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You’ll be forgiven if you arrive here and thing you hit my WOYWW post – or think I am a day late – but in reality it’s just that I am deep in the midst of a little project I am making using a discarded deck of playing cards. DS does magic tricks (and he’s quite good at it) and got a handful of specialist decks last year at Christmas. After many months of use, the coating gets a bit less slippery (which is needed for some tricks) and he stops using them. During the end-of-summer attack on the chaos of his bedroom, he was putting these in the bin. I rescued them. The card faces (which you might be able to see) are black and the backs (which you can’t see at all are very arty.

The temptation was to use the Stampotique stands, but I have used them A LOT recently so I rummaged thru my stamps and came up with these 3 sets of Circus Stamps, passed on to me by my MIL many, many years ago. They are a bit unique as they come with Magnastamp holders, which pre-date clear stamps by a long way. The stamps themselves are mounted on a magnetic sheet and while not closely trimmed, can be, and the mounts are clear except for the bit f metal that the stamp clings to. I always thought it was a brilliant idea and for a while even mounted my un-mounted stamps on something I bought ages ago – magnetic business card backs. They are adhesive on one side, so you can attach a business card to them and create a business card magnet! anyway, the cards and the circus stamps are coming together nicely and I’ll be able to share it soon, I hope. It’s been an interesting project for sure and I just hope in the end it turns out anything like what I thought in my head – always a danger when you head in a radically different direction with something.

So that is what will be occupying me today.  at the moment I feel like I am about 60% there on it.  I may need to stamp, scan, and increase in size one stamp, and I think  I will need one or two things to finish it off that I am pretty sure I don’t have, but who knows what might turn up in my stash?  I am ALWAYS surprised at what I have, how old it is, and how it often finishes off something perfectly….or not, as the case may be!


WOYWW 29/9/2010

Another week another WOYWW!  Pop over to Julia’s place to see what all the fuss is about.

Another week of chaos on my desk.  The manly  card from yesterday front and centre, still needing the inside finish.  The finished vintage fabric pin from Monday, and a less-vintage one (can you see it? It’s green!) that also will get finished today.  I am having run with these but they are no-where near as stunning as the originals.  Also a little mini-book page that just needs a tiny bit of journaling to finish it off.

The bottle is Radiant Rain, one of the first of the glimmer mist things.  I’m not sure they sell it anymore – although it works perfectly well (and I prefer it to the actual Glimmer Mists) it does stink to high heaven after it’s been opened.  Someone told me that i because they didn’t use sterile water, but I don;t know if that is true.  I do know it smells like stinky feet.  Bleech! On a more positive note I do love my new 7 Gypsies edge punch set.  There is a better photo of the card a day back, where you can see I used to to make the little brown border strip – that edge seems very popular for die cut cardstock nowadays so having a punch that lets me make it easily is fab.

And my Stampotique card for the current challenge again, just cause I love it so, and I hate to just post a photo of the mess on my desk. I think I’ll have to send it to myself so I can keep it LOL!

I really do need to clean up, but not till I make a good effort to visit as many blogs as I can cram in – DD is feeling a bit under the weather this week, and seeing as she has to have 5 teeth pulled on Monday I’m just hoping she feels better soon lest they delay it!


Man card

Who doesn’t struggle with cards for men?

I made this fairly quick one which would work for lots of occasions – it says Get in Gear on the front and you could easily add more info n the inside, like ...because it’s your birthday! or …because it’s Father’s Day or even …because it’s Valentines day!

Pretty basic: stamp the wordy background, lay on the gear masks and smudge whatever colours you like around them (I used Peeled Paint, Shabby Shutters and Broken China) then do the edges (Vintage Photo) and add the gears.  I printed the sentiment on cardstock as it was WAY too fiddly to try to stamp the letters in a row.

The temptation would be to add a bit of ribbon, but that didn’t seem very “manly” to me.  The die-cut cardstock that seems very popular nowadays is the punched circles – not really scalloped, per se, but decorative nonetheless.  I thought a strip of that would be a perfect stand in for girly ribbon so I punched my own.  I have (just got) one of the 7 Gypsies border punch sets that has a row of circles.

I drew a line across the index strip that you pop into the punch base (the set has 5 different punches, two circle, two squares (bigger and smaller) and a Rolodex hole)

Then lined up the edge with the line

I think I was thinking that this would be better if I wanted something that was close to 12 x 12, if for example I just wanted the edge for a full sheet of cardstock, rather than losing a 1/2 inch or so by punching normally and cutting off 1/2 way through the circles for a small piece but  I didn’t think of that till I had already done it this way. Doh! Still it will be handy for layouts.  I need to test out the corner-turning to see how easy that is to do, in case I want a square with uniform holes all around the edges!

I keep thinking I’ll do a layout but stuff keeps getting in the way.  Maybe tomorrow.

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Annoying projects

So I started this months back. I loved the bird itself, the transparency plumage, and the quote – which says, if you can’t read it, “Without one nest a bird can call the world home” – this speaks to me, as we no longer own a home in the US. And the idea was to include a load of collage bits of different places, places we have been, some we hope to visit. I dragged it off the shelf to finally complete it, am happy with the little skeleton holding the world in his hand, but over all, it seems a bit…messy. I’m not sure what I need to do to “fix” it or if it is just one of those things that needs to grow on me.

Usually it works kind of the opposite – I finish something, love it intensely for a few days, and THEN start mentally picking it apart, thinking that maybe I don;t like it at all anymore. But at least I had that bit of time where I was blissfully happy with my work to console me. I just am not at all sure about this one. I will NOT add flowers to it! I am resisting that as the cure-all for any perceived gap that needs filling – it’s such a cheat to just bang one on when it has no purpose being there.

At the moment I am thinking I just need to let it sit for a bit and maybe if I look at it with fresh eyes, in a day or two, I will either decide to bin it or the cure will hit me out of the blue.

For a start I sort of think the skeleton needs to be a bit more upright. Past that, I just don’t know.

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Sunday-someplace-else (The Guild)

Nothing crafty, nothing scrapbooky nothing arty.  DS convinced me to give The Guild a go last year and I am a firm fan.  This variable length online serial revolves around the lives of game guild, The Knights of Good.  They play as a team on  a Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). The story focuses on Codex, the guild’s Priestess, who attempts to lead a normal life after one of her guild-mates, Warlock Zaboo, who has a bit of a crush on her that he is convinced is reciprocated based on some in-game chatter,  shows up on her doorstep.

The Guild characters in game:

The Guild characters IRL:

The Guild has won a string of awards and is now in it’s 4th season.  The episodes range in length from about 3 minutes to about 9 minutes.  You can spend an afternoon and catch up on all 4 seasons pretty easily.  If you game, or have a kid who games, especially World of Warcraft, this will resonate.  But even if you don’t,  it’s still worth a look.

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Vintage shabby flower

You may recall the Dutch inspiration blog I linked to for my last Sunday-someplace-else.  There are so many great links there it will take me ages to work thru them all!  But one that really caught my eye was a shabby flower made with fabric.  I thought it was just lovely and decided to give it a go.  I picked colours my MIL will love, because it struck me a something she would appreciate.  I figure if I can just find the stash of pin-backs I have it might make a nice little lapel pin for her.  She isn’t afraid of BIG pins (or necklaces, for that matter) so I hope it will be well received.

I did it a tiny bit different than shown in the video as I built the rolled center flower on a bit of felt – I am not super dextrous and feared I would ruin the whole thing if I tried to glue and roll on the actual item.  That worked well for me.  I also didn’t have the rough fabric, but I did have some lighter weight muslin-type stuff.  I also added some beaded strands and a bit of dangly bead trim I have had FOREVER and just never seem to find just the right thing to use it on.

I need to hunt up some velvet leaves.  The one you see is from a silk flower stem and not stuck down.

It was fun to make, and the video is pretty clear to follow.  I think I would like to try it with better base fabric, but that is a project for another day.  We have a load of people coming over tomorrow for a BBQ and I have to do a spot of cleaning (well behind due to the physical complaints of the past week – I hope both my wrist and my back are up to it!) and make baked beans.


SDC 16 – Vintage, and more dominos done!

I’m later than I usually am for the Stampotique Designers Challenge.  As usual, I knew what I wanted to do but finding just the right vintage Halloween image to work with was a bit tricky.  The problem with stamps is they are the size that they are.  I needed to find something that “fit” any of the Stampotique heads that I had.  I found the image here.  It needed a bit of editing because Rocky was a little bit smaller than the pumpkin head, and getting him to fit “right” (so the knife didn’t obscure too much of his face) took some fiddling.

I stamped spidey first on card and then on acetate, because I wasn’t confident I could precisely cut the spindly legs and have them still look good and be able to secure them to the card, especially if I pop-dotted the body.  I knew they would get damaged going in and out of the envelope!

I overlaid the body on the acetate image and that made him much stronger. No vintage in the brown and cream sense, but vintage nonetheless.  And for me, it’s all about the giggle.  Perhaps too gruesome?  I don’t think so, but then I like Dexter, and if serial-killer-as-hero isn’t too much for me, this card isn’t going to be.  I wouldn’t send it to a kid, obviously, but I do have a few friends who would get it and smile.

I’m making progress on the dominos – just a handful of images left to colour and cut now. Lordy, but it does take some time.  And given the cheap-ass dominos are not standard size-wise, the cutting of the background bits is more challenging than it should be!  I expect I will finish them in the next couple of days.  Here’s an update:

It was working with all the disembodied heads that sparked off the card idea.  I do so love it when your creativity feeds off itself, rather than always needing to look elsewhere for inspiration.


WOYWW 22/9/2010 – dominos

Hi there WOYWWers!

Finally getting back to that project from last week.  I had a couple of days with a very painful wrist, which left me unable to craft (hated that) and then wrecked my back over the weekend, which left me unable to sit at my desk except for short periods of time, THEN I got lumbered with a bag of tomatoes with the insistence that I needed to “do something with them” as they were a gift, so I spent the better part of the day making spaghetti sauce from scratch.  OK so it was a lot of slow simmering for hours and hours but I also had the roofer in and was expecting the alarm guy (a no show – arrrgghh! that peeves me off!) and blah blah blah.  Boring but, like the laundry, it needed to be done.

So, back to the heads from last week.  Now you can see what they are going to be – a spooky set of dominos!  I had to hunt up a domino matrix, as I foolishly painted over the symbols before making note of them.  You can see I stamped the heads next to each row so I would get them right.

It is quite a lot of work to stamp, colour and cut them all then do the little background squares and eventually Mod Podge them all and decorate the box, but it is fairly low impact work, I can watch something on the Mac while at my desk, so it isn’t too stressful.  With any luck I will finish them today.  Fingers crossed! But first a few hours visiting other WOYWW desks – that is sure to spark off some other project that will distract me if I get bored with the repetitive domino making!

Happy Wednesday!


Too many tomatoes?

DH brought home a big bag of tomatoes from the caretaker of his office building.  What to do, what to do?

Well, make spaghetti sauce, of course!

Time consuming but so lovely compared to just popping the top on a jar.

Cut a slice in the skin and pop off the stems.

Chop up an onion and green pepper and grate a carrot or two.

Collect up your herbs and chop as much garlic as you like – if you don’t have fresh of either, prepared crushed garlic and an Italian herb mix works fine, although fresh IS better.

Boil a pot of water big enough for all the tomatoes or do it in batches – pop them into the boilng water for a minute or two then into cold water.  Peel off the skins and chop.

Saute the garlic other veg in some olive oil and after they are nice and soft (don’t let the garlic burn!) add the toms.

Simmer for a couple of hours. I am not one of those people who measures.  I tend to bung things in a pot and add what I think it needs at various stages. You can add some wine, if you have a bit leftover in a bottle, some sun-dried tomato pesto, some milk, cream or sugar if it is too acidic,  parmesan cheese, anything extra you think it needs after tasting.  If it is too thin, add some tomato paste and simmer for a bit longer. Salt and pepper to taste.

You can serve it as is or sieve it to remove the seeds.  I think I am going to cook some chicken breasts in it, and serve with pasta.  Yum Yum.

Now, doesn’t that look better than the goop from a jar?

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Sew Somerset

I had lunch with a mate of mine last week who just returned from a trip to the USA. She left me with a copy of Sew Somerset – the art of creative sewing with mixed media to look at.

It’s loaded with ideas that, if you love working with fabric, will inspire.  I think I will be quite busy over the next day or so reading and experimenting.

I have to say I adore ALL of the Stampington publications, from Somerset Studio to Somerset Memories to the Art doll chronicles and wish there were easier (and cheaper!) access to these in the UK.  And checking out the site is worth doing as well, as the templates are fab.

On another note, I am struggling with a project I began over a week ago, but after wrecking my wrist then my back, things are not progressing as quickly as I would like.  Maybe tomorrow.