Sunday, 27 January 2008

Organise Day Part 2 -

As I've mentioned previously I do have the odd tendancy to go off on tangents - so in between knocking up my storage boxes I thought I would unmount some of my previously wooden mounted stamps, re mount them onto EZ mount and to also make A4 indexing file mounts for them.

TIPS: To get stamps off their mounts I pop them in my microwave for 10 seconds and test to see if they have loosened, if not pop them back in for another 5 seconds or you can try soaking them in hot water.

Cautionary note: EZ mount have issued a warning not to store EZmounted stamps on acetate as it can cause a chemical reaction and permanantly bond to your stamps. Laminated sheets are fine as they are PVC based.

Above stamps on their original mounts.

Stamps now de-mounted and EZ mounted. To make your index sheet you can either stamp each image or place your wooden mounts on to a photocopier or scanner . Try to use card for this as it will add to the overall strength and Remember to label your index sheet.

Place sheet in an A4 laminating pouch, if you used paper for your index sheet also slip a sheet of card under for extra strength and then run through your laminator, hot is best.

If you have clear stamps on an acetate index sheet and wish to make an A4 index filling sheet - you must put a sheet of card under the Acetate sheet before laminating or else it will buckle with the heat.

When punching your new index sheet, try to use a 4 hole system , 4 ring binders are easily available and come in sizes up to 90mm deep ( plenty of room for lots of index sheets ).
4 Ring binders will stabalise the index sheet and minimise the card from bending, this isn't so much a problem with clear polymer stamps but the weight of rubber stamps will allow a 2 hole system index sheet to bend.

For easy reference you can punch and file together any instruction / inspiration / idea sheets that go with your stamps.

You could use different colour binders for different stamp types for easy identification but if like me you have too many stamps then maybe an outer index on the spine would be better !

Ok so back to my storage box making !

Saturday - Clean Up Day - Organise Day !

Ok so before I do any more crafting I really had to sort my office come craftroom out. So last night ( Fri ) off I went to Ikea for some more of their wooden storage box units, now the last time I got these they used to be ready made - not so any more. Funny but the idea of knocking up 20 odd boxes was only enlightened by the fact that I might be able to find things again !

Armed with hammer, nails and woodglue I managed to knock up this one - only another 21 drawers to do !!!!

Don't worry - the drawers won't stay blank for long ... I haven't decided whether to stamp them or paint a mural theme Hmmmnnn

Friday, 25 January 2008

Glendas Challenge - Jan 08

Firstly I must keep up with this blog thing !
Ok so Glendas DTP Challenge, I have used two different methods for the Direct to paper, the traditional one with ink pads and also one using the Spray inks. Both results below. Just click pictures to see larger versions of them. Hope you like them.

Direct to paper using pigment inkpads.

The idea for this card was the gorgeous Sweetpeas that grow at the back of my garden. I've no idea where they came from, they just grow every year along with the wild Ivy.

Along with Butterflies we get the occasional Dragon flies.
The teals and turquoises are my representation of the foliage and purple the hues of the Sweetpeas.

Base card A6 off white semi sheen, using just Petal Point ink pads and Catseyes ink pads - first layers blending turquoise and teal, then blending the lilacs and deeper purples.

I used a single line diamond style border stamp on an angle for the netting / trellis effect, repeating using various colours to highlight where needed.

I stamped some twirling vines randomly over the background to replicate the leaves and tentacles of Sweetpeas.

Finally came the Dragon flies, again randomly stamped in a deep blue, coloured in with a dry paintbrush just dabbed on the various ink pads that I'd used for the background. I will eventually finish the Dragon flies with either some shimmer or acetate wings - not sure and no doubt when the time comes to it I'll probably do something completely different !

Direct to paper using Spray Inks

Nowadays with Spray inks so readily available I find them so versatile for backgrounds and really easy to work with. The Spray inks I used for the background are available from Graphicus which are the fabulous Glimmer Mists, these have a fantastic lustre and as the name says - they Glimmer ! Mmmmm yummy ! I need more !!!
I used the Golden Terracotta, Denim Blue and Lemon Zest ( Spring Fever Kit ) for this card.
The idea of this card was an old writing desk with it's worn leather, you know - the type that has the gold tooling around the edges.
TIPS: The card may get quite damp so I always use a little repositionable tape under the centre just to stabilise the card and stop it curling as much - I don't want that Glimmer mist running off !

I do apologise in advance but the Glimmer does not show up too well in photographs.

Shown in picture above: To make the background is completely random, this is why I think the spray inks are so good, with the ink pads you are placing colour where you want it, with the sprays you can never be too sure of what you may get but it will always look fantastic. I used 10cm square cream card.
I took the Lemon Zest and sprayed centrally, I could have now just used the Honeydew green mist around the edges but it's more fun experimenting. I know blue and yellow make green so I sprayed that more towards the edges.
Using a brush I just swirl and blend some of the puddled mists together, now I have a golden centre with an outer hint of green fading out to blue. I need some reds and browns.
Again red and green make - brown or some sort of shade of brown ! so I spray my Terracotta randomly around the edges and using my brushes I can now blend where I want deeper colours and using a stroke brush I pulled some of the blue back towards the centre.
As I had only used a little repositionable tape under the centre of the card it will still curl slightly but this will allow the mists to settle at the edge of the card - similar to creating an inked edge.
I'm impatient - want it now - so out came my heat gun, as I was drying it I used my brush in the areas I wanted more effect just to build up the colour. Finished result on the left.

Next the first stamp layer. This is a repeating damask background stamp, I used my Petal point ink pads - in a soft caramel.
( Sorry about picture but I'm still trying to catch that wonderful Glimmer effect ! )

My next stage was to replicate the effect of the tooling used on desk leathers, out came my border stamps and using a Versafine sepia I stamped the scrolling leaves on the left hand edge and the ornate corners on the right.
The pale damask background can still be seen under.
For my top layer I used a collage stamp which has a writing theme to it - letters, ink pen and ink pot, I used the Versafine sepia again but added hints of Versafine red to lift areas.
To add effect, shadows were used under the top letters and ink pen, I just used a dry brush and dabbed it on my ink pads and brushed gently where I wanted the shadows. You could also use pencils to do this effect.
Please definately click this picture as You can see the various colours in the background that were achieved just by the simple use of 3 Glimmer mists. ( Ideally and if you know what stamps you will be using - I would have stamped the top layer before the edge layers and masked it off ) So that's the topper as it stands now, it will go in my drawer and I will no doubt add more to it in time or re stamp the top layer so I can decoupage it !

Now I need to clean up and get a coffee !!!!

Close up of the shadows applied to the top letters and pen to add a feeling of depth. You can also see the hues of the blue mist in the left corner.

BELOW: Here's the GLIMMER - WOW ! I had to tilt the card in the sun ( yes we did have an odd ray of it today so off I rushed - camera in hand ).

Thursday, 10 January 2008

1am in the morning and I'm still drawing !

Just finishing a design on the PC and came across a few of my daughters jewellery designs so thought I'd pop them on for you all to see. She makes everything from earrings to charms, a lot of her beads are hand made, if you look closely you will see the mandrels in the centres. Where ever I go in the world I always try to bring her some beads and shells back with me and I was so pleased to see some beads from Cuba in the Dark coloured charm.
She was asked by a local craft store if she could give some lessons on jewellery making but unfortunately with her new Salon only opening October last year she hasn't much time. To say she's only 19 she's done so well and we're really proud of her.

Hope you like the pictures. Just click them to enlarge.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

I've Been Good today - Well kind of !

Hello number 2 ......... As a cautionary note I do have tendencies to go off on tangents so don't be surprised if I start talking about one thing and end up on a totally different subject.

OK so lets start off with me and what I do and what my passions are.

I'm a Northerner and proud of it, married to a wonderful husband who seems to put up with my crazy ideas - he's my true sole mate x
I have two great kids, both grown up ( or so they seem to think ! )

Along with my husband for the last 20 years we have manufactured and retailed hand made furniture in solid timbers, Oak, Pine etc , you can't beat real timber - but try telling my daughter that - she prefers scaffolding in her bedroom for a wardrobe !!! Running a business is not as easy as people seem to think it is - where does all the time go ?

I'm trying to get my accounts finalised ready for the Taxman - my own fault as I've left everything till the last minute ! But hey I'm a Virgo - I'm supposed to be organised LOL

In the spare time that I can muster I love crafting .... crafting to me is a total release from all the stresses of work, I just get so embroiled on what I'm doing that the hours just whizz past. I've been known to get an idea in my head at gone midnight and then I'm down in the kitchen till dawn trying it out. I must pop a note book handy somewhere as I've thought of a couple of card styles just before dropping off to sleep but by the time I've woken up they've gone :-( Do we start loosing our memory at 40 ? OK so I've lost a couple of years there hehehehe
I love designing my own papers and themes either by hand or on the PC and I'm going to start a new theme this January either based loosely on the William Morris styles or the Art Nouveau styles. I hope to use this blog to keep you all informed of my progress along the way and show you the finished results.

I have a real appreciation of Glenda Waterworths' designs, and for those who don't know who I'm on about please go see her Blog and her website , Glendas' CDs are a must have for any crafter, the colourways make your mouth water just by looking at them. I've started using a type of pearlescent paper for printing the CD images, I got a good deal from a local paper company and thought what the heck I'll use it for something hey at 10p for an A2 sheet I wasn't going to pass it up. I must say the results are fantastic, the paper is white but has a soft gold effect pearl to it, so any colour comes out as normal but with this great gold pearl tint, I suppose it's similar to painting with H2O's or Mica's but a darn lot quicker with the printer.

I must have inherited my arty streak from my late Mum, she was always doing something to anything - we used to joke that if we stood still long enough she'd stencil us. My Mum passed away last Christmas through illness, she was only in her early sixties and had suffered a lot though her life and I'm so glad that during her last few years she came to live with us which in turn gave us the opportunity to look after her.

Mum lived in France in the Loire region for 12 years and hoped to run craft courses out there but unfortunately illness got the better of her. Mum had a love of animals as we all do in my family, she would take in injured and unwanted pets, she had 9 cats, 2 dogs, the ducks, chickens ( oh and Isabella the duck who thought she was a chicken and wouldn't go in the pond ! ) oh and the rabbit she rescued from the farmers next door before they ate it.

The manor house is still out there, still stencilled, marbled and sponged but we haven't had chance to get over to France for a while. Mum was a painter, embroiderer, stenciller, seamstress, you name it in crafting she did it. I'd love to think that wherever she is now is a much more colourful place - knowing mum she would have marbled the pearly gates ! white was always too bland for her. I miss her dearly x

OK back to me .....
So in true Virgo style I've started to sort out my office today, my office is part office and part craft room. My husband says I'm expanding slowly in to the showroom ! Lately with Christmas just gone it was more craft room and I really need to sort out the Christmas bits and pack them away until later this year when it will all come out again ready for the next one.
I've had a good sort out of most of my rubber stamp collection, the ones which were rarely used and I definitely know I'm not going to use them again have gone to a friend who has just started crafting. I've finally got round to laminating the design sheets for my newer unmounted stamps so have now filled those away - anyone who has the Ez mounted or Klingon backed stamps this is a great tip for storing them: TIP: Laminate your index sheets - If you don't have an index sheet then stamp your images first on to a piece of paper ( remember to allow a little room between each image ) then put your index sheet in an A4 laminate pouch and run through your laminater - hot is best. Punch the side to suit the file type you are using, I prefer the 4 hole but that's only because it's all I've got in the office but I also find it holds the laminated card better with the stamps on. Now you can put your stamps away nice and neatly and you can use tabbed dividers so you can arrange them by style etc !

Now I don't know if I'm supposed to do this but I've also remounted some of my previously wooden mounted stamps. I found that with some of my older ones I could easily & gently peel them away from the original foam mount and remount them on to EZ mount, but being me and not quite content with that I grabbed my new Anna Griffin wood mounted background stamps and thought Hmmmm and guess what I remounted those too, so tomorrow will be another index making and filling session. Next comes sorting out the paper and card Argghhhhhh

I'll pop a photo on tomorrow to show you the results.

Well that's enough for tonight .... I have emails to answer and an Acanthus leaf to draw !

Sunday, 6 January 2008


Hello and welcome to my Blog.

I am sat here creating my first Blog and I'm supposed to be catching up on my accounts - yikes !

Ok so this is my first posting and hopefully I'll be able to add more each day.

So I'm off to tweak my Blog and then in the immortal words of Arnold Swarchenegger .....

I'll Be Back !