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

Monday, 30 March 2015

True grit!

The current Paper Artsy challenge is to use texture paste - Grunge Paste, or any other like-minded stuff.

This was an experiment.  I like the look of stencil bumping, which I first came across on the Paper Artsy blog some time ago. There is a You Tube video here.

I wanted to see what this technique would look like with texture paste. I used a granular one which is rather gritty, a bit like fine sand, as I wanted it to look really textured!

Decided to try it on the lid of an MDF box.  I painted the whole box first, then chose a stencil with a strong image - this is one of my favourites.  Used a light blue paint through the stencil first, and when dry, slightly bumped the stencil to the left and down a bit.  Then put through the paste, which I coloured first.

I'm pleased with how this has turned out.

So, add a bit of grit to your project!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

To see a world in a grain of paint ...

With apologies to William Blake and his poem Auguries of Innocence, the first four lines of which are:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour

Went to a really enjoyable class with Kay Carley at the Craft Barn on Sunday - all about Brushos.

I've had this granular paint for a few months now, and love it, but it is always good to learn about someone else's take on it.

The first thing we did was to make colour swatches.  This is something I've been meaning to do but never got round to, these are now all on a large ring.

Then we did several pieces (to be mounted on cards) using different techniques on both watercolour paper and smooth card. Including water or powder first, using several colours wet in wet, or allowing some layers to dry.

I didn't manage to finish, so still have a couple of stamped and embossed pieces which need the paint.

Inspired by the class and the fact that this week's Craft Barn challenge is Brushos, I made a card for a friend's birthday coming up next week.

With this one I stamped and embossed the image in white, then sprinkled on a little green and purple Brusho, spritzed it, then splattered on a bit of yellow. Let that dry, then added quite a bit of blue (naturally!), but only spritzed that very lightly so that all the different colours within the blue stayed separate.

Fab time, and I still love my Brushos!

Monday, 23 March 2015

A cage went in search of a bird

That's a quote from Franz Kafka.  But it's OK, this cage is a paper one, and couldn't hold a bird if it didn't want to stay!

At the Ashtead Craft Club's monthly workshop on Wednesday, I will be showing how to create a birdcage.

This is a good project for upcycling stuff - for the base I'm using  a cheese triangle box, such as Laughing Cow or Dairylea, or those Camembert ones would be good too. I'm also using some strong acetate from packaging, together with bits of card from my off-cuts box.

Using patterned paper, draw around the box base twice, cut out, and stick to the inside of the box and underneath.  At the same time, cut 2cm strips from the same patterned paper - enough to go round the box sides (but don't stick that on yet).

Cut 4 x 1cm strips from white card, using the whole length of an A4 sheet.  Mark the centre of each strip, make a hole, and fix all the strips together with a brad.  Space the strips evenly.

Lay the evenly spaced strips on top of the box base and make a pencil mark on the box side where each bar will be glued.  Do not glue yet!

If a hanger is required, do this now, before the bars are glued into place. Take a 1cm x 8cm strip of white card, fold in half, then make a small fold inwards on each end.  Glue to the uppermost cage bar, tucking the small folded ends under the brad.

Before the bars are secured, create what will be inside the cage.  I've used a bird, but anything is possible! Flowers, hearts, animals, butterflies - whatever takes your fancy!

Use  strips of strong acetate (the kind you get in packaging) to create invisible anchors for the cage contents.

Fix inside the cage base.  If any part of it is going to stick out through the bars you have the pencil marks to show where the bars will be.

Now you can glue the bars onto the base, using the pencil marks as a guide; the brad will allow any adjustments to be made.

Next, fix the strips of patterned paper around the base sides.

Embellish to your heart's content!

This was fun to make, and would make a perfect alternative to a birthday card if a greeting was included, either inside or outside the cage.

I hope you have noted - no paint or ink was involved in the making of this project, and come to think of it - no blue either!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Flower power!

That post title popped into my head, and then got me reminiscing - did you wear flowers in your hair in the late 1960s/early 1970s - I did!

Do you remember "San Franciso (be sure to wear flowers in your hair)" by Scott McKenzie? I've just found it on You Tube and it is now playing ...

Anyway, I digress - I have a habit of creating bits and then not using them, or making more than one of something using a particular technique; so I have a box of butterflies, and a box of flowers.

This week's Craft Barn challenge is about handmade flowers, so my box of flowers got an airing!

I also do duplicate backgrounds too (just in case of mishaps!).  So, I married up a flower and a background.

The flower I have used is created with Paper Artsy stamps and dies, stamped onto metal which I backed with card to make it more stable. The stem and leaf are hand cut from black card.

But the best flowers of all are fresh ones, and even more so when they are a gift. These are a bunch of tulips my sister bought me - adore those colours!

Happiness is tulip-shaped today!

Sunday, 15 March 2015

I don't go crazy - I am crazy... I just go normal from time to time ...

Love my new Crazy Birds set of stamps from Stampers Anonymous and Tim Holtz, so had to try them out, and I wanted to use all of them on one card.

Started off with a Distress Ink background - I used brushes for this one.

Needed to mask some of the stamped images, and to do that I usually stamp the image on a post-it note and cut round it, but this time I decided to try the Pebeo Drawing Gum.

What a revelation!  No more  post-it notes for me!  This stuff is so easy to use.  The usual artist's masking fluid I've got is very gloopy and ruins brushes; not this stuff. It is very liquid, so you can paint it over small details, the brushes wash out in water, and it is easy to rub off.  Just remember to make sure the overstamped ink has dried first! (Oops! - but I managed to disguise that little slip!)

I then coloured with Distress Ink pens, added some words, and a very fetching hat (stamped on sticky backed foil).  Finished with a little charcoal pencil for shadows.

The March Craft Stamper challenge is Anything Goes, as long as it involves stamping, so, perfect for my crazy birds!

Dedicated to all my friends out there - most of you are a little crazy at times - you know who you are!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

March of the bunnies ...

The latest Craft Barn Calendar Challenge words for March are yellow and rabbits.

Thought I would try the bokeh technique that seems to be trending at the moment.

From the world of photography -
bokeh  (BOH-kay) - is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens.  Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light".

I started with a Distress Ink background, then punched some different sized circles out of card to use as stencils, and applied white Brilliance pigment ink.

Used some of my new Paper Artsy stamps and coloured them with Distress Ink pens, then added my one and only rabbit stamp - just a few times!

Now, I have either created very scary giant flowers, or teeny weeny rabbits!  Either way, I present to you - The March of the Bunnies (for March of course!).

  1. Staying with the yellow theme - a dear friend gave me some mimosa from the tree in her garden - 

- beautiful, and just love the perfume.

Happiness is yellow today!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Turning Japanese ...

At last week's workshop for the craft group I run, we  made a bunch of origami flowers.

I know how to make quite a few different origami flowers now, but it is quite difficult to find a design that is not too complicated, as each of our workshops is only a couple of hours, and I wanted everyone to make a small bouquet!

I found this particular design on Pinterest - it is a You Tube video.

With Mother's Day and Easter coming up, and Spring well on its way, these flowers makes a great display in a vase.

The flowers are made from squares of paper, one square for each petal.

I adapted the number of "petals", using three (4" x 4") for the larger flowers, and four (3" x 3") petals for the smaller ones.  Five petals are also possible.  As is any size (within reason!).  One member of my group tried 2" x 2" and even 1" x 1" squares - a bit fiddly!

For our bunch of 5 flowers, the large ones are made from patterned vellum, and the smaller ones from origami paper.  Though any paper will do - even wrapping paper.

I used floristry wire for stems and a little gold bullion wire twisted around the top for a bit of bling.

Happy folding!

Talking about all things Japanese - saw Madame Butterfly (in the round) at the Royal Albert Hall a few days ago - absolutely magical and mesmerising.  The staging was fabulous, and the voices stunning.  Yes, it did make me cry!

There is only a week left to see it, but if you get the opportunity to go - do! There are still seats available, because a friend has just got some for next Saturday.

Took a couple of shots before it started and at the end ...

Monday, 2 March 2015

Small is beautiful!

I'm currently working on project demos for the Ashtead Club, one of which is to create a mini canvas. I have to bear in mind that our evening sessions are only a couple of hours, and I also wanted to try and keep away from brushes, and show that you don't have to be an artist to create a fun little canvas.

And it is also perfect for the current Paper Artsy challenge which is miniature art!

In the end I did use a tiny brush (briefly!), but I mainly used a credit card, plastic palette knife (or coffee stirrer), and the eraser end of a pencil.

Using Fresco paints, I first did the background, using three colours, and made some marks for the basic layout.

I then used the pencil eraser and credit card to create some stalks and flowers, doing alternate layers of stalks then flowers, more stalks, more flowers, and so on, using a heat gun to speed up drying time between layers.

The tiny brush made all the small dots, and the Van Gogh sky created with more paint, a baby wipe and my finger.  Lastly, added a little glitter glue.

This little canvas came with its own cute easel, and the set was really cheap at £1.50.

So no excuse - happy painting!