Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Size DOES matter!

Every year I make my Christmas cards, actually that's a lie, last year I didn't - I rebelled and made my husband buy some and made him write them!

I started thinking about what I wanted to make way back in November. I have loads of Christmas stamps accum
ulated over the years but of course I still had to buy the new stuff out there because I NEEDED it - right?

So armed with Pa
perArtsy Father Christmas, stockings and text stamps and the Tim Holtz deer dies I set to work and made some cards - large cards 5x7". but when I looked at them well they just looked large and messy not the classy chic look I was after. So I gave up in a huff.

Then whilst driving home (driving is probably an exaggeration,more like a slow moving caterpillar of cars creeping along the M1) from work one evening I had a brainwave - I needed to go smaller 5x5" would work much better with the images I wanted to use.

And by George I was right - take a look. Quality of the photos aren't great as they were taken last night in artificial light, but I think you get the idea.

I'm really pleased with the neutrals colour scheme and I think it met my objective of classy chic. Let's look at each one:

The deer was cut from ribbed card and inked around the edges in inka cold and little bit of raffia tied round the neck. The happy holidays message bottom left was stamped in copper embossing powder on a dark chocolate card and the patterned paper was one I had knocking around for ages and I inked the edges in burlap distress ink.

Father Christmas in the middle was stamped in copper embossing powder (over to one side to leave a larger edge on the left hand side) and then burlap and aged mahogany was inked over to colour slightly. The edges were scraped with a scalpel and then further inked with aged mahogany to distress a bit more. A brown gingham ribbon tied round the left hand edge and then everything mounted on a dark green card.

And finally Christmas stocking. I used a PaperArtsy Christmas text stamp inked in hazelnut and clear embossed on a cream card. I then used spun sugar and aged mahogany to colour slightly and again scraped the edges and coloured with more mahogany to distress. The stocking was embossed in black on some very old bright pink spot card and I used foam pads just to lift it off the text background.

So cards have been written, husband is posting today and now I can move on to the next craft task - a minimal twig tree hung with Tim Holtz die cut baubles.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Wreathy nice!

I had this idea for ages to make a wreath using a hobbycraft twig wreath and loads of flowers using lots of different textures - I could see it in my brain but could I translate that into the real thing?

Well I think I did - take a look.

Obviously you can't see into my brain (I sincerely hope not there are some thoughts in there that at I do not want out in the public domain - trust me) but I'm pretty well darned please with the result.

So what did I do?

Well last weekend I spent the Sunday die cutting out loads of PaperArtsy flowers from loads of different papers, card and metal. I wanted a really classy pale neutral colour range to go with the twig wreath so it was all gold and pearl metal, cream linen card, corrugated card, vellum's and some suitable brown cream patterned paper from the stash. The poor old Big Shot was working flat out cranking out those beauties!

Then in the week I started decorating all those lovely flowers. Everything was either embossed in a folder or heat embossed with a pearl or gold embossing powder or stamped with different script and music stamps using pumice, and lake mist inks.

Today I started cutting the flowers, shaping them and sticking them together in towers ala ArtsyCrafty weekend style using my mini glue gun. Didn't get too stuck up or burnt off skin this time!

Finally I started adding them to the wreath, I knew I didn't want to cover all off it and I knew I wanted to try and add height by over laying flower stacks on top of each other and have them coming "off" the ring. Tied some ribbon into bows and voila a rather nice Christmas type wreath.

I have plenty of flowers left so I'm going to make a second one!


So last week was foggy and this week is frosty - fortunately only outside as seen by this picture from my garden!

I feel really chilled and quite mellow after a fantastic day out yesterday spent watching international rugby at Twickenham, England v South Africa. The end result wasn't a win for us but I still enjoyed the whole thing from going down on the train, walking to the ground, seeing smiling happy faces, people joking with each other, talking to nice people and feeling strangely proud standing up and singing the national anthem along with 60,000 other people.

The walk back to the station was a good anthropological observation as well, thousands of fans all inter mingled together no nastiness and standing still politely when asked by the police on their police horses.

You can see why police horses work in terms of crowd control, they loom above you horse and rider, you don't want to scare them in case they start stampeding into the crowd and because you don't see them very often you all stand in awe at how beautiful they are (the horses not the police person sitting on their backs).

Result? Thousands of docile well behaved fans shuffling to the train.

Anyway after all that physical sporting activity yesterday (not me personally of course, I was just merely vocalising my support loudly, very loudly) I need to catch up on some relaxing and absorbing craft to continue this chilled mellow vibe.

Have good day where ever you are and whatever you are doing.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Thinking Christmas

Christmas is a mixed blessing in our house, we don't have any kids, one set of parents is dead and the rest of our family unit (siblings and parents) is small and don't quite get the whole festive family being together playing games thing. Christmas day for me and hubby usually ends at about 4 or if we are lucky 5pm.

For the last couple of years, I've thought is what's the point of me slaving away all morning cooking a turkey with all the trimmings for little or no thanks and I'd quite like to run away but it's sort of expected of us to host and we (well my hubby) live in hope that we can encourage our family to stay a a bit longer and spend some time together.

This year might be a bit different, I sort of feel I want to celebrate Christmas even if it's simple and quiet. Hubby and me will do what's important to us which is a nice meal, some time together in our hectic schedules and going out on Boxing Day to watch some rugby. I've said to the rest of the family you can come if you want and I don't mind if you want to be Scrooges and bah humbug and not come.

I used to really enjoy decorating the house but again that sort of fell by the wayside as I felt what was the point, but this year with this slight tingling fizz of possible excitement I've decided to make some decorations. So far both projects are in early stages but here are a couple of pictures to tempt you.

Can you tell what it is yet?

Saturday, 20 November 2010


Yet again it's foggy morning both literally outside and in my head. I've been slowly succumbing to the cold that's been poking me all week, hence the day off yesterday to "rest" but I think this morning it may have settled in, and made itself comfortable in my head, throat,nose and chest - hence the fogginess.
Don't worry I'm serving an eviction notice as we speak, well I type and you might read at some point!

I had quite a nice day yesterday pottering around in my house, tidying up my craft room, listening to radio 4, annoying the cats and tweeting with my virtual buddies. Shame I have to go to work the rest of the time in order to pay for the stash that lives in my craft room.

Once I'd managed to shove it (the stash) all back in the cupboards and boxes I got on with my "commission" When I say commission it was more a case of "Jo, can you make a thank you card for the director of the play what I am acting in this week?" from my husband.

So, I saw the play on Thursday night and very good it was to, an adaption of Blackadder Goes forth, adapted by husband and starring husband as Edmund (I don't have two husbands just one - he is quite talented but don't tell him I told you).

One of the props is a map, and the co-directors had great fun on ebay sourced authentic material such as this linen map. Anyway I thought I'd make a card that worked like a fold out map so that everyone had enough space to write their comments.

I took 12x12 card sheet and scored it in half horizontally (I had to to a hand movement then to remind myself which way horizontally goes, I will have to do the same when I type vertically) and then at 4" intervals scored it vertically (I did it - the hand movement). I then cut two pieces of mount board 6x4 to make the front and back covers. After lots of folding I worked out where the mount board covers would stick to act as covers and allow the map to fold out.

Then I started painting and stamping. I used a blue and a lovely teal acrylic to paint the mount board and watered down teal to paint the inside bit. The inside bit (see told you brain was foggy) was stamped in lettuce with a couple of old favourite Paperartsy swirly curly scrolls.

The mount board had the swirly tree image from the Paperartsy set embossed on the front in an aqua minty blue mica powder. Glued everything and then edged with a bit of gold inka to give it that faded antique opulent look. Hopefully it does the job and I really like the tree on the front especially with a tiny bit of inka rubbed over the top.

When I finished I even tidied up and put everything away - it won't last.

Right need to eat some breakfast and then off to Olney for haircuts and shock horror I probably (notice the use of probably) won't be popping in to LB Crafts as I normally do - only because I went last week!
Edited: nope couldn't resist, I popped in and spent a littl bit of money ...

Friday, 19 November 2010

Play day

I have a day off today, it's a me day, a day for me to mooch around do a bit of catching up on sleep and housework (just enough so it doesn't depress me) and of course make something. Now I have my craft room back - newly painted in a soft blue called escape (how apt) I'm itching to sort out and make some of the ideas I've had floating around in my head.

So I'll go and get the radio, tune into radio 4 and play ....

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Guilty as charged

I admit it, I have been up before the beak at blogger court and I have been charged with neglect, neglect of my blog. I was reminded that a blog is for life not just when I can be bothered and that procrastination is not be listened to. So in order to carry out my community service here is a quick entry.
I was asked to make a leaving card for a colleague so up for the challenge and inspired by my recent Artsy Crafty weekend I decided to make a tag book.
I cut and decorated (distress inks and Paper Artsy swirl) a tag for each member of staff that they could write what they wanted on to say to the colleague leaving.
Each tag was backed with paper and ribbon added - there were a lot of tags!
I then made the insides where the tags would sit. Folded paper inked and covered with anther piece of paper cut with a Tim edge die. they were then sewn around just to give a bit more stability.
I sandwiched mountboard between two pieces of paper to make the cover. This was gessoed and painted and stamped and edged with gold Inka gloop. Tim distressed flower die flowers were added (I was running out of time I admit) sprayed a bit with glimmer mist.
To attach the tag holders to the cover I carefully sewed the two together (hoping the cover wouldn't split) down the spin and to add a bit of strength glued some ribbon down the spin and tied into a bow.
I have to sat the recipient I think loved it and spent ages reading through the tags which to be honest was the intention, to give her friends and colleagues more space
to say how much they had enjoyed working with her and would miss her.
Have a good week and I "promise" to try and be a bettter blogger.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Heaven is a place called Newport Pagnell

So had an absolutly super dooper fab time at ArtsyCrafty weekend, got well inked up and one point my hands did a very passable impression of Shrek!

Highlights for me?
  • Making new friends and meeting old ones
  • Trying out new projects - big style!
  • Thinking up new ideas based on the projects we did
  • Might finally have found my Christmas mojo
  • Mistaking my skin for dried matte medium and "peeling" it off -ouch!
  • Having a huge bed to myself in the hotel
  • Playing with new glazes and perfect pearls misters - lush
  • Using moulds on the big shot
  • Not spending "too much" dosh (I needed it all really)

Obviously can't show anything we made yet as don't want to spoil for the Warrington peeps, but this is something I didn't use!

Have fun everyone!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Teenage kicks

So my niece hit the big 16 this week - I can just about remember that age, gearing up to O Levels, alcohol had only really been sniffed at not consumed, a lot of black was worn on the body and the eyes (not much changed there then) and none of us thought George Michael liked boys as he sung his way through Club Tropicana in tight white shorts .....

So what do you get the oh so trendy 16 year old then? Well money of course - duh! She got that but I also made her a banner for her bedroom in true black / purple goth colour scheme.

Each Stampotique lady is inked in archival and then various DI's were scrubbed, rubbed and sprinkled on - you'll have to guess what colours 'cos I used so many. . Glimmer mists in dark colours wer sprayed over the top, I think mostly black cherry and twilight - again sticking to that goth vibe.
The ladies were mounted on a black card tag that had been embossed with the Sixxix snake skin looking one (you know the one) and then mounted on a purple die cut shape (Paperartsy) which had been stamped with swirls in eggplant and clear embossed and then overstamped with the same swirl (Tim Holtz) in black ink. Various ribbons, buttons and paper flowers added as well.
Each corner had a black eyelet and they were knotted together with black and purple ribbon.

Response from oh so cool 16 year old? Oh you're getting better. Humph .......

Saturday, 2 October 2010


Well I know it's cutting it a bit fine but I've finally managed to get my entry done for the Sunday stamper challenge.

I've had to work late most of the week and yesterday a stinking cold came along and decided to takeover my body and make me feel "rubbish" (I'm being polite). And today has been busy what with an early start as somebody who'd gone out with the lads last night and stopped over with his bro in law forgot to turn of his radio alarm, and going out to buy a new telly as bro is taking his to his new flat, and going to watch the rugby this afternoon AND only just finding my sillicon glue has meant only just finished!!!!!!!!

I'm really pleased with the black metal flowers. The bottom layer was cut with a Paperartsy die and then stamped with one of the new Paperartsy grunge flower stamps and embossed with some arctic black thick embossing powder. They have a nice gleam as you waft them under the light going from purple to green. The top layer is the smaller Paperartsy die which has then been run through and embossing folder.

The stems are florist wire covered in green tape, then wound with strips of black ripped organza and finally some thin purple florist's wire wrapped around purple wired ribbon knotted to make leaves.

The background was painted in black paint, then purple paint with a hint of gleam in it (one of the new paints from crafty notions I got from NEC quilt show) lightly painted over and then sprayed with slate glimmer mist. Bottom right and top left are terra stamped into with Paperartsy text and tape measure stamps from one their hotpicks and then painted over in peacock crafty notions paint. More slate glimmer mist and some cosmic shimmer powder stuff to add a bit more gleam and shine. Corners stamped with a flourish in black archival.

So better late than never - let's just hope Mr Blogger plays nicely tonight.
Hope you like it

Friday, 1 October 2010

It's been a mad mad week ...

We always think we are ready for the start of term and yep usually we are and it all runs smoothly. This year has been to say the least a bit manic. we've had a major move around of stock and our Customer Service area is having a revamp slap bang at the beginning of term. If this week was bad I have a sneaky feeling next week and the next and the next could be worse.

Because of all this manicness (is that a word?) I've been starting work even earlier than normal and leaving later which means I don't have much time for crafting when I get home at night, all I'm usually fit for is a bath and a glass of wine.

So here's something I dabbled with last week, a manilla tag that I painted with gesso, added various blue DI's , rubbed back to reveal a bit of gesso. Sta
mped with one of the Stampotique grungy girls and painted her with DI's. I might add a bit more "stuff" to her yet, but she looks pretty good at the moment. Right more number crunching, furniture moving and smiles all round and roll on sometime tonight when I might be able to finish my entry for the Sunday Stamper - it's nearly there!

Pictures are a bit dark I grant you and the dimpled background is our new rubber floor at work - get us!

Hope you like.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Old Skool

So here I am sitting in my villa at Center Parcs, wildlife is right on the doorstep, a swan has just waddled past the patio doors and yesterday I had to physically threaten a squirrel who was adamant he was coming in to help himself to my biscuits - it wasn't pleasant.

So I was limited to what I could physically cram into my stash bag which meant no big shot, metal, dies or embossing plates - just paper, distress inks, few stamps and a pritt stick.

It was like going back to basics when I first started out crafting.

I thought I'd have a play with my new Paperartsy stamps - HP 1006, not bad if I don't say so myself given my limited stash.

DI's used include: worn lipstick, spun sugar, tattered rose on the tag. Peeled paint and dusty concord on the flower and crushed olive to print sanctuary. Quite apt really because Center Parcs for me is a bit of a sanctuary especially the spa session we've got planned for the afternoon.

I had thought about nipping out and raiding the natural stuff outside - bit of bark, few leaves but it's raining and I'm scared of the swan.

Friday, 24 September 2010


Hubby and I are going away for the weekend for some much needed US time, a long weekend at Center Parcs, which means Starbucks coffee, pancake house, cycling, swimming and an afternoon in the spa - bliss. I need this break so much I'm even missing out on going to Ally Pally - am I ill?

The dilemma is though how much stash to take away with to facilitate play? I mean what will I want to make, what colours will inspire me, what stamps to take and can I get away with packing my bigshot???

I did sort of speculatively broach the subject with hubby and there wasn't a complete - you are joking aren't you statement or look from him, so ......

Edited - In the end I decided not to take the bigshot away for a holiday,it was a tough decision but hey let's attempt to be sensible. So instead confined myself to one bag of stash,took a bit of a while to decide and there were only a few "sighs" from hubby as he sat patiently waiting, not quite in the car but it was almost getting to that stage.

Have fun this weekend everyone especially those of you venturing to Ally Pally - -me jealous when I've got all this wildlife around me???

Sunday, 19 September 2010

shabby kitty

My brother is in the process of moving into a new flat but it means he can't have his own kitties - Arthur and Polo with him, they currently lodge with my ma and pa and he has regular visiting rights.

So I thought I'd make him a little house warming pressie using my new Stampotique stamp purchased yesterday - it kept tempting me from the craft room with little chirrups of meow meow meow which I translated as come play with me.

A tag with book text pasted in and then gessod over the top. Pumice DI on the bottom which sort of slid about a bit on the gesso and pritt stick mix but it was ok. That was over stamped with a dotty stamp in pumice and prr added in rusty hinge DI. On the top half I used peeled paint, shabby shutters and mustard seed DI and spritzed on some water to get that blotchy look. I used a charcoal pencil to add a line for kitty to stand on.

Kitty was stamped in black archival and then rusty hinge DI used to make him a ginger puss. Added on a couple of prima flowers and a brad and did my usual twisty wire thing through some eyelets to make a hanging bracket. Stuck him on a piece of mount board grunged up with gold, green and ochre paint with white rubbed over the top to tone it all down.

Bro likes it, I like it, hope you like it.

It's not an addiction ....

Well yesterday I ventured out to Wantage to go to Stamp Attic. I really WANTED / NEEDED to get some new artful blogging and cloth paper scissor mags and some stampotique grunge girl stamps (you know the ones). I sort of tentatively asked John on Friday if he would drive and he grudgingly said yes but it will have to be after lunch.

Saturday dawned and it was bright and I'd had a good nights sleep and I thought I want to go early then I can get home and play so decided I'd drive. I mean I'm a big girl, I can do this, stop being lazy and have an adventure.

So I did.

Apart from queuing to get past Silverstone who'd got a big car event on, it was a great drive through lovely countryside with open windy roads which my Italian stud (the car) loved. Coped with the closed road and parked in the Civic Centre and there was the Stamp Attic over the road - a tingle of excitement as I crossed the threshold.

Ah, what delights, what marvels, what temptations teased me at every corner and nook. I breathed deeply and picked up a basket.

On hindsight it was a good thing John didn't come.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Red blue, but mostly blue

So I've been off sick today. Got up at my normal 5.30am and my whole body just felt HEAVY, an effort to go downstairs (after "dealing" with a spider in the bath), effort to feed the cats, effort to make coffee and toast. had a shower and then promptly went back to bed still with wet hair wrapped in a towel. Woke up at 8.00am and thought - nope can't do this, don't feel quite able to drive down the M1 to Luton. So checked email, phone boss, phone team, set out of office on email and go back to bed with cup of tea and a cat.

And frankly that's where I've spent most of the day - sleeping.

But I have managed to finish my entry for the Sunday Stampers Challenge - my first! The theme was Red/Blue or Red&Blue. I fancied doing a bit of a Rothko in terms of blocks of tonal colour, so dark blue background with a midnight blue paint and sprayed with slate glimmer, over stamped with a Tim text stamp and them stamped a Paperartsy cow parsley with sapphire chip DT and clear embossing powder. The red bit was inked with worn lipstick and barn door, over stamped in brick red with the Paperartsy birds and stalks and then again stamped with the cow parsley brick red and clear embossed. Cut into strips and edged with stormy sky. difficult to see all that in the photo as the light in the conservatory (my temporary craft space) is murky to say the least.

My husband has just walked in and remarked that's very Rothko - so success!

Monday, 13 September 2010

And here's one for Fiona!

I had to make something for Fiona as well as Sarah, so here it is.

An Ikea frame rubbed with sand and light brown paint and rubbed back to reveal some of the bare wood. Inside the frame is card painted and sprayed with light brown and sand paint and then stamped with a large B line stamp in sepia archival. Sprayed with latte glimmer mist. The corrugated card was lightly rubbed with sand paint and ripped to distress and stamped with a PaperArtsy hotpicks swirls in coffee archival. the flower was made from watercolour paper using PaperArtsy grunge dies inked with red barn and fired brick DI's sprayed with redbrick glimmer and run through an embossing folder. The petals were cut and then rolled to give some dimension. the button in the middle was inked with cranberry and gold alcohol inks.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Shabby books

So I work in a library and sometimes we have to throw books out because they've got too old and broken or just not needed anymore - sad but true.

Well last week I was walking through our main office and I spied a trolley of said old books. I gave a gasp and asked, are those being thrown out? Yes came the reply. Imagine my delight rows and rows of old, faded tattered, torn and yellowing books waiting for me to give them a new purpose in life.

Once my colleagues stopped laughing at me and my apparent near orgasmic delight in musty old paper, they asked me why. So I decided to give them a short introduction to the delights of ripping, sticking, inking and stamping using said texts.

Of course they then said they wanted evidence of such activity,so I showed them a couple of photos on my phone, but you've got to see ther real thing to really appreciate the depth and texture. So having a reason to create, that's what I did.
The base is mountboard painted in white. I then used an old candle to rub along the edges to act as a resit and painted over in a darker pink. Rubbed back with sandpaper and then rubbed some brown and gold paint to further add to the distress. Stamped over the top in archival coffee ink to add some text and sprayed a bit with creme rouge glimmer.
Smaller peice of mountboard (bottom left) had scraps of book pages stuck on with matte medium, painted and wiped back with a baby wipe in sand, then using a roller inked over with raisin ink. Where the matte medium was a bit thick it acted as a resist (nice). Again edged with gold. the tag on the right was inked with DI's spun sugar and victorian bvelet and sprayed with glimmer in taffy pink, creme rouhe and antique brass. Put through an embossing folder and again gold along the edges. 2 PaperArtsy roses in gold metal, embossed, cut the petals and rolled back. Finally three cream buttons had some sherbert alcohol ink dripped on them annd some purple floristry wire threaded through eyelets to make a hanging bracket.
Again photo's don't do it justice but I hope Sarah likes it.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Taken the plunge!

So I've done it, finally plucked up enough courage to start publishing in cyber world and letting other people see my art work apart from my dear husband who is frankly running out of nice things to say!

The look of my blog may change as I play around a bit more with fonts, layout styles and colours but the name certainly won't. It took me most of the day to come up with a title I really liked - shabby because that's the style I feel most comfortable in creating (might have something to do with an inability to be neat and tidy) and dandelion because I'm fascinated with them as a flower, well the seed heads really as yellow really isn't me, something to do with getting impaled on a gorse bush as a child - deep deep trauma!

So here is something I created a couple of weeks ago as the project I'm working on this weekend isn't quite finished - that's the blog entry for tomorrow.

The frame (Ikea) is painted in white and a pale brown and then strips of Tim Holtz tissue tape added on top and again paint lightly rubbed on and off with a baby wipe. Spare bits of gold metal sandwich were also added. The middle bit is a number of layers starting with card that has been painted in similar colours sprayed with glimmer mist in coffee and over stamped with a text stamp, the edges have been distressed by running an old scalpel along the edge. the corrugated card was ripped and again rubbed with white acrylic. On top of that is a small piece of mountboard covered in book text and inked with I think burlap Distress Ink, edged with white as well. Finally on top is a PaperArtsy moth in gold metal stamped on top with the moth stamp in sepia archival and edged with a metal wheel tool.

Phew as a first blog that was pretty long! Right Merlin to watch on TV