Monday 27 February 2017

The Secret Garden

Hi there and thanks for stopping by!
Well I've thoroughly enjoyed my month as guest designer with Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. It's been an absolute privilege to feature alongside the esteemed design team and I'm very grateful to have been invited.
For this final Monday in February the new challenge theme is 'Based On A Book'. Graphic 45's beautiful 'Secret Garden' paper collection is one of my favourites so I decided to alter a wooden book box based on 'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Here it is...

Front cover of book box

A view of the inside

A twirl to the front

Close-up of inside left

Inside right

Around to the back

Another look at the front

I'll list all of the products I used that are available from Simon Says Stamp Store at the end of the post.

Step by Step

I took some snaps with my phone as I went along to show how I made the front cover...

Wooden book box for altering.

Painted cover with a couple of thick coats of white gesso. Made some texture marks before it dried.

Added light and medium grey paints for variation.

Used a 6" x 6" Bricks Stencil and Tim Holtz Grit-Paste to make the wall. The cover measures 7.5" x 7.5" i.e. bigger than the stencil so there were 4 separate stencil placements to go through.  To give extra dimension, I stencilled 2 layers of Grit-Paste so in all there were 8 phases when I had to wait for Grit-Paste to dry. The wall was thus built over quite a few days! (Area for door to fit into was masked off).

I recently won a fab prize from Prima Marketing that included Prima Watercolor pencils in 'Earth Tones', so they had their first playtime to colour in the bricks.

Then darkened the bricks by blending distress inks over them (used Fired Brick, Vintage Photo, Tea Dye, Brushed Corduroy, Gathered Twigs, Walnut Stain).

Swabbed some white and grey paints over bricks and splattered black ink around too. The paints kept being absorbed by the media below as they dried, so added a layer of multi matte to seal.

I haven't got a 'before' shot of the door. I dry embossed some cardstock with a woodgrain folder and adhered it to a thick arch shape. Darkened and aged various metal embellishments and used a sticker from the Graphic 45 Secret Garden Deluxe Collector's Edition

Diecut some branches with Memory Box Woodland Branch die. In the end I pruned away some of these as I had covered up too much of the wall I spent a lot of time on!

Also, randomly glued around little snippets of moss.

Next, adhered some chipboard ivy trails.

Coloured the ivy with Distress Inks using Tim Holtz Watercolor Brush. (Bundled Sage and Iced Spruce inks I think).

Topped off the leaves with Glossy Accents to help them pop. (I think this was done after photo).

Affixed a rustic looking trim at side.

Showing inside of box before it was 'dressed up'. I'm a big fan of Krylon Gilding pens and used the 18kt Gold pen liberally on box (the centre panel here has been gilded).
The outer side panel of the box was stamped in black with a text stamp by Prima and then heat embossed.

Here the inside has been adorned with the beautiful Graphic 45 Secret Garden papers and other little embellishments. The deluxe collection includes some great chipboards too.

I hope you like my altered box!

Do pop over to the Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge blog to absorb all of the brilliant inspiration and education from the fantastic design team there. Why don't you have fun creating something 'Based On A Book' and enter this week's challenge.

Don't forget that every week a lucky entrant wins a generous $50 voucher to spend in store - it could be you!

Genuine thanks to all at Simon Says Stamp for placing me in their designer spotlight this month! It's been a real treat!


I used products that are available from Simon Says Stamp Store as follows:

Graphic 45 'Secret Garden' 12 x 12 Deluxe Collectors Edition. The quotes on inside left cover are cut from scraps I had from the 8 x 8 'Secret Garden' papers.

The Crafter's Workshop 6x6 Stencil 'Bricks'.

Ranger Distress Grit-Paste. Ranger Distress Inks in Ground Espresso, Fired Brick, Vintage Photo, Tea Dye, Brushed Corduroy, Gathered Twigs, Walnut Stain, Rusty Hinge.  Prima Watercolor pencils in 'Earth Tones'. Prima Marketing Mixed Media Essentials for Black and White Gesso. Paper Artsy Fresco Finish Paint in Snowflake. Ecoline liquid watercolor in Black and White. Memento Ink Espresso Truffle. Krylon Gilding Pen 18kt Gold. Ranger Glossy Accents. Ranger Archival Ink in Black. Ranger Crackle Accents.

Tim Holtz Idea-ology - Hinges and Locket Keys. Prima Metal Knobs.

Memory Box - Woodland Branch

Prima / Finnabair Texture Brushes. Dina Wakley Stiff Bristle Brushes. Ranger Blending Tool. Prima Silicone Brush. Tim Holtz Water Color Brush.

Sticky Stuff
Scotch Double Sided Foam Tape, Ranger Multi Medium Matte, Aleenes Tacky Glue


Thank-you for taking the time to visit!
Have a lovely week!
Nicola x

I wish to enter book box to the following challenges:
Mixed Media World - Anything Mixed Media Goes
Love 2 Create - Anything Mixed Media Goes
Stamps & Stencils - Texture, Crackle and Paint
A Vintage Journey - Words That Are Special
Frilly & Funkie - Out of the Cold
Allsorts Challenge - Metal and/or charms
The Ribbon Girl - Use Any Image Challenge
Creative Artiste - Anything Mixed Media Goes
4 Crafty Chicks - Stencils
Rhedd's Creative Spirit - February Challenge

Monday 20 February 2017

Soar Free

Greetings and a warm welcome to you!
I'm delighted to be sharing my 3rd project as guest designer this month with the fantabulous Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. Thanks so very much for all your visits and kind comments on my previous two projects.

The days are rolling by rapidly as it's Monday again! This means it's time for a new challenge, and this week's challenge theme is 'Transport It'.

I decided to do something a little different (for me anyway!) so have made a mixed media canvas showing my favourite mode of transport i.e. hot air balloon. Without further ado, here it is...

Apologies for poor photos - I took some snaps with my phone as I went along for a 'step by step'.

All products available from Simon Says Stamp store are listed at end of post.

1. Began with a blank canvas board. Yikes - my first one!

This board was already primed with gesso.

2.  Dabbed some Ranger Distress Inks on my craft mat

Spritzed them with water. Swooshed the canvas through the inks and heat dried with heat tool.

Then painted with Paperartsy blue and white paints and gesso and allowed to dry.

3. Painted again with white gesso.

Adhered a woven trim.

Stencilled some texture paste using Prima stencil.

Stamped corners (although later on I fairly well covered up this stamping).

4. Painted yet again with watered down white paint.

Dabbed white crackle paint randomly.

Made textured lines by 'stamping' white crackle paste here and there using edge of an old credit card. Sprinkled mini art stones on top of this paste whilst still wet.


5. Painted die cut film strip, a drinking straw and chipboard with white paint. Adhered these to canvas. (The two shorter inner straws are positioned to balance the balloon).

Dribbled blue and gold Prima sprays around embellished areas.

Added little blue fragments and metal elements.


6. Die cut balloon from chipboard and painted with Prima metalliques. (Balloon actually triple layered).

Sprinkled around gold and pale blue microbeads.  Painted alpha letters and various metals with a mix of black & white gessos and metallique paints.  Filled tiny bottle with sequins and beads.

Layered balloon in place on top of more chipboard and sisal fibres. Added copper beaded trim and light bulb to balloon basket.

Stamped text onto tissue, tore tissue into little strips and glued with multi-matte.


7. Added some splatters.

Laid out painted stars, chipboard cogs and sequins to see how this looked but it seemed 'over crowded' given that I wanted the balloon to be main focus.

So scrapped this arrangement!

(Actually I scrapped several 'arrangements', but am just showing this one!)

8. Kept the stars and just added some crystals and pearls instead.

Smeared brass paint around edge of canvas. Painted cardboard panel the same blue as balloon and matted to canvas.

Rubbed white paint into metal wordband so that sentiment became clearer.

Decided to declare it finished at at this point...but further suggestions are welcome!

Do check out this week's challenge to view the always impressive creations from the fantastic design team. Each week one lucky challenge entrant wins a $50 gift voucher to spend instore.

Many thanks again to all at Simon Monday Challenge and at the Simon Says Stamp Store for allowing me feature in the 'Designer Spotlight' this month.

Very many thanks for taking the time to stop by today!
Wishing you a lovely week,
Nicola x


I used products that are available from Simon Says Stamp Store as follows:

Memory Box - Grand Voyage Balloon and Quilted Balloon Stripes


Prima Marketing Metallique Paint in Deep Waters and Brass Hardware. Paper Artsy Fresco Finish Paint in Snowflake

Sprays and Liquids
Prima Marketing Color Bloom Sprays in Gold Foil and Fairy Pond. Ecoline liquid watercolor in Black

Ranger Distress Inks in Tumbled Glass, Salty Ocean, Broken China, Weathered Wood. Ranger Archival Ink in Black

Prima Marketing Mixed Media Essentials for Black and White Gesso. Prima Marketing Heavy Body Gel. Ranger Distress Crackle Gel in Clear Rock Candy.  Dreamweaver Texture Paste. Ranger Texture Paste Opaque Crackle. Prima Marketing Mini Art Stones

Tim Holtz Idea-ology - Hinge Clips, Metal Word Bands, Game Spinners, Wire Pins, Swivel Clasps, Locket Keys / Metal Hardware Keyhole.
Prima Marketing Junkyard Findings and Micro Beads in Copper.
Stampendous Powder Blue Fragments from the Blue Encrusted Jewel Kit.

Sticky Stuff
Scotch Double Sided Foam Tape, Ranger Multi Medium Matte, Aleenes Tacky Glue

Monday 13 February 2017

Using My Favourite Tool

Hi there and thanks so much for stopping by.
As you may know from my last post I'm delighted to be this months Guest Designer at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. I'm very grateful for all your lovely comments on my first make.
It's Monday again, so guess what - it's time for a new challenge! This week's theme is 'Use Your Fave Tool'.

I had difficulty choosing which tool to favour but in the end I've opted for my Ranger 'Heat It' craft tool. For my card today the 'Heat It' tool was essential to heat and melt various embossing powders and enamels. It's also perfect to heat set distress inks. The Ranger edition is my top pick as it manages to not blow the target powder in various directions (yay!) and crucially doesn't burn papers. It's quieter than other makes too. (This is my personal opinion, made without reward from Ranger!).

So here's my card...

I've several sets of sewing themed stamps that are much neglected. Decided to use a stamp or two from each set and inked and embossed them. Included various dies that cut a faux stitched edge. In order to incorporate some fabric I adhered heavy cotton to chipboard using multi medium matte. Once thoroughly dry I then diecut the fabric and chipboard together with the dress form die and then stamped on the dry fabric using my favourite stamp (Papillon by Tim Holtz). Trimmed all the stamped images and inked their edges with distress inks (the Ranger ink blending tool came a close second as tool of choice!). Also attached lace to some of the edges for extra texture. Eventually decided on the best layout (leaving out several other stamped images that didn't make the final cut (sorry for pun!). Threaded the buttons (both real and paper) and fixed in place. Added metal embellishments and fancy button to complete. That's it!

The dies, inks, embossing powders and other ingredients that are available from the Simon Says Stamp store are listed at end of post.

Be sure to pop over to this week's challenge to view all other fantastic makes from the wonderful Design Team. Don't forget that each week one lucky winner receives a $50 gift voucher to spend instore.

Many thanks again to all at Simon Monday Challenge for allowing me feature in the 'Designer Spotlight'.

As always, I greatly appreciate all the visits and comments that come my way so thank-you in advance!
Wishing all a lovely week to come,
Nicola x


I used products that are available from Simon Says Stamp Store as follows:

Ranger Heat It Craft Tool (USA use), Ranger Heat It Craft Tool (UK use), Ranger Heat It Craft Tool (other European use), Ranger Ink Blending Tool, Sizzix Big Shot

Tim Holtz / Sizzix Sewing Room Dress Form, Memory Box Cross Stitched Frame Borders, Lawn Fawn Stitched Borders

Tim Holtz Papillon

Embossing Powders & Enamels
Stampendous Shabby White enamel, Stampendous Shabby Pink enamel, Stampendous Chunky White enamel, Wow Opaque White powder, Simon Says Stamp White Fine Detail powder, Ranger Antiquities Rose Quartz, Ranger Antiquities Weathered White

Ranger Distress Inks
Ground Espresso, Victorian Velvet, Vintage Photo, Brushed Corduroy, Antique Linen, Tea Dye

Other Inks
Ranger Archival Sepia, Versamark Ink Pad, Versafine Vintage Sepia, Memento Desert Sand

Paper Artsy Fresco Finish Snowflake

Bazzill Cream Puff

Sticky Stuff
Scotch Double Sided Foam Tape, Ranger Multi Medium Matte, Aleenes Tacky Glue

May Arts Pink Twine,


I wish to enter card to the following challenges
The Ribbon Girl - February Card Challenge - Anything Goes
Craft Stamper - Anything Goes (with stamping)
Fussy & Fancy - Fussy & Fancy
Penny Black & More - Use Your Favourite Stamp (Papillon by Tim Holtz)
Kort o Mania - Vintage / Shabby Chic
Creative Inspirations - Anything Goes
Crafty Friends Challenge -Anything Goes
Creative Corner Challenges - Perfectly Pink

Monday 6 February 2017

Young At Heart - Designer Spotlight at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge

Hi there and Welcome!

I'm genuinely thrilled, and very honoured, to be the Guest Designer for Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge during this month of February. As most of you know the Design Team there is comprised of 'la crème de la crème' so to have been invited into the monthly 'Designer Spotlight' slot is an amazing compliment. Thank-you so very much to all at the Simon Says Stamp Store and the Monday Challenge Crew.

The theme for this week's challenge is 'Young At Heart' (Valentines) and we are showcasing products from the fabulous Simon Says Stamp Exclusive Brand. Please do pop over to the this week's challenge post to see superb inspiration from the fabulous Design Team.

I've made an Exploding Box to fit the theme...

You can find lots of templates on Pinterest and YouTube to make your own Exploding Box. Each side of my one measures 10cm / 3.94 inches. I've kept the outer sides very simple as there is plenty going on inside! The outsides are decorated with (Simon Says Stamp) die-cut squares that have been embossed with a 'Tiny Dots' Texture Fade. Layered on those are 'Stacked Hearts' cut using the Simon Says Stamp Stacked Hearts die. (If you want to end up with lots of little hearts to use as confetti or embellishments, this is a great die to choose for it's offcuts).

Lifting off the lid reveals the inner decorated sides ...

I've used papers from Prima 'Tales of You and Me' collection throughout. Products available from Simon Says Stamp store are linked at end of post.

I'll just briefly run through each of the sides. The focal image on top lid (a printout from stash) sits atop Prima papers and is embellished with the (Simon Says Stamp) die cut word 'Love' and a Prima Aleggra flower and zipper junk-yard finding. All the diecut text in each part of box is coated with Glossy Accents to make it pop. Some glitter coated falling hearts are stencilled around the 'young sweethearts'.

Photo above right shows the centre before it was glued inside box. Now as far as I'm concerned one would want to be 'Young at Heart', and body (!), to go for a tandem ride. I coloured the cute chipboard tandem with Krylon gold and silver pens and a Distress Marker. I used the Stacked Hearts die again to float above the bicycle. (Triple cut for firmness with cardstock as centre layer).
Next shot shows the other four sides before they were glued in place...

At top left is the gorgeous text diecut 'Heart Smile' by Simon Says Stamp. I used a couple of dies for the side at top right i.e. Simon Says Stamp 'Believe' and Sizzix / Holtz 'Holiday Script' (used the latter to make the word 'in' that I chopped from the word 'winter'!). Again some hearts are stencilled about and an Idea-Ology game spinner makes for a faux arrow.

Bottom left includes some Prima resin shutters - perhaps some Valentine(s) are inside lol. Also used an old die by Simon Says Stamp - 'Ribbon Banner', a metal embellishment from stash, hearts and fussy cut butterflies. Photo bottom right alludes to love letters and date night invitations all wrapped up in a Sizzix diecut envelope. (Flowers and wood embellishment by Prima, pen nib is Idea-ology, tickets and tiny letter are stamped).

Spinning the box around 180° you can view from the opposite angle. (And OMG but I spied when it was way too late that I hadn't inked the reverse sides of the tandem's tyres!! Best to embrace imperfection and keep smiling lol!).
Well that's it! I hope you've enjoyed my make today. Don't forget - each week Simon Says Stamp gives a generous $50 prize to a lucky challenge winner to spend in store. If you're not in, you can't win!

Very many thanks again to all at the Simon Monday Challenge for inviting me to be Guest Designer this month, it's a pleasure to craft alongside the team.

Thank-you for taking the time to stop by.

Wishing all a lovely week ahead,
Nicola x


I used products that are available from Simon Says Stamp Store as follows:


Prima Marketing - Tales of You and Me Notecards


Embossing Folder
Tim Holtz / Sizzix Tiny Dots

Heidi Swapp Confetti

Ranger Distress Inks

Other Media
Krylon Leafing Pens in 18kt Gold and Silver, Ranger Stickles Crystal, Prima Marketing White Art Sugar, Ranger Texture Paste, Ranger Glossy Accents

Sticky Stuff


I wish to enter Exploding Box to the following challenges:
A Vintage Journey - Words That Are Special
The Crazy Challenge - Romance
Crafty Creations - Anything Goes
Kort o Mania - Use dies and/or punch
Craft For The Craic - Anything with 2 on it (Two people)
Try It On Tuesday - Hearts & Flowers
Crafty Cardmakers - Love, Love, Love
Bastel-Traum - Friendship / Love
Scrap From Your Heart - Valentines / Mother's Day
Make It Prima - February 2017