Tuesday, 29 May 2012

WOYWW 3 today! & Manchester Mystery Meet

Happy 3rd Birthday WOYWW
Today I have some of my usual mess on my desk and also 15 ATCs which will wing their way to some of the special people I've got to know over the time I've been part of WOYWW. 
I'll make a draw from regulars who comment on my WOYWW posts. 

Thanks so much to Julia of Stamping Ground for bringing us all together via this weekly blog hop, which has introduced us to so many friends we've never yet met and quite a few we have met and really got to know well. All because of the desire to snoop on each other's crafty desks.

Here's a great example of WOYWWers getting together.
The mystery visitor...... who can it be? Someone lovely, wearing a WOYWW badge, who really hates photos being taken! Someone who travelled far to where we met up in Manchester.........
to be revealed.......
Neet, Ann, Jo, Donna and ??? WOYWW badges on, gathered  from far and wide, for this special meet up in the super Northern Quarter Cafe but nobody came as far as this mystery visitor......
We browsed the galleries of working artist and shops
The upper gallery and there's ??? with the blue haversack!!!
Love the name of this shop!
Ann and Neet in Afflecks Palace..... a wacky emporium of alternative and retro goods where we all hit the bead shop.
Here's a ring I didn't buy!
Donna and Ann on the loose in the Abakhan fabric and craft shop.
Here's Neet before she ordered a quarter metre of everything in the shop!
the Fred Aldous fabulous craft shop where we all spent lots of pennies before our last stop, which was the three fantastic floors of the huge Paperchase store.
We wandered through the Marrakesh in Manchester Market on the way back to the car park.
Still wondering who is the mystery guest at the top behind the flag wearing a WOYWW badge?
It's Shaz from Oz !
Wonderful to meet such a lovely person from the other side of the world all thanks to WOYWW.
We laughed, drank coffee, chatted, shopped, ate a lovely lunch before sadly going our separate ways to await Shaz's return to Australia before we divulged our secret. Thanks to all for a great day, especially to Sharon.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Alcohol Inks... It's a Blast!

Another technique I demonstrated at Card-io last Saturday.... Alcohol Inks blasted with a can of compressed air. You know, the aerosol that you should be using to clean away dust on your keyboard, camera or other fiddly places you cannot reach. Well there's better use for that can than for dusting and 
it's much more fun than cleaning!
Card-io stock the cans of air, if you are in the area, or they can be bought at office supply shops or via the net ... or maybe there's already one lurking unused in the drawer of your computer desk.
The backgrounds produced can be chopped up and easily made into striking cards with just a little stamping and save all the off cuts to make great flowers  and die cut swirls to add that special finishing touch.
All you have to do is to drop alcohol inks onto glossy card and immediately give each drop a blast with the air can. Simples!
Below are some of the resulting cards.  Colour choice gives a variety of looks and the splats can then be stamped over, as you can see with the swirls below.
Try the technique on acetate sheets then layer the acetate over other backgrounds or images.
When the air can is new there will be more propellent liquid which gives a much softer look. This is attractive but only lasts for a few cards before the air comes out dryer and the results become far more intense. 
 The large splat below was created by dropping inks onto the same spot. As the inks are translucent it effectively gives shades through shades.
 By dropping the inks at the bottom edge, then blasting with the air from a low angle up towards the card, it gives a scenic or landscape look, as below. Imagine butterflies stamped over this card, toad stools along the bottom and a fairy tripping through the undergrowth... hey up! i'm getting cute ideas, not like me!!
Just play about and have fun but remember to observe the safety details on the Air Can and also with the Alcohol Inks. No naked flames in the area, always have good ventilation etc.
I chopped my cards into lots of pieces to make quicky give aways of tags and small cards during my dem. It would be great for ATCs as special little areas could be selected.

Here, I stamped the image on the Alcohol Inked card, then stamped another image, cut out just the face and stuck it over the image. It highlights the face and the features are ink free. 
As always, I hope you have fun trying out these ideas and if you have any queries please ask and I'll do my best to help.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

The Blue Mallard, Burscough

Yesterday we were invited to join our friends Neet and Chas at the Blue Mallard Restaurant at Burscough, a little Lancashire town along side the Leeds Liverpool Canal. We can certainly recommend the food and it is not too far from the seaside resort of Southport or the Stampers Gallery in Tarleton so makes a great day out if you are in the area.
The Burscough Wharf is an old cobbled stoned canal wharf which has been converted into some interesting art and craft units, old fashioned sweet shop etc. The lovely beamed restaurant is overlooking the water and many of the barges pass by and can be seen from the upstairs restaurant. (It has a lift!)
Neet, Chas and my DH Dave
Chas and Neet with Neet's main course of sea bass.
Check out here Neet's pics of me including one with my mouth full!
Move over Masterchef.... It was a gastronomic delight!
This was choice of Chas (and mine too),.. the most delicious pork belly... amazingly lean, crispy crackling and a delicious dark ale jus.
DH chose roast duck which, whilst delicious, was a scenic work of art. 
As we were so full, Neet and I didn't succumb to desserts but the guys were made of sterner stuff so Chas enjoyed sticky toffee pudding and Dave chose this citrus medley "taster"... orange panacotta, lemon tart, meringue with lemon curd. I just HAD to sample it!
In perfect sunny weather we were able to stroll away some of the delicious calories along the canal path.
Lots of funny ducks (no inference to Neet and Chas!) There were tiny fluffy duckling but all too far off in the water, learning to swim, to get a good photo.
Another great big thank you to Neet and Chas for such a wonderful day!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012


I missed last week as I was so busy with the outside crafting events which I've posted over the last few days. I've had a great crafty time meeting up with lots of creative people whilst demming at the Port Sunlight Show and at Card-io's open day.
 I was lucky to meet up with Redanne for the first time and a few other WOYWWers, .....Jenny the Artistic Stamper, Judith of Poppy Cottage, AnnB and Tracy Evans but it was such a shame that we only had a chance to say a quick "Hello" as it was seriously busy.
This desk has seen a lot of action over the last couple of weeks and although it has been getting cleared, then used, then cleared, then used again, you are lucky, (or not as the case may be) to get me in a messy phase as I have dumped on it so much of the materials and equipment I used last weekend. 
The red topped cans are compressed air from the fun alcohol ink dem I did, and will be posting all about that in the next day or so. The desk really isn't as bad as it looks and will soon be cleared away.
To prove I'm a sane, sensible, but arty, person for showing this mess, (yes, I am, I really am) just pop over to the lovely Julia's blog at stamping ground where you will find almost a couple of hundred more like minds, all proving that I'm not alone.
Nature's Visitors
Below I just had to share the return of the poppies under my front window. We had a lovely display of them last year from "seeds on the wind" and it looks like we'll be treated again to their glory this year. DH so nearly pulled them out as weeds until he beat a hasty retreat on hearing my panicky screams to leave them alone!! They are growing rapidly day by day.
Not far from the poppies were these two beauties, below...... such colour and markings that I've never before seen in my garden on a snail. Their beauty allowed them to survive and not suffer the fate of all the miserable grey ones that eat away at the plants. The left hand one looks just like a humbug! I find it hard to get rid of anything living but after putting them on the garage roof for the seagulls to do their wicked way with them, they thrived. The house painter said "Do you know that the garage roof is pebbled with snails and they're  sliding up my paint can and diving in!?"
Hope to visit quite a few of you this week but meanwhile thanks to all those who contacted me in my absence last week. I really appreciate being missed!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Tag Bag Tutorial

 Quite a few people, both at Port Sunlight show and at Card-io, asked me for details of how to make the tag bags that I had on display to showcase the Distress Ink techniques I used to decorate them. (Check out another example on my previous post with a dress form on the front.)
The Tag Bag evolved from a need to find a use for all those tags people are making.... for what purpose I asked, so I created a purpose. Let's make this bag as a vehicle for storing our collections of tags or as something useful that we can make from tags. 
The bags can be a way to give small gifts, vouchers, money etc., and,  for example, could contain a few packets of seeds for a gardener friend or chocky, hand wipes and postage stamps for someone in hospital. Pop another tag into the bag for your greeting.
The idea came to me when I was making a concertina niche card. I missed the workshop given by my fabby friend Paul of the Artsiders blog. Paul gave a link to the blog, where he in turn gained the idea, but I found it was a set size with accurate measurements. Good for some but I wanted different sizes so I just ignored all that and winged it to make a couple of niche cards like the seaside scene below and the vintage sewing one I posted recently.
Check out Paul's blog here to see his gorgeous shabby chic concertina box card he made and also for the link to his original inspiration. Paul has a beautiful soft and sensitive style, which I love and you will too, and he has posted several excellent tutorials for making many different, exquisite, styles of flowers. Be sure to check it out!

Front cover using one of my new Michael Powell stamps
The box concertina has a few more folds than the tag bag, but this can be varied depending on the size of the card or the tag. There is no set number of folds, just use your own judgement according to your needs.
I then realised that with one end left open it would work well with the tags to make a bag.
Here's my own way of making them and with four sides this method can also be used to make the concertina niche card. 
First decorate two tags, any size. I make my own tags but ready made ones will do too.
Cut and score 2 pieces of card long enough for the sides. For a large tag, I scored 7 lines at three quarters of an inch apart, giving 8 segments. I scored at half inch intervals for smaller tags.
Cut one piece of card ever so slightly narrower than the bottom width of the tags to allow space to fold in the pleats.
The sides and bottom pieces can be decorated by spraying colour, such as Glimmer Mists, or by applying Distress Inks to the edges of the folds. This helps it blend with the colour scheme of the tags.
Apply double sided adhesive or use an ATG gun to the stick the outer strips just within the edge of the tag.
Apply the bottom card similarly to the the lower edge of the tag.
Outer view...
Inner view...
Fold in the creased edges, first the bottom, then the sides, next the bottom and again the sides, alternating until all folds are within the perimeter space of the tag. 
Apply a spot of adhesive just to each corner on the final fold in.
This is now ready to apply adhesive around all three edges ready to fix on the front tag.
Line up the tag and press on to the three sides.
Ta dah! The bag is ready to finish off with ribbons and here are a couple of ways to finish the ends attractively.
Tiny tags on the left and punched discs on the right shaped into a tricorn.

Don't hesitate to shout out if you have any queries, I'll be only too pleased to help.
Lots of crafting completed over the last week or so and now I'm free to publish the results so.... more to come!!!

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Faux Leather at Card-io's Open Dem Day

Yesterday I did a special open dem day for Wendy and Martin at their shop Card-io in Pemberton, Wigan and had a really fabulous day there. So many people stopped by, including a few familiar faces and friends and they were all so friendly and interested in everything I showed them throughout the day. Thanks to Monica, a lovely new recruit to crafting, for coming all the way from Preston on public transport.  
Wendy and I were somewhat adventurous and decided to cover a few techniques, changing through the day to keep the visitors interested. Luckily it worked very well, apart from my table becoming congested pretty quickly with so many samples and examples laid out to be handled and examined. Nobody seemed to mind as it gave them lots to see and a good mix of ideas too. It was a little like my work desk at home!
Thanks so much for the warm welcome from Wendy and Martin and to Martin for all the coffees, teas and chocky bars throughout the day. Their lovely young daughter was such a help too and she is such a credit to them.
First I demmed my "faux leather" technique and  used it on the die cut dress form for this tag bag.
This was the only photograph I took as, once people arrived, it was far too busy to even think of it!
Here's a quick rundown on how to create this great effect......
(Note; there is a full tutorial for this technique in a previous blog, just... click here )
Crumple tissue paper and stick it down on to strong card or mountboard (I use cereal and soap powder boxes) When it is completely dry, colour it with Distress Stains or Distress Inks, dry again then die cut shapes. You can of course die cut before colouring to save inks but it is easier to colour a piece of card than a fiddly shape. Be sure to use a permanent ink pad if you want to decorate the tissue with images, swirls, flowers etc.
 You can see the card with crumpled tissue before and after colouring and the shapes cut out ready.
Next swipe a Versamark pad over the surface just catching the creases of the tissue.
Sprinkle sparingly with embossing powder, gold, silver, clear to your preference. Heat to emboss and the results achieved can be seen below. It is certainly wiser to emboss after cutting the shapes to save expensive powder.
A close up to show the different results gained by using more or less powder, gold or silver, bigger crumples or finer creases. Just play around, have fun and you will get some beautiful results.

With the die cut bodyforms I made a few new items. The blue legless body has felt adhered to the back to which I added just a couple of drops of essential oils (1 of lavender and 1 of geranium) to make a little hanger to ward off moths in the wardrobe.
It could also hang in the car and could be made with the die cut vintage car shape. Don't go heavy on the oils as they could be too strong and they can easily be refreshed when necessary.
 The black lace one (on the right) has felt inside making a handy needle case. Both ideas would make great little gifts or fundraising sales items.
This one below is a double full dress form with a concertina book inside to join the two together as a special greeting card.
 The skirt is made by sticking the centre point of small squares of fabric on to a strip of redline tape. 
 To die cut the concertina for the inside, fold card slightly narrower than the sides of the die so there will still be uncut areas to form a hinge on each page.... as below.
 Here's another scented one with a beaded fringe to dangle nicely along the bottom.
 This dress form decorates the front of my tag bag and, as promised to quite a few people's requests, I'll be posting a tutorial for the tag bag as soon as I get time but hopefully over the next week.
The two die cut cotton reel shapes also have a tiny concertina inside to make a mini book and a space can be left on which to write a message or greeting.  
 Over the next few days I hope to show some of the other techniques, (including air blasted Alcohol Ink fun) from yesterday so, for now, I hope you've got some ideas from this post and thanks for visiting. Stay tuned....