Wednesday, 10 April 2019

WOYWW #514: Playing with scraps

I'm such a skiver! Three weeks have gone by again without me blogging. Truth be told, I've just been plain lazy because I could have found plenty of opportunities to be creative, but I always opted for something else, like surfing or reading. While I was surfing the other day, I bumped into this video by Martha Lapowska, whom I'm sure some of you know quite well. Sometimes all I need is just a little spark to get my creative bum into gear.

In this video, Marta shows you how to use scrap bits and pieces to create texture on retail packaging backing cards. I just happened to have two of those Prima packaging cards she was using, and of course my desk is always full of scraps, so I was able to swing into action without any preparation.

This is the point where I show you a shot of my desk, so I can link up with fellow deskers on WOYWW.  I'd just laid down the first few layers when I took this photo.

The evolution of the pieces was as follows: I added a few more scraps, including corrugated card, tea bag, cheese cloth, fabric, etc. Then I applied some acrylic ink to colour the background. I really do not like sprays - they get everywhere - so I tend to just use a brush and lots of water to move the ink around.

Marta used a ready made collage as her focal point - which seems so simple, yet I always seem to forget that we can actually do that! It takes the dilemma of "what's now?" out of the equation. I chose some Stamperia images for this. I didn't use the original paper, but instead I scanned it and printed it just the size I needed and stuck it on a die-cut ATC, making an instant focal point without any hassle.

I finished it off by adding a title (from my Prima win a few weeks back) and some old postage stamps (which I really do hope were not valuable)  Here's is the final look:

I've also "tidied" my desk, so you get a bonus desk shot this week. I thought I'd better take a photo of it as it will not stay "tidy" for long. I'm afraid this is as tidy as I can get. 

In other news, Oreo is growing out his new antennae (in lack of a better word) - you can just about make out his two single eyebrow whiskers in this photo. He loses them every 5-6 months or so and not always at the same time. Luckily, they always seem to grow back in unison. 

We've had some lovely sunsets these past few weeks. I always grab my camera whenever I see one. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the sky changes at sunset - blink and you miss it - so I like to capture them as often as possible! 

Thanks for visiting today! I'll be popping in sometime within the next few days, if not today, to catch up with everyone! xx

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

WOYWW #511: Altered mini drawers

Three weeks have flown by again without me realising! Seriously, where does the time go? I've been busy with work and life and had not much time to spend in my craft room. Then over the weekend, there was a fault in our phone line (ergo no internet) and I found myself with nothing else to do, so I attacked a mini chest of drawers that I had bought with the specific intention to alter one day.

This is what the box looked like before I transformed it beyond recognition:

It was nice and colourful to start with but I wanted something a bit more "edgy".  First off, I gessoed everything to prepare the surface. Then I used some Sizzix/Tim Holtz embossing folders to make patterns on white cardstock, which I stuck all over the box and the front of the drawers, cutting slits for the handles. Next, I covered everthing with turquoise green and blue acrylics and let it dry completely. This is important, otherwise the layers would have lifted in the next step, which was a thin layer of burnt umber that I wiped back just before it dried completely, leaving the raised areas highlighted with the underlying layers. I added some bronze gilding wax as a finishing touch and voila, my box was ready! Here it is from all sides and different angles:

I wasn't sure where to keep it - there's not much space left in my craft room. For now, I placed it in my downstairs study on top of the small bookshelf that was a birthday present from my hubs and still needs to be populated. I think it looks good there and will be handy for storing bits and pieces, but I might move it elsewhere later. 

So my big birthday came and went - it was less painful than I had expected! Best not to think about it, really. I got these two cards - a cute one from my boss and a funny one from my family. You can see a theme there, can't you? 

And here's the little poop machine, who was very annoying this morning waking me up early because his food bowl was empty. I wasn't amused to say the least! I trotted downstairs to feed him but he turned his nose up at the offering because it wasn't his favourite, so he can't have been that hungry. I booted him out at that point. I'm telling you, he's the most spoilt cat in the world and it's all my fault! He's safely deposited back in the house now - in my son's bed of all places - I can never stay angry with him for long. 

It's lovely to be back on WOYWW, Julia's weekly desk hop. I will be around visiting everyone soon! xx

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

WOYWW #508: Altered Bottle

Has it really been three weeks since I last blogged? I honestly thought it was only two. The fact that the sequence of WOYWW has jumped to #508 tells me that three weeks have indeed passed without me even noticing!

I'm back today with an altered bottle. I had an uncontrollable urge to alter a bottle last weekend, so I went ahead without a plan or even a firm idea. The problem with that is that mistakes invariably happen, but it's all part of the learning process. The mistake I made - and not for the first time! - was thinking that I can attach flat metal embellishments (filigrees) to the curved surface of the bottle. Nope, yet again I had to accept that this is not possible, even if I shape the embellishments to follow the curve of the bottle - so I had to abandon that idea. Of course, by that time my perfectly gessoed surface was all messed up, so I had to cover it up somehow. Enter cheese cloth - the perfect solution to hide the mess under!

Here's a photo I took during the process. A small champagne bottle, first black gessoed, then decorated with cheese cloth and lace ribbons, painted with turquoise blue and green acrylics for a patina look.

After this, I dripped some sepia ink all over the bottle to make it more weathered-looking and added some pre-made embellishments that were lying around my desk. They were meant for a tag, which never really materialized, so I just used them on my bottle. This is what I ended up with:

I originally made the embellishments for the Tim Holtz Addicts Facebook group  #THA_Feb challenge, which revisits the 12-tag techniques. The technique for February is paint resist and the creation doesn't have to be a tag - it can be anything as long as the focal point or the majority of the products used are by Tim Holtz.

I used the TH tattered butterfly bigz die and the bingo embossing folder. The script on the butterfly was stamped with white gesso and dunked into diluted distress ink (faded jeans and vintage photo) to achieve the resist effect. It worked remarkably well! The effect on the embossed piece was achieved by rolling white gesso with a brayer over the raised areas and then dunking the paper into the same distress ink mixture. It got a bit soggy but dried nicely. 

After I'd finished this project, I came to the realisation that right in the middle there's a big fat, round number of significance: my birthday coming up next week, eeks! How did that happen? I still remember being a teenager like it was yesterday! 

In other news: we visited this charming, little, quintessentially English church nearby and I was quite taken with its tranquil setting and a colourful coat of arms inside that really reminded me of mixed media arts! 

Just one more picture if you have a minute to spare: here's Oreo sporting a mono-brow again. Since I took this photo, it has fallen out as well, so he is now browless for the time being - he does have lots of fine black eyebrow whiskers, but they're not so prominent. It will take a few weeks for the two white ones to grow back - hopefully at the same time! 

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Hope you have a good week! xx

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

WOYWW #505: Altered cheese packaging, a win and a rant

OK, so I managed to lose my first paragraph after linking up and I can't be bothered to rewrite it - it was a rant about Google. Maybe they came and deleted it LOL! Anyway, the long and the short of it is that they've finally killed off G+ and all my comments were lost in the process. I was hoping that they would offer a solution to migrate comments to Blogger but they didn't. They don't care. It was easier for them to delete the comments, so now they're all gone. Forever.

In happier news, look what I've got on my desk!

I've won the  January Craft Stamper prize draw! Yay me! This really brightened up my day and made me forget about my Google woes. Also on my desk: a weathered tag in progress, along with some inked butterflies and my general clutter. That iPhone box has been kicking around for months now - I'm planning to alter it one day. My son's got the phone, I've got the box - and it is a darn good box too, very sturdy! 

Onto my project share today, tada! 

Cheese packaging stuck together with masking tape and covered in book paper (although this step wasn't strictly necessary, it made it more sturdy) with pieces of embossed  paper stuck on (made with Tim Holtz embossing folders), gesso and some acrylic ink (Prussian blue and Sepia, if I can remember correctly).  The magic happened when I added some gilding wax on top for highlights. 

What is this, you ask? I don't know... It could be a stand for something or I could just call it an Artist Trading Coin Block - do they exist? They do now! 

Before I go, I'd like to share this idyllic photo of Oreo enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon by the fire.

My commenting system is supposed to have reverted back to the native Blogger comments - see if it works! Thanks for all the comments over the years - most of which came from the lovely people of WOYWW and some from a handful of faithful followers.  I'm ever so grateful for every single comment and I'm so sorry I couldn't keep them! xx

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

WOYWW #504: A handmade, fabric covered book

Well, my desk is not exactly tidy (or clean) but at least it's now serviceable. I had a little tidy up, which involved sweeping everything off my desk onto the floor - in one elegant, swift movement. Job done - for now. Stage two will involve tidying the floor, but I haven't got to that point yet. Here's my newly reclaimed work surface with my latest project in progress:

Why am I showing you all this? Well, it's all for WOYWW, where we share our work surfaces, some tidy and neat and some shamelessly messy. Mine usually falls in the latter category. 

So what's on my desk today? I bought some cheap foolscap size file folders on Amazon, cut them down to size and stuck the pages together along the folds back-to-back with some masking tape to form a flipable booklet. You can see it lying on my desk on the left. I gessoed the pages to make them withstand wet media. Then I made a cover for it using the Tim Holtz fabric I'd bought recently. 

(If anyone needs a tutorial on this binding method, I keep going back to this blog post by Wendy Burgess. This is the same method I used to bind my 2016 Life Book as well.) 

This is how my book turned out in the end. The pages lie completely flat when it's open. 

The next step will be to fill the pages but I haven't decided what to do with the book yet. I'll put it aside for now, waiting for inspiration. Perhaps I'll turn it into a photo album.

How's that for short 'n sweet today? I'll be over catching up soon with everyone! Happy #504!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

WOYWW #502: My word for the year

Hello peeps - I'm here again to link up with WOYWW, the longest running blog hop in history (and I think that's a pretty safe assumption!) I was going to tidy up my desk today - but something stopped me. I could make excuses but the truth is it was plain laziness that prevented my plans. I had a go at it this morning so that I could show you a 'before' and 'after' shot but I gave up after just a few minutes so I only have the 'before' shot for now. Here it is (eeeks!):

It's getting to the point where the mess is no longer manageable so I will have to tidy up - just not now. I haven't done much in the past two weeks in the way of crafting. I've made a new tag though, that you can see on the mini easel. It was for a monthly challenge in the Tim Holtz Addicts Facebook group. The January challenge is to use tissue paper (either TH or any other) and the majority of the supplies including the focus point has to be TH. Here's a closer look at my tag:

It features my word for the year, which is GRATITUDE. This is the word that resonates with me the most right now. After years of limbo when I chose words like 'progress' and 'evolve' yearning for something more, something different, I think I am now content and happy enough to appreciate what I have instead of wanting change. 

This tag features several TH supplies: the butterfly was cut from TH tissue wrap and mounted on textured watercolour paper to give it some weight, the tag itself and the bookplate were cut with a TH die, as was the vintage lace at the bottom, the book plate was coloured with distress oxides, the numbers came from a TH embossing folder, and most importantly the ribbon was torn from a piece of TH fabric. I've bough a whole bunch of 1/4 metre strips from Cotton Patch (in the UK). Here's my stash:

I can also use these to make journal covers, tag pouches or just cut them into collage elements. I was very happy to receive these pieces of fabric - they're a great addition to my growing TH collection! 

I'm also entering this project in the Craft Stamper Magazine Anything Goes January Challenge. I made sure there was something stamped on my project, i.e. the script stamp in the background. 

Happy Wednesday to my WOYWW friends and anyone else who's visiting! xx