Wednesday 25 May 2016

Creating glittery backgrounds using die cut leftovers

Good morning my crafting friends...

How are we all this morning? I've a little tutorial for you today as it's something that I keep getting asked about. It's how to create a glittery card background using the leftovers from your die cuts.

It's really easy to do, but I didn't have time to edit the video to make it more smooth running... hope you find it okay. xxx

Thursday 19 May 2016

Over thinking.... Just a little something to think about.... !

A little personal post on here - because I do like to share things I have found useful along the way...

Just like many people out there  I too was diagnosed with Post Natal depression many years ago, which I believe never goes away! In fact, I would go so far as to say if it wasn't for my hubby, I probably wouldn't have been here today - knife at my wrists and not thinking straight was one of the smaller problems I had... just shortly before I got diagnosed. Thanks to his love and support along my journey of PND, I recovered as best I could, but there was always something there that didn't feel right.

It reared its ugly head again several years later and even though to me I was okay, the signs were there that I wasn't. It wasn't as bad as before, but it was there.

Years came and went, and unfortunately so did the trials and tribulations of living with depression which came in episodes, and also the anxiety, the panic attacks and general feelings of worthlessness. It's something I feel people struggle with if you have ever had depression - it's all to easy to sink back into it... and the main culprit to start it off? Overthinking.

I overthink most things if I'm having one of my bad days - from when the phone rings to reading an email in the 'wrong way'. I worry constantly about what I do, am I right, is it wrong? Are people trying to put me down (what DID they mean by saying good morning ... or why do they want to know if I'm okay..?!) But overthinking in whatever form it is drives me absolutely bonkers (but only on my bad days!) But it's not only overthinking, it's believing what you think is true... what people tell you, (am I really like that? Are they really like that? They or I must be because I feel uncomfortable with things...!)

On my good days, which I'm proud to say is now more often than the bad (and I'm sure going through early menopause helped this tremendously!!) I don't worry about hardly anything. Take me as I am. I'm me... like me or don't like me... I also made the decision to change a few major things in my life that were triggers to how I felt, and these have been positive.  I will do my best to help anyone with anything and I'm happy. For the first time in years, I feel more ME than I have, like, forever!

So... the purpose of the post?

Well, I was reading an extract from one of my favourite people to have got me more into positive thinking, and attached to an email was this... below... and I thought, if you are anything like me, you may just find it useful too.

I hope you do... and I hope you are having a Good Day today. I know I am. Lots of love xxxx


Do You Fall Into the Trap of Overthinking?

I was looking up something in Professor Sonja Lyubomirsky’s excellent book, The How of Happiness, and I came across an interesting passage. (I’d marked it, so clearly I’d read it before, but I didn’t remember it well.)
Many of us believe that when we feel down, we should try to focus inwardly and evaluate our feelings and our situation in order to attain self-insight and find solutions that might ultimately resolve our problems and relieve unhappiness. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, I, and others have compiled a great deal of evidence challenging this assumption. Numerous studies over the past two decades have shown that to the contrary, overthinking ushers in a host of adverse consequences: It sustains or worsens sadness, fosters negatively biased thinking, impairs a person’s ability to solve problems, saps motivation, and interferes with concentration and initiative. Moreover, although people have a strong sense that they are gaining insight into themselves and their problems during their ruminations, this is rarely the case. What they do gain is a distorted, pessimistic perspective on their lives.
One of the tensions within happiness — at least for me — is the tension between constructive attempts at greater self-knowledge and pointless rumination. Once I started paying more attention to my habits of thinking, I began to do a better job of refraining from overthinking. When I find myself thinking in circles, I find an area of refuge, say, or I re-read one of my favorite works of children’s literature — my favorite emotional comfort food. Or, if it’s nightime, I go to bed early. Things really do look better after a good night’s sleep, and often something that had me agitated the night before seems much less worrisome the next morning.
Have you found any helpful strategies to keep yourself from overthinking?

Floral Faerie

You know those days when nothing seems to go the way you planned? Well, I had one of those today.... I don't seem to have had a minute to catch up today - we were expecting a delivery that never came until early evening (it should have been before 11am), I had a run to the vets with two fluffy puss cats for a check up, a little bit of seed planting and repotting in the greenhouse, dinner cooking, and all the other stuff that generally makes up a lost day! I've also got a couple of distant learning courses I need to get on with, so time really is short today! 

However, I did want to come on and share this card with you tonight before I settle down. It's another of the fantastic Double Detail dies and Stencil cards with the mousses... and I tried a bit of something different with this one. 

I chose my colour scheme first, which was to be blue and yellow, with a dash of black thrown in for the layering. I also knew I wanted to keep the design nice and simple to complement the fairy sat on the flower. 

I chose to create another inky background for this one as I had used my distress inks for the previous card. I went for a hilly view on this one and I fell in love with the design of the die as soon as I saw it, as I knew it would make just the perfect inner frame for a larger card.

The layers were cut first for the main part of the central section. I cut the die from black cardstock using the outer verso edge. I then took the inked cardstock and cut the area I needed from the outer edge too. These then layered together perfectly. 

I used bronze Nuvo mousse for the colouring of the main part of the fairy, and blended various lighter pastel mousses for the wings - a little bit of green, blue, lilac. I also used the stencil to add dimension to the die cut with the mousse as shown, varying the colours as I went around the frame. To do this, just ensure you apply small areas of mousse using a fine tool. 

Mount these fairy sections onto the main card once they are dry. I finished it off with a few little flower corners from the same die set - cut from green, then blue and sandwiched together to create perfect little blooms - and I applied small dots of Buttermilk Nuvo drops to accent the centres. 

It was really fun to get inky and grubby making the cards I've shown for the last two days... combining your card making materials to create something 'different' really makes it enjoyable. And maybe you can get to using all those things you put in a side drawer thinking you would never use them again once you start die cutting! 

As usual, here is your little shopping list of the main things you would need for the card. 

Tonic Studios  Double Detail frame die set - Floral Faerie - 1140E
Tonic Studios Double Detail stencil  - Floral Faerie - 1144E
Tonic Nuvo drops - Buttermilk - 652N
Tonic Nuvo embellishment mousse - various colours.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Sweet Poppy

Hiya folks..... 

You know.... I thought I had shared this card with you lovely lot a while ago when the beautiful Mousses and Double Detail dies and stencils were on Create and Craft... but as I looked through my posts on here tonight, I realised I hadn't. So here it is. 

This little cutie is Poppy Hideaway, and isn't she absolutely adorable? 

I began my card by cutting out the silhouette in black cardstock, then running it through the machine with the embossing mat to bring out all the details of the die.

I chose a mousse that would highlight the embossing, so went for an indian gold colour, and with my finger tips, just applied some of the mousse carefully over the little raised areas. 

Once this was done, I needed to decide what I wanted to use behind the image, and what card base I wanted... now, knowing me being me... I couldn't decide, so took out my distress inks and made a sunset scene in the background. This was then cut out with the verso edge (outer edge) of the die so that it matched the outer edge of the silhouette perfectly. 

I chose to mount my sweet Poppy onto my "squircle" die, aka Twisting Veranda. I used colours that were in my inky background, so burnt oranges, blacks, greens etc. The sentiment was from the Miniature Moments sentiments. It was all that was needed - nothing too big I thought. 

You can see on the photo above, just how the frame of the double detail dies snuggle in with the twisting veranda perfectly. It was just as though it was meant to be....!

Righty-oh ... that's me about done for tonight me thinks... I will be back soon with another project for you ... so please check back soon. 

Until then... happy crafting xxx

Shopping List 

Tonic Studios Large Layering die set - Twisting Veranda 1113E
Tonic Studios Double Detail Poppy Hideaway die set - 1141E
Tonic Nuvo Embellishment Mousse - Indian Gold  - 802N
Tonic Studios Miniature Moments sentiments - Awesome Cool & Sweet 1240E
Distress inks

Sunday 15 May 2016

Tonic Challenges ahead....

What a fantastical morning it is...

I've waited so long to tell you all about the Win and Tonic Challenge Blog we have at Tonic Studios, and along with a great Design Team on our blog, we hope to inspire you with lots of fantastic projects each month.

In addition to this, you can win a great prize or two too, courtesy of Tonic Studios!! There are some perfect layering dies up for grabs this month, along with some beautiful Nuvo Crystal and Glitter drops. A great addition to any craft room if I say so myself.

Please don't worry if you are a beginner, because this challenge is open to everybody and our winners will always be chosen at random.... how could we possibly choose from the beautiful creations we know you will be making???

There aren't too many rules, but please be aware of the few we have - you can find these in the sidebar of the blog... if you're stuck, just message us and we will be happy to help.

Without further ado, here is my card for this first Challenge, where our theme this month is Anything Goes. I decided to use our card blank dies to create the base layer, and my lacy edge was created using the Envelope dies. This was placed on top of the Romantic Cottage papers and topper was cut from the same set.

I finished it off with a large bow, a rose resin, and some Tonic Nuvo drops.

So... what are you waiting for? Get your thinking caps on with your Tonic stash, and make us a challenge card... but don't forget to upload it too. 

The winners will be announced on the 14th of the month, the day before we go live with the next Challenge... and your entries must be in by close of play on the 13th of the month to be entered. 

I - for one - can't wait to see all your wonderful creations.... so will be checking back regularly to see all your work... please feel free to follow my blog, and I can follow in return too. 

Happy crafting to each and every one of you. xx

Friday 13 May 2016

My Life and Heart....

Good Morning readers... 

It's been another lovely week here, with a little rain but lots of warm and sunny weather. It definately helps to warm the cockles and get in the garden to do some work. The little pond now has a little gnome in residence (thanks to my daughter) so will keep the Froggie company. Haha. 

Card wise today, I thought I would share a little card I made a few weeks ago using the Double Detail Jewelled Crown and Sew Pretty 2 dies. I kept it quite simple, just using creams and purples, complete with a little bit of shading and embossing. 

Here's your How To... 

  1. cut out your four corners using your Sew Pretty 2 dies, and then cut out the Jewelled Crown from your purple card. 
  2. cut out a matt and layer using purple card cut to 7.25 inches square and cream card cut to 7 inches square. Use the outer edge (verso edge) of  the frame to cut out a cream layer for underneath. Dust around the edge of this with Seedless Preserves distress inks. 
  3. Emboss your cream card with an embossing folder and dust over edges with distress inks. 
  4. Glue the base layers of your card together. 
  5. With your frame, choose your sentiment and stamp into your frame onto the background. 
  6. Using your Double Detail stencil to match, apply your mousse into the purple top frame layer. Leave to dry. 
  7. Whilst your mousse is drying, attach your corner dies to the card as shown, crossing over the central sections. 
  8. Glue the edges of your outer frame to the base stamped layer to create a little curve and dimension. Add to your card using 3D foam pads. Glue a bow to the top of the frame. 
  9. Finish your card off with some Nuvo Drops to the Sew Pretty dies and also the frame. 

This is a closer look to how the little frame will look when added to your card. You can see it only has a little dimension, but it looks better than being completely flat I think. 

On the photo below, you can see the dimension of the Mousse on the card, it adds that finishing touch and a little bit of sparkle, which is what we all need on our cards!

I hope you like today's card. I enjoyed making it, it was something different but came together just as I had imagined. 

For those who would like it, here is your Shopping List. 

Tonic Studios Sew Pretty Twisted Ivy 1221E
Tonic Studios Double Detail Jewelled Crown die set 1143E
Tonic Studios Double Detail Jewelled Crown stencil 1147E
Tonic Studios Nuvo embellishment mousse - Cosmic Brown 810N
Tonic Studios Nuvo Crystal drops - Copper Penny 654N
Heart Lattice embossing folder
Tim Holtz distress ink - Seedless Preserves

Two more parchment cards...

Howdy all... 

Today, I thought I would share two more cards I found on my computer that are parchment craft.  These were made again, round about 2011 I think, and this first one was just to have a play (hence the awful border! What was I thinking!!)

The christmas tree was a Christine Coleman pattern from what I remember, and the borders were added afterwards. I loved this tree and made the card around four times in total. Needless to say it hasn't been made since. lol. 


This butterfly card was again made for a swap and the repeated pattern was one I saw in a magasine at the time. I decided to go monotone, but to show it up was placed on lilac card.

Again, I loved doing the embossed and gridwork but the colouring... hey.... I could take it or leave it.

To me, parchment craft is all about the gridwork and the whiteness, white on white... that's the simplicity of it's beauty.


I will be back with a few normal cards in the next few days.... but I hope you enjoyed this little blast from the past. 


Thursday 12 May 2016

Something a little different....

I was browsing earlier on, through my endless pieces of craft that I've never blogged to yourselves and I came across some of my parchment craft. 

Now, for those who didn't know, this is sort of where I started on my cardmaking journey... a little bit of parchment here and there, doing articles for magasines to having my own patterns printed in a national magasine quite a few years ago... until I discovered 'normal' cardmaking and stamping, and my parchment got put on a bit of a backburner. 

But I wanted to share a few pieces with you to show you where I started my creative journey after cross stitch. 


This was a pattern traced from a book I had a few years ago. The lacework was something that I loved to do, not necessarily the coloured work... it was always the lace! That was the most therapeutic piece for me as you had to have patience and time to do it... rush it and you spoil it. 


This card was made for a swap that I took part in in one of the many parchment groups I was once part of. The outside border was a trace pattern but the rest of it was created by putting a few other things together. 

I can't even remember when this was, most probably around 2010... but parchment craft never dates.. it just gets more invaluable and treasured... 

I hope you like today's projects... I will be back to show you a couple more tomorrow. xxx

Wednesday 11 May 2016

You and Me....

Hi everyone... 

How are we all? This week has been so lovely hasn't it? Really nice and warm... in fact, I even have a bit of sunshine on me! Now that is unheard of!! I don't catch the sun and my default colour is white, then red, then white! But this is something new for 2016!

We've managed to get our lawn turfed, our baskets are out, the plants are in and all is looking lovely in the garden at the minute. Even the little frog has taken up residence in the pond but doesn't seem to using his little Frogilo abode yet... not that I've seen anyway. 

Still... onto today's card, and I thought I would share something you could do with your Tonic Patterned Panels - the Quatrefoil. 

I used it to create a background for another diecut, the heart in this case from the Essentials layering sets. And as you can see, it works wonderfully. 

All you need to do is to cut your Panel die so it is wide enough for your die to go over. This one took two cuts side by side to get the background for the heart. 

I cut the outside edge of the heart onto the quatrefoil and also out of the red card and a base colour paper. The smaller size plain heart was used just inside the red outer edge to create a lovely border to stick over the quatrefoil. 

I added some layers to the card using coordinating cardstock and papers from our Tonic range and a little bit of ribbon. I stamped a greeting from a wedding set of stamps I had on my shelf, and cut this to create a little banner. 

I die cut a swirl from one of our Beautiful Blooms dies and also some Gerbera from the same set of dies. These were attached to the completed heart, which in turn was attached to the front of the card. 

I used card candi to finish the card on the smaller panel. A large pearl was attached to the middle of the Gerbera and a few nuvo drops applied to the greeting. 

I hope this card inspires you... xxx

Tuesday 10 May 2016


What song do you think of when you say Hello? Well, for me it's Lionel Ritchie... but it could be Adele, or it could be the Beatles... but this little Hello is for my little Postbox... 

When I first got my sweet little postbox, I decided I want to make it quite oldy-worldy by keeping it one colour with a bit of ironwork around the bottom of it. That was all I thought, but as the card progressed, I thought it would be lovely to add some greenery too... so where did I start. Let's see!

The first thing was to do a simple stylee card, using the navy base layers from the Sew Pretty dies as you can see on the card. I had had two leftover from another project so this was perfect place to start. I then cut out my white layer and decided to add some greenery for my box to stand into. But as it was standing in grass, I needed clouds. 

So. The inky clouds were the first thing to go on my white background. Easy peasy. 
Next... the grass was cut from green card and rubbed over the edges with dark green ink to add shade. These were then cut to the shape of the frame using the same die as the outer edge. 

The leaves and flowers were cut from the Sew Pretty dies, set one and placed just so they peeped out of the bottom of the postbox. 

I proceeded to cut two layers of my postbox, one from silver and one from navy cardstock. And to the embossed area of the navy I added some of our Tonic Mousse in silver to add a bit of highlight. 

The card was all popped together with glue and foam pads to add dimension, as you can see in the picture above. I also added a stamped sentiment, and some little hearts which I had left from my Diamond Trellis panel dies. 

It looks more complicated than it actually is - promise!! - and you don't have to feel you need to add the greenery flowers at the bottom... you don't. It will look equally as nice just plain and simple. 

Hope you likey. xxxx

A little birdy told me....

hi Crafters..

Have you all managed to catch the shows today with the new Rococo dies on? I hope you did.... I was hoping to catch up with them today, but the app for Create and Craft wasn't playing this evening, so I will have to play it back on my Sky Box tomorrow. 

I am sure you will love the dies just as much as I did... the little birdhouse is sooooo cute!! So this is the one that I have decided to share with you all tonight. 

I decided to keep this one fairly simple as I had had my pretty papers for a while and decided to use them for this card. Talk about hyperventilating when taking out that first sheet from a new pad!!!!

I cut the birdhouse out of Kraft card and embossed it with my embossing mat to bring out the details. I repeated this twice. I them choose some coordinating papers from the pad and glued the birdhouses to it. I trimmed around the edges, making the second one slightly smaller by trimming off the outside bits as you can see below. 

I knew I had a little stamp set which was perfect to go with the little house, so I dug it out of my stash, coloured the birdies up with my Nuvo pens and added my little greeting. I cut this out with an oval layering die so I could keep it plain, with a scalloped edge in a contrast. For the dots, I used the Walnut Nuvo drops and let them dry. I added them to the birdhouse and also around the edges of the oval. 

The card was matted with the papers and kraft card, a little bit of ribbon as a small decoration and a tiny bow glued to the top of the little birdy love hut. 

I hope you like the card, but more importantly, I hope that if you are a newbie to crafting, you feel you can achieve something nice and simple like this card. 

Lots of love
Jo xx

Our little piece of heaven

Good evening all you lovely folks.... well, as promised, I thought I would drop on here and share a few of the pics from our little break away this past week or so. 

It was really lovely to get back up into the Lake District with the hubby and spend some quality time together, instead of both of us shooting off in different directions most of the time! 

We stayed at the Lamplighter in Winderemere and it was lovely. We had had a meal there before, last year when we were up there and it was so nice we decided to book our hotel there too. It was very peaceful - even to say they had a live band on, we never heard anything!  

We did quite alot of walking whilst we were there, which is great to do in the Lakes, and one of the ones we did was up to the Orrest Head. We didn't get right up to the top (we were nearly there but on a time restraint so had to come back down!) but this is the view down over Windermere itself (above) and a view of Lake Windermere (below). Next time we will go right up to the top as the views are amazing. It was early evening when these pics were took on my phone, so they aren't too clear, but I can see them well enough... 

Whilst we were on our little ramble up the Orrest Head path, we came across this intriguing tree trunk....... 

I was totally mesmorised by it, as there were so many coins in it of all different ages - alot older coins, shillings and pence, and it was all the way up the length of the trunk too. It looked amazing, and again I don't think the snaps on my phone did it justice. 

From what I could find on Google when I got home, it is a thing called a Wishing Tree. 
it used to be believed that divine spirits lived in trees, and they were often festooned with sweets and gifts - as is still done today at Christmas.
The act is reminiscent of tossing money into ponds for good luck, or the trend for couples to attach 'love padlocks' to bridges and fences to symbolise lasting romance. The coins are hit into the tree by passers by with rocks that are found close by. 

Doesn't that sound lovely. And I must say, it wasn't the first one that we saw either.. we took a walk up to the waterfall through Ambleside and there were the same there too. Stunning things to look at in the sunshine - in fact, I guess anytime you come across them. A little bit of magic I thought.

One of the other walks that we did was at Esthwaite Water. It's between Windermere and Coniston and is one of the smaller lakes up there, but it's so pretty as you can see.

The weather was lovely for most of the week we were up there, and this day was no exception. Although, during the end of our walk, on the view below, we did get a little bit of sleet and snow, but within a few minutes it was hot and bright sunshine again. 

Near this little lake is the quaintest village with a fantastic little coffee shop. We did treat ourselves to a scone and tea for the hubby, and a redbush tea and a jam and coconut shortbread for me. Rather yummy it was too. 

It is fun having a camera that can do panoramas!

It was soon the end of the week, and time for us to head home to see our little woofers... they had had a holiday of their own with Andrea and James at the kennels (they love it there!!) and I'm sure were totally spoilt rotten too. 

On our last day there, it decided it was going to throw down some snow, which we didn't mind as it made it look more magical. But it did stop us travelling to a lake we wanted to go to after a visit to Grasmere... the road had been shut due to an accident. Not a suprise as the snow was laying very deep. 

We went out for a lovely meal at the Windmill just up the road on the last night there, and the snow was looking lovely on the hills around  us... this is the view as we were leaving Windermere to come home. 

As usual, our little trip was all too short, but I'm sure we will be back again very soon - there's so much to see up there, some lovely Gingerbread to buy and lots more walks to do. 

Thanks for visiting.... xxx

Friday 6 May 2016

Colour it up....

Morning all. 

Oh what a few weeks it's been here in the House of A. We've been busy in the garden - redressing (another word for getting a grip on the wilderness!!), adding a wildlife pond for our little friendly visiting frog and it's frogspawn,  snail hunting in the greenhouse to stop the little blighters eating all my dahlia seedlings... now, I love snails as they are so cute, but not in the greenhouse when trying to grow pretty flowers, so evicted into the garden they went! We've also had a fantastic walking week up in the Lake District which was much needed chill time (photos to follow in another blog post) and finally, back to work over the Bank Holiday weekend, bereavements in our pet family and sample making!

So, whilst sat having a cuppa this morning, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone (so to speak) and do this little blog post with my card. This is my favourite one from the Panel shows this past week, and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. I love getting my Nuvo pens out and doing a spot of colouring in, and I really think I need to allocate myself a day of colouring once a week to satisfy my creativity. Haha. What do you think?!

Anyways, for this card, I decided I wanted to cut the beautiful Floral Blooms Patterned Panels die to look like a peel off and add some colour behind it. So, I opted to use a chocolate brown base card and layer it up with blue tones. The 'peel off' effect lace from the panel was also from the chocolate brown card. 

Here's a quick how to - 
  1. Cut the following for your card. For the top layer, cut a piece of blue card to 12cm x 15cm and cut your aperture centrally into the front. Add pricking detail around the outside edge if you desire. 
  2. For the 'peel off ' layer, cut a piece of chocolate brown card to 12.5cm x 15.5cm and place your blue card from step 1 over the top. Place your panel die into the centre of the aperture. Remove the blue layer and stick your patterned die in place. Run through the machine to cut the pattern, turning around and cutting again if necessary. 
  3. Glue a 12cm x 15cm piece of white cardstock to the back of the patterned cut from step 2 and add your colours as you like. You can choose to colour with Nuvo pens as I did, or opt for Nuvo glitters or painting with watercolours, nuvo drops or just leave plain or paper piece... the choices are endless!
  4. Make a base card by scoring an A4 chocolate cardstock in half and trimming the edges to make a 15cm x 18cm card. 
  5. Cut  a second blue layer to 13.5cm x 16.5cm and attach this onto your base card. Glue your coloured panel to the centre of this panel. 
  6. Add foam pads to the underneath of the aperture blue panel from step 1 and layer this up onto your card ensuring the border is nice and even. 
I finished my card off with a Tonic bow made with Large Dainty Bow set, but you can leave it off if you decide to. It would look equally as nice plain, or with a sentiment in the centre.

You can also see that I added some Nuvo glitter drops to the petals of the flowers and also some of the turquoise Nuvo drops to the centres of the flowers to add dimension. 

I will add a shopping list to the bottom of the post should you need it, complete with product numbers too. 

Well..... that's all for now folks, but I will be back later to do another blog post for you all... but I now need to go do some work, make another cuppa.... I'm sure you get the picture. **wink**

Until then....!


Tonic Patterned Panels Floral Blooms - 1332E
Tonic Large Dainty Bows set - 594E
Tonic Studios Nuvo Crystal Drop - Neptune Turquoise 661N
Tonic Nuvo pen collection - Sunshine Yellows 312N
Tonic Nuvo pen collection - Woodland Greens - 313N
Tonic Nuvo pen collection - Marina Blues - 314N
Tonic Nuvo pen collection - Rosy Pinks - 316N
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