Sunday 14 June 2015

Watch the Birdie

I'm really excited about a June swap I'm doing. We are creating tall skinny book pages with a bird theme. Each of us is making nine pages, one for each participant. Nothing particularly special about that except that we have a new swapper joining in - the 11 year old grand daughter of one of the organisers. I find it really refreshing to see what other people's take on a theme and especially children who always seem free of the "rules" about how to use products and come up with amazing ideas.

My pages all have the same theme on each side although the colour palette varies from page to page because I have been using up backgrounds from the enormous stack I have. This side is a gelli print background with added texture and some subtle gilding.

And the reverse is a Dylusions spray background with some overstamping. The bird is white embossed and a bit sparkly. The body has been bleached out.

Can't wait to see the completed book with nine very individual pages.

Thursday 28 May 2015

Lack of Inspiration

I've been a bit lacking in inspiration of late and needed a bit of a prompt to kick start my thinking. After working on the themes set for my May swaps (see last post) I decided to do a bit of web browsing and uncovered all sorts of crafty sites with challenges.

Now that left me in a quandry because now I had too many prompts and couldn't decide what to start with so I incorporated a whole lot! Here is the result of a bank holiday weekend and an amalgam of themes from:

The Craft Barn Challenge this week is Holidays
The Stampotique Designers Challenge last week was Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue
The Artist Trading Post May Challenge is to use found natural objects
and A Sprinkle of Imagination Challenge is anything goes

The holiday theme speaks for itself and is inspired by childhood seaside holidays. I have used Distress Inks to make a watery back ground for the cover and cut a label (from a camembert box) using the Tim Holtz Sizzix tag and bookplates die. Both products are available from the Craft Barn.

There are a lot of old things included, not least the board book itself which cost 10p at a school fair. The window of the niche is cut from the packaging of some new crafty stash. The shells and sandpaper have been borrowed from the garage. The first from a bucketful collected by my son several years ago and the second from the tool cupboard. I have also incorporated blue paint, card and bits borrowed from some pot pourri.

I have made a "photograph" of Stampotique's Eric by masking some glossy card stock to create the white edges and then stamping with Archival ink. The scenery is a second generation impression to make it fade into the background. He is coloured in with Distress inks used as watercolour. The inks and the  Crafty Individuals ticket stamps used as the background are available from the Artist Trading Post.

I peeled the board book to remove the shiny printed surface and, after cutting out a niche, painted the whole thing with a coat of matte gel to seal it followed by two coats of white gesso to get a bit of texture like old heaviliy painted wood. The shells and glass pieces are glued in place using Glossy Accents which forms the effect of a shallow layer of water at the bottom of the niche. All these media are available from A Sprinkle of Imagination.

I'm off now to browse for some more inspiration.

A Quick Catch Up

I'm sure time is speeding up. How can it be the end of May already?

Things have been hectic at work and we're now in the A level season too so I seem to be permanently stressed to the point where in any free moments I just sit, somehow devoid of creativity.

Fortunately the lovely swap group I belong to keep me ticking over without realising it. Their monthly swaps are always based around a particular theme or technique which I find enormously useful as a prompt to get me started.

Each month this year we are swapping gelli plate post cards. The May technique was to make a texture plate for printing. I haven't done this before, which I confess is simply laziness because it is much quicker and easier to grab pre-exisitng items. However, having given it a shot I may well experiment again.

Keeping it simple, I used a sheet of corrugated card as the base. I ruled out a grid on the reverse and then cut out random large and small squares. I stuck the correucget card onto another sheet of card as a base and then stuck the small cut out squares in to the large square holes with the corrugation (is that a word?) at right angles to the main piece.

I overlaid two prints using my texture plate. One in purple and one in red, rotating the plate 180 degrees between prints. The post card is finished off with a swirly pattern heat embossed with sprakly black powder.

In May we also swapped "the new white". This was along the same lines as the new black of a previous post but with white as the base colour. I don't like it as much as the black though because the metallic/mica colours don't pop in the same way and the result is not bold enough for my taste.There are a lot of die cuts on here, some Finnabair embellies and some junk - spot the ring pulls off tins and cans! I have two shoe boxes full of such rubbish (literally) just waiting for inspiration to strike. Please call back to see whether I get creative or simply start filling box number three.

Friday 20 March 2015

Playing cards

The trickiest thing about this swap was getting the media to stick to the playing card used as the substrate. They are coated with a very resistant surface that a lot of media peel straight off. I eventually got the first layer of old book page to stick by sanding the surface of the playing card and using copious quantities of ModPodge.

The theme for the swap was to incorporate the suit and number of the card into the design. Fortune was smiling on me because I got the eight of hearts and hearts are something that crops up often in my stamp collection.

In hindsight the colour scheme might be somewhat obvious for a heart theme but I've thrown in a lot of texture to comepnsate. Fisrt I slapped on some texture paste in the top left corner and stamped into it. Next I stamped three other hearts with gesso before applying pink and red paint in thin layers. The last four hearts were stamped and embossed with copper embossing powder.

I then outlined the gessoed hearts with glitter glue and applied gilding was onto all the raised texture. I used various background stamps to add contrast in black white and turquoise and finished by adding the word eight and some outlining with pen. I still think the end result is a bit too pink but it does look better up close where all the glitz shows up.