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.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

WOYWW - 95

This was my desk on Tuesday afternoon, after I had finished off several annoying little jobs that had been hanging on.  You can see a Kindle, which has just had a new book loaded on to it (I prefer to do that through the computer rather than use Wi-Fi, and it then finished charging up through the USB.  The two black covers are hiding two half terrabyte removable hard drives, which I use to move stuff from one computer to another. The second picture is specially to show Jana.  My pincushion is a different colour, but otherwise just the same.Other than that, not much to be seen.

What I had removed, written and put in their envelopes, was all the cards I need for family and friends for April.  I have to do them early, so I can get May done, which is a big month for my family.  One part of the family is inconsiderate enough to have all their birthdays and anniversaries in May.  I tend to do them all, put them into one large envelope and send them all off together to one address for them to sort out.

I also did some cards to enter into the Less is More challenge this week, which you can find at http://simplylessismoore.blogspot.com/.  I thought that this would be an easy task, but it really stretched my poor little brain.  However, I did get some cards out of it that I was happy with and had a use for.  It made me look very differently at some of the things I had got in my cupboards.  The first two were just what I wanted for my two twin sisters-in-law, and had to be finished early so their brother (my husband, of course) could sign them himself and avoid family upset.  They were both based on Crafters Companion Flower Fairies, using the Rose Fairy.  I printed the background direct to the card, together with the sentiment, and the borders, which came from MCS Papercraft Library.  The cameos were also the Rose Fairy, and I edged them with a Red Krylon pen, which had the added advantage of masking any odd bits of white card left from cutting out.  Then I added a little glitter to her wings.

The next one was using a new set of stamps, based on Jane Austen.  This card is for a friend, who loves Jane Austen as much as I do.  I used distressed ink for this one, and blended the ink to soften the outline, and "paint" it in.  The sentiment came from the same set, as did the little cameo.  After I had cut that out, I sprayed it with gold glitter to give it some sparkle.  Then I used another Krylon, the pale gold, to hide the bad bits of cutting out again.  The ribbon was in my box and came from a set of Laura Ashley ribbons, which I thought complimented the image quite well.

The final one for this week (if you have not already nodded off), was also using the Vintage photo distressed ink, and a feather stamp from Clarity Stamps to cover the bottom part of the card.  Another ribbon from the Laura Ashley collection gave me the border.  I cannot remember where I got the owl from, but I thought he fitted the space well.  I trimmed the edges with shaped scissors, sprayed it with gold glitter.  You might be seeing a trend here - the fact that I like glitter (more sparkle that glitter).

I have also been busy trying to sort out some of my stock cards, putting them with their envelopes and into cello bags to protect them from all the plaster dust etc for when I need them.  Perhaps, tomorrow, I can get down to some more playing as well as doing May's cards.  I also hope to follow Elizabeth's example and do one or two Christmas cards and get a head start on that effort.
If you are still with me, then you might like to pop over to our leader, Julia, who kindly hosts the What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/    where you will find over 100 other desks and crafty things to feast your eyes on.

PS which way up should you keep your Tim Holtz distress ink pads.  I picked up a new one off my shelf (admittedly, it is 2 years old, but still sealed) and it was unuseable, all dry and ink free>  should I have stored it upside down?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Less is more - Version 12 ish

I got a bit hooked on this challenge and using DL cards (especially when I found I had a whole box of them that I had forgotten), so I had yet another go.  The stamps on this card are from a set on Jane Austen (from http://www.happy-daze.net/) , called New Jane's Countryside.  I used Vintage Photo Distressed Ink.  I stamped the main image and then used a blender to soften the lines and "paint" in between them.  The sentiment was from the same set, as was the little cameo.  Again the cameo was "painted" in, allowed to dry, then sprayed with Crafters Companion gold glitter spray to give it a sheen.  The ribbon was out of my box and was part of a Laura Ashley set and just seemed to fit the idea and them. of Jane Austen..  I slit the spine of the card to slot the ribbon through, and secured it with a tape runner at the back.

If you would like to see lots more on the same design brief, just go to http://simplylessismoore.blogspot.com/   where you will find more than 100 other cards in this challenge.  Like many others, I am still having trouble with the pictures on blogger.  Lets hope it gets sorted very soon.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Less is more - Version 9

After posting my last design, I went back and changed things a little, mainly in the band across the centre, which I changed from the ribbon to another border from the My Craft Studio Library, the lace design.  Again the colour of this had to be adjusted to tone with the backing paper, and the writing changed to reflect that this card is for someone else.  Both cards are for my sisters-in-law, who are identical twins.

If you would like to see lots more on the same design brief, just go to http://simplylessismoore.blogspot.com/
PS I am having problems today, getting my photos to show up on my blog.  In fact I had to go from using Firefox back to Internet Explorer to get to see it myself.  The original sketch is showing up but not my card.  I hope you have enough patience to find it.

Less is more

This my first entry to this particular challenge, so I hope it fits the criteria.  It was the eighth attempt to achieve something I liked and could use. At least three of them ended up in the bin as totally trashed.  Two others got partially reused to create more medallions. The base card is a white textured A5 card, folded in half.  I put things together and printed it using My Craft Studio.  The rose background came from Crafters Companion's Rose Flower Fairy, which I cropped to fit the bottom third of the card (front and back).  The border across the middle came from My Craft Studio (Papercraft Library) which I adjusted for size and changed the colour to tone with the background.  The medallion also came from the Rose Flower Fairy collection, and was edged with Krylon Red Shimmer pen.  The sentiment across the bottom was also printed at the same time as the rest, and then I went over it with a Sakura Bronze Sparkle pen to intensify the words.

If you would like to see lots more on the same design brief, just go to http://simplylessismoore.blogspot.com/
PS I am having problems today, getting my photos to show up on my blog.  In fact I had to go from using Firefox back to Internet Explorer to get to see it myself.  The original sketch is showing up but not my card.  I hope you have enough patience to find it.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Diamond Wedding card as not seen on WOYWW - 94

Diamond Wedding
I thought this card would never make it.  The design is one by Robin Cockburn, called "Pearls and Chiffon".  The parchment work and the colouring was not too bad, but getting the parchment attached securely to the card was a nightmare.  It was supposed to be done with brads, but I could not find any jewelled brads that were not huge, and totally out of scale with the design.  So I ended up using blobs of Quickie glue pen, allowing them to dry and then applying the same glitter as I used on the words - Martha Stewart lapis lazuli. Once that was dry, I applied a thick dot of Pinflair glue on the back of each glitter dot, and placing the parchment on to the backing card.  To keep it in place, I ended up having to put a weight in the centre of the design  until the glue had set and hardened.

The wording was achieved by printing it out at the correct size and traced through with the Quickie glue pen, allowing that to dry overnight before applying the glitter, and brushing off the excess.  Then I turned it over and embossed from the back.  that has the effect of pushing the glitter out and creating more of a shine.

The problems continued when I scanned the whole card to keep a record of it.  I had not noticed that the scanner was set on an extra high resolution from when I was scanning in tiny family photos for use later.  So, without me realising it, the file was huge, and gave the computer indigestion, not allowing me to edit and straighten the image.  Then, of course, Blogger refused to upload it until I had shrunk it down drastically.

Anyway, it is done now and the card is ready to send.  Then I can settle down to sorting out all the cards I need for April and May, with a nice bit of playing thrown in for good measure.

WOYWW - 94

Barbara Gray - Flower stamp
Four different techniques
This is actually my desk on Monday night as I finished off the four cards needed for Tuesday, all to be hand delivered, thank goodness.  Four cards with four different techniques.  If you are short of time, just look at the pictures and read the captions. 

From left to right, the first was a new set from Barbara Gray (Clarity Stamps).  I stamped the main image with vintage photo distress ink, then stamped it again on to a large post it note.  This I used as a mask, first to mask the whole thing apart from the circle in the middle, which allowed me to use two of the smaller stamps in the set to create the design in the O.  Then I removed that mask, put the O back in position and used my brayer and Cloudy Blue and Juniper to give a soft colour in the background of the main part of the card.  I used my precious Derwent water colour pencils to colour in the flowers in the centre.  The 65 was done by writing the numbers with a Quickie glue pen, allowing it to dry for about 12 hours, and then rubbing Martha Stewart glitter into it, and brushing the excess off with a soft paint brush.  After matting and layering, I edged the whole card with gold Krylon.

Embroidery design - printed and water coloured
The second was one of my old embroidery designs, printed on supersmooth card, coloured in with water colour pens and pencils.  I am happy with the lady and the rose bushes but the grass needs to be improved.  More practice needed on that.  Again the edges were done with the gold Krylon, which, in my opinion, looks better on fancy edged card than on the plain edges.

Barbara Gray - feather stamp
The next one is a technique I have been playing with for a couple of weeks.  The stamped image is scanned onto the computer, resized and the colour changed to suit (my stock of ink pads is limited), then printed on to parchment.  Following a technique I saw Barbara demonstrate, the feather and the writing were then embossed from behind to create highlights.  The card was a pearlescent white card, printed all over with resized scans of the stamp.  I used small coppery brads to mount the parchment on to dark brown card (Papermill) and then glued to the main card with Pinflair glue gel.

Home printed disc faces
I discovered after buying my new printer that in addition to printing on thicker cardstock, it has the attachment to print on CD's and DVD's.  These are two programmes I have just taken off the overfull DVD recorder, one with Barbara Gray and one with Sheena Douglas.  I normally just scribble on the discs, but it is nicer to have pretty pictures on.

Seriously messy desk

This is my desk on Tuesday night while I am still in the middle of a Diamond Wedding card (hidden under the glitters to weight the glue down to make it stick.  Hopefully it will be stuck and dry by the morning.  Even my cup is messy, well empty anyway, and it has been there for at least two days.

One of our goldfinches eating the niger seed
I did manage a few minutes peering out of the window of my craft room, and this is what I saw.  We have a small flock of goldfinches, but they are at the limit of my camers lens.  They scoff the niger seed like it is going out of fashion, but they are such pretty birds.

I hope you enjoyed a wander round my messy home, and now perhaps you would like to visit more beautiful desks by going to Julia's blog at  

PS Sorry I did not manage to get round to everyone this week.  I did try, honest, but other things do keep getting in the way, and I like to read what everyone has said properly and give a good comment.  If I missed you this week, I hope I will get to you this time round.  By the way, there may be a PPS if the Diamond Wedding card finally gets its glue properly set and ready to go.  Watch this space.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Tuesday Taggers

I do not enter many competitions, mainly due to lack of time to create cards specially to fit the criteria.  However, having glanced at the Tuesday Taggers http://tuesdaytaggers.blogspot.com/   rules for this week, I felt that this card might just fit in.  The base card is plain white hammered Dl card.  The decoupage on it is from a printed image I had bought at some time (no idea where, now).  I scanned the main image and reprinted it as four tiny ones, which I mounted together, rotating them to create the kaleidoscope effect.  I mounted the full image and the small ones onto two toning colours and added the peeloffs.  I have said before, you cannot have too many butterflies, and these are so pretty, being holographic.   

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Mothering Sunday NOT Mothers' Day

This is one of those things that, due to my upbringing, really annoys me.  The day that we celebrate our mothers is a traditional day and is truly called Mothering Sunday.  I found this very good history of it on http://www.anniversaryideas.co.uk   and have taken the liberty of copying it below.  My mother and my mother-in-law would both get very upset if they were given a card which said "Mother's Day", so before I made cards, I would spend a lot of time hunting round card shops to find cards with Mothering Sunday on, usually stockpiling them for future years.  My grandmother was "in service" as a young girl until she was married, and her cousin was "in service" as Lady's Maid to the mother of Stanley Baldwin, the British Prime Minister, and both of them would have had a lengthy journey to get home to see their mother on this one special day in the year.

History of Mothering Sunday

Mothering Sunday History

The correct name for Mothers Day in the UK is Mothering Sunday.
Mothering Sunday is always the fourth Sunday of Lent however as the dates vary as to when Easter and Lent fall the actual Sunday chosen to celebrate it may vary. 
It is more often referred to as "Mother's Day" and it origin is distinctly different to Mothers Day in America although the sentiments are similar.
In Victorian times, it was a day when children, mainly daughters, who had gone to work as domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother and family.
Today it is a day when children give presents, flowers, and cards to their mothers.

History of Mothering Sunday

Most Sundays in the year churchgoers would worship at their nearest parish or "daughter church".
In olden times it was considered important for people to return to their home or "mother" church at least once a year. So each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their "mother" church.
As the return to the "mother" church became an occasion for family reunions when children who were working away from home returned. (It was quite common in those days for children to leave home to work in service from ten years of age.)
The majority of historians think that it was this return to the "Mother" church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family. This special day has now become a time when people give thanks to their mothers and offers an opportunity to express both love and thanks for the work that they do.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

WOYWW - 93

This is my desk as it was when I left it last night, and is, as yet, untouched today.  No time to play today, life is interferring agan.  As you can see, the working space is diminishing again.  I cleared it all and tidied it a couple of days ago, but stamping and playing with different methods of colouring plays havoc with space. 

I have been trying out different ways of using Barbara Gray's Flower stamp with its little flowers, and you may be able to see that one at the front of my desk.  I stamped it onto cartridge paper with a distressed ink pad ( I cannot remember which colour), then masked off the centre of the "O" and brayered the rest of the design with Juniper and Cloudy Blue Adirondack.  I then masked the rest off, and stamped the flowers into the "O", again using the distressed ink.  I tried colouring with the Aquamarkers I have, but I was not really satisfied with the result - a bit anaemic and dull.

I have just had a set of Derwent Metallic coloured pencils, so I thought I would see if adding those to the mix would improve things.   I found they added just a little more depth of colour in a more accurate way, and were a little more intense, lifting the design just enough.  Then I outlined the main design with Barbara Gray's technique of a deckle edged fine line in gold, mounting it on to purple pearlescent card, then onto god and back to the purple, before mounting the whole thing on a creamy coloured pearlescent card, with the addition of gold ribbon and bow.

The other design you can see is another attempt at the embroidery design printed on to cartridge paper again, and coloured in with Staedtler fine liners, and brayered with the Cloudy Blue and Juniper.  I also printed the lady at the centre again, with the idea of decoupaging her onto the flat design.  Not sure yet how that will work out.

As you may have read in an earlier post, our fourth grandchild, Rosie, was finally born last Thursday.  We went to meet her on Friday afternoon (what a vile time to tackle the M42), and she was so beautiful.  The shawl had been finished earlier, but, of course, the card could not be finished until we knew whether she was a boy or girl and what her name and date were.  The main parchment work was done and the colouring of the cot, and two pieces of card folded with two different colours of ribbon.  The writing was done, following a tip from Pauline Loweth, by printing it out, spaced correctly, and traced through on to the parchment with a white pencil.  Then I went over that with the Quickie glue pen, allowed that to almost dry, and dabbed and rubbed it with Martha Stewart glitter, and brushed off any excess.  I then left it overnight to dry off thoroughly.

I was at it before breakfast, and embossed the writing from the back to push it out, get some depth and increase the shine on the words and centre design on the cot.  The ribbons on the parchment were also coloured pink, and then the ribbon and bow attached with Pinflair glue gel, and the whole thing left to dry and harden.  The insert was done in My Craft Studio, using a pretty rose photo I already had, which I tiled to make the background, with a blank centre for the words.

I am off now to have a look at lots of other desks thanks to the help of our leader, Julia at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/      but I must say thank you to all those who took the time and trouble to read my various posts this week and to leave lovely comments.  I apologise to all those I did not get to visit in my turn.  I will try to do better this week.

I will leave you with a final photo, courtesy of our son who posted it on Facebook, of Rosie with her big sister, Charlotte.  I defy you not to say "aaahh".

Friday, 11 March 2011


Just back from meeting our latest grandaughter, Rosie, this afternoon.  She is lovely, and her big sister, Charlotte,  is fascinated with her.  In the second and third photos, she is wrapped in the new shawl.  I am so glad it can be used now.

I was finishing the card before breakfast this morning so that the glue holding the ribbon and bow had time to harden and hold.  I was also pressing the shawl, and sewing in three more ends I had not seen before.

Having finished that big project, it is time to find the box of threads and get busy finishing off the unicorn cross stitch.  That has been going even longer than the shawl.   Watch this space for progress.

Why did I buy this kit?

I think I have mentioned in a previous post somewhere that I am trying to get down the amount of stuff I bought before I knew any better, with mixed results.  One kit I bought because it looked good was a metallics set, with die cut decoupage sheets, metallic borders and paper and cards to put them on.  If I had had any sense, I would have sent the whole thing back.  The cards were quite pretty, but they had a die cut centre which was supposed to pop out if you wanted.  However it had been badly cut and they were all off centre quite badly.  The metallic decoupage, although very shiny, was poorly printed, with little definition in the images, and the borders and papers did not really match.   So the whole thing got shoved to the back while I thought about it.  I tried making a couple of cards but I just did not lie the results - they looked tatty and ill matched.

After resorting all my craft stuff, I could do with emptying a couple of boxes, so this kit came out again, and I sat and looked at it again without much enthusiasm.  I had another go at making something with the kit with no real success.  Then I got the brown and black card out to do the feather topper backings, finished those cards and went to bed.  We had several phone calls in the middle of the night to give us the updates on our new grandchild, and during one of those waking spells, I had a thought on how I could use the stuff, and finally get rid.

I cut the brown card into A5 with a scalloped edge, embossed the fan lines (thanks to Ikkie for that idea), sprayed the front with Crafters Companion spray glitter, then mounted the decoupage on that.  The first card is black, but I prefer the second one which is brown card from Papermill.  It is less harsh on the eye for this purpose.  At least, you get some idea of what the design is when it is mounted on the darker card.  I shall finish them all off over the next couple of weeks, and probably donate them to some charity.  Other people may think they are better than I do, and if they can make some money from them, then that is good.

Right, I am off now to get ready for our first visit to little Rosie and her parents and big sister, Charlotte.  Before that, we still have to empty the caravan, ready to take it to the dealers for its first service tomorrow.  When will our house be straight........?

Thursday, 10 March 2011

It is a girl!

At last, little Rosie has put in an appearance this morning at 9.45.  No details as yet, but I can now finish the card, ready for our first visit.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

WOYWW - 92

This was actually taken yesterday when the sunshine blazing in through the windows did give me a few problems with light and dark patches, but it was so good to see that big yellow thing in the sky.  Did anyone see the 700th edition of The Sky At Night on Sunday?  Brilliant programme but Brian Cox did say that the sun loses several billion tons every second - scary - but he did say we don't need to worry any time soon, as there is plenty to lose.  So I think we shall just enjoy it while we can see it after all the dull weather this year.

Back to the desk now.  From a very tidy craft room, I have deteriorated to the push the piles back state.  A bit of tidying up required, I think, but not in the next couple of days.  It is looking very much as if, by the time, this post is published, our fourth grandchild should have arrived, so I need to find the iron under all the plaster dust, get that shawl pressed and finish the card.  That is on my desk, looking a bit pink here, but there is a piece of blue card there too, so both are covered.  I also went out this afternoon down to Hayley West's shop (Little Lou's Craft Supplies - Hayley is one of the resident demonstrators on Create and Craft) to get some pink and some blue ribbons to finish off the birth card - I only spent 90p, and came away with the only thing I went for.  I must get down there again soon to have a good mooch round at all her new stuff when life calms down and I can really spend time.

I have also been playing around with another of Barbara Gray's Clarity stamps - the feather, which is so delicate.  My only complaint is that the W in Wing in the verse is a little hard to read initially.  What I did with the cards you can see in the background was to stamp the image and import it into the computer into My Craft Studio.  There I could change the colour to one I do not have the ink pad for, but more importantly, it allowed me to change the sizing to create and print out the background card with smaller feathers.  I changed it all to a sepia tone, and reduced the opacity of the background, and lifted it on the topper.  The card was just from a stash of cheap hammered cards I have had for ages, but I think they worked really well.  The toppers were mounted onto dark brown card from Papermill, using coppery coloured brads (I wish I could remember where I got them as I have run out).  I did have a problem with one as I forgot I had printed on vellum and went ahead and applied adhesive, ready to mount it.  Mistake!  So I then mounted that one on silver leaf and mounted that on the brown card.  It still worked, and looked pretty good.

When we were designing the layout of my craft room, one or two friends said I should have my work desk across the window, but I objected.  If you look at this, you may see why.  If my desk had been across the window, it would have been far too hot to work whenever the sun was out.  It would also have stopped me from just swinging round, grabbing the binoculars to see what bird life is around at any time.  Our lawn does not really exist, and in the wet, resembles runny chocolate (without the taste or smell) rather than grass.  Two dogs tearing round do not help.  However, the feeders do bring in quite a wide range of small garden birds which are fun to watch.  Must clean the windows to get rid of that plaster dust again.

If the baby does arrive in the next 24 hours, I will put a PS, and show the finished card.  In the meantime, if you arrived here by other means, do slip across to Julia, our leader, at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/     where you will find lots of interesting desks to mooch through.  To all those who are feeling less than 100%, good luck this week and may you all feel fine very soon, and to everyone, thank you for coming to see me and leave such lovely comments.

PS Still nothing on the grandchild front.  Watch this space.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

WOYWW - 91

Finally...... it is finished, completely.  Still needs pressing but that will not take very long tomorrow. ... and the baby still has not arrived.  Now I need to get down to doing the card, or at least as far as I can get without knowing the name, sex etc.  Then I can get back to normal card making, and get some of my ideas and thoughts into practice.

My desk and its surroundings are, at the moment, getting a bit cluttered with stuff.  There is a pile on top of the old printer, which is balanced rather precariously, and a lot of the stuff around is still from the knitting marathon.  First job tomorrow, I think, is to sort that lot out and get it away in sealed bags to avoid the plaster dust, that will get much worse over the coming weekend.

The folks who fitted the fire and the hearth are coming back on Friday to rectify the mistakes they made.  Then the main plasterers are coming over the weekend to take the whole of one wall down to brick and redo it.  The dogs and I will be holed up in my craft room upstairs for the duration.

The cards on my desk are more samples for the Spanish wedding in August.  They have no idea what they want so we are all trying to give them some ideas to choose from, or ideas to get their own thoughts going.  The rose on these cards was actually drawn and painted by my daughter some years ago, and I just scanned it in to keep it.  It has been used on one or two things since then.  The couple said they wanted plain card so I used Supersmooth card for these two, one with straight edges and one with deckel edges.  They were both put together using My Craft Studio Professional.  I then edged them both with the Krylon gold leaf pen, which I think is easier and looks better on the deckle edged card, just finishing them off nicely.  I also made a couple of place setting cards after I took the photo, again using the same elements.

The baby powder was out to stop my hands getting too sweaty while I was knitting, and will probably stay out while I do some stamping and embossing (anti-static).  The little pot of Stars are organic dog treats (low calorie, too), for bribery and corruption.  The other item is my half terrabyte portable hard drive, which I use to transfer stuff between different computers, and also as yet another back up for my precious items.

I am off to bed now as it is just after midnight.  I shall post this before I go up but I doubt if I shall be up early enough to post first in the morning.  Anyway, don't forget to pop in to see Julia, who has all the links to loads more lovely desks to mooch through at  http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/    I hope to get round a lot more desks this week.  Sorry I did not visit many of you last week - I was just desperate to finish the shawl before the baby arrived.  Thank you to all of you who came to see me and left me such encouraging messages.  They really spurred me on to get it finished.