Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Boo!

 This was one of the first cards I made with the Explore. Now why I was drawn to this image, I haven't a clue, I don't really 'do' Halloween, but suddenly I was overcome with the desire to use black, purple and all things spooky.... 


I inked the background in chipped sapphire, tumbled glass and plum distress inks, and lightly inked the moon with weathered wood and scattered straw just around the edges.  


I thought the letters looked more spooky somehow if they were covered with glossy accents...


Again, I'm really sorry but in all the excitement I totally forgot to make a note of which cartridges I used - it's so easy with the Explore to wander around until you find something you like and just send it to cut. I promise to make a list as I go along in future

So my eyes are pretty much back to normal, thanks for all the good wishes. I haven't got any craft stuff done though, I spent what seemed like a hundred years in a bank yesterday - we recently changed banks, it will be an easy and painless process they promised. It was, except that a credit card in my name on the old bank account remained stubbornly active. I tried telephoning to try and cancel. 'Please enter the ninth letter or number of your 18 digit security password' the robot voice commanded. What? 18 digits? When did I ever use 18 digits. I made increasingly wild guesses, when the robot said smugly 'you have failed the security check, please contact your bank'
So I tried again, this time the robot wouldn't even let me make a wild guess. So, in very bad humour, I trailed down to the old bank. They didn't exactly fall over with pleasure when they heard that I was no longer their customer, so I had to sit, and sit.....and sit. I called Mike to ask if I really had to do this. Yes, apparently it was essential..... 

Eventually someone saw me, and we went through the paperwork to cancel the card. All this was getting more tedious by the minute until she asked 'how would you like your reward points' Reward! They were going to reward me for closing my account and wasting an afternoon! I sat up a bit straighter from my slumped totally bored position. It seems I have rather a lot of reward points on that card, that I was able to redeem as Marks and Spencer vouchers. Well, that perked me up I can tell you. Christmas is paid for!

The euphoria lasted until I got home and told Mike. He then started calculating how much I must have spent to have got enough vouchers to pay for Christmas. Sometimes it's not such a good idea to be married to an accountant........

See you tomorrow x


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Christmas Party Invites for Papercraft Inspirations Magazine....



So way back in the summer, when the sun was shining and the flowers were blooming, I was asked to make some Christmas party invitations for Papercraft Inspirations. They have appeared in this month's issue, on sale now. Two of them made the cover (except that you can't see them because they are covered up by the free gift!). This one was my favourite make, although it didn't make the cover. I loved the look of the black and white with just that little pop of red....



 I went for an eye test yesterday and saw a new optician.  All was well until he put some drops in my eyes. I still have blurry vision 24 hours later. I had some shopping to do and felt as if I should have been wearing sunglasses and maybe a white stick - it was that bad. I stumbled and squinted my way around town, and when I got home, all plans for crafting had to be put on the back burner as I couldn't see what I was doing. It really makes you appreciate the gift of sight when, temporarily, everything goes out of focus. So I feel as if I have been grounded - no crafting, and driving would be a bit dodgy to say the least. Still, look on the bright side, as I dashed out to the optician, I noticed a huge ginormous spider lurking by the front door.  Normally I would have conducted an eagle-eyed search for this monster as soon as I got back home, but he is probably sitting on the wall behind me laughing, as I squint at the computer screen to write this.

Hopefully I will see you all a lot more clearly tomorrow! x
    

Monday, 20 October 2014

Video - Starry skies and liquid frisket

Here's a quick video for you on using Liquid Frisket. What? It's a rubber masking fluid used apparently by great artists - and me, you find it in the art supplies aisles of craft stores. It's acutally pretty handy stuff to have around, you can dip a brush in and write or draw on your card, then go mad with the watercolour paints and peel the frisket off to show the white underneath. Go HERE to watch it on YouTube




 It does look as though there are a lot of shooting stars in this sky! MAKE A WISH!


Now I need to know, are you enjoying these videos? Any comments or criticisms welcome, let me know how I can improve, and what you would like to see.

See you tomorrow x

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Planning a planner....

So I keep seeing these blog posts all about using planners - now bear in mind that these blog posts are mainly by the superstars of the crafting world, those inspirational women/men who are juggling a high powered career in corporate law and, in their spare time, running a blog that is seen by millions, or those who have small children, what seems like a domestic zoo of pet animals, are governors of their children's schools and run a blog that is seen by millions.....or the superstar professional crafters who inspire all of us and work for dozens of companies and run blogs that are read on a daily basis by millions.....

Clearly, I don't fit into any of the above categories - my kids are grown, my grandchildren live the other end of the country, I'm retired and just bumble along doing a bit of crafting and chatting....

But I had to have a planner. I NEEDED a planner. I didn't see how I could have lived this long without a planner....so I bought one. The best deal I could find was one called 'Mum's planner'.... 


So in addition to the 'day to a page' thing, where I can write an hour by hour list of how I am going to spend my days, then transfer it to the next day because I didn't get anything done, there are all sorts of useful pages at the back, masses of them..... like this one....


or this? I mean, really....they only give you a couple of pages for this, their assumption being that sad organized people who use their planners don't have many friends!...



Now this next one could be useful, in fact I have already filled two pages...


What?........


This next one could be useful too, I could make lists of all the things I want to take, then when I am on my sunbed I could make lists of all the things I forgot...


Now this next one...well, are there really people out there who need to write down the names of their family. I mean, don't they know? Are there really mothers out there looking in a puzzled way at a scruffy little boy - 'who IS that kid? I wonder what his name is, oh yes, I've got it written down in my planner.......'


After watching all these videos I got quite carried away and even thought of doing a colour coded sticker system - red for Letraset posts, green for magazine deadlines and so on. But then reality dawned, and I knew that I would spend more time trying to remember the meaning of the coloured stickers, so I will stick with writing everything down, then making those satisfying little check marks when I have finished the task. Apparently you can get erasable pens too, now that sounds like a plan, so I am hunting for those. 

Oh yes, this planner is going to change my life (until sometime between January 17th and 29th when I know I will mislay it, buried under a pile of paper pads, never to be seen again, or at least not before December 31st 2015) 

So no card from me today, I have been too busy planning, but here are a couple of great thank you cards that arrived yesterday. This first one is from Pat, I would love to know what software you used to make this really personal card Pat.....thank you so much


and this lovely one, all the way from Florida. Thank you so much Jan, such a pretty card, we all want to know what die you used for that gorgeous lattice inset....


See you tomorrow x

Friday, 17 October 2014

Colouring white die cuts

I'm still having fun with this new machine, and I've been doing one of the things I love doing most with die cuts - cutting them in white then colouring them with my ProMarkers.....



and I am really sorry but I have forgotten which cartridge this cut came from - I think it was a mothers day cartridge. I have a two week trial which gives me access to all the available cartridges so I am like a kid in a candy shop. Anyway, the flower, butterfly and the hello word were all cut in white then coloured with lime and lilac markers. I added a bit of wink of stella clear glitter pen for a bit of sparkle, and the gems were also coloured with the markers. I like the effect, it looks like one of those exotic orchid type plants that posh florists use in giant displays in hotel foyers...


My foray into the world of charity shops was a bit of a damp squib this week, they have had a big clear out/clean up session so there was literally very little for me to do and I just hung around for an hour then went home. When I was straightening the clothes on the hanging rails and generally mooching around, a community police officer came in, she wandered around a bit, looked me up and down, then asked the twelve year old  young manager (poised behind the till so that I wouldn't get my hands on it and send it into meltdown again) "Any problems here? Any suspicious people hanging around?".....I swear she shot a meaningful look in my direction. I was wearing designer jeans and cashmere for goodness sake, suspicious people aren't grandmas wearing stuff that's been ironed are they?

So I went into town and bought a pack of Papermania Christmas papers to cheer myself up

and a 2015 planner. More, much more on this tomorrow...

If you follow the Craftwork Cards blog, you will have seen that I have decided to step down from the team after many years of happy crafting with them. Lots of tight deadlines, mad dashes to the post office, and waiting with bated breath for the postman to arrive with the stuff to make samples with! Some of the other team members have also left this month, I have loved working with them, I used to see what they had produced and think 'now why didn't I think of that!' so I wish Georgina Ford, Lisa Pearce, Kim Robertson, and of course my very best crafting buddy Kath Stewart the very best of luck with the next steps of our respective crafting journeys...

See you tomorrow x 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Adding Texture to Fur - and a giveaway or two...

 My turn to post over on the Letraset blog today, I did a video showing how I made this little bear look textured... he is a digi image from the Winston CD by Polkadoodles - cute!




Go HERE to see the video, it would be nice if you have time to leave a comment, Letraset are so good with all the giveaways they sponsor here. Leave your name below to be in with a chance of winning a set of six Metallic Markers - just in time for your Christmas cards. I have TWO sets to give away
The winners will get Silver, Pink, Red, Copper, Light Green and Black - some of these colours look fabulous on black cardstock

Right, I'm off to do charitable things, cheerio for now....

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

More Explore Snowflakes..

I seem to be a bit fixated on snowflakes at the moment, so I cut some more out of blue cardstock, and when I was done, I decided to try using the negative space as a stencil with some texture paste...


I sprinkled them with glitter while the paste was still wet....


added a die cut frame, a silver sentiment and a white seam binding bow....


and I had to do something with all those blue snowflakes, so I glittered them and heat embossed the base card with some Frantage Shabby White embossing powder  - this is a chunky powder that you don't use with an embossing pad, just sprinkle it where you want and heat from underneath so that it doesn't blow around all over the place....by the way, these cards were the makes on the missing, lamented video...



So one disadvantage of living in the UK is that nobody seems quite sure what to call it, so when you are online and have to use that drop down menu to find your country, you whizz down looking for United Kingdom. Not there! How can it not be there when Ubekhistan is (no emails please, I'm quite sure that's not how you spell it). Okay, scroll back up to G for Great Britain - nope, Ghana is there, Greece, but my little island has gone missing. Try E for England.....no, hello Equador....in the end it was lurking around in the B's - Britain. Don't they know we are Great? Happens again and again. The other thing they do is put it right at the top, always under the USA, just those two countries USA, United Kingdom, everything else then goes to alphabetical order. Confused...

See you tomorrow, when it's my turn to post over on the Letraset blog, and my day to cause chaos in the charity shop. Last time I was there an old chap came in and insisted I take a pen and paper to write down the name of a very good urologist he had been to see, not that I need a urologist, but I suppose it might come in handy one day....

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Texture Paste Video

Using my Explore to do a bit of 'paper knitting'.....






Here's a video for you today, to watch it on YouTube go HERE






So getting carried away with the video thing, yesterday was spent - all day, hours and hours - making a video. Flushed with success I went to edit it. Pouff, one wrong slice and the whole video disappeared into some video black hole, never to be seen again. Sobbing into my coffee....

But the grandchildren continue to delight. Unexpected quote of the day yesterday from five year old Milo who announced quite randomly to his mummy "Kandinsky was a famous artist, but he's dead now"

See you tomorrow x



Sunday, 12 October 2014

A New Toy - and some winners....

So look what's found it's way to my house.......



Yes, it's the Cricut Explore. Now back in April I was trying to choose between this and the Brother Scan N Cut, and plumped for the SNC, my reasoning being that I didn't want to spend time on the computer, and the Explore is unusable without computer access....

So what changed my mind? Well, it seems as though every machine requires a computer these days, the Brother needs a lot of messing around with the dreaded computer to upload files for cutting, the Silhouette software sort of defeated me last year, and I kept returning to my trusty Expression with my George cartridge firmly plugged in (I reckon I probably hold the world record for the most cuts done with the George cartridge - oh the  stars and hearts and basic shapes I have cut from that cartridge....

I kept reading glowing reports of the way the Explore cuts, so in the end, curiosity got the better of me, and here it is. I am taken with the thoughtful design of the machine - there are spaces built in to hold your tools, a big plus for me as I am notoriously messy when I craft. You can slide your mat under the machine for storage - and I keep the clear cover under there when the mat is in use - I used to toss it on the floor. Shiny acetate, wood floor = one twisted ankle, one slipped disc, one badly bruised rear end! 




Much more to come in the future no doubt on the fact that it can write, and has a newly released print to cut feature. I like the idea of being able to write a message or sentiment wherever I want on a card - sometimes I see cute sentiment stamps, or a great sentiment on a card in a shop, it will be nice to lift those sayings right onto my own cards.  I will not be doing 'how to' videos on the Explore,  there are masses of very talented people doing some very informative instruction videos on YouTube, but you are going to be seeing the results of my 'eureka' moments! What's more, the software is so easy to use, and I love being able to browse all the images in colour on the computer. I feel re-energized and full of ideas!


 Now this is going to be a very positive post, because I LOVE this machine. Those of you who have followed me for years, know that I don't design as such - welding circles and shapes together to make pretty intricate patterns has never interested me, although I greatly admire those with the skills to do this. No, my interest in die cutting is browsing through shapes until one leaps out at me and I think 'eureka' and then I do my thing with the cut. I like using die cuts with other techniques, so I often cut in white, and colour with my Promarkers, I distress, I sand, I ink, I emboss. The one thing that is paramount is that it cuts well, I don't want to spend hours poking out tiny little bits that haven't quite cut through. The reason I strayed from my beloved expression was the frustration I felt when I was trying to cut two inch high letters and it tore and chewed them up. 

So look at this....... that smallest snowflake is 3/4 of an inch! These were my very first cut, and they lifted right off that mat,  there wasn't a flaw in the cut and all the tiny bits just stayed behind on the mat when I lifted the snowflakes off...



The other thing I wanted to see was if it would cut perfect circles, a pretty basic sort of demand really, but that Expression never got it quite right, the scallops were always just a tiny bit wonky. So I pulled up this image from Paper Trimmings 2


Cut it in black, look at those perfect scallops and circles. I used promarkers in lime zest, lime and lush green, and oasis, cool aqua and duck egg to colour the white layer behind the butterflies, then popped it all up with foam pads


 and added some liquid pearls to the bodies of the butterflies...


Right, so on to a couple of winners 

The winner of the two sets of blending colours from my last Letraset post is


JENNYH

and the original winner of the 24 set of limited edition markers from my 3,000 followers giveaway still hasn't come forward, so I did another draw and the winner is

HELENA (GVENDALEN)



Congrats to you both, email me at enfysc@yahoo.co.uk and I will get your prozes sent to you

See you all tomorrow with another video.....

Thursday, 9 October 2014

And a Partridge in a Pear Tree...

Here's one made with one of last years stamps that remained un-inked - I think it is Penny Black (or maybe Hero Arts) - sorry, it was lurking out of the packaging pleading to be used....


 I used a woodgrain background stamp by Recollections stamped with Memento Rich Cocoa ink to add a bit of interest to the background. The sentiment stamp was a single stamp, but I snipped the bit saying 'and a' off to separate the words


I used Promarkers buttercup, tulip yellow, lime zest and pear green for the pears, lipstick red, red and warm grey 4 for the bow, and tan, terracotta and spice for the pot. The pears got a coat of glossy accents, and the bow some Wink of Stella clear glitter pen



and I made the partridge red - I am sure they aren't this colour, I have a feeling they are rather insignificant brown birds, but hey, I dressed him up for Christmas. 

I know I promised I wouldn't drive everyone crazy with Christmas cards, but time is a ticking and I need to get a move on if I am going to get them all done in time. One thing I am determined though is not to buy any more Christmas stamps, I have a great basket overflowing with them, and I did buy a few Woodware ones from this years collection. No more. Someone stop me!

Right, I'm off to dig out my sensible shoes for all the running around I will be doing in the charity shop this afternoon, see you tomorrow x  

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Video - Inking Embssed Backgrounds

Time for another video - how many of you have those embossing folders with words all over them? Me too, and I didn't quite know what to do with them until I tried this idea.......if you get my emails, you may need to click on the grey Going Buggy header on your email to bring you over here to watch the video...









sharing with you a couple of lovely thank you cards I got from some lovely followers, firstly from Sandra....


and this second one from Jessica....love that sentiment!


Thank you both so very much, I can't tell you how much I appreciate the time you took to make these lovely cards and mail them to me. 

The winner of the 24 limited edition set from Letraset has not claimed her prize. Scroll down to see if it's you. If I haven't heard from her by Saturday, I will draw another winner from all those who commented on the special giveaway post 

See you tomorrow x 

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Little Elves...



A couple of cards today, made with the same image - this delightful little elf I found on the new Polkadoodles Christmas CD - Festive Hollybobs

I coloured two of the little chaps - well when you have the right coloured markers out, and have chosen the papers, it's as easy to make two cards as one! Looking at this first one, I must just put a bit of a shadow under his feet to 'ground him, he looks as if he is hanging off that ribbon!





and I just changed the layout a little for the next one, and added a few sequins for a bit of sparkle....


I'll be back tomorrow with a video - if I can get my film directors hat on to do a bit of editing before then

So when we had our new router which was supposed to solve all our broadband problems, it works fine, the trouble is that everything else that depends on that WiFi connection didn't. So Apple TV, printer, iPhone, iPad, all my beloved gadgets went into a major sulk and refused to recognize any new passwords. The hours I have spent trying to sort this lot out, I could have written a book, painted a masterpiece, cooked a banquet for a hundred people (well, I couldn't really since I can't do any of that stuff, but I could have done SOMETHING), instead of which I have sat hunched over keyboards, muttering to myself, turning the air just a little bit blue, for hours and hours. Still, we are up and running again now.............and breathe.....

See you tomorrow x

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Safmat Washi Tape

It's my turn to post on the Letraset blog today, I've been playing with Safmat - it's easy to make your own washi tape......


Go HERE to see my little video on using it and making a couple of cards, leave a comment, then pop back here to leave your name to be in with a chance of winning TWO blending sets, you will get a red set, and a green set - just in time for those Christmas cards!



I will draw a winner next Thursday, and tell you who won on Friday. Good luck

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

First 'technique' video

Well after rather a large amount of blood, sweat and tears, I'm back in the video zone, and I sound rather miserable about it - forgive me, I was so busy trying to concentrate on a million different things at once, I forgot to sound happy! You asked for techniques, so that's what I'm doing, nothing new, nothing too fancy, but some of them may be new to you, or make you want to revisit an old friend






I found out how to speed things up, thinking you would all be bored, now I seem like some crazy crafty wonder-woman who whizzes through life at a hundred miles an hour! I do have a few more videos in the pipeline, but only if you are enjoying them, because the whole process is rather long and drawn out at this end - I'll probably get the hang of it soon!

So what's been going on in my world while I've been in broadband exile? Well, I sent the till at the charity shop into meltdown a couple of times, I think the child assistant manager is a bit irritated by me now, but is too frightened of me to say so. Then there was that awkward moment.....the one where you know you are just going to be hanging around at home all day, so throw on yesterdays jeans. Fine, until you have to unexpectedly pop to the bank, and on the way there have a moment of total panic because a large tumour seems to have grown on your knee overnight. Further investigation shows that it's yesterdays underwear making it's way down your jeans - thank heavens for skinny jeans, otherwise it may have been even more awkward...

See you tomorrow, when it's time for another Letraset post. Ahhh, it's so good to be back!