Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Well my workdesk today is so boringly empty that I am only posting a tiny photo of it. Last night I cleared away everything I had used to make a birthday card for my grandson who will be 17 at the end of January. I can't show the card here as some of his family follow my blog. So instead I will pan around a bit to my computer desk that sits at right angles to my craft desk. I have had to rearrange it because for Christmas, my lovely husband bought me a silhouette cameo machine to replace my defunct craft-robo. It is a much bigger machine as it has the capacity to cut 12" x 12" papers which will be great when I start my next scrapbook. To make sufficient room for it to work with the larger carrier mat I needed to move my second screen. I started using a monitor at the side when my PC was changed for a laptop which had such a small screen that I had difficulty seeing it. I now have a much newer lap-top with a larger screen but I have got used to being able to slide pages from one monitor to the other, and have several open at the same time, so I wanted to keep it. I tried moving it across to the other side to make the space needed for the silhouette but that didn't work either, and it conflicted with the out tray on my printer. Then, this week I helped Chris to raise his second monitor up above his main one and I realised that might be the solution for me too. So I now have two screens stacked one above the other and I can still slide pages between them. If I fold the lap-top down a bit you can see that the monitor is sitting on two large bricks wrapped in brown paper like a parcel. (They are hollow cell bricks and I didn't want any bugs crawling into the cells to nest!). So now I am all set to get to grips with my new machine. Incidentally, my current photo that I am using as a wallpaper on my screens is a scene from the amazing Angkor Wat temples at Seam Reap in Cambodia. It is a daily reminder of the wonderful time I had there back in 2008.

Well, better late than never I have managed a blog post today, so now I am off to Julia's blog to see what everyone else is getting up to now the Christmas festivities are over.
Happy New year to you all. I'll see you again in 1012!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Greetings

There hasn't been much going on in my craft room for the past couple of weeks as I have been busy fulfilling all my orders for mince-pies, and singing with my choir. You can read all about that on my diary blog Kate's Adventures. I have made five New Year cards which I don't usually do, but I can't show them here as some of the recipients follow this blog. Instead I will leave you with this image of my 'White Mary and Joseph'. This is not a new project; I made them about ten years ago, after watching a very inspiring lady demonstrating at the craft show in NEC Birmingham. Each one is built around a wine bottle, I think with a wire and paper head, and then covered with strips of cotton fabric dipped in runny poly-filler which dries white. I remember scouring all the local charity shops to find a pure cotton sheet to tear into strips. Polyester-cotton doesn't hold the poly filler the same. It was a messy job but well worth it, and the resulting figures are very stable and robust. Many of my new friends in Spain have asked me to do a class to show them how to make some but I will have to do some research first to remind myself, and also try to find an equivalent Spanish filler that dries white.
I had the notion to make a whole nativity scene but I do not have sufficient space to display them. These two sit on my hall table where they are the first thing visitors to the house see, and for me they are the embodiment of what Christmas is all about.

So may I wish all my loyal followers a Very Happy Christmas and I hope 2012 is for each of you, a year full of Love, Hope and Peace.

Kate x

Thursday, December 1, 2011

For two sisters.

Actually the two birthday cards I needed this week were one for my sister and one for my sister-in-law. One is in her late seventies and one in her eighties, and I know they are both very fond of flowers so that's what I went with. My sister in particular is forever linked by the family to pansies, presumably because they were her favourite as a little girl and it just stuck. So I used my Joanna Sheen Fabulous Flowers CD to print out a few copies of a pretty lilac pansy and decoupaged it. I used a DL lilac card, a backing paper I found in my stash, (I had printed it but I can't remember it's origin), and two Marianne dies for the foliage. A cuttlebug ribbon slider for the greeting, some lilac organza ribbon and some matching gems finished it off. (It looks very blue in the photo but it is lilac!)

For the second card I again chose a DL blank, this time in white, and an off-cut of pink paisley paper which again is one I printed off too long ago to remember it's origin. I found some blue card to match the blue on the backing paper and softened it with silver glimmer mist, painted on because none of my sprays want to work these days. I used the same Marianne die as before for the side foliage, plus a Spellbinders lace border and nesties labels for the frame. The sentiment is a Chocolate Baroque stamp. The flower is one I made when I had a couple if friends over so that I could show them how it is done. It was made using the wet paper technique which is my favourite method of making flowers, and although they are quite chunky, they are also very robust, and I know they will survive going through the post. There is an excellent tutorial for making these flowers on Carole Claxton's blog . While mine are still wet I rub an ink pad onto a white tile, spritz it with water and wipe the flower through it, as many times as necessary to reach the colour I want. I finished this card with a butterfly made using my new Framelet set of Sissix dies with Hero Art stamps, which I can see being very well used in the future. The set contained three sizes of the butterfly and two flowers.
I am entering this card in:
The Craft Room Challenge: Make your own flowers;
and both cards in
Make it Monday linky party 65: Anything goes.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Flower Fairies

About five years ago at the Hobbycraft Show in the NEC, Birmingham, I was wow-ed by the Pinflair stall where they were covering small chipboard squares with printed fabric to go on cards. I spent far too much money buying some, used them that year and then stashed them away, never to see light of day again. Well not never actually, because when Bah! Humbug! challenged us to use fabric on a card, I went straight to that box.
I did have some lovely old musical instruments on one piece of fabric but I seem to have used most of that, so instead I got out the piece featuring Christmas flower fairies. I probably bought this because I am an avid collecter of all authentic Cicely Mary Barker Flower Fairies items, but on closer inspection, the fabric is very badly printed and doesn't do her artwork justice at all. But undaunted I cut out one each of the four images and used them to cover the chipboard pieces, still stored with the fabric -amazing! I then jazzed them up a bit with red, green and clear stickles. I dug out a length of pretty green and red metalic mesh (I think Jean and I bought this between us on my recent visit, but goodness me - if I can't remember clearly what I bought a couple of months ago, it's no wonder I don't know where half of my stash came from!). Using this in various ways, together with papers from my Christmas off-cuts box, I managed to put together four aceptable Christmas cards, which I am entering in these challenges:-
Bah! Humbug! Challenge 46: Use Fabric.
Everybody Art Challenge: A Christmas card.
Scrapbook Sisters Card Challenge 61: Christmas Time.
Little Red Wagon Challenge 108: Christmas Theme.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Hi folks. I am rather late posting today as I was out all morning and have spent half the afternoon chatting to my youngest son via a video call on Skype. He is coming out to visit us in just over a week, and we are so looking forward to it. Also he is going to take something back for me that I have to finish off, so that is all that is on my work desk today.

Followers of my blog will know that I finished a scrapbook for my second youngest son just in time to take over ot UK when I visited in September. He was so thrilled with it but he asked me if I could add an extra page. Because of the way it works, this actually means two extra pages, so I put an extra slipcover in his book so all he has to do is slip these pages in to it when he gets them. The first one (that he actually asked for) is to highlight all the posters and fliers that have adorned the streets of Brighton, advertising gigs for his various bands - he is a drummer in a heavy metal band. He is well aware that I don't really go for his style of music, though I love to see his energy and enjoyment as he plays, and I am also not bowled over by the art work on many of his posters, but I understand the 'thrill' he says he gets to see his name (or the name of his band) in print, and they do deserve a space in his book. So I printed them out onto plain matt-finish paper and divided them into the four bands he has played in. I tied one to a lampost, put two behind acetate in a 'window', stuck most of them randomly on a notice board, and the most current ones onto a blackboard. That page is on my desk here.

For the other page I suggested he gave me his favourite photos of the bands in action, performing, practising, and just enjoying being together. And he did - some 35 of them! So the rest of my desk is covered with draft copies of all of them and I am experimenting with ways of displaying all of them on a 12" x 12" page! I think I am going for two cascades, one of the live performance pictures and one of the rest of them. These will just fit and I will have a tiny corner left to do a snippet of journalling. Best get on with it then....

I also just wanted to say a big 'Thank you' to everyone who gave me help and advice on the storage of copics, promarkers etc. It was very, very helpful, and I am grateful that you took the time to share your experiences.

Now I will just link this to Julia's blog and see what some of you are getting up to. I am sorry I can't get round to everyone, but I'll try to visit most of you in the next couple of days.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hark the herald angels sing

My order for some LOTV stamps arrived last week so I was all set to make my last run of cards with them when Hazel's latest challenge popped up and they fitted the bill nicely. The challenge is to incorporate some music and my stamps are all angels playing various instruments.I stamped an image and scanned it into my computer so I could flip it and have two angels looking towards one another. I added a touch of copics to their dresses and the clouds, and a bit more colour to their hair. I used a pastel blue promarker for the sky. I then cut the two images out vaguely echoing the shape of wings. I typed a verse of a well known carol and made sure it would fit inside a nesties die, and cut it out, distressed its edges with blue ink and matted it onto gold. (Originally I typed in my favourite carol, "It came upon a midnight clear" which includes the line "..from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold", but I realised that I had used the wrong image. Another of my new stamps is an angel playing a harp! So I quickly changed the carol and I will make more cards later with the harpist.) . The background is cut from a rather lovely gold embossed scrapbook paper (make unknown). I used a Debbie Moore stamp to print music across the lower half of the card, and then assembled it all as in the photo. Then I added some sparkle with gold stickles on the stars and crystal stickles on the angel's wings.

I am entering this in:

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge 47: Music.
Wags'n'Whiskers Challenge 67: Christmas themed.
Creatalicious Challenge 28: Christmas, Make sure it sparkles.
Stampin Sisters in Christ: Use a music stamp.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I wasn't in the right frame of mind for my usual Wednesday morning sewing group, so I was around at home for a while. The first thing I did was try to take one photo that showed all twenty-three of the little (10cm square) Christmas cards I had been making. I finished them last night so my desk was completly clear. I needed to make a tiered stand so my big Spanish/English dictionary came in very handy. This was layered up with a couple of craft books, some storage boxes, some long acrylic stamp blocks and my mini easel. I got the photo I wanted (See my previous post), so I thought I'd show you the back view! Just next to that, in front of my printer with the coloured cloth over it, is my canvas bag of basic art materials that I keep packed to take to the art group in the village on Monday afternoons. I am fishing in it all the time to use the things, but if I am running late on a Monday, which is nearly always, I know I can grab the bag and run, and there will be something in there to keep me busy for a couple of hours.

Above that is a small basket containing my xyron sticker making, cocktail sticks, a pot for small stray items that I find all over the place, and loads of other bits and pieces. I keep this covered to stop the cats playing with it all.

Round a bit further, just to the left of where I sit, is a plastic shoe-box containing all my sticky stuff from glossy accents to PVA to silicone glue, glue dots and double sided tape. It is useful to keep it all within reach. In front of that is a water mister and two bottles of 90% alcohol, bought off the shelf in most Spanish supermarkets. It cleans up almost anything, from permanent markers to sticky scissors, and I regular wipe some over my green mats as I am a messy worker, and they always have something on them that shouldn't be there. And in front of that again is my box of copic markers - I have one set of 72 colours and I need to get the other set, but while I have been saving up for them, they have brought out another 45 colours. How tough is that! In the meantime, I supplement my range of colours with a handful of promarkers, (in the square pot) that I bought several years ago when they were introduced at the NEC show, and a set of flexmarkers bought recently in UK.

A question for all users of alcohol ink pens. - How do you store yours? I read somewhere that upright is better than horizontal, and the storage containers available for them all suggest this. But - I have encountered two problems. One of my copic markers appears to have dried out already. It is not one I use that often, but it is quite dry. None of the others bought at the same time are dry at all. I will buy a reinker for it, but I am wondering whether it has a faulty cap and I should be thinking of replacing the whole pen instead of refilling this one. Also the Flexmarkers that I bought last month are very, very pale colours. When I use them they almost make the paper just look wet, and you have to wait for them to dry to see the colour. I thought one of them didn't actually have any colour in it, but I have since discovered that the chisel tip makes the paper pastel pink, while the brush end leaves it colourless! Has anyone else experienced this? If I didn't live overseas I would probably send it back, but from here, it may not be worth the hassel. I have tried shaking it, and storing it with the brush tip downwards but it has not made a difference. That one certainly isn't dry, just without colour. I just love using these pens, but they are too expensive to buy faulty ones. What are your feelings about them? I'd appreciate your comments. Thanks.

Now it's time to link this to Julia's blog and see what my crafting friends are getting up to this week.

A Special One, and then Some..

I was a bit non-plussed when Bah! Humbug! challenged us this week to make a card for 'Baby's First Christmas', as I had made the one I needed for my new great-grandson for Hazel's challenge to make a card for Someone Special, a couple of weeks ago. (You can see it here). But I decided to use the same MoManning digistamp as I used then, but a totally different layout and colour scheme, as I have a couple of friends with new baby girls in their families, so one of them may be able to use it. So here is the card I made this time.
It made a change for me, as our family is very weighted on the male side, and I don't get to do girly cards very often. The image is coloured with copics, the papers are all from a magazine freebie booklet from several years ago, the flowers and leaves are all made with Marianne dies, and the teddy is an old, much loved, PSX stamp. The bauble is clear embossed to make it shine.

And then some more of my little cards. I made a set of sixteen of these a while back and really enjoyed the challenge of making a small space look interesting. I sorted through my collection of Christmas cards this week, and although I have some 80 or so ready to go, I realised that I need about another forty so I thought I'd better get stuck in. I started by using Publisher to compile a page of Christmas digistamps, and here it is. The baby picture, Henry's little lamb and the cherub on a bauble, are all MoManning designs, the cute deer images and chicks are from pink cat studio, and the adorable Baby Jesus and the sentiment, is a pink gem design. Having printed this I removed the baby image and replaced it with more repeats of the others, and printed it out a couple more times. (Note to self; Spread them out a bit more next time. It was difficult cutting between some of them!) I had one arm in a sling for the weekend but fortunately it was my left arm so I was still able to use my pens, and I spent my time adding colour to all the images mainly with copic markers. Hiding away in my pre-cut cards I found a set of pale green ones with matching envelopes and a couple of red ones with green envelopes, so I made use of those and cut the rest from heavy white card. I can cut three of these from one A4 sheet, and this time I made sure they would all fit into the 9.9cm envelopes that I recently bought a pack of. Then it was a case of raiding my off-cuts box and using a variety of Nesties, Nellie Snellen and Marianne dies, to turn each image into a card, adding a variety of peel-offs, gems, and ribbons as needed. I tried not to make too many the same, and as I was using up oddments, this was easy. This morning I counted them up and was pleased to find I had made twenty three cards, so I arranged them as best I could, and managed to get them all into this picture. Quite a satisfying few days work. Now I just have to do it all over again and I will have enough!!

I am entering the first card in:
Bah! Humbug! Challenge 44: Baby's First Christmas.
Papertake Weekly Challenge: First Christmas.

And linking the whole collection to :
Make it Monday 63: Anything Goes.
Inspire me Friday 32: Anything Goes.
Digital Tuesday Challenge 137: Christmas time.
and to
Shirley-Anne's blog, where I am sure I must have reached my target of fifty cards by 1st December.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Let your little light shine

Hazel's challenge this week is 'Whatever lights your candle', and as I usually take themes fairly literally, I knew straight away what stamp I would use, but because my left arm is in a sling at the minute, I neded to keep it fairly simple.
I wanted to make separate elements in case I messed one up, so I found an off-cut of cream card and stamped the Penny Black image using three memento ink pads. It didn't stamp particularly well so I added colour with copic pens. I cut it out and added a bit of sparkle with yellow stickles on the flame and around the frame. (I find yellow stickles are much more effective than the gold ones for most things). I then found a precut card and envelope in some very old stash and as it looked a bit dark I added two lengths of Christmas foil ribbon bought recently in Hobbycraft. This left me with a space on the left that needed filling, so another search through my 'old stash' produced a suitable quote on cloudy acetate. I ran it through my Xyron and stuck it to the same cream card as the main image, cut it out and framed it with yellow stickles to match. The greetings banner is so old I can't begin to think of it's origin!

I made this card for:
Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas Challenge 46: Whatever lights your candle,
and I am also linking it to Shirley Anne's blog towards my tally. I am determined to hit my total of 50 cards before the end of the month!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Skiing Anyone?

Now I don't think this ranks among the better cards I have made, but as it was very much a case of trial and error, the end result is not too bad. Regular followers of my blog will know that a few months back my husband bought me a big set of Serif Craft Artist CDs, but due to unplanned events and circumstances, I haven't had a chance to really get to grips with it. The ABC team wanted us to feature Winter Sports for their challenge this week, and as I had no suitable stamps or digis I decided to use a 'real' photo and see what I could make. This is the photo I used, taken when we took some visitors up to Sierra Nevada a couple of Christmases ago. None of us actually take part in the sports there, but the scenery is stunning and there is a lovely holiday atmosphere in the village at the base of the slopes.

For the card I imported papers that were already on my computer, and used one of the Craft Artist CDs for all the frames and embellishments. I am sure there are a lot more complicated techniques available within this programme, but the basic assembly of this card was very easy, and did not take too long. I printed it out twice on to one sheet of A4 card, so, as you can see in my photo, I made two identical cards. I did think it was a bit 'flat' as I am now used to adding several, (sometimes too many), embellishments to my hand made creations, so I added a white organza ribbon bow over the printed one, and 'blinged-up' the snowflakes with stickles and gems.

I made this card for:
ABC Christmas Challenge: W is for Winter Sports. I shall also link both of them to Shirley-Anne's blog.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I nearly didn't post this week as there was absolutely nothing on my desk this morning, except my array of green mats. But when I came home from my usual Wednesday morning craft group, I found a small parcel waiting for me. It was an order from Chocolate Baroque, so of course, I went to my craft room to open it and have a play. So you can see two newsletters and a rainbow of pearlescent card which are part of my CB Guild subscription renewal, three large plates of stamps with EZ Mount to put them on, and two lots of Crealies foliage dies that I have had my eye on for some time. I've already tried these out in my cuttlebug so one of my boxes of card off-cuts is out. Now I have to get the stamps mounted up on their foam and catalogued so that I can have a go with them.

It is a beautiful hot and sunny day today so I had to close my windows and wooden shutters to get this photo. The cats are curled up on top of my printer, in a sunbeam. They know how to make themselves comfortable!

Don't forget to pop over to Julia's blog to see what everyone else has on their desk today. I'm afraid I can't get to all of you, but I will visit as many as I can before the zoo start demanding their tea.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Trying something new.

As I spend a lot of time (too much time!) hopping around blogland, I often read hints and tips and technique tutorials, so it is nice to give some of them a try now and then, and that is what I did for this card.

Unfortunately I can't remember where I saw this technique, but I suspect it was on a Make it Monday post. Anyway the aim is to produce a 'misty', sparkly topper, and is particularly suited to a snow picture. I wanted a sihouette image that would give a good, black picture, so I hunted through my snow folder and came up with this circle stamp set by Carolines. The holly is part of the circle frame, and there are several different, smaller stamps to fill the space so I chose the snowman. Once he was stamped I grounded him with a few pens lines. Next I cut around the frame and passed it through my Xyron machine, face down so the image was sticky. Then I carefully covered it with a used tumble-dryer sheet, and cut around it again. (I don't use a tumble drier, but a friend salvaged a couple for me). I cut this out again and then gently shook a fine irridescent glitter all over, tapping the excess off, which left this clearly visible image with a distinct shimmer.

I used a Nellie Snellen die and an off-cut of blue card for the frame. I chose a plain white base card and embossed the top, right hand section with a cuttlebug folder. The blue ribbon was from my stash, and I finished it off with several snowflakes cut with a set of Marianne dies, and blinged them up with matching gems and the same glitter as the topper, applied with a glue pen.

For those of you who don't have a Xyron, I think this would work with a good glue stick if you worked fast so the glitter was added before it dried. You might need to glitter it and then cut it out.

I am entering this card for the :-
Bah! Humbug! Challenge 43:- Snowmen.
Crafty Hazlenut's Christmas Challenge 45:- Bright colours and/or sparkle. (This one has the sparkle. I'll try to add a brighter one later in the week).
Winter Wonderland: Make your card sparkle.
Delightful Challenges: A very sparkly Christmas.
Heidis Hobbystuggu: A Christmas card with Bling or Sparkle.

Here is another little card that I made this week, this time using a Marianne large snowflake die, and a small bird on a branch die, also Marianne, which I coloured to look like a robin. I again used my Xyron to make the snowflake uniformly sticky, and covered it with fine glitter, and used stickles crystal ice to frost the branch. I shaped the leaves from little ovals, so they looked like holly and added red perfect pearls drops for some berries. The background paper is an old magazine freebie from my stash.

I am linking both of these cards to Shirley-Anne's blog to add to my tally.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vintage Christmas with a Sparkle

I don't do a lot 'vintage' stuff, so I had to dig deep in the stash boxes to find something for the ABC Christmas Challenge this time.I found the postman and car topper, rescued from an old Christmas card, and then I stamped the postbox (Creative Expressions; Create a scene set), and coloured it with copics to match. I also added matching irridescent glitter to the top. I mounted both of these onto some off-cuts of scrapbook paper, and used a Penny Black sheet to cover a cream base card which I had distressed around the edges with walnut stain distress ink. I used the same ink to distress the edges of the images and mounted them on the base. The greetings was from a tiny paper pad for vintage ATCs. Then I rummaged through my bit-box and found the red ribbon and leaves from some crackers last year, and a flower from my practice days when I had just read a tutorial about making them. I added some aged mahogony distress ink to darken the petals, and highlighted them and the leaves with burgundy stickles, and attached them all to the corner with silicone glue.

This card is for
ABC Christmas Challenge: V is for Vintage.
Crafty Purple Frog Challenge 27: Sparkle
Pink Gem Challenge 33: Cold and Frosty

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

For Someone Special

When I saw that Hazel was challenging us to make a Christmas card for someone special, I imediately thought of my new great-grandson Isaac. As his mum doesn't follow my blog, I feel quite safe in making a card for him and posting it here. So first of all here is Isaac, who obviously is going to be encouraged to share his mum's love of Disney videos, and her favourite Tigger.

And here is the card I have made for him.

I have used a MoManning digi stamp for the main image, called 'Baby's first Christmas', and coloured it with copics. The backing paper was from my stash, a magazine freebie I think, and the red is a very old sheet from when I had a phase of printing Christmas music as backers. I reversed it and used the back for the frames. The bauble was a bit insignificant so I gave it some shine with glossy accents. This has cracked slightly overnight so I may have another go using UTEE instead. I thought it would be fun to sit the baby in a flower, so the poinsettia and fir branch are Marianne dies and the script bauble was made with nesties circle dies, and computer generated words.

I am entering this card in:

Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas Challenge 44: For someone special. Bah! Humbug! Challenge 43: Use Die cuts.
Make it Monday 61: All papercrafts.

And I am linking it to
Stamping for Joy so that Shirley Anne can add it to my tally.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A little Christmas tree.

I had a bit of bother with the post I have just done for my other blog, so I hope I am more successful with this one. I thought I would just show you the results of my labours all yesterday afternoon and evening! This isn't my design. Anyone who went to the recent Ally Pally show, may have seen it on Kay Rutter's stall. She had made one to show off the verstility of her Hougie board. I was impressed enough to buy her board, and it is proving to be quite a useful piece of kit, so I was keen to give the Christmas tree a go.

It is of course, a similar idea to Tim Holtz rosettes, but with the folds scored at the regular intervals on the Hougie board. It would have been far easier to make if I had a 'grass' border punch, but I don't, so I managed with my Marianne die 'icicles'. What I hadn't taken on board until I came to make it was that this is a finite die; i.e. it is a set length, (short), and it cuts right across at each end. I didn't want to be joining lots of little pieces together, so I tried to cut it about three quarters of way down its length, move the die along, and start cutting below the edge blade, stopping before the end again, and so on .. Needless to say this didn't always work and I did have to join some pieces, but I kept going. I also had to guess what widths I needed to make each rosette smaller than the prvious one, and what length of paper would make the best rosette. I found that particular die quite difficult to use because it either didn't cut quite well enough and I had to help it in places with my little decoupage scissors, or else it cut beautifully but the paper was too well wedged into the die and was difficult to remove without tearing it. No amount of changing shims seemed to help with this. But in the end I had my six rosettes which I joined with pieces of foam tape. Then I lightly brushed PVA glue all over and dusted it with irridescent glitter, and made the star on top from a wooden die-cut snowflake, heat embossed with Queen of Diamonds UTEE.

I am quite pleased with the end result, but I won't be repeating the exercise too often. It was too time consuming. If I do eventually get a border punch I might give it another go, because it is very pretty. Incidently I was surprised to find it took just over two A4 page of heavyweight paper to make it.

I will link this to Inspire me Fridays linky party 30, where Anything goes.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I nearly didn't post this week as there is very little on my workdesk. In fact there is nothing - zilch - nada! Not even a cat, though, as you can see, she isn't far away. I have been to my usual knitting/sewing group this morning and decided against starting a new paper-craft project this afternoon.

Instead I made my workdesk the table out in the garden, where I sat and worked on a small piece of lace that I wanted to finish. It is a bracelet and I need to get several of them made over the next couple of weeks. Viewed from the other side, you can see that instead of the cats, I had our three hounds for company. Well one is a hound. the black one is his soppy sister, and the smaller one is a fussy little girl. They mainly live outdoors but they like it when we sit out with them.

Now my bracelet is finished and I am back indoors. So it is time to think about how I can mess up that tidy desk! But first I'm going over to Julia's blog to see what everyine else is getting up to today.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An unusual colour palette for Christmas

One of the challenges I follow pointed out that this month many people 'celebrate' halloween, but as they are a Christmas card challenge they asked us to make a Christmas card using the colours we associate with halloween - green, purple and orange. I don't usually have anything to do with halloween, and these are not colours I would be likely to chose for Christmas but I gave it a go and here is what I made.
They also asked for a die cut and I have used one that was cut not with a die, but with my craftrobo machine (I hope that counts). A friend of mine was given a craftrobo last Christmas and asked me to go and show him a few things he could do on it. I wanted to show him some very simple but effective ideas, but also to demonstrate it's full potential, so I made a template to cut out this deer scene. Because it is quite intricate I used some of my Chocolate Baroque printed paper as I know my robo 'likes' it. I did this several months ago and I now have no idea where the original image came from, but I think it may have been a black peeloff. (I still have some that are animal scenes. I used to use them over a brayered background.). Anyway, I rescued this one from my 'spare die-cut' box.

The background is made by covering white card with purple mica mist at the base, and a mixture of sticky-fingers sunset yellow and pink dye sprays at the top. I made a mask to just leave a circle where the sun would be and embossed this with stardust powder. On the purple area I used my water-effect stampscapes stamp and embossed this in the same way. Then I layered the die cut over it, matching the water line and the sun, using 1mm sticky pads and added a very narrow border of silver mirri-card.
In keeping with the Christmas theme I frosted the trees with ice-crystal stickles.

For the base card I lightly sponged a card with Adirondak juniper ink to take the stark whiteness away, distressed the edges with Memento bundled sage and used a set of tapestry stamps to randomly stamp holly leaves, a fir spray and berries in my three colours. Then I glued a strip of green paper from a magazine across the centre and added the main scene on top.

Finally I used some little clear stamps to print the sentiments, cut and distressed them a
s the base card, and glued them top left and bottom right of the card, highlighting them with purple and orange gems.

I am entering this card for:

Christmas cards all the year round, October Challenge: Halloween Palette and a Die Cut.
Bah! Humbug! Challenge 42: With Men in Mind.
Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas Challenge 43: Make a Scene.
Christmas Inspirations Challenge 35: Use a Diecut or Punch.
Christmas Stamping all Year Long: Something Spar-ka-lay.

And I shall also be asking
Shirley Anne to add it to my tally on her blog.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

October ATCs

I thought I would quickly upload this month's ATCs for the three swaps I am involved with. As usual I have left it late to make them so I was determined to get them all done and posted by Monday.

Firstly here are my swaps for the Stamp Man where the theme was Oriental.
For the first one I used a digi image of a tree on glossy card which was lightly coloured with distress inks and a sponge. The image is Great Impressions and I coloured it with copics, and attached it with 1mm sticky pads.. The second one uses two hand-carved wood stamps and a bead that I bought in Vietnam. And the third one is a black and gold acrylic background, and the stamp is homemade using imagepac, from a photo I took of a bread van delivering in Murcia, stamped into a 'puddle' of Russett and Fools Gold UTEE.

While in UK I bought some Fresco Finish Crackle Glaze, which gives excellent results when used with the Fresco Finish paints. However I was told that it would also work with other acrylic paints so I decided to try in with a black base and gold top coat. Unfortunately the gold refused to crackle. Rather than waste it I overstamped the gold with a Great Impressions stamp of bamboo and a versamark pad, and embossed it with sparkley Disco black embossing powder. This is the base of the second ATC. I tried the glaze again with the gold as the base coat and black on top, and though the result was not good, it did try to crackle! I used the best part of this for the third ATC and, hid the plain, uncrackled part under the seal.

village is about a ten minute drive from the coast at Mojacar, and when I drive there I pass a dead tree. It has been there eversince we moved here, and on a winter's day, when there is not too much other vegetation around, it stands sihouetted against a blue sky, and I just love the shape of it. I knew one day I would have to stop and take a photo of it, before the council decided to cut it down, so I did, and here it is. After a bit of playing with it in Corel photoshop, I made it into the digi image that I have used in the first ATC.

Swap number two is for Angie Foxcroft of Crazicards craft supples, and the topic was Home and Family. I needed just two ATCs for this swap. The first uses a digi image I made from a recent photo showing four generations of my family. This was taken when I went to meet my new great-grandson last month. It is in a simple hand-cut heart frame and is embellished with gold gem hearts, ribbon and three small hand-made paper flowers. The second ATC used a Chocolate Baroque image, coloured with copics. It took me many attempts to make the script frame, usng Inkscape. I haven't learned to use that program very well yet, but I more or less achieved what I had set out to do. I mounted it onto plain green card and finished it with some green baker's twine and two flower brads.

My third swap was for the Chocolate Baroque Guild and our theme was Winter.
For the first one I used a stamp that was part of my subsciption pack when I joined the guild. I stamped it onto a very lightly coloured background, and again onto white card, and then a piece of acetate. On the first layer I stamped the little house from a recent Chocolate baroque stamp set, and added a little colour to it. From the card image I only cut the two front rows of snow, and added a little glitter to them. On the acetate I glittered the tree branches, and then I layered it all up with sticky pads. The large snowflake is a Marianne die, painted to match the sky, and glittered. For the second card I used some Chocolate Baroque background paper, and stamped the image onto a toning, but lighter shade of paper. I added some stickles dots for snow and mounted it onto the base card. Then I cut a frame using a nesties die, glittered it and covered the reverse with acetate. This I mounted over the owl like a window. The white snowflake is again a marianne die and the centre is a wooden shape, dipped into melted UTEE.

As well as linking this to the Stampman swap site, I am also adding it to Make it Monday 59 linky party, and
Inspire me Fridays 29, where Anything goes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Two for the price of one.

A couple of months ago I saw a pretty bauble stamp used by someone on a challenge blog, and thought how nice it looked. So when, at the Ally Pally last month, I saw a pile of these stamps on a counter I went to take a look. Apparently it is now discontinued and they were selling them off at a discounted price, so, of course, one just jumped into my basket! It is a papermania stamp in an unusual cream coloured rubber. The first thing I did when I got it home was to take it off the wood block and put it onto Ez-mount. And when I saw that Hazel's challenge this week was to use baubles I saw the perfect opportunity to give it its first airing. It is quite detailed so it can almost stand alone and I decided to try white embossing it on a dark blue DL card. I was not having a good day and the first thing I did was to drop the inked stamp on the card. I thought I might get away with that for the back of the card as it was versamark ink, so I just turned it front to back and tried again. This time I did stamp it but I got a really poor impression, with lots of the detail missing from the centre of the design. Not deterred I cut the card in half along the fold and turned each piece to it's 'good' side. Then using my purple stamping mat, and making sure I put good pressure in the centre, I managed to get, not one, but two good impressions which I embossed with sea-foam white powder.
It was still fairly plain so I added some very subtle colour with pale blue and gold interference paints. These only show at certain angles, hence in my first photo they are quite bright, and in the second they hardly show at all. I also added ice-crystal stickles to all the little dots. The first image I trimmed a little, cut the ends with a Martha Stewart punch, layered it onto silver holographic paper and then mounted it onto a plain white DL card.The second image I trimmed rather more but it was still only just small enough to go on an A6 card. But out here the standard envelopes are slightly bigger than in UK so I made a card to fit one of them. This is usually a bit wasteful as you can only cut one from an A4 sheet of card, but today I added the extra width by folding it off-centre and even-ing out the two sides by adding a strip of lace cut with the same punch and silver holographic paper as in the first card. I added small white pearls in opposite corners to finish it off. The sun has reflected rather strongly off the silver paper, but at least you can see it's design.

So from an impending disaster I have managed to salvage two Christmas cards which I will link to Shirley-Anne's blog for my tally, and I am also entering them in:-
CHNC Challenge 42: Baubles or anything hanging.
ABC Christmas Challenge: U is for Unused stash, (stamp). WhoopsiDaisy Challenge: free and Easy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


What's on my workdesk? Well to be really honest the answer is very little! This is usually the case on Wednesday mornings which is my main reason for not joining in this bit of fun very often.

Because my two resident cats, who consider this to be their room not mine, have very long hair which they shed almost continuously, and also because if I leave anything on my desk they sit on it, I am used to clearing everything away on a daily basis. On Wednesday mornings I go to a little sewing group in the next town, so I haven't usually got anything out by lunch time. But I was home a bit earlier today so I thought I'd quickly finish off two ATCs that I started yesterday, and then assemble a couple more Christmas cards. Elements of these are at the left hand side of the photo, and the almost completed ATCs are in the foreground.
As for the yellow tray, well that is my 'work in progress' tray. I often work quite late in the evening and then I am too tired to clear away properly so anything I am working on goes on this tray which I slot on top of my files on the bookshelf. Today it has mostly new stamps on it that I have mounted onto foam, but not yet catalogued, snippets of paper, nice envelopes that I want to salvage parts of, and plastic trays full of odd beads, brads, bits of ribbon etc. Unfortunately I am very bad at clearing this at the end of a project and every now and then it gets so piled up that it won't fit on the shelf. We have reached crisis point again this week, so I thought if I got it out and stuck it on my desk in front of me, I might just be shamed into putting everything away before I start a new project. Well maybe ..... First I think I'll just finish off those Christmas cards!

As predicted, it didn't take my beautiful Arwen long t
o realise that the top of my new wide-format printer, makes a perfect cradle for her siesta - most of the day! Hence the coloured cloth covering it. But I have to say it is really funny to see her jump up whenever I print something!

Thank you for joining me in my little haven this week. If you would like to see what other crafters are up to, pop over to Julia's blog and take a peek.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A quick blog today to show the card I have just finished off using another little bit of my work from the village art group. (See previous post). This one is another Sheena Douglas stamp coloured with felt-tip pens and a water brush. To make it look more 'Christmassy' I added a layer of coarse white glitter. Then I mounted it up on a 15cm square card.
The base card is embossed with a cuttlebug folder and swiped with chalk ink. The sentiment is Crafter's Companion and the layered snowflake is a Marianne die.

Although this is not strictly speaking a home it is 'God's house' and it does include a roof top so I am entering it in
Crafty Hazlenut's Christmas Challenge 41: House or home, and also linking it to Shirley-Anne's blog for my Christmas card tally.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Deck the Halls...

Now I like a little bit of bling on my cards, especially at Christmas, but I don't usually go for lots of glitter, but this week our theme at Humbug Hall was to use Glitz and Glitter, so I have done my best to rise to the challenge.

Yesterday afternoon, (after a big lunch and lovely walk along the beach, which you can read about here), I could have done with a bit of a siesta, but my village art group - manualidades, where I go to meet with some of the local Spanish ladies, reopened after the summer break. So I hastily collected together my latest Sheena Douglas stamps and some acrylic paints and off I went. One and a half hours later I came home with one holly branch painted. The rest of my time had been spent showing some of the ladies how I use stamping to get an image, and chatting about their work.

Anyway, in the evening I decided to make use of the little I had done, and as I sat looking at it I thought that somewhere I had a stamp of the opening lines of the song 'Deck the halls with boughs of holly' so maybe I could put them together. And that is what I did.I didn't want to hide all my painting under a lot of glitter so I just 'frosted' it with a clear stickles glitter glue. I then used a set of nesties labels and my cuttlebug to cut a mount out of starburst card. I have two types of this so I chose the rougher one as it has more sparkle. I was going to layer this on red, but it was already quite large, so instead I edged it with a red permanent marker. Using a smaller label die I cut a second piece and edged it in the same way, and on it I stamped the line from the song which turned out to be a Crafter's Companion stamp. It didn't stamp very well on the rough glitter card but I enhanced it with a black marker, and it is readable now. For the base card I used some plain green card which I stamped randomly with a holly sprig stamp by Clarity.

This card is for:
Bah Humbug Challenge 40: Glitz and Glitter.
Crafty Ann's Challenge 51: Inspired by a Christmas song.
Simon Says...:Sparkle and Bling.
Just Some Lines Challenge: Reminds me of a song.
Fab's Big Christmas Card October Challenge: Something Shiny and/or Snowflakes.

Of course, I am also linking it to Stamping for Joy so Shirley-Anne can add it to my total.

Friday, October 7, 2011

And now there is a set of 'Tinies'.

Thank you for the kind comments you have left on yesterday's post when I showed a set of four tiny Christmas cards I had made for the ABC Christmas Challenge, T is for Tiny. Following on from there I have now, as planned, made a whole set of them. That's sixteen of them to be exact. Using the original set of small images, decorated using copics, ink pads, glitter glue, and die cut frames, I managed to get four cards out of each sheet of backing paper I had made with glimmer mists and a large background stamp. Every card has some of it on, though in some cases it is only a very small piece. I incorporated some ribbons and a few gems to bling them up where needed. Now all I have to do is make sixteen inserts and sixteen 4" square envelopes! (I think my new Hougie board could come in useful here). At least these will be a good size for posting to UK.
I am linking them to the Make it Monday linky party 57 and to Shirley-Anne's blog, Stamping for Joy, where they will make a substantial difference to my card total.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

T is for Tiny

T is for Tiny and the challenge from ABC is to make a set of four tiny Christmas cards. I was looking forward to this as I much prefer small cards to great big ones, especially at Christmas. I am not sure how small they need to be to count as tiny but I have gone with 10cm square (4") as this seems to have been the choice for several other challenge takers, and it's a nice size to work with. I wanted an excuse to use a new stamp I bought at Ally Pally called 'Cover the page-flourishes' by Impression-Obsession. This is one of a set of 6 x 6 stamps designed to make backing papers. It was mounted on foam, but I know these big stamps can be difficult to get a good impression from, especially in the centre, and I couldn't afford the big rocker block that was available to use with them, so I made do with my big flat block and put a purple foam, stamping mat under my paper. And I needn't have worried; I got a perfect print every time. So first I raided my white off-cuts box and found several larger pieces of card. I sprayed them with a variety of mica mists and then stamped them with the flourishes in a coordinating colour ink. I think I shall be using this stamp a lot!

Next I went through my Christmas stamps and pulled out a few smaller images. These I stamped several times on smaller offcuts of white card. My aim is to make a whole batch of tiny cards, each one using some of the flourishes backing paper and one of the images. The stamps I used are, angel square - Stampendous, star - Anita's, candle - Crafters' Companion, holly swirl - Denami, robin - Kars, and Joy bauble - Great Impressions. I then used a variety of card offcuts, dies and punches, pens and peel-offs, and a few bits of bling, and here are the four I have done so far. I am entering these in ABC Christmas Challenge ; T is for Tiny. Christmas Cards All Year Round October Challenge; Orange, green purple or black with a punch or diecut. (The orange card, top left, meets these criteria).
Paper Sundaes Challenge 89; Lots of layers. (Orange 5, blue and red 4, green 3).
Inspire me Fridays 26; Anything goes.
I am also linking them to Shirley-Anne's blog,
Stamping for Joy, to add four more to my total. I hope to be back later with the rest of these Shirley.


It's good to be back making cards again after my little break with the family in UK. I am eager to progress with my Christmas cards. Time is rushing by and I want them 'done and dusted' in plenty of time, so I was pleased to see that this week's challenge at Bah! Humbug! is to feature the Nativity. I have loads of nativity related stamps so this was an easy one for me. But I have still almost run out of time so I went for the simplest of cards.

First I used a Big and Juicy pad (gumdrop) to brayer a background on smooth, matt cream card. I then stamped the scene using a set of tiny silhouette stamps by Stampendous, perfectly clear stamps. I have had them for years and have used them so much.
The words across the top are from a set of Hero Arts sentiment border stamps.

Now with just an hour or so to spare, I am linking this card to Bah! Humbug! Christmas Challenge 39; Nativity

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Hello again fellow crafters. Where did that week go? My desk looks a bit more useable this week. Most of my new stash has found a home and now I am making use of some of it.
At the Ally Pally show I spent a fair bit of time at the Serendipity stall, looking at all the scenescape stamps. I love this technique of using lots of small element stamps to build up a picture. I already have a good collection of Art Impressions stamps which I use in this way, so of course I had to buy some scenescape ones as well. So surrounded by memento ink pads, that I find work very well on glossy card, a selection of acrylic blocks, a few pens, and other stamps from my collection, I set about making a night time scene (in blue). I was quite pleased with that so I double mounted that and let it stand alone on a card. Next I tried to make the same scene in daylight, (in green), which I don't like quite so well, but it is OK. Then I started to make a card front using another set of element stamps, this time by Hobby Art, which I also bought at Ally Pally. This design is a courtyard with an archway that I have cut away and hopefully it will eventually have the day scene behind it. So now I need to finish that off and clear everything away again before my cats come and sit on top of it all. (If you have any trouble keeping your workspace clear, invite a cat in. You'll soon learn to put things away!) But first I will link this to Julia's blog, and pop over to see what everyone else is getting up to this week.Link