Friday, 22 August 2014

Holiday journaling

Good morning peeps.
I trust that you are well. My wife and I are currently having a bit of a break up in the beautiful Lakes and Dales. Spending time meandering towns and hills alike and just re charging the batteries so to speak.
No, I'm not going to bore you with endless holiday snaps as I'm sure you will hate me if I show you all the stunningly gorgeous places like this.....
 But instead, I thought I would share some of the pages from my holiday journal. I decided to take a Smash Book with me this year. I'm enjoying working in it now that I've got over the initial "don't want to cover the pretty paper" stage.......
 I like this. I doodled around the bee. Top and bottom is stamped with my Fantasy Border 2 . Colour has been added with Distress Markers and the Spritzer too.
 The Stampotique image was stamped and cut out of white card and glued in place.
 I covered the existing writing on the page with some ribbon tape and a crackled heart. (It's the bees knees just didn't go with my words....)
 This page is perhaps more in keeping with the smash philosophy of just "smash" all the memories in; using bits and pieces picked up on your travels
 I've used postcards and a business card from Keswick on this side.
There are a couple of cards hinged together like this to open out.
 On this side, all the lovely vintage feel photos are from a brochure. I cut them out and taped down with washi tape. There's the ticket from the falls.
 Perfectly suited to the instant photo of me by said falls.....
 and of course, not forgetting the very rustic sheep made with wool and a twig picked up along the way to the falls.
 Then this page is fun. If you ever go to Grasmere and have time do go along to Allan Bank. It's a National Trust property but not as you think. It's a brilliant, fun and creative space. I've tried to reflect that on this page. On the left I made a pocket page using a bag from the National Trust shop which holds brochures etc. The "scarf" was knitted in one of the rooms by my wife
 The heart was done there too in the art room (All kitted out by Derwent of course)
 The little flower was crocheted there by my cousin and the typing was done on a VERY vintage typewriter in the Wordsworth room.......There was live music being played which was so lovely. It's a fab place for adults and children alike.
It's a place where you definitely make memories. We love it. I used Distress inks and markers to add colour to the page and my Alphabet Soup stamp to fill in the gaps.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my holiday creativity; now as the sun is shining I think a lovely long walk is in order today so I'll catch you all later.....

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Take notice .....

Good evening folks.
After a manic few weeks I can sit back slightly and do some "me time" crafting. For quite a while now I have felt as if I was on a treadmill trying but not quite succeeding to catch up.  I've  had to take a step back and reflect a little, make some choices etc etc. Now I have managed to get up to date with some commitments and I've trimmed some of the pressure off I have been able to turn my attention to some things I've had in the back of my mind for a while, like this

 A fun and slightly quirky notice board for my studio.  I just could not resist the mustache push pins so I just had to make this so I could use them.  I will share a bit of the how I made it pictures and process for the frame and board just now.
 I used Kiki and Franswar (My stamps from The Artistic Stamper) and they have been very roughly coloured in using Distress Markers (They look better in reality I promise, the camera is flattening some of the colours out) They've been cut out and covered with a layer of Triple Thick Glaze to protect and toughen them up. The little box is a spare from a configurations box that I didn't need  so I turned it into a holder for the spare pins. The box, characters and tape measure were glued in place with a glue gun.
 Aren't these pins brilliant!?
I added my Fantasy Border two stamp around the outer edges. You don't see much detail because of the texture of the canvas but enough to add interest I think.

If you aren't too bothered about the how, then you don't need to hang around LOL, but if you are....
I started with two pieces of polystyrene....
 and an A3 canvas......
 The polystyrene was cut to fit the aperture at the back of the canvas, wrapped in fabric
 and taped down.
 So it sits inside like this.
 I remove the fabric panel and gave the outer edges of the canvas a coat of DecoArt Faux Finishing Medium and allowed to dry.
 (This helps with the next step, which is......) adding Texture Crackle.......
 Apply a medium thick layer with a palette knife and allow to dry and crack.

No pics for the next steps but you'll get the idea.
I used Prima Colour Bloom Sprays in Precious Metal, Worn Leather and Pressed Petal to add  a subtle colour.
When dry, cover with a coat of DecoArt Faux Finishing Medium to seal and allow to dry.
Glue the centre panel to the canvas with a glue gun and glue the pin box in place.

Job done.
I enjoyed making this pinboard and look forward to using it.
Hope you all have a good evening folks and I'll be back soon.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Yep, another book!

Good morning folks.
I just had to make time for me just to create this book as the idea had been knocking around in my head clamoring to get out for a while now. I started out with my winged book cover kit from Tando Creative. I've really enjoyed using this smaller square format kit.
A little while ago I did a post showing how I bind my pages together (If you missed it and are interested, the post is HERE) Of course, the end result of that was the inside of a book but no cover......
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it LOL) I got so caught up in it that I have no step by steps pics but this is the end result......
This is the front cover.

 and this is the back.
 I began by laying out the front, back and spine onto a piece of leather and gluing it down. (Just remember, if you are working with thicker materials like leather, you will need to allow a larger gap between each cover and the spine to allow the book to close properly)
 I decided to experiment with the detailed front element and took a pair of scissors to it to give me two pieces to play with. I used the larger piece for the front and the smaller piece for the outside edge of the back cover. I used Distress Metallic paints and black acrylic to age these pieces. When I was looking at them against the leather, the leather looked too new so I aged the book with a mixture of metallics and black paints too which both highlighted the beautiful texture of the leather and dulled it down nicely.
I punched random holes into the covers with the Crop o Dile and then threaded wire through to "break" up the area of leather which I think is pretty cool.

 I prepared my end papers by stamping my Fantasy 2 stamp in black and then in green to fill in the gaps. I think that the design lends itself to this style of book.

Once the end papers were done and attached to the book pages I added them to the cover and there you have it, a completed journal which I love.....
I will be doing another post soon showing you how I attach the endpapers, pages and covers together so do keep and eye out. Until then, take care.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Just a little catch up.....

Good morning friends.
It's been the usual chaos here at the moment and today I thought I'd share something that's kind of crafty but on a slightly larger scale.......
Towards the end of the school year, my wife was looking for ideas to revamp her classroom style. Her  class has always been known as the Cool Cats and that was't going to change, but something somewhat more "grown up" and more suitable for year 5 and 6 was called for.
I, in my wisdom, suggested that a bit of grungy steampunky decor could be fun along with Victorian style "Cool Cats"
So last week I ended up spending a few days at school changing this corner from this
 and these filing cabinets from this
 to this......
 Lovely "rusty aged" cabinets

 I used some texture spray paint, Santoro decoupage paper for the central panels and gems for rivets.
 Along with similarly "aged" metal effect cupboards. It was fun to do, though as there are around 6 stages it took a bit longer than expected to complete.
 The tall cupboards started out with the same metal effect but then we faded it down to a chalkboard paint to turn it into a graffiti wall.

Then, last week I had a little giveaway on my blog for one of my little keyrings, congratulations Karen Gist, yours was the name my daughter chose so if you can let me have your address I'll pop it in the post for you. (my email is on the sidebar.)
I've also indulged in a little retail therapy.
 The stamps were from Poundland. The Tim die from Hobbycraft.
 These flowers were also Poundland, what a bargain.
The plane and butterfly chain from a boot fair and this fab book from The Works.  Now I just need to find a moment to play with them....
Take care folks and I'll be back soon.

Monday, 28 July 2014

A fun and fairly quick little project.....

Good morning folks I hope this finds you well.
I was having a bit of a rummage in my studio the other day and came across a little bag of something my cousin had sent me a while ago (won't spoil the surprise yet by telling you what it was) with a challange to do something with them so I thought, rather than packing them away again, I would do something with them.....
 So, I started off by cutting white card to the appropriate size and stamping elements from my Funky Birdz stamp set onto both sides of them.
 Then I grabbed my Distress Markers and began to colour them in. I love these Markers and use them all the time. I love how they blend and mottle with water.
I did 10 all together because this is what I had been sent........
 10 keyrings.....aren't they cool? Both sides have images on.
I enjoyed making these in between my other projects. I've already allocated the recipients for most of them but I do have a spare so I thought I'd give it away. If you would like to have the chance to receive it then just leave me a comment telling me you would and I'll pull a random name tomorrow.

Before I go, I have a fun project over on The Craft Barn Blog today too. I'd love it if you popped on over for a closer look.

Friday, 25 July 2014

At long last, how I do the inside of a book .....

Good afternoon folks, quite a while ago I shared the basics of working with my book cover kits to make the outside covers. (The post is HERE if you've forgotten)
I promised to return with how I put the inside pages together. Well, to be honest, life kinda got in the way but here at long last is how I sew and make my books. So, sit back and make yourself comfy, we may be a while.......

For this book I have worked in a variety of different paper and card to create interest in my book. Starting with A4 card trim the narrow side to 15cm. (Just a note. Don't throw those strips away.......)
 Fold  and score each piece. Now, it is impossible to specify any quantities as it is all determined by the thickness of the paper and card you use but to give you an idea,  this book has 6 signatures, each consisting of 5 pieces of folded paper (Road Atlas map, lol) one piece of this thick card and one sheet of scrapbook card.
 So you can see here that I have cut and folded the green card. I have trimmed the atlas to 15 cm keeping the existing fold line but I haven't trimmed it yet and at the back there is a selection of 12 x 12 that has been cut to 15cm, folded, scored but no further trimming has been done.
 So, now it is time to put the signatures together. I began with the green card, into this I added the map pages and to finish I added a piece of the scrapbook card to the centre. At this stage you want to make sure that all the folds are in the same place and that everything is pressed as tightly as possible into the fold. When you are happy then, keeping everything closed and the green card as a guide, you can trim the rest of the paper that sticks over the edge away using a craft knife. Repeat with all the signatures.
 The next step is is to make sewing holes to make it easier to bind the book. Make yourself a guide like this from card.
 Take a signature and place it closed onto a pricking mat. Carefully open to the centre taking care not to move the pages and use a poky tool to make holes through all the pages at the four markers (the black lines lol) Repeat for all the signatures.
 Now, we are ready to sew everything together. Golden rule: Don't rush! You will need a reasonably sturdy needle and a really decent linen thread. If you can break the thread with a yank of your hands, it's not going to be strong enough and believe me; it is VERY frustrating snapping a thread when you are almost finished! A bulldog clip is also useful.
 Ok, in this pic you can see all signatures are clipped together. To be honest, that didn't work for me, I find it easier to add each one as needed. Starting from the outside and with enough thread on the needle (I tend to have around a meter which is a bit much really but hey, it works for me) push though and pull through leaving  a "tail" of around 15cm.
 Take the needle through the adjacent hole and pull through.

 Take the next signature and take the needle through the adjacent hole and out the other side....confused?
 It makes more sense now looking at this. You can see that the sewing zig zags and each signature is caught by one thread only.
 When you have done all your signatures, you then work backwards which then catches all the open pieces.
 So by the time you have worked back to the end you have linked all the pages together and your threads are both on the same side.
 Time to knot off. It is important to keep everything as tight as possible to minimise gapping. Congratulations; now you have to repeat the process on the other side too LOL.
 When you have finished you can help secure everything more by pressing the pages together and adding some glue to it and tightly wrapping with adhesive parcel paper tape.
Like this (Cover the middle piece too) and then leave pressed under a flat heavy weight to dry. Preferably overnight. I use slate place mats, they weigh a ton!

So, that is now the end. You now have the inside pages of your book ready.  I'll be back soon  and I'll show you how to put these pages to the cover to finish off your amazing journal... in the meantime, I hope you decide to give it a go.
If you remember in the beginning I said don't throw the narrow strips from trimming the A4 card to 15cm away? They make a good practice run as you only need to sew once and you can make a lovely tiny journal like this one....

See you later folks!