Tuesday, 28 June 2011


We've had some fantastic cloudscapes over here recently. I love to watch clouds. I like the fact that they are ever-changing, and you can see pictures in them. On Sunday the sky was a gorgeous deep blue, but with different types of white cloud in amazing formations. It was a "mackerel sky", which eventually started to break up, with some fluffy white cumulus and wispy cirrus. I went out into the garden and took some photos.

My editing programme has an "auto levels" facility. I use it rarely, because it often throws up some strange results. Sometimes, though, they can be quite interesting! Such as this:

Yesterday evening the sky turned very dark and grey, though the storm which seemed to threaten never materialised. You couldn't see much of the sunset, but the bit that did show was quite dramatic, with orange beams of light shining upwards.

Playing with the auto levels gave this result:

Hmm. Backgrounds for cards, maybe.......?

Monday, 27 June 2011

It seemed so simple.....

Week 21 of Less is More Challenge is a sketch.

Very simple, just 3 circles in line on a square card.  They made me think of music notes. Three music notes sitting on a stave, I thought. What could be easier? I'll make the notes into flowers for a bit of added interest, and the sentiment naturally has to be "Just a note..."

Cutting the thin strips of card to make the stave was trickier than I expected. I've got some of those shredding scissors, and thought it would be easy to cut strips with them. It wasn't! Couldn't get them to cut in straight lines. I resorted to ruler and knife. Several strips went in the bin because they weren't even in width. Eventually I had five strips that were similar enough. I managed to stick them in straight lines across the card first time! I punched three small circles from black card, and three flowers, rather proud of myself because I could use up some scraps! Stuck the circles on the flowers, and then cut more thin strips to make the note stems. Stuck the notes on the stave. All going well and looking good! Then I inked up the sentiment (Papermania), and... disaster! I don't quite know how it happened, must have been the heat, lost my concentration, but somehow a large black splodge of ink had appeared on the card! Right in the middle of the white space! Oh, the annoyance, the frustration! Could it be salvaged? Or would I have to start all over again?

I went and made myself a stiff coffee, and came back to think about it. Aha! Maybe I could just cut a piece of white card to cover the stain. I did just that, and it worked! Then just the sentiment to stamp without smudging it....phew! Here it is:

Whenever I order from Crafty Individuals, those lovely people Malcolm and Jean send a few freebie stamps with the order, and I've got quite a few duplicates now. I'll send a couple of them to the first person who can tell me (in a comment), where the join (of the bit I had to stick over the stain) is on my card!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Just because

It's quite a long time since I made anything that wasn't for a challenge, DT work, or a particular occasion. Having recently acquired various items of new stash, I thought I'd take a bit of time to have a play with some of them.

I'd been wondering whether to invest in some Distress Stains, and in the end couldn't resist ordering a few to try. I must admit they are very convenient to use, being in a sponge tipped bottle and so it's easy to cover a background quickly with them, and you can also ink up stamps with them, but since they are basically just like watered down distress ink, and you could probably get a similar effect using diluted DI and a sponge, I'm not sure whether I'll buy any more.

Anyway, inspired by Glenda's video on her blog, where she uses the Distress Stains with some of her gorgeous new Chocolate Baroque stamps, I made a card.

The background was made with Spun Sugar Distress Stain, overstamped with Hero Arts Dots & Flowers background & Old French Writing, which I had inked up with the same DS. The result is very subtle. Also stamped the Old French Writing on the base card. The picture is from a Crafty Individuals Miniatures Book (People & Places 2), and I made a frame for it with a Nellie Snellen die, inking around the edge with Versamagic ink. A strip of Tim Holtz Tissue Tape across the bottom, a Marianne Design leaf flourish (also coloured with Versamagic), and a sentiment by Innovative Stamp Creations finished the card.

I'd just like to say a big thank you to all you lovely people who keep commented on my blog. I do appreciate your visits, and hope you'll forgive me for not being able to reciprocate much at the moment. The big clearout in preparation for our move north is ongoing, slowly but surely, and between now and the end of term I will be very busy indeed at work, with several school concerts/events to come. A bittersweet time, as I have been at one of my current schools for the past 28 years and this is my last term here. But, as I said to my head teacher last week, 28 years is half my life, near enough, so I reckon it's about time for a change!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Re previous post!

Nope, I didn't get away with it! Mandi found me out, and quite rightly too! So here's my card again, but this time without the "aris"!

I guess the "aris" was stating the obvious, and isn't really necessary, so hope I'm allowed a second entry!

Monograms - Less is More Week 20

Last week was the first time I didn't manage to get an entry in for the Less is More Challenge, so I was determined not to miss this week's. The theme is "Monogram". Bit of a tricky one, this! I only have one truly monogram stamp, the "D" by Stampers Anonymous. I set to work with it, stamping it on to a Nestie-cut circle with a scallop border, and carefully colouring it in. Then I went off to do something else before I mounted it on to a card. When I came back I decided to have a quick look at the other entries before I finished off my card. Imagine my surprise when I saw that entry No. 40, by Nellie, had  used not only the same stamp, but the same colours too! Spooky or what?! I hadn't seen Nellie's before I made mine. Here's mine, just so you can compare! (I'm not entering it!)

So, what else to do instead? A bit of lateral thinking was called for. This was the result:

Self explanatory, I think! (Eiffel Tower - Clarity Stamp; Arc de T - unknown; Paris minus the P! - from a Clear Choice set, Nestie rectangle.) Strictly speaking, a monogram shouldn't be part of a word, but it seemed to need the "aris" to balance the P, which looked as though it might topple over otherwise! So I'm hoping Chrissie & Mandi will let me get away with it!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Vintage with a heart

That's the title of the June Challenge at Crafty Individuals Blog, and what a great theme! I've used their gorgeous ladies in hats for my card, and kept the embellishments simple so as not to detract from the lovely image.

I stamped it on to Papermania printed paper (having slightly distressed the edges of the paper) and coloured it with Promarkers, which I also used to colour the Martha Stewart punched border, the sheer ribbon (just visible under the strip of lace), and the paper which I matted the image with. I love how you can use Promarkers to co-ordinate everything! And that's about it.

Now off to see what the Less is More ladies have got for us this week!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Shades of purple

The monochrome look is one which I rather like, so I was pleased to see that it is the theme for Week 18 of the Less is More Challenge.  I used an old favourite stamp and an old favourite technique to make my card.

I stamped the poppy (Stampin' Up) with Dusty Concord Distress Ink, and then pulled out the colour from the outline with a paintbrush and plain water to colour the image. I cut it out with a Nestie Labels 4 and mounted it with foam pads. The sentiment is one I've had for many years. I think the company which made it was V.I.P., sadly no longer trading, I believe.

I spent half term up in Dumfriesshire. Apart from visiting my daughter and family, I was also there to do some preparatory work for the new job I will be starting in September. I still can't quite believe that, from then on, my drives to work will be through beautiful countryside, instead of being stuck in traffic going into the city. I daresay there will still be hold-ups, but I think I can cope with the odd tractor or herd of cows....!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Less is More Week 17 - Pick a Square!

Been away all week, but just time to squeeze in an entry for Week 17 of the Less is More Challenge. The theme this week is a recipe - the sketch is divided into four outer squares and a centre square and the design has to occupy just one of those squares. I chose to go for bottom left, and this is the result!

Both flower and sentiment are by Hobby Art, and I added a little colour to the flowers with watercolour pencils. I was very short of time, so had to keep it simple, but that's the beauty of the Less is More concept!

I'm really sorry I don't have time to leave many comments at the moment. We have so much to do before our move north. But I do try and get a quick look at as many entries as I can. They are all superb, and wonderfully inspiring.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Sir Stampalot June Challenge

Well, it's the first of the month again, and time for a new Stampalot Challenge! For June we have a photo (see right) as inspiration. It can be interpreted in any way you like! I would have liked to have come up with something really creative and abstract, but in the end I couldn't resist another opportunity to use the gorgeous Crafty Individuals poppy field stamp! I coloured it with watercolour pencils except for the poppies, for which I used Promarkers to make them stand out. The background is a paper napkin, and the sentiment is by Prickly Pear.

A good tip for using napkins is to separate the layers (they usually have two or three) and use only the top (printed) layer. This will be quite thin, and almost impossible to put glue on without tearing it, so put the glue on the base card instead and gently smooth the napkin over it. (A Xyron machine is perfect for this if you have one.)

As usual, there's a fantastic prize on offer this month!

So if you'd like to be in with a chance of winning the goodies, check out the samples by my talented teamies on the Challenge Blog, and get those entries in! Can't wait to see them!

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