Blue Sky Tag Award Nomination

Mrs. Craft of: craftandothercrazyplans  totally made my day by nominating me for this ‘Blue Sky Tag’ award.  Thank you Mrs.Craft.  I’m truly honoured and totally cock-a-hoop at being bestowed such a lovely award.  It sort of lets me know that I must be doing  OK’ish’  for you to have thought of me.  Bless your heart.  I’m so very grateful to you. xxx

The task I have to complete in order to win the award is…

  1. Answer a set of questions which have been set by Mrs.Craft.
  2. Nominate 5 other blogs/people for the Blue Sky Tag award
  3. Set 5 Questions for the people I’ve nominated to answer. (it was supposed to be six, but I felt Five questions were more do-able,  any more could be a pain.  So five is what I’ve kept it to).

And that’s it.  Nothing more to do.

Soooo…  I’ll jump straight in and answer the questions Mrs.Craft has set, and I hope to both make her proud of her choice, and also give you a little entertainment along the way.  🙂

      1. What time of day are you most creative?    In the afternoons, leading into early evening.  Never in the mornings, unless something is pressingly urgent.  ...  for that read:  I’ve forgotten someone’s birthday and can’t simply buy a card because I know there are expectations for me to have made one.  A special one.  A VERY special one.  More special than anything ever seen before.  And I know that if I don’t come up with the goods, then someone is going to feel really upset and even quietly cross, that I didn’t obviously care enough to go the extra mile.  (Guilt plays a HUGE part in my life.  I am a slave to Master/Mistress Guilt).
      2. If you could try any new creative art, what would it be and why?  Well, I’ve tried rather a lot of them.  You see …  I’ve been a crafter almost all of my life.  I’ve done:  Card Making;  Pottery;  Jewellery Making;  Knitting;  Sewing;  Embroidery;  Felting;  Scrapbooking;  Melt Potting;  Painting – on canvas and paper;  Painting – decorative painting for house things;  Wreath making;   Floristry;  Tag Art;  Stone painting;  Decorative Painting on walls  (I even painted a woodland scene on a reception wall at my daughters first school). ATC’s and ACEO’s. …   Oh heck …  there’s more but my brain is beginning to hurt now as I’m trying to rememberise all this stuff! lol  …  But – there is one craft which I’m currently trying to master, and that’s Crochet.  I’m teaching myself and I have had a little bit of a success, but  my efforts do not live up to my aspirations.  :/   So work continues.  lol
        Raggedy Old Stool 1

        Evidence that if something sits still long enough, I’ll paint it.  This is now rather an old stool.  We tried to work out how old, and we think it’s between 15 and 17 years old

        Raggedy Old Stool 2

        I took FLASH ON and Flash OFF photo’s and none of them were particularly any good, but I’ll share them both with you so that you get an idea.

        Raggedy Old Stool 3

        A happy little chicken keeps guard on one side of the stool.

        Raggedy Old Stool 4

        A funky chicken keeps guard on the one side of the stool.

        Raggedy Old Stool 5

        Getting close up and personal!

        Raggedy Old Stool 6

        Two hanging hearts, hanging from a (painted) nail.

        Raggedy Old Stool 7

        that’s all folks!  😀

      3. Which famous artist/author/crafter would you like to meet?  Oh My Goodness!  Coo that’s a question and a half.  There are TONS of crafters I would like to meet.  Far too many of them to list just a few, and it would be awful to miss anyone out, so I won’t name any names as I love too many.  (is it possible to love too many crafters?  I think not).  😀  Authors  … ahhh now then, I could begin in my childhood and continue through to my daughters childhoods and name tons.   An elderly neighbour, Mrs. Cooke, from my young child years got me reading Catherine Cookson books from around the age of 7, and I ADORED them and her style of writing.  She has such a wonderful way of  ‘writing a picture’ and I could see everything inside my little head as if I were stood quietly in the corner watching things unfold.  From that came a life long love of Catherine Cookson … and I cried when they announced that she’d passed on, back in 1998.  I had at that point, every single book she’d written.  As I bought the books,  I read and kept every one.  With my first weeks wages I earned, the first thing I did was go into town and buy a Catherine Cookson book. And I never stopped buying until she passed away.  After that, books began to be produced, still in her name, and written in the same way and style, but they weren’t HER.  So I simply couldn’t buy them.  A few years ago I decided that I needed to pare down  the books I owned (not just Cookson – I read a LOT), and I chose certain books which were my absolute, never to part with, favourites as my ‘keeps’,  and gave all but a favourite few of my Cookson collection to the secretary at my daughters school.  Her mother (the secretary’s mother) was living in an Elderly Peoples home, and the residents didn’t have a great selection of reading material at that point.  They were trying to build a library for the residents,  so I donated all my Cookson books to that library, and apparently they went down a smash hit with the ladies there.  But I still own my favourites and still read them – even though I know them like the old friends they are.  Now we come to Artist …  awww again, I have a selection….  One would have to be  Beryl Cook.
        Beryl Cook - A Full House

        a painting by Beryl Cook – titled  ‘A Full House’

        If you don’t know who she is, Google her name and then view ‘Images’.  She paints in quite a naive(ish) sort of way, but includes such a ton of fun into her fabulous cheeky pieces and they tickle the heck out of me.  I think she and I would have got along fine and dandy.   Also Stanley Spencer – another English artist, who had such great talent for detail.  (Something I love).  His paintings can keep you looking, and looking, and looking – until you don’t realise how much time has passed and you’ve been hypnotised to the spot and held captive.

        Stanley Spencer Angels of the Apocalypse

        a painting by Stanley Spencer – entitled Angels of the Apocalypse

        Of course … there are the world known (paint) artists such as Raphael, (The Deliverance of Saint Peter is a fabulously pure work of heart)

        The Deliverance of St. Peter - by Raphael

        a painting by RaphaelThe Deliverance of Saint Peter.

        Then there’s Michelangelo who I’d love to have met and watched working.  I could add also Walter Crane – who’s paintings can make me gasp with delight.  And Theodor Severin Kittelsen …  such a huge talent and fabulously rich style.  Aw heck.. I could go on.  Please do Google any names you’re not familiar with and take a look at their art.

      4. What has been your longest craft project?  MeI’m my longest craft project.  I’m continually trying to make me a ‘better’ me.  It’s a never-ending project.
      5. What injuries have you sustained as a result of being creative?  Oh Lord!  My most continual one has to be the HOT GLUE GUN!  People out there who have never used one ….  I give you the biggest tip I can give to anyone …  When you plug in your glue gun to heat up, in the time you’re waiting, go and half fill a bowl with cold water.  This is so that when you get that hot glue on your fingers (and particularly your finger nails) you can instantly plunged the affected part into cold water and hold it there for a time.  You will never know pain like hot glue until you learn about it and feel it for yourself.  This tip is a SERIOUS ONE.  No jokes.
      6. What was your first ever creative project?  Probably painting when I was little.  Or … maybe pasta shapes stuck to card.  Something like that I would guess.  But my first serious one was making myself a nightdress out of one of my mothers old sheets.  She was going to throw it out and I begged for it.  She didn’t have a clue what I was going to make, but coooo – was she surprised when, some weeks later, I’d finished my project (which I’d been doing in secret) and put it on to show her.  It was all hand sewn, and even had little flowers and leaves which I’d embroidered, at the neckline.  I was so chuffed with how that turned out, and I wore it  until I eventually grew out of it.

Now it’s time for the nomination of 5 Crafters ….

I would like to nominate the following 5 crafters. It was a tough job to get it down to 5 as I personally would want all the blogs I follow to be awarded solid gold stars, simply for allowing me to follow them and putting up with my ramblings when I comment on their blogsBelieve me … they need awards for that alone!  🙂

  1.  Kim Styles Cards
  2. GluCrafted.com
  3. Puddleside Musings
  4. Paper and Ink Imaginings
  5. More Ink Please

Congratulations all!  You all have such fabulous style and I really enjoy and love your blogs.

All you now have to do is answer the 5 Questions below in a blog post on your blog.  You have to link back to this post, so that any of your readers can follow the chain and read other blogs so they’re not missing out on even more crafty fun!   After that you yourself get to nominate 5 blogs you follow and set questions for them!

Now I have to set 5 questions for these blog owners to answer, so listen up you folks, you have to answer these 5 questions:

  1.  When the crafting bug bit you  what was the first thing you made which gave you a sense of joy when you looked at your creation?
  2. Do you drive anyone in your family crazy with your crafting?  And if so … why?
  3. Do you buy anyone elses hand crafted items, and if so, what is that item likely to be?
  4. I have no doubt that you craft for other people … but do you ever make anything for yourself?  And if so … what things have you made for yourself?
  5. Do you sell your items, and  ... Where do you sell them?  Perhaps you could give us all a link so that if we’d like to buy from you we can!  (go on …  advertise yourself!)

And that, as they say, is all there is to it.  Once you’ve done this, you can then pick up the Blue Tag award from the top of this post, and take it to your own blog to use as the head of your post, and also put it in your awards over in your widget bar, if you do that.

Thank you so much for coming and having a bit of a read and a coffee with me.  It means so much to me and I love seeing you.  I normally try to post something crafty which I’ve made on a Monday, but I thought that I really should work on this nomination as I’ve had it for a whole week (or so) and really shouldn’t sit around crafting when I have something of importance to do.  tsk tsk Cobs!

Have a wonderful Monday – whatever you’re doing, wherever you’re doing it, and whatever the weather is like.  And remember …  be good to each other.

Great big squidges from me here, to you there  ~ 

sig-coffee-copy

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Things I’ve learned this week …

Welcome to Cobs weekly confessional about the things I’ve learned this week.. I’m going to dive straight in . . .

I’ve learned (for the millionth time) that I just am not good in hot weather.  I get terse and grumpy.

Hello God, … it’s me again.  I’m here asking for the same thing.  Could you please turn down the heat?  You know that hot weather just makes me grumpy and miserable, so please could you turn down the heat – even just a few degrees would be welcomed.  Thank you ~ Cobs. x

This week I’ve learned that there are some projects that just don’t photograph well, and because of that I can’t blog about them until I learn how to go about getting a decent photo.  [big – s.i.g.h]

I’ve been playing with some mediums which are new to me,  learning and testing them out to see how they perform and what works with them (and what doesn’t).  These products are:  Buff it, by Pinflair;  and Brusho.

brushos-1

Brusho = little pots of amazing Water Colour Ink Crystals (little pots of powders to you and I) which can be used in loads of different ways.

brushos-2

You can sprinkle a very SMALL amount onto some watercolour paper and spraying it with a fine mist spray of water.

brushos-5-sprinkled-sprayed-then-stamped

watercolour Brusho crystals sprinkled then sprayed

You can either then just leave it to do its own thing, or you can move it around by the use of a paintbrush or even picking it up and tipping the paper to make the colours run the way you want them to.

brushos-6-watered-card-crystals-mixed-with-water-on-a-tile-then-dragged-across-paper-then-stamped

Wet water-colour paper, sprinkled with brusho’s then dragged across the card.  The sentiment actually says: Live Every Moment. Laugh Every Day.  Love Beyond Words.  (but I stamped it in the wrong place and you can’t read the final line.  But since these are only ‘playing’ it really didn’t matter.)

brushos-3-painting

You can paint with the Brushoand the colours are wonderful!  Again, you only need to use the tiniest amount. If you add a little to some water, in a spray bottle, you can then use it as a colour spray and add a spray of droplets to your project.

Now onto my second new crafting product..

Buff It is like the most incredible wax that you’ve ever seen  BUT … it’s NOT WAX!  I would guess that a greater majority of readers have a pot or two of wax which we use in our crafting.  But … the problem with these waxes is that they smell to high heff!  Coo do they stink.  It’s Paraffin.   However  Buff it doesn’t smell at all.  You could (if you were crazy) pour a whole tub of Buff it onto your project and still not have to fling the doors open in order to get fresh air so that you don’t collapse.  Again, this is another product which you only need a tiny amount of.

buff-it-1

buff-it-2

You can use it ‘as is’ … or you can add a little water to it.  A LITTLE water.  It dries quickly – so remember to take out what you need, then close the lid!  Work a little quickly with it, but if it dries out too quickly you can use a fine mister spray and add just a tiny bit of water, and it’s ready to go again!

brushos-and-buff-it

Brusho and Buff it used together.  That’s the most incredible Gold colour not sunflower yellow as it looks in this photo.  I so wish I could have got a better photo.  Mr. Cobs saw this at this stage in the making and (in his words):  Wow, it looks like the Cosmos!  And I have to agree that when you see it with the naked eye, it actually does!

 

But … some of the projects I tried with these two wonderful craft magicals, just don’t show the real beauty which you can achieve with the products.  You can ‘see the things’ … but the camera just doesn’t pick up the magic.

Moving on …  Question for you:  When is a Sapphire not a Sapphire?  ……. [I’ll let you think about that one for a moment] ……

….. [still thinking?  —  Ready to give in?  …  ok, read on] . . .

I’ve learnt that . . . Sapphires and Rubies  . . .   are  . . .   the  same  Gem!

I know!  Surprised me, I’m telling you! 

Collectively Sapphires and Rubies are known as Corundum.  Their only difference is their colour!

Also … Sapphires don’t just come in blue.  Natural Sapphires can be found in pink,  white,  yellow,  green,  orange,  brown,  cognac,  black and purple!  (Did you know that you could get Sapphires in all these colours? It was a real eye opener to me.)  BUT …  Not only that …

Very rarely but . . . Sapphires can change colour.  Colour Change Sapphires will typically  be blue to violet in daylight, but will look purple to red indoors.

And a RARE PHENOMENON found in Sapphires is asterism.  This is where a gemstone exhibits special optical phenomena.  A six (or very rarely a twelve) pointed star will appear on the surface of the gem, that will move as the stone moves in the light.

And finally … 

I’ve learned this week …. that you don’t have to be using paper to get a paper cut, and neither do you need to be in your craft room!

Out shopping I wanted to feel the softness of a bathroom ‘rug’ (a mat for when you clamber out of the shower) – so with finger and thumb I kind of ‘pinched’ the mat so that I could get a feel for it.  But …  (be honest, you knew there was a ‘but’ didn’t you) …  in ‘pinching’ the bathroom mat, I lifted my other fingers out-of-the-way.  Now that seems like a safe enough thing to do doesn’t it?  [shakes head]  nope.  It most certainly isn’t!

The bathroom mat had a large piece of folded card over the top of it,  where a hanger was for hanging the mat up for display purposes.  In feeling the rug/mat,  I caught my middle finger (left hand) on the really thick card, and instantly felt the pain.  I looked down at my finger to see a gash with blood gently pumping out of it.

Now  come on!  Who would have thought that you could get a right ol’ paper cut from thick and chunky piece of card??  I could not believe it.

Mr. Cobs didn’t, in my opinion, take this injury at all seriously.  Do you know what he did when I showed him my life threatening injury?   He peered at my bloodied finger, pursed his lips, looked at me, made a ‘huhm’ sound, turned to walk off and as he did so he said:  “Well you won’t be doing that again, will you!

I stopped in my tracks,  mouth agape, eyes as wide as saucers, … I called after him:  “You do know that you can be replaced, don’t you?” …  he ignored me totally, and  from the shaking of his shoulders  I could tell he was laughing at me.  The cheek of the man!

The thing is …  he knows I won’t ‘replace’ him because,  quite frankly,  I couldn’t bear to go through all that training again.  The man couldn’t boil an egg until I whipped him into shape.  He can now cook a complete Christmas dinner with very little input from me.  He’s amazing.  But look .. if you see him, please don’t tell him I said this because he’ll only get high with delight and strut around like a rooster in a hen-house!

Well that’s me done and dusted and now it’s over to you.  What have you learned this week?   Do share …  not because I’m nosey … but because … no…  actually … it’s because I’m nosey.  So do share what you’ve learned this week via a comment in the box below ….  and none of us will judge you.  We might laugh at you … or we might cry with you.  But we’ll certainly make you feel welcome.

Ohhhhh… I think The Lord may have heard my request because the rumbling of thunder can be heard.  Maybe he’s going to cool it down by watering his garden.  Oh my goodness  … BIG thunder and crashing lightning!   Ooo.. the lights have all dimmed, the TV has lost its signal ….  awwwand the dog has come to sit on my feet as apparently I’m her best hope if something bad happens.  I’m going to get this post saved and posted before I lose the computer too!  eeek!

Wishing you a very happy Friday, and a wonderful weekend.  May your troubles be few and your happiness be high.

Oh ..  and …  be nice to each other.  Sending you squidges ~

Sig coffee copy

 

Hand painting Christmas …

Bless me bloggers for I have sinned ...  I didn’t show you the Christmas Cards I created and sent to my neighbours last Christmas.  [hangs head in shame]. But I’m here and able to post them now.  (Wouldn’t post them earlier in the year because it felt almost obscene to post about Christmas too soon.)

Made with a little help from a kit bought for me as a gift, from:  Folk It,  which contained all the colours of paints which I needed, (and I only already owned the one colour (white)), so I was happy to have the kit just to get everything there in one place.  If you haven’t painted before, or even if you have and need a little encouragement for whatever reason, I would thoroughly recommend their kits to you.  They don’t just come with the paints and a couple of brushes, (and a dotting tool), but they come with everything you need to make at least one project, or in the case of the cards – you would normally get around 4 or 5 really good quality cards & envelopes, a little booklet which helps you, plus it comes with a CD Rom that you simply put into your computer (in that little draw which you use to hold your coffee cup  – just joking.  I don’t do that.  At least .. not for a few months now. lol), and you watch as the delightful lady on-screen as she not only tells you what to do, but demonstrates IN REAL TIME as she teaches you – so you can watch, pause, paint, and then move on (but I’d recommend watching the CD Rom all the way through first … don’t run before you can walk, eh?)

Aw anyway .. you want to look at the piccies … so without further ado ….

angels-7

Angels, stars and snowflakes.  With the addition of an ‘angel feather’

All of the cards you see here, have that central panel with the painting on it – which is a piece of mount board, already cut to size for you.  But, you only get a certain amount in the kits which will help you to make the projects in the kit itself, however, you can purchase more of these cut to size mount boards from them directly (pack of 25 for £5.00).  I recommend their ready cut mount boards because I know how difficult mount board can be to cut.  (oh boy do I know!).  So if you can buy it ready cut then it removes the struggle.

angels-8

Another Angel card, this time with an embossed background.

mistletoe-1

Mistletoe …  PUCKER UP PETAL and brace yourself, I’m coming for a smacker!   … Good grief!! Cor  …  you can run faster than I thought you could just by looking at you!

mistletoe-2

Ok … you might have got away that time … but . .  here I come again  ….  [flicks the light switch and everything goes black]  ..  you’re not getting away that quick this time kiddo!

snowflake-3

A snowflake … on a chalky blue background.  The painted snowflake was sprinkled with very fine glitter before the paint dried, so that snowflake twinkles merrily when the light catches it.

snowflake-4

Another snowflake … only slightly different from the last.  I think I must have had a glass of wine too many when I took this photograph because it’s drunk and leaning!  LOL

Now I did a snowflake on black... but I should have taken more care as I slightly wandered off the straight and narrow, but I kept it anyway and was so glad that I did because at the last moment I realised I’d forgotten a card for the Postman!  So I quickly mounted the black backed snowflake onto a card and ran it past Mr. Cobs who said … “It’s fine!  Stop worrying!”  … so I tucked an ‘internationtionally accepted gift card‘  (i.e. [in this case] money) into the card and sealed it just in time before the postman arrived…..

snowflake-4a

Can you see where I wandered off the path of good and true?  Look down in the bottom left corner as you’re looking at the card right now.  It doesn’t end in the corner.  [sigh] … But, in crafting,  just as in life …  It’s the mistakes we make which teach us the things we need to learn.  …  Because this was for the Postman, I stamped a postal franking image on the envelope. lol.

wreath-6

To mix it up a bit, I turned the mount boards so that I was painting on the diamond rather than the square and this time it was a wreath.  Once the painting was dry I added a little satin bow in a deep vintage colour red.  (The berries are paint … not stickles).

wreath-5

And we end where we began … on a wreath, this time a thicker, fuller wreath, mounted on a square of mirror card in deep blue, which I punch around the edges of with a little hand punch.

Better late than never  …  those were the Christmas cards I posted to my neighbours last Christmas.  What am I going to make for them this Christmas?  Well,  right now I haven’t got the foggiest notion, but as soon as I’ve decide and have made some, I’ll share them with you!.

Happy Monday all.  The start of an all new, shiny, fresh out of the box, week.  Enjoy it.  Make a memory happen today.  One that your mind reminds you to remember.  Remember *that* moment.  A moment in time is just a moment in time … unless you remember it.  And then, it becomes a very special moment.  A magical moment.  A memory.

So … when you go to bed at the end of today ... just as you lay down to go to sleep … inside your head, remember something which happened during the day which either made you smile, laugh, or even something which was just an enjoyable moment in time.  A few seconds even.  Then remember what it was that made that moment a memory for you.  What special thing was it?   Fix that memory to the wall of your brain.  Put it up there on a memory post it note and pin it there with a pin, to make sure that it doesn’t fall down.  Now look around at all the other post it notes inside your head.  All your memories or moments.  Coooo … there are a lot.  Have a look at them as you drift off into sleep.

Sending big squidges from my corner to yours where you’re sitting right now.

Have a blessed day, my friend

Sig coffee copy

Stamping: how to; where; with; what; . . . & what next?

I love to craft, but freely admit that I’m a bit of a ‘crop sprayer’.  By that I mean that I don’t just stick to one craft. I make cards, tags, scrapbooks, boxes.  I work with polymer clays, making anything from a tiny miniature mushroom, or fairy baby’s little face, right up to a fairy tower for a princess,  with turrets and fairy door and .. well everything a Princess Fairy Tower would have!  I love to re-cycle or up-cycle by turning unwanted into something brilliant;  and …. I paint.  When the mood takes I will paint anything which stands still long enough.  Not painting as in ‘lets paint these walls a different colour’, but painting on:  canvas, wood, paper, card, coffee tables, dining room tables,  chipboard,  … or anything which doesn’t move when I’ve got a paintbrush in my hand and a need to use it.

But,  I actually started out my crafty adult (w-a-a-a-y  over the age of 21 plus tax)  years ‘potterying’.  Not on a potter’s wheel, but the other kind.  Hand building.  I can’t call it sculpting because (to me) that word kind of presumes that I might be good at it.  Now I wasn’t bad, –  in fact I made things which sold well at Craft Fairs, etc.  But I really don’t deserve the title of Sculptor.  I’m no Master Craftsman in any sense or form!

I learnt this incredible craft by going once a week to a genuine real sculptor (a true ‘Master Craftsman’ – coo, the things that this person could turn out were MAGNIFICENT!)  where I spent 3 hours each week, being taught how to do ‘stuff’.  Once the ‘magic’ of this incredible craft opened up to me I LOVED it.  The Sculptor brought out the best in me and showed me ‘how’ to do what I had in my mind to do, and how to get from a doodled drawing into something solid which I could amaze myself at when it was finished. (Half the time I couldn’t believe I’d made  *that*!)  But I wouldn’t ever have been able to make the things I did had it not been for this incredible Master of the art at Sculpting who shared all the knowledge with me.

And that’s the thing.  We all need someone with a little bit of knowledge about something, who we can ask for some general help from when, we want to begin something but aren’t sure exactly what we even need to know which would give us the confidence to do the ‘thing’ – whatever that thing might be.

A fabulous blogger who follows our little blog here,  by the name of Mrs. P. made a comment on a post I did on the blog, and in it she said….

“Have you ever done a post on the basics ~ please read that as … OK I want to try making a card / stamping, I’ve bought some stamps, an ink pad & even some die cut thingy’s and then realising I have the skill set of a 4 yr old …had a tantrum, put said goodies away only to retrieve them every now and again to stroke them, sigh deeply ~ repeat from tantrum to deep sighing on a regular basis”

When I read the comment I actually felt her pain, for when I first began stamping I did virtually the same thing.  I tried them, the images weren’t the fabulous things I’d hoped for so I put them away.  I tried again, and same result… and over a period of time I muddled my way through things and eventually learnt what worked and what didn’t.  So .. here I am, a total un-expert, trying to hold Mrs. P’s. hand, and give any help I can to encourage both Mrs. P and anyone else who finds stamping a pain in the you know what.  As I said…  I’m not an expert .. but here’s what I’ve learnt and what I think might help out.

* I’ll be using both words and photographs as we go through this bit of ‘help’, and in order to do this I’ve had to take a ton of photographs and do some stamping with you at the same time.  I’m sorry about there being so many photos.  With regard to the stamping ..  I’ve tried to, as much as possible, stamp like a regular new stamper.  So that any images here will show you that the images you’re stamping are fine, and also how to make good any little mishaps you might have.  I hope all this helps.

1 Blank Space

SCARY  BLANK  CARD!

When you face that blank card in front of you, it’s right at that moment that your nerve goes. Your brain whispers thngs like:-. What if I make a complete ba**s up of this and waste time  and a card and what if it all ends up in the bin?  I’m  sure I can’t do this!     Don’t listen to it.   You and I are going to prove to your brain that you’re the boss, and this stamping lark isn’t anything like difficult.

  • But first .. some rules and guidelines. 
  • There are no rules.
  • So lets get onto the guidelines:-

The better the stamp the crisper the image.  I’ve found that red rubber stamps give the most magnificent impression, however I LOVE clear stamps because I can see exactly where I’m placing the stamp.  It’s all down to personal preference.  And you won’t know which you prefer until you’ve been stamping for a short while.  (There are stamps about which look like red rubber stamps but aren’t. We’ll have to talk about that another time)

Ink Pads:  I hate to say this because .. well, I’m a canny shopper and watch the pennies, but … from experience … the cheaper the stamp pad you buy, the less ‘lovely’ the image is likely to be.  Obviously there are exceptions which prove the rule, but I’m just speaking from personal experience here, and because of that I don’t buy stamp pads from Ebay or anywhere other than recognised stores which sell crafty goodies. (Not necessarily craft stuff only stores.  I’ll buy from The Range, which is a fabulous place to shop for craft items (here in the UK) and I also have a selection of more affordable DoCrafts embossing stamp pads which work BRILLIANTLY.  But I don’t buy from market stalls or things like that).

CLEANING UP!  …  You MUST clean your stamps after you’ve used them.  As soon as possible after you’ve used them.  Personally – I use Huggies Baby Wipes.  The reason I use this brand is because they have no Alcohol in them.  (Lots of baby wipes do have alcohol, so check the list of ‘ingredients’ if you’re buying them for your stamps, as alcohol spoils the stamps!  Why its used in BABY wipes is a total mystery to me … if I’m protecting my crafting stamps from alcohol, then surely we shouldn’t be wiping our babies btm’s and hands/faces with wipes containing it?  Yes?  No?  Is that just me thinking like that?)

Anyhoo ... let’s begin….

1.  Begin on a piece of scrap card.  Play with your stamps just like a child would play with them.  Stamp over and over. Just to remove the fear of the action of stamping and making a mangled mess of inky shapes on a bit of card.

2.  Now turn your bit of scrap card over,  once you’ve done the first exercise Then grab your computer mouse mat.  (If you haven’t got one of those, please buy one.  Just a cheapy one – so long as it’s that squishy rubber or sponge type – rubber like neoprene rubber  or sponge like a kind of firm foam sponge with a bit of ‘give’ –  and then keep it just for stamping).   In the meantime, if you haven’t got a mouse mat, use something like a folded FLAT weavenot the bobbly type – tea towel*.  Fold it, make sure there are no creased up bits which will make marks on your ink.  Then once folded neatly … put it on your work area,  where you’ll be stamping,  right in front of you. (*or an old pillowcase would do)

3.  Put a plain sheet of A4 on top of it.  Just copy paper.  Nothing posh or expensive.  Use the cheap stuff.  This is so you won’t mark your mouse mat/tea towel/pillowcase nor your desk.  You DO need that bit of paper.  (You can also check out the colour of a stamp pad on it, and .. it will also keep your cardstock clean too).

4.  Now place your piece of scrap card on top of that, making sure that it’s positioned firmly over the folded tea towel at the bottom of the pile of paper and card. You’ll find that if you stamp your image over the edge of the mouse mat etc, then you’ll get a really rubbish image with bits missing and the chance of the line of the mouse mat pressing into the cardstock and giving it a ‘bend’.

5.  Choose your stamp, if it’s a wooden one then you’re ready to go, if it’s an unmounted stamp then choose a stamp block which is plenty big enough to hold the complete stamp.

6.  Choose your ink pad  then tap your STAMP with the Ink pad.  Don’t leave the ink pad on the desk and jab the stamp up and down on it.  Instead, pick the stamp pad up and hold your stamp in the other hand and tapping the ink pad onto the stamp, move it around so that the ink pad gets tapped all over it, watching as you do it so that you don’t wobble  the edges of the stamp or stamping block onto the inky surface.  If you do this by accident, then either use your thumb to rub away the excess or use a baby wipe to wipe it away so that it doesn’t end up marking your card.  This tapping all over the ink pad is in case there are any ‘cold spots’ on the pad, where perhaps the ink is just a tiny bit less intense.  By moving the stamp pad over your stamp, in a tap, tap, tapping motion, you’ll ensure that you have inked all the raised parts of your stamp equally.  Oh .. and don’t ‘drag’ your pad over your stamp, because you’ll end up with a build up of ink in places and it will transfer to your card, making an uneven colouring.

7.  Carefully place your stamp down on your cardstock and press down, firmly  but not hard.  You aren’t trying to push it through the desk top!  But you do want to ensure that all the raised parts of the stamp are in contact with the card.  DON’T ROCK YOUR STAMP!  If you do then you’ll likely get a ghost effect of parts of the stamp.  If you’ve done that then don’t fret.  It happens to everyone.  Just stamp it again.  At the moment we’re only playing anyway!

4 Stamped

8.   Now .. take another, different bit of card and place it on the desk top, but not on the pad of tea towel and A4 paper.  Tap the same stamp you’ve just used, with the same ink pad, and then using the same firm press,  press that same stamp onto that piece of card.  Check out the difference between the two images.  Which one looks best to you?

Some stamps will work and give you the exact same image every time.  However most of the others won’t.  Most images which a stamper produces are much improved by the use of a mouse mat, or the folded tea towel/pillowcase.  There’s something in that bit of ‘give’ which just makes the impression so much sharper, neater, better.  But … if your stamp works without it then that’s great.

Each stamp may need a different method, so the best thing to do is stamp your stamp on some scrap card or pape before you begin your actual project, so that you can give it a test first.

Now .. choose your favourite image which you’ve stamped and let’s colour it in. . .

5 Colouring

You don’t HAVE to colour in a stamped image by using pens or crayons

How do you like to colour things in?  Is your craft room complete with specialist pens, crayons etc which you paid a price for?  Do you get along with those things?  Do you get great results?  If so, then use those.  Use the method which you love the most.

Not everyone is a colourist (the name for someone who colours their images with specialist colouring pens/pencils).  For those who either don’t like the results they get with pens, or would just like to try something a little different, or if you don’t have special colouring pens … then here’s something you can do which won’t cost the earth.  All your need is a few paint brushes which are suitable for water-colours and your stamp pads.

Choose a colour from your ink pads which you’d like to ‘paint’ your image.  Stamp that stamp pad onto your glass cutting mat.  (If you don’t have one of those … do you have a glass cutting board in your kitchen?  Could you ‘borrow’ it,  just to use one corner of it, just for this teach in?  If not – do you have a little plastic palette, the type used by painters?  Or.. do you have one of those foam plates which you used to see as picnic plates?  One of those would work fine too.  Last suggestion … a spare odd saucer or plate – but wash it thoroughly before any food use.  You’re using dye inks here – so if you have an odd saucer which you don’t use then that would be best.)

6 More colouring

You need a little pot, or a saucer for some water.  You don’t need much water – just about a tablespoonful – so you don’t need a huge, great thumping dish!

As you see in the photo above, I’ve stamped a Danube Blue Memento ink pad onto my glass mat.  I dipped my brush into the little bit of water in the pot, then dragged most of the water off the brush,  and only then did I tap my brush onto the glass mat next to the inky blob.

Use your brush to mix a tiny part of the inky blob and pick up some ink, and take it straight to your image. (don’t hang around as the brush will dry pretty quickly).  Use a brush size which is appropriate to what your ‘painting’.  If you have a tiny flower then obviously don’t use a one inch brush!. lol.

Use as many colours or as few, as you like.  Colour your image in any way you want.  If you’re finding that you can’t paint in a neat way .. then paint in a ‘Contemporary Art’ way.  Blob, stripe, stroke, dabble or anything you like which works for you.  Remember, we’re only playing so anything goes!

7 Fin colours

A more contemporary style of colouring an image.  Who would have thought that a church would have looked so fabulous painted blue, yellow, purple and orange!

Once you’ve done that  colour one of your other images which you’ve stamped  .. only this time in different coloursPens/Crayons/Inks/Paints … anything you choose – just use different colours.

8 Diff. colourway 1

colouring another image using different colours.

9 Diff. colourway 2

Another Contemporary Art church!

Ok ... let’s use some words now ….

10 Stamping Sentiment

Now choose a sentiment stamp which would kind of ‘go’ with your image.  And using the same tap, tap, tap method of the ink pad  on the stamp (not the other way round) ink up and then stamp your sentiment near to your image – near it so that it speaks to it – but not so far apart that it looks like the words and image have had a row and fallen out!

12 Diff col

Of course …  You don’t have to colour your image in at all.  You can leave it exactly as it is, and it can look rather swish and very classic. . .

13 No colour

14 Diff Col plus , , ,

But … how about different colours again, but this time … lets take it a step further . . .

15 With spray still wet

. . .   let’s spritz it with a spritzer which has some Mica suspended in the liquid, so that when it dries after a few minutes …

16 Dry Spray

It dries perhaps a little paler but .. hang on … where’s that Mica? ....

17

Ah haaaa!  There it is.  Twinkling away merrily!

Ok .. we’ve done that stamp.  Let’s try a different one, and this time a different colour of stamp pad.

Lots of people only stamp in black ink.  I’m not sure if that’s because they love the black ink so don’t want to try any other colour,  …  or if maybe they just haven’t thought about another colour … or if perhaps they have no idea about what colour to use so use black for safety.  Different colours can give you different results.  Even stamp pads from the same company.  It’s not that the ink isn’t the same, it’s the colour which is different.  Each colour will do things for you which another colour might not do.

Let’s trygrey….

18 Stamping with different colours

This wee little rascally rabbit is stamped using a  Memento Ink pad in a colour called London Fog.  It gives a much softer image.  Imagine that same image in black.  In the London Fog (grey) it looks more … pencil drawn. More soft.  Gentle.

But .. what would it look like in another colour?

19 Diff. Col. comparison

London Fog on the left. Rich Cocoa in the middle.  Tuxedo Black on the right.

20 Colour Comparison

A closer up photo so you can see it more easily.  (I forgot to say .. if you want to see the photographs bigger than they are here, right-click on any photo and choose ‘View Image’.  Don’t forget to click to come BACK here again though!)

You can see how the exact same image gives a totally different ‘feel’ about it, simply by the choice of ink colour.  If you want to stamp an image but are not sure of which stamp pad to use, then test stamp it first.  Do a comparison like the one above of the rabbits.  If you stamp them near to each other (but give a little space so that they have their own space to ‘be’) you’ll make choosing so much easier for yourself.

I think out of those images I rather like the Rich Cocoa colour in the middle.  Let’s try that colour on another image …

21 Different stamp

Aww!  So sweet and so right in that Rich Cocoa Brown.

Ok … so far we’ve only used an unmounted stamp here.  Let’s try something different.  Let’s go to a wooden mounted stamp, but let’s make it a difficult size.  This next stamp is so big that I have difficult holding it in one hand.

22  Lets try a BIG stamp

A large wooden mounted stamp in red rubber.  Large stamps can be a pain in the rear, so don’t expect to get a perfect image the first time you stamp it. You’ll have to get used to the size and shape, as well as the heaviness of this type of stamp.  So give yourself chance.

Large, detailed stamps such as the falling fairy one above, can be a tricky to decide on what colour to stamp it in sometimes. You can just use one solid colour stamp pad and stamp it out like the church I stamped (above), then you can colour the image afterwards in various ways.  Or .. you can play around with your stamp pad colours and stamp the stamp in an assortment of carefully placed colours so that you have some colours there already  … like this …

23 Stamping in colours all at once

The inks around the right side of the image, are all the colours I used  on that one large stamp, all at the same time.

This multi colour stamping is a great trick.  But … you have to be quick –  unless you’re using embossing ink pads – those dry slowly so will allow you the extra time you require to stamp the inks onto the stamp.

But .. if using Dye Inks… they dry quickly, so you need to be quick applying the inks onto the stamp.  BUT … here’s the trick…  If you feel you might have taken just a few seconds too long:-  Hold your stamp up to your mouth, open your mouth as if you were yawning a big yawn, but take a breath in and HUUUFFFFFF a long huff on your stamp.

Imagine you were trying to blow a candle out with your mouth wide open, or if you had some fingerprint marks on your glasses (spectacles) and you wanted to get them off using a tissue … you’d HUFF on the lens and then wipe it with the tissue).  HUFF!  You might want to huff a couple of times if the stamp is huge.  But again … try it out on scrap card first.  Then you’ll know what to do to make it work for you and your stamp.

Ok … Let’s move forward onto something more kind of grown up, but still a ton of fun.

But …  I’ve kept you here for quite long enough for one day.  How about we do the second part of this ‘helper’ tomorrow, so that your  b.t.m.’s  don’t loose all feeling and you don’t get DVT from sitting there reading this.  🙂

Well it’s Monday again, and yet again, someone has stolen three days from last week.  I’d like to know who’s doing that, and if I catch the little divil, I’ll string him up by his ears!

All that’s left for me to say is …  I hope your Monday is wonderful.  Be it peace filled or full 0f excitement.  Just …  whatever you’re doing today … at some point stop and realise that right at that moment you’re making a memory.  All you have to do is commit it to memory, memorise it,  and then perhaps share that memory with someone later in the day.  Share it with me if you like.  I’d love to hear about it!

Sending oodles of lve your way.  Have a good one my friends  ~

Sig coffee copy

 

 

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The Reawakening of . . . The Little Bitty Box.

Hello!  Happy Tuesday!

I’ve done something crafty which is a bit different from my ‘normal’ and I hope you find this post an enjoyable read.

Where I live there are a small handful of local shops:  Somewhere to buy newspapers and a few groceries; a pet store; a charity shop;  and a ‘Store 21’.  (That’s what it’s called).   Now I love all of these shops.  They’re just down the road from my home and although I don’t visit them all that often, when I do visit, I always come home with something that I’m excited about.

Last time I visited Store 21 (about a month or so ago) I picked up something in their sale.  It was a little pale brown box with a hinged lid, and a clear, viewing glass window within the lid.  It was really cheap – something like 99p (about $1.45 for USA folks) – and the size was perfect for the tools I use at my craft desk, over and over and over again,  alllll the time.

Four different types of tweezers:  2 different needle nose tweezers;  a pair of flat end tweezers; and a pair of slanted (eyebrow plucking) tweezers.  A Tim Holtz pick.  A paper edge ruffer upper (I have no idea what they’re really called but I like my description. lol).  Eraser, pens, small scissors – and one or two other bits and pieces.

If I move onto another desk, I have to take all this junk  important equipment, with me,  so when I saw the little box I thought it was a great way of having everything stored in one place and easily ‘moveable’.  So I bought it.

It’s worked brilliantly.  I’ve loved it.  But it wasn’t originally designed for this purpose.  It was meant to be for spare change.  It actually had the word:  ‘COINS‘  in wood, attached to the front.

On Saturday I sat at my desk wondering what to make …  and my eye wandered over my desk.  “I wonder if I could get that ‘COINS’ off that box without damaging the box?”  I thought to myself.  No sooner was the thought,  a deed.  I took my little flat nose tweezers and gently eased the end of one side behind the ‘S’ ….  “oooo, it’s coming away!” …  . . . . . . {c.r.a.c.k.}  … aaah nuts.  It’s broken.  Ah well, I’ve started now so I’ve got to get the rest off”.…  and in I went with the tweezers again … pushing, easing, moving, wiggling . . .  until eventually the whole of the word had parted company with the box.

I sat back and looked at the result.  (and sighed) . . .  Well now it just looked sad.  It was a box without a purpose.  I suddenly felt really guilty about robbing it of its identity. 

“Well I’m going to have to do something about you now, aren’t I!” – I told the box.

I should say that at this point I was at a loss at what to do with the little (sad-looking) box.

  • Napkin it?  No.
  • Cover it with decorative tissue paper?  No.
  • Turn it into something amazing with some Graphic 45 papers and some paper flowers & adornments?  No.

I knew there was only one option .. paint it.

I decided on folksy/country-style – (which has always been my favourite to be honest)  –  so, that decided – I thought I’d keep it simple because the box was too small for anything fancy.

I totally forgot to take a photograph of the box before I began this ‘change’, but I did remember just after I applied a coat of Gesso, so here I am,  offering you a sequence of photos,  with captions,  on:-

. . .  The Doing Up of the Little Bitty Box. 

The broken  'COINS'. I'm showing you the inside of the box so that you can see what the colour originally was before I began throwing paint around.

The broken ‘COINS’.
I’m showing you the inside of the box so that you can see what the colour originally was before I began throwing paint around.

All that junk ... {cough} I mean the important equipment you see up in that corner there ... that's all the stuff which lives in the Litty Bitty Box.

All that junk … {cough} I mean the important equipment you see up in that corner there … that’s all the stuff which lives in the Little Bitty Box.

The Gesso attacked the poor defenceless Little Bitty Box and made it 'white' (ish)

The Gesso attacked the poor defenceless Little Bitty Box and made it ‘white’ (ish)

So ... what are you going to paint on this box then?

So … what are you going to paint on this box then?

Want to see a bit more of the madness on my desk?  (And this is just one of four desks I have in my craft room.  I love this one ... It's deep and loooong)

Want to see a bit more of the madness on my desk? (And this is just one of four desks I have in my craft room. I love this one … It’s deep and loooong)

Oooooo errr!  Cream paint on top of the Gesso. Red paint around the tops and bottom of the box. Green paint up the corners. What's next I wonder?

Oooooo errr! Cream paint on top of the Gesso.
Red paint around the tops and bottom of the box.
Green paint up the corners.
What’s next I wonder?

Well  who would have guessed that this dope would have put checker board pattern on this little box? Does she not know that she has stupid fingers and can't draw a straight line, let alone paint one!

Well who would have guessed that this dope would have put checker board pattern on this little box?
Does she not know that she has stupid fingers and can’t draw a straight line, let alone paint one!

Ok .. done the front and one side and it doesn't look tooooo bad .... but she's got two other sides to go.   This is a car crash waiting to happen.  Any second now she's going to drop that paint brush and paint will go everywhere! {snigger}

Ok .. done the front and one side and it doesn’t look tooooo bad …. but she’s got two other sides to go.
This is a car crash waiting to happen. Any second now she’s going to drop that paint brush and paint will go everywhere!. {snigger}

Time to do the back ...

Time to do the back …

Well knock me down with a feather.  She's done it!  checker board on all four sides!

Well knock me down with a feather. She’s done it! checker board on all four sides!

But wait a minute .... what's she up to?   What on earth is that blob all about?

But wait a minute …. what’s she up to?
What on earth is that blob all about?

What on earth is that?  Is it a cloud? A marshmallow? Cotton wool ball?

What on earth is that? Is it a cloud?
A marshmallow?
Cotton wool ball?

Ohhh ... it's a folksy country style Sheep!

Ohhh … it’s a folksy country-style Sheep! I wonder why she decided on a sheep?

She's stuck bits of sticky backed felt to the bottom of the box so that it doesn't scratch her glass mats.

She’s stuck bits of sticky backed felt to the bottom of the box so that it doesn’t scratch her glass mats.

Finally .... in it's rightful place, with all those tools tucked snug inside it.

Finally …. in its rightful place, with all those tools tucked snug inside it. That little bitty box has lived in that space since the day it came home. Works perfectly!

The sheep? … I painted that because there are these teeny-weeny sheep all around my craft room.  Hidden in little spots.  (There’s even one which glows in the dark).  They’re not ‘my‘ sheep.  They belonged to my daughter who collected little sheep, anywhere she found them, when she was younger,  and now, (that she’s ‘grown up’)  they’ve all gathered in my craft room and are keeping me company.  They make me smile.  Apart from the glow in the dark one.  He totally freaks me out when I turn the light off at night-time, and glance around the room to see if there are any ‘standby’ lights still on, in case I’ve forgotten to turn something off.  (normally the printer).  There he stands … glowing like a tiny green fluffy cloud with a black face and green glowing smiley eyes.  FREAKY is an understatement!

Aw .. but anyhooo ….  Thank you so much for coming and spending a bit of fun time with me and my little bitty box.  (Yes I really do call it that).  I have to admit that it’s left me feeling that I want to paint something else now!  I know that ‘painting’ is a bit of a ‘different from the normal’ type of thing for me to be posting on my blog, … but I hope you’ve had a smile at the pictures and their captions.  ‘Make room for some fun in your life’  is my motto … and there’s ALWAYS room for fun!

I love to hear from you so please feel free to tap a comment out on your keyboard.  I love to get to know everyone who’s visiting.  I don’t always comment back, because I like to think that your comment will show up over to the right here (in the last ten comments section) and give you some free advertising for your own blog.  If I comment, then it puts my comments over there   –  and you don’t need to see my comments … you need other visitors to see yours so that they come and have a look around your blog But … I read every single comment without fail, and I do respond if there is a question you want to ask.  So ask away and I promise to reply to questions.

But anyway,  for now  … I wish you an excellent day!

with love ~

Cobs siggy sml

 

 

Huggies Baby Wipes – My Craft Recommendation of the Week!

Huggies  ... a crafters best friend in the craft room

Huggies
… a crafters best friend in the craft room

There’s one product that, as a crafter, I’ve never  ever been without in my craft room and that product is Huggies Baby Wipes They’re the most incredible thing for clean up jobs  –   for work tops, blending mats, glass cutting mats and they’re brilliant for cleaning your hands after you’ve been playing in your inks and blending.

They work with paint, stamp pad inks,  spills, and all the general madness which goes on in craft rooms.  They’re  FANDABBYDOZY  at cleaning up glitter – and we all know how that can spread itself around the place.  The glitter sticks to the Huggies wipe and you can just collect it all up and straight into the bin!

Price wise, here in the UK, I normally find them for around £1.  I know that Superdrug normally stock them for 99p;  and I’ve bought them from Tesco’s when they’re on offer – and stock up with them when they’re on a buy one get one free. Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons,  Boots and Waitrose either stock them for a pound or you can buy 2 for £2 – (buying just one pack makes them more than a pound, but buy two at the same time and you get the offer).

Huggies actually make six different wipes, but I only ever use Huggies Pure which are in a soft biscuit coloured pack,  (see a pack at the top of this post) or Huggies Natural Care – which are in the familiar green pack.

Not just for babies bottoms!

Not just for babies bottoms!

For Stampersthose who use rubber stamps to craft – Huggies are one of the best wipes to use as they contain no alcohol.  Alcohol is a stamps worst enemy as it slowly breaks down the rubber of the stamp and you then end up with a print which is exceptionally poor, and since stamps are so expensive they’re worth taking care of.

Now I know that there are special wipes which are apparently made just for crafters.  There are, I’m led to believe, even wipes that are made for crafters which can be used, washed and re-used.  But …  why would you want to do that?  If that’s what you want to do, then why not buy old towels from a charity shop, cut them into wipe sized squares and use those?  Surely the one thing us crafters don’t want to spend time doing is using the washing machine and sorting whites, mixed colours, woollens, darks and … crafting wipes!  (You really wouldn’t want to wash them with your lovely clothes!) And besides which … I’ve looked on the internet and these ‘special crafters’ wipes cost a fortune!

Nope … my recommendation of the week  year  CENTURY, is  Huggies Baby Wipes.

Oh .. and want to know something else great about them?  I’ve found that the Huggies Pure wipes (the ones in the biscuit coloured pack) – are fantastic for removing your cosmetics at the end of the day, and boy do they leave your face soft!  Double whammy!  Yay.

Happy Crafting all!

Cobs siggy sml