Sunday, 24 September 2017

Sunday - Upon Reflection.....

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Just got home. 5 hours door to door, which isn’t bad in a van -
except when you’re the one in the middle.
It was so hot !!! The next van we buy needs air-con, 
or I’m building a bed in the back!

I remember many years ago taking Grace up to the SECC, 
to the Glasgow Christmas show.  She really was just a youngun, and we made a seat/nest for her in the back. And there she slept, surrounded by boxes and crates, all the way there - and all the way home. I can’t imagine that’s legal nowadays! 
(Or if it even was then!)

I remember she discovered giant Yorkshire Puds filled with sausage & mash at the Harry Ramsdens in Paisley Road, and thought they were the best thing she had EVER eaten! First thing she did when we got home was show her brother how the Scottish eat Yorkshire puds!

Funny isn’t it, the things you remember....

Well yesterday, certainly was a day to remember too.
Coming home in the van today, sandwiched between Paul and Dave, I asked them what I usually ask after an exhibition or event, “what could we have done to improve on yesterday?”

They both went quiet, and reflected on the day.
This is what we concluded:

1. An extra member of staff to help Heather stock up would have been good.

2. More shopping baskets. There weren’t enough to go round.

Well, blow me. If that was all we could think of, I would say that the day was as close to perfect as we will ever get. 

Sure we ran out of things, and of course, there is ALWAYS room for improvement.
A L W A Y S.
But I have to tell you, I feel an immense sense of satisfaction.
Somebody asked me yesterday whether I was enjoying the day, and it stopped me in my tracks. I couldn’t honestly tell her at that point. It reminded me of Christmas Day in a way. All the prep and work that goes into the 24th and 25th. All the family comes over, and I spend at least 10 hours in the kitchen, nursing a poxy turkey and sweating bullets over the Christmas Dinner.  
Every year, when it’s over I reflect on the day, and ask myself whether I enjoyed it or not, and the truth is, YES! Of course I did!
 The people I love are in the house, hanging out and having a great time. We are all together. And if they are happy and having a good time, then I am happiest of all of them. 
I am pretty certain many of you will be able to identify with that analogy. 
So yes, I enjoyed yesterday thoroughly. 
Because everybody else did.  

You get me. 

Love & Hugs,

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Oh what a day !!!!

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.

Just got enough time before supper to tell you about our day in Leyburn...

This was yesterday evening, all set up 
and ready to go.

We were all pretty nervous this morning, wondering how it would go today. As I said, just before the doors opened, trying to calm the apprehension,
“We’ve put in the action, we’ve done all the prep we can. 
Now we have to hand it over, and relax into the day.”

Then everybody arrived and we lept into action.
Oh boy! Did we hop about!
But it was so excellent!
Having double the space was ideal.
The beautiful restaurant which opened straight into our hall was just perfect.

Hundreds of happy crafters!
Honestly, the atmosphere was just brilliant.
I was lucky enought to see loads of friends and familiar faces.

Theresa presented me with an exquisite piece of artwork...

Teamwork makes the dream work.

Which shall have pride of place back at base.

Look! Bloggy friends!
Gillyflower, Pam Kershaw and Jeanette Butler.
There were so many from this little Bloggy community there! 
We invited folks to wear their names, which I think was a great idea, because Facebook friends etc  who had never seen each other were able to recognise each other. 

Emma Burns was in town too.
Here she is with the Scottish Clan!
They were a real pleasure to spend time with.

I cannot express in words how happy I am that the day was such a resounding success.
And I’m not talking about money. 
The venue was lovely, the service was second to none,
the demonstrators were super, the snip clinic and the make & takes were fun and informative. 
All our hard work paid off, 
and hundreds of Clarity friends went home happy.

And that makes me happy. 

Like Theresa’s artwork says:

Love & Hugs,

Friday, 22 September 2017

When Traditional Parchment meets Progressive Parchment

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Been a great day, setting up at Leyburn with the crew.
Then we all went for a superb meal in Richmond.
If we ever move, we know where we are moving to now!

W E   L O V E   R I C H M O N D !!!

Anyway the scene is set at Tennants Leyburn,
for a wonderful celebration of all things Clarity tomorrow.
And Pergamano of course.

Please allow me to show you a piece of traditional parchment art,
which was kindly sent to me by Dorothy Holness,
a name most traditional parchers will be familiar with.

Last year at the Harrogate Parchment Show, Dorothy came and introduced herself to me.
She actually thanked me for breathing new life into the world of parchment with our Groovi system. She said that, whilst she personally preferred more subtle line art than the crisp Groovi line, she could see how Groovi was a great way of getting people started, and she was also genuinely happy to embrace our style, despite the fact that it was so different ot her own.

A little while ago she sent me this wonderful piece of artwork, and thanked me for being so complimentary about her whitework on a TV show. 

I am sure you will agree, it is breathtaking.

This gift meant so much to me.

How refreshing, that a seasoned, revered, traditional parcher  like Dorothy can see the benefits of the Groovi way, can be kind, gracious and respectful, even though it may not be her cup of tea. 

How lovely to know that she and I both share the same creative passion. We may approach parchment art very differently, 
from different angles, but without disdain or judgement. 
Just mutual admiration and respect. 
She appreciates how many people we have motivated to get excited about parchment, and I appreciate her talent, her skill.

Love & Hugs


Thursday, 21 September 2017

Chase your Dreams - a stencil technique

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Woke up this morning with a list of things to remember as long as your arm next to the bed, because this morning we have to start our trip up north for the CLARITY OPEN DAY in North Yorkshire.

And at the top of the list was BLOG.
The girl’s got her priorities right!

So I packed my little suitcase, and then skipped off past Dave, 
who was working on the Porsche (another one who’s got his priorities right!) and came up here to try something which I woke up thinking about...

How would one of our Whimsy stencils which our Annie designed look in black on one of the new Designer Papers?
And how do you get the plastic part of the stencil to be the line art? The black?

This should read Chase your Tail !!!

Here’s how:


Spread the Golden Open Payne’s Grey paint over the back of the stencil. You can use a brayer and roll it directly onto the stencil.
Use copy paper underneath the stencil.

Use the  Gel Press plate, the 8"x10" as a paint transfer plate if you prefer. 

Spread with a brayer.

Lay the stencil down on the wet paint face up.

Blot with copy paper. 
This will help you push the stencil into the paint.

Peel the stencil off the Gel press plate and transfer to a sheet of our Designer Paper.

Since Thursday’s blog is always blue, I went with this one from the new Indian Summer Set.

Now to get the pressure you need to transfer the paint beautifully, you need a mangle.
I have an E-Bosser. Any one of the many die cutting machines will do the job.

You just need a rubber shim in the sandwich.
This was my sequence from the bottom:

Rubber shim
Copy paper
Designer Paper
Copy paper

If you flip the stencil and the paper as I did, you will get the embossing the right way round too. 
Basically, you’ve got a 50/50 chance.

Trim the paper....

Then lay it onto another sheet of the same, 
creating continuity in the background. 

It worked so well!
What I woke up visualizing is just what I got.

Love it when it works, don’t you?
A couple of tips:
Not too much paint.
If you don’t have a Gelpress plate (less messy) 
just spread the paint over the back of the stencil with the brayer.

I love this stencil set. They are all available individually. 
But what a delightful set Annie has designed.

click here
Anyway, I must go now, I really must.
It’s a long way.
But there are loads of the Clarity team from the Northern Quarter pitching in to help and play, so it will be a delight to hang out with them all for a couple of days.

Join us if you can, on Saturday, at Tennants Auction House in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.

It is a fabulous venue. 

Love & Hugs,

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Can you keep a Secret?

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Wednesday. The day we touch on matters of the soul.
Can we park crafting for a day and talk about something close to my heart? Something very close indeed.
In fact so close, you cannot prise it out of me - no matter what.

If somebody tells you something in confidence, 
can you keep it to yourself?

I can.

I have many, many secrets which others have entrusted me with over the years, locked deep in my chest. They will never see the light of day, never pass through my lips. They were told to me in trust, and I would not betray that trust - ever.
My conscience would not allow it. 
So if you told me something which you wish you hadn’t, 
lest I gossip, forget it. Relax.
It is not my story to tell. Never was, never will be.
Trust is the key to my life. It is a constant.
If you can trust me, you can love me - in that order.

When I die, I want people to remember me as trustworthy,
worthy of their trust.

Love & Hugs,

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Artistry Inks and a Butterfly Tree

Hi there.
Thanks for popping in.

Thought I would have a look at the Artistry ink pads today.
I was asked several times at the weekend Ally Pally Show, 
whether these ink pads were water soluble.
So I decided the best way to show you was to spray them with water and let you decide for yourself!

Here, I have simply smeared 4 colours onto a sheet of water-colour paper. If you want ink to move with water, then use the surface best suited:

Spritz well with water, and watch what happens.

Soak up puddles with a paper towel.

Spritz again if you want to move the ink some more.

Then leave to dry.
I flattened it underneath a heavy book.

Here’s a smaller one, using the same colours.
Which colours?
Rosey Cheek (RED)
Elegant Emerald (GREEN)
Wild Bilberry (BLUE)
Haystack (YELLOW)

Can you see the landscapes that I can see? In both pieces?

Let’s go with the small sample today.
Stamp the Butterfly tree into place, using Black Archival.

Add a butterfly from the same Butterfly Tree stampset.

Let’s use the ink pads to paint the butterfly.
All you need is a GOOD No. 6 Sable hair brush.
Not, not a hairbrush! A sable hair PAINT brush!
One brush does all. It’s all I ever use or need.
Expensive, but well worth it.

Add a little blue colour to the black tree too, 
where it wasn’t solid black.

Now for the backing.
And here’s where I let you into a little secret.
When I designed the Northern Lights Papers a few months ago, 
I used a very limited colour palette.
In fact, it was exactly the same as the colours listed above.
Pretty much prime colours.
Which means that most of the Northern Lights papers will work perfectly as a frame.

I think I will pull out the turquoise and the lime green blend 
which occurred quite by chance. 

Needs a little definition methinks...
A make up sponge and torn paper will do the trick.
Our Spot on Sponges are what it says on the packet - SPOT ON!
(£2.99 per pack)
Very dense, top quality, washable.
click here to buy 7 packs for the price of 5

Now you can see the stream and the meadow and the hills, right?
Mounted and signed.

Time to stop for an hour.
Still recovering from the weekend!
And it’s Leyburn this coming Saturday.
Now THAT’s a long haul, up to North Yorkshire.
But worth it.
We have got a BIG EVENT planned this year.
Put it this way: there are 18 of us booked in for our Clarity evening meal on Friday! Demonstrators and helpers!
If you fancy a trip out to Tenants the Auction Rooms in Leyburn, it is a fabulous venue. And the reason we can extend ticket sales to 
at-the-door, is because we booked twice the space this year!

Get there early to book in on the 
FREE Make & Take mini workshops 
with Linda Page and Jane Telford,

 and the FREE Snip Clinic, 
with Glynis Whitehead and Chris Walker!

I think it is going to be superb.

Love & hugs,

Monday, 18 September 2017

Carol? No! Rosie!!

Hi there!
Thanks for popping in.
I’m writing really quickly, so you can read this quickly too.
You’ve only got till 6pm before Rosie launches a collection of
 beautiful 6 new Christmas Groovi Plates:
The Christmas Carol Collection.

You stampers out there will recognise the carols;
they are on the shows too.

But the One Day Special is the new Groovi Plate Set,
which are Linda Williams’ inspired - and superb.

The TV shows are at 6pm and 8pm this evening.
Then 9am, 1pm (Paul takes over) and 5pm.

  • SKY 663 (24/7)
  • FREEVIEW 85 (6AM-7PM)
  • FREESAT 817 (24/7)
or online

Here’s a stampy demo which you can tune in to watch tomorrow 
at 1pm if you like. It’s really straight forward....

Pick a paper from the Indian Summer Paper pad.

Stamp the Bleak Midwinter carol into a spot which 
highlights the verse. Black Archival.
Stamp and cut out a mask on a Post-It too.

Mask off below the carol scroll, so that you can play 
with the height of the trees.

With the mask still in place, sponge in some Aqua Fusion above,

... and some Fine Wine below.

See how the scroll pops by darkening the outside a little?

Trim the paper back. 
Hang on to the offcuts for Ron.
Later on.

Edge with a black Sharpie pen.
Add highlights with a white pencil.

And then take a day off work or whatever you usually do,
and make a few snowflakes using the new Snowflake Grids which Tina Cox designed! They are wonderful and so intricate!
small snowflakes

large ones
There we are!
fantastic finish. 

A dot of Perga Glue in the middle is all you need.

That’s it for now my friends.
I have to go watch Rosie in action at 6!

Love & Hugs,