Thursday 19 February 2015

Alphabet Soup. . . For ATP Exchange

I'm sharing my DT project for the new challenge at Artist Trading Post Exchange which starts today. The hugely talented Ruth is our host and here's what she has to say:

'Hi, Ruth here. I'm sure we all have alphabet stamps or maybe you have some chipboard letters that need using up? This time our challenge is about using letters or numbers in some way other than making a word or marking an anniversary with them. Maybe random stamping or use of diecuts to make a collage background, borders or some pattern building with them?'

There is some wonderful inspiration by the rest of the DT over on the blog - click HERE to have a look. Our sponsor as always is the Artist Trading Post in Derbyshire and they generously donate a £10 voucher for the challenge winner, so it's always worth linking up with us!

Here's what I made this time using mainly Fresco paints and a blank wooden book drawer:

Front of the book box.
I wanted to make use of the book drawer and keep my die cut letters in so I'm not rummaging around trying to find any - and then resort to cutting more as per usual!
Firstly, give the bare wood two coats of gesso and allow each coat to dry thoroughly before lightly sanding the surface.
Die cut letters from plain grungeboard and textured grungeboard (in my store for ages!) and glue into position.. Give everything another coat of gesso.
Die cut more letters and randomly arrange them on the back of the book drawer. Add gesso as previously mentioned.
Follow the same process for the 'spine' of the book.
These colours of Fresco chalky paint are then applied to the front and back with a piece of foam in varying amounts.
Not exactly my usual colour palette but sometimes we need to branch out! At this stage it all looks plain and chalky so I felt it was necessary to add something else.
Add some stencilling using a the same colour palette. Add various letter/word stamps using DecoArt Chalky Decor paint in Carbon.
Stamp the die cut letters with the DecoArt chalky paint and dry. Add a coat of gloss varnish to add more interest.
Use a black pencil and another in a shade similar to one of the paint colours to add interest around the pieces of textured grungeboard.
Add colour to the back of the box using the paler shades. Use the darker colours in conjunction with the pale ones on the letters; stamp and add gloss varnish as before.
Add simple stamped letters on the background.

Add colour with a sponge to the textured letters. Stamp randomly with the Fresco paints shown earlier. When dry add gloss varnish to both the letters and the background. 
Paint the drawer inside and out and seal with soft sheen varnish - I wanted to leave the drawer as chalky as possible. Stamp using the previously shown paints in a very random fashion. Stamp the outside base and the edges of the drawer. Leave the inside as plain paint.
DecoArt chalky decor paint is used to edge the box - just seen at the bottom of this picture.
A great place to keep those elusive die cut letters (and numbers)!

I hope you enjoyed reading how this alteration came about. This is my interpretation of Ruth's lovely challenge - can't wait to see what you come up with!

Don't forget to pop back to Artist Trading Post Exchange on Saturday to see who won our last 'Love Is In The Air' challenge.

Thursday 5 February 2015

Love Is In The Air. . . . . .

It's time for a new challenge at Artist Trading Post Exchange. This fortnight our host is the lovely Yvonne and here's her challenge:

'It will soon be Valentines Day, so my theme is all about Love, what does it mean to you?
A feeling, a look, a touch, a word, something that makes your heart happy.............the list can be endless. So for this challenge, share with us how you see 'love' in your world. Remember we are a Mixed Media Challenge and this is the style we would like you to follow, include some stamping, but no digi images.'

Now, I'm not a great one for Valentines Day (my Husband thinks it's a load of nonsense so no hearts and flowers here!), but I do like to give a little something to my two favourite people (Hubby and Daughter). This often involves making a card but that's not my favourite thing to make. Yvonne's challenge had me thinking that I should make something using things I love, for someone I love to give to. That way, everyone is happy and I think that's one of the most important things to do for people you love: make them happy by small gestures rather than showy acts which may only happen once a year. That's my take on love and what makes my heart happy - for what it's worth!

Before I show you what I've made, don't forget to go over to the Artist Trading Post Exchange to see what my teamies have made for your inspiration; you won't be disappointed I promise! Please remember that the Artist Trading Post generously provide a £10 voucher for the challenge winner so it's worth popping in an entry!

Here's the piece of art I made for my one of my two favourite people and no, it's not my Husband!

A hanging which can be put on the wall or propped up somewhere as a little reminder of how much someone is loved. I think the close ups will give you a better idea of what is going on with this piece. As ever, the main photo being excellent, continues to elude me at the moment!

I wanted the hearts to have texture so chose to use this Golden Fiber Paste. A medium thick layer was spread on a craft sheet with a palette knife and left to dry (just over 24 hrs).
When dry I used a metal die as a template with a pencil to mark two hearts onto the paste. These were cut out with scissors and sealed with a good coat of gesso.
Each heart is painted with a different colour of Fresco paint.
Each heart is given a coat of crackle finish followed by some white paint to highlight the crackle. The hearts are sealed with matte medium then black acrylic paint is used around the edges to give definition. I wanted a modern, contemporary look for the hearts so this layer of black is made quite a bit chunkier than I usually would do.
Four Dina Wakley hearts are stamped and embossed onto white card which has been coloured using the same Fresco paints as used earlier. A layer of matte medium is applied to dull the shine and a tiny black gem is applied for effect. The hearts are applied using some foam pads to raise them from the uneven surface of the large hearts.
For the main background I used some foam board which holds its' shape well and isn't too affected by the mediums - be careful not to over wet it or use a heat gun though! Some die cut card leaf flourishes were glued to the board to create a 'relief' finish. Everything was given a coat of gesso followed by the Fresco paints shown which were applied with some foam. Treasure gold in white fire was applied to the die cuts using the waste they were cut from to prevent getting gold specks everywhere else. Finally a coat of crackle medium was applied and left to dry.
Once dry, I used a combination of colours to antique the background - LOVE doing this!
I wanted to make a feature of the two hearts so they have been attached to two other layers. The layer next to the foam board base is a chipboard Collage Frame. Originally I was going to use this for one heart but in the end used two. The frame is treated the same as the background except for the die cuts and it is also given some black acrylic paint on the edges for definition.
The layer below the hearts is a Red Cross coaster which come through the door and which I can't bear to throw away! The coaster is painted with one shade of Fresco and when dry a medium is added to create a weathered wood appearance. Once dry, a coat of Snowflake Fresco is applied and the cracks magically appear. This is followed by matte medium and some black and eggplant Fresco to dirty it up a little.
The layers up close.
The sentiment is stamped onto a spare piece of coaster which was treated as above but with a different colour.
I love making things for people and I love using crackle mediums so I think I've covered all the bases I can for Yvonne's challenge. What about you? Can't wait to see what you come up with!

Don't forget that the winners of my Flower Power challenge will be announced on Saturday 7th Feb and look out for another Exchange Post in the coming weeks - they are a real source of inspiration.

Thanks for dropping by and as ever, I'd love to know what you think of my offering!

Sunday 1 February 2015

Tic Tac Toe Challenge . . . . . .

Good morning everyone, it's my turn to host the challenge at Our Creative Corner this month and it's the sort of challenge that I love - of course!

My challenge is a Tic Tac grid and here it is along with the instructions we'd like you to read and follow:

Here's what we'd like you to do:
  • Choose one line from the grid shown. This can be a horizontal, vertical or diagonal line but you must select the middle square as one of your choices. 
  • What you make is your choice but please ensure that the three items you have chosen are clearly visible on your make. 
  • Please state in your post which line you have chosen. 
  • Inks, stains, sprays etc can be used as necessary on your project.
Here's what I've come up with:

A pewter effect finish to a bought box.
The line I chose is: Die Cuts, Stamps & Embossing Folders. (The embossing folders are used inside the box).

The transition from the papier mache blank; followed by two coats of gesso and finally the basic makeover is complete bar the flower.
The box is painted inside and out with the metallic paint.
Paint the outside of the box and lid with antiquing cream and leave to dry. Use a baby wipe  to remove as much of the cream as required. I find that although I wipe most of the cream off, the metallic paint has taken on a deeper tone, more like pewter - yay!
Two ovals of white card are cut and embossed - one for the inside of the lid and the other for the inside base. Next, one coat of gesso, two coats of the same metallic fluid acrylic as before followed by the same antiquing cream process. Love this effect!
Florals are die cut from card and painted with two tones of chalky paint - quite roughly as they are far from finished!
The floral die cuts are stamped with versamark followed by detail silver embossing powder.
The die cuts are antiqued using the same colour as previously shown. Next they are shaped using a paintbrush handle.
A silver charm is painted with gesso after the hanging loop has been cut off. This is followed by the same colours used for the floral die cuts. 
Next a little randomly applied detail embossing powder and lastly, some carbon black antiquing cream as described earlier.(Not shown here).
The completed charm is used as the centre of the flower. You can see that a fair amount of the antiquing cream has been left in the 'folds' of the charm.
Double sided tape is applied around the lower half of the box. The edges of the grosgrain ribbon are sealed with a lit match and the ribbon is placed into position.
A strip of card is die cut with a Spellbinder's die. Small stick on pearls are attached along the strip then everything is coated with gesso followed by the metallic paint and antiquing. The pearls are mostly silver coloured now with lots of black left around them. An Andy Skinner texture stamp is used on the lid and outside of the box just to add extra grunge - archival ink is used.

An oval of grunge paper is cut for the base and goes through the same embossing (works better on grunge board than grunge paper), metallic acrylic, antiquing cream followed by stamping with archival. When dry the grunge paper is glued to the base - I don't like leaving things unfinished (or I don't know when to stop!).The darker scratch marks have been stamped with archival using the same Andy Skinner stamp as before.
As it's Valentine's Day this month, what better use for the box than to squeeze in four chocolates as a tasty treat for the one you love - or you could eat them yourself like I did!

Thank you for sticking with me to the end! I do like to see lots of pictures myself but I know some find it tiresome!

Our sponsor at OCC this month is the wonderful Tando Creative. 

Over to you now - lets see what you can do with our Tic Tac Toe challenge!