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.

12 September 2021

AECP 2 - Final Challenge Part 2

Hi Crafty Peeps - welcome to Part 2 of my AECP Level 2 Final Challenge post. You can read Part 1 here

As a reminder, the first part of the final challenge was to create four masculine cards for various occasions throughout the year and this is the second part - to repurpose/recycle or alter.

Upcycled/Repurposed Item

Our house is full of potential repurposing things and I often repurpose boxes into pretty gift boxes, particularly at Christmas as it is always wonderful to give and receive a beautifully presented gift, don’t you think? But I chose to recycle the case of an old, much-loved but damaged CD.

This is a desk calendar – ‘A Year of Flowers’ – and it sits in the CD case beautifully.

My first challenge was to set up the pages so that I could print the calendar month and a motivational/ thoughtful/funny quotation on each page. I use MS Publisher when need to lay out a page accurately – I find it works better than Word. 

I measured the inside of the CD lid, which came to 12 cm x 14 cm, so I wanted my pages to be 11.8 cm x 13.8 cm, so that I had a little wriggle room when sliding them in and out of the lid. In order not to waste paper, I set up two calendar pages on one sheet of paper and made sure that I was consistent with placement, headings, fonts, etc., throughout. 

You can see how the pages were set out in this screenshot.

Once I was happy I printed the pages onto Make It Colour card – it is so smooth and I love how it takes ink and markers and pencils.

In order to deliver a year of flowers, Mr Google and I worked at finding a list of birth month flowers and came up with the following (plus a note of the stamp sets and stencils used for each page):

January - carnation and snowdrop (Pen Sketched Flowers and Narrow Brick Stencil)
February - violet and primrose (Build-a-Flower: Sweet Violet and MFT Wavy Lines Stencil)
March - daffodils and jonquils (Paint-a-Flower: Daffodil and Deco Wallpaper Stencil)
April - daisy and sweet pea (Spring Daisy and Fine Tulle Stencil)
May - lily of the valley and hawthorn (Fairy Tale Florals and Fine Tulle Stencil)
June - rose and honeysuckle (Enchanted Roses and Grid Stencil)
July - larkspur and waterlily (Build-a-Flower: Cattleya and Fine Tulle Stencil)
August - gladiolus and poppy (Airbrushed Flowers and Deco Wallpaper Stencil)
September - aster and morning glory (Build-a-Flower: Aster and Grid Stencil)
October - marigold and cosmos (Stunning Cosmos and Narrow Brick Stencil)
November - chrystanthemum (New Beginnings and Narrow Brick Stencil)
December - narcissus and holly (Build-a-Flower: Poinsettia and Mighty Corners Stencil)

I had some of these flower stamps already and some that could masquerade as others, so I pulled them all out of my stash and got to work. December didn't get her holly, tho!

I also chose several of my stencils, as I knew I would need them for background interest. I tried to choose quite geometric patterns as a foil to the softness and prettiness of the flowers, as I didn’t want the pages to look too fussy. I also pulled out my roll of Judikins masking paper, as I could tell there was lots of masking ahead! And I think this shows my dedication to fussy cutting!

I cut an oblong mask to mask the calendar part of the page, as I didn’t want any colour over this. Then I stamped around the page, masking where necessary, and masking everything before stencilling the background. 

Once done, I added colour to the flowers in a combination of layers of the layering stamp, Copic markers and coloured pencils.

There’s a little photo-story below of making one of the pages, so that you can see my process:

  • mask the month
  • stamp and mask the flowers
  • stencil over masked page
  • remove stencil and all masks to reveal finished page.


Even if you are using a layering stamp set, you can add extra depth and detail with your favourite colouring medium. I used Prismacolor pencils over some of my final images to strengthen the shadows or deepen a colour I felt was a little too light. You can see the difference this has made in the Sweet Violet images - check the page above then see the page below, where I have used coloured pencils to add further depth and colour to the stamped image.

And here are the final calendar pages.

As you can see, the calendar sits really well on its own and as each month passes the front card moves to the back and a new month is revealed. 

Thank you for your time in reading this long post. I hope you have found it interesting and that you might even have a go at repurposing a CD case yourelf.

As always, a list of all the products I have used (where still available) is below.

 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. 

AECP 2 - Final Challenge Part 1

Crafty Peeps, thank you for popping along to see me.

Today’s is a special post as it is all about the final challenge for my AECP Level 2 certification. It will be a long post so I have divided it into two sections – you can see section two, Altered/Upcycled Item, by following this link.

The challenge consists of two parts, which are:

  1. to make 4 masculine cards on the themes of Love/Thinking of You, Anniversary, Encouragement and Happy Birthday
  2. to upcycle/repurpose/alter an object.

In addition:

  • Select any 3 components from the classes in Level 1 and 2
  • Explain the components I have chosen
  • Share any design tips

My blog post must include a detailed step-by-step photo tutorial and/or YouTube video (still my nemesis, I’m afraid) and there must be a minimum of 10 photographs of the cards and project.

Not much to do then!

My first task was to decide which components I would include from the 20 classes I had taken so far. I love colour, so one of them had to be ‘In The Mood for Color’, from which I learned how colour really affects the feeling of a card and the message it sends.

Second was ‘Let It Shine’ – where would we card makers be without a bit of bling? A simple thing like adding a little sparkle can lift almost any card to the next level. It can provide an easy win when your mojo is flagging, and there are so many interesting ways to use the various shiny products in your stash.

And third I chose ‘Creative Stencilling’ because I love stencils! I love the ease with which stencils can change the feel of a whole card or project: got a climbing flower that looks a little lonely on the front of a card? Then stencil a trellis or a brick wall for it to climb up and you have instantly boosted your card to the next level.

Of course, it’s not possible to create without using elements from other classes: layering stamps, making your own backgrounds, inking tips and tricks, and much more along the way. The 20 classes have provided such a lot of brilliant tips and techniques.

My next task was to look through my Altenew collection to see what inspired me. I chose to interpret the brief as 4 cards that someone would send to a partner at different times of the year so I didn’t want to make the cards into a set, i.e. have them all look somehow related to each other.   That made it easier to pick the stamps and stencils I would use, and gave some scope for design.

Card One – Happy Birthday

The first card I made was the birthday card. I chose the ‘Aztec stencil’ for this as it is beautifully graphic and a great pattern to repeat across a card front. Using masking tape/Post-it tape, I masked off parts of the stencil as I applied ink with finger daubers for a little more control and used my favourite ink sets to apply bold colour. I was happy with the result – it really popped, as you can see.

I used Altenew Mega Alphabet dies H and B to cut out the two large letters. I also cut an additional three of each of the letters from white card and stacked these together before adding the stencilled letters on top.


When stacking die cuts for dimension, cut the extra layers in white card, stack them together and then, before adding your top layer, take an ink pad that matches or coordinates with your top layer and ink all around the edges of the stack. There will be no white edges showing around your stack.

I originally wondered whether I should make an eclipse card but I wanted a bit more contrast between the letters and the background so I inked the stencil again with Sea Glass ink. I also cut another set of letters from gold mirror card from my stash as I wanted to offset the H and B to give a little more interest to this simple design.


When inking/stencilling/stamping for a background like this, always ink a piece larger than you need. It allows you to pattern match with the background more easily – see below.

When I inked the stencil again in Sea Glass Ink, I made sure to ink a piece that was larger than I knew I would need in the end. The reason for this is that I wanted to match my letters to the pattern underneath, but didn’t know how much of the stencil I would need to do that. So inking a larger piece gave me options.

I added the top layer to my stack and then tried the letters against my background, making sure to line up the patterns. I lightly drew around the letters to give me placement then offset the letters against the gold card. It wasn’t until I had everything glued in place that I realised the offset was to a different side on each letter! But, go with the flow – it’s actually okay and it shines!

My final step was to stamp and heat emboss a sentiment from Sentiment Strips 2 to place across the two letters. I chose ‘Have a super day’ and embossed it in white on medium blue cardstock from my stash. A co-ordinating envelope finished this off beautifully. 

Card Two - Encouragement

My second card was the encouragement card. For this I used a combination of bright yellows and pink, with black contrast, for a happy and graphic feel. 

I first blended ‘Citrus Burst’ ink onto a 4.25” x 5.5” piece of Neenah Solar White 80lb paper with my blending brushes to give all over coverage. Then I swiped my ‘Honey Drizzle’ ink cube across the paper to leave streaks of darker yellow from side to side, for a little visual interest. I used the Sphere stencil and some Canyon ink to create some sunset interest in the centre of the panel before using the City Scene stencil and some Memento Tuxedo Black ink to lay down the city scape across the bottom of the panel. I added a second city layer in grey ink for extra depth.

I chose to extend the black area down the card to give somewhere to show a little reflection by swiping a white pigment ink pad gently downwards from what I determined was the base of the city buildings, first masking a straight line with some wide Post-it tape. 

I chose the sentiment ‘Say yes to new adventures’ as I felt this card represented something fun and new and exciting – the yellow really pops.  I stamped the sentiment in black Versamark pigment ink and heat embossed with clear powder.

A few gold crystal gems added some extra sparkle and a co-ordinating envelope finished this brightly‑coloured card. 

Card Three - Anniversary

Card number three was my anniversary card and I was excited to use my Blocks die set for the first time.

From some thin copy paper I cut three sets of blocks – because the paper was so thin I was able to layer the sheets together and cut all three sets at once. In the back of my sketchbook I worked on arranging the pieces until I had made a complete rectangle with the blocks, and I used this as my guide whilst making the card itself.

Rather than cut blocks from several different colours of cardstock, I chose to cut two complete sets of blocks from Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 100lb paper and then coloured each block using my finger daubers and Altenew inks from the Martian Terrain, Northern Shores, Natural Wonders and Pocketful of Sunshine mini ink cube sets. I cut an extra piece in gold mirror card from my stash and two further ones of the same shape in white card, which I layered with the gold for dimension. 

Using the pattern I had made as a guide (with just a couple of adjustments), I used the corner of my MISTI to help me keep the panel square as I assembled it, sticking the pieces onto a piece of copy paper to give them stability. I generated my sentiment in MS Publisher (easier placement than Word) and printed it onto 300gsm white cardstock, which I folded to make a card base. I adhered the ‘puzzle’ panel onto the card, leaving a small border of white at the top , and then attached the ‘missing’ piece on top, leaving some of the empty space visible below to give the impression that the puzzle needs to be completed.

Another co-ordinating envelope and card three was complete.

Card Four – Love/Thinking of You

The fourth and final card was on the theme of Love and, actually, I found this the most difficult to create of all the cards as I didn’t want anything too floral, too cute, too masculine, too feminine…need I go on?

Eventually I decided simply to begin and see where the process took me. I took a 6” square piece of pale red (i.e. not too saturated colour) card from a Memory Box Gradient Pad and began blending ink onto it with my blending brushes, using Velvet, Crimson and Grape crisp dye inks, until I achieved the depth and gradient I was looking for.

Then I took the Weekend Doodles stamp set and stamped the flower sprays at the bottom and up the sides of the card in Dark Chocolate ink – a little softer result than using black ink. I was not sure how to colour the flowers until I remembered my Karin Metallic Brush Pens and I found these gave a lovely sheen on top of the red ink. I did some quick colouring and then stamped the outlines again to define the flowers. 

I used the Mega Love die to cut the word twice from white cardstock and once from gold glitter paper, layering them all together for dimension. Per my tip above, I first glued the two white die cuts together and took the Dark Chocolate ink pad and swiped around the edges of the stack so that there were no white bits showing to break up the colour underneath. Then I added the final gold die cut and placed it on the card. I think perhaps I could have placed it further to the left, even if it obscured the flowers a little, as the placement bothers me slightly – but I think the overall final look is great and perhaps it’s the sort of thing that only we cardies would notice? 

I cut the word ‘You’ from gold mirror card with MFT’s Captions Alphabet Dies and added it without dimension (!) underneath the main die cut.

I added a few sparkly crystals from Lucy’s Cards and made a co-ordinating envelope, as always, to finish off.

Thank you for sticking with this long post - I really appreciate your time. Don't forget to check out part 2 here.

 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. 


08 August 2021

AECP 2 - Creative Watercolor Media

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

Today's post is my final submission of work for AECP Level 2 - there is only my final L2 challenge to go before I can 'graduate' and move on to Level 3. 

My final class was 'Creative Watercolor Media', a class led by Jennifer Rzasa, Laura Bassen and Debby Hughes - three talented ladies in one class! 

I am such a wuss when it comes to watercolour - I certainly haven't inherited my Dad's talent in this discipline, that's for sure. I have to admit that I left this class until the last in this level, but there was no escaping it if I wanted to move forward. So today's cards are inspired by lesson 5 and I chose to use my Altenew Crisp Dye Inks to smoosh a couple of backgrounds for my cards. As always, details and links to the supplies used (those that are available) are at the end of this post. 

Card One

For my first card, I used a piece of watercolour paper slightly larger than my 4.5" x 5.5" (11cm x 14cm) card blank, so that I had the option to choose my favourite part and cut the finished panel down to fit once dry. I chose Canyon Clay, Orange Cream and Mahogany Bark inks and pressed these randomly onto a piece of acetate, which I then spritzed generously with water. I picked up the acetate and smooshed it down onto the paper, moving the ink around until I had covered almost all of the paper. I dried the panel with my heat gun on a gentle heat, then repeated the process, making sure to cover the white edges. I dried this again and then smooshed some 'Enchanted Gold' water-based pigment ink onto the acetate. I spritzed this with water and gently smooshed it onto the panel, leaving a light layer of gold shimmer over the top of the pale pink tones of the previous smooshes.

I chose my favourite area of the finished panel and cut this to 4" x 5.25" (10cm x 13cm). I had decided to use two of the flower stamps from the 'Watercolor Art' set, which is one of my favourites, and, with the help of my MISTI, I stamped the first large flower in the bottom left of the panel, using 'Mahogany Bark' ink. 

I masked this large flower and stamped the second, smaller flower, above, in 'Orange Cream' ink - I stamped it twice to give some depth of colour. I then masked this flower as well, and chose 'Canyon Clay' ink to stamp several sprays of leaves from the same stamp set. 

I felt that the panel needed something to give a little more texture, so I took the 'Leaf Bed' stencil and some Ink on 3 Atelier Fusion 'Sharks Tooth' ink and stencilled around the top right of the card and down the right-hand side a little. Whilst you don't see this stencilling immediately, if you look carefully at the card you can see the cloudy white and the overall texture is there and the result is lovely. 

I used the applicator tube from a white ink spray to add some white splatters, and the same from a gold ink spray to add some gold splatters. I layered the panel onto a cream card blank, rather than white, as it complemented the soft tones of the panel. I cut the sentiment from gold card (stash) - I cut it twice and layered the two together for dimension. A handmade co-ordinating envelope finished this card.

Card Two

I wanted a completely different feel for this card, to show that smooshing doesn't have to be soft and pretty.

I took 'Winter Lake', 'Lime' and 'Galactic Stream' inks and pressed them down randomly onto the acetate. I spritzed generously with water, as before, and took another piece of watercolour paper to smoosh the colours onto. I dried the panel and repeated the process, adding in a little 'Orange Cream' for warmth, until the paper was covered. Once the panel was dry I decided I needed to add another colour, so repeated the process using only 'Honey Drizzle' ink. This gave me the result I wanted. 

I thought it would enhance the panel to give it some embossed texture so I used Spellbinder's 'Pebbles' Impressibilities (which I think is no longer made) and ran this and the panel through my Platinum 6 with the embossing plates. This gave a lovely pebble effect and reminded me of an old stone wall.

I've made a very similar card previously (different techniques) and I love this 'Leaf Canopy' stamp set. It was perfect for this card so I used 'Galactic Stream' ink to stamp two leaf clusters down the left-hand side of the panel. I stamped several times to make sure that I got a full impression over the pebbled background. 

I used the same spray applicators to apply white and gold splatters, before adding the sentiment with 'Galactic Stream' ink and heat embossing with clear powder.

Did I mention sequins? There are, of course, sequins on both cards. 

A co-ordinating green envelope finished the second card. 

I'm so excited to have finished all the classes for Level 2 and I can't wait for the details of my final challenge. 

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.