Thursday, 4 January 2018

On The Bright Side ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Happy New Year everybody! Welcome to my blog, where I am sharing a project for the first  Stamps and Stencils challenge of 2018, which you can find over on the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link. Ruth is our talented host this month and she has chosen a theme called  'On the Bright Side'. This is what Ruth has to say.....

.....It may still be winter but it's a brand New Year, the days will be soon getting longer, and pops of bright colours will soon start to appear in the garden. This month I'd like you to dazzle us by using lots of bright colours in your Spring themed creations ...and don't forget to use stamps or stencils.

I think you'll agree that this is a great challenge, to start off another fabulous year of creativity! My project consists of a collection of cards. I have a lot of spring birthdays to cater for so I thought I'd get a head start. Ruth's challenge also presented me with a great opportunity to have a little play with my new Jane Davenport 'Mermaid Pens'. If you haven't seen these pens before, they are like water brushes, filled with wonderfully bright coloured inks. To start off my card making session, I cut several squares of water colour paper, measuring 4 3/4". I then used the pens to brush on patches of colour.
I also had a go at a scribbly heart for one of the cards......
On a couple of the backgrounds, I brushed on some clear water and allowed the ink to run and drip. I also added a few spatters to another. I dried each background with a heat tool before stamping. I chose stamps that I thought could stand alone without needing any further embellishment. I used black Versafine ink and heat embossed the images with clear embossing powder. here are some close ups of the individual cards.......

I like the way the stamp overlaps the coloured area on this one


Although quite simple I like, the graphic quality of this potential valentines card,


Although unintentional, I noticed that the colours on this card, also formed a heart shape on this splattered card

This is one where I added water and allowed the colours to dribble.


Here's one using one of my favourite stamps, it's from a company called Katzelkraft, I've used it a lot for birthday cards of this type.


Another bold image, and finally a background that I embellished with a few strips of washi tape....


To finish off the cards, I mounted each background onto a piece of black card stock. I then adhered them to white card blanks. This gives them quite a smart, crisp, finish. I thoroughly enjoyed this first crafting session of the new year. If you'd like to shake off the winter blues and have a dabble with some bright colours then we'd love to see your work. Hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog, with this link, and you'll see Ruth's beautiful project as well as some fabulous inspiration from the rest of the design team. 

Before I go, I must apologise for not sending out the file folders which were won by, Hazel the winner of our Pastels challenge and  Mac Mable chosen at random from the comments left  on my blog post. I will be hopping over to you blogs and will send them out ASAP.   


Thursday, 7 December 2017

Festive Stamps AND Stencils ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge


Happy December everybody! Not long now until the big day and I'm way behind with my Christmas preparations! Luckily for me, Sue, our wonderful host for this month's challenge, over on the Stamps and Stencils blog, has asked us to make a project using 'Festive Stamps and Stencils'. This was an ideal opportunity to have a go at a little festive home decor. I bought this blank MDF word, last year and never got round to using it. Largely because I really didn't have any ideas of what to do with it. Fortunately, inspiration struck, when I found it lurking in my stash this year! This is how it came together......
This is the word blank before I coated it with gesso. Once the gesso was dry, I used a palette knife to apply a layer of Deco Art Media Modelling Paste. I then allowed it to dry, until the surface was just touch dry. I then stamped into it, using some rather ancient snowflake stamps......
 After more drying time, I then applied patches of Deco Art Crackle Medium, through a distressed circle stencil.......
After even more drying time, some lovely crackles developed, and I was ready to apply some colour. I decided to keep to a neutral palette, as I thought it would work well with the Tim Holtz Christmas Paper Dolls, which I have been dying to use! The surface, has a lot of texture, which is not so easy to see in the pictures. in order to bring it to life, I started to paint over it with Deco Art Media Fluid, in Burnt Umber. I applied the paint with a bristle brush, forcing it into the textures and then gently wiping it off the surface with a cloth.........
It's very important to dry the paint completely, before starting the next step, which was to dry brush the surface, with Deco Art Americana Chalky Finish Paint. dry brushing is a fabulous technique, once you get the hang of it. The key is to use a bristle brush with very little paint, and just lightly but rapidly, flick over the surface. Gradually building up very light layers, until the desired effect has been achieved......... 
Before I added the Paper Dolls, I adhered a light covering of Distress Glitter, to the top half of the word, and blended some Black Distress ink, lightly around the bottom edges of the letters, so that the little family would be 'grounded'. Unfortunately, I couldn't capture the gorgeous, glittery glints in my photos but believe me they look very pretty ! 
 I used Distress Markers to add a little hint of colour to some of the figures and popped a little die cut greenery behind them, before mounting them to the word with dimensional tape. I also added a piece of rusty wire, so that I can hang it up. I may explore the possibility of mounting it on a base, so that it can stand on my mantle piece. I really enjoyed making this project and am beginning to feel a little more festive. When it comes to Christmas, I'm always a late starter! If you need a little nudge to get your Christmas mojo working, why not join in with our challenge. Just hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog, with this link, and you'll find all the details as well as some fabulous, festive inspiration by the rest of the team. We'd love to see how you are using your festive Stamps AND Stencils.  

This month I am sharing my work with the following challenges...
Simon Says Monday Challenge where the theme is Icy Inspiration
A Vintage Journey where the theme is A Winter Wonderland



Thursday, 2 November 2017

Pastels ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi everybody! Wow November already, how did that happen !! The good thing is, the beginning of the month heralds a new challenge over on the Stamps and Stencils blog.  Cec is our talented host and she has challenged  us to use pastel colours. I have to say that this found me a little out of my comfort zone. My colour palette is usually bold or grungy, so this was a great opportunity for me to lighten up ! This is what Cec has to say about the challenge.....

We have been treated to a riot of bright, warm colour since the spring bulbs made their appearance and continuing throughout summer and fall so let's go in the opposite direction and make a project with soft, pastel colours.  Don't forget to include some stamping or stenciling or both in your creation.

My project is a Christmas Planner, made from an altered manila file folder. This is how I got started.......
I've hunted eveywhere in the UK for these manila file folders and have been unable to find them. In the end I sent for a box of them from the Bic warehouse in the USA. Ha ha! we crafters will go to any lengths to get hold of stuff! I gave the folder a coat of gesso, before I set too with some cheap acrylic paints, which I've had for ages. I applied the paint to both the front and back of the folder, with a brayer, drying each layer of colour with a heat tool. I used pale blue, light mossy green and pink, I also used a little white gesso to keep the colours nice and light.....


Using a hard rubber brayer to apply the paint, creates lots of nice texture. I continued to add paint until I was satisfied with the background. I then added some stencilling, with each of the colours, this added another subtle layer of texture. Before proceeding with the next layers of stenciling, I folded the file folder into it's 'booklet shape', so that I could position the  Christmas words and snow flake stencils. I used a slightly deeper shade of pink for the words, and Deco Art Chalk Finish paint for the snowflakes.......
I also gave the front cover a light spritz of Imagination Crafts , Silver Gilt spray. There are several tutorials on the internet, for making journals from file folders. The one I used can be found here
All that remained, was for me to adhere the sides of my file folder journal together. I sandwiched a piece of dyed ribbon in between the folded back pieces before gluing the side edge, and added a die cut label frame to the front. I also die cut 5 tags to go inside, I used a stencil to draw some lines across the tags, all now ready for my Christmas lists, lists, lists! 
Our Pastels Challenge is open for the whole month, so you have plenty of time to join in. Just hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link and you'll find all the details, as well as seeing the fantastic work by my brilliant teamies. As a little bonus, I've got two packages of 5 file folders one for the winner of our challenge and one for a lovely person, chosen at random, who leaves me a message about this post on my blog. Happy crafting! x 





Thursday, 5 October 2017

Autumn ~ 'The Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness' ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi everybody! It's my turn to host the challenge over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. I've chosen the theme of Autumn as I don't think we can let this beautiful season, pass us by without a celebration. There is a little catch, in that I'm asking you to play along by using a tag or tags as a substrate. If you hop over to the blog you'll find all the details of the challenge and have the opportunity to see the fabulous projects, created by our talented design team. I made my tag from a piece of corrugated cardboard. It measures around 25 x 12 cm which gave me plenty of room to play with. Here's how I started.......
I cut the tag shape with my guillotine, and  punched a hole in the top. I then glued a reinforcing circle, over the punched hole, this turned the humble piece of card into a bonafide tag. I tore off pieces of the top layer to reveal some areas of the corrugations and then, like many of my mixed media projects, I adhered torn pieces of book page, to the surface.
I then gave the tag a light coat of gesso and once dry, stenciled a flourish pattern on the smooth areas using modelling paste to add extra dimension.
Once this was dry, I had some fun applying paints and sprays to the surface. I used Paper Artsy Fresco Finish paints as they have a nice matte finish. After drying the paint with a heat tool, I sprayed on some Distress Spray colours  and then used my splatter brush to apply some gold acrylic paint.
The splatter brush is something of a revelation to me. I've had the brush for sometime and it wasn't till attending Tim Holtz's workshop the other week ( quick name drop there), that I learned how to use it properly. I'd been doing it all wrong! Here's a closeup.......
The next step was to cut out and colour some leaves and flowers. I used Tattered Florals and Tattered Leaves dies and also hand cut the fringed flowers. I coloured the leaves with a mixture of Distress Oxides and Distress Sprays, after they'd been cut. In order to make the fringed flowers, I coloured some strips of lightweight card, with Distress Sprays, dried with a heat tool, then made very close together 'snips' all the way along leaving  a border of about 1cm along the edge. I then used a quilling tool to  rolled the strip up tightly, with a touch of glue on the last couple of centimetres. I also die cut a clock face and gave it a rusty paint finish.
I attached all of the flower and leaf elements with a hot glue gun. This works for me as I find it holds dimensional embellishments in place instantly. I hope you've enjoyed this little walk through the making of my Autumn tag. If you'd like to join in with our challenge and have a little autumnal fun, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link, and feast your eyes on the inspiration you'll find there. Happy Crafting ! x    




Tuesday, 12 September 2017

AALL and Create ITAC 17 ~ Challenge 4 ~ Africa

Hi everybody! I'm a bit late to the table but I've been wanting  to join in with the AALL and Create ITAC challenge. ITAC stands for 'the International Tournament of Art and Craft'. This has been running since August and features the work a highly prestigious group of artists. You can see all of the details, by following this link. Challenge 4 is 'Africa' My father was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria before coming to the UK,  where he met and married my mum. I never got to meet my dad's mother, but I share her name and some of her features. My canvas is an expression of these connections.
I started  off by covering a shop bought canvas with a piece of hessian wallpaper. I just wrapped it around and stapled it to the wooded frame. I then gave it a quick coat of gesso. I used Deco Art paints to colour  a piece of rice paper, using warm colours. Once dry I stamped over the surface, using black Archival ink and a set of 'Adinkra' symbol stamps, which I bought, when I was lucky enough to visit New York.....
The Adinkra symbols are specific to the Asante  people of  Ghana. They were initially used to pattern ceremonial cloth, but are now used in many other decorative ways. My son even has a small tattoo on his wrist, of one of the symbols! I tore the rice paper into strips and collaged it over the surface of the canvas, adhering with Matte Medium......
I then scraped some white gesso onto the canvas concentrating more on the area I was going to use to transfer an image of my grandmother. To make the photo transfer, I used my inkjet printer to copy a photograph of my grandmother. Here is the original picture.......
I love this. She has such a serene expression. I copied the picture a couple of times, enlarging it until I got to the size I needed for my canvas. I then trimmed the copy, and painted over the surface with Deco Art, Deco-Page Medium, I also painted the medium onto the canvas. I then placed the picture face down and gently smoothed out any air bubbles, Once I was sure that the picture was adhered to the canvas, but was not completely dry, I placed the canvas on a flat surface and burnished the back with a spoon. I left it to dry completely and then started to remove the paper, by wetting it and gently rubbing it away with my fingers. I did this quite cautiously, as I didn't want to rub away, any of her lovely features.......
I then used one of my hand carved stamps to add  more detail into the background. I also did some scribbley journalling with a black pen......
To finish off, I added a little tinting to to my grandmother's image, before giving the whole canvas a wash with quinacridone gold mixed with a touch of yellow ochre and paynes grey. I also blended  Archival black ink around the edges. I had originally thought that I would add some beads and cowrie shells, but when I had a second look, I decided that it was finished. I'm very happy that the AALL and Create, ITAC 17, has prompted me to make this piece of art, that has enabled me to honour my grandmother and celebrate my Nigerian heritage. x 


  


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Metallics ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi everybody! It's time for a new challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. This month, Rachel is our fabulous host and for her challenge, she has chosen 'Metallics'.  This is what Rachel has to say...
 ......" I would like you to make a piece involving metallics in some way- It could be metallic paints, rusted metal techniques, actual bits of metal, metal foil.....the possibilities are endless-also please use stamps and/or stencils, Have fun!
Now, excuse me but  is there anyone out there that does not  love a bit of 'metal' faux or otherwise, in their crafting ? So thank you Rachel this challenge certainly hits the spot!
The project I have for you today, is a little canvas. It was inspired by a couple of feathers I found in my garden, I wanted to see whether they would stand up to being painted and guess what?  they did !
I prepared the canvas by firstly collaging, torn book pages to the surface...
I used Deco Art Matte Medium and gave the surface a quick coat of gesso. In order to add some surface texture, I applied pieces of muslin fabric and lace, again using Matte Medium.....
Once this layer was dry, I added some dimensional stenciling to the edges, using Modelling Paste and and one of my favourite harlequin patterned stencils. More drying time, followed by a little Antique Linen Distress spray to the surface allowing it to pool and dribble.....
This really helped to define all the lovely textures. By this point, I had already painted the feathers with Imagination Crafts, Starlight Paint and they were wonderfully metallised.  I really, really love these paints, Here's a close up....
Before assembling the different metallic elements to the canvas, I typed out the little verse onto a piece of deli paper, using a wonderful junk shop find, portable typewriter. Oh my ! Typing is not quite as easy as using a keyboard, I kept making silly mistakes and had to start again about three times! When I had my final, error free verse, I tore it out and adhered it to the canvas with Matte Medium. I then Stamped the word 'Hope' onto a small brass off cut. I used a hammer and a set of metal stamps I've had for ages. I also used an awl to poke a couple of holes in the metal so that I could attach it to the canvas with a couple of brads.....
I added a swirl of tarnished copper wire around the brass tag. I secured it, by poking the ends through the canvas and twisting them on the back. I then attached the feathers with super strong double sided tape. Once all of the elements were secured, I added a little Treasure Gold to the edges of the canvas, applying it with my finger. I also added a few spatters of gold ink here and there.....
I'm so glad I salvaged the feathers as I think they fit really well with the beautiful poem, which I love "Hope" is the thing with feathers- by Emily Dickinson. I feel inspired to read more of her poems, maybe they'll trigger some more art work! Speaking of which....... We would love to see what you make of our September challenge, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog, where You'll find Rachel's fabulous project, as well as  some wonderfully inspiring projects by the rest of this fab DT. You'll also find our few simple rules, make it mixed media and use stamps, or stencils or both in your project...... come on..... you know you want to ! x


Monday, 21 August 2017

#Trash to Treasure ~ Vintage Photo Album

Hi everybody! I have a 'vintage' photo album for you today, made with the Eileen Hull Passport Book Die. This project is inspired by an old photo album I bought a while ago, from a fabulous local antique shop called 'The Dog House'. It looks pretty unassuming from the outside, but on opening it up, I discovered a real hoard of 'found ancestors' here's a sample.......
If you have seen some of my past projects, you may know that I'm a big fan of using recycled materials, with tomato paste tubes being perhaps my most favourite. I've got quite a stash of them now, so I thought I'd better get down to using some of them ! Once an empty tube has been cut open, washed and flattened out, it is the perfect size to die cut a single cover, using the Passport Die. You therefore, need two tubes to make a front and back cover. They also emboss superbly!
The next step, was to give the covers a vintage look, by using Finnabair's rust paint kit.......
It really sticks well to the metal surface. Once the paint was dry, I sanded it back slightly and scraped a few parts so that the metal showed through. I then gave the  covers a coat of Decoart Quinacridone Gold. This imparts a real warmth to the colours and also adds a slight sheen. In order to make the covers firm enough, I adhered each of the embossed  and rusted panels to a corresponding mount board die cut.
I then used a die to cut out a rectangle, in the front cover.......
It was now time to start on the inside. The book has three 'signatures' composed of Kraft card. I die cut six sets of pages, and adhered patterned paper to one side. I also die cut each set of pages with a rectangle on one side and an oval on the other........
Each signature requires two of these placed back to back, so that the photographs are sandwiched between them. Before putting the photographs in.........
 I also adhered a piece of velvet to some Kraft card, allowed it to dry and then die cut the 'spine' of the Passport Book. this makes the album look quite luxurious and provides a nice contrast to the rusty metal covers........
 I was lucky enough to have a mini photo printer for my birthday. Its made by Fuji. and works wirelessly from a phone or ipad. It prints mini sized pictures, which happen fit perfectly behind the rectangles and oval die cuts on my pages. This was a real bonus as it meant that I didn't have to mess around cutting the pictures to fit. I used my phone to photograph some of my favourite old family photos and printed them out. In order to pay homage to my original inspiration I also photographed one of the photos from the album and used her on my front cover. Before adhering the photos, I glued a piece of mica behind each of the 'windows' This adds a real 'vintage' glow to my modern reprints.
Then each page was glued back to back to another page, so that a photo is visible on each side. I used bulldog clips to ensure that all of of the edges were properly adhered. I pierced a hole in the back cover, near to the side edge and threaded a loop of elastic through. I tied a knot to secure it. I also secured a vintage button to the front cover, in a similar way but used linen thread instead of elastic. I then covered the inside with patterned paper. I attached each signature, with narrow gold ribbon.......
To finish off, I added a die cut envelope inside the front cover, and blended a little Brushed Corduroy Distress ink around the edges of the pages. The book is wonderfully tactile, using the metal tubes means that it is quite cool to the touch and nice to hold. Apart from the one on the front cover, the photos I've used are of my grandparents, great grandparents and my mum and dad. It's really nice to get them all together in this little family album. x