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.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Splodge mat again - I love it

I am having a great time at the moment, playing with the brayer and my new Splodge mat.  The mat is so good at saving inks and allowing the brayer to produce much better blending.  I spoke in my last post about leaving the ink on the mat overnight and being able to use it again in the morning.  This is exactly what I did on this card, and the inks were perfectly useable, just as if they had come straight from the ink pad.

Clarity silk card
Clarity silk paper
Adirondack ink pads - Juniper, Cloudy Blue, Stonewashed, and Pitch Black
Big and Juicy - one with a good sun yellow in it.
Clarity stamps - Small Village Set, tree from Cottage Set
Digi "stamp" of church
 Limited palette of Promarkers
Kitchen roll
cling film
Speedball brayer
moon mask punched from a post it note

I needed a stamp of a church and was quite shocked to find I had not got one anywhere, so I managed to borrow the large church stamp made by Clarity (I have now ordered my own).  I stamped it onto good white card, scanned it into the computer, and reduced the size digitally to get one that would go with the mini village set.  I had to work out exactly where I wanted it on the card before printing it onto the Clarity silk card, and leaving it overnight to dry thoroughly.  Then I just needed to place all the other images where they looked good (I did try it all on copy paper first).

I loaded the brayer with Cloudy Blue and with the moon mask in place, put the sky in.  Then I darkened it slightly by changing to Stonewashed and repeating it.  The hills and mounds were done using a randomly torn piece of paper, and a make up sponge to apply the Juniper, trying to ground the church, the trees and cottages as I went.   I removed the mask and added a little yellow to the sun with a sponge.

Once the ink was totally dry, I added a little colour with Promarkers, keeping to a very limited palette of colours.  The edge was done with a ruler, upside down, and a Slate Promarker.

The backing paper was created with the brayer, Juniper and Stonewashed.  I added two stripes, overlapping and random to a piece of Clarity silk paper.  Then all I needed was to get a large piece of cling film, spraying it with a mister and scrunching it down (wet side down) on to the inked paper, scrunching it round a little to blend the stripes.  Then it went on another surface to dry naturally (That surface was another pile of things to sort out - not the clear tidy cupboard it should have been).  After that, both the topper and the backing paper had a good polish up with a piece of dry kitchen roll to bring up the shine, before mounting it all on a plain white card.

Like most of my cards I can see loads of ways to improve this card, but it is all part of a leaving curve, and good fun.  Hope you like it, and if you want to see the expert at these techniques, just watch Barbara Gray - she is a legend.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Splodge mat, brayer and Clarity

 This is my second post of the day.  If you want to see what is on my desk today, just scroll down to my WOYWW post below.

After watching Barbara Gray using and demonstrating the Splodge mat, I decided it was a no brainer - I needed it to save me money.  It might seem strange to spend money to save money but I reckon this bit of kit will do just that.  I know you can run the excess ink off the brayer onto copy paper and even use that as backgrounds for future projects, but it does not work if you need to blend two colours together to get the shade you need.  The Splodge mat does work for that.  

This card was done following Barbara's classroom teaching, with three stripes of different colour.  I didn't have the pinky colour I needed, but I was able to blend two colours from a Big and Juicy without damaging the ink pad.  The other big advantage showed itself when I was interrupted and had to leave the project overnight.  I did not have time to clean the mat, which worked out really well.  When I came back to it the next day, I tried the ink left on the mat and it was still useable and I did two more toppers and an insert, without going back to the mat.

The stamps are Clarity - the Birdcage set, which are very adaptable.  I thought very hard before buying yet another set of stamps, but these are really worth the outlay with so many elements to play with.  I stamped with Adirondack black onto Clarity silk card, and coloured with Promarkers.  I used the slate Promarker to draw the dark edge around the topper, with the ruler upside down so that the chisel end of the marker could slide tightly underneath and stay straight.  Once it was dry, I polished the whole thing with a piece of kitchen paper to bring up the shine.

The background of the card was achieved with the same three colours in random stripes on Clarity paper.  Then I sprayed a piece of clingfilm, and scrunching it down onto the top of the brayering and moving it around a little, before leaving it to dry naturally.  I did two backgrounds this way and I really love the "watermark" effect it produced..

I had three different toppers and two backgrounds to choose from.  In the end, I chose my third favourite topper and married it up with the background I had not really liked to begin with.  The background was used as a wrap on a piece of Centura Pearl (glued with Crafters Companion Stick and Stay), with the topper glued in the same way.

The insert used similar techniques, and the same set of stamps.  The supersmooth white paper was lightly brayered with the ink left on the Splodge mat, and the wording was computer generated - my writing is dreadful.

Just a little warning if you treat yourself to a Splodge mat - clean it with water only.  NEVER use baby wipes.


I have been a very bad blogger in recent months.  I have very good resolutions to do it each week, but they fail, mainly due to life.  I need extra days in the week to keep up.  Anyway, this is my workdesk this morning.  I actually tidied up after my last piece of work was finished - shock, horror, that is unusual, but I assure you I am feeling quite well (apart from severe stiffness following yesterday's visit to the chiropractor). 

I said I tidied up but I did leave a couple of things out as they will be needed in today's project.  After hearing so much about the Splodge Away mat and watching Barbara Gray using it, I fell and got my own.  I love it!  (Julia, I hope you do not think this is advertising - I certainly do not profit from this apart from saving my ink and my copy paper.)  I loaded ink from the brayer onto the mat, and did the background for the card, which was great.  Then I was disturbed so left the whole lot just sitting there overnight.  When I went back the next day, I thought I would just try to see if the ink still on the mat was useable - it was!  I did another card topper and two inserts with what was left - a real saving on ink and effort.  It also meant I did not have to try to recreate the colour I had mixed first.

By the way, that is not chocolate ice cream on my desk, just the container I saved and now use for the bits and pieces I keep losing on my desk, such as the glue runner, pencil, craft blade, my most used punches.  You know the sort of things I mean, the general dross most of us have hanging around.  Just noticed that my blade is not in it, so failure once more.

I am hoping to keep my desk fairly clear for at least a couple of weeks as a friend is coming round for a lesson or two on stamping techniques, and we need the maximum room in which to work.  Can I keep it up?  Time and future photos will tell.

I hope this post is going to work as it is the first time I have used the new "improved" blogger layout, which I don't like very much.  Anyway, I am off now to see what everyone else is doing this week at Julia's place (by the way, I have added Julia's blog to the list of best crafting blogs on the latest voting thingies).  Are you going to come along with me to see everyone else?  You can bring your mug of coffee or whatever else you choose.