Sunday, 31 August 2008


Well I finally got the birdhouse worked out! Unfortunately it's a rather dark day for taking pictures and the result is rather more "golden" than it looks here, but you get the idea ...

The roof and sides are covered in various scrapbook papers, and the eaves are done with Distress Crackle Paint in Antique Linen, slightly rubbed with chalk inks. I found the rub-on word sing among my stash and just had to use it.

The eggs are from a Paper Whimsy collage sheet, and the large letters and tape measure are Tim Holtz Distressibles. I made the nest with twigs from the garden, binding them together with cotton thread - the resulting assemblage is actually fastened to the box with a small tack, and I painted the head to match.

I hand made the bird and mounted it on blocks to give a really 3D effect. I've got plans to make a nest and bird for the inside later, but haven't quite figured out how to do it, so it's empty for now. I'm SO pleased with how this turned out - not pretty like before, but I do love it, and to my pleasure and amazement so does my husband!!

Saturday, 30 August 2008


I couldn't decide whether this poor girl was actually lost in thought or bored stiff, or possibly both? The background is a scrap of paper which has been extensively inked, and the image is from Digital Collage Sheets. I also added the rose and a scrap of lace, and the result works perfectly for this weeks TGIF challenge.

Anyway, this is Esmerelda, a refined well brought up young woman, closely guarded by her mama who never allows her out unescorted or to have any fun. Hence the bored stiff pining for adventure expression on her face.

She's been sent a rose by an unknown admirer and Esmerelda has decided she doesn't care what he looks like as long as he's rich and presentable and will take her away from Mama as quickly as possible in order to have some fun before she expires from boredom.

On the other, if the anonymous admirer should happen to be the handsome heir to a dukedom she met last week, that would be enormously pleasing - and Mama might even approve!!

Thursday, 28 August 2008


Last night I trashed the birdhouse, ripped the paper off and undid everything I'd done to it. It wasn't that I didn't like it, but it was TOO pretty and I wanted something more grungey and vintage. So I've set it aside until I get inspired to work on it again.

I made this for the Created by Hand challenge to use something I'd never used before. Well I've been wanting to do image transfers for some time, and bought a bottle of Transcryl from an art shop. What you do is paint several coats over the image, letting each dry, and then you can rub the paper off the back and the image is on the "plastic" you're left with. The black and white image of children here is the result but I'm not too thrilled with this product - the resultant "plastic" is a little thick with all those coats, and unpleasingly shiny (which doesn't show in the picture). Also the edges are very definite and I was looking for a more ragged, distressed edge.
However, it does what it says on the label even if I'm not keen on the result.

Images of Victorian children are often very stiff, but I rather like this little family group in their boots and stockings. I often think that by using these images the children pictured live on in our minds, even though no-one knows their names any more, and that's what I was trying to convey when I used the butterflies.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008


This is the present state of the birdhouse project - once I got that wonderful stripey paper (K & Co Blue Awning) it began to fall into place.

I painted the eaves a sort of smokey blue, but plan to decorate them some more. I'm not convinced that I've got the right shade of green along the base - it needs to be more lime to tone in with the paper. Never mind, what a good excuse for a visit to a craft shop!

It's all very plain at the moment but I do have plans to titivate it extensively - I want to add a bird, some eggs, and I've just found a rub-on that says "sing" so that might work. Off to search the garden for twiggy nest-like sticks .....

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Birdhouse Stage 2

I'm still not 100% sure what I want to do with this - but that's often the case, I work quite organically and "let it happen" rather than plan everything ahead.

So I gave it a coat of blue paint - it might not stay blue, although I do rather like it - and then in the middle of the night I remembered this gorgeous crackle paper by EK Success which works perfectly on the roof. This paper is so great, it even has the texture of the crackle.

I did find some interesting pictures out there of other altered birdhouses, but just at the moment I'm not sure what to do next. It will come, though hopefully not in the middle of the night this time! How we suffer for our art!!

Monday, 25 August 2008


Woo hoo, look what I found for £1 at the car boot sale! Now I know my transatlantic visitors won't get all excited about a birdhouse because you can buy them everywhere over there. Here it's not so easy, and the ones that do exist are often fairly roughly made ones intended for the garden.

That's not what I want it for however - I've wanted to do an altered project based around a birdhouse for a while, so I was thrilled to find this. It's a very nice wood too, and don't you just LOVE the little door in the side, so I can do the interior as well!

If anyone can point me in the direction of inspirational birdhouse art I'd be very pleased as I'm not just sure quite where to start yet. Also, can you buy artificial bird's nests anywhere, or do I need to learn to make one sharpish?? How hard can it be - birds do it??

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Blue Bird

Sometimes isn't it nice not to do a challenge or a trade, but just sit down with some stuff and please yourself? So that's what I did, although I sort of challenged myself to use something I hadn't used before. Well I'd had this Paper Whimsy collage sheet for some time, but never seemed to use it, perhaps because the images are ever so slightly fuzzy. Anyway the bird and eggs were my starting point.

The background is a scrap of leftover paper, the nest is from a Lisa's Altered Art sheet, and the leaves are an Inkadinkado stamp which I've watercoloured in shades of burgundy.

The background "trees" were done using a Lavinia clear stamp having first masked off the nest and leaves area. I'm really pleased with the blue against the pink and burgundy. If you can have a soft blue bird who lays deep blue eggs, I figured you could have pink leaves and purple trees. And no, I haven't been at the mind-altering substances - unless chocolate counts??

Friday, 22 August 2008


I think I'm less sure about this one - it almost works but not quite. Maybe it's the reddish tones in her hair conflicting with the pink. Oh well

I used some ecru lace I've had for donkeys' years - I KNEW it would come in for something eventually! The wings are of course German scrap, and the buttons from my increasing collection. The background is a scrap of Cosmo Cricket paper - I love using up my little bits and pieces like this, it makes me feel all virtuous and thrifty ...

The tiny pearls were left over from the days when I used to make miniatures - you put them on individually with a dampened cocktail stick. Yes it's very fiddly.

I like this enough to try this colour scheme again, but perhaps trying to avoid the redder tones next time.

Thursday, 21 August 2008


Although I love working in vintage style, I've been aware for some time that I need to break out of browns into colour, so this is my first attempt and I'm really quite pleased with it. I deliberately chose a vintage image with some colour in it and let that lead the rest.

The soft blue background of the cardstock offsets the ticking stripe, but to make the picture stand out more I framed it with a scrap of Basic Grey paper. Ticking seemed to lead naturally to buttons and a scrap of lace finished it off. The button on the top left corner was a rusty brown colour so I painted it - and when dry the brown shades still showed through slightly which gave a perfect result! The word promise is of course from a Tim Holtz distressibles sheet.

Doesn't she look wistful, but trusting also somehow. She's waiting for the young man with whom she has been walking out to come back to her having made his fortune so that they can be married ....

Tuesday, 19 August 2008


This week's challenge on TMTA was to say who you'd pick as your blind date! Well I've been saying for years that the person I'd most like to have dinner with is Stephen Fry (seen here playing Oscar Wilde, and I wouldn't mind having dinner with him either). For a start he's very tall and big cuddly bear of a man, and he's just so clever and witty but also kind, it would be scrumptious ... and of course he'd be the perfect gentleman!

Because he seems like an old fashioned sort of chap who might have been happier in times gone by I did him in vintage mode. I dyed some lace with Distress Ink, added a stamped tape measure and some other bits and pieces.

I shall look forward to my dinner date - hope he gets here soon ...!

Monday, 18 August 2008


The challenge at This Thursday was to use colour with the quote "colour is my passion", so I chose PINK! I do love it, it always cheers me up, but it's also my gesture of defiance against increasing invisibility as I get older. I even painted my crutches bright pink .. which possibly also makes ME mad as a hatter, but I don't care!

I started with an Invoke Art stamp of a shrine/house and that wonderful image from Artchix which works in so many ways. I water-coloured the house and the flowers got the tiniest pink sparkly stones for their centres. Well pink and sparkly go hand in hand don't they?

The stripey paper seemed to provide a good foil for the house and the words (Paper Artsy) just fit right in there and felt right. Exhibit A is a stamp I use a lot but can't remember where I got it, possibly Cat's Life Press.

This doesn't just form part of my pink visibility campaign it also says something to me about the wonderful craziness of doing your own arty thing and ignoring what the world says or thinks. I guess it reminds me that sometimes I need to work on that and just let go ....

Saturday, 16 August 2008


I needed to cheer myself up today so chose to break away from dark vintage mode into my favourite colour palette. I made a background with Colourwash sprays and Distress inks - always fun splodging around with those! Then I got out two new Paula Best stamps that I haven't played with yet, and spent a happy half hour painting them with mica paints.

Must be a glutton for punishment because then I cut them out (yes really, all those stamens) and mounted them onto the background. The little buttons reminded me of peas in a pod somehow, and anyway they work with this week's Layers of Colour challenge!

Isn't it strange how working with colours you love can lift your spirits? No perhaps not, I shouldn't be surprised that making art helps me to feel strong and positive ... it is after all why I do it! Because I don't feel really alive unless I am creating.

Friday, 15 August 2008



Wednesday Stamper's challenge this week was "keyhole" and I remembered that I'd bought a collage sheet of these from Phenomenon recently.

The background is stamped in brown on pale blue card, the large key is die cut, and I just happened to have a stamp of the word "peek" (Paper Artsy I think) lying around begging to be used. I mounted the keyhole onto blue card to make it stand out a bit and water-coloured it. Don't you just love wondering what she's looking at? Sort of "what the butler saw" perhaps?

Thursday, 14 August 2008


I've been busy scrapbooking our holiday and making stuff I can't yet show here because it's for a supplier, so I promised myself that I would spent this morning working just for myself, using anything I liked. I even broke out of ATC mode and worked on a postcard for a change!

So of course - I gathered all sorts of vintage bits and pieces, what else? I was thinking about the Arty Girlz challenge so actually began with the gorgeous patterned paper that I've used as a background (I think it's 7 Gypsies but am not sure). Beautiful it may be but the strong design can be a bit overwhelming so I tore some mulberry lace paper and antiqued it, just to tone it down somewhat.

I bought a sheet of Daguerreotype frames from Phenomenon which worked well here - and am proud of the fact that the pictures aren't even on straight! I'll get myself loosened up from straight lines one of these days ...

I added a little metal frame, a clock and a coin, some lace, black scrap and painted a laser cut chipboard shape as a finishing touch. It was fun to work on a bigger canvas and this would look so nice hanging on the wall if anyone would like to trade for it?

Monday, 11 August 2008


I love the idea of making a shrine, and this window pendant kit from Retro Cafe Art (you're supposed to hang it from a chain) really caught my eye.

It comes as a collection of wooden pieces which I painted and antiqued before adding the picture and then the window struts on top - I looked through a lot of images to find something that worked with the pattern of the struts. I added some paper lace and a gold crown, plus some gold outliner as a decoration. The whole thing is just 2" high so its quite tiny and it was rather a case of less is more - but I do think the result is rather sweet and like to have it on my shelf.

Sunday, 10 August 2008


The challenge at Mixed Media Monday (yes I am a bit on the last minute) is to do a 3 x 3 "thrinchie", which sounded a nice size to me - much smaller and my brain hurts too much!

Arty Girlz are also running a vintage challenge, so I decided to combine the two. Well as you know vintage is probably my best loved style, although I do want to break out of brown and try other colours within it.

The background is paper from the K & Co Margo range - I love this because it's so atmospheric. I was starting to think about my granny's house, and how the only thing I really remember about it is the doorway, which made me think how much symbolism there is in doors and gateways. So I started dreaming about this family who lived behind that door a long time ago - represented by the clock. The knowledge of who they are and where they lived will remain a mystery we can't unlock, represented by the key, but this piece is about my strong sense that we are who we are because of all manner of influences whether we are conscious of it or not. All our ancestors leave us some kind of legacy and we need to treasure that knowledge. That's why, when presented with a suitcase full of old family photographs, I became a scrapbooker to archive that precious past so that it would be available to my grandchildren.

Saturday, 9 August 2008


It's possible that yesterday the jet lag was catching up with my brain since I felt a little down in the dumps, and it was last week's (I'm still catching up) Crazy Amigo's black and white challenge which "spoke" to me. And I normally LOVE colour!

When I looked through my images this shadowed picture of Frida Kahlo jumped out at me - I think in this you can see something of the pain she suffered. I used some text from an account of her accident as a background and stamped over this a weave effect, to represent the different strands of her life. The pattern I stamped at the top made me think of a bead curtain or something similar, which is a bit sort of Mexican ..... well I wasn't having my best day!

The postmark represents the way her work still communicates, and the butterfly the fact that despite much darkness in her life her art grew and developed out of it. I hope the title doesn't need any explanation, and it arises out of the mood I was in and the knowledge that I've got a few scars and shadows of my own .... I'm happy to say that I am in more cheerful mode today!!

Friday, 8 August 2008


Trying to get back into the creative zone I plumped for the TMTA theme which is turquoise this week - currently my favourite colour (and oddly I used to hate it in my 20s).

I made the background using Adirondack Colour Washes and Distress Ink - I do enjoy splodging about with this and make a whole A4 sheet at a time, but the sprays work better if you work inside a box. For the first time I used the wonderful Tim Holtz flourish stamp which I bought on my travels.

The image is from Lunagirl (I think) and couldn't quite decide whether she was miserable or sulky, or possibly both! Either way she doesn't look happy does she. My jet lagged brain wouldn't supply a story line, so I just used the colours I love - green, turquoise and gold - and doodled the edge. A couple of gilt charms seemed to complete the creation, and although I wanted to add a word or title I just couldn't come up with one!

Thursday, 7 August 2008



I took some little hand-sewing projects with me on holiday (and the beads got loose in my suitcase) and this is one of the results! It may sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet, but she is actually much prettier than she looks here - the photo hasn't captured the sparkliness which is such a huge feature. I used some batik fabric which Linda gave me, and added felt wings and a silver feather charm. I hope it shows how much I enjoy making these!!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


Clever Linda spotted these at the bottom of the stash photo, so I thought I'd show them in more detail. The square ones top left are about 1.5" square. I actually got them in a dollar store, and there were about 8 of each in a packet!! Yes really so about 5p each, and it's my favourite bargain of the trip and I bought a few packs. They are a mixture of brass and silver effect and weigh almost nothing so they'll be usable on a huge variety of projects.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


We've had a lovely time but having travelled through the night home without sleep we are both pretty jet-lagged. Still, as you can see from the picture I got all kinds of gorgeous arty stuff and masses of tiny beads too small to show up here. Fabrics and bag patterns, metallic paints, one or two stamps and a FABULOUS mixed media book by Beryl Taylor which would make you drool!!
Can't wait to wake up enough to play with all this stuff, and since the weather is totally FOUL when we left 82 degrees in Canada I'm not tempted to stray away from my studio ....