Bitten by the bug

I have been thoroughly over excited since being picked at random as the winner of the Claritystamp Anything Goes challenge blog.  Not only have I received a fantastic £50 voucher for my favourite stamps, I even got a mention in the April edition of the Claritystamp new design club newsletter! I feel very lucky and have made my first purchase with my voucher.  I’ve bought a few new inkpads and will keep the rest for stamps that I really want – which is difficult because I want them all!

This month’s challenge is In the Garden so I’ve had my thinking cap on. Claritystamp had a very generous sale on at Easter which included some of the past In the Classroom sets so I bought two that I had been hankering after; the Blooming Corner kit with the remountable insects and also the Birdcage set.

I had thought about doing a children’s card with a lift the flap kind of theme.  My first attempt didn’t go so well as I started by doing the background pictures first and then trying to line up and cut the apertures out of the top piece after.  Once I realised that wasn’t going to work I started from the top down.  Originally the card had featured some of the bunnies but then the blooming corner kit arrived and I was desperate to have a shot of that. 

Having stamped around the A6 Theuva card with the blooming corner stamps I spent a good few nights going round colouring in the flowers with my Promarkers.  I’m not very good at colouring so I remembered all of Barbara’s classroom advice and built the colours up slowly.  I then stamped three wrought iron square stamp in the centre of the card and covered the squares and flowers with Post-it masks.  Using the lovely lettuce green Adirondack I brayers across the card to give me my background colour.  

I then coloured in the wrought iron squares and cut around three edges of each of the squares to give me my lift the flap effect.  I could now mark out the squares’ positions on the background piece and made little pictures using a variety of stamps – I particularly like the ladybirds :).

The finishing touches – I attached the words “What can you find in the garden?” having first of all stamped them using the Letterbox kit onto shrink plastic using a black Stayzon pad and shrunk them in the oven – only took two goes to get it right this time!  A couple of little buzzy bees and I was done.

Finally, both bits were put together and, using double sided sticky tape, were attached to the final A6 card.

I’m delighted with the end result and I am entering this card into the second Claritystamp Challenge, In the Garden.



To shrink or not to shrink

I love Shrink Plastic.  I’ve still got the little Christmas decorations that the children made to put inside homemade crackers about 10 years ago – and they go on the tree every year.  I was fascinated with the idea of using stamps and Shrink Plastic when I saw Barbara Gray of Claritystamp demo it on a Create and Craft – Stamping with Clarity – Imageshow a few months ago.  Seemingly Barbara had a history with Shrink Plastic on the show and previously had, as my daughter would say, an epic fail when demoing it before.  The clip is on YouTube and it does make me laugh.

I went out and bought some clear Shrink Plastic and I can honestly say that my early attempts were about as good at the Barbara’s on that show.  I tried the tray and heat gun technique but ended up with bits that stuck together and didn’t uncurl, which is really frustrating when you’be spent ages colouring in your artwork.

I decided that it wasn’t for me and put it aside, until I saw Karen Clare’s wonderful card on the last Stamping with Clarity show on Create and Craft.  Via her blog, Karen was good enough to give me some advice on how to use Shrink Plastic and last night I got myself prepared by stamping up sheets of frosted plastic and clear plastic ready for colouring today.  I finally found a permanent inkpad within my stash that dried and stayed put on the plastic but I had also found that it needed a good bit of time to dry.

This morning, as my husband headed out for a cycle, I got everything together and started colouring in and cutting out.  All of a sudden it was 1 o’clock and the kids were complaining about being hungry.  Deciding to have sausages for lunch meant I had a valid excuse to put on the oven and give the shrinking a go.  I was feeling a bit nervous as I wondered if my morning’s work would, in the words of Barbara, end up looking like a pork scratching.

However, success!  Nothing stuck together and everything turned out looking just as I had hoped.  I’ve decided that I definitely prefer the depth of colour you get using colouring pens over pencils (I used my Pro Markers) and I especially liked the glittery effect that using my Sakura clear star gelly roll pen gave me (thanks for the tip Shrink Plastic).

I’m also enjoying ATCs, or artist trading cards.  Something new to me, again through Claritystamps, the ATCs are so small and cute, only 2.5″ x 3.5″ in size.  I decided to combine the shrinked images with an ATC and miniturised one of my favourite scenes using the Moonfairy stamp, one of the funky cottages and also part of the split tree.  They are so effective.

So, now to decide what to do with the rest of my shrinkies – watch this space.


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