We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
"Little Gidding"
T S Eliot

Thursday, 26 December 2013


I finally got the Gelli Plate out to have my first go at using it!  And oh - once I got going I couldn't stop.  It was - "this will be the last one - um - the paint left on the plate looks interesting, think I'll just do another one ..." and so it went on!

I learned not to use too much paint (I'm using Liquitex Basic heavy body acrylic) - and know when to stop.  A few times I thought another layer would be a good idea, and it wasn't!

Here is everything I did - quite a few pieces are hidden under others!  I think the final total was around 50!

I used a variety of substrates, here are a few close-ups with details.

These are on cartridge paper (130gsm). 1st (on the left) and 2nd generation prints using a mask 3 times, and 3 different shades of blue paint, with a final thin layer of gold paint with squiggles.

The one on the left is a 2nd generation print on cartridge paper (200gsm), and the one on the right is 1st generation on watercolour paper.

Like the texture of the watercolour paper.

The one on the right is canvas (1st), the left is 2nd on cartidge paper (200gsm).

The canvas is very textured, and I do like the softness of the print. It didn't work well with 2nd generation prints.

I like the minimal-ness of 3rd generation prints, but you have to be quick before the paint drys.  These are on glossy paper (about 120gsm) and would make good backgrounds.

Using masks is effective.  There is a bit of bubble wrap in there too.

1st generation using sheet music .....

and book pages.

This is a 2nd generation print.   If paint is left to dry on the plate then more paint applied on top of it, the dry bits are reactivated.  Hence the blue bits.

I have only scratched the surface (no pun intended!) of what is possible, but now I'm getting the feel of the plate, I can be more adventurous.

Happy gelli-ing!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

'Twas the weekend before Christmas .....

and this will be my last Christmassy post!

Recently the craft group I run finished their origami Christmas wreaths.  Because of time constraints, we used the less time consuming origami flower (instructions can be found here) with added die-cut leaves, glitter and ribbon.

Here is a selection - fabulous!

This year I  made just a couple of Christmas card designs, and as they have all now been sent (and hopefully received!), this one is for all my followers and blog readers!

I used 2 stamps - the sentiment is by Chocolate Baroque, and the bird with star is by Stampotique.  Add a double black fine line border, and repeat with a quickie glue pen - then throw on some glitter and mount onto a black card.  Glitter is always difficult to photograph!

Merry Christmas to everyone, and hope 2014 is good for you all.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

A box-shaped diversion!

I was going to break out the Gelli Plate for the first time, but got diverted by a project a friend did, which inspired me, and reminded me I had a couple of box blanks languishing in the back of the cupboard.  So the Gelli Plate got put back on the shelf!

This is quite a large chest shaped box, here in all its naked glory minus the fixings!

Though it has had a coat of gesso.

I recently found this fabulous ribbon, which really consists of random holes joined together!  Also on the box today are - metal flowers, bead caps, paper clay faces (still got a lot of those), and a die-cut key.

Before adding anything else it had a coat of Fresco Finish Acrylic Paint in Mushroom.

I then started adding texture paste and Kroma Crackle (because the lid is domed shaped the crackle formed drips, which I like).

Then several more layers of paint - Mushroom, London Night and Claret, and of course gilding wax!

Here you can see some crackle drips, and also a new find - Golden large mica flakes medium.

The final result - top view.
Very difficult to photograph so used flash in this one to try and pick up the glimmer from the mica flakes and gilding wax.

There was another smaller chest inside this one .....

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Feeling a bit more Christmasy!

It was the final Ashtead Club get together of the year - which is always a bit of fun!  More details of what we got up to will be on the Club's blog in due course (link is on sidebar).

Just had to make another tiara - this one uses an existing old tinsel hairband, but I added some baubles and an origami flower.  Didn't get a good photo on the night, so here is one taken later.

Quite restrained I think!

We did some quick makes - I opted for the mini choc bar wraps. These would make good Christmas Tree pressies - though I doubt these particular ones are going to last that long!

The final Club challenge of the year was to make a Christmas decoration, which would then go into a blind swop with other entries.

This is my entry, which started life as 2 wooden butterflies that I was going to include on a canvas, but which didn't make it in the end.

I painted them silver, with a bit of crackle and glitter paint, and sequins.  So it looked good from either side, the two butterflies were sandwiched together, with some ribbon.

It looks huge here, but it is hanging on a tiny tree!

This is what I received in the swop - a really pretty daffodil.

It is also double sided so looks good from all angles.

Talking of Club challenges, last year's Christmas one (pre-blog!), was to create a Christmas decoration out of household items.

This is my entry - Clarabelle, the singing Christmas Angel!  She is made from an upturned bath foam bottle, stainless steel scourer, bottle caps, and washer.

She did win too -and has remained on my bookcase all year!

Started this post a few days ago, then other stuff intervened, so finishing it off now.  Needless to say, the mini-chocs are no more - though I did save the wrappers as a reminder for next year!!

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Escape the machine!

Time for another creative get-together!

Here is the occasionally featured Craftroom Work in Progress Snapshot (CWIPS)  - quite tidy really - and the first mince pies of the season!

A couple of weeks ago I used up an opened pack of paper clay and made quite a few faces, so decided to use some of those.  I also had a need to be a little bit steampunk!

Started with a few die-cut cogs and paste through stencils.  There is also a couple of pieces from a paper doily - quite subtle so doesn't really show here.

I forgot to take a photo before applying any paint, so the canvas has had the first coat of paint here.

A few faces, beads, and metal charms.

After more layers of paint and some gilding wax ..... a close-up.

You can see the edge of the doily.

Escape the Machine!
Steampunk urge satisfied!

Monday, 25 November 2013

Ho ho ho - looks like another origami Christmas.....

Spent a fabulous day on Saturday showing a friend how to create an Christmas origami flower wreath, (and catching up on gossip!).

This is using one of my favourite origami flowers, which are a little time consuming to make, but worth it, and because it is quite a robust design, the flowers can be made from good quality Christmas wrapping paper, which helps with the pennies!  There are several websites giving instructions on how to make these flowers, here is one.

Add die-cut leaves that have been embossed and dipped in Christmas sparkle, and a big bow - perfect!

Here is Sharon showing off her creation, and a close-up..... love the rich reds and greens!

Talking about origami, a couple of months ago I used a flat origami flower design to create a card see here.

It uses circles of paper, and I wanted to know how it would look using scalloped circles - quite a pretty effect.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Mountains and (Heath)cliff

Recently I was asked to create a 21st birthday card with the following brief - loves Wuthering Heights and climbing mountains. With a colour palette of champagne and teal.

This was a challenge!  We found an copy of the book in a charity shop, and I did a couple of experimental designs first.

I wanted to use some torn pages for mountains, with the text easily read and identifiable.  A little gold mirri card and a touch of glitter just lifted it too, though the gold doesn't really show in the photo.

'May she wake in torment!' he cried, with frightful vehemence, stamping his foot, and groaning in a sudden paroxysm of ungovernable passion. 'Why, she's a liar to the end! Where is she? Not there—not in heaven—not perished—where? Oh! you said you cared nothing for my sufferings! And I pray one prayer—I repeat it till my tongue stiffens—Catherine Earnshaw, may you not rest as long as I am living; you said I killed you—haunt me, then! The murdered do haunt their murderers, I believe. I know that ghosts have wandered on earth. Be with me always—take any form—drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is unutterable! I cannot live without my life! Icannot live without my soul!'

Thursday, 14 November 2013

In my shopping basket this week is .....

..... a Gelli Plate!

Yes, I've finally succumbed, and can't wait to have a go -though I am feeling a little bit scared of it at the moment!

I also got one of these as it looked interesting - I've had a little go and it does work. Just put any marker type pen into the holder, puff air over the nib, and it creates an airbrushed look.

Saw these tiny plastic favour dishes and thought - ah ha! - could be useful - and they were only pennies, so I bought some!

I've already had a go at using alcohol inks on some (with gold paint on the back).

I like the flower shape.  Could be used on a canvas, or as part of an assemblage.

Found in a charity shop, this heavy metal contraption open up, so has a box thing going on, but not quite sure what it is. " Made in Spain" is etched on the bottom.

It already looks a bit steampunkish, and will be perfect for an altered project in the new year.

So - forget the boring supermarket shop .....

Happy serendipity!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Circles squared .....

is the subject of my demo for the Ashtead Club on Wednesday.  These Christmas cards are very easy to make, but look really effective.  Change the paper to something non-festive to create a birthday card.

Take nine 2 inch circles cut from one-sided Christmas patterned paper, fold in half - but don't crease all the way across, just pinch the edges.  Do the same again, folding the opposite way.  You should now have 4 small creases on each quarter of the circle (easily seen from the white side).  Make 4 straight folds between each small crease - folding towards the patterned side - thus creating a square.

Different sized cards can be accommodated by changing the number of circles used, such as 4 circles for a small square, or 6 circles for an A6 card.

When mounted onto a card, the white edges form a pleasing pattern.  Add glitter, card candy, or anything else that rings your Christmas bell!


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Not quite according to plan .....

Recently got together with a couple of arty friends for a day of painterly fun.  We wanted to try paint techniques on cards.  We did have a list of about 5 things to try, but only got to try one of those as it took so long ..... which was using die-cuts with blended layers of paint.

We  found that using card as the base for doing several layers of paint did not work, as it was difficult to blend.  We had more success using Ranger's Sticky Backed Canvas, mounted onto card, as this gave a better finish, but irritatingly it wouldn't stay flat, curling up at every opportunity!

We didn't finish anything on the day, but I've spent further time on what I did, and ended up with these cards.

The base of this one is card, where I found it difficult to blend the paint.

I've recently discovered a fabulous white opaque pen - the Sharpie white paint one.  I used it to highlight the die-cuts edges, and then applied some gilding wax.

This card uses Sticky Backed Canvas mounted onto card.

To finish this one I applied some Distress Ink to create a setting sun - quite a challenge to do this as an afterthought, as I had to create a positive mask for the goose and a negative one for the sun, and then hold them both in place whilst applying the ink - a juggling act I don't recommend!!

Gilding wax beckoned for this one too.

We concluded that doing cards this way was too time consuming and restricting, so we are going back to proper canvases!  Having said that, this would be a good way to make a card for a special person, which could be framed.

Here are what the others got up to - unfinished on the day, but I sure are now looking good as cards!
By Monica

By Linda

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween melt .....

I just want to say thank you for all the lovely comments people have been leaving - I'm tickled pink you like what I do!  Though maybe that should be tickled blue!  Can I also say welcome to new followers.

Last night at the Ashtead Club I demonstrated making Christmas baubles with the melt pot for use as hanging ornaments or embellishments on cards.  See previous post.

But, it was the night before Halloween (would that be Halloween eve?!?), so I had to acknowledge that fact!

At the weekend I found some cheap Frankenstein bolts on a headband - which reminded me of my steampunk obsession, so I gathered together some die-cut cogs which I spritzed with grungy colours and (plastic) spiders .....

Whipped out my trusty glue gun, and hey presto .....

Here is its debut .....

We had lovely meltpot fun - here are some action photos .....

More photos of what everyone did will be on the Ashtead Club blog in due course (link on sidebar).

So Happy Spookiness (with a Christmas twist!).

Friday, 25 October 2013

Christmas melt!

At next Wednesday's Ashtead Craft Club evening workshop, I will be demonstrating the Melt Pot; with a Christmas theme (oh no! - not Christmas again!).

Decided to use basic die-cut chipboard shapes which can create hanging baubles or card embellishments.  I also pre-punched a hole for the hanging ones.

So that everyone can do their own colour combinations of  UTEE, I used the "craft sheet in the melt pot" method.

I placed a wood block under the back of the melt pot to lift it up slightly, and make it level (otherwise the UTEE will just run backwards off the shape).

A piece of craft sheet is cut to fit the melt pot; then add the chipboard shape and  sprinkle UTEE.

I did colour the chipboard shape first with Distress Ink.  And to make the coloured UTEE go further, sprinkle on clear UTEE first.

When melted, carefully lift the craft sheet out - I use two pairs of tweezers.  Then, I immediately stamped into it, to create fab texture.  Leave to cool a bit, then peel off the stamp.

Here's all the shapes I ended up with.

Add glitter, mica powders, ribbon - anything desired!  For the baubles I stuck 2 shapes back to back.

Here are  some of my finished baubles and cards.

Small tree - big baubles!

Happy tinsel time!