Wednesday, 31 August 2016

I was ashamed...

Hi there!
Nice to see you - to see you nice!

This is the day we talk about not so much how we craft, 
but why we craft - about deep-seated matters in our lives.
Have been waiting to chat to you today about something 
which I experienced on Monday.

Dave and I went out for the day, to Herstmonceux Castle. 
Lovely place!

It was a Medieval Festival, 
and what fun to see the kids all dressed up.

And the grown-ups.

Much hilarity and mud. 
Reminded me of Glastonbury!!

There was a lovely French lady called Jodie,
 who was teaching Calligraphy;
a skill which I have always wanted to master, 
but which has always eluded me.

So I sat myself down to give it a go, as they say!

It isn’t as easy as it looks!
My guess is hours of practice, like parchment art.

BARBARA no problem - all the same letters!
The name Dave was a stickler, because there was no V !

Jodie asked me if I was an artist, 
because I had a very confident hand.
Confident maybe, 
but very detached from the part of my brain which drives the Calligraphy train!

She was distracted by a paying customer, 
so I carried on alone, copying the UNCIAL letters.
And here’s the moment I want to talk to you about today.
It’s pathetic, but it speaks volumes. 

My M went really wrong, so I tried to correct it, 
and promptly made an even bigger mess.
Definitely not an M. 

She had praised me and patted me on the back,
and said “Perfect” several times; and here I was, 
left to my own devices for a split second -
and what a hash up!!

I could see Jodie coming towards me to check on me, 
and I was filled with what can only be described as panic.
I quickly covered the dodgy M up with my hand, 
so she wouldn’t see it.

And then it hit me.
I was ashamed.
 W H A T ????
It was the knee-jerk reaction, 
the wanting to hide my less than perfect letter from the teacher, 
the judge.

And I laughed out loud.
57 years old, sitting in a tent in a field in 2016,
surrounded by people dressed up as medieval jesters,
and I am taking myself that seriously !!!!

But the emotion that I felt
 - the wave of shame, of embarrassment -
it really hit me,
 and instantly made me think of the Crowborough workshops.
There were several occasions during the weeks we spent there,
where people hid their work from me,
wouldn’t show it to others,
threw it away and asked to start again.

I would like to think that I handled those moments well,
allayed their feelings of insecurity and failure,
and helped them back onto the arty fun train with the others.

But today I just had to share with you 
my personal calligraphy moment 
in the craft tent.

In a split second, I went from shame to empathy. 
From cringing at my less than perfect M, to recalling those good people in Crowborough who sat in the very same seat. 

Pathetic, right? Nope. Very real.
And I would wager that most people reading this blog 
will know exactly what I am talking about.
In fact, fear of getting something wrong prevents the vast majority of people from even trying anything new in the first place.

There’s a little monkey on my shoulder, 
always telling me I’m rubbish.
So when I get something wrong, he loves it!
Does a little dance on my head and sings “Told Ya so!!!!”
right in my ear.

But this is no good!
I am not about to abandon the Art of Calligraphy 
just because I did a shitty M !!!
I may be tomorrow’s new M for Master of Calligraphy -
and I will never know, because I faltered at the M.

You’ll be pleased to hear I bought the Starter Kit!!

I don’t have to ask whether you understand me.
I KNOW you do.

Love & peace of Mind,


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Headed south for the winter....and A GARDEN CHALLENGE

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in!

Tuesday’s blog is when we play with ink,
so here’s a step by step for you to try,
showcasing a few lovely new Artistry inks, and
showing off an old brayering technique on Clarity card.

This coated card is brilliant for brayering landscapes.
You just can’t beat it.
and roll to and fro over the coated card at one end.

Now load the brayer with the next colour, 

and starting in over the first colour, start rolling back and forth again, blending the 2 together.

Third colour, Groovy Grape.

Load the brayer and roll in from the other end until the 2 colours meet.

So this is what you could call a Mexican sunset - an Hombre.
Err... I mean OMBRÉ

Hills next.
Tear a piece of copy paper, position it for the hills,
and roll more of the Groovy ink to create the front mountains.

Move the copy paper up a little and roll in more hills, more faded.

The more layers of faded hills you roll into the distance,
the more depth you give your landscape. 

Polish with a tissue to a high buff.

Now let’s come back from Mexico,
into our little garden in Crowborough...

Birdhouse in Black Archival
I love this stampset....

Now for Romeo...

Now I want to add a little white picket fence....

Add some bleach to a piece of Cut n Dry Felt.

Stamp the picket fence into the bleach and then onto the artwork.
The fence is built to slot into the larger image...

YAY!!! It works brilliantly!!!

Geese heading south for the winter...

I enjoyed the bleachy fence so much,
I want to go all along the front!

Cut the top part off,

and attach it to the bottom.

Edge with a black Sharpie Pen

Perfect Harmony.
A serene scene for your pleasure.

we are having a little refresh and a make-over; 
so why not pop over tomorrow or the day after,
and maybe have a go at September’s challenge?
The theme is

In The Garden!

I hope I have given you a little inspiration.
Why not get ye old brayer out and create a few rolling hills?
The Clarity Challenge Design Team have got some very cool ideas too.
There’s a £50 gift Voucher in it for the winner, you know...

Love & hugs,

If you are collecting the ink pads,
you will find them in the OFFERS section, at
(the three I used for £12).

Monday, 29 August 2016

A Whimsy Tree House.....

Hi there.
Thanks for stopping by.
Not feeling that great today.
Maybe something I ate...
Good thing I prepped this artwork yesterday!

I will keep it short and sweet;
then perhaps an early night.

Puff some Colour Burst onto your Craft Mat 
and spritz with water.

 Loads of water!

Blot with a sheet of water colour card.

Puff some of the blue powder at the card,
spritz with more water and then chase the drips.

You can make plenty of cool background pieces 
with the rest of the ink,

---but this is the one I am interested in today.

Made a mistake here.
I thought  - stamp the Clarity Tree House Stamp
(the set includes the Tree house mask, bvy the way. INVALUABLE)

over the stain using Picket Fence,
the white ink pad.
Then I thought I should have embossed the lines instead.
Only had the one lovely background,

so here we go!
Overstamped with Versamark
(Not to be recommended, unless you have bionic eyes!
Paul Church evidently has, because he usually gets it perfect!)

If you like an echo to the left!!!

Ah well, whatevs.
Carrying on, undeterred....

Heat embossed

Now for my cunning plan.
Painted the Tree house roughly with neat bleach.
Toilet bleach.

Now here are the questions...
A)Did I wear gloves?
B)Did I use an expensive brush?

I recommend you DO wear gloves and you DO wash your expensive brush well afterward if you DO use it!

The bleach bleaches almost instantly.
Really really cool.

Using a make-up sponge, reintroduce colour into the tree house
from an ink pad.
I used the new MorningDew from our Artistry Range.

Using said make-up sponge, wipe a tiny amount of bleach across the back of the artwork, to create a skyline of sorts.

And a few planets....

Fairy and some stars needed methinks.

Let’s add a little whimsy subtlety using the Picket Fence ink pad
and the Wee Fairies.

Trim back,

Tone down the edges with the mini blender and same ink.

Mount on more of the same water colour paper,
leaving a slight border.

Love it!
Shooting stars, all sorts.
Gritty and a little imperfect, but all part of it.
It’s as though you are looking through a portal.

I want to pursue this bleach painting more.
More time required, to properly explore .
I remember getting into it over 20 years ago, with my mate Mandy.
She’s sadly no longer with us, but she would have loved this one!

Love & Hugs,