Wednesday, 31 December 2014

12 Tags of 2014 ~ December~ Final Tag of the Year

Well here it is with only a few hours to spare, my final tag of Tim's Twelve Tags of 2014 Challenge! I was beginning to think I wouldn't make it but there is no way I would allow myself not to submit this last tag. The month of December seems to have been busier than ever. Fortunately I found a few spare moments today and set too. I was able to gather quite a few bits and pieces for this tag from the left overs of my Christmas card making. I didn't want to waste this lovely snowflake. Unfortunately I haven't managed to capture even a speck of it's glitteriness but time's running out and I should be putting my glad rags on ready to join our friends at the local pub to bring in the New Year!
 I'm so happy that Tim is going to continue to inspire us all with the launch of The Twelve Tags of 2015  Wow that's got a nice ring to it. So thank you Tim for a great year of wonderful projects, and thanks also to Mario, who keeps everything ticking along very nicely !  Happy New Year to you both and to all my lovely blog friends, I'm sorry to have neglected eveyone recently, I'm looking forward to some visiting and catching up ! x

Thursday, 11 December 2014

'Let's Celebrate ! ' ~ Artist Trading Post ~ New Challenge.

Hi everybody! It's my turn to host the new challenge over on the Artist Trading Post Exchange blog. I've chosen the theme ... 'Let's Celebrate !' I hope everyone will be looking forward to celebrating something during the coming year ! We'd love to see your celebration crafty makes. It could be a card, a layout or piece of altered art. Just let your imagination fly! There's a £10 gift token for the Artist Trading Post for one lucky winner and the good news is that this challenge will run until the 7th of January, so there's plenty of time to get involved. Full details and challenge rules can be found on the Artist Trading Post Exchange blog by following this link. I've chosen to make this festive panel in honour of the impending Christmas celebrations and this is how I did it.........
Firstly, I created a textured surface by applying scrunched up book pages, which I adhered with Matte Gel Medium.
I must say I love this new Sizzix Prancing Deer! I die cut him out of thick card, and used Kraft card to cut the small deer, trees, lamp post and branches. 
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to attend one of Finnabair's workshops. Since then I have been itching to revisit some of the techniques Anna shared with us. So with this in mind, I attached several cogs and a few found objects to the panel, using Heavy Bodied Gel Medium. Once dry, I adhered the trees, large reindeer and  lamp post . I then coated the whole surface with Black Gesso
Now..... at this point, my panel was going in a whole different direction to the one I finally arrived at. Initially, I painted the surface with a variety of rather lovely Ferro Metallic Paints. You can just see the green paint in this picture. I didn't take any further pictures but suffice it to say, I wasn't really happy with the results. The following day, I went back to it and gave the surface a couple of coats of white gesso. I then dry brushed  the back ground and frame with Distress Paint in Antique Linen and Ice Spruce. I also started to adhere a few more elements. As this process is pretty sticky, I didn't get round to taking many photos but I felt much happier with the way it was developing. Once everything was dry and secure, the fun really began when I got to work with my Treasure Gold colours.
I used a small bristle brush to work the metallic pastes into the surface.  The colours I've used  are, White Fire, Aquamarine, Spanish Topaz, Royal Amethyst and Onyxite. 
I used a heat gun to fix  the Treasure Gold, before buffing carefully with a soft cloth wrapped around my finger. The metal flowers are  from Finnabair's Vintage Mechanicals range. I used some pearls from my stash for the centres. To finish off, I stamped a brick wall stamp with  clear Versa Mark ink, in patches around the frame and heat embossed with silver and gold embossing powder mixed together. I also added a stamped sentiment to the bottom edge. My final finishing touch, was a light dusting of Clear Rock Candy Distress Stickles dry Glitter. Unfortunately I haven't managed to capture the lovely twinkling shimmer. 
So now folks it's over to you. I hope you'll find a little time over the next few weeks to share your  celebration makes with us over on the Artist Trading Post Exchange blog. If you'd like to purchase any of the products I've used, just click on the highlighted links and you'll be transported straight to the Artist Trading Post. I 'll be seeing you again...... soon ! x 

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Twelve Tags of 2014 ~ November

Once again ! Who can believe that it's the last day of November ! I've had a busy but enjoyable week, with visitors, a meal out and lunch with good friends, all fitted in between going to work and a few snatched hours crafting. So in the spirit of  what is fast becoming my motto... 'better late than never'... here is my contribution to Tim's Twelve Tags of 2014 November tag. You can see Tim's fabulous Autumn inspired tag here. I've changed it a little as I haven't got the lovely Layered Leaf Set. I decided on the heart shape, as quite frankly, it was the easiest shape for me to cut freehand, and anyway who doesn't love the symbol of a heart, it can say so much. After embossing the tag with this swirly design, I tapped a little embossing ink over the surface, using the back of a piece of Cut and Dry Foam, before using the Sticky Embossing Powder and gold foil, I love this effect and I'm sure I'll be using it more often  as I love a bit of bling ! x

Friday, 28 November 2014

Recycle for Christmas ~ New Challenge ! ~ Artist Trading Post Exchange.

Yvonne is hosting the new challenge over at the Artist Trading Post Exchange and she has chosen the theme of 'Recycle for Christmas'. Her beautiful project can be seen on the blog by following this link. You'll also find the challenge rules and details of how you can join in and maybe win a £10 gift voucher for The Artist Trading Post shop. Now if there is one thing I love it's crafty recycling. I find it's almost as much fun as buying new stash.  For my project I've used three of my favourite recycled items, I wonder if you can spot them ? Let's see how I got started....
Here is favourite item No 1. I always save these little cube boxes from my 'go to' face cream. After opening this one out I gave it a coat of Heavy White Gesso. This is nice and  thick and necessary as  the surface of the box  has a slick finish. Whilst it was drying I turned my attention to what is probably my all time favourite recycling item... No 2.. tomato puree tubes...
As soon as a tube is finished, I cut the top and bottom off, as well as a thin strip down one side. I then open out the tube and rinse off the remaining tomato puree. You just need to be a little careful as the edges might be a little sharp. I found a great way to flatten the tubes by running them through my Big Shot. I placed a closed embossing folder on the base platform, with my metal 'sandwich' lined up on top. The metal is very soft and can be embossed as well as die-cut with the Sizzix Bigz or Movers and Shapers dies.
I used the Tattered Poinsettia Die to cut these layers of petals.
.....Back to my box.... I used Tim Holtz's Harlequin Layering Stencil and a mixture of Barn Door and Festive Berries Distress paint over the surface of the box. I let this first coat dry and then re-positioned the stencil covering the red paint, and stencilled with Tarnished Brass. I first saw this idea last year on the wonderful Paula Cheney's blog.
Once this was all dry, I blended in some Vintage photo Distress Ink, this fills in any white spaces and deepens the colours, giving a lovely rich effect. I then used the Tim Holtz Christmas Layering Stencil with Black Archival Ink,  I then re-folded my box and glued it back together. I blended a little Black Soot Distress on the edges, for a more vintage look, before layering up my metal poinsettia.
Before adhering the flower to the top of the box, I stamped a small die cut label and attached it to the top using my favourite recycled item No 3.... I save those little pieces of ribbon that are attached to the inside of clothes, sad, I know, but I'm sure I'm not the only  person that does this. Worse thing is I'm sure these little pieces of ribbon have  actually influenced me into buying something !
Box number two has been made in a similar way but with a single layer of stenciling using the Holiday Knits Layering Stencil
I also added some snowflake die cuts which have been covered with very fine glitter.
 Ihope my recycled boxes will inspire you to get out some of those bits and bobs you've been hoarding. If you hop over to the Artist Trading Post blog, you'll find some amazing ways of turning your 'trash' into 'treasure' . If you'd like to join in the fun and have the chance to win a £10 gift voucher for The Artist Trading Post shop, you will find all the details and challenge rules by following the link here. Please remember to include some stamping, as projects without stamping,  won't be eligible to win the prize or be featured our top 3 favourites. So with that said remember the crafter's motto... 'don't throw that away, it might be useful !' x

Friday, 21 November 2014

Compendium of Curiosities 3 ~ Challenge 15 ~ Cabinet Card Pockets.

Ha ha ! Is it that time already? Anyone who has followed my CC3 entries will know by now that I'm a bit of a last minute person when it comes to these challenges. So without breaking the tradition here is my entry for the Compendium of Curiosities Challenge 15. This time the Curiosity Crew are asking us to have a go with the rather fabulous Cabinet Card Pockets. Details can be found on page 38 of Tim's Compendium of Curiosities Volume 3Linda over at Studio L3 is doing a fantastic job of hosting these fortnightly challenges and the Curiosity Crew never cease to amaze me, with their wonderfully inspirational pieces. Speaking of inspiration, the lovely folks over at the Inspiration Emporium are sponsoring Challenge 15, with a $50 gift certificate for one lucky winner. Just in time to purchase some Christmas goodies! Which reminds me... Tim and Mario have donated a whole heap of goodies, which the Curiosity Crew award to their favourite entry. So two great chances to win and if you come close,  ahem !... like I have twice! then you have the honour of having  ' An Honourable Mention from the Crew, which makes you feel real good !
Any way, back to my project, it's a  circus themed canvas which measures around 7" x 9". I stenciled the stripes onto the background after chickening out from using a stripey page from my Merriment Paper Stash. It had such wonderful pictures on the back which I really want to use later on, so out came my Wendy Vecchi Yikes Stripes stencil and some Barn door and Festive Berries, Distress Paint. Because I wanted the stripes to be fairly precise, I used a light squirt of repositionable adhesive to hold the stencil nice and flat, during the process.
 I love the photo of this guy wearing  a clown fancy dress costume, I downloaded it from one of the free graphic websites so long ago that I've forgotten which one it is. I've been dying to use both this and the Oxford Impressions Vintage  Circus Stamps. I think the fancy dress guy, fits the Cabinet Card Pocket just right.. These cards are just so perfectly vintage, that I didn't feel the need to do anything other than a little Distress Ink blending around the edges. So that's it, all done and dusted ! x

Thursday, 13 November 2014

'Stencil Mania' ~ New Challenge for Artist Trading Post Exchange

Julia is the host for our new challenge at the Artist Trading Post Exchange and she has chosen a subject that I absolutely love 'Stencil Mania'. The challenge is to produce a piece of work where stenciling is the main focus. You can find the challenge details as well as some inspiring work by the design team, over on the ATP Exchange blog by following this link. There is a £10 voucher for the amazingly well stocked Artist Trading Post, for one lucky winner.
Julia's challenge had me reaching for my art journal and believe me I had a lot of fun creating this double page spread ! I started the pages by firstly laying down some texture with torn book pages and brown paper, adhered with Matte Multi Medium.
Once dry, I coated the pages with gesso. I then set to with my stencils and my newly acquired Tim Holtz Distress Stain Sprays. Heaven !
I used  Harlequin and Dot Fade Layering Stencils with Antique Linen, Tumbled Glass, Pumice Stone  Mustard Seed and Barn Door Distress stain Sprays. I know, I know, there's quite a mix going on  there! but I just couldn't stop myself. I love the spontaneity of using the combination of sprays and stencils. The gessoed  background, also has the effect of muting the colours as they dry. this layer took quite some time to dry completely. I used a heat gun to try and speed it up a bit.
Here you can see the blend of colour and texture of this first layer. Once dry, I added some further stenciling but this  time I used embossing paste. The stencil I used is by the Crafters Workshop.
The embossing  paste I used was actually white, To acheive this gold effect, I replaced the stencil once the paste was dry, and brushed some Inka Gold Paste onto the embossed patterns. I quite liked this effect, but it under went several changes before I was completely happy. That is the joy of working in a journal. You can experiment and change your mind as much as you like, just make sure that things are completely dry before trying to alter them. Next up was some stamping with black Archival Ink.......
...and a bit more stenciling, as well as some around the edges with Black Soot Distress Paint. I also replaced the stencil over the butterflies and coloured them with Black Soot Distress Paint. The next day, I reviewed the journal pages and decided that I wanted the gold on the embossing paste to be a bit more glitzy, so it was back to the stencil. I replaced it and sponged through some Indigo Blu Flitter Glue. I removed the stencil and added Mega Flakes.
This effect is much more to my liking. Well if you're going to add some bling then let it shine eh?
As usual, I couldn't just stop there, so I added Mega Flakes to the butterflies as well !
If you love using stencils as much as I do, or if you've been meaning to try them, then this'Stencil Mania' challenge is for you !
Here's a list of some of the products I've used which you can find at the Artist Trading post Shop, just click on the item and you'll be transported straight there. until next time... Happy Crafting ! x
 Golden Gesso
Embossing paste
Matte Multi Medium
Black Soot Distress Paint
Fired Brick Distress Paint
Dylusions Creative journal
Heat Tool
Tim Holtz Layering Stencils
Spinning Tops Template
Specimen Template
Chicken Wire Template
Archival Ink

Friday, 31 October 2014

Twelve Tags of 2014!

Well this is really cutting it fine but I could not let the month pass by without posting my October tag for Tim's Twelve Tags of 2014. You can see Tim's tag here. It's been a long day organizing a Halloween party for my lovely nieces and nephews. I've had to make some substitutions for this tag as I have yet to get my hands on Tim's new Distress Sprays. I've used my Dylusions Sprays but I don't think they react in quite the same way. Well I shall keep it brief  as I'm just about ready for bed ! Whoo hoo! new tag tomorrow ! x

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

'Any Old Iron' ~ Artist trading Post Exchange New Challenge

Hi everybody! Today, I'm excited to share my first design team project, for the Artist Trading Post Exchange challenge. Ruth is hosting the challenge for this fortnight and she is asking us to create a piece of work inspired by this fabulous photograph of a rusted door, she took whilst on holiday. If you would like to join in, hop over to the ATP blog by following this link and you'll find the challenge guidelines as well as plenty of fabulous inspiration from the rest of the design team. There's a £10 voucher for the Artist Trading Post for one lucky winner ! You can create anything you wish, but it must contain some stamping, and no digi images please.
 I love the wonderful colours and textures Ruth has captured in the picture, and decided to use them as my inspiration for this mixed media canvas.
I started off by adhering some torn book pages to the surface of my canvas, using  Matte Multi Medium. Once this was dry, I applied  Embossing Paste through a Tim Holtz Lattice Work Layering Stencil  and a stencil from my stash. Once this was dry, I set about creating the rusty texture using Golden Glass Bead Gel. Ruth has a great post on the ATP Exchange blog about this wonderful medium.  I applied the gel with a palette knife and also sprinkled a few seed beads into the gel while it was still wet. This added some variation to the texture.
 This is a fabulous medium to use and I got a little carried away, applying it to a bit more of the canvas than perhaps I should have. I had meant to leave some smooth areas. Once these layers were dry, I started to add colour. I used Luminarte Silks. These are wonderful metallic sheen, acrylic glazes and come in a variety of gorgeous colours. They are a dream to use !
The colours I've used here, are from the the Autumn Splendour and the Fruit Punch sets. As they are essentially glazes, the colours layer over each other beautifully. After having such a lot of fun painting with the Luminarte Silks, it was time to apply some detail. I stamped three butterflies onto a piece of lightweight paper using black Archival Ink. I heat embossed the images with clear embossing powder and painted each one with with Luminarte Silks.
I then cut them out and adhered them to the canvas with Matte Multi Medium.
This close up shows why I wish I'd left some smooth spaces, I think my butterflies have a little more texture than perhaps they should. As you can see I am embracing imperfection! To finish off the canvas, I added some touches of gold foil to the stenciling, a dictionary definition stamping in the background and a Remnant Rub On word across the middle.
I just about manged to capture some of the glint of the foiling in this photo. So there you have it ! my first ATP Exchange post. If you'd like to try any of the products I've used to create this canvas, just click on any of the links and you'll be transported to the Artist trading Post shop. I look forward to seeing your 'Any Old Iron' projects x

Friday, 24 October 2014

Compendium of Curiosities 3 ~ Challenge 13 ~ Worn Cover

Hi everybody! It's Friday evening and for me that means getting my project up for Linda's Compendium of Curiosities 3, challenge number 13. This has been great for me, as the challenge was to go to work on one of Tim's Worn Covers. I've  been keeping my Creative Chemistry tags in this one. Here's what it looked liked before.....
I love the worn look of the cover as it is, but it was definitely needing a little personalisation. I used one of my favourite of Tim's wonderful techniques. He calls it Painted Industrial. To create this technique on my Worn Cover, I've used Alcohol Inks on the sticky backed foil, instead of Distress Paint.Tim showcased this technique in his book, Compendium of Curiosities Volume 2 . So you see, you really need all three books so that you can keep on referring to them !
Here's a side view.....
I used rivets to attach the Ring Binder, you have to hammer the two parts together and they work really well at securing the binder. The letters and numerals for CC102 were cut from the fabulous Word Play Die. I covered a piece of chipboard with sticky backed copper foil before die cutting them.
I used some paper from the Laboratoire Paper Stash, to cover the inside.....
...... and finished off with an embellished jeans button and one of those totally fab and utterly useful Ideaology elastic bands, simple but perfect !
So there you have it, another fun challenge from Linda and the Curiosity Crew! I'm very grateful to them for 'making' me transform my CC102, into something far more fitting for the wonderful contents ! The challenge this fortnight has been sponsored by the fabulous Inspiration Emporium, with a $50 gift certificate for one lucky winner. There's also a huge package of goodies from Tim and Mario, for the Crew's favourite entry. My lovely blog friend Lisa with her gorgeous Tinted Photo creation, was the well deserved winner for the last challenge !If you haven't got your Compendium of Curiosities 3 book yet, you can order a signed copy directly from Tim, and don't forget volumes 1&2 are still available !

Monday, 20 October 2014

Exciting News!

Hi everybody! just a quick post to share some exciting new that I've been keeping under wraps for a little while. I'm very pleased to announce that I shall be joining the fabulous Artist Trading Post Exchange, design team. The ATP Exchange, is a relatively new mixed media challenge blog. So new in fact, that the team are currently hosting only the second of their fortnightly challenges, which, by the way, has a Halloween theme. I'm really looking forward to working with such a talented design team and I can tell you that there are some great challenges in the pipeline, all sponsored by the lovely people at the Artist Trading Post. I do hope you'll find time to hop over to the blog where you can meet the design team, see their inspiring art work and view the challenge guidelines. If you click on this link you'll be transported straight there. I look forward to seeing you ! x

Thursday, 9 October 2014

'The Colours of Autumn' Frilly and Funkie New challenge !

I am delighted  to be presenting this project as a guest designer, for the Frilly and Funkie blog. I had the great honour of being selected as a winner for the 'From the Heart' challenge and now I have the great pleasure of sharing my guest design project, for the new 'Autumn Colours' challenge. You can find all the details of the challenge over on the Frilly and Funkie blog
The theme for this fortnight is 'Autumn Colours'. This is quite perfect, as there is inspiration everywhere ! I chose to make this autumn wall hanging as it is similar in construction to my winning heart and I thought it would be nice to share the process for anyone who might like to have a go at a similar home decor project.
I started with a chipboard circle measuring around 9 1/2 inches wide. 
I gave it a coat of gesso and then used embossing paste through my favourite Wendy Vecchi Flourish stencil, to add texture to the frame. Once it was dry, I gave the frame a coat of Paper Artsy Fresco paint. I used a mixture of Vintage Lace, Stone and a touch of Mushroom. After more drying, I used Inca Gold Paste, to highlight the stenciling. I also blended archival ink in Potting Soil, around the edges.
I used cream coloured 160gsm card, to die cut  a whole bunch of  leaves using, Tim Holtz's Bigz Tattered Leaves die. I also used some leaves I cut on my Pazzles Inspiration, and some smaller die cuts from the Movers and Shapers Mini Tattered Leaves. This gave me a nice variety of shapes and sizes. I then coated each leaf with gesso. 
Once the leaves were dry, I used a variety of Dylusions Sprays to colour the surface. This was great fun! I let the colours mingle together so that they formed pools and drips. Note to self...... wear protective gloves next time! Those Dylusions colours sure are strong ! I still have red cuticles after three days of hand washing and washing up! Whilst the leaves were drying I turned my attention to making the flowers. There are three different types, the two larger ones were made with the Tattered Florals die. You can see a step by step I posted some time ago, on how to make these, by following this link
All of the flowers have also been coloured with Dylusions Sprays. I made the spiky flowers by snipping a piece of card and rolling it up very tightly. I have a Cheery Lynn die which cuts a fringe, but I wanted to see if it was possible to make a larger one by hand cutting a strip.
These pictures show the process I used.............
........and this is what it looks like after being sprayed with colour. I adhered all the elements to the frame with Cosmic Shimmer glue. This has a nice thin nozzle which helps when you have lots of layers to attach. I played around with different layouts before deciding which one I preferred. It's a good idea to take a quick photo before gluing everything down as it's easy to forget where things  go. I added in a few little die cut acorns here and there, before finishing off with an extravagant bow made of Distress Stained seam binding ribbon. I also adhered a  metal washer to the back of the frame, in order to counter balance the flower arrangement. This avoids it from being lopsided when it is hung up.
I've had great fun working on this guest design project and would like to thank all those talented design team members, over at Frilly and Funkie for inviting me.
I hope you'll  find time to soak up all the wonderful autumn colours and be inspired to use them in your work and don't forget to show the Frillie and Funkie team. Who knows you could be their next guest designer !  x


Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Mirror Mirror On the Wall ....

Here's a little peek at the project I'm sharing over on the eclectic Paperie blog today. I think you may be able to guess the theme ! If you'd like to see a little more, hop over to the  eP blog by clicking on this link and all will be revealed.........x