Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Wet, Wet, Wet

I know I know, I have been an appalling blogger, but time has got away from me so drastically I just don't seem to have 5mins to breath. But enough of excuses I will try and share some of the stuff I have been working on, starting with some of the new montage bits. I love this technique, it is simple effective and creates stunning backgrounds. You basically stamp with water!! How easy is that? Now the tricks to getting a good result with this technique are, you need nice bold stamps, they don't have to be big just bold or solid designs, and plenty of water! So first ink your background up with a distress ink, then fold up a piece of kitchen towel into a wad, and wet it, really wet it! This is now your "ink pad" simply press your stamp into the wet towel, and stamp onto your inked background, hold in place for a couple of seconds with a good bit of pressure and the remove. Watch the colour fade as it dries. Repeat randomly over the background. To finish off stamp in the same colour randomly over the background to provide more depth with the darker shade of colour. Ready to use it on your project!

Happy Crafting


Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Montage stamping!!

Way back in 2007 we bought a little stamp making machine and we started to make our own stamps, it all started with a little flower. Well at that points Stamps Away was born. I was not a confident stamper by any stretch of the imagination but I discovered what you could do with even the smallest of stamps, so we started our Montage Range. They were popular and I started demoing with them at the retail shows. So over the next few years these little stamps have ticked along nicely, but as I became more confident at stamping and we had the amazing Pilkington artwork they got left behind a little. Until now, now they are back and better. We have taken all aspects of the business, and joined them together to make a complete stamping system. We knuckled down, filmed another DVD and here we are. So I thought I would share a few of the samples over the week of my stamping babies, where it all started. In the next post I will also do a little tutorial as well but I thought it would be nice to see how we have reconnected with our stamping roots!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Just a quick post...

Boy where has time gone!! This whole year is just whizzing by and I am running to catch up, I might pass myself going the other way at this rate. This is just a quick post really just to share some of the samples from the last couple of weeks and to say watch out for a major launch of some exciting stuff on 16th August and I will also be demoing it all at The Great British Craft Festival that weekend, so it is head down and sample sample sample. All I can say is it revolves around one of my favourite styles of stamps, that we have made for years but combining it with our other products to make it awesome!! Right back to already dine stuff. The below butterfly card was created just using the beautiful botanical washables, all I did was coloured the butterflies with a distress market, and the used clear embossing powder over the top, hear set it from behind to make it nice and glassy. Then I roughly colour in the flowers again with my distress markers, spritzed them with water so the colours bled, allowed it to dry and the did a light inking with antique linen to take away any remaining whiteness. Die cut, inked and glazed the flower embellishment and we were done! Simple. The second photo is a similar technique just a different paper.

Keep crafting

Ali xxx

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Ways with washables!

I love the washables because I love to be in creative control. I love to have options, I like to have choice and I like to do what I want in what ever colour. So the idea of washables was born, they are the burger king of the paper world, you have it your way! Now because they are printed on the beautiful stamp and colour paper they ink brilliantly, so all the inky techniques in previous posts work on washables, but have the added bonus of that design shining through. A really easy and effective use of washables is a nice crayon resist technique. I used the bauble washable from the Christmas pack for this. I then took a white crayon and added highlights to the edges of the design. Then all over the top with with a distress ink, where the white crayon is you will see the design pop! Buffed it with a bit of tissue, just to remove any residue ink off the wax, and my own designer paper is finished. A candle can also be used for different effects.
Nothing I do is overly complicated it might be different but not difficult, so. give it a go.

Happy Crafting


Thursday, 12 July 2012

Upon Reflection

Our beautiful new riverside wildlife stamp set contains the most stunning Kingfisher stamp, it is adorable! But as soon as I got it I knew I had to reflected him, but me and brayers do not get on..... So I decided to use another easier more Ali friendly technique. First I needed to create the water effect and again this is usually a brayering technique, so I improvised, screwed up a sandwich bag, dabbed it in the ink pad and on to the paper, instant ripples! Just be careful to mot over do it as you can lose the effect. Normal inking gave the effect of sky. Background complete now on to creating the reflection, all I did was stamp my kingfisher with black soot distress ink onto a piece of acetate, the ink does not dry on this so it means you can turn it over and press it down onto your water effect, gently rub it and you will see the image darken as it is transferred. Remove the acetate and then just stamp the kingfisher normally above the reflection. This technique is perfect for this type of reflection as it doesn't give you a perfect image it really looks like there is movement in the water. I then coloured it in with promarkers, making the reflection slightly less intense with the colours. Job done!

Give this a go you will be surprised how effective it is!

Happy Crafting


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Simple is best

Well sometimes the simplest of techniques can create the most wonderful cards. And colour blocking is one of those techniques, quick, simple but stunning! All you need to do is select your stamp, and the acrylic block you are going to stamp it with (now make sure your block is clean!!) select a couple of nice distress inks (or a Big and Juicy pad) and swipe the colours on to your acrylic block, always apply the lightest colour first to avoid contaminating your ink pads. Now spritz it with some water and stamp it onto some paper (not too close to the edge as a nice white border is effective!) making sure you really squished it down. Now lift the block off, trying to lift the lightest ride first as the colour can pool a little. Set it aside to dry, I sometimes mop up the excess with some kitchen towel but you don't need to. Let it dry. When fully dry overstamp with black your chosen image. The finishing touch comes from a free hand black line around the colour block. Simple bit effective!!
Now just a little note my Paper Clinic for Create and Craft has been moved to 30th July but that gives me time to do more experimenting!!

Keep crafting


Monday, 9 July 2012

Plaid and simple!

I am a sucker for patterned paper, I really am, but I also get frustrated when I don't have the right colours to suit my project. So I inevitably end up making my own. From these frustrations washables were born, printed papers specifically designed for you to ink yourself in your colour scheme, enabling you to create your own designer papers. Plus it is all printed on our beautiful stamp and colour stock, which is carefully selected to take inks wonderfully. Meaning all your favourite ink techniques work perfectly. My favourite of this background making session wa my plaid effect. All you need is a couple of distress ink pads and a wet wipe (still wet) fold the wet wipe up to form a pad, then dab the folded edge into the different colours of ink, so you have spots of colour along the edge. Now drag those colours diagonally across the paper, so it leaves streaks of colour. Repeat the process until the paper is covered with diagonal lines, I then repeat with diagonal lines across the other way to complete the plaid look! Great for men cards, quick and simple, plus helps clean all the mica and embossing powder off your ink pads!! Give it a go

Happy Crafting

Ali xxx

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Double Embossed!!

Double trouble, not with this technique. I love embossing with my masks, the texture, the dimension and the array of effects you can create. But I always thought it was a once type of technique, I have heat embossed on top of embossing, but never embossed embossing. Well until now!! Having seen the stunning effects a lady got at a workshop when she re-embossed her card because she was not happy with it, I knew it had potential as a planned technique! So when I got my inky mitts on the new snowflake frame, I knew this was the mask to play with! Now in order to create the full effect with this one I did need to use my Grand Calibur, and all I did was emboss the mask on the middle of a piece of stamp and colour paper, I then rotated the mask, so it lined up with the embossing to create a full wreath effect, and embossed it again. At this point the first embossing can look a little flat, but don't panic, ink it (my motto in life, if in doubt ink it!!) Then watch the depth appear, it really appears that the second embossing is in front of the first, I love it!! When happy with the inking I brushed a bit of mica on to add something extra, stamped and die cut a Christmas stamp, matt and layered it all and, there you go!! Simple!!
I am also pleased to give you some dates for your diary (so you can avoid me if you want!!) I have Create and Craft shows on 6th July, 12th July and.......drum roll please.... Paper Clinic 16th July!!
Ok folks happy crafting
Ali xx

Friday, 22 June 2012

What do you do when you don't have what you want?

Well make it yourself off course...
I was making card samples for my show on Create and Craft and I wanted a fancy doily to matt my embossed design on to but I had a problem (one of many I hear you shout!) I didn't have a doily. So while out walking the dogs I was pondering
this quandary and thought "doilies are die cut tissue, so if u could die cut tissue I could make my own". As I had plenty of kitchen towel (being a messy crafter one needs plenty around) I thought I would give it a go. So when back from walking the dogs I grabbed my edge dies and cut myself a fancy kitchen towel. But it still looked like kitchen towel, so I inked it with distress ink, while it was still damp sprinkled on embossing powder, heat set, brushed on some mica, hear set again and voila I had my fancy doily! And I could finish my sample. Below is the one I made on air but I live these colours more, my beautiful gathered twigs distress ink. So apologies that it is a Christmas card but had to share the technique!!

Happy crafting

Ali xxx

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sooty and Stamp!

This is one of those techniques that I love and the effects are outstanding, but please when you try this yourself please please take care, I always do this in the kitchen near the sink! You need to take a piece of glossy card and a candle, light the candle and then with the glossy side face down pass the card backwards and forwards over the flame, move quickly and with the flame just touching the card. You will see the flame starts to coat the card in soot but not burn the card, take care near the edge of the card. Once you have a good coating of soot (you may need to do a few passes over each area) take a perfectly clean stamp and stamp into the soot, and as you remove the stamp you will see the stunning result. Take care not to scrap off any soot until you fix your piece, I use proper pastel fixative and put a generous coating off it down. I love the effect of this technique but please take care when doing it, and give your stamp a good scrub with warm water and an old toothbrush to get the soot off it!


Happy Crafting


Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Wet, wet, wet

And we are not just talking about the weather, although that is pretty wet too! But I am talking stamping... Wet Stamping, a really easy and effective technique. This technique works wonderfully with your dye pads such as distress inks and big and juicy pads, and stamps such as leaves and flowers. The paper or card you use will give you different effects, I find an uncoated cardstock let's the colour spread, where as a glossy card grabs the colour quickly. Start by inking up your stamp, for cards in this post I inked up with two colours, applying them roughly where I wanted them, but you don't have to be too careful (any body who knows me knows careful or delicate are not words I know!!) Now spritz your card stock with plain water, making sure you have a good covering, then simply stamp onto this soggy card. I often do 2 impressions to get different intensities with the colours. Now try and let it dry naturally so the colours spread nicely. Once it is dry you can then over stamp the image with a good dark colour, lining it up as best you can so the colours show through the stamped design. It is that simple!! Use small stamps to create your own designer backgrounds! I love this technique as it gives you a soft effect and looks stunning, go on five it a go!

Happy Crafting

Ali xx

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Busy Busy

Well it is going to be a busy few weeks, we have soo many exciting products being developed it is great. We have new stamp designs and masks, I don't know where to start. But I can say I have beautiful natural stamps on Create and Craft this Friday and new transport stamps on 28th June!! So watch this space!
Right back to current things, as you know I love to experiment with my masks and see what effects you can create with them. And I have to say I do love the vintage look you can get by combining inking and embossing with a smidge if mica! Simply ink up your mask with a pale distress ink (antique linen works a treat), then emboss it into some card, so the ink is lifted off the mask. Now select a slightly darker distress ink, but not too dark (pumice stone or similar)! And ink the design working the ink well in, then move to a slightly darker colour, I like Spanish olive, and build up some of that, then finally end with a good dark colour such as walnut stain, just enough to highlight the embossing. While the ink is still damp, dust with a lovely mica powder, and watch the design just pop. You will never know it started a plain white card.

Happy Crafting


Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Well a lot to share....

Firstly sorry, not sure where the last month has gone, honestly this year is just whizzing by! But I have a fair few techniques and projects to share with you. Which I will do over a few posts. I have recently done a couple of DT spots for PanPastels Here is the latest, loving the effects you can get with these pastels.
To acheive this aged vintage look, I took a lovely foliage stamp, inked and stamped with perfect medium and then brushed a dark green Pan Pastel over the image, this picked up all the detail and distressed the back ground a little. I then set this with some pastel fixative as I needed to ink all over the top with Perfect medium and did not want to spoil the lovely detail. After inking all over the image I applied Ultra Thick embossing powder, heat set and then repeated for 2-3 layers, so I had a nice smooth glazed covering. I then popped the glazed image in the freezer for 10 mins. This make the glazing go brittle and allows you to bend and crack the embossing to give it that aged look. This was then matted and layered on to the card. The final touch came from using the Pan Pastels to create my own vintage washi tape. I took a length of masking tape, stuck it to an old plastic bag, so I could work on it with out removing any of the stickiness. I then stamped the same image as the topper, along the masking tape in Perfect medium, again brushed on the Pan Pastels (using the same colours to ensure it all tones beautifully) working the pastels in well so they highlight the texture of the masking tape. I then tore the tape in to smaller pieces and applied the fixative spray again, as the nature of masking tape does mean if not fixed the design will rub off over time (remember to tear first as the fixative spray makes the tape harder to tear!) I then applied the tape as accents on the card as a nice alternative to ribbon.
The masking tape works wonderfully with mica as well, give it a go. Anyway back to making samples for Friday at 11am and 4pm, see you then. Happy Crafting Ali xx

Friday, 20 April 2012

Coffee any one?

I love the antique effect card and papers but what do you do when you don't have any to hand when you need it? Well you make your own don't you...
All you need is normal white card, a stamp and ink pad (I used memento, distress inks might bleed to much so you will lose most of the image) a spritzer bottle of water, and a pinch of coffee (instant any brand, but I find the granules better than the powder!) So simply stamp your image on to your card, I then spritz well with water, don't worry if the ink runs a little it adds to the effect. When the card is really wet, sprinkle a few grains of coffee on to it, let the coffee disolve and spread (you may find warm water helps the coffee spread) Let it all dry naturally (this adds to the effect with the real water marks)
It looks fabulous just left like this but if you want to take it further this lends itself to crackle glazing it. Although there are crackle glazes available on the market, I love to use my ultra thick embossing powder to do it, as it is so easy and it uses stuff I always have to hand! When fully dry apply versamark or similar clear ink all over the image, and apply a layer of clear embossing powder, heat and repeat for a couple of layers so you have a good even glaze finish. Then pop your topper in the freezer!! 10 mins should do the trick. This makes the surface brittle and you can then bend the card and cracks will appear. The background is a piece of industrial wrapping embossed and inked, then torn around the edges, then you carefully make small inward tears about every half ink, allowing you to roll them inwards. The more you fiddle with these edges the better they look, so I often will make up the card and then continue to ruffle them!
So why not wake up and smell the coffee, or even better craft with it!

Happy Crafting

Ali xxx

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Embossing Embossing...

We have all heard of triple embossing, and I do love it! But I am also enjoying the effects you can get with Embossing Embossing. This technique uses 2 different types of embossing to create a lovely effect. Embossing is such a varied craft, from heat embossing to dry embossing and even wet embossing, you can create so many different effects, all adding texture and raised detail to your work, so by combining 2 different embossing styles you can really make things pop! To add that extra touch simply emboss your card using a mask through your die cutting machine (I find the traditional stencil style masks are most effective for this technique), then keep the mask in place and ink through with your perfect medium, or versamark ink pad. Remove the the mask and apply fine embossing powder (I use clear but a coloured powder can also be used) Simply heat set.
Top tips to keep a crisp image, before starting dust your card with talc to avoid stray specks of powder, and also when heat setting your embossing powder, heat from behind for a super glossy finish. I liked the effect of this so much with our dandelion mask that instead of it being a background for a card it became the main feature!!So a bit of ribbon and a few self adhesive sparkles, matting on to glossy black card and you have an eye catching card that will be suitable for anyone.
I was unsure how an all black card would look but I have to say I really like it!

Well I have allocated myself a few weeks to play some serious catch up and work on some new products, so watch this space...

Happy Crafting

Ali xxx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Making good use of the things that you find...

I have been called a womble and it is a name I am actually quite proud of. It is true that nothing is safe from crafting in our house, from things in the kitchen such as lemon juice, to old drinks cans which make great craft metal for die cutting and embossing.
On this simple card here I used an old coke can (simply cut up with a good pair of scissors, take care with the initial cutting but once flattened out it is just like the normal craft metal) and then embossed it through my big shot with the wonderful cogs mask, then I sanded the surface a little so it would take a little distress ink. It is then just a matter of  matting on to some embossed and sanded card, simple and quick. For a great pop art look why not use the printed side of the can, it looks fab!
But you can always take things a little further, on this frame here I die cut the can with my sizzix dies and then coloured the can with alcohol markers (I have to say the walnut spectrum noir is a great rust colour!) the more you dab the pen on the more texture and alcohol ink effect you get. The ink stays sticky for a few minutes which allows you time to sprinkle on a bit of clear ultra thick embossing powder and heat set it, I even dipped these into Mica Flakes to give them more details, or alternatively you can sprinkle salt on while the embossing powder is still melted and it adds great texture.
I love this kind of crafting, found art I think is the correct name but in the words of my Dad "I could always make something from nothing!" So if you can't find the right embellishment make your own!
Happy crafting

Ali xxx

Sunday, 8 April 2012

I don't have Skeletons in the Closet....

But I do have skeleton leaves. In fact I have hundreds of the things, but my quest to use up old crafting materials my have back fired a little! I love leaves on cards, I own many leaf die cutters, often buy paper leaves but sometimes I want something real on my cards, so I dug out my skeleton leaves. Now any one who has been crafting about 5 years probably like me has a good stash of these as they were popular, but they have faded in popularity in recent times (or so I had thought!)
But traditionally skeleton leaves are a little bland, odd colours and not quite what I wanted so I played with them and the only thing I can say is I pimped my skeleton leaves!
 I simply ink them with my versamark and then glaze them with ultra thick embossing powder. It is best to work on your non stick craft mat for this as the leaves are pourous so the embossing powder melts through and they can stick, so if you work on your craft mat you can simply peel them off when they are cool. Now the glazed alone looks lovely and does intensify the colour of them but you can go a little further and really make them something special, all you need to do is brush your choice of mica powder across the glazing (don't brush too hard as you don't want to brush off all the powder) Now the powder will not stay as it is, you will need to heat the surface again, this allows the mica powder to just sink below the surface and be captured in the clear embossing powder. This final touch give the leaves a beautiful lustre and a completly different look to the dated plain skeleton leaves that we all have hiding in the back of our crafting box! With a few of our crafting favourites you can breath new life into any of your old crafting stash, so give it a go.
Happy crafting


Sunday, 1 April 2012

What do you get if you mix Polyfilla.....

With PVA glue? Well amazing dimensional textural paste of course. I love to experiment and explore what you can create for crafting with any item I can lay my hands on!! So a box of polyfilla was not going to be safe was it? But I was concerned that mixing it normally would make it brittle and liable to crack (save that effect for another day!) so I decided to mix it with PVA glue instead, hoping that the flexiblity of the glue would work with the filler as well. I mixed it up and found that it appeared too dry at first but that it was just that the filler powder was clinging to the blob of glue, so just work it more and it will come together as s lovely paste. I worked with it plain but you can add colour at this stage if you wish. Now for the DIY stage, I simply laid a mask down on some lovely Graphic 45 paper and the only way to explain it is to say I grouted over the mask, then removed the mask and left it aside to dry. This only took an hour, and then I inked over the dry surface with distress ink, and brushed over with Mica and low and behold a beautiful steam punk, textured back ground was created. I then used it as a background for one of the stunning Pilkington Transport stamps and there you have it, simple but fun!!
So we are just about back on track after a mega busy couple of weeks, but the plans for the next few weeks are amazing. We have new products, new DVD's to film and soo much more, there really is no rest for the wicked (and I must have been soo naughty!!) Plus I have started to explore mixed media and have some amazing new things to try and can't wait, I just need to find some time, this sleep stuff is over rated isn't it?

Keep crafting

Ali xxx

Friday, 16 March 2012

Waxed Paper fun.

Aren't I doing well!! Another blog post, but to be fair there is so much going on at the moment I don't have any excuse not to update this blog!

Following on from the last post I now have completed another couple of cards with the waxed paper technique and I am loving it more each time! The ingredients you need to complete the technique are distress inks or similar, mask, super smooth paper (I always get great results with our stamp and colour card) and shock horror an iron (don't panic no housework is involved!!) finally you need waxed paper, I get mine from a soap making supplier, you just have to make sure you get proper wax and not wax effect, some nice artisan breads and sausages come wrapped in it, so doesn't hurt to ask your local friendly butcher if he can spare a sheet!.

So to begin, simply emboss the waxed paper with the mask, through your big shot, grand Calibur, cuttlebug etc. Don't panic if the paper tears slightly round the embossing it won't effect the over all results. Now sandwich the waxed paper between 2 pieces of the smooth card/paper. And iron, once over with a hot iron is enough, if you keep going over you can lose the design a bit, if you are using thicker card, go over twice just to make sure the heat has got through. Now simply rub over the waxed design with your distress inks and watch the batik style design appear! Simple but stunning and unusual results. You can ink both pieces of card and you will get different effect. Give it a go it!

It is a busy week this week with the NEC HobbyCrafts show starting Thursday and I will be demonstrating all 4 days so if you are passing pop by and say hello.

See you soon

Ali xx

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Not what I planned but....

I had hoped to share the wax paper technique with you but I then remembered I had sent the sample to the lucky person who had their named pulled out of the cup! But fear not (I know you weren't) I am already working on a new one with the new masks and stamps that are launching on Friday so I will share when I can.

So instead I thought I would share one of my favourite simple stamping ideas, label stamping. It is easy quick and very effective. If you can't find labels that have space all around them it is not the end of the world, you simply make up the space, but if you can perfect. I simply ink the sheet of labels (using a brush rather than cut and dry) to create a nice background, this highlights the edges of the labels, enabling you to stamp centrally in a the layout. Then carefully transfer the lables on to your background card, ensuring they are evenly spaced. I find that gently sticking only one edge of the labels allows you to arrange them and move them if necessary before you firmly press the labels down. As well as using this technique with stamped imaged I also use it with the stencil style masks. I love it.

I will leave you with my White on White embossed card from last week, top tip with this is always do these cards first before you pick up the distress inks!! Or they don't stay white on white!!

Well hav another busy week, with some amazing new masks and stamps launching this coming week so I must go off and play (sorry I mean work!!) and if you love Vintage and Steampunk there may just be something for you in this range. I don't think there is much danger of me doing girly cards this week!!

See you soon

Ali xx

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Something a bit different

No I haven't come over all funny, but I have moved out of my comfort zone a little this week. Not just because I have blogged, but I have also challenged myself a little crafting wise, to try a very different style for me.

This came about because of the beautiful new masks that we are launching on Friday on Create and Craft. So I have played with White on White (not easy for Mrs Inky fingers), which I will upload later, as blogger keeps rotating it, and you would need to stand on your head to see it!! But really different for me is this pretty girly card. This is a sort of paper piecing (well my version anyway) I embossed the lovely topiary tree mask on a few different small designed patterned papers (they need to be small designs or it doesn't work, and I know as I tried!!) then you give it a little ink, to highlight the embossing, and then cut out the various elements. I then pieced it back together on a nice background, added some paper flowers with gem middles, a doodled line (another first for me!!) matted it on to a nice paper and a pretty doily. Done! Worth the fiddly cutting I think!
So 2 posts in one week can't be bad! I will try and upload more pictures using the new masks and some of the techniques to help you get the most out of them. Happy Crafting and see you Friday

Ali xx

Sunday, 4 March 2012

New Start!!

Ok lets start this blog again! And I aim to do an entry every week (let's not make rash promises of more than that, but if I can I will!!) I will try and share on going projects, sneak peaks and explain mad cap crazy techniques!!

Many people have been emailing me about the fabulous Petroleum Jelly technique, so here is a quick outline, but I highly recomend that you grab a pot and have a good old play!.

Place your mask over your paper (I find the Stamps Away stamp and colour card brilliant for this technique)

Then using a piece of cut and dry foam, gently rub a small (you really don't need much) amount of Petroleum Jelly over the mask (just the same as if you were inking through your mask)

Remove the mask, and then apply distress ink or similar over the paper, I find that using a brush gives a better finish as using sponge or cut and dry can smudge the design.

I would love to see your projects using the masks so feel free to post links to your projects so I can go off for a nosey! Until next time keep crafting and keep messy

Ali xx