Thursday, 22 January 2015

A Birthday Card Mash Up

Being a part of the awesome design team that is PaperArtsy, means that I not only get to play with my stamps but I get to play with all our other designers stamps too. One of my favourite designers is Ellen Vargo

Last year she release these fabulous flower petal stamps, and one of her launch samples caught my eye, I really wanted to scraplift the layout as it was so effective..  but not had time until now. 

I need a birthday card quickly the other night, and just knew that this would be the ideal design. 

I started with a number 10 tag, onto this I brayered Vanilla, Cheesecake, Guacamole, Tinned Peas and a secret new colour.  over this i stamped Ellens scratchy rectangle stamp with archival ink. I stamped the background very lightly, hardly any ink at all. I then stamped over this with my flying birds stamp. 

 Finally I stamped the flower stem from my EDY06 set. This is a really useful stamp, it can be a flower stem, a border, funky hair.. a millipede? 

Over this I added text from a brand new stamp...oooooooh! Can't wait for you to see all the new products. 

I painted some smoothy card with more of the same colours of paint, but keeping them lighter, and then stamped the flower petals from EEV09

I edged the tag with brown ink and then glued it to a white card blank. The petals are bigger than the card, so I needed to make a customized envelope. i used an old piece of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper, that I knocked back with a little paint. Then I made a little name label using the same colours as on the tag. 

Thanks Ellen, for the inspiration, I love mashing up our designs. 

Darcy x

Monday, 19 January 2015

Postcard Winners

Hi everyone, thanks for the amazing response to my Postcard post over on the PaperArtsy blog. there were 60 comments, from those I used a random number generator to pick the 6 winners.. 


10. Miriam

16. Bracken Sparkes

29. Emma Elliot

42. Miek

48. Wendy K

58. Barbara Moore

EDIT. All postcards are now on their way. 

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Fragile Paper Postcards

Over the past fortnight on the PaperArtsy blog we have had the theme of Fragile papers. tonight is my turn to play and I have used fragile papers to make paper-fabric, I turned this into postcards.

These cards feature sneaky peeks of new stamps... shhhh...

Pop over to the  PaperArtsy blog where you can see all the step out photos of my process. If you read right to the bottom you wil find out how you can win one of my postcards. 

Darcy. x

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sharpener Review

Hello everyone, I hope you are all feeling creative this year.. using all your new Christmas stash to make art. One thing that I really wanted for ages was an electric pencil sharpener, and that went on my Christmas list. 

I have tried lots of hand held sharpeners and have found the metal 2 hole ones to be the best, and of course they are the most portable. I prefer the 2 hole ones as some pencils are just too big for the 1 hole types. 

 But I wanted something robust that could stand on my desk. I tried one that has a handle to turn, but I found it did not grip well enough nor sharpen well enough. 

So onto an electric one. I chose to ask for the Swordfish 40051. You can see all their products HERE. mine was ordered from a seller through Amazon, I won't say who as their delivery time was appalling, but there are lots of art shops online that stock these machines. Look around for the best price, mine was £47.

This is how it looks in the box. The machine, with power cord attached and an instruction leaflet. The machine weighs 2lb 5oz, and measures approx 14cm x 10cm it is fairly substantial. It also has 4 suction cup feet, which once you press down on the machine, they keep it in place 

Here is some blurb about the machine.. 

Perfect for office or studio use, this model has a choice of pencil point options and will produce a sharp or gently contoured point. A jam eject button enables broken leads and pencil stubs to be removed with ease.

  • Choice of pencil point options from rounded to sharp
  • Sharpens up to 6 pencils per minute
  • Automatically sharpens when a pencil is inserted and stops when it is removed
  • Auto-stop when sharp to prevent oversharpening
  • Safety feature cuts power when tray is removed
  • Effective thermal cut-out to protect the motor
  • Strong, sharp replaceable helical blade
  • A jam eject button enables broken leads & pencil stubs to be removed with ease
  • For standard (8mm) diameter pencils

After reading up on the machine, it appears that the wax from coloured pencils can build up on the blade, this can be cleaned with a small brush. Though it does suggest that alternating between graphite and colour will prevent the build up. The blade can be replaced,(approx £12) but so far I have not been able to find out if the motor can be repaired or replaced. 

It has 3 setting, blunt/rounded, pointed and extra pointed. 

At the front is a pull out drawer in which the shavings collect.

Here is the pencil I started with, as you can see, brand new never sharpened. 

This was done on the blunt setting. 

This is the pointy setting

and the extra pointy setting

This is the amount of shavings after just these 3 settings were tried. 

and finally I tried a coloured pencil. This is a Prisma. 

On the whole I am impressed so far, the points are really pointy, I am not sure if this comes at a cost of sharpening away more pencil that usual... I won't know this for a while, until I have used it a lot more. I guess then it will be a choice, accept that you will go through pencils quicker and enjoy the super fine point, or put up with less of a point but have your pencils last longer... a personal decision, and based upon each persons finances and the level of art they wish to achieve. 

This is not a cheap machine at all, which is why I got Santa to bring it.. but hopefully it will be a worthwhile investment. 


Derwent Coloursoft...

Derwent Inktense...

Caran d'Ache Supracolour (watercolour) - hexagon shape

Faber Castell Polychromos

Derwent Graphitint

Derwent Academy (watercolour) hexagon shape

Derwent Metallic - hexagon shape

Cheap metallic unknown brand

Derwent Graphite hexagon shape

Staedtler graphite - hexagon shape

Darcy x

Monday, 5 January 2015


here is the winner from my December Letraset post.. see it HERE.. 

Number 13... JoJo79

please get in touch with your details. I will pass them to Letraset and your prize will be dispatched directly from them. 


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Calendar Challenge 2015: January

Happy New Year everyone..I hope the year ahead brings you all that you wish for. 

 Here it is the first monthly link up of our altered calendars. if you missed the first post explaining what this is all about then pop back and see the intro HERE....

Here are the 4 rules in summary.. 
1.. Keep a part of the original picture and incorporate that into your design
2, Technique - Crackling, any brand of crackle glaze, or the pva crackle method.... or any other way you can think of to add crackling. 
3. Add some book text 
4. Blog your calendar page and link up from Jan 1st 2015

So this is the calendar that I bought.. 

and here is how my first page looked... to begin with.. 

Remember.. Rule #1. Keep some of the original picture, and incorporate it into your new page.. 

Calendars pages tend to be glossy, so I added a thin coat of matte gel over the page, this gives the paint something to grab onto.. I started with a mix of blues, greens and a little purple of Frescos paints.  I blended these in quite roughly leaving several circles of the original picture visible. 

next I added some strips of patterned paper to make stems. This paper is old painted scraps from my bit box. I also added in a couple more flower heads and started to add more colour around each of the circles. 

While I had the paint out I added some to the bottom half, where the planner part is.. Now you don't have to decorate this bit if you don't want.. the challenge is just to alter the picture..

however if you want to alter this part too then go for it..  I added paint and paper scraps.. 

Back to the top half, I added more paint around the paper stems to blend in the edges.. 

More splodging of paint, and blending. I then added white to the edges of the flower heads..

Rule #2. Include a technique. this month it is crackling.. I added crackle glaze to various sections, and once dry I sponged on more fresco paint. 

You could use any number of crackle glazes or pastes, or use the PVA method, or even use a crackled stencil or stamp... get your thinking caps on

Now it has cracks, in all different colours, but it's blotchy and needs more blending.. 

More Fresco paint to blend, and I started to outline the white bits around the flower heads. I used a black stabilo pencil. I then blended this a little with a damp brush

Rule #3. Add a theme or piece of ephemera. This month is is 'add book pages'

I stamped and cut my leaves from book pages. 

of course I used my own leaf stamps from EDY05, EDY06 and EDY10. 

I liked how it looked at this point, but it just needed something else to make it pop..

So I added dots in my favourite blue Pea Coat. 

Now to finish off the bottom planner part. I added more leaves and a die cut bird. 

I then brayered some Fresco paint onto printer paper and stamped some number from Mini 18

These were cut out, edged with a black pen and glued into the planner squares. 

Here is how it looks now.. 

I love it.. there is something missing though and that is the title..'January' and the days of the week. 

Here is the finished bottom half of the calendar, complete with Month and days of the week. These are sneaky peeks of new stamps that are coming out soon. 

Now for rule#4. Blog your altered calendars and link up here... 

You have a whole month to link up, please do go visit the other blogs that add their links. Some may link straight away, others will link up over the month, so bookmark this page so you can check back and see the new ones. 


On Feb 1st, we will have the new link for February... so that you can get started on your Feb pages, here are the four rules for Feb. 

1.. Keep a part of the original picture and incorporate that into your design
2, Technique - Paint effect caused by using clingfilm or bubble wrap 
3. Add some corrugated card
4. Blog your calendar page and link up from Feb 1st 2015