Tuesday 30 December 2008

The end of 2008

As another year draws to a close, and a new one is ready to emerge, it's a time of reflection of what has been, and what is to come.

New beginnings and new experiences are a bit of a hit with me! I love trying new things, like food or crafting techniques, I also adore travelling to new places, and I certainly have done a LOT of that this year! In fact I kind of feel I need to probably slow down a little and try for more balance this year...I think I probably say that every year! LOL

Maybe this year we will have no choice about slowing down...the economy seems to be doing that for us all ...as a small business we try to be flexibile to adjust and react quickly to most situations, but it certainly is a more pressured and competitive environment as we work our way through these tough economic times.

I think that 2008 will be seen as a real landmark in the world's history. Becuase the world is such a small place these days, the economic trends have affected us all to some extent, no matter where we live.

We will continue to release new products, designs, techniques and ideas this year. It is interesting that "crafting products" was a top selling category for many high street retailers this Christmas. It makes sense that when people have less money to spend, they tend to spend more time in the home rather than out shopping, and crafting-related hobbies are satisfying, you can produce unique items for the home, gifts for friends, or create purely for your own creative pleasure.

We have plenty more squiggly ink designs ready to release in the New Year, as well as botanical and royal themes for the spring release. I am very excited about working with these new stamps. I already have some project sketched out to come to life once the stamps are born!

I hope that as 2009 draws near, you will also continue to be inspired by our ideas and designs. I want to thank you all for your valued support, and I wish you a happy, proseprous and fruitful 2009.

Leandra and Mark

PS. Special thansk to our wonderful Design Team who have continued to provide us with wonderful samples and ideas this year. Thanks to Isa Norris for this fabby 9-panel piece featured at the top of this post, where she has used lots of stamps from the Buttons series. We are going to miss her a lot this year - she and the family have just moved to Canada - good luck Isa!!

Sunday 7 December 2008

The Leandra Bead

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to go to Suze Weinburg's house (Suze is Ranger Industries UTEE expert) while visting the New Jersey area, and I showed her this technique. She has been having loads of fun with it (see her blog) and from there you will see she has called it the "Leandra Bead".

Now that the article I wrote for a UK magazine on this technique has been published for some time, I can share some tips and tricks with you so you can make your own "Leandra beads". No 2 are the same, and there are so many colour options for these. I am even using them as 'finials' (sp?) on the end of a dowel to hang other proejcts from too. It really is a lot of fun. Good luck and let me know how you get on!

I am really drawn to jewellery, and I was thinking there must be some way to stamp, and make a bead that can be used for bracelets, earrings etc. by using the melt pot and UTEE. This is kind of a fondue system, dipping the item into hot UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel) to glaze or cover an item. By using a headpin, you then can easily create a loop for the bead to be attached to a necklace or other finding.
Step One: Stamp you paper and add colour to the paper to determine the colour of your beads. I used dye ink. Wrap your 1cm paper strips (make them wider for longer beads) around a wooden toothpick/ cocktail stick and secure with a little dab of glue. Make all your paper beads to this point. 10 of each colour is a good starting point.Step Two: Put the paper bead on the very end of the toothpick, and dip into the deep end of your MeltPot. Lift, let the excess drip away, then place onto a craft sheet as shown for about 10 seconds to set up.NB. I melted in the MP some Clear UTEE with a teaspoon of UTEE flex. You can also add to this 'to dye for' tints. Just a small drop will change the colour to tint the clear UTEE. The flex prevents the UTEE beads from Smashing or cracking, so they are more durable for jewellery.
Step Three: While the bead is warm, peel it off the craft sheet, remove the toothpick. A bell shaped base should have formed. Push a headpin through the base. The will anchor in the UTEE.Step Four: Now re-dip the bead into the UTEE, allow the excess to drip off again, then keep moving the bead until the UTEE has set up. Don't expect a perfect bead, sometimes they are round, but most often they are kind of pear or bell shaped. Once you get a whole lot on a chain, they look fab. Each is a unique and kind of organic looking creation!Step Five: Additions. After dip 2, you may like to wrap the bead in wire, dip into some bedazzles, perfect pearls or any other items like gold leaf etc that will cling to the hot or warm UTEE. Now re-dip again to trap these items in the glaze. Here are some examples.Some of these have also been dipped into other colours of UTEE such as UTEE Brightz. Of course you can do the whole bead process with any colour of UTEE, and lately I have made some stunning marbled looking beads by melting a mix of brights, clear, metallic and a dab of black or white into the pot togehter.

For marbled UTEE: Pour puddles of each powder into the pot, sprinkle someflex over the top, put the lid on and leave it all to melt. Once it is molten, gently draw lines through the mix with your non-stick spatula 3-5 times to marble the colours. If you over mix it goes 'cack', so resist the urge to mix.

Now dip your bead into the marble mixture. A good idea for marbled beads is to start with a wooden bead (say about 1 inch diameter. If the headpin falls through the hole of the bead, just put a sequin onto the headpin first, then the wooden bead. You can dip this into your marble mix once or twice. Marbled beads also look really good with a glaze of clear over the top.

Step Six: Attaching the bead is easy because of the head pin. Bend in half, thread onto the chain. I use 2 pairs of pliers, One to hold the bent wire , and the other to wrap as shown. You need to ensure there is a gap so that the bead can swing. Snip off the excess from wrapping and you're done!

I hope you enjoy this technique as much as i have! There are loads of way to use this idea - not just for jewelery. They make great "feet" for boxes !

Thursday 9 October 2008

I'm back! And what a blast it was!

Yesterday I got back from 6 days in New Jersey to go to Ranger Industries for their Ranger U education event. This is 3 solid days of technique sessions covering all things Ranger.

Suze Weinburg taught her Melt pot magic, Claudine Hellmuth helped us do wonderful things with her new paints, paint brushes and sticky-backed canvas, and Tim Holtz did all things powder (Perfect Pearls and EP's) as well as his signature lines Distress inks, crackle paints, reinkers in mini misters plus Adirondack things like colourwash, dabbers, pigment and dye inks, alcohol inks....etc etc......OMG we did so much stuff and ended up with great projects from Suze and Claudine to remind us of their sessions, and a massive tag book from Tim's mega techniques.

The new format of this event was superb, and my classmates were all so nice and friendly - we had lots of laughs! Lin, Lisa and I loved the Apple Sangria from Appleby's across the road from Ranger! I guess you can tell that!

Ranger welcomed us the first night with a BBQ cooked expertly by Justin, drinks kept topped up by Alain, and all the extended Ranger family young and old-er came and socialised with us too. We loved it!

Night #2 Linda (LB Crafts) and I were invited out with Lisa Kettell (our table buddie) to go for a meal with Suze and The Lenster (her DH Lennie) , and so we went to their fave Japanese restaurant Koto. I LOVE Japanese food so much, so this was a real treat for me, as there are none near me unless we trek into London, so I savoured every sushi and sashimi mouthful. In fact you can see pics of us on Suze's blog.

After the meal Suze wanted to show us her gorgeous home (what an unexpected and very cool treat for us), so we were invited over to see all the cool stuff she has collected on her travels all over the world. Wow doesn;t even come close! Lin and I were dumbstruck ...yes i know that's hard to imagine, but I think I walked around with my mouth open the whole time.

Lennie gave me some of his own wine (he belongs to a group who bottle their own) and it was superb! Then Suze showed us her studio - what a great set-up, and I got to show her the bead technique I have been teaching over here for a while. She named it the "Leandra Bead" and as she loves black I made her one with a black base dipped in gold perferct pearls, with a touch of metallic foil for that bling zizz! Then next day she turned up at Ranger wearing it as a necklace! How cool was that!

For Ranger U graduation a bunch of the crazy classmates who hang out in the hotel lobby (a lot!) dreamed up the idea of making our won graduation hats, so after about what seemed like half an hour, we finally figured out how to fold paper hats! Yes really it took us ages to "get it", then the next day we had to hide them in our "bun" ovens (ie sit on them) and try to decorate them in secret so the "teachers' didn't find out! Suffice to say there was a lot of colour spraying going on in the ladies loos! And so that is why we look a bit silly in our graduation photos. We gave TIm Suze and Claudine their own so they could play along too....In our grad phot is the lovely Lori (Ink about It), Lin, Lisa and Leandra...the 4 L's!!!

Linda and I did some retail therapy on Monday - but that's another whole story! So now back to the reality of getting caught up on work. Mark did really well staying on top of everything....even the washing, while I was away. Of course he left the ironing for me...so i did that yesterday after I got home and it kept me awake through the jet lag.

Oh and I almost forgot...yesterday was Mark's birthday...so after the kids and he opened all the goodies I brought back for them we went out to Zizzi in Brentwood for a meal (Italian). The kids devoured all the olives, bread and salami starter in a snap, and then we all tested each others meals and desserts. It was a really great evening, and much better than me trying to cook.....remember by now I have been awake for about 40 hours solid, so that was pretty good going to even make it to the restaurant. I think the glass of bubbly, followed by a scrummy italian red wine was perfect to make sure I slept well when I got home!

If you want step outs of the "Leandra Bead" then you can see it in this month's Craft Stamper (November issue). Also Jo Firth-Young Has a great article in there (the cover article actually - YAY for Jo), and we are doing a special offer on the stamps used in her pop up card...so check it out now and don't miss out!

Today we went out and filled Mother Hubbards cupboards with food, so now I'm catching up on emails and realising there is a heck of a lot to get done before I'm off once again! I have a couple of gigs in the UK this month, then it's off to France next month!

Keep stamping...have you got the Xmas bug yet???

Tuesday 30 September 2008

ArtsyCrafts New Events coming soon

Hi bloggers I just have to let you know aout 2 more events that I am teaching with Linda Brown of LB Crafts.

Event 1: Gothic Arch, Sunday November 23rd, 9am-5pm.
At our first ArtsyCrafts weekend event in early September, this arch
was so popular that we have had requests from many people who missed the weekend and even those who did attend, to teach this stunning class again. Here is your chance to come to a great one day masterclass

Class description: A Gothic Arch shaped wooden frame decorated with a variety of metal-working techniques, to surround a fabric-stamped interior with colour co-ordinated UTEE beads dangling from the base.

Class Content:
Metal techniques such as
  • how to colour with paints, alcohol inks and glimmer mists,
  • how to use metal with moulds, the cuttlebug and metalworking tools (like scootchy/ texture wheels, wire brushes and ball & cups to name a few),
  • how to embellish metal with stamped and embossed images.
Stamping Techniques such as
  • how to stamp onto fabric, and colour the images,
  • how to embellish your stamped work with stitching & beads
UTEE Techniques such as
  • how to make your own beads from UTEE (Ultra thick embossing enamel)
  • how to make beads with extra pizazz (metal leaf, perfect pearls, wire)
  • how to fix these beads onto your project or onto bracelets
How to book your place:
Click on this link, download the information sheet, complete the booking form and return it to LB Crafts ASAP.

Event 2: Altered Arts Weekend Event, March 21 & 22, 2009
Another great weekend opportunity to learn loads of stamping, metal work
ing and altered arts techniques. For beginners and experienced alike, the most important thing to bring is a pair of non-stick scissors. We'll provide all the other supplies you need! Yes really!

Linda Brown (LB Crafts) and L
eandra Franich (PaperArtsy) are both innovative, experienced teachers who will teach you many ideas with stamps, metal, paints, inks, glimmer mists and beyond! We will explore many techniques across a variety of projects and surfaces which will leave you excited and confident to incorporate these ideas on all kinds of other items you make in the future.

Comments from previous attendees:

"What a fantastic weekend, I don't know where the time went! Crammed full o
f technique fuelled projects and I have learned so much. Thank you Lin and Leandra I've had a blast" (L.G.)

" Leandra and Linda were so helpful and showed so many great techniques. Definitely value for money. Wouldn't hesitate to come again!"

"The whole weekend was a fantastic event. Well organised, gr
eat company, and we made the most gorgeous projects. Can't wait till the next one" (J.G.)

" Wonderful weekend, especially for a senior citizen and novice in the world of Arts who only came because a friend wanted company!"

"Fabulous weekend, it was evident huge planning and preparation had gone into the event, and this paid off in terms of great organisation and enjoyment for the attendees! It was brilliant to try so many techniques I had read about in magazines but have been too nervous to try on my own!"

Booking information: Please click on this link to download detailed information about this event, and instructions on how to secure you place.

Monday 29 September 2008

Weekend at Ally Pally

This weekend I had a very enjoyable time demoing for LB Crafts at the Alexandra Palace Big Stamping and Scrapbooking show, North London. It only takes me about 40 mins to drive there from our East London location, so it is probably one of the closest shows to us.

Lin has lots of exciting things to demo on and with, so I was given abundant goodies such as glimmer mists and Glimmer Screens, Distress Inks, Ten Seconds Studio metal, the Cuttlebug, shrink plastic and lots of PaperArtsy stamps to play with too (of course).

In most of the samples I used the same basic background technique: smooch a pale distress ink DTP (usually Scattered Straw, and a secondary colour at the edges), then spray heavily with 2-3 glimmer mists. Dry.

Now you have a base on which you can use a Glimmer Screen. Position the screen (stencil) across a corner, and spray over it with a darker Glimmer mist. Blot with a paper towel, then remove the screen and dry.

Now add some background stamping. I love the new script mini MN44 it is very classic, and looks fab no matter what you stamp it on! I also used Squiggly Mini 15 (the bubbles), becasue with the bubbles you can punch through the holes, or colour the spots in with white gel pen, or add bling onto spot....or do all three!

On to this background I would either stamp and often emboss an image in black, or lay another image on top, like this green and blue sample.

I have noticed the sparkly mica in glimmer mist backgrounds often prevents dye ink images from stamping up as brightly as normal. One way to overcome this is to stamp your feature image(s) in black pigment ink, and then emboss with clear Embossing Powder. note the difference in black on this "partridge" sample. The script was stamped in archival Jet Black, then dried. "Percy" Partridge was stamped in Pitch Black Adirondack Pigment Ink, then embossed with Clear EP, as were the dragonflies in the other sample.

I also found that colouring these images with a wet paint brush dipped directly onto distress inks is a nice way to make the featured images pop on the background. Look at the dragonflies and Percy in some of these examples.

So what did I do to that red dragonfly? A few posts back I talked a bit about the texture technique i discovered using glossy accents and gold EP. So this time I put glossy accents on the red wings, sprinkled heavily with polysparkle EP, then heat set until the glossy accents fizzes, pops and crackles and finally sets hard. I rubbed over the texture with a tiny amount of Gold Acrylic Paint Dabber. The cool thing about this idea, is that if your ink is still wet from colouring the wings when you apply the glossy accents, the glossy accents will also become stained by the Distress Ink.

So the last phase of these creations is to add some embellishments. And this has quickly become my totally favourite part of the card because we now have so many flower stamps to choose from, and i keep finding more and more things to do with them.

1. Stamp flowers onto shrink plastic: clear, transcluscent, cream or canvas white. I sprayed the shrink with glimmer mists before shrinking, and added bling centres after shrinking!
2. Stamp flowers onto metal, either coloured metal, glimmer sprayed cream metal, alcohol inked metal or simply shiny metal! Use stazOn solvent ink as it dries fast, and won't smudge when you cut out the images.
3. Stamp flowers onto acetate.Again leave it clear, or colour with alcohol ink on the reverse side. try metallic pens on the reverse too.
4. Stamp flowers onto GrungeBoard. This flexible thick product becomes soft when heated, so its easy to shape the petals when the grunge is warm. They will hold their form as it cools. Grunge can be inked, painted, sprayed, so a family of grunge flowers is lots of fun!
5. Stamp flowers onto canvas. Ranger has a new product from Claudine Hellmuth. It's a sticky backed white canvas. You can ink, paint and spray with Glimmer Mist, and stamp flowers onto the canvas. Try sticking the stamped canvas onto scrapping paper. I love sticking the canvas onto metal, because then you can shape the leaves, you can also add texture to your metal-backed canvas flower by running it through a cuttlebug embossing folder! How cool is that!
6. Stamp flowers onto backgrounds you have specifically made to match the colours of your piece.

Now you have a cazillion flowers on all kinds of layers, and all kinds of sizes, you can have a ball layering them either onto each other, or using them individually.

All of these samples have been made using stamps from PaperArtsy's Squiggly Ink: Egg & Nog or Tops & Tails stamp plates. I hope this helps you with some ideas to get cracking on this year's Christmas Cards!

Enjoy your creativity, and try something new today!

Monday 22 September 2008

Weekend at The Craft Barn

Last weekend (13/14 Sept) I was at the Craft Barn along with 15 other demonstrators for their demo weekend. It was so busy, that i didn;t get a chance to look around at what everyone else was demoing, but it was heaps fof un to see so many familiar faces, and to meet many news ones too!

I was asked to demo our new Egg and Nog stamps from the Squiggly Ink Collection which we just released at the start of this month. There are 10 stamps in the collection, and like the rest of the squiggly family, the more you use them the more you get addicted to them!

First I want to show you a layout I did...yes that's right...I did a L/O!!! We often get asked for photos of Mr & Mrs PA for magazines, so mark put a sign up on the outside of PA World HQ, set up the camera and then we stood there and mostly made dumb faces at each other. This was about the only normal pic...and so I said I'd scrapbook it!

I used My Minds Eye Christmas Papers in blues/ browns. The gorgeous large scroll-style tree is from SIEN8, and is actually stamped onto cream metal which had been sprayed with glimmer mists. Then some xmas bling had to adorn the trees. All the flowers are from the new Egg and Nog stamps (Plates 2,4,7 & 10). I stamped onto the papers in black pigment ink (Ranger) and then embossed with clear EP, cut out and layered up. I adore these flowers, they work so well on grunge, metal, acetate, shrink plastic and also you should try them on Claudine Hellmuths sticky backed canvas, a new product from Ranger Industries. In fact, if you put metal on the back of the flowers you can form the shape really effectively like this sample.

So now to some of the samples I made while demoing this weekend.

In this one featuring flower stamps from Egg and Nog, and the Dragonfly from SITT2, you can see the flowers stamped onto acetate or shrink. I find with the shrink, you can spray it first with an ink diluted in a mini mister, or with a glimmer mist spray. These pale sprays will certainly intensify quite a lot as they shrink and dry, and while hot they can be moulded into nice shapes. I also find you can nestle 2 different sizes inside each other, then let them cool. Bling looks nice in the centres too. Glossy accents will secure bling, and shrink to the card.

While we're on the topic of Dragonflies for a minute, this one turned out quit nice and bright too. The background was brayered Spiced Marmalade Distress Ink and then overstamped with SM08 in the same colour. The flower from SIEN4 was stamped in Aged Mahogany. This was also stamped onto a scrap, applied as a mask, and Aged Mahogany was softly smooched around the edges to make the flower pop gently. Next the dragonfly from SITT3 was stamped in Pitch Black pigment ink, and embossed in clear EP to make it pop. The small dots on the wings were random;ly highlighted by the Inkssentials White Gel Pen (Ranger Industries). Paper Flowers and buttons from Making Memories embellish the edges of the card.

The Birds on a wire is a delightful stamps from SITT2. On this sample the background was Distress Inks smooched DTP onto the card (Scattered Straw, Spiced Marmalade). Then glimmer mists were sprayed over the top and dried. A tree mask (Tattered Angels), was positioned to the right, then Glimmer Mists darker than the background were sprayed over the mask. Blot, then lift the mask and dry. Now stamp the birds in black, dry, and colour with Distress Inks and a paintbrush dipped into water. The door is a bit like a Narnia door into another world (I stamped small trees behind it) and the door in the lower part of the house from SILK1. It was stamped onto copper metal. Again, you can see the flowers have been stamped onto shrink plastic. Too cute!

Now for some Christmas samples. A few of these have elements as accents that have been stamped onto copper metal and added to the cards. This is a great way to introduce a contrasting texture into a card , layout etc.

Thanks for dropping by, This coming weekend I'll be demoing at Ally Pally on the LB Crafts Booth, so come by and say Hi if you're going to be able to make it to the show in London. It's on both Saturday and Sunday, and is one of my favourite shows on the UK calendar.

Sunday 21 September 2008

ArtsyCrafts Weekend

It was only 3 weeks ago, but I must tell you about what a fantastic weekend event we jointly organised with Linda and Mark from LB Crafts. Called ArtsyCrafts, we had 40 enthusiastic women come and learn loads of ideas and techniques with all kinds of products. We have anohter planned for early 2009, so if you want to know about that stayed tunded to this blog!

We had 9 sessions planned for the weekend, and made some very stunning projects if I say so myself! I would have loved to be a participant at this event! Linda and I had so much fun designing these projects together, so it was cool that each project had in put from us both.

This is the 'birdcage' inspired by a project Sue Roddis taught at Katy's Corner Stamp Camp earlier in the year. Sue did many more layers to the sides of her box, and had a different feature on the top, but the core of this idea was certainly inspired by her.

You might just be able to see the colourful birds from Tops and Tails plate 2 stamped and coloured on a tall strip of acetate insdie the box. the acetate was formed into a circle so the birds looked as if they were sitting on a piece of twig inside the 'cage'. That sits on a metal plate secured in the base of the box, and metal- stamped windows also give the box good strength. The little house on the top is a new squiggly mini (#18), I'm loving that stamp a lot these days!

Another fun class was the metallic niche. This cute little slide mailer was stamped and embellished. The cover was texturised with a technique developed by linds for which you must own a 'gloopy stick' - one of those terms coined by me.......a 'Leandra-ism'. Those of you who know me will understand all about my weird words for items that have no name. Anyway, once armed with a gloopy stick, some paint and embossing pwder you can make this background.

Inside we decorated with SILK plate 1 (shrunk of course) ...one person's house shrunk in a really wonky manner and we loved it! Reminded us of the crooked man in his little crooked house!

The central piece was the 'Gothic Arch'. Using metal, we made pieces to cover the Arch-shaped frame. Each piece was a different technique incoprorting metal moulds, stamping, the cute little cuttlebug, alcohol inks, paints and more. For those ladies for whom metal working was a new experience they were really thrown into the deep end and they loved it, and totally got into it. It was so exciting to see people take our ideas, and then use the technique but doing it in their own preference of colour, pattern and layouts. The one on the left her is my sample distressed with black paint, and touches of blue alcohol ink.

Everyone was so pleased with their frame as it took shape, and no 2 frames were the same. Mark got some fantastic photos of this class in progress. Some of which are featured here. Some people did less colour, and others more, but they all looked totally stunning!

The finishing touch to the frame was a row of UTEE beads to dangle across the bottom. A lot of people thought these were bought beads, so when they realised they were going to make their own fro this frame they were amazed! So we each made our own blobbie-balls to dingle from the frame. Brilliant! Instuctions for making these beads will be in the next issue of Craft Stamper magazine (UK) out in shops the first week of next month.

We also made a great Xmas canvas, but a slightly different version of that will be a project in a future Craft Stamper Magazine, so I'll keep that one under wraps for now.

We are already planning the next event sceduled for March 2009, so start saving, you won't be disappointed! We'll be making an announcement in the next few weeks with all the nitty gritty details.

Tuesday 19 August 2008

Summery Flutters

I recently received these gorgeous samples from Jo Firth-Young, one of our Design Team members. I have known Jo for many years. We originally met when she started coming to our monthly classes in Hutton, Brentwood. That was way before we started manufacturing rubber stamps!

Jo has always had what i think of as an elegant, classic style with a modern twist. Her attention to detail is perfeclty spot on. We were all so excited when her first time published she got front cover of Stampington Wedding Issue. How cool is that!

So here are the lovelies she did for us with our new Tops and Tails stamps - these are in my favourite colours, hot pink and orange. Jo generally tends to use soft pastel shades, so this is very bright for her, and I adore it. Stamping onto the AB page for the wings is a great idea, and little wire accents for antannae or tails makes a nice embellishment.

This 3 panel piece works well with the little touches of black accents from stitching, ribbon , flowers and trim. I bought one of those teeny tiny sewing mahines a while back (just for crafting) I keep forgetting to get it out and use it more.

I am so in love with transparent art at the moment too. It takes a while to get your head around how to make both sides work well, but they are neat as hanging pieces, expecially if you have a bright wall to pop the colour off against.

This card is a simple piece using quite thick acetate. This stuff scores and folds nicely and has good support for layouts or cards. Here you can see the background more clearly (same as 3-panels) The white butterflies are embossed.

Here is a nice close-up of the 3 panel piece. I really like buttons on top of flowers. Anything that adds texture or dimension as an embellishment makes a piece more interesting.

The stamps jo used are Tops andTails 2, Tops andTails 3 and Squiggly Mini 13.

As a special offer valid until 30 September 2008, buy all 3 stamps on EZ mount for 19.50GBP (saving yourself 4.00GBP). Go here to buy these items.

Friday 4 July 2008


Hi everyone

We have had a great few weeks here. Last weekend I taugh a great group of textile artists some paper techniques, and the weekend before that i was up in Lancashire at Katy's Corner Stamp Camp - what a great time!

Now I can finally let you know about aweekend event called ARTSYCRAFTS that I am organising with Linda Brown from LB Crafts. Go here to see all the nitty gritty. You will find all the info you need to know, and a downloadable info & booking form.

Here are the basic details.

Event name: ArtsyCrafts
Dates: Sept 6 & 7
Location: DeVere Venue - Harben House, Newport Pagnell (5 mins from Jn14 of the M1), UK.
Classes: altered arts, technique loaded, 9 sessions in total!
Tutors: Linda Brown & Leandra Franich
Cost: 250.00 GBP

The classes are so fab, and the whole weekend is going to be thoroughly enjoyable. I hope some of you can make it! Go here to read all about it and download a booking form. Looking forward to seeing some of you there!

have a great weekend


Sunday 15 June 2008

Tops and Tails

We have had loads of fun selecting new stamps to release this month, and the result is "Tops and Tails".

These 6 plates are jam-packed with wonderful flowers, unique dragonfly (ladies?), as well as pretty summery treats.

When I first started stamping about 13 years ago, I used to collect dragonfly stamps. They are so versatile, and I really enjoyed making them to use as embellishments, so I am really excited about this particular release ..... I couldn't wait to tell you all - I haven't even made any samples yet!

New Trends for Summer
Have you noticed how these guys are having another comeback this summer? The World's largest trade show (CHA) where all the big craft companies of the world come together to launch new products was held in Anaheim, California earlier this year, and there were certainly a healthy smattering of winged things in many new releases. Silver embossed papers with glitter trails featured butterflies and dragonflies of all sorts of styles. They were very striking and beautiful. It seems that dragonflies and butterflies do the rounds about once every 5 years, but they never really go out of fashion, they are always popular.

Ideas for these stamps
You can colour these winged beauties, use them for backgrounds in a tone on tone style, but my favourite thing I used to do most often was to cut out and
layer them up. I would stamp up a storm, then sit in front of the TV in the evenings trimming out all the dragonflies. The base would be plain-ish card (coloured or white), and then I would stamp the wings in vellum so you could almost see through, or acetate, or a different coloured cardstock. Armed with wire for antannae and sicky foam pads I would layer wings and antannae onto the base piece. I bought some cool pink, blue and green wire recently and I think those, with 2 small seeds beads for the 'blobs' will be a perfect touch to a simple card. Sometimes the wings would get a touch of holographic glitter glue. They seem to need that little bit of glitzy sparkle. These embellishments are perfect finishing touch on a wrapped gift, just pop one on the ribbon, and then one on the matching gift tag.

I think these doodle style images also look lovely stamped and embossed - not just for look, bit this can also serve a good purpose: if you emboss its easier to colour keeping within the lines, and when you use watercolour pencils, crayons or paints embossing helps your puddles stay within the designated area!

Winged summer creatures suit all kinds of cards for all kinds of people, young, old, male or female. If you'd like to add some of these to your collection, they are available to order online now.

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As a summer gift to you, all orders over 25.00GBP get free shipping - worldwide! You need to use this coupon code in the cart to qualify for the offer: T&TBLOG

NB.This offer is valid for 15 days from today, and expires on June 30th, 2008.

PS Don't forget to check out the new minis...they are gorgeous, I'll post later in the week with some examples!