Thursday, 5 October 2017

Autumn ~ 'The Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness' ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi everybody! It's my turn to host the challenge over on the Stamps and Stencils blog. I've chosen the theme of Autumn as I don't think we can let this beautiful season, pass us by without a celebration. There is a little catch, in that I'm asking you to play along by using a tag or tags as a substrate. If you hop over to the blog you'll find all the details of the challenge and have the opportunity to see the fabulous projects, created by our talented design team. I made my tag from a piece of corrugated cardboard. It measures around 25 x 12 cm which gave me plenty of room to play with. Here's how I started.......
I cut the tag shape with my guillotine, and  punched a hole in the top. I then glued a reinforcing circle, over the punched hole, this turned the humble piece of card into a bonafide tag. I tore off pieces of the top layer to reveal some areas of the corrugations and then, like many of my mixed media projects, I adhered torn pieces of book page, to the surface.
I then gave the tag a light coat of gesso and once dry, stenciled a flourish pattern on the smooth areas using modelling paste to add extra dimension.
Once this was dry, I had some fun applying paints and sprays to the surface. I used Paper Artsy Fresco Finish paints as they have a nice matte finish. After drying the paint with a heat tool, I sprayed on some Distress Spray colours  and then used my splatter brush to apply some gold acrylic paint.
The splatter brush is something of a revelation to me. I've had the brush for sometime and it wasn't till attending Tim Holtz's workshop the other week ( quick name drop there), that I learned how to use it properly. I'd been doing it all wrong! Here's a closeup.......
The next step was to cut out and colour some leaves and flowers. I used Tattered Florals and Tattered Leaves dies and also hand cut the fringed flowers. I coloured the leaves with a mixture of Distress Oxides and Distress Sprays, after they'd been cut. In order to make the fringed flowers, I coloured some strips of lightweight card, with Distress Sprays, dried with a heat tool, then made very close together 'snips' all the way along leaving  a border of about 1cm along the edge. I then used a quilling tool to  rolled the strip up tightly, with a touch of glue on the last couple of centimetres. I also die cut a clock face and gave it a rusty paint finish.
I attached all of the flower and leaf elements with a hot glue gun. This works for me as I find it holds dimensional embellishments in place instantly. I hope you've enjoyed this little walk through the making of my Autumn tag. If you'd like to join in with our challenge and have a little autumnal fun, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog with this link, and feast your eyes on the inspiration you'll find there. Happy Crafting ! x    




Tuesday, 12 September 2017

AALL and Create ITAC 17 ~ Challenge 4 ~ Africa

Hi everybody! I'm a bit late to the table but I've been wanting  to join in with the AALL and Create ITAC challenge. ITAC stands for 'the International Tournament of Art and Craft'. This has been running since August and features the work a highly prestigious group of artists. You can see all of the details, by following this link. Challenge 4 is 'Africa' My father was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria before coming to the UK,  where he met and married my mum. I never got to meet my dad's mother, but I share her name and some of her features. My canvas is an expression of these connections.
I started  off by covering a shop bought canvas with a piece of hessian wallpaper. I just wrapped it around and stapled it to the wooded frame. I then gave it a quick coat of gesso. I used Deco Art paints to colour  a piece of rice paper, using warm colours. Once dry I stamped over the surface, using black Archival ink and a set of 'Adinkra' symbol stamps, which I bought, when I was lucky enough to visit New York.....
The Adinkra symbols are specific to the Asante  people of  Ghana. They were initially used to pattern ceremonial cloth, but are now used in many other decorative ways. My son even has a small tattoo on his wrist, of one of the symbols! I tore the rice paper into strips and collaged it over the surface of the canvas, adhering with Matte Medium......
I then scraped some white gesso onto the canvas concentrating more on the area I was going to use to transfer an image of my grandmother. To make the photo transfer, I used my inkjet printer to copy a photograph of my grandmother. Here is the original picture.......
I love this. She has such a serene expression. I copied the picture a couple of times, enlarging it until I got to the size I needed for my canvas. I then trimmed the copy, and painted over the surface with Deco Art, Deco-Page Medium, I also painted the medium onto the canvas. I then placed the picture face down and gently smoothed out any air bubbles, Once I was sure that the picture was adhered to the canvas, but was not completely dry, I placed the canvas on a flat surface and burnished the back with a spoon. I left it to dry completely and then started to remove the paper, by wetting it and gently rubbing it away with my fingers. I did this quite cautiously, as I didn't want to rub away, any of her lovely features.......
I then used one of my hand carved stamps to add  more detail into the background. I also did some scribbley journalling with a black pen......
To finish off, I added a little tinting to to my grandmother's image, before giving the whole canvas a wash with quinacridone gold mixed with a touch of yellow ochre and paynes grey. I also blended  Archival black ink around the edges. I had originally thought that I would add some beads and cowrie shells, but when I had a second look, I decided that it was finished. I'm very happy that the AALL and Create, ITAC 17, has prompted me to make this piece of art, that has enabled me to honour my grandmother and celebrate my Nigerian heritage. x 


  


Thursday, 7 September 2017

Metallics ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

Hi everybody! It's time for a new challenge over at Stamps and Stencils. This month, Rachel is our fabulous host and for her challenge, she has chosen 'Metallics'.  This is what Rachel has to say...
 ......" I would like you to make a piece involving metallics in some way- It could be metallic paints, rusted metal techniques, actual bits of metal, metal foil.....the possibilities are endless-also please use stamps and/or stencils, Have fun!
Now, excuse me but  is there anyone out there that does not  love a bit of 'metal' faux or otherwise, in their crafting ? So thank you Rachel this challenge certainly hits the spot!
The project I have for you today, is a little canvas. It was inspired by a couple of feathers I found in my garden, I wanted to see whether they would stand up to being painted and guess what?  they did !
I prepared the canvas by firstly collaging, torn book pages to the surface...
I used Deco Art Matte Medium and gave the surface a quick coat of gesso. In order to add some surface texture, I applied pieces of muslin fabric and lace, again using Matte Medium.....
Once this layer was dry, I added some dimensional stenciling to the edges, using Modelling Paste and and one of my favourite harlequin patterned stencils. More drying time, followed by a little Antique Linen Distress spray to the surface allowing it to pool and dribble.....
This really helped to define all the lovely textures. By this point, I had already painted the feathers with Imagination Crafts, Starlight Paint and they were wonderfully metallised.  I really, really love these paints, Here's a close up....
Before assembling the different metallic elements to the canvas, I typed out the little verse onto a piece of deli paper, using a wonderful junk shop find, portable typewriter. Oh my ! Typing is not quite as easy as using a keyboard, I kept making silly mistakes and had to start again about three times! When I had my final, error free verse, I tore it out and adhered it to the canvas with Matte Medium. I then Stamped the word 'Hope' onto a small brass off cut. I used a hammer and a set of metal stamps I've had for ages. I also used an awl to poke a couple of holes in the metal so that I could attach it to the canvas with a couple of brads.....
I added a swirl of tarnished copper wire around the brass tag. I secured it, by poking the ends through the canvas and twisting them on the back. I then attached the feathers with super strong double sided tape. Once all of the elements were secured, I added a little Treasure Gold to the edges of the canvas, applying it with my finger. I also added a few spatters of gold ink here and there.....
I'm so glad I salvaged the feathers as I think they fit really well with the beautiful poem, which I love "Hope" is the thing with feathers- by Emily Dickinson. I feel inspired to read more of her poems, maybe they'll trigger some more art work! Speaking of which....... We would love to see what you make of our September challenge, hop over to the Stamps and Stencils blog, where You'll find Rachel's fabulous project, as well as  some wonderfully inspiring projects by the rest of this fab DT. You'll also find our few simple rules, make it mixed media and use stamps, or stencils or both in your project...... come on..... you know you want to ! x


Monday, 21 August 2017

#Trash to Treasure ~ Vintage Photo Album

Hi everybody! I have a 'vintage' photo album for you today, made with the Eileen Hull Passport Book Die. This project is inspired by an old photo album I bought a while ago, from a fabulous local antique shop called 'The Dog House'. It looks pretty unassuming from the outside, but on opening it up, I discovered a real hoard of 'found ancestors' here's a sample.......
If you have seen some of my past projects, you may know that I'm a big fan of using recycled materials, with tomato paste tubes being perhaps my most favourite. I've got quite a stash of them now, so I thought I'd better get down to using some of them ! Once an empty tube has been cut open, washed and flattened out, it is the perfect size to die cut a single cover, using the Passport Die. You therefore, need two tubes to make a front and back cover. They also emboss superbly!
The next step, was to give the covers a vintage look, by using Finnabair's rust paint kit.......
It really sticks well to the metal surface. Once the paint was dry, I sanded it back slightly and scraped a few parts so that the metal showed through. I then gave the  covers a coat of Decoart Quinacridone Gold. This imparts a real warmth to the colours and also adds a slight sheen. In order to make the covers firm enough, I adhered each of the embossed  and rusted panels to a corresponding mount board die cut.
I then used a die to cut out a rectangle, in the front cover.......
It was now time to start on the inside. The book has three 'signatures' composed of Kraft card. I die cut six sets of pages, and adhered patterned paper to one side. I also die cut each set of pages with a rectangle on one side and an oval on the other........
Each signature requires two of these placed back to back, so that the photographs are sandwiched between them. Before putting the photographs in.........
 I also adhered a piece of velvet to some Kraft card, allowed it to dry and then die cut the 'spine' of the Passport Book. this makes the album look quite luxurious and provides a nice contrast to the rusty metal covers........
 I was lucky enough to have a mini photo printer for my birthday. Its made by Fuji. and works wirelessly from a phone or ipad. It prints mini sized pictures, which happen fit perfectly behind the rectangles and oval die cuts on my pages. This was a real bonus as it meant that I didn't have to mess around cutting the pictures to fit. I used my phone to photograph some of my favourite old family photos and printed them out. In order to pay homage to my original inspiration I also photographed one of the photos from the album and used her on my front cover. Before adhering the photos, I glued a piece of mica behind each of the 'windows' This adds a real 'vintage' glow to my modern reprints.
Then each page was glued back to back to another page, so that a photo is visible on each side. I used bulldog clips to ensure that all of of the edges were properly adhered. I pierced a hole in the back cover, near to the side edge and threaded a loop of elastic through. I tied a knot to secure it. I also secured a vintage button to the front cover, in a similar way but used linen thread instead of elastic. I then covered the inside with patterned paper. I attached each signature, with narrow gold ribbon.......
To finish off, I added a die cut envelope inside the front cover, and blended a little Brushed Corduroy Distress ink around the edges of the pages. The book is wonderfully tactile, using the metal tubes means that it is quite cool to the touch and nice to hold. Apart from the one on the front cover, the photos I've used are of my grandparents, great grandparents and my mum and dad. It's really nice to get them all together in this little family album. x







Thursday, 3 August 2017

Technique School ~ Stamps and Stencils ~ New Challenge

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

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



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

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



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

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

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



Saturday, 29 July 2017

Journal Madness !

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