Monday 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I am writing this on Christmas Eve at my lovely in-laws to wish you all a very happy Christmas Day and a Happy New Year. I hope you will have everything that you wish for!

This time of year makes me very reflective. What a strange year is has been for Col and me! I would never have thought last Christmas that just a month later we would have nearly lost our home. As a result of that, the rest of the year took a completely unexpected course and we finally returned to our house at the end of August. There is still a long way to go in terms of the Contents claim with our insurers and the house is still rather minimalist, but we are so happy to be back. Apart from the darkest time, in the week after it happened, when it was like a waking nightmare, it has mainly been at worst anxiety and upheaval. Last week when my Mum had a fall and cut her head which required stitches, the worry and distress was a thousand times worse than anything to do with our flood. I guess what I want to say is, I hope all of you are with your loved ones this Christmas. For those of you who have lost someone special this year, my heart goes out to you, and I know that the year I have had is nothing compared to that loss. It has also been a tremendously hard year financially for many of us, and there are not so many presents waiting under the tree in many homes.

I have had some wonderful kindness from my crafting friends over the past year and it has meant so much: thank you! A disaster makes you realize what tremendous goodness and thoughtfulness there is in people. Hope you have a day full of warmth, love, hugs, and full tummies tomorrow. Thank you for your friendship.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

A Sleigh Ride Together with You

Over on the Happy Daze blog today I have this little canvas using the Artistic Outpost Sleigh Ride stamp set. There is still time to enter the Winter Wonderland challenge with a chance to win a £15 gift voucher so hop on over to the blog!

I am entering this into the Artistic Outpost December Referral Programme which is Anything Goes.
You can buy Artistic Outpost stamps from Happy Daze if you are in the UK or direct from Artistic Outpost if you are in the US.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Choosing the Christmas Tree

Over on the Happy Daze blog today I have made a Christmas card using the Artistic Outpost Sleigh Ride set depicting two little girls choosing their Christmas tree in a wintry forest. Dear Petra was here as consultant when I was finishing this off and she suggested I go into the garden to take the photo. Now I am what I call an indoor cat and don't believe in going outside unless it is really necessary. Colin is in and out all the time like a fidler's elbow, walking leaves into the house. It was good advice anyway, and the photo on Happy Daze is amidst a fir tree, but I also rather liked this lichen covered wooden bench which is full of character. Petra and I had a lovely day together and she also kindly gave me the snowflake charm, which was the perfect finishing touch.

I am entering this card into the Artistic Outpost December referral programme which is Anything Goes. You can buy their stamps direct from them if you are in the US, or from Happy Daze if you are in the UK.

Tuesday 4 December 2012

Think and Wonder Little Girl in a Frame

Over on Happy Daze blog today I have made this little frame using the Artistic Outpost Think and Wonder plate. I love this little girl image! For the frame I used tissue tape and Inka Gold in various colours.

I am entering this into the Artistic Outpost Referral Challenge for December which is anything goes. If you are in the US you can get their stamps directly from them, and if you are in the UK you can get them from Happy Daze.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Crafty Individuals' Stampbord and Pine Cone Reverse Canvas

I thought I had better blog this as it's now on the Crafty Individuals' blog! It is a large reversed canvas, about 10 inches/25 cms square I think. I covered the inside and the edges with a vintage Christmas design tissue paper which has Christmas trees and Christmas scenes on it and then gave it a whitewash of picket fence Distress Stain and edged it with Vintage Photo DI.

The main part of the inside of the frame comprises a Kars embellishment tray which was kindly sent to me by Elaine from Quixotic Paperie when I placed an order a long time ago. Thank you, Elaine, and I'm sorry it has taken me so long to make something with it. The story was, I was ordering some embellishments and asked if they came in one of these lovely wooden trays and she said, no, they don't, but I have one and will send it to you! The compartments are the perfect size for one inch stampbord pieces which I stamped with a variety of Crafty Individuals' Christmas stamps, coloured them with DIs, and did a little scratching back. I painted the tray with Fired Brick and sprinkled it with glass glitter. I had a piece of Coredinations card stock in the same colour which I embossed with a Cuttlebug musical notes folder and sanded it, and tore the edges.

To decorate the edges of the frame I made some pine cones out of Coredinations cardstock and a clay Christmas tree from a Krafty Lady art mould. I finished off with some mulberry flowers and holly leaves.

I had a lovely day today crafting with my very dear friends Jean, Jack, and Pauline. Jack is now the owner of the canvas for her Christmas home decor!


Sunday 25 November 2012

Vintage Sewing Canvas

I wasn't sure whether to blog this or not as it is not very arty or clever, but I had the urge to make a back to front canvas covered in Graphic 45 paper with one of their images in the middle, which spoke to me of a vintage sewing theme. Around the edges inside I aged one of those paper tape measures you get in furniture shops. On the right is a Kaisercraft mannequin which I inked then stamped with a script stamp then added glossy accents, and also added glossy accents to the butterfly. I did the same with the Kars wooden letters to spell out Vogue. The metal embellishments in the corners are some from France which I cut into shapes to fit. 

The flower was sitting around on my desk having been made previously in a batch that took ages. Home made glimmer misted paper and lots of crumpling and folding, then spritzed a mulberry flower for the centre to match and die cut leaves and some bought lilies and white mulberry flowers.Finally a painted mini cotton spool and a scissor charm. Inked edges all around and some lace.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Colourful Picture Star Canvas

I have made this canvas over on the Happy Daze blog using the Artistic Outpost Picture Star and Whimsical Melange plates which they sell. I wanted it to be colourful as this month's challenge is 'Brighten up Your Month'. There is a chance to win a £15 voucher to spend at Happy Daze so do join in.! Go on, you know you want a break from Christmas cards!

Here is a closer pic, showing the Tim Holtz film strip:-

Here's a side view showing the base layer of the canvas, and the bunting:-

I am entering this into the Artistic Outpost referral programme for November. You can get their stamps direct from them if you are in the US, or from Happy Daze if you are in the UK.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Stampbord Crafty Individuals' Canvas

I made this canvas using the gorgeous new collage Christmas stamp from Crafty Individuals CI 369. You can see all the new products here.  I wanted to create a snowy woods scene where the woman has gone out to pick her Christmas tree. I wanted the main focus to be the stampbord piece, which I embossed in black. I used the main image in the centre and text from CI 257 going in different directions around the edge, masking off as I went. I coloured it with distress inks in  Iced Spruce, Festive Berries, and Shabby Shutters and then coloured the woman with a paint brush with a brown hat, Tattered Rose for her face, and Pine Needles for the tree.

I covered the canvas with tissue paper which had a pattern of fir trees and a little girl dancing on a frozen pond, then covered this with Distress Stain in Picket Fence. At this point I had intended to do loads of inking, stamping and embellishing but I was so pleased with the stampbord piece and I liked it against the snowy white background so I kept it quite plain.You can still see the trees peeking through. I am trying not to get carried away, as I know I have that tendency. So I embossed some trees from CI 257 in black ep, and some snowflakes from the Rudolf stamp CI 332, and added them with gel medium.

I did go mad with embellishing the ornament within the collage stamp though, with some pearls and gem stones - well, it would be rude not to!

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Festive Sparkle at Crafty Individuals

The theme for Crafty Individuals' challenge this month is Festive Sparkle. All you have to do is make something using one of their many products following this theme and upload it to their blog - as well as the chance of winning a prize, all entrants can claim a 25% discount on their purchases at Crafty Individuals whilst the challenge is running. I think that is so generous!

I decorated a canvas board, covering it first with Tim Holtz Christmas tissue tape, then with gesso and distress inks. I stamped a selection of Christmas stamps from Crafty Individuals using the same colours of distress ink and then image transferred some images from one of the People and Places images books so that the stamping and colours showed through. I die cut some snowflakes from shrink plastic and also some from roasting tin foil, which I put through a snowflake embossing folder, and finished off with some sequins and gem stones for some extra sparkle.

I do hope you will join in with the challenge.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Cocoa Boy Card

I used the Spring and Summer distress ink colours and the Artistic Outpost Think and Wonder plate to make this card for the Happy Daze blog. I stamped the image on a wrinkle free distress background and added book text around the edge. For the dotty card blank background, scroll down to see what I used!

Amazing what you find when clearing out your house!

I am entering this for the Artistic Outpost November Referral Programme. You can get Artistic Outpost stamps from them if you are in the US, or from Happy Daze if you are in the UK.

Friday 9 November 2012

Crafty Individuals' Ballerina Mixed Media Canvas

I made this small canvas using Crafty Individuals stamps CI 206, 171, 347, 235, and 137 and I also used an image of the mother and child from one of the miniature books, transferring it onto a cotton crochet coaster using Dylon Image Maker. I used 7 Gypsies tissue paper first, then added gesso and distress inks before adding my images. I used the same distress inks on a piece of scrap card to stamp the flowers and butterfly. I added a little reinker to some texture paste and then scraped it through a stencil and then added some mica flakes. I hope you like it!

Crafty Individuals have some gorgeous new stamps out here. They also have a great challenge on their blog, the theme for which is Festive Sparkle. Do have a look at the details because five winners receive a stamp of their choice, and you can claim a 25% discount on any purchases you make just for joining in! I think that makes it one of the best challenges on the block!

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Creeping Vine

Over on the Happy Daze Design Team Blog today I have made this canvas board using the Artistic Outpost Kudzu Cafe plate - a newish one which I love! You can get these stamps from Happy Daze if you are in the UK, or direct from the Artistic Outpost if you are in the US.

I am entering this into the Artistic Outpost referral programme for November.

This is the board after I had covered it with patterned tissue, gesso, and distress inks:-

Saturday 3 November 2012

'Book Ends'

Over on Unruly Paper Arts today I have done a step by step making this pair of book ends:-

I used Paper Artsy Fresco Finish paint in Pansy with crackle glaze and then Snowflake over the top. I used images from the Rogue Redhead Designs Relish Reading Plate. The theme for this month on Unruly is Gifts and I thought they would make a great gift for a bookworm friend, perhaps with a carefully chosen book to go with it. I don't have a book case or any shelves at the moment so I am trying to read a book and immediately give it to the hospice shop, so I am keeping these book ends for myself, for a little stash of reading by the side of my bed.

I hope you will like them and that the step by step will make sense and be useful!

Saturday 27 October 2012

Jane Austen Calico Gift Bag

I made this little calico gift bag with a Jane Austen theme using Artistic Outpost 'Jane's Countryside' stamps from Happy Daze. If you are in the US you can get them direct from the Artistic Outpost here. I am entering this into their October Referral Programme. I used the background stamp from the set in pink and then stamped the main image and the words 'You are a True Friend' in black.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Hallowe'en Trick or Treat Sweetie Bag

Over on the Happy Daze Blog, the theme for October is 'Something Wicked this Way Comes'. I don't normally do all of my 3 DT items in a month on the challenge theme, but this time the spooky and the creepy seem to have sucked me in!

I recently bought some calico bags on e bay and they are very tiny so I have just got some larger ones to give me more scope in my design, but these little ones would be a perfect size for giving out trick or treat sweeties. I used Artistic Outpost Apothecary stamps and My Minds Eye Hallowe'en set, colouring the bag first with Mustard Seed distress stain. I finished off with a shrink plastic version of the bottle.

I am entering this into the Artistic Outpost Referral Programme for October. You can get your AO stamps from there if you are in the US, and from Happy Daze if you are in the UK.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Poisonous Pillow Boxes!

Yesterday I was at my monthly Stampin' Up class and the teacher was selling off some retired products. I bought a great pillow box die and thought I would have a little play by making this very silly make! Hallowe'en comes but once a year so I must make the most of it with these little trick or treat sweetie bags. I cut them out of mustard and brown Core-dinations cardstock and then embossed them with the Poison part of the Tim Holtz Hallowe'en and Poison Alterations texture fade and sanded them a little. I had some tiny scraps of the card left so I popped them under specific areas of the texture fade such as the raven, spider web, and skull to make mini tags for my recipients.

I then made some shrink plastic bottles and some extra embellishments from the Apothecary set from Artistic Outpost, which I love. You can get the stamps direct from them if you are in the US, or from Happy Daze if you are in the UK.
I think the pillow box would be lovely done in a more feminine style for those who make their own jewellery to give as gifts. I can see lots of my friends wanting to borrow it so I think it will have been a good purchase!

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Spooky Apothecary Card

I have made this card to match the frame I made for Happy Daze last week, using Artistic Outpost Apothecary stamps. I am entering this into the Artistic Outpost Referral Programme for October. You can buy these stamps from them if you are in the US, and from Happy Daze if you are in the UK.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Over on the Happy Daze blog I have made a spooky apothecary for you to visit when you need to buy your arsenic and your witches' potions!

The challenge for October is 'Something Wicked this Way Comes'. I hope you will join in for a chance to win a £15 gift voucher to spend on anything from Happy Daze. I am entering this creepy make into the Artistic Outpost Referral Programme for October. You can buy their stamps from them if you are in the US, or from Happy Daze if you are in the UK. I love their stamps - they are original and a little bit quirky but very versatile, and they are made of red rubber,

Wednesday 26 September 2012

WOYWW - My New Craft Room

I have never joined in WOYWW before, although I have often looked, but I thought this week it would be a good excuse for me to show you that my new craft room is now coming along. For those of you who don't know me, our home was all but destroyed by a burst pipe at the beginning of February and we have only just returned to it after the rebuild, having been living in temporary accommodation. Colin has spent about 10 days solid varnishing each shelf and strut of the craft room furniture, which is Ivar from Ikea - cheap but very practical and flexible for me:-


Colin has put back up for me the stamp storage unit he made for me when I first started stamping. Each shelf has a little ledge so that you can have a double row of stamps and hopefully see the ones of the back row. Obviously I have a lot more UMs now, but some of these wooden stamps are still real favourites.

We are really enjoying being back home and Colin has been amazing with all the jobs he has done. Starting to craft again at home as I did before is really important to me as it's a sign of getting back to normality. Thank you Julie for hosting WOYWW.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

The Golden Age of Ballooning

Over on the Happy Daze blog today I have made this card for this month's Steampunkery challenge - I do hope you will join in as it is a great prize - and one of my favourite themes.

I made this card for my brother's birthday, using the Artistic Outpost French Flight and Paris Exposition stamps from Happy Daze, and one of the chipboard propellers they sell, which I embossed with gold ep. For the card I stamped loads of stamps from the stamp sets - nearly all of them, using different shades of ink so that some images were more in the foreground than others, such as the man in the hot air balloon who I stamped in bright blue.

If you are in the US you can get the Artistic Outpost stamps direct from them here, and I am entering this card into their September Referral Programme, the subject for which is Anything Goes.

Thursday 13 September 2012

The Last Days of Summer - Crafty Individuals' challenge

 The Crafty Individuals' challenge for September is 'Last Days of Summer'. My framed French menu and wine bottles represents what this means to me as this year I have been desperate for a break from our house problems and was hoping to get to France before the summer was over for some nice meals out. Well, we made it! We just got back Sunday evening and feel more refreshed now and able to face our DIY and unpacking. The house is chaos but we are getting there. I am hoping we will get the internet set up in the next few days. We are coping well with sleeping on the floor although we hadn't bargained on how difficult it is to get up from the floor at our age! I find rolling over onto all fours and then crawling is the best way, but it is a bit undignified!

I used the Crafty Individuals' Spring background papers together with the wine and menu stamp CI 348 and the floral postcard stamp CI 302. I stamped the bottles onto clear packaging material and then curved them with the heat gun.

I hope you will join in the challenge and show us what the last days of summer mean to you - there's always a great prize!

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Butterfly Girl Canvas

I've made this little canvas over on the Happy Daze blog today, using the Lost Coast butterfly girl stamp and the Prima en Francais text. Hope you will visit me over there!

These are the sides of the canvas. I used those tiny little Prima clear stamps you can get very cheaply.

I probably won't be on line much for the next few days as we are having our internet put in at the end of the week - I'm at my friend's at the mo, using her WiFi. Our house is complete chaos!

Tuesday 4 September 2012

A Lovely Day

I have made this card for the Happy Daze blog using stamps from the Artistic Outpost 'Lovely Day' set. I used Spring and Summer Limited Edition Distress Inks on glossy card and stamped the main girl collage stamp, and then the girl on her own, and cut them out. I used a patterned paper and added bees from the Bloom and Grow set and sayings from the both sets all over the paper in matching inks, and finally added a die cut and embossed flourish.

I am entering this for the Artistic Outpost Referral Programme for September, the theme of which is Anything Goes. You can buy Artistic Outpost stamps from here in the US, or from Happy Daze in the UK.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Up, Up, and Away!

The Happy Daze challenge for August is Circling the World. I do hope you will join in as there is a great prize! This is my contribution:-

I am entering this for the Artistic Outpost Referral Programme for August, the theme of which is Anything Goes. You can buy their stamps from here in the US, or from Happy Daze in the UK.

You can find more details of how I made the card here, on the Happy Daze Blog.

Returning to my Nest

After a fraught seven months, we have spent our first night in our own home. It feels very strange at the moment and there is a huge amount to do, as you can imagine. Nothing of my original home remains and I can't find anything and have nowhere to put anything, so it is very disorientating. We don't have any furniture and are sleeping on the floor. It will be a long time before we have finished sorting everything out with the insurance company, and have replaced our contents. I found the move back exhausting and much worse than I expected, especially in this incredible heat we have here in the UK at the moment. We didn't have a removal company and did it all just the two of us, despite many very kind offers of help (from very busy people who already have enough on their own workloads!). I wanted to leave the rental home absolutely spotless as you can easily be asked to pay high cleaning charges but the rental agent inspected everything and was very pleased.

All this sounds a bit negative but actually our house is looking absolutely beautiful. Our lovely builders did a great job, completely to our specification, and we are pleased with the choices we made for fixtures and fittings and decorating. Thank you so much for the wonderful support and kindness I have received from all of you; it has helped enormously.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Aperture Notebook for Happy Daze

I have made a little notebook using the little girl from the Artistic Outpost Think and Wonder set from Happy Daze. I also used the Spring and Summer Distress Inks and Inka Gold. For more details please visit the Happy Daze blog.

I am linking this to the Artistic Outpost August Referral Programme, the theme of which is Anything Goes. You can buy Artistic Outpost stamps from Happy Daze here in the UK, or from Artistic Outpost in the US.

Tuesday 7 August 2012

A Summer's Garden

I have made this card for Happy Daze, using the Artistic Outpost set called Bloom and Grow. I used microporous tape from Superdrug to make the faux washi tape:-

I used the 3 sizes of bee from the Bloom and Grow set:-

I am also entering this card to the Artistic Outpost August Referral Programme, with the theme 'Anything Goes'. You can buy Artistic Outpost stamps from here in the US, or from Happy Daze in the UK. You can see more details of how I made the card on the Happy Daze blog here.

Sunday 5 August 2012

Stampin' Up Everyday Enchantment Card

I wasn't sure whether to blog this or not, as it is completely different to my normal style. I go to a Stampin' Up card making class with some friends one Saturday morning per month, and it is good for me to learn to do a more clean and simple style. In January I had made all my birthday cards for the year but they were all trashed by the burst pipe so the five cards I make at the class every month have kept me going whilst life has been a bit muddly. I've just bought the Everyday Enchantment designer paper series and the matching stamps called Fresh Vintage which are designed to go together, so I thought I would make a quick batch of cards as we are soon to be moving house again.

I particularly wanted this stamp set for using with distress markers. I used brush markers when I first started rubber stamping and it is great to go back to it, and it was fun to pick out the colours from the background papers. I really must get some more nesties or something similar though, as I don't have many options for matting and layering cards. The ribbon is also Stampin' Up, in Calypso Coral. I finished the card off with a tiny butterfly - I thought the paper was a bit pricey so I got out my tiniest flower and butterfly punches to use up all the tiny scraps!

I probably won't have a chance to make very many things over the next few weeks apart from DT commitments, but I hope to still be able to see what you are all doing!

Tuesday 24 July 2012

A Myriad of Mermen

Today is a rare sighting of the shy and secretive Mermen. Often we see the fair Mermaids languishing on the rocks, drying their flowing manes in the sunshine. More rarely the Mermen pop up to dry their moustaches, and flirt with the beautiful Mermaids.

It's a special occasion as it is the annual summer ball, a Black Tie event no less, and the mermen have arrived to pick up their dates for the evening.

You can see more details over on the Happy Daze blog here.

Colin thought this was totally mad, but I hope that you will appreciate my fishy tail!

I am linking this to the Artistic Outpost July Referral Programme, with the theme Anything Goes. I am a huge fan of Artistic Outpost stamps which you can buy in the US from here, and in the UK from Happy Daze.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

We're All Going on a Summer Holiday - Happy Daze Challenge

No summer holiday for me, unfortunately, but hope you will join in the Happy Daze challenge - there's a great prize! My contribution is this suitcase, using Artistic Outpost stamps:-

I hope you will pop over there and have a better look here!

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Quadruple Slide Mailer Hanging for Happy Daze

Over on Happy Daze Blog I have a Quadruple Slide Mailer hanging with a Steampunk theme, which I hope you will like! I am so chuffed, they have kindly taken me on as a permanent member of the team after my guest month. It has come at a good time for me as it has made me feel more motivated and hopefully that will make me more creative. Need to get my old self back!

If you want to see how I made it and what I used, it is here.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Crafty Individuals' Quadruple Slide Mailer

I was in the mood to make something textural and I thought I would use a quadruple slide mailer. I used an image from one of the Crafty Individuals' miniatures books, People and Places, and poured UTEE from the melt pot onto it, into a cookie cutter, and removed the backing by dropping it in water and rubbing the paper away with my finger. I then glued it to the centre of the mailer and melted it again, letting some of the UTEE drip, then dropping in seed beads. I rubbed Inka Gold, from Happy Daze, onto the raised areas of the texture paste, which I also rubbed over the pink seed beads as I thought they were a bit brighter than I wanted.

For the inside of the mailer I used loads of stamps from Crafty Individuals, CI 171, 188, 182, 203, and 258, layering them up in different shades of ink. The little girl collage stamp was a present from Petra and I love her; thank you Petra! For the book text I did an experiment, which I was really pleased with. I covered some book pages with clear packaging tape and obviously it had text on both sides. I wanted something more transparent that would blend in so I popped it in a bowl of water and rubbed off the backing, so it just had one layer of text. I have done this with images before, which was a brilliant tutorial by Ali on Gingersnaps,  but not with book pages. I then applied it in little pieces using gel matte medium, which also had the effect of mattifying the shiny tape so it blended in further.

The microscope slide images are also from the People and Places book. I don't have many images of this size though - does anyone know where I can source some please? I was really pleased with my experiment here. I used the same method to rub the backing off the images so that they would look like transparencies and then adhered them to book paper using gel matte medium, so that the text showed through, but you still have the lovely colours that are part of the Crafty Individuals' design. On the second one from the left, unfortunately I let the tape touch the image before I had stretched it flat (I don't have a tape dispenser and I get in a real tangle). I was going to do another image to replace it but I quite like how it adds to the worn look! If you open up the photo I hope you can see the book text.

To finish off, I added glossy accents to the top and bottom of the slide apertures and sprinkled in some seed beads. I have a new crafty friend, Susie, who took a fancy to this whilst I was making it, so I have gifted it to her today. She said her husband hadn't understood why he had been asked to look out for microscope slides for us, so now he will know why!

Here's a photo of the slide mailer standing. As the beads are very blingy, I am entering this fot the Stamp Man challenge which is Bling it On.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

A Moth to the Flame - Happy Daze June Guest

For my final post as June Guest for Happy Daze I have decorated a candle using an Icarus stamp by Lost Coast Designs, to represent their June Bug Challenge. There is still time to join in this challenge and there's a great prize!

I would be delighted if you went over to visit me at the Happy Daze Blog!