Monday, 7 May 2012

But that's not all folks... Matchbox Shrine the second...

Being a glutton for punishment I signed up for two entries in the Matchbox Shrine Swap - so here's the second shrine I made for scrappyyo/Yolanda. She had also asked for an open theme, but with "no pink fluffy cuteness" - not specifically being a pink person myself I can go for that!

So I went with purple... and lime...

This time it was a Swan Vesta matchbox, and I kinda went with the style of *the* matchbox I got from Kate Crane with the little handle do-hickey at one end... the cover was painted with purple acrylic paint and then various letters were mod podge'd on top. I then cut the letters A B C together with their shadows using my Cricut Mini and stuck them on top.

Following on with the alphabet theme there's a sheet of alphabet primer cards in one of TH's paper stacks which are almost the perfect size to fit in a Swan Vesta matchbox, so I cut them out, trimmed them a little and then coloured them in using my Pro-markers.

I then divided them into 2 piles, A-M and N-Z, and glued them back to back in order, sandwiching a piece of ribbon between them.

The ribbon was then glued into the base of the matchbox tray and covered with a piece of card which I had coloured using TH's wrinkle-free ink method (sweep 2 colours of distress ink across your craft sheet, spritz with water and drag your card thru it...) I'd been having a play and made a whole batch of pieces of cardstock approx 6"x4", just perfect for cutting up and using on other projects!

The other end of the ribbon was sandwiched between another two pieces of the same cardstock and one of TH's phrases stamped on top - I love this saying, it can be applied to almost everything I do lol...

I liked it, Yolanda liked it - so job done xx

UKS Screen Swap

Amidst all the mayhem of the UKS Matchbox Shrine Swap was the equally mad thread for the Screen Swap - this was based on Linda Elbourne's screen which was on the cover of Craft Stamper March 2012 - and very pretty it was too!

Again it was to be a direct swap and my partner was Viv1 who specified an open theme - which is actually harder than it sounds because you have no idea whether they will like or 'get' whatever it is you have made for them if it's for a theme they have not specified... I played it safe... amidst all the thread chatter it was becoming apparent that there is a definite hatred towards one particular member of The Beatles by various members of the swap... so using the anonymous guise of "The Swap Fairy" I checked to see if she had any specific dislikes - and got the answer "anything goes" back...

Right sez I... what have I got to hand... the screen is made from 4 chipboard panels measuring 8"x4" with a curved top... cut them out no problem... ahh there's a roll of music manuscript, thats a good start, so cut and stuck that onto each panel, and just because it was my favourite colour combination at the time, I used Spiced Marmalade and Dried Marigold distress inks on the panels, which were then backed with papers from one of TH's paper stacks.

So music is obviously the base theme here - what to do next?

Running this past my fella (who does come up with some great ideas or even great jumping-off points) he said I could do with something where the number 4 (for the 4 panels) merged with music... and about 30 minutes later we'd come up with the idea of using the artwork from the cover of The Beatles "Abbey Road" album - where they are crossing the road using the zebra crossing? One Beatle per screen, in silhouette, in the correct order, and even the zebra crossing kinda lines up too....

The figures are layered onto plain cardstock which was again coloured with distress inks, and the stars, music notes and treble clefs were cut from black card using my Cricut Mini. The 4 panels were then laced together using brown organza ribbon thru holes punched with my Bind-It-All.

Here's close-ups of each panel - just don't ask me to name each Beatle - I'm far too young!

Thankfully Viv liked the screen so I was able to breathe a big sigh of relief - must admit I did enjoy doing it and may do one for myself at some point - I mean, I still have several sets of hand-cut Beatles silhouettes knocking around...

UKS Matchbox Shrine Swap...

I think one of the projects I have had most fun with recently was this one... take a matchbox (any size) and decorate it to turn it into a shrine... the thread on UKScrappers got rapidly out of hand (alongside the thread for the screen swap which I'll come to later)...

I hadn't really had any bright ideas for what to do, I had been kicking a few thoughts around but nothing was floating my boat, when the thread plunged headlong into the madness that concerned tortoises hibernating in Hannah's fridge... I kid you not, she said it was the perfect temperature for them and that altho it seemed a bit weird it worked... well that was it... the thread disintergrated into total mayhem and general depravity and the most brilliant of ideas began to skulk across my mind...

I'd been paired up with Rebecca (our hostess) whether by luck or judgement I'll never know... but as she seemed most tickled by the whole tortoise concept (altho by that stage we'd mentally tucked them into coolboxes I think!) it became obvious what I had to do - turn a cooks matchbox into a wooden crate and stick a toy tortoise inside it... and pray that French Customs can take a joke and not destroy it en route...

So... a wooden crate needs thin balsa wood sheeting to cover the top and sides with thin strips to represent the batoning... balsa wood supports inside for a framework, grungepaper strap and a magnetic closure and a coat of stain...

Not forgetting the jump-ring chains to hold the lid open - didn't have any ready-made chain so had to fiddle around with a couple of pairs of tiny-nosed pliers and make my own lengths of chain!

Give it all a coat of brown paint inside to hide the wobbly edges and then fill with chopped up beige raffia, which looks a lot like straw... and nestle your toy tortoise inside...

Rebecca loved it!

Catching up again...

Yeah I know - where does the time go... I'm sure it was still February just yesterday... well the weather seemed very much like February - wind and rain - just ready for today being Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK...

Right - where do I start? Having now sold my original Cricut Personal because I now have the all-singing-all-dancing Cricut Mini, I'm finding that it is not quite as wonderful as I first thought. Sure, using Cricut Craft Room to design everything I want to cut exactly how I want it is great - BUT you have to be online to do so - so I can't take it to a crop 'cos my laptop doesn't have a roaming internet connection. And whilst that isn't so much of a problem, it is a little frustrating... having said that I'm still having fun cutting things on it!
One of the first things I made was a cute little basket  - don't ask me which cartridge its from, George and Basic Shapes I think - but it looked so cute that I decided to play and managed to centre a heart shape onto one of the large panels to cut out...

I'd used a double-sided cardstock with a darker shade on the reverse taken from the Cricut cardstock pads that are ready cut 6x12 - I know my Mini mat can take wider but for playing around I thought the pad would be perfect.

It looked great when assembled and the cut-out heart glued into place onto the other large panel... Yeah I know, twee... but it's a start in working out how to use CCR...

Then I got cocky and decided that a 'word book' was next on the agenda... having been to Scotland twice last year I have loads of pics so decided that the word would be 'Scotland' and that I'd print out lots of the photos quite small and stick 'em in... that was before my wireless printer decided to disconnect itself from my home network - AGAIN - so I can neither print nor scan... I'll get round to sorting it eventually!

So after a lot of trial and error I finally came up with the letters for the word 'Scotland' - all nicely welded onto rectangles to give the right spacing between the letter pages, base pages cut from either white or grey cardstock, then just the letters cut from sheets of tartan paper I'd bought in a craft shop in Oban in July (ye gods - do I get a prize for actually using something I've bought within a year of its purchase???)

As you can see its over 12" long when finished - I actually cheated and glued the cut letter-strips onto strips of acetate having made sure I'd added on about half an inch to allow for binding. That didn't figure in my initial workings, but I think I've gotten away with it - especially as I can maintain that I'd planned on using a strip of black'n'white spotted Washi Tape on the bound edges!

The backs of each page are covered in some rather fetching tartan wrapping paper that I'd also bought on holiday, it was actually the reverse of an aerial photo of Inverrary which is why in the picture above you might be able to see bits of trees and grass in the centres of the letters... I'd thought ahead and bought 2 sheets of the same, thinking I could certainly make use of both sides lol...
Ever the crafter - even on holiday...

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Oh my - I love my Cricut Mini!

Yeah yeah, I know... I've only had it 48 hours... but I'm seriously starting to find what I can do with it - I have a loooong way to go but I'm really pleased with what I have managed to do so far.

Spent Thursday morning pacing around my flat waiting for Parcelforce to arrive, which it finally did at about 12.30pm... ripped the box open to find this cute little machine, instructions etc - but no UK power lead... so a quick phonecall to Angela at Craft at Home and she said she'd put one in the post to me.

However, that was going to take a few days to get to me, and I was itching to get started... and by now my friend Tim had arrived and was laughing at me... then pointed out that the US power cord merely plugged into a standard transformer using a universal 'D' connector - just like the one that I use on the radio in my kitchen... so as a temporary measure I swiped the radio power lead, plugged it in and off we went...

Didn't take too long to get everything installed and up and running, even managed to successfully redeem the code for the free Cricut content for the craft room software - you get Cricut Font and Basic Shapes which is 3 alphabets and loads of brilliant shapes to use - and then I sat down to play.

And play. And play some more. And watch the tutorial video's again whilst playing - copying what they were doing to teach myself what to do. Luckily, as I have spent several years using DTP and graphics drawing software, I found the craft room quite easy to use, but can see how someone who is not used to that type of program could get easily bogged down.

The hours passed... Tim left me to it 'cos he could see he wasn't going to get any sensible conversation out of me... my fella even briefly popped in, took one look at me giggling at the machine and wisely beat a retreat to the kitchen to make me a cup of tea... and after a while even he went home for his tea and left me alone... and I'm still having a whale of a time - linking the cartridges I own, cutting images out of each one to see how they worked... looking for more video's on Youtube to see what else I could do and generally having a great time.

Eventually my stomach decided to let me know it was supper time - blimey it was 9pm... wondered why it was getting dark and cold in the lounge... so I quickly nuked something and then it was back to my Cricut and more videos and more cutting... it's a good thing Angela popped a lovely pack of 12x12 paper into the box with the Cricut 'cos I can see me going thru loads whilst I experiment - having said that, the paper is too nice to 'waste' on trials but luckily I have a load of plain cheap cardstock I can use instead. The Cricut Mini mat is 8.5 inches by 12 inches, so A4 paper/card works a treat - I can see me investing in a few generic pads of that size in the sales!

Time flies when you're having fun, so they say - at 1.15am I found myself posting on UKScrappers about something and being horrified at the time - good thing I had Friday booked off work... I eventually got to bed around 3am (and no I didn't take it to bed with me lol... altho the thought did cross my mind...)

So here she is - in all her glory - with her cutting mat (already showing major signs of wear in the top left corner!)... she's about half the height of my Cricut Personal (the original/first machine that came out) and certainly a heck of a lot lighter. She's connected via USB to my laptop and all designing is done via the online craft room (god help me when I lose internet access which happens from time to time...). This does mean that I won't personally be able to take it to my scrapbook crops as I have no way of connecting my laptop to the web when I'm out and about which is a shame (yeah I know I could get a dongle but that costs money which I don't have...)

So, Friday was spent playing some more and reading up loads of blogs and finding out more about the Cricut Mini - I hadn't realised just how new a beast it is, cos it was apparently only released in November 2011. I've never had anything craftwise that is so brand new! I even turned down the option of going down t'pub on Friday nite, preferring to stay in with my Mini and carry on faffing around with her (mind you, the deadly state of the pavements around here that are still caked in ice, and the sub-zero temperature may have had something to do with it too!)

So - to sum up - I am one very happy bunny - and I'm determined to make the most of this machine and get it to cut loads of stuff that I've designed myself - and my next post will show off something I've done today... but I'm in dire need of a cuppa so you'll have to wait a few minutes... :-)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

48 Questions...

I saw this over at Ali’s blog and thought it looked fun too – so I shamelessly nicked it. :) If you fancy joining in too, why not answer the questions on your blog? And if you want, post me a link so I can read your answers too. :)

1. What time did you get up this morning? 8.15am – I’ve got a VERY IMPORTANT and EXCITING parcel arriving today so wanted to be up in good time!
2. How do you like your steak? Done. I never seem to get it right – I don’t like to see any pink bits but don’t like it cremated either. Which is probably why I prefer chicken.

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Hanna. And I still don’t quite understand it – so many plot-holes you could drive a bus thru them...
4. What is your favourite TV show? Strictly Come Dancing and Downton Abbey – hands down. But also love Lewis... Sunday nite curled up on the sofa with my fella watching re-runs on cable... OK, I’ll also admit to an unhealthy obsession to America’s Next Top Model!

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Somewhere quiet and un-overlooked with a nice view – and my own driveway and garage.

6. What did you have for breakfast? Egg and mushroom omelette wrap.

7. What is your favourite food? Chinese or Italian.

8. Foods you dislike? Parsnips – they should be totally removed from the food chain. And creme caramel. Also large tomatoes, although cherry tomatoes are fine.
9. Favourite place to eat? Anywhere that someone else is paying...

10. Favourite dressing? Don't often have dressing.
11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Focus estate.

12. What are your favourite clothes? Definitely jeans, t-shirt and a sweatshirt or rugby shirt.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? Australia/New Zealand. Altho would love to go back to America now I’m more into scrapbooking and papercrafting!
14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? 1/2 empty

15. Where would you want to retire? Rate things are going I’m never going to be able to afford to retire...
16. Favourite time of day? Evening - I'm a nightowl.

17. Where were you born? I’m a Billericay Dickie – although no way am I an "Essex Girl" lol...

18. What is your favourite sport to watch? Wimbledon, Formula 1 and American Football - Go Seattle Seahawks!  (I got the chance to see them beat the Denver Broncos’ back in November 1999 at the old Seattle Kingdome, just before they pulled it down to rebuild it)

19. What is your favourite fragrance? I don’t wear perfume, makes me sneeze. But I do love the smell of Dewberry.

20. What is your favourite face cream? Don't use it. I don’t wear any make-up either.

21. Favourite baby/kids products? Baby wipes... they’re not just for babies bums!

22. People watcher? Sometimes, altho I prefer to be a view watcher, preferably from a great height.
23. Are you a morning or night person? Definite nightowl. I've never been good with mornings and I always stay up late.

24. Do you have any pets? Not at the moment, although I do have a visiting cat who demands fuss and biscuits now and then. In fact she's just been this morning!
25. Any new and exciting news you’d like to share? Apart from hopefully getting my Cricut Mini today?

26. What did you want to be when you were little? I wanted to follow my brother into theatre management, working backstage on sound and lighting rigs, but got pushed into secretarial college instead.
27. What is your favourite memory? Not sure I could just pick one!

28. Are you a cat or dog person? Definitely a cat person.

29. Are you married? Not any more, but I do live a complicated lifestyle!
30. Always wear your seat belt? Yes, always nowadays.

31. Been in a car accident? Two – one as a front seat passenger - not wearing a seatbelt and almost went thru the windscreen, luckily the car was so old my head pushed the windscreen out in one piece and I just hit the rear-view mirror – I still have the scars and that was back in 1981. The other was in 1995, I was driving and someone overtook coming from the opposite way and went into my car head-on and wrote it off – I got away with whiplash and bruising and severe shock.

32. Any pet peeves? Young children out late at night walking down my road swearing their heads off – what are their parents thinking?
33. Favourite pizza toppings? Anything meaty but not too spicy – no anchovies or olives tho!
34. Favourite flower? Lily of the Valley, freesias and poinsettias. All three remind me of my mum. And an amaryllis bulb to grow at Christmas, something my Dad started a few years before he died and something which we want to continue.

35. Favourite ice cream? Cookie dough.
36. Favourite fast food restaurant? McDonalds or KFC.

37. How many times did you fail your driver’s test? None – I passed first time!

38. From whom did you get your last email? Youtube – one of the people I follow has just uploaded a new video!

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Having never been there, if I get the chance it would be Art from the Heart – and everything Dylusions!

40. Do anything spontaneous lately? Went up to London for Chinese New Year – kinda took me out of my comfort zone!

41. Like your job? It just about pays the bills but at times can be hard going, especially when there is no work coming thru. ‘Peaks and troughs’ they call it...

42. Broccoli? Yep – but its gotta be cooked properly – just right not overcooked.

43. What was your favourite vacation? America in 1999.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with? My friend Tim and a group of friends following the Christmas organ concert we did.

45. What are you listening to right now? Nothing – apart from the traffic outside, waiting to hear a Parcelforce van pull up outside with my Cricut...

46. What is your favourite colour? Purple.

47. How many tattoos do you have? None – yet. Something I’m considering but haven’t got around to.

48. Coffee drinker? Only at Starbucks – a skinny Grande Caramel latte with just one shot of espresso.

Go on- you know you want to have a go too...

Monday, 6 February 2012

I too have snow...

...just never got around to posting about it yesterday lol... but we had a considerable dumping on Saturday night... my fella and I left for the pub at 9.15pm and there were just one or two flakes lazily floating around... by 10.30pm there was a light dusting on the pavements but the roads were too wet for it to stick... when we left the pub at 12.30am after the band had finished and started to walk home, it was deep enough everywhere to come over the top of my trainers... and they have rocker soles on them so we're talking a good 3 inches here in places... and it was still hammering down... by the time we got back to the flat we both looked like Nanook of the North!

Here's my back garden, photo taken @ 2am ish, I was wide awake and couldn't sleep... the light is so weird in this picture, I know it's due to low cloud and light pollution from street lamps, but it looks almost sepia... well strange...

This morning my fella picked me up as usual at 6.50am so I could start work at 7am (yawn...) and we had great fun watching Southend Council workmen playing with their new toys... 2 quad bikes towing gritting hoppers... they were trundling over the pavements on "the patio from Hell" which replaced Victoria Circus roundabout... can't complain too much because by the time I left work at 2pm the pathway down to the station was totally snow and ice free. Got a taxi home (hey I'm not that daft to walk home in that stuff!) so am home all cosy, dry and catching up with stuff. Oh, and looking up Youtube video's and forums for the Cricut Mini - getting all excited now... hopefully (weather permitting) it'll be here by the end of the week and then I'll be a very happy bunny!

(Oh, and the winning streak continues: no, not the lottery or Euro-Millions, altho I did buy tickets this weekend just in case!) but I won the raffle at my crop on Saturday, got a lovely new flourish border punch from EK Success - I'm on a serious roll here!)

Thursday, 2 February 2012

And - I'm a winner again!

Don't know what I have done to deserve this, karma is obviously kicking in to treat me nicely this week after the downs I have had recently, but last nite I entered a giveaway on Craft At Home's facebook page to be in with a chance of winning the new Cricut Mini electronic die-cutting machine - we had to answer a simple question "how big is the cutting mat?" and then say what our last craft purchase was and why we'd bought it. So I trotted out the answer as being 8.5" by 12", and that I'd bought (amongst other things) 2 pots of Claudine Hellmuth's acrylic paint...

The competition was being drawn at 9pm, and I was out at a crop in Gt Wakering, didn't get in until 10pm and lept straight onto their facebook page, but I didn't see any postings as to who had won, even tho I kept refreshing the page... it wasn't until just gone midnight that the message popped up on my screen (having been posted 3 HOURS EARLIER) and Oh. My. God. the winner was me...

Now I already have a Cricut machine, but the first model that came out, and it's a second-hand one at that (altho I knew the previous owner and she'd not abused it at all!) and of course the Cricut Mini was only released about a year ago, so is definitely the new kid on the block... I'm so looking forward to receiving it and playing with it.

It'll use the cartridges I already own, but you can design your cuts on your computer using Provocraft's online craft room software and then cut them out - the mat being bigger than my current one means I can cut from 1/4" up to 11.5". And designing your cuts via the computer means I can place things exactly where I want them to make the most use out of the space available.

Right, that's enough of an advert for Provocraft - but I must say a huge thank you to Craft At Home for running the competition and for randomly picking my name out of the cyber-hat - next weeks courier delivery cannot come quick enough!

Oh, and the crop I went to? it was run by Total Papercrafts, lovely kit and good easy to follow instructions altho I didn't finish it, however I'm hopefully out at another crop this Saturday (weather permitting) so will get it done then. Having not been to a crop since well before Christmas it was good to get the ol' grey cells working in a crafty fashion and not just for work purposes!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I'm a winner!

Oh my - just to finish off a great day out on Sunday, I came home to the news that I'd been picked as the winner of a very special blog give-away - Kate Crane had hosted the recent Stampotique challenge and had altered a matchbox into a mini Rogues Gallery using her favourite Stampotique designs, and had decided to give it away to a random commenter on her blog - and it was me! Couldn't believe my luck, I was almost dancing round the lounge lol... my fella looked at me as if I'd gone totally loopy...

And when I got home from work this afternoon there was a package on my doormat - so now I am the proud owner of - drum roll please - a Kate Crane original lol...

She's used a Swan Vesta matchbox as her base, so that should give you some idea of the size... it's about 3.5 inches by 1.5 inches and as well as painting the box and the portraits, Kate has machine-sewn around them as well.

Here's some close-up pics of the Rogues themselves...

Here's the cover with Dweeze - love his wings lol...

Here's Eric

and Carrot...

...and Hiya Cinth...

...Dawwze's legs - wish mine were that thin...

and Quasimoto 3...

...with Mela to finish off!

They are all so cute, I've never really got into Stampotique stamps but having browsed thru their website tonite to find the names of the stamps Kate used, I've ear-marked a few that I wouldn't mind having myself - they are certainly quirky!

Having just signed up on UKScrappers to do a matchbox shrine swap I've already had one person offering to relieve me of this fabby piece of art - sorry Rebecca but this stays firmly with me!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Chinese New Year celebrations, London 2012

Yesterday I took myself up to London yesterday to see the Chinese New Year celebrations... my lord it was absolutely packed everywhere I went! Trafalgar Square had crowds 8 deep on the pavements above the square, and you couldn't get down inside the square for love nor money. Nor could I really see anything via the big screens they had each side of the stage, so I gave up and went up into Chinatown itself.

 This is Rupert Street, packed but festooned with paper lanterns from one side of the street to the other - in fact most streets around Chinatown had similar displays.
And here's the entrance to Gerrard Street with its gate - and more lanterns strung across side to side. It must have taken them days to put them all up!

Here it was just as busy, but I did manage to get some great pics and video of one of the dragon dances there - I was in the right place at the right time as the security staff and marshalls accompanying the dragons did a 'Moses' act and parted the crowds so the dancers could cross to the other side of Newport Place - and I found myself right at the front and got some great footage of the dragons going right past directly in front of me!

I have been saying for years that I'd like to go up to London for the celebrations but until now had never gotten around to it, but it was certainly worth it, altho my nerve did break after about 3 hours from all the crowds and pushing and shoving, so I chickened out and headed home.

But not until I'd been over into Covent Garden and watched some street theatre - these guys have balls lol... this one had two children standing in front of him (not mine, so I cropped them out lol) and he was holding a fake sword to their throats - but his facial expression had me in stitches. He'd pose for pictures, then dismiss the people being photographed with him, then would toss the sword onto the ground in front of another likely punter for them to return it to him - and the poses would start all over again.
And as for this guy - he must have been so cramped up sat under this table, with just his head sticking up out of the wicker basket - he had his hands inside the furry 'paws' and every now and then would pat the table or try to itch his nose - I just hope he had a 'minder' watching over him to make sure that nobody took advantage of him, cos I guess it would take forever to get out from under all that!

And of course, no trip to the West End of London would be complete without a trip to Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road for some sheets of speciality handmade paper, no idea yet what I am going to do with them but that's not the point... I can start planning can't I...

Friday, 27 January 2012

Out of the frying pan...

Couldn't resist calling my page this, it's done (or at least as done as I want it to be for now) so here are some pics of it. Apologies for the pics in advance, since getting my new laptop running 64-bit Windows 7, I've discovered that my photo-editing software MGI Photosuite, and my graphics package Windows Draw are both far too old to be able to run on this operating system - so I am playing around with what I have got and trying to download new software which *is* supported and *will* run under 64-bit Windows 7... so far MS Publisher seems to be kinda doing what I want it to do, but it's just not the same as the software I've been using since forever grrr...

Out of the frying pan... and into the fire, the journaling reads. Because that's kinda how I feel, having jumped straight into this without really knowing what I am doing. But then this is a journey of discovery, and the whole point of the exercise is to try out new things and not be scared by them.

Hopefully I'll look back on this page in a few months/years time and think "Girl what on EARTH were you doing!" but for now I'm actually kinda happy with this page.

And like it says: Who will judge? Only me...


And that lovely phrase came from my days on the newsgroup rec.crafts.textiles.quilting, only there it was there are no quilt police, but it means exactly the same thing - if YOU like what YOU have done then you have succeeded - nobody else matters, this is YOUR artwork and YOUR journey. After all, this is a journal, and the definition in Merriam-Webster's dictionary says: "Journal - a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly for private use".

So I will continue to throw ink and paint and rubber-stamps at my pages, and make a complete mess everywhere ('altered' armchair anyone? that blue overspray effect could really catch on...) and I will enjoy myself as I do it.

Thought I'd better stick a couple of pics of what I'd written cos it's a bit hard to read on the main pic, these are certainly preconceptions in my world and I have to learn how to live with them. Or more to the point, learn how to get around them. Nobody said this was going to be an easy ride!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

UKS Art Journey

So whilst I'm getting all creative and throwing paint around and spraying colourwash everywhere, it does of course occur to me that I don't really have a clear idea of what I'm doing (or why lol)... Luckily those jolly nice girls over on UKScrappers have come to my rescue - well not just me, everyone on UKS is welcome to join in... but guided by the lovely Leanne and friends we are being guided step by step on how to create our own art journals. Each week there's going to be a "Research" prompt followed by an "Action" prompt, all cunningly presented in a handy PDF format. The first week covered making your own journals, couple of great ideas there, but I already have an A5 book I want to use, so have skipped that (altho thats not to say I won't have a go another time!)

This week was all about preconceptions and colour, including a great article by Claire Vickery from Creative Moments (who has just about convinced me to throw out my Hobbycraft acrylic paints and sell my soul for a set of Claudine Hellmuth acrylic paints instead...) all about the different types of mediums we can use in our art journals; acrylic paints, watercolour paints, colour mists/sprays, pan pastels, inkpads, crackle paint and distress stains, watercolour pencils and crayons, oil pastels - goodness me is there anything we can't use?

So today, whilst waiting on my calendar pages to dry, I dug my A5 journal out and sat and thought for a while. Some of my preconceptions are "am I ready for this?" and "can I do this?" so whilst having fun spraying my colourwash inks in shades of blue I was thinking about the other colours, and wanted a go with the red and orange sprays... so a firey page somehow sprung into life... I think the journaling will be "out of the frying pan into the fire" or something like that...

I've used Red Pepper, Sunset Orange and Butterscotch sprays on this, tilting the page to let it run down (or up) so it looks like a burning fire. It's hard to take a good picture of with flash, 'cos as well as colourwash sprays I had a go with Perfect Pearls Heirloom Gold as well, and it reflects the flash really well lol... around the edge I've stamped a couple of Dylusions stamps, coloured one with a white Posca pen and stamped the other using Barn Door Distress Ink... so this is now drying before I go wild and start writing on it!

Art Journaling (or getting well messy...)

Got home from work on Friday afternoon, in the rain, rather cold, tired and shivery so stuck the kettle on for a cuppa, and then another... by the time my fella arrived at 8pm I was fast asleep on the sofa... woke up feeling so yuck he forbade me from going down t'pub to see East of Java... no fair cos they are a really good band, but to be honest I really wasn't up for it...

Saturday I should have gone to an all day crop, was especially looking forward to it as it was finishing at 7pm rather than 5, so an extra couple of hours to work, but when I woke up I had very little voice and couldn't stop sneezing - who gets ill on the weekend? There should be a law against it!

So I've spent the weekend slouched in front of the laptop playing online backgammon, and watching crafting videos and the Kate Crane DVD's I got for Christmas, and eventually plucked up the strength to have a play over on my craft table... I had already made a start on my art journal calendar a few weeks back but hadn't got very far with it, just gesso'd the pages and then put a base coat of blue and white acrylic paint on them. So far so good. I'm using cheapo Hobbycraft acrylic paints 'cos at £2.59 in their sale they were just too good to resist. They are a little thick to spread, but as I'm no expert I'm happy to play around with them for now.

So yesterday I decided to go a bit mad. NO change there, I hear you say... well I dug out my Adirondack Colourwash sprays and slapped on my latex gloves and got busy... all 3 shades of blue... even had a go at spraying thru an alphabet stencil.... and shock horror, I didn't like it... it was far too dark. So I left it to dry whilst I made yet another cup of tea and played some more online backgammon.

When I came back to have another look, I decided everything needed lightening up, so grabbed a bottle of pearlescent acrylic paint in a very pale blue, and covered the whole of both pages, using an old creditcard (sacrilege!) to spread the paint very thin. You can still see the stencilling thru it, but now its all a pale pearlescent blue.

Still not that keen, so it was back out with the colourwash sprays and a few very light applications of each of the blues, and I'm happy. For now. Stuck it to one side to play with something else. Tomorrow is another day - I'm thinking stamping with distress inks and Stazon, making little marks in acrylic paint with bottle tops and that creditcard, mebbe even some bubblewrap (hang on, I've got a clear stamp of bubblewrap - that'll do...)

Friday, 13 January 2012

Welcome to 2012!

OK, so I kinda drifted off again at the end of 2011, but hey whats new... I'll have a good sort out of pics to upload over the weekend whilst I'm trying to finish my current project and make a start on my art journal calendar pages for January. Yup, I'm moving into art journalling, it looks a whole bunch of fun and as my fella bought me Kate Crane's DVD's for Christmas I'm all inspired to get paints inks and sprays out and get all messy!

So for 2012 I'm going to hold back on the monthly swaps and instead concentrate on working on things for me - I have loads of scrapbook pages I want to do, lots of projects I want to have a go at and lots of craft-related sorting out and tidying up to achieve - this year i *will* sort my clear stamps out into some sort of order, mainly because I can't get any more packs into the box and they are in danger of getting seriously squished!

The weightwatchers is still going great guns - just before Christmas I'd actually hit 3 stone lost, but then it kinda went back up a bit, and down a bitm and up a bit etc... so now all the festivities are over and the year has started proper, I can really get focussed and get back onto properly tracking my meals and watching what I eat. Especially as I'm being taken away in May by my friend Tim - so I could do with looking a lot neater and trimmer by then!