I'm up in Dumfriesshire for Christmas, with two little boys who are going to be very, very excited come tomorrow morning! Doubt we'll get much of a lie-in! Here are a few pictures I took when we went out for a walk today in the snow. Beautiful day, but some warmer weather would be most welcome now!
A very Happy Christmas to all my blog friends and followers, and I hope that 2011 is good to you all.
....if not on the blog! I'm sitting here wearing two fleece jumpers, with a fleece throw wrapped around my lower half, and feeling as though I've got ice cubes at the end of my feet instead of toes! The heat from the radiator never seems to penetrate under my desk. On top of all that I've got a streaming cold! Some of our windows are not double glazed, and this morning we woke up to find ice on the inside of them. I remember that happening a lot when I was a child, but not since then. The temperature outside here last night dropped to about minus 9, and it didn't get much above that during today. I know that some parts of the country were a lot colder still, but minus 9 is quite low enough for me, thank you very much! They say that come the weekend we may get up to plus 5! It will seem positively tropical!
The reason for my absence yet again on the blogs is that sadly, my father-in-law died very suddenly a fortnight ago. It was a great shock to us all. We had seen him a couple of days previously and he seemed fine, but he had a massive heart attack and although the paramedics arrived within a few minutes, it was already too late. We can only be thankful that he went so quickly and didn't suffer. I guess if we had a choice, that's the way we'd all wish to go.
The funeral was yesterday, and most people managed to get there in spite of the weather. My daughter and family came down for it from Scotland on Friday evening without major problems, and it was lovely to have them here over the weekend.
The boys helped to take our minds off things a bit. They and Grandad made a snowman in the garden. He was a very upright sort of character at first, until a slight thaw made him somewhat tipsy! Fortunately he froze again before he reached the point of no return, and is still regarding us with a rather quizzical expression, as if he's trying to work out his next move.
This time last year I said that I couldn't wait for the new year, as it couldn't be as bad as the one we'd just had. I was right. This year has been even worse. So this time I'm saying nothing! It's a good job I got the majority of my Christmas cards made when I did, because just at the moment I can't summon up much enthusiasm for crafting. I've been lurking a bit on the blogs, to try and keep up, but I hope you'll forgive me if I haven't had time to leave a comment. Being so busy at work just now doesn't help either. Roll on the Christmas hols, when with a bit of luck I will get a chance to recharge my batteries and get back to something approaching normal!
Yesterday Jules posted a brilliant tutorial on how to make an origami Christmas tree, which had been taught to her by a lady called Jo Unwin (for whom unfortunately I don't have a link.) I couldn't wait to try it, and here's the card I made with it.
I used one of the big (8" x8") square cards from Craftwork Cards for the base and stamped it with an Elusive Images stamp from the Grungy Brocade set. The patterned papers, including the one I made the tree with, and the sentiment, are all from the Artylicious Season's Greetings CDrom from Graphicus. The three little snowflakes were punched with a freebie punch which came with the December 2010 issue of Papercraft Inspirations magazine. Now, one might suppose that magazine freebies are not usually of the best quality, until one realises that this punch is made by Tonic Studios, and it actually works really well, as you can see by the detail.
I was very pleased with how the tree turned out, thanks to Jules's clear instructions, so if you fancy having a go too, hop over to Jules's blog and try it out.
"Drat!" I thought, when I dropped my Memento Rich Cocoa dew drop ink pad, ink side down of course, on to the pristine sheet of white paper I was just about to stamp on.
Then, "Hmm," I thought, "that looks like a petal." So I dropped it a few more times.
Then I cut out the shapes and made a flower!
Papers: Basic Grey (Capella), punches: Martha Stewart, sentiment: Personal Impressions.
Had a funny old week, busy at work, and then decided to catch up with various little jobs which I've been meaning to do for ages but somehow never got round to, mostly sewing and mending. Yesterday was such a glorious day weather wise that we decided to go out for a walk, just a few miles around our local area, but it was good to get out and get some fresh air and exercise. My pre-new year resolution is to get more exercise! I spend far too long on the computer. I'm sure that the act of switching one on enters you into a time warp, so that you think you've been there for half an hour, but in reality it's more like three hours! I'm sure many of you will know what I mean! Anyway, we both enjoyed the walk & I took some photos along the way, including this beautiful holly tree, such a lovely shape and laden with berries, in the local cemetery.
If only the weather was like that every weekend! Hope you all had a good one too.
This is a photo I took seven years ago, in Cumbria, just up the road from where my daughter used to live. It was early in the morning, the sun was just rising, and a flock of sparrows alighted in the brambles for a breakfast conference. They sat there obligingly while I took the picture and then flew away again.
Earlier this year, Paper Artsy released their Hot Picks 1005 stamp set. Click on the link and you'll see why I had to buy it! Got it on Saturday at Sir Stampalot. Here's what I made with it today.
I coloured a background with Distress inks, then stamped the birds in black Brilliance and clear embossed. The flourish at the top is also from the Paper Artsy set. The chipboard twigs and leaves are from Crafty Individuals. Again, coloured with Distress inks, as are the additional punched leaves.. To make the tag, I stamped just the outer border from a Hero Arts ticket stamp on to the back of a Making Memories ticket, then stamped the Paper Artsy "Secret Garden" inside the border. Just a bit too late for all the recent "Autumn" themed challenges!
Today saw our second "Blog Girl Day" at Sir Stampalot. We had a great time, great company , had a good natter, a yummy lunch, and even made some cards! Just wanted to say a huge thank you to Brenda and Chris for organising the day and designing some gorgeous projects for us to make. Also to Janice and Andy for hosting us, and keeping the shop open for the necessary retail therapy afterwards!
Here's what we made (my versions of Brenda's and Chris's designs). The first two cards were designed by Chris. I admired her pink and bling bauble card when I first saw it on her blog, so I was delighted that she showed us how to make it today. And I love the little step card with the tipsy Christmas trees!
Brenda's creations were equally gorgeous, and both shiny, so unfortunately they haven't photographed very well. The first one uses layers of stamping over a Distress Ink and Glimmer Mist background. The second was made on acetate, with leaves stamped on top using black Staz-on ink, and the reverse coloured with alcohol inks. It was then backed with text torn from a book and crumpled tin foil. The effect of the foil is amazing, and the photo really does not do it justice.
The book chosen for the text caused some hilarity, being a rather seedy crime novel! We had to be very selective about which pages we used! But the end result was very effective. I was proud of the fact that I managed to complete all four cards, unlike the previous time when I didn't actually get any finished on the day.
Anyway, thanks again, everyone, for a really lovely day. Looking forward to the next one!
Or, to put it another way, eating my words! I said I wouldn't be making any Christmas cards before December. I hate the fact that Christmas is so commercialised these days, with stuff in the shops before we've even got the summer holidays over with. And starting the preparations too soon seems to be wishing time away. It goes fast enough as it is.
However, the ladies who come to my card class wanted to do some Christmas cards sooner rather than later, so I thought that since I had to make samples for them, I might as well carry on and get more done for myself while I was at it. They asked for quick and easy, which was fine by me. I don't have much time to spend on making cards at this time of year. It's my busiest time at school, with all the Christmas concerts to prepare for. When we're back next week, after half term, we'll be starting rehearsals, with the first concert only five weeks away! Maybe next year I should start making the cards in January!
Anyway, here are some I've done so far. Plain and simple, and certainly quick and easy. I don't like doing "production line" cards, but needs must, and by using different papers I've managed to get a bit of variety. I bought the Holly Frame embossing folder by Crafts Too, which I embossed straight on to the card blank. It made adding texture very quick, and only needed a stamp in the centre to finish it off. It's a bit hard to see in the photo, but I also used the Cuttlebug Swiss Dots folder on some of the cards.
Stamps by Crafty Individuals, Hero Arts, Elusive Images, PSX, Inkadinkado. Other items used: Nestabilities dies, Promarkers, Dovecraft papers, various inks.
I'm sorry I haven't been getting round everyone's blogs lately. My grandsons came to stay (with parents, though plenty of babysitting was involved!). We had a great time, even though I also had to go to work as unfortunately our half term didn't coincide with theirs this year. Then I went up to stay with them for a few days. The weather was mixed, but one day was absolutely gorgeous, so we went for a walk by the loch close to where they live, and got some photos.
And one other I can't resist sharing, my elder grandson puddle jumping! The joys of being 5! (The carrier bag was to collect fallen leaves in, with which he and his mum made a mobile.)
Anyway, I will try to catch up with the blogs soon. Hope everyone is having a good week.
I'm sorry I haven't been getting round to comment on everyone's blogs lately. I'm afraid real life has had to intervene for a while. I'm still in the process of dealing with my late father's estate, which has taken a very long time, but hopefully the end is now in sight and I will then be able to relax and put my mind back to crafting.
I noticed the other day that S****burys were advertising a new product - decorative cupcake frills. And the decoration was butterflies! Naturally I lost no time in getting to my local store to procure a pack. They are really pretty and delicate: pure white butterflies interspersed with little flowers.
Now, it would be a crime to waste them on cupcakes, wouldn't it? So....
As I said yesterday, I have been playing with the wild rose leaf in my image editing programme, changing the colours. Yesterday's cards were quite graphic, clean and simple, but today I felt the need for something more colourful! So for two of the cards I have used background papers from Crafty Individuals and for the third one, one of their Decorative Card Blanks. This time, unlike the ivy leaf card yesterday, I think the patterned papers work with the leaves, not against them. I guess it was just a matter of choosing the right ones. I considered adding some sort of text or sentiment, but decided in the end that none was needed. Which do I prefer, yesterday's or today's? Can't make my mind up! See what you think.
One of the things I did when I was decluttering was to go through the 10+ years' worth of magazines which were taking up so much space, taking out the pages I wanted to keep (putting them in ring binders) and giving away the rest. It took quite some time! Many of the magazines were Stampington publications: Somerset Studio, Take Ten, Stampers' Sampler, etc. In the September/October 2000 issue of Somerset Studio I had marked a project that I really liked the look of, intending one day to use it for inspiration. Well, I finally got round to it!
It was a beautiful framed picture by Leslie Altman. She had painted a gingko leaf with Lumiere paints and photocopied it against black paper. She had then overstamped the copy, matted it with various papers and mounted it into an ornate frame. I liked the way she had enhanced the leaf whilst still allowing its simple beauty to shine through.
No gingko trees in our garden, but I collected a few leaves and painted them with the Lumiere paints. When they were dry I tried scanning them against the black paper, but my scanner didn't pick up the colours very well, so I photographed them instead, with much better results. I printed out the pictures on to a matt photo quality inkjet paper, and then stamped over them with a text stamp (Stampin' Up) using Brilliance Galaxy Gold ink.
The first leaf, an ivy, was painted with turquoise and purple Lumiere paints (although the turquoise has come out more green in the photo) so I used some purple patterned paper to pick up the tones in the leaf, along with some black paper stamped with a Stampington flourish in gold Brilliance ink. However, when it was finished I decided I didn't like it. The background papers seemed to be competing with the leaf for attention. (Leslie's didn't! Maybe I just used the wrong papers. I'd love to put a copy of Leslie's original here, but I don't think copyright will allow it.) Anyway, I kept the next ones clean and simple.
In these three cards the leaves are clearly the focal point, with just a little subtle stamping to complement them, and I think they are much better. The leaf stamps are all by Starving Artistamps, except for the oak leaf, which is from an old foam mounted set for which I long ago lost the labels, unfortunately. The little "Autumn" stamp is by Hero Arts, and the sentiments are Personal Impressions. Here's a closer look at each of them. Click on the photos to get the big picture and see the detail better!
So, thanks for looking. What do you think? Are the simple ones better? My favourite is the wild rose. When I had got the photo on the computer I played around with it a bit, changing the colours. I'll post the pics of those when I've made the cards!
I struggle a bit with cards for men. I send fewer cards to men than I do to women, so I don't have many male-oriented stamps. Can't justify buying a stamp that I might only use a few times, and I don't feel, really, that I can use the same one each year, even though the recipient probably wouldn't remember it from one year to the next! Though I suppose they might if they got it EVERY year!
However, I couldn't resist some lovely stamps from Innovative Stamp Creations which I think are equally suitable for men or women. Both images are striking enough not to need much in the way of background or embellishments, so I kept those to a minimum.
The boat scene (the stamp is entitled "On The Shore") is coloured with watercolour pencils, and attached to the card with foam pads. The mesh, shells and starfish are all very old stash. I knew I'd find a use for them one day! The text is computer generated, printed on to acetate and sponged with alcohol inks.
The next one, called "Picturesque", reminds me of various beaches I have visited, and I think it's going to become one of my favourite images. I coloured it with Promarkers and mounted it over a background which was embossed with a Cuttlebug folder and inked with Versamagic inks.. Again, computer generated text and another very old starfish embellishment, with a recycled bit of string separated into its component strands to tie it all together. I'm feeling really good about getting some old stash used!
As well as the two stamps I've used in these cards, I also bought a new ISC set called "Mini Ledger", which I think is going to be very versatile, though I haven't made anything with it yet....
Innovative Stamp Creations is owned and run by the very talented Betsy Griffin, who calls her design team the Creative Architects Group. They all have many samples, using ISC stamps, on their blogs, links to which can be found here, as does Betsy on her blog. All worth a look. (FTR, I have no connection with ISC, other than that I like the stamps!)
What a day! On Friday we decided to have a last day out before I go back to school this week, and as we were heading up the motorway on the way to Robin Hood's Bay I got a text from Sally. It said "You've won the Cuttlebug from the Once Upon A Stamp Design Team Blog!" Well, I had to read it about six times before it sank in. Then I thought, no, it can't be me. Must be a different Lynne K. So I rang Sally, and she said "It's true! No other Lynne K entered the competition. I checked." Woo hoo!!! Now this sort of thing never happens to me, at least it never has until now. I've won the odd raffle prize occasionally, and even 2 sets of Elusive Images stamps, which was fantastic, but never anything like this. To say I was excited would be like saying the Titanic had a little prang with an iceberg - ie. understatement of the year! How I managed to contain myself for the rest of the day, I'll never know.
We had a lovely time at RHB. The weather was beautiful. We had fish'n'chips, a stroll along the beach, looked in the rock pools, found a few fossils, and enjoyed the fresh sea air.
Then we called on my sister-in-law who lives near Whitby. Home via the North York Moors with all the heather out. It was quite late when we got back, but I had to get the laptop out & see for myself - yes, it was true! I had won the Cuttlebug, along with the new "No More Shims" mat! First thing on Saturday morning I phoned Once Upon A Stamp, as requested, and arranged that, since I'm only half an hour from the shop, I could go up and collect it. Sally came with me.
I'd heard about the No More Shims Embossing Mat, but didn't know all that it can do. It was invented by Gordon himself, and he kindly gave us a demo of its capabilities. I am highly impressed with it. Not only can you emboss through the CB without having to faff about with fiddly extra bits of card (and you get a better result), you can also emboss found objects as long as they are no thicker than a 10p piece. Magic! I tried some real leaves and they came out beautifully. So I made a gift bag to put them on.
The bag is made from an envelope, and it's very quick and easy to do. See the video by Lisa Spangler on the Hero Arts website. The definition on the leaves is amazing. All the veins stand out, even the tiny ones. (Click to get the big picture and see them!) Having embossed them onto plain photocopying paper, as Gordon suggested, I cut them out and then sponged over them with various colours of pigment inks. I thought that doing so might squash them, being on thin paper, but the detail held very well. Then I matted them on to coloured card. The bag is stamped with Hero Arts stamps.
Next I tried embossing some mulberry paper which has a raised embossed pattern on it. Again, it worked really well. I decided to use the one with the flowery pattern and made a card with it, having coloured it with pigment inks to make the detail stand out.
I kept the card simple so as not to hide the background, and just added a Crafty Individuals picture, a flourish (a Marianne Design die) and a Nestabilities label. (Sentiment - Papermania, tiny flower - Rubber Stamp Tapestry).
I've been a big fan of the Cuttlebug for a long time and wouldn't be without it, but have always wondered why they couldn't come up with something better than fiddly bits of card for embossing. Well, Gordon certainly has - and it's brilliant!
I want to say a HUGE thank you to Gordon, Robert and all the team at Once Upon A Stamp for such a wonderfully generous prize. Oh, and it all came in a fab tote bag, also part of the prize. While I was at the shop I bought a Scor-Pal ......... but that's another story!
This week's challenge at Allsorts is called "Park Inspiration", and they want our entries to be inspired by gardens or parks. There's a £10 voucher to be won to spend at One Stop Card Crafts! Well, of course, parks and gardens say "nature" to me, and since that's my favourite theme it was no hardship to come up with a card to fit.
Having recently treated myself to the Katzelcraft "Nature & Travel Quotes" set by Isabelle Norris, this was the perfect opportunity to use some of them. The background was stamped with Versamark and clear embossed, to act as a resist, and I coloured over the stamping with various pigment inks. Then the embossing was removed by covering it with kitchen paper and ironing over it with a hot iron.
The sentiment is an Aspects of Design stamp from The Stampman. (Such a pity they had to spell "marvellous" the American way.) It's from a sheet called (IIRC) "Rambling", but I can't find it on their website now. I bought it at a low sale price some time ago, so I'm wondering whether it's now no longer available.
The butterfly, from the gorgeous "Patchwork Butterfly" sheet by Elusive Images, is coloured with Promarkers and has a touch of Diamond Glaze on the flowers and body, although it's hard to see that in the photo.
The challenge on this week's Tuesday Taggers is to take our inspiration from a poem. Given that I love trees, I couldn't fail to be inspired by a poem about that very subject - "Trees" by Alfred Joyce Kilmer, an American journalist, lecturer and poet. "Trees" is probably his most well known poem.
I printed the poem on to a shaped cutout from the Artylicious Essence of Nature CD rom and composed my card around it. The base of the card is covered with matching paper from the CD. I stamped an Elusive Images tree on the top part and mounted the poem along with two tree images from the Crafty Individuals Miniatures book Nature's Beauty.
For the stopper, I cut a branch and leaves from Grungeboard and coloured them with Promarkers.
Here's the finished card. I really enjoyed making this one!
Had a great week up in Dumfriesshire. My daughter's house is in a rural area, overlooking fields. Just down the road there's a loch with a ruined castle. Buzzards and geese fly overhead. It's really peaceful and quiet, and the air is clean and fresh. I love it there. Not so quiet and peaceful inside the house, of course! Ewan, my elder grandson, who's 5 (going on 25!) will be starting big school this week.
We took him to buy his new school uniform, and I managed to persuade him (with some difficulty!) to model it for some photos so that I could bring them back home to show his granddad. He looks so grown up in it.
His little brother, Andrew, aged nearly 19 months, wanted in on the act, so he put on Ewan's school cap and had his picture taken too!
We had a trip to the Glasgow Science Centre, which was brilliant. There was so much to see and do that we couldn't get round it all in a day. By mid afternoon we were all suffering from sensory overload. Ewan's favourite thing was the model crane which could be operated just like a real one. He went on that several times.
Andrew loved the tunnel slide.
I liked the magic mirrors which made me look tall and thin (well, ok, thinner, they were magic mirrors, not miracle mirrors), but I didn't get a picture of those. It was a great day out. Ewan said it was his best day out EVER. A return visit will definitely be on the agenda.
At the weekend we went to a farmers' market. There was a woman there demonstrating needle felting, something I've never tried before. She had done some lovely pictures and cards with it. I was dying to have a go. My daughter bought me a kit for my birthday, which isn't until October, but she said I could use it now. (So watch this space!)
Have done very little cardmaking over the holidays so far, and I'm getting withdrawal symptoms, but am determined to finish my craft stuff reorganisation. Not much left to do now. I have managed to make a bit more working space on my desk, by finding somewhere else for my printer to live, and a few other bits and pieces. I'm sure that my disappearing mojo of late has been due to the fact that I've felt constrained by the lack of space (not to mention falling over the stuff on the floor every time I stood up!) so I'm hoping that my new arrangement will kickstart it again.
Today Sally and I had a get-together with Lesley (Craftimamma) at Sally's house. It was lovely to meet Lesley for the first time, and we had a great afternoon, showing and telling, and having a good old natter. It felt as though we had been friends for years. Sally gave us a delicious lunch, with one of her fabulous coffee and walnut cakes. Yum! Lesley and I were very good and managed to resist a second helping, but only just.
Well, I didn't intend this to be such a long post, but it's so nice to get back to the blogging. I'll try & catch up with everyone else's over the next few days. I can't believe how quickly the holidays are going. Only a week and a half left before we go back to school. I really must make a start on the kitchen before then....
And thanks for taking the time to visit. I hope you find something here to enjoy, maybe be inspired by and (occasionally) even be amused by! I've been crafting in one way or another for about as long as I can remember, and cardmaking for well over 25 years. I'm privileged to live in rural SW Scotland, where, as a nature lover, I have only to look out of the window for fresh inspiration.
I love getting comments, and each one is read and much appreciated. Hope to see you again soon!
I hold the copyright for all designs and photographs on this blog, unless otherwise stated. I am happy for you to take inspiration from them, but please do not copy them to publish elsewhere.