Topsy Toadstool 2

I featured In the January edition of ‘Making cards’ magazine, and did a  tutorial on a card made from my whimsical stamps. I then decorated a  whimsical house to match​.

Step 1    I have painted the house in white gesso to prime the mdf. Then I have  brayered the house with ‘Art alchemy’ acrylic paint in opal magic rose  gold. I have left It to dry, then brayered over In opal magic blue gold. It  has a really lovely sheen to It.

Step 2   I have cut out a slightly larger piece of hessian round the roof, and two  circles and cut them in half for the shutters, and glued them to the mdf.

Step 3 I have pulled some threads out of the roof piece to create a shabbish look  and used some to tie little bows through some spaces. I used one of the  ‘Polly Allsorts’ Texture stamps to stamp over the roof in Decoart media  fluid in burnt umber. It gave a nice brick effect.

Step 4  I then painted the door In decoart media fluid in burnt umbe​r, ​left It to  dray and painted over It using a brush and glossy accents to give the  door a nice shiny look.

Step 5  I used the ‘Polly’ Allsorts’ street sign rubber stamp to make a climber to go  over the front of the house, and painted the leaves in Decoart yellow  green. I stamped the little Ivy leaves, cut and coloured the leaves with  Versa colour turquoise and peony, and stuck them on with sticky pads to  give a 3d effect.

Step 6    To finish off I stamped ‘Love Place and ‘Wish House’ from ‘Polly Allsorts’  street signs rubber stamp and cut into little rectangles and glued onto the  door and the front of the house. I attached some pearl embellishments to  the shutters and a little door handle.

You can also see step by step Instructions on these lovely houses from two of my friends on their blogs.

Karen Clare,

Suz Humphries,

Topsy Toadstool

In September I had the opportunity to be a guest on Hochanda with my  whimsical houses. This was the house I decorated on the show.

Step 1  A few days before I started decorating the house I gave the front a coat  of white gesso and painted the roof with Pebeo fantasy moon in turquoise,  fantasy prism in onyx and blanc. I also dripped through the vitrail  medium glitter with a pipette dropper to add a bit of sparkle. It is a bit  tacky for a few days but worth the wait until fully dry.

Step 2  On the day of the show I used a brayer with Decoart media fluid In  paynes grey, Titan buff and a little burnt umber to the front of the  house. I skimmed round the edges with the titan buff to give a distressed  effect.

Step 3  I then used Polly’s ‘Whimsical texture’ rubber stamp and randomly dotted  It around. I stamped the heart droplets under the roof.

Step 4  I stamped , embossed and cut out the sign from Polly’s ‘Whimsical street  signs’ rubber stamp, then stamped Higglety,pigglety cottage, cut out and  attached It to the sign.

Step 5  I then painted the front door with Decoart media fluid In paynes grey  with a small brush and filled the middle panels In buff.

Step 6  I tied some string several times round the middle of the house and lightly  brushed It with paynes grey media fluid for a shabby look.

Step 7  I cut out some little squares out of black net and tied the tops with jute to  make curtains. I stamped a little sign ‘Polly’s Path’ which I added to my  stamp set In memory of my beautiful mum who I sadly lost In October  2014.

Step 8  I covered the back of the box In wallpaper and painted the Inside with  white gesso.    The Whimsical houses can be bought from my Etsy shop through the  website. The whimsical houses have been decorated In allsorts of media to  use your creativity and flair.

You can also see step by step Instructions on these lovely houses from two of my friends on their blogs.

Karen Clare,

Suz Humphries,

Mini Topsy Toadstool

There are so many ways to decorate the quirky whimsical houses.  Here I have decorated the small box which can be used for paint brushes, pens , make-up  brushes,and knitting kneedles.

Step 1  I have painted the box, and the front of the house with a coat of white gesso, the sprayed  them with a can of ‘Pinty Plus’ chalky paint In ‘Rose Pink’. I sprayed the roof In ‘Pale Green’. I  was going to add a few trailing flowers but got carried away with the flowers.

Step 2  I ​then used ‘Polly’s texture stencil to make a brickwork effect putting paste through the stencil  and leaving to dry.

Step 3  I then used Faber Castell gelatos In ‘Butter Cream’ and ‘Guava’ on coated paper, blended it  together and cut out with floral dies In different sizes. I then attached them to the roof. I cut  another couple of flowers In half and used them for shutters. They looked very pretty.

Step 4  I then used the ‘Whimsical Texture Stencil’ to add little dots In ‘Decoart’ media fluid In ‘Ultra  Marine Blue’, and painted a few bricks with a wash of ‘Primary Magenta’.

Step 5  I Used ‘Polly Allsorts’ whimsical texture rubber stamps to stamp circles and dots with ‘Decoart’  ‘Hansa Yellow Light’ and ‘Titanium White’. And made a little sign ‘Wish House’ from ‘Polly’s  Whimsical street signs’ and stuck It on the front.above the window.

Step 6  I painted the door In Decoart ‘Primary Magenta’ and ‘Titanium White’ . I added liquid pearls  to the flowers and shutters In ‘Ruby red’ and a few dots on the small circles In ‘Platinum pearl’    The whimsical stamps and stencils can be bought from my etsy shop ‘Polly Allsorts’

You can also see step by step Instructions on these lovely houses from two of my friends on their blogs.

Karen Clare,

Suz Humphries,

The Learner

So here I was at the age of 53 attempting to get to grips learning social media ‘The Facebook’, they laugh away, those girls of mine, ‘It’s not ‘The Facebook’, It’s just ‘Facebook’. ‘Twitter’, Oh my, I’v barely started that one, not even one tweet. With the help of my two 15 year olds, Natalia and Shannon (that find me a figure of fun), and out of my comfort zone, and my depth, they have taught me the basics. Over the months I’m thinking I have become a bit more confident with my Instagram photography, with my little card makes Into something out of a home magazine.  I try not to ask my children ‘How do I do this’? the answer I used to get from my then 30 year old son was ‘Google It’, really? Tell you what ‘Why don’t you all make me feel like the ‘VI’ AKA the ‘Village Idiot’? Boo hoo. When they were small and they were learning to walk/talk, did I say ‘Here you go, a little book that will teach you how to put one foot in front of the other, and you will find words to string a sentence together.  Oh I forgot ‘You can’t read’ Even my granddaughter Ava came to me the other week saying ‘Nana, I will show you how to use your kindle’ Hilarious!, and yes ‘VI’ again, comes to mind. What happened to ‘How do I do this’? and you just do It the old fashioned way explain, and show me. We forever need to carry on learning.  So try as I must, I use ‘Google’ and ‘Youtube’ which I am finding more interesting than T.V.  There Is a wealth of information and instructions on there, I’m becoming addicted.

So here Is my new next step I am faced with, ‘You have to do a blog’ everyone has a blog, another something new for me to learn. And yes I have been putting It off for months. I thought I would just wait until the website was done, because I need to take my ‘Professional photos’ the best way I know how, and that takes time. I have to start sometime, no more putting It off. I have got so behind we are now onto vlogging, everyone Is doing It. Every time I go on Facebook someone else Is doing It.  I have lessons on my ‘Makelight’ dashboard that I must catch up on, teaching me ‘How to’.  Soon I hope to be ‘The confident blogger/ Vlogger, Oh, and Is there a word for the ‘Live video’ thing where people can message you as you are demo-ing away?  I just can’t keep up with It all. I might try that first, maybe not by next week. Don’t they know at this age we are a little slower at taking things in? Hence why we are mistaken for…….. yes, you know.


A Pin Prick Light at the End of my Tunnel

Although October Is a lovely month full of autumnal colour, It Is not such a lovely month on a personal level. On the 18th October my family and myself have to go through the motions of the day that we lost a beautiful wife, mummy, grandma and great grandma. The last three years on her anniversary I have taken my dad to lake where she Is buried and try and get through our day.

The day we lost her was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and still struggle so much In my life without her. I was still attached to her apron string at the age of 51. Her and my dad were a massive part of my life and bringing up my six children. She was the light of our whole life. I felt as If my own life had been sliced In half and It went flying off with her. I had no Idea how I was going to carry on. I still to this day don’t understand the concept of death. You spend most of your life with your mother then she Is gone, but her clothes, her things are still there, that I went and bought with her.

Three years on we still can’t bear to part with them. We went shopping all the time, went to craft fairs, did craft things for so many years. I still find It hard to go to places we went, which was mostly everywhere. ‘Where are you? I used to say, ‘Mum where have you gone’? ‘I don’t understand’, I’m sure I was going mad. Counselling did nothing to help my terrible grief, too early perhaps. I was living In my own little bubble, no shopping for dinner, lunch boxes, no washing, no anything. The girls became like ‘Matilda’, from Roald Dahl’s book, making their own. I was neglecting my own family. They were very much trying to look after me, the blank empty soul that I felt. Christmas came and went, how dreadful for them looking back, there was no celebration, I cancelled It, ignored It, as she wasn’t there to share It with us. I can never give that back to them. Every day was bleak, and I had no Idea what day of the week It was. From the time the consultant told us there was nothing more they could do until she left us five weeks later we were on autopilot. Myself, my sister, daughters and nieces became the live-In nurses until she was left at peace.

I struggled through the whole of the next year not knowing what to do with myself, and couldn’t see what I was going to do for the rest of my life. In January 2016 I went to Anaheim to the CHA trade show for crafts and had a holiday at Venice beach by myself. I didn’t want to come back, I wanted to be in another life. There was no chance of that as I had a family at home. They needed me at whatever capacity, after all I was their mother. Being away and visiting the trade show inspired me to carry on with my crafts. When I got home, my Inks and stamps came out again, and I spent most of the day designing things and making cards, and the rest of all my other days not doing anything else. I don’t think to this day I have done a weekly shop, just daily, because I could only think about what was going on that day. My mind couldn’t do anything else. I could lose myself all day In making things and It has got me through the last few of years.

In June 2016 I went to ‘Creative exchanges’ and ‘The one big show’ AFCI-UK (Association for creative Industries) and met Craig De Souza the executive director, who has helped me come on to a level I could have only dreamed about, and helped me perhaps see a little pin prick light at the end of my tunnel. I met some ladies who have become firm friends and extremely supportive to me, Selina Dudley and Karen Claire.