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

Almost At 10K on Instagram!

Hi guys and WOW! I can hardly believe it but I am getting so close to a MAJOR milestone on Instagram: 10 000 followers and that fabulous swipe up feature!

Another crafty friend, Norine, is also almost there and we have some lovely friends who wanted to celebrate/help us get there, so over on Instagram there is an Insta hop happening. With a giveaway too!

I started by making a green and also a rainbow background panel with the Artist Markers, by swiping the markers back and forth to blend them together. On top of the green one I adhered a panel cut out of white card stock with the Striped Leaf cover die.

This is one of the few progress photos I managed to remember to take. I just got on a roll after this and couldn’t stop it, but I did film it so there is a YouTube video up too.

Grabbing a whole stack of inks, including the Pocketful Of Sunshine, Cherry Blossom, Red Cosmos, Warm & Cozy, Summer Afternoons, and Rose Petal Ovals I got stamping! For the leaves I mixed Tropical Forest and Green Fields.

I have used three different stamp sets: Build-A-Flower Chrystantemum, Beautiful Day stamp set, which also comes in a bundle, and Hope stamp set. This also comes in a bundle.

The second background was done with the Layering Plaid B Cover Die on white card stock, and I kept all the bits in their places so the whole background is white, but textured.

Initially I had planned on mixing and matching the flowers and leaves, but I did actually end up keeping the cards mostly in the stamp family they came from. Which was a bit of a surprise, to be honest.

On the card with the BAF Chrysantemum flowers, I used leaves from the Hope stamp set. To get more depth, I did mix and match inks from the Tropical Forest and Green Fields ink bundles.

I finished this card off with Fairy Rocks Embellishments from Trinity Stamps, for some fun bling! The sentiment is from the Build-A-Flower Chrystantemum set.

The second card was done with the Beautiful Day flowers and leaves, and the sentiment was created with Thick and Thin Alpha. It’s been heat embossed with Rose Gold embossing powder. The sequins are from Studio Katia and are called Crystal Clear Fusion.

My third card was quite quick but it’s still very colourful and fun! I created a slimline rainbow background using the Artist Markers and then heat embossed lots of sentiments from Crafty Friends in white on it.

As this one was quite flat/one layered I felt it needed some texture with Black Eyed Baubles from Trinity Stamps. And again.. I did not hold back at all, lol!

Well, that’s it from me for today, but I hope you enjoyed this post and if you are not following me on Instagram, what are you even doing?? Just kidding, but seriously, that’s where most of my crafty action is happening.

There are compensated affiliate links in this post, as well as a few non-affiliated ones, for your convenience. If you shop using the affiliate links, I get a small commission from the company directly, at no extra cost to you. Anything I make from these go back into running my blog, YouTube and Instagram fresh and fun for you guys.

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

You can find me on various social media platforms if you want to see more of my work

My blog (that’s right here)

Instagram

My YouTube channel

CaCaCraft on Facebook

Concord & 9th Feature Friday part 2!

Hello everyone and happy Feature Friday!

Today I am back with another blog post featuring the February release from Concord & 9th. If you missed the first one, where we focused on the Meadow Blossom bundle and the Brushed Stripes Background Stamp, you can find that post HERE.

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The stars of this post are the Stitched Blooms Bundle and this month’s Turnabout stamp Blooms. The bundle also come as separate pieces, with the Stitched Blooms stamp and Stitched Blooms dies. The dies have a fabulous stitched pattern that is just gorgeous!

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I have made quite a few cards with these goodies so let’s get to it!

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My first cards is super simple and elegant, if I may say so myself. I simply used the Stitched Bloom diecut on white card stock, twice to get a full coverage. After heat embossing one of the sentiments from the Say Hello stamp set on a strip of vellum, I wrapped this around the panel and then adhered the whole thing to a white card base.

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I wasn’t done with the Stitched Bloom diecut, and used it on a piece of water colour card stock. Then coloured it in with Atelier Ink re-inkers I had mixed with Liquid Pixie Dust. It adds sparkle to the colours and look fabulous. It’s not the easiest thing to photograph properly, but I tried.

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The colours I used for the colouring are Bee Sting Yellow, Marilyn Red and Goddess Green. I have a plastic palette where I’ve dripped a few drops of each colour, and into these, I added a drop or two of the Liquid Pixie Dust. By adding in the shimmer into the colours, I kill two birds with one stone and only need to do one bit of colouring! Genius, right??

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This card I wanted to keep quite simple as well, to keep the focus on the pattern and the colouring. I heat embossed one of the sentiments from the Stitched Bloom stamp set. I used Rich Gold WOW! Embossing powder, but heat embossed it twice to get a nice raised texture on it.

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I turned my attention to the Blooms Turnabout stamp next, and I went to town with stamping up some panels with different inks. All the inks I have used are from Altenew and naturally I had my MISTI for this part. On my first one I used pinks and light green. For the green I used only Bamboo, and for the pinks I used all four of the inks in the Cherry Blossom family. I have the Ovals but they also come in Mini Cubes.

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My second panel was bright and vivid, with yellows and light turquoise/blues. The yellows are from the Pocketful Of Sunshine, these also come in Ovals and Mini Cubes as well. The blue/turquoise inks are Sea Glass and Ocean Waves from the Cool Summer Nights. Ovals and Minis as with all of them.

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The last panel is more like a fabric pattern than ‘natural’ colours but I love how it turned out! I also tried something different with this panel and that was embossing three of the turns of the flower part with clear embossing powder.

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The colours are from the Cool Summer Nights family for the leaves, and the flowers are done in grey from the Rock Collection set. I did the three lighter colours of the grey with the clear embossing over them to see what it looked like and it’s a really cool effect!

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I decided to use the yellow and blue panel for the card though. To start with, I trimmed down the panel to 4″x5.25″ and adhered it to a light grey card base. To finish the card I needed something to go on top of it, but what?

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I decided to stamp up some of the flowers and leaves from the Stitched Bloom set on coloured card stock. I used thecoordinating diecut to cut these out and then layered some of them up. I also cut out the ‘LOVE‘ out of coloured card stock, in coordinating colour scheme with the rest of the card.

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With that, I’m all done for today but don’t forget to check out the other guest designers’ work on the Concord & 9th blog!

As always, I have used compensated affiliate links in this post. These do not cost you anything extra at all if you shop using these, but I will get a small commission from the company directly. More importantly though, my work relationship with the companies get strengthened. I greatly appreciate the support and encouragement you guys give me, so thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

You can find me on various social media platforms if you want to see more of my work

My blog (that’s right here)

Instagram

My YouTube channel

CaCaCraft on Facebook

Below you can find affiliate links to Ellen Hutson

 

Altenew Gold Stripe Washi tape cards

Hi friends!

Today I have two quick cards made with some Altenew goodies. The reason they are quick is thanks to the washi tape I have used on the background. Slap some of that on a piece of card stock and bam, background done! There is a great offer from Altenew on their washi tape range from today until tomorrow, see details below.

Let’s get to the cards, shall we?

On two pieces of card stock, I ran the Gold String washi tape along the bottom of both. This one you can get on its own or in a bundle with some other fabulous designs.

Then I placed them close to each other but still with enough of a gap so I could cut them apart and leave a bit of tape to wrap around the card stock.

Turning them over, I folded the washi around the edges. To make the corners tidy, I also trimmed down some of the excess before folding it over.

In the space of a few minutes, the backgrounds were done! So easy and handy for those times when you need a card, like yesterday.

Sentiment wise I decided to stamp up two different ones, one is a birthday and one is a congratulations. These are from the Mega Succulent stamp. On 1 inch wide strips of black card stock, this is Black Licorice from Lawn Fawn, I heat embossed them in Antique Gold embossing powder. Of course I used an anti-static tool on the card stock first and then stamped them with VersaMark ink.

At first I thought that would be enough but it did need a little something else. The answer was some black and gold leaves cut out using one of the dies from the Hibiscus Garden 3D set. The gold card stock is Honey Gold from Tonic Studios, it’s a lovely satin finish mirror card stock.

With my sentiment strips and leaves in hand, I started layering these up. I tried mixing and matching the black and gold but that wasn’t working out the way I pictured it in my head. To avoid a total over-thinking meltdown, I went the simple route of keeping one black..

And the other one with the gold.

These cards took me less than half an hour to put together, and that’s with all the faffing back and forth with black or gold only vs mixing them up.

To make sure they were a bit more different than just the gold or black, I also turned one of the panels upside down to move the sentiment strip.

Well, that’s it from me for today. Super quick and easy cards and short-ish blog post! Whoop whoop!

I have used compensated affiliate links in the post, so if you shop using these, I will get a small commission from Altenew amongst others, directly, at ZERO extra cost to you. I really appreciate the support and every little helps, so thank you if you choose to support me like this.

Worth checking out!

  • Clearance Sale! We have more amazing products rolling in very soon, so we’re clearing out older products and making room for some shiny new items. Everything in the Clearance collection is now up to 60% off! Once the product sells out, it will no longer be available. Shop here → https://altenew.com/collections/clearance

  • Shipping promotions .

    • FREE U.S. shipping on orders over $100 with code USFREE

    • $7 off international shipping on orders over $100 with code SHIP70FF

Studio Katia Blog Hop Giveaway Winner and Birthday Cards + video!

Hi everyone!!

Oh my goodness, I’m so excited! I have so much fun stuff to share today: the winner of the recent Studio Katia Blog Hop giveaway, two fun and colourful cards AND another video to my brand new YouTube channel!

If you missed the blog hop post, CLICK HERE to check it out. It’s obviously too late to enter the giveaway but it’s there in case you want to check out the card I made for the hop.

Now, without further ado, the winner of the $25 gift certificate is Mary-Anne V! Congratulations!! Email studiokatiagiveaway@gmail.com with the subject Erica Blog Hop Winner to claim your prize!

Now for the two cards I have done for this post. I used the It’s Your Birthday stamp (at the time of writing it’s unsurprisingly out of stock, but make sure to sign up for in-stock notifications) from Studio Katia.

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The two cards are basically the same, except for the colour of the embossing powder and some of the sizing. One is white and the other is gold. I can’t really pick a fave myself, I keep switching back and forth between them.

If you aren’t a blog reading kind of crafter, CLICK HERE to go to the YouTube video showing how I made these. I’d love it if you’d subscribe to my channel and like my video while you are there!

Ok, back to the written word! The backgrounds are done with the fun Radiating Star Stencil from Neat & Tangled, and an assortment of Catherine Pooler inks. Clockwise from 12 o’clock we have Bellini, Coral Cabana, Party Dress, Flirty Fuchsia, Something Borrowed, Aquatini, Lime Rickey and Limoncello.

To help keep the stencil in place and get clean, crisp lines, I used Pixie Spray (seriously a life saver when it comes to stencils with fine details!) on the stencil a few minutes before I placed it on the card stock. Which is Strathmore Bristol Vellum by the way. I also added some PostIt tape along the edges to get that white frame around it and for extra stay-in-place power. That’s totally a saying now.

Each section was blocked off with sheets of paper and held in place with PostIt tape. Then, with the help of my Life Changing Blender Brushes from Picket Fence Studios, I blended each colour, one by one. You might notice that the centre bit is darker and then the colour goes lighter towards the edges. I think it helps draw the eye in and create some dimension, in an otherwise rather flat design.

The white embossing powder is from Wow! Embossing Powder and the other one is done with Antique Gold from Altenew. Before doing any heat embossing I use my pillow like anti-static tool very generously over the panels. Then, with the help of my Mini MISTI, I stamped the big sentiment ‘Happy Birthday To You’ from It’s Your Birthday, in the middle with VersaMark ink. A generous sprinkling of embossing powder later, a tap-tap to get the excess off and then it was go-time with the heat gun.

I didn’t wait long enough between the ink blending and the stamping with the gold one though and ended up having to clean it up a little with a small paint brush before heating up the embossing powder. I’d like to be able to say that’s the last time that will happen but it’s very, very likely it will happen again and again. Eh, whatcha gonna do?

With both of the panels ink blended and heat embossed, they got trimmed down a little bit to leave a white frame on the card base. Then, with the help of foam sheets cut to size, I adhered them to their card bases. Aaaaaand almost *ALMOST* left them as they were. But, I couldn’t resist adding some fabulous sequins from Studio Katia. These are called Crystal Clear Fusion and I used them all the time, they are amongst my all-time favourite embellishments.

Well, my friends, that’s it! Except to mention that I have used affiliate links in this post for everything I have used in case I have inspired you to pick up a thing or tw… elve (no judgement) for yourself. Using Affiliate links cost you absolutely NOTHING extra but I get a small commission from the companies directly if/when you do. I use anything I make towards the running of my blog and now my YouTube channel so thank you from the bottom of my heart if you use mine. I do not take it for granted and every little helps!

Thank you so much for stopping by today!

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

 

Mondo Peony Anniversary Card

Hi everyone!

Today’s card is especially made for a 20th wedding anniversary. It was requested to incorporate purple as the recipient loves it, as well as other bright colours. Yay for me as I like bright colours too!

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I immediately decided to make a huge card for this as it’s a very special occasion. The card base is 8.5″x5.5″, basically a whole sheet of card stock just folded in half. Go big or go home, right?

The stamps I picked out are the Mondo Peony Stamp set from Ellen Hutson, and it’s quickly become a bit of a fave, I’m not going to lie.

To begin with, I stamped up two of the big flowers with Blackout Hybrid ink, from Ink On 3, and then once more with VersaMark. I had my trusted MISTI on hand for this, of course. After the VersaMark ink, I sprinkled Clear Embossing Powder all over them and shook off the excess. Then I set it with my heat gun. PSA: ALWAYS use your anti-static tool liberally all over your panel to avoid stray embossing powder sticking where you don’t want it.

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This is a technique I love using when water colouring and for these flowers I have used the 36 pack of Gansai Tambi water colours. The paper is Ranger Ink water colour card stock.

On the first flower I went quite dark and intense, with lots of highlights and lowlights. The second flower got a much softer look. The basic colour I used on both was no139 in the Gansai Tambi pack. I took my time colouring these as I wanted to have fun, as well as make them as lovely as I could.

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I also stamped up the rest of the flowers, as well as loads of leaves, with the same ink and clear embossing powder. The leaves I used green no53 and a little bit of yellow no40 to give as natural a look as possible.

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On the smaller peony, as well as the round one and the bud, I used a mix of no34, no35, no 36 and no37. I have a short little time-lapse video on my Instagram, showing part of the colouring I did on these flowers. It’s not showing the entire colouring though, I added lots more colouring after the video finished. In all honestly, it was a loud call of nature that could not be ignored, that stopped the filming. TMI, I know, sorry!

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While all the images were drying, I got some Distress Oxide inks out: Twisted Citron and Mowed Lawn. These two I blended on the card base, using the Life Changing Blender Brushes from Picket Fence Studios, towards the top and kept the bottom quite white. Over the green, I splattered gold water colours from the Starry Colors palette.

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That gold peeking out from behind the flowers and leaves just adds a little bit of decadence. It’s not so much that it takes away from the overall effect, but it’s one of my fave ways of adding a little something extra.

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When everything was dry and cut out using the coordinating diecuts, I used the card base as a guide where everything was going to go. Then using Post-It tape, I covered the flowers and leaves to keep everything in place. Once secured, I turned it over and covered the whole thing in foam tape. I do love that stuff!

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With a bit of help from Altenew, I used a ‘happy‘ diecut and cut it out of Honey Gold matte satin mirror card stock. This fabulous card stock is from Tonic Studios and I’m a big fan. I also cut one out of black card stock and layered these up using the liquid gluetube from Lawn Fawn.

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To finish off the sentiment I heat embossed the word ‘anniversary‘ in Antique Gold embossing powder on a banner cut out of black card stock. This is Black Licorice from Lawn Fawn. The banner diecut is Essential Fishtail Sentiment Strips from MFT Stamps. This is a staple for me, I used these all the time.

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For the ’20th’ I used a mix of Lawn Fawn number diecuts, Louie’s 123, and the Bottlecap Letter dienamics from MFT Stamps. I did the same thing I did with the ‘happy‘ diecut, I layered the cutouts with black card stock to make them pop a bit more and everything is glued together with the gluetube liquid glue from Lawn Fawn.

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With that, the card was done! Happy 20th wedding anniversary to Sissy and Giorgios!

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I have used some compensated affiliate links in this post, at no extra cost to you, and the rest are just for your convenience if you want to pick up any of the supplies I have used for this card.

Thanks for stopping by today! Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

 

 

Going ‘dotty’ over the Neat & Tangled Falling Circles cover plate

Hi guys!

Today I’m popping in quickly with some fun cards made with one of my favourite cover plates, Falling Circles, from Neat & Tangled.

These cards are not over worked, or over-thought out, just put together with the focus on the colours I picked. Navy, white and gold is a classic combination and I love how they came out.

The white and navy card stock was sent to me by Paper Mill Direct UK, without expectation to promote them, but I love how sturdy they are. Perfect for die cutting and card bases.

The gold card stock is from Tonic Studios, and this one is called Honey Gold. It’s a satin effect mirror card stock and comes in a variety of goooooorgeous colours!

After using the Falling Circles cover plate on all the card stocks, it was time to start puzzling. On the back off each panel I adhered foam tape so it was easy to get each dot to stick. This was done quite randomly. None of the three are exactly the same, which I really like.

Once all the panels were filled, I adhered them all to white card bases and set aside for now. As I’m running low on birthday cards, I decided to turn them all into birthday cards. For this I have used some other Neat & Tangled goodies: the Hooray diecut and a sentiment from the Celebrate stamp set.

On banners cut out of the same colour card stock as the backgrounds, I stamped and heat embossed ‘it’s your birthday’. These banners are Everyday Sentiment Banners from Lawn Fawn and the embossing powder is Antique Gold from Altenew.

All the ‘Hooray’s are diecut out of the same navy and gold card stocks too. After matching these up, I glued these together with my Lawn Fawn glue tube.

This is a fabulous liquid glue and so useful when you need to make sure things are lined up in the proper place.

I used the same glue to adhere the ‘Hooray’s to the cards and double sided tape to adhere the banners and with that the cards were done!

This design can be switched up so easily by changing the colour of the card stocks you use. In fact, I have done quite a few in the past myself. Click here to check another trio out!

Before I go, I have got to mention that I have used some compensated affiliate links in this post. What that means is I have linked all the products I have used for these cards, and if you click on one of these and end up buying something for yourself, I will get a small commission from the company directly. At absolutely ZERO extra cost to you! I really appreciate the support and any money I make will go towards the running of my blog and to keep bringing you fun, crafty content.

Thanks for stopping by, and see you all soon again!

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

Dino-mite card with Miss Ink Stamps

Hi guys!

I’m popping in with another card, using Miss Ink Stamps again, today. This time I’ve used the Unstoppable set and coloured in one of the fun dinos. As usual I used my fave Copic friendly ink Blackout Detail Ink, which is from Ink On 3. And obviously Neenah card stock.

He was coloured in with green Copics and then fussy cut him out. To make him stand out a little bit more I used a black Copic around the edges of him too.

For the background I wanted to use the volcano, because it’s so fun to colour. I also added a palm tree. Because I wanted to do some ink blending on the back ground I also stamped up and cut out masks for the volcano and the palm tree.

One of my fave stencils ever is the Mini Cloud from My Favorite Things. Another essential for me when it comes to ink blending is the Life Changing Blender Brushes from Picked Fence Studios. They have been such a game changer for me when it comes to getting a light blend, because I had such a hard time getting a soft blend before. I used Something Borrowed and It’s A Boy, from Catherine Pooler, and alternated them.

When it came to finishing the card I thought I’d add some grass for the dino to stand on. I cut it out using another My Favorite Things dienamic, Grassy Edges, out of two different shades of green card stock. I layered these up and set aside.

I also wanted to use a couple of the sentiments from the stamp set for a encouragement card. On white card stock I stamped up ‘Don’t be a nervous Rex, You’ve got this!’ by using these separate sentiments. Then I cut this out using a speech bubble diecut, this is from Altenew.

I had all these bits and pieces ready when I realised that the palm tree and the volcano didn’t reach down far enough. By adding the grass to the card, these were both almost covered up. With a black fine-tipped Copic pen, I drew extra lines from both of them and then coloured in the extra spaces.

With all this ready, it was a quick job of putting it all together and adding it to a card base. The speech bubble and the dino were added to the card with foam tape to add some dimension. I also added Glossy Accents to the lava part and the dino eyes to extra details.

That’s it from me for today! I have used a few affiliate links in this post, which means that I will get a small commission from the companies directly at no extra cost to you, if you click on one of them and end up buying a thing or five. I was sent these stamp sets from Miss Ink Stamps for free in exchange for some blog posts but I only use products I love, and will never recommend something I don’t like. If you are going to shop and get yourself a few little things, I hope you will consider using affiliate links, not just mine, but other crafters you admire and love. We all appreciate it a lot!

Thanks for stopping by today and I hope you think the card is ‘rawr-some’!

Lots of love and happy crafting from Erica

The first in my new series ’12 Weekends of Christmas’ with Neat & Tangled

Hello, hello!

Today I’m unveiling a new series that I’m calling ’12 Weekends of Christmas’. The idea behind this series is to help me get ahead of Christmas crafting, and do a little bit each month rather than stress like a lunatic for a couple of months to get everything ready. If all goes to plan, I will have a new blog post in this series, the first weekend of the month for the rest of the year. We will have to wait and see how it all pans out but here we go!

Ideally this first post would have been about some cards that are easily mass-produced but are still lovingly handmade. If you don’t mind making the same design over and over, decide on one early and then make the bits for them when you have time. Then you can easily put the cards together step by step at a later date.

For today I have made three cards using some Neat & Tangled goodies. The main stamp set I have used is Beary Merry, along with its coordinating diecut. All three cards feature the bear, which I have coloured with Copics. One is with Warm Gray, one with Cool Gray and one with Neutral Gray. To give them all some personality their scarves are all done in different colours and different ways. I do love the stripy blue one the most, but then I’m obsessed with blues of all shades.

It’s nice to see the difference in the appearance of the colours next to each other like this, on the same image. To me, it’s a lot clearer that there are differences when you look at them like this, rather than on the colour chart. It might have something to do with the fact it’s on an image, rather than little boxes?

The first card I put together was this one. I knew I had to possess that Fa La La cover plate as soon as I saw it. My love affair with cover plates from Neat & Tangled is going nowhere fast and I don’t think it will ever fade to be honest. I’m also totally ok with that, lol!

As I had given the bear a teal/turquoise scarf I thought I’d use some nice metallic, textured card stock in a mint green colour for the Fa La La background. I have a metal shim pad from Lawn Fawn I use in my BigShot to get a good cut but if you don’t have one, you can simply add a sheet of paper between the plates to add more pressure and run in through your machine twice.

For this first card I also coloured in a penguin, a snowman and the cup from the Beary Merry stamp set and cut these out with the coordinating diecuts too. The bear also got a foam sheet layer cut out, to raise him up and add dimension to the card. On the bear itself I have doodled with a Colourless Blender marker to create a fur-like texture.

I have used one of the sentiments from the Beary Merry stamp set ‘Wishing you Holiday Happiness’ here and it’s heat embossed in Platinum embossing powder from Altenew. The speech bubble is also from Altenew, it’s from a diecut set called ‘Speech Bubbles’ and it has a fun coordinating stamp set too (which I don’t have).

When it came time to put the card together, the Fa La La background piece was first of all adhered to a white card base. I used my Nuvo glue pen for this to get glue in all the small spaces. When that was done, I placed the snowman and the penguin so that they would peek out from behind the bear and then glued them down using the same Nuvo glue pen. The cup was adhered in the same way, in the bear’s paws. As the foam sheet I use is double-sided it was a quick job of peeling that off the back of the bear and adhering him to the card.

The speech bubble was also adhered with foam, squares from Stix2 Anything and the final flourish for this card was a good sprinkling of Crystal Clear Sequins, from Studio Katia, in various sizes. I always use Glossy Accents when adhering sequins, for me that works best.

Card no2 is done the opposite way and is so CAS/Clean And Simple I nearly threw myself a parade! CAS is NOT my forte, no ma’am! I love the look but oh my goodness, when I attempt it myself I take the highway express right into Overthinking-ville.

This one was no exception. The only thing I knew for sure I wanted to do was do a negative diecutting thing where the surrounding area of the card is raised up and the Beary Merry bear is lower. I cant’ remember what this technique is called but do you get my drift? Well, so far so good. And then it all came to a screeching halt.

I toyed with the idea of doing some ink blending on the background but seriously had such a hard time to decide on what to do and not to do, I set it aside and coloured another bear instead.

Which lead me to card no3. I had only planned on two to begin with but things don’t always (read: ‘hardly ever’) go to plan in my craft room. I’m a very…. what’s the word I’m looking for here? Messy? Impulsive? Somewhat impatient? It’s a good trail mix of all three actually.

My third bear got more texture thanks to lots of dotting with a Colourless Blender marker, all three are finished off in different ways to make them a bit more individual. His scarf is also the only one that’s done with stamps (the snowflake from Snow Fun , another Neat & Tangled stamp set) and the colours I have used are the same ones I ended up using for the background. They are both Distress Oxide inks and the colours are Faded Jeans and Tumbled Glass. I do love my blues!

For the background I blended the aforementioned colours using my Picket Fence Studios Life Changing Blender Brushes and the Landscape Duo Stencil stencil from Neat & Tangled. The ink blending is done directly onto a white card base and I’ve overlapped the colours a little to create a fun pattern.

In the top left corner I stamped ‘Have a very Merry Christmas‘ in black ink. In hindsight, I should have heat embossed clear embossing powder on top of this to make it pop a bit more. I did add some Glossy Accents to his eyes and nose though.

This bear also got a blue present to hold on to and with a final splattering of clear sequins from Pretty Pink Posh, the card was done.

That leaves us with the CAS card… I decided to stop over-thinking it and quickly cut out a banner (from Lawn Fawn, the stamp and diecut set is Home Sweet Home) and stamped ‘Merry Christmas’ in black in on it. This from MFT Stamps and the stamp set is called Greetings Galore, it’s a really versatile one with lots of great sentiments for all sorts of occasions.

Years ago, when I was on the Studio Katia Design Team, I got a bag of these snowflake embellishments and I have been hoarding them as they are no longer available. But I pulled my big girl panties up, took a deep breath and dove into the bag. I added quite a few but I still think it looks quite CAS.

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With that I’m all done for this time, however I need to mention that I have used compensated affiliate links in this post. What that means is I get a small commission from the company directly, at no extra cost to you whatsoever, if you click on one of these and end up buying a little something-something. Using affiliate links is a great way to support your favourite crafters while shopping, without it costing you a single thing. How is that for a win-win situation? I’d also like to say a big thank you in advance if you choose to use mine when you shop, I really do appreciate it so much and it always gives me a huge thrill to see that someone loved my project enough to buy the products I used for it.

Thank you so much for stopping by today and I hope you enjoyed these cards as much as I enjoyed making them. Yes, even that CAS one in the end, lol!

Happy crafting and lots of love from Erica

Continue reading The first in my new series ’12 Weekends of Christmas’ with Neat & Tangled

Altenew December 2018 Markers/Embellishments Release Blog Hop + Giveaway

Hi guys and welcome!

Today I am so excited to take part in Altenew’s December release blog hop! If you arrived here from Kymona, you are in the right spot. There is a full list of all the stops at the bottom of this post, in case you want to go back and look at someone’s projects again or if you get lost.

I have made two cards using the new Set E markers, which round out my collection of Artist Markers. I have been waiting for the greens, Tropical Forest, in this set for ages as they are my fave greens in the Oval Inks collection. *insert squeaks and all the heart eye emojis here* Now I just need the Primary Color set and I’m complete! Well, apart from all the Artist Markers refills of course. That darn FullSetSyndrome is a real pickle at times!

My first card, and I’ve made two of the same, is done in what’s become a bit of a signature look for me, with the Artist Markers: A bold background made by simply drawing thick lines in each colour and blending them in. The inspiration for the colour scheme is the changing colours of leaves in the autumn, all those vibrant reds, oranges, yellows and golden brown.

In the past I have sometimes done this directly on a card base but this time I used a pre-cut card panel. It does look a lot cleaner without the ink bleeding through on the inside of the card.

That’s all the “colouring” done for card no1 and I use that term loosely here as it is quite simply fool-proof. No blending, shading or even staying within the lines are required for this sort of colouring. Just draw the marker from one side to the other, to create the thickness of the selection you want and then move on to the next shade. Easy peasy!

The stamp set I have used for both cards is Leaf Canopy, it’s fast become a firm fave in my Altenew stash. I find it very versatile and lovely to colour with all sorts of different mediums.

After dusting my panel with an anti-static tool, I stamped the solid images from the top right corner all the way down to the bottom left corner, with VersaMark ink. The embossing powder I used is Copper and it complements the colour in the background beautifully. It’s rich and gorgeous!

To finish the card off, I adhered it to a card base and added a few sentiments from the Leaf Canopy stamp set.

These are also heat embossed with Copper, for a cohesive look. A very generous smattering of matte black sequins were the final touch.

My second card is a mixture of techniques: no-line colouring, emboss resist, ink blending, spot light look and eclipse….

To begin with, I stamped the outline image from Leaf Canopy in Bamboo ink on a panel. This I coloured in using Set E, both the green and orange Artist Markers. Once all coloured in, I stamped the solid image on top in VersaMark and heat clear embossing powder over it.

The clear embossing powder protects the colouring without hiding any of it. In fact, I think it highlights it.

With a blending brush, I picked out some Oval Ink pads and blended a soft blue around the branch of leaves and then towards the edges of the card, a mix of darker blues. I used inks from the Cool Summer Night family: Sea Glass and Dusk. Turquoise from the Deep Blue Seas family as well as Persian Blue and Sapphire from the Glacier Caves family were used too.

To finish off the background, I splattered first some water drops on it. These I dabbed off with a piece of kitchen towel. Then I added some gold splatters on it too.

With the diecut ‘You are Loved‘, I cut first one piece out of foam sheet, then another out of brushed gold card stock and finally one out of the background panel. I adhered the background to a card base and then layered up the pieces, foam + gold + top layer, until was all puzzled back together. With that, the card was done!

Thank you for stopping by today, I hope you enjoyed my cards as much as I enjoyed making them! I have used compensated affiliate links to, amongst others, Altenew in this post, at no extra cost to you, in case you want to grab any of the items I have used here for yourself. When you use an affiliate link, not just mine but any crafters’, you help support their dream and crafting journey so I hope you will consider using them when shopping. Thank you in advance for supporting us like this! We all really appreciate it!

Now for prizes!

To celebrate this release, Altenew is giving away a $50 gift certificate to 6 lucky winners! Please leave a comment on the Altenew Card Blog and/or Altenew Scrapbook Blog by 12/12/2018 for a chance to win. Six winners will be announced on the Altenew blogs on Sunday, December 16th.

You can also win a $30 gift certificate to Altenew here on my blog. All you have to do is leave a comment by the 12/12/18.

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

The final stop on the hop is Agnieszka

FULL HOP LIST BELOW

Altenew Card Blog

Kathy Racoosin

Erum Tasneem

Kristina Pokazanieva

Nicole Picadura

Kelly Latevola

Enza Gudor

Kathleen Graumüller

Sveta Fotinia

Lilith Eeckels

TaeEun Yoo

Therese Calvird

Anna Komenda

Zinia Redo

Vicky Papaioannou

Lydia Evans

Laura Jane

Norine Borys

Nathalie DeSousa

Altenew Scrapbook Blog

Zsoka Marko

Virginia Lu

Raquel Bowman

Svitlana Shayevich

Gayatri Murali

Kymona Tracey

Erica A-B. <——- YOU ARE HERE——–

Agnieszka Malyszek