Monday 29 March 2010

My Dear Students

Those of you who know me well, know how much I have been enjoying the teaching since last Autumn, and how much I love my students. On Thursday it was the last lesson before a little Easter break and my birthday. They had each made me a stunning card, all very different but beautiful, and Chris had made me a green corsage (which I am wearing at the moment with a green cardi). They gave me a gift token for our new local craft shop and took me out for lunch at a wonderful carvery! I felt overwhelmed with their kindness and generosity. Even if they had forgotten my birthday completely, they would still be very dear to my heart. We all look forward to our Thursdays together, and I love their enthusiasm for crafting. If I analyse it, as well as enjoying their company, the most rewarding aspect for me is seeing them come to enjoy crafting as much as I do, and seeing how much it has brought to their lives. It helps us to forget our problems, and gives us somewhere to go to in our heads, involving colour, and sparkle, and pretty things, instead of worries. I promised when I started my blog I wasn't going to be slushy and sentimental - so I will just say a Big thank you to Kay, Jude, and Chris!

Saturday 27 March 2010

Gingersnap Creations Blog - Birthday Postcards Swap

Hels organized the UK end of the Gingersnap Creations Blog Birthday Postcards swap - thanks, Hels! The brief was postcard size items with a Happy Birthday Gingersnaps theme, as they are one year old.

The pencil background stamp is from Lost Coast from Happy Daze, and the other stamps are from the Artistic Stamper. I used glossy postcards, and stamped the pencils with either White StazOn or Jet Black StazOn. I then brayered over the top with Kaleidacolor in Baby Powder. With the white background I stamped directly onto the card, and with the black background I brayered some more glossy card, stamped the images, then decoupaged them over the top. The Happy Birthday wording is being held by the mannequin, which was Von's idea as she was here with me when I was making them. The Creativity wording is Tim Holtz, and the other images are all from the Artistic Stamper Artist Plate. I love this plate and use it such a lot!

Altered Element DT Upcycling Challenge - Beaded Boxes

One of the exciting aspects of being on the new Altered Element DT is that Lynne is going to source charity shop items for us to upcycle! I was particularly delighted about this as I have bought things in charity shops all my life, and since I've been stamping I have looked at everything differently - but of course it is more challenging when the item to alter has been chosen for you as normally I would buy something because I have an idea already. It's sort of scary, but in a good way!

This is the item Lynne chose for me:-

My immediate thought was to keep it as a necklace and decorate it, as I love jewellery, and knew I would wear it, but I felt in the interests of altered art, I should take it apart! I have also received from Lynne these glorious Lumiere paints, which I was keen to incorporate:-


In addition to the beads and paints, you will need:-

Crafty Individuals Stamps CI 206, 235, and 252 (
White tissue paper - nothing special
Mod Podge or Gel Medium (Altered Element)
StazOn Jet Black
Selection of Ribbons and Trims
German Scrap Border or Metal Leaf Sheet - Gold Colour (from the Altered Element) and Adhesive Paper Lace
Round Boxes
Sand Paper or Tough Emery Board
Inktense or Other Coloured Pencils
Selection of Beads and Gems

This is what I made:-

I sanded the beads, and then painted them with the Lumiere paints, some in gold with splodges of jade, some just jade, and some of the small ones in the sapphire blue. I was going for jewel colours. I then stamped some Crafty Individual Flower and Swirl images (CI 206, 235, 252 ) onto tissue paper using StazOn Jet Black, and coloured them with Inktense pencils. I adhered the pieces of tissue to the beads with Mod Podge, and then stuck them to the round boxes with strong adhesive. For the largest box I added gems and beads, and a piece of adhesive lace covered with gold leaf around the edge to mimic German Scrap, as I didn't have any, but you can get either this, or the gold leaf, from the Altered Element. For the smaller boxes I used the smallest beads in Jade and Sapphire and added some additional pink faceted beads, and added ribbon trims around the sides. With the benefit of hindsight, I think the stamping showed up more vividly on the Gold paint, rather than the Jade, so if I hadn't committed myself already, that is what I would have done.

Thank you, Lynne, for giving me this opportunity. It was particularly lovely that you asked us what we fancied working with and listened to us, as you have given me a chance to dabble more with paints

Friday 19 March 2010

Gingersnap Creations Blog - September Muse

I have had some exciting news this week, and I am allowed to share it with you! Gingersnap Creations, which is a US Challenge Blog and associated Yahoo Group, have invited me to be their 'September Muse'! I am incredibly honoured, happy, and excited!

I joined the Yahoo Group a couple of months back, which I have been really enjoying. For the month of February, Jennie from the Artistic Stamper, sponsored a challenge where each member of the Gingersnap Creations Design Team, and Jennie's Design Team, made an item each week with the theme of Romance, using some gorgeous Twenties, and Heart stamps which had just come out. I just enjoyed this so much! The stamps are stunning and it was such a great thing to be a part of. I made a heart shaped tin with an album inside, a mobile 'phone charm and gift box, an altered CD box, and finally an accordion card to celebrate Gingersnaps' First Birthday.

Then something even more exciting. If you have looked at my blog before you will know I have a wonderful and talented friend called Lynne. Well, Lynne is currently their March Muse! You will enjoy having a look at what she has been doing, if you haven't already. So now, it means we have another lovely thing to share with each other! I will let you know more about what I will be doing when we get nearer to September - my mind is buzzing already!

Thursday 18 March 2010

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass Money Box

I made this wooden money box for the little girl of the lady who runs my new local craft shop. Molly is 8 and has just finished reading Alice in Wonderland and loved it. I used the stamps from the Oxford Impressions Classic Alice set from LB Crafts. You can't really see in the photos but the background paper is pink, sponged around the edges with pale blue. The scrabble letters were darkened with Distress Ink, edged in black, and covered with glossy accents. Some of the images are on brayered glossy card stock and others on shrink plastic.

The box has a slot in the top for money and the base pulls out like a drawer, with a little knob, so I decorated both sides of this base, the outside with the Queen of Hearts, and the inside with the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. One of the other companies who do an Alice set had the Mad Hatter putting the Dormouse into the tea pot, which I loved, so I tried to piece together this imagery with the stamps I had, and the text from a copy of the book from a charity shop.

The White Rabbit's pocket watch is from the Artistic Stamper Time and Keys set, on shrink plastic, with a piece of ball chain.

I hope Molly likes it - her Mum thought she would.

Thursday 11 March 2010

What's the SP? A first attempt at Steam Punk

I thought I would have a little play around with some Steam Punk ideas but I am not sure I have properly got my head round this genre! The wooden frame is from Paper Artsy, and I painted it, then added Crackle Paint and Cosmic Shimmers, and dropped some silver EP into it whilst it was wet and heat gunned it, then added some metallic rub-ons and a little Distress Ink. I recently bought some Tim Holtz Sprockets and Gears and as they are a bit expensive, I thought I would use them as masks first, to create a background paper, before adhering them around the edge of the frame. I dabbed Distress Ink over them, and then sprayed the whole sheet with Cosmic Shimmers to blend the whole thing together and just get a shadow of the sprocket shapes (later in the day I realized Tim does sell these in the form of masks, and the new die, but wise after the event as usual!). I then added some tone on tone stamping to the background with images and words mainly from the Artistic Stamper Clocks and Keys Plate 1, which is such a versatile set. The tiny bits of gold hardware round and about are just the pins pulled out from the dominos, when I made the domino box. I just blobbed some Glossy Accents and then sprinkled them on.

The two Victorian lady images are cameo sheets from Debbi Moore, which I love. I punched circles from them and the larger one has been edged with black lace, which I ruched with a running stitch, and then added a pin with a pearl pushed on the end. The other image has been glued to a gold button, to create a frame, and I then covered both pieces with Glossy Accents.

In the bottom right corner I have used a piece of Victorian Mamelok, which I embossed a little with an embossing stylus, and then added a touch of Stickles. Bottom left is a zip, which was white and I coloured with a permanent marker. I opened it out, and did a running stitch along both edges, so that it formed two coils, and then added a pearl to the centre. I made a shrink plastic clock with German Scrap wings at the top, and the hands were a piece of jewellery finding which was lurking on my work space, which I broke in half. I made some shrink plastic keys from the Clocks and Keys plate, and hung them from a piece of chain. I made a clock from Fimo and Cosmic Shimmer Gold, and another shrink plastic clock, and linked all the pieces together with the remainder of the chain and glued it down with strong glue.

Sorry for the lengthy explanation.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

'We're All Mad Here' Altered Chess Board Wall Hanging

This is my entry for Sunday Stampers 'Alice and White Rabbits' theme. I have altered a folding chess board, using the latch fastening to hang it on the wall, and using the Oxford Impressions Classic Alice set from LB Crafts to depict the Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass story.

I sanded and lightly gesso'd the board, then added Distress Inks and Cosmic Shimmer mists, and edged it with Aged Mahogany. I brayered the shrink plastic sheets with pastel shades then cut them into 6 cm squares and stamped my chosen images, then added some traditional 'Alice' colours using brush markers, shrank the tiles, and edged with red pen. In addition to the Oxford Impressions' set I used alphabet stamps, Time and Keys 1 from the Artistic Stamper, and a crown, chess set, and 4 suits stamps. I adhered them to the chess board in a random fashion as I like assymetry, and added tiny playing cards, and a little test tube bottle, and some ball chain to link the White Rabbit to his pocket watch, and some red wooden hearts. I then finished it off with some travel chess pieces, and turned the white queen into a Red Queen with a red Sharpie!

Here's a slightly more detailed view. I chose shrink plastic as my medium because the scale of the Classic Alice set is quite large and it enabled me to fit at least a recognizable segment of each image into the squares on the chess board. I've added a few gem stones on the crown for a bit of bling.

Stampbord Inlay Box - Alice

This box was inspired by a beautiful Christmas-themed box made by Jean Hardy of Crafty Individuals, in Craft Stamper a few issues back. She had used Stampbord in the inlay section of this wooden box, and filled the remaining gap with cord. I am a huge fan of everything she makes. In this version I have used the Classic Alice stamps by Oxford Impressions, available from LB Crafts. As the scale of the stamps is quite large, I arranged the images across 4 tiles pushed together. The background was brayered, and then additional colour added with brush markers. The box itself has been painted with acrylic paint, then Crackle Paint, and then sprayed with Cosmic Shimmer Mists and rubbed with Distress Inks. There were several areas I wanted to be white such as Alice's apron, so I did quite a bit of scratching back to the clay. There is just something about the Alice imagery I love!

Sunday 7 March 2010

The Altered Element Design Team

I am thrilled to bits to say that I have been asked to be a member of The Altered Element Design Team, which has an on-line shop, and a blog

I am particularly pleased as this company sell some quite unusual and varied items for altered art, and I think it will be challenging for me.

Just excited now to know who the other members are!

Thursday 4 March 2010

Making Gifts Magazine

I am very pleased as I received my copy of Making Gifts magazine this morning, and I have an Alice in Wonderland mirror featured. You can see a little pic on the bottom left of the cover. This magazine is by Magmaker, the publishers of Making Cards magazine, and you can get it from craft shops and from them direct.

I have used the Classic Alice set from Oxford Impressions, which you can get from LB Crafts.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Brooch-Back Mountain!


I decided to make some corsages having seen some very expensive ones on Winchester Christmas Market. I then saw some bags of suede scraps in a fabric shop which I thought would be perfect, but again, very expensive, so the idea went on the back-burner. Then, the other week I was inking up some grungepaper to make flowers and I thought how suedey the rough side is, especially when it has been roughed up a lot with plenty of ink application. The other idea I had in the back of my mind was that I had bought a glossy magazine recently (only for the free nail polish!), and it said that zips and studs on clothes were going to be 'on trend this season'. This fitted in with the look I wanted, as I didn't want to make the kind of corsages you buy for wedding outfits, not that there is anything wrong with them, but I wanted something a bit less conventional and more quirky, whilst still being pretty, that you could wear for everyday with jeans. I had Lynne in mind as a recipient for a corsage if they worked out ok, and she likes pretty and romantic, so I didn't want anything too grungy.

Here us some of the corsages individually:-

For this one I did a running stitch along a piece of lace and gathered it up. There is a floral fabric layer you can just see, stiffened with fabric stiffener, and some leaves made from canvas, with the Artistic Stamper Harlequin stamp on them, then the stamped grungeboard layer.

This one was made with a pink zip, with a running stitch to gather it up into a rose, and some studs on the grungepaper layer, another stiffened fabric layer, and some Stickles.

This one was layers of Stitchels stamped flowers on canvas, with a stiffened fabric layer, and a flower shaped button in the centre. I think I might add a grungepaper base layer to this, but I wanted you to see it as I think the Stitchels work so well for layered flowers, giving the edges definition.

This was velvet ribbon, gathered up as before, with a running stitch.

This one was a white zip, sprayed with purple glimmer mists, then the metal zipper coloured to match with Alcohol Inks, gathered up as before, then a button in the centre, a canvas layer, and a couple of the mini Maya Road Scrolls from the Artistic Stamper, sprayed with the same glimmer mists. When I ordered the skirt zips the shop probably thought I was a bit strange as they didn't have enough pink ones, so I said any colour would do, as I was going to ink them up!

This one is velvet ribbon, a gem brad, and a layer of velvet paper, stuck back to back to give some substance and so it looked prettier from underneath.


This one was a gathered ribbon centre again, with a pearl in the middle, two grungepaper layers, some studs, and a piece of chain.

This one had some layers of stiffened fabric flowers, filled with accent beads in the centre. I had some very thick felt, and I felt the petals had more shape and definition with the edges pulled together with stab stitching.

Some of the flowers were cut from a template, some were stamped from the Flower Power set from the Artistic Stamper, and some were Stitchels. 

I have stamped all the grungeboard bases on the reverse with a flourish, and sewn the brooch backs on for strength, and sewn the layers together where possible.

Sorry to be a bit boring, going through each one, but it was an experiment to do each one differently and then decide what worked. I hope you like them - if you do, which do you like best? I have a favourite, but I need to choose one for Lynne.