Thursday, 26 April 2012

It's the taking part that counts

Bang the drum and blow the horn as I head for the finish line.  This has been quite a week. I was set the challenge of blogging every day for a week, reluctantly I accepted the challenge. Not because I don't love this little blog of mine, but more because my reliability to blog regularly is questionable.  And now I have reached the crux of the matter.  As I said last night us blogging folk have a responsibility to our readers and followers and if we wish to gain their trust, loyalty and support then we have to earn it. Being inconsistent and random with your posts does nothing to endear you to your readers and I have been guilty of this.  So if I have learned anything over the last week it is this:

Your trust, loyalty and support is very important to me, but I have to step up to the plate and at least take part in the stage play if I want an appreciative audience. A bit like life really, if you want to make any mark in this world you have to participate, sitting on the sidelines moaning about your lot is much easier than actually doing something about it.  We can all run our own marathon, take up a challenge, achieve a goal but is does require a bit of an effort, a little thought along with a certain amount of commitment and determination.  What can you expect in return?  An overwhelming sense of fulfillment and satisfaction and an acknowledgment to yourself for giving it a go.

Personally I would like to thank all of you who have supported me this week by leaving encouraging comments and inspiring words; for staying loyal to someone who doesn't have a good track record on the blogging front, but most of all for taking the time to visit this page.  I do not want to make empty promises by saying I will continue to blog every day. I will, however, endeavour to be more regular - even once a week would be a vast improvement on my previous performance and I will try to live up to the statement I have at the top of this blog "I hope that your creativity will often be motivated, enthused, stimulated, that you will occasionally be: amused, entertained, inspired, that you will never be: bored"

I will leave you with some up to date artwork.  This sample features a dress form from Chocolate Baroque's brand new Haberdashery stamp set combined with stamps from the Eccentric Edwardian set, brushed over with a selection of distress inks.

I hope you find joy in everything you do. Until the next time...


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Hook, line and blogger

Whilst blogging for the last few days I have been pondering what it is that attracts us to blogs and why do we keep returning.  What makes a good blog and how do we catch people's attention in a nano second before they move on?

We all blog hop, but what actually reels us in? What captures our imagination and makes us want to pull up a chair and stay for a while? For me it is pretty pictures, attractive artwork and colours that are the initial attraction; of course this won't be the same for everyone. You need to work out what sort of an audience you want to attract, who are you aiming at, or is it just random words on a page written purely for oneself. Blogs can be used for many things, there are hundreds and thousands out there and we will only ever see/read a tiny minority of them, so it is our responsibility as bloggers to ensure our audience get the quality  they deserve.   If people are prepared to spend their precious time reading our musings, adding comments to our posts and following us so that they receive everything (and anything) we ever write then we owe it to them to be as informative, entertaining and interesting as we can be.

Keeping this in mind, tonight Matthew I am going to be informative? entertaining? interesting? Only you can decide that dear reader.  While you are making your mind up here is the card I made last year for my granddaughter's 5th birthday.

 Tomorrow I will be on the last day of my challenge, I hope you can join me for the celebrations.


PS Blogger is playing up tonight so I am not sure if this will post in time, but I will still be back tomorrow, or later today depending on the fickle nature of this program.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Whilst on a unicycle

Well everyone, it's day 5 and I am still here.  Although I don't give up easily, I am surprised I have managed to keep going.  As Debbie put it in her last comment she has visions of me on a unicycle trying to stay balanced, but at speed.  What she doesn't know is I have a tray full of glasses in one hand and  I'm juggling with the other!
Anyway, the artwork I am sharing with you today started because I wanted to try out the ultra fine masking tape that's available on the Chocolate Baroque website.  I used the 3mm tape to mask off a grid, I didn''t measure anything and just divided the card up into 8 sections. I used glossy card and sponged a selection of distress inks over the various sections. Once dry I stamped images from the Diamante Delights stamp set using an archival black inkpad.  I then coloured another piece of glossy card with distress ink and stamped this with a the smaller flower from the same set.  When completely dry I cut out the flower, polished the grid section with soft tissue and attached the flower in place.  What you can't see here is that the centre 'beads' were highlighted in Star Dust stickles. Finally I stamped the sentiment.  I was actually quite pleased with how this turned out and very impressed with the masking tape, really good for fine detail work. Think grid work might be part of my next workshop - it really is a fab technique and is a great way of adding interest to a card.

That's it for now, day 6 next. See you tomorrow


Monday, 23 April 2012

And the clock strikes.....

Okay this is where is starts to go uphill.  Day 4 of my challenge sees me into the working week.  Is this where the wheels come off my bicycle so to speak?  It's all very well posting everyday when there is a weekend in the way, but combining it with everything else that goes on Monday to Friday that's a whole new ball game.  And you see it's not like I've trained for this, worked up to it at a steady trot, got myself into the groove.  No,  I've just hurtled in there full gallop; going from blogging at a snail's pace to charging at it like a Grand Prix racing driver (with none of the Grand and definitely no Prix!!).

I'm looking at the clock, it's getting closer to midnight.  Like Cinderella will my blog change into a drab, artless page at midnight, will I have failed the challenge if this post doesn't post until 12.02 (not sure how it works as Blogger is on USA time)?  Think I had better cut this short NOW, so here is some more of my artwork to be getting on with.
 If I've made the deadline I'll see you again tomorrow.


Sunday, 22 April 2012

Jogging along

Today has been the London marathon and I feel like I've kind of undertaken one myself.  Not that I'm in anyway belittling all those thousands of people who have run themselves ragged today to raise money for good causes.  But this blogging for a whole week lark does have similar traits.  You need to be disciplined and focused, don't allow anything to distract or divert you; pace yourself - don't go off at breakneck speed only to to find  you've blown it all in the first half and want to give up. Take encouragement from all the passers by and well wishers who are urging you on (well that'll be the dog and my husband then!).  Enjoy the experience - you may never do it again.

The last point is the most important.  If you don't enjoy what you are doing then it becomes a chore and once that happens you are lost.  I never want blogging to be a chore, more a place to share my love of art, crafting and anything else I think you may find entertaining or even inspirational. So here I am on day 3, still jogging along enjoying the scenery and taking in the view.  Speaking of which here is a little scenery for you to look at.

I made these tags quite a while ago, whilst having a playday. I was experimenting with some new stamps that Chocolate Baroque were about to release and also looking back at older stamps. You know the ones I mean, those shouting up from the back row "pick me, pick me; I haven't been out to play for ages". The first one is from Pretty Birdcage. I coloured the flowers with Coloursoft pencils and, although it doesn't show too well here, I foiled the cage using the gold from the assorted foil pack (great A4 pack this, good value and full of 8 scrummy colours).

This second one features the script image from the Paisley Elephant stamp set, I just love the versatility of this set and had forgotten how useful it was. I tinted a doily with Scattered Straw distress ink and then stamped over it. The leaves are die cut from gold mirri card using Crealies shape die 11 and I made the flower using chiffon from an old scarf, adding a small paper rose for the centre. Again I have foiled around the edge of the tag and added some highlights to the doily.  Both tags come from my printable tag set.

That's it for now, see you tomorrow.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

A little trumpet blowing

Day 2 and I'm back.  A success so far then - 2 posts in two days.  As I said last night I have accepted the challenge to blog for seven consecutive days and I'm into the second 24 hours - so far so good, but still so far to go.

Enough of that, I said last night I was going to share something I was proud of.  I find it very difficult to actually boast about anything, I don't like 'blowing my own trumpet' and, as a child, was not allowed to 'show off' at all - this was deeply frowned upon.  I tend to do what I do and hope that other people like what I do.  But this week is not the norm - let's face it I've almost blogged more in the past few days than I did all last year!

Back to my intention for today.  You may know that, in between everything else I do, I like to design stuff.  Last year my designs appeared for the first time on the Chocolate Baroque website and they have been quite popular.  Now I am proud to announce that another collection launched yesterday - Chic Script and it's available on the website now.

I admit to being quietly chuffed with this collection and it satisfies my need to stroke paper - even if it is my own.  Anyway, as this is obviously going to be a week of firsts (or seconds) - I have actually made something with one of these sets and I would like to share it with you.

So there you are, this is me showing off and that's day 2 finished.  Back tomorrow.


Friday, 20 April 2012

On starter's orders......

When someone throws down the gauntlet what do you do?

a) Throw it back
b) Ignore it in the hope someone else will pick it up/throw it away etc
c) Step over it


tentatively pick it up like it's a bomb and gently place it in front of you and then look at it for a while - a long while!

Well the gauntlet has stared me out and I can't ignore it any longer - I will have do something about it... here goes.

The gauntlet which has been thrown at my feet is the challenge that I will blog every day for the next week, I suspect this is in the vague hope that, once I have managed seven successive posts, I will remain blogging on a regular basis. To be fair I have been muttering that I need to be a much more attentive gardener and take better care of this tiny blog, and I always have good intentions but seemingly not enough hours.  Trouble is I sit down at the computer, read and respond to my emails, check out the Chocolate Baroque Ning, then Pinterest to see what's new on there and that is where it all starts to go pear shaped.  I get drawn in to looking at other people's 'pins' and wander off down beautiful rabbit holes of artwork, up blind alleys full of inspirational handmade cards and along meandering country lanes of stunning photographs.  What can I say?  I have no defence.

Anyway, back to the gauntlet. I am gently picking it up knowing that for the next 7 days, that's 168 hours, 10,080 minutes - eek this is scarey.  Don't think about it, just DO IT.

Okay the challenge is on, I'll be back tomorrow with something I'm kinda proud of.
See you in 24 hours.


Thursday, 19 April 2012

Chocolate Baroque Candy - Stamps that is

Hi everyone, just a quick post to let you know some exciting news.
Chocolate Baroque have just released two brand new sets of stamps.  Stunning as ever these are just gorgeous - Lace Fragments to die for and Haberdashery images of dress forms and scissors and... just take a look

The Design Team have done some stunning samples and will be wowing you during the course of the next few days.  Glenda has kindly donated one set of each of these stamps as a prize on the DT blog.  If you want to be in with a chance of owning these beauties then vist the Chocolate Baroque DT blog, leave a comment and you will automatically be entered into the draw.  Good Luck.