Thursday, 17 January 2019

Tonic Craft Kit #18- Dream in Colour

This one had to be the flag ship!

Well we are well into the new year now and looking forward to brighter days (or some snow) and to be honest, I am still wanting a bit of snow if it is not too much to ask!

C'mon! Just a bit - to see us off!

This is our last winter in England and I cannot wait to see the difference on the continent. Those of you who read the last post will have seen that the plans were to move to Australia but unfortunately, the misbehaving British pound coupled with the fact that I (we) really didn't want to go meant that this plan had to be changed slightly.

One of my favourite places in the city of Hamburg -the Landungsbrücken at the harbour. And the famous 'Michel' in the background.

So Germany it is! I am super excited. I have loved Germany since childhood and my family all live there. So this really is the last time that I write to you from England.

Today is all about Tonic again and their lovely craft kit - would you believe number eighteen already! Honestly, if you haven't discovered this wonderful monthly subscription plan, race off now and sign up! Each month a carefully curated kit of loveliness will appear on your doorstep and you can do so much with it. I love the fact that it is a stash builder as well as something to make straight away. Honestly, check it out!

I am mesmerised by the holographic paper in the kit this month!

So this month is all about gelati colours in turquoise, lavender, mauve and ivory. Here is the official YouTube live unboxing from Tonic and there is no better way to see what is inside!

Packed full of goodies as usual!

So that leaves us to get on with some makes and to show you how I interpreted this month's collection!

Lots to make with this kit!
I love the way these kits have so many options. I am a card maker most of all, so my first makes had to be cards...

Not everyone is a lover of pink!

Not everything has to be overly frilly (remember the men in your life and the girls who do not automatically dive for pink). This one has huge texture and colour thanks to a band of holographic card,

I bigged that up with a little pillow box made from the same card with a band of black...

Make it modern with a touch of black.

Those of you who follow my work will know how I love to include black. It adds so much drama!

Next of all was to concentrate on the lavender inclusions in the kit.

Set the scene for a romantic Valentine's Day with something other than pink.

Another pillow box with a black band but in glitter card this time...

I wish that you could see this in real life! it is just luminous!

This makes a lovely gift set and uses less card than you might think - all of the makes in this set were made from the same A4 sized sheets of paper or card. It is great value. I have some left over too!

Machine stitching is not always the way to frame a card. if you do not sew, try framing with fine black marker instead.

Another one as a shaker card. There are some really gorgeous glitters in the kit and against the black background, they have such punch!

Dream Drops are a new product launch this month. They fit perfectly into the Nuvo Drops family and they are perfect for accenting. You get a full bottle in the kit.

Lavender and mauve can look a bit twee and old fashioned if you are not careful. Black saves the day!

A touch of black gives everything a more on trend vibe.

Finally, and I did save this until last on purpose, I made a vellum luminary to take a battery operated candle.

I could make these all day!

I adore these and I adore making them too. They are so easy. A strip of card or paper and a strip of vellum. Die cut the outer layer and then glue it to the vellum and fashion it into a tube.

Dream in colour is the theme this month and the colours are ivory, salmon, lavender and turquoise. Sometimes surprising colour matches work so well!

The best glue is the Nuvo Deluxe from Tonic. It dries fast and it dries clear. I made some of these for Christmas this year and you can see them on my Instagram feed here. Have a look around, there are a few!

Make a few and put them up the centre of your Easter table.

Do try at least one. They are such fun. Right, I will leave this one with you! It is, as usual a beautifully curated kit and the possibilities are endless.

Think outside the square and try some makes other than cards. 

So I will sign off for now and thank you so much for visiting. Next time it will be a different country! I look forward to taking you with me on that journey!


Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Tonic Craft Kit #17 - Let's do Spring!

Bright and summery is what the doctor ordered this time!

I feel pretty secure in my assumption that something other than Christmas will be welcome now? Anything which reminds us of excess, no matter how family orientated and nobly Dickensian is probably right off limits. Here in Britain, we are facing another January of pretty much unrelieved grey and I think that nature has provided East Anglia with a bit of steady drizzle too so not really going out weather.
Well the good news is that it is time for Tonic Craft Kit #17 and if you have yours in front of you, this is the only indoor activity that you need!

It is bright, it is clean and clear of colour and just the zippity doodah that you need on a cold grey winter's day.

A jewel box of treasures I tell you!

The curators of these lovely kits really know that they are doing too. Inside the box are papers, inks, dies and stamps. there is a pen and some nifty tools and the colours are not ones that you might go for yourself. I adore the watermelon rainbow with coral pink (next year's Pantone colour if the year is Living Coral so we are ahead already). Then there is a piece of glitter card in such a vibrant green that it is calling out to be put aside for St Patrick.

The textures and colours are special this time!

Well I will let you explore yourself and let's get on to seeing what I came up with this time.....

Loving the possibilities!

This kit is all about the spring frame die and actually, it is quite versatile. So, with that in mind, let's take a card....

Texture drives this one.

I really like the look of tone on tone and there are two pieces of coral paper in the kit. It turns out that they are perfect for layering. I used a 6" sq. card blank and matted with the Lime Light pearlescent card.

The point of texture like this is to get up close and personal.

Onto that went a die cut of the spring frame using the Weave Textured card in coral pink. I highlighted here and there with my finger dipped in custard cream Embossing Powder.
I finished with the sentiment, also die cut with white card and pearlescent card, slightly offset to give a drop shadow effect.

As most often with my cards, some stitching happened around the edge.

Next one was the same idea, also tone on tone but this time white and turquoise.

Time for a shaker card too. The mat is a Mirror Card in silky sky (turquoise) and it is more satin than mirror to me. But it is beautiful and pairs beautifully with white for a cool and crisp look.

Even though it is white on white, everything can be seen perfectly.

Lots of white and a sprinkling of silver was the order of the day for this one. There are some amazing glitters and pretties in the Nuvo range just crying out for use in a shaker card. 

Load it with glitter and pretties - you have a lovely large window.
The last one with a similar idea was another shaker but this time I inked white card with the blending tool in the kit (plus a couple of others because you really don't want to use the same on in every ink).
I softly blended the three inks onto white card and then die cut the mat and glued some acetate to the back.

White pairs perfectly with those fresh colours.

The trim was white again and this time, I went for gold and white glitters.

So summery.
I love the way that the inks colour the flowers perfectly as though they were airbrushed.

This one might be my favourite!
Time for something new! There are other things in that box too! I adore bees and as luck would have it, there are bee stamps and dies in the kit! 
I could not resist using the spring frame die just one more time though.

I don't always manage a simple card!

This time, I cut a section to fit across the bottom of the buttermilk yellow Weave Textures card stock. The little Glitter Drop makes lovely centres too. 
I stamped the bee in black ink and then die cut him and coloured him with the yellow ink pad.

The effect is so fresh!

There had to be some stitching too. And I used a scrap of the mirror card for the die cut sentiment. 

I know that I said about St Patrick's day for the green glitter card but I couldn't wait that long!

Those bees!
The glitter card actually pairs perfectly with the Limelight pearlescent card and the turquoise just adds that certain something. 
More bees and more stitching finishes it off beautifully. To make this glitter card embellishment, simply cut a piece of card to fit the bottom of your card and then freehand cut a lazy curve.

I used some glitter drops on the bee's wings.
Finally, I wanted to make something which was simple but at the same time involving a couple of techniques and a neat little trick.

No waste here!

This set of card and tag uses an inlaid technique which is really easy. And then it uses the extra words to make the tag. To make the inlaid sentiments, cut the word carefully and (this is an important bit) keep all of the little cutout bits from the letters. Then cut the word again from a different colour, glue it into the space neatly and add the little pieces back.

Simplicity allows the beautiful paper to chine.
The procedure is the same whichever font die you use. You can of course just cut the sentiment and glue it on but this gives a certain polish.

I cut some small daisies with a flower punch and made the centres with glitter drops. that left me without leaves. The large daisy on the spring frame has petals which look like leaves though - I cut some using the scraps of Lime Light pearlescent card stock and glued them around the flowers.

Hey presto! Leaves!
It is always great fun to look at your kit and try to think of other ways to use the contents. You can cut the die cut sentiments up for example and, as you have seen here, a die can be used whole or in part. You can also fussy cut the flowers and use them singly. A die makes a great stencil too. I didn't use this option but I am thinking about a card made using the die as a stencil and the brush in the kit plus the embossing powders.

All very different but coordinated.
Above all, have fun!

Now before I go, I have some news....this may well be the last blog post that I write from England. My family and I have decided to move back to Australia. We came from there originally as regular readers will know and it was always my dream to live in more northerly climes. It has been a great eight and a half years but we are not sure what is going to happen next here so it is time for us to go home.

But never fear, I shall continue doing what I do from there! Thank you for being so supportive. It means the world to me.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

'Tis The Season For Gift Giving

How to give a gift and a card at the same time - that little gift bag is the perfect size for a voucher or money or even something small like jewellery.

Hi Everyone! A couple of weeks ago, I started to enter some card making challenges - just to test myself in a lot of ways. It took me weeks to get the courage to enter one and now  I am utterly hooked of course!

I am hoping at this point that it is not possible to overdo things at Christmas!

It was just something that I wanted to do for a bit of self development and a bit of sharing - honestly, you would not believe the lovely friends that I have made doing this. And  I am constantly blown away be the talent around me.

I love the idea of layering and texture!

So imagine my surprise when I won a challenge! I still cannot believe it actually. I famously do not win anything. Ever. I am still checking to make sure that I have it right and I would like to thank the Design Team for making my century with their lovely comments.

The star of the show is the gift bag right at centre stage in the middle of the card.

I was the winning entry in the Frilly and Funky Haunted Halloween challenge and if you would like some more details, you can find the post for that one here

I like the pine cones with some of the bits left in them.

The challenge at the moment over at Frilly and Funkie is 'Tis the Season for Gift Giving and I urge you to join in the fun by entering something. It is the most fun and you really don't know where it will take you!

The bag is (naturally) the perfect size for a gift card.

I wanted to make a card but I wanted it to reflect the changing climate of gift giving - one where the recipient may live some distance from the giver. My card had to be a card and gift in one. A card that could take a gift card, voucher, money or even a small actual gift like jewellery. I have lived across the globe from my family for most of my life and the postage can be horrendous. I wanted to make a way to send a card and a gift at the same time.

I have lived away from family and friends my whole life - a way to send a gift and a card at the same time through (usually quite expensive) post is a bonus! 

So here is what I came up with. I do hope that you like it and that it will get the creativity flowing! I have used almost exclusively Tim Holtz products and I will let you know what you need as we go along.

This is a floral riot of a card!

To begin with, I chose an 8 1/4" x 6" card blank and I cut a piece of plain white card stock about the same size for the front. This will become the background. I like to mat my cards so I cut a piece of black linen textured paper the same size and rubbed the edges with Picket Fence Distress Ink.

Black might seem an odd choice for Christmas but nothing adds more drama and you can always soften it as I have done here.

The background itself needs a lot of texture. With something like this, I almost always start with Distress Oxides in Old Paper and Antique Linen just to get rid of the white!

It doesn't look like much to begin with but bear with me....

Sometimes I go in again too - and a top tip is to have another piece of card ready and mop up the excess ink. You don't waste any that way. You can put the second piece aside and you are ready to go for another make.

These two colours are a great place to start on any background. They go with everything!

Next I added Pumice Stone and Hickory Smoke Oxides and kept the layers going. Don't forget to dry in between coats either to avoid mud.

That moodiness could become anything depending on what you do next!

Dry between each addition....

Wet on dry equals layers, wet on wet equals mud - Tim says so! Dry in between each layer!

Believe it or not, the surprise ingredient is Frayed Burlap Oxide! It warms the greys up and marries beautifully with the first colours.

It is a shame to cover up actually!
You could leave the background there of course but I never know when to stop and cannot leave anything alone so I usually do something with stamps at this point. 

Don't use the block for this, just randomly add print.
I also like to splatter with white acrylic paint (DecoArt Americana Snow). I love the fact that if I concentrate this in one spot, it can cover any bloopers caused by the stamp!

I keep a toothbrush for this job.
The background is starting to take shape now...

Lovely old sheet music. In a snowstorm! It's Christmas, give me this one!
Finally for the background, I inked the edges with Walnut Stain Distress Ink. This frames everything beautifully. 

You can darken more with ground espresso if it is not dark enough.

Then I stitched it to the black background with black thread going around twice and not being too neat.

I literally cannot make a card without stitching something on it!
And I love to curl the edges over the stitching to add dimension. Just do that here and there...

I did this once by accident and I loved it! It reminds me of old pirate maps.

This card is all about gift giving so we need somewhere to hold the gift. I have decided on the Sizzix die Gift Card Bag (#662687) for this job and I cut a bag out of black Kraft-Core card stock. And, me, being me, I sanded it!

Sanding is another thing that I cannot leave alone.

The front is the main bit so I concentrated on that. The next thing was to fold it and press the creases in. I love the Clover Roll and Press for this job. it is actually for sewing but....

Never be afraid to shamelessly steal tools from one part of your craft room to use in another!

Let's back up the truck a bit. As you can see, this has the 'right side' showing on the top curved bit even though this paper is single sided? I cheated and cut a second bit to put on there....

There is nothing technically wrong with seeing the kraft side of the paper when you fold it into a bag. It is just that this is not what I had in my imagination so it had to go!

You can do it too - I won't tell anyone! The next thing it needed was a message. I went with Ranger Superfine Embossing powder in white for this.

This stamp is becoming a favourite and it makes a really grungy emboss.

It is just rustic enough and has a sorta vintage chalkboard effect.
Well we have a really brown card at the moment (Tim would be proud I am sure) but we need to 'Christmas' this up a bit. That is a thing I promise!

I placed this one at an angle with some foam squares for dimension (I wanted to tuck the greens underneath)...

Adding the foam squares allowed for some space underneath for the foliage. This tends to look more natural that putting the foliage down first.

So enter the greenery. I sanded some kraft core paper and I cut a whole lot of random greens. 

I find that sanding the kraft core paper first is easiest.

My favourite dies are Holiday Greens Mini (#661597) and I have chosen the pine and holly and tucked them around the gift tag bag....

There is just enough clearance on the envelope.

Keep adding!

Allow some of the greenery to overlap the edges of the card here and there. not too much because it has to go into an envelope but a little bit adds to the layers.

Because there are pine needles, there must be pine cones and they had to be gold (I am sorry, I think that it is the law or something)....

Allow some of the pieces to remain in the die when you cut the pine cones. It adds texture.

You can separate the pine cones too to put them where they are most needed...

Allow these to go over the stitching and layering lines too.

Then there needed to be some red so I made some little flowers from sanded kraft core (red this time) and gave them gold centres (a bit about them later). I love the Small Tattered Florals die (#661806). I glued the flowers around the greenery....

Probably more of a summer flower by design but they take on a Christmas quality in this context. Always explore your dies and try them out of season.

And finally (!) a gold bow and some holly berries. 

The bow is grounding and gives a place for the eye to rest as a focal point.

I made the berries and flower centres from Nuvo drops but I like to make them on a non stick craft mat first and then when they dry, I use them. This stops them from running together and spoiling. You are very welcome!