Monday, 31 October 2011

Did it!

It took me 3 attempts but finally made the reflection card,  not a bad effort,  room for improvement I think.  I popped up to the craft shop to get some ink pads, light blue and yellow, then spotted a small skyline stamp which I thought would work well on this card.

There are some terrific tutorials on Youtube showing how to do this technique,  but in the mean time here's how:   take A5 card and cut it in half,   now using the light blue ink and the brayer,  put down a couple of coats of the blue,  then using the dark blue working from the top gradually add more colour, so that it is darker at the edges, leaving a light patch in the middle, turn card upside down and repeat.  Take your chosen stamp and using a black archival ink pad stamp your image,    using a piece of acetate, stamp the image again using stayzon, onto the acetate, then match it up with the original image (upside down) and use the brayer to transfer the image to the card.  It needed be a solid image or perfect,  remember it is a reflection.  Always use good quality card when brayering, the smoother it is the better the result.   It does take practice, but you will soon get the hang of it, learn how much pressure to apply, how to ink the brayer, just take your time and don't expect miracles,  practice on some scrap paper till you feel you've got the hang of it.

And here's one I made yesterday,  but got remade today!   The glossy accents ran a little, so had to gently remove the Owl and cut away the excess, then make the background again.   I put some orange card behind his nose and eyes,  making him look a bit creepy!    This picture was done on a A5 piece of card,  you don't have to stick to small cards to do the brayering.  I also put down a layer of the light blue ink, it seemed to make a difference to the night sky effect, and then using a versamark white ink pad I dabbed on some 'mist' around the moon.

Tomorrow I need to concentrate on my course, need to get an essay written!  Also getting a much needed hair cut,  I've only managed to last this long with the mop cos of some VO5 gel,  got it at the supermarket and tried it,  it really does hold the style in place.

 I also need to get started on the wedding invites,  get the printing done,  then start the candle decorating.  And of course will have to think about Christmas cards!   Methinks it may well be a kanban kit,  don't really want to be messing about too much.

I hope you are enjoying a peaceful Halloween. 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

All Hallows Eve...

So things may go bump tonight - LOL.  I just hope it will be a peaceful night,  that the trick & treaters will do their rounds, act sensibly but have fun. 

It is time for the clocks to go back.  A bit confusing at first, lighter mornings but darker earlier in the afternoon.  I was surprised at how dark it had gone at 4.30 pm.  

I'd had a successful afternoon with the brayer!  Checked out Youtube for some videos on how to do sunsets and reflections. This is my take on one such video,  I had to use different coloured ink pads, and had no reed stamp, so had to draw them, but even so I was chuffed with the result, not bad for a first attempt.  This was a case of building up the layers, used orange for the first coat,  then ripped and tore some paper, used a brown TH distress ink pad to do the mountains,  just letting them become lighter the further away they were supposed to be,  then went back over the sky with pink and lightish red ink pads,  then drew the reeds,  finished off with the flock of birds,  Tim Holtz stamp, and the sentiment. 

So I then decided to have another go,  using the same technique, but used more of the orange,  the bird stamp is again a Tim Holtz stamp,  sentiment is from set from papermania. 

Just nice to do something different.  Also tried the reflection technique but using acetate to transfer the reflection onto the card. You stamp the image on to a sheet of acetate, then lay it over the card and use the brayer to apply pressure.  I used a stayzon ink pad for stamping onto the acetate,  it is a bit sticker so doesn't slide. Will post pics in a couple of days.

When I was at the MBS fair (Mind Body Spirit) quite a few of the stalls had these 'inspiration' cards, some claimed they were hand made, more like they came out of a printer,  but most were price around the £4 mark.   People do these cards,  so I'll be making quite a few!  Think it may be better to do a production line, do the base bit then add the different stamps later.  

I also found that my Slice Findings card has birds on it, so I get some die cuts and then a mask!   Cut out some Owls,  bird on a branch and swallows.  Cut out a large Owl, made up the card and then added some glossy accents,  which are still drying.

Feel a bit more livier today,  got a good nights sleep, and also had the benefit of that 'extra' hour.   Even managed a trip to supermarket! 

Hope you've had a good weekend, many thanks for stopping by, take good care

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Feel like a soggy balloon

All out of energy,  think I'll be heading for my bed pretty soon.  Last night's workshop ran over,  the host arrived late, she had got held up on M6 due to an accident, so we didn't get started till 7ish.  I was trying to stay conscious of the time as I was the locker up for the night, plus I had to be somewhere today pretty handy so I really didn't want a very late night.  And so guess what?  Yep, it was a late night...  we had our psychic workshop,  and there were 6 of us, so there was a lot of readings to do after we'd finished paintings, then suddenly I realised it was nearly 11pm,  yikes!   Two people had a fair way to travel home,  so felt obliged to remind everyone how late it was.  Most took the hint, but one didn't, she seemed to want to continue chewing the fat till the wee small hours.     I finally crawled into my bed around midnight,  and although I was tired I still felt restless, so it took me a while to wind down.   Then this morning the alarm went off and I really just wanted to turn over and stay put.  But had to get up,  but there was no motivation to move,  my body refused to speed up.   I was also sure that my friend wouldn't arrive at our meeting point on time, so I had plenty of time?  Wrong,  she changed her plans, didn't tell me and so got there early.   Then I managed to take a wrong turning, ended up on a dual carriageway that is almost impossible to get off... and arrived about 45 minutes late.    We were meeting up at a mind body and spirit fair,  it was a bit of a disappointment, we both thought it would be bigger than it was, so I won't mention location.  Fortunately the little cafe was serving some very nice food,  and they had chips...  so we got some,  lots of chips, hot and very tasty, made up for the disappointment of the poor show.   It still proved a useful exercise as my friend had done a lot of networking while waiting for me to get there.  Got a few nice bits and bobs,  not much tho as there wasn't much there!  Hardly surprising given the high rental for the tables. 

Came home via the motorway, rather than take Googles convoluted route once again.  Must invest in a decent map book.   The trouble with the M6  is that it does have more than its fair share of accidents,  it is all down to a few who drive like idiots and who have no concern for others.  Today it was a straight drive back home, no hold ups anywhere, but sadly yes, there were the idiots weaving in and out of traffic, undertaking people etc.   On my way to the fair I had a huge lorry come up right behind me,  he sat about two inches off my bumper, he was trying to scare me, it had the opposite effect, I slowed right down. 

Word about the pic: a brayer and stamps... limited the drawing to the fence!   A few of my none crafty friends have been fascinated by these cards,  quite a few think I've drawn the pictures.  Us crafters know better,  no fooling you lot!   Will be doing more tomorrow, can't think of a better way to relax - which is what I need right now.

Have a lovely weekend - and if you are in the UK, don't forget, the clocks go BACK!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

All clean and tidy

Blimey what a day,   woke up early and then drifted back to sleep, when I woke up again I was sure it must be quite late... wrong!  It was still early,   but I got up as I had quite a lot to get through: housework,  ironing,  cleaning windows,  and of course thinking about what to cook for evening meal.   Also need to check over the washing up, which my mum insists on doing, but isn't really doing very well, so I am finding myself washing up again, only trying not to let her know.  Such is the life of a carer. 

Yesterday I was with some carers,  of course we all had a moan,  but it is also nice to be with those who really do understand.   We also had a good laugh,  which is just as important.  

I also got some good news regarding my application to work as a reiki practitioner at the carers centre,  so have a few more forms to fill in.  So good to hear things are moving forward.  Will be having a chat with the manager soon. 

So today was exhausting,  and of course there was my mum,  who now takes all morning to get dressed, and so today was holding me up.   I just wanted to get the housework out of the way, and would have done had she not decided to sit doing crossword puzzles in her bedroom for an hour this morning,  and then wanting to get her shower when I was about to clean the bathroom.    I thought she was already washed and dressed, that she'd been waiting for me to finish the living room...  WRONG, she'd just been faffing about.    Then my sister skyped,  so mum settled herself in my room,  meantime the pile of ironing had reached topple state, so I tackled it.    Then filled the washing machine,  this week it seemed impossible to empty the washing basket! 

I did manage a bit of crafting on Tuesday,  went mad with the brayer and a couple of new stamps, mini stamps of birds on a wire, or branch...  the pic above is one of the said stamps.  There is no 'tree' on the stamp, I had to draw it,  but was pleased with the result.  I made about six brayer cards,  ended up with very blue fingers!  My brayer is also now a luminous green, made mistake of using wrong ink on it,  so it is now stained with green, but it still works and there is no transfer of the green ink.

Tomorrow there is another psychic art workshop,  should be intriguing.   Well this is the spooky time of the year, and the barn is a very spooky place,  though the spooks it has are generally very friendly.  Looking forward to it,  then on Saturday I'm at a Mind Body and Spirit fair, doing research for the new business... more on that at a later date.   It all suddenly seems to be happening!

Take good care

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Been one of those days

Some stuff went right, some stuff went wrong.  Wanted to try some of my Xmas stamps with the brayer,  had to ditch first idea as stamp wasn't going to work the way I wanted it.  Second almost worked,  just needs a few adjustments.

Finished off swap card,  saw a nice idea this morning on CnC, the presenter admitted she'd got the idea from a blog.  It is the faux stitching, but using a piercing tool, it looked okay will post pic as soon as it has reached its destination.    Then added some messages to a few pictures, like this one,  felt it was in need of something else, think the sentiment works quite well.

Now have the fine nibs for the promarkers,  the assistant said I needed a fine nib for every pen... blow that for a lark!  So today I swapped the fine nib from the brown pen to the green,  did a bit of scribbling till the green came through,  it worked fine.  I'm pretty sure I saw Barbara Grey do the same thing, or it could have been another presenter,  but they didn't say you needed a new fine nib for every pen you owned,  if you did it would cost a fortune.

This is a fresh card, used a Tim Holtz stamp,  had to do a bit of a cheat to make it seem as tho the branch stretched that far!  I wanted to just keep this very clean and simple.  I think I do prefer the Sapphire blue for the sky,  rather than the eggplant,  the sapphire seems richer.  Not sure if I should give the bird a red chest!

Felt sorry for the Welsh rugby team,  just pipped at the post,  I think my niece and her fiance may have been at the Millennium stadium on Saturday, as he is a keen rugby fan,  probably went out later to drown their sorrows.   And the Welsh team has not disgraced themselves on or off the pitch, unlike our moronic rugby lot.

Weather today was truly awful,  nothing else to do but to stay put!  Well after an emergency dash for vital supplies that is.   This weeks shop was the big one, had run out of stuff,  but got my 5p off petrol - so that was nice.  I wonder if those in power are in touch with the real world, the one that we all inhabit?   Do they know the price of anything?  Does that clot in ll Downing Street have any idea what putting VAT up to 20% has done?  It is okay for him, his nest is well feathered.  Time to rethink capitalism,  it is no longer fit for purpose. 

Got out some of the Christmas stash...  figured I couldn't avoid it anymore.  Got some flower soft freebies, so began with them.   May also experiment with brayer and stencils, using the dreamweaver paste.

Stay warm folks,  put on another layer.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A dark and Stormy night

Which is how Snoopy (Peanuts cartoon) used to start his stories!   Been very stormy here,  2 days of rain so far,  just that steady drizzly stuff as well, which I hate as it is neither one thing or the other. 

Yesterday popped down to watch the river,  it was at boiling point, waves crashing in,  got there for high tide so it was even more dramatic.  Took a short video of it.  The river seemed to be matching my mood,  just felt very restless and wasn't able to settle to anything, not even crafting.    Did have a go but gave up as it was definitely going pear shaped! 

Made this picture on Saturday,  back to the brayer,  wasn't happy with the first attempt,  didn't feel right.   Made the sky very dark,  cut a larger circle to get a bigger moon,   I also got some make up sponges so was able to make a better job of the sponging technique. I think it came together nicely.  The sponges work much better than cotton wool, it felt like I had more control.  Did follow Barbara's instructions to blot the sponge first,   it does take more time that way but it is also worth it.    Think the branch needs a splodge of snow on it. 

Also need to apologise to my 3 legged toad, which is supposed to attract money.   Well nothing had been happening, so threatened to chuck him out.   He must have been listening as I've had 5 wins on the lotto since last Wednesday,  small wins, but as they say every little helps!   Actually on Saturday I was feeling very nervous,  switched on PC, logged into e-mail account and there was a nice e-mail from the Lotto people saying they had good news about my Euro Lottery ticket... ooer,  was it me?    Nope,  just got £3!   Then got two tenners on the lotto later!    I ain't complaining.   Always nice to win something. 

Got second lesson of my aromatherapy course tomorrow, looking forward to it, it was so relaxing last week. 

Many thanks for dropping by, take good care all and happy crafting.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

What a difference a brayer makes...

We are always told not to blame the tools, but in this case I am breaking that rule cos using the speedball brayer I managed to do it like Barbara!    I really didn't think it would make any difference, but then I heard her say that the speedball was spongy, whereas the brayer I had was rock hard.   So here is the result with the speedball...  so easy.    Need to work on this pic it isn't quite right yet,  the stamp only gives some of the Owl, so may need to make the moon a bit bigger.    Got very inky and messy which was lovely.  Problem is with doing this stuff is you realise that you need a lot more ink pads!   I'm making do with what I've got, but I am going to have to get a few more.    I am finding this far more interesting than just sticking toppers on.  

There wasn't much else to do today,  weather is a compete contrast to last weeks heatwave,  cold, blowing a gale and belting down with rain.  Haven't moved far all day,   made it down the path to retrieve the recycling bins, so carefully tossed half way down street by recycling team!   Feel like complaining as this happens every week, our recycling bins are just slung down the street,  we're lucky sometimes if we can locate them.   They don't behave like that in the posh part of town!   We all complained earlier in the year at the disgusting state they and the bin men had left our street it,  rubbish everywhere, and it did improve, but they seem to be sliding back to their bad old ways. 

Also have neighbour issues,   new neighbour seems to have a penchant for slamming doors in her flat, as well as yelling at the top of her voice.  It's been like that for the last 3 nights, keeping a record of it all,  my thoughts are that if you give her enough rope she'll hang herself.  She's had one warning already. 

Still feeling excited over my aromatherapy course, got out the aromatherapy kit I bought off ebay, wasn't sure if it had any carrier oils but it has!   So now just need some empty bottles and I can make up a few lotions.  Wonder if my mate Elaine has any at her place?  Mmmm...   could take a couple of cup cakes and find out tomorrow. 

take care all, many thanks for stopping by

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A good day!

Yes the dreaded MOT was due... well it was due last Thursday but garage forgot to contact me!   Then they said that there was no record of the free MOT I was offered when I bought the car from them :-(  Not a happy bunny, but stuck with using them as it was too late to go elsewhere.   So today was the day, got the car up to garage and was told they'd phone me when it was ready.  By 3 pm I was fed up of waiting so rang them, yep it was ready,  in fact think it had been ready for some time.  It had a clean bill of health, which you'd expect from a fairly new car.  So off to pick it up wondering if I'd have to pay for the MOT test.   Man in garage seemed to have had a change of heart,  I'd told him which salesman had sold me the car and promised me the free MOT, so even tho the salesman in question wasn't there they decided to take my word for it.   Phew.   So a celebration was necessary.... hmm what do do?   Ah, craft retail therapy!   So headed up to craft shop.    I got the speedball brayer, as used by Barbara Grey, far cheaper at craft shop than on CnC,  a couple of ink pads,  that brought it to £20, and that rounded off my loyalty card, so had an extra tenner to spend!   Nowt else for it,  got some Aqua markers, and some of the new fine point nibs for the pro markers. 

I did already have a brayer, but it was the much cheaper one,  really wondered what the difference would be, well soon found out, the speedball is much softer so you get a much better result.  In fact pretty much got a very good result after one attempt.   So think it will be brayering tomorrow  :-))   Got the Spiced Marmalade distress ink,  gorgeous colour, and the adirondack eggplant,  that will make a nice night sky. 

Think my little car had missed being used, she does love to get out and about,   so took her for a tootle round and of course got stuck in all the school traffic!   It was only 3pm and the schools were empty,  how come my school day didn't end till 4pm?  

Ah well all for now.... 

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Back to normal!

Yep, grey skies this morning,  some light rain, the garden appreciated the wet stuff.  Still very muggy though.  Inconsiderate neighbour  lived up to her reputation last night,  think she must have slammed every door in her flat several times over,   after midnight of course! 

Anyway after yesterdays spot of crafting, thought I'd have a go at a sunny picture.   I did watch Barbara Grey yesterday, and noticed how she made her clouds, only it didn't work for me, maybe the secret is to use a brand new versamark stamp pad?   So I used two different blues,  and then found a white ink pad!  And set to work,  just used some cotton wool screwed up, and the dab, blot technique that our Barbara loves.    Repeated the procedure for the hills,  using two different greens, a dark and light green,  mixed with yellow and white,  using a mask to get the definition.    Not bad for a first attempt. 

This is what I did next, a sort of slightly different take on the previous snow scene,  but in landscape mode.  Also added some 'snow' using a white sakura pen, once I'd got it going again.   During a rummage through the stamps I found the Celtic cross, so added that to it.  I used cotton wool balls again to add the sky, and further definition to the snow.   It does take longer doing it this way,  rather than with the brayer, I am not using the same brayer as Barbara, so that may make a difference.   Really I just wanted to show that you can get the same effect but in a different way.  I love Barbara Grey,  she is a fantastic teacher, and Nigel did prove that it was possible to achieve excellent results.   I hope CnC keep that up, let a beginner work along with Barbara during her lessons, that way us crafters can see what we can really achieve. 

Well it is Sunday, and so I have my one indulgence, a packet of crisps, salt and vinegar tonight, tho I no longer seem to have the munchies.   I'm being more active, but at the same time readdressing my food intake,  just monitoring the choc biscuits,  I've switched back to my apples,  well I only like Cox's,  they to me are the only apples that have any flavour.  I love my veggies,  usually my plate has more veggies than anything else - yep even sprouts and cabbage!   Can't get enough of the stuff.   Had a disaster last week with some mashed potato,  used up a baking potato, which normally cook very well, but this one didn't!  It was rubbish, had to throw most of it away as it had started to go black while boiling.   My mash is usually very good. 

Well it seems to have cooled down at last....  I'm not against hot weather, but it can be TOO HOT.   Spare a thought for us who have to endure umpteen hot flushes during the day!   It was kind of amusing today,  me and my God Daughter were suffering at both ends of the spectrum, she had bad period pains and I was having a hot flush.   Great to be female...

Have a lovely week... and take good care

Saturday, 1 October 2011

It's all too much...

This heat!   It has been so oppressive.  Today we had a cool breeze coming off the sea, it was most welcome.  The worst part I think has been the hot, muggy nights,  it simply hasn't cooled down at night all week, just been getting hotter and hotter.   We're lucky to be in the upstairs flat so we can afford to leave the windows open, tho they are still locked.  I pity my downstairs neighbours who simply daren't leave any window open at night. 

I did mull over what to do today,  then realised that the last week I have been out and about pretty much every day, so it was time for a rest.   So after a short sojourn to the corner shop for paper, milk and pay paper bill it was straight back home,  made a cup of coffee then settled down to watch Barbara Gray, I so admire her work.  I was watching her 3rd lesson on CnC,  not sure I would want to do it alongside watching.    After lunch I thought I'd give it a go with the brayer,  Barbara does make it look easy, which she admits, but it is a lot harder.  But just couldn't get the brayering right no matter what I tried.  I was starting to feel frustrated, so stopped, got out the blender tool and....  created the above picture.  So who needs a brayer?   I tore the sheet of paper as she did,  then applied the ink but using the blender,  a blue denim distress ink pad,  didn't have her split tree, so used another tree stamp,  just as effective, and added a few shadows.  Rather pleased with it.   This was the second version,  managed to muck up the stamping, only slightly but couldn't disguise the mistake!  

Supposed to be cooler tomorrow,  I hope so,  then maybe I can stop looking like a damp rag. 

Enjoy folks...  the weekend that is.