First quick impression

This set reminds me a bit of the Life is Sweet set from Simply Cards and Papercrafts that I reviewed a while back (here is a link to the post) I do like the corner die and the flower stamp is quite sweet. The sentiment stamps are nice and cover a range of expressions rather than the basic Happy Birthday etc. I am looking forward to seeing how these perform. So let’s get started in the usual manner.

Cottage Garden Testing Stamps

Testing the Stamps

Living Creatively with Fibro | Regulars skip on you know how I test my stamps

To test out new stamps I always use my Tim Holtz Stamping Platform. I know there are other platforms available but when I came to the point that I knew I needed one I did a load of research into the different features of them all and decided this was the right one for me. You can read my post about it.  Why did I need one? With the Fibromyalgia (not to mention a bonus gift of some Arthritis in my hands) I could no longer rely on my hands to get a clean even print with stamps. I was increasingly finding I was not getting good results, even with the Rocker Blockers which always guaranteed this before. The benefit of a stamping platform is that for whatever reason you do not get a clean impression you can simply re-ink and go again and you are guaranteed to be exactly in the same spot. Even the best eyes can be slightly off and then you risk shadowing.

I also always use Archival Ink to test stamps that come as free gifts with magazines. They are usually made from a different material to the one used by a lot of the major brands which means that if you use a dye-based ink like Memento the ink can pool on the stamp and give a really bad impression.  You can see exactly what I mean in this test of a fairy stamp. Archival Ink does not pool like this and I get to really test the stamp properly.

Cottage Garden Stamped Impression

Stamps Verdict

As you can see by the close up the stamps are all great, really clear typefaces and the stamps all perform well.As mentioned in the earlier comment there are some nice, slightly different sentiments too. The solid stamp is designed to colour in the outline so I guess the next thing to do is have a play with that and see how it does.

Style 1

In the first image, I used Worn Lipstick  Distress Ink on the stamp then spritzed it with water to create a watercolour effect. Personally, I think this is the most effective. The small leaves should really have been green but for speed when testing I used one colour for it all. Some of the leaves do not align perfectly but the watercolour effect is quite forgiving of this.

Style 2

For this second effect, I used the same Distress Ink but did not spritz it first, I had to ink the stamp twice because the effect was very patchy. This still looks quite good but I think the misaligned leaves are more obvious with the more solid ink.

Style 3

On the third attempt, I decided to do something more creative and painted the stamp with Twinkling H2O. Although I love the Mica in this I don’t think it stamped particularly well. It may well have been more effective if I had stamped the outline and painted it though…

Now onto trying out the die.
Cottage Garden Die

Die Verdict

Naturally I cut the die out in my Gemini, so there was no problems there. I decided to use some pastel lilac mirror card off-cuts to try it with. The die itself is really nice and very versatile. As you can tell the image above is zoomed in quite closely. You may notice some uneven marking on the cardstock. This is due to the fact I used some Cut Tidy to help cut it out. In case you are unfamiliar with it Cut Tidy is created to assist with cutting out ornate dies, it totally does away with the tiresome job of picking out all the little scraps of cardstock that are usually left in the die.  The benefits of it are enormous but the one negative is that if you are reusing it for a second or subsequent time and the design overlaps the first it can leave an imprint like this, which is unfortunate as it would become pricey to use a new folder for every die cut.

Making the Card

Here is what I came up with: The card was made with an Ivory 8″ x 8″ card blank. I created a 19cm x 19cm background paper by using a piece of Sheena’s Stamping Card (from Crafter’s Companion) I stamped the image with Ranger Archival Ink using the occasional secondary impression. I blended some Milled Lavender Distress Ink around the design then went over with Wilted Violet Distress Oxide and Spritzed this with water and blended it around with an ink blending tool and left this to dry. The background paper was mounted onto some 19.5cm x 19.5cm gold mirror card. The Friends are Flowers that never fade sentiment was stamped onto white card with Archival Ink and die cut with on to a label from the Spellbinders Sapphire Basic Set B. This label was blotted into a Milled Lavender spritzed puddle on my craft mat. The main image and the second sentiment came from the Flower Fairies of Summer I am still using from a previous post. I mounted the two die cuts to the back of the main image with some acid-free tape. The label was threaded onto some lilac ribbon and wrapped around the backing paper. The elements were attached to the background with 3D foam pads to give some lift. Here is the completed card front.
Cottage Garden completed card

The Verdict

I really like this set, both the Die, Image and Sentiment Stamps are very versatile. There is no question to ask they have definitely earned their place in my craft stash. You can read about my craft decluttering project here.

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