Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Stone cookies

   The Simon says Stamp and Show challenge is 'A project with Heart' this week.

    This was a toughie!!! I had a pack of the Das air dry clay - which I have never liked using (apologies to fans of it) I have always found it hard to work with, dries too quickly and smells awful ;o)

   But I have owned that pack for about nine years and figured I should use it!

   I drew a heart template and rolled out the clay. I cut the heart shape out of the clay and then thought perhaps I should do some more (just in case my first one doesn't work out) So I cut out three large and three small and decorated them with a variety of stamps

   When they were dry I sanded them to get a smooth surface and edges

I painted them with white gesso...a couple of coats and then they were ready for ink. But first for the large heart I wanted the word 'Noel' to be in red so I painted the letters in dark red acrylic.

   I was trying to get a stone effect... I look at them and think maybe I got it right. But at other moments I wonder!!!! I asked my husand what effect he thought I was after...he looked at one of the hearts...thought for a moment.....he seemed to be struggling to come up with an answer (perhaps I was trying to trick him!!!) and he said " it a cookie?" Oh well.....It is supposed to be stone, but I will leave everyone  to interpret it how they want...If they look like cookies then that is what they are!

    To get the effect I was after I used Antique Lace and Gathered twigs DI. It didn't work too well on the clay as it (or the paint) absorbed the ink really quickly. So it applies dark, you blend and then when you come back to it a while later you can't see any ink....I think I applied ink on the large heart about 10 times in the end (and the photo was taken quickly after a last ink layer to capture the ink)

    Next I needed holly leaves. I drew some leaves on card and then using Gathered Twigs and Peeled Paint I did wrinkle free distress effect....then cut out the leaves and edged them with more Peeled Paint DI


   I had some paper covered wire and so I smudged some Antique lace DI over them to take the stark whiteness away. Curled them around the end of a paintbrush and attached them to the large heart.

    Some nice ribbons chosen and here are my four finished heart decorations! Hope you like them!

I am entering this into these challenges -

Simon says stamp and show - Project with a heart
Artful times - Anything goes
Creative Inspirations paint  - Anything goes

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Thank you

    An email arrived a few days ago asking me if I had seen the CSI scrapbooking challenge colours....I clicked the link and took a peek. Well, the author of the email knows me very well and she knew that those colours would have me jumping for joy - My wedding colours of lilac and sage with darker purple and olive green and a pale yellow..

     Ahhhh.....a blissful colour palette - I hadn't managed to enter a CSI challenge yet. I had done one but had chickened out of posting it. Then the others followed but I never seemed to find the time and now this one had me hooked in. I wasn't going to let these colours get past me - but I still had no ideas!

      Then the new 'Simon says' challenge was posted. The subject being 'Thank you'.....

   This weekend is, the American Thanksgiving holiday - something I always have liked the idea of but obviously we don't celebrate it in England - so - Thanksgiving /Thank you /fav colours.....all began to tick away inside this weird brain of mine. My family have started a routine of beginning each evening meal saying something we are thankful for. Our children love it! My son insists on announcing the order in which we take turns and usually his "Thankful for..." is something associated with his anticipation of dessert....I began to think about how 'Thankful' I was for my family and the joy they bring to my life. So began the creation of my scrapbook page 'Thank you.....' - where I take the opportunity to thank my children.

      With the CSI challenge I need to follow the colour scheme (some people vary it slightly) and include one 'Testimony' and two pieces of 'Evidence'. The testimony I chose was the list of '18 things'  The two pieces of evidence were the frame surrounding the photo and the vellum (translucent element)

     I loved putting this page together. I got out the stack of papers and locating green/lilac papers was easy! I have just found a great bargain of some stamps in a craft shop in the clearance sale - so was keen to use some. My brand new DI's came out to play - seedless preserves, peeled paint (oh joy!!!) antique linen and gathered twigs - Aren't those names just gorgeous!?I used some Making Memories letter stamps (which haven't seen the light of day for years!) using the peeled paint to stamp the letters on ivory card, edged in antique linen. The hearts are stamped with gathered twigs and edged again with the antique linen. The torn edges of the papers are inked with a variety of gathered twigs, antique linen and seedless preserves.

     I began to write the list and the 18 thank you's were far easier to write than I had thought they would be! It was an important scrapbook page for me to do, because I probably don't say "Thank you" to them as much as I should. I want them to know how grateful I am that they are in my life and how much I treasure all of the things they do (even if they are driving me mad at times) So now it is written down forever.....I know I don't need a scrapbook page to be able to say these things to them, but it is amazing how something like this can make you stop and think.....and I will make sure I say the grateful words a lot more often....directly to them.



  Hope you like this scrapbook page....if you do, then please leave a comment. I'd love to know what you think of it.

I am entering this into these challenges - 

Penny's challenges - So thankful/Give thanks
Scrappers delights  - Thanks
Creative inspirations paints - Inspired by:Thankful for you
Lollipop crafts - Challenge #94 - We are thankful
Belli challenge - Challenge #157 - Thankful/ Gratitude
Love to create  - Challenge #42 - Give Thanks
The stamping boutique - Challenge #59 - Giving thanks
Pause Dream Enjoy - Challenge #47 - Anything goes
Artful times challenge - Anything goes

Monday, 19 November 2012

No Matter What

   A while ago I was told about the The House of Bears blog and it is wonderful!

   One of the first things I read on there was a challenge - The Bears November challenge - 'Your Cubhood favourites'.

I began to think about my favourite books when I was a child and there are so many...then I read the rules again and it said.............

    "Choose the book that you remember best, or the one you remember reading to your own cubs"...Well, now I know the perfect book...It is called 'No Matter What' - By Debi Gliori

     Years before I had my children I was in a bookshop one day and saw this children's book (I have no idea why I was looking at children's books!) Something about it appealed to me, so I picked it up....began to read......and began to cry.

     For me it is a very emotional book - as you might have guessed. Even now when I am reading it, tears come into my eyes, but it always makes me smile.

     I will tell you a bit about the story - For those of you who already know it, you can scroll down!

    Small Fox is having a very bad day and is being very grumpy. 
"Nobody loves me at all" 
Small's mother knows this is not true and is determined to prove it. 
She reassures Small that she will always love him, no matter what.

    But Small wants to know more - 
         "Does love wear out, does it break or bend. Can you fix it, stick it, does it mend?"
    Large replies "I just know I'll love you forever"

    Small said "But what about when we are dead and gone....
Would you love me then?...does love go on?"

    I adore the last part of the book where Large explains about love -

      Look at the stars -how they shine and glow
      but some of those stars died a long time ago
      Still they shine in the evening skies
      Love, like starlight never dies.

I love reading this to my children and it echos what I always tell them "I will always love you, no matter what" Whatever they say or do, whatever happens....I will never stop loving them.

     So this is what I came up with for the challenge. I had printed up some photos on plain paper (to test our printer - which is very temperamental) and they didn't come out very well - bit too dark and slightly orangey! I didn't want to waste them so I tried doing some image transfer with Modge podge glue on cotton material. The result was actually quite good and formed the basis for this project.

    I used watercolour paint in yellow and blue so it resembles the cover of the book. I copied the stars that are on the cover of the book (I hope copyright issue won't be a factor here!) and applied the photo after writing the words in ink. 

      Then I used Gathered Twigs DI around the edges of the is where things began to go slightly wrong......I don't have the work mat and so found it difficult to apply the ink without going directly to the paper. So I found it very difficult to get the shading right. Also the watercolour paper didn't seem to work too well with the blending tool. I found it wasn't as smooth as other paper/card I had worked with - or perhaps this was because it had already been painted on.....I am a bit clueless as to what caused the problems....

    Suddenly there was too much brown and it looked too harsh...the ink was going on the paper, but not blending. I remembered my SIL saying that the inks are water soluble so I got some scrunched up wet tissue and began dabbing at the paper....suddenly the brown got paler and everything became slightly vintage-y...distressed, shabby looking......AHA!!!! now we are going in the right direction!

    Bit of scribbling with watercolour pencils and I think I am done......I quite like it and I think my children will too. I don't know what to do with it at the moment though - It didn't really start of as anything definite. I might frame it for my children's playroom or it might become a scrapbook page.

    Do I like it? Well, it isn't the best thing I have ever done and I might not try and use DI inks with watercolours again. However, the reason for making it means a lot to me and I know I will always treasure it.....No matter what!


     I am entering this in the following challenges -

    The Bears' November Challenge - 'Your Cubhood favourites'.
    Anything goes challenge blog   -  Stitching - (Real or Faux)
    artistic inspirations challenge blog - Anything goes
    Creative card crew - Challenge 24 - Anything goes
    mygrafico crafts challenge - Challenge 140 - Anything goes
    Anything but a card - Stitching

Friday, 16 November 2012

To ink, or not to ink

That is the question...and Simon says "No!" ;o)

    The Simon says challenges are ones I have watched in awe - before I even started the blog - all of them are so amazing and the people who take part are so very talented. I do like a challenge, even if I happen to fall flat on my face doing it! And of course, as well as the 'Simon says' challenge there are many others that I will be entering this into......

    So - stamping without ink. I decided to raise the bar slightly by not using ANY might say "Wow"! and part of me hopes you do ;o).....but I have to admit that my bravado declaration to abstain from using any inks, is due to the fact that when I did this tag I didn't have any worth using!

    My inks in the ink/stamp drawer are from a birthday gift in 2004 and I am afraid are nowhere near as good as the ones available today...the stamps are very cartoony and basic and the inks are opaque and bright....and very limited colours. Not where I wanted to go at all....(I do now have some inks in the form of a wonderful early Christmas gift that arrived yesterday from my wonderful sister-in-law)...three of my fav Tim Holtz distress inks and a blending tool....which will no doubt be used on my next project. Daughter's eyes lit up when she saw them and she exclaimed "WOW!...Cool!!!" - Never a truer word spoken!

     Anyway, back to no ink....and honestly - NO ink has been anywhere near this project....if it had, you would see a lot of yellow, blue and black since they are the only colours I owned!

     I sat and thought about this project....wondering how on earth I do it. Rummaging through the horrible cartoon stamps I came across a leaf stamp that I had forgotten about...acrylic paint...autumn...rustic....ideas, ideas, ideas!!!

    I stamped the image onto card and used that as a template to cut out a stamp out of craft foam. Marking it with a knife to create creases and holes, I used this to stamp red, green and orange acrylic paint onto similar coloured card. Then I darkened the original colours with brown or black paint and I used this darker paint to stamp the original leaf stamp over the top...bit haphazardly - it is difficult to re-stamp an image - but in this case it didn't matter, as I wanted it to be messy and rustic....not a uniform colour.

    Then I cut the leaves out and distressed the edges. Added chalk in brown, red, green and black. Then crumpled the leaves in my hands. Had great fun hunting for suitable autumn toned paper in the scrap box....I had so much to choose from in the end it was tricky to decide, but had to limit it or run the risk of overloading the card....but oh, I was sorry to push aside some of the pieces (perhaps another project?!) I arranged all the patterned paper and used green, brown and black chalks to make it look more rustic/dirty!

     I wanted the leaves to look like they had been just picked up from the I worked more chalk onto them and when attaching the leaves and twine I used a glue that dries like a varnish to give glimpses of wet leaves...I am not convinced this worked great and with hindsight a better way could have been found...but never mind - we learn!

     Copper letters and brads added along with twine and ribbon ....oh, and some sticks - I decided at last minute these were needed and raced outside to find some. Luckily at this time of year there are many! Got some string and wound it around them and there was my autumn tag....with no inks!


    Hope you like it - Please leave a comment if you do!

This is being entered in the following challenges -

simon says stamp and show - Stamp without ink
CCEE Stampers - Fall or Thanksgiving theme CCEE1246
Chalk N Stock  - Anything goes - must use chalk
Tuesday alchemy - Anything goes
divas by design - Anything goes
The Stamping Shack - Anything goes
The Artistic Stamper  - November challenge - Anything goes


Monday, 12 November 2012

Exploding box!

     This was a gift for my sister-in-law (mother-in-law got one too) and it was so much fun to make! The most difficult thing was cutting out the three layers to form the box...once that was done though, decoration was easy! It was one of those things you make where everything goes really well

       First, choosing favourite colours was a must and then finding treasured photos that would bring back memories. I loved hunting back through all our picture files....and then altering them to B&W. Rummaging through the metal tags box finding lovely embellishments and sealing it all with ribbon, string and a lovely flower!

       Opening the box, the last thing they expected was to find the layers of pages there to explore.

       I think it was a much loved gift....and certainly a very unusual one!

Thanks for visiting! Hope you liked what you saw and if you did please leave a would be lovely to know what you think.

I am entering this in the following challenge -

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Lilac and Sage

Lilac and Sage still a passion of mine after being the colours of our wedding so I decided to make a lilac and sage card using some flowers I had made for our wedding album. Amazing Tim Holtz inks of course and beautiful diecuts (why have I never discovered these before?) I love raiding the paper stash and finding beauties like this gorgeous art deco style picture.....And as I don't own any of the inks yet (the lilac and sage were done at a workshop with my sister-in-law) I used my tried and tested and still loved chalks for that shabby vintage look. As a nice link to my wedding the pearls were leftovers from my making my own tiara....just a shame I never wore it in the end! But it was a nice learning challenge as always, to teach myself something new - I always love to learn new things

I am dipping my toe into the sea of blog challenges for the very first time..........

I am entering this card into the following challenges
 Pearls and Flowers - fussyandfancy
Challenge 70 - Anything goes at Anything goes
Anything goes at Crafty Catz Challenge blog

Thanks for looking at my blog - Hope you enjoyed what you saw! x

Servietten Technique

  I ADORE Servietten Technique!

     I was introduced to this craft many years ago by Gil who as you know, if you have read my other posts, is my lovely mother-in-law.....She had been staying with friends in Germany and they had introduced her to this craft and of course she bought back several pots of glue and a stack of serviettes. After giving me the glue and serviettes and a vague description of how it was done, she left me to learn this lovely craft ;o)

      It is so simple really and gets beautiful results - and anyone can do it - Honestly! Even if you think you can't do crafts, you can do this! I taught my daughter to do this when she was only two....Well, I didn't allow her anywhere near the sharp scissors but she went crazy over the glue and sticking part

      First some photos of the things you can make - You can do Servietten Technique on nearly everything.

 You can do Servietten Technique on -

 Candles - The candles burn down leaving the serviette intact and the glow is gorgeous
 Paper and card - Create lovely craft embelishments with serviettes
 Glass -  Old jam jars are great (looks stunning with tealights lit in a garden on a summers evening)
 Material - I use mainly cotton canvas bags
 China -  Plain white/ivory china is ideal for this technique. Or you can use white ceramic paint as a primer first
 Wood -  I use white acrylic paint as primer first, it really makes the image bright. Decorate door hangers, picture frames, furniture
 Tiles - Makes great trivets and coasters
 Acrylic paint boards - Create beautiful art work
 Terracotta and Tin - Unique plant pots

    You can even do nail art with serviettes...And use clear nail varnish....PVA glue won't work too well on nails ;o)

The great thing about this technique is that it is such a cheap craft to do. Serviettes are available in so many lovely designs and cost only a pound or two for a huge pack. Usually there are several copies of the design on each napkin - a pack will last for ages. You can even find unusual single serviettes/napkins on Ebay for good prices.

Here are just a few of the many serviettes I have

 The other equipment you need is something to decorate and a pair of scissors and a paint brush.....Oh, and the glue - There are many decoupage glues available in craft shops that work great with this craft, and I own some of these and they work very well......

.........however, I prefer a cheaper glue - especially as I do this craft so much. So I mix PVA glue with water 3 parts glue to 1 part water and this makes a very good serviette glue. The one glue you can't substitute is the Textil Potch. This is designed for fabrics. You use exactly the same technique shown below, but the material needs to be ironed. After ironing, the image becomes permanent and can be machine washed.


  1. Select the item you want to decorate and the serviette you want to use. Cut the serviette to size...If wrapping the serviette around an item I would leave it slightly longer than you need as it can be trimmed afterwards

Serviettes are layered and the amount of layers can vary. I usually find 3 but have found as many as 5. The tricky part of this is that the layers can be difficult to separate, and you only use the top patterned layer. Sometimes the layers can be so difficult to separate. 

Apply a thin layer of the glue in a line down the item just to attach the serviette. When I first did this craft I would apply glue all over it and try to wrap the serviette around - and getting into a huge mess in the process. 

Obviously the serviette is very delicate and once wet will rip easily. I found the most effective way to begin was just to anchor it to the item first.
Then apply a thin layer of glue over the candle and attach the rest of the serviette. I prefer to do this in sections as handling a candle covered in glue can be tricky. Be careful not to touch the serviette after it is stuck down as the serviettes will stick to your fingers and come away. Small candles like this are the easiest to hold.

    You can see the edge is not stuck down...It is easier to trim this after the glue has dried as the serviette will tear very easily when wet and it is harder to cut neatly. 

Don't worry about wrinkles and creases. It is impossible to apply the serviette and not have some creasing, however careful you are. These add to the charm of the item. Many will straighten out once the candle is dry....if there is large creases, please don't try to make them smooth out......

.........or this will happen! And the only thing you can do then is to remove it all and start again. One very good thing about servietten technique is that most items can be washed and used again if things go wrong.

Once the candle has dried you can always smooth away some wrinkles and creases with your fingers. Trim any excess serviette and apply a very thin layer of glue all over the candle. 
It is best to use a brush that has firm bristles rather than a 'fluffy' brush. You need to apply a little pressure to ensure the glue goes on thinly and I find the fluffier brushes leave streaks of glue. You should have a clear glossy coating rather than streaks of wet PVA glue. Try to apply only once and not go over and over....or the serviette will become too wet and constant wiping with the brush will tear the image away.

Leave to dry and you have a servietten technique candle! These are wonderful things to make as gifts. You really can create something so unique and special for the people you love!

The main things to remember when using this technique is - 

  • If the item is going to get wet - by washing up or being outside in the garden, then coat with varnish before use. The best varnish to use is a polyurethane varnish (matt or gloss is your choice) and apply 2-3 coats allowing each coat to dry completely.
  • Serviettes obviously need to be applied to light coloured items so that they show up - But I have applied it to dark wood with very good results by applying white acrylic paint first to the area that the serviette is going to be on.
  • And for material items please use the material glue - otherwise it won't survive a wash!
  • Warning  - I know I probably don't need to explain the danger of candles, but I should just say that servietten candles can be lit and they shouldn't be left unattended. I have used many over the years and, as you can see from the photos, the candle burns down and leaves the servietten coating intact. Sometimes the wick does not burn straight and the serviette can catch light. 

           Thank you so much for reading this. If you have never done servietten technique before, I hope you will give it a go and let me know what you think - It would be lovely to see your comments! x