Sunday, 30 June 2013


No idea why but it seems I must switch to blogloving:  so here is the code: Bloglovin

Saturday, 29 June 2013

All distressed

From paint to inks,  all thanks to my friend BJ who happily shared a new technique she'd learned at a club on her blog, which can be found here: ccraftcorner.   She's done a terrific job of explaining what to do.  All you need are some distress inks, a spray bottle full of water, and an acrylic block, oh and some kitchen towel.  Dab the distress inks onto the block, then spray with water, then dab block onto card and move it around.  I experimented and found that you could add a bit more water and keep dabbing,  you could even spritz the card after if you want.

I tried it on this piece of card, using blue and green,  it is important to keep going, don't think it has gone wrong,  just keep playing till you get the result you want, or accidentally achieve!   I then did some stamping, and masking.  This is one for my art journal.

After the photo frame project I really just wanted to do simple and quick stuff.    I used one of the tags for this little project,  all very simple. Some inking,  some stamping,  and die cutting.   Again this is for my art journal.

The tennis has been taking most of my attention,  and so nice to see not one, but TWO Brits doing well!   It was always a question of when Laura Robson would start to show her incredible talent,  she is a winner,  and I'm sure that one day she will lift the women's trophy at Wimbledon.  She's shown true grit this week,  and what I like most is that she never quits.   Andy Murray has been imperious this week,  he is very different to last year,  he looks confident,  of course his last memory of Centre Court is a good one - winning the gold medal!     And with the roof on Centre the tennis never stops. Gone are the days when they would show the old matches.

The weather has been terrible these last couple of days,  yesterday was a complete washout and very cold,  I never stuck my nose out of the door.    Felt a bit down,  and very tired as I've had a few restless nights and waking up early.  Today I at least managed to lie in till 9 a.m.,  so I did feel better.  And it was sort of sunny, a very watery sun,  but it was warm which was a relief.  It was 'that' time of year - time to tax the car!   When I got to the Post Office the queue was out the door,  then I noticed that the opening times had altered and that it was open all day on Saturdays.  I'll have to remember that.  I did hear on the news that more Crown Post Offices are being closed, is nothing sacred in this country?    This damn government don't care about anything.  

There is still tennis on tonight,  thanks to roof, though Serena doesn't look happy to be playing so late!   No tennis tomorrow :-(   Best catch up with all my jobs.

All for now, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Getting Messy

Here it is, my entry for the latest ABAC challenge,  which is #Getting Messy, and I did get very messy making this!

I started with a plain wooden photo frame,  it was given two light coats of gesso,  then I used a mask and some modeling paste for the rings.   I left the whole thing to dry overnight,  then painted it black, after replacing the mask I used some iridescent acrylic paints (Pebeo),  which I got from CnC, a mix of blue, green and a light purple/lilac, right around the frame, then stamped on it using a script stamp with black archival.

This is what I used as a mat,  a piece of black card and more stippling, using same colours and adding some silver.

A quick trip to the craft shop to get a mask I needed,  then two stamps mysteriously jumped into the basket followed by an embossing folder!

Used the mask with black archival round the edge.

For the picture I used my new stamp, a lovely flower,  stamped first using a bright purple adiorondiac, and embossed it with some cosmic shimmer powder,  then using some paint I stamped it again,  which was embossed with clear powder.

I stamped the background using a nice swirly stamp, using gesso, then embossed it using the new folder - embossabilities, Regency swirls,  which is an 8x8 folder.

Then I put it all together!  A lovely inky experience, my hands have been all sorts of colours,  the iridescent paints are almost 'glow in the dark'. 

Oh I added the word 'flower',  there just seemed to be a 'space' above the flower. 

I really enjoyed this,  especially the frame,  which came out much better than I expected.  I was a bit afraid of using such dark colours.   It was also a nice trip to the craft shop, met a very chatty lady who told me about a craft group,  will be giving it a go,  and signed up for a zentangle workshop.

And the sun is back... long may she reign high in the sky.

Monday, 24 June 2013

New balls please...

Two weeks of tennis has begun,  just hope summer comes back to join it.

After two sleepless nights of course I slept like a log out of sheer tiredness, and managed to sleep in.   So all plans changed, cos the tennis starts at 11.30,  all stuff must be completed by then!  I paid my bills,  took a very, very slow walk to high street,  and an even slower walk back home, think a snail could have overtaken me.  No faffing around like going round the shops, nope, paid bill, got glue gun and home. 

The glue gun was for these rosettes,  I did wonder about just getting a fast acting glue, but the glue gun was the better idea.  I chopped into them,  except for the teeny tiny one, that frankly would not have been possible without the glue gun.   Not sure about the completed picture,  need to think about it before it all gets glued down. 

The tennis was a tad distracting,  a few seeds in trouble,  and Nadal finally going out to a lower ranked player,  I can sympathise with Nadal in th knee department, but at least he can run about.

I had a few ideas for what to do with the photo frame I decorated yesterday.   So I made my own background using the iridescent paints and the stippling technique, this was on black card, gives the paint a different look.   I've got a couple of ideas floating around for the finished picture,  so it will be some playing with ideas tomorrow.

Tomorrow, thanks to my inadvertent lie in, will be busy.  The flat needs a good clean,  and have a large pile of ironing, plus the forms to do. 

Have a crafty week and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Brrrr... who turned down the heating?

Feels more like winter!   Not a chance of me stepping outside the front door today,  unless I wanted to get blown away.  Didn't have a good night, very restless,  woke up early and so decided to get up, 7.30 on a Sunday morning!!  Wrapped myself in my warm dressing gown and made a nice pot of tea, then read my book.  It's just a light read,  written by Fern Britten,  The Holiday Home which is set in Cornwall.

After the ironing and tidying up,  and then tidying me up, it was time for - a bacon butty.   Sunday tradition,  can't do anything till the bacon butty has been digested.  Then it was off to craft.

My brain isn't anywhere near in gear so I forgot to take the 'before' photo.  The frame was plain wood,  gave it two light coats of gesso, then used the modeling paste with a mask.  I did all that yesterday so it had plenty of time to dry.   Then I gave it a coat of black acrylic, slightly watered down.  I then replaced the mask and began the stippling, using three iridescent acrylic paints, two blues and a hot pink colour.  I carried on the stippling past the mask,  left it to dry then stamped using a versamark black archival ink pad.    Now I have to decide what will go inside the frame!

I did some experimenting with a stamp and the iridescent paints,  it works.  Two ways of doing this, lob some onto the glass craft mat and dab the stamp into it, or use a sponge brush to dab on the paint, I preferred the latter.   Had to leave it there as I need some gloss black card.  Also feel that a fantasy stamp would be best,  I've got some, but not sure if they'll do.  Guess it will be more playing.  Just noticed that the ABAC challenge is to 'get messy' so think this project fits the bill! 

I did start to make some rosettes, but I really need a fast acting glue,  thought I had cracked the problem with my glue gun, but it is a low heat gun and isn't the right sort of thing.  So two things to get, new glue gun, and black card.   I have a long list for tomorrow, laundry,  housework (hightime I did it in a coordinated fashion) and pop to craft shop,  oh and post office to pay some bills, make phone call to get some money back from HA.   And of course make sure I am in my seat for the start of Wimbledon!   Murray is playing tomorrow, so something to look forward to. 

Just hope this horrible weather goes away,  no chance of seeing the super moon tonight, unless this cloud goes.  Forecast says things will improve, and before anyone starts muttering about climate change there is plenty of historical evidence that windy, cold weather is not unusual in June.  

All for now,  more playing tomorrow, well depending on the tennis.  Enjoy the new week and thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Where did summer go?

I opened the front door this morning then quickly shut it - it was belting down!  Then ten minutes later it had stopped,  by the time I got to the supermarket the sun was out...   our British summer, isn't it wonderful?

Well it has been a week of results, at last my HB claim has been sorted out.  I got a phone call from the assistant finance officer who apologised for the long delay, and he confirmed that my claim had been accepted. Phew.   I know have all the pape work, so I can claim some money back, which is just as well as I've had the electric/gas, and water bill.  All are down on last year, especially the water bill, which I've halved.  It was difficult to keep reminding mum that we had a water meter,  but I am now more mindful, so the bill has shrunk.  So now I can start to plan financially, which is a big help.  I've also arranged my counselling.

 So now to the crafting.  I've done a few bits this week, though the twinchies defeated me, guess I wasn't up for something so fiddly when feeling stressed.  Anyways, I had this book of tags, which I split up, they are like mountboard.  So I painted on black and let it dry.

Next stage was stamping.  Nope I didn't use a white ink pad,  I got a very neat idea from Ally,  Stamps Away,  who showed how to use Gesso to stamp with. A brilliant idea.  She is so whacky and thinks out of the box on a permanent basis. 

So how to acheive this?   It's best to use either a one of those brown craft mats, or a glass cutting mat,  paint some gesso on,  make sure you have a big enough area for your stamp.  You don't need much, just a good layer, plonk stamp into gesso and stamp as usual.   You not only get the image, but also a textured effect.  You could speed up the drying process with the heat gun, but I just left mine to dry for about half an hour, good excuse for a tea break! 

So with the stamped image now dry, I used some mesh and a stipple brush to add some iridescent acrylic paint, I didn't reload the brush just let it fade towards the edges.   Using a smaller stipple brush I added a bit more paint round the edges.

I was feeling very pleased by this time, but needed to finish it off.  I had picked up a magazine which had a free embossing folder and three stamps, so I used two of the three stamps.  Stamped the image, then cut it out with a spellbinders d lite label,  and just inked round the edges. 

The end result is at the top.  It was a satisfying afternoon's work.  I do enjoy watching Ally,  she has some truly off the wall ideas and she makes a welcome change from the usual cardmarking kits! 

It was also a sad day, my next door neighbour was rushed to hospital after having a stroke, he is only a young man and it looked serious.   At first I thought it was my immediate neighbour, who had an angioplasty yesterday,  I thought maybe he'd had a relapse,  but luckily he is fine. 

Not sure what tomorrow will bring,  I've already prepped another tag, so may do that or something completely different, like paint a door!

Hope it isn't too soggy were you are.  Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Take one box...

So you take one box,  which started out green, then was painted brown...  you run out of ideas, so it lays on the shelf for a few weeks.

Then you remember it, have an idea and bring it back out.  So this is what it looked like yesterday, pretty grim, and still some evidence of the green.

So after a couple of coats of gesso,  black, a coat of PVA, then brown and you end up with something like this.  I left it in the sun, yes the yellow object found its way through the clouds,  so it could crack and do its stuff.

Whilst that was happening, I had dinner and watched the tennis.

Today it was time to tidy up the inside,  thought about just painting it but then remembered the decopatch.  

So with the inside done,  time to focus on the spine.  For this I used a thin piece of white card,  trimmed it to fit,  used some strong DST,  and made four grooves in the card,  inked and stamped to give it an aged look.  Added four gold peel off strips, and the die cut.

And this is the front.  I used the Spellbinders gold die,  cut out with white card, then used some gold wax on it,  and oval of white card, embossed with clear powder,  and the silhouette, also embossed with clear powder.  So one grotty box transformed!  I'm rather chuffed with this.  This is what I sort of had in mind a few weeks ago, but didn't have enough concentration.

Yep the hinges are a bit wobbly, but they were to begin with!

Oh and Murray won the tournament.  Just watching the fun and games now with the charity match, hope this will prove that Mr Murray does have a sense of humour.

It's been a nice day,  managed to get out for a walk now that summer seems to have returned,  it just needs to hang around for the next 3 weeks!

So all for now, hope you've had an enjoyable weekend,  and thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 9 June 2013


Yesterday I went to Southport, partly because it was such a nice day but also because I wanted to go to a craft shop... but found that the craft shop is no longer there!   After a mooch I got the park and ride bus back to the car park, and at the very end of Lord St I spotted a craft shop,  I am pretty certain it was the one I used to go to, but now relocated.  So will have to return next week.  I left Southport before the crowds descended.

So once home and after a nice lunch of crusty bread and cheese, it was time to get crafting.  I got out my paints,  I'd caught Sheena's show on CnC earlier, and was eager to try out the stippling technique, and do battle with that modelling paste.  I had started this canvas, minus the modelling paste and turquoise, a few weeks ago and hated it.  I'd frantaged it, and just didn't like the end result.  So could I rescue it?

Well first I added some colour, then chose a mask and used the modelling paste, crossing fingers and toes.  With the sunshine it dried pretty quickly, but I decided to leave till today to continue.  With the modelling paste now rock hard I began the stippling.  I used the Pebeo Acrylic paints, yes that very long box on Sheena's show!   I used the iridescent paints, they are just sumptuous.  I used two turquoisey blues, and a gun metal blue,  to give some shade and depth, and kept stippling till I got what I wanted.  Which was this! I also dabbed round the edges with some black.

This is the whole canvas, it is a small square and is canvas board, far easier to stamp onto. As you can see I've got as far as adding another mask in two opposite corners, using black archival.  The stars are from the TH grunge board range,  painted with the gunmetal blue, then stamped and embossed with a spiders web.  No I have no idea where I am going with this!  But it is a lot of fun, and very, very messy. 

I'd also found a small box in mum's stuff,  so I gave that a good coat of gesso and have now covered it in the modelling paste, again using a mask,  just got one more side and the top to cover.  The lovely sunshine is helping set the paste.  I guess I need to exercise a little more patience when it comes to stamping into the paste. 

More tennis this week, back to the grass,  can we hope that the sunshine will last?   Enjoy your week.

Friday, 7 June 2013

What a lovely day!

I took myself off this moring to the beach,  I know I'm lucky to live so close to the sea.  There is nothing better than a sunny day in England by the seaside, as you can see from the photo I took this morning. That is the river Mersey in all its glory.   I even managed a short walk, didn't over do things,  just went as far as I could manage, while remembering that I also had to walk back to the car park.  The beach was fast filling up with families,  there were lots of walkers and mad joggers.  It was a really happy scene.

Then it was back home, and a spot of lunch, a nice poached egg on toast!   I've finally got my timings right with the poached egg, so I had a nice gooey yolk.  After that I turned my attention to my new stamps that were delivered yesterday.    These are Clarity stamps and will be used in Lesson 18, which is the first Saturday in July.   So I hope to be able to join in.    These caught my attention as the set is adorable, but also has so many uses, the birds can be used in any pic, as can the cat, the fence, bird house etc.  It was difficult to know where to start.  So I went back to CnC and checked out the end of lesson 17 to see what Ms Gray had done.

And it was something like this.   Or this is my take on it.  I don't have the range of adirondiacs, so I used TH ink pads.  I dug around to find some proper coated card stock,  the encaustic paper is just as good as Clarity paper for brayering, it has the same qualities.   This is the second attempt, for the first try I used a darker blue, but didn't like it, so I went with the light blue from the TH range, or as he calls it Tumbled glass,  it is ideal for skies.   I also put in some clouds,  using some strips of cotton wool,  dunked onto a versamark watermark pad,  placed on the card,  I then place a clean piece of copy paper over it and use the brayer.  I used an archival ink for the silhouette stamping,  it doesn't bleed when you brayer onto it.  Though you must let it dry thoroughly.   Then it was a case of stamping the birds, cat and foliage, and the fence.  I left the masking tape on and used that as a kind of guide for the wonky line.

After that I took a gamble on re-creating the scene on one of the wooden hearts.   The heart is A5 in size, so I cut an A4 piece of coated card stock in half, drew round the heart so I had a guide line for the final picture.   I had to leave out the cat sadly,  but managed to squeeze the other bits in along with the sentiment. 

You do have to take your time with this cardstock, it is slightly slippy, so patience is required when stamping, plus accurate positioning.  It is worth it though. It also makes the brayering a doddle,  as does the blending mat.  It saves all that faffing with the copy paper.   I have to organise myself for these sessions,  the glass cutting mat has to be clean and free of all bumps,  I need room to brayer,  I make sure I have some wipes or a small container with some soapy water in it, kept away from the work area!   I get the stamps ready, and mounted. I was going to indulge in some clarity handles, but then thought that was a bit silly as I do have a lot of acrylic blocks.  I'm actually now much preferring the thin acrylic blocks, much easier to use.    I also added to my adirondiac collection, taking advantage of the flexi pay, and got Meadow and Stonewashed. 

The new positioning of furniture in my bedroom is forcing me to be a tidy crafter!  My craft desk is now by the window, to take advantage of the light, but that means I have to make sure that the desk is closed up when it is sunny otherwise the inkpads will dry out.  It is no bad thing to have to be tidy,  at least now I can find things.  

I may head off to Southport tomorrow,  what I do each day depends on the body and the mind, both have to be up for the challenge.   I've now got my new glasses, finally I can see the world clearly!  They fit perfectly, and the prescription is spot on.    The optician said that there was a slight difference, but not much,  but things certainly seem much clearer!   I really don't understand those who are reluctant to wear glasses,  there have been a few on CnC who have been daft about wearing glasses,  there is no shame so what is the problem? 

Well I now need a cup of tea,  I hope the sun is shining wherever you may be, enjoy the weekend.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

A return to brayering

I think it was seeing Barbara Gray on CnC this morning that made me think of doing a spot of brayering.   The brayer has been gathering dust for quite some time so it was with some trepidation that I brought it out.  For once I got myself organised,  brayer, ink, stamps, blending mat... cleaned glass cutting mat as I didn't want any unexpected bumps!   With all that done I was ready to go,  well I was once I'd masked the card. I wanted to use the barge stamps,  they've not been used in quite a while either.

So I laid out my scene,  where I wanted the sun, the river, and the barge.  Once that was done out came the brayer.   The blending mat makes life much easier, I'm not using a splodge mat,  just a blending mat but in my opinion it does the same thing. The colours were easy, light blue, dark blue and green, oh and some yellow for the sun, along with some promarkers.   I have at least got the knack of spinning the brayer now, and with the blending mat doing all the work it is so much easier. I first stamped the barge,  then used a mask to protect it when I did the sky.    I did some second generation inking for the reeds,  I was going to use the crane that came with the set, but instead went for this swallow that is in the Get Stamping kit.   Yep, very happy with my return to brayering!

So I was on a roll,  I decided to get out another favourite, and use the wooden hearts as a template.   I drew round the heart on white card.   I cut a 2.5 inch circle to act as the moon,  and stamped a mask for the main image as the trees would need to be 'tucked' behind it.    This was just a case of using blue for the brayering,  I didn't cut the heart out until the brayering was finished.   I hoped in doing it that way I wouldn't get an 'edge', and I didn't.  Once it was all done then I cut it out very carefully,  and just edged it with a black marker pen.

I tried a few other ideas.  Barbara showed a trick with scrunched up paper and gilding flakes,  so I had a go.  I was a bit heavy handed with the glue, but it did work.  What you do is scrunch up some copy paper,  release it slightly, then dab it in some flitter glue,  dab it round the card,  and apply the gilding flakes.  It does need a light touch as I found out, to be fair Barbara didn't have much time to demonstrate it so I hope she does it in the next show/classroom.   Talking of the classroom I bought the next stamp set as it was on flexi pay,  and got some more adirondiacs at the same time.  I did wonder about getting some of the clarity stamp handles, but they do also work on acrylic blocks.  Oh the next set is the

These are the stamps I bought.  The set offers so many possibilities,  which is why they are so enticing.   The flexi pay was a bonus,  I hope they do it again with Clarity stuff.  I also spotted the dolls house stamps,  at first I thought the 'dolls' house was part of the kit, but it wasn't... though I have a feeling it may well be  next time round! 

I've been thinking about starting my clock, and I may use this kit as a centre piece. 

It has been a very lazy weekend,  which is what I needed.  Resting has helped the knee to calm down,  but the wrists and hands are still very sore.  My body has decided it doesn't like the strong ibuprofen tablets,  it caused a bout of IBS on Friday.   I've been taking the stuff that is supposed to protect the stomach but it isn't working.   I got some of the liquid tabs yesterday, I can take those without too much bother, so it is back to the GP armed with the box.   I can't take the trammadol as it will conflict with my anti depressants.  This is what costing cutting is like in the NHS,  your GP now has a list of medicines he/she is not allowed to prescribe as they cost too much.  We're back to the bad old days,  thank you so much Mr Cameron!   Was watching the documentary on the Coronation year,  interestingly it said that Britain was bankrupt after the war, but it didn't stop the government from spending its way out of trouble - and it worked.   And what do the present lot do, they just cut, oh sorry they make 'savings',  grrrrrr.  Meanwhile MPs are on a nice little earner with cash for questions!

I hope this nice weather keeps up,  it could just be a tad warmer,  but the summer togs are out.  And I've lost almost half a stone!   I'm very chuffed,  nope, no silly diets, just sensible eating, which includes stuff like strawberries and ice cream, oh and chocolate,  alls I am doing is using my little trim bike. 

I hope you all have a lovely week, and thanks for stopping by.