Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Last Saturday wasn't a gloriously blue-sky sunny day, but it was nice enough for us to take a short trip to the Botanic Gardens - and we got back to the car park just as the rain started.

Here are some of the irises. They're a flower I love, we used have the big tall ones in the garden when I was a child, and for quite a number of years I had a tub full of small orchid irises  I had grown from seed - but in the end they stopped flowering and their pot cracked in the frost last winter so I threw them out and will start again some time.

So for my Art Neko card this week, no surprise that I chose to feature an iris, using a stamp from the Set of 9 Flowered ATCs.
I stamped and embossed it on watercolour paper and coloured it with Inktense pencils and distress re-inkers for the background. The layer behind it was done with watercolour pencils sanded over some watercolour paper which had a stencil laid over it and then I misted a small section at a time and sanded the pencils over it. I had thought a while back of giving away my older cheap watercolour pencils, but this is a technique I like for the soft granular textured look it gives, so I held onto them. The base was just coloured with distress ink and misted, then scored around the edges. Since the ATC image has a heavy black outline, I added black edges to my sanded watercolour panel and the base layer. Oh - and because I liked the look of the paper where there had been no stencil and it just caught all the sanded pencil, I used a strip of that along the bottom, just for fun.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Inspired by...

I am currently re-reading all my Margery Allingham books, and when I read the opening paragraph of The Tiger in The Smoke, I knew straight away that I wanted to make a card based on it.

The paragraph is describing London (probably in the 1920s as it's a post-war setting) in a fog: The fog was like a saffron blanket soaked in ice-water. It had hung over London all day and at last was beginning to descend. The sky was yellow as a duster and the rest was a granular black, overprinted in grey, and lightened by occasional slivers of bright fish colour as a policeman turned in his wet cape.

I had bought the Stampers Anonymous Cityscape stamps with a birthday gift - mostly, it has to be said, for the Paris one. But the London one was perfect for this, even though it has a distinctly more modern feel to it with the Gherkin and the London Eye.

The background is a combination of sponging distress inks for that "duster" yellow, and grey Brusho powders.  Two photos, because I used splashes of pewter Twinkling H2Os for the slivers of fish colour, and trying to capture both the shine from that and the embossed cityscape was a challenging task.

Friday, 12 May 2017


The Thursday challenge on Splitcoaststampers this week was "Kids and Pets", and this sweet "We're Off To See The Wizard" stamp from Art Neko seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I coloured it with pencils (and a hint of Stickles on Dorothy's shoes) and set it on a yellow brick road, adding some emeralds...and other bling. I'm not very good at knowing when to stop, and I think I overdid the Stickles. The sentiment comes from the Bookmarks and Sentiments plate.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Bath Time

I do love watching the gulls bathing, they always seem to enjoy themselves so much. I was working at odd times last week, and unsure of which buses would get me in on time. Erring on the side of caution, I had time to go down to Heuston Station, and since it was low tide, it was prime bathing time.

Monday, 1 May 2017

April Favourites...

Some of my favourite cards from April...and I truly don't think the owls were influenced by our outing.

The owl in the shadow-box card was a birthday gift - as were the Mermaid Markers I used to colour the leaves and flowers in the first card - love how reactive they are with water! Thank you, Di and Lorraine...

This month's blog header was taken just round the corner from our house in an open green area. Nothing grew there this year, sadly.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

...and Owls

The owls were mostly in large cages - apart from the Little Owl (Gizmo, aged 7) who is in the reception area. I'm sure that in the previous premises he was flying around the room freely, I remember him landing on me. He's a little sweetie!

I thought the long-eared owl looked so foxy! Made me think of carnival masks.

We were also able to handle a tawny owl. I remember when I was working in Yorkshire, I could hear them in the woods beside the house almost every single night, and I spent a lot of time outside (in February and March) trying to catch sight of one, without ever succeeding. He made the funniest little sharp clicks with his beak, which instantly reminded me of Archimedes in the Sword in the Stone. He must have been very light, because the hawk only weighed a kilo and felt quite heavy in comparison.

I made an owl card to go with my owl photos...

I used the "Wise Owl on a Branch with Calligraphy" stamp - he's stamped in brown ink on linen-finish paper sponged with distress inks, and with the ends curled round an old knitting needle to create a scroll. I crimped some kraft card for the background, sponged it with some inks and then gesso. To finish I added some trailing ivy leaves, and finally a little ladybird from the "Whimsical and Kind Sayings" set. It took me a long time to decide whether to leave the bug or not - in the end I decided that I like it better with. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017


We took a trip to the National Bird of Prey centre yesterday, as a birthday outing.  We went about three or four years ago, and I was glad I looked it up because we found it has moved to the grounds of Russborough House, and is much nearer than it used to be.

Here are some of the eagles - most of them are hybrids (Lanner, Saker, Gyrfalcon crossbreeds) apart from the peregrine, and the one we were able to hold is a Harris Hawk. We weren't able to stay long enough to watch them being flown in the afternoon, but have a complimentary ticket to go back and see them another afternoon. We'll definitely do that - not least because we also didn't have time to go into the various studio workshops.

I'll be back later in the week with some owls...