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

Monday, 13 February 2017

Spring is in the Air!

I've been busy up in my craft room trying to get ahead with my long list of cards needed for 2017, and as I was tidying up I found some bleeding colour tissue that I've had for ages but have never played with.

I didn't have my laptop at hand to re-watch the YouTube tutorial that the very talented Eileen Godwin had done on the technique (, so I relied on my memory instead! What I did recall was that she used dies to cut multiple shapes of the tissue, and reinforced that it was messy, that you should wear gloves and an apron, and dispose of the wet tissue carefully to avoid unwanted blotches of dye everywhere in your craft room.

First I cut various sizes of stars and circles in multiple layers of tissue, and put them into a container to keep them away from my water! Then I had a go at placing them onto pieces of watercolour card and spraying them, then removing them with tweezers after a few moments, but the result was a bit pale, watery and the shapes were quite indistinct. I finally decided to use a waterbrush to apply water directly to the shape before removing it, and that gave me a much brighter colour, with a definite shape.

Above are some of the scraps, some of which I've gone round with a black fineliner pen, and I'll use these for backgrounds for other projects. I really liked how some of the shapes had white areas in them, so I might try scrunching up some of the tissue shapes to see if I can enhance that effect in the future.

I used the main square piece of watercolour card for a background for my Clarity Stamp Challenge piece for the February 2017 theme, Flower Power. I thought the brightly coloured circles were reminiscent of the swinging 60s, and I used the Clarity Stamp alium flower stamps to enhance the circle theme, stamping using archival black ink, and stamping using versamark ink with white and coloured embossing for some variation of texture on the finished piece. Finally, I edged the square with a black sharpie pen, and matted onto yellow card for contrast. I added the Spring sentiment (one of the Clarity NDC club stamps) and coloured the lineart with some green pencils to finish the card, which will be sent for one of my upcoming spring birthdays.

Thanks for visiting, and if you'd like to leave me a comment that would be really appreciated!

Susan x

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Crochet Blanket project

Just  short post to celebrate the completion of a long project, to make a kingsize blanket for our bed. I started it back in April last year, from a pattern in the "Crochet in no time" book by Melody Griffiths. The book promised the project could be completed in a day, and honestly, if you did a small blanket of the proportions in the original pattern, it probably would only take a day!

The project is comprised of large "granny squares, with quite a simple pattern (easy to remember after doing so many) which incorporates a bobble type stitch, and which starts with a circle of treble stitches around a magic ring.
The squares are joined together with a zig-zag crochet pattern, but I have modified the pattern slightly for the corner areas between the squares, and I also added a wide border around the finished blanket, finished with a picot edging.
Now I just need to decide what to do with the left-over yarn!

Thanks for visiting, Susan x