Thursday, 21 February 2013

Get your sunglasses out!

If you know me you will know that I am a bit of a "wimpy" colour person, so this is way out of my usual zone.  But I needed the push to try out the wonderful Dylusions sprays I got just after Christmas and the current Artful Times Challenge did just that. 

Colour - lots of it and with gay abandon is the challenge to brighten up these dull grey days.  So here you have it ........  I quite surprised myself and may go down this route again!  Click here to go to the Artful Times blog and some great work and a couple of links to some long forgotten techniques.

This is my last post for a couple of weeks as we are off to Ireland (Co. Clare) tomorrow.  We manage to take in two traditional Irish music festivals and during the week of my husband's workshop I get to enjoy myself painting, knitting and walking.  A great relaxing time. 

Thanks for looking and see you soon x

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Distress Inks, Gesso, Flower Overload and Scorched Muslin ........


Sadly I didn't make it to the final round of the Swirlydoos Design Team Challenge.  Thank you all so much for your supportive comments and whilst I am disappointed I have had a blast! I have learnt or become familiar with so many different techniques which have been fun and which I know I am going to continue to use in my layouts.

I decided to play along with the final challenge, which was to create a background for the layout using mediums, misting, gesso, etc.

Firstly I used a couple of masks with a Black Staz-On ink pad (a bit old so not so dark) and then blended Distress Inks in various blues and Old Paper onto the cream cardstock. It looked a bit wishy washy so I used Distress Stains and painted them on which looked awful!  Despite spritzing with water, it still looked awful, so I decided to use it all as an experiment and covered the whole lot with gesso, put on with an old credit card.

Loved it!!  So it was back in the running!  When I spritzed it with water, it looked even better.  I just hope I can remember what I did so that I can do it again!!  I added a bit more gesso here and there, and then layered Picket Fence Distress Crackle in various places, with a palette knife and again loved the effect.

We had a sketch to follow  which included the central circle and the rest of the challenge was to include multiple photos, paper layering and distressing and clustering of embellishments.

I had made a heap of flowers at the weekend, just in case, so I was quickly able to put the layout together.

It just needed some leaves, so I decided on some muslin, died with Faded Jeans Distress Stain.  But they don't half scorch when you get impatient and dry them with the heat gun!!!  There is still quite a smell of burnt something upstairs in the house!

I really enjoyed this and will certainly be making my own background paper again (or having a go anyway!).  Not sure about multiple photographs - though it was nice to do the five of us again.  Roll on May and our next holiday together, as I am running out of photographs!

Thanks for looking.  After three glorious days here in Shetland we now have the wind and rain back ..............

Monday, 18 February 2013

Greens ............

I was very honoured to be in the spotlight this week at Fashionable Stamping Challenges for my little butterfly box - my first entry on this challenge site.  And so I really wanted to take part in the current challenge which is BIRDS, but .......... I have a complete lack of bird stamps!! So I have had to resort to a digital image as the centrepiece for my tag.

I am also trying to use GREENS alot more - one of my "resolves" this year.  Not sure I like this combination (Peeled Paint and Crushed Olive), but I need to learn to love them!

The flowers are made from thick handmade paper with the Donna Salazar itsy bitsy flowers die - which is never off my desk. 

Do hop over to the FSC blog as there are some wonderful DT pieces and some equally wonderful entries.

We are enjoying some lovely weather at the moment - very springlike! Blue skies, sunshine and no wind.  And a glorious sunset late afternoon - hopefully another one today.

Thanks for looking x

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Challenging Art Journal Pages


This week is the penultimate round of the Swirlydoos Design Team Challenge, and I am still in!   This week we are required to create art journal pages from scrapbook paper scraps, layering and clustering the papers and also using modelling mediums with templates or masks, creating white areas for writing and including a bit of doodling.

I am no stranger to creating journals for my holidays from all my scraps, so I decided to do some travel journal pages for my forthcoming trip to Rome in October.  I made four sets of two pages (6" x 7") with one page having tags and/or envelopes and clips for collecting things and the corresponding page room to write some notes.  

Then ........... when the pages were all stuck together and when I would normally stop, I sprayed each page with a selection of mists - Glimmer Mists, Dylusions (carefully!)and some home made mists from Reinkers.  I had some heart stopping moments, but I must admit they look soooo different (and I think a bit "arty") with the spraying.

Over the next couple of months I will make some more pages and when I come back from my trip I shall sew them back to back and create a small art journal.

I actually really enjoyed this but boy is it messy!  I now need to go and have a real clean up of my desk and I am not sure that the carpet will recover from the spray and gesso I dropped!!

Thanks for looking x

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lily Flower Tutorial

I have had a number of requests for a tutorial for the puffed lily flower I have made on my cards recently.

This post is a bit photo heavy, but hopefully explains the process.

I use this McGill flower petal punch and cut from ordinary patterned cardstock seven of the larger petals.  I try and use the punch in such a way that I get the two large petals as I find the smaller ones are a bit fiddly to work with.  Before I got the punch I used to cut a general leaf/petal shape and it worked just as well.

I spritz the petals with water (quite heavily) and then scrunch them up so that the creases are reasonably vertical.  I either leave them to dry overnight or blitz them after a bit with the heat gun, but they are always better when left to dry naturally.

Once dry I open them up with a bone folder, starting at the bottom and pulling the bone folder towards the top, but trying not to smooth out all the creases.

Then using Woodware Fluffy Stuff (see Woodware website HERE) I put it around the edges of the petal only.  You can also use Tulip Puffy Paint, but in the UK it is difficult to get  hold of in white - just about every other fluorescent colour is available though!

Then heat the edges with a heat gun and it will puff up, some puffs are larger than others.  These larger ones will deflate but for me that all seems to add to the charm!

A tip:  The fluffy stuff comes in a small bottle but the tip gets blocked very easily so I transfer mine to a smaller bottle which has a very good tip which I can clean easily.  (Sorry not a good photo!)

When you have got all seven petals "fluffed" you can then layer them around a small circle of paper.  I glue them with either Art Glitter or Glossy Accents - you need a good glue to stick all the layers together.

The centres need something in the middle to finish them, either a brad, or my favourite at the moment is a bit of hessian and a button.

And here is the card I put the flower on.  This was for the Swirlydoos February Round Robin Card Challenge - the twists were to use the colours blue, brown and white.

Another card ..........

They look great all in white too ..........

Looks like snow on leaves...........

And brilliant when added to a punched stamen flower - a little dot on the end makes it look quite a different thing altogether ..............

I hope this is a helpful tutorial and that you will have a go. The flower is quite large and a good centre piece for a card. 

I keep meaning to make a few in the colours of the lovely striped clematis which grow in my greenhouse and polytunnel for a scrapbook page.  It is these gorgeous flowers that inspired me to make a similar flower.

Oriental folding ...........

The current challenge at Artful Times is Oriental given the Chinese New Year.  I thought I would have to give this one a miss as a trawl through my stamps did not reveal much in the way of oriental.  I was most disappointed as I didn't manage to get my Time ATC finished in time for the last challenge.

But during my search I came across this small triangular book which has been sitting in the bottom of my "to finish" box for absolutely ages. 

It was made ages ago on two very wet days during the visit of a family member - the craft room is always a great place to entertain visitors!  We had a go at just about everything as she was new to it all - tea bag folding, iris folding, kimono origami, embossing, collage. 

All I needed to do was to stick some of it together and finish it off.  So here it is ........... thanks Von and Neet!

Do pop over to the Artful Times blog HERE as there are some great projects.

Thanks for visiting.

PS It is amazing how one moves on with new techniques and products - I have very few of these embellishments in my boxes these days!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Show some Love ..............

Well I just can't get away from the fact that this is February and most of the challenge sites are including hearts or love in the theme.  I've been making (very quickly!) a simple exploding box with a fascinating inner as I'm running a workshop in March for a larger scrapbook version and needed to catch up on my box skills! 

I decided the box would fit very nicely with the current Anything But a Card Challenge and also Challenge 40 at Fashionable Stamping (my first entry) - as both have chosen the theme show us some love ..... 

I used a sheet of Pion Design Papers and some scraps from the exploding box of scraps which sits (now) under my desk.

Some simple embossed stamping around the outside.

A collection of bits and pieces for the box top.

Again I decorated the inside with bits and pieces of scraps and a couple of die cut hearts covered in Distress Crackle Paint and some butterflies stamped and coloured with DIs and Perfect Pearls.

The butterflies are attached to some packaging plastic (I should have cut them a bit thinner!) and attached to the base.  They "bob" quite nicely when the box is opened and did raise a "ooooh" from my friend the other day.

Do pop over to the challenge sites

Anything But a Card and
Fashionable Stamping Challenges

as there are some fabulous DT entries including a fabulous "flowery skull" by Julia on ABAC - absolutely stunning and so different from the usual Valentines pieces.

Thank you for looking and have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Gesso, net curtains and scrim ..... whatever next!

First of all welcome to my new followers and many thanks to all of you who have visited and left comments this last couple of weeks. I really appreciate that you like my work - it really means an awful lot.

Amazingly I am still in the Swirlydoos Design Team Challenge (!), so this is Round Four.  The challenge was to create a canvas layering mediums and textures, paint and mists and also to create two embosssed embellishments using paint.  Lisa did a great tutorial HERE showing how the layers could be built up on the canvas.  This is all totally new to me!

Typically I had to look around for my own take on the supplies and a visit to our art shop (a couple of shelves in the wool shop!) only got me a 14" x 10" canvas, which was a bit big!
I had only the smallest amount of Claudine Hellmuth thick gesso left, so I used this with my diamond template, then using thinner art gesso I pasted flowers cut from old net curtains and some scrim onto the canvas.  I sprayed the canvas with some home made mists using Distress Ink Reinkers and some Perfect Pearls.  The colour wasn't very strong so it took alot of coats! 
Finally I made some mist with vintage photo and a little perfect pearls and that gave me the brown edge.  I dry brushed some gold acrylic paint around the edges just to give it a more tarnished look.  I do feel it looks a bit "dirty" in places! but with stronger coloured mists I might have got the colours looking a bit better.
Now the canvas is standing up on the dresser the gold is glinting and looks quite good, although it doesn't really show up in the photographs.
My two embellishments were cut from card (back of an old A4 notepad) and then embossed and covered with a layer of thin gesso.  I gradually added acrylic paint, gradually building up the colours, but spraying alot of water to get the paints in the crevices of the embossing. The paint didn't like it too much and separated a bit, but it all adds to the texture. I gave the pieces a final dry brush coating of gold acrylic paint.

This is how I started off, just building up the layers with watery acrylic paint.  I was very impressed with the finished look of these and will certainly be using this technique again.

Finally I did the bit I always enjoy, dressing the page.  This is a photograph of my Nana (on the right and her two sisters).  I printed it off in a sepia sort of colour and made the usual flowers and other bits and pieces. 
I love this torn edge look and have been waiting for a chance to have a go after seeing a layout by Heather Jacob.  It makes a nice frame for the photograph.
Thanks for looking - have a lovely day!