Monday, 27 February 2012

Monday, Monday

What a day!   The more I tried to get done the less I seemed to achieve.   Had to get mum to the dentist, that was like a major operation,  then because she is on so much medication the dentist was wary about what treatment she could give,  came away with a long list of instructions.

I did at least manage to get my essay finished, and printed,  but too late for the post.  Wanted to get loads done today as tomorrow I would like to sort out my stash,  there is too much lying around gathering dust. Must be the fact that there spring is around the corner,  feel the need to clean and tidy. 

Did manage some crafting yesterday.  I made two more pages for my Altered Art book.  It is a very personal theme,  my journey from my lowest moment to the present day,  2008 has to have been the worst year of my life,  so the book will chronicle the major points of the journey I've taken.  It is very satisfying,   I'm finding this type of crafting much more enjoyable than card making.   I made use of some TH stuff, the barbed wire mask,  the man with umbrella and the disc,  upside down bird is a clarity stamp,  and lamp post from the Portobello Rd collection.   The wording was printed onto a clear label,  the 'clouds' behind were a happy accident, as I made a mistake with the first sticker, so peeled it off,  of course some of the card came away,  I was about to start again when I realised what a nice effect I'd got!   Just one more 'sad' page,  which will be emotional to make. 

I also got my new business under way on Saturday,  we did our first MBS fair,  just a small local affair,  but a good place to dip our toes into the water.  Everyone was so friendly,  we felt like we were joining a community.    I hadn't realised that along with the stall the organisers were also going to keep us fed and watered, so we had tea on tap and a buffet lunch which went down a treat, I was starving by lunchtime.  It was good to make our first sale, even if it was only £1.25!  But things picked up after lunch.   The time flew by,   suddenly it was time to pack up. 

All for now, hope you all had a good weekend.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

An altered thingymebob

Everyone has been talking about altered books,  so thought I'd have a bash at it.  But not sure I've got the concept quite right!   Oh well,  I'm having fun anyway.   Just got a blank book from craft shop, Papermania,  and started to decorate it.  It will be a book about my journey over the last few years, which have been the most important in my life as so much has happened, changed and generally all for the good.   That means I will be challenged to interpret a few things that have happened,   so I'll have to be a bit inventive.  So here is the book at the start, all shiny and new,  untouched... and then...  I got my mits on it.

So out came the distress inks, stamps,  couple of sheets of die cuts from kanban,  oh and TH's sticky tape.

It was a bit difficult doing the blending,  cos the book pages/covers, are all a bit thick.  But managed to do it,  just stuck with the old paper and twigs distress ink pads,   used a mix of the twigs and black versamark to stamp the images,  it worked very well I got the effect I wanted.   I chose Big Ben and the old car because - I like them!   The compass does represent something:  which direction to go in? 

So flipped it over and started to cover the back.   Why 'Time'?  Because I felt time was running out for me,  how wrong I was,  the Owl is a bird I love, and I seem to have seen quite a few lately,  of course it also stands for wisdom and knowledge.  The circle with the text represents study/books.  Still think it needs a bit more on it,  maybe some small trees or something.   The time stamp,  is from the Portobello Road set I got a while back,  which is proving to be a very handy set of stamps,  very versatile.

So back and front completed just one more bit of the cover to complete

The spine,  with a very apt quote - "It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you are not".   I realised, eventually, that the person holding me back was me, I couldn't blame anyone else.  I was putting things in my way, making excuses,  delaying things.   I devised a strategy for myself, to tackle things slowly,  and to break it all down so it wasn't so terrifying.  I also knew that I'd have to 'feel' right about doing things,  and sort out exactly what it was I wanted to do.   For the first half of my life I have done what others expected me to do,  now it is my turn,  I am doing what I want to do, and what feels right for me.   I never would have imagined I'd study reiki,  end up being a reiki practitioner,  or running a holistic stall/shop.    If anyone had told me that I'd have laughed at them.

But here I am,  actually practising reiki....  and about to start a whole new career in holistic retail and therapy. 

Back to the spine,  I do love TH's man with umbrella, it is such a quirky stamp, and so British,  which is surprising given that TH is American.   So you've had front and back, plus spine, so what is left... 1st page?

Here it is, thought this would be a good place to start, Untold Stories, as that is what it is.  Just wanted an odd juxtaposition,  so butterfly with cogs and fly wheel, plus clock!   Guess it all signifies something,  cogs cranking,  fly wheel flying around and butterfly meaning new beginnings.    Not sure why one cog has come out blue, as it is actually brown!   The light was starting to fade when I took the photo, I do prefer to use natural light.   But it works. 

This is a project that will take time, no point in rushing it,  I want it to represent the journey I have taken so far. 

It probably isn't altered art, or an altered book, not that I care.  To me crafting is about enjoying yourself, coming up with your own creations,  what makes you happy. 

Not a lot that took my fancy on CnC today, missed the encaustic art show yesterday, but met someone who has taken it up, her creations were amazing!    Think I will have to have a go. 

Well all for now folks...  hope you've had a good weekend.  Thanks for stopping by,  your company is much appreciated.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

the romance day

You can't avoid it these days, no shop allows you to forget that it is Valentines!   Supermarket was full of roses,  all at inflated prices.  Spotted a few desperate men lurking round the flower section,  all looking overwhelmed,  too much choice?

Think I was still half asleep,  really didn't want to get out of bed this morning, it was far too cosy.   I had woken up at 3.a.m.,  but had a cuppa and then went back to sleep, had a very odd dream!   Woke again at 7 a.m.,  another cuppa and some toast, and back to the land of nod.   Eventually I dragged myself out of bed to face the world, another grey day,  a tad warmer,  but just as glum.  Off for supermarket shop,  managed to remember list, even better remembered to look at list in supermarket!   So came home with all we need.   Cleared up rest of chores and got stuck into some study,  the craft stuff was calling, but I had to ignore it and get on with my course work,  now just need to finish off essay.   I did have CnC on,  watching Leonie be Leonie,  she is as daft as a brush but very watchable.  I do like her ad hoc demos,  cos she usually forgets something, and I find that strangely comforting, cos that is what I do.

Needed to find my inserts to finish off a card, now I know that I have put them somewhere safe, but can I find them, can I heck!   So had to resort to a rub on to finish off card.  At least I managed to get the card in the post,  well two cards, though the other one was a 'bought' one,  sorry but I only make cards for people I care about, the rest get shop bought stuff.    One more card needs to wend its way to post box,  that will be tomorrow.   At least I managed to find my stamps! 

Also fighting with Firefox,  which I have largely enjoyed using, but this last update has been very, very, very trying!   I can't access Twitter,  firefox won't let me,  the last update is screwed and they are busy providing patches...  why not just get it right first time round?    Some pages won't display properly,  so I am really hacked off.  I have complained to them,  but it took an age to find out how to complain - note to firefox/mozilla, make it easier to say what is wrong.  Did try IE, but that is even slower than it was before... like watching paint dry waiting for pages to load.  Nowt wrong with the PC, I do have a fast connection,  it has been tested,  so it is down to the clowns on the internet who operate the various bits and bobs.

Well back to essay...    all for now,  thanks for stopping by

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Trying again

I was determined to get the barge picture right,  luckily I woke up early and since I couldn't get back to sleep I switched on CnC, and by luck they were repeating Barbara's show!     I watched very carefully,  then sketched my picture,  just so I knew where everything was going to go. 

I was going to get out the craft stuff early, but mum remembered that her prescription was due, so had to go get that.  It turned out to be a wasted journey,  even though I'd phoned to make sure it was there it wasn't ready when I went to pick it up.  I was annoyed cos I'd just had to wait 20 minutes in the queue,  there seemed to be one chap on the pharmacy and he seemed determined to ignore everyone.   I definitely needed something to cheer me up so went to see if there were any crafting mags that I liked, nope, not a one!   I did have some shopping to do but after nearly colliding with four people,  one who had a trolley,  I started to get angry,  people in the village are so damned ignorant,  I remembered why I don't like shopping there because they have  no manners and a a bunch of snobs!   So I headed home,  found mum in a tearful state so had to calm her down,  made her some lunch and she said she felt better.   Could I now start crafting?   Almost...    Eventually I was able to sit down with all my stamps,  I checked my sketch, worked out where everything was going to go and got stuck in!  I think this is a much better result than the first one,   yeah I know the horse isn't attached to the barge,  he is now as I have drawn in the rope!    I also got a much better effect with the water, used BG's trick with the crumpled up paper,  and used a light and then a dark blue.  I really did take my time with this,  not quite sure the reeds are right, but just a little bit of tinkering I think!    So after that success decided to use the Duck.

I used an A6 piece of card.  Made another sketch,  and a mask of the duck.  Then set about building up the picture.   I used the bigger reeds this time,  think they need to be a little closer together.   Just added a hint of the river bank at the very front,  just tore some paper to get an uneven line.    Did the water same way as before,  you just need to lightly spin the roller a couple of times across the card,  not too much otherwise you lose the definition of the pattern.  The mask protected the duck the blue and the reed stamp. 

Felt very pleased with myself.  I can see why BG loves it so much,  you are creating small works of art,  well sort of!   I'm not quite at that standard yet,  but I am  enjoying practicing.    BG's first class seems a long way off,  it isn't until the end of March.  I really enjoyed them last year and it was a good idea to have Nigel work along side her,  it offered a more realistic view of what you could achieve,  his work was very good.  Babara is also a very good teacher, she doesn't rush,  isn't patronising,  makes it fun and is very clear in her instructions. 

Probably more of the same tomorrow!  Crafting that is,  don't want a repeat of the emotional upset with mum,  just a quiet day will do. 

Stay safe and keep warm.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

More clarity stamping

I was hoping that my new set of Clarity stamps would come today and my wish was answered!    Good job as the weather was diabolical,  we had that icy rain, pavements were like skating rinks.   I could wait to start playing with them, but had to finish the housework first.

Then right after lunch it was me and the new stamps... bliss.  Didn't think it was a bad first effort, room for improvement, lots of it,  but very satisfying to do.  I really do like composing the pictures,  my old art skills are gradually coming back as well.    I may get the clarity paper as currently I'm using a super smooth and white card, which does work with the brayer,  and it takes the promarkers as well, doesn't soak up the ink.   It is a lovely set, the large barge, a smaller one, horse,  large rushes and smaller set,  heron,  and the duck!    I found that the mini set of TH stamps that I've got also work well with them,  just the right size. 

This was the second attempt, this time I used the smaller barge,  two TH stamps, the horse, smaller rushes, plus a tree from the other clarity set I got.   Much happier with this effort.  My brayering is getting smoother,  I make sure I have a pad of paper under the card,  so I get a smooth effect.  I'm also paying attention to the sky these days, noticing sunsets and how they look, where the colours are and how they blend together.   Again there is room for improvement,  but what is so nice is how relaxing it is.  I know some see it as a lot of faffing around,  masking things, using the brayer... but like anything, if it is worth doing then it is worth doing well.  We can all make quick cards, but let's face it, they don't give us a sense of satisfaction.  Those cards that take time,  and involve work are what we enjoy the most. 

The next few days are going to be fun, think this is going to be one well used stamp set!   And the weather is so grotty that outdoor activities are off limits for the time being!    Got my session tomorrow as a reiki therapist, last week I had 3 clients, but only 2 turned up, wonder if all 3 will turn up tomorrow? 

All for now folks, stay safe and warm.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012


Brayering!   I'm determined to improve my technique,  so I've been practicing, partly inspired by watching Barbara Gray on Sunday,  not a bad way to start a Sunday morning.   I also bought another set of Clarity stamps, just couldn't resist the barge set,  and it is on its way to me  :-))  

Anyway I decided to try brayering without the craft mat,  and got a much smoother finish.  I'm also applying the brayer with a much lighter touch, and taking a lot of the ink off,  better to build up the colour than to try to lay it down all at once.  The results have been much better,  far happier with these efforts.  Also made use of my 'winter' trees and used BG's technique of blotting before stamping so as to get a softer effect, and to give some distance.   I do like TH's quirky stamp of the chap with the umbrella,  he can be put into so many situations, he'll probably turn up with the barge!   Got more ideas for the set of London stamps I got,   and building up a nice selection of TH distress ink pads as well. 

My other 'bargain' today was getting Norton Internet Security for £15,  whereas Norton wanted me to cough up over £50 to renew my subscription with them!  Stuff that.   I was going to go to PC World as they had it on offer, but had to do supermarket shop first and yes, Mr Tesco was even cheaper!   I have no objection to paying for internet security, but not at silly prices. 

Yesterday was also a successful day,  at last me and my friend Debbie got our business account set up.  It was all very painless, well we weren't signing up for a business loan,  we decided to self fund the business.  But we got free banking for 2 years,  all the usual cheque books/cards, and also we can get a card reader if we want.  They can also set up world pay for us on our website.   All this from RBS,  that much maligned bank,  we were very happy with the deal,  it beat everyone else,  including the Coop who wanted us to start off with a £1000 deposit, not sure why since we weren't borrowing any capital from them.  So after that we celebrated with a nice lunch at a nearby pub,  just a shame the weather didn't match our mood, it was a horrible grey and freezing cold day.   Of course I got stuck on the M6,   well had to crawl along,  the Matrix signs said 40 mph,  think we were averaging 20 mph!  And all because of an accident, and the police taken ages to clear up the mess.   No injuries, no damage to motorway - so why hold up traffic?  Cos they can call it a crime scene and do what they like.   They'd win more support if they just cleared the road asap.    Of course there were the usual idiots dodging from one lane to another etc,   you watch them and realise how the accidents happen, cos of idiots like them.   Motorway driving should be part of the learning process as well.  It was for me,  I trained as a driver in the army, once we'd passed our driving test we then had to pass other tests, the motorway being one such test. 

Fortunately the homeward bound journey was painless, no hold ups,  and no fog.  Was so happy with my little car yesterday, cos when I got in her she was frozen,  ice covering all the windows...  it didn't take long for her to get warm and to start to thaw out.   Don't like using de-icer,  rots the wiper blades,  no idea what it does to the environment.   There was also ice on the pavement!    So I got some rock salt from the supermarket,  can't afford to fall over again. 

All for now folks, thanks for keeping me company.