Saturday, 19 January 2013

Magic Numbers

I have to say a BIG thank you to PaperArtsy and Gillian for their inspired play along tutorials.  The simple pleasure of thinking; gosh I haven't played with xxx for ages or ummm, what would be my take on that idea?

So Helen's playtime with Portfolio Pastels and sandpaper has been one of those gosh I haven't played with that product moments. 

In the week I made the tag. Painting the tag white first really does help to give a neutral starting point.  I used all the browns and just scribbled them on with some dark red and them rubbed with my finger to blend them.  Gave it a bit of heat to sort of sink it into the tag but because it had been painted first it didn't sink all the way (you know what I mean don't you?).  I then used a sanding block to lay into it, it just immediately lightened it, scratched it back to the white and really gave it a worn distressed look. Heated it again just to set it.

Added some harlequin stamping from Letters 5 plate with Archival Magenta Hue (I was patient and let it dry and I think because I'd heated it it set).  I did rub some of the ink of at the edges with a baby wipe.  I then stencilled over the top with Claret and French Roast Fresco, let it dry and gave a light rub with a sanding block. Finally added some alphabet stamping from Words 3 in Archival Blue Violet.

Taking advice from Twitter I decided not to add anything else to the tag, it really did / does look great on its own and I didn't want to hide any of it with further stamping or embellishment.  So it could have just ended up pinned to my noticeboard in my craft room (there are a lot of tags pinned up on that board), but I wanted to make SOMETHING with it.

So today (Saturday morning) as we are covered in a good blanket of snow and there was no way I was going to venture out in it, I decided to think about finishing of various projects including this large tag.  

I had a root around trying to find a background big enough to take the tag. Decided against a fabric background (another idea for another tag!) I found a large IKEA frame - perfect.

On some Kraft card I brayered Nougat over it, not too heavy and not all over I still wanted to see some of the Kraft at the edges. Scrubbed over some Claret with both a stencil brush and some foam.  I didn't want a heavy layer so made sure I took off most of the paint on a baby wipe before adding. I then stencilled Claret through the bingo stencil and French Roast through the dots stencil.  I kept sanding with a sanding block between layers to soften everything. Scuffed the edge of the card and added Walnut Stain to frame it and then adding a further frame by stitching round the edge in brown thread.  Added some pink and claret sari silk and then added the tag over the top.

The frame was painted in Nougat with bits of Claret and French Roast dry brushed on and some stamping in Claret (basically spritzed the semi dried blob on my craft sheet with water and used that) using the numbers mini stamp 22.

I really had fun playing with Portfolio Pastels again and I'm glad I followed my instincts (and the lovely advice I got) and didn't add anything else on top.  Instead I added it all underneath!  There is another Pan Pastels tag or two waiting to have SOMETHING done to them as well.  This time I will stamp on them!


Saturday, 12 January 2013

Fresco fabulous!

It's been a busy old week on the work front with new services being implemented. Some already being successful (24/7 opening of the library and yes there were students in all night), some with teething problems requiring me to reassure project teams that everything will be OK, stick with it, don't change anything, problems are good as they identify how we make it better.

Sometimes work for me can have a tendency to take over and I find myself not having any energy to do anything else apart from work, eat and sleep especially in the evenings.  This year I am going to try really hard to make time to create even if it's the smallest amount of time.

This week (and I really mean this week, a bit here, a bit there) I've been working on this. 

I really do love layers and texture, so the things you can achieve with the gorgeous products from PaperArtsy really make me happy.

I wanted to try and recreate a plaster fresco wall type of thing with Terra paste and Treasure Gold.  The idea was to spread some Terra on a tag, not all over but in away to suggest a crumbling fresco. Let it dry, paint it, add Treasure Gold and then an image on top. 

As you can see it didn't happen because i couldn't resit stamping into the Terra with a PaperArtsy mini text stamp (mini 74).  It just gave all these fantastic crevices and raised bits that when it was painted (Fresco Eggplant) and Treasure Gold (White Fire, Classic and Onyxite) added, it caught the light beautifully. I edged the tag in some Frantage Embossing Enamel in Aged Black, the bigger grains and touches of copper just gives a different finish which I love.

I really added a LOT of paint layers to the canvas that it sits on.  Started off with Haystack, Butternut and Pumpkin Soup, just adding and drying until I got the distressed soft look I wanted. Added some stamping again with the Mini 74 and the diamond stamp from this set (Letters 5). Did some bumping through a circle stencil with Eggplant and Brownshed mixed together with Mocha Mousse and a smidge of Chocolate Pudding over the top. Stamped this mini flower (mini 69) in maroon archival. Gave it a good blast with the heat gun to make sure it was all set and dry.

I knew I wanted to add some fabric but wasn't sure how or what, so I left it alone for a few days pondering options as I drove up and down the M1 to work (I shouldn't say this really, but after 10 years of ddoing this journey it's a bit automatic pilot and good thinking time, one day I'm going to sail past my junction!).  Last night it came to me, wrap some sari silk round the whole canvas rather than sit it on top.  I sprayed it with some pinky silvery Glimmer Mist and some Walnut Stain to colour / distress it further. 

Added the tag on top with some die cut paper flowers that had a bit of Treasure Gold added, some Frantage Glitter, brads and Walnut Stain on the edges. I also sprayed some more Glimmer Mist also letting it dribble in places.

If I'm still in time I shall link this post to the PaperArtsy blog.

I still want to do the original plaster fresco idea but the idea for a twig wreath is bugging me more at the moment, now where did I put my stash of twig wreathes (notice the plural there)?



Sunday, 6 January 2013


Well, well, well, long time no posts!  

December is always a bit of a funny month for me, dark long days, Christmas and happy families thrust at you in every direction.  I tend to become a bit a Scrooge "bah humbug" in temperment.  But now we've had the Winter Solstice which means the days are getting longer with more light (still a lot of rain though) and we have the promise of a New Year with new plans, new ideas and new (and sometime old) resolutions.

It's Sunday morning here in The Shires, the sky is devoid of any colour but I can hear the church bells ringing out over 2 miles away - simple things bring enormous pleasure.

After watching The Essex answer to Hollywood (or could it be Bollywood?) known as Hatman Productions, I've been inspired by Leandra's use of a brush with Treasure Gold - me I'd just been sticking my finger in it and putting it on!  But using a brush, well it was a revelation - simple things again!

And this is what I made just to try it out like you do.
I scraped some Ferro onto a papermache frame from HobbyCraft, and stamped into it just to add some crevicies and more texture.

Then I painted over it with Fresco paint in Nougat, Mocha Mousse, Chocolate Pudding and French Roast. 

Now for Treaure Gold, I used: Copper, AquaMarine, White Fire and Spanish Topaz, using a brush really did make it easier to put what you wanted where and to blend it better.

To fill in the recess I used some Frantage enbossing powder, mica flakes etc.  I love how it bubbles up and gives more texture.  I also added some coppeer green Frantage embossing on the frame as well. 

I edged around the frame with a Ranger Black dabber, where I hadn't put Ferro it sank in really well and framed it nicely.  The floweer was a fabric one that had some paint and Trearure Gold added and little bit of black as well.

I have big ideas now of how to use with some of my fabric collages, I have some really nice pictures of lichen and moss from Cornwall that I can use as inspiration.  Good job I ordered some more colours from paperArtsy this weekend!