Saturday, 30 October 2010

Don't you just "love" the Internet? ......

Grrrr!!!!  There I was, typing up this post last night, just about to check and upload it, when our whole internet connection went down - funny peculiar how it always seems to do this when the weather is horrendous outside (it was bucketing it down and blowing a gale!) ..... neither myself nor Max could get back online and I went to bed feeling very exasperated at the thought that everything I'd meant to post had been lost!  (It's as frustrating as the times I've gone to delete one character in a long text message and instead it's deleted the whole lot ..... aaagh!!!).  Anyway, with much relief, I've just discovered that most of the post had saved before the system went down, so here it is complete .......

I haven't had a lot of time for much creating as it's been quite a busy week one way or another (including a trip to the dentist - just a check up!), but I did manage to spend a couple of hours yesterday finishing off some pages for an Altered Book Round Robin.  For these final pages we could do what we wanted (in previous months we've worked to set techniques and instructions) and now this book will be travelling home to its owner, Liz, on Monday ...... mine will be on its way back to me soon too (can't wait to see it)!

I actually remembered to take a photo of these pages so I thought I'd share it with you to give you a flavour of what you can do with an old second-hand (NOT rare or valuable) book!

The theme of Liz's book is "Life's Tapestry" and we could choose whatever colour scheme and interpretation we wanted.  I decided to use all the remaining blank pages at the back of the book and cut out a rectangular window shape in them.  I then glued them all down (apart from the top sheet) with a gel medium to the back cover to form a shallow aperture.  I gessoed over the top pages, then coloured them with acrylic paint dabbers (boy, do I have trouble with those dabbers ...... they always seem to dry up on me and I end up smearing some of the paint over the sponge bit to get them to work at all ..... grrr!).  I then stamped flourishes and flowers onto the background and added some images over the top (some from Crafty Individuals mini books).

Inside the aperture, I stamped an appropriate quote and added some feathers, sequins and Beadazzles, plus some copper metallic rub-on and ink, before adhering some acetate over the top and then sandwiching it beneath the top page.  I finished the pages with self-adhesive ribbon strips, more words, paper flowers with button centres and fibres.

These old books are wonderful to work in, the pages are quite thin but they have a wonderfully absorbent quality which is great for throwing gesso, paints and inks onto.  It's also important to choose a book that's stitched not glued so that you can remove several pages in order to allow room for embellishing the pages you're working on.  I know that a lot of people find it very difficult to "deface" a book and of course I would never suggest cutting up anything that was rare or valuable, but visit any charity shop or car boot these days and you'll find stacks of old hardbacks that nobody wants any more ...... why not have a go and breathe new life into them as a "work of art"?  (They'd also be brilliant for art journalling into ..... hmm, I may well have a go at that)!

I'm really looking forward to seeing my own completed book "Flights of Imagination" and I'll be posting photos of all the pages in it as soon as I can.  I was wondering if anybody might be interested in trying out some techniques to alter an old book some time after the New Year - either just for yourself or part of a swap/RR, it could be fun!

Well, it looks like all the cards are now in for the "Things that Go Bump" Swap (and some really spooky cards there are too - love what everyone did!) so these will be swapped out over the weekend and posted Monday.  If anyone fancies having a go at creating the Vintage Christmas Triptych, there's still plenty of time - you only need to make one (see details in previous post) and it isn't due to me until the end of November.  I'll also be posting a new ATC swap theme on Monday, so do come back then and check it out.

Finally, don't forget the clocks go back tonight (well, 2 a.m. to be precise, but I always change them earlier in the evening before we go to bed)!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


I was hoping to post the promised Christmas challenge a few days ago, but you know how it is, the realities of life have a habit of taking over and eating away at any free time!  However, here is my Christmas swap idea for you.

I'd like you to create ONE Vintage Christmas Triptych but larger than ATC size - I would suggest that the centre panel of the triptych be about 4" x 6", the other panels can be the same size or smaller (however you wish) and the tops can be any shape you like - rounded, gothic arches, triangular, etc.  You may join the panels together by whatever method you choose - for example, eyelets and ribbon, wire, small binding rings, beads.  Please use sturdy mountboard or chipboard for your triptych and add as much embellishment as you like, using your preferred techniques for decoration, and ensure that the triptych is able to stand up properly when completed.  Please remember to decorate the back of your triptych as well and add your name and any other details you wish - thanks.

Usual swap rules apply - your finished triptych should be with me by 30th November (if you join next month's ATC swap you can send them all together), plus postage and address label for return.  Please email me if you want to sign up for this swap and I'll let you know where to send your completed triptych.

I haven't created a Christmas triptych before but I did make an ATC-sized triptych with a "Goddess" theme some while back so here's a picture of it to give you an idea of the sort of thing I have in mind.  You may also find lots of ideas if you try googling for Christmas Triptychs. 

 Goddess Triptych - ATC Size

I hope some of you will fancy having a go at making a Vintage Christmas Triptych as I'm sure there'll be some fabulous creations and wouldn't it be lovely to have one to add to your own decorations this Christmas? 

Friday, 15 October 2010

I'm Still Here!

Yes, I'm finally back, posting again - nearly two weeks since I last posted (shame on me!), but I've been suffering with the same "lurgy" that struck down David and Lindsay (and numerous other folks too).  So I'm afraid I've been doing very little craft-wise, but I am at last feeling more normal again so hope to get caught up on some crafty projects over the next week or so. 

I've been receiving some absolutely gorgeous ATCs in the post this week for the "Things that Go Bump" swap - I really don't want to part with any of them! - so if you want to participate and receive some of these spooky cards, there's still plenty of time - the deadline isn't till the end of October.

Rather belatedly, here are photos of all the wonderful and varied pages in my Grunge Chunky Book - I intended posting these sooner, but what with a combination of being unwell and the new Blogger uploading system which played up last time I tried to use it, this is the first opportunity I've had to show them off to you all. 
Grunge Chunky Book - Front Cover

The Timekeeper - Susan Jenneys (Artyjen)

Heart & Soul - June Benton

Heavy Metal - Sheila King

It's Only Words - Hilda Moffett

Ghost in the Machine - Ali Brandist

With a Little Flourish - My Page

I Dreamed a Dream - Lindsay Mason

Vintage Journeys - Sandra Zengler

Take Flight - Joanne Parkin

As you can see, everyone created some beautiful grunged up pages - thanks to each of you for making these books so gorgeous!  Now Sheila is running another chunky book swap (sorry, folks, it's already fully-booked!) with a deadline next March, but this time there are 12 of us in the swap and we've each chosen a theme for our own books (mine is "Heavenly Bodies" - interpret how you will, angels, planets, stars, sun and moon, glamorous ladies ......!!!) - there are some really interesting themes this time including "steampunk" (which I love but have never been confident enough to have a go at before - so time to jump in and play)!  Anyhow, I'm sure we'll all end up with a marvellous book each and lucky Sheila gets to see everyone's pages too (the biggest perk of hosting)!

Well, enough from me for now ...... I'll be back posting again soon (and I haven't forgotten that I promised you another challenge with a Christmassy theme, so watch this space)!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

A Mystery Torso!

Well, I WAS meant to be posting this yesterday but my computer decided to have an argument with Blogger's new downloading pictures link and I couldn't load up any photos .... grrr!!!  But, today it all seems to be behaving itself (fingers crossed)!

So, anyway, look what came in the post for me yesterday ...... these wonderful Torso ATCs from the recent challenge swap at "Something Completely Different" (see Link in sidebar).  I love these cards, but unfortunately one of them has no details on the back so I don't know who created it - what a shame!  So please, if you recognise this card as being yours, let me know as I'd love to put a name to it!

This is the "anonymous" torso which I believe was created for the "Red" Challenge

I received this great "By the Sea" Torso, which was created by my friend Joanne

I love the poppies on this "Bling" Torson by Gina

A lovely "Memories" Torso made by Zoe

Thanks to each of you for these beautiful cards, I really enjoyed the challenge of making them myself too and hope those who received my attempts are happy with them as well.  Unfortunately, I've not been able to join in the recent SCD challenges but hope to have a go again soon.

Friday, 1 October 2010


It's that time again, the first of the month and time to post a new ATC swap.  As we have now very definitely entered the autumn season (in fact, today is particularly unpleasant with lots of lashing rain and winds - more like winter actually!) and as Halloween seems to be becoming more popular over here in the UK, I thought we'd go "spooky" this month.  I know a lot of you love creating cards with a Halloween theme so hope this swap will appeal to many of you and you'll sign up.  You can really have fun creating your cards for this swap - witches, ghosts, spooky creatures, spiders, cats, broomsticks, haunted houses, ghost trains - anything at all.  Why not try shaping your ATCs too into haunted houses, windows or arches?  I'm sure you can come up with all sorts of spookiness for this swap!  (Details in the sidebar, as per usual)!

All the "glitter" atcs are now here for September's swap so I'll be swapping these out over the weekend - thanks to everyone who joined in!