Crafty Meraki #MerakiCraftober Release and Video!

Hi guys!

Today’s post is a ‘whatcha wanna do, blog or video?’ post as all the action is over on YouTube, where I’m hopping along with the crafty peeps with the Crafty Meraki team to celebrate the October release! If you want to skip straight to the YouTube hop, CLICK HERE.

If you want to skip straight to seeing all the new goodies, CLICK HERE, but if you want to keep reading, keep scrolling down.

We have more mini slimline diecuts, both actual diecuts and cover plates and I do love me some cover plates. It’s such a fun way to add some interest to a background, I love, love, love doing that as I’m not that great with plain white space. Somehow it doesn’t feel quite as naked when it has texture, you know what I mean?

This is the Parisienne Mini Slimline, it also comes in full-size slimline, but I do prefer the mini-slimline myself. For sure. Here I used the Parisienne Mini Slimline on a white card stock, after using it on a panel created with Distress Oxide sprays. You can see the colours in the pattern, which adds a really cool effect. If you don’t want this extra colour, just make sure to clean your cover plate between using it on ink blended or sprayed backgrounds.

This is the panel I used the Parisienne Mini Slimline plate on first, and that was just what this background needed. The colours I used are Squeezed Lemonade, Rusty Hinge, Kitsch Flamingo and Seedless Preserve. If you don’t have or want to use sprays, you can ink blend whatever colour you have/fave colour combo instead.

I love that subtle texture and pattern, over these colours. The Hello is the Hello Shadow Word die, and I filled in the hello itself with Rainbow Illusion gems. That part took ages, but it does look so cool!

Here is what it looked like before I added the gems.

Another pattern is the Pagoni Mania Mini Slimline, and it was just begging to be bedazzled. At least that’s what I heard. This is another background made with Distress Oxide sprays, I’m slightly obsessed with them at the moment and have added quite a few to my collection recently. Eh, what’s a girl to do when her ICDQ (Inner Crafty Drama Queen for those of you who don’t speak fluent cray-cray) is screaming she needs more??

Here I was going for a rich brocade fabric look, with blues, red, purples and gold, and then added Blue Illusion gems on the pattern in places where it was practically made for them. How perfect is that? It’s like this holder for gems, isn’t it?

This card was finished off super simple by heat embossing sentiments in Rich Gold embossing powder on vellum strips. These have been wrapped around the panel and secured on the back.

On the next card I have mixed and matched two new cover plates: The Dance With Me Mini Slimline panel was used on an ink blended background. This is done with Ocean Breeze, Aquamarine, Mermaid Cove and Tidal Pond ink from Pinkfresh Studio. The pattern is just lovely.

With the Olivia Mini Slimline plate I cut out one out of Peacock card stock from Lawn Fawn, and one out of Black Licorice. These two are layered up slightly off-centre to allow the Peacock colour to show a little.

A white banner with ‘thinking of you’ from the Special Delivery stamp set was added, along with some gorgeous amber-gold gems.

In the Special Delivery stamp set there is a flower bunch, which I have coloured using Copics.

As I have such a hard time with white space, I used the Parisienne Mini Slimline cover plate on the whole thing and it was just what the crafty doctor ordered.

A simple sentiment banner was the final thing for this card, and I’m quite proud of myself for not adding a single gem on this one! That’s hard for a self-confessed over-sequinizer/embellisher.

Not that the lack of embellishment lasted long mind you. I used a fair amount of them on my next card, also done with the Special Delivery stamp set. What can I say? You can only rein in the bling-monster so long.

For this card I stamped the floral image off to the side and coloured it in with a cool colour scheme of pink, grey and turquoise.

It’s finished off with the Hello Shadow word die again, and lots of Sparkle Golden Illusion gems. By cutting out the shadow part of the Hello, which has the stitching to add interest, it helped with the white space for me.

Well, with that I am all done for today. I hope you have found some inspiration here with me today. Maybe you struggle with white space too, and got some confirmation that you are not the only one, or got an idea on how to help your cards feel less “naked” with white space. If you have other ideas on how to help with that ‘my card feel naked and unfinished’ feeling, I’d love to hear them!

I have used some compensated affiliate links in this post, for your convenience and at no extra cost to you whatsoever. If you shop using these links, I get a small commission directly from the company it’s linked to, as a thank you for directing you to them. It’s a win-win if you are shopping anyway, so thank you for supporting me by using mine. I really, really appreciate it a lot more than I could ever express in words.

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

Trinity Stamps Autumn Impressions release | Guest Designing and YouTube hop!

Hi guys!

It’s a busy day on the blog today, this is one of two, and this one is all about the newest release from Trinity Stamps! I was delighted to be asked to guest for this release, as I was on the design team when Trinity first started and I am friends with several of the design team members in real life.

In fact, last year after Creativation, Tanesia, Katie and I got together at Room To Craft in Bothwell, Washington, for an afternoon of crafting, chatting and general catching up! It was so much fun and went by way too fast.

Ok, enough reminiscing before I get all emotional about how hard it’s been since Covid hit. So, the new release is amazing and I have some fun things to show off, as well as a couple of cards.

The first thing that grabbed me, which should surprise nobody at all, is the Rainbow Layering Stencils! Ok, these are rather genius and so easy to use! There is also a coordinating stamp set AND diecut set for these, but they work really well on their own as well.

I made two backgrounds with these fun stencils, using inks from Concord & 9th, in Buttercup, Sprout, Oceanside, Midnight, Eggplant, Honeysuckle and Marmalade. With a small army of Life Changing Blender Brushes, pre cut card bases and some washi tape, I got to work.

My first attempt I might have been a little bit too gung-ho on, and I didn’t line up the bottom of the rainbow arches perfectly, but eh, it still turned out fab.

This one I made really dark and rich, and finished if off with a diecut banner stamped with the sentiment ‘Just wanted to say you always make me smile‘. I did use a Mini MISTI to make sure I got the sentiment on relatively evenly spaced out and properly stamped.

The banner itself is propped up with some foam tape and that was that. No bling, if you can believe it!

On the second panel, I went in with a very light hand for a more pastel look. I also added some clouds before, which I didn’t do on the first one. When I was happy with this one, I stamped the Awesome Human stamp in the middle of it, with black ink.

All around it I used the Summer Sparkles embeltiments that comes in the Summer Blooms kit, which is still available in the shop!

There is also a YouTube hop today, celebrating the new release, so hop on over to THE VIDEO HERE, if you want to check out some more fun inspiration and the rest of the goodies I got. You can also win a $25 gift voucher to Trinity Stamps shop if you enter the giveaway over there, all the info can be found in the description box under the video.

For the YouTube video, click on, or look for, this thumbnail. If you are not into videos, you can hop along on Instagram where we are doing a hop as well. You will be totally spoilt with inspiration and amazing projects, so make sure not to miss it! You can find my Instagram page here.

Right, that’s it for this post. I will be back later today with another blog hop. Please don’t be mad, sometimes it can’t be avoided that there are lots of posts on the same day.

If you shop the new release using the compensated affiliate links I have sprinkled all throughout this post, I will get a small commission from the companies directly, at no extra cost to you. All earnings from these links go directly back into the running of my blog, YouTube channel and instagram, and now also towards the ‘future crafting shenanigans forever craft room’ as hopefully we will buy a house in the next few months! Keep your fingers crossed for us as we have put in an offer on one and are waiting to hear back, so it’s a super exciting/anxious time.

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

Crafty Meraki #MerakiMini Release + Video!

Hi!

Today I am YouTube hopping with the Design Team and guests over at Crafty Meraki to celebrate the newest release and it’s all focusing on die cutting! We have loads of fun flower diecuts and mini slim line cover plates.

Of course there are prizes up for grabs too, it wouldn’t be a celebration without some. You can win $100 of Crafty Meraki products, and if you like slim line cards, you will have so many fun goodies to play with. Don’t forget to hop on over to YouTube to join the hop for your chance to win! As well as be inspired, of course.

I have used the lovely Rachel Para-die for some flower-power cards, as I’ve used both the outline and the bits inside. And some more bits… I will explain: I started out by cutting out the three flowers out of white card stock. I added a little bit of washi tape on the back and then coloured in the petals with Copics.

For this first time I wasn’t too careful at all and lots ended up on the frame part of the flower. When I popped the petals out to use on another diecut piece, I realised that the frame looked really pretty too!

With some greens and browns I filled in the rest of the flowers, and used them on a white card that I popped a white Bar None Slim Line diecut piece on. Super simple, and all it needed was a sentiment from the Elegance stamp set and it was done.

One of the flower diecut I had used the coloured petals on, I also added some greens and brown to, but kept the frame part white around the actual petals.

This flower I popped onto a bright card panel, made by adhering strips of coloured card stock to a base (If you want to see how I make this style of background you can CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO) . The final touch was adding the word ‘smile’ with Stitched Alphabet diecut letters in white card stock. I chose ‘smile’ as it keeps with the theme of the stamp set in this release.

For letter diecuts and bits that need to be put on straight, I use Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive or Lawn Fawn glue tube, as a liquid glue give you a little bit more time to make sure things go on straight.

I loved the look of this Rachel flower so much I made some more, but made some adjustments. This time I layered the flowers themselves up with two pieces, and then the coloured petals on top, to give some dimension. I left the frame pieces white this time.

These flowers I set aside while working on the background, which I made with the Wanderlust slim line die and a Copic coloured background. This isn’t fancy by any means, I basically drew three shades of green in what would be the pattern under the diecut. The aim was a look of rolling hills, sort of.

I poked out some of the pattern on the diecut piece, and left the middle ones intact, before glueing this down. The flowers themselves were layered up, and adhered with Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive as well. I didn’t use foam tape for them, but I did use foam tape for the sentiment strip, to pop that up.

My final card is super simple, as I simply stamped the floral image from the Reasons To Smile set on an ink blended background panel. This set comes with coordinating Para-dies, but I haven’t used those here.

The colours I used were Squeezed Lemonade, Salvaged Patina and Chipped Sapphire. I use Life Changing Blender Brushes from Picket Fence Studios for almost all of my ink blending, I get such good results with these brushes.

I also splattered some white gold water colours on this panel, and once that was dry, I stamped the floral image in Blackout detail ink, with the help of my MISTI. The final thing to do was to stamp, and cut out, a sentiment from the Elegance stamp set, with the coordinating Para-dies. This was popped up with foam tape and that was it.

The Elegance stamp set has become a firm fave of mine, it’s so gorgeous with a big, bold flower and has some great sentiments in it too. Another plus is that there are coordinating Para-dies for this set. I’m not a fussy-cutter, no.

Well, that’s it from me for today, but don’t forget to check out the YouTube hop. If you shop the Crafty Meraki new release, I’d be so grateful if you use my affiliate links, that I have used all throughout this post. They do not cost you anything extra, but help me so much, so thank you for your support!

Below you will find links to Ellen Hutson, with some really great alternatives to the coloured card stock I used for my stripy backgrounds. I used Lawn Fawn, Concord & 9th and The Stamp Market for mine, but I’m loving the coloured card stock pads from Memory Box! SO many shades in each pack!! These have gone straight to the top on my coloured card stock wish list.

Thanks again for stopping by, lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

You can find me on various social media platforms, by clicking the links below.
My blog
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My YouTube channel
CaCaCraft on Facebook

Exciting news and a bold floral card

Hi everyone!

I’m very excited to announce that I am joining the Crafty Meraki design team! The lovely Bindu asked me to join their 1st Merakiversary in May, and I loved it so I was thrilled when she asked for more videos. It’s always thrilling to be asked for more work, it’s such a confirmation that what I do is well-received. (picture me doing a crazy dizzy emu dance here)

I have used the exclusive Crafty Meraki stamp set called Elegance, and I’ve water coloured it with Inkon3 Atelier ink re-inkers mixed with Liquid Pixie Dust. I used my MISTI to stamp it with Fadeout Ink. The Atelier inks are available from the Crafty Meraki shop, but the re-inkers are not, at this time.

After colouring the image in, I have used the coordinating Para-dies to cut it out. I have also used the dies to cut out one of the sentiments that I had heat embossed in Rich Gold embossing powder from WOW! Embossing. The embossing ink I use is also the one from WOW!

The card base is cut out of Storm Cloud coloured card stock from Lawn Fawn, and I have also splattered this with white gold water colour. This is from the Kuretake Starry Night palette, and is one of my absolute go-to for gold and metallics.

The floral image and the sentiment have been propped up with foam tape, and I didn’t trim off the bits sticking out because I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I like the wild look of it.

There is a YouTube video on the Crafty Meraki YouTube channel for this card, and I’m mainly going to be doing videos for Crafty Meraki so make sure you subscribe to their channel if you want to see what I will be getting up to!

That’s it from me for today, but before I go I’ll just mention that I have used some compensated affiliate links in this post for your convenience. Shopping with affiliate links does not cost you anything extra ever, the company it’s affiliated to pays me a small commission directly, thank you so much if you chose to support me by shopping with these links! I really appreciate the support! 

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica!
If you want to see more of my work, I have linked to my social media accounts below. I’d love it you’d give me a follow there!

My Blog
Instagram
My YouTube channel
CaCaCraft on Facebook

5K Subscribers Together | Rainbow Hop |video hop winner announcements!

Hi *waves sheepishly*

Back in June my friend Maria Willis, AKA CardBomb, and I hosted a YouTube video hop together, celebrating (a bit early) reaching 2.5K subscribers each. At the time of the hop, neither one of us had actually made it there, and we are still a bit short. We are also very late with the winner announcements. Apologies about that, life happened at a rapid pace for both of us and we couldn’t get it done in time.

If you want to skip straight to the VIDEO CLICK HERE.

If you missed the Rainbow themed video, and the entire hop, you should definitely check it out as we roped in some of our fabulous crafty friends to hop along with us!

For that video I only managed one card, but of course it was a sparkly-licious rainbow card! It was so fun to make and I love that extra pop of the sparkle on the rainbow. If you want to read all about it, you can find that BLOG POST HERE.

I used an array of the companies that sponsored the hop, including Pinkfresh, Picket Fence Studios, Concord&9th, Hero Arts and WOW! Embossing.

For this video I decided to use another mix of sponsors, to highlight them a bit too. They so generously offered prizes and the hop would definitely not have been the same without them.

The first card I made with a gorgeous stencil from Gina K Designs, called Mandala Burst. Stencils are one of my fave items to work with, they are so versatile and affordable! After spraying the stencils with Pixie Spray, I set those aside to cure for a few minutes (this is a critical step, do not skip this!) while I got out the rest of the stuff I wanted to use.

First off I inkblended some Atelier Inks, from Ink On 3, through the Mandala Burst stencil with my Life Changing Blender Brushes, from left to right Peacock Blue, Goddess Green, Bee Sting Yellow, Marigold Orange and Sweet Petunia Pink.

Over this I stamped the Love Is Love Bold Print from Hero Arts, in black ink with the help of my MISTI. Thanks to having just re-inked my Black Hybrid ink pad I only needed to stamp once but better safe than sorry, right??

With the background panel done, I trimmed it down with a stitched rectangle die from Lawn Fawn. While I had my Diecutting machine out I cut out three ‘thinking of you’ out of white card stock and one out of black card stock. These I layered up with Nuvo Deluxe adhesive, and then on the top (black) layer I heat embossed Clear Gloss embossing powder to give it a nice shiny look. I did two layers of it, for that puffy sticker look. I love that, and it’s one of my fave ways to elevate word dies.

A sentiment from the Thinking Of You stamp set, the coordinating stamps to the word die, was stamped up in black ink on white card stock and trimmed down. This was addhed to the card, and the word die right underneath it. With that, the first card was done. Without a single sequin on it too!! Whaaaaa??

The second card was done with a rainbow stencil from Erin Lee Creative. This one was part of a kit, and isn’t available now, BUT she has a load of other super fun rainbow stencils and rainbow dies. You defintely want to check out her shop and support a small business!

Instead of ink blending, I used my beloved Paper Glazes from Picket Fence Studios. I absolutely LOVE these, not only are they fun to play with but they look fan-freaking-amazeballs-tastic too. That shimmer and shine is enough to mesmerize me, every time!

From left to right, I’ve used Agapatha Purple, Peony Pink, Daffodil Yellow, Lime Zinnia, Ocean Poppy and Cornflower Blue. I actually did this right after I had done the ink blending for the first card, and while the Paper Glaze was drying I worked on all the other bits and pieces for the first card. Multi tasking and all that, right?

I used the same stitched rectangle die on this panel and then it was simply finished off with a sweet sentiment in black ink. The one I chose is from a Gina K Design stamp set, called Watercolor Flowers. Super simple, but with a pop of colour and a sweet sentiment, you don’t need much else sometimes.

That’s it from me for today, but don’t forget to check out the WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT VIDEO to see if you are one of the many winners!! Also, Maria wrote a blog post on her blog and made a video for her YouTube channel, so make sure to check out those as well.

Some compensated affiliate links have been used in this post, for your convenience, at no extra cost to you. Any earnings I get from these links go directly back into the running of my blog, Instagram and YouTube channel so thank you so much if you chose to support me by shopping with these links. I really appreicate it!

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

Tonic Studios Stamp Club June Release and Blog Hop: Sunflowers & Sunshine

Hi and welcome back to my blog!

Today’s post is one of the stops for the June release of Tonic Studios Stamp Club blog hop! This month it’s all about Sunflowers & Sunshine and the next stop is the fab Emily Midgett, and you might have come here from the gorgeous Maria Willis!

You can find the Sunflowers & Sunshine bundle both in the UK Tonic shop, as well as the US shop. If you are in the US and can not wait to grab this fab bundle, CLICK HERE.

If you haven’t heard of the Stamp Club before, it’s a monthly kit, but it’s not a subscription so you can pick and choose which ones you want. Don’t fancy this month’s kit? Just skip it and check out next month’s one. Easy peasy, and no pressure, no membership and no automatic payments going out.

There is a release the last Friday of every month, except for some where holidays might fall on the last Friday. There is also a release blog hop every month, where you can win an entire release as well as a gift voucher, either $50 or 50 quid depending on where you are! All you have to do is leave comments along the blog hop before June 30th, 11.59pm PST/7.59am GST July 1st.

If you have missed a kit, check out the available ones in the UK Tonic Shop here, and the ones available in the US Tonic Shop here. Once they are gone, that’s it, they won’t be restocked so if you fancy one or two, grab them as soon as you can.

As mentioned, this month’s kit is called Sunflowers & Sunshine. In it you will find gorgeous sunflower stamps, and lots of coordinating dies, as well as standalone dies so you can make flowers without colouring a single one! So cool, this is definitely a must have kit!

For my card, I did do some colouring. Unsurprisingly, lol. I started with the cluster of sunflowers and stamped them up on Copic friendly card stock.

I have used quite a few Copics to colour this image in, but I think it was worth it. Next time I might go a bit darker yellow though, for these I tried keeping quite a lot of light on them for those sunshine highlights.

Once the colouring was done, I used one of the diecuts to cut this out, and then I trimmed it down a little bit more with my paper trimmer. The image fits nicely on the horizontal, on an A2/5,5”x4.25” panel.

Before I adhered the flower cluster, with foam tape of course, I stamped up on of the sentiments from the stamp set with black ink, on a slim strip of card stock. This one was adhered directly to the card base, and then the flowers on top of this.

I very nearly left it like that, but the lure of those gorgeous sequins proved to be too much. Eh, what can you do? To not overwhelm the card, I tucked a few of them in under the flowers, so they just peek out a little. It brings in the eye and doesn’t take over the whole card.

With that, I’m done and it’s time to hop on! The full hop list can be found below:

Maria Willis
Erica (that’s me, you are here)
Emily Midgett
Marie Heidescheit
Daniel West
Natasha Vacca
Channin Pelletier
Sandi MacIver
Seeka
Jen Kray
Ilda Dias

For extra chances to win the giveaway, the more comments you leave along the hop, the better the odds of you snagging next month’s kit as well as that $50 or £50 gift card!

I have used some compensated affiliate links in this post, at no extra cost to you. Tonic Studios UK and Tonic Studios US will pay me a small commission directly, and as mentioned, this doesn’t add a single penny/cent to your cost. Any earnings I get from these links go directly back into the running of this blog, my YouTube channel and Instagram. Thank you so much if you chose to support me by shopping with my affiliate links. I really, really appreciate it!

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

You can see more of my work on various social media platforms, like
Instagram
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Inkon3 & My Sweet Petunia/MISTI collaboration

Hello, hello!

Today’s post is for a collaboration between Inkon3 and My Sweet Petunia, the company behind the MISTI. If you know me, you know I’m useless without my MISTI, I’m a forever fan, that’s for sure.

For my card today, I decided to use the new My Sweet Petunia stamp set, with the coordinating layering stencils! So cool. I love these.

I have used the luscious Atelier inks for the inkblending, with an array of Life Changing Blender Brushes from Picket Fence Studios. For the flowers I used Sweet Petunia Pink (duh, lol!) and Bee Sting Yellow. I did plan on using some My Jam Purple for depth, but just layered up more of the pink and yellow.

For the stems and leaves I used Goddess Green with a touch of Trinity Teal and Bee Sting Yellow. I’m not 100% happy with the result though, I should have just used the green and teal I think.

After letting this dry a little, I used an anti-static tool all over the panel before popping it into my MISTI. As I wanted to heat emboss the My Sweet Petunia stamp over it, I am so glad I had the MISTI on hand. NO waaaaaay I would have been able to get it right with a stamping block.

I reached for my fave WOW! embossing powder, Rich Gold, and after stamping the image with the Embossing Pad, I sprinkled it all over, tapped off the excess and set it with my heat tool.

That gold goes so well with the colours, but then it does work with everything in my opinion. I love this gold, it’s so classy and elegant. Apparently there wasn’t enough gold on it already though, so I splattered some gold water colours, from the Gansai Tambi Starry Colors palette, all over it as well.

Sentiments wise I didn’t want to take away too much from the flowers, so I kept it simple with a sentiment from the Here For You set, stamped up in Sweet Petunia Pink, on a slim banner.

I have a video on my YouTube channel too, as well as a reel for almost the same card, but with different colour ratios (and no yellow on the stems) as well as Platinum embossing powder, on my Instagram, if you want to see snippets on how the card was made.

Well, that’s it from me for today but I hope you enjoyed this and if you wanted to get a few of these yummy goodies for yourself, I have used compensated affiliate links in this post. If you shop using these links, I will get a small commission directly from the company at ZERO extra cost to you! Yes, that’s right. It’s basically a win-win! Any and all earnings I get from these links go directly back into the running of my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram, so THANK YOU if you chose to support me by using these links. I really appreciate it so much!

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

Picket Fence Studios June Release!

Hi!

It’s the 14th of the month, and we have a fabulous release from Picket Fence Studios! Let’s dive right in! I use ‘dive’ because it’s filled with mermaids and water based creatures!

First off we have A Fishy Lot, and it has coordinating dies too. Thank goodness! Most of these sets I have coloured with Copics.

I have made a video of some of the colouring and the techniques I used for the whale, it’s coming to the Picket Fence Studios YouTube channel soon. Make sure you subscribe to that so you don’t miss it.

Next up we have More Of A Fishy Lot. These mermaids were so fun to colour! I’ve tried making each one a little bit different, almost like a personality, but still keeping them cohesive. I’m super happy there is a coordinating dieset for this one too!

This next mermaid, Mermaid Dear, is from the ‘Dear’ range and this one is so sweet! I coloured her with Zig Clean Colour markers and added Liquid Pixie Dust to the mermaid tail to make it sparkly. Sadly it doesn’t show up in the photo.

Mermaid Dear also has a coordinating diecut. Imagine the fiddle to fussy cut the puffer-fish-balloons…! No, thank you!

I actually finished a card with her! On the background I have used the new Slim Line Triangle Peaks Stencil with some blue Distress Oxide inks and my Life Changing Blender Brushes. The rocks she’s sitting on are the Pond Scenery set. There is a huge lily pad leaf in it too.

This set also has a coordinating die, and I can totally see that lily pad being the party pad (see what I did there?) for the frogs in the Drop By To Say Croak set!

This is another one of those sets I’m super happy to have coordinating dies for. I’m pretty sure more than one frog would lose his legs if I attempted fussy cutting these guys!

If you aren’t into sea creatures, do not worry! There are plenty of land creatures in this release too. Just look at these guys from the Forest Critters Stopping By To Say Hey! There are even wild boars in it! I attempted to colour them as closely as I could to the ones I used to see all the time, whilst living in Poland.

There are lots of little pairs in this set, and a couple of trios, like mama, papa and a baby. Luckily there are coordinating diecuts for these too.

With the help of the A2 Tree Silhouette Cover Plate and like a bazillion sequins from the Pot Of Gold Sequin Mix, I made a card with quite a few of the little cuties from this set.

Using the same A2 Tree Silhouette Cover Plate, and the bear from the Forest Critters Stopping By To Say Hey set, as well as the Hello Word Topper, I made another card.

The background has been ink blended very softly with blue, and then I have stencilled over some Snowdrop White Paper Glaze with a blender brush for a soft look. As soon as I finished with the Paper Glaze, that brush was washed to avoid ruining it.

I will have a video up on my YouTube channel soon too, showing off the entire release and some of the cards up close.

That’s it from me for today, thanks for stopping by and I hope I have tempted you to get a little something-something for yourself. I have used compensated affiliate links in this blog post, for your convenience. These links do not cost you anything extra at all, and I get a small commission from the company directly as a thank you for directing you to them. Any earnings I get from these links pay for things like running my blog, YouTube channel and keeping things fun and fresh for you, so thank you if you shop using these. I really, really appreciate the support!

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

5K Together YouTube Subscribers Hop!

Hi everyone!

Today’s post is a little celebration for myself and a dear crafting friend, Maria Willis, for sort of reaching a milestone of 5000 subscriber combined. I didn’t quite make it to the 2.5K subscribers as I had hoped, as I haven’t been so active recently due to a stressful family situation. If you haven’t heard anything about it, my FIL is not doing well and will have a very risky operation on Monday, after over a month in hospital. The Man flew out this morning and it was quite stressful and hectic to get it all sorted and organised. Hecking pandemic, eh??

If you want to skip right to the hop, start over at Maria’s YouTube video, and go from there. I am the last stop on the loop, but if you want to go to my video, you can click on THIS LINK to get there.

Life is tough at times and I think it’s important to celebrate and cherish the happy times as you never know when the tide will turn. Hence this little hop! Maria and I roped in some of our crafty friends to make the hop bigger than just two stops, and you are not going to want to miss their projects! The full hop list can be found below, and we also have some super generous companies sponsoring prizes for a massive giveaway to celebrate us.

I have a couple little projects to share today, and as the theme for the hop is ‘Rainbow’ I’ll start with that one:

Out of Neenah Solar White #110 card stock, I cut out two rainbows using the Color Block Rainbow die from Pinkfresh Studio. I did two because I wanted to layer up the pieces for some dimension on the card.

Each ‘ray’ of the rainbow got colour added in a slight ombré effect, with Life Changing Blender Brushes from Picket Fence Studios (my go-to blending tools!) and ink colours from Concord & 9th, and also a dab of Ballet Slipper from Pinkfresh. I don’t know why I didn’t use the pink from Concord & 9th. Who knows what goes on in this head of mine at times??

Once they were all colourful and pretty, I glued them down with the Nuvo Deluxe Adhesive onto the second, intact, rainbow, and this in turn was adhered to another piece of card stock for sturdiness. The excess was trimmed off with scissors. I needed it very sturdy as I wanted to heat emboss Halo Glitter Powder from WOW! Embossing on top for shimmer.

This process is very simple: dab your embossing ink pad all over the rainbow, make sure it’s nice and juicy first though. Then sprinkle the Halo Glitter on top and set that with your heat tool. The simmer is insane and I love it!

Sentiment wise I used ‘Believe in yourself, like I believe in you’ from the Hero Arts and Honey Bee Stamps collaboration set Stronger Together. This is stamped directly onto the card base, with Hybrid Black Ink, with the help of the MISTI and the rainbow as a guide where to place the sentiment. I also added lots of hearts from the set, these are also stamped up with black ink.

Unfortunately I made a boo-boo with the hearts, so I HAD TO bring out the sequins to cover that up. Had to. There was simply no other option. I added a few… -ish… to the card, these are Sparkling Clear from Pretty Pink Posh, and they are adhered with Nuvo Deluxe adhesive. It’s become my new staple in liquid adhesives arsenal.

So that’s the rainbow card. The next card is done with one of the new sets from Ellen Hutson, it’s release day today! It’s called Pressing Thoughts and it’s illustrated by Brandi Kincaid. It has a coordinating diecut too! YAY!

It’s coloured very simply with some copics in yellows and greens, and a tiny bit of purple on the stamens. The coordinating diecut was used to cut it out, as well as another two layers. These three pieces were adhered together with more of that Nuvo Deluxe adhesive. This is such a clever way to add some interest to clean and simple cards!

It was trimmed down to a mini-slimline size, this one is just a tad bigger than 3”x6” and the scalloped black card base was cut out using the Scallop Frame Slimline Diecutting System from Picket Fence Studios. I customised the size by running the diecut and the card stock through my diecutting machine twice to get the scalloped frame and the correct size.

The sentiment is from the Pressing Thoughts stamp set, and the ‘thanks’ was stamped directly onto the background and the ‘for everything’ was done on a slim strip of card stock. This was adhered with a little bit of foam tape to make sure it didn’t sag on the sides. And that was it!

Well, that’s it from me for today but I really hope you enjoyed this post and will get a chance to hop along with us over on YouTube! That’s where you need to leave your comments to be in with a chance to win one of the fab prizes. We can not thank the sponsors of this hop enough!

I have also used some compensated affiliate links in this blog post, for your convenience and at no extra cost to you, in case you want to shop! If you shop using my links I get commission directly from the company, and as I mentioned, it doesn’t cost you anything at all. This is a great way to show support for your favorite content creators.

Thank you so much for stopping by, and if you want to get hopping, the full hop list is down below. I’m 100% sure it will blow your mind so don’t miss it!!

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

Maria Willis

Marie Heiderscheit

Kari

Ardyth

Channin

Jessica

Jen Kray

Carly

Erica (that’s me)

Mental Health Awareness Month | My Story

Hi, and welcome to my blog!

May is the month of Mental Health Awareness and it’s high time that the stigma around mental health is removed, so that everyone who has been affected, and WILL BE affected, can get treatment.

Unfortunately mental health issues are so very common, as many as 1 in 5 are suffering from some form of if, from phobias, to anxiety, to eating disorders, to panic attacks, to OCD, to chemical imbalances just to mention a few. The umbrella that covers mental health issues is a very, very big one and it’s sadly very underfunded.

Over on Instagram there is a hop going on now, where lots of crafty people are banding together to spread awareness and hopefully help others feel less alone in their struggles with mental health. You can find the hop by following this graphic.

Today’s post is very uncomfortable, probably for you as a reader and me for talking about difficult stuff and I’d like to make a trigger warning announcement right now: I’ll be talking about bullying, and the resulting issues that comes with that. I’ll also be talking about my struggles with depression and obsessive compulsive tendencies. As I have never been diagnosed officially with OCD I’m going to call it ‘my obsessive compulsive tendencies’ rather than actual, diagnosed OCD.

I also made a video, and I ask that you be kind when you watch it. Anyone who leaves a negative or derogatory comment will be permanently banned from my YouTube channel. It took a lot of courage to share all this, and it’s only part of it. There is so much more, and I simply will not let anyone shame me, or anyone else, for sharing what they have/are going through.

My story is complicated, and long. So long. From almost as early as I can remember I have felt anxious, painfully shy and different. As I started school, I almost immediately was singled out by ‘the popular girl’ and she made my life hell for nine straight years.

I made these grungy backgrounds to sort of illustrate how I feel sometimes, on the inside. Outwardly colourful, as I’m also a very positive person (which is such a juxtaposition at times) but with a dark and messy side inside and underneath.

When I look back now, I realise that she wasn’t popular because she was nice, fun to be around and a lovely person. She was popular because of her family’s social standing in the village I grew up in, and she based her own self-importance on that, and she thought she was VERY important. In actual fact, she was mean, spoilt and downright nasty.

So much so, that one day her best friend decided to give her a taste of her own medicine and banded all of the other girls in the class together to freeze her out, like she had done to so many of us. I vividly remember that day, and when I was told she was crying in the bathroom after one day of being treated like i had been treated for years, I finally found the courage to tell my other classmates that I had spent many, MANY days crying in the bathroom because of her and her behaviour towards me. Clearly having had no idea about this, some were sympathetic but things didn’t really get much better after that. She got her power back and she kept on misusing it, even after feeling as bad as she made me feel. Even though for her, it was just for one day.

Having seen this, I shrank back even more and tried to make myself so small that she wouldn’t notice me, because surely she wouldn’t pick on me if she didn’t notice me? I also started having thoughts like ‘if I can make it to that spot before that car passes me, it will be ok today’. It’s funny when you look at things from an adult perspective, on things you didn’t understand as a child. Now it’s very obvious to me where a lot of my anxiety, insecurity and impostor syndrome come from, but back then? Those weird thoughts could induce a full-on panic.

On the way home from school I had to cross a river, and there were times I stood on that bridge watching the water flow wondering how long it would take to drown. Looking back on those days I am full of rage that someone managed to make me feel so worthless that I actually were thinking along those lines. The only reason I never did anything stupid like jumping the railing, with the intent of not coming back up, was fear it would hurt, love for my little sister, who was also bullied, and my cat.

It wasn’t until I started at a new school, and met new friends (who actually wanted to be friends with me!) that I started to find some confidence in myself and believing that maybe everything she had told me, sometimes on a daily basis, wasn’t true. I wasn’t stupid, I wasn’t fat and ugly, I wasn’t a waste of space, the clothes I wore didn’t reflect my value as a human being, etc etc.

I decided to use this word die because it says it all, and it’s layered up with white and black card stock, as well as heat embossed with clear embossing powder.

It took a while, but as I spent a year in the US working as an au pair, I really found my feet and let my personality blossom. It turns out that I wasn’t half-bad, after all, people wanted to be friends with me and thought I was fun! Imagine that. After having spent so many years feeling so small and insignificant, it was truly wonderful and that year I spent in the US is still one of the best ones of my life.

After I got back to Sweden, my family unexpectedly imploded. I was 20, but all of a sudden I felt like I was 5. My father walked out on us, with very little indication of what he had planned, and left us in the dust to pick up the pieces. That was extremely traumatic and left us all shell-shocked. I didn’t know how to deal with the onslaught of emotions and responsibilities, so I ran. I’m not proud of it, but I ran. I packed my bags and left, never to move back to Sweden, ever again.

This sudden departure of my father left me with trust issues and a lingering depression, but luckily for me I met The Man that very same year and he did everything in his power to prove to me that he was staying, he was supportive, understanding and patient. Most of all, he simply loved me. Still to this day, some 20+ years later, he’s the same. He’s stood by me through all of my emotional wobbles, my manic cleaning and tidying episodes, all of my depression lows, all of my obsessive tendencies.

The cleaning thing he never really understood, and I have hidden some of the worst from him, which was easy at one point as he worked away from our home during the week and was only home on the weekends. As my trust in him was growing, I entrusted him with more and more of ‘my crazies’ as I call them. Whilst he doesn’t fully understand how cleaning and order could make me feel calm, and would mess with me by moving stuff, he accepts that it’s part of me.

I also added sparkles to the card to represent all the different facets of our personalities. The black sentiment almost disappears but the whole point is that it’s supposed to be a bit difficult to see it. It IS difficult to see that we are loved, especially when we feel unworthy of love.

When I have my depression lows, the first thing that goes is my personal hygiene. Gross as that is, it’s the truth. The next thing that goes is the need for cleaning. As I mention in the video, at one point the cleaning and the cleaning routines were almost the very thing that structured my day. I could feel it getting worse, but I also couldn’t see what the problem was with me wanting to have a clean and tidy home. As my compulsions grew stronger, my lists grew. I had one for things I had to do daily, another for weekly tasks, a third for things that needed to be done once a month, and lastly a list for things that only required doing every three months. These lists were laminated and I’d obsessively tick off the things I had done, and then calculate how long it would take me to achieve the rest. There were days where I had to stay up late to get it all done, but going to sleep without having ticked off all the things? Close to impossible.

My obsessive compulsive tendencies started out with a traumatic incident in my life, and ironically, it was another major tragedy that helped me overcome some of it. When we lost both of our dogs within six weeks of each other, I stopped functioning for a while. All I could do to get through the day was by one breath to the next, the grief was so bone deep and devastating that I felt like I was drowning in it.

It took me a little while to get my head above water again, and when I surfaced I realised a lot of time had passed and I had done absolutely no cleaning whatsoever. That need for it had disappeared almost like a switch had been flicked. Like my brain had short circuited and been somewhat reset. I couldn’t hear those voices telling me I ‘had to do this or that, this way, not that way’, over the deafening roar of heartache and grief. Those very voices that had made me believe that if I did what they said, nothing bad would happen. Well, talk about a wake up call that that was a big fat lie.

Don’t give up on someone who’s resisting your love and support. Even when someone says ‘I don’t want it’ on the inside they could be screaming ‘please don’t go, don’t leave me alone, I need love but I’m scared’.

I still have some of these obsessive compulsive tendencies today, I’m not going to lie. I am a bit of a basket case some days, for sure. If I’m feeling stressed, anxious or sad I will very often clean and tidy stuff. I think the difference now is that those voices aren’t telling me something bad will happen or someone will die if I don’t do this, it’s almost like a trade ‘if you do this, I will tamp down on those anxiety feelings for you’. I don’t even know if that makes any sense to anyone other than me, but there you have it. It does help most of the time, and those times it doesn’t help, at least I will have accomplished something. That’s how I try looking at it these days.

For instance, recently I have had a lot of stress from a family situation, and at first it left me feeling like nothing matters so why bother? I spent three days on the sofa with my chicas and books, and then all of a sudden, I cleaned the kitchen until it was spotless. The next day I moved on to the bathrooms. We have two, so there is always something that can be done there. Admittedly, the levels of anxiety I have had about filming the video for this Mental Health Awareness hop, meant I needed to clean those bathrooms two days in a row, but ok. Sometimes I wonder if it’s the physical, as well as mental, tiredness I need, rather than the order? It’s really too bad I’m not focusing these energies on doing squats. I’d have buns of steel!

Like everyone else, my issues are very personal to me, and everyone is affected differently. Just because someone else has the same issue as you do, doesn’t mean it affects you both the same way, which is why understanding and acceptance are so important. By sharing my story, and opening the door to my inner crazy, I’m hoping that it will help someone out there feel less alone. Know that there are people out there who know what you are going through, and how you feel.

If you are struggling, please know that there is help. Know that people care. You are NOT alone. Ignore those voice that tell you it’s not worth it, why bother, nobody cares etc. They are wrong, they lie and they do not get to tell you you are not worthy, loved and needed in this world. You are not alone.

So much love, and big hugs if you made it all the way to this point.

Erica