Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my blog visitors a very happy christmas and new year!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Mail...

Today a parcel dropped through my letter box, and boy did it ever make my day!!

A few weeks ago I won a blog prize on Nancy Burke's blog.
If you haven't visited Nancy's blog before then I suggest you spend some time over there-you're in for a real treat!! 
Nancy was doing a series of tutorials making autumn tags, and gorgeous they were too.
They can be found here.

When I opened the box I found these beautifully wrapped parcels. It seemed a shame to open them.

But when I did, this is what I found:
How gorgeous is that little big lot!!
Distress inks, glimmer mist, fantastic vintage ephemera, doilies, tags, leaves, flowers, buttons, metal embellishments-I can't believe how lucky I am!! I am going to make something special with this lot!
I love, love, love everything in this package!!

Nancy, thank you so much-you are so generous!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top Layouts of 2011

I thought for this post I would just post my favourite layouts from this year:
The top two are a couple I did for THE SCRAPBOOK MAGAZINE about laying on embellishments to help make a dent in your stash.

This one was about using rub ons:

This one was for no reason except having fun:

And so was this:


Nicki Sivills:

The f=one that got me back into scrpping after a long holiday:


another for SCRAPAGOGO with the focus on using rubons creatively:

And another just because:
I'd love you to leave a comment to tell me which is your favourite!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

A layout...

...and lessons learned..
On the weekend I made a layout, the first I've done for a while that wasn't for a DT or magazine assignment. One where I chose all the elements, and got to play around a bit without worrying if it was good enough for public viewing. It was a very quick layout, not counting drying times, and it was looking good until I made two mistakes.
The first mistake was not knowing when to stop. I recently bought the Prima chicken wire stamp I used on the page, and have definitely over used it here. I have managed to cover up too much of the masking, and really didn't need to stamp over so much of the page.
The second mistake was stamping with Stazon ink on top of the circle rub on in the centre of the page. As you can see the rub on came off when I lifted the stamp. As a result I have one very distressed rub on, which was not the look I was after!

But not to worry, a memory is captured and I enjoyed playing around with different techniques.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

More cards

Here are a couple more Christmas cards. I really like the white one-I'd be delighted to receive this card! It looks simple enough but actually it has lots of lovely layers and textures.

Here are a couple of close ups so you can see what I mean:

 Embossing, layering, glitter and gems:

This one has layers too, but I'm not so keen on this one:

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Some cards

Way back in about May, I had a commission, out of the blue, to make some christmas cards for Creative Cardmaking magazine.
It came as a surprise because I don't consider myself a cardmaker, but the editor wanted some ornate, heavily embellished cards-both traditional and modern in style. It was a bit of a challenge in that at that time of the year there was no christmas stock around in the shops, so I had to make do with old stash, and think out of the box a bit.

So here are some of the cards I made:

This one has hand dyed flowers- I  think I used coffee!
Lots of layers and distressing!

 The next one had a recycled thing going on-packing tissue, corrugated card and book paper:
Again, lots of distressing and inking!

 And this one with a lovely cluster of flowers and leaves and wire and mesh-some of these bits came from a christmas decoration...

 Only thing is-they are going to need careful packing if they are sent by post!

I did enjoy making these, even if they did take me more time than a card ever should!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Collage art journal

So I'm still enjoying collage style art journalling.
This page started after a scrapping session when I randomly stuck on some papers-I did this on a number of pages. Then, another time, when I had stamps out I stamped randomly on this, and a number of the other pages too. So now I have a number of pages waiting for journalling. It's so easy to do this, as it's done in small chunks of time, very quickly, with very little thought given to what I use, or where I place it.

Then, when I'm ready to journal, I have a number of pages that I can choose from, and quickly add some words. The writing makes a big difference to the finished look of the page, don't you think? These are just random thoughts-no literary works of art here!!
And finally, a bit of colour added with my favorite journalling medium-watercolour pencils-so easy to get out and apply, so easy to add that splash of colour, and a little drop of water to blend.
See, this collage journalling, it's all about ease of use, so it's not a big creative, artistic endeavour. It's just quick, easy and fun!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A new layout..

This layout was made with November's kit from Scrapagogo.
I think there are some left for non subscribers if you are quick. The kit, 'Chic Boutique' is gorgeous.
Take a look at the gallery to see how versatile the kit is. It always amazes me all the different looks and interpretations that can come from one kit. I used to think that getting a kit would mean having layouts that looked like everyone else's, but not so. Everyone puts their own spin on the products and everyone comes up with unique layouts so that it is hard to believe that are all from the same kit!!

This layout is to celebrate how well Emily did last year coping  with all the demands of living away from home for the first time, managing her money, meeting new people, passing first year at uni, and doing an independent trip to Paris. Emily was very young to start uni, only 17, but she really has managed so well. I'm so proud of her!
It must be due to excellent parenting !!
My favourite thing on this page are the Prima Tiny Trinkets-little black metal and glass charms. It is possible to disassemble them to personalise them, but I loved them as they came, so just clustered them together for impact.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Art journal

I am really enjoying art journalling now that I've stopped trying to do paint, and started using paper instead!
Kind of collage journalling really!
So this is a simple page. It started out with some patterned paper, and then I found the title, and the picture in a magazine. I chose the picture because of the red hat, which reminded me of this poem:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other peoples' gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickles for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.

But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

by Jenny Joseph

And so I made it a page about age, with a quote from Samuel Ullman.

The quote really resonated with me. I still think I am a young person.
Sometimes I get a shock when I look in the mirror, and I wonder who that older woman staring out at me is!!
Sometimes I am really saddened to think that I have more years behind me, than I have in front.

But meantime, I mustn't dwell on that. Instead I must ensure that I make best use of every day, and that I maintain a youthful approach to enyoying my  life.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

More Stash Busting...

Following on from my earlier blog post about using up your stash I am going to show you another layout which is full of  layers, designed not only to create a lovely detailed layout, but also to put a dent into your stash pile at the same time. Remember that paints and inks are part of your stash and these can help create layers of interest without adding to the bulk of the layout.
For this layout I started by using a doily as a mask, and spritzing it with Glimmermists. This was my first layer.
My next layer was shaped the patterned paper, the tree sticker and the music paper.
Then came the small doilies, the diecut circle, the lace, and the cut paper flowers:

 After that came some transparency scrolls, the photos, and more lace.

 Finally it was time for the embellishments-the wooden bird, cage and frame, the fabric flowers, and die cut leaves, the clocks and key and transparent butterfly. Lots of layers, lots of texture, all without looking over the top, or being too bulky!

And finally, while you've got all your stash out, make a card- uses more stash, and you won't have to scurry around making a card at the last minute, some time in the future!

Do you have any stash busting tips? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Art journals..

 Over the last couple of years I've dabbled in a bit of art journalling. Mostly, the inky, painty type. I struggled to keep it up though. I'd get the urge to do some of my art journal, get out the paints, slap some paint on, maybe some stencilling-you know the kind of thing. But the problem was, I was impatient. I found it hard to wait for one layer to dry, before adding the next, or before writing. Even using a heat gun to speed up the drying process, I've lost count of the number of pens I've ruined writing on surfaces that weren't quite dry, or pages that have turned into muddy messes as one colour merged into another.
And, because I work in my kitchen, getting out paints and inks was /is a bit of a pain, because I can't leave anything out. Everything has to be tidied away in order for the family to eat!

But recently, I've come across two people who have inspired me to try a different way of journalling.
One is Julie Kirk, who has written about her journalling process on her blog here.
Well I haven't recently come across Julie-I have admired her quirky style for a long time, but the post about her process is recent.

The other is Sarah Ahearn Bellmare. I saw her book on Amazon recently and decided it looked interesting enough to take a punt and buy it. And I'm so glad I did!!

The book is all about the process she uses to create paintings, and part of that process are her sketchbooks. or journals. Sarah's process is not unlike Julie's process. Both have helped me think differently about keeping a journal.

So I though I would give it a go. I bought a couple of small Daler Rowney journals. These are A6 size I think, much smaller than any of my previous journals, and I really like the size. Small enough to tote around in a handbag if you are that way inclined, but more importantly, the size of the page is not intimidating. The space is manageable, and if you're like me, not much of a writer, then you know you won't have to come up with long stories to fill the page.

So, the thing about the process, is that you don't really need to set aside time for art journalling, although you can if you work better that way. What I do, is have the journal handy as I'm working on other projects, like scrapbooking, or stamping. I just grab my scraps, or stamps, whatever, and add them to the journal, usually as part of the tidying up process. It's done quickly and freely without much thought given to what I use or where I place it.
Then I have pages all ready when I want to write something. I might see a quote I like-or even have a thought of my own I want to record,(yes, I do think now and then!),  and I can go straight to a ready prepared page and get the words down. Then I can add other bits if I think the page needs it.
So let me show you what I mean.
Here is a page ready to be journalled on.
This background was made as I cleaned up after doing some stamping. I dipped into my box of scraps and glued on some patterned paper, book page and cut up some of the stamping. Usually when I stamp, I ink up the stamp, and stamp first onto scrap paper before I stamp onto my project. The scrap paper usually ends up in the bin, but instead of binning it, this time I stuck it into my journal. I have no idea how this page will turn out, but it's all ready for when inspiration strikes-with no wet paint to wait on!

So here are a couple more pages that evolved the same way-random sticking on of scraps, offcuts, whatever, then journalling added when I was ready.
I came across these lines from a poem, which resonated with me, so added them to the frame on this page. To complete the page I shaded around the frame, and added the bird stamp, and the stars.

I might even add something else to this page in time-who knows?

While I had the star stamp out I added some to this next page too-and some other stamps-which I also stamped on other pages in the journal.
This page used a book page and what was left over from punching circles from scrapbook papers.

So now, within my journal are pages with bits stuck on, and images stamped on, that will gradually be worked upon, added to and journalled on.

I'm really comfortable with this process, and can see myself working on this journal as this process  makes it easy and accessible. I think it's a process that will work much better for me, than the inky, painty journals-although I still enjoy getting messy, and wouldn't rule out having a painty journal too!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Scrap your stash...

We scrapbookers are a funny lot. We fall in love with lots of scrappy stash, and then we want to put it away and not use. Because if we use it, then we don't have it any more, right? Wrong! We do still have it, but we need to look in our albums to see it, instead of our stash piles.
And if we don't use it, we end up with so much stash it becomes overwhelming, and actually can making scrapping harder than it should be.
So, get your stash out and use it!

That's exactly what I did in this layout:

First, a lot of different patterned papers as the base, then building up the picture with bits cut from patterned paper-the robot, train and train tracks. And details added to those in the form of buttons and brads, cogs and eyelets. Then lots of rub ons.
And some painted chipboard frames to frame the rub ons.
The result? A fun layout that manages to make a dent in my stash!!
I hope this inspires you to be bold about using your stash!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Through my letterbox...

Look what dropped through my letterbox this week:

It's the November kit from ScrapaGoGo. It is a gorgeous kit, and so versatile. I've made three layouts so far, which I'll post when they've been on the GoGo blog. But meantime I can show one, as it's on the blog today:

I love the little Pink  Paislee Vintage Vogue Spool buttons, which I've used here to link two tags. There's so much to love in this kit!
I've had a very creative week-the result of a week off work, combined with not very nice weather. So plenty of time for creating!!
I've been scrapping, art journalling-and even stamping. I'll post more during the week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Journal page..

So yesterday was a gorgeous day and I did manage to get out for a walk. I even got to sit outside of a cafe drinking a latte after the walk-which is hard to believe, since on this first day of my week off, it's absolutely peeing down outside. Honestly the weather here today would give Noah a run for his money!
And it's cold too-only 5C outside.
I made a card today, but haven't photographed it yet. so instead here's another doodled art journal page.
I feel happier that the journalling is better integrated into the page, something that has always been a problem when I've tried art journalling in the past.
I like the colours on this page too.
So what about you-what have you been up to today?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Art journal

I can see myself happily sitting by the fire as winter approaches, with water colour pencils, making blended backgrounds, and then getting out the pens and doodling.

Just like this:
Aren't Friday nights wonderful?
I love that end of the week, whole weekend in front of me feeling!!
And let me tell you, when you have a week off, like I do, that feeling is magnificent!!
I'm feeling happy, and looking forward to doing some Autumn walks, photography, crafty stuff, cooking even!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Some market research..

My friens Elaine's husband made this for stickles, glitter, alcohol inks etc. Use it to store at home, or put your bottles for a crop in and take the whole block along. What do you think? Would you use it? What's a fair price?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

A wee tip..

Do you suffer from squashed layouts?
If you make dimensional layouts, how do you stop everything from squashing out of shape when you put them in your albums?
In answer to a question from Angie I thought I'd share what I do.
First, before I start any layout, I always trim around 0.5cm (or a tiny bit more)  from the top and one side of my cardstock. When I start a layout I have no idea where I'm going with it, whether it will be simple or heavily embellished, flat or dimensional. Trimming the cardstock means I'll end up with a layout that slips more easily into a page protector-with less flattening of elements if my layout does indeed become dimensional.
Secondly, If I'm using a postbound album I separate my pages with chipboard strips. Just cut a long strip-30cm, of chipboard about 1.25cm wide, mark off the position of the posts in your album, punch the holes and place them in your album between your pages. If your page is really bulky you can use two chipboard page separators. D ring albums are better for dimensional layouts as there is more room and less pressure on the pages.
Thirdly, I keep my albums standing up. If you lay your albums flat, especially in a pile, then of course everything will squash.
And that's it! Well there may be a little flattening, but in general my dimensional layouts remain pretty good following these simple steps.


I've renewed my interest in art journalling again recently, and have been experimenting with different media, making backgrounds etc. I've made some nice pages, but then they've been spoilt by my writing.
I'm talking about my handwriting, and the placement of words on the page, but even more about what I write.
I'm either stuck for words, or else everything sounds so banal.
But in the shower this morning I had a lightbulb moment. I've realized the words on the page are the most important element on the page. more important then the colour scheme, or the stencil, or the paint, or ink.
It's the words I need to fine tune, it's language that I need to use in a more creative way. It's hard to believe that I used to good at creative writing, a long time ago, in another life.
So that's what this page is about, and actually I'm pretty happy about this page. I like the blending of colours, and I like how the writing is small and takes up the space around the doodling.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Home Comforts

The October kit from ScrapaGoGo is gorgeous! It's Autumn and bonfires, apple pies, and cinnamon. It's hearth and homefires. No wonder it's called 'Home Comforts'!
As soon as I saw the kit with the Crate apple paper I thought immediately of this photo of my great neice Charlotte with the big red apple. Isn't she just the cutest wee girl??

The layout also uses some of the hybrid elements that you can purchase with the kit, and of course you can use them over and over. I print mine on photo paper as it has a nicer look and feel than copy paper.


This kit will be great for photos taken this month on Autumn walks. I have a few of those lined up. I just hope there are some leaves left on the trees in a week or two, as it's very windy here at the moment!!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

A layout..

here's a layout I did a while ago. It was for the Scrapbook Magazine's '4 Way Challenge'. This is where 4 people are sent the same kit, and readers can see the different ways the kits are used.
This kit was from 'Quirky Kits' and was great fun to play with. So many lovely elements to the kit.
Emily and I had a lovely day out on a gorgeous Spring day. I plan to go back to Gosford house in a couple of weeks, as I think it will be just as pretty in the autumn!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Messy fun..

Sometimes things just don't go according to plan!
Take the layout I made last night, when I was in the mood for a little messy play-ink, mists, stamping, paint and messy machine stitching. I've not used messy stuff on a layout for a longtime, and I really enjoyed the process and I also got to use up some of my stash, which is great as I do have a lot and want to put it to good use.

The check stamp, and the ribbon trim are from ScrapaGoGo kits, the rubons, transparent compass,  brads and the offshore tag are Kaiserkrafts. The green background paper is Prima packaging, the spotted paper was free from The Scrapbook Magazine. The cardstock is an old American Crafts paper. 

However this is not the layout I had envisioned!

I had originally planned to use the other side, and did a crackle effect using PVA glue, acrylic paint and distress inks, which you can see here:

But it just looked ugly, so I flipped the paper over and used the reverse, and I'm a lot happier with the result. I will adhere the whole thing to plain cardstock in the interests of neatness!