Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Twelve Tags of 2015 ~ December ~ The Final Tag !

With hardly any time to spare, I have just completed my final tag of the year for Tim's Twelve Tags of 2015. You can see his fabulous December tag by following this link. It's been a great year for the Twelve Tags Challenge, with, as usual, some ingenious creative ideas from Tim. I'm pleased with myself  that I've managed to complete yet another year of tags. This one has a few improvisations. I haven't any of the lovely punches that Tim has used on his tag. It's sometimes hard for us in the UK, to keep up with new products as they are often in limited supply and you have to be pretty quick off the mark to grab them. Still I'm glad I was able to use the Box Wood Twine, I'd bought a while ago. I used the Poinsettia Layering Stencil in the background as this has been a firm favourite for my Christmas cards this year. I've given them some gold centres by dotting with a gold leaf pen. I made a lot of these little Christmas trees last year after they were sold out just about everywhere. I used sisal string, wire and a hand drill.This is one of three that were left over. I trimmed it so that it would lie flat and glued it on with my glue gun. This is what I did with the other two.....
I was thrilled when I saw Tim's trophy cup project, as it was perfect for these two little cups I bought earlier this year from our local junk shop. I knew they'd come in handy!
Well that's it for this year. Thank you Tim for all the inspiration you have given us this year. May you have a wonderful 2016 !!!! x

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Grungy Christmas ~ New Challenge at Stamps and Stencils

Hello everybody ! It's time for our final challenge of the year over at Stamps and Stencils. If you've been over there, you may have seen that there are going to be some changes as we go into the New Year. Sadly we are saying good bye to three of our lovely team, the very talented ladies, Julia, Yvonne and Sharon are moving on. I'm sure that like me, you have enjoyed seeing their fabulous projects over the last year.  Luckily for the rest of our team we have manged to lure in not just three but four wonderfully talented ladies to step into those big shoes ! You may already know that Cec has joined us, and our other new teamies are, Autumn, Branka and Rachel. It's going to be a lot of fun getting to know them.
So now on to this month's challenge. Julia is our host and she has chosen a 'Grungy Christmas' as the theme. You can see by my altered gift box, that I definitely got stuck into the 'grungy' part of the title! I chose to alter an empty box, which originally had some posh soaps in. This was a Christmas present I received last year and try as I may, I just can't bring myself to throw a good box away! here is the 'before' picture......

I used a technique I learned at one of Finnabair's workshops, I love her distinctive style and this project pays homage to her. I gave the box a coat of black gesso before stencilling over the surface with thick gel matte medium.
Once this was dry, I applied more black gesso and then started to assemble all the bits and pieces I used to decorate the surface. I played around with a few arrangements and once satisfied, I adhered each piece, using a hot glue gun.
As you can see, there are a variety of different materials, metal, resin and plastic, chipboard and wood. Once everything was secured, I then painted everything with even more black gesso! once this was dry, I spritzed on a bit of gold spray.
I then painted selected areas with iron paint. This came as part of a two pack rusting kit. The kit contains a bottle of iron paint and a bottle of oxidising solution. The one I have is by Triangle Crafts and it's called Instant Rust Set. the great thing about it, is that it creates real rust and you never quite know how it's going to turn out ! 
Here's how it looked before I got started with some metallic pastes .....
I used Treasure Gold and Inca Gold to highlight certain areas, and buffed the surface to add a bit of sheen here and there. I added a few bits of bling  here and there using pearls, and gems. After all it wouldn't be Christmas without a bit of bling !
So there you have it my Grungy Christmas gift box ready to have some goodies put inside, Question is can I bear to part with it ? If you fancy some Grungy Christmas fun, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog and you'll find all the details of how to join in the challenge. You'll find some fantastic work by the rest of the current team and also have an opportunity to meet  Autumn, Branka and Rachel. 

Monday, 30 November 2015

Twelve Tags of 2015 ~ November

Back to normal here at craft dabbler central! Here I am, posting my November entry for Tim's Twelve Tags of 2015 challenge, with only hours to spare ! As it is so late, I felt as though I'd missed the opportunity to recreate Tim's fabulous Autumn tag, so I've skipped a season and gone straight into winter ! There are several things I love about the techniques Tim has shared this month. Firstly the 'linen look' background, very cool and I will certainly use that again. Next, the transfer foil used around the edges. I've gone with a silver holographic foil on this tag, it's something I've had for ages so it's great to give it some use. I also love the cut out letters, I've used a word from the Sizzix 'Happy Holidays' set I bought last year and cut it from a strip of shop bought, gessoed canvas. I think the ripped edges add an extra touch of frostiness. There's also a touch of glitter added to the snowflake, Let me know if anyone out there finally nails the secret to photographing glitter. It's there in my view finder! So there you have it!  Once again a great tag to make. Thank you Tim, we're almost there now, and I've got another fab tag to add to my growing collection! x

Thursday, 5 November 2015

'Remember, Remember....' ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi everybody ! It's the first Thursday of the month and that means it's time for a new challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. I hope you enjoyed our last challenge along with the blog hop. Many thanks to all of you that joined in and paid me a visit. Ruth is our talented host this month and she has chosen 'Remember, Remember'. This is what she has to say .......

Hi, Ruth here with this months challenge which is 'Remember, Remember' may be the 5th of November today (Bonfire Night in the UK) but for this challenge we want to see mixed media projects inspired by 'favourite memories', you can interpret this in any way you like as long as you include some stamping or stencilling in your mixed media piece. What we want to see is how a favourite memory has inspired you, so don't forget to mention this in your post. 

Roberta and Me and the Bumble Bee
When I started thinking about the challenge, I soon realised how lucky I am to have a lot of happy memories, from my childhood right up to the present day. You can't ask for more than that ! I decided to go with a memory that always makes me smile. I was about 6 years old and it was one of those endless summers that you only have when you're a child. My best friend Roberta and I, had been 'playing out', when we noticed that an 'enormous' bumble bee had landed on the skirt of her dress. Now, as inner city kids, all we knew about bees was that they made 'hunny' and if they landed on you, you had to stay very still or they would sting you. We stood perfectly still, for what seemed like hours. I can't begin to tell you how terrified we were! I'm not sure how our dilemma ended but needless to say neither of us was stung.
So my project is this journal spread of Roberta and I in our summer dresses. who knows it could even have been taken on the same day!
I started off by taping two pieces of watercolour paper, side by side, with masking tape. I then glued on various textured elements including some pieces of bandage and washi tape. Finnabair, showed us this technique during one of  her workshops I attended last year. Working on   both pages at the same time, helps the flow and balance. 
After coating the surface with white gesso, I stamped, using some of my homemade stamps, with fluorescent acrylic paint. 
I then sprayed here and there with Dylusions Sprays and encouraged some 'drippage' by spraying with water.
I added some stencilling and doodled around the flower with black and white pens. I'm still looking for the 'ultimate' white pen ! I also used a black Stablio pencil and water brush to add a bit of depth.
I then stamped Dina Wakley's bumble bee and coloured it with paint, and then added a bit more stamping around the edges, using black Archival ink. It was then time to remove the pages and try them in my journal. I adhered them with matte gel  and added a print of the photo and a few finishing touches. So now it's over to you, this has been a great fun challenge for me and I'm sure you'll enjoy it just as much as I have. 
Such happy care free days when all we were scared of was a bumble bee !

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Twelve Tags of 2015 ~ October

Well here I am posting my October tag, for Tim's Twelve Tags of 2015 challenge, on the last day of the month ! I must confess I have been dragging my feet over this one. I love the new Monster dies that Tim has released and as tempted as I am, my crafty budget will just not stretch quite that far. So my tag this month is all about improvising and using my stuff ! I must say I'm quite pleased with the results. I followed the same techniques Tim used on his fabulous tag and made substitutions for the products I haven't got. The background paper is from Tim's  Laboratoire Paper Stack and the monster face features were cut with  Movers and Shapers 'Mini Silly Jack O Lantern dies. So that's it for another month, at least I won't have long to wait and see what Tim has in store for November ! Happy Halloween folks x

Thursday, 1 October 2015

New Challenge for Stamps and Stencils ~ Make it 3d ~ Hop to it ! .........

Hi everybody, Its' time for a new Stamps and Stencils challenge. Sue is our host this month and her challenge title is 'Whatever it is Make it 3D'. She has also added to the  fun with a blog hop and a prize for one lucky person who discovers our secret word. If you've arrived here from Sharon's blog, you are in the right place to gather another letter to help you solve the puzzle. I hope you've been enjoying seeing the fabulous 3D projects made by my talented teamies. I decided to go for pure fun  with this Halloween home decor piece. I've had a great time putting this together, using dies, paints, inks, embossing powders, sprays, stencils, stamps, glitter and gems. In fact every thing but the kitchen sink  I'm looking forward to seeing what my little nieces and nephews think of it, when they come round for Halloween.  As this is a blog hop, I won't go into a lot of depth about how I made it, instead, here are a few pictures of some of the stages.......
 Now, you need to hop on over to Sues blog, with this link, where you'll find the final letter. Don't forget to leave a comment on each of the blogs, we always love to know what you think of our work and of course please join in with our 3D challenge, just remember to include some stamping or stenciling in your project.  Oh! and before I go you'll need this.... L ...... Happy hopping !

Friday, 18 September 2015

Twelve Tags of 2015 ~ September

Hi everybody! I can hardly believe that I'm posting my tag for Tim's twelve Tags of 2015 challenge, before the last day of the month. Hooray! I managed to snatch a few hours in my crafty attic yesterday afternoon and I knew, I would (as always), enjoy making my tag. I absolutely love the gorgeous colours on Tim's tag this month, so I started off by having a play with my alcohol inks.......
These are some of my bright backgrounds. I was struck by how much difference it made to the backgrounds, when I added an inked edge to them, as in the first and last in this line up. I was on a bit of a roll and made quite a few backgrounds, experimenting with different colour combos and spraying or dripping on blending solution.......
These are some of my favourites, using a more neutral colour palette. As you can see from my finished tag, it was one of these that won the day. The others will be put aside for future use. I haven't got those fabulous butterfly stamps that Tim used and although I have other butterflies, I decided to think outside the box. After much perusing through my stamp collection I decided to go a little spooky with the wonderful skull stamp, and make  my first Halloween project of the season. thanks once again Tim, I'm always amazed that you can come up with such brilliant ideas and techniques month after month.......speaking of which there are only 3 more to go ! x 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Up, Up and Away~New Challenge for Stamps and Stencils

Hi Everybody! It's the first Thursday in the month and that means  it's time for a new challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. Sharon is our fabulous host and this is what she has to say......

 Up, Up and away with a twist ! For this challenge we would like to see something that goes Up Up and away. It could be a plane, bird a feather anything that can go up, but you must use /autumnal colours. So get out the copper, rust and burnt oranges. Be it paint, metal or embossing powders, don't forget to include some Stamps and Stencilling....

I think you'll agree that this is a fabulous challenge, with plenty of scope. I love autumnal colours and I have plenty of  'winged things' stamps ! My project is this little four piece panel with lots of stamping and stenciling. I started by colouring some pieces of manila card with Dylusions Sprays. 
I dried them with a heat tool and then ironed them flat. I then selected a few stencils and added some pattern with Distress Inks in similar autumn shades.
I then die cut the four arches, one from each background piece, and also four more in thicker craft card. I then adhered the coloured arches to the craft card using Matte Multi Medium. The added bonus is that I've still got lots of coloured card to play with! I had a lot of fun selecting the stamps and building a kind of stamped collage on each shaped piece. I used black Archival ink for stamping and clear embossing powder over the top. Once I was happy with the arches, I gave each one a quick spritz with a gold spray. I have the tiniest bit left of a gold spray by Crafty Notions. It is the best I've ever had, really sparkly and has never clogged up in all the years I have had it. Yes years! I digress....Here are some close ups of the individual panels
number one....
and two....
and finally....
As you can see, the panels are joined together by adding brass eyelets and threading through some dyed ribbon. There is a little dusting of gold embossing powder here and there and the edges have black Archival Ink blended in.  This was a lot of fun to make, sometimes it's lovely to get down to some good old stamping ! I hope you can find some time to join in with our challenge this month, dig out those stamps and stencils and get stuck into some lovely Autumn colours. You'll find all the challenge details and see some wonderfully inspiring pieces by the rest of the brilliant design team by following this link. I look forward to seeing what you come up with, For now though it's Up, Up and Away to finish cooking tea! x

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Twelve Tags of 2015 ~ August ~ Uncle Jim

Hi everybody!I hope my UK friends are enjoying this typical British Summer, rain, rain and more rain ! Still, the best way I know of cheering myself up on a wet afternoon, is spend some time in my craft room. Thanks to Mr Holtz, I happily spent a few hours absorbed in making my tag for this month's Twelve Tags of 2015 challenge.  I was a bit daunted when I first saw Tim's tag, as I haven't got any of the  lovely Word Block Dies. I'm also running low on Ideaology bits and bobs. Still, I see this as all part of the challenge, it makes you put your thinking cap on! For my die cut background I used Tim's Typeset Alphabet strip die. As I use a Big Shot die cutting machine, I was able to cover the last inch of the tag with a thicker piece of card in order to prevent the die from cutting through the bottom of the tag. The cool looking dude in the picture, is my ' Uncle Jim'.  He came to England from Nigeria, at the same time as my dad, in the early 1950's. They were best friends and our two families spent a lot of time together as we were growing up. They remained firm friends throughout their lives and sadly, they passed away within a year of each other.  I love this picture and have welcomed the opportunity to use it this month's tag. x

P.S. Just been having a look at this month's entries, wow.. there are some fantastic interpretations!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Time Flies ~ New Challenge for Stamps and Stencils

It's the first Thursday of the month and that means it's time for another challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. The very talented Yvonne is our host, and this is what she has to say......

'For this challenge we would like to see clocks/watches/or any other time related element
 as a focus on your project. Remember we are are a mixed media challenge blog
and we would like to see some stamps and/or stenciling'

 While I was mulling over the challenge title, the song, 'Fly Like an Eagle', by The Steve Miller Band, with the opening lyric, 'Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future....', sprang into my head. This set the theme for my project, which is a little 5x7 inch canvas, in a fun 'Steam Punk' style. I got a bit carried away as I was working on it and haven't taken too many photos of the process, however, here is a shot of the background before it got covered up.....
In this picture, you can see the stamped tickets laid out on the surface. You can also see a bit of a splodge in the middle. This is where I had stamped directly onto the canvas and then changed my mind and decided so make stamped tickets instead. The original stamping didn't show up enough, so I stamped some small die cut tickets with the months of the year and adhered them to the background.
The die cut pocket watch, was treated with Vintage Photo, Distress Embossing powder and a smear of Treasure Gold around the edges. The stamped image, has been coloured with Distress Markers and a water brush. The wings have been cut from card covered with aluminium foil tape and then embossed with a cogs and gears embossing folder. They've been coloured with Alcohol Inks and have had a few cogs attached to them.
I love the phrase as it just about sums up 'time' to me. So lets all make a point of using a bit more of it to do the things we love !!!
If you've got a bit of time on your hands and would like to join in with our challenge, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link and you'll find all the details of how to join in. You will also find some fabulous inspiration from the rest of the design team. I look forward to seeing your creations. x

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Twelve Tags of 2015 ~ July

With only a few days left of the month of July, I've taken a quick break from domestic tasks, to post my tag for Tim's Twelve Tags of 2015 challenge. It may be July and the height of summer but it's more like autumn here in the UK, with far too many grey and rainy days ! Come on Sunshine do your thing ! Sorry to digress but you know how much us Brits like to talk about the weather ! Back to The tag, which is yet another great idea from Tim. You can see his fabulous 'Independence Day' inspired tag, with this link. As It's now far from that date, I decided to go with a different interpretation using the lovely Flower Garden stamp set. After stamping and colouring my chosen flowers, I realised that  they wouldn't fit on my no.8 tag, so had to cut a larger one from manila card. I thought I was being fairly original until I had a look through all the wonderful entries for this month and spied a gorgeous tag by Diana over at Missusgmoments .Well, you know what they say 'great minds think alike ! One of my favourite elements of Tim's tag this month, is the fabulous stripy ribbon such a cool technique ! I made an extra long piece so that I could make a nice big bow. So that's it for now, back to a few more chores. Thanks for yet another great tag Tim ! x

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Happy Holidays ~ New Challenge at Stamps and Stencils

Hi everybody ! It's my turn to host the July challenge over on  the Stamps and Stencils blog. I've chosen the theme of 'Happy Holidays' and  I look forward to seeing as many different interpretations as you happy crafters can come up with ! Just remember to use some stamping and stenciling. Full details and challenge rules can be found over on the Stamps and Stencils blog.
I've made a  photo album, to house an assortment of my old holiday snaps. The album is made of chipboard and I constructed it by following a plan from one of my craft books called 'Interactive Mini Scrapbooks by Kathy Orta Files. I had to give it a mixed media twist by adding this Finabair inspired canvas and card cover. I started by stenciling a piece of gessoed canvas with embossing paste.
I then applied Distress Paints and once they were dry, I sprayed on Dylusions Sprays in various blues and greens.
While this was drying, I turned my attention to a couple of panels I wanted to mount on the cover.
I applied gesso to a couple of pieces of kraft card, and stenciled them with embossing paste. I then selected some shells, which were gathered on various holidays and secured them to one of the panels using a hot glue gun.
I used more Dylusions Sprays to add colour and finished off by highlighting the shells with Silks Paints. Once everything was completely dry, and the interior of my album was finished, I adhered the canvas to the album using Liquitex heavy bodied matte gel. I also used this to secure the card  panels to the front panels. I love the fastening, which I cribbed from the book. It's a mini bulldog clip,  attached to a swivel clip, with a piece of chain secured to back of the book, through an eyelet with a jump ring attached to the chain to prevent it from pulling through. (leave me a comment if you want to know how to do this ) You may be wondering about what's going on inside, curious ? well here are a few pics......
I scanned a few of my favourite holiday photos and used Craft Artist, to give them a sepia finish.
I used the gorgeous papers from Tim's Correspondence, paper stash.
As a finishing touch, I added some stamping to the tags and bits and pieces inside the album. I'm really quite pleased with the finished results. I had a lot of fun making the album and one of the joys was sorting through some of my old photos. They certainly do bring back lovely memories of some very Happy Holidays ! x

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Twelve Tags of 2015 ~June

Don't you just love those afternoons when you can escape to your crafty space and loose yourself for a few hours?  Well that's what I've been up to today. My session started with getting down to work on my offering for Tim's Twelve Tags of 2015 challenge. You can see Tim's lovely tag here. I was puzzling over what to use as I haven't got Tim's 'Fresh Brewed' die.  A little trip to the 'Crafty Bunch' craft shop yesterday, however, meant that I had got this newly acquired  Sizzix 'Birds' die.I really love it and I think it's worked a treat ! I've tried to maintain the essence of Tim's tag, by using the same techniques as well as  a variety of textures and similar colours. So now I am going back to my craft room to continue with another project, which I shall be sharing later on this week. Thank you Tim for continuing to inspire us all ! x

Friday, 19 June 2015

Etched Metal Books and The Joys of Internet Learning.

I'm not sure how many of my blog friends are familiar with the 'Interweave' website. I'ts basically an online store, that has a huge collection of craft resources. As well as providing information about crafting events and communities, it also stocks books magazines dvd's and digital downloads, on just about any type of craft or artistic pursuit you can imagine. It was here that I came across the work of Jen Crossley. I loved the look of her metal covered books, and decided to buy a digital download of her Etched Metal Book class and couldn't wait to get started on a project. Jen  has a blog called A Mark in Time  and you can see some of her beautiful work over there. 
This is the first book I made after following the Etched Metal Book class. Out of fairness to Jen I won't go into detail about the process but it does involve stamping and you may recognize the Tim Holtz Bookplate stamp that I've used here.The equipment needed was easy to get hold of, I bought the etching fluid from our local Maplins and brass sheet can be bought in several places on the internet. I borrowed a few tools from my husband and was soon up and running.The whole process is like magic ! I found it really fascinating. As suggested by Jen, the book is filled with water colour paper and is really nice to handle. It was the first time I'd had a go at binding a book and Jen's instructions on the video were easy to follow. After this 'trial run', I had to get straight on to the next book as I had so many ideas buzzing around my head!
So here is book number two. This time I did some masking and stamping to create the design.The anthropomorphic stamps I used, are by Katzelkraft. There is also a bit of freehand Sharpie going on around the frame too. This book has now been given away as a wedding present. Unfortunately, I didn't photograph the inside but each of the water colour signatures, have been wrapped in papers from Tim Holtz's Wallflower collection, very pretty they are too ! I believe the happy couple were very happy with their present !
 Here's a view of some of the dingle dangles,  many of which, have been salvaged from charity shop  jewellery. I buy up old bracelets and necklaces, if they have glass or metal beads and are cheap! If you love learning something new, I can highly recommend hopping over and having a browse through the resources at Interweave. there are frequent special offers, and some freebies. The beauty of the digital downloads is the immediacy, no waiting for the postman to arrive ! I'd like to say thank you to Jen Crossley for teaching me, through the magic of the internet, a fabulous new skill.