Friday 19 July 2013

July Friendly Feature–Tara Cardwell

We are so pleased to bring you a truly good friend of Waltzingmouse Stamps; Tara Cardwell. Tara lives in the UK with her husband.  Her blog, Craftilicious, is a delightful place to visit with page after page of creative inspiration, so be sure to stop by and take a look. Tara loves to cook and entertain in addition to her passion for reading and hosts a monthly book club. In addition to her love of papercrafting she also designs tiaras and jewelry. It seems that Tara enjoys many crafts! Let’s see what she has to share with us today.

I was really surprised, but totally thrilled, when I got an email asking me to be the next Friendly Feature on the Waltzingmouse Blog. I couldn’t believe they wanted little ole me on a big grown up blog, but despite being a little daunted by the prospect, my answer was still an immediate, “yes please!”

As you will see from my Q&A below, decisiveness (particularly when it comes to my favourite of Claire’s brilliant stamp sets) is not exactly a strong point, so I couldn’t settle on one set to play with and decided in the end to make two projects – a card with the new You’re A Doll set and a sentiment from You’re a Doll Additions, plus a little something fun using a pair of my favourite older sets – Way Out West and Back in the Saddle.

For my card, I wanted to play with the dolls as I loved the set I had as a child and I really wanted to have some element of having the dolls inside each other so had to put my thinking cap on to get some paper engineering going.

To begin with, I started with a strip of cardstock 18 cm long by 5 cm wide and I scored it at 3.5 cm, 6.5cm, 12cm and 14.5cm and then made a mountain fold at 3.5cm and 14.5cm and a valley fold at 6.5cm and 12cm to give me the “opening” mechanism. I stamped the middle sized doll on the inside of the cardstock using my chosen colours for the card design – teal, lime green, orange and black.

I then folded the piece together and use washi tape to secure it to my mat so I could securely stamp the larger doll on the outside.

I used the same 3 colours but swapped them around a little so the dolls were themed but still different. I stamped the little green neckerchief a second time onto a piece of thick cardstock and fussy cut it out. I secured it to the “head” part with glossy accents and then added a repositionable glue dot the bottom to act as a closer.

I used the washi tape to secure the folds together and then cut around the doll through all 3 thicknesses of cardstock. This really puts the little doll inside the big doll in the way you would get with the real thing.

To finish I found a piece of paper in a nice bright orange (My Minds Eye Tickled Pink 6x6 pad) and mounted it onto a white card base leaving enough room around the edge for a teal stitch line – hand drawn with a Momento pen. I mounted the doll centrally using permanent tape behind the centre and more repositionable glue dots behind the edges you pull apart. The sentiment was simply stamped in black onto a scrap of teal card – the gorgeous font needs little else to make it pop!

I hope that gives you all a new idea of how to play with your dolls!

For my second project I wanted to do something other than a card and I had an idea for something a little fun – my take on a wanted poster you can put your own face in ;-)


I used a 15cm square mirror tile (£10 for 8 from B&Q) and Stazon ink in just 2 colours (jet black and teal blue) and I really wasn’t sure if it would work – but it was very quick and easy to put together.

I started by stamping the hills from Way Out West in teal using my Fiskars stamp press for accuracy. I find a good way to get the hills where you want them is to lay the foreground on top of the press when stamping the hills underneath so you can line the foreground up to the bottom of the mirror. I let that dry for a couple of minutes and then stamped the foreground in black. I added the mounted cowboy from Back in the Saddle too as you can’t have a wanted poster without a cowboy!

I carefully cut the wanted poster sentiment from Back in the Saddle into 3 pieces so I could use just the words without the frame and stamped those in black. I finished with the cute cowboy boots in either corner just because I love those boots!

I then persuaded my husband to give it a test drive – it was very hard to photograph and get him in the middle but I think you get the point. These would make really fun inexpensive gifts for cowboy fans – you could easily do it with a framed mirror too and add some more of the decorations – like the big Sheriff badge from the add-on set.

Thanks to Claire and Lynn for letting me share my projects with all the other Waltzingmouse fans out there – hope I provided a little something to spark your inspiration.

Wow, are you as impressed as we are? Tara did an amazing job with these two projects, and you can see why she was selected for our guest blogger for July.

Tara was nice enough to answer some questions that will help us get to know her just a little better.

When did you get into this hobby?

I’ve been a crafter all my life – as an only child I was very happy to occupy myself with pens and paper as you didn’t need other players for crafting! I was never happier than when I got a shiny new set of pens or crayons. I’ve had a go at pretty much every form of craft out there from cross stitch to jewelry making, pottery to hat making and have a room groaning full of underused supplies as testament! However back in 2010 I made my first card as an adult and fell in love with stamps. My hobbies usually tend to be quite faddy and often don't stick, but as I discovered blog challenges towards the end of 2010 I really got the bug and haven’t looked back since. I have to say that finding a community of like minded bloggers out there has been wonderful as none of my circle of friends share my creative passion and it’s wonderful to no longer feel alone in my hobby. I now make cards almost every day when work allows. (I work in HR and Facilities for a local software company) I’d love to go part-time to have more time to craft but unfortunately my stamp habit requires me to work more and play less :-(

What is your favorite kind (manufacturer) of cardstock?

Not sure I have one really – I’m more of a whatever card is the right colour for what I’m doing kind of girl. I just got an American Crafts Tropical Cardstock pack though and do really like the colours and quality of the card.

Your favorite WMS set or one that you reach for over and over?

Saying “all of them” is wimping out isn’t it? OK, if you really twist my arm, then I could probably give you a short list of 3 4 5 OK 6: Back in the Saddle, Way out West, Frame-It, Say it Loud, Big Day Additions and Festive Foliage. All I can say is that my stamps are kept in CD cases in two towers by my desk and the Waltzingmouse ones are in the “most accessible” drawers as I turn to them first for most of my card making – even if the main image isn’t WM then in most cases the sentiment is!

Do you have a favorite technique?

I’m realizing that I’m not very decisive - I do honestly like doing different things at different times. I am mostly a CAS girl in cardmaking style but I do like playing with different techniques. I guess the two things I enjoy the most and do the most often are colouring with my copics (I still delight in getting new pens that part of me never really grew up) and paper-piecing as I do love cutting fussy little bits of pretty paper ;-)

Do you own a die cutter? What kind?

Again I’m a mistress of indecision so I have 4 die cutting machines currently – a Big Kick (the former name of the Big Shot) which is the one I use most, a Grand Calibur which I mostly use when the Kick isn’t wide enough as I haven’t really got to grips with it and find it a bit frustrating so now I’d like a Big Shot Pro! For electronic die cutting I have a Cricut which I thought was great until I got my Silhouette Cameo which now never leaves my desk top and I use all the time as it’s just the best gadget I’ve ever owned period!

What is your favorite color combination?

Yeah an easy one – regular viewers of my blog will probably know the answer already – anything with teal as it’s definitely my favourite colour – I even got married in a teal dress ;-) I do just love anything in that range of greeny-blues with my favourite ink colours hands down being Hero Arts Tide Pool and Momento Pear Tart.

If money wasn't an issue, what crafty stuff would you buy?

A new house with a much bigger craft room would be at the top of my list! Closely followed by a computerized sewing machine, a Big Shot Pro, a Fiskars Fuse, more pens – Distress Markers, Tombow, Shinan Twin-Touch, Gelatos – basically all the pens I could get my hands on and refills for everything. I’d be booking a flight to the states to go to Michaels and one of the big shows too with a couple of empty suitcases to fill to my hearts content….. Well a girl can dream right????

Who is your most admired crafter - or the person that inspires you or challenges you?

Again, picking one is just too hard – I follow lots of crafters for different reasons. I could narrow it down to 3 – Debby Hughes as she truly is the queen of CAS, Amber Kemp-Gerstel for her genius creativity and sense of humour and Elaine Hughes is my copic colouring goddess – she inspires whilst challenging me too! Plus the Waltzingmouse DT naturally – particularly at release time so I can drool over all the new goodies until they hit the store – I have to say release weeks seem to last forever when you’re waiting to go shopping.

We hope that you have enjoyed our July Friendly Feature. Thanks for stopping in today.


  1. That's pure genius with the doll. I've been trying to figure out how I could do something like that.

  2. I really enjoyed that post! I can almost hear Tara's voice! Love the sweet little doll card - very inventive, and the wanted mirror is a great idea.

  3. Thanks for having me ladies - I'm thrilled to bits!

  4. The russian nesting doll card is genious. I have to make one! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Wonderful Tara!! The nesting dolls is just too cute and wanted poster soooo clever!!

  6. Oh, Tara those dolls are fabulous!!
    I love how you did that...
    And what a fun mirror...
    I could just have my boys stand there all day and get used to see their pic on one because I worry they may actually be on a real someday. :(
    And I loved getting to know you better...
    wish an ocean didn't separate us because we could drive some business owners nuts with both of our indecisive natures! :)
    But you forgot to mention that you hail from the city that gave birth to the greatest rock band of our generation...
    Def Leppard!!! :)
    I remember. ;)

  7. Oh Tara, you're a girl after my own heart. What a brilliant idea with the dolls, can't wait to give it a shot! Of course, B and Q will be thanking you in Ireland and the U.K. - We'll be heading off looking for the tiles!!! Loved your post and your interview. I too dream of heading to Michael's amongst others to pick up a few things, not many, as if! Thanks for sharing .

  8. Really cute! Love the way you made your doll unfold. Congrats!

  9. Just to let you know Tara, I used your idea with the nesting dolls on an interactive sunflower card to make it grow. I've given you credit for the inspiration. Thanks again !


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