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WELCOME to my little arty world! Trying to make art is a huge part of my life ... love nothing more than messing around with inks and sprays and generally making a mess!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Not much yet on my workdesk this bright and sunny Wednesday morning as I am still in recovery after doing 1710 miles in a week on our trip to Ireland last week!  Will be firing up the Gelli later though as I want to make some little items to give to my sister-in-law who is holding a fund raising event for Rethink and the Maya Angelou quote cards I made seemed to go down well - no idea if they are the sort of thing that would be acceptable as fund raising items but if they don't sell then they can always be put to another use.

Well, mindful that Julia over at the Stamping Ground likes our WOYWW posts to be short and sweet I shall keep this one short and sweet (do I get a gold star for that Julia please?) - my workdesk as I type consists only of some rather dodgy samples of some new crochet stitches I am trying to master - definitely more practise needed!!!

Oh yes Shaz's blog just reminded me of the new dies that came on Monday ... going to make some Christmas ornaments with them as seen in a Stampin' Up! Youtube video ... at least, I will attempt to make some!

And just why am I showing you my poor little samples?  Well, each Wednesday us crafty bloggers get the chance to visit the workdesks of fellow crafty bloggers all around the world and take a nosey at their workspaces ... all courtesy of the brilliant aforementioned Julia.  If you are a blogger then check it all out HERE

Happy WOYWW'ing!   

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


Wednesday again but no workdesk to speak of as I have cleared everything away for my holiday ... did have the Gelli out earlier in the week and had a marathon session with it but did I think to take photos?  Did I heck!  They would have been a bit on the boring side as I just made a repeat of the Maya Angelou saying that I made last week - made two to send to lovely, lovely ladies known to everyone here but am keeping quiet as I want their arrival to be a surprise.  I made another one for someone who commented on the original one I made and I made four to leave in each of the B&B's as we leave on our imminent holiday in Ireland to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary!

And in case you don't know what WOYWW'ing is all about then check it out HERE - a chance for us in blogland to hop around the desks of fellow crafters all over the world and see what they have on their desks on this What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday!

So you don't want to see eight photos all of the same thing but in case you missed it they all looked pretty much like this one that I gave to MaggieC (Silvercrafter) last week after she took me with her to Maria Simms workshop in Shrewsbury.

Maria's workshop was very interesting and a lot of fun ... a style of crafting that I would not normally do and which is not really my "thing" but I learnt a couple of new techniques and am now the proud owner of those fabulous Clarity stencil brushes ... still trying to decide between them and my much used blending tools but can see how they will both have a place in my crafting.  The stencil brushes do give a lovely soft effect and I look forward to having more time to play with them when I get home.

We tackled four projects at the workshop ... all based on the one cottage stamp - the first being a row of cottages to make a street scene and then my first ever use of a stencil brush!  It shows the masking using a post-it note technique at its best.

Next project was the use of the ploughed fields stencil ... the stamp and the stencil all from Clarity obviously ... and using just two colour distress inks to get the shading of the ploughed fields.

Sorry the photo is sideways ... it was taken the right way around and appears in my photos on the Windows explorer thingy as the right way round but post it here in blogland and it is sideways!  You'll get the idea though - just don't crick your neck trying to look at it please!

Then we had to use masks and do weird and wonderful things with the placement of the stencil which, as you can see, I totally messed up.  Was about to start this one again when Maria cheerfully said "it's a path leading through the fields" ... and as that so reflects my new life right now I thought "Oh, ok!  I can live with that mistake then!"

The last project of the day was a Christmas card ... combining masking and using the stencil brush to build up the sky.

So whilst these are not cards I am likely to reproduce I already have ideas to use the stencil on the Gelli plate and, as MaggieC pointed out, if you look at the stencil sideways (not hard when it appears that way here already!!!) you see a beautiful feather!

SO thanks again to Maggie for letting me use so many of her fabulous Clarity products and I look forward to the next workshop with Sally-Ann Hanes next month!

Happy WOYWW'ing everyone!  

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Rushed birthday greetings

Oh that feeling when you find out ON THE DAY that a friend is celebrating a very special birthday and you so want to send her a card but, of course, you are already too late.

What the heck ... make one and send it anyway with apologies for not knowing ... but now everyone knows that the leader of all things WOYWW celebrates her birthday in July and her poor postman will need a trolley next year!  Belated 50th Birthday Julia Dunnit and hope you had a great day.

Oh yes, and sorry your card was a hastily made late arrival.

First time with the Gelli Plate!

SOooooo the stencils FINALLY arrived from Clarity so I was able to roll up my sleeves, take that deep breath and just Have-a-Go!
Fully intended on blogging ALL the prints I took but managed to zap them from my 'phone and am quite cross with myself as I now don't have a record of those first bloomin' awful attempts.  
No matter how hard I pressed or how ever much acrylic paint I used I simply could not get a complete print.  It was a very hot day though and I do wonder if the paint was just drying too quickly ... it is fast drying anyway so factor in the heat of the day and maybe that wasn't helping my inexperience with the Gelli & paints of any kind (give me a distress ink pad any day please!!)

One friend, in particular, had been very encouraging with the whole Gelli experience and I was heading off to Maria Simms' craft meet in Shrewsbury on Saturday (12th) and kinda hoped to make something acceptable to give my friend as a thank you for all her belief in me and for taking me to the meet ... I had seen Barbara Grey's youtube Tuesday video for this project (hence the wait for the stencils to arrive) and thought I would attempt it for my first go. Watched the video over and over again and after about eight attempts I managed this:
First pic is the front (duh! Like you couldn't figure that out for yourself!!!) 
Hadn't got any stencil brushes so just went for it with my distress blending tools jobbies and they seemed to work ok.
Dyed some of the wonderful Mr Holtz's crinkle ribbon (love, love, love that stuff) - it came out a little more brown than I intended (as I know my friend is not a huge fan of anything grunge!) but decided to go with it.

  The back made use of one of the first failed prints ... as all you Gelli users will already know the coloured ink here was what was left on the plate after pulling your first print ... good old buff titanium brayered over the top and hey-ho it releases the dried coloured paint underneath and you get this.  Was going to bin it as a failure but actually quite liked it and it gave me somewhere to write a little message along the  blank bit at the bottom and I could pretend it was supposed to be like that!
Alas, when cutting it to fit I did get it wrong and was left with a white edge along two sides ... the blue border was a case of "there are no mistakes in craffting, only layers" and is a layer to cover up the mistake!

A close up of the Maya Angelou verse that I have always loved and as this was intended for Margaret Craner (Silvercrafter) it seemed just the right occasion to use it.  Margaret has been so supportive and encouraging and has more belief in me than I have in myself and even though we have "known" each other for more years than I can recall we have never really "known" each other and a wonderful friendship has recently seen us battling through life together.  I shall be forever grateful for these past few months Maggie - thank you.

 And a close up of the fandabidozieeeee effects you can get with the Gelli ... can't wait to play more with it!

So this project was totally a copy of Barbara Grey's youtube Tuesday project and can claim only the execution of it and not the design or forethought that went into it ... if Barbara did it on that video then I did it too.  Hopefully as I get used to it and more used to using acrylic paints (I'm a crafter not an artist!) then I may even branch out and experiment but for now want to make a couple (at least) more of these to get to grips with the techniques and then who knows ... the world is your Gelli plate!

Er, maybe!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Thistles & stiles, cygnets & train tracks

Well, have got myself all geared up ready to attack the Gelli plate for the first time just the moment some stencils from Clarity arrive.  I have to say their service is pretty rubbish compared to my normal craft suppliers (I mostly use the wonderful Country View Crafts & have done for years!) ... have checked the post several times today hoping the postie was simply late  but nope, no delivery from Clarity!

So, no crafting news to share, but hey - this is my blog so I figure I can blog about anything I please so am recording here the lovely, lovely walk we had this morning.

Decided on a different route today, but still to our favourite woods & lakes at Earlswood and as the sun was already shining we went early - emerging from the car at 7.10am to enter the blissful coolness (it was freezing actually!!) of Little Falling's Coppice.  Headed over the "up & over"  bridge across the railway but instead of then heading into Clowes Wood we kept to the other side of the hedge and skirted the edge of the wheatfields and, well, just kept going!  It is a walk known to the nephews so we knew roughly in which direction to head.

Was delighted to come across thistles ... I love thistles!

Now, only having the shortest legs in the whole wide world I do struggle with stiles!  One defeated me a few weeks ago but then I had better luck last week but only with the help of hubby who "did leg-lifting" (mine, not his!!!!)  ... today was much the same but it was either turn back the VERY long way we had already come or get over the stile!  SO, leg-lifting again and over the stile I went.  

The bloomin' thing was much higher than it appears in this photo' ... really it was!

When you have crossed a field or several you come to another bit of the wood and then there are more fields and more fields and then more woods but eventually you come back to the railway and have to do the Stop! Look! Listen! thing and cross the tracks ... it's amazing they still let us take responsibility for ourselves and let us cross the tracks as a lot of these crossings are now padlocked but hey ... we did stop and look and listen and showed due diligence and managed it just fine!  Was exciting though and, as a lover of the film had to do my Railway Children bit ... "Stop! Please stop!" (but I didn't faint!) & "Daddy, oh my daddy!"  Ok, enough acting for today.

We looked left ...

... and we looked right ...
  and we crossed!

Finally made it back onto our regular route around the lakes ... turn left and take the shorter route back to the car or turn right and go the longer way around ... we turned right. 

Good decision as we were greeted by the serene and simply wonderful sight of the swans and their brood of cygnets gliding effortlessly towards us.  There were 9 cygnets originally and today there are just 7 but we are hoping they are now of a size they will be safe.  There are some awfully big fish in that lake though and, well, nature is nature ... but I do so want all the cygnets and ducklings to make it!

Bit of a slow ramble back to the car but it was a long walk (for me!) and already way too hot but I have patted myself on the back today and those that know me will know how difficult I find that and how rarely I ever think I've done ok.  But ok I reckon I did and am even planning on doing the same walk again real soon ... including that dreaded stile!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Don't these Wednesdays roll around fast?  SOOooooo fast that I seem to have missed two!! When I say missed I mean they happened and I was part of them but just failed miserably to get to join in with the weekly blog hop over at THE STAMPING GROUND - want to know all about it?  Well, in a nutshell, the simply beautiful and brilliant Julia Dunnit provides us crafty bloggers with the opportunity of linking up and visiting the workdesks of like minded guys & gals each week. So here I am sharing my desk!

First pic is of some new stuff that arrived this week ... you know, all that stuff that you don't fancy or want but absolutely, without shadow of a doubt NEED.  Unfortunately I NEEDED more stuff so am hopeful of another wee small delivery any day soon ... just a couple or three new stencils so I can eventually pluck up the courage to pull my first print off that Gelli Plate.

I did manage to make a couple of cards ... they are so bright in real life you need sunglasses but as they are get well wishes I figured I'd go the bright and cheery route ... just didn't figure they would turn out so bright the recipients would need to recover from sunspots once they open the envelopes.

As a lover of all things grunge I'm not sure about these but in an effort to branch out from my preferred colour palette of brown and dusky blue and muddy green I only got out my sunshiny distress inks and went with the flow.  I did use my absolutely wonderfully gorgeous swallowtail butterfly stamp - thanks again, Fiona Cullen - and all I can say is WOW!!!! Not to what I did with it of course but to the item itself ... it's HUGE and I can't wait to use it again.

I did the two cards the same but different ... the swallowtail is just visible if you stick your finger in your ear, stand on one leg and squint a bit ... the one that has the lighter coloured ribbon.

I do LOVE that ribbon that the inspiration that is Tim Holtz came up with but it is somewhat expensive I think so it only gets used on cards for very special people and I really need to find an alternative that will behave in the same way.  Even managed NOT to set fire to this ribbon too ... crafting without the adrenalin!

Just a couple more views of the cards and then it's off out to the lakes for me - the gates open at 7.30am and I already have my boots half on but wanted to leave ten minutes ago!

You need to do the finger in ear, standing on one leg thing again but the swallowtail is just visible in this one!

So Happy WOYWW'ing and see you in blogland!