15 July 2022

Getting all Zentangled!

Hello Crafty Peeps, and thank you for stopping by. 

This last few weeks have been hectic and I've only now found time to post my next project towards my AECP Level 3, after taking Amber Davis's 'Zentangle for Cardmakers' class. I would encourage you to have a look at Amber's class, as she perfectly demonstrates how Zentangle can really bring some additional interest to your card making.

Now, I'm not a patient person and I found this class quite a challenge because it is the repetitive practice of Zentangle which brings results rather than the immediacy of, say, using stencils or stamps to achieve the end goal. But, in the end, I did manage to find my zen and produce two cards, which, whilst they do not directly use the patterns that Amber demonstrated in her class, are recognised tangles (Cadent and Crazy 'NZeppel).

Card One

This first card is my take on the Crazy 'NZeppel pattern, which I applied to a die cut ampersand.

I created a background using stamps from Altenew's 'A Study in Watercolor' set, and stamping with Saltwater Taffy Distress Ink to fill the card front panel (Neenah 80lb Classic Crest). I then took the 'Fine Tulle Stencil' and using only the ink left on my yellow blending brush, I lightly applied some ink through random areas of the stencil. That done, I used my Altenew Jet Black ink cube and popped some ink onto an acrylic block, sprayed it with some water, and used a small brush to flick some splatter over the background. 

Then I turned my attention to the die cut. I chose to use the Crazy variation of the Nzeppel pattern to cover the ampersand in rounded 'tiles', using a dark grey Copic marker to fill in the background and a range of pinks, working inwards from dark to light, to colour each tile. Traditionally, Zentangle is produced only in black and white with shades of grey, but I love the idea of colour, as you will know by now. 

I cut a couple of extra ampersands so that I could layer these under the decorated one, to give a little dimension. To ensure there were no bright white edges to the finished stack, I coloured the edge with a black pen, which also gives a little more definition to the stack.

I have recently purchased some Wordies Sentiment Strips from Creative Expressions and I thought I would try these out on this card. They come in white with black lettering and black with white lettering, which are the ones I chose here. The sheets are easily cut and, again, to ensure the white cut line wasn't visible, I edged each of the cut words with black pen.

To finish, I affixed all the elements of the card and popped on some beautiful black gems for a final flourish, and made a co-ordinating envelope.

Card Two

I wasn't having much success with some of the patterns Amber demonstrated in these lessons, which is no reflection on Amber, who is super talented and a very good teacher. I'm not sure what the barrier was - I suspect my shaky hand and hay-fever eyes contributed to my less than successful attempts - and I was disappointed not to be able to do more justice to this brilliant class. I decided to look up some other tangles and came across 'Cadent', which, through simple lines, created an almost basket weave effect, and could be shaded for more dimension. 

To help with placement, I had the idea to stamp the 'Dainty Swiss Dots' background stamp in a pale grey, and used this grid of dots as a guide to create the pattern. 

Having successfully completed the whole card front with this tangle, I added a little shading in graphite pencil and trimmed the panel to 4" x 5 1/4" before adding it to a 4 1/4 " x 5 1/2" top folding card. 
To contrast with the quite regimented background and to bring some femininity to the finished card, I chose to stamp with the 'Airbrushed Flowers' stamp set, using a selection of Distress Inks and Altenew Crisp Dye Inks in pinks and greens. I fussy cut the stamped images and arranged them on the card front, but realised they needed a little something to 'ground' them on the card, so I cut a circle out of black cardstock to place underneath the cluster of flowers and this was just the addition it needed. 

I added some platinum crystals from Lucy's Cards for a little sparkle, and a foiled sentiment finished the card off. There was, of course, a co-ordinating envelope.

Despite my lack of patience, my shaky hands and blurry vision, I am happy with these two cards. 

Until next time, keep crafting.


Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and if you follow them and make a purchase I might receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. This helps to support my blog. 

22 June 2022

Just Tattoo of Us!

 Hi there, Crafty Peeps, and thank you for stopping by. 

First, a little apology - the blog gremlins have visited and I have no idea what they've done to my header, so it all looks a little strange at the moment. I'll work on it over the next few days.

I've been having a fine old time this week with Jaycee Gaspar's class 'Transcending Tattoo Techniques'. Jaycee is not only a very talented artist and cardmaker, but he is a great teacher. His instructions are always clear and his demonstrations are a pleasure to watch. In this class, over 6 lessons, Jaycee introduces us to the idea of using tattoo techniques in our cardmaking and it's a wonderful concept! I have always been fascinated by tattoo art (though I'm not brave enough to actually have a tattoo) - there are so many styles, each with its own very particular look, and Jaycee explores 6 of these in this class. 

As always, all the products I have used are listed at the end of this post.

Card One

I was most taken with the 'Trash Polka' style, which is done only in red and black ink and results in an almost mixed-media look. I Googled lots of examples and decided that I would use the Inked Lotus as my focal flower, which I coloured with Arteza Brush Pens for a change.  Here's the finished card:

I used the Sphere Stencil and some Memento Tuxedo Black ink to lightly ink the centre background - I blended this black very softly so as to provide some dynamic between the absolute black of the stems and splatters and the background. I used various splatters, dots and rings from the Coffee With A Splash, Dot Art, and A Splash of Color stamp sets, using both black and red inks. 

I stamped onto a light kraft card (as did Jaycee for this style), as this style lends itself to using a coloured background. I felt it might be a little too stark a contrast to ink on white cardstock 

I splattered with white gouache and black ink and used some Nuvo Crystals in Black for a little deep, dark shine. 

The sentiment is from the Inked Lotus stamp set, stamped onto a piece of pale beige card and with a doodled border. I didn't want to mat the card front before adding it to my card base, but felt that it needed something to finish off the panel, so I simply swiped my Obsidian ink pad around the edges of the panel and this gave me just the definition I was looking for. I mounted the lotus flower on to craft foam for dimension and to make sure that there wasn't any white showing underneath, I coloured the cut edges of the foam with a black brush pen.

It had to have a black envelope, didn't it? I'll just have to use a white pen for the address.

Cards Two, Three, Four and Five

It's fair to say that I was really inspired by Jaycee's class, and by all the wonderful tattoo art examples I saw on Google and Pinterest. This next set of cards takes influences from all sorts of styles and I just love them:

These cards all use the Airbrushed Flowers stamp and die set, with additions from my stash for the geometric and clock dies. I also used the Angled Mosaic 3D Embossing Folder, which gives some beautiful texture, and an old stamp from my stash to create the background on the 4th card.

These were very simple cards to make as everything was done for me - layering flower stamps, die cuts and embossing folder - and yet they look quite opulent IRL. 

Here's a closer look at each card:

Card Six

Whilst looking through various images of tattoo styles, I came across Destrutturato style ('deconstructed'), a modern style, invented in 2016 by Mattia Mambo. The tattoos have a 'boiled down pop art aesthetic' and use bright colours and offset designs, as the example below:

I loved this simple graphic style and was inspired to make my own version - see what you think.

I used Crisp Dye Inks and a water brush to lay down the blocks of colour and dried the panel thoroughly before stamping the flowers and leaf clusters. Like Card One, I felt that there needed to be something dark around the panel, so after I had mounted the panel on my card base, I used a 0.2mm fine liner and literally drew around the card panel - again, just enough definition. 

I hope you've enjoyed seeing my tattoo inspired creations, and I heartily recommend taking Jaycee's class to see what your interpretation might be. 

 Until next time, keep crafting.


Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and if you follow them and make a purchase I might receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. This helps to support my blog. 

04 June 2022

Here We Go Again...

Hello Crafty Peeps - a big thank you for stopping by.

Well, it's been a while - there's been a lot of life going on in the background these last few months and I have also been exploring some other styles of card making. But I am now back in Altenew mode and I'm happy to see you at the start of my AECP Level 3 journey. 

If you have followed my blog or social media posts, it will come as no surprise that my first class has been 'Stunningly Styled Stencils', led by the very talented Jenny Colacicco and LauraJane Head. I love stencils and I have used them a lot in my AECP projects. They are an easy way to add interest to a card, or a quick way to add colour to a stamped image. 

For this project I was inspired by lesson 5, 'Stencil Printing' - all the product details, etc., are listed below, as always. Unless otherwise stated, all products are from Altenew.

Card One

I wanted to start by using a stencil in the usual way and then seeing what print I could get from the left over ink. I started out with a piece of coloured/patterned paper - a beautiful clouded green paper from my stash, below. Using a coloured/patterned paper as a base gives a whole new look to the finished design. I used the Leaf Bed stencil and a combination of Green Opal and Green Onyx Crisp Dye Inks (from the Jewel Tones Crisp Dye Ink Set) to make a beautiful deep background paper.

Before wiping the ink off the stencil, I spritzed it with water and placed a piece of watercolour paper over it, pressing down well to pick up the wet ink. You can see the background on the left and the stencil print on the right. 

I made the first card with the dark green background and the Build-A-Flower Honeysuckle Stamp and Die set, with the inks shown in the picture below.

I love these soft peachy tones against the dark background. I cut a few leaves from metallic gold card to add a little shine and mounted the flowers on some foam tape. I completed the card with a foiled sentiment from the Spellbinders Hot Foil Glimmer Place Everyday II set and some gold gems from Little Things from Lucy's Cards.

Card Two

This card is completely different and uses the stencil print I took at the end of creating the background for card one above.

I think the print turned out well and makes a beautiful and subtle background for this card. I used the CZ Design Swoopy Thank You die set for the sentiment and coloured a piece of card with Green Onyx ink to cut for the background. I finished with some dots of Cosmic Twinkles and Nuvo Crystals.

The sentiment is from the Sentiment Strips 2 set but the original sentiment was too long for where I wanted to place it on the card. I tried stamping it and cutting it up, but it looked odd as the spacing didn't work. So I stamped it in two parts by covering the part I didn't want to stamp with washi tape, inking up the remainder, removing the tape and then stamping the inked words - I did this twice to achieve the sentiment on the card.

Card Three

Of course, I couldn't stop there. I wanted to see what the result would be if I intentionally inked up a stencil to take a print so I used one layer of the Deco Diamonds stencil and inked it up with Hickory Smoke, Faded Jeans and Tumbled Glass Distress Inks, to create a sort of ombre effect, then laid over a piece of watercolour paper (for the thickness and softness of the paper, rather than its water-absorbing properties) and ran the whole thing through my Spellbinders Platinum. The end result was a dry embossed and printed background, perfect for a masculine card. What you can't see in the photograph, unfortunately, is the embossing - it really gives a lovely texture.

I used a sentiment from the Note for You stamp set and stamped it in dark blue, to coordinate with the background. I don't know where the die is from, I'm afraid - it has been in my stash for sooo many years.

The effect is quite watercolour-ish, because I used Distress Inks, which don't lie on the surface of the stencil as opaque colour. 

Cards Four and Five

For the next example, I used Distress Oxide inks, and you will see how well they stick to the stencil and what a vibrant print they give. 

I chose the Henna Square stencil and Wilted Violet, Salty Ocean, Mowed Lawn, Fossilised Amber, Carved Pumpkin and Picked Raspberry Distress Oxide inks. After inking up the stencil, directly with the ink pads, I placed a piece of Neenah 80lb paper over to pull the print. This time, I simply rubbed over the back of the paper to pick up the ink and it worked remarkably well:

As there was still plenty of ink left on the stencil after taking the first print, I spritzed with water and lifted another print, which was a beautiful, pale copy of the first.

And, just to make the most of all the ink I had used, I also spritzed the ink left on my mat and ink and blotted it up with a spare piece of watercolour paper, which I will keep to use in a future card.

The boldness of the initial print was stunning but I wasn't sure how best to use it. Then it came to me - much like the original stencil has cut away bits, why didn't I cut away some of the white space to emulate this? So that's what I did:

The gold 'birthday' is the Let's Have a Word: Birthday die from The Greetery and the subsentiment is from Sentiment Strips 2. I think cutting away some of the white and mounting it all on foam pads gives a whole new look to the finished print. A few gold gems finished it off. 

The pale 'shadow print' needed something much softer, which is not my usual style at all. So, I used the Beauty Within stamp set and stamped this in Faded Jeans Distress Ink. I stamped it several times, so that I could use elements to cut out and mount on foam pads, to give a 3D effect. I took my water brush and used the ink in the image to pull some pale colour into various parts of the flowers. I then cut and mounted the extra flowers and was quite pleased with the gently coloured outcome:

I used the largest die from The Greetery's Nordic Frame die set to trim down the background panel and give some interest around the edge. The panel is mounted onto gold card (not much shine in the photograph, I'm afraid) and then onto a pretty pale pink card from my stash, to complement the pastel colours in the background print. I added just a few sparkles to finish.

Of course, I couldn't resist using the stencil in the traditional way, just to show you how it looks against the other examples:

Three very different results from one stencil - what a great technique!

I will definitely use this technique again. It is great for subtle backgrounds and allows you to actually use the negative of the stencil in a creative way. 

Thank you for spending time here, Peeps, your support is much appreciated. 

Until next time, keep crafting.


Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and if you follow them and make a purchase I might receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. This helps to support my blog. 

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21 September 2021

I Did It!

I'm delighted to say that my Level 2 AECP projects have been adjudicated and I have passed my final challenge. 

Looking forward to level 3 - watch this space.

Until next time, stay safe and keep crafting.