Wednesday, 20 June 2018

WOYWW #472: Books, Beads and a Bracelet

I'm here today for another round of WOYWW on Julia's Stamping Ground - #472 to be exact! I haven't spent much time in my caft room this week but I have done a bit of digital housekeeping around my blog. I've tidied up my Pinterest board as it was very neglected. They've introduced some changes since I last visited and now it's possible to organize your boards into sub-categories, which is quite a good idea. I've also added a snazzy little Pinterest widget on my sidebar. It's all part of gearing up for my 4th blogiversary in a couple of weeks' time!

I took a photo of my desk this morning, although I had to rearrange some stuff for a better view so it might look "slightly" staged.

Remember that plain gessoed journal cover from last week, waiting for inspiration? Well, inspiration struck on Friday and I was able to finish it in one sitting. You can see it in the middle of my desk - for a better view, you can visit my previous post here. Next to that is a journal background that I'm stuck on - I might just leave it the way it is. Why not just create backgrounds if that makes us happy, right? You can also see some beads I bought for making danglies for journals. On a whim I made a bracelet, even though I never wear jewellery. Perhaps now I will! Also on my desk are two books that had been sitting on my Amazon wishlist forever. I finally took the plunge and bought them and my bookcase is now completely full. They're both so beautiful and inspirational. 

Of course, it was Fathers' Day on Sunday (or Father's Day, depending on which side of the argument you stand on!)  I made a quick digital card for hubby (from our son) with an image "borrowed" from the internet. I think it's originally a fabric print and just what I was looking for. I know it's a cop-out but I'm not very good at making special occasions cards. He was more interested in the chocolate, anyway!

I have no new Oreo photos today, but I played around with some of his old photos and created this collage in Canva, which is an online basic graphic design app. It's free to use with your own photos. It was recommended by Roben-Marie Smith on her blog, along with other tools for a creative business. It's super easy to use for simple graphic design tasks. 

Thanks for popping in!  I will be visiting later today! 
Happy #472!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Journal cover (with the Eileen Hull Scoreboards die)

I had just convinced myself that I didn't really need the Eileen Hull Journal Scoreboards die, when I spotted in on offer at That's Crafty and snapped it up without even thinking about it. The offer was pretty irresistible at more than a third of the price off. Sadly, I think it's now back to its original price.

I managed to cut the die without the extended plates, but it was a bit tricky. I had to shift the plates down a bit for a second run and it was a tiny bit out of sync with the first cut, but it's hardly noticeable. I'll have to buy some new plates at some point, anyway, so I'll just get the longer ones. Theoretically, you could cut a similar cover by hand from thinner materials, but I've never been good at measuring and cutting straight lines and I wouldn't be able to cut thick card or chipboard quite as neatly with scissors.

I cut my cover from recycled mailing envelopes, stuck the two parts together, gessoed it and then added my embellishment pieces. The original design looked a bit different - I had to rip off the flowers as I couldn't cover them with paint properly. This is what it looked like originally.

When I removed the flowers, it looked like it might be a gonner, but I was able to cover up the rips with some metal elements, so you don't see the mess underneath! I added an additional layer of black gesso and then painted everything with a mixture of Greenish Blue (557) acrylics from Amsterdam (I love that colour!) and Irridescent Green Yellow (359) from Pebeo. These two colours work wonderfully together! I found some polymer clay tiles in my stash from an earlier project which fitted perfectly within the frame - with a little help from some spacer beads. I also stuck a small gem stone in the middle of  each metal shape for a little oomph. I accented the edges and the raised parts of the texture with some Bronze gilding wax. And that's all there is to it! Here's the redesigned version of the cover rescued from the bin:

I threaded the journal following Eileen's instructions online with an elastic string to hold the inserts - there's more than one way of doing this. I cut some tea dyed sheets of paper to fit the journal and prepared three separate signatures, which simply slot into the cover, like so:

I made a little dangly thing through the spine with metal beads and some paper beads from years ago  - I finally got to use them! This is what the completed journal looks like from various angles (the colours look different depending how the light catches them):

Thanks for joining me today for this show&tell/tutorial. 
Wishing everyone a happy weekend! 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

WOYWW #471: Furniture makeover, postage stamps and some accidental tags

For once, Wednesday seems to have come around much less quickly than usual - unless I missed last week's WOYWW?  No, I didn't! It's just that I've been busy with different types of projects and time seems to go slower when you immerse yourself in a variety of activities.

I couldn't put off tidying my work space any longer, so the desk shot I'm sharing today had to be staged as otherwise there would be nothing of interest on it. Let me walk you through the items quickly:

Two of the projects on my desk have already been posted on my blog. You can find the Passport Journal here and the Tea Bag Collage here - just in case you're interested to see more.

I've also started on a new journal cover, but I didn't get far. I'm waiting for inspiration to strike before proceeding. The piece of cardboard I use as "underpaper" has got a few more layers of paint on it - it will be interesting to see how it shapes up later. The "scrap box" on the right has ended up with most of the junk I cleared off my desk, so it's now pretty full with bits and pieces that will be used in various future projects.

The "accidental" tags are actually the results of my clean up operation - I did not intend to make them. I set out to tidy up my desk and I ended up making these tags from the scrap pieces lying around. I couldn't help it - inspiration just took over! They're not even on proper card, just flimsy computer paper with some random paint marks cut into tags and decorated with whatever scraps I could find on my desk. I don't let anything go to waste! Here's a closer look at them:

You might be wondering about those postage stamps too - I bought a pack of 1000 on Ebay for £5.99. There are some very interesting old stamps in there - they might even be worth something. I plan to use them in my art, but now I'm thinking I'd better research the unusual ones to make sure I don't destroy something valuable. I had lots of fun sorting through the pile - they're from all over the world, many of them from the 50s/60s/70s and some of them dating back to WW2 and even earlier. A couple of them could be as old as 1890s if my preliminary research is correct. I can see a new obsession developing! I kept thinking about all the stories contained in the letters that once carried these stamps - or was it the stamps carrying the letters?

And if that's not enough, look what I did on Saturday! I had this ugly, depressing, dark brown little table sitting in my craft room that I turned into something happy and bright! I used antique white chalk paint as the first layer, followed by turquoise blue acrylics and sanded it down to distress it - although the haphazard way I painted it already gave it a pretty distressed look! Here are the before and after shots:

And here it is in-situ, re-installed in my craft room within an hour of painting it. It makes me happy just looking at it. The cup sitting on it says "Enjoy the little things" which could be my motto these days! 

There's only one more thing to share - yes, you guessed right - the shenanigans of Oreo! He gets into every nook and cranny - here he is sitting on top of my scrapbooking paper collection. It's usually piled all the way up, but I had to get some out and he took his chance to squeeze in on top. It doesn't look very comfortable! Are you not feeling claustrophobic in there? 

Thanks so much for your visit. I hope I didn't take up too much of your time!
I appreciate every visit and comment. 
Happy #471! 

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Die-cut journal with pockets and tags

I've finally finished my "mystery" project that I had shared bits and pieces of previously.  I can now reveal that I have been working on a pocket-size journal cut with the Eileen Hull Passport Journal Scoreboards XL Die. I don't often buy such expensive dies, but this one seemed good value, given the fact that it has the cover, spine and inserts all included on one die. I didn't need to buy the extended cutting pads either as the shapes are arranged so you can cut them in two separate passes. Also, the album cover is just the right size for making tarot cards, affirmation cards, postcards, journalling cards, etc. which is an added bonus. I would never be able to cut chipboard by hand with such perfectly rounded corners, so it is a very versatile die to invest in.

Here are the shapes I cut for the journal before I assembled it. The covers and the spine are coated with Basic Grey patterned paper - I still have a few sheets in my precious collection from years ago. The inside chipboard pages are coloured with acrylic inks and I also cut some inserts from tea stained regular printer paper.

Here's the journal after I assembled it and added all the bits and pieces: pockets, tags, labels, tickets, charms, etc.  I left most of the inner pages blank for journalling except for some random stamp marks here and there.

Here's a quick video flip-through:

I'm linking this post with this month's Mini Album Makers Challenge

Friday, 8 June 2018

That's Crafty Challenge: Summer collage on a tea bag

I don't often take part in challenges, but I was inspired to enter this month's challenge by That's Crafty. The subject is 'summer' and I had just the perfect project in mind. I absolutely love beach themes with sun, sand, sea and, of course, beach huts!

I chose a used and empty tea bag as my canvas. It's the same width as an ATC, just a little shorter - perfect for a small collage. I added a layer of heavy gesso with a palette knife to partially seal the surface, otherwise the paint would just run through it. I painted the sand with Golden's quinacridone nickel azo gold mixed with gesso and colored the sky teal blue. The beach hut and the circle for the sun were die-cut. I also added some stamping and tiny, real sea shells that I had picked up on holiday years ago. The collage was finished off with some found words cut from book text. I'm still amazed how the right words always jump out at me - it only took a couple of minutes to find these and they were all on the same page!

Tea bags have such a great texture to work on and I love the little border where the two layers are sealed - I always make sure that the border remains intact when I cut the bags apart. It's a good idea to iron them before applying paint if they're too crumpled. Here's my little summer scene and some close-ups to show all the details:

I really enjoyed working on this mini project and I'm planning to make a whole series of tea bag collages. They are really very similar to ATCs and it's probably best to work on more than one at a time and display them together, but this is all I had time for today. I'll call it my prototype. I have plenty more beautifully stained tea bags to work with! 

Thanks for your visit! Happy summer!

This challenge is open until the 4th of July for anyone to join.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

WOYWW #470: Dry embossed hearts on mountboard

I don't know if it's just the time of year, but there's so much inspiration out there, I find it hard to keep up. I have several projects in the pipeline to be finished or even started but I keep dropping them and even forgetting about them when something else catches my eye and sparks my creativity. It could be that I'm just scatty, but I tend to go with the flow and do whatever tickles my fancy.

Here's a photo of my desk to demonstrate my scattiness (and messiness) to share with my WOYWW readers. Oops, you can even see my long overdue mystery project there - to be unveiled later in the week. It still needs some finishing touches. I was working on some heart ornaments inspired by Sarah's Craft Shed. I wanted to see if it was possible to emboss thick mountboard with stencils to achieve similar results to using embossing folders and I'm happy to report that it works really well!

I cut the hearts from 1.5 mm mountboard (known as mat board in the US) which is pretty much the maximum thickness the Sizzix Bigz dies can handle. Then I just ran them through the Big Shot with a stencil on top and the pattern embossed beautifully. I applied black gesso as the first layer, followed by a layer of gold acrylic paint and turquoise blue or green acrylics on top. You have to wait for each layer to dry sufficiently before adding the next.

Then I took a wet baby wipe and carefully removed some of the paint to partially reveal the underlying layers. The texture will look similar to weathered bronze.

On second thought, I made an identical set and stuck two and two together with a piece of string in-between for hanging as ornaments. I painted the edges gold. 

I used the same technique to make this ATC but with die-cut shapes instead of embossing:

That's it for this week, dear Deskers! There's only one thing left to share - yes, you've guessed it right - Oreo! Here he is sleeping peacefully and contentedly in the middle of the day. Life's so hard when you're a cat!

Happy #470! I'll be around visiting soon!