Friday, 16 February 2018

Using up what's on your desk!

I've been lacking a bit of crafty inspiration recently, maybe because we're in the 3rd month of a major building refurbishment so everything is a bit displaced and messy. I've been mainly sitting watching films whilst it's been so cold outside and noisy and dusty inside, and have been knitting a jacket. Now I remember why I prefer crochet to knitting, as it grows so much quicker!

Last week I decided to try to tidy up in my craft room a bit and went in to find such a lot of "stuff" on my desk top! Then I remembered someone telling me that sometimes the best thing to do when you needed to find somewhere to start with your creativity was just to use up the things that were on your desk.

I'd been experimenting with some Brusho powder backgrounds, and had a whole pile on my desk, so that was my starting point. I also had lots of "bits" of mirror and shiny card offcuts on my desk left over from making Christmas cards and tags, so I decided to die cut these using some star shaped nesting dies. Then I raided my little box containing other offcuts of plain and embossed card and cut more stars in colours that coordinated with the Brusho backgrounds, and also some numbers and little tags.

Finally I found some bright grosgrain ribbons in my stash, cut and matted the Brusho backgrounds into squares, added the ribbon through the tag, and arranged a number of the stars in a limited colour palette, overlapping the arrangement and raising some of the stars with a little double sided sticky foam. Then I just stamped a happy birthday greeting inside each card.

I've ended up with six cards for my great nephews and nieces, and the children next door, and my desktop is looking much clearer. Of course, it's not really tidy, but the crafty inspiration does seem to be back! Next time I might try to use up some of the offcut pieces of white card, using stamps, embossing folders and inks to add some interest - I think this might be a really good idea for those awkward men's cards.

 Thanks for visiting and I'd love to hear if you have any comments, Susan x

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Klimt Challenge Canvas

So this post is dedicated to the Klimt inspired challenge on the JJJMA Facebook page, where the brief was to use the colour gold, and modelling paste to create a Klimt inspired piece of art.

Here's a photo of the kit I used to create this canvas, although I also used some Grunge paste (texture paste) to create dimension on the project, which I forgot to include in the photo!

Firstly I used the brayer to randomly apply some of the Fresco Finish paint and the gold paint to a square canvas which was already pre-prepared with a gesso base. I used a piece of card to clean the excess paint off the brayer and then sprayed the residual paint on the craft sheet with water and mopped up the drips onto the card to make a base for a masterboard to use in another project.

Next I used the grunge paste through part of a Claritystamp stencil to apply to texture to the edges of the canvas board, making sure to wash the stencil and spatula straight away to remove any residual paste.
Whilst the paste was drying, I stamped the Miss Austen stamp by Indigo Blu onto a piece of white card using the Tim Holtz stamp platform, a black Versafine ink pad, and heat embossed with clear powder. Then I replaced the card in the same position on the stamp platform, reinked parts of the stamp with Versamark ink, and heat embossed again using gold powder. Finally, using a versamark pen, I inked some of the check design and other features of the stamp, and embossed those areas with gold embossing powder. I had seen this technique used on a design on Pinterest a long time ago, and was trying to find a project to use it on, and this was the perfect project!
Next I fussy cut around the image, and using two Distress Oxide inks, I applied background colour using the water spritzing technique (drying the droplets between each application to create layers), and finally using a blending tool, I applied ink around the edges of the cut out image.

Next I used some red acrylic paint to randomly stamp some small star shapes from the Indigoblu Victorian Garden set across the centre of the canvas, and then applied flitterglue to parts of the fussy cut image, and the texture paste, and covered the flitterglue with gilding flakes and removed the excess with the scoochy sponge. I finished the canvas with a little gold paint dry brushed around the edges of the canvas.

Here's the finished canvas. I hope you like it! The most important thing to me though is that I was challenged to do something different, way out of my comfort zone, and prompted to use a technique I'd been wanting to try for a really long time.

Thanks for visiting and I'd love to receive any comments or suggestions that you have that will help me to grow in my creative journey. Susan x

Friday, 19 January 2018

A layered, monochrome tag

Today I'd like to share a little tag that I made for a challenge on the Junk Journal Junkies and Mindful Art Facebook Group. I've been a member of this group for maybe 6 months now, and often comment on and like the work posted by others, but I've never been brave enough to enter a challenge myself ... until now!

I've decided that 2018 is going to be the year I really take myself out of my comfort zone!!! I've done a bit of work with a brushos, watercolour and acrylics on a gelliplate before, but stamping and masking and fussy cutting and paper piecing and clean and simple tend to be the tried and trusted go-to crafts that I embrace on a more regular basis. So, for Christmas, I asked my other half for an art journal, a book about art journalling, and some paint pens - believe me, I have enough stencils, paints and unused "keep it just in case" items in my craft room to keep me going for the rest of my life. And now I have dipped my toe into the world of messy crafting!

Now, you may or may not know, but I am an ex-nurse. I am a bit of a neat freak and like things to be cleaned within an inch of their life. Both of these qualities serve me really well in my new career in hospitality, but messy doesn't come easily to me. However I already have a box of vinyl gloves and an apron ready for use in my craft room - no-one will want to eat my baking if I have dirty clothing or inky hands will they!

So, getting back to the challenge - it's part of the Explore Your Creativity fortnightly challenge on the Junk Journal Junkies and Mindful Art (JJJMA) Facebook group, and this task was to use the:

Technique  - Layering
Product - Home Made Washi Tape
Colour - Monochrome
Base -  a Tag

I had no idea where I was going with this, so I gathered together a whole load of bits that I thought I might want to use, and then just started to play. First I had a go with my Distress Oxide inks. They are still quite new to me and my first few attempts were OK, but not the mind-blowing creations that I was expecting, so I was pleased with this tag background and made sure that I fully dried the ink before adding extra layers - that seems to be the trick! I used mostly Walnut Stain and Vintage Photo, with a little Iced Spruce just to give some lighter patches and texture.

Whilst my tag was drying fully, I made the washi tape. In the picture above you can see some self adhesive ribbon strips - the nasty yellow shiny sheet with florals all over it! I've had these for ages (they came in some kit or other), so using my palette knife I randomly smooshed over some paints, dried that off, and then stamped randomly with the darkest paint to create my washi tape. I used IndigoBlu Junk and Disorderly paints in Warm Tan and Leather Corset (which incidently looks just like molten chocolate on your craft mat) and a Pebeo gold paint. All the stamps I used throughout the project were from the IndigoBlu Shine Bright set. There is loads of the washi tape left over for another project, and I'll definitely be doing this technique again to use up more of the sticky ribbon sheets!

When the washi tape was dry I added some thick and thinner strips in two areas of the tag, layering them over one another and varying the length to give some interest. I then randomly stamped the smaller lightbulb image in Versamark ink, and embossed with the darker gold embossing powder. I added some of the small butterfly images and the texture stamp to the tag background and used both gold and clear embossing powders to glaze the images. I then stamped the largest bulb image in versamark on the page of an old book and heat embossed it with the lighter gold powder. I also stamped the sentiment in brown paint onto the book page, and randomly stamped the edges of the book page and the edges of the tag with bubble wrap using the last bit of brown paint on my craft sheet. I punched out some tiny butterflies from the painty book page and used the vintage photo distress oxide ink to age the book page images a bit, and fussy cut them before adhering to the tag.

Finally, I finished the tag with some string, some off cuts of dark brown and gold ribbons, and a little gold key that I had in my stash. Here's the finished tag - hopefully it meets the brief of the challenge, but certainly it met the brief of challenging me to be more experimental, creative and messy. I was quite pleased with the finished result and the depth of the layers on the tag, even though it is pretty much flat. It might be the first project to make it into my new art journal!

Thanks for reading this, and please leave a comment - I'd love to hear what you think.  Susan x

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

New Year - New Challenges

I've not blogged for a while now as I started the blog originally in order to enter some on-line Claritystamp challenges, which then moved to a Facebook format. However I have still been crafting away, so here are a few of the entries that I posted onto Facebook last year!

For ages I've been stockpiling stencils and paints and texture paste and canvasses, and most of them are still sitting in their packaging (hangs head in shame), so this year I'm determined to get out of my comfort zone and to try some mixed media pieces, and join in some challenges that really test my skills (and my bravery) !

The first piece of mixed media I've attempted was to use a little canvas that I started on a Claritystamp retreat last summer. All the bits and pieces that I added were found in my craft room, so I like to think it was part of my de-cluttering process too. Here are a couple of photos that show where I started, and where I finished up and I did share the finished artwork on Facebook and got some great feedback. I did ask for constructive criticism, but I think most crafters are just too nice to give you pointers as to where you might improve! Maybe someone visiting my blog will be a bit more honest, as I'm sure my first attempt can't be perfect.

Later in the week I'll share with you a tag that I created for another Facebook challenge group which really challenged my skills! 

Thanks for visiting and please leave me a comment and give me some pointers on how I could improve - I'm always open to learning or trying something new.

Happy New Year, Susan x

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Flower of Scotland

Sorry it's been so long since I last posted. I've been busy in the garden re-felting the shed roof, sorting out the fencing and painting the wood and garden furniture, so no time for crafting! Still, when you live in the north of Scotland you take every spell of good weather to do those jobs outside. Now the forecast says it's promising to snow again this week, so I'm pleased that most of the maintenance jobs are done.

Here's my entry for this month's Claritystamp challenge. The theme is "all about the words", so I thought long and hard about how to do a background that wouldn't overwhelm the sentiment, and the idea of wallpaper came to mind.  I made my own custom inkpad using a piece of cut and dry foam and distress re-inkers, faintly stamping the Claritystamp thistle image onto the foam, then applying drops of two different green and purple inks to represent the leaves and flower head. I was aiming for a simple repeated design (like the idea of William Morris wallpaper), and the custom inkpad makes it easier to get more consistent colouration of the stamping.

When the background was dry, I added the wording "Flower of Scotland" using Versafine black ink, and a variety of letter stamps from the Claritystamp letterbox and word chain alphabet stamp sets. The card was trimmed to size, edged with a black sharpie pen, then mounted onto an 8x8 inch square white card and finished with a ribbon trim in a complimentary colour.

Hope you like the finished card, and any comments or thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks for visiting, Susan x