Saturday, 30 June 2012

What will they think of next... this certainly takes Altered Art to new heights.

It seems someone, somewhere is always trying to come up with something 'arty' that is bigger or better than has been seen before. As a result, London just like many other big cities across the globe has been 'invaded' from time to time...
I think 'Cow Art' hit London in about 2002. It had already appeared in several international cities and it continued into several more after its visit here. I have to say I missed this one.
2010 saw London invaded by around 250 elephants all decorated by famous celebs or by artists. Folk were encouraged to wander round London in order to 'hunt' them all down - I know a number of peeps here in Blogland that did just that and have the photos to prove it.
Today I came across this near the entrance to Westfield in Stratford (this pic is from the Newham recorder as my attemps to take pics were thwarted by refections and glare). Zandra Rhodes designed this for the Roaming Phonebox art event that is currently on in London. The event is to celebrate the design of the traditional London phonebox that was so much a part of everyday life for so very long. Zandra's phonebox has been decorated with golden squiggles and will help to raise money for the Child-line charity.
There are lots more designs dotted around our Capital and from what I've seen on the Internet - there are some pretty amazing concepts.

If you are going to be in London, why not look out for these pieces of art...............................................

Friday, 29 June 2012

What a way to end the week...

...the Good, the Lovely and the down-right Awful!

Let's start with the Good.

On my way into work this morning I noticed an Ad in the Metro paper reminding folk that tomorrow is Armed Forces Day (Canvey Island will be having its usual parade and Mum will be there waving her flag) and in conjunction with this Pandora (you know - the expensive bead/charm bracelet folk) would be donating 15% of the cost of every AFD celebration piece sold. As today is payday and I have two family members serving "Queen & Country" I thought I might treat myself.

There is a Pandora shop in the Westfield shopping centre near to the office so I popped over there late lunchtime.
Nicely packaged.
This was the advert...
...and this was the pretty item that I now own - there are three of the roses making up the link.

The cost was a little bit 'ouch' but it's for a good cause and it really does look lovely...I'm still making up my mind whether I want to have this on a leather bracelet or a Japanese braid one...I'll have to give it some thought.

Moving on to the Lovely.

I have been lucky enough to win a couple of Magnolia Doohicky dies over at the CME Birthday celebrations **happy dance** such a lovely surprise.

Now onto the Awful.

Westfield in Stratford has been open since 13 Sept 2011 and in all that time, despite working right 'next door', today was only the 5th time I have been over there. I don't like the place. I don't like the layout and despite the high ceilings the very narrow walkways make everything seem closed in and claustrophobic. If it hadn't been for the AFD charm my visits would have remained at 4...

It was packed, it was uncomfortable and I made sure that I was in and straight back out again - that took long enough. I left the office shortly after 2pm and it was a good 45mins before I returned.

Luck I went when I did because this is what is currently on the BBC news website...

***Westfield Stratford stabbing leaves man dead A man has died during a fight at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford.

Police were called to The Street on the ground floor of the east London centre at about 16:25 BST.

Two others have also been stabbed. All victims are thought to be in their late teens or early 20s. A man was arrested at the scene.

Police said several males were involved in the fight. London Ambulance Service said it treated one man for stab wounds and another for minor injuries.

Both have been taken to hospital.

Metropolitan Police officers are at the scene of the incident at the shopping centre, which is close to the Olympic Stadium.

A spokesman from the shopping centre said: "Westfield can confirm an incident occurred this afternoon at Westfield Stratford City.

"Westfield is working closely with the police and emergency services, however as this is a police matter we cannot provide any further details at this stage."***

We have had helicopters hovering over the office all afternoon and there were plenty of blue flashy lights everywhere. Luckily most of this had cleared by the time I headed for the station for my journey home.

All quite frightening and another reason for not venturing over to Westfield or wanting to be anywhere near the place during the Olympics...........................................


...Rocking your World Friday has come around again.

Despite trying to be very organised (I actually started to prepare this on the 19th so I wouldn't forget anything or miss posting on time - some hope LOL).

So this is two weeks rolled into one...

After a very wet & stressful Friday last week, Saturday (16/6/12) was a lovely day.

As usual, the weathermen got it wrong and 3 months-worth of rain did not fall in 3 days (unless it arrived overnight) - Saturday was a lovely day, a bit blustery but bright and pretty warm...well it would have had to have been because I actually decided to leave my coat in the car. A lovely wander around the craft village at Barleylands - and a cuddle and 'wash' from Andy's beautiful collie - coffee and cake at the cafe. Then a jaunt over to Wickford to watch a lovely afternoon full of Letraset demos by Jacqui Dennis at In2Crafting.

The start of the working week wasn't too bad weatherwise but after a glorious day on Wednesday it seems to have been downhill ever since...please don't tell me that was our Summer (especially as we are now the other side of the longest day).

Thursday evening was crop night but not much scrapbooking got done - it was a very small group as a lot of the ladies were away so we just enjoyed a very pleasent evening of chat.

I think it is pretty clear to most visitors to my little bit of cyberspace that I love my Copic pens. One of the blogs I follow is 'Copic Marker Europe' and they are celebrating their first birthday by having a blog-hop and providing a couple of lovely digi images for use in their celebration events. I've already printed them off and have made a start with the colouring (you'll have to wait and see what I'm actually making with you won't - because it took me so long to get this post done the two previous post now contain the first of my makes with thse images "giggle" - what am I like???).

Today has been 100% better than last Friday. The heavy rain that was forecast was short-lived and with luck I'll be home to finish this post before the next bank of black clouds arrives.

Saturday (23/6/12) meant setting the alarm clock so that I got over to Barleylands nice and early to ensure getting a seat at the Die-cutting & Punch demo day held by Pinnacle crafts - wonderful tips and ideas from Andy that made the 'numb bum' worth it LOL. I also got to see several dies 'cut' that I hadn't been sure about...they are now on the wish list.

Sunday and Mum wanted another trip to Hobbycraft to grab some more semi-precious beads for her jewellery making. We were very lucky - during the time that we were in the store a downpour hit and soaked everywhere but it stopped just as we came out c",) I have some pretty beads to play with too but I'll be saving those for when I've a bit more time. Lunch at the Harvester was rounded off with the most delish baked cheesecake mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

I took the time to open my W H Smith rewards email this week and there were two £5 off vouchers - one was to use if you spent over £10 on a book and the other if you spent over £15 in store. Well the timing for this was just perfect as I've been waiting for a couple of books to come it and had saved for them...the vouchers meant that I didn't have to spend all the money I'd saved - result!!!

I was recently lucky enough to win some blog candy over on the lovely Bev Rochester's blog - it's always lovely receiving craft stuff through the post isn't it! I've also been enjoying 'playing' with the images that were given free as part of the Copic Marker Europe birthday celebrations.

Oh and to round the week off I have a lovely new follower - Jenie...welcome to my little bit of cyberspace. All in all, some lovely things happened over the last couple of weeks.

I've set this as a scheduled post so that I don't forget again and will pop back to add the links to Virginia's blog when her post is up.....................

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

"When the clock strikes three...

...everything stops for tea".

What could be more quintessentially 'English' than afternoon tea? Even though I'm not keen on the stuff myself, when I spotted the ribbon that I've used on this card - I just had to have some to go with all the Red/White/Blue stash that I seem to have amassed over recent weeks.
Over at "Copic Marker Europe" they very kindly gave this image away as part of their Birthday celebrations. The image is by Krista Smith of Saturated Canary fame (I had already used the image provided by Sylvia Zet so thought it would be rude not to use this one too).
Isn't this little miss adorable!
...and look at that bag full of Copics.
I don't often decorate the inside of my cards but on this occasion I decided to continue with the very British feel of the card by lining the inside with the same Union Flag paper that I've used on the front (Vintage Union Jack - Personal Impressions). The rosette was made from the polkadot paper from the Portabella Road range by DoCrafts - a 1.5in strip was cut from the 12x12 sheet and then scored on my Hougie board. The disk in the centre of the rosette is a die-cut from the Kanban London range.
The ribbon just finishes it off nicely and also provides the sentiment.

I'll be linking this up to the 'linky thing' over at CME for their birthday celebrations but in addition to that - the current challenge over at the Saturated Canary challenge blog is Red/White/Blue so I'll be posting there also.

Do hop over to have a look at what other folk have created on both these sites...................................................

Friday, 22 June 2012

Copic Marker Europe... a fab site full of inspiration.

As mentioned in my previous post - two lovely digi designs have been offered to folk who would like to join with CME to celebrate their first birthday.

This little miss is from the very talented Sylvia Zet and I've decided to use her to decorate a pretty A5 size note book.
As the note book will need to stand up to being used I have kept everything fairly simple - a bit of ribbon, some pretty paper and the coloured image.
I have used pinks and greens as the colour scheme for colouring the image and for decorating the book.
Isn't she a sweetie...and so easy to colour using my Copics,
The papers used to cover the notebook were a freebie from Cardmaking & Papercraft - a range of papers designed by Susan Darter for Raspberry Road Designs.

Now I need to work out what I'm going to do with the other digi......................

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Would you like... be able to play with these images?

This little cutie from Wee stamps by Sylvia Zet
or this lovely miss with her tote full of Copics from Saturated Canary's Krista Smith.

Both of these images are available to folk over at the Copic Marker Europe site as part of their Birthday Celebrations. The only condition for recieving these images is that you must use one on something that is then entered on their current 'linky'.

There is also a blog hop with the chance to win other goodies - do pop over and take a look...oh, and don't forget to wish them Happy Birthday............................

Monday, 18 June 2012

Have you ever wondered...

...what banks spend their dosh on?

Wonder no more - this is what Lloyds TSB have spent their money on...
...decorating Stratford station ready for the Olympics.

There is hardly an area of glass in the station that hasn't been covered in scenes involving the characters from their advertising campaign - and as you can see, this involves the complete frontage of the station.

With little over a month to go before the opening event on 27th July (have you seen all the hoohaa in the papers about the use of farm animals?) the station has yet to be finished and the ground around the outside still looks pretty much like a building site...still; the windows look pretty...............................

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Father's Day...

...has been lucky enough to have beautiful weather.

This weekend was forecast to be very wet & windy but although it has been rather blustery...on the whole it has been lovely.

I hope all the Dad's out there were able to make the most of their special day.

It is days like today when I miss my Dad more. As a crafter I don't get to make him a card that we can share/chuckle over...or take fun family photos...or even just chat to him.

Miss you Dad...lots!!!

My day has been spent with Mum and quite an eventful day it has been too.

I had just arrived and as I made my way into the lounge, Mum went to put something in the bathroom to be greeted by water all over the floor...proceeding towards the hallway a quite a rate. The ballcock in the toilet had stuck and so the water hadn't cut-off after refilling.

Grabbing loads of towels we stopped the water travelling any further and a jiggle with the ballcock stopped any more water flowing. Tiled floors make dealing with things like this sooooooooooo much easier. Lots of mopping and wringing out later we decided to pop out for lunch.

As Mum needed to do some supermarket shopping we went to Morrisons and both opted for the fish & chips (as a bit of a change) - we noticed a sign saying that for today only the "All-day breakfast" was half price up to 4pm as long as 'Dad' was present...Mum chuckled and said she wondered what they would say if we popped home to get her glass paperweight which contains some of Dad's ashes...

When we got back Mum showed me some of the things she had been making during the week. Despite her eyesight still being a bit of a problem she had made quite a few lengths of Japanese braiding and she had also made this...
...a memory wire cuff made from blue glass beads with a silver accent (my photo doesn't do it justice as the light isn't very good). She said it had been a bit of a pain threading the beads onto the wire as she couldn't see the holes but she was quite pleased with the finished item.

The sunlight caught the shades of blue beautifully and I wish I had taken a pic earlier in the day.

It turned out that the cuff was for me - aren't I lucky - thank you Mum......................................

Friday, 15 June 2012

Just where are...

...the weeks disappearing to?

To be honest, with all the grotty stuff that is going on at work I think I am wishing the weeks away so that the weekends can arrive more quickly...unfortunately, when time is flying it doesn't differentiate and the weekends pass just as quickly.

I really can't believe it is two weeks since I took part in my first "Rocking Your World Friday" over on Virginia's blog.
I have been 'visiting' most Fridays for quite some time but a pretty awful week prompted me to take part - why? - because the point of the exercise is to look for the positives that have been part of your week.

So with apologies to the rest of Virginia's "Rockers" for completely losing track of time (especially after they welcomed me so nicely) - here is my week...

1. Despite the grotty weather last Saturday, Barleylands was very busy - it was the Garden Show weekend and Farmer's Market. I gave the garden show a miss - for the time being it is as much as I can fit in just trying to keep things tidy (???) let alone plan any planting. The Market was quite busy with lots of lovely edible goodies - I treated myself to the most delish onion loaf mmmmmmmmmm yummy.

2. Pinnacle crafts had the super new "London Line" range and I have been playing with some of the bits during the week (when I could scrape a spare moment or two).

3. After taking Mum shopping on Sunday (she spent a small fortune on the most wonderful beads and other jewellery bits) we had a fabulous lunch at the Harvester.

4. Mum's eye appointment had come through very quickly and she attended on Monday afternoon. The consultant said the eye appeared to be healing nicely (if slowly) and he would prefer not to pursue any other form of treatment if at all possible. He arranged to see her again in 6 weeks with the hope that the healing would be complete...bit of a mixed result - great that the eye is healing - not great that it will be at least another 6 weeks before anything is done if the healing process doesn't complete on its own...very frustrating for Mum because it is limiting her vision so much.

5. Found some Yankee Candle tea-lights that I had forgotten I had...the smell whilst they were burning was beautiful.

6. Decided to take my Distress Markers and some images to work with me so that I could try and fit in a bit of colouring during my lunch break - I actually got to have a whole 30 min break without anyone disturbing me...yipeeeeee!!!

However, they say that all good things must come to an end and today has certainly been a doozy.

Just 15 mins into my train journey to work we were about to leave a station on route...the doors closed but we didn't move. We sat and waited...and waited...and waited...20 mins later the driver apologises for the delay but would let us know when he had more information...then we waited...

This particular station has 3 platforms and several passengers thinking that there might be a problem with the train decided to go and get on the train sitting on the other London bound platform...slight problem...the doors were locked - no-one could get off. No explanations, no-one telling us what was going on - the occasional tanoy saying we were being held at a red light. Lots of walking up and down the platform on the part of the driver and some of the station staff - but details as to why the train was sitting there or why the doors were locked. A few folk were starting to get a bit panicky about being shut in. A lot of folk were getting angry - especially when they diverted a following train around us.

45 mins later, the doors open and an announcement said that the train was being taken out of service and everyone needed to get off - still no explanations. A further wait for the next train and I arrived extremely late for work - not ideal when your boss is paying a visit.

Not a great start to the day and to be frank with you things didn't improve much. However, that is not the point of this post so I will end on a positive...

7. It is on days like this that I realise just how supportive some of my staff are and how much I can depend on them. Knowing that certain things need doing on a Friday they made a start for me so that everything was running smoothly when I finally arrived - they really are treasures.

Oh, and if anyone is wondering what all the delays were about...3 folk decided that they weren't going to pay for tickets and jumped on the train. This prompted a member of staff to have the train locked-down to await the police. An 8 coach train full of commuters delayed for about an hour...the cost of re-routing other services...all for 3 fare-dodgers - there has to be some logic in there somewhere...................................

Thursday, 14 June 2012


...what happened there?

I'm still trying out my Distress Markers and thought I would try some of the colour combinations that other folk have been using. It's also the first time that I have used them on watercolouring paper.
I have to admit to a bit of a failure on the first image (the one with the pink top) - the face looks appalling.
I can assure you it actually looked much worse than this but I grabbed my AquaMarker Blender and managed to take back some of the colour. I think I made the paper too wet and didn't let colours dry before adding others...the cloths came out a bit better.
I'm far happier with this image - the skin and hair actually came out how I hoped.

I would say the biggest learning points for me with these two images have been...don't assume that all papers/card stock react in the same way; have a little patience; know when to stop adding colour - there really is a point when 'less is more'.

I really do need to remember that 'watercolouring' is very different from the technique used with Copics............................................

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Owl & the Pussy cat...

...and not a pea-green boat in sight.

Whilst I love the colour green, I'm not a fan of green cars or boats - that's just me but to my mind boats should be white & shiny with touches of red & blue so that they look great against the beautiful azure colour of the sea & sky (sadly lacking in the coastal waters around the UK LOL).

Anyhoo, I mentioned that I had actually inked up this stamp so I thought I would have a bit of a colouring session.
The pens give you an idea of the size of the image and as you can see - there is a fair bit of detail.
I'm not too sure about the owl - I think the background part of the head needs to be darker so will probably have a play around with it a bit more.
The sea came up quite well but I think when I come to use this image on a card I might add a bit of stickles or glossy accents to give it a bit of a glisten.

I really do need to have a good colouring session to build up my stock of coloured images - I have rather let them dwindle. I can see a bit more Copic usage on the way.........................................

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The London Line...

...more distractions LOL

There are lots of topical ranges around at the moment - Portabello Road (Papermania), Best of British (Forever Friends/DoCrafts) and now The London Line. All these ranges are linked to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and/or the Olympics.

Having nabbed myself the 8 clear stamps, some 6x6 PPs and a pack of fancy brads...
...I did get as far as inking up one of the stamps.
Although the stamps are quite clearly very patriotic in their design they do lend themselves to a number of occasions - especially for the males in our lives.
Here is the stamp that has actually made contact with an ink pad - the owl & the pussy cat. You never know, I might even get it coloured in some time soon...LOL
I think this image is super and could so easily be adapted for New Year cards.

There are other bits in this range which I'm sure will spring into my basket at some point - a set of 3 co-ordinating bakers twines, ribbons, oh and some pre-punched bunting triangles.

Just when I decide to be good and try and use what I already have, another 'must have' arrives to tempt me - and I am soooooooooooooooooo easily tempted.................................................

Monday, 11 June 2012

Are you good or bad... using magazine freebies?

Are you like see a mag with a must-have freebie and you have very good intentions of getting it home and making good use of it - you get it home, you read the get side-tracked...the freebie joins the pile soon to be buried by the next arrival.

I really do start out with good intentions but I am so easily distracted or tempted by something else which is a shame because there are often really fabulous goodies for us to make use of. Recently there have been super clear stamps - Teddy Bo and Wee - beautiful stamps; so why the problem using them?

Too many goodies and not enough time is an easy excuse to come up with - it's true but one can always find a moment or two. So with that in mind I decided to make use of some of my freebies.
Papercraft Essentials was the magazine with the Wee stamps.
I have been wanting a Wee fairy image for ages so there really wasn't any excuse.
Cardmaking and Papercraft gave away a pack of luxury papers so they were pulled out and the ideal paper was found.
This is what I came up with. I didn't want the card to be too fussy or bold as I didn't want to take anything away from the image.
She really was a dear to colour.
As with all fairies there has to be a bit of bling so I added crystal ice stickles to the wings.

I used my Copics to colour the image and to edge the CS & PP - you should all know me well enough by now to realise that I never remember to note what colours I day I might remember and what a shock that will be for everyone LOL

Well, I've made a start on using my freebies - how are you getting along?...............................................

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Which pens...

...Copics or Distress Markers?

I've been asked a couple of times how these two pen ranges compare and really you can't compare them 'like-for-like' as they are two very different colouring systems - one is alcohol based and the other water based. All I've been able to say is how I find them to use and which colouring technique I prefer.

Copics will always be my first love and for most of my colouring these are and will be the first thing that I reach for. I love their brush tip and the way alcohol pens shade & blend.
The Ciao pens are a cheaper option to the Sketch but with 180 shades they are still a considered purchase if you want to collect all 180 (sounds like a dart score LOL). You can create your shading by 'layering' your colours - one pen can give you around 3 shades just by building up the layers or you can pick out 3 shades of a colour to colour and blend with.

Although there are some very pale shades in the Copic ranges, on the whole the colours are quite intense. I loved it when Letraset brought out their Flexmarkers as there are some lovely pale shades in the range and of course they have that fab soft brush type nib...I tend to mix & match.

With the "Tim" pens being water based they are very different to use - if you have tried using the Distress ink pads to 'watercolour' by stamping the pads onto a non-porous surface and 'picking-up' the colour with a paint brush - these pens let you put the colour straight onto the image and then using a water brush or damp paint brush you can drag the colour out and create your shading.
I have to admit, I'm not so good at this technique but these pens do make it quite easy and a lot less messy LOL So far that is really all that I've tried them for.

Being based on the Distress ink pad shades the colours have a different tone quality to them and obviously the addition of water allows you to create a really 'washed out' effect if that is what you are aiming at.

When comparing pens, the "Tim" ones are probably closest to the Aquamarkers for technique but have the lovely brush tip rather than a Letraset bullit tip.

Waterbased pens tend to take up less space as you don't need so many shades - a bit of water will do the shading for you. At the moment there are 36 shades plus the white Picket Fence - but as we all know, there are now more shades in the distress range so I'm sure it is only a matter of time before these are added to the pen range.

If I was starting again, I would probably give the Promarkers & the Aquamarkers a miss as I really don't get on well with the nib. That said; I have to admit that if I take 'pens' to a crop or class it will normally be these as I'm a lot less 'precious' about sharing these ones.

For alcohol based pens I use both Copic & Flexmarkers and for water based ones I will stick with the "Tim" ones.

Pricewise, they are a very similar price per pen and can be bought as individuals if you just want to try a few to see how you get on. It is easiler to build up your collection this way too if the thought of one large purchase is out of your reach - we are all watching the pennies at the moment.

So really, when you are looking at pens the first thing you need to do is decide the sort of technique you want to use and what sort of finished effect you want to achieve. If you are not sure, I would always advise anyone to try and find a way of 'having a go' with you have friends that would let you have a 'play' or do you have a local retailer who offers classes where you can try to see if this is really for you.

If you do try and find you like - be warned - colouring is very addictive and you may find that you just have to build up your collection of stamps and digi images so that you can make good use of your new pens.......................................

Thursday, 7 June 2012

This chilly weather...

...has had me clicking the old knitting needles again.

Over the course of the Jubilee weekend I managed to polish off these...
...3 completed and a 4th on the way.
This is a new style yarn for me - more expensive than the others but I fell in love with the finish. Unfortunately, it is a bit of a pig to knit with. I will keep going (although it could take me a while) as the effect created once it is knitted is so pretty...much more delicate to look at than the other yarns I have used.
This is a bit fuzzy (poor light) but it shows the pretty new shades that I picked up on Saturday.
The black/red/peach wasn't very nice to knit with bit the finished item looks great.

Who would have thought...we're into June and I'm still knitting scarves LOL...............................................

If you look carefully... can just make out the bunting.
I was coming down the stairs the other evening and the image through the front door was rather strange. The moon was a funny colour and it was almost sitting on the roof-top opposite - what was even more strange was that it was right in the centre of the bunting at the front of my house.
...and here's what the bunting looks like in daylight................................

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Kenny K Giveaway...

...and what a giveaway.

If you hop over to the Kenny K site you will find more details on how you could possibly win 5 Kenny K Digi images of your choice - go on, go take a look................................................

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee weekend...

...and did you 'dress to impress'?

The craft village over at Barleylands certainly made an effort - I pity the poor guys who were up and down ladders hanging all this lot...
...view from the office end of the village...
...the square where Pinnacles is located...
...plenty of Red/White/Blue going on here - both outside and inside the store. The shop ceiling is just awash with Union Flags.

I'm not quite sure what happened here...
...I think the brief bit of sun we had caused the washed out look - I'll try and get a better pic as I just wanted to show that despite the weather I decorated at home too LOL

Mum was busy before she had the problem with her eye - thank you everyone for your well wishes, she has her appointment for the 11th June...
...this was the earring & memory-wire bracelet set that she made me. Very patriotic - don't you think.................................