Monday, 27 December 2010

Ancient Oriental Wisdom

A birthday card for a friend who spent many years in Thailand, and is now a Reiki master.

It's also my entry for the latest Play Date Cafe.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Solstice wishes

So mark we now the longest night
With feasting, merriment, and candle light.
Blessings to you, and those you hold dear
At Solstice, and throughout the new year.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Inspired by.....

This post by Jo Capper Sandon,

Goldilocks the bear terrorist by Wendy of Cubby Hole fame

and a nod to this post by Sue Allan.

Originally it would have had the three different sized bees, but I didn't manage to get the medium/small stamp, so went for three big uns.

This is my entry for the Play Date Cafe, Black & white with a hint of yellow.

All images by Stampotique.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Meet Boris, and his sister... Boris

All spiders are called Boris - it keeps things simple and saves so much embarrassment when you can't remember their name next time you meet them.

Oh ok, it's really because they were immortalised in song by The Who.

Sunday, 12 December 2010


(although it's actually warmed up a bit now).

Yesterday was a playday at the Cubby Hole, and it was good to spend time with some of the wonderful people who craft there. I had intended to make some more Christmas & Midwinter cards but my mojo had done a runner and it didn't happen. Rather than go and buy some I've instead decided to donate the money to Help for Heroes.

Once that was decided it was time to play so the journals came out. This is a piece which was started yesterday, and finished today, and is my entry for the Play Date Cafe (the wording is purple but it's a bad photo).

It's also the latest page in my "Year in the Life of" journal, which began with a piece called..... "The Big Freeze". At the moment the weather has warmed up a bit, but apparently it's only temporary, so in a couple of weeks there may be a post called "The Big Freeze strikes back!", "Son of Big Freeze" or something equally as daft.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

All done

The third and last recipe book.

I went for a simpler approach for this one, as I wanted something which looked old, maybe turn of the century, so it's just corner protectors and a name plate & key.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Insert your own cheesey title here

Well, I was going to add something cheesy/corny about bees but decided not to inflict anything that bad on you; you can do it yourself - after all, this is a DIY recipe book :)

This is the second of three books, the first one is here. The girl at work who will receive this has recently acquired an allotment and is hoping to start bee-keeping next year.

Large bee is Stampotique, grass & flowers are Artemio, small bees are unknown.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas production has started in earnest

Today was a Christmas card workshop at the Cubby Hole, with Sarah Anderson.

After an hour spent gossiping, we eventually started at 11. Sarah provided some sample cards for inspiration, and then left us to get on with it. in our own styles, and just prompting and helping where needed. From then on we sprayed and inked and stamped (and ate cake), and I eventually left with eight cards and a decorated peg.

Production was suspended at one point as Carol received and opened a parcel of stamps from Stampotique, resulting in the sort of feeding frenzy normally seen on Discovery channel :)

Whilst I was making cards, and using red inks, it seemed sensible to make one for this week's Play Date Cafe, where the theme is Red & White. In the end I made three :)

Sunday, 28 November 2010

By the light of the silvery moon

Nothing much to say really. This week's Play Date Cafe entry (the moon is silver but the scanner takes the shine off).

OK folks, nothing more to see here.

Move along please.

Thank you.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

P A S T memories

This is something that came to mind a couple of weeks ago and has been quietly brewing away at the back of my mind. I don't know why it suddenly came back to me, or why I felt so compelled to do anything about it, but when I saw this week's colours on the Play Date Cafe it suddenly came together.

A little bit of Real Life™ me. I joined the army when I was 16 and spent the next 23 years serving as a vehicle mechanic, working on everything from chainsaws to tank transporters. I spent many years working on armoured vehicles, and one of my favourites was the FV432 which has been around as long as me and is still going strong.
It's good old Cold War technology which can be fixed with just basic tools, and the controls don't come any simpler. There's a throttle pedal, and two tillers which are used for steering and braking; and that's it. To ensure it goes in a straight line there are 4 checks and adjustments that need to be done on a regular basis and they are known as PAST; Protrusion, Adjustment, Suspension, Tillers. Amazingly, even though I've been a civvie for 10 years, and haven't worked on one for about 15 I can still remember the settings and could probably go and adjust one tomorrow if needed. The drawings are done from memory, so may not be 100% accurate.

So, how does it tie in with the Play Date Cafe? Well all combat vehicles were painted in a shade of green known as 'Olive Drab', and the mechanical bits (engine, gearbox, etc) were a shade of turquoise known as "Paint, Finishing, Heat Resisting, High Gloss, Sky Blue" aka "Duck Egg Blue". The red? Well, when we did our training, the training manuals had a red cover.

I have to admit, this has been a real trip down memory lane; memories of people and places, the feel of the glossy painted steering box covers, the smell of hot steering oil, and the wariness of dropping something inside the box and having to explain to the boss why you wanted to do a steering box lift :D

Saturday, 13 November 2010

The first Midwinter card

As I've made 3 Christmas cards already, I figured it was time I got started on my Midwinter cards, especially as this one is going overseas in a goodie box.

It's also my entry for this weeks Play Date Cafe challenge, where the aim is to use varying shades of red and blue. Unfortunately the scanner has flattened out the colours so the variations aren't as obvious as on the real thing. I'll try and get a better pic tomorrow in daylight.

Stamp is Christmas cardinals from Penny Black

Sunday, 7 November 2010

No chickens were harmed in the making of this!

This is the first of 3 DIY recipe books that I'll be making.

It started life following a conversation at work. One of the ladies had lost a recipe, because it was on a scrap of paper. Needless to say, 2 others had the same problem, and so an idea was born for this years Christmas presents - decorated empty journals, and a glue stick!. I'm lucky in a way, we're a small team, and the four of us who do cards and presents all tend to go for hand-made :)

This particular lady keeps chickens, and regularly supplies us with eggs, so the cover was designed with her in mind. It also ties in nicely with the latest Play Date Cafe colours, so it's my entry for that too.

Stamps are by Stampotique.

Sunday, 31 October 2010


This is a page in the latest raven journal I'm working on, and also my entry for the current challenge at the Play Date Cafe.

Given the date I decided to go for something suitably macabre.

The images are part of the Edgar Allan Poe collection, courtesy of The Octopode Factory - a young lady who's still at school but already putting out some excellent digital images.

Friday, 22 October 2010


fab 4 at the play date cafe
This week's entry for the Play Date Cafe. It's their 1st anniversary and the challenge this week is yellow/orange/pink. This piece was inspired by a sunrise earlier this week, but it needed a little something extra and luckily I found a quote to fit:

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky.
Rabindranath Tagore

Journal page primed with gesso, then overlaid with blended distress inks. Trees and foliage added with fineliner. Words printed on cheap copier paper and blended in with DI

Monday, 18 October 2010

Samhain canvas

This is my contribution for a circle swap for Samhain/Hallowe'en.

Canvas coloured with DI - pine green & black soot, then sealed with hairspray. Stencilled over the top using a dreamweaver forest stencil with shabby shutters and scattered straw DI.
A4 card coloured with DI in greens and browns and then printed onto with excerpts from Wikipedia. Tree shapes cut out using Tattered Angel designs as a stencil.
Fallen leaves were stamped with Versacube inks on clear stamps of unknown origin :)
Verse was printed onto cheap copier paper, inked with DI.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Play Date Cafe 51

Not really much else I could call this one.

Play day today at the Cubby Hole, but due to travel issues and other commitments it was rather quiet. I managed to get some work done on a canvas, and also put together my entry for the Play Date Cafe's latest challenge. It's not how I visualised it, and I'm still not sure if I like it, but it's had the seal of approval from That Woman so it can't be that bad :)

Backgrounds are white-core paper which has been 'distressed' to reveal the snow and clouds.
Stamps are by Stampendous.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Raven's return

For those who were wondering, the raven journals are still doing the rounds but I've been kind of ravened-out for the last few weeks, but now I'm back to them. I've completed a couple of pages in the latest one and this is the second.

Depending on where you are, Raven is either the bringer of light and a teacher, or a trickster and bringer of the darkness.

What do you see?

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Time to say goodbye

Don't panic, I'm not going anywhere!
Who said "that's a pity"? I bet it was you wasn't it? It's no good trying to look innocent now!

Anyhow, moving on, our boss departs for pastures new on Friday.
No, we're not putting him out to graze, it's just an expression

As I was saying, he's off to a new job and as usually happens when something comes up at work, muggins gets roped into supplying the cards.
No, they're not "too tight to buy them", they prefer the individuality of hand-made, ok

Right, where was I? Oh yes, a leaving card for the boss, plus one of the ladies at work has a birthday on Friday so I've finished up making two cards yesterday.
Pardon? No, it's not a two-for-one deal.

So, as I was saying,
What? No there isn't any kind of deal, I don't charge for them so how could there be a deal?

Right, I'll try again. Clock paper on the leaving card is Graphic 45, other's are from my old stash and unlabeled.
No, not that sort of stash! Look, can you be quiet please, some people want to know about the cards.

Stamp on birthday card is by Stampotique, and paper is by Junkitz.
What? Oh this is ridiculous! Security! Hello... Yes...Can you drag this one away please?

Friday, 8 October 2010

Ooops, I've done it again

When I saw the latest challenge over at the Play Date Cafe I was determined not to make a Christmas card.

Ah well, best laid plans and all that....

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Let your heart sing - the sequel

I wasn't too happy with my last post for the Play Date Cafe, the colours were good but the finished piece was lacking something, so last night I had another look at it and decided to mount it in one of my journals and frame it. The frame is coloured with DI and charcoals.

For some reason my Muse now seems to be working the the owl shift, so this was another after-midnight production :)

Monday, 4 October 2010

Let your heart sing

Cream in our Coffee at The Play Date Cafe
No deeply philosopical words of wisdom for this one, just my entry for this week's Play Date Cafe.

Large stamp from Elusive Images

Heart stamp from Hero Arts

Pink, turquoise and orange are DI, brown and black are Stazon

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The Big Cubby Hole Pyjama Party....

.....maybe a misleading title as PJs were optional!

This weekend I've spent a lot of time at the Cubby Hole as we've had a weekend long workshop which started on Friday and finished this afternoon. It was a brilliant weekend, and I'd like to say thank you to Carol & Sarah for organising it, Paul for the toast, and to the ladies who came along and made it a success - Christine, Little Sue, Tracey, Wendy & That Woman.

We started on Friday evening by covering the floor with plastic sheet and then splatting paint around with mops, brushes and even a garden sprayer! It was at this point I realised that these weren't ordinary women I was with - they're all addicted to Strictly! Every so often the theme would blare out from Sarah's phone and we had to stop what we were doing and begin a new task! Sarah even went so far as to demonstrate some of her new dance moves, although Suzanne missed them as she was too busy cleaning ;)

Moving swiftly on, the result of this weekend of mayhem is a handmade book with a felted and stitched cover, and various single or double pages which were created in response to instructions from Sarah (following another blast of Strictly intro) such as 'a page with a hole' or 'black & white with a splash of colour'. We also incorporated folded pages, giant jigsaw pieces, playing cards and various other 'fun & games' elements.
The "do you feel lucky?" page was finished when I came home. The instruction was 'create a page with the domino & bingo Cuttlebug folders'. As I was colouring the page the Dirty Harry quote came from somewhere and wouldn't go, so it had to wait to be finished until I had access to a printer.

We got to play with Tyvek, a fibrous material which comes in paper or cloth form. It can be cut but not torn and is used for making the white 'papery' coveralls. You may also find it used in packaging (the thin white padded envelopes). It's interesting to craft with as it shrinks when heated, but not in a uniform way so you never know what results you'll get. Colour it with paint, blast it with a heat gun (or iron it) and see what you get.

We were also given a challenge by Carol, to produce an A3 journal page during the weekend. Mine is 'Into the light'.

The books shown are (L>R, Top to Bottom):
Tracey, Suzanne
Sarah, Nigel
Christine, Little Sue
The theme for these pages was to take inspiration from a specific page in a craft book.

There's more on Suzanne's page here.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Digital Equinox

Now that the Macmillan events are out of the way I've had time to create a piece for my 'year in the life' journal to remember Mabon (Autumn Equinox). Not only was it the equinox, it was also full moon so the nights were wonderful.

As I mentioned in my "Balance" post I intended to be in a field somewhere, and I was :)

On Monday I stocked up on food, wine and fuel and headed down to Somerset, to a campsite I know. It's a back-to-basics site with a couple of water points, toilets and that's it. What it also has is lots of greenery, birds and pitches where you can have an open fire. I arrived to find I had the whole site to myself, so after finding a nice spot it was time for dinner and a glass of wine, then set a fire and sit and watch the sunset and moonrise (accompanied by Jupiter). There was hardly any breeze and no need for a jacket - perfect :)

On Tuesday I headed in to Glastonbury. After wandering around the town and buying a few things (small Buddha figure, couple of books and some Glastonbury biscuits) I went to visit the Abbey ruins. There's something very peaceful about old Abbey ruins, and Glastonbury is probably the best. I spent most of the afternoon bimbling around the Abbey and chilling out before heading back to the campsite for a repeat of the previous night's activities.

Wednesday was time to head home after a good breakfast watching the birds and a visit from a Raven :)

This piece is a mix of 4 photos from the trip (night, day, Abbey tree and candle light) with wording added in MS word. I don't normally do digital work, but I couldn't get the effect I wanted any other way. Software used is Paint.Net

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Cake, coffee & art (part 2)

If you missed part1, it's here.

So, today was a re-run of the big coffee morning for those who have to work on a Friday (it's as good an excuse as any other). Paul was doing some jewellery making again, there was cake decorating with Leanne from "Bake me, I'm yours" and we should have had a 'make & take' with Sarah Anderson. Unfortunately Sarah wasn't able to make it due to ill-health, so That Woman (aka Suzanne) stepped in with some card making. There were only a few stamps, but in another moment of serendipity one of them was the large Stampotique Bee which matched perfectly with a poem in an old book that I was using as backing paper.
The stamps on the other two cards are a Stampotique girl and Agapanthus from Stampendous.

Cake, coffee & art (part 1)

Yesterday (Friday) was the World's Biggest Coffee Morning in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support, and as usual the Cubby Hole played host to one of the events. Aside from copious amounts of Tea, Coffee and cake, there were opportunities to be creative.
Sue Roddis showed us how to make magnetic bookmarks, there was bobbin lace making and Jean from Fineart 53 did a watercolour session. This is what I came up with under her guidance, not bad for a first attempt. No doubt it will appear on a Christmas card soon :)

Come back later for part 2 :)

Friday, 24 September 2010

A birthday card

Stunning title or what :)

This is my entry for this week's Play Date Cafe challenge. Not much else to say about it really, just a few bits I had which matched the colours.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Wednesday is the Autumn or Vernal Equinox, also known as Mabon, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed. It's the time when day & night are equal, as we pass from the long days into the long nights. It is a time of balance, of taking stock and realising that for everything in life there is an opposite.

I was going to post this on Wednesday, but I'm on leave for a week and as the weather appears to have picked up I'm off to spend a couple of days in the van somewhere. Hopefully on Wednesday I'll be sat in a field, with a fire and a glass of something warming as day gives way to night.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

It's one of 'those' cards....

....the ones that I don't normally start thinking about until at least the end of November. Unfortunately when I saw the red & green in this week's Play Date Cafe challenge the first thought in my head was "Holly", and it refused to budge. Tying in the black & white was fairly straightforward, but the turquoise took a little longer.

Holly and snowflakes are courtesy of Cuttlebug.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

In which our hero becomes Paymaster

A quick addition to the Steampunk journal of Captain James P Hemmings,
21st (New England) Engineer Regiment.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

A little bit of 'culture'

This is my entry for this week's Play Date Cafe 'colour splash' challenge, which requires us to use black & white, plus a splash of Pink, Gold or Copper.

Normally when I try B&W it comes out a bit too fussy or too dark, so I was wasn't sure about joining in, until I was inspired by this wonderfully simple yet elegant entry.
The next step was to find the right stamp, which turned out to be the outlined lady I had recently bought (no maker details). As I stood there holding a blank card and the stamp, Handel's "Wher'er you walk" came on the radio and in a moment of serendipity all became clear.

So, there you have it. I guess I can do B&W minimal(ish) after all.

Now for the culture bit:

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Autumn's Beauty - PDCC45

Cream in  our Coffee at The Play Date CafeIt's that time of year; the leaves have started to turn, the nights are drawing in and at night (or early morn) you can sense Autumn has arrived - it's not a smell as such, more like 'something in the air'. And I love it! Gone is the harsh heat and light of the summer, instead there's a softer, more mellow feel to the sun's light, and the verdant greenery is starting to be replaced by a much richer pallet of colours; yellows, oranges and reds, with some of the dark evergreens thrown in for good measure.
Needless to say, the first thing I thought when I saw the latest Play Date Cafe post was Autumn Leaves. Actually that was the second thing; the first was that I'd made the Fab Four - W00t!
Anyway, enough blethering, here's my entry for this weeks's challenge. I needed to make a card for a friend, and I'd had a vague idea of autumn fairies so it was 2 birds with one stone. It's an asymmetrical card, mainly because after I'd scored it to fold as A6 I found out it wasn't an A5 to start with, D'oh!

Come said the wind to the leaves one day
Come o're the meadows, And we will play.
Put on your dresses, Scarlet and gold,
For summer is gone, And the days grow cold.

Fairy - Crafty Individuals
Leaf - Tattered Angels
Leaf border - Hero Arts

Colours - Wild Honey, Victorian Velvet & Antique Linen.
Sprays by Sticky fingers

Friday, 3 September 2010

Chinese whispers...

... that's how this came about.

Over on the Crafts by Carolyn forum we have an occasional Chinese Whisper challenge. The first person in the chain is sent a template/sketch and from that they create a piece of art (in this case a scrapbook page). They then send a picture of their work on to the next person, who uses it as a template for their piece and so on. Eventually it reaches the last person and all the pieces are revealed, to see how the original sketch has evolved during the process. For the latest chain, I'm the last link, so I don't have to keep my page secret. The original has yet to be revealed.

The photo's on this piece were taken at the Summer Solstice, and you can find them here. I hope you like this piece, and I wonder if you see anything in the small pic of the stream (bottom left) or if it's just me?

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

My first hallowe'en post of the year

but I guess there'll be more to come.

This is the front and back of a book page for a swap at the Altered Gypsies. There are 6 of us in the swap, so I have another 5 (almost identical) pages to make and then they are off to Alaska to be put together with the pages from the other gypsies, before being returned to us in time for Hallowe'en/Samhain (hence the early post).

Although personally I celebrate Samhain, I love the colours and fun of Hallowe'en so I'm sure there'll be more posts as we get closer to the day (in fact one is just waiting for a stamp to arrive to finish it off).

Keep watching this space :)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

More whimsy from me - PDCC44

It's been quite a while since I've done a challenge, but when I heard of this challenge something clicked and I had to join in.

It's another page in my 8x4 mini art journal, and was one of those pieces of art that just flowed out onto the page, complete with narrative - no doubt That Woman will be passing comment on my mental processes again :D

Stamps are Mushrooms and Moon Girl from Stampotique, grass from Artemio.
Colours are Distress Ink - Mustard Seed, Hero Arts Dark Blue and a pink highlighter pen.

If you want to see the original challenge and other people's take on the colours, have a look at the Play Date Cafe.