Friday, 15 February 2013

Out Of Action For A Little While

Hello everyone. I just wanted to let you know that I shall be away from my blog for a little while due to some hospital treatment. I won't be able to keep up with you during that time and my apologies to those I haven't seen for a while.  Keep creating your wonderful art and stay well! Kind regards, Julia

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lacy Heartsy Valentines At Frilly And Funkie

Just to prove that not all my valentine pieces are scary, I've made a more traditional project - but still funky I hope - for the challenge at Frilly And Funkie. We are asked to show lace and hearts so that's exactly what I've done on my tag. I couldn't leave out the stamping, inking, paint, flowers and crackle though could I?! I also decided to choose the lovely combination of red and black - saucy but oh so yummy! (I'm told. . . ).

The design team over at Frilly & Funky have produced some beautiful work so if you haven't yet visited, make time and pop over to have a look - you won't be disappointed.

Here's the tag I made with a number of 'love' type features!

The light was a little dodgy for photos but hopefully you get the idea!
The flower was made from card coloured with dylusion and shimmer spray. Some die cuts were used in various sizes and the flower was constructed. The the centre of the flower is sari silk which has been shredded. Under the flower I placed some loops of black book binding thread because it's fairly rigid and holds the shape.
The heart was die cut from board, painted with acrylic, stamped with versamark and perfect pearls were brushed on. Crackle was then applied plus some acrylic paint to emphasise the cracks. The edges of the heart were coloured with a krylon pen and the back was coated with a fresco paint to avoid untidiness. You can also see part of the die cut flourish which was embossed with various enamels and a little gold paste was added here and there.
The tag shape was cut from watercolour paper and coloured with dylusion spray and various distress inks. Shimmer spray was applied. Some stamping of hearts (TH) and text was added using the same distress colours. Some pattern was added with black soot distress and a stencil. The tiny flowers are punched, inked, shaped and a little bling added.

A piece of board was painted with acrylic, die cut twice to fit the top of the tag then stamped and inked. I chose scallops to fit the lacy theme. You can see more of the background stamping and stencil work here.

The 'sentiment' was stamped onto inked card and cut out. Some water was flicked and dried then the edges were inked. A few more hearts are included as part of this stamp.
For the lace I chose to use two different layers. The top layer was punched from dylusion sprayed card, stamped, stencilled and the edges were inked. The bottom layer of lace is real but was sprayed again with dylusion ink and then left to dry (for ages. . . . . !). I wasn't sure if I liked the effect at first but when I put it next to the tag I thought it worked so on it went!
Finally, some card was inked, stamped with appropriate 'love' text then cupid was stamped and cut out. A little water was flicked and dried. Foam strip was added to attach him to the tag - I wanted him to stand up a little from the base layer.

Hope you are all well and keeping warm in this cold weather. I really don't like these grey days - they match my hair (when the dye grows out!!) and they simply make you feel grey don't they? Roll on summer or a visit to somewhere warm!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Gung Hay Fat Choy / Asian Theme At Artful Times. . . . . .

Hello everyone. Thanks for all your comments on the Valentine skull. I think some people were just a little shocked when they saw it but it was such fun to make! I haven't started casting spells and wearing a pointed hat yet; I just felt like rebelling against hearts and flowers - even though I love both of these things!

Onto Artful Times. Naughty Von and Neet have completely tied me up in knots this time! When I saw the title 'Asian Theme' I had a few kittens because I don't really have anything in my crafting stuff suited to this. I looked at the lovely samples made by the girls and I thought they'd have to count me out of this challenge. I then got confused about Asian themes and Chinese New Year so I decided to attempt to cover both with my make. Not sure if it's right but it's always nice to get inky and play isn't it? (What it really means is that my brain is a little dense and I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do!).

After a rummage, I found a set of Creative Expression stamps consisting of peacocks and other related items. After doing some research, I can confirm that peacocks were important to both the Chinese (gung hay fat choy) and to those of the Hindu religion (Asian religion).

To the Chinese, the peacock is a symbol of good luck and good fortune so great for the Chinese New Year. It has also signified high rank status in the past too. I think this may be true for Japan as well.

To Hindus (there are large numbers of hindus in Asian countries), the peacock is associated with one of their gods called Lakshli and is believed to symbolise patience, kindness and understanding.

Phew!! Lecture over. Here's the card (yes, I did say CARD!!) that I've made:

The light was all wrong for photography by the time I finished so my apologies for the standard of the images.

I made three stamped backgrounds. The top peacock layer was made using Tim's custom stamp pad method and lots of distress inks, spritzing and stamping with both distress and archival. The word tiles were made from leftover card. After stamping the words, the edges were very roughly embossed and a coat of glossy accents was added.
Sorry about the blurred image. I hope you can see enough of the hand painted peacock to see that the stamped background is visible through the painting. I used water soluble wax crayons to achieve this effect. Some rough doodling was done with a gold pen to add highlights to the bird.
To add extra interest, a small bead was made from some left over card and coated with a layer of glossy accents (which dripped everywhere!). This was mounted using some twine and leftover card.
Kraft card was used for the base. Feathers were stamped with versamark then coated with perfect pearls. The green tones in beautifully although the light hasn't been kind here! I wanted to added lots of glitz because of the beautiful irridescence of peacock feathers.
The green layer started out life exactly the same as the yellow toned layer. I kept adding inks until I was pleased with the effect. I used a twining background stamp in versamark then embossed it with gold details.
I chose a circle image for the background to represent the 'eye' in the peacock feathers. Some stitching was added to all the layers using gold lurex thread.

That's what I made which I'm sure is so far out of the box it's off the wall but I know what I was aiming for and I had some FUN!

Do go over and see what Von and Neet have been up to and already, there are some super entries to give you further inspiration. Let me know what you think if you have time. Have a great weekend everyone. I'm off to the Craft Barn on Sunday for another lesson in the Andy Skinner Club - wooohoooo!!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Share The Love. . . . . . Challenge 12 At Anything But A Card

Hello everyone. I'm hopefully back full time now and I can't wait to see what you've all been up to. This fortnight sees a new challenge at Anything But A Card and we are asking you to 'Share The Love'. I don't really have much interest in Valentines Day but I love the colours and images associated with it - as long as they aren't too 'fluffy'! (I'm sure you know what I mean!).

For my 'Share The Love' piece, I've chosen to lean rather towards the gothic. You will be forgiven if you think it's Halloween time here again but I just couldn't resist giving a little brown paper skull a makeover for this challenge. The skull has been hanging around since last year because I never got round to doing anything with it. I knew I wanted to make a 'dark' valentine offering and had the skull in mind. My sister came to visit last weekend and we discussed this challenge and she said 'what about your skull?' and that confirmed the idea in my mind. (Thanks Sandie!!).

Rather than just a decorated skull, I wanted it to have some use so it's now a holder for a battery tealight (no danger with those!) and the first step was to chop off the top of his skull. . . . . .

Here's how he turned out:

My skull tea light holder. I've chosen to use traditional Valentine colours red and black because I felt they fitted my chosen theme perfectly.I haven't added any words but there are stamped hearts on the flowers if you look for them.

Side view of the holder. You can see where the skull has been opened to allow access for the tea light. I made a hinge from paper fasteners and wire under the flowers and this helps to keep the skull 'flap' in position.
The skull flap allowing access to the tealight.
Top and rear view of the skull.
Not the clearest of images but this was taken in a blacked out room whilst the tealight was lit to show the effect. (I had to use a flash setting otherwise the photo just showed the facial features as ghostly white orifices!)
After opening up, the whole skull was painted with gesso followed by coats of acrylic paint to make it watertight. Some dry brushing was added around the facial features and crackle was applied - not to the skull cap at this point though.
The skull cap was given two coats of stencil work using black and gold inks just to add interest. The crackle medium was then applied.
Various die cut flowers were used to decorate the skull. Those used on the skull cap were coloured, stamped and the inked again before construction. Small black gems were used for the centres. You may spot the odd heart here and there amongst the stamping.
For the front of the skull, I made a headband out of wire, rose trim (thanks to my lovely blog friend Trace for this!) stained black and die cut roses. The roses were coloured red, constructed and the edges were inked and some black distress EP was used randonmly for interest.
Not the clearest image (again!) but you can just make out one of the rusty wire spirals I made the for the ends of the headband on the lower right of the picture. Each of the rusty spirals have a double sided die cut flower attached to the ends. The black rose trim  is to the right of the rose and extends across the forehead and over to the other ear position.

I had lots of trouble taking these photos for various reasons but I hope you can get the idea of what has been done.

I seem to be constantly apologising for my absence but the last four weeks or so have seen me laid low with sinus infections and, as I now know, bronchitis. I feel so much better and hope to see you more often. Thank you so much for sticking with me and for the well wishes.

Over to you now - what type of Valentine offering are you going to make? Will it be pink, fluffy and beautiful or will you choose the darker side and produce a more gothic feeling piece like me? Any of these are most welcome at Anything But A Card but remember, the choice of what you make is yours as long as it fits the challenge and it isn't a card! Need more inspiration? Why not pop over to the blog and see what the first half of the design time have produced? Be sure to have another look next Sunday when the second half of the team show their makes too.