Wednesday, 18 May 2016

A Blank Canvas!

Our current series of mid-month posts at Stamping Sensations is showcasing various techniques. Each DT member will choose either a favourite technique or one they haven't tried before. This month it's my turn, and I've gone for the latter. I've always wanted to try a mixed media canvas but haven't done so before now because I didn't know where to start. I decided this was the time to have a go!

Step 1 was to sit with the blank canvas (7" x 5") in front of me and stare at it, hoping for inspiration to strike! This took quite some time!

Eventually I decided on a nature theme, and Step 2 was to add some texture using a stencil (by Crafty Individuals) and relief paste (Colourcraft). I took the photo before the paste had dried. By the time it did so, it had sunk into the canvas a bit, and didn't stand out quite so much, but it still looked ok. I pressed on.

I added some punched leaves.

The next step was to paint it all, with acrylic paints. I also added a couple of laser-cut butterflies (Rayher).

So far, so good! I wanted to use some stamped images, but stamping on canvas is tricky. One way to get round the problem (you see - I've been doing some research!) is to stamp on to tissue paper and decoupage it on to your canvas. I stamped some images (Crafty Individuals) and  carefully tore round them. I also printed out some text on my computer.

I used diluted pva glue to decoupage the images on to the canvas. It makes the tissue paper transparent so that only the images show up. That's the theory, anyway!

Before adding the text, I sponged over it with pigment inks to tone it down a bit.

With hindsight, this would probably have been a good point to stop adding stuff, but there was a blank corner, and I felt the base needed something to hold everything in. I decided the blank corner was missing some birds, which I found on a scrap of Crafty Individuals background paper. The base received some small punched leaves, and the sides some chipboard leaves, all coloured with pigment inks.

And here's my finished canvas! Were I to do another, I would probably do some things differently, for instance some of the initial elements ended up mostly hidden, but I'm not too dissatisfied with it as a first attempt.

We already have lots of wonderful entries for our May Challenge, for which the theme is "Anything Goes", but there's still plenty of time to enter. (Or enter again, if you have already! You can enter up to three projects.) And of course, there's the fab prize of a £35 voucher from our lovely sponsors, Crafty Individuals. I hope I might have inspired you to have a go at a mixed media canvas. The hardest part was getting started! Once I'd got over that it was easier than I thought, and although it is a long way from perfect, the main thing, I think, is to experiment and enjoy the process. I certainly did!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Anything Goes!

Well, as you might suppose from that post title, our challenge theme this month at Stamping Sensations is

* * * * * ANYTHING GOES * * * * *

However, it could apply equally to the weather we're having at the moment!  I'm sitting here in my thermals, watching the rain pouring down the window, out of which I can see blue sky and fluffy white clouds just across the valley and snow on the distant hills! And it's the beginning of May!!!

Never mind, I'm sure we will get some fabulous entries to brighten things up. As always, although "anything goes" for our theme we do need to see stamping as the focal point of your project, since we are a stamping challenge.

Our sponsor for May is, once again, Crafty Individuals, who have donated a very generous £35 voucher for the lucky winner to spend in their online shop.

Their mix of products is beautifully eclectic, so whether you are into simple stamping, collage, mixed media, altered art, or styles from traditional to modern and quirky, you will find something in their range to suit you. For a long time now they have been one of my favourite stamp companies (not least for their fantastic customer service) so I had no hesitation in using their stamps and papers for my DT project this month.

Recently I went to a talk and demo of simple bookbinding given by the wonderful Glenda Waterworth. Glenda showed us some some stunning samples of her work. I came home feeling thoroughly inspired, and decided to make a (very simple!) accordion book.

I used mount board for the front and back, which I covered with Crafty Individuals background papers from their Springtime paper pad. The front cover is decorated with one of their newest stamps CI-452, a collage-type stamp from which I cut individual images and coloured them with Be Creative alcohol markers and watercolour pencils.

Continuing the Nature theme of the stamp, the pages of my book hold images from Crafty Individuals' Miniature Image Book "Nature's Beauty. Around each picture I stamped various images which help to tell its story. All stamps by Crafty Individuals. 

I really enjoyed making my little book! It has whetted my appetite for attempting something a bit more complicated, though I will have a long way to go before I produce anything as beautiful as Glenda's.

The DT have some absolutely gorgeous inspiration to show you over on the Stamping Sensations Challenge blog, and if you also check out their personal blogs it would be much appreciated.

I'm entering my book in the Crafty Individuals Blog May Challenge. Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

One for the girls

My goodness, where did last month go?! Can't believe it's time for another Stamping Sensations Challenge already! But it is, and our theme this month is

* * * * * ONE FOR THE GIRLS * * * * *

Of course, you can interpret that however you wish, as long as your project includes a stamp (digis welcome as long as they are not pre-coloured) as the focal point of your project. As usual we have a terrific prize for the winner of our challenge, and making a very welcome return as our sponsor is PDA Card & Craft, who have donated a very generous £40 voucher to be spent online or, if you're local, in their store.

For my card I was inspired by one of the beautiful papers in the Dovecraft "Bohemian" 6"x 6" paper pad, which just happened to fall into my basket when I was in The Range the other day! I loved the colours and flowers, and it reminded me of the Crafty Individuals stamp I've used with it, which I thought would be very appropriate for the theme. Crafty Individuals stamps are available from PDA, and though I can't guarantee that they'll have this particular one in stock I'm sure they could order it if required.

I framed the Old Fashioned Girl with a Spellbinders die, to which she was attached with foam pads, and coloured her with Be Creative alcohol markers. She was matted on to the background paper with some Bazzill Basics card. I distressed the edges of all the papers. Finally I added some diecut butterflies. (Large - Frantic Stamper, small - Cheery Lynn).

There are lots of gorgeous girly samples over on the Challenge Blog, and my lovely teamies would be delighted if you would visit their individual blogs too, and maybe leave them a comment. Hopefully this will be a popular theme, and I will be looking forward to seeing lots of beautiful feminine creations! Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Celebrate Spring with Flowers!

Well, the nights are getting lighter, the daffodils are in bud, so it must nearly be spring, mustn't it?! We're still shivering in the cold up here in Scotland, there is snow on the hills all around us, but it can't be far away now, can it? One of the things I love most about spring is the appearance of all the spring flowers with their beautiful colours which chase away the gloom of winter. So what better theme for Stamping Sensations March Challenge than

* * * * * FLOWER POWER * * * * *

Anything floral is what we'd like to see, but please do remember that, being a stamping challenge, we need to see a stamped image as the focal element of your project if you want it to be eligible for the prize or a top 3 spot.

And it is a super prize this month! Making a welcome return as our sponsor is Be Creative (see all their details on the Challenge Blog), who have donated no fewer than six of their stunning top quality paper pads, and four packs of pearl and gem embellishments for the lucky winner! These really are the best quality, and the designs on all the paper pads are simply gorgeous.

I've used one of my favourite papers from the Be Creative pads for my card. I just love the colours on this design, and the roses and butterflies.

The Crafty Individuals bicycle stamp with its flower basket came to mind when I was thinking of what to put on the card, and the Be Creative bottle caps just fitted the wheels! Two Prima flowers became the spokes, with Craftwork Cards Candi as the hubs. The bicycle, Prima flowers and Candi were all coloured with Be Creative alcohol markers.

The bicycle was cut out with a Go Kreate die, and a butterfly cut from one of the Be Creative papers was added. The Hobby Art sentiment was, I thought, rather appropriate.

There's lots more inspiration over on the Challenge Blog, and I can't wait to see all your gorgeous floral creations!

Monday, 22 February 2016

Meet Autumn Fairy

The Be Creative design team have been working with Art Caps (bottle caps) and self adhesive Art Cap images from Once Upon A Stamp. I sat looking at mine for a while, waiting for inspiration to strike, then suddenly realised that they were saying to me "Art Doll".

Now, I've never made an art doll before, and I have to say it's not something I've ever previously felt an inclination to make. However, since that's what I was hearing in my head, I thought I'd better have a go, and so I'd like to introduce you to Autumn Fairy.

I didn't really know where to start, and with no clear plan in mind, she just evolved as I went along. I punched out the art nouveau image and stuck it into the bottle cap, and there was her face. Gradually her personality began to emerge. I made a wire frame and covered the torso area with some wadding to fill her out a bit. A rummage through my fabric scrap box produced some burgundy velvet, a piece of white silk, and some gorgeous leaf printed fabric which I bought in the USA in 1995, the remnants of which I've been hoarding ever since. It was the beautiful autumn colours in the fabric which had attracted me to it, and so what else could I name my lady but Autumn Fairy?

I coloured the white silk with Be Creative alcohol markers to match the leaf fabric and made it into a blouse for her. The red velvet became her skirt, with an overskirt of green irridescent ribbon which had once tied up a bouquet of flowers. I cut out some of the leaves and berries and stuck them to her blouse and skirt. She needed some wings, of course, and a Prickley Pear butterfly stamp with a design of leaves and wheat on it couldn't have been more perfect for them. I stamped it on to acetate, coloured it with Be Creative alcohol markers and cut it out.

To help her stand, I drilled a couple of holes into a block of wood which once held an old set of Judikins stamps which I had unmounted several years ago. I had kept the wooden cube as I just knew it would come in handy one day. I painted the cube with metallic acrylic paint and lightly distressed it with sandpaper. A few leaves, an acorn and a ladybird were added to give a hint of her woodland environment. Finally her legs were glued into the block, and thus Autumn Fairy was born!

Hmm. I think she doesn't look very happy. Maybe she needs a friend...............

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Anything Goes for February at Stamping Sensations

It's time for our February Challenge at Stamping Sensations, and we have a free and easy theme of

* * * * * ANYTHING GOES * * * * *

Choice of subject is up to you, but as always, because we are a stamping challenge, we must see a stamped image or sentiment as the focal element of your design if you wish to be considered for the prize or Top 3 place.

Our sponsor this month is the fabulous Visible Image.

It says on their website "Unique designs, awesome stamps" and I would definitely agree with that! If you do too, make sure you enter our February challenge, as Visible Image have donated a very generous £35 voucher for the lucky winner to spend on their site! 

Some of you may remember the song "Colours Of The Wind" from the Disney film Pocahontas. It's a beautiful song which I have used with many of the school choirs and classes I have worked with and they have all loved it. So when I saw the Visible Image stamp set with the same title, I just had to have it! Having said that, being a tree/leaf/nature lover, even without the association it has for me I would still have bought it, as it is such a gorgeous design.

At the Stamp Magic show last October, I watched a demo of Imagination Crafts Starlights paints, and thought the effect obtained with them was stunning. I bought several of the colours, but hadn't got round to using them until now. I thought they would be perfect with the Colours Of The Wind stamp. I stamped the image with Versamark Ink and clear embossed it, to act as a resist. Then I brayered over it with 3 shades of the Starlights paint, which I gently wiped off the image itself with a babywipe to reveal the leaf in all its glory. The small diecut maple leaves (Spellbinders) were painted with the same shades of the paint (Topaz, Turquoise and Dark Orchid). The sentiment was stamped randomly over the base card before the main image was matted on to it, and also on a diecut label (Spellbinders) which was attached to the card with a scrap of ribbon.

On this next photo you can perhaps get a better idea of the lovely shimmer of the Starlights paints.

My teamies have some stunning samples to show you over on the Challenge Blog, and as many of them are also Visible Image fans too, you will not be short of inspiration! However, you do not, of course, have to use Visible Image stamps on your project. The choice of products is entirely yours. We look forward to seeing your creations!

Friday, 5 February 2016

News and New Stamps!

As a very proud member of the Be Creative Design Team, I'm delighted to announce that we now have our own Be Creative DT Blog, where we will be featuring our Be Creative projects and cards, along with hints and tips and product news. We'd love you to take a look at the new blog and become a follower. Justin has promised that when we reach 100 followers we can have a blog candy draw, so what's not to like?!

It's a close run thing, but I think my favourite Be Creative product is probably the alcohol markers, as they are such good quality and there is so much you can do with them. I've used them on the card I want to show you today.

Ever since I saw on Pinterest some stunning cards using Altenew stamps, just about all their floral sets have been on my wishlist! I managed to resist their lure for quite a while, but eventually gave in and ordered the Vintage Flowers and Painted Poppy. Couldn't wait to try them out, so here's my first card, using the Vintage Flowers.

As you will see, I need more practice in lining up the stamp layers, which I found quite tricky, but I think it's not too bad for a first attempt.

The roses and leaves were stamped with Versamagic inks in Sea Breeze, Turquoise Gem and Ocean Depth, and the small flowers with Versacolor Heliotrope, Violet and Grape. All other colouring on the card (except for the ribbon) was done with Be Creative alcohol markers.

Having completed all the stamping, I masked all the flowers and leaves. To make the speckled background, I scribbled the markers on to my glass mat and mixed the ink with Spray M Boss (Once Upon A Stamp), which has, amongst its many other uses, the effect of turning the alcohol ink into paint. I picked it up on an old toothbrush and flicked the paint on to the card, then removed the masks. I wanted the edges of the picture to be a bit darker, so I dabbed some ink directly from a marker on to a felt pad and stippled it around the edges.

The matting layers were cut from white card and coloured with the markers, as were the butterflies (Cheery Lynn dies). A little bit of sparkle was added to the small flower centres and butterflies with some Be Creative glitter glue. The border was cut with a Martha Stewart punch.

I love the versatility of the Be Creative markers, in that they can be used to co-ordinate all parts of a project. I don't know whether by accident or by design, but the two colours I used here, Pale Blue (which is actually purple!) and Peacock Green, perfectly match the ink colours Violet and Turquoise Gem! Probably coincidence, but a lucky one!

Anyway, I'm off to get some more practice lining up the layers. Think a MISTI would be very useful. Did I mention that's on my wishlist too...........?!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Fairy Nuff!

I started out with the intention of making a background with the Be Creative alcohol markers and then stencilling over it. However, the project had ideas of its own!

Here's the background. First I coloured the whole of it with one of the markers, using the chisel end of the marker, then dabbed various colours on to felt pads and stippled over it, mainly around the sides.

I left it to dry, and when I came back to it, it made me think of a secret glad in an enchanted forest. The vertical streaks were trees, and the stippled parts vegetation.So I had to turn it into a fairy card instead!

The gorgeous sentiment is by Visible Image, all other stamps by Inkylicious. I sponged around the edges with Memento ink (being water based it won't smudge the alcohol ink), with extra at the bottom to ground the fairy, toadstool and flowers, and added a few blades of grass with a Micron pen. The sentiment seemed to go with it all perfectly. Liberal application of Be Creative glitter glue provided the necessary sparkle!

Now what was it I was supposed to be doing.......?

Monday, 25 January 2016

Another tile

This time I stamped the poppies (Technique Tuesday) on to the tile with Brilliance ink and clear embossed it, stippled the background with Be Creative alcohol ink markers as in my previous post, then coloured the poppies with the markers. I rather like the stained glass effect.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Ceramic tile coaster

Had a few ceramic tiles lying around, so I thought I would try decorating one with the Be Creative alcohol ink marker pens.

I began by dabbing the markers on to a felt pad and stippling the ink on to the background. Then I simply hand drew the flowers and butterfly with the markers directly on to the tile. Easy peasy!

Here's a close up of the detail.

What's interesting is how the alcohol ink spreads on the tile, and how lighter colours will move aside darker ones. I'm not the best at drawing, but I wanted to see if the technique would work on the tile. I think it did. With more practice I would hope to be able to gain more control over how the colours move. On the other hand, I also quite like the random effect.

I'm quite pleased with my first effort at decorating a tile. I think it also shows the versatility of the markers.
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