Sunday, 28 November 2010

a parliament of owls

John Lewis' Christmas department is full of owls :)

It took lots of willpower not to put any in my shopping basket!

These were wobbly, metal owls about ten inches tall.  Walking around the corner I discovered a collection of owls for the Christmas tree...

...the knitted variety (of which a couple did make it into my basket I have to say!!!)...

...and some jolly metal ones, which I have my eye on!!!

There were more cushions in the soft furnishing department.  Some for Christmas...

...but some for every day.  This one I just LoVe :) -

And I don't think I'm the only one!  He was sitting there all alone!

And these are my latest owls :)  I made them for the advent fair at church, and as birthday gifts for my many friends and family with birthdays at this time of year!!!

I'm really pleased with them, and have more felt and fabric to get some more made to sell before Christmas.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

PDCC57 a load of old pegs

Actually the ones I used are new but old sounded better in the post title!

I've been busy making things for our church Advent fair on Saturday, which meant a hunt for crafts that look good but are quick to make.  I'd already chosen this week's photo inspiration a while back, but when I came across the idea of decorating clothes pegs and putting a magnet on the back to turn them into magnetic clips for your fridge I just knew I had to do it for this week's play date cafe challenge!

I just love the shades of browny-grey that pegs go when they are weathered.  This week we are sponsored by a UK company, Stamp Attack, who very kindly supplied the DT with their choice of stamps.  I chose an Alice in Wonderland set.

I printed an early, handwritten copy of part of the Alice story from the internet, coloured it with coffee and glued it to the front of the peg.  I love the contrast of the brown and the grey/black of the old style illustrations.

Sadly we are saying goodbye to two of our super talented design team members this week.  

We'll truly miss them but wish them all the best in what they do next, but will obviously be staying in touch as they do such gorgeous work (and Lisa is our technical wonder who is always able to help us out in the land of computer wizardry :)  )  The other guys have decided to stay on another long while, and Julie and I are busy oohing and ahhing over our DT entrants for the next team.

Please check out the DT's wonderful work, and head over to the Play Date Cafe to see the results of Player Appreciation week - everyone seemed to enjoy this week's colours :)

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving all my US friends!!!

Monday, 22 November 2010

i just LoVe owls!

... so for a bit of relaxation this weekend I got out my felting tools and made myself a phone case.  The idea came from Etsy but I designed the owl to fit my own quirky sense of fun :)

I just love the distressed look you get when felting sheer fabrics so used my hand felting tool to embellish a circle for each eye, the wings and the body.  I then hand sewed the eyes and beak together, something I find very relaxing, before sewing the pouch together with the sketchy machine sewing I so enjoy.  

I don't 'do' neat, specific sewing on my machine as the slightest wrong stitch would really bug me, but I love the look of sketchy, mad stitching and enjoy doing it too.

Now to design some little keyring owls for the Advent Fair at church on this space :)

Saturday, 20 November 2010

PDCC56 Player Appreciation week at the Play Date Cafe

Blogging keeps me in touch with creative friends I've made on workshops, at shows, and through other friends.  And through the Play Date Cafe I've met more people who, although I've never met them in person, have become friends.  Many sent me kind messages of love after my accident this week so this week's play date cafe theme couldn't be any more apt!  Thank you so much everyone; when something awful happens it's people who care that make you feel better - and you've done just that! [update:  I slept all day and all last night, still feeling wobbly inside but am ok, I feel best when I'm with other people, so it's great that it's the weekend!]

For both Julie and I the cafe has been so much more than a colour challenge, it's a place where people meet like-minded people, who care for each other and appreciate and are inspired by each others creative pursuits.  So this week we are celebrating our regular players with some great prizes, from three fabulous sponsors, and as their design teams are also playing along there's tonnes of inspiration over in the cafe this week :)

EAD designs sent each of our design team some vinyl stickers to work with this week.  I LoVe stickers, always have and probably always will, so really enjoyed making my decorative hanging heart.  I had it made before the accident, just didn't manage to get it posted on time, for obvious reasons!

With Tim's tags coming up soon I decided to make a start on some heart shaped ones, made from recycled materials, to hang on a tree or in a window.  I used corrugated card with the top layer torn away, painted it with Red Pepper acrylic dabber then highlighted areas with Pool dabber.

I added snowflake stickers and words to the heart, along with some bling to catch the light, then put the tree stickers onto card before cutting them out and pop-dotting them onto the heart.  

I added a similar design to the back of the heart, and used a torn strip of co-ordinating cotton fabric for the 'ribbon'.  This week's colours are great for Christmas, but you don't need to stick to that theme, as long as our colours are the main feature of your piece you can use any theme, and make aNYTHiNG!!!  Our regular design team have some fab ideas for you
senior designer Julie Ranae

And don't forget to stop by the cafe for inspiration from our sponsors, and to link in your project.  Have fun!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

a miraculous escape

Last night,  I was driving home from Birmingham in the wet and the wind down the M6.  As I was travelling up the fast lane, a car slightly ahead of me in the middle lane went as if to pull out.  I swerved and lost control of the car.  It was like driving on ice, although I'm assuming it was the wet road.  I wasn't the only accident last night!  The car wobbled from left to right for a while before coming to a stop facing the wrong way in the central reservation.  Fortunately the angle I stopped at was 'twenty five past' on a clock, with my front wheels on the grass in the middle of the road.  I noticed today that the motorway near us doesn't have grass in the central reservation.   I'd been stopped for a few seconds when something large went past and hit the back end of the car.  As I was phoning the emergency services another vehicle hit me and I remember screaming down the phone, and when the man it was ok, and to calm down I just replied 'I'm in the middle of the motorway and they keep hitting me!'  It took twenty minutes for the emergency services to come out, which I spent standing in the rain, on my own, in the central reservation, very scared.  I just daren't imagine what would have happened if the car had come to rest facing directly down the motorway in the wrong direction, or if I hadn't been driving a Volvo!  I am truly grateful to be alive, and thankful to the lovely, lovely ambulance and fire crew, and the Highways Agency man, who all looked after me.  I'm shocked and achy but alive, and thankful to all my friends who have been concerned about me.

I was booked on a workshop at Paddy's today with Sylvia, a fabulous textile artist.  So I spent the day surrounded by friends, doing something I enjoy, which has really taken my mind off things.

My apologies for cancelling my workshops at Wendy's this weekend, my body just needs rest to recover from the horrific shock.  My play date piece just needs photographing so I will get that out there as soon as I can.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Sorry everyone, normal service will resume shortly but technical issues and illness have disrupted my day!  Sorry!!!

This architect's office has always attracted my attention, it is so brightly painted!  It is just around the corner from me and as I walked past it the other week I noticed it had had a fresh coat of paint.  Earlier in the week I'd seen a card on a blog that was tremendously brightly coloured so I thought we could give these colours a go in our colour challenge.

This week we are sponsored by Innovative Stamp Creations who are providing this fab $18 prize:

Fortunately the rest of the play date design team haven't been plagued with the same issues so you can visit the Play Date Cafe for some wonderful inspiration with these colours :)  

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

It's Wednesday, time for a nosy at people's workspaces :)

WOYWW joins us altogether in a little community, I just love it :)  Not only a good excuse for general nosiness each week lol but also opening up the opportunities to visit like-minded people in blog land.

This photograph is proof that I am midway through moving into my new craft room and out of my old space!  It is far too tidy and organised!

Fortunately you can just see some boxes that need sorting in the bottom left of this pic.  I've got the important things sorted though - my minions bunting is up :)

And there are more minions waiting by the side of my desk for a home :)  One of the great things about being up in the attic is the bathroom next to my workroom, from which I saw an amazing sunset tonight.  Unfortunately, the camera on my phone is rubbish with pinks and oranges it turns out!

I promise you, half the sky you can see was pink!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

just FaR too exciting!

I'd already spent yesterday very excited about taking a class as an attendee, and had only just sat down when Tracey arrived with a present for me - my very own minions :)  Woohoo!  How lucky am I?!!  If you don't have a clue what I am talking about, check them out here:

They really are the stars of the show 'Despicable Me'.  So a huge, huge thankyou to Tracey, I LoVe my new friends ;) er, decorations!!

The evening continued brilliantly.  We started off making a variety of marks with big fat graphite sticks, 

...before adding layers of paint and coloured pencil...

I really didn't want to finish for the evening, it was very relaxing.  We were even given homework, sorry, we think it's called 'extended study'.  These classes will be monthly, starting from January.  Before then we need to compile a picture board full of inspiration on the theme 'landscape'.  I'm working on a city theme, based on the mills of Manchester and have enjoyed researching artists that create cityscapes...

...and have been out taking photos of some of the mills...

Working through a theme from images, drawings and photos etc right through to a finished mixed media piece has been something I've been wanting to do for ages so it was great to finally get started :)

Monday, 8 November 2010

I'm so excited :)

I teach lots of classes, and enjoy it tremendously, but it really is a great treat when I get to go on one for me.

I've been looking forward to this one at The Cubby Hole for ages.  I did 'O' and 'A' level art but in those days it was very much about drawing and painting.  I'm very envious of my own children being able to do mixed media, and now I get the chance to do it to!  I'm looking forward to working through an idea from sketches and photographs through to a final  piece.

Talking of workshops, I was only at The Cubby Hole on Saturday doing my embossed metal book workshop.  Of all the classes to have blokes on (three!), this had to be the one didn't it!  The one that involves using the humungous ball tool etc, honestly, the conversation around the table was not for the shy amongst us. I always have a fantastic time with the crewe from The Cubby Hole so I know there'll be more laughter tonight.

[note: apologies for lack of pics, nicked this one from Sue, hope she doesn't mind!!]

Friday, 5 November 2010

Challenge #9 at The StampMan: It's CHRiSTMaS!!!!! and anything goes...

It's Bonfire Night in the UK, so lots of treacle toffee, sparklers, fireworks, baked potatoes and parkin.  I'm at work all day and into the evening tonight so no partying for me until tomorrow.  Instead we're having some sparkle via this fortnight's Stamp Man challenge.

It feels a bit like coming home, being asked to be on The Stamp Man design team as I've know Jill and Ian for so long.  Look at the photo Jill chose to introduce me to the world lol

Not that I mind, it's my normal look when I'm crafting ;)  although for this challenge I indulged in my love of Hero Arts and show my clean and simple side!  I saw Karen Jackson demonstrating these baubles at Happy Stampers Northwest at Port Sunny and just fell in love with the 3d idea.

-To make the baubles this way, just stamp the image three times in a colour of your choice, cut them out then fold them in half.  Choose the best one for the centre the glue a folded ornament on the left and one on the right.  
-Stamp up the card (that Merry Christmas is a denami stamp from The Stamp Man many years ago!), using the Fabulous Flourish.  This is truly, truly FaBuLouS and a sell out at the Port Sunny show.  It calls your name when you see it, and is so, so versatile! [looks fab on dark blue, stamped in white, with snowflakes, but can I find where I put that card?  No....arrrgggh!!]
- Attach the long thread to the card by taping it to the back then bringing it over to the front and taping it down.  
- Tie a bow around the top of each ornament then glue them down on the card.

There's lots more inspiration from The Stamp Man design team over on their challenge blog, along with details  of the winners from challenge #8: cards for men and space to link your work so we can go and take a gander at it :)  Have fun :) :) :) 

Thursday, 4 November 2010

PDCC 54: not quite peach, fortunately for me :)

... because I just don't 'do' peach!

This colour story from Julie Ranae reminds me of the lanterns that are very popular in the UK at the moment - you light a 'candle' underneath and the paper lantern floats away into the night - beautiful!  (You just have to make sure you buy environmentally friendly ones)

Jennie over at The Artistic Stamper provided each of the design team with their choice of stamps to use for this week's challenge, and is supplying a fabulous prize for this week's cup of the week:

Kling On cushioning and free shipping worldwide

I've said before how much I love using Jennie's images, and since I love steampunk too, I just fell in love with her new tick tock butterfly :)

And I couldn't resist showing you the whole page of that book I placed the card on for photography purposes!  It's all about the study of insects and refers to a 'frivolous butterfly'!

Have fun with the colours this week, and don't forget to head on over to the rest of the design team to see what they came up with for this week's colour combo!

Then stop by the cafe to link up your piece so we can all head on over to see your work too :)

Monday, 1 November 2010

a new love!

One of our Play Date Cafe entries this week, by Arielle at the Snappy Stamper, used an image from A Day for Daisies which I just fell in love with as it reminded me of my Sophie when she was a bridesmaid.  Not having heard of this company before I headed over there, and oh my goodness, the artwork is just STuNNiNG!  I had to stop looking so I didn't spend too much!

I spent a very happy time yesterday using watercolour paints to colour a couple of images.  This one was intended for Mona's new colour challenge which called for the use of red, green and tan.  Unfortunately I didn't get it made into a card in time.  Reading Sue's blog today though I saw a sketch that I thought would work really well for my little lady bug...

It's from Card Patterns.  I've had a great time this evening piecing together bits n pieces left over from other work whilst watching Spooks!

I have an autumn fairy I coloured for Hels' Sunday Stamper which I'm hoping to get made into a card tomorrow so you'll be seeing my cute side for a while me thinks!!


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