Tuesday, 28 February 2012


This week's theme for Tag Tuesday is Books. 
I love books, I have a house full of them and I'm an avid reader, but it was so hard choosing how to represent this week's challenge.
Eventually I decided on two books but with one theme.  The first book being 'The Samurai's Garden by one of my favourite author's Gail Tsukiyama, and the second being 'Memoirs of a Geisha' by Arthur Golden.  

These tags represent The Samurai's garden.  I embossed a blossom image on velvet and covered a tag with it.  I sewed beads on a smaller tag, in a swirly pattern and added embossed velvet, also in a swirly pattern, to represent the raking of sand and fine gravel in a Japanese garden. I attached this smaller tag to the larger one with a ribbon.  On a separate tag I transferred Japanese text to it and then cut out part shapes of blossom and branches, and folded them back slightly.  I edged the petals in silver and sewed beads into the centre of the flowers. 

These tags represent 'Memoirs of a Geisha' and I used two beautiful Japanese stamps I had in my stash.  I transferred Japanese text to each tag and attached the stamps.  The purple 'bamboo' is cut out of card, marked with ink along the stalks and threaded through a coin made of embossed velvet.  The green 'bamboo' stalks are thin strips cut from paint sample cards, and they are threaded through a brass charm.

I had so much fun embossing on velvet - when I just want to 'play' in my studio I often settle down to embossing velvet for different projects.
I promise you it's the MOST fun you will ever have with an iron!

Here are some brief instructions from threads magazine.  More detailed information can be found at
(Check it out first as some velvet and stamps aren't suitable) 

See - it's easy!

Friday, 24 February 2012


By visiting the blog of the extremely talented Terri Neggers - art-life-rust - I discovered the GPP Street Team crusade challenge.  This month the challenge is to create a journal page about things we love. So - with a new journal in hand and a studio just waiting to be worked in I have done my first challenge for the crusades (and enjoyed it immensely).  
Here's my journal page of things I love

Tuesday, 21 February 2012


Throughout my childhood I have fond memories of my mum quoting beautiful lines of poetry, prose and sayings.  She loved words and poetry. 
I decided to base this week's tag on one of her favourites and mine.  It's from Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and it holds lovely memories of my dear mum.

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell'd skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in.

I tried to create a mossy, grassy bank where Titania might lay down and sleep!

I used a base of lime green acrylic for the tag, tissue paper and silk.  I then sprayed them with walnut ink.  I punched ivy leaves out the the tissue and layered them around the edge of the tag using Sticky Fixits to give depth.  I gathered the silk into little mounds and sewed it on to the tag, adding green and brown beads.  I used fragments of lime green silk ribbon, and frayed it and glued it to the tag to represent grass, and I tucked pictures of oxlip flowers here and there around the tag.  The centre is a real butterfly wing laid on a piece of silk and covered with a clear acrylic dome.
I did try adding some of the other flowers mentioned but it all started looking too 'busy'.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


I had a really lovely day out in Chichester yesterday.  I got plenty of shopping in, but I also had a really good mooch around the Cathedral.  I took loads of photos of 'bits' I liked, such as textures, stained glass, carvings and stone work. I have put together a couple of photo mosaics of my visit using snippets of yesterday's photos.

  The Cathedral Font - a very modern design but absolutely beautiful.  It's polyphant stone and beaten copper by John Skelton, 1983.

The Cathedral is also hosting an exhibition by Jules Findley and Alice Kettle called 'Loss'.  As written in the exhibition catalogue it "explores issues associated with particular loss, which may resonate with a shared and wider experience."  The work is beautiful, sensitive and has incredible detail in it.
The exhibition runs until March 29th and the entry is free.

These two photos are the top half and bottom half of one of the embroidery exhibits by Alice Kettle.  

Saturday, 18 February 2012


I am so pleased to have been nominated the Liebster Blog Award by the incredibly talented Whitney-Anne Baker, over at What Whitney made next.   Thank you Whitney-Anne!

I now get the chance to nominate five other blogs that I love or find inspirational - soooo difficult to pin it down to just 5!   

The Liebster Award is given to bloggers who have up to 200 followers in the hope it will bring them new followers and friends.  The tradition is that it is then passed on to five other bloggers to help them too.

To accept the award you need to:
 1.  Link back to the person's blog who gave you the award and thank them
    2.  Post the Award on your blog
    3.  Give the award to five fellow bloggers who inspire you (and have under
    4.  Leave a comment on their blogs to let them know

It has been very difficult to choose five blogs but I have gone for the following   as they are ones I have recently visited the most, and enjoyed very much:

4.  Missy K

They are all well worth a visit - enjoy!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


On one of our regular riverside walks we discovered a new member of the local duck clan.  He apparently arrived about a week ago, and according to a dog-walker he's caused quite a stir and become a bit of a celebrity.  Sadly, he makes the other ducks look rather drab!

Several years ago, on seeing my first Mandarin duck I fell totally in love with the colour scheme of aubergine and copper.  Just look at the wonderful deep feathers on his chest and the contrast of the tan/copper brown against them - heavenly!
This is a card I made all those years ago, after rushing home and having to do 'something' with that colour scheme!

I stamped a background pattern onto aubergine coloured paper and embossed it with clear embossing powder.  I then sprayed Moonshadow mist (walnut ink with a metallic mauve sheen) gently over the background.  Finally I rubber stamped the flower and butterfly onto the paper and embossed with metallic copper embossing powder. 

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


The Tag Tuesday theme for this week is 'Valentine's Day'.
So I decided to make a tag that could be turned into a card for the man in my life.
It had to match certain criteria though:  he wouldn't like it if it was covered in ribbons, bows, lace or hearts (so that narrowed the field!).  He also wouldn't like it if it was pink or red, or had words that were overly romantic (or 'soppy')!
Taking all that into account here is the tag I made, followed by the card I turned it into.

I was inspired by my collection of old, antique printers blocks.  I absolutely love them and have them scattered around most of the house!  I love the patina - beautiful well-used wood and ink stains. 
 To recreate this look on the tag I painted it with Golden fluid acrylics, in a orangey-brown colour.  I sprayed it with Moonshadow mist (walnut ink mixed with metallic copper), and then I flicked Paynes Grey fluid acrylic onto it to create the ink splatters.
I cut out the letters for the word LOVE, but unlike my printers blocks I turned the L round to face the right way.
I then entwined copper wire threaded with beads around the tag and added a terracotta coloured ribbon to finish it off.

For the background to the card I used transfer gel and the text from an old hand-written letter.  I distressed it with Tim Holtz distress ink (Pumice), and singed the edges with a heat gun.

The antique printers blocks that I used for inspiration

Tuesday, 7 February 2012


For this week's tag I wanted the heart to really stand out, so I decided to keep the background a simple black and white.
 It gave me the opportunity to use a beautiful antique print of a moth that I have, and I stitched the red heart on to the wing, just where a heart-shaped marking would be. I added washi tape down the side of the tag and used some Sticky Fixits to elevate the wing and give a 3D effect.

The idea originally came from the Butterfly Alphabet (www.butterflyalphabet.com). 
I love the different images on the wings and how every letter of the alphabet is represented by markings found on actual butterflies and moths. This gave me the idea to stitch the little red heart when I found my antique moth print had a heart shaped marking on it.

Sample of the Butterfly Alphabet

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


 This weeks Tag Tuesday theme is Lace.
I ended up making two because I wasn't too happy with the first one.  As a lace-maker myself I know the effort and time it takes to make one small piece of lace so I find it quite hard to cut it up!
I tried to create these tags using textures to represent lace, such as the skeleton leaf and the dragonfly wings on the stamp.

For this tag I stamped a lace pattern on the basic tag, and added a skeleton leaf, some antique paper punched with holes to give a lacy look and a small piece of hand made lace with a butterfly motif.  The small moth and label were cut from an old print.

For this tag I used a glassine envelope that I had pierced to create a holey/lacy effect, a beautiful British stamp with a dragonfly on it and some small scraps of hand made lace that were already cut up.  I used Sticky Fixers to create depth to the envelope and placed them under the glassine envelope to lift it from the tag slightly, and behind the stamp to give it depth.

I'm now busy working on next weeks tag and can't wait to see what everyone else is posting on the Tag Tuesday Blog (there's a link to it on the right).