Thursday, 26 June 2014

SOC 4 Week 3 - Snailed It!

Hi Everyone,

What do you reckon the collective noun for a group of snails should be?! A slither of snails? A crowd of snails? A herd? A rampage? A party? No, I have it - a trail of snails!

But anyway, first things first ...

It's already Week Three of Summer of Color 4 and Kristin has cooked up another concoction of colours to inspire our creativity. If you haven't joined in yet, there's still plenty of time - pop over to Twinkle, Twinkle or check out the FaceBook page to see what's going on.

Here's the colour palette for this week - Lavender and Grey with a Smudge, Splash or Pop of Plum

A very elegant, monochromatic combination and not at all what I would usually choose to work with, but that's one of the many good things about SOC - it makes me try new things and even if it doesn't turn out quite as I'd hoped, at least I've learned something and most importantly I've enjoyed the journey and shared it with friends. 

We can use the colours to create anything we like. My plan for this year is to make an art journal page with a matching snail for each week ... no, that isn't a typo, I really mean a snail! The snails are made with real shells from the garden and DAS air-drying clay to form the bodies. This week, the little creature second from the left was chosen to get a makeover ...

... meet Lottie - I never know what their names are until they're finished, and so far they're all girls! The journal page isn't quite what I'd hoped for - after about twenty layers of paint, ink, embossing paste, I decided it was time to stop. I still wasn't happy with it, but I'd had fun and learned a few useful lessons, so that's good. 

Lottie's happy though - she's all dressed up and off to join the party trail with Doris and Coral from weeks one and two ...

Here are the girls with their journal pages ...

Now I need to start thinking of a quote for next week which kind of fits with a snail ... 

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon. Don't forget to visit Kristin at Twinkle,Twinkle to see all the amazing ideas and artwork inspired by SOC

Annie :o)xxx

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


Hi Everyone,

What a beautiful day it is today - the sun is shining and I have a whole day off work to do whatever I like. It's also Wednesday, so time to show you What's On My Workdesk ...

I've been putting some bits together to start on this week's project for Summer of Color 4 - the combo for this week is Lavender and Grey with a smudge, splash or pop of plum .... hmmmmmm .... not my usual colours at all, but that's one of the reasons why challenges like this are good for me. I pulled out my canvas paper, some scraps of patterned paper, various inks and paints - and a snail!

Doris before her makeover
If you were here last week, you may have been curious about what I was going to do with the snail shells - so now you know! I made bodies for them with DAS air-drying clay - one for each week of SOC4 - the plan is to give each one a colourful makeover in that week's combo.

If you look closely to the left of my workdesk, you'll see Doris (week one) and Coral (week two) all dressed up, waiting for their new mate to join the party. Here's a close up of the lovely ladies in their party outfits ...

Well, I'm off to link this up over at Julia's Stamping Ground and see what everyone else has on their workdesks - come and join us, it's brilliant!

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon

Annie :o)xxx

Sunday, 22 June 2014

SOC4 Week Two - More Snail Art

Hi Everyone,

I'm still running to catch up with Summer of Color 4 - if you haven't joined in yet, it's not too late, check all the details by clicking on the link.

The lovely Kristin has come up with another fabulous colour combo this week - Coral & Teal with a smudge, splash or pop of Bright White ...

I made my art journal page first, using canvas paper, acrylic paints, Distress Ink, Studio Matte Multi Medium, Tim Holtz Remnant Rubs, pearlescent glue, Stickles and a napkin I scrounged from a friend who made us a delicious lunch earlier today ....

I didn't have much time to spare, so this was a very quick page ...

Summer of Color Week One - Snail Art!

Hi everyone,

If you haven't discovered Summer of Color yet, it's not too late to jump in! Every week for six weeks, the lovely Kristin over at Twinkle Twinkle will be giving us a new color prompt - this year it will be two main colours with a Smudge, Splash or Pop of an accent colour. The idea is to use this colour combo to create a project, then link up to share your work and be in with a chance of winning some fab goodies. Click on this link to see all the details ...

You can make anything you like - from art journals to beads to cupcakes, from nail art to origami to patchwork - you name it, anything goes! I wanted to come up with something a bit different for this year's project and inspiration struck when I spied an empty snail shell in my garden. Check out this post if you would like to see more details, but to cut a short story even shorter, I ended up with this collection of cute critturs all ready to be transformed with colour ...

The colours for week one were Aqua Blue & Yellow with a Smudge, Splash or Pop of Pink ...

Wow! What a brilliant kick-off! As well as the Snail Art, I plan to make an art journal page each week to try out some different media and techniques. At the end of the six weeks, I will use my Bind It All to make the pages into a little book.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

We Love Loom Bands!

Hi Everyone,

Have you heard of Loom Bands??? I hadn't until a couple of weeks ago, but chances are that if you have a school-age daughter you will know exactly what I'm on about!

If you read this post from a couple of days ago, you'll know that we've recently returned from a lovely week away visiting family in beautiful Northern Ireland. One afternoon I happened to ask my young cousin Caitlin to show me what she was making and within ten minutes I was completely "hooked" (pardon the pun).

Loom Band expert Caitlin Swann
You can buy the packs of Loom Bands for around £1. They come with basic instructions (which we ignored), a little hook (which you don't really need) and some S clips for fastening your creations. This picture also shows some of the bracelets we made - aren't they cute?

Loom Bands from The Works and Roys Supermarket and some finished bracelets
Here is a YouTube video tutorial by Loom Band expert, Caitlin Swann ...

On the day of the BBQ when the whole family got together, everyone ended up having a go ...

Holiday Haul and New Hobbies!

Hi everyone,

We just returned from a lovely sunshiney week in beautiful Northern Ireland - it was totally relaxing and we had so much fun.

Of course I took lots of photos and brought back some keepsakes for my scrapbook, a magnet for the holiday wall at work and a tin whistle which I'm hoping to learn to play ...

One of the highlights of our stay was attending an awards ceremony as guests of the Mayor of Antrim (my Uncle Roderick) - a brilliant evening full of sparkling entertainment, great company, delicious dinner, oh and maybe a glass or three ....

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Snail Art!

Hi Everyone,

If you happened to see my WOYWW post this week, you will have seen these empty snail shells on my workdesk and wondered what on earth they were doing there. Here's a little clue ...

I wanted to come up with a novel idea for my SOC project this year and inspiration struck when we returned home from our holiday in Northern Ireland last week. The very first thing we did was to check our little garden and when I spied an empty snail shell loitering by the strawberry patch - BINGO!!! Light Bulb Moment :o)

My endlessly patient husband did not quibble when I asked him to gather up any vacant snail shells he found, and he did not question the necessity for an Urgent Mission to buy some air-drying clay Right Now.

I had to wait until the next day to put my Big Idea into practice ...

... I had so much fun that I went on to make six of them - enough for all six weeks of Summer of Color 4 ...

Here they are, awaiting their destiny - each one will be transformed into something fabulous by one of Kristin's inspiring colour prompts ...

This is an idea which has been brewing for years - watch this space!

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon!

Annie :o)xxx

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

WOYWW #263

Hi everyone,

Well, I had a lovely time away in Northern Ireland last week, but it's great to be back and today I plan to do some serious catching up in my workroom. Here's my desk all ready and waiting ...

If you're wondering why I'm showing a picture of my messy workdesk - that's because it's What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday, when crafty creative types from all over the place link up at Julia's Stamping Ground.

 In front of the resident clutter of pens, brushes and glues is a little bottle of Masking Fluid (haven't used this stuff for years, but I think it will be fun to play with in my art journal). At the back, to the right of the "tape tree" is my vintage book pen pot from a tutorial by Jennifer Grace and to the right of that is the swatch book I made following Jill Foster's excellent You Tube tutorial on Gelato techniques. To the right on top of the guillotine is the little blog hop prize I'm getting ready to send off to Lisa-Jane.

But WHAT you may well ask are those strange objects on your cutting mat??? Are they really SNAILS???? Yes, they are - well, they're empty snail shells. You can also see some Silk Clay and some DAS air-hardening clay. I have an idea for this year's Summer Of Color project which I'm really excited about .... I missed the first week while we were away, but hope to catch up and share the results in a couple of days, so watch this space ....

In the meantime, pop over to Julia's, check out some more crafty spaces, link up and show us yours! Thanks for visiting today, see you again soon :o)

Annie xxx

Monday, 9 June 2014

DIY Project Life Cards

Hi everyone,

If you've seen my previous posts, you'll have noticed how much I enjoyed the free blog event Refresh Your Craft & Soul over at Jennifer Grace Creates this weekend. It's not too late to enter the giveaways and challenges and they're all open internationally too - click on the link to catch up on all the posts.

This is my last RYCAS project but it's a biggie! I was inspired by one of the many posts over the weekend to make a set of Project Life cards and I'm also going to enter it for the Teal Orange and White challenge. Here's what I came up with ...

As luck would have it, my latest parcel from SJ Crafts arrived on Saturday and it included a pack of Becky Higgins PL Pocket Protectors which I'm very excited about. There were two big variety packs to choose from in the shop and I decided on Pack 2. I also had a set of the Becky Higgins PL nesting dies waiting to be played with ...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Small but Perfectly Formed ....

Hi Everyone,

Me again - I don't think I've ever done so many posts in such a short time!

This project combines two of the many fun challenges in the Refresh Your Craft & Soul free blog event over at Jennifer Grace Creates this weekend. The first was to create something small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. The other was to put a refreshing phrase in a box. Here's what I came up with ...

I started out with one of my huge hoard of empty boxes and a pile of scrap paper.This one's an Avon one. Firstly, I covered it inside and out with patterned paper ...

... on both sides ...

Vintage Book Storage Solution

Hi everyone,

You may have noticed that I have spent most of this weekend Refreshing My Craft & Soul over at Jennifer Grace Creates. I've been in my room for hours cutting and sticking - getting my craft fix before we go away for a few days! I have been outside as well - I sat out in the garden with some sewing and watched the birds (we had a new visitor to our bird table today - a Middle Spotted Woodpecker!)

Refresh Your Craft & Soul is a free blog event, it's open internationally, and there's still time to enter the giveaways and challenges - click on the link to catch up on all the posts you've missed.

A couple of years ago, during another one of her fabulous blog events, Jennifer shared a clever idea for turning a vintage book into a storage solution. I was lucky enough to win one of the giveaways, which included a vintage story book and chipboard to make your own version of this project. Today I was inspired by this post to make some pretty storage, so it seemed like a good day to finally get around to making my own paintbrush storage pot ...

Here's the front cover of the book, which I've cut apart with my scalpel. Measurements for the chipboard pieces are given in Jennifer's tutorial. I painted mine with Distress Ink.

Paint Job

Hi everyone,

I really have been busy today!

This is a really quick idea inspired by the Refresh Your Craft & Soul free blog event over at Jennifer Grace Creates this weekend. If you haven't joined in yet, there's still time - click on the link above to check out all the challenges, giveaways and inspiration so you don't miss anything.

One of the creative prompts inspired by this post was to paint some embellies, so I thought I would take these lovely but rather dull chippies ...

and give them a makeover, using the signature colours of the Refresh Your Craft & Soul event - Teal, Orange and white ...

... much more temptacious!!! I've photographed them against a sheet of sky-printed paper I've had foy years and somehow never get around to using ... I think it may end up in an art journal.

Thanks for popping in - I still have more RYCAS - inspired projects to post about before we go away to Ireland for the rest of the week, so I'll be back in a bit

Annie x

Words & Washi

Hi everyone,

I was inspired by this post, which is part of the Refresh Your Craft & Soul free blog event over at Jennifer Grace Creates, to make a really quick and simple pair of PL cards, using only washi tape and sticky words ...

All I had to do was to cut some scrap card to 3"x4", round the corners with my Corner Chomper, add strips of washi tape and finish with a word sticker ...

I was all done in five minutes - FABulous!!!

Thanks for having a look, back in a min :o) xxx

Can You Resist?

Hi everyone,

It's been a very busy and inspiring weekend over at Jennifer Grace Creates. If you haven't joined us yet, it's not too late to Refresh Your Craft & Soul too - just click on the link to check out all the challenges, giveaways and bright ideas. It's all free, you still have time to enter and they're all open internationally.

One of the many fun challenges was to make something using a resist technique, so I decided to finish off the PL style cards I made as part of my blog hop post ...

First I scribbled on some watercolour paper with PVA glue, then when it was dry I washed over the scribbled design with watery Gelatos.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Refresh Your Craft & Soul Blog Hop

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to my leg of the Refresh Your Craft & Soul Blog Hop - hopefully you've arrived here from Jennifer Grace Creates, but if not, you should pop over there now and start from the beginning to grab all the details and make sure you don't miss any of the fun. If you visit all the blogs on the hop and then pop back to Jennifer's to let her know, you'll be in with a chance of a FABulous giveaway - more details at the bottom of this post :o)

This is just the start of a weekend-long free blog event, which promises to be full of fun, inspiration, challenges, prizes and giveaways AND it's open internationally too - WooHOOO!

Jennifer has loosely based the theme for this event on her word for the year, which is "Cleanse". Over the course of the weekend, we will be exploring a variety of ideas inspired by this word, including watery themes and trying new things. 

Trying something new always refreshes my craft and soul, even if it doesn't quite work out as I had expected. For this project, I decided to challenge myself to try out my new gelatos, and then use them alongside some other watery media to create a scrapbook page without using any patterned papers - totally out of my comfort zone as they say!  Here's a tiny peek at part of my finished layout ... 

... and here's the lovely shiny new gelato set my DH gave me for my birthday - as you can see, they're still pristine and my birthday was back in March! 

It's a great starter set, which includes 10 colours of gelatos, a tube of gesso, paintbrush, dropper, mister, stamp, stencil, 8 swatches of different materials, a book ring and instructions. 

Well I had a really good go at working through all the ideas in the booklet, I really did, but eventually decided it was time for some expert help - so as always I turned to YouTube and found this excellent tutorial  by Jill Foster demonstrating exactly the same kit! I started off copying Jill fairly slavishly until I started to get a feel for it and by the end I was beginning to add my own little twists. Here's my completed swatch book ...

I also coloured some chipboard embellies with a coat of gesso followed by different shades of Gelatos. Five minutes before I took this photo, my desk looked like this ...

... but one of the many good things about Gelatos is that they wash right off your hands, so no inky fingers this time! 

OK, now I had got my head around the Gelatos I was ready for the next stage of my challenge, so I gathered up a few more supplies ...

A couple of water pots, mixing palette, water brushes, needle-tip bottles, dropper bottles, acrylic paints, mists, and Gelatos of course (I decided to go for a blue/orange/white combo). Also essential but not in the photo were a mister bottle, some baby wipes and paper towels.

I got the needle-tip bottles and dropper bottles from Amazon - they're brilliant for creating squiggles and splashes and you can mix up and store a small amount of paint, ink or glue in them. You need to mix paint/glue with water to get the right consistency to flow through the needle-tip successfully but still hold its shape well. 

For this project, I mixed up some orange acrylic paint in a dropper bottle, put some thinned-down blue acrylic and PVA glue in needle-tip bottles and some ink from an old bunged-up mister in the other dropper. I also pulled out some Dylusions Ink Spray in Squeezed Orange and Cosmic Shimmer Mist in Vintage Blue, and some watercolour paper. 

First, using some of the techniques I'd learned from Jill Foster's tutorial, I had a go at some PL size cards, because I have an idea to start making PL-style layouts to go opposite more traditional scrap pages, so that I can scrap multiple photos of the same event or time in my life and include more memorabilia and journaling ...

The one on the left was just a simple wash of Gelato to create a colourful background, then when it was dry I added a scribble of blue paint from the needle-tip bottle. For the other two, I scribbled with PVA glue first, allowed it to dry and then washed over the top with Gelato. I will probably add words to these later. 

Next, I created a background on plain white cardstock, using all my watery media - paints, inks, mists and Gelatos ...

... and lots of dribbling and dropping, stencilling, scribbling, splashing and stamping! You can even stamp with Gelatos, by rubbing them onto the stamp, then misting with water to activate the pigments before stamping - it gives a lovely soft watery effect. 

Last but not least, I used my watery media to alter some embellies for my page ...

Some canvas shapes from the Papermania Bare Basics range and some plain white paper flowers were just begging for a makeover ...

The flowers were just spritzed with mists and the canvas shapes were coloured with Gelatos - I introduced a touch of green and pink and used a watery brush and my fingers to apply and blend the colours.

For the title I used Prima Canvas Alphas in white and applied colour picked up directly from the Gelato with a watery brush ...

Finally, it was just a matter of assembling the page, layering up some of my PL-size pieces to form an interesting photo matt, tucking in a scrap of doily, finishing with flowers and my canvas bunting. Here's how it turned out ... 

It didn't turn out at all as it had looked in my head, but I had a great time and learned a lot of new techniques which I will definitely be using again. 

So, how about you? What new thing would you like to try? How do you Refresh Your Craft & Soul? Oh and I nearly forgot my little prize ...

... some dropper bottles, a needle-tip bottle and a set of Aqua-Flo water brushes in three sizes. Just leave a comment if you'd like to win these - after the event I'll pick a winner with a random number generator and I'm happy to post anywhere in the world :o)

Thanks for hopping by - your next stop is Becky's Burblings. If you get lost, just hop back to Jennifer's for the full list.

If you comment on all the blogs in the hop, finishing at to let Jennifer know you've been all the way around, then you'll be in with a chance to win a refreshing prize pack featuring Glitz 77 and My Mind's Eye Izzy items, total worth over £25! All entries must be received by Monday the 9th of June at 10.59pm BST. 

See you there :o)

Wednesday, 4 June 2014


Hi everyone,

Well it's a rainy day here today, which is actually perfect, because I have Big Plans, most of which involve shutting myself away in my room and getting on with some serious cutting and sticking.

Here's my desk as it looked this morning ...

... quite tidy for me, with a lovely clean, brand new cutting mat which I got at a very good price from eBay. But the exciting part about my desk is those three gorgeous ATCs from the WOYWW swap, which I am thrilled to bits with. This is going to be a longer-than-usual WOYWW post, because I just HAVE to show you my happy post :o) Here's a closer look ...

 First to arrive was Laura's, which came in this cute little matching envelope  ...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Summer of Colour Four is here!

WooHOO! It's time .... Summer of Color Four is here! Check out the all the deets by clicking on the link below ...

I cannot WAIT to see what Kristin has in store for us this year ...

See you over at Twinkle, Twinkle

Annie x

DIY Flowers

Hi everyone,

The new challenge for June over at SJ Crafts is a lusciously vibrant colour combination of delicious hot pink, mouthwatering tangerine, soothing cream (or other neutral) and a luxurious touch of gold.

Straight away, this palette put me in mind of the colour scheme for our wedding flowers, so this was a perfect opportunity to get another wedding photo scrapped at last! 

With a lot of help from our friends, we did pretty much everything ourselves for our big day - from the stationery to the bunting to the favours to the catering and of course the flowers. It was hard work but worth every minute and we ended up with a day that was very much "us". We had to learn a few new skills along the way, and flower-arranging was one of them. 

Floristry did NOT come naturally to me - there were a lot of practice runs - but with the help of good old YouTube I got the hang of it eventually. A couple of days before the event, several boxes of flowers were delivered and we set about turning them into table arrangements, buttonholes, corsages and of course a bridal bouquet. 

This photo is one of the arrangements I made to decorate the Church - I'm hiding behind it, because it was around 5am and I was NOT looking exactly gorgeous!!!

The design is based on a fabulous sketch by the talented Ali Parris for the July challenge over at Scrap 365, so I shall be linking this up over there as well


If you haven't already, you should definitely check out the Scrap 365 blog, it's positively bursting with ideas and inspiration! 

Whilst I luuuurve this colour combo, I did feel it needed plenty of white space to balance it out, so I started with a sheet of white Bazzill cardstock which I mounted on a sheet of hot pink to frame it. Ali had used mixed media to create an interesting background for her page, so I tried a similar effect, using Distress Paints in Picked Raspberry and Wild Honey with a Tim Holtz layering stencil Dot Fade and then over that I stamped some random text with Distress Inks in Picked Raspberry and Spiced Marmalade. Finally, I flicked some Heidi Swapp Color Shine about the place. 

Onto this background I layered up several patterned papers - I raided my newly-organised scraps first, then added a couple of sheets from the Crate Paper Flea Market 6" paper pad. The leaves were also cut from scraps using Spellbinders Nestabilities Foliage Dies through my Cuttlebug. I've sprinkled sequin stars here and there to add some golden sparkle.

The "DIY" alphas added another touch of gold - these were Gold Tile Letters from the Flea Market collection by Crate Paper. The "Flowers" part of the title was made with Prima Canvas Alphas in white, which I've coloured with the same Distress Inks to create an ombre effect. The little words are Typeset Stickers from the Simple Stories DIY collection.

Thanks for popping in today and having a peek at my page - nip over to SJ Crafts to check out how everyone else has been inspired by this colour combo, and why not have a go yourself? Please share your projects with us, either by linking up to the challenge post or my uploading a photo to the SJ Crafts Facebook page - we love to see what you get up to! :o)

Annie x