artfully distressed

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

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Summer spent in the garden

Well it's been a while since I posted, erm okay, a really really long time! So what have I been up to? Well, it was my 30th birthday and I had a garden party (although it was so cold the 'garden' part didn't really take off). Lovely day though.

And most of my spare time over the summer was spent in the garden. So that's my excuse for not sharing anything crafty. It's been a busy summer. Here's some evidence if you don't believe me! Ha ha.

This greenhouse was a birthday present from my other half, Martin, and came in handy for growing lots of flowers from seed and then for my veggies. I dug two large veggie plots in the garden too. I've grown tomatoes, cucumbers, radish, lettuce, green peppers, courgettes, carrots and parsnips (which I am hoping will be ready in time for christmas day, yum!).


And these are my flower borders which had been neglected by the previous tenants for a few years so they were pretty much a jungle of weeds before I started. Prettier now...

As the spring bulbs are starting to come through I definetly need to get outside and weed and have a general tidy but it will be really exciting next year to see how much of this year's hard work pays off next season too. And there is plenty more garden left that I didn't even manage to get round to this year. A lovely job for the winter months to try and plan what to grow.
Anyway, back to crafting....I have actually been making things, just havent got around to blogging. Here is something I finished a few weeks ago and just found a use for...
It's a stitched journal cover made up of scraps of fabric and ribbons and has loads of hand and machine stitching, beads and buttons on it. This is a project inspired by Christine who leads a local craft group that I have started going to at North Hykeham Memorial Hall. The projects are mainly textile based but everyone is at different stages or trying different things and Christine is there to help and encourage. Tomorrow those that want to will be able to learn silk paper making - can't wait.  

I decided to use this as a book to write in my favourite quotes. Here are the first two pages done. They are not heavily decorated, mainly it will just be the quotes but I thought it would be fun to add a little stamping.
'Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land amongst the stars.' 

'No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.'
Hope you liked my post today, thanks for reading.


Monday, 21 May 2012

Indigo Blu samples

A couple of cards I made last week for show samples, hope Kay likes them...

Collecting Flowers

Stamps used (shop here):
Collecting Flowers, Take The Time, Sarah's Choice (text stamp), Music Hall (swirl)

I didn't use all of the 'Collecting Flowers' stamp here, I wiped the ink off the part I didn't want to give more room for the sentiment. This main image is stamped in archival ink and coloured using various distress inks by swiping them onto a craft mat and picking up colour with a wet paint brush. The sentiment is stamped in FlitterGlu and then I have applied 'Yorkshire Dales' Mega-Flake (both available from Indigo Blu). Lastly the swirl and text stamp were stamped with vintage photo and bundled sage distress inks.

Write soon

Stamps used (shop here):
Circus alphabet , Take The Time

I stamped the whole alphabet and all the numbers from the 'Circus Alphabet' stamp plate using Faded Jeans distress ink to make a background. Then on a seperate piece of card I stamped the cogs and the 'write soon' sentiment from the 'Take The Time' stamp set using weathered wood distress ink. The hand was stamped in black archival ink and masked and then the pen nibs were stamped in stormy sky distress ink. I tore around the images and inked the torn edges with faded jeans distress ink.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Indigo Blu book of stamps

A while ago I set myself the task of stamping each and every one of my Indigo Blu stamps into a cheap spiral bound sketch pad so that I had a quick, easy reference guide to which stamps belonged to which plate. As I was stamping I found seeing the images on the page made it easier to visualise ideas for projects using the stamps. I decided to decorate the cover of the book just for fun and that I would then take the book with me wherever I go so that I can always leaf through and get ideas. For me, decorating the cover was a daunting prospect as by that point I had already stamped inside and I was a bit hesitant to start slapping paint on the cover in case it went horribly wrong. I'm sure many people can relate! Anyhow, I got over my nerves, got out the paintbrush and you can see the result above. I'm quite pleased with it overall.

Here's what I did:

As the sketchpad cover had a glossy finish
and was dark blue and yellow I first applied a
base coat of gesso and white acrylic

Next I got out a few colours of acrylic paint and
just liberally painted the cover in random patterns.
While the paint was drying I used a scrunched 
wet wipe to remove some of the colour and give
 a bit more texture to the finish.

I stamped some of my favourite Indigo Blu images 
onto a large tissue using archival ink, tore or cut around
the images and peeled away the bottom layer so that
 the tissue was just one sheet thick. Then I started to
lay the images onto the cover.

Using a brush I applied matte medum to an area
approximately the size of the image, laid the tissue
over the top and then painted on more matte medium
 to seal. The tissues go almost transparent.

I kept going until I had filled the whole cover and 
left it to dry then I applied another coat of matte
medium. Finally I added a title and rubbed Inka Gold
(in silver) around the edges.

Inside the book:


A useful project but good fun and I got over my fear about decorating the book cover!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

More Pan Pastel fun and the new Indigo Blu sewing plate...

I've just shared these two cards on the Indigo Blu blog as I used the new 'Sewing Mends the Soul' stamp plate. Check out the blog for full details of how I made the cards and loads of other inpiration for Indigo Blu stamps. I had great fun creating these cards last night and practising with my Pan Pastels. I also found my Pan Pastel colour boards (see post below) really useful for picking which colour to use. So that's great they are not just for decoration!

For this card I used Magenta Tint Pan Pastel to colour the
edges of the card that I stamped on. I love how easy it is 
to get smooth, even coverage. (It is actually more pink in
'real life' honestly, the camera doesn't do it justice really).  

On this second card I used Turquoise Pan Pastel and created
a background with the thimbles and tape measure images from
the sewing plate by first applying an even coverage of Pan
Pastel, then stamping with versamark and carefully adding
more of the colour over the top. The versamark picks up more
of the Pan Pastel colour so these areas are darker. Really easy
background. Just 'set' the image with cheap hairspray.

Finally here's a birthday card I made with a Pan Pastel background using a mask. Basically a larger version of the sample pieces I made for my colour boards. Tim Holtz butterfly stamps and the Happy Birthday is from the Indigo Blu stamp 'Aloysius / Happy Birthday' which as well as the sentiment has a lovely teddy bear image. The silver strip is double sided tape covered with Sheffield Steel Mega Flake from Indigo Blu.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

WOYWW 2/5/12

It's wednesday so it must be time to share what's on my desk today. To have a nosy at some other desks join the fun at Julia's blog here. I have been playing with Pan Pastels this week, yummy! I want to get to know how to use them and so was practising a technique that Lin Brown uses a lot, (check out her blog for loads of great inspiration at

Basically you put a layer of pan pastel on to your smooth card using a sponge and then dab versamark through a mask before putting more pan pastel of the same colour over the top. The colour will come out darker where the versamark is so it gives a really nice effect. Spray with hairspray to fix and stamp over the top. I used archival ink and the stamp is from a paperartsy hot picks plate. I have 12 colours of Pan Pastel at the moment so I decided to make these sample boards so that I could see how all the colours look using this technique. I think my favourites at the moment are the first three here...

I really like them all though, might save up for some more bold colours like orange, red and yellow.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

More Creative Chemistry 101 tags

Hope everyone had a fab easter. I've had a busy few weeks at work (fire brigade) and in the garden when it hasn't been raining. I have also been to visit my brother and sister-in-law near Preston and me and Martin spent a day in Scarborough the weekend before last and although, yes, it rained, we had a fabulous time as always.

So, not so much crafting done the last few weeks hence the absence from the blog but I'm determined to make up for lost crafty time and get loads done this week.

I thought I'd share some more of the tags I've made using the techniques from Tim Holtz's online class.

Day 3 using archival and alcohol inks

Day 4 using re-inkers

I've also been playing with Pan Pastels. Something to share soon I hope.  

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter

Happy easter everyone. These are some simple easter decorations I made to bring some of the bright spring colours from the garden inside the house.

Supplies for eggs:

Polystyrene eggs
Heavy duty tissue paper - (I found the packing paper you sometimes get inside new shoes ideal for this)
PVA/Matte Medium
Paint e.g. Lumiere
thin ribbon
2 flat headed pins

  • Cut desired length of ribbon, make a loop and pin each end of the ribbon close together at the top of the egg with the loose ends of ribbon facing the opposite way from each other to make a neat loop.
  • Cover egg with torn tissue paper and PVA / matte medium making sure to cover pin heads and ribbon so that they are totally hidden.
  • Allow to dry
  • Paint
Supplies for flowers:

Small amount of yellow felt
Felt flowers with cut out centres
Strong glue

  • Cut circles from the yellow felt
  • Glue together 2 flowers with a yellow circle in the middle and a loop of ribbon from one edge

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Creative Chemistry 101 day 2 tags

Just a quick post to share my day 2 tags from Tim's online class. I know I am doing these out of order - just picking whatever medium I fancy that day. Really enjoyed doing these techniques with the distress ink pads.

This was my favourite background and I thought the stamp complemented it very well.

I loved it so much I made it into a card.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Creative Chemistry 101 day 8 tags

Had a go at the paint tags last night from day 8, here are my attempts...

I used watercolour paper and a paperartsy stamp for the dabber resist technique.

My first attempt at rock candy crackeglaze was on the letters. I was too impatient and tried to dry it with my heat tool. It just doesn't give the same effect so I tried it again on the heart and left it to dry overnight. I decided I like both effects though.


Published my first blog post for the Indigo Blu design team yesterday. See the pics of some of my favourite samples here. I'll be back there soon with a tutorial.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Can't believe it's wednesday already, where did last week go? I have been playing with the techniques from day 5 of Tim Holtz's online class 'Creative Chemistry 101' so that is what is on my desk today...

Here's a close up of my tags

For the tag on the left I used Inkylicious flower stamps, Indigo Blu tree and a Personal Impressions butterfly. Middle tag I used Indigo Blu stamps, tag on the right a copy of Tim's as it was sooo nice so just Tim Holtz stamps.   

Also did you spot the tins in my window. They are from Tesco, I thought they were fab, not sure what I am going to put in them yet. Any ideas? Other makes of tins are also available. ;-)

If you want to have a look at what is on other people's workdesks this week or join in the fun yourself then pop over to Julia's blog at Stamping Ground.