Wednesday, 18 April 2018

WOYWW #463: Playing around with resin and other stuff

Two weeks have just zoomed by - I was going to take part in WOYWW last week, but ran out of time. I haven't been doing anything groundbreaking, but I have been trialing a few purchases, so I'm here to show those.

First off, those of you who are familiar with my desk will spot the elephant in the room immediately - two of them, actually:

I'm using 'elephant' figuratively, of course - I'm talking about those two rainbow drawer units sitting on my desk. I actually now have four of them - long story, short: I ordered two from Ryman's but they got misrouted in transit (twice!) and arrived all bashed up 10 days later, both units broken in several places, though still usable. When I complained, they sent me another set - so now I have four! They're very useful for storing bits and bobs, so hopefully my desk will be tidier from now on - yeah, right, who am I kidding?

I also managed to get my hands on a set of Pebeo Mixed Media colour resin pack in the half price sales at Hobby Craft. I really just wanted to try it but found the £15 price tag for the trial pack a bit steep! £7.50 is more palatable, especially that my first batch ended up in the bin. The resin just wouldn't set - I must have got the proportions wrong. My second attempt was more successful.

I used a silicon mould from China to make pendants. I don't wear jewellery but I do like little dangly things on journals, tags, etc. This is what I made with 10 ml resin and 5 ml hardener:

I also bought some more paint that I didn't really need, but that never stopped me! I used them on these tags:

I also got a few Sizzix dies from Amazon, which was my reward and motivation for working those extra hours over Easter:

The gift card bag was particularly good value, considering that it includes a full stencil alphabet.I find the Thinlits dies generally good value for money. 

So that's it. Not very creative, but hopefully I will have more time now that I'm back on my regular hours at work. In case you've been missing Oreo, here's a short video of him chasing a pheasant, not very successfully:

TTFN! I'll be around on Thursday, most probably.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

WOYWW #461: Fake gem stones

I'm pulling my act together and preparing this post a day ahead of WOYWW.  I expected to have some more free time, but I was asked to work more hours, which pretty much ruined my Easter weekend - boohoo. To be honest, I would have needed my time more than the money, but because I'm still on probation I felt obliged to accept. Well, at least I'll have fun spending the extra money, right? In fact, I already have, LOL!

I still managed to fit in some crafty time on Sunday and create a terrible mess as shown in this desk shot:

I can't remember what inspired me initially, but I decided to make some gem stones with cabochons and metal charms. I started out with one of the teabags that were on my desk from last week. I painted it gold, stuck a word on it and a clear glass cabochon on top. The glass magnifies the print, so even a small word cut from tiny book text shows up quite well. This is just a prototype - I'm planning to make some more. I'm sure I can use them in various projects later on.

Then I remembered that I had some of those fancy Pebeo Moon and Prisme paints lying around. I bought them more than a year ago and never used. They're really fun to play with - I don't know why I haven't tried them earlier! First, I used some in a metal pendant I found in my stash and never knew I had - I dripped two colours together (Turquoise and Emerald Green) and swirled them around a little with the back of a paintbrush. This is what I ended up with:

Next, I tried dripping some paint on the back of a large oval cabochon - I used Apricot and Carmine, if I remember correctly. I'm pretty impressed with the results, but it was difficult to take a good photo to show it to its best advantage:

I've also experimented with the Pebeo paints on top of metal charms. There's a difference between the effects the Moon and Prisme paints create. The Moon variety is the swirly one and the Prisme creates the dotted/mottled effect. I haven't tried mixing the two yet, but I think you can do that too. Here are a couple of photos of my further attempts: 

While I was looking for tutorials about the use of these paints, I bumped into a video about making fake gems with a piece of kitchen foil and alcohol inks. Since I had all the ingredients available, I had to try this technique immediately! It works really well and it's so easy! You have to crumple a piece of kitchen foil and then smooth it out. Drip some alcohol inks on the surface and allow them to blend, adding some clear alcohol to facilitate the process. Once it is dry, stick some clear glass cabochons on top and cut around them: voila, you've got your gems! I only had two cabochons left to try this - I must buy some more! Aren't they pretty and they look even better in real life!

So that was my little play over the weekend. It felt really good to be back in my creative space. Next, I will try making my own cabochons from resin. 

I'll leave you with this funny photo I took of Oreo staring down the neighbour's moggy, who we  affectionately refer to as 'Fat Cat'. He's also known as 'Perimeter Cat' as he likes to walk around the perimeter of our plot, though Oreo doesn't always take kindly to his territory being invaded and we have had to break up a couple of fights. This particular encounter ended peacefully when I took Oreo in and Fat Cat wobbled away. 

Happy WOYWW! Thanks for visiting today - I'll be around as soon as I can! 

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

WOYWW #460: Brown Bag Journal (part 2)

I thought I'd better check in today, lest people forget I ever existed!  I've been settling into my new routine post homeschooling. My son has been back at school for almost two weeks now and he seems to have fitted in quite well. Although I have more free time now, with the school bus leaving at 7:30, I no longer have the luxury of a lie-in, even when I work afternoons. Inexplicably, even though I wouldn't have to get up until 6.30, I always wake up at stupid o'clock and have trouble going back to sleep, so I tend to get up at around 5 a.m. and sometimes even earlier. So here I am writing this WOYWW post at the crack of dawn.

I haven't been active in my craft room lately - I need to find my mojo - but I managed to snap this photo on Sunday. I was prepping some tea bags to be used as tiny canvases, but that's as far as I got with them. Oreo was keeping me company - you can see that his two white eyebrow whiskers have now begun to grow back!

Although I haven't created anything new recently, I still have some projects I made over Christmas that I'd never shared. Some of you might remember my paper bag journal from last year - I'm now ready to show you the flipside.  It was done in a similar fashion with lots of little scraps and images I had lying around, with not much planning or specific intention, therefore the pages may look a bit random.

I'm planning to make a flip-thorough at one point, but for now you'll have to content yourself with another video I'm sharing from Facebook (I hope that's OK!). It shows an easy technique of painting a realistic cat portrait. I might try this with Oreo if I can get his head through a canvas, but somehow I doubt it would be possible! Other cats seem to be a lot more laid back about these things.

If this made you smile, I've done my job today :)
Thanks for visiting - I'll be around later in the week - happy WOYWW! 

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

WOYWW #457: A Quick Catch-up

Hi Everyone! I know I've been AWOL for a while, but I thought I'd check in today with WOYWW. I got up at 5 am especially - ok, the truth is I couldn't get back to sleep, so I thought I might as well just get up. So here I am with the obligatory and all-important desk shot!

I've tidied up my desk a bit - can you spot anything new? It's that day-light lamp in the corner - I've been coveting one for ages and since it was my birthday yesterday I got hubs to buy me one. My first impressions are very good - we'll see how it fares long term. Also new is that mini bunting hanging from my shelves. I cut the shapes with a Crafter's Companion mixed media die-set from my grungy gelli prints.  I had a bit of trouble with those dies - they are thicker than normal and they were hard to put through the Big Shot, even though they claim to be compatible. In the end I had to experiment adjusting the thickness of the sandwich to wind them through safely. Anyone had the same experience with those particular dies? Here's a closer look at my lamp and the bunting:

I also made a quick tag on the go, just using left over paint and things I'd found on my desk. This is why I keep all those scraps lying around, although they can get a bit overwhelming after a while. I used a piece of canvas for the tag and stuck a dried up paint circle from my paint tubes around the hole. Those of you who use acrylic paints will know what I'm talking about! 

That's all the creativity that took place in the last three weeks, I'm afraid. In between home schooling and working I don't have much time left for hobbies. The good news is that my son's been offered a place in Year 8 at the middle school, so now we're just waiting for his bus pass to come through and that will free up some of my time. The double good news is that he's also been accepted at the high school from September, so it seems we're all sorted on the school front. Both schools have outstanding ratings, which is why it was important for us to get him in and opted for homeschooling while on the waiting list. 

Most of the UK had some snow last week, so I'm looking forward to seeing all your snowscapes! Here's mine of a fox prowling the grounds behind our house. The first one was taken from inside, but then I braved the elements and went outside in my cream coloured onesie (I just hope the neighbours didn't see me LOL!) I must have blended well into the snowy background because the fox didn't spot me and I was able to get quite close. I even had to make a noise for him (or her?) to look at me. I just wish I'd had my bigger camera with me - these were taken with just my pocket Nikon. 

I've also got a short video of Oreo - we were trying to get him to come out from under the sofa with some Dreamies, but we couldn't trick him!

Thanks for visiting! I will return all visits if you leave a comment! 
See you all later when I'm back from work!

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

WOYWW #454: Grungy gelli prints with alcohol ink

I ran out of time last week and missed WOYWW, which I really regretted! I need to be super organised in order to take part, as I work Tuesday night and Wednesday morning and WOYWW is sandwiched right in between these two shifts - and let's face it, I'm not famous for being super organised! Luckily, I remembered last Sunday to take a photo of my desk and my current projects, so here I am - writing this on Tuesday afternoon just before setting off to work, so I can post it on Wednesday morning just before setting off to work again!

The photo shows the aftermath of my grungy gelli printing session inspired by Kate Crane's recent video where she used a layer of alcohol ink mixed in with acrylics. This results in a nice grungy texture where the alcohol ink reacts with the paint. Here are some of the prints I managed to pull, including some ghost prints.

I've even got some nice colourful pulls from my 6X6 inch plate which I was using as a palette, as per Kate's instructions.

The second part of Kate's video shows how she turned her prints into projects, which is on my to-do list as well! But for now let me show you a journal page I did on the run. It's nothing special, just playing to my heart's content with shapes and textures. I used up some bits and pieces lying on my desk and tried not to stress about the details - just playing and enjoying a little creative time.

Here's the obligatory Oreo photo at the end of my post, in case you've missed him. He's lost his two white eyebrow whiskers again - they come and go periodically. For a while he always looks stupid with just one of them remaining, LOL, but they're both gone now. I hope they'll grow back - they're one of his trademarks! 

Thank you for visiting today. I'll be visiting everyone soon - if not today then later this week. 
Happy WOYWW!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

WOYWW #452: Foam stamps made with stencils

I'm writing this blog post on Tuesday as I'll be at work tomorrow morning but I didn't want to miss this week's WOYWW. Here's the obligatory shot of my desk in all its messy glory earlier this week:

I was trying out some new paints and happened to have a cardboard envelope sitting on my desk, so I just grabbed that and smudged some paint on it in a random fashion. Then I remembered my home-made foam stamps, so I used one of those as well. I ended up with this upcycled envelope, which I'm sure will come in handy one day. 

These are the new paints I used. I bought them at Crafter's Companion who have an outlet near me. This shop together with The Range definitely make up for the lack of a Hobby Craft around here and satisfy my cravings for real-life shopping experience of arts & crafts products! 

In case you're wondering how I made the foam stamp, here's the set-up:

The photo shows a Big Shot, but I expect it would work just the same with all other similar die-cutting machines. I used the main platform with all tabs closed + cutting pad + kraft card + foam sheet + stencil + cutting pad.  The kraft card was added for extra resistance, but it could be anything else - just experiment to see what thickness works best. Run this sandwich through slowly a couple of times to make sure you get a good impression of the stencil pattern on the foam. It works remarkably well - much better than my previous experiment without a die-cutting/embossing machine which involved a hot iron with disastrous consequences!

Here are some more foam stamps I made this way. They work great on the gelli plate or you can roll some paint on them directly with a brayer to create some lovely, distressed textures..

Finally, I'd like to share something I received in the post yesterday all the way from the US from my very dear friend, Jackie. She sent me this beautiful tag wrapped in some lovely mulberry paper, which I will be using in collages. I'll even reuse the washi tape she sealed the envelope with! Thanks you so much, Jackie, for your kindness and thoughtfulness! It really made me happy and brightened my day!

Big thanks to everyone who have visited and commented - I promise to get back to every one of you some time in the next few days when time allows! Happy WOYWW!