Monday, 20 October 2014

Hope is an anchor for the soul

Good afternoon friends

Today is the day before a pretty big change (for me anyway) as after four years I return to full time work in a new role. Exciting and scary at the same time.
 In many ways it has been both good and bad only working part time; it gave me time to focus on crafting, teaching and demonstrating for which I am extremely grateful. Having said that; I am looking forward to getting back to working full time to ease some of the practical pressures of life which will allow me to regain some of the joys and passions that creativity brings which kind of got lost along the way.
Which brings me nicely to the title of this post.....
Hope is a word that resonates with me, it has helped me look to the future in foggy times. Hope has brought me a long way and I definitely feel that it has "anchored" me.
You may recall this book box I made using one of my new Book Cover Kits a while ago?

I made the book cover up but instead of making a book from it I turned it into a box using some strips of chipboard. This weekend I finally got round to filling it, thanks to lovely goodies that I received from That Craft Place. They were just perfect to create this.
 The inside paper is Gelli Printed onto old music paper and glued in place. All the embellishments are from That Craft Place. They are a bricks and mortar craft business (Currently in Eastbourne but moving shortly to Polegate) They have a Facebook Group where you can join and see what they have HERE as well as a lovely natter and chatter page too, which is HERE) Lisa makes fab MDF and Greyboard embellishments.
 I stamped the edges of the inside cover with my Fantasy 2 Border stamp and glued the ships wheel in place. I left it natural and just added triple thick glaze to the outer and inner spokes. The centre has a small adhesive pearl coloured with Bronze Distress paint.
 I coloured the sea embellishments with Archival ink (Fern and Orange Blossom) and doodled some details with a back pen. They are glued in place with a glue gun.
 The focal point is this gorgeous key with the word Hope. It was painted with Traditions paint and glazed with Triple Thick Glaze. Below that is an anchor, this was cut off the anchor border Lisa does; painted grey and glazed too. I filled in the rest of the sentence with a black pen.
 Of course, you know how I love books right? So it was inevitable that I would have one here really. I made a simple 6 page book with a jute cover. Glued the starfish to the front and the bakers twine that I used to sew the book was left long to form a wrap binding. I glued the spiral shell to the back and coloured with some Media Interference paints and glued the other shell with a glue gun  to the base, leaving enough of a gap so that the book could be tucked between.
This should give you a better idea of what I mean. I'm really happy with the finished piece. It's something special and marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life.........

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Making a start on my Christmas cards....

Good morning folks.
Usually I leave my Christmas cards until the very last minute and panic. However, this week I impressed myself by actually getting some done. Pretty simple, and reasonably contemporary I think.
 I cut white card down to size to matt onto my card blanks and rounded both the card and matt corners with a punch. I then took my Fantasy 2 stamp. Inked with Coffee Archival and stamped the image onto the card; re inked it, flipped it around and stamped the other side. I used a bit of Forest Moss Distress ink on the edges. To "hide" the stamping join line I used ribbon. I tied this with a bit of twine to gather it in and then added the small deer.
 This uses My Fantasy 1 Background stamp.
 Then I made some with Cobalt Archival ink, Chipped Sapphire Distress ink and  a white ribbon.

 Though you can't really see, I've used Stickles glitter glue to add some seasonal sparkle and some black enamel accents to add eyes to the deer.
 So, now I have at least 10 cards ready. Which is 10 more than I usually have at this time of the year.
Though these images are not Christmas designs, I personally think they work pretty well. What do you think?
My Stamps are available from The Artistic Stamper HERE. They are also available from That Craft Place in Eastbourne and Crafting Time in Cambridge. (If they are out of stock there they will be happy to order in for you)
Edited in reply to Alison's question. For the deer; I had(have) a pile of papers that I had made ages ago. I took one of those and glued it onto card before die cutting the deer. If I can remember it was made originally by covering paper with a mixture of walnut ink and mica inks and laying a piece of clingfilm over and leaving to dry. When it has dried, you get a lovely effect. You can really see it in the photos though. Once die cut each deer was edged in Distress ink (Forest Moss for the brown cards and Chipped Sapphire for the blue.
Now I realise that doesn't really answer your question fully but it is hard to remember. (The inks were from The Stamp Man originally, don't know if they still do them)

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Faded box of treasures

Good afternoon friends.
I'm finally getting some of my personal projects finished. (Insert "lots of photos" warning here LOL) Things that have been started ages ago but then were put to one side for one reason or another. Such a piece is today's offering. It was something that I picked up at a boot fair in the summer and I got as far as this with it
 It's a lovely wooden box with lovely compartments. I covered the outside with strips of masking tape putting a piece of gutter mesh over the glass and taping it down as I went along.
 and some pearls. Then it got left, until now. What follows is a step by step of the process but I will say this now for anyone who thinks they want to give this a go; don't bother sticking the pearls on now, they will come off later in the process! Anyway, on with the project.....

 The first thing I did is give the outside of the box a coat of gesso then while that was drying I made up a wash of DecoArt Prussian Blue Fluid Acrylic and essentially "stained" the top compartment.

 I then used the same wash on the outside of the box and left it all to dry thoroughly.
What I haven't got a photo of is the lid. I decided I wanted to "hide" the inside of the box so I flooded it with a few colours of glass paint.

 When it was dry I then painted the box with Americana Raw Umber paint, left it for around 20 minutes to begin to dry and then began to wipe it back. (It is now that I began to lose the pearls)

 This is where you really get to see the benefit of covering the box with masking tape as it really highlights and brings out some amazing textures.
 I took the pearls and used Distress Paint to add colour and set aside to dry.
Once the box was dry I began to stamp with my Fantasy Background stamp keeping it off the acrylic block and just pressing it randomly. I think it gives a really cool effect.

This is the finished box ( I'll fill in the details as I go)

 I just love the shabby distressed feel on the outside.
 The lid looks pretty cool too. I adhered white on the inside which helps show some of the colours. I snipped open part of the mesh and inserted a MDF cog and a lightbulb charm.

I'm guessing you want to see inside?
 The perfect place to keep all my gorgeous bits and pieces from That Craft Place in Eastbourne!
 If you look in the lid you can see (maybe!) that I've covered the glass with some patterned paper taped in place with a decorative paper tape. To secure larger pieces I stuck 3 pieces of the tape together and stapled the resulting band to either side.
 I was really impressed in finding this box originally, now it's finished and full, I'm even more happy !

This strap holds everything perfectly and now I have everything in one place I am feeling gloriously inspired.....

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

WOYWW 280 - The return of the prodigal....

Good morning fellow WOYWWers, it has been a while since I've popped on here!
I trust that you are all well.
Why have I been absent so long, well with one thing and another there was either nothing happening on my desk, or it was full of DT work that I couldn't share......
This morning however, I managed to clear my desk and have a bit of a here it is as it currently stands.

 It's still a mess (nothing new there then) but at least there are a few little bits on the go.
 Like these chipboard butterflies. I'm just colouring them with Distress inks. They're a bit of a bargain at Poundland, works out at 20p a butterfly. Can't say no to that can you.
 Sitting at he back are a little pile of tags. One of the projects I am working on left me with a pile of small pieces of tissue paper. I was just about to toss them but last minute decided to just glue them onto tags to make backgrounds. Much better than binning them. The Key is from That Craft Place in Eastbourne.
These flowers are the same as the butterflies, Once they have been coloured they look pretty cool. The jute roll came from Poundland too. I love the colour.
So there you have it, my long lost desk. For more desks, hop on over to the weekly international desk hop, hosted by Julia at Stamping Ground HERE
Hope you all have a lovely week.

Monday, 13 October 2014

For the sheer joy of creating. (and other deep meaningful conversations)

Hi there friends.
I hope this finds you well. This weekend I actually found myself creating something for the sheer joy of creating and I cannot put into words exactly how happy it made me feel inside.
It's nothing really big, nor fancy. Not even particularly practical; yet I love it. Do you know why? Because I just sat there in my studio and used whatever I wanted to use without having to think about whether I "could" use it. Now, I realise that for many of you that comment may not make much sense but if you are on a Design Team or teach at a company or shop, I think you will understand.....
When you are making something for a specific blog as a DT member you work within the parameters of their products. You can't use your favourite product from shop A when you are doing something for shop B and they don't have it available. So, in many cases you feel restricted. Don't get me wrong, I love my DT work and I LOVE to teach and demo. Sometimes however, when you are really busy it takes so much of your time leaving you no time for personal creativity.
So this is why this little piece is so special to me.....
 I'd like to think that it would not look out of place on the deck of Serenity LOL
The covers are made from Tando Creative's media boards painted with layers of DecoArt Traditions. The embellished "Metal" strip is the result of fun with paper, Gems UTEE and paint and gilding waxes.... And those lovely art Deco style tabs are actually from a belt.....
There are only two "pages" inside, this being the first, but I have managed to pop a couple of pop out bits to add fun.
 The back cover is similar to the front.
 This is the first page open. The base pages are painted in Traditions and I've used my Fantasy 2 Stamp set from The Artistic Stamper to add detail
 The pop out bit has been stamped with the same stamp and heat embossed with a lovely iridescent powder.
 The second page is similar. The faux metal strip on the right side has only been glued top and tail so I can slip something in later and I am still working on ideas to add more to the pop out areas too.

 It was just great to potter and play without having to think. It's good for the creative soul.
 It's a fun, somewhat quirky piece, sort of steampunk, sort of fantasy........
I just love these tiny cogs, and a scrap piece from Tim's on the edge iron gate die made it on there too.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this.

I will say, I have found this year to be a funny old year, there's been lots going on that has sometimes felt almost overwhelming. I made a conscious decision to step back a bit from a number of things that were going on to regroup, focus and really consider what it is I want to do creatively which I must say has helped me enormously. I do think that sometimes we can get so involved and "busy" that we mislay our own creative muse and spark and end up trying to change what we do to please someone else which is never a good thing for your creativity.
If I have learned something this year, it is this; I need to create the things that I am passionate about. That is the only way to feed the creative muse and fulfil the need in me to express myself  as an artist.
Sjoe, I told you it was a deep meaningful conversation post tonight. Thank you for bearing with me (unless of course you've already left the room and I'm sitting here alone in the dark....)

Friday, 10 October 2014

Making flowers....

Good morning friends
While I was looking for something the other day I came across a die I had "forgotten" about, the sizzix 3D flower die. Don't you love it when that happens?
So, before I "lost" it in my studio again I thought I'd make some........

I know that most of you will know this but I thought I'd share the process anyway.

 I decided to use some "waste" paper for my flowers. By this I mean paper that I use when spraying inks so the paper is all random.
 The die cuts two different sizes so I just cut as many as I could out of two sheets of paper. (Paper works better than card in my opinion by the way)

Before you start to assemble your flowers, get some glue dots and lay them ready on your desk.

 Beginning from the outside of the spiral you begin to coil the paper around a cocktail stick or similar (I'm using a crochet hook) Try to keep the coil as tight as you can.
So, as you can see, by the end you have something that looks like this.

Take it off the skewer and let it "relax" for a moment. You will see it opens up naturally. Take the flower and stick it onto a glue dot. This will only secure the base.

To secure all the other pieces you need to add a dot of a clear drying glue as seen, press the flower into it and set aside to dry thoroughly.
Then you just repeat for all of them and leave to dry.
The end result is a lovely diverse collection of flowers, complete with a glue dot ready for you to use on your projects.
This is a great die to use up scraps of patterned papers. You could also just die cut a whole pile of scraps and leave them ready to assemble into flowers when you need them too.

I hope you have a great crafty weekend ahead.....