A big thankyou to Graham and Kaye at BladeRubber Stamps, who arranged for me to be at the Ranger On The Road tutorial at the NEC last Saturday.

 I got to take a class with Tim Holtz and Dyan Reaveley again (remember I was there last year).

FIRST - Tim's project using miniature canvases

The canvases were already covered with his new Tissue Paper (like tissue tape, only bigger) and we used the new Dabber in Picket Fence - adds an opaque white and shabby chic finish. I used mine liberally on my metal bits and pieces.

Tim has a new die that partially cuts round the stamped images - unfortunately, we didn't get to see it! So no idea what it does, exactly....

Work in progress, the little canvases covered and the embellishments ready to add on.

Dyan had us doing an altered book pocket page spread.

Here we are using Dyan's new stencils and Dylusions spray dyes (Ranger is now representing her, so she's going International!)

Tim was rather taken with the 2 pockets - and personally fetched me two extra brads! So I got to finish the page off properly. Much appreciated.

Dyan also as a brand new range of stamps (above) which were excellent for journalling.

BELOW: And here's one I made earlier (about 8 years earlier in fact - I was one of the first in the UK to teach altered books).

This one has decorated CDs fastend behind the points of the triangle pages, to make spinners.


Here's three more quick tags I made as Thank You's - hope they give a couple of ideas...

Da Vinci Lady

Da Vinci lady 

Another quick 'Thank You' tag - again, using the Da Vinci lady. (Special order from BladeRubber Stamps). This tag is a little more grungey, with the image coloured with ProMarker pens, then a piece of Japanese Sanwa tissue crumpled and loosely glued over the top to soften it down. I then added two different scraps of lace (cunningly covering the glue on two sides), chenille fibre and a little pearl string (covering the glue on the other two sides), a metal flower with a stone, and a little key.

I sent this one off without scanning, so big thanks to Dot, who scanned this for me and sent the pic back so I could put it on the blog. Bless you!

'At Home' Days

In Victorian times, ladies were 'at home' and receiving visitors - or not at home (in other words, hair needed washing, nothing to wear etc etc) and in that case they weren't receiving callers. Hence the start of calling cards, letting people know you'd come round to visit and they could call on you later, when convenient.

So that was the inspiration for this tag. I've stamped a face (Queen Victoria - from a block by the now-defunct PostModernDesign) on a small sales tag using Black Soot Distress Ink, edged it with black, wiped over with Antique Linen Distress ink to age it a little more then mounted it onto a manilla tag (medium size). I added a torn strip of vintage sheet music, three heart shaped Karen Foster buttons and some scraps of lace, finishing with some triangle flag shapes and a bit of white satin ribbon. Fast and easy!

The Lost Boys

This was inspired by my old Peter Pan book (I cut out the text and used it - the book was disintegrating anyway and the covers had come off, so I haven't made it any worse, lol). I imagined what they'd look like, all grown up.

I've used the gentlemen from my own 'Thank Heavens' stamp plate (which I designed for Blade Rubber Stamps  the size is perfect for ATCs and tags) and embossed with black onto brown card, then coloured in the background with a Butterscotch Adirondak pen to make the men stand out a little more. This went on top of a strip of vintage dictionary text and remnants of lace. Finally, I cut out the words and glued them on top, and used a bit of string for the hanger bit.

A tag is just perfect for this sort of project - not too big, so it doesn't need a lot of embellishing, and because it's an interesting shape anyway, just a couple of elements are enough. Plus you can buy them in any stationery shop, which makes them easy to get hold of.
Note: I've also duplicated these posts on the BladeRubber Stamps blog (which I also write). Just letting you know, in case you think you're seeing things, lol.


Sometimes you need some artwork in a hurry - I needed something to say 'Thank You' to people who bought my albums on eBay earlier this week. So (to me) the ideal thing was a tag. Two tags, in fact. Here's how...

Tag- Early Days
Early Days Part 1 - tag

How I made 'Early Days Part 1':

I took one medium size ordinary manilla shipping tag and applied PVA (white glue) and a single layer of napkin tissue (the top layer only, with the design on). I smoothed this over the tag, allowed it to dry THEN trimmed off the excess (so it didn't tear). On top of this, I applied vintage lace (left side) and a small vintage photo I printed off. Then I finished off with some German Scrap stars and cut phrases from an old book text. Plus a little bit of satin ribbon.

The good days
The good days are here

How I made 'The Good Days Are Here':

This was a black tag I'd already stamped with some birds, but wasn't convinced about... so I used the birds as a background. I then tore and pasted down old dictionary text, layered over that with some rather gorgeous wide black lace and then a photo I downloaded from art-e-zine and printed off. I then cropped with scissors to get the portion I wanted to use (keeping the other 3 ladies in the pic for another tag). Finally, I cut and layered text from a vintage children's book (these often have larger print) to make the message I wanted.

Because they're an interesting shape, tags don't need a ton of embellishment. So this makes them quick, easy and perfect for bookmarks or as embellishments for books, cards or journal pages. You can never have too many bookmarks!

In fact, I've had some tags I've used for bookmarks stolen! That's what happens when you leave your book to go and get another coffee in a crowded coffee shop.


Springtime in Paris - copyright Susie Jefferson

Happy Valentine's Day!

To celebrate, I've found these fabulous videos on YouTube... one of my favourite songs: light-hearted, lyrical and makes me think of Paris in the Spring time, the ultimate in romance.

Here's the original version by the incomparable Al Bowlly (1932)

This one is a great example of a wonderful after-supper performance (with some great conversation during the bridge between the verses).

Here are the lyrics - these will make the most wonderful journal page:
Love Is The Sweetest Thing (1932) - Al Bowlly

Love is the sweetest thing
What else on earth could ever bring
Such happiness to ev'rything
As Love's old story.

Love is the strangest thing
No song of birds upon the wing
Shall in our hearts more sweetly sing
Than Love's old story.

Whatever heart may desire
Whatever fate may send
This is the tale that never will tire.
This is the song without end.

Love is the greatest thing
The oldest yet, the latest thing
I only hope that fate may bring
Love's story to you.



New makeover

I'm so pleased with this one - Nora's a lovely lady to work with. This is my second makeover for her - the old background is below.

Old makeover

It's amazing how our tastes change, and we suddenly just want something new... and it's usually just after Christmas. New Year, New You kind of thing. I am sure this applies to decoration and DIY as I always get the urge to redecorate our home, so I'm not surprised it extends to blogs as well. After all, we spend an awful lot of time there...

Hope you like this makeover too!


"Confessions of a Lady - a boudoir book or pillow book - a journal with a difference

I've just put this up into my Etsy shop  SOLD

Heavily romantic, lots of black lace, organza ribbon and a rather gorgeous gold-leaf screen printed handmade paper (Paperchase, London - just couldn't resist it....) Reminiscent of the courts of Marie Antoinette and the Medicis...

Confessions of a Lady - detail view, showing the cross-binding on the spine and some of that gorgeous black lace ...

I'm really pleased with this one, definite overtones of the boudoir! In Japan back in the days of the Samurai, court ladies used to have pillow books, to record dreams and aspirations ... we'd call them journals today.

Confessions of a Lady - detail view, showing the black lace behind the title, the hand-tinted image matted to gold card and layered to black suede finish card, vintage photo corners, mini brads etc

I have to say I rather like the idea of keeping a special book under my pillow (for those 3am brilliant flashes of genius we can never quite remember in the morning.) Mine would probably be bookbinding formats, but yours might be something much more interesting, romantic: secrets, dreams and aspirations...

As Valentine's Day is fast approaching, you've still got time to make a pillow book of your own (or buy one and decorate the cover). A great idea for a present for your loved one... and a lot more original than a card and chocolates.

pink saturday

Finally, please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see all the other wonderful Pink Saturday posts!

I'm also linking to Tablescape Sundays for the first time. Thanks so much to The Tablescaper for inviting me!


Photograph copyright Craft Stamper magazine

I've got a project in Craft Stamper magazine (May 2011) - and I got the front cover, too!

Photograph copyright Craft Stamper magazine

OK, to be fair, you'd need your glasses on to see it, so I've helpfully highlighted it (there's no end to my modesty, lol lol lol) as I thought you'd like to see it in all its glory.

Full view
Showing closeup of stitching with velvet ribbon

Closeup, showing dimension of butterflies and curled film strip
Inner cover - handmade Onionskin paper

Here are the closeup photos I promised when I originally posted this on the BladeRubber blog. It would have been sooner, but I only got the album back last week.

Hope you like it! It's now listed on eBay, for sale. SOLD

ILLUSION - new card

I've been busy making sample cards for classes at Blade Rubber, and here is the one for my Beautiful Backgrounds class (using Twinkling H20s and Cosmic Shimmer paints).

I adore these paints as they have a wonderful glimmer when dry. The effect you see here is painted watercolour paper (I used several different colours) then a piece of crumpled cling film put on top. Take the cling film off when the paper is dry, and there you have it - a pattern which reminds me of frost on a window pane.

All I did then was to cut the paper into two sections: one as the background, and the other was stamped and then trimmed down. The remaining scraps were used as well. A long strip lined the inside of the card at the edge, and the last little bit was where I stamped 'Illusion' (PaperArtsy).  I used a Martha Stewart edge punch for a little detail, wrapped the background piece before I mounted it to a folded card, then added the key, diamante brads etc.

Very moody blues, suits the season (the stamp is Leonardo Lady, to order from Blade Rubber Stamps). It's one of those images that would suit a birthday, wedding... or in this case, Valentine's Day is fast approaching...

Hope you like it!