Sunday, 25 August 2013

Inking and masking and stencils and playing.

I've been creating and designing masks and stencils again. I have to say I have rekindled my love of photoshop. Unfortunately it's been sort of a hate relationship as well, though not with the program but with my computer. It is the. Slowest. Thing. In the world. I would love love love to be able to afford a new Mac, because of all the lovely graphics capabilities. My only problem is... I can't stop buying my crafting goodies long enough to save up properly for one!! How anyone can go so long without new inky stamps goodness to play with is beyond me.

Anyway, I have managed to combine my photoshop abilities with my crafting abilities to make some exciting (for me) new things to play with. You already know about the stencils and the masks. But recently I was asked to cut out a sloth... Can I find a sloth cut file anywhere?? No. Can I find a sloth image to cut? Not. So what do I do? I drew it. Yeah, go me! Not only did I draw it. I scanned it, altered it, cut it, painted it and glued it together!

Eee! He is so cute! I really like how he turned out.

I have also created a few new masks/stencils to play with. I made this pumpkin set and I love it! Here is what I managed to create with it so far:

Yup, back at my typical fall colours! I can't get enough of them. You will probably be seeing both the colours and the pumpkin a bit more.

One last make to share with you. I recently bought this lovely indigo blue stamp and I received it today, so of course I have to try it out. So I stamp it with stazon onto my tag, break out the distress inks and start water colouring it using my new water brush my mother in law gave me. It had a bit of empty space in the edges so I used one of my stencils, distress inked over and sprayed it with a gold shimmer water to make it blend in as a watercolour effect with the test of the image. Stamped on a sentiment and there you go! I'm very happy with it. 

And there you have it! Hopefully I will bring you some more makes soon! Have a great weekend!


Sunday, 18 August 2013

Visitors and a new business venture for Moi!

First of all, congratulations to the royals on the birth of the new baby boy! I am not ashamed to admit that I was watching the news feeds that day, waiting to hear about little baby monarch.

Ok so back to the blog! First of all, Im sorry Ive been gone so long! I had friends visiting and let me tell you, it wasn't easy. Its really never easy to share your house with someone. I should know, Im married lol. But its especially hard when you have certain expectations and excitement leading up to their arrival and after 2 days it just goes pfffft. I wont go into too much detail but suffice to say it was a stressful time. I couldn't wait to get back to my crafting.

I started on a new 'business' venture recently. I found out that my crafty idol is coming to the  UK to teach a workshop in Coventry. I hit a couple of hurdles but I really really wanted to attend this workshop.  Hurdle one- Coventry isn't exactly close but its definitely doable compared to, say, trying to get to Scotland. Even so it was a lot of money. Luckily a friend suggested a company that would get me there and back for under £20. Awesome! Hurdle jumped. Hurdle two- Babysitters... I have three kids. The class is on a Thursday. Hubby works. That's ok, I managed to get a friend to watch the kiddings until hubby gets home PLUS! she was willing to give me a ride to the bus station  in Winchester! Technically that should count for 2 or three hurdles really but JUMPED! Hurdle three- The class is EXPENSIVE. About £70 per person. Yikes. That on top of having to pay to get there and of course the fact that I would have to be there all day so food and shopping even more. So I started making masks and stencils. I would design and cut them on my cameo and due to the knowledge of one and encouragement of another, I was able to actually find something worth selling! Something that made a little money! And in about a weeks time I was near the amount of money for the class. Hurdle jumped right? Wrong. Right as I was planning on making that all important  phone call to book my spot, my hubby comes home with bad news. Our bank screwed up big time and paid a direct debit that it was told to cancel. We had ended up paying 2 lots of rent for the month and were now completely broke until payday. So what does that mean for me? All the  money I had saved went towards getting us through the month. Major Sad face on my end.

Anyway, the good thing that came out of all of this was that I was still making masks and still creating new designs and still making good sales! So its now nearly a month later and I took it to the next level by creating a business page on facebook. Im excited and I really hope it continues to do well! If you feel like it please stop by and like the page? You know you wanna!! ;)

Check out below for a few more makes with my stencils :). As always if you want to comment please do so, I love hearing from you!!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Digi Galore's Birthday

Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday Dear Digi Galore!
Happy Birthday to You!

I'm on the DT at Digi Galore and as we're having a birthday blog hop at Digi Galore Challenges I thought I'd invite you all along :D I've been luckily enough to be on the Design Team right from the start and can honestly say its been a pleasure to be part of such a great team :D It's hard to believe a year has gone past already!

To celebrate our birthday we've arranged an amazing Blog Hop with the whole of the DT involved. 

Pop by to Digi Galore to start the Hop. We've got amazing sponsors and some incredible prizes so come along & join in. 

This is the list for the Blog Hop 

So now onto the cards I made. Unfortunately 2 of the DT members are ill at the moment (Get Well Trudie & Sandra) So I had 4 digis to play with!!! All from amazing artists. So here they are:

Sponsor: The Stamping Chef
Digi: Howdy Baby

I love The Stamping Chef's Cheeky Saucy Ladies
The Sentiment is from Ginger's House I use her free sentiments regularly - they add so much to a card.

Sponsor: Bugaboo

The fun easel card was cut on my Cougar using the Doily Easel Cut File from Birds Cards
I made the sentiment myself by adapting the Happy Birthday to Ewe one that came with the digi.

Sponsor: Digital Delights
Digi - Singing Sally and Tiered Cake

Sentiment - from Create with TLC

Promarkers used:

Skin - Coral, Sunkissed Pink, Blush, Pastel Pink Cheeks
Hair - Tulip Yellow, Sunflower, Gold
Dress, Shoes, Roses & Sentiment - Cerise, Shocking Pink*, Vermillion*
Underskirt - Rose Pink
Cake - Tan, Caramel
Lush Green, Pine

I'm pleased with this as I managed to master a few things I can't normally manage - Lace, Embellishments & Patterned Paper :D

I made the sentiment myself
The Paper is from the Fancy Pant's Beach Babe 6x6 stack

I used these Promarkers:
Skin - Coral, Sunkissed Pink, Blush,  Pastel Pink Cheeks
Hair - Cocoa, Henna, Chestnut, Walnut
Dress, Shoes & Earphones - Salmon Pink, 

Well there you go - that's the end of my contribution. I've had loads of fun playing & hope you enjoyed it too.

I'd love to hear what you think so please leave me a message before you hope in to Lisa 

Don't forget to pop back to Digi Galore to enter - the theme is Anything Goes and the prizes are AMAZING!!!!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Tagging along........

Sams fault that we all have a TAG obsession lol so here is what I have been messing with for the past couple of days I am trying to prepare some stamping classes for the summer and I may go with prepping some tags and doing some spray backgrounds........

With this first one I spray misted some card, cut my own size tag and set to with a swirly background stamp using Stayzon Ink, I then used an Andy Skinner Sentiment Stamp and then added a dragonfly that was given to me by Dawn Watson from Dawn till Dusk Crafts then I finished with an organza ribbon.
My second tag is made in the same way as my first with the misty background and using Stayzon Ink, I used a flower and leaf stamp from Outlines Rubber Stamp Co, kindly given to me by Tracey Evans, I stamped and cut out and decoupaged the flower and leaf after over stamping the background, then added a silk ribbon to finish.

 Thank you for reading!
Hugs Aly xxx

Friday, 28 June 2013

Looking back and a trip to Paris

Every once in a while I get into one of those lulls where I either don't feel like crafting or the inspiration isn't there. Unfortunately I'm sort of semi in one right now. I feel like crafting but I'm so tired and the brain just doesn't want to go into creative mode lately. However, I have so many past projects that I am quite proud of,  I will just share one (or a few) of those oldies with you when the lulls happen.
Some of you who know me personally know that my parents come to visit us every year. This year, back in April, my husband and I got to go to Paris with my parents for a mini trip. It was only one night and unfortunately just wasn't long enough but even so I loved it!
We only had 2 days there so I tried to make my plans to get in as many things as possible. I thought it wouldn't be that difficult because I am quite used to the underground in London but it is sooo different! Next time I will be renting a bike or something. The trains took hours to arrive and didn't go that often so when they did people stuffed themselves into each car as closely as possible to the next person. There was no such thing as personal space. I'm amazed anyone can get anywhere because if your stop is the very next one and you are shoved into the middle of a crowded compartment then you are out of luck! I saw a man literally taking a running start to shove his friend into an overstuffed space. For a claustrophobic person like me, its a nightmare.
We started with Notre Dame. It was as beautiful as I thought it would be. Unfortunately it was a little marred by the huge blue bleachers right in the front of it  but I guess I shouldn't expect it to look exactly as it was in the Disney movie. The line was so long and we were so short on time that we decided to pass on going in but its definitely on the list for next trip. See you next time Quasi!
Because of the ridiculous wait at the metro we decided to wander around the area for a bit. There are some lovely sights to see. Every building was dripping with history mixed with modern life. Wandering down a random ally I found this beauty! Don't you just love its charm ? 
I have a thing for grunge as you know and the branches climbing the walls of this place just gave it so much character. I could've done without the fake birds but everything else was amazing. Take inspiration from everything. I have definitely used  this image in my art (trees and branches) whether intentionally or unintentionally.


Besides all of the beautiful buildings and the history, France is well known for their food. Frogs legs and Escargot comes to mind. My husband and I are very picky eaters  unfortunately so the thought of the food was a little scary for me. I'm often embarrassed by my picky eating and go to great lengths to make it so I will not put myself (or my company) in awkward situations by refusing to eat something. Unfortunately for the both of us we were quite right to be a little nervous. Not only did we rarely find anything that we would eat but everything was crazy expensive! We even tried McDonald's thinking it was safe but those chicken sandwiches you can get for £1??? Nearly £7 there! Needless to say we did not eat much on the trip. My thoughts on the food can be seen by my facial expression in this picture to your right!  I have a cousin who I met there for the first time. He is about my age and his family situation is very similar to mine. He took us to a nice little Italian restaurant that is apparently very good and very famous. Don't ask me what it was called! The owner was very friendly though, and he made each  salad himself taking great time and had lots of pride doing them. It was almost an art form, his salad making. Talk about  creative! I have to say though the highlight for me was when we had a look in their display case and found a picture of him with Leonardo Dicaprio! Yes, this was very exciting for me. Remember I was a teen during the time of Titanic. (The movie, I'm not quite THAT old hehe) So I had a small teen  moment of ' Oh my god, I'm standing in the same place Leo Dicaprio ate! EEEEEEk!!'. Yes, I was that girl.


Even though we didn't have much luck with the food, we still managed to find some that weren't bad. Delicious in fact. We went to a market near the Eiffel tower and I had some yummy ice cream. I would seriously go back to Paris just for this ice cream. I had a cone with 3 scoops, one coffee, one chocolate and one vanilla. Soooo good! We also found several food stalls with loads of food that looked great! One had a huge brioche and another stall had a  great big pan full of sausages!
And I cant leave off talking about a trip to Paris without the mandatory pictures of the Eiffel tower! I would have loved to have seen it at night but it was not in the cards for this trip unfortunately.
That brings me to this. I came back with loads of inspiration.  Paris is also known for its fashion among other things. So I made this tag with those things in mind. For the background I stamped  the paris stamp from Tim Holtz Papillion stamp set in vintage photo and edged the tag with tumbled glass. I love the  look of brown and light blue together so I kept with that through out the tag. I used again Tim Holtz mannequin from his sewing room die and covered it with brown crochet lace to form a dress and Stampin Up ribbon to form a belt. I also embellished the tag with metal accents and vintage buttons. I had to cut off the shanks from the back of the buttons to get them to sit flat but even having done that it was very tricky to get them to stay down, and I had to hold  it for quite a while before the glossy accents set enough that I could leave it to dry on its own. Word of warning for any of you wanting to try this :).


One last thing before I go. These last few days I was helping out a friend of mine with her page. She had a few problems with her brand new laptop and the company that sold it to her and was waiting (more patiently than I would  have been) for them to pick  it up and replace it.  While this was going on I have been helping out  sharing her page and it was a pleasure to do so. She has helped me out in the past and to be honest, she deserves the recognition. In these days of convenience, even in crafting,  machines often take up the slack and do the work for us. But there is something to be said for those who still take the time to do things by hand and meticulously  make things perfect. That's what handmade is all about right? Well check this out:
This piece was all cut by hand and I have to say I am well impressed! Arent you? So, at the risk of sounding like a tv advert, if you are looking for something special to give  to some lucky couple as a wedding gift, or perhaps a new baby in the family, check out LFMoments on facebook. Its worth the look!
Happy crafting to you all!










Monday, 24 June 2013

A little bit of this and that

I think my mojo is playing games with me. I swear it peeks around a corner and once Ive gotten a little bit done, runs and hides leaving me with several bits of unfinished work. Ive started on this tag and have gotten stuck. I like how my background has turned out but doing things my way (act first think later) has landed me at a standstill. I used a woodgrain embossing folder to emboss this and also rubbed embossing ink on it so that it lands in the grooves. Ive heat embossed this inside with fran-tage aged taupe and then used dylusions and distress inks which I then splashed with a little water. The effect was great except now I have this amazing texture and not sure what to do with it. Ive had these wooden flowers for a while so I decided to use them, have stuck them down (so Ive screwed myself if it doesnt work out) as well as some leaved coming from the top and bottom of the tag (not pictured). Hopefully my mojo will make an appearance long  enough to give me my 'AHA' moment with this tag. 
I decided to step away and work on another. I came across a picture while googling of some images and quotes of a forest scene and I thought I would try and recreate it. Searching through my stash of tags I found one that I had started with green tones which was exactly what I wanted. I may try this again with different colours in the future. I wanted a little bit more depth to it so I brought in a bit of red on the edges. I tried stamping some leaves but unfortunately they didn't show up. Though it doesn't much matter I think. Here is a photo of the background when I finished that.

I googled a quote and added it to the tag with a leaf that I stamped in vellum and coloured with distress inks. I wanted to give the sort of translucency of a real falling leaf that had light shining through it though it didn't quite work as I wanted. Even so I like it there so there it stays.
Believe you can do anything. Achieve the impossible.

I have been sorting through all of my crafty things this weekend, getting rid of a few, tidying up a bit when I came across this oldie. This is my very first tag. Its nothing special but I was quite proud of it at the time. Made using the first distress inks I ever bought - Vintage photo, Faded Jeans and Peeled Paint. Then sprayed with shimmer water. I may make similar ones for xmas tags this year. I hope you like it and remember.... Everyone has to start somewhere.
Happy Crafting!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

My bleeding heart…

You every have one of those days? You know, one of THOSE days? The ones where nothing really works out for you? Yeah well, I wrote an entire long post for this tag and come back this morning to finish it off and publish. Low and behold, everything I've written, every. single. thing.... Is gone. All of it! To put things lightly Im just a little annoyed at that.

So anyway, because of that I apologize, but  it will only be a short post today. If I get time later on I may come back and elaborate but for now here we go.

This tag was one of many sitting in a pile that was started and left for a long time. I was actually working on a different tag when I made the top layer of this one. It didn't work for the tag I was working on so I raided my stash of unfinished ones and these 2 matched up. The inking I did on the clear packing tag looked a lot like dried blood (gross, I know but it was a cool effect). So my thought process went a little like this *blood - dripping blood - blood dripping off a heart - bleeding heart - bleeding heart quote.*.  Sounds quick and it was but things are rarely that easy. It took me weeks to find a quote that I liked enough to put on the tag. I finally found one and it was this quote by Countee Cullen:

So in the dark we hide the heart that bleeds,
And wait, and tend our agonizing seeds

I shortened it to fit the tag and I think it works. So I hope you like my tag.

See you soon for hopefully a longer post that wont actually delete itself!
Happy Crafting!
I would like to enter this into Dripping with Smudgy Antics Challenge

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Tag Challenge winner!

I just want to say, before anything, thank you for participating in this challenge. It was my first hosting one and I think it did amazing! I had the hardest time picking the top 3. There were some gorgeous entries and while I would love to tell you all what I liked about each one, it would probably take a little too long.

After a very difficult decision making process (don't ask me how I do it, I rarely understand what goes on in my head myself) I have narrowed down the tags to the following top 3!

  1. Yvonne Froehlich- I am a sucker for blending and gradients and I love the quote. My favourite thing you have done though is definitely the butterfly. Im not sure but it looks like its stamped on vellum? Beautiful. Great colour choice.
    Yvonne Froehlich
  2. Pauline Butcher- I loved all of your tags, though I always do. This one in particular though caught my eye because of the wonderful way you have married everything together. There is a lot of texture here but its not too much. And the quote works so well! Wonderful job as always.
    Pauline Butcher

  3. Shelley Knight- Your tag was so different and dark but I love different. My very favourite part was the embossed part at the bottom. You have connected the images and background with the quote perfectly! I may try to recreate this! Im very impressed.

Shelley Knight

 I invited several people who had no association with this challenge or others to vote on these 3. It was a very close call with all 3 being one vote away from the other! Again, congratulations to you all for making it so difficult for not only me to choose, but everyone else!
So finally, the winner of the challenge is......
Congratulations Shelley! You definitely stood out from the crowd! You have won the following handmade tag from me! If it is not to your liking please let me know and we can have another look ;).

You have also won some lovely stash courtesy of  Paula and Lynne!
I will be contacting you via facebook or through here to get your details, so keep your eyes peeled!

Chance to win! (Hosted by Bee Crafty)

We want to reach at least 50 followers! And we know you want to win some goodies right? Who doesn't like free stuff??
See below for details

Bee Crafty
For your chance to win all you have to do is follow our blog 'like' our facebook page and share! Its that easy! Wait, there is more! For every person that you have referred who follows the blog, you will get an extra chance to win! All they have to do is comment below with your name and you will get extra entries!
Winners will be chosen randomly by
UK only eligible to win. 

Hosted by

Good Luck to you all!!

Sam, Lucy, Beverley, Aly and Adele.