Thursday, 30 April 2015

Brand new Peonies and Anniversaries on TV

Hello and welcome to Blue Blog Thursday !
I was hoping to be able to use the free download from Yesterday’s blog, the beautiful teapot that our Melanie drew.
But if I am to follow my own instructions around calming the mind,
then I want to be in a less deadline-hectic space than today.

So let’s do something else;
let’s have a look at some rather lovely new stamps which are being aired on TV on Sunday morning, 9am - 11am.
Freesat 813 Virgin 748 Freeview 36 Sky 674

I combined some new Wedding line sentiments 
which our Jim designed,
with some new Peony Blooms
which our Julie Owens designed.

I am surrounded by talent!

First of all, walk the brayer over a piece of Gelli card,
using some Fresco Acrylic Chalk paints.
They are fab!

I used 

Stamp the Love & Cherish in Black Archival up from the base.

Stamp the Wedding in Black Archival up from the base.

Bend the 3rd line sentiment on the mount, and
stamp the Anniversary in Black Archival up from the base.
I have a plan!

Time to add the flowerheads...



Cover the peony heads up with their respective masks,
and using a Squeezed Lemonade Distress ink pad,
add yellow into the background behind the flowers.

You don’t realise how much this is adding to the background 
until you lift the masks.

Add a little Denim Adirondack, or any blue ink, 
to the lower area behind the flowerheads.
This will turn the yellow to green in that area.

You could even very lightly add some Slate, for added depth...

There we are.
I knew it would work!

Go round the edges with the yellow and a blending tool.

Line the outer edges with a Sharpie pen and a ruler.

Mount on a spritzy geli platey kinda background.

Time to go for a walk in the bluebells.
It being Blue Bell Thursday and all that...

Both of these sets of Claritystamps will be available on Sunday,
so be sure to tune in!

And wait until you see the large bouquet in the set,
which Julie designed.
It is wonderful. 

Much love,

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


Hi there.
I am so glad you have popped in today.
Especially this Wednesday.
Because today we change what we do here 
every Wednesday going forward.

Remember last week, I talked about Mindfulness? 
If you didn’t catch it, the title is


Or should I say Tea-hee?
Get the kettle on....

What is Mindfulness?
In short, it is the art of staying focussed in the moment, 
in the Here and Now.
In other words, being mindful of what we are doing,
of concentrating on what we are doing 
and actually experiencing what we are doing, 
rather than just going through the motions.

That’s why colouring in for adults is currently so popular;
while we are focussed on the colouring in and the detail of an image, the mind is taking a little break from all the other things we usually fret about, worry about, obsess about.

And yes.
We ARE publishing a series of colouring books.
When? Very, very soon....
What are they like? They are top spec beeyoutifful!

So I got to thinking.
How about we - you and I - teach ourselves to be mindful, 
but not just when we’re crafting?

I do so many, many things every day, almost robotically.
And I am certain you do, too.
It begins as soon as I open my eyes with the first cup of tea.

The kettle boils, the water gets poured on the teabag in the mug, teabag stirred around until it’s the right brown, 
sling it, add milk, glug brew.
This process is repeated many times during the course of the day,
usually whilst on the phone.
It is a completely mechanical activity;
my mind is NEVER on making the tea!

Even if you aren’t a tea-drinker, you will understand.
Just take a moment to think of an action you do in auto-pilot.

I have a plan, a very simple way for us all to get 
in the Mindful Groove.

Every Wednesday, I would like to take a closer look at 
something which most of us do daily, but without thinking about it.
That thing, whatever it may be, can then be the subject of the week’s mindfulness lesson.
Then we will convert that topic into a crafty session!
It’s the law !!!

Making Tea.

By taking something as simple as making a cup of tea,
and concentrating on the very act, the process,
we create an awareness of what we are doing.
And that, my friends, is Mindfulness.

In an attempt to curb the auto-pilot habit,
I even went one step further, 
and created a little tea-making and drinking ritual.
No, really....

Step 1. Find a teapot which gives you pleasure.
We have a cast iron one we bought in France last year...

Step 2. Camomile tea methinks. Calming properties...
No bags. Loose leaf.

Step 3. Boil the kettle and pour on the water.
Sit with the pot while the tea brews.

Step 4. Light a candle, pour the tea, sip it, savour it.
Step 5. Sit by a window and enjoy the taste of the tea.

Let’s take time to do this.
Let’s do this at some point every day,
and see if it helps calm the mind...

Now comes the Crafty Part of our new Wednesday blog.
This Wednesday we are offering you 
a FREE Clarity Colouring download.
Melanie drew a beautiful teapot for us to colour in.
It is spectacular.

Scale it up to whatever size is comfortable for you,
print it onto decent quality paper or card,
and enjoy colouring it in.
Can I make some suggestions about the colouring in?

What to use?
I love using my colouring pencils.
I will use my Spectrum Noir Pencils
but use whatever you like!

Do a section at a time. Perhaps the lid first.
Then the spout. Then the houses, and so on.

Don’t do it all in one sitting and rush it.
Take it slowly.
If the lid takes all evening, that’s fine.
Tomorrow you can do the next part.

Remember, this is not about churning out a coloured tea pot; 
this is about creating an awareness of the process.
Hold the pencil, feel it in your hand.
Notice how the colour appears 
depending on the pressure you apply.
Slowly, gradually, build the picture, and fill it with colour.

In the next weeks, I will do You Tubes which get into colouring in in more depth.

I would love it if you emailed me a photo of your work, 
which we can then upload to our new 
Public Gallery.
Please send to:
If it takes a week, fine. If it take a month, that’s fine, too.

This will be a gradual process.
It works, it really does.

much love,

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

YouTube Tuesday - A Frame Of Mind

Hi there!
So glad you have popped in.
Here’s a short video, showing off ye old brayering technique .
There’s no harm in revisiting old skills.
Actually, it’s like putting on a comfortable pair of old shoes,
when you go back to your stash of skills and pull a golden oldie out of the bag.

Find step by step instructions for this project HERE:

Items Used:

much love ,

Monday, 27 April 2015

Two Trees only...

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.
Get the kettle on -
It’s been one of those days!
And it ain’t over yet...

So let’s just go up on the forest, and calm it Kermit!

Whilst endeavouring to clean up the pit which is my artroom today, I came across a scrap I used on  US TV last week whilst showing the difference between 
Archival Potting Soil - a permanent ink pad,
 and Espresso Adirondack - a dye-based ink pad.

Here we can see 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation inks at work, using one of the trees from the Meadowdance set.
Remember the super deal on that set from Saturday?
Let me gently remind you....

buy the stampset below,

and we will give you the Shape Stencils set worth £12

Anyway, using the tall tree,
stamp from one side of a piece of Gelli Card to the other 
with the two ink pads, blotting as you go.

With a Black Micron Pen, link the trees.
I found the easiest way was to start with the dark ones, 
joining them up with a squiggle line.
Then go to the next lighter trees and join them up.
Finally the lightest pair, linking them into the land lines too.

Add some shadow to the trees with the pen on one side...

Now tear a hill out of a sheet of copy paper 
by using the side of the blending mat,
and stamp the sides of the two trees here and there 
along the hill mask, to create a hedgerow.

I love it when it works, don’t you?

More hedgery required at the front, too.
Just use the sides of the trees, blotting as you go, 
and alternating the ink pads too, for various shades of brown.

I used Cloudy Blue Adirondack 
to create a vignette around the edge with the mini blending tool.
Notice I am sitting on the blending mat with the card to do this.
Well, not literally.
That would be ridiculous.

Add a little crescent moon from the Moons masks
and dust over it with a Stencil brush loaded with Cloudy Blue.

Add a little shade with some Spectrum Noir Pencils in the pleats of the hills you have drawn;
I used a light brown and grey.


Load a make up sponge with Cloudy Blue 
and sweep in from the sides, 
to create a moon shadow and a little more movement in the sky.

Go round the edges again with the mini blending tool 
Note to self:
That’s a great colour combination: Cloudy Blue and Latte. 
We also have a great offer on the Mini Blending Tools
Buy the Blending tools and the refills,
and we will give you an A4 Blending Mat worth £8.99
absolutely FREE.

Titivate with a little more pencil work in the grooves and pleats of the hills.

A third super deal:
All 5 time of pencils AND educational DVDs 
(rrp £129.92. £76)

That’ll do.

So there we are.
Two trees and a couple of different brown ink pads.

Hope you like today’s blog offering.
Leave an uplifting comment below and let me know whether the artwork reminds you of a certain place.
For me, it’s the Ashdown Forest, nearby, where we often walk.
It has majestic rows of tall trees just like this...

much love,

Sunday, 26 April 2015

When in doubt, get your Garden birds out!

Hello there!
Glad you dropped in.
Been a lovely day! 
Thoroughly enjoyed the company of my dear friend Debby Berry.
Hence the rather tardy blog.
But what is this life all about if I can’t spend a day 
with a good friend?

So here’s a quickie that I did for one of the US TV shows last week, using our wonderful Garden Birds.

Apparently, Debby, being American, watched the shows and this demo, and only counted me say tits once!

Right. Let’s crack on!
I’ve got a date with Poldark at 9 o’clock !!

Here’s what I used:

(see yesterday’s blog for super saver!)

Stamp the Big Garden Bird onto a piece of Gelli Card 
using Black Archival.
I did it 4 times, because I needed the different stages for the TV demo!
No wonder my neck is shot !!!

Use the outside of the mask to cover up 

I cut a hole in a piece of copy paper to cover up the rest of the card.
If you struggle to get the hole the right size, then just fold a piece of copy paper in half, open it back out, stamp the bird onto the fold and cut loosely around it. 

Add blue ink to the tips of the feathers with a make-up sponge.
Faded Jeans is a great blue tit colour.

Add the yellow. 
Mustard Seed the perfect blue tit yellow....

Remove mask.
How easy is that?!

Next cover up the tit with the other mask,

and stamp the large blossom branch + little tits into place.
I LOVE these little fellas.

Colour them in exactly the same way, using the mask.
Quick and easy.

I used Spectrum Noir pencils to colour in the Blossom Branch.

Cover up the little birdies with their respective masks.
Attach the square shape stencil.

Using a large Stencil brush loaded with mustard seed, 
just swoosh around the inside edge of the shape stencil.

Remove the stencil...

Using a Micron Pen, jiggle round the edge of the yellow box.
Avoid the birds and branches.

Looking good....

Mount on a matching colour. 
I decided to draw out the colour of the flowers.

There you go.
Stop the clock!
And there’s still half an hour to freshen up 
before my last date with Ross Poldaaaaark for a while!
Wonder whether he’ll get his scythe out again...

much love,