Welcome to my creative online journal

Sunday 29 January 2017

An easy Do-It-Yourself Window Technique

(...if you already have frosted patterned windows)
All you need are these:
ChalkOla Premium Wet Wipe Markers

..which are water soluble, so you can change your colour scheme at any time - or even remove it all together, if you wish.  

The window I was working with, as I mentioned, had an ornate frosted glass pattern on it already, and it's original Victorian, I think!  
All I had to do to make this beautiful pattern was to prime the pens (shaking each of them for less than a minute and pressing them gently onto a paper surface to get the ink flowing) and then draw over each of the lines of the existing glass pattern.
(Arty picture of my hand drawing over the pattern)

If lines were a little 'squiffy' (as in that pic above) it was very easy to wipe them away with a small wet cloth (or cotton bud) and to redraw them.
(Above) This was how it looked early on. Here I was avoiding the 'difficult' sides.

TIP: Prime all your pens at the start then you can just pick up any pen and use it rather than having to stop and prime each one when you want to use it.  I learned this on youtube and found it useful.
The colours do dry fairly quickly, so I didn't find myself smudging them as I worked, which was handy.  The frame around the window also helped me to keep my hands away from the ink.

An 'in progress' shot:
In the daytime the colours looked very 'girly,' much to both of my teenage boys' dismay.  The one boy also said that the design was too 'hippy!' (he,he).

And this was it finished:
But the surprise was when it got dark!  The colours looked so different!:
This was the same window, the exact same colours, but with the night sky behind them.  What a difference!

(I think I prefer the night version better, I'm not a girly, girl either. {grin} )

Disclosure:  I should point out that I was sent two sets of these pens to review here on this blog, so thank you to the company that sent them to me. I found them very easy to use and the colours are really vibrant.  I would definitely recommend them to anyone wanting to do a similar project.

(Unfortunately, these pens are out of stock at Amazon UK at the time of writing, hopefully they will be back soon).

Thank you for stopping by today and reading this MASSIVE post.
Back soon with some more Creative Flourishes activity,


Wednesday 4 January 2017

Creative Jump Start 2017

A Happy New Year to all my readers, old and new and hope that you enjoyed a good festive season.  I have once again signed up for Natalie Kalbach's inspirational new year video course called 'Creative Jump Start' and thats what it is.  A series of videos, every day for 30 days presented by some of my favourite artists from blogland (Julie Fei Fan Balzer, Dina Wakley, etc. etc.) that motivate us with ideas and tips that can help us in our own creations.

The first video was by Marsha Valk and this was my finished piece:
I should point out (as those of you on the course will know) that this isn't anything like the dreamlike, flowy, abstract quality of Marsha's example(s) but when I started I had no idea that mine would end up like this. It actually started out the same!    

This isn't one piece, if you look carefully you can see that it's three separate pieces 'joined' vertically and I painted them so they could look as one.  In fact the final effect with lines coming from all directions mean it could be infinite! Panels could be added on all sides to this, not that I'm going to, this size took hours to create!

The way it started was three pieces of mounting board painted with black gesso and then lines added with a white paint pen. With my initial lines, I had the idea to do a kind of plumbing/sciency look - a bit like those comedy science lab set ups you used to see in humorous horror films years ago.  
(I actually like this as it is!)
I then added some 'science-y' themed stencils to suggest liquids and directions.  And then I filled in the loops and decided to make the lines more prominant by outlining them in pink and yellow:
And this is when the problems began! I used Posca paint pens and, much as I love them, they drove me barmy on the black gesso.  The black gesso background somehow mixed itself in with the colour and changed it to a 'dirty' shade.  I ended up having to go over every line about 4 times - which made it a very late night!
At this stage, my frustration with the yellow and the white made me change tack. I had this idea to keep the science theme and add bits of a photocopy from a book on machines:
(I did try the tissue paper in the printer technique but my printer refused to print it!)

I cut the photocopy into random pieces and stuck them onto the panels...
...and continued with the frustrating task of outlining the tubes with the paint pens. I came back to it the next day and quite liked it:
...but thought all the tubes were leading the eye downwards so it 'needed' (not sure it did, really!) some more horizontal lines and more pictures to cover the black - and then connecting lines to 'fix' the pictures to the tubes. (I also 'forgot' how much extra work that would make - each white line had to be drawn over and over again as it turned grey on the black gesso).

I added text bits from the machines book and one quote in the bottom panel:  'Creatiity is intelligence having fun' by Albert Einstein. 

So this was the finished result, a super super busy made up science-y thing!
..and this is the three panels shown separately:
I like the fact that they work individually as well as together. 

Thanks for looking and commenting, do me a favour and remind me never to use paint pens on a black gesso background ever again - life really is too short!...

Creative Flourishes

Saturday 10 December 2016

Instagram Competition Kuretake Festive Fun Part 2

Every day these days I'm commited...commited to thinking up a different way of lettering the Christmas word of the day in the Instagram Kuretake Christmas Challenge (#kuretakefestivefun) that I showed you a few days ago.

This is a compilation photo of my first 9 days, some of which I showed you in my previous post:

This was Thurday's word:
Written with a gold pen with a Wink of Stella clear glitter pen on top. (Glitter doesn't show on photos).

Friday's word was 'Angel' and for that I did a cartoony picture:
And today, Saturday, the word was 'Snowman.  I considered doing another drawing but I thought it would be more creative to think up a new way of doing the challenge.  

So, icing sugar and a chiselled brush on a kitchen cutting mat it was:
So that's it, right up to date.  Not all my posts will be about this, honest, it's just what I'm currently doing and it's christmassy, so it seemed appropriate to put on here.

To follow me on Instagram, I'm #creativeflourishes and this challenge is #kuretakefestivefun.
Thanks for stopping by, other creative flourishes posts coming to this very blog soon,

Creative Flourishes

Wednesday 7 December 2016

#kuretakefestivalfun Instagram Competition

As I mentioned in my post the other day, I have recently restarted using Instagram (#creativeflourishes - appropriately enough ;)  )

I started again when I came across an old abandoned waterworks building that was a photographer's dream.  I don't know if I'm doing it right but I get the impression that you can't put lots of pictures in one go on Instagram (maybe you know different? I'm learning!...)
If you like looking at decaying old buildings and want to see the rest in that series, see the link in my right sidebar to my flickr account, swirlyclicks.

But the reason I am on Instagram more now - daily in fact - is that I am taking part in the Kuretake Festival Fun Lettering Instagram (UK) competition. We are given a word, a Christmassy word, to write each day in a creative way. The winner of the competition - ONE winner - will get to win a collection of Zig Kuretake products, which will include Wink of Stella glitter pens, I think....  (But of course it's not the winning that counts, it's the taking part!....) 

I've been doing this, faithfully every day since the start of December and am trying to vary the style of writing I use, and the products.  They would also like you to use Kuretake products if you have them - and I do, as I have SUCH a massive collection of all sorts of pens, pencils, the lot...  I really could open my own shop! 

These three are my favourites of the ones that I've done so far:
The word 'Candle' was my first one  Written with a Zig calligraphic pen and coloured in with crayons:
Day 2's theme was 'Rudolph'.  From the time that I read the theme and had got upstairs into my craft room to carry out the task, I had forgotten how to spell! 
(Someone on Instagram did kindly point out that the spelling suited the lettering style!)  This was written in red, and had a shadow effect added with a black pen.  I then embossed the red part with an embossing pen and used clear glossy embossing powder on top.
Finally for this post, was this one:
'Stocking'.  I drew the stocking onto the red card background, wrote my letters in black and filled in and around the letters with a brush using Zig white opaque ink.  This type of ink is not meant for large areas, its more of a small correction solution but I love how really white and opaque it is, covering the red completely.

(Disclosure: Despite how it looks, I'm not being asked to promote Zig/Kuretake products, I'm just telling you how I'm using them to do this project).

Hope you enjoyed looking at these and maybe would like to take a look yourself.  Look up #kuretakefestivefun on Instagram to see other people's take on the subject.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, see you again soon,
Creative Flourishes

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Making your own Card & Tag Embellishments

..using stickers and charity shop finds.

Stickers as they come in their packets can look fun but when individually put on other items they can look 'lost'.  The remedy for this is to give them their very own individual background.  You can do any theme - here I just added random colours to these background squares:

...and added monster stickers to make 'inchies',  This example (above) was my take on a 'Mixed Media Morsels' follow along on YouTube from Cat Hands.    (Morsel No. 6)

This way you can make the stickers bigger and into other shapes - in this case, square.  Just add glue when you need to stick them down elsewhere - or use a temporary glue if you want to move them around.

You can also make sticker embellishments for christmas cards and tags which is what I have done here.

For the background on these embellishments I found some textured wallpaper for £1 a roll in a charity shop.  I had two types, one with textured squares and the other was a general spotted texture, both looked like snow, which was the look I was going for.

It's very simple to make these sticker backgrounds. I just cut out some of the wallpaper, found some blue paint (in this case, Twinkling H20's for shimmer) and a selection of stickers.  (These are old ones from Paperchase).  For this effect it's best to use puffy stickers.

I painted some sky in rough squares on the textured wallpaper, but be mindful of the paint pooling!

Then, when the paint was dry, I added the stickers.

Cut them out and you can then add some shading underneath your character with a grey pen to ground it. It looks more professional!

And voila!  These will make great tags, especially for children, and they could help in the making of them too.  These embellishments could have other uses too such as adding them to christmas dinner place labels....

Hope you enjoyed this simple craft and it has inspired you to have a go.

Thanks for stopping by today, see you again very soon,

Creative Flourishes


Monday 5 December 2016

A Creative Flourishes Return Post

Hello Again!

I am back!  It's at Christmas time when I get the urge to be more crafty and when I've done something worth showing I do like the idea of sharing it with others.  As I used to...on here....before...  many moons ago...!

In fact I've missed this space as a 'showcase' for various different projects that I've been doing and plan to gradually start showing some of them - along with any new stuff, of course.

I've not ventured into Blogland and other people's blogs for ages.  To my mind it was never the same when Google changed their blog viewer - I've even forgotten what it was called, it was so long ago.   I remember moving onto Feedly, but it has never been the same.  I shall try to perservere though.

In order to find out what people are doing in the art world, I've got myself more into YouTube (just watching!), Pinterest (my obsession shows with my 2.2K followers and 8.2K pins! - Pinterest name Nicky{Creative Flourishes} and specialist Facebook groups.  Just lately, I've started using Instagram again (#creativeflourishes) as I'm currently doing a Christmas lettering challenge (which I shall tell you about soon).

As far as life goes, I've changed jobs from working in a Pharmacy to working in a stationery shop (part time).  As I am obsessed with all things stationery, this was a good move, I think... (although maybe not so much now, the shop has been bought out and we are waiting to hear what's happening next....!)

This has been enough rambling for one post, I will be back soon with my first 'Official Back to Blogging Craft Post' and I have a plan to do many more.  

Hope you will be here to join me,
Creative Flourishes

Tuesday 9 June 2015

My UK TV Likes & Dislikes Collages

Hello again, it's been a little while since I shared my last 'Now' Craft but here I am with the next - Collage.  It took me a while to get round to doing this craft because I wasn't sure what theme to use to make my collage.  I eventually made myself start by remembering the series of notebooks that I started a while ago.

The first was this one on the theme of slimming and this was the front of the book:
(Paperchase gridded paper notebook with Paperchase stickers and washi tape decoration.  Paper Smooches die cut letters for the title)

I really went to town on this but I didn't take the theme seriously.  While I was creating the collage I was munching my way through a packet of crisps!
(Magazine pictures with various circular stamps added)

(For previous pages of this book see this link).

Then I found two other notebooks that I had previously made a start on.

This one was on the theme of things that make me happy:
In here I decided to do a double page spread of TV programmes that I currently like watching:
 (OK, don't judge, but I actually like watching antique shows! Who knew?...) 

And in this book of things that annoy me....
I made a collage of TV Personalities that really get on my wick.
Oooh! Just looking at this completed page makes me want to shut it again quick!  These people to my mind are just SOOOO annoying!

So, that was the 'Now' Collage project done, on to the next and I see it is Acrylic Painting.  Not quite sure at this stage what form that will take but quite looking forward to the challenge.

Thanks for stopping by today,
@Creative Flourishes


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,
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.

Creative Flourishes

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