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.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

No special talent…

Canvases have been a nightmare for me. I have tried many times to recreate some of the wonderful mixed media art canvases that Ive seen out there. Unfortunately  Im not quite there yet but after a lot of playing around I finally started to get somewhere.

This particular canvas has been many things. There are layers and layers of mess. And not a good mess. I usually like mess but this one was not a pretty one. My paints were too watered down, I didn't have gesso (which Im figuring I probably need to get some) The white of the canvas mixed with my colours so they were really dull. I tried embossing to get a bit of texture. It worked ok but there was so much base texture in the canvas that it really looked like nothing. So I tried to fix it all by adding even more to it and it was nothing less than a disaster.

I finally gave up and put it to the side for a long time. Every once in a while I would pull it out and stare at it for about an hour at a time but nothing came to me.

Then I went to Ally Pally where I got my Distress Paints and Dylusions sprays. Out came the canvas  again and I just started painting and spraying, spraying and painting. FINALLY something beautiful came out of my mess making!

I used some black acrylic paint and Designs by Ryn water droplets stamp on the canvas. I do not recommend stamping anything intricate. I had to go back in and hand paint in where it didn't stamp properly. Besides that I used the same technique that I did here and covered with glossy accents.

More stamping done, some scribbling and a quote I found on google by the curious Mr. Einstein, and I believe Im done! I may add more to it... We'll see but for now I am very happy with the result. What do you think??
Happy Crafting!
I would like to enter this in to Dripping with Smudgy Antics challenge.

Steam punk, dylusions and loads of cogs! (tutorial)

Products Used:
  • Tim Holtz Tag and Bookplates die
  • Ranger Dylusions-
    • Melted Chocolate
    • Squeezed Orange
    • Dirty Martini
  • Stampendous stamp - Clockworks
  • Kanban stamp set - Steampunk, Jasper
  • Tim Holtz movers and shapers cogs die
  • Stampendous Fran-tage embossing enamel
    • aged copper
    • aged Taupe
  • Distress ink
    • vintage photo
    • rusty hinge
    • crushed olive
  • Distress Paint
    • antiqued bronze
    • tarnished brass
  • Tim Holtz stamp - time is a companion quote
I have struggled to make fathers day cards over the years because when I make them I want them to reflect my dad, or my dad-in-law or my husband. Same with birthday cards for them. Why are men so hard to create for???

Anyway I had recently visited our local Hobbycraft and every time I went in the last month or so I had seen this gorgeous Kanban stamp set and kept umming and ahhing over it. What would I really use it for? Well this last time I decided I would definitely buy. It was on sale for £5 and I doubted it would be that easy to come by in the future. Unfortunately when I looked for it, it was no longer on the shelves and I thought I had lost my chance. Luckily for me though, a very helpful employee had a look in the back for me and found one!
Of course when you get new stamps you have to try them out immediately right? So I stamped all three of the characters in the set onto watercolour paper and painted it with my distress inks.
I took my stamp pads in the colours I wanted and pressed them into my splodge mat (or non stick craft sheet) then I used my waterbrush/paintbrush and added a bit of water on the side and mixed with the colour as I needed it.
I used vintage photo for his trousers, scarf and hat. I added more colour to where the shadows were and dragged the colour with water only away into the lighter areas to create depth. I did the same with rusty hinge for the jacket and trim on the top hat. I shaded the darker areas with faded jeans and used crushed olive for the jackets trim. I used antique linen for the face and tarnished brass and bronze distress paint for the base as I wanted to give it a slightly more metallic look.
I liked the colouring so much that I cut it out to use on a tag with the intention of making it a fathers day topper. Not sure I achieved that but I tried!
I sprayed my tag with Dirty Martini, Melted chocolate and squeezed orange. I then water stamped onto the dry tag with my inkadinkado clock works cling stamp to fade it into the background.
I used the cogs from the same Kanban stamp set and stamped them around the tag (making sure they would at least partially be visible once  I stuck my character down. I embossed these with fran-tage embossing powder in aged taupe. I love these embossing powders. They look make things look so real!
I usually use white embossing powder with my dylusions tags so that the image will stand out. Only here, white really wouldn't have worked with the orange and browns. So I chose gold embossing powder and stamped my tim holtz stamp in the corner. It says:
 Time is a
that goes
with us
on the journey.
It reminds
us to cherish
each moment
because it
will never
come again.
What we
leave behind
is not as
as how we
have lived.
What a great quote right? Makes you think.

After the full background was finished I started playing  with placement. I cut some cogs with my movers and shapers cogs die from Tim Holtz and placed them around my character to find the best fit. I overlapped some and put some on top of the other but I made sure that I wouldn't be covering too much of the cogs that I had stamped earlier. I also had a clock charm that I wanted to incorporate into the tag somewhere so I played with the placement of that as well.
Obviously the white cogs wont do so, to make them as realistic as possible, I painted a few of them with tarnished brass distress paint and others with antique bronze which I then coated with fran-tage aged taupe and aged copper. The paint itself when heated starts to bubble so if you aren't after that sort of look then I would chose to use a different base or be careful of how long you heat it. I like the texture so I heated them extra long just to get more bubbled up effects. I actually figured this out by accident one day doing just this. I was a little worried about the bubbles and tried to flatten them a little after it had cooled a tad but it left a sort of pocked mark look which reminded me of hammered metal.
Once those were all done (I made more than I was going to use just in case) I placed them back on the tag where I wanted them, again overlapping some but keeping them in a slightly more natural placement, like you would see with actual cogs.

After all the base pieces were stuck on, I positioned my steampunk man at an angle on the tag over the cogs. This did cover most of the background ghost stamping but if you look closely you can still see it. I decided I didn't want the clock charm where I had originally put it. The way the position of the man is the clock would have been stuck right in the middle and would have broken up my 'flow' if you know what I mean. It also would have covered up a lot of the painted detail that I was so proud of. I still wanted it on the tag though because of the time reference in the quote so I attached it with some thin brown satin ribbon at the top. Its a little bit bigger than what would work best but I still like it.

So here is the finished tag! In the end I don't know that this works as a fathers day card for my family in particular. Maybe if I attached it to a card base that had a train coming around a corner???Hmm more thoughts!  Anyway, I hope it gave you some inspiration to create your own steampunk goodness.
Have a crafty day!!

Monday, 17 June 2013

A Tag Challenge! (Closed)

A few months ago I started really getting into tag making. I made one and caught the bug. I started posting them up to show and got a really good response so I thought that I would host my very own tag challenge. I wanted people to step out of their comfort zones a little and give them a try. I have to say I am very proud of those that participated as I know you all worked very hard and many of you really did step out of your comfort zone. This challenge has ended but I really wanted to share with you the amazing talent that was portrayed in all of our entries.

Make a tag, any tag! Challenge yourself and do something  different! Anything goes as long as its a tag. A few things it should have:
  • A quote or saying. The saying should tie in with the contents of the tag.
  • Some ink. Does not need to be a lot but give it a go.
  • 3 entries per person (as per usual)
I (Sam) will choose my favourite 3 and of those I will post them anonymously somewhere to be voted on. I will post the winner within 3 days of the end of the challenge. The prize will be a custom tag made by me :) GOOD LUCK!!
Our Entries:
















If you have your own blog feel free to grab your participation button!
A Bit of Crafty Genius

Congratulations to everyone for all of your wonderful work! I will be posting the winner within the next week!
**If anyone wishes to be linked back to their blog please let me know, likewise if you wish to have your entry removed from this post just notify me and I will comply as soon as possible.**