18th Birthday card

The Brief:

Create a large card with a sewing theme in sepia colours.

To Include:

  • Makey Bakey Mice ‘Stitched with love’ stamp
  • Middle Page
  • Buttons
  • Measuring Tape

Step One: Creating a framework for the card

When i am creating a card for specific purpose or against a specific brief like this one, i like to map out what i am intending to achieve and how i plan to get there(!) before i start. Most of my 18th birthday cards are created for the inside of the card to be as important as the front, so rather than just a pretty picture on the front with an insert, the whole is created as a running project which means knowing how the inside is going to inter-relate with the outside.

The theme for this one is sewing, so i am creating a sewing shop, with a window in the front through which the feature stamp will be seen. This means that i have to plan where the aperture will be and quite importantly how it will all layer together before i stick anything – for instance i plan to have an acetate window, therefore there is no point sticking the inside wallpaper to the card without having already cut the aperture and layered the acetate in place.

Sometimes i sketch (as do a great many others) but if i am going to be printing elements from my computer i quite like to use the serif program and do a complete mock as a computer project because this has the added advantage of helping to size the elements relative to the rest of the card before printing.

Step Two: Creating the elements

This is the fun and messy part; the idea is to create everything that will eventually be attached without committing to either a final layout or sticking anything down. This allows for flexibility in the design and also means that if i don’t like something i can put it aside for use with another project instead.

Step Three: Putting it together

So all of the elements are ready and I am happy with the layout and how it all fits together; I can now stick everything in place, which is usually the point at which I realise my plan had a flaw somewhere and now i am trying to stick in something behind something else that is already (quite solidly) stuck down….

Step Four: Ta Daa!

The Completed piece, so now all i need to do is make an envelope/box depending on how thick my card has ended up 🙂

Once the card is ready, I will add in a finished photo, however I will be separately blogging the elements as i do them.


Phantomsax Challenge

One of my habits as a card crafter is that i take a long time to make each card. I therefore set myself a 30 minute challenge, and this is the result – Ta Daa!


Crafty Stash:

  • 4x4inch card blank (white)
  • HunkyDory rainbow card
  • Black card
  • Some music design paper left over from Christmas last year


  • ‘Congtratulations’ Tattered lace die
  • Layered stars from the Sapphire Celebration die pack
  • A Star hole punch
  • Sapphire diecutting machine
  • Glue
  • 3D Pinflair

The idea was to create the card using just the tools and the paper within the 30 min time frame, so no inks, no colouring, no printing.

All of the star dies were cut and then embossed through my sapphire and layered as you can see, I then cut the ‘congratulations’ out of both the rainbow card and the black card so that i could shadow the sentiment.

If i were going to add to the card (time was up) then i would probably have also added some aurora gems in between the stars.

Please note that the black surround is the surface the card is on and not part of the card itself!

What can you make in 30 mins?!

Bella in Blue

Crafters Companion Bella Stamp

This cute little stamp was coloured using my spectrum noir pencils and i have then cut out the image and matted it onto blue card. I will post the finished card with it on when i decide what i am doing with it…

The colours are as follows:

Blues 63, 55; hair 100, 101, 102; silver 114, 116; purple 76.

I have also used blending fluid to finish off.

The above photo is a little brighter than the image, so all of the colours are in fact a bit darker than shown here; the below image is from before i cut it out so there are smudges etc surrounding the image which are not pretty however i am including it because it is truer representation of the colours.

Spectrum noir pencils
Spectrum noir pencils

Pixie Dust colours

By Saturated Canary
By Saturated Canary

Hair: GT1 & 2 JG5, CR8, CR4 CR10
Skin: FS2,9 TN1, CR4
Green part of trousers same as hair; wings, dust, eyes and leg wraps: GB9,8 CT2 and cosmic shimmer soft gold watercolour paint.
Sack: GB7,8,9

I have also done a little bit of shadow work with some of the spectrum noir pencils; unfortunately I forgot to write down which ones…

Pixie Dust

This is a nice little digistamp by Saturated Canary which i have coloured with my Spectrum Noir pens and then layered over the top with Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paint to add a cool shimmery effect.

By Saturated Canary
By Saturated Canary

The image itself already looks good, but i don’t like to stop there…

…so then i have used my distress inks to create a pretty glow around my fairy…


but i don’t want to stop there either… so then i have stamped some acetate to create foreground, which i have then wrapped across the front of my fairy. Although i could keep going (i had some ideas about glitter) at this point i have decided that i have probably done enough(!) which just leaves a background to create – which i have done using:

  • some kraft card
  • an embossing folder
  • some distress inks
  • and new to my crafty stash, some pebeo gilding wax.
  • A little bit of ribbon, also wrapped around some kraft card
  • Some pearls


Bibbadee bobbadee boo!

The card as a whole has a nice sunshiny look to it and i feel it important to note that the slight dulling produced by the acetate in this photo is not noticeable in the physical 😉

Die Storage

Where to begin LOL

Die storage is an issue we all have. They do really need to be stored flat and separate so throwing them in a box is not to be encouraged as they will get damaged.

The Tim Holtz big block dies do not create a big issue as they are robust enough to be thrown in that box I just said not to do bit the thin metal dies are a different animal.

Here magnetic sheets are your first friend. Except for the Tattered Lace die storage all versions that work use magnetic sheets. Specific storage solutions are made by various companies and it is mostly a matter of preference and available space.

The Tattered Lace storage has been designed for their small dies and consist of various sized plastic pockets that ‘hold’ the dies still. It does take a bit of practice to but Phantomsax has and finds it very successful. They did originally only have small pockets but have now produced some A4 pockets for the larger dies.

Papermania and Tonic have storage that consist of plastic sleeves with magnetic inserts. Both myself and Phantomsax have used the Papermania version and found their magnetic sheets not strong enough but it is easy enough to purchase and cut stronger magnetic sheets. (To be fair we now both use these for stamp storage, a whole different blog) Phantomsax has the Tonic version and has found their sheets much stronger. The original Tonic was approx A5 but they have now also produced an A4 version.

As I have a room I have purchased A4 magnetic sheets , backed them with cardstock to stiffen them, inserted into side opening polly pockets and stored in suspension files in my desk. For me this has been the best solution. I have sorted them into separate categories (several times) so in theory I can find with comparative ease.

IMG_0948           IMG_0949

I have tried this in ring binders etc but dies while individually light once you have several on a magnetic sheet they are very heavy. That being said I have recently seen the following which suggest they have a stronger ‘spine’ but I as yet have not tried them out.


There are storage solutions that use ‘sticky’ sheets (similar to photo albums) I have not personally used but have read various reviews and in general they do not seem to have overall good reviews for die storage but work brilliantly for stamp storage.

Distress inks

These are probably my most used item for decorative purposes and definitely an essential!

The distress ink series by Ranger comes in four basic formats:

  • Large pads
  • Mini pads
  • Markers
  • Refill bottles

There are a lot of ways to use these inks, but the most common use that I make of them is as an edger. Used either around the cut edges of your card/paper or blended in from the edges to create a frame or background these inks are a fun (and messy) way to add extra dimension to your projects.

Some other applications include:

  • Background designs
  • Stamping
  • Colouring (diluted in water, apply as a watercolour)

I tend to use cut n dry foam or a paintbrush to apply; one can also use make-up sponges and Ranger produce a specific blending tool for use with the inks.

If you are looking to buy some to give them a go then I strongly recommend the minipads as these come in sets,which will give you several colours to play with; do shop around as the price varies from site to site.

Nearly all of my cards have distress ink somewhere, so see if you can spot it!

Handmade Cards for every occasion

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