31 May 2013

A Very Special Friend

Hi everyone. Back again, and with good reason. I had thought about showing you what arrived in the post a couple of days ago at the end of my last post, but frankly this deserves its own time and space and a huge thank you to an amazing friend.

You may have seen this gorgeous accordion book HERE on my special friend Anne's blog. Anne had just announced her third, yes THIRD! win on Tim's tag challenges - has anyone else done that? I'm not sure but it shows you how good a crafter she is. More than that though Anne is a very special person. I know, there's that word special again but it's hard to put into words how lovely she is.

We started blogging about the same time and she supported my efforts from day one despite never having met me. There have been any number of major ups and downs for both of us over the past year and throughout it all Anne has been ever-present with emails and parcels of joy in the post. You just know that she cares so much and would do anything in her power to help a friend in need.

I remarked on her post that this would be treasured by any friend - imagine my surprise and joy when it arrived at my house! Seen up close I get to marvel and the skill Anne has with stamping and colour-blending and can assure you that it certainly will be treasured forever. How wonderful is it that we get to make such beautiful friends both near and far whilst enjoying and sharing our creative efforts.

Thank you Anne. You are one in a million. Hugs, Jenny xxx

I (Heart) UTEE

Hi everyone and thanks for dropping by. It's going to be a busy couple of days with various DT assignments all coming at once but I got this finished this morning to be in time to enter a challenge set by someone I reckon is the Queen of the Melt Pot.

There were two starting points for this card; the first was a need to have a bash at mixing two colours of UTEE together having been inspired by the Ranger Melt Art Mania series and the TV demos by the wonderful Hels Sheridan; the second was all this talk of the new Tim Holtz fabric and a tag he produced to celebrate this launch.

Now like most of us I don't have this fabric to play with yet (roll on Autumn!) but when does that stop a determined person? Make your own woman! So I did. I reached for what has rapidly become my 'go to' background stamp from the Papillon set and splodged it into a mix of Distress Paints. Of course it works beautifully on fabric and doesn't take too long to dry.

With paint left over I used it to stamp on white CS as a background and blended/spritzed Distress Ink on top. And so as not to waste a single drop of that precious liquid I used the rest to create a 'wrinkle-free' piece which looked yummy when dry embossed and clear embossed.

It's been a while since the old Singer made it downstairs (it used to be a permanent fixture when I made clothes/curtains/cushions and sew on... :) Having discovered that it is only happy doing straight lines for some reason I am clearly going to have to get it serviced for future use! However, for the time being it did it's job adding borders and holding down dyed seam binding.

The UTEE heart was definitely the most fun/frustrating bit. Note to self - avoid creating embellishments like this on a chipboard backing as it makes them too stiff to lay flat as the UTEE cools. You can salvage it by cracking and remelting it but it's fiddly. Why not just use a cookie cutter straight onto the craft sheet? I wanted to embed the bronze corner at the base and it just got way too awkward. And to finish? Told you my new Simple Sayings set would be pressed into action quickly. Love it for being unobtrusive yet classy (not like me!) So there you have it.

It will be my entry into Hels Sheridan's Sunday Stamper challenge - Some Like It Hot
And I added extras to enter the PanPastel UK challenge - Bling It

Hope to see you all tomorrow for those DT projects I mentioned at the top.
In the meantime have a great weekend and take care of yourselves.
Hugs, Jenny x

29 May 2013

WOYWW 208 - Happy 4th Birthday!!!

Hi everyone. It has been rather busy here recently but there was no way I was going to miss the 4th birthday celebrations at What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday, hosted by the amazing Julia Dunnit. The peeps who join in are such a special bunch and this week there is an ATC swap taking part for those who want to join in. For all the deets hop over HERE and join in the fun if you fancy.

This doesn't tell the whole story but some stuff is 'under wraps' for DT purposes. However, you can spy a couple of cards which are 'under construction' in the centre (yummy UTEE hearts for Hels, fabric stamping and a spot of wrinkle-free using DP's). Then there are clay hearts drying bottom left; a fab piece of DCWV CS with polaroid images on which is due to be chopped up; a number of little containers now housing die cuts, UTEE embellishments, metal stuff and watch parts; and of course my ATC holder which has a few ATC's waiting to be rehoused. Now, Julia likes us to keep it snappy so I'm off to start catching up with other work desks around the World. Take care of yourselves, hugs Jenny x

ps. my email for arranging an ATC swap is; buttonscraft@btinternet.com 

28 May 2013

Lavender's Blue

What a difference a day makes! Yesterday, bright sunshine and warmth, today wet and miserable here in Staffordshire! There's a very bedraggled looking daddy blackbird running around in our garden trying to collect worms for his mate on the nest. He's not impressed with the weather either:)

Still, our gardens are getting a welcome drink as they try desperately to catch up with the seasons. Never before have the hellebores, magnolia, clematis, rhododendron and wisteria been in bloom at the same time - shame we can't get out there to enjoy it. My eldest's favourite flower is the lavender and it has to be said the fragrance takes some beating. It's where I drew inspiration for this card.

The background is one of my faux plaster ones (see HERE for recipe) - Alison (Butterfly) dared me to add frescos to it. Well I'm not sure if this counts but the wild planting in the background was done with DI's to give a faded look and clear embossed to add more texture.

As well as adding some complimentary CS I wanted the vintage/faded beauty feel to continue with added texture so some rusty tin metal sheet and delicate embroidered lace from The Funkie Junkie Boutique was just perfect. It also meant the sentiment wasn't lost against the background. Finally I played with the Melt Pot and created a stamped plaque using the same stamp utilised for the background. To give it more depth I added DP's to the stamp and applied these inside the plaque when it was cold. It never fails to amaze me how much detail can be picked up by the UTEE (in this case a Pearl CS one).

So in honour of the lavender in our garden I'm linking this to the Country View Crafts challenge - How does your garden grow. And as it has a definite vintage feel I'm entering the current Artful Times Challenge - Vintage, sponsored by Oyster Stamps.
That's all for today. Hope to catch up more tomorrow. In the meantime take care of yourselves, hugs Jenny x

27 May 2013

Tim with a Twist

Hi everyone. Firstly thank you to those of you who have been kind enough to visit and the lovely comments left for me. I appreciate the support from you all more than you will ever know. Secondly humble apologies for not having kept up to date with returning the compliment - it has been a really busy time over the last week and priorities have lain elsewhere I'm afraid. However, as it's half term here for the rest of the week that will all be rectified very soon.

Crafting time has been in short supply too, and when you get overtired it seems to slow the whole process down which gets frustrating. Still, I managed to take inspiration from Tim Holtz' May tag and put my own spin on it. You can get the low-down on the original HERE.

It's not a card (that's obvious) and I didn't want to cover the distressed background with too much stamping as it would have made the whole balance fall apart. Having initially been sceptical about the use of rub-ons I am now a convert. They add so much crisp detail and remain flat; rather useful if you want to add things on top as I did here with the watch parts.

The colours are a bold combo of Fired Brick, Peacock Feathers and Crushed Olive with the edges blended in Walnut Stain. The rub-ons are from the Numbers set, the stamping using Stampers Anonymous Classics 1 and Simple Sayings.

It was fun stamping the compass many times on white paper and ripping it all apart to achieve the layered effect. When it came to adding words the full size sentiment seemed too large so stamping it on shrink plastic was an obvious solution. My 'enamelled element' is the centre of the compass, covered in several layers of white EP and deliberately cracked when dry to give an aged appearance. Taking shots of this was difficult but hopefully you can get a sense of the sheen the EP created on it.

So that's it for another month. Wonder what Mr Holtz will puzzle/astound/challenge us with in June. I'm just one of those who can't wait for his new fabrics to hit the shops - my proper sewing machine is going to have to be rehoused downstairs somehow as it is going to be pressed into service methinks!
Time to go visit rellies on this sunny Bank Holiday, but I'll be back soon to catch up with the goings on in your crafty lives. 'Til then take care of yourselves, hugs Jenny x

22 May 2013


Hi everyone and welcome to my newest followers. I am so pleased you have decided to keep up to date with the crafty goings on in my world. So it's a busy Wednesday and time for the second week of the latest Frilly and Funkie challenge - 'Time for Weddings' where our host Rebecca has requested a creation in white with another colour. Time to think outside the box...

You don't see a lot of purple here even though it's my favourite colour and it can look so good with white. There are a few challenges requesting (paper) flowers at the moment in honour of the Chelsea Flower Show and late onset of spring. To fit with the wedding theme I decided a bouquet would be good and found pictures of flowers encapsulated within a fan.

Creating all these flowers was a mix of inspiration and frustration as bits choose whether or not to stick together and the number required kept climbing.

Lots of people have posted flower tutorials but I must say Jennie Atkinson's blog 'Live the Dream' is well worth a visit if you want a range of styles and methods.

It's good to try Distress Paints for adding colour as well as the tried and trusted Distress Inks. I also concocted my own mauve mist from Re-inkers.

Housing these precious flowers took a lot of thought, but the idea of using a fan was a real breakthrough moment. It had to be made sturdy enough to remain vertical yet pretty enough to grace any table at a wedding reception. Guess what, a step by step tutorial for creating this fan will be posted over at the Frilly and Funkie Challenge blog on Saturday 1st June for anyone who's interested.

White in itself can be quite stark so I took the liberty of using 'off white' as well as pure white to soften the look and make it a touch more vintage.

As well as being a sample for the current Frilly and Funkie challenge this fan is also being entered into the following challenges;
 and inspired by my team mate Rebecca, Vintage Udfordring - Vintage Wedding

Take care of yourselves, hugs Jenny x

18 May 2013

Small Paper (Part Three)

Hi everyone. Hope this Saturday finds you in a good place. It's been a busy week work-wise for moi so I'm posting something new made last weekend which fits in with the Little Paper theme at SSS&S (link below).

Some of that fab Bazzill card in use again (for info. the ranges I've been using recently are Ambrosia, Lucy's Crab Shack and MAC). Origami has been a passion for some time and as the aqua patterned design lent itself beautifully to a 50's modernist feel I went that way with the dress design.

Time to dig out my favourite Andy Skinner pattern stamp which is so crisp and transfers to tissue really well. Then the embossed card, which had previously been brayered with Metallic Distress Paints, was ink blended to coordinate (Victorian Velvet/Spun Sugar/Tea Dye). This would all have disappeared but for the Mulberry Paper frame which matched the belt on the dress. It looks really good when you use a brush to apply water to the edges and then gently tease some away.

Cutting out the strips of buttons (from the Sam Poole Vintage Sewing set, stamped with metallic ink and clear embossed) takes a while but is worth it. It's always a question of working out where the focal element is going and then piling on the extras around it in close proximity. Even a touch of stencilled texture paste got in on the act! A solid background would have been boring, so I drew rough sections on the reverse of the pink card and cut out with fancy scissors. A spot of faux stitching in a mix of gold and silver gel pen, and some Tea Dye distressing finished the patches. Originally they were laid onto aqua card but the contrast was too overpowering so I recoloured it with a white gel pen. This will get a sentiment, but I'm holding out for the TH Simple Sayings set to arrive soon (you will see a lot of that I suspect!)

You will have guessed by now that this is being entered into;
and with so much pink, Pan Pastel UK Challenge Blog - In The Pink is a must

And a quick heads up about a few things. First you NEED to see Trace Metcalfe's Friday Focus at Frilly and Funkie for the most amazing TH Movers and Shapers ideas - don't worry if your wish list grows as a result, Linda has a MASSIVE 35% DISCOUNT  on them this week HERE.
If you need more Alterations inspiration head over to Plucking Daisies where Amy Bowerman will treat you to some fabulous tutorials and a drool-worthy Pinterest board; this includes items from members the wonderful F&F DT as well as some of my favourite crafters (including Anita, Marjie, Anna-Karin, Tammy, Shelly, Candy, Terry and Alison).
And if that is not enough, Terry Wietsma-Girbes has produced a superb Step by Step today which will help you positively breath life into those tired looking pictures on the walls.
Right, that's the rest of your Saturday used up!! (soz - but SO worth it) Hope your weekend is wonderful. Take care of yourselves, hugs Jenny x
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