Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Mixed Media Tag - Elegance

Here's a very quick tag made in a flurry of stencils, paint and texture paste. I was playing around with colours and came up with a stunning paste mix. I'm not sure this tag does it justice and I'm sure I'll revisit it at some stage. See the shiny swirls in the bottom of the picture? That was achieved using a stencil and texture paste with a smidgeon of acrylic paint. I used a plastic palette knife to spread the mix through a stencil and let it dry.

Once this has dried you can use embossing powders to give a different colour but I liked this.

The centres of the flowers were created with glossy accents used as a glue for some small beads.

The final result....


Sunday, 24 April 2016

Collage Tag - Camouflage

There aren't many days when I get uninterrupted quality crafting time but yesterday was one of those days.  Ignoring the housework, I headed for the attic and spent an inky morning making a little tag.
I wanted very soft colours and opted for muted leaf greens and pale blues.  Then the layering began.
I used a combination of die cuts and punches to add texture and interest.  The stamp used was from Darkroom Door which is one of the very few images of women I have in my stamp stash and this needed a feminine touch!
Love those colours!
From this angle it looks like a crazy muddle...and because less isn't more I added buttons.
There are actually two tags, the top one was die cut was stuck on top of the other one which was left whole,  covered with a sheet of words and painted.  

The final tag.  The tricky thing with these sorts of deceptively simple projects is getting the right balance between layers, texture, depth and interest...and keeping the look uncluttered.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Mixed media page - Jar of Hearts

It's been an eventful couple of weeks - a bit of a rollercoaster with an ill puppy who was in animal hospital for 4 days while I was on a business trip to Germany and the burden falling on Himself who had to give up a planned trip to Snowdonia.   The good news is B. Dogg has recovered his energy and interest in the world although we still don't know the cause of his illness. So, crafting has been confined to doodling and sketching characters for use in future projects.  

One of those characters is this one collecting hearts in jars.  There's no deep meaning to this page.   I had roughly sketched the person and was wondering how to use it when a song came on the radio with lyrics including "jar of hearts".  The jars were easy to draw and cut out, hearts were cut from card and stuck in the middle of each jar which was then given a cover of glossy accents to make it look like glass.

The work trip to Germany was interesting because of the unusual hotel which hosted our conference. It's in northern German beside a busy autobahn but when you step inside, it's decked out like an Alpine ski lodge.  Much fun but the view from my room was of the exterior structure of the piste which was a bit gloomy.

 The magazines in the rooms were clearly targeted at sporty types so I ignored them.
And the view from inside the wooden clad restaurant was of the inside of the piste.  The staff wore traditional Bavarian costume and their friendly service was accompanied by booming ooom pah music.  If you like skiing, this is is the place for you!

Monday, 4 April 2016

Highland retreat artwork

On our recent break in the Highlands, we both managed to do some painting and drawing.  We have very different styles.  I can't draw so represent things rather than draw what I see while Himself can draw recognisable landscapes.  Sometimes I doodle which is what the mandala is - a round doodle using the colours of the hillsides we were surrounded by.  Muted oranges, heathers, olive greens and soft browns.  

Then I wanted to draw the hill across the loch but when I looked at it I couldn't work out the colours. They seemed to be blocks of colour so I drew that and painted them using my favourite distress pens.  I can only show you a section of that drawing for complicated reasons involving a new laptop a wonky cloud and my not being teckie enough to work out how to get my devices to talk to each other.

But maybe these photos will be enough to give you a flavour of how I went about (not) drawing my subject.  I can't draw foliage either so that was represented with leaves which I can draw.  Trees were turned into triangles on sticks and so on...

Perhaps drawing isn't about replicating exactly what the landscape looks like.  Perhaps it's the fun of representing how we see rather than what we see.  Not an original thought I know but one which was brought home to me by my attempt at a landscape!

And on the subject of not being very teckie,  our break gave me time to think about this blog and what I want to do with it.  I started with the idea that I'd try blogging for 6 months to see how I got on with it.  Four years later, I'm still here but in all that time  I haven't changed my blog layout since the first post and I never did properly work out how to use blogger and I never really shared my background as a craft teacher or that I had several projects published in magazines.  Someone recently said not only do I not blow my own trumpet, I don't tell anyone I have a trumpet.  

That's all going to change, oh yes indeedy.  Soon there will be an updated blog layout with links to my You Tube channel which is currently under construction.  The purpose of the channel is for high speed mixed media layouts which is where I've been focussing my creativity recently and I feel it's time I put something back, having benefitted from many fabulous You Tube tutorials and inspirations.  The blog will keep it's usual variety of craft subjects but I hope to be able to sort them all out a little better so new visitors don't have to scroll through too many dog pictures if they're here for baking or paper crafting!  I don't have a deadline in mind, it will just come as a nasty shock nice surprise sometime  :)
What's that?  You're here looking for a dog picture?  Oh ok...

Monday, 28 March 2016

Highland Retreat

We have just returned from a week hidden away in the Trossachs.  Armed with a camera, sturdy walking socks and wine, it was a perfect break from routine although I did miss the internet. I was educated and raised only a few miles from this beautiful wilderness and have long loved its uncompromising remoteness. 
We packed the dog and headed north of Hadrian's Wall for his first holiday.
We rented a cottage on the shores of Loch Katrine and if you imagine the music from the film, "Local Hero" I'll shut up and let the scenery speak for itself.  These are pictures all taken around Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond. They may feature a small dog.

 And the final joy of the week - Lorne sausage.  Lorne sausage is like a sausage without the skin, shaped in a log and sliced.  It is the breakfast of brave hearts and greedy women.  I brought home 3kg of it.  My freezer is full.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Mixed Media Page - Into the Blue

For this page I had an almost fully formed idea in my mind but since it would be a couple of days before I had time to get to my craft desk, I drew a quick sketch.

My first attempt was frustratingly all wrong.
My second attempt was much closer to the picture in my head despite missing out some of the elements in the sketch such as the birds flying off in the distance and the eggs at the base.
As I was working on it, I had a problem with the bottom of the picture. For 2 days I was stuck at this stage, long legged birds just hanging, not anchored on the page.
I'd seen a fabulous stamp with exactly the foliage I needed (I don't have any foliage stamps) but it appeared to have been discontinued. I'd ordered another non-foliage related stamp from the same online company and asked about the foliage one. So today, my order arrived which was lovely but get this - the owner had replied to say the foliage stamp was indeed discontinued but she had a few left and had sent me one as a gift. That unexpected kindness made my day! Here is the gorgeous stamp from UK based Inky Doodles. They're new to me and have some really well thought out stamp combinations so I'm sure I'll be back. There are some videos with very good techniques which are worth watching too. And the leaves were exacty right for my picture so thank you Heather at Inky Doodles!

See the leaves at the bottom? I'm looking forward to playing with more of the combinations offered by this versatile stamp. Do check out Inky Doodles.
I'd wanted to keep stamping to a minimum on this page so the birds are very simple hand drawn shapes cut from white card and glued to an acrylic background spritzed with a silver mica spray.

It's both rewarding and liberating to use your own designs!


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Mixed media page - Creative Wilderness

I only had a rough picture in my mind of how I wanted this mixed media piece to look and as it took shape and I played around with different colour options and page layouts it turned out better than I had hoped. I used a range of new products including distress crayons a recent paper artsy hot picks "Home sweet home" stamp and a new cube stencil. The words were borrowed from a much larger word stamp and rearranged to suit this layout.

I used a texture paste through the cube stencil, then once it had dried, coloured the blocks with a picket fence distress marker and heat embossed it with white. The houses were stamped twice in black archival ink on white card and coloured with distress crayons. They were cut out and stuck to the page.

I used black archival ink for the small birds and used a black pen to go round the roof tops.

That was the result of my papery creative weekend. I didn't take pics but I made a tasty strawberry cheesecake from an online recipe and mint choc chip ice cream using a recipe from Mary Berry. I had to try this as its the first recipe I've seen that doesn't require you to mash up ice crystals for the part-frozen ice cream every 30 mins x lots of times x can't be bothered. For mint choc version use the base recipe provided and once everything else is mixed, stir in 1tsp peppermint extract and 100 gms dark choc chopped up. I'm not a huge ice cream lover but it's useful to have as a stand by in the freezer and I was very impressed with both the ease of this recipe and the simplicity of the natural ingredients. No fillers, gloop or bleah!
And in dog news....Buster's been watching Crufts as he recovers from his castration.