Monday, 30 December 2013

Lavinia Challenge - Anything Goes!

Made this challenge by the skin of my teeth. Haven't really had much time to craft these past few weeks. Anybody else have the same problem?

During a lull in festive activities I went to check on the challenges I usually take part in and noticed that I hadn't done my usual Lavinia entry. As I didn't have a lot of time I decided to do something simple. Just some basic colouring in for my entry this time but I did jazz it up a bit with a brayered moon background.

I worked on Centura Pearl card with cherry red and teal Stazon ink. It seems to 'pop' on the Centura pearl card, it becomes more luminescent.

I then simply stamped the trees directly onto the background and the houses onto a separate piece of Centura with black Stazon and coloured everything in with ProMarker pens. A bit of decoupage and 3D gel and it was done.

To all my followers and visitors from LAVINIA land I thank you for dropping by. Hope to see you all again next year. Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR everybody.

Kim xx

Just in Time - MOO MANIA #51 Snowflakes / Schneeflocken

And there we have it! The final MOO of the year 2013. I almost didn't make it what with the festivities and work, but I am so glad that I did manage to fit in this last MOO!

The theme this time is SNOWFLAKES. Not seen any snow yet this winter but there is still time I suppose. It has been very windy here these last few days and very wet. 

Pop along to the MOO MANIA blog spot to see all the other entries and why not have a go yourself? Even if you don't make it for this theme then you won't have long to wait for the new theme which starts in a couple of days.

Although the Moo Mania blog spot has now opened the types of work up to include any format, ATC, Twinchie, etc I shall be sticking with the MOO. I really do love this size of art work. 

So here is my last MOO for 2013, a little scene of pine trees and snow flakes. 

I would like to wish all my followers a very HAPPY NEW YEAR and hope that you will continue to come and see me here in 2014. 

Kim xx

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Christmas Confections

As we get closer to Christmas I would like to share with you something a bit different from my recent 'makes' and also introduce you to my partner in this venture!

My baby son, who is actually 17, decided it would be nice to make some chocolates as gifts for his friends. I remember making gifts of chocolates myself so was really excited to know that he wanted to do this.

After several days of selecting the types of chocolates we were going to make I set about buying the ingredients and getting all the equipment together. To be fair it wasn't that hard; most sweetmeats are made from the same basic ingredients.

We first made Peppermint Creams. A nice easy start to the proceedings. Sticky, but very satisfying to make.

Peppermint Creams - Oh look there is chocolate in them!
We mixed icing sugar with the egg whites, this was a hoot as the icing sugar formed vast clouds of sweet dust which found us 'sucking in' the air to get a hit of sugar!! A few drops of essence and a grating of lemon rind and the mix was complete. Lots of rolling and cutting and hey presto! Little discs of peppermint sugary sweetness.

Next we went on to make Coconut Balls, renamed Coconut Snowballs to fit in with the festive season. Now these were one thing that didn't have chocolate in them but we were quite tempted to add a drizzling of chocolate on them at the end but restrained ourselves as they wouldn't have looked so 'snowball' like with chocolate on them. 

Snowballs - No chocolate but there could have been!

Once the snowballs were safely settled in the oven we went on to the fudge! Now this did contain chocolate, and marshmallows, and evaporated milk, and butter, and sugar. None of it any good for you really but not something you would eat every day.

Fudge - Don't contemplate it for too long, just enjoy it carefully!!

The fudge was easy to make, and probably something that we might try with white chocolate, or coffee to flavour next time. A bit of heating and melting was all that was needed. Poured into a tin and popped in the fridge to set.

And so onto the final 'make', one which we had both been looking forward to the most, we got ready to make our moulded chocolates. A nice couple of silicone moulds and a paint brush were our tools. We melted just a little dark chocolate, well a LOT actually, and prepared to paint the moulds. 

Some Chocolate - enough to send a small school hyperactive really!!

This turned out to be a really messy and difficult process. The booklet accompanying the moulds showed lovely clean hands, perfectly painted moulds, and smiling faces! We on the other hand were covered in melted chocolate, found more chocolate on the brush than in the moulds and exasperated facial expressions all round!!! But we got there in the end. 

Each mould was filled with a cherry which we had soaked in a little Vodka and then topped up with more dark chocolate. Left in the fridge to set we were actually very pleased with the final result. 

Bags of Goodies

It had been my intention to take photographs of every stage of each of the different chocolates we made but a combination of sticky hands and enthusiasm meant we only got a few shots, but non-the-less I think the pictures we did get are enough to give you a flavour of what we got up to! By all accounts the chocolates were well received by his friends and there are enough left for me to take some to work on Christmas Eve.

I plan to put more photos and information over on my Baking Exploits pages so pop back again soon.

Have a great Christmas followers! I look forward to seeing you all again the New Year.

Kim xxxx

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Last MOO of the Year - Probably.

As the year comes to an end I look back fondly on my MOO experiences. It has been a joy to take part in these challenges and a pleasure to get so many lovely comments from other MOO MANIACS!! Thank you all!! xx Of course there is a chance that another challenge will just sneak in to 2013 but I probably won't have time to enter as it is getting very hectic here at home. Somebody mentioned ssomething about Christmas..........

Challenge #49 was all about Tools and this struck me straight away as being perfect for my tools; paintbrushes. So I was a little dumbstruck when challenge #50 hit the blog arena with the theme Painting Utensils/Malerkram. Had I blogged too soon? Was I psychic? Were 'they' trying to catch me out? 

Whatever the reason I knew I was going to struggle as I barely have any stamps featuring tools/paintbrushes/pencils of any sort! I know that MOOs don't have to be stamped but stamping is my preferred medium for this work.

Once again fate played into my hands and I happened to see a stamp online which fitted the theme perfectly. Would I get it in time I wondered? As you can tell from this late entry then 'Yes' I did get the stamp in time but it was a close call! I usually have my MOO made and blogged on the release date! The stamp is by STAMPENDOUS! and is called Artist Elements.

So here we have my #50 MOO -  Painting Utensils/Malerkram. Featuring the brush heads - I did try to do a shrink plastic piece but the images were already small and became just solid black and lost all the fine detail! 

I hope you like it? Feel free to leave a comment, take a look at the other MOOs HERE, and why not have a go yourself?

Kim xxxx

Friday, 13 December 2013

My Christmas Card Production Line

I know, I know! I said I would tell you all about my Christmas cards a few days ago but that bloomin' REALITY got in the way again and I didn't get the chance.

In my best Noddy Holder voice (for those that haven't got a clue who I am talking about you had better Google him!) 


I doubt that you haven't heard him shouting this out a few times already as it is a classic Christmas song and my local supermarket have had this song, along with some other classics like Wizzard - 'I wish it could be Christmas Every Day' on a loop since mid October!!! The poor staff must be pretty sick of hearing it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over............

Sorry, drifted off there! Where was I? Oh yes, my 2013 Christmas Card Collection.

This year I needed to make several sets of cards, mostly because I had a hundred and one ideas and I couldn't decide which one to plump for.  Also with my DT work (which I love, don't get me wrong) I was missing the production line style of card making. I actually really like getting a commission for wedding invitations etc because it satisfies me greatly seeing the piles of similar cards being adorned stage by stage.

And so my journey begins.  I needed to make some special cards for my work colleagues as this is quite likely to be our last Christmas together. Each year I say I am going to make my own cards for them and then time gets the better of me and I end up giving them (sit down or at least hold on to something firmly, you will be shocked by this!) S H O P   B O U G H T cards. I know, pretty poor really given that I could supply a small village with handmade cards for the entire year with the amount of 'stuff' I have!

So here is the Work Colleague set. 

These are little 4"x4" cards made using the Sheena Douglass stamps Heart Felt Wishes. I have always fancied making something in the American Home Spun style and these stamps were ideal for this. I used some little buttons and H2O paints on the little gingerbread shapes which were stamped with white embossing powder - it brings out the blanket stitch design a treat.

Then there is the Family set. 

I have made special BIG cards for my nearest and dearest, but these little 4x4 cards are for those relatives and close friends that I post to. A little tip for you, if you are worried about posting these little cards in their original 4x4 envelopes for fear of them getting lost in the machinery, then do what I do and keep them open and pop them into a standard DL envelope. Bonus is you get to keep the wee envelopes for another project!!! These are also made using the Heart Felt Wishes stamps by Sheena. This time they have been combined with some heavy white embossing on the body of the card and some Tim Holtz distressing around the edges. Can't put my finger on the maker of these 2 background stamps, but I only bought them recently so I will still have the details somewhere in my email inbox. 

And then there is the Neighbour set.  Now, I was being a little bit experimental with these as they are not a classic card as you will see. They are in fact Postcards. I had a load of brown card strips, right width but about 3 foot long! from a long time ago which I picked up in my local scrap store. May have mentioned this to you before, but basically it is a resource centre for factory/office 'waste'. Not as grim as it sounds as the products are all checked and verified safe for use. Anyway, I had a lot of it and needed to make use of it.

The front of the postcard has a 'nod' to Sheena on it. The foliage of the hanging holly decoration is from the newly launched Underwater Angels stamp plate. I stamped it in Tim Holtz Weathered Wood ink and then using a small holly and berries stamp (sorry, no idea where from!) I stamped in red ink to give this hanging bunch image. Some faux stitching around the edges with a fab stamp from Inky Doodles, a sentiment and then on the back I used some Clarity Stamps from the Mail Art theme to give that authentic postcard look. Oh yes and a little bit of clear glaze on the berries to make them 'pop'.

Finally, there is the Inkoid set. This special group of people will be receiving their cards in the next few days (postman willing!). They are a group of people, some of whom I only know 'electronically', in 2D so to speak, through our craft work, but all of whom I admire very much. I haven't uploaded a picture of these cards yet as I don't want to spoil the surprise!!

I hope that you like my Christmas 2013 cards? I hope that you have all yours ready to go? 

I plan to do a 'How 2' on the Inkoid card design in the next few days so come back soon to see if I have done it!!

Phew! I need a cuppa and a sit down in a comfy chair after that blog! 

Hope you have a great weekend. I am off to work for the next 4 days so I never get excited about it being Friday! But please, you enjoy it!!  XX

....and we have Lift Off! (Well nearly!)

So it is only minutes to go before the lovely Sheena takes to our screens once more with a NEW set of stamps in the Coastal range.

Here are some more of my show samples, it was a blast making them. Wor Sheena does give us some brilliant products to work with so I suppose it isn't that difficult to create great projects like these.

Here they are then, I will be sitting with my feet on the coffee table, hot drink in hand - hasn't it turned cold?

Create and Craft TV Sky channel 671 is your destination, 10am and 4pm (stock willing!)

Kim xxx

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sneaky Peek #4 - Sheena Douglass - New Stamps

First thing I had to do was decide which of my samples I was going to show you today, that took longer than I expected because I want to show you so many but as it is only 24 hours away from 'Show Time' you wont have to wait long to see all the wonderful samples me and my fellow Inkoids have made for this launch. Details of the show times are 10am and 4pm on Create and Craft TV, which is channel 671 on SKY. Check HERE for other providers.

The sample for today is quite a contrast to the previous two I have shown you. I think this colour scheme is perfect for that sun bleached, salt washed, weathered look. Might have said that before in my first Sneaky Peek, but it is true!!

I was initially worried that the images were going to be too different in size for this to work in the layout I had planned but I was pleasantly surprised to find that the angelfish, starfish and the seahorse were pretty identical in height and that the starfish and seahorse were good width wise also. It made the layout so easy and I think the final card has a pleasing look to it with just the right amount of 'white space' on the 3 images.

I mentioned in a previous blog that while waiting for the stamps to arrive I had created some backgrounds in the hope of getting ahead. This is another one of those backgrounds. I wanted to go for the ditsy-print background, and so I used the little shell stamps from the previous launch. I stamped then swept over the whole thing with water to try and get a soft, water colour, run ever so slightly look to the background. It worked just enough to fuzz the edges of the images up a little and I used this same technique on the main images. Once the outlines had dried on the main images I added more colour by taking ink direct from the ink pad with a brush. 

My Ingredients are
  • Tim Holtz Distress ink - Weathered Wood
  • Cream water colour card
  • Navy card
  • Strip of corrugated paper
  • Sentiment from Ancient Arches - available HERE
  • And my mystery ingredient, that stringy, woven material. If you can guess EXACTLY what it is then I will award you a gold star!!
Have a great day, and don't forget to settle down with your cuppa and, yes, go on, put your feet on that coffee table, relax and watch Sheena weave her magic.

Kim xx

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Day 3, you know the score, Sheena Douglass NEW STAMPS being launched this Friday on Create and Craft TV at 10am and 4pm. 

While I was waiting for the products to arrive that I was to be working with I wasted no time in getting some background work done, literally!

I knew that Sheena was asking for samples made using the recently launched Luminarte Silks and so I set about making some backgrounds ready to use with the new stamps. As we had already been told the theme was to be 'Under the Sea' I got out the shells from the 'Little bit Scenic - Sea Shells' plate available HERE. One of my other hobbies is patchwork quilting and I have always admired the scallop design and this inspired me to create this background. It involved a lot of masking and careful placement but the pleasure came from the painting! When the new stamps arrived my first 'getting to know you' stampings used the very clever shadow stamps. These are a solid stamp in the same shape as one of the detailed stamps. These angels are not the only ones that come as pair so look out for the others! These shadow stamps are brilliant for lots of different techniques but I simply used them to stamp a row of green angels which I then over stamped with the detailed angel stamp. I added the bubbles, which are also in the new sets, and then mounted the row onto the background. Of course I didn't waste the bit that went under the strip of fish! I cut it so that there was just enough to go under the fish! Who knows it is not all the way under right?

My ingredients list is
  • Silks set #1 - Bolivian Blue, Key Lime + Olive Vine
  • Black Archival ink

Well, there it is, sample #3. Hope you like it?     Kim xx

Sneaky Peek #2 - Sheena Douglass - NEW STAMPS

As promised here is the second of my Sneaky Peaks showcasing the next Sheena Douglass stamp launch this coming Friday. The shows on Create & Craft TV are at 10:00am and 4:00pm so don't forget to tune in, you know how popular the 'Sheena Shows' are! 

This card features another one of the lovely new stamps, an angel fish. I have used a classic combination of black and orange. This has kept the fish pretty realistic in colour. I have also used one of the coral stamps in a repetitive way to provide a decorative strip across the card. The background for the fish is actually one of those happy accidents. I was painting another sample with the Luminarte Silks; Set 4 with the hot colours Spiced Tomato, Pomegranate and Ginger Peach, using an acrylic block as a pallet. Now that I use the brilliant Rock-a-Blocks to mount my rubber stamps on means I have a fair few acrylic blocks spare!! Anyway, there was a bit of paint left on the block so I sprayed it to prevent the paint from drying out as I knew I wouldn't be going near the sink for a while. I turned it over onto a piece of card to blot some of the paint off and left it there momentarily while I washed the brush. When I lifted the acrylic block off there was this lovely pattern. Waste not want not! Probably wont get another like it if I did it deliberately. I had another accident when trying to draw a straight line around the card, but recovered from it by using the 'meant it to be wobbly' technique! 

My ingredients for this card were 
  • Black Archival for the coral
  • Black embossing powder for the fish
  • Orange, black and white card
  • Orange corrugated strip
  • Black gems
  • My accidental background!!
  • Black pen

Well, there we are, come back again for another peek tomorrow, and don't forget to check out the other Inkoid samples via the links HERE.

By the way I managed to make a fair few Christmas cards today. Will show you them tomorrow.

Take care! 

Kim x

Monday, 9 December 2013

Been Quiet but with Good Reason - Sheena Douglass - NEW STAMPS

It is that time of year when all us crafters wish we had stuck to our promise of making our Christmas cards and gifts early!  I am only just getting started with my Christmas shopping so I don't hold out much hope for every single person on my card list getting a hand made card this year. Much the same as last year then!

Anyway, the reason I have come here today is to tell you all about the latest stamp launch from the wonderful Sheena Douglass. There are 2 new plates which work alongside the recent coastal theme. This time Sheena has gone 'Underwater'.

I was given them to play with sorry WORK with a few days ago. Yeah, I know it is a terrible job but somebody has to do it! Sheena has once again come up trumps with these designs. You are going to LOVE them! They also have a very clever element to them but I will keep that to myself for the moment, don't want to give everything away on day one!

Right, here is my first sample, a fancy little number featuring the lovely seahorse stamp and the long awaited Kraft card. I love the combination of the navy + white with the brown of the Kraft card. What do you think?  

Sheena will be demonstrating these new stamps on Create & Craft TV this coming Friday, the 13th. Show times are still to be released but come back here to check as I will update you all as soon as I hear. I will also be letting you know more about the products on the show over the next few days.

The ingredients for my card are
  • The NEW Sheena stamps
  • Sentiment from Ancient Arches (available HERE
  • Tim Holtz distress ink pads in Weathered Wood and Chipped Sapphire 
  • White embossing powder
  • Luminarte Silks ICE glaze
  • Kraft card
  • Navy card
  • 3D gel glue

So there we have it, Sneaky Peek number one. Don't forget to see what the other Inkoids have been creating by going to their blogs, the links are all HERE.

I need to crack on with my Christmas cards now, so I will see you tomorrow with another Peek. Have a great day!

Kim xx