Thursday, 29 December 2011

Mirror number 4

I hope everyone had a really lovely Christmas, we certainly did. It's been a busy few days visiting family and friends and, although It's been very enjoyable, I have to admit it's nice to be home.

So, I've now got a chance to show you the mirror I made for hubby for christmas. We're in the process of buying a house (fingers crossed, if nothing goes wrong, we should be moving in the next couple of months). We're planning to turn the second bedroom into a spare room, come study, come craft room so that I can stop using the dining table for crafting and hubby doesn't feel like he's relegated to the box room to use his computer. Anyway, getting to the point, we're thinking of decorating this room with a bit of a vintage travel theme, so I made this vaguely steampunk mirror with a travel theme too.

The background map is one from an ancient maps calendar we had kept with the intention of framing the individual pages. I used similar techniques to the first mirror I made, and added various clips and memo pins to make it useful for holding notes or other bits and bobs. The image of the man was cut from Graphic 45 Steampunk paper.

I used various stamps, including a Tim Holtz clock and this cute steampunk birdy from Graphic 45.

Got to finish there as I keep getting whiffs of wonderful tandoori chicken smells from the kitchen and my stomach is growling too much to type :0)


Thursday, 15 December 2011

A Decorated Diary

Another of my Christmas related crafty projects was to decorate a diary for my Mum. Every year I buy her a diary as part of her christmas pressie and I try to find one that is a bit unusual - paperblanks ones most often. This year I couldn't find a nice one so hubby suggested I just got a cheap one and give it a new look. Its quite simple, but hopefully she'll like it.

Now I have one more craft project to do before christmas, but I'm keeping that one under wraps for now (i haven't even started it yet anyway!)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Christmas cards at last

Inspiration had deserted me for a while, but last weekend I finally got my christmas cards finished. I had a go at playing with some kraft glassine paper and some reindeer die cuts I bought ages ago and I loved the results. I think I was at least a little inspired by Tim's Twelve Tags of Christmas  and I really am going to have to get the Tim Holtz reindeer die for myself for next year!

Here are a few samples:

The kraft glassine on this one was coloured with forest moss distress inks and gold perfect pearls. The camera hasn't picked up the shimmer too well, but it is gorgeous in real life. The patterned background paper is from Basic Grey.

For the next two cards I used some gorgeous deep purple card and aged mahogany DI which is just perfect with the glassine paper. This time I tried stamping on the glassine. I particularly like the effect with the torn strip at the bottom.

For this one I embossed the glassine as well as colouring it with perfect pearls and distress ink - such a stunning effect. 

One thing I wasn't sure of with the glassine paper was how to attach it since I'd read that glue doesn't work well due to the coating on the paper. I attached it to the card with brads then realised I still had to work out how to attach the reindeer to the glassine. Amazingly, my trusty double-sided tape seemed to work quite well.

I was really pleased with the little bell/baubly things I used on each of the reindeer - I think they were originally on some indian style trim I've had for years.

The stamps I used on all these cards were from Basic Grey (Winterland), Autumn leaves (?) and Debbi Moore.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Mirror Number 3

I'm not managing to find much time for craft at the moment, and when I do find a spare moment it has to be used for christmas stuff.
I did this mirror as a christmas present:

The mirror frame was coloured with aged mahogany distress inks, then, when it was fully dry, I stamped and embossed the Tim Holtz Papillon background stamp. This acted as a resist for white paint (PaperArtsy Fresco Finish). The colour of the ink and the paint blended to give a lovely pinky colour (the first picture shows the colour most accurately). 

I cut the flowers out of grungepaper with the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals Die and coloured them with the same ink and paint as the frame (actually I used a bit of crackle glaze between the ink and the paint to give it a bit more of a rustic look).

A bit of lace and a few other little bits of embellishment and it was done.  


Thursday, 10 November 2011

Lucky Old Bag

Last week I was really lucky to win the blog candy from The Stamp Man.  The prize was one of their limited edition 'Old Bags'.  I was sooo excited to receive it and I was certainly not disappointed when it arrived - such a great bag of goodies.

It contained some Kraft Glassine paper which I've wanted to try for a while, but couldn't justify spending £10 for a whole pack. There were loads of little Tim Holtz ideology bit and pieces, like memo pins, lightbulbs, mini vials and pen nibs (again things I've wanted for a while, but the cost of buying a whole pack of each quickly mounts up).
There's some dominoes in there which I'm really exited about using too (another thing that had been on my 'to try' list!). 

Jill from The Stamp Man said some lovely things about my work and I'm now feeling the pressure of trying to be a worthy winner!  I must come up with some fab uses for all these wonderful bits - It's going to be great fun :0). 
Its been slightly chaotic at home the last couple of weeks (job hunting, house hunting and bloomin' Ebay listings), but fingers crossed will get some time to craft this weekend. I thought being out of work would give me more time, but it's not really working out that way so far.  

Thanks again to The Stampman for their generous prize - I love it! Hopefully I'll be back soon with something to show for it.



Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Mirror number 2

A couple of posts ago I showed an ikea mirror I'd decorated on a travel theme; today I've got another mirror to show you. It's in a very different style to the last one - a bit of a shabby chic look.

I embossed some cardstock with embossing folders from the Tim Holtz damask and regal flourishes set. I cut into squares and glued to the mirror in a chequerboard pattern. 

I covered the whole frame with a thin layer of tissue glued down with a watered down mix of matt multi-medium, then painted it with Paperartsy fresco finish paint in London Night.
Once that was dry, I dabbed white paint over the raised areas and edges. Finally, I stamped a few words in white paint. 

My husband loves the last mirror I did, but isn't very keen on this one at all. Hopefully it's just a matter of taste - probably a bit too girly :0). I like it, but I'll be interested in what everyone else thinks.


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

A very quick post today to share an equally quick tag for this weeks Tag It On challenge. I think I might just get in before the deadline with hours to spare. 

The theme was planes, trains and automobiles. Unfortunately I didn't have a stamp with any of those on but I did manage to find a little image of a car. The map image in the background and the postmark are PaperArtsy Stamps, and the stars and 'journey' are Tim Holtz stamps.

Hope you like it

Sarah xx

Monday, 24 October 2011

A mirror for a wanderer

I'm aiming to make quite a few handmade christmas presents this year and one of the things I'm trying is jumping on the bandwagon of decorating Ikea mirror frames. I've seen so many people using them to make some fabulous art and they're an absolute bargain at £1.25 each!

I have various ideas for what to do with the 6 I ended up buying. For the first one I was inspired by an article in this months Craft Stamper magazine where they used reinkers and craft glue to make a fantastic collaged mirror frame. Quite a few papers from my Tim Holtz paper stashes are travel related, so I thought I could do something similar on a travel theme for a globetrotting friend. However, what I ended up with was a much simpler piece than I originally planned...

I started off with a single sheet of map design paper from Tim's Lost and Found paper stash. I cut out the two halves of the globe to use as the main images and used the reverse of the leftover paper to make the background. I edged all the bits in vintage photo and stamped some splatters round the edges of the background pieces.

The mirror frame edges were stained with walnut stain distress stain.

Somehow, I managed to trim the papers so there was a hole in the right place for the mirror, then I glued down the images with matt multi medium.

Using vintage photo distress ink again, I stamped the birds at the top and used a a Tim Holtz mask to create the compass at the bottom, adding the game spinner as a compass pointer.

The strap down one side was made with grunge paper, stained with walnut stain and vintage photo, embossed with a texture fade and highlighted with black soot distress ink and some coppery rub on. I then gave it a coat of multi-medium. Hopefully it looks a bit like leather. The studs are the tops of some brads glued on. The word in the book plate came from the same sheet of paper as the rest of the design.

The final detail was the phrase at the bottom, which I think was perfect for theme of this piece - I used a left over scrap of paper, stamped in vintage photo and clear embossed.

So thats my Holtzian travel mirror and I'm so pleased with how it turned out.

Thanks for reading, I hope you like this as much as I do :0)


Saturday, 22 October 2011

Anniversary card

Just a quick post to share an anniversary card I made for my in-laws, and some tags I made to go on the bottles of wine we got them as a present.

Firstly, the card...

It's mostly Tim Holtz products (no surprise there). The background was inspired by this tutorial on the Gingersnap creations blog showing how to make your own kraft resist style paper. I used the Papillon stamp set  - stamped the background in archival ink, then clear embossed the butterflies, then coloured over the top with distress stains and inks.

I cut the flowers from book pages using the tattered florals die and stained with distress ink and added the skeleton leaves (I've had these for soo long and not really found good ways to use them, but I really like this).

On to the tags:

These were again inspired by a tutorial on Gingersnap creations. The tutorial was on an alcohol resist technique on glass. I didn't have any glass so I did something similar on acetate.
For each tag I cut two pieces of acetate. I coloured one of them with alcohol inks, then stamped the Papillon background stamp onto the alcohol inked surface using archival ink. I dabbed the archival ink off and it takes away the alcohol inks below leaving the image as a resist.
On the second piece of acetate, I simply stamped my other images in Black Stazon.
Finally I layered the acetate pieces up with a piece of white paper to show the background clearer and fastened the layers together with some mini brads.

Anyway, hopefully my in-laws will like them - if not I'm sure they'll still enjoy the wine.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Once upon a midnight dreary

The skeleton piece I did for Grungy Monday inspired me to do another tag using the same skeleton stamp.
.... and since Gingersnap Creations are currently running a horror themed challenge I thought a Edgar Allan Poe quote would be very fitting - in this case the opening lines from 'The Raven' which is one of my favourite spooky tales/poems.

The tag was coloured with crushed olive and forest moss distress inks and stamped in black archival ink. The skeleton stamp is from Kaycee Crafts, and I also used alphabet stamps from Studio G and a writing stamp from Paperartsy. The whole tag was covered with rock candy crackle paint, which I think makes the colour really zing. The little raven (well ok it's a bit too cute for a raven really, but its as close as I can get with my current stash) is a Tim Holtz die cut.

Now I really need to get on with all the christmas cards and handmade gifts I actually need to make, rather than playing :-(


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Grungy Halloween

Ok, so I don't do halloween, which is strange because I generally like the spooky side of things. Halloween for me usually means me and hubby buying sweets in case we get trick or treaters, then staying in with the curtains drawn tight and the lights off so no one thinks we're in (and eating the sweets ourselves). However, I remembered I had this lovely skeleton stamp from Kaycee Crafts and with the Grungy Monday theme being Halloween I couldn't really resist.

I started off making an ATC from a few bits of card left over from a botched attempt at a card, then thought the poor old skeleton deserved more of a background.

I used a lot of Tim Holtz products - distress inks and stains, ornate frame and crown stamps, background paper, on the edge and bird dies. I loved how the fired brick distress stain worked with walnut stain to give that lush dark blood red on the main image. The red background paper was from one of Tims paper stashes and, with a bit of extra black distress ink and stamped script, I though it made the perfect spooky background.

Enough from me for now, but check out Tim's website here for lots of fab inkiness.


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Moonlight and sunset

It's been ages since I entered any challenges so today I've done two tags for two of my favourite ones. Firstly, the Dragons Dream Tag It On theme this week is the whole of the moon. This is what I came up with:

The background started off with baltic blue fresco finish paint, crackle glaze and a top coat of black with white for the moon. The tree (from a Kanban set) was stamped with embossing ink and heat embossed with Moon Glow midnight sapphire obsidian powder. This is such a gorgeous deep shimmery blue and very fitting for the moon theme. I used some blue patina perfect pearls to add shimmer and stamped the tim holtz birds in black archival ink.

Hels Sheridans Sunday Stampers theme is blue and orange so I decided to create a similar tag with more of a sunset theme. 

The tree is the same dark blue embossing powder as the moon tag, and the background detail is done with the same blue perfect pearls as before, brushed over the pattern stamped in clear embossing ink. The background is wild honey and fired brick distress stains and ink. I know the blue doesn't show up too well in the photo so this one shows it a wee bit better.

I really enjoyed doing these and I'm starting to remember why I like challenges - they're fantastic for giving a bit of focus to my work. And I love seeing everyone else's fab work :0)

While writing this post I came across a great quote from Allen Ginsberg which I will leave you with.

"Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness"

I like that sentiment


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Endings or beginnings?

I've been badly neglecting my blog for a while. It's been a busy time with conferences, holidays and bathroom decorating. Also was coming up to the end of my contract at work. Sadly, it ended last friday, so after 5 years in the same place I have to move on... to what I don't yet know.

I've applied for lots of jobs and haven't even had an interview - I work in psychological research and I guess the university research funding cuts have made things a lot more competitive. It's especially difficult because my husbands job means I want to stay in the same part of the country. The academic career path seems to expect people to move around the country (or world!) for years before they can get a permanent job and settle somewhere. I'm not willing to do this and it frustrates me that I end up feeling like I have to apologise for putting my family and personal life before my career.
So I think it's time for plan B... however, having a PhD apparently qualifies me for absolutely nothing in the real world so it might prove a little tricky!

At least having no job means I can make the most of having some inky crafty time. I have endless projects I want to do and xmas cards to make, so I'll definitely be keeping myself busy.

For starters...

This photo frame was lurking in my husbands study. The frame was a faded green and the photo in it was an old and unflattering picture of the two of us from around 10 years ago. It was just crying out to be updated. I used one of my favourite photos from our wedding and the text is the poem (by e. e. cummings) that hubby and I read to each other in the ceremony.

i carry your heart with me 
i carry it in my heart 
i am never without it 
anywhere i go you go,my dear; 
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling 
i fear no fate for you are my fate,my sweet 
i want no world  for beautiful you are my world, my true 
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant 
and whatever a sun will always sing is you 
here is the deepest secret nobody knows 
here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud 
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; 
 which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide 
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart 
I carry your heart 
i carry it in my heart

Will be back with some more crafty stuff soon


Monday, 12 September 2011

Starlight, Starbright

Finally managed to sit down yesterday and do some crafty stuff while watching the grand prix. We've just redecorated our bathroom and in the process we got paint on the light pull so I thought I'd have a go at altering it.

After getting craft stamper magazine and the freebie star stamp the idea really began to take shape, but I wasn't sure exactly what would work, so I tested out the idea on an ATC.

The background is baltic blue fresco finish paint, spattered and stamped with white and black acrylic (inspired by the fab work of Anika  - if you haven't seen her blog before, check it out). I also sprayed it with a turquoisy colour perfect pearl and rubbed with some turquoise metallic rub-on stuff.

I stamped the star image on a book page and cut them out. The birds were cut using the Tim Holtz movers and shapers die and outlined in black pen to match the stars. I also stamped little stars in wild honey distress ink and outlined in pen before cutting out. I glued them all onto the ATC card with multi medium.

I liked the look so I did a simplified version on the the light pull. No idea if this will really stand up to use in a steamy bathroom, but there's a big stick of dowling in the garage if I need to make another :0).

Have to say I love that star stamp so I also made this quick card, colouring with promarkers and layering with some fab spotty paper from Prima. I like the design but, was a little impatient with witing for ink to dry so it's a bit smudgy (might have to redo it and be more patient this time).

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

A bit of brain art

Sorry I've been so quiet lately (it's been nearly 3 weeks since my last post).  I've been having a really busy couple of weeks attending a conference in Toulouse for work, then rushing back for a family wedding, with a nightmare train journey from Kings Cross back up north (4 hours delay!). Just don't get me started on the cost of peak time rail tickets!!!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting back to crafting this weekend and catching up on everyone's blogs. In the meantime check out this website I found which has some fascinating bits of textile art based on brains!

À bientôt (see you soon)


Friday, 19 August 2011

Don't panic

It was my husbands birthday today so that means I can finally show you the card I made for him. He's been  moaning about getting old (despite the fact he's slightly younger than me!) so I could help gently teasing - thus the 'don't panic' on the front of the card.

I used:
Tim Holtz papers to make the base of the card and the letters for don't panic.
Lots of distress inks (mostly vintage photo, forest moss and crushed olive) - I used the faux enamel technique (see here) for the inner panels and the key and keyhole.
Tim holtz dies  - cogs and gears, steampunk on the edge, and hardware findings
A mixture of clock themed stamps from Tim Holtz, PaperArtsy and Stampattack (free stamp with Craft Stamper magazine).

I borrowed the idea for the style of card from someone's blog, but I can't for the life of me find the link or remember who it was, so apologies to whoever it was and thanks so much for the inspiration.

Thanks for reading


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Travels in Northumberland

We've just got back from visiting family and having a little holiday in Northumberland, so no new crafting. However, I thought I'd share a few photos of our trip.

We stayed one night on Lindisfarne Island (also known as Holy Island). This is a tiny island off the Northumberland coast. It is linked to the mainland by a causeway at low tide, but cut off at high tide twice a day - a few tourists every year have to be rescued when they get halfway across and get stuck. It's so lovely and quiet in the evening as most people leave.

We stayed at the Crown and Anchor inn which was really nice and from our window we could see the ruined priory (it was one of the first points of christianity in Britain) and, if we leaned out a bit, the castle too.

We managed to explore the island in between dodging rain showers.

Hubby was keen to get photos of the sunset and sunrise (he got up at quarter to  5am for the sunrise!!). No chance of me getting out of bed voluntarily at that time so I just got a couple of sunset photos.

I found some wonderful rusty metal and worn stone to inspire crafty things.

After Holy Island we spent a few days in a caravan in Berwick-upon-Tweed, and had a fantastic view of the historic walled town (when it stopped raining anyway),

We went to Bamburgh where hubby got into some interesting photography positions on the beach trying to get photos of the castle.

We also visited another castle - Chillingham castle. They like to make a big thing of supposedly being haunted - It'sbeen featured on various TV shows including 'the worlds scariest places' - but I can't say I found it spooky at all. It is a fascinating place though, as the current owners have restored it from virtually ruined and different bits are medieval, tudor or victorian. 

Anyway, hope I haven't bored you too much. I'll leave you with a final photo of one of my parents cats,  Pickles (so cute).