Friday, 7 August 2009

Countdown begins...

7 days until normality resumes!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

UK Stampers' Altered Art Challenge- Pegs

You may have picked up that I host an altered art swap on UK Stampers each month. Last month we did pegs, which I have wanted to do for a while. I had been sent a couple of pegs to play with (thanks, Ann!) and this was my opportunity. And since I don't do simple... this is also an altered matchbox!

Colour: The usual culprits- Distress Inks and Liberon Gilt wax, plus the book was covered with an old baby-wipe I had saved which had been used to clean up after paint and ink.
Stamp: Paperartsy swirl. It is faint, but I promise it is there!
Other: Book pages, cover from a match-box, mount-board, wire, beads, button, pins, Prima flower, vellum butterfly (free from 'Making Cards' magazine), and lots of PVA glue.

The book was a bit fiddly to make, but worth it to me. The ends of the pages are cut from my book and sized to fit inside the matchbox cover. They were gilded so that they would blend in with the front of the book, which is solid with 'pretend' pages. There was a gap between the two stacks of end pages which was big enough to take the peg doll. Then I made a book cover as I would for a real book. It even opens! You may need to click on the photos for more detail... :)

Thursday, 21 May 2009

My camera doesn't like black... UK Stampers CJ entry

This is Jean's journal, and I wasn't surprised when I saw the interesting page shape and the Zettiology stamp. I loved the stamp straight away, but did take my time deciding what to do with her. Early in the month I knew I wanted to use my Cherry Pie art doll, but it was so much bigger than the page. Then a song came on the radio and that was it... listen here:

Shame the camera doesn't pick up the details- I used a lot of interference mica powders in the background to create a sort-of psychedelic wallpaper effect. The lyrics to the opening verse are written around the door, and in the mini-envelope is the key to the door!

Colour: Versafine, Paint Dabbers, lots of black ep, Moonglow ep, Stickles, Stardust pen, gold paint, Stazon, Ranger white pen, Cosmic Shimmer/Perfect Pearls, Sharpie pen
Stamps: Zetti (head), Cherry Pie (art doll and flourish)
Other: Funky foam (to create the niche behind the door), Grungeboard door furniture, tiny key from my stash, corrugated card (for door, flattened using Cuttlebug)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

At Last! April's Inchies

I have finally downloaded my camera and I am ashamed to say there is some quite old work on there. This photo is a month old! Hopefully it is still worth showing, even if the swap is over and done with. These are April's Inchies, and Sid set the theme of 'Bling'. Even though I was already starting to feel a bit stressed with work, I had to join in with this swap- it just said 'Stickles' to me! Mmmm, Stickles...

Colour: Glimmer mist, Distress Inks, Gold ep, Stickles, Sharpie pen
Stamps: Elusive Images (a borrow- thanks, Lucy, it is now on my 'must buy' list!)
Other: Err... nothing- for once!

I added the second photo to show all the bling- yummy!

Monday, 4 May 2009

I am still here...

... Just very busy and very tired! I have started doing some work from home, plus I still have my Saturday job and my lovely little toddler (as pictured above). I didn't get time to craft for a while, but now I have got a camera full of images (again!) and hope to bring some things here soon.

Watch this space...

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Playing card swap plus Lots to do challenge- boxes

I don't normally post photos of my altered art swap piece before everything is swapped out (I don't want people to say 'I don't want that'!) but as the Lots to do challenge this week was boxes, I just had to break my tradition. Sam had posted a tutorial to her Technique Zone blog, and I found it fitted my original idea (house of cards) really well. My lovely friend, Lucy, had lent me this stamp, and it all just came together so well. Where would we be without friends, eh?

Colour: Whispers markers, Versafine, Distress Ink, Whispers inkpad, fineline pen, Sharpies
Stamps: Crafty Individuals (birds), Paperartsy (swirls)
Other: Playing cards, acetate, white card, Pinflair glue gel, mountboard

The shadows in the background are not a trick of the light, I stamped first onto acetate and then coloured the birds black, before placing on the bottom playing card. I like the feeling of depth this gives. The layers are supported by thin strips of mountboard glued in place with white craft glue. And I hope that all my friends who twitter enjoy the little joke about birds tweeting to each other :)
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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Hannah's Pink CJ- Queen of He-ART-s

Here is another entry for our UK Stampers' 'Colours' CJ. This is Hannah's lovely little pink book, and for once I decided to stamp directly onto the page, as the page colour was so delicious! I love pink, but don't use it in my work as much as I used to, despite having lots of yummy paper in that colour. Must remember to use it more often...

Colour: Dee Greunig Blending Blox (again!), Distress Ink, Glimmer Mist, Sharpies, Stickles, Versafine, Stazon
Stamps: Elusive Images (small 'art'), Limited Edition, unknown 'A-R-T' signing stamps, Tim Holtz (Grunge Alpha)
Other: Playing card, border punch/fancy scissors (used to create paper lace), cardstock-weight vellum for corner, Ranger Crackle Accents (used on A-R-T)

Friday, 27 March 2009

Lots-to-do Challenge- Wire-wrapped Heart Pendant

This piece came about thanks to the influence of Sam and Nicky, who are both very talented in the melt pot department! Sam does brilliant things with UTEE using silicone ice-cube moulds, as does Nicky. Nicky does great wire-wrapped items (and now has a Folksy shop if you want to buy her jewelry). I had poured the black and gold heart recently, when I did my bottlecap piece, but had not thought of how to use it. Then when Sam set the wire challenge at the Lots-to-do blog, I thought this might be a good project. The wire is florist's and beading wire, and I covered the back in Glossy Accents to stop the wire from sliding off and make it more comfortable to wear. The pendant is 4cm long- about the same size as would come from a certain heart-shaped ice-cube tray I have! Thanks to Sainsburys, too!
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Thursday, 26 March 2009

Mother's Day

Before I start describing the top card, I just want to say that it wasn't that colour! My Mum loves coloured card, and so I used a soft turquoise card as the base. I have tried to get the colour back using various editing tools, and it wasn't happening, so I am sorry, you will have to imagine the real colour.

Anyway, this is the card and stampbord brooch I gave to my Mum for Mother's day. I used my new Elusive Images plate, which I absolutely love- expect to see a lot more using it as it is really versatile.

Colour: Card: Distress Ink, Whispers Dye Ink, Versafine (used on acetate then embossed), aurora ep, Sakura glaze and Stardust pens, Stickles; Brooch: Dee Greunig Blending Blox, Whispers Dye Ink, Stickles, Sakura Stardust Pens, Stazon, Opals UTEE, silver Paint Dabber
Stamps: All Elusive Images
Other: transparency, shrink plastic, wire, brooch back, blue card, Stampbord, butterfly charm.

I also wanted to share with you my own Mother's day card, made by my little budding artist. Inside it says 'Remember when you do my washing that I love you'. Bless! I couldn't eat the cookie as I am gluten intolerant, but my little boy was more than happy to eat it for me :)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Pat's Paper Bead Swap- A Bit of a Funny Story

This is the last of the Feb swaps, and I meant to post this picture last week! I think my blogging is destined to be like my washing- sometimes I do a load a day, then I don't do any for a few days which means I am back to frantic load-a-day again! Pat hosted this swap, and I happily put my name down for it as I have enjoyed making these paper and UTEE beads in the past. Little did I know how frustrating it would be to make 20 all at once! Now, you have to understand, I was the only one who had problems, so I think it is just me! And the resulting beads are pretty, so it was worth it really :)

Here is a quick tutorial if you want to have a go yourself:

1. This is the easy bit. Prepare an A4 piece of paper by colouring, stamping, whatever you like. Decide how long you want your beads to be and cut into long triangles, making the widest side the length you have decided on. Mine are 1.5cm, and I used my trimmer and just cut them quickly into the triangles. NOTE: Make 5 more than you want to end up with, just in case.
2. Find a bamboo skewer and, starting with the wide end of your triangle, wrap your paper tightly around until it looks like a bead shape, using a dab of glue every so often to keep the tension. Pull tight every so often, then start again as the whole thing unwinds. Undo every time it goes out of shape. Make as many beads as your nerves allow, then leave the project alone while you have a cup of tea. Go back to it when your patience has returned and finish all 25.
3. Put your melt pot on, and fill it with clear UTEE- admire the clarity then add flex to stop the beads from shattering when knocked. Note that the beautiful clear mixture has now gone yellow. Apply Versamark/glycerine to the end of your skewer and add your first bead near the end. Dip in the hot UTEE and then quickly rotate like a glas blower to make sure the UTEE sets in an even shape. Re-dip when you realise that you have a huge lump on one side. Repeat the twirling and set aside to cool (you can have two skewers on the go at once to save hanging around).
4. Using scissors, cut of the excess UTEE at each end of the bead so that you can slide the finished bead off. Admire how pretty it is. Go to your second skewer to do the same and realise that this skewer is wood, not bamboo, and therefore rough enough that your bead is completely stuck. Go and hunt for another bamboo skewer in the kitchen drawers. Oh well, you still have 4 spare beads and this won't happen again!
5. Do a few more perfect beads. You must be getting the hang of this! Then do exactly as you have been doing, pull the bead off the skewer, and watch it unwind from the inside, leaving you with a UTEE shell. Oh well, you still have 3 spare beads. Carry on, repeating this cycle until you have one short of your required total, and no more paper beads to dip. Desperately try to cut one more bead from the paper you coloured- phew, just! Dip your final bead, take it off the skewer, and go and have a big gin and tonic to calm your nerves.
6. Put the beads in a glass dish, and admire them. Knock them on the floor (must be the g and t!) and scrabble around to pick them all up. Then go and put them somewhere really, really safe so that you can photograph them and send them off.

When I look back on my bead-making experience, I have to laugh as it just shows how kack-handed I can be! I think I will stick to making just one or two at a time next time... and there will be a next time as it is the perfect way to get a bead to match your project. Good luck if you give this a try!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Lots to do challenge- Masks

I made these little tags to send off with the swaps- I don't normally blog these little RAKs, but this week the challenge on Lots To Do is 'masks'. I bought a Tim Holtz mask a while ago, but hadn't got around to using it. Tags are a brilliant way to experiment, so I got out that mask and away I went! I haven't entered a challenge for ages, but since this one came along at just the right time, I am entering.

Colour: Glimmer Mists, Distress Inks, Versafine (red and black), gilt wax
Stamps: All Elusive Images (the damask design is actually the corner flourish from the new Butterfly Daisy Collage plate)
Other: Mountboard shapes cut with Sizzix (thanks, Tasha!), Tim Holtz flourish mask, Prima flowers, gem shapes from Hobbycraft.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Bottlecap swap- a few of my favourite things...

I really got carried away making this little piece for the February altered art swap on UK Stampers. Good job too; the standard was really high, as ever, so I would have been embarrassed if I hadn't gone that extra mile! I used all of my favourite techniques and products :)

Colour: Alcohol inks, Stickles, Distress Inks, Versafine, Sakura clear stardust pen, Opals UTEE in black and gold, Perfect Pearls
Stamps: Cherry Pie
Other: Two bottlecaps (flattened with a hammer and a block of wood), sheer ribbon, adhesive metal tape, Cuttlebug and embossing folder, buttons, Krafty Lady art mould, Melt Pot, Papermania adhesive gem

(If you can read the words, they are from Twelfth Night- another of my favourite things!)

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Stampbord brooch swap

Sid is hosting a Stampbord brooch swap at UK Stampers, and I was hit by inspiration for this one! I had been using my melt pot for another piece I have made (yes, for yet another swap!) and to use up the excess UTEE I poured it into some of my Krafty Lady Art Moulds. I loved the heart so much that it inspired the rest of the piece.

Colour: Dee Greunig Blending Blox (green), Stazon, Versafine, Gilt wax, Opals UTEE
Stamp: Hero Arts script
Other: Small Puffy Heart art mould, Grungeboard wings, Cuttlebug script embossing folder, Aurora Fusible Film, Stampbord, brooch pin, Pinflair glue gel

The colour of this is changeable, as I started with the Blending Blox before gluing and ironing on torn strips of Fantasy film. The wings were bent and glued on with a supporting blob of the Pinflair glue gel- my new favourite glue!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Next photos- Domino Jewelry

This was for yet another swap- it's rare at the moment that I do anything which isn't for a swap! I really enjoyed making these, and think I will make some more at some point.

Colour: Domino 1- Sharpies, Stazon, Clear UTEE, Moonglow ep, Stickles (on heart charm) Domino 2- Stazon, Gold and copper ep
Stamp: Rubbadubado
Other: Plastic dominoes, ribbon (on back, not shown), florist's wire (to make loops for necklace), waxed linen thread (for dangle on brooch), jewelry findings, Glossy Accents

Monday, 9 March 2009

February Inchies- Oriental

You may realise this week that I have downloaded the contents of my camera, and am now trying to blog it all! This is my inchie swap for this month, and Sid gave us the theme of Oriental. Recently, I have been rifling through my scraps drawers before I start any new project, and this time I found a scrap of background paper that I made for my first Bind-it-all project in July 2007. It's nice to recycle :)

Colour: Nick Bantock inks, Perfect Pearls, Versafine, Versamagic (stamped into clay)
Stamps: Paperartsy (Buddha), Non Sequitur (chop)
Other: Das air-dry clay, red embroidery thread, black card

Sunday, 8 March 2009

February ATCs- Friends

I love to try variations on a theme for my 3 for 3 swap ATCs each month, and this month I was playing with Versamark resist, Blending Blox and brayering, and metal embossed in the Cuttlebug. I am also trying to use up old stash! The Papermania flowers were bought the year they came out, and I have given them a new look by embossing and shaping them. Expect to see more of the same- they came in a big pack! Now I just need to find a new look for my enormous box of metal-rimmed tags...

Colour: Distress Inks, Dee Greunig's Blending Blox, Whispers back ink, Stazon, Paint Dabber, Sakura glaze pen, black fineline pen
Stamps: Kathy Davies (flower), Crafty Individuals (words and flourish)
Other: Drinks can metal, Papermania metal flowers, seed beads, glossy card

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

CJ page for Gail

This is my attempt at humour for Gail's CJ, and I think it gets the point across, although I'm not too convinced about my execution! Her stamp is the shoes, which just made me think about the Wizard of Oz (plus those funny radio and TV ads featuring the Wicked Witch of the West and her best friend, Vicky, have inspired me). I coloured over the image with my watercolour crayons again- I love the texture they add (I was channelling tornado!). I hope Gail likes it.

Colour: Watercolour crayons, Stickles (on shoes), Stazon, Distress Inks
Stamp: Mad Rat?
Other: Image of old house, acetate

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Altered Tin- Inspired by Van Gogh

This tin was for a swap on Zuzu's forum, and I was over a week late sending it because I had one of those last-minute ideas that complicated the project but I had to do it! Typical me! Originally, I was just going to decorate the outside of the tin and prettify the inside, but then I realised that the tin was the perfect size to fit slide-mounts (I have rather a lot of these, bought years ago and never used!). So I decorated the slide-mounts and joined them together to make a wallhanging.

Colour: Versamagic, Sharpies, watercolour crayons, Brilliance, Aurora ep, gilt wax, Distress Inks, Vivid Inks, Cosmic Shimmer powders, Barry M eyeshadow powders
Stamps: Paperartsy, Studio g alphabet, ISC butterfly
Other: Crackle Accents, Gesso, Galleria moulding paste, heavy florist's wire, bead, twig, metal from coke can, plastic slide mounts

The tin originally contained saffron, and had the pink flowers as part of the original decoration. I was inspired by a Van Gogh painting and was trying to capture the swirly effect of the background. The three slide-mounts all have Van Gogh paintings in. To capture the vibrancy of the originals I printed each painting on paper and on transparency- when you lay the transparency over the paper print, suddenly the image comes alive.
PS Plastic slide mounts do not like being heated with a heat gun....!
PPS I realise that many of the mediums I used are not supposed to be used on metal, but it's amazing what a few light coats of spray varnish enable you to do!

Monday, 23 February 2009

Triptych ATC

I put this onto one of the forum galleries, but have never blogged it- mostly as the photo I had taken before did not show the effect of the acetate at all well. This is my first ever stamp, bought in 1998 and just used for that year's Christmas cards. I had forgotten how lovely it is.

Colour: alcohol inks with metallic mixative, silver detail ep, Stazon
Stamps: All Night Media, Non Sequitur (word)
Other: Mirri card, acetate, metal tape, Pebeo gem
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Monday, 16 February 2009

Acetate tag

This is my take on the re-use, recycle theme. The tag base is made from acetate cut from dishwasher tablets packaging. Then the coloured parts are sheets from the base of my spray-box, so have been coloured with various shades of Glimmer Mist. The acetate was sprayed with Glimmer Mist, too.

Colour: Glimmer Mist, Stazon, Ranger white pen
Stamps: Paperartsy
Other: Papermania jewelled brad, eyelet and ribbon from my stash.
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Sunday, 15 February 2009

A Tag for a Forum Friend

I made this tag for a forum friend for her birthday, and on the day of her birthday I was delighted to receive a really gorgeous piece of mail art from her, using 'three in a round' from Stampotique, which is such a cool stamp. If I get permission to blog it, I will! This tag uses lots of Cosmic Shimmer powder, so you will need to squint at it and imagine the gorgeous interference mica effects it really has!

Colour: Distress inks, Cosmic Shimmer powders, Sharpies, Versamagic, Stazon, Brilliance, Liberon Gilt wax
Stamps: Tanda (feather) and Studio g (alphabet)
Other: Beads, fibre, metal corner, acetate, slide-mount, eyelet and wire, all from my stash.

The feather in the slide-mount is stamped twice; once with Stazon, then with Versamark brushed with Cosmic Shimmer. When I put the two images, I offset them slightly so that you see the shimmer behind the dark feather.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Altered Domino Swap, plus mini-tutorial

This month's Altered Art swap on UK Stampers had the theme of dominoes. We each altered a domino, then incorporated it into a piece of work of our choice. I like this approach, as everyone has a different way of treating their domino. The pieces were all so different and gorgeous. See the slideshow here. My piece is a stamp book holder, and I have done a mini-tutorial for it (scroll down the page to see it). I call it mini because I didn't have time or a second pair of hands to be able to take any photos. First, the how-to of the decoration :)

Colour: Watercolour crayons/water-spray/drinking straw technique shown by Jo Capper-Sandon in Craft Stamper, Versafine, Versamagic, Distress Ink
Stamps: Stampin' Up, Crafty Individuals (postmark)
Other: Mountboard, old book pages, stamps (from a package sent to me by Marina from Cherry Pie), domino (the stamps are collaged on with beeswax using my Melt Pot).

My piece uses such simple techniques to construct it that I wanted to share them. I first came across the mitre trick when Tricia Morris showed it on Craft TV Weekly, which is sadly no more. I have used this technique before, to make a box file, and for the covers of my two circle journals. The trick is to treat your object as if it were a book, with two covers and a spine. I am giving the dimensions I used for this piece, but any variation will work.

What you will need:
Mountboard or greyboard
Cover paper and liner paper
Wet glue- I use white PVA
Something to spread the glue evenly- a foam brush or credit card is ideal
Ruler and pencil

1. First of all, you need to decide your size and cut your mountboard pieces. My main pieces were: front 5cm x 8.5cm, base 3cm x 8.5cm, back 7cm x 8.5cm. I did not cut my sides or base at this point, as I wanted a really snug fit.
2. Work out the dimensions for your cover paper. Widthways is easy, as it needs to be 2cm bigger on each side than the mountboard. Lengthways, you will need to allow an extra 0.5cm each side of the spine for the piece to fold, plus 2cm each end. So my finished cover paper was 12.5cm wide x 20cm long. Decorate it, remembering that it is a wrap-around and the design needs to be multi-directional.
3. Mark your 2cm border on the back of the paper. Spread glue evenly on the mountboard pieces and glue down, making sure that they all line up at the top and bottom, and that you leave your 0.5cm gutters either side of the small spine piece.
4. Using your ruler as a spacer, draw a line across each corner of the cover paper, approx. 3mm from the corner of the cover, and at approx 45 degrees (you can do it by eye, it's OK to guess!) Cut along these lines.
5. Now we are going to fold in the long edges of our cover paper. First fold your flaps up without glue, to make a crease (just to make it easier to fold when covered in wet, sticky glue). Spread your glue along the first flap, making sure you get it right up to the edge of the mountboard. Lift up the whole piece, and press the edge against your work surface as you wrap your flap as tightly as possible around the mountboard (if you just use your fingers it won't be as even). You will know this is right if you can still see the shape of the mountboard- the paper shouldn't look domed. Repeat for the other side. Work the joints, smoothing the cover paper gently down into the gutters.
6. This next part is slightly fiddly. When you look at the corners of your piece, you will see that the cover paper overhangs the mountboard by 0.3cm on the long side. You need to use your bonefolder to tuck this excess around the corner and flatten it out. Do this on all four corners. Now you have a nice flat flap to fold up and glue, exactly like you did for the long sides, and when it is glued you will have a professional-looking mitre with no unsightly points.
7. Cut your liner paper 0.5cm smaller all round than your finished piece is (mine was 11.5cm x 19cm). Brush on your glue and, starting from the spine, smooth the liner down onto your piece, gently pushing the paper down into the gutters again. Now work the joins, and smooth it down anywhere it pops up, adding extra glue if necessary. Your covers are done!
8. To add sides and a base, simply measure your finished piece and cut your mountboard to fit. My sides have a slanted top edge, and my base is bigger by 0.5cm all round. Be aware that your cover paper will add bulk, so err on the smaller side when cutting. Add glue on three edges of the side pieces, and hold in position until the glue starts to set- with PVA this doesn't take long. Glue the base on, and leave the whole piece to dry overnight, using weights, clips or elastic bands if necessary to make a tight joint.

I hope this makes sense to you! If do you have any queries, please feel free to email me and ask- my email is on my profile. And if you make something using these instructions, link back to this post and I will come and admire your work!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Faux sea-glass no. 2

This is yet another present for a friend, and spookily, the day I handed it over, it co-ordinated with what she was wearing!

Colour: Dee Greunig blending blox, distress inks, versamark, Perfect Pearls, Paint Dabbers
Stamps: Elusive Images
Other: Stampbord, UTEE, Crop-a-dile.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

January's Inchie Swap- Let's Celebrate

These are super-simple, as I couldn't think what to do for this theme! February's theme is 'Oriental' so I should be able to do something more interesting.

Colour: Glimmer Mist, Distress Inks, Brilliance Ink, Stickles, Sakura silver Pen Touch pen
Stamps: Cherry Pie (Klimt star) and Stampendous
Other: Wording from the computer, star sequin waste used as stencil, eyelets from my stash (hammered for texture)

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Art Raffle January- Shiny

This is the first Art Raffle of the year, and how could I resist this theme! My husband jokes that I am a magpie, as I love shiny things (I love rusty things, too, so that makes me one contradictory lady!) and naturally I wanted to play with techniques too. This is a tiny mint tin, the ones that you see at till points, pink, with a mirror inside. I have altered it to be a bag charm. I really had to make myself post this to Sarah, as I was actually very happy with how it turned out.

Colour: Plasticote enamel paint, Stazon, Stickles
Stamps: Paperartsy (swirls), Studio G (Alpha- it says 'yourself')
Other: Fusible film in various colours, 'love' phone charm, black velvet ribbon, clasp.

To create the effect, I painted the tin black (2 coats) and then used gel medium to stick torn pieces of fusible film down in a random pattern. Then I used first the heat-gun, then an iron to smooth and fuse the film so that it became shiny again. I trimmed it around the tin, then used the iron to round the corner. It reminds me of abalone shell!