Saturday, November 18, 2017


Hi Creative friends,

They say every rule has an exception so when the design team were asked the question Pink or Blue? I think everyone would have thought I would say pink... and normally I would, absolutely because, well... PINK!  However, being so close to the silly season, I really really wanted to scrap these two pics of my little Miss and I thought Blue would be the perfect choice for that, so Blue it was!

The design of this page began with the idea of creating a Christmas tree.  As I was working with the new Bohemian Dream collection which is not a Christmas line as such,  I knew I'd have to add some kind of Christmas element to bring it together.  To do this, I simply cut the word "Christmas" out on my Silhouette.  I placed the title towards the bottom of my page and centered it as I wanted it to represent the lowest branches of my Christmas tree design.  I have backed the cut file with a combination of the Abundant, Gypsy Heart, and Flower Child papers.

To finish out my title, I used the Chipboard Title Stickers word "beautiful".  I just have to say too, the adhesive on these is so good, no need to add extra glue, it's super strong - and we all love that!  Just decorate with mist, paint etc and stick them on, I just love how customisable these are.

Now that the title was sorted, I worked on placing my photos.  I knew they would be the 2nd largest element I would have besides the large title and needed them locked into position before I could add my mixed media and the rest of my design.  Before sticking them down, I added some watercolor splatters in a pretty shade of blue.  It softens the edges of the photo and adds to the otherwise fairly blank background.  I've double mounted the photos using the Abundant, and Gypsy Heart papers and stitched around the edges with my machine.

To create the top of my tree, I've added two of the leave die cuts from the Ephemera Pack.  I also centered a sentiment sticker from the Accessory Sticker sheet over the top to hide where the leaves meet.  I've also added the "Oh So Happy" circle die cut from that same pack and the pretty butterfly in substitute for an angel.

Here you can see the pretty result from using shimmery watercolors on the white chipboard title stickers and the flair badge I've added to my tile.  I've also placed more of the leaves, this time those from the Vellum accents pack under this cluster to add to the feel of the Christmas tree.

To finish off my layout, I stamped 4 hearts with grey ink onto the Gypsy Heart paper using the Clear Stamps set and fussy cut them out, I placed 3 of these at the bottom of my page for the tree base, and one at the very top to represent the very top of the tree.

Thanks for popping by today, I hope the mention of Christmas didn't make you groan, I know it's a little early, but if I don't create in the season it's oh so much harder to get it done during the year.  

Until next time

Thursday, November 9, 2017

"So Sweet" for Colour Blast

Hi Creative Friends,

Quite often, I have a plan for a layout before I even begin.  This really helps keep me focussed and get things stuck down more quickly.... because well, I have a tendency to do the embellishment dance and nothing actually gets glued into place.  Sometimes it's colours that I start with, sometimes an idea from my picture and sometimes it's based on a product.

The idea for this page came from a pattern paper I had seen online by Crate paper and wasn't able to find locally.  I love the circle elements in neat rows and the pastel colours.  I had given up on being able to source it, so I went about recreating it.

Firstly I wanted to lock in the colours for my page.  I tried to loosely match the colours in the paper and also matching some of the other products I thought I might use in the page.  I've gone with the combo of Colour Shimmer Sprays in Lipstick, Envy, Sunshine and Singin The Blues.

I didn't end up using the banners on the final page, but they definitely helped with narrowing down my colour choice.  (Seems I have too many pretty Colour Blast colours to choose from!) Now that colours were locked in, I went about spraying sections of some white cardstock paper scraps.  I didn't bother adding Gesso as I knew it would just be a fine mist I would be applying.  I tried to make the sprays uneven for interest.  I also add a few splatters using the nozzle of the sprayer while the colour was still wet.  Doing it this way softens the splatters are they tend to blend into the background rather than sitting on top like they do when applied over dry spray.

Once my paper scraps were completely dry, I then went about punching out 2-inch circles in each of the colours.

Next, it was time to add them to my page.  Using the paper as a bit of a guide, I lined them up across the top of the page.  I used only a small amount of adhesive so that I could re-position if necessary.  Once I was happy with their placement I continued down the page.  Then, once I had placed all of my circles, I added a stack of machine stitching for added detail.  I made sure not to stick everything down too much, I really love how the circles slightly lift off the page around the edges.

With the background finished, it was now time to add my photo mat and embellishments.  I decided to try and stash bust a little on this one so I've used a lot of my Crate Paper stash mixing and matching their collections.

Here you can see a close up of the Envy sprayed circles and you can see the detail in them of the splatters.   Below you can see the Lipstick circles.

and below you can see the colour of the Envy compared to the colour of the Singin The Blues.  They really were the perfect match to the mint and blue tag I used which you can see on the left there.

I give this project a "mess level" of Low
 No mess, easy process and something we can all try.  New to mixed media?  This is a great technique to start you off.  More experienced?  Why not try re-creating a more challenging pattern paper.

Thanks for popping by today, I hope this page inspires you to create your own pattern paper rather than buy one!


Saturday, November 4, 2017


Hi Creative friends!

Back on the blog today with another project using the DIVINE new Bohemian Dream collection for Cocoa Vanilla Studios.  I cannot tell you how much I love using this collection, the colours are just so fresh and beautiful!  It is fast becoming my favourite collection yet!

The design for this page began with my photos, I had a sweet little series of shots I wanted to use and I knew that the purple-blue dress up would be the perfect match for this collection.  I decided to print them quite small with the idea that I could then have them running across my page.  I wanted the colours in the photos to really pop so went with a white background.  Rather than using white cardstock, I went with the divine Kaleidoscope paper with the wood grain running width ways to draw the eye along the row of photos.

Once I had a plan for my photos I began work on my photo mat.  I am a huge fan of the Beautiful Mess pattern paper with the variety of rectangles in different prints.  I've used several of these for the page, including the green triangle design in my paper layers and the pink and purple designs to matt my photos.  I have used the large ombre purple piece as the main part of my paper layers.  All I have done is cut them all up and then shuffle the layers until I was happy.   A few staples in the centre secures them in place.  The green triangle design was too small so I simply cut it in half and attached to each side, to give the appearance of a larger piece.

To soften the layers, I added a doily from my stash, always the perfect little touch, and then went about locking in the position of my photos.  Next, it was time to embellish.  I went through the Die cut Ephemera Pack and pulled the elements I thought would go by colour.  I love the watercolour feel to the rectangle die cut and whilst "Shine Bright" is a fun sentiment, I felt "you are amazing" was a better fit for my page so I just mounted that with foam and added directly on top.  I love how you can still see the pretty water-colour underneath.

Next, it was time to think about the title of the page, I didn't have anything specific in mind, these were just sweet little pictures of my miss on a regular day.  I decided that I loved the colours in the "dream" and "BIG" words on the Chipboard Accent Stickers and they went so well with that ombre paper I used for my paper layers so they were the perfect fit. I love the cute little hearts too in this sheet so couldn't help but add those too.

I've also added the sweet little bird Flair button, elements from the Die cut Ephemera Pack including a die cut butterfly, the tabs used on the far left photo and the shine bright banner,  Accessory Stickers, and the Enamel Shapes - how cute are those hearts!!

To finish the page off, I have added some stitching either side of the row of photos and around the edge of the layout in a contrasting thread.

Thanks for popping by today, I hope I've inspired you to get into your craft space and create!  Oh and be sure to add your layouts to the Cocoa Vanilla Studio Facebook group, we love featuring pages you create!

Until next time

Thursday, October 26, 2017

"Beautiful YOU" for Colour Blast

Hi Creative Friends,

Is it me or are paint brush strokes on trend?  Maybe they never stopped being trendy and I just never noticed???  After seeing a few of late, I've been wanting to be a bit brave and give one a go.  Nothing too out of my comfort zone, just a little step :)

Starting with a plain piece of cardstock, I've taken a wide paint brush and the divine Lipstick Colour Shimmer Cube and added a few strokes to my page.  I've tried to vary where they start and finish and have even layered a few over each other for interest.  While these were still wet, I went about flicking extra colour over the top.  Some of this blended in with what was already there and I love how that looks, other splatters sit on top and that's really nice too.

Once fully dried, I've then added more brushstrokes this time with Lovely Lilac Colour Shimmer Cube.  I've also splatted a little with this same brush.  If using multiple colours of the Colour Shimmer Cubes, it's really important to let them dry fully if you don't want your colours to mix.  I was also very careful not to work the colours too much if they were touching as they would have mixed together.  I was wanting a layered look here, a separation between the two colours used.

 Next, I've taken a smaller paintbrush and splatted in Lipstick, Lovely Lilac and Bling still using the Colour Shimmer cubes, this time I did try and make the consistency thicker which would result in a more saturated colour.  I've kept the colours in the background isolated to sections of the background... I didn't want to fill the whole page up with splattered colour, just adding a patch here and a patch there to keep some white space.  Then I let it all dry and I was ready to add my papers and embellishments.

Above you can see the 2 colours of paint strokes, the larger splatters and the smaller ones.  I love how simply by changing a brush you can get a different look.  Of course, these are so much more shimmery in real life. I wish the camera did them justice!

I've decided to go with the Wild At Heart collection by Cocoa Vanilla Studios for my page, the purple and pink tones are a perfect match!  I simply mounted my photo with some pattern paper and then fussy cut out some butterflies.  I really used the paint strokes to contain and dictate my design.  

Once the photo was locked into place, it was time to add a tile... I went with the 'beautiful' die cut.  I love how it had a watercolour feature in it, the perfect fit for my background.

I then continued on adding lots of elements here and there and some paper flowers and stitched on sticker word sentiments to finish.  I really love how the paint strokes peak out from under the embellishments.

and one more sneak, here you can see the pretty painted background poking out from under my photo mat.

I give this project a "mess level" of Medium
 ( Sure, not much mess to clean up with just 2 paintbrushes being used, BUT, I had to be a little reckless and let the paint be a little messy for this background to work).  If you are too careful with it, it won't look as soft and watercolour like.  You also do need to keep it contained, you can always add more if you need to, so go slowly.  I would definitely also suggest trying this with softer colours and quite diluted if you're not feeling very brave (hence my colour choices).

Thanks for popping by

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Hi Creative friends!

Back on the blog today with another project using the DIVINE new Bohemian Dream collection for Cocoa Vanilla Studios.  I'm sticking with my theme this month of documenting the first 10 years of my daughter's life, this time creating a page for her album.

I had already spent a long time sorting photos and getting them into a consistent format for my mini tag album so I thought why not use that effort and also create a 12 x 12 layout.  I knew the layout would be a bit of a challenge because I had eleven photos I wanted to add and I knew they were all in different formats, but I'm super glad I gave it a whirl and love the end result.  The best way I find to include lots of photos on a page is to print them small.  I began by creating a Photo collage using this feature at my local print shop, there are lots of formats to choose from so I went about creating a couple.  I mixed and matched the photos on each so that I would have a few choices of the sizes each of the photos would be printed in.

I then went about working on the position of the photos, I just shuffled them until I was happy.  For my background, I've used the "Wild and Free" paper.  I was also restricted by the fact that I wanted to keep them in timeline order, so their order and position really did dictate the design of the page.  Once I had them looking good I went about matting each one twice.  I used a combination of papers from the 6x6 paper pad.  I love using the paper pads for small photo mounts like this, as the designs are printed smaller than the 12x12 so you see more of them.  Proportionally the designs are a better fit with the photos.

At this point, all of my photos were locked into position, it was now time to add the title.  I really love the colours in the chipboard word "HAPPY" from the Chipboard Stickers sheet so I teamed that with the words from the Chipboard Titles sheet to make my title "This Happy Life".  Of course, you can leave these plain, but I really wanted the pop of colour so I've added some shimmery watercolors from my stash, just using a paintbrush.  These Chipboard pieces are so versatile, you could add mists and inks or embossing powders etc, so many ways to make them uniquely fit your layout.  I was going for a 'not so perfect' look here, I didn't want to cover the entire piece of chipboard, I wanted variation in the colouring.

Next, I just could not help but use some of the vellum accents, the florals in this pack are my favourite!!  I positioned one of the larger vellum pieces over a similar style die cut from the Die Cut Ephemera pack for a layered flower effect.  I placed two others around my page, simply securing with a small amount of liquid glue in the center.

I also added leaves from the Die Cut Ephemera pack to my main floral element under the title and some vellum butterflies... oh so pretty!  I also added foam to one of the sentiments in this pack and added that.  I really just kept the design simple so it wasn't competing with all those photos!

Lastly, I've added a couple of words from the Accessory Stickers sheet and some Enamel Shapes and that was the layout finished.  How cute are those hearts? Aren't they the perfect finishing touch.  Thanks for popping by today and keep sharing those beautiful creations of yours on the Cocoa Vanilla Studios Facebook group, we love seeing them!

Until next time,

Thursday, October 12, 2017

"Shine Bright" for Colour Blast

Hi, Creative friends!!

I hope you are all well!  I have a layout to share with you today featuring more beautiful Colour Blast products in my "clean mixed media" style.  I got a  bit "painty" with this one!

For this project, I started with this black and white photo of Miss 10 proudly showing off an award she received at school that day for "Outstanding Work Ethic".  It inspired me to document a reminder that she should always "Shine Bright" and that she could become anything she really wanted to be if she worked hard enough.  I then had the idea to use a butterfly motif to represent the "growing into something beautiful" theme of the page.  So I went about cutting out a large butterfly design on my Silhouette in white cardstock.

Next, I went to my stash of Cocoa Vanilla products and pulled out some of the butterflies from the Wild At Heat collection, I knew they would pull the page together nicely.  I then also knew what colours I wanted to use in my mixed media background.  I went with Rose Petal and Lovely Lilac in Shimmer sprays and Colour Shimmer cubes as they were the perfect match.

Having an idea of the design for the page I wanted to build, I went about working on my background.  (I did apply a thin layer of clear gesso)  I began by "smooching" the cardstock using the plastic packaging technique with both of the mists.  I found the Lovely Lilac is very soft and Rose Petal is considerably darker which is a really nice contrast.

I then dried this off fully before adding more layers in the same technique.  I find this is the best way for me to build colour, slowly, layer by layer.  I've also added some splatters, using the sprayer from the Colour Shimmer Spray bottle.  I simply keep layering and adding (always drying in between each step) until I am happy.

At this point, I really wanted to lock in the position of my cut file butterfly, so once it was in a position I was happy with, I traced around it with a pencil.  This then gave me really clear guidelines as to what parts of my background were going to show and which bits wouldn't.

Using a paintbrush and the Colour Shimmer Sprays, I went about painting in between the gaps of the cut file, that is, the sections I knew would show through once the cut file was in place.  I used a watercolour style, focusing on keeping the edge outlines soft.  While I had my paintbrush out, I also coloured my title word "Bright" at this point I had already decided that there would be too much black and white on the page and painting the letters would brighten things up and balance the page out a little.

That was all of the mixed media components completed, it was now time to build the page.  I started by mounting my photo with a couple of pattern papers also from the Wild At Heart collection by Cocoa Vanilla Studios.  I then attached the large die cut butterfly and hand stitched around the edge.  Next, came fussy cutting.  The black and white flowers are all from the same pattern paper.  I just kept shuffling them around the page until I was happy with their position.  I kept the space between the bottom of the butterfly and my photo for the title.  Lastly came the remaining smaller die cut butterflies and pretty sparkle enamel dots.

You can see below the pretty effect water colouring with both the Colour Shimmer Cubes and Shimmer sprays achieved.

I give this project a "mess level" of Low
 ( I've just used plastic packaging, a paint brush and the nozzle from the Shimmer sprays to apply my mixed media, no overspray and no muddy colours so this clean scrapper is very happy)

Thanks for popping by

Wednesday, October 4, 2017


Hi Creative friends!

Back on the blog today with a very special share... Special for a couple of reasons, firstly, it is my very first project using the DIVINE new Bohemian Dream collection for Cocoa Vanilla Studios, and more importantly, it's special because it's a project 10 years in the making!

I am a huge fan of tag mini albums and I have always wanted to do one featuring my little Miss and all of her birthday celebrations.  I wanted to create one project that would show just how much she has grown up over the years and of course, birthday photos are a great way to see that!  It took a little bit of work to sort through 10 years of photos but so worth it!  As you can imagine, there was quite a bit of inconsistency in the photos due to them being taken over such a long period of time over many different cameras. I thought the best way to work with that would be to print them all in black and white and edit with the same filter.  I'm really happy with the consistent feel they now have.

I then went about putting the photos in order from birth to 10, this gave me a really good starting point for the design of the album and dictated the layout for all of the pages.  Some of the photos were not that great quality wise so they had to be printed smaller, others were the square format and some were 6x4.  I really love the mix of sizes and I think it really adds an eclectic feel to the album. 

Now that the photos were sorted, it was time for the fun stuff!  I ADORE this new collection especially the mix of pink and purple and the floral in the "Abundant" paper is to die for!  I thought it best to stick with a small selection of papers, "Abundant", "Dreamer", "Wild and Free" and "Bo Ho Bits" and teamed these with a piece of bright green cardstock from my stash.  I was going for bright and fun just like my Miss 10!

I have used a set of pocket page plastic sheets as pockets for my photos and went about inserting these and adding my pattern papers to the back.  I created tabs for the photos to attach to the ring at the top out of rectangles cut from the "Bo Ho Bits" pattern paper.  I simply fussy cut them out, folded in half and punched a hole in them.  I have also used quite a few of the elements from this cut apart sheet for my embellishments.  The number of each birthday came from my stash, it was good to finally get a use for those!

The bones of the project were coming together at this point so now was the time to go page by page adding lots of elements.  I started with the tag from the Sticker sheet that says "You Brighten my World" and added that to a scrap of pattern paper, next came a tag that was die cut and then I've added the word "lovely" from the chipboard accessories sheet.  For the next sheet, I've added a sticker tab to the right of my photo and a flair button.  I really wanted to use lots of bits from all of the parts of the collection, they go so well together and I just love the dimension they all bring.

This part of the creation process was so fun, I simply went page by page adding bits until I was happy.  Above you can see chipboard, fussy cut pieces of pattern paper and die cuts to create this cluster, finishing it off with some enamel shapes.  It was so nice to be able to just pick pieces and add them, there are just so many choices and with everything being so new and so well co-ordinated it really was hard not to add everything... I did use quite a bit though and I love that!

Here you can see a side view of the album.  I've added quite a few words and tabs down the side for interest and you can also see that I have added A LOT of sewing details to keep the album together.  I have also included a few shaker pockets with sequins which are really fun.  Sewing them really helps them stay together as they are handled so much more than pages in an album.  I think this is one of the reasons I love making them so much,  I seriously could make these all day every day!

I do hope you love what I have created with this new collection, it was so fun to make!  If you haven't had a chance to see it all, be sure to pop over to the Cocoa Vanilla Facebook page, it really is such a stunning collection.  If you'd like your very own album just like this, be sure to check out the details of my upcoming class at The Stamper Hut Ashmore later on in the month.  Details on Facebook :)

Until next time,