Welcome to my creative online journal

Tuesday 31 August 2010

Leaf Necklaces

My boys (aged 8 and 10) amused me this morning.  I suggested that we made a craft present for each of  their girl friends.  You should have heard the protests they made about definately not having any girlfriends! Not to mention the vigorous shaking of heads and protestations at the idea of making anything for the girls that we do know.  I showed them the finished craft which looked easy & fun and wouldn't take them very long.  I had found it on this great (american) site, Frugal Family Fun Blog today (the site link is also in my sidebar). 
They are initial leaf necklaces
 (for Cara, Megan, Ellie and Isabella :-)  )

The full instructions can be found on the link above but basically you use alphabet biscuit cutters to cut the initial out of a leaf and then laminate both sides using clear contact paper.  Cut the leaf out and then hole punch the contact paper at the top and thread & tie string through.
Despite their protests they DID make them. They fetched the leaves from the garden (hazelnut tree) and the older one was quite happy to make the initials.  (If I had got the leaves I'd have picked better specimens but you have to let them do things themselves!...)

Things we learned from doing this:
1. Make sure you check the leaves for teeny insects before you bring them inside!
2. You need a hammer or something tough to tap the initials with if your biscuit cutter shapes aren't as sharp as they should be.
3. Allow quite a bit of clear contact paper on the top where you punch the hole and if you accidently rip through it mend it with a clear reinforcement ring.  We put rings on all ours to make them stronger.
4. 'Big Bites' might be tough, but they aren't very good at punching holes in two layers of contact paper!
5. I need to learn some basic knotting techniques!

I'm pleased with the results (I even made one for myself!) and think they would also look
fab with seasonally coloured Autumn leaves.

Thanks for looking and for any comments you may leave,
See you tomorrow,

Monday 30 August 2010

First Day at School Tag

I've done a craft tonight that I've never tried before, a multimedia tag:

I was just browsing my google reader and spotted this post by one of my favourite artists, Dina Wakley. She has a fab blog called Ponderings and has just started on the DT of (Lord) Tim Holtz!  Do have a look at her site, for some fab tabs using Tim's products. 

Here's further details of mine:
I used napkins, paper scraps, a frame die cut and even a bit of our twirl painting from yesterday.  I then added rubber stamps, distressed the edges and wrote the lettering with my Uniball white pen.
It was a fun project to do and I shall have to do one about the other son or they'll be arguments! ;-)

* * * * *
We enjoyed our Bank Holiday day at Hatton Country World and it didn't rain! Was a teeny bit nippy though but it didn't spoil our enjoyment.  Whilst my MIL was minding the children, watching the sheep racing and taking them around the maize maze, I snook to the shopping village.  It wasn't as crafty as it used to be {blast} and the only crafty equipment they had was for children.  I still got a few bits though:

Two canvas pencil pictures for my craft room (one is a noticeboard), some girly stickers and a posh letter 'N' for decorating.
This was just £8 (its a discount place)
..and this was £6.  I figured I couldn't make one for cheaper..

Hope you've enjoyed your Bank Holiday.
Thanks for reading and for any comments you may leave,
See you tomorrow,

Sunday 29 August 2010

Bank Holiday Sun?

What's the weather like for this Bank Holiday? We have been having lots and lots of rain where I am in the UK recently and it has made it difficult to make plans of things to do and where to go.  We are hoping to go to a Farm/Craft Village (yay!) today (Monday) called Hatton Country World (near Warwick) and would like some decent weather for a change. 
* * *
Today we had a mixture of sunshine and showers again but while the sun was around we managed to get outside and do a family craft:
It was spinning paint on a Lazy Susan (which cost £1.25 from a charity shop)
You need paint, paper, a lazy susan and a willing helper - in protective clothing!
This was a learning process for us having never tried this before, on our first attempt the paint was too thick:
Oops! We also discovered  you need a bigger piece of paper:
A MUCH bigger piece of paper! All the good effect ended up on the newspaper!
We sellotaped a bigger piece to the bottom of the Lazy Susan:
Here's a shot of it twirling...
and how it looked finished. Not sure I was that keen on the finished results but I will keep them to use as background papers for my art journalling etc:

See you tomorrow,
Thanks for reading and any comments you may leave.
Have a great Bank Holiday (whatever the weather!)

Saturday 28 August 2010

Image Transfer on Canvas

I've had another go at image transfer tonight (phew, the fumes!) using Cellulose Thinners.  I didn't give myself enough time to do enough experimenting and I think if I had more time I would get more successful results. 

This was one of the effects:
I don't know if you can just about make out a profile of a face there, I decided to try doing my transfer onto canvas paper this time to get a textured effect.
This was the original image I used - and of course you get the image reversed.  Something to bear in mind if you want to use text.
Here they are side by side.  I actually like the pencil lines texture that it gives to both images.

The transfer may have been stronger if I had done the transferring onto plain paper rather than canvas - or maybe used a different type of magazine print.  More experimenting needs to be done I think.

To do this particular technique I applied some cellulose thinners directly onto the image with a foam sponge brush, turned it over onto the canvas and scribbled on the back with a pencil. 

I also tried it with a tomato image:

and again the transfer is a bit subtle but I am liking the 'magic' scribble effect it gives.

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

Friday 27 August 2010

Creative Lettering

Today I've been looking at lettering for my art journal/altered book.  The instruction manuals and videos on journalling suggest you try this 'higgledy piggledy' style - where you draw guidelines using curved lines and you write in different sizes and thicknesses, like this:
I also made myself another 'Everyday' type of journal using a non-leather A5 Filofax which I have decorated with abstract scribbling:
I used white shoe polish and coloured markers.  I couldn't possibly have a creative journal with a plain black cover!
I decorated the inside too:
I've made myself some canvas pages by cutting up a roll of canvas from 'The Works' and hole punching them with my 'Big Bite'.
(The filofax was another charity shop bargain £2!)

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

Thursday 26 August 2010

Everything is Beautiful

I'm back to doing some new techniques in my altered book/journal today and this is what I've done tonight:

(The lettering isn't there on the pages yet, I've done a mock up using Picnik whilst waiting for the paint to dry).

To do this technique which I found on a youtube video, I first of all scribbled (that was fun!) using watercolour crayons onto the page (I'm getting braver, I did this technique DIRECTLY into the journal! :-O)
That packet of FAB watercolour crayons had cost me £1.75 from a charity shop a while back.  I'd never used them because I hadn't thought of anything to use them for!

You then wash over the colours with water, blending as you go...
..and the interesting bit, splashing it with Rubbing Alcohol.  Gives a cool resist effect.
I'm thinking I may add some rubber stamps on to the page too and maybe some cut out images.  I will assess it when its fully dry....

(Remember the pages have previously been gessoed which is why they could handle the water colour painting).
* * * * *
I took my boys into town today - I hate doing this as they hate shopping - but at first it was OK because I'd got them those I-Spy Books I spoke about in my Summer Special:
...which kept them amused for a bit...
But botherations, rain stopped play!

Thanks for stopping by,
See you tomorrow,

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Xmas Card for a change

For a break from creating new techniques for my altered book I have created this Christmas Card:
(Scanned image - top cut off accidently)
To make this I put together some free papers that came with the October edition (No 75) of 'Simply Cards & Papercraft' and added a sparkly ribbon.  There are a few good free gifts on the card magazines at the moment, including 'Crafts Beautiful' which comes with some free clear Christmas stamps.  They all seem to be preparing for Christmas early this year, have they forgotten its still August?!

The rain where I live in the Middle of England is relentless these days.  We are getting heavy showers almost every day now - where's our Summer gone?  As a bit of light relief from the rain, take a look at this video of my children's cuddly duck.  We press its foot and it sings:
(Sorry about the formatting if you are looking at it in the blog)

It was raining just before we took this video but we didn't want him to really get wet!
As its been raining I've been doing inside science projects with my older son today, I've got some pictures but can't seem to find my camera at the moment.  I'll show you soon,

Thanks for looking,
See you tomorrow,

Tuesday 24 August 2010

Background Paper Techniques

As my regular followers know, I am altering an old book into a personal art journal and as part of that altering process I am on the lookout for creative techniques that I can use for the backgrounds for my pages.

Today I found a great resource of artistic techniques here at Paper Imagery It is a blog that has a 'Technique Tuesday' every week so there are loads of fab ideas to try.

Tonight I did a couple of techniques:

One was this, which was just crumpling up a glossy magazine image, unfolding it and then rubbing it over with a brown ink pad:
and then for the other I did a resist effect using clear embossing onto a page of text:
It was this technique here
I like this idea of placing a resist image over your writing, but still allowing you to read it.

The white Uniball pen didn't work for my journalling on my page yesterday, I ended up having to use a Tipp-Ex Correction pen.  I also used one of the new black Sharpie Pens. This type are still permanent but they are  fine tipped and don't cause bleeding through pages. Perfect. 

Thanks for looking,
See you tomorrow,

Monday 23 August 2010


I am pleased to say that I finally finished all the gessoing of the pages of my altered book today and was able  to get on with my first new technique.

I think that the people that know me would have been surprised at the subject matter I chose for my art journal/altered book yesterday so today I have started to answer:

This could have a double meaning but what I intended it to be is the introduction of the book and I will be (secretly) journalling around the cross why I have chosen this subject and what the book will be about.

The new technique I used was for the background and I got the instructions for it here.  I loved how the texture of the black came out and don't think I'll be able to resist using this technique again.  

 The technique itself  is called gesso resist and to do it you do this:
(I used a plain piece of card that I could stick into the book). 
First gesso the card in a random fashion.
Then when it is fully dry, paint over with acrylic paints, again quite haphazardly.
Next scrape off some of the paint using the edge of a dry credit card.
While still wet, spritz it with water, leave a moment or two...
...and then blot with a paper towel.  Gives a great textured background as it is...
..But on mine I added this cross (which was a magazine cutting of a piece of jewellery) and misted it in the way I showed you a couple of days ago:
I then added the lettering and some more black distress ink around the edges before sticking it into the inside cover of the book. 

To do the journalling I plan to use my Uniball white gell pen, they are supposed to be able to write on anything and everything - that is if I can find it!...

Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow,

Sunday 22 August 2010

New Techniques to You

Today I got covered in black and white! For a lot of the day (until my sons came home from their grandparents) I've been gessoing pages and pages of that altered book I started a while ago.  I also have made its title frame for the front and also for the binding:

I decided that aswell as its pages being full of techniques, it would be more of an art journal with a theme.  And whilst listening to some religious music this morning when washing up, it gave me the idea to make the theme of this book Religion, and more specifically, God.  I've been looking at 'how to' art journal sites recently and they have inspired me by saying you make the journal for you!  Nobody else has to approve, nobody else even has to see it, you do it in your way, and you choose how you wish to do it.  This is me being brave! Not something I do very often.  

Anyway, here is the full cover and front inside page:

Yes, I've called it 'New Techniques to You  Subtitle God?'
I've added black distress ink and scroll stamps (which is how I ended up covered in black!) around the exisiting frame.

Part of the reason I chose this subject was because the original book was religious, so I'm keeping with its theme.  

And even though I will be keeping my views private, I still plan to show you the book as it progresses as I'm going to be doing artistic techniques on the backgrounds of the pages. 

And this was the reason I got covered in white today:
Lots and lots of pages that had to be brushed over with gesso!  Strangely soothing to do though as gesso (it works as a paint primer) has a nice texture to it.   I've still got quite a few pages left to do though....

Thanks for looking,
See you tomorrow,

Saturday 21 August 2010

Charity Shop Shopping Post

The craft I did tonight didn't work (technically) so I wasn't going to put on a post today at all but changed my mind and have made this into a 'Recent Shopping' post instead.  I haven't had one for a while so I think I'm due.

So, what did I get then?

First up we have these:
and these:
Aren't they lovely? Frosted letter glasses. I love calligraphy and lettering so they are right up my street. Not sure whether to use them to put my crafty pens & pencils in them, (but knowing what a clumsy whotsit I am, maybe not!)  I might just leave them on display, well away from where I can reach...

Still on the glasses theme, I got some Christmas Baubles!:

They are clear glass ones for me to do crafty things with - last year I remember looking everywhere for this type and couldn't find any, so I was pleased to find these in a local charity shop.  There are lots of crafty things you can do with these, apparently...

Next up, another charity shop find, a 12x12 frame, very useful for displaying scrapbooking pages...
..and yet another charity shop find, a travel log book, just 99p!:

I've already started to loosely put my Germany souvenirs in it:
and finally, a long reach stapler for the bargain price of £3:
Great price, considering they are normally around £20! 

Thanks for stopping by,
See you tomorrow for a regular crafting post,

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