Monday, 1 June 2015

First Time as a Guest Designer - Eeeekkkkk!!

Hi All :)

Sorry I haven't been around much lately, I have a LOT on at the moment and art time has unfortunately been put on the back burner.

I was over the moon back in March when my entry was drawn at random to win a voucher for Country View Crafts.  I then was invited by the lovely Chris to be a guest designer for June and almost had a heart attack thinking about the kind of exposure that would give me and my little blog!!  After putting my heart back in my chest I decided to bite the bullet and say yes.  Below is my offering for Country View Crafts June challenge 'Shabby Chic':

I have to admit that the theme 'shabby chic' put the fear of god into me! I'm naturally drawn to bright colours or dark grunge so I wasn't exactly sure how this was going to work out.  After spending what feels like an eternity staring at my craft stash I decided I would attempt some altered art and set about trying to reinvent an empty pickle jar.  For some time I've wanted something to stand my long handled paint brushes in so I thought the height of this jar would do the trick.

I started with a couple of coats of thick white gesso and then went over the surface with texture paste through the Tim Holtz harlequin stencil.  As much as I appreciate 'shabby chic' is about white and all things pale I just couldn't work on a project without some colour, it just isn't me so I sponged over the texture paste with Tim Holtz distress paints in Bundled Sage and Broken Glass.  I then carefully cut out a vintage rose image from some paper in my stash and applied it, decoupage style, to the jar. From here on I knew I wanted to bring more 3D elements to the piece and I have already hand picked a gorgeous frame and butterfly from my Dusty Attic collection so I primed these with gesso.  I tried a few different paint techniques and colours on the frame before resorting to good old Tim Holtz distress paint in Picket FenceI found the gorgeous graphic of the peacock in a book on painting that I bought dirt cheap from a local store for the sole reason to rip out its beautiful images to use in projects (destroying books is not a regular thing for me but its all in the name of art so I am hopefully forgiven)!  I finished the frame off with a string of pearls to make it even more girly.

I then added paper and resin flowers which I knocked back with gesso.  I also added tiny embroidery beads within the folds of the petals to add a bit of further interest and to give the piece light reflective qualities.  Next I wanted to add a dash of colour to the butterfly so added the tiniest of flecks of Lindy's Magicals in Poinsettia Red Gold before adding more gesso over the top.

I finished the neck of the jar by adding vintage lace, pears and ribbon.  I also added a ribbon bow to the front which really tied it all together (excuse the pun!).  I finally just went over any areas which I felt stood out too much with a little more gesso.  

The final piece turned out better than I thought it was going to (at one stage it almost went in the bin!) but I think I have come to realise that shabby chic just isn't my thing and from here on in I am sticking with brights and grunge :D

I would like to enter this project into the following challenges:

Thanks for stopping by, see you soon.



Monday, 20 April 2015

Getting in touch with my frilly side!

Hi All

Sorry I have been away for a while but me and the boys had a little holiday up in the beautiful Lake District.  I've never been to Cumbria before and was blown away by the stunning scenery and friendly people.  It also helped that the weather was stunning, sunshine and blue skies for the majority of our trip :)

So, those of you who are up to speed with my blogging journey so far will know that I am a newbie at this whole paper craft and mixed media malarkey.  I am still very much trying to find my niche and in order to do so I am setting myself personal challenges.  This project was about harnessing my inner girly/frilliness, which is not easy for someone like me who doesn't do subtle very well!!

My main inspiration for this card was the 'Kraft Card' challenge at Country View Crafts.  I love brown paper and card and it is so often overlooked.  I wanted to showcase as much of it in its raw form rather than covering it up too much.  I also wanted to keep things simple by just using white and pink, two colours that I adore alongside brown.

I used several different spring themed die cuts (including Prima Leaves and Spellbinders - Caitlina and Branch Wreath) in Kraft Card and plain white card.  To give the Kraft leaves some interest I stamped them with clear embossing ink using a texture stamp from Finnabair's Rust and Dust set and then embossed using clear powder.  I then inked over them using Tim Holtz Vintage photo before adding highlights with Treasure Gold in Florentine.

The flowers were plain white Prima flowers that I roughly gesso'd and then sprayed with Lindy's Cosmopolitan Pink Starburst Spray and just added a hint of colour to the stamens.

I really enjoyed the layering process and working with materials such as the vintage lace and the brown twine, I will definitely have to do more of this in the future.

I would like to enter this into the following challenges:

Happy crafting everyone, see you again soon :)


Saturday, 28 March 2015

When Baz Luhrmann met Tim Holtz

Hi All

I have come to realise that my greatest crafting achievements come from when I am truly inspired.  Unfortunately for me inspiration is sometimes lacking and I then find myself picking up and putting down projects because I don't really know where they are going.  So my challenge to myself this past week has been about seeking out those things in life that truly inspire me.

I am a bit of a film junky and in particular I love films that push the boundaries of cinematography. One of my favourite directors is Baz Luhrmann . I remember the first time I watched Strictly Ballroom and was blown away by his style and unique vision.  When I heard he was directing a modern take of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet I was so excited.  I studied Romeo and Juliet at school and it was one of those stories that imprinted into my soul, I had everything crossed that his vision would succeed and in my view it did wonderfully.

So here is my canvas, inspired by Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet :)

I wanted to base the piece around the sacred heart/immaculate heart as it has such strong symbolism.  I wanted the heart to be 3d so I made it from paper mache. Painted it in Tim Holtz Distress Paints; 'barn door' and 'red mahogany'.  I finished it using clear embossing powder to give it a high shine.

I then prepared my background using texture paste through Prima's 'Finnabair - ripped fishnet' stencil, adding a couple of my favourite extracts from the original play and then layers of Tim Holtz Distress Paints in 'tumbled glass', 'weathered wood', 'mustard seed' and 'spiced marmalade'.

I then coloured some texture paste using a splash of Lindy's starburst spray in 'yellow rose of Texas' with a tiny hint of Lindy's Magicals in 'poinsettia red gold' and ran it over the Tim Holtz Rays stencil.  I aged it using Treasured Gold in 'Florentine'.  To create the flames I coloured paper using more of the Lindy's spray and a generous sprinkle of the Magicals.  I used hot glue to fix the heart in place and added green roses.

I recently discovered the technique of transferring images using gel medium so used this technique to apply the palm tress and the stone statue of Mary in prayer.  The other images were applied using a standard decoupage technique.

I finished the canvas adding gold and silver flakes and silver dots in liquid pearls.  I aged the edges using Distress Ink in 'broken china' and 'vintage photo'.

I have really enjoyed this project, I hope you like how it turned out.

I'd like to enter this into the following challenges:

A Sprinkle of Imagination - anything goes

Mixed Media World - anything goes

That's Crafty - gold and silver

A Vintage Journey - anything Tim

Until next time, happy crafty :)


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Gone a bit grunge!

Hi there :)

After a rather stressful few weeks its been great to get back to some craft therapy.  This project was inspired by the 'Anything Tim' challenge over at A Vintage Journey.  

If you'd asked me 4 months ago who Tim Holtz was I wouldn't have had a clue! I am very new to this world and am learning new things every day.  About 6 weeks ago my wonderful friend Georgie (of 'My Little Blue Craft Box') lent me her 'A Compendium of Curiosities' and I have spent several wonderful evenings learning new techniques and adding to my ever increasing product 'wish list'.  I already have a basic collection of Distress Inks, Distress Paints, stamps, stencils and embellishments so I felt I could attempt to pay homage to the king of grungy perfection, Tim Holtz. 

I started out with a collection of papers including pieces torn from old sheet music and rent calculation books.

I distressed the edges with Distress Ink in Vintage Photo and played around with the arrangements before gluing in place.

I then used the Distress Embossing Powder stamping technique (page 43 of the Compendium) to stamp a butterfly.  I used clear embossing powder and inked over using more Distress Ink in Vintage Photo.  I then used the Tim Holtz Harlequin Stencil with a Lindy's spray to add some colour and dry wall tape to add more texture.

Page 45 of the Compendium shows a technique for creating a rusted look to grunge board.  I used the same technique on some Dusty Attic cogs using some Vintage Photo Distress Embossing Powder.

I found an old metal buckle and strapped an 'Idea-ology' word band to it with some hessian string. I also added 'Idea-ology' chit chat stickers.

I went round the edges of the piece adding Distress Ink in Broken China to add some more depth.  I rubbed 'Treasured Gold' over the drywall tape, added a selection of stamps (applied using black archival ink), some metal embellishments, vintage postage stamps, die cut cogs and some butterflies (cut from some patterned paper) to bring a delicate element to the piece.

I am so pleased with how it turned out, I hope you like it too.

I would like to enter this into the following challenges:

A Vintage Journey - 'Anything Tim'

That's Crafty - 'Wings and Things'

A Sprinkle of Imagination - 'Anything Goes'

Country View Challenges - 'Anything Goes'

Thanks for reading, stop by again soon,


Sunday, 8 March 2015


Happy Sunday Blogland :)

This week has been full of ideas but not much practical progress.  I have a couple of small projects to finish and then a big one to start and I hope tomorrow night will be more fruitful.

As I am still very much at the beginning of my paper craft/mixed media journey I am still open to trying new styles and am enjoying giving everything a go.  This week I saw the challenge at ScrapbookerPHD simply titled 'bling' and decided to enter the realm of all things twinkly! I wanted to go for a CAS design as a lot of what I have done so far has been quite 'busy' and it seemed like a personal challenge not to go over the top with embellishments/colour etc.  I wanted to draw my own design in order to make my card completely unique so used the zentangle technique to draw a heart and fill it with the word 'love' and some free hand doodles.  when this was complete I 'blinged' the heart using multicoloured rhinestones and then cut out the heart with scissors.  I then used a darker purple card to mount the heart on (slightly raised off the surface) and 'zentanged' a boarder.

I would like to enter this into:

Thanks for reading :)


Monday, 2 March 2015

Birds of a Feather

Hello peeps :)
This is going to be a very short entry from me as it is late and I have to be up early for work tomorrow *yawn* (I wish crafting could pay my mortgage!).

There were several challenges that caught my eye this week and I tried to come up with a project that would cover a few of them together. I've never done a journal cover before and have many a 'naked' sketch book laying about the place so I decided to give it a go.

I was bought up in the countryside with a family who love gardening and wildlife. My grandfather was the president of the county's horticultural society which meant my sister and I grew up knowing the Latin names for most common garden plants before we knew our times tables. My grandparents' house was filled with old plant and wildlife books with beautiful hand drawn specimen drawings separated from the neighbouring page with a sheet of tissue like paper. I would sit for an age carefully turning those delicate pages to see what further treasures I could find. No afternoon on their veranda would be complete without my grandfather getting someone to fetch his binoculars so he could get a closer look at some bird sitting somewhere off down the garden..... happy memories.

So as you has probably guessed my journal cover is inspired by all things flora and fauna. I wanted to capture that sence of someone scetching and colouring specimens out in the countryside.  After laying panels of paper I coloured some texture paste with Lindy's Magicals and used the Tim Holtz Harlequin stencil to create some raised texture. I knocked the colour back with Ranger distress paint in Antique Linen and aged it with a Ranger distress marker in Vintage Photo. The paper flowers were coloured using Lindy's Starburst spray in Yellow Rose of Texas.  I used a couple of Memory Box dies to create the foliage and coloured them in a sketch type fashion using distress paints, distress inks and liquid pearls.  The bird was cut out of a post card I bought from Ikea and aged with distress ink.

I then added some pieces of interest from my stash including broken jewellery, vintage postage stamps and a bird cage embellishment.  I finally finished it with a spritz of Perfect Pearls Mist in Heirloom Gold.

I hope you like the end result :)

I'd like to enter this into:

The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge - Birds of a Feather

The Mirror Crack'd - Journal Cover

Country View Challenge Blog - Anything Goes

Now I must go and get some sleep!!

Good night


Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Cup of Tea and a Sprinkling of Star Dust

There is something quite refreshing about creating something that is completely out of your comfort zone.  I'm not someone who likes to fail so I often find myself, in life as well as art, sticking to things that I am fairly confident I can achieve and, wherever possible, excel at.  When I read the new challenge at Mixed Media Place I was instantly excited about the theme of 'black background + all the colors of the rainbow' but the excitement was followed fairly swiftly with a wave of doubt and within a matter of minutes I was coming up with reasons as to why I wasn't going to enter!

In true British style, I sat down with a cup of tea and gave myself a good talking too.  I need to realise that this blog and the projects I work on are a journey.  Pieces wont always go to plan and I will make mistakes.  Every mistake I make will help me progress further and every blog post will take my a step closer to whatever goal my mind has set for me to achieve.

With those words fresh in my mind I sat down and gave the challenge a go....

I was initially going to work on a canvas prepped in blank gesso but in the end went with a piece of black mounting card.  I was worried about how it would hold up to being exposed to the water in the paints/sprays but besides a little bowing it survived surprisingly well.   I knew I wanted the colours to 'pop' off the black background so I started by sponging white gesso randomly over the card, concentrating on the centre and fading it towards the edges.   Once it was thoroughly dry I added Lindy's sprays in prime colours, hoping that where there was cross over I would create greens, purples and oranges.  Once this had dried I dipped different sized bottle caps, pen lids etc in watered down gesso and stamped circles randomly across the page.  I then lightly hand painted some stars and added very tiny coloured gems to their centres. I finished off around the edges of the board with small dots of Ranger Liquid Pearls in various colours to create 'star dust'.

I then filled each of the circles with Glossy Accents to create my 'bubbles'.  I love how bubbles reflect colour and I found that the Glossy Accents highlighted the colour underneath each circle and gave a gorgeous texture.

At this point part of me wanted to stop and leave the piece how it was.  It felt like a dreamy galaxy of colour and it felt 'safe', but part of me wanted to go beyond 'safe' so I started looking for a vintage image.  I wanted something that reflected how I felt about the piece and I came across an old photo (1920s?) of a woman reclined in a moon.  Her expression was dreamy and relaxed and I thought 'why not?!' and she was added to the piece.  She was originally completely black and white so I gave her dress a wash of green and added a hint of pink to her cheeks to lift her a little.

Besides being the most difficult thing in the world to photograph (shimmery colours, sparkles and glossy bubbles!), I am happy with the result.  It gives me a feeling of peace and wonder and that was what I was hoping for.

This challenge has definitely been that, a challenge, but I really enjoyed the process and might start looking outside of my comfort zone more often :)

I would like to enter this into:

Mixed Media Place Challenge 'black background + all the colors of the rainbow'

Thanks for visiting, always nice to see you :)