Thursday 28 April 2016

Let Leonie loose - hot off the press

Good morning crafters, I hope you are well.

Not long before we return to freeview - phew. I know a lot of you have struggled to tune in, so it'll be good all round!

Yesterday was another LLL show, using some more stunning kits from hot off the press. I adore their stuff. The colours, designs, quality. It's all a joy to work with. Just in case you missed the show I decided to share a few samples here, and of course you can still grab the show on catch up via your computer.

This was using one of the cool peel offs in one of the kits. Peel offs arnt as popular as they used to be, but there are so many ways we can use them. For this card, I removed some of the adhesive and stuck it to my card. Using paint, I stippled over the top. When I was happy, I lifted away the peel off (which I then popped to the side to use later). The image looks really cool - and because these were 3 different peel offs, it allows me to build up different pictures.

I then peeled back the top protective sheet from a piece of double sided adhesive, and attached my peel off to it. Replace the protective sheet, and carefully cut out the peel off. 

Peel off the back of the adhesive short and attach to a piece of card. Now cover the sticky peel off with gilding flakes. Remove the excess - this does look really cool. For even more drama, use alcohol inks over the top!! 

Cool arnt they!

These are the ones I did on the show, using butterfly peel offs

Next week I'm back with my very own range of stamps and masks, so I'll share lots of different techniques then :)

Sunday 24 April 2016

Hochanda schedule

Whilst I remembered, I thought I'd pop on my schedule for this week:

10am - weekday wonder sizzix
12pm - ODS
3pm - some lovely colouring :)
6pm - add some sparkle 

11am - sizzix weekday wonder
2pm - sizzix
8pm - ODS launch!!

9am - ODS
2pm and 3pm - let me loose :)
7pm - ODS

11am - creativ
2pm - creativ
5pm - nesting templates

Looking forward to a busy week - see you tomorrow :)

Thursday 21 April 2016

More ideas for mask stamping

Hi again crafters. I hope my post finds you well.

I'm pleased to hear people are receiving their orders - and it's brilliant seeing some of the work you are producing! It's so exciting. 

Today I thought I would share the technique where I used the stamps to add the design inside the stencil. I really like this - and the smaller designs are absolutely perfect to show even in the relatively detailed word stencil.

First, I started with a blank piece of card:

Using the repositionable adhesive, stick the stencil in place

Start to build up your design, this time we are working in the space in the stencil. Take care not to stamp in any of the other stencils - cover them with card if necessary 

I completed my design, and then used my little filler in stamps for any areas that I had missed

I love it when the stencil is removed and the image pops. Doesn't it look cool!

Next, cover the image with the matching mask.

The mask will allow you to work over the image, without any contamination 

I must admit, I preferred it left black and white!! But it was worth showing the alternative way of working :)

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Hochanda - back on freeview

I thought I'd share this, for those of you who have been missing us :)

Not sure it was a holiday....more like a long walk with a stone in the shoe! However, we're coming back earlier than expected, which is amazing!!! Phew 

Stamp and mask tutorial

Good morning crafters. Stunning morning walk today, look at this

I adore a misty morning, still water and that big wonderful sun. Add 3 happy dogs to the mix, and we have a very peaceful yet inspirational start to the day. It makes your soul smile.

Now, a massive thank you for everyone who watched, emailed and actually liked my first product launch. I'm both thrilled and utterly relieved. I had no idea how it would be received - so imagine my delight when the stamps sold out twice!! Phew.

I demoed using mdf, but thought I'd pop a tutorial here for you as well.

We begin, with a heart

I used white gesso, and then added ink. I used the crafters companion repositionable adhesive to stick the mask down

I then started pattern building. Allow the stamps to "fall" off the end of the mdf piece

I worked down the left hand side first with the swirls, and then started bringing the design into the centre

I love using the line stamp on the edge of the mask, it looks so effective

I then brought in the open hearts, extending the design to the right of the mdf, and up to the top 

The branch is a great stamp to fill a space, whilst actually allowing lots of the base colour to show 

When the design was complete, I blasted the piece with my heat gun to seal the ink, and then covered with versamark.
I added clear UTEE and melted. I added 3 layers of UTEE.

I completed the piece with a little acrylic paint and a piece of white ribbon at the top.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Pattern building - this is how!!

Eeeeekkk....thank you to everyone who has tuned in to the ODS shows, I'm so chuft my first range has gone down so well. Phew.

As promised, I'm going to do posts to show different ways of using the stamps and stencils, and to give you an idea of the concept.

So, here's where we start:

I spray the mask with low tack adhesive - this is from crafters companion. This is then stuck to the card, I'm using Sheena's stamping card.

Next, ink over the top of the mask. Use any ink. It doesn't matter if you haven't mastered blending - this technique is really forgiving.

Start to build your pattern. I love this. I think about where I want my images. So, above, I have clustered my flowers together, with a couple of random ones. Israel over the masks - this will emphasis the white space when we remove the mask.

I've added the second stamp. I love this as even though it's just a swirl pattern, it still looks quite organic used with the flower. I've angled it so it's shooting out from the mask, and I've used the mask so I do not see the end of the stamp.

Next I've added just a crew hearts. This stamp is a droplet design, which I've stamped so they are coming from the mask or one of the tendrils

Next, quite a geometric design. This stamp sits inside itself really well - just change the angle to create different patterns. Bear in mind the mask will be removed, so you will not see the whole stamped image

Swirls. This is a good fill in stamp, and everyone needs a swirl in their life!

Next I've stamped just one heart, and a couple of leaves. These are now filling in spaces and extending the image - and are great finishing touches

The best bit - remove the mask. See how the white space now pops and the word is accented with your wonderful pattern! And everytime it can be different!

To finish, I've just coloured in a little. You can get carried away, but I was happy with just the little sparkle :)

I hope you love this as much as I do.

Monday 18 April 2016


Gosh. Here we go!! Another new adventure - this year is already proving to be thrilling, and we have only got to April! 

As a lot of you know, I've been a crafter basically, forever. I crafted as a child, and continued whilst employed in "proper" jobs. Finally I took the plunge to give up the proper jobs and try my hand at making a living doing what I loved. I've been very lucky indeed, and have taken one stepping stone after another to find myself working for Hochanda, a brilliant, brand new tv channel dedicated to all things craft, hobby and arts. They have given me the freedom to actually be creative again- and to top it all off, I'm being supported by one of the biggest names in the industry, crafters companion! That's pretty good for a northern lass who just liked messing with fimo!

As a crafter its natural to be constantly bombarded with ideas, what ifs, and "that would be ace!"....these ideas have ranged from different techniques to products I'd actually like to design, produce and ultimately work with. To find I am now in the position where I'm launching my first range of products is amazing! It's a dream turned into reality - even more so as I've got the help, support and knowledge from the brilliant crafters companion team!

Now, I don't just get ideas, I get obsessed with stuff. I had the concept for my first range some time ago, and figured it could be brilliant. When it was delivered, the actual stamps I had drawn and the masks I had written - I couldn't wait to put those thoughts and ideas into practice. It was a good job it worked, as I had a week to get the finished samples done for the pressure!

The concept is pretty easy. I love pattern building. Stamps. Masks. Stencils. Ink. Colouring. It's all those things. I love the whole mindfulness concept, and getting lost in the moment, and us crafters don't need to be told - we know we loose days, not hours, in our craft room. I have designed masks that you glue in place. Ink round your mask, and then start to build your design with the little intricate stamps. Each time it can be different. The variations achievable are immense. Stamp directly over your mask. I do love this process. It's wonderful seeing the pattern build, and seeing the stamps work together so well. The best bit however, is removing rhe mask. The white space jumps out at you, making the whole piece come together. And now you have a beautiful design you can spend time colouring with your favourite pens, pencils - sparkle pens....lots of glitter :)

That's the concept, but of course there are so many ways you can use the kits, and my design team have sent some incredible finished samples, which I will share with you.

I will share lots of photos from my finished samples as well, and this will give you a guide as to some of the patterns you can create.

I hope you will be able to join me this evening for the 8pm launch!! 

And our final team member....for now.....

Let me introduce, Graphic 45 fan, it's the talented Elaine Mellor....

Elaine was worried she had missed the DT call, but I really loved her work, so definitely wanted her as part of the team.

Lets have a see how Elaine answered a few little questions:

My name is Elaine Mellor and recently turned 40 ! 

Have been crafting for just over 10 years, I've spent 21 years in my current job but only 5 weeks left until my redundancy which I'm embracing with open arms, this will give me loads of free time for craft and to retrain as a teaching assistant. 

I got into crafting after I saw a simple handmade card and thought what a great hobby..... I've never looked back since it's become a passion bordering on obsession lol. I love to do a variety of different things including card making,  altered art, scrapbooks and tags. I adore paper and have collected far too much but I can't stop buying lol.

 The most rewarding thing for me is the wonderful friends I have met along the way and also how it can de-stress you after a hard day. 

I have sold my crafty makes and donated money in the past to charity's that are close to my own heart. I do tend to give a lot away though or hoard them in my craft room.
A craft tool I could not do without is my 12x12 X cut guillotine, I've had the same one for about 8 years huge value for money. 

Thank you for joining me Elaine,.....and you are photogenic!  It's a good photo :)

Sunday 17 April 2016

Design Team.....The gang continues.....

Let me introduce you to another fantastic Design Team member, the lovely Jane Royston.  Again, Jane sent some beautiful pictures of her crafty makes.  She sent some stunning mixed media samples, so Jane had to be on the team!!

If you would like to see more of Janes work, please visit her blog:

I asked Jane some crafty questions:

First, please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into crafting?

I live on the Isle of Wight with my husband and 3 children (aged 4, 10 and 13), as well as a cat and rabbit. I am qualified as a primary teacher but left to look after my third child 4 years ago and have used the time to really get into my crafting. I have always enjoyed craft from a young age, and have an arty/crafty mum and sister. I also went to a primary school that did a lot of various craft activities, from ink marbling to screen printing, so I think I got my interest from there as well. I have done cross stitch for many years but started card making about 10 years ago after buying an Anna Griffin kit from QVC, leading to what is now a large cupboard full of all sorts!

Have you got a favourite craft, or do you like doing a little bit of everything?
I do like to try many different crafts (apart from sewing, knitting etc. They have never really interested me), but my main love is papercrafting and card making, in particular stamps, dies and stencils. I have been making cards for about 10 years, but in the last year I have really discovered mixed media and altered art and they are now my main interest, especially as I can use all my tools, products and techniques to make loads of lovely layers and textures. And I can still use my new techniques in card making!

What's the most rewarding thing about crafting for you?
I really enjoy seeing a blank canvas or piece of card transform into something else (hopefully beautiful). The products that are available are also so gorgeous, I love the textures and colours of everything! But also people's reactions to what you make, especially if you have made something especially for them, that is very rewarding.

Have you ever sold your craft work?
Yes, I sell at local craft fairs and have in the past sold in local shops. I do have some online shops set up but am really bad at actually putting anything in them!! I prefer the interaction with people, especially at the fairs when you can talk to them about what you have made.

Finally, what crafting tool could you not do without?
A tough question! But I think it must be my heat tool. Like many others it was heat embossing that drew me to stamping (still magical!). I am also a very impatient crafter, so (especially with mixed media) my heat tool is used every time to help speed up the drying process, and can also help create some good effects with inks and texture paste.

Next up....Design Team Members continued

Let me introduce you to the lovely and talented Katrina. She answered my DT call, and I really liked her work, and her blog.  When putting together my team, I wanted people who had different tastes and skills, and I love Katrina's style, her cards are beautifully colour co-ordinated, and she's brilliant at can find more about Katrina and see some of her work, here:

I will be sharing some of Katrina's work with you, on here and on telly!  I also asked Katrina some quick crafty questions:

Have you got a favourite craft, or do you like doing a little bit of everything?

Stamping and colouring in is definitely my favourite, when I can manage it. I like most papercrafts and have an occasional foray into mixed media.

What's the most rewarding thing about crafting for you?

I find it so relaxing to just sit and create something, I can get quite absorbed and leave the real world behind for a bit!  The best part though is when I finish something I'm really pleased with and I can say 'I made that'.

Have you ever sold your craft work?

I sell the occasional card to family and friends.

Finally, what crafting tool could you not do without?

Ooh, that's a toughie. I would be as happy as larry if all I had to craft with was my collection of alcohol pens and something to colour in, but the tool I use on every single project is my trusty old guillotine.

Thank you, Katrina, for joining my crafty little troupe!! 

Saturday 16 April 2016

May I introduce....the DESIGN TEAM!!!

As you may have heard, my very first product launch will take place on Monday, this Monday, the 18th, at 8pm.  Nervous.....oh yes.  Excited....beyond belief.

I am so pleased I am working with Crafters Companion.  They have been amazing, and have turned something that was always bubbling around at the back of my mind, into reality.  As a crafter, I've always had idea's and wanted to create my own "stuff".  Whether it be stamps, dies, embossing folders or a paper crafting kit.  I get idea's when I'm walking the dogs, or driving, or visiting the museum.  There's inspiration everywhere.  However, I chatted to Leann and Sara, and they offered help me bring these idea's out and make them happen....and here we are.  Ready to launch!!

I never thought I'd have a product range - and I certainly didn't think I'd have a design team!!  Whoop whoop.  And what a team.  Over the next few days I'm going to introduce you to the team, and then start sharing their work with you, on here and of course, on TV!

So, may I begin with someone you may already have heard mentioned - from regular emails to C&C, and now to Hochanda.  A chap who started off Nick of Barnsly, to become Nick of Bulgaria (what an incredible life changing move that was......The fantastic

Nick (and Grace, but Grace doesn't actually craft very much)

Me and Nick on his recent visit to Hochanda

I asked Nick some crafty questions:

First, please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got into crafting?
Hello, I am Nick, I'm 45 years old and I now live in Bulgaria. From a very early age I remember my parents always encouraged us to be creative. My earliest memory was making things from Papier Mache, Creating a mix of newspaper and glue, having great fun covering balloons of all shapes and sizes and then that awful wait until it was ready (it always seems like an age to dry when your that young). I can still remember the excitement when the time came to pop them and get creating and decorating.
One thing I always looked forward to was when my Dad got the huge wax pan out, he would fill the bath with cold water, then we would melt all the wax and fill small containers before plunging them into the water moving and tipping them to create the most wonderful sculptures and then decorating them to create something unique. Like most children, we all did colouring and drawing, all sorts of things really, we were very lucky to have grown up without the computers or 24 hour TV.Then came school and work and everything else seemed to take a back seat. 
A friend of mine had started cross stitch and the finished projects looked brilliant. I bought a few kits as I was heading to work on a ship. It wasn't until I had to take an ill health retirement that I truly rediscovered my love of craft, It started off with a card kit and then another and so on. Very soon I added stamps to the mix and so it quickly became my life and helped me through some tough times. My passion for everything craft related soon snowballed and I wanted the opportunity to try as much as I could. There are so many wonderful crafts to discover and try.
Have you got a favourite craft, or do you like doing a little bit of everything?
This has to be one of the most difficult questions to answer (Maybe not I have just seen the last Question). Making something from scratch is what I enjoy the most, starting with nothing but card, inks, paints, wax, stamps etc. Card collections are great and without them I wouldn't have progressed or had the confidence to continue my crafty journey. Knitting is great (Thanks Hayley West) especially the feeling you get when you finish something you can wear. Working with clay is another favourite, by the way how many favourites are we allowed???
What's the most rewarding thing about crafting for you?
Sharing my craft experience with others, either the knowledge or the finished article. There is nothing better than someone telling you they like what you have made. A few years ago I had some of my designs in Joanna Sheen's project books, I was very proud especially when people sent photos of the projects they had completed, It marvellous when someone likes what you do and when you see how you can make a difference. Seeing peoples faces and excitement when you have help them achieve a finished card or project
Have you ever sold your craft work?
It was a few years ago now when I did my first table sale. I can still remember how it felt when I sold my first ever card. There is really nothing like the feeling you get when someone wants to pay for something you have made. Once you have a few people at your stall it's amazing how quickly things disappear. I only did 2 sales as I couldn't spend enough time making the cards and projects to sell. I really miss it and maybe I will do it again in the future.
Finally, what crafting tool could you not do without?"
MY HANDS..........

Can I thank Nick for joining my team, he is such an incredibly talented chap, and I really look forward to sharing his work with you.

Tuesday 5 April 2016


What a lovely morning so far - I was up nice and early for a good stroll with the dogs. The rowing lake had a wonderful soft mist coverage, and the dogs were happy bunnies. Now listening to Dylan whilst getting ready for work. 

I'm really looking forward to my show again this week. I have 3 hot of the press kits which I really like. It's nice to do some paper crafting as well for a change. As usual I've been forgetting to take step by step photos to share....everytime I remember when I finish the card! Unbelievable.

Anyway, here's a sneaky of a card one of a swan :)

Sunday 3 April 2016

A new week, a new schedule

Evening crafters, this week I'm doing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday - as its ally pally at the weekend! Whoop whoop. Really excited, feels like such a long time since I've been able to demo there. I'm looking forward to seeing some of you there :)

Before then, however, we have live shows to do! My schedule has:

11am - derwent show!! Eeek, exciting
3pm - derwent 
7pm - one day special last chance 

11am - Debbie is in the building!
2pm - Smocking
5pm - Creativ
7pm - one day special - last chance

9am - one day special
2-4pm - let Leonie loose
7pm - one day special last chance

I'm really looking forward to my shows this week, I've got some stunning hot of the press kits - absolutely loving prepping this show! This is one of the lovely colouring postcards (not finished yet!):