'What you do speaks so loudly, I can't hear what you say.'
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, 31 August 2007

The new book is in production and should be out in two weeks' time - woohoo! Can't wait to see this one and some of my friends/fellow group members have their artwork published in this one, so all the more exciting. Here's a sneak preview of the cover........ It will be shipped to us as soon as it's available, so watch this space. I can't recommend these books highly enough - especially the Techniques book (currently sold out and new stock on the way) which is beautifully produced and laid out, gorgeous artwork inside and really helpful information, with a great glossary and step by step instructions for some great techniques, as well as some fab projects. You can see one of them here - it's the book that Lynne did at the last workshop! This is a photo of the real cover - duh, I boobed - again!

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Just to show how sad I really am, I'm uploading photos of two of my friends. I really mean it, too! I spend hours talking to them and putting out food for them, but am rewarded when, like here, they come to our feet for food. I have to be honest and say that it only usually happens at breeding time - after that they start to lose feathers and become very timid because they aren't as confident of their aerobatic skills. The downside is that I sometimes get up to a death bed of feathers in the garden. The sparrowhawks are rampant around here because they know they have easy targets. I've found two blackbird graves in the last two weeks and I cry when I do. I need to get a photo of my favourite bird, Scruff. We nicknamed him that when he turned up at the front of the house one day, looking absolutely battered and with one leg which wouldn't bend. We spent the next couple of months feeding him at the front - he'd wait for us to come home and then come down as soon as we put food out, knowing that the other birds would leave him alone if he came while we were there. Then he started taking sultanas off with him and we knew he had babies. He brought them to meet us when they fledged - it was lovely. When I saw the first blackbird grave, I seriously feared for him because of his leg, but he comes every couple of days and the day before yesterday, he actually came down while I was there, much to my delight. They'll become less timid as it gets colder and they need the food more. Photos courtesy of John, not me. To show how good he is, here are a couple of his cormorant photos and one of a grebe. The others were taken with an SLR but this is taken with his new Digital.

Holiday's over and now it's time to work again, so I've been busy with shop stuff. But the other day I started to play with something I've been fancying for a while and I just finished it off.

Remember that silver plumbing tape Tim Holtz used in his video? I've been playing with that. I attached some to a piece of card, then used a stylus tool to create a grid type effect, added Alcohol inks in Lettuce, Stream and Meadow, then overstamped it. The main image wasn' t too clear, as I expected, so I stamped the same image on acetate and overlaid it, attaching with metallic brads, to fit in with the metallic theme. It's not brilliant but it was fun. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to cut with (shock, horror!) scissors, so nothing's really straight. Back to work...........

Saturday, 25 August 2007

Would you believe this is a private waterfall? How cool is that? We noticed it as we were driving home from Harlech and stopped to have a look, but then realised there was a Private sign on the fence. I couldn't get any closer to take a photo. You could get to it a little further up, on a public footpath and bridge, but it was the back of the actual waterfall.
This is the view from the back - still gorgeous, but not quite the same!
This is one of John's photos of Harlech Castle. Of course he was sensible enough to take a wide angled lens for his posh camera :) I'm left with his rejects to use!

Words ATCs made for a swap. I think the floral one needs more, so that will probably change, but I still like that effect. The background is one of my 'mop ups' from making Inky backgrounds on a non-stick craft mat. The other one is from the Yellow masterboard I made with gesso and inks for the Yellow Inchie swap. I just added more words and a few more colours of ink.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

We finally had good weather, so this morning we took off to Ruthin in North Wales for breakfast. We went to an old café John used to take me to on Sundays - one of his biker haunts - we went camping up there when we first met, to a place called Bontucle. Gorgeous views up in the Welsh hills - or is it mountains? We decided they must be hountains, hybrids of the two. I really wanted to stay and to go hunt around the shops in the village, but we had to get back so I could get the current issue of Cloth Paper Scissors and Artful Blogger out in the mail. Anyway, here's a couple of photos of the view from the road.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

I've been quiet, but that's mainly cos I've been stamping for a change. We did a demo for a Stamp Club last night and I had prep to do. I'll upload all the samples to the website, but you can see a few bits here. I was demonstrating the Adirondack Dabber resist technique and used Distress inks (Dried Marigold) and Adirondack Brights (Pool) on the envelope book. On the Tag book I used Adirondack Citrus, Pool and Purple Twilight on the covers (inspired by Godelieve Tijskens). I'm still in love with the Tim Holtz unmounted stamps and I've also used the Time to Stamp Birds plates on the Tag book, plus Simple Expressions stamps.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Yep, I finally created some Inchies - not brilliant but I did it, despite the hand problems, so I'm chuffed. I was adding text to a couple of them (cut from old dictionaries) but I smudged the ink, so gave it up as a bad job. Seems like a bit of a waste of a good background, in all honesty and the swap is a stamped swap, so I couldn't use any images or embellishments.

Just been getting ready a background for Inchies and ATCs. The theme is yellow - not one I would normally use as I'm not a big fan of yellow on its own, but it's more of a challenge because of that.

First I sponged cream card with Adirondack Lemonade, then Sunshine Yellow, then a bit of Willow. I stamped in Sunshine Yellow and Willow, then scanned. Note the accidental dropped inkpad in the centre - but it all adds character, right? Next I applied Gesso, using a splodger (or old credit card) heat set, then swiped the Willow pad over the top and sponged on some more Sunshine Yellow ink. These were the results.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

I'm just going to upload a couple of Lynne's samples from yesterday's workshop. The project was adapted from the Art Specially Stamping Techniques book. Wish I'd been able to do this one....

This is one I made during yesterday's workshop, using Time to Stamp's Seasons of Serenity plate, which makes a very quick and easy card. Great when you're desperate!

Friday, 10 August 2007

Just finished putting these together, ready for tomorrow!

Thursday, 9 August 2007

I'll be making cards with my backgrounds later, but for now, here are the instructions for Caught in Crystal.

You need:-
Thermal Acetate - Photocopier or laser printer acetate
Tissue paper - white and larger than the acetate
Masking tape
Inks or reinkers - water based inks work best
Johnson's Klear Floor Polish
Ultra fine glitter
Kitchen towels
Heat tool
LOTS of protective paper and/or a non stick craft mat
Wear gloves if you don't like inky fingers.................

Using masking tape, tape the acetate down on all four sides. Drop a puddle of Klear in the centre and smooth over with your fingers to cover the acetate.

Add a sprinkling of ultra fine glitter - you can also add other things if you're feeling adventurous........ fibres, mica flakes, etc

Crumple the tissue paper into a tight wad, then open again and lay it over the acetate, smoothing down carefully but leaving as many of the creases as you can.

Add more Klear - don't be mean with it as that's what makes the inks flow, but don't add too much at this point. If you do, it will seep underneath the acetate, which will then stick to the paper. Spread it around - using fingers or a paintbrush. Don't worry if the tissue tears - just rip off another piece and place it over the hole - the Klear will adhere it and no one will see it.

Take two or three inks and randomly drop small amounts on the tissue, then move the inks around with a paintbrush - or your fingers. This is where you need to be careful not to muddy the inks and why it's best to use small amounts and not too many colours. Add a touch more Klear if you need to lighten the inks, but not too much, then use the kitchen towel to mop up any excess colour or colours which look too dark. I like to keep it light, with some blank areas - it's nice to stamp something on the card you're attaching the caught in crystal piece to, so you get a 3D effect.

Heat set from a distance with the heat tool. Even though the acetate is thermal, it WILL buckle if you overheat it. When it's completely dry, you can't see any shiny bits at all - it's more of a satin finish and pretty solid when you touch it. Add another puddle of Klear and again, move it around to cover the tissue. Heat set again.

Add one last layer of Klear - this is the one which really makes it crystallise. I like to use a spritzer for this one - much less messy. Heat set again until it starts to bubble a bit and you see the tissue lifting in small areas - that's what you want. You can actually see the crystallising and the glitter shining through. This is where the technique (developed by Deb Cowan of Second Star on the Right) differs from the reinker and Diamond Glaze technique developed by Mary Jo McGraw - you don't get that Crystalline effect with her technique, though it's still a lovely effect.

Take off the masking tape, being careful not to pull off the tissue paper and turn over. If it has stuck to the paper underneath, don't panic. You can remove the offending paper bits with a baby wipe or with water and your fingernail. Some of mine stuck but you can't see it now!

Stamp on the smooth side of the acetate, using Stazon, Brilliance Graphite Black or Stewart Superior Jet Black Document ink - make sure it's completely dry before layering up.


Wednesday, 8 August 2007

I haven't done this for YEARS and I mean three or four years, but you'd think I'd have learned enough by now not to make silly mistakes? No, think again! I'll upload what I've done with some explanations :) This one is the BIG mistake. I stamped it first, then flipped it and added the stuff (see instructions) taking a bit more care to place colours where I wanted them to be. When I turned it over, the ink had run - I'll try harder next time:) I used Stewart Superior Document ink - next time I'll use Stazon!

This one is Adirondack reinkers - quite nice, but a bit heavy, even though I took off a lot of colour with the kitchen towel. I used Butterscotch, Terra Cotta and Rust.

For these two I used Ecoline inks. Pretty colours - very highly pigmented - and it worked okay BUT the acetate stuck to the paper. Worse than that....... in my hunt for Masking tape (of which I have three million rolls - okay, slight exaggeration - about 20) I came across some easy release tape and thought that might be good. I forgot that it was plastic and I was going to heat it!!! So, as I was heating, the paper was curling...... scary stuff. Then when I came to remove the tape, the tissue paper came off too, as it was melded to the tape. NOT something I'd recommend :( This one was done with Posh Inks - you have to imagine the glitter where you can see specks - no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the scanner to scan glitter!

Well, I finally got around to taking photos of the last workshop project - Lynne's still aren't scanned, but I'll do that after this weekend. This is the star card we did - project courtesy of Sara Sanberg, whose great little website can be seen here. It was a nice project to do and I enjoyed playing with Shrink Plastic again for a change. Off to work..........

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Distress reinkers on this one - I like the softer effect of them, but I also used a different type of glossy card - not the hi-gloss, but the plastic coated type of stuff. I embossed the background (from the same piece of card) with the Cuttlebug embossing folder.
Posh inks again
This one's an old Marvy Metallic background on black glossy card - I tried it with a Cuttlebug embossing folder and am quite impressed with the results
The cream layer is Cuttlebug embossed Pearlescent Ivory card
Distress inks
Just made some more cards with the Inky backgrounds I already had. This one's a Posh Inks background and it looks absolutely yukky!!!

Saturday, 4 August 2007

I started my playing with gesso again today - finally - haven't done much, but thought I'd post the bits I do as I do them, so you can see any experiments and disasters and learn from them.......

So here's the first pair. You can see that the gesso (the lighter bits) has acted as a resist to the inks over the dictionary pages and the pages soak up much more ink where there is no gesso, giving an illusion of texture and a variety of colour shades. I used Distress inks (Mustard Seed and Aged Mahogany) over the pages, after applying the Gesso with a Splodger. More experiments as I do them..........

Thursday, 2 August 2007

I was hoping to get some stamping done today, but Neet and Chas are coming to see us - at least it won't be boring - Lynne will be here, too and we really need to get some planning done for the next workshop and the Happy Stampers Birthday Demo. Hopefully, we'll get to the pub for lunch - a nice treat for all of us and we should have some fun. I want to do some stamping on text papers - haven't done that for a while and it's one of my favourite things, so I hope that will be one of my next uploads. In fact, I could incorporate it into my Words ATC swap, couldn't I? H'mm, and I will have to use some Gesso, so I can use it for the Gesso challenge uploads to encourage some of the group members, plus adding to the website to show another use of Gesso............ not workshop planning but it should be fun!

See ya later..............

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Well, would you believe I finally realised that I can upload from the Posting page - duh!!!!!!!!!! I've been uploading as page elements and wondering why I wasn't getting thumbnails - ever felt REALLY stupid?? I'll have to reload all the images and will gradually update to show things in their right places.

Today I've moved some of the images over to their relevant blog entries, but these are the Geishas.

These are made with Ecoline inks for a 'Tag You're It' swap on Katy's Corner UK. The colours turned out beautifully, don't you think? I had a change and didn't stamp lots of background images, but I was quite pleased with the way they turned out.

Back to work - I was self indulgent yesterday and will pay for it today! Loads of emails to catch up on, not to mention work to do and people to ring.

First things first, I'm going to sort out the mail orders now and then will be on my way.