Monday, 30 May 2016

Happy Goth - Art Journal Page

To add sound to a You Tube video you can select from a range of dooby dooby doo style free music downloads as long as you credit the creater.  So far so groovy, but it means I can't share the real background ambiance that accompanied the creative process you see on your screen.
For this project I was inspired by the music I was listening to.  The Divine Comedy are a firm favourite since making me cry with laughter at "My Lovely Horse" the conceit being that this was a song written by Father Ted as his entry to Eurovision.  If you want a happy boogie round the kitchen I can recommend the lyrical, humorous and witty Divine Comedy.  These are songs which will charm your soul and uplift you.  Try the beautifully observed "Lady of a Certain Age", massively joyous "Charmed Life",  the better known "National Express" or the title of this page "Happy Goth".  

You're welcome.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Garden of Gold - Mixed Media

This week I had a delivery of some beautiful "Fresco Finish" paints from Paperartsy.  What makes these different from standard acrylics is that they have a chalk finish and most of the range are opaque so they don't need a layer of gesso to help them stick to your substrate.  The colour range is comprehensive and has lured me away from my much loved Tim Holtz Distress Markers which serve as pens, spray inks and paints.  Fresco Finish paints are great to stamp onto and if you gather 3 or 4 and splodge some splats onto paper, they move and blend with a palette knife and it's this property that I used as the base for the tag in this post.
The tag also features a hand made paper flower, the tutorial for which can be found in an earlier post about the making of the Raven Tag.  I've never been one for butterflies and fairies but recently gave in and got a couple of very nice butterfly die cuts which double as lacy edges if you cut them away from the butterfly body.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Mixed Media Tag - Paris Kiss

Here's another excuse to use a Stampsmith Stamp.  It's also an excuse to mess around with ribbon and make fabric flowers with loads of frou frou!  The flower is based on a tutorial by A little Shabby Chic
You will see in the video I did make a stencilled background.  It was very nice too but then I added so much swish and swoosh, I covered it up.  What I didn't cover up are the couple in the bottom left corner of the stamp and it was imagining their story which attracted  me to make this tag.  I wanted the flowers at the bottom of the design to act as shrubs to give their romantic moment some privacy against their dramatic backdrop.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Greetings Card - Home

Friends of ours have recently moved permanently to France and two nights before they left, we gathered for some drinks at a local pub to see them off and wish them well.  I had a dig about in my stamp stash to find an appropriate image to make them a farewell card.  No, they haven't bought a castle but they have bought a house with a pointy tower and I should say, although I made the card, we don't have their new address to send it to - yet.  You're seeing it first!
Simple and uncluttered.  Like my brain :)

A tip for any simple shape, if you want it to pop out, add a line of dots around it.   It worked on all those ancient manuscripts like The Book of Kells....
Here's the video :)

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Paper Flower Making Tutorial and Mixed Media Tag - Raven

I like adding flowers to tags.  They give it a dimensional interest and add balance.  The trouble is, buying ready made flowers annoys me because it's only a few pieces of paper and I should be able to make that myself.  So I tried a few different things and the video below includes my flower tutorial.  A useful tip is to spritz your paper or card with water before starting.  This softens the fibres in the card and makes shaping easier.  The flower also seems to hold it's shape better once completed.  Also, whether you use a die to cut your petal shapes or just freehand cut some circles,  add loads of layers for each flower.  I think mine used 10 altogether - just make sure you don't make pile them so deeply you can't get the paper fastener/brad through it!
I used some new paints on this tag and I love them!  They are from Paperartsy and are acrylic chalk finish effect.  They give a soft matte effect and are superb for stamping onto.  The petals of this flower were cut from black card and painted with pink and blue chalk paint before being inked over with a word stamp from Waltzing Mouse Stamps (now sadly closed and much missed).
Here's the tutorial with matching nail varnish :)

Friday, 20 May 2016

Art Journal - Don't Dream It

I'm getting into a nice creative flow.  Once I log off from work, I walk B. Dogg down our favourite lane where all the best smells are and where he can check on his wee mail.  I use the time to enjoy some fresh air and plan my next creative effort before returning home for a cuppa and some attic time.  Now I'm videoing my projects, I have to work a bit smarter and be better prepared.  I use my canon camera rather than a camcorder because it's better quality (and I don't have a camcorder) but it stops recording after 29 minutes for reasons, so I have to work quickly and not faff about.  And I am a massive faffer so this is difficult.  But while the creative juices are flowing I intend to make the most of them.  I've had periods when there has been no mojo and that feels as bad as insomnia to me so I'm working on the theory that your creativity is like a muscle and needs to be exercised to stay strong.  (And I'm focussing on my creative muscle rather than any of the others.  They'll just have to look after themselves.)

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Texture Paste Tag

 I love texture paste!  If you use it through a stencil you can get all kinds of effects.  If you layer it onto a painted surface it will pick up those colours.  If you use it straight onto a piece of dark card it will keep it's white colour.  Once dry, you can paint or ink it and emboss it.  But you do need to clean your stencil and tools immediately after use as it hardens quickly.

Here's a tag I made using some quirky characters I've been developing and a texture paste topping.  There are several pastes from art shops but I like the Tim Holtz version which I generally buy from Craft Obsessions.

To see how I made it, here's a video and I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Mixed Media Tag - Nostalgia

Now with added Youtubeism!

This short 8 minute video has taken several weeks of preparation and a couple of mini melt downs. First Himself built me a gizmo to fix my camera facing down to record videos.  Then I invested in some lighting and a new memory card which could cope with the storage required for videos rather than photos, I spent many (frustrating!) hours working out how to use editing software and practising the actual projects.  I even pulled in my techie brother to advise on all the basic things I was getting wrong.  And now my first ever (well 6th actually!) video has been filmed, edited, had copyright free music added and been uploaded to Youtube. I think my projects will improve as I get more comfortable with making little crafty movies and it's a great excuse to invest in more nail varnish :)
My new name on Youtube is Attic Lane which is what this blog will change to as soon as I can work out how to maintain 4 years of links!  Why Attic Lane?  Well my craft space is in an attic and the attic is down a little lane.  I'm a simple soul.

This tag uses another of the wonderful stamps from The Stampsmith, some ticket style stamps from Craft Individuals and card stock and flowers from my stash.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Mixed Media Tags - The Stampsmith

Quite often I've wanted a vintage photographic image to include in a project but finding copyright free images wasn't as easy as I'd expected.   I'd seen the batches of photos you can buy specifically for  journalling and mixed media projects but I was sure I'd seen images of the kind I wanted online as stamps - I just had to find them!  And find them I did, courtesy of the Stampsmith.  I was lucky to visit during a sale where for every 2 stamps sheets or singles you order, you can e-mail the lovely Estelle for your 3rd free sheet or single of your choice(!).  I didn't need to be asked twice and it helped justify the additional postage cost for ordering from America.  I was thrilled to find my parcel waiting for me on my return from France :)

Now you may not think this looks exciting but the stamps are unmounted (which saves on postage) and you can only make out the images if you look at them closely.  That's because they are photographic quality and a little different to normal deeply etched stamps.  As soon as you apply an ink pad, they come to life...
 Isn't that gorgeous?
It's worth a little experimentation to find the best mix of ink pad and paper.  I used a high gloss Ranger paper and stamped two images with brown and a grey archival inks.  This gave me the best image so I assumed (wrongly) that glossy photographic printer paper would be as good.  You can see below the image is blotchy.  Experiment!
And so, for her helpfulness and to show off her beautiful stamps, I have made a couple of (very quick!) tags for Estelle - The Stampsmith.

I am looking forward to playing with these stamps a lot!  

Monday, 9 May 2016

Why Would Anyone Want to Live in Dordogne?

Because of the number of Brits who have moved there, a particular region of South West France has been nicknamed Dordogneshire.  I thought I'd share some pictures of our second trip to this part of Aquitaine to see if we can figure out why so many people want to live there.


Can't remember

Sarlat-la-Caneda and it's Saturday market


(Speaking of wildlife, this is what we saw on waking each morning.)

Nope, I can't work it out.  The attraction must be that you can get your baguettes from a vending machine.  

Home Again

The first night back inside four solid walls after a long camping trip always feels odd. This time last night, we were pitched up near the Loire listening to a frog chorus as owls hooted in the darkness. Just us, some canvas (ok, polyester) and nature. We'd broken our journey home to the UK with an overnight stop having spent over a week in the Sarlat area helping a friend who has just bought a ruin house there. We were a little gang, of which I was the most useful as I knew how to work the kettle while the others only had building skills. Between us we put in 4 new windows, cut back a wilderness in the garden, built a kitchen, partitioned a couple of rooms and brewed about 28 rounds of tea. B. Dogg was put in charge of recycling.
A bientot.