Busy bee

Huge apologies for going missing in action. The virus that very kindly sought me out after my return from holiday took a real hold and completely knocked me out. Each time I thought I had turned a corner and was on the mend, it seemed I ended up taking a turn for the worse. Consequently all my DT commitments started  to look a little in peril. Fortunately, yesterday I really did start to feel better (although I can’t say I felt “well,” just not as bad as I had done!) so seized the moment and got my craft on in an attempt to catch up.

Firstly, it’s time for a new challenge over at Crafty Boots Challenges and the new theme is “gold.”  Here’s the card that I made:

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This is using paper and images from The Gecko Galz. The paper is from the Coven paper pack, I sized it so it was the same as the card and it creates a perfect backdrop for the tag, which is from the Haunted Ephemera collage set.

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I’ve topped the tag with a black bow and a gold button from my stash.

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The finishing touch is a strip of gold lace along the bottom.

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Be sure to check out what the rest of the DT have been up to AND don’t forget we have a call out for more members – we would love to hear from you.

Secondly, today is my turn to join in the creative blog hop. I was thrilled to be asked by my friend the, the very talented Ruth Levy, aka Lerusho. Ruth’s blog is a real treat, she loves to experiment and uses so many fabulous techniques that will inspire you and make you want to give it a try, especially as she is very generous in showing the full process. The end results are amazing.

So, as part of the blog hop,  I have to share the answers to a few questions with you:

1. What are you working on at the moment?

Well, as I hinted at the start of my post I am furiously playing catch up with my various DT commitments. As it’s the end of the month, all my Gecko Galz samples are due. Although we are only required to make two, the images and papers are always so inspiring that I end up making many more and find it difficult to stop. This month the products (which will be released this month) encompass Halloween, Autumn and Christmas as well as some generic ones and of course I want to use them all. It will also be the Gecko Galz blog hop later in the month so I need to get cracking on those samples. Then I am behind with my entries for the Every Inchie Monday challenge and need to get back into the groove with my regular blog challenges over at Sunday Stampers and City Crafter Challenge Blog.

2. How does your work differ from others in your genre?

Now here’s the thing, I don’t feel that I fit neatly into a genre. I like to try lots of different types of crafting and experiment with lots of different styles. Sometimes this troubles me, but maybe that’s what makes me different?

3. Why do you create?

For me, it is complete relaxation and allows me to switch off completely from everything else. I mainly work from home and it can be very difficult, even on a day off, to completely forget all about it. Creating and crafting allows me to do that. I also like the process of playing and seeing where I end up.

4. How does your creative process work?

I wish I knew! Often it is just a result of playing and seeing what happens. Sometimes I will see an image/paper/stamp and I know exactly what I am going to do with it. Other times I just jog along without any definite plan playing with materials and techniques until I end up with something I am happy with. On occasions I start of with a clear plan and then end up somewhere else. Very rarely do I completely abandon a project, I just go on tweaking it until I’m happy with the outcome.

That’s enough about me, now to the best part of this blog hop and that is to introduce me to some creative friends of mine:

First up is my number one crafting goddess, the totally awesome Hels Sheridan.  It’s not for no reason that Hels is in demand by so many design teams. Hels has been a huge inspiration in my crafting, particularly when it comes to stamping, not only through the work she produces but also through the way in which she makes you believe in yourself and that all things are possible.

Next is Susan M Brown another “in demand” artist with a whole raft of creative skills. Susan is DT captain at Anything But A Card . Doing amazing things with stamps and with moulding putty are just the tip of the iceberg – check out her blog to see the full story.

Last, but by no means least the super talented Dionne. Not only is Dionne DT captain at Crafty Boots she is also my rock, listening tirelessly to my moans and groans and always coming up with words of comfort. Dionne is another a multi-faceted crafter. Her colouring is sublime and she can knit, but this are only two of her skills (two that I lack, might I add!). Check out her steampunk notebook cover to see what I mean!

Thank you lovely ladies for all your inspiration and support and for allowing me to tag you in this hop.

Thanks for buzzing by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Settling back in – with a smile!

Well I am back from my holidays, thoroughly rested, but unfortunately came down with a mega heavy cold (Mr Beez would most likely call this ‘flu!) the day after our return to the UK which I am not at all charmed about. It is primarily this that has delayed my return to making new projects, posting and visiting everyone’s lovely blogs to catch up on what I have missed. It has also delayed me in starting to tackle the massive pile of holiday washing that we have accrued!!

Camogli, near Genoa in Italy, was tranquil and picturesque with every view a delight. This was the view from our hotel room.

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Marseilles had more hustle and bustle but was equally delightful. This photograph was taken whilst sitting up in bed!

First thing in the morning….

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…and last thing at night!

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We were blessed not only in terms of our accommodation but also the weather and the smoothness of our complex travel schedule (our transfer from Camogli to France required four train journeys and a metro ride – all of which were arranged by yours truly).

To ease myself back into the crafty world I thought I would share one of my Gecko Galz DT projects.

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This card uses an image from the Cutie Pies collage sheet and I’ve layered it on to book page and then a scrap of muslin.

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In one corner there is a scrap of lace, a piece of organza rose trim and some seam binding. The sentiment was printed on my computer.

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At the top I’ve used more seam binding to create a bow and topped it with a paper rose.

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As you can see, the design of this card has made great use of bits and bobs of leftovers – I didn’t break into one new piece of crafty stash.

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It’s never easy returning to the normal routine after a holiday but it was fabulous to come back and find so many comments waiting for me here. However, whilst I’m not thrilled about my cold or the return to the day job I can’t wait to get playing full-on crafting again. I’m also excited that we have a DT call out over at Crafty Boots. Our challenges are fortnightly and we welcome all types of crafting, not just cards. We would really love for some new DT members to join us so please do get in touch.

Thanks for buzzing by.

Poppy bookmark

As promised, I am back with another project to share as part of the Crafty Boots third anniversary challenge – Anything Goes.

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This is a tag that I made as one of my Gecko Galz DT samples. It’s perfect for Crafty Boots as my friend and blog captain Dionne loves poppies and butterflies.

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I’ve used one of the fabulous images from the Vintage Bookmarks collage sheet and layered it with coordinating cardstock and a book page. I’ve added two stamped and punched butterflies.

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Across the bottom are two types of lace topped of with a button that has been threaded with seam binding. I’ve used the same seam binding at the top of the bookmark.

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Don’t forget to buzz over and link up your projects and celebrate our 3rd anniversary at Crafty Boots Challenges.

Thanks for buzzing by.

Celebrations and jubilations!

Don’t you just love Mondays? Ha! Me neither usually! But today is not just any old Monday, it is the Monday I have been focusing on to help me through my gruelling summer work schedule! For today is the Monday that, all being well, Mr Beez and I finally get to go on holiday. Yesterday we drove to Gatwick and today we are scheduled to take a morning flight to Genoa. We will be staying in nearby Camogli, a small fishing village for a few nights before catching the train to Marseilles. As you can imagine, I am super excited!

Not only that, today also sees the start of a new challenge over at Crafty Boots Challenges. This challenge is a special one as it marks the third anniversary since the blog began (the first challenge was posted on the 5th September 2011). The theme is Anything Goes, so all you bloggers out there can link up your projects over the next fortnight. Buzz over and take a look at what the rest of the DT have been up to and here’s what I made:

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It’s a birthday bee house! You’ll recognise this as the Artful Dwellings Alterations die and as per usual I have cut it out from sturdy chipboard. That fabulous bee image is from the Gecko GalzLeanne made the most amazing card which I admired and she very kindly sent me the image to play with. I loved her colour choices so much I overlaid the image on to some paper from the By the Shore pack and then applied it to the front of the house. The roof is covered with some Teresa Collins paper and along the base is a strip from the Gecko Galz Hocus Pocus paper pack. There is also an Idea-Ology sticker.

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I’ve added paper roses in one corner and a few tiny rosebuds in a glass vial. The vial is trimmed with small punched butterfly and some baker’s twine.

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To the roof I have added a printed number 3, in recognition of our 3rd anniversary, a wish sentiment, for birthday wishes and a little wooden heart padlock because I could and because I love this blog as I have made some very special friends through it and feel very honoured to be a member of the DT.

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So Happy Birthday Crafty Boots and here’s to many more challenges. And happy holidays to me and Mr Beez with many more of those to come too!

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Thanks for buzzing by.

Flying High

You know me well enough by now to know that the butterfly is one of my crafting default settings. If I’m stuck for what to do, then a butterfly will quite often bridge the gap. Likewise, if I am struggling to know how to finish a project then a butterfly will usually do the job. More importantly, I just love them and, as the symbol of my favourite charity, Amy and Friends, they are a poignant reminder of all those suffering from Cockayne Syndrome. So dreaming up a project for this week’s challenge over at City Crafter Challenge Blog should have been a walk in the park. I wish! I had lots of ideas, but none of them involved a butterfly. I got there eventually and I hope you will agree that what I ended up creating was worth the struggle it caused:

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The inspiration, when it eventually came, was from the fabulously talented Wendy Vecchi. I’ve been exploring her inspirational blog and came across a tag that I loved. I’ve borrowed some of her ideas (I hope she won’t mind) but added in my own twists and turns to create my card.

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The frame is an alterations die. I used cream card and then inked it with Scattered Straw, Spiced Marmalade and Frayed Burlap. The flower in the corner is one of Wendy’s Stamp It Stencil It sets. If you haven’t seen these, you get a stamp and a stencil that work in tandem in each other – this one is Full Bloom. I stamped it and then cut it out before colouring with inks. The stencil allows you to mask the leaves and flower separately. I added an antique brad to the centre.

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The butterfly was cut using a sizzix die, coloured with Spiced Marmalade, Ripe Persimmon and Frayed Burlap then stamped with dots. I’ve layered it with a smaller butterfly, punched from designer paper, and a paper rose.

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The background was made using some lovely black designer paper by Teresa Collins and layered with some cardstock that I coloured with inks. All the edges were distressed and inked with Frayed Burlap. The finishing touches are the stamped sentiment, which comes from a Sheena Douglass set,  some dyed seam binding (Scattered Straw and Spiced Marmalade) and a die cut heart and star. The star has been glittered.

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On Thursday, Madelaine Clay, the sister of dear little Knox, rode a zip line across Liverpool City Centre to raise money for Amy and Friends. It was a magnificent achievement for such a worthy cause. The difference this small charity makes to the sufferers of Cockayne Syndrome and their families is huge. If you can, visit Madelaine’s Just Giving page to find out more. Madelaine, you are superstar and this card is for you in honour of  – you truly did “fly high,” Knox would have been so proud :)

Thanks for buzzing by.

Growing purple

I’m buzzing by with another tag in the same series that I shared earlier in the week. As with the other two I will be linking this up over at Sunday Stampers for the purple challenge.

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As you can see, this is majoring on the purple! I’ve used a mixture of blue, pink and purple distress inks and a variety of stamps to create the background. After the tag was inked, and before I stamped, I spritzed my Alphabet Soup stamp with water and pressed it on to the tag. Once removed I left the water for about 10 seconds and then blotted with kitchen roll and dried with a heat gun. The ink reacts with water so leaves a ghostly impression of the stamp. You can just about make it out in the corner of the photo’ above.

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The flower was stamped and heat embossed. The word was stencilled and I added a scribbled border.

It seems appropriate to be sharing this on Roald Dahl Day – it reminds me of Violet Beauregarde blowing up purple after eating the special chewing gum!

Hope you have a happy Saturday and thanks for buzzing by.

Lavender’s green

Apologies if you came to view this post on Monday. I inadvertently clicked the wrong button!

Using purple is the theme for this week’s Sunday Stampers Challenge and I have been having a play with stencils and stamping to produce two pieces that are the same but different. Take a look:

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I’ve used the same techniques and the same Stampotique sunflower but have altered the colours and additional embellishments.

For both tags I started by dusting the base with ink – Tumbled Glass on the first and Antique Linen on the second. Then I ‘ve used a brick stencil and built up the colour with the same inks and added a second colour in places choosing Shaded Lilac for one and Frayed Burlap for the other. Whilst the stencil was still in place I stamped through it using a dictionary page stamp and Vintage Photo.

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Then I stamped the sunflower over the top and paper pieced it. I used a dotty stamp over the petals.

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Then the tags went in different directions. For the purple one I used one of my AHA girl stamps and a punched butterfly. I used a zig-zag stitch stamp around the edge and added a border top and bottom that was stamped, cut out and stuck. The stamp if a newbie from Stampin’ Up! and makes a nice addition to my favourite Dylusions stamp that is similar.

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I used a stencil for the words.

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On the second tag I added some stamped bees and the words.

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I used a different faux stitching stamp and a Dylusions border stamp, using some green Archival ink, top and bottom.

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I love this technique of stamping through stencils and plan to try out a lot more. Like I did, you can find lots of inspiration and ideas over on Wendy Vecchi’s blog.

Thanks for buzzing by.

Too many hearts?

With this week’s theme over at Every Inchie Monday being red, there was one thing I wasn’t going to do and that was hearts as I have used those a lot on various inchies. I had lots of ideas – telephone boxes, pillar box, robins, London buses, The Red Shoes, Little Red Riding Hood… the possibilities were endless. So what do I do? Yep, hearts:

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I used Neil Walker’s Alphabet Soup background stamp and heat embossed using white embossing powder. Then I punched out the inchies and coloured them with distress inks. The hearts were cut free hand and I added a little shading with a black Stabilo pencil. The words were printed out on my computer.

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I then decided to play some more to create these next two.

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The first was made by inking some card with Antique Linen and Frayed Burlap and adding the heart. Then I covered the whole piece with crackle accents. Once dry I rubbed in some more Walnut Stain.

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The second was made using some fibre paste mixed with white paint. I pressed the heart into it whilst it was still wet and then left to dry overnight. Next day I flooded the heart with some crackle glaze and when that was dry added a little ink.

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So six hearts when I planned none – but you can never have too many hearts, right?!

Thanks for buzzing by.

Halloween House

I was super excited when I found out that this month’s Gecko Galz cross-promotion was with Rhonda’s Originals as I love her designs. Add Hallowe’en in to the mix and it doesn’t get much better! There are few gremlins hunting the Gecko Galz website at the moment and Leanne is asking customers to purchase from the Etsy site instead. Here’s my DT project for the promotion:

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It won’t surprise you to know that this is likely to be the first of several Halloween houses! I cut the house base from chipboard, I thought a wonky roof might be more in keeping with a Halloween theme. I covered the base with papers from this month’s Coven paper pack  and then added a scalloped strip from the Words and Music paper collection. I added black acrylic paint and white gel pen around the edge.

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Then I added the elements. The spooky moon bat and birds are from Rhonda’s Originals.

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I love the boots on the bird!

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The skeleton portrait is from the Haunted Ephemera  set. I’ve also used images from Altered Halloween and Midnight Magic collage sheets and the Witches Collection ephemera set.

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I’m dedicating this to a blog follower of mine, Roberta, who I know loves Halloween. Thinking about you and hoping you’re OK :)

Thanks for buzzing by.

Buzzing about steampunk

Today sees the start of a new challenge over at Anything But A Card and the theme is steampunk. All of the DT have come up with some fabulous samples which you can check out today and over the next couple of weeks. Don’t forget we also have a DT call out for new members – buzz over to the blog for all the details. You have until 13th September to apply and Susan would love to hear from you :)

Here’s my DT piece for this month’s challenge:

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Have you seen this new bee die from Tim Holtz? I could barely contain my excitement when I saw it and even more excited that it comes with an embossing folder. I have been die-ing (see what I did?) to share this with you but wanted to wait until I blogged this, my first project that uses it.

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The base is a piece of chipboard that I have covered with honeycomb embossed card and then painted with a mixture of metallic acrylic paints. Then I’ve added die cut gears and painted them to match. I’ve also smeared on touches of black acrylic paint for a grungy look.

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I die cut the bee, also from chipboard, and then embossed it. Oddly (and I am sure there is a good reason for this) the die doesn’t have any antennae on the bee and yet the embossing folder does. Once embossed, I painted it in the same colours I used for the background.

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Then it was just a question of gluing on some watch parts (a bulk purchase from Ebay). What can I tell you about watch parts? Do not kneel on them – it will hurt. Do not drop them and think you will pick them up later. You won’t and then you will kneel on them and it will hurt. When you drop them and pick them up immediately double check you have them all because if you don’t … about three weeks later you will stand on them and it will hurt!

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Before I made this piece I had a play using some of Wendy Vecchi’s Clearly for Art. I was inspired by a fabulous bee she had made, using this die/embossing set.

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I covered the Clearly for Art (I used the white) with some of Tim Holtz’ sticky foil and then die cut and embossed the bee.

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Next, I added some colour, using a yellow Promarker which, over the top of the foil, has taken on a gold appearance. Then I glued on the watch parts and allowed it to dry overnight.

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Now the magic of Clearly for Art is that you can heat in and then mould it to give shape and dimension.  If you don’t like what you’ve done you simply re-heat it again. There’s none of the drama that you are inclined to get with shrink plastic. If you are heating something that is embossed, don’t over do it as this ability to return to its original shape will work against you and it will flatten out.

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This is the first time I  have used clearly for art and I love it. I also can’t wait to start some more projects using this fabulous bee – it will make a change from houses. Or maybe I can find a way to combine both!

Thanks for buzzing by.