Monday, 26 January 2015

A card and a day out

Good morning friends.
I hope that you are well. This morning, over on The Craft Barn Blog HERE I am sharing a card made using Lavinia Stamps which has been this weeks theme there. There are full step by step photos and details there so I won't go through the details here, but this is the finished card to whet your appetite......

Other than that I didn't have any crafting time last week as I was working lates and earlys so was too tired to do much. Hopefully this week will be a little better (though not much I think)
Still, yesterday both Susan and I had had enough and were determined to carve out some time together so we popped on down to Hastings for the day.
It was good to spend a little time by the sea and we mooched around the junk shops and generally just had a lovely relaxing time.


 I love this photo, this is an amazing interiors shop which this time the window was set up as an artist studio. I love the wall paper and also the reflection of the buildings across the road give a great effect to the image.
 This shop is also full of character; inside it fells more like a museum than a shop, it is really cool.

 This sculpture, perched high up is really fun.

 Having a lunch break - if you are in Hastings and are hungry I can recommend Pomegranate, the food was amazing, fresh, flavoursome and reasonably priced. We will definitely be going back there.
 Ending the day on the beach
 I couldn't resist trying to get some "arty" shots of the cool textures and colours of the machinery on the beach.


All in al, it was a fab day, relaxing and creatively stimulating. Just what the doctor ordered.
Have a good day folks.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Workshop in March - The Artistic Stamper

Morning guys
On Saturday 7 March I'll be at The Artistic Stamper for a bookmaking workshop. We'll be creating an art journal/sketchbook with one of my bookcover kits and my stamps, using Decoart Paints and mediums too. Painty paws expected....
So, if you've ever wondered how to construct and sew up a book this is the workshop for you.
From sewing the pages, creating decorative endpapers, decorating the covers with paints and pastes to putting it all together by the end of the day you will have created your book from start to finish.....
Here are some photos to whet your appetite and you can find more details HERE.  I'd love to see you there.
You will also receive one of my stamps free as part of the workshop!





Hope to see you there.......

Sunday, 18 January 2015

New Year new challenge over at The Craft Barn

Good afternoon folks.
Though things went a little bit haywire technically over at The Craft Barn blog I am excited to tell you that the popular annual challenge has now launched over at The Craft Barn Blog HERE and more details about the whole challenge can be found HERE.

This year is a challenge in 2 parts. The annual part is a calender challenge where each month you will create a part or a page of a calender for 2016. We give you the colour and an object and these have to form part of your entry.
The other part you can dip into or out of as you wish and will be based on the themes we have been using. But check out the links for all the info and prize details.

So, what I thought is that here on my blog I'll give you the details of my offering for the month and hopefully inspire you to play along.
For my calender I decided that I would create an image each month using the Tando Creative Media boards and build them up over the year.
January's colour is Aqua and the object is Snowflakes and this is my offering.

 Each board will be placed on this 12 x 12 board to build up an eclectic patchwork over the year around the actual calender which I can change each year until I get bored LOL.
 I wanted a slightly more quirky feel so the background is shades of aqua and my snowflakes are made up of Embossed Aged Ivory Frantage powder and Stickles (not that it is very clear on the photo)
This is how it all came together.
I covered the board with DecoArt Faux Finishing Medium and laid crumpled tissue down. When it was dry I trimmed it around the edge and stamped Lindsay Mason's Robot in Archival and dried it with a heat gun. (This dries it quickly and minimises the chance of the ink bleeding out and blurring the edges of the image)

I painted the background in shades of Aqua using DecoArt Americana. You can see I painted over some of the stamped details (making it easier for me, because I'm lazy LOL)

When the background had dried I drybrushed some white paint over to bring out the texture of the background.
 Out came the Distress Markers to add some tints of colour to the image.
 I then sprinkled some of the Ivory Frantage powder over and carefully heated with a heat gun to melt it. You have to hold the heat pretty far away to avoid sending it flying, then move closer as it begins to melt. When that had done I diluted some white paint with a bit of water and splattered it randomly across everything. Then, to finish I added blobs of  Stardust Stickles and some White Ranger Enamel accents and left to dry.

 Once everything had dried I used Jet Black Archival ink to colour the edges  and there you go; January is complete.
All products used are available from The Craft Barn.
Hope you all have a good evening and are inspired to take part!


Friday, 16 January 2015

Some projects take longer.......

Hi there folks.
I trust that this finds you well and managing to carve out some creative time for yourself.
Sometimes, well most times, if I'm honest, I put off starting a bigger project because I know I won't always have uninterrupted time to finish it. (Especially more so now as I am back to working full time!) However, since this is the beginning of  new year I thought I would make a fresh start and challenge myself to just begin, encouraged by the lovely folk over at The Inspiration Emporium where the January Challenge is just that; a fresh start. So this is my entry. (You can find the details HERE if you would like to join in)
So, may I introduce you to "The Book Binder's Tool Case" (part one)

 There are so many different techniques and layers I won't go into all the how to do it stuff  but if you have any specific questions do feel free to email me and I'll do my best to remember!) The base unit came from the MDF Man and is about 12 x 12 (slightly larger perhaps) I added some texture paint and added a few dozen layers of DecoArt paint to it to get to the colours and feel I wanted.
As the unit was open and I wanted to conceal the inside I cut a piece of card to size and created a metal patchwork using the Ranger metal foil and Tim's technique and stapled it in place to secure.
To keep it closed I added the clasp too.
 Onto the base I added additional cogs from That Craft Place and Calico Crafts. These cogs have been coloured and worked with Tim Holtz Distress Embossing Powders before attaching to the cupboard using hot glue and mini cotton reels to allow them to stand out at various depths. The Idea - ology chain is loose so can move but the gears keep it in place.
 To the top I added these original Printers blocks to spell ART (My favourite 3 letter word)
 This element is something I love. The background texture is amazing (Andy Skinner kind of discovered it first so all credit to him and his "book of ruination"; I worked it out a little later LOL) The Utee element in the frame is something I learned at Ranger. I curved and glued it in place with hot glue.

 Inside is not finished yet. I'll be sure to share it when I have though! The inside of the door is finished though.

 Some of you my recognise the central canvas element from last year. I added some Iron gate dies and metal corners to the canvas and it all fit beautifully onto the inside back.

 The bird is cut from copper sheeting. The driftwood from the beach and the flowers are Sizzix 3d flowers.

I just love the colours and these Frameworks dies are brilliant.
The next stage/plan I have is to create a co-ordinated interior to house all the basic things I need and use when I make my books and journals so I'll keep you posted.....


Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Another batch of flowers.

Good morning.
As promised yesterday here is part 2 of my flower making practice using the Marion Smith Bloom Impressions tool.
(Part 1 is HERE in case you missed it)
This time, I was looking at using the tool but not the dies. My "weapon" of choice for this batch of flowers was a large Funky Heart Punch from Woodware.
These are the finished flowers.


Very different to the previous batch but fun and funky aren't they?
This is how I made them......
I began by punching the hearts out of a sheet of Tim Holtz's Motif Cardstock which has a lovely embossed pattern that is revealed when you add colour.
The piece I had used came from a piece I had used previously but then decided I didn't like the finished layout (because I messed it up right at the end so chose to redo it with another piece of card.) Rather than bin it I decided to use it for this because I am still practicing LOL
 So, here you can see I have punched and pressed all the shapes. The thing to note with this is that because I wanted to use the "opposite" side of the curve it was important to press them with the embossed side facing down.
 Time for the glue gun again. You can see some colour is already on the petals. A blob of glue on the mat and 8 petals make up a single flower.
 The end result is 7 large daisy type flowers, all nicely shape thanks to the tool. Pretty messy with random splashes of colour on some, bits of tape on others and no real definition of the embossing... out came the Distress inks and foam (I used Stormy Sky, Wild Honey, Seedless Preserves, Mustard Seed and Peacock Feathers) to ink up and add mixes of colour to really highlight the dots and brighten things up.

I think they turned out pretty cool and funky.

I added a selection of buttons to the centres to finish and job done.

I enjoyed making these. What do you think?


Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Practicing making flowers (Long post, lots of pics!)

Good morning everyone.
Towards the end of last year I bought myself the Marion Smith Bloom Impressions Tool and the Peony Petals Die from The Craft Barn. I enjoy making flowers and they are a versatile addition to a craft project. They also make great gifts for a crafter or scrapbooker.
Over the weekend and last night I had some time to practice so thought I'd share the process with you. I say practice because if there is one thing I have learned; it is that when you watch a video demonstration of a tool and see the fabulous results achieved and decide to invest in the tools. I can guarantee that most times you will be really disappointed in the results! It looks so easy in a video but what we forget is that that person is very experienced in using the tools and we are not. We have to begin at the beginning.....
So, here is the first batch of flowers made with the tool and Peony die (Looking very little like the flowers I saw in the video LOL)



Still, they do look like flowers and overall I think they are pretty usable.....
Here is my process and thoughts along the way

 First step, die cut loads of petals. Because these were in reality my first attempt I chose not to use my favourite papers just in case it all went wrong but chose a bunch of random paper that was nice enough if it worked out.
 Once you have your petals you need the tool and a spray bottle of water and this is where the fun (or frustration) begins......
 You need to wet the petal, place over the hollow side of the tool as seen.
 push the top piece in place, give a twist and remove and take out your beautifully pressed and shaped petal and put to one side before repeating the process with the rest.
 Leaving you with a pile of lovely petals which you set aside to dry.
Now, what they don't tell you in the video is that if you have too much water on the petal when you take it out and lay it down it has a tendency to flatten out again. That is of course assuming that, with the pressure you use to twist the tool you don't rip your moist petal into shreds! So; you need to get a feel for how much water you need and how hard you need to press and that will vary according to the kind of card/paper you use. It will also only happen with practice LOL So persevere..... and in the end you should have a pile of usable petals.
 For me, I tried assembling with glue dots but in the end found that hot glue and a craft mat worked best.
 Squeeze a blob of glue onto the mat and add the petals as seen, working fairly quickly so the glue doesn't set.
 The end result of the flower is this. There are 3 different size petals and I did each one as above keeping them separate.
 When they were cooled I took them off the mat and used more glue to layer them inside each other to build up the flower.
 You can see the finished flowers on this pic. I was not overly happy with them so decided to add some Distress ink to age and distress them.
 I decided to work fairly roughly to really get the ink coverage so working in a circular motion with a fair bit of pressure I let rip.
You can see what a difference it made. The bottom one had not been done yet.

To finish the flowers I added buttons from the Madame Payroud collection. which suited the colours.
There you have it, my first lot of flowers with the tool.
What do you think?
So, of you've looked at the tool and wondered if it is something you would find useful; perhaps this has given you more to think about. What I will say is that I think that shaping your petals makes all the difference to the finished flower and this tool (once you've got the hang of it) does help tremendously with that; so for me, it has been a worthwhile investment. Though I definitely need more practice!
(As this has turned into a mammoth post, I'll be back later this week to share the results of practice round 2; using the tool and a punched shape to create something totally different.)