Wednesday, 24 February 2016

February 2016 Clarity Challenge - Love

This month's challenge offering is a simple, but I hope elegant card design that would be useful and easy to adapt to a number of different occasions. This was my valentine's card to my partner, but it could just as easily be an anniversary, thank you or birthday card using different colours and embellishments.

To create the card I used:

Claritystamp leafy swirls stamps (large and small, stamped end to end)
Claritystamp with love sentiment stamp
Black Adirondack ink pad
Offcut of wide red satin ribbon
7 red heart sequins (adhered with zigg glue)

The base card was matt black, and I stamped onto matt white card, and layered with a thin mat of red cardstock. I lined the card with white paper, and stamped the small swirl inside too, to compliment the external design.

 I struggled to get a good photo, so you'll have to imagine the ribbon and the little hearts catching the light!

Thanks for visiting, and if you'd like to leave a comment I'd love to hear what you think!

Susan x

Monday, 22 February 2016

February Clarity Calendar Challenge

The aim of this challenge is to follow the steps given on Barbara's 2016 Clarity Calendar, using a number of different background techniques, and a variety of Clarity Stamps.

This image is created using a number of Ranger Distress re-inkers (Faded Jeans, Iced Spruce and Evergreen Bough), the shaving foam technique, colouring pencils (Spectrum Noir Essentials set) and Distress Ink (Wild Honey) to enhance the background.  I stamped the Boy with the Birds image using Archival Blank Ink, and added some detail to the hills and valleys that I could see in the shaving foam background with a black fine liner pen and the colouring pencils, then added a thin black border around the edge with a Sharpie pen and ruler.

A few tips - wear an apron and disposable gloves and have lots of kitchen towel to hand when you do the shaving foam technique, as it can be a bit mucky, and be prepared to do a number of backgrounds during the session otherwise you will waste quite a lot of ink - I think I got about 4 large backgrounds and 6 small backgrounds from my session, and each and every one was different!

Thanks for visiting, Susan x

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Upcycling project - Painting fabric chairs

Last year some of my cream Ikea tub chairs were looking a little stained and tired, and although I searched the internet for a pattern to make new covers there wasn't one to be found. They were too good to throw away though, so I had a go at making a pattern myself - what a disaster!

Undeterred I went back to the internet, and found a few articles and blogs about painting fabric chairs, and thought to myself "nothing ventured..." , and if it didn't work they would have to be replaced anyway. I bought some emulsion paint to match the room I was decorating, something called fabric medium which the reference blogs told me would help with painting onto fabric, and got out my paint brush and some newspaper. The advice was to spray the fabric with water, mix some emulsion paint with water and fabric medium, and to give the chairs at least 2 coats of paint, allowing it to dry fully between coats (I used 1 pot of fabric medium and 1 pot of water to about 2 parts of emulsion for my mixture, and combined them all together in an old Whizz tub which had a wide top and screw on lid, so that I could keep the excess fresh until the next coat).

Well, after the first attempt the chairs looked fine, but were REALLY hard and scratchy on the surface - I think they would have taken off your skin like sandpaper if you had attempted to sit on them and rest your arms! I thought maybe waxing them would help, so I went back to the internet and ordered some wax that you use to re-proof wax jackets. With a bit of elbow grease and the help of a hot hairdryer the fabric was soft and smooth to touch again, and waterproofed which will help to prevent future staining!

The starting point...

Here are some photos of my work in progress....don't worry if the first or second coats look a bit streaky and irregular!

They will dry more evenly than you think. Also, when you apply the wax, it will make the colour a shade darker - rub it on thinly, in sections with an old dry cloth, then heat it with the hairdryer and buff it into the fabric well. My small tub of wax has coated 4 tub chairs, and still has about 1/3 of a pot remaining.
 The final result....

I wouldn't recommend this for an antique chair or family heirloom, but it's certainly given my tub chairs a new lease of life, for the cost of less than £20.00 - well worth the effort! Susan x