Wednesday, 7 March 2018

WOYWW #457: A Quick Catch-up

Hi Everyone! I know I've been AWOL for a while, but I thought I'd check in today with WOYWW. I got up at 5 am especially - ok, the truth is I couldn't get back to sleep, so I thought I might as well just get up. So here I am with the obligatory and all-important desk shot!

I've tidied up my desk a bit - can you spot anything new? It's that day-light lamp in the corner - I've been coveting one for ages and since it was my birthday yesterday I got hubs to buy me one. My first impressions are very good - we'll see how it fares long term. Also new is that mini bunting hanging from my shelves. I cut the shapes with a Crafter's Companion mixed media die-set from my grungy gelli prints.  I had a bit of trouble with those dies - they are thicker than normal and they were hard to put through the Big Shot, even though they claim to be compatible. In the end I had to experiment adjusting the thickness of the sandwich to wind them through safely. Anyone had the same experience with those particular dies? Here's a closer look at my lamp and the bunting:

I also made a quick tag on the go, just using left over paint and things I'd found on my desk. This is why I keep all those scraps lying around, although they can get a bit overwhelming after a while. I used a piece of canvas for the tag and stuck a dried up paint circle from my paint tubes around the hole. Those of you who use acrylic paints will know what I'm talking about! 

That's all the creativity that took place in the last three weeks, I'm afraid. In between home schooling and working I don't have much time left for hobbies. The good news is that my son's been offered a place in Year 8 at the middle school, so now we're just waiting for his bus pass to come through and that will free up some of my time. The double good news is that he's also been accepted at the high school from September, so it seems we're all sorted on the school front. Both schools have outstanding ratings, which is why it was important for us to get him in and opted for homeschooling while on the waiting list. 

Most of the UK had some snow last week, so I'm looking forward to seeing all your snowscapes! Here's mine of a fox prowling the grounds behind our house. The first one was taken from inside, but then I braved the elements and went outside in my cream coloured onesie (I just hope the neighbours didn't see me LOL!) I must have blended well into the snowy background because the fox didn't spot me and I was able to get quite close. I even had to make a noise for him (or her?) to look at me. I just wish I'd had my bigger camera with me - these were taken with just my pocket Nikon. 

I've also got a short video of Oreo - we were trying to get him to come out from under the sofa with some Dreamies, but we couldn't trick him!

Thanks for visiting! I will return all visits if you leave a comment! 
See you all later when I'm back from work!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

WOYWW #454: Grungy gelli prints with alcohol ink

I ran out of time last week and missed WOYWW, which I really regretted! I need to be super organised in order to take part, as I work Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and WOYWW is sandwiched right in between these two shifts - and let's face it, I'm not famous for being super organised! Luckily, I remembered last Sunday to take a photo of my desk and my current projects, so here I am - writing this on Tuesday afternoon just before setting off to work, so I can post it on Wednesday morning just before setting off to work again!

The photo shows the aftermath of my grungy gelli printing session inspired by Kate Crane's recent video where she used a layer of alcohol ink mixed in with acrylics. This results in a nice grungy texture where the alcohol ink reacts with the paint. Here are some of the prints I managed to pull, including some ghost prints.

I've even got some nice colourful pulls from my 6X6 inch plate which I was using as a palette, as per Kate's instructions.

The second part of Kate's video shows how she turned her prints into projects, which is on my to-do list as well! But for now let me show you a journal page I did on the run. It's nothing special, just playing to my heart's content with shapes and textures. I used up some bits and pieces lying on my desk and tried not to stress about the details - just playing and enjoying a little creative time.

Here's the obligatory Oreo photo at the end of my post, in case you've missed him. He's lost his two white eyebrow whiskers again - they come and go periodically. For a while he always looks stupid with just one of them remaining, LOL, but they're both gone now. I hope they'll grow back - they're one of his trademarks! 

Thank you for visiting today. I'll be visiting everyone soon - if not today then later this week. 
Happy WOYWW!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

WOYWW #452: Foam stamps made with stencils

I'm writing this blog post on Tuesday as I'll be at work tomorrow morning but I didn't want to miss this week's WOYWW. Here's the obligatory shot of my desk in all its messy glory earlier this week:

I was trying out some new paints and happened to have a cardboard envelope sitting on my desk, so I just grabbed that and smudged some paint on it in a random fashion. Then I remembered my home-made foam stamps, so I used one of those as well. I ended up with this upcycled envelope, which I'm sure will come in handy one day. 

These are the new paints I used. I bought them at Crafter's Companion who have an outlet near me. This shop together with The Range definitely make up for the lack of a Hobby Craft around here and satisfy my cravings for real-life shopping experience of arts & crafts products! 

In case you're wondering how I made the foam stamp, here's the set-up:

The photo shows a Big Shot, but I expect it would work just the same with all other similar die-cutting machines. I used the main platform with all tabs closed + cutting pad + kraft card + foam sheet + stencil + cutting pad.  The kraft card was added for extra resistance, but it could be anything else - just experiment to see what thickness works best. Run this sandwich through slowly a couple of times to make sure you get a good impression of the stencil pattern on the foam. It works remarkably well - much better than my previous experiment without a die-cutting/embossing machine which involved a hot iron with disastrous consequences!

Here are some more foam stamps I made this way. They work great on the gelli plate or you can roll some paint on them directly with a brayer to create some lovely, distressed textures..

Finally, I'd like to share something I received in the post yesterday all the way from the US from my very dear friend, Jackie. She sent me this beautiful tag wrapped in some lovely mulberry paper, which I will be using in collages. I'll even reuse the washi tape she sealed the envelope with! Thanks you so much, Jackie, for your kindness and thoughtfulness! It really made me happy and brightened my day!

Big thanks to everyone who have visited and commented - I promise to get back to every one of you some time in the next few days when time allows! Happy WOYWW! 

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

WOYWW #451: Distressed picture frame

Another Wednesday is upon us - well, almost, as I'm writing this on Tuesday night. I hope I'll have enough time to link up to WOYWW in the morning before leaving for work. I'll try to be real quick today - see if I can be true to my word just this once!

The photo of my desk shows a picture frame being altered. It used to be white and a bit bland. Hubby asked me to do something to it. It's actually a frame that he made himself to display a painting that his brother created years ago - in fact, almost three decades ago! What is this if not teamwork?

I used a nice turquoise blue colour to paint the frame, distressed it with a sanding block and then dry brushed some antique gold around the edges and all over. Easy peasy and I like how it ended up. Here's a closer look, along with the painting by my brother-in-law. I know, I know, he's talented! Shame he gave up his hobby - I don't think he paints any more. I hope I did justice to his painting with the new frame.

Something else: Shaz (Silverwolf) was kind enough to send me her unwanted A5 binders for my new dies. I used some sleeves with magnetic sheets in them and they work pretty well together. Thanks Shaz! They're perfect for what I need them for! I plan to alter the binders at one point - perhaps cover them with fabric or collage.

Back by popular demand this week - Oreo, the cat. I had a job taking a photo of him as he's outside most of the day now, but we always keep him indoors at night. I'm worried about the foxes nearby. I naively thought that foxes slept during the day and only came out at night, but I've seen them at all times gallivanting around. Just the other day I saw one only a few meters away from the house in broad day light. They go for the bunny rabbits - I wish I could protect them! Nature is so cruel! I'm just hoping they'll leave Oreo alone. Here he is lounging on the back of the sofa with not a care in the world.

I also managed to snap some sunset shots from the living room. The sky can change dramatically within just a couple of minutes. These two photos were taken only a few minutes apart and the cloud formations look completely different.

OK, so I didn't quite manage to keep it short, but I hope you've enjoyed your visit anyway. I'll be around this evening and later in the week as time allows. Happy WOYWW! 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

WOYWW #450: A little box made from junk

Hello deskers! Another Wednesday has arrived so it's time to head over to the Stamping Ground once again for the weekly blog fest affectionately known as WOYWW.  I snapped this photo of my desk just a few minutes ago in natural daylight for once! It shows the aftermath of a project I did on Sunday for Wanderlust. If anyone's interested, you can find it here. I haven't had a chance to tidy up since then - ok, I admit, I would have had plenty of chances,  I just didn't bother!

There are a number of projects in the making but today I'm going to share one that I finished a while ago. You may have seen that little round box sitting in the lower right corner of my self earlier. I'll give you a closer look and show you how I made it. 

It's made out of a cardboard tub - you know the ones with a metal bottom? Hubby cut it to size for me and I cut a round top for it from some sturdy cardboard. I stuck some corrugated cardboard strips all around the tub and found a wooden die-cut shape that fitted perfectly on the lid, along with a little cork for a handle. It just happened that everything was in perfect proportion and the pieces worked really well together.

I used some gilding wax to colour it over black gesso, but I could have just used metallic paint. Next time I will as the wax is not very nice to work with. They all dried up and I don't like the way they smell. I added some ribbon to jazz it up a bit and to hide the unsightly seams. This is what the box looks like coloured and assembled: 

No Oreo photos today, but here's a quick fix for you cat lovers. I found this little guy at The Range, where I now work. Isn't he cute? I won't get my staff discount until my trial period of 13 weeks is over, but that doesn't stop me from buying stuff! I will probably end up spending most my wages there, LOL!

Thanks for visiting! I may not be able to return visits until later in the week as I work tonight and tomorrow morning and I have to home school in between, but I'll be around as soon as I get a chance. Happy WOYWW! 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Wanderlust Week 02 (2018): Destiny

I signed up for Wanderlust 2018 back in September because I found the early bird discount together with the alumni discount irresistible. Even though I only completed a few of the lessons last year, I watched all the videos and I'm sure every bit of inspiration has found its way into my art in one form or another, so it wasn't a waste of money at all. I don't intend to complete all the lessons this year either, but I know that every lesson will somehow influence my artistic journey.

This month's theme is Paths and Roads and in week two we had Michelle Turbide as our guest teacher. The way she used gesso and ink, immediately inspired me to try her technique and I had just the right substrate for it too! Remember those cardboard panels that I prepped a while ago just in case I might need them? This was the perfect opportunity to use one of them!

Initially, I followed the tutorial to create the background and foreground with a path running through it, but then I went a bit off track and added a few elements of my own. I stenciled a large tree (using a home made stencil cut on my Cameo), I added a little wooden house shape, a die-cut dreamcatcher, a setting sun, some stamping - and even some scrap corrugated packaging and a few well placed glitter dots -  to complete the picture.  The title came as an afterthought. No rhyme or reason - I just felt my painting needed these elements when I got to that stage in the process. None of them were planned when I started out. Here's the completed project - a little different from the lesson:

I'm not sure I managed to accomplish the objective of the class, but I had lots of fun working on my layers and this painting means a lot to me. I decided to hang it on my wall and I found an easy way to do this. I simply stuck a piece of string to the back with some strong duck tape and fixed a 3M removable plastic hook to the wall. So far it's holding quite well. Here's a photo to show you how I did this:

Thanks for visiting! 
I wish you all well on your own journey!