Sunday, 21 December 2008


This is another ATC made for a competition - had a lot of fun with this! The background is distress inks on watercolour paper, which has a fabulous texture for paint and ink but isn't smooth enough for stamping on.

The image is from a Crafty Individuals stamp, which I watercoloured, overlaid with a metal arch embossed by hand and coloured with alcohol inks, then mounted onto black card to make it stand out more. The black arches at the base are a Teesha Moore stamp which has been embossed.

Although you can't tell the black dots are quite 3D because they're done with relief outliner. The gold scrap wings have been slightly coloured to give them greater dimension. I'm pleased with this one - it will be hard to send it away!!

Friday, 19 December 2008


This unfinished box contained (rather yummy) chocolates and was a Christmas gift last year. I'd held onto the box ever since, believing that inspiration would strike in terms of what I should do with it ... and as you can see it did!

It was only once I'd learned the metal embossing techniques that I realised this would be a perfect way to cover up the logo on the lid. The wood was actually unfinished so first I gave it two coats of light wood stain to make it a more interesting shade, and followed this up with two coats of matte varnish. The result isn't actually completely matte, but is exactly what I wanted in terms of a very slight sheen but not shiny.

Then I cut a metal panel to almost cover the lid and worked on this as a unit. As you can see I worked from the outside edge in, gradually covering the whole piece. Because quite a lot of the design is very 3D this was also the first time I used fine grade Polyfilla (that's Spackle to those of you in North America) on the reverse to fill the depth of, for example, the celtic style border. This ensures that the design won't become flattened in use - and it really works, although it does make the panel quite rigid. I carefully kept the filler away from the edges where I'd need to tape it down.

The panel was fastened on with the extra strong tape - a band of it right around the outside edge, then a criss-cross of tapes across the piece. The result is very secure and I don't think the panel is going anywhere! Although I've stained and varnished the inside too, I haven't quite decided how to finish it yet - perhaps line it with some sumptuous scrapbook paper?? I'll probably decide once I know what I want to use it for!

Thursday, 18 December 2008


I made this as part of my entry for an ATC competition. The face is a stamp by Hampton and is possibly my all-time favourite - it's so discoloured and scruffy from use! The background stamp is by Crafty Individuals and I love these lilies, which I stamped over a blue and pink background paper. I picked up the turquoise blue in the butterfly wings and in her eye - what you can't see is that I've used mica paints, which gives a slightly unearthly reflective look.

I stamped the lilies again and cut one out - it's mounted on foam pads although this doesn't show very well in the photo, and I picked out the stamens with black relief outliner. Unusual colours for me but I think it works .... (and since I took this picture I've now coloured the white of her eye with a white pen, which makes her look a bit less spooky)!

I haven't posted much this week - not only is it very busy but my mum is probably dying. Since she's suffered from dementia for a number of years it can only be a merciful release.

Monday, 15 December 2008


My oldest daughter sent me a surprise present in the post - and look what it is!! It's only 2' tall and sits on my table all pink and sparkly. Isn't it FABULOUS?

Downstairs the Christmas decorations are a tasteful composition of red and green, with lots of natural greenery from the garden and a real tree .... but up here in my studio I can indulge my sense of humour, and it makes me laugh whenever I look at it!

And how lucky am I to have a daughter who would send me this just to make me smile with a little note that said "I saw this and thought of you" .......

Friday, 12 December 2008


I've been doing a bit more work on my pink book today (after making another 2 dozen mince pies). I showed some other pages earlier, and it's such fun to work on, it always makes me smile while I'm doing it! Unfortunately it's still rather a slim book and I do need to add more to it, but I'm beginning to run out of ideas - so if you have any let's hear them!!

The stuff in my bag has become very pink, so I emptied it out and photographed the contents! If there doesn't look much I should explain that I use a very small bag with a long strap which I can wear across my body, so that my hands are free for crutches or zimmer frame. Having a very small bag concentrates the mind wonderfully when it comes to the stuff you really need ...

And then I wanted to explain that pastel pinks just don't cut it - if the colour is going to shout "hey, over here" then it has to be full-blown fuschia, bright, brilliant PINK.

Thursday, 11 December 2008


I've been making a set of 11 of these for a "Vintage Beauty" ATC swap I'm part of. You can imagine why I signed up for it - never good resist the vintage look or the chance to work in my favourite sepia tones.

I used images from a Lunagirl set of slide shaped photos, which were perfect for this topic. I used some script paper as a background, plus a sheet of tape measures, and those Kelly Panacci stamps I've used so much. I antiqued the edges with chalk inks too - another favourite technique.

This feels like some kind of faded keepsake - like a dance programme perhaps - kept in tissue at the bottom of a box and brought out occasionally as a reminder of times past ..... fanciful, me???

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


I made this for Sunday Stampers latest challenge, to use blue and brown. I don't often stamp with brown but thought I would have a go.

The background is Distress Inks and the main image is by Enchanted Gallery, from a set designed to use on dominos. I watercoloured the image and mounted it onto dark brown card.

The strip of lace is from Stamp N Stor, and the border stamps are from a set by Kelly Panacci. I added 3 deep brown snaps at the bottom.

While I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, and I love this colour scheme, my problem is that I can never seem to find a brown ink pad which is dark enough. The one I used is Versafine and I've bought several others so far, but they're always paler than I wanted. If anyone knows of a good dark one then do please let me know!!

Monday, 8 December 2008



I made this ATC for the Wednesday Stamper challenge which this week was to use metal! Well as you can imagine that was no hardship .....

I'd been so pleased with the large metal arch I made that I decided to make a small one as a window for an ATC, using the soft sheet metal that you can emboss.

The background is Distress Ink and in Denim, China and Weathered wood. The image is a stamp by Paper Artsy, which I watercoloured. Other detail was added with stamps by Teesha Moore and Fiskars.

It was such a treat after a busy weekend to just sit down and play ....

Friday, 5 December 2008


These are the windows I made for this week's challenge over on Awfully Big Art Adventure. The green Frida is ATC sized, and the other is based around a postcard sized wooden picture frame - I added the wooden struts to make it look more like a window.

I rather enjoyed doing these - each quite different. The Frida one has a soft watercoloured look because I found a drawing of a window to use and added shading with my watercolour pencils.

The wooden frame was a cheapie buy in a dollar store - these were made as little craft kits for children with 4 in a pack plus some markers. I threw the markers away and bought two packs!
I was thinking about genteel poverty behind closed doors and the mask of respectability, and these two little ones are looking out at a world more colourful than their own life. I think it's because our huge old house is FREEZING at the moment, so I am dreaming of double glazed cosy cottages ....

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


I actually made this for a challenge the other week, but then buried it under some stuff on my desk and never managed to post it in time.

I think the challenge was to use a hand somewhere, and this was on a Teesha Moore collage sheet and just cried out to be used.

Once again I used one of my Distress Ink backgrounds, and I picked up the stripey bits in the picture with a Paper Artsy stamp that I used around the edge.

Every now and again I break out of vintage mode into something slightly wierd and wacky ... and this is definitely one of those times! I wonder what gets into me, maybe I need a bright splash of colour in these dark days? Perhaps I just need a bit of a laugh? Answers on a postcard please ...

Monday, 1 December 2008


I've been doing an online class for an altered tin project, and I photographed the stages to show you. It used a couple of techniques I hadn't tried before.

The basic project required half a tin - so you get to keep the lid for another time. Then you had to tear masking tape into little bits and cover every inch of the tin, inside and out. I wasn't particularly sure about this stage because it was a nice shiny tin bought for altering. Anyway, since the whole point was to learn something new I did eventually do it, and admit to it being quite a therapeutic process. At this stage I also added a hanging wire to the back held on by strips of tape.

The next stage was to paint over the masking tape and then almost immediately rub most of the paint off. As you can see this gave a rather nice effect, and the dark paint went into the cracks and made a crazy paving effect. A coat of sealant went on the outside, but leaving the top edge and the inside uncoated for a better surface to stick things to.

Then it was decoration time and I put a large cabinet photo into the back, with a bottletop decoration. I don't know how well the photo shows that the other images are mounted in a 3D effect - in layers one above the other. To achieve this you make a hollow square out of cardboard and put it behind the image to support it - and I added tabs at the sides too for extra support. It gives a really interesting effect. The final stage is to edge and decorate the tin, which I've done with german scrap and some chipboard swirls painted gold then antiqued.

This piece is another of my stories - there's the man of the house and his sweet wife with a baby and their charming daughters, with their happy home pictured at the front. But there's a shadow over all of this - in that Father has a mistress an opera dancer (pictured in the bottlecap). Despite the appearance of Victorian domesticity, all is not as it seems behind closed doors ......