Monday, 22 December 2008

ATC parade

Just a collection of ATCs that I dug out. Some have been shown here before, some not, but all were languishing in a box all alone. Some are hand painted some are papercuts, some have been rubber stamped and some collaged. They use a variety of materials from paper and ink to fabric and felt.

Saturday, 6 December 2008

The Altered Page Etsy store

I have been visiting Seth's The Altered Page blog for some time now and have been part of his ever growing Pulse project too. Now he has opened his own The Altered Page Etsy store, without pomp and ceremony, just quietly. He has some beautiful pieces of art for sale along with the famous Pulse zine, which I can highly recommend. I know his store will go from strength to strength. Why not take a look now then bookmark it for later visits. I know I will.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Chrysti's giveaway

Chrysti is doing something very wonderful on her blog. She is running a project called the 29 Days of Giveaways where she will give away all kinds of things from books to classes. I have been following Chrysti's blog for some time now and have always been awed by her work. She inspired me to try painting my own background papers, to make inchies and I am lucky enough to have taken part in a swap hosted by her (my first ever ATC swap). I even have one of her hand drawn ATCs. Recently she has been seeing good signs of all her hard work paying off with articles in big name art and craft magazines and exhibitions. It is truly well deserved with more to come, I feel. So do take a look at her blog for plenty of inspiration, if nothing else.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Christmas Countdown

If, like me, you use alot of printable ephemera in your art you might be interested in Lisa Vollrath's Christmas Countdown. It starts today and you can find it here.

Tim Holtz has his own countdown of sorts. He is making the Twelve Tags of Christmas - one a day for the next twelve days. Pretty! His twelve tags from last year can also be found on his blog. The links are in his sidebar.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Boxing clever

I made this little box as a Christmas present for my Gran. She always says she doesn't need anything at gift giving times but always seems to like the things I make. She doesn't read my blog so I'm OK posting pictures of it. The box is a wooden, shop bought box, coated in acrylic paint onto which I painted a cardinal. Now, we don't have cardinals in the UK but I think they are are beautiful birds. I found the pattern in a book called Joy to the World: Painting Holiday Heirlooms by John Gutcher. It was my buy of the year as I picked it up for a few pence. The box has been filled with Gran's favourite candy sweets so I hope she will enjoy it on all levels.

The ATCs are for a swap entitled Arabian Nights so I had to take part. They are done in shades of purple and pink with mulberry paper, metallic paint and a little bling. Also shown are some magnets I made out of mini collages. I put some on Etsy to see if they are of interest to anyone.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Bob, bob, bobbin'

I finally decided to go with a robin for my third exhibition painting. However, he refused to scan nicely. The colours look a bit funny here. He is actually a little guy who visits my garden. After feeding the birds one morning I thought I would take my camera outside and see if I could get some nice photos. Of course, robins being the characters they are, he posed for me sitting on a branch and on the garden fence. Then he flew off to beat up the other birds in the garden that were trying to feed. Robins can be very territorial and will fight with anything that crosses their path. Not just a pretty face then.

The card is a shaker card I made for someone to give this Christmas. But I like it so much I will have to make another one. The only problem is that I had to use gold and silver micro beads which makes the snow look yellow. I'm sure there is a joke there somewhere.

Monday, 24 November 2008

I was thinking about wrapping a gift this week and was struggling to come up with a neat idea. The gift is long and thin and I find that wrapping something that shape can look a little sad. So I figured that a Christmas cracker shape would work. I was given a gift in a cracker shaped box many years ago and vaguely remembered the shape of the box so I had to try and recreate it. The cracker shown here is the result of the template I made. Decorated with some stickers and sparkles, I think it looks OK.
A few other crafts that I have been playing with this week - some needle felted toadstools, inchies, digitally altered photos made into magnets, a notebook and a Christmas card.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Making an exhibition of myself

I have not been posting much lately, have I? I'm not really sure why, other than the fact I have had nothing very creative to post. Where is the time going? I seem to get up in the morning and suddenly it is night time again. The end of the year is galloping towards us at high speed now. I seem to have so many plans but cannot find the time to get them all done. Argh!

Still, I have an exhibition taking place in a couple of weeks and have to prepare some work for it. The two paintings here are finished and ready to go. Now I have to come up with a third. I always find it hard deciding what to paint. As this is a Christmas exhibition I figured wintery subjects might sell well. I'm contemplating a robin but that might be taking things a bit too far. Robins may be the typical Christmas card front but I don't know that it would sell. One thing I learned from my summer exhibition is that small sells better during the credit crunch than anything big. People might be able to find a few pounds for a painting, maybe to give as a gift. Anything larger tends to have a larger price tag too. A little extra cash would be very nice just before Christmas.

Whimsy Stamps

I just discovered a new stamp company today called Whimsy Stamps. It is brand new and doesn't have a web site yet so it only has a few stamps available for pre-order. The stamps are of cute style animals but are not sickly sweet in style. The are animals with attitude. So far there is a duck, a frog and a turtle. Can't wait to see what else they have in store. To learn more take a look at

Sunday, 9 November 2008

This is another ATC challenge. The theme this month is Time. I made a shaker ATC with mechanical cogs cut from card on the inside. Then I added some micro beads as the Sands of Time. I hope whoever wins it will enjoy it.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Inching towards Christmas

I signed up for a swap of inchie Christmas ornaments. I thought it was such a great idea that I couldn't resist. So here are my attempts - decorated with jewels and silver plated wire. Hopefully the other participants will enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Crafty at Halloween

Just some pictures of the results of my Halloween crafting. I saw some 3D pumpkin stickers for sale somewhere and thought them very expensive for what they were. So I whipped out my Sizzix die cut pumpkins and made some of my own. I took a yellow pumpkin and an orange one, cut a pumpkin face on the orange one and stuck them together with 3D foam. I thought they were kinda cute. I did the same thing with the ghosts but instead of using a black die cut I drew around the white ghost onto black card, cut it out then stuck the two together. That way the black card shows through the while die cut's eyes.

I also made some inchies, decorated some paperclips with rubber stamped and cutout images and made some mini embossed envelopes. Forgot to photograph the envelopes though. Doh!

Friday, 31 October 2008

Happy Halloween

So, the witching hour has arrived and the spooky photos have been taken away buy the goblins. I hope everyone had fun using them. Thank you to everyone who left a comment and I hope you will come back and leave another if you use any of the photos.

This year's Halloween will be quieter for me than most. My sister and I usually spend the evening together watching spooky movies, eating Halloween nibbles and having a laugh. However, she moved house today so, understandably, she is sorting out her new flat. Instead I will watch creepy movies on my own while doing some Halloween crafting. Later I will read some of my favourite Halloween author - H.P. Lovecraft. I have a huge tome of his work, 900 pages bound in black leather with gold lettering on the cover. A beautiful book and suitably Halloweeny.

I hope everyone else has a great time.

Thursday, 23 October 2008


It is definitely autumn now. The trees turned yellow quite quickly. Unfortunately the gales we get at this time of year started just after the leaves turned so they all get blasted off the trees and the colours are very short lived. Fungi is lacking too. I love the shapes of toadstools and mushrooms. They are sculptural, swooping curves and glorious colours. But with so few around right now I do not get much chance to draw them. Perhaps there will be a few more later in the autumn.
I have added a few pics here of inchies I made for a recent swap. Lots of doggies this time. I also made a tiny papercut woodland scene. Unfortunately I did not stick it down straight so one of the trees look slightly wonky. There are a few extra beads, some of which I put on Etsy. I also drew a colour pencil badger - Peek-a-boo Badger. I am slowly getting the hang of coloured pencils. Still got a way to go though.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


I have an Etsy shop! I have been working on stocking it this week and currently have 12 items listed including text pages from British books. What's more, I have already had two sales. It was such a wonderful surprise to have a sale just two days after uploading my first items.

I am hoping that this store will take off a little better than my last attempt at online sales. My last shop got no traffic from the people who said thousands of people went through the store every week. It frequently crashed and then disappeared without any notice. I was not amused. I will be adding more things as I create them and hope to even add some of my art. If you would like to take a look the link is

Monday, 6 October 2008

Free spooky images

It's my birthday this week. To mark the occasion I am giving anyone who wants the opportunity to use some of my Halloween themed photos in their art. But beware! On the 31st of October - Halloween - they will disappear into the mists of time, be eaten by zombies or just be removed from the web site. Catch 'em while you can. The photos were taken in the area around my home then manipulated in a photo editing suite to look all spooky.

I would just like to add that these photos are copyright to Gillian McMurray 2008. Please do not use them to produce your own collage sheets for sale. They are for your personal use only. I would love to see any art you produce with them so feel free to come back and leave a comment with a link to your photos.

Edited 31st October 2008 - I had so many wonderful comments that I did not want to loose them. So I managed to just remove the pictures and keep the body of the post.

Success of the pumpkins

My pumpkin ATC was chosen for the front page of the Art Techniques ATC group today. What a great surprise. It was made with Color Wash sprayed watercolour paper, 2 hand carved pumpkin stamps, distress ink and Perfect Pearls.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Bun fun

Marilyn at The Creative Wabbit suggested trying the alcohol ink and UTEE technique on drawing pins/push pins. So I did. It worked beautifully. I used an extra coating of UTEE this time (making it three) as I also added some tiny beads to the tops. They make a very pretty addition to any pin board.

I also did some more needle felting and this little guy emerged.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Pumpkin pie

I was a little concerned by what I said in my last post about pumpkins being rare this year. It really is a big deal for me. I love my annual pumpkin carving. It gives me another outlet for my creativity. So I was inspired to create my own pumpkin out of wool roving. Craftside posted about making needle felted pumpkins this week so I followed the instructions there and made this little guy. I used a bright orange roving as the base and added a little 'cheesecake' (that is the name of the colour - I was not rubbing dessert over the surface of my creation) roving on top. The stalk was made from a lovely sap green roving. Don't fancy making pumpkin pie out of this one though.

The rest of the greetings cards I have been making are here too. Penny Black stamps were used on the kids cards and a Heidi Swapp mask came into play in making the paper for the anniversary card. It is going to take some time to get used to the mask. The end result is not as slick as I would like. I think I am done with card making until the end of the year when I have a couple of more birthdays. The notebook is a gift for a relative. A standard, spiral bound notebook covered in hand painted papers and rubber stamped with a Heidi Swapp stamp.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Pretty in pink

As I write, the sky outside is pink, the hills powder blue and the robin is singing in my garden. It is slightly frosty too so it is a beautiful autumn evening. I will have to keep my eyes open for the first of the pumpkins in the supermarket. Because this year has been so wet I expect there will be a lack of them around...again. We go through this every year. For one reason or another there is a shortage. But I must have my pumpkin to carve!

I have been making cards again this week. There is a flurry of anniversaries and birthdays coming up so I have been hard at it.