Friday, 30 July 2010

E for Eyes and Shopping History

E is for Eyes and the 5th page of KCUK's alphabet swap is ready. Thanks to my friend Olive for the idea to put false eyelashes on the eye.. .they are real bling with diamante along them, from one of the £ shops, not from my make up bag, I must add!

This shopping history really amused me so I thought I'd share it here........
I've just found a notebook from 1970 in which I had written shopping lists. I remember being so worried about managing the housekeeping on one wage, after I had left work to have my first daughter, so I jotted down everyday spends on food. All this, before supermarkets, when I shopped daily at local shops.
It is scary to see the prices of the items I bought, and most of you won't even remember pre decimal coinage, so if I clarify that the 1 shilling and 6 pence for the first two items,  is equal to 7 1/2 pence of today's coins. That kipper priced at 1 shilling would now be now 5p!!! I wish my groceries were this price today. I thought it would bring back some memories for some of you and be a bit of social history for others.

Even then, I can remember from what I bought, that I was pickling and jam making, crocheting, growing bulbs, the food was for Ebony, my then black cat, and I was buying baby things ready for the new arrival. A baby bath for 7/6 (or 37. 5 pence!) Aaahhh, that baby will be 40 this year and still gorgeous too!!!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010


Yeah! I'm so thrilled that I've won a blog candy consolation prize from Cath on her blog. Thanks Cath..I'll look forward to receiving it when, hopefully, I should manage to get to Vicky Stampers! 
It's Wednesday again so it's WOYWW and, whilst I'm still crafting in glorified semi chaos, it's time to show and tell about all that's going on in my space. This is all because of our leader and inspiration, Julia, who started us fessing up about the mess of our desks. If you want to spy on more madness go to her blog, here at Stamping Ground. It's the 60th post for WOYWW so congratulations Julia and all who participate!!!
Well, here's my desk, just as I am working on it, but I stood my, WIP, display stand at the back as so many of you are interested to see how it's getting on. I've shown some close ups of it's niches at the end of this post.
I've made a start on the large letter L which is gessoed and now painted with it's first layer. 
There in pride of place back right is my new Cinch,binding machine, courtesy of a bargain buy for acquired for me by my friend Jayne, who is as good as me at sleuthing out a bargain.
You should be able to see my ink applicators in their new stand which is an egg stand from a charity shop. It really works well until I can afford a Ranger one (3 tiered would be nice just like Jenny has converted her's to!)
I am working tentatively on my next alphabet letter and I'm up to E which looks, as you can see, like it may turn out to be E for eyes.
Here is an aerial view of what's happening on my desk. It looks a lot neater from this angle!
Close ups of niches in the display box after the crackle paints dried so effectively. 
I've stamped in the birth dates of my three grandees.
 I don't know how it will end up as I am just going with the flow!
Thanks for coming to snoop around my desk!  


I made a few of these simple easel cards, all similar, as there are some birthdays coming up and one of my stamping group friends loves sunflowers. She doesn't blog, so I'm safe showing this in advance of her birthday.
I coloured some glossy card with alcohol inks and blending fluid. I used Butterscotch, Sunshine Yellow and Sunset Orange and there was already some remains of other colours on the felt, from another session, which added to the effect. I then stamped sunflower images ( Flora 5 by Simple Expressions) with black Stazon ink. 
The centre was embellished with some black accent beads with a few gold and orange ones as highlights.
We need a bit of sunshine after all the rain we've had of late!
Thanks for the visit and don't forget it's WOYWW tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

D for Dogs

I'm ahead of myself for a change and have completed the next page of the chunky 4 x 4 alphabet swap.
D for Dogs
I used some spare background paper that had been marked with bottle top stains and then allowed the dogs to run all over and make paw prints!! They look a mischievous bunch, don't you think? The bone was cut from Grunge card then embossed with opaque white EP. It curled a bit but then it's been chewed around by the cute canine gang. I added the tartan ribbon as here these little dogs are often referred to as "Scotties".
Still pondering about E and F pages........Egypt, eyes, fans, fairies etc., who knows!?!
Thanks for dropping in and enjoy your Sunday.

Friday, 23 July 2010

C is for China

Next page of my alphabet swap is C for China and this I enjoyed making so much more than pages A & B. I love the Paperartsy little emperor stamp

I sponged my background card with Adirondack Inks in Watermelon, Cranberry and Sunset Orange, then stamped over it with Asian script in the same colours. When dry, I then added some rough gilding, to some parts, by using joss papers, a technique I'd almost forgotten about that I often used years ago. 
I applied smudges of PVA glue to various areas, and as I'm prone to messing, I spread them out with my fingers. Then I pressed the gold and silver parts of the joss paper to the glue and gently rubbed it. Lift off the paper and the mettallic parts of the joss paper adhere to the background card and create really effective metallic areas.
It looks more metallic and so much more impressive when you see it for real.
IMPORTANT...I must add, that if you go to an Asian Supermarket to buy these wonderful papers please have respect for their real purpose and remember that they are used in religious ceremonies. 
I never infer to the shop staff that I am going to use them for artistic purposes as I know that some might be offended by this.
They are  very cheap to buy, and come in a variety of sizes and colours, printed and plain, so shop around and you may find more than I show here....
Thanks for visiting......... D page tomorrow!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

B is for Baseball

  Not very exciting but this is my next page ready for the 4 x 4 inch chunky alphabet swap for KCUK yahoo group. It's harder than I thought to decide what subject to choose for each letter but then it's even harder to find stamps to correspond. I could have done butterflies for B but decided that lots of other people would choose that so, luckily, I found baseball stamps in my UMs.

More lovely flowers, freesias, we have been given by visitors. 
Nearly finished these little black skull caps for my grandee to wear with their bumble bee and ladybird outfits (which I still have to make). It's so hard to see where I'm going, except in good daylight, and we've had so much miserable weather this week that they have been put on hold. Got to make antennae for them too. 

Thanks for popping by.... C page tomorrow.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


If you like noseying at my desk on a Wednesday, it's Julia's great idea so pop on over to  Stamping Ground to see lots more brave souls who dare!!

This is my work desk by the window but I cannot sit at it because, with all the drawers, there is no knee hole space. I tend to use this area for jobs that I stand up to do. At the moment I am working on the display box on the left and altering it. I have already started to paste on dictionary pages which I have stamped over. I was a bit miffed because, after I had started, I noticed that Tim Holtz is also doing some of these wonderfully well, and has spoiled my thunder, but then again his efforts are far superior to mine and let's face it... I might get ideas from his too. Thanks Tim!!
I primed the box with gesso and now I am gluing on my dictionary pages. The box lid, on the right, is full of ephemera, collected and found items, which  I want to include in those slots.
This is the full span of my window area, (which my friend Jayne revamped for me,) with storage boxes up to the rafters and lots of guff on the window sill. I might one day use that spinning top with my grandees but there is even a darning mushroom... when did I last DARN, I ask? When did anyone darn?
In the middle there, lurking by my fave, best friend, my ATG gun, is a "shoe stretcher" and a "shoe last". I'm pointing these out for Lovely Liverpool Lou as she loved my flat iron, last week, which also hangs around from my dark and sheltered deprived past. My dear Pop used to mend my shoes on that shoe last and now I use it for beating and texturising silver on when I am making jewellery.
This below is my main drawer full of UMs in A5 plastic zip pockets. I used to buy the white pockets at Paperchase at £1 a time but now get the coloured ones from Tesco at 5 for £1.(At the moment on offer at 3 packs for £2) Not quite so wonderful but I like the price so much better!
Thanks for snooping on my WOYWW mess!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Velvet Hanging

I had started playing round with fabric and threads, when I noticed the Lots to Do challenge for this week is "Stitches" so I decided to finish my little hanging and enter it.
First I stamped on Velvet with Stazon Opaque white before I free machine embroidered, adding little bits and cutting tags and tails. I added some beads and a beaded hanger to finish it off.

We've had so many lovely gestures of kindness since DH has had his operation but I must admit  I was so thrilled by these beautiful roses from our next door neighbour that I wanted to share them.
Today is our 44th wedding Anniversary and I am so pleased that DH is able to walk up with me  to our local Chinese Restaurant tonight for a celebratory meal out. We are lucky in so many ways.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Resist Challenge

A bit more formal, after my grunge bling, with a couple of challenge cards
I entered these cards for the KCUK yahoo group July challenges. 
I made a sheet of background card by clear stamping and embossing my favourite stampattack swirl. I then stamped it with script, dried it then blended Distress Inks over it all in Mustard Seed, Crushed Olive and Spiced Marmalade. 
The first card was for the sketch challenge and the following two were for the resist challenge so I used the same background for all three because I liked it. Don't know if I should but I DID!.
The two angels stamp is from Paperartsy and there is no indication to who makes the tree block stamp and I got it as a gift. Paperartsy make one very similar.
I also stamped the tree using the same resist technique.
The distressed edges of the next card really don't fit in well with the overall look.
Next post will be a bit more experimental as I am in the process of painting a display box with a prime coat of Gesso before it is altered. I'm winging it and don't really know what I'll do with it until it just happens... watch this space. 
I'm also in the middle of making Bumble Bee and Lady Bird dresses for my three grandees and crocheting little black skull caps, complete with antennae to go with them. hard to see what I'm doing with black yarn in this dull rainy weather, so I wish the sun would come out and help me! Keep an eye out for the results............

Friday, 16 July 2010

Handbag Bling

I'd been playing round trying to make the Grungepaper roses that I saw on a great video by Lynne Forsythe. However I wasn't much use at getting them as good as Lynne. I used the best one to make some handbag bling similar to some I saw in a city shop for a phenomenal price..... but we don't pay that kind of money for something we can make, now do we? It's quite OTT but on a plain bag it identifies it as MINE!!
I made the beads in my meltpot, Leandra Franich style, and there are lots of videos out there showing how to make them including one by Suze Weinberg the Queen of the Meltpot. I also used some of the fab ribbons that Jayne gave me.
I'm going to enter this in the new Stampman Challenge
Just look at this bit of bling, below, which I found.... Wow do I hear?! but alas and alack... it's not a real diamond, it would be worth a fortune if it was!!! Those toys are eyeing it up where it rests under the computer whilst they wait  there patiently for the next Skype from my grandees. 
Thanks for stopping by and hope you have a great weekend.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

A is for Africa

I've just finished the first page of a new swap I joined at KCUK.  It's a chunky 4 x 4 inch alphabet swap and we have to make 3 letters each month, until finished, to make our own books.
My first for A is Africa and my images are from Non Sequitur.
I embossed in black and coloured with Promarkers. The photo really doesn't show the richness of the colours despite my trying to enhance them digitally.
I'm still thinking but haven't made my mind up what to do for B and C

As all my poppies are finished, I thought I'd share this fabulous plant which I adore. It's a house plant and was given to me by two late friends/neighbours, Myra and Archie, some years ago. I never knew what it was until I took a cutting, to the other end of the country, to my green fingered friend Lynne, who lives near Rye. She researched in her books and told me that it is a Hoya, commonly known as a wax flower. It is so fragrant and so pretty. It starts with all the petals closed, as above, then they open up to reveal the tiny pink centres which look like plastic and are so unreal.  Here's the fun bit... I save the tiny pink centres and they dry and stay almost the same and I have stuck them on cards!!! Yeah! If you have this plant try it!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


It's WOYWW again and if you want to share in the great fun of spying on the secrets of lots of other work desks, pop over to Julia's blog.
Yesterday we had a power cut from before our breakfast until after 2pm so I couldn't wash clothes, phone, cook, vacuum, use the computer etc., so I tidied my craft room. Mark this day as special, rare, different, exceptional, amazing, in fact a MIRACLE. Thank you so much to the contractor who cut through a mains cable (and hope he wasn't hurt) as I am now so glad that I did it. It's amazing how reliant we are on electrickery yet I grew up without it until I was about 9 years old.
On my desk can be seen a bag of wool tops for the felt doll I am half way through making. 
After someone asked.... I made the letter holders on the cupboard doors from pieces of an old carton and a yard of fabric. I then fixed on the criss cross tapes with large brads. It was my friend Jayne's idea when she (kindly and amazingly) helped me revamp my room earlier this year.
There are three frames, a gift from my friend Neet, which I am going to decorate and use for photos of my three little grandees. 
Those mini buckets and the letter L still wait, and wait, and wait...... to be altered. 
There's one of my old flat irons which I use, amongst other things, to weight down glued items. I must fess up that I used those irons for real when I was a little girl. One would be on the gas hob heating as one was being used to iron. Yes all right , I really am that OLD!!
At the front there are some bits and bobs out ready for me to make my first 3 pages of a chunky 4 x 4 inch alphabet swap. A is defo for Africa, B for ?, C for ? any ideas as I can't decide.
These little drawers form part of my storage and these too were tidied.
They sit on shelves with larger storage boxes
I love my Johnny Depp bag but can't yet bear to use it. It reminds me of the great day when Mo, Jayne, Neet and I, went to Manchester to see Alice in 3D on the IMAX HUGE screen. Amazing!
This little fella came to steal bird food today.... back and forth for an hour or so. Not a brill photo as it was through the window but I had to take one as he was so cute. Cute as it was I'm glad it was out side and not in my work room!

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Four Fold Card New & Old (with instructions) friend Cath mentions Art Specially Books in her comment and thus reminded me that it was there I saw their sample which first inspired these cards so I must give reference and thanks to AS and to Cath for the reminder. Credit where credit is due!
I can however add that my version of their project is well modified, bigger and with lots of additional details, and some detail ideas were from the workshop group. 
I went back through my old samples for inspiration and decided to make a simpler version of this folded card for my SILs birthday. I haven't made this design for ages, and the original idea was made with four equal folds, so I decided to try it with four different size folds to make it a bit different. I think in hindsight it works better with equal sized flaps as I like it better tied in the centre and also I like it with the double folded flaps. I might just make another and play around a bit more with the changes.
This is the card opened out 
(added 23rd Sept 2014).....I am asked so often for a template for this card with the different sized flaps so here it is at long last.
Note that the flaps are cut out then stuck into position.

The 6 inch square blue mount card covers and hides the flaps.
The inside can be decorated and details added as desired. 
Here's an alternative way and that's a little pocket at the top.
The flaps closed before decoration is added

Some of my old samples
Here inside you can see that the flaps are double fold
This is a poor quality photo but gives lots of ideas to fill the spaces

There are examples of this card in posts dated 31st Dec 2010
and my original worksheet for the card with even sized flaps is in my post on 26th Nov 2010.

I had a lovely visit from my friend Jayne and Co yesterday. Good see her (even if it was really to see DH after his op, tee hee!) and I am thrilled that she brought me this pack (below) of amazingly interesting ribbons. Thanks again Jayne! They are so gorgeous that I'm still drooling over them. We played in the garden with her little 3 year old boy who is a great character and who calls me JoJo. The head of my Buddha statue fell off over the harsh Winter so we balanced it back on, then each time he comes we play kicking a soft football at it to knock it off again. He loves it! I must admit it was originally my idea, and I apologise if it offends anyone, but I'm sure Buddha won't mind to see a little fella (and us) having such fun and I couldn't throw Buddha in the bin, now could I?... and we're certainly getting better at scoring than some of the England Team!!!
Thanks for popping by and hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration.