Wednesday, 15 May 2019

WOYWW #519: Catching up

The weeks whiz by so incredibly fast - I've missed three weeks of WOYWW again. I'm joining in today at #519, the week before the biggie 10th anniversary and our annual ATC swap.

I jumped in and decided to get a head start on my ATCs on Saturday. This is what my desk looked like with the beginnings of my ATCs:

Later, they evolved to something like this:

In the end, they ended up looking nothing like these. I'll share them next week. 

In order to show you a finished project as well, here's a quickie I did altering a small flower pot. My husband got it from one of his colleagues and when I first saw it, my immediate thought was it needs some colour! It's too small to grow any plants in it, but I might get a small cactus for it. (I just came up with this idea as I was typing!) 

Talking of plants, I haven't shared any avocado photos for months - and that's because it was "hibernating"  for the winter and didn't grow at all. Then about 3-4 weeks ago, after I re-potted it, it started to grow like crazy, at least 7 inches since then. Yesterday, when I got home from work I got a real shock when I saw that it was wilting in direct sun in the hot conservatory. It must have been 40 C degrees in there or even hotter! I thought I'd killed it but it came back to life - I reckon I saved it in the nick of time, so I'm not going to leave it in the conservatory on hot days any more. Some of its new leaves got a bit singed, but I think they will repair themselves. I felt awful when I saw it.  Here's a shot of the new shoot - that's about a third of the whole plant with lots of side shoots coming through. 

Oreo's fur on his bald spot started to grow back, thankfully. At least the £63.59 treatment seems to have worked, though I still feel bitter about being ripped off at the vets - I'm almost certain it would have resolved on its own, but you just don't want to worry. At least I can keep the cream for next time if it happens again. Here he is curled up on my chair in the craft room this morning with not a care in the world.

That's it folks! I'll have to go run some errands today but will be back later to snoop around! 
Happy #519! 

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

WOYWW #516: Grungy Village Dwelling and Garden Furniture Makeover

Oh my, didn't we have a glorious double bank holiday weekend? I was back at work yesterday and will be again tomorrow but I'm off today to join in the weekly desk hop on Julia's Stamping Ground. So, here's a photo of my desk as it was over the Easter weekend.

I'd been wanting that Tim Holtz Village Dwelling die for so long - it had been on my price alerts for ages, so when the price dropped, I snapped it up. Still, way too expensive to justify buying it, but hey, some things you just gotta have! And when I'm tired of it, I'm sure I can sell it for a good price. 

I decided to decorate the dwelling with crackle paste and simply paint it with acrylics. I also bought the fixer-upper thinlits set for the window frames, which I heat embossed with Seth Apter's Chunky Rust Baked Textures. Here's the end result - my little grungy village dwelling:

Another crafty project accomplished over the weekend was the make-over of our old garden furniture, four wooden chairs and a table. We almost threw them away when we moved but I'm glad we didn't. It was a tricky job painting them with a small brush to get into all the nooks and crannies, but it was manageable and quite enjoyable sitting outside in the lovely weather. Some of the chairs still need a top coat - I'll unveil the whole set when it's finished. For now, here's a photo for comparison: 

We've also had our newly acquired rhododendron come into bloom just in time for Easter... 

... and of course the Easter bunny visited as well.

We had a lovely Easter, apart from Oreo requiring a visit to the vets. He's been scratching himself on the back of his neck and lost quite a lot of fur. He's now sporting a very unsightly bald patch (I'll spare you the visuals). I was hoping to pick up something over the counter from Vets4Pets, but they wanted to  see him. I only took him because I was concerned that he might have ringworm, but apparently he doesn't, which is a relief as it would be very difficult to get rid of. Guess how much they charged for a 5-minute consultation and a small tube of ointment that's available over the internet for under ten pounds? £63.59! I didn't have a choice but grit my teeth and pay up. Daylight robbery, bordering on unethical. Well, what can I say, they now have yet another 1-star review on Trustpilot, ha! I'm just hoping the treatment will work and Oreo's fur will grow back soon. 

One more thing to shout about: Marit (of Marit's Paperworld) has kindly asked me to take part in her Quirky Dutch Summer initiative as a guest blogger, which I'm very excited about. Thank you for thinking of me, Marit! I'm looking forward to being part of this creative event this Summer! 

Happy #516 everyone! If I can't get to everyone today, I'll do so over the course of the week! 

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