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, 31 March 2012

Pixie's Snippets Challenge 14

All my snippets for Pixie's playground this week are Christmas ones, mainly because I got a bit carried away with the Rudolph Challenge earlier in the week.  These are some I did not put in for that.

This first one is another of my stained glass type, overlaying the printed image with the reversed image on acetate, which intensifies the colours.  Rather than adding a straightforward sentiment, i put the border with the bow on straight across the bottom.  That is from a batch of peeloffs i bought a couple of years ago.  The main image is from a My Craft Studio CD and is one I started when I was doing samples for them a couple of years ago.

This is another My Craft Studio image from the same image.  The original I made for them was actually a shaker card, but I had several versions of the image printed out and never finished.  I edged both the main image and the backing paper with Krylon silver before putting them onto the black card.  I was a bit annoyed when I trimmed the corners of the black card to match the rounded corners of the topper.  The guide on my Fiskars shaped scissors snapped straight off - how cross making!  Makes it an expensive snippet card.  The sentiment and the little dots are just from a peeloff sheet.

This one is a Clarity Stamped image, coloured over with a copper Sakura pen.  I edged it with a copper Krylon pen, mounted it onto brown pearlescent.  Then I found a roll of bow making ribbon which had not been put away so it was right in front of me.  It had a strip of just the right coppery colour running through it.  I just removed the pull up strip and tied a simple bow.  I would have preferred a slightly thinner ribbon, but beggars can't be choosers, so what I had was what I used.

 These last two are recycled cards from previous years.  The snow scene appeared in several cards that year, in different sizes, so if you have seen this image before, it is not actually this card. 

The second one was a bit of a fiddle to cut out, but I did nothing else with it.  The sentiment was already printed on the topper, so all that was needed was to glue it to the cardstock.

Right, folks, I am off now to make the bread for tea, otherwise we shall have nothing to eat.  I need my sandwiches to eat in the playground.  There may be cheese scones on offer too .............  See you by the swings.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Rudolph Challenge - 3rd entry this month

This is my third and final entry to the Rudolph Challenge for this month, that is, as long as Mr Linky and Mr Blogger let me join in today.  I am back to the recycling part of my crafting this time.  Having cut the topper out of the old card, I edged it with my trusty Krylon gold leaf pen, and mounted it onto yet another of my stack of ready folded cards.  All that was needed after that was a peeloff sentiment. 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Rudolph Challenge - 2nd entry this month

This is my second entry for the Rudolph Challenge for this month.  The image and sentiment are from the Clarity Stamps range, and are stamped direct onto black card and coloured in with gold Sakura pens.  Then I just matted it onto gold pearlescent card and edged it with holographic border peeloffs. 

See you tomorrow with my third and final offering tomorrow.  I have to apologise to everyone who has been kind enough to leave me comments this week.  I am very slow at getting back to you and posting them.  My only excuse is family matters and a poorly pup.  Flash seemed to have bounced back from his pain, but has relapsed a little.  He tried, like all manic cockers, to do too much, hurt himself and is now frightened to move very much at all.  We will see how he goes today with his painkillers, but I suspect we shall be back at the vet's again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Rudolph Day

This is my first offering this month for the Rudolph Challenge.  It is one of my Dufex die cuts, that have been around for several years.  In fact, I bought two sets of each, so I still have one set left to drool over.  The card is one of my huge pile (getting less now) of the ready folded cards, which were a BOGOFF offer when I first started card making.  The Dufex is easy to shape to give it some dimension, and I always use Pinflair Glue which makes it even easier to shape your decoupage.

I will be back tomorrow with another of the cards I put together this week.  Mind you, with the proposed increases in postage rates, we may never send any Christmas cards again.  They wonder why we are not sending letters and other correspondence as much these days.  Have they never thought that it might be their brilliance at overcharging for a poor service, losing our mail and cutting down collections and deliveries?   Sorry about my soapbox moment, folks - not much Christmas spirit there.  See you tomorrow with another offering.

WOYWW - 147

Yes, this is really what is on my desk today.  (I say today, because I am posting this after midnight and I have not slept yet, so I suppose I should say yesterday - I hope you understand that - I am not sure I do)  I have had a small plague of these tiny bees in my craft room over the last week, and have no idea where they are coming from.  None of them are very well, and are mostly crawling feebly on the floor.  The bigger one in the pot was the one that inflicted painful injury  - it stung me.  Mean or what?  The smaller one was dying on my floor after lunch.  If anyone out there is an expert on bees and can give me ideas of how to get rid of them in the house.  I am happy to have them outside in the garden where they belong, and where we have planted lots of food plants for them.  In the meantime, as I said in my last but one post, crafting is DANGEROUS.

Apart from dying insects, my desk is covered with the debris from a frantic making of Christmas cards for Sarn's Rudolph challenge.  I still have to post some of them on the challenge page, but I actually completed 20 in one go, mainly from toppers already made, ready folded cards, and oddments of peeloffs.  Hence the huge pile of used and unused peeloffs.  I even use the waste bits between the borders, and anything else gets bits punched out to embellish other cards.  The cards themselves are mainly hidden but I will post them at intervals later.

Today (Tuesday) has been a bit of a mess. Our big pup suddenly started yelping every time he moved.  He could not jump up to his usual comfort place in the evening.  Going upstairs was really bad for him.  Of course, by the time we had an appointment for the vet, he was moving much better.  After an injection and some painkillers for a week, he is better than last night, but still not 100%.  He is scared to move much, so will be on very reduced exercise for a while.  

Thank you for coming to visit me today (Wednesday), and I must now let you go to visit all the other desks on show over at Julia's.  I hope to visit as many of you as possible in return.  Have a great week.

I am pleased to report that the anti-inflammatory injection and the painkillers are working for Flash, our big pup (he is just 6 years old.  He is trying to run around like a lunatic again, so we shall have a hard time keeping him a little more calm for a few days. 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Crafting is dangerous - that is official in my house

I have just been stung by a bee which was on my rotary cutter.  IT HURT!!!!  but I didn't cry.   I have been using the said cutter all afternoon and then putting it back down on the floor till the next time.  We seem to be plagued with bees in the house at the moment.

We had a HUGE bumble bee crawling round the bedroom floor the other night, scared the dogs to death, they leapt over the bed and shot downstairs until we had removed the bee.  The following morning I went into my craft room and found about a dozen small dark bees, mainly dead, around the floor.  Since then, there has been the odd one or two, but nothing live until this afternoon.  I just wish I knew where they are coming from, then  I could block up the gap .  Being fairly allergic to rather a lot, I am now distinctly nervous about going into my craft room.  We are now restocking on Piriton and all other remedies.

Has anyone else had the same problem with these creatures in the house?  I wouldn't mind but we are busy planting things to encourage bees to survive, then they go and attack me.  Ungrateful insects!

See, I told you crafting was dangerous.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Pixie's Snippets Challenge 13

I have been late for everything this week, but I was determined to make it into the playground in time.  I cannot miss my go on the swings.  I will be out there to play when I have handed in my homework to Miss Pixie

Number one is a leftover from a sheet of Debbi Moore ladies.  The main card was sent out months ago and the oddments have been in my box since then.  I just added a bit of my lovely Martha Stewart glitter to her dress and jewels to give it a lift.  Sadly, as usual, you cannot see the glitter, but it is there.

Number two is one of a batch of toppers I printed out and took on holiday last year to colour in.  It is printed on Clarity shiny silk card, and then coloured with my very limited Promarkers.  Sometimes, when you have a small range of colours, you have to get even more creative with the way you shade.  I think I could make a better job of this one if I did it again now, but I am not going to waste this topper.  Once it was coloured and dry, I polished it with a piece of kitchen roll, then added Krylon gold leaf round the edge.  I mounted it on a piece of lilac coloured textured paper and then onto white pearlescent card.

I used the same textured paper to mat this topper.  The sparkly bits were from a kit which I bought several years ago, with lovely flowery cards, and these sparkly peeloffs and glittery borders, and metallic flowers.  all of the items were pretty in their own way, but no way did they go together, so they got put into a box to be thought about.  I had a small set of pearlescent offcuts from PDA Card, and I used some of these to mount up these peeloffs.  This one looks better in real life than it does in this picture.  The scanner seems to have changed all the colours slightly and reduced the impact of the peeloffs.

These next two are from the same set, but backed onto dark blue card (should have been black, but I only have one sheet left).  The base cards are rejects from Kanban, being badly folded so they all need some trimming to tidy them up, but they are lovely colours, and pearlescent too.

The last one is a combination of papers and techniques.  It is a floral corner stamp from Clarity, my favourite company.  Again, I printed it out, but on ordinary smooth card this time.  I think I used Promarkers again for colouring in, but I did it so long ago that I cannot remember for certain.  I did it while we were away in the caravan, so it could also have been water colour pencils or even paints.  I found it floating around today, but could not find a stamp to put into the centre, so I decided to use one of the left over tags from a card I showed you a couple of weeks ago.  Hope you like it.

Right, I am off now to finish potting up the second batch of strawberry plants and the garlic cloves in the greenhouse.  Then I will join you all in the playground.  We could play "What's the time, Mr Wolf?"  Anyone want to join me?  (Don't forget Rudolph Day tomorrow, 25th March.)

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Craft a Scene - second go this month

This is one of those cards that developed as it grew.  It is intended for the Craft a Scene challenge for a Moonlight scene.  It is tiny, having been created from offcuts of Clarity shiny card, and a cut down pearlescent card.

I started off being inspired by a painting I saw on the Antiques Roadshow at the weekend, which was just clouds in the moonlight.  I thought that would be a cool image to go with.  So the first thing was to tape down the shiny card so it stayed put and gave me the white edging.  Then I put the moon mask in place before taking a piece of cotton wool and shredded it before pressing it hard into the Versamark pad.  Then I put it randomly over the whole piece of card in wisps, placed a piece of copy paper over the top and used the brayer over the top of that to give the clouds.

Once I had done that bit, I loaded the brayer with Adirondack Cloudy Blue, and did the usual routine of getting rid of most of the ink and then doing a wheelie.  A second layer followed that to deepen the colour from the top right corner downwards, then a layer of Denim over the top of that. 

I wanted to ground the whole thing with the tops of trees peeping at the bottom of the card, so I used one of my Clarity trees to hint at trees.  Once that was done, i looked at it and realise the whole picture had changed.  I could not see clouds so much as mountains in the background and a lake.  So I added a few more trees round the edge of the lake, left it all to dry before buffing it up with a piece of kitchen roll.  The moon is still there in the background, but the clouds have changed a bit.  I was going to highlight the trees, but then I decided that with such a small card, it would be better left alone.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

WOYWW - 146

Not so much a view of my desk this week, rather what is on  my desk.  I have been playing with my brand new Clarity stamp.If you want to know more, I wrote about it in my previous post at the weekend.

For those of you who don't have time to go back to that, I will just tell you that Clarity stamps agreed to make my favourite rose bud painting, created by my daughter, into a proper Clarity stamp, with all the quality we expect from that company.  They really did the artwork justice, and kept all the detail.

It is a joy to use, so light and easy to position, and I am having a wonderful time playing around with it, putting into practice all the ideas that I have had for it.  You may see the image coming up on Shaz Silverwolf's  blog at some time, as well as here.  We had three copies of the stamp cut, one for me, one for daughter and one for Shaz, who is her mother-in-law.

I have managed to finish all the cards for this month that I need, so I now have to have a look at April.  there are one or two there right at the start of the month, right where they catch me out and panic sets in.  One of my resolutions this year is to look ahead and try to avoid the panics.  How long will this last, I wonder.

I will leave you now to go on round the other blogs on show over at Julia Mansion.  I just hope that Mr Blogger and Mr Linky decide to play properly for her this week.  have a good week, all of you, and enjoy the signs of Spring all around us.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Clarity delights - New Stamp - Rosie

I know I am committed to Use It Up in 2012, but this is something a little out of the ordinary.  Many years ago, our daughter drew and painted a beautiful rose bud, which you can see here.  This is the original.  I loved it so much that I scanned it onto the computer and have been using it since then for a number of projects.   On the computer, it is listed as Rosie, to help me to find it among all the other images I have stored there.  I used it most recently for a Less is More Challenge, where it was most effective.  I love the simplicity and the detail of it, and it lends itself to so many ideas.

I have often thought it would be good to have it as a stamp, and be able to colour it with other rose shades, but I thought it would be too expensive  and lose too much detail.  Then I had what Barbara Gray calls a "Clarity moment".    I contacted Clarity for advice on what I could do, and before long, I had got the chance to have my stamp made by Clarity, with the same level of care they use on their own stamps.

I decided to have three stamps made from the artwork, and with advice from Pete at Clarity to have them made about 3 inches long.  There is  one for me, one for the creator, and one for Shaz Silverwolf (her mother-in -law).  They arrived this week, and this is one of the images I have stamped from it.  I used Adirondack Pitch Black on to Clarity card, using the "ink, blot, plot" method.  If you are stamping on to non shiny card, which is more absorbent, then you should not need to blot between the ink and the plot bits.

I cannot praise the people at Clarity enough.  the amount of detail they have got into this bespoke stamp is brilliant.   Like all Clarity stamps, it is deeply cut, so there is little chance of getting ink in the wrong place, and comes on its own mount.  It is light and easy to use, beautifully balanced, so it is easy for anyone with dexterity problems.  I can't wait to really get going with it.

Our daughter is really delighted at how good her design looks on this stamp, and it has fired her interest to see what else she can create for more possible stamps.  So watch this space and see what else her talent comes up with.

Thank you again to Pete and all those at Clarity who made this possible.  Definitely a company to work with, such friendly staff, with advice always available.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

My kitchen stool

You may have read a little about my kitchen stool earlier this week, and one or two of you commented on it.  That started me thinking about the memories tied up in that humble piece of wood.  It is at least as old as me - ancient!  My grandfather was an old fashioned undertaker in the days when undertakers made all their coffins to order for each funeral.  There was no such thing as buying coffins in from a catalogue in those days.  The nearest Grandad got to that was to get the plaques made and engraved at a specialist in Birmingham.  However, he was able to do that himself as well if necessary, if it was needed in a rush.

The house he and Grandma lived in was a typical three story shop and house in Walsall, right on the main road.  The shop was at the front, together with the small chapel of rest.  If that was occupied, we knew we had to creep past silently to maintain respect.  Behind the shope was the main living room and the kitchen/scullery.  The side alley was always filled with planks of wood stacked so they could season properly, after which they were taken down into the cellar until needed.  Behind the house was the garden and yard, including the coffin workshop (and the disused bridle bit workshop).  On one occasion, Dad's youngest brother was found to be missing from the family gathering, together with his youngest cousin.  They were eventually tracked down in the workshop, sitting either end of a partially made coffin with a plank of wood across between them, playing Strip Jack Naked.  

Dad and both his brothers were encouraged to learn how to work with wood and make small items of useful furniture.  One of Dad's pieces was a small solid stool.  All the wood used was coffin wood, well seasoned and strong.  I first remember it when I used to sit at the kitchen table, next to the solid fuel stove, having my tea.  By then, it had a green padded cover.   We had a new cocker spaniel puppy at that time, whose basket was under the table, just in the right position for her to hang on to my socks as I sat to the table.  My favourite tea was fried spam and slices of home-cooked beetroot with a piece of fried bread (Now I am feeling hungry). 

My stool was joined by two more, bought this time,also with green padded tops, for Mum and Dad to sit on.  They were not so robust and the joints were constantly having to be strengthened, not like mine, which was used for all sorts of things - sawing wood, climbing on to reach things from high up, and for doing the decorating on.

This humble piece of furniture followed my parents from house to house, and when we had to clear Mum's house in the end, there was no way it was going anywhere but with me.  Now it is back in real use, out in the greenhouse for me to rest on in between jobs.   It is the perfect height, strong, stable and comfortable.  It is protected by resting it on an old groundsheet to keep its feet dry.

Have any of the rest of you got a piece of furniture  which brings back memories from all your life.  Let us know.  Tell us the story of yours.

Pixie's Snippets Challenge 12

All these cards are made from snippets and bits and pieces that I have sitting round in my craft room in various boxes and files.  I am entering them into Pixie's Snippets Challenge for this week.  I am a bit late arriving in the playground this week, but I reckon I just made it before the bell goes.  I might even manage a go on the swings before we all go in for registration.

My first offering is a decoupage I put together from a picture in one of our very old Beatrix Potter books to see if it would work.  It looked a little stark on the card so I added the flowery peeloff edging which bends round quite well and there are some bits just tucked under the decoupage layers.  Not sure I would repeat this particular make - could do better, but this was sitting there so it needed to be used up.

This one was a groups of bits left over from another card ages ago, which I could not bear to throw away.  I think they many have come from an older Joanna Sheen CD, but I am not absolutely sure about that.  The card was from a batch of pearlescent ready folded cards I picked up on offer at Hayley West's shop ages ago.    It matched the artwork beautifully.  None of it is complicated, just a piece of backing paper cut diagonally to fit across the bottom of the card, with the main art work on top of that.  The peeloff edging was cut to fit exactly even to cutting the angles.  Actually as I look at this now, I think I might go on a search for the right CD and repeat this idea.  I love the colours and the design from Joanna.  My only problem is that I think I have finished my stock of cards that colour.  Mmm a bit more thought there.

The base card is another of those pearlescent set, and I had done the embossing ages ago as a play around, then shoved it into the box of stuff.  One of the things I am trying to use up this year are my collection of peeloffs, so the embossed squares lent themselves to filling in the gaps.The embossing of the card is something I have not done much of in recent time, but I might do a bit more having dug this one out.

Again the card is from the same set as the last two.  The toppe in the centre is one I did about three years ago and was found in an envelope of other similar things.  It started off as a circle of acetate, with the flower design printed on the back.  The I used my Sakurea pens to colour it it.  The main problem with this is to remember that you need to do the foreground first, a little like stamping, and build up the background after that.  It was mounted on white glitter card before being stuck onto the base card.  Sadly you cannot see the glitter in this photo, but it is there, honest.

Same technique here, except that I then mounted the design on its glitter card onto a circle of silver mirri card.    that just looks black in the photos, which is a shame.  It really sparkles in real life, but you will have to take my word for that.

My final offering only really qualifies as a gift card, it is so tiny.  It is only two inches square.  It really does qualify as a snippet card.  Even the white base card is a snippet left over from a larger project.  This is another acetate picture, which was coloured with the Sakuras, and then mounted direct onto the silver mirri card.  The photos distorts the colouring a little, and makes it seem as though the colours have run, which they haven't.  You may see a few more of this type of card appearing over the next few weeks as there are a lot in the envelope, just waiting to be used.  I might try backing some of them with gold and silver leaf and gilding flakes.  I can't waste them, can I?

Ok, now I have done my homework, I am off to have a go on the swings and the roundabout if there is room over there.  Looking forward to seeing you all there.  Thank you to Di for all her hard work in monitoring our little efforts.  See you all soon. xx

Friday, 16 March 2012

Craft a Scene - Moonlight

This is my first offering for this month's Moonlight challenge over at Craft A Scene.  I almost did not enter it, having seen so many other stunning pictures from so many others.  However, I am still learning and experimenting, so what the heck, you might see improvements over the next few months - I hope.

The stamps are from Barbara Gray's Clarity range.  I love her stamps, they are so deeply and carefully cut that there is little risk of not getting a good stamped image.  I stamped them onto the Clarity silk card with Adirondack Slate, and brayered the background with Adirondacks Cloudy Blue and Slate.  The moon was created by masking the background with a punched circle of Post it Note.  It is not as noticeable as I would have liked but I added highlights from the moon using a Sakura white pen, trying to pick up where the moonlight would have hit.

I am hoping to find time to have another go at this challenge, but time has a habit of getting away from me, so who knows.  Have a good month with this challenge.  xx Maggie

Versamark and Perfect Pearls update

You may remember that I was struggling to master a technique shown by Barbara Gray in her show on Create and Craft.  After corresponding with the lady herself, I then treated myself to a set of the Perfect Pearls Metallics.  (Sorry, that does not fit in too well with the UIU in 2012 principle, but there really was no other way to do this)

They finally arrived yesterday, so I rushed off to try them out, and this is the result.  No, it is not perfect, but I learned a lot, and it is a dramatic improvement on my previous attempts.  I was still too impatient at cleaning the excess off, which is why there are some little gaps in the lines.  I might try putting those back in with a Versamark pen and more mica.  I hate throwing things away.

I hit the button to post this and realised that some of you may not know what I am talking about and how this technique works. 

You will need:
 a piece of black Clarity silk card, 
a versamark ink pad, 
Perfect Pearls in whatever metallic colour you desire, 
talcum powder ( I have a huge baby powder on my desk at all time)
A large soft paint brush
soft kitchen roll
most important - PATIENCE  (I do not have enough of that)
I nearly forgot, you need the stamp of your own choice

 Brush a little talc over your piece of card, brushing most of it off.  Try not to handle the card too much as you will end up with loads of messy finger prints when you add the mica.  I found it was easier to attach it to a piece of copy paper with lo-tack tape. 

Ink up your stamp with the Versamark, then stamp it onto a piece of scrap copy paper, before stamping it onto the Clarity card.  Blotting on to the copy paper gives you a clearer image and reduces the risk of the stamp sliding on the shiny card - it really does make a difference (if you don't believe me, try it for yourself).  Barbara Gray's motto is that if you are using the shiny card, you Ink, Blot, Plot. 

Now you need your soft brush again to transfer a tiny amount of Perfect Pearls to your stamped image.  Once you cover it, very gently brush off most of the excess.  Then leave it till the next day to be sure (do as I say not as I do - I dived in far too soon)

Then you can gently rub off the remaining excess.  Barbara rubbed really hard but she knows what she is doing.  I am still learning and I do not want to waste too much card in the process.

It has to be something like Perfect Pearls as they have a binder within them which holds them to the Versamark.  Plain mica powders do not work - I proved that well and truly before I asked the expert, Barbara Gray.

I do have another Clarity gem to show you, but I have to wait till Sunday as it involves a present for someone else.  It is a project that has been very exciting.  I will show you very soon.

Have a good week, everyone, and I will see some of you in Pixie's playground tomorrow.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


This is not my usual desk as you can see, but it is where I have spent most of my time since Sunday.Shaz Silverwolf's DH has been good enough to put together a server system for our computers and TV, and he fitted it on Sunday, but, of course, it did not go quite to plan and took longer than it should.  So since then, we have had emails with pretty screen captures flying backwards and forwards.  He gets the pleas for help and send back instruction on how to put it right.  So far, things are starting to make sense, one thing at a time.  On the desk you can see the latest sheaf of pictures and instructions on moving files to the right folders to make things work.

I did manage to do some cards this week, including one for a friend's birthday today, using snippets, and actually less than I had originally intended.  It is another card taken from my store of decoupage sheets.  This one was downloaded free of charge from another very generous crafter.  I cannot remember who it was, but when I get a chance, I will check on that and give her the credit she deserves. (*** See the end of this post for more info)

I don't know about you but when I put decoupage together, I rarely use all the layers on one card, and this one was no exception.  I actually broke it down into two sets for two different cards.  This one was the simplest and I think it worked the best.  I had actually put the topper together a few weeks ago, and then decided the only card that suited it was the Centura Pearl white.  It landed crooked and I was so taken with the position that I put it there to stay.  The sentiment is just a peel off, which I coloured coppery to match the butterfly.  Once it was all together and stuck down, I thought it needed a bit of bling to liven it up a little.  So out came the good old standby of the Quickie glue pen and Martha Stewart glitters, and I just highlighted the veins on the butterfly wings.  My DH looked at the finished article and said "Mmm, that looks good" - always a nice thing to hear.  There was even a specially created insert to finish the card off properly.

His own birthday card was another decoupage, and again divided between two different cards.  The design is a Joanna Sheen / Jayne Netley-Mayhew masterpiece.  He is a bird lover so this was an image that fitted so well, especially as we are heading fast into Spring, especially if the activity of the local birds is anything to go by.  They are so busy pairing up and chasing others off.  The base image already has a blue line round it, so it is just a case of  cutting it carefully to avoid any further need to matt and layer, just building up the decoupage on the top.  I always use Pinflair glue which allows fine adjustment of each piece to match perfectly.  I gave up using sticky pads ages ago when I got fed up of things not quite sitting where they should.  You can also vary the depth of glue to aid giving dimension after curling each layer as you want.  For example, the tail of the baby on the right is curled up as are the wings of both babies.  The body and head of the mother is curled on both sides to give the impression of her rounded outline.

I have managed to fit in some time out in the garden and in particular in the greenhouse over the last week.  I cannot stand for too long at a time, so we dug out a very old kitchen stool that was made by my father in his father's yard.  It was made from well seasoned coffin wood - my grandfather was an undertaker in the days when they made the coffins to fit each customer.  I always remember when I went to Grandad's (he lived behind the business with the workshops in the yard behind that), all up the side alley, there would be stacks of wood, seasoning before being stored in the cellar until needed.  anyway, back to the stool and the greenhouse, the stool is just the right thing to plonk down on when I need a break.  Then I get a chance to watch the bird life, who don't seem to notice me behind the glass.  A pair of magpies spent ages chasing off a crow, making sure he went right away from where they fancied staying.  The goldfinches don't seem to care about us or the dogs and are just fixed on eating as much of our niger seed as possible.  I am planting sunflowers in the garden this year specially for the birds to eat.  So far, in the greenhouse, I have three tiny buddlejas, several echinaceas and the sweet peas, just starting.  I can't wait to see how they develop.

I seem to have rambled on for a long time this week, so now I must let you go  (if you made it this far) and let you visit lots more of the desks on show at Julia's place.  There are so many very talented crafters over there, just waiting for you.  I hope to get to meet as many of you as possible this week - I will do my best.  Have a great week.

PS I have just found the butterfly decoupage sheet original and is was produced  by Audrey at The Lilac Garden.  Since I downloaded my sheets, she has developed her website and now produces CDs as well.  She has some lovely images on her website, some free as well as the CDs.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Pixie's Snippets Challenge 11

All the cards in this post today are for Pixie's Snippets challenge and also qualify for the Use It Up in 2012 Challenge.  Everything, apart from the glue, came from my bits and pieces box, and for once did not create any more snippets as they needed no trimming.  That had already been done before I dumped them in the box, not knowing what to do with them at that time.  None of them have sentiments on at the moment.  That will wait until I decide who they are for.

This first card is a mixture between two brilliant designers.  The main image is from a Joanna Sheen CD, probably the Country Diary one.  I had already trimmed it before dumping it for later.  Close to it in the box was this square of Clarity card, already brayered with this autumnal background - a perfect match.  All I had to do was to mount them together onto a pre-folded white card.  It is a possible candidate for a Sympathy card, I think, but time will tell.

This is another card that took very little assembling.  Some time ago, I had been playing around with this rose design, changing the colourways.  Then I started to play with glazing the topper, but I was not happy with it for what I wanted at that time.  The glaze had crackled and I wanted it smooth so it went in the box to think about later.  When I found it yesterday, I remembered that crackle is in at the moment.  It was already mounted on another experiment, a scalloped oval of gold mirri card, cut out on my original Silhouette.  All I needed to do was to attach it to another of the pre-folded card - done!

 My next two offerings were also the result of experimenting.  The base cards were from when I had my first play at embossing with the Cuttlebug.  Again, I could not decide how to use them so they got forgotten in the box.  The toppers are stamped with the Clarity flower stamps and coloured in with Derwent watercolour pencils.  I think they were actually coloured in while we were away in the caravan two years ago.  The border is also from Clarity, and I think the actual Celtic border was gone over with a brush and iridescent medium.  I say "think", because it was two years ago and I am not absolutely sure, and it could be a Sakura pen.  Come on, can you remember what your did two years ago, be honest.

This is another using those Clarity floral stamps.  This was just an offcut of white watercolour card, which I "prettied up" by re-cutting it with a scalloped edge - not sure if it was on the guillotine or with my scissors.  Again it was a couple of years ago, and probably another caravan task.  

When I came across it yesterday,  I wanted to keep it simple and flat for posting, so instead of matting and layering it, I just ran the Krylon gold leaf pen round the edge, before mounting it on the plain white card.

 If you are still with me, I am nearly at the end for this week.  I absolutely adore Dufex.  I love the way the light plays on it and throws the reflections.  These last two cards are from part of a Dufex sheet, the sections I had not yet used.  I hate giving it away, but I do have another sheet exactly the same (I love it so much I always bought two of each one).  This particular sheet is die cut so it saves a lot of time cutting out.  Dufex is so easy to curl to give a bit more depth to the decoupage, and I always use Pinflair glue to attach it, so I can vary the depth of glue to hold the petals, leaves and wings just where I want them.  It also means there is a bit of movement to allow you to get each piece in exactly the right position.  If you get a bit of glue in the wrong place, wipe it off with a bit of kitchen roll or on your nail (don't wipe your nail on your trousers otherwise you will have loads of pairs of trousers with un-removable glue).  when it is all dry, just add a tiny dust of talcum powder and rub it gently over the glue residue.  It takes away the stickiness, hides the glue, and makes your card smell nice.

Crafting today may have to wait for a bit, as we have to empty the caravan today so it can go in for service on Monday, and DH has to lift part of the carpet in the living room to lay cables so that Shaz Silverwolf's DH can come tomorrow to set up our new computer server.  This will allow me to access the broadband from my craft computer upstairs, and to access any files I have on the PC downstairs while I am upstairs and vice versa.  Luxury!  No more having to copy files onto pen drives and move them that way, and getting confused as to which computer a given file is on.

Right folks!  I am off now to see what the rest of you have done this week and I will see you in the playground.

Stop Press - SundayDufex are back in business and it looks as though one of their outlets is The Range. I did a quick whizz on the net today and found that out.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Car problems and more plant arrivals.

DH went to go out in the Freelander the day before yesterday, only to find that it would not start.  After charging the battery and making sure it was fully charged, he decided to call the AA.  After all we pay a small fortune for the service, so why not use it.  All credit to them, a man on a motor bike arrived within half an hour and got it going again. It is now off to have a new battery fitted and to check why the battery failed.  Good service, though.

On the plant front, we now have a pile of seeds to start off, a box of echinacea plugs to pot on, and three tiny buddleja plants to pit on until we decide exactly where they will go.  Spring is coming!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

WOYWW 144 - Update

You may have read my bit about trying to emulate Barbara Gray's demo on the black clarity card.  After that, I went onto her Facebook site and asked the question after my second attempt had failed.  Within half an hour, i had the answer from Barbara, saying that she was actually using Perfect Pearls, which have a binding agent in.  So I am off now to look at all the other various powders I have to see if I have anything similar to try again.  Otherwise I may have to invest in some Perfect Pearls to succeed.  I will let you know what happens along those lines.  Thank you Barbara for taking time out of your busy life to answer my query.

WOYWW - 144 What a mess!

Well, it is that time of the week again when we all gather over at Julia's place to meet and chat together with all our friends, old and new, and discuss all that we have done and are intending to do, or just have a gossip.

As you can see from the first picture, my desk is something of a wreck at the moment.  I did have a giggle yesterday afternoon (Tuesday) when I caught myself doing the push back manoeuvre to the left, and things started to fall off the top of the baby wipes.  I have about three different things on the go at the moment, all needing to dry before I can go to the next stage, hence the Adirondacks, and the mica powder etc, and some Clarity Stamps and a couple of large medallion stamps, and everything that goes with them all. 

I watched Barbara Gray on Sunday, and afterwards I rushed off try the stamping with Versamark and then dusting with gold mica powder.  It worked fine until I tried cleaning the excess off and it all came off, leaving a black card.  Back to the drawing board.  I think I was too impatient and should have left it at least overnight to dry.  So I have restamped (after blotting first) and dusted again with the gold powder.  It will now sit for at least 24 hours before I touch it again (other than to move it out of the way of other projects). 

I am also testing out some ideas for the Moonlight theme for  Craft a Scene for this month, several bits of paper with tests on, one completed version, which may get altered yet, and the start of a third go.

Apart from crafting, gardening is starting to come to the forefront of life.  We acquired a green house last year, but never got it going till now.  DH has been busy over the last couple of days, creating some staging for the one side.  The first lot of seeds are in and coming up, just some salad leaves with a few peas, also for cutting the shoots for salad.  The first lot of seeds have come from a humungous order online, some flowers and some veggie seeds too.  I can't wait for the peas to start producing.  None of them will get cooked, they will probably be eaten straight from the plant.  I always remember my grandfather would grow a row of peas especially for me.  I could pick them whenever I wished and eat as many as I wanted.  It did mean that the family got some to eat themselves from the rest of his huge vegetable garden. 

If I seem to miss you each week, just shout at me, and I will pop over.  I do have to say one thing, though.  Because it takes so long to visit everyone these days, I have made the decision  not to leave comments where the Word Verification is activated.  I really struggle to read the fuzzy letters and often have to try several times to get past it.    I know I am not the only one with this problem, so if you are not getting many comments made on your blog, just check to see if you have Word Verification selected.

I hope you all have a great week of blogging, visiting and crafting, and I will do my best to get round as many as possible of you again this week. I am off now to see who else has arrived at Julia's party.  See you there, I hope. 

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Pixie's Snippets Challenge

The cards in this post are mainly for Pixie's Snippets challenge for this week.  If you have bits and pieces of craft materials left over or things lying around that need using up, put them together into cards and display them each week in the playground here.  All mine this week are from those files full of already printed decoupage sheets I am desperate to empty and get rid of, or from my box of UFO's.

This decoupage is one I made up from a photo I had on file on the computer.  I spent some time sorting it all out to find the right places to edit and cut for an effective decoupage.  All the layers, apart from the base layer, are shaped using the bone folder.  The church tower gets a bit more attention.  I cut the tower away from the foliage in front of it, and fold it along the line of the corner.  Using silicone glue, it is easy to add shape and perspective.

This is another of the cute little girls I turned into decoupage several years ago.  I showed one last week, I think, but I do have several more to get done.  So you may see those appearing over the next few weeks, as I plough through the piles.  Even though I created the decoupage myself, I have severely reduced the number of layers, as I do not really feel they are needed..  Again, each layer is shaped, apart from the base layer.

This third and final card is from a bought sheet of decoupage, but it is rather pretty.  I loved the colours, and there are enough layers to make two slightly different cards from the one sheet.  

All the base cards used are from a stack of ready folded cards I bought several years ago, and are ideal for these oddments cards, and they are all small cards.   

I have not had much time to make things this week, other than frantic finishing off of cards needed for people this week.  More important really was the visits from all of our grandchildren on different days, to celebrate the Leap Year Day birthday of my DH, and the singing over the phone from one of them of Happy Birthday to her Grandad.

Not sure how much time there will be this week either as things start to hot up in the preparing of the garden for this year.  We are determined to create a good habital for insects with pollen rich flowers, and to grow as many fruits and vegetables as possible, both outside and inside the greenhouse.  We shall never have enough to keep us self sufficient, but at least we can have some good flavours without chemicals everywhere.  With luck, the flowers will help the veggies too, marigolds with the tomatoes etc, garlic round the roses as another thing -it works!  For anyone in the UK who is interested in protecting our food supplies for the future, try to find and watch a series of programmes called Bees, Butterflies and Blooms (Was on BBC - now available on the IPlayer).  Fascinating watching, and excellent programmes (not just because all the video footage was edited by our son-in-law)

Anyway, back to crafting.  Di, can we please have a butterfly garden in the playground this year (we need more butterflies for our cards), and a sunflower growing competition to see whose is the biggest at the end of the year?  In between all that exercise, we might find time to put more snippets together for our cards.  Looking forward to seeing everyone tomorrow and seeing what you have brought this week for Show and Tell.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Craft a Scene - Winter Scene

Sadly, this is my only entry this month for the Craft a Scene Challenge, not through lack of inspiration, more a lack of time with family commitments etc.  However, here it is.  The challenge was for a Winter Scene with scenic stamps.

My stamps are from my favourites, Barbara Gray's Clarity Stamps range.  This set contains the trees and the cottage as one set.  There is a certain amount of masking work and creating the different slopes.  The sun/moon (depending on your own ideas) was created by masking with post it notes cut round a penny.  The the Santa and his sleigh was stamped over the top, very faintly.  In fact, You might notice that a lot of the stamping is quite faint.  It was partially intended, but I left the topper on my desk for a couple of days, and came back to find that the green had definitely faded a little in the light.  Perhaps I should have sprayed it with lacquer to protect it.  I shall try that another time to see if that works.    To get the lines of trees, I used hills created with a paper tear, and the trees themselves come from either a single tree stamp or the multiple tree stamp, in various combinations.

I am hoping to get round more of your blogs this month to see what you have all created, although getting things going for the garden is starting to impinge on crafting time.  Looking forward to seeing what the new challenge will be.  Have a good crafting month.