Tuesday 4 October 2011

Chasing Autumn

Chasing autumn through the streets 
And up the hills where horizons meet
Breezy falls of gold and red
Litter the sky and on pavement shed
Crunching motion rustling by 
Flights of colour under a sunset sky
Whirling and swirling in a fierce latin dance
Its like catching the wind - not a chance!

NB: From an original pressed leaf picture and digitised

Sunday 18 September 2011

One from my portfolio

One from my portfolio. I must get back to making artwork with pressed flowers. I don't know when that will be because my daughter is poorly and needs me right now. I hope she gets better soon.

Friday 2 September 2011

Xmas Sentiments

Well this is a record for me! Those lovely people at Bah Humbug Hall set such a tantilising challenge I had to set to it straight away! Luckily I was at the 'Range' yesterday and bought some Christmas die cut sentiments by Anita. I chose one and teamed it up with black mirri card, a gorgeous silver/white glitter card and printed acetate by Kanban luxury reflections.  I've been hanging onto the printed acetate for something special and I guess this is it. I finished off with some crystal diamontes on the oval sentiment.
I took the photo at an angle to avoid reflection of the flash and in reality the card sparkles, even through the acetate so the photo doesn't really do it justice I don't think. I hope you like!

I love my visitors to comment so please do so if you can.

Wednesday 31 August 2011

Here come the girls

A great challenge this week from Bah Humbug. It gave me the opportunity to use an image I've been hoarding for ages. Its from an old family photograph taken in the 1930s and includes my mother (bottom right corner).
First of all, I used a scalloped card from Papermania and gave it a red insert and trimmed the top corners.  The image was then mounted onto holographic red card and a matching tag made with ribbon and peel off lettering.I framed the image again with outline peel offs and added three little diamantes to the bottom right of the image. I also added some diamond glitter glue to the scalloped edges of the card. A sparkly snowflake embellishment finished off the card.
I can agonise over the design of a card so when I'm happy with a result I make more! This time I used black on gold and cream on green to make two extra cards.

Would love to hear from my visitors, so please comment if you can.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Something New

The Bah Humbug challenge this week is 'Something New'. That set a problem for me because there is so much that is 'new' in the craft world I would love to get my hands on but I just can't keep up with everything but at the same time I so appreciate the opportunity to do something different. I checked out craft videos on You Tube, new techniques, new ideas and just got overwhelmed with the possibilities.
I decided to make life easier for myself and check out my craft stash for new additions that had never been used. A pack of unopened promarkers were crying out 'use me'. I've had them for about six months but haven't as much as played with them! So for this weeks challenge it is using promarkers for the first time.

I could hardly believe how smoothly the ink flowed and fell in love with promarkers. Oh no! Not enough colours so I had a trip out to Hobby Craft to buy more. I gasped at the price of them but was pleasantly surprised at the check out when I discovered the price had been reduced by 50p each. Yeah!! Maybe its because there are new generations of pens out on the market - well they can wait 'cos I'm more than happy with promarkers for now (smile). I so enjoyed using these pens that I am currently making up another seven of these cards. Wow! My Christmas card box will be overflowing - happy me!
Materials used :
Dover clip art sample used as a digi image
Stardream card stock from Joanna Sheen
Outline peel offs
Vintage sentiments by Flower Soft

Comments are always appreciated.

Wednesday 17 August 2011


I had to use mistletoe for this challenge. It was the first thing that came to mind. So simple to make as well!

I got a royalty free clip art image from the internet and printed directly onto the cards. The resolution isn't good but hey! what can I expect it's a freebie. To enhance it a little I coloured over with Sakura glaze pens, even the red ribbon which you can't see because I stuck a real ribbon over the top...oops! Actually, I think it works better (smile).
I popped the cards inside acetate jackets that I had won in July's Bah Humbug monthly draw, how lucky am I? I made six in total and am really happy with them.
Pleasev feel free to comment. I hope you like them too.

Sunday 14 August 2011

Joanna Sheen August challenge

The challenge is to use masking. Well that had me stumped!! I did my research and thanks to a Tim Holtz tutorial on YouTube I got an idea. I have no purpose made masks so followed the lead from another Sheenie and used leaves as masks. As I was foraging through my stash of pressed botanics I realised I had done masking lots of times before but I just hadn't given the technique a name!
I chose three small chrysanthemum leaves as masks and laid them on top of a printed background paper. (Freebie me thinks, from a magazine). I used ground pastel chalk to colour on top of the background paper and then removed the masks. Rather than use a pastel fixative I used a spray of Printguard. I have found this method gives the effect of a wash rather than the matt effect of pastel chalk. I then enhanced the outline left by the masks by drawing a squiggly line in brown fine tip pen.
My masking design was finished and all I had to do was mount it onto a Kraft card from Joanna Sheen to create a notecard. I drew a line around the layer with a  brown fibre tip pen and hand wrote a message underneath.

Thats another notecard to add to my collection. Please feel free to leave a comment (smile)

Wednesday 10 August 2011

Trip to Scotland

We were booked for longer but only managed two days because of the rain. I'm not an avid camper at the best of times. I'm getting too old for that lark but I did manage to get some photos of the lovely countryside, parks and gardens at Kailzie Gardens and Rosetta camping site near Peebles. I've put them onto a slideshow at photobucket for sharing, click here to view.

Hope you like

Monday 1 August 2011

Lace Christmas Box

I'm usually rushing at the last minute to create something for the Bah Humbug challenge but this time I'm rushing early because I need to go stay with my daughter who is poorly. I had to get it finished tonight as I so wanted to 'think outside the box' literally (smile).

 The challenge this week is to create something with lace and I chose to decorate a star shaped box. I first painted the box with two coats of emulsion in pistachio. I then threaded a double strand of thin brown organza ribbon through a length of vintage lace and made a gathered skirt for the box I then adhered the top edge of the skirt around the top edge of the box with glue. It was easier than I expected considering I had to attach the skirt in and out of the five pointed star and I secured the ribbon in a bow.
 I decorated the lid with a gold pine cone, leaves and dropped pearls and then added some gold glitter to each point of the star.
I enjoyed making my Christmas box with lace. Thank you Humbug Hall for the challenge.

Saturday 30 July 2011

late night ramblings

We have visitors this weekend so I am cleaning up as if royalty was coming! I'm behind schedule because I've felt so yuk today but I'm not going to get too worried about that (she says). My crafty things will be out of bounds as my craft room will be my guests' bedroom. Thats OK as long as I don't get withdrawal, lol.
To keep the old mojo inspired I sometimes look back at some of my pressed flower artwork and amaze myself. 

tropicana10001 by florafinity
tropicana10001, a photo by florafinity on Flickr.

Did I do that????            How did I do that????               Must try that again!!!
Like this fantasy flower pic created back in 2002. I love them as much now as I did then, they are like old friends, made at the start of my journey into pressed flower art. I share one with you here.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Bah Humbug Beads

This weeks challenge at Bah Humbug Christmas item challenge is to use beads. I went for a black and white look using black card stock and a snowflake background paper. I think I made the background design myself but its been hanging around in my puter for so long I could be wrong.

The vintage image is from an old postcard I picked up at the market. Doesn't she look warm and cosy in that big hat! The hat has some kind of tassel on it so I decided to make it more prominent with silver beads. I finished the card off with a silver ribbon and an insert printed off with the same snowflake design but in draft. 
Here is a detail

Please leave a comment. I love to hear from you.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Note Cards

In this age of email and mobile texting, I think one of the nicest things is to receive a handwritten letter from some one. When its in the form of a pretty card its even better!

I have some Kraft cards and envelopes I had intended making into rustic greetings cards using pressed flowers, printed paper scraps and some distressing but that idea has been shelved for the moment. I spent some time playing with them today and decided they would make nice note cards. The C6 size is just right and the rustic colour is different. I thought a black border would work printed directly onto the note card and found just what I needed  in my pressed botanical artwork. I gave them a digi twist sketch effect and got rid of the colour and made a digi stamp of the image. 

My first attempt looked a bit intense so I lightened it and printed out a faded image. The latter just cried out for colour and so I highlighted by hand with Sakura and Marve le Plume pens. So now I had two cards, one with a dark print and one lighter and coloured. I found an image to use as a topper and mounted it onto the cards and added bronze coloured peel off lines around the toppers. 

The problem is I can't choose which one I like the best! I want to make a batch of them but can't decide which to use. I hope someone will decide for me.

Kraft cards and envelopes from Joanna Sheen
Topper image from Crafty Computer Paper

Saturday 16 July 2011


bookmarks by florafinity
bookmarks, a photo by florafinity on Flickr.
Ooooo, this is useful!
I am browsing through my flickr account and discovered I can share direct to my blog. I love the bookmarks I created in 2007. I gave several to friends I meet up with on holiday and I'm touched to know they still use them. Simple gifts yet worth so much in friendship.

Via Flickr:
pressed flower arrangements printed

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Acetate challenge

I had wanted to make some little boxes for this challenge but as is too often these days, I ran out of time.
I was lucky enough to find some acetate jackets in my stash already folded and printed with white wavy frames. I vaguely remember buying them eons ago ! They are perfect for this project and so I added some glittery gold peel off frames directly onto the acetate and mounted some christmas peel offs onto paper, coloured and cut them out for mounting onto the acetate with tiny sticky foam pads.
I love the intense blue of the foiled card I used (for 3yr olds and upwards). Why should kids have all the fun, LOL, and I stuck a white Christmas greeting in the centre then finished it off with thin white organza ribbon.
Hope you like.

Wednesday 29 June 2011

ppp penguin

Its a ppp penguin challenge at Bah! Humbug Hall this week and I so enjoyed making this penguin themed Christmas card.
I designed and then printed the background and text straight onto watercolour card, then added penguin images and a star. I also added some glitter but its not obvious in the photo. The penguin images are just scans that have been given a digital twist. The larger one is mounted on navy pearlised card and the small penguin is a cut out.
Hope you like !

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Scarves and Mittens

Only, I lost the mittens. I hope Bah Humbug doesn't mind that I have substituted a wooly hat for the mittens in this weeks challenge.
I must apologise that I have missed out on so many Humbug challenges, me thinks I will need to make at least two a week to catch up on my stash of Christmas cards. I like this card and may even do four of them! It says to me "the dark days of winter" but the little girl's face swathed in wooly hat and scarf brightens the day.
I have used old gold coloured card and an aperture frame cut down to fit around the girl's image. I used bog standard matt photo paper sold at my local computer store to print the girl's image. I think it has a dreamy soft appearance and am quite pleased with it. I distressed the frame a bit with a distressing tool and some green ink then added gold line peel offs. I touched up the white poinsettas with gold ink to tone them down and added a green ribbon which already had the jewelled embellishments attached. Finally I added the greetings sentiment.
The card is from Joanna Sheen
Girls image is from Crafty Computer Papers
Greetings is by Flower Soft
Ribbon and aperture are old stash.

Hope you like it, please comment if you can.

Sunday 19 June 2011

flowers on gingham

At long last I have my craft room back in order so that I can get creative in comfort again. All I need now is a new CD player so that I can listen to my favourite music at the same time. I knew my mojo was in desperate need of nurturing so we had a taster session this weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed my playtime and even the long awaited rain couldn't dampen my spirits.

Digging through my stash of paper crafty things I pulled out some pretty pastel blank cards measuring just 5x5". I matched them up with pretty gingham backing papers and a mix of paper flowers I got from Joanna Sheen some time ago. Digging deeper in my stash I found an assortment of embellishments and peel offs and I was ready to create!

Just basic layering and a few adornments were all it took to make my first card and I was so pleased with it I just couldn't stop there. If a basic design is quick, attractive and successful, why stop at one! At least that is how I think and so I got to grips with my next card.

Wow! I was on a roll. I chose green for my next colour although it isn't a colour I would normally go for so it was a challenge and what a challenge it turned out to be! I just don't 'think' green and I struggled to make my next two cards. I don't do cute either so it was a real surprise for me to find myself working with cute bears but they saved the day and came together nicely with the green background.

The green was looking good but my inspiration was flagging and I should have called it a night there and then but what did I do? Went on to pink!

This one just about had me beat! So I made it simple with less embellishments and I think I managed to pull it off with the butterfly. Just a simple peel off stuck on the same gingham background paper and stuck down so that the wings lifted.

Thats when I called it a day but bright and early the next day my mojo was buzzing and I set to creating another card in pink.

It was so easy to do. It all came together
with hardly any forward planning.

As easy as one, two, three!

The images shown here are scanned and may have looked better as photographs. Hmmm, maybe its time to get a new digi camera.
Thanks for reading my blog. Please feel free to comment.

Saturday 23 April 2011

Decorated Verse

I'm struggling with so much stash in my craft room doing not much more than collecting dust. That has to change and if I can get my act together I hope to use up lots of acquired picture frames with pressed flower decorated verses/prayers and sell them at parish fund raising events. Thats the plan anyway!
My pressed flower stash is ageing but still useable as I found out to my surprise with this latest arrangement. It never ceases to amaze me how pressed flowers and other plant material come to life as an art form. Hope you like!

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Mountain Sunset

Feeling a bit didgery doo this morning due to (I think) overdoing the niquitinelle lozenges so am sitting quietly recovering. My fingers are still twitching so I think that's a good sign and am letting them play with a new blog entry.
I am getting more and more desirous to return to playing with pressed flowers and creating artwork with a digital twist. My latest play is with a pressed flower picture I did a few years back and given a new look. It is called Mountain Sunset. Here it is.

Coming up soon is my son's wedding and I hope to get some wedding flowers pressed. I need to take my presses down with me to Gosport to capture the flowers in their best condition. It will be a long journey from up here on Tyneside, making it a three day trip in all so I hope all goes well. The wedding day is forecast to be warm and sunny - perfect for the wedding and a kick start for pressing just as soon as my new daughter in law will allow me to have the flowers. Thinking ahead... hmmm, I will also help myself to any suitable table decoration flowers after the reception.
Its going to be a great day with a granddaughter being bridesmaid and seeing the youngest and last of my children being wed and am thrilled to have been asked to give a reading during the wedding service.
I'm feeling a bit better now. The didgery doos seem to have passed so I will get busy with other things. I have lots to do!

Monday 14 February 2011

Crochet and Candles

Took some time off this last weekend to get creative and it was all so worth it.
I haven't worked any crocheting for decades but after finding the same ball of white wool squirrelled away in my stash for the umpteenth time, thought it was about time I did something with it. I bought myself a crochet magazine with freebie hooks and coloured wool as a quick refresher and this is the result.
My granddaughter should love it, as her favourite blankie is made from crochet squares fringed around the edges. With this in mind I added a bit of fringing with the left over strands and added it to the pocket. She loves playing with the fringing so she should feel at home in this body warmer. Fingers crossed she will.
Now I have to make something similar for another granddaughter and then a bolero for yet another. My goodness! what have I started!!

When finished, my hands were still twitching for
something to do and I was on a creative roll. I just love it when that happens and I looked for something quick and easy that doesn't really need much planning. A bit like a simple dessert after dinner. I decided to decorate a candle with pressed flowers for my daughter's birthday coming up next week. I used blue verbena and weed pressed from my garden and adhered and laminated them to the candle using botanical glue. Ordinary PVA white glue works but I prefer botanical. Cheap white paraffin candles are not suitable for this project in my opinion. I much prefer beeswax or good quality church candles.

Sunday 16 January 2011

Simple card

In response to this week's Bah! Humbug challenge.
Its a simple card using a brass stencil for the banner and a mounted peel off coloured with Sakura and Staedler pens. Hope you like!

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Dad at Westwoodside

My Dad (William Pears) was born 24 August 1922 at Misson Springs, son of James Jesse Pears and Mary nee Mellors. He had three half siblings, Dorothy, Gladys and Cyril Mellors who never knew their own father(s). JJ and Mary married in 1919. They were aged about 50 and 37 respectively. Two more children were born in marriage, they were James Jesse born 1919 and Reginald born about 1924. The two bedroom cottage he lived in was one of a terrace of three. Water was provided from a well which regularly had to be cleared of dead rodents. Dad suffered from polio as a child and was nursed by his elder half sister Gladys Mellors. The cottage had a long garden in which vegetables and fruit were grown for home consumption and bartering with neighbours. The garden was so long as to need horses and plough to dig it. Dad remembered them using a horse that only had one lung and also being bitten on the thumb by one. The battle scar stayed with him all his life.

Granddad JJ Pears was a farm foreman at that time having worked as a farm labourer for most of his life but had also worked as a Sinker at New Rossington Pit in the early 1900s. Granny Pears supplemented their income by working as a ‘gentleman’s cook’ and was often called to prepare and cook meals at big houses. Left over jugged hare and the like was a welcome supper in the Pears’ household.

Dad went to school at Misson. Schoolchildren from the surrounding area travelled to school on a converted coal wagon driven by a Mr Hedley. The school comprised three classrooms, one each for the infants, juniors and seniors. The Headmaster was a Mr Brell and the Mistresses were Miss Jones and Miss Bradley. Dad thought himself to be quite clever despite only going (as he put it) to a little school. Before school, Dad had his chores to do and these included chopping wood, collecting eggs for a neighbouring farmer and bringing back milk from the farm. His breakfast was very often melted cheese from the oven, spread on chunks of toasted home made bread.
Dad also remembered going to Doncaster on Saturdays with his mother to help with shopping, going to chapel at Misson and agricultural shows at Haxey. His pets included dogs, rabbits, ducks and chickens. I expect all except the dogs were meant for the table eventually!

He had a spirit of adventure and loved to tell stories from his youth. Visiting the game keeper’s bush to see vermin hanging, hunting rabbits, playing along the river Idle, looking for eels and snakes and hiding from the water bailiff with his brothers and friends Fisher, Grant and Jackson. His younger brother Reg fell through the ice on the river and Dad, even though he couldn’t swim, had to pull him out. Dad eventually learned to swim in the Mediterranean during WW11 while serving with the RAF.

In 1938, Granddad started work for Coopers (farmers) and the family moved to a tied dwelling at Park in Westwoodside. An old grey stone house with stone flag flooring, no electricity and an outdoor earthen toilet. There was a coal fired range in the kitchen, the house was lit by paraffin lamps and water was supplied from a tap in an outside wash house. There was no garden as such to grow vegetables but Granddad JJ Pears kept pigs at the rear of the house and chickens at the front. Granny would hang sides of bacon and cure hams in the cellar and her homemade pork pies were in great demand!

Dad said they were surrounded by family at Westwoodside and often spoke of his Aunt Butler who seemed to be held in high regard and so time went on…children grow up and leave home and so it was with Jesse and Mary Pears. Despite living in such poor and hard conditions compared to what we know today there was a quality of life that remains priceless. I had a short glimpse of it when I was a young child. Visits to Westwoodside are now happy memories. Granny, tall and thin with grey hair tied up in plaits, who made the most delicious afternoon teas of home cured hams, pickles, jellies and cakes. Granddad who was a bit scary with his deep graveling voice and huge moustache but most of all, I remember the love that I felt in Westwoodside. Something I will always treasure.

Carolyn Durkin 2011