Welcome to my blog

I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please leave me a comment. I always enjoy reading them, and will try to visit you in return.

You are welcome to copy any of my designs, as long as you do not take credit for them yourself. I am very happy for you to sell them. If I have used anyone else's design, I always try to give credit where it is due. If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will put things right.

This is intended to be mainly about my crafting stories, as a personal record of what I do. However, I interpret crafting quite widely, not just paper crafting but other things too. I have a butterfly mind and like to change from one thing to another depending on what I feel like on a given day - knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, cards, baking and several others.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Birthday card

This is Magnolia, a design by Julie Rocas, downloaded free.  The card itself I created from a backing paper design, also downloaded but I have long forgotten where it was.  I used My Craft Studio to change the colours.

The actual embossing etc I did while away in the caravan last summer, and really enjoyed working at it.  It does not take up too much space and is easily put away and continued later - the ideal craft for holidays.  I had only a very limited range of tools, a small embossing tool, a mini shader, a large embossing tool and a small pair of scissors.   My tools are mainly PCA with one or two odd Pergamano. 

This was my first attempt at cutwork, so I was not too displeased with the result, especially as I had done no parchment work this time last year.  Now I am hooked.  The only trouble is that it takes a long time, especially in comparison with other techniques, so it is not something to be done in a rush for a birthday tomorrow.

I felt the card needed something on the front to finish it off, but I am not certain if the butterfly was the right choice.  The jury is out on that one.  The insert is also parchment, using the border and the little flowers.  Then I printed the design again but this time with the sentiment printed in the centre.  From the front, I traced the words with a quickie glue pen, allowed that to dry off a bit, then dabbed it with Martha Stewart glitter, rubbing it with my finger well into the glue.  Then I turned it over and embossed the words from the back.  The difference is incredible when the glitter has been embossed, the shine really stands out.  That is a technique I saw Pauline Loweth demonstrating on Create and Craft on a Christmas card.
Anyone who saw my Wednesday blog last week would not recognise my room this week.   The spare room had to be cleared out ready for the new carpet and redecoration, and we found lots of things I had forgotten.  They ended up in my room for resorting.  Then we had a date for removing the fireplace and putting in the new one.  That means lots of stuff has to be removed out of the dust etc.  That stuff includes all my embroidery threads (8 boxes) and other assorted sewing bits and pieces.  Now my floor has vanished again.  Another week or so of trying to move stuff around to find it all a home again.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

WOYWW - 86

This is what I am currently working on - a birth card for our great nephew born yesterday.  It is a parchment design so it takes a long time to finish.  I found the design online by Gilly Howe at parchmentpatterns.com and downloaded it for the princely sum of £1 - cheap at the price.  I have a number of baby cards to do this year and this one is easily adapted for either sex.  When it is completed I will post a picture.

However, it is lovely to have so much space in which to work.  The room is now finished apart from one tiny corner and we cannot decide the best way to achieve what I need there.  What I need is somewhere to hang up my heat guns, my two steel edged rulers (one of which is extra long), my scissors and my tweezers.  That way, I can find them easily but they are then out of the way when I am not using them.

On the subject of finding things, the eagle eyed among you may notice that I have rather a lot of cans of Crafters Companion sprays.   It is not that I am making a collection, but more a case that I lost one complete purchase due to my stuff being spread around while my room was being done.  I probably will not need to buy any for a while ....... maybe......

Even the floor is fairly clear, apart from two Really Useful boxes without a proper home and my spray booth (a large cardboard box).  Most of the stuff is now put away sensibly, well reasonably so, anyway.  It is good for me.  You might spot my bug under its bubble wrap - to keep the dust off.  I do still need to find a proper home for my two boxes of Derwent watercolour pencils, the ordinary ones and the gorgeous Inktense set.  My obsession with pencil crayons goes back to my school days when I would go into the Indicator shop in town, which is where they sold all sorts of artists equipment, and I would spend my pocket money on the beautiful colours, especially the luscious sky blue.  I revelled in the chance to choose from so many lovely things, and buying watercolour artists pads.  It was the sort of shop we need now, a lovely double bow fronted shop which looked exciting - sadly long gone.  By the way, I had both dogs up in my room yesterday, thinking it was safe and there was nothing they could get......  WRONG!!!  Within ten seconds, Gemma had found the foam which protects the watercolour pencils in their box, and it was in about twenty pieces.  Ggrrrr!

 This was the last bit of my room to be finished on Monday - three more boxes without a home, as you can see.  I am a little puzzled about the one odd lid I have left - where is its box? 

As you can see above, there are shelves for my files and craft books, but you cannot see the things already stored on top.  All my lovely Sakura pens are lying flat in the small storage unit on the left, next to my set of Fiskars decorative edge scissors.

Now this lot is done, I can get down to some crafting, and perhaps demolish some of the extra things I do not need to keep hard copies of, all the decoupage sheets that I already have stored on the computer anyway.  I have THREE files full of downloaded decoupage sheets - I could use that space for something else.

I did manage to get to all but one blog last week, and that one I could not get into no matter what I did.  Thank you to all those who visited me and left such lovely messages.  Hope you enjoy your mooch this week - you will be very welcome.  Do not forget to drop in to Julia who kindly hosts What's on Your Workdesk on Wednesday (WOYWW) at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/
where you will find lots more lovely blogs to study.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Love Blog

My kind blog friend Nicky has given me an award.
I am honoured to accept it,and now would like to pass it on
to five others whose blogs have inspired me

Dear bloggers:The aim of this action is that we bring unknown, good blogs to light, so I would ask you not to blog fellow bloggers that already have 3,000 followers.As always, the hardest part is to pick who to pass this on to, there are so many bloggers I could give it to, so....... I have chosen youSorry I couldn't choose more of you lovely blogging friends. The rules say a maximum of 5 .

There are a couple of conditions for the award:
If you want to take part, then create a post where you post the 'LOVE BLOG' image.
You should also blog the persons link that gave you the award and inform her/him that you accept the award.
You can then choose 3 - 5 favourite blogs which you also link in your post, then each blogger will inform you that they have been tagged.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

WOYWW - 85

I seem to be having a problem with the picture on my blog this week.  They are either missing, so huge they cannot be viewed or showing as a black line in the middle of the screen.  Having had a play around, I have hopes that the photos are back in the correct place.  Please let me know if there is still a problem.

For anyone who has arrived here by accident, do make an effort to go over to Julia's blog on 
There you will find lots of like minded people who love crafting.

The views this week were to have been of a very messy room, hopefully only temporarily, while my very kind husband is finishing off the shelves on the other side of the room.  Even the floor is covered with stuff, and there is no chance of crafting for a couple of days.  Still a little pain now will be worth it in the long run.

Sorry I did not get round everyone this week, but I would like to say a big thank you to all those who took the trouble to visit my blog and to leave such lovely comments.  Hope to visit you all this week.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Storing Clarity Stamps

After my last post, I decided to send an email to Clarity Stamps to ask if they had any suggestions on how to store their stamps.  The ones without the handles are easy, just put them on laminated card and store in a ring file.  Those that come on mounts are harder to store sensibly.  

Anyway, I had an answer from Clarity today saying that this is an area they are looking at now, and hope to come up with a good idea very soon.  It is good to know that they are on the case and are so good at customer relations, getting back to me so fast.

I shall be glad to find a good storage system, especially as I have just put in an order for another batch of mounted stamps.  I am dying to get hold of them and get playing.  I am just sorting out a new birthday and Christmas list of all the things I really, really need.  One of those is membership of Barbara Gray's two clubs - more stamps and more ideas.  I also would like to collect her DVD's ...... and most of her stamps, of course.

By the way, on the subject of printers and card, which has bee a real problem for me in the past, this new printer will print beautifully on Barbara Gray's silk card, which I believe is 350gsm.  I cannot see me needing to print on anything thicker than that, so that is a real achievement.  I now need to experiment with print settings to see if it is possible to print a sentiment and then emboss it with powder instantly it comes out of the printer.  I will let you know how or if it works.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

I love Barbara Gray

Finally, the creative juices are starting to flow, and new things are being tried - not just finishing off old ones.  Having watched Barbara Gray on Sunday (I do wish Create and Craft wouldn't alter the times - it made a mess of my pre-set recording), I was dying to have another go at brayering.  I know all the theory, but actually putting it into practice is very different.  

I stamped the silver birches onto the silk card, and then followed what she had done with the Versamark pen and clear embossing powder, covering the trees themselves.  The first attempt was rubbish.  Not sure if it was the pen (lack of use), not enough powder or the just a rubbish crafter.  So once it had cooled, I added more Versamark and more powder and reheated.  Much better this time.  I really wanted to use a dark colour, a pale grey or something like that, but I haven't got that yet.  The darkest I had was the Mountain Meadow Big and Juicy, so that is what I used.  Having inked up the brayer, I duly took off what I thought was most of the ink and started flicking the brayer across.  Wrong!  I needed to take off much more ink.  The background is now far too bright for what I wanted, so that attempt will go on the shelf until I decide how I can recover it for use.  Never mind, it was only a play, and you don't get things right every time.  Hopefully, you learn.  I did have another go with the brayer, this time taking off so much ink I could not see any left on the brayer.  The result was much better, so that piece of card will also go onto the shelf until I decide what to stamp onto it.

I also had a go at stamping onto acetate, then spraying with adhesive and applying silver leaf to the back.  after burnishing that, I mounted it onto plain black card, then onto silver mirri card, and onto black again, before mounting the whole thing onto a piece of pearlescent white card.  I was quite pleased with the result, which will make quite a good card for a man, being very plain and simple.  I can print a sentiment off on acetate, back that with silver leaf and mount that up below the image.

I am so pleased with my new printer.  It will print everything I have tried so far, including quite thick card, up to 350gsm, which is what I had hoped for.  So I can use it to print a background direct to the card before matting an layering on top of it.  I even tried with a piece of textured card.  Perfect!

By the way, how does anyone else store Clarity stamps to keep them safe, but accessible?  Mine are still stuffed in the box and the paper they came in.  Not good as I cannot remember what I have, so if I want anything, they all come out.  Any ideas gratefully received.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

WOYWW - 84

I managed it on the right day today.  I will try to get round more of your entries this week.  The ones I saw last week were stunning, so I am looking forward to a treat again tonight.

My desk this week is a constantly changing place.  I have been very busy scanning old family photos onto the hard disc before the originals get given to other members of the family to take their pick.  So far I have just scanned them all without really sorting or screening what I have, but the real rubbish can be dumped later when I have time.  However, right at the end of the ones that had to be done fast, I came up with a small envelope of treasure trove - old birthday and birth cards - not many but definitely a possibility for reuse and adapting.
I scanned them all in and then had a little play with one of them, the one I thought was the prettiest.  I took it into Roxio 2010 and change the tint to get rid of a little of the yellowing, not too much as that is part of its charm, in my humble opinion.  I also used the clone tool to remove any handwriting  on each cards, and also any really bad marks, due to age and ill treatment.  Then I simply printed it out through My Craft Studio Professional on the professional quality print, and highlighted the flourishes with a gold pen, just to lift it a little.

Here you can see the two cards, the original on the right and my "improvement" on the left.  Yes, the printing of the outline does not match the colouring in, but these cards are over 60 years old, from a time when colour printing was not as sharp as we expect these days.  I have another box, somewhere, with some of my old cards in, some from me and some going back to my mother yeas before.  I intend to dig them out, scan then and see what I can get from them, so you might see a few more gems appearing - watch this space.  I would value any input from all of you out there, ideas from those who have done something similar, or other ideas on what we can rescue from our family documents and treasures for reuse.

Monday, 10 January 2011

I created something at last!

Well, sort of.......  The cards were basically done apart from the finishing touches, inserts etc, but I was desperate to get them in the post today.

The sweet peas on the left used the stamp from Joanna Sheen's Garden Flower range, onto white pearlescent card, which had a tint of cosmic shimmer dusted on to it.  The flowers were coloured in with Sakura pens to maintain the shimmer look, and shaded using a water brush. 

The Rainbow Teddy in the centre was a design downloaded from Monica on http://www.3dsheets.com/index.html   I edged the card with shimmery border peeloff  to tone in.

The little girl was also another Joanna Sheen product fom one of her CD's.  I cannot remember which one, although I used it today.  Total lack of brain power at the moment.  It was mounted on black card, which I edged with a copper Krylon pen which toned in with the border.

You may like to notice how tidy my desk is with these cards on.  Remember this - it didn't last long.  Five minutes later, it was like this
Back to the photo scanning and printing out labels for all the drawers.  The poor computer must be getting a headache with everything I am asking it to do all at the same time.  These big photos take a long time to scan in and save, but they are worth keeping.

Then I started sorting out some of the drawers.  I seem to have little bits of paper, card, Mirri card, glitter and other stuff in each one all doing a very good job of jamming the drawers.  So I found one big box, and copied an idea from someone else (sorry, I cannot remember who it was but thank you).  All the little bits of everything went into the one box to be kept by my desk and used.  My theory is to use the box to make at least one card each week - I will let you know how that theory works in practice. 

Then I looked at the floor.  The space under the desk and a lot more floor is now covered, and the boxes are breeding.  That is going to get worse before it gets better.  I have to move everything off the surface on one side of the room, to allow Geoff to put the supports on the walls for the work top and to put up the shelving for all the other things.  That may be tomorrow, if things go well.

I also have a theory that I am going to make at least one Christmas card each week .........maybe, if I have time.  I have two boxes of Christmas stuff, which I manage to lose every year as it comes up to card making time, one being full of stuff gathered from old cards to be recycled.  With luck, I might get the Christmas stuff down to just one box, which will give me a spare box for something else.

Thank you to all those who have been asking how we are.  Fingers crossed, I think the worst is over, and we have got that particular bug on the run.

Really Useful Storage

I have had several people asking where I got the storage units for the Really Useful Boxes, so for you and anyone else who is interested, here is the link  http://www.storage4crafts.com/shopx/home.php?cat=131  They come flat packed, but are fairly easy to sort out.  Most of my boxes came from Staples who were doing a very special offer at the time.  The boxes sit on easily removable shelves, lodged on metal pegs, which can be put in different configurations to suit differing mixtures of boxes and can be changed if your needs change.  The double unit takes the A3 size of box, or anything else that does not fit the smaller A4 size.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

What's on your workdesk

Okay, I know it is not Wednesday today, but I slept all day yesterday, having got the dreaded lurgy.  I did not really wake up till tea time by when the light was too bad to take a good photo with Geoff's new camera, the one with the clever panorama.  This is the business corner of my workspace, taken up at the moment with stuff that has not yet got a home and piles of old family photos which I am in the process of scanning to disc before handing them over to other family members to take what they want.
By the way, the small pile of photos by the Silhouette and the screen is just the tip of the iceberg.  You cannot see the huge box on the floor behind me.  At the same time as scanning these photos, I have also been relabelling all my boxes to reflect what is actually in them, not what was there 12 months ago.  I am about two thirds of the way through that job.
On this wall, above the printers I am having shelving to store all my CD ROM's and various other bits and pieces.  The big cardboard box is actually my "spray booth" but at the moment it is full of more stuff without a home.
In the opposite corner is the section which is not finished yet due to lack of wood.  The work surfaces are just resting on the cupboards, and there is shelving to go above for my A4 files.

Anyway, I am off now to catch up with my sleep, having felt too rotten to sleep all last night.  I shall put the TV on with something I really want to watch - guaranteed to send me to sleep instantly.

Hope to see you all next Wednesday, on the right day this time.  Happy New Year to all of you out there.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Not crafting, but Christmas.

This is not my desk, but just a picture taken downstairs with Geoff's new camera.  I think I will take that upstairs later and do a panorama shot in my craft room.  Quite a useful thing to have on the camera.  Once Christmas has gone back in its box till next year, the whole of this lot has to be packed away as well, ready for more building work.  The wooden panelling is coming off the wall (should not take too much effort, but it will pull the plaster off as well), then the fireplace is coming out to make way for a multi fuel burner to go in its place.  Then it will be a fair amount of plastering again, before a complete redecoration.  After that, it is just the hall, stairs and landing and the whole house will be getting straight. We can't wait!!!

My craft room is, just at the moment, the only place I have room to scan a huge box of old family photos.  They are to be split up around the family, so I am scanning them all on to disc for our benefit.  Then we can hand the box over to the others and they can find a home for it and sort it out.

Crafting will start again after Geoff has finished his woodworking in there, waiting for Wednesday to use our card (OAP).  One set of worktops to be fixed, and two sets of shelves to be put up on the walls, and we will be finished.  Yipeeeeeeeee........