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 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.