Friday 25 January 2013

Craft Barn Alpha Challenge. . . . . . . . .

The Craft Barn Alpha Challenge has moved onto the second letter this fortnight. The letter we have to use is C and I've chosen the word 'compass'. I started with two compass stamps, one from Tim Holtz and the other from Oxford Impressions. I then just played with inks, die cut letters, a stencil and some glossy accents. It's such a fun challenge and I like the freedom it gives you to just 'play'!

Here's what I produced:

I'm having trouble with achieving a neat finish where the pages meet, a length of jute twine sorted that one out! As well as the large compass image, you can see two smaller compass pieces in top right and bottom left. They were produced using the same method as described later for the larger images.
The letters were diecut, stamped with the main compass image with a toning shade, inked and then coated with glossy accents. The arrows were stamped, cut out and they received the same glossy treatment.
The Tim compass was stamped onto the page and then onto spare card. The image on card was coloured with a mixture of distress ink and water soluble wax crayons. The centre of the image was cut out and given a glossy finish. Some smaller letters were cut, stamped, inked and glossed for the main compass points. The smaller compass images can be seen in the background here too.
Tim compass image was stamped in archival and in distress as shown in this image. The borders were created with a dylusion stencil, distress markers and the water soluble crayons.
The word and definition was left white and further highlighted by some black pen and more arrows as discussed earlier. Another stamped compass was coloured, cut into appropriate sections and then given the glossy makeover.

As well as the background stamping, the pages were inked with distress and spritzed with water.

Thank you so much for the wonderful comments I received for my ATC (previous post). It really means so much to know that you like my work - we all have doubts at times and although I'm enjoying what I do, sometimes I wonder why I'm doing it. Then I remember (or remind myself ) that it's FUN!!

Thursday 24 January 2013

Time At Artful Times. . . . . . And What I'm Known For At SSSS

The challenge at Artful Times is to make an ATC using the theme of 'Time'. I thought of the usual clocks, gears etc. but I wanted to convey the idea that time changes us all in many ways. Every time I look in the mirror I wonder who that is staring back at me!! Strange how you feel very little difference on the inside but the ravages of time are visible for all to see on the outside! I've decided that birthdays no longer count and I've chosen the age I want to be and I intend to stay that age for the foreseeable future!

My ATC shows a stamped image of a rather glorious man in his prime who would have been right up my street a few years ago (well, many actually!). I have placed him on an aged, rusty metal background to show two polar effects of age: young, youthful and virile versus worn, aged but perhaps still functioning - hope that makes sense to you. ( I fall into the latter group just in case you wondered!).

I also wanted to enter the challenge at Simon Says Stamp and Show but I've had to soul search in order to try to work out 'what I'm known for' to fit their latest theme. I still don't have the answer but I love to stamp, I love using paint to create backgrounds and I'm a stickler for attention to detail. Does this come out in my ATC? I'm not sure but I hope so. I'm really enjoying using the rusty look with my colour and stamping. . . . . . .for the moment at least! Here's what I made:

For the stamped image, I made a background onto painted chip board using dylusion sprays and some cog stamping using plum archival. The rather dishy chap was stamped in jet black archival. The text was printed out on a label maker and a little distress ink toned down the stark white of the tape.

Four eyelets were added to the piece and some rusty wire was curled into spring shapes and attached.

The background was created with a mask, some texture paste, various acrylic colours and a graphite stick. The 'metal' is aging but still looks as if it could work; the young man in comparison, looks in prime condition.

The paste was randomly spread in some areas and more precise in others.

Hope you like this piece. I am back visiting as many of you as I can and thank you so much for all the kind wishes with regards to my health. Summer (even our British version!) can't come soon enough for me!
Take care in the snow, slush and ice.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Tie It Up - Challenge #11 At Anything But A Card

Hi everyone. Time for another challenge at Anything But A Card and I do hope you'll play along with us.

Your challenge this fortnight is called 'Tie It Up' and you can use ribbon, braid, lace, twine, string - anything that you can tie something up with really! The wonderful thing about the challenges at Anything But A Card is  you can literally design and make anything as long as it's not a card. I love these kind of challenges and judging by the number of entries we're receiving, I think lots of you do too!

As soon as I read the theme, I knew that I would be using natural jute string/twine and braid as I love these materials. They go with so many different colour palettes. I do  love ribbon, but find I rarely use it in my craft work - need to have a play with some I think.

Please do pop over to the blog and see the wonderful work the design team have come up with. Don't forget we have a week 1 design team and another for week 2 so look out for their wonderful makes halfway through the fortnight. (next sunday)

I've made a little gift bag and matching tag using layers of stamping, masking and die cuts.

Here's my make with quite a few photos (so be warned!):

The completed bag with matching tag.The bag was cut using a TH die which I found half price last year and this is the first outing for it. The light is not good for photography at present  so please forgive the shadows. 

The completed tag which is attached to the bag with knotted jute twine.
The flower on the tag was die cut and inked with shimmer spray and dylusion ink spray. Once shaped and layered, some untwisted twine was added as the flower centre.

The background was created on white card using layers of distress ink, stamping and a little stencil work. The card was first lightly sponged with distress ink then randomly stamped with a mesh image and dragon fly image from The Artistic Stamper, using the same colour ink mixed with chalky ink. I wanted these to have a subtle effect but to be seen if you look hard enough. The final stamped layer was done with archival ink. One more layer involved using a dylusion mask with a harlequin image in the gaps between the diamonds.

Two layers of punched scalloped lace edging were used at the top of the bag. One layer was coloured with distress and stamped with script in the same colour. The second layer was cut from kraft card and the edges were inked. The kraft card was used to match with the natural jute braid and twine.
Once the edgings were in place, I covered the cut edge with jute braid and used some more to make the bag handles. A little bow was added to complete the look.

The tag shape was die cut in white card which had more of the same stamped and stencil layers but only using distress ink. A further tag was cut in kraft card and the bottom edge was removed and used as a second scallped edging to match the idea used on the bag. 

A contrast ring from kraft card was used to strengthen the hole. Jute twine was used to attach the tag to one of the handles.

Some additional die cuts were used to complete the tag in matching colours. The blue die cuts were stamped and coloured.

Yet again I need to apologise for my continued absence around blogland. I've commented where I have to and then after that it depends how well I feel. Winter is proving difficult for my chest and sinuses this year so please bear with me. If I don't feel well enough to sit at my desk then you know there's a problem! Positive thinking will hopefully conquer all!!

I hope you like my project this time. Do let me know what you think.

Sunday 13 January 2013

Anything But A Card Challenge #10 - Things With Wings

The current challenge at Anything But A Card has the theme of  'Things With Wings'. I'm showing my piece in the second week of the challenge so if you haven't entered yet or popped over to the blog, why not go over and have a look at all the inspiration provided by my Design Team friends? Remember: you can make anything you like for our challenges EXCEPT a card, so get those thinking caps on!

My piece evolved after listening to an old favourite by the Moody Blues (showing my age there!). The track is called 'The Story In Your Eyes' but I'm not sure which album it's from I'm afraid!  I couldn't get some of the lyrics out of my head and as a result I decided to make a tag with the ideas that came to my mind. The line that kept going round and round in my head was '.....from the ashes we can build another day'. I kept imagining run down buildings and industrial areas with pockets of new life coming through such as flowers and beautiful butterflies which I always associate with new beginnings. It's a little confusing for others when this happens because my interpretation is not necessarily that of others but I do hope you like what I've made:

A rusty, decayed background with new life flying by.

All the winged creatures were stamped onto TAP paper, coloured with distress inks, ironed onto fabric and cut out. Wire was attached to the back of the wings so they could be shaped as if in flight. All the stamps used were from The Artistic Stamper 'Insects And Butterflies' plate. I always turn to this plate when I want stunning butterfly images (I think the large one is probably a moth but artistic licence will prevail!).

The tag was embossed with a folder then treated to some Andy Skinner techniques to give a wonderful rusty look. Some burnt out 'coals' were made to fit in the 'basket' using some slightly altered Andy ways again.
The words from the song were added to the tag using a combination of TH chit chat stickers and some computer generated words. Each word was aged with ink.

Some wonderful thick jute string was used at the top of the tag. Rusty wire was added to complete the look.

I really like how the distress inks work together when applied with a waterbrush.

Some cogs were die cut, coloured with acrylic and rusted with rusting powder. Two different sizes were assembled together and then attached with rusty wire.
It's your turn now to create something with wings and link it up at 'Anything But A Card'. Can't wait to see what you come up with!

I'm going to enter my piece at the Artistic Stamper Challenge who are asking us to use our favourite stamps. I have many 'favourite' stamps but this is certainly my 'go to' plate when I need something with wings! (I like colouring them too!).

The lovely Buttons gave me the heads up about the challenge at Simon Says Stamp and Show this week which is almost over. ) I've had lots of bugs since the day after Boxing Day and as soon as I've got rid of one, another takes its place hence the reason for not producing much and not visiting you all as much as usual - SORRY!!). I've lurched from the deadlines I must meet to nothing much in between so I didn't really see the SSSS blog. I'll pop over and link up with their challenge which is to 'Embrace The Old' and I hope my tag fulfills the requirements!

I'd love to know what you think of my tag. My husband isn't convinced and doesn't 'get' the winged creatures with the rust - he likes the colours though!  I did try to explain but creating things from an idea lurking in your brain can be quite personal can't it?!

Friday 11 January 2013

Craft Barn Alpha Challenge - Letter V

Hello everyone, sorry I haven't been around much for the start of this year. Hopefully, I am now back on track and will be posting and visiting you all very soon. Thanks to everyone who left comments for my last post - the tag at Artful Times. They were much appreciated and I'm glad you liked the piece.

Today I have made a piece for the new Alpha Challenge at the Craft Barn. The challenge will last the year (I believe) and for each challenge a new letter will be given with which to create. Pop over to the Craft Barn blog for further details as I think it will be fun!

I've chosen the option to use a dictionary inside which my creations will be produced - there are other ways you can join in but I like the idea of using a discarded book and the challenge of keeping my creations as flat as possible - not an easy task for me at all!

Here's the dictionary I bought in a local charity shop:

I really wanted to find an old version with a lovely hard cover but, in the four local charity shops, this was the only one available.

Here's my first spread using the letter V which we were given for the first challenge:

For my letter V I chose the word 'Visage' and have left it uncoloured in the bottom left hand corner of the left page. I have also used an arrow to link the definition on the right page with the printed text on the left. You can see the effect in the next photo:

I used a variety of stamped faces for my images including Lynne Perella, Oxford Impressions and one which I can't remember!
The background on both pages was created with two stamps, two masks and distress inks.

I die cut the letters for the word and treated them with several techniques including resist stamping and inking until I was happy with them.

The definition word was stamped in various directions on the facing page with the chosen word in the centre. In some areas I used a white pen and some gold pen can be seen in others on some of the main stamping.

Thanks so much for looking and if you like it, please do leave a comment as I love to read them all.

Friday 4 January 2013

Using Embossing Folders At Artful Times. . . .

Firstly, Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a wonderful break and that you enjoyed the festive season. I feel as if I haven't blogged for ages but it's good to be back!

Well before Christmas, I had the pleasure of attending a class with the lovely Von from Artful Times. Later, I received an email asking me to be a guest designer for the new challenge at Artful Times. I was delighted to oblige as I have followed this challenge blog from the start.

Here's the tag I made using two embossing folders, stamping, crackle, distress inks, acrylic paint and some handmade flowers (the pink ones, not the white!) amongst other things:
The finished work which used two embossing folders: one for the leaves and another at the top and lower end of the tag. The white flowers are purchased mulberry paper blooms and the pink flowers were made from a TH strip die.

The flowers were die cut from white card and coloured with two shades of distress ink. Once manipulated into shape and layered together, each flower was sponged with a little versamark and embossed on the petal edges in a random fashion. I added the white blooms to balance the layout of the tag.

The leaves were die cut, coloured with distress and embossed in a paisley design folder. Crackle was then used to create texture and an aged look. Acrylic paint was used once the crackle was dry.

The thick grey board tag was coated with gesso and acrylic. Areas at the top and bottom of the tag were embossed with a TH folder. The raised sections were coloured with gold paste and like the leaves, crackle was applied to suggest an aged piece.

My beautiful stamped image image is from Crafty Individuals. She was stamped with archival and some distress ink was used to colour her flowers the same pink as the roses I made. Other shades were used in the background and for the masonary around her. Crackle was applied to some areas of the stamped image.
A TH chit chat sticker was used for the sentiment with some powder embossing around the edges to finish. The beads were some of my charity shop find (still got loads left!) and I felt they were perfect to embellish this tag. You can see some script stamped onto the background to create depth and the crackle is more easily seen here.

Thank so much to Von and Neet for allowing me to guest at Artful Times for this challenge, it's a wonderful opportunity to make something containing lots of my favourite things!

I will be back visiting you all very soon, just as soon as I catch up with the entries at Anything But A Card!

I'm going to link my tag up at the Fashionable Stamping challenge blog for the first time ever. They have a wonderful challenge theme this time: 'Surprise Us' (Anything Goes). If, like me, you've never entered here, you should hop over and have a look at the pieces made by the design team - inspiration in bucket loads, believe me!