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22 September 2017

ALBOTAT: Sometimes you just 'need' to make something...

.... and today was one of those days... the lovely postman delivered my Eileen Hull Sizzix Travel Journal die and my (small) to-do list was sidelined for a while as I set about making a 'simple' version of the journal - I call it simple because I made it out of basics to create a 'working' version - something that I could refer to when I make more later on.. and I will be making more later... I can feel a version with corrugated cardboard covers coming on... lol

I made this journal out of kraft card and I cut and glued & sewed two layers together to give the covers more strength (and sewed the centre join).  I painted it black (to keep it clean - its a travel journal, & will be in my handbag so may get grubby), stenciled on the letters (a That's Crafty stencil) and sewed on ties - I really like using ribbons to wrap around and keep the journal closed.
There weren't any directions about how big/thick the books should be that fit inside so I made mine 10x21cm (20x21cm folding at 10cm) which made them nice and easy to cut out.  I cut 3 books of 6 pages each - different types of paper giving it a junk journal feel.

Because I cut the pages from larger sheets of paper I ended up with lots of smaller pieces which I used to make little journals...

Can't have too many books ready to be painted & doodled into, can you?

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is creating with their dies.


21 September 2017

Christmas is coming.....

.... to Birds in the Barn this coming Saturday (23.09.17) where I'll be teaching two card making classes.. There are a couple of places left so if you fancy getting a little bit festive then call the shop to book your place... 01206 211099

Look forward to seeing you there.

Ho ho ho!


14 September 2017

101 days until....


No no no don't run away!  I thought I'd just give you fair warning, as these things do seem to come around quicker these days don't you think!! (especially as it doesn't feel like we've had a proper summer yet this year here in the UK!)

aaaaanyhoo - the main reason for this festive blog post is to let you know I have....
new Christmas stamps 
....released today, and available at your local PaperArtsy stockist...

This year's stamps feature borders, chunky sentiments, lots of stars and trees, and a gorgeous wreath!  And a snowman - there's always a snowman!!

(and anyone caught calling my snowman 'fat' is going straight to the top of Santa's Naughty List! lol)

On the blog I suggested how you could amend the ornament cluster on JOFY56 to add someone's name - I thought I'd quickly show you here how to do that:

Trim a piece of washi tape (or masking tape) to cover the word 'Noel', ink up the stamp & REMOVE THE WASHI TAPE...

Stamp the image and the label is now empty & ready for you to add the recipients name!  Simple!

Here's a tag (coloured with Distress Oxides) using the elements created above.

I have lots of samples over on the PaperArtsy blog tonight to hopefully inspire you, and tomorrow and Thursday I have two creative wingmen showing you their (gorgeous) samples made with the stamps. Pop on over each evening - you won't be disappointed!

Is it too soon to wish you Merry Christmas?!! :o)


3 September 2017

Wanderlust 2017

Early in August my class for Wanderlust went live and I can now show you the project - here it is (don't adjust your sets - there isn't any music/voice over):


Wanderlust 2018 has just been released so if you want to take a fantastic year long art class click on the link below for more information:

1 September 2017


... yes BOO!  just grabbing your attention as its been a while since I blogged - once a month for the past few months really is not good enough is it!. Life, work and 'stuff' got in the way.. but I'm back with a new determination to do better! (well lets be honest - I can't do much worse can I!)


let get things started...

At the beginning of August I demo'd at Birds in the Barn near Colchester in Essex (lovely shop in the grounds of an equally nice garden centre - worth a trip) and in the morning I was using the fabulous Distress Oxide inks.... if you don't have any of these yet you need to get yourself down to your nearest craft shop and get some - you won't regret it...

Here are some of the samples.... look at the prettiness - the opaqueness of these inks...  and that's the main difference I think between the Oxides and original Distress Inks....

and because they're opaque you can build up layers of colour - the samples below illustrate that... add a colour, dry, add another colour:

Water will affect the Oxide inks in the same way as the originals.  The sample top right in the photo below shows a blended background where I spritzed a stamp with water and pressed it onto the surface - this removes the ink (left hand panel) and on the panel on the right I over stamped using the Distress Oxide (oh yes, you can stamp with them as normal)
The sample on the bottom left of the above photo is where I've added Broken China ink to a kraft panel (using a blending tool), dried that layer and then overstamped with the image using the same colour ink.

The kraft panel sample below was created by pressing ink onto craft sheet, spritzing with water and then laying the kraft panel onto the ink - this was Peeled Paint ink - look how the Oxide has drawn out the blue that goes into making up the green colour - love how different colours are drawn out.
The other sample above was created with lots of layers of Distress Oxide, water splashes and stamping with the Oxides. I stamped on numbers (using black Archival) and they seem to 'hover' on the surface don't they?! as if there is a layer of acetate between the oxides and the archival... interesting.  I painted the right had set of numbers with water to lift some off the colour.

When I get inks or paints I like to create a sample swatch of each for reference and with the Oxides I splashed each one with water to see how water affected the Oxide side of the inks....  The most interesting of these was Frayed Burlap - it was a surprising result when splashed with water and dried - so much so that I repeated it with a second tag. The first tag is on top on right, second tag on left underneath.  Look how different the effect is!  I think this is one of the interesting things about the inks. (note: the ink was applied by rubbing the ink pad over the tag so the ink is quite saturated/intense).

Here's a card I made using one colour of ink - Walnut Stain, bit of a favourite of mine.  Blended the background, splashed with water. Dried the ink. Stamped with same colour (seedhead from JOFY38, another favourite). Dried. Then spritzed the stamp with Perfect Pearl Mists in Heirloom Gold - this removed the ink and left a lovely sparkly image that catches the light (photo on right)... a little bit lush isn't it!

But it isn't only backgrounds and stamping you can do with the inks - I am loving how you can water colour paint with them as I've done on the sample below... (image is from JOFY53)

I hope these simple samples inspire you to try the inks - they really are worth it (but please don't blame me when you realise you NEED the entire set).


26 July 2017

... and breeeeeaathe..

... you know that feeling when you've finished having a big 'tidy-up and finish-up' session and you can breathe and think again.. well that's how I felt last week when I started a day as 'tidy-up Tuesday' and it ended up as a 'tackle-it Tuesday' ... in a good way...
(ok, that might be a diplomatic way of saying I got distracted and started making things instead of tidying things.... but in a good way!)

My workroom needed attention - it always needs attention! lol   You have to be in the right frame of mind to have a BIG clear-out and tidy up don't you!  and I was IN that frame of mind - I was going to be ruthless, determined and focussed!!

and I was....

... until I found myself constantly stepping over a masterboard (on the floor) I'd made as part of a Roben-Marie Smith online workshop (you can find the class HERE ... great class that pushed me out of my comfort zones - and thats a good thing!).... this A2 sheet has been moved several times and I realised the easiest way to tidy it up and stop annoying myself by needing to step over it was to make something with it!...

and that is when it stopped being 'tidy-up Tuesday' and started being 'tackle-it Tuesday'....  The 'tackle-it' being to finish using this piece from the class...

...much more fun!

During the tidy-up I'd found a junk journal style sketchbook I made a while ago along the lines of Dina Wakely's mixed media journal - its has canvas paper, manilla tags, watercolour paper - different types of papers and I'd sewn it together by hand...  this mini book would be ideal for covering in a piece of the masterboard!!

I removed the hand sewn binding and ran along the spine with my sewing machine using bright pink thread and big/long stitches..

I created a cover from bits of the masterboard, sewed them to the minibook, added some fabric strips as binding and voila..!!

I was on a roll.... next came a portfolio style junk journal..

After cutting the pages for the above book I was left with lots of strips of a similar size, so not wanting to see them go to waste I made this dinky little book! (3x2.5 inches)  (what's not to love about a teeny tiny book!!)

.... and then a sketchbook (from a (small) pile of  books on the desk) received a make-over with a panel of the masterboard - I think this still needs a bit of work - a bit of white pen doodling...
(the book is only 4x4 inches - such a cute size!)

I've been sticking off-cuts and left-overs in it for a while - 31 pages - might use it for the 31 days in August... maybe...

Last but not least... a book I made with a recently purchased die (Sizzix 660331) was given patterned front and back covers..

This was a really fun way to use the masterboard created in Roben-Marie's class - lots of items created AND my workroom is a little tidier.... win win!


21 July 2017

This mini book is brought to you by the M6, M1, and M25 motorways

... on the journey home from a lovely weekend in Lancashire.

BUT, before we get onto the book.. lets start at the very beginning...

We set off on Friday... and the journey up to Lancashire from Essex was a loooooong one! made (much) longer because it included the type of traffic jams where engines are turned off and people are starting to get out of their cars to stretch their legs....

There was nothing to do... we'd run out of 'I spy...' ideas.... and we'd eaten all the snacks!

but then we arrived to this...  and all was well in the world again...

I spent Saturday teaching a workshop for Rowan Tree Crafts to this lovely group of ladies...

It was held in the old railway station in Carnforth where they filmed the classic film 'Brief Encounter'... and I was only 'briefly' distracted by the piles of vintage suitcases around the station which is now a museum dedicated to the film.... (I love a vintage suitcase!! lol)

It was such a beautiful part of the country - definitely coming back 'oop north' soon!

On the journey home I wasn't going to be caught out again with nothing to do so I raided the carboot for my kit boxes from the class and gathered up some basics...

5 hours, 3 motorways, 1 dual carriageway and a stop at the services for snacks-&-a-'comfort-break' later I'd made a minibook from sample pieces, spare kits and bits from a magazine I bought at the services (very interesting & useful! though with regard to making this 'book' I really couldn't find a use for the eyelash curlers that came free with the magazine!)

The covers were made from one of the envelopes I use to store/hold kits... the flap is cut from a page of book text...
 ... it covers the words I wrote .. with a nod to old maps where at the edge it would say 'beyond this place there be dragons' .. or something like that...

The book is decorated with bits from spare kits (doily die cuts, book pages) and the pages were cut from a sheet of Smoothy (again from a spare kit) and a book I have to use for spare pages in class - in my mini book it provided pages and quotes..
The book itself is 8x11cm so a dinky little size!  Mainly because I was working on my lap in the car! (note to self: keep tray in boot of car!)

One set of pages was made by cutting and folding a page from the magazine I bought - it had really nice printed texture and I enjoyed the challenge of covering up the little girl! lol

Now you see her...

Now you don't!....

I like this centre spread - making the leaves look like trees on hills....

This was a lot of fun to make and kept me quiet for most of the journey... for which my husband is very grateful!

When I arrived home I sewed the pages together with simple bookbinding stitches and added a length of ribbon to wrap it closed.

It was satisfying to create something with so little supplies...!