Sunday, 28 December 2008

Altered Jigsaw Calendars

Inspired by (or should I say copied from!!!!!!!!) Cindy who sent me a lovely calendar this Christmas I made a couple of my own. The vintage lady one has an image transfer background with a matching epoxy sticker, and behind the calendar some more matching paper, this time just stuck on. The other piece I used paper which had been protecting my table when I was using some Starburst Stains for another project. I tore it into small pieces and stuck it randomly over the jigsaw piece and the mountboard calendar base. There is a rub on of the months of the year and a time piece on the jigsaw piece. These have both now gone, one to my sister in law as a stocking filler and the other to my Mum who said she'd like to have it - wow, I'm honoured and delighted - thanks Mum!

Merry Christmas!

Now recovering from the many excesses of Christmas and Boxing Day. I've been brave enough to post some pictures ..... I'm standing at the back. My Mum and Dad are at each end and my brother is in the middle with his wife and three little boys. It was so nice having him come for Christmas as he lives a long way away in Devon and we don't get to see him much and his sons are growing so fast.

The other picture is of my sister's children on Boxing day - who we do get to see a lot I'm really pleased to say (our poor old cat dis-agrees though and has to go in hiding when she hears them arrive!)

Hope you all had a good Christmas too - and here's to a Happy New Year - cheers xx

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Pattie's Altered Book

Yesterday I received this altered book from Pattie as a giveaway from her blog.

What I didn't realise was, every page in the book has been beautifully altered by Pattie - it is a real work of art. It is full of beautiful vintage papers, images, embellishments, lace - and it even sparlkes too!

There was a lovely tag which accompanied the book giving this definition:
An altered book is an existing book that has been changed or altered ... glued, painted, collaged, rubber stamped, cut, torn or added to. It is an expression of one's self, a piece of art. An experiment, or a conversation piece.

The book is all of those things (and more!) and I am very lucky and proud to now have it in my possession. Thank you Pattie for sharing and for your generosity.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Deck The Halls .....

At the weekend we finally got around to decorating our house for Christmas. We bought a tree from a local garden centre on Sunday morning and spent what seemed like the rest of the day getting boxes down from the loft and then putting everything in place. The tree we chose was only about 4 foot high but we've stood it on a little table so it looks a lot bigger than it is - lol! I did try to take a photo of it but couldn't get the flash right. I think it looks pretty even though the same old decorations come out every year - mainly Disney ornaments from a summer visit to Florida about 15 years ago. There was a Christmas shop in the middle of the Magic Kingdom and it was John who got a bit carried way - not me, honest! Each year I usually buy one or two new things too, but this year added to the tree are some beautiful baubles from the MAMMA bauble swap.

Other new items added to our decorations this year are two altered Jigsaws from jam swaps I was involved with on the New Inspirations Yahoo group. I'd like to say a big thank you again to everyone who was involved in these.

My themes were both Christmas but with a different slant on each.

The first one was 'Musical Christmas' in the colours red and gold. I sent out my puzzle pieces to each of the other 5 players who duly altered and sent them back. I then pieced the puzzle back together again and stuck them onto a piece of mountboard which I gold embossed around the edges and dotted around some gold stickles. It is hung up by a simple gold beaded hanger. Here's who did what: From left to right, top Margaret, second row - Wendy, me - third row me, John - fourth row Viv, Carol.
As there was some empty space on the mountboard I included two ATCs - top left hand corner from Maureen and bottom right Trudy (from last year).

The second jigsaw was 'Christmas Folk Art style' in muted colours. The pieces for this one were quite large and as I didn't have a canvas large enough I decided to hang them un-mounted with a simple wire hanger (plus a few wooden beads and scraps of fabric). This one was done by (from left to right starting at the top) Jinny, Viv, Sheila, me, Wendy, Cindy.

They are both now hanging in our dining room and they look great together. I'm sure they will be looked at over a glass or two of something sparkling over the Christmas period!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone xx

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Another Round Robin Page

This is my page for Nicks for Astrid's Round Robin Challenge. Nick's theme was 'Instructions for Life' and she left our interpretation open.

I decided to use some more of the rubber stamps from Inkadinkado with not only amusing, but very wise sayings on from children. The idea I had was to use the sayings as road signs, but for the background, my roads turned into countryside hills! I used a combination of ink daubers, perfect pearls, distress embossing powder, gel medium and glitter to build up the background.

The 'road signs', I rubber stamped and stuck onto mountboard. I coloured around the edges and then triple embossed them.

I also inked the back of the page and added a few more sayings too. Hope Nick likes it!

I only have one more page to do (for Yvonne) then I will have done everyones who took part. I'm looking forward to getting back the remaining pages of my journal so I can finally put them all together.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Altered Slide Mailer

This is a slide mailer I altered and sent as a gift for Cindy on her birthday and now I know she's received it, I can safely show it.

Not being particularly imaginative, I always struggle as to how to decorate these mailers and deliberated on this over several days!!! In the end I kept it simple. I painted the front and back with block colours of acrylic paint in pastel colours and painted the torso over the top on the front. I made a head moulded from air dried clay and 'made up' the face with Sakura Pens and pencils, and gave her some hair which was supposed to resemble a 1960s style bob but that didn't quite work! For the inside I acrylic painted in pale green and pink and in the alcove painted in the rest of the girl's body - in black and white to give some contrast. I added some beads under the glass too. I made a bit of a mess of the inside when I glued in the glass so it had to be sanded away and re-done. I think I need some more practice with these.

For the back I added a tape transfer of some words which I have on a rubber stamp - they say "Don't try the cake, go for the icing, Happy Birthday". The words are a quote from 'Liam Holland, aged 8'. I bought the rubber stamp from HobbyCraft and there is a whole series of them by Inkadinkado - so funny.

I finished the mailer off by adding some beads and fibres, again in black and white. I was pleased with the finished article and glad that Cindy liked it too.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

'Joyous Christmas' ATC

I was lucky enough to do a one to one trade with Renee from USA (Nayski on Flickr) recently and I absolutely adore the ATC she sent me called 'Joyous Christmas'. It was so lovely in fact that I decided to make it into a little wall hanging which I will proudly display with my other Christmas decorations.

I mounted the ATC onto some scrim which I frayed around the edges. That was then mounted onto thin wood which I stained with walnut distress ink. A string hanger and a couple of dark red heart shaped buttons finished it off.

I never tire of looking at Renee's pieces they are so sweet and just make me happy!

Thanks Renee!

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Image Transfer ATC

Inspired by image transfers done by other people, I thought I have a go myself onto fabric and I'm really pleased with how this one turned out.

I used an image printed onto (non glossy) photo paper with my inkjet printer. I cut out the part of the image I wanted (the little Christmassy girl) and painted some gel medium over the top of the printed side. (I used Golden's Regular Gel Matte). I then placed the image face down onto the fabric and brayered over it several times to ensure the image was firmly stuck. I left it for several hours to dry, then wet the back of the image and rubbed away the paper. This took several goes at as the paper didn't all want to come away - and in fact there is still some left on the image - but this softens it a bit. The transfer worked really well and almost all of the image transferred. I wouldn't have minded if part of it had completely rubbed away though as it would have added to the distressed look.

I stitched the fabric (after fraying the edges a bit) onto a card base with some red shiny fibre. I printed out the same image only smaller and stuck it under a glass nugget which I think gives a lovely effect. Some tinsel, stickles and a little snowflake button finishes it off. I have entered this ATC in the MAMMA's Christmas swap but think I'll be making some more as CRAKS - that is IF I can get the image transfers to work out as well again!

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thank You Belinda!

Well, he finally arrived today all the way from Tasmania, Australia - this little elf from Belinda as a 'giveaway' from her blog (how could she, but I'm glad she did!) He is just exquisite standing approximately three and a half inches high. He has a wire and bead body clothed in beautifully soft felt (well, that's what I think it is), his arms are moveable and his face is gorgeous as are his hair and cap. His wings are a fantastic shade of metallic blue but I don't know what they are made from. I don't think the poor little chap has recovered from his jet lag yet as his eyes are firmly closed - lol. However, he can be sure that I will take very good care of him and make his feel right at home once he wakes up!

Thank you Belinda for this beautiful gift and also for the lovely ATC - I am one very lucky girl today.

I must add for anyone else reading this post that Belinda's blog 'Metallic Dreams' is well worth a visit to see some of her beautiful work and also pictures of her beautiful family.

.... now off to see if I can wake the Elf up!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

June's Jigsaw Challenge

Over on her 'Arty Retreat' blog, June is offering a set of unique down-loadable vintage images of her own original work for the altered puzzle piece she chooses. The closing date is 17 December and you just need to link her blog to yours to enter.

If I may then, I'd like to enter my four altered puzzle pieces below. (I believe others have entered more than one piece so hopefully it will be ok!)

Thanks June!

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Jigsaw Jam Swaps

I've recently been taking part in two separate Jigsaw Jam Swaps (on New Inspirations Yahoo group) - so had my work cut out since I needed to alter a total of 10 pieces for other people. (If you want to know more about the concept have a look at this page.

I've now finally finished all the pieces I've been sent and must say that I've thoroughly enjoyed altering them all - even though it is a bit of a worry since you're altering something for someone else and you want to make sure your own piece will fit in with all the others - but you don't know what all the others will be like - scary but challenging!

All the pieces I've done I've put onto my Flickr photostream which may be accessed via the link on this page (see box on first page). I've chosen to blog about my favourite 4 pieces - so starting here with the piece for Carol.

Carol's theme was a 'Vintage Christmas' using colours red and gold. The background to this one had quite a few different applications - white acrylic paint, gold perfect pearls, metallic rubs ons (in various shades of gold). To create a peeling paint look I then applied some vaseline randomly and painted over with some red acrylic. Once that was dry, I then rubbed some of the paint off (where the vaseline had been applied). I stuck the vintage imagine on and some open weave gold fabric. I used a cardboard heart (coloured with red ink and more metallic rub ons) to link in with the heart the little girl in the image is holding. I threaded some gold coloured beads onto some wire and looped it around the heart and down to the bottom of the piece ending with a little metal gold heart charm. At the top are some pieces of thin wood with tape image transferred words 'Spirit of Christmas'. These transfers weren't a complete success since they've buckled slightly, probably because I coated them with some glossy accents which may have been too heavy. However, the words are still legible and add a bit of dimension to the piece. I hope Carol likes it.

Jigsaw Piece for Sheila

Sheila's theme was 'Homespun/Country/Rustic/Shabby - in creams, faded blues and greens, sepia etc' As this theme was similiar to the one I chose (although mine was Christmassy), I think that's why I enjoyed doing this one so much.

I had some lovely faded blue coloured paper which rather than just sticking onto the piece, I applied like an image transfer using some gesso, and it worked well making it look a little more faded. The images of the little girls, the flowers and the round buttons were all cut from some fabric and applied to the piece using bondaweb -I wasn't sure whether this was going to work or not, but they seemed to be stuck fast and Sheila hasn't told me that they've fallen off (yet!!!). The star button near the girls' feet is another from 'Button-It' this time coloured with some watered down acrylic paint. The little hanging heart at the bottom I cut from some co-ordinating fabric but used the wrong side as the right side as it had a faded look. It was stuffed with some wadding and hand stitched (stitched very roughly on purpose of course to fit the theme!!!!!!!!!!)

Jigsaw Piece for Wendy

Wendy's theme was 'Angels' in blues, purples and silver.

I coloured the background with some alcohol inks and rubber stamped two separate angel images onto a paper tablecloth which was slightly textured (the angels' were coloured with some inks)then, cut out and adhered to the background with beeswax, as were the two sparkly gems and the music score. Some silver wire and a heart finished it off at the bottom.

I can't wait to see Wendy's complete jigsaw as I love the colour combination she's chosen and the pieces I've seen already are amazing.

Jigsaw Piece for Cindy

Cindy's theme was 'Things With Wings' and she gave a wide range of colours - green, turquoise, blue, lilac, purple and gold.

I coloured the background using some acrylic paint and tried to make a batik effect with gesso and some swirly stamps. That didn't quite work out, but nevertheless gave a bit of texture to the background. 'Things with Wings' hmmm, well, I decided on a fairy girl which I sketched onto canvas, painted, cut out and stuck onto the piece. Her dress was a large paper flower and her wings rubber stamped and embossed onto handmade paper. There is another paper flower, some more gold embossing and a few acrylic butterflies (coloured with mica powders) fluttering around. She could have looked a bit happier though!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

More Christmas Baubles

Here's some more - I think they're out of my system now - lol! (still need to complete them though by adding the hangers which I forgot to do before photographing them)

Sunday, 16 November 2008

What a load of ..... Christmas Baubles!

Christmas is coming, the turkey's getting fat, please put a penny in the old man's hat! Not long now, I've started buying some presents but haven't even thought about making any cards yet! I have been doing other things Christmassy though - like a six way jigsaw jam (and another six way jigsaw jam too) I've been putting all the photos in my Flickr photostream (link is below to the left)but I will post a picture of the complete jigsaw puzzles once they're finished.

The other thing I've been doing is making some Christmas baubles. This is all Margaret's fault as she has started a group called 'Christmas Bauble Decoration Swap' on Flickr whereby you make a bauble (based on the template she has posted) and she will randomly select someone for you to swap with at the end of the month.

The two I've made for that swap (one gold and one red) are both cut from acetate and decorated with gallery glass paint plus a whole lot of glitter and other sparkly stuff.

While I was making them I decided to make a couple to enter in this month's UK Art Raffle . This month's theme is 'Circles' so I made one bauble (based on Margaret's template, only a bit larger) with lots of circles within it, and another smaller bauble roughly in the shape of a circle with more cirles inside it. Again, these were both cut from acetate and decorated with gallery glass and more glitter and sparkle.

Last month's UK Art Raffle was won by my dear cyber friend Trudy who doesn't have a blog, but you can find her on Flickr or see some of her wonderful creations in her Photobucket. I was so pleased that Trudy won as she is a really lovely person and I couldn't think of a nicer person to win ..... well, apart from me of course - lol!!

Friday, 14 November 2008

African Themed ATC

This week's theme on Maggie's Mondays Musings(MAMMA) is 'Africa' and here is my offering - 'Afify The African'.
The base of the ATC is very thin balsa wood which I stained with some walnut ink. Afify's head is a wooden button which I bought from 'Button-It' at this year's Ally Pally show. The buttons are designed to be coloured with inks, paints or whatever, but I decided to leave this one as it was to fit in with the natural theme. Afify is wearing a hessian robe and some beads in his hair. The beads are from a rather large necklace I bought some time ago in a charity shop. There is another button also as I thought the colours on it were a good match.

There are some gorgeous entries in this week's challenge - I wonder whose I'll get back?

Saturday, 1 November 2008

'Happy Ever After' Canvas

This is a 8"x10" canvas that I started a couple of months ago - well, I had gessoed it and stuck some pages of text onto it, then I didn't know what to do with it so it has been waiting on the side of my desk ever since!

Inspired by some of the lovely paper dolls I've seen around on Flickr and the like, I decided to have a go at one myself. I drew the face onto some canvas and coloured it with some soft pastels. I was pleased with how it turned out but think I made a mistake by outlining the eyes and lips with a black marker - still it's ok. The clothes are scraps of handmade paper and the arms and legs again are coloured with some pastels. The wings are rubber stamping onto some more handmade paper. The doll was then stuck onto the main canvas.

The background is a mixture of soft pastels, acrylic paint,a little bit of alcohol ink and some distress ink. The bottom is a paper lace doily coloured with distress inks. The 'tree' is moulded from some Golden Extra Heavy Gel, painted with acrylic (which isn't as gaudy a blue as it looks in the picture) and sprinkled with some glitter. There are some tiny pink heart shaped gems on the branches of the tree. I printed out 'Happy Ever After' and coloured with acrylic paint and distress ink. A few flower gems and butterflies dotted around completed it.

The doll looks a little bit distorted and uncomfortable in her stance not to mention out of proportion (much like how I feel most of the time - lol), Still, she is my creation and I like her so I'm going to keep this one myself - just need to decide now where to hang it!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Thank you Margaret!

Margaret has given me an award! 'Blogging Friends Forever' She is a lovely lady who over on her MAMMA Flickr site gives us loads of laughs - as well as an ATC challenge every Monday! I feel very honoured and lucky to know her.

The rules attached to the award are:
1. 5 people are allowed to receive this award.
2. four dedicated followers of your blog.
3. one is to be new to your blog and live in another part of the world.
4. please link back to the person who gave you this award.

As I don't think I can comply with all of these rules I'd just like to give it to all the wonderful, talented and friendly people who look in on my blog. Hope this is ok and I'll probably have the award relinquished now! LOL

Sunday, 19 October 2008

UK Art Raffle - 'Dark'

This is my entry for the above raffle. This month's theme is 'Dark'.

It is a canvas 5"x7" which I've called 'Adore'. This is the first completed canvas I've done and it was a bit scary at first, but once I started it was fine! It's another beeswax collage which I started by scribbling some oil pastels in black and blue over the canvas then melted some beeswax over the top and blended it altogether.
I then put a bingo card on with more beeswax and blended that into the background. I then overlaid some white tissue to soften the overall effect. A piece of wide dark blue ribbon was then laid on and some more fibre at the bottom. The image was next - again adhered with more beeswax. Finally a ticket saying 'adore' was distressed and put at the bottom right hand corner and a flower at the top. This was quite a messy job and I ended up with pastels everywhere - so I sealed the whole thing with some porcelain gloss spray. It didn't take completely but it adds to the whole distress finish (yeah, right!!)

I am pleased with how this has turned out and it's given me the confidence to try to some more.

I hope whoever 'wins' it in the raffle likes it - if not, they could always send it back to me as I'm sure I'll find somewhere to hang it!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Caricature Fun!

This is an ATC I did for a lottery I'm in for a Yahoo group. I was lucky enough to win the previous lottery and will be sent all the ATCs entered, the theme was 'Yellow'. As the winner, I then had to set the next theme and thought 'Caricatures' would be a bit different. This is what I came up with - the amazingly talented Miss Amy Winehouse. (I cheated a bit but sssshhh don't tell anyone!)

Friday, 10 October 2008

Another ATC Swap with a difference!

Sian is hosting a couple of unusual swaps at the moment which I couldn't resist having a play with.

This one is a 'See-Through' swap. The only rule being that at least one part of the ATC must either be transparent or translucent. Well, this is all new to me - never done anything like that before! So, I kept it fairly straight-forward and for each one used 2 pieces of card with a piece of acetate sandwiched between them.

For the first one I die cut out a little man in the card and put some old text in the middle. I also stamped a crown on some text and stuck that on his head. Lastly, I rubber stamped a face on the acetate (oh, and drew in his lttle gold tie).

The middle one I cut out a jigsaw shape (bit wonky as I did it free hand!) and alcohol inked the acetate. The background is coloured with some distress inks, and finally a real jigsaw piece was stuck over the top.

The last one I punched some squares out of the card and coloured with distress inks. The top piece of card I rubber stamped some swirls on using Versamark ink and then brushed some Cosmic Shimmer powder over the top. This gives a lovely effect. I alcohol inked the acetate again, and rubber stamped a face onto it.

I also did another two but haven't included them here. I'm looking forward to receiving some swaps back to see what other people have done.

Traffic Lights Swap

This is the second of two swaps Sian is currently hosting. We had to make three ATCs, one in each of the colours of traffic lights (red, amber and green) and each ATC also had to have on it some wire, some metal (in addition to the wire)and some plastic. How does she come up with these ideas!!!

The bases of each of my three ATCs were covered with some bright silver sticky tape which I then embossed (each in a different way) and then coloured with alcohol inks. The red and green wasn't a problem, but for the amber I used the Caramel ink and then went over with some amber metallic rub ons. The red and amber both have faces moulded from friendly plastic. This is the first time I'd used the plastic in a mould - I'm sure it should be easy but I think I need a bit more practice. The green one has a plastic button in the centre. The metal on each of them is - for red, the head-dress, for amber an old bottletop (the head is mounted in) and for green it is the metal corner pieces. The wire is for red, interlinked with the head-dress, for amber, the stem and leaves and for green it is attaching the button to the ATC.

Despite the gruesome looking face, I think my favourite of the three is the amber one. The petals are pieces of amber coloured acrylic mosaic. None of them have photographed very well unfortunately (well, I would say that wouldn't I!!)

Home Sweet Home

This week's theme on Maggies Monday Musings is 'Home Sweet Home' and here's my offering. I used a PaperArtsy mini stamp and some aluminium to emboss it into. The background is some scrapbook paper and the tree is another rubber stamped image. MAMMA gave me an award for this one (wooohoooo!!!), that's the second one in two weeks - so I must be doing something right! All down hill from now on then:( lol

All the other entries for this week's swap may be found in the Flickr group - the link is on the Maggies Monday Musings blog (link above).

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

I've Been Tagged!

Just for a bit of fun John from his Artyfax blog has 'tagged' me so I need to list here six random things about myself.

So, here goes:

1. I can juggle with 3 oranges all at once

2. I love Spongebob Squarepants (....he lives in a pineapple under the sea)!

3. I think I must be the world's worst worrier

4. My favourite snack is salt and vinegar flavoured pringles

5. I am the oldest of three children (although we're all grown up now!)

6. My husband proposed to me in the middle of Tower Bridge in the snow on Valentine's Day a few years ago now. He stood on the south side of the crack in the middle of the bridge (as he's from south London), and made me stand on the north side (coz I'm a cockney girl!!). He did go down on one knee but got his trousers all wet from the snow! How romantic - lol.

The rules are as follows:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know your entry is up.

The six people I have tagged are:

1. Cindy from 'Plant's List'
2. Sian from 'Bits and Pieces'
3. Ange 'Agnes The Red'
4. Dee from 'Dee's Dabblings'
5. Hannele from 'Hane's House of Cards'
6. Katherine from Katherine's Dabblings

Have fun, and I look forward to finding out a little more about each of you!

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Mannequin ATCs

I've joined another of the hosted swaps over on the DoCrafts forum. This one is a 'Mannequins' swap and is being hosted by Helen whose DoCraft's name is Smellihelli!
She said we could interpret the swap however we liked and I hope my interpretation is acceptable because I used a rubber stamped image of a dressmaker's form on a couple of the ATCs which I suppose isn't strictly the same as a mannequin as the dictionary defines it as a 'woman who models clothes'. Near enough I suppose - well I hope so anyway!
I couldn't resist using my favourite medium again - beeswax - I just love it! So all of the backgrounds have either dressmaking tissue paper or plain tissue paper beeswaxed onto them. The 'mannequins' are rubber stamped images onto Grungeboard (the pretty pink one and the yellow dressmaking one), the red one is rubber stamped onto metal which I then embossed and coloured with alcohol inks and finally, the one with the red button on is rubber stamped onto shrink plastic (that's why it's so tiny!)
Some lovely Mannequin ATCs have been appearing in the galleries and blogs of other participants and some absolutely stunning ones can be found in Sian's. I do hope that I'm lucky enough to get one of hers back in the swap. Wonder if Helen is taking bribes this time around - lol!!

Thursday, 2 October 2008


This week's theme on Maggies Monday Musings is 'Matrimony'. I found an image of a happy couple, just married and decided to place them before a stained glass window.

I had some old plastic packaging which was quite rigid so I cut that into an arch shape and painted it with some Gallery Glass paint which I've had for over 10 years. When I took the top off the bottles I expected them to be dried up, but no they were still fluid! I could have used some strong, garish colours, but decided to keep them subtle to blend with the image. A fabric rose at the top finished it off.

Now I'm thinking about how else I can use the Gallery Glass paint - otherwise it may be another 10 years before I use it again!

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Flip Flops

Flip Flops - don't ya just love 'em! I do and if I had my way would wear them all through the year - unfortunately though it does get a bit slippy in the rain so reluctantly I have to dig out something a bit more waterproof during the winter - lol. (Imelda Marcos I ain't!!)

Having just returned from sunny Spain where my summer flip flops were put to good use, I thought I'd keep the holiday feeling going by joining in with a swap hosted by Shendy over on the DoCrafts forum. The swap involves creating an ATC in the shape of a flip flop and decorate it in anyway you like. So I made some pretty ones, some sparkly ones and some yellow ones (the yellow ones are going in a lottery on New Inspirations Yahoo group). My favourite ones though are the green dirty ones!!! They have been made from foam and dirtied up with some distress ink. The toe impressions were made by pressing the rounded end of my pokey tool into the foam. They are my favourites because I have a pair just like them for real - they are my trusty garden flip flops and they live by my back door ready to serve me whenever I need to pop outside.

I hope whoever gets them in the swap doesn't find them too objectionable - lol!!

More birthday gifts - how lucky was I!

I received two more beautiful gifts one from Maureen which arrived just before I went away and the other from Cindy which was waiting for me when I returned.

Maureen's gift is a 'Wild Women' pin brooch which is simply delightful and I believe made from wool topps hand embellished onto felt and decorated with stitching, beads and charms. It has so much detail and even the fingernails have been painted - I love it! Maureen is so talented as making things like this, I wouldn't have a clue where to start first.

Cindy's gift is a concertina friendship book which has crackle glazed covers, loads of beautiful collaged vintage images and rubber stamping. The photo above only shows part of the book as it is double sided - the colours are absolutely glorious too and this is now amongst my treasured things.

Thank you both, dear cyber friends xx

Monday, 8 September 2008

Early Birthday Treats!

It's my birthday on Wednesday (oh no, not another one so soon!!) and I'm going on holiday Wednesday morning so I decided to open the birthday ATCs (BRAKs) that I have already received today. I guessed that I would be busy packing and clearing up tomorrow so it made sense to open them early - is that a good enough excuse? LOL!!

I was very touched by some beautiful gifts and BRAKs I received and would like to mention a few here. Trudy sent me an early present a few weeks ago - a beauiful Jigsaw Book which has a phenomenal amount of detail including a miniature sewing kit and a gorgeous button fairy on the back. She doesn't have a blog, but has some pictures of it on her Flickr photostream . It is well worth a look, she is a very talented lady.

Talking of talented ladies, there are two more I'd like to mention. Jan who sent me a beautiful pin brooch with an altered scrabble tile (and an ATC with one of her famous image transfers on!), and last but not least, Margaret who sent me the most delightful, colourful wall hanging which I'm calling 'Pink Poodle' even though it probably isn't a poodle at all - but just look at it's face and feet!

I received some beautiful ATCs too (some of which are pictured).

Thank you everyone who took the time to send me things - I feel very humble, but happy!!!!!

I'd also like to take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has in the past commented on my blog - I'm not sure of the correct blog etiquette to say thank you, but just like you to know they are all appreciated.

OK, end of speech, you can wake up now! See you all in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

'Girl Talk'

I've made another journal page for Astrid's Round Robin challenge in advance for the same reason as 'My Fair Lady' below.

This page is for Heidi. The background is a mixture of acrylic paints, metallic rub ons and some gloss finish. There is quite a bit of shine to it so unfortunately it hasn't photographed very well. The Style Stones have rub on words on them - all linking to the 'Can We Talk' rub on in the background. I coloured them with metallic rub ons and finished with some of Anita's 3-D Clear Gloss Finish. They were all linked together with some black beads.

As there was a bit of a gossip theme going on I thought some girlies should be present! The heads are moulded from air dried clay and coloured with metallic rub ons. Their eyes are sparkling with some of Ranger's Stickles (or maybe just because they are enjoying their good old gossip!!)

As Heidi had mentioned that she didn't want a particular theme and that 'anything goes' I shall send the page off to her before waiting to see her own page.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

'My Fair Lady'

I've jumped the gun a bit and made a journal page for Cindy before actually seeing her own page for real. I've seen a photo of her page on the Astrid's Round Robin blog and as I'm going on holiday next week I'm worried that on my return I'll have a pile of journal pages waiting for me, and as I've had an idea of what to do for Cindy's page for a while, I thought that I'd get on and do it! I won't post it off to Cindy yet though - just in case she has specified a colour theme which doesn't fit my page.

Cindy's theme is 'Woman' and my page isn't deep and meaningful at all! It just has a picture of a pretty woman on it which is actually an altered magazine image (Bernie Berlin style). She is embellished with a paper flower in her hair and a real chain and locket around her neck (which isn't real gold unfortunately!!) The background and woman's hair is painted with acrylic paints. The music score is an extract from the musical 'My Fair Lady' and I have decorated the back of the page with further extracts of music score from the musical too.

Although the page is quite simple, I am really pleased with how it's turned out, so if when I receive Cindy's page I discover that mine doesn't fit the brief, I'll be quite happy to keep it anyway.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Miss UK - ATC Doll

The first ATC-Doll I ever saw was made by Margaret about a year ago. This week I had the opportunity to make one using some old maps of all things! This week's challenge on MAMMA which incidentially is also run by Margaret is to make an ATC on the theme of 'Maps'. Well, I never was any good at geography, but I love dolls - so no contest! This ATC-Doll has the limbs and head attached with brads, and her clothes and hair are made from an old UK Motorist's Atlas. The limbs and head fold up making her (roughly) the size of an ATC. She is made of plain card which I coloured with ink and chalk. Her facial features are drawn in with a Sharpie pen and detailed with Sakura pens, Ranger's Stickles and some Anita's 3D Clear Gloss finish.
As she looked so lovely (!!!!) I thought she could become a beauty queen representing the UK and her sash is made from a scrap of ribbon. I don't know about her 'vital statistics' though - lol!

Monday, 25 August 2008

'A Gift for You'

This is another altered alphabet card. As I haven't mastered the art of transferring images onto fabric (yet!), I've included a printed image and stitched it onto some fabric and lace. I've used a little fabric rose to mirror the one the little boy is holding out to the girl in the picture. I also tried to reflect the colours and fabrics in the image. It's finished off with some beads and ribbons.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Miss Mamma

This week's challenge on Maggies Monday Musings was to use the following 5 objects on an ATC - bubblewrap, staple, star, flower and wood. Having already seen some of the fabulous entries on the Flickr site my mind was a blank (although that's nothing unusual!) I had a spare clay moulded face in my stash and decided to use that with the bubblewrap as hair and some staples to 'tie' it into bunches. The face was painted with gouache paints and detailed with Sakura pens and Ranger's Stickles. I painted the background and body again with some gouache paints. I thought two star brads would make a great bikini top - albeit and very tiny one! I painted some flowers on the background (so this is not really using an object, but as Margaret the creator of the MAMMA challenge site says 'a flower is a flower' so I think I've got away with it!
I was stuck on the wood element as I didn't have much room left on the ATC. In the end I opted for a small wooden bead which became the central part of Miss Mamma's necklace - seems she likes her jewellery big!

Thanks for another great challenge Margaret, you certainly get us all thinking!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

'The Beach'

Another journal page finished (for Astrid's Round Robin Challenge) This one is for Femmy whose theme was the 'Outdoors'. The great outdoors conjures up images of the countyside but I was a bit stuck on what to do. Femmy had said that it could be any kind of outdoor activities or travel, as long as it was outdoors. So, when I saw a picture of a seagull in a magazine I decided to go with a beach theme.

I used the magazine image after altering it a bit with some acrylic paint. I didn't stick his upwards wing down completely, giving it a 3D effect (but this doesn't show up in the photograph). For the beach scene, I used gouache paints. The coastal path sign is a couple of lolly sticks, bleached, then painted. To finish off the page I used some pebbles and tiny sea shells - and a little bit of dark green mossy stuff - from my hubby's model railway stash (sshh, don't tell him!)

As Femmy lives in the Netherlands, I hope the page arrives safely and in one piece - and that she will like it.

Saturday, 2 August 2008


The next page I’ve done for Astrid’s Round Robin Challenge is for Astrid herself.

Her theme was ‘Children of a Bygone Age’ and she didn’t mind which colours were used so long as they were vintage.

I saw an illustration of two little girls in a library book on how to draw which I thought would make a great focal point for this page. Rather than draw them myself though I photocopied the images - I don’t think my drawings would have resembled anything like two girls! It looked to me as though they were playing together and the idea of hopscotch was formed. I know hopscotch is still played today - in fact I was having a game with my 7 year old niece the other week - although my hopping about on one foot is not what it used to be - lol! So although it is still played today, I regard the game of hopscotch to be of a bygone age much like skipping and playing with two tennis balls up a wall - anyone remember the rhyme “Matthew Mark, Luke and John, next door neighbour carry on ... next door neighbour’s got the flu, so I’ll leave it up to you….” My little niece hasn’t quite got the hang of this game yet - but I still enjoy it! (What must my neighbours think - lol)

Anyway back to journal page. I started off by dividing the page into two and lightly chalked in blue for the sky and grey for the pavement. I pencilled in the hopscotch squares - (the perspective is not brilliant, but I did say I couldn’t draw) then covered the whole thing with a single layer of tissue paper with bleached beeswax. The railings are an image transfer directly onto the wax - using a photocopied image and applying it with nail polish remover (with acetone). Although the transfer is a little sketchy in some places I like the overall effect and think it adds to the vintage feel of the page.

I coloured in the two little girls and adhered them to the page with more wax. (I should have coated them with some gel medium first as the railings have come through onto their faces unfortunately). I printed off the dictionary definition of hopscotch onto some tracing paper and applied that with more wax.

Finally, I coloured around the edges with some oil pastels to give it an old, vintage feel. I hope Astrid likes it.

Friday, 1 August 2008

School Days

My next page for Astrid's Round Robin Challenge has been completed.

This page is for Wendy whose theme was 'When You Were Young', and her only stipulation was that a photograph or image of your childhood should be included.

There aren't that many good photos of me when I was very young so I decided to use a copy of an old school photo. I've also included a copy of a school photo of my younger brother and sister who look very cute wearing their matching sweaters lovingly made by my Mum on her knitting machine. It was this photo that determined the year 1976 as Mum remembered that was approximately when she made the sweaters on one of her earlier machines. The extract of my school report was also from Spring 1976 but the photograph of me is probably a couple of years earlier since I'm not wearing any glasses - I didn't get my specs until about 1973 - I wondered why I could never see the blackboard in class!

The background of the page is a copy of the cover from my old School Reports book which I distressed by spritzing with some Glimmer Mist and making a couple of rings with my coffee cup. The report extract is spritzed in the same way. The date and flower are metal embellishments which have been coloured with alcohol inks (copper and stonewashed).

I enjoyed making this page and looking back at my old school reports, but have had the tune of 'remember the days of the old school yard' in my head for the last couple of days! I hope Wendy likes the page.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Beeswax Collage

This week's theme on Maggies Mondays Musings (MAMMA) is 'The Sixties' - well I am of course far too young to remember them (LOL!!!)but I was a sixties baby and this is always a fun subject. Having said that the ATC I've made for the swap is a bit on the serious side - not the subject but the look of it! I've called it '60s Grunge Fashions' and it is a beeswax collage. The background is an old tissue dressmaking pattern and the pattern is a printed image of one from 'Woman's Realm' of the 1960s. I've melted some coloured wax around the edges in colours to pick up the colours in the dress pattern, but overall it has a rather grungy look - hence the title. I've added some ribbon and buttons in complimentary colours to finish it off. Everything is stuck down with melted beeswax. I can't wait to see what everyone else does and whose ATC I will be drawn with.

Further information on the technique is in my earlier posting on Wed 9 July called 'Beeswax'.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Rise and Fall of Neptune!

This week over on Maggies Monday Musings (MAMMA) the theme is WATER. I found an image of Neptune, the God of the Sea and that seemed appropriate enough so 'Neptune Rising' and 'Neptune Falling' were born. For 'rising' the background is some dabbings of Starburst Stains and although the photo doesn't show it very well, it has a nice rippling water effect. The image itself is coated with one layer of gloss glaze. For 'falling' I tried out the 'peeling paint' effect using acrylic paint and vaseline. The idea being to smear vaseline in the areas where you don't want the paint to stay. So it's a bit random and hit and miss, but I was pleased with the effect. Hope whoever gets them will be pleased too!

Thursday, 17 July 2008

This week's theme is THREE

Over on Maggies Monday Musings (MAMMA)the theme for this week is THREE. Here are my two offerings - I was baffled at first as to what to do, but the good old domino and alcohol inks came to the rescue for 'Third Time Lucky' and I found some clay heads which I'd made from moulds a while back and they developed into the '3 Girls Blue' - with a background of Starburst Stains and a little bit of glitter around the edges. I always enjoy making up the heads and doing the hairstyles and these were no exception. I think it takes me back to my youth and combing the hair on the Cindy dolls!

Thank you Jan!

Jan has given me an award! I'm sure that I don't deserve it, but I really appreciate it and feel extremely honoured. Ever since I saw some of Jan's work over on the DoCrafts site (many moons ago now)I have been totally in awe of her talent. I'm sure she must have got fed up with my many questions - how did you do that, what did you use for that ... and so on - lol! She is truly a wonderful artist and inspiration to me and I'm sure to many others. Thank you Jan xx

(I'm not sure what I have to do now, but if I'm to nominate the award to others, then all the people in the 'blogs I like to visit' section deserve it!)

I was going to upload a picture of the award, but I can't seem to do it at the moment - lol. Will have another go later.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Over on the DoCrafts ATC forum Sheila C is hosting a 'Beeswax Swap', the idea being to create some ATCs which have beeswax on them in one form or another.

As beeswax is my favourite medium at the moment I really enjoyed making these ATCs. The top two ATCs are collages. The first uses an old dressmaking pattern for the background and the image of the model is cut from the front of the pattern packet. All the papers were adhered to the card with melted beeswax. The second one again has part of a dressmaking pattern for the background, and the main image is of a ballerina which I cut out from a newspaper - I had to coat both sides of the image with gel medium otherwise the print from the back of the image would have shown through, as when the wax is applied, the image becomes transparent. Some of the print from the back does in fact show through, but I quite like the effect. I've also scribbed some oil pastel around the image too.

The other three ATCs all have heads on them, made from melted beeswax in moulds. The 'Playing Mind Games' one has some extra heavy gel medium on mainly to cover up part of the background which didn't quite look right.

Although I do have a Melting Pot, I didn't use it at all for these ATCs, Instead I melted some beeswax directly onto the ATCs with a small quilter's iron and smoothed it over the surface. I love this technique and it's a lot quicker and easier than getting the Melting Pot out. I got these ideas from books and a DVD from Claudine Hellmuth whose work I really admire.