Friday, 31 October 2014

Recycled Mini-Album–Early Family Life

I have completed the first two pages in the Early Family Life section of the recycled mini-album.

The first photo shows the photos for this section, and the materials for the first page. The stamp set is Darkroom Door Alphabet Medley, and I used the larger set. You can see that I have stamped the letters onto scrap card using sepia archival ink.

27 Materials for Early Family Life Title

The photos and letters in place, and the border started. Each letter has been embellished with black and white pens.

29 Early Family Life Title Border

The finished title page of the section, with the black border on the right being extended into the photo, and more embellishment added.

30 Early Family Life Title Completed

Moving on to the next pages, for the background I chose one of the alcohol ink backgrounds I made the other day – this is the black and white one, using black, white and silver mixative alcohol inks on the reverse side of a shiny A5 flier relating to solar panels – an appropriate background for this project as it is using recycled paper!  After cutting the sheet into two, cut down to size, I stuck them down, using regular matt gel medium. I chose three photos for this page,and stuck them down at different angles, using the gel medium as before. In the picture you can also see the glass bead gel medium which I used for texture on this page. I love this stuff!

31 Early 1950s Photos on Alcohol Ink Background

Here is the completed page. I added the white squares of the border using a white marker pen, and the shading was done with a wet brush and some very dilute black acrylic paint. It made the white marker pen run, but I didn’t mind this, as I blotted it off, and then went over the black squares with a permanent black marker pen.

32 Early 1950s Page Completed

I wrote the title words with a permanent black marker and cut them out, and then distressed the edges with Black Soot distress ink. These were stuck down with regular matt gel medium. The other text was written with a combination of the white and black marker pens.

33 Early 1950s Detail

I applied the glass bead gel medium fairly sparingly around the edges of the photos to mute the edges somewhat, and a little on the background, using a palette knife. When it was dry, I added some silver gilding wax with my finger on the parts over the photo edges, leaving the medium on the background unchanged, so that the background showed through. Unfortunately the photo doesn’t pick this up very well, but when dry, the glass bead gel medium dries crystal clear and the glass micro-beads sparkle.

34 Early 1950s Detail

If you look carefully at the photos, the smallest child in the canoe and in the car, and the small child in the foreground in the group photo beside the baby, is Shoshi!! (I haven’t changed much, have I…) The Ford Consul was new when this photo was taken, and I can just remember this car, which was lime green with a bench seat in the front. Before that we had a Riley but I don’t remember that.

I am making reasonable progress with this album but there are still an awful lot of pages to embellish!! With this double page spread I have begun the second of five signatures. I am determined to finish the project by the end of the year because I am anxious to start on some new work, majoring on textiles, and getting my new sewing machine going, and developing my teabag art.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


For details of how to join in the weekly mess-fest, please click on the WOYWW logo in my sidebar, which will take you to our hostess Julia’s blog, where all will be revealed.

So… what’s on my desk this week? The next page of my Recycled Mini-Album.


This was my desk as I was sorting out the materials and photos for the page.

This is how far I’ve got.

29 Early Family Life Title Border

There’s still a bit of tidying up to do, but I think I’ll probably leave it at that.

I’m sorry I didn’t get to visit many desks last week – in between being too busy for my own good, I had a bad week with my M.E. and spent a lot of time on the recliner, and some of the time was too poorly to be on the computer (and that’s really saying something lol!). I’ve got very behind with everything again, and when I did manage to spend time in my ARTHaven, I seemed to have lost my touch as far as design was concerned – poor composition and generally leaving me feeling pretty frustrated!

See what I mean?

08 Finished Piece

The centre design, made from woven strips of multi-coloured papers from sugar wrappers, turned out quite well, but the Zentangle is a disaster so I’m going to cut it out and re-mount it.

My hubby and I went to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen Centre in Bovey Tracey the other day and I had a good look at the felt in particular – gorgeous work, and it gave me an idea of what to expect at our final felt class which was on nuno felting. This is what I did – I only managed one end of the scarf but hope to complete it sometime.

12 Nuno Felting

I’ve got a couple of weeks off before starting another 5-week course with the same teacher, this time on soap making. There will be more felt in February.

Later in the week I got hiiiigh on alcohol ink and made myself even more drunk on my feet than usual, and this was the result – quite satisfactory:

13 All the Backgrounds

but then I made a card – I had to do it in a hurry because I forgot it was my friend’s birthday the next day:

02 Finished Card

I was very unhappy with the bitty, messy composition. Am I losing my touch or what??? Time I got my act together again, and hope my creative mojo isn’t on the way out, and that this is just the latest manifestation of the strange disease I suffer from!! (Decomposition? I do hope not…)

Anyway, enough drivel from Shisho (suffering from frainbog) this week – hope you all have a great creative week with lots of mojo and excellent composition. Happy WOYWW everybody.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Sugar Wrappers with Zentangle

When my hubby and I had lunch at the Devon Guild of Craftsmen Centre last week, I picked up these little sugar wrappers because I thought the colours were lovely.

01 Sugar Wrappers

I trimmed off the ends and opened them up, and cut off the printed portions, and then cut them in half long-ways.

02 Sugar Wrappers Trimmed

Fixing some of the ends down with masking tape, I wove the remaining pieces.

03 Weaving the Sugar Wrappers

I stuck down the ends with a spot of Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive to stabilise it.

04 Securing the Ends with Glue

Turning it over, I stuck double-sided tape over the back.

05 Double-Sided Tape on Reverse.

I stuck the piece down on to a piece of dark red card.

06 Woven Sugar Wrappers Stuck onto Card

Adding the Zentangle border. A selection of ATC cards from my Zentangle album for inspiration, and then pens I used.

07 Zentangle Border

The finished piece.

08 Finished Piece

This is my first attempt at a Zentangle on a dark background, and I am not really satisfied with the result… I think I might have done better to leave the woven piece alone! I shall think about it, and if I still feel the same way, I shall cut the woven piece out and re-mount it on more plain card. Either way, it will probably end up as a card topper.

I definitely need more practice!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Embossed Cards with Alcohol Ink Backgrounds

The second of two posts today.

Following on from my previous post, I have started making some more cards for my stash, which is now empty and quite panic-generating when I remember at the last minute that it’s someone’s birthday tomorrow! I have started collecting together matching/co-ordinating alcohol ink backgrounds and core’dinations papers embossed with the Cuttlebug. This is how far I’ve got today.

You can see the 6 x 6 pad of “Gemstones” Core’dinations on the left. They are quite pretty, with an iridescent surface with a weave finish, but they don’t respond well to sanding etc. as there isn’t enough difference between the surface and the core. They look very pretty embossed, though.

In this photo I have matched up different Core’dinations papers with the various alcohol ink backgrounds, and selected different embossing folders to use for each one, trying to find something appropriate for the colour scheme.

01 Co-ordinating the Elements

The Core’dinations papers after embossing and trimming, each laid on top of their respective alcohol ink backgrounds. The turquoise one at bottom left has already been made up into a card and sent off (see previous post).

02 Embossed Cor'dinations and Alcohol Ink Mats

In case you are interested, the embossing folders I used with my Cuttlebug are, from left to right, back row: Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades (THATF) – Damask (pink); THATF – Rays (yellow/green); Tim Holtz Alterations – Steampunk (all the Mixatives); TH Alterations – Pocket Watches (brown/yellow). Middle row: Stampin’ Up Mosaic Madness (turquoise); THATF – Retro Circles (brown and orange); Cuttlebug – Diamond Plate (black and white); THATF – Bricked (red and cream). Front: THATF – Regal Flourishes (purple, blue and gold).

There is a good selection here to make up into cards, and a couple of them at least (the Diamond Plate and the Steampunk ones, and possibly the Retro Circles one) will make suitable man cards.

A note about the Tim Holtz Texture Fades embossing folders. When I first got them, I noticed that, rather irritatingly, they are the other way round from other embossing folders – i.e. if you use them label-side-up, the will deboss rather than emboss the design. I have therefore written on the name labels I put on them, “Other side up” to remind me to put the card in upside down, so I don’t get caught out. Or so I thought. I used the Pocket Watches one today and… you’ve guessed it, all the numbers on the clock faces were back to front! Duh. Label now altered on that one! Examining it closely, I see that it is not like the other Tim Holtz ones (the Texture Fades ones) and it will actually emboss rather than deboss with the label on top. Something to watch out for when using different manufacturers’ embossing folders.

I have also noticed with the Tim Holtz ones (it may be a feature common to all Sizzix embossing folders, but I only have TH ones so I couldn’t say), that they emboss a bit deeper than some others, and I have experienced in the past that they can even cut through the paper or card. I read somewhere that you can spritz the paper lightly with water before embossing, which will soften the fibres somewhat, to prevent this happening.

Watch this space to see how these cards progress. I may not work on them straight away as I need to crack on with my Recycled Mini-Album and there are always urgent projects that crop up and interrupt the normal work flow!

Alcohol Ink Backgrounds and a Birthday Card

The first of two posts today.

I suddenly realised that it is my friend’s birthday tomorrow and I had no card made, and nothing left in my stash, so I pulled out all the stops to get one in the post tonight. I decided to take the opportunity of replenishing my card stash at the same time, and began by creating a collection of alcohol ink backgrounds. I shall be posting about the cards in due course.

Wanting to use recycled materials as much as possible, I found some A5 fliers about solar panels that we picked up at the County Show in the summer, prior to deciding which company to go with. They are plain white on the back, and quite shiny, so ideal for alcohol inks.

My collection of alcohol inks consists of some from Adirondack, including the four Mixatives (Gold, Silver, Copper and Pearl) and a set of Pinata alcohol inks. In the list of ingredients below, these will be indicated “A” and “P” accordingly. I cleared up the mess on my non-stick craft sheet with surgical spirit (rubbing alcohol) and kitchen paper. Horrible smell!

01 Recycled Shiny Paper and Alcohol Inks

1. Clover, Stream and Pearl Mixative (all A):

02 Turquoise-Blue

2. Wild Plum (A), Sapphire Blue (P) and Gold Mixative (A):

03 Purple and Gold

3. Pitch Black (A), White (P) and Pearl Mixative (A):

04 Black and White

4. Burro Brown and Sunbright Yellow and Lime Green (P) and Copper Mixative (A):

05 Green and Yellow

5. Chilli Pepper, Calabaza Orange and Sunbright Yellow (P) and Gold Mixative (A):

06 Red, Orange and Gold

6. Wild Plum (A), White (P) and Pearl Mixative (A):

07 Purple and Pearl

7. Burro Brown, Calabaza Orange, and a very little Sunbright Yellow (P), and Copper Mixative (A):

08 Brown and Orange

8. Sunbright Yellow and White (P), Wild Plum and Pearl Mixative (A); I also dropped a lot of Pearl Mixative onto the sheet at the end:

09 Yellow Marble

9. All the Mixatives (A): Gold, Silver, Copper and Pearl, with some Clear Extender (P):

10 All the Mixatives

10. Re-used felt applicator from #8 above, with the addition of some Clear Extender (P), and then plenty of Pearl Mixative (A) and White (P) dropped onto the sheet at the end. I added plenty of the white because the printing on the reverse was starting to show through a bit.

11 Pale Yellow Marble

11. Re-used felt applicator from #6 above, with White and Clear Extender (P) and then Pearl Mixative (A) dropped onto the sheet at the end. I love these pale marbled-effect ones.

12 Pink Marble

The whole collection of alcohol ink backgrounds. Quite a good collection to be going on with! Unfortunately, as usual, the shimmery and metallic effects don’t show up very well on the photos. I love those Mixatives, especially the pearl one.

13 All the Backgrounds

Just before I finished, my hubby called me down to pay the builder who’s been working on our outhouse, and I admitted to feeling even more unsteady on my feet than usual – all those alcohol fumes had gone to my head and I felt distinctly woozy!! My hubby said to the builder, “There you are, you can charge what you like – in that state she’ll sign anything” lol lol!!! Until I stood up I hadn’t realised how much of the fumes I must have been breathing in! You definitely need adequate ventilation for this job, especially if you are doing a lot.

I think I’m feeling a bit hung over now…

Now for the birthday card. I chose the alcohol ink background #1 above, and a matching Core’dinations paper from the “Gemstones” range. This has been in my stash for years, along with some other Core’dinations papers, and I thought it high time I used them up. The “Gemstones” range has a lovely iridescent sheen to it, but it doesn’t respond very well to the usual treatments that work so well with these papers (sanding, tearing etc. to reveal the core) so I tend just to emboss it and leave it at that.

Being a skinflint and a cheapskate, I cut the middle out of the alcohol ink background layer so I wouldn’t waste any – you can waste acres of card over the years by not doing this, and covering it all up when matting and layering!! I embossed the Core’dinations sheet with the Stampin’ Up Mosaic Madness embossing folder, using my Cuttlebug, and attached some dark red rick-rack across the corner.

01 Assembling the Elements

I chose some flowers that I’d made some time ago, out of my stash, and attached them with hot glue. Then I used the Stampin’ Up Mosaic Madness punch to punch out some shapes from the strip of alcohol ink background that I’d cut off the bottom, and stuck one of these down onto the embossed card, and the others onto some offcuts of Core’dinations paper (before embossing). There is a small piece of this inside the card as well. The punched out pieces had a line of Aged Mahogany distress ink added with the Ranger brush tip to give them a bit of definition. The “Happy Birthday” stamp was one I’ve had for years, and I have no idea where it came from or who manufactured it. I repeated the same stamp inside, and in both cases used Aged Mahogany distress ink to co-ordinate with the large flower and rick-rack. The smaller flowers were made from Penny Duncan’s Hibiscus cutting file. The base card was inked lightly with Peacock Feathers distress ink, and also on the back and inside, and I applied the same to the edges of the envelope. This card isn’t one of my best – I’m not entirely happy with the composition, but I was working under pressure to get it done in time and I finished with 10 minutes to spare before my hubby had to go out!

02 Finished Card

I’ll hope to do better with the others. Watch this space.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Autumn Thank You Card

The second of two posts today.

Warning – long post, picture-rich.

A card for the teacher of our felt-making class. She has been so wonderful over the past few weeks – just the right balance of demonstration and instruction, and letting us get on, encouragement and inspiration. As this five-week course came to an end I suggested to the others that I make a card for us all to sign, which would be given to her at the end of the final session last night.

Since the theme of this course was loosely an autumn theme (although we have proved that anything goes!) I thought I would make an autumn card.

Using a palette knife, I applied a thin layer of Polyfilla One Fill (known as joint compound in the USA) through my large leaf stencil onto an A4 sheet I’d created from my backgrounds folder.

03 Polyfilla Through Leaf Stencil

As this was only a thin layer, it didn’t take long to dry, with the help of my heat tool. I then added some Forest Moss distress ink, using an Inkylicious Ink Duster.

04 Forest Moss Distress Ink

Then I applied the Polyfilla through my bricks stencil, this time applying a much thicker layer, fading out the edges.

06 Polyfilla Through Bricks Stencil

I trimmed the card down to size to fit on an A4 folded to A5 card base, and used the stamp set “Real Leaves” from StampAttack to add some leaves to the blank piece.

08 Stamped Leaves

I used the Tim Holtz Dot Fade stencil to apply some Antiqued Bronze Distress Stain over the leaves.

10 Antiqued Bronze Distress Stain Through Dot Fade Stencil

After this I applied some Clear Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint – I have had this for ages and it had got distinctly gloopy! I tried adding some water to thin it down, and gave it a good shake, and hopefully that will do the trick. These products really should have a “use by” date on them, because we all assume they last forever, and they certainly do not. No cracks appeared; only a rather rough, textured shiny surface which I quite liked.

11 Clear Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint

After drying with my heat tool, I added some Walnut Stain distress ink using one of my home-made ink blending tools (a piece of Cut ’n Dry foam stuck onto an old wood block left when I unmounted some stamps).

I decided the leaves needed something extra so I added some Crackle Accents but this was not a success – I forgot that you are supposed to leave this to dry naturally at least until the cracks start to appear, and I launched straight in with my heat tool because I’m too impatient to wait! So no cracks from either product! Never mind, they look nice and shiny at least! I added some Walnut Stain distress ink to darken them a bit.

Time to cut them out. I rather enjoy fussy cutting and find it quite relaxing.

17 Fussy Cut Leaves

Once the Polyfilla through the brick stencil had dried, I coloured it with a mixture of distress stains and distress inks, and used both blending tools and Inkylicious Ink Dusters, using Spiced Marmalade, Rusty Hinge, Brushed Corduroy and finally some Vintage Photo. Using the Ink Duster enabled me to colour the sides of the bricks.

15 Inking Moulding Paste with Vintage Photo

To emphasise the bricks, I painted between them with Black Soot distress ink, swiping the ink pad over my craft sheet and picking it up with a wet brush.

16 Painting Between Bricks with Black Soot

I attached the leaves with hot glue, which proved not to be ideal because one of the leaves popped off just before we gave the card to the teacher. Pinflair would have been better.

18 Fussy Cut Leaves Applied with Hot Glue

At this point I distressed the edges of the sheet a little with some Vintage Photo, and began work on the card base. I ran the Vintage Photo distress stain around the edge to give a darker base, and then repeated the process using the Antiqued Bronze distress stain. It doesn’t look much on the photo, but in real life it has a nice metallic sheen.

19 Card Base Edge Coloured with Distress Stains

Originally I wasn’t going to do anything fancy inside the card, but I found this brilliant tutorial from Jozart, and I thought it would be fun to make the inside more interesting by using her idea. For the pop-up, I used a lighter-weight card, and coloured it by swiping various ink pads across my craft sheet, spritzing them with water and smooshing the card through the ink. However, it all got much too wet, and while the colour was great, the centre tore, so I decided to abandon it and save the card for cutting the sentiments from. You can see the tear in the picture, running from the centre towards the bottom.

20 Abortive Attempt to Ink Pop-Up

I cut another piece for the pop-up, this time from some pale yellow card, and  used the brick stencil to apply distress inks, in Spiced Marmalade, Fired Brick, Rusty Hinge and Vintage Photo, all applied with blending tools. When I did the Vintage Photo, I offset the stencil slightly to create a shadow effect but it ended up lighter than the bricks. I ended up adding shadows using distress ink as a watercolour as before. I did the same with Black Soot between the bricks.

21 Brick Stencilling on Pop-Up

I then had to ink the pop-up background and the back piece. I didn’t smoosh them this time, but used blending tools and Ink Dusters, with Vintage Photo, Spiced Marmalade and Forest Moss.

22 Inking the Pop-Up and Back Piece

The inking on the pop-up and back piece completed.

23 Inking Complete on Pop-Up and Back Piece

For the sentiment, I used my new alphabet set (Darkroom Door Alphabet Medley), stamping onto the rejected background piece with Versamark and then adding Biscotti Perfect Pearls with a soft brush and heat sealing it. I made another sentiment for the front of the card, and I cut these out as little strips with individual words on them. Originally I tried using gold embossing powder, but it didn’t show up enough.

24 Creating the Text with Perfect Pearls

Here is the text attached to the back piece, using Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive.

25 Text Applied to Back Piece


As I had the stencilled brick across the fold of the pop-up, I decided to fussy cut the brick edges to make it look more natural.

26 Fussy Cutting the Pop-Up

Here is the pop-up, scored and folded, and laid on top of the back piece.

27 Pop-Up Scored and Folded

I attached the remaining fussy cut leaves onto the pop-up using hot glue.

28 Fussy Cut Leaves on Pop-Up

It was at this point that I discovered that when the card was folded, the pop-up stuck out beyond the edges of the card… Ooops!! You can see that I have scored a second line on each side, 3/4 inch in from the original score line, which has solved the problem.

When the pop-up is open, it is possible to see down inside at the lower part of the back piece, so I inked it well with Mowed Lawn distress ink and added some leaf stamping (same stamp set) in the same colour, and also added some of the ferns to the sides of the pop-up.

29 Stamping on Pop-Up and Back Piece

After this session I ended up with a fabulous piece of kitchen paper that I’d used to mop up all the gorgeous inks! Once it is dry, it will be used for other projects.

30 Lovely Mopping Up Paper

The fussy cut leaves are quite similar to the background in colour, and I needed something with a bit more impact to finish the layout, and while I was trawling through some Tim Holtz videos on his website recently, I found an excellent one on Glassine paper. He made some leaves coloured with alcohol inks. In the next picture, you can see two sheets of glassine which have had alcohol ink applied, in Sunbright Yellow, Chilli Pepper and Lime Green (Pinata brand) and Adirondack Gold and Copper Mixatives, and some Pinata Clear Extender (the equivalent of Adirondack Alcohol Blending Solution), all applied with the felt blending tool. One sheet has been crumpled

31 Glassine and Alcohol Inks

Not having any dies or punches for leaves, they had to be cut out by hand. I made some leaf templates from scrap card.

32 Sketches for Leaf Templates

33 Leaves Cut from Glassine

The glassine leaves mounted on the card front.

34 Glassine Leaves on Card Front

The pop-up was made from fairly thin card, and I thought it needed reinforcing, so I stuck another piece behind. Then I inked the back in case it showed.

35 Inking the Back of the Pop-Up

The completed pop-up.

36 Completed Pop-Up

I stuck the pop-up inside the card, using my ATG gun. Before sticking it, I swiped the glue tape with a Pritt glue stick so that it was repositionable.

37 Completed Card Inside

The completed front of the card. I attached the sentiment using Pinflair glue.

38 Completed Card Front

Now for some detail shots, first of the outside of the card:

39 Card Front Detail

40 Card Front Detail

41 Card Front Detail

and the inside:

42 Pop-Up Detail

43 Detail of Inside Text

To complete the card, I inked the back, using a combination of distress inks in Spiced Marmalade, Forest Moss, a little Fired Brick and Vintage Photo.

44 Card Back

For the envelope, as this is a standard sized card, I chose a plain white one from my stash and inked it to match the card, adding some inking inside. I stamped a few leaves using Evergreen Bough distress ink, but unfortunately the stamping showed on the reverse – I would probably have done better to make a separate liner for the envelope, but maybe I’m being too perfectionistic here!

45 Decorating the Envelope

The finished card and envelope.

46 Finished Card and Envelope

I think this card has the feel of autumn about it, and hope it is an adequate thank you to a lovely lady who is also an excellent teacher – the felt course has been such fun, and we are grateful for all the time and energy she has put into preparing it, and her enthusiasm and passion for felt-making, which has inspired us all. I have wanted to make felt for a long time, and this course has been a springboard for great things in the future!

WOYWW visitors – please scroll down for this week’s post.