A warm welcome to all my visitors,

Thank you for taking the time to come and look at my blog, I really do appreciate it. I would love you to leave me a comment, even if it’s just to say Hi. It means I can come visit you!

All my designs are original, so copyrighted to me. If I have been inspired by someone elses work, I have named them in the post, and where able, I have provided a link.

Please feel free to use my designs for inspiration, I just ask you to credit me, and provide a link back to my blog.

Thanks, Shaz XX

Wednesday 28 August 2013

WOYWW #221

 For those who've been hiding under a rock for the last 4 years, todays the day we join our Mistress of Ceremonies, Julia, over at The Stamping Ground, to proudly display our workdesks/tables/floors/ironing boards, and the general mess that ensues.
I spent some of my bank holiday weekend playing with inks, making some backgrounds. These are mainly Dylusions ones- I have a stack from A Touch of Craft- but no matter how well I clean the sprayers when I've finished with them, they always seem to be blocked next time I want to use them. Which irritates me, as I have to spend time soaking them all again. So they got left on the shelf this time. Serve them right.

 Also had a play with Versamark on black paper with Mica Powders- the one on the right looks a total mess in this picture- its copper powder, but actually looks a lot better in the flesh. It would be hard pressed to look any worse.

More Mica Powders on Versamark, this time over a sheet of glossy paper, that was coloured  with Distress inks.

The quick-eyed among you may have spotted a huddle of sponge daubers in the top picture.

 I also had a bit of a 'try some home made stuff' weekend.Two things I've seen on Pinterest lately- DIY sponge daubers, and stamp cleaner. If you want to know about the stamp cleaner, its in the post below this one- if you are easily shocked, skim quickly past the bit where I worked out how much branded stamp cleaners cost per litre!

Anyway, here are my very cute looking sponge daubers- sorry, I can just see them with little faces drawn on with a marker.:)

 All it is is PVC plumbing pipe- I bought a 2 metre length from B&Q for £1.98- Beloved Hubby probably has some in the cellar, but there are spiders the size of dinner plates down there!
 So, a length of pipe, and a bag of latex make up sponges from Poundland. Hubby has a tool for cutting said pipe, but a hacksaw would do it too. You would need to smooth the edges after though. Cut into lengths about 1 1/2 ", post a sponge in, gathered up so you have the dome sticking out, and away you go. I didn't glue them in place, as they can now be pulled out & washed/replaced. I also thought you could try different sponges, as they all have different textures. I've only used barely a foot of my pipe, so you'd get almost 50 daubers for £2+ the price of sponges.
So how was your Bank Holiday?  Show us what your up to, do. We need to know, honestly.

Monday 26 August 2013

Those expensive stamp cleaners.....

We've all bought them- all the branded ones, especially the Staz-on cleaner, 'cos its the only one that removes Staz-on ink! And none of them are cheap, are they, no matter who makes it? When you look at what we pay, compared to the quantity in the bottle, its got to be one of the most expensive liquids on the planet. Actually I just did a little research- the bottle I had (Inkessentials, since you ask)  is an average of £3.50 a bottle, which contains 113ml. That works out to £29.70 a litre.And thats one of the cheaper brands. Staz-On is even worse,56ml for around £4.50- or £81 a litre. So whats all this leading up to, I hear you ask.
 Well, I've been seeing lots of recipes for homemade stamp cleaners around, and kept meaning to try one out. I even bought most of the ingredients, just not got round to doing it. By most of, I mean two, it only needs 3, or 4 if you want to perfume it.
Well, today I finished off my bottle of cleaner, so it seemed the ideal time to try it out.
What you need:
 A spray bottle
Baby Wash
Distilled Water
Optional: Rose Water
I admit right now that I never got around to buying the distilled water. Its available from chemists, by the way. I used water from my water filter jug, I figure thats taken all the nasties out of it, and I was only making up enough to fill my bottle, not  a huge amount to store.
 As well as regular stamp cleaner, this is my usual stamp cleaning kit:
Baby wipes for most ink removal, they deal with dye inks easily.
Staz-on cleaner, a toothbrush, a paint pad and an old towel.
 One thing the baby wipes don't work for, besides Staz-on, is Versafine.
Most of the recipes I found give quantities for making up at least a pint, and like I say, I only wanted enough for one bottle, so this recipe is winging it a bit- no exact quantities were used, but I don't think it really matters.
After I'd rinsed out the bottle, I added about half a teaspoon of glycerine. I think this was about 50p a bottle. This, and Rosewater can be found in the baking aisle in the supermarket, as well as chemists.
 Next I poured in about an inch of  Baby wash- mine came from Aldi, about 80p. Now I just topped it up with filtered water, put the lid back on and rolled it back & forth to mix. Don't shake it, you'll end up with a pressurised bottle of foam!
 And thats it. If you want to add rosewater to perfume it, do that just before you add the water, but I thought the Baby wash smell was perfectly acceptable.

 So, now the acid test. Is the mix any good, and does it work?
I inked up the stamp with Black Versafine.

Stamped the image off onto scrap, and gave it a spritzing with the cleaner, and went over it with the toothbrush.

Wiped it off with the towel, and...WOW! I think its cleaner than before I inked it!

So then I was curious- what was the likelihood of it removing Staz-on? Not very high, to be honest. Its a solvent based ink, right?
So, I inked it again, and I tried this twice, once stamping the image off first, and once with a full coat of  Staz-on on the stamp. Again, I gave it a scrub with the toothbrush, and I was amazed to see the Staz-on come off! Both times, no problem.

And of course, apart from how cheap this is, the real beauty is that it won't damage your acrylic blocks like Staz-on Cleaner does. This is the damage caused to acrylic blocks by Staz-on cleaner, before I knew about what it did. Now I save them for cleaning any stamps that needed Staz-on removed.

 So, my two ingredients cost me less than £1.50, and I'd say I will be able to refill my bottle dozens of times before either one runs out. I'm guessing my bottle of stamp cleaner just cost me less than 10p!

 Just a quick add-on, I've been calling it Baby Wash from all the recipes I read being almost entirely American! Its what we in the UK call Baby Bath. I did find a recipe or two that used Dove shower gel instead, I think the idea is that it needs to be a liquid soap that is as free from chemicals as possible, so there is actually quite a bit of scope for what you use.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

WOYWW #220

Good Morning to all of you visiting from Auntie Julias, at The Stamping Ground. What do I have for this weeks Show & Tell, then? Possibly a bit photo- heavy, (sorry Julia) but quite reasonable when you see them: My super- special parcel arrived from Kimmie  Hogan- you remember the draw she did a few weeks ago,which I was lucky enough to win. It actually arrived last week, amazingly enough on my birthday, but I had to wait a few days to go get it from the sorting office. On the birthday note, thanks to everyone, from both of us, for all the lovely birthday wishes!

One parcel, duly opened. A lovely little note from Kimmie, the Smash Book, and another package of goodies. How much awesomeness can you fit  into one package? This much:

Lots of stamps, some flowers, the tiniest notepad I've ever seen,some ephemera invoices and look at the gorgeous colour of those tags, they're fabric too!

Nope, not done yet.

More stamps, stickers, doilies and a humungous tag!The tags are ace, you just want to stroke them all day, lol.


A gorgeous envelope, filled with exciting stuff:

Tags, pockets & butterflies.

Nope, we're not done yet.

Opening the Smash Book, I found these amazing dictionary pages, and papers.
  So cool, its an illustrated dictionary.

Here are a couple of shots of the Smash Book:

And here it all is, a desk full of amazing stuff! Kimmie, thank you so much- I never expected so much awesomeness. Now I just have to get my ass in gear, and start my Book.
WOYWWers are the most wonderful people!

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Birthday cards

The cards I made last week using those large numbers- Hubbys 40th card for starters. The backing paper was an image of the Leo constellation I found on the net, and I picked out the main stars using acrylic jewels.
The numbers are from stencils,cut from black glitter paper, which I stuck onto card with Spray adhesive.

Top tip here, remember to flip your numbers over when drawing on the back of the cardstock!
Yes, I've made that mistake before.

I added a couple of UTEE hearts, done with WOW Black Twinkle embossing powder.

The 21st card for our niece, I put foiled Congratulations paper onto the card front for this one, and added some Tattered Florals and ribbon, along with a strip of Happy Birthday Vellum.

Mortimers 13th card involved some more Internet images, Call of Duty this time. I used one large image for the backing paper, then Photoshopped some small images into a strip, leaving a black space in the middle where I typed in the birthday message, using a similar font.

 Stencil numbers, 140mm, Clevercut. They do letters as well.
Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die
WOW Embossing powders
 Foiled background paper, Craft Creations
Black glitter card/paper
Black ribbon
Acrylic jewels
 Versamark/clear embossing ink

Wednesday 14 August 2013

WOYWW #219- The Birthday Edition

Happy Wednesday everyone! An especially Happy Wednesday for me & Beloved Hubby- todays our Birthday! Yes, we have the same birthday. How cool is that?
 Actually, a lot of birthdays this month-we have a whole Pride of Leos in our family. I counted them up while I was making cards- 11 close family, and no less than 7 friends!You couldn't fit that much ego in one room, lol. Some special ones this year too- Beloved Hubby is 40, a niece is 21, grandson Mortimer is 13 and a friend is 50.
Which is why my desk contains these:
The  Leo Hall of Fame is: Me & Beloved Hubby,my Eldest son, Ant, his son Mort, My middle sons wife and my Daughter. One of Beloved Hubbys Brothers, and one Sister. His niece, my nephew and my other nephews wife. Dread to think how many more I'd find if I widened the net. I'll blog Beloved Hubbys card tomorrow, and the others over the next week, as they've been handed out. So we will have been to work, and doing the card & pressie swap when we get home, before bed.We're going out for a Birthday meal on Friday night, and the guy who's 50 is having a party on Saturday night, as not only is he 50 this week, his two sons are 18 & 21! So thats my Show & Tell for our Delightful Headmistress Julia, over at The Stamping Ground- come and join the fun of a world wide snoop at the coolest, most inspiring craft desks you will ever find, not to mention the best group of blogging pals anyone could wish to be part of.

Sunday 11 August 2013

Pinterest CASEing

Having spent a goodly number of hours browsing Pinterest, and compiling boards of Inspiration, I thought it was about time I made use of them. So I perused my Stamping Inspiration Board, and spotted this card: I managed to find the original creator, and have linked the image to her Pinterest page. She created it with an Indigo Blu stamp, called Summer Lovin'.

 I don't have that one, but I have something very similar.Mine is by Stampendous, called Sketched Blossoms. It was wood mounted, and I suspect its discontinued, as I couldn't find it on sale anywhere.
 As always, I was instantly taken with the Black & White theme, so I went with that, and also tried another in a second colour, using a Memento pad, called Sweet Plum.

The card is by Clarity Stamps, called Theuva Card, and its a lovely smooth,bright white.

So I stamped the single image first onto an A5 sheet, so I got them on side by side.

Using another sheet, I cut it in half lengthways, and used the stamp again to stamp it multiple times along the whole length.

 Next they were both matted up onto matching cardstock- by some amazing fluke I had some purple card that comes very close to the Memento pad.

Both panels attached to white pearl card blanks.

Now the awkward bit- I don't have any fancy corners, but what I do have is a drawer full of  medallion style punches, that never see the light of day. Something else that seemed like a good idea at the time.
 Anyway, I punched out a medallion from each colour, trimmed down around them to leave a narrow border, then cut each one in half. I also trimmed off a little bit of the pattern, as you can see in the one on the left.

Stuck them down with some glue stick.

 Now some sentiments- I backed these onto matching card and trimmed them down.

Also added some matching acrylic gemstones as a finishing touch.

 White Theuva card, Clarity Stamps
A collage type stamp
Memento inkpad, Sweet Plum
Versafine, Onyx Black
Photo corners, or punch
Acrylic gems
 Black & Purple cardstock

Saturday 10 August 2013

Mulberry Paper & Dragonflies

 A card using up some of my mountain of Mulberry Paper, and an image I'd got already stamped up. A lesson in not overbuying, just because something is the new must-have. I think I cornered the world market in Mulberry Paper. It does produce a nice effect though,when torn to leave soft, fuzzy edges. The trick to that is to drag a wet paintbrush, or a waterbrush along the edge of a ruler, then tease the damp fibres apart.

As my stamped piece was on a blue/pink/purple oil pastel background, I used blue & purple mulberry paper for the background mat.

 I tore two squares of each colour, and used a scrap of card to stick them to, using DST. The scrap won't show beneath the stamped piece.
That bit done, I mounted the image with DST onto the squares, then onto a square white card blank. Next, a Dragonfly made from Angelina fibres was added over the one in the image with some silicone glue.
 The row of flowers along the bottom is one of the ones I received from Deeyl, Queen Lightwell, in the ATC swap!
   Onto a scrap of the same oil pastel card I stamped the saying in Black Versafine, and trimmed it to a tag shape. Added an eyelet & some fibres and mounted it with silicone glue again.

 Dragonfly Post stamp, Crafty Individuals 001
Mulberry paper
Oil pastels & white card for the background
Sentiment stamp, mine came from Life Sentiments, Kaiserkraft
 Black Versafine

Wednesday 7 August 2013

WOYWW #218

So how is everyone this lovely Wednesday? I'm guessing here that its a nice day- I'm writing this on Tuesday afternoon, lol. Stroll over to the Lovely Julia's, at The Stamping Ground, and join in this delightful cruise around the crafting desks of the world, messy or tidy, ( the messier the better, tidy makes some of us feel guilty!), we love to see what everyone is up to.
 Two things I spotted over the last couple of days, wandering the net, as you do. Two of our friends on here had great weeks- Maisie Moonshines name was on the list of winners for the Tim Holtz Tags of 2013, August, this week, and Chris at Pearshapedcrafting won the Artistic Stampers July challenge!We all know how fabulous our friends are, lovely to see their creativity being rewarded.
 So, my desk then.
It was while browsing the various challenges, that I saw on Clarity Stamps that their challenge this month is Animals. I have two sizes of her Wolf stamp, so decided I'd have a go this month. Only got as far as stamping the image, and I'm not sure yet which one I will use. I used a variety of cardstock to stamp on, but all were stamped in Adirondack Pitch Black, so I could use a waterbrush over them to just pull some colour into the image.I can just about handle that sort of colouring. The three on the lower right are on Clarity card, using the Acrylic plate stamping method from a few posts ago as a background for the image.Its a fairly glossy cardstock, but it worked quite well. The top right one is stamped onto a marbled cardstock, and the left hand one is just on a plain white background. One or two I'm not overly happy with how the colour pulled in, one or two sharp lines- I might try a little more blending.Then again, maybe I'm being overly picky & precious- its only card & ink!
 In my net browsing, I found myself on Pinterest ( how surprising!), and looking at some humorous pins. I saw this one, and instantly thought of all my WOYWW friends! So here, ladies, is the perfect answer for why we have untidy craft rooms-
You see, a perfectly logical & sensible reason for it. Its a self defence thing.
 My Buddleia, commonly known as The Butterfly Bush, has been living up to its name this year, its been covered in Peacock Butterflies. Dozens of them over it, along with a few cabbage whites.
But here's a question for all the Brits on here-
have any of you seen any Ladybirds this year?
I haven't seen a single one anywhere, not even during those really hot summery days.
 Probably could have been briefer, sorry Julia- its a good job I'm writing, not talking, lol.You'd be here for days, rofl! Have a fab Wednesday, catch up with you all later.

An End of an era

An end of an era

I write this with a broken heart, that only time can heal My beautiful, wonderful wifelet Shaz (Silverwolf) passed away peacefully in the ea...