February 23, 2011

UK Wrap Up & ATC Swap

Hi everyone!

As you can tell I didn't have much of a chance to blog while I was over in the UK - too busy getting inky!  I'll have some pix to share of the project I worked on when it's all finished - few more things to do, so it may be the weekend before I get back to it. 

Anyway - we had a glorious crafty time together!  Saturday & Sunday were ALL about ART.  I bought some antique books here at home at an antique mart and took the covers over so we could play with them.  Hels finished her book yesterday - go over to her blog HERE and check out some sneak peaks.  I'm sure she'll do a full post about it soon.

I did get to see my first proper English supermarket - Morrisons - really not very different from ours, but the thing that cracked me up was they way they store the "trolleys" - shopping carts for all my US friends - they get locked together and you have to put in a coin or a 'trolley token' to get one out - when you return it you get your coin back.  Never seen that before.... here's a pic - for some reason I can't get it to rotate to give the proper view, but you get the idea....

And as we were walking through the aisles I came across these.... seeing as I'm from Maryland, I just HAD to take a picture, right?  Tacky tourist.... They taste like our Chips-Ahoy cookies - YUM!

Hels and I have started a monthly art swap so I wanted to share the ATC's I made for her in January.  We agreed to make 1 "Wendy" style, 1 "Tim" style, and one however we wanted....

Studio 490 by Wendy Vecchi stamps - Maya Road crochet trim, TH snap
Tim stamps & idea-ology, but design was inspired by Donna Downey's ATC Club
Ten Seconds Studio metal - TSS mold for base, Paper Artsy stamps for house & sentiment, TH key.
Have a great day - I'll have more to share soon.  Thanks for stopping by!

~ ellen.

February 19, 2011

Greetings from the House of Sheridan!


The time is whizzing by WAY too quickly!  I feel like I just arrived and it's half way over already! 

I arrived on Thursday morning and Hels met me at Heathrow - we did the silent squealing wave from across the airport and it felt like I had never left.  Isn't it great when you have a friend that no matter how much time passes between visits, it just feels like coming home?  Lovely...  Anywho...

We took the tube to St. Pancras station and met Grim... went to Starbucks (it's required, right???), and then took the train back to Wellingborough - here's me on the train (in my Tim Holtz hoodie - well, he's HERE in England, so I really had no choice, right?)

And since Grim works for the railway, we got to sit in First Class!  I've never taken First Class *anything* - plane, train, or otherwise!  How posh!

Here's a cute pic of Hels & Grim... he's got that twinkle in his eyes.... must be up to no good, but I'll never say... (LOL)

The rest of the day was spent unpacking and LOTS of talk, talk, talk and then talk some more... Isn't it lovely when you can talk for hours about everything and nothing?  

Friday we drove to Souldrop and went to Bedford Arms for lunch... remember last time we tried to go and it was closed?  Well today... success!

We walked in and the whole place just ooooozzzeees charm... real wood fire burning (*LOVE* that smell!), low ceilings, dark wood trim, wood floors, brick hearth.... the kind of place you could just sit for HOURS.  I got the *best* lunch... bacon & brie on a toasted ciabatta roll... OMG... to DIE for... melted in my mouth.... I mean look at the size of that bacon!  Our American bacon pales in comparison...

Of course we had to have chips (fries for US peeps) - so we got one regular chips and one cheesy chips and shared... delish!  And of course this lunch was calorie free because it was eaten in a foreign country, and everybody knows.... all food eaten while in a foreign country has zero calories, right??? I'll continue to believe that until I step on the scale at home... but let's not think about that now....

Then we went to see Lin Brown at her store LB Crafts - a little slice of *heaven*.... I didn't go quite as NUTS as I did last time, but I got some lovely stash.... a jar of Ferro, some gor-geous Inka Gold in the most beautiful shade of green, paint, alterable frames, PaperArtsy stamps!!, lots of awesome charms (crowns, locks, keys), tiny drawer pull handles that look amazing on the top of a mini frame, and some other random goodness....

It was lovely to see Lin - we were able to have a quick visit - which considering how busy she is was quite nice of her - she's getting ready for the big Artsy Crafts event next week and has snagged TIM HOLTZ to teach classes!! Plus she's teaching classes with Leandra from Paper Artsy - 288 kits!! Plus there's a big trade show this weekend... so... really nothing much to do.... HA!  Anway, it was nice to see her and have a quick visit.

After our lovely delicious lunch, we didn't need much for dinner, so we decided to skip dinner altogether and have dessert (Hels' DIVINE homemade chocolate cake!) instead.... again... no calories!  (*denial is a wonderful thing*)...

Spent the rest of the night in the room of stash playing!  I finished up a book I made in a class at Queen's Ink - will post pix later.  It's FAB - hand-sewn binding... yummo.

Today it's all about ART.... will share.... having the BEST time.... more to come later....


~ ellen xxx

February 15, 2011

I Challenge Thee - ATC/Card


We're back!  Hels 'N' Els' were back on skype on Sunday and this week's I Challenge Thee project is:

 - create an ATC that will be the main feature in a card
 - use only Wendy Vecchi /Studio 490 stamps
 - Maya Road embellishments
 - use NO Tim Holtz signature products, including distress inks, sizzix, and all idea-ology (with grungepaper as the only exception, since it features heavily in Wendy's style - I managed to get through this project without using it, but it was allowed).

It's such a *given* for me to use distress inks that we thought it would be... well.. "challenging" NOT to use them.  Now... if we had said don't use any Ranger inks.... now .... that wouldn't be a challenge... that would be an outright PROBLEM for me... and as for all things "Tim"... well... again, they are my most used products, so I wanted a reason to use all my OTHER stash, which is being woefully neglected!

Here's the result:

I started with a textured cardstock ATC, and swiped 4 colors of Ranger pigment ink on my craft sheet (butterscotch, lettuce, cranberry, and stream), sprayed with water, and began layering the colors onto the ATC background, heat drying between each layer.  I love the effect the pigment inks give - they don't blend as completely as distress inks, so each color maintains it's own "identity".
Then I stamped Wendy's script background in coffee archival ink, followed by the floral image in jet black archival ink.  

The black scalloped edge is from a Martha Stewart edge punch - it is layered over the ATC with foam tape for dimension, with the maya road pom pom trim over that.  The trim was inked with the coffee archival ink pad.  

The card background was done by going direct to paper with the same 4 pigment inks, swiping each color randomly over the entire background, either vertically or horizontally.  Then stamped the same script background over that, as well.

Matted the background on black card stock and attached to a standard A2 card (US standard A2 - half of an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet, folded in half).  

I used some scrap from the background on the inside of the card, and stamped one of Wendy's sentiments on the inside.  

It was a lot easier than I thought to create without distress inks.... need to remember that more often!  Of course.... I am dying to try the new distress stains... mine have been ordered and I'm (not so) patiently waiting for them to arrive!

Hope you enjoyed playing along - don't forget to pop over to Hels' blog to check out her project!  Next week's "I Challenge Thee" will be generated IN PERSON in the UK from Hels' Room of Stash!!  I leave tomorrow night! 

Have a great week, and thanks for stopping by!

~ ellen xx

February 9, 2011

WOYKC (What's on Your Kitchen Cabinet?)

Hello crafty peeps!

OK - I know it's not my workdesk, but this was too good not to share...

I woke up this morning and went to make my coffee, and my awesome hubby Jack had left this countdown on the cabinet directly over the coffee maker....

It's true!  I leave in 7 DAYS to go back to England to see Hels!  I'm SO excited and can't wait to get back to the Room of Stash for some major crafting and chatting....

If you're wondering what this is all about, head over to Julia's blog to check out the world-wide phenomenon of WOYWW (What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday)!

Have a great day!

~ ellen xx

February 6, 2011

I Challenge.... ME !

Hi all!

Well today's skype session had to be cancelled (well post-poned) since Hels was demo-ing at a show today (such a celebrity...)  So I wanted to post another project from my *art-spir-a-tion* journal.  This is the first project that I actually did sketch out first, and I love how it turned out!

I've had this canvas messenger bag by Donna Downey since October, and I've been waiting to alter it til I had an idea worthy of trying it... here it is!  

I started by painting the flap green on both sides - I used Folk Art Acrylic Paint.  Then painted the rest of the bag in black - took two coats and LOTS of water to get the paint to soak in, but it turned out with mostly even coverage.  Then I did some DRIPPAGE in black paint over the front of the flap to tie the black in with the rest of the bag.

I got this awesome 12 x 12 canvas book print (also from Donna Downey's shop), and cut it into thin text strips.  I frayed all the edges and glued it all over the flap with fabric glue - a gooey gluey process, but it works great, dries quickly, and is washable after 24 hours.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to layer additional embellishments over the text, and ultimately decided to keep it pretty simple (mostly because I didn't want the bag to get so heavy that I couldn't carry it!  
Hope you had fun reading/playing along - I'm looking forward to some new canvas bags coming out from Donna Downey - stay tuned - once they hit the stores I'll be doing some more altering.... fun, fun, fun! 

Hope you had a good weekend - be back later in the week with some more things to share. 


~ ellen.

February 3, 2011

Hels 'n' Els - Part II


As you can probably guess from the title of this post.... I have some very exciting news to share... I was lucky enough to go to England in Nov / Dec last year, and I had SUCH a good time and have become... a travel *junkie*!  Jack has been witness to the phenomenon that is Hels 'n' Els, and joins in briefly for our weekly skype sessions, so he understands how much our friendship means to both of us. 

So.... earlier this week.... he surprised me and told me that instead of buying me a valentine's day present this year, he wants to "send" me back to see Hels!  Again!  Like.... Now!  So after I finished squealing, I started making plans immediately, and got the last piece in place yesterday.... So... it's official! I'm going *back* to England to see *Hels*.... AGAIN!  And I leave in TWO WEEKS!  In fact, in two weeks I will be there! 

I know some will say I'm crazy... going back to England again... in the winter.... for a 4-day visit...

All I can say to that is.... YES... I am a little crazy.... but I'm not going to see the winter in England... I'm going to see my friend... and I can't wait! 

Have a great day!

~ ellen xx