Thursday, 31 May 2012

Newcastle Subway Sign

There's a big trend for subway/Tube/trolley bus signs lately and I love them.  I'm a bit of a typophile, so this was something I HAD to make, with places in the Newcastle area.  There are quite a few tutorials around, some are really long and complex, starting with building a frame, covering it, using a Cricut or other die cutting machine to cut all the letters from vinyl, masking, painting.....why make things so complicated?  I can't remember which blog I saw the method I used on, but this was the easiest by far!

  • I Photoshopped the sign, printed it on two A4 sheets 
  • I glued phone book pages to a £1 30x40cm canvas (♥ Poundland ♥) for texture.
  • Painted the canvas black.
  • Mod Podged the two sheets to the canvas and trimmed the excess off the bottom.  Let it dry.
  • Sanded it lightly to distress it.
  • Gave it a light wash with watery brown acrylic paint.
  • Job done!
I realised after I Mod Podged it that I really should have stained the white writing before hand, maybe with an old teabag, but no matter.

(My photography skills suck!  I could not get a picture of this that wasn't blurry!)

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Altered Globe (Butterflies and brass effect)

I finished making this altered globe tonight and I'm quite pleased with how it turned out.  I hope you can't tell, but this cost little more than £2 to make!  I got the globe from Poundland (have a guess how much it was!) as was a can of grey primer spray paint.  The rest was done with materials I already had (acrylic paints, Mod Podge and computer printouts from my favourite free image blogger, The Graphics Fairy).

The globe was really cheap and nasty looking, but I didn't mind, I got it purposely to have a go at altering.

I started by spraying the whole thing with primer paint, before using acrylics (white sponged all over the globe; the frame was painted brown all over, then teal lightly brushed randomly and gold sponged over).

I then decoupaged the butterflies on and gave it a couple of coats of Mod Podge.

If I were to make one again I think I would resize the butterfly images before printing so that they're smaller.


  • Plastic globe
  • Grey primer spray paint
  • Acrylic paints (white, brown, teal and gold- or to be specific: white, burnt umber, a mix of viridian green for the teal and cerulean blue and indescent gold).
  • Mod Podge
  • Vintage butterfly graphics
  • Sponges and foam brushes.
I had great fun making this and have learned from a few mistakes along the way.  Because the globe was so cheap I'll probably get another one and try something different.  I'll update this post with a picture of the unaltered globe when I get another one.  I didn't think to take pics before or during!

Sorry for the glare of the sunlight in the mirror, I was too keen to get a picture taken to share to wait for a better time of day!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

My first crocheted granny square

Yesterday I made a spur of the moment decision to go along to a knitting and crochet guild meeting after finding their details on the net.  I've wanted to learn to crochet to make little flowers for scrapping (and maybe a blanket!), but had no joy deciphering the instructions in a book or on the net.  I'm glad I went along, one of the ladies was incredibly helpful and kind enough to show me some basics, and by the end I had myself my first granny square.  It may not be perfectly formed, but I never thought I'd get my head round crocheting, so I'm chuffed to bits with it! :)

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Easter "nest" eggs

Here's another Easter make of mine.  I made egg shaped twine "nests" with water balloons wrapped in gluey twine, hung to dry then filled with mini eggs and a little fuzzy chick!

Old book & butterflies Easter egg decorations

Here are the Easter decorations I made for my parents' "seasonal" tree.  They have an attractive array of twig branches which they started using at Christmas, but have decided to keep it up all year and change the decorations with the seasons.  So I've made eggs (polystyrene from Poundland), decoupaged with old book pages, given an enamel spray coating and crackle glazed butterflies attached.  I made half a dozen of these, boxed in an egg carton with the writing hidden with scrapbook paper.

Sorry the photos are so bad, I never get the lighting right and using my phone to snap probably doesn't help!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Free Download - Nautical Flags

I fancied making a nautical themed scrapbook layout, so made a set of large nautical signalling flags (letters A-Z).  You can grab the set here (it's a Photoshop PSD file) and each letter is on it's own layer.  There is also a grungier, aged aged version here.

Feel free to use them for any purpose, just don't post them on your own site.  Thanks and enjoy! :)

I'll update this post with a PDF and zip with individual PNG files soon.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Notable sites for pattern lovers (FREE!)

An example pattern from Colourlovers
I recently discovered a few site which I thought were a brilliant idea and worth a mention to anyone who likes to make or collect digital backgrounds/free digital scrapbooking papers for printing.

The first site is STRIPE GENERATOR and you can use it to make your own perfect, custom striped patterns.  Easy peasy!

Also by the same team comes TARTANMAKER.  Both sites allow you to add and remove colours and adjust various parameters (such as shadow, angle, width...) all with an intuitive slider system.  Once you're finished you can download your pattern and if you wish, can create an account to save your patterns on the site.

Another pattern generator site that I've bookmarked is JAPONIZER.  As the name suggests, this site will let you customise traditional Japanese patterns, again all seamlessly tileable.  Ignore the large DOWNLOAD button on the page (it's an ad!), just hit JAPONIZE once you've finished tweaking your design to download it.

The final site I'd like to recommend is one I just discovered today.  COLOURLOVERS allows you to customise a massive array of shapes, colours, and abstract designs and save them to share with the community.  You can download any patterns you like at the right hand side of the "Browse Patterns" pages.  I'd recommend downloading the preview size, then you can tile it in your graphics software.  There are lots of other cool features to this site, such as swathes of colour swatch palettes for inspiration as well as various social networking features and trend lists.

UPDATE (19/3/12):  I just came across another fantastic online seamless pattern generator called Pattern Cooler.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Free Download - Photoshop Aged Photo Effects Photoshop Actions

I've created a set of 4 Photoshop actions that give photos various aged effects.  The results will vary depending on your original image.  Different image colour, contrast, brightness, saturation and tone will all produce different results, so just experiment!

The actions are provided for free, with no limitations other than asking that you DO NOT repost on your site.  A link back to this blog post is welcome if you wish to let your visitors know about the set.

Thank you and ENJOY!
Click on the thumbnails to see larger example images.

The stock photo is by Soultga at

Thursday, 29 December 2011

TIDY(ish) Desk!!!! (My Budget Crafting Room)

My budget craft area
Spot the under-desk hook for my heat gun?
Yes, my desk is now TIDY(ish!) and no, I won't be changing the name of my blog lol!  (Somehow I doubt it'll last long, although I REALLY do want to turn over a new leaf and keep it reasonably organised.  I've had to put everything together on a really tight budget...well, pretty much NO budget!  I've made do with a lot of things I already had, used Freecycle, eBay and have re-purposed some things.  I got the desk (solid wood with pullout keyboard shelf) for FREE from Freecycle!  The shelves I already had, the printer's tray was the most extravagant purchase (I fell in love with them the first time I saw them and knew I had to have one!) and even that was a bargain (£14) from eBay!  The wooden desk drawers (Ikea Moppe) were a Christmas present and I look forward to decorating them at some point in the future.  This stores my punches, texture plates, stamps (I don't have many at the mo), packs of embellishments and embossing powders.

On the shelves I have little jars to hold brads, beads, glass stones etc.  Some of the jars I already had (they were cheap at Ikea) but others are just empty sandwich spread glass jars (which I actually think are prettier than the Ikea jars).

"A place for everything and everything in its place!"
Thanks to Christmas gift vouchers I now have some magazine files and boxes to keep my papers, cards, scraps and saved recycling tidy.  I've hung my printer's tray up on the wall (it had been balanced on my desk), the few ribbons I have are on card spools in the printers tray, along with other little odds and sods.  I hung an Ikea rail up to hang my scissors and tape on and I've used a small wooden rolling pin hanging from it to hold my jute twine.  I've got 3 metal plant pots for pens/pencils, tools and paint brushes, my Promarkers are in tin cans (which I'll get round to decorating) and you can't see, but my trimmer and wipes are on the pullout keyboard shelf of the desk.   I've got a vintage suitcase (£5 from eBay!) under the desk which I intend to do up with nice fabric and use it for crops, but for now it's storing my dies, paper and felt.  I also have another nice wooden box under my desk (given by my Dad after he drank the three bottles of port it held!) which hold all my distress pads.

I feel SOOOO much better for having a more organised work area.  It may not be beautiful and I still need to get more folders, small boxes and shelves up, but it's getting there and I'm feeling really excited to get crafting!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Christmas Surprise!

Well, my family had the BEST Christmas surprise sister's boyfriend proposed to her in the morning!  We're all so over the moon, he's such a lovely fella!  I actually heard he was going to be proposing on Christmas Eve (my parents told me as he had been to see them to ask permission to ask for her hand in marriage...bless!) and on Christmas morning he proposed on one knee with a beautiful vintage style engagment ring.  I love my sister to bits and now I'm getting a brother!
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