Saturday, 25 October 2014

Soft and raw

So Autumn is setting in here, the days are shorter the early mornings darker, leaves are dropping, unpicked fruit on the plum tree is shrivelling. There is evidence of dying and decay appearing all around us as we begin the move towards winter, a sense of hunkering down, hibernating, seeing out the dark days of winter, waiting for the first signs of spring and the return of light and growth.

As part of that hibernating my crafting tends to change towards fabric and yarn rather than paper.  I currently have a patchwork and quilting lap quilt to finish and two crochet projects on the go, one at home and and one at work (I call this one my art therapy at lunchtime, the rhythmic task of twisting and looping yarn and seeing something grow, achieving something instead of constantly battling questions, deadlines and emails). the plan is to use the stash of yarn in the cupboard, but I could resist purchasing some massive 200g balls of chunky yarn in rich jewel autumn colours to make another blanket!

But I did make this largish canvas last month.

Whilst on holiday in the Isle of Man in late August, John and I escaped and went for a wander round the ruined Peel Castle.  It was a really blustery windy afternoon, grey, cloudy and rainy. Very Gothic.

In one of the guard rooms I found this pigeon wing, which animal had ripped it apart, fox of bird of prey was unknown, but it was beautiful, the softness of the feathers against the rawness of the snapped bones and flesh.

I've manipulated the photo in Pixlr adding filters to change the colour slightly and scratches. Mounted on stiff card, the edges distressed further and sanding on the actual photo to exaggerate the decay.

I wanted the picture to sit in the middle of the canvas with a lot of texture behind it to suggest crumbling decay and fluidity of dripping to suggest "ooze" Lots of texture paste, embossing powders, mica flakes, paint drips and metallic sprays, layer upon layer to build depth and structure.

Really pleased with it and I can see me exploring this theme more with darker backgrounds.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Fish supper

So I have my art journal out on the table whenever I'm painting, so I can use the excess paint and clean my brush a bit.

Today I've been working on a new piece (A4 size) to go in one of the frames on my stair wall and this page in the journal is the mop up of that piece.

It feels good to use the journal and use up some of the "extras" like the water colour paper and the second ATC.I cut and made just in case I didnt like the first one!

The background is is various PaperArtsy chalk finish blues with some stencilling and stamping with blue shades of Archival Inks.  Walnut Stain Distress Ink added and spritzed with water to give the water marks.

The ATC was made from a scrap of blue card, some book paper with Inky Pool as a first layer and then Blue Ice and Inky Pool as a top layer.  A crackle stamp from Blu Indigo in Watering Can Archival and then the PaperArtsy fish stamp embossed in black.  Distressed the edges and then two layers of clear embossing to get the glass effect.  When it was cold, I created the cracks by bending the card.  

This was stapled to the watercolour paper and before I stuck it down I used a water soluble and ordinary brown pencil to scribble the square.

I think I'm going to enjoy using this journal in this way, quite quick using up scraps as I create bigger pieces. Still not sure whether I'm ready to write personal stuff in it yet though!


Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Linen and Tweed

This has been on my "to do " list for some time.  I love making these fabric wreaths from old wire coat hangers and ripped strips of cloth. It's a bit time consuming but really simple.

I cut the hook of the coat hanger (well John did if I'm honest) formed it into a circle and joined the ends with sellotape.  I then wound tissue tape all over the circle. 

 I cut a load of 5 inches by half an inch strips and just started knotting them on the coat hanger.  This was an old piece of course linen I had,  but I often use old duvet or table cloths from the charity shop. Its usually faded, soft and cheap!

The heart was made from some of the most gorgeous Donegal Tweed fabric from Fabric Affair that I got from the Festival of Quilts. The company is run by a lovely mother and daughter.  I spied then very early on when I arrived at the show but was determined not to spend any money (that didn't last long I can tell you).  I was admiring the gorgeous colours and the texture of the tweed (and linen) and I joked about what a good daughter I was taking my mother out for the day!  Anyway at the end of the day I'd still got some pennies left so I thought blow it and went back minus my mother who was having a sit down.  The lovely owner remembered me and asked what I'd done with my mother. she laughed when I said she gone to have a sit down as I'd exhausted her!

So I bought a bundle of lovely earthy toned tweeds. They are so thick and soft and absolutely gorgeous. They are going to be at the Ally Pally Knitting and Stitching Show and I might have to save my pennies again. 

I stitched the heart with embroidery thread, not too neatly (it's ages since I've done embroidery, I need to practise).  Added a bow of some fine threads of hessian and a button.  The heart is attached with a length of suede ribbon.

All in all a complete texture overload, all in my favourite earthy neutrals!



Friday, 5 September 2014

Dont pulp it, paint it!

So I got back from hols and even though I took some crafting stuff with me, I was really itching to get back in my craft room (it's really the spare room, but it has a few status issues and likes to call itself "the studio") and "make something".

I have quite a few old books in my stash, one of the perks of working in a library, we occasionally withdraw stuff and my colleagues know to give me the nod if any hardbacks are going.  This one is a thin poetry book.

I took the paper book jacket off to  reveal the pale blue linen of the cover.

I started off with Honeydew all over, not solidly as I wanted to build up light layers of colour to give depth. Then mixed Toad Hall and Beach Hut and layered that on.

I used a candle to rub over the covers to act as a revisit and added another layer of the Toad Hall/ Beach Hut with a touch of Mermaid added to move it more to a blue green rather than green blue colour. I used the heat gun to dry this and melt the wax which I then rubbed off to reveal the lower layer. I also sanded it lightly as well in places.

Using the large numbers backgrounds stamp from PaperArtsy I stamped in Cobalt Archival and embossed in a Blueberry Wow embossing powder. I then added a layer of gold leaf in the middle of the book. YOu cant see a lot of it, but it just pops through here and there for another layer of texture.

I dry brushed Honeydew, Claret and French Roast around the edges as well to add to that grungy, shabby decayed look.

Over this I did add a stamped image of the winged lady from the PaperArtsy Letters L3 plate and then added a layer of Crackle Accent and left that to dry.

Umm, that didn't work to well as it completely covered the stamping, but gave some good raised crackle texture.  So I played around with this, sanding it, picking at it, spraying with inks, metallic glaze and finally French Roast Fresco and Treasure Gold. It looked OK but still needed something in the middle.

Hunted around in the stash and found some leather and felt. I sewed one layer of felt to the other, stuck the leather on top of this and painted a chipboard heart and added some Frantage embossing powder in wine (if you click on the photo you can enlarge it and see the detail)

The back was done in a similar way in terms of the paint layers and stamping, but nothing else added.

So what shall I do with it? Well I think it will eventually become an art journal, but what I'll do is keep it on the work desk and when I'm painting and I have excess paint I'll just paint a page, just like I've done here!


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Ellen Vargo New PaperArtsy stamps

Well hello everyone from a very sunny Isle of Man where we are watching the road racing and thanks to technology I can send this post stood in the middle of the street!

Boy oh boy, I was really pleased to be asked to try out the new Ellen Vargo stamps released this week. I decided I'd use a really neutral palette as I know how much Ellen loves her "brights" and I thought it would be a good contrast to showcase the versatility of these stamps.


Chocolate Line Flowers
I started out with the flowers. As soon as I saw the stamps (EV09) I knew they'd make the most gorgeous 3D flowers.  Starting with a sheet of green based Chatsworth paper I brayered Cheesecake and then Vanilla Fresco paint to create a background.  

I then stamped the petals (I put the six patterned petals on one block, it made it so much easier to stamp) in Tree Branch Archival ink all over the paper.  I cut these out and edged them in Walnut Stain Distress Ink. I gently rolled the petals to give them a curve, some down and some up!

On a spare piece of card I stamped the circles and cut those out.  Using a hot glue gun I stuck six petals per circle and then layered up four circles.  Whilst these set I covered some thick wire in ribbon securing each end with the hot glue gun.  At one end I created a flat spiral so that I could attach it to the underside of the flower.  In the centre of the flower I added a green felt ball.

Because the Chatsworth paper is such a heavy weight it curls really nicely and holds its shape, I was able to curl the petals again to get a really 3D shape t them.  I think they look like echinacea (cone flowers) flowers, so you might see some purple ones soon!

 Concertina Book

Next up I thought I'd use the small stamps (EV08) to create a mood board that I could use to make a concertina book.  Again using Chatsworth paper and Cheesecake and Vanilla Fresco paints I created a soft creamy background.  I then misted some snowflake and Metallic glaze with water in a spray bottle and sprayed this over the paper.  The mixture was quite thin and sat on the paper, so I lifted it up and let it drip vertically and horizontally.  It's quite subtle (you cant see it very well) but I think it looks like snail trails!

Using the small arch line stamp I stamped all over the card with Honeydew Fresco paint , again very subtle but its a another layer of texture.  Finally I stamped the rounded cross in Pebble Adirondack ink in places across the card and the small oblong in Oregano Adirondack ink. All very subtle and toned.

I cut the paper in half to create three oblongs 12x4" and folded each of these at the 4" mark to make three concertina's.  I glued these together to make one long strip and and glued the front and back pages together to make them a bit heavier. I used a couple of Lin Brown flower text stamps for the front and back covers.

Finally I added some of my black and white flower photos and black and white flower image transfers. The soft creamy, greeny paints and greyish stamping really act as a great background for the images.  


Copper Wall Tile

Finally I decided to make a stamped flower tile using Grunge Paste and the oval and circle stamps from the small stamp set (EV08).  

I painted a 6x6" chipboard square with a couple of layers Slate from JoFY's new limited edition paints.  A layer of crackle glaze on top of this and then   a mixture of Elephant and Snowflake fresco paint to get some subtle crackles.  

The remainder of the Elephant / Snowflake paint was mixed with Grunge Paste and spread over the centre of the tile.  Starting with the small circle I spritzed it with water and gentle stamped in the the Grunge paste.  Then using the oval I did the same thing to make the petals.  I left this to dry.

Once dry I lightly dry brushed Slate fresco paint over the petals followed by Spanish Topaz Treasure Gold to highlight the indentations of the stamping. I also went round the edge of the tile in Spanish Topaz to frame the tile.  I love how the Treasure Gold bleeds into some the cracks.

I've really enjoyed playing with Ellen's new stamps, the possibilities are endless for creating textured backgrounds.  If you get a chance do give them a go. You'll find the stamps in the PaperArtsy shop or at your favourite PaperArtsy retailer. And of course check out the PaperArtsy blog to see how Ellen used her stamps with some really bright colours!


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Using up those scraps

So, I had a big tidy up last weekend in the craft room,  there was stuff EVERYWHERE and frankly I hate having stuff everywhere on every surface whether its on my desk at work, the kitchen, the dining room or my craft room.  I find I can think clearly and feel overwhelmed if there is stuff everywhere (stuff everywhere get me down - can you tell!)

So I chucked out some stuff, re-arranged some stuff in the wardrobes in my craft room and put a lot of stuff away in this wardrobes (I just need to remember where I've put everything now).

But I still hoard "bits of paper" you know what I mean , those small (tiny slivers I can chuck) bits that just might be useful.  I have a whole box of plastic food bags (thank you IKEA)  that contain coloured themed cut into sheets of 12x12 papers all ready for a "project".

Except I get new 12x12's out and use those instead on the next project.

So I had an idea, not an original idea but a good idea on how to use those scraps.  ATC's. Lots and lots of ATCs using up all those bits and quick enough (ummm that bit might not be true in reality, but I try) to get a a crafty fix in my full throttle life.

But then what would I do with all the ATCS, just have them lying around making more stuff lying about everywhere????

What to put them in?  A BOOK of course, I could make a book with some of the scraps and use even more stuff.

So that's what a I did.

I had a load of long thin envelopes bought in a sale that I'd never used because I don't really make cards anymore.  But folded in half they were just the right size to have an ATC stuck on them.

I'd bought some JoFy stamps ages ago and hadn't really used them (I struggle with painting in the lines if I'm honest, more of a slap it on grungy shabby kinda girl). So took some Chatwsworth card (I just love the weight of this card, so strong) and painted in a dark grey as a base layer. Crackle Glaze and then Chalk over that.  I wanted a shabby seaside look on the cover so used the Vaseline technique to act as a resist for some blue and red streaks. 

Stamped in Black Archival and carefully coloured in with water colour pencils. 

I lined the inside with a piece of that scrap.

I looked up the tutorial on 5 hole pamphlet binding and bound the folded envelopes tot he cover with some strong thin twine.

Two big brads to act as closures and it was done.

So far Ive made two ATC's as you can see.  I painted the "page" and added a background stamp and then stuck the ATC in.

There are still loads of scraps and envelopes to be used.  But I reckon Ive found a solution.


Saturday, 2 August 2014

Peeled Paint Delight

A technique to that gives me a shabby, distressed grungy look?  YES PLEASE!

I had to try Liesbeth Fidder's peeled paint technique showcased on the PaperArtsy blog this week and I knew exactly the photo I'd use as well (well to be honest I have a whole series of rusty metal hinges, locks and peeled paint ones taken at Southwold, it was just a matter of choosing which one would work).

I started with a 12x12" sheet of Tim Holtz paper cut down to 11x11" to fit in my scrapbook and then proceeded to cover it in a mix of Very Berry and Blood Orange (it originally a pink piece of paper).  Next I used a whole range of Ellen Vargo Eclectica stamps in Maroon and Sienna Archival inks to go all over the paint.  Very subtle and hardly seen in the finished article, but they just pop through in places..

Next a few layers of  watered down Irish Cream to add depth and a very light layer of colour, it also knocks back the pinkness of the base colour and stamping. I then stamped some of my favourite PaperArtsy Words and Ephemera stamps in Black Archival.  I was going for the faded wall advertising you see on the sides of buildings (I tend to photograph that when I see it as well!

Finally the Vaseline!
I smeared in places over the black stamping and added a layer of Nougat.  When that had done its magic (see Liebeths post for the full technique) I added a bit more Vaseline over the Nougat and added Mocha Mousse.  For both the top layers I varied the amount of paint I dded so that in some places you could still see the brush strokes.

Chicken wire stencil in Elephant and crackle stamp in Watering Can Archival in places to add more layers.  Distressed and sanded the the edges and added Walnut Stain and Vintage Photo Distress Ink with water spritzing 

The photo was distressed and scratched and Vintage Photo Distress Ink added. I then stamped and cut out a lot of label stamps from the PaperArtsy range.  These I scrunched up and added Distress Ink to the edges and the folds to add further shabbiness. Layered all this up with two tags and before adding the photo I flicked watered down Snowflake and Chocolate Pudding.

Really happy with this.

Right today will be would you believe stripping and peeling wallpaper off the walls at my mums new house.  She's downsized and the bungalow is stuck in a 70s time warp of yellow, oranges and browns.  Very retro as I keep telling her but hard on the eyes!