Thursday, 2 February 2017

Texture,Crackle and Paint ~ February Challenge ~ Stamps and Stencils

Hi everybody! It's time for another challenge over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. Rachel is our talented host this month, and she has chosen a fabulous topic, Texture, Crackle and Paint. Thanks Rachel! This is just my cup of tea ! If you'd like to join in with this fun challenge, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link, where  you'll find all of the details, as well as the opportunity to see the fabulous makes by Rachel and the rest of our talented design team.

 My project is a square canvas assemblage, with lots of texture, crackle and paint so I hope it meets with Rachel's approval!
 I worked on the 'wrong' side of the canvas, firstly covering the frame with old book pages. This creates a nice surface for painting on. I then applied a coat of white gesso, followed by a coat of Deco Art Media Fluid in burnt umber. I left this to dry and then coated the surface with Deco Art Weathered Wood Crackle Medium. Once this was dry, I covered the frame with  Distress Paint, using a mix of Antique Linen, Pumice Stone and Crushed Olive. 
Once the cracks started to appear and the paint was completely dry, I blended  'Potting Soil' Archival Ink, around the edges.
I then prepared a background to fit inside the frame. To add texture, I used a technique Andy Skinner taught, on his Wanderlust 2016 class. It involves stamping into modelling paste and then painting and dry brushing the surface. I used Tim Holtz's Ledger Script stamp and Deco Art Media Acrylics, before finally dry brushing the surface with gold interference paint.
The first part of the assemblage is a Tando clock face, which I painted with Finnabair's Rust Paste.
I attached this to the background with a hot glue gun. The hand in the centre, is made of air drying clay. I made the mould myself, after fashioning a hand from plasticene, and casting it in plaster of paris.
After sealing the surface of the clay with gesso, I used Andy's 'Mega Crackle' technique on the hand and added a typed phrase from the Simply Red song 'holding back the years'.......hmmm, thoughts on my fairly recent retirement !
The wings behind the hand, are made from one of my favourite recycled materials, tomato paste tubes. 
I used a die to cut a pair of wings, and then lightly sanded the surface, before colouring them with alcohol inks. I then stamped them with a crackle pattern stamp and black Archival Ink. 
 I arranged all the pieces and adhered everything, with a hot glue gun. 
The metal and glass circle, is actually a little screw top lid. The finishing touches, were to add some stamped text and four faux bolt heads, to the corners of the frame. I linked these together with a length of rusty wire and Voila! my canvas was done ! I really love these assemblage type projects and have decided to work on a couple more, in order to create a series so that I can use some of my other cast pieces......
 watch this space ! I'm looking forward to seeing your projects on our Stamps and Stencils challenge blog.  Just remember to include some stamping or stenciling or even both.x 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Upcycle Your Packaging


Hi everybody! It's to my turn to inspire you over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. If you'd like to see how I made this look like.......


 this.......
then, make a cup of tea and hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link and I'll walk you through the process step by step. x

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Swirls, Whirls and Flourishes ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Happy New Year everybody! It's the first Thursday of the month and that means it's time for a new challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. Our very talented design team member, Ruth, has the honour of launching the first challenge of the year and I'm sure you'll agree that it's a great one, with lots of creative scope.The subject Ruth has chosen is 'Swirls, Whirls and Flourishes'. You can see Ruth's fabulous work, as well as some gorgeous projects by the rest of the design team, if you hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link . I've created this little book, inspired by Kate Crane and using Eileen Hull's Passport Book Die. I was fortunate enough to attend one of Kate's workshops last year, and she showed us how to blend paint onto a substrate and then build up layers of stenciling, stamping and doodling. It was great fun and making this little book, was like having a second bite of the cherry.
Here are the painted book covers. I used Deco Art Media paints with White Tinting Base, to blend the colours together. I then added a layer of stencilling........
Followed by some stamping, using one of Kate Crane's custom made stamps, as well as some bottle tops and swirly stamps from my stash.
I added a bit of doodling with a white pen, some brush strokes and finally a few strips of Washi tape.
I used one of my Gelli prints, to decorate the inside of the covers, and added some decorative papers to wrap around each of the three signatures.....
Eileen Hull's Passport Book die, is a pretty ingenious invention. It is very easy to put together and although I've used only three signatures, there's plenty of room to add more. I added a few beads to cord I used to bind the middle signature and finished the book off with a stamped quote from Donna Downey..........
 'Do what makes you happy', I think that is very appropriate as we start a new year ! It would make me very happy if you hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog and join in the fun, with our first challenge of the year. We'd love to see your Swirls, Whirls and Flourishes, and as long as you use some stamping or stenciling or even both, anything goes! x

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Twelve Tags of 2016 ~ Technique Re-Mix~ Final Tag !

Hip, hip, hooray! I've made it to the end of Tim's Twelve Tags Re-Mix Challenge. Once again, it's been a fabulous, fun year of creative challenges, set by Tim Holtz. You can see his lovely tag with this link. The Technique Re-Mix challenge, has provided a great opportunity to re-visit some of Tim's superb techniques, from times gone by. For the final tag of 2016, Tim has mixed it up with Shadow Press from May 2014 and Burlap and Punches, from 2015. I haven't acquired any of the leaf punches (yet!) so I have used a die cut instead, That's the great thing about Tim's challenges, you don't have to have everything, you just get down and use what you've got. So thank you Tim for another great year of tag making, as well as the opportunity to read your blog and follow your creative adventures, with Mario, Paula, Chelle and the rest of your talented friends. Hope to share more of your adventures in 2017. Happy New Year everybody ! x

Friday, 23 December 2016

Winter Magic ~ Guest Design Post for A Vintage Journey


I am absolutely delighted to have been asked to be a guest, over on the blog,'A Vintage Journey'. It's truly an honour to be featuring alongside such a talented team. This year, I have had the great fortune to have attended workshops by Kate Crane, Andy Skinner, Mark Gould, Finnabair, and AVJ's very own, and wonderfully talented, Brenda Brown. I've tried to bring a little of what I have learnt, from each of these artist's, into my work for this guest designer spot.The host for this challenge is the lovely Deb, and she has chosen  'Winter Magic'. I love the theme and was inspired to create a project featuring lots of frosty colours, textures and of course a touch of sparkle. This is how I got started.....
I started off by adhering strips of torn fabric and pieces of lace, to the frame of a reversed canvas. I then put this to one side, and worked on a separate piece of board, as it is much easier to use stencils I on a flat surface, rather than to try and manipulate them inside a frame.
I used Andy Skinner's 'mega crackle' technique, to create the background, and stenciled the tree branches over the top using Crackle Paste. Once the stenciling was complete, I was able to place the board inside the frame, before continuing.
I then gave all my embellishments a coat of white gesso, before arranging them inside the frame. Coating them with gesso gives uniformity and for me, this made it easier to get a sense of whether the arrangement worked before attaching them permanently. 
I used a hot glue gun to adhere the embellishments and sprayed it in patches, with diluted cosmic shimmer. I then proceeded to dry brush everything with white gesso. It took several layers to lighten the surface, drying each one before adding the next.
To finish off my frosty canvas, I added a trail of holographic glitter, a few gems and a crown for my wintery angel.....
It's been an absolute pleasure to make this project for A Vintage Journey. I must say it rounds off what has been a lovely year of crafting. Many thanks to all of the team over at 'A Vintage Journey' and a big  thank you to all of my lovely followers and all of the people who have taken time to leave me such uplifting comments. May I wish you all, a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year !x

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Christmas Wishes ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge.


Hi everybody, It's my turn to host our new challenge over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. I've called it 'Christmas Wishes'. Whether it's cards, decorations, giftwrap or gifts, I'd like to see what you've been making, that is as long as it includes some stamping, stenciling or both. I've put into practice a few things I've learned over the last couple of weeks at workshops with The Ministry of Mixology team, and Finnabair, and created this Christmas wreath. I started off with a greyboard circle and covered it with crumpled tissue paper, as taught by Mark Gould.....
I then painted it with  Decoart Pthalo Blue Media Paint and dry brushed the surface with white gesso....
I then attached a selection of embellishments, including one of Tim Holtz's cute little reindeer heads, using extra heavy body gel. I then sprayed the surface with Cosmic Shimmer mists......
This is a technique we used on Finn's workshop. Once the cosmic shimmer was dry, I dry brushed the surface with gesso.....
This is how it looked after the first coat. I continued to build up layers of gesso, dry brushing and drying between each coat.
I found that the Cosmic Shimmer was very strong and kept coming through the gesso. After several coats, I decided to put on a coat of matte varnish in order to seal the surface. This worked well and I was then able to achieve the effect I'd envisaged. Once this was dry, I added some additional pearls and gems and finished with a dusting of glitter. Here are some close up shots.......
and.....

and finally that cute little deer......
I hope you can find a few spare moments to join in with our challenge. You can hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link, where you'll find the challenge details and see some fabulous projects from the rest of  our very talented team. x 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Twelve Tags of 2016 Re-Mix Challenge~November.

Hi everybody! It's the last day of Tim Holtz's Twelve Tags of 2016 Re-Mix Challenge and true to form I am posting my November tag. This month, Tim has remixed 'Rub Resist' and 'Dimensional Colouring'. You can see Tim's fabulous Autumnal tag here with this link. I've followed Tim's instructions quite closely on this one and substituted a different stamped image and word cut out. only one more tag to go and that signals the end of yet another fantastic year of creating along with Tim. Thank you Mr Holtz ! x 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Bags, Tags and Boxes ~ New Challenge for Stamps and Stencils

Hi everybody ! It's time for a new challenge over at the Stamps and Stencils blog. Cec is our very talented host this month and she has chosen the title Tags, Bags and Boxes. This is what Cec has to say.....

With Christmas coming up and the gift buying underway, we are going to need something to wrap them in.  Let's make some mixed media tags, bags & boxes that will be as treasured by the recipient as the gift itself.  Don't forget to include some stamping or stenciling.

I've made these little fabric gift bags and decorated them using a stamped and coloured transfer. I love this medium for decorating fabric with stamped images, as the image stays nice and sharp. I aleady had a few pieces of leftover calico cloth, so I decided to make the little bags before decorating them. On reflection, I think it would be easier to buy some bags as they were quite fiddlesome to make. The transfer printing process was much more fun ! This is how I did it......
I firstly die cut some circles from a sheet of Tee Shirt Transfer paper, I bought mine from Asda....
I used the largest circle punch I have, I found that the first circle didn't cut as cleanly as I had wanted. To resolve this issue, I used a thin piece of card placed on top of the transfer paper before punching out the other circles. Those big punches do not cut well through thin papers. Punching through the card and transfer paper together worked much better.
I then used distress colours with a blending tool, over the surface before stamping the images with black Archival Ink. I then left them for a few minutes to dry, as you cannot use a heat tool or the surface will melt.
In order to create a firm surface for ironing on the transfer, I slotted a cork coaster inside each bag before pressing. I was really pleased with the results, here are some close ups......


I threaded some dyed seam binding through each of the bags, and added a simply stamped label and a little 'rusty' jingle bell. I think these little bags would be excellent stuffed with some crafty goodies! Many thanks to Cec for setting this challenge, it means that I have finally made a start on Christmas! If you fancy a little crafting and it doesn't have to be Christmassy, we would love to see your tags, bags or boxes over on our Stamps and Stencils blog. Click on this link and you will find all the challenge details as well as seeing some brilliant work by Cec and the rest of the design team. Hope to see you there ! x

Monday, 31 October 2016

Twelve Tags 2016 Re Mix Challenge~ October 2016

Happy Halloween! Here I am posting my tag for Tim Holtz's Twelve Tags Technique Re-Mix Challenge, very close to the 'dead' line! I seem to have some gremlins operating here. Firstly my laptop has taken about 2 hours to update and re-configure itself, Grrrrr! and then my post which was about half way done, disappeared and could not be retrieved, double Grrrr! Still, I will not be defeated, (pressing 'save' as I write) Now about this tag, once again Tim has used two fabulous techniques, Patchwork Collage, and Sizzix Monster. There's a little twist with the Patchwork Collage as Tim has used Distress Collage Crazing Medium. This creates very fine crackles on the surface, which are made more visible when Distress Crayon is rubbed in. I haven't got any of the monster dies,so I've improvised with a skull I cut on my electronic cutting machine.
Here's a close up, the crackles are just visible around the edges, I might use a slightly thicker application next time. By the way, that's paper from Tim's Laboratory Paper Stack with a spider web print, not crazing from the Collage Medium ha ha! You can also see the Tiny Attacher staples I've used, that I firstly coloured with Alcohol Ink.
I got a bit carried away with the red staples and used them to follow Tim's idea, by adding an extra piece to the top of my skull. Once again, a great fun tag to make and thank you Tim, for picking my September tag as one of your winners. It's such a great thrill when you see your name on the list ! x

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Elements of Nature ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge.


Hi everybody! Its the first Thursday of the month and that means it's time for another challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. Autumn is our fabulous host and she has chosen 'Elements of Nature' as her theme. This is what Autumn has to say........

Whether you are inspired by the glorious world around us with the changing seasons, or tempted to use elements of nature in your art work, this month we'd love to see your nature inspired entries.  Anything goes as long as you include a natural element in your art which can be either either stamped or an actual item!  As always you need to include stamping or stenciling.

I think you'll agree, there is plenty of creative scope with this challenge! My project is a little 5x7 canvas. This is how I got started.....
I firstly collaged some papers and  Washi tape to the  surface of the canvas.....
I then applied gesso to the surface using a palette knife so that some of the papers showed through.
I then stenciled on the heart design using Wendy Vecchi Crackle Embossing Paste. The stencil is by Crafter's Workshop.
As you can see in this closeup, the crackle paste works a treat! Once this was dry, I applied a couple of  thin washes of Deco Art Media Acrylic paint in Titan Buff and Green Gold. Once these layers were dry, I stenciled a few leaves to the bottom and top corners and added some stamping with a flourish stamp. I then replaced the heart stencil, and applied Treasure Gold, gilding paste, in Spanish Topaz
This really brought those lovely crackles to life. To encourage the heart to stand out, I went around the edges with a black Stabilo pencil and activated it with a water brush. The final stage to the background was to add a 'dirty wash' to the surface. I used Andy Skinner's recipe, with Quinacridone Gold, Paynes Grey and a touch of Yellow Iron Oxide thinned down with plenty of water. I then made a dimensional dragonfly, using Tim Holtz's Layered Dragonfly die and embossing folder.
I cut the body from a piece of thin craft metal and coloured it with Alcohol Ink. The wings are cut from acetate. I also stamped onto the wings, with the same crackle stamp, that I used for the leaves, on my last project for Stamps and Stencils. I then attached it to the canvas using Glossy Accents.
So, that's how I made my canvas ! If you would like to join our challenge this month, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link where you'll find the challenge details, as well as Autumn's beautiful project and some fantastic inspiration by the rest of the team. hope to see you there ! x