Harlequin Pears


This week’s Monday Mojo email got me thinking about batch production for this year’s Christmas cards and inspired by last year’s bauble aperture card, I came up with a variation using a pear shaped die.   I got three cards out of one sheet of A4 card by cutting the long side into three equal strips (9.9cm) then folding each one in half.  The size also meant there were no problems getting the card and die through my die cutting machine.

I used the three different harlequin stamps from Harlequin and Tangled Fragments and stamped each card with VersaMark before dusting with PanPastels in shades of green and yellow.  I stamped and coloured the whole of the card front before die cutting so that I then had decorated pears to use on other cards.


I added a turtle dove stamped in Archival Vermillion and the greetings inside are all stamped with Archival Olive.  If I wanted to follow the Mojo tutorial, I could have cut a smaller pear shape to suspend in the aperture, but I decided to let the sentiment inside be the focal point.  When I actually come to send these cards, I will probably write my greeting on the back of the card.



I also made a couple of A6 topfold cards, one of which is shown here using the pear cut out with a little red PanPastel added to it. I stamped the greeting at the bottom then added a strip of card with ribbon attached above the sentiment.


Here is another card with a very similar layout, but no die cut this time, just the harlequin stamp coloured with PanPastels.


I’m starting to get quite a nice little stockpile of Christmas cards now, partly because I always try to make at least 3 or 4 cards at a time with the same colours and materials.  That’s just one of my little productivity tips in this week’s email.  (If you’re not on the list to get Monday Mojo emails, you will see a sign up box in the side bar here on my blog.)


How are you getting on with your Christmas card making?



Oriental Crane Sunrise

Oriental Crane

I have a craft room!!  It’s mainly white (the walls are a very pale aqua) and it has been well and truly purged.  The hallway is full of boxes and I’m only allowing things in that I really love or I  know I will use.  There’s so much stuff going out that I think we’re going to have to open the doors and have a warehouse sale at some point.

I have a slightly bigger table than I used to have and I’m slowly getting a working arrangement set up that suits me.  It’s got a south facing window which is actually proving a slight problem as the low winter sun (when we see it) slants through the window into my eyes and there are not many places to put the table to avoid it.  I’ll have to drop the blind when it’s very sunny, but I have some good task lighting, so even in the evenings I have plenty of light to work by.

I’ll do a full studio tour when I’m finished – still a fair bit of unpacking and sorting out to do, but I did manage to make a card at the weekend.

Oriental Crane

Not my normal colour palette at all, but I love it.  This has been created with PanPastels, mainly using tints to create a soft dreamy colour scheme.  I rubbed various tints around the background then used a circle mask to add some ink (Saffron and Venetian Orange Archival).  The stenciling (Tile Texture) was done with ink and I didn’t realise until Lesley pointed it out that it gives an illusion of oriental vertical script.  I stamped the blossoms with Versafine and lightly dabbed on PanPastel in shades of lilac and pink.

I stamped the lanterns from Lily Pad with Versafine Smokey Grey and the crane (Oriental Crane) was stamped in black.  I added a hint of colour to the lanterns and crane with Coloursoft pencils, then added a tiny bit of VersaMagic ink around the edge of the card.  It’s mounted onto a lilac embossed card (ancient stash recently re-discovered) and onto gold pearl card.

I’m really pleased with the way it has turned out and I can’t tell you how enjoyable it was to craft in a clean, tidy, WARM, space …. bliss!


A catch up post

lesley birthday card

Last week it was Lesley’s birthday and I wanted to do something to make her birthday special.  I hope she will tell you about it on her own blog soon (thepaperengineer.blogspot.co.uk), but I know she thoroughly enjoyed not one, but two fantastic days.  Plus I got to try out some workshop ideas on her which was good for me too!

Above is the card I made for her.  It features an old Prima mask in the background (no longer available in our shop, but wait til you see the new ones …) and stamps from Woodland Dreams and Nature Swirls.  The trees are coloured very simply with Inktense pencils and I used Distress inks over the mask and Memento to over stamp the background.

A couple of months ago, I made a birthday card for our other ‘Team Chocolate’ member, Val.

This one uses Sunny Sunflowers and our wood mounted Happy Birthday stamp.  I stamped the background with Versamark and used PanPastels over the top.  I don’t have any of the tints (yet) so I used lots of white before rubbing some of the stronger colours over the top.  The large flower is made using the leaves from the stamp set.  They are stamped onto yellow card with a dye ink (can’t remember now what I used, probably Memento) and after cutting them out I sponged some ink around the edges.  The smooth shape means they’re nice and easy to cut out.  I curled them with my fingers and assembled the flower with foam pads to keep the shape.  I was going to put one of the small sunflowers in the middle, but the rose was lying around and just looked perfect, so on it went.

In other news, Adrian’s doing ok, but obviously he is still coming to terms with losing both parents and it’s a slow and painful process.  He’s quite restless, so we have been going out quite a lot and actually been to some lovely places.  We discovered Helmsley last weekend and I might just have to move there.  Not for the picturesque ruined castle or the proximity of the glorious Rievaulx Abbey.  No the thing that would tempt me to sell all my worldly possessions and live rough on the street …. the turkish delight ice cream!  Oh boy, now I understand Edmund’s reaction in Narnia, I’m with the white witch every time if I can just have a little more of that heavenly stuff …




Let your dreams take flight


It’s been a funny couple of weeks and many ‘non-urgent’ activities have fallen to the bottom of the to do list.   I have a stack of unread emails in my inbox, a heap of unfinished projects, a messy house (hey, what’s new) and tumbleweeds rolling around the blog.

Adrian and I have a lot to sort out.  He is obviously still grieving – for both parents – and nothing but time makes that any easier. We haven’t started the job of clearing the house yet, but have had a fair bit of stuff to do, including finalising all the social services paperwork (we were on the ‘Direct Payments’ scheme, so have to sort out redundancy for the carer and reconcile the bank accounts – tedious, but necessary).  It’s the end of a chapter and the start of a whole new book for us.  Peeking through the grief we feel a sense of freedom and we know that our future is now full of choice and opportunity.

I may not be around blogging as much as I’d like in the immediate future.  I’m still making time to create – mainly introspective musings in my journal, workshop and retreat ideas (one of the many things that I’ve been reluctant to commit to before now) and quite a few magazine submissions.  Luckily for me, Chocolate Baroque has an amazing Design Team, so there will still be lots of inspiration coming your way over on the Design Team Blog.  I’ll try and interject some non-Christmas stuff this month in case you’re not quite ready to be thinking of that yet.

Here’s a simple one layer card that I made this morning.

I had used the Zinnia stencil with PanPastels on another project and laid it over a sheet of glossy card to clean it with a baby wipe.  The pastel to baby wipe ratio was just right to leave a beautifully softly coloured pattern (I tried it again a few times and it’s a bit hit and miss, but the key is to use glossy card).  I stamped over it with Memento (Teal Zeal), but stamped off on paper first to give a softer colour, then stippled around the edges and stamped the sentiment.  Stamps are all from Butterfly Dreams.

Says it all really!