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.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Me doing 3D stuff

Many of you will know that I am not comfortable doing 3D crafting, so Sunday's workshop with Pauline Butcher was always going to be a challenge for me.  However, I survived, despite a mini meltdown through my own stupidity.

The base for this project was a three panelled piece designed and produced by Candy Box Crafts, and involved a technique I have never used - crackling.  This involved decisions right from the start, difficult when I had not decided for sure what my theme was going to be.  I had originally thought of doing large flowers in each of the three panels, but at the last moment changed my mind to using the Pollyanna Pickering creatures.

So my base coat was orange, which then had to dry before applying the crackle glaze.  That had to be left for quite a while to dry thoroughly.  While waiting for that, we stamped and heat embossed our extra bits on to heat resistant acetate, and coloured them in with alcohol inks.  I used a technique learned from Maria Simms, with dry inks picked up with the Ranger Blending Pen.  Then we cut them out, not too much fussy cutting here as the acetate is very forgiving.

The three panels were the next to be done and I just kept it simple, using Versafine Sepia for the main images.  This was where my meltdown came in.  I had cut beautiful accurate masks for those three beautiful images, but left them at home.  I needed to create a simple landscape behind each one.  Fortunately, I had got a bottle of drawing gum in my bag so I just brushed that all round the edges which protected the stamped images from the ink on the blending brushes, easy to rub off afterwards.  Disaster averted!

By now, the crackle glaze was ready and the magic could be applied, this being the top layer of acryllic paint.  I used the Paper Artsy Snowflake.  As you apply this top coat liberally, you can watch it just cracking in front of you, allowing hints of the undercoat to show through.  Clever stuff!

After that, it was really time to pack up, leaving the adding of the acetate etc to be finished at home later.  That did take me quite a while as I felt that my original ideas were too heavy for the delicate stamps.  So there was a lot of trimming of leaves and adding subtle stamping round the frame of feathers and leaves.  Like most of us, I know I would have done some things differently in hindsight, but I learned a lot and I am not too displeased with the results.  I shall be adding some light stencilling to the reverse of each panel, but other tasks have to be dealt with first.

Thank you, Pauline, for challenging me and giving me new ideas to play with.  Looking forward to the next class.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

WOYWW - 353

 I was determined to join in with the blog hop this week, even though my work area looks like a disaster at the moment.  Some of you will already know that I had embarked on a major resort and cataloguing of all my stamps.  I am so nearly there, just three pages of one album and another part album to be done.  The stencils are now all done so they can go away tomorrow.

Why am I showing you a disaster area, you may ask.  Well, every Wednesday, the odd one or two (lots and lots) of crafters of all kinds join together through the generosity of Julia at her Stamping Ground to look at each other's desks to see what everyone is doing.   We are not allowed to do a special tidy up and, in fact, the messier they are the more interesting to see new goodies and techniques.  All crafts are welcome and the rules can be found on Julia's blog at Stamping Ground.  My desk still has the last album to be finished, waiting till tomorrow morning, so you might be able to distinguish some lovely Woodware flower stamps.  This is the album with my non-Clarity stamps put together. 

You can also see my TV and DVD remotes, needed close at hand so that I can take all the Clarity programmes from last weekend off the DVD onto disc for future reference.  The Archival Black ink pad will be no more tomorrow as I have totally killed it while building up my stamp catalogue, and the same has happened to the red sticky tape. 

I have also been playing with a new set of pens this week, the Sakura Koi Brush Pens, which I think are absolutely fabulous.  I have already posted a couple of designs coloured with them and this is another page in my journal, just to see how well they blend and what else I can do with them.  I have already blogged about them so if you want to know more, please look back.  

Meanwhile, it is time I sent you on your way to see if Julia has got the kettle on for you and the addresses for a load more desks to peruse from all parts of the world.  I will wish you a Happy Wednesday and hope to visit your desks in the next couple of days.

Monday, 7 March 2016

My Clarity Groovi pictures

A little while ago, Barbara Gray challenged those of us who already had the Groovi Starter kit to create cards that could be shown on Hochanda whenever she was using the kit.  For those who are now totally confused, Hochanda is a fairly new crafting shopping channel where you can watch loads of demonstrations from experienced and talented crafters.  The Groovi system from Clarity is a way for anyone to dip their toe into the beautiful art of parchment work

Like many others, I sent off a few cards for use on the programmes.  I was very happy when three of mine were shown on what turned out to be a really incredible weekend of sellouts.  This was the first one and is actually my favourite.  Reflections on parchment do take a little thought to get it all the right way round so I was pleased when I decided I had it right.

My second one was just a use of the landscape plate which comes as part of the Groovi Starter Kit, including the word boxes and the letters on the main Plate Mate.

My third one for now is a much smaller piece (a 6x6 card) and again uses only whatever comes with the Starter Kit.  The little house is just drawn using one of the straight lines on the landscape plate.  It was originally intended to just have a path to the edge of the lake, but I was not concentrating properly and went too far with one of the lines.  There was a fair bit of muttering went on there as it was the last bit of outlining I needed to do.  I left it for a while and then realised that I could use the same straight line and create a small jetty out into the lake.

All three of these pieces of parchment were mounted onto mirri card of different colours to reflect the colours back and intensify them.  The second and third one were also mounted using a corner punch.  You can, very rarely, use any form of glue on the back of parchment as it shows through, so brads or corner punches are a good alternative.  The first one, the reflections, was simply folded round the mirri card and glued at the back.

After doing the embossing on the back of each one, I added colour using soft waxy pencils, which are perfect.  My favourites are Caran D'Dache, but Fabel Castell are also excellent.  If you want a more modest priced set, Derwent also do a very good range and can be bought singly if you wish.

Hope you like these, and if you fancy having a go at this ancient craft, just have a go with the Clarity Groovi system, which cuts out the slow and laborious job of tracing the line art at the start.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Sad to Happy-ish

Last night, I decided to have a play, mixing stamps on a bought paper, which was very pretty.  I don't usually buy papers as I prefer to create my own backgrounds, but I wanted these for a particular purpose.  Then, of course, I was left with a load of papers that I did not know how to use.

I did a class earlier this year with the lovely Maria Simms, where we were using bought papers combined with stamps and gilding flakes, which gave me some ideas.  I also did another class last year with Sally-Ann Moore and Kim Shaw, who were also giving us ideas of what to do with unwanted papers.

So, I grabbed a sheet of paper from the book last night and just went with the stamps I already had on my table and got to work (play).  Just stamping the flowers and colouring them definitely did not work and I went to bed thinking "Oh well, it is only a piece of paper and I learned that it did not work like that."  However, in the morning, I had another look and decided to add a watercolour wash over the whole piece to see what happened.  I used my new favourite pens, the Sakura Koi Brush Pens, which are so beautiful to use and the colours are so lush, and these two were the results.

This first one used a Tim Holtz stamp, which I stamped with Archival Black and coloured with the Sakura pens and the blender.  All the birds and flowers at the top are shiny and part of the original paper.  I used the same colour for the wash as I had used to colour in the flowers, and applied it from the pens with a waterbrush, and aimed for the random application with no harsh lines.  You cannot see it but I also added some clear Wink of Stella on the main flowers and dotted it around in the background.  The Wink of Stella are lovely for adding some subtle glitter.

This was the second piece and the flowers here are from the Clarity range and are the Shepherd's Purse, designed by Mandy Branston.  I used exactly the same techniques on this one, just a different colour.

From something that was only fit for the bin, I am quite pleased with these results of a bit of experimentation.