Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that makes you smile. We're not quantified; there's no chart of desire. When the roaring flames of your heart have burned down to embers, may you find that you have married your best friend. [Steven Tyler]

Friday, December 03, 2010

Let It Snow......

......let it snow, let it snow! And yes, it just keeps on coming.

I looked outside as soon as the alarm went off this morning and guess what? Yep, it was blowing a blizzard. We had completely cleared the car of snow the night before and there was another three to four inches of fresh snow piled on top and all the footprints were again, covered over and an unblemished carpet of white lay waiting for us.

When I pulled the car off the drive and headed off in the direction of work I was only the second vehicle out of the close and the roads were treacherous, even the main roads were in a bad condition so I thought I'd give the back lane a miss and head straight for the A66 which is the main dual carriageway  for travelling east to west. That was little better than one large ice rink with snow laying on both carriageways!

To cut a very long story short, I'd got half way to work before I spoke to Glenda and she told me that they were staying closed for the day and to turn around and go home. It was so difficult finding somewhere to pull over to answer my phone which had rang several times, that I eventually pulled off the road and into a pub car park in the village of High Coniscliffe. Big mistake..... huge! I got stuck, couldn't go forward, couldn't go back!

All in all it was one hell of a morning. I'd got stuck in a car park until a farmer came to my rescue, caught up in a free for all of spinning cars and a van on the A66 (I can't believe that not one of them hit me but they did hit each other, three in front of me and two directly behind) I managed to stop when the van in front hit two cars sending them off the road while he ended up side on across both lanes. In my rear view mirror I watched the two cars behind me, they couldn't stop. I braced waiting for the impact as they slid into each other and I was right in the middle of it all with an Angel on my shoulder! Not a scratch on me or my car. How lucky was that? Fortunately, no one was injured, just bits of car bumpers and trims strewn around the road. Finally, on the homeward stretch I ended up in a snow drift at the side of the road stuck again. You really couldn't see where the road side ended and the verge began. Two gentlemen came to my rescue and pushed my car sideways into the middle of the road so that I could pull away and I eventually made it home without any further mis-haps.

Things are progressing slowly at home, I've got some more paintwork glossed tonight and have had to position all manner of objects around and in front of the wet paint to stop Diesel from ending up with Zebra stripes and my paintwork from growing a thick black coat... so far, so good.

It has snowed on and off for most of the day. I've just had a look outside and yay!..... it's not snowing at the moment. So fingers are crossed for a successful journey in the morning.

My artwork for today features Christmas Cards......

Both of these cards have been made with stamped acetate panels which have had Abalone gold leaf and Copper leaf applied to the back of the acetate before layering it onto Mirri card.

I love working with Tim Holtz's Christmas stamps, they have a lovely vintage feel to them. Have you seen what he's doing with his 12 Days of Christmas Tags this year? Don't miss out on all the tips and techniques he's sharing!

All the other stamps shown here are from Elusive Images and you can find the full range of EI stamps at Graphicus.

I'm going to really have to get my finger out if I'm to have enough hand made cards ready in time to send this year. I hate to say it but I do have some bought cards on standby should all else fail!

To all of you who are knee deep in making your Christmas Cards and hand made gifts...... have fun and Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

'Tis the Season

Can you believe that it's December already and the countdown to Christmas is well and truly underway in our house.

We are currently having the annual fight with the pre-lit Christmas tree.... well, it wouldn't be the same without the week long battle to get all 1200 bulbs working would it?

The lounge was all freshly decorated and cleaned last week and was looking pretty tidy until the trees (yes, there's three of them for the downstairs) and all the boxes of decorations were hauled down from the loft....

......and we ended up with this mess! On the table, under the table, in carrier bags, boxes and plastic sacks piled up all over the floor of the dining room. Well, there's one good thing achieved by all this - the loft is pretty empty. LOL

We started to assemble the main tree for the lounge last weekend and found that half the lights on the second layer up were out. I removed every bulb that was off and tested it.... five times (and that's a lot of bulbs) only to find it was a wiring problem. To cut a long story short, we've found a way around it and the tree is now assembled and ready to start the dressing stage.

The weather here in the North East is causing havoc. I can remember winters when I was little where the snow was so deep that it came over the top of my wellies and I always ended up with painful, itchy Chilblains. But over the years, the winter weather has changed some and we don't seem to get the depth of snow we used too... until now. I went out to clean the snow off the bird table today to put out some food for our feathered visitors and this is what I found......

It was cleaned off on Monday to put their food out and this is what's fallen since then. I just had to get a ruler and stick it in the snow to see how deep it was. I say was because that was earlier today and we've had even more since then with it forecast to continue overnight and throughout tomorrow.

OK that's enough for now about decorating and the snow, I will be updating my progress with the Christmas preparations as the days go on and taking daily photographs of whatever I'm up to for my '31 Days of Christmas' journal that I'm doing again this year. More about that in another post.

I'm really sad that the weather has caused the Graphicus Open Days planned for Friday and Saturday this week to be cancelled. I can't tell you how much I was looking forward to seeing everyone and to the fun and festivities we had planned, not to mention playing with some of the fantastic new products that have arrived from the USA this week. However, we are not going to be completely defeated by this white fluffy stuff that makes staying vertical almost impossible and driving, well.... the less said about that, the better. We still intend to have some fun on Friday and there will be some very special offers, great products and some interactive fun to be had if you keep an eye on the Graphicus blog and on Twitter on the day. My lips are sealed but I can tell you this, you won't want to miss out!

I'm going to leave you with some of my Christmas tags and artwork and will be back soon with the next installment of Lynn's December Life.

This selection of tags were made during my Vintage Christmas Tag workshop a couple of weeks ago. We had a really good time getting inky and glittery and we could have carried on playing long past the scheduled finishing time. In fact, the ladies who came to play were encouraging me to leave them overnight in the studio at Graphicus so that they could continue to play and make more tags. I actually believe that they may have been serious!

If you have any questions about the techniques or products used in the tag artwork, leave a comment here on the blog and I'll do my best to answer your queries.

Happy Christmas Crafting!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful...........

Any of you who have been visiting my blog for the last couple of years will know that we are fast approaching my favourite time of the year.... yes, Christmas is just around the corner! I love making our home a warm and inviting place in which to welcome our guests, all the hard work (yes, I even enjoy that too) which goes into getting the house ready to put up the decorations and then sitting back and enjoying everything associated with the festive season.

Christmassy mugs full of steaming hot chocolate, the smell of fresh baking emanating from the kitchen and dried fruits soaking in alcohol for the Christmas cake and pudding, making a wreath of fresh winter greenery to hang on the front door, lighting fragranced candles throughout the house as soon as the light of day starts to fade..... there are so many family traditions and little pleasures that make this time of the year such a delight.

The weather is also adding to the feeling that Christmas is almost here. We had our first snowfall last night and it took me two hours and twenty minutes to get to work this morning! Mmm, I suppose there is a down side to this time of the year. The ridiculous thing is that the worst of the weather is across Teesside and around Darlington. Barnard Castle is just about clear and has only a light dusting of snow and all the roads are clear, crazy or what? I've just put our German Shepherd dog Diesel out for his last garden visit of the evening and it's snowing hard again.... I love it really, just not when I have that 60 mile round trip drive to do.

Tomorrow we will be making a start on assembling the big tree that goes in the lounge. It's a pre-lit tree and it takes some time to check everything through as it goes together and then the best part of a week to get it all decorated and finished ready to switch on in December. I am going to record our progress here on the blog. I don't know how much time I will have for any crafting but whatever I do make, I will share here. I certainly have some big intentions for hand made gifts to give to special friends and I'm going to make every effort to get them done this year. I usually end up running out of time and dashing to the shops at the last minute but I mean for this year to be different.

I hope you love Christmas as much as I do otherwise you're going to have to give my blog a miss for some time. Don't stay away for too long though, I will miss you and as they say in TV speak, normal service will be resumed in January.

We also have a busy time coming up at work next week getting ready for our Graphicus Christmas Open Days on the 03rd and 04th of December. There's another tree to put up and decorate, deliveries of exciting crafting goodies arriving from the USA that all have to be booked in and got ready for the event, demo's to be prepared.... oooo I can't wait. I do hope you are going to be able to join us on at least one of the days, we really are looking forward to letting our hair down and having some fun at this very special event. I'll try to let you in on more of the goings on next week as the preparations get into full swing.

Now it's time to close the lid on my lap top and climb into bed, only problem is..... I'm so excited about everything, how on earth am I going to sleep???????

Happy Christmassy Crafting to all and to all a Good Night!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Great Savings at Graphicus

For all you crafting junkies out there, do you know there's some fantastic savings to be made over on the Graphicus web site? A beat the VAT increase sale started in the early hours of this morning and there's a huge selection of crafting goodies at discounted prices. This is not overstocked or clearance products but hot products that may well be on your Christmas List for Santa this year.

For example, if you love Tim's grungy style and want a great reference book for all his techniques, how to use Ranger products and loads of inspirational samples in full colour then you must own his Compendium of Curiosities. This wonderful book has a SRP of £24.99, has a previous purchase price of £19.99 and is on sale for only £14.99 plus you earn stash points to spend on other items too, savings on top of savings!

Compendium of Curiosities by Tim Holtz
But BE WARNED: once it's gone, it's GONE! The product may well come back in stock in future but it will be restocked at the original pre-sale price or more if there has been a price increase in the mean time. So this is a great opportunity to get stocked up and save yourself some money or drop some really big hints to your nearest and dearest about how they can save money and delight you on Christmas Day.

I have my list at hand and now, I really must go shopping.... gotta get my sticky mitts on some of that great Tim Holtz stuff, some Copic sets and a host of other must haves too! Bet my other half doesn't know he's shopping for my Christmas pressies today (te he)!

Have fun with your crafty shopping and I hope you bag yourself some bargains!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Artwork Show and Tell

In my last post I had intended to upload some of the art work that I had on display at the last Graphicus Open Days but Blogger was being bloody minded and turned all my photos on their sides... arghhh. Several people asked about future workshops with these items and I do intend to include similar techniques and projects in next years timetable.

I'm going to have another go and see if the problem has been resolved as I have quite a back log of art work building up.

Several hours later......
Well, the problem still exists but I've discovered that by going back to Blogger's old editor I can avoid the frustration of the turning images but it means I have to work in HTML and put up with the photos loading in an odd order all at the top of the post and broken links when I move the images around but at least I have images!

This is a deep edged canvas which has been collaged, painted, stencilled, painted some more then I've worked Golden's Light Molding Paste through stencils to give it lots of texture and depth.

The molding paste is one of my favorite mediums, it gives wonderful results when painted over with Tim Holtz Distress Crackle Paints which just adds to the interest.

Then comes some additional embelishments in the form of a brass escutcheon, a handpainted flower with a metal centre, some feathers and a feather butterfly.

This is an image transfer onto Claudine Hellmuth's Sticky Backed Canvas. It is a brilliant technique and is totally foolproof, unlike many of the other image transfer techniques.

I finished the canvas by adding just a touch of Gold Metal Leaf to the edges, a decorative border of cut dictionary paper around all four sides, some decorative upholstery nails and a hanging wire roughly shaped like a handle to which I tied ribbons.

If you'd like to try working on canvas with some of these techniques, I have a work shop programmed for Thursday 18th November 2010 called 'On the Outside Looking In' and there are still some places available (well, there were when I looked last Friday before I started my week off). This is a fab workshop and we'll be using two canvas's hinged together and featuring a window to create amazing dimension and an interesting focal point.

The other pieces I have to show you today are the waxed collage boards. I watched Suze Weinberg demonstrate this technique at a trade show earlier this year and instantly fell in love with the idea of creating art from next to nothing.

It uses the Melt Pot and wax pellets, together with printed images and rubber stamps to build up and create texture in the wax.

Bedazzles and Stickles are used for accents and the wax is polished with Perfect Pearls which give the most stunning depth of colour and luminosity.

I really love working with hot wax, it is so relaxing and makes a great 'chill-out' therapy when you need some down time. I keep saying that crafting should be available on the National Health system, are you listening Mr Prime Minister? It could save a fortune in medical costs and therapy and you meet such lovely, like minded people who are all too ready to share in your obsession.

Well, the old Blogger Editor has worked, despite taking an inordinate amount of time I've finally got some of the photos up. There's a lot more waiting in the wings and I'll be back soon with the next update.

Until then, take care all and enjoy your crafting!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Workshops at Graphicus

Yes, I've been more than a little quiet on my blog of late. Life is hectic and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to fit everything in (not that I'm complaining, it makes life interesting). One of the things that's been occupying my down time has been planning my Autumn/Winter workshops at Graphicus.

There's a fantastic line up this time but some sessions are already sold out. You can link to my workshops through the 'What's On' category in the side bar on the right. There are also lots of other exciting workshops to choose from which are being taught by fabulous tutors such as Glenda, Judith, Lesley and Annette. Have a look here for the full programme.

We have a great time on workshop days with a fantastic camaraderie amongst our students. Many of them now know each other well from previous sessions and events at Graphicus but that said, they make new students ever so welcome and right at home from the onset. So if you're reading this and would like to come along, take the plunge  now. Not only will you learn a lot in a fun environment but you stand to make some wonderful new friends with like minded interests.

We had our Autumn Open Days at Graphicus last weekend and as usual, we had a thoroughly enjoyable time meeting new customers, catching up with our wonderful regulars, playing with fab products and sharing lots of product information and 'how to' tips (and they call this work)? I will get some photos up of some of the things I made whilst demo'ing but it will have to wait until tomorrow. I just tried photographing the samples and the lighting is dreadful tonight. Hopefully, we'll see the sun tomorrow and I'll be able to capture some reasonable images to show you.

Some of the artwork I had on display around my demo area was from previous workshops taught in the Summer (why does that word 'Summer' seem so dim and distant?) and drew lots of questions and interest. I promised I would put up pictures of the items and teach them again next year, so here they are........ or here they are NOT!!! Blogger is playing silly beggars and loading them all the wrong way round. I noticed when I signed in tonight that they have an outage scheduled for later this evening  to work on the photo upload facility, so with a bit of luck (my fingers, toes and legs are all crossed) they'll get it sorted and I'll try again tomorrow.

On a final note, Diesel has been  for his annual EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency) health check earlier this week which he passed with flying colours. German Shepherds are prone to it and Diesel was diagnosed with it about four years ago. Derick, our vet, was absolutely delighted with his progress and seemed amazed that we are managing his conditions so well. Apparently, it is more difficult to keep it stable as they get older and talking of age, he was eight on Sunday..... Happy Birthday Diesel! He did get lots of cuddles on the day and a new ball to drive us insane with.

I'll try to upload those photos tomorrow, so until then..... play nicely and

Happy Crafting!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spookin' Time

Well, I survived the Paradise Weekend Retreat! It's amazing to think that just over a week ago it was in full swing and what a weekend it was. It was fast and furious and came and went in what now seems like a complete blur. I will be posting some photos on the blog soon but I didn't get nearly as many as I had planned to.

Straight after the event it was back to work and with Halloween just around the corner you can guess what I've been spending my time doing? Yes, I am having so much fun with these new Elusive Images Halloween stamps and they complement last year's 'Twilight Zone' stamp sheet so well that I just pick'n'mix them all up together!

They are incredibly inspirational and I have lots of things already in progress for 'The Night of Spooks', from little gifts for callers at the door through to journal pages holding childhood memories of the costumes my brother and I dressed up in - always homemade of course (there was no such thing as Supermarket Fancy Dress departments in those days) and all the antics we got up to on All Hallows Eve, never too naughty as Mum was always close at hand!

I'm really getting into it this year and have also designed a couple of costumes... just in case we get invited to some Spooktacular Affair but if not, then I'll just have to wear them to work.

This months Tagtastic Technique in the Graphicus Guild newsletter also has a Halloween theme, although I'm not going to show it in its entirety on my blog, but here are a few sneaky peaks of what you can expect.....

....and if you want to see more and find out how to make it, your copy of the September newsletter should be with you very soon. If you're reading this and you are not a member then click here for all the info on how to join.


I intend my blog to be a happy place featuring mainly my art work with interjections of life as it happens. It is also my diary and a record of memorable events and as such, occasionally those events will be sad ones.

However, there have been a few too many sad events of late and it is with a heavy heart that last Friday, I attended the funeral of my very dear friend Patti who died in the most tragic of circumstances on the 01st of September. It was the happiest and saddest event I have ever witnessed.

Patti and I have been friends for thirty nine years. We met whilst working on the ground at Teesside Airport in offices right next door to each other, then we joined British Midland and went through our cabin crew training course together...creating havoc as some may well remember! We flew together on many an occasion and boy, do I have some hilarious memories of some of those flights!

Later, Patti's husband Paul was a groomsman at our wedding and so the friendship continued. Throughout all the years I knew Patti there was always a four legged furry friend somewhere close to hand, she loved her pets and was a dedicated horsewoman throughout her life, be it with her own horses or those of her children. So it was fitting that when we emerged from the Chapel this is what we saw....

She would have loved this sight.

I have so many truly wonderful memories of Patti and the times we spent together laughing that I am going to work on an art journal containing my memories of her, where it will take me I don't know but I'm sure looking forward to taking this last flight with her.


I'll be back soon with some more crafty stuff. I'm putting the finishing touches to the Graphicus Autumn/Winter Workshop Programme this week so hopefully, I'll have lots of new workshop dates to share with you all.

Until then, enjoy your crafting.... and laugh often!