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.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

WOYWW 247 - More what's under my desk?

This week, I do not seem to have managed much time at my desk, other than a bit more sorting, but nothing really seems to have changed since last week.  So I thought instead of showing you what is on my desk, it would be more interesting to see what is under my desk, or who is under my desk.

The first shot is Flash trying not to look too obviously at the little pot of doggy treats he knows is there, but failing miserably, giving me the big spaniel eye look.

The second one is where he has finally decided that I am here for the duration and lies down in the most uncomfortable place for me (nowhere left for my feet), mixed up with the big bass speaker and cables galore.

Now some of you are wondering why I should want to show you two pictures of one of my dogs, with me in my crafting room.  Well, it is Wednesday, the day crafters from all over the world gather at Julia's place for coffee and a chat and have a good nose around to see who has done what, and who has found what and what they have done with it.  What could be more fun than to get together with lots of other crafters?  If you want to join in, just nip over to Julia's Stamping Ground and she will welcome you and tell you how to join in each week.  See you all later.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

WOYWW 246 - re-sorting stamps

I reckon that Barbara Gray has a spy camera in my craft room. The moment I had finished sorting my Clarity stamps than Clarity brought out some new useful storage for the remountable sets.

The small box you can see in the first photo contains all the New Design Club monthly stamps, which was one group I had not really decided how to store.  They come to us in little cell bags with a descriptive paper with them.  None of us want to separate them out to mix them with the other stamps - I know, we are all strange, but there it is.

This new storage seems perfect, smart new Clarity folders with inserts of VERY tough acetate.  I reckon I can get around 16 of these small stamps on one sheet, and probably put an A4 piece of card/paper between with the images stamped on so it is easy to see if anything is missing.

I believe the new storage for the stencils is on its way to us on the high seas at the moment.

Meanwhile, I must apologise for my late arrival today.  Sorry Julia.  I have been sorting out accommodations for a couple of crafting trips this year.  I have booked a two day retreat with Barbara Gray down at Crowborough in August.  I am also using the trip to visit some relatives in the area, which will be good.

My other booked trip will be to the WOYWW Crop in May.  I did drop a bit of a clanger, not realising that I was booking a theatre trip for the night before the Crop.  so it will be a late night, followed by an early morning to get there in time.  Again I am using the trip to visit the area, strangely an area where the father of one of my relatives in Kent was brought up.  Marlborough is a place  I only knew from visiting the houses of my godmother (she moved houses more often that some people change their knickers), so I am looking forward to seeing the area, and just making it the focus rather than somewhere on the way to a place further south.

Both trips will be memorable for meeting up with those of you I know so well from corresponding  via computers.  Until then, I will have to be satisfied with talking to you all through Julia's kind hospitality, so I am off now to link in and then hope to visit many of you later on today. 

Sunday, 16 February 2014

February, Craft A Scene Design Team - My Favourite Technique 2

This card is my second offering for this month as a member of the Craft A Scene Design Team.  This month's theme is Use Your favourite Technique - to produce a card that is a scene, but showing us, at the same time, how you love to work. So it is a two part challenge, your own technique but still creating a scene with a background and a foreground. 

Before I go any further with this post, I want to make it very clear that the inspiration for this card comes entirely from Barbara Gray from Clarity Stamps, and was from one of her recent blog tutorials.  If you want to see what she did, just follow this link http://barbaragrayblog.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/china-blue-duck.html  and you can read exactly what she did.

Mine is slightly different, partly because I did not have all the things she used, I did it on different card, and I am not as talented as Barbara is.


Theuva card (Clarity)
Large moon mask
Low tack masking tape
Speedball brayer
SplodgeAway mat or Claritymat
Adirondack ink pad - Juniper
Adirondack ink pad - Denim
Adirondack ink pad - Pitch Black
Clarity Stamps - Large sapling, small sapling, remountable flying duck
Copy paper

 The first thing to do is to attach the Theuva card to a piece of copy paper with the low tack tape.  It is a good idea to detack the masking tape further by sticking it to your jumper before using it on your card.  Then decide where you want your moon and place your moon mask.  If you don't have a ready made mask, cut one out of the sticky end of a post it note.

Then take a piece of cheap copy paper and tear it in half lengthways to form hill shapes.

Using the Juniper, load your brayer and spread it on the Splodge mat, ensuring that what will be the leading edge of the brayer remains free of ink.  Cover the whole piece of card with the Juniper, making sure that you lift the brayer after each pass across the card.  That helps to avoid the dreaded stripes.  return to the mat to reload the brayer, still keeping that leading edge clear of ink.

 As you can see from this picture above, the Juniper is virtually invisible, but it provides a good base for the darker ink.

Then lay down the Denim ink on the mat  by the side of the Juniper, load your brayer and start to bring it in from the top corner, reloading the brayer as you go, gradually darkening it as you go.  Then turn the artwork round, ready to work in from the bottom.  Using your brayer, work the edges of the Juniper and Denim inks together, still keeping that leading edge clean.

Holding your torn copy paper at the top of your first hill (remember that the darker one will be at the front of your picture, and the ones further back will be progressively lighter), start brayering in from the corner.

 Move your piece of paper up the card to where you want your second and lighter hill, and repeat the exercise.

 When you have finished your hills, remove the moon mask and put it away safely for another time. 
Load your large foliage tree stamp with ink from what is left on the mat and stamp it at the base of your card
 The small tree is treated the same but keeping it lighter in colour to help the perspective, and place it on another hill.  Don't worry if you don't seem to have enough difference between them  That can be sorted out later.
 Then ink up the duck direct from the ink pad and stamp it where you feel it looks best.  Barbara used the same duck but only one.  However, I had a different type of card and a larger piece and I felt that mine needed the three ducks to give balance.
 Both Barbara and I were not happy with our trees, so I followed her example and used a dark blue Promarker to tidy things up.  I also felt I did not have enough definition between the hills, so again I followed Barbara's example of using furrows using a dark promarker.
 When you remove the masking tape, make sure that you pull it gently away from the centre of the card to avoid tearing your beautiful work.  The final step was to trim the card right down to tidy it up, then mount it on another piece of Theuva card, then into a piece of dark blue pearlescent card.

 There has been a lot of people recently stealing the designs of others.  I am happy for anyone to copy what I have done, provided that they give credit to the original.  In my case, I am giving the credit fairly and squarely to Barbara Gray and thank her very much for her brilliant designs and stamps and her willingness to share her tips and techniques.  I hope you will take the time to follow the link and read her original post.

Even more do I hope that you will take the time to produce a real scenic card to enter into the Craft A Scene Challenge this month.  Take care, though.  This is my second attempt to do a card for this week.  I had intended to do an urgently needed birthday card that would also fit the brief, and suddenly realised that my birthday card was fine, but did not fit the brief of making a scene.  so that one was sent off and I started again with a tighter control over what I was doing to ensure I complied with the rules.

Can't find some people to answer or to comment on

I am coming across more and more people where I cannot answer their comments or answer questions.  If I follow the link with their name, I get nowhere, just a list of some of the blogs they are following themselves, which does not help me to find them.

I am not sure if the problem is due to the increasing use of Google+, which does seem to shut some people out of the loop.  

I do like to answer all of you who take the time and trouble to leave me a comment, and certainly to answer any questions you may have.

If you find that you have commented on my blog and I have not answered, please contact me again and tell me how to find you.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Things changed as it developed

This card is one that changed as I worked on it.  I had a plan, but something else took over and the plan vanished.  I had intended to use this birthday card, which I was making for someone special to also fulfil the brief for my DT piece for Craft A Scene.

As I go through this, you will see that the scene bit gradually faded into the background.  The recipient lives just outside Cardiff so I particularly wanted to use these Welsh themed stamps.

Theuva card (Clarity Stamps)
Clarity stamps - The Six Cities of Wales and the dragon remountable
Low tack masking tape
Speedball brayer
Adirondack - Cloudy Blue, Juniper, Lettuce
Big and Juicy inkpad (find whatever dye based pad you want as these appear to be out of production now - you will need a darkish blue changing to a purple-ish colour)

Attach your card to a piece of copy paper with the low tack masking tape.  You may also need to de-tack the tape by pressing it on your clothes first.  You will see why later on.  Stamp the large Six Cities stamp first, using the Adirondack Pitch Black.  Then add the Dragon in the centre.  The beauty of transparent stamps is that you can see exactly where you are placing things.  Give them a moment or two to dry and then add your sun/moon mask.

Using the brayer, add the Cloudy Blue to the sky area, coming in from the corner, making sure that you always keep the leading edge of the brayer clear of ink to avoid the possible stripes.

The load the brayer with the purple-ish colour, according to what you have and repeat the process for the sky, leaving just a little of the Cloudy Blue towards the bottom of the sky. 

Turn your work completely round, load your brayer with Juniper and start to work upwards from the bottom corner, still keeping that leading edge clear of ink.  Cloudy Blue and Juniper are not strong colours but they do provide a really good base for other colours.

With a piece of copy paper, torn into a rough hill shape, load your brayer with Lettuce, and start to put in your hills, moving your hill shape up the card as you finish each hill.  Remember that the hills closer to you will be the darkest.
This is where the scene idea slipped a little, so that the hills did not show well enough to fit that brief.  However, as a birthday card for the intended recipient, I was happy with it.

At this stage, it is time to start removing the masking tape.  Serious care is needed at this point, if you are not to totally destroy your creation.  Always pull the tape downwards and away from your work.  that way, if it sticks as this one did, you are not pulling your artwork to pieces.  I obviously did not de-tack the tape enough first.  Even low tack tape can stick too firmly at times as you can see.

Once you have removed the tape, have a good look at the result and then you can decide where you need to trim your picture to.

It is up to you how you want to mount the final result.  If you can pick out one of the stronger colours as your final card, that will look the best, in my opinion.

I like to try to match up the inserts to the front of the card.  In this case, I printed the sentiment inside from the computer, matching the colour of the writing to the card.  Then I stamped the watchbird stamp, which is a special family stamp and not commercially available.

To finish off, I used the brayer to bring the purple colour up from the bottom of the card, fading it upwards.

Looking at the finished card, I realised I forgot to say that I also got a make up sponge and just added a little orangy yellow to the sun.

Hope you like this card and can follow my description of how I got to the end result.  You do not need a lot of things to create a card, and everything that I have used here could be done with different stamps and colours.  The technique remains the same.  You just use it to create something individual to you and what you have.

If you like it or want to ask a question, please just leave me a comment and I will answer you.  Have fun.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

WOYWW 245 - stamps finished, inks next

Why am I showing you a load of blue labels?  Well, it is quite simple, really.  It is What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday (or it will be when you get to see this post), the day when a large part of the world of crafting gets together to show what we have been doing during the week and what is left on our desks.  Why don't you all come along and join in?  Just nip over to Julia's Stamping Ground to find out how to join the gang.

The labels are ready to chop up to put onto my Distress Ink Pads before they find their new home with all my other ink pads, right in front of me.  This is all part of my clearing out and sorting and tidying up in my craft room.  My desk is worse than last week because I am in the middle of moving things, as well as having some more painting done in the house that was missed last year.
I think that big pink thing will be going.  I have only just got it, but, at the moment, I am not getting on with it at all.  I prefer the smaller glue runners, which fit comfortably in my hand.

The shelves above the printers is almost sorted now.  All my Clarity stamps are sorted into these numbered brown boxes, with their contents listed in a big folder and cross referenced onto a computer database so that I can find any stamp within 30 seconds.

This last shelf holds the final Clarity boxes with all the letters, numbers and shapes, and my precious Watchbirds, and another box with my stencil brushes in.

Someone asked me last week if glues really had a sell by date.  The answer is yes, they do.  I had several tubes of Pinflair Glue Gel, which I would normally have used easily last year, but, as many of you will know, last year was a bad year and I did very little crafting.  As a result, these glues were not used, and when I went to use some this week (a brand new unopened tube), it was solid as a rock and totally unusable.  When I looked at the tube, it did say that it would last twelve months in a unopened tube, so after two years, it is not surprising that it was deaded, totally.  It was an ex-tube of glue.

Sorry, Julia, I have done my usual trick of rambling on, so I will just finish now and wish you all a very good Workdesk Wednesday.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

WOYWW 244 - Things are getting sorted steadily

For those that have wandered into this apparently chaotic mess, I apologise.  However, there is a very good reason for this.  A quite large group of us nuts from all over the world get together each Wednesday to chat and see what we are all doing.  The idea is that we show our desks, just as they are right this minute, and then everyone else has a good nose round to see what is on show.   (By the way, I "stole" the banner above from Barbara Gray's blog on Tuesday.)

The title of this post says it all - WOYWW stands for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday, and our hostess is Lady Julia, who hosts the meeting over at  Stamping Ground.  If you would like to join in, just follow the link over there and everything you want to know is there


This is as I have just left my desk, more or less. Actually, I took the photos on Tuesday afternoon to take advantage of the sunshine through the windows.  This looks a dreadful mess but, believe it or not, things are getting organised steadily.

The boxes are some of my precious Clarity stamps, that need organising into the right boxes, cataloguing so that I can find them at any time.    I am about half way through the job but I also need to clear off another shelf on the unit to take the larger boxes.  All the small ones are done.

Then I need to check all my ink pads and list all that I have, and make another list of the ones that I really NEED.  I think they may be going to live on those little units in front of my desk, just where I can reach them.

Once that job is done, then the rest will follow fairly easily, I think.  Then, I can really settle down to play with all the things I haven't seen for months, and use up some more of the stuff that I am not that keen on any more.  You know the sort of things, bits of kits that you should never have bought but they looked good at the time, all the Christmas stuff that has been building up over several years, not to mention the glue that is really past its sell by date etc.

Right, I am off to refill my coffee mug and start visiting some of those lovely desks on show this week.  Are you joining me?  Hope to see you all on my travels.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

February, Craft A Scene Design Team - My Favourite Technique 1

As a member of the Design Team for Craft A Scene, this month gives me the chance to really enjoy using my favourite techniques, and hopefully show that you do not need masses of equipment to create different cards.  I used these stamps a while back to create a totally different card and to see that one, just follow this link  Clarity Challenge No 1 - March 

Before you enter any challenge, the most important thing to do is to ensure that your beautiful creation will comply with the rules of that particular challenge.  For Craft A Scene, you need to think carefully and create a proper scene, with a background and a foreground.  I love colouring stamps of beautiful flowers, but that does not make a scene unless I put it into a proper background.  Look around you outside and work with the kind of thing you can see. The main thing is to read the rules.
I thought it might be helpful for some people if I did photos as well as descriptions to explain what I did for this card.

Plain white card
Adirondack Ink Pads - Cloudy Blue, Stonewashed, Juniper, Pitch Black
Clarity Stamps - Sprucescape, cabin, small spruce tree
SplodgeAway Mat
Make up sponge
Wink of Stella - clear 

The trees at the top are one stamp, stamped twice.  They fit so well together and you could create quite a forest if you wanted.  I put those in first , using Pitch Black, and then place the cabin.  Then the small spruce went in around the cabin.  That is all the stamping required for this one.

Then, I used the brayer with Adirondack Juniper to colour over the whole picture, sky and all.  Juniper is a very pale green and acts as a very good base for other colours.  I wanted to tone down the stark whiteness of the card.

Then I used the brayer with Cloudy Blue and loaded the SplodgeAway Mat with it.  To brayer successfully and avoid stripes, you always need to have the leading edge of the brayer completely clear of ink.  Remembering that I have put it upside down on its cradle, notice that the leading edge is clean.  Then you come in with it at the top corner, starting off the card and gradually working in.  You may need to go back to the mat to reload the brayer, again coming in with that clean edge.  Always start with pale colour, you can always add more but you cannot take it away.

From the Cloudy Blue, I went to a darker blue, which should have been Stonewashed, but mine was dry and useless, so I found another dye based blue from a Big and Juicy pad, which is why all the ink is at the one end of the brayer to avoid contaminating the leading edge.  I followed the same routine as before, coming in from the same corner, to build up the depth of colour.

I wanted it still darker so I added a tiny bit of black to the Splodge Mat, and then applied it to that same corner.

Once that sky was as I wanted, the brayer went away.  You could do all that I have done so far using the make up sponge or even a make up brush.  It is your choice.

Now it is time to add the things that make it a scene, the shading and shadows to "ground" the trees and cabin.  Take a piece of cheap copy paper and tear it down the long way to give you a curvy shape.  Now choose whichever shape you prefer and use it to make your hills.

You need to look for wherever you think a shadow would be or the best place to position your slopes.  It will be different for you according to how you have placed your stamps. One thing to remember is that your hill lines must not cross over each other.  Look at hills around you to get ideas.

Then you take your make up sponge, squeeze it into a mushroom shape and then brush the blue ink left on the Splodge Away mat from the copy paper up onto your card.  Again, start pale and add as you need.  You can take a sneaky peak to check how it is going but do not move the paper completely until you are happy, then move it to a slightly different position and repeat the process. 

You can see here how you gradually build up your shadows to create your landscape.

The position of your stamps will tell you where to put your shading.

It is just to give a bit of depth to your scene in a very simple way.
Don't forget to "ground" your cabin, too.  It might be rather unstable if it is floating in mid air.   I also added a little gentle sparkle with one of my new goodies, a clear Wink of Stella.  Of course, as usual it does not really show up on the photos, but it is just a hint following the lines of shade.

Mounting it as a card is really up to you, however you think it looks good.  I had a piece of white pearlescent card and a dark blue pearlescent card.  The white was too stark against the blues on the topper, so I just used what was left of the blue to brush over the edges of the white to tone it down.

I hope you like this.  Although it is a long post, the card was actually completed in just over an hour and with minimal equipment.  If you decide to have a go at something similar with whatever stamps you have, please let me know and show yours.

Now it is definitely your turn to create a card for February's challenge on Craft a Scene  which is to use your favourite technique.

Do remember the main rule, though, which is that you must have a foreground, and a background to create a real scene.  To make sure you follow the rules, do please go to the page on the Craft A Scene blog site.

Then, have fun and show us how you enjoy scene making.

Google has been having fun too