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.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Clarity Stamp Challenge 30 - Bingo!

When I first saw this challenge, my reaction was "what on earth"!  Then after reading the rules, I knew what I was aiming at and roughly what I was going to do.  All I had to decide was which line I was going to use.  My choice was straight across the centre - Stencil, Stamp, and Grunge Paste.

I chose to use the new stencil created for the Retreats this year, the Wee Fairies as my stamps, and Grunge Paste.  However, I wanted to add a twist of trying to get all this onto parchment.  This is the result.

I started with just a simple piece of parchment and drew the stencil through it to place the image in the right place.  The Wee Fairies were stamped onto old tracing paper and then flipped over so that I could trace them through on to the parchment, just where I wanted them.  I added a third sunflower to try for a bit of perspective.  I did most of the embossing before I pushed the Grunge Paste through the stencil.  I would have liked the paste to have been a little smoother, but then I got over that bit as it was "Grunge" after all.  The three sunflowers were painted with Fresco chalk paints, and the gaps in the stems were embossed on the parchment.

 The fairies took a long time to emboss on the parchment because I needed them to be as white as I could get them, and that can only be done by doing a little at a time and letting it rest before repeating the process.  I wanted them to look as ghostly and ethereal as I could get, so I spent about two weeks, just going back each day and doing a bit more until I got to the point where I felt that the parchment would give way if I pushed it any further.   You might also notice one or two elements from one of the Groovi plates.

I drew the hills in freehand and then coloured from the back using pastels.  Trying to keep the colour off the fairies was quite hard and also the shading of the sun/moon (your choice).

Attaching the final piece to the canvas board was complicated and involved some glue, all behind the Grunge Paste  but I also used the photo corner punch and mounted it on dark brown card.  I chose Smurf Fresco paint to colour the canvas board and attached everything with super sticky red tape.

I actually finished this a week ago, but was deliberating whether to add more paint as it looked a bit rough, but then I got over that too and left it grungy.  This is probably as grungy as I am comfortable with so I hope it all fits with the brief.  I had fun doing it anyway.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Lovely Inky Painty day

This is the results of my efforts at Pink Tulip Creations Ltd​ at Studley yesterday.  It was good to meet up with Hazel Edwards​ and Christine Birch for the first time, so thank you for your company ladies.  Roy from Candy Box Crafts Ltd​ was our leader for the day, teaching us how to assemble the box to begin with.  That was a real achievement for me as I am not good with 3D crafting, but it worked this time and is still in one piece, something of a record for me.
While the glue was setting and the black paint was drying, Roy took us on to the next step, teaching us techniques for decorating the box, by making a card in the same way, using lovely inky painty goodies - Fresco paints, Dylusion Sprays, Gesso and spritzers and stencils of our choice.  You might be able to see the latest Claritystamp​ club stencil in the background on the card together with a Clarity butterfly and the Visible Image butterfly.  This card is definitely not my usual style but I love the techniques and the resulting card is growing on me. 

Roy had very kindly cut all the panels we needed for the box, which definitely reduced my stress levels.  Although I used most of the same techniques on the box panels, I did change the first stage.  Instead of putting the Fresco through a stencil, I actually excavated my brayer and walked the brayer across each piece.  Because my brayer has not been cleaned through several sessions, it now has a lovely texture on it and it really worked so well - well, I thought it did anyway.

Then I sprayed the Dylusions through my Clarity Jo's Bubbles stencil.  I used just two colours this time, purple and pink.  This is where the texture of the Fresco paints really worked will, resisting the inks perfectly

Then we used our own choice of stamps.  I used the words from the Clarity Journalling set in Dusty Concord, before adding some of the Word Chains in Versafine to finish off.

If you want to see the array of different creations from everyone yesterday, just go to Pink Tulip on Facebook.  Every one was different, just as they should be.  I do want to seal the surface now to protect it and make it easier to dust, and then I shall have to make another one, I think.

However, in the meantime, my craft area is an ink free zone as I am desperately trying to finish off a parchment piece, which is largely whitework and I definitely would cry if I got any ink on that.  More of that piece on a later blog, once it is finished and delivered.

Thanks again to all the ladies at Pink Tulip Creations Ltd for organising the day and for the cups of tea etc, and to Roy of Candy Box Crafts Ltd for his teaching and his beautifully created boxes.  His work is second to none, very meticulous and perfectly engineered to fit together.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

WOYWW 323 - Another week has vanished in a flash,

It has been a while since I joined in with the wonderful Wednesday blog hop that is WOYWW, hosted by the lovely Julia at Stamping Ground.  Life has been somewhat hectic of late and I feel it is unfair to expect people to leave me comments when I know I do not have enough time to return the compliment.  I have been popping in and out to see what has been going on.

This is quite a photo heavy post today.  I am deeply addicted to parchment work at the moment.  It is something I have loved for a while, but the addiction has grown recently.  Many of you will know that I am also addicted to anything from Clarity Stamps and Barbara Gray.

They have recently brought out a revolutionary parchment kit, called the Groovi Plate, which enables total beginners to produce beautiful work within hours,  I already have most of the kit, but you can see my latest additions to my collection of plates.

My  other addiction, which has been a lifetime one, is for pencil crayons.  I now possess four complete sets from different companies, starting with my beloved Derwent.  That is in addition to all the watercolour pencils and pastels etc.

The box you can see here is one of my new acquisitions, the complete set of Caran D'Ache, which are Swiss, and totally luscious.  They are so smooth and easy to blend which makes them perfect for colouring parchment work.

The colours are so beautiful, I could sit and stroke them.  I am sure you know what I mean.  I do have one more new set which I will show you another time, which are the Fabel Castell Polichromos.  

Both these sets are expensive, but I was lucky enough to find brilliant offers and it would have been rude to refuse them, wouldn't it?

This final parchment picture was actually featured on my blog earlier this week, so I will not say too much about it.  I used three of the Groovi plates to put the design together, and then the crayons to colour lightly.  The backgrounds were from mop up sheets, but they just had the right colours.

I painted the canvas boards with two different shades of the Fresco Chalk paints, and I have become a real fan of those.  I learned some of the ways to use them when I went down to spend time on the Clarity Retreats in Kent last month.

I had hoped to spend some time during the week I was there doing some sight seeing in an area which was really totally new to me.  However, the weather had other ideas, being generally miserable, as you can see from this photo.  I ended up on the Monday morning at the viewpoint at the top of Ashdown Forest.  I am sure that the view is fantastic, but this photo actually shows more than I could actually see.  The clouds just sat down hard on any ground more than about 10 feet above sea level.

I actually gave up on the sight seeing and concentrated on the crafting and meeting up with lovely friends.  Once my session was over, I decided to cut and run, after a night of torrential rain with an appalling forecast.  I will try again next year and look forward to next year.

Meanwhile, I am looking forward to the second WOYWW crop later this year and meeting up with as many of you that can make it.  I will let you get back to Julia now and the links to all the other lovely blogs on show toady, and hope to get round as many of you as possible.


Sunday, 9 August 2015

Parchment - I love it

If you have seen any of my posts on Facebook, you will know by now that I am totally hooked on parchment at the moment.  It is not a new style for me.  I do not consider myself an expert but I have done a fair bit over the last few years.  Sadly, there do not seem to be any parchment classes anywhere within a reasonable distance, so all that I have learned has been from watching people like Christine Coleman and Tina Cox on Create and Craft, and from YouTube videos, and books etc.

Then Barbara Gray of Clarity Stamps picked up an idea from Maria Simms, and developed a revolutionary system for parchment called the Groovi Plate.  If you want to have a look at it, you will find it here -  http://www.claritystamp.co.uk/Groovi

Several people told me that it would be not good for me, I did not need it as I already did parching.  That idea was so wrong.  I have had a ball with the Groovi system and it has given me loads more ideas that I can play with.  Having been to a whole day workshop with Maria Simms, doing nothing but the Groovi plate, I was even more impressed to see that, no matter what level you are, you can come out at the end with beautiful pieces of work.  Even experienced parchers have really enjoyed using this kit and found uses for it.

This is my latest piece of parchment work, which is a mix of Groovi work, conversion of stamps into parchment.  The trellis and the grasses are done using the Groovi system, while the Blue Tit is a popular Clarity Stamp.

I stamped the bird onto a piece of tracing paper, which I could then flip over and then transfer to the piece of parchment, then added the trellis work around it.  The grasses are on a separate piece of parchment behind the trellis.  I used my ball tools to do the white work and emboss the grasses and the bird.  The colour was added with a combination of Derwent and Spectrum Noir pencils on the reverse of the parchment.  I did repeat the bird to decoupage it on the top of the flat image below.

Then I went through my stash of mop up pieces to find a good background which would show up the parchment best.  (Mop up pieces are created when you spritz the mixture of inks on your blending mat and then swish a piece of card around to pick up what it left - they are all different)  I trimmed the first one to fit the parchment and then found another to tone with it before sticking the whole thing together with brads.


I then decided to attach it all to one of the canvas boards which I had used for something else.  After sticking it irrevocably, I decided the colour of the canvas was definitely not right.  Fortunately, I had some new Fresco chalk paints in front of me and this blue turned out to be just what I wanted to pick up the blue in the mop up background.

The final stage was to find another colour to mount the whole thing on, which turned out to be another Fresco chalk paint.

Amazingly, by taking this to show my daughter today, I ended up with a commission from her neighbour to do something along the same lines.  Very gratifying to find that someone would like to buy something you have created.

This is a much better photo taken today on a proper camera.