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WELCOME to my little crafty world! Crafting is a huge part of my life ... love nothing more than messing around with inks and sprays and generally making a mess!

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Another Finnabair Experience!

Seemed to take forever to come around but then, of course, was over in a flash!

Another ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS set of five workshops with the AMAZING Finnabair and this time was enjoyed with no nerves - just huge excitement!

First did two workshops with Finn back in June 2015 when we went up to Harrogate so I could dip my toes in the water - came away regretting only having booked two of her four workshops that weekend but it was a lesson learned so when she came closer to home in February of this year I had no hesitation booking the whole weekend and put my name down before I left for when she returned in November.

This time FIVE classes over three days so a total immersion in everything Finnabair and I LOVED every minute and would do it all again tomorrow.

First project on the Friday was an altered book.
Fin names all her projects and this one is called
"Rust Affection"

And I do have a great affection for her magic little pots of rust paint.
Everso slightly addicted to it.
With no desire for a cure.

On Saturday morning we made
"Heart of Clock"

And if we thought cutting out all the pages of the book was time consuming we had no idea painting everything black on this would take so long! Every bead, leaf & tendril ... but well worth all the effort!

Saturday afternoon saw us tackle

Similar to previous canvasses done with Fin so I went my own way a little bit and made a slightly different layout.

Was pleased with this but wish I had used different colours.
Went for my "comfort zone" colours and should have dared to try something new.  Will do next time!

Sunday morning and a project I had been wanting to do since the first time I saw it 

Knowing the story behind the design just had me wanting to do it even more!
The panels on the side represent magical gates (channel your Indiana Jones vibes here!) that open to reveal treasure that gives off an explosion of light.

Of course, being an artist there is no treasure greater than a paintbrush but I have to admit to a meltdown with this piece and a yell across the room to Finn to come and help me out and only by taking my paintbrush in her talented hands did she rescue this for me.

She says otherwise and it was just that I had stopped too soon - but I really thought I had messed up big time and just deflated.
Do actually like it now though - and that is real progress for me!

Sunday afternoon saw our last project

This turned out to be one of my ALL TIME favourites and something I enjoyed doing more than pretty much anything else I had ever done.

Still got nails covered in sculpture medium (but Finn did warn us to wear gloves - which I did, but they leaked  so I abandoned them and just went for it!)
The tablespoon was one of my grandmother's that I have used this past 27 years but, whilst thinking about what to use on this project, felt the time was right to let it go!  
So that very precious spoon represents my most beloved grandmother and the little spoon is me - wrapped together with wire and gauze forever. And the little heart balancing on the bowl of the tablespoon speaks for itself.

Can't wait to do another one of these - can easily see how it can be improved but I do love it just as it is.
And I have never EVER said that before!

Alas, Finnabair is not back near to me next year but I have signed up for the Applied Creativity in 3 Acts
workshops where Finn is one of the teachers - along with Marta Laprowska & France Papillon and I absolutely can't wait!

Will end by saying Finn has no idea the impact she has had on my crafting and art work ... I would NEVER have dared to use the word "art" about anything I do having been told over and over again that my art is rubbish or never quite right or would be better if I did this or that.

Well, this is what I do - and it is art - art that calls to me and gives me joy to make and it doesn't really matter if others don't "get it" - I get it and it changed my life.

Thank you Finnabair!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

The Deep End of the Ocean

You know how it is..
Get an idea in your head and Make a Start only to quickly become disillusioned as you just can't translate it to the canvas.

Happens to me all the time.

But am particularly disappointed this time as I so ... SO ... wanted this to work.
But, hey-ho, have taken the huge ... MASSIVE ... step of hanging it on the wall anyway - but how long it will stay there remains to be seen.

I had, kinda, sorted wanted to portray the depth of the ocean but it just wasn't working.  

Sent a photo' to dearest nephew, Alfie who immediately saw something I hadn't even thought of ... turn it upside down to show distance, rather than depth!  Duh!  

I say, Duh! but I did keep turning it back the way I wanted for ages.

Worked on it some more.

Tweaked it. Pulled parts of it off and started again.

But finally decided Alfie was right and the ocean going off into the distance was how it was meant to be.

This has been hanging around for weeks now but I decided it was never going to turn out as I  hoped so figured it was time to call it a day.

SO ... PLEASE ...
Take me to the ocean for it's where I long to be.

Stuff used :
Art Basics 
Modelling Paste
Soft Gloss Gel - transparent
Heavy white gesso

Art Extravagence
Art Stones
Mini Art Stones
Texture Paste - Crackle Paste - clear
Sculpture Medium - clear

Distress Spray Stain
Broken China * Stormy Sky * Faded Jeans 
Chipped Sapphire * Evergreen Bough

Perfect Pearls Mists
Blue Smoke

Art Ingredients Mica Powders
Teal * Bottle Green * Deep Water * Frozen Lake
Purple * Lilac Opal Magic * Green Opal Magic

Art Ingredients Glass Glitter
Midnight Blue

Friday, 15 July 2016

Heartfelt Thanks

Wanted to thank a few people so had a bit of a marathon wooden heart making session.
Loved every moment.
Because this is what I just love to do!
Give me a heap of bits & bobs, a sheet of MDF and a whole load of inks and mica powders and I am one very happy bunny.

Next stage spritzing & squirting!

Then they are mica'd & a touch of glitter.
Am not a glitter person.
But sometimes needs must.
And this time just a little was needed.

Apart from the rusty one.
That will never need glitter.
Thank goodness.

Promised a few friends details of what colours I used so here goes:
I had a sort of plan.

There was one large heart.
8 medium sizes ones.
And 9 little dinky ones.

I wanted them the same, but different.
Like that makes sense.
SOooooo ...  the medium ones were made up of colours taken from those used on the large heart.
Well, it made sense at the time.
And kinda worked.

Colours used on the large heart were:
Distress Spray Stain
Chipped Sapphire * Bundled Sage * Faded Jeans * Stormy Sky
Dusty Concord * Fossilized Amber * Evergreen Bough
Peacock Feathers * Broken China

Prima Colour Bloom Spray
Pressed Petal * Berry Wise * Mustard Yellow

Prima Art Ingredients Mica Powder
Sunny Yellow * Bottle Green * Teal * Frozen Lake
Purple * Deep Water 
Green Opal Magic * Lilac Opal Magic

You are going to ask which of those I used on the large heart, aren't you?
Er, ALL of them ... yeah, really!!!!!

So, on the other hearts I picked out some of the colours so they all sort of came together as a collection.

Colours on this one were:
Bundled Sage * Faded Jeans * Stormy Sky * Peacock Feathers
Chipped Sapphire * Broken China
whichever mica powders matched.

Colours on this one were:
Fossilized Amber * Mustard Yellow *Chipped Sapphire 
Evergreen Bough * Stormy Sky * Faded Jeans * Bundled Sage
And again whichever mica powders matched.

Colours on this one were:
Bundled Sage * Chipped Sapphire * Peacock Feathers 
Dusty Concord * Pressed Petal * Broken China
Also matching mica powders.

Oh the mica powders are diluted in water by the way.
Or gin.
I often use gin as it evaporates faster than water.

That is an old photo' but evidence of my use of the gin!

Had never done ones this small before but shall certainly do more.

Colours here are:
Fossilized Amber * Mustard Yellow * Chipped Sapphire
Broken China * Bundled Sage
And yes, micas to match.

Figured the blokes would not appreciate flowers so got the rust vibe going:

Only colours used here were mica powders:
Rust * Copper * Bottle Green * Teal
and Rust Paste from Prima.
Tons of it.

I used Art Basics 3D Gloss Gel through the stencils.

Think that covers everything.
Do please ask if you want any further info - am always happy to try and help!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


Don't these Wednesday's roll around so fast?!?!?!
Am sure they appear more than once a week!

Just a very quick post today (Julia will be SO proud of me!!!) as I have a crazy, stupid amount of stuff to do and there are just not enough hours in the day.

My workdesk today ... practically untouched since last week I'm sorry to say.

We headed off to Crowborough last Thursday so I could attend the two ClarityStamp open days and they were so brilliantly exhausting that I have had no energy to do much of anything since getting home. 

It is absolutely wonderful to see that our dear, dear Head Desker, the truly delightful Julia over at The Stamping Ground has blogged this week - so very soon after her surgery and that the equally delightful Jan at LLJ's Fabric Frenzy is at the helm again this week.
Goes without saying, Julia & Jan, that I have you both very much in my thoughts.

So, as promised, short and sweet.

Happy WOYWW'ing fellow bloggers!

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

A little rust is a must ... but heaps is a whole lot better!!!!!

Finally had time to just play ... to sit and create something just for me!
Well, of course, all my crafting is just for me because 'tis what I love to do but this time this was not a project needed for a specific purpose ... and, oh did I enjoy doing this one.

And ... you'd better sit down for this
and get yourself a stiff drink
for once
I am actually quite pleased with how this turned out
in fact
it is not even destined to the Box of Failures
but it is going to be

Whilst at a family BBQ at Alfie's I came across a pair of rusty old scissors that he had just dug out of his veggie patch ... 

Set his old aunt's creative juices flowing I can tell you
Kinda, sorta had a vision in my head straight away of what I wanted to do with them

After a false start where it was not coming together quite as hoped 
but I Carried on Regardless
but knew I was not happy with it
I had all the bits stuck in place and was leaving overnight to dry completely and was merrily bobbling away during the evening when I suddenly announced
"It's no good"!
And dashed off to rip off as many of the pieces as I could

Tore the canvas in a few places but nothing that could not be disguised
and I left it all in a heap ready to tackle afresh the next day

Tackle afresh I did
and was back to more of what I envisioned

Thought I had it finished last night
but was not happy with it this morning
so tweaked
and now it IS finished

I think ...

Linen stretched canvas 
Randomly torn corrugated cardboard
Modelling paste mixed with the smallest art stones and spread through one of my barbed wire stencils
Black heavy gesso
Everything stuck in place with 3D Gloss Gel and the heavier pieces with Heavy Body Gel
Layers and layers and layers of mica sprays :
Teal * Bottle Green * Rust * Copper
Then layers and layers and layers of Rust Paste
Rust mica powder mixed with Soft Gloss Gel and dry-brushed over the barbed wire to bring out the detail

Photo's are rubbish - not bringing out the true colours or mica-shimmer
but I promise they are there.


Starting off with the great news that our much, much loved Head Desker, Julia, has come through her very long surgery yesterday and is now in the HDU - hopefully we will have an update on how she is doing before too long.  We are all thinking of you, dear friend, and wishing you the most speedy of recoveries.

So what is on my desk today?

Working on some ATC's but was cross to come to my desk this morning to find the top layer of card - which had been stencilled with texture paste and had crackle glaze applied - had lifted and started to peel off.

Was I surprised?
When asking dearest hubby to cut me some mountboard into ATC sized pieces he found some of the sort that has the self-adhesive coating on one side (used for mounting prints for framing) - onto this I stuck some plain white card which I had put through the Xyron.
I did say to him that I doubted the two surfaces would adhere and that they would peel but, of course, he thought otherwise.
Did just have a "told you so" moment when I pointed it out to him I have to admit.

So the Cosmic Shimmer glue is my last ditch effort to save the situation but even that was struggling to bond ...hence the upside down tin (which is full of metal cogs) pressing down onto a small canvas board under which are two, hopefully, no longer peeling cards!!!!  
If it works I shall attack the rest.
If not I shall have to scrap them and start again.

On the left are two projects I finished yesterday ... will blog these separately as our goal on WOYWW days is to keep our posts short and sweet and we can't go upsetting our Julia whilst she is in recovery mode following her op.,  

Huge thanks to Jan ... LLJ ... Lunch Lady Jan's Fabric Frenzy ... for holding fort and keeping us deskers WOYWW'ing ... you are a *S*T*A*R* and loved every bit as much as Julia.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Any excuse to play

Here it is ... bus number three!

Wanted to give everyone who attended my workshops a little thank you and a piece to offer further inspiration so, needing no excuse to play, I made everyone one of these (around 65!)

Because Sazz, Kimmie & Margaret did two workshops I made them a different one second time around.

They took ages to make but TOTALLY represent the crafting I love to do most of all.

Oh and the raffle prizes!  
I demo'd using white gesso but wanted to show what could be done with black so made three wooden hearts to offer as raffle prizes at each of the three groups.

These were them:

Tales of a demonstrating virgin

That refers to someone who has never demo'd a workshop before and not a nubile young maiden waiting for love to find her as she holds aloft a plaquard emblazoned with whichever cause she is fighting.

Oh, the visions I now have in my head!

Anyway, the title refers to me ... 
little old Debbie
 Great-Aunt Grubby-Bee 
... who was invited to teach her version of Finnabair's wonderful mixed media pieces at three of Claritystamp's regular workshops hosted by the amazing Sally-Ann Moore (aided and abetted by the equally amazing Kim Shaw) and Maria Simms.

After much hesitation, dithering and contemplation and a huge amount of encouragement by Margaret Craner (Silvercrafter) I decided to bite the bullet and go for it ... worse that could happen would be I totally stuff up and make a fool of myself.

I am given to totally stuffing up and making a fool of myself so what did I have to lose?
Apart from public humiliation.
And pelting with rotten tomatoes.
And scurrying back into the comforts of my craft room never to be seen again.

So after tweaking a sample design to make it cost effective for the workshop and something that would not take too long to dry I got them OK'd by Sally-Ann & Maria and got all the kits put together.

Totally underestimated what a task that would be but will admit to enjoying it ... gave the OCD in me chance to come into play!

Although Sally-Ann was the first to ask me to demo, the dates worked out that I headed to Maria in Shrewsbury first.

I go as often as I can to Maria's workshops and travel with the aforementioned Margaret so off we went in April ... me quaking in my boots and not knowing what to expect.

All I had to do was sit there and do what I do with my eyes closed at home ... how hard can that be?
Er, how hard can it be to THINK about what you do with your eyes closed at home and explain it at the same time to a lot of ladies for whom this was a totally new experience?

Made a few mistakes, I have to admit but also have to admit I have not made those mistakes a second time !!!

Encountered a little negativity at that first demo which threw me totally off kilter - kinda, sorta held it together on the day but lost it completely once home and had serious doubts about myself but then along came a tidal wave of support and before I knew it the second demo, this time for Sally-Ann in Nottingham was upon us.  Again travelling with Margaret and to my regular group so demo'ing to faces I knew well - that actually made me more nervous than to ladies I knew less well as I didn't want to let any of them down.
Was blown away by two of the Peterborough group travelling to do my workshop in Nottingham!

My final demo was yesterday, again for Sally-Ann and this time in Peterborough and as Margaret does not attend that group it fell to hubby-dearest to take me on a roadtrip.  Oh and to a completely new group to me - never having met any of them before. 

Need not have worried.

The welcome, kindness, hugs, love and support totally blew me away. 
One lady even came all the way from Manchester - travelling over three hours to attend ... still can't get my head around that and have even messaged her asking if she was an apparition and I had been dreaming!

Am rambling.
But this is my blog so I can ramble all I like.
And I need to record all this so I never forget my first time demo'ing.
Can never forget the belief my friends had in me.
Can never forget the new friendships forged and just the overwhelming feeling of hoping to inspire even one person to have another go ... even managed to convert a couple of "I don't do messy" & "I don't do mixed media" ladies to my corner of the craft room and so many have, indeed, gone away to have another go!  

I count that as success and that is a word I never, ever apply to anything I do.
But today I am.
Those that know me well know how hard it is for me to say that.

These are my samples and the piece I did on the day for the three groups.



The one I demo'd on the day
Was never happy with it so mounted it on a larger canvas once home
Still not happy with it so might try and prise off the bottom right corner composition and move it in a bit
Or I might leave it as it is and consign it to my ever expanding Box of Failures



The one I demo'd on the day
Will redo the sentiment at some point
Would prefer it to be narrower and longer
Too much space underneath it


Sample (same as Nottingham)

The one I demo'd on the day
This one ain't too bad!

Did I make mistakes?
Sure did!
Did I cope?
Did I shake so much my stencils wobbled?
Oh yes!
Did I enjoy my experiences?
Did I heck!  'Twas amazeballs!!!!

So that's it then
Debbie the Demonstrating Virgin standing down
Watch This Space
because you never know!!!!!