Wednesday, 31 August 2011

WOYWW - 31 August 2011

Another week, another Wednesday and it's almost September. How the heck did that happen? And can someone please tell me what happened to summer? Did I blink and miss it? :/

Wednesday is the day on which crafters the world over share a peek at what's going on on their desk. So here's a peek at mine:

Nothing active happening on the desk today because, despite all my plans, I got no crafting done at all yesterday (see previous blog post). Lots of debris from recent crafting though, mostly from making an anniversary card for DH (also see previous blog post).

So a short and sweet post from me this week. Hope you're enjoying your skip around the WOYWW desks, thanks for stopping by and please do leave a comment to say hi.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

How lovely is my husband? :)

Today is our 7th wedding anniversary.

Hubby usually works away during the week... and to the best of my knowledge he was heading down to London in the early hours of this morning, after being home for the bank holiday yesterday. He went through the charade of going shopping yesterday for his weekly food shop, of going to bed early and of getting up in the early hours (though not as early as usual, not that I realised what time it was, being half asleep) to supposedly leave. He even went so far as to text me at 7am to say he had arrived safely, as he usually does, and to move his car so that when I got up in the morrning and got the kids up, I couldn't see his car on the drive.

So I got up this morning, thinking he was in London, got the kids up, gave the baby to my mum for some cuddles while I got DD1 dressed and then took DD1 downstairs to take her to nursery for the morning... at which point hubby appeared from his office and said he'd come with us! So I thought my anniversary surprise was that hubby has arranged to work from home all this week, which is lovely. Hubby insisted on driving the car as we took DD1 to nursery and then driving us home... except on the way home he suddenly turned off the route and drove to a local - very nice - spa, where he opened the glove box and gave me my swimming costume and told me to have a nice day... I was booked in for a full day pamper package! :D

So I've had a lovely day with use of the pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam cabinets and a paraffin wax hand treatment, a full body wrap, a full body massage and a mini manicure. Not to mention a croissant breakfast, a lovely buffet lunch (with glass of champagne) and an afternoon tea (and cake!!) - and another complimentary glass of champagne! Oh and a lovely big bunch of flowers from hubby, given to me at the spa. And all completely out of the blue. Have I got a great hubby or what? :)

Thank you so much for a lovely day, Davey. Love you big lots.

P.S. Here's the card I made him for our anniversary:

And now the kids are in bed we are heading out for a rare meal out together in a nice local Italian restaurant. :)

Monday, 29 August 2011

Sneak peek revealed

I almost forgot about this. I posted a sneak peek a couple of weeks ago... I couldn't reveal all on here initially as I was sending the finished items to a friend who might read my blog. But she has since received them and it's safe for me to post the pics up here. :)

I made these for my friend as she is having a bit of a scary time health-wise and was going in for an operation so I wanted to send my best wishes and cheer her up a bit.

So I sent a card:

For this card I had a play arond with the stamping with bleach technique featured in a recent issue of Craft Stamper magazine. I used Distress Stains on white card and then stamped this gorgeous Indigo Blu design in bleach onto the inked card and used a paintbrush dipped in bleach around the edges. I hand-stitched a border, matted it onto some pink glitter card and added some layered flowers with a button centre (and a dab of Rock Candy Stickles on the petals of the smaller flower and a little sentiment stamp cut into a pennant shape.

I also made her a funky, grungy-style necklace, with an (I hope) life-affirming sentiment:

I used a lot of Tim Holtz Ideo-ology stuff to make this necklace; the frame, the key, the foliage flowers and leaves, all of them coloured here and there with alcohol inks. The face I made from FIMO using a rather funky push mold I recently aquired. I used a bit of Perfect Pearls to give the "skin" a bit of colour and sheen and painted on some details before sealing with a couple of coats of clear varnish. You can't really see it from the front but I filled in the aperture in the frame with seed beads and Glossy Accents (partly to give a more solid base to glue the face onto) and I used more Glossy Accents to add some seed beads to the face to help frame it a little. The chain, jump rings and fastener I bought from a local beading/jewellery findings shop. :)

Saturday, 27 August 2011

A neighbourly thank you...

Here's a little card I made to give to our neighbours.

There's quite the story to go with this card... you see, despite living here for c. 18 months, we've only recently met our neighbours (I say neighbours... we don't actually have any houses next to/near ours... our nearest neighbours are up on the main road, c. 100 yards or so away).  And we met them under rather unusual circumstances!

On Monday evenings, I go to my WeightWatchers meetings. As DH works away during the week, my mum usually comes over to stay with me for a couple of days during the week to help out with the kids etc so she is usually here to keep an eye on the girls while I go to my meeting. This last week mum was otherwise occupied (having a a girly break in Liverpool with her best friend that she's known since she was 14!) but DH was working from home on the Monday so I was still able to go to my meeting. So I left him in the kitchen, with both the girls with him, starting to cook scrambled egg for DD1's dinner. I was a bit late leaving and realised I'd left my phone upstairs and couldn't be bothered to go get it so I told DH I hadn't got my phone (he later claimed not to have heard me as DD2 was fussing) and that I'd be back just after 7pm. I left the door on the latch but took my keys with me anyway.

So I got back at 7:05pm, went to open the door and it didn't open. So I thought, for whatever reason, DH must have taken it off the latch. I put my key in the Yale lock and turned it. No joy. Door still wouldn't open. Tried the key several times with increasing frustration and still no success. So I started ringing the doorbell and banging on the door. Now admittedly, it can be hard at times to hear the doorbell/doorknocker in our house. But I was *hammering* on that door over and over and over! At that time of the evening the kids are usually fed and in the living room having watched the bedtime hour on cBeebies so I assumed they were in there and that maybe DH had dozed off on the sofa (not uncommon!) and couldn't hear my desperate hammering!

So I decided my only option was going to be to get back in the car and drive to a phone so I could phone him! As I was walking back to my car, I saw the chap from up on the main road walking his dog in the industrial estate next door. I've often seen him doing this but have never had occasion to bump into him/chat to him. So I hurried over to him and asked explained my situation and asked him if he by any chance had a mobile phone on him that I could use to phone my feckless DH! :lol: He didn't but he very kindly offered that if I came back up to his house with him I could use his home phone to call. So I duly went with him and he introduced me to his very lovely wife who was very sympathetic and they let me borrow their phone to phone DH. No answer. I tried probably 10 times and each time it rang and rang and rang and then went to answerphone. By now I was getting positively frantic with worry, wondering where on earth my husband and children were that I couldn't contact them, imagining all sorts of disastrous scenarios involving DH having somehow injured/incapacitated himself and the kids left unsupervised in the house. I was starting to think I would have to phone the police to gain entry to the house... when out of the window I suddenly saw DH walking past, pushing a pushchair and holding DD1's hand!!

I rushed outside, accompanied by the neighbours, frantic with equal parts relief at finding them safe and fury at DH for putting me through so much worry! The neighbours were lovely - Anne coo'ed over the baby and teasingly informed me that she was available for babysitting and Alan accompanied us back down the slope towards our house, continuing his interrupted dog walk, and telling us a lot of interesting stuff we hadn't known about the history of our house and the surrounding land.

And the reason for all the panic and stress? DD2 had been kicking off and shouting the place down so DH "couldn't" cook dinner for DD1 and felt his only option was to take the kids out for a walk (I had the double buggy in the boot of my car so he'd had to put DD2 in the single buggy and have DD1 walk holding his hand). The reason I hadn't been able to get in the house was because he'd locked up when he went out, locking the main (non-Yale) lock as well (never even occured to me to try and unlock that lock to open the door because it never occured to me that DH and the kids would have gone out at that hour!!). He'd tried to text and phone my mobile but of course I hadn't had it with me. As for why he didn't get home until gone 7:15pm when I'd told him I'd be back at just after 7pm, who knows? So there we were, at 7:25pm with DD1 still not having had her dinner and the kids normally go to bed at 7pm! Makes me wonder how on earth he thinks I manage with the two kids alone during the week? I don't have the option to take them for a walk and wait for someone to come home to help me out - if the baby's crying when I need to cook dinner for DD1, then I just have to muddle through and e.g. cook something quick and simple so that I can try and soothe the baby.

Anyhoo. So that is the long and rambling tale of how we finally met our nearest neighbours and why I made them this card to thank them for being so sympathetic and tolerant of an increasingly stressed and panicked mum! And to invite them round for a glass of wine or two this weekend, an invitation that they have kindly accepted. So I guess in the end it was worth all the shenanigans DH put me through if it means we get the chance to get to know our neighbours better and hopefully become friends (and I may yet end up taking Anne up on her offer of babysitting services! :lol:)

P.S. As for the crafty bit - the card is made using an Indigo Blu stamp inked with Spice Big n Juicy inkpad and stamped onto cream shimmer card. The borders are cut from brown card using a Martha Stewart edge punch and I added Prima paper flowers with a Papermania gem for the centre and the sentiment is stamped in Sepia Versafine using a Hero Arts clear stamp and is cut out, edged with Tea Dye Distress Ink and attached with foam pads. :)

Thursday, 25 August 2011

ProMarkers on acetate?

I've been experimenting again... this time using ProMarkers on acetate. The challenge here of course is that to stamp on acetate you need to use StazOn... but you can't using ProMarkers with StazOn as they're both alcohol-based so the ProMarkers make the StazOn bleed. So... the solution is... stamp the image with StazOn on the front of the acetate... and then use ProMarkers to colour in the image on the reverse side of  the acetate, so the colours show through the stamped design but don't actually come into contact with the StazOn ink. :) ProMarkers on acetate give an interesting effect but I find bright/intense colours best to work with as the paler colours really don't show very well on the acetate.

Here's the card I made:

Now, the downside to making an acetate card is that it has proven incredibly difficult to photograph well! :lol: So please take my word for it that this looks a lot better in real life than in these photos! ;)

The image used here is a Caron Vinson design from Sweet Pea Stamps - isn't she funky? (And I'm a Scorpio, as it happens, which makes me like her all the more.) To make this I cut and folded a piece of acetate to make my card blank then stamped the image in StazOn onto the front of the front side of the card and coloured her in with ProMarkers on the reverse of the front side of the card. I then added some Rock Candy clear Stickles over the wings on the front side of the acetate to give a bit of shimmer.

For the inside of the card I cut a piece of white shimmery cardstock and inked the edges with Milled Lavender and Dusty Conchord Distress Inks before attaching to the inside of the card. I then smooshed glossy card through alcohol inks and cut a small panel and stamped a Tim Holtz sentiment stamp onto it using Archival ink and layered this slightly over the larger panel inside the card. To finish off, I added layered fabric flowers to the front of the card, attached with a decorative brad, and added a few gemstones, placing them so that they sit evenly over the bottom of the alcohol-inked panel when the card is closed.

I'm entering this card for the current challenge at Sweet Pea Stampers (theme is "Fly Me Away") and also for the Passion for ProMarkers Week 114 challenge (theme is "no patterned papers").

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

WOYWW - 24 August 2011

Jeepers. Where did August go? It can't be nearly September already, can it? This year seems to be flying by...

Anyhoo. It's Wednesday and time for a peek at desks the world over, as hosted by the lovely Julia at her Stamping Ground blog. Here's what's on my desk today:

Not a lot of crafting going on on the desk atm, but my stamp reorganisation project continues apace. The sheet on the desk was me stamping some of my single Sweet Pea stamps onto a sheet of paper which I can then laminate and stick them to. The stack of RUBs is my collection of ProMarkers, which have seen recent use.

I was planning to get a bunch of crafting done last night but I had a stressful day and threw caution (and diet!) to the winds and ordered in pizza for my dinner... which totally didn't agree with me and gave me a dodgy tummy so I spent the evening on the sofa feeling sorry for myself instead! On the plus side, I'm a pound lighter this morning (who knew that eating pizza could make you lose weight?! :lol:) and I will get in my craft room tonight. If nothing else, I rather urgently need to make an anniversary card... ;)

Thanks for stopping by my desk. Please do leave a comment to say hi.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Passion for ProMarkers - Week 113

Yo ho ho and a barrel of rum! This week's theme was "A pirate's life for me!". :)

I downloaded this cute digi stamp from I coloured him in with ProMarkers and used these lovely - and appropriate - NitWit papers that I got free with a crafting magazine. :)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

And the winner is... me! :)

Hee! :)

We had a lovely day out today at the Mirfield show - the weather was gorgeous and there was loads to see and do. DD1 had a great time - she had a ride on a donkey (loved it!), saw rabbits and goats and calves and dogs and horses (she loves animals!) and helicopters, and I got her a Peppa Pig helium balloon which she is very happy with! :) DD2 had lots of fun making friends with the other babies at the beautiful baby competition.

And I entered two cards in the competitions... one in the "greeting cards" class and one in the "decoupage (any item)" class... and I won first prize in both! :)

To be fair, I rather won the decoupage one by default as my card was the only entry! :lol: I'd only realised when reading the programme yesterday that there was also a decoupage class - I don't usually do decoupage but as it happens I made a couple of decoupaged cards recently while trying out a Debbie Moore CD so I figured, "What the heck?" and took one of them along too. :)

My card was one of 6 entered in the greetings card class so it was rather nice to win that. It's a bit of a shame though that the papercrafting categories were so under-subscribed. I'm tempted to offer to sponsor the greetings card class at next year's show, see if a more substantial prize (I won £2 for getting first prize! :lol:) might tempt a few more people to have a go.

All in all, a lovely family day out in the sunshine and I won £4 in total in prizes (for an outlay of 40p in fees to enter the competitions). Mind you, I spent more than that on DD1's Peppa Pig balloon! :lol:

Blingy enough for ya?

This week's challenge theme at Simon Says Stamp and Show is Bling! And seeing as I'd just recently invested in some new colours of Stickles, it seemed like a match made in heaven...

This photo doesn't really capture the "bling"...
But this one does. :)
I coloured this tag with Distress Inks and then rubbed a thin layer of various colours of Stickles over the top and left to dry. I then edged with Tea Dye ink and stamped some TH steampunk images to form a background. I then stamped the umbrella man, the clock face and the wording and heat embossed the last two with black embossing powder. To finish I added a length of TH film strip.

I love how this turned out. It's at once vintagey and distressedy but glittery and vibrant. :)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Bright and Beautiful... the theme of this month's challenge over on the Crafty Individuals blog.

I had lots of inky fun making my entry:

I decided to really go with the "bright" part of the theme and had a play with some lovely bright coloured alcohol inks. I dripped the inks onto glossy card and used a straw to blow them out into brightly coloured, overlapping splotches. I cut out a section of the coloured card and stamped over it in black Archival ink with CI-182 for a lovely flourish. I matted this piece of card onto black card and attached to the right-hand side of a white card blank. I also stamped CI-108 onto the alcohol ink coloured card and cut out just the wings section, then stamped her again onto plain white card and cut out just the lady. I painted her dress and hair using alcohol inks and glued the cut-out, coloured wings section in place behind her before attaching her to the card using foam pads. To finish, I added a stamped sentiment to the card base and used my SU embosslits die to cut some little butterflies from more of the alcohol ink-coloured card, bending the wings up and attaching to the card with a dab of Glossy Accents. Et voila. :)

I love how this card turned out. It's really vibrant and unusual and a bit different from the "look" I usually go for when using Crafty Individuals stamps... just goes to show how versatile they are, eh? :)

Friday, 19 August 2011

Dentists, cards and broken bones!

Thanks to those who wished me well for my dentists appointment on Wednesday. It went about as well as expected... I need two fillings. I knew I needed one at least as a) a tooth was niggling a bit and b) I never *ever* go to the dentists and not need work doing!

However, needing fillings is the least of my health worries today. I've done something astoundingly stupid this morning... I managed to stub my little toe on the bedroom door with such force that I've gone and broken it! After the initial pain it wasn't too bad for most of the morning but as the day wore on it got more and more painful - and stiff and swollen - and began turning a nice shade of purple. I bought some micropore tape so I could strap it up and it was doing okay... until on the way out of DD1's room after putting her to bed tonight, I only went and stubbed the same darn toe in the exact same way on the doorframe of her room! Talk about painful! I can't believe I have been so flipping clumsy, twice!!

Anyway, aside from injuring myself in new and stupid ways, I have also been doing a bit more crafting lately. As mentioned in my WOYWW post on Wednesday, my yummy new Sugar Nellie stamps arrived this week and I've been having a play:

This card is my entry for the current challenge over at the Sugar Bowl so it follows the sketch for the challenge and also uses the optional challenge theme of blue. :) Loved this Goldielocks stamp (the name also makes me giggle cos Goldilocks and the Three Bears is currently DD1's absolute favourite bedtime story!) and she looks so pretty when coloured in! I used my Nesties to frame her, with her legs dangling over the edge. To go with the blue theme I used some scrummy Blue Awning papers from K&Co and also added some matching 3D flower stickers. These papers and matching goodies have been sitting around in my stash for aaaaages, held hostage to my "too pretty to use" hoarding instinct... so as part of my attempt to *stop* hoarding and use all the pretty papers instead of just stroking them, I gritted my teeth and cut into them for this card. :) Glad I did cos they look lovely!  To finished off I added green velvet ribbon and a ruffle of cream lace behind the image.

I've just found out that the annual agricultural show in my town, happening this Sunday, has a greeting card category in the "domestic and crafts" section of the competitions and am thinking I might just enter this card - the contest might take my mind off the pain of my broken toe as I hobble around the showground!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Blue Crush

The theme for this week's challenge over at Sweet Pea Stampers is Blue Crush.

Here's my entry:

The stamp is Ching Chou Kuik's Kimono Butterfly Mermaid (again one of the lovely images gifted to me by Zahreen in our recent stamp swap - thanks hon!). She's gorgeous and her pose was just right for my idea of having her "emerging" from a die-cut scalloped circle frame. I coloured her in with ProMarkers and used Basic Grey papers, some fluffy maribou feathers, a bit of ribbon and a Martha Stewart edger punch to complete the card. :)

This was a lovely challenge - just a gorgeous colour scheme.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

WOYWW - 17 August 2011

Welcome one and all to What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday, wherein willing souls worldwide welcome you to wander from workdesk to workdesk, wondering at the wealth of workmanship wevealed... ooops, revealed!

Sorry, about that... maybe it's the late hour but I got a bit carried away with the W's there! :D

But yes, it is indeed Wednesday once again and time for a peek at the desks of WOYWWers the world over, as hosted by the ever lovely and inspiring Julia over at her Stamping Ground blog. This week's post from me is being scheduled... although it is already Wednesday as I write this. By the time this post goes live in the morning (proper morning, not "Oh my, I've stayed up past midnight again!" morning) I will be in the midst of trying to get myself and two small children up and dressed and fed and out the door in an effort to be on time for dentists appointments for all of us! (On the one hand - yay, I finally got us registered with an NHS dentist! - on the other hand - boo, dentists appointment!).

So think of me, opening wide for the dentist's unforgiving scrutiny, as you take a peek at my desk...

Today's photo finds me mid-creating, once again playing with yummy Sweet Pea stamps images. You will however also notice a bit of a change on the desk this week... a distinct lack of usual clutter... and even bits of desk visible between the crafting goodies and gadgets! Yes, I have had at least a partial tidy... it involved sorting through the piled up debris covering the entire desk, sorting  the "to keep" stuff into piles on one side (to be put away somewhere - in theory!) and chucking the rest - mostly paper scraps - in the bin!

Other highlights of the desk today include my scrummy new Sugar Nellie stamps which arrived today and have already been mounted and await playing with:

Some completed ATCs for a swap:

And some rather yummy push molds which arrived today all the way from the US of A!

So that's it for my desk this week. Thanks for stopping by and please do leave a comment to say hi. Hope you have a lovely Wednesday (let's face it, unless you've got a dentists appointment too, it's gonna be better than mine!) and an entertaining WOYWW! :)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Sneak peek

This is a little project I've been working on... can't really share too many details until it arrives with the recipient but here's a couple of sneak peeks:

Hope my friend likes it. :)

Monday, 15 August 2011

Passion for ProMarkers - Week 112

Here's my entry for this week's challenge over at Passion for ProMarkers.... the theme this week is "divas with glam and glitter". I reckon this qualifies: :)

The stamp and the sentiment are from a little "Born to Shop" set that was very kindly gifted to me by a UKS member. I rather like this shopping lady - she looks very confident and carefree - and I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment (although in my case "where to shop" would be craft shops! :lol:). She is coloured in with ProMarkers and she and her mat of sparkly pink paper are cut out with Nesties. I folded a card blank into an easel card and covered it with a very appropriate (and glitzy - it doesn't show very well in the photos but the pink bits are foiled) paper by K&Co. I added a strip of paper, matted onto more pink glitter card, to hold the easel in place and cut out two of the glitzy shoes from the paper and added them to the base.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

On a Sugar rush!

Okay, I am blaming this one squarely on Sarah! :D

Knowing full well what a stamp addict I am, she callously pointed me in the direction of Sugar Nellie's blog. And of course I had to go have a look at the shop, and that was it... what little willpower I have (i.e. next to none!) went out the window and I ended up buying yet *more* stamps! :lol: And I really didn't need to buy any more stamps this month!

But I couldn't resist cos the designs were just so yummy. And because I am an impatient little crafter, I had to include a couple of the pretty digital images in my order, so that I had something to play with while waiting for my stamps to arrive. :)

And play I have (not the best photos - apols for that - the light in my conservatory seems particularly grey and gloomy today):

I don't know about you, but when I printed out these lovely shaded images, they just cried out to be coloured with pretty, soft watercolours. So I abandoned my beloved ProMarkers and dug out my watercolour pencils. I think the results are just so pretty and delicate.

I used the finished images to make a couple of quick cards. I kept the first one really simple because the image was just so striking, and somehow, melancholy. It made me think of the seaside, for some reason, so I inked the edges of the image with Weathered Wood Distress Ink and on a white card base I used Stampin' Up!'s Sandy Speckles Stampin' Wheel with Crumb Cake ink to make a sandy border and added a simple sentiment in blue ink.

For the second card I went with pretty, pastel pinks and blues (from a Papermania stack I've had lying around for ages) to coordinate with the colours in the image. I matted the image onto pretty pastel pink sparkly card and added pink velvet ribbon and a big layered flower in pastel colours. I haven't added a sentiment as yet.

I love playing with these images. Now I just can't wait for my stamps to arrive so I can play even more! :D In the words of the classic Def Leppard song, "Pour some sugar on me"! :lol:

Shabby Chic Frame

This is my project for the Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge this week. The challenge was to use a Tim Holtz technique so I had a browse through Lord T of H's munificent Compendium of Curiosities and settled on the Shabby Chic technique and made this:

This started off as a plain and simple (and very cheap!) frame from Ikea:

The first step was to paint it... and that took some doing as, once I unwrapped the cellophane from my 2-pack of frames, I found that they were made with a kind of plasticy-coated, glossy material that not even Gesso would stick to! So I hand to give the whole thing a quick sanding to key the surface enough for paint to stick to and then I gave it a coat of Gesso and then used Black Adirondack paint dabber all over it. Once the paint was dry I stamped flower and flourish designs (both TH stamps) here and there using Distress Embossing Ink and heat embossed with clear embossing powder. The next step was to add a layer of pink paint all over (again using Adirondack paint dabber) and, using a piece of damp kitchen roll, wipe off the paint over the embossed areas, leaving a nice shabby chic colour wash over the entire frame.

I then die-cut Tattered Florals and Elegant Flourishes from grungepaper. I painted the flowers with pink Crackle Paint and painted the flourishes with the black paint dabber and, once dry, rubbed a little Cotton Candy Stickles over them. These were glued onto the frame, using a hot glue gun, and buttons (from my "random bits and bobs" tub) and gemstones added to the centres of the flowers. I also painted pink Paint Dabber over a little Making Memories metal word accent and wiped the excess paint away, leaving the debossed wording filled with paint, and attached to the bottom of the frame. Et voila.

I couldn't think of a more appropriate picture to put in this pretty frame than one of my very pretty (IMO) DD1. :)

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