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, 31 March 2013

Craft A Scene March 31st - Farm/Western scene 1

This is the first week of the April challenge over at Craft A Scene  where the theme this month is to produce a Farm Scene or Western Scene, whichever fits your homeland best.  As I am English, the farm was my choice to begin with, and this set of stamps is from Sheena Douglas.  There were other stamps in the set, but I felt I did not need any more.  If I have any criticism of this set, it is that they are rubber stamps so you cannot see exactly where you are positioning, and also that they are quite large which means a large card.

I do not use sticky rubber cushioning on any of my stamps.  I totally detest the stuff and spent ages removing any that I had put on.  All I do is to spray the back of each stamp with Crafters Companion Stick and Spray, a repositional adhesive, and then put the stamp on the rocker block or acrylic block, and then put the paper or card on an upside down mouse mat to give the cushioning needed to get a good impression. 

My mask positioning was not the best (my fault, a bit careless and lazy as I did not want to start again) and I did end up with a halo effect initially, but I was able to use a pencil just to continue the lines and join things up properly, and things seemed to come together again.   I also used the pencils to draw in the birds as and where I needed them.

The Barn Owl is not truly a daytime bird, but they do come out at dawn and dusk to hunt so I thought a little poetic licence could be allowed, especially as it is such a beautiful bird.  The other thing that is probably not truly correct these days is seeing cows and sheep in the same field, which we did see when I was young.  The cows ate the longer grass while the sheep nibbled the shorter bits, leaving the ground in good condition.

All the colouring was my usual Derwent watercolour pencils, with extra shading with the Graphite pencils in suitable places, trying to give some idea of where the sun might be.  I added water in some places but not everywhere.

I hope you are all going to join us and put together your own scene.  Apart from keeping to the theme, the only other rules are to make a scene with a background and foreground.  If you can draw, then draw your own, use stamps, or do a decoupage and it must be a completed project of some kind.  It is up to you.  Colouring is also optional, just shade it in if you do not want colour.  When you have completed your project, just upload it on to your blog, and then link it over at Craft A Scene.  If you do not have your own blog, you will find a link there to send your picture to Nancy by email, who will then post it for you.  Come on, join us and have fun.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Anniversary Card

This is one of the cards I promised to show after Wednesday, but time beat me yesterday. They have not been delivered yet but I don't think the recipients will see this.  I am fairly sure they do not follow my blog or Facebook.  If any of their relatives see it, please keep it a secret.

This is a parchment card made to a pattern by Julie Rocas.  There is a lot to it, but I did it in the caravan over a couple of days.  I did it as a wrap.  Probably, if I did it again, I would add another border and just attach it to the front of the card with invisible thread. There were quite a lot of elements to count and get right,, so it was a bit of a challenge, but fun to do.

There was a lot of shading as well as the pricking, and then the colouring was done from behind with Derwent watercolour pencils, with very minimal application of water.

Photographing it was a challenge too as you can see from the poor quality, but I hope you can get some idea of the lovely design by Julie.  The ribbon down the edge is not one that I would have bought from a shop to go with it, but the colours and the flowers seemed to work. 

I haven't done a lot of parchment recently but I really must get back to it.  I have a baby card to do fr one, so watch this space.

Hope you all have a good Easter.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Friday Smiles - Week 11

Friday is coming round just as fast as Wednesdays and it seems astounding that we are round to our Friday Smiles with Annie (aka wipso) of A Stitch In Time. 

It will be no surprise that my smiles this week came from an unexpected visit from our son and his two little daughters.  (Sadly, our daughter and her family are in the throes of the dreaded lurgy - we try to keep our own germs to ourselves, a habit we developed when we were caring for our two mothers, who would have been so susceptible to any nasty bug.  Hopefully, we shall meet up this week.)

The first thing that Charlotte asks for at our house is a small kangaroo with  a joey in her pouch, that was a present for me from our daughter.  When she was young, I made her a large mother kangaroo (Kanga) with two tiny joeys, all made out of an old red dressing gown, so her present was in memory of that.  In these two first photos, she is cuddled up with Kylie Kangaroo (her name for the mother) and watching The Flumps - the old ones are the best.
Now we have both girls with another old toy, the humming top, operated by Grandad.  I have never found a child who can operate one of these but they do love the sound and the patterns they can see, so Grandad has to work extra hard.
 Charlotte has left Rosie to play with Daddy and Grandad and gone back to Kylie Kangaroo.
I had hoped we might have had a cheery sunny photo for today to make us all smile, but no chance.  It is looking very threatening again.  Having gone out to the farm shops on the way to Evesham this morning to get our fresh veggies, duck eggs and bread flour, I reckon the blossom will be weeks late this year.  They are still struggling to get the fresh veggies from the ground.  Oh well, I will cheer myself up again by doing more crafting, while listening to the Ian Campbell Folk Group.  They bring back lots of memories.  They did an impromptu session at the school where I was teaching, partly because the daughter of Lorna Campbell was actually in my class that year - great fun.  I count myself lucky to have seen a couple of the best folk groups in their early years - the Spinners, and the Campbells, and bring back all the memories with the cd's and the converted tapes we collected at the time.

If you like the idea of seeing more smiley blogs, or have something to share that makes you smile, then nip across to Annie's place and see what is on show there.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

WOYWW 199 - Mixed bag today - trying to get ahead

I cannot believe it is Wednesday and WOYWW day yet again (actually, it is Tuesday afternoon, but this desk won't change till Wednesday afternoon, if then).  I have not caught up from last week.  Where has this year gone and it is still winter.  We have got to have a good summer to get over this lot.

Today's post is a little photo heavy, so apologies to those of you who are short of time - just skim quickly down to the bottom and then carry on with your journey round Blogland, courtesy of Julia at Stamping Ground.  For those of you with more time, You can see my keyboard in place.  I have been typing this post as well as making inserts for three family cards (I will post them on Thursday, all being well).  My ice cream box is getting fuller and messier and needs a good sort out - it is supposed to hold only those tools and pens that I use most days.  To the left is my box of Derwent Watercolour pencils, which have been heavily used just lately and needed again this week.  Almost burying them, is my new small Splodge Mat and one or two new Clarity stamps.  Fluffy Dog is there due to a quick visit by our young granddaughters yesterday.  They were due on Saturday, but, guess what, it snowed.  We did have fun yesterday to make up.

Here you can see my baby Splodgy, ready to go on holiday with us, if the weather ever improves.  There are also two new sets of stamps, retired sets from Chocolate Baroque (thanks for the temptation, Shaz (Silverwolf) - you knew I would not resist, didn't you.

I think the Scottie on the shelf is sulking because he did not come out to play yesterday with Fluffy Dog.  Still, he does have an important job, to look after my WOYWW badge.
I will finish today with a couple of shots from my window of the sky.  I reckon we are due for more white stuff tonight by the look of it.  I have given up listening to the weather forecasts, they change every couple of minutes.

It has been amusing watching the news lately.  Instead of complaining about people driving 4x4's, everyone has been grateful to all those who have used them to ferry nurses and their patients around.  Living at the top of a steep hill, I would not feel comfortable in the winter without our 4x4.  We also need it to tow our caravan, and I know that is a rude word to some people.  However, that caravan means we can go to some beautiful parts of the country and spend our cash in the local economy.  We always look for farm shops, local butchers etc, although we do try to take enough bread with us for the time we are away.

Since the horse meat scandal etc, we have been even more careful where we spend our money.  Even our bread flour is now sourced from the nearest flour mill, using heritage wheat.  Our meat comes from a very good, reputable local butcher and our veg from the nearest farm shop. The problem is that the supermarkets have put out of business all the local shops that we used to have, so to get good food we trust without patronising the supermarkets, we have to travel several miles.  To buy wool or material, we have to get in the car and travel several miles.  The shops that used to sell those things have vanished under the concrete of the supermarkets.  Buying craft stuff means getting in the car and driving several miles or buying online - at least one of our local craft shops has vanished due to KFC.  I think I had better get off my strop box and let you all go and visit more desks.  Sorry about going on a bit, but I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way.

Anyway, have a great week, and enjoy whatever you are doing.  Thank you Julia,for your conitinued hospitality each week.  We would really miss you. 

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Craft A Scene - March 24th - Tropical Shores

This is my third and final DT offering for Craft A Scene for March on the topic of Tropical Shores, which must include palm trees.  As I said on my post last week, I have very limited resources on this sort of topic, so it was back to the drawing board (literally) for this one. This was inspired by a photo I had found online ages ago - not sure whose it was but if you know, then please tell me.

I drew it to begin with in pencil, then coloured the sky, sea and sand with Derwent Water Colour Pencils.  The man paddling and the trees then looked too faint and wishy washy, so I darkened them up with a black Promarker.

I mounted it on dark blue and then mauve pearlescent card.  I love that card, it always looks good and feels good.

I hope you all like this one, and that it will persuade more of you to join in with the challenge this month.  Come on, have a go and have fun, and post your entry at Craft A Scene.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Friday Smiles

Not sure if this is a smile or a cry from our point of view.  We had a message from our son yesterday arranging to bring the two girls down to see us on Saturday.   Within half an hour of that, we looked out to see that nasty white stuff coming down heavily again.  You may remember that Christmas was delayed this year, partly due to illness and partly to snow.  It seems as though every time we try to arrange a get together, something interferes to stop us.  We have not got as much snow as they have, but there is more heavy snow forecast so we shall just wait and see.

In the meantime, the two girls are having a whale of a time with Daddy with their huge snowman.  Mummy is asleep, being on nights this week. 

If you want to see lots more lovely smile making pictures, then you need to go over to Annie at A Stitch in Time.  Even better, why don't you show us something that makes you smile.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Clarity Stamps, a Brayer and a Splodge Away Mat - essential! And a Snippet

Two very different cards, but both using Clarity Stamps.  This first one, is fairly simple to achieve.  The background is one that I had in the box from when I used to just play with the bits left over from the paper with the excess ink from the brayer.  I liked the way this one was blended across the paper, giving a real feel of heat.  The stamps is a Clarity one, the Daydreamer, and I just stamped it direct to the background with black Adirondack.  This is my Snippet card for Pixie's Snippet Challenge for this week - all the bits came from the bits box.

The second card is a completely different kettle of fish, and took a long time to work out.  Before I started this card, my desk was tidy.  Now the entire room looks as if a bomb has gone off in there.  All the stuff I showed yesterday is still there but either buried or shoved to the left.  I had to finish this card today as it is needed tomorrow lunchtime, so tidying up was not an option.

I wanted a card very simple in style for this friend.  She definitely likes the LIM style and also likes the elegant lady type of card.  The lady is the Large Sketchy Lady from Clarity Stamps, and was the first thing to put into place.  I also had to cut myself a mask to protect this image from the rest of the card.  You may recognise the Paris skyline at the bottom, which is actually the ready cut mask from Clarity.  I had to cut the card down a bit as the Eiffel Tower would otherwise have been totally hidden by the lady, so it had to move a bit.  I used a make up sponge to apply the colours to the skyline from the Soothing Sunset Big and Juicy inkpad, keeping the colour paler on the side nearest the sun.  Once I was happy with that, I swapped the one mask for the other (with the masks from Clarity you get the innie and the outie, for the want of a better description), and used the same inkpad to brayer the background.   Then I loaded the brayer with the blue from the Waterfall Big and Juicy to brayer round the edges.

Once all the background was complete, I removed the mask from the lady and coloured her face and neck and legs with a Promarker, and a purple one for her shoes.  Then I got out something I have had around for ages and not tried - the Angelina fibre and film.   Then I had to extract the travel iron form beneath a mountain of other stuff and put it together and get it heated up - it has never been used since we bought it for the caravan years ago.  I inked up the lady with Stazon and put her onto the stand, then loaded it with two colours of fibre and film.  I did remember to put a piece of cooking parchment on top to protect the iron, then applied heat until the ink showed through all over, let it cool and removed it from the stamp.    Then I cut around her, removing the dress and the hat, all the rest going back into a bag for use on another project later.  The dress and the hat then had a bit of Pinflair glue gel on the back to attach it to the stamped image.  The only other thing was the addition of a silver peel off which I coloured with a purple Promarker to blend with the lady and the background, and I edged the card with the same Promarker.

Several people have asked me recently what the benefits are of using a Splodge mat, I thought I would write down the advantages I have found so far.  
I used the Splodge mat to hold the colour I wanted, which means you save a massive amount of ink and get much more control over the application.  This brilliant mat just holds the ink for you to return to as needed, and only gives as much as you need.  I used it for the sponge and definitely for the brayer work.  
It makes brayering almost foolproof, but even more important in these cash strapped days, it save on ink and paper.  No longer do you need to ink up the brayer heavily and lay most of it down on scrap paper and repeat the process several times to get the right colour level.  No wheelies either.  You just ink up the centre of the brayer, and work it well into the Splodge mat, and work your ink from there.  Instead of going back to the pad for more ink, you just return to the mat for your refill.
You can also use the mat for stamping, just inking your stamp from the ink on the mat.  Again, you get just the right amount of ink for a perfect image..  
Don't be in too much of a hurry to clean off your mat (all that needs is water and kitchen paper - never use a baby wipe).  The ink will stay usable on the mat for several days - I have left it for a week and still been able to use it successfully.

Hope this is a help to anyone who is thinking about buying a Splodge Away Mat.  I can only speak about the genuine mat, not the seemingly similar mats that have appeared since.  My feeling is always that you should try to use the best tools - they usually work out cheaper in the end, and give you the best results.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

WOYWW - 198

Here we are on Wednesday again, I am sure it was only yesterday that we were here last for our Wednesday WOYWW international gathering., hosted each week with Julia, the hostess with the mostest.

We do seem to be getting a little more spring like weather in the last few days.  Mind you, that is usually the signal for snow, hail, rain etc to arrive again.  I got so engrossed in playing with pencils and paper yesterday afternoon that I quite forgot to take a decent photo in good light. So, we are back to all the lights possible turned on.  I did start the afternoon with space on my desk, but soon got rid of that, covering it with images to colour in.

This week, I do have some bits and pieces there that do not have to be hidden.  As you can see from earlier posts this week, I have already posted some of the secrets, one wedding card, one house moving card and my entry to the very first Clarity Challenge Blog.  If you want to look at those and have time to spare, please feel free to have a nose around.

As I have already said this year, I am determined to work on my drawing skills and get back some of what I used to be able to do when I was younger.  So, where I need a particular image and don't have a stamp or a digi image to use, I am trying to draw my own - with mixed results.  Anything that works reasonably well, I am scanning on to the computer to keep, then printing it out again to colour.  That protects my precious line drawings from being ruined by rotten colouring as it used to be at school.
I needed some images with palm trees and had no stamps.  I did find one digi image, but the other two were done with my own drawings.  the one you can see here is another play with the idea.  

I had a fairly successful day yesterday.  I started off having a go at cooking the Malt Bread as demonstrated by Paul Hollywood on BBC on Monday.  At first I was not at all sure whether I had got things right, and even when it came out of the oven, I was still not sure.  However, when I cut into it and buttered a slice and tasted it, I was totally convinced.  It is so scrummy, so much tastier than the stuff from the shops (and I know exactly what is in it).  The next thing is to try it in a bread and butter pudding as he also showed.  My afternoon was given over totally to playing with pencils.  What could be better?

Now I must apologise to Julia for going on a bit today and let you all go off to see all the other lovely people and their desks being shown by Julia, over at Stamping Ground.  Thank you so much to all those who visited me last week with their good wishes for getting over my cold/flu, you really cheered me up.  You are all wonderful..  Have a great day, all of you.  xx

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Clarity and Decoupage

Having joined most of the rest of the country in being knocked flat by the rotten flu type cold last week, I am now playing catch up with the cards I need NOW.  These are two I managed to get done yesterday (four more to do). 
This first card is for a wedding yesterday - talk about cutting it fine.  We hand delivered it yesterday morning.  The lilies of the valley stamp is a Clarity stamp, the smaller version of the one shown on Create and Craft this month.  I had thought I had the large one so I had to rethink the whole idea rather rapidly.  

I did not have the sentiment stamp, so I typed that first onto the card, and stamped the flowers round it.  I coloured them with Promarkers, and them embossed the white flowers with Detail White embossing powder.  I used my Speedball brayer and the wonderful Splodge Away Mat to "airbrush" around the edge of the topper with Adirondack butterscotch, before mounting it on brown and then gold card.

I don't often use ribbon and other bits, but this one did need extra.  I had intended to do a double bow, but I could not remember how to do that in a rush, and actually, I think it is better with just a simple single bow, and the three crystal hearts.

This second card is for friends who are moving from the middle of Sherwood Forest to the outskirts of Bridport, a very different area.

The photo in the centre is one I found ages ago, and could have been a postcard originally, but I changed it by decoupaging it.  I would probably not use photographic paper in the future as cutting it does tend to leave white edges, which are more visible in close up.  The church tower is not only curled but folded along the one edge to give it more perspective.  Gluing it in place requires different thicknesses of Pinflair glue.  I don't think you could get the right effect with sticky pads, and I have got rid of most of mine as they were just sitting there taking up more space.  

The flowers and the bees are just a part of  the Floral Corner set from Clarity Stamps.  There are other pieces in the set, a long piece which joins the corners, and three other insects, a ladybird and a dragonfly, and a caterpillar.    I coloured them with the softer colours of Promarkers and edged each corner with Powder Blue Promarker. 

I also used the ink that was left on the Splodge mat from the previous day and was still very workable to brayer around the outside of the card.  (I am going to leave the ink there for another couple of days and see how long this ink will last.  It certainly saves money using the Splodge Mat, saving ink and paper.) Then I edged the card with my Krylon gold leaf pen, and also added little highlights to the bees and some of the flower centres.  Just one tip, never try to brayer over the top of gold leaf pens or anything like that - you will probably ruin your brayer and definitely ruin your careful work. (Oh yes, I have done it, so I know from experience.)

Unfortunately, both these cards are going to need a trip to the post office, the first one because the envelope I made is a touch oversized and needs a larger package to fit, and the second one because of the depth of decoupage.  Didn't think those through very well, did I?  Oh well, I shall have to add the cost to the next mortgage to the Royal Mail.  Just had a thought - I wonder if the Queen gets her post free as it is delivered by the Royal Mail - probably not!

Sadly, there will not be any paper crafting done today.  We need some fresh bread and probably some cake too.  We also want to test out our new ice cream maker.  So it will be a different type of crafting for today.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Clarity Challenge No 1 - March

March 1st was "D" day for Clarity Stamps fans, being the launch of the Clarity Challenge Blog.  The very first challenge is "Anything Goes", which left it completely open to choose theme, style or what we wanted to make.  The only stipulation is to use Clarity stamps, which still gives us a pretty wide choice.

I could not decide what to choose, but this card made itself.  It was intended to be a scene for another challenge, but just would not go in that direction, so I just let it go where it wanted.  The stamps are all Clarity.  The only extras are a few pencil lines to extend the ground slopes and a few animals in the distance.  I also drew in a smaller cabin with a man coming out with his dog, up in the top right, among the trees.

Stamps used:- Large sprucescape, small spruce, wooden cabin, and the two riders
Other things used:- Watercolour card, Derwent Watercolour Pencils, Derwent Graphics Pencils, Twinkling H2O (To highlight the sun's rays, but it does not show up on the photos), PDA Pearlescent Card for mounting.

I also put in the pond close to the cabin, just using the watercolours.  It was intended to be a stream coming down the hills, but just looked wrong so I settled for the pond.  I also wanted to put in some more animals closer in but my drawing is not good enough yet - something else to aim at for the future.  

I love using the watercolour pencils and they are my media of choice at the moment.  They give you the chance to get good delicate shading and are more forgiving than Promarkers for landscapes.  On this occasion, I used them dry, except for the water in the pond.   when I do use water, any watercolour purist would have a fit to see that I use a waterbrush, the sort with the barrel full of water.  It is much safer in the caravan when you have two hurricane dogs, who launch themselves at the window if they see a bird or another dog.  I got used to using it there and tend to stick to it at home.  Used gently, you can get quite delicate lines.

Now I am off to post this to the Clarity Blog and then to have a look at what everyone else has done.  I avoided doing that earlier as I wanted to go my own way without taking anything from anyone else..  Can't wait to see now.

To all those lovely people out there in Blogland, thank you so much for all your good wishes while I had that fluey thing, and I hope that anyone else who has it soon feels much better.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Friday Smile

I had to share this one with you all for Friday's Smiles, which you will find at A Stitch in Time - Annie's cheerful blog.  It was on the front of my DH's birthday card from our daughter.

An Old Person's Guide to Text Speak

ATD - At the Doctors
BYOT - Bring Your Own Teeth
CRAFT - Can't Remember A Flippin' thing
FWIW - Forgot Where I Was
GHA - Got Heartburn Again
IMHO - Is My Hearing Aid On
LMDO - Laughing My Dentures Out
TTYL - Talk To You Louder
WBGOMTM - Wheelie Bin Goes Out More Than Me
WMK - Where's My Keys

 I bet you can all think of loads more to add to that shortlist.    Come on, make your own list and share them with us all.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

WOYWW - 197

It might be Wednesday and officially WOYWW day, but no desk picture today, I am afraid, as there has not been a whole lot of crafting done this week, as I was laid low from Friday with the dreaded lurgy - a really nasty fluey type cold,  you know the one - aching joints, streaming nose, bunged up, lack of sleep.  Needless to say, I have felt very sorry for myself.  Crafting with tissues in both hands does not really work, so I have just spent most of my time lying around doing not a lot, but being supplied with regular honey and lemon and anything else I wanted.  My DH has been wonderful, a real gem, especially as he has a huge load of sand, gravel and slabs to shift in the next two days to lay the base for the 2nd greenhouse we ordered last June.  anyway, the result of all that is no change from last week on the desk front.  Sorry, will try to do better for next week.

The little bit of crafting I did manage has been for  the April challenge for Craft A Scene (hope you have all read my sticky and are now rushing to apply to join the team, it's great fun).  This month's challenge is Tropical Shores and must contain at least one palm tree.  You can see my first effort at drawing my own scene in the post below this one.  Producing things for the different challenges each month has really forced me to  think outside the box in some cases - very good for the mojo.  I am hoping to get a bit of card making done for this month's birthdays etc today.  The ideas are there, it is just a case of getting things done.

In the meantime, there are two cards I have not shown you yet, due to not wanting them to be seen before the date.  The first, one changed as I worked on it and ended up completely different from my original idea.  It is a set of decoupage of koala bears which was downloaded from a very clever lady called Tich some years ago.  I wanted a different sort of background and found a picture of eucalyptus trees on the internet, and sized it to fit the decoupage, and then used it as a wrap for the card.   It is only a small card but with the number of layers on the decoupage, it is a good thing it did not have to be posted.

The second card was for our youngest granddaughter's 2nd birthday.   It was done in a great rush as we realised that she was coming down to see us the week before, so we could actually pass on a proper present and her card without worrying about the postage. 

This is one of the original Flower Fairies, taken from the Crafters Companion set on CD Rom..  The fairy herself is a decoupage, with a piece of the matching backing paper.  I di not want to cover the whole card with the backing, so I cut it off diagonally, and edged it with a peel off.  One of the optional extras on the CD is a set of labels, which I changed to make it into a Happy Birthday, with a little silver bow.  I used the same label and backed it with another with her name on for the label for the present.  

Now, if you have got this far, you might like to go over to visit Julia at Stamping Ground to link up with all the other bloggers worldwide and see if they are doing better than me with desks this week.  Better still, why don't you post a picture of your desk in all its glory (don't tidy up, we like messy desks, there is more to see) and join in with us all.   Hope you are all well and have a good week.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Craft a scene - March 10th - Tropical shores

This is my second DT offering for Craft A Scene for March.  The topic is Tropical Shores, and must contain palm trees and the usual sea and sand bit.  In line with the normal rules, it has to be a scene with a foreground and  background, with the "scene" being the important thing.

My card for last week used up all the tropical type stuff I already possessed, so I figured that it was time to have a go myself and draw something.  This was version number 3, the others ended up in the bin as totally irretrievable.  In one, the palm trees were too psychedelic (you can add more colour but you can't take it away).  In another, the boat was too bright.  In this one, my best critic (DH) said it was quite good, so I accepted that, gratefully.

All the drawing and colouring was done with Derwent pencils and water colour pencils on watercolour card.  Even the pencils were water soluble, which allows for good shading, if you are good at doing that.  I am just learning.  I am a sucker for Derwent things and would buy the lot if I could afford it or find the space for it.

The base card and the blue card I used for mounting it were pearlescent.  The photo does not reflect the colours too well.  The base card is actually much darker and more coppery that it looks, and picked out the colour of the tree trunks really well. 

One of my targets that I had set myself for this year was to get back some of the skill I had so long ago for drawing.  I used to love it, but gave up, mainly due to poor art teaching at high school, where I always ruined my careful drawing by having to paint it with crude school poster paints.  So I gave up art totally.  I do hope art teaching is much better in schools these days.

I was pleased with myself for not giving up with this card.  I suppose I cheated slightly.  I drew it in my sketch book, then scanned the pencil sketch onto the computer before printing out four copies on watercolour card.  That did take the pressure off of possibly ruining my only copy.

Please come along this month and have a go at this Tropical Shores challenge on Craft A Scene.  If I can do it, then anyone can.  There is always a way round to get a reasonable result.  Anyone who wants to follow my example and scan your precious drawing and is unsure how to do it, just email me and I will do my best to help.  If you have a computer, you almost certainly have software that came with it that will do the job.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Pixie's Crafty Snippets Playground - 63

I cannot even remember where all the bits for this card came from, as they have been at the bottom of the bits box for so long.  So I really think this could qualify for Pixie's Crafty Snippets for this week.

The topper was printed on to acetate, and then coloured in from the back.  I don't even remember which pens I used at the time, but I don't think I even had my Sakuras by then.  I mounted it on some silver card (not even proper Mirri) that I had gathered from the bargain box at the NEC show.

The Happy Birthday paper was an offcut from the box and the sentiment and the base card were just stuff lying around.

I really must make more of an effort to get down the contents of that box this year.  The trouble is that every time you make another card, you end up with stuff for the snippets box.  Oh well, it gives me plenty to use for Di's Snippets Challenge each week.

Is there room near the stove inside this week, please?  I have a bad cold and I don't want  to go out to play.  I will be good and do a jigsaw if you let me stay in at playtime, honest I will.

PS Thank you, Di, for the suggestion for adding this card to the Seize the Birthday challenge.  It is done!  I am off now to have a good dose of lemon and honey and then a large glass (or two) of Stag's Breath - a very nice whisky liqueur.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Friday Smiles

 It is Friday, the end of yet another week, and the day for calling in at Annie's blog at A Stitch in Time for another dose of smiles.

After finally having Christmas Part 2 last week, we had an extra get together this week, with all four grandchildren in one place for the morning.  It was a very noisy morning, I had forgotten how badly calibrated the volume control is on four children together. 

Sylvanian Families were the main hit of the day with everyone joining in the play, no matter what age or sex.  It just shows that we should never try to stop boys playing with "girly" things nor girls playing with "boy" things.  There is no reason why they cannot get great fun all together.  They will even forgo the pleasures of the X Box for a while without complaint.

 The two oldest girls really got down to some great imaginitve story telling to each other and to us.  This is all very reminiscent of when their parents were small and use to make up little plays which we all had to watch and try not to giggle at.
 The only living thing in the house that was not happy was poor little Splodge, who struggled to find a way round the room without being stepped on or pestered in some way. 

Even Mum got involved in the games.

Rosie was getting a bit tired by now, and needed a good cuddle from Daddy before heading home to Derby.

A really great morning, with lots of smiles all round.  Sadly, we do not get enough of this, and it will get more difficult as they all grow up and develop their hobbies further.

I hope you all had plenty of things to smile about this week.  If you have photos, then why not share them with us and give us another smile.  All you have to do is to nip across to Annie's at A Stitch in Time and link up.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Mothering Sunday or Mother's Day

This is the time of year that I get on one of my strop boxes.  This coming Sunday, 10th March, is Mothering Sunday.  It is not Mother's Day - that is a different celebration from USA.

Mothering Sunday is a two fold celebration.  The first and most known is that young girls, in particular, who were in service away from home, were given the day off once a year to visit their mothers.  They usually picked a bunch of wild flowers on their way, and were often given a small cake or some beef dripping or some other item from the kitchens to take as a present.  Any present or card should be home-made (they had no money to buy things).

The true origins of Mothering Sunday actually goes back much further and deeper than that, though.  To explain more clearly than I can, I found this description on the BBC web site.

History of Mothering Sunday

Most Sundays in the year churchgoers in England worship at their nearest parish or 'daughter church'.
Centuries ago it was considered important for people to return to their home or 'mother' church once a year. So each year in the middle of Lent, everyone would visit their 'mother' church - the main church or cathedral of the area.
Inevitably the return to the 'mother' church became an occasion for family reunions when children who were working away returned home. (It was quite common in those days for children to leave home for work once they were ten years old.)
And most historians think that it was the return to the 'Mother' church which led to the tradition of children, particularly those working as domestic servants, or as apprentices, being given the day off to visit their mother and family.
As they walked along the country lanes, children would pick wild flowers or violets to take to church or give to their mother as a small gift.

When I was a child, we always went back to Walsall, which was where we were born and go to the main church, before visiting my grandparents and my great aunt with a gift of a pot of primroses - real ones not the brightly coloured primulas, and a card.  Once I was married, both mothers would get a pot of proper primroses and a card, and sometime we would all have a meal together.  This was before I got into card making so they were bought, but we always search the shops until we found a card that said Mothering Sunday.  Our children were brought up with that wording too and taught what the real meaning is.  

Having got that off my chest, I must get back into the kitchen and put the bread in the oven.   To all of you out there who are mothers, I will say "Happy Mothering Sunday"

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

WOYWW 196 - Still hiding things.

Welcome to another Wednesday of WOYWW (What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday), hosted by the lovely Julia at Stamping Ground.  She will be very pleased to see you over there,where you will find links to desks all over the world.  Why don't you join in with lots of people with similar interests.

I should have taken these photos earlier, when the sun was streaming in through my open window.  Sadly the clouds are beginning to gather again.  Still, we did manage two days of Spring, which was lovely. 

I am showing my desk, or part of it, but most of what I am doing is hidden under the plain paper.  All I can say, is that I have been using some Sheena Douglas stamps and some Hobby Art stamps.  A couple of you will probably know what I am doing but please keep it quiet.  It will become clear as April progresses (Oh dear, this year is flying).

I am desperately trying  to get ahead of myself this month, for birthdays etc and Design Team work, so that I do not panic when we start to go  away in the caravan - weather permitting.  As you can see, I have got my beloved Derwent watercolour pencils out, and they are joined by the Derwent Graphic Pencils.  I use those to add detail or to join up bits of stamping to finish the scene.  You might also notice another Derwent product, my electric eraser.  I am not just being lazy with that.  You can sharpen the eraser itself to a fine point to add detail to pictures or to take out minute marks that you don't want.

My final picture today, is the final storage solution for my non-Clarity stamps - as you may already know, those are kept in their own boxes on a different shelf.  what you see here is the file in which they are listed (they are on the computer too), and to the side of that, there are some storage boxes, which are labelled to show what they hold.  The boxes are from Weston Boxes and I have to say that their service is excellent.  I ordered them on Sunday, had an email to ask if I minded the substitution of a different colour combination yesterday.  They arrived this morning - how good is that.  There are another two boxes to fit on to the shelf but then the job is done. 

If you want to see what I was hiding last week, the card on my previous post will show you a part of what I was doing.  Then, you will need to see all the other wonderful desks on show this week, over at Julia's.  Have a great week.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Craft A Scene - March 3rd

This is my first DT offering for Craft A Scene Challenge for March, which is Tropical Shores.  The challenge require some use of palm trees.

This one is made up from a mixture of images.  There is a combination of two images from Make It Crafty, which I welded together to get the combination I wanted. 
Image 1

Image 2

There are also four separate stamps from Clarity Stamps added to the mix, the galleon, the little boat, the seagulls and the flight of birds.  None of them were quite the right size to fit the main image, so I stamped them on to a clean piece of white paper, scanned them, then resized them to fit where I wanted.  The little boat is part of a set of remountables and also has a lady in the boat, which I removed for this picture, then I also did a reverse print and make it slightly smaller to keep the perspective. Doing this means I can make even more use of well loved stamps, mixing digital and stamped images.

The colouring was done using Derwent watercolour pencils, one of my favourites for playing.  I mounted the topper on dark royal blue pearlescent card and then on to coppery colour pearlescent card.  

Having seen my offering for this week, why don't you go over to Craft A Scene and join in with this month's challenge.