Thursday, 29 March 2012

What next?

I know I said a couple of days ago that I lived very near to countryside walks but the wildlife seem to be migrating to my garden.  First a mouse (after the bird seed we put out) that Sorrel chased around the garden and which Mr B found was building a nest in Sorrel's sandpit (under the cover) and now this....

...a beautiful (depends on your opinion) toad, again in the sandpit but buried a few inches down in the damp sand.
Sorrel couldn't believe her luck when she dug it out this afternoon and now she has gone with Mr B to escort it to the nearest pond safely tucked away in it's ice cream container.  It's gone by car as the pond is a mile away so chauffeur driven to its new home.  Goodness knows how it got in our garden which is surrounded by other gardens on three sides and by our home on the fourth as none of our neighbours have a pond or water feature but I wonder if the little boy next door brought it home sometime.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What on Your Workdesk Wednesday - 147

What a week! What weather! What's on your workspace?  I'll show you mine if you'll....... me yours.

Inspired by the bright, fresh colours appearing in my garden, mainly a pretty golden yellow on my kerria shrub, I decided to make a masterboard ready for Easter cards.  I only ever make three for in-laws as my family have never been 'into' cards at Easter - eggs are a totally different thing altogether though.  Lots of spring colours and some free stamps from Craft Stamper plus a few fillers.  Bunnies at the bottom and the green flower were just a try-out and were cut off later.

Here's a closer look and the cards I made - I love lime green.

Keeping it short and sweet this week as I know how long it takes me to get round as many other desks as I possibly can.
Pop on over to Julia's Stamping Ground for a nosy at more desks.

Happy WOYWW to one and all.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Lucky to live near here

Yesterday afternoon we took Sorrel out for the second of her daily walks.  Although I live in what was a very industrialised part of the north-west of England (used to be able to count 7 factory chimneys from my garden and many coal mines) our little town is surrounded with beautiful countryside.  Just three minutes walk away from my front door we have the old railway line (thank you Dr Beeching for closing it) which leads through light woodland and farm fields to a local woods/park.
Here are some photos I took yesterday.

This is near the beginning of the path (Sorrel marching on in front in the hope of finding a squirrel to chase).  The trees that were on the right have been cleared in preparation for work on a guided bus-way to Manchester a folly in the making but it has opened out the views so some good has come out of it if only temporarily.  The woods in front were planted on an old mine spoil heap - much more beautiful now that 30 years ago.

We have reached the trees now, again with some cleared on the right to widen the path but more in the background and the sound of spotted woodpeckers ringing out, and the laugh of the green woodpecker as well.  Through the trees on the left are Lilford Woods and park, given to the town by a Victorian worthy (Lord Lilford I think).

Here we are in the woods proper with Sorrel caught in a shaft of sunlight - before she caught a whiff of something and dived off stage left chasing something.

Just as lovely today so we will be back out there later this afternoon.

Sunday, 25 March 2012


Yes, but the wrong season as the warmest day of the year so far sees me finishing off my lovely warm woolly scarf, well timing has never been a strong point.

Jo of Jozart showed me 'how' when scarves were still very much needed.  I finished the knitting a while ago but I hate making-up any garment, the knitting is much more fun.  So today I buckled down to it and made the tassels and added the beads.  Don't know why but almost everything I make ends up in shades of blue, green and lilac.

 A couple of weeks back I had a go at altering a bottle using faux crackle.  All the examples I had seen used Stamp and Seal as a base but as I didn't have any and am on a 'do I really need it?' kick I decided to use multi medium instead and it worked just fine adding a little interference blue mica powder while it was still wet.  Once dried I covered with crackle glaze and a bit more mica.  Not finished yet but I like the effect.

It's such a beautiful day today and the forecast is the same for the next few days so the scarf will be put at the back of the cupboard for now ready to come out again when it turns cooler (and snows?) probably at Easter ha ha.

Meanwhile make the most of the rest of the weekend and I hope the sun is shining where you are - and if you are in the UK I hope you remembered to put your clocks forward this morning.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Altered Book - lesson three

I am linking this post to Elizabeth's blog so here are all the photos from lesson 3.
Most have been on various pages of my blog these last two weeks but for ease here they are all together.

I am missing one - the reinforced page two, which I forgot about until today so that's on the agenda for tomorrow, along with the start of lesson 2.

A huge thanks to Elizabeth for the how-to and for pulling so many of us together in this wonderful project.

Inside front cover -

The niche left-hand page not quite complete) -

Closer look at my altered dragonfly - (still find it hard to believe this started out as silver-coloured metal -

So that's where I'm up to - onwards, and upwards.

Whats on Your Workspace Wednesday - 146

Wednesday again and I have a  good week with lots of little (and not so little) parcels dropping through my letterbox (swaps and buys), a few crafty days and a bit of sunshine - can't be bad.

First of all, thanks to Paula of Ephemera's Attic I 'won' and EBay auction for a stamp I really 'needed' which was a thrill as I don't do these often not having nerves of steel needed when your 'winning bid' gets wiped out in the last 3 seconds.  Then yesterday had a crafty few hours with a friend, making cards and faux porcelain roses before getting down to finishing of the niche in my AB.

The niche is covered in some gorgeous strokeable washi paper - a present that I have been saving for the right project - and in it is my altered dragonfly.  Dragonflies on the left-hand side as well, stamped on the same washi and adhered to yet another sheet of washi from my stash seen above.

The blue folder contains all the bits and pieces I have collected for my book and I managed to pick up a couple of leaflets from a local farm shop yesterday that have little bees on to match my 'wings' theme.

The knitted fish at the top is a present from Japan, made by a survivor of last year's Tsunami (see previous post for details) and the little card on the right is the swinging easel card made at a recent stamp club workshop taught by Jo of Jozart.

I am going to put all my lesson three AB photos in a separate post later so that I can add a link to Elizabeth's (Altered Book Lover) blog.

Have a great WOYWW and pop over to Julia's place to see what everyone else is up to.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Mother's Day treats

I cooked Sunday lunch yesterday for MIL, Aunt-in-Law and her daughter-in-law, Kinuko who visits every year from Japan this time each year, leaving her British husband over there as his teaching job has limited leave.

If you saw the bead-doll brooch I showed a couple of posts ago it was for Kinuko and she loved it.  Here she is wearing her brooch with Sorrel keeping her company..

They all came bearing gifts so I was a very lucky girl, with flowers, wine, perfume and some beautiful presents from Japan, including this batch of antique kimono silk fabric, some of which is 100 years old.

Not only a beautiful present but wrapped in some gorgeous washi paper that you can see in the background.

The best present was this little crocheted fish, again wrapped in washi paper.

It was made by a woman who lost her home and all her belongings in the Tsunami last year and is part of a collective fund raising scheme for the people affected by the disaster.  The postcard explains all about the scheme and the reverse is signed by the maker - or so I'm told as it is all in Japanese.  I love it because it is bright and cheerful and is full of hope for a better future.  It is meant as a washing up aide but this is one fish that won't be going near water.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Art Journal swap

The Yahoo group that I belong to is having a swap of art journal pages (the first one) with a theme of 'Things I like'.  Twelve of us are taking part and we send two pages per month to the next on the list so a long-term commitment.
Sat down today for a brainstorming session, a solitary one, and came up with a list for my pages and top of the list is my home.  It means so much, the centre of my life, so it had to be the inspiration for the first set of pages. The house stamp is Paper Artsy and the tops of the 'houses' on the second page are actually beach huts from a CI plate

I'm still very new at the journalling so I hope my partner likes these.

Here's a card that's going with the pages - used my new owl stamp, inked background and my copics.  Can see this stamp featuring in future pages, and in my AB as I love him too.

Had to use my artistic skills (I can just about manage a branch ha ha) to draw the branch otherwise he would have fallen to the floor.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Stitched art doll

Bought a book a few weeks ago, impulse buy (again) as I spotted it in a wool shop.  It is Wild Women; stitched Art Dolls by the late Sarah Lawrence and I wanted to have a go at the beaded doll brooch as I have a ton of seed beads just sitting there.

Finished it about 30 mins ago.  Mr B's cousin lives in Japan and his wife is over here for a few weeks visiting her Mother-in-law and will be with us for lunch on Sunday.  She is a talented crafter and brings me something every year that she, or one of her friends have made so this will be her's.  I hope she likes her - Mr B says it reminds him of a voodoo doll, not that he has ever seen one.

While I'm on a blue and green theme (can you tell they are my favourite colours?) I had a go at altering a large silver metal charm for the niche in my altered book.  Got out the alcohol inks, blue and green of course, and was going to use glossy accents then grabbed the crackle glaze to see if I could get a veined effect on the wings, pleased to say, it did whoop whoop.

Photo doesn't show but it is shinier than it looks here.  Final touch will be to add a few tiny beads in the hollows down the body.

And now for something completely different in style, a Mother's Day card for my M-in-law.  Faux porcelain roses, an embossing folder, a bit of stamping with Brilliance inks and an aperture card.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

What On Your Workdesk Wednesday 145

Quite a few of you last week had been tidying and I thought 'I can do that' so here is my desk Tuesday late afternoon (still the same this morning).

Bit of a cheat actually as the only reason it is tidy is that I was glueing my altered book and didn't want to get gel medium all over everything - again.  As you can see, all the stops came out finding pegs and clips to hold it together and keep it upright overnight.

The other thing on my desk is a double concertina book I finished yesterday.  It is for my Great Niece's 20th birthday on Friday and it is based on an example by the lovely JoZarty who brought her sample to our stamp club meeting the other week and very generously shared the 'how to'.  Hers was in black and white and I loved the idea so used the same with a touch of lilac, or is it lavender, never too sure of the difference.  The pages flip open on alternate sides, the cover opening to the left, next page the the right etc so lots of surfaces to cover.

The butterfly on the front cover came from a friend's die cut - only it didn't, cut that is, except around the shape.  Still the non-cut-out bits on the wings look pretty as they are so I decided to use it.  Top and bottom borders are from my new Memory Box die and the little 'shell' shapes fell out of the curlicues  so I used those as well.

Here are a few more pages from the book.

I tried so hard last week to get round all the desks over at Julia's Stamping Ground and managed well over a hundred, lets see if I can do better this week -and lets see if I can put the right link in to my page this week - dumbo.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Altered Book - lesson 3, inside cover

Cleaned the oven this morning, a job I hate so felt justified in having a play afterwards.  I had glued the first two pages of my book last night so got our the ink sprays and a new butterfly stencil and altered a sheet of white paper for the inside cover.  I also added iridescent powders to suggest a butterfly/dragonfly's wings but this doesn't show on the photo.

The paper wasn't quite as big as the open book so I got out that roll of tissue tape I had been saving, swiped it with a few Distress Inks and added it to the edges of the page.

So that is stage one of Elizabeth's third lesson complete - it's the niche next for me.  Just hope I don't mess it up and ruin the whole thing.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday. I will, out for a walk now and then Mr B is making his signature paella for dinner/tea.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Roses all the way

Today is the birthday of Neet of Hickydorums so it is now 'safe to show the card I made for her.  Not done one of these double, twisted easel cards before and I missed the stamp club session when Alison showed how to make one but I did manage to see a few when I went to Padgate Stampers the other week and together with  the wonders of YouTube I managed to make this.  The beautiful face was stamped out for me by a friend as I don't have this stamp - boo hoo - and I think it has been discontinued.

A big happy birthday to Neet and I hope you like your card.

I had a play-day yesterday and sat down (for a change - I usually craft standing up and then moan about my back) with my new Pine Cone die and various card weights to make some roses.  Tried Grungepaper, too soft and springy, ordinary card, too hard and not at all springy, and Coredinations - just right.  I made some of them into faux porcelain roses by following the tutorial by Jenny from The Artistic Stamper who shows how to do this without using a Melt Pot.  Jenny uses a Distress Embossing pad but it difficult to get to all the petals so I used some embossing fluid from a refill bottle and paintbrush.

The Grungepaper one is on the left and pink one slightly below and to the right of it is unglazed.  all the others have been dipped in UTEE, some even had a bit of glitter added as well.

The blue (really lilac) and green ones are going on the front of a double concertina book I am making for my Great Niece's 20th birthday on Friday - better get cracking then.  I need to finish that one quickly as I have a Mother's day card to make - more roses - before I can get down to working on my altered book project. There truly is no rest for the wicked.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Whats On Your Workspace Wednesday 144

It's been a busy  7 days since last Wednesday so not a lot of creativity to see although I have been indulging in crafty things.  Stamp club last Saturday with the lovely Jozarty, craft fair on Sunday where I was parted with quite a bit of my hard earned cash and a bit of a play yesterday while Sorrel was at the groomer's.
Still time to take a photo of my desk so that I can join in on Julia's massive desk hop over at the Stamping Ground.

One of the many things I treated myself to on Sunday was Picket Fence Distress stain so I have been playing with that, making tags, and a mess of my fingers as well.  Ended up with a couple of lovely ones and an 'altered' paper towel - have dried that and it's going in my altered Book stash. Also there - new owl stamp, (I love this one and can't wait to use it) couple of templates and moulds and some scrapbook paper.  Not new this one but it's out because I have been making a birthday card - can't show it yet as there may be spies about.  I bought the book by the late Sarah Lawrence, at a local wool shop - itching to get going with art doll brooches, and last but not least at the top right is the project from Saturday's class at which Jozarty was tutor and all round good egg - here's a closer look of mine and there are lots more examples on Jo's blog here.

The pink cards peeping out of the top are the calendar pages which I haven't finished yet - like I said, I'd been busy and just to prove it here are my inky/painty fingers in front of the tags I made.

I have enough work in progress bits to keep me going for at least 3 years but then that's what it's all about, having fun and creating.

See you over at Julia's.

(Blog Candy - still not heard anything from one of the winners - Janet of Fairy Thoughts.  If you are reading Janet could you let me have your address please - email via my Profile page.  If I haven't heard by Saturday it will go to the reserve winner.)  UPDATE - thanks for getting in touch Janet.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Altered book class with Elizabeth - lesson 2

I am following Elizabeth's, (Altered Book Lover)  very detailed and easy to follow lessons in her *free* on-line AB class and this week is is lesson three, preparing your book covers and end pages and making your niche, but first we are sharing our preparations.

The theme of my book is 'Winged Things'.  It was going to be Birds, Bees, Bugs and Butterflies but my book is only small and  I'm not sure the title will fit the cover ha ha.

I took my courage in both hands to remove a whole lot of pages and this is how the book looks today.

Not a lot of pages for the niche at the back but then the item I want to put in it isn't very thick.

I went through my stash of stuff and pulled out the pieces that had the right images, some used postage stamps I  got when I made some inchies years ago, a wallchart of British butterflies and a book of garden birds that came free with a Sunday paper.  Still lots to find but I'm searching through magazines and have friends doing the same.

This is what I have so far but I do have a few(???) stamps that will come in as well. and I went to a craft show yesterday and fell in love with this stamp.

I love owls and have a few stamps already but couldn't resist this one (newly released) because it is so big - must find space for this in the book, and at almost 5 inches he will look great on shrink plastic.

So that is me started and the gesso will be out tomorrow as I start to make my niche and tackle the end pages, I am really going to enjoy this.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Candy winners

Ta ,da, da daaa..... (imagine trumpet sound). I drew the names for my blog candy win this morning having first written them down very neatly, well maybe not so neatly, on little pieces of paper, folded them carefully, popped them into a bag and closed my eyes very, very tightly before pulling out......

(wait for it)......

Janet of Fairy Thoughts.

Then in went the hand again, eyes closed even tighter and out came the name of the next winner....

May, of May's Happy Daze.

Had decided to split the candy as I found a few more items hidden away so lots of different goodies in each parcel.

Congratulation to both winners and thanks to everyone for taking part.  If Janet and May would like to send me an email via the link on my profile page with your addresses I will run to the Post Office - well, maybe not run then but walk quickly, and it will be next week as I have a busy weekend in front of me as I'm off to our stamp club on Saturday and then to the Craft show in Leigh on Sunday and I haven't got any of my stuff ready yet, or made an ATC for our regular swap - better stop wittering on and get going then hadn't I.

It's been a busy week as well and I've no crafty photos to show you as I haven't done any crafting since Tuesday and as it's such a beautiful day here I'm going to wander round my garden and marvel at the crocus and early daffs.

(10 mins later) -  Popped out to take these to share.  Spring flowers make winter easier to bear and my Sorrel makes every day a joy - except when she brings half the garden in on her mucky paws.

Have a great weekend everyone, whatever the weather and wherever you are - enjoy.