artfully distressed

pictures of what I create and the places, people and ideas which inspire my art.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

cake and presents...can't believe its christmas day tomorrow!

This is my first attempt at making xmas cake and I'm quite proud of the decoration. I was going to do some piping on top but then decided to keep it simple. The real test will be when we eat it of course.

These are the homemade gifts which I made for friends this year. Lemon curd and biscuits. Yum!

Lastly this is the beeswax canvas mentioned in a previous post. All ready to wrap.
Shh...still a secret though, hope she likes it!

I should mention too I am loving this 'retro camera' app for my recently arrived android phone (samsung galaxy s2 for anyone who wants to know). Love the phone, love this app. Hope it doesnt detract from the post in any way? I thought it looked pretty arty!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Festive treats

Just thought I'd show you one of the reasons I am not spending as much time in the craft room at the moment. These were a trial run before I make up some batches for xmas gifts nearer the time. Mostly a great success but it did tickle me that the pinwheel cookies are literally bitesize. I used half the mixture but then rolled it up in such a way that it made a really thin sausage shape. Oops! Perhaps it's one of those happy accidents though because they are quite sweet at this size and certainly different! Might deliberately do the same next time.

Beeswax canvases

This year I have been introduced to the delights of using beeswax and there is no stopping me now - I really love this effect and it's so much fun to do. After seeing the article in Craft Stamper, ('Buzzing for Beeswax' by Hels Sheridan March 2011 issue), my friend Sharon and I could not wait to have a go at recreating the project. We were so pleased when Kay, (Halliwell-Sutton of Indigo Blu), used the technique in one of our classes at Louth as this gave us the confidence to try it ourselves.

This is the beeswax canvas that I made in class with Kay -

I used Tim Holtz and Indigo Blu stamps. We had the option to use photocopied pictures so I chose to use family wedding photographs. I wouldn't normally have chosen grey and red as a colour scheme but I felt like going out of my comfort zone that day and I'm glad I did because I love the finished piece. I thought Kay's technique of using pieces of beeswax sheets really added to the effect and I couln't resist adding the metal flower.

You can see Kay's version in this months Craft Stamper, ('Stamping Contrasts' Jan 2012 issue) as Indigo Blu stamps are featured this month.

This second piece is my version of Hels Sheridans 'Buzzing for Beeswax' project which I had fun making one day with Sharon. Hers is fab too. The original article was so amazing that I didn't change too much. I looked for watch parts for ages and then in the summer visited my friend in London and saw some cheap pocket watches for sale on a stall at Portobello Road market. The one I chose didn't work and the man on the stall thought I was mad when I said I wanted it anyway at a reduced price. Took me ages to persuade him but I couldn't explain to him that all I wanted to do with it was take it apart for the pieces! I think you can also get the same watches on ebay and places like that.

Our friend Felicity's husband even made us both a wooden frame so we could mount them like Hels did. Looks great don't you think? 

Last but not least here is a couple of sneak previews of a xmas themed beeswax canvas that I made last week. Sharon came over - she is definetly my partner in crime when it comes to beeswax - and we both did a xmas theme although I chose much brighter colours. It was actually lime green and a bright red but by the time the stamping and wax is added it has actually toned down to more of a yellow and red. I really like it but I can't show the whole project because I actually made two and one is for a xmas present!

Hope this inspires you to get out the beeswax. We used a melt pot but it can be done with tin foil containers or cat food tins etc to melt the wax. I'd definetly recommend the Melt Pot though, although I'm not sure for reasons of sanity that I would recommend attempting to make two large canvases on the same day...

Friday, 2 December 2011

Alternative christmas wreath

This is my interpretation of the christmas wreath that Kay from Indigo Blu showed us how to make in November at our Louth class. Having told us all to bring our favourite buttons Kay then showed us how to make lots of pretty flowers, some with wire and button centres. I couldn't resist using my favourite colour combination of blue and brown and so rather than make something with an overtly christmas theme I decided on a winter feel. Hopefully I have achieved that.

The button at the top of this picture matched my blue and white theme and is a lovely handmade button I bought in York.

I added a few special charms which I think add to the overall effect even though they are not winter themed: two clock faces, a key and cog (Tim Holtz) and a gorgeous bronze metal flower from Indigo Blu. I also decided to use snap fasteners on a couple of the flowers.

Once again this project also uses some of my current favourite things - my Tim Holtz tattered pine cones die and weathered wood distress ink (on the snowflakes). Well I couldn't resist could I!

Friday, 25 November 2011

1st xmas card design made at last!

Okay I know a lot of crafters start making next years xmas cards in the New Year. I find my tastes change and I learn so many new things in a year that if I did I would end up not wanting to send them by December. So I finally got round to finishing the first design last night. Im going to make cards in batches this year so there will be 4 more identical cards before I start the next design.

This has most of my current favourite things on it... the tag and red background are embossed with a cuttlebug folder then the tag is coloured with weathered wood distress stain (definetly my favourite colour) and silver 'spray and sparkle'. I think the tattered pine cone die from Tim Holtz looks really effective and was really easy to use. The robin is my favourite stamp on the retro christmas plate from Indigo Blu coloured with distress inks. *** I promise that on the other 4 cards the robin will be coloured properly, just realised my deliberate mistake - oops, sorry Mr Robin! ***

Once I knew I was happy with it I started making all the pieces ready for the other cards in this batch.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Altered Alice autumn challenge

I had fun creating this autumn themed card to enter in this months The Altered Alice challenge. The card was inspired by an article by Jo Capper-Sandon in November's Craft Stamper magazine ('Crinkled Ink' article on page 16).

All the stamps used are by Indigo Blu - 'Alice I', 'Alice II' and 'Lollipop tree'.

LB Crafts mini books class

I had such a fab time yesterday at LB Crafts with the lovely Sharon, Felicity and Heather. It took a while for us to get there but was certainly worth it. It was the first time any of us had been to Lin's shop but a return visit was definetly planned so I couldn't believe it when I read on Lin's blog a few weeks ago that she had decided to close the shop. Noooooo! Having been to 2 ArtsyCrafts events, (including the one with Sir Tim), I already knew how fab Lin's teaching was and yesterday didn't disappoint. Big sigh of relief to know that she is intending to continue teaching at a new venue after a bit of a break as well as doing one ArtsyCrafts event a year. I'll be looking out for details about that on her blog. Hope she manages to have a well deserved rest first!

A photo of us all with Lin, the workshop space was covered with loads of gorgeous  samples.

We practised with loads of techniques and used lovely products like distress stains, Kraft resist paper and Claudine Hellmuth sticky back canvas. Its the simple things that please me though, the techniques that someone experienced with a product doesn't even think twice about - how do you stamp on your canvas which has been coloured with distress stains and is curled up? - stick it to your craft mat of course!

The class took us through the process of making and decorating 3 simple mini books. I have a few bits to finish off but am really pleased with what I have so far...

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Indigo Blu 'Retro christmas' stamps

I just love the style of these beautiful and highly detailed stamps from Indigo Blu.

I was lucky enough to get to know Kay the designer, through her amazing scrapbook classes in Louth, and have been helping her out producing some samples.  You can see their online shop here They describe their style as 'Quintessentially English'.

These are some of the samples I made using the 'retro christmas' plate.

I used Ranger distress crackle paint in 'peeled paint' for the frame.

A mini suitcase with gift tags inside perfect for christmas presents. 

 tissue tape works well to cover the bottom of the box which I have left unpainted 

Sunday, 6 November 2011

New beginnings

Well this is my first ever blog post. I'm a newbie so hope this all works like I want it to.
This first post is a celebration of new beginnings and exciting opportunities.

This is my new craft room in various stages of unpacking...We have just moved house and as soon as I saw the room at the front - you know the one that should actually be the living room (oops!) - I claimed it as my own. Not quite as bad as it sounds as there is a large sitting / dining room at the back of the house. So I was allowed it... all to myself... just for craft stash... Yippee!!

Lots of unpacking to do...

Getting there now... 

Now its all about choosing storage. Having the space is amazing and it finally gives me the opportunity to become organized. There are quite a few things on my wish list though, number 1 being upright 12 x 12 paper storage. Just need to win the lottery.

The other news I am really excited about is that I have been selected for the WOW embossing powders design team - check out the website at I am so excited and honoured to have been picked. Here are a couple of photos of the main project I submitted with my application. Its a wedding album with photos from my brother and sister-in laws wedding.  

Phew, didnt mean that to be such a long post but if you got to the end please do call again.