Phew just made it!!

January 31, 2014

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I did it! I finished my January page before the end of the month – just!!  It’s not amazing but I’m pleased I did it.  It’s better than last year as that didn’t happen at all.  I’m determined to take part in the 365 Calendar challenge this year so I’m really happy that I haven’t fallen at the first hurdle, as it were.

And for those of you that are interested I did manage to write the instructions for sewing a cube bag last weekend.  The recipient of the present was extremely pleased with her kit and instructions! After she’s tried them, I will probably post them here for other people to use.  I will need to take more pictures though.

I was given the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary collection of books for Christmas, I never thought I would read a Doctor Who book but I’ve actually really enjoyed them.  I love watching it but wasn’t bothered about the books.  There are 11 in the collection, 1 for each regeneration of the Doctor (excluding John Hurt’s War Doctor) and I’ve read numbers 6 to 11 so far.  I’m reading them in reverse order, working towards the ones that I remember least from the TV programme.  A fair amount of Doctor Who knowledge is assumed, they don’t really explain who he is, or what the TARDIS is but if you have ever watched it, I can recommend them as a light read.

Why do I have these stupid ideas?

January 24, 2014

I have a friend who is very difficult to buy presents for so I usually make things as then I know she won’t have them. This year I’ve decided to give her a kit and now I have 2 days to write the instructions for making a cube bag like the one in my previous post!!! Aaargh why do I do these things to myself? I thought it was a brilliant idea but now I’m really not so sure.
I’ve got some New York fabric, red lining fabric, a red zip and red cotton so I just need to package it in a nice way and write the instructions. Wish me luck!!

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Finding My Mojo

January 19, 2014

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year. Right time for an update on all things mixed media and arty.

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[Clockwise from top left: 2012 calendar title page, finished December 2012 page, January 2014 in progress, February 2014 in progress, Kate Crane Dvds in my new Brice Bross box]

2013 was a bit of a disaster from a creative point of view for me, I didn’t do a single month of the 2013 Calendar Challenge and only made a few birthday cards.  I did do some knitting and sewing but I didn’t play as much with paint and inks as I wanted to, so this year I’m determined to make up for it.  I got Kate Crane’s Art Journalling 5 & 6 dvds for Christmas and I finished watching them today.  Watching Kate make a junk journal using bits of cardboard, tags and other junk inspired me to finally sit at my desk and have a play myself.  So here we are with January and February 2014 pages in progress.  I used Japanese style papers for the days on February as I thought I should use them.  I’m very good at buying paper pads and then just looking at them, in 2014 I plan to use some of my stash of craft goodies – yarn, fabric, paper, ink, paint, ribbons the whole kit and caboodle.

The Brice Bross box was a present from mum, it’s my surname and she thought it would be useful for storing crafty bits in.  I’ve put it by my tv for the current dvds that I’m watching/going to watch.  I googled Brice Bros and it turns out it was a real fishmongers in Billingsgate Market in London.  Dad’s family is from Kent so they could even be related to us.

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[Clockwise from top left: Felt Snowman decoration, Knitted Moustaches, Christmas Pudding hat, Owl Cube Bag]

2013 sewing: Veil for my best friend’s wedding, laptop sleeve, snowman decoration, owl cube bag, felt bird decoration, Japanese owl, shortened two pairs of pyjamas and customised some shorts to go to see The Rocky Horror Show.

2013 knitting: Camelot shawl, teal socks, Calorimetry hat, Smockie dress, Christmas Pudding hat and knitted moustaches for Movember.

I also made some Alice In Wonderland themed stitch markers for my friend Alice, Japanese lino cuts that turned out quite useful for embossing paper in my cuttlebug.

I’m really proud of the knitted moustaches as I raised £35 for Movember by selling them to the girls in the office so that they could participate too and it was great fun.  Becky loved her wedding veil and wore it all day. But I’m NEVER making another one (sewing netting to a hair band is the most frustrating thing I have ever done and I was up until the wee small hours getting it done) it was so lovely seeing her wear it when she got married.

2014 is looking like it will be quite difficult at work (they have announced that the business will be closing in 2015) so I need to be creative outside of work even more to balance my life out.  I don’t really make new year’s resolutions but my plans for 2014 are to spend more time making art and playing with inks/paints and to have more fun!!

Columbus Day & Frome

October 18, 2013

Hello is there anyone there?

I know I’ve been away for months so you have probably all given up on me and gone home. I’m sorry I haven’t written since January, there have been a few reasons why but the main reason was that my archaic laptop just couldn’t cope with anything and I got fed up with it taking an eternity to do anything. To be fair, it has been very reliable but it’s just too old, I got it in 2004 which makes it about a hundred in technology years.

So finally in September I sorted my life out and ordered a new laptop which arrived this week, and you won’t believe how happy I am with it. It’s like Christmas and my birthday all at once!

It’s become a tradition that I take this week in October off work to do crafty things.  I go to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace on the Sunday and then spend the week making things while I’m still in a creative mind space.

Ally Pally was as inspiring as ever, even though the weather was horrendous, and I bought some wool, fabric, lace zips, ribbon and spent the coach trip knitting socks.

On Monday I celebrated Columbus Day in the same manner as they did on The Big Bang Theory (series 3 episode 4) because I thought it was a fun idea.  I watched 4 films directed, written or produced by Chris Columbus and ate pizza.  It was brilliant, the films I chose were:

The Goonies – awesome and one of my all time favourite films.  Watching it always brings back memories of seeing it in the cinema when it was first released and seeing Jeff Cohen (Chunk) interviewed by Terry Wogan and talking about the Truffle Shuffle.

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone -my favourite because it’s the first time we see all the little details of the wizarding world. Diagon Alley, wizard chess, chocolate frogs, Quidditch and I love it when Harry goes to Ollivander’s for his wand.  Also, I love the soundtrack by John Williams.

Percy Jackson And The Lightning Thief – reminds me of my job at Ottakar’s when I first read this book.  It’s a good adventure and I really enjoyed it.  I can’t wait to see the sequel.

Fantastic Four – chosen predominantly because it has Chris Evans (the sexy one not the ginger one from Radio Two) in and I like looking at him and because it’s a good hero action film.

The Columbus day marathon started at 1pm and we finished watching HP1 at 10.30pm which was the best film to finish on!

In Country Living (November 2013 issue) I read that Mary Kilvert had opened a shop for her sheep designs on Catherine’s Hill which is one of my most favourite crafty streets.  It’s a lovely cobbled hill in Frome, Somerset and it’s full of crafty, artistic shops.

St Catherine's

Clockwise from top left: spiral staircase, Herbs On The Hill, counter in Make And Mend Vintage, St Catherine’s sign, inside The Garden Cafe.

We had a wonderful lunch in The Garden Cafe (brie, cranberry and celery toastie and lentil & spinach soup) which is an eclectic cafe at the bottom of Stony Street that sells artisan bread and organic veg.  As the name suggests it has a nice garden and they even supply blankets and throws so you can sit in it when it’s a bit chilly.

Frome craftiness

Clockwise from top left: Marmalade Yarns, Frome flag holder (or possible Christmas Tree holder as we saw a few of them), Millie Moon, haberdashery section of Millie Moon, Hunting Raven Books, lovely autumn foliage.

Then after lunch it was down to the main reason for our visit, all the lovely shops in St Catherine’s.  I bought a 5 inch charm pack of Moda Road 15 fabrics from Millie Moon Haberdashery Boutique & Sewing School and a fat quarter that looked like a map of Manhattan.  I don’t need more fabric but I just couldn’t resist the Road 15 fabrics.  I plan to just sew the 42 squares together in a 6×7 rectangle and make a hanging of them, nothing too complicated or I won’t get it made!!

We had a look in Marmalade Yarns but didn’t buy anything as mum and I had both bought yarn on Sunday.  The lady that runs it is really nice, last time we were in she recommended a wonderful local butchers that sells Tomato Sausages just like mum used to get in Lancashire when she was little.

And then we found Mary Kilvert’s shop at the top of Catherine’s Hill, it’s a lovely shop and her husband was really helpful and friendly.  Mary was apparently preparing lots of stock for the Country Living Fair in London at the end of the month so we didn’t see her.  But we did get a card of her Colourful Sheep that mum wants to frame.

The last shop we found was Hunting Raven Books on Cheap Street, it’s a wonderful independent bookshop, with a brilliant Children’s department.  I always judge a bookshop on the children’s and craft sections and Hunting Raven did not disappoint.  It’s tiny but is absolutely crammed with shelves and books and obviously has a someone who loves books doing the ordering.

It was a really lovely day and I must remember not to leave it so long before we go again!!  (and I won’t leave it so long to blog again!!)

Picked Raspberry and Peacock Feathery goodness

January 12, 2013

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I spent a lovely Sunday last week making cards.  I had visited Kraft Crazy (a lovely stamping/paper crafting shop in Amesbury) on Saturday and treated myself to 3 new Distress Inks and, with the free POST/butterfly stamp from February CraftStamper magazine,  I was inspired. Kate Crane had used the distress inks in her feature in CS on the scribble stain distress method and I loved the colours! I love jewel colours like purple, teal, blue and pink so I couldn’t resist these inks when I saw them.
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I used Picked Raspberry, Peacock Feathers and Salty Ocean and the wrinkle free distressing method to add colour to some white card.  Then overstamped in the same colours with the Tim Holtz Papillon word stamp for the background (except the last pic – I used an Inkylicious word stamp for that one).  Followed by a contrasting colour e.g. pink on the blue/teal bits using a baroque inkylicious stamp.  I used the free bauble stamp from  Craftstamper November 2010 to stamp black swirls around the edges which I highlighted with a white gelly pen.
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I stamped the square POST stamp on white card* and coloured it in by painting with the distress inks and stamped spare ones so I could cut out the butterfly separately. I also stamped the butterfly free stamp from Craftstamper August 2010 and coloured that in the same way. Then I used my versamark pen to colour in the whole of the butterflies and cover them in clear embossing powder so that they were all shiny – you could do this with glossy accents but embossing it dries quicker!
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And finally I stuck it all together and drew a black line around the background card using a black sharpie so that it just ‘finished’ it off nicely.

*On the first card I clear embossed the POST stamp and coloured it using the distress inks and a foam pad.

All in all they came out really well and the two people who have received them so far (lots of birthdays in January!) have been very pleased.  And I loved spending the day getting inky and messy and creating, which is the main point!!!

365 Calendar 2012 finished (well almost)!!

December 31, 2012

It’s 31 December 2012 at 22:42hrs and you could say I’m cutting it fine but I did finish my calendar pages in 2012 – just about.  I created November and December’s pages on 24/25/26 December so it was only just in time. Sorry the photos are not great quality I don’t have much luck with cameras.


I was going to do a ‘Movember’ themed page but it just didn’t happen and I just used a rainbow of Dylusions inks with a dragon fly stamp by Squiggly Inks.


December had a little more thought put into it, I used Dylusions inks for the background and some freebie stamps from Craftstamper. Then I drew fairy lights around the edge and coloured in the baubles with some promarkers that I got for Christmas.  The day squares were a parcel stamp that I used just the bow on in a rainbow of inks.  I drew the letters for the month and coloured them in like candy canes and in ‘real life’ it doesn’t look quite as manic as it does in this picture.

I really hope I can keep up with this challenge in 2013 as I have really enjoyed doing it.  I am determined not to let work get in the way which has been my main issue in the latter part of 2012.

Right now time to go and see the new year in!  Happy New Year everyone!!!


December 8, 2012

It’s 8 December and I haven’t even started my November calendar page yet, let alone my December one. I’m so annoyed as I really enjoyed this challenge at the start of the year when I had more time to do it.  I will be doing 2013 and hope that I’ll be able to keep up a bit better than the end of this year.

Work has become even more manic so I need to figure out a way to stop it getting in the way of my creativity.  I can only do so much and need to accept that and spend more time making things!!

September/October catch up

November 17, 2012

This is my October Calendar Page which wasn’t completed until November!

I wanted it to be autumnal as I love the colours of the leaves and Orange is my favourite colour in October.  It came out quite well although I did want to do some drawings of squashes and pumpkins for the bottom right corner which haven’t happened yet. The veggies are on top of my TV looking pretty but I haven’t drawn them yet!!  The background is dylusions inks with Tim Holtz papillion stamped over the top. I then used two free craft stamper stamps to put leaves and a border of grasses on and then I wrote on the leaf days with autumn leaf coloured pens.
This is a close up of the 31st with it’s translucent Ghost!!

If you look at Sunday 21st October I have stamped some dylusions wellies on it as I bought the most fantastic pair of red/black spotty wellies in Bristol with bows on!! I love them and keep wishing it would rain a bit more so I can wear them.
This is my September page – it’s not finished and I don’t like it much.

But to be honest I didn’t really enjoy September so it’s probably quite fitting.
I have written my normal diary so I can fill it in retrospectively but I am quite disappointed with my progress. It was rushed and I made the date squares with left over pieces of card.

I now need to do November pretty sharpish as it’s the 17th already! I might even try to start December at the same time.

Happy Halloween weekend!!

October 27, 2012

I am still alive, I just haven’t done my September or October calendar pages yet. They are both started but not anywhere near finished and I can’t believe it’s November next week.
I have been knitting and sewing but not done any playing with paint/ink recently. I’m hoping to do some tomorrow though so watch this space!!

August – wow I’m late!!

August 27, 2012

August page for the Calendar challenge.

I just about did August in the right month. Although saying that I still haven’t written ‘August 2012’ on it yet. I wanted to do it as seagulls in the sky but I’m not sure how yet.

I was totally uninspired until I went for a short holiday to Falmouth in Devon and woke up one morning and realised that I wanted to use the thousands of little boats in the harbour as the days of my month.  I got a Michael Powell stamp in Trago Mills (brilliant sells everything shop) with a picture of a similar town and a lighthouse and it grew from there.  I didn’t use the stamp in the end as the scale didn’t work on my page but I drew my own version of some of the houses and the lighthouse on vintage music paper coloured in with Inktense pencils instead.

I used Dylusions inks, crafters workshop templates and a stamposaurus brick template for the background and then drew the buildings.  The boats were a light bulb moment in the aforementioned Trago Mills decorating department on my last day in Falmouth when I saw all the paint charts and thought I could use them for something.  I cut them into triangles and voila – boat sails! I think the white strips look quite nautical!!

The first day I went to Trago Mills I saw a familiar looking lady and then recognised her dog from her blog and realised that it was Kate Crane of the Kathryn Wheel blog! It was lovely to meet her, and such a nice surprise. Completely random to meet in Cornwall as well. I was so astounded that I forgot to take a photo though.