Friday, 2 November 2012

Making some crafty time with gorgeous new Chocolate Baroque Stamps

I have been rather busy lately, so blogging has gone by the wayside (nothing new there then).  Which means I have also been too busy to do much crafting but you need to keep your hand in so to speak. 

Now I love nothing better than a playday, when you can dive into paints, inks, stamps, paper etc and have a no holds barred experiment with loads of products.  Nothing structured just loads of mess, lots of fun. But what happens when you don't have a whole day to play? What do you create when time is not in abundance?

How about a crafty power hour - one hour when you create and complete at least one project. Now I know this probably requires a little bit of planning, and sometimes we like spontaneity, but it can also be quite satisfying to actually have something to show for your efforts rather than just a pile of bits.

I have been playing with the new clear stamps sets from Chocolate Baroque which are on general release today - Party Birds and Words and Happy Birds and Words. Both sets have a great selection of words and phrases together with some cute birdie images.  They really fit in with my ideal of quick, simple, clean looking cards.  So together with the stamps, a selection of papers from the Polka Dotty printable download AND a kitchen timer(!) I set to.

And here is the result of my first power hour.

These are really easy to achieve and would make great bookmark cards. All you need* other than the stamps and paper is a circle punch or circle die, some plain white card (I used 12" x 12" white cardstock folded in half and cut into 2.5" strips) and an inkpad. I found it very satisfying to have completed four mini projects inside the hour. And also giving yourself a time limit can actually focus your attention;  it can help if you have had a creativity slump and it stops you faffing about! Good confidence booster too.

So the next time you haven't got much time why not try your own crafty power hour.


*By the way, the kitchen timer is optional

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Solo Flight

Hi again, can you believe I am blogging so soon after my last post? I would like to say this is a whole new me and there will be more posts, more often ( you never know). Whilst testing the wonderful new clear stamps from Chocolate Baroque I have built up one or two samples that I want to share with you.  So, hot on the heels of the Chinese Lanterns, here is a card made using images from both the Moonlit Waterfall and Lily Pad sets.

You know how when you first see a stamp you can see exactly what you want to do with it?  Well the flying Crane on the Moonlit Waterfall set had this effect on me.

First I brayered a piece of silk card using the Foliage Big 'N Juicy inkpad.  Unfortunately these inkpads have now been discontinued but you can achieve the same effect using Adirondack dye inks in Sunset Orange and Sunset Yellow.  Ink half the brayer up with one colour and then the other half with the second.  I brayered the whole card and then applied a second 'coat' to achieve the depth of colour I wanted for my sunset.  Next I used Adirondack Dye Pitch Black and brayered across the bottom of the card (it must be a dye based colour otherwise you will ruin your brayer if you use a permanent ink).  Again I repeated this step for extra depth.

Next I stamped the crane directly onto the brayered background using Versafine Onyx Black.  Then stamped part of the same image onto a circle punched out from a self adhesive label.  This is the cheat's way of masking and is useful if you don't want to cut out the image and place onto your card before brayering.  Once completely dry I removed the backing paper from the label and matched it with the image on the card. (Tip: Versafine is oil based and takes some time to dry. If you are in a hurry either 'blot' the image several times with a clean sheet of copier paper or heat set).

To add interest I stamped the blossom branches from the Lily Pad set; whilst for the tall grasses I used the large Lily Pad image, removing the ink from the areas I didn't want.  Finally I added the orange ribbon from the Bollywood Brights ribbon pack to a piece of folded card from my stash and attached the finished scene with foam pads.

I am rather pleased with this card, it turned out just how I had seen it my head - don't you just love it when a plan comes together!

See you soon

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Lantern Parade

Having had a couple of days to recover from Chocolate Baroque's fabulous launch party, I wanted to share some of my artwork which uses their brand new clear stamps. All the new sets are absolutely gorgeous, and I have been so privileged to be able work with them.  So here is my first post using the Chinese Lanterns.

I wanted to give the feel of real miniature lanterns so I stamped the images onto crepe paper using Versafine Onyx Black and then cut them out omitting the tassels. (A little patience was needed to avoid stretching the crepe paper!). I then stamped the tassels onto a self adhesive label and set aside to dry thoroughly. Next  I made three loops using fine black florist wire and attached one to each lantern using 3mm Ultra High Bond tape; and as lanterns usually hang from something I decided to use two sprays of paper flowers as my branches.

To assemble my card I matted the Aqua Polka Dotty paper from my new download collection onto an 8" x 8" card. Laying the card flat I then arranged everything as shown above.  I gently added a fine strip of the Ultra tape to each lantern, just enough to hold them in place and give the impression of actually hanging.  The  branches were attached using a glue gun.  Finally I cut out the tassels, removed the backing paper and stuck them into position. There is still room for a sentiment, but when I have the right occasion I will add something suitable.

If  you need to know how well these images stamp then I think using crepe paper has been a good test to illustrate this.  As you can see from the close up, none of the detail has been lost, even on this delicate surface.

I hope this has inspired you to check out these fab new stamps.  I will be back again soon with another design sample.

'Til then enjoy your crafting.

Friday, 7 September 2012

You could still be a winner

Phew what a day it was yesterday at Chocolate Baroque.  We had a fabulous launch of the new CB Clear stamp range, a great online party and most of all wonderful support from you, our very generous customers.  So I would just like to say a HUGH thank you to everyone who joined in and helped to get this brilliant new product off the ground.

I will be back soon with some artwork, in the mentime if you missed any of the fun you can catch up here - you could still be in with a chance of winning one of the fab giveaways.

See you soon


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

It's almost time to get the Party started

With less than 24 hours to go to the Chocolate Baroque on line party it's getting really exciting.  If you want to know how you can be part of the fabulous event click here for more information. 

Look forward to seeing you there.


Saturday, 1 September 2012

We're having a Party!!

My lips are sealed and it's all very hush, hush, but you have just got to join us at the online Chocolate Baroque Party on 6th September.

Can't say any more at the moment, but I'm sooooo excited....

Back soon

(No prizes for guessing who's who in the balloon pic!!)

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Win Brand New Stamp Sets

You may have noticed that flowers are everywhere and not just in the garden.  Here is a brand new release from Chocolate Baroque, aptly named Sunny Sunflowers, and you really are in for a treat.  Suitable for so many occasions they lend themselves to a variety of projects - just keep watching the Design Team blog to see the amazing ways you can use these stamps.

In fact, why not try and win yourself a bit of sunshine.  Glenda is kindly giving away not one but TWO sets of these stamps. All you have to do is either visit the design team blog page by clicking here and leave a comment, or visit Chocolate Baroque on Facebook and 'like' the page. You have nothing to lose, but just think of all the stunning designs you could create with these gorgeous stamps.  Good luck.


Thursday, 26 April 2012

It's the taking part that counts

Bang the drum and blow the horn as I head for the finish line.  This has been quite a week. I was set the challenge of blogging every day for a week, reluctantly I accepted the challenge. Not because I don't love this little blog of mine, but more because my reliability to blog regularly is questionable.  And now I have reached the crux of the matter.  As I said last night us blogging folk have a responsibility to our readers and followers and if we wish to gain their trust, loyalty and support then we have to earn it. Being inconsistent and random with your posts does nothing to endear you to your readers and I have been guilty of this.  So if I have learned anything over the last week it is this:

Your trust, loyalty and support is very important to me, but I have to step up to the plate and at least take part in the stage play if I want an appreciative audience. A bit like life really, if you want to make any mark in this world you have to participate, sitting on the sidelines moaning about your lot is much easier than actually doing something about it.  We can all run our own marathon, take up a challenge, achieve a goal but is does require a bit of an effort, a little thought along with a certain amount of commitment and determination.  What can you expect in return?  An overwhelming sense of fulfillment and satisfaction and an acknowledgment to yourself for giving it a go.

Personally I would like to thank all of you who have supported me this week by leaving encouraging comments and inspiring words; for staying loyal to someone who doesn't have a good track record on the blogging front, but most of all for taking the time to visit this page.  I do not want to make empty promises by saying I will continue to blog every day. I will, however, endeavour to be more regular - even once a week would be a vast improvement on my previous performance and I will try to live up to the statement I have at the top of this blog "I hope that your creativity will often be motivated, enthused, stimulated, that you will occasionally be: amused, entertained, inspired, that you will never be: bored"

I will leave you with some up to date artwork.  This sample features a dress form from Chocolate Baroque's brand new Haberdashery stamp set combined with stamps from the Eccentric Edwardian set, brushed over with a selection of distress inks.

I hope you find joy in everything you do. Until the next time...


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Hook, line and blogger

Whilst blogging for the last few days I have been pondering what it is that attracts us to blogs and why do we keep returning.  What makes a good blog and how do we catch people's attention in a nano second before they move on?

We all blog hop, but what actually reels us in? What captures our imagination and makes us want to pull up a chair and stay for a while? For me it is pretty pictures, attractive artwork and colours that are the initial attraction; of course this won't be the same for everyone. You need to work out what sort of an audience you want to attract, who are you aiming at, or is it just random words on a page written purely for oneself. Blogs can be used for many things, there are hundreds and thousands out there and we will only ever see/read a tiny minority of them, so it is our responsibility as bloggers to ensure our audience get the quality  they deserve.   If people are prepared to spend their precious time reading our musings, adding comments to our posts and following us so that they receive everything (and anything) we ever write then we owe it to them to be as informative, entertaining and interesting as we can be.

Keeping this in mind, tonight Matthew I am going to be informative? entertaining? interesting? Only you can decide that dear reader.  While you are making your mind up here is the card I made last year for my granddaughter's 5th birthday.

 Tomorrow I will be on the last day of my challenge, I hope you can join me for the celebrations.


PS Blogger is playing up tonight so I am not sure if this will post in time, but I will still be back tomorrow, or later today depending on the fickle nature of this program.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Whilst on a unicycle

Well everyone, it's day 5 and I am still here.  Although I don't give up easily, I am surprised I have managed to keep going.  As Debbie put it in her last comment she has visions of me on a unicycle trying to stay balanced, but at speed.  What she doesn't know is I have a tray full of glasses in one hand and  I'm juggling with the other!
Anyway, the artwork I am sharing with you today started because I wanted to try out the ultra fine masking tape that's available on the Chocolate Baroque website.  I used the 3mm tape to mask off a grid, I didn''t measure anything and just divided the card up into 8 sections. I used glossy card and sponged a selection of distress inks over the various sections. Once dry I stamped images from the Diamante Delights stamp set using an archival black inkpad.  I then coloured another piece of glossy card with distress ink and stamped this with a the smaller flower from the same set.  When completely dry I cut out the flower, polished the grid section with soft tissue and attached the flower in place.  What you can't see here is that the centre 'beads' were highlighted in Star Dust stickles. Finally I stamped the sentiment.  I was actually quite pleased with how this turned out and very impressed with the masking tape, really good for fine detail work. Think grid work might be part of my next workshop - it really is a fab technique and is a great way of adding interest to a card.

That's it for now, day 6 next. See you tomorrow


Monday, 23 April 2012

And the clock strikes.....

Okay this is where is starts to go uphill.  Day 4 of my challenge sees me into the working week.  Is this where the wheels come off my bicycle so to speak?  It's all very well posting everyday when there is a weekend in the way, but combining it with everything else that goes on Monday to Friday that's a whole new ball game.  And you see it's not like I've trained for this, worked up to it at a steady trot, got myself into the groove.  No,  I've just hurtled in there full gallop; going from blogging at a snail's pace to charging at it like a Grand Prix racing driver (with none of the Grand and definitely no Prix!!).

I'm looking at the clock, it's getting closer to midnight.  Like Cinderella will my blog change into a drab, artless page at midnight, will I have failed the challenge if this post doesn't post until 12.02 (not sure how it works as Blogger is on USA time)?  Think I had better cut this short NOW, so here is some more of my artwork to be getting on with.
 If I've made the deadline I'll see you again tomorrow.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Jogging along

Today has been the London marathon and I feel like I've kind of undertaken one myself.  Not that I'm in anyway belittling all those thousands of people who have run themselves ragged today to raise money for good causes.  But this blogging for a whole week lark does have similar traits.  You need to be disciplined and focused, don't allow anything to distract or divert you; pace yourself - don't go off at breakneck speed only to to find  you've blown it all in the first half and want to give up. Take encouragement from all the passers by and well wishers who are urging you on (well that'll be the dog and my husband then!).  Enjoy the experience - you may never do it again.

The last point is the most important.  If you don't enjoy what you are doing then it becomes a chore and once that happens you are lost.  I never want blogging to be a chore, more a place to share my love of art, crafting and anything else I think you may find entertaining or even inspirational. So here I am on day 3, still jogging along enjoying the scenery and taking in the view.  Speaking of which here is a little scenery for you to look at.

I made these tags quite a while ago, whilst having a playday. I was experimenting with some new stamps that Chocolate Baroque were about to release and also looking back at older stamps. You know the ones I mean, those shouting up from the back row "pick me, pick me; I haven't been out to play for ages". The first one is from Pretty Birdcage. I coloured the flowers with Coloursoft pencils and, although it doesn't show too well here, I foiled the cage using the gold from the assorted foil pack (great A4 pack this, good value and full of 8 scrummy colours).

This second one features the script image from the Paisley Elephant stamp set, I just love the versatility of this set and had forgotten how useful it was. I tinted a doily with Scattered Straw distress ink and then stamped over it. The leaves are die cut from gold mirri card using Crealies shape die 11 and I made the flower using chiffon from an old scarf, adding a small paper rose for the centre. Again I have foiled around the edge of the tag and added some highlights to the doily.  Both tags come from my printable tag set.

That's it for now, see you tomorrow.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

A little trumpet blowing

Day 2 and I'm back.  A success so far then - 2 posts in two days.  As I said last night I have accepted the challenge to blog for seven consecutive days and I'm into the second 24 hours - so far so good, but still so far to go.

Enough of that, I said last night I was going to share something I was proud of.  I find it very difficult to actually boast about anything, I don't like 'blowing my own trumpet' and, as a child, was not allowed to 'show off' at all - this was deeply frowned upon.  I tend to do what I do and hope that other people like what I do.  But this week is not the norm - let's face it I've almost blogged more in the past few days than I did all last year!

Back to my intention for today.  You may know that, in between everything else I do, I like to design stuff.  Last year my designs appeared for the first time on the Chocolate Baroque website and they have been quite popular.  Now I am proud to announce that another collection launched yesterday - Chic Script and it's available on the website now.

I admit to being quietly chuffed with this collection and it satisfies my need to stroke paper - even if it is my own.  Anyway, as this is obviously going to be a week of firsts (or seconds) - I have actually made something with one of these sets and I would like to share it with you.

So there you are, this is me showing off and that's day 2 finished.  Back tomorrow.


Friday, 20 April 2012

On starter's orders......

When someone throws down the gauntlet what do you do?

a) Throw it back
b) Ignore it in the hope someone else will pick it up/throw it away etc
c) Step over it


tentatively pick it up like it's a bomb and gently place it in front of you and then look at it for a while - a long while!

Well the gauntlet has stared me out and I can't ignore it any longer - I will have do something about it... here goes.

The gauntlet which has been thrown at my feet is the challenge that I will blog every day for the next week, I suspect this is in the vague hope that, once I have managed seven successive posts, I will remain blogging on a regular basis. To be fair I have been muttering that I need to be a much more attentive gardener and take better care of this tiny blog, and I always have good intentions but seemingly not enough hours.  Trouble is I sit down at the computer, read and respond to my emails, check out the Chocolate Baroque Ning, then Pinterest to see what's new on there and that is where it all starts to go pear shaped.  I get drawn in to looking at other people's 'pins' and wander off down beautiful rabbit holes of artwork, up blind alleys full of inspirational handmade cards and along meandering country lanes of stunning photographs.  What can I say?  I have no defence.

Anyway, back to the gauntlet. I am gently picking it up knowing that for the next 7 days, that's 168 hours, 10,080 minutes - eek this is scarey.  Don't think about it, just DO IT.

Okay the challenge is on, I'll be back tomorrow with something I'm kinda proud of.
See you in 24 hours.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Chocolate Baroque Candy - Stamps that is

Hi everyone, just a quick post to let you know some exciting news.
Chocolate Baroque have just released two brand new sets of stamps.  Stunning as ever these are just gorgeous - Lace Fragments to die for and Haberdashery images of dress forms and scissors and... just take a look

The Design Team have done some stunning samples and will be wowing you during the course of the next few days.  Glenda has kindly donated one set of each of these stamps as a prize on the DT blog.  If you want to be in with a chance of owning these beauties then vist the Chocolate Baroque DT blog, leave a comment and you will automatically be entered into the draw.  Good Luck.


Sunday, 19 February 2012

New Stamps Giveaway

Just a quick post to let you know that a brand new set of Chocolate Baroque stamps can be won if you visit the Design Team blog. To be in with a chance of winning just leave a comment before Tuesday 21st February
Artistic Expressions is a fabulous set of words and sayings that you could use for loads of occasions, or for journalling, scrapbooking etc. So why not pop across, leave your comment and have a look at some stunning artwork, designed by some seriously talented ladies.


Monday, 2 January 2012

Inspiration for 2012

Is it really 2012? Doesn't seem five minutes since it was 2011 does it? I am not one for making New Year resolutions, not because I don't believe in the concept but more that I have difficulty in sticking to them (along with a great majority of the population). However I have to remind myself why I started this blog and in the early heady days I remember saying something about sharing ideas. I don't seem to have done much sharing during the past couple of years and I would like to try and remedy that.

In conjunction with my design work for Chocolate Baroque I hope to give you some ideas on how to use some of the digital products that are available over on the CB website as well as adding a few of my creations to the Chocolate Baroque Design Team Blog. If ever you are in need of inspiration, or want to see what they are currently doing with the latest CB stamps, then the DT blog is THE place to visit. This talented group of ladies continue to design the most beautiful pieces of artwork and I am very proud to be included in the team. So, without making it the dreaded resolution I am going to try and post more regularly (where have you heard that before!).

Whilst we are discussing inspiration there is a real treat waiting for you over on Glenda's blog. Back in 2010 at the Paradise Art retreat weekend we were all privileged to be entertained by Adrian (Glenda's husband for those of you who may not know) with his fabulous ditty entitled 'Add a Brad'. This struck a cord with all of us and in fact any crafter will have at some point been down this particular road. Adrian has been promising to record this artistic rendition for some time now and has obviously spent some of his hard earned time off doing just that. Furthermore Glenda had added a fabulous gallery of her personal artwork to the sound track. So if you want true inspiration, or if you can say 'I was there' and want to spend a few minutes reminiscing, then pop over to Glenda's blog and click on the link. I defy you not to feel cheered by it.

However before you go, and in the spirit of my earlier promise, here are some cards I have made using the Pretty Birds printable downloads. Having seen a year of extra large cards I decided that tall and slim would be an elegant way to start 2012. I have also designed an envelope template that fits this card shape exactly. This will be available to download for free in the next couple of days. I want you to be able to get the most out of your printables and you can actually make four of these cards from each printable paper by dividing it into 2" x 8" strips, then mat onto plain co-ordinating cardstock and trim (leaving a narrow border all round). Each card measures approx 61 x 210 mm and you can make two from an A4 sheet of card. Using the Groovy and the boxmaker side, butt the shorter side of the card up to the 'Box Base' edge and score at the third groove. Fold and cut; you now have the perfect slim card on which to attach your paper strip. These cards also make an excellent canvas for the Paintchip printables.

That just leaves me to say wherever you find your inspiration may I wish you a very Happy New Year .