I’m just popping in quickly today with a reminder about the moving sale at Concord & 9th. There are some insane sales with 40-70% off! Yes! Up to 70% off. Seventy percent! You read that right!
The All The Letters Bundles is included in the sale. I love this alpha diecut set and have used is on the card below.
There is another alpha diecut set, Tall Type, included in the sale and I love that one too. Can you ever have too many alphabet die sets? I think not.
If you want flowers, there are loads of those available too!
If you love diecutting and 3D flowers, you will love these and all three for $22?? What a steal!
One of my fave Turnabout sets is aptly called Crafty, and it’s also included in the sale! Oh, I’ve had so much fun with this one.
Mix it with inks, coloured cardstock or colour the pieces in with your choice of medium. So much fun to be had and a great deal to boot. Win-win!
If you shop the sale using my affiliate links, which are used all throughout this post at no extra cost to you, I get a small commission directly from the company. In this case Concord & 9th.
Any earnings I get from these affiliate links go directly back into the running of my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram. Thank you so much for the support, I really appreciate it and do not take it for granted.
Lots of love and happy crafting (and maybe shopping!) from Erica
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today is release day for Alex Syberia’s March release of digital stamps, and as always, she has some amazing designs for us!
I started out with the Fabulous Floral slim line flowers and printed it on vellum. The upside with having a laser printer is that I can foil the images, which always looks fab! This one I foiled with white Minc foil, using my Minc machine.
To add some colour, I turned it over and used Copics, on the back. When using this technique, you do have to add quite a lot of colours, or strong ones, in order for it to show through the vellum.
When the colouring was done, I gently wrapped the vellum piece over a white slim line card base, and glued down the sides to the back so it wouldn’t show.
To finish this off, I used a discontinued, but loved, word die from Neat & Tangled that says ‘love you’ in a gorgeous font. The paper I used is homemade shimmer paper! You can make your own by smearing Paper Glaze from Picket Fence Studios on card stock, let it dry and voilá!
I cut out another two layers and added these together with liquid glue, before adhering the whole thing to the card. Layering word dies up is such a simple but effective way of taking your card designs up a notch, with little effort. This word die is sold out in a LOT of places, and the only shop I found it actually in stock is Foiled Fox, so if you want it, GRAB IT FAST!!
To celebrate the release the design team are doing an instagram hop, where you can see some fantastic inspiration and hop along for a chance to win a gift voucher to the Alex Syberia shop! I have seen some of the cards, and they are AH-mazing! You are not going to want to miss it.
You can of course use skip straight to Alex’s shop if you already know you are going to want to get some of these for yourself.
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you enjoyed this post and will enjoy some of these new stamps for yourself.
I can not espresso how much I appreciate you stopping by today. In face, I love it a latte, and I hope you will brew around for a while. Ah, I love a good pun! If you have any good ones, please leave a comment with them. As an extra incentive, if you leave a comment, you will be in with a chance to win a $25 gift voucher from WOW! Embossing and you can find the WOW! Embossing blog here.
As you might have figured, I am one of the stops along the fab Coffee Lovers Hop today. I’m an avid coffee lover, and love making coffee cards while sipping a strong espresso.
As every card needs a background, I started with that. I sort of had a colour scheme in mind, and that was espresso brown, turquoise, pink and yellow. A wild mix maybe, but as I used Paper Glazes from Picket Fence Studios, I was quietly confident it would work out great. The key is to not over mix.
Something I found out, purely by accident actually, was that if you put down a dark colour like Black Pansy or Brown Dahlia first, and then add other, bright, colours on top, it makes those colours P-O-P like crazy! For these backgrounds I used Brown Dahlia.
I LOVE the Paper Glazes, they are so much fun and give such fab results. Even when things don’t go as planned…! It’s also hard for me to stop at just making one, or even two.
While all those backgrounds were drying, I cut out this fun sentiment that says ‘For the love of coffee’ three times. Another Picket Fence goodie. These I layered up, using liquid glue to make sure I could stack them without any bits getting stuck down where it wasn’t supposed to go.
To keep my fingers safe and make sure I got even heating all over this, I pinned it to my cork board/trivet with pointy tweezers before using my WOW! Heat tool on it. I’d say that’s probably my top tip when it comes to heat embossing.
Using quite a few Copics, to stick to the colour scheme, I coloured in that cute little cup from a Honeybee Stamps set. This one is called Coffee Break, and it has a coordinating diecut too. If you want it, you gotta grab it fast as it’s retiring!! The complete set is only $31 right now so what are you waiting for???
With all those pieces done, and all the backgrounds dry, I picked one and trimmed it down a little. I wanted to use a brown card base, the aptly named Ground Coffee card stock, to bring in the coffee element even more.
Using Lawn Fawn glue tube I glued everything down and resisted the urge to add sparkles of any kind. *insert shocked gasp here* I know… I must be under the weather to say no to sparkles and bling. Maybe I need another coffee, stat! (Any excuse, right?)
Thank you so much for stopping by today! Don’t forget to leave a comment on this blog post for your chance to win a $25 gift voucher to the WOW! Embossing shop. They are sponsoring this prize as I am part of their design team. There are loads of other sponsors and prizes along the hop so don’t forget to check it out and link up your own coffee cards for a chance to win something fun.
I actually made a video for this card too. The YouTube video you can find over on my channel, or click RIGHT HERE.
I have used some compensated affiliate links in this blog post, at no extra cost to you, whatsoever. Any earnings I get from these links go directly back into the running of my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram, so thank you in advance if you chose to support me by shopping these links. I really appreciate the support!
Down below you can find affiliate links to the UK WOW! Embossing shop, use these if you are in the UK or Europe. All the links in the post above are to the US WOW! Embossing shop.
This one is going to be short and sweet, with just a quick card and the giveaway winner announcement from the recent blog hop!
The card is featuring the Clover Bunny stamp set, from the new release.
I started out by stamping the image with Copic friendly ink on Neenah #110 card stock, and coloured it in with Copics. Cool Greys for the bunny and a mix of greens for the clover.
When I had finished the colouring, I used the coordinating diecut to cut him out, as well as another two pieces. These I layered up to give him a little bit of dimension.
The sentiment is from the same Clover Bunny stamp set and I used Mushroom ink from Concord & 9th. Black ink seemed to harsh for such a sweet sentiment.
The background is ink blended over a heart stencil from MFT Stamps, and I actually didn’t need to add any more ink than what was left on my Life Changing Blender Brushes. It probably means I need to give my brushes a good ole spa day soon!
With all the card making malarkey out of the way, let’s get to the exciting stuff! The winner of the savings voucher is Lotte! Please email me at email@example.com to claim your savings voucher code!
Thanks for stopping by today, lots of love and happy crafting from Erica
Today I’m delighted to be one of the stops on the Tonic Studios Stamp Club release blog hops. This month’s bundle is called Compassion & Poppies, and consists of a stamp set and coordinating diecuts. They will only be sold as a bundle, and are exclusive to Tonic Studios so grab them while you can! Once they are sold out, they are gone!
This is a monthly stamp release, and will be available the last Friday of every month (with exceptions made for holidays) It’s not a club or subscription based program, so there is no commitment or forced buying, it’s simply a small, but fabulous, stamp release.
There is of course a prize to be won, a blog hop wouldn’t be complete without one, right? One lucky winner will win the entire bundle, as well as a £50/$50 Giftcard to Tonic Studios! How is that for awesome-sauce? Leave a comment on this blog to a chance to win, and the more you hop and comment, the bigger your chance to win. Comments can be made until March 3rd 11.59PM PST/7.59am GST March 4th, and winner will be announced on March 5th!
The entire line-up can be found at the bottom of this post, and you next stop is my talented friend Janette Kausen!
So, full disclosure, my goodies only arrived 24hrs ago, so it has been a bit of a scramble. I only finished one full card but if I manage to make more, I will share them over on my Instagram.
I started by stamping the big flower image with Black Hybrid ink on Neenah paper with my MISTI, as I wanted to do some Copic colouring. I started out with reds, greens and cool greys, but decided to skip out on the greens in favour of colouring the leaves grey for a dramatic look.
A bit of masking here and there protected my flowers, and I heat embossed the two leaves from the stamp set in Platinum from WOW! Embossing powder. It goes so well with the grey on the leaves, and adds that gorgeous shine to the card. I made sure to use my anti-static tool generously before, as the paper was still a bit wet from the colouring.
I used my WOW! heat tool to set the powder. I love this tool, thanks to the dual settings you have so much more control over the heat and that’s always a good thing.
To add some drama to the card, I ink blended some Hickory Smoke and Black Soot around the edges, using my Blender Brushes. This not only adds drama, but also draws the eye in to the star of the show: the poppies.
The final touch was to heat emboss one of the sentiments onto black card stock. I used Platinum again, for a cohesive look, and trimmed it down to a slim banner before adhering it with liquid glue.
Well, that’s it from me for now, and it’s time to hop on. Or get your shop on! I have used some compensated affiliate links in this post, for your convenience. These links do not cost you anything extra at all, however if you use them I get a small commission from the company directly. Any earnings I get from these links go directly back into the running of my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram. I am so grateful for the support, and can’t do it without you so thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Today’s card is featuring a card I made for my friend Kari. She recently lost her dad and is understandably heartbroken. On the day her dad passed away, she made a card for him with a bear on it. She came up with an idea to make 74 cards with bears to celebrate each year of his life. Such a sweet idea, but she needs help and that’s where I, and lots of her crafty friends, come in.
You, too, can help! Make a card with a bear of any kind, post on social media and use the hashtag #bearcardsfordad.
The bear was also coloured in with Copics, and then I used the coordinating diecut on him and the paws. I wanted him to poke up over the clouds, so I used the Rainbows stamp set to mark where the cloud would go. With scissors I trimmed down this bit to achieve the look of him coming up over the cloud. The paws were placed to cover up the corners to keep them down.
Sentiment wise I decided to go straight to the point with ‘bear hugs’ and I used yet another Avery Elle set called Simply Hugs, which comes with the backing/shadow part as well as a word die. I only used the word die itself, and cut that out of black card stock.
With All The Letters Dies from Concord & 9th I spelled out BEAR and cut that out of the panel itself. I popped these up with foam letters cut out with the same dies, and layered these up with the glue tube from Lawn Fawn.
With all these bits and pieces done, it was easy peasy work to put the whole thing together and add that to a white card base. This card will be popped into the mail to brighten Kari’s day up, and to let her know I’m thinking of her.
I have used compensated affiliate links in this blog post, at no extra cost to you. If you shop using these links, I get a small commission from the company as a thank you for the referral. Any 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 shopping via these links. I really do appreciate it so very much!
Today’s post is all about the last release of the year from Picket Fence Studios! There are some fantastic stencils, as always, and I have done my usual thing of making loads of backgrounds whilst getting to know them.
Oh my goodness, I made so many backgrounds with the Slim Line Waves Stencil! These are just the ones made with ink blending and then that stencil press printing technique I like, where you spritz your stencil with water after ink blending and “print” the pattern on water colour paper by pressing down firmly on it.
I have only finished off a card with one of those panels, because I am that crazy one that can’t bear to cover up fabulous backgrounds too much so I could not figure out what to do with them. But oh well.. what a problem to have, right?
It kind of looks like a petrol spill, doesn’t it? Or a galaxy! I just love how this look.
I also used DecoFoil Transfer Gel Duo and rainbow foil from Therm-o-web, for this AAHHHH-mazing panel! Gah, I love it so much! I also used the negative from the foil and adhered that to a card base by covering that in double sided adhesive sheets first. So cool, right??
So, here we have it! The December release from Picket Fence Studios is now live and I have used compensated affiliate links in this post, for your convenience, at no extra cost to you. What that means is I get a small commission from the company directly, if you shop using these links.
I will have videos coming for a lot of these cards too so make sure you are subscribed to my YouTube channel, and hit that notification bell so you get notified of new videos. There is a video there now, showing off the products in the release as well as some of the cards I made so far.
Thank you so much for stopping by today, I hope you enjoyed this post and found some inspiration here with me.
The ink-oholic Erica here with a very colourful post! I have had the total delight of being sent the entire range of luscious big ink pads from PinkFresh Studios and I HAD to swatch them before doing anything else! Ok, so in all honesty, the first thing I did was dance around like a dizzy emu, whilst clapping like a demented seal and squealing like a happy pig rolling round in mud! Now, that’s a mental image for you, isn’t it?? LOL! Sufficient to say, I was A TAD excited.
Ok, so the swatches are not perfect but, as mentioned, I was a bit excited. And I was still excited while I was stamping them up. I mean, the idea is to see the colours, these are staying in my craft room so I’m not sending these to anyone.
With all the swatches done, I added them to a ring binder to keep them all in one place. I have already consulted them to make a card, actually. Thanks to the swatches it was super easy to pick out some bright and happy colours for the Pop-Out Rainbow stamp.
With the help of the Mini MISTI, this card took less than 10 minutes to make. SO easy, and cheerful!
I finished it off with a sentiment from the Floral Notes stamp set, stamped up with Black Detail ink. That sentiment was just perfect for a rainbow card! And perhaps a sequin… or ten. Eh, I might have gone a little bit overboard but hey, it works.
Well, with that, I’m all done for today but I do have an unboxing (I bought a LOT of stuff) and ink swatching video over on my YouTube channel as well, if you want to see the swatching in action.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, PinkFresh very generously sent me the entire range of inks to play with but I purchased a huge amount of stuff from them as well. Including that adorable Pop-Out Rainbow stamp, which I have had my eye on for so long! I want to reassure you that I will only ever create with stuff I love and that inspires me. I don’t know about you, but I can’t work with stuff that I don’t like, it just dries up my mojo.
I have used some compensated affiliate links to (mostly) PinkFresh Studios in this post, for your convenience, at no extra cost to you whatsoever. Any earnings I get from these affiliate links go straight back into stamps… erm… (if The Man reads this, that was an auto-correct! I swear, baby!!) the running of my blog, YouTube channel and Instagram. Thank you so much if you choose to support me by using these links, I really appreciate the support and encouragement!
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
Today’s post is the corresponding blog post for a YouTube video that’s up on my channel today. I’m collaborating with Courtney Kroeber for her 25 Days Of Christmas Cards series and we decided on Copic coloring for our cards.
Now, this might come as a shock as colouring is basically the theme of this card, but I have not used a single stamp set here!! Not a one! Say whaaaaat? I decided to use the Strings Of Lights diecuts from Lawn Fawn and cut out lots of the baubles out of Copic friendly card stock, and these I have coloured.
To get these looking as lifelike as possible, I have used quite a few markers on each one. Going from dark at the edges and lighter and lighter towards the middle.
The screw tops I had to play around with several tries before I was happy with the look. I thought blending the colours would give the most realistic look, but I was so wrong! In the end, what I liked best was using C4 with light flicks, and then going in with C5 to add depth and the illusion of the curve.
With a huge selection of baubles coloured, it was time to think about the actual card base. I had an idea in my head, and went about trying to make it come to life but man… it was a bit more trouble than I thought! The idea was to use the Take A Bough Encore dies from Concord & 9th and create a Christmas tree look. Sounds cool, right? Whilst I got there in the end, it ended up being a very heavy card! This is not one to be sent in the mail, unless you are happy to pay a lot extra for postage.
When the edges glued down, I just had to cover the middle with the larger boughs. To make sure the tree looks lifelike, I didn’t cover the backs of the bough dies with glue, only the middle part.
With my “tree” done, I could start the decorating with the baubles! I cut out lots of extra string from the diecut set and then got puzzling. What I realised here though, is that I should have coloured up more of the smaller baubles, instead of going to town with the bigger ones. Admittedly they were easier to colour.
As it’s pretty obvious what occasion this card is for, I didn’t add a sentiment to the front of it. The Man actually said ‘Nobody is going to look at that and think Happy Easter’, lol!