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Friday 21 February 2014

Crafty Birthday Gifts including Brusho

It was my birthday on Wednesday and rather than my husband get me things I didn't want, I steered him in the direction of my Amazon wishlist.  I like the idea of this because by using a simple browser add-on I can add items to my list  from all over the web, not just Amazon.  Most of  the gazillion items I have on my list are craft items and art technique books which is quite a minefield when you don't know the difference between a hot glue and an ATG gun. 

This was one of the great items I had seen on my internet travels and really fancied the look of:

Colourcraft Brusho paints and DVD

Thanks go to my husband for the paints and my sister, who bought the DVD from off my wishlist.  It's a great DVD, presented by Joanne Boon Thomas showing lots of great techniques you can do with Brusho.  You can see a preview of one of them on youtube here.  
Another item I had seen on a Donna Downey video was a 'Fresh Water Rinse Well.' This isn't one of life's essentials, but when your craft room is up in the attic and the route to your water supply is down some rickety stairs, it sure makes life easier!  Besides, what are birthdays for, if you can't have the odd frivolous luxury item?  What it does is clear away your old painting water and replace it with clean:
 Brilliant!.. and the gurgling sound you get with the fresh water is an additional bonus. 
I spent my birthday afternoon playing with these new 'toys' and I was absolutely in my element. The first thing I did was to make myself a colour swatch page of the 24 Brusho colours:
Brusho paints are highly pigmented powder paints that you add water to, like watercolours.  You only use a teeny tiny bit at a time so they will last for yonks.  I love vivid colours so was pleased to see they dry almost as bright as they are when they are wet. 

This, however, was the effect I saw that attracted me to them in the first place:
To do this you wet your page and then sprinkle on tiny specks of the paint.  The colours 'explode' onto the page and then blend into each other as you add more.  I'm thinking that they'll make great backgrounds for journal pages.

I also tried normal blending, using the colours like normal watercolour paints (my sons got me a paint pallette and brushes) and also did some flicking of the colours to make spots:
..which again will be useful for all kinds of backgrounds, cards, journal pages, etc.

All in all, I'm really pleased with these gifts and am itching to explore them more when I next get to do some more crafting.

Thanks for stopping by today and
have a great weekend,
Nicky {Creative Flourishes}

Friday 14 February 2014

Last Minute Valentine Decoration Idea

Happy Valentine's Day for those of you that celebrate it.  My husband and I still do, in a way, but after 27 years of being together we don't get quite so into it as we did when we first met. 

I do like to make the odd valentine decoration though and this year I have made some simple little 'love' word decorations for around the house out of letters that I happened to have.

These are just a few:
Made from pieces from a word game called 'konexi'. 

This decoration was put by my husband's beside clock:
.made from an old Scrabble set

..and finally this one made from cookie cutters, put in the kitchen:
I also put some others around in the bathroom and in the lounge but I'm not sure that our 14 year and 11 year old boys are really going to appreciate them...

Nicky {Creative Flourishes}

Tuesday 11 February 2014

How to Draw Cartoons Kit

I had a break from doing my mother-in-law's calendar to have a doodle-y play with a children's cartooning kit.
It was yet another bargain from a charity shop, a big tin (12x12") containing a sketch pad, a pencil, rubber and black liner pen, 8 brush pens and an instructional book on how to draw cartoons.  Not bad for just £1 and it originally came from Marks & Spencers. 

The quality of the kit was good and I had fun following the step-by-step instructions to make some fun animal cartoons:
The problem I had with it was the fact that the finished pictures in the step-by-step book had sophisticated blending and colouring:
Blending and splattering effect on this camel
..Yet they give you basic brush pens that would show every stroke:
I know, I know, its a kit for children and maybe they wouldn't appreciate the difference but when I did mine I just had to use my promarkers for a more sophisticated finish:
I haven't really got any reason to complain about this problem especially as (a) it only cost me £1 after all and (b) as I said before it is meant just for children but...just saying....!

Thanks for looking today,
See you again soon for some more arty craftiness,
Nicky {Creative Flourishes}

Friday 7 February 2014

Personalised Calendar

Last November I was delighted to find in a charity shop a calendar that you can personalise for just 99 pence.  I thought it would make a great extra christmas present for my mother-in-law, my boys' nanny, if I put lots of pictures of her grandchildren throughout the years in it.  Unfortunately it turned out it was only the bare bones of the calendar so didn't include all the coloured papers and embelishments that would have been in the kit if it was complete, so no wonder it only cost 99 pence!  Never mind, I would do my own thing using what I have in my stash and that is what I did.  

I must admit I did craft it at the very last minute before christmas (these things take longer than you think) and even though it was acceptable enough, I didn't like it.  So, after asking her permission, I asked to have it back so that I could improve it.  She agreed to this and as she has now taken a holiday to the Phillipines this month (in glorious sunshine!) it is the perfect time to finish it off.

This is January's page, I didn't alter this much, just drew lines around the photos and tweaked the snowflake embelishments.

February's page I changed quite a lot:
The original photos had printed with a purple tint so they had to be replaced and then I simply added lots of heart and valentine themed collage elements.  Some parts of the layout were on the page before, like the 'I love you' hearts down the side.

March's page I also changed and really went to town with the scribble clouds and washi tape.  The weather is just like this now!
For April, I added lots more easter eggs and washi tape and some stamps of chickens, which I coloured.
The 'Happy Easter Day' title was already printed on the page.
I haven't redone May's page yet but I changed June's as you can see here:
...and After:
I got quite carried away with my circle stamps and then added some more orange with a neocolor II crayon & waterbrush.  

If this calendar was for me I wouldn't be able to resist grunging it up because that is my style, but my mother-in-law has very conventional, conservative taste, so I must resist the urge!

With the weather here being the way it is (see March's page), it looks like I'll be stopping in and getting on with it until it's finished. I do hope my mother-in-law still likes it!

Thanks for looking today, back soon for more calendar artiness,
Nicky {Creative Flourishes}

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Picnic Time!

The weather has been so gorgeous here lately - not! It's been absolutely pouring it down nearly every day and our local river has been on flood alert squillions of times in the last few weeks...  So, what shall we do today?  Maybe go for a picnic?.... 
Except, this picnic is not as it seems.  Well, it is more obvious when you use a super duper macro lens to photograph it, but in normal light, indoors (preferably at night) and squint at it through your fingers from a distance, it looks just like the real thing.  But I am sure you will have spotted, from this outdoor picture taken with said fabby lens that it is in fact a miniature.

The two pence piece is the real thing!  

I made this way back in November but what with me slacking in my duties at blogging you didn't get to see it then. 

I have to say I love miniatures, there's something inherently fascinating about seeing a version of something you know in an incy wincy size.  Which is why I squealed with delight when I found an american girl's craft book in a charity shop that tells you how.  Sorry, but I can't put my hand on the book right now to tell you its title, because it's lost in the back of beyond due to lapsed housekeeping.  Ahem...

Here is another picture to show it's size and this is, of course, a real apple, not a giant one! (that would be a bit scary!):  
And, from what I can remember, the plate was made from a button, the sandwiches are cut sponges with paper cheese and ham (yum!), the chips (which look most unrealistic in these pictures) were made from cocktail sticks and the apple is a bead.  The glass is a plastic top from a lipgloss and the milk is a white glue and water mixture.  

When I find the book I think I'll make some other miniatures, they are such fun to make and also very good conversation pieces too.  'How did you make that?' etc.

Thank you for stopping by today,  see you again soon for some more arty craftiness,
Nicky {Creative Flourishes}

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