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

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Fish Tales

I enjoy surprises, so anything hidden is fun.  I did this last year.  It's a small cigar tin; the outside is first covered with gesso to obliterate the branding, then coloured using alcohol inks, and I added a glass starfish.

Inside is a tiny sea world, and every time I open it I can hear the seagulls screeching, and the waves rolling in.

Background card is smooshed through very wet distress ink, as I wanted a pale finish.
In the bottom half I've used seed pods for seaweed, a few shells, seahorse charm, and painted fish, with glossy accent bubbles.

Thought I'd share this, as for me, it brings summer a little closer!

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Still excited!!

I've not known which way to turn the past few days, wanting to play with my new machine, but also needing to prepare for some workshops I'm giving.  Anyway, today I took time out to try my new machine.

Tried all the dies I've got, the thin metal ones like Memory Box, Spellbinders, Cheery Lyn; and the Sizzix Bigz dies.  Also tried some embossing folders, (you get an A4 embossing folder in the bundle, and I know there are large folders now available).  All work really well, and with an A4 platform, cutting several smaller dies at once really saves time; can also get 2 x A6 embossing folders through at once.

Tried all sorts of materials - here is a selection - hessian (double thickness), a thick leatherette, copper mesh, and 3mm mountboard.

All cut really easily.  Very pleased with the mountboard, as I can see many uses, particularly giving some dimension on canvas.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Midsummer Night Captured

For the past 10 days or so, I've been working on this project.  I really loved the Pebeo Prisme paints on the butterflies that I did previously.  So, inspired by the Victorian love of collecting things, and the way butterflies  were displayed, and also my love of Shakespeare, particularly A Midsummer Night's Dream - this is Midsummer Night Captured.

Using a box frame, I painted, cracked, and textured it, (with modelling paste through a stencil), and then highlighted areas with Treasure Gold, a guilding wax.

The backboard consists of a painted torn page from a Byron book.  I have a collection of old books found in charity shops.  It is a good idea to get various textures and page weights, to use in different projects.

The butterflies are created using the Pebeo Prisme paint.  I found you don't fuss with this paint, just blob it on and leave it alone - it will develop over the next 20 minutes or so.

Each butterfly is named for a fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream - of which there are 7, but Puck escaped!

Here are some close-ups.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

I'm so excited ...

Quick post today, as I've just taken delivery of the new(ish) Craftwell eBosser automatic embosser and die- cutting machine (happy dance round the room!)

I've got a Cuttlebug, which I love, but wanted a machine with an A4 platform and a small footprint.  Chose this one, because it has good reviews, and I wanted to be able to cut lots of different materials (chipboard, leather, fabric, metal, etc.).

I do love the Sizzix Bigz dies, which this machine will also take. Which also means I will be able to get some large format dies -  that bit of plastic in my wallet is now making wailing noises and deep groans!  Will report back soon!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Happy Birthday Little Sis!

It's my little sister's birthday today, and as she loves wood - she is a wood turner - I thought I would do a card using wood laminate.  This is tricky stuff, as it splits quite easily, but the piece I chose looked like a landscape.  I didn't do anything to the laminate, as I wanted to show its natural beauty.  I also wanted the background to be the focal point, so used some simple diecuts all painted in the same soft colour, highlighted with gold foil.  It's an 8 x 8 card, and the birdhouse swings free.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Looking old?

I've always liked doing stuff that looks a little old and distressed - a bit like me!  Got together with a couple of friends last weekend, and we each did our own thing.  I like the aged look using bitumen (diluted with white spirit), but wanted to try it on different paints, so decided to do a couple of samples.

First I covered some board with pieces of card - some embossed, and some die-cut.

Then painted with pearl paints, and a bit of metallic paint, I quite like this as it is, but wanted to stick to the plan!

Painted on the bitumen solution - let it dry, and then wiped most of it off with white spirit.

Although the colours are quite subtle as the pearl paint is pale and translucent - and I changed the colour of the birds - I do like this.  It has a sheen to it which the photo hasn't captured particularly well.

Then I had a go with pastel acrylics (Fresco again!).  These colours are more defined, and I didn't put the bitumen over the whole piece.

Again, the photo has lost some of the colour.  Borrowed a brushful of Liquid Leaf to highlight the hearts - must get some bottles of that stuff, as it is stunning.

I do like this look, so will have another go on canvas board, and combine with other techniques.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day...

To all my friends - this is for you.

If I could reach up and hold a star for every time you've made me smile,
The entire evening sky would be in the palm of my hand.

And a card I made not too long ago.

The flower die-cuts are made to look rusty by using a mixture of different distress embossing powders.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Realms of Fantasy

Such a miserable cold and wet day, I'm going to have a further play with some new acquisitions - Pebeo Fantasy paints - Prisme and Moon.  Both have their own properties. Had an initial play last week, and although I think they are mainly for creating jewellery, there are definite possibilities for other stuff.  Just a couple of blobs, and left to its own devices, it creates its own patterns.

Tried using tube outliner on a tile - needs more practice!  Put too much paint on, so it spilled over the edge, but you get the idea!

Depending whether you blob it, dab it, pull it, or brush it, different effects can be achieved, and mixing colours is fun too.  I like these butterflies (using die-cut board).

One thing to remember, it takes an age to dry.  Did all this with a friend, and had to transport home - put them into a box lid, in the boot of my car.  By the time I got home, they had slipped into each other, and stuck together - oh well - lesson learned!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

A broken necklace.....

Was the final addition to this piece!

Painty background, using several layers of paints (Fresco) and some stencils, then modelling paste through a stencil, with gold embossing powder on top.  Like this effect, but had to be a bit careful when heating the powder, as I didn't want the paint to be affected, but I did want the paste to bubble.

Stamped 3 pieces of painted Eco Board; the smaller pieces being gold embossed. The central image stamped with Versafine black ink, heat set, and painted with translucent paints, so as not to lose image definition, the edges are gold embossed too.

I knew I wanted to hang this piece, so before I even started, I punched 2 holes and put eyelets in - which were just deep enough to go through the canvas board.  What to hang it with?  Found a broken necklace, which was perfect.  I kept the lobster claw clasp and the extender chain, and just linked the 2 chain lengths either side, through the eyelets.

Proof, you should never throw anything away!