Tuesday, 30 September 2008


Woo hoo, look what I've been playing with today! I was so impressed with Sharon's metalwork on her matchbox that I ordered some of the aluminium from LB Crafts. I already had a book about this called Metal Effects that I bought in a sale, so I thought I would have a go.

This is a motif from a Design sourcebook - and it might with hindsight have been a bit too detailed for a first attempt. I put the design over the metal and taped it all to the soft mat I was working on, then with a ball stylus traced the pattern. This is the other side to the one I was working on. Once I lifted off the pattern I found I needed to go over some of the detail - you do have to press quite hard and my arthritic fingers don't like it. Like a say, a less detailed image might have worked better!

Then working on this other side I followed the instructions in my book to paint over it with black acrylic, then rub most of it off. This produced an antiquey effect which I like a lot. I was going to leave it like this when I remembered that I had some metallic rub on which I dabbed onto the oak leaves (can you actually tell that it's oak leaves and acorns?). This gave a subtle effect, but when I had another go using a permanent marker on the acorn cups I got a beautifully vivid colour that I rather like! To finish off I folded the (sharp) edges over a 3 x 3" piece of card. This wasn't a bad result with the limited tools I had at my disposal, but I didn't want to buy anything special until I'd had a little play first .... now I guess I'll be off to buy some of the texture roller and other tools you can get!!

Monday, 29 September 2008


This little girl from a Collage Stuff sheet sort of reminds me of my grand-daughter Molly - I think it's the solemn stare. Mind you Molly will sometimes then break out into the most enormous smile, which is like the sun coming out! Not that I'm a completely besotted granny or anything ...

And don't you love this little dress too - it looks like it has a good hem for letting down (nobody seems to do that these days). She's such a poppet I absolutely had to give her little gold wings didn't I? Of course the real Molly might not be described as a little angel!

I haven't had much time in the past week, my house having been full of visiting family including some from Canada - at one stage we had 8 people staying! I snatched a very little time here and there, but let's just say I'm quite glad to have my life back ...

I used an Invoke Arts shrine stamp to back the figure, over some sumptuous paper. I'm sort of left with the feeling that I perhaps could have done more with this, but there wasn't really room.

Saturday, 27 September 2008


I am just crazy about birdhouses, and I've just finished this little one (barely 4" high) which fits with the Crazy Amigo butterfly theme.

I bought it for $1 while I was in Canada and even though the perch is a little crooked that only adds to it's charm for me. The eaves and perch are painted with Distress Crackle paint in frayed burlap, and you can see from the pictures what a superb fine crackle it produces. I love the stuff.

The roof is papered with a crackle effect paper by EK Success, and the front is painted with acrylic and subtly aged with green. The paper on the sides and the flowers and butterfly decorations are all taken from a Paper Whimsy digital collage sheet - lots of fiddly cutting out!

Friday, 26 September 2008


I made this little album as our weekly challenge over on the Awfully Big Art Adventure and really enjoyed doing it! It's just an ordinary matchbox, but I decided to remake the inner box in black card.

The pages of the little album and the cover of the matchbox are all made with a Paper Whimsy digital collage sheet, and I've added various faces from other PW collage sheets.

The pages are 3 x 4.5cm and are all double sided. They each have a brass eyelet in the top through which I've passed a brass bead chain to connect them, and added a ribbon tie. I wanted to add beads etc but then it wouldn't fit in the matchbox. The brass piece on the top is a random item from my stash and I honestly can't remember where it came from!!

I had so much fun making this - it was relatively quick to do and would make a lovely gift for a friend.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008


The challenge over at Mixed Media Monday was to "show us what you love to do". Well there's only one answer to that and it's vintage, preferably brownish!! It is definitely the thing I love the best, even though I am trying to add in a wider range of colours these days!

I particularly love this image from Paper Whimsy - this girl's face is so serene and calm, almost madonna-like. I always wonder who she was and whether she grew up to be as beautiful as this picture suggests. Perhaps that's why the treatment here is almost shrine like?

The background is a 7 Gypsies Paper, with lots of german scrap and a gold crown charm, plus a little tag that says "limited edition" because she is clearly one of a kind. The measuring tape is a rub-on and is sort of intended to indicate the passing (ie measuring) of time. Well I knew what I meant! I've aged the lace slightly with ink, and also used chalk inks to age the brassy gold a little.

I may have to keep this one as I'm really rather proud of it!!

Monday, 22 September 2008


I really enjoyed this challenge from Creative Wednesday to use banners. Right away I started thinking about a lady in a little house putting out the flags to welcome someone (?) home!!

The little house was made with an Invoke Arts stamp - from one of my favourite sets. The tree is Hero Arts and the grass is from Tanda stamps. The flags of course came from my scrap box, and the lady in the window is an Artchix image.

She met a handsome prince at a party and fell madly and instantly in love. Now she's waiting for him to ride down the lane to her house on his white charger and never go home again, so the flags are to welcome him. Obviously he needs to turn up soon, because she's going to another party next week ..... !

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Something to CROW About!

Created by Hand's challenge to use Crows this week captured my imagination, and has resulted in a piece quite different from my usual style! But then, that's the whole point of challenges isn't it?

The keen-eyed among you will notice that the background is one of my bleach-stamped efforts. The crow himself is a stamp by Invoke Arts, along with the small boxed bird shape. The main bird is embossed which is why he looks a bit shiny in the picture.

I added bands of black card, decorated with gold relief outliner, and computer lettering. It's fun to work outside your comfort zone (at least it is when you don't throw the results in the bin), but I so wish I could get the hang of doing layers rather than neat and tidy arrangements!! Note to self - LOOSEN UP!!

Friday, 19 September 2008


Oh wow and triple WOW - just look what Fatma sent me! I saw him on her blog and having completely fallen in love cheekily asked her to swap - and she said yes!

Mr Crow as I've named him is about 7" tall and quite soft and squishy (which I love), and his beak is wonderfully shaped giving him a slightly quizzical expression! All the beads and sequins just make him even better, and I've got him hanging over my desk where I can see him.

On the other hand I keep looking at him and feeling that he looks a bit lonely and might be in need of a mate, preferably a PINK one! Now where did I put that fabric .... ?

Wednesday, 17 September 2008


After all my hard work getting ready for tomorrow's launch of Big Art Adventure, I decided to just sit down and make something for my own pleasure.

So I used one of the bleach stamp backgrounds I made and my favourite turquoise shades. This lovely image is from Lunagirl.com - aren't the little fairies at her feet just brilliant! I used the Paper Artsy writing stamp to fit with this week's TMTA challenge (better late than never).

Added some black lace and a little butterfly, plus an eyelet and some fibres to finish it off. Of course I was thinking about that wonderful hoax about fairies at the bottom of the garden, and what it would feel like to write to somebody trying to explain that they really WERE there? Well they are in mine, and very probably yours too, it's just that I can never quite catch them ....


Linda (Blue Eyed Girl) and I have had our heads together for a couple of months now and we've been designing a NEW CHALLENGE BLOG!! We want it to be something that affirms and encourages everyone to grow through their art, and to find it therapeutic and healing as we have. We also want to offer a wide variety of themes and ideas so that all of us can challenge our boundaries and try new things. Our first challenge goes up on Friday, but the blog is live now so get on over to Big Art Adventure and bookmark it! If you'd like to sponsor us just say so!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


I finally got hold of a Castaway stamp pad - basically bleach without the smell - and have been playing around to see what it can do.

As you can see the results are rather interesting - you stamp your image (which comes out quite WET), leave it to dry for 5 minutes during which you see no apparent difference. Then you iron it on the HOT setting and it appears like magic! Having said that, on some cardstock nothing much happened at all ... particularly on linen finish card. I got the best results with the smoother card.

On the top ones the colour has bleached out of the stamped area, leaving the background colour completely unchanged. On the lower ones, the two blue ones show a reverse effect - the branches are the original colour and the background has been bleached away.

Apparently it only works on "uncoated" paper or card - I tried it on some texture pattern paper and it did nothing at all, but overall I like the results and think it's probably worth investing in ... and anyway I HATE the smell of bleach!!

Monday, 15 September 2008


After all my protestations about making vintage art which isn't brown, I seem to have slipped back a bit here! It started with this gorgeous grungey brown paper and sort of went from there. Somebody gave me a pack of vintage rub-ons for my birthday, and this postcard was one of them. Before I knew it I was back in full brown mode again. Sorry, I can't help it.

There's a story here of this lady who is waiting for her fiance to return from the Great War. She's actually quite tired of waiting for him (which she feels she has done rather a lot of) in fact she's not even sure she can remember his face any more, or why she agreed to marry him, particularly when he doesn't write very often and then only a postcard.

However, she's hoping that when he finally does come back it will all make sense, because it would be such a shame to waste the gorgeous trousseau building up ... especially the silk undies.

Saturday, 13 September 2008


The Mixed Media Monday challenge this week was "stars". In pursuit of my goal to do vintage which isn't brown ... I started off with this delicate blue paper, over which I pasted some hand-made tissue which has silver stars in it (sadly they don't show up that well).

This image from Digital Collage Sheets is just so ethereally pretty! So delicate that it needed great care to cut out the face, and don't you think she has a sort of yearning expression? I added some lace, silver stars and a crown (there always seems to be one in there somewhere).

So why is she gazing so longingly at the stars? She dreams of being an engineer like Papa, and being at the forefront of science in this age of steam. Mama however has other ideas about a suitable career for a young lady, which include marriage to a suitable scion of a noble house. Now if only Mama could find someone for her who was also interested in engineering, as well as rich and handsome. Don't I go on?

Friday, 12 September 2008


I made this for the Wednesday Stamper's challenge which was to use caps (hats to us Brits). This little chap from Digital Collage Sheets just makes me laugh so much - doesn't he look sick as a parrot at having his picture taken? This whole outfit with the ruff and the hat and all those huge buttons just made me think the whole time "do I have to wear this"? I was hoping to include the words "my mother made me do it" but there wasn't room, so I settled for "boy" instead.

The background is a greeny textured paper over which I stamped text from a Paper Artsy stamp, then added a torn strip of striped paper. The scalloped lace is also paper and the black strips are a rub on, with the final addition of a little brass tag.

I enjoyed making this - the picture still makes me smile and I can hear a running commentary in my head from this little boy .... "I hate you for making me wear this, I'm not going to smile and you can't make me, how soon can I get this gear off"..... well, invent your own!!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008


This week's challenge on TMTA is to use a dance theme. When I was a child my parents believed TV was bad for children, so we never had one - with the result that I read voraciously and lived in my imagination more than most children my age.

Among my mother's books was a biography of Anna Pavlova, and I was totally riveted by the account of her considerable suffering and health problems, yet how she always put her art before anything else. Her feet used to bleed so much that she had to change her point shoes often throughout a performance!

So this ATC is a sort of shrine to Pavlova - and I deliberately chose not to show her in the iconic role of the dying swan, but used this image taken in 1902 which shows someone alive and vibrant. The crackle background is there because I was thinking about the pain she endured behind all the glitz and glamour of the theatre, and I used the German scrap frame because I see her as an icon of inspiration. The golden wings are because she rose above everything to enthrall and amaze those who saw her dance, and the crown is because she was one of, if not the greatest ballerina of all time.

And yes of course I dreamed of being a ballerina myself - I did a lot of pirouetting in front of the mirror but couldn't cope with the grinding reality of barre exercises!! Also, I wasn't really the right shape, not to mention having two left feet. But in my dreams ....

Tuesday, 9 September 2008


I'm currently drowning in ATCs so I REALLY need to trade a few so that I can .... make some more of course!! Please would all you people who've admired any of these swap with me? Everything I make is available for trading unless it's marked as already gone.

It's my Birthday today so I won't be making things but off celebrating, and since my presents have included a bottle of my favourite Jack Daniels, I may not be compos mentis later ..... and no I'm not telling you my age, except to admit that I'm a mature woman in my prime!!

Monday, 8 September 2008


This week's challenge at Wednesday Stamper is to make something transparent - which sent me back to a technique I sort of "discovered" a little while back. I'd read something about stamping on tissue paper, so had a go and by trial and error found you could use Mod Podge to paste the piece onto a background, giving a see-through effect.

The background is made with Distress Inks, then stamped with the Latin text. I stamped the Ammonite (by Anita's) onto tissue paper and coloured it very gently so as not to tear the tissue . Then I pasted Mod Podge onto the area I wanted to cover, and gently laid the tissue over, adding another layer of MP to seal. The same technique was used with the wording - a Paper Artsy stamp. I love the way it's see-through but ever so slightly opaque, and you can see the torn edge of the tissue.

The little bug brad was an afterthought that just seemed right - I was thinking about history and artefacts and it sort of seemed like a fly in aspic or that kind of thing. I found these brads in a sale and KNEW they'd come in for something eventually!!

Saturday, 6 September 2008


I really enjoy making shrines so the Creative Wednesday challenge was right up my street! This isn't an ATC but a panel 6.5" x 4.5" - a much larger size than I usually work in, I seem more often to be drawn to little things ...

I love old photographs of Native Americans - their faces can sometimes be cruel and arrogant, but here I see wisdom and nobility, and also a deep sadness.

So I started making up stories again ... he is a chief or prince, a leader of his people so he deserved a crown. Unlike his brothers who led other tribes, he tried to make peace - so I added the Latin "pax" which means peace. He tried to understand the white man's ways but met only the closed minds of those who could only see their own way of living, and find no value in his - hence the lock and key. I gave him gold wings because he seemed to deserve them, and to symbolise the fact that peacemakers of any nation will always be blessed.

The piece hasn't photographed too well, and is much more 3 dimensional than the picture suggests because it is built up with layers of card. The crown is actually painted a metallic bronze, and the black decoration is raised because I used relief outliner. The black frame is also quite heavy card, finished with crackle glaze, and the background paper is 7 Gypsies I think.

Friday, 5 September 2008


The Challenge at This Thursday is to use black - which seemed an ideal opportunity to use the Distress Ink backgrounds I made yesterday. I was experimenting with heavyweight water-colour paper which takes the ink very well, although the texture does affect the stamped image. I rather like the dots on her dress that this produces, but in future I might use the flatter side.

I was thinking about black as the colour of mourning but somehow this Paper Artsy stamp reminded me of an identity card or something ... so I added postmarks that made me think of passport stamps. Well I know what I mean anyway! I'm actually not that sure what this is about (do you have days like that?), so maybe one of you will tell me .....

Thursday, 4 September 2008


"In the pink" again, but in vintage mode this time, inspired by the Created By Hand pink and brown challenge. Well the brown part just HAD to be a vintage photo didn't it, and this is one of my all-time favourites.

The background is once again Basic Grey paper - I just love this stuff and should probably have shares in the company! The scrap behind the photo is a 7 Gypsies paper. The butterfly came from Digital Collage Sheets, plus bits and pieces of metal and lace from various sources. I darkened the ecru lace a bit with distress ink to get a good contrast with the background.

We've just had our 33rd wedding anniversary (and I don't feel old enough) so those promises have been in my mind, as well as a huge thankfulness that in all the ups and downs of life we are still together and still crazy about each other.

The delicate prettiness of the bride reminds me that although we think of ourselves as grown up at the time, we are such vulnerable young girls when we marry, yet we put so much faith and trust we put into that commitment. The lock and key symbolise (no NOT shackles or ball and chain!) the safety and security of committing to loving one person, but the lace and butterfly stand for the fragility which can be part of any relationship.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008


Houses are somewhat on my mind lately - we've never owned one and probably never will, but when I look ahead I sometimes wish we had a place that truly belonged to us .... it's that thing about safety and security, the essence of "home" isn't it?

And also I was in a very PINK mood, so that was the colour I got out, and then it was something of a challenge to combine pink with the architecture theme at TMTA but it was fun to work with. Architecture is fundamentally about the spaces we inhabit, and for me home is the most important of those spaces, it truly is where the heart is.

This little house shape is a stamp by Invoke Arts, and although I meant to do more colouring with it I actually rather like the black and white against the strong pink, so deliberately left most of it that way.

If I ever get the opportunity I think I would like a little pink house, with a window to look out of, preferably onto water, where I can sit and create and wave at anybody who comes to visit.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008


The challenge theme on This Thursday is "puzzle". I've always thought that this little girl from Paper Whimsy looks completely baffled, poor little scrap. Her eyes just sort of say "I don't get it".

The background was done with Distress Inks, overlaid with a woven effect stamp by Hero Arts. I've had these tiny puzzle pieces for ages, and painted them black, adding a scrap of ribbon which was just the right colour.

Maths was a mystery to me too - although I could always do SUMS if you see the difference, and spent much of my working life doing accounts! It was more esoteric maths that stumped me!!

The lock and key are obvious symbols, and the key itself is made from Delight Clay using a mould from The Stamp Bug, then painted with metallic acrylics. The padlock is one of my dollar store finds.

Monday, 1 September 2008


Just wanted to play yesterday so decided to have some fun with the Arty Girlz "Summer" theme.

I chose this strong yellow paper from Basic Grey as a sunshine or sand colour, and then painted a powder blue sky and some clouds, and used a gold marker for the sun.

I love this vintage image from a Scrapz collage sheet of a very covered up young lady posing on her towel. I was just playing about with the pun on water/angel wings!

Actually if you look closer she's got a rather naughty twinkle in her eye, very far from angelic if the truth be told. Althea is one of those "fast women" talked about in the 1920s. She's actually from the wrong side of the tracks but she's looking for a sugar daddy to make her his Princess and take her away somewhere warm and expensive ....