Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Living Crafts 2008 at Hatfield

I'm kinda late posting this entry since this event I'm blogging about took place last month. But since this is my Blog and there are no rules or expiry dates or any restrictions whatsoever, I'll just go ahead and recount the day for you, my readers :-)

The Living Crafts 2008 Fair took place in the first week of May and I went on the first day with my friends Amanda and Sharon. The weather was beautiful, though a bit blustery - but at least the sun was out in full force and the setting was beautiful. The fair took place on the 1000 acre country estate of Hatfield House, the home of the 7th Marquess of Salisbury.

Hatfield House is a Jacobean House completed in 1611. It was the childhood home of Elizabeth I. The Living Crafts Show takes place on the estate of Hatfield House each year and this is the first time I'd been. The House is open to the public, but we just didn't have enough time to take a tour, as there was so much to see on the grounds.

There were white marquees dotted about everywhere and inside them we found stands with exhibitors displaying traditional arts and crafts such as willow weaving, quilting, felting, raku firing, pottery making, traditional wood crafts, jewellery making, blacksmith, cider making and so much more. There were also plenty of food stalls selling home made cheese, pickles, chutneys and cordials.

This was one of the Blacksmiths stand that specialized in wrought iron signs, sculptures and decorative plaques etc. Their work was highly skilled and very attractive.

This reindeer and horse sculpture was made entirely from horseshoes. I thought it very innovative and I really liked them.

This guy was walking around with a very handsome Eagle Owl

Old steam engine

This Donkey's name was Humphrey. He was a working donkey and wore a yoke around his neck and walked round and round an apple press to make fresh cider.

This was such a delightful, musical, whimsical, watery display that made up this orchestra of copper frogs, snails, butterflies and dragonflies. There was band music coming from speakers within the display and water was spurting out from pipes.

This really was a motley crew of comical creatures, but the concept was brilliant and it was a visual and auditory wonder of delights. Evidently this could be hired out for occasions.

This old Oak tree was just magnificent and I couldn't resist taking a picture of it. Infact there were other people who must've been equally impressed by it as I saw them taking pics as well.

All in all we had a lovely day out. I ended up buying olives, garlic and sundried tomatoes in olive oil from the olive man, home-made elderflower cordial and lemon grass & lime cordial from the juice stand, I made glazed a pot and had it raku fired, tried my hand at willow weaving, chatted to countless, friendly craftspeople, bought some scraps of fabric from the quilting stand, saw felt being made at the felters stand, stroked a donkey, watched a demo of glass fusing in a revolutionary new microwave kiln and bought some lovely stationery items from a very talented Artist named Emma Ball, who specializes in watercolours and produces calendars, notebooks, prints, notecards and many other items from her colourful works of art. Most of all being at this spectacular show with my friends and just enjoying the beauty of the place and the sunshine really made my day!

For more info on Hatfield click here
For more info on Emma Ball click here

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Singing Birds ATCs

Singing Birds ATCs - May 2008
Originally uploaded by lubsy1uk

It seems everywhere you look these days you see birds being used in artwork - on people's blogs, on their ATCs, in collages, altered books, greeting cards, inchies, decoupage, rubber stamps - you name it and the birds are there.

Ok, so yeah, I've also jumped onto the "bird wagon", so to speak - well who can blame me when there are so many fine feathered friends out there just cooing and twittering to be stamped and stuck onto your art? I recently purchased a sheet of stamps from Oxford Impressions and am having a whole load of fun creating a flock of bird related art. So far I've only been using them on my ATCs but I plan to use them on greeting cards and as covers for some of my handmade books.

This series of singing birds has been a joy to create. I've used the watercolour ink technique on the backgrounds using Adirondak ink pads and then stamped and embossed a swirly tree image (from Paper Artsy) onto each card.

I then stamped two different birds (from the Oxford Impressions sheet) onto a printed magazine page and cut them out and fixed them onto the branches with foam pads.

Then I stamped and embossed some swirls at the bottom of the trees and added musical notes here and there and edged each card with a Krylon pen.

To complete, I finally stamped some words onto that plastic binding stuff they bind cartons with and adhered that to each card.

You can find them all flocked together here and they're all available for trading:-)

Friday, 23 May 2008

Birds Series ATCs

Birds Series ATCs-May 2008
Originally uploaded by

These are a series of bird ATCs I recently created. They're made using fabric and paper and I've stitched elements on to some cards and stamped onto others.

Birds and all things bird related are quite popular at the moment and that's really good I think - we should be more aware of nature and the beauty of God's creation all around us. I know it's made me notice the birds in my garden more and I actually like observing them and the funny little antics they get up to. It's only when we notice and observe, do we truly appreciate the wonder of creation.

Well these cards are all available for trade - you can see each of them separately on here - get yours before they fly away!

Saturday, 17 May 2008


A few weeks ago we visited Broadstairs in Kent. It's a coastal town near Ramsgate and Margate on the South East coast of England. I'd been wanting to go for some time but had never managed to go before. I'd heard that it was a quaint seaside town and very pretty..... and guess what?.... It was!!

The day we left for Broadstairs the weather was a little dull and hazy but it brightened up into a gloriously sunny day later on. We passed field upon field of beautiful golden flowers of rape seed - a land carpeted in this is truly magnificent! Further along our journey on the M25 I couldn't resist snapping a pic of this car - look what it says on the back :-D

These are views of The Queen Elizabeth Bridge which we had to cross over to get into Kent. It crosses the River Thames. It's a toll bridge.

Broadstairs in all it's glory - it's a wonderful seaside town with friendly people and beautiful views. It has several sandy beaches which are very clean. This view shows Viking Beach and the harbour and in the furthest distance upon a steep cliff is Bleak House where Charles Dickens is reported to have stayed and done his writing. This house used to be open to the public until a couple of years ago but it's since been privately sold and is undergoing major refurbishments and sadly no longer open to the public.

Broadstairs has a strong Dickens connection since this town was close to his heart and he had a fondness for what he called "Our Watering Place" and he spent many summers here with his family.

This is a view of the English Channel and the seafront where throngs of people were gathered outside eating, drinking and enjoying the gorgeous weather and magnificent views.

This is the Dickens Museum, once the home of Miss Mary Pearson Strong, on whom Charles Dickens based much of the character of Miss Betsey Trotwood in his novel David Copperfield. This building has been adapted as a museum to commemorate the Novelist's association with the town of Broadstairs.

This plaque proudly announces the Dickens connection with the house. In the front parlour was this beautiful fan-shaped, leaded glass fire guard.

This is the Charles Dickens, a restaurant and pub on the seafront. It's reported to "command excellent views of the English Channel from upstairs in the old Assembly Rooms, once frequented by Charles Dickens himself."
Typical British seaside shops one where you can buy rock and all sorts of seaside paraphernalia and the other where you can buy good old fashioned fish n'chips soaked in salt and vinegar - mmm... yummy :-)

I would've liked to have browsed around in this little gift shop - it looked so quaint, unfortunately it was closed by the time we got to it. This other building are private apartments I think. I thought the whole building had a very New Orleans feel to it but still retained it's "Britishness".
This is a view of Bleak House as seen from the seafront. To reach it you have to climb a steep, winding hill, that passes private houses that are so charming and quaint. This used to be the seaside residence of Charles Dickens.
According to records, it's in this house, in a small study looking out across the sea, that Dickens wrote the greater part of his most famous novel - David Copperfield.
Apparently, in Dickens's day this house used to be called Fort House. Dickens was inspired by this house and conceived his idea for Bleak House here and wrote it back at his London residence in Tavistock Square.
This house stands atop a cliff looking down at amazing views of the harbour and out to sea. The cliffs which it stands on, are made up of chalk, just like the White Cliffs of Dover. On this sunny day, it was a pleasant walk upwards to the house and the view out to sea was incredible with the sun sparkling out onto the blue sea and the blue of the sky merging into it - it was truly beautiful.

Yet another reference to the great man himself!

for more information on Broadstairs click here ,
here , here and here

Friday, 16 May 2008

Yesterday1, Charming, Yesterday 2

Yesterday1, Charming, Yesterday 2
Originally uploaded by

I felt in a vintagey mood whilst making these cards. I started with the backgrounds - just playing around really. I had a bar of beeswax and thought I'd apply it all over the card and take it from there.

I just got my heat gun out and put the bar of beeswax to the card and let the heat melt the wax to the card while I rubbed it over. It melted quickly and covered the card quite easily. Then, while the wax was still hot, I inked up a script stamp with Versamark for the two "Yesterday" cards and pressed into the still warm wax to leave a slight impression.

When the wax had cooled completely I rubbed a little bronze mica powder into the impression and polished with a soft cloth. Where the impression was the powder clung into. For the "Charming" card I stamped a swirl stamp into the warm wax and went over with bronze mica powder. The overall effect had quite an aged feel about it, which was perfect for the images I'd chosen.

The images were all rub-on transfer images which went really well with the aged effect of the background and I completed the cards with lace embellishments and buttons.
Available on my Flickr site for trade :-)

Dragonfly 3 & 4

Dragonfly 3 & 4
Originally uploaded by lubsy1uk

More silk flower with dragonfly ATCs in another colour theme. Available for trade from my Flickr site :-)

Dragonfly 1 & 2

Dragonfly 1 & 2
Originally uploaded by

These are a few silk flower and paper dragonfly ATCs that I've been creating.

I inked up the backgrounds using Adirondak inks and stamped script onto them and then layered printed text onto the cards before adding the final flower with jewel and dragonfly. Available for trade from my Flickr site.

Something Fishy ATCs

Something Fishy ATCs
Originally uploaded by

I was experimenting with background techniques and in the past when I've taken the brayer to the inkpad and brayered it over my card/paper, the result is a smudged muddy effect of colours - not really what I want. So this time I thought let me try putting the card on top of the rainbow inkpad and brayer over the top - well the results were far better and each band of colour was clearly visible and bright.

My next thought was, "what if I don't want to see the separate bands of colour, but instead want to see the colours merge into each other flawlessly?" So I remembered water colour techniques and I dampened my card stock with water and then laid it on top of the ink pad and brayered over it with the brayer and the result was beautiful - jewel like colours bleeding seamlessly into one another, without any muddiness or lines. This is exactly what I was hoping for and when I looked at each card I saw an underwater theme emerge and thought of tropical fishes in the colours of the Mediterranean seas.

I added a bit of dimension to each card by stamping bubble wrap on to the cards with Versamark and then dusting over with mica pearl powders. The shimmer added depth to the cards.

I had some fish greeting wrap from PaperChase, that I'd saved from ages ago and thought that would be perfect, so I cut the fishes out and stuck them on to the backgrounds with foam pads and then added some Beadz Accents to represent the sea bed and coral. To complete the scene I dotted air bubbles to the fish with the end of a pencil dipped into white gesso

I'm really pleased with this series and now they're available for trade -get yours before they swim away! :-D

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Smokey & Laburnum Tree


Remember that abandoned blackbird's nest I was telling you about? well we finally took it down when we realised the bird had flown the coop, so to speak and inside was one tiny speckled blue egg. The funniest thing about this nest was one particular item the bird had chosen to use as its nest building material and that was the Caution label it had twined into its nest. I thought that was so hilarious - almost as if the bird could read and was putting up a notice in its home :-D Click on the pic to get a clearer image of the label.

Anyway, I put it on the lawn to photograph it and Smokey came along to investigate, so I thought, "hey great composition!" and clicked a couple of shots of him and the nest. He wasn't particularly interested in it anyway, besides he likes his eggs scrambled or fried - he's too old in the teeth to start cracking eggs himself :-D

We've been having such beautiful, sunny weather lately and one particular weekend we were in the garden and I was potting some plants and flowers and had my floppy sun hat on to avoid the glare of the sun. After a while of being out in the intense heat, I thought I'd take a little rest on the garden swing and dip into the latest issue of Artful Blogging by Stampington Publications, whilst having a cool drink. I got up to go into the house to get myself some water and within minutes of returning I find Smokey on the swing eyeing my magazine first - cheek of it! :-) I managed, eventually to persuade him to let me read it first and like a good cat he relented :-)

My Laburnum tree was in full bloom last week and now this week all the vivid yellow blossoms are blowing off and are scattering across the lawn like confetti. It's so sad that this tree flowers for so short a while - in a whole year it'll only flower for about 2 weeks and then that's it - doesn't make sense does it? But while it flowers, oh my! I just can't stop gazing at it and thanking God for the beauty of His creation. I love my Laburnum tree, it's given me years of pleasure just looking at it. My kids, when they were little used to climb this very tree and played around on it. I found out later that it's poisonous, but Thanks be to God we've never suffered any harm from it. When it's in bloom it lights up the garden like a golden beacon - I wish it would bloom forever.