Monday 31 March 2014

See It - Pin It - Do It

SIPIDI - See It Pin It Do It - is genius.  It's Fiona's idea, and it's a great way to encourage one to prove the usefulness of all the Pinterest time that is, from where I sit, quite wasteful.  I held back from Pinterest for quite a long time, and I have to say that I'm a useless member; I don't use the forums or do any connecting, I just look at the pictures. And occasionally, I pin.  I started pinning because I developed a thing for crochet.  Having accepted that my evenings were being wasted by my age-onset rubbish eyesight preventing me from playing at my desk, my age-onset evening tiredness meaning I couldn't be bothered to do anything but sit in a comfy chair, and my life long idleness, I decided that I should try something that I could do whilst in the big comfy armchair.  Because lets face it, singing round the piano, card games and mind numbing TV weren't going to keep me amused for long.  I feel the need to be productive. 
So I pinned some outrageously gorgeous and very advanced crochet projects. I've taught myself, thanks to the internet, and made a bundle of scarves and cowls.  And then I wanted a project.  So I made a blanket from granny squares.  And then Miss Dunnit expressed an interest and so I searched, found and have been making another, for her.  I had all the squares in three marvellous piles.  I asked her which order she'd like them to be joined - red, grey,mix,red,grey, mix, or one row after another, or blocks of  And so of course, she surprised me utterly by devising a proper pattern.  Of course, it;s not finished, I think a handful more of evenings will do it.  But I'm already looking for something else on Pinterest, so I thought this could just about qualify as my March SIPIDI.

Vertical joining still to be done, and a border.
Of course, she chose the mixed yarn colour way for the border, and I will do that.  But she's wrong.  I think it should be the grey.  But hey. It's not my blanket.  Just my teeth that are gong to itch as I stitch!

Friday 28 March 2014

It goes around and comes around..

Where have I been?  Here.  But with not much to say, so I said nothing.  Thanks for asking - really, everything is normal.  As I shall now prove, by typing the hind legs off the donkey...
You forget don't you that however much stash you've got, however many years you've been doing it, there are people who are new to it, and they've missed the first go around in the circle for what ever product....take this card for example...

When I posted it a couple of weeks ago, I commented that using my Brilliance inks to colour the flowers made me feel that I'd gone all retro - I had truly forgotten how lovely the Brilliance inks are and really enjoyed playing with them.  I hadn't for one moment considered the retro-ness of the Mulberry paper!  At Japonica's workshop on Monday, many people hadn't met it before and had to be introduced to the wetting and tearing to create the feathery edge - I was surprised, and of course, again, reminded that every product has it's time off the circle and in the spotlight...but it's temporary.

I've had to play with chalk and black card to prepare for a workshop making cards in the Chalkboard style.  

Soon got bored with that. Really, apart from the investigation of White inks and White embossing powders, its a single technique. 

So I made some cards using chalks too, trying to keep the style but add some, out comes the very old palette of chalks..

Magenta's Owl, Kaisercraft's text.  Gobbly eyes and chalks from century old stash.
It's funny what goes around and comes around isn't it.  Some sexy new packaging and possibly a signature line and suddenly we're all using something we tried and tired of some time ago.  But that is the circle of craft and hey, sections of my stash are being revealed to daylight for the first time in a long time, so I'm not complaining - just observing, really. 
I make a point of not looking at CHA or sneaks...I figure that my wish list stays in proportion and by the time I do see new stuff, other people have used it all and ironed out the bugs and figured out the best practice.  Idle, huh!  No change there then.  Now, considering my desk is untouched from Wednesday, which was untouched from Sunday, I really have to go do some tidying and cleaning.  If I'm gone for more than three days, send in the stash hunters will ya?
Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday WOYWW 251

To sum up, my desk is in desperate need of tidying and in doing so I hope to find my mojo and finish some nice cards. Oh my.  It's 250 weeks too late to be ashamed, but really, this picture makes it seem so much worse.  

And worse..this is how I left it on Sunday afternoon.  Photographed late Tuesday afternoon and erm, as of Tuesday night when I'm writing's unchanged yet.  Although I have moved the basket of unpacked supplies from the chair to the floor...I felt that despite everything, I still deserve to sit whilst I type!  
So the mess comes from making cards for the Marathon (are you sick of reading that yet...) I squeezed - literally, squeezed one out of my mojo on Sunday and then realised that in order for the Marathonista to consider making it, I'd have to pre-cut the leaves.  So you can see the pink pot and a pile of leaves.  I'll show you the card..after the Marathon and tell you how many ingrates didn't bother to make it despite my efforts.  
No, it's not a plastic Antimacassar, it's a 12 x12 cello bag....waiting to be put away. Hmm, not exactly surprising.  
Come on then, shame me by showing yours..tidy and productive, no doubt....  put WOYWW in your post title and link here so that we can visit at leisure.  You may need to put the kettle on.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 250

Click HERE for WOYWW -what???
Click HERE for WOYWW - how to
And click HERE for info about WOYWW5. The anniversary ATC swap.....
And now..eyes down, look in....argh.....
Took the photo Tuesday afternoon, still quite light at nearly five - lovely.  And although I say argh.....looking at the portion that's been captured by the's not so bad!  I'm making cards still, some samples to show off a set of stamps I'm going to be using at Japonica for workshops next Monday.  No pressure.  All the usual culprits are there, you can just see the handle of the paintbrush that I've been using.  You know the story - the brush is for applying the Mica sprays to the paper because none of the sprays actually work. See that little tin of paint at the back there? The colour is called 'Putty'.  It's a vaguely sort-of-not-quite-clean cream.  I use it to base coat ATCs and such, nothing special. makes me feel like a real artist because Peggy and Patsy use (real) wall putty to add texture to their (real) art.  And hey, never  mind the difference in medium, it's the same WORD! Good enough for the likes of me!
Show and tell will ya - put WOYWW in your post title, keep it relevant and if you link here, by the power of the 25 year old internet, we'll be round for a good rummage and a virtual cuppa.  

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Using the stash. And too many words...

I haven't so much as contemplated a scrapbook layout since the beginning of February.   I tend to only scrapbook at the Crop at the beginning of each month.  This month we didn't hold a Crop and I'm missing it.  Weird huh, considering I've only just put the February LOs in an album.  Really.  I was looking for a photo that I could take to my new hairdresser to show her how stunning I really can look when the cut, colour and style come together - a bit like the transition of Halley's Comet - once every then and not often.  So ya see, I remembered that one of those moments was on our Silver Wedding Anniversary, and that I definitely featured in one or two of the party photos I've since used on a couple of Layouts.  Long story longer...I found it, and then felt obliged to sleeve up and file the pile of LOs just gathering dust and getting in the way on top of the albums.  Funny how you can lose interest once the page is made, huh.  Oh. Just me then?
I learned something else on this last minute flinging about of albums and pages too.  I don't feature in many photos at all!  I don't particularly intend to rectify that, but just in case I die tragically prematurely, I shall make an effort to put some of the finer photos in my albums so that future generations can admire my choice of hairdresser. Just a handful, so that my overwhelming modesty remains apparent.
Of course, I also want those future generations to know that I tried hard to earn my keep and erm, suffered in steel toe capped boots for some of my work.  Just so you know, I don't wear these when I'm crafting - I'm definitely safer with scissors and scalpels than you think. Actually, this was going to be a post about how I've been using up odds and ends of stash, but its OK, I know I'm on the moral high ground over that.  I can brag about it some other day.  If I ever learn to stop digressing.

Friday 14 March 2014

Loved and last, and therefore, a smile!

Like an awful lot of paper crafters, my problems began as a child. Remember the pocket money burning in your hot palm while you chose another notepad from the racks and racks of stationery in WH Smith? (Archivers, I guess, dear cousins...) Bliss.  My obsession has never faltered, if I can use office-y supplies in my crafting, I will. When I use them in my work, I love it! Receipt Books with the irritating and flimsy bit of carbon, date stamps, treasury tags, manilla files.. you name it, they give me pleasure.  So it was inevitable then, that the Cuttlebug folder that came straight from the school book was going to be mine.  Indeed, even way back when it was released, Shopkeeper Gal set one aside for me without even bothering to ask!  I'm so transparent.
Well, despite my love for it, it doesn't get a lot of use.  It is really not a good size for a UK card dimension, and anyway, I'm very aware that a handmade card probably doesn't need to look as though it's covered in office supplies!  So I use it occasionally and relish it.  Hence the pleasure in next week's workshop preparations.  It's a birthday book, ostensibly to use the Mother Goose range from G45.  But really it's to give my embossing folder an outing!

It makes me smile.  And so did this, found at the bottom of a coffee cup the other (early) morning whilst marking time before the bank opened!   How nice.
Linking up with my smiley face to Annie's Friday Smiles.
Have a nice weekend y'all.  

Wednesday 12 March 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 249

Here's a twofer for you, gentle deskers.  I offer it to prove that at least from one angle, there's still some free surface on which to work.

What you can't see are the cards I've made for the Card Marathon.  Teeny bits of them are shown in the last post because I couldn't contain my excitement about the beautiful Quietfire stamps.  But please be reassured that this jumble sale of a desk really does mean that I've been productive.  Am liking it too.  Playing with some old friends is good for the mojo.  Stamps are my friends see. They talk to me about things I can make.  Yes they do. 
You can't see a pair of abandoned readers this week - I'm having to use them for computer work now, so they are perched on the end of my nose as I type.  The slightly stronger ones that I was using to help me do some fussy cutting are also on my head, as a hairband. Is it any wonder that Miss Dunnit has just declined the chance to invite a friend over for supper? 

Share with us will you? How is your desk looking? What are you doing at it? helps to know what we're missing.  Put WOYWW in your post title and link here.  There's an info and 'how to' page at the top of this blog.  See you over the next handful of days then!

Monday 10 March 2014

This turned into a review...

Deskers will have met Robyn.  
A couple of Wednesdays ago, she had a pop up card on her desk that she'd cut on her Cameo or some such.  It was lettered...and I was at a loss for words at the skill of the calligraphy.

Well, long story short, Robyn works a lot with Suzanne of Quietfire Design.  Suzanne is a letter artist.  As you know, I'm not a computer crafter, I don't wanna sit at the screen to make stuff, so I don't own a Cameo. But I needed to own this text, or some like it....
I did a teeny investigation (clicked on a link) and discovered that here in the UK, Oyster Stamps carry the Quietfire brand in unmounted stamps.  Well, be still my heart. I had to invest.

Is there anything better than a beautifully handwritten text turned into a rubber stamp?  Yes, actually, there is.  A beautifully handwritten text on rubber that stamps so perfectly it takes your breath away.  
I can't show you more than this because these are now cards to be made at the Card Marathon next month. But I will show you any other fabulous stuff that I buy that makes my stamping look so good!

I know this turned into a bit of a review rather than a brag, but none of the parties involved knows about it, so it doesn't count really, huh.  And don't stress, I'll find something to brag about later in the week!

Friday 7 March 2014

The morning after...

Yesterday was my fortnightly turn at conducting a Workshop at Kraft Crazy.  Home of Shopkeeper Gal and sanctuary for quite a few of the characters that you read of herein.  
Yesterday we used water and inks in various ways to create Batik and other effect backgrounds.  My workshops are fairly structured, in that there's a finished card for each technique so that you have a short play and then actually make something.  It's all done to reflect what I want from a workshop see.  That way it stays within my control and remains all about me and what I like.  They are also I hope, relatively relaxed.  Last night was.  I had eaten some diet marshmallows and the sugar really gave me a buzz! Really enjoyed myself.

Ignoring the terrible 'stitching', this is thin 'handmade' paper, stamped, embossed and sprayed with water until quite damp and laid on top of Distress stain refill and alcohol ink dripped onto a mat.  
This  panel was stamped and embossed with clear ink, clear powder.  Over heat the embossing, and apply a couple of colours of alcohol ink, using the applicator tool method and a bit of blending solution.  Simple.

This one was even more straight forward. Clear ink, clear embosing powder, slightly overheat to remove shine and then sponge on Distress Inks.  Cheerful, innit.
And this was the fourth, which you've already met.  Squash a Brilliance ink pad onto a non pourous surface, spritz with water and splodge the previuosly embossed paper across it.  If nothing else, it has helped me to rediscover my lovely Brilliance inks!

Now please bear in mind that I was the 'conductor' of these workshops.  I like them to be relaxed and so, unless necessary for the proceedings, I don't clean stamps or fuss about much - it makes people nervous.  So how come, this morning - even after last night's clean up, bed time ablutions and this morning's shower - I'm the filthy one?  AND...I haven't unpacked and cleaned up the kit yet!  I was absolutely blue...Salty Ocean Blue to be precise.

 I don't know.  Not going to change at this age though, huh!  Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday 248

Here's some real news.  Stuff I never imagined I'd be writing about.  It's WOYWW's fifth anniversary at the end of May.  28th May to be precise.  Easier, it's week 260. I can hardly believe it.  Suffice to say, if you need it is. We're going to mark the anniversary. With a list chain ATC swap, just as we did last year.  It will sound familiar to many of you, and I hope not boring. I will, as time trots towards week 260, set up a page with how and how and how and how.  You get to send an ATC to one person, or make a bunch of them to send to erm, a bunch of people.  So yesterday's post suddenly seems really apposite, huh.  See, this blog isn't just thrown together you know.  *cough*

Meanwhile, and without further's my desk, that's what you're here for.
It's displaying my best skill...the push back technique.  My ipad is hiding behind the 'Old Chap' and other cards.  I'm listening to Pride and Prejudice whilst I play with my new stamps. I have a handful of new stamps and will be boring you with them very shortly. For a long time.  
Join me do - show me and inspire me - you know you can.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Master of time/Master of boards

Just in case you think that all of a sudden I've got time on my hands, I want to reassure you that I'm, MAKING the time. It's a time-management coup - and very easy - you just neglect everything else.  Seriously.
I thought I'd show you the 'backgrounds' workshop we did a couple weeks ago. To put off getting the kits started for this week's workshop.  See, procrastination in every method!
I scribbled Distress Stain across this sheet before stamping it. 

None of these are new ideas or breathtakingly different techniques, but they use a combination of stamped images you may not have thought of as 'going together' and they make the most of the ink pads you have in your stash.  If you're inspired to try it, pick 3 ink colours and say, five stamps, and a sheet of clear, frighteningly blank card.  Cream or white in these cases.  The stamps need to be relatively non specific images and you have to prepare yourself to stamp them all over, upside down and off the edges.  You can.It's easier than you think.  And it's not wrong.    
These two sheets were white and just stamped, no inking or staining of the base sheets.
My card samples aren't fab, they were about showing what, when cut down, a great and versatile background you will have created.  These two cards have exactly the same images stamped on them, and use the same ink pad colours.  But...different stamps were inked with different inks....they look quite different in terms of prominent colour, huh.

If you knock out a couple of sheets next time you want to make a card with a strong background, you'll have em in stock to use as patterned stock next time.  Don't discount over stamping and die cutting from them either..

If you're an ATC maker, these 'masterboard' style sheets are really quite useful.  Like gelli prints but with stamps.  And I may well have an idea that involves you and a handful of ATCs.....coming up soon. 

Saturday 1 March 2014

Wake up and smell the rununculus...

If you ask me, flowers are an absolute staple for card makers, stampers particularly.  No matter how many I own, I can always make room for more flower stamps.  And I have.... whilst making samples for the workshop at Japonica. Which is now, rather alarmingly) at the end of this month!  
We settled on using the Stampendous Clear set, Ranunculus. 
And somewhere in our conversations, we talked about using Brilliance ink pads.  For me, this was an invitation to dust mine off, I haven't used them for ages.  Of course, I'd forgotten how much I like them.
So I've been making cards featuring these tight bud flowers. And initially, they caused me problems....and the mojo was being very stubborn. But I've managed a few..and had fun with the fact that I HAD to make time at my desk to do them.  I've had less fun trying to re-do them so that I can 'judge' how long they'll take, but that's a whole other story about not putting stuff away and trying to rely on a memory that is, apparently, shot. 

Modern and mono - I water coloured them with Brilliance Lightening Black.
Now remember, I'm not an artist, so when I say water coloured, I mean that I squished the ink pad onto a non porous surface (for me, that's my glass cutting mat) and spritzed it with water.  Then I use any old paintbrush to pick the colour up and paint as inside the lines as I can.
Done the same way, this time the flower heads were embossed...and I went to the trouble of a bit of decoupage too.   Quite a plain card, but not awful.
This 8 x 8 card is a challenge too far for me...I'm happy to scrapbook on 8 x 8, but a card? Ulp! So to avoid the arty 'clump in the corner with lots of white space' I've gone for a spring time wreath.  Same method..stamp and emboss flowers, watercolour with mixed Brilliance inks and then cut out.  Layer onto white mulberry paper, the edges of which I stained with leftover 'water colour' ink.
Big, innit.  
And then I retreated to type and comfort zone.  These are stamped in Black versafine and coloured with pencils.  So, so much safer!  I mounted the page onto the purple-ish card stock and then put them in a cuttlebug embossing folder. 

So if you're coming to Japonica, prepare to have inky fingers.  If you're coming to the Card marathon, prepare to use this stamp I've started, the old mojo is finally awake and smelling the flowers!