Sunday, 31 January 2010


A good friend of mine has got new leather sofas and armchairs! I was commenting on how comfy they were and she mentioned that the only thing wrong with them was that she could no longer stick pins in the arms when sewing/crafting in front of the TV! I could see her problem but had a burst of inspiration - Ican fix that, thinks me ... and this is the result! It's sort of a version of the bottlecap pin cushions, although this was a much bigger cap which sort of cried out for the cupcake treatment!

I was thinking chocolate and banana at the time (I am on a diet, so there are times when stuff like cupcakes dominates what passes for my thinking processes. Did I mention I was suffering from menopausal brain death?) So, two colours of felt, a bit of ribbon, and some cute heart shaped buttons and VOILA! Problem solved. The yellow blobs are the heads of the toning pearl headed pins I stuck into it. If she's read this far then friend knows who she is - this is coming to your house soon!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010


Blimey, Wednesdays don't half come around regularly these days ... and it's time for What's On Your Workdesk again - I blame Julia, it was all her idea. So here we are again having a good ole nosey around each other's workspaces. Today I am mostly sewing bits of felt, as you can see. Made my daughter a cover for her iphone and then sort of couldn't stop, so made these as well! Now I can't think for the life of me what to do with them - I haven't got one of those luscious gadgets myself, although I live in hope (not much because DH says I don't need one). What's that got to do with anything?? Maybe I'll start aspiring to an Apple Tablet instead - if I win the lottery ... In the meantime, maybe I should start an Etsy shop for mobile phone covers??

You may like to pause and admire my special system for organising embroidery silks, which is an original design of my own? This is how you make one.
1. Send out for takeaway
2. Eat said takeaway (spiced chicken and cashew nuts if you're interested)
3. Wash takeaway container (or better still, get somebody else to do it for you)
4. Use container to hold neat skeins of embroidery silk
5. Ponder at length how said neat skeins turned into tangled MESS? Come on now, who did that??

Other items of note include card for friend, trusty fine-tip glue bottle with which I do just about everything, and picture cut out of magazine for my inspiration file. No coffee so far, but the kettle is ON if you want to pop round?

Saturday, 23 January 2010


Well I do enjoy making something out of nuthen much .... and would you guess just looking at this little purse that it was made with cardstock, paper and an embossing folder??? No, neither did I but it turned out well didn't it?? It's not an original idea (with this brain??)I found the tutorial online, and can't track it down at the moment, but it's easy! Under the circumstances I am willing to take more or less all the credit I can get for being clever(ish) on this occasion!! I'll post the proper tutorial if/when I find it.

What you basically do is dry emboss some cardstock using a Cuttlebug folder, and sponge ink over that to give a mottled colour. Then I swiped Versamark all over it and did two layers of clear embossing powder on the top, which made it look rather like croc skin don't you think? Well that's the general idea anyway ...

Then (and all this was following the tutorial) I backed the panel with a patterned paper and stitched the two layers together. The sides are made by doing a concertina section of card, and gluing this to the folded over "leather" panel. It's not very practical as an actual purse, because it doesn't crease/fold very well, but I'd like to do more pieces in this way. I can image doing a box with 'leather' panels, and anyway it's cheap, easy and FUN!! Are you impressed yet?

Wednesday, 20 January 2010


I know this looks a bit "posed" but I promise you this is how my table looked - I almost finished this layout yesterday, and just had to add a couple of die cuts this morning. That's why its so neat and tidy - honest!! Behind you can see various boxes and cards - I'm teaching a class tomorrow for the blue and cream one, so have to get my a**e in gear for that shortly.

But the thing that's making me smile today is this gorgeous bunch of daffs - aren't they yummy, so bright and cheerful? My best beloved brought them yesterday, and they were just closed up buds, but this morning when I came up here to my garret they'd begun to come out. Given that horizontal sleet is falling outside it's the only cheerful note around here ...

You will no doubt be deeply relieved to hear that since I took the picture I have messed the table up again, but now I have to go and make it all nice and tidy for tomorrow's class ... so I can pretend it always looks like that!! Which it does of course .... he he he.

Get on over to Julia's place if you want to see more Wednesday desks, and another nice shot of her bin!!

Monday, 18 January 2010


OK I admit it ... having written my killer novel, editing the damn thing is no FUN at all! The trouble is that is has to be done before I risk showing it to an agent. Discovering all the infelicitous prose I've churned out, and all the things which need fixing in each chapter is a dispiriting process. I make myself edit a chapter every day, but after it's done I reward myself with something more enjoyable! Once this reward would of course have been chocolate or biscuits, but since I've been on a diet for the past three months, (22 pounds gone and counting) I turned instead to what my dearest one calls "playing".

I've always loved making ATCs, and in fact at one time turned out far too many, but hadn't done one in ages, so decided it was time! I also used to do a lot of challenges so again I leafed through the challenge sites for inspiration, and that's where I found the Crazy Amigo theme of "Postcards" which instantly pressed my creative buttons.

Last week I was reading Anita Shreve's "Resistance" so think there was a strong influence of that here ... looks a bit like wartime documents don't you think? Well that's sort of the effect I was after! Cannot be bothered to list all the ingredients for you, but Artchix collage sheets featured quite a bit. I already have a home in mind for the gold/brown one, but if you think the blue one might have your name on it I'm up for a swap!!

Saturday, 16 January 2010


Remember the art journal box I showed you a couple of weeks back? I finally got around to making the first page for it - they're going to be approximately twice the size of an ATC and in a loose format. The finished journal will then be a box of individual pages, hopefully about one a month, but my intention is to journal anything significant which seems to need it.

So this is my January page - a bit more of a literal approach in terms of it being a picture than I really meant. I was looking for more of a collage, but struggled to find elements which worked to convey the ice and snow ... so a sort of picture is how it turned out! You can't really tell but the icicles at the top are made from card which I then covered in glossy goo, to which I added very fine sparkly dust. I hope it gives a frozen(ish) effect ....

I was trying to record the snow days when everything seemed frozen in time, we couldn't get in or out except on foot, and the days were rather strange and surreal. Family couldn't get out to work so it was a sort of holiday which wasn't. Quite a festive atmosphere in some ways, at least until we all got very bored of the snow lying about for ten days ... bah humbug.

I hope I've caught something of what I wanted to record in these images without actually using a photograph (which is the whole idea), but just in case I forget the symbolism I've journalled on the back too as you can see below. I just wrote some random thoughts, which mainly represent the love/hate thing we had going on, where our garden looked like a fairyland but we soon ceased to appreciate it!! Come by again for more pages documenting the year ahead.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010


Hecky Thump! (does anybody still say that?) two posts from me in two days?? It's a miracle! It's all Julia's fault, this what's on my workdesk Wednesday thing!! Bit of a strange collection on there today, which nonetheless reflects current preoccupations.

On the left a pile of new Sissix dies which arrived in this morning's post, delivered by a very fed up looking bloke trudging through the new snow which fell last night. The Sissix sale was ACE and I got lots of goodies at bargain prices. Then there's the snow photos I can't decide whether to make into a layout or a mini book, and on top of them a sweet little package of stamps I bought in another sale.

But on the very top is the blooming book I've been looking for for about 3 days! I turned the house upside down searching for it, only to find it on the shelf above my desk! How was I to know that, since I last used it, the cover had changed from the white with red writing I was looking for to this ....? I have already read it, but now that the master novel is FINISHED (woop woop) I have to go back and read the chapter about submitting a synopsis and sample chapters. Oh my, this is scary stuff, but then I was looking at the dross on offer on Tesco's bookshelves earlier, and thought "if they can publish this stuff, its worth a go"! Positive attitude eh??

Tuesday, 12 January 2010


I think it was Kimmie who started the "Tea on Tuesday" thing ... and I've been meaning to join in for months now. So, Tea on Tuesday bloggers, I'm raising my mug of decaffeinated coffee to you! You may learn a couple of things from this photo (apart from the fact that I don't DO tea), for example I am very fond of spots (polka dots). Also pink. If something is pink and spotty then my cup runneth over!! Incidentally this is a rather posh cup - Cath Kidston no less - a present from my oldest daughter, who also bought me my pink Christmas tree! My beloved bought me the pink spotty teaspoons, which I still think are fab.

You may be uncertain about the creature sitting next to my cup - this is another of those pink objects which keep finding their way in here. I think he's a chicken/rooster egg cup but was a gift from a friend. I get him to look after my paper clips so that they're handy, and he hasn't let me down yet!

Saturday, 9 January 2010


Having shown you the covers I made for this year's Christmas Book, it seemed only right to share a picture of the finished item! I make one of these most years, just capturing a flavour of the whole event ... it's lovely to look back on, especially while the grand-daughters are so little and changing rapidly. Obviously I don't take pictures of the cat being sick on too much turkey, or half my family suffering alcohol induced narcolepsy!

In recycling spirit most of the ribbons and dangly bits on the spine have come out of crackers or off packaging etc. The gold ribbon was around our Christmas crackers, and the sparkly star fell out of another. Don't ask me which manufacturer made the papers etc cos I can't remember.

It already seems like a lifetime ago dunnit, and the New Year off to a cold and snowy start. Thinking of knitting myself some thermal underwear as our big, old house is flippin freezing! The snow that fell Tuesday night is still here and well and truly frozen into lumps, and more is forecast this weekend. This is a picture of our driveway - very beautiful but almost impassible. Can't decide between singing "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" or doing the whole Bah Humbug thing. Will probably do both!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Over on Julia's blog she's asking "what's on your desk"? So I thought I would show you how impressively and wondrously tidy mine is! Gasps with amazement - how neat, how organised you cry! Yes well I can see why you would, and I will just bask in your approval for a minute here ....

OK OK, it's a fair cop and I'll come quietly. That IS my workspace, but it's in the attic window and it's far too cold to work over there, so I've decamped to the centre table for the duration. It's nearer the heater and the kettle, not to mention right under the big light, so it has many attractions. No it's not really a scenic location, and lacks the view from the window, so I shall be glad to return to it come the Spring.

So THIS is where I've really been working this afternoon ...

That's my new Scor-Pal wot I got for Christmas, and my trusty Tim Holtz scissors. On the left is my round and round tote thingy which holds all my essentials, and centre back is a 99p birdhouse type thing which once held a primula pot plant (the plant wasn't up to much, but I bought it for the container), which I then painted pink and glammed it up a bit, and now I keep my markers in it! On my mat is the black and white gift box I've been working on today, in between nipping out to take photos of the snow ...

Now I know you must be wondering about the little fella at the back overseeing the whole operation, and I can explain ... Obviously he's a Bagpuss type mouse, and he was a Christmas present from my beloved, but the thing about him is HE SINGS THE WE WILL STICK IT WITH GLUE song!! Absolutely love it.

I found him in a shop in Stow on the Wold and was so enchanted when I heard him that I sang the song endlessly to my beloved all the rest of the way around the town. Despite this, he still went back secretly and got one for me, though he might have regretted it since because I'm STILL singing the song intermittently and dear daughter has rudely requested that I shut up!! Wot a cheek, I'd put her rent up if she paid any ...

So now you can see the awful truth about my messy workspace and the kind of company I keep! Wasn't going to photograph the cup of hot chocolate with brandy in it that I just downed (it's very COLD today, I needed reinforcing) because obviously that would be too incriminating .....

Saturday, 2 January 2010


Linda and I both have a copy of an absolutely gorgeous book called "Collaborative Art Journals" by L. K. Ludwig. It's so inspirational and I can wholeheartedly recommend it - I got mine from Amazon and reading it just makes me drool .... ooops, sorry about that!

Anyway, it was this book that got me started thinking about a journal that wasn't a book and didn't involve (much) writing. I wanted to do an art journal where I represented visually what was going on in my head and life (assuming something is). One idea in the book was to use a box and make loose pages to fit inside it, so this is my take on that. It's not that big - about 7" by 4.5", so the pages to go inside will be roughly twice the size of a playing card or ATC. Enough space to offer scope but not so much as to seem daunting! My plan is to make a page for each month - or it could be more if something special happens which seems to need it. Either way I should end up with a year in a box which says something about my feelings and experiences throughout it. Crumbs this may end needing censorship!!

Linda is going to do one with me, and I hope to persuade more of you to work alongside on this project? The nice part about it is that you can join in at any stage, or make pages more often, it can be any size you like, and it encourages you to keep and treasure your own art!

I used some papers I got for Christmas - from the Basic Grey "Ambrosia" range - to cover a box I had which seemed the "right" size. I've protected the papers by painting over them with Winsor & Newton matt varnish (intended for acrylic paintings). You can't tell it's there at all, but it does provide a coating. I stamped all kinds of labels and whathaveyou and had fun sticking them around and grunging up the box a bit. The curly arrow on the top is a piece of chipboard I had to hand, and I painted it with black metal effect acrylic and rubbed it with copper to age it a bit.

I haven't photographed it but the inside is also covered with other papers in the range, and painted with the same acrylic varnish. Now I've shown you mine ... so lets see yours!!