Gardenpinks' Blog

This, that and life!

Archive for the month “September, 2011”

Amazing what………

……can be done when the internet connection doesn’t connect for 6 days. Yes six whole days I was without the internet and I was lost; the amount of times, during conversation, the question came up of “I wonder what happened to (enter film/pop star of choice here)?” I hadn’t realised how many times I access the internet for that sort of information and of course I couldn’t; couldn’t check up on my friends; couldn’t post to my own blog and couldn’t visit any of the forums I frequent (otherwise known as wasting time). There were photos waiting to be emailed, oh it was frustrating but I did quite a lot of crafting.

Motel Key

Just before Leslie left home to go back out on the road again she did a video of altering some motel keys. She kindly sent me some; following her instructions of sanding them well I had a play with some of them. The first one I covered both sides with different papers but haven’t got any further with that one. A hole has been punched in the corner with the idea of adding a charm of some sort. The paper I used on the second side is from the inside of an envelope:

inside of envelope

Inspiration may strike of how this key can be finished off. The next two keys have again been sanded and then painted with acrylic paints and crackled with pva glue and then overstamped:

Painted and stamped side one

painted and stamped side 2

The next bit of crafting came about through tidying up! First the cupboard where photo paper is kept was given the once over and the other bit of tidying up was on the computer. Working through the various files,deleting the rubbish, backing up other files I came across the sample photos and fell in love with one of the pics and thought it would make a lovely image on a card. In the photo paper cupboard I rediscovered a packet of metallic foils or printing on and these first two cards are of the image printed onto the silver foil:

silver foil

second silver foil

They were very difficult to photograph because either my reflection could be seen or there was bounce back of light; they do look better in real life!

Here is another one of the same image but printed onto ordinary photo paper…please don’t look too closely at my very wonky matting/layering!

Sample photo

The following is of the insert in all these cards:


Caught in crystal (do you remember that technique?) is one of those techniques that were all the rage for a period with everyone rushing out and buying Johnson’s Floor Klear; wonder how many people still have bottles of this lurking in their cupboards? I never did use this product as I found Anita’s 3D gloss to work just as well and now there is Glossy Accents. When caught in crystal was first in vogue many of the mica based products weren’t around and so I thought I’d give these another go. The stamping is done with Stazon on acetate, on the reverse I used some home made shimmer spritzs and then sprinkled extra mica powders on top, added Glossy Accents and then ‘smooched’ crumpled up white tissue over the top and left it to dry overnight:

caught in crystal

second caught in crystal

Shame the twinkling of the mica doesn’t show up.

This last bit of craftiness was inspired by an article in the last issue of Craft Stamper; in the article Katy Fox used one of the ready made boxes sold under the Ranger label. Mine is constructed from scratch by Rod from oddments of wood, it is approximately 30 x 30 cm (12 x 12 inches). It is covered with tissue paper that I have stamped with various images and some of the paper has been sprayed with home made shimmer spritz, there are some pieces that I acquired when Rod received a fancy bottle of whisky. Wrapped around the bottle was a large sheet of thick tissue paper printed with gold ink.


You can see the fancy paper lining the top left aperture and the bottom middle one. After adhering all the surfaces with tissue paper using pva glue more pva glue (slightly diluted) was then brushed over the top of all the surfaces, when it was all dry several coats of a spray varnish were then put on to help protect the tissue paper. The box is now awaiting a fitting added to the back so that it can be hung on a wall.

slightly different angle

The Virtual Crafting Challenge…

….for September is bead work. Billie is challenging us this month to get out all those beads, wires, string, pins and whatever else from the back of the cupboard and do something with them.

I have a great many beads; I love the colours and shapes. Beads are one item that I don’t very often buy online but when I visit a craft show I am drawn to those stands like a bee to a honey pot! A large display of beads will keep me amused for a very long time as my eyes are dazzled by the huge array.

Our grandchildren, Kim and Joe, were given a huge mixture of plastic beads which give them hours of fun. They have made necklaces, bracelets and ‘danglers’ for every family member and friend. Children have such an exuberance when they craft; they don’t worry about getting everything perfect or straight, they will mix all types of materials together and just see what happens. I think we, as crafters, could learn a lot from watching children craft.

Necklace Joe made

Three year old Joe presented me with this colourful necklace that he put together. I haven’t yet worn it as it is just a tad too small so I shall add a few more beads and the other part of the clasp to it. Kim, with the superior knowledge of a six-year-old, informed me that Joe had forgotten to put the other part of the clasp on ( a purple one!) because, she said, he is only little and doesn’t understand! So funny.

shell bracelet

I saw some bags of bits of scallop shells for sale at a craft show and, like a magpie, was attracted by the colours. The bits of shell have been ‘tumbled’ in a machine to round the edges off , holes drilled into them and dyed various colours. The dying effect is very pretty as the raised lines are a darker shade than the rest of the shell rather like rubbing an ink pad over something embossed or crumpled. The bags of bits were very good value as there is a huge amount in each bag and the shells are easy to string although, with hindsight, less is definitely more as this bracelet is quite heavy, next time I shall use less shell and intersperse with other beads or charms.


Love the iridescent sheen on these beads. The clasp is magnetic so no fiddling around trying to hook one thing in another however this necklace together with others hangs on a metal stand and the magnetic clasp is reluctant to leave the stand at times!


Peyeote is something I came across whilst surfing the web one evening, some of the designs are very intricate and beautiful. I downloaded a beginner’s guide to peyeote and then promptly forgot all about it until I was clearing out some files on the computer. I printed the instructions off and decided to have a go; at first sight it all looks very complicated but once the process is started it goes very quickly and easily. This is a work in progress! In other words it is a piece I started then went on to do something else and never got around to completing. How many of us have unfinished projects hanging around? Perhaps Billie ought to start another Virtual Challenge on finishing incomplete projects!

cheat's necklace

At a summer fete this year were several jewellery stands and I liked and bought this bracelet, it just had a  summery feel to it. Back at home I looked at the bracelet again and realised I would rarely wear it as a bracelet so I turned it into a necklace which I would wear more often. Using an old broken chain it was a few minutes work to alter the bracelet. The first time I wore it as a necklace I was asked where I had purchased it as it was just what that person was looking for! I think she will be looking at bracelets in a different light now.


…..or Creative Play as Jann would have it! Jann is a lovely, chatty, generous, inspiring artist who is encouraging us crafters to get out of our comfort zones and creatively play with our materials and supplies and it is so liberating. It is liberating because there is no restraint to complete a project; pull out all those supplies that have been languishing in drawers and cupboards and give them a new lease of life!

One aspect of crafting that I admire is brayer work; some crafters create beautiful backgrounds and scenes using a brayer so I bought a speedball brayer many moons ago to see if I could also create those marvellous backgrounds and scenes…but it never happened! My backgrounds had hard lines on them; I have studied endless Youtube videos and DVDs to be instructed in the use of a brayer and then decided to do as Jan suggested – just play and see what I could achieve.

The following photos are of my experimental pieces. I used small pieces (approximately 6 x 4 inches) of glossy cardstock with various inks but predominantly Ranger’s Big and Juicy rainbow dye inks.

brayer work

bouncing brayer


These are only a few of the pieces I did and the play was fun but I never did achieve one piece without the hard lines somewhere… the bouncing brayer piece would always have those definition lines anyway. I am not going to think or say I failed because I can overstamp and cut up the pieces of cardstock and use them, however I can say that, for me, the brayer is still a good tool for making sure I have good adhesion when sticking paper down!

I have come to the conclusion that I am not going to beat myself up about my inability to use a brayer as some crafters are able to but I can achieve very good results with a sponge, dauber or brush to create those background scenes!

Late summer/autumn flowers

I came across a great saying today whilst perusing a forum which I’d like to share; it was being used as a signature and I thought what a great truism it is and how I must bear this in mind more:

“People seem not to see that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character”  Ralph Waldo Emerson.


I have mixed feelings about the onset of autumn (fall). I admire the glorious autumnal colours in the leaves, we can have some magnificent sunny days, the plants that are flowering retain their intensity of colour because the sun hasn’t bleached them and then there is that special smell of ripening fruit and fallen leaves BUT autumn is a time of decay, storms and trees losing limbs as well as losing their leaves and it means winter is just around the corner. The last three winters have been hard for us and I hate snow and ice with a passion! Heaps of dry, crackling leaves are reminders of our childhood autumns when we scuffled through those leaves and discovered conkers whose chestnut shiny skins drew us like magpies to collect them.

At the moment I can enjoy the delightful little cyclamen in all their shades of pink and there is also a few clumps of pure white ones too. It is fascinating to see where these fragile flowers will appear and all thanks to the ants; cyclamen seed is covered in a sticky substance that apparently is sweet and the ants love that sweetness so they collect the seeds, carry them off and ‘plant’ them for us gardeners and so we end up with more cyclamen plans spread around the garden with no effort from us at all. In our garden we have the late summer/autumn flowering cyclamen and some spring flowering ones. Those that bravely flower in early spring push their flower buds up through piles of leaves and, occasionally, snow to flower alongside the snowdrops.


Colchicum or Autumn Crocus

These, like the Cyclamen, flower before the leaves are produced, in fact Colchicum leaves don’t appear until around March time. These ‘naked ladies’  (another name they go by) have very strange bulbs that produce very few roots until the spring time so the flower buds … like most bulb producing plants …. are made the previous spring. The bulbs are quite large, approximately 2 inches in diameter, and have an extending ‘heel’ or spur; now the bulbs can be lifted from the ground and placed into a shallow dish or saucer on a window sill and the flowers enjoyed indoors however as soon as the flower has finished then the bulb should be planted back out into the garden to produce its leaves. While indoors the bulb neither needs water or food – my type of indoor gardening!


I’m a little disappointed that the intenseness of the blue didn’t come out quite as it looks in reality. This plant, which is related to the herb Sage, gives me so much pleasure at this time of the year because I don’t expect to see such a gorgeous colour when everything else is getting ready to close down for autumn or looking a little tired after the mad flowering of summer. I was so happy to see that it had survived yet another hard winter. I couldn’t find this particular Salvia locally and acquired it from an eBay seller! When we move this little darling is coming with me!

hardy geranium

There are several different hardy geraniums in our garden and I’ve forgotten the names of all but one of them! That is the problem with an aging just won’t retain important information! I think this is called Buxton Beauty but don’t quote me on that. The flowers closest to the stone path is the true colour..a nice blue outer rim with a white centre dotted with a darker ‘bullseye’; this particular plant is remarkable because it has put on a beautiful show all summer yet it is growing in a very dry and hot part of the garden and, because it spreads so much during the summer, I tend to cut it back throughout the growing season yet it forgives all those factors and keeps produces these lovely flowers. By the end of autumn it will be given a savage haircut so we can have the path back again and it will die back to a small hump ready to burst into life again come spring.

Hope you have liked the brief tour of colour that is in our garden at the moment.


Junque Journal

First my apologies for an out of focus photograph! Like my last project, the canvas collage, I have two people to thank for inspiring me to start creating the junque journal.

Nancy showcased a journal she had created especially for a competition and I have to say that when I first saw her delightful project I had never heard of junque journals – I know I must have fallen asleep when they came about – so off I went in search of junque journals. Not only was I intrigued but these projects spoke to my soul and I knew I had to create one at least. I loved the idea of somewhere to store all those bits and pieces that we keep but have no definite place of their own; the other thing that drew me in was I could use papers, charms and other ephemera that I had collected but didn’t want to use on a card that may end up being thrown away.

Besides all the ‘usual’ craft culprits that we hoard I also hoard notebooks.. doesn’t matter if they have been used for other purposes I just rip out the used pages and keep the rest of the book with no real purpose in mind and this journal of mine was one such. It had been used by one of our daughters when they were at school and I rescued it from the rubbish where it had been consigned during one of the girls’ tidy ups.  Its original duty was as a cash book, it then became a scribble book and has been turned into a storehouse for my squirrelings!

The second person who inspired me was Billie with her virtual challenge of using paint; the covers of this book were ideal for painting and I also wanted to try, yet again, creating a crackle effect using pva glue…something I hadn’t been able to achieve to date.

too much crackle effect

I put on a base coat of raw umber acrylic paint and left it to dry thoroughly, then a coat of slightly diluted pva glue was added but before the glue dried out completely (whilst still slightly tacky) I added a top coat of dark blue acrylic paint – remembering to apply this in one loaded brush stroke at a time in the same direction. Boy oh boy did it crackle!! Huge chasms appeared but I was delighted because it actually worked and I realised what mistake I had made; the pva wasn’t quite diluted enough and was too thickly applied in places – never mind I had the back cover to experiment on and this turned out better.

finer crackles

Not only were the crackles finer but were certainly more pleasing – here I used burnt sienna as a base coat with flesh as a top coat. The mistake here was the top coat was a little too thickly applied in places but heck it pleases me and I finally got crackles, my technique just needs refining! Now this probably isn’t quite what Billie had in mind but I enjoyed slapping the paint on… the only problem was my impatience whilst waiting for the paint to dry as I wanted to get on with it all.

Following the tutorials for creating junque journals I next strongly secured the signatures – sections of folded and stitched papers – so that they didn’t tear or come adrift once the journal started to fill up. Yay I could use up some of my ribbon and I could attach some handmade charms made with that ever growing collection of beads.

ribbon and charms

I find it very difficult to use ribbon in card making; on everyone else’s cards that piece of ribbon finishes off the whole but on mine it looks like an afterthought and never seems to be part of the whole but this journal was an ideal way of using some of it up.

So what to put on the front?  A title? Now I am not an orginal thought person and so my title reflects what the journal is about….a repository for what others may deem as junk!

decorated wooden letters

Using wooden letters to create the word ‘junque’ seemed like a good idea. Some letters I applied Versamark embossing ink and then applied UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel) and heated to melt; two or three coats of UTEE was used and then a final coat of gold embossing powder. To other letters a product called Stamp and Bond by Stampendous was applied over Versamark and heated until it became sticky and then foils added. Before adhering the letters to the front thread was put through two charms and the ends of the thread were glued to the back of two of the letters. Two strips of embossed aluminium tape were adhered top and bottom of the front cover but I couldn’t stop there…..

clay buttons

I had the good fortune of meeting a delightful lady who is talented at making decorative ornaments and coasters from clay; when Kate rolls the clay out she does so over a piece of lace which leaves a nice lacy effect in the clay. These buttons were made from scraps of her lacy clay and I couldn’t resist buying them and where better to use them than on my journal where I will recall her every time I look at the book. (A little aside here..if you click on the Kate link you will see her craft stall and I am directly behind her with my back turned!!!!)

So that is the outside complete and now to the inside:

inside cover

Part of the instructions in creating a junque journal is to crumple pages and ink them then add papers to some pages and finally to start assembling all the bits and pieces to go inside but that was taking too long and I was becoming impatient. I wanted to start adding ‘things’. So a few pages were inked, some papers came out that I had hoarded and then I started going through folders, file boxes and elsewhere looking for all my treasures. Where I unearthed this Rune of the Peat Fire from I know not where and it is looking a bit tattered and crumpled at the corners so its new home will stop any further deterioration.

theatre tickets

Earlier this year we had a surprise gift of tickets to see The Searchers live at a local theatre; what a great evening that was. Two of the original group (from the 60s!) were still going strong and in fine voice considering one was now 70 and the other 67!! The theatre was packed and not with just old fogies but everyone was joining in the songs and getting up and dancing! What wonderful memories these tickets will bring and the sentiment..a rub on..fitted perfectly “The Older The Fiddler, The Sweeter The Tune”!

Leslie's card

The journal is a great place for storing these lovely mementoes from dear friends; Leslie sent this card with some stamps I won and a blending pen. The saying above the card came from one of the places Leslie visited while doing her day job – “Life doesn’t have to be Perfect to be Wonderful”. On the opposite page is a pocket holding a receipt and other reminders of a wonderful stay we had at the Chateau Impney in April 2010.

hand made background paper

One of the many sheets of paper I created using a crumpled up sheet of copier paper and then inks or paints wiped over to highlight the creases. In this case I used some Twinkling H2Os on a piece of sponge and a Brilliance ink pad – Galaxy Gold with a small rub-on in the top corner.

inked pages

And, finally, inked incomplete pages. The edges of the all the pages have been inked with various colour inks and some pages have been swiped with the ink pad but nothing else as yet has been added to the pages. This is an ongoing project that I am not in a hurry to complete as I’m enjoying the journey.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post x

Canvas Collage


Some time ago, whilst grocery shopping, I saw some small canvases for sale. An aside here for my overseas friends..over here in the UK there are some supermarkets (e.g. Lidl, Aldi) that not only sell groceries but are renowned for the other items they occasionally offer such as craft items, office items, shoes, plants, etc and I was shopping in one of these when I spotted the canvases..phew!

Size wise, from memory as I am too lazy to go and measure one, they are roughly 9 x 12 inches and were very good value. So I bought a pack of two and promptly put them away in a cupboard and there they languished until two lovely ladies inspired me to hunt out these canvases; one lady by the name of Billie had one of her Virtual Crafting Challenges for July and August all about paint. Now Billie is very enthusiastic about painting and sketching which I know I am not brilliant at – hey a woman has to know her limitations (as Clint Eastwood might have said!) but I can slap a bit of paint around now and again. The other inspirational lady is Leslie have to visit her blog to see how creative she is …. Leslie can see crafty uses in many things such as a circuit board or picture frame. I see a picture frame and think “Oh yes there is a photo that would fit in that one” but Leslie sees a picture frame and thinks “Oh yes I’ll make a clock out of that”!! Now that is inspired creativity.

Anyhow these two ladies between them enthused me to try something a bit different and back we come to the Canvas Collage. I slapped some acrylic paint on the canvas itself; there is a mixture of colours here but mainly a hint of Burnt Umber mixed with white and then a dash of gold acrylic paint added here and there. The covering is not even and that is deliberate.. now this is quite hard for me to do as I would normally cover the surface with an even coat of paint so I went outside my comfort zone a tad here and just painted in a sort of distressed style letting some of the orignal canvas show through. Around the edges I smeared some light blue acrylic paint and then whilst the paint was drying I pondered on what to do next.

Now I don’t know about you but I have a collection of ‘found’ objects; some I have found whilst gardening other things whilst rummaging around in boxes at jumble sale type events. These are items that catch my eye and then wonder what I’m going to do with them and usually end up popping them into a box however that box was emptied out and I rediscovered these ‘found’ treasures and thought they would make lovely additions to my collage.

Found tile

This lovely little tile was found when I was digging in one of the flower beds. I have no idea what it came off or where it came from but it is pretty and very small – less than half inch square. The blue ‘squiggles’ are stylised flowers.

Found wooden button





A sweet wooden button I came across when rummaging around in a box at a car boot sale or jumble sale .. forget which now … that was lying in my ‘treasure’ box. It depicts blackberries and is quite cute.


Postcard from Italy


Postcard from Italy showing a stone sculpture of a reposing lady; the sculpture is in a wooded area.  Just wish we could afford to have sculptures like this in our garden!



I decorated this domino a while ago and I bet you will never guess what it is covered with nor where the piece under the domino came from… give up? It is a sticky backed transparent cover off a cigarette lighter! I have several of these covers in various colours and designs; one day having little to occupy my fingers I started picking at the corner of the covering on a lighter and it came off cleanly. I edged the domino with gold pen.


hand made paper

Not sure if you can see this corner piece of hand made paper very clearly but this is just copier paper, the stamp used is Penny Black’s Chantilly Lace; a very large background stamp. I stamped in Versamark and embossed with silver embossing powder and then coloured with inks and removed excess ink from the embossing. This was the last piece of this particular handmade designed paper.

stamped vellum

A large collage stamp on vellum and embossed with white detail ep, it was cut out and laid onto a hand made tag.

charms & feather

Just like it says on the tin! A feather shaped charm and one feather gathered whilst out walking together with various beads. The white piece of ‘stone’ was collected off a beach; it isn’t actually stone – not actually sure what it is but it is very light and worn with pits in its surface.


Another one of those items collected on my travels…I have no idea where this dictionary saying came from, I came across it one day hidden in a drawer of crafty ‘stuff’ and it was so apt for this whole canvas. So many items on here were either ‘unearthed’, ‘located’, found or uncovered – a most serendipitous find! I wish I could ‘happen upon’ more of these dictionary labels.

Thanks for getting this far 🙂


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