Monday, 21 November 2016

Blast from the Past

Hello again

Today's blog offering is a New Home card for my niece who has just moved into her first flat, and it was a bit of welcome relief from my Christmas card making. I thought it fitted the blast from the past theme of this month's Claritystamp Challenge, as it uses some stamps I've had for a long time and never used, and also one of my favourite stencils; the brick wall seemed so appropriate for a new home card.
Now, Katie is a very girly girl, and has loved pink and sparkles from a very young age, so I knew the card had to have shades of pink and purple and a feminine touch.

 I started by making a print of some lace (repurposed from an old top that I no longer wear) using current adirondack ink and a gel press plate, then I placed the Clarity brickwork stencil over the print, and using the same colour ink and a Clarity stencil brush, I applied the ink gradually building up the colour, working in a circular motion so that the colour was deeper towards the edges and more faded in the centre of the piece. Using a smoothie, I then blended some of the adirondack ink around the edges for more contrast.

Using the same colour ink I stamped one of the Clarity quirky cottages on the right hand side of the card, and under that I stamped the word NEW from the "Time for something new" NDC club stamp, masking off the unwanted parts of the text. Then I added Katie's name at a right angle to the house using the Alphabet Word Chain set. I wasn't originally sure that I needed this alphabet set, as I already had the letterbox kit but now I just can't put down!!! Finally, I coloured the cottage and the open areas on the word using promarkers in complimentary colours.

I cut some swirls from a piece of glittery card, and adhered them to the left side of the card, then added a small punched bird and a mat of the same card to finish the project.

I'll get this in the post tomorrow, and would love to hear your comments. Thanks for visiting my blog, Susan x

Monday, 14 November 2016

Baby blanket and Elephant for Ellie

Hello again

I mentioned in my last post that I was busy crocheting a gift for my friend's newly adopted daughter, and having delivered it earlier in the month, here's a photo of the blanket that I made.

I used a free crochet pattern by Joanna McVey that I found on Pinterest which came from her blog, so thanks very much Joanna. The pattern was super-easy to follow and it grew quite quickly which was great to keep me motivated. My only concern was that the free pattern didn't tell you how much yarn you required, so I had to guess, and had a fair bit left over. I ended up using about 3x50g balls of pink, and 6x50g balls of both white and taupe, a size 5mm crochet hook, and used a washable double knitting yarn by Bergere de France, called Sonora, which was 50% cotton and 50% acrylic. The only other point to note is that the pattern uses US crochet terms, so don't forget that it you're going to make one yourself.

I saw a similar blanket for sale on Etsy, which had a little applique elephant and heart on it, so I made up a pattern myself (sorry I didn't make a note of how I did it!), as I thought it made the design a bit more child friendly. With some of the other leftover yarn, I also made a little elephant from the book Ed's Animals by Kerry Lord - this is the seventh animal I've made from this book, and I blogged about the first 4 some while ago here if you want to have a look  I warned you then that they were addictive!!!

Now I need to get back to the big blanket that I'm making for our own bedroom - don't think it will be finished by this winter but you never know! Watch this space, and I'll post a blog at some point when it's in pride of place and keeping us toasty warm!!!

Susan x

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Circles and Squares

Hello again - well I've had so little time for card making this month, as I've been crocheting a blanket for a friend who is adopting a little girl. I will blog about it once I've handed over the gift, as I think she should be the first one to see it!

This card is for the new mum though, so I used the circles and squares theme, and a monochrome palette to produce a subtle, but hopefully not too babyish card to celebrate her adoption. To produce the card I used the following items:

Clarity circles stencil
Clarity stencil brush
Wee folk stamps set #2
Small allium stamp
Flower punch
Sticky gems
Clarity With Love line stamp
Clarity NDC blocks of fun stamp
Clarity alphabet word chains stamp set
Distress ink (Milled Lavendar)
Archival Black ink
Black sharpie pen
Black fineliner pen
Lavendar promarker


No time for a step-by-step this month, but I've added some extra photos, as the card photo doesn't really show all the subtle details. Would love to hear your comments, and hope my pal loves her card as much as her new daughter!

Susan x

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Calendar Challenge #9 September 2016

"In the light of the silvery moon"

Here's my attempt at the Claritystamp calendar challenge for September 2016. I find it really difficult to copy someone else's artwork, so for me, the calendar challenges are far more challenging than the monthly themed challenge!

However, I loved the composition of Barbara Gray's artwork, had the Toadstool and Hares stampset, and I improvised a bit, using Clarity coated cardstock and Promarkers for the colouring. Still, I was quite pleased with the final result, although it didn't get finished until today as both my white gelpens had dried up, so I had to nip to the craft shop and buy a new free-flowing one!

Thanks for visiting,

Thursday, 22 September 2016

A little bird told me...

My offer for this month's Claritystamp Challenge is a little MDF birdhouse, decorated for the theme "in the garden". I honestly can't recall where I got the shape from, but it's really happy to be liberated from the rest of the stash in my cupboard!

I started by giving the MDF shape a base coat of Snowflake Fresco Finish  Acrylic Paint by PaperArtsy, then when that was dry, I went over the shape again in Beach Hut Fresco Finish Paint and dried it thoroughly using a heatgun.

Using the Flower Stencil (NDSC #24) from Claritystamp, with some areas masked off with tape, I applied Blood Orange Fresco Finish Paint to the flowers using a piece of cut and dry foam, a little Cadmium Yellow Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic paint to the flower centres, and a mixture of Sage Fresco finish paint and Emerald Daler Rowney System 3 acrylic paint to the leaves, then left it all to dry. The design looked a little soft around the edges, so I went around the flowers and leaves with a black fine-liner pen, and added some details to the flower petals. I also added some yellow dots with Pebeo Gloss Touch in Bright Yellow to give a bit more dimension to the flower heads.

I decided to add some stamped detail to the roof of the birdhouse, and randomly stamped with Claritystamp small ocean swirl stamp from the Galleon set using Ranger Stormy Skies Distress Ink, and again drew freehand around the stamping to add a bit more definition to the design.

Finally, I found a bit of inky, blotchy scrap card, and drew one of the birds from Claritystamp Bird Frame stencil (NDSC #1) using a fine liner pen, extending the branch it was standing on, so that it would wrap around the edges of the bird house. I felt it needed to stand out a bit more against the bright background, so I added a few black boxes, zentagle style, and made my little bird into a zebra finch! Admittedly, you don't see many of those in my garden in Inverness, but I call it artistic license!!!

Hope you enjoy my little birdhouse, and I'm going to hang it from the shelf in my craftroom to keep me company when I'm crafting on my own.

Thanks for visiting, Susan x

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Floats like a butterfly...

Hello there

Well, August has flown by and we've been really busy in the guest house this month. We did have a few days away at the Edinburgh Fringe, which was lovely, but not exactly a restful and relaxing break!

The Clarity challenge this month was fussy cutting so I thought I would create a card using some of the "failed" inky splodge prints left over from my calendar challenge attempt from last month, and the NDC butterfly stamp that has been sitting on my desk for many weeks just waiting for it's chance to shine. I also remembered to take my camera into the craft room, so there are a few more photos with the blog this month - not exactly a step by step because I kept forgetting to take a snap, but we all have to start somewhere!!!

First I stamped the Clarity NDC butterfly stamp, and Clarity butterfly verse onto one of the scraps of splodgy background scraps using black archival ink and left it to dry.

Next I stamped the butterfly stamp again onto another, brighter piece of scrap, and fussy cut 3 of the butterflies to use on my main project.

I trimmed down the background piece using a paper trimmer and framed it using a ruler and black sharpie pen.

 Before I stuck down the butterflies, I tried different positions on the background to see which composition worked best, and then I decided to have one hovering over the card, to illustrate the sentiment in the verse.

I cut a small strip of acetate, and made a small hinge at one end, and a larger hinge at the other end. I fixed the small hinge with double sided tape behind my backgroun piece, and attached one of the butterflies to the long strip. The second hinge part helps keep the butterfly "floating", but will flatten down to allow for postage.

It was a bit tricky to get a photo showing how the butterfly floats, and please don't look too closely at the mess on the top of my craft desk!!!

Finally I mounted the background piece onto an 8X8 white card blank, added a sentiment inside the card, and my signature personlised stamp on the back of the card.

Hope you like my interpretation of the fussy cutting theme, and I'd love to read any comments that you have - thanks, Susan x

Friday, 29 July 2016

Clarity Calendar Challenge - July 2016

Well I never, two blog posts in two days! Nothing like a deadline to make you get your skates on is there?

Here is my attempt at the Clarity Calendar challenge for July 2016 - couldn't let this one pass by, as the Boy with the Birds is one of my all time favourite stamps.

Hope you like my attempt, and please forgive the little additions - I can't even follow a recipe without tweaking it, and I thought my splodges were more like a map of the world, so that's what I went with! It reminded me of that game Risk that my brothers used to play when we were small - Happy memories.

Susan x

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Enchanting Eilean Donan Castle

Hello Again,

I created this card to try to capture a beautiful sunset at Eilean Donan Castle that John took back in April when we were out visiting the West Coast and Skye for his birthday. He took a fabulous photograph which we now have framed in our dining room, and that inspired my image. (You can see his photo, titled the blue hour on a recent blog on our guesthouse website using the following link:

It took me a couple of attempts to get the background the way that I wanted it. My first attempt using paints on the gelliplate was just too heavy, then I tried with inks and Gelli/stencil card, but again it was a little too bright and blotchy. Finally I settled on trying watercolour paper, which did the trick!

To create this background, I applied a mixture of adirondack and distress inks to the Gelliplate (Spiced Marmalade, Worn Lipstick, Peacock Feathers and Eggplant), spread it out with a brayer, then spritzed it with some water. I then used a piece of watercolour paper to take up the ink, and dried it with a heatgun before moving on to the next step.

I used Versafine black ink to stamp the castle and bridge image onto the Gelliplate, then using the Clarity Gelliplate mount, I stamped the "reflection" image onto the background, and restamped both images directly onto the card. To balance out the image, I stamped a few scots pine images on the right hand side, using second generation ink to stamp the reflection images. Finally I stamped the word and flourish into the bottom right hand corner, and cut down the paper to size and edged it with a black sharpie pen.

All the stamps I used were from Clarity Stamp : Eilean Donan Castle and Bridge stamps are available to Clarity Club members as back issue NDC stamps. The Forever word and scots pine stamps are part of the Scotland unmounted clear stamp collection, and the flourish is from the Letterbox kit.

Hope you like my card, and I'd be delighted if you left a comment for me below, Susan x

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Masculine - Clarity Challenge June 2015

This month's Clarity Challenge entry is Masculine and I am making an early entry as I've had several family visitors last month, and the B&B is currently full of guests enjoying the Inverness sunshine so I'm a bit behind with my card making for all my June birthdays and occasions and I just missed the deadline yesterday to enter last month's challenge!

I've made this card for my dad who was in the Navy for his national service, and loves to be reminded of his youth, especially now that he is approaching his 86th birthday! I have used the following Clarity stamps and stencils to make this card:
Sunshine and Trellis (basic backgrounds) Stencils
Gallion Stamp
Mermaid Stamp
Life is Never Long Enough Stamp from New Designs Stamp Club
Swallow stamp from Journalling set

I started by using the Clarity Stencil brushes through the stencils to create an airbrushed background in two shades of blue Distress Inks. Then I stamped the verse and anchor using Black Adirondack Ink, and drew a chain to link the words and image using a black fine line pen. I then stamped the Gallion 3 times, once in Black Adirondack, then in first and second generation Distress Ink . Finally I stamped the two swallows in Black Adirondack in the top left hand corner, and the tail of the mermaid in the bottom right hand corner in the same blue Distress Ink. I framed the piece using a ruler and Black Sharpie pen.

Thanks for visiting my blog, and I'd love to read any comments that you have about my card, Susan x

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Clarity Calendar Challenge - April 2016

Well, this really was a challenge for me. First I had to order, and wait for my Fresco Finish paints to arrive, then I had to find the lovely bird stamp that I knew I had bought recently and put "somewhere", then I had to locate the pristine canvasses that have been sitting in my craft room for the past year or so waiting for me to use them.  Sadly the canvasses are still missing in action, probably under a pile of "stuff" that is really important and doesn't yet have somewhere to live, so my artwork has ended up on a card! Hope you like it anyway, I really enjoyed making it.

Susan x

Monday, 11 April 2016

Masking and Stamping - April 2016 Claritystamp Challenge

Hello there

Finally I've returned to full health after my bout of flu, and I've been busy organising my lovely stamps into the Clarity Storage folders in my craft room. It's amazing how much easier it is to craft when there is space on the surface of the desk!!

I was quite excited by this month's challenge, as I love stamping and masking. I came up with this idea as I was sorting my stamps, and it took me a few goes on scrap to work out exactly how to cut my masks in order to get the finished result - it reminds me of the song about the woman who lived in the shoe, but of course the lovely Alice is far too young to be the lady who inspired that tale!

The main image uses the following Clarity stamps: Sketchy Shoe, Alice and a large and small Alium stamp. I stamped using black archival ink onto an old book page, and cut several shoe masks to enable me to stamp Alice into the middle of the shoe, then masked off Alice in order to stamp the back part of the heel, and another "outy" mask to create a pattern on the shoe using second generation ink and the small alium stamp. Then I left all the masks in place to stamp the large Alium in the background, and finally I stamped a couple of small Alium images in the top right hand corner for balance.

I coloured Alice and the shoe using Spectrum Noir pencils, and added a little shadow under the shoe to ground the image. Then I trimmed down the book page and edged the piece with a ruler and black sharpie pen, and mounted it onto a gelli-print from my stash, to which I added a little pink pencil shading so that it coordinated with Alice's dress. Finally I mounted it onto a 8x8 inch white card blank.

I have another idea to sit Alice on the feather which I'll have a go at another time. Hope you like my card, and please leave a comment to let me know what you think.

Thanks for visiting, Susan x

Thursday, 24 March 2016

All about the girls

Hello Again

This is just a quick post today, as I'm still recovering from the flu that laid me low at the beginning of the month when we were on holiday in Rome. I had great ideas of trying my first canvas for this challenge, but alas, just haven't got the energy levels back yet to have a go ... but watch this space!

Today's offering is a simple black and white card, using the Clarity Corset and Corset montage stamps (which are 2 of my favourites), a swirly die cut and punched butterflies. I stamped the corset montage onto glitter card with a permanent black ink pad, then matted with black card. Then I stamped the corset onto black card with versamark ink, embossed with white powder, and cut out the image and layered it onto the montage stamp.  Finally I finished the piece with the swirls and punched butterflies, adding some small black gems to their bodies for a finishing touch. The Clarity "with Love" sentiment was added to the bottom of the card for balance.

Hope you like my little card - it's quite simple, but I was really pleased with the finished result.

Thanks for visiting, and I'd love you to leave a comment, Susan x

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

February 2016 Clarity Challenge - Love

This month's challenge offering is a simple, but I hope elegant card design that would be useful and easy to adapt to a number of different occasions. This was my valentine's card to my partner, but it could just as easily be an anniversary, thank you or birthday card using different colours and embellishments.

To create the card I used:

Claritystamp leafy swirls stamps (large and small, stamped end to end)
Claritystamp with love sentiment stamp
Black Adirondack ink pad
Offcut of wide red satin ribbon
7 red heart sequins (adhered with zigg glue)

The base card was matt black, and I stamped onto matt white card, and layered with a thin mat of red cardstock. I lined the card with white paper, and stamped the small swirl inside too, to compliment the external design.

 I struggled to get a good photo, so you'll have to imagine the ribbon and the little hearts catching the light!

Thanks for visiting, and if you'd like to leave a comment I'd love to hear what you think!

Susan x

Monday, 22 February 2016

February Clarity Calendar Challenge

The aim of this challenge is to follow the steps given on Barbara's 2016 Clarity Calendar, using a number of different background techniques, and a variety of Clarity Stamps.

This image is created using a number of Ranger Distress re-inkers (Faded Jeans, Iced Spruce and Evergreen Bough), the shaving foam technique, colouring pencils (Spectrum Noir Essentials set) and Distress Ink (Wild Honey) to enhance the background.  I stamped the Boy with the Birds image using Archival Blank Ink, and added some detail to the hills and valleys that I could see in the shaving foam background with a black fine liner pen and the colouring pencils, then added a thin black border around the edge with a Sharpie pen and ruler.

A few tips - wear an apron and disposable gloves and have lots of kitchen towel to hand when you do the shaving foam technique, as it can be a bit mucky, and be prepared to do a number of backgrounds during the session otherwise you will waste quite a lot of ink - I think I got about 4 large backgrounds and 6 small backgrounds from my session, and each and every one was different!

Thanks for visiting, Susan x

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Upcycling project - Painting fabric chairs

Last year some of my cream Ikea tub chairs were looking a little stained and tired, and although I searched the internet for a pattern to make new covers there wasn't one to be found. They were too good to throw away though, so I had a go at making a pattern myself - what a disaster!

Undeterred I went back to the internet, and found a few articles and blogs about painting fabric chairs, and thought to myself "nothing ventured..." , and if it didn't work they would have to be replaced anyway. I bought some emulsion paint to match the room I was decorating, something called fabric medium which the reference blogs told me would help with painting onto fabric, and got out my paint brush and some newspaper. The advice was to spray the fabric with water, mix some emulsion paint with water and fabric medium, and to give the chairs at least 2 coats of paint, allowing it to dry fully between coats (I used 1 pot of fabric medium and 1 pot of water to about 2 parts of emulsion for my mixture, and combined them all together in an old Whizz tub which had a wide top and screw on lid, so that I could keep the excess fresh until the next coat).

Well, after the first attempt the chairs looked fine, but were REALLY hard and scratchy on the surface - I think they would have taken off your skin like sandpaper if you had attempted to sit on them and rest your arms! I thought maybe waxing them would help, so I went back to the internet and ordered some wax that you use to re-proof wax jackets. With a bit of elbow grease and the help of a hot hairdryer the fabric was soft and smooth to touch again, and waterproofed which will help to prevent future staining!

The starting point...

Here are some photos of my work in progress....don't worry if the first or second coats look a bit streaky and irregular!

They will dry more evenly than you think. Also, when you apply the wax, it will make the colour a shade darker - rub it on thinly, in sections with an old dry cloth, then heat it with the hairdryer and buff it into the fabric well. My small tub of wax has coated 4 tub chairs, and still has about 1/3 of a pot remaining.
 The final result....

I wouldn't recommend this for an antique chair or family heirloom, but it's certainly given my tub chairs a new lease of life, for the cost of less than £20.00 - well worth the effort! Susan x

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Say it with flowers

Hello and thanks for looking in. It's been a while since my last blog - too busy travelling, entertaining guests over the festive season, and now doing some decorating, but finally I found some time to play in my craft room this week in order to enter the Clarity Challenge for January 2016.

I had a card to make for a 1 year old this month, and really had to think how to use flowers in the card for little Betsy, as I have got into the habit of only using floral stamps and motifs in cards for older people. Still, it's called a challenge for a reason, so here's my take on the theme!

I took some inspiration from the "Torn GelliPlate" design that Barbara Gray showcased on her YouTube blog on 22 April 2014 (, but did the technique in reverse. So I started by tearing a piece of copier paper in half to act as a mask, and taping these to the top and bottom half of my card leaving an area ready to be stencilled. I then used the chicken wire stencil from the Clarity Basic Backgrounds set of 5, and added some Picked Raspberry Distress Ink using a Clarity Stencil brush. Next, using the same ink pad and a piece of Cut N Dry foam, I randomly inked through the two flowers from the 7X7 NDC vases stencil. Finally, when the stencilled ink was completely dry, I used Spun Sugar Distress Ink and another Clarity Stencil brush to apply a light coat of pale pink ink into the whole aperture area before removing  the paper mask, and outlining the edges with a Black Micron Pen.

Using the LetterBox stamp set and a black archival inkpad, I stamped out Betsy's name and age onto some pink patterned paper, and cut these out. I punched some flowers from deep pink card and stuck these across the top white area of the card, adding a few gems as flower centres. Then I stamped 3 of the wee girls from the Wee Folk Stamp Set 2 in black archival ink, and added a little butterfly punched out of black card with the sentiment for balance.

Finally I added a think black and wider deep pink card matt before mounting the panel onto an 8X8 white square card. I think the deep pink card has come out a little orangy in my photo, but in real life it was a really good match with the Picked Raspberry ink colour.

Hope you like my offering and I'd love to read your thoughts if you would like to leave a comment. Thanks, Susan x