Thursday, 26 February 2015

My New Job..... very welcome (Need the pennies!) but BOY, is it getting in the way of my creativity! :(

Only five hours a day, but that is pretty much all of my spare time (if you don't count sleeping and I don't do enough of that as it is) so I'm afraid my crafting has had to take a back seat!.

Not that I've done nothing, mind you, but not much in the way of cards - I even BOUGHT my Hubby's Valentine card  (...oh, the shame...!)...!

My continuing creativity has turned more to my drawing and painting and I've had a few peeps ask for Pet Portraits so I've been doing more of that,

Never used soft pastels before - well not since school anyway - far too messy for me! But I acquires a set of pastel PENCILS and these are much more controllable and less messy

My Lola was snoozing on the couch so she was my first (and only so far) pastel victim! :D  I was quite happy with the result though - I've never managed a discernable likeness with pastel before!

This is my latest creation - my Liver Bird #2 - the female.  I'm sure I blogged Liver Bird #1 previously but just for my edification, here she is again......!

...well, actually, that's the male bird - he wears the pants, so to speak, while his missus watches the river for returning seamen.

This was the first Liver Bird I did in 2011. A friend wanted a Liver Bird for a badge but all the drawings she found were copyrighted (...duhhhh...! Obvs!) so she asked me to draw one for her and this was it.  Another Daddy Liver Bird it would seem (although I haven't detailed his feathers)!

I need to pop off now and get ready for work, but I'll be back with more of the stuff I've been doing, later on!
Ei x


Friday, 2 January 2015

....Happy New Year 2015...!

Not been around for quite some time in blogland.
Was a busy, busy second half of 2014 in one way and another and I didn't get very much time to craft (or anything else for that matter!) for months.

I just about managed 70 Christmas cards for my daughter's charity drive in work and a few last-minute requests for bereavement and birthday cards for friends and family as I now have a job!   

Yes, that's right - a real, paying job!

At my age I was made up to have got as far as interview but didn't expect anything to come of it, so when I got the e-mail telling me to start I was a bit shocked, to say the least!

So my week goes a bit like this....

Monday - up at dawn with hens to feed them and poo-pick and get any eggs.  7:30 - 8:00 grandson Toby arrives for the day with Nanny and stays until about 4:30 - 5:00pm depending on Mummy & Daddy's work.

Nic gets up about 1:00pm (he's a shift-worker) to take over with Toby for a couple of hours whilst I get ready for work, make dinner in the slow-cooker and tidy up a bit, and get my head down for 40 winks before feeding the hens again at 3:30pm then leaving at 5:00pm to go to work.  I get back about 10:00.

Tuesday is easier - no Toby - but similar as I still have the hens and housework and washing and the rest of the usual stuff to do instead of playing with my favourite little playmate!

Wednesday - still up with hens (every day) but off to work in the charity shop for a couple of hours before going to my 'proper' job at 5:00pm. If Nic's home and up, he gives the hens their supper if not I get home in time to do it before going to 'work'.

Thursday - same as Tuesday.  Usually Nic has a day off somewhere, so we end up going shopping somewhere or we give the chicken run/corral a good clean out.

Friday is the same as Tuesday and I can usually get a bit of time to myself as most of the chores are done by now.

Saturday is pj day.  Nic is usually in bed until about 4:00 as been on nights on the Friday and it's too much hassle trying to get dressed in the dark without waking him. So it's the dogs, the hens and me until he gets up.

Sunday is usually family visit day - either Rob & Dan bring Elvie or, if Nic is up to it, we go there.

This is all very basic - the kids visit most days in the week and there is always other stuff to be done so, you see, crafting has been somewhat on a back burner as has blogging!

Not made anything to be proud of for months - the Christmas cards I made were quite ordinary - even Nic's!  I think I lost my mojo somewhere in my chaotic craft-room  -  and that's my next job before I go back to work!

Hugs and best wishes for 2015


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

...Disaster Dog-show Day...!

It rained.  And it rained.  And then it THREW IT DOWN!

I poured down from the minute we got there at 9:30am until about 2:30 - 3:00pm.

My gazebo has a cover but it doesn't have sides, so when the rain decided to come SIDEWAYS.......!

Disastrous.  Everything was getting soaked and my table-cloths were sodden so we had to re-group.

Fortunately, we had a very good friend with us. A District Commissioner of Scouts for whom camping on a muddy field in the lashing down rain is meat and drink!

And my amazing Hubby had a brainwave too - he took himself off to the local pound shop and bought some of those see-through plastic dust sheets you use when decorating and attached them to the sides of the gazebo so the damage was limited.

In the end, I didn't get anything out except my Pet Portraits, which are behind glass and a few of my cards, which are in poly bags.

We did not take one single penny all day.  As it was all going to be for the dog charities, that was a blow.

It was very demoralizing ....until my Lola won a third in the 'Prettiest Bitch' category! :D   

Who is the MUMMY then....!

I'll add piccies later as Nic has gone over to see his Mumsy and taken the camera with him.

Ei x

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Really REALLY busy...!

Just a line to apologize for no new posts and crafty stuff - I've been making like a Trojan but not had time to photograph - I will do so when I get time but all hands to the pumps making stock for the dog-show on Saturday at the mo!

I spent Friday afternoon setting up some of it on tables in my garden - just to check there would be enough room for display.  All was well and I'll tweak the actual presentation in the next day or two and add some more dog-cards.

Got lots of other stuff too - just have to work on the display - if it's windy like it was in my garden, I shall need glue-dots! 

All of this stuff was either made by me or renovated by me, so quite a lot of work involved.

I really hope we do well - I so want to make a donation to these two wonderful charities.

See you all again - hopefully in the normal way! - very soon! 
Hugs Ei x

Monday, 16 June 2014

Don't forget the dog show at Westhoughton on 28th June - a week next Saturday!

We are doing a stall with lots of goodies and we are also sponsoring the 'Best in Show' class, so if you can get there, please do and bring some cash with you as all my profits are going to the dogs ...quite literally! LOL! 

We have supported NWESSR (North West English Springer Spaniel Rescue) for many, many years, since they gave us our beautiful Merlin, in whose memory the cup is being presented in our class and also the Irish Animal Rescue AHAR

You might wonder why an Irish ( Animal Heaven Animal Rescue) rescue....well, if you could see the state of the animals in Ireland you would understand. Makes our state of affairs look meagre, I can tell you. Plus AHAR supply a LOT of rescue dogs to the UK, which is a GOOD thing because what they do have, in abundance, is non-bully type dogs.

Please don't get me wrong here - I'm all for our Bully boys and girls - I love all dogs including the amazing Staffies with their gorgeous smiles, but over here we have little else in our rescues and with the best will in the world, not everyone wants or is able to take a bully breed which may or may not (can't always tell) have had the 'wrong' type of owner.

That isn't for me to pontificate or speculate about in this particular post - so please don't discuss here - this is purely about a fun day out, at a charity dog show, organized by one very special, driven little girl called Scarlett who decided when she was very little that she was going to 'help the doggies' and she most certainly has done that!

She bakes her own special doggy treats and sells them and she goes out rattling her tin and persuading folk to part with their dosh 'for the doggies'!

If you would like to know more about our Scarlett,  please read all about her on here!

We attended the show at Frodsham last year and had a grand day! Plus our two scruffs won second place! 

Which is why we're running a stall this year!

We are going to be selling my handmade greetings cards, mostly featuring my own artwork - lots of doggies! - plus preloved and vintage jewellery and some brand new handmade jewellery, I will have some samples of my Pet Portraits for people to see along with the photos they came from and OH will have some of his plants for sale too - Black Russian tomatoes anyone...?

There will, if we have any room left in the car, have some books and bric-a-brac too.

So would LOVE to see yaz there!
 I REALLY want you to help me to help the poor abandoned and abused animals in these two wonderful rescues and, of course we, along with  all the other stalls will be contributing to the designated 'Bolton Destitute Animal Shelter' through our table-hire and class sponsorship.

Hugs Ei, Nic, Charlie & Lola xxxxx

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Indigo Blu

Indigo Blu is a newish discovery for me, via my friend Brenda Gascoigne (thank you Brenda! ;) )  and I'm really hooked!

I want so many of their stamps but just cannot afford just at the mo with my 'Visit' to London two weeks ago - (cost us a flippin' fortune - I can tell you! But it's not often you're asked to Buckingham Palace Garden Party - it would be rude to refuse! ;) )  I'm hoping for some nice pennies for my birthday in October (can I really wait that long....? :O) so I can add to the two sets of stamps, the one  texture plate and the three pots of gilding flakes and glue I do already have.

I spent the entire week (well what little time I did have after the grandbabby sitting and other 'duties') making colourful backgrounds and using my new Indigo Blu stamps.

Here are a few 'bits'  I made - the one with the gilding I just could NOT get to photograph. Whatever light gave the flakes 'life' also made the piccy too 'white' - either that or it was too dark!

The first was a birthday card for Ali Reeve who had a 'threshold' birthday this week.

The background is colourwashed with watercolour inks after a light stamping of Versamark with the 'hair' of my Indigo Blu 'Juliet' stamp.  All of the stamped images are from the same Indigo Blu set and I coloured the butterfly with my Sakura Tiara pens. I then mounted that onto black card.
I stamped the white base-card with the 'Wild Meadow' border in a square with black Archival inkpad.

My second, is a birthday card for my second son Michael, who is a great globe-trotter and for whom the message could not have been more appropriate - he certainly does take life by the 'wotsits' and lives it! lol!  He won't be home for his birthday - off to Germany!

I used Indigo Blu's Grand Tour III set for this one.  The balloon, one of the message stamps and the 'treeline' stamp. I also 'ghost-stamped' the treeline stamp but it's not showing well on the photograph.

The background is another one I made myself and once again, Archival inkpad in Jet Black.  Simply mounted on black card and a muss of red and black cord to finish is enough for my 'simple' son!  He would NOT like a pile of flowers and charms at all!

Number three is another 'background' card - this time it's a combination of inkpads smoozed onto a spritzed worksheet and then the paper smooshed over it and coloured ink spritzes. This time, in addition to the butterfly and Wild Meadow border, I've added dragonflies

I don't think you'll be able to make it out on here, but the dragonflies do have little coloured wings.  The butterfly was coloured with watercolours this time as the background was quite strong to cover.

 My fourth one was the most difficult, for me. I was wanting to show how versatile  only two sets of stamps can be - I LOVE this stamp but was getting a bit tired of black by now....! lol!  And 'Juliet' DOES look so beautiful and dramatic in black.....

So I went for ivory and sepia.  It's a kind of easel card of my own devising - I'll put it into tutorial form when I get a minute - but for the minute, I stamped onto cream card with TH Distress Embossing Inkpad and Distress Embossing Powder in Antique Linen, rubbing off the crystals as required.

I then inked over the whole with Distress Inkpads in Antique Linen, Vintage Photo, Brushed Corduroy and Walnut Stain in patches, starting with the lightest and going dark, popping a mesh 'stencil' (a bit of plastic basket from a Feta Cheese tub!) on around the image for the 'top' layer.

This I then die-cut with a Spellbinders Nestie - Labels Four.
I then mounted that on another larger Nestie cut from cream
 'coated' glossy card (Astrolux)

I wanted to use my Indigo Blu gilding flakes and my Indigo Blu 'Crackleglaze' texture stamp, so I die-cut the background card with a fancy Labels One and stamped with my IB Flitter Glue .

I used a small piece of Cut & Dry sponge to do this - soaked it with the Flitter-Glu (making sure it goes well into the sponge - you don't want any on the surface of it or it will give a 'cloggy' image) and used this like an inkpad.

I then sprinkled the gilding flakes (Royal Peacock) over the stamping and let it 'grab' and dry a bit ( the glue stays moist on the pad for a few hours if you then place it face-down on a tile or a plastic lid). 
Once it was dry - I gave it a thorough rubbing off with IB 'Scoochy Foam' to remove excess and buff up the gilding.

Next were the little flourishes - sorry, I've forgotten what they are called but they're Spellies too. Once cut, I used the Flitter Glu and a paper stump to  add more gilding flakes to the flowers on the flourishes, to 'catch' the gilding on the back-sheet.

The butterfly from the Wild Meadow set was used again to gild and decoupage and the message stamp was die-cut with another Spellie.

If I thought the fourth one was difficult to envisualize and make in a bit of a hurry, then the final fifth one was easy peasy to make but a nightmare to photograph! LOL!

'Juliet' made another appearance, and I am so sad this didn't photograph well as it's stunning in 'the flesh'.

As you can see, there are a few mats going on here - mostly black and stacked with a couple of metallic ones for contrast.

Unusually, the black one with the image on, is at the bottom of the pile - this is inset matting, not the usual way of building up from the bottom in the centre.

Juliet was stamped in Flitter Glu and gilded (Royal Peacock again! I have others but I just LOVE this one.) onto a rectangular black card. I then took a larger piece of metallic peacock blue and used a 'Go Create' Frilly Frame #7 to take a mat out of the middle to make a 'frame' for the image.

The next layer was the same die-set but a larger size in black.

On top of this came a copper-bronze metallic card in a Nestie - Labels 23.
Then black again in a larger die from the same set.
Glue it all together.

The feathers are Spellies Shapeabilities Peacock Feathers which I cut from pearlescent card and painted with mica powders, securing with a jewelled brad.

Then came the hard work! Trying to photograph the little varmint! ;)

You decide which is the best photo - for me, none of them work properly.

These were taken in three different places in three different lights. And there were more... many, many more! :O  I gave up in the end....for now!

I loved using these products and I'll let you into a little secret - Juliet and the Wildmeadow images were a so-called 'freebie' from a magazine. I don't like magazines myself - nothing in them except a pile of advertizing usually  I only buy the odd 'gift' and get the mag free! 

As soon as I saw what make the stamps were I went and hunted it down.

What I have noiticed, is that lot of people don't seem to know HOW to use acrylic stamps (as opposed to the vastly superior Photopolymer stamps).

Acrylic stamps, unlike either rubber or photopolymer stamps, are MOULDED. 
A plastic mixture is poured into moulds. That is why they often have the odd fault in them. Most, if not ALL 'freebie' stamp sets are acrylic.I have had a few with 'dings' and hairline 'scratches' where the compound wasn't sitting properly in the mould. Still usable, usually - we're crafters - we can fudge around the odd imperfection, can't we...? ;) !

What is a totally different issue, and is similar with photopolymer stamps too (I know - I used to make them! ;) ) is the fact that they don't 'like' water-based inkpads too much!

Water/plastic? It runs or pools, doesn't it?  

That is why you need to 'prime' some clear stamps with a solvent-based inkpad like Staz-On for the first inking. The solvent 'loosens' up the top layer of the stamp, giving a 'key' for the water-based or dye inkpad.

That procedure would probably negate half of the stamping problems peeps have with these 'freebie' stamps.

There isn't usually a problem with pigment ink - that sticks better to the clear stamps.

I hope that helps some more peeps - it has on my Facebook groups.

Hugs Ei x

Friday, 23 May 2014

LOC Ch 32 - Girly Theme!

Now, you know me - girly is not my middle name by any stretch of the imagination! LOL!  But that is the theme this week at Left Of Centre Card Challenge.

My teamies have come up with some lovely projects - they were clearly blessed by the 'Girly Fairy' at birth! I, however, struggle a bit with this theme so I decided to use one of my own Eiglas Digis called 'New Puppy Lola?'

Not completely happy with it but at least I got it done - which wasn't necessarily going to happen as I lost a lot of my digis last week during an upgrade of my PC.  Still dunno how it happened but a lot of my recent work got wiped.

Hope you like my digi at least! LOL!

I'm going to be AWOL for the rest of the week - off to London for a couple of days to see the Queen (no kidding - I really am!) so leaving OH to hold the fort and feed the dogs!

See you all again soon!
Ei x