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, 29 June 2011

WOYWW - 108

Not a lot of work going on at the moment, more a case of what was left after some stamping and also the putting together of some decoupage sheets I bought ages ago.  They were very pretty, with coppery gilding highlighting the flowers.  I have no idea who the maker is, as there was nothing to identify them on the plastic bags, but I do know that I bought them on a trip down to Hayley West's shop (Little Lou's in Redditch).  I had come  across them again on a search for something else, and decided it was time to put them together.  If you want to see the results of the stamping, you will need to have a look at my blog from last week.  I have just continued from there, extending the techniques a little.

The important stuff on my desk today is actually what was in a parcel which arrived yesterday morning.  It was my winnings from the very generous Jo's Blog Candy (http://jozartdesigns.blogspot.com/).  I really love it all, and I can think of lots to do with every bit of it.  Thank you so much, Jo.  It is all appreciated.

The rest of the week has not gone quite as well as we would have liked.  Still in the middle of redoing the living room, we had ordered two storage units to take things like the DVD player, the Virgin box and all the other peripherals that go with an entertainment system.  We were foolish in that we took it for granted that a unit shown with what appear to be DVD players etc on it would be right for us.  WRONG!!! Very wrong.  Nothing would fit on those shelves.  So we are now trying to sort things out with the company to exchange them for the ones we really need to fit things on (which are, of course, more expensive).  Very frustrating, but before I totally depress you all, why don't you just nip over to the blog of our esteemed leader Julia, who has handed things over for this week to her Lunch Lady Jan at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/
where you will find the links for more than 100 more desks to study.  Have fun and thank you for joining me this week.

PS Just had a call from the furniture company to say that everything is now set up for the exchange.  They are just waiting for the TV stand to come in next week and they will collect the wrong things and bring us the right things.  Life is looking better.  Right, I am off now to watch Federer and the other at Wimbledon.  Everything stops for that, even crafting.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Using the computer to emboss

This is a technique taught to me by Shaz ( http://silverwolfcards-shaz.blogspot.com/ ) quite some time ago, but I thought it was time to revisit it.  You need an inkjet printer and time to play with the settings (each one is slightly different).  You can use any font you have on your computer to create a sentiment for the front of your card, as shown on these first two cards.  To print and emboss, as on these, you need good quality parchment with a nice shiny surface.

Get all your embossing equipment ready before you start, the top off the jar and copy paper to sprinkle over.  Once it comes out of the printer, speed is all important in getting the powder over the writing, then you can relax a little.  I have found that it is better to print on the normal setting.  High quality takes too long and the writing has already started to dry out, draft is not quite wet enough, but practice on your own machine to find the right balance.  Don't try to do too much on a sheet at one time, as it will have started to dry out.  If you use spray adhesive, such as Crafters Companion Stick and Stay you can stick your sentiment onto backing card before attaching to your card.

The next card was done in a similar way.  I was inspired by the Framer stamps from Barbara Gray (Clarity Stamps).  I took the name I needed, and increased the size of the central "O" , placing the other two letters as I wanted on either side.  (I did the setting up of the word in My Craft Studio Professional).  Once I had that right, I printed direct to an A5 sheet of Clarity silk art card, and embossed it direct from the printer.  I had treated the card with a light dusting of baby powder to reduce static, and then dusted off any stray speckles of embossing powder with a paint brush, before embossing from underneath.

Having got the embossing out of the way, I printed another copy on copy paper and cut out the "O".  I used the flowers from the Flower framer kit to place the flowers in and around the "O", and the Speedball brayer to colour in the background, both in the "O" and around the outside framework.  The flowers were coloured with promarkers.  You can polish the silk card to a high sheen with a screwed up pad of kitchen roll, but make sure you do that BEFORE doing anything else, otherwise you could wreck everything you have done.   I edged the white section with a copper coloured pen, and used a Krylon Copper pens to edge the whole card.    Both those pens will smudge if you attempt to polish after you have used them.  I found that out the hard way.  However butterflies are very useful in covering up minor blips.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

I spoke too soon....

I foolishly said that my problems with Blogger had settled down.  Not true today!!!  I seem to have lost all my Followers.  Disaster!  If you look at my blog at the moment, you are not missing because I have fallen out with you.  On the contrary, I love you all and value your friendship.  It is Blogger I have fallen out with.  I hope I can soon get you back where you belong.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

WOYWW - 107

My desk this week is a real mess, but I am having a ball.  You can see lots of images in the process of being played with, my red A5 file which is developing into my stamp catalogue, and a lot of other detritus from present projects and past projects.
One of my birthday presents was the large Velvet Lady from Clarity Stamps.  Unfortunately, I still don't have the lamp post to go with her, so I had to improvise and use the one from Cute Companions - not quite right but it will do for the moment.  After all, Barbara does not say we have to copy her exactly, but if giving us ideas from which our own imaginations should take off.    I also used the little spruce tree for the background as I could not think how to create buildings.  To get the shading on the snow, I used a scrunched up pad of kitchen roll, inked up and smoothed out.  With care, it seems to work fairly well.  The lady herself was partially coloured with Promarkers (her skirt) and her jacket and hat were printed and cut from a free downloaded tartan backing paper, which toned quite well with the Promarker.

Then I had a go with the cottage kit, which also involved some use of  things that were a little different from the way Barbara worked, again because my stock is of ink pads is not large .  The first attempt will end up taken apart and redone, but the second was better, but I suspect the next version will be better still.  There are too many trees behind and around the cottage - Geoff said it looked as if it had a beard, so less trees on the next one.  I might try putting a lake in too to get some reflections. (EDIT - tried that and promptly chopped it off, didn't work)

My reflections were very variable too with the brayer, but I think they are getting better.   My first attempt had the same problem as I have taking pictures of the sea - the water was running out.  Never mind, guillotines work wonders to straighten up wonky work.  My first one (not shown) was stamped with the black Adirondack and worked fairly well, being quite dramatic.  The one on the left here was done with Adirondack Slate which I think gives a softer more misty look, which I quite like.  I also really like the blue one (Adirondack Denim).  The background hill on both was done with the kitchen roll pad again.  the tree reflection on the blue one smudged on the brayer, but I think that adds to the watery feel.

I was going to show you the pif I sent to Andria for the 2nd Anniversary, follow the link to her blog at  http://andria-drawingnear.blogspot.com/   .  Her photos are better than mine.  I am glad she finally got it and she says she liked it, so ... result.

Anyway, I think that is enough waffling from me this week and I am sure that you will all have fun by popping over to the residence of our leader, Julia, where you will find lots and lots of fascinating desks with loads of different styles, which you will find at  

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

WOYWW - 106

Before I show you my desk this week, I have one more important thing to do, and that is to publicly thank Becky Horn for my lovely pif.  It arrived on my birthday at the weekend, which was extra good.  So much work and love in it.  Thank you again, Becky.

I had some lovely cards and pressies, not least the complete set (until No 5 is released) of Barbara Gray's DVD's, which I have been coveting for ages and ages.  They came from my very very kind husband, who is so supportive of my crafting.  If you have a look at Silverwolf's blog, you will see the picture of the beautiful card she created for me, and how she did it.

Now to my desk.  Last week, it was so tidy thanks to a hurricane which hit it.  This week is not quite so good, although it is better than it was an hour before.  Some time ago, I started removing all the horrid sticky cushioning from all my unmounted rubber stamps, and finally finished today, thank goodness.  While the last batch were on my desk, I decided to start cataloguing them, by stamping them in sets into an A5 loose leaf file.  By the time, I had finished , my fingers were totally black and covered in Adirondack black ink.  So far, nothing has removed it, despite my best endeavours.  Any ideas?

I also started a "reflections" card, inspired by Barbara Gray.  As you can see, there is still a lot to do to it, but by then I was so inky, I thought I had better leave it alone for today.  You can also see some of the sheets I have started to print for my stamp catalogue.  I might have another go tomorrow, either at the catalogue creation or just playing with pictures and techniques.

I have also had company for most of my working today from our biggest pup, who suddenly realised I had a small bag of dog food on my desk which might be worth keeping an eye on.  He has be partially responsible for me not getting too much crafting done over the last couple of weeks.  We have just found a new trainer, who is teaching us all the things that really suit a working bred dog, tracking, retrieving and general searching.  Flash loves it and really puts all his effort into hunting.  Gemma, on the other hand, is a little blonde about it, easily distracted from the job in hand.  Never mind, she can only improve with work.  Our trainer, Madaleine, is very strict with us, and gives us lots of homework to practice.  I come back from  training class absolutely buzzing with excitement.  It is just great fun, and so rewarding when you finally coordinate all the things you are trying to sort out.  (I need 4 hands to deal with a clicker, a treat, and a lead, and a few more brain cells to allow me to "get it".)  It is not the dogs who are being trained, it is us as handlers.

By the way, are there any others of you out there who think that things have gone too far in the type of clothes being sold for young children, such as padded bras for girls of 5 and upwards, and the way they are being encouraged to be so much older than their years.  I did hear that pop videos are to be given ratings in a similar way to films, to try to protect young children from being exposed to salacious things while they are too young to cope.  My daughter already tries to vet whatever pop videos that her children watch.

Having had a bit of a soap box moment, perhaps you might like to slip over to see a few more desks at Julia's place, which you will find at  http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/  Thank you to all those who came to visit me this week, and apologies to those I did not get round to visit myself.  Hopefully, I can do better this week.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Another year gone!

I just want to know where the last year has flown off to.  I started this blog just one year ago yesterday without any idea of the number of new friends I would be making, or the number of new ideas I would be given.  Thank you to all of you.  I am so glad I met you.  And special thanks to Shaz (Silverwolf) who inspired me to try it, and who is always so generous with her help and tips.  Also thanks to her lovely husband who managed to solve my photo problem on the blog yesterday.

I had a great day with lots of visitors and some lovely cards and pressies.  I will photo some of them and post them later in the week.  My wonderful husband bought me the four Barbara Gray DVD's (number 5 is due out soon), so I can study her techniques and attempt to do better than I do now.

 This is a card I did recently for some friends who now live on a narrow boat, wandering the waterways.  I found a photos of their boat and printed it onto a piece of silk art card, thenn once the ink was thoroughly dry, I masked it off and brayered and stamped the border, using leafy stamps to create the lower areas.  (The nasty blobs at the top left turned out to be Krylon gold leaf on the scanner plattern - cleaned off now).  Then I removed the mask and drew a wriggly line round the picture with a fine line gold pen.  I edged the whole card with Krylon Gold Leaf and mounted it on green and red  card.  The numbers were printed and cut out and embossed with a glittery red embossing powder.

This card has not yet been delivered, but I don't think he will be looking at my blog.  This one went together very easily until I tried to decide what card to mount it on.  My room looked a wreck when I finally finished.  I have a lot of lovely card, but I am getting to the point where I have not quite got the variety to make choices easy.  The image is from My Craft Studio, and it was all designed and sized within that program.  Once it was all stuck together with Pinflair glue, I left it to dry before giving it a good dose of Spray and Shine, until it was really shiny.  Then I mounted it with a thin border of holographic silver card and then put it on to a silvery blue pearlescent card.  I shaped the boat and the sails before adding them to the decoupage, which, I think, gives it a more realistic look (and hides the glue better too).

This is another card that got the shaping on the decoupage, and a good dose of Spray and Shine  on the finished card.  Again the image was from My Craft Studio.  I think the Spray and Shine enhances the image and brings out the colour.  Because this has to go through the post, I did all the matting and layering within My Craft Studio and printed it out direct to the white supersmooth card.  The gold club and the ball were separate pieces of decoupage, shaped to give dimension without being too high.

We have got a new oak computer desk downstairs, so I have snaffled the set of drawers that belonged to the old desk to store things like my heat guns and things that really have no real place yet.  So I am off up to my room now to sort that lot out.  I suspect it will also become a place for another pile to start.  You all know what happens to clear surfaces in craft rooms.  Time will tell - very soon!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

WOYWW - 105

I did it!!  I found my craft mat and my desk (not to mention a lot of dust).  This was how my desk looked yesterday (Tuesday) before I began doing things again.  With a number of major projects to get finished, I had definitely neglected the putting away part, and the piles had just grown too high.  Surprisingly, it did not take took long to put right - and that did mean putting away, not just piling somewhere else.  I felt quite proud of myself.  The wind helped too.  I opened the window - big mistake - everything took off and landed on the floor.  It cleared the tops of the two printers in 2 seconds, so I had to sort that lot out too.  Aren't I good? 

The two plastic storage boxes are so useful.  The one contains my total supply of Promarkers (I do have 24 new ones on the way in the post)  while the other has my Krylon pens (all of them), my gold, copper and silver fine liners, and my Pinflair syringes.  Hopefully, I shall be able to find them in the future, rather than diving under piles of paper and other detritis to dig them out.  You can also see my little pot of dog training treats as usual, and the computer, all ready to start cutting a design with the Silhouette.

Then I decided I needed to get some more crafting done.  So some things had to come out again, but, strangely enough, the desk still remained relatively clear as you can see from the second photo.  You can see a card almost finished for a friend's upcoming 65th birthday.  As you can guess, he is golf mad.  The image is from MCS's Papercraft library. 
The smaller card is one printed from MCS's Countryside Gardens disc, from the NSR (no stamp required).  I printed it quite faintly and then used my limited promarkers to colour it in.  The purple was the result of several layers to deepen the colour and add shading. 

At the back, you can see a couple of completed projects, all ready to go.  I will put up the pictures of those later in the week for those who are interested.  In the meantime, why don't you all pop over to Julia's at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/  to see what is going on in the rest of the world of desk blogging.  Thank you to all those who came to visit this week, and I apologise to all those I did not get round to this time.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

WOYWW - 104 Happy Anniversary

It has finally arrived - the second anniversary of this wonderful blog hopping.  Most of the credit must go to Julia, who started it all, and kept it all going throughout two whole years.  Well done, Julia, and many thanks for such a wonderful achievement.  I, for one, have met so many new friends since I joined last year, people I have never met in the flesh, but who I feel I know and can rely on for support and advice.

My desk this week is out of bounds as it is covered by an, as yet, unmentionable project, which I desperately need to finish.  So all I can show you in a crafting line is the box in which I keep all the cards I have done ready for finishing and sending - no inserts or names on, but easy to grab and finish off.  At the front are a couple of boxes of notelets for emergency presents, and a DVD of our grandchildren - my first attempt to print the disc itself with the new printer.

I have chosen not to show my pif, although it is finished and ready to go, as I want it to arrive as a surprise for the recipient.  Once it has been delivered, I will reveal it and explain it.  I hope that whoever gets it enjoys it.

Meanwhile, happy anniversary again and go to visit  Julia and all the other anniversary desks at http://stamping-ground.blogspot.com/