Thursday 29 July 2010

it's colour splash time again at the Play Date Cafe #40

And this time our additional splash of colour is GREEN!  We've not ventured around to this side of the colour wheel in colour splash before, and when I went hunting for an inspirational photo, I fell in love with this image!

How gorgeous is that fabric?  So your challenge this week is to make a black and white piece (be it a card, ATC, canvas, journal page, scrapbook layout....) with just a splash of green.

We're sponsored this week by Memory Box who make some stunning stamps.  Every member of the design team were thrilled to receive two butterfly images.

I layered papers, and stitched around them, adding detail to the word 'inspire' by stamping it in green.  I used the small butterfly image inside, which co-ordinated beautifully with the flock paper I found in my stash.

The 'Inspire butterfly collage' has incredibly tiny text in the background (I LoVe text!) so I tore a rectangle to layer under the small butterfly inside the card.

Have fun with this week's challenge, and don't forget to check out all the wonderful inspiration, and this week's prize, over on the Play Date Cafe blog :)

EDIT: This week's prize is the two stamps I've used here.  They don't appear to be available in the UK so head on over to the caff to have a go at winning them :)

Wednesday 28 July 2010


I'm on my way to London today, very early, for a meeting so I've stamped up some images to sit and cut out on the train :)  I'm in love with theses cogs and gears from Jennie's time series.  You'll find them over on the Artistic Stamper.

I'll also be playing with my new smartphone - hee, hee, hee :)

Tuesday 27 July 2010

the world of steampunk

According to Wikipedia, "Steampunk is

a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction, that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era Britain — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. "

I love the feel of books in my hand, and would love the look of notebooks containing spidery handwriting.  I love butterflies, and ferns, cogs and gears and shiny things.  

So the story behind my steampunk journal is based on the idea that I'm on an expedition on an unknown island, deep in the heart of the Victorian era. [of course I'm also stunning looking, fearless, and don't need to wear contacts lol, but that's by the by]

I come across some butterflies that appear to have been modified to contain steam engine like workings.   But how can that be?  This is an island untouched by humans.

Of course, this story reflects my love of butterflies, but your steampunk journal might delve under the sea, or focus on a journey in a hot air balloon.  If you'd like to join me in creating this journal from paper and an old book, in colouring pages and adding tabs, pockets, and tags in addition to the other main images, I'll be teaching at 
Paddy's Stamping Place
Prestwich, Manchester
Friday 30th and Saturday 31st July 2010
0161 798 5115
Oh WOW!  The postman interrupted this post by bringing me all this yumminess!

How perfect is this parcel, which I've yet to confirm is from the wonderful Wendy at The Stamp Attic, but I spied OX12 on the parcel, and it looks like her handwriting.  Methinks she knows me too well.  But how about this for perfect timing - I didn't want modern paperclips in my steampunk journal but hair pins - they're perfect!!

And look at all this steampunk yumminess :)  Won on ebay on Sunday, arrived this morning :) 

EDIT: just remembered my blog giveaway, and using random generator picked out

Elaine, of 'Waves of Creativity', is the winner of the little house, a mica tile, and some little bits n bobs.  Contact me with your address Elaine and I'll get your prize out to you :)

Monday 26 July 2010

cards in the Cubby Hole

I taught a cardmaking class at The Cubby Hole, Crewe on Saturday.  We had a fabulous, fabulous time.  After making up some background pieces, we used some simple but effective layouts to create cards.

Many of my samples were from my Play Date Cafe cards, but the above two cards are samples I made on the day to demonstrate techniques.  We were a very full class requiring two tables, and I have to say that both tables were as 'busy' as each other but I only took a piccie of one lol

Look at that mess industrious table!

Everyone made wonderful cards, but I think little Sue gets the prize for being the most prolific!
Sue Roddis applied the techniques to her journal pages and did some fabulous stuff.  

I'm a very vertical/horizontal designer and just don't 'do' diagonals, but love it when I see other people use them so effectively.

Doesn't Nigel's Paper Artsy moth look fab
on this cluster of papers and flowers?

Ann fell in love with using the sewing machine on paper, and made some yummy frames just using stitching.

More cards tomorrow, but I wanted to remind you that this week's prize over at The Play Date Cafe is an amazing one this week.  You get these THREE sets of stamps from Unity

I have some Ippity stamps by Unity (Ippity are available through individuals, but Unity stamps are stocked in stores)  which Suzanne used on her pink card here.

Everyone was impressed with the packaging, how beautifully the mounted rubber is cut, and the unusual images.  As far as I know these aren't stocked in  UK shops so I'd encourage everyone to have a go at winning!  Head on over to The Play Date Cafe for details.  And good luck :)


Friday 23 July 2010

Two spoons and a fork

... that's what Tom said I should call my latest cutlery piece when I asked the family.  It needed a name as it's for an auction at church to raise money for something (I can't remember what though!!  Oops!)

I decided I rather liked that as a name and promptly labelled a piece of recycled pizza box and packaged them up.

This time the words say
Happy voices in nature
to God, who makes all lovely things

I used the old hymn book (I picked it up at a bookshop so it has no sentimental value, I couldn't cut one up I'd owned)!  Hymn books are actually great for adjectives, and are fab for this kind of thing, even if you don't want a religious-type message.  I am definitely addicted to making these though, but I need more spoons - hurray, an excuse to go shopping :)

I've also been playing around with the idea I got when working with the mica tiles from USArtQuest.  I'm teaching a card making class at The Cubby Hole, Crewe tomorrow, and wanted a couple more cards that didn't feature sewing lol.  This time I used clear shrink plastic for the base before layering with text and imagery with clear, thick embossing powder.  I missed the natural brown shading of the mica, and being able to chip into the mica to add another layer to the collage, but I like the effect.  It's just different.

mica tile

clear shrink plastic
Before I go, I just wanted to say hello and thankyou to my new followers, and to all of you who leave comments and suggestions of other places to visit - I love this aspect of blogging as I then get to go and visit other blogs I may not otherwise have seen :)

Thursday 22 July 2010

Dublin style colours for PDCC#39

 And they're probably not your 'traditional' Irish colours, unless you think of Guinness (which is brewed near Dublin) and Irish coffee :)  Visit the playdate cafe for the story behind Julie's colour choice this week.  They are gorgeous colours to work with.  

I had loads of ideas but was in the mood for making small things, and since I owe loads of ATCs I played around with card measuring 2.5"x3.5" lol.

My inspiration for the flowers came about from this stencilled piece I did a week ago back, and the paper I had near my journal yesterday.  When I use a stamp, I never clean it off straight away, but stamp it onto plain white paper until it's pretty clean.  I will often then use this piece - to cut images from, or to cut beautifully layered image sections from.

The flower is stamped onto stencilled paper before being cut out.  The background was created by repeatedly stamping the image.

And by working with the 'reverse' colours I got two designs for the price of one :)

Thanks so much to everyone who joined in at the playdate cafe again this week.  We repeated out 100+ entries which we're very grateful for.  An Artistic Outpost stamp plate of your choice was up for grabs last week, and this week we are honoured to be sponsored by Unity stamps, who make fab, fab stamps too!  I have a set and they are superb quality, and pre-cut unmounted (yay, no sticky scissors!)

There's so much going on at the cafe - celebrity guest, a massive prize this week, and all the other designers great work.  So why not head over there to see what it's all about :)

Wednesday 21 July 2010


I've been round at a friend's this afternoon where five of us shared the kitchen table to journal.  I find this so relaxing as when you're journaling with friends you chat, and play, and don't get distracted by 'work' :)  It also gets you to focus on using limited products and tools.  I added some more snippets to my small squares (although not sure where two of them have gone!)

I love adding bits n pieces like this.  I had a bit of an orange moment when I first arrived and put some colours and background images onto a page.

...had a play with a flower stamp I hadn't used...

And am now raring to go with some of the projects on my list.  

This sharing of your workspace on a Wednesday is the brainchild of Julia over at the Stamping Ground and is a great chance to look at what others are working on, and to reassure yourself that your workspace really isn't untidy, it's just the workspace of a very creative person lol.

Tuesday 20 July 2010

I'm so 'chuffed' with myself...

...I drilled a hole in a spoon!!  Well, three spoons actually :)

I borrowed Tom's Dremel - it was cool (well hot actually, couldn't believe how hot the spoons got lol).  Tom's my fourteen year old son as of today.  Happy Birthday Tom!

My daughter Sophie finishes school tomorrow and her favourite English teacher is leaving to work in Australia.  Sophie wanted a special present for her, and I wanted a good reason to finally have a go at collaging on spoons.  I've see Kelly Perkins' work with spoons and loved it, and found this tutorial.

After drilling the holes (for which I should have used oil as a lubricant apparently!), I used alcohol inks to colour the spoons, then used glossy accents to add words and bits of collage.  The words, cut from a variety of old books, say

she went on her way

desiring an incredible adventure

with delicious excitement

The larger words are cut from a children's book, a tip I picked up somewhere!  Large print books are another good source.  

This is a quick card I made for the teacher, which includes some 7 gypsies rub-ons from The Stamp Attic.  And here's an arty something to make you smile - I had a meeting in this building in central Manchester on cool are those stick men?  :)

Monday 19 July 2010

USAQ DT project #3 playing with Mica Tiles

 The Design Team at USArtQuest post fortnightly with a new kit that Mrs USArtQuest sends us (aka Susan Pickering-Rothamel).  I'm not sure where the last two weeks went, but it's time to post a new project, and this time we had Mica tiles to play with.

I have wanted to play with these forever, but never seemed to get round to it so I was very excited when I received them through the post :)   I peeled them apart, had a bit of a play with my cuttlebug, embossing and cutting the tiles; I added gold leafing and Stazon ink, but it wasn't really 'happening' for me.  All I could think was "I could do this with acetate or a piece of card, what's so special about mica tiles?"

Sometimes it helps to talk to a friend when you get stuck, and Wendy kindly reminded me that they are heat resistant, so it's great to trap embossing powder between the tiles.


Well!  I happen to LoVe the translucency of old paper when layered using clear embossing powder.

Can you see how you can see the text from both sides of this page from an old hymn book?

And you can 'distress' the tile with the edge of your fingernail, or by ripping bits off round the edge (but be sure to keep these tiny bits, they add sparkle to any project!)

I've had to drag myself away from the craft table to come and post this, I'll certainly be back playing with my mica tiles, and finishing some projects.  

If you're in the UK, your local stamping shop can get mica tiles for you as Woodware is a UK stockist for USArtQuest.  Glenda at Graphicus has them in stock here.

Now for the 'how to':

Trim your mica tile to size and shape.

Using your fingernail, split the mica apart (it's made up of compressed layers of rock!).  Use two pieces for this project.

Lay your tile over a piece of text and tear to fit.
Attach the paper to the tile with PPA Gloss, or clear embossing powder.

Add more torn paper, and gold leafing flakes to your collage.
Note how opaque the pieces are here as I've used PPA Gloss to attach the papers.

Cover the whole piece with clear embossing powder and lay a matching (shape, not collaged)
piece of mica tile on top.  Just look at that shine!  And can you see how the text paper
is now translucent?

I'm going to mount up this little house and give it away to someone.  I think I'll steal Suzi Blu's idea and include a piece of  Mica tile for you to play with too!  Leave an 'arty pondering'  by midnight GMT Sunday 25th July to be in with a chance. I'll use a random generator to pick a name on Monday 26th July.

Don't forget to head on over to the rest of the DT members' blogs, and the USAQ blog to see what other yumminess has been produced with these mica tiles :)  Suzi's got a giveaway too!

EDIT:  I've just discovered that The StampMan's new challenge blog has the theme 'Anything Goes' this fortnight, as Vix wants to see what we can all do!  So I'm heading over to enter this, and I KNoW Jill can get these mica tiles for you if you want any :)


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