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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.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

More teasers for you!

Hello people

Just a quick one from me today with two more sneaky peeks of my latest Craftwork Cards DT creations. All will become clear in due course!

While we're on the subject of Craftwork Cards, if you're not already a Privilege Club member, then now's the time to join as they have a beautiful new kit available for which there is a fab tutorial on the Privilege Club which has been produced by the very talented Karen Hayselden, for making a sumptuous 8 inch twisted easel card with ... wait for it ... a detachable wreath! It is absolutely stunning, and the kit is only £10 to Privilege Club members (otherwise it's £20). I've already ordered one and if I get on well with the tutorial I may well be ordering more because it's such a beautiful, fabulous and unique gift to be able to give to someone special for a special occasion, and I have three or four people in mind who would definitely like one (plus myself, so that's actually 5 kits then!). So if you were at all hesitant about joining and wondering whether it's worth the £15 per 6 months fee, well .... yes, it is! Go and take a look and treat yourself today!

Right, I'm off to do some more playing now.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, whatever you're doing. Me? Well, I've just put a new range of cards in at my local shop, with a new display stand to jazz things up a bit, and we've just taken delivery of a new car. Our other car was only 3 years old but it was a standard 5-seater, and we have two nieces and a nephew around the same age as our son (who moved over from Australia last year) whom we'd like to be able to take out from time to time without the need for a second car and driver, so we've gone for a slightly less economical (but still quite a good performance) 7-seater to enable us to do that. So we will probably be putting that through its paces tomorrow to see what it's capable of! Of course our son loves it, even though he was very upset to be parting with our previous one, and he's already fully investigated under the bonnet, tested all the lights, the CD player and every other gadget it contains, and has now gone off to fill it up with fuel. He's a happy chappy, and if he's happy, I'm happy.

Bye for now and take care.

Love from me xx

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Tim Holtz was spot on with those summer colours!

Hi folks

Another quick post from me. I was looking out into our garden yesterday afternoon and I suddenly realised that there, right in front of me, I had all three colours which are in the new Limited Edition Tim Holtz Distress Inks set! Take a look ....

You see ... in the foreground, the pink flowers match the Picked Raspberry, the grass matches the Mowed Lawn, and my son Alex's sandpit (under the climbing frame) matches the Salty Ocean!

Those pink flowers up close. I have no idea what they're called. They were here in the garden when we moved here just over 18 months ago, but they spread every year so we always end up pulling some out and consigning them to the composter!

My son Alex's sandpit - looks like it needs a bit of a clean! What can you see in that pool?

Further along the border from the pink flowers, we have a huge clump of something which I call Crane's Foot, but I'm not sure if that's right! And you'll also spot the honeysuckle on the left. Anyway, this shows the greens.

So, how lucky am I to have all of those lovely summery colours in my beautiful (if a little wild) garden! Nature is wonderful.

Bye for now,
love from me xx

DT sneaky peeks!

Morning everyone

Well, I hope the weather is better where you are than it is here right now - just had the most torrential downpour - so much rain the gutters couldn't cope and it was pouring off the front of the house like a waterfall. It's so humid as well, and this kind of weather always gives me headaches and migraines. Ah well, the rain was much needed, it's just a pity it all came in one ten minute deluge!

Anyway, on to the subject of this little post. I've only got a few sneaky peeks to show you today because they're for the Craftwork Cards Design Team Project of the Month contribution, so I can't fully reveal them yet.

The new range from Craftwork Cards is called Pretty Little Prints and they are absolutely beautiful. You definitely need to buy this kit if you haven't already. There is so much in it, with so many design possibilities, it works really well with other Craftwork Cards products, and it represents excellent value for money, so why not treat yourself?

So, here are my sneaky peeks .... enjoy!

So, now you've had a glimpse of what's on offer ... go to the Craftwork Cards website and order your pack and enjoy some pretty crafting fun.

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Monday, 25 June 2012

Tim Holtz Limited Edition Summer Distress Inks give-away

Hello again

Another quick post from me to let you know that the lovely Kath Stewart is offering a summer give-away too! She's offering a set of the new Tim Holtz Limited Edition Summer Distress Inks! They really are gorgeous colours and perfect for all those summer creations! Pop over to her blog and take a look! Also, I have to say that Kath comes up with such beautiful creations every day - I don't know where she gets the energy, but she is so inspirational. I've been following her blog for quite some time now and can only hope that one day I may have half of her talent and flair!

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Gorgeous give-aways over at The Ribbon Girl

Hello everyone

Just a quick post from me to alert you all to some wonderful give-aways over at The Ribbon Girl this week! I love their products and had a really good stock-up recently. Their ribbons and laces are such good quality and offer great value for money - well worth a look! This week they are offering a give-away of ribbons and lace in strawberries and cream colours, just right for Wimbledon, together with some gorgeous butterfly charms! See below!

It's Strawberries & Cream Giveaway Day ...

Hello, it should be summer at Ribbon Girl Headquarters but can you believe that we're more than halfway through June and we still have the central heating on!!  In the hope that we can bring on the summer sunshine we thought we'd have a giveaway and Summer means strawberries so our giveaway today has a strawberries and cream theme!
Today's giveaway includes lots of pretty ribbons, cluny lace, top stitching thread, organza rose ribbon, lace edged bias binding and charms - we've eaten the strawberries :)
Pop over to their website for a chance to win this beautiful collection! Good luck everyone!

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Some more "everyday" cards

Hello everyone

I don't have anything very exciting to show you at the mo, and certainly nothing ground-breaking! I'm still building up my new range of "everyday" cards for the local gift shop where I sell my wares so I do have a few of those to share with you.

But before I do that, I just wanted to say thank you for the lovely comments you leave me about my work. It's always nice to hear that others like my designs, and I enjoy sharing what I'm doing with you all, and perhaps even providing some inspiration here and there along the way.

So, my cards have all been made using Craftwork Cards papers and embellishments. All the papers are from previous ranges, and I will be putting some designs together with the most recent ranges over the next few days, but I have a lot of papers to use so thought it a good way to reduce my stocks a tiny bit! I haven't written any descriptions as such, since they're all straight forward enough, but don't hesitate to leave a comment if you do have any questions about them. It's always good to hear from you and I'll always help if I can. Apologies that the cards are all in a single column down the page - I haven't yet worked out whether I can get photos side by side and if so how (other than doing a group photo) - gotta love technology!

Lovely Warren was coloured by hand using Promarkers and I added some glitter to the flowers and grasses for extra sparkle.

To make the butterflies on the card above, I used an embossing tool to trace around the inside of another piece of paper where I had previously punched out a butterfly shape and then cut them out by hand.

The floral/leaf pattern on the last two cards has been coloured using Tim Holtz Distress Ink Markers and the colours have worked out brilliantly.

Ok, that's all from me for now.

Thanks for popping by and I'll be back soon.

Take care.

Love from me xx

Monday, 18 June 2012

a few cards made for an order

Hi everyone

Hope you're all ok and that you've had a good Monday.

Just a quick post from me today to show you some cards I made recently for a friend. I wasn't been able to share them before as she's only just taken delivery of them in the last few days and it wouldn't have been fair.

So, I hope you like them and as always your comments/feedback are welcomed and invaluable.

For this first one I built up layers of Victorian Velvet Distress Ink until I was happy with the depth and variation of colour all over the card. Then onto this I stamped the bird cages, foliage and hummingbird stamps (Kaisercraft). Then I added the two butterflies which I coloured with Distress Markers, together with the two flowers, also coloured using Distress Markers. I added the two sentiments and to finish I added Stardust and Black Diamond Stickles to various elements to provide a bit of sparkle, although you can't really see that in the photo.

This next one used a Craftwork Cards Elegant card blank. I stamped the background using two different stamps - one a script stamp and one called "Antique Wallpaper". I stamped them both using the same colour Distress Ink (which might have been Wild Honey but not 100% sure because it's a few weeks since I made them now!). Next I stamped on the birdcages, foliage and hummingbird stamps, and then I added the little black butterflies. I added the big butterfly (Kaisercraft) and coloured this with Distress Markers. Finally I added the two Craftwork Cards butterfly sentiments, which I also inked up, and highlighted various elements with Stickles.

Finally I made this anniversary card. I cut some turquoise cardstock and wrapped some lovely silver ribbon around (I can't remember the name of this ribbon but no doubt anyone reading this will do!), which I tied in a knot as I think bows are quite tricky to get right and I'm not very good at them! I stamped the two butterflies (these may also have been Kaisercraft but I do have a few different ones so can't be sure!) onto white cardstock using VersaMark and embossed them using silver embossing powder. During the heat embossing process I added in some turquoise glitter to give the wings a lovely coloured glimmer and you can see this better in the close-up below. I was very pleased with the way it turned out. I fixed them to the card using Glossy Accents and folded the wings up for dimension. Next I stamped the two sentiments using two different clear stamps and cut out the card, rounded the edges and inked around them with a blue to match the turquoise card, and fixed them using foam pads. Finally I added the three little square mosaic crystals bottom right.

A close-up of the butterflies to show the turquoise glitter glimmering away.

OK, that's me for today. I hope you enjoyed reading about these three cards and thank you, as always, for taking the time out to see what I've been up to.

Take care and see you all soon.

Love from me xx

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Easy makes for when time is short!

Hello everyone

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

My offerings today are very humble and basic compared with some of the wonderful creations I've been admiring on other people's blogs. I simply have too many distractions at the moment!

Anyway, I've made a few more "everyday" cards and covered and embellished a little chipboard butterfly mini book which I bought from Craftwork Cards. It was all good therapy, which I am much in need of this week.

So, here are my cards:

This one used a paper from the Garden Party paper stack which I've been slowly working through and a Little Claire stamp set which I picked up at the Stamp Magic show at the weekend. I loved the houses and that tree with the hearts and doves in it so had to have it! I'm not sure why I decided to stamp straight onto the paper, although I had in mind a night-time scene for some reason (the little white specks on the paper are actually tiny stars). Anyway, that's what I did, and I coloured the stamped image with Tim Holtz Distress Markers. I've tried to make it look like some lights are on and some off in the houses but I'm not sure if it quite works. I added Glossy Accents to the hearts in the tree, on the two houses and to the red door (middle house) and used Stardust Stickles on the two doves. I stamped one of the sentiments from the set onto white cardstock, cut it to split it into two and fixed them on the card. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out and think it might work quite well for a Christmas card "From our House to Yours" type design.

This is a very simple card using a section of one of the Garden Party papers, a small scalloped circle in the same pale aquamarine colour as the design on the paper and a white circle sentiment (both of these last two items from Craftwork Cards). I glittered around the edge of the scalloped circle using Stardust Stickles and added some tiny mint coloured pearls to the foliage.

On this card I used my new embossing folder (again!) - to give it its full name, it's Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades Burlap & Swirls embossing folders (yes, a 2 pack) which I picked up at the Stamp Magic show. It's the Swirls folder I've used so far but will be trying out the Burlap one for some men's cards over the next few days! So, I embossed some paper from the Garden Party paper stack and lightly sanded some of the embossing to reveal the white core of the paper (not sure if that shows up on this photo). I pleated a strip of a different paper from the same stack, stuck it together and flattened it down to make a kind of rosette, onto which I added a Candi centre, and I added Stardust Stickles along all the folds, and where I joined the two ends together, and to the Candi centre. Then I punched two little flowers from yet another paper from the stack to fix either side. I added Liquid Pearls centres to these. I added some clear rhinestones on the embossed section and fixed a small scalloped circle and circle sentiment top left using foam pads (both from Craftwork Cards). I also added dots of Waterfall Stickles in all the little scallops. I then added a mint coloured pearl to the top right and bottom left corners and finally rounded the corners of the card.

This card is one of the On The Edge Elegant cards from Craftwork Cards but I'm not sure if you can see the shaped front right edge very well in this photo. I covered the whole of the card front with a paper from the Garden Party paper stack, and tried to just ink around the edges of the "inside" but it didn't work out right as the ink came out to thickly (serves me right for not dabbing a bit of sponge onto the ink pad and applying that way - I tried to do the "direct to paper" technique, which normally works really well, but not this time and I think that's because I haven't used the particular colour I chose very much so the ink pad is still quite "wet"!) so instead I added a strip of the same paper as the front to the inside. Then I added two die cut flowers (curving the petals first) with Candi centres, a small scalloped circle and circle sentiment (all Craftwork Cards) and that was it for this one, nothing else needed. Oh, I inked around the edge of the sentiment just to lift it a little from the scalloped circle background.
So, that's my four cards, which I enjoyed doing.

Finally, here's the little mini book I decorated:
So, as previously mentioned, this is a chipboard mini book from Craftwork Cards. It is pre-cut and has ten pre-cut pages in cream cardstock inside. I have a machine which I can make these on myself (a Pazzles) but I'm not very organised in that department and we don't really have the space to use it at the moment so I decided to buy a few ready-cut for now. Anyway, I covered the front and back chipboard covers with white ultra smooth cardstock and yes, you've guessed it, ran them through the Sizzix using the Tim Holtz Swirls Texture Fades embossing folder! I highlighted the lovely embossed pattern with VersaMagic Thatched Straw chalk ink. (I had already inked the "inside" of the chipboard covers with the same ink.) I then added Candi along the body on the front and back covers. Next I added a dot of Stardust Stickles to each swirl and then glittered all around the edges of the wings with the same colour. Finally I added some little red rhinestones to lift the whole thing without adding too much of an extra colour, and put a red binding ring through the hole to hold it all together.
OK, that's all from me for tonight. Hope you've enjoyed looking at what I've been up to.

Take care and I'll be back soon.

Love from me xx

Monday, 11 June 2012

Yesterday's cards

Hello everyone

So, we had drought conditions, a mini heatwave and now we have flooding in some areas - what on Earth is going on with this crazy weather? My thoughts go out to anyone affected by the flooding - what a nightmare to deal with.

Just a quick post from me today to show you the cards I made yesterday but couldn't get decent photos of because of the light being so poor. Well, it's dull and grey again today, but since it's only late afternoon as I post this, the light is better than when I tried to get the pictures at about 8.00pm yesterday evening!

So, my two little cards made with the embossed sections I did yesterday - my first try with my Big Shot and an embossing folder by Tim Holtz:

As I said yesterday, I kept them really simple to show off the embossing, so I lightly inked one in Sea Breeze and the other in Thatched Straw (VersaMagic Chalk Inks). The "blue" one is a tent fold card. I added a pre-made paper flower with a copper glitter centre, a sentiment stamped with VersaMark and embossed with copper embossing powder, a ribbon and two little amber coloured gems, and to the "yellow" one I added a flower made up of three die cut flowers from Craftwork Cards which have a botanical themed text on them, half-inked the petals and added the yellow flower shaped button to the centre tied with yellow and white baker's twine, the sentiment layered onto a small scallop circle (both Craftwork Cards) - I inked around the edge of the sentiment with Thatched Straw - and three little yellow pearls top right.

I hope you like them. I'm very pleased with them and am looking forward to more "play time" with my Sizzix over the coming weeks.

Take care and have a good week whatever you're crafting!

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Stamp Magic and first try with my new toy!

Hi folks

Hope you've had a good weekend - where did it go? I can't believe it's Monday again tomorrow!

So, what have I been up to today? Well, last thing yesterday we decided to go to the Stamp Magic show in Doncaster today if we were all awake at a sensible time and felt energetic enough! So, since we were all up before 8am, we headed off and arrived there before 10.30am, but it was already very busy. I hadn't intended buying anything(!) but just wanted to enjoy some demos on the different stands to gleen some hints, tips and tricks. I wasn't disappointed when I got to the Stampendous stand as I saw a fab demo on using all the lovely Fran-tage products which really got my juices flowing and I must confess I did buy a few bits and pieces! Looking forward to being able to clear my desk and have a play with that little lot I can tell you. I've got a box frame just crying out for that kind of makeover! And I did spend a small fortune on dies too I'm afraid! But I was careful to select the ones I think I'll get the most use out of and again, that's something I'm looking forward to trying out soon. Anyway, after three hours of battling crowds and queues we'd all had enough so we headed for home for a well-earned lunch.

This afternoon I got a bit of quiet time (bliss) and I surprised myself by having a little play with my Sizzix Big Shot and a Tim Holtz Embossing Folder. (I'd intended to just plough on working through my Garden Party paper stack.) So, after spending a good ten minutes working out what I needed (the multipurpose platform thingy has two tabs and I had to read the info on both and try to work out what category my embossing folder fitted into and whether I needed one or both tabs and whether I also needed anything which I don't yet have - can't you tell this is all new to me!), I bravely began trying to put the "sandwich" through the machine, but became very alarmed when the top plate lifted quite high at the non-roller end. I stopped and took it out again. I inspected the card and saw that it was starting to emboss on the bit that had gone through, so I plucked up the courage to try to send it through again, and it did go through but the plate lifted again to begin with so I pressed down on it to try to stop that happening and I was convinced I was going to break it, and it was a rather heart-in-the-mouth moment as it creaked and squeaked, but finally it came through the other side, with nothing broken (phew!) and hey-presto! a fab embossed card. I'd put the whole folded card into the embossing folder because I wanted to see if it would cope with that thickness, and it did a brilliant job on both sides of the card so I got two for the price of one, and I have to say I was rather pleased with the results (not wanting to sound smug of course!). I trimmed around the edges where they hadn't embossed and used the two halves to make two simple little cards which really show off the embossing. Unfortunately by the time I remembered to take photos of them, the light was deteriorating and the photos are rubbish - the colour balance is all wrong and they're hopeless. So I'm going to photograph them again tomorrow morning and hopefully will be able to share them with you then!

So, my journey into the world of die cutting and embossing has well and truly begun - exciting times!

Take care and see you soon.
Love from me x

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Less Is More Week 71 Challenge

Hi folks

just a quick post to share the card I made for this week's Less Is More challenge. The challenge is a one layer card using a flourish, and here is my contribution:

I used a flourish from a Kanban clear stamps set and stamped it coming in from the four corners using VersaMagic Chalk Ink in Spanish Olive. I added central veins to the leaves using a fine liner. The butterfly is from the Craftwork Cards Butterflies and Blooms clear stamps set and this is stamped in VersaMagic Chalk Ink P. Plumeria. I used the same chalk ink for the sentiment which I think is from a Penny Black set. I highlighted various parts of the flourishes and the butterfly with Stickles Glitter Glue in Stardust, and added some little lines of glitter to represent movement of the butterfly's wings.

All for now, thanks for popping by and thanks for the lovely comments I receive - I always enjoy reading them.

Bye for now,
love from me xx

Friday, 8 June 2012

Bits and pieces

Hello everyone and apologies for the lack of posts - I've both been away and busy working on various projects so haven't had a chance to post anything until now.

Well, what a lousy week weather-wise, typical for Bank Holidays and school holidays! It certainly hasn't tempted me to set foot outside much other than to do the essential things that have to be done, like food shopping and, of course, increasing my crafty stash! I took the plunge this week and bought ..... a Sizzix Big Shot! Yikes - new territory for me! I have never in my life used a die cutting and embossing machine and I have to be honest and say I am a bit scared! I also bought a few dies and embossing folders, but I haven't tried it yet, it's just taking up a corner of my desk and waiting patiently for me to pluck up the courage to get to know it a little better! Please tell me I haven't made a big mistake in buying it! There will be posts in due course recording my first efforts with it - should be interesting!

I have made a few cards over the last couple of weeks and can share some here now. There's nothing flashy, they're all fairly basic, but that's all I've had time to do. Still, better than nothing!

An 8 x 8 pearlescent card using Craftwork Cards Sweet Pea papers. This is very similar to one of my design team application projects but there are a few variations in the design.

This one uses Craftwork Cards embossed papers, which I used to not only provide the background but also punched some flowers out of, which I lightly inked to reveal the floral embossing.
These next few are all made using papers from a paper stack called Garden Party which I purchased more than 2 years ago and had barely used! I have a few paper stacks lurking in a drawer, so I've decided to start working through them. I love blues and browns together but have to say I'm extremely tired at the moment and so my design efforts are a little lacking. Still, I think they're nice cards all the same.

I used some cork washers on this one for something a bit different. Unfortunately the colours haven't quite come out right on the photo.

This one has two ribbons, chocolate brown and the lovely aquamarine blue, tied together.

Same paper as above but a different section. No ribbon on this one.

Again, some cork washers, but this time with twine threaded through and tied on the middle one. The papers on this card were from four different sheets in the same pack and they all work really well together.

I just couldn't get the colours right on this when I photographed it - so frustrating when that happens.

I was really happy with the way this one turned out, but again the colours haven't quite come out right in the photo.
I forgot to mention, on all the cards featuring the humming bird design, that aquamarine design is glittered, but you can't really tell from the photos. It's really pretty and very effective without being too glitzy.

Now, just before I go, I must mention that Craftwork Cards have a slot on QVC soon. On Monday 18th June, Julie Hickey will be showing off some new kits, etc., so be sure to tune in at 10am to see what's on offer!

Right, that's all from me for now.

Take care and I'll be back soon.

Love from me xx