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by Julie Brooks

Polite notice. All designs are copyright protected. I hope you will be inspired by my designs but please do not copy them. Thank you.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Little discoveries can be as exciting as big ones!

Hi folks

I'm melting! I'm sorry to say that even though many of you have been delighted by the arrival of a mini heatwave this week, and don't get me wrong, I am loving all of this brightness beaming down on us, I have sadly found it unbearably hot and have spent the last three days and nights wilting and unable to do much at all! It wouldn't be so bad if there'd been a half decent breeze to go with the glorious sun, but that's been sadly lacking for the mostpart. I used to like temperatures in the mid to high 20s, and even coped with temperatures in the mid 30s when I went to The Gambia on holiday in 1998 (gosh, showing my age there!), but since being pregnant 11 years ago I haven't been able to tolerate them anywhere near as well so it must be something to do with hormones (pah, who needs them, more trouble than they're worth if you ask me!)

Anyway, less of this moaning and complaining about our quirky English weather (and hormones)! The question is, have I managed to do anything remotely crafty? Yes ... just! I am continuing with the card order for one of my friends and also made a card unrelated to her order which I can't reveal yet, but I do have something to share with you.

Now, as many of you will agree, in the world of crafting each day offers new discoveries as we experiment with new products, or just try a different technique. Well, none of what I'm about to tell you may class as a new technique (or maybe it does?) and doesn't include any new products either, but it revealed something quite exciting all the same, although perhaps it won't be quite so mindblowing for all of you as it was for me, so apologies in advance if what comes next is a bit of an anti-climax for anyone out there!

What? What? I hear you ask! Well, whilst making one of the cards for my friend's order, I decided to use one of the lovely Craftwork Cards butterfly stamps from their Butterflies and Blooms set. It's one with no pattern on it at all, it's just a smooth surface, so when you ink it up you get a bold butterfly print. Now, I decided to stamp onto some of their Moorish Embossed Squares paper because I wanted something with pattern and texture to tie in with the rest of my card. So I inked up the stamp with two shades of pink (because I wanted a slightly two-tone effect) and stamped my butterfly onto said textured paper. Imagine then, my surprise at lifting the stamp away from the paper, to discover that the embossed pattern from the paper had transferred onto the stamp! How fab is that? It's like two stamps for the price of one! So before it had chance to dry out (I used chalk inks), I quickly stamped it onto some smooth cardstock to see if the pattern would transfer onto the new stamped image, and it did! Well, I was practically jumping up and down with excitement (or I would have been had I not been in the midst of another heatwave meltdown at the time)! I just love making little discoveries like this.

You can just about see in the top photo, my two-tone pink butterfly stamped onto the textured paper, then in the middle photo the stamp showing how the pattern from the textured paper has magically transferred onto it, and then in the bottom photo the butterfly I quickly stamped onto the smooth cardstock to see if the pattern would transfer - and it did!

Now, I watched one of Tim Holtz's tutorials recently (although I don't know how recently he produced the tutorial!) and he demonstrated using stamps with lots of surface area and inking them up, then inking up a second "reversed image" stamp (called "reflections" or something like that) and stamping it onto the surface of the first stamp, and when you then stamp the first stamp onto your card, you instantly get a sort of two stamps on one effect. Well, I think what I managed to do today, quite by chance, is quite similar although in itself achieved in a different way. I will definitely do more of this kind of thing and just think of all the added value it promises when using stamps with big surface areas. Very exciting!

If anyone out there has made any exciting little discoveries during their crafty sessions I'd love to hear from you, so do please leave a comment sharing your discovery to blow my mind even more!

Take care, stay cool (or hot if you prefer it) and pop back again soon to see what else I've been up to.

Love from me xx

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


Another quick post from me to show you my first ever entry for the CAS-ual Fridays Challenge, which this week is to produce a card using punches, or dies. Mine is very simple as I don't own a die cutting machine so have no dies, and I only own a couple of punches!

So for this card I fixed a lovely swirly embossed paper from Craftwork Cards onto a white card and in the centre I stamped the message. I used my Martha Stewart Classic Butterfly punch to produce the butterflies. I used some of the same swirly paper for the yellow ones, which I lightly inked with chalk ink to bring out the embossed detail, and inked around the edges. The blue and pink butterflies were punched from Craftwork Cards Moorish Embossed Squares paper. I used chalk ink for the blue ones and shimmer chalk for the pink ones. You can't really see the shimmery effect in this photo but it is very pretty and reminds me of eyeshadows I used to wear when I was younger! The butterflies were all fixed to the card using Glossy Accents and I finished them with a tiny pearl on each, and the other thing you can't tell properly from the photo is that I used pink pearls on the blue butterflies, blue pearls on the yellow butterflies and a very pale champagne yellow coloured pearl on the pink butterflies.

Anyway, I enjoyed making it. I think it's very pretty without being complicated, and butterflies always make me smile - how about you?

Take care and I'll be back soon.
Love from me xx

Monday, 21 May 2012

Less is More Week 68 - Baby or Child

Good evening everyone

So, how's your day been? Mine's been pretty good. I'm still working on some card requests for a friend, but I did manage to find time to make a card for this week's Less is More Challenge. The theme this week is a card for a baby or a child, and here's mine.

I used a Lili of the Valley stamp and sentiment which I coloured with Promarkers and finished with a little Star Dust glitter glue and fixed with foam pads onto the strip of blue paper which has lovely little hearts all over it. Then I shaped the card corners to tie in with the shape of the corners on the main image. I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon.

Love from me xx

Friday, 18 May 2012

Playing with my new Distress Ink Markers!

Hello again

Just another quick post from me! I recently became the proud owner of a set of the new Tim Holtz Distress Ink Marker Pens but hadn't really had time to play with them ... until today. I will say right now that I love the idea of all those fab inky colours in a marker pen format. I love my Promarkers, and I have a few Sakura pens, but to add the Distress Ink Markers to my collection provides me with so much more scope for what I can do.

Anyway, here are two little tags which aren't yet finished, but on both of them I stamped a cute sea themed image and I used my new Distress Ink Marker Pens to colour them in.

I am really pleased with the way the colours work on the manilla tags and it feels very different from other things I've made where I've used the Distress Ink Pads. I am looking forward to using them more in the coming days and weeks and will post again at some point in the future with some more samples of how I've been using them.

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Playing with Promarkers

Hi folks

Hope you've all had a good week. I can't believe it's the weekend again and have very little of crafty interest to share with you as it's been such a busy week for me with other things.

I've been catching up with all of your Blogs and was reading Kath Stewart's blog and spotted the link to her friend Debbi's blog. Debbi has just been appointed as a designer for Letraset and has made a lovely tag using the new Metallic Promarkers. It's absolutely beautiful and the metallic markers look like metallic embossing - fab! So, this got me thinking that I might have something to show you along the theme of Promarkers, and here it is! I enjoy using Promarkers when I get a chance and used them to colour my Warren image in one of the projects which earned me a place on the Craftwork Cards Design Team. (See earlier post.) But this time it was a little dragon I was colouring in. He's from a range of Wild Rose clear stamps and I'm sure you'll agree he's very cute.

So, I stamped the image onto white card and had a fun time colouring him in using my Promarkers, and I'm quite pleased with the shading I achieved. I added glitter to the party hat and the yummy cake (and the candles) and Glossy Accents to the little dragon's eyes. I then cut him out and fixed him to the card on foam pads. (The sentiment and card blank are from Craftwork Cards.) The card isn't finished yet as I need to add a few little embellishments to it!

I've also included in this post a few previous cards where I've used Promarkers to provide you with more inspiration, should you need it!

 In this one I used some Liquid Pearls for the flower centres, fixed the picture to a scalloped circle and fixed this to the card using foam pads. I then inked around the edges of the card to tie in with the colour of the scalloped circle.
 This was coloured more simply because of the style of the image, but the stronger colours of Promarkers worked a treat on it. I did some shading (though I'm not sure I got it entirely right!) and then added some glitter to the edges of the flowers to represent light shining on them. The butterflies were coloured on a separate piece of card and then cut out and fixed on to the design using foam pads. I added some glitter to the butterflies' wings to represent that shimmering effect they have.
This was a pre-printed floral wreath (Craftwork Cards) which I coloured, sticking to just three or four colours. I cut out a larger flower and coloured this in a matching colour. Again, Liquid Pearls for the flower centres, and again the main image was mounted on a scalloped circle but this time it was fixed straight onto the card rather than being on foam pads. Again inked around the edges of the card to tie it together. Card blank, scalloped circle and sentiment also by Craftwork Cards.
This is my personal favourite! I coloured the lovely Warren image and added glossy accents to his nose and eyes to make them shine. I mounted this onto some lovely linen texture floral paper and then punched out some flowers, embossed them and fixed them in place, along with some punched out foliage. Pearls and Liquid Pearls for the flower centres on this one.

So, I did have something to show you after all!

Have a great weekend whatever you're doing and I'll be back soon.

Take care,
love from me xx

Sunday, 13 May 2012

My Design Team projects revealed ....

Morning all

I'm happy to announce that I can now reveal my Design Team projects which I submitted with my application to become a Craftwork Cards Design Team member.

This was a plain brown photo frame which I altered and turned into a lovely picture, featuring everyone's favourite rabbit - Warren! It needed several layers of white and then green ink to get a good colour on the frame with an even coating. The fern leaves and background paper were from the Craftwork Cards Secret Garden papers. I stamped the word "spring" on some white Candi and also mounted three little silver butterfly charms on white Candi. I coloured the Warren image myself with Promarkers and added a bit of glitter to the grass and glossy accents to Warren's nose and eyes. The main image and the little butterflies were foam mounted to lift them away from the background a little.

This is an 8 inch card which I covered with Craftwork Cards Sweet Pea Sweetheart Buds papers. I lightly sanded the top layer of the embossed squares (using an emery board!) to reveal the white core. Each square is mounted onto a square of white card just to lift the colour of the square from the background. The centre square is from the Moorish Embossed Papers and I added tiny ric rac to the four corners of this square to tie in with the background paper. I also added some glitter for extra sparkle. This piece was mounted on pink cardstock. I used watermark ink to stamp the butterflies (Craftwork Cards Butterflies and Blooms clear stamp set) and then heat embossed them with Enchanted Gold embossing powder and the finish is a shimmery very light gold. I bundled some pink and white tulle together and fixed three white paper roses, two pearl topped hat pins and a sparkly button to the front using some Glossy Accents to bond it all together and some pink and white twine through the button holes. I finished with some pearls and the two little circles.

I enjoyed making both projects and hope you like them.

All for now,
love from me xx

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Another Challenge

Hi everyone

I can't believe it's Thursday already - the days just fly by! So today we went out for a walk at our local nature reserve and it was absolute bliss. I have been pretty much housebound for more than 3 weeks now - long story, don't ask! Needless to say it was lovely to finally get a bit of exercise, some much needed fresh air and to just enjoy nature all around me. I'm not exaggerating when I say I stood on a bridge over a lake and lapped up everything I could see and feel like a hungry puppy! Nature is wonderful.

So, I was reading the various blogs which I follow and I came across one which was talking about another Challenge - it's the Think Outside the Box Challenge OLW87at Styles Ink and the challenge is a one layer card in a shape other than a square or rectangle. Well, I had an idea immediately so I set to work straight away, and this is my card.

I cut a flower shape from some white cardstock using a Craftwork Cards template and then I used my Versamark Watermark Stamp Pad to stamp butterflies (Kaisercraft Tigerlilly) and flowers (Craftwork Cards Build a Bloom) randomly onto the card. I then used Distress Inks in Squeezed Lemon, Scattered Straw, Wild Honey and Spiced Marmalade and blended them until I was happy with the look of the piece and, hey presto! A very pretty little card! The finishing touch was the sentiment (Craftwork Cards) which I stamped using Distress Ink Spiced Marmalade.

So that's another challenge under the belt and I'm having so much fun!

See you soon.
Love from me xx

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Second Yellow Challenge card

Good morning everyone

After having some very kind feedback from Chrissie at Less is More yesterday evening regarding my entry into the Yellow Challenge, I decided to have another go!

This card is completely different from the first one and a bit of a departure for me because there are no embellishments on it, nothing adhered with foam pads for added dimension, no glitter, just ink blending and the main image, plus sentiment, both stamped straight onto the card.

I blended three Distress Inks - Squeezed Lemonade, Scattered Straw and Wild Honey - onto the white card until I was happy with the mix and balance between dark and light. Onto this I stamped the lovely birdcages and foliage image, which is from the Kaisercraft clear stamp set called Hummingbird, and then added the sentiment, from the Craftwork Cards Sentiments clear stamp set. Both of these were stamped using Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black.

I'm quite pleased with it, although maybe next time I'd stamp the image more centrally, but I quite like it offset in this way. And I'd definitely stamp slightly off the card and add embellishments for another variation.

Back soon.
Love from me xx

Monday, 7 May 2012

My First Weekly Challenge

Good evening everyone

So, that's the long weekend over, back to the grindstone tomorrow. It was a mixed bag weather-wise with glorious sunshine all day yesterday and then today started off quite promising (if you were up early enough to see the sun that is) but turned into another cold, damp day, typical Bank Holiday weather really! Oh well, at least we haven't had any tornadoes or other freak weather events so that's something to be grateful for.

But enough of this waffling! I decided to have a go at my first Weekly Challenge today. I haven't been brave enough before now but saw the challenge on Less is More and couldn't resist. The subject of the challenge .... Yellow.

So here's what I created.

I used WOW! clear stamp Vintage Wallpaper and stamped this onto white cardstock using the new Spring Distress Ink Squeezed Lemonade. I then heat embossed this using a very light dusting of clear embossing powder which resulted in a very effective slightly raised texture but not a hard shiny finish, and I love it. I adhered this to white cardstock and then punched lots of flowers using some of the same embossed pattern cardstock and some plain yellow cardstock. These were embossed and pressed into shape using a nifty little embossing thingy which exactly matches the shape of the punch. I then adhered these around the edges of the centre panel and added Liquid Pearls White Opal to the centres.

Next I stamped a butterfly from Kaisercraft's Tigerlilly clear stamp set onto yellow cardstock three times using Versafine Onyx Black and I cut around these, bent the wings up for dimension and adhered these to the card.

Finally I added a Craftwork Cards sentiment "Get Well Soon" at the top, again in Versafine Onyx Black, and inked lightly around the edges of the card with the Distress Ink Squeezed Lemonade.

I hope you like it. I really enjoyed making this card and although I haven't used mainly yellow before, I certainly will in the future.

See you soon.
Love from me xx

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Exciting times!

Hi folks!

Hope you're all having a great weekend.

Well, more exciting news from me today. No sooner had I posted yesterday about the response to one of my card designs from Wow! Embossing Powders than I received the most exciting news I've had in a long, long time .... I've been appointed as a member of the Design Team for Craftwork Cards! I am thrilled and so excited, and tears of joy were shed, I can tell you! This will be my first time as a Design Team member for anyone so I am even more delighted that it should be with my favourite craft company in the whole World! I also have to confess to being somewhat of a fan of Julie Hickey's, as it was her books which inspired me to begin my own card making/paper crafting journey in November 2009 - it seems so long ago now!

So, after all the euphoria of such exciting news it's a wonder I've been able to apply myself to anything today! But I did manage to sit down and concentrate for long enough to have a go, in my own way, at making a gift bag out of a card, which was based on the April tutorial for the Craftwork Cards Privilege Club. I decided to do it slightly differently though, in that I used a 6 inch card instead of an 8 inch card, and so made a somewhat dinkier little bag, but which will still hold a reasonable sized special gift for someone. I also made a matching gift tag.

 The Craftwork Cards Metallique paper range is fab and worked really well on here.

Matching gift tag

The butterfly is stamped using Craftwork Cards Butterflies & Blooms stamps, VersaMagic Chalk Ink and Stardust Stickles Glitter Glue

This butterfly is made again using the Craftwork Cards Butterflies & Blooms stamp set, but this time I used VersaMark Watermark Ink and a holographic glitter embossing powder.

Bag and tag together

I used another stamped and glittered butterfly on the tag, to tie in with the bag.

Oh, and the ink I used around the edges is Shaded Lilac from the new Spring Trio of Distress Inks by Tim Holtz. I love the colour and it worked really well with the blue Metallique paper.

So, that was my little project today and I already know who will be the lucky recipient ... a friend of ours is expecting a baby, which is due very soon now, so when he or she decides to make their debut into the World we will be sure to find something very special to go in this little bag.

Back soon.
Take care,
love from me xx

Friday, 4 May 2012

Kraft, colour and compliments

Morning all

So, it's Friday again already - where do the days go? And this weather doesn't show signs of improving much over the next few days, though we may have a glimmer of sunshine in our neck of the woods on Sunday - now that would be nice.

I am lucky to have my little studio in the best part of the house - the back - so I can see out into our lovely garden and watch the comings and goings of the birds and enjoy the ever-changing scenery as we head further into the milder months of the year which were formerly called Spring and Summer but now seem almost to merge together to form one mild season. (I have yet to come up with a suitable name for this new longer season - all suggestions welcomed!) Our lovely white lilac is in bloom and I bet the fragrance is intoxicating - must go and check it out later!

But back to the business of crafting! I received a delivery yesterday which got me more than a little excited - my Tim Holtz Distress Markers and the Spring themed Distress Ink trio! Yippee! Can't wait to give them a test drive over the weekend.

So, it's been a bits and pieces kind of week in terms of making anything, but I did manage to cover another little mini book, make a couple of gift tags and a bookmark and another Father's Day card (which will be featured at a later date). I used Craftwork Cards Kraft with Colour papers for all of these little projects and am quite pleased with the results, but see what you think. They're in my usual "not fussy" style but even so I think they are quite appealing.

 For some unknown reason this one looks like the paper has been fixed on skewy, but I can assure you that it hasn't!

I borrowed one of Julie Hickey's techniques for the mini book cover and the bookmark, in that I chose my colour fusion paper, laid the brown Kraft paper over the top to work out positioning and then cut out the petals and leaves on the brown Kraft paper using my craft knife, then adhered the two together. I love this look, and for a finishing touch on the mini book I then relaid some of the brown petals and leaves back onto the colour fusion sections and curled them for added dimension.

I also had a lovely compliment today for a card I posted previously, which used copper metallic WOW! Embossing Powder to create an all-over design on a turquoise card. The people at WOW! love it and even suggested I should enter their monthly competition - such a compliment and to me that's like having a piece of artwork displayed at the Tate, so I'm thrilled.

Anyway, all from me for now.

Whatever you're up to this weekend, have a good one and I'll be back very soon.

Take care,
love me xx

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

May 1st and STILL it rains!

Hello everyone

Hope you're all managing to keep warm and dry in this continuing miserable weather. Actually we did have a lovely break from all the dreary greyness and damp yesterday with some lovely bright sunshine and blue sky for much of the day - a much needed natural mood enhancer and it's completely free with no dodgy side-effects!

So, I realise it's been a week since I posted - my, doesn't time fly. Of course my days are filled with taking care of my gorgeous son and helping him battle all the difficulties which come with Asperger's Syndrome, as well as teaching him. This is hard work at times but so rewarding when we have a breakthrough on something he's been struggling with. This week has been no exception as he has mastered his 5x table after six months of very hard work and perseverance - well done Alex! AND, at the weekend, he achieved his 100m swimming award - what a superstar!

But less of this, what have I managed to do in the craft department I hear you ask? Well, this weekend I managed to get a few cards made and a couple of tags. All the designs are fairly simple, nothing too complicated, but I'm very pleased with them all. I've put in photos of a couple of the bits I made here.

This tag features stamps from Craftwork Cards and Kaisercraft along with Pumice Stone Distress Ink and Platinum Stickles Glitter Glue.

This one features an all-over embossed design and I added some Liquid Pearls in the flower centres. The white sections are coloured using a white coloured crayon - simple yet so effective.

I used Distress Ink on this Kraft card and of course most of it soaked into the card so I ended up with a very faded design. But, add a few extra butterflies cut from more of the same card, along with some cut out little birds all covered in glitter, add glitter and Liquid Pearls to the butterflies, glitter to the grasses and a message at the top and, hey presto! a really pretty card.

I also made some Father's Day cards and will post them next time.

Meanwhile, take care, keep warm and I hope you will come back soon to see what I've been up to.

Love from me xx