Saturday, 16 June 2018

We're back in the Cotswolds .......

Happy weekend!

I hope you've had a good week.
It was a little bit of a busy one for me .... talk about multi-tasking!! Everything got done though, and the craft room door is now closed ....... in fact all the doors are closed because it’s time to relax. We're on holiday!!

This is home for the next seven days .....

The gorgeous Welcome Cottage, in the picturesque town of Bourton-on-the -Water. 


Yep, the family is back in the Cotswolds .......

It was a bit of a long journey here ....... ferry crossing was good, it was just the traffic and road works on the motorways that took the time.   We made it though!

Before I get into full holiday mood I thought I’d better share last weekend’s workshop with you.  It was a day of mixed emotions ....... we all had a great time as usual but it was a little bit sad as it was the last one for a while.
Things have been so full on lately I feel it’s time for a break. That’s the reason I’ve been stepping down from some of my DT commitments. I need some time for me!

We went out in style though, with a little bit of mixed media, using rice papers to decorate an oversized MDF tag ....... 
I did have a little bit of help with this one, as I'd never used rice papers before.  I must say I'm hooked!

Rice papers ...... love this face

A couple of my favourite stencils and texture paste, coloured with metallic paints and waxes

Lots of embellishments layered to add detail, texture and dimension  .....

Some words ......

And then finished off with a few Art Stones here and there .....

Here's the back of the tag ......

The papers are so lovely, you can use full sheets but, it's nice to tear just pieces of them .... they go further then too! 

It was a lovely workshop and we’re all now hooked on rice papers. If you’ve never used them before, give them a go, I will warn you though .... they are addictive!

Once I’d finished my tag, I was looking for other things to decorate using up all the bits ...... it’s worse than cutting into designer papers, you don’t want to waste any. With rice papers even the tiniest piece that you tear off has to be saved and used for another project 

I came across some small hearts in my MDF box and thought they would make cute little handbag charms ..... what do you think?

Pretty MDF hearts simply covered with small pieces of rice paper and embellished with jewellery bits

There was a few sad faces as it was the last workshop but as I said to them all, just because I’m not doing workshops it doesn’t mean that we all can’t get together for a crafty day.

No craft this week though ..... I haven’t even brought a journal with me, no pens or paints, and definitely no stamps ..... nothing! I do have my laptop though, so I’ll be able to keep up with everybody, check blogs and comment etc. but this week is all about family time ..... happy days!

Thanks for popping by .... enjoy the rest of your day and have a lovely weekend.
Think we may just pop over to Cheltenham later .... the Food & Drink Festival is on this weekend and it would be a shame to miss it!

Cheerio until next time ......

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Happy 5th Birthday STAMPlorations! .......

Happy Wednesday ......

I hope you're having a good week.
We're off on our annual family get together on Friday so things are a little busy here at the moment getting everything ready.

June's a busy month for the STAMPlorations team too.  Why? ...... because it's our birthday.  STAMPlorations is 5 years old!!!  WOW! ....... that's 5 years of amazing stamps, stencils and dies, and a whole load of inspiration from the brains behind it all ..... Shery, and of course the STAMPgirls (sounds like a band!)


As you can see we're having a little bit of a celebration ...... and you can join in with the fun too!

There's prizes up for grabs, special offers in store, a Flash Sale EVERY Monday during June and, Freebie days EVERY week ..... told you we were celebrating!

The prizes are ......

  • For the Link up CASE project ....... $50 Gift Certificate each to 5 randomly drawn players
  • For commenting on the Blog posts .......  $25 Gift Certificate each for 5 randomly drawn commenters
  • The Wishlist Linky Party ......  5 randomly drawn participants will each win products, upto the value of $25, from their wishlists
 All you have to do to join in is ......
  • visit and comment on the designers blogs
  • CASE one, or more, of the STAMPgirls designs and join the linky party
  • link up your STAMPlorations Wishlist (check out here for all the details)
** CASEing, commenting and linking up to the Wishlist Linky party ends on July 3rd**
Winners will be announced on July 10th
As I said we're celebrating, with something a little bit special.  If you've been following the STAMPlorations blog you'll already know that each day in June, Shery is showcasing one of the STAMPgirls ..... today it's my turn!!

I've been having fun recently with the Faux Bleaching Technique using Distress Oxides and water.  I love how these inks react with even the smallest amount of water, and the colours are amazing.  If you haven't already tried this technique, why not give it a go ....... feel free to CASE

Simply stamp your favourite floral image onto a piece of white card, heat emboss in white, then add your colours over the top ..... easy.  Rub away any ink left on the embossed lines to make your images really pop

I've used the gorgeous Blossom Sprays #1 .... it's such a pretty design.
I applied two colours of Distress Oxide ink over the top of the embossed flowers, blending them together in the centre (Twisted Citron and Squeezed Lemonade)
Once I was happy with the coverage I took a paintbrush and some clean water and 'painted' some of the flowers and the leaves.  The water reacts with the ink and can then be removed with a paper towel giving this bleached look ....

A few splatters of water and a sentiment finishes the card ..... with a few sequins for added sparkle

Same stamp ..... same technique ..... but different colours (Salty Ocean and Blueprint Sketch)

This time, instead of a stamped sentiment I used one of the CUTplorations thin metal dies and inlaid it into the stamped panel,

layering it with two cut from white cardstock to add dimension

I'm so happy, and very proud to have been a part of such a wonderful Design Team ....... I say 'have been'  because this is my last STAMPlorations post (sigh) 
After a little over two and a half years being part of the STAMP family, on both the CAS Card team and the TAG team, I've made the hard decision to step down at the end of this month.

It's been an amazing journey.  A BIG Thank You to Shery for having me on the team and giving me the chance to be part of such a talented DT ..... I'm going to miss you all but, I will still be following all the blogs (you don't get rid of me that easy!) and you know I love my STAMPlorations products!
Here's some of my favourite makes from my time here ......

Another beautiful floral image ....... Blossom Sprays #2 and the pretty split colouring technique

Masculine designs ..... always difficult to create I find, not with STAMPlorations products though ...... Good Books and Coffee did the job perfectly.

And finally, florals again ...... this time a tag using the Blossom Sprays #1.  How different does it look when coloured in.

Well that's it from me.  I hope you've enjoyed reading my posts as much as I've enjoyed writing them and I hope you feel inspired to join in with our birthday celebrations.

I'd like to wish Shery, and the team, many, many more years of success, and hope that STAMPlorations continues to go from strength to strength.

Don't forget, CASE any of the above designs or your favourite design from one of the other STAMP girls and link it up here to be in with a chance of winning one of the fabulous prizes.

Happy stamping!

Thanks for popping by ..... enjoy the rest of your day.
I'm off to make a start on the packing now .... only two more sleeps!

Cheerio until next time ......

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Happy Little Stampers ATC Challenge .......

Happy Sunday evening .......

Phew!  What a busy week it's been.  Time to chill out a little now as we start the countdown to our little family break in the Cotswolds at the end of this week ...... only 5 sleeps to go! Now that's something to smile about ..... which brings me nicely in to this month's Happy Little Stampers ATC Challenge .......

As you can see, our theme for June is ........ SMILE!  Go on ..... you can do it!
Maybe these will help .......

A fun set of ATC's simply covered in smiles.

I added colour to a piece of white cardstock by splattering different Distress Oxide inks using a paint brush ........ smoosh the ink onto a craft sheet, spritz with water, and then pick up the ink with a paintbrush and simply splatter it randomly over the card ..... easy.  Leave to dry for a few seconds in between colours so that the inks don't run into each other, and go all muddy.

I then cut three pieces to form the base of my ATCs.
The first one was simply a smiley face, stamped and heat embossed onto a piece of yellow card (coloured using Squeezed Lemonade DOX) and cut it out using a circle die

and a single word (from the HLS stamp set Smile) stamped underneath was all it needed.

Using the same stamp set I took one of the large words and heat embossed it in gold across the centre of my ATC

A few smileys stamped in Distress Oxide (Squeezed Lemonade again) and the rest of the sentiment stamped in black and that's another one done.
I did use the MISTI to stamp the smiley faces making sure I got good coverage, but I only needed to repeat each one a couple of times ....... the Distress Oxides  are great for stamping with.

For the last one I decided to add in a bit more colour ......

I stamped the little face using all the colours of Distress Oxides that I'd used for the background before adding the words over the top.

As with all the HLS challenges, there's a $20 Gift Certificate for the winner, which will be DOUBLED to $40 if they've used HLS stamps on their ATC's

Go on ..... give us a SMILE!

Happy stamping!

This is actually my last DT post for the Happy Little Stampers ATC challenge ...... I'm standing down from the Design Team (sigh!) 
I seem to have been saying that a lot this month don't I! ...... but I feel it's time for a change.  Time to re-charge the old mojo!  I will still be part of the HLS family though ..... you can still catch me every month on the CAS Challenge.  You don't get rid of me that easily.

Thanks for popping by .... enjoy the rest of your day, and have a great week.  Mine's going to be a busy one.

The Isle of Man 2018 TT is over and our little island will slowly get back to normal over the next few days.  Only 348 days until we do it all again though!

It's been an fabulous two weeks.  The weather has been perfect, blue skies everyday.  We had a royal visitor too ..... Prince William came over

Gary Barlow was also here at the beginning of the fortnight ..... enough said about that!
The Red Arrows flew in and gave a stunning display over Douglas Bay

The TT legend that is John McGuinness was here, still not fit to race but he did open up one of the beer pumps at the brand new Trackside, and pulled his first pint ..... cheers John!

I'm more of a gin girl as you all know, so lots of these have been consumed this last two weeks ......

And then there was the racing.  That has just been a-maz-ing!!!!  The riders have been reaching breathtaking speeds, and more lap records have been broken.  We only managed to watch the Senior race this year but what a race it was!
In the end Hickman won by 1.9 seconds in what was the fastest Isle of Man TT race with the first ever 135 mph lap ...... WOW!!!

And of course, our thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends of the two brave riders that sadly lost their lives this year.

The next thing on the calendar for us is the annual family trip ..... we're going back to Bourton this year and there's more of us this time, so a bigger cottage.  We leave on the Friday morning ferry so fingers crossed this weather holds.

Cheerio until next time ......

Friday, 8 June 2018

It's Friday ..... it's a Bank Holiday (on the Isle of Man) ..... and another TT is nearly over .....

Happy Friday ......

And a Happy Senior Race Day to all you TT fans.
It's a Bank Holiday here in the Isle of Man, and the weather is perfect for the final day of this years Isle of Man TT ....... I can't believe it's nearly over, I haven't seen any actual racing yet! We're going to fix that today hopefully, we're off up to the Grandstand soon.

Before I dash off though, it's time for a quick reminder about this month's Craft Stamper Blog Challenge.

As always the theme is Anything Goes ...... it could be a card or a journal page. Create an ATC or a 3D project, even a piece of jewellery or home decor, the choice is yours.  Just remember, there needs to be some actual rubber stamping on your project somewhere.

There's two prizes up for grabs.  We have the Design Winner ........ chosen by the DT.  They will have their winning project published in the Craft Stamper magazine along with a profile, and also a Guest Designer slot on the Craft Stamper Blog.
The second winner will receive the fabulous prize from our challenge sponsor.  This is randomly chosen from all the eligible entries in the challenge. Full details, and challenge rules can be found on the Craft Stamper Blog 

Our sponsor this month is  .......... the amazing Uniko Stamps

and the prize is three gorgeous clear stamp sets, and a great stencil

As I'm part of the Uniko Stencil Design Team I thought I'd use some of their fab products on my inspiration piece .........

All the Uniko stamps and the stencil designs work so beautifully together, making it easy to create fabulous projects for all sorts of occasions, whatever your style.

I've gone for a CAS look here ....... I masked off the edges of a piece of white cardstock with low tack stencil tape, and stamped the beautiful French Script (from the latest Uniko release) across the space in the centre using a grey ink

Still with the masking tape in place, I added some colour using Distress Ink and then splashed water on the top, left it for a few seconds then mopped up the excess with a paper towel, leaving this splattered look ..... I never get tired of this technique

I removed the masking tape and used the pretty Natures Treasures II stencil (also from the latest release) with white texture paste to add the leaves.

This is now one of my favourite stencils ..... I love it! You get the pretty leaves in two sizes on the stencil and, you also get the masks in the two sizes ..... great value!

Whilst the texture paste was still wet I sprinkled over some fine glitter to add a bit of sparkle .......

A few splatters of grey ink here and there, and a simple sentiment (Uniko's Simply Said Blocks) again stamped in the grey ink, to finish off ....

Oooh .... and a little something on the inside

Happy stamping!

Thanks for popping by .... enjoy the rest of your day and have a great weekend.
We're off to see some motorbikes now, grab some lunch up there, and enjoy Senior Race Day. 
Good luck to all the riders ...... stay safe!

Cheerio until next time ......

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

A little bit of re-cycling for the HLS Mixed Media Challenge ......

Happy middle of the week ......

I've had a lovely day today crafting with a friend,  We were actually putting the last minute touches to this weekend's workshop .... looking forward to this one.  We're going to be doing a little mixed media using rice papers, which by the way are quite addictive once you start using them!!!

Speaking of Mixed Media ..... it's time for this month's Happy Little Stampers Mixed Media Challenge.  We've got a fun theme for you this month ...... LAYERS

For me, that could be layers of inks and/or paints, layers of papers, stamps and texture pastes with stencils, adding embellishments, ink sprays, ......... the list goes on.

For my inspiration piece I've re-cycled an old plaque and used most of the above!! 
I came across this in a box when we moved house.  I'd obviously made a start on re-cycling it at some point and then just put it away.  It's been sat on my desk since it was unpacked, waiting to have a make-over, so here it is ...... there's lots of layers here!

The flowers and the brick wall texture were on the original design ...... done back in 2015!

I just took off the sentiment panel, and gave the whole thing a coat of black gesso to give me a nice matte finish to the base.

I love the flowers so I left those as they were, just added new colour over them.
They're simply paper flowers, layered onto the base using a good strong glue. I added in a few die cut leaves here and there too.
I use Prima 3D Matte Gel from Finnabair's Art Basics range as the glue, it sticks everything, and holds its shape brilliantly so you can get great dimension. It dries clear too.

This is also a good way of using up all those paper flowers that you're not too keen on the colour of, you know the one's I mean .... we all have a box full of them.  It doesn't matter what colour they are, especially if you're using black gesso as your base.

I then started adding various colours of metallic paints and sprays ..... shades of turquoise, and greens a little bit of purple, and believe it or not, there's even a touch of pink in there too .....

I kept spritzing the paints with a little water, just to blend the colours ........ especially around the flowers.

For the brick wall I kept mainly to the blues and greens, with just a touch of deep purple to add shading here and there

Once all the paint was dry I went in with some metallic waxes to add even more colour, and highlight the textures ......

If you've never used coloured metallic waxes give them a go ....... there's a few different brands to choose from, my favourites are Prima's Finnabair Art Alchemy waxes, they have some fab colours (some of the ones I've used here are from this range), and then there's Treasure Gold, these are gorgeous.  Again great colours, and so easy to use.

I applied most of mine using my fingers but you could use a sponge or a brush, to get in all the detailed areas .

I added some pretty layered, die cut butterflies ..... cut from scraps of card from my bit box .... and highlighted using the metallic paints and the waxes

And finished off with a sentiment .... stamped and then fussy cut, and layered onto the bottom ....

As always, there's a $20 Gift Certificate for the challenge winner, which will be DOUBLED if they've used HLS stamps on their project.

Have fun!

Thanks for popping by ........  enjoy the rest of your day.

Mixed emotions again for me today,  as this is my last DT post for the Happy Little Stampers Mixed Media Challenge ....... (sad face)
I've had nearly 3 years of Mixed Media fun as part of this fabulous team but, it's time to give someone else the chance to be part of this amazing family!  Thanks again Kylie for having me on the team, it's been a fabulous Mixed Media journey ......  mwah!!

Cheerio until next time .....