Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Season of mellow fruitfulness

Well, as it's the first day of October tomorrow, Autumn's well and truly here. This reminded me of a project I made a while back for an Autumn issue of Craft Stamper. I particularly enjoyed it as it used real Autumn colours - yellows, oranges and browns.
Here's a view of it closed: and then open at just the first two tags:I sprayed the manila tags with some of the Adirondack ColorWash inks which are really intense, and then stamped them in a rich brown with some Invoke Arts ATC background stamps (Traditional ATC backgrounds)- lovely arch shapes. For the tags inside, I used Oxford Impressions Field Notes plate for the main images. (I buy both these makes of stamps from LB Crafts )The idea was to work from yellow, to orangey red to slightly decaying colours so that by the last two tags the pears are speckly and brown and the flower is losing its petals and looking ragged: Here's a couple of pictures of it standing up:
The word AUTUMN was stamped with See D's Ransom Alphabet and the Autumn quote was printed out on the computer using a font called Rubberstamp, which I thought was particularly apt! I added some hessian for texture.



Friday, 26 September 2008

Where's the week gone?

I don't know where the week's gone - I seem to have blinked and it's Friday again! Actually I've been very busy - I got some new stamps from Elusive Images to make up some samples with for shows on October 6th, so am trying to get going with those.
Also it's my brother's birthday very soon (the big 50) so am making him a special photo montage picture. As he lives in Singapore I've got to make it early and then figure out how to get it to him. My older brother is actually going to be visiting him on the great day as he's on a business trip out there, so has volunteered to take it. We were having a long chat about it, and he said 'oh yes A3 size, that's fine, even with a frame - I'll just take it on as hand luggage.' Anyway we arranged for him to come and pick it up the week before. Meanwhile I'm sitting there looking at this thing thinking , well it'll never fit in the overhead luggage on the plane and it suddenly dawned on me that of course it isn't A3, it's A2 - I've got the sizes muddled up! (And that's without a frame!) Haven't managed to get hold of him to tell him yet - so if you're reading this D..., now you know! don't know what I'm going to do now, but having started it, I'm going to get it out there somehow!
This is how far I've got: basically it's a snapshot of his , and our, lives. I've copied all the photos in black and white, cut them all out, stuck them down, sloshed on some Ecoline liquid watercolour inks and gone round the edges in black pen:It's great if you can collage photos together like this one:Here Phil's at the Great Wall of China and then I've added him, his wife Khim and my Mum sitting on the other end (they were actually at Chirk castle!)
To finish, and what makes it unique, I'm going to journal all around the photos with facts, anecdotes and funny stories - here are a couple of close-ups of some journalling I did on the one I made for my husband earlier this year:
It takes a long time, but it's worth it for a special occasion (anyway, they're only ever getting one!)

Better go and get on with it - I feel some funny stories coming on!


PS That's Monty (the springer cross) and Jack (the westie cross not too sure) by the way. Unfortunately Monty died a couple of years ago, mind you, he was 15 so had had a good life. Jack, now 7, continues to bark at us each and every day and wag his tail for England!

Friday, 19 September 2008

At Home with Helen

The mirror I just showed you reminded me of another piece I made using those Impression Obsession leaf stamps:This was inspired by a peg board I found in the pound shop. It had a design painted on it but I just sanded it down and painted it with emulsion. I wanted to do something on the theme of house and home and so chose the PaperArtsy At Home Plate 1 and Urban Snapshots Structures Plate 1 and made keyrings to hang on it. The stamps I used for the board had to fit on it (ie. inbetween the pegs proved difficult) - in the end I think I took them off the acrylic block and stamped them as is. A bit messy (no, make that very messy!) but it worked.
I stamped on paper and used it to cover the ends of the pegs and the bevelled bit - I tried stamping on it directly, but it was impossible.The house picture is also stamped onto copy paper and stuck on. Again I tried to stamp direct onto the wood but it kept going wrong (and I kept having to re-emulsion the whole thing!)I actually stamped it twice - once in the Adirondack dye inkpads Lettuce, Denim and Cranberry (love that combination) and then I inked the edges and round the windows in black and stamped over the top. It was really a case of trial and error!I then stuck that on before stamping the leaves over the top. The leaves are supposed to be coloured in a pale wash from each of the inkpads but they have faded somewhat.
The keyrings were an excuse to use stampbord which I still love, even though it's been around for a couple of years. I don't think I'll ever tire of it - there's so much you can do with it:Here I've coloured it in the same three colours, then stamped and etched to my heart's content! I've also added words that I stamped onto paper.

The middle piece stands alone, but the two outer pieces complement each other, using different ends of the house stamp:This actually now hangs on my wall - the first piece of my artwork that I put up! (I won't let anyone hang their keys on it though!!!)

Monday, 15 September 2008

I went to the Southern Stamp show on Saturday and saw Linda Brown from LB Crafts - hi Linda! Had a lovely look around her stand and came away with some very interesting bits and pieces! If you ever get the chance to see her artwork it's worth it - she's got some fantastic stuff. The metal work is gorgeous.
I've used metal foil in this next piece - I was looking for something subtle to show you, believe it or not! (Maybe I don't do subtle!): I made this for an issue of Craft Stamper several months back after a visit to Ikea, where I bought the mirror. It's been sitting in Katie's bedroom and I'd forgotten about it until I saw Lynn's Stampbord mirror on the front of this month's magazine, because of course it uses the same base! If you're ever in Ikea it's worth picking up one of these (looking in my stash, I realize I've already got another 3!):They come in plain wood or black and have that wonderful wide frame.
I covered mine with Artylicious papers that I just printed onto ordinary copy paper - I found white card was too thick. Even though the frame is slightly wider than the A4 paper, I just added two extra strips down the sides and you can't see the join.The flowers and leaves are designed by Leigh Hannan for Impression Obsession. I coloured some glossy card with dye inkpads and then stamped and cut them out:The butterflies are stamped onto thin silver metal - the same type as I used for the copper brooch in Craft Stamper this month: I actually coloured the metal with alcohol inks first, then stamped the butterfly in Stazon over the top. Then I cut it out and stamped the butterfly again on the back and used that image to dry emboss the design.Then I added twiddly bits!(Oh for twiddly bits!):And there you have it - far too small for a mirror but just crying out to be decorated!
I hope the colours brighten your day!


P.S. You're lucky I've got my glasses on or I could've taken a picture of anything!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Where has the week gone?

I can't believe it's Thursday evening already! It seems to have been a busy week. I've just finished packing up some samples for Glenda - lovely stamps!
It was also my nephew Dan's birthday - he was 16! Doesn't seem possible! I still make them all cards for their birthdays and his started like this: I just rub the dye inkpads straight onto the glossy card and then overstamp in black.This uses a Paperartsy stamp, School Days Plate 2.
Then I trimmed it down:
Then I added some Cosmo Cricket Get Happy papers and some words from Paperartsy Pierrot Plate 1:
And then I made him a gold metal hat overstamped with the Pierrot words from Paperartsy Pierrot Plate 4: I added some metallic stickers et voila!

This is just my sort of card: bright colours and a little bit crazy!


Saturday, 6 September 2008

Felting again!

Following on from yesterday, needle felting is easier than wet felting in that you've already got the felt base there. I have done wet felting when I took the first year of an Experimental Texiles course with Kim Thittichai (if you go to the shows you can often see her demo'ing for Fiskars). I learnt loads from her and we had a great laugh!!
Wet felting tends to be a lot messier (or I was, but then I always am!) However the felt you get at the end is streets ahead of the flat squares you buy in fabric shops. I only ever managed to make small pieces that were a bit lumpy!! In fact this is the only bit I've got left (it did have green in as well):
With the needle technique you can also add lumpy wool (can't think how else to describe it!) Just lay it on top and stab it through! You can get that lovely multicoloured wool which you can leave as is or tease apart a bit:
As I only tend to make small pieces it doesn't take very long and it's fun to work with something different. Here's a tag that I felted and added a picture to but haven't yet finished:
The picture is from Crafty Individuals and this is where I had to be careful with the stitching or the machine sort of cuts the picture out:
Then I just punched an eyelet through as usual and added fibres:

Now I've got to work out how to finish it off!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Needle Felt

This is my first go at needle felting, a piece of work I made for my daughter's 21st. birthday. She said she'd like a piece of artwork for her wall but it didn't turn out very big so it's more like a door handle hanging!
It's a very easy technique - you have a special needle tool (lethal!), a piece of base felt (I used white), some wool tops which come in all the colours of the rainbow (you can see what attracted me!) and a piece of dense sponge: You lay the wool tops on the felt and stab at them with the needle tool! The fibres get pushed through to the back and the friction from the needles helps with the felting (not a very technical explanation!)I've added stitching in coordinating colours to echo the swirly shapes (I figured it'd hold it all together as well!) Here's a view of the back:
It's great for reducing stress levels as you can stab that needle to your heart's content!
Of course I had to include some stamping and paper so added some of the big swirls from Prima Build-A-Swirl stamps, stamped onto patterned paper and stitched on to the panel. I discovered that you can't use too small a running stitch on the paper as it just cuts through it! I opted for no. 3 in the end.
Then I made a many layered paper flower - this was something Sue Roddis did on a card in Craft Stamper and added an old diamante button that Vikki's gran gave me:
I then added some vintage buttons from my button box, again following the swirly shape:
The mini antique hanger is from Crafty Individuals: (another site to visit - lovely stamps, papers, acetates, all sorts!)It's a great way to hang and present your work:

All in all, I really enjoyed making this, combining lots of techniques and experimenting. Now I've just got to find time to make some more!

I first saw mini needle felted works of art on Art-e-zine - the needle felted postcards of Glenda Bailey. You have to visit this site if you haven't already, it's a wonderland of art treasures.
In fact I'm going to add it to my list of links and then add a list of places I visit just to tempt you some more!!!


Monday, 1 September 2008

Time is of the essence

We've had a busy weekend helping our two eldest move, one into a flat (they're all unfurnished down here) and one back to Uni for his second year. That's the first time I've been able to get into his room for about 3 months! Now I'm not the world's greatest housewife but that's a long time even for me! I kept opening the door and shutting it again quickly! It all seems rather quiet now, especially for my youngest who's 12 and complains about being stuck with the old fogeys!
Talking of time reminded me of a pendant I made out of stampbord using a sundial:
This comes from the Oxford Impressions plate - Castle Keep available from
LB Crafts (if they're not actually on the site just contact Linda). This plate's has got some great stamps on it. The sundial is so detailed you can really etch into it to bring out the highlights:
The tiny text on the crown and the corners is a great size for stampbord. Even the face in the middle comes from one of the ladies on the plate. I added fixings that I got from a cheap belt that I took apart and mounted it onto coordinating cardstock:
I love working on small pieces like this as you can pack so much into a 2 inch square! Clock faces are another great image to use - I did have one using an old watch from Elusive Images but I don't know where I've put it - perhaps I'll make another!


PS. My domino tin is progressing nicely but you'll have to wait until the stamps are launched before I put it up here!!