Tuesday, 31 May 2011


After being away since last wednesday I got home yesterday and it didn't take me long to get back to some crafty time.

I was having a play with a new Tim Holtz embossing folder and this card was the result. The tag was coloured with broken china and stormy sky distress inks before embossing, then I inked the raised areas of the embossed design with brushed corduroy ink and heat embossed with clear powder. I then got a bit stuck... until I found a bit of card that I'd used to test the on the edge steampunk die, which seemed to work quite well layered onto the tag. I finished off the card with the smile stamp panel coloured and heat embossed in the same colours as the tag - sort of inspired by Tim Holtz's rusted enamel technique from his compendium of curiosities book.

I'm not sure about the overall card but I love the texture and colour combination on the tag. Like quite a few things recently I did the background then found it really hard to bring myself to do anything with it because I found it so appealing on its own. I just love the effects I can get with combinations of embossing in the Big Shot, inking and heat embossing. It's so much fun just playing with different colours and textures - it really makes me smile :0)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Really surreal!

I guess the title of my post today has two meanings; the first is to do with the photo below, and the second is to do with how surprised I am at how positive the response to my work has been since I started blogging a couple of months ago. Everyone is so nice - I love reading your comments :0)

This week I've got a few new followers (yay! - thank you so much!), got selected as this weeks Home Page Artist on Gingersnap Creations (ok, so I think thats randomly selected, but still exciting!!) and was picked to be in the top 3 for the Simon Says Stamp and Show old wives tales challenge (so pleased, especially among so many other fantastic entries!!!).

Anyway, enough of that as I think I might be using a few too many exclamation marks (a sure sign of a deranged mind according to Terry Pratchett: 'And all those exclamation marks, you notice? Five? A sure sign of someone who wears his underpants on his head.' Maskerade).

The original point of my post was this fantastic surreal photo I came across on twistedsifter.com. It was taken in 1948 - a collaboration between Salvador Dali and an American photographer called Phillipe Halsman. I'm a fan of Dali generally, but what I love about this photo is that they actually set this up to photograph - no photoshop in those days! Have to say I'm slightly concerned about the flying cats though, and rather dangerous I'd have thought :0)

Dali Atomicus
Anyway, apologies for the lack of craft in this post. Been busy getting organised as I'm going away for a few days. Hopefully will get some crafty time in next week.


Sunday, 22 May 2011

All the write postage

Just a quick post to share a tag I just finished for the Dragons Dream Tag it On challenge - all the write postage.

I also want to enter it in the latest Stamp man challenge - this is a recipe challenge where you have to include three of these ingredients:

Embossing powder
Stitches (real or faux)
Die cut
Homemade background (no patterned paper)
Sparkle and bling

As you can tell I chose the top line.  Not sure how easy it is to see in my photo, but the large stamp image and some of the post mark images are clear embossed for texture. This tag was good fun to do as I've not really used stitching in my work before.

Hope you're all having a relaxing / crafty sunday :0)


Saturday, 21 May 2011

One for sorrow, two for joy

It's taken me all afternoon and a few odd hours here and there during the week, but I have finally finished my entry for the Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge this week. It's the first time I've entered this challenge, but I really liked the theme and one idea just got stuck in my head. The theme was 'Old Wives Tales' so after some thought I remembered the rhyme about the meaning of seeing different numbers of magpies.
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
For for a boy
Five for silver 
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told

I think maybe what brought this to mind was seeing magpies in our garden a lot the last few weeks, usually one at a time so I really hope the rhyme isn't right :0)

Anyway, I think it fits the theme quite well and was perfect inspiration for a mini ATC sized album thingie.


Here's each page individually:

The skeleton image I used on the first page is from a fantastic stamp by Kaycee crafts. They have a great range of clear stamps with some more unusual images. I discovered them through their Ebay shop, but they have their own website too which is slightly cheaper (although the prices are very reasonable anyway).

The small lettering I used on all of these was from a little wooded alphabet stamp set from Hampton Arts I've had for ages. I'd never used them because I thought they'd be too fiddly - sort of true if you want the letters perfectly aligned, but for a more grungy look they are actually great. I'd been intending to  get rid of them in my next clear out, but I'll be hanging onto them now.

I love the background for the silver page This was white card coloured with dusty concord and vintage photo distress inks, embossed with a Tim Holtz texture fade, then silver ink swiped over and clear heat embossed. It looks so much better in real life than in my rubbishy photo.

I'm sure there are more lines to the rhyme, but this will have to do for now.


Monday, 16 May 2011

Crafty storage

A little while ago we had the inlaws visiting for the weekend, so we went for a day out to Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire. It was a bit cold and grey outside, but the inside of the hall was really interesting.

My husband was playing around with his new toy - a lensBaby creative lens for his camera. It gives some cool blurry arty effects. He took these wonderful photographs while we were there:

They were taken in a room where the walls were lined floor to ceiling with drawers, originally used for storing all title deeds for the land and businesses the estate owned. I couldn't help thinking it would have been great for storing craft materials (or possibly shoes :0)) I've always had a bit of an obsession with little drawers - is it strange to get pleasure from organising things?

Anyway, Hubby and I went to TK Maxx this weekend looking for a silicon baking tray.  Well, we found the baking tray, but I spotted a couple of storage bits that I couldn't resist. Including these gorgeous little drawers that really reminded me of the room from Hardwick Hall. They look almost antique and were only £12! Perfect for storing some crafty bits.

I love the homeware section at TK Maxx, it has so much slightly random and quirky stuff. I also found this lovely basket, perfect for storing all my dies and embossing folders.

Have to admit craft storage is taking over my house :0)


Sunday, 15 May 2011

One for the boys

I really love my new Big Shot, especially using the Tim Holtz steampunk dies and embossing folders, so I don't really need much of an excuse to use them at the moment. The theme for  the Dragons Dream Tag it On challenge this week was 'texturise it'... so obviously the embossing folders had to come out!

I started off cutting a tag from thick dark brown card, embossing it with a cog pattern, and giving it a rusty metal look with gold perfect pearls and copper mist. I then cut some cogs using the steampunk on the edge die and the gadget gears die and layered them on the tag. I stamped a few images and sentiments onto aluminium foil with black stazon ink (stamps from Making Memories), cut them out and covered the 'discover' one with Diamond glaze for a glassy effect.

I was feeling a bit creative with my photography this morning and propped the tag up against a flower to photograph - felt it needed a feminine touch :0):

I wasn't sure about using the on the edge dies without the special on the edge cutting pads that seem to be recommended, but so far I've not found any problems using them with the standard pads.

I'd also like to enter this into the Try It On Tuesday challenge this week which has the theme of 'one for the boys'. I know my hubby loves all this steampunk stuff so it seems a fitting entry.


Thursday, 12 May 2011

Umm...Mind Controlled Cat Ears!

Not a crafty post I'm afraid, but I saw something that amused me so much I just had to post about it....

I find that a lot of crafty people, me included, are also cat people - and by that I mean they like cats, not that they are half human, half cat, you understand.

I'm not entirely sure everybody gets that distinction:

A Japanese company called Neurowear have created a fluffy pink cat eared headband that picks up on brain signals and uses them to wiggle the ears! Supposedly they prick up when the wearer is concentrating and flatten down when the wearer is relaxed.

Here is a great video of them in action. Just think of the potential for things like speed dating if you have ears that actually prick up when you're attracted to someone!

Although most of me says this is completely bonkers, a small part of me would really quite like some! I wonder if they come in purple :0)

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Free as a bird

Last week I had a great surprise when I discovered I'd won the blog candy on the Craft Stamper magazine blog! The blog candy was to support the launch of their great free e-zine (still available here!).

My goodies arrived on saturday morning :0) However, I was somewhat distracted by the arrival of my Big Shot the day before, so I've only just got round to trying any of it.

Here are all the great bits and bobs they sent me, including PaperArtsy stamps, promarkers, some silkies paints in gorgeous colours, and a really cute little Ferdie Fox stamp which I have no idea what to do with yet, but think is adorable.

And here's a little card I made with one of the PaperArtsy stamps and some gorgeous Crafty Individuals papers:

I'd like to enter it in the Crafty Individuals blog 'free as a bird challenge' - I love the fact the little bird on the stamp is sitting free on top of the cage!

Hope you like it, and many thanks to Craft Stamper magazine :0)


Sunday, 8 May 2011

Time flies...when you're having fun!

My birthday is in a few weeks and my present from my husband was delivered on friday - a Big Shot and some Tim Holtz alterations dies and embossing folders to go with it! I was so stupidly excited that he, very kindly, let me open it early, so I've spent the weekend playing about with it.

My favourite things so far are the pocket watches embossing folder and the fanciful flight die. After a few test runs with cardstock I tried cutting butterfly wings from some of the plastic packaging  and embossing them. Here they are (some detail coloured with a promarker):

I rather like the effect. Not entirely sure what I'll do with them yet, although I have an idea ;0)

Next I found some thick speckly brown card which embosses brilliantly. I swiped the raised bits with clear embossing ink and brushed over gold perfect pearls. I absolutely love this effect - might be doing this a lot! I also tried spraying some copper mist on as well - even better - it gives a wonderful rusty effect. It'll be perfect for the steampunk cogs and gears too!

Finally, I cut some butterfly wings from script patterned paper and made a butterfly using a Tim Holtz spinner to make up the body. I added this to a piece of the pocket watches embossed card and placed them on a distress inked background to create this final piece:

I think I may have a new addiction :0) 

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Dragons Dream - Perfect Purples

Purple is my most favourite colour and has been since I was very little. Occasionally I get tempted away by teal, but I always end up back at purple (almost all my clothing is purple, turquoise or black!). So, when I saw that Dragons Dream Tag It On  challenge theme this week was purple of course I couldn't resist!

I thought I'd have a go at the perfect distress technique from the Tim Holtz Compendium of Curiosities. The idea is to stamp an image in distress ink, cover it with perfect pearls, then mist with water to set the perfect pearls and wick the distress ink out a bit from underneath. This is what I came up with:

I don't think I made a very good job of it - the ink colour under the gold perfect pearls blended too much into the background. I still like the overall effect though, even if, like most things I do, its not quite how it was intended.


Monday, 2 May 2011

Steampunk ATCs

This has been a great week!  My butterfly card got into the top 10 on a challenge on the Gingersnap creations blog and... I now have 4 followers! So pleased that anyone is interested enough to follow me - thank you so much!

I just finished making a few ATCs using bits from the Graphic 45 steampunk papers. I started off with the idea of birds coming out of a top hat and I knew there was a couple of hats in these papers. Flicking through them inspired me to make the other cards.

I'd like to enter the first card into the Stampman resist techniques theme challenge. The background used a embossing resist technique - I heat embossed a stamped script image with clear embossing powder then blended brushed corduroy distress ink over it. I removed most of the embossing powder by re-melting it and soaking it into a sheet of paper,  then stamped watch and bird images with vintage photo distress ink. The lady is cut out from the graphic 45 papers as was the banner which I painted to allow me to stamp 'imagine' instead of the original text.

The blackbird ATC (below left) used a Paperartsy mini-stamp stamped in clear embossing ink covered with gold perfect pearls. The bird, roses, and clock were cut from the steampunk papers and the bird was embossed in black to make it stand out better.

The final one with the birds coming out of the hat used a Tim Holtz stamps with some lovely background paper from My Minds Eye - but spot the "deliberate" mistake in the background (oops! - I really need to pay more attention to what I'm doing!).

Oh well, back to work tomorrow, but hopefully I'll still be able to find some time for crafting in the evenings.

Sarah xx