Thursday, 15 July 2010

101 uses for a surplus mouse mat

This month Lynne at The Altered Element gave us the chance to choose items to use for our DT challenge projects. So, being strict with myself and in keeping with the spirit of "challenge" I selected the bits and pieces in the picture below. Big challenge... no purple this month.

I also self selected an item for the upcycle challenge - this mouse mat that came free with a music magazine and had been hanging around for ages.

Use number one would of course be as a mouse mat but in the age of the infra red mouse it isn't really needed.

Use number two would be as a pricking mat. The back although not very thick (it was a freebie after all) is soft foam and the picture, which would be the bottom when pricking, is tough and plasticy so you wouldn't go right through.

I was obviously in a destructive mood though and simple stabbing wasn't enough so I cut the mat into pieces. I have to confess I haven't actually got anywhere near to 101 uses but I did find a couple more to use in my projects....

Use three - make your own stamps.

Heat the underneath foam side gently and then press firmly onto items of your choice to make indentations. Hold for a minute whilst the foam cools and sets before lifting off. If you don't like the result you can reheat and try again. You can also do this technique with a Rub it Scrub it stamp cleaning mat when the scrubbing surface has worn out.

SAFTEY FIRST THOUGH - holding near a light bulb (one that is on of course) is enough. Don't go mad with a heat gun or any other heat source for that matter. Take care not to over heat and work in a well ventilated room in case of fumes. Make sure you use heat resistant things to impress your pattern too. Here I used fancy paper clips to make a swirly design.

One of the items in my DT selection was a chain bracelet. I made grunge paper charms - more recycling. The left over green painted grunge paper from my birdy creation last month got a new lick of paint, some spritzes with mica spray and overstamping (with my home made stamp) with assorted yellow and brown paint dabbers and inks. Each is finished with an eyelet and attached with a jump ring.

I made the reverse sides a slightly more subdued pinkier base colour and although you can't tell from the photo they have some Stickles glitter glue smeared on them.

Use four....

Squares of mouse mat fit into the Ranger memory frames and make an excellent cheap and safe alternative to glass slides when making items of jewellery.

In this first pendant I have coloured the frame with alcohol ink. The front of the pendant is the foan side of the mat. I paintend it with Lumiere gold paint, heated and stamped into it with a rubber stamp. The sparkly accents are more Stickles in gold and silver.

To cover the picture on the mat I used a piece of gold card daubed with alcohol ink.

Pendant number two has the frame painted with watered down (it is old and thick and I don't like the bulky, stubby brush) Crackle paint, inked over with some chalk and Brilliance ink pads once dry. These heat set but need a paint grounding to work really well on metal.

The collage on the front is made of scraps of music score stained with walnut ink and embellished with an image from the ArtChix sheet and some German Scrap.

The picture for the reverse is stamped onto tissue paper and coloured on the back with inks before glueing it to the mat. I painted two coats of Mod Podge over the top in opposite directions to protect the surface and give it some texture.

Uses 5 to 101 TBA when I think of them.

Because the ArtChix image sheet had pictures the right side for microscope slides I had to decorate a slide mailer. Not strictly recycling is it but I do have rather a lot of "blank" things that I've bought because I'm bound to use them one day so another challenge to myself - get something out and use it!

I covered the whole thing with torn pices of music score, wiped over with gesso, then paint dabber, then Stickles and then spritzed with mica spray to get a colourful messy background to blend with the yellow scheme of the images.

I glued on an image front and back and stamped words onto tissue paper to stick iinside. - More spritzing afterwards to blend them in.

I always use Xyron to stick images onto glass. That bit of all over stick makes it less likely for splinters of glass to cause injury if the slide is accidentally broken. I have coloured metal tape with alcohol ink and stuck it all round the edges for extra protection. The slide is glued into the aperture with a snippet of ribbon behind.

More pretty birds but NO purple in sight.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Keeping up to date

Here is my June Calendar challenge page. It has been a bit of a struggle keeping up this month because I've been really busy at work and with my brain working overtime I've been over-analysing what to write, determined not to have another page majoring on the weather. I only operate properly within a narrow range of temperatures. Most of the time I feel the cold, but I also can't get on with the sun or a lot of heat but I've tried not to go on about it.

My July page is ready to go. I'm not all that happy with it though - the colours aren't quite what I was after and the result is a bit too sugared almond and not enough Solero ice lolly for July.
In my last post I mentioned bloopers. Here is the result of one of my experiments with the Tyvek included in my June DT pack from The Altered Element. This is the least disasterous of the results of heating by ironing and I do quite like it - it has potential for some future project I think. The indentations look as though they will hold additional colour nicely.

And this is the result of too much heat on fusible film! The colours don't show very well in these pictures but I do like the effect I accidentally achieved where the film under the steam holes (don't use steam though) on the iron are not affected as much as the rest and leave little bubbles of different colours.

This is the effect in close up. The moral of this tale... practice a lot and don't have a conversation whilst ironing, it only takes a second too long to make a sticky mess.