Friday, 18 April 2014

HAPPY EASTER - 20% off in my Etsy store


I can't send you all an Easter egg, so here's something a lot less fattening: 20% off across my Etsy shop (until 30 April). Just type in HAPPYEASTER in the coupon code space when you buy something.


I've put up a couple of blog sets (background, header, sidebar widgets, email thingie and social icon buttons) and I'll do the coding for you, plus add your blog name etc. And I'll supply tutorials if you need them, too!
Vintage Concertina book

There are also some new bookbinding tutorials.

So I do hope you'll take a look - you might find something you like!

Happy Easter, everyone.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Vintage Journal class

Children's annual circa 1930s

Just a quick reminder my Vintage Journal bookbinding class is on Sunday, starting at 11.30am - and there are just 2 places left...

Closeup view - you can see I've used Grungeboard, painted to look like leather, for the tapes and the keyhole fastening.

If you love to UPcycle, and would love to make your own journal using a variety of vintage text and sheet music pages, mixed with art papers, then this is the class for you (even if you've never made a book before!)

This journal was really old (1910) but had a very boring cover, apart from the debossed edging, so I've collaged the cover with bingo counters, a bingo scorecard and a vintage photograph from the same period.

You'll choose your own mix of papers, vintage book covers (I'm bringing a biiiiiig selection) and you'll go home with a unique, tailor made journal - a true one-of-a-kind, which you'll love to work in.

This book is a modern one, but I couldn't resist the cover - so I saved the entire page block for reading later on.

As you can see from the couple of samples above, you know you'll never see another journal exactly the same as yours! Much fun - and very addictive.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Block stamped wall hanging

This is a simple wall hanging, using 3 clip frames, which you can get pretty much anywhere for next to nothing - plus a length of ribbon for hanging, and a piece of twig. I've used Colouricious wood block stamps for the whole project.

Side view showing the dimension - kraft die cut flowers, painted and block stamped with assorted patterns.

And a closeup, so you can see more detail re the lettering. Again, block stamped - onto pieces of patterned paper (more stamping) layered onto yet more patterned paper (also block stamped). I've used acrylic paints throughout.

Hope you like it!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

BonBon dishes - block printing

I'm slowly putting up all the pix of the samples I've made for Colouricious, using their wood block stamps (exclusively hand carved for them by artisans in India).

This set of bonbon dishes are kraft cardboard, which I've painted with acrylics, coated with a crackle medium and then over-painted with more acrylic to get the cracked effect.

Bonbon dish by Decopatch

I've cut out pre-painted and block stamped paper (acrylic paints throughout) and glued this inside the bases, and then used small pieces around the edges and for the corners. Finally, I added a coat of decoupage varnish.

I think they've turned out rather Oriental!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

ELEPHANT Perpetual Calendar

I've been really busy, so not much time for posting! Here's what I've been up to: I am now on the Design Team for Colouricious, and also writing tutorials for them - which will shortly be available as instant downloads from their site - on how to block print on paper etc.

I've done a load of samples - this Elephant Perpetual Calendar was done for the Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia in earlier this month (13 March, as you can see from the calendar).

Closeup view- I've used self-adhesive foam numbers from a scrapbooking kit, then painted them with copper Lumiere acrylics.

I created one large sheet of artwork (heavyweight Bockingford watercolour paper) and smooshed acrylic inks for a base coat of colour, using red, yellow, and a touch of blue. These blended into a rainbow of colour which I then overstamped with a tree block, using black acrylic. I then cut this down to size to fit the sides, back and blocks.

...and the back view...

To me, it's just as important the back is as nicely finished as the front. Here, I've used a corner rounder punch to echo the shape of the wood edges.

I've stamped the elephant twice, then cut out portions which I've decoupaged onto the first image using Pinflair Glue Gel for dimension. And of course I've had to add glitter glue to her toenails etc!

And here she is, in glorious closeup!

Hope you like the calendar, and that it gives you a few ideas.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

BOOKBINDING - how to do your corners properly

Copyright Tricia Morris

As you know, I teach a lot of bookbinding classes at BladeRubber Stamps, and if there's one thing I hate, it's badly done corners. This is a great video by Tricia Morris, showing you EXACTLY how to do it properly - just how I was taught at Richmond College of Art.

The only difference to her method is the application of glue: Tricia's using Club Scrap glue, and UK formulations of PVA are much wetter (and greyboard soaks it up like a sponge) so I advise you apply it to the PAPER using an old credit card, a brush or a sponge, for the thinnest coat of glue possible.

Friday, 24 January 2014


Photo copyright Argos

Oh joy, oh delight, oh wow... the new computer arrived yesterday, and I'm happily loading up all my stuff again - and actually writing a blog post too!

This baby is wonderful - totally silent, and so responsive. I'm happier than a very happy person (I was going to say 'pig in s***t' but maybe that's rude, lol). Without constant crashes, I might actually be able to get some posting done!

A lot of the trouble with the old computer was updating from Windows 7 to Windows 8, and even with the upgrade to 8.1 it was still very unstable. You'll notice I have regressed BACK to Windows 7, and it's a great relief to be using something familiar and totally reliable.

I remember when everyone loved loved loved Windows XP (another solid and reliable programme which Windows now no longer supports - any support terminates in April this year, so there'll be no more security updates etc). Everyone hated Vista (lots of hiccups and teething troubles). Everyone loves loves loves Windows 7. And now Windows 8 is the one with the hiccups and teething troubles. Seems it skips a generation each time (Windows ME got a lot of complaints too).

So call me a dinosaur, but I'm sticking with Windows 7. If it ain't broken...

Monday, 20 January 2014


HI everyone
If you contribute towards upkeep of the site, to support the backgrounds etc, I'll send a 3-page pdf of these images as a thankyou!

UPDATE: Thanks to all who helped out! Everything is back to normal now, and Blogology is back up to speed, all buttons, backgrounds etc are working normally again.
Big apology if your background, button, header etc does not load - and you'll notice big gaps here too - I've been hosting these on photobucket and it's proving so popular that I've exceeded my bandwidth, so you're going to have to bear with me until I can afford to buy more!

My Plus account wasn't plus enough - so I need to spend yet more money to support Blogology and all the freebie blog backgrounds, headers, buttons etc.

I am - for the VERY FIRST TIME - putting up a PayPal contribution button, so if you feel like throwing a little money my way to help me support this site, I will be very grateful.

In return I will send you a pdf file with some of my very favourite vintage photos (shown above:15 images over 3 x A4 pages) which you can use as you wish. The only proviso being that you don't resell them as is or part of a collection. Individual CU or PU is OK.

Friday, 17 January 2014


Pic copyright Argos

See this baby? Just bought it off Argos at an amazing price - under £350!  It's an online offer only (didn't even know there was such a thing) and it just shows what desperation will do re online searches etc.

I didn't even know you could get anything with 12GB ram - and 2TB hard drive... I tell you, I cannot wait to get it (meantime, I'm backing up everything on to my external hard drive, ready to transfer back). I'm so excited!

Of course there's a small catch - it's Windows 7. However, for me that's a bonus. Here's why... (read on after the break if you're really interested - it's a looong story)...

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Christmas at the Books For Free shop

The whole front of the Chiswick shop
I've been volunteering at 'Books For Free' - a charity which gives away free books! Healthyplanet is a registered charity, and hosts pop up books shops, which save books from landfill, takes in books other charity shops haven't been able to sell - and of course, donations from anyone having a clearout. And gives away 3 free books to every customer, every time they visit (if it's three times a day, that's 9 books!) I think it's a great idea.

Closeup - this looked so pretty at night - all the little angel lights were lit, plus the tree

We won Best Christmas Window (I decorated it! No false modesty here, lol...)

I've found a hidden talent for shop display I never knew I had - and have been enjoying doing the windows and some of the interior displaysfor a couple of months now. It's definitely addictive, making the best with what you have on hand.

Just inside the front door
Two little trees on top of the central book shelves
We've all tried our best to make it warm and welcoming - and we're certainly busy! Below are pix of the shop last summer (just found which folder I had stashed them in).

Bryce, our glorious Team Leader is from New Zealand
The other side of those book shelves. That's me on the left - dear me, I look OLD!
Bryce and me attempting to move a shelf so we can stack more books (and not doing very well, lol)
Just a couple of books... and magazines...
Taking a well-earned rest, and testing out the sofa. Thanks to Moyra for taking the pix - just wish she could have made me look a bit thinner and not quite so old!

As you can see, it's a lot of fun, and I'm really enjoying my time here. It's a great idea, and healthyplanet have pop-up shops in quite a few locations. It's always best to check, as the charity takes over empty shops (at a whacking tax break to the landlords) until they're rented out again. Then pop up somewhere else. Any books which we can't give away are sent on to schools etc in Africa, so nothing gets wasted!

We get some really great books in, both as-new and older, so do go and visit if there's one in your area.