Wednesday, 31 December 2008

At the End of the Year

Well everyone here it is, the last day of the year. And I guess we can all say thank goodness for that. There have been fantastic times and there have been sad times. This year I have met some wonderful people at exhibitions and shows and at Graphicus Open days. I have spent lots of hours travelling and many more hours crafting and have lots of fabulous memories of being in the company of some very talented people. What does 2009 hold for us all ... who knows, I'm sure it won't be easy but I do know one thing. If you have the support of family, friends and loved ones then you can take whatever life throws at you. So where ever you are on this last day of the year I take great pleasure in saying thank you to everyone who has supported me this year - you have all been amazing. Now, with all that said, may I wish you all a very Happy New Year and leave this little gift designed especially for you.

Until next year...

Monday, 8 December 2008

Last Minute Christmas - Freebie

One of the things I was asked at the Graphicus Open Days was 'Are your ready for Christmas then?' My response... A big resounding NO! One present bought (and that was an accident), the house looks as if it's been recently vandalised (not condusive to the Christmas spirit) and not a card made (never mind written). The latter is probably the biggest problem. You see we demonstrate Christmas from about August but don't actually make anything for ourselves and if we were to give shop bought cards...need I go on. Then I had a thought (first one this year I hear you call) I'm probably not the only one. So, if any of you are struggling to make last minute cards, I have designed a mini kit you can download, print out and put together in no time. The kit contains:

4 background papers, 2 frames, 1 ribbon, 1 christmas flower, 1 jigsaw piece, some Christmas Script and a tag template.

If you would like the kit just send me a quick email (contact) and I will forward you the link to download.

Here are a few samples to give you some ideas

Hope you like.

Friday, 5 December 2008

To Hull and back....(almost!!)

For those of you who thought I had passed by, passed over or past out I am happy to report that none of these are true! I am actually still alive and kicking, well twitching maybe and have come back to blogland via a few locations around this great British Isles of ours. So just where have I been for the last few weeks - are you ready for this.... Kent, Glasgow, Home, Barnard Castle, Home, Doncaster, Birmingham, Home, Barnard Castle, Home, Oswaldtwistle, Home, Lancashire (not all of it!) Home, Barnard Castle, Home (now), Barnard Castle (tomorrow), Home, Blackpool (Sunday), Home (Sunday night), Bed FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR! Phew I'm tired just typing all those places down. You will note there is no mention of Hull, but I have seen the motorways signs to it a time or two during the past few weeks and felt it needed a mention!

I have to say I didn't see much of most of the places I visited as the majority of the time was spent on the craft circuit aka SECC Glasgow and NEC Birmingham. Although tiring I had a great time with my friend Barbara (Clarity Stamp) and met some wonderful crafters along the way; some old friends and lots of new lovely people. As always, if you visited me at either of these shows, a huge thank you for stopping by, without you I wouldn't have the fantastic opportunity to share this passion of mine and it would be a very lonely road. Birmingham was the end of the craft exhibitions for this year, and it was a little sad to see the stands coming down. But, credit crunch and God willing, it starts all over again from the 3rd week in January 2009.

My visit to Oswaldtwistle was to hold my first workshop at Dawn Bibby's Studio. I was invited as a guest tutor back in August, but what with my show list and dates already filled in their diary it was hard to find space before Christmas. However we managed to squeeze in a Saturday towards the end of November and, I have to say, it was a fun filled day which I thoroughly enjoyed. They were a smashing bunch in the class and I obviously did something right because I've been asked to gives them available dates for the first six months of next year!

My Barnard Castle visits were to Graphicus and have been a mixture of dropping off samples/ buying much needed essentials(!). Today and tomorrow are their Open Days so I have been demonstrating some gorgeous stamps, ink pads and pens, chatting with some fab ladies and gents and spending time with some very artistic friends. It is heaven! I realised today just how lucky I am to do what I do. We are surrounded by so much unhappiness in the world; the news is gloomy and depressing, there are horrible things happening to undeserving people and too much sadness that we can't do anything about. And in the middle of all this our tiny band of crafters, many who had braved the weather and travelled a good distance, laughing and joking and sharing and caring. Our own little haven, a respite for a few hours from reality and I was a part of it. Amazing!! How does it go? "Count your blessings one by one". I just have and so, to all of you I met and shared today with, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart, you have made me realise how truly blessed I am.

Until next time...


PS: Here's another of my blessings

Sunday, 12 October 2008

When the Muse flies out the window!

There are times when I find my Muse floats about. Sometimes it's stamping, sometimes it's creating backgrounds, sometimes it is just dreaming of ideas. Today is a beautiful day, so I opened a couple of windows and the door into the garden and WHOOPS out went my Muse. I think she's enjoying the sunshine and some well needed fresh air. Unfortunately while she's out gadding about I'm here, surrounded with lots of 'bits' and unfinished pieces and I cannot pin her down to help me complete anything.

I'm sure you have all experienced the loss of creative thinking from time to time and when it happens to me I turn to other forms of stimulus. Maybe a book, some poetry, music, even a particular old movie can inspire me. But today nothing. So I thought I would share some more of my digital journal with you. (Click on pics to see more detail)

Above is my grand daughter. To the right our badly done to pooch!

You see, even my reminders are blank!

And this tells me how wonderful childhood really is.

I hope my Muse approves!
PS If you find her could you send her home!


Would you like to be playing with some of the latest, hottest products around? Well you could be because there is some amazing blog candy to be won over on the Elusive Images Design Team Blog. To be in with a chance of winning, pop over there now and leave your comment. But do hurry - you only have until 16th October, draw takes place on the 17th.

Remember, you have to be in it to win it. Good luck!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Where does the time go!!!

How do the words of the Madonna song go..."time goes by so slowly". Huh! Who is she kidding? It's just whizzing by and I'm hanging on with an inkpad in one hand and a rubber stamp in the other! And Alice, our TIAPD (thinks it's a person dog!) is dashing around behind me chewing ribbons, sneezing on the glitter and burying her nose in my craft stash. On the other hand DH is keeping me going with cups of herbal tea and wonderful evening meals.

Anyway, I'm preparing new samples for the next Elusive Images live show (see Glenda's blog for the rescheduled dates), making birthday cards for assorted friends and family - (don't you make a rod for your own back? If you bought a card, they'd think you didn't care!) - and trying to get organised for the SECC show in Glasgow later this month. This may all sound like a whinge, but it's not; I am so lucky to be doing what I do and I thank my stars every day that other people seem to like it too.

I have managed to come up with a few people to whom I wish pass on the I Love your Blog Award, but I haven't got to the magic number yet; trust me I'll post on that soon. Also watch this space for pics of the projects from my Fenwick's class that I promised a couple of posts ago.

So, to finish here I'll leave you with a couple of things I have managed to complete. If you click on the photos you will be able to see the details more clearly.
The images for this card came from the new Eccentric Edwardian themeplate. I just love vintage and all the stamps on this plate capture this by-gone era so beautifully. I stamped the background with one of the script stamps onto patterned paper, using Teal Stazon, and edged this with Versafine Vintage Sepia. I then stamped the large and small watch faces on the same paper and cut them out. Next I thinly applied a couple of coats of clear varnish to accent the clock faces. I didn't use Glossy Accents here because that would make the paper too wet. I covered the base cardstock with the same patterned paper, mounted the script background onto some thin card (to give it substance) and attached it with foam pads. I stuck a piece of blue ribbon diagonally across the bottom right hand corner and attached the faces using foam pads. At least these clocks stand still!

This is a another of my computer art projects - it will be the front cover of a digital journal I am working on (eventually!).

Well that's all for now, the clock has whizzed again, struck twelve and I'm about to turn into.......

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Very Illuminating!

Today I have taken just for me. Now that may sound selfish, but as I explained in my last post, I have been here, there and everywhere. So after arriving home thoroughly *******!! last night, after the workshop in Newcastle, I decided today would be MINE. So I spent the morning catching up on emails and browsing my favourite blogs. And guess what...? I've been awarded this.

How fantastic, this blog is only three weeks old today and Craftimamma of Crafty Love N Hugs has been gracious enough to nominate it. A huge thank you for this. It is very encouraging that, although still in it's infancy, you find my input interesting (does that read okay?) Anyway, please look at Craftimamma's blog for fabulous photography and inspiration.

Now as I understand it the rules for this award are :
1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.

2. Link the person you receive your award from.

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.

4. Put the links of those blogs on yours.

5. Leave a message on the blogs you have nominated.

So, checking through the list, I have done 1 and 2, but 3 is going to take some serious consideration. There are some very creative and interesting blogs out there and many people who inspire me. So, to make sure I pass the baton to those people who I really want get the recognition they deserve, I will take a little time before posting those nominations.

Having settled down from the excitement of receiving my first award, and coming in from helping DH with his work on the roof (yes I did say roof but that's a whole other story!!) I have spent the afternoon designing. This time on my computer using Photoshop. Although many may say this is not true hands on crafting, I really enjoy using this medium for my creativity. The blank white document on my computer screen can be just as challenging as a blank piece of card or paper. And can go just as horribly wrong too!! Anyway today has been a good day and I have added some new artwork to my growing collection. If you don't like computer art look away now.....

This is my version of an illuminated letter, which I have designed especially for a very good friend of mine. However I'm also hoping to incorporate it as the bookcover for a project I have in mind. Let me know what you think, and if you would like to see more in the future. If you really like this I might be able to share it with you so that you can download it for your own use.
There you have it, all in all a very illuminating day! Take care 'til next time.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

From one thing to another

and another......

I have just realised that it is almost two weeks since my last post. The reason is in the title...let me explain.

As you will know from my last post I have been working with some wonderful new stamps from Elusive Images, so last week it was all systems go designing samples for the up and coming TV shows. Then it was Friday and I whizzed down to Harrogate to help my very good friend Babara Gray (who owns Clarity Stamp) to help set up the stand at the Paper Extravaganza Show. Back home Friday night to get myself revved up for the coming weekend. Bright and early Saturday morning saw me on the A1 again going back to Harrogate. The show opened at 9.30, Barbara and I started demonstrating and the next thing we knew it was 10 to 4 and we realised we hadn't had lunch! It was just sooo busy. Showed closed at 4.30, we spent an hour or so restocking and tidying the stand ready for Sunday and then home. Sunday morning saw a repeat journey back down the A1 and yet another busy day. Not quite as manic as Saturday, managed lunch at about 2 ish! Then it was all over, the stand was packed back into the van and I was on my way home. Although demonstrating at shows can be very tiring (both on the feet and the voice!) I really enjoy them. You meet some lovely people and it's exciting sharing your crafting passion face to face. Cue here - a huge thanks to all of you who visited the stand and took the time to chat with me. For those who came and I didn't get to speak to - apologies, I hope I will see you somewhere soon.

Monday saw me up at Graphicus, dropping off said designs (see above). A quick chat with the wonderful team that work there and a dash round the shop, just to check out the stock you understand!! Bought a couple of things that I just HAD to have and then it was back on the A1 AGAIN, this time up to Newcastle. I am running a workshop at Fenwicks this coming Saturday and, as it's the first time I have done any work there, I wanted to pay them a visit. Since then I have been working on the projects for Saturday's workshop. After that it will be more samples for Glenda's TV show (I came home to a delivery of more new stamps on Saturday night, they are gorgeous. I just know you will love them, but you will have to watch the show - I cannot reveal anything here!)

So there you have it. As I said at the beginning - one thing to another. Makes for an interesting life! Take care 'til next time.

P.S. Sorry there are no photos this time, but I will share some of the projects from Saturday's workshop soon.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Let us Spray!

First a big thank you to those kind people who have taken the time to comment on my intitial post to this blog. It means a lot to me.

Anyway, I can't believe it's nearly a week since I first set this up; but we all know how time goes so much quicker for the older generation! I would love to say I have been so busy crafting that I haven't had much time for anything else. If only that were the case. Unfortunately my right hand has been out of action for much of the week, which has made life rather difficult (bathing, dressing, writing etc have been a bit of a challenge) More importantly stamping, cutting and general crafting have been nearly impossible. Tip here: Do not try spraying Glimmer Mists with your left hand (unless you are left handed of course). The dog wasn't too impressed in being showered with Hollyberry ink! Sorry no photo here - she moves too quick for the camera, if not quick enough to avoid being glimmered! So, I had to put things on hold for a few days. However, I am pleased to report my hand is much improved and I'm back spraying in a more controlled fashion.

If you have read Glenda's blog (Artylicious), you will realise there is is a TV show coming up. As one of the design team I am also preparing samples and thought I might share some of the backgrounds I've been working on.

For those of you who have indulged in the beautiful bottles of colour that are Glimmer Mists, you will already know that using them is not one of the cleaner areas of crafting. In fact, it is downright messy (halleluah to that!), and you have to be careful where you spray - viz a viz one Hollyberry dog! If you have seen Glenda in action she uses a box which is a fantastic idea, almost like a little spray theatre. I'm much more clumsy and have had my box on the floor, almost over the head of the dog (if she should could use the phone I'm quite sure I would have received a visit from the RSPCA by now) and bounced it off the dining room wall. So I gave that up and now I just cover a very large area with paper and/or my heat proof crafting mat. It very much depends on what I'm doing. By far the best is newspaper, for several reasons. First, it's cheap (actually free because we get 2 free papers a week here), second, the sheets are much larger and therefore cover a bigger area but, most importantly, it acts as both a blotting paper and an ink well. I'll explain further.

I have been using semi-gloss cardstock tags which, unlike standard cardstock, do not absorb Glimmer Mists as readily as regular card/paper. You get a more muted effect on semi-gloss, and the newspaper helps in this process. Tip Use at least four of five sheets of newspaper, I tend to open it up from the midde so that I have a double spread. First choose your colours, then spray approx half to two thirds of the tag with the darkest colour - you need to spray quite close to pool the ink. Then turn the tag over and use the newspaper as a blotter, pressing firmly over the back of the tag. Keep pressing until the ink stops running e.g. the tag is still wet but the colour doesn't run when the tag is held vertically. Next, apply a further respray and repeat the blotting process. By now the newspaper will be quite soggy with your colour. Allow this puddle to dry for a couple of minutes and then start pressing and dragging your tag through it. What happens is that, as the puddle is drying, all the mica comes to the surface. By dragging and pressing your semi dry tag through it you are gathering all the mica and laying over your existing spray. So keep going until you are happy with the result. Change to a clean sheet of newspaper and then spray the remaining blank area of your tag with the another lighter colour and repeat the process of blotting etc. Then leave to dry thoroughly. You should now have a double coloured, shaded tag with loads of mica 'threads' spread over the top.

Both of these tags have been created using the technique I have just described. I have found that those colours which carry more mica give a better effect. Here I have used Frosty Night and Snowflake on the left and Hollyberry (without the dog!) and Olive Vine on the right. Neither the photos nor my photography do these justice but, trust me, they are gorgeous. This technique also works on regular card stock, but the colours are more intense.

Here's the aftermath on the newspaper. I'll keep these and use them on another project.

Now my tags are ready for stamping on. Sorry I can't show you any finished results yet, but the stamps I'm using are still a secret.

Well, I hoped you like this and that you try the technique. Till next time....

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Is the World Ready.....

....for yet another blog, well mine anyway? We shall see...

This is my first foray into blogland. Don't get me wrong, I read loads of other fantastic blogs but now I've created my own, urged on I have to say by some wonderful creative friends of mine - Glenda (Artylicious), Lynn (Inky Artitude) and Annette (For Blogs Sake). So if you want to blame anybody for me unleashing myself into this universe, then it's all the fault of these three ladies (lol). I am inspired by many more than the aforementioned, but I will come back to that in a later post.

Ok, so now I've hurtled headlong into virtual creativity what can you expect?? Propably lots of useless ramblings of a crafting nut, hopefully some useful crafting gossip and info and, once in a blue moon, I may post something that you will find really interesting (and inspiring).

Some of you may already know me, or may have even met me, therefore you know what you are letting yourself in for! But for those of you who don't, let me try and sum up what I'm about (shouts of 'shut up and get on with it Lesley').

In the real world I work with my husband and we provide training for adult learners. In my other world I craft any spare moment that I have. I'm proud to say I am one of the design team for ELUSIVE IMAGES (a position made in heaven) and I am also a freelance demonstrator. I LOVE crafting - with paper, stamps, ink, paint, stampbord, grungebord (you get the drift?). Anything and everything inspires me - even a visit to B & Q (there are other things you can do with washers and electrical tape you know!!). I also love sharing my ideas with others and I hope this blog may be an extention of that.

So, there you have it - my first post. I have finally committed myself (NO comments here please!!) in print and in public. Hope you think it was worth all the effort, now and in the future. How does that saying go "hold on, I think we may be in for a bumpy ride"?....... I hope you can hold on with me and enjoy the journey.