Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A helping hand

The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering. - quotation from Doctor Who

al·ter  (ôltr)
v. al·tered, al·ter·ing, al·ters
1. To change or make different; modify: altered my will.
2. To adjust (a garment) for a better fit.
3. To castrate or spay (an animal, such as a cat or a dog).
 To change or become different.
Well much as it amused me to see the definition of alter described in the terms of the castration of an animal, I didn't really think it quite appropriate to use for my project (besides I don't have any furry pom-poms ;) So I shall use 1.
I have been into decopatch for a fair few months now, and find it is the perfect medium to alter an item.  My friend Mandy had made a mould of her hand from plaster of paris ages ago to keep her rings on and in my search for something to alter, I talked her into letting me get my hands on it (no pun intended lol).
Mandy likes animal prints, but I didn't want to make this too jungley so I just used some tiger-striped paper I had.  Because you use at least 4 different patterned papers when you cover something, it really doesn't use up much paper at all.  And I love it.  So far I have altered a mirror and a papermache heart to match each other to go in my bedroom and will one day get them actually into my bedroom when I have moved my baby son into his own bedroom as he currently occupies the area in front of my dressing table.  The mirror currently resides in the kitchen.  Sits on top of the hob when not in use which may sound a strange place to keep a mirror, but it sure comes in handy for putting make-up on due to the hob light lol

Anyway, the hand is now sufficiently altered and the plus side of the decopatch glue is that it puts a nice hardwearing glaze onto the item so it should be pretty resilient now :)

Close-up showing it in use as a ring-holder

 Makes me think of The Addams family in this one lol

I am entering this into the following challenges:

The Stampman Challenges - Altered

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Oriental wishes

My 11 year old daughter is obsessed with all things Japanese, sushi, manga, anime... so she came in very handy as the source of the stamp set I have used for this card.  We bought it in the QVC shop earlier this year, it's a Personal Impressions stamp set, possibly from the Beryl Peters Collection as that is what it says on the side of the stamp of the lady.

I stamped the images out onto white cardstock intially and coloured with promarkers, and only used 3 different colours, ruby, pastel yellow and gold metallic.  I wanted to keep a very simple colour scheme of black, red and gold and used my nesties to cut out the black paper which backs the kimono then used a larger size to create the frame.  The edges of the card are again a QVC find and I have loved using these again, finally having an excuse to use the Japanese writing ones.  The kimono itself is raised from the background using some foam pads as it needed a little depth I felt to bring it to life.  I wanted to put a sentiment above the kimono to say Happy Birthday (in Japanese of course) and as usual my printer was refusing to play ball and print on vellum, so I printed it on white paper and traced it onto a piece of white vellum using a fab Japanese brush pen (ok I bought that in QVC too lol - have you guessed I live pretty close to the outlet shop yet? lol)

Not sure if the photo shows up that the front of the card is smaller than the back of the card or not, but I did a cutaway to used the lady and the fan as a runner down the inside, but wanted it to be visible, if that makes sense?  Nothing with me ever makes sense to other people but it all makes sense in my head... honest! lol

I have entered this for the following Challenges:

Crafty Cardmakers - Spotlight Oriental
Creative Inspirations - 2 or More Stamped Images
Incy Wincy Designs - Anything Goes
OSAAT - Anything Goes - As you like it

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Stampman Challenge Blog - Blog Hop!

I've never actually done a blog hop before so as this is my first I guess that makes me a blog hop virgin!  *blushes*

There's a fab prize to be won over at The Stampman Challenge Blog - £30 to spend with them and there are lots of prizes to be won off the design team ladies on the way round.  Good luck to everyone if you fancy entering!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Pretty distressed box

There are people who put their dreams in a little box and say, "Yes, I've got dreams, of course I've got dreams." Then they put the box away and bring it out once in awhile to look in it, and yep, they're still there. - Erma Bombeck

I have a thing about making boxes at the moment.  I think the interest started a few weeks ago when my daughter asked me to make her a box so she could decorate it with faces and call it Dennis. Dennis the box. Ok..... then she was traumatised when Marcus sat on it, so I had to make another one, and Marcus wanted one too, which he said was called Billy.  He's a friend of Dennis apparently... or rather he was until Mitchell squashed him hahahaha.  So now he is in the bin, and I decided this time I would make a box for myself and decorate it.  I haven't given it a name yet... don't want to tempt fate!

Another love of mine at the moment is getting my hands messy and making papers to use in my projects.  I've seen a few 'distressed' items on various blogs and have toyed with the idea of having a go to see what I could do.  I really think it is a matter of getting the right paper to start off with as I tried 'ageing' some paper in a nice bowl of roiibos tea, but when I took it out, it fell apart.  Oops!  So I scrapped that idea and stuck to techniques I know, and armed with cosmic shimmer mists and a scrunched up piece of paper I set to work on my trusty hob.  Now don't get me wrong, the resulting piece of paper was pretty and shimmery, but even though it was crumpled, it just didn't look distressed enough, so I waited til it dried out (OK I didn't exactly wait, I chucked it on a shelf in the oven when it was cooling down after tea) then attacked the paper with some staz-on coloured ink pads and it was starting to look pretty battered up now *grin*.  Like with a number of my projects where I try out something new, I find myself with a piece of paper that I know I can turn into something, just can't quite decide what... So I left it overnight and suddenly I had an idea involving a box!

Unusually for me, I managed to find a template online which would fit the bill of what I was looking for quite easily.  I wanted a heart sort of thing on top so that it folded together and closed rather than a box with a lid and I found one.  It went together quite easily and then I flattened it again and covered it with the paper I made earlier - amazing what you can do with a bit of DST...  so now I had in my hands what looked like a crinkly box, but it wasn't distressed enough godammit!  So I flattened it again and attacked the poor thing further with clear embossing ink, enbossing powder and a good blast from my heatgun mwahahahaha!  I got a load of pink lace in the market a few weeks ago and I trimmed the heart to make it stand out, but plain old pink didn't look quite right so I whipped it off, grabbed another piece of lace and misted it and attacked it with more staz-on inks hehehehe I then stamped a Panda stamps butterfly onto a scrap of the distressed paper, stuck that on, wasn't looking quite right so did another butterfly, embossed parts of it and layered it on to give it a 3D look and roughed up the edges of the heart a bit more.  Well I'd say it looks pretty distressed now *evil grin* lol ;)

Took this pic to show it is a box and how it opens:

And the back of the box to show the distressed paper in more detail:

Just in addition, my long-suffering partner Steve was having a wipe round in the kitchen the other day and was confused as to why there was pink shimmery stuff on the cloth when he wiped the glass table down, then found even more on the hob.  What's this stuff he says, me *smiles sweetly*

Annnnnd whilst I was hard at work distressing my box, my 1 year old son was busy distressing the living room for me.  In the absence of his 3 year old brother/partner-in-crime, he did a pretty good job all by his little self!

I would like to enter this for the following challenges:

The Stampman - Distress
The ABC Challenge - D is for Distressing
The Corrosive Challenge - Unused Craft Stuff
Sir Stampalot - All Distressed

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Box for Blings and Fings

Well, I am here with another box, well not quite a box but you can keep things in it... and I really enjoyed making it too.  It's based around a chest of drawers at the bottom, the template for which I found here but I changed the easel part and adapted it slightly.  I remember making a set of drawers in primary school many many years ago but they didn't come out like this, which is why I abandoned the idea back then and started making a stagecoach instead... ok well I was probably the only 8 year old I knew back then who was obsessed with Adam and the Ants and it was the Prince Charming era. That turned out a lot better but I have no idea what happened to it, though it may well still be stashed somewhere in my parents' attic lol

I hadn't used my starburst stains for a while and I wanted a misty sort of effect to co-ordinate with the sweet pea image I used this time, Ching-chou kuik's Faraway Moon.  The moon is embossed with silver pearl to give it a shimmer and the image is coloured mainly with denim blue and powder blue promarkers, touched up in areas with my trusty gelly roll pens.  Not found anything else yet to add a bit of sparkle which is so easy to use and doesn't involve me getting in a glittery mess. I think I have captured the shimmer quite well on this pic.

At the front of the box, as the stop for the easel, I have used a piece of plasti-roc which I have stamped into and then painted with carpathian bluebell starburst stain and embossed to highlight the details of the moon and sun on it.  I suddenly hit on the idea that it might work a few days ago and I am pleased with the results, though I do have to say trying to emboss using a clear embossing pen on a semi-porous material can be a bit tricky...

I was lucky a few weeks ago as a family friend went to the states and brought me back a load of craft stuff, mainly embellishments as they can be so expensive over here.  I used quite a few embellishments from that haul today, namely the brackets, the sentiments and the blingy bits.  I think they call them rhinestones lol

Anyway, here's a pic with one of the drawers open so you can see it is actually quite functional.  Seriously skint this year so I think a few friends and family might be getting something similar for Xmas.  Hope my Dad will like it lol

So here is where I am entering this one:

Paper Play Challenges - All shapes and sizes
Crafts and Me - Easels
Creative Belli - B-themed embellishments (bow, brackets, blings)
The Sisterhood of Crafters - Simply Handmade
Southern Girls - Anything Goes
Paper Pretties - Pearls, rhinestones or glitter

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Mermaid moments and memories

Thank f*** the kids have gone back to school so I have a bit more time to think of crafty things!

A new craft shop opened at the weekend near where I live and naturally I had to go and pay them a visit.  Quite a nice little shop they have there.  I was very happy to spot some Twinkling H2O paints as I had seen something similar at a craft fair a few months back and kicked myself for not having bought some then.  Much as I love my promarkers and sakura gelly rolls, I love my watercolours too, but have found that I can't always get the sort of effect that I want on my projects.  These paints are totally different as they have sparkle :)  You can use them in the same way as normal watercolours, blending and watering down to get very subtle shades, as you can see here which is handy as there were only 6 colours in my set.

The stamp I used is a Sweet Pea stamp, Elaine Cox's Little River Mermaid.  Now I have seen the name of it again, it makes more sense as I was a little confused why there was a frog on it and no shells! Ah well, just a good job I didn't find any shells to add on as details lol  I painted the stamp with the H2O paints and I can only enthuse about how lovely they are.  Really nice to use, and the pots look like I haven't even used them so looks like they will last me quite a while.  The colour names are really nice too, Pewter, Ginger Flower, Guatemalan Green, Wild Blueberry, Honey Amber and French Lilac (the only one I didn't use this time round).  The shiny colours lend themselves so well to a shimmery mermaid.  Anyway, I borrowed the stamp from my good friend Vix, so must thank her and give her credit for that.  Handy having a craft guru living close-by and raiding her stash occasionally, plus she's been a good friend to me, especially when she looked after my daughter for the night when I was having my last baby!

Anywayyy I digress.  Well it is my blog so I can ramble if I want to!  The image was taking on a bit of a bluey green theme, so I accented the flowers with pink and added a little glitter.  I bought the glitters months ago at another craft fair and I think this is actually the first time I have actually had a dabble with them.  Glitter to me takes me back to school days with bigs tubs of PVA and seemingly even larger tubs of glitter.  Somehow I always ended up with more glitter on me than on the paper!  Much easier to do little details when you have a glue roller pen like I have now.  I trimmed the stamp to size and was about to matt it onto the shimmery bluey green paper which I bought in Benidorm a couple of years back, but then I spotted my threads and thought hmmm, a bit of stitching detail would add to the shimmer, so I did a running stitch around the edge which framed it subtlely.  A while back, my Mum gave me a tub of little blue tiles as she thought I might have a use for them at some point and they have just been sitting around waiting to be used ever since.  I counted them all out and discovered I had just enough to create a frame to my image and stuck the individual tiles to a piece of DST.  Took a while and a few botched efforts. but I finally got them all on and pretty straight.  Now I had a framed mermaid and no idea what I was going to do with it!

I have, in the past had a go at doing a few easel cards but they have always been pretty standard in their construction and I wanted to make this one a little different.  I started out with a piece of  A4 card and folded it in the usual way, then trimmed it so it would fit the framed mermaid correctly.  After rummaging thru my stock of papers and drawing a blank, I suddenly remembered that I had the perfect solution, my Starburst Stains!  I have been very restrained with using them as I didn't want to waste them just playing about and not be able to get any more easily, so they have been sitting in a box on the shelf taunting me for months, so I decided to get them out for a play :)  I love starburst stains.  I got the version in the tubs so I have to daub them onto things rather than spray, so set to work with a piece of card,  and used Carpathian bluebells and Maidenhead fern green which is a colour combo I haven't tried out before, and slapped a piece of cling-film over the top and had a squidge about. Luckily in our new house, we have a halogen hob which as Vix has told me in the past is the ideal place for messing about with messy stuff as it is so easy to clean up afterwards, so what it lacks in cooking practicality (I prefer gas hobs) it makes up for in craft use plus it has the added advantage of an overhead light  - bonus!  Of course, I can never wait for my stained papers to dry out so I gave it a little blast with my heatgun and got back to the project and trimmed and stuck a piece of the stained card to the front of the easel - the weight of the image needed a bit of reinforcement lol

I am always on the look out for ribbons for my various projects and I happened to mention that to my Mum ages ago and she said that she had a bag somewhere in the house, full of ribbons which she had found at my Nanna's house when she died.  She's been gone just over 11 years now and when I opened the bag, it smelled of my Nan's house.  Loads of memories came flooding back and my eyes were welling up.  My Nan was a very talented knitter and crocheter before the arthritis in her hands got the better of her and used to buy ribbons for trimming baby bonnets and finishing off sleeves etc oh and a lot of knitted toilet roll covers too!  She tried numerous times to teach me but I could never get the hang of it and it was only last year I taught myself to do a veryy basic crochet stitch and can now knit strings.  Very useful, not!  In the ribbon bag was lots of different shades of turquoise/aqua colour ribbons and so I ran my needle thru a few lengths to make some flowers - again a first for me!  Pretty pleased with the results and finished them off with a punched flower and a gem.  I tied a ribbon round the frame which matched the tiles and used another piece of it on the bottom of the easel which I covered with the same shimmery blue paper I stitched the image onto.  I made a stop for the foldy bit (technical term) of the easel, as it needed all the support it could get to keep the frame upright out of a piece of the stained card adding a few punches to the corners so you can see the shimmer thru the holes.  A few flowers and gems and a bit more ribbon finished it off.  Here's a close-up of one of the ribbon flowers, I think it's quite pretty :)
And another photo to try and show how much the paints sparkle. :)

The Crafts and Me challenge at the moment is for Gems and Sparkle.  I doubt I could get anymore sparkle into this if I tried, so I am entering it there.   One Stitch At A Time want to see Blooms Butterflies and Blings, and as this had plenty of two out of the three, I have entered it there too.  Crafty Cardmakers are looking for Glitter and Sparkle and Craft Your Days Away have Girly 'n' Glitter theme and I feel this fits both of those specs too.  PaperPlay Challenges theme is In Stitches so I hope the stitching shows up well on these photos.  Really should get out the manual for my camera and learn how to do clear close-ups properly lol