Wednesday, 14 August 2019

WOYWW #532: Faux batik technique

Good morning lovely people of WOYWW! I can't believe we're almost halfway through August now but I can really appreciate the slightly cooler temperatures. I'm on holiday at the moment, but I'm  confined indoors due to my injured ankles. I'm glad to say, they're healing nicely and I hope they'll be as good as new by next week, when I return to work.

My husband is in California for a conference this week, and son and I are really enjoying having the house to ourselves! OK, we miss him a little bit, but not enough to stop us from having fun, staying up very late, having midnight feasts and watching films together. Last night he had some of his friends stay over -  they're all sleeping downstairs like not-so-little angels, probably until mid-afternoon as they were still up at 5 o'clock!

I have several projects on the go at the moment and a few more in the pipeline. I took this photo of my desk on Monday night, trying a 'faux batik' technique that I'd learned about in this month's Craft Stamper magazine. A perfect opportunity for me to try my new Tim Holtz travel stamp platform - I must be the last crafter in the world to get one! I never realised I needed one before!


The faux batik technique involves clear embossing a stamped image on watercolour card, then using watercolours for the background - so far just a simple resist technique, but here's the twist - you then remove the embossing with a hot iron and a sheet of copy paper placed over the design. This melts and lifts all the sticky embossing, leaving you with a smooth surface, which creates a look similar to batik designs.

In the first example I used watercolours on the background, but then I moved on to distress oxides, which created stronger colours, as you can see.



Then I tried the same technique with a stencil. I didn't get a good result putting the embossing ink through the stencil, but then I had an idea to use the inked stencil like a stamp which worked much better! Nice and grungy - probably my favourite of all these attempts.


Gardening news: We bought this lovely plant just a few weeks ago for only £2 from our local garden centre run by the agricultural college down the road. It has since tripled in size and doing very well in its new spot. It's called Campfire Coleus according to the label and looks a lovely orange/red/purple when the sun shines on it.


Instead of an Oreo photo today, let me share a Facebook post by my dear friend, Jackie! This is her dog, Chum - isn't he just the coolest dog you've ever seen? Pssst, we mustn't let Oreo see this post! (edit: if you can't see the photo of Chum in the embedded FB post below, you can find it on Jackie's blog HERE.  He's really worth a look - not just your average dog!)



Have fun everyone and enjoy the last few weeks of the Summer! xx

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

WOYWW #530: Two missed anniversaries, QDS and a stupid accident!

Today is the last day of July. How did that happen? I managed to miss two anniversaries this month:  my 5th blogiversary on the 2nd and my 17th wedding anniversary on the 27th. I'm just not good with dates - neither is my husband (in fact, he's even worse!) which is lucky because at least we don't hold it against each other. I'm more upset about missing my blogiversary, to be honest.

So to celebrate, I've made this collage of some of my projects in the last 12 months, which has become sort of a tradition - and a quick-fix to post something arty without actually having to do any work.


And to commemorate our wedding anniversary, here's a throw-back picture to 2002. I never realised back then just how young and slim (and dare I say good-looking!) we were. I would have made the most of it if I had known! 


So, with the anniversaries out of the way, I can now move onto QDS - Marit's Quirky Dutch Summer, where I was a guest blogger this week! I clean forgot to take a photo of my desk for WOYWW, but perhaps I can get away with it just this once (wink at Julia), so I'll only post a picture of my finished project.


If you want to see how I made these little containers, head over to Marit's blog where I describe the process. It's really very simple. Thank you so much for the invitation, Marit, I really enjoyed taking part in QDS. Watch out for our fellow WOYWW-er, Tracey's project next week! 

Hey, funny story! I fell down the stairs at work in a pretty spectacular fashion (just before Julia started issuing notes to employers due to the unprecedented temperatures). Literally 10 seconds before this stupid accident happened, someone had warned me to walk carefully (perhaps because I was wearing flimsy sandals) and I was like 'yeah right, what could possibly happen?' and then bang! I hurt my ankles pretty badly. Luckily, my job allows me to work from home and my boss is very understanding, so I've been working from home for the past week (and may I say I got more done than in the office!) My ankles are on the mend, but it might take a while before I'm back to normal and able to walk 3 miles to work and 3 miles back again. These ankle supports really help:

I thought I'd better not leave you with visuals of my clumpy feet and pinky toes, so here's a more pleasant photo I took of the roses I got from my SIL last year. They seem to be thriving by the side of the house right next to the Hydrangeas I showed you previously - thanks for identifying them, by the way - I don't seem to know my flowers, but at least I can recognise roses!


Thanks for visiting and for goodness' sake watch where you step! xx

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

WOYWW #528: A scrap collage and general catching up

Has it really been 5 weeks since I last posted? I seem to have taken an unscheduled sabbatical doing other things. I was going to post last week, but ran out of time. The good news is, I have all my photos prepped now, so it shouldn't take long to finally put this post together. I'll probably end up oversharing, so apologies in advance.

Let's start with the all-important desk photo for WOYWW. I have a before and after shot - I realised I had no choice but tidy up - the mess was getting overwhelming. The good thing about tidying is that you unearth all sorts of hidden treasures, i.e. scraps.


I ended up using some of those scraps in my new project. This was the biggest piece that went on the background. It's an inky piece of tea stained paper - I probably used it to mop up some leftover ink. Isn't it just beautiful? Better than anything I could have created on purpose.


And here's the final project incorporating the inky sheet of paper and countless other scraps uncovered  from my messy desk: gelli prints, diecuts, tickets, book paper, embossed paper, tissue paper and I think there's a tea bag in there somewhere as well. 






There have been some outdoor activities going on too - which was part of the reason I couldn't get busy in my craft room. We built a new shed, much bigger than the one we did last year. We decided to paint it this nice seagrass colour. It was a big job but it's now finished, thank goodness!




Gardening news: we have this beautiful shrub in full bloom in front of the house. I have no idea what it is as the previous owners planted it. Any ideas?



My avocado is doing really well too. It's about waist high now. I can just about move it around - I don't know what I will do with it next year when it gets even bigger. It wouldn't survive outside in the winter, so I'll have to keep it in the house. Last September it was only this size!



Oreo's doing well too. He's enjoying spending lots of time outdoors, sometimes staying out most of the day. Here's a photo of him I took a couple of weeks ago. After taking the photo I realised that the project I did for Marit's Quirky Dutch Summer was on my bookshelf, so I had to blur it out until it's unveiled on 29th July on Marit's blog! 


I look forward to catching up with everyone. It's good to be back! xx

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

WOYWW #523: Friends Journal Spread

Hello again everyone! Have you had enough of the rain yet? I'm still enjoying the fresh feel, though I'm getting a bit tired of getting soaked every time I go somewhere. Oreo's not a fan either, being cooped up at home when he could be outside looking for mice. Perfect opportunity to get my fingers inky though. Here's a look at my desk earlier this week:


I hadn't done a journal page in ages and it always feels great to go back to one of  my altered books. This particular one only has a couple of pages finished, so plenty of room to go forward. Here's the background I created after adding some colour over the collage and gesso layers - I stayed with my trusted Prussian Blue and Sepia acrylic inks:



Using some Tim Holtz imagery and other die-cuts and bits and bobs on my desk, I ended up with this Friends spread, inspired by our WOYWW meet-up last week. And as if by magic - the word "Julia's" appeared on one of the random book page scraps I used. I swear I did not look for it (what would be the chances of finding it in a book, anyway?) It's just a lucky coincidence - serendipity at its best! I didn't even notice it until after I'd stuck it down! 









Short and sweet this week (though photo-heavy). Just one one more photo to share of Oreo watching a video game with my son - these two are as thick as thieves! 


Happy #523! I'll be over visiting later today! I may have to skip next week as we have somewhere to go but I'll be back soon enough I promise! xx

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

WOYWW #522: ATC Galore (plus 10th Anniversary Meet-up)

So I made it to my first WOYWW crop on Saturday - if only for a flash visit. It was so lovely to meet my fellow deskers, many of whom I have known for years but had never met in person before. Thank you for all the big hugs - I felt so very welcome!

And now I can show you all the ATCs sent/given and received for the 10th anniversary swap, but not before I show you my messy desk, which is a requisite of being a desker. This was taken while I was working on my second round of ATCs. It helped that I was off work last week - a lucky coincidence!



Here are the ATCs I sent for the postal swap (at the time I wasn't sure if I could make it to the crop).

ATCs I sent in the post
Here are the ones that I received, along with some extras. It was so exciting opening the post and I admired the uniqueness of all of these creations!  

ATCs received in the post

I took lots of photos at the crop, but I had to put them on a separate page as I couldn't work out how to place an image slider in this post. After two hours of trying, I've concluded that it's not possible. Here's the main group photo that you'll probably see on lots of blogs this week, but for the rest of the crop photos and the photos I took afterwards around the beautiful town of Shrewsbury with my family, please visit THIS PAGE.


And now I can show you the ATCs I made the day before the crop when it became an actual possibility that I'd be able to attend. They're a bit different from my first lot. I never know how they will turn out!
Here are the ATCs and other bits I received at the crop (click on the photo to make it larger). Thank you so much, ladies! I was blown away by your generosity and ultimately, I think I received more than I gave, so please let me know if you didn't get one from me and I'll be happy to send one in the post!  


It was lovely meeting everyone - I'm sorry if I didn't recognise all of you - I'm sure I will next time! 
Looking forward to another 10 years of desking xx

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

WOYWW #521: Daily Emotions Tag Book

Traditionally, the week after our WOYWW anniversary ATC swap, I  would share the ATCs I made and received, but I've been asked to keep some of them under wraps until after the crop this year, so I'm going to share all of them together next week. Instead, I'll show you what I made on Sunday! Here's the obligatory desk shot during the process:


I took part in Kasia Avery's Daily Emotions three-day challenge in the Everything Art Playground FB group. I adapted the prompts a little and worked on tags instead of pages and bound them in a tag book (thanks Lynette for sharing the link!). It was supposed to be a 3-day project, but I did it in one sitting. Here are all my tags laid out and I also made a quick video flip-through once they were bound together. First, an in-between look, followed by the completed tags:











I plan to be back next week sharing all my ATCs. Thank you all so much who swapped with me - it was lovely getting them in the post! Those of you who are going, have fun at the crop. There's a very remote chance I might be able to pop in and just say hello if I can get my family to do a day trip on Saturday, otherwise I'll see you again next Wednesday! xx