Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What's on Your Christmas Workdesk Wednesday?

Well, it seems like my whole house is my work-desk at the moment as Christmas descends...along with more of the wintry, white offerings from above.
My favourite collection of baubles has come out of hibernation and the tree is all dolled up, awaiting a nice stack of presents that are yet to be wrapped. Piles of plastic bags, Amazon boxes and unruly wrapping paper have taken over the spare room...Still ticking off the shopping list - agreed to cook The Big Dinner for my sister (as new babe is ruling the roost) but...doing it together with my mum, so all is well. Famous last words...

Yesterday was spent entirely in the kitchen being a right Mrs. Beaton, in an attempt to avoid a Christmas Eve marathon. After thirty-six mince pies, twenty-eight sausage rolls (all home-made pastry!), a supermarket spree in a blizzard, a swim in a deserted pool, a Christmas cake for the out-laws and a fab hubby on the washing was time to call it quits! Yes - it's a madness and chaotic frenzy that I thrive upon. It's true - we do all suddenly seem to be more bothered and make more of an effort, but that is a good thing. Family, friends and time are not a given.

 Today I was off to do battle with the crowds of die-hard shoppers seeing as half my stuff is stranded in some forlorn shipping depot. The main enemy turned out to be the icy blasts of hail and the ghastly sludge on the streets. Yuk...snow can sure turn nasty. I know the random weather is causing big problems for many of you out there. Above all else I hope you are all safe, and secondly you will all be able to partake of the Christmas Spirit - however you choose to celebrate and wherever you may be. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy...!

Dare to hang up that stocking, sneak all the big purple ones out of the Quality Street tin, be thankful for those "Oooh, that's um...uh different" gifts and hope that Santa brings you a few goodies to show us all next time. Two more days at work for me  - but sandwiched with a trip to the hairdresser and the nail salon for a bit of pampering - it's Holiday Time Darlings!

May the Festive Season be very, very good to you all.

With love,

Sarah x

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WOYWW, Challenges, Workshops and Festive Faffing Around...

Hello to all,

As the title suggests...rather a lot been done, going on and still to do. Firstly, thanks so much for all the lovely words regarding my Christmas card. All done and on their way to doors afar! Yes, indeed, I did the lot. Meant to take a photo of the whole lot but forgot. Darn, you will just have to believe me. I must confess to stopping with the home-spun darlings at number 45 and using 20 bought ones to complete the job. But I don't mind admitting that. I'm pretty darn chuffed to have got as far as I did!

Onto another Seasonal Sweetie... I really wanted to create a Christmas hanging for myself and here it is. There are just so many wonderful colours, techniques, textures, images  and materials out there so I decided to put some of my most beloved ones together in one piece. I played around with some pencil sketches to help me think up the layout and colours. It was quite a project but a joy all the way.
I have decided to enter it into a few challenges, including the Show us a Tim Technique over at Simon Says Stamp and Show. Seeing as I have used my Snow Cap dabber and Distress Inks on the canvas background, Distress powders on the tree tag, Distress Inks to stamp and colour edges, Gold embossing, made a Cranberry-Dabber painted Grunge rose, water-coloured my angel with Distress inks, sanded and distressed all the edges galore... I think it counts. At The Artistic Stamper the monthly theme is also Christmas-so how can I resist?

I am of course the forever-vintage fan but I like the addition of the metal (Kabuka mould) to give it a bit more of an edge. The red tile was done with a sticky back canvas transfer which is just such a great textural way to use up all those paper scraps and turn them into something new.
Again...loving Viva Gold and all the lustre it can add.

So this Saturday another workshop...making a version of this canvas. Turned my humble kitchen into a serious Crafting Boot Camp. I had a fab group of ladies, but I was rather optimistic with my timing...the steam was coming off the scissors instead of the mince-pies.

Before - oooh, so clean and lovely. All kitted up and ready to go.

During...go ladies...go ladies..go ladies...

And After...

Just in time for them all to get home for Strictly Come Dancing whilst I scrape the glue from my kitchen table...aaah, such is life. Time for me to sign off again and get over to all your creative corners, desks, floors and minds.

Wishing you all lots of Festive Spirit, Inspiration, Peace and Joy.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What's on your Workesk Wednesday?????

Hello to everyone looking in - wherever you may be. If you are on the wintery side of the planet I hope you are keeping yourself well-toasted. Next week it could be real snow on my work-desk.
Cor blimey, me loves, is it cold ?! I am waddling around like a Sumo wrestler with all these clothes on... and I still feel cold ! Looking forward to it being zero again! I admitted last week to being a right old Christmas lover and now I have the true weather for the season too. Also very glad to say I made the top three again at Simon Says Stamp and Show with last weeks tag!!! (see my previous post...)

I also confessed to the urge to become a crafty-couch-potato and buy some Christmas cards. Well, after lots of lovely encouragements and a wrist slap from Doone I have decided to be a good girl and do my loyal duty to the realms of paper...

I felt a bit over-whelmed as I will have to make at least sixty and I also want them to be something special and not just churn them out like old  tin cans...also a bit tired after all the shenanigans in Paris!
The colours, trends and Tim Tagmania are all great stuff, don't get me wrong, but I really felt the need for something simple and pure and something that is me. Tones of white and brown have been tapping at my window for a while and after a spontaneous half hour of dabbling and musing, my little star of joy came to be...and I just adore her.

I have used some cardboard from cup-holder strips collected from various cafes! I added some gesso, distress ink, made a mini-tag from old Bible-scraps and layered it up with some old string, added joy with my stamps and some vintage lace. Can't stamp much there - so the choice was simple! The card base is made using a plain old manilla office envelope which I decided to liven up with a bit of stitching on my machine...and a little gold bling with my ever-faithful thread. Just playing with slight variations now.

So there you go sweet, simple and snowy-white... just how I would like my Christmas to be. I hope you all have a good week and enjoy the holiday season - whichever way you are preparing or celebrating. Make it yours...and enjoy!
My motto is ..."Plenty of what you long for, and lots and lots of what you need!"
Thank you all so much for the visits, kind words, new followers and the pleasure found in kindred folk.

The winner of the goodies is Elizabeth! All the way up in snowy Ayr...hopefully it will get there for Christmas!

Farewell for now,


Leaving you with a winter scene of Cruckton, near Shrewsbury, taken by new camera buff hubby...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WOYWW, December, Simon Says Challenge....and a give-away!

Festive, chilly, December greetings to everyone! So the big freeze, the month beginning with "D" and the snow flurries have arrived - how seasonal can you get?
To start things off, I have made a tag with a kind of seasonal and wintery feel. I stamped the leaves with my Snow-cap dabber before applying the distress inks - always love how that comes out. Then I carried on building up the layers with more stamping and embellishments, finishing off with a vintage lace edge. I am entering it into the tag challenge over at Simon Says Stamp and Show. I actually started this tag in Paris in a great workshop with Linda Elbourne and finished it off today.
Although I sincerely hope that no one is stranded on the motorway, or stuck at home with off-school kiddies or a bikini-wear model - I  for one am up for the Festive beginnings. I just love all the great things about Christmas time and I plan to savour the whole season (ask me again on Christmas morning when I'm stuffing the mince pies and icing the turkey...)

Sunday I returned from Paris from the Paper and Co show. It was a rather chaotic up and down experience indeed. Didn't expect The Ritz but wasn't quite prepared for Brownie Camp bunk-beds, being right out in the sticks and lots of snoring. But enough drivel...there were some fabulous teachers, I enjoyed doing both old and new things and it was great to meet new folk from all over the world.

Here is a mini journal I made in Caroline Rondels class. I love how the freestyle stitching, paint splashes and simplicity of the whole book just all work together. I like the combination of wildness and femininity. Also finished the last details off today - being strict with myself and making sure I clear the "works in progress" corner.

Here is a view of the back where I added some extra details and shapes of my own. I still have lots of other things to show, but I need to tweak them and save them for another blog-day.

And the give-away. I received a whole ton of goodies in Paris. I gave lots away there as I was already up to my 20 kilo luggage allowance and I still came back with a haul!


 Today I finally mustered up the energy to unpack my case and all my craft supplies. I thought it would be nice to share some with you. So if you fancy a big pack of Festive stamps, some chipboard shapes and a nifty Multi-tool from Fiskars, just become a follower of my blog, leave a comment and I will pick a winner next week. Anyone can join in - I will post abroad.

I have to decide on whether or not I do a marathon Christmas Card session this week - or dare I say it -  buy. Mmmm. This fair damsel must thinketh it over. Looking forward to some free time tomorrow and a good old nosey around your desks - will do as many as I can!

Stay warm, loved and sane,

Sarah xxx

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday, packday, rushday, have I got it all in day...???

Greetings from the Wednesday work desk...!
Trying to show you all what is going on down my way. It's all go as I'm off to Paris on  Thursday to revel in the delights of the Paper & Co. Show. This is my 40th birthday treat and seeing as I spent my official birthday in the Labour Ward last week - I am ready to party!
Well...stamp, cut, ink, glue, splodge, and distress. I am up for the lot! Normally I do my own thing at workshops but this time I have jumped in at the deep end and joined a team for the evenings. Going full speed with the crop evenings, team projects, challenges and even agreed to dress up like a fairy one night. See - going mad in my old age already. I am in a team with four lovely ladies - two from Greece and two from Israel. They are all fab scrappers and I am...well - just so not a scrapper - at all - and we have a Fairy Team theme - so I am in for some new experiences. Bring on the pink stuff.

My biggest worry is not how I will look in glitter wings and a tiara, but getting all my stuff into the case (and back!) I can only take 18 kilos and I have a materials list as long as a toilet roll. I am going to have to be seriously strict...definitely no space for any glam clothes. Not the romantic getaway everyone thinks it is! Still - Paris, playing, paint and paper art....I am in love after all. Been hugely busy getting things ready for the trip. Here are some flower brooches I have made for my team. (It was a bit dark...)

I have also made some Christmas tree pendants. I might not be the fairy fan but for the Flower Fairies I can always make an exception. The drawings and colours are just so lovely, can't resist. Made oval and round ones with a fairy on the front and the greeting on the back.
What did I do before Viva Gold was invented? Love it so good as smoothing butter on fresh, warm bread. Goes on a treat.
Note to self: must remember to wash hands before scratching nose...

And then as if that isn't enough we decided to put a fat book together - but that means getting five pages ready. I played a little safe and went for French vintage using collage and stamping. I wish I had had more time to work on them- but I am all done which is a wonder,  as I had visions of being up until 4am.
I also had to get a Christmas wall hanging ready for my second workshop - yes number two is in the making and bookings already coming in. I will show it next time and also some pics from Paris. Doing some serious time in the craft room this week. Poor hubby is a little left out and a bit lonely this week but still supports me all the way - what a man. I think Crafters hubby's are nature's way of compensating for Sporting Widows.

Thanks for all the kind words and reactions last week - sister and baby doing fine, although we all still need a month of sleep. Next week I have some spare time, so I really want to have a good nose around by all - yes all - your work-desks! Famous last words - but I have missed having a mooch. Anyway - must go...Join in with this nosey around at Julia's.

Au Revoir...have a great weekend and watch out for the first snowflakes!

Sarah xx

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's on your Workdesk (by golly it's...) Wednesday!

Wednesday Work-desk greetings to you all!

Time for the weekly mooch and meander around the arty spaces of many a folk. Last week I told of my upcoming workshop, my 40th and a baby alert. Yes - a nice relaxing week was in tow. Here is my desk today..I'd like to say "in full swing" which is a more poetic way of saying "too much on the go..." Seem to have things piling up or half-done, so time to get down to it and get busy before the Festive efforts will be out of date. Also starting to realise that the annual Chrimble card stint looms yet closer.

Last weeks workshop went really well, although I was a bit nervous beforehand. I had the pleasure of entertaining nine ladies with various crafty capers. I had to really keep the tempo up as the time just hurtled by - but we all got there.

I got some great feedback and everyone was very happy despite me thinking I rattled on like some school matron for the whole session.

Hubby came along and took some nice action shots. Check out that table - looking like a workshop should...

Found a little time to work on the collage course. Yes another ATC - and yes a damsel with wings...I know, I know...but I am actually working more on balance and composition and an ATC gives me the chance to have a mini workshop all to myself!

So the milestone of my 40th year has arrived and what did I do? Well - a weekend away with a visit to the theatre. Sounding glamorous? I actually spent three hugely intensive days in the hospital delivery suite with my sister and ended up in the operating theatre witnessing a Caesarean and the amazing miracle of this bonny little chap being brought into the world.

Quite lot to take in... so I will just leave you with Isaac himself...

and his little tootsies...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's on your Workdesk Wednesday...???

 Top of the morning to you!
 Well - what ain't on my desk is a better question...and if it ain't on my desk, then its all over the floor, or piled on the chair or spread across the landing, or in that crate....seems to be everywhere. This week you find me amongst the wonders of workshop prepping. I had said that I would be teaching my first ever workshop, so my craft room is a torrent of kits, crates, plans, pots and a wee bit of nail-biting...I think I have even packed the kitchen sink  - that's down to my "you never know attitude".

I have ten ladies coming, all of which, I have never met before, so I am being a real Girl Scout and trying to be ready for anything. I think Time will be my biggest enemy (as is often the case in a workshop). I just want them to all have a great creative time of discovery and enjoyment! Here you can just see some samples in the background. I am doing one vintage collage card and one more upbeat stamped card. Keeping things simple yet interesting I hope!

The other side of my room has been taken over by the kits. I am putting everything they need in one bag so that they can also finish off at home. I really enjoyed doing this bit actually and they do make such a nice photo. I wouldn't fancy doing 100 of the things though. I always love getting my first bag of goodies at a workshop - almost as good as sweeties!

 In between all of this I am also dabbling with my own Christmas card ideas - and no I haven't started yet - the month still begins with an N! 
Just been playing around with some patchwork ideas or maybe I just love faffing around with pretty papers and my square punch too much... 

Have you noticed the amazingly sharp, richly colourful and perfectly focused piccies in my blog today? At Chez La-de-Dah, we are now the proud owners of a Sony Alpha SLT-A33. At the mo, Mr. Hubby, the gadget freak, is the official boss and lord of this wonderful machine. I am just leaving him a list of my photographical blog orders until I get some time to have a play, but even my layman brain has already sussed out that this is one fancy pants camera and I do feel like showing off - just a bit then. We even did a panoramic shot of my craft room - but I will spare you all from that chaos. 

Hope you all have a good WOYWW - will try to get around to you all again - which all depends entirely upon on Mother Nature.  I am living minute to minute as my sister is about to have a baby and I am going to be there!  And as if that wasn't enough frivolity for one week - I will be 40 on Saturday. Yes - it's all go at this funny farm, I can tell you. So, there could be just about anything on my desk next week! Time will reveal all. Toodle-pip for now,
Sarah x

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

WOYWW, Random Ramblings and Simon Says/Embellish Challenge.

Well hello All, hello Wednesday and hello November...
Yes, indeed, both Wednesday and November have arrived. Okay - so now I am officially allowed to start feeling a trifle Christmassy. Can't quite do that in October and now the clocks have changed here and it is sooooooo dark, even at 4pm, I can just start to sense some Festive quivers in my toes. Haven't blogged since last week. I have lots of projects on the go and I had decided to buckle down and not to blog until at least something was finished. So the aftermath upstairs is as such - which I still need to clear up.
 I am still working on the collage course which is really great but quite a challenge at times. The whole composition changes when working with paper images and layers rather than stamps and ink. I am also challenging myself to try the "less can be more" approach and see how simple I can keep things. Mmmmm. I don't want to smother things by over-embellishing, but let the image hold it's own.

I have just finished a hanging which I am also going to enter into the Shabby Challenge over at Simon Says and the Vintage Challenge at Embellish Magazine. I have used an old book cover for the base as it had a nice green canvas covering. I aged a background paper using DI and then stamped some details with Archival ink. I added a floral strip, a doily and then layers of music and pages from a Vintage carol book. I used gesso on the music papers to tone them down and added some vintage lace and gold thread...

 For the main image I used a scan from my vintage postcard collection and tinted the image by painting with watered down Distress inks. I also added some Viva gold to the edges to give it some warmth. I love the subdued tones with the splash of colour from the holly. I finished off by adding some old buttons, a crochet scrap and some handmade (by me!) ribbon and lace flowers.
 I used two brass eyelets and some gold and green ribbon to make the hanging cord. It was quite hard to photograph and capture the true tones and details as the colours are quite subtle, but all in all, I am quite pleased. She looks very seasonal and snug in real life!

I also said I would show the pieces I made at the Artsy Crafty weekend after just a sneaky look last week. Now both weekends ore over, we are free to tell all. I ran out of gold metal whilst finishing off my main project, so for now I will just share the Shadow box.
This one really grew on me and I would like to have a go at another one using my own design. There was a lot of jiggery-pokery involved but as you can see - worth the effort.
 So - a busy time and lots more yet to do. But I a woman on a mission - determined to finish off all those half-done, almost there, very nearly pieces.

Next week I am also teaching my first ever craft workshop - so that is quite a major leap. I have taught a over a thousand dance classes in my time but this will be quite a knee-knocker for me...but I embracing both the opportunity and challenge! Will give you the gossip next time.
Hoping to tippy-toe through your arty spaces again - have a good one and thanks for taking the time to be here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

WOYWW and My Weekend

Good Morning All,

I am typing away at the crack of dawn as I don't want to miss WOYWW. Although I might pay the price for this ungodly hour tomorrow afternoon at work when the keyboard appears to levitate...Been trying to grab some time at my table today but no time to finish anything things look like this.
Well, as told, last weekend I was off to the Artsy Crafty Weekend. And a chock-a-block full two days it was indeed. Had a great time Lin, Leandra and the whole team were absolutely fabulous as usual. Can't show too much quite yet as it is happening all over again this weekend  - so not going to spoil it for the eager students... But I can show you a few sneaky bits just for starters.

Flowers at the ready after much snipping, inking, and blinging...
I love workshops but I am no speed bunny and also a self-confessed tweakaholic, so I still have some finishing up to do on my main project which I hope to show next time.

Just need to remember it is all about learning and the perfecting can happen at home! I really loved my colour choices for the weekend which you can just see a bit of.

So here we are in full swing - making a huge mess it must be said. Glad I wasn't on hoovering duty. Hats off to the supporting team who kept us safe, sane and sober..

Here is just a teeny weeny peak of one of the smaller projects...I actually managed to finish this one completely so that is a small miracle in itself. It was a great mix of techniques and creativity and I definitely recommend the weekend.
Even if you are a seasoned pro it is really good to just be in such a big group and have the chance to try out lots of new ideas and also colour schemes you might not pick yourself.

I also called in at LB crafts the day before - just for a look. Well, I stumbled across a bit of heaven on Earth there in Olney. If I lived a bit closer, I might have re-mortgaged by now...  

So, a little bit of this and that today - hope to share more soon. Really need to head off to the lad of nod now...x Sarah

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

What's on your Workdesk Wednesday and The Three Muses

Dearest Papery, Arty, Inky, Painty, Stampy, Knit Folk,

The weekend had but fluttered her eyelashes and she is gone...and we arrive at the very lovely mid-week blogaround again. Well - I will jump straight in...and show the goods. For any rookies - head over to Julia's to see what this big nosey around is. As you can the desk is in full swing with bits of this, that and the other, and all the rest. Doing a lot of dabbling in between work on my course. I suppose you could say I am at Collage Collage (well, it works when you say it out loud...)

 Working on different backgrounds, compositions and techniques in the form of ATCs at the mo. Still adore the beauty of being able to do so much with so little. Here is a young lady who is also my offering for the Wings Challenge over at The Three Muses. Used torn papers, DI inks and gesso for the background. Added collaged images, copper-dabbed scrap metal corner and finished off with the lace, text and gold thread.

The second one uses colour shading techniques with pastel chalks. The original image was black and white. It is not my usual style but it was a challenge to try something different and create the final piece. I love vintage but this has more of a French rustic feel. Quite pleased with the tones though and rather enjoyed sitting there just colouring, smudging and doodling away...

Big hooray too as this weekend I am off to the Artsy Crafty weekend from LB crafts and Paper Artsy. Really looking forward to another fabulous and crazily intensive time there. Already invested in my own nail brush and soap! Got loads and loads to do before then including the housework and two Christmas cakes...and I really need to get some sleep (seem to be somehow welded to my crafting desk during the early hours... ) so I probably won't be blogging until I'm back. Hope to have some nice shots and stories to share soon.
So, loving you and leaving you for this week. Many thanks to all my visitors last week - glad to have you here! Enjoy yourselves - wherever and in whatever takes your fancy ...


Monday, October 18, 2010

Tag Tuesday (Kard Krazy)

It's a fact...I'm totally obsessed with triple tags and seeing as Kard Krazy have a tag challenge with moons going on, I just had to join in...!

This is a card I made to celebrate the birth of my friends daughter - Yentl. What a glorious name...for a little gem. She just had to sit in the moon!

Greetings Sarah.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Imagine red...Collage Coterie and Sunday Stampers.

Here I am again. Truly head over heels in love with paper and ink. Can't imagine life without it. Captivated by endless images, thoughts, colours and textures..but that is very alright with me. Just sharing two ATCs today. I have made a start on the course from Mary Green and I am already revelling in the delights of collage - but still coming back time and time again to rubber stamping. Call me is my thing! I have called this one 'Imagine red...'. What do you imagine when you think of red? Warmth, intensity, passion, anger? She is joining in with Sunday Stampers again at Hel's place.

She also has a twin who is a little more subtle and restrained.
I really do like gesso. You can create so many effects and moods with it.
I especially like the tones of a faded antique white which go so well with the little girl. Don't need too many details here - let the image just be...
It is funny and a little bit strange when you put them next to each other and have them both staring back at you!
Love them both.

À bientôt.