Thursday, 22 October 2015

Poppies in Bloom

Well hello there! 

Things are getting a little exciting here in my Room of Makings.  Wedding invitations completed and sent, table decorations coming along nicely.  I'm sure I can make paper flowers in my sleep now!  I've even made a start on the wedding bouquet! Only nine months left! Eeek!   

Well, I'm putting all that to one side for now to share with you a step by step Poppy card (recently shared at the Clarity East Midlands Craft Group when we celebrated Sazzles big birthday).

Right, lets start with an ingredients list:

Clarity Stamps:
Poppies in Bloom stamp
Leafy Swirl (small) stamp
Your favourite Word Chain Stamp (please remind me what we did before Barbara gave us these little beauties?) 

Ripe Persimmon Distress Ink
Mustard Seed Distress Ink
Mowed Lawn Distress Ink
Jet Black Archival

Just a quick note about the water based Distress inks; these inks are designed to blend with each other beautifully and to react with water in very interesting ways, I will be sharing two partular techniques using these inks with water (I love um!) with you today.

Other stuff:
Detail White Opaque embossing powder
Kitchen paper
Spritz bottle (with water)
Fine paint brush
6.5" x 6.5" cold pressed watercolour paper

Another note... Cold pressed watercolour paper is better for stamping than the hot pressed.  The difference between the two is the finish to the paper; cold pressed watercolour paper has a smooth side (usually the wrong side for painting, but great for us stampers!)

Blending Distress inks

Be generous with your distress inks for this project.  Blending tools are the order of the day.  It doesn't matter what colour you start with for this process, I always start with the pale colour working up to the darkest, but it really doesn't matter with distress inks; their colour is very stable. 

Don't get too hung-up on your blending, I have a trick to share with you to smooth out those blotches of colour. So fill ya boots! Cover every little bit of paper! 

OK, suitably inked, now for the magic touch... Once you have completly covered your paper go back to your palest colour and rub this over the whole thing, you'll find the edges of each colour will blend so much better.  

Just a quick note... Try different colours on a scrap piece of paper (yellow over the top of blue will make green, so just be aware).

Yummy! Love it! Right, now a water technique.  This one is called watermark; you will see why...

Spritz a fine mist of water directly to your craft mat, not too much!  Using your Leafy Swirl stamp, dance the stamp into the water on your craft mat, now stamp it on your paper.  Stamping with water! Great fun! Repeat this process until your paper has been stamped all over. 

Where you get large puddles of water, gently blot these with your kitchenpaper (don't lift off all the water, just wick a drop away).  Now you can let this air dry or you can use your heat gun (I go for the gun  everytime!).  What we don't want to do is blot the water off with the kitchen paper, this would give you a completely different effect (I'll show you that one soon!).

This makes a beautiful background! 

Make sure your work is completely dry before moving on to the next stage.  

Dust the whole sheet with talc and ink up your Poppies in Bloom stamp with your VersaMark and emboss in the usual way! 

This is such a beautiful stamp, perfect for the next water technique faux bleaching!  So now you need some water, your fine paint brush and some kitchen paper.

Ready? OK, using clean water paint inside of the large petals with water only, make sure you brush it in and then simply blot off the water.  Repeat this process until you have lightened the petals sufficiently to make them stand out from the background. 

You can keep going until it is really pale, however, this is how I want it.  

Here comes the painting bit... Don't be scard, its really not hard because of the embossing edge to the image.  I used the Ripe Persimmon to paint in my poppies.  To prepare the colour I pressed the ink pad directly to my craft mat.  With my spritz bottle I added just a little spray of water to one corner only.  Using only one colour this way will give you all the shades you will need.

So, lets paint... Use the watered down corner of ink to fill in your petal.  Lets do all of the main petals whilst we're at it! Now go back to the first petal and pick up the darker ink from the oposite side and add to the bottom of the petal.  Again, do this to them all. If you get a harsh line, blend it out using water, if it has gone far too dark for you simply paint in water and blot towards the top of the petal with the kitchen paper.  This will help you achieve the shaded look.  I used the darker ink for the buds too.

Not much left to do now.  Time to choose your favourite word chain stamp (or stamps!). 

Use jet black Archival, this is a permanent waterproof ink and will stay in place perfectly on the water based inks behind.   Remember, water based inks such as Distress inks will always react to water if more water is added. 

Now it's up to you to finish it off!  I use Crystal Liquid or Glossy Accents to finish off the buds once the topper has been mounted and fixed to the card. 

I hope you have found this tutorial of use.  I hope you have fun with your inks and water, I know I do! 

Crafty inky hugs,

Mandy xxxx

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Christmas at Clarity!

It is always a pleasure to share a project with you.  

A special request was received by Barbara Gray today and it was passed over to me to see if I could help Carolyn Goddard with a "how to..." 

Well Carolyn, it will be my pleasure! 

Word Chain 13
Christmas Wee Folk 7
Design Club Stencil 6
Clarity Moon Mask
Clarity Stencil Brushes
A3 Clarity Blending Mat
Low tack tape
Detail White Opaque embossing powder
Paint brush 
7" x 7" Gelli Card
Copy paper
Silver pen

Mask off 2.5" top and bottom of the Gelli Card and add the small moon to the top, right hand side.  Using the Blending mat make a mountain mask.

Using Your Clarity brushes and Hickory Smoke Distress ink (grey) over the top of the hill mask only.  Don't forget to use your blending mat to even out the ink in your brush! Brush more from the bottom of the masked area. Now change to a blue brush, this time load up with Stormy Sky Distress ink.

Remove the moon mask and brush over a little more Stormy Sky.

Remove the top and bottom mask and dust the card with talc.  Have your white embossing powder close by so you can use it as soon as possible.

Keeping in mind ink, blot, plot ink up the fir tree from the Wee Folk... Put the mountain mask back where it was, ink, blot and plot a couple of trees using Archival Cobalt.  Before the ink dries, sprinkle a very small amount of the white embossing powder over the trees, knock off all excess.  If you feel there is too much, just brush some off using a small paint brush.  You don't want to cover the whole tree.  Heat as usual.

We'll put three trees in the fore ground, this time you do not want to blot before you plot! Again, sprinkle a pinch of embossing powder over the trees and heat as usual.  (Don't forget, you can brush off any excess powder before you heat).  

Using a brush (or your favourite technique to splash water droplets) sprinkle the picture and lift off with kitchen paper.  Snow will soon appear! The darker the background the more prominent the snow will appear.   

Mask off the areas you don't want to use on the stencil.  Now brush the Stormy Sky ink through the stencil.  Don't you just love the brushes and mat for saving ink? I do!

Add more snow as you see fit! 

I love this bit! Now add the finishing touches, start with the Merry Christmas stamps from the Word Chain 13 set.  I used Cobalt Archival.

Did you know that stamps from the same set are created together so their thickness is exactly the same?  This means you can put them together on your Mega Mount.  Saves lots of time when you have lots to make! 

Finish with a silver pen and highlight the snow flakes, mount on silver and perhaps blue paper, you choose! 

I hope this has helped you Carolyn, but please feel free to ask if I can help.   Thank you so very much for your request and email.  

Crafty love and hugs x
Mandy x

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

It's been a while...

My goodness, it's been a while since my last blog.  Firstly, please accept my apologies!  Most of you will know it's been a bit of a hectic year for me so far... Organising a house sale (and that wasn't easy, and the battle with the legal team who handled the sale is still ongoing!) and arranging a wedding! Talk about a rollercoaster of emotions!  

Barbara Gray has been such a support for me during these last few months, I would like to say a massive THANK YOU to her.  You know, Barbara is such a wise, supportive and loving friend to have around when things just aren't going right!  The positive and focused approach has kept me from going totally mental (well, some would say I was there to start off with!).  All the stressful stuff is slowly disolving away... Phew! And breath.... 

So... What Have I been making? A new home for one, including a new crafting den (Thank you Mr Kent!) x. The new space is amazing and organised! YAY!  I don't like mess! Unless its inky of course! 

Art, that's what I love.  It's been so exciting, Barbara made a stamp from one of my sketches, it's blown me away how much folk have used and enjoyed it already!  Thank you!  And now, well Clarity are always thinking and designing three steps ahead.  The Groovi kit is just amazing and I can't wait to have a play, my order was straight in on Sunday! 

I am pleased to show you my samples for this month's Create & Craft show... These birds are just amazing! 

How do your designs come about?  Scroll down and I'll let you into my little secret...

Going home... Well, that sums up this year for me! Watching and waiting, but never loosing hope! 

My wise and supportive friends kept my spirits up, especially when I thought I just wouldn't be able to cope! Thank you all. You know who you are!  I love you guys so very much x

Strong and wise... Mark was never far away to help lift up my spirits (not to mention the occassional wine!)

And my Neice, Vicky gave birth to a beautiful little boy... Welcome to our family Jacob xxx something to really crow about! 

Watching everyone leave after I had moved in... A bitter sweet moment for me.  I'd made it, I'd done it and I had survived!  But we still have a way to go before Mark, Matt and I can be together as a family, full time!  But at least we've made a start! Now, I am enjoying my new beginning, especially at weekends! Lol! 

So my inspiration comes from my life experiences, my friends, family, my hopes and dreams for the future.  Look at my work, and you will find me! 

Enought of this waffling... Things to do! 

I hope you have time to leave me a message, I love reading your notes. X

Happy Crafting... 

Love and Hugs,
Mandy xxx

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Canvas time!

JI remember a while ago promising to do a step by step to share with you... 

OK, so here goes...
Pick a canvas, any size you fancy (and a size you're happy working with).  I used:
6" x 9" and a 9" x 12" canvas
Grunge paste
System3 Wedgwood & Buff Titanium acrylic paint
Gathered twigs Distress Ink
Treasure Gold Wax gilt - gold

Claritystamp Ltd A5 Leaf Line Stencil (use your favourite!)

Claritystamp A6 Double Sided Adhesive Sheet

Barbara has demonstrated the Grunge Paste through the stencil, so if you don't mind I'll just get right on down to it! So to speak! 

Don't try to get the paste perfect, I love the distressed edges look!  Remember to clean down your stencil as soon as you can! 

Let the GP dry thoroughly before you paint the canvas. You can tell even without touching it because it goes matt, but check just in case! 

Always start with the pail colour and then move on to the darker one.  I love this colour combination, I find it really soothing! 

Once you've painted on the cream colour and quickly before the paint dries, use your heat tool to 'blister' the paint.  This leaves a wonderful texture! 

Now do the same with the blue paint...

... and don't forget to blister the paint! 

I added distress ink around the edge with a Clarity brush...

Once distressed I splashed water over the distress ink to make it blotchy, I find my fan brush does this job perfectly! 

You can use a spritz bottle if you prefer! 

Just a little gold applied with a finger! 

I used a 

Claritystamp A6 Double Sided Adhesive Sheet to fix the canvasses together...

And the finished article (plus one I made earlier!) 

I hope you've found this useful, I did when Sam Crow shared the inital idea last year?  Thanks Sammy Pops! Xxx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Clarity Samples - December 2014

Hi everyone!  I hope you've had an amazing Christmas and New Year; I certainly have! 

Don't forget, this Sunday, usual time and usual channel, our Barbara will be sharing lots more brand new stamps and stencils! Trust me, you'll need um! 

So, before I forget here are my Clarity Samples for the last Create & Craft show:

Thank you for popping by, please feel free to leave me a comment, I really do appreciate your feedback xxx

Happy New Year!  Love n hugs,  Mandy xxx

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Clarity Challenge - Travel

Hs one suited me so well of late, always going here, and there!  I do believe this would have been very useful at the NEC too!   It was fantastic to meet so many of you! 

...  Mmmm, and do you remember those long, hot summer nights; my, they seem a lifetime ago now! Why not bring them back for a short while? Come and join in on the Clarity Challenge, you could win £50 to spend at Clarity

Several people have asked how I made the rivets... I have a dotty embossing folder which I ran through my e-bosser using gold paper! Then I just cut out a couple of strips and attached them to the case! 
The label used the Claritystamp Paris Montage Stamp onto watercolour paper.  I used re-inkers to colour it and distress ink around the edges to give it that aged, travelled a long way look (just like the look I'm sporting at the mo! Lol!) 
I look forward to seeing your beautiful art work soon xxxx have fun! 

Claritystamp samples November 2014

YOh no! Look what I found, unposted! My sincere apologies!  I can't believe it! Life is just a little hetic right now!

I adored these stamps and stencils to work with, I hope you got yours! 

Three layered card

I love making theses, I think the layers give the picture and finished card real depth.

Claritystamp Ltd Remountable Butterflies Clear Stamp Set

Claritystamp Stencil brushes (

Claritystamp Ltd Remountable Winds Of Change Clear Stamp sentiment (

Goldline Tracing Paper Pad A4 x50 (

Pen - Gold Roller (

These stencile are something else...

Claritystamp Ltd Umbrella Girls Stencil 7 x 7 Inch (

Claritystamp Ltd Word Chain 7 Clear Stamps  (

Ranger Distress Marker  49 Pens (

Talking of change... The movement in this stamp is quite amazing! 

Claritystamp Ltd Remountable Winds Of Change Clear Stamp sentiment (

I loved sailing when I was younger (not so long ago! Lol! So seeing this stamp and stencil combination really made me sile as it bought back so many wonderful memories... I'd love a t-shirt like this!!

Claritystamp Ltd Remountable Adjust The Sails Clear Stamp Set (

Claritystamp Ltd Rope Knot Stencil 7 x 7 Inch (

Spectrum Noir Professional Colouring Pencils - Marine (

Spectrum Noir Professional Colouring Pencils - Primaries (

I do hope these samples inspire you to have a go! Trust me, they are amazing! 
Have fun!

Thank you for visiting - Hugs, Mandy xxx