Saturday, 31 December 2011

Good intentions and all that ....

Right so last day of 2011 a time for reflection (no regrets though, they waste valuable time and energy thinking about) and the annual looking forward and what will I do differently, better?

Well one of the things I think I'm going to do this year is the calendar challenge.  I watched Kate's and others all last year and thought - I quite like that concept, a small square to record the best thing (notice best thing) about the day I reckon I could manage that.

So today I will create my January pages ready to start tomorrow - just need a quick trip to HobbyCraft ....
Click here to see Kate's explanation of what you have to do.

And the picture - part of a beautiful bouquet (it's got glitter on, so it's sort of crafty) that my husband sent me to celebrate our 22nd anniversary of when we first kissed - the old romantic he is!



Friday, 30 December 2011


Sometimes there just isn't enough time in December to actually think about Christmas, let alone craft about Christmas. Although I'm a great planner with copious lists and time plans for tasks I refuse to think about Christmas before December 1st.  

My family isn't big and they don't "do" Christmas (I haven't had a real present that was thought about, gone out and purchased and wrapped from my family for decades - just cash in an envelope), so leaving everything until December is manageable if somewhat depressing.

Given the general humbug mature of my family about Christmas you can imagine how joyous the actual day is.  My husband fondly remembers (as do I) the days of his childhood and youth when he and his family would sit around d the dinner table eating nuts and chocolates, sharing stories, playing games until finally it was tea time and the remains of lunch would be replaced by high tea.  Since his parents died over 10 years ago, Christmas have never been the same, my family will disappear from the table as soon as the main meal is eaten and have to be asked to come back to the table for the pudding.They all then go as soon as they can, usually around 4pm so no high tea.

Now I know it sounds like I'm moaning (I am I know), but it is their choice to behave this way and actually I respect that choice and it doesn't mean I don't love them - I do, it's just not mine or my husbands choice and it's not how we want to spend Christmas.

Next year we've decided it will be different.

Anyway as I said time disappeared before Christmas to actually make all the things I'd like to make (big plans again this year for Advent calendars, bunting etc, not achieved but I did make my Christmas cards) plus work was a bit manic and John was directing a pantomime for our local am dram group (Blackbeard a pirate panto which he wrote and it was jolly good fun, a real traditional family oriented panto. His goal for the coming year is to set up a website promoting all the panto he write and see if he can sell them).  But it was ok as I knew I'd got time off between Christmas and New Year as the Uni is closed to send time on some RnR which includes crafting.

I felt the need for some bright clashing colours as the house is decorated in muted shades of white, gold for Christmas so I went for some PaperArtsy fresco paints in citrus and red to make and 8x8 for my scrapbook.

I also had a play with some of the Portfolio oil pastels I bought from Leandra and Mark at NEC.  I like them, they give a hit of colour and add depth to the layers of colours. I sanded some of the colour away with a sanding block and sprayed on some dark red Glimmer Mist.  Tim Holtz snowflakes were added in cranberry ink over the top.
Christmas text was stamped in white. I cut out  some baubles from the carved ornaments die cut in pink Christmas paper and festive berries distress ink was rubbed directly to paper and then used to edge the baubles.

Scraps of paper to make the edging on the right, plus some stitching and a lonely fun foam snowflake who missed the garland to anchor everything both colour wise and elements.

All in all, good art therapy (goodness know what a psychologist would make of it but it worked for me - perhaps I should print out this blog and add the page in my scrapbook).

Right today I need to venture out of the house to go shopping to get supplies for lunch as friends are coming over. This means getting dressed, I've lived in my lounging pyjamas for the week ( just call me Norma darlings, Desmond not Major PLEASE!) and good as they are I'm not ready to swan around Sainsburys in them - yet.



Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Waste not ...

Where does the time go, I'm not even going to look and see when my last blog post was as it's tooooooooooooo embarrassing!

Anyway Christmas is here, well to be honest has actually gone.  I've done my commitments: decorated the house, sent Christmas cards, catered for Christmas Day and Boxing Day, got presents that on the whole everyone liked (my niece especially loved her cupcake baking goodies) and now the rest of the break IS MINE.

I intend to lounge around in PJ's, do some reading, watch some telly, eat SOME chocolate and do some crafting - oh how I have missed my craft room the past month.  So whilst I wait for some paint to dry here is something I did manage to make to decorate our tree with.

A snowflake garland!

I cut out loads of Tim Holtz snowflakes from white fun foam and stitched them together to make a garland. 
In my haste though to sew them I didn't really pay much attention to making sure they didn't get tangled so then had to spend 20 minutes with a helpful husband untangling them before we draped them on the colour co-ordinated (gold, white and clear glass) tree.

As I don't have a base plate for the mini die cuts (yet ...) I used the ATC die to put them in the cut out (thanks Lin - great tip) so not only do you get your snowflakes but you also get an ATC with the snowflakes cut out - result!

I stitched the ATC onto some brown card with brown thread and they are destined to be Christmas cards for next year.  I might even make them this year and get really ahead of myself!

Have a great break everyone.



Sunday, 27 November 2011

Advent Sunday - eeek!!!!!!

Just a quicky to show I haven't forgotten crafting and blogland, just been uber uber busy at work and home which has meant I haven't been able to make time for crafting - bad girl I know!

So Radio 4 announced this morning that it was the first Advent Sunday, so that means only 4 weekends till Christmas Day, good job today is dedicated to Christmas card making!

Tim Holtz Christmas ATC stamps embossed in copper. With Aged Mahogany and Brushed Corduroy Distress inks to colour the ATC

Tim Holtz snowflakes stamped in Hazelnut on brown card with a light spray of aged brass Glimmer mist and aged photo round the edges.
Textiles: off cuts of linen and white cotton with a range of Stef Francis (finally putting to use, purchased ages ago) threads and fibres.

Right off to make more!



Sunday, 6 November 2011

Movember - doing it for the boys

I made this for my husband to celebrate him taking part in Movember, the annual  moustache growing charity event to raise awareness of men's health.

I'll be honest I am not fond of 'taches and really don't like his when he grows one for plays (particularly hated the Baldrick full face long straggly beard and tache for BlackAdder one year), but in the name of charity, to raise awareness of men's health especially prostrate and testicular cancer and even more importantly get men openly talking about their health and health related problems then I'm willing to suffer.

If you want to see how he's doing growing his tache or indeed donate to this excellent cause check him out here

I've wanted to use the long stemmed flower on PaperArtsy Hot Picks HP1109EZ for a while, so as this plate also had a mustachioed man on it as well, choice of stamps made!

Also I'm really enjoying working in an 8"x8" format, it's a bit like art journalling for me without the actually journalling (I possible do that on her as in the blog rather than in a book!!!!)

On a piece of green co-ordinations card I added some Toad Hall Fresco Finish paint just to give some depth, I then embossed the flower repeatedly over the card in Old Paper Distress Embossing Powder.  

Um didn't quite work as I'd liked, threw it in the bin and started again, that was worse.

Retrieved original from the bin and attacked it with a sanding block to see if I could get rid of the Distress Powder and then LOL (get me using techno slang) I liked what I'd created, sort of  relief faded look (don't tell me this is how I'm supposed to use Distress Embossing Powder).  Stamped the houses from Hot Picks HP110EZ along the bottom in Timber Brown Stazon. Edged in Crushed Olive and Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

Next the tag, I used Mushroom Fresco paint over the whole tag, then with the new Cinnamon Fresco  paint I stenciled carefully over the top. 

Over the top of all of this I stamped the Butte miners stamp in mushroom ink - it's very subtle. Went round the edge with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.  Added the purple velvet ric rac and the buttons - love the red one on top just adds a pop of colour!

Monsieur Tache was stamped in Timber Brown Stazon on a scrap of white card that was painted in Haystack Fresco paint.  Around the edge of each piece I stamped the edge of the Cherry toothpaste stamp in timber Brown Stazon.  Distressed the edges with the tonic tool and inked the edges in Vintage Photo Distress Ink. 

The Movember tag was a spare piece of white card painted in Toad Hall fresco.  

The edges sandpapered to reveal some white and then a large M stamped in Cherry Red Stazon (to pick up the red button) and the little ovember in timber Brown Stazon. The tache was painted in Black Soot Distress Stain and some Rock Candy Crackle paint over the top to give a little gloss.

Ok that's all for now, just to say I do have a load of stash from yesterday's HobbyCraft show at the NEC, but my photo twitter app is playing up so can't tweet (sorry Gabrielle) but the haul does include a lot of new Fresco paints and a set of new Winter Distress Inks that I spied on the ATC stand - they were just sitting there as if to say has anybody seen me yet - do you know how SPECIAL I am??????


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Feelin pinky?

I have to say I haven't been crafting as much as I'd like over the past couple of weeks, the onslaught of dark nights and dark mornings is beginning to make me lethargic and sofa bound.  

Plus I've had a lingering cold / cough that won't go away (I have threatened it with cough syrup, Vick's, the Mitchell boys - but it just laughs and makes me cough more), leaves me so tired I am in bed at 8.30pm most evenings. 

AND I really can't muster up any enthusiasm or ideas to make me get up of the sofa or stay up til say (let's be daring here) 9.00pm to craft!

Yep fair to say I'm feeling sorry for myself and to be honest avoiding the inevitable trip to the docs for stronger drugs (every year is the same).  Having an underlying chronic condition (don't panic it's only diabetes) is shall we say "annoying" sometimes.

Whinge over - are you still with me? 

Yesterday I was determined to make something. A crafty challenge works especially well if you've got no real ideas or want to think about ideas as you sort of just "follow the instructions".  Grungy Monday 24 fitted the bill, I just watched the Tim Perfect Distress video and got the necessary bits out to play with.

Started with a tag and coloured with Worn Lipstick and Dried Marigold Distress Inks. Added the swirls  from the Urban Chic plate in Barn Door Red Distress Ink and used Perfect Pearl over the top.

Then took an ATC and coloured that with Dried Marigold and Barn Door Red Distress Inks. Stamped the tattoo heart from the Urban Chic plate in the new Dried Preserves Distress Stain and used Perfect Bronze over that.

The numbers were inked in Dried Preserve and Perfect Pearls gold used on those. But then I over stamped them again in Dried Preserve as they faded / disappeared on the strip of card and I needed some contrast!

Edged everything with Barn Door Red and Vintage Photo Distress Inks and added some pink (yes pink) ribbon. 

Trying to actually show some "shine" which frankly was the aim of the game is quite hard work in daylight so this last photo goes against all my "you must use natural light" principles for taking photos - but look at the shine on that stamping!

So another day is looming, it's still pitch black outside, I was awake at silly o'clock as I couldn't sleep and of course the clocks have gone back so it's even more silly o'clock, but I love the silence only broken by the birds starting to sing - let's see what happens today.



Sunday, 23 October 2011

Ten minutes!!!!!!!

Ten minutes to make a complete "something" with Tim Holtz products is this week's challenge from Grungy Monday.  Hum, it normally takes me ten minutes to decide on whether to use stains or inks, but a challenge is a challenge.

So taking the advice of Gabrielle I planned ahead.  Selected a set of stamps - mini classics, which sort of dictated the colour scheme (red white and blue) as the stamps have a french theme.

To the pile I added an off cut of white card, a page of text, two tags cut from Tim dies (I always have some knocking around on my desk ready for inspiration to strike), some background paper, embossing ink and black embossing powder, trusty inks and stains in appropriate colours and set the timer.

  1. First cut the base card to 8x8" and then the next layer of old Basic Grey paper a little smaller.  
  2. Die cut the white card with a PaperArtsy die and stamped the postcard card image all over on an angle in Tea Dye Distress Stain. Edged in walnut stain.
  3. Spread some Picket Fence distress Stain on the large manila tag and all over the smaller one.
  4. Added Faded Blue Jeans Distress stain to the large manila tag
  5. Swiped Barn Door Red Distress Stain to the smaller one.
  6. Swiped some Walnut Stain Distress Ink down the book text
  7. Stamped and embossed the Eiffel Tower over the blue and the Mona Lisa on the red
  8. Stuck the white postcard down on the Basic Grey paper, put the text on top of that and stapled the tag to that.
  9. Stuck the Basic Grey down on the base card
  10. Stuck the little tag with some foam pads on top of the big manila tag


If I had time I would have quite liked to added in some journalling / title along the lines of - "So when are you going to take me????"  My dear husband who has conversational french classes every week for the past 5 years keeps promising to take me to Paris so he can practice his french and I can delight the art, architecture, pretending I'm Amelie or Meg Ryan.  

It hasn't happened yet either acting or rugby gets in the way (that's the excuses).  anyway my birthday is on a Saturday next year with no excuses of sport or thespianism (I might have just made that word up) on the horizon so I think we might manage it especially if I waft this under his nose enough times!

And no it doesn't mean I was rooting for France in the Rugby World Cup!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Spooky? Not really

Grungy Monday has returned and the them this week is .... Halloween.  

Halloween - the majority of the UK just doesn't really get it. Perhaps the pagan undertones are just too scary for us! But too be honest when it's teenage kids roaming the streets in Scream masks menacing you for money and causing criminal damage to your property when you don't cough up; so that you are forced to either go out or sit in your own house in the dark in fear of a knock on the door, it seems very removed from the cute candy dress up we see over the pond (phew that was a long sentence - apologies).

So going back to the pagan undertones of the dead walking, of the macabre, the spooky and the downright spine chilling who else does it better than Edgar Allan Poe, so in homage, I give you Raven.

Having acquired the new autumn palette of colours from Mr Holtz (not personally of course, courtesy of Karen at LB) I decided I'd use those on a tag.

Put some of the Ripe Persimmon (orange) on my craft sheet, spritzed with some water and  smooshed the tag through it a couple of times drying in between.  Then with a blending tool I added Seedless Preserve (purple) in the spaces where the orange hadn't stained. Stained a piece of text with Barn Door Red and stuck that down the edge of the tag and dragged a white paint dabber down it to give a bit of streaking.
Then with a craftworks stencil I added Gathered Twigs (brown) towards the bottom and up the side. Finally using black archival I added in some stamped images from Mini Ornaments plate.

The Raven himself was cut from a PaperArtsy die and coloured with Black Soot Distress Stain and Violet Glimmer Mist.  He sits on a torn, inked and scrunched up bit of spare card attached with a staples. 

Mind you Mr Raven might not be Mr Poe's but rather Arabel's Mortimer - still miserable and naughty but perhaps not as scary! 


P.S Joan Aiken has to be one of my all time favourite children's authors, her fantasy novels especially the short stories about Mark and Harriet Armitage and the strange things that happened to them as if they were natural everyday occurences.  Perhaps I'll revisit on the sofa with a cup of tea and some jaffa cakes!

Inspired by nature

 Look at what we were looking at this morning - do you think Tim was inspired to make those new limited release distress inks by the delights of nature?  

Looking forward to playing with said inks later today!


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Get out of jail!

I'm taking a day's annual leave today - why?  Just because I can - aren't I the rebel!

I've had a lovely morning so far and I intend to spend the rest of the day crafting (a little bit of housework just to keep things ticking over of course). But I thought I'd show you the birthday card I made for my oh so fantastic niece who was 17 at the weekend.

I started off with a piece of white card which I embossed in pink with a Tim typeface letters stamp all the way down the card.  When that was dry I went over the top of it with a Black Soot Distress Stain which really set off the pink letters and made them pop!

The Tim butterflies were stamped and embossed in black on old piece of background paper I'd made ages ago with Fired Brick and Barn Door Distress Inks.  The card was originally a parchment colour and a linen effect. 

Distressed the edges with my trusty tonic tool and added some Black Soot Distress Ink round the edges. Used foam pads to mount it on top of the pink letters and voila - one grungy goth emo card (I know I know I am mixing my genres but figured only craft types would be reading not grunge, emo or goths!) 

So just a quick post now I'm off to the craft room to have some fun - I may blog later!



Sunday, 2 October 2011

Pride, honour and egg shaped balls

Challenge over Simon Says Stamp and Show is - men only this week.  No it doesn't mean only men can enter ( I do occasionally let my husband near my craft room - usually to make my birthday card) but that we create something which is a a bit bloke orientated.

So on my desk for a few weeks I've had this inked up rugby image ready and waiting for me to do something else with it.  As you know (if your are that way inclined) the Rugby World Cup is on a the moment in New Zealand.   Rugby is also quite a "big thing in our household", we have season tickets for Northampton Saints and go to every home game and away games - especially long distance like Ireland Wales or Scotland.  So far this season we aren't doing quite as well as we did last season (finalists in the European Heineken Cup) but as we have so many squad players in the World Cup team we are hoping this is a short term blip and perhaps this year is a consolidation year for our newly revamped bigger squad.

Ok sport talk out of the way and back to crafting!

I've had the rugby team stamp for ages from PaperArtsy (fellow rugby fanatics), it so reminds me of a picture of my Grandad from the 1930's in a similar pose with his team (must find that and scrapbook it). I also really love the shabby chic look that you often see Union Jacks or the St George's cross in graffiti style high end expensive art, so thought I'd combine.

Started off with some card that I painted in a light grey acrylic and Pumice Stone Distress Stain. Then using Fired Brick and Bard Door Distress Stains I "painted" a St Georges cross across the card.  Finally stamped the boys in black stazon.

I sewed round the edge of the card in grey thread quite a few times and then distressed it some more with walnut stain ink and heirloom gold perfect pearls spray.  Also smooshed the edges across my craft mat where excess ink and water were as well.

The large tag underneath is an old manila folder  (I have loads knocking around now after we tidied up the study last week). I stamped a Tim ledger stamp at the top and then stamped again down the card using a large post it note to mask off the top bit and just gt the lines. Stamped the numbers in grey stazon (first and second stamping to get the faded look) and inked with walnut ink.  

The background is part of a new project for me.  I make so much stuff (according to my husband) that I'm running out of space to display it, plus I really wanted to get back into using my photographs in my art.  So i thought why not revisit where you started and scrapbooks!  So I've dug out an old 8x8 scrapbook album.  I like the idea of working in this size, tags will sit nicely on this size page and still leave lots of white space which I like.

So cut a piece of 8x8 card and trimmed down a bit.  Using Frayed Burlap and Fired Brick Distress Stains I just painted some colour on and used a baby wipe to move it a round a bit and soften the edges.  Flicked loads of water on from the palm of my hand to get big water stains.   I stamped the pen nibs in black stazon and distressed the edge.  Attached the tag to the background and them stamped three lions down the left hand edge. Finally grounded it all by sticking it all to an 8x8 piece of light brown card.

From something that was sat on my desk for a while with that I like it but what next question mark hanging over it, this has turned out rather nice, grungy and some might say messy (I appreciate that the grungy look isn't every ones cup of tea) but it suits me.

Well I'm feeling much better than I did yesterday, so more crafting, necessary housework and possibly some gardening!



Saturday, 1 October 2011

Have a back up plan

It is fair to say I have felt better than I do at the moment.  

It looks as though myself and most of my team have picked up freshers lurgy because yesterday and today I feel absolutely rubbish, I even don't really want to eat so I know I'm ill. 

Freshers for those of you not in or have been in the UK Higher Education system is induction week for all the new first years starting their degree courses - lots of new germs floating around and it looks as though we've picked them up.

I always say to my team have a back up plan for just in case anything goes wrong when you are teaching - usually that's a technology failure and you have to resort to handouts or even the whiteboard to demonstrate what you are trying to do.
So it's a good job I do what I say and had a tag already made that fitted this weeks Sunday Stamper Challenge - resist. It's not cheating, but good planning!

Stamped the lovely swirly flowery stamp in white embossing powder on the bottom of the tag and then used Weathered Wood and Faded Jeans Distress inks to go over the top. Used a dotty stamp on the top half of the tag in Weathered Wood. 

Used the Paper Rosette and Mini Rosette dies to cut out the flowers, sprayed with a antique gold glimmer spray and added some buttons on top.
Ok a very short post for now, I'm off to put some shorts on and sit out in the garden feeling consumptive in this glorious heat - you do know Mr Weatherman it's October 1st today and I live in the UK don't you?



Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Lawks - do things really come in threes????

Well I can't believe it, not only did I win one of these gorgeous things of beauty from the lovely lovely France a few weeks back, I've just read today that I won the Simon Says Stamp and Show challengee with my ATC!

Is the big one on the way then - that hand in my notice one that allows me to spend vast quantities on stash - fingers crossed!

BIG hugs


Sunday, 25 September 2011

ATC's aren't easy!

The Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge this week was to make an ATC - how hard can that be?


I did have a grand idea involving a box canvas, linen, four ATC's inks and Tim Holtz stamps, which I started and then stopped (I will return to it- never fear 'co I think it's going to be good) and instead raided the um pile (unfinished projects) for stuff to make a quick ATC.

The ATC had been cut from some mount board and covered in a scrap of Tim Lost and Found, some white paint added, then Fired Brick Distress Stain over the top and a swirly stamp from Mini Classics plate stamped in grey stazon.   I did sand it a bit and some of the paper rubbed off, but that was ok - added to the shabby charm!  The edge was inked with Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink.

The house was a spare one cut from the Artful Dwellings die for the Home Sweet Home project .  I added some Antique Linen Distress Stain and stamped the Eiffel Tower stamp from Mini classics in grey stazon.  The metal roof was a spare bit of metal with some grey paint added and ribbed back to expose some silver. Again some Chipped Sapphire Distress Stain round the edge.

The bird was a spare one from the tweet tweet project, so it had already been stamped with Papillion background stamp. I edged in Chipped Sapphire just to give some definition.

The little hanging bracket is a book ring coloured with Slate alcohol ink.  The inspiration for this is Gillian - so thanks Gillian for the idea.

So considering in the end this was a very quick make made up of odds and ends on the um pile I quite like it, especially the colour combo, Fired Brick and Chipped Sapphire - rather delish and shabby!

Right that big idea is calling (plus others), but I really should do the massive pile of ironing that is engulfing the dining room table at the moment - sigh.



Thursday, 22 September 2011

Catch a falling star ....

First of all a very big thank you to all of you who left comments on my last post and especially to Hels who gave a big shout out on her blog to come and check me out - I did wonder why I had so many hits on my post and then I found out why!  All your thoughts and best wishes much appreciated blog friends and apologies if I made you sniffle!

Had to raid the Christmas stamp box to find a star stamp for this weeks Sunday Stamper Challenge.  Now I know some of you are already thinking about Christmas but I just refuse too - way, way too early and anyway haven't got any Chrimbo mojo!

So having found said star stamp I decided to make a good old trusty tag, it's nice to be confined by the limited space and therefore you can't spend too much time faffing around on it (well you can obviously but I decided I wouldn't - ha!)
First of all a layer of Weathered Wood distress stain all over the tag followed by Black Soot distress stain.  This was a mistake I thought I'd picked up Weathered Wood again for a second coat!  A quick wipe back with a baby wipe and I quite liked the inky blue darkness with a hint of cream peaking through! Edged in Chipped Sapphire distress ink and a little bit of silver inka along the edge.

Stamped that swirl of stars in clear embossing ink and then used a plumy purple embossing powder over that.

The hanging stars are grungepaper that had Black Soot distress stain all over followed by lots of sprays of a plum glimmer mist and then dazzling diamonds glimmer mist. The star stamp was the freebie in a recent Craft Stamper (this month, last month I can't remember, the pile of magazines by my bed gets bigger and bigger every month!). Stamped in black embossing powder and cut out. 

Two eyelets at the top with a thin bit of black ribbon threaded through and tied into a bow, each star was attached with a tiny staple and button added on top.  The third star was glued to the bottom and spare bit of grunge paper was stamped with catch a falling ...

And yes I didn't spend too much time faffing around - love that word! 



Saturday, 17 September 2011


Well it took me soo long to do the steampunk challenge I really didn't think I was going to make it for the Sunday Stamper Challenge this week - nick of time just scraped through.

I'm quite glad I only checked the theme this morning as it really struck a cord - memories, a time to remember.  Tomorrow is my Dad's birthday, it's his first birthday since he died in February this year, so as you can imagine memories and remembering have been high on my agenda this week and will be tomorrow.

When I think of memories I often think of time, happy times, sad times, do you remember when times; and the fact that time is a great healer for helping us come to terms with sadness that happens in our lives.

If we don't take time to remember, if we don't talk and share then we can loose those memories and they float away on the wind like the seed heads of the dandelion. 

So, this tag, it was really easy. The dandelion photo was coloured on the PC with a blue filter and a film grain texture added.  I sanded it really heavily to remove some of the ink to get those white spots. The brown luggage tag it is attached to had a like covering of white gesso and then a PaperArtsy ledger stamp in brushed corduroy distress ink on top.  The ever faithful walnut stain around the edge.

The larger tag was again brushed with gesso and then blue acyclic paint on top of that.  Using brown corduroy distress ink I stamped a large PaperArtsy numbers background all over the tag.  A strip of text paper was rubbed with antique linen distress ink and then lots of sewing on the machine using a green, brown and gold variegated thread, I left some of the ends on to give a messy look. 

Finally on a spare piece of text paper I stamped the word memories and added a string bow.

Simple but nice - Happy Birthday Dad.



This should have been soooo easy

Ah steampunk, what a theme.  it must have been the gods smiling down on me to select such a challenge in this weeks Simon Say Stamp and Show. I mean what more justification can you have for purchasing some of the latest PaperArtsy hotpicks?

Well yes the gods may have been smiling but it was that manic ha ha we are going to take your inspiration away and now let's see how you get on (I'm sort of thinking Greek legend kind of scenario ethereal , white togas and lightening bolts - you know what I mean).  On my goodness - what a challenge it was.
It's taken me all week and it's nearly gone in the bin twice, but this morning I rolled up my sleeves and decided I would crack it.  

To be honest I'm not sure I did - what do you think?

Frame - painted in a dark navy paint and then a lightish grey with some pearl glaze mixed in over the top of some crackle glaze.  Waited for it to dry and then sanded back to distress.  A cogs stamp from Paper Artsy in black stazon all over and finally some walnut stain and distress ink on the edges.

Middle - this is where it got painful.  I first started off with some grey metal embossed in a cogs folder, die cut a clock face and distressed and this was going to go over the top with this gentleman and these birds on top. as you can see only the gentleman and birds remained!

So this morning I started again, glued a page from an old book onto some card, covered with some Antique Linen and Crushed Olive distress stain and then some picket fence. Added various background stamps of Paper Artsy splodges, coffee stains and clocks.

Using a piece of Tim paper I inked with brushed corduroy stain , sprinkled on some walnut stain distress powder, flicked and rubbed of some of it and then heated.  

Once it was cool, gave it another rub over and added some dried marigold stain on top of that.  Ran it through the cogs die, added some bits of ideology and glued everything down with my glue gun.
I'm not sure it's what I was trying to achieve and I'm not sure it's really steampunk, I think it needs much more metal and sprockets and springs to give it more of a  "clanky victorian look" and I think I wanted to make something 3D that suggested movement like a lady dancing in a jewel box (am I talking gibberish - do tell me and I'll stop).

Right that's it I've spent far too long agonising over it  - time to move on to the next challenge: is it going to rain again today and what do I wear to the rugby?



Saturday, 10 September 2011

Love, what is the meaning of this love?

Love, such an interesting word with so many different emotional responses to it's utterance and interpretation of  what it means.  Suffice to say it means different things to different people and the strangest things get done in the name of love.

OK Saturday philosophy lesson over, down to art!

Sunday Stamper this week was Love, I could have gone girly romantic (not my natural state but I can do) or do I go a bit grungy (happier)??

Started off with a tag which had white dabber streaked down it and then one of my new Distress Stains - Victorian Velvet put on top (it was well juicy as it was new).  Little bit of Aged Mahogany added as well.  Tim's music score was stamped on top in Aged Mahogany Distress Ink and a little bit of Black Soot ink round the edges. 

I covered some scrap card with Aged Mahogany Distress Stain, stamped the wings in Black Soot Distress Embossing powder.  cut them out and added some gunmetal stickles.

Underneath the heart (a PaperArtsy die heavily inked with Fired Brick, Aged Mahogany and Black Soot) is a very old stamp essentially a heart surrounded by text.  I stamped on some red distressed card and embossed in clear and then put Black Soot over the top. I added some gunmetal stickles to the plain heart but when it dried it didn't look right  hence the large heart to cover up the "design mistake"!

The banner at the bottom was from Tim and then I just added the words  - my heart is. 

So although the look is quite grungy, I'll accept the sentiment is quite girly romantic!

Right busy weekend ahead with family commitments which means not a lot of time for crafting but I'm sure I'll manage to squeeze something in at some time!



Thursday, 8 September 2011

But there's no stamping!

Scrapbooking was where I first entered the papercraft world as we know it, but I struggled, really struggled as I didn't seem to have any stories to tell or at least not the type of stories most scrapbookers were telling.  I don't have or will have children, it's just me, the husband and two cats and well there is only so many layouts of me, the husband and two cats a woman can do!

So the story telling bit didn't happen (and then I found stamping, but that's a whole new story!) but I still kept taking photographs and really enjoyed (and still enjoy) taking photos of flowers and other interesting things like old wood, buildings, rusty iron work, shells, stone, lichen etc.

So this weekend I decided I wanted to create a bigger piece of art work using one of said photos'.  I recently went to Hidcote Manor in the Cotswolds which has the most marvellous gardens; I've been so many times but love it all and never fail to be amazed by the colour and shapes of the flowers.

I'd taken some nice close shots of some poppies so  knew I wanted to use those and I still love the collage look of scrapbooking using a range of papers layered on top of each other. 

So this is what I created from stash: lots of 12x12 paper and fabric and ribbon and stitching.  

I cut the paper and laid it out on the background to work out how I wanted to arrange all the different shapes - took a photo on my phone so I could refer back as I worked on each piece  distressing the edges and inking them in Aged Photo.  The large yellow piece had Rusty Hinge and Mustard Seed added using the direct to paper method, plus a baby wipe to move it around a bit and some white dabber to tone it down (- thank goodness for white paint, I panicked it was too bright and clashing!)

The photo was colour (the poppy was a deep purple almost black colour with a lime green centre) but I fancied it in black and white so that's what I did!  I also distressed the edges and sanded off some of the printing ink to give a more distressed look.

It was really nice going big and I think at some point I'll make a matching one with a similar photo using the same papers keeping the frame portrait but making the collage landscape.  And yes - NO STAMPING!


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

I won and I hope I win again!

Just a quickie to say I was a VERY lucky girl this morning and my comment won the the gorgeous box that France made - see all the details here. And then this evening the oh so creative and inspirational Lin at LB  Crafts is running a give away on her blog for pan pastels!

It's all go in blogland - fingers crossed I'm a lucky winner again!



Friday, 2 September 2011

Home Sweet Home

Houses are quite a strong "thing" for me, I was always rearranging my room (I had the smallest room as I was the only girl) as a child, if I can't sleep I fantasise about decorating friends houses. And I loved (and still love) reading about houses. all the little doors and windows in the Magic Faraway Tree, Pa building the house in Little House on the Prairie and my favourite turn to when stressed with life - Milly Molly Mandy and especially the decorating of the jam storeroom - for the jam of course, not because it was going to be Milly Molly Mandy's first bedroom.

I have quite a few house stamps from PaperArtsy and PaperBag Studios (and I REALLY want the Claudine Hellmuth houses) and of course the Tim Artful Dwellings die.  I've wanted to make a terrace of houses for a little while and the idea has been steadily simmering on the back burner.
I started out painting an IKEA mirror frame in blues and greens. I used lots of watered down gesso over the top to tone down and give it that beach hut washed out look.  Tissue tape around the edge of the frame and Walnut stain over the top of that and round the edge of the frame as well to give it a bit of a grunged up shabby look!

The house were cut from mount board and painted in guacamole and toad hall fresco paint, a light wash of gesso and then stamped in various PaperArtsy stamps. The roofs were a combination of odd bits of embossed metal from previous projects and tissue tape grunge board. All sorts of odds and ends of metal embellishments, buttons and a paper flower were either inked with alcohol ink or left bare to "dress" the houses. Good old walnut stains added round the edges to continue that shabby look.

The"road" is a strip of grunge paper inked in Peeled Paint and shabby shutters distress stains, more watered down gesso wiped on top and the ruler from Tim's Curiosities stamp set stamped in grey stazon (love this - loads).

The flowers at the bottom are PaperArtsy again stamped in grey stazon and cleared embossed and the centres painted in a turquoise sparkling H20( haven't used these in ages - feel some flower stamping and  gentle painting activity coming on!)

Finally the numbers are Tim grunge blocks left over from the ArtsyCrafty day in February painted in white dabber and the numbers in Weathered Wood distress stain. Again more Walnut Stain added round the edges.

I'm really pleased with how it's turned out, the frame is really heavy and chunky and the houses are sort of folksy quirky shabby - a bit like I imagine the houses were in that Faraway Tree!

Anyway it's Friday night, so there's a bottle of rose chilling in the fridge, a trip to Olney tomorrow for haircuts and shopping (ooh I wonder where - perhaps here!) and the rugby season starts this weekend so off to watch Northampton Saints play Gloucester on Sunday at home - Autumn is indeed fast approaching.
Oh and of course there might be some crafting this weekend as well!



Tuesday, 30 August 2011

tweet, tweet, meow meow!

Challenge this week at Sunday Stamper in homage to AlfieCat was - birds!  

Well having two feline master criminals of my own I knew I had to make something with cats and birds.  

We have a LOT of bird feeders in our garden hanging off our old apple tree as my husband loves encouraging birds into our wildlife garden.  We often see our two cats prowling around underneath the tree hoping the birds will suddenly drop to the floor so they can easily catch them - they haven't been very lucky with this tactic so far.

I thought I'd make something "tall" and 3D to resemble the tree and feeders with the birds at the top and cats down below!

So let's start at the bottom and work up!
The feet are some wooden balls with Chipped Sapphire sponged on. The base is an art part (yes still got loads left Gillian and Gabrielle) covered in a circle of grunge paper that had some Tim tissue tape stuck on top. Fresco snowflake paint on that and a mixture of Tumbled Glass and Faded Jeans distress ink sponged on.

Now for the cylinders. For the tall one I put some tissue tape across some grunge board and cut out with the On the Edge scallop die. Again fresco snowflake paint and then a mixture of Tumbled Glass and Worn Lipstick distress ink.  The flourishes were stamped in Aged Mahogany. 

For the smaller cylinder again tissue tape and fresco paint this time Rusty Rose and Snowflake.  The Stampotique cats was stamped and embossed in black around the strip and a little Black Soot added over the top. An extra cat was cut out to sit on top of the ring.

Moving up to the birds.  I used the wrinke free distress technique with Tumbled Glass, Faded Jeans and Weatheredd Wood to make the background and then added some Worn Lipstick with a bit of cut and dry.  Stamped over the top in Chipped Sapphire with the Papillion back ground stamp and cut out a load of PaperArtsy small birds.  I glued some wire in between each bird and edged in Chipped Sapphire. I put some dry flower oasis in the big cylinder to stick the birds in.

The finishing touch was to add the tweet and meows

I really enjoyed making this, nice to work in 3D instead of on a canvas or a tag and it made my husband laugh!



Sunday, 28 August 2011

Last train ...

The theme for this week at Simon Says Stamp and Show was travel.  

Sometimes for me the journey is just if not more exciting than the actual destination, seeing new sights and sounds on the way and I adore train travel especially the architecture of old Victorian stations and the views from the window as you trundle by.  We had a fantastic trip last year for a rugby weekend in Edinburgh on a chartered train from Northampton - it was just like the Hogwarts Express, 1970's carriages, old BR logos everywhere especially in the loo!. The train also reminded me of my childhood when my Mum used to take all three of us (me and my two brothers) down to London and we'd have to travel in the Guards van as we were in a old fashioned side by side double pushchair - happy days!

So you can see travel and especially train travel is a big thing for me. I really wanted to use some of my photographs that I took on the Swanage Steam Railway a couple of years ago on a holiday to Dorset. We got on at Corfe Castle (very Enid Blyton Famous Five / Kirrin Castle) and went all the way to Swanage (the train station is slap bang in the middle of the town and you can walk down to the sea for a paddle - bliss!).  Along the way at the various stops were little vignettes of days gone by in terms of signs and in this case luggage.

I covered a 10x8 canvas board in old paper (ripped and torn into various strips), gessoed over the top and then lightly washed some cream and brown acrylic over the top and added Victorian Velvet distress ink over that.  Stamped loads of travel type stamps in pumice and slate and then stamped those again in sepia archival. Some of the Tim postcard stamps were added in vintage photo distress embossing powder.
I printed out two of my photo's one of the luggage and one of the train going round a corner in sepia.  I then put antique linen distress stain over the top. Sanded the top lightly to remove some of the ink, distressed the edges and added some walnut stain.  I  used an old credit card to add some white lines as well.

The postcard was inked in antique linen distress stain. The postcard stamp was stamped in sepia archival and then the text and postage stamp in black. Walnut stain added round the edges and in the middle to give that aged look.

Various Tim travel related ticket and location stamps were used to create the rest of the layers all using antique linen, walnut distress inks and stains to make the backgrounds and coffee, black or sepia archival ink to stamp.

Finally glued everything down with trusty glue gun and misted some latte glimmer mist over the top for some additional spotting and ageing.

Really like this one and it goes rather well with my Ration Book piece colour wise and theme so I think I'll try and find somewhere in the house to put these together. So hopefully I've the challenge done in time hence the title - last train ...

Well it's August Bank Holiday weekend here in England so of course it's rained, I put some washing out first thing , bought it back in half an hour later  as it looked like it was going to rain (it did) and now it's back out on the line! Plus we are supposed to be going for a BBQ this afternoon - waterproofs at the ready!



Thursday, 25 August 2011

clickity click...

So Sunday Stampers challenge this week was Houses / Homes. Hum, I could do the obvious, but then I thought no - let's go way outside the box and do ... BINGO!  

OK I know it's a very weak link to the theme but it did mean I could use that bingo embossing folder I've had for ages.

Used some vintage shabby paper to emboss the bingo card, I made sure thre was quite a bit of paper and my black rubbewr mat on top as I put it through my Big shot to get a really deep emboss. Then rubbed some Broken China, Spiced Marmalade and Worn Lipstick distress ink over the top to highlight the raised areas.

For the tag underneath I did the wrinkle free distress technique again with Worn Lipstick and Spiced Marmalade. Stamped over the top with a Paper Artsy ledger stamp in Tea Dye.  Inked round the edges in Broken China.

The playing cards were stamped in black Stazon and then a combination  of Worn Lipstick, Spiced Marmalade, Tea Dye and Broken China were added to tie the colours in. 

The Tim numbers were stamped again in black Stazon and the same distress inks used to add a bit of colour. I scrumpled it up to get some creases and ran the Tea Dye ink pad over the top to catch them.

Finally I used a Tim ticket in the Ideology memory pin and used some very old alphabet stickers to spell house.
Apologies on the quality of the pics, had to do inside with flash as we had no natural light what so ever (it's only August for goodness sake, we aren't in the depths of winter  - yet).

Not sure I'm really liking it all together, I really like the tag underneath and I really like the bingo card, but not sure about it all together!  But it was a good opportunity as is the very nature of challenges to try something new!



P.S the hen weekend went very well, obviously I can't tell you about it as what happened in Chard stays in Chard but you can imagine the scene, 10 women, a cocktail shaker, ice and a large quantity of spirits ...

Friday, 19 August 2011

Running out of ti.....

This is a real quicky post as I am really running out of time.  

I'm supposed to be packing for a weekend away on a hen do.  I'm in charge of "crafts" as we are making fascinators to go out in on Saturday night (we aren't young anymore so wish to appear sophisticated at least until we've had a few drinks!). so I've raided the craft room and a large ikea blu bag is stuffed to the gills with fabric, glue, cotton, sequins, beads and my trusty big shot and flower dies!

And I wanted to finish my bling challenge for Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge this week which is of course - bling!

So here is my entry, hope it's blingy enough!

First I put some gesso through a stencil onto an A4 canvas, I also stamped in some of the flat gesso as well.  Next loads of green inka and purple plum glimmer mist and a bit of wi9ld cherry glimmer mist. Embossed the blue PaperArtsy scroll stamp in some old shimmery embossing powder and the purple embossing was done by stamping the versamark pad directly on the canvas, sprinkling some embossing powder on and then sort of rubbed my finger through it to take some off!

The next layer is a piece of mount board covered in some bits of embossed metal, sanded, London night fresco paint on top and more gold inka added on top.

Final layer again was a piece of mount board covered in gesso and a PaperArtsy architecture stamp stamped into the gesso.  Let that dry and then sprayed with inks, added loads of cosmic shimmer powders and some more inka gold and silver.

I like, my only reservation is the positioning of the top layers, in hindsight I think I would have quite liked to off centre them - I might attempt to prise them off when I return from hen weekend.

Ok, that's it, off to raid the drinks cupboard - wish me luck!