Saturday, 27 February 2010

One Place Left ......

The response to the "grunge" chunky book swap has been great and there's only room now for ONE more player ...... so if you want to join in, then you need to contact me quickly.

Tim Holtz's new book arrived this morning (yay!) - have only had time for a swift peek through it all, but it looks great, really clear photos and instructions for loads of techniques - can't wait to try them all out!

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Grunge Chunky Book Swap

Can't believe how quickly places are filling up for this chunky book swap - I guess there are a lot of Tim Holtz/grunge fans out there! ...... I've still got room for a couple more people before sign up closes, so if you're thinking of having a go, you need to jump in quick and send me an email to let me know you want "in"!

Also, check out the link in the sidebar to The Stamp Man blog, which I just discovered, where he's running a givaway to win the 12 new Tim Holtz distress inkpads (such gorgeous colours!) - all you need to do is leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning them. 

I just got word that my copy of Tim Holtz's book is on its way, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed it might arrive tomorrow - can't wait to have a look at it!  And if you'd like to see a little of what goes on "behind the scenes" on a QVC craft day, then check out my sister Lindsay's blog to read all about it.

Let's get "grungey" ...... a NEW Swap

After seeing some of Tim Holtz's demos on the QVC craft day yesterday, and knowing that others love his "grunge" style just as much as I do, I've decided it would be wonderful to create a chunky book inspired by Tim and his techniques.  I need about 8-10 players, max, to join in this swap and the idea would be to create pages following particular themes, using Tim's techniques, "grungey" style and (where possible) products (stamps, inks, paints, Stickles, embellishments, etc).  I intend to give a long deadline (eg six months) for this book so that no-one need feel pressured to have to produce all the pages very quickly.  

If you're interested in taking part in this swap, please drop me an email to sign up - once I have enough sign ups, the swap will close and I'll send out full details of what's required for this swap.  If you've got any other questions about it, then please ask - I hope this appeals to several of you and I'd encourage anyone who's unsure, to just have a go - getting messy and playing with all these inks, glues and paints is really good fun!  And at the end of it, you'll have a beautiful chunky book to keep and treasure.

I enjoyed what I saw on the QVC craft day - well done, Lindsay, for your appearance with your new stamps, they proved very popular! ..... and I couldn't resist buying Tim's new book (A Compendium of Curiosities) as it came with extras, so seemed like a good deal - can't wait for it to arrive now, it looks like it'll be a great reference book for all his techniques. 

These are pics of some Tim Holtz inspired tags I made for a recent swap hosted by Ali in one of the groups I belong to - Ali is going to bind all the tags together with nuts and bolts to form tag books so I'm really looking forward to receiving mine in the next week or so.

Monday, Mia went to the vets to be spayed and microchipped.  It was of course a bit of an anxious time until we knew she was safely through the op and we could pick her up from the vets.  She was wearing one of those cones round her neck to prevent her picking at her stitches (in her tummy rather than her side, because apparently her fur, being a Siamese, would grow back much darker and spoil her markings) and feeling very sorry for herself, she hated it and kept trying to walk backwards to get out of it or was bumping into furniture with it.  It was so big I'm sure she'd have found it difficult to eat any food at all out of her bowl. 

Poor Mia! - we left the cone on for the first night whilst she was still a little subdued from the op and I stayed up with her all night, watching bits of QVC and the Winter Olympics and dozing for a few hours on the settee with Mia on my lap - but the next morning Graham removed the cone and, what a transformation, she was straight back to her cheeky, mischievous self, tucking into her food and wanting to play again.  You'd never know she'd had any surgery at all.  We're just keeping an eye on her to make sure she doesn't pull at her stitches, but she's being pretty good really so we won't be putting the cone back on her again.

And finally, I've also decided to put up an ATC swap on the first of each month ..... I'll be posting the first of these swaps on 1st March, so check back then if you fancy joining in. 

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Craft Day Reminder

Just a quick post tonight to say that QVC (UK) is running a 24-hour craft day from midnight tomorrow (Monday) through all day Tuesday, with some great artists taking part including Tim Holtz, Suze Weinberg, Claudine Hellmuth and - of course - not least of all, my sister (Lindsay Mason), who will be on screen at 7pm, with new stamp designs and techniques.  It will be well worth tuning in whenever you can over the 24 hours as it'll be such a good opportunity to watch some really professional demonstrations and pick up some new techniques or tips.  I'm really looking forward to it ....... and Lindsay, good luck, not that you need it, we all know what a wonderful designer and demonstrator you are!

Friday, 19 February 2010

......... With One Stamp

I think everyone has now received their cards from the Old/New Swap so, as promised, here are pics of them all ....... as you can see, there was quite a variety of ideas and styles .......

Alison Brandist

Joanne Parkin

June Benton

Louise Baxter

Sheila King

I also created an ATC for each participant in the swap.  For my new item I used the free cover stamp that came with the latest issue of Craft Stamper magazine - it was designed by Art Journey and when I test-stamped with it, I was really pleased with the image it produced, very clear and crisp.  Here's a pic of the cards I made for everyone, each one was a little different.

I had some extra stamped images left when I'd made these cards, so I created three extra ones each with a different style.

This one was mostly stamping with a bit of glitter gel on the circles, ribbon and buttons for embellishment.

For "Embrace the Day" I cut the circles off the stamped image and adhered the face to a white background which had a few inkmarks on it from a previous crafting session.  I overlaid this with a piece of acetate that I had covered with alcohol inks using an old child's "SpinArt" toy (I love the effects you can get from this!).  I thought the effect was that of a child gazing out into the sunlight of a new day, hence the stamped title "Embrace the Day".  I finished the ATC with a gold peel off strip (don't often use them but it seemed right on this occasion) and a loop of beads at the top.  (Sorry about the shiny bit on the young girl's chin - it was the best picture I could get with my camera).

The third card I created, "Dream World", again using a piece of glossy card splattered with acrylic paints, using the SpinArt machine, as a background (these were all bits and pieces in my stash).  I tore a strip from an old book and rubbed a little gesso over the text to soften it down and glued it over the background.  I added the full image, inked up a little round the edges, to the top left and the cut off strip of circles from the previous card to the bottom right-hand corner and again highlighted the circles with glitter gel pens and adhesive gems.  I added butterfly images (the large one with 3d-foam pads) to the card, covering them with Glossy Accents, and dotted a few star-shaped adhesive stones over the ATC to finish it off. 

I hope to be posting one or two new swaps before too long, so watch this space!

Monday, 15 February 2010

The Old and the New

Thanks to those of you who decided to join in my Out with the Old/In with the New ATC swap, all the cards were received by Friday's deadline and I'm happy to say they all went out in the post to you today ...... I'll post pics of all the cards that came in for this swap in a day or two, to give everyone a chance of receiving them first and so as not to spoil the surprise!

Whilst I was on this old/new theme, I decided I needed a change of colour on my blog page to something a bit brighter, now that we are "gradually" heading towards spring - I thought this had a much cheerier feel about it, hope you agree!

Here are photos of a couple more atcs I made with a female/feline theme .....

...... and this is one with a more "fishy" theme to it!

Monday, 8 February 2010

Females & Felines

This week I've been working on making some atcs for a swap with the theme of "Females & Felines" - the deadline was looming and I just managed to finish them and post them out this morning; I even created a couple more extra cards too, for my swap stash.  Here are the four cards I sent for the swap.

On Saturday I went along to the Strikes Garden Centre to have lunch with family (my aunt was visiting from Scotland) and to watch sister Lindsay giving one of her excellent demonstrations of craft products and techniques ..... she had a busy day and was surrounded by eager-to-learn ladies every time I saw her ..... here are Lindsay and Joanne deep in conversation discussing some crafting technique, no doubt! 

Lindsay was demonstrating the Martha Stewart punches (beautiful effects, but I couldn't justify the expenditure of buying one this time) and Ink Potion No 9 (sounds like a witch's spell), which I did buy as I fancy having a go - it's a blending solution for dye inks on glossy paper.  I thought I had some liquid dye inks but when I got home and checked they turned out to be acrylic inks, so I don't think they'll work - still, I could give them a try; otherwise I can use dye inkpads - just got to dig out some glossy paper now.

I took along my small stash of atcs and swapped cards with Lindsay and Joanne (so nice to meet up with you again).  Here are the cards I chose, Lindsay's with the Tim Holtz stamp and ribbon, Joanne's with the stamped bird on grey background - both have the vintagey feel to them that I like so much. 

Thanks, girls, for swapping atcs - I don't often get the chance to swap cards in person.

When I was having a photo session the day after, of course I had a little helper and here she is ..... Mia just had to inspect the cards I was taking photos of ...... she just can't resist anything that has paper on it ..... atcs, books, tissues ..... one of her favourite games is to retrieve small screwed up bits of paper so the living room is littered with them!

We took Mia along to the vets this afternoon for a weigh-in to check on her progress - she's doing well - and we've now booked her in for her spaying op/microchipping in a fortnight's time ...... the only thing is that she will have to wear one of those cones round her neck for 10 days afterwards and knowing what a feisty little madam Mia is I think we're in for fun and games, trying to keep her from pulling it off! 

Monday, 1 February 2010

What I've Been Working on .......

Been on a bit of a roll the past few days and have been working on some pages for a couple of round robin swaps I'm in.  Once I got stuck in and pulled out various bits and pieces from my stash, I really enjoyed myself.  Here's what I made ......

This is a page about Colour Magic for a swap I'm in (Ancient Wisdom & Magic) - each month we create a page on a particular theme - so far we've done Birdlore and Inuit Drum Magic, the next page's theme is about the meaning/healing properties of Flowers and Herbs.  We all have different colour combinations to work with - one colour has to be the recipient's birth colour, also their favourite colour, and we could choose a third colour - for my page, these were blue, teal and copper (which I was delighted with as they're amongst my favourite colours too).  I inked and stamped the page, then used some of the new crackle paints I received at Christmas - I was really pleased with the way they turned out.  I also added an agate slice, turquoise stone chips, microbeads (Beadazzles) and Stickles glitter.  On the back of the page I wrote a few words about the meaning of the colours and stones (the healing properties and the calming, destressing qualities).

Here is the front of the page I created for the Journal of Dreams swap I'm part of ..... this is for Sue, so I hope she likes it ...... I just enjoyed myself with decorative papers, stamping, images (some from Crafty Creations), paper flowers, one of my own beaded dragonflies and glitter glue.  I stamped the word "happiness" onto some linen ribbon and added buttons over the top - into this I slid a decorated tag with some vintage trim along the bottom - I've added some journalling to the back of the tag.  The page is edged with gold Krylon pen.

Here is the back of the Dream page, again I used a mixture of papers, inks, stamping, flowers and imagery.  I was quite pleased with the results, now these pages will soon be on their way to Australia, along with the rest of Sue's journal pages from other artists, ready for the next pages to be added to it.  It will be so exciting to receive my own journal back eventually, but that's going to be some months off yet as there are about 15 of us working on these journals - in the USA, Australia and the UK.

I've also been making some ATCs when I've had time this week - some with a collage/bird theme for a specific swap. I'll post pics when they're all made - and hopefully will make a few more to add to my swap stash.  My sister, Lindsay Mason, will be at the Strikes Garden Centre, Thornton, near here, next Saturday (the 6th), demonstrating craft products and techniques, so I'll be popping over to see her during the day .... I'll have my ATCs for swapping with me, if you're in the area next Saturday and fancy exchanging ATCs.  And I know Lindsay always had a good stash of ATCs for swapping too!

Just a reminder too that the Old/New ATC swap is still running - you have until the 12th February to send your cards out to me, so there's still a couple of weeks left if you fancy  having a go .... just email to let me know that you want to sign up for this one.