Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Special events at RWS

I finally received my lovely new neocolours  and could begin on my first class in my Life Book ( the link for this unique course can be found in my sidebar to the right)

My girl was sketched in graphite and painted with neocolours, further shading was added using my polychromos pencils, black and white details are both painted in black acrylic paint

The background was layers of neocolours, acrylic paints, stamping and doodling, the handwriting done with a Pitt Artist journalling pen. I struggled with the superpowers to be honest.  As Neil has been having to put up with me for the last 25 years I thought it idoneous  to ask him what he thought my qualities were. After an initial birr as the cogs began turning ( his pensiveness was making me nervous of the words he was dreaming up) I was touched by the descriptions he did come up with ( wonder what he is after lol)

Throughout february we are celebrating the Running With Scissors 3 year anniversary, 

each week I will be offering three special offers.

This coming week starting on Saturday 4th February

The three offers will be :

1. Make and take Valentines cards event

2. Brand new love themed patterned papers at an introductory price of 79p per sheet for one week only ( they will return to their usual price of 99p per sheet on the 11th Feb)

3. For the full month of February there will be a buy one get one free offer on ALL wooden stamps, ie buy one and get an equal value or cheaper stamp completely free.

Make and Take details

This saturday (4th) is make and take day at the shop, we will be making valentines cards, they can be easily adapted to suit other occasions if you are not feeling romantically inclined.
The event lasts all day 10 am til 4pm, all are welcome, the cost of each card will be £2.50 which will include all you need to make the card, guidance and an envelope, and you can make as many or as few of the cards as you like, there will also be additional kits ready to take away if you would like to purchase extra to complete at home.

PS just in case anyone missed my earlier post regarding my word a day challenge, please do not believe I have been practising neoterism. The hotchpot of odd words that have been popping up in my blog are part of the challenge ( I didn't want any of my regular readers thinking I was any more bonkers than I already was !)

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Postcard Challenge, week 4 - China

This week it is Kathy's turn to send a postcard to Sammy, Kathy is at home remember and making her postcards from ephemera she has collected on her travels

I made the cherry blossom by handcutting the branches and using pens and ink to colour up the punched blossoms, the background is layered papers and a stamped bamboo image which I have coloured with copics

The back of the postcard reads

Sammy dear,

The quote on the front of this card is important, please remember this when your parentage is revealed.
I posted your documents on as requested.

Your gentleman called and revealed his name only - Spencer ! He stops by every day in the hope of your return home. I must admit he does seem rather charming.

You asked why I tried to run away - I felt I had no reason to stay home - much like you my dear ! My life had been all but destroyed.
China was not the distraction I had hoped it would be, even the Silk Road adventure I embarked upon failed to banish thoughts of my own personal ruins. The tombs especially, urged me to keep travelling, peace seemed to be impossible to find.
Look after yourself
Love Kathy x

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Card class catch up

I am not entirely sure where this week has disappeared to, I can only educe that I have been residing in my own little bleb and have been entirely unaware of the passing of time

Here are the two simple cards I taught in class this week

Two fairly young styles, I had been asked last week about cards for younger family members. I think we all find it much easier to craft for the mid range age of females, but men, children and teenagers all seem to cause concern.

The stamped images are Prima, painted in Tim Holtz Distress inks, papers on little boy card are by Bo Bunny, on the little girls card the papers are by My Minds Eye.

Both of the characters on the images are tiny, slimsy little figures which are much cuter when coloured and far easier than they look to add colour to.

It wasn't until I logged in this evening to update the blog that I realised that it has been almost four days since I last blogged.

I have been burying my head in my art books of late, I have been doing lots of sketching and painting, it has taken a great deal of mettle to tear myself away and concentrate on anything other than the postcard challenge or the Life Book course I am taking, I am enjoying them both so very much.

I have almost finished class one of life book, which was our first goddess page, as soon as I have the journalling on there I will share my pages with you on here.

I am also busy planning all the fabulous new products and promotions we have in store for our customers at the shop, february is going to be an amazing month, jam packed with bargains, fun and promotions to celebrate our 3 year anniversary - watch this space and the RWS website for all the up and coming events - the first of which will be announced over the weekend.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

To know the dark

Sketch 365 - Saturday's sketch and Week 3 of Life Book

I multi-tasked this week and combined my sketch challenge with the lifebook task this week.

Bonnie shared the technique of sketching and shading using the hatch and cross hatch technique - IN PEN !!!!!

I am happy shading in pencil, heck I love shading in pencil, I have my trusty rubber by my side, poised and ready to eradicate any slips, PEN shading, with tiny little lines, one way then the other - whole new ball game, my nerves are shot I tell you.

The background around the girl is painted in water soluble crayons, the border I created using the shaving foam marbling technique

I am not entirely sure I did a great job and debated a while before sharing here, natheless it is part of the journey and so should be documented.

We were exploring the light and dark sides of our natures with this class and so the words I have written around the outside of the sketch read :

To go into the dark with a light,
Is to know the light.
To know the dark, 
Go dark, without sight
And find that the dark too
Blooms and sings
And is travelled 
By dark feet and dark wings.

Wendell Berry.

Winters butterfly

Here are my atc's for last months swap on our forum

The theme was winter and the obligatory colour was white

I used the serendipity technique for the backgrounds, painted white and then rubbed all over with Rock Candy

Sketch 365

Thursdays sketch was Christ the redeemer from yesterdays post

Yesterday I completed this sketch for the Life Book course, this will be coloured with paints in the coming days, I will share it again once it is finished.

I hit a little remora with todays sketch which has just been painted and is still too wet to scan, so I will share that tomorrow.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Postcard challenge, week 3 - Brazil

This week Darcy led us to Brazil with our postcard challenge

Aside from football, coffee and carnivals, I didn't really know much about Brazil, so, I turned to the oracle that is Karl Pilkington and An Idiot Abroad for inspiration. I recalled he had travelled to Brazil as part of his 7 wonders series and I thought it might be cool to incorporate a wonder into my postcards.

Christ the Redeemer

I sketched out Christ with a graphite pencil directly onto my postcard, did all the shading with the same pencil and then added a really simple background so as to not detract from the main image. The sky was watercolour crayons, the clouds and mountainside were acrylic paint. The title was added with a Pitt Artist journalling pen and highlighted with a white gelly roll pen.

The back of my postcard reads :

Dear Kathy

What did you mean when you referred to running away ? I know so little of your youth !
I won't make it home for a while so please forward the documents to Carlton's. I am hoping they hold information regarding my parents.
Do you like my latest sketch ? The view from here is breathtaking, so peaceful and a direct contrast to the mania below.

I don't have a clue who the man is, I hope he isn't bothering you !
Thankyou for tending the garden, you have always been so kind to me.
Boa Noite
Sammy xxx

I decided that as well as the handwriting being different on each set of cards I would also create them in completely different styles. Sammy's are all going to incorporate a hand-drawn element, she will draw something each week, inspired by the country of her placement. Kathy's, on the other hand, will be much more 3D, she is not the one travelling, so she will be delving into her keepsake box each week to make her cards.

I aim to develop their personalities, which will help give clues to the twist at the end of the story and I plan to weave in additional characters and sub plots.

It is a little scary how deucedly fun I am finding the two personalities part ! Maybe we all have multiple personalities lurking beneath the surface !

Massive thanks to Darcy again this week xxx

Bonnie bounces back

Well, things are finally reverting back to some sort of normality after the christmas and new years break.

Classes are falling back into their regular rhythm and Bonnie was back with a bang.

Here is the gorgeous box she taught both classes today.

It is a dainty little thing perfect for a mini book, small gift or card

If we were relying on shiv and patience this little beauty would have taken hours upon hours, but thanks to the Cuttlebug and several rather lovely dies it came together in under two hours ( and the actress and the bishop only made one appearance all day)

See you tomorrow with my Brazillian ( postcard not wax !!!)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Girls and boys

This week for class I decided to go very girlie for one card and masculine for the second.

I shared how to make these lovely layered tattered floral flowers ( single handedly helping to keep Royal Mail in business with these babies !)

The greeting is by Stampin' Up

And for the second more masculine card we used the emboss resist technique with distress inks to create the tag

The sentiments on this card are a mix of computer generated and a stamp by Inkadinkadoo.

We used wax rubs to highlight the embossing on the diamond shaped borders.

Todays sketch (Wednesday)

I am much happier with the face on this one. You may think I am being persnickety when I pull my sketches to pieces, but, being able to critique your own work and spot the weak points is a big step in learning to correct the mistakes. I very much need to work on faces and especially hands, why are hands so awkward ?

I have finished my postcard for Darcy's postcard challenge, a whole two days early, inspiration struck whilst I was texting back and forth with Anita last night, and yes Anita, An Idiot Abroad was my inspiration, but I will leave it there, I am not going to give you any more clues lol, and I will share my postcard on Friday when Darcy has the linky set up.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sitting pretty

Todays sketch - tuesday

Just a quick post from me today, updating my sketch. I preferred this one, to the last two I completed.  I felt the lines were better, it came together quickly but it was a bigger jump than I thought moving from the magical,mythical alate imaginations of Brian Froud to the paired down modern and much less detailed images of Inslee Haynes.

But that is the beauty of choosing many varied artists to draw inspiration from. playing with styles and exploring which I enjoy more.

I also started work on my life book, the sketch is done but I decided I really needed to treat myself to some neo colours to finish the piece, so I will be sharing that once I have added the colour.

I enjoyed a really lovely afternoon with Nicki and Anita today, and we actually managed to get some crafting done, we are working on some mini books. Mine is for a very special friend who also has a birthday in feb ( I thought I had better start early as I have quite a few projects ongoing)

Back tomorrow with my class cards

Monday, 16 January 2012


I managed to get myself all caught up at work this week and actually prepared a class in advance ( shock horror - this surely cannot last !)

So to reward myself I spent a lovely hour making this scrapbook page for my album.

The background is three layers of paper Tim Holtz, Stampin' Up and Basic Grey, they have been dry-brushed with watered down white acrylic paint, I then swiped on some 'neat' flesh tint acrylic and added bubble wrap circles with titanium buff.

The fancy border below the photo is a nestie border, cut out of black cardstock and rubbed with a bronze coloured wax rub.

I added some metallic mesh behind the double matted photo and swiped the titanium buff over the flowers also, to tone them down and integrate them into the page, the flowers were attached with metallic coloured brads by Tim Holtz.

I finished the page with a title, sub-title and a little computer generated journalling. I like to incorporate wording where I can on my pages, they don't feel complete without !

Next up I have a little sketch catch up

Sketch 365

Saturdays sketch and the final one in the Brian Froud inspired series.

Sundays sketch.
This week I am drawing inspiration from an artist who does a lot of fashion plates, she has a really sassy and fun style, so, for the next 7 sketches Inslee Haynes will be my muse.

This first one is not up to my usual standard, I got fed up with the feet and didn't put as much effort into the dress as I should have, I had a lot on my mind sunday morning and couldn't concentrate, the journalling in my morning journal flowed, sadly the sketching didn't, never the less I wanted to keep up the sketch a day.

A tad better for todays sketch, but still not entirely happy, the face turned out a bit weird and although I was happy with the transparency of the veil ( not the easiest of things to accomplish I have discovered) I really didn't pull this one together as well as I know I can. But I am trying to stay within 15 minutes for my sketch, some of my earlier ones ended up being more like half an hour, so I am really trying hard not to 'overwork' or 'overthink' them.

AJ has been hovering all evening, watching me draw and being incredibly complimentary, I have had several hugs and 'I love you's' which is all very lovely but .....

Being the perspicacious mum that I am, I realise this has more to do with the fact a birthday is looming and there is a Blackberry atop of the list, rather than anything to do with me being in fact anything closely approximating wonderful !

But I am going to take the hugs and enjoy them, they are becoming more and more precious as the kids grow up ( even if it is cupboard love !)

Off to do a little research on Brazil, our next destination on our postcard challenge !

Boa Noite x

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Postcard number two - Spain

Darcy's postcard challenge takes us to Spain this week

I cannot explain how this challenge has taken me to the very outrance of my creativity, I am so enjoying the art AND the writing side of the challenge. My teachers always urged me to take sensible subjects ie maths, economics and english to 'A' level as I had good grades and an aptitude for the more academic qualifications, but, I think, deep down, my arty side has always been screaming to be unleashed, the beauty of this challenge is that it allows me to utilise both sides of my personality.

Here is my 'Espanol' inspired postcard

My base is an actual postcard, bought from T.K.Maxx this week ( love that shop) I bought a little book of 20 fantastic quality postcards, they are all decorated with really pretty fairy images, but, I have used them as a base. I have mainly covered up the images but left the outside showing and used the colours as inspiration for my finished piece.

I used lots of Spanish ephemera, all inked with Vintage photo distress ink. I created the ornate frame by embossing chipboard with gold patina embossing powder.

And here is the back of the card with the second instalment of the story, please don't strain your eyes I have typed out the writing below this next photo.

Kathy's message to Sammy reads :

Your letter arrived and I have placed it into my safe. It looked very official !
The cottage is fine and all the plants are watered.
I hope you don't mind but I took it upon myself to dig out a new flower bed.

I travelled a lot when younger, I guess I was really trying to run away, but as you know, travel is impossible now.
I dug out some bits and bobs from my very last journey, I hope you like my Spanish inspired card!

Please stay safe sweetie and don't work too hard (Carlton is a slave driver !)
Do you know where you are next ?

Oh and I nearly forgot, a rather persistent gentleman keeps calling for you but won't leave his name or a message - very odd !
Take care
Love Kathy

Only one of my characters is travelling ( you will discover why Sammy's neighbour and friend, Kathy, can't, later in the story) so I had to weave in a way to explain the second set of postcards. Carlton - Sammy's boss is introduced this time and we have a mysterious guy trying to track Sammy down.

 I wanted Kathy and Sammy's postcards to be different so am using two separate ways to make them, I am also using different styles of handwriting to reinforce their personalities. Sammy's handwriting is loose and free flowing, she is a free spirit and generally happy-go-lucky with a good sense of humour, so her writing will hopefully convey that.

Kathy on the other hand is older, wiser and more considered in her writing. She is precise and suffers from OCD among other things, she cares deeply about Sammy and her well being and is trying to look out for her young friend and neighbour.

Here is the original postcard I used as the base.

As my desinence today I will leave you with this famous Spanish quote
Art is a lie that makes us realise truth - Pablo Picasso


Friday, 13 January 2012

Away with the fairies

Just a quick sketch catch up from me today

Sketch 365 - Thursday's sketch

And fridays sketch

I think this cute little sprite looks like has has just escaped from some marshy, viscid bog and is leaping to freedom and a dance with his fellow fairies and goblins.

That's all for tonight, I should be back with my postcard and some crafty stuff over the weekend.

Thursday, 12 January 2012


I generally toss the scraps left over from teaching a card class into my set of drawers at the shop, this week I decided to use them to make some additional cards

Here is the first one, I think I have enough oddments to make around three more. Each time I will vary the design and sentiment slightly

Sketch 365 - Mondays sketch

Tuesday's sketch

Wednesday's sketch

I am loving doing these Brian Froud inspired sketches, I hadn't heard of him before this week but I will definitely not forget him, he truly excels in fantasy.

Just before I head off to do my sketch for today I will leave you with a little cuteness from yesterday.

One of my ladies brought her son to the shop to pick up grandma who had just finished one of my classes. Stevie is 3 and I engaged him in a little conversation about school and general 3 year old chit chat

He is such a bonny little lad and was happily chatting away, when I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he gave me the best answer yet - he replied in a very serious, matter of fact voice 'bigger !'

Lol both me and his grandma were in stitches and he just looked at us both like we were the silly ones.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Journals and jollies

First up I have my pages for the circle journal I am participating in

The pages and tag have been created for Becca and with her own tastes in mind, hence the bolder colours than I usually use.

And the rear of the tag including my own details so as Becca knows who has created the pages

I am enjoying this journal far more that I thought I would and have come to the conclusion that the project has elevetated itself to an almost heterotelic level, it has become far more than just a swapping of artist endeavours and 10 friendships  have been made and deepened with each month.

This week the shop is back to normal and classes are back into their usual routine, here are the two cards I taught tuesday and wednesday

We used Copics to highlight a portion of the embossing folder on this first card

And we did a little masking on the die-cut doily on this second card

Our sale on saturday was a resounding success, i am verily verified in saying that as you can see from the photos ( pardon the paregmenon)

Approximately one third of all the paper trays have been left bereft of their contents.

As you can see lots of empty spaces - which can mean only one thing - lots of lovely new strokable stash winging its way to fill those empty and rather sorry looking trays !

Finally before I bid you goodnight to complete my sketch for today. 

I would just like to let my regular customers know that february is going to be an extra special month. 

It is three years since I bought the shop and february marks the anniversary of our opening. 

It has been suggested several times that it is an occasion worth celebrating and at first I began to to expostulate, but I finally came around to the idea and have to admit I agree. 

Thinking about it, in this current climate with all the difficulties it entails I think Running With Scissors has a lot to celebrate, we are still here after several setbacks and some pretty awkward economic times, so, as a massive thankyou to everyone who has contributed to the success of the shop we will be launching some fabulous new product lines and lots of promotions, bargains and events throughout february - for the whole month !

 All news will be placed on the RWS website and I will also update here.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Darcy's postcard challenge

Darcy's Postcard Challenge

Here is my first postcard for Darcy's fantastic new challenge, you can check out what we are all up to HERE, there is also a permanent link in my sidebar

This weeks country was Austria

The front of my postcard is decorated with a vintage map of Austria and a hand drawn Edelweiss flower , you might remember the flower from a post a couple of days back, I incorporated it into my sketch 365 project. The flower was drawn in pencil and then painted in distress inks. I added three little strips of ribbon in national colours to represent the Austrian flag.

And the back of my postcard

The postcard reads :

Dear Kathy

The paperwork I have been desperately seeking is being delivered tomorrow, could you please sign for it and keep it safe.
I will try and get home between conferences.
The Baroque architecture of Salzburg is bewitching - sadly the boardroom is not !
Please reply through the office as I should get a stopover in London next week.
P.S Don't forget to mist the fern

Kathy is housesitting for her neighbour Sammy who is a PA for a jet-setting entrepreneur.

Kathy is a kind but reclusive lady who has lived next to Sammy for as long as Sammy can remember.

Sammy is an adventurous, sweet natured girl who until recently had been living with an elderly couple whom she believed to be her parents, when both sadly passed away Sammy learned she was in fact adopted. Her world was turned upside down and she felt she no longer had roots in the cottage she had always called home. Driven by a desire to be anywhere but where she had been brought up in a lie, and with a deep yearning to know who had given her up and why, she took a job that would take her far away from all the unanswered questions.

My story will unfold as Sammy shares her travels and discoveries with her trusted neighbour and friend Kathy. 

I can't believe we are all taking part in such an amazing challenge AND writing a story as we go. I have never ever taken part in such an inspiring and unusual challenge. I am also lucky to be sharing this journey with Anita, Nicki and Margaret who have also completed their first postcards.

Thankyou so much Darcy, I cannot even begin to imagine how hard you are working to make this challenge the massive success it already is, this is going to be one AMAZING year long journey !

Next I have my sketches from this week

Sketch 365

This was from thursday, I am working with MacKenzie Thorpe as my inspiration, I didn't share this on thursday as I was waiting for the paint to dry, as you can see the poppies were all important, this sketch really did need the colour !

Fridays sketch was the Edelweiss for my postcard (at the top of this post)

Saturdays sketch is the final Mackenzie Thorpe, I have fallen in love with his little hooded character who always seems to have a huge heart with him.

And the next artist I am using as my inspiration is a guy called Brian Froud, who does the most amazing Fairies and Goblins

So here is the first of seven, todays sketch Sneezewort.

No sketches for a few days and then I hit you with a pencil profligacy. I think this format may suit me a little better, I may combine the sketches and upload several at a time in order to free up blog posts purely for crafting.

I enjoyed a lovely walk to grandads this morning, the weather was really mild, the sun was warm on my back and about half an hour into the walk I was offered a lift from a very kind youth who obviously thought I had missed the bus and didn't realise I was actually walking for the sheer pleasure of it. Yes a young lad with a hoodie and very polite he was too, not all teenagers are trouble being the proud owner of two so I should know lol.

After grandads I enjoyed lunch with mum and dad and a really good chinwag with mum who I don't see nearly as much as I used to or as much as I would like to.

I also had a few minutes with Anita who bought me a lovely surprise, the next instalment of Sabine's notebook ( Darcy's inspiration for the postcard challenge) thanks hon xxx

Tomorrow we get to find out our next country for our postcards - can't wait !