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.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Clarity Challenge for July

This is the first of the Clarity Challenges I have taken part in, being a very new member of the Clarity club.  The brief was to use the Stampstamps, birds and some shrink plastic.

This pushed me to actually buy the Stampstamps, which I had been looking at for some time.  The picture were all bird pictures I had on the computer anyway,  I just measured them carefully so that they would fit inside the stamps when they arrived, and laid them on top of each other, using My Craft Studio to do the computer manipulation.  Then it was a case of positioning the stamps over the top of the pictures with the aid of masks to get the right overlay.   It did take six attempts to get it about right.   The Queen's head was taken from a real stamp and enhanced a little to make it more gold (to fit in with the gold medals achieved at the Olympics)

I used plain but smooth white card, then I brayered with Adirondacks to create the shadowing and shading around the edges.  I still need a lot more practice to get that right in the future.  Still, that is loads more time to play - goodie, goodie, lots more fun.

This was my very first attempt at shrink plastic and I was very wary of the technique and decided to follow Barbara Gray's advice and do it in the oven.  I used the Kingfisher stamp kit - the branch, the leafy twig and the bird itself.  I stamped the image with Stazon and left it to dry.  Then I coloured it with Derwent watercolours and Derwent Metallic watercolours.  The cutting out was a little challenging but worthwhile taking the time.  I put the resulting bits into a foil takeaway tray, quite a deep one, lined with baking parchment and then put it into my top oven (not the fan oven) for about 30 seconds until it had done its shrinking work.

After I had mounted the central topper on the square card, I used Pinflair Gel to attach the kingfisher and the branch at the top.  It may not be perfect, but I was quite pleased with this first attempt, and I hope it does justice to Barbara Gray and her wonderful stamps.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

WOYWW - 168

Oh dear, it is worse than ever.  Never mind the push back or anywhere else.  The mountains are about to fall.  Added to that is the fact I have now lost so many stamps amongst the detritus, so a good sort out and put away is called for.
This is the tidiest bit - it gets worse.  Apart from the panic to get this month's cards done, I suddenly realised we are about to go on holiday and I have a mountain of  cards to do for early September, a load of sewing to shorten trousers for Geoff (denim jeans), baking to take away ..... and I WANT TO PLAY with my stamps.  That is one reason you can see my total stock of Adirondacks on show with a couple of Big and Juicys thrown in, post it notes with stamping masks cut out and a lot more.

Just turn to the left a little and it gets worse.  I won't bore you with a list of what you can find there, and just let you browse for yourself.  Just be careful - it might all fall down.  I will just point out the camera battery in the foreground.  You might know that as soon as I get my camera out to take a picture, the battery died.

In case you are wondering why I am showing you the shameful mess in which I was working (playing) yesterday, just take some time to pop over to Julia's place  where you will find loads of other desks to browse through each Wednesday.  I have been missing in action for a couple of months, due to lack of time.  I felt it was unfair to accept lovely comments from others when I could not find the time to return the visits.  Hopefully, things have calmed down a little and I will certainly do my best to get round as many desks as possible this week.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Pretty Petals - Homework Part 2

These cards were done in a similar way to the previous post, using the Clarity Pretty Petals Kit.  Instead of using an ink pad to colour in the petal shapes, I did them with several layers of Sakura pens to give them more of a shimmer.  I thought it suited the butterflies to be glittery too, and I enjoyed getting the glitter pens out again after forgetting them for so long.  

The sentiment is another Clarity stamp.  I found several of them that I really liked in the half price sale, and this is one of them.

 This last card is actually an easel card.  Like all the others, it was done on ordinary white card, but with this last one, I gave it a good dose of Crafters companion Spray and Shine after I had finished.  I did brayer the corners lightly to give it a halo effect before spraying.  Then I mounted it on black card and then onto the gold coloured card to match the flower. 

I was quite chuffed to see all my Homework cards shown on this month's Classroom show and to hear Barbara's comments about them.  It did give me quite a lift, so thank you, Barbara.

Pretty Petal Kit - Homework

I actually managed to get some homework cards done for the Clarity Stamps Pretty Petals Kit.  When I first saw this set, I knew it had lots of possibilities, so I finally bought the bullet and ordered it.  When it arrived, I was a little snowed under and did not have the time to play that I would have wished for.  For those of you who have not seen this set, it consists of 7 petal shapes, two of which are outlines, and a large butterfly (suitable for using with fusible film and fibre). 
This first card was done with one of the Big and Juicy ink pads.  The petals were just stamped as the border on the left, using the dotted border and the solid filler.  When they were dry, I brushed them over with Irridescent medium.  The humming bird is another Clarity stamp I found in a shop ages ago, and it just seemed to fit this project, although it took two days to find it.  Needless to say, it was exactly where it should have been, six inches from my hand.  Once it was dry, I used the Promarker thin black to outline it.

The second card also used the Pretty Petals, and was stamped with another Big and Juicy.  I used the solid outliner and infilled with the solid filler petal for the leaves.  I used the thin Promaker to draw in the stem and the leaf veins.  The flower itself needed some masking with post it notes to fit the petals together.  The sepals (the outside green bits - I had to look up the right name) were filled in with the dotty petal shape,  I actually used a purple Sakura pen over the top of the purple ink on the petals.
I will show the others I did later this week - when I can find what I have done with the photos.

Monday, 20 August 2012

I love this stamp

This card is really a change ton the one I posted earlier, but I needed to add a bit more to it for our grandson.  All but one of these stamps are from the Clarity range.  The odd one out is the Happy Birthday and it shows.  The stamp nearly tore in two when I tried to remove it from the acetate. 

I found the spaniel in the 1/2 price sale at Clarity and knew I had a good use for it.  Again I used the Vintage Photo Distress ink pad, and coloured it in with a water brush.  The ball was sponged through a punched circle with a make-up sponge.  I used a larger sun/moon when I was brayering the background.  The tree was one of the split trees, and I used one of the leaf sets to decorate it (not to mention to cover up a couple of ink marks which appeared because I failed to take enough care with dirty fingers).  I did try to create a cloudy effect but that did not work, probably because it was just ordinary card rather than Clarity card.  The birds were from the Harbour kit, and stamped with second generation ink, as was the tree and twigs.

I might be in trouble for this card as our grandson desperately wants a dog, which is not a real possibility.  He will have to make do with coming to ours and walking one of our dogs. 

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Quality counts!

I decided it was time to get back to the blog again, just as our internet access vanished,  Virgin had just told us that our speed was being updated to double speed, then ..... nothing.  Still, it is working again for the moment. 

Unfortunately, I could not upload my entry for Less is More as the cut off time had been and gone.  It was supposed to be a flat card with Fur or Feathers. 

The card will not be wasted as I know exactly who to send it to.  The spaniel was from the Clarity Stamp sale, and, as we have two working cocker spaniels, I had to have it.  I already had the tree which is another from Clarity.  I stamped the dog with Vintage Photo Distress ink, and used a water brush to shade it in.   Then I masked it off, and stamped the tree into the background.  The ball was done using a hole punched into.a small scrap of paper, a make up sponge and the Vintage Photo again.  That makes it easy to shade the ball to give it shape. 

The sentiment is just right for the look you get from a spaniel, but the quality of that stamp leaves a lot to be desired.  It was from a set of free see-through stamps I acquired, and partially tore through as I removed it from the backing.  I have been used to the sturdy firm quality of Clarity Stamps and treated in the same way, with dire results.  It was also much harder to get a satisfactory image when stamping with it.  Clarity may not be the cheapest, but they are definitely the best I have used.    Quality counts!

Quality is what I was thinking about when I dug out my elderly sewing machine out to do a bit of mending (it was bought new by my father for Mum (with all the attachments, and I persuaded her that she needed a new one when I got married - the new one was never as good or reliable).  It is a vintage Singer, made in 1949 in Kilbowie, Clydebank, weighs a ton, and just works.  It is electric with a knee lever to operate it.  All we have ever done to it is a bit of light cleaning and a little lubrication - oh and Geoff made up a new power cord when the original perished. 

However, today things went a little awry when the drive belt started throwing bits of green rubber at me, and the speed dropped drastically.  A new belt is required - horror.  Not bad, though, when you consider the original has lasted from 1949 till today.  and Singer still make belts for this machine.  As I said, quality counts.  When new, it cost the huge sum of £17-7s-6d, when an average month's wages would have been around £40.  (There is one on Ebay at the moment for £85) .  Hopefully, the new belt will arrive in a couple of days and I can get going again with this family heirloom.  (I bet the new belt does not last as long)

Although I have not blogged for ages, I have dipped in and out of many  blogs to see what you are all doing - some lovely work out there on show.

I am also entering this card into Pixie's Snippets this week - after all, the card was free old stock, and the one stamp was free with a magazine ages ago.  So, Di, please will you let me into the playground next week.  (I have missed this week).   I miss having my go on the swings.