Wednesday, 27 December 2017

WOYWW #447: Christmas presents and happy play!

For once, the past week went rather slowly. The countdown to Christmas was rather excruciating as I was counting down the days till I was finally allowed to open my present! Not since I was a child have I felt so excited! Here I am for a special edition of WOYWW this week: What's Underneath Your Christmas Tree?

Here's a shot of our tree on Christmas morning. Oreo is well positioned for his festive snap. His present is on the left, mine's the big one in the middle, hubby's was too large to go under the tree, so we took a photo of it instead (it's a metal tool cabinet on wheels - the man version of the iconic Ikea craft trolley!) - the rest belongs to my son, who was almost as excited about Christmas as I was! He chose his big presents but I also bought him some smaller things for the surprise element. Luckily, we no longer need to pretend about Santa! What a scam, hey? He still holds that against us!

Here's Oreo posing with his present: six months' supply of Dreamies, his favourite treat.

This cinematic light display is so much fun to leave messages around and I couldn't resist that little cuddly toy that literally jumped on me in the shop. His name is Barry.

And here's the one you've all been waiting for - tada! No, not Darth Vader - the Big Shot with a selection of dies to play with. Darth is only guarding it for me. 

I used to have a Big Shot years ago, but I sold it when I got my Silhouette Cameo. It was a mistake - you really do need both - they can't replace one another! Although I realised this early on, I didn't have the space for another device, so I had to make do without a Big Shot for years. Now, I've found the perfect spot for it:

I had a marathon play session in my craft room trying out all my new dies. I bought some simple shapes, tabs, tags, frames and a nice alphabet with numbers - the kind of things I can use on a regular basis without having to fire up my Cameo every time I need something. I was delighted to see that most of the the dies easily cut thick kraft card - I'm pretty sure the Cameo would have struggled with that. I've made some tags with my newly cut shapes and also to test run some cheap craft paints, found at The Range.

Note: I chose these numbers at random - I've only just realised, it could have easily been 2018 - why it's 9018, I'll never know LOL! The creative side of my brain doesn't have a seasonal setting!

Actually, it wasn't the Big Shot's ability to cut shapes from card that excited me the most! It's the fact that I can now cut foam, and emboss as well. The Cameo does neither of those jobs. I have a lot more things to share about the Big Shot, but I'm afraid I'll have to leave those for another blog post.

That's it, folks! The last WOYWW in 2017! I'll be back for a lot more in 2018! I hope you'll enjoy your New Year's Eve celebrations. See you again in the New Year!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

WOYWW #446: Tiny houses and gelli printed mini envelopes

I'm writing this WOYWW post on Tuesday night, which is quite unusual for me. I will probably sleep in tomorrow as we are officially on holiday as of tonight and we are now unstoppably hurtling towards Christmas! I've got something crafty underneath the Christmas tree, but I can't reveal it until next week!

For now I will just show you these little houses I cut on my Cameo. Aren't they cute? I found the free cut files on this site.  Here's a photo I took while I was inking the edges. The walls are stained with distress oxides and the roofs with distress ink (rusty hinge). That shelving unit on my desk is new (well, recycled - it already has a nice ink stain on it!) and still needs to be fixed to the wall. It will be great for storing regularly used products within easy reach.

I've also made some mini envelopes with some gelli prints I'd created earlier this year. I used a scoreboard, which was an early Christmas present (from myself!). I should have got one years ago - I don't know how I managed without it so far! The envelopes are slightly different shapes and sizes but mainly around ATC size. 

I've been meaning to share this gif for a while but always forgot. This cat looks a lot like Oreo and reminds me of myself when I order art supplies online LOL!

I hope you've enjoyed your visit today! Wishing you all a joyful and peaceful Christmas! I hope to be back again next week for this year's last WOYWW.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

WOYWW #445: A journal cover and some white stuff

I'm gutted that I had to miss #444 of WOYWW. It will be more than two years before such a rare opportunity presents itself again. Oh well, here I am now and I expect I will now overshare, but just bare with me!

I took my desk shot over the weekend. I was still in the mood for making something metallic and I'd found this large clock face stuck on my Cameo cutting mat. It must have been there for a while as I can't even remember cutting it, but I thought it might look good on my 12" X 12" kraft journal cover. Do you recognize the clock face? Hint: it's very famous! There are also some die-cut mini houses on my desk which could be my next project.

My second photo shows my desk a few hours later at night, after I applied back gesso to the entire surface and started adding metallic paints to accentuate the die-cut pattern. I had Oreo to keep me company.

The following photos show the finished project. You don't always get what you expect in the harsh reality of day light (a bit like putting your make-up on in the dark!) but I was quite pleased with the results the following day:

There's an easy formula to achieve this look and it goes something like this:

In other news: we've had lots of snow! I only wish it had come a couple of weeks later for a white Christmas, but perhaps we'll still get some more. It was certainly quite a treat to wake up on Sunday morning to find everything covered in snow. 

I told you I was going to overshare LOL! Thank you for visiting - I hope all is well with you wherever you are in the world! 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

WOYWW #443: Altered tin and other things

I have just about enough time to squeeze in a WOYWW post this morning. I've been making headway with my various projects since last week. I've completed quite a few pages in my paper bag journal, added some paint to my crackled clothes tags and finished the little tin that was sitting on my desk waiting to be altered. The photo shows what my desk looked like during the proceedings. I'd just stuck on a die-cut pattern from textured cardstock, which I subsequently covered with black gesso and various metallic paints to achieve a metallic look.

This is what the finished tin looks like. It's perfect for holding those gelli printed feathers I made earlier this year:

I had some left over metallic paints on my palette and not wanting to waste them, on impulse, I spread them on my altered clothes tags lying around. I had no idea whether this would ruin them but I just went ahead and did it. The gamble has paid off; they look fantastic and the metallic look really enhanced the muted colours of the distress oxides and made the crackles look almost like glass. Here are some photos of the textures I achieved (I'll do a separate post of the whole process once the tags are fully completed):

Let me also show you a sneak peek at one of the pages in progress in my paper bag journal. I'll do a separate post as well when the journal is completed. There are only a couple of more pages to go, which I hope to finish over the weekend.

So, that was me for today! I'll be doing my rounds later as soon as my household chores are done. Happy Wednesday!

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

WOYWW #442: WIPs, wooden houses and RoboFish

Having missed last week's WOYWW, I was adamant that I was going to take part this week, despite not having much to show for it. I've been flittering between projects, not really committing to any of them. This is what my desk looked like earlier today:

I've been working on the-flip side of my paper bag journal, making slow progress. There are also three altered clothes tags in the top left corner with an experimental crackle texture. In the top right corner is a wooden box that had I painted and varnished and found that the varnish wasn't compatible with the paint and started to peel off. Not to worry - I'll cover the whole thing with book paper and start afresh. There also some TPRs (toilet paper rolls) waiting to be turned into a journal of sorts, and an empty paint can and a glass jar to be altered, amongst other things. So, I've been quite busy making plans without much actual action taking place. Have you ever felt though that sometimes just looking forward to doing things fills you with joy and excitement in anticipation - perhaps even more than actually doing them? That's exactly how I feel about my little projects in the pipeline.

Here are a few closer shots of things on my desk, keeping in mind that they are only work in progress and subject to change:

And just so I can put something aesthetically pleasing as the feature image of my blog post, let me show you these two little wooden constructions I bought at The Works over the weekend. I'm not sure if I will alter them in any way - they're painted white and look lovely just as they are. Perhaps it would have been better if they had come as a kit instead of ready painted and assembled, but I couldn't just leave them behind! 

Another thing I bought is this RoboFish for Oreo to play with. As you can see in the video below, he's more interested in lapping up the water than playing with his new toy! We had our two-year anniversary with Oreo yesterday - it was a big commitment for us to decide to adopt a cat back in 2015, but I can honestly say we never regretted it. He brings us so much fun and joy - along with the inevitable aggro, worry and expense - but considering everything it's all worth it in the end! I'm sure all you pet owners will agree!

Thanks for stopping by today - I'll be over visiting later! 
Happy WOYWW and Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends for tomorrow!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

WOYWW #440: Journal from a paper bag

Good morning lovely crafty people around the world! Another Wednesday, another chance to snoop around each other's messy desks courtesy of WOYWW.

My first desk shot was taken on Friday night and the second on Sunday morning. I was very busy in-between working on a journal I made from a brown paper bag. This project was originally inspired by Renata Loree on Facebook. I have several of these paper bags saved, but never knew what to do with them - even though the idea is blindingly obvious: you just remove the handles and open up the seams to lay it flat, then gesso, paint and stencil both sides for a colourful background. There are different ways to fold this sheet into a journal. I chose to cut it along the length and made a simple accordion journal by sticking the two pieces together with masking tape.

Even though the paper bag was all scrunched up and wrinkly to start with, all those layers of paint made it lie flat and smooth in the end. Here's a photo of the painted background with the colours I used: yellow ochre, titanium buff, and quinacridone nickel azo gold. 

After folding my journal, I added different collage pieces: imagery from napkins and printouts, palette paper, stained doilies, drywall tape, printed tissue paper, raffle tickets, etc - whatever I could find in my scrap box and tied it all together with more paint. Each page is completed with some found poetry that I randomly cut out of a novel. It was just pure play - you can see that my pages became more colourful and varied towards the end as I left my inhibitions behind and decided that a journal doesn't necessarily need to be themed or follow a strict colour scheme.

Here are photos of all the pages and I also made a short video flip-through. Of course, there's also a flip-side to this journal, but that will be the subject of another post.

Update: you can find the flip side of my paperbag journal here.

In other news: Oreo now goes out of the house for short periods, but he never stays out for longer than 10-15 minutes. We definitely don't have to worry about him running away now - he knows this is his new home and he's just exploring his new territories outside. He was out long enough this morning to catch a mouse! I made sure he didn't bring it in the house. I think a cat flap is out of the question - otherwise we would be inundated with unwanted presents!  Here he is showing that he's well and truly settled in his new surroundings. 

I hope I managed to get back to everyone who left comments last week. I didn't have a chance to visit until later in the week. Hopefully, I will be able to do my rounds on time today. 
Happy WOYWW! 

I'm also linking this post to the Mini Album Makers Challenge blog, which is a monthly event hosted by the one and only Autumn Clark. Check out the link above if you want to see some amazing handmade journals!  There's still time to take part in the November challenge