Welcome to my creative online journal

Friday, 30 July 2010

Fancy Dress

Today's post is a photographic one.  Today my boys had 'Dressing Up' Day in the garden, until rain stopped play. I was going to put some outfits on myself  (honest!) but some of the outfits got damp in the garden when we came in for lunch and it rained - so I you have been spared that spectacle!

This one of my oldest has had a little bit of Picnik treatment:
Picnik, for those of you that are new to my blog and don't know I use it a lot, is a free photo manipulation program that you can do lots of cool effects with (you can also subscribe for even more effects).

Both my boys liked the 'Stephanie from Lazy Town' wig! (um, mine!)

These are of my youngest:
..and these are of my oldest - in lots of different wigs!:
We do seem to have acquired a lot of fancy dress stuff over the years as we do like to go to town at parties!  (Not that we go to many!) But you can't beat a bit of silliness now and again, can you?
* * *

My husband is coming back from China tomorrow and we are all going to Germany on Monday for 9 days.  Today I got my boys learning about where it is (remember? lol) and a bit about the Country.  I got a book from the library:
We even learned about some of its history:

..and some german language. We now know 'Please' (Bitte), 'Thank You' (Danke) and 'Chocolate' (Shokolade). 
Also, 'Hello' (Guten Tag) and 'Goodbye' (Auf Wiedersehen).

We will be going to Playmobil Land which looks fun on the videos on youtube.  I will of course be taking lots of photos, some of which I'll show you on here.  I may be able to do it whilst we are away, depending on the quality of internet access.

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

Thursday, 29 July 2010

New to You!

I've decided on my theme and title for my altered book, it is 'New to You'.  What it'll be about will be artistic techniques that are new to me.  I plan to scour the internet and youtube and my existing sketchbooks and notebooks and find some techniques that I haven't tried yet.  This book will be a way of showcasing what I've learned, in other words an extension of this blog! lol.

Tonight I just did this quickly, but its not a final idea:

I've been looking at youtube today under the subject of altered books and found out what I needed to do next.  This was to glue some of the pages together so each page that I work on is thicker.  This is especially important if I am going to paint on them or add 3d elements...

So I got the materials together:
Some Gel Medium, a brush, some waxed paper and the book.

Fortunately this technique meant I only had to glue the edges of the pages, not each individual page.  I stuck 5 pages together, but the one on the video I watched joined 50! (or was it 15?)
I stuck the gel medium to all three sides and put wax paper on either side to stop them sticking to the other pages.
Then I put a weight on it whilst it dried.

With drying time it is going to take quite a while to do the whole book. I've done about half today.

In the top picture, I just stamped some images onto a page of another old book, cut them out and lay them on to one of the pages on this book.  It's not a finished idea yet, but I liked the way the text was bigger in the stamped images than in the original text.  I also like the way that the pictures look with printed words in them. I've seen them alot in Blogworld and they look effective.

Glad to report that my son is back to normal now, eating fine and no high temperature.  That is a relief!

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Free Style Painting

Thanks for the kind messages on my last post.  My son has still got a temperature which I am keeping an eye on and he's still not able to eat properly yet either, but he is glad to be home when he's not feeling well.  Not that he was naughty on purpose, of course.  He was sent home for apparently being 'disruptive' and kept people awake giggling and being noisy with other mischevious characters in the group.  They were also sent home.  In his ill state, my son is being very subdued and sorry to me, offering to help doing the housework (from his sick bed), something he never normally does! 

In my previous posts, I have spoken about how I would love to do work in the style of Dina Wakley, whose work I greatly admire.  In order to even make a start on doing work anything like the work she does I need to start freeing my artistic style, be prepared to make a mess, be able to freely paint and splatter.

This is what I have done tonight:
I used some texture printing tools that I got from Hobbycraft a while ago:

I also did another:
I love the unpredictable look of paints running into each other but they don't always dry as you want them to.

This is of course, another idea for the Summer Holidays with the kids, freedom painting, painting just to make interesting marks, not worrying about making a realistic representation.  You can use them as they are or cut them up to make interesting backgrounds for other artistic purposes.

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Late Xmas Card!

Where does the time go?!  I was happily browsing Money Saving Expert like you do(!) and the time disapeared before my very eyes!  I have had to do a rapid craft tonight which is why this Christmas Card is not complete - its a 'Work in Progress'.

I will show you the finished card as I'm still working on it right now (or rather when I've finished writing this!)

(Scanned image)

I've had a bad day today, I've had a phone call from the Cub Camp saying that I've got to pick up my older son up because he's been too naughty for them to let him stay!  :-O    So tomorrow I've got an 8 hour car journey with my father-in-law and younger son down to Southampton to pick him up!  Grrrrr!  Not happy!

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

EDIT: Think I should have left it as it was! I added some more snowflakes and old fashioned glitter, but now it looks like a child has done it! :-(  Think I'm tired!:

Monday, 26 July 2010

Where do you live?

I will come back to the Altered Book soon but tonight's activity is a tutorial for a Summer Holiday activity.

It is an educational activity but part of it can only be made by an older child or grown up.  You'll see why!

What it is is a geography puzzle.  It's to get your children to know more about the country they live in and where places they know are.

This is what it looks like:

To make it, I used:
A shoe box, some low tack masking tape, a stencil of the UK (sorry, Ireland wasn't included!), some Glimmer Mist and a label maker (or titles done on a computer or written!)

I put the masking tape on the back of the stencil and stuck it to the inside of the shoebox:
(There were some holes on this stencil that I covered up with tape too)

...and then glimmer misted all around it:
But what is it about these mists that they always clog? Grrr.  Had to finish off with my fixative blower in the mist:
Take away the stencil (and wash it) and ta da!:
You then cut out the back panel of the shoebox with the map on it

..and print out place names that are relevant to the child - places they've been to/heard of/where they live and get them to place them on the map where they think they are:
You could also use it as a teaching aid with other labels.  Eventually stick them down. 

The glimmer mist part is quite messy so you might want to do that bit yourself.  I'm interested in seeing where my younger son thinks these places are when I test him in the morning! :-)

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

MORNING EDIT:  I'm glad I checked on my son's (lack of) geography knowledge. This is what he thought:

He only got Scotland and where he lives right! :-O Ah well, at least I could educate him on the rest!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Lullaby and Goodnight

I was very good today, I went to the Cancer Research charity shop and took a carrier bag full of books in!  It didn't stop me buying one book in replacement though, lol.  This book was a bargain though, as of course everything I ever seem to buy from these shops is.  It was a book from the 1960's with the words and music to nursery ryhmes and other children's tunes called 'My First Sing-A-Song Book'.  What I like about this one is it has lovely vintage images illustrating the songs. 

There is a lullaby section with this picture:
and it had a very famous tune called 'Cradle Song' which was written by Brahms that I remember singing to my baby (who is now 10!) at bedtime:
(Photo of baby Ryan asleep on left)

And on the front and back inside covers, there is this lovely illustration of a children's park.  This was the type of park I used to go on when I was little:
I remember that climbing frame and seesaw!

This is the book:
Costing me just 50p!   Memories? Priceless!

I also got these 'trainer wings!'
Which are embossed! I will be doing something artistic with them...
But not this! lol.  These were just 35p!

Tonight I also inked the edges of my altered book:
Just need to start thinking about a title and theme now...

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Cover of Altered Book

Well, its the very start of the Summer holidays for us...and my oldest son has gone off to cub camp in the New Forest for a week!  More of that later in the post.

As you know, I am altering an old book that I started the other day, I still don't know its theme (although there is a great resource that lists themes for altered books here) but I have recovered it with the paper that I made yesterday:

I just covered it used the 'hospital corner' technique that I remember from High School all those millions of years ago, lol.
My trusty ATG Glue Gun was used to stick it down.

I also cut out the one and only illustration out of the book:
By cutting out just the illustration it has framed the next page:
which has a flowery frame around it.  I'm not terribly keen on the frame but might leave it in as I do intend to keep some parts of the original book.  I will be changing the title inside it though.
As I said, I don't quite know what this book will be about yet, I'm making it up as I go along  at the moment I am just appreciating the process.  That site I have mentioned (once or twice) is a great resource for altered books and there is a great gallery of inspiration to be found here.

* * * * *

As I mentioned at the start of my post, our ten year old has gone away without us for the first time!  I'm sure he'll have a great time doing all those fun things that cubs get up to at camps but it does feel a bit strange in the house without him:
Bye Mum!
Just before set off (Ryan is here on the left)

Our other son is going tomorrow morning. He will be camping with his Beavers group but that's only until Monday night.  Still, it's going to be very quiet for a couple of days for me here at home but it will mean that I can come and go as I choose, hooray!

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

Friday, 23 July 2010

Flourishes Printmaking

I think the charity shop saw me coming today (no, not in that way!) they had put this gem in their 30p box which had my name on it! (no, not literally, lol)

Before I show you what it is I will show you what I made with it:

Just look at that sumptious texture with my favourite motif - flourishes, yay!

The object itself I think is a hot plate/trivet for teapots?  It's got an Ikea label on the back so it probably wasn't that expensive in the first place, but it is just 'so me!'

It's all embossed so I'll be able to use it for so many things, embossing (obviously), clay impressions, crayon or wax rubbings... and what I did in the above pictures, printmaking.  I covered it with some Black Soot Distress Ink and printed it on a piece of scrap paper (above) and all over a large piece of lining paper (below):

This was me getting my hands dirty:
I was thinking that I might use this paper either inside or on the cover of the Altered Book I started yesterday.

What a great find!

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Altered Book

Nearly all the projects I have been doing on this blog have been crafts that I have started and finished in one day.  Today's project is not one of those, it is the start of one that I plan to carry out over time.  The project is to be an altered book.  I haven't decided on the type of book I'm going to make it into yet but I will be working that out as I go along.

The book I will be altering is this one:

It's called Arthur Ranyards Training by Emma Leslie

And it only has one illustration in it. This one:
I have never altered a book before but fancied doing so as I have seen some really interesting examples on other blogs.  This site (link also in my side panel at the bottom) has some excellent instructions on how to alter books and I followed these to show me how to make a start. 

Before I show you, let me point out that I have had difficulty finding a book to use for this project because a little while ago I bought one that I thought was suitable.  It was a big book called 'Fifty Great Disasters and Tragedies that Shook the World', very nice and cheery, eh?  The trouble was, before I could bring myself to do anything to it, I took a look at the pages, started to read... and it turned out to be fascinating!  I couldn't possibly start destroying a book that is actually worth reading so it was back to the drawing board.  I got another one from a charity shop and that looked quite good too...   And then I read the instructions and it said that the book needs to be an old book that is sewn not glued together. That is because it will start to fall apart when you alter it if it has been glued together, not sewn.  So I went on another hunt....

And today I found this book ('Arthur Ranyard's Training')  It doesn't look that interesting honest!  It did have this inscription on the front page though:

(Which I will be keeping)

But, remember there are hundreds, nay millions of books like this in the world so remember this if you decide to do the same as me, making a book that is readable and interesting from one that isn't.  Trust me, the pictures I have shown you so far are the only interesting things about this book!  It's not valuable either, it can't be, it only cost me 99p!

So, (now those of a nervous disposition, look away now!) the first stage in altering this book was to take out some of the back pages so that it can handle the bulky embellishments that will be added.  You do that by tearing them out against a ruler about a half an inch from the binding:

..and that is where I am at.  Until the next time...

Thanks for reading this really long post,
See you tomorrow,

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Teacher Postcard

I am really tired, I've had a long day and a good part of it was spent trying to sort out the background on this blog.(see previous post).

I've just made up a quick postcard type of card for my elder son's teacher.  She is leaving the school this year and its a real shame, she was one of my favourites.  I was hoping my younger son would have her teaching him too.

Anyway, this is the picture that will go on the card:

(Original picture from 'E' blog)

I decided to let the teacher think about the holiday she has coming up rather than the school just gone!  I'll put a 'thank you' message inside.

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

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