Monday, 29 February 2016

Kind Hearts are the Gardens....

Hello there!
Happy Leap Year Monday!
Thank you for popping in.
Monday’s Blog is trees and flowers, so how about a very simple card, showcasing one of our best garden stampsets?

Very trying morning at the office.

So before I do my 400 plates a day -
it’s best to retreat into my little Clarity den 
and have half an hour of art. 
Clears the mind and flushes out all the crud.

Here’s a 7" x 7" ink pad scrap from my background stash
Cut it into two pieces.

Stamp the Birdhouse onto the larger piece using 
Potting Soil Archival Ink. Coffee is good too.

There’s a really lovely saying which comes with the Garden Heart, another lovely stamp set.

Stamp the saying onto the smaller panel.

Trim them both so that they are the same width.

Lay on the Clarity Blending mat, and go round the edges with Antique Linen and a mini Blending Tool.

Mount both pieces on a neutral brown piece of card.

I think I want to stamp across the panels now, 
so I have stuck an off cut in the gap.

Blotted the tip of the Hollyhocks and then stamped them across the gap. Perfect.

I think a little more faded Hollyhock is required.....

How about a couple of the birds from the set?
By stamping one little fella below the birdhouse, 
we automatically push the birdhouse into the background.

All done.
We are celebrating today too,
because Quaver, our Maria’s little canary,
who badly broke his wing a little while ago, 
was back in flight today!

Brilliant. The magic of nature.
Maria was told he’d never fly again.

So there we are.
A very simple splatty piece of art.
No bling, no glitter, nothing fancy.

Just like we like it.

Right. Break’s over.
Back to cleaning plates. 

Love & Hugs,

Sunday, 28 February 2016

A quickie step by step and a birthday wish xx

Hi there,
Thanks for popping in.
Hope you are enjoying your Sunday?
Had a quick coffee with Paul this morning, 
made a plan for next week, (yikes)
and then got back to cleaning and packing Groovi Plates!
I have set myself 400 daily. Every little helps.
Dave has been at work baking them all weekend too.
Sometimes, the only way to get the job done is to do it. 

So to today’s step by step.
It’s from last week’s TV shows.
I had wanted to get arty and get my Gel printing plate 
out this afternoon; I have had an idea and want to try it out.
But the other Baby plates are calling !!!

So here’s a little stampy step by step offering,
using our ever popular Letterbox Set
which now includes masks.

A5 Theuvacard is fab for this. 

Decide which word or name you want to spell out.
Then decide whether you want to go landscape or portrait.
This will depend largely (literally) on the length of your word!

Stamp out the right number of boxes using Black Archival,
 and mask them off.

Out with the Wee Trees.
These are wonderful.

Pick and mount a selection,
then stamp them across the boxes, like a little landscape.

1st and 2nd generation ink for black and grey respectively. 

Use a make-up sponge to smear the black ink on the masks 
down below the masks, like a drop-shadow.

Use a ruler and a black Micron Pen 
to draw to straight lines across the card, like so:

Add a large Moon mask and then load one of our Clarity Stencil Brushes with a nice blue ink.
I went for Stonewashed. Great blue.

Dust lightly back and forth across the sky area.

When you remove the masks, this is what you get:

Now for the birds on the wire.
This is an old trick I showed you how to do years ago, 
when we used to have the Classrooms on TV, remember?

Really easy, but do it on scrap first.
Draw a little heart and black it in. 
Give the heart a little head, and black it in.
Tiny flick for the beak and two flicks for the tail.

Now add all his mates.
These little birds always make me smile when I draw them.
I’ll revisit the old boat trick next week, too...

Now for the words: F R I E N D S

The little birds on the wire tie it in now.

Nice and simple.

Squiggle lines randomly around the picture with the black pen.

Colour in the overlap areas in blues and greys.

Have I got a finished card?
We gave it to our friends Debby and Gill on Friday evening.
They are emigrating to warmer climes, to Texas.
On Tuesday!!!
I shall miss them muchly. Already do.
I love them, I love spending time with them and I love their energy.

But hey! Texas isn’t a million miles away!
It’s just not up the road is all. 
And this is when Facetime, Skype and Facebook are Godsends!
How did we deal with the distance before ???
And ultimately, if they are happy, then I am happy. 

So I hope you will join me in wishing them 
a safe trip and Happy days.
One more thing:
It’s Debby’s birthday today too!
Can we all sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY together?
And how about clapping along with Pharrell?
That always make me happy when I’m feeling blue. 


love & hugs.

Saturday, 27 February 2016


Hi there.
Good of you to drop in this Saturday!
I’ve emptied the fridge, 
(which was starting to resemble a science project);
I’ve been to Waitrose and filled it again.
So now I’ve had my domestic fix, we can move on!

On Thursday, when I was on HOCHANDA,
I showed you a piece of artwork combining 
Stamps and Groovi work.
Maria’s been doing this beautifully for months;
I just took a while to catch up!

I really like the look.
See what you think....

What’s not to like!
Let’s check out this new-not-new idea, shall we?

Stamp the Cockerel on a piece of A5 parchment, 
using Black Archival,


Then mask it off.

Then out with the new and fabby chequered frame from the

(well worth investing in. Excellent and versatile)

Position your window.

Blot it. That’ll help....

Once the ink has dried, we can get on with the Groovi work!
As always, work from behind.
I just used the plates in the Groovi Starter Kit to create a landscape.
The rays from the sun are made using the straight line on the landscape plate.

This is what it looks like from the front.

Let’s add a fence.
I have used the tree trunks from the tree plate for this.
Single posts,

...then double them up.

Next join them.
Bit wobbly, but would certainly keep the sheep in!

Let’s check from the front again...

Now get the blue mat out, the soft side,
and let’s do some whitework on the chequered border.

Now starts the magic...

Soft feathery strokes with the No. 4 tool, 
to establish where the sunlight is hitting the cockerel.

Flip to the hard side of the blue mat 
and let’s bring this old cock to life!
So to speak....

I combined colouring pencils and Distress markers.
Always work from behind.

Check the front.
I enjoy checking my progress.
It tells me what to do next.
Much like Life really.

Using a Claritybrush and a yellow ink pad, 
let’s add a little haze to the back.

Not too much though.
Or you, like me, can then spend 10 minutes trying to rub it off again!

Cut out the whole piece now, using good scissors.
Take your time.
You know that delicate Picot cutting that parchers do so well, 
with piercing tools and grids and such?
Well, I’ve got a week to master that, 
because I is doin’ it on live TV on Mother’s Day!!!

So back to basics today!
Run 3mm double-sided adhesive round the frame.
And a tiny piece at the root of his tail feathers.

I found an old scrap of copy paper which I hadn’t thrown away, where I was clearly cleaning off the brayer as I worked.

Spray mount this piece to a bright yellow card, for zest.

Stamp up the Cock a Doodle Doo on scrap 
and edge with a black Sharpie.

So you see, you get that translucent and dimensional effect from the parchment, but the crisp stamped image in black.

It may not be traditional parching,
but hey!
It works for me, old stampin’ Annie!!

The sun is shining and I think it’s time for a walk.
Stretch the legs and calm the mind.

Have a great day!

Love always,