Sunday 29 July 2012

Compendium of Curiosites II - Challenge 15

This week Linda Ledbetter has challenged us to make something using the enamelled metal technique as described in Sir Tim of Holtz's excellent Compendium of Curiosities Volume II (and if you haven't got a copy I recommend purchasing one ASAP if you're a fan of the Grungemeister). 

This turned out to be one of those pieces that went its own way.  I made the playing card using the enamelled metal technique and the rest of the collage was put together from bits in the "this'll come in handy sometime" bag - and for once, they did!

Friday 27 July 2012

Backwards, in High Heels

Hels Sheridan's Sunday Stampers challenge this week is "More than Words" - in other words, the entry has to include a phrase or saying, and this one - which I first came across in Ginger Rogers's autobiography - is a favourite of mine. 

The stamp is one I made in the Imagepac marathon last weekend, stamped in Olive Green Archival ink and cut with a Nestabilities die. I built up the background colour in shades of green Adirondack and Distress inks then die cut the film strip and shoes with Sizzlets dies and the stars with X-cut wafer-thin dies.The dark brown oval is cut out of the brown card I brayered with PVA to make it look like leather.

Now I'm off to enjoy the fine weather! 

Thursday 26 July 2012

What goes around..

...comes around, or so they say.  A few years ago bottle tops were IN.  We were all flattening them at the drop of a hammer and using them in our crafting.  Then they went out of fashion, as we all moved on to other things. 

 I came across a bag of  them, bought from the home-brew shop ages ago, and decide that they would be great as jewellery, and as they are circular, they would qualify for inclusion in the Artistic Stamper Creative Team Blog Challenge for July

I flattened these with my Big Shot, then gilded them with antique gold Rub 'n' Buff.  I made the holes for the jump rings with my Tim Holtz drill punch - it was slightly less fiddly than the Crop-O-Dile.  For the inserts, I stamped a text stamp onto plain white paper with Flitterglu- Jinkies, that stuff is STICKY-and applied gliding flakes.  Then I went and washed the Flitterglu off my hands.  I coloured my stamped and gilded paper with Butterscotch Adirondack and Tea Dye Distress Ink pads, then die-cut the circles to fit into the bottle tops, and went to wash the Flitterglu off my hands. 
Last job before assembly was to stick the paper discs down and cover them with clear epoxy stickers (remember them?)    After that I washed the Flitterglu off my hands, linked the bottle tops together with some chain, and ta-dah!  a necklace fit for Lady E!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

WOYWW - 25 July

Blimey, do you realise that five months today is CHRISTMAS DAY?  Scary or what?  And up to date, we've had about 5 minutes of summer! Now, you might think I will shortly be up to my bustle in holly and tinsel, but Far From It.  Apart from some close relatives, my greetings for the past couple of years have been digital - I get going with the jolly old Photoshop or Digital Craft Artist (definitely recommended if you don't fancy PS's steep learning curve - and you can get a basic version of DCA for FREE from 

But you're not here to listen to me rabbit on about Yuletide, are you?  No, it's Wednesday, so that means we all hop over to Julia's blog and have a nosey at everyone's workdesk.  This week my desk is Vagabond.  My third.  (A triumph of hope over experience, if there ever was one.)

I bought one when they first came into the UK, and one day it just groaned and died.  It was within the guarantee period so I got a replacement, which worked fine until last Friday - when it just didn't.  At all.  Not a peep.  Hoping that it was resting, or possibly pining for the fjords, I changed the fuse, then the power cable - no joy.   It had rung down the curtain and joined the choir invisibule.  It was a dead Vagabond.  To be fair to the Love of My Life, he insisted I replace it at once (probably doesn't want to live with me pouting about having no Vagabond...)

So why did I buy another one?  Well, I considered replacing it with a different machine.  I'd hung onto my Big Shot that will cut my Sizzix dies, so I considered a Grand Calibur for the wafer-thin dies, but the only advantage of the machine would be to cut the Grand Nestabilities -and I don't have any of them, nor been tempted to buy.  On the odd occasion I've needed a BIG shape the Cameo has done the job for me.  And, having watched the demonstrator on Create & Craft try and fail to cut Grungepaper with the Calibur,  which the Vagabond laughs at...well, let's give the Vagabond one more chance.

But I've made sure I've kept the receipt where I can get at it in a hurry...just in case.

Monday 23 July 2012

Summertime Blues

The Stamp Man's current blog challenge theme is "The Colours of Summer".  A couple of years ago I did a few tags that were distinctly summery/seasidey, but I wanted to do something a bit different - and nothing was coming to me.  Possibly the lousy weather we've had so far this summer has something to do with it.  Then today...INSPIRATION!  YAAY! - SUMMERTIME BLUES!

I have the Aspects of Design musical instruments in my stash, so I decided I'd use the guitar as my central image.  The colours would be shades of blue (of course).  I just needed the words...and didn't have them!

Is a little thing like that going to stop our heroine (i.e. ME)?  Perish Forbid!  Not with my trusty Imagepac sachets to hand.  'Twas but the work of a moment (Oh, all right, half an hour) to run up a quick stamp.  The getting carried away and making four others, that took all afternoon.  The sachets have been discontinued so once I've run through my current supply there will be no more...

So - after all that, I could finally get started.  I stamped the words and the guitar in Versamark and heat embossed with clear detail powder, then built up the colours in layers.  After that it was a quick bit of spritz & flick, some faded words built up letter by letter in London Fog Memento, then iron the whole thing to remove the embossing powder.  Simples!

Sunday 22 July 2012

Compendium of Curiosities II - Challenge 14

This week Linda Ledbetter (sponsored by The Funkie Junkie)has challenged us to create something using the Gilded Kraft Glassine technique from Sir Tim of Holtz's Compendium of Curiosities Volume II. 

First challenge - find the Kraft Glassine.  I gilded one piece some time ago that was easy to put my hands on, but where was the rest of the pad?  Nowhere to be found...

In the search for the Kraft Glassine, I discovered some paper I'd coloured with Starburst Stains while on a "get some paper out and throw colour at it" mood, so undaunted, I used that as a subsitute.  The foliage is gilded Kraft Glassine, and I'd intended to colour some in shades of pink.  As that clearly wasn't going to happen, I used the paper I'd re-discovered  to make the roses (from a Spellbinders die) and another sheet for my background.  The frame is faux leather (brown card with gel medium brayered over it) with some peel-off borders.  I know not everyone is a fan of the humble peel-off, but they have their place!

The "Memories" stamp is from Joanna Sheen and the dancer was cut with a Marianne die.

Oh, and when it was all finished I found the Kraft Glassine - isn't that always the way?

Friday 20 July 2012

Tragedy has Struck!

This week's Sunday Stampers challenge theme (set by Hels Sheridan) is "Embellishments"  and oh boy, did I struggle with this one!

For one thing, inspiration deserted me.  I just couldn't get a handle on the theme.  I eventually came up with this card; it would have been my sister-in-law's birthday card but it wasn't finished in time (so we chose one from The Box for her - you know The Box? The one where all the finished projects go?)

Then my treasured Vagabond upped and died on me.  Yesterday it was working fine, happily cutting out the die cuts you see on the card.  Today I switched it on to cut the scalloped oval at the front and - nothing.  Nowt.  Not even a whirr, so I was forced to fall back upon my faithful Big Shot (thank heavens I hadn't put it on Ebay!)

The Love of My Life, bless him, was all for jumping in the car and rushing round to Hobbycraft to buy a replacement.  I want to think first about whether or not to replace the Vagabond with another one (it would be my third - the first was under guarantee when it popped its clogs) or go for a Grand Calibur. 

Decisions, decisions!

Wednesday 18 July 2012

WOYWW - 18 July

Happy Wednesday, fellow WOYWWers!  (If you have no idea what this is all about, check out Julia Dunnit's blog here) Creepin' Ivy, doesn't time fly?  July already.  Not that it feels like it.  They keep promising us a summer but no sign yet...

On the ol' workdesk this week, apart from the usual junk, is a little locket (holding pictures of Lady E and Major T) cut from cardboard and covered with the mock croc.  This is about the last of it for the time being - but I did find some Anna Griffin animal print stamps in the stash which I hadn't thought about for a while so I might play a bit more with them!  The hinge is a scrap of grungepaper and there are a couple of magnets concealed in the frame to act as a closure.  You can't see the Vagabond, which is off to one side, which is what did the cutting on this occasion.  Nesties will cut quite heavy card if you run them through the Vagabond a few times (and they'll do grungepaper, too!)

The yellow duster is there because I was treating my Nesties with beeswax polish to act as a release agent (not because I was doing housework.  That would jeopardise my amateur status).  Seems to help a bit.  Anyway, thanks for visiting, and  I'm looking forward to visiting you in return!

See you next week!

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Total Cattitude!

ANOTHER red, white and blue theme? We've been a bit overwhelmed with them here in the jolly old UK, what with the Jubilee and the London Olympics, you can't move for bunting. Still, a challenge is a challenge and I'd promised myself I'd give the Altered Alice challenge (sponsored by Simon Says Stamp) a try this month, so here we go.

I had a bad case of crafter's block on this one, probably because I wouldn't normally use red, white and blue in my crafting and as stated above, I've already participated in a couple of challenges that used that theme. It was time to dig deep into my resources!

As well as the "real world" crafting, I enjoy digital scrapbooking (it started off as physical scrapbooking, then I found Digital Scrapbook Artist - now Digital Craft Artist- and Photoshop). My digital stash is probably at least as big as my physical stash, it just takes up less space. Before Craft Austerity measures began to bite, I'd bought the "Portobello Road" CD from DoCrafts, so that's where I began. I printed off a few sheets for inspiration...still not helping....

OK, let's go and look at my Alice stamps. I've loved Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass since I was a small child, so when I saw Alice rubber stamps for sale you can bet I was going to buy some! I looked at the Cheshire Cat...and suddenly, no more crafters block!

'Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin,' thought Alice; 'but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!'

I stamped dear old Chessie onto a nice piece of paper and coloured him. As well as the label shape (from Portobello Road) I printed out some red-white-and-blue patterned papers (landscape orientation). I die-cut the label shape (a Go-Kreate XL die) and the rosette (one of Sir Tim of Holtz's Sizzlits dies, a favourite).

After that it was just a matter of assembling all the pieces. In a moment of whimsy, I attached Chessie with a spring so that he bobs about a bit. The sentiment stamp (from Inkadinkadoo) just seemed to fit - after all, the Cheshire Cat has cattitude oozing out of his whiskers!

Sunday 15 July 2012

Compendium of Curiosities II - Challenge 13

This week Linda Ledbetter (sponsored by Simon Says Stamp) has challenged us to produce something using the "Spritz and Flick" techinique from Sir Tim of Holtz's Compendium of Curiosities Volume 2.  Now, a few bloggings ago I used "Men Are From Mars" as my tag theme, and ever since then I've felt like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop!  So, at last -

Women are from Venus!

I have a confessionlet to make.  The tag on this one was going to be the "Starry Night" tag for Sunday Stampers last week, only it went a bit wrong.  I'd stamped the stars onto the plain white card in Versamark and put the first layer of colour on, then stamped the swirls and added more colour - and they all just disappeared.  Far from Resistance being Futile, the resist wasn't happening, so rather than throwing good ink after bad the tag went into the "do something with it later" pile and I started work on V2.

As you know, Crafters Never Throw Anything Away.  And Crafting Austerity measures are still in play chez moi, so it occurred to me that I could use the tag as the basis for this week's Studio L3 challenge.  In astrology, Venus's colour is green and her metal is copper.  (Her day is Friday, so very appropriate for a Friday challenge!) I wanted to incorporate the correspondences into my tag, so out came the green distress inks (Peeled Paint and Mowed Lawn, with a touch of Peacock) over the top of the blue that was already on the tag they went, in readiness for the technique.  And, blow me down, the stars and swirls I'd never thought to see again reappeared as if by magic!  I stamped some of Sam Poole's Dress Forms in Cactus Green Staz-On (second generation stamping to get the faded, barely-there look) into the background while I was at it.

The glyph I designed and cut on the Cameo then crackled wirh copper Croco paint, and stamped "Women" and "Venus" on shrink plastic (having to stop now and then to satisfy Craft Supervisor Mysti's demands for head rubs).  A bit of "emerald" (AB hotfix crystals coloured with Promarkers) bling ) and there we are. 

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday 12 July 2012

Scraplift challenge - July

I hope digital is acceptable for the scraplift challenge! 
The  picture is of me and my two sisters;  there's a big gap (18 years) between Pat (my older sister) and me.  I'm the little girl standing up, and my sister Christine is the baby who is obviously not enjoying herself too much!  I'm guessing that this picture was taken around June/July 1957, so I would be about two years old; and I've seen the expression on my face on my son's features oh so many times - although most people say he looks like his dad.

If you want to know more about the Scrapology Scraplift challenge, check it out here.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

WOYWW - 11 July

It's that day again, when we visit each others' workdesks, as co-ordinated from Julia Dunnit's blog - you can get the details here.  Well, on my workdesk (annexe) today is - Cammie the Cameo!

You can just make out that she's cutting a circle out of a cardboard box that some drinks came in (I won't tell you what kind, but it's Probably the Best Cardboard in the World;)!) and it didn't bother her in the slightest.  For those who are interested, after some experimentation, I found blade depth 7, speed 2, and pressure 33 did the job;  I gave it a double cut to be sure I was through the coating on the printed side.  I'm working on V3 of Lady E's Hatbox (you can just see V2 in the background - V1 went in the bin after all the salvageable bits were, well, salvaged).  While I was at it I cut the circles for the inner and outer covers.  I am going to write step-by-step instructions so I can remember how I made it; want a set?

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Lady Ermintrude's Hatbox

I believe I've spoken of Lady Ermintrude before, a plucky gel who goes adventuring with her consort, Major Thomas Felix, in a steampunk sort of way.  Lady E wouldn't dream of being seen without a  hat - a lady just doesn't go about bareheaded - so naturally, she needs to ensure her hats are stored properly when not in use.

I took my inspiration for the hatbox from Laura Denison, who used a Graphic 45 film canister as the basis for a hatbox.  I didn't have a canister, so I had to make mine from scratch.    I used some cardboard packaging to make the box(the stuff that cereal boxes is made from would be great for this) and raided my stash for the paper and the German Scrap borders, which just finished off the rough edges.   This is Version 2 (after Lessons Were Learned from v1) and V3 is planned - I need a slightly bigger box to fit a mini hat I have!  I was limited in size to the biggest circle die my Vagabond would take (it's a XL Go Kreate circle). I am probably going to use my Cameo for the next version, though - or I could draw round a plate, but I'm not a brilliant cutter-outer!

Monday 9 July 2012

Starry Night

The theme for Hels Sheridan's Sunday Stampers challenge this week is "Dream", which works well for me as I'm still feeling the celestial vibe after last week's effort.  I'm also inspired a bit by Van Gogh's "Starry Night", a painting I admire very much.

Now who'd-a thought that my long-ago textile arts classes would have come in handy?  Back in the mists of time, when I was doing my teacher training,  we had to study additional subjects that were from different curriculum areas to our main course of study.  As I was studying English,  I had to take Science and Art.  In our final year, we had to choose a specialism for Art (stick with me, this is going somewhere, I promise!)  I enjoyed embroidery so I chose Textiles.  HOWEVER - there was one man in the group, and because this was the 70's and men could not possibly do embroidery, our tutor decided that we should do batik instead.  All year.  Now the thing about batik is, once you've drawn your design on the fabric in wax and then dyed it, you just have to wait for it to dry.  You can't hurry it.  And if you only have one piece to work on, it doesn't take three hours (which is how long the class was) to get the next layer of wax on, and into the dye and out again.  Our tutor obviously felt it was all a bit futile as she used to disappear a short way into the session...and shortly after she left, so did we...

Still, I did learn a bit, as demonstrated by this tag.  I began by stamping and embossing the stars, then colouring the tag in Cloudy Blue Adirondack with Colour Duster brushes.  Then the first lot of swirls (stamp from The Artistic Stamper, the freebie covermount on Craft Stamper magazine a couple of months ago).  This time I brushed on some DI Lilac, and Faded Jeans, and stamped and embossed the swirl again in a slightly different place.  Then the last colours brushed on were Seedless Preserves and Dusty Concord, and some Black Soot across the bottom (I masked off the top part of the tag with some torn paper) and around the edges.

Once it was all done, I covered the tag in kitchen towel and ironed it with a hot iron, changing the paper towel until all of the embossing powder was removed.  The I added the sentiment (one from Pink Petticoat) and the job was finished!  Not sure what Vincent would've thought of it, though....

Thursday 5 July 2012

SIlvery Moon

This week's theme for Hels Sheridan's Sunday Stampers Challenge is SILVER.  My first thought was to do something industrial and Steampunky (always my comfort zone!) but I was having trouble incorporating stamping into the mix (and the challenge is a stamping challenge, duh!).  SO...rethink...

The song that kept popping into my head was "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" so that was where I took my inspiration!  The background was built up in colurs of Adirondack and Distress inks, applied with Colour Duster brushes with a bit of masking to create an horizon. The tree stamps are from Clarity, the swirl from Hero Arts (a very old one).  I stamped the swirl (which shows up much better in real life than in the photo) in silver Opalite ink;  the moon and stars are paperclay,  painted with Pearl Perfect Pearl mica powder. 

I printed out the wording, traced over it in silver ink on shrink plastic and heated it to shrink, then attached it with Glossy Accents.  Finally,  I added some springy/shimmery wire that I'd pulled out and bundled.  I don't know what this is called.  I saw it once in a discount shop and bought a package.  It languished in my stash for ages until one day, it turned out to be JUST THE THING I needed.  However, once it's gone it's gone...

So, job done - hope you like it.  Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday 4 July 2012

WOYWW - July 4

Well, it's been a mental couple of weeks, to the point where I've missed taking part in Julia's WOYWW blog hop.

Anyway,  things have eased up a bit, (I passed my change management exam - Yaaay!) crafting is back on the agenda,  and here is my desk! 

As I'vesaid before, I do love it when I can make a bit of plain paper look really good, (quite apart from the austerity drive!) and when I came across this technique I knew I had to try it - faux snakeskin made from - wait for it - paper towel! Yes, the kind that Juan Sheet uses!  But - why the chopping board, you ask?  Well, I could go into details but honestly, you're probably better off getting the know-how from the same place that I did, so if you want to see how it's done, then click here.

Thanks for visiting- now I'm off to check out someone else's workspace - see you soon!

Monday 2 July 2012

Cherish your Dreams

I love, love,love playing with paper and card and making it look like something else.  For some reason,  the mock croc/faux lizard/leatherette look reminds me of the sort of things my mother would have had, 1930's style. 
After making the mock-croc for last week's Sunday Stampers challenge, I had some left over.  Well, all right, I admit it, I got carried away and elsewhere in this blog you can see how some of my experiments turned out (and I'm not done yet!).  There was just enough to cover the lid of this little papier-mache box.

The sentiment is one of a set of digital downloads from Pink Petticoat, cut out with a Spellbinders die and coloured with Distress and Adirondack inks.  I glazed it with Glossy Accents, then promptly put my thumb in it- Aargh!  Attempting to put it right and then hurry the process with my heat gun got the result you can see;  I decided I rather liked it so left it as it was and rubbed some Walnut DI into it once it was fully set.
I almost never think ahead when crafting.  If I had, I would have attached the sentiment to the mock croc paper BEFORE I stuck it to the box - I'm not keen on bits showing on the inside.  Undaunted,  I dug out some round sticky buds, sprinkled the top with gold embossing powder and heated...voila, instant brads!

The roses were made using a Tonic punch (Janelle, I think it's called);  I got three flowers out of a strip of paper about an inch and a half wide that's been hanging around for ages but I couldn't bear to throw out.  I sprayed them with some Brushed Corduroy Distress re-inker, diluted with water, to antique them and once dry,  into the UTEE they went.

I brayered PVA over a strip if the same brown card that I'd embossed with the reptile-skin folder to create a "leather" look.  Word of warning - don't overdo the brayering, the card will split (and wrap itself around the brayer.  How do you think I know that?)