Thursday, 31 December 2020

My crafting review 2020

On Monday I shared my favourite photos from this year. I am back today, on this last day of 2020, with a review of my crafting.  I regard my crafting as one of the key things which has kept me positive, motivated and sane. It is a hobby in which I can completely immerse myself and I have spent many many hours in my studio creating a huge number of projects this year.

I learnt how to "zoom" craft with Daisy during the first Lockdown which was an amazing way of keeping in touch with her during those awful early months when we were separated. 

I continued as a design team member for Country View, Visible Image, STAMPlorations and Creative stamping Magazine.  I enjoyed spending many hours creating over 100 makes for them this year. I want to thank them all for their support of my work this year and every year.

 Dotty's Teahouse in Carshalton High Street, where I sell my cards endured a very challenging year with Lockdowns and endless restrictions.  Sadly the Tea Garden which was to have enjoyed its inaugural year remained shut. Rebecca, Dotty's owner always remains so positive and she branched out into home deliveries and cake-away takeaways and kept going no matter what. As I did not need to make as many cards as usual I also diversified my makes. I made lots of artist trading cards and coins, some of which I swapped and some Daisy and I made and sent to one another.

 The other person I have to thank this year is the ever amazing Tim Holtz who has managed to inspire not just me but thousands of crafter worldwide during 2020. He gave a whole serious of live demos over on Facebook. What I loved about Tim's Facebook lives was that he gave his time completely free and everything was available to everyone.  His enthusiasm for crafting is so infectious and in my humble opinion he remains the most inspiring crafter in the industry. New distress colours were also released which further fired my creativity. 

The makes I am sharing are not a "top 9" but my personal favourite 9 I have made for my design teams, for Daisy and my Tim Holtz makes. I made a collage for each.  I have already shared these over the last few days on Instagram. You can check me out/follow me here

Here they are;

Country View

Visible Image


Creative stamping magazine.
(Included in this collage I some of my previously unshared "practice"/spare makes).
 Some of my mindful moments artist trading card and coin swaps with Daisy.
We were able luckily to craft together in the summer and at Halloween. We made drippy candles which were such fun. Sadly I have not been able to see her again since the latest Lockdown which began in early November, just before her 7th birthday. 
and finally 9 of my favourite Tim Holtz makes
I must admit I even surprise myself at how much I make each year. This is just a fraction of my total output!! 
For today I have also made a special card to see out 2020 and to look forward to a brighter, Covid free, safer and kinder 2021.

The perfect stamp to use was of course my Phoenix rising set by Visible Image.
I adapted this design from one I made as a sample when it was released in November.
The background was blended using my beloved Distress inks.
a couple of close ups;

and one final shot

The other sentiment in this set is the word "HOPE". How appropriate that is on the last day of 2020.  The vaccines are looking very promising and together with all the other measures we hope to bring Covid19 to its knees. 

I would like to enter my phoenix card into the following challenges.

Simon says stamp Wednesday sparkle and shine
Die cut divas 1/3 anything goes my numbers are Tim Holtz thinlets dies
The house that stamps built 1/3 anything goes 
Simon says stamp Monday celebrate 

I will close Jane's Journal for 2020 with these following words. 

“And when all that was left was ashes, she would again clothe herself in flame. Rising from the dust of her past to rekindle the spark of her future. She was a Phoenix, her own salvation; rebirthed, renewed, resurrected.” — LaRhonda Toreson

Let's hope we can get our lives back in 2021 and finally rise like the phoenix from this terrible pandemic which has caused so much darkness. 

Happy new year,

Take care and stay safe.

I will be back in the morning with my first 2 design team posts of 2021.

Jane x

Sunday, 27 December 2020

My photographic review of 2020

Hi friends I thought I would pop in between Christmas with my annual review of 2020 in photos. I have written Jane's Journal for over 10 years now and I also write my journal as a personal record too. It really has been a year like no other, Covid19 hit the news after Christmas last year and by late February the situation was looking dire. Just after the first day of spring the UK was plunged into its first Lockdown on 24th March.

It was really hard to select just 16 photographs from the 100s I took. I made them into 4 seasonal photo collages.


We were so fortunate that in January we had our tiny garden landscaped as a gift from my dear parents.  We had no idea at the time what lay ahead. What a blessing my garden has been this year.

I sewed seeds, planted new plants and mowed my new lawn. We spent many many happy hours out there this year.  One event that I have to include, despite the sadness we still feel, is the death of darling Bear, our son's dog. He was such a big part of our family. A huge dog with a huge heart who was loved so much by everyone. He loved our newly landscaped garden and I am so glad that he was able to see it and enjoy the magnolia in flower. The one thing I will also always remember of the spring of 2020 was the incredible weather we enjoyed in South East England. The skies really were azure and the sun shone for weeks on end.  I also wrote a series of 10 Mindful Moments which I shared here on my blog. If you missed them, click here for number 1 and you can search for the other by putting them in my search bar on the side bar of my blog.


I love walking and I walk almost every day. Despite the lockdown restrictions we were allowed to walk locally and my sweet dino ducks brought me so much cheer. I saw the latest clutches of fluffy ducklings grow into the gorgeous adults they are now. We stayed at home and I crafted, gardened, baked and clapped for the NHS. We even enjoyed a socially distanced street party on VE day on 8th May to celebrate its 75th year. 

In August we actually made it to Italy with our family and had a week of bliss in a secluded villa in the vineyards of Tuscany. Summer was a brief respite from the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. We enjoyed long hot sunny days and saw our family again. I'm so glad we did as sadly in the autumn things were to change yet again.


We enjoyed visiting our favourite public gardens RHS Wisley all through the year. At every visit there was always something new to see and admire. We witnessed the pumpkins growing and saw their gorgeous display when they were harvested.  The colours of autumn this year in South East England were quite extraordinary. The mostly fine weather continued and we saw golds, reds and oranges in the autumnal leaves which took my breath away. My dino ducks made such lovely scrunching noises as they waddled through them to see me on my regular visits. 

Sadly new restrictions were imposed again on 5th November and once again we could no longer see family. I had even started Daisy's birthday cake but everything was of course cancelled. Luckily I sent the decorations I had made and her Mummy made a cake and put them on. As with most events this year we celebrated via Watts App. Thank goodness for modern technology.

We saw the stunning Christmas Glow display at Wisely on a cold but gorgeous night in December and for a while thought that we would actually celebrate a small family gathering on Christmas day. Sadly just 6 days before Christmas that was all cancelled. Of course Christmas day still went ahead, in a very different way indeed. I still celebrated my favourite time of the year and made some new memories.

The one bonus of this year has been that our darling Billy cat has had our company constantly. My husband has worked from home since the first Lockdown and is his company is not rushing them back to their City of London office for the foreseeable future.

This was my Christmas place setting this year. I made these "emergency" crackers at the last minute.

I will keep the "real" ones I made 

for when we get to celebrate Christmas with our family at some point next year. Even if it's the hottest day of the year it will be worth waiting for. All the presents are ready and waiting until we can be together again.

As we approach the end of 2020 it is time for me reflect on this extraordinary year. I am incredibly grateful that my family has stayed safe and well so far. My daughter is one of the thousands of heroic NHS doctors we are blessed to have working for us. Their work this year has been phenomenal but so difficult and stressful. They truly are such selfless souls. My son has worked tirelessly and often 7 days a week to successfully move his golfing business completely online. Thank goodness golf was one of the sports allowed to continue from the earliest days of the Lockdown. I am so proud of the way my family has worked and kept going whatever challenges they faced. I personally know a lot of families have not been so lucky and my heart really breaks for them. Let's hope 2021 brings hope of a more normal life returning. 

I will be back on new year's eve with my crafting highlights of 2020. What an amazing year that has been! Despite Dotty's having to close for some of the time (and she has had to close again) my crafting has been incredibly productive. Together with my garden and Mother Nature it has been just the best of distractions for me. 

I will close with one of my favourite poems written nearly 100 years ago, way before our modern life and all is complexities. How important  Mother Nature is to still keeping us all mindful....


What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies          
Take care and stay safe.

Try to find the time to stand and stare, amongst all this chaos. We will get there. 

Back on the 31st. 

Jane x

Thursday, 24 December 2020

The day before Christmas, 2020

Christmas 2020

It was the day before Christmas and all through Jane's house

Not a creature was stirring not even a mouse.

But Billy was sleeping on his green chair

Oblivious to all and to all unaware

That Christmas this year is so very strange

And in fact 2020 has been re arranged.

A different Christmas, no family table

No crackers to pull or jokes to enable.

But wait what's that noise, can he hear tinkling bells

and perhaps in the distance a few ho ho yells?

Oh Daisy oh Jack please do not fear,

Santa will of course still come this year.

We will wait until spring or whenever it's fine

We'll bring our presents, crackers and wine

And celebrate then with all our good cheer,

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good year. 

I don't really know how else I could write my Christmas eve blog! If I didn't laugh I think I would cry.

We know that these restrictions are very necessary but having not seen our kids for 2 months Christmas day was going to be so very special. A little beacon of light in all this darkness. But needs must, we will get through this and look forward safer times next year.

 Please stay safe all my lovely blogging friends. Celebrate the day in which ever way you can. I shall raise my glass to you from our very quiet Christmas table.

Here is a fun virtual Christmas card to you all from Billy. He hasn't quite got the idea about stockings hanging on mantlepieces not trees but this year I will forgive him anything!

Merry Christmas!
I will see you on the other side!


 Jane (and Billy) x

I would also like to join in with these lovely challenges;

Pixie's Snippets playground #393

Simon says stamp Monday celebrate

Simon says stamp Wednesday sparkle and shine

ABC Christmas Y and Z my favourite things in this card are of course...cats!

Winter Wonderland end of year challenge

Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas #521 

Allsorts sparkle and shine

Crimbo Crackers anything goes

Tuesday, 15 December 2020

More sparkle and shine for the December STAMPlorations challenge

 Christmas really is fast approaching now.... just 9 days now.  I am back with my 2nd design team inspiration card for our December theme and photo prompt challenge over at STAMPlorations. 

I now have affiliate links in my STAMP posts which simply means that if you click on any of the links here and buy something from the STAMP store I will receive a small commission at no cost whatsoever to you 😊I also offer a very special extra treat if you use my code, details at the end of this post.

You can enter up to a maximum of 3 entries. There are awesome prizes up for grabs; A $20 prize code for the winner, as well as $7 prize codes awarded to 3 randomly selected entries. Please remember to add our challenge logo to your post if you would like to be in with a chance of winning. All the details and our 2nd inspiration projects are here.

I worked with the following awesome products and have added live links to them in my post. Remember if you also use my unique code STAMPGIRLJANE at the check out you can get an additional 20% off on top of any existing discounts! Shery ships internationally at very low cost too.

You can work with the theme, the photo prompt or both as I always love to do. I used;

Oh my stars  stencil

Christmas in the heart

the smallest die in the Crazy wonky rectangle nesting dies set


 Christmas reindeer 

with the coordinating Christmas reindeer dies 

This is what I got up to. I made another of my shaving foam reinker backgrounds using the Oh my stars  stencil. This is a really old technique and you can find videos etc by the plenty on the internet. I then added a little distress ink

I stamped the lovely Christmas in the heart and white embossed it onto the smallest panel cut by the 
 Crazy wonky rectangle nesting dies set. I die cut the  Christmas reindeer from inky mop up card using the coordinating Christmas reindeer dies . Then it was time to put everything together using a few festive die cuts from my stash.
Here is my card
Those reindeer are just the cutest aren't they!
I would like to enter my card into the following challenges;

Chocolate baroque anything goes  
ABC Christmas Y and Z I'm going with Y for my fave things..which are these cute reindeer!
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas #520

I hope I may have inspired you to join our December challenge. Remember all the details can be found here 

Before I close do remember that if you order more than $15 of product from the website (after discounts and before shipping) and quote my unique code STAMPGIRLJANE at checkout not only can you get 20% off your order you can also choose a product for FREE up to the value of $7! Here is a link to the website.
Have a very Merry Stamplorations Christmas,

Bye for now,

Jane x

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Billy and the trees 2020

 Well hello everyone it's Billy here because yes you guessed it's that time of the year when trees walk inside the house. The last time I wrote for Jane's Journal was way back in the summer when it was so hot. If you missed that post you can catch it here.

Well all that summer sunshine has gone and it has turned really chilly here. I am spending more time on my green chair where I can watch the world go by. So this is what happened this year.

There was a knock on the door and a man appeared wearing a mask...what is it with all these masks this year? I noticed Jane and her Hb seem to wear them when they go out. Are the humans all trying to look like masked crusaders or something? Anyone would think there is some dreaded illness out there? 

So back to the knock on the door, there was lots of rustling and then
yes it was a new Christmas tree who told me his name was Dave. I was pleased to meet him and asked why he was wearing a hair net, were hairdressers still shut? He smiled and winked at me and at that point he was brought into the dining room. What is it with human....I know they have had such a strange year, but are even trees not allowed outside now and must self isolate?

Well at this point I heard a whistle from the garden and Baby choc was calling me and told me that he too was about to be walked indoors so I quickly got out of the way.
I chatted to Baby choc as he was carried in, he has grown lots since last Christmas. Look at all those new green shoots.
Dave was in first and was quickly relieved of his hair net.

First on were those rows of lights that come out of the loft every year. I am always scared when they open the loft hatch as my dreaded carry basket lives up there and you know what that usually means...yes the V-E-T...but phew it stayed there which must mean I am safe for now. 
Dave and I had a great time chatting and I warned him that on Christmas Eve we would be joined by the Big Man in the red suit and that the reindeer he brings will make a heck of a noise on the roof but not to be worried. 
He started looking really grand and very twinkly, just as all good Dave's should be I guess.
Out came all those shiny baubles from years back and on they went. Dave was standing up very tall and proud as they were all placed carefully on him. A couple of times I saw him twitching a bit as he was a little ticklish, especially under his lower branches. 
I know this is Jane's favourite, it dates from 1968 and her Mum bought her and her brother one that Christmas. She has a real "thing" about moons doesn't she.

It took over2 hours to hang all the baubles and then it was Baby Chocs turn. Jane puts lots of her oldies here, from her parents 1950s ones.

 to ones owned by her grandparents. 
So eventually everything was done and my how handsome Dave and Baby Choc both looked.
I am really enjoying chatting to this pair every night. 
We try to put the world to right and we hope that by this time next year the humans will have managed to sort out their virus problems. 2020 has been very tough for them. Mind you I am not complaining as I have never had so much company from Jane and her Hb. Working from home seems pretty good for me, my food is very prompt and on tap all day, all I do is meow and they provide.

Recently Jane bought a new set of cat stamps by a man called Tim Holtz (I wonder if he knows Dave) and cutting out things, I think she calls them dies. She has even named some of the cats...she calls the one below Billy after me. She has shared these cards on Instagram, if you want to see them you can follow her here
But in case you haven't seen them 
this apparently is me...hmmmm
and another pose, yes I do need a candle if it's dark, just to make sure I can see properly of course. 
and this is her old cat Cilla up to mischief. First she tried catching the robin but burnt her  paws on the lantern
so then she borrowed a set of wings. Whatever next, doesn't she know that cats can't fly? As you can guess the robin just laughed at her antics and flew off just as she landed.
Below is a new card Jane has not shared yet. She has also called this stamp Cilla as she feels it is another "pose" of the  stamp above. Now Cilla really has not got the hang of decorating a Christmas tree has she.
Even I know that mittens go on paws, most definitely NOT on trees or tails. Heavens above whatever next....

Jane says she would like to enter this into a couple of challenges, she doesn't often get a chance to do this these days!

Pixie's snippets playground #392
Simon says stamp Wednesday favourite technique I know that blending and then adding some water to oxide backgrounds is a real favoruite of Jane's techniques. She says it's simple and effective. I wonder if my paws would manage it?
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas challenge #519
ABC Christmas x and y my favourite things are obviously these Tim Holtz cat stamps and dies!
Die cut divas anything goes
Cute card Thursday anything goes
Chocolate Baroque anything goes

Well that's it for another year from me. My paws get very tired with all this typing. No doubt I will be back next summer when Jane has her mad summer day when she makes something for Christmas on one of the hottest days of the year. Thanks for reading to the end and wishing you a very happy Tree Christmas. 

After all this hard work I am going to take things easy now.
Purrs....and zzzzzzzz

Billy xx

(Jane says she will be back soon).