Saturday, 25 February 2012

An art journal (of sorts)!

Ah fabric, whilst I love paper and paint and ink, nothing quite has the tactile touch of fabric, it's stroke-ability, it's softness and the way it bends and moves, I love it all.  I have been known when stressed to go to a fabric shop and just look and occasionally stroke the fabric and I can feel my stress levels reducing (I know I could do the same with the cats mind you but they run away).

As you know I've had these strips of fabric bundles knocking around for ages, impulse buy at a craft show and then sit in a box for AGES and I've had this idea to make a fabric book from them for AGES as well, so last weekend when I really should have been packing for our annual friends trip to Center Parcs I made this.

Basically I sewed the strips of fabric onto some felt, just the regular size from HobbyCraft, it gives great weight and pliability to the finished piece without making it too stiff.  

Once they were all attached (or so I thought) I then added loads of extra layers with embellishments to the outer cover. Silk rods, silk waste, boucle thread and ribbon.  

Lots and lots of sewing in different coloured cotton going backwards and forwards to really secure the silk waste which can be a bit fluffy and flyaway.  A lot of the cotton I've got is variegated and it really throws up some depth of colour if you keep sewing backwards and forwards.

I also added some stamping both directly on the background and on scraps of fabric that I sewed on.  

Wanted to get a real scrappy collage effect so no straight sewing, lots of loose threads and no neatening of edges!

The inner cover is the same but with no embellishments.

The "pages" are calico, double thickness and just sewn round the edge with whatever cotton thread was left on the machine.  I had some cut offs left so made smaller tag like pages to go in between the big pages with some tabs. Sewed the pages to the inner cover and then sewed the outer to the inner round the edge.

As a trial piece it's ok, it proved the idea "works".  When I make the next one I will do a couple of things differently: I'll neaten the edges of the covers more, I'll make sure each strip of fabric is attached to the other (there are some gaps in the sewing and you can see the background felt), 

The inner pages I'll think a bit differently about.  I'll either sew the inner pages properly (I was rushing) with a hem and turn them inside out and top stitch round the edges to make neater edges or just use a zigzag close the the edge of the pages to stop the large amounts of fraying that will happen.

So what am I going to put in it? Well I think it's going to be my Lynne Perrella tag book, a go to when my mojo goes for a wander.  I'll stamp the calico with some background stamps in Archival to decorate those and then either a paper or fabric tag (stiffened) using one of the many Lynne stamps from PaperArtsy ( and as there are more coming out soon ...).  It will allow me to try out different techniques and the different size pages means I can use different size tags as well.

Hope you all have a great weekend "making".  My weekend will consist  of unpacking from our week away (Center Parcs, can't beat it even if I was ill), some rugby, looking after my husband (who looked after me great when I was ill on hols) who has a cold and of course some crafting. 



Sunday, 19 February 2012

Going with the flow

Colour inspirations come from all sorts of places, I have some favourite go to blogs and I have a whole book of cut out snippets from magazines of colour combinations I like, I never look at it but I quite enjoy the cutting and sticking.  Anyway a colour combination seeped into my brain and grabbed my attention this week of brown / neutral, yellow and a touch of green.

What I ended up with was grey, purple, red and a bit of yellow and green - different but still good.

I knew I wanted to use a tag cut from kraft card that had some very subtle stamping on it to act as a background and then something stamped over the top in black.  Using coffee archival I stamped a texty background stamp from some of the new PaperArtsy Vintage plates, it was too heavy and obvious (should have used sepia). So put some Irish Cream Fresco Finish over the top, yep toned it down. Added a few touches of Haystack, some stencilling in cinnamon using the mini tile stencil (it's great for a little bit of colour here and there and adding another layer) and some stamping this time in a softer brown.

Stamped the winged madam from this plate in grey stazon and coloured her in using oil pastels.  Edged round her in the grey and white oil paint to lift her of the page a bit (there will be a technical art term for this but I haven't got a clue). Added some more oil pastel on the edge of the tag as well to frame it.

Background, this is where I deviated from the original yellow and neutral colour scheme and chose a piece of grey card (cut to 8x8 size).  Added some London Night Fresco Finish over it just to break up the flatness of the page and then used mini circle grid stencil over the top in places where I knew the tag wouldn't be using French Roast (have I said how much I love this colour) and a touch of London Night that was left on the craft mat. Added a few lines with an old credit card down the edges as well.

Stamped some text on the left of the page and then added some spots of colour using the oil pastels to match / echo the tag.  Love using the pastels in this way just to add a spot of colour to tie the whole composition in together. 

Always knew I wanted to use a strip of corrugated card over the top of the tag and played around for ages with string and fabric on the card, under the tag trying to work out what looked best. from a colour and grounding point of view (I really don't like it when things like embellishments look just sort of plonked on the page randomly too far apart from each other and not linked together either by colour or using that triangle technique they using in kitchen planning  - you know the one where the key three elements of a kitchen: fridge, sink and oven are at the corners of a triangle).

Finally went with some purple paper string from John Lewis (bought for Christmas and never used to wrap parcels) stapled on the card, some scrap red paper under the tag stamped and edged in Seedless Preserve Distress ink. I've also used some more of my Prima flowers (the stash isn't going down) with some card candi for the centres, I squashed the card candi so they weren't as raised.

Once everything was stuck down I went round the edge of the tag with some more oil pastels just to define / frame it a bit more.   

I will go back to my original idea of neutral / yellow and green, the idea is a good one and I think I can "see it" better now that I've got this idea out and on paper.  But before I tackle that one I HAVE to make a fabric book, so quick tidy up and out with the sewing machine!



Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Wish you were here ...

The girly day out on Sunday to Stamperama with Ms "oh look at my desk all neat and tidy" Gabrielle and daughter was tres tres fun, purchased loads, saw loads, learnt loads and met old friends (Karen, Lin and Leandra) and new ones (Helen).   All I can say is - Ally Pally you better be prepared for us!

Now whilst having a restorative cup of tea in between mooching and shopping on Sunday I casually mentioned to Karen and Gabrielle about the idea I'd had for a sort of challenge - creating art on postcards or at least 6x4 sized card.  Well given the looks they gave me you''d think I'd suggested flying to the moon with just a picket fence distress stain and dried up bit of cut and dry to make art. Basically they thought I was mad.

So here is my take on mad.

Took a piece of 6x4 (an old index card) and put different orange (Pumpkin, Autumn Fire, Smoked Paprika) Fresco Finish paints on it. Put French Roast (love the darkness of this) through one of my new stencils (going for a bit of a Moroccan vibe) and then stamped some postcard text from this new PaperArtsy Vintage collection plate

Added some strips of fabric, I think it's Amy Butler offcuts I got from The Cotton Patch at the annual Festival of Quilts at NEC. Some bright green ric rac and and a scrap of corrugated card were also sewn on. Over stamped with the ABC stamp from the same Vintage collection plate and edged the postcard in some green oil pastel. 

The tag was painted in Claret and Honey Dew Fresco Finish, some Smoked Paprika through another stencil, and then over stamped in black with this Victorian gentleman.  Added some colour with oil pastels.Distress the edge and then rubbed the edges through some Beach Hut Fresco Finish and stapled onto the postcard.  

Finally on an old piece of 8x8 I splodged some Inky Pool paint over and stamped the film stamp from the Vintage plate in Ultramarine Archival.

I started this on Sunday evening but only finished tonight, sometimes it takes me a while to finish something, but I quite like that gentle gestation process as an idea comes together. I might have stapled The Right Honourable Cuthbert Smythe-Frinkon in residence poet to the East Acton branch of the Society of Slipper Thwakers (I just made that up, it sounds good doesn't it, but perhaps proves Karen and Gabrielle are right - I am mad) on a different angle just to break up the lines but hey it's alright isn't it?

Right to create this master piece has left my desk in rather a state, which I need to tidy up in order to start creating the other idea I have been ruminating over whilst driving to and from work.



Friday, 10 February 2012

Labour of love or even loves labour lost!

This has taken me all week to make - I can't believe it took that long, but then again it started off with a spare ATC sized PaperArtsy Victorian lady (can't wait to get her grown up sister at the weekend) and ended up a 12x12 canvas!

I really really liked my calender pages so wanted to make a smaller (ha, like that happened) 8x8 replica for my art scrapbook.

So an  8x8 bit of paper painted in Fresco Finish Very Berry, Claret and Sherbet in the same way and stamped over in maroon Archival with the pomegranate stamp and butterflies, black Archival for the swirl.

Spare card that had been inked and sprayed was used to cut out the shaped oblong and Victorian lady was mounted on another bit of spare card.  Strips of ripped pink fabric, black and pink netting and some sari silk with lots of black stitching in straight and zigzag was added over the oblong and then Victorian lady added on top.

That was all attached to the 8x8 and it looked "ok" but not quite "grounded" needed something to balance it out. I have been perusing the Prima website and their booth at CHA and some of the design team work just blew me away with the layers and details. If you haven't seen, check out Tworzysko Finnabair and Heidi Kelley - gorgeous work.

So inspired I dug out my Prima flower stash and started adding flowers over the top of some inked corrugated card and more ripped fabric buttons added here and there. 

By this stage the 8x8 was never going to get in the scrapbook with all those flowers on, so 12x12 canvas was painted and sprayed and sprayed and painted and rubbed back and distressed with tissue paper script.     

With the 8x8 layed on top it was still ok, but again needed more "stuff". So more scrap paper sewed and some on the edge dies for the scallops went under the 8x8 now stuck down. Um still needed more "stuff" More inked and sprayed scrap paper was used with Tim Holtz rosettes dies and more Prima flowers added to come off the page.

I like it, I like it a lot, love the grungyness and the depth from all the layers of paint, spray, paper and fabric.  

But I am getting in a bit of a rut colour wise at the moment, so I'm going to clear up my desk clean off my mat and look for a new colour scheme. 

Blogger is playing up at the moment and I can't get the text aligned with the photo's (being off work today means I can get some decent  photos though) at the top of this post, it's annoying me and my slightly OCD to be symmetrical and balanced in design (ask my husband, it drives him mad when we are arranging furniture - move it to the left 2" no that's too far, you can imagine the rest)




Monday, 6 February 2012

February - late already!

So much for keeping on track with Kate's calendar challenge, it's already Day 6 and I'm only just posting and I didn't manage to fill in last month's - must try harder!

Anyways February, did you know the word February derives from the Latin for purgation (februum) and is traditionally the month for purification. To the Anglo Saxons it was Solmonath or mud month and February 2nd is Imbolc the first day of spring in the Celtic calendar and also Candlemas Day.  

All facts bought to you courtesy of Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, a classic reference text in any library worth it's salt - meaning worth ones pay from the roman tradition of paying soldiers with salt - a highly valued expensive commodity hence salary (I'll stop now before I bore you to death with any more of my amazing facts). 

Of course something also happens on the 14th which often dictates crafting themes this month. I decided that I'd go with the colour (a bit) but not the symbol!

Started off with two 12x12 card stock that had a pinky base. I  painted on Very Berry Fresco Finish paint very roughly and then dry brushed some Claret over that. Stuck the big swirl mask from Tim Holtz on top and went over with some Sherbet Fresco Finish, didn't quite like the effect so added a bit more Sherbet down the page to cover it up a bit, I liked it now!

Misted over Black Cherry Glimmer Mist, some areas heavier than others.

Using a circle stencil added some circles in Victorian Velvet Distress Stain and circled those with a fine liner. Also added some Dusty Concord Distress Stain circles as well.

I have a fab largish wooden stamp with text and a pomegranate design that I used all over the card stock stamping in maroon Archival ink. Also added some large swirls in black Archival. 

Each day is cut from white card painted with Sherbet Fresco Finish, with a light spray of Black Cherry Glimmer mist and inked round the edges in Walnut Stain Distress Ink. The days of the week were printed on the computer (I haven't added a month label yet as I can't decide whether to stamp or print!)

The winged ladies were a necessity to cover up some mistakes in sticking, text paper with Victorian Velvet Distress Stain and then a gorgeous PaperArtsy stamp in black Archival, edges in Walnut Distress Stain. (I really like how the ladies have turned out and I have one left over which I'll use on an 8x8 scrapbook page that follows a similar layout to this - with some black stitching of course).

Finally added some Tim Holtz butterflies in maroon Archival and some splats of Brick Red Distress Stain.

The photo's aren't fantastic I'm afraid as I did them last night, I had hoped to do them again when i got in tonight as it was still light driving home but didn't make it back in time, 10 minutes earlier (I blame learner drivers and an ambulance) and I might have been ok!

Till next time,