Sunday, 18 November 2018

CSI Case File #266 - Warm Welcome

Hello everyone,

It's a lovely sunshiney autumnal day again here in my part of the UK, hope you're having a lovely day wherever you are in the world :o)

There hasn't been much spare time or energy for blogging around here just lately, but I do have a new challenge to share with you - Case File #266 from CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration. It's full of fun elements and gorgeous colour, perfect for this time of year ...


If you scroll to the bottom of the CSI reveal, you'll find all the clues you need to solve this Case - or you can just pull your own inspiration from this colourful Scene. I really enjoy following the Clues, so that's how I cracked this Case.

I thought this would be the ideal opportunity to scrap a picture from around this time last year, showing my Uncle Ian and his wife Sally in their beautiful cosy cottage. I always love spending time with them and we can always be sure of a warm welcome. In the summer, we sit in the garden enjoying the sunshine and in the winter, we gather around the fire to catch up on all the family news.

Image may contain: 2 people

I tried out a technique demonstrated by Paige Evans on her YT channel, where you take small rectangles of patterned paper, fold them in half and attach to the background by the top, leaving the bottom free to add dimension. Once you're happy with the arrangement, you can tuck embellishments in and around to create an interesting layered backdrop for your photo. 

This was a great technique to use because -
  • It was fun and easy to do
  • It used up lots of scraps
  • It worked really well as a way to echo the inspiration image.

I've tried to create an illusion of "looking in " to the room, tucking home decor items and different textures between the layers and adding detail to some of the frames on the background paper with coloured pencils and word stickers. 

So which clues did I follow? 
Scheme: all the colours are there
Evidence: stars, hearts, frames, puffy stickers, telephone or other gadget, flowers, mimic boxed shelving as design element, fabric.
Testimony: my journal is in the form of lots of word stickers in the frames, I have also since attached a tag behind the photo with that yellow peg. 

Why not have a go at cracking this case yourself? There are lots of brilliant prizes on offer, and you have until the end  of November to enter - check out all the details at the CSI blog, or find us on FaceBook. See you there :o)

Thanks for stopping by today, see you again soon! 

Love Annie xxx


Thursday, 1 November 2018

CSI Case File #265 - Smile, You're a Star.

Hello lovely peeps,

I haven't been able to blog so much recently, but today I have a new CSI Case File to show you.

This month over at CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration, we're celebrating Home Sweet Home, which is perfect now that the chilly weather is finally beginning to bite here in the UK. I love the colours in the Scene which Debbi has found for us to investigate this time ...


Nip over to the CSI blog to check out the full reveal and find all the clues you need to solve this case, or draw your own inspiration from the image to create a scrapbook page. You have until the end of the month to link up and be in with a chance to win one of the brilliant prizes on offer. 

Here's how I cracked the case ...


It was really tricky to get a good photo as the light was really dull when I finished making this page, but hopefully you will get the gist!! This photo shows my great-niece Leila, who has such a sweet nature and always a smile on her face.

As always, I chose to follow the clues -
  • Scheme: all the colours are there, plus I added some pops of the aqua from the inspiration image. 
  • Evidence: frames, flowers, animals, text print, transparent stickers, arrows, puffy stickers, triangles, shiny black acrylic heart, both gold and silver accents. 
  • Testimony: my journaling is handwritten inside the pink layered frames. 

I was also inspired by the image to use different fonts and stacked-up words in my journaling and titles. How would you solve the case? 

Thanks very much for visiting today, hope to see you a bit more often now that life is calming down a little :o)

Love Annie xxx

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

WOYWW #489

Hello Fellow Deskers,

Hope you're having a lovely day wherever you are in the world. I'll be at work by the time this posts itself tomorrow, and it will be Wednesday, time for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday - nip over to Julia's Stamping Ground to see what it's all about, check out all kinds of creative spaces and see what other crafty peeps have been up to this week.

Here's mine as it was on Tuesday afternoon ...


Quite messy I know - I've been busy using up scraps of patterned paper and some of my maHOOSive pile of alpha stickers to label up the boxes I keep my scrapbook pages in ...


The pretty butterflies came from China via Ali Express. Next job is to add coloured stickers to all the shelves below, where I store cardstock and patterned papers. Then I need to build an extension :o)

I'll be back over the next few days to find out what everyone else has been up to. Thanks for visiting me today, see you again soon!

Love Annie xxx

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

CSI Case File #264

Hello Arty-Farty friends in Blogland,

It's time to reveal the latest Case File #264 which came out yesterday over at CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration. I LOVE the unusual inspiration image which the lovely Debbi Tehrani has found for us to investigate ...


As you can see, Debbi has pulled a gorgeous colour palette from the Scene - you can choose to use any or all of the colours as you wish. 

If you hop over to CSI and check out the full Case File, you'll find clues which you can follow if you wish, or if you prefer, you can take your own ideas from the Scene. I really enjoy following the clues, so that's what I did. Here's how I cracked this Case ...


This page shows my good friend Trina and Yours Truly, all excited as we've just arrived for last year's Go Go Getaway scrapbook retreat. We're off on another one in a couple of weeks, so it was fun to scrap this now.
  • Scheme: All the colours are there, plus some black and dark grey. 
  • Evidence: Plaid pattern, text print, jar and food element, puffy stickers, envelope, layers.
  • Testimony: my journaling is hidden in the envelope with the speech bubble window which I made form recycled junk mail. It's all about how we've just peeked inside our kit boxes and are feeling very excited to see what the weekend has in store for us :o)
Also, I used a fabulous sketch from the Page Maps October release ...


So that's how I solved this case - pop over to the CSI blog for lots of inspiration from the other CSI Detectives and why not have a go yourself?! There are loads of prizes to be won and you have to be in it to win it :o)

Thanks for visiting my blog today, see you again soon! 

Love Annie xxx

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

WOYWW #487

Good Morning Fellow Deskers and Friends in Blogland,

It's Wednesday, so it's time to link up over at Julia's Stamping Ground and show the world What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday. Here's mine ...


You can see I've been working on some teeny weeny miniatures, and I've included my glass dip pen as several people asked about it on my last WOYWW post. Here's a closer look ...


Isn't it beautiful? I don't have great handwriting, but I will enjoy using this to write quotes in my notebooks and journals, and it will be good for drawing as well. It produces a fairly fine line with no variation in the thickness, so you can't use it in the same way as a flexible metal nib, but it writes smoothly and I wrote all this with just one dip in the ink (using Ph Martin's India ink). You can get them in lots of different colours and designs, I've seen them priced from around £4 upwards, so I am going to collect a few and I'll need a way to store them - may a kind of test tube stand would work??

Here's a closer look at the miniatures ...


You can see by the metric measurements on my cutting board just how tiny they are. This is a kit I got from Ali Express - eventually it will be a revolving music box with a little illluminated scene under a clear dome. I'll post a pic of the finished article next week :o)

Thanks for visiting today - thanks to lovely Zsuzsa who I'm hoping will link up for me. I'll  catch up with everyone during the course of the next few days. Have a lovely crafty week!

Love Annie xxx

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

CSI and Page Maps Collaboration ... or not!

Hello me again,

This month over at CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration we are very excited to be collaborating with Page Maps. I always enjoy working with Becky's brilliant sketches and really loved the sketch which I was allocated ...


If you have read my previous blog post, you'll already know that somehow I managed to completely miss the point and made two separate pages - one for the CSI Case File and another for Page Maps. I was so chuffed that I had got both done ready for the October 1st reveal, and the penny didn't drop until I saw the pages being uploaded by other DT members and noticed that they had combined the two challenges ... which is, of course the WHOLE POINT!! How could I have missed that?! :o)

Here's the page I made using this fab sketch ...


This layout is all about how much fun we had spotting all the beautiful owls on a recent stay in Bath with some of my BFFs. The three smaller pics are little accordion books which open up to show lots more pictures of all the owls we saw - we found 18 out of 82. 

If you pop over to Page Maps now you'll find the October release, with loads of fab sketches to inspire you. Check out the CSI blog to see how the other CSI Detectives have combined Page Maps with CSI Case File #263. 

Thanks for visiting my blog today, see you again soon :o)

Love Annie xxx

CSI Case File #263 and a Confession.

Hello there,

The first Case File for October has just been released over at CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration and as you can see, we are celebrating Autumn with this beautiful inspiration image ...


Check out the post over at the CSI Blog for the full Case File with all the clues you need to solve this Case. Here's how I cracked it ...


A few weeks ago I stayed in the beautiful Bath for a few days with some very good friends of mine. One of the many things we enjoyed was finding all the wonderful Owls which were dotted all over the city. 

You don't have to follow all the clues to enter this challenge - you can choose to draw your own inspiration from the image, or just pick whichever of the clues appeal to you - but I always love to follow the clues, so here's what I did ...
  • Scheme: the colours are all there.
  • Evidence: woodgrain paper, flowers/leaves, twine, frames, text print, wood veneer, grid design, distressing.
  • Testimony: my journalling is in a frame, documenting that this was our first day, the first owl we found and the first pictures we took. 
Confession Time - this month is extra exciting, because we are collaborating with Page Maps. We were each given a different sketch to use and I loved the one I got ... but somehow I TOTALLY missed the point and made two separate pages DOH!! What a klutz, it seems so obvious now, but honestly didn't dawn on me until I saw other DT pages being uploaded and thought, "oh that's clever, she's used the Case File and the sketch in the same page .... uh-oh ...." So, I'll blog my Page Maps layout separately and you can check out the other CSI Detectives pages to see how it SHOULD have been done :o)

Anyway, moving swiftly on - you have until the end of the month to crack this case yourself and there are loads of prizes on offer, so why not give it a go? 

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon! 

Love Annie xxx

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

My First ScrawlR Box.

Hello my arty crafty friends,

This week, I got my first ScrawlR Box to play with and I thought you might like to have a peek inside. If you click on the link above, you can check out the contents of previous boxes.

Here's what I got in the September 2018 kit ...


I thought it was really good value for £15 including postage - if you add up the RRP for the separate items it's way over that amount - and I love how it's put together. This month, the theme is "Complete Blackout", so all the pens are black, but they are all different shades of black, with very different properties, so it was fun trying them out and mixing them all together.

Here's my very first experiment ...


The ScrawlR Box includes a challenge each month to inspire you - this time it was "Jazz Noir". As you can see I went completely off-piste, but that doesn't matter, it was just a starting-point.

Opening the box was very exciting :o) Here's how it comes, with coordinating tissue and a cute sticker ...


... and here you can see the entire contents of the box, including the matching sweetie - a black jack of course!


There are eight pens; a card which includes a detailed description of each pen and the monthly challenge; two sheets of really good quality cotton paper; a fun sticker; the sweetie; and last but definitely not least, a print of this wonderful piece by Polish artist Damian Rozanski.

Some of the pens were water-soluble and some weren't, and it was really interesting to find out how they would play together. I particularly enjoyed using water with two of the pens - one of them released a pinkish purple colour and another did this amazing dark teal thing when diluted with water. I used these to create a smooshed and splattered background, then used another pen to stamp some flower outlines, then a couple of the finer pens to refine the image and add scribbly texture ...


I should probably have called it a day there, but just couldn't stop, so I made this face which came out a bit weird, but it's just in my art journal, so that's ok ...


Here I used the pens to create the background and a kind of under-painting. I started adding details, got carried away and lost what'd done, then ended up using black and white Inktense pencils over the top. It's not great, but it was interesting to do, I learnt stuff and it has given me an idea ... which is of course the whole point really :o)

Thanks for visiting me today, see you again soon!

Love Annie xxx


Wednesday, 19 September 2018

WOYWW #485

Hello Crafty Friends and Fellow Deskers,

Long time no see!! I've missed so many What's On Your Workdesk Wednesdays I can't even remember how many, but Things have settled down a bit now, so I have time to play - if you would like to join us, just hop over to Julia's Stamping Ground :o)

Here's my workdesk on Tuesday evening ....


You may just be able to make out that I've been playing with my new glass dip pen - I LOVE it, because it's so beautiful, it works really well and it was less than seven squids from Amazon. With just one dip in the ink, I managed to write over twenty words before I had to dip again - brilliant!

Here's another view of my room, looking over my left shoulder as I sit at the desk ...


I guess it still looks a bit chaotic, but everything is accessible now and I'm gradually working on finding storage solutions which are pretty and practical and don't cost too much. Like those magazine files I got in the Pound Shop for ... guess how much?! :o)

One more thing I would like to show you before I go - and I promise it is workdesk related. We were on holiday in York last week - had an amazing time, so much to see and do (and eat and drink!). It's a very beautiful city, but like all cities there were lots of homeless people. We met a guy who was sitting cross-legged in a sleeping bag in a shop doorway, with a rucksack next to him and a piece of a skirting-board on his knees, which he was using as a workdesk. Of course I had to go have a look and buy a couple of cards because I thought they looked really cool ...


He was a really nice guy and we chatted about this and that as he made my cards. I was so impressed with his initiative and what he managed to do with just a glue stick, a pair of scissors, minimal supplies and a piece of skirting-board as a workdesk - it also made me realise how lucky I am to have a whole room just for crafting in.

That's it for this week - I'll be at work when this posts itself and I'll catch up with everyone over the next few days. See you at Julia's :o)

Love Annie xxx

Sunday, 16 September 2018

CSI Case File #262

Hello Scrappy Friends,

There's a new Case File #262 over at CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration and you have until the end of September to solve it and be in with a chance of winning one of the fabulous prizes on offer. Here's a quick look at the Case File ...


For full details and loads of inspiration, check out this post on the CSI Blog. You can choose to follow all the clues, or just pull your own inspiration from the Scene. Here's a closer look ...


Personally, I really enjoy following the clues, so that's what I did. Here's how I cracked the Case ...


  • Scheme: all the colours are included, and I threw in a splash of the aqua blue.
  • Evidence: stripes, dots, insects, swirls, Perfect Pearl drops, hearts, flowers, leaves, layered/dimensional stickers, bow, buttons.
  • Testimony: I wrote my journaling in cursive around the edge of the page. 

It's all about how much I love pictures like this one of my little Step Granddaughter Macy - the young Mums and Dads are so good at taking amazing, spontaneous, great quality photos with their mobile phones. Very different from when my kids were small - you had to get the camera out, by which time the perfect moment had passed, then you had to get the film developed, which was quite expensive, and keep your fingers crossed that at least some of the pictures would be good ones. Of course I still treasure all the photos from years ago, but I wish I could have documented my boys' lives with today's technology! 

Why not have a go at solving this Case File yourself? Check out the FaceBook Page for news and inspiration. NB calling all Australian scrappers who haven't played along before - there's a special Aussie Apprentice prize on offer from Scrap Matrix which wasn't claimed last month as there were no new Aussie players, so that one definitely has your name on it :o) 

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon! 

Love Annie xxx 


Craftathon for Breast Cancer Care

Hello Crafty Peeps,

Yesterday our little craft group got together to join in with the Craftathon for Breast Cancer Care - we have £70 to donate to this very worthy cause and we had a lovely time ...



We were making mini books and I love how they all turned out so differently, even though we were working from the same kit. Julie very kindly hosted our mini Craftathon and we completely took over her dining room for the day. Here's the table before we trashed it got started ...


Julie had made us these sweet tissue holders as a memento of the day which was a lovely surprise ...


It was extreme crafting to get the book done in a day, but we had lots of fun ...



... and we were sustained by delicious home made cake :o) Cake break #1 ...


... and Cake Break #2 ...


We started on the easy pages and worked our way up to the more tricky ones. It was satisfying to see them start to stack up ...


We tried out a few different tools and techniques to create some interesting pages - such as heat embossing acetate, embossing vellum, lots of punching and diecutting, using an envelope score board, creating a pop-up, a waterfall and a shaker. Here I'm using a laminator to create a clear confetti page ...


Before we called it a day at around 7pm, we had time to bind our books using the Bind-It-All machine, but we still have lots of decorating and finishing touches to do. We'll enjoy doing that at our next regular craft session and I'll post photos of the end results - can't wait to see them all together!

If you're interested in finding out about the Craftathon for Breast Cancer Care please click here for more details. To make a donation you can go here. You are very welcome to download the instructions for the mini book, just click here. I have made a YT tutorial to go with them, click here. If you do make a mini book from my tutorial, I would love to see the results - please post on my ArtyFarty FB page.

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon!

Love Annie xxx



Friday, 7 September 2018

Mini Book for the Craftathon for Breast Cancer Care

Hello my Crafty Friends,

Next Saturday 15th September, some friends and I are getting together to join in with the Craftathon for Breast Cancer Care - check out the FB page to see what it's all about. It all came from an idea hatched by the lovely Di Oliver and has grown into a massive event, which hopefully will raise lots of money for this very worthwhile cause.

To give us a fun project to work on as a group, I've put together some kits to create a mini book ...


We'll each have 18 sheets of double-sided patterned paper including lots of different colours and designs, so there will be plenty of scope for each of us to put our own twist on the design.

Here's my first prototype, after I'd added some scraps of ribbon to the binding ...


And I used some of the leftovers to create photocorners, pen clips and paperclip flags ...


If you would like to join us, you would be most welcome - I have put together a Word doc including all the instructions and dimensions, as well as a You Tube tutorial to follow along. There's another YT vid showing how to make the photo corners and things here. It's all free, but if you'd like to make a donation to the charity, it would be much appreciated - here's a link to the JustGiving page.

Thanks very much for visiting me today, hope you enjoy the tutorial and if you make a mini book of your own, please leave me a link, I'd love to see it :o)

See you again soon!!

Love Annie xxx

Sunday, 2 September 2018

CSI Case File #261 - You Are So Loved

Hello everyone,

A new Case File has opened over at CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration and you have a whole month to solve it to be in with a chance of winning one of the fab prizes on offer. We have an unusual Scene to investigate this month and I had loads of fun with it ...


Pop over to the CSI Blog to find the full case file and all the clues you need to crack this case, as well as lots of inspiration from the rest of the CSI Detectives.

Here's how I cracked it ...


The photo shows my little step-granddaughter, Macy, a couple of years ago, and this page is documenting some of the things we love about her. It was also a great excuse to use up about a million diecuts!

New for 2018, you can choose to follow all the Clues in the Case File, or just pull your own inspiration from the Scene. As always, I went old school, as I really enjoy following the clues.

  • Scheme: all the colours are there.
  • Evidence: teacup, paper clip, leaves, hand-drawn elements plus a couple of clues I spotted myself - crayons, spectacles and the way lots of small items are scattered over the desk. 
  • Testimony: I've listed some of the things I love about Macy and written them around the edge of the page.

Thanks for visiting my blog today, see you again soon :o)

Love Annie xxx

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Boo! Snap! Hey! - GoGoGetaway August Challenge

Hello my crafty friends,

The challenge for August over at GoGoGetaway was to use washi on a scrapbook page. I decided to make a page about one of my step-grandsons, Bailey, using up lots of scraps of older papers and throwing in some glittery denim blue washi to add a bit of non-girly twinkle ...


The design was inspired by the top photo, where Bailey is peeking through a round window - I just echoed the circle-inside-a-square theme throughout the grid, layering up squares of paper scraps with die cut circles and frames and then adding lots of word stickers to finish it off.

By sticking the washi onto card stock, I was able to run it through my diecutting machine. I also added tape around the edge to frame the page.

There will be a new challenge at GoGo on the 1st of the month - pop over to their blog or FB page to check it out and find loads of inspiration.

Thanks for popping in today, see you again soon!

Love Annie xxx


Thursday, 16 August 2018

CSI #260 - Family Gathering

Hi there,

There's a new Case File just opened over at CSI: Color, Stories, Inspiration and we have another beautiful Scene to investigate ...


Pop over to the CSI blog post and scroll to the bottom to find a full list of clues to follow, or just pull your own ideas from the inspiration image. Check out all the different amazing pages by the rest of the CSI Detectives and Guest Detectives for lots of ideas to get you going.

I always enjoy following the clues which Debbi has pulled from the Scene, so that's what I did. Here's how it worked out ...


The Scheme: all the colours are there.
The Evidence: gold, glitter, twine, floral pattern, people embellishment (hand-cut paper dolls).
The Testimony: my journaling is written all around the edge of the page and tells the story of a family day out during a recent holiday to Cornwall.

Why not have a go at cracking this case yourself and be in with a chance of winning one of the fab prizes? Check out the Face Book page for more inspiration. 

Thanks for visiting my blog today, see you again soon :o)

Love Annie xxx

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Painted Faces

Hello everyone,

The temperature has dropped a bit and we've had a good rain here in my part of the UK, but today it's blue skies and sunshine again, which is wonderful. I've been up since 3am, unable to sleep, so my chores are done and I have more time to play :o)

I'm still loving Art Journal Summer School, it's encouraging me to play in my art journal every day, even if only for a little time. This week my favourite page was this one, following a lession with Marieke Blokland, the host of AJSS, who showed us how she creates her "dolls" ...


Marieke also showed us how to add a fantastical fairytale background, inspired by a photo of a castle or other building we've seen on our travels. My background is drawn from the view I see from my window every day (we live in a cottage in the grounds of an old Hall). I stood in the kitchen doorway as it was getting dark one evening, and made a ten minute sketch, just to capture the feel of it.

These next two were inspired by a class with Andrea Gomoll, who encouraged us to "Go with the Flow". Andrea worked quickly and freely and I loved her painting - full of vibrant, transparent colours and lots of movement.

First, we added watercolour paint to wet paper and allowed it to do its thing, before drawing our picture over the top with water soluble pencil and activating it with a water brush to create shading. We added more colour here and there with water soluble crayons, and used fineliners and paint pens to add detail.


I wasn't happy with mine and couldn't leave it alone, kept twiddling and adding stuff and it just got all stiff and overworked. That was my second attempt, the first attempt I can hardly stand to look at, but I'll share it with you anyway, click here if you really want to see it ...

Friday, 10 August 2018

Freebie Friday #4 - Beautiful Butterflies

Hi there!

Welcome to another Freebie Friday, when I show you what I made with one of those free cover gifts you get on the front of crafty magazines.

This time, I'm using a beautiful butterfly-themed kit from Crafts Beautiful Magazine. The kit included card blanks and die cuts as well as a gorgeous layering stamp set which I really enjoyed playing with. Here are some of the cards I made ...


And here's a short (12 minute-ish) YT video - check it out if you would like to see how I got on ...


And finally, a closer look at some of those cards ...