Wednesday 31 January 2018

WOYWW #452: Foam stamps made with stencils

I'm writing this blog post on Tuesday as I'll be at work tomorrow morning but I didn't want to miss this week's WOYWW. Here's the obligatory shot of my desk in all its messy glory earlier this week:

I was trying out some new paints and happened to have a cardboard envelope sitting on my desk, so I just grabbed that and smudged some paint on it in a random fashion. Then I remembered my home-made foam stamps, so I used one of those as well. I ended up with this upcycled envelope, which I'm sure will come in handy one day. 

These are the new paints I used. I bought them at Crafter's Companion who have an outlet near me. This shop together with The Range definitely make up for the lack of a Hobby Craft around here and satisfy my cravings for real-life shopping experience of arts & crafts products! 

In case you're wondering how I made the foam stamp, here's the set-up:

The photo shows a Big Shot, but I expect it would work just the same with all other similar die-cutting machines. I used the main platform with all tabs closed + cutting pad + kraft card + foam sheet + stencil + cutting pad.  The kraft card was added for extra resistance, but it could be anything else - just experiment to see what thickness works best. Run this sandwich through slowly a couple of times to make sure you get a good impression of the stencil pattern on the foam. It works remarkably well - much better than my previous experiment without a die-cutting/embossing machine which involved a hot iron with disastrous consequences!

Here are some more foam stamps I made this way. They work great on the gelli plate or you can roll some paint on them directly with a brayer to create some lovely, distressed textures..

Finally, I'd like to share something I received in the post yesterday all the way from the US from my very dear friend, Jackie. She sent me this beautiful tag wrapped in some lovely mulberry paper, which I will be using in collages. I'll even reuse the washi tape she sealed the envelope with! Thanks you so much, Jackie, for your kindness and thoughtfulness! It really made me happy and brightened my day!

Big thanks to everyone who have visited and commented - I promise to get back to every one of you some time in the next few days when time allows! Happy WOYWW! 

Wednesday 24 January 2018

WOYWW #451: Distressed picture frame

Another Wednesday is upon us - well, almost, as I'm writing this on Tuesday night. I hope I'll have enough time to link up to WOYWW in the morning before leaving for work. I'll try to be real quick today - see if I can be true to my word just this once!

The photo of my desk shows a picture frame being altered. It used to be white and a bit bland. Hubby asked me to do something to it. It's actually a frame that he made himself to display a painting that his brother created years ago - in fact, almost three decades ago! What is this if not teamwork?

I used a nice turquoise blue colour to paint the frame, distressed it with a sanding block and then dry brushed some antique gold around the edges and all over. Easy peasy and I like how it ended up. Here's a closer look, along with the painting by my brother-in-law. I know, I know, he's talented! Shame he gave up his hobby - I don't think he paints any more. I hope I did justice to his painting with the new frame.

Something else: Shaz (Silverwolf) was kind enough to send me her unwanted A5 binders for my new dies. I used some sleeves with magnetic sheets in them and they work pretty well together. Thanks Shaz! They're perfect for what I need them for! I plan to alter the binders at one point - perhaps cover them with fabric or collage.

Back by popular demand this week - Oreo, the cat. I had a job taking a photo of him as he's outside most of the day now, but we always keep him indoors at night. I'm worried about the foxes nearby. I naively thought that foxes slept during the day and only came out at night, but I've seen them at all times gallivanting around. Just the other day I saw one only a few meters away from the house in broad day light. They go for the bunny rabbits - I wish I could protect them! Nature is so cruel! I'm just hoping they'll leave Oreo alone. Here he is lounging on the back of the sofa with not a care in the world.

I also managed to snap some sunset shots from the living room. The sky can change dramatically within just a couple of minutes. These two photos were taken only a few minutes apart and the cloud formations look completely different.

OK, so I didn't quite manage to keep it short, but I hope you've enjoyed your visit anyway. I'll be around this evening and later in the week as time allows. Happy WOYWW! 

Wednesday 17 January 2018

WOYWW #450: A little box made from junk

Hello deskers! Another Wednesday has arrived so it's time to head over to the Stamping Ground once again for the weekly blog fest affectionately known as WOYWW.  I snapped this photo of my desk just a few minutes ago in natural daylight for once! It shows the aftermath of a project I did on Sunday for Wanderlust. If anyone's interested, you can find it here. I haven't had a chance to tidy up since then - ok, I admit, I would have had plenty of chances,  I just didn't bother!

There are a number of projects in the making but today I'm going to share one that I finished a while ago. You may have seen that little round box sitting in the lower right corner of my self earlier. I'll give you a closer look and show you how I made it. 

It's made out of a cardboard tub - you know the ones with a metal bottom? Hubby cut it to size for me and I cut a round top for it from some sturdy cardboard. I stuck some corrugated cardboard strips all around the tub and found a wooden die-cut shape that fitted perfectly on the lid, along with a little cork for a handle. It just happened that everything was in perfect proportion and the pieces worked really well together.

I used some gilding wax to colour it over black gesso, but I could have just used metallic paint. Next time I will as the wax is not very nice to work with. They all dried up and I don't like the way they smell. I added some ribbon to jazz it up a bit and to hide the unsightly seams. This is what the box looks like coloured and assembled: 

No Oreo photos today, but here's a quick fix for you cat lovers. I found this little guy at The Range, where I now work. Isn't he cute? I won't get my staff discount until my trial period of 13 weeks is over, but that doesn't stop me from buying stuff! I will probably end up spending most my wages there, LOL!

Thanks for visiting! I may not be able to return visits until later in the week as I work tonight and tomorrow morning and I have to home school in between, but I'll be around as soon as I get a chance. Happy WOYWW! 

Sunday 14 January 2018

Wanderlust Week 02 (2018): Destiny

I signed up for Wanderlust 2018 back in September because I found the early bird discount together with the alumni discount irresistible. Even though I only completed a few of the lessons last year, I watched all the videos and I'm sure every bit of inspiration has found its way into my art in one form or another, so it wasn't a waste of money at all. I don't intend to complete all the lessons this year either, but I know that every lesson will somehow influence my artistic journey.

This month's theme is Paths and Roads and in week two we had Michelle Turbide as our guest teacher. The way she used gesso and ink, immediately inspired me to try her technique and I had just the right substrate for it too! Remember those cardboard panels that I prepped a while ago just in case I might need them? This was the perfect opportunity to use one of them!

Initially, I followed the tutorial to create the background and foreground with a path running through it, but then I went a bit off track and added a few elements of my own. I stenciled a large tree (using a home made stencil cut on my Cameo), I added a little wooden house shape, a die-cut dreamcatcher, a setting sun, some stamping - and even some scrap corrugated packaging and a few well placed glitter dots -  to complete the picture.  The title came as an afterthought. No rhyme or reason - I just felt my painting needed these elements when I got to that stage in the process. None of them were planned when I started out. Here's the completed project - a little different from the lesson:

I'm not sure I managed to accomplish the objective of the class, but I had lots of fun working on my layers and this painting means a lot to me. I decided to hang it on my wall and I found an easy way to do this. I simply stuck a piece of string to the back with some strong duck tape and fixed a 3M removable plastic hook to the wall. So far it's holding quite well. Here's a photo to show you how I did this:

Thanks for visiting! 
I wish you all well on your own journey!

Wednesday 10 January 2018

WOYWW #449: A journal page, a tag and some tattered flowers

I was really sad to take the Christmas tree down this year. I don't usually feel that way but this year was special in our new house - we really enjoyed our first Christmas here. Taking down the tree also coincided with finishing my puzzle (more about that later) which also filled me with a sense of closure of the Christmas period. It's gone now and only the happy memories remain.

I didn't have much time to feel sentimental though as on Monday, I found out that I was offered a job at the local Range to work in the Arts and Crafts department! Yay me, I'm very excited! It's a part-time job, which allows me to continue with home education until my son gets into school (September the latest) and hopefully still spend some time in my art room and blogging. We'll see how it goes - I'm very optimistic about it at the moment.

Onto my desk now quickly, as that's what WOYWW is all about! Here's a photo I took earlier this week. At the front is a nearly finished journal spread featuring my first ever tattered flower - some more are in the process of being made in the background. There's also a tag I used for leftover paint and eagle-eyed viewers can also spot a texture stamp with a brick wall pattern - I ordered it from Aliexpress (thanks Annie and Shaz for putting me onto it!) - it's really good quality and cost me the grand total of £1.17!

Here's a closer look at my journal spread with the tattered flower that was cut from Khadi paper and tinted with distress oxides. 

This is how the flower was produced and assembled: 

My next batch if flowers were cut from brown wrapping paper. I love how the distress oxides behave on that surface! I've made some smaller ones as well with the thinlits die set and put a mini epoxy flower in the middle.

I used one of the small flowers on this tag that I put together (quite haphazardly) from scraps:

And finally here's my completed puzzle! I really enjoyed working on it, though sometimes I wondered whether I will ever be able to finish it! Frustratingly, the last piece didn't quite fit, so I had to find where I went wrong, but I was able to figure it out. Some pieces were almost identical in shape and colour, so it was easy to mix them up! I'm looking for a way to preserve the puzzle - too much work has gone into it for it to just go to waste! 

Thanks for visiting today. I won't have much time to go around until later in the day, but I promise to always get back to everyone who leaves a comment! Have a wonderful day! xx

Wednesday 3 January 2018

WOYWW #448: Hello 2018!

Happy New Year Everyone! I hope your celebrations went well and you enjoyed your New Year's Eve around the world. We stayed in nice and cozy, everyone preoccupied with their own hobbies and then we congregated in front of the telly for a glass of bubbly to watch the fireworks at midnight. Not the most exciting way to spend your New Year's Eve, I admit, but I wouldn't do it any other way. When I was younger and single, I always felt obliged to go to parties, while all I really wanted to do was to stay at home. Now I can do just that without having to feel weird about it! I love being hopelessly middle-aged!

As for arts & crafts, I have been doing lots of bits and pieces. Too many to show you in one sitting, so I'll blog them separately in the coming weeks. For now, I'll just show you my desk at different times during the past week.

This photo shows my desk on 28th December at around 3 pm. I'd just made my first tattered flower with a Tim Holtz bigz die and I'd also stuck some gelli prints on wood panels for display.

This next photo was taken on 29th December at 1 am. I had an uncontrollable urge to start a journal page. Notice that the shelving unit is still sitting on my desk, unattached to the wall.

Jump to 31st December, around midday. The half-finished journal page had been shoved to the back to give way to my experimenting with foam shapes (cut with Tim Holtz mixed media dies) and distress oxides on the gelli plate. The shelf had finally been fixed to the wall by my DIY extraordinaire hubby - yay! 

In the meanwhile, I also started a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle - quite on impulse, but no doubt inspired by some of you who showed us your Christmas puzzles. I'd had this one sitting in the back of my wardrobe for years and I almost forgot about it. Oreo walked in just as I was sorting the pieces and promptly placed himself right in the middle of it. Later, I managed to convince him that his purpose-made, fluffy bed (never used much before!) would be more comfortable. He wanted to try different positions before moving to his bed though! Here's the story in pictures:

This is how far I got with the puzzle last night. I've added a few more pieces since then, but it's slow going! I hope to be able to show you the finished project next week if I can find the patience to complete it!

One more thing to boast about this week: my afore-mentioned DIY extraordinaire hubby single-handedly  fitted a bi-fold door (too many hyphens, I know!) between the conservatory and the dining area. For some reason, the previous owners of our house thought it was a good idea to leave this area open-plan, but it turned the whole kitchen/diner into a big freezer! Now it's nice and warm and cozy instead of feeling like you're sitting in a cold corridor. I've also found the perfect wall-art at the Range to add a spot of colour.

Here's a closer look at the canvas in better lighting. I instantly fell in love with it when I first saw it! It's a Moroccan tile pattern with some gold details - incredibly good value for just £20!

I hope I didn't keep you up too long. These blog posts always end up longer than I intend. 

Thank you for stopping by - I hope your 2018 is filled with joy, health and happiness! xx