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.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Barbara Gray's Calendar Challenge for February

How many of you have bought Barbara Gray's beautiful calendar for this year, I wonder.  Not only is it a lovely calendar in its own right, but it also contains step by step instructions on how to complete each piece of art.  So Barbara has challenged us all to follow those instructions and recreate her masterpieces.


This is my entry for February.  We started with four distress re-inkers and a tray of cheap shaving foam (the cheaper ones work better).  A few drops of each colour into the foam and swirled around gives the printing surface.  Dropping the card onto the inky surface and twisting a little gives a different result each time.  I have a cheap child's plastic ruler with which to scrape off the excess foam to reveal the inky surface below.

 I had about a dozen sheets of card when I had finished (I had run out of space round the kitchen to dry the cards), but only this one spoke to me for this project.  The idea is to look at your background to see what you can see there.  The stamp used is a favourite of Barbara's.

To me, this was inside a cave with rushing streams running through it and then out of the exit on the right on the card.  I used Faber Castell polychromos and a black micron pen to enhance the background to try to bring out what I could see.

You will probably see something completely different to my ideas, but that is fine.  We are all different.

Why don't you all have a go at this challenge?  It is all good fun.

Playing today with new pens.

Two very different projects, both coloured with my new pens, the Sakura Koi Brush Pens. I really like them.   I had watched Sarah Hurley demoing with them on Hochanda on Wednesday, and they arrived, beautifully packaged on Friday morning, pretty good service.
The first one with the butterflies was done on the watercolour journal that came with the pens. I deliberately limited my colours for this one, and concentrated on shading. The stamps are Clarity butterflies, and include the montage and the single butterfly from the centre.  I also used a couple of stencils for the background, including the Clarity butterfly.


The main stamped images were just coloured simply with the pens,direct to paper, but I loved how easily the pink and the yellow blended with no hassle at all.


The background is a combination of working through stencils, using coloured kitchen roll stuffed into the water brush to create a softer blend of the same colour (tip from Sarah Hurley), and also painting the stamps with the pen and then stamping into the background.


This pink butterfly was allowed to dry between applications of the pens, and then further colour added and that gave me quite different blends of the same colour.

This is the very first journal page I have ever done and although it was fairly simple, I am quite pleased with the result, and it has given me loads of ideas for playing more with these brushes.  Watch this space.

My second experiment was using them on parchment.  The image used here is actually  from PCA (Parchment Craft Australia), I think, and had been sitting waiting for inspiration on how to colour it.  So I decided to sacrifice it to experimentation and I was pleased with the result.


All the colour on this came from direct application on the back with the new pens.  Again, the shading was just done by allowing the ink to dry between applications, and it worked very well.


You can see the depth of colour better on the lilies on this close up.  I am sure I could have taken it further and got even more  depth of shading.

The water was created just by randomly dabbing the colour, leaving white spaces - no real technique there.

The set of pens came with a blender too, although I have not used that yet.  Sarah Hurley was also using a spritzer with coloured kitchen roll (do not rub the pen onto the kitchen roll - just roll the nib around the scrap of paper) which she then rolled up and put into the water filled spritzer.  Another technique I need to try.  I am sure that this would work well with other water based pens but I do like the large brush nib on these pens.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Clarity Stamp Challenge No 36 - Love

After my panic last month, getting my entry in at the very last minute, I am trying to be more organised in February.  This is quite a mixed card, with stamping and parchment together.  

I started with one of my mop up sheets (mopping up left over inks off the blending mat) and stamped the Clarity garden heart at an angle in the middle.  Then I traced the whole thing onto parchment and embossed it.  I coloured the image on the card and then enhanced it by colouring the back of the parchment to blend with the embossing.  I also did add black to the front of the parchment to make the birds stand out more.

The final enhancement was to go right round the whole image on the front to make it stand out more, using a dark blue pencil, to try to make it look as though it was padded.  I used black card for the matting and layering as well as another mop up sheet with similar colouring before adding the ribbon on two corners.

Getting the ribbon from my local craft shop, Pink Tulip at Studley (so helpful and friendly) actually saved me a lot of money in a strange way.  When I got back from that very short journey, I realised that one wheel on the motor was very hot, so that was an emergency trip to the local Land Rover specialist.  The calipers on that wheel has seized, but fortunately I had taken it in just in time to avoid very expensive damage to the discs.  Job now done and vehicle back home.  Just in time to do the much longer and potentially what could have been a very damaging journey to Maria's class.