Gardenpinks' Blog

This, that and life!

Archive for the month “January, 2012”

“Writing Contest”

Leslie over at messageinafold has set a Writing Contest to encourage us to write about how long we have been crafting. She set 10 questions and is hoping that we will write more than a word or two about how, when and why crafting entered our lives.

How long have you been crafting: I have been asked this question quite a few times in the past and I always shrugged my shoulders; I couldn’t recall crafting until I started card making approximately 14 years ago. Many crafters reel off all the crafts they have done from the time they were old enough to hold a needle but I couldn’t remember having done any crafting when I was younger but these questions of Leslie’s cranked my brain into dredging up memories. Primary schools back in the day were very hot on art and craft, sadly this has been pushed aside, and we small children were encouraged to knit and sew. My mother taught me to knit; she was always knitting some garment or other for one or other of my sisters as well as making clothes on her sewing machine for us so knitting at school was no big feat for me and I can vividly remember the doll we had to make, before the age of 9 we also knitted a basic sweater at primary school. On the sewing front we had to make a needle holder from felt, blanket stitch was one of the things we had to learn. I still have that needle holder! I also remember the young girl next door…she was a few years old than I but Gwen was willing to spend time with me and she helped me make dolls clothes.

The first item I created on my own and bought all the products was a school bag! This was towards the end of the sixties; I went to an all girls secondary school and stockings were very much de rigueur but when tights appeared us girls were so thankful however tights were very expensive and school desks and seats were very hard on tights. I can’t remember now who started the fad but it became a fashion to turn ruined tights into knitted bags. Every female of our acquaintance was inveigled to save their tights for our very busy knitting needles…a newspaper round provided the money to buy large wooden needles. The tights were prepared by having the feet and panty part cut off then the legs were cut in spirals and these spirals were knitted up. Those bags were very stretchy and could accommodate many books also the many shades of brown were very attractive….we would be considered very ‘green’ now πŸ™‚ Break times were spent sitting on grassy banks gossiping whilst our needles were busy clicking away!

The other bit of recycling I indulged in was during a spell working part-time at a grocery shop in my teens; the shop owner had been given some dead rabbits for eating and I asked him for the skins. I cleansed the two skins as best I could and dried them out, I cut them into rectangles and stitched three sides together and added handles. I was so proud of my handmade shoulder bag but it attracted the attentions of various dogs! In desperation I bought some spray that used to be used on lady dogs when they were in season but it had a most pleasant lemon scent! That bag was my most used possession for some time until I finally abandoned it. Great fun and no one else had a bag like mine πŸ™‚

Before I started paper crafting I had knitted garments particularly for my own children and husband, more usually gloves, hats and scarves but cardigans and sweaters. The last items I knitted were hooded capes for our twin babies..over 25 years ago…and I haven’t knitted since. I used to do a lot of crocheting too, again something I was taught as a child and did through my school years but haven’t done any for many years. I have also done cross stitch samplers, embroidery, pulled embroidery napkins and smocking. The one thing that has stayed with me since my young days is writing and the collecting of paper; I loved paper and spent my hard earned cash on pads and pads of writing paper…there were reams of beautiful writing available in the late 60s/early 70s. I also had a passion for pens, pencils, embroidery thread..anything with colour.

I now cannot recall what started me on the rocky road of crafting; not so much crafting as card making. In the early days (late 90s) our daughters and I used to card make together, two of our early forays was in Iris folding and Tea Bag folding:

iris folding book

I bought several of the above books in the early 2000s ..there were a few with different iris fold templates also one on tea bag folding plus all the folds that are lurking in a folder somewhere that I downloaded off the internet and another book in this series I purchased was this one:


At last something I could use some of that accumulated embroidery thread on. Meanwhile we all explored quilling and decoupage then the CDs that several crafty people were bringing out. After making what seemed like hundreds of decoupage cards I was decoupaged out! I wanted to explore other avenues and not necessarily card making and so I ventured into stamping and have gone downhill from that point. Here was I standing on the threshold of stamping and purchasing my first rubber stamps and ink but I was never, ever going down that slope. Now I play around with stamping in some form…ATCs, canvas, collage, mixed media, altering items and this is where I am happy. I still make cards but it doesn’t consume me and I occasionally revisit ‘old’ techniques but not decoupage/pyramage and I sold all the ‘design’ CDs; not that I possessed many as they bored me from the start. I prefer to do my own thing if possible.

What have I made that I don’t want to let go? Well I usually set out with an idea of making something for me anyway so this question doesn’ arise; there is a collaged canvas hanging in our bedroom, several quilled figures hiding in a box waiting to be put on display, a book I have altered that is for me to flick through, a junque journal still in progress and an altered box – these will be staying with me!

Here are a few cards made in our early days of card making:


Tea bag folding


Note the use of ribbon Leslie πŸ™‚ The only craft thing I haven’t done is scrapbooking and although I bought two albums several years ago it doesn’t actually call to me but then who knows!

Altering dominoes…basic guide part 2

Love the experimenting Leslie has done so far and can’t wait to see what Shelly and Linda come up with!

Okay so in the last post we covered background colouring and what can be used although only a small part of colouring media has been discussed – I haven’t yet played with paints or clay. I have seen a lovely work of art on dominoes with air dry clay…roll out a layer of clay and press a stamp into the clay. Cut the clay to size and then leave to dry, adhere to the domino and then colour the clay in any way you want. Friendly Plastic is another thing to experiment with but I don’t have any of this material.

Right onto the first domino.. remember the multi coloured with? Promarkers were used to lay down the colour, I then went on to add beads and small seashells:

beads and seashells

I put small amounts of Glossy Accents onto the domino and sprinkled the beads on first…when adding beads lay the domino into a shallow container lined with fabric or kitchen towel to stop the beads bouncing every which way! The shells were collected from the beaches of the Isles of Scilly and I spent ages hunting for the smallest!! I then used Anita’s 3DΒ  Clear Gloss Finish as this is so much cheaper than Glossy Accents.

glazing fluid

It was intended to be used for decoupage but has other uses too.

The Bottle and Denim domino had two leaf charms adhered to it:

Leaf charms

Quite a lot of the background colour can still be seen unlike the multi coloured one..and this is how the leaf domino looks after being glazed:

Leaves glazed

I haven’t yet covered the edges of either of these two dominoes. Onto the two yellow and orange ones; one I stamped with a flower stamp, this is a border stamp so obviously not all of the image fitted onto the domino. I inked up the stamp and left it image side up and then pressed the domino on to the part of the image I wanted:

Yellow and orange inked dominoes

Tiny beads were adhered to the flower centres, a leaf charm added and then the whole was glazed with Anita’s 3D Clear Gloss Finish. The edges of the domino were finished off with a gold metallic pen. A bead was adhered to the top of the domino for a thong or cord to be threaded through. The second yellow and orange domino had a music note image stamped onto it with black Stazon and then a piece of white tissue paper was stamped with a flourish stamp, this tissue paper was then adhered to the domino and once dry the paper was trimmed to size. Close up of the added bead:

bead added

gems added

Above is the tissue paper domino with gems added and then the clear gloss covering it all; these gems are tiny and fiddly and I just placed them in position on top with no adhesive to hold them in place so when the glaze was added two decided to ‘swim’ and flipped over hence the silvery look to two of the gems! I couldn’t persuade them to flip back and gave it up!

Okay onto the pink coloured domino. For this one I stamped a dragonfly image on to the domino with Versamark and then heat embossed with gold detail embossing powder. Glossy Accents was trailed over the body part of the dragonfly and red glitter sprinkled onto the adhesive. Once the adhesive was dry the edges were embossed with gold ep too – one side at a time…don’t forget how heat retentive these dominoes are, ouch! The image was then glazed:

embossed dragonfly

gold embossed edges

For the blue domino I went for simple stamping; I love bird stamps and the one I used on this domino is my favourite at the moment; stamped with Stazon and then a shrink plastic feather added:

birds and feather

Finally the black domino! I decided to do something different again here; I squidged (technical term!) the domino into the Versamark ink pad, sprinkled UTEE over it and heated to melt the crystals, whilst still hot added more UTEE and heated again. I did this four times and then on the last layer and whilst still hot I spooned green glitter over the domino and then a quick blast with the heat gun to let the glitter sink into the UTEE. A fan charm was pressed down into the still warm UTEE and a light covering of glaze once the domino had cooled down. The edges were smeared with adhesive and dipped into the green glitter:

(once) black domino

Hope you will try some of these basic techniques πŸ™‚

Dominoes…basic guide to altering part 1

I have taken 6 white dominoes and a small black plastic domino to alter and share how I have set about the job! On all the dominoes we are working on the plain side; I’ve used a selection of inks and markers to create the background. This first picture (sorry about it being out of focus) shows them all together to give some idea of the size of the black domino!


Now here they are individually:


The above one was coloured with Promarkers (similar to Copics but much, much cheaper); as these are alcohol ink based they dried without any assistance.

The next dominoes had alcohol inks splodged (good technical term!) onto the surface. How much splodging is done changes the patterning. I found that if the ink was sponged on then it tended to wipe off the shiny surface hence splodging or dabbing..which ever technical term you want to use πŸ™‚

Bottle & Denim alcohol inks

Yellow & orange alcohol inks

The following one has had VersaMagic chalk ink sponged on using cut ‘n’ dry; this ink won’t dry on its own so needs to be dried off with a heat gun. Note of caution here – when using the heat gun, the dominoes retain the heat for sometime so be very careful especially when using embossing powder/UTEE!

pinks - Versa Magic chalk ink

The final white one was coloured with a dye based ink, Whisper Royal Blue, and again needed to be dried with a heat gun.

Whisper dye base ink - Royal Blue

At this stage I had not done anything with the black domino but will show that in part 2!

It isn’t necessary to colour the edges of the dominoes but, of course, if you want to then carry on. Anything goes!

Hope this has given you some ideas so far πŸ™‚

Altering dominoes

Just a quick post aimed at Leslie who has never done these before and wants a guide – well Leslie I will show you the better ones and then a bad one!

First of all the side to work on is the one without the dots, this is a great surface to use alcohol inks or any other type of ink. If using anything other than alcohol inks for the background colour then use a heat gun to dry it off before doing anything else.

If you are stamping an image onto the coloured background then Stazon ink is best especially if you intend to glaze the whole domino with Glossy Accents because I discovered that some inks don’t like GA as you can see below!

The slug!

The image started life as a seashell and by the time the GA had finished drying it ended up resembling a slug! In this case I used alcohol inks for the background colour, stamped the seashell in Impress Chocolate dye ink which I zapped with the heat gun, masked the seashell and stamped a script image in Stazon black ink. Now all was fine and dandy until I used the Glossy Accents.

These others turned out okay:

Altered dominoes

I adhered a bail with GA to the top left one so ribbon or a chain could be threaded through and the domino worn as a necklace. You can see in the top right domino how the ‘slug’ should have really looked πŸ™‚ All the other images were stamped with Stazon and all were glazed with GA and some gem stones dropped into the glaze before it dried on the flourish and hot air balloon ones.

Stamping is not an essential for altering dominoes – pieces of patterned paper can be adhered onto the coloured background; images can be embossed with embossing powder; small beads or any charms can be glued on; UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel/powder) can be used and a stamp pushed into the top layer whilst the powder is melted and still hot. There are endless possibilities.

The edges of the dominoes can be covered with tiny beads, edged with gold or silver pen or ribbons & cords. The dominoes can be drilled using any hand drill to make holes for jump rings to be threaded through or charms to be hung from. On the dotty side magnets can fixed for the dominoes to be used as fridge magnets or brooch pins attached.

If you don’t have bails or don’t want to drill holes then a large bead glued on horizontally on the top edge is a good substitute for threading cord, etc through to use the finished domino as a necklace.


I ‘made’ this domino several years ago..I coloured the background with inks and then covered the ink with this slightly transparent image so the yellows would show through. This image was in fact a cover I removed from a cigarette lighter and is a thin plasticised material.

I haven’t yet decided up on what I shall do for my next dominoes but hope these have given you a taster of what can be done. Look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Thanks for reading x

Another ribbon challenge…

Leslie just doesn’t give up with encouraging me to use ribbon on cards. She has set this further challenge on her blog and there are some lovely cards there from Leslie, Shelly and Linda.

So this is my ‘take’ on Leslie’s challenge:

dangly birds

The background has been stamped in various coloured inks and using a feather stamp. The birds were stamped onto shrink plastic and then heated to shrink. There is also a ‘button’ made from shrink plastic on the title/sentiment. It has been a while since I last used shrink plastic and I’d forgotten what fun it is; while hunting for something else I came across a part used sheet and gave it another try out. When those bits of plastic start to curl and twist there is always a moment of panic wondering if that is all that is going to be – a curled and twisted bit of unrecognizable plastic! If you have never tried this then give it a go.

Over on UK Stampers there are various swaps and challenges going on and two that I entered this month were the monthly postcard swap and an ATC swap. There is also an altered tin swap in progress.

For the ATCs Stitcheramagirl set the theme as Alice in Wonderland; I have to say that this isn’t my favourite imagery and there are no Alice stamps in my collection as I intensely dislike the illustrations however I signed up for the swap as, foolish me, I like to push my boundaries and see if I can come up with different variations on the theme. These are the three ATCs I created:

Alice in Wonderland ATCs

For the first ATC (going from left to right) I downloaded a digi image of the white rabbit except that I coloured him various shades of brown and grey pencils! The background of the card has been inked with VersaMagic Aloe VeraΒ  and then the pocket watch stamped over the top in the same colour; after colouring the rabbit I cut around his head/ears and adhered it to the background and then added Aloe Vera to blend the image n with the background, stamped the pocket watch in Versafine Onyx Black ink and added the charms.

The middle ATC consists of the Queen of Hearts playing card mounted on greyboard to give extra strength, the top edges were sanded to tone the card down a little. A scrap of paper was adhered across the bottom portion of the playing card and inked with Distress Ink Antique Linen. The jam tarts image came from the internet! Some white ribbon roses were coloured with a red felt pen and glued into place with Glossy Accents, the cat and toadstool images were stamped on with Versafine Smokey Grey and charms added.

For the last ATC I was running out of ideas! Then recalled the caterpillar on the toadstool/mushroom so raided the children’s stamp collection for the images here but there is no hubble bubble pipe! What I have since come to realise though is that I could have made all three the same so I made this swap more challenging for myself!

Sam set the post card theme for this month as ‘Numbers’ and there are some brilliant interpretations of this one over on the forum. Again I used a digi image for the main part and this ‘Counting Sheeple’s’ image really tickled me:

Numbers theme post card

I wonder what the postman will make of it when he/she has to deliver it:)

Well that’s the lot for now folks!

Happy New Year!

Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that 2012 is kind to you.

I don’t normally make New Year’s resolutions, what is the point when they all revert to normal behaviour in very short order? However I have made a promise to myself to take part in more crafty swaps and challenges with the hope that I will be lifted out of the crafting rut I sometimes get into.

The first challenge of the year has been set by Leslie ; Leslie professes to have a fear of flowers in her crafting but if you look through her blog you would never guess this. Leslie has set the challenge to make something incorporating flowers and, my especial challenge, ribbon. I love the colours and textures of ribbon but it is one of those materials that I have difficulty using particularly on a card. On odd occasions a piece of ribbon might find its way onto a card but it isn’t something I immediately turn to if I feel extra adornment is required. When I add ribbon it looks like a badly thought out after thought, never the elegant touch some crafters manage to achieve so I rarely use it except if I am making a wallet or small book then it has its uses as a closure.

So rising to the challenge with the aid of a bit of a cheat I came up with this:

with ribbon!

The cheat bit that comes into play is that this card was made almost 12 months ago (see here). I was never totally happy with it as it never looked complete but didn’t quite know what it needed so it has languished in a box since. Today I added a ribbon bow and some simple stick pins and now it looks…erm…totally unsatisfactory. I wouldn’t dream of sending this to anyone! A very bad after thought! I fiddled about with that scrap of ribbon for ages and what a waste of time. The ribbon roses are fine and the card certainly needed something but not ribbon.

Conclusion? I am quite happy not to use my stash of ribbon on cards in the same way that I have accepted that flowers, bling, glitter, designer paper, embellishments, etc are just not my thing even though I love them all. Other people use these things with flair and style and I admire what can be achieved but why fight with something you are not totally comfortable with? So this could be a New Year’s resolution (I’m female therefore it is my prerogative to change my mind!) – just say NO. Do whatever you feel comfortable with and enjoy the crafting journey and as Steve Jobs said listen to your own inner voice.

So now for something else. I had the need to make a couple of New Year gifts and send some Thank You cards out so whilst making the thank you cards, which, by the way are just stamped and framed post card type thingies. I then printed out a template (courtesy of Sara Sandberg at Cardmaking Paradise) onto cardstock to make some wallets to hold a selection of cards to give as gifts and it gave me the chance to play with some new stamps purchased with vouchers I had received at Christmas.

Front of double walletPlease note the ribbon!! In this case I used it as a closure for the wallet so on occasions I concede ribbon is very useful πŸ™‚

inside flaps

Also please note the use of designer paper! Again I can use these things just not so much on cards.

back of double wallet

So that is the double wallet and now to the single one!

Single card wallet

Oh I love those little birdies on branches! They are by a company called cART-US and the use of a small ‘c’ is deliberate. The birdcage is also by the same company. The ‘just a note’ stamp is by Docrafts. Love that pen image.

post cards

There are 10 post cards and envelopes for each wallet and 5 single layer cards and envelopes added to the double wallet.

single layer cards for double wallet

I am just waiting for some magnetic closures for the single wallet and both these are ready to be posted.

Thanks for reading for my drivel x

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