Saturday, 31 May 2014

A Trojan Horse...

Hope you are enjoying your weekend?
Dee and I were working on the TV demos this week, and agreed that it would be a good idea to showcase one of the beautiful new horse stamps on TV, and blog the other one today.

So here’s what you need:
The Trojan Horse
Heat-resistant acetate
Detail Black embossing powder
Variegated Copper
Black card

Dust the heat-resistant acetate with talc well first.
This will stop the powder clinging.

Stamp the Horse onto the heat-resistant Acetate with a 
Versamark ink pad.
Sprinkle with black embossing powder.
Dust off stray speckles,
and heat emboss with a heat gun.

Attach the acetate with the horse to a sheet 
of A6 double-sided adhesive. 
Make sure the horse is on the outside.
Peel the orange wax paper off, and attach the acetate to that side,
so that the Clarity paper is left on the adhesive.

You will be able to see the horse through the paper.
Lightly draw the outline of the horse on the paper, and then gently cut along the cutline you have drawn with a scalpel.

Peel away the horse paper, 

and add silver or gold gilding flakes.

Buff with a rubber finger.

one of each....

Cut a border around the outside, and peel away the centre.

Now fill the background with Variegated Copper gilding flakes.

Once again, buff with your sponge finger.

Carefully lift away the rest of the Clarity paper around the edge, 

and lower your artwork onto black card.

Layer up on gold and silver board.

Isn’t that lovely? 
Well, tomorrow, 
we’ll get to grips with the wonderful wooden horse.
Looks like a map, doesn’t it? 
Well Melanie was a cartographer - a map drawer! Funny that...
Finally, thank you so much for writing out the instructions for last week’s challenge. So many of you sent in very accurate instructions, so I had to pick a special winner: Angela Simpson.
Why Angela? Not only did she write perfect instructions - she even sent in the card!

Well done and congratulations, Angela!

Hope you can keep me company tomorrow morning on TV. 
Create & Craft. 9am-11am

much love,

Friday, 30 May 2014

Wait till you see these new horses!

Hello there!
Thanks for popping in on this Friday.
Friday’s Blog a private peek?
I feel this blog has been nothing but private for ages!

What, with Bretagne-France and the Design Team,

a family reunion at My Auntie Esther’s 70th in Beaconsfield.

All the cousins.
(So which one’s my brother?)

My parents, Uncle Kevin and Auntie Esther.

and then Mark’s graduation in California !

All squeezed in between the 6th and the 26th, 
whilst trying to juggle a busy, not so little craft business!

How much can happen in a month, in between TV shows!

That’s the thing; whatever I want to do, wherever I want to travel, it always has to slot in between the TV shows. Do you know, I haven’t missed one single monthly Sunday show in over 5 years?!
That’s a pretty good track record, don’t you agree? 
Certainly keeps me on my toes!

I remember the very first live hour I did on Create & Craft.
It was with our lovely presenter, Martyn Parker, 
and I was 
a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y  p-e-t-r-i-f-i-e-d. 
It was a one hour show on a Thursday morning, 
and you’d have thought I was going to the gallows! 
I remember it as if it were yesterday.
But Martyn was so gracious and kind, and genuinely interested in what I was up to with my little Corner stamps. 
We sold out, which surprised me.

Guess who I’m on with this Sunday...
Yep! Martyn Parker!

Do I still get nervous? A little. Not like in the first 3 years...
I think once we advanced to the 2 hour Classroom, where I pretty much ran the show without a presenter, had to use an ear-piece, and work directly with the producer upstairs, the nerves thing reached such a pitch that it was literally a question of do or die. 
So I did.

There’s an old expression, 
Fake it to make it.

I definitely had to fake it to make it to survive those particular 
live TV shows.
The only thing I could do was be well prepared. 
At least then I reduced the chance of screwing it up!

So whilst it’s a pity that the Classroom reached the end of its life, the learning curve was amazing - not just for the viewers, but very much so for me, too!
I am so much more comfortable in front of the camera nowadays.
Our little videos on YouTube Tuesday are a walk in the park by comparison! And I believe that it’s entirely due to my experience 
In the Classroom.

So there you were, thinking I was teaching you, and all the while I was learning how to relax and enjoy filming. 
I didn’t even realise it myself. 

It’s a funny old life, eh.
I hope you can join Martyn and myself this Sunday 9am-11am.
We are showcasing some fabulous new stamps and stencils. 
The horses are pretty spectacular..
Mel drew a wooden one,
and a Trojan one.
I think they are both magnificent.
So tomorrow, I think we’ll blog one, 
and on Sunday we’ll do the other one live.

How do I do it all? I don’t do it all alone, that’s how!
Good creative friends 
like Mel Turner and Dee Paramour  
help me!

And tomorrow I will announce the winner of last week’s Instructions Challenge...

much love,

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Never Forget, Dr. Maya Angelou.

Hello there.

This afternoon, I heard that Dr Maya Angelou died today.
She was my Shero. For me, she was utterly amazing.
I loved her, and I loved what she gave the world.
But although she is gone, she lives on in me 
- and millions of others.

and as if she knew, my good friend Debby sent a heart 
to welcome us home from San Francisco.

So I stopped what I was doing today, 
which was largely scrambling to catch up and get ready for TV, 
and I decided to make a heart for Maya.

Take a 6" x 6" Gelli Plate and lay it on a 
piece of matching Gelli Card

Position the new Floral Heart Stencil on the Gelli Plate,

and deposit a small amount of 3 slow-drying, super-duper Golden Open acrylic paints 
This is expensive stuff, so go easy.

Using a make-up sponge, spread the 3 colours into 
the stencil apertures,

one at a time,

blending and mixing as you go.

Remove the stencil, wash in warm soapy water,

and pull your first print on a clean piece of Gelli Card.
If it’s not perfect, smile. It’s not important.
Enjoy being creative.
In fact, enjoy being alive and creative!

Pull a second ghost print. 
Why waste a great background print....

Sprinkle a tiny amount of Detail Gold Embossing Powder 
over the wet paint.

Heat emboss it with a heat gun.

You will partially emboss, which looks lovely 
when it catches the light.
I bet Maya would like that...

Then stamp one of her most poignant verses
we call it Never Forget 
over the ghost print in Archival Black.

Trim both pieces back and layer up, to frame.

Then spare a minute, to reflect on the life and times of a phenomenal woman.

Read what she said.

Learn it.
Live it.

I try to,
one day at a time.

Now I know we must celebrate her life, and not mourn her death.
I know that.
But I think it’s ok to cry when I’m sad, too.

made and sent with much love,

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Hope. 4 letters. Big word.

Back in Blighty. What’s with the weather? 
I turn my back for a week, and bam!
Wain Wain Wain...

So we had the best time ever in San Francisco.
I love that city! It’s a vibrant, colourful, creative place.
But there is always something which does not sit well with me in most urban areas.
You can close your eyes to the poverty line if you want to, 
but I for one could never. 
Not when I lived there, and not now. 
The homelessness in SF is very distressing. 
Not all drug addicts and alcoholics either.
So many war veterans too, who have just lost their way.
And since this Monday was Memorial Day Weekend, 
the Stars & Stripes were flying high.
So for me, there really was a sort of conflicting message in there.
I suppose, if you have to be homeless, 
then California is definitely the place!
But there’s something intrinsically wrong with the system, 
when a man or woman comes back from fighting in a war, 
and ends up on the streets. 
What can you do?
The Glide Memorial Church does a lot I can tell you!
So there is hope. 
If these poor people can get to the Glide, the men and women there can usually help and redirect. There is a lot of help available
 - but most of these poor souls don’t even know where to go to ask for help.

When my daughter Grace was a little girl, we lived down the coast a little, in Monterey. I remember one Sunday morning, we were making our way up the Highway to San Fran and to the Glide. Well, we stopped at the traffic lights, and there was a War Veteran, sitting huddled with a cardboard sign, saying 
“Will Work for Food”
Gracie asked me, “Who’s that man?”
I told her he had no home. 
“Where’s his Mommy?”
“Well, maybe he has forgotten where his family is. 
Not all people have a house to live in, Grace. Sometimes they have to sleep under bridges or on park benches.”

Silence from the backseat of the car.

After a couple of very quiet minutes, Grace responded:
“When I grow up, I am going to be very, very famous and make loads of money. And I’m going to build the biggest hotel in the world, for all the homeless people to live in.”
She was 3 at the time. 
Now she’s 24, and this weekend in San Fran, we walked past a poor homeless vet, and out of nowehere, she said, “I will do it Mum. I haven’t forgotten. It’s just taking a little longer than I would like”

So HOPE there is.
Here’s a little piece of artwork which uses our Hope Framer

Stamp the Hope framer on copy paper, and cut out the O.
Carefully! We need the centrepiece for the next bit!

with your Speedball brayer.
Place the Clarity Treescape Stencil (one of our best-sellers) 
down on the wet paint.
Lay copy paper over the stencil and Gelli Plate, and BLOT well.
Lift off the blotting paper,
place the paper centre O where you want to see it on the Gelli Plate, and pull a print on a piece of 7"x7" Gelli Card, like this.

Now add Hope using Coffee Archival.

Put the stencil back on the artwork and secure with some low-tack masking tape all around the 4 edges of the card. 
Using Stonewashed Adirondack or Cloudy Blue Adirondack and a Brayer, add the sky. (add a little moon mask before you begin)

Using Lettuce Adirondack and a Brayer or our Stencil brushes, with a torn piece of paper for the hill shape, add the hills and grass.
Add shade with make-up sponges.

Add a couple of little birds in the O using Coffee Archival. 

I stayed inside the O, but you can add birds all over the artwork, 
in the trees if you like. 

Add some shaded hills in the centre, using Lettuce and torn paper.
Lettuce Adirondack Ink Pad I mean!

Like Gracie always says:
Be the change you want to see in the World.

much love,