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

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Clubbing & Stamping!

On Wednesday I will be demo-ing stamping in layers at the Ashtead Craft Club.

This involves stamping the same image 2 or 3 times, cutting down the top layers, putting a thin edge mat behind each layer, and then aligning each piece with the previous one to show the whole stamped image, broken up by the mats.  Really, it is a different take on decoupage. It can look very effective with the right stamp.

An alternative method is to pre-cut the white card layers, lay them on top of one another in the correct position, and carefully stamp all the layers at the same time.  Any slight loss of the image on the card edges is covered by the mats.

When stamping several images, make sure the card is the same size, and stamp in the same position, thus avoiding a slightly wonky top image when lining up the smaller top layer, as I've done here!  It is not too bad, but I can see that it is not completely straight!

This one is better, stamped 3 times and the top 2 layers cut smaller.

The butterflies were added after the card had been assembled, but it worked out OK!

I do like the black and white look, but any colour will work.

Using a large background stamp works too.

With this card the 2 layers were stamped at the same time.

Happy stamping!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Creepy crawlies can't HURT you (well, most of them anyway!)

The next words in the Craft Barn Q&L Challenge are KNOWLEDGE and HURT.  Nothing immediately sprang to mind, but leafing through some poetry books, I found Christina Georgina Rossetti, another 19th Century poet, English this time.

Reading her biography, her Sing-Song, a collection of nursery rhymes, is considered to be among the most outstanding children's books of the 19th century.

I think this rhyme is fun, and I do like creepy crawly things!  It is called Hurt No Living Thing (1893). Here is the full rhyme -

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.

I'm still sticking to the 10 x 8 format, so I can eventually put all the entries into a book.

I started by making a simple Distress Ink background, with a little water splatter, then continued with some stamps (love that ant!), and die-cuts.  The butterflies are die-cut from a paint and text collage piece left over from a previous project.

Decided to computer print the words onto the page after I had inked and stamped it, so I did have my fingers crossed that it would end up in the right position!!

Just have to say I'm really enjoying seeing everyone's entries, which inspire me to try other things, and thank you for all your comments on my entries, they are so appreciated.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Everything is Very 3D!

Recently I led a workshop on my favourite technique, using a mix of 3D bits and pieces on a firm substrate, and bringing it all together with paint!

It was a beautiful sunny day, and the room we used was fabulous - very light and airy. The morning was spent designing, bringing everything together, and sticking down, then we broke for our packed lunches!  I had made a very mundane cheese sarni with tomatoes on the side (I don't do kitchen stuff!)

The paint-filled afternoon brought everyone's creation to life - quite a few boxes were used as a base, as well as some mirrors.

As I would be die-cutting items to order, I needed to pre-prepare something for my demonstration piece. I used a canvas board, and prepared it up to the point of paint application.

I used some printed tissue as part of the background, then added some air dry clay pieces, and die-cuts - including some lettering this time. Plus some flat backed pearls, wooden hearts, a glass butterfly bead, and some metal bits.

I didn't finish it on the day, but made some time this morning to do the finishing touches. Obviously blue played a big part! plus a little dry-brushed pearl paint, and some gilding wax.

Here is the gallery of everyone's creations -

Julie's lovely textured box

Kath's knitting needles box (with guardian lizard)

Kuni's sea themed mirror (the fish are oval beads with heart shaped tails - brilliant!)

Lesley's pearly shell garland (love the subtle colours)

Linden's eclectic mix in white (fab pearl lizard)

Pam's vibrant box (beautiful colours)

Rebecca's fabulous floral mirror

Sue's little bit of steampunk
(note the lips! if you focus on the lips you actually see a face - well I can anyway!)
Apologies to Liz - so sorry, somehow I managed to miss taking a photo of your stunning shell mirror!

Happy Easter to everyone.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Heart of Eden

When I recently did the MDF garland shape, (see here), I really enjoyed working on MDF and using a different shape.

So, recently purchased an MDF heart shape, which is about 10 inches by 10 inches at the widest points - a good surface area to work with.

I covered the whole surface with crumpled tissue first, and wanted to try using sequin waste as part of the textured background too.

I deliberated chose a theme this time, the Garden of Eden, and let it evolve from there.

Components include chipboard die-cuts (I save the backboards from note pads etc.), molded clay pieces using airdry clay and airdry paper clay, a plastic snake (from my creepy crawlies box), some wooden stars, and bits from my bits box!

Instead of opting for a colour straight away as the initial all over paint layer, I used white. This brought everything together, but also left my options open for colour.

Still staying neutral, used grey to quieten down the glaring white, and start creating shadows and tones.

Now for the colour, and I went for shades of orange and pink.  In the picture is the start of several layers.

The blues stayed in the box!

I'm addicted to gilding wax, so that was the final application, although I did use a little more after sealing it with 3 layers of satin glaze.

The light now bounces off the gilding wax and the glaze, and creates different looks in different lights, which is impossible to capture by camera.  I'm liking the sequin waste too!

Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Lizzy & Fitzwilliam

Another fortnight has passed (too quickly!) and the next Craft Barn Q&L challenge words are CHANGE and TRUTH.

Immediately I knew I had to use the first sentence from another of my favourite books - Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man of good fortune is in want of a wife.

There is a corruption of this quote at the top of my blog!

Decided to get out my Pan Pastels for a change.  I stamped the background with Versamark then applied the Pastels (which makes the stamped images a darker tone of the applied Pastel).  I then added a few more stamped images using Distress Inks.  The main stamped image is by Indigo Blue (as are the background stamps), and the beauty of Pan Pastels is you can erase them, which I did on the face to take it back to the white card.

The quote is printed on vellum, then torn out, and the edges coloured with the Pastels.

Spritzed a few flowers with mica sprays, and added some sparkly centres.

Whilst completing this page, I started thinking about the other word CHANGE; and the first thing that came into my head was David Bowie's Changes.  Can't get it out of my head now!!!  Perhaps I should have done that one .....

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Things with wings - real and imagined!

I seem to have lots of projects on the go, but none are finished yet - keep getting sidetracked.

Anyway, whilst having a quick 5 minute tidy-up, I found the pieces of blown wallpaper that I used to create patterns on the Gelli Plate, together with a piece of painted card that was for a particular project, but never used.

So, rather than put them in the "sometime" box, I made some quick cards.  A classic example of me getting sidetracked!

This wallpaper made a brilliant pattern when used on the Gelli plate, using a selection of green acrylics. Too busy for my walls, but fab as a background. Perfect recycling!

This wavy pattern would look quite good on walls, but another great one for the Gelli Plate too.  There was mainly gold paint on the Plate, but the shimmer doesn't show up in the photo.

And yes, I've still got quite a few turquoise things with wings!

I painted a background for a particular project but didn't use it, so I've just added some stamping and stencilling. The bird probably looks a little large for the tree - but it's a cuckoo!
Talking of birds, here's a strange thing - spotted this pheasant strolling down my road - which in an urban area is a bit unusual .....

My satnav told me to land here ..... nothing looks familiar though.