Friday, 31 August 2012

Roll Up! Roll Up!

It's all the fun of the fair over at Tag Tuesday this week - pop over and have a look at all the inspiration - here's my version.

Atlas, the World's Strongest Man, is cut from an image I found on Graphics Fairy  (click on the button on the right - so much to see!!!) The tag has two layers so I could sandwich the cogs in between and both were inked and distressed. The scroll was cut with a Bigz Die, then stamped, inked and gilded. Finally, I added the piece of chain from an old necklace and a bit of bling to his belt.

My Baby

This week was Case File #34 over at CSI (click on the image to make it big enough to read)
Initially I wasn't too sure about these colours, but once I decided to use this picture of my eldest son as a baby and the 5 senses for my testimony, everything else just fell into place.
I've used all the colours in the Scheme as you can see, with a pale blue background, some scraps of patterned paper and the CSI Coordinates which were fabulous as ever (and FREE to download can you believe it?!). I stamped some words to frame the picture and misted the background with a Mister Huey Mister in white through a flourish mask from Tim Holtz which I'm still getting the hang of!
My Evidence: trees; wet media (ink and mist); a bird; stripes (Coordinates pp); ribbon
The bird was stamped with Ranger Archival ink then coloured with Distress Inks and the trees were cut from the Coordinates sheet (I love cuttin and stickin!)
The banner flags were also cut from the Coordinates and embellished with buttons.
My Testimony: I used the five senses to describe the feelings which this picture of my son still evoke in me. The journalling is written in white pen all around the edge of the page, with the key word picked out in mini alphas. It reads as follows: "Whenever I SEE this picture of us on the day we brought you home, I can still SMELL your baby-ness, FEEL your tiny fingers as they wrapped around my own. I can still HEAR youbreathe in the quiet of the night, I can still TASTE the essence of you. You are 30 now, but you will always be my baby boy. Mum x"
This may all sound a bit over-sentimental, but it really brought all those feelings back and I got quite emotional doing this ... mind you, if Richard ever looks at this he will probably cringe and make pukey noises!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Tag Tuesday - Happy Families

On my wanderings through Blogland last week, I came across this fab challenge blog called Tag Tuesday - each week Carolyn sets a new theme and the challenge is to create a little work of art in the form of a tag inspired by that theme.

The themes are really inspiring and a tag is a great (and not too daunting) vehicle for all those techniques and products you want to try out - I'm really going to enjoy this...

This week the them was Table Games - so many possibilities, the hardest part was deciding which to have a go at! In the end I decided on Happy Families, because I love the vintage artwork and the characters would be a great focus for the tag. Here's the first one - Mr Tape the Tailor

The book he's resting on is an old instruction manual which belonged to my Great Grandfather, who was a tailor - I love it. The main image was cut from a print of one of the original designs for the game by John Tenniel (who also did the illustrations for Alice in Wonderland).
Self Portrait of John Tenniel
I had such a lot of fun with this tag - distressing all the papers; using Distress Ink to stamp the background and to grunge up the tape ribbon a bit; adding lots of knick-knacks.
These little charms I attached with jump rings - the scissors I've been hoarding for ages, the tape and the key I made with shrink plastic.
The pin and needles are some rub-ons (garage sale bargain) - bit of a pig to use but they're gorgeous once they're on; and the swirl is a Laura Ashley Velvet Rub-on, which is a lovely texture.
Inspired by Tenniel's illustrations, I may have a go at a few more character. Here's one more for now -
Mrs. Bun (sitting on an old recipe book) - there are lots of versions of Mrs. Bun, but this one made me think of iced fancies, checked tablecloths and lace doilies ...
I've done some masking with Distress Inks on the bottom tag; inked a mini doyly (can't spell that!); edge punched one of the layers; tucked in a Victorian scrap; wrapped with some baker's twine; and finished with some liquid pearl "icing" - see? you can squeeze so much onto a tiny work of art!
Can't wait to start on the next one - the them is "Funfair" wooHOO!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

CSI Case File #33

I enjoyed solving this case so much that I had THREE goes at it!
Here's the Case File
As you can see, it's all very nautical, and the CSI Coordinates - WELL! - I always love these free printables, but this is my favourite so far. They always include some quotes, embellishments,journalling spots and background papers. Have a look on the CSI website and you will see for yourself. It would be totally possible to solve the case using only the Coordinates really, but it's nice to go "shopping" in your own stash as well.
Anyway, here is my first one
My Great Great Uncle Albert on HMS Dreadnought.
Evidence: white background; nautical elements -signal flags from Coordinates and reef knot in the string; clouds on the Coordinates paper and hand cut ones in the corner; metal - brads holding the flags.
Testimony: journalling strips; IW = "safe" - thinking about how lucky I am that I don't have to watch my sons sail away and spend my life waiting for their safe return ...

Here's the second one
This is Albert's father, my Great Great Grandfather Edwin Puckett, who was also a sailor all his life.
My Evidence: wet medium - misted background; woodgrain on the letter tiles from the Coordinates; nautical elements from the Coordinates again; metal - brads; create shadows - I tried to do this by raising the letter tiles on foam tape and making the seagulls from scrap paper.
Unfortunately, the border of this page has been lost in transit - try to see in your mind's eye a quarter inch border of a rusty red wallpaper pattern type print.

Can't wait to see what they come up with for next week - I SO don't have time for work!!!
Annie x

Monday, 20 August 2012

Magic Beans

Okay, so not actually magic as such, but it's magical to me how you put these little shrivelled brown things in the ground in the spring and just water them and they burst into life and then in the summer - ping! you get these beauties -
These were the first ones I picked and here are some more with some more friends from the garden, awaiting their culinary destiny - mind you, they don't need much - just a light steaming, a dash of olive oil, squeeze of lemon, pinch of flaky sea salt and I'm in heaven. See? it IS magic!
The knife you see here is a very old and dear friend I have had since before my first son was born - and he was 30 this year! I once thought I had accidentally chucked this knife in the bin and I actually went all through my wheelie bin (yeeuucccch), before realising it was in the kitchen bin all along. PHEW! Sounds dramatic, but it's SUCH a good knife, sits nicely in my hand, does everything I ask of it ... ok I need to stop now I'm starting to sound weird :)

CSI Case File #32 - Beach Combing

Well I just finished in the nick of time again - I was so looking forward to starting on this CSI Case File, because I loved the colours and the ideas, but for some reason it just would not come together and at one point I took it apart and started all over again. But for it's worth, here is the finished article ...
And here is the Case File we had to solve ...
You may need to click on the image to enlarge it -
The Scheme: it was easy to use all these gorgeous gentle colours together and the free printable CSI Coordinates are a good guide. 
The Evidence:

  • tiny stars; 
  • wet media - paint, gesso and inks used on the background, alphas and to "whitewash" some of the elements; 
  • something grainy - glass glitter mixed into the gesso; 
  • textured paper - Fiskars texture plate in two of the corners; 
  • edges of photo have been rounded, sanded and whitewashed with gesso; 
  • gauze applied and coated with gesso and paint. 

The Testimony: I documented a day out at the beach with my good friend Trina - such a happy day! :)
If you haven't done so already, check out the CSI website - loads of inspiration and ideas, friendly bunch of like minded people AND a new challenge every week with matching free printables - FAB!!!

Bargain Hunting

I've been wanting a bigger non-stick craft mat for ages (the one I have is teflon coated like the one Tim Holtz uses, which is brilliant, but mine is the size of a postage stamp) and I've just been too much of a cheapskate to pay £15-ish for it. Then Sallyanne at work told me about a roll of non-stick silicone material she had bought for lining baking tins, which only cost her £16! So that got me thinking and I've just been on eBay and bought one of these
oh dear, tiny picture, but you get the idea - these come in the 4 colours you see here (I chose blue), measure 40cm by 28cm,withstand temperatures up to 230, are non-stick and dishwasher safe and it only cost me £2.51 including the p&p - so not too much of a gamble - I'll let you know how it works ...

Thursday, 16 August 2012


PHEW!!! Talk about sailing close to the wind - I finished this layout with about 10 minutes to spare to get it uploaded to the Scrap365 sketch challenge blog so the photo is rubbish even by my standards but I really really enjoyed doing this one. I'd been looking forward to it for ages, because I love Tomoko Takahashi's work, but with so much else going on I just hadn't got around to it and suddenly realised earlier this evening that I only had until 11pm to upload my effort.

Tomoko's design featured 3 small photos (you can just see the picture in Scrap365 peeking out in the picture above, taken on my workdesk) and it just so happens that I've been renewing my passport just recently, so I decided to use these (very UNflattering) identity photos of myself, to show how much I've changed since 2000 when I last applied for a passport - there's a lot more of me now but I'm a lot happier.
I mostly used stuff from my gorgeous new Quirky Kit which arrived last week - the main background paper is from the Heydey Collection by Studio Calico; there's a little bit of The Sweetest Thing from MME; the banner is cut from another Heydey paper; the photos are mounted on pieces cut from an Echo Park paper called Pretty Polaroid (ironic, I thought ...); and the Thickers alphas also came in the kit. Then I also threw in some Prima flowers, some paper scraps (roses and butterfly), some pieces of self-adhesive lace paper, some chipboard shapes, washi tape, sticky pearls .... oooh and of course I had to finish off with liquid pearls because they're a Tomoko trademark! and they're still wet as I type this ...
Just wish I could get the hang of taking better pictures - does anyone have any  photography tips for a techno klutz?!
Well I think I need to sleep now - if I didn't have to work in the morning I'd go back to my workroom and do another one!
Nighty night x

Sunday, 12 August 2012

12 Tags of 2012 - August

As always, Tim Holtz has come up with some fantastic and inspirational creative techniques for this month's tag - click HERE to have a look for yourself and see all the amazing work people have produced for this challenge. Here is my August tag
I didn't have a silhouette stamp, so I used a photo image stamp (which I recently bought second hand and I love it) and cut around part of it to fit the frame. I had to improvise with the embossing too as I don't have any Texture Fades - I used a Fiskars Texture Plate and hand embossed from the wrong side, taking care to avoid the oval frame area. Tim's tutorial showed a technique of swiping acrylic paint over the embossed areas before distress inking then wiping over with a dampened rag to reveal the painted areas - this was very satisfying to do and I will definitely use it again. Also enjoyed using Distress Inks to grungify the ribbon. I am really short of time this week so I haven't attempted Tim's gorgeous roses - but check them out, they are SO fabulous. Thanks again Tim!

Nature Takes Its Course

Yesterday morning, a pair of Blackbirds were having breakfast in our garden as usual, when a Sparrow Hawk took the male by surprise. Within a few minutes, there was nothing left but his beak, his feet and some feathers and the Sparrow Hawk wasn't the least perturbed when John went out to take a picture.
The strange part was that the female Blackbird sat on the fence just three feet away,watching the whole time - she flew off when John went out, so we will never know what she would have done when the Sparrow Hawk finished her gruesome business ... 
I do understand that it's all part of the natural order of things, but it was sad to see that little scrap of life wiped out so suddenly and I will miss seeing and hearing him in the garden.
It also makes me very grateful that we are at the top of the food chain and there are no giant Sparrow Hawks!

Sunshine After The Rain - CSI Case File #31

The bright colours in this week's Case File over at CSI made me think of happy sunshiney days, so it was perfect for this photo of me with my mates Maggie and Graham on a sunny evening in Cornwall last Spring.
The journalling reads: " Dear friends Maggie + Graham had seen me though some hard times but last spring I was looking forward to a bright new future with my John - I took him down to meet everyone and they loved him - of course! xxx"
Here is the Case File (if you click on the image it should come up big enough to read).
As you can see, I've used all the colours in The Scheme, against a white background which I've misted using a mask (from my new Quirky Kit) My Evidence: woodgrain paper in the background, little wooden word, liquid pearls, mist, repetition in the buttons, furniture cluster embellishment, parallel lines made of twine for the journalling. My Testimony: I documented a holiday and used "bright" as an Inspiration Word.
Here are a couple of close-ups for detail

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Tony and Hope - CSI: Case #30

Here is Case File #30 over at CSI - really enjoyed this colour combination and as ever the free printable Coordinates were fab!

These colours are a perfect foil for some of the vintage black and white pictures I have inherited (although I didn't use the originals). So I did TWO pages - if I had more time, I'd have done more as I really got into this one.
First one - I love this picture of my Grandpa at about three years old. All the details represent something about the man he was to become - roses, the dove, music and mechanics.
First I had a lovely messy time with gesso, paints and inks to make a nice textural background. Then I stamped some musical notes and scrolls, added some torn and inked pieces of paper and a doyley to echo his little lacey collar. The hinge and frame were from the CSI Coordinates and the vintage scrap was from a bundle I bought in a junk shop.

My Evidence: ribbon, distressing, hinge. My Testimony: documenting the story of how Grandpa was really named Frederick but was known all his life as Tony because when he was little he was nicknamed Toto the Clown and it stuck!

Grandpa and his 4 brothers had beautiful singing voices and used to sing together a capella; one of their favourites was "Oh! For the Wings of a Dove". Grandpa was also very clever with mechanical things; Mum remembered being the first house up their street to have television because her Dad was able to build a set himself, and all the neighbours came in to watch the Coronation. Years later, he took pride in his roses and won prizes for his racing pigeons - this was the Grandpa I came to know and love.

Second one - I always find this picture of my Granny Robinson with her brother and sister very thought-provoking.
I've hidden the journalling on the tag tucked behind the photo. It reads as follows;
"This was taken in 1918, at the end of WW1. It shows my Gran, Great Aunt Mabel and Great Uncle George. Their father had been killed in action in 1915 when Gran was just six weeks old, so these were hard times.  I look at their serious little faces and wonder what was going through their minds. In fact, they were all to have long and fruitful lives and to stay close to each other until the end. Little Winnie was to have six children of her own and become my lovely Granny who I will never forget and I am thankful that she lived to see my own children. So this picture is bittersweet for me - tinged with sadness, but full of hope and possibilities ... xxx
My Evidence: distressing, 4 patterns, ribbon, brads. My Testimony: journalling as above.
More close-ups as the scan was rubbish again  - really must try and work out how to get better pictures of my layouts!
The butterfly is a Stampin'Up! stamp with Distress Ink onto a scrap of patterned paper.
And the little Forget-Me-Not scrap is another one from that junk shop bundle.
I think Gran would have liked this page, especially all the roses. Do you ever think how great it would be if your Gran had made scrapbooks and you could look at them now?!
Right, now I'm off to have a go at the latest Tim Holtz Tag - looks GORGEOUS (well it does when he does it anyway!).
Annie x

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Jay Peg

Wow! Living where we do, surrounded by trees in the very peaceful grounds of an old hall (that is, we live in the Caretaker's Cottage, not camped out in the grounds like wombles or something!), we spend a lot of time watching wildlife - squirrels, hedgehogs, deer, foxes, mice and all kinds of birds, but John and I couldn't believe it last night when 6 (or possibly 7) jays arrived for their regular early evening snack and drink at the birdbath. I've cheated and pinched this Jpeg (hence the title) off the internet as I didn't dare move to get the camera in case I scared them off.
Here's an amazing picture John managed to get a few weeks ago though, of some more regular visitors to our bird table - look closely between the two squirrels and you'll see a tiny field mouse joining in the feast - what are the chances?!

Well it looks like another beautiful day - the birds sound very happy about it and so am I - especially as it's my day off! WooHOOO - bit of a potter in the garden, put some washing out and then spend the rest of the day in my workroom ... bliss!