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.

Friday, 27 April 2012

"Less is More - How Charming" and "Pixie's Snippets Challenge" No 16

This is my entry for this week's Less is More Challenge, the theme of which  was "How Charming!"  - to make and/or use a charm on your project.  This is one of those cards that really does not photograph well.

The base card is a deep purple card from PDA Cards and Craft, which I had already messed up, so I used it to play with rubbing mica powders into and around, mainly gold.  I had a small piece of deep purple mirri card which I put into the centre, and intended to put a complete Dufex decoupage on.  However, after I had stuck the base layer down, I looked at it and decided to leave it at just that one layer, and let the design speak for itself.

I did feel, though, that she needed a fan to hold, and spent a long time playing around with paper fans and all sort of other stuff, until I remembered that Shaz Silverwolf had told me about some embellishments being sold cheaply at The Works in town.  I had stocked up, including some silver coloured fans.  Now, silver just did not go at all, so it was out with the Dufex pens to colour one in to see how that worked.  It did take a bit of playing around to get just the right tone of gold, but, in the end, I think it worked.  I was able to just tuck the loop of the fan under her hand and, with a dab of silicone, glued it into place.

The final flourish was a thin peel off, just to give a frame for the main image.  I wish these cards showed up better on a photograph, but photos do not show shimmer and the play of light.  Perhaps we ought to do videos of this type of card.  My only other problem with this card is to find someone to send it to, someone that I can bear to let it go to, because I like it so much and I know I can never repeat the design as well.

I am also entering this into Pixie's Snippets Challenge,as it was put together with things from various bits and pieces I already had.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Less is More - Doodling

I nearly didn't enter this card for this week's Less is More Challenge, which is Doodling.  Looking down the other entries to date, I was so impressed with the wonderful work already posted, this card nearly ended up in the bin.  Everyone is so talented.  However, as you can see, I persisted and finished the card, and I am not too displeased with the result.

The outline of the sentiment is printed from the computer  (my writing is far too erratic to use) and then coloured in with Promarkers.  The outline of the vase and flowers are from Clarity Stamps Versatile Vase Kit.  I did go over the outline with my fine line black Staedtler pen.  I had done a test card on copy paper and found that the black of my stamp and the black of my pen were not quite the same.  I had forgotten that black has a huge number of variants, so I just went over the stamp to sort that out.  The flowers are just simply coloured with my Promarkers.

The vase itself is my first real attempt at Zentangle, and I did enjoy trying it out.  I tried to choose designs that would emphasise the roundness of the vase shape.  I think that one of the crafty things I shall take away on holiday this year will be a pad of paper and a thin black pen. so I can play in any free moment I have.

I shall do my best to get round as many of the other entries as possible this week (what I have seen so far, they are truly impressive), but please excuse me if I don't make it to everyone.  Things like gardening and visiting friends is starting to nibble away at my crafting time, and I have a lot of cards to complete before the end of the month too.  However, I do promise to visit anyone who visits me and leaves a comment.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

WOYWW - 150

One or two people complained last week that I restricted the view of my desk to hide the worst of the mess.  I have had a little bit of a tidy up today, putting away the equipment from the cards I have just finished, so there is room to do the next project.  For those who are now wondering why on earth I would bare my desk to the nation (well, Blogland, anyway), it is Wednesday, which means the wonderful blog hop hosted by Julia, which is when we all wander round and see what all our friends have got on their desks.  If you want to join in, just go to http://stamping-ground.blogspot.co.uk/.  some of us are tidy and some of us are not.  Like all friends, you must take us as you find us.  Whatever, you will find a real welcome, especially if you leave a comment, and if you need help or just a friendly word, you will find it there.

As you can see, I have been well looked after with hot drinks today.  I really must take the dirty cups downstairs when I go in a minute or two.  You may have realised by now that the photos were taken on Tuesday afternoon to take advantage of the natural light, but I still needed my Ottlite as the rain was hammering down (I know we need it).  My project for today is a bit of zentangle.  I have not done much of that, but I thought I would have a go for a challenge.  If it works, I can use it for a birthday card with a difference.  It is a combination of the Versatile Vase kit from Clarity, and a printed sentiment, which can also be zentangled.  To the side of that is another Clarity image - the two poppy stamps which fit together beautifully.

Moving to the left, you can see my computer monitor.  The wallpaper on the screen is one of my own photos of Marwood Hill Gardens in North Devon, a beautiful and very welcoming place to visit (dog friendly, too, we were met with dog biscuits for our two).  I love the beautiful silver birch bark on those trees.  You might also spot on the desk a little pot of natural dog treats.

Above my computer is a small notice board, on which you can see the lovely tag specially done for me by Debbie, a photo of the wedding of one of my school friends, ready printed to take to our annual reunion this weekend.  There is also my Patience Strong calendar, printed out from the Joanna Sheen CD.  I managed to pull it apart a couple of months ago, but I did finally get round to putting it back together again today.

As Julia has asked us to be brief, I think I had better finish for this week, and give you time to get round a few more desks.  Could I just add one little plea?  Blogger seems to have turned on the Word Verification on a lot of blogs over the last couple of weeks.  Please could you all check if this has happened to you?  If you do have it turned on, you may find that you are not getting as many visits as you do normally.

I will apologise if I am not very quick in getting round to visit you, but I will do my best.  Like many others, i now find it impossible to visit everyone each week, and find time to craft as well.  If you leave me a comment, especially if you add your number, I will get to see you asap.  I also visit anyone whose number fits the rule I have chosen for this week.   Have a great week, everyone.

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Pixie's Snippets Challenge 15

 Not a lot to show for the snippets this week, sorry, Pixie.   I suddenly realised that I needed to complete six cards for my friends for next weekend.  Four of us meet up once a year, rotating round the houses, and next weekend is the date for this year.  We were at high school together, and were always very close, although we did not meet up much after school and university were over.  Since we have created our official yearly reunion, we have been lucky enough to have fabulous weather for it, so fingers are firmly crossed for next weekend.

As the Post Office has seen fit to hike the cost of stamps to such a tremendous amount, I decided that I would take all their birthday and anniversary cards with me for them to open on the relevant days throughout the year.  At least I can be sure they will arrive and not be battered in the post.

However, I did manage to put together a couple of cards for the playground from bits that had been started last year.  Both images were printed out last year, so I am not 100% certain where they came from.  I think that the cornflower is a Clarity stamp, but the poppy is definitely a digital image.  I am seriously into poppies at the moment, they are simple flowers and show the shading well. 

I hope I am going to make it into the playground this week as I am running late again.  If I get there, I will meet you over by the hopscotch place.  Have fun, all of you, and thank you, Di, for being such a patient and kind head teacher. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

WOYWW 149 Follow on - Narrow Boats interpretation

Working Narrow Boat "Aquarius"
When you go to caravan rallies, you can have a follow on rally afterwards.  We had our usual WOYWW yesterday, so this is my follow on explanation.  A number of people gave me credit for having drawn the boat myself.  I wish!!!  I am not that talented.  So I thought I should make things clear.  I am not clever but I do enjoy manipulating images to get what I want.  That is my excuse for this post.and I am sticking to it.

For those of you who saw my canal boat card yesterday on WOYWW, I thought you might like to see the original photo from which I took my traced image to add to my Clarity stamps.

Traced and inked image of "Aquarius"
The first thing I have to tell you is that it is a narrow boat, not a barge.  If we ever slipped up and called it a barge, we got thoroughly told off.  The majority of the canal network will only take the narrow boats, and not the bigger Dutch Barge types, and some locks will only take the shorter narrow boats.

The hardest part, once the tracing was done, was to stick to what I could actually see on the photo and not to add in the things I could not see, but know are there.  For example, I know there is some beautiful sign writing on the side of the tiny living quarters, which is just not visible due to the angle of the photo.  The size of the card also limited the amount of detail that could be fitted in.
Traced and inked image of bridge before I reversed it
The same criteria really applied to the bridge too.  The picture I took that from was actually reversed so that the tow path was on the opposite side.  This did not fit in with using the stamp of the horse, and it was easier to reverse the bridge than to reverse the horse.  I could have been very nit picky and drawn all the bricks on the bridge, but I think that would have been too much detail for the size of the image, hence the artistic licence again and the roughly drawn huge blocks.   All bridges are numbered, as far as my limited knowledge tells me, so I chose the number of this bridge knowing that they would have travelled beneath it at some time.

Final Result (unless I decide to titivate it a bit more)
The colouring part of this card did show up the fact that I need more and varied greens, both in ink pads and Promarkers to get the real depth I wanted.  Failing that, a lot more practice in blending what I have to get the desired results.

Ingredients used:
White paper
White Centura pearl card
Copper Krylon pen
Tracing paper
Clarity Stamps - Horse, herons, bullrushes small and large (Canal barge Kit),  Geese (Small village set)
Adirondack ink pads: lettuce, cloudy blue, juniper, pitch black
Cut and Dry brush nibs
Promarkers: various
Pencil for tiny detail, like the fence on the hill and the obelisk
Make up sponges

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

WOYWW - 149

I am only showing you a very small portion of my desk today.  Anything else would be too soul destroying, it is such a wreck.  I have had so much out all at once, Cuttlebug, Nesties, brayer, ink pads, Promarkers to name but a few.

Artistic licence
I started off with one of the cards I showed the other day, using Clarity Stamps Barge kit, trying to make a card for a friend with an old working narrow boat, but the stamp in the kit was more of a pleasure narrow boat, which did not quite fit.  So I managed to dig up a photo of their boat at the right angle for my purpose and reduced it to a line drawing, scanned that onto the computer, and did the same with a suitable bridge, put the two together digitally and printed them onto smooth paperstock.  Then there was a lot of masking and brayering, before using the Promarkers to colour in other parts.  I went back to the Clarity set for the bullrushes, large and small, the horse (Our friends don't actually have a horse, just engine horsepower, but we do have to have some artistic licence, don't we.  Nor is there a canal within sight of the obelisk at Eastnor, but I am doing this card so I can do what I want) and the herons.  The geese came from another Clarity set, the small Village kit.  they are supposed to be walking but I wanted them in the water so I just masked off their legs.  The bushes were from the same set.  I also used the Cut and Dry nibs to create tree shapes in the background, and finally a pencil to suggest a fence on the hill, and an obelisk on the other side.  to finish off, I used the Krylon copper pen to edge it before mounting it on Centura Pearl white card.  All I need to do tomorrow is a suitable insert and it can be sent off.

For those of you wondering why I should shame myself by showing the remains of this card on my desk, it is all part of the great desk visiting blog call What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Julia.  If you want to see many varied kinds of crafting, this is the place to go to find the links to everyone else.  Everyone is welcome.  All we ask is that you read Julia's very small number of rules, come and visit us and leave us comments.  We will undertake to return your visit if humanly possible.  Go on, join in, you know you want to.  If you can put your number from WOYWW at the end of your comment, it makes it easier for us all to visit you.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Pixie's Snippets Challenge 15

I think I should get into school in good time this week, not lie the rush I had last week.  If you are thinking I am completely mad, you are probably right there.  However, these are my offering for this week to the fun challenge which is Pixie's Snippets Challenge.  It is all good fun - not clean cos it involves inks and glues and stuff.  The idea s to use up all the bits and pieces of stash that we all have left over, ie snippets.

This first one qualifies as I cut the topper (with my one and only set of nesties) from a discarded sheet of card which had gone wrong, but I was able to rescue enough for this card.  The stamps used are Clarity Stamps' Canal Barge kit.  I was in a bit of a rush to get this one done (not a good state when you are masking and using inks and Promarkers and anything else that fits), so I did take my inspiration from a sample card created for Barbara Gray's programme by Dee Paramour.  There are slight differences, not least because of my novice status, but also because I wanted a smaller card than the original.  The horse should ideally be further in front of the boat to give a better perspective.  Most of the shading was done using make up sponges and Adirondack ink pads.  I did not have a tree stamp small enough for this project so I just used the nibs to smudge them into the background.   To get the break between the topper and the base card, I edged the topper with the red Krylon pen.

This is another card that I wanted smaller than the original stamps allowed me to do.  These are also Clarity Stamps, the Blooming Corner kit.  To change the size, I stamped a good clear image onto very white card, allowed it to dry and then scanned it onto the computer.  Then I could shrink it to fit my snippet and the pale blue pearlescent card.  Once the printout was thoroughly dry, I sat down to the fun bit, colouring it in, using Promarkers, all in pastel colours.  I was short of some of the colours that Barbara Gray had used in her demonstration. so I just used the nearest colour available.  Doing the blue round the outside and inside edges does really finish it off, and tied it in well to the base card.  The skep (beehive) was really good fun to do, and I was busy thinking of what other cards I could use that on.  If you want to know how to do that properly, you can do no better than to watch the expert herself, Barbara Gray, on Create and Craft - it is the latest Classroom and well worth watching.  Forgot to say that I also edged the topper with the same blue Promarker that I used to highlight the flower border.

This is rapidly turning into a Clarity post.  This one is a Christmas offering, stamped and then coloured.  Then I used the Quickie glue pen and my lovely Martha Stewart glitter to pick out the sentiment and the holly berries.  Very simple and fairly quick to do.  All the bits, apart from the base card,  came from my bits and pieces box, and the peeloff down the edge was from a set I am trying to use up.

This last one is another Christmas offering.  I had already cut this one out so I am not sure who created the original art work.  If I come across the paperwork, I will give the credit where it is due.  Again, to avoid matting and layering (which makes it more expensive to send) I just added a peeloff round the edge to tidy it up.  As suggested by Di, I am also entering this final card into Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge.

Right, having handed in my homework for this week, I am off now to have a go on the roundabout and perhaps do some skipping, before the birthday party tomorrow (little granddaughter).  Hope they have got jelly and ice cream for afters.  I probably will not get a chance to get round everyone until Monday, so I will wish you all a very Happy Easter.  Thank you, Di, for being such a great headteacher and looking after us all.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

WOYWW - 148

Before I show you my desk this week, I want to thank all those who visited me to ask about my bee plague and, more importantly, how Flash is (Flash being the older of our two mad working cocker spaniels).  He is a week into his painkillers, and all of a sudden, he is bouncing around as normal.  He has lost his fear of going upstairs or up steps, and  his tail is wagging madly again.

Now, onto the main purpose of this post, - the state of my desk, for the weekly meeting of the WOYWWers, hosted by the lovely Julia..  You missed the five minutes when it was tidy on Monday morning.  I am now back to my normal state of doing five or more things at one time. 

You can see some of my meagre stash of Promarkers, in use colouring in some Clarity stamps, and some other images printed off last summer.  My big problem with these is that I really need a lot more of the fine nibs to do the more delicate work and I am having to swap them from one pen to another, trying to remember to remove the ink from one before I start using the second colour.  Red in the middle of pale yellow is not a good look!

I was colouring a card when I realised I did not have an Anniversary stamp to finish it off.  So I printed one off in the right colour, but I did not want a straight cut piece of card to stick on.  Out came the Cuttlebug and my one and only set of Nestabilities.  Step by step instructions were needed to work out how to cut and then to emboss the Happy Anniversary print out.   I cringe every time I put anything through for fear that I might break an expensive plate.  I did get it done safely, and I will show you the result once the card has been delivered.

I have also been busy printing the DVD's I have just copied - the Barbara Gray shows from this week.  The printer threw a wobbly in the middle and had to be told very firmly that the tray WAS in the right place and I did want it to print.  At the same time, the computer threw a different wobbly, insisting the I had to sign in to XMarks, not letting me do anything else.  A bit of internet research solved that one.  
Then the Silhouette  decided it needed an update.  It is all go round here.

I hope you all had a good week, and I apologise for how long it took me to get round all those who visited me, and to all those I did not get to - I hope to visit you this week.  Have a good week and a very happy Easter.