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, 27 June 2013

Bright as a button!

The Ashtead Craft Club runs an annual card making competition, which helps focus the mind, and it is always worth having a go (the winner gets the annual subscription refunded, and some crafting goodies).   The competition is usually judged by the celebrity guest at Village Day, but this year, for a change, was judged by a local celebrity chef!

The competition had a pearl theme (as it was Village Day's 30th anniversary), and  I had been mulling this over for some time, when one morning I woke up thinking about pearl buttons!  I seem to get a lot of my ideas on waking - what is that about?

Anyway, here is my entry, on an 8x8 card, using cream cotton lace, embossed pearl card and those buttons, which are sewn onto the lace with a circle of card backing for stability.  Wanted to stay with a mainly monotone look, and I didn't want to put any words on it, as I thought it made a good picture.  Had fun doing it, and quite pleased with the result.  I didn't win, but I've got a lovely card to give to someone!

The regularly monthly workshop was last night, and we had quite a few new people coming along to see what we were about - so Village Day was a good venue to promote the Club!

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Bees, bugs and microbes!

I was in a card making mood yesterday, and the weather was so boring!  I have recently bought some new stamps and metal dies, and I've still got a lot of stuff to use up so .....

I don't think I've mentioned the rice thing yet; it is the same technique as using salt.

Colour spritz some card (I used watercolour paper), sprinkle on some rice, and spritz again.

I haven't used any of this paper yet, as I think it looks too much like something growing in a petri dish!

Anyway, thought I would die-cut it, so the pattern didn't show too much.  Also die-cut some of the left over card prepared for my Summertime canvas (previous post).

Both these backgrounds are created by swiping Distress Ink pads onto an acrylic block, misting a little water onto it, then using it as a stamp.  I then overstamped with some script.

I love silhouette stamps, and I just couldn't resist the people set from Clarity.  The background is lightly brayered (though a stronger colour than has come out on the photo), and the rain (or stars) are created with Stickles.

Finally, indulged myself with new bee and ladybug metal dies - I think these are adorable.

The last card says it all!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Summertime ..... and the colour is easy .....

Time to put all those drab colours away!  Recently spent a fab day with a friend doing all manner of colourful stuff - and - I think I've found a solution to my canvas problem - a wood version of a box canvas.

Here it is in the raw, both sides, and the reverse would make a great niche project.

I gave it a coat of gesso, but next time I think I would put 2 coats of gesso on.  The only real difference painting with acrylic on wood is that it dries very fast, so maybe a further coat of gesso would help, or I could use an extender for the paint.

Did a little preparation by sticking some pre-printed tissue paper (Tim Holtz and 7 Gypsies) onto card, painting with mainly translucent paint (Fresco), then stamping with paint, and putting paint through a stencil too.  This is all quite random, as it will be cut up and stuck to the canvas.

The canvas background consists of molding paste through a stencil (for that rainy summer day!), paint through a leaf stencil (the purple) and that light blue leaf pattern is created by taking a blown wallpaper sample (the plasticized kind), applying paint, and using it like a stamp.

Decided to hand cut the larger petals and flower centre.  The centre was covered in glass micro beads to give an interesting texture. The stalk is molding paste mixed with some paint; the original colour I mixed  made the paste look like guacamole, which I didn't like, so I overpainted it.

A few little finishing touches, and here is my Summertime .....

Happy sunny days!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Let's get the whole world papercrafting!

At the end of last week I spent a lovely morning with friends and friends of friends, introducing them to some card making, including a little stamping, using some Card Candi, and making twine flowers.

Here are a couple of the mini projects -

Not sure whether I convinced everyone that stamping is good for you! I think inky fingers were a bit of a problem!  But the twine flower went down well, and of course, can be used on stitch projects too.

Still on the same subject of spreading the word about papercrafting, the Ashtead Cardmaking and Craft Club had a pitch at the recent Ashtead Village day, selling members' cards and other makes.  This is also a way to attract new members.  I spoke to several enthusiastic people, so I hope to see a few new faces at the next workshop. Here is a little taste of our pitch. It was a lovely sunny day, if a little breezy.  More pics on the Club's blog.

Happy papercrafting, and support your local Craft Club!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Clockwork tree .....

I so enjoyed the canvas I did using clay pieces  (see Playtime post of 12 May), that I wanted to do another one, this time, using a large box canvas.  I recently bought some new clay molds, and I also had some pieces left over from last time.

Here are the bare bones of the canvas, before I added much paint.  I did put some background paint on first to identify the below ground part.

The tree is corrugated card, with added cord and string for lianas, clay stones and timepieces, and I just love the fern mold.  Included a couple of die-cuts too. The stones are embedded in Decoart Texture Fierro paste - it's brown in colour and has bits in that look like iron filings and glint in the light.

Then I embarked on countless layers of paint.  I kept going back to this canvas, as it was never quite right, then I added some Pumpkin Soup (Fresco paint) to create a dawn.  Now I'm happy!

Here are some close-ups.

Here is the finished piece .....

I've decided a box canvas is not the right thing for adding stuff like clay, because it is too bouncy!  I like the firmness of canvas board, but I like box canvases for their dimension - what to do??  I did some research, and I have come up with something that may fit the bill.  Watch this space, as I'll use it for my next canvas - hope it works!!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Have you found Pinterest yet?

Pinterest is highly addictive, but a wonderful place for all manner of stuff - including creative inspiration.  You create your own "pin boards" and pin pictures of whatever you love, so you can find it again. Clicking on any picture will take you to the originating site.  You can repin other people's pins, follow other people's boards, and gain followers too.

I have to ration myself, otherwise I think I would spend hours on it.  It's like circles within circles, within circles, like ripples on a pond, and if you jumped from link to link, you would probably end up back where you started!

You can now can take a peek at my boards, as I've just added the Follow Me button on the sidebar. The Ashtead Club also has some Pinterest group boards, which you can also find with my boards.  The Club also has the Pinterest button on its blog.

Staying on the same subject - the Ashtead Card and Craft Club issue bi-monthly challenges (see previous post at the end of March to see another challenge entry - Picasso Ants).  The latest challenge was to create a humorous card.  I chose a pre-stamped image (provided by the Club), and  had it lying around for a little while, trying to come up with something funny to go with the picture.  Must admit, this is not my forte, but I'm always up for a challenge.

Anyway, a few Club members have got hooked on Pinterest, so that fact inspired my entry.  Hope it raises a giggle!

PS:  I've got some new followers on this blog - so welcome!  I'm really chuffed you like what I do!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Colour in the sunshine

Had a fabulous day on Monday at the Craft Barn, taking part in a workshop with Lin Brown.  The Craft Barn had their extravaganza at the weekend, which I didn't manage to get to, but the marquees remained up, and this workshop was held in one of them.

Such a beautiful day, with a gentle breeze blowing through, and the light was fantastic in the marquee - just like crafting in the garden!

We created a panel using Fresco Finish paints - as you know these are my favourite paints, as I've probably mentioned countless times before!  The panel is covered in some Tim Holtz tissue paper, before painting the background.  We used Lin's latest stamps, and paint stamped onto black card, which meant lots of cutting out, but these stamps are very easy to cut out.  There are also a few metal dies available that go with some of the stamps. All the cutouts were arranged on the panel, and in-filled with  stamped words; finishing off with some little embellishments.

Here is my panel, and I love how colourful it is.

A really relaxing and fun day.  Of course I had to buy a few things in the shop ......

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Good company, scrummy food, and a dash of bitumen - another perfect recipe!

Got together with some lovely people on Thursday, to lead a workshop on creating a decorative mirror using die-cuts, embossed card, loads of paint, and a bit of bitumen.

Here is my mirror at the stage where everything has been adhered to the mirror, using mod podge.

After several layers of paint, and bitumen (most of which is removed with white spirit), this is my finished mirror.

I thought we would be having a short lunch break for a sarni and a cuppa - but a veritable 3 course feast we had (albeit a  healthy one)  - lovely homemade stuff - really scrummylicious.  So, our "short" break was a couple of hours!  And then, afternoon tea with cake!

I should have taken a piccie of the "spread", but I left my camera in the workroom.  I did manage to take one of some of the group.

Here we have reached the bitumen stage, which is a bit potent, so open all those windows and doors!

Another perfect day, and maybe the start of a new trend of Gourmet & Crafting Workshops!