Thursday, 6 September 2018

Anything Goes ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge.

Hi everybody! we have a new challenge for September, over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. Sue is our lovely host and she has chosen an 'Anything Goes' ...... That is as long as it  includes some stamping, stencilling or even both. I took the opportunity to give a first inking to some lovely PaperArtsy,  mushroom stamps which I bought last year. I'm afraid I have too many lovely stamps that have so far, never been inked ! It was, therefore, a joy to get these out of the packet.
I started with a little MDF Stand Up Plaque......
......and the first thing to do was to add some texture. I used some Prima Art Stones and Mini Art Stones, which I adhered to the surface, with a liberal helping of Heavy Body Gel Medium. I also stencilled part of the surface with with modelling paste and coated it with gesso.....
Whilst the plaque was drying, I coloured several small pieces of card, with Distress Inks, in a variety of 'autumnal' colours. Once dry, I Stamped over the surface with a fine crackle design stamp.......
I used the card to diecut a variety of small leaves. I highlighted the leaves with Distress Ink and folded and curled them.......
I also stamped and coloured the two mushrooms and little snail. Once I'd coloured and cut them out, I heat embossed them using Seth Apter's Vintage Beeswax embossing powder. Unfortunately I didn't take any photos of the process, so here's a close up instead. The embossing powder added a lot of depth to the colours as well as a really nice sheen......
I must say I really like the way they turned out.  My next job was to add some colour to the plaque. I used Dylusions Sprays in the colours ,Ground Coffee and Dirty Martini. I let the sprays drip and run over the surface.......
Once the plaque was dry, I assembled all of the elements using dimensional tape and glue where needed. 
I also added some dyed sisal fibres to the base of the plaque, and a paper covered wire branch at the top. I ummed and ahhhed, about whether or not to add a title or sentiment, but decided that there was probably more than enough going on.So that was it, my 'Anything goes', Autumn forest floor project was finished! If you have a mixed media project on the go, that has some stamping or stenciling or both on it, we'd love you to share it with us over at Stamps and Stencils. You'll find a feast of inspiration from Sue and the rest of the design team over on the blog. just click on this link . I look forward to seeing you there. x
I am also going to share this project with the 'Forever Autumn' Challenge over on the That's Crafty blog

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Inspiration Post ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ Stamp and Emboss Metal Embellishments

Hi everybody ! I have an Inspiration Post over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. I've been making some fun embellishments using my old favourite tomato paste tubes. I never throw them away, I just cut the finished tube open, wash it and smooth it out. I then have an almost endless supply of lovely pliable metal, which can be easily cut, coloured and embossed. This is what I've been making with them this week.......
If you'd like to find out how to make these little critters then hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog and you'll find out just how easy it is. If you haven't got a tomato paste tube, then don't despair as you can use the same technique with any soft craft metal. Here's a peek at what I've done with a piece of copper sheet.......
Here's another little snippet from my post......
Why not grab a cuppa and head over to the Stamps and Stencils Blog with this link. I'd love to know what you think. x

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Industrial/Grungy ~ Stamps and stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi everybody! The months are racing away and I'm finding it hard to believe that it's August already!
The first day of the month, however, heralds a new challenge from our fabulous Stamps and Stencils blog. Cec is our talented host and she has chosen a great topic, one that is very close to my heart, Industrial/Grungy. This is what Cec has to say........
Create a mixed media project with some stamping and/or stenciling that puts off a very industrial and grungy vibe - be sure to include lots of metal and texture.
After heeding Cec's words, I've put together this collaged canvas, and great fun it was too !
I started off with a piece of recycled card board just a little smaller than my canvas.....
I covered it in sticky backed aluminium  tape and ran it through my Big Shot, using one of Tim Holtz's new 3-D Texture Fades. This one is called 'Foundry' and it gave a lovely deep impression . I used Modelling paste and a stencil to add a few cogs ......
and then coloured the surface with alcohol inks........
The next stage was to rub the Alcohol Inks back with a piece of wire wool. This highlights some areas and creates a lot of interest where the ink remains. I then added some more stencilling with black acrylic paint and a little stamped label......
I also added some Chunky Rust, Baked Texture embossing powder to the edges. Once the background had achieved a satisfactory level of industrial grunginess, I turned my attention to the focal image. I  covered a piece of craft card with sticky backed aluminium tape and die cut a large butterfly using the Tim Holtz Layered Butterfly die. Instead of using the embossing folder that comes with the die, I decided to use another of the 3-D texture Fades, this one is called Mechanics. I applied Alcohol Inks to the surface and again rubbed some of the colour off, this time, using a piece of fine emery paper.......
I added some wire for the antennae and used more of the Chunky Rust Baked Texture embossing powder on the body. I also shaped the body and the wings by bending them slightly and added a few metal cogs and brads. I prepared the canvas by covering the sides and edges with Tissue wrap. I gave this a 'dirty' wash using Andy Skinner's recipe of Quinacridone Gold, Paynes Grey and a touch of Yellow Iron Oxide.......
Once this was dry, I assembled the canvas and secured the butterfly to the surface with strong dimensional foam tape. A little doodling around the edges and my Industrial Grungy canvas was complete. 
It's been a real pleasure creating this project. Many thanks to Cec for a great challenge! If you'd like to get to grips with a little Industrial /Grungy project, then hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link, where you'll find all the details of the challenge. You'll also see Cec's beautiful project as well as some gorgeous pieces by the rest of the design team. I think you'll find that there is truly something for everyone. x





Thursday, 5 July 2018

Ombre ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge



 Happy July everybody ! School's almost out, the sun is shining and holidays are on the horizon. What could be better? Well, how about adding another Stamps and Stencils challenge into the mix! Our lovely host this month, is the very talented Ruth, and she has called it 'Ombre'. This is what Ruth has to say.........

Ombré has been in fashion for a while now and not just in art...or even hair! It's a french word meaning 'a colour that is shaded or graduated in tone'...so for this challenge we want to see projects or part of your project that has one (or more) colour that graduates from it's lightest pastel tint to its darkest shade...got that?? simple...ooh and with a little stamping or stenciling of course!

I've often admired the ombre effects I've seen in other peoples work but have never incorporated the technique into a project of my own. Ruth's challenge presented an ideal opportunity to have a go. I've made a sea themed journal, using the very popular Eileen Hull Travel Journal die. It's super easy to use and when you treat the mount board covers as your 'canvas', the possibilities for embellishment are endless. I started off by stenciling the front and back covers with modelling paste.
I then started to build up the 'sea floor', using gel medium and Prima Art stones, I also added a few Art Pebbles and sprinkled the finer Art Stones over the top in order to fill in the gaps. I find using the Art Stones a little tricky, as they tend to stick to my always glue covered fingers ! worth persevering though as I love the texture they create. i then left the covers to dry completely, before adding a coat of white gesso. If the surface is not completely dry, the Art Stones will come away. 
 after more drying time, I started to paint the covers, using Imagination Crafts, Starlight paint in Turquoise, mixed with a little Deco Art Media paint in Pthalo Turquoise. I used it neat at the bottom and then started adding small amounts of Deco Art tinting Medium as I worked my way to the top of the cover. This is the back.......

I put the covers side by side as I painted them, so that the ombre effect matches.It was fun to see the colour gradually fading  from dark to light.....
I also added a little under sea plant using some painted garden twine.I then turned my attention to the sea horses. These were cast in something called 'Multi-Morph'. This is rather amazing stuff which I discovered accidentally, when searching the web for Friendly Plastic. The product consists of a bag of tiny plastic 'beads' which when placed in hot water clump together to form a mouldable plastic which can be pressed into a silicone mould. I was able to achieve a lot of detail on the sea horses by working the plastic into all of the tiny recesses of the mould. It hardens quite quickly and can be reheated if things don't quite work out. DO NOT, however use in a plastic mould as I ruined my plastic heart mould as the 'friendly' plastic got completely stuck! I should know better.
 I painted the sea horses with Deco Art Media Acrylics. I was pleased to find that the Multi Morph plastic took the paint easily......
I brushed a little mica powder over the surface before the paint had dried completely. I constructed the book  and added the signatures,before adhering the seahorses to the front. I used plain drawing paper, with patterned paper wraparounds, for the three signatures.....
I found some strong elastic hairbands in my local Asda and used these to hold the signatures in the book cover. They work really well and hold the booklets snugly. To finish off the front cover, I used Glossy Accents to attach the sea horses and left them to dry overnight. I also weighted them down so that they are really flat on the surface of the cover.Whilst I'd got the Glossy accents out, I also added some to the surface of the die cuts I used on my sea plant......
I think they look great on their lovely ombre background. I think I shall be revisiting this technique again! If you would like to try your hand at ombre, then why not join in with our challenge. You can make anything you like as long as it includes some stamping or stencilling or both if you wish. Just hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link and you'll find all of the challenge details, as well as some gorgeous, inspiring projects, by Ruth and the rest of this fab team. hope to see you there! I'm also going to hop this journal over to the Mini Album Makers Challenge blog x


Thursday, 7 June 2018

Do Judge a Book By It's Cover ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi folks ! It's time for another challenge over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. Lula is our talented host for this lovely month of June and she has chosen a great theme. This is what she has to say.........

.......'For this challenge  I'd like you to alter any book cover. Creating an altered cover is something anyone can do because your only limitation is your own imagination.  You can use any type of books from children's books or user manuals to art journals. Don't forget to use stamping or stenciling and join us in the fun!....... 

You can read more about Lula's fab challenge over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. Just click on this link  You will also see some gorgeous examples of altered book covers by the rest of the team. My project is an altered notebook, which was originally given away free with a magazine, many moons ago. It was still blank but the cover had seen better days......
 As the cover had a slight texture, I decided to cover it with a piece of canvas. After cutting the canvas to size, I adhered it to the notebook using extra heavy gel medium. The one I have at the moment is from Finabair's range. It worked very well and dried quickly.
I slotted a piece of grease proof paper between the cover and the pages so that they didn't get all stuck together. I then gave it a coat of white gesso. I dried the surface with my heat gun, before applying some lovely bright colours. I used Daler Rowney fluorescent paints and applied them with a paint brush, blending them together at the edges where the colours meet. It looked a bit messy at this point but I pressed on and gave the colours a couple coats, drying with a heat tool between each one. This helped to get rid of any streakiness. I was quite pleased with the way that the colours blended here and there, creating some lovely orange and purple shades.....
Once the paint was dry, I set to with a selection of stencils and began to add pattern and text to the background. when this layer was dry I added some stamping and then doodled here and there channelling  the lovely Kate Crane. This is how the back looks.........
The focal image on the front of the book, uses a stamp I recently bought from the Artist Trading Post. It's by Stampotique and features the amazing artist Frida Kahlo. I stamped onto a piece of fluorescent card using black Archival Ink, I highlighted here signature bold jewellery  with a gold pen and added some flowers in her hair with Posca paint markers. After adding some black ink to the edges of the card I then embossed the whole surface with clear embossing powder.
Before adhering the panel to my book, I blended black ink around the edges. I  painted a border around the inside covers with black paint and then glued a panel of black card to the front and back inside covers. This got rid of the advertising that was inside...... well it was a freebie! To finish off, I  applied strong foam tape to the back of the stamped panel, and a border of black 'pearls'. My last addition, was the Dymo printed sentiment 'What Would Frida Do' She demonstrated a strength in adversity during her short lifetime and was bold enough to not follow the 'rules'. She was also fiercely proud of her Mexican cultural heritage. All qualities which, I must say, I find admirable. 
So there you have it, my book cover makeover was complete. I may add to it when I eventually find the little Milagros charms I have misplaced Grrrrrr.! If you would like to alter a book cover, we'd love to see it. Just hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog and you'll find all of the challenge details. I look forward to seeing you there! Viva La Vida !

Thursday, 17 May 2018

DIY Rust Paint ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ Inspirational Post

It's my turn to create an Inspirational Post over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. I've altered a kraft sketchbook using my home made rust paints. If you'd like to find out more about how to turn a few simple ingredients........

 into a whole heap of rust paint..........

that gives you results such as this........
and this..........
Then grab a cuppa and hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link  and all will be revealed. I hope you will enjoy! x


Thursday, 3 May 2018

Let's Fake It! ~ New Challenge ~ Stamps and Stencils


Hi everybody! I have the great pleasure of hosting the new challenge over on The Stamps and Stencils blog. I've called it 'Let's Fake It'. I love a bit of 'fakery', so I've thrown down the gauntlet and for this challenge I want to see your mixed media projects that include some type of faux finish, whether it's rust, patina, leather, faux metal etc.........the list is endless ! As with all of our challenges, there must be some use of stamps or stencils or of course, both. For my project this month, I decided to try something new and have a go at creating a stone finish. This is how I got started....

The base is a small wooden panel measuring around 12 x 12 cms which I first covered with a coat of  white gesso. The 'fossil' is a cast made with air drying clay, pressed into a plaster a mould. Once the gesso was dry I used a palette knife to apply some Deco Art Texture Paste. This has a very grainy texture..
When it had dried enough to form a 'skin' across the surface, I stamped into it with a texture stamp and then left it to dry completely. I also diluted a little of the texture paste with water and a touch of matte medium, and used this to paint the clay 'fossil'.....
Once the panel was dry, I used Andy Skinner's Ammonite stencil with some more texture paste.....
I also adhered a few sprinkles of Art Stones around the edges. I then left the panel to dry completely before applying the first of several layers of Deco Art Media Acrylic Paint.
 If you'd like to try a faux stone finish, I would suggest looking at either pieces  rock or pictures of rock, so that you can observe the variety of colours that occur. We've got several rockery stones in our garden, so I was able to base my paint colours on those. I would also recommend, that you allow each layer to dry completely before applying the next. That way, you can preserve the individual colours rather than them all blending together. I applied the colours in the following order....

1. A wash of Medium Grey - applied in a stippling motion with a brush.
2. Yellow Iron Oxide - applied in patches with a natural sponge.
3. Raw Umber - applied in patches with a natural sponge
4. A wash of Quinacridone Gold - applied with a brush
5. Titan Buff - Dry brushing on high spots.

I treated the clay 'fossil' in the same way but followed the shape, adding darker shading to the valleys and highlights to the high spots. Once the background and the 'fossil' were completely dry, I adhered the fossil using a hot glue gun.
To finish off, I added a typed sentiment and wrapped some rusty wire around the frame. I'm really pleased with the way this has come together. I never cease to be amazed with what can be achieved with a few  simple ingredients. If you would like to wow us with your faux finishes, we'd love you to join us over at the Stamps and Stencils blog. Just hop on over with this link where you'll find all the details and see the fantastic work by the rest of the team. They have really done me proud with their amazing contributions to the 'Let's Fake It' challenge. Hope to see you there ! x 



   

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 diamanté 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