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.

Saturday, 30 April 2011

Royal Wedding

What a fantastic day, a glorious dress, everything was perfect, as close to an intimate family wedding as was possible in the circumstances.  I sat glued to the TV and really wallowed in the atmosphere.

Then we had a street party, unofficial without closing the road or any other hassle.  The island in front of our houses was the perfect place to just bring our chairs, tables, food and drink, and even music, to join together in a way not known since the Coronation.  It was really good to get together with so many of the newer residents in a relaxed social way, people we would never have met in the general rush of daily life.  Plans are now in hand to do a similar do for the Jubilee next year.

The nearest I got to crafting was to retrieve a photo off my craft computer of the Coronation celebrations and print it out for eveyone to see.  Hope you all enjoyed the day as much as we did.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

WOYWW - 99

Having been away for Easter, there was no action on my workdesk this week - at least, not at home.  So I thought I would show you some of what I have been up to, and the beautiful surroundings we were in.  Eastnor Deer Park, near Ledbury in Herefordshire, is a fantastic place to spend time.  Peaceful, no street lights, nothing to irritate, unless you have a strong objection to Land Rovers.  As we are members of the Midland Rover Owners Club, we have no problem with lots of the vehicles all in one place and it is a good time to sort out any little niggles with the motors.  There is always someone there who can help.  All you have to do is to lift the bonnet and everyone flocks around to have a look and a chat.

Before we went, I did a lot of stamping and printing out of images to colour in, and had a great time just playing with different mediums and techniques.  I took my trusty old paint box (see previous postings), some Derwent watercolour pencils, some Derwent Inktense pencils and some Derwent Graphics pencils.  I ended up mixing them all up on the same piece of work.  The Inktense are gorgeous but I think I prefer them as accents on a water colour, rather than for the whole project.  It all depends on the effect you want, and you have to remember that I am a beginner just trying things our and experimenting.

Watercolour pencils only

Inktense pencils only

I like both of the above, but I think I prefer the softer look of the watercolour on these Pilkington stamps.  You also need to be very sure you have your colour in the right place with the Inktense, as you cannot work them as much as the watercolour.

Watercolour paints

This is a lovely little stamp from Kaycee and reminds me so much of a fantastic view just outside Shanklin on the Isle of Wight.  The shading is very good and the image is clear and crisp.
Watercolour paints
Cannot remember if this is a Pilkington stamp, but it is very pretty, well cut and shaded.  Doing this taught me a lot about mixing the colours I wanted, especially to get the lavender.  The flowers in the foreground were just the strong vermilion direct from the box with no mixing.  I am still using just the Kuretake water brush, which does most of what I want. 

Embroidery design
This old embroidery design was scanned and then cleaned up before printing out.  I chose not to put in a background and just stick to the original idea.  The only difference in that was in the lady's dress, which I managed to shade.  I think most of the flowers were done with the Inktense, while the lady was done mainly with the watercolour pencils.

This poppy was a print out from Joanna Sheen's Pamela West CD set 2, and I used just the watercolour paints on this one, as I wanted a really vibrant colour for the flowers themselves.  I allowed it to dry and went back several time to darken the shaded areas.  I also had a go at sketching while we were away, but I will show you my results later.  Due to advancing years, I did come to the conclusion that I cannot sketch landscapes "in the field".  If I can see the landscape, I cannot see my paper, and if I can see the paper, I cannot see what I am trying to copy.  So I may have to settle for working from my own photos.  Time will tell.  I am not very good, but I am having fun just trying.
Having gone on at length, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and were able to enjoy the glorious weather.  Now it is time you all went to look at all the other desks linked to Julia at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/   I will try to do better this week with visiting as many of you as possible, but I would like to thank all those who visited me, and I hope I managed to get back to all of you.  Have a lovely May Day and enjoy watching the Royal Wedding and your street parties.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

WOYWW - 98 Part 2

I was determined that you should all have a chance to see our beautiful trees, so I thought I would have another attempt to make Blogger post it properly.  Enjoy (I hope)

WOYWW - 98

Not quite my work desk, but I had to show you these two trees.  They are just glorious in full blossom, and are even better than usual this year after the hard winter.  I am really looking forward to driving through the lanes around Evesham this weekend and seeing all the fruit trees in full bloom on the Blossom Trail.  If we don't have any more frosts, then we should have a great year for fruit.

Having finished my target of getting all the cards I need for May done before Easter, I am now allowing myself to play.  Hopefully, most of the things I am playing with will end up on cards later in the year.  As you may notice, most of the things on my desk are related to stamping and water colouring, with a bit of mica painting slipping in to add a bit of sparkle and fun.  I do have rather a lot of water colour boxes/tins.  I treated myself to a nice new one from Daler Rowney last year, but that is still pristine and unused.  At the moment, I am still using my old Reeves paintbox which I had as a child - probably counts as an antique now.  In some ways, I prefer the old one to the new stuff, the colours are stronger and easier to blend to get the right shade, even if some of them are now banned.  All the chrome colours are not allowed these days, but I survived using them as a child and I do not intend to eat them, so I shall carry on.  
A true water colourist (is that the right word) would probably have a fit at my technique, but who cares.  I am learning and enjoying it.  I shall never have a canvas hung in the National Gallery or anywhere else, but it is FUN!!!!  My brush is a Kuretake water brush, you know, the ones with water in the barrel, with a fairly fine tip.  I must have done a lot of blending years ago, looking at the state of my white, which is almost non-existent. 
I have done a lot of stamping of small images this week, just the right size to take in the caravan and play with, either inside or out in the awning on a lap tray.  I also want to tackle sketching again, to try to produce my own images.  Not sure whether to use the cheap ratty old water colour paper for the attempts or whether to risk the beautiful new stuff (which is double the price).  Any suggestions from all you lovely people out there.

Anyway, I am going to stop rattling on and leave to to visit Julia, our hostess with the mostest,  at
http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/  who has the links to hundreds (well, nearly) of other peoples' desks for you to look at, while I go and make my lunch - a big omelette with cheese, onions and chopped new potatoes - do you feel hungry yet?

I will try to get round to as many people as possible this week, and will definitely get back to anyone who is kind enough to visit me and leave a comment.  I treasure all you have to offer.  Good hunting, and Happy Easter.

PS Still problems with Blogger and photographs this week.  My lovely trees seem to be missing, although they were there when I started.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

WOYWW - 96 part 2

 I thought I would try to see if my missing photos from yesterday will show up if I repost them separately today.
They are showing up on my screen at the moment, so hopefully, you will all be able to see them.  The explanations are all in my previous posting below.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

WOYWW - 97 Still a mess.but a different one

I am getting later and later doing my posting.  Life is just so busy, and I am desperately trying to get all my cards for May done before the end of next week.  I am also having a lot of fun just playing with different techniques, and mixing them all up.

My desk looks just as much of a wreck as it did last week, but I promise that it was tidy at least once each day, just before I started in again dragging stuff out to play with.  I said I needed more practice with the Promarkers and the Aquamarkers, and I was quite right.  There was a programme on Create and Craft this week on them and it helped me to sort out what I needed to remember about them both.
The first card was a real mix of techniques.  I used two lots of unrelated stamps, some from Barbara Gray and some from another set (cannot remember where I had them from as I have lost the packaging).  I stamped each part onto white paper, then scanned them into the computer.  Then I used My Craft Studio to resize and manipulate each part to fit together, before printing the whole picture on watercolour paper and gave it a very light spray with Crafters Companion Spray and Shine to prevent the outline from bleeding.  I used the Aquamarkers and my Cloudy Blue and Juniper and mixed them to suit  on a white tile, painting them on with a water brush.  I kept all the colours very light, more of a wash.  When I was in school, I was never encouraged to paint, and actually hated painting anyway, as it always spoiled my drawing.  However, I am gradually finding my way through it and quite enjoying playing.  If I end up with a usable card at the end, then I shall be very happy.  This one was mounted using two different shades of blue pearlescent card, mounted on white (which I had brayered with Cloudy Blue and Juniper).
The second card was purely Clarity Stamps, Promarkers, and brayering.  It was done in a bit of a rush, so I did not do and masking and overstamping, which could have improved it, but there is plenty of time to play later on.  I used the silk card for this one, which is why I chose the Promarkers and the blender.  I have a very limited selection of colours, but I do intend to aquire more as I go on.  I was going to put a sea wall in front of the houses but after I had done the brayering, I realised I had not left enough room, so I just put a bit of sand there instead. 

My last card for this week is another using Clarity Stamps - the leafy bough stamps.  I have already done one version with green leaves, so I thought I would play around with different colours.  I used the silk card again, and used a pinky coloured ink pad.  The actual stems were coloured using blush pink, and then two different colours of pink promarkers to colour the leaves.  I stamped the sentiment into the centre, again with the pinky ink pad, and brayered the edges with tattered rose distressed ink to soften the whole thing.  The mounting was matting and layering with dark brown card and pink pearlescent card. 

I want to apologise to all those people I did not get round to visiting last week, and I hope I can do better this week.  In the meantime, do go and visit all those who got going earlier than me this week at Julia's site at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/  where you will find lots of like minded friends.  See you soon.

PS I see Blogger is still playing up and half my photos seem to have refused to show themselves.  There should be 5 photos but I can only see 3 at the moment.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

WOYWW - 96 - What a mess!!

Rather late in posting this week, due to life getting in the way.  However, better late than never..... maybe.  These photos do not truthfully reflect the true state of my desk, and in fact, most of the room, for that matter.  Yes, you can see a little bit of desk, but that is only because I am very good at the "shove it harder" technique.  Even my big magnifier lamp is in use for draping cards along. 

As you may be able to see, I have been having more of a go at brayering, and working with Clarity stamps.  I have decided that I need to invest in new ink pads and also some detail embossing powder.  My Versamark pads are drying out, and my only gold embossing powder is what I would call "gobby", too thick to give a really good image.  Also, more practice is needed to really get the right result.

The one card hanging on the light is using Barbara Gray's ideas and some of her techniques, but with some adjustment.  Obviously, Barbara has not produced a new stamp especially for someone called Don.  That is something I printed from the computer onto the silk card.  Then I used the Versamark pen to go over the design before adding the gold embossing powder and heating from underneath to give the glassy finish.  (I have had so much trouble trying to post these last two photos as  Blogger is not playing nicely at the moment, so I tried changin browsers to see if that helped) Then I printed the design again and cut the centre out of the "O" so I could mask off the rest. I used Vintage Photo to stamp the foliage, and the three flowers, before masking the flowers so I could brayer the whole centre with Adirondack Cloudy Blue, and Juniper. I also brayered the border area with the same colours and used the foliage again in the border, then used a gold pen to outline the main design and to edge the whole thing before mounting it on pearlescent card. Although it is not yet perfect, the idea seems to work so it could be used for anyone who has an "A", "D" or "O" in their name.

The card on the desk is more conventional, using the proper stamp, and another of Clarity's stamps, the mini rose, which I coloured with promarkers. I need a lot more practice in using the promarkers to really get the right results that everyone else seems to get. I forgot to brayer the centre of the "O"before I removed the masking, so I grabbed the nearest thing, which was a tumble dryer sheet, and inked a corner, removed most of the ink before swirling it where I wanted it. I did the same with a different corner and the other colour, and it seemed to work quite well.

I could show you other pictures round my room, such as the two printers totally buried under piles of stuff, but I will spare you that, and let you get off to visit more friends from WOYWW.  You will find them at Julia's desk at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/    Have fun and see you again next week.

Monday, 4 April 2011

EZ Mount - I hate it with a passion

When I first started stamping and bought my first unmounted rubber stamps, I was persuaded into backing them with the EZ cushion sticky backed foam.  Whata mistakea to makea?  I bitterly regret taking that advice.  The wretched stuff now will not cling to anything, except the stamp.  I cannot use the stamps on my preferred Rocker Blocks, as the foam is too thick, so I have made the decision to remove the offending stuff altogether.  Oh boy, is that a pain.  The glue that fixes it to the stamps is double strength superglue.  The only method that I have found so far that works, is to microwave each stamp for about 15 seconds at a time, which is supposed to warm the glue and soften it.  Then it is down to digging it off with finger nails a bit at a time, rewarming it, and do a bit more.  It has taken me two days to remove it safely from one stamp.  Rather a lot to go, and one blister on my thumb already.  If anyone knows a better way, please tell me.  My fingers would be eternally grateful.