Friday, June 27, 2008

Friday Five - 27th June 2008

The hlog five is up bright and early this morning - I'll come back later and add the other Fiver if it appears:

1.) What objects do you lose easily?
You know what? I think I'm getting better at not losing stuff. I used to lose my keys ALL the time. The classic time being when I looked all over for them for ages, gave up, was just about to resign myself to a long walk home in the rain, popped up the hood of the hoodie I was wearing and they shot across the room - they had been in my hood the whole time lol. How they got in there I have no idea.
And I used to always lose vital craft stuff, but since George helped me get organised a while back I've known where everything is.
I still lose my way a lot - does that count? And my crafting mojo has gone missing this week.

2.) What are your plans for Canada Day/the 4th of July?
Neither are desperately relevant, seeing as I'm English. But on Canada Day I'll be at Disneyland Paris which is kind of cool - and I will use that as an excuse to toast my favourite French Canadians :)

3.) Name your favorite tourist attraction where you are from?
I guess the closest tourist attraction to where I live would be Stonehenge. It's still a magical place even if they don't let you right up close to the stones any more.

4.) During what time of the day (or night) do you function best?
It doesn't work every night, because sometimes I get tired and just slump or go to bed early. But every now on then I get on a real roll quite late at night and everything seems to fall into place creatively and I make some of my favourite pieces at 2 or 3am.

5.) If you could have anyone for your brother or sister, who would you pick?
Todd Bertuzzi of course :) He's a great big brother (despite being younger than me, but since when do little details like that matter??)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Please Mr Gillis pleeeease

I know he won't come cheap but he'd be worth every penny.

The world loves yappy pests

Well I do, anyway

And he plays a mean game of hockey too

Pleeeeeeease :)

Can you imagine Darcy on a line with Kes and Burr - the opponents wouldn't even dare come off the bench - it would be like being mauled to death by chihuahuas :D

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tagged - long post, sorry :)

I've been tagged by my clever Craftster pal Tasket Basket out in sunny California with the Mighty Ducks and the LA Kings ... do check out her blog, in particular the amazing handbag she made from old vinyl LPs:

I'm not usually big on tagging, mainly because I don't like the 'pass it on to 5 people' bit, it's almost got a chain letter vibe to it. So I'm not going to tag anyone, but I will answer the questions, because they look kind of fun :)

What was I doing 10 years ago?

Hmmmm - June 1998. Not a good point on my own personal number line.
On the plus side I had just started a new job that I really loved. On the downside, that job kept me in the country / at home - unlike the previous job which had taken me abroad for 4 days a week.
So that meant I got to see a lot more of my very unpleasant husband. The last two years of the marriage (98/99) were by far the worst, so I can safely say that I probably spent much of June 98 crying and nursing bruises.
Life is so much better now, you wouldn't believe :)

What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?

1) answer all these questions :)
2) as well as the above, do lots of work at work cos I am a good hard working worker
3) give out the invitations for Connor's birthday party that I made and addressed last night
4) finish a necklace that I am making for a magazine that I have had total mojo-freeze with --> publication is to Sarah as headlights are to rabbit
5) if I get time, make Connor's autograph book for Disneyland Paris (we're going on Sunday, whoop!!!)

Snacks I enjoy

Ummmm - all the bad stuff - chocolate, cakes, chocolate cakes :) and cheese, pretty much any type of cheese. Fruit too - that's good, right? I do love fruit :) Especially bananas.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire

Give up work for a start :) I know that seems obvious - but if you had asked me the same question a few years ago I would have been adamant that I would want to continue working regardless. I thought I would die of boredom otherwise.

But then I had 14 months off through redundancy, and to be honest, I haven't really enjoyed work since. Well, I have in spurts. But overall I'd love a chance to retire tomorrow and just chill with my little boy, play with my paints, go out geocaching, and maybe get a dog....and a few more tattoos :)

So, that's what I'd do if I was a billionaire. Lead a nice simple laid back creative life which wouldn't cost too much.

Which means I would have tons of spare cash to be generous with, and would therefore sudddenly have lots of friends and a contented conscience :D

Places I have lived

Nowhere particularly exciting

Born on the Essex / East London border
Went to Uni in Coventry and stayed there for 14 years (no - it didn't take me that long to graduate :P )
Relocated to Swindon in lovely Wiltshire around 8 years ago - just yards from the famous magic roundabout :)

Jobs I have had

My first ever job was a Saturday position at the Filofax factory in East London. It was my job to heat seal all the calendars, maps and other little optional inserts that people can buy for their filofaxes, into little plastic baggies. It was the 80s, and Filofaxes were THE yuppie accessory, so we were worked off our feet!! It paid well though - £2.75 an hour - which was much better than the average Saturday job wage at the time.

In my year out before Uni I was lucky enough to secure a place on IBM's fought over pre-grad training programme, which taught me tremendous amounts about computing from PCs through UNIX up to mainframes, and also lots about business in general - they taught us presentation skills, how to write a clear report, etc etc. It was an invaluable experience, and I made many great friends there amongst the other trainees. It was also during my time at IBM that I was seconded out to work with the Sport Aid organisation - I wrote and maintained the database that kept track of all the thousands of fun runs and mini marathons organised around the world for Bob Geldof's sporty sequel to Live Aid. And I got a personal letter of thanks from Sir Bob for my troubles :)

I did Maths and Statistics at University, and ever since graduation have worked in a similar field, just getting more senior along the way. My field is database marketing, and basically this involves using statistical techniques to spot trends in huge collections of transactional data. This helps companies target their marketing efforts and new product development more accurately - in theory reducing the amount of junk mail arriving on your doorstep, and ensuring that if you are approached it is with an offer that's actually relevant to you. That's the plan anyway :)

I have mainly worked as a consultant, both freelance and via agencies - and my work has taken me all over the world - from South Africa to Ireland to Singapore and to the USA. I also had an 8 year stint heading up the customer database team at WH Smith, which was fun at the start but became less so as the company started to lose money and lay off all of my team, including me eventually.

People I want to know more about

My boyfriend, I'd love to know every little detail of the first 45 years of his life before he hooked up with me :) Nosey, aren't I? :)

My ancestors....I know very little about the family who came before me, even my grandparents, only one of whom I ever met and that was when I was 4, so I can't remember her.

Mike Gillis - the new canucks GM - I really don't trust the man, but I can't quite put my finger on why....

and the classic deep hippy answer - me. I'm 41 and I still don't really understand the way my brain works or what I actually want out of life.

Phew - that was a tag and a half!

I kind of like "interviewing myself" like this though, which is why I do the Friday Fives every week - not because I think it's of the slightest interest to anyone else - but I guess it's my equivalent to scrapbooking - something to keep a record of who I am and how I think right now. I back up this blog regularly, and, assuming it survives somehow to the next generation or the one after that, it will give my children and grandchildren a much better understanding of me than I have ever had in relation to my own forbears.

Plus, when I'm old and have forgotten everything, it might help to jog a few of my own neurons into recollection :)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tattooed entry in the altered book

My book is now ready to post off, I've really enjoyed working in it - I hope the other girls do too. It might be the first time some of them have had an Altered Book to play with - but hopefully they will have fun with it. My first time was in a CJ round too - and that inspired me to make one of my favourite CJ entries ever - so hopefully this one will inspire a bit of experimentation too, at least it will give people something a little different to work on.

Here's the intro page for my book:

I used Hambly rub ons for the scrolls (and a Creative Imaginations one up in the top left). The word "celebrate" was cut on my Cricut using SCAL software (which can cut any true Type font). The rest of the title was stamped.

My main entry is pictured at the top of this post.

All the photos are from Modblog (don't click through if you're squeamish!), and are printed onto transparency - because I wanted some of the text from the old book to show through in places, and because I love the intensity of colour you get from a transparency.

Here are some close ups:

The super cool Leopard Girl. Her frame is made from funky foam, heated, stamped, and then painted once it had cooled down and set in shape. The black tribal motif below her was cut from a dingbat font using SCAL/Cricut, and then coloured with black pigment ink and clear embossed.

The white tribal motifs you can just see to the right of her were stencilled with white pigment ink through the waste cardstock left over from cutting the motifs.

This ripped page flap (actually about 5 pages stuck together for sturdiness) was painted black and then oversprayed with red glimmer mist. (The central section where the transparency was going to go was left plain though - with just a bit of white gesso toning down the underlying text a little). Once the transparency was stuck down and outlined with purple metallic pen, I stencilled tribal designs over the top using "watermelon" pigment ink from the new Ranger pigment range (those inks are da bomb!!!! AMAZING coverage over pretty much any surface)

Journalling on the back of the page flap - handwritten with certain words stamped for emphasis - pretty self explanatory. Again over a stencilled design (this time using "snow cap" ink)

I just LOVE the white ink tribal design on this guy's forehead - stunning work. Hard to see in the photo but this chap is set into a niche cut through the pages of the book. I dry brushed some deep purple paint around the outside of the niche to provide a subtle frame. And set some tiny microbeads into the corners.

This guy looks super cool - but that's one look I definitely won't be copying, don't think it would go down too well in the office :) He is set into pearly coloured paint with some red glimmer mist sprayed into the mix. The border of the page has been cut into a zig zag, and then stuck down onto some more pages underneath, just to give a bit of interest/texture to the edge of the page.

And finally a close up of the X as you can't see it all that clearly in the main picture. This was also cut with SCAL - 5 times - and then all the pieces were stuck together to make the letter nice and thick like chipboard. The top X was coloured with watermelon ink and then overpainted with black soot crackle paint. So when it cracked you could see the red beneath. The rest of the "Xtreme!" title was stamped.

I think that's everything. Now I just need to wait 9 months for the book to come home again - it's like waiting for a baby :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

some more late Friday Fivers....

the Friday Fiver:

1. Last party you went to?

Probably my other half's leaving do from work a month or two ago. Unless you count our regular Friday night Heroes & Doctor Who partay :) (Geeks R Us!)

2. Do you pee in the shower?

Ewwwww - no! do you????!!!!

3. Have you ever fired a gun?

Yup - on a range in Florida. It was fun :) Those real ones have a teensy bit more of a kick than my little BB pistol!

4. Where do you call home?
Good question, and I'm not sure I have a definitive answer. Swindon doesn't feel like home to me, although I'm happy to live here for the time being - but neither does anywhere else any more.

5. What's your favorite board game?
I pretty much hate them all :) Trivial Pursuit is probably the least tedious game that I can think of off the top of my head.

the hlog Five:

1.) Do you like little kids? How about 40 hours a week?
Love them in small doses - or even big doses if they are my own little kids :) I wouldn't really fancy working with a bunch of the little terrors, though, no.

2.) Do you plan on watching the NHL draft beyond the first round?
I didn't *watch* any of it, but I've followed it with interest. Welcome to the team Cody :) (and I'm glad I paid attention past the first round, because our 2nd round pick has the coolest name ever - Jann Suave - sounds like a smooth operator, eh? :D)

3.) How do you feel about tattoos?
LOL. I'm quite keen :)

4.) What team do you loathe the most in any sport?
I don't think I loathe anyone. I'm not overly keen on Manchester United, only because there was a time in the 90s you just couldn't get away from them. Over-hype is never good.

5.) Does golf really count as a sport?
I personally find it dull as dishwater, but yes, it's a legitimate sport IMO.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Very late Friday Five

the main Friday Fiver didn't show up this week, but here is the hlog one:

1.) Who do you think most deserved an NHL award?

Much as I'd love to say that Kes deserved to win the Selke, realistically that wasn't going to happen, not this year. He placed 11th, which is not bad, and I honestly believe he could be top 5 next year, if not top 3. It depends how Gillis and AV choose to use him, I guess.

I would have liked to see Bobby in line for the Vezina - but his fade out at the end of the season put paid to that.

So if I had to choose a winner, for the most exciting / valuable player in the NHL in 2007/8 - it would have to be Alex Ovechkin. So I'm glad that the hockey writers agreed and gave him the Hart - well deserved.

Do you not think he's looking more like Richard Kiel every day???

2.) Do you believe that Brett Lebda really dropped the Cup off of Cheli's bar?

It wouldn't be the most outrageous thing that's ever happened to the Cup, by a long chalk! So yeah, why not?

3.) Do you have a dishwasher?

Sore point :) Yes, I have one, but it's dead. I can't afford a new one at the moment so I have been washing up by hand for a few months. It's a pain but not the end of the world....

4.) How many pairs of shoes do you own?

Proper shoe shoes? Not many. Two, I think. But I have about 20 pairs of trainers and 8 or 9 pairs of boots too.

5.) What is your favorite art form?

Mixed media stuff - plus photography, and tattoos.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I promise to attempt to silence my inner goth soon....

But this CJ is called "Black" - what's a girl to do????

The stamp we were to use for this one was a Fleur de Lys. This is one of my very favourite symbols, so I was happy to dive into making this entry.

I coupled the FDL with a grungy stripy barcode-style stamp (a £4 bargain from the Paper Mill) to make railings for my goth girl (Stampotique) and her mysterious estate.

The hill was made from some old sheet music for a hymn. The title of the page is the name of the hymn, cut straight from the music. The house and tree on the top of the hill is a Third Coast stamp. The black splotty spots are a very wet Ranger paint dabber through holey paper.

I was originally going to title this one "Welcome to the House of Fun"....but I prefer the hymn name.... it changes the whole mood from sinister/playful/ironic to melancholy. Soooooooooo emo :)

Die Branson Die!!!

I don't mean it really, I quite like Richard Branson. But his employees leave something to be desired. I've had no internet access at home now since first thing Saturday morning, and they won't be able to fix it until Wednesday.

Classic snippet from approx 4 hours of phone calls.

VM: "Sorry madam, we cannot re-activate your internet access as the modem you are using does not appear to be one of ours"

Me: "but...but...but... your engineer gave it to me, and it has a huge sticker on it that says "PROPERTY OF VIRGIN MEDIA"

VM: "Oh, there must be some other reason then"

Yes, yes there must be. any chance one of you could figure out what it is??????


But I can't keep you good people in suspense any longer re the contents of THE BOX - so I have brought a CD of piccies into work to show you....

Apologies if this blog post ends up being a little rushed/messy, but am busy at work so I can't spend too much time prettying it up...

Anyway - pic at top is how the parcel first looked when I opened it. Like christmas :) And it smelt lovely too.

the great paper many of the gifts were wrapped in - it says "girl can ROCK" :)

the gift bag says I rock, so who am I to argue?? :D

I wonder what's in this interesting looking scroll...?

OK OK enough teasers - onto the pressies!

In no particular order (other than I am saving the bestest till last), here are all my WONDERFUL goodies:

Tattoo themed scissors!!!

a HIM CD :) :) :) (my other half seemed particularly pleased with this and looked ready to spirit it away, but I managed to keep hold of it)

the contents of the mysterious scroll....a Chili Peppers stencil! (as modelled on the outside of the box)

and matching mask :)

POP ROCKS!!!! (my teenagers almost expired with pleasure when I shared these out :))

Custom guitar picks! (or plectrums to us Limeys)

treble clef paper clips - these are so cool

a fab felt chandelier embellishment....

...and matching notecards (these are particularly timely as I had bought some just like these in Canada in March but have nearly used them all up :))

a hand carved Chilis stamp


this last one made me cry....

here's the box, the tag should have been a dead give away:

but I really wasn't expecting this:

a hand carved stamp of my ORCA!!!!

it is PERFECT, no way could I have made one that brilliant - not even on my imagepac.


this is genuinely one of the best gifts I have ever received


Saturday, June 14, 2008

I really really really want to share the contents of the box with you

I really do!

But my internet connection has been playing up since yesterday and I can't upload any pictures to Blogger without it falling over


As soon as I can, I will, promise

Friday, June 13, 2008


Look look look what the postman just gave me


My prize! My prize!

I haven't even opened it yet - I am in love with the box :)

My very own spray painted Michelle Ward original!

And do you see what I see on the back????

A chilis star :)


Going to open it in a bit, will blog again to tell you what's inside :)

Just after I have admired the box some more.....

It's stampy CJ time again, and we're back in outer space...

I've been trying to get away from the black and purple night sky thing - I really have!

But then a CJ turns up with the theme "stars" - what's a girl to do??!!

As well as the theme, we had this Lost Coast stamp to work with:

To be honest I struggled to fit the domino and stripy socks into my whole "comet lady being sucked into a black hole" theme, so I was going to just use the face and the wings, but in the end I used a UTEE face, so I just used the wings....I did use them twice, mind, so I hope that'll make up for it :)

A quick how-to.

The background was painted on canvas, and some stars were overstamped with silver and lilac ink. The border is black crackle paint highlighted with silver wax rub ons. The little dots (supposed to be galaxies being sucked into the black hole - you'll have to give me the benefit of the doubt here :D) were made by dabbing silver paint through a piece of paper mesh with little round holes.

The face is made from a mixture of white UTEE and a pinch or two of red embossing powder, heated and mixed in a melt pot and then poured into a face mould. If you look carefully you'll see it is covered in tiny air bubbles as I overstirred the mixture, but I really like the effect - a happy accident.

The face is set on top of a star, stamped with silver paint on black card and outlined with a Sakura stardust pen. Her wings were stamped in deep purple, coloured in with watercolour pencils and then overcoloured with the stardust pen again.

Her dress is made from muslin, primed with mod podge and then painted with pearl and lilac pearlescent fluid acrylics, and stickles glitter. I sewed all the seed beads on by hand - get me! sewing! - which was one of those things that seems like a good idea at the time, but ends up taking ages (which would be why I have only just finished this CJ entry and it is 2am, yawn)

The dymo'd lyrics are by Muse (Matty, my prophet :))

I think that's everything.

Here it is in the book:

Next CJ I promise no night sky....but I can't promise no black and purple....its theme is "black" and it has a fab fleur de lys stamp which wouldn't look sufficiently royal in anything BUT purple imo.

(stuck in a rut, moi???)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More Little Boxes

I'm on the home stretch now :) 13 down, 8 to go

These four little buildings have one thing in common - they all feature image transfers from a tattoo magazine.

I'd forgotten how easy and how much fun gel medium transfers are from magazine pages - it's a lot easier than from a photocopy - less scrubbing to get the paper off.

I did one transfer into metallic paint on card, one onto cork, one over some vintage sheet music and one onto canvas.

First up a couple of little churches - these were made in pretty much the same way. The main body of each church was made by rubbing green and brown pigment inks over pale yellow textured card, and then sprinkling and heating some bronze UTEE randomly over the inked surface. I then cut the church shape, with a window, and stuck the transferred tattoo image behind. I stamped a Zetti image of filigree arches all over the churches just to add a little detail - and outlined the building and the window with copper Krylon pen. The little cross made from twigs from my garden and a bit of copper wire was the finishing touch.

The next building has a more traditional tattoo image - so I decided to make a tattoo studio for our little community - called the House of Pain :) Way to reassure the clientele :) The image transfer of the dragon tattoo is on a sheet of cork, which gives a nice texture. The roof of the tattoo studio is made from little vinyl brick stickers that I have had forever, and only remembered last night - they are perfect for this project. I have used platinum UTEE for the "cement" in between the bricks. And yes - I know a roof made of bricks is a little unusual :)

Finally I was inspired by the Japanese horse design on my last transferred tattoo to make an Oriental palace. I have a feeling that pagodas are more Chinese than Japanese, but hopefully nobody will mind my cross cultural faux pas.

The Emperor's horse was transferred onto canvas, out of which I cut the pagoda shape freehand. I painted roughly around the horse with red paint and stamped some kanji-like characters in black. Gold UTEE edging and an Oriental charm attached with red brads complete this piece, which was mounted onto card for stability.

I am so enjoying making these little beauties - and also receiving everyone else's, as the swaps are starting to come in now.

Please check out the gallery over the the Little Boxes web page to see some of the miniature masterpieces that have already been sent in - check back every weekend as I add more.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

I raided Connor's crayon stash....

...which turned out to contain precisely ONE crayon - I swear that child eats them.

So - for the latest GPP Crusade - wax rubbings and paint resist - I had one el cheapo orange crayon to play with - it did the trick though :)

Our challenge for this month was to find some interesting textures to crayon rub - and then bring out those textures by applying a wash of paint.

This was great fun - and I got my favourite result from the most unexpected place - the surface of my paper trimmer :)

St Tim's grungeboard also gave an excellent result, as did a Cuttlebug embossing folder.

I did try a couple of rubber stamps too, but found it difficult to get a good impression from these - I had trouble holding the paper still on them.

The photos above are the rubbings before I added paint - at the top of this post you can see the fab resist effect you get from applying a wash of paint over the top and then giving it a bit of a buff with a baby wipe. Here's a close up:

I couldn't wait to use some of these papers on a journal entry - so I used them for the big arrows on my latest A-Z page. J is for job.

I have all sorts of conflicting emotions about work at the moment - best not aired in public :) This page helped me get some of that worked out - especially the journalling on the back of the page :)

Cheaper than therapy, and a lot more fun :)