honour of St. Patrick’s Day which is on Friday 17th March, or you could make a St. Patrick’s Day card.
As usual anything you care to enter is fine, a card, scrap layout, mixed media piece, some home decor, as long as it’s either mostly green or has a St. Patrick’s Day theme.
I don’t really “do” St Patrick’s Day, so my card was just green.. but not only  in colour, as I was also green in recycling bits and pieces from my stash!  This is a clean and simple (CAS) card – I’m really bad at doing the ones with multiple layers on them.  I like them very much when other people do them but they never quite look right when I do it myself!
The card base was my favourite 6 x 6 inch size, onto which I layered first some dark green paper from my stash, and then a piece of green/gold  marbled paper I had left over from another project.  It’s a shame the photo doesn’t show it very well, but the darker bits are the green, and the bits that look white are actually an oyster mica colour… it’s a second or third generation print, so is very muted .  I’m dead chuffed to have finally used it because it is really lovely.
The remaining elements were all from a free members gift I got from Create and Craft some time ago and were the bits left on the sheet after a previous use.