Saturday, 12 April 2014

A Little Blue Egg

Hi there! It’s a record for me - three posts in three days so thank-you so much for popping by again! I certainly have been busy and it has been a great compliment to be invited to do so many Guest Design slots.

Today I’m really happy to have been selected to enjoy the guest design limelight at one of my favourite challenges - the always pretty Sugar Creek Hollow. Their current challenge theme is ‘Easter’. I was going to go with traditional yellow shades but just couldn’t put down these gorgeous lilac and blue papers so have ended up with more of a gentle lavender Easter! I think that blue egg is going to hatch any day now!

Papers: Maja Design ‘Vintage Spring’ collection

Dies: Sizzix Bigz ‘Bird Scroll’ and On-the-edge ‘Vintage Doily’

Stencilling: Crafty Individuals and Heidi Swapp stencils using Wendy Vecchi texture paste

Distress Inks: ‘Weathered Wood’, 'Dusty Concord'

Other: Frantage ‘Shabby Blue’, paper doily, cheesecloth, gems, Prima resin bird-house, flowers, punched branches and hand dyed silk ribbon

Sincere thanks to all at Sugar Creek Hollow for kindly inviting me to Guest Design. Be sure to check out their challenge for some of the very best vintage / shabby chic talents in blogland.

Thank-you so much for visiting and taking the time,
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Nicola x

I wish to enter card to the following challenges:
Craft for the Craic - Easter or Spring
Crafty Individuals - Nature's Beauty
The Ribbon Girl Challenge - Spring
Simon Says Wednesday - Easter / Sweet Treats
It's All About the Vintage and Beauty - Shabby Chic
Moving Along With The Times - Easter / Spring
A Creative Romance - Eggcellent Spring
Inspiration Journal - A Few of my Favourite Things

Friday, 11 April 2014

Un Peu Français (A Little Bit French)

Hello all and thank-you so much for visiting. A warm welcome too to new followers!

Fellow admirers of vintage genre / Tim Holtz will probably be well aware of fabulous new challenge ‘A Vintage Journey’. I was over the moon happy to have won their inaugural challenge for my ‘vintage suitcases’ project. I’m thus thrilled to be Guest Designing at their blog today for their current challenge with theme ‘A Little Bit French’.

As my 'suitcases' project involved the more traditional shabby aging techniques (with lots of shades of battered brown) I challenged myself to make something without any brown ink. Pairing this with the theme of ‘A Little Bit French’ I found myself reminiscing about my four Parisian visits, one of which included a day tour to nearby Palace of Versailles. The main colour that came to mind was GOLD! Lots of it! So I teamed gold with the traditional French red, white and blue and came up with a ornate gilded scene of how the sights of Paris might have looked centuries ago (excuse any time anomalies!)

I’ve altered a Prima ornate metal frame. It came in a shade of blue which I lathered with gesso and coats of white paint. The back of the frame is detachable so that one can decorate its two sides and better place embellishments inside.

Here you can see the background more closely:

Background: Coat of Paper Artsy 'Old Gold', followed by layer of crackle, then painted with coat of 'Snowflake' - this gave lots of lovely golden crackles. Next, stamped an ornate gold chandelier and randomly stamped lots of French text and doo dads in red and blue ink (Archival 'Hydrangea' and 'Red Geranium'). To tone that down then applied Distress Stain 'Picket Fence' and Paper Artsy metallic glaze. Then stencilled lots of lavish flourishes with a Crafters Workshop stencil and texture paste. Next, painted the top of all the stencilled work with Krylon gold leafing pen in two shades.

The Mona Lisa: Stamped Tim Holtz 'Paris Collage' onto cream muslin and embossed with black ep. Then coloured with DIs (Tea Dye, Weathered Wood and Bundled Sage). Heat dried inks. Affixed image into a Melissa Frances resin frame that I've been hoarding for ages. Painted the raised parts and sides of frame with Krylon gold leafing pens and covered Mona with lots of glossy accents to dry overnight. (Actually did this twice - the first attempt was with crackle accents but didn't like the result so re-tried with glossy accents and happy with outcome).

Other Paris landmarks: La Tour Eiffel and L'Arc de Triomphe are stamped on acetate using an Artemio set and embossed with copper ep. I would have loved to have Tim's stamp of the Moulin Rouge but couldn't locate one in time so cheated and printed stamp out on gold card instead. Affixed a gilded cog and metal bit to it also.

Carriage: The gorgeous chipboard carriage came in a giveaway. I coloured the wheels with gold leaf pen and attached 2 of Tim's hitch fasteners and a gilded game spinner. Then inked the top with red distress marker followed by several coats of UTEE to give it a nice gloss. Added some gilded metal bead string for 'reins'.

Other decoration to front: Diecut the pennants from faux leather papers. Stamped / embossed some black text on acetate and affixed around project. I'm dating the scene to the month of April so have gilded some chipboard blossoms and dotted same with white snow pen. Added too a dictionary definition for 'amour' and little golden butterflies.

Inner and outer frame sides.

I took 2 sheets of Neenah cardstock and splattered with lots of gold and copper paints using Liquitex splatter brush. Heat dried. Then embossed sheets with Tim's Eiffel Tower / French Script texture fades.

Applied variously blue and red archival inks to brayer and rolled it over the embossed edges. Heat dried as I went with each colour. Cut into long strips and painted with a pearlescent paint. Once dry, sprayed each strip with water so that it would be roll nicely into place around inner and outer sides.

Finally, a view of the back.

As outlined above achieved gold crackle lines with Paper Artsy paints. Printed out a music sheet of song 'April in Paris'. Also 'cheat' printed one of Tim's letter stamps on gold card. Stamped the Bird Branch once onto tissue and again as if positioned across the music sheet. Pasted the stamped tissue with multi-medium matte glue so that it 'melted' in. Using Tim's new butterflies decorative strip diecut little faux leather butterflies and arranged around bird, together with some flowers. Rubbed gilding wax on metal charms and affixed.

Et, c'est ça!! Thanks again to all at A Vintage Journey - it's been a pleasure to make this little french scene and feature today at your blog.

Thanks to all for visiting - it's been lovely having you drop by.

Have a super weekend,
Nicola x

I wish to enter altered frame to the following challenges:
Simon Says Monday Challenge - Journey
Craft Hoarders Anonymous - Pick a Stamp / Any stamp
Inspiration Journal - A few of my favourite things
Eileen Hull - Art With Heart challenge - April Showers
Vintage Stamping Challenges - Anything Goes
Rhedd's Creative Spirit - Altered Art
The Artistic Stamper - Embossing & Texture
The Kraft Journal - Paris or France

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Flights of Fancy

Hello and Welcome.

Today I’m delighted to be guest designing with the wonderful Frilly & Funkie Challenge as I won one of their recent challenges for my card here. Their current challenge theme is ‘Flights of Fancy’, (to include wings and inspired by the onset of Spring), so my card shows lots of butterflies and a little bird waiting for her eggs to hatch.

I was most fortunate to win a very generous giveaway of Maja Design papers from the lovely Jenny so I'm happy to be properly taking them out to play. All the papers used are from the gorgeous Maja ‘Vintage Spring’ Collection.

Here is a side shot so that you can better see the box like nest. I’ve used the Sizzix scalloped envelope die and then threaded through some cord to pull the sides together. The nest is lined with frilled ribbon, moss and various punched branches and diecuts and some nice candied eggs.

Papers: Maja Design ‘Vintage Spring’ Collection

Dies: Sizzix Bigz ‘Scalloped Envelope’, ‘Pocket Watch’ and ‘Sized Circles’. Magnolia ‘Heart Flourish’. Cheery Lynn ‘ Mini Fanciful Flourish’

Punches: Martha Stewart ‘Branch’ and ‘Vintage Lace’ edger

Distress Inks: Weathered Wood, Bundled Sage,Tattered Rose

Flowers: Wild Orchid Crafts and Jeans

Thank-you so much to all at Frilly and Funkie for allowing me feature at their blog today. If you aren’t already familiar with the challenge then you really should check it out for superb inspiration, excellent tutorials and a great challenge with chance of prize.

As always, thank-you for stopping by – all your visits, comments and followings are truly appreciated.

I’ll have another special post for you tomorrow so I do hope to see you back again soon.

Nicola x

I wish to enter card to the following challenges:
Country View Challenges - New Beginnings
It's All about the Vintage - Shabby Chic
Simon Wednesday - Happy Easter / Sweet Treats
Crafty Hands Devon - Anything Goes
Moving along with the times - Easter / Spring
Craft for the Craic - Easter or Spring
Inspiration Journal - A Few of my Favourite Things

Monday, 24 March 2014

For Mother's Day

Greetings from Dublin and thank-you for visiting.

After my adventures in grunge in last project I'm back in my more comfortable zone making pretty, vintage cards.

I wanted to make a card for my Mum on Mother's Day next Sunday. As usual, several challenge themes gave shape to the end result.

Vintage Café Card Challenge are looking for images of women and Sugar Creek Hollow have photo inspiration of a little girl's floral bedroom. Also at Fussy & Fancy Friday they too have an inspiration photo of a pink bedroom. Thank-you to 'Magic Moonlight Free Images' showing this little girl and her Mother, sitting on a bed in their night attire. I think they are looking at a sparkling ring!

Craft Hoarders Anonymous seek sparkle and glitz together with an inspiration photo - hence I've applied lots of blingy gems, frantage and pearls.

At Frilly and Funkie the theme is neglected dies. I searched to see which set I hadn't used in a long time and came across Spellbinders Romantic Rectangles. The photo has been sized to fit one of the smaller rectangles and I decided to use this die set only for the card.

Card and Scrap are looking for lace / ribbon so I've attached a lacey ribbon!

The papers are by Graphic 45 ('Secret Garden' and 'A Ladies' Diary'). All edges have been inked with Distress Inks and Prima chalk edgers. Included lots of flowers and punched butterflies and a lovely chipboard 'garden border' that I painted with white and pink pearlescent paints before adding some pink Frantage.

It's lovely to have you stop by. As always I love to read your comments - they are very much appreciated.

Have a lovely week,
Nicola x

I wish to enter card to the following challenges:
Vintage Cafe Card Challenge - Images of Women
Sugar Creek Hollow - Photo Inspiration
Craft Hoarders Anonymous - Show Some Sparkle, Glitz or Glam
Fussy and Fancy Friday - Shabby Chic with photo inspiration
Frilly and Funkie - Neglected Dies
Card and Scrap - Use Lace and / or Ribbon
Creative Inspirations Challenge - Vintage / Shabby Chic
Dream Valley Challenges - Mothering Sunday
That Craft Place - Flowers and / or Mother's Day
My Time To Craft - Mother's Day / Special Lady

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Goin' on a trip? Pack your bags!

Hello and thank-you for your visit. A warm welcome too to new followers.

As you might know my favourite style is vintage, usually done with some prettiness. The challenge at exciting new blog A Vintage Journey requests anything vintage with a strong hint of Maestro Tim Holtz (TH). As the mega talented DT sets forth on their journey I thought it appropriate to alter some suitcases for them. So for a change ... here's some grunge and a warning for a verrry long post...

I started off with some papier mache suitcases. Ages ago the lovely Alison sent me a package all beautifully wrapped up in TH's tissue wrap. I've collaged this tissue wrap all over each case. There then followed a brown and black marathon using TH distress inks, stains, paints, stencils and stamps. I particularly had fun using the splatter brush (by Liquitex) that TH has used in recent videos. It wasn't so much fun though cleaning up afterwards! When I decided that enough layers of ink etc. were on I added a crackle layer to make sure that cases looked even more battered.

I love the Idea-ology pieces that TH has designed. On the outside of the cases I've used TH box corners, hitch fasteners and ring fasteners. The larger suitcase has a TH ornate plate on the front. I recently won an amazing Maja Design giveaway from the lovely Jenny and I've cut out some words from one sheet to go inside the plate that is then topped up with glossy accents.

I know it's an anachronism but given that TH designed pulley wheels I thought it would be fun to have wheels on the cases. I didn't have ones by TH so I've devised my own. They are made from miniature wooden spools. Painted the inner areas black/brown and the 'wheels' copper. I rummaged through some of my late Dad's old toolkits and found screws, nuts and other metal bits that I don't know the name of but once I had 'rusted them up' with Adirondack alcohol ink and distress EP they looked perfect for the cases.

TH box corners come in a worn sort of pewter colour. I needed to change them to an aged copper so I inked them with versamark and added variously copper and black EPs. To achieve the greeny patina I dabbed Pearl-ex blue/green powder into the melting EP mixture. (This 'aging' has been applied to all the metal elements).

Some welcome relief from the dark hues comes inside each case. I've lined the insides with some of the gorgeous Maja Design papers and borders that come at the end of each 12 x 12 sheet. As I'd already used lots of TH stamps on the outside I decided to use one of his texture fades to emboss the inside lid and finally made use of the TH circular embossing diffuser to 'frame' my globe and compass. Then brayered over some DI for emphasis. A TH game spinner, ticket and a hitch fastener are also used. I spent a lot of time making that water bottle grimey! I've labelled it to remind owner of the current airline restriction levels for liquids in carry-ons!

Now you all know TH is famous for his tags and brilliantly educational monthly tag challenges. So I just had to include a tag! The thing is, I've never done a TH 'monthly tag'. I thought I should remedy this and so have included my take on TH's March tag inside the larger case. I hope this format (and resized tag) is ok to enter to his challenge. I don't yet have the really fab nest stamp set or the spritzer tool so I've improvised. Thank-you to generous Geraldine for her beautiful gifts last week including the TH bird branch stamp and some other items included in project.

The egg is from a M&S candy & chocolate eggs packet. I set aside a green egg and as I crafted I ate the rest of the packet. Next thing was I had a brainwave that I should add more speckle to the egg so I proceeded to splat brown paint at it. It looked great! I needed to dry one side so that I could splatter the rest of the egg, so I began to dry the egg with my heat gun. All of a nano-second the poor egg suffered a catastrophe ... the chocolate turned to liquid and the candy disintegrated into a pooled mess! The next day I had to dash to M&S for another packet of eggs ... no splats this time!! I thought that the TH light bulb would co-ordinate well with his rays stencil. Same stencil is also used on outside of top lid of case. I've made nest with dried moss and shredded paper. I cut a small circle in the tag and inset the little nest into it. (For info: the nest is mostly inked with one of Wendy Vecchi's new ink shades - 'Tree Branch').

The label plate on the smaller suitcase is by Artemio with insert a cutout from Maja Design. I tried out black brads in the metal elements but considered them too dark so have put in shiny copper ones instead. By the way, if you look at left hand corner of luggage tag below you can see the initials of the owner!

For the 'leather' straps I used SEI velvet paper that I fairly well battered, smudged and sprayed to get it worn looking. I also machine stitched along the centre of each strap for further texture.

I attached a luggage tag and charms to each case with TH swivel clasps. Collaged each tag with cutouts from G45 / Echo Park 'Photo Freedom' kit, then sanded and aged with DIs before coating with crackle.

For the inside of the smaller case I've used TH's new decorative strip 'Butterfly Frenzy'. The lid part is decorated with the little die cutouts along with some balloon cutouts from beautiful Maja Design papers. I painted and glittered (Clear Rock) some chipboard letters too. I've followed the very creative Candy who often uses 'Mercury Glass' stickles for edging. (Sorry for photo quality but I couldn't hold open and snap the small case sufficiently to get a decent photo).

I've used the remaining part of 'Butterfly Frenzy' on the lower portion of case. Also stamped TH stamp on paper using Wendy Vecchi new 'Hydrangea' colour in case you are interested in shades.

Finally, here is a rear view to show you those lovely TH hinges that I've given the aged copper treatment to.

Thank-you so much if you've read through all this lengthy post. I've spent ages on this piece through the week so apologies for not visiting as much. I hope to catch up tomorrow.

Have a lovely week,
Nicola x

I wish to enter cases to the following challenges:
A Vintage Journey - Anything Tim
Simon Monday Challenge - D is for Distress
Craft Hoarders Anonymous - Vintage or Retro
Tim Holtz - 12 Tags of 2014 - March
Vintage Udfordring - Sewing (Machine stitching is on 'leather' straps)
Inspiration Journal - A Splash of Colour
Rhedd and Rosie Challenge - Aged / Distressed
Rhedd's Creative Spirit - Altered Art March
Country View Challenges - Paper Chase
Art With Heart Challenge - New Beginnings (for AVJ)

Friday, 7 March 2014

Like my hat?

Hello and welcome.

I needed to make a 'male' card (which like most of you I always dread) but resisted temptation to purchase and wondered how I might make it more easily. I've never made a card according to a sketch challenge so decided to follow the layout at Sketchy Colours to see how it might go.

I like the end result and enjoyed having to 'think less' re layout so will definitely follow a sketch route again.

Papers: Prima 'Printery' and 'Engraver'. Pion Design 'For Father'. All stitched on my little Ikea sewing machine.

Other Paper: Embellishments and centre image by Kaisercraft 'Sears & Son'.

Stamping: Some random stamping/embossing of clock and numerals using Crafty Individuals CI-354 not showing up too well as embossing done with Antiquities 'Weathered white' similar to paper shades.

Inks / Mediums: DIs 'Tea Dye', 'Vintage Photo' and 'Walnut Stain'. I painted hat portion, ties and moustaches with Decoart One Step Crackle. Used Stampendous 'Aged Ivory' for frantage effects. The clock is well coated with glossy accents.

Other Embellishments: Tim Holtz 'Ring Fastener'. Prima wood clock face. Brads and ribbon from stash.

Many thanks for stopping by and special thanks to new followers who signed on recently. It's lovely to have your company in blogland.

Nicola x

I wish to enter card to the following challenges:
Sketchy Colours: Challenge #200
Vintage Udfording - Monochromatic
Simon Says Stamp Monday - Tick Tock
Craft Hoarders Anonymous Challenge - Vintage or Retro
Inky Chicks - Monochromatic
Divas by Design - Let's hear it for the boys
Country View Crafts Challenge - Paper Chase

Thursday, 27 February 2014


Hello. Thanks so much for visiting!

Today's card is in keeping with February's 'romantic' theme and incorporates words, texture, stenciling, paste and lots more and so fits well with a number of my favourite challenges.

This is another of my cards where I put lots of work into underlying layers and then went and covered them up!

Papers: Mixture of french book text and Prima papers that have been variously stitched, torn and aged using several DIs and Prima chalk inks. Lace has been added to fill in torn gaps and the papers were also splattered with gold calligraphy ink.

Stenciling: Papers and heart stencilled using Wendi Vecchi texture paste. Stencils from Heidi Swapp (Hearts) and The Crafters Workshop (Art Is).

Frame and heart: Both were treated to Kroma Crackle medium for leathery crackle effect. Used DIs and pearlescent sprays to colour and topped with Treasure Gold for the frame and gold stamped script on the heart. Both cut from Tim Holtz grungepaper with Sizzix Bigz dies.

Lovebirds: Using multi matte medium I glued some burlap and some cotton cloth to grungepaper. When dry I diecut the 'fabric' birds using Sizzix Bigz die. Frantaged both with Stampendous 'Aged Ivory' though it doesn't show too well on the burlap. Also stamped gold script on the cotton bird. Rubbed gilding paste on both wings. Ran Prima chalk ink around their rims for definition. Mounted each onto some muslin with gave them perches of pleated ribbon / tulle.

Other embellishments: The 'Je t'aime' is from 7 Gypsies 'French Enamels' that I have dabbed with DIs and sealed. Ribbon, pearls, pins and flowers from stash. Finally a little Snow-tex has been dabbed on the flowers.

Thank-you for all the lovely comments and visits that you make - I truly appreciate each and every one.

Nicola x

I wish to enter card to the following challenges:
Inspiration Journal - Show It With Words
Simon Says Stamp Monday - Paste
Frilly and Funkie - Stencils and Texture
Craft for the Craic - Heart
Simon Says Wednesday - Anything Goes with Pearls
City Crafter Challenge - Do You Speak English?
Stamping Fantasies 5th Blogaverary Celebration - Favourite Item - mine is the Sizzix 'Caged Bird' die
We Love Vintage - Use favourite mold/pons (die/punch) - mine is Sizzix Bird die
It's All About The Vintage & Beauty - Use Lace