Friday, 30 April 2010

She wears pink feathers!

I needed a couple of general birthday cards for friends so I made these before I went out yesterday. I used two of my favourite "women" images, stamped in black on white card, then layered over with acetate which had been coloured with alcohol inks. Went a bit mad with the feathers but they make the cards OTT glam!

Afterwards I went into town as I was lucky to be an invited guest for the opening of our new bigger TKMAXX store. We already had one but, with the regeneration of the city centre, they decided to expand and move to the well loved, historic, George Henry Lee department store, which they have revamped beautifully, so now we have quality bargains galore on three floors.
 This pic, showing a quarter of the ground floor, is for my two DDs who love TKMAXX, but live so far from here so couldn't be there yesterday. Heh heh! Great that Mum gets the treats!
We had bubbly on arrival and delicious canapes and the most yummy cupcakes (see one of the towers in the left hand corner) which were decorated so beautifully. I had one with a chocky shoe on top and took one home for DH with sprinklings of the tiniest hearts. Aren't I romantic? Aaaahh! 
There were jugglers, stilt walkers, music by a local radio station, and guests (that's me) were pampered with an "Angel" relaxation massage and a manicure. With a bit of retail therapy it was a lovely experience which I was glad to be invited to, thanks to DD2's friend Gill.
I asked the manager if he could manage to repeat the event once a month!!!
I'm looking forward now to going to Vicky Stampers tomorrow for a workshop when, our lovely member and friend, Paul will be our tutor. He is teaching us to make an arty house with a concertina book inside so it should be fun. Must pack up my kit and make my template from his email.........Now I wonder if I'll find all I need!!!!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Double Concertina Alice card

Today I finally made it into my craft room and to make some samples for the show at Port Sunlight on 8th May. My friend Caz, of stampattack, had given me a plate of her new Alice in Wonderland stamps, so I decided to make this double concertina card to showcase lots of the images. It is two sided so holds a great many. There are already two plates of Alice stamps available and the news ones, ready for the show, will make it four!
For the background I sponged over stencils with Distress Inks new Crushed Olive colour onto turquoise card. I then sponged a few areas over sequin waste with Broken China then gave a light spritz of Cosmic Shimmer in Rich Gold. This is another of those structured cards which looks complex but is sooooo simple. Just let me know if you want any details of how to make one.
Yesterday was such good weather that we ventured forth to Calderstones Park to view the Bluebell Field. Some years ago, I was involved with setting up the fields as a conservation and charity fundraiser because the native British Bluebell is now protected as it is being ousted by the more vigorous Spanish variety. The public bought certificates for bluebells to be planted for whatever reason they wanted and I did this to celebrate my DD2's wedding. I visit each year but she has never ever managed to see them. I had hoped that this would be possible during her forthcoming visit, so we went along to see how they were doing. What a disapointment..... this year there are hardly any Bluebells but just a small amount of White ones. We met a man there who had come a long distance to see them, after having some planted in memory of his late wife, so it was really sad that it didn't cheer him. It is normally such a beautiful sight Maybe next year..........
Just a few spots of blue..... I wonder are they my daughter's?

We saw so many of these, black and white, bee like insects on the grass in the park.

The magnolia near the mansion house is magnificent and so full of blossom but the one in my garden is very sparse this year.
After our bit of excercise and fresh air we were starving and went into the little cafe for a cuppa.... and egg and chips just managed to leap onto the table too and say "Eat me, please"!!! It was so good but so naughty. Ah well! Something had to compensate for the lack of bluebells!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

My Candy from Aintree Show etc.

Back in the land of blog which I've missed for the last week but I've had a fabulous precious time with my DD1 and 2 of my grandees. After coaching it down to Brighton, (left home at 7am and arrived there at 4pm eek!) I stayed there for 2 days before we travelled back up here by 2 trains, that is with a baby and a toddler, pram, bags etc., etc.,!! and it took almost 6 hours door to door. Ah well, we could have all been stranded abroad due to volcanic ash so I thank my lucky stars it was only buses and trains we had to cope with.
On Friday my DD1 went to visit friends so I was able to visit the craft show at Aintree Racecourse (home of the famous Grand National horse race). Not a show dedicated solely to paper crafts and stamping but I really enjoyed the exhibitions and dems of other crafts. 

I limited my spending by just taking cash and managed to buy all the things in the 1st pic, which included one of Tim Holtz's new dies, 5 of the clear storage boxes for £10 and lots of things on the "anything for £1 stand". Also brads, cosmic shimmers, embellishments, animal print paperbacked fur, more new Distress ink colours. 
Lovely too to spend the day at the show with my friend Caz and she brought me a lovely gift of the new Art Specially book from her trip to their show last week in Zeist Holland.If you fancy a copy she has some for sale on her stampattack website. I'm so thrilled because there is an article in it using my birdhouse design stamps which I did last year for stampattack. She also gave me a plate of her new Alice in Wonderland stamps so I can't wait to play with them and there is another plate coming up in a week or two.
Exhibition at  Aintree show of the costumes from the film "The Duchess" starring Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes

The Knitted Garden on show... amazing!
Caught up with Wendy and Martin of Card-io who will soon open a new shop and have some great new stamps and ideas so watch their website for news.
I'm already missing my DD1 and grandees who left this morning and are back home in Brighton but I have a workshop next Saturday then I'm demonstrating for Caz at the Port Sunlight show on May 8th on her stampattack stand. Then a traumatic time ahead as my DH has to have a hip replacement operation mid May. On May 25th my DD2 will come to visit from Germany with my other beautiful grandee, so that will give us all something to look forward to and help cheer DH no end.   

Friday, 16 April 2010

Embossing & Layout challenges

I'm off to Brighton by coach tomorrow so won't be able to blog for a few days. I'm coming back on Monday and helping DD1 baby and toddler to come back here by train. The journey there of over 8 hours will be well worth it to have them stay here for a week. Looking forward to seeing my little newbie grandee again and having fun with the older one, who is nearly three. 
Thanks for all the lovely comments re my acrylic hearts and it looks like there will be a run on them in Ikea stores!!!
I've made these two cards for challenges on one of my groups and they are both really away from my own style. I don't usually do formal styled cards as I am very much the experimental messer! The photos don't show the true colours with taking them in electric light. Much better in daylight.
As I recently acquired a Cuttlebug, I used it for the first time for this embossing challenge.
This card is for a layout challenge and I used some of the card I had decorated with Distress Ink and stamped over it with an cracked eggshell stamp. It's a bit neat and formal for me but I think it works OK. 

Just had to add a picture of one of my little winged visitors especially for my birdy loving friend Cath! It is one of the tiny long tailed tits that comes each day and they flutter up and down, all along  the window. At first, I was so worried they would hurt themselves but they only flutter and don't bang into the glass. Don't know why they do it. The little feeding house is stuck onto the window and they don't seem to bother with the seed.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Acrylic Hearts & Memories etc.,

Mixed Rambling Blog today.......
 I messed around this afternoon with Alcohol inks and the acrylic hearts I bought yesterday from IKEA. Officially photo frames, they are over 3 inches in size and consist of two acrylic hearts that fasten together by extra strong tiny magnets. I took them apart to decorate the insides.

This first picture shows a collage of PaperArtsy new stamps trapped inside
On the inside  of another I stamped swirls and stamped a face image. On the other side I cleaned away an area of the alcohol ink with a rag and blending fluid, in the area of the face, so it would show more clearly.

I played about with another one but this time I stamped the face image onto a piece of card then tore around the edges before I trapped it in between the two hearts.
The magnets are strong enough to trap the ribbons between the hearts.
It would make a paperweight and could hold a photo, with a verse or message, as well as stamped art.
A big advantage is that if you make a mess, or just don't like the result, it can be cleaned off very easily with AI blending fluid ready to start again.

This is one of the heart frames as I bought it.

Memories in my Garden
This time of year I always think of one of my friends, Carol, who sadly died suddenly and unexpectedly, one week before her daughter's wedding, about 15 years ago. She was a lovely person, talented artist and a great loss to the world, her friends and family. 
I had always admired the camelia in her garden, which was in flower when she died and later on the same year my DD2, then a student at uni, bought me a tiny one from Woolworths for just £1.99 and I planted it in view of my living room window, exactly in the position Carol had her's in her garden. Each time it blossoms I think fondly of my friend and how lucky I am to see my own daughters grow to have their own beautiful children. 
Thanks to Fluffy!  

After 15 years my tiny shrub is now an 8 foot high tree

Just had to share these teeny weeny treasures I bought at the ginormous St George's Hall Antiques Fair last Saturday. The ruler is marked in 16ths of an inch!

Monday, 12 April 2010

Multi flap card and Easter Christmas

I was doing a bit more tidying today, in my craft room, and came across this card made in a class last year with my friend Cath. This was the one I mentioned as the inspiration for the card I posted yesterday, so I thought I'd show the comparison. The one here has so many more flaps and I realise now that I want to make more as I really like the folds. We used glimmer mists for the backgrounds.

This is the cover made using a technique initially created by Hermine

As I mentioned yesterday on Saturday I went to the Grotto! Lewis's Store in Liverpool City Centre has had a spectacular, huge, Christmas Grotto for more years than any store in this country. Sadly the store is closing for ever very soon and, as a special event before they close, they have created a Grotto again for the very last time. Adults and children are flocking to see it in a sentimental journey. It's not June in January but December in April!!!

First there is an Easter Grotto with Teddy Bear's picnic theme

Then it opens out to Christmas  and highlight topics connected to the city such as the architecture....
The Liver Buildings with the birds on top

The Football Teams

Wintry Christmas Scenes

It was so lovely but so sad to see it for what I thought was the last time but my little grandee will visit next week from Brighton so I will be back to take her to see it. What was so lovely was that Father Christmas was explaining to all the children the reason he was there even though it wasn't Christmas and reassuring them he would be in another Grotto next December.
If you have children and are close enough to visit, don't miss it. It is only £1 to go around it but extra for official photos with Father Christmas and gifts.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Asian Folded Card & Spanish Treat

The inspiration for this card came from my talented friend Cath when I went to one of her classes. I've modified the original to this simpler form which has less flaps and can be cut from the length of a sheet of A4 card.
I used Distress Inks smooched onto the card with wet wipes then stamped the background before stamping the stronger foreground images.
The stamps are by PaperArtsy except the main image, of the two profiled heads in the centre, which is one of my favourites by Stampattack. The colours I used are Fired Brick, Mustard Seed, Walnut and Frayed Burlap.

Yesterday, on such a beautiful warm sunny day, I ventured into the city centre on Grand National Day and as always there was a vibrant atmosphere with people, dressed in their finery, heading to the Aintree trains for the short ride to the racecourse. Many were just heading into the city centre to enjoy the races via the big screens in the bars and pubs but it was great to see such amazing outfits, hats and lots of glamour around the place. The men too BTW! Lots of people come over from Ireland and so many of them dress just like country gentlemen.
My main intention was to visit the big antiques fair at St George Hall

As I arrived into the city centre I walked into an unexpected treat as the Spanish Tourist Board had organised a "Taste of Spain" event in the main square. It was a wonderful day of amazing free entertainment and many of the Spanish regions displayed all their specialties.
 I enjoyed Fino Sherry served by a beautiful talented lady who skilfully dipped into the barrel, swung her long server high and poured it into the glasses without spilling one drop.

I savoured garlic olives and sugared roasted almonds with a glass of Rioja whilst listening to live music.
There were little girls proudly parading in their flamenco dresses
A troupe of young Spanish football stars displayed their amazing skills
A giant paella was being prepared in a pan, about 6 feet in diameter, with a log fire beneath. Besides enjoying the wine and food, I came away with some quality freebies, a cloth shopping bag from Galicia, a pen from Andalucia, sweets from Almeiria, an orange from Seville and lots of brochures to tempt me to visit Spain! Just need the money!
I shopped then, before going to the antiques fair, I made a sentimental visit to the GROTTO!!! Yes a Christmas Grotto! In April! I'll tell all tomorrow and show the photos for proof. Watch this space!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Vintage Flowers and Millions of Daffodils

These two pages for my Deco challenge on the theme, "Vintage Flowers" are winging their way to North Carolina. In hindsight I think that the background colour is a bit miserable but my mind was fixed on Lavender and Old Lace and the whole process was not messy enough for me!!!. I love the stamps by Crafty Individuals.

Tree hugging in Sefton Park amongst the Marie Curie Field of Hope Daffodils. 

I have never seen so many daffodils, in one place, anywhere else. They stretch for field after
 field and are such a wonderfully cheery sight after the long hard Winter and we never miss visiting each year. 
People walking in the park were as bright as the flowers and most people had a chat as they passed by.

This little cutie is my friend's 12 week old kitten, called Tilly Mint, who we visited today. 
I love the way she always curls her tail around her front paws. 

Monday, 5 April 2010

Dabbers Splat technique

Today I decided to have a mess around with the technique I first saw on Patti Behan's blog where she has an excellent video tutorial. It's another "Dress to Mess" technique using Adirondack Acrylic Dabbers by Ranger. Back to my bright colours for the theme of "Blossoms" for one of my group challenges. 
 The backgrounds are created by priming dabbers with the acrylic paint then spritzing them with water before madly, forcefully and with great abandon, SPLATTING them down onto the card. The paint shoots everywhere so protect anything precious before starting. There are various options such as .....using only one colour or a few,..... using light colours on dark card,.... splatting a darker colour, then after drying splatting a lighter colour on top. 
Just play and have fun and see what evolves. Stamp over with background stamps such as flourishes and things soon take shape.