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, 25 March 2015


I apologise to those that left me messages last week.  Unfortunately, life got really complicated and I am ashamed to say that I did not manage to answer all your lovely comments, although I did read them.

This week is not doing any better, and is not helped by bringing a nasty cold and cough back from the NEC.  However, it is Wednesday again so time to visit all the other WOYWW friends.

This was the state of my table on Tuesday afternoon after a session of putting cards together, some of them from the last workshop with Maria Simms at Shrewsbury.  The others are ones that I have been playing with after watching Barbara Gray and Maria demoing at the NEC last week

The following pictures have already been up on Facebook so if you have already seen them, then just ignore them this time round and nip off to Julia to see all the other desks.  They show my new stash from the show.  I am dying to get busy with my new toy, the pyrography machine from Bob Neill, but with a stinking cough I will have to be patient for now.

Just to finish off, how many of you saw a decent eclipse on Friday.  Other people in the town had a reasonable view but not me.  The thicker clouds just rolled in and obliterated the eclipse proper.  I did get some good cloud shots though.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015


I was so determined to keep up to date on Wednesdays this year, but that resolution definitely took a dive early on.  I wish I knew where this year is flying off to, we are nearly a quarter of the way through 2015, which is really frightening.

I will keep it short and sweet this week and I will try to get round a few more desks too.

For those who wonder what is going on and why I should be showing you a right mess on a picnic table in front of the TV,  I can only refer you to our esteemed leader, Julia, at Stamping Ground, who will explain WOYWW far better than I can.

This is my working table photographed in the sunshine on Tuesday afternoon, but it is not much different so far today.

I have been busy, mounting up the four projects completed at Sally-Ann Hanes workshop from the weekend, so you will see those to the side.

In the centre are a few toppers created while playing with a couple of new sets of Clarity stamps, all ready to be mounted for use.

There is also my newly resurrected pot of Grunge Paste with which I have just started a new project on a canvas board, which I will show you next week, once it is finished and delivered to the recipient.

I will let you leave now and send you off  to see if Julia has the kettle on for refreshments on your way to visit all the other desks on show this week.  Have a great crafting week.

PS Is anyone going to the NEC this week?  Hope to see some of you there.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Clarity Stamp Challenge March 2015 - Anything but a card

If this theme for a challenge had come up a few months ago, I would just have ditched any idea of taking part.  However, I think many of us are starting to take our card making further into canvases and boxes and coasters, things that we can display around our homes.  We have been encouraged, dragged and kicked down that route by some of the beautiful tools that have been presented to us and all the fantastic inspiration of Barbara Gray and her fabulous Design Team.

I very deliberately avoided looking at any of the wonderful things from the Design Team as I wanted my inspiration to come from within me and I had ideas anyway.

It just happened that my youngest granddaughter's birthday falls this month and I found just what I wanted at an excellent local craft store, Pink Tulip Creations Ltd at Spernal in Warwickshire (just down the road).  It was a little wooden box in the shape of a book.

It also just happened that Barbara Gray had showcased her beautiful Wee Fairies and Elves on Create and Craft at the start of the month.  So for a four year old, the castle and the fairies had to be put together for this project.

It took a while to work out how to prepare and do the initial painting as it was the first time I had done anything like this.  I tried inks but soon came to the conclusion that I would never get the effect I wanted that way, so settled on watered down acrylics, pale blue in the top half blending to pale green at the bottom.  I think I used at least three coats to cover it properly, then I left it to dry overnight.

The following day, I set to work with the Wee Fairies, Elves and the Castle, stamping them with Archival Black.  Because of the slightly rough grain of the wood, I got a slightly distressed effect from the stamping, which I preferred to a smooth version.  The castle in the centre was stamped and inked on Theuva card and put behind the removable glass (designed for a photo).

Once all the painting was finished and thoroughly dried, I used the Crafters Companion Spray and Shine to seal it and give it some protection.  I sat out in the conservatory in the sun with the box balanced on one hand while I sprayed and turned each side in turn to the sun to dry it off.  Good thing no-one came to the door while I was doing it  as I could not put it down until it was dry.

Then I had to possess my soul in patience until the lacquer was thoroughly dry and hardened off before I could put the inserts back into place.  That was hard as I am not a desperately patient person.  I wanted it done right then.

The card was also covered with the castle and fairies.  I already had the background done from when I was filling in time at a class, waiting for everyone else to get to the right stage to continue that project.  

So all I need to do was the stamping of the images and colour them in with Derwent Coloursoft pencils which blend so beautifully.

As you can see, I have just learned to put watermarks on all my pictures to give my designs some protection so I hope you can see everything through them.

Wooden box (Pink Tulip Creations Ltd)
Wee Fairies (Clarity Stamp)
Wee Elves ( Clarity Stamps)
Castle (Clarity Stamps)
Letterbox Stamps (Clarity Stamps) 
Theuva Card (Clarity Stamps)
System 3 Acrylic Paints
Derwent Coloursoft Pencils
Crafters Companion Spray and Shine

Rosie was supposed to get this last Saturday, but the arrangements were changed at the last moment, but I am hoping that she will see it for real later this week.  I am off now to link this post up to enter the Clarity Stamp Challenge before March disappears completely.

Grunge paste problems

If your Grunge Paste starts to get a bit too thick to spread, don't throw it out.  Just add a little water and mix it in well.  Put the lid back on and leave for a while.  Go back to it and mix and add a little more water if needed.  Repeat this until it is back to a lovely creamy consistency.  I had a brand new jar, which, when I opened it at the class, was totally solid, obviously the lid was not on properly.  Sally-Ann Hanes gave me this method of reviving it and my jar is now just ready to use.

Joy Steels has already messaged me about this and she always gives her pot of Grunge Paste and quick spray of water when she has finished just to overcome the drying in the atmosphere.  That sounds like a great tip to me.   Thank you, Joy.  xx

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

WOYWW 300 - what an achievement!

Congratulations to our fabulous hostess, Julia, for looking after us for 300 Wednesdays, giving us such great hospitality.  For those who have been in the darkest jungle, WOYWW stands for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday.  Julia will explain it far better, but it the day when folks from all over the world come together and show each other what we have on our desks.  Messy desks are especially welcome as they give us more to look at.

My desk today is uncharacteristically tidy.  I was ready to start a completely new project so I just swept the space clear, leaving out just what was needed.  The main event is hidden under the paper, but you can see the Floral piece I did for a challenge/

The second shot shows more of what is going on, a brand new set of gouache paints all ready with brushes.  This piece is for a challenge to celebrate the life of Jane Crosby, who died last year.  The idea is for us to take inspiration from her crafting and to, hopefully, pass that inspiration on to others.  With that in mind, I decided that I would face up to my demons which have been with me since I was told at school that  I was rubbish at art.  This is the first attempt at painting since that day.  I have no idea what I am doing, no knowledge of the skills, so I am just trying things out.  I will blog this project at a later date.

I had to show you this shot of my littlest dog, Gemma, who is totally disgusted with me today.  As she was disgustingly and stinkily sick last night, she is being starved today and, as you can see, is taking a very dim view of it.

Julia does like us to be fairly brief on a Wednesday so I shall leave you with a teaser from my painting project - just one tiny corner.   So now I will wish you all a very Happy 300th WOYWW and leave you to visit all the other desks on show at Julia's Stamping Ground.  Come along and join in with us, show us your desk and visit as many as you can find time for.  We would love you to leave comments as you go.