Friday, 12 August 2016

Layered Acrylic ATCs

Good morning friends.
I trust that this finds you well.  In the current issue of Craft Stamper magazine, My buddy Mark Gould has a project using these  (made by That's Crafty, available HERE)
Seeing this inspired me to have a go so I thought I'd share the results with you. I made two in the end (one just wasn't enough and to be honest I would probably have made more if I had had more in the studio LOL)

Here are the finished ones

The photos don't really do them justice. In reality they are crystal clear and look amazing.

These are the three layers of the left hand side one.

For the one on the left I began by stamping my Fantasy background stamp onto the  thickest piece of acrylic using black StazOn. When dry I used DecoArt Fluid Acrylic to colour the back and covered it all with a layer of white paint to increase the intensity of the colour and to cover any gaps. This really helps the colours to pop out.

The middle section has some circle elements from my Fantasy border stamped and painted the same way
 The final layer uses my Mechanical Bird stamp.

I then did the same process for the second.

Layer one, part of the Fantasy Background.

Layer two, part of the Fantasy  Border

Layer three, small bird from the set of 4 Birdz stamp.

The finished ATC.
These were really fun to create so thanks Craft Stamper and Mark for the inspiration! Now I need to get some more!

My stamps are available from The Artistic Stamper HERE.
Have a great day folks

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Further to my previous post.

Hi guys.
 As promised, today I'm here to share the "more practical" side of my altered drawer unit.
Plenty of pics and some lessons learned (by me!) along the way....

 This is the starting point, a small drawer unit and the frame of the aquarium.
 I began by adding DecoArt Media crackle paste through various masks
 This is where lesson one comes into play. If you want your paste to stick you need to either prime or sand your unit. I forgot!
 So, once I realised it was beginning to flake off as it dried I just very quickly painted over everything with DecoArt Chalky finish paint because I didn't feel like starting again! Not that i'm a lazy crafter or anything....... because chalk paint adheres I managed to salvage my start with a little loss of detail. But hey, I was after a weathered faded abandoned look so I was cool with it. (That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it)
 Once the first coat was dry I glued on an assortment of gears and cogs and added a patchy layer of my second colour of chalk paint.
 Followed by a third colour, also in patches. This is where you step back and think, o my word this is SUCH a mess, I've ruined a perfectly good piece of furniture!
 Lastly, I added a final light covering of my fourth colour and left to dry.
 For the next stage. The exciting bit where everything begins to come together and become more cohesive, I took a mix of white spirit and bitumen paint and brushed it over everything.
 Once it's dried a bit I began to wipe it away to lighten and reveal the layers underneath. A tedious and messy job involving white spirit and copious cloths.

 The next stage is fun, adding Metallic Lustre to bring out the details.
I painted the frame of the tank with a light coat of chalk paint, To finish it off I added a wooden element I had made along with a chain with a gear and cog pendant.

The end result is this. I love it to bits. So, the tale may not be as romantic as the previous post but hopefully you enjoyed seeing how it all came together.

DecoArt Products used.

Media white crackle paste
Chalky Finish paint - Rustic, Legacy, Enchanted and Relic
Metallic Lustre - Gold Rush
Light Satin Varnish

Monday, 8 August 2016

Under The Sea

 Good morning folks
Today I have a tale of wonder to share...... a little while ago I had the awesome opportunity to take a trip to fantasy island. While I was there I took a chance on avoiding the lure of the mermaids song and dove into the sea of dreams and visions. What wonders I beheld there I cannot put into words. Entranced I wandered and wove my way through paths of gently swaying sea grasses.
I cannot say how long I spent there when, suddenly, half tucked away and covered in sand, I spied a wondrous thing.

 All encrusted with marvels of a forgotten age, home to a few inhabitants of this unknown deep

My heart was full, I had to have it, this was my vision, my dream all come to flesh.....this cabinet all aged patina and spun with gold. Casting my eye about I clasped it in my net of hopes and stealthily craftily lured it home.

I won't regale you with the tales of adventure I had to endure; though at long last I returned to our green and pleasant land with my precious cargo. Now, as I spend my evenings with my treasure I am filled with joy; and when I close my eyes and open my heart I fancy still, I hear the lure of the mermaid's song........

I hope you enjoyed my little tale and like my cabinet more LOL. I had great fun creating this unit for my new aquarium and would like to enter it for DecoArt's Under the Sea challenge HERE.

And for those who are of a more practical bent I will be adding a separate post with all the "how I did it" and product details and I'll pop the link here when that's done!
EDIT: as promised here is the "How I made it" post HERE
Have a great day guys.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

In praise of Chalk (paint!)

Hi guys.
I hope you are well.
I thought I'd share a different project with you today. A project my wife and I tackled a while back.
We used DecoArt Chalky Finish paint to alter a pine dresser.
What is really great about this paint is that there is no need for extensive prep work, no sanding, no primer. It just goes straight on!

 First coat and the icky orange disappears...... We started off with a dark colour.

 Once that had dried we began to add layers of lighter colours. Using pale greens and blues to add tonal variation  Once everything was dry it was time to distress. Using sandpaper we sanded back to reveal the colours underneath. When we were happy with the distress it looked fab but still it looked too new for me so I hauled out my "Secret Weapon" A mix of bitumen and white spirit  and as my wife looked on in horror proceeded to "ruin" all our hard work.

 Have a little faith I said......... I then used a LOT of cloths and white spirit to rub back and remove the mix. The end result is a beautifully aged piece of furniture. The bitumen highlighted all the distressed areas, It sits in the nooks and crannies and gives all the colours a beautiful patina.

 Then the fun part was to fill it again,

No more icky orange, thanks to DecoArt.

Hope you like it, I'm off to the studio now, I have a book to make............

Thursday, 14 July 2016


Good morning friends.
For the first time this year I found myself teaching again. A small class for The Craft Barn on Sunday.. It was a lovely day and I felt privileged to be able to share and help everyone create their "growth" books.

As you can see, there is plenty of space to add further signatures and I look forward to seeing how they are filled up over time.

 I am always fascinated to see how diverse and unique the finished books are as everyone puts their personal style into them.

I also finally finished another little soft cover book which i thought I'd share with you. I have a few squares of Tim Holtz fabric and used one for this.
 The internal pages are from hand made paper. I folded and strengthened each fold before gluing them together and pressing to ensure they were secure.
 The fabric was glued directly to the outer pages and pressed until dry. I used Infusions to add colour.
To finish I added a die cut and glazed butterfly (one of the Tim Holtz dies) I love the softness of this journal, the frayed edges of the paper and the fabric and the muted earth tones of the colour. I may just have to make a few more.......
Take care everyone and thanks for popping on by.

Friday, 1 July 2016

The closing of a chapter. (A long one!)

Good afternoon friends.

Today is a bitter sweet day for me. My last post as a design team member for The Craft Barn has gone up today. I'd love you to pop on by to take a look HERE.

I have been blessed to share a large portion of my creative walk with The Craft Barn so it is a sad day for me as it closes the chapter on a part of my life that without the faith of Sandy and her team may not have happened.

Many years ago I was offered a guest slot on their blog which was then followed by the offer to make it permanent. I was thrilled and beyond nervous when Sandy offered me a last minute place to demonstrate for her at their Extravaganza shortly afterwards.
Well, that act of faith and trust in me as a creative person, who she didn't really know, became the springboard that opened the way for me to demonstrate and share, come into contact with and teach so many wonderful people the joy I find in creativity. It led me to being invited to attend Ranger University with Tim Holtz and over the years has both inspired and challenged me to stretch myself creatively to try to encourage others.
For this I will be forever grateful.
Some days, as members of the team left, I felt I was perhaps overstaying my welcome but always, Sandy encouraged me to stay and they became part of my creative family, close knit and woven into my life.

However, life changes and I find myself at a creative crossroad. The constraints of my life leave less time for creativity and after much reflection I made the difficult choice to say goodbye.

That's the bitter side. The sweeter side is that now I can use my creative time freely. I can pursue projects and dreams. This is exciting to me and I look forward to being able to pick and choose my products without thought and follow my creative muse wherever she may wander.
I hope you will stay with me as I travel this road.

So, today I would like to pay tribute to Sandy and Ian, and all the team who have encouraged and supported me over the years, to wish them all the very best and to say; you are amazing!