Thursday, 29 July 2010

An Altered Book Page

I've been catching up a bit with some of my art projects this week, didn't get a lot done last week due to feeling under the weather, but am slowly getting back into the swing of things.  I'm participating in a round robin for an altered book, it's the first one I've done and I'm loving it - trying out new techniques and ideas for altering pages, it really is fun, so I thought I'd share what I did for the latest technique.

We had to colour some pages in the book we were working on, two colours that worked together, then fold them in a certain way and stick them down to create four diagonal pockets.  The pages were then decorated with any extra additions we wanted, stamping, glitter, paints, charms, etc.  After that we had to create four ATCs that worked together as a set and complemented the background pages, to slip inside each pocket.  There was a fair amount of work involved in this month's instructions but I absolutely loved doing it. 

I created an extra ATC using another of these beautiful female images, which have been digitally created by Julia van der Werf.  Click here if you want to take a look at some of her work, which is available to purchase and download from Etsy (I am very tempted)!  (I received this sheet of gorgeous ladies as part of the blog giveaway I won a few months back).

I have just one set of "Africa" cards on their way to me as I type, then they'll all be swapped out and posted on to their new owners after the weekend - everyone has created beautiful work and I must try and remember to take some photos this time before sending them out.  (Check out my blog on Sunday when the new swap for August will be posted). 

Saturday, 24 July 2010

See what the little madam's been up to this time!

I thought you might be amused to see what Mia's latest addiction is ...... she has developed a taste now, not only for paper balls, but for balls of wool as well.  I've had to hide away as much as I can but the little madam has still managed to ferret some out through a small gap under the lid of a plastic box I was storing it in!  I was wondering at how quiet Mia was when I walked into our bedroom and there on the floor was the tangled remains of what had once been a beautiful skein of sock yarn. 

Oh, and the tape measure is another of Mia's favourite toys - it WAS mine until she sneaked it off me one day and now it's hers and spends its days being dragged up and down the stairs and brought to our feet whenever she particularly wants us to play with her!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

The Sky at Night

Thanks for the "get well" wishes - still not feeling 100% yet but getting there.  Weather today hasn't helped much either, after a couple of days of torrential rain we had sunshine all day long, but it's been very close and clammy too, and then this evening the rain came back, along with a brilliant orange sunset and stormy black clouds.  Even a rather splendid rainbow, with the "bow" arching right across the sky outside our house - I grabbed my camera and tried to take a couple of pics, but they don't really do it justice, but it's so rare we see a rainbow these days, it was worth a shot!

If you look carefully above the rooftops in the centre of this photo, you can just make out the top of the Blackpool  
Tower - during the Illuminations we can watch all the lights flashing up and down it, from our bedroom window.

Apparently, I may lose my blog background on Friday, unless I connect with the "Cutest Blog on the Block" site (my background provider) and select a new one (something to do with them becoming hugely successful - it is a great site I have to say - and having to make "technical"(?) changes).  Unfortunately, I've just tried linking to them and it ain't having it, keeps coming up with a database error (maybe the site's crashed if everybody's trying to update their backgrounds!), so I'll have to keep trying again tomorrow ..... if not, come Friday, my blog may look very bare ..... :o(

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Rangers Techniques Workshop

Sorry I haven't posted sooner, but I've not been near the computer for a few days as I came down with a really nasty cold, started last week with a sore throat.  Still, I felt okay to go over to Dawn Bibby's Studio at Oswaldtwistle for Lindsay's Rangers Techniques workshop on Saturday.  The aim was to create a number of ATC-sized cards, each demonstrating a particular Rangers technique using inks, paints, beeswax, stamps, etc, which we could then use as a reference when creating backgrounds and cards in the future.  Lindsay also provided a list detailing each technique as well, so that we wouldn't forget what we did!  Very useful too, because I know I for one am hopeless at remembering what I did in a class once I get home! 

Here are some photos I took during the afternoon, showing us all hard at work (and having a bit of fun too), along with some of the cards I produced by the end of the afternoon.  As per usual, ending up with very messy, ink-stained fingers!
Joanne, Gez & Sheila all hard at work

Just look at the concentration on their faces!

This sample was created with a Big 'n Juicy Stamp Pad (love the bird/cage stamp)!

Here are some of the card samples I created
It was a lovely day and good to meet up with Joanne and Sheila again (they both brought along their "grunge" chunky book pages too, for the swap I'm running, and we all drooled over those ...... the pages are gorgeous, there's no other word to use)!  Lovely to meet Gez for the first time too (and thank you for the beautiful oriental ATC, an unexpected surprise). 

Unfortunately, within a couple of hours of arriving home again, I started to feel much worse and the cold really took a good hold - I was sick during the night and even spent a couple of hours Sunday afternoon falling asleep on the bed (something I would never normally do in the daytime)!  I'm only now just starting to feel a bit better and I wish it'd hurry up and vanish altogether - I HATE COLDS!!!!  Lindsay wasn't so well either Saturday night (a stomach bug, not a cold) so couldn't make her demo on Sunday - what a pair we are!

There's still time to join the "African" atc swap if you want, the deadline isn't for another 10 days, and the next swap will be posted on 1st August.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Some Free Vintage Imagery

Sorry I've not posted all week, my mind's been a bit preoccupied as I was due to go for an MRI scan on my neck today and I've not been looking forward to it at all - for one thing, I get quite claustrophobic in confined spaces and I was worried about being inside the "tunnel", also thought I might start coughing or something and mess the scan up.  Lindsay's been telling me not to be such a coward about it as she had to have one a year or so back, when she got an ear infection, and said that it was an interesting "experience"!  Well, anyway, I have to admit, the scan wasn't as scary as I thought it would be and took place, not in the local hospital, but in the brand-new all-singing, all-dancing health centre not far from where we live - first time I'd been inside and it was pretty impressive, I think they must have a department for every kind of health problem there is, both physically and mentally! 

Anyway, the scan .... I got over the claustrophobia bit by closing my eyes and drifting off into a dream-like trance, quite relaxing in a strange sort of way.  The reason for the scan is that I've got reduced strength & grip in my left thumb and forefinger, it's been getting worse for the past year, and I finally insisted the local GPs refer me to the specialist - the consultant isn't sure why I'm having this problem (it's not carpal tunnel syndrome or RSI, which I thought it possibly could be) so he ordered the neck scan in case that was where the problem lies plus I have to go for some nerve conduction (?) tests on my arm - still waiting for appointments for that - then I see the consultant again in October (yes, I know, seems a long way off) .... so it's all a bit of a mystery really, I hope the cause can be found so that at least, if there's no treatment, I'll know what it is.

Right, that's enough of me and my problems!!!  I thought today I'd put up some vintage pics of family groups from my collection of old cabinet cards - please feel free to download them onto your computer (click on each pic to enlarge it, then right click to save it) and use them in your artwork - would love to see pictures of any art you create using them! 

Mia has been growing increasingly bold these past few days and has decided she wants to climb everywhere - she was eyeing up a tree in our garden yesterday and then was clambering about all over the car roof.  And for some reason, has now decided that the worktops in the kitchen (it's a long galley kitchen so there's a good length of worktop) is a great place to wander around and explore.  Mia jumped off the first time I told her to get down, but then waited till I'd turned my back to jump back up again, the little minx, and I think we're fighting a losing battle keeping her off there all the time.  Only this evening I heard a clatter, went into the kitchen, and there was Mia sitting on the worktop, a picture of innocence, and on the floor the sugar bowl (stainless steel so didn't break) surrounded by a pile of sugar!  Whatever next! 

Mia loves dashing into my "craft/computer room" any chance she can - as she's addicted to having balls of paper thrown for her to fetch, she absolutely loves a good old root around amongst all the crafty bits and pieces - here's a picture of her in one of her latest favourite resting spots - on top of my "tower" where she can peek out at me or reach a paw up to grab me as I'm working! 

(Mia isn't really as evil as she looks in this picture - she's just a very mischievous and determined young lady - but a real cutie)!!

And finally, please don't forget the "Africa" ATC Swap that's running this month - perhaps everyone's too busy with other projects or on their summer hols, but I'd love to have a few more sign ups for this one; if you're interested in joining, just let me know either by email (contact address in my "profile" section) or in a comment on my blog. 

Thursday, 1 July 2010

It's the First of the Month ....

..... and time to post July's ATC swap.  Just before the Football World Cup started in South Africa, they held a wonderful concert which I watched on TV.  The music, the singing, the joy that everyone shared was so uplifting, it ended up with Mia and I dancing around the living room in the early hours of the morning - I know, I know, probably not a pretty sight, but we enjoyed ourselves!  Anyway, this was the inspiration for the title of this month's swap theme - "OUT OF AFRICA" - and you may interpret it any way you wish (Africa is a BIG continent!) ...... you might want to feature Africa's wildlife or you may feel inspired by the vibrant colours and patterns of African art and sculpture, tribal costumes and beadwork, the colourful sights and sounds of a Moroccan bazaar or maybe look back into Ancient Egypt ...... you might even want to create cards to mark the ending of apartheid, Nelson Mandela and the fight for freedom.  However you choose to use this theme, I hope lots of you will join the swap and feel inspired to create some really interesting cards.  (Swap details, as usual, are listed in the sidebar).

A few items from my collection of stones, beads and beadwork with an African flavour

Today I've been swapping out the cards I received for the "Midsummer" ATC swap, beautiful cards they all were too, and these will be going out in the post tomorrow.  Apart from that, I've not been able to spend a great deal of time doing any art or craft work the past few weeks, there's always been something else that's had to be done first, but hopefully that will change soon.  I did manage to complete some cards for a Vintage Geisha ATC swap though, three for the swap itself and two extras for my own swapping stash.  Here they are:-


I don't often create cards with an oriental theme so these were a bit of a challenge, but I'm quite pleased with the way they turned out.  I used all sorts of bits and pieces to make them - origami papers, Stickles, Beadazzles, gold cord, metal charms, buttefly stickers, even cocktail sticks coloured gold with a Krylon pen!