Thursday, 5 April 2018

In The Meadow ~ Stamps and Stencils~ New Challenge

Hi everybody! We've got a new challenge over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. Rachel is our talented host this month and she has come up with a super challenge that will help to shake away those winter blues!Rachel has called her challenge 'In the Meadow!' This is what Rachel has to say.........

'..........I want to see your interpretation of that theme which could involve lots of grasses, wildlife or whatever you think. Just make sure you use stamps, stencils or both in your project......'.

As an inner city dweller, I'm surrounded by houses and industrial developments, rather than meadows and fields. That's why it's always lovely to get away from it all and take a stroll in the countryside. My project is inspired by one of those wonderful meadows, you see in the height of summer, speckled with colourful wild flowers. I have, however, 'captured' it, and parceled it up into a little box, so that it can sit on my desk and remind me of  what is out there! This is how I got started......
I used a piece of Mixed Media paper and cut out the box template. There are plenty of templates for these folding box cards on the internet. The one I've used, measures around 21.5cm x 13cm. This makes a box which stands around 7.5cm high, with a width of  5cm. I sprayed the paper on both sides with Antique Linen Distress Spray. I spritzed the surface with water to create some drips and puddles, and then dried the paper with a heat tool. I stamped a border of grasses around the sides of the box using Distress Oxide ink pads.
I  used a text stamp on the box flaps and added a few stamped bees, essential for any wild flower meadow! To make the dimensional flowers, I coloured some pieces of Mixed Media paper with Distress Oxide Inks, and once dry, I used Tim Holtz Funky Florals, set 1 Thinlits Dies, and cut out lots of flowers and leaves. I assembled the flowers, and adhered them to  strips of  Mixed Media paper, which I glued to the inside of the box in three tiers.
To complete my wild flower meadow box, I added a little 'fairy', to tip toe through the flowers....
 So now I have my own portable wild flower meadow to remind me of the warm, summer days to come ! If you'd like to join in with this fabulous challenge, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link. You'll find some stunning projects by Rachel and the rest of the team, which I'm sure you'll find really inspiring. We'd love to see what you come up with, just remember to use some stamps or stencils or even both. I look forward to seeing you there ! x 
   

Friday, 9 March 2018

A Vintage Journey ~ Guest Designer Post ~ 'Treasure'

Hi everybody! Today, I'm absolutely delighted to be  making a guest appearance over on the 'A Vintage Journey' blog. Particularly as the team are celebrating their 4th birthday ! The very talented Brenda Brown is hosting their March challenge and she has chosen the theme of Treasure. I have to say that this was music to my ears! These are Brenda's thoughts on the challenge.....
Treasure can be described as wealth or riches we store or accumulate, a collection of valuable, interesting or useful things, bits and pieces we highly value, articles that we hang onto that we’ve bought or found and might never be able to purchase again. What is in your crafty or artsy treasure trove - those items we squirrel away to keep for something special? Maybe some elegant embellishments, that hoard of ephemera or memorabilia found in a junk shop, a tin of old buttons, rusty keys or diamant√© jewels, a paper pad you get out and stroke then put away again, some beautiful fabric or lace you can’t bear to part with.......
Like everybody out there, I have amassed a pretty extensive haul of crafty treasures. Some have been bought at considerable expense (but don't tell my DH), some have been gifted and some of my most favourite,are those that have been 'found'. My guest  project features some of these precious, found objects, as well as some of my treasured purchases.

Here's a picture of one of my little 'treasure chests' which houses, pieces of sea glass, rusty springs and general odds and sods. In here, there is flattened piece of tin can, which I spied on the car park of the place I used to work. It was there for some time before I picked it up and squirreled it away. I had to wait until I was leaving work on my own, as I'm sure my colleagues would have thought I was mad picking up bits of 'rubbish'..... I digress... On opening the tin I saw several things I wanted to use. I chose a metal, flying goose brooch, picked up in a charity shop, the bottom of a tin can I'd been rusting in my garden, a piece of green sea glass and a spiral  car spring. Strangely, I felt that these objects, just somehow, belonged together.  Initially I was going to mount them inside a small canvas but when the postman kindly delivered my package of Tim Holtz Vignette boxes I quickly changed my mind. I used the largest box in the set and gave the outside a coat of white gesso, before applying Deco Art Crackle Paste with a palette knife. Once it was dry and the crackles appeared, I applied several light washes of Cobalt Turquoise and Prussian Blue Deco Art Media Fluid Acrylics. I followed this with Andy Skinner's highly recommended, 'dirty wash'. This is basically a wash made with Quinacridone Gold, Panes Grey and a touch of Yellow Iron Oxide. Voila! instant vintaging. Here's a close up......
and here's the Vignette Box......
I cut some strips of paper from one of Mr Holtz's paper stacks, and adhered them to the insides. I used a piece of card for the back panel which I decorated with faux brick work. To achieve this look, I firstly painted the card with Paper Artsy Fresco finish paints, in a mixture of Buff, Terracota and  touch of Mudsplat. These colours are from one of Seth Apter's limited edition ranges. Once dry, I stamped over the surface with a texture stamp using black Archival ink.....
I then used a brick patterned embossing folder and ran the card through my Big Shot, taking care to ensure that the painted surface was uppermost in the card so that the brick pattern came out raised. I then carefully swiped over the surface with a clear Versa Mark Ink Pad and applied some of the new Seth Apter& Emerald Creek, Baked Texture embossing powder in Chunky Rust. After heating the surface, the powder worked it's magic and I was thrilled with the result.......
 I can see why there is so much interest in these new embossing powders! Once the background was finished, it was time to attach my treasures...... 
I tried a couple of different arrangements before deciding that there was really only one way to bring the pieces together. I wrapped some rusty wire around the sea glass and then attached everything, using my 'hot glue pen'. This is a recent acquisition, and seemed to work really well. Before I finally attached the assemblage inside the Vignette Box, I added some decorative elements. 
Firstly, I painted the edges of the box with, Fresco Finish paint in Snow Flake. When it was completely dry, I painted stripes with black gesso. Once this was dry, I applied more 'dirty wash'. Now, because I can't leave anything alone, when it had dried, I decided to make the stripes a bit narrower, so I went on top of the black paint with the Snow Flake, using a slightly thinner brush and followed up with another coat of 'dirty wash'. this toned the white paint down nicely. I wasn't able to get hold of the Tim Holtz Vignette Finial Set, so I improvised with some 'rusty' beads for feet and half of a 'rusted' MDF cog for a topper.
The final touch to my treasure box, was to add, little Dymo embossed title. Well it's been an absolute pleasure being a guest of the A Vintage Journey team. Many thanks to you all. I hope you'll find time to hop over to the AVJ blog, wish them a 'happy birthday' and do a little Treasure hunting of your own ! x


Thursday, 8 March 2018

Adventures with "Fabric" Paper.

Hi everybody! It's my turn to inspire you over on the Stamps and Stencils blog today. I've been having fun making 'fabric' from brown paper......
 I even got my sewing machine out and made this little pouch, to show just how amazingly versatile fabric paper can be...........
 If you'd like to know how I did it, make yourself a cuppa and hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link and you'll  find all the details. It would be lovely to see you there. x  

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Wax Lyrical ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge.

Hi everybody! It's time for a new challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. Sue is our talented host this month, and she has chosen a great topic, 'Wax Lyrical'. This is what she has to say.......

....... I have long been fascinated with the subject of Encaustic Artmelting wax to create many layers and trapping pieces of fibres and papers between the layers of melted wax just seems magical to me. So for this challenge I want to see some wax on your projects, whether it's just dribbled, melted and then stamped into or a wax embellishment as long as you include some stamping or stencilling the choice is yours !

 I love it when a challenge encourages me to explore something different, and that's exactly what Sue has done with this one. I've been interested in trying 'encaustic' art for a while now, but never seemed to get round to it. Sue's challenge was just the push I needed ! I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but needed to do a bit of research. I googled 'encaustic art and came upon an 'e zine' called Mixed Media Encaustics by Glenda Bailey.  There are some wonderful examples of her work as well as some really useful guidelines. This is how I got started.....
I used a wooden panel, measuring around  6"x 6" and gathered together a selection of papers in fairly neutral colours, to use as my background. I also had some pieces of white tissue to stamp on. I'm lucky enough to have a wax pot which I used to use for batik work.
 Once the beeswax had melted, I used a bristle paintbrush, to brush a layer of wax onto the wooden panel. I then started layering on the different papers, brushing more wax over the surface of each one. Glenda Bailey recommends  "every layer that you put on the collage must be "burned in"or heated and fused in to the layer underneath" . I used my heat tool for this step. Once I had my background all fused together, I applied my stamped tissue focal image, as well as the stamped, motivational words....
I used tissue paper to stamp on but next time I will have a go at stamping onto pieces of Kleenex type tissue as I think it would sink in with very little trace of any edges.
I also added a little Fimo butterfly charm I made sometime ago....
I also sprinkled a few pieces of gold leaf into the melted wax. Once the panel was finished and the wax had set, I gently buffed the surface with a soft cloth. This gives the surface a lovely sheen. The final step was to scrape off the drips of wax from the sides of the panel and paint them with black paint. I'm really quite pleased with the results of  my little dabble with 'encaustic art' and will certainly be having another go! 
Now, our challenge as Sue has said is to use wax somewhere on your project, It doesn't have to be all over and it can be any kind of wax,  such as candles or crayons. If you'd like to have ago, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog where you'll find plenty of inspiration from Sue and the rest of the team. We'd love to see your creations! until next time, happy crafting ! x

Thursday, 1 February 2018

Off To Collage ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hello everybody! It's time for a new challenge over at the Stamps and Stencils blog. Cec is our lovely host this month and she has chosen the title 'Off to Collage'. this is what Cec has to say.........

No I am not sending you to school but thought it might be fun this month to make a collage.  You can use any substrate such as canvas, corrugated cardboard, wood, or canvas boards for instance and add any items to it as long as you include some stamping and/or stenciling.

As usual with our challenges, I think you'll agree that there is plenty of scope for creativity here!
As we are officially in the month of romance, I've chosen to make 'vintage style' romantic project. This how I got started.......
The substrate is a laser cut wooden heart, which measures around 15cm x15cm.
I covered the heart with a layer of book paper using Matte medium to secure it....
I didn't bother cutting the paper to size, instead, I left it to dry and used a piece of sand paper around the edge, to remove the surplus paper. This works so much better than trying to trim it with scissors.
I then gave the surface a thin coat of gesso and once this was dry I added some stencilling with crackle paste, as well as some fabric flowers and pieces of scrim for added texture. I then gave it another coat of gesso.
To add colour to the background, I sprayed the heart with Vintage Photo Distress Spray. Now, this wasn't the best idea as I wanted to dry brush the surface and of course Distress Sprays are water based, which meant that when I tried dry brushing, the paint just reactivated the ink and didn't really give me the effect I wanted Doh!. So I decided to seal the surface with Deco Art Ultra Matte Varnish. This moved the colour around even more, which was quite helpful as it didn't require any more colour to be added.
This is the heart before I added the Ultra Matte Varnish. After leaving the heart to dry completely, this is absolutely necessary, I then proceeded to dry brush the surface using Deco Art Americana Chalk Paint, and a firm bristle brush. Once this was dry I added a little stamping , using a script stamp and brown Archival Ink. Here's a close up......
I then turned my attention to putting together a little collage to attach to the surface. I gathered together the elements I wanted to use and tried out a few different arrangements, before lightly adhering them together. I found that some of the colours were initially too bright for the background. For example, the red hearts of the playing card, jumped out far too much, to combat this, I gave some of the pieces a very thin coat of gesso. I also lightly sanded the birds, which added a further textural element. 
The birds are from a lovely pack of gorgeous snippets by Tim Holtz called Botanical Layers. I trimmed the background foliage a little, so that they look more balanced on top of the other collage elements. To finish off I added a sentiment from Tim's Small Talk Sticker Book. I then mounted the collage on the heart background, using dimensional tape. A metal rivet added to the hole and a piece of linen thread as a hanger, were the final touches. I'm sure I always say this but it's true, this was a fun project to put together! If you'd like to try your hand at a bit of collage, then why not join in with our Stamps and Stencils February challenge. Just hop over to the blog with this link  and you'll find all of the challenge guidelines, as well as seeing some fantastic, inspiring projects by the rest of the team. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. x

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