Welcome to my creative online journal

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Art Journaling Process

One of the problems I have when thinking of things to create is that fear of wanting everything that I finish making to be 'right'.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but I do really like to be proud of the items that I make.    They need to be (in my mind) finished and 'as good as they possibly can be.' This view was changed for me when, amongst other things, I came across this video by Tammy of Daisy Yellow.  

What she says, that makes a great deal of sense, is to just enjoy the process.  When you are making your Index Card a Day (ICAD) (a Summer art venture run by Tammy that I have done for two years running in the past and highly recommend) you don't need to get hung up on the end result, just immerse yourself in the exploration of your materials, the technique you are trying out, whatever it is, just enjoy carrying out whatever the creative activity is.

So, I thought I'd have a go at it and what better time to try it than with my latest 'Art Technique to do NOW', Art Journaling.  I happened to have bought myself a small art journal from Ryman's the stationers recently.  The paper size is 6"x4" so it made it very similar to doing an index card.

For my first page I thought I'd go back to a technique I did on an index card a while back.  This was the card I made then:
The problem I had was that I couldn't remember how I created it!  I'd originally got the technique from an old Craft Stamper magazine and didn't know where it now was.  I do remember that I used baby wipes and water soluble oil pastels.  So I made a start by laying some colours down:
I wasn't sure if I was meant to overlap the colours?  I had a feeling I should, so did...in places.. 

I also remembered that to get the circles I wiped the baby wipe through a stencil:
But the pastel marks still showed so I smoothed them with the baby wipe too.  The result wasn't looking much like the example above:
So I then 'enjoyed the process' (!) and threw anything and everything I had to hand at it. It is now a title page for the rest of the book:
'A Place to Create for the Fun of it'.

I still wanted to do a page that was like my original index card, so I laid down some more colour, overlapping a little more this time and then simply scratched into it using a stencil and an embossing tool.
...And I did enjoy the process (together with the end result!), but I must see if I can locate those original instructions...

My next 'NOW' art activity is going to be Collage, so hope you can join me soon,
Nicky
Creative Flourishes


Friday, 8 May 2015

Gelli Printed Matchbook Notebooks

I am still progressing with my 'arts and crafts to do NOW' list (see previous posts) and the next activity on my list was Gelli Printing. 
Just a few of the many pages that I made this time.

To make the textures I used objects I found around the house.  The circles on the matchbook notebook on the very top left picture (in orange and yellow) were actually made with a shower suction mat that I (purposefully) bought from TK Maxx to use for this type of printmaking.


When I completed my gelli printing I decided that I wanted to layer them even more.  I love seeing elements of previous textures and colours peaking through. The problem I had was technical.  How do I get my top layer to only cover the parts I want it to without obliterating the interesting bits of the previous layers?  So, rather than gelli printing another layer on top (which I could have done if I'd thought about it a bit harder) I spread some paint directly from the tube on to my craft mat and spread it on to the print with a spatula.  This meant I could control where the paint went and how much.  Finally, I wiped it around with a baby wipe to cover a wider area.

I was wondering what I could do with the prints I had made when I remembered this book I had got (also from TK Maxx), which has some great ideas of things you can make with a small amount of paper or indeed, just an envelope!

 So, using their instructions and template I decided to make these matchbook notebooks.
The gelli prints were stuck on to thin card for the covers and pages of thin paper were stapled together for the inside.  Reading the instructions in the book, it said to sew buttons on to the front so you can then wrap string around to make closures (see picture).

Well, I found myself some appropriately coloured buttons and then discovered that they didn't have shanks on their backs to wrap the string around.  So I improvised:
I cut a hama bead in half with scissors (this was remarkably easy to do) and stuck each of the halves on to each of my buttons with a plastic glue.  I also used the plastic glue to stick the buttons on to the notebook and also to add beads on to the ends of the string.  This picture shows the back of the books:
The books are very small (just 5 x 3.5cms) and a bit delicate with the buttons, but useful for a quick note or quote and they make a useful emergency gift.
Hope to see you next time when I will be showcasing my next list item, Art Journaling.

Nicky,
Creative Flourishes






Friday, 1 May 2015

Encaustic plus Pixlr

So, moving on in my 'Art & Crafts List to do NOW,' I did indeed get on with the next one on my list, Encaustic.  The one thing I was hoping wouldn't happen when carrying out this craft did - and that was to burn myself.  I was doing very well until it came to clean up time when I momentarily glanced away from the iron that I was cleaning with a piece of kitchen roll - and promptly burned a little blister into my palm - ouch!

Before that I was quite enjoying this craft and found it relatively easy.  This, I have to admit, was greatly  helped by the fact that I had watched a beginner's guide to abstract encaustic earlier on in the day.
 


I initially thought encaustic meant embedding things into wax, which would have meant putting my much neglected Melting Pot into use - but when I checked online, I found it was more to do with layering and  'painting' with coloured waxes.

A very, very, long time ago I bought a set of encaustic waxes, together with some glossy card and a travel steam iron.  This was around the time that it first became popular.  More recently, I was able to add to the wax collection when I spotted some in a local charity shop.  I tend to use my materials with more abandon when I know I have a plentiful supply.  It's when they are limited that I tend to be more cautious and 'keep it for that special project' that never seems to happen... 

As I was a beginner (again! the first attempts were so very long ago!)  I decided that abstract was the way to go.  Maybe I will move on to landscapes at a later date, when my wound has healed....
 
Simple materials needed, glossy cardstock, colourful waxes, kitchen roll and an old iron (preferably non-steam but I didn't use the steam facility).

I used the techniques shown in the above youtube video which meant smoothing down the wax on the iron and then quickly swishing it across the paper.  Lifing up the iron created those lovely organic tree like marks.
You could avoid getting the outline of the iron by using an iron more suited to the purpose, the type with interchangeable heads. 

The difference between now and when this product first came out is that you can now alter your finished 'painting' simply by using various photo manipulation techniques onto your scanned masterpieces. This simple technique just wasn't available to us then.   For this my go tos at the moment are Pixlr or the free version of Picmonkey.

This was my first attempt, which was fair enough in green...
...but lets see what it looks like without colour:
This piece was my ultimate favourite as I think it looks like a galactic waterfall.
And altering the contrast made the colours 'pop'.
 Oh, I forgot to mention, I worked on a craft mat with strong cardboard underneath to protect the kitchen work surface.  The mat ended up getting very messy!
Back soon with my next 'NOW' craft which I've just checked is Gelli Printing.  I have done some of this  recently, but you can never do enough of gelli printing, can you...?

Thank you for getting through this very long post and for stopping by today,
enjoy your bank holiday weekend (those of you in the UK),
and I'll see you soon,
Nicky
@Creative Flourishes





Sunday, 26 April 2015

Foiling & Decopatch

Regular visitors to my blog will know that I am in the process of completing a Art & Craft technique 'NOW' List.  So far on my list I have done Lino Printing, Shrink Plastic and Hama Bead Crafting.  For this project the plan was to do Foiling.  I combined foiling with the craft of decopatch and made these wish hearts:

My original plan was to do conventional foiling and this idea of using a laser copy print with a laminator appealed.  I'd even treated myself to a cheap laser printer a couple of months ago so I could do crafts like image transfers.  So many instructions for image transfer techniques say you have to have a laser copy, rather than an inkjet.  The problem I had was with my laminator.  It just refused to feed the paper through at all.  I even tried with a second laminator (yes, I have two!) and that didn't take it either.

So then I tried the simple technique of drawing with glue and foiling. I tried the Zig 2 Way Glue and the Appli glue, both of which should have worked, but didn't.  Even though I allowed the glue to dry to a tacky state, the foil didn't stick so I gave up on that idea...

...And instead made some faux foiling using shiny gold gift tape:
 
I stuck three strips down onto some ordinary white paper and burnished it flat with my nail.
Next I made my word 'WISH' using my Cuttlebug and Cuttlebug letter dies.

I was wondering where to put my foiled letters when I remembered the decopatch set and paper mache hearts that I had been sent to test by Baker Ross
This is how the hearts look as blanks:
The technique of how to do Decopatch is very simple and described on the back of the packet. 
You rip small pieces off and glue them on to your object overlapping each piece.  They do suggest Decopatch varnish glue but I hadn't got any of that so used a PVA/Water mix.  You also add the glue mix on the top of each paper as it acts as a varnish. 

I started to make the hearts with just the thin decopatch paper but then I decided to add some coloured old book pages too.
The paper from the books was a bit thicker so it was trickier to stick around the edges of the hearts.

After completing the hearts I gave them a final coat of the PVA/Water mix and coated them with multicoloured glitter.
Tip: Don't hold the hearts by the gold string much as it falls out.  I had to glue two of the threads back on.

After sticking on my foiled letters I left all the hearts to dry before giving them a final coat of spray glossy varnish.  This will also help to prevent the glitter coming off when handling.

And there you have it.
Another crafty technique to cross off the list.  The next one on my list is encaustic which I am quite looking forward to.  I just need to brush the cobwebs off that Ranger Melting Pot and all those waxing craft accessories that I bought all those years ago...

Thanks for stopping by today,
Join me soon when I demonstrate my next NOW technique,
Nicky  
@Creative Flourishes




 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Hama Bead Decorations

As mentioned in my last post, the next project on my art to do 'Now' List was crafting with Hama Beads.  I have loads of these things, many of which have been gained on my many charity shop expeditions. 

The first task for me in making my decorations was to sort some of the beads into separate colours.  Not strictly necessary but I did it whilst watching TV so it wasn't too much of a chore - and no, I didn't separate all those you see in the top picture, just enough for me to use.

I love the effect of the sparkly beads and decided to make myself a small window decoration.  They were just randomly placed inside a circle board and some black beads were added around the edge:
..before ironing to fix with the special waxed paper.

I love the way it looks like a stained glass:
..sparkling in the sunlight.

For my next project I decided to make a hama bead camera, spotted on Pinterest here. (and modified by rounding the corners).
The pointy edged tweezers were brilliant for this task and so much easier than clumsy fingers.  Using them I was able to pick up two beads at a time which really helped to speed up the process.

Here on the left is my finished camera, added to my display of vintage cameras:
The circular lens part was made separately and glued onto the hama beaded background.

It may not function but it looks the part.

The next craft I have on my art techniques 'Now' list is Foiling. What will I make with that, I wonder...?

Check back soon to see that craft and
thanks for popping by today,
Nicky
@Creative Flourishes






Monday, 20 April 2015

Shrink Plastic Keyring

If you saw my last post you may remember that I have made myself a list of lots of art techniques that I am going to have a go at as part of my 'Now' List.  When I wrote the list I just wrote lots of techniques down one after another, without really thinking about any sort of priority. The main criteria I gave myself was that I must already have the equipment to do it with.  When I came to do the list I considered picking and choosing what I fancied doing but then I decided that was kind of cheating because I would probably never end up doing the trickier choices.  So, I am going to faithfully go down the list and do every one as it comes, even if it's difficult and one that I would normally avoid.  My first technique, shown on my last blog post, was Lino printing and the next on the list was to make something with Shrink Plastic.

This is what I made:
I have a travel art bag (shown in detail in this blog post) so this would be ideal to add to the zip pull.

This art equipment keyring wasn't what I planned when I first got out the shrink plastic. That was to colour my none-art equipment themed shrink plasticables (made up word) with alcohol inks.    

The first theme I had was made up monster-y characters that I had drawn in my sketchbook many moons ago.
On the left are the pictures that were traced on to the clear shrink plastic with a fine black Sharpie.

I poured various colours of alcohol ink onto a craft mat and smooched the cut out plastic monsters in it.  Mixing colours I thought would add interest... but when they came out from the oven...
...I didn't like the result and was going off the idea of monsters anyway.  Where would I put them..?

So, I found myself a children's vintage craft book, called '365 Games to Make & Play' (from 1979!) and spotted these stationery images on the opening pages:
...which were perfect for tracing and shrinking.  A tip I remembered reading on Pinterest was to sand the back of the shrink plastic before colouring, and for this I used an emery board.  I also punched out a hole in  each piece, before cooking, with my Crop-a-dile.

The stationery/arty items were coloured with Sharpies and the very bright monster-y characters shown here on the right with Neon Pro-makers:
As I didn't have lots of small rings to place my individual items on I just threaded them onto one jump ring and added a keyring.
..And another 'Now' art technique can be crossed off the list, what's next?...(checks list)...Hama Beads....

See you next time, thanks for stopping by,
Nicky
Creative Flourishes



Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Not a Bucket List, a NOW List, Lino Printing

I picked up an interesting book recently about improving what you do with your life on a day to day basis.  I wasn't particularly unhappy with the way that I spent my time but reading this book did make me think that maybe I could spend it a little more wisely and with more purpose.  More details of this further down the page but in the meantime..

In February, during my blog hiatus, I had another birthday, like you do, and for this particular one I asked for and got, a 6x6 gelli plate.  Last week I finally gave myself time to play with it.

Wow! What a colour!

I just tried out various texture tools and mark makers and for the one above, I cut a zig zag pattern on the edge of an old credit card and used it to make the pattern used as a background in this journal type page:
It has been put on my notice board as a reminder to lose the odd few pounds that I've gained whilst 'hibernating' during the Winter months.   I added the circle shapes using various lids and the silhouette is a stencil cut out from an old fashion book.  The ruler Washi tape was added as a hint to losing the inches!

I did have fun using the gelli plate and will definately be returning to it again soon.  This was another one of many textured backgrounds that I made on the same day:
Back to the book that I spoke of  earlier and it has the quite cheesy name of 'How to do Everything and be Happy' and it was written a few years ago (but still available) by Peter Jones.

One of the ideas he mentions in the book is to have a NOW List, not a Bucket List as it is a list of things you could do now, if you have the money, time etc.  This idea appealed to me and I even made myself a journal page about it:
This is what its about really, not that I'm planning on going anywhere soon (hopefully!)...

One of my 'Now' List categories is Art and I have a subcategory list that contains lots of art techniques that I would like to do. I have all the equipment (I am an avid art materials collector!) but have just never got round to doing them. This is my chance! And whilst I'm at it, I can show you them as I do them (will also get me back into regular blogging again), ....starting off with Lino Printing, which I did earlier today...
Yes, I was very pleased to get through this particular craft with all my fingers intact!  Especially as I haven't done it in about 30 years ahem, a very long time!  I even used that extra tough stuff, real lino! It came in an old Reeves Kit that I got from a church sale for about 50p a while ago....  

The item that really saved my fingers though was this:
Made by my clever husband a while ago when I said I needed it, otherwise I couldn't do lino printing (and still didn't do it then either!)....  It's actually made from a wooden toy (spot the giveaway!) purchased from a charity shop.  Basically, as I think you can see, it's a wooden board with two blocks screwed on to it top and bottom.  The bottom block anchors it to the edge of your work bench and what is does is it prevents your lino from moving around too much whilst you are trying to carve it. 
It was invaluable to me today as it stopped me burning my fingers!  'How so?' I hear you ask... Well, because I used lino which was as tough as nails to carve,  I had to keep warming it up under the grill to soften it and sometimes it got rather hot!  Putting it down on this meant no toasted fingers for me so it was very useful!

For my design, I thought I'd use an alphabet & number stencil.  All I had to do was trace through the back to get my reverse image:
..which went almost to plan.

I followed some of the instructions in Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's book, but wished I had got 'Speedycarve' to carve out of, rather than the very tough lino.  I was aware that she said that you 'glide' not 'gouge' whilst I was gouging!...

First job was to carve a 'moat' around the edge of your design:
...before removing all the other surplus.  For some reason my other pictures of the process turned out to be out of focus so I'll cut to the chase and show you my finished prints:
As I was printing them and seeing parts of it not printing I thought to myself, it's got character!....  and it has, really...but I simply must get myself some Speedycarve....

Thanks for looking today,
pop back for some more 
'NOW' List crafts coming up soon,
Nicky
Creative Flourishes
















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