Saturday, 31 May 2014

ATC Swap - "Stamp"ed Heads...

Couldn't resist joining in with this swap over on UKScrappers - make ATC's using postage stamps that feature "heads" and give them new bodies... the freakier the better in my opinion as from the others I have seen you can really go to town on these!

I have a large used postage stamp collection (sad person that I am) because at some stage in the grand scheme of things I want to make myself a screen room divider and cover it in postage stamps - so any time I see any "pretty" ones, whether foreign or UK, I leap on them... I lay siege to the used postage stamp boxes in the two kitchens at work and snaffle the pretty ones out of there, but make sure I keep it topped up with ones I don't want from home.

Finding loads of heads wasn't a problem, finding bodies to go with them was a little trickier. Luckily I get a free newspaper most days from the railway station next to my office and I spent a couple of evenings cutting out likely candidates. Also, our local Co-Op gives away a free foodie magazine each month which has some good pics in too! Thank goodness for cutting out because I am no good at drawing lol...

Backing papers are cut from one of Mr Holtz's paper stacks, images are glued on with Glue-n-Seal - which I have totally fallen in love with as it gives such a great finish to anything decoupaged... and I can write over it with black and white journaling pens with no trouble at all. (FYI I use black Faber Castell Pitt pens and a white Signo Uniball which I personally find gives me the best coverage - but there are plenty of other white pens out there!) I also went around the edges of the images with a black Stabilo All pencil and ran a wet paintbrush over it to give a slight shadow and blend the images into the background a little more. 

Matching the stamp heads to the bodies was certainly challenging but I like how they have come out. My favourite is the pregnant "Mr Punch" - guess it proves I am totally warped...

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

UKS Monthly Tag Swap - March

I've certainly been doing some crafting recently, here is March's "Spring" tag for the UKScrappers tag swap.

Being the hostess I get to choose the theme, I chose "Spring" because despite its best efforts, the weather is definitely turning springlike. Today has been a beautiful sunny day in Southend, clear blue sky, warm sun - I even had my windows open...

Until neighbours 4 doors down lit their bar-b-que... sigh...

So... background is Dylusions spray inks in greens and blues and zapped with water to blend them together. The boxing hares stamp was a freebie with 'Craft Stamper' magazine a while back, the other two are from a set by Pink Paislee.

The green leaves are die-cut from a Sizzix die I borrowed at my Benfleet Crop some time ago, and cut to fit.

The rosette is one of Tim Holtz's strip dies, cut out of gold embossed music paper, with 3 paper flowers growing out from behind it.

Now all I have to do is come up with a theme for April - and I'm already a day late... ahh... now that has given me two ideas straight away!

And here's the one made for me...

Jazz27 has been busy - here's the fabby domino she altered for me...

from the top from one side,

from the other side,

and from the back.
This is so lovely - ticks all the boxes - steampunk of course with cogs and mechanical-looking bits, that lovely butterfly for nature and it's positively dripping with purple beads - there are even purple jewels set into the domino spots!
I love it - just got to work out how to attach it to my craft tote so I can take it to crops and my retreat with me!


Monday, 31 March 2014

They weren't like this...

....when I were a kiddie... Domino's that is... they were ivory/white and chunky, or black and plastic-y... never saw one with flowers, a bee and a ladybird before...

Another swap achieved for UKScrappers, an altered domino. It was a direct 1-2-1 swap and I was allocated Gail, who wanted vintage or nature, so I went with nature.

The flowers are made using the Martha Stewart clay and molds, to begin with I made plain white flowers and painted them purple using PaperArtsy's Fresco Finish chalk acrylic paint in amethyst, which is a dark purple... then I re-read what Gail had said about colours and she is not a fan of purple... so those flowers have gone into the odds'n'sods box for use on something else.

The yellow flowers I made using the white clay and a little of the yellow mixed in to make my own colour, damn but I love these molds as once you have worked out how much clay to put in and squidged it in all the way round, out pops the most perfectly formed flower - so cute!

Once the clay had dried I lightly went over the surface with Spiced Marmalade distress ink, just to give it a bit of contrast colour. There are 2 leaves, one on each of the short ends, but they haven't come out so well.

The domino was coloured using Meadow alcohol ink and some little metal vine-y bits were glued to the long edges. When everything was glued on and dried I gave it several coats of Spray and Shine varnish to try and give some protection to the clay flowers.

The domino was destined to become a bag charm, so needed a "thingy" on the back (which was kindly sent to me by Karen/Kitty Crafts) as I hadn't got a clue what she meant. So the thingy was duly glued on with glossy accents after the back of the domino had been inked with black alcohol ink to disguise the spots.

The little metal bee was a proverbial PITA, it got glued on with glossy accents twice before it decided to stay put, I just hope he survives with Gail longer than he did with me!

The domino has now been received by Gail and she likes it so that's a result. I have yet to receive the domino which has been made for me, I asked for "Butterflies/nature or steampunk - or a mix of all three if my partner is feeling brave enough! Bonus points if they include the colour purple"... looking forward to seeing what I get!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like... Christmas?

...and we're only just into March... still it's taken me this long to complete the five Christmas-themed layouts from the Total Papercrafts Christmas papers kit, using Jackie da Silva's layout suggestions, but I'm happy with them so that's all that counts.

The papers are Teresa Collins "Santa's List" and are scrummy - first saw them at the ATDML Autumn retreat and wasn't too sure about them... now I have used them I've changed my mind and I like them a lot! The kit had so much in it that I'm sure there's enough to do another one or two, mebbe some ATC's - or I could have a go at making some of my own Project Life cards (might stop me buying them lol....)

 My fella (face blurred by request, he wasn't looking his best!) and my ol' cat Sophie asleep by the tree - the smaller pic has Sophie trying to get under the tree bless her!
My Christmas tree lights and the crocheted angel made by my friend Ania from Poland

My brother and his partner with their Christmas mugs
Me and my Dad, sadly the last Christmas before he died.

The tree outside my kitchen window in the snow - shame it's not there now but it did have a lovely shape to it - unfortunately it got rather old and shaky after the autumn storms so the people opposite had it chopped down.
And just to change the mood, my final layout is made using Graphic 45 Steampunk Debutante papers, the pic is of me at the lavender fields behind Heacham in Norfolk... printed in sepia tones as I thought it went better with the papers like this... Kit was another Total Papercrafts one but again the layout design is based on one that Jackie da Silva designed - I just went a little mad in cutting out flowers and butterflies!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

More scraproom/studio pics...

Well my craft room/studio/lounge. call it what you will, is certainly coming along... I've already posted some pics on Facebook but I know I have friends and family who are not on FB so thought I'd better include them here!

Shelving on the right-hand side was completed first, the lower shelves are custom-cut to fit the gap between the doorframe and the wall, just that bit too thin for an Expedit, so I have my own version... The top shelves are IKEA 'Billy' bookshelves, the middle one has been slimmed down to fit so the shelves look uniform next to the desk.

The left-hand end now complete too, two more Billy bookcases that have been altered to fit the remaining gap but not to obscure the window too much, and also accommodate my printer. The white drawer set is staying... for now...

...but I now have a customised filing cabinet, the top drawer of which now takes 12x12 handing files. Initially I bought a pack of five 12x12 files but that cost me nearly £9 - so instead I made 17 of my own from some old foolscap and A4 hanging files and a roll of parcel tape - they'll do the trick nicely!
And to round things off for now, this rather spiffy washi-tape holder was made for me by my best mates Debbie's Dad - from offcuts and bits of 1/4" dowel - and my entire collection of washi-tape fits perfectly - all 92 reels of it...
Does this mean that I now can't buy any more washi-tape because it won't fit in the rack?
Does it heck... he made me two... :-) Thanks Dave xx

Tags ahoy...

No point in having a lovely re-organised scrapping area (pics to come later) if I'm not going to do anything with it eh... so I've joined in again with the UKScrappers monthly tag swaps. Due to the host being super-busy I volunteered to take over hosting on the basis that it gives me even more incentive to get my tags made - altho it does give me a couple of days extra to finish them as I don't have to post them!

With the deadline for receipt being tomorrow (24th Feb) thought I'd better post pics of mine to show I've actually gotten off my derriere and done them - they have basically been finished for a few days but just hadn't got around to photographing them until this morning!

January's one is "Winter" - evergreen bough and weathered wood distress inks on the background, a PSX fir cone stamp coloured with Marvy brushmarkers in pine green and brown and then "huffed" on to moisten the ink, then the words stamped in Archival Coffee ink. A little fir tree brad to finish and a twist of white ribbon thru the hole and we're done.

I did discover to my horror tho that the Marvy brushmarkers, which granted I have had for years, had all-but dried out, so getting them to colour consistently onto the stamp 4 times was a bit of a mare... I've thrown them all away now as they are no use to man nor beast. But, as I said, I've had them for years!

February's tag is "Love" and is very simple... a background of tattered rose distress ink, then barn door applied thru a Dylusions leaf stencil, which in my mind look like hearts... I outlined each leaf/heart with a thin journaling pen and added a touch of white as a highlight. The stamped sentiment comes on one of the "Get Stamping" magazine stamp sheets (this months I think!) and I've also stamped bits of the Kaisercraft crackle background in tattered rose too. A heart-shaped brad to finish and a partial border of black/white checkers - I love this on a tag but didn't want to totally over-power the design.

I've received 2 sets of tags and waiting on the final set now, then I can swap them around and send them home. Just 4 of us playing for the first 2 months, a good introduction to running a proper UKS swap and I hope not my last!