Thursday, 3 August 2017

Technique School ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi everybody ! It's that time again, the first Thursday of the month means there's a new challenge starting over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. Our talented host this month is Autumn, and she has come up with a fun idea. Autumn is sending us back to 'Technique School'. This is what she has to say..........
This month we want you to play teacher and share a favorite process or new experiment.  Document your findings with at least one process photo.  We can't wait to see your technique tutorials and new ideas! Remember to use stamps or stencils or both! 

If you're anything like me the only difficulty you will have, will be in choosing a technique ! there are so many that I love, it was hard to narrow it down to just one. I've chosen 'Water Colour Stamping' and made this little vintage style  pocket. This is how I did it.....
I started off with two pieces of watercolour paper, measuring 5 x 6 inches. One for the back and one for the front. I chose one of the flower stamps, from Tim Holtz's 'Flower Garden' set and stamped it several times with archival ink onto some low tack paper. I then cut these out and used them as 'masks' for my stamping. I think copy paper sprayed with re-positional adhesive would also work. 

I stamped the flowers onto the water colour paper, with Antique Linen Distress Ink, using one of the f masks, so that the flowers look as if they are overlapping each other. I stamped three flowers and then started to 'watercolour' them.
I chose three shades of pink Distress Ink, Spun Sugar, Victorian Velvet and Picked Raspberry. I started by tapping the lightest colour, Spun Sugar onto my craft mat, spritzed it with water and then used a fine water brush to paint loosely inside the petals, leaving some white spaces.

I built up the depth of colour, by repeating the painting with each of the colours. I painted the stamens with Fossilized Amber and Carved Pumpkin DI. It's important to dry each layer before changing colour,  so that the colours remain light and transparent. I then continued to stamp the next three flowers, using the same masking technique

 I painted them in the same way, adding more depth to the areas where they overlap, with deeper colour and  touches of Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

After completing the flowers, I selected a leaf stamp, from a different range of stamps. I followed the same procedure I used with the flowers, to make two separate leaf masks. I then stamped some leaves around the group of flowers, masking the flowers and leaves where necessary.
In this picture you can see two of the flower masks and one leaf mask. This is how it looked when I'd finished stamping all of the leaves......
I then painted the leaves, with Crushed Olive and Peeled Paint Distress Ink, once again tapping the ink pads onto my craft mat and spritzing with water, before applying with a water brush.
Once all of the painting was done, I used a heat gun to enure that the paint was completely dry. I then used a blending tool, with Antique Linen Distress ink, and lightly, blended the ink over the the whole surface, deepening on the edges of the paper. I then used one of my favourite 'rust spot' stamps, from Tim Holtz's 'Bitty Grunge' set with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, to add a few random splots here and there. This is quite possibly my most inked stamp. When used with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, it adds an instant vintage look.
I then constructed the pocket, by firstly adhering a strip of lace around the edge, on the back of the painting. I punched a half circle thumb notch, in the middle of the top edge, before stitching the front to the plain back piece of watercolour paper. I then blended Antique linen DI over the surface of the back of the pocket  and added a few rust spots and Voila! my vintage watercoloured packet was finished.
I think this would be great to use as a journal pocket, a letter holder or maybe to use as an envelope for a card. If you've got a technique you'd like to share with us, we'd love to see it. It can be an old school favourite such as this, or something completely new. Hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog, where you'll find Autumn's wonderful project as well as some fantastic inspiration from the rest of the design Team. See you there! x

I'm also playing along  with the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge, where the theme is 'Splatter it'. 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Journal Madness !

Hi everybody! I guess I'm like a number of people in the UK, no scotch that, the World, longing to get my hands on Eileen Hull's beautiful Heart Felt Journal Die. Well, I've done the next best thing and got my mitts on a few precious die cuts, courtesy of the very lovely and very talented, Anne Redfern. she makes the most awesome journals. You can see her work over on her blog, Redanne . She has a real beauty on there at the moment, which you can see with this link . The journal I've made, is covered with a piece of Kraftex. If you haven't come across this amazing material before, it's actually a type of 'rugged paper', which looks and feels like leather. It's extremely strong, and takes inks, paints and mediums very well. You can also stamp on it, stencil and sew it and that's exactly what I've done in the making of this journal. I absolutely love it ! I will do a more in depth post about Kraftex at a later date. For now, I'll just share a few pictures of my journal.
I've used some Graphic 45, paper for the inside cover as I just love the butterflies.
I've made a Kraft paper pocket at the beginning of each of my three signatures, courtesy of Anne. She has an excellent tutorial for making this as well as an expandable pocket, on her blog, which you can see with this link. I've also wrapped each signature with a piece of patterned paper, from Tim Holtz, Wall Flower, paper stack. I can't get enough of this gorgeous paper! The signatures are made of crisp, white, thick cartridge paper, so that I can use the journal as a nature sketch book. I decided to sew my signatures into the journal cover with linen thread. I just added a couple of extra holes either side of the central hole.
I also left a long piece of the thread on the middle signature, so that I could thread some glass beads on to it. These beads were salvaged from a necklace, I bought in a charity shop. The necklace was my original inspiration for the colours I've used.
Here is the linen thread on the inside. I adhered some little punched flowers to the ends of the thread. Not my idea, but I think it adds such a lovely finishing touch.
I made the belt closure, with a narrow strip of Kraftex, which has been painted and stitched close to the edges. The buckle was bought in a set from The Works,  4 buckles for £1. Excellent value for money I'd say! They come complete with a little brads to attach them.
I poked the brad through a single layer of the belt and folded it over and added a spot of glue.This conceals the 'butterfly' back of the brad.
To finish off, I stamped this sentiment onto a piece of plain Kraftex, and glued it to the back of one of Tim Holtz 'Ornate Plates' . I put a couple of brads in the holes and adhered it to the front of my journal. So there you have it! My first Eileen Hull, Heart Felt Journal. Maybe this is the first of many.....that's if I can get my crafty hands on that very elusive die! In the meantime, many thanks to Anne for the wonderful inspiration you have shared on your blog and across social media, and for taking the time to share these wonderful journal die cuts, which I believe are available in both yours and Eileen's, etsy shops.x

Friday, 21 July 2017

Get Hip For Summer ~ Tim Holtz~ Summer Challenge.

Hi everybody! I couldn't resist joining in with Tim Holtz's summer challenge, after my lovely Hipster Stamps arrived. You can see all the fab entries with this link As every bonafide hipster needs a little black book, I decided to make one for this cool cat! I've used Eileen Hull's Passport Book Die, and a range of Tim's goodies. The cool cat has been stamped onto acetate and coloured with Alcohol Inks. I then gilded the back of the image with silver leaf. I stamped the same image onto clear shrink plastic and coloured it lightly, before cutting it out and shrinking with my heat tool. I've enjoyed making this and joining in with the challenge, many thanks Tim....... see you in September !x 

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Stamp Storage Binder

Hi everybody! It's my turn over on the Stamps and Stencils blog, to put together an Inspirational Post, so if you'd like to know how I turned this.........
with a touch of this.......
and this.......
into a fab stamp storage binder.........
Then hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link and be prepared to be inspired! Hope to see you there. x

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Colour, Texture, Shape

Hi everybody! It's time for a new challenge over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. Our host this month is the very talented  Ruth and she has something a little different for us. Ruth has constructed a mood board with lots of gorgeous colour, texture and shape. I think you'll agree that there is plenty of creative inspiration here.
This is what Ruth has to say........

'Maybe it's the colour palette ranging from cream and peach through to gold, warm browns and soft greens that inspires you...or you want to choose different colours and use fabric, lace or metal in your project as texture? As for shape, what about flowers, leaves and architecture or the design elements that are gothic, steampunk or romantic? Whether your inspired by one or all of the pictures, please share your mixed media creations with us, the only restriction - you must use a stamp or stencil somewhere in your project. Can't wait to see what you're inspired to create!'

My project for this challenge, is an 'upcycled' sketchbook.  Can you guess which of Ruth's pictures I have drawn my inspiration from?

This is how it started out......
It's an A5 sketch book, with a kraft cover, bought from Hobbycraft, for the princely sum of £1. I think these are great value and once they've been given a makeover, they make lovely gifts for crafty friends. The kraft cover is a great substrate for working a little mixed media magic on !
 I began my transformation, by firstly adhering some book pages to the covers, with matte medium.I brushed a thin layer of white gesso over the surface, before adding some light stencilling around the edges, using Distress Paint in Frayed Burlap, through a Tim Holtz 'Flourish' Layering Stencil. I'm afraid I didn't take photos through the process so I have included some close up shots ...

Once my background was dry, I added the peach coloured rose,which is taken from a layer of a printed paper napkin, again, adhered with matte medium.

I really like the way that these kind of 'transferred' images retain their transparency. The next layer, was to add some stamping. I chose the birds and the text, from from Tim's 'Bird Feather' set of stamps and used black Archival Ink. I finished off  by blending a little  'Potting Soil' Archival ink, around the edges. In order to complete the 'upcycling' of my humble sketch book, I added a strip of 
co-ordinating  fabric to the spine of the book. I then punched a couple of holes all the way through the middle of the book, threaded a length of dyed seam binding through, and tied it into a bow on the outside. I think these final touches add an extra bit of smartness to the finished book. 

If you would like to join in with this month's challenge and need a little more inspiration, please hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog and take a look at the fantastic projects by the rest of the team. We would love to see your creations ! x 

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Words With Meaning ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge.

Hi everybody! It's time for a new challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. Sue is our lovely, talented host and she has chosen 'Words With Meaning'. This is what Sue has to say...........

  I may be an old romantic but I love to see quotes and meaningful sayings on pieces of art. These can be quotes that are particularly meaningful to you or family sayings ! So, for this challenge I want to see your words taking centre stage, big and bold ! Remember, as always, you need to include some stamping or stencilling or both ! 

What a great challenge! This has provided me with just the opportunity, to carry out a little project I've had in mind since I purchased a Seth Apter stencil, with the message 'Now is the Time'. I am a great one for procrastinating, so these words hold a lot of meaning for me. The finished piece will hang on the door to my craftroom and will remind me how precious time is. This is how I put it together.........
I started with a Wendy Vecchi chipboard pocket watch base and frame.

 In order to seal the surface, I firstly coated it with gesso. I then used a sponge to apply layers of Deco Art Media fluid, in Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Umber and Yellow Iron Oxide to the base. I dried each layer before changing colour.

This is how it looked.......
Once this was dry, I randomly stamped over the surface, using one of Andy Skinner's texture stamps.
I used, Black Staz On and a green chalk ink pad. here's a close up of the finished surface......
I then turned my attention to the frame. In order to add some texture to the frame, I applied moulding paste and used a palette knife to create dimension.
Once this was dry, I painted it using Finnabair's Rust Kit. I'm always amazed when I use these paints, as they really do create a very realistic' rust-like' surface. here's a close up.....
What do you reckon, pretty rust like eh ? After finishing the frame, it was back to the base. I secured the stencil with a quick squirt of re-positional adhesive and then applied Wendy Vecchi's Crackle Embossing Paste, quite thickly, over the surface. I carefully removed the stencil and was really pleased to see how crisp the image was. Every little detail was evident. I then had to wait until the crackles appeared. Once it was completely dry and crackled, I painted Deco Art Antiquing fluid, over the surface, working it into all  the lovely crackles. I then wiped it back, with a soft damp cloth and this is what I was left with.....
Before, I assembled the two pieces, I decided to make some wings. I felt that the addition of wings, would help to reinforce the message to myself. Now is The Time because time flies ! I used my favourite recycled material..... yes that's right, tomato paste tubes, and die cut a pair of wings. I also cut a pair in thick card and adhered them to the metal pair so that the wings were not too bendy. I then painted them, using Deco Art Paints and touches of paint from the rust paint kit.
Finally, I assembled all the pieces and used Helmar 360, glue to adhere them altogether. All that remains now, is for me to attach it to my door. I hope that it will help me to keep in mind, that there is no time, like the present time and that time is precious and quickly flies by.

 If you have a message that you would like to express in a piece of mixed media art, we would love to see it. Please hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog, with this link, where you'll find full details and see Sue's gorgeous project, as well as loads of inspiration from the rest of this fabulous team. Hope to see you there! x 
I'd also like to share this project with the  Simon Says Monday Challenge blog, where they have a 'We're Going Round in Circles' challenge. as usual they have a $50 gift voucher for the Simon Says shop, as a prize.x

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Fabric and Fibres ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi everybody ! Wow the months are rolling by. I can hardly believe that we are in the fifth month already ! Hey Ho, at least it means that it's time for a new challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. Cec, is our very talented host this month and she has chosen, 'Fabric and Fibres'. This is what Cec has to say.........
Let's add some fabric and/or fibres to our creations this month.  You can use linen, burlap, organza, wool, lace, ribbon, rope to name a few.  The list is almost endless but whatever you add, make sure there is some stamping or stencilling (or both) on your creation as well.

This is a challenge that is dear to my heart, as I've always had an interest in textile arts and have recently been experimenting with stencilling and dyeing fabrics. I put my interest to the test by making this 'prayer flag', using layers of 'tea dyed' and stencilled fabric. This is how I got started........
Firstly, I made a 'tea bath' by boiling up some teabags in a saucepan. I then assembled a variety of fabrics and pieces of cotton lace, and placed them in the saucepan. I let them boil together for about 20 minutes. I left the teabags in, as I thought it might  create random patches of colour, where the tea was stronger. This is how the fabric looked once it had been rinsed and dried......

The fabrics yielded a variety of shades of 'pinky brown'. The colour was stronger on the pieces that were 100% cotton, and much more subtle an those that had a percentage of polyester. One piece of fabric I had put in, was 100% polyester, it remained untouched by the tea. I absolutely love the colours and the vintage appearance the fabrics now have. After deciding on which fabrics to use I experimented with different arrangements of the layers and once satisfied I set about stencilling some backgrounds.....
Here is the main background piece. I used a small circle stencils with a mixture of Deco Art Media Fluid in Burnt Umber and Yellow Iron Oxide. When it had dried, I decided that it was a little darker than I had intended, so I brushed, a thin coat of white gesso over the stencilling in order to tone it down a little.
I used some gorgeous sparkly paint, to stencil this strip of fabric. It's called Starlight and it's by Imagination Crafts. I am seriously hooked on these paints, they are certainly the most twinkly ones I have in my stash! 
I then stamped up a variety of images on to a paper napkin and experimented with 'transferring' them onto the stained fabric using matte medium. I found that the tissue didn't completely disappear on the fabric that was darker in tone. As the prayer flag is to be hung outside, I decided to go with the little bird and used a piece of pale muslin cloth. 
In order to stitch all the layers together, I secured each piece with a little squirt of re-positional fabric spray. This saves a lot of bother with pinning and keeps everything secure. I then stitched around the pieces using contrasting thread. This creates another element to the design, a bit like doodling with a pen. I used self coloured thread and a close together zig zag stich to secure the bird panel. The fringed border was made by ripping a piece of fabric into strips without going all the way to the very top. The picture probably explains what I mean...........
To finish off, I stamped out my message of 'Peace' and sewed this to the flag. I then tore a long, thin strip of fabric and sewed it to the top, so that the flag can be hung in my garden.........
I have so enjoyed making this project and I love the finished piece. This could well be the first of many. So thank you Cec ! If you'd like to join in with our 'Fabric and Fibres' challenge, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link, where you'll find the challenge details, as well as Cec's amazing canvas and the superb projects from the rest of the design team. We would love to see your creations ! x

Thursday, 13 April 2017

DIY Stencils ~ Inspirational Post for Stamps and Stencils.

It's my turn to inspire you, over on the Stamps and Stencils blog today and I've been experimenting with making my own stencils. If you'd like to see what I've been up to and maybe pick up some tips on how to make your own, unique, stencils, then hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog and let me know what you think.x

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Lucky Star~Stamps and Stencils~New Challenge.

Happy April everybody ! It's an auspicious month for me, with both my birthday and wedding anniversary to celebrate. As if that's not enough, it's also time for a new challenge over at the Stamps and Stencils blog. Our fabulous host this month is Branka, and her theme is 'Lucky Star'. This is what she has to say .......
'For this challenge I would love to see a mixed media project that has star/s in it somewhere. You can create anything you like as long as you include a star. Don't forget to use stamps or stencils or both! Can't wait to see your creations' 
I think you'll agree that Branka has given us plenty of creative scope with this challenge. You can see her gorgeous work, along with some fabulous projects by the rest of the team, over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. My project for this month is a tag using some of my new crafty goodies. I don't know about you guys , but I've really missed Tim Holtz's 12 Tags Challenge. Creating this tag in a Tim Holtz style, has helped me with my withdrawal symptoms !
I started by masking off the bottom of the tag and used Tim's 'Stars Layering Stencil' with Versa Mark clear ink, to add stars to the top half of the tag. I then used clear embossing powder and my heat gun to activate it. I used a piece of tape to cover the last row of stars, and stenciled red stripes using Distress Oxide, with a Wendy Vecchi stencil.
 The tape helped to keep a crisp break between the stars and stripes. I then moved the tape down in order to cover the top part of the stripes, and used Faded Jeans, Distress Oxide, with a blending tool, to add a blue background to the stars. I gave  just the top half of the tag, a little  spritz with water in order to create some texture and gently wiped the ink from the surface of the stars. I removed the masking tape, and dried the tag with my heat tool. I then covered the tag with a piece of printer paper and iron the surface to melt and remove the embossing. This is best done several times moving the paper to a clean area each time until all the shiny embossing has gone. I really like the effect this technique creates.
The picture of the little girl, is from Tim Holtz's new Paper Dolls. I love them! the packet seems very good value as there are loads to choose from in several different sizes. I gave this one a half shadow by 'half mounting' the figure on black card, before fussy cutting the edge. I then used dimensional pads to secure her to the tag. In true Tim style, I added some paper and metal embellishments, a sentiment and a machined stitched border. To complete the tag, I finished off with a length of seam binding, which I had coloured, by running red and blue Distress Markers, along each side. It was  great fun to make and I'm sure I'll always enjoy making tags in a Tim Holtz style! Well it's over to you now. If you'd like to join in with our challenge, hop along to the Stamps and Stencils blog where you'll find all the details of how to get involved.