Monday, 30 March 2015

Complete Cardmaking Magazine Projects

Hi everyone.

So it's officially spring at last, although judging by the howling gale I can hear outside, March is going out like a lion, not a lamb.

Did you remember to put your clocks forward? I never change mine at the time you're supposed to as a matter of principle! I finally succumbed on Monday afternoon though as there always comes a point when I get so confused, (especially as I work at night) that it becomes a necessity.

Now that we're on the cusp of April, January seems a distant memory. I was reminded of it this week though as I've been working on projects made with the free (yes, free!) CD-Rom that came with the copy of Complete Cardmaking magazine I received as a gift for my January birthday.

I'm a huge fan of craft magazines but when I discovered this one I was in seventh heaven as it is totally devoted to digital crafting which is probably my most favourite thing in the world, next to chocolate and George Clooney, of course.

When I discovered digital crafting about three years ago, it opened up this amazing new world to me. I've always been artistic but I can't draw for toffee (or even chocolate and George Clooney) but digital crafting allowed me access to this incredible array of artwork, at the touch of a button. Not only that but once I'd learnt how to use a graphics programme, I was able to manipulate the artwork to create my own bespoke designs.

It was a real pleasure then to make some projects using three of the fantastic digital collections from the free (did I mention they were free?) CD-Roms that came with issues 54 and 55 of Complete Cardmaking. All of the images could be taken into Craft Artist Professional 2 (my favourite software) so I was able to design my own projects and then craft with them in the "real" world.

For the first project, a 6 x 6 card, I used the Handmade Harbour collection which has lovely hand-drawn digi-stamps and backing papers on the theme of love. I kept the monochrome style on this card but added a single colour to small sections, digitally. The addition of some silver mirriboard, black card and silver pearls really made the designs "pop".

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

This 5 x 7 landscape card was made using elements from the very pretty Pink Petticoat collection which has a really feminine feel to it and definitely lends itself to the addition of paper flowers and die-cut flourishes. I re-coloured the script backing paper digitally to a co-ordinating shade of lilac and deliberately kept the digi-stamps un-coloured to stand out from the muted pastel tones of the kit.

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

My final project, an 8 x 8 scrapbook page is probably the one I'm most pleased with and for this I used the very "on-trend" (in terms of colours) Uniko Studio. I really enjoyed working with these elements. The flowers and butterfly digital stamps re-coloured a treat in CAP2 and the backing papers were perfect for punching and cutting digitally. I have to admit it was a "happy accident" that the large re-coloured pale blue flowers look like felt! The word art was also really useful for scrapbooking, too. 

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

So all in all, a pretty good week's work and by the way, did I say that the CD-Roms were free?!

Monday, 23 March 2015

Create & Craft Lovely In Lace Card (Stash Buster Challenge #1)

Hi everyone.

The eyes of the world are certainly on my home town of Leicester at the moment as the remains of King Richard III are laid to rest in Leicester Cathedral. At the risk of upsetting any Ricardians amongst you, I can't say the whole event has exactly filled me with enthusiasm. But then I suppose it's not every day that the body of the last English king to die in battle goes past the bottom of your road for the second time in 500 years.

I was going to do a somewhat tenuous link between old remains and the old items in my crafty stash but thought better of it. However, I should like to take this opportunity to introduce the Stash Buster Challenge. I realise the middle of March is a bit late for New Year Resolutions but here's one that slipped under the wire. I resolve to set myself a regular challenge of using one or more items from my crafty "stash" that have been lingering in my craft room far longer than they should.

Like most crafters, I buy way more supplies (especially papers and paper kits) than I need and what seemed like a "must have" purchase at the time can often remain unused or barely used for years. So...let the challenge begin and feel free to join in with your own Stash Buster Challenges, too.

This is a card I made using one of the very first paper kits I ever bought, Lovely in Lace from Create & Craft. When I finally got it out again, I was reminded of the pretty pastel tones, the beautiful vintage florals and cameos, not to mention some fabulous backing papers.

Since I last used this kit, die-cutting has come onto my radar so this was the first time I'd ever used dies with these particular designs. I chose to use the impressive Mariposa Petals die from Tonic which is a more recent purchase. It was also great to do some embossing again with one of my embossing boards, the Dreamkeepers frame plates. (Is it just me or does anyone else really miss the Glitter Girls?)

Apart from the silver mirror card, the beige/cream card which was actually from another ancient C&C kit and the embellishments, everything else has come from the paper kit. I've really enjoyed re-visiting it and and can't wait for my next Stash Buster Challenge!

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015  

Monday, 16 March 2015

Docrafts Simply Floral Mother's Day Makes

Hi everyone.

Just a quick post today as I should have been in bed about eight hours ago!!

If you're a mother reading this, I hope you enjoyed Mother's Day yesterday (or Mothering Sunday to give it its correct title!) or if like me you are motherless now, I hope you found the day manageable.

I've been working with the lovely Docrafts Papermania Simply Floral paper kit this week as it lends itself really well to Mother's Day makes, although it's suitable for lots of different occasions, too. Like its compatriot the Bellissima kit which I used in a previous post, it's packed full of everything you need to make beautiful cards and gifts - from stunning backgrounds to a wide range of toppers, tags and boxes.

I chose to make three items altogether and I only used two sheets of backing paper and about half of two sheets of die-cut decoupage which still leaves another 44 sheets to work with!

The cotton wool storage box is a recycled tissue box with a piece of acetate covering the aperture. I pleated a doily for the top of the box and tied pink ribbon round the base. It only needed a few elements from a co-ordinating decoupage sheet, with a touch of silver glitter, to make a very pretty gift.

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

The pencil holder is a recycled aluminium can covered inside and out with the same design of backing paper and more ribbon. There is also a sneaky silver flexi-peel-off, always useful for covering a multitude of sins! Again I only needed a couple of elements from the same decoupage sheet plus three of the die-cut flowers for the pencils to complete the item.

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

Finally, the card is a 5 x 7 white card blank decorated on the front with the same backing paper from the kit to give a nice border. I embossed a piece of white Centura Pearl card and then decoupaged the large flower from the kit on top. The sentiment is also from the kit and the gems and mini bow from my stash.

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

Have a good week and I hope you get lots of crafting done.  

STOP PRESS: I was really pleased that these projects were picked up from the Docrafts Facebook page where I'd posted them and featured in the May 2015 issue of the Docrafts Creativity Magazine. Fame at last!

Monday, 9 March 2015

My Craft Studio Silhouettes With Style CD

Hi everyone.

I'm just trying to get my mind back onto crafting after England's disastrous performance in the Cricket One Day World Cup. Oh well. Not long to go until the test matches start, thank goodness!

I'm still feeling in a "spring-like" mood, so this week's project continues that theme, even though originally it was going to be about dogs to acknowledge Crufts. I recently acquired the fabulous new Pollyanna Pickering Best of Breeds crafting DVD from Creative Crafting World and was planning to do something from that but time got the better of me. Don't worry though, every dog-lover will still have their day in a future post.

Talking of crafting CDs, I finally counted how many "new" ones I have piled up in my craft room waiting to be looked at. The answer was 27 which was a bit of a shock, although not as bad as the total of new digikits which was over 70! This week was the week I finally decided to start going through them all and a lovely CD from My Craft Studio called Silhouettes With Style came to the top of the pile. I've always been a huge fan of MCS CDs, in fact they were among the very first I ever bought and this one doesn't disappoint as it has some beautiful images including silhouettes and fabulous backing papers.

One of the things I love most about CD crafting is the flexibility. For instance, I found a design sheet on the CD which I loved and which included all the bits and pieces I needed to make a card but which wasn't available in an 8 x 8 size. Also, I wanted to change the colour of one of the elements. I was able to take the whole sheet into Craft Artist Professional 2 (this particular MCS CD doesn't have the MCS Graphics Programme on it, otherwise I would probably have used that) and with a combination of digital punches, the scissors tool and the Cut-out Studio, was able to separate all the elements on the sheet, resize and recolour them as required and then build my card.

All I had to do then was add a few digital gems and a ribbon from one of my digikits and I had a lovely card design which, of course, I can now print out and "hybrid" craft if I so wish.

I hope you like the design and here's to a better summer than winter for the England cricket team!

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015


Monday, 2 March 2015

Fairy Tales Spring Digikit

Hi everyone.

I hope you've had a good start to March and that it's not blowing too many gales where you are.

It may not officially be spring until March 20th but who's counting? The orange crocuses are out, the green shoots of the daffodils are starting to pop up expectantly and was that a lawnmower I heard this morning? Surely not!

I don't know anyone who doesn't look forward to spring. It has that New Year feel of freshness and a blank canvas, I always think. The worst of the winter weather is (hopefully) over and we can look forward to lighter nights, little woolly lambs and that new version of Poldark on the telly.

In the spirit of spring, I decided to design a piece of digital art using the very pretty Fairy Tales Spring Digikit from Daisytrail. This kit is full of lovely wild flowers, fairies, butterflies, birds and bunnies. It has a definite "spring-feel" and is great for Easter projects, too.

My original idea was to have a fairy as the central image and use one of the digital papers from the kit as the background. However at the eleventh hour, I decided to put one of my own spring flower photos (taken in my garden last year) over a background and add a blend. This created a much more ethereal sort of background which seemed to lend itself to a softer image such as the photo of the lady and the little girl.

When I googled "quotes about spring", the Pablo Neruda one was the first that came up but although I looked at several others, I knew that was the perfect one for this piece. The other elements all came from the kit and were softened with glow edges and the transparency tool to create the overall whimsical effect.

Enjoy what's left of the winter!

Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015