Wednesday, 28 September 2011


Thanks again to Julia who hosts the “What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday” blog hop – if you’re not involved, click on the link on the right and join in the fun.

WOYWW 121 28-9-11

This week I finally got round to doing some Friendly Plastic. I melted some pellets in my skillet and created some mouldings from the silicone putty moulds I made recently, ready for my steampunk look stuff. At this stage, they have just been painted with black gesso ready for painting to look like metal and rust.

Also on my table, on the left, are some of the boxes I bought at the Craft Show I went to on Friday (have a look at that post – some gorgeous stuff on show!) where I also met up with my friend Wendy for the first time. These plain brown boxes were really cheap – the large rectangular one contains 24 small round ones, and I spent hours last night peeling the awful sticky labels off them all – why each one had to be labelled when they came as a set is beyond me. I HATE sticky labels!!! At the back is a set of nesting gold gift boxes I got off Ebay recently – they are from Ikea, who no longer make these, unfortunately, as they are gorgeous and soooo good for altering!

You can also see the two charms I started making recently, and at the back, two clock faces cut from the Tim Holtz “Lost and Found” paper stack, one of which I have coated with Crackle Accents (waiting to dry), also to embellish one of my steampunk altered mirrors, probably. I still haven’t quite decided what else to put on there.

I’ve had no end of trouble getting some more mould-making silicone putty. The moulds I’ve done were made from Ranger Mold-n-Pour which I’m not getting again as it’s waaaay too expensive for what you get. I tried some stuff from an Ebay shop and it had to go back as it wasn’t suitable, and I finally got a refund for that, and all week I’ve been emailing another company to enquire whether their stuff would be suitable and they just haven’t answered. Their loss, because I’ve now ordered some stuff from the US (Ebay again) which I know will be good because Liz Welch of Friendly Plastic fame uses it – it’s twice the price of the stuff I was hoping to get, but there you are. They obviously didn’t want my business! Anyway, it’s on its way now, so there should be no further holdups. I need to make some bigger moulds. (Do visit Liz Welch’s blog – links to her website and shop are on there too – she’s the UK’s Friendly Plastic Genius in Residence – her work is nothing short of Awesome…)

On the right of the table you can see some of the moulds I made for the embellishments I’ve now made. They will be re-usable indefinitely, and being silicone, they are heat-proof, so I can pop them in the skillet if the Friendly Plastic gets too hard before I’ve finished moulding it.

I’ve had Such Fun this week! The Craft Show was awesome, and then messing about with the Friendly Plastic. The M.E. payback from my long day out was delayed (classic symptom) until Sunday midday, and I’m still recovering. I’ve had a rough couple of days but hopefully will be better again today.

By the way, someone told me she’d been unable to comment on my blog. This may explain why I’ve had no comments at all for several days. I thought everyone had abandoned me, but it appears that Google may be playing Silly Bloggers again. I’m really fed up with this and wish they’d sort themselves out!!!!! If you can’t comment, please don’t give up, but try again another time. I love comments, and really miss not having them! They are such a boost and encouragement. This week I’ll try and do better and get to a few more blogs on the WOYWW hop – I didn’t do very well last week!

Hope you’ve all had a productive and enjoyable week! Happy WOYWW, everybody!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Friendly Plastic Embellishments and a Birthday Card

I’ve been busy today making things out of Friendly Plastic Pellets, but first of all, here is the card I made for my aunt’s birthday, which I finished today.

Hazel's Birthday Card

For the background I used Core-dinations paper, Whitewash collection in pink, embossed with Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades "Rays" embossing folder, sanded to reveal the "core" colour of card. It was distressed with Aged Mahogany distress ink. A small piece of the same card was ripped into several pieces and overlaid. The flowers were stamped with my Fantasy Florals stamps using Vintage Photo, Spiced Marmalade and Mustard Seed distress inks, cut out and hand embossed, and glued down with Pinflair glue. The centres were accented with a Uniball Signo broad UM-153 white pigment ink pen and glossy accents. The white pen mixed with the underlying ink – if you wanted to retain the pure white, you would have to seal the surface first, but I quite liked the effect. The leaves were left over from a previous project – they were cut on Jiminy Cricut and hand embossed, and coloured with Perfect Pearls. The sentiment was on pink textured card distressed with Aged Mahogany distress ink, stamped in the same colour, and matted on orange card distressed with Spiced Marmalade. The whole design was matted and layered onto orange card distressed with Spiced Marmalade, and pink card distressed with Aged Mahogany. Inside, I distressed the pink card with Aged Mahogany, and added a little Spiced Marmalade in the centre of each side. The card has a nice textured feel, but the embellishments are not too thick, or made of anything that would be damaged in the post.

After I’d finished the card, I started on the Most Fun I’ve Had for Ages!! I set up my skillet and began melting Friendly Plastic pellets. For anyone who doesn’t know what these are, they are part of the Friendly Plastic range – most Friendly Plastic comes in flexible strips of various colours and finishes, which can be cut up and made into jewellery, card toppers, or whatever you like. Friendly Plastic is a low-melting plastic, and will soften in water at about 60 degrees Centigrade. The pellets are plain white, and come in a jar. When you pour them into hot water, they begin to melt together – initially they start to look a bit like frogspawn, and then they become completely transparent, at which point they can be removed with a pointed tool, the water squeezed out, and the resulting lump of putty-like plastic can be rolled out, embossed, stamped, broken into smaller pieces and made into things or pressed into moulds – whatever you like. It cools and hardens fairly quickly, and you can speed up the process by putting it into a cold water bath. If it starts to harden before you’ve finished, or you don’t like what you’ve done, you simply put it back in the hot water and start again. Friendly Plastic sticks to itself, and you can use every little piece so there is never any waste. I have to say it’s the most astonishing stuff!

As you know, I’ve been making moulds recently, and I’ve made quite a few moulds of gears, bolt heads, nuts, screws etc. etc. for a steampunk look. My dad also lent me some clock gears and a couple of clock hands which I wasn’t sure would be any good because they were very delicate and fine, but I gave them a try and managed to make some nice moulds of them.

When I moulded the Friendly Plastic into them, I was amazed how well they came out. As you will see from the photos, even the very delicate small clock hand came out perfectly!

Here are the finished pieces I made from the moulds today, in their raw white form. I had also made some moulds from various charms and bits of jewellery, and moulded some of those too, but my main aim today was the steampunk bits.

01 Mouldings from FP Pellets

Here they are with a layer of black gesso painted on, in preparation for a faux metal/rust effect. Suddenly they look a lot more convincing!

02 FP Mouldings Painted with Black Gesso

Here’s a detailed shot of some of them, and you can see what I mean about the clock hands, and the degree of detail that was picked up by both the mould, and the Friendly Plastic. Even the stamping on the bolt heads has been faithfully preserved! The screw heads look less like pills now they have been painted!

03 Detail of FP Mouldings Painted with Black Gesso

I can’t do any more until I get some more mould making putty. I am waiting to hear from a company as to whether their stuff is going to be suitable for my needs. The seller of the unsuccessful stuff has taken it back and I got a refund today, so I am keen to get on and obtain some more as I’ve used up all my Mold-n-Pour. I need to make a few larger pieces.

I tried making a few pieces using air-dry clay in the moulds but it wasn’t nearly as successful as the Friendly Plastic. I shall probably keep that for larger pieces that I can stamp out using my cookie cutters and cake icing moulds.

I’ve also got some shrink plastic and am looking forward to making some pieces from that, heat embossing and shrinking in one go with the heat gun.

This has to be one of the most fun things I’ve done for ages. It’s so creative and rewarding, and the results are so good! I’d recommend it to anyone to try.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts Exhibition, 2011

My lovely hubby took me over to Exeter yesterday for the annual Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts Exhibition. This is a general craft show with lots of different crafts being featured, but still lots of opportunity to stock up on the mixed media and papercrafting supplies, and to watch demos etc. He left me there, and spent the day with his brother, and did some shopping of his own, which he was pleased with.

It was a very special day for me, because I met up with my friend Wendy for the first time! We’ve been following each other’s blogs and emailing each other, and being on forums together, for ages now, and when she told me she would be down here on holiday, we agreed to meet up at the show. What fun we had! We looked at a lot of things together, and then went our separate ways, bumping into each other every now and again. On one occasion she came up to me with an absolutely beautiful card she’d just made, when she attended one of the workshops. I hope she’s going to blog about that!

Here are some of the photos I took of the day. On one stand, someone was demonstrating the Spellbinders Grand Calibur machine, and I was amazed by the fine detail on some of the samples – flowers and swirls, some cut in vellum and layered. So pretty and delicate, and so intricate!

01 Display of Grand Calibur Work

Glitter time!! I was sad that the Glitter Man wasn’t there this time – on my first visit to this show last year, he was there in his pirate’s cave with his treasure chests full of the biggest quantity of glitter that I’ve ever seen! The display this year was impressive, though.

04 Glitter

It’s a real pity that photos don’t pick up the amazing glitteriness of glitter!

I found a wonderful stand with loads of Tim Holtz stuff on it, run by a delightful man who really knew his stuff – he didn’t just sell the stuff, but also used it. He had made a big display board showing all the colours of the Distress Stains. He’d taken a tag for each colour, and stamped one of Tim’s background text stamps on it, and coloured it with the respective Distress stain, and then mounted a dress form from Tim’s die, which was distressed with a matching Distress Ink. Finally, he’d added a row of small roses along the bottom of each dress form shape. It was a beautiful display which we were all admiring (wish I’d thought of photographing it), and he told us it had taken him 3 weeks to do, and 4 bottles of wine! He also told us he knew Tim quite well, and what a lovely man he is, very unassuming and humble, and it appeared that he really didn’t know what all the fuss was about – he just got on with doing what he is so good at! His success certainly hasn’t gone to his head. He recommended that if any of us ever got the chance to go on a course with him, we should. That was very nice to hear, I thought.

I’ve been thinking of getting some Distress Stains for a while, and was hoping to get a good deal at the show, which I did. If you bought 12, you got 3 free ones! I also chose two more that I wanted. I didn’t see any point in buying them all, because some of the colours are very similar, so I got a representative selection.

There was an Inkylicious stand at the show, and they were selling the Ink Dusters. I told the man on the stand that I’d done the first Youtube video on them, and he was very pleased – he said they’d been too busy to set up the website on them yet, but hopefully it would happen soon. He said he’d look on Youtube, and also on my blog, which was nice. I mentioned to several other customers how good they were, and how they’d revolutionised my ink blending.

Back with the eggcrafting ladies again, as at previous shows:

06 The Eggcraft Ladies

This time I caught them in the act – eating chocolate cake!! They were very happy to see me and remembered me from the past 2 shows. They know how I love to photograph the eggs, and publish their beautiful work around the world on my blog! They were happy to oblige, again, and showed me the salient points of some of the new creations on the table. There was a mixture of old and new designs – it’s such an intricate craft that they cannot hope to make a completely new display for every show.

07 Eggcraft Display

I just love the little pink umbrella over the ducks by their pond! And here is one of several beautiful eggs.

09 Purple Rose Egg

This had to be the star of the display – the Royal Wedding Egg.

13 Royal Wedding Egg

The lady on the right in the photo above made it, and she lifted it down for me so I could see and photograph it better. She had dressed all the figures herself, and made the carriage axles, and even made all the horses’ harnesses herself too. This piece was just stunning – out of this world. Here are some detailed shots.

14 Royal Wedding Egg Detail

15 Royal Wedding Egg Detail

I then went on to the sugarcrafting stand, and I must say they’d excelled themselves this year! The flowers were so realistic that I could hardly believe they were made of icing. The focal piece was a wedding cake decorated in rainbow colours, which amazingly had been done by a lady in her seventies. The intricacy of the work was incredible.

16 Sugarcraft Display

17 Rainbow Wedding Cake

18 Rainbow Wedding Cake Detail

19 Sugarcraft Nasturtiums

20 Sugarcraft Roses

At the entrance to the show, there was a display of this wonderful wedding cake.

25 Wedding Cake

26 Wedding Cake Bottom Layer Detail

27 Wedding Cake Middle Detail

29 Wedding Cake Base Detail

I wouldn’t even know how to begin to do such a thing!!

Today I unpacked my lovely box of goodies. Each time I go to a show, they allow me to put my box in the office, and when I buy things, I can leave them there, as it’s hard to carry a lot of stuff around. My box was only just big enough! I stocked up on various things like glue and plain white cardstock. You were given a polywallet to fill as full as you could, which cost a set amount. I bought 2 white packs of 300 gsm (about 60 sheets in each), really cheap.

Here’s a picture of most of what I bought – I haven’t put it all out.

30 My Purchases

L-R, back-front: a Martha Stewart Circle Cutter (more later), some feathers, some Claudine Helmuth sticky-backed canvas (haven’t tried that yet, but love the effects you can get with it), some gold and silver mirror board, some gold and silver foil (and a small roll of copper), a DCWV paper stack “Tattered Time” which is soooo gorgeous that I probably won’t be able to bring myself to use it!! and some more Glossy Accents. Front row: a few rubber stamps, replacement Cricut blades, some really gorgeous embellishments which I shall also be able to use to make moulds out of, lots of regular Pinflair, and Pinflair photo glue, some Spray and Sparkle which Wendy recommended, some of the Distress Stains, some glitter (fabby colours! – only I wished I’d waited before buying them, because the loose glitter was cheaper), some fine paintbrushes and a sepia pen, some embossing powders and some wire (and other beading bits and pieces not on the photos).

31 Distress Stains

These are my new Tim Holtz Distress Stains. Today I made the labels for the lids so that I could easily identify them in the box I’ve chosen for them.

32 Martha Stewart Circle Cutter

This is my new Martha Stewart Circle Cutter. I saw one of these online the other day and thought what a good idea they were. You can cut circles ranging from 1 in diameter to 5 1/2 in, in very small increments, which means you can also cut very thin rings. The central transparent disc fits in a groove in the white ring, and rotates in a ball race. You put the blade into the hole of your choice (they are all marked) and holding the ring, simply rotate the disc, and the blade cuts the paper underneath.

Last year, when I got my ARTHaven set up, I was thinking of buying one of those Making Memories rotating tool caddies, but they were too expensive, and so I decided to make my own. I was going to get a small lazy susan base, and mount some vertical cylinders onto it, to take my various sized tools, but I never got round to it, partly because I couldn’t find a suitable lazy susan base. Last month, at our village fete, I found a small fabric caddy, brand new, going for a song, so I bought it and have been using that.

This afternoon, when I had opened my Circle Cutter, I was wondering where I was going to store it, and I was idly turning the disc in my hands and noticing the ball race it was running in, and I got a brainwave. Here is my small lazy susan base! I popped my fabric caddy on top, and hey presto, killed two birds with one stone – got a rotating caddy, and also found a convenient place to store the Circle Cutter!!! That sort of thing gives me a very good feeling!

33 Caddy on Circle Cutter

Finally, here are the papier mache boxes I bought for altering. The first one is rectangular, and came filled with 24 small round boxes, very cheap!

34 Boxes for Altering

The other large box is square, and I also bought several smaller ones in different shapes – a round one, two ovals, and some heart-shaped ones. Lots of scope for altering!

35 Boxes for Altering

Sorry this has been such a long post this time, but I think you’ll agree I’ve had a good time! I am so enjoying my new purchases, and finding homes for them in my ARTHaven. I need more storage space!!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Views from Shoshi’s Settee–This and That–and an Exciting Day Tomorrow!

Today is the 27th anniversary of my becoming a Christian. If you want to read my testimony, I blogged about it exactly a year ago today. I am so grateful to God for everything He has done for me in my life, and above all for sending His Son to die in my place, taking the punishment for my sin, and opening the gate of heaven for me for the future, and giving my life purpose and meaning for the present.

I’ve tried to have a rest today, because tomorrow will be a long day – my hubby is dropping me off at Westpoint, Exeter, for the Creative Stitches and Hobbycrafts show. I love craft shows and can’t wait! It’s going to be a very special day for me because my crafty friend Wendy from Wales is going to be there and it will be the first time we’ve ever met, because we’ve only been friends online.

I’ve bling-ed up my wheelchair in honour of the occasion! Since I got my new one, I haven’t decorated it at all, apart from putting some sparkly spoke guards on it – I did bling it up for Christmas in a simple way, but nothing since. I rummaged through the bags under the stairs and found most of my wheelchair bling (can’t find the newest flowers!) and I’ve redone it with my original flowers, with the black sparkly Christmas stuff underneath, and of course, MY LIGHTS!!! I also added some rust-coloured sunflowers that a friend gave me years ago, which I’ve never used before, and I thought they gave a nice autumnal feel to my new bling. I also put on some of my black and silver Christmassy bits, so when the time comes, all I’ll have to do is strip the flowers off and add a few more bits of Christmas bling, and some baubles on the back.

Autumn Bling Sept 11

Autumn Bling Sept 11 Detail

If you look closely, you can see the lights. They aren’t terribly bright, and they probably won’t show up much tomorrow as the lights will be so bright, but in the evening in subdued lighting they look gorgeous!

Last time I went to a craft show with flowers on my wheelchair, everyone loved it and it generated lots of smiles and happy comments! It helps break down barriers and stops people being embarrassed around disability (shame that still happens, but it does…).

Yesterday I went through the stuff in my ARTHaven to make a list of stuff I need (need, not want lol!) from the craft show. Last time I took a little note book with lists of stuff I’ve got in the back, for example what colours of alcohol inks, stickles, etc. that I’ve got, and in the front is a list of all the stuff I want to look out for, and as I go round, if I buy any new colours of anything, I write them down so as to avoid buying the same thing twice – in the hustle and bustle of the show, it’s not always easy to remember what you’ve bought from the different stands! I also take a box with me. The staff are very happy to let me put this in the office, and I can come out with my purchases and put them in the box, because it’s difficult for me to carry a lot of stuff.

While I was sorting out my list, I also sorted my rubber stamps. I have kept them all in empty CD cases up till now, but I have separated some of them out and put them back in their original packaging if I’ve kept it – this way I know what make they are. Now I am blogging about my projects, it’s important to say what the stamps are, in case anyone is interested in getting them. It makes them a bit less convenient to use, but I rather like the feel of them in their flat packs with the pictures of them underneath!

All I’ve done today is change the bed sheets and get the laundry on, wash my hair and have a nice long soak in the bubbles, and at the risk of having a bad night, I’m going to try and get to bed a bit earlier than 3.30 a.m. as I’ve got an early start tomorrow and I’m going to need a lot of energy to keep going all day!

Our middle nephew and his wife and daughter popped in for a cup of tea with us this afternoon – they are down in our area visiting. I haven’t seen their little girl since she was a baby and she’s now nearly 2! She is so pretty, and so full of energy, and didn’t sit still for a moment!

I probably won’t blog about the show tomorrow, because I’ll be too worn out, but watch this space, and hopefully I’ll have some good photos of the day to share with you.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011


Thanks again, Julia, for organising the wonderful weekly Wednesday wow at our workdesks (see link on right for further info).

WOYWW 120 21-9-11

I’ve been busy playing with metal this week (I’ve done a blog post about it and am about to do another) – you can see the latest fruits of my labours on the right of my table. There’s a small charm in the making on the bottom right – unfortunately the light is reflecting off it so you can’t see what it is, but it’s got some numbers on it (from Tim Holtz paper stack Crowded Attic) stuck onto one of his Charm Fragments. It’s going to have a bit of the embossed metal stuck on the back – I’m grateful to Creations by Christie for this idea. I’m really pleased with the metal embossing, and how the alcohol inks work with it. I’ve used a couple of Tim Holtz Texture Fades embossing folders for these samples, and sanded the raised embossing to expose the metal. The large piece, and the piece on the right, are done on some Cricut metal that I’ve got, and the top one is part of a flattened out drink can – I’m delighted with this idea as it’s free, and the metal is actually thicker and better quality, although it’s a pain getting it to this stage as it’s sharp and jagged while you’re cutting it out.

On the left you can see a birthday card I’m in the process of making for my aunt. Card making isn’t my favourite thing but it has to be done for family etc. – I don’t go out of my way to make cards for any other reason. This card sort of made itself as it’s turned out completely different from what I originally intended, which was shabby chic with doilies and lace, ribbons and brads, and pink! At least I got the pink in. The background is done on pink Core’dinations card, embossed in one of Tim Holtz’ Texture Fades embossing folders. I made the flowers from cut out stamped images which I hand-embossed. The centres are filled with glossy accents. I’m going to do a blog post about this card so won’t say any more about it here.

This week I’ve also been working at my Ikea mirrors and have finished the three with the flower paintings on them – I’ve done a blog post about them. I’ve got three more lined up to do grungey stuff on, which is why I’ve started making the charms and doing the metal embossing – one will probably have plates of embossed metal on it, and another will have my new rust effect. I’m going to make some gears etc. with the moulds I made last week, and I’m still hoping to get some more mould making stuff soon.

Something weird has just happened – I can’t seem to get the SD card out of my camera. Normally you press down on it and it releases a catch, and it pops out, but tonight it won’t come out. I’m hoping it’s not damaged, but I think I’m going to have to get someone to look at it. I managed to take some photos OK, and I’ve transferred them onto the computer using the cable, which takes a bit longer than just slotting the SD card into the card reader in the computer. I’m off to a craft show on Friday and certainly want it working for that!

Happy WOYWW everybody.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Meddling with Metal!

I’ve been having fun with metal. I bought some sheets of metal in different colours when I got my Cricut embossing kit but I haven’t done a lot with it yet. I recently discovered that much better than buying it, you can get it completely free in the form of empty drinks cans! We are not great fans of fizzy drinks but my hubby has the occasional can of beer, and I’ve asked him to find me some empty cans from other people, so today I made a start.

The Tonic scissors are absolutely brilliant for this – and for everything else, actually – they are quite simply the very best pair of scissors I have ever owned. They will cut through metal as if it was butter, without ruining the blades! I managed to cut the top and bottom off the can, and then along the length of the cylinder. You do have to be very careful as you end up with very sharp jagged edges, but I managed to complete the task without injury, and straight away I trimmed the rough edges by scoring them and snapping off the excess, and then resorted to one of my trusty needle files set to file off any sharpness. It was difficult to get rid of the curve in the metal, but I thought when I embossed it, it would help, as indeed it did, but hasn’t eliminated the problem.

Here’s my first attempt. I cut the piece down to fit in my Cuttlebug “Diamond Plate” embossing folder, and when I put it through the Cuttlebug, to start with I thought nothing was happening as it went through so easily, but out emerged a very impressive result no pun intended!):

01 Embossed Drink Can Metal

I think this is great! Here is the reverse side, showing the debossing on the printed drink can:

02 Embossed Drink Can Metal Reverse

(Just to prove I didn’t cheat!)

It’s great using tins. Not only is it free, but it helps the environment, too!

I had a small piece left over when I cut off the excess, and I decided to play with some alcohol inks. I wanted a nice dark grungy feel, but went completely mad when I put the inks on the applicator – I put far too much on, so I quickly grabbed a couple of spare fragments of purchased metal and did those too.

03 Brown Alcohol Ink on Metal Pieces

The first piece I did is the one at the top (with the curve in it) from the drink can. The other two pieces have had some Blending Medium added. The picture doesn’t do them justice – they look a lot richer than this.

The inks I used were: Pinata alcohol inks in Pitch Black, Burro Brown, and Calabaza Orange. Ranger Gold Mixative alcohol ink, and Blending Solution.

I am going to emboss these pieces.

A few days ago I found a wonderful tutorial from Christie of on how to make charms using Tim Holtz stuff – you can see the video here: – I thought I simply must make some of these! I have completed one, and started another.

The first one is a clock face, with the image being taken from the Tim Holtz Idea-ology paper stack “Lost and Found.”

01 Watch Face Charm Front

The paper was stuck to the back of one of Tim Holtz’ Idea-ology Charm Fragments with Ranger Glossy Accents.

For the back of the charm, I used some embossed metal. First of all I took a small piece of metal and coloured it with Pinata alcohol inks in Calabaza Orange, Burro Brown, Sunbright Yellow and Chile Pepper. I then put it through the Cuttlebug using the Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades embossing folder “Retro Circles” – I forgot to take a photo at this stage, but the small piece of metal had several circles and part circles on it. I lightly sanded the embossed surface to reveal the silver colour of the metal and emphasise the design, and I cut one out to back the charm with. I stuck it on with Glossy Accents and filed the edges to remove any roughness. Finally, I coated the whole surface with glossy accents and left it to dry.

02 Watch Face Charm Back

I liked the inked and embossed circles so much that I decided to use the remaining few on my faux rust ATC sample, butting the part circles up to the edges and sticking them down with Pinflair glue, and filing the edges to remove any sharp corners.

11 Rust ATC Sample with Embellishments

I started another charm, this time with an image from the Tim Holtz Idea-ology paper stack “Crowded Attic.” At this stage, the image has been adhered to the Charm Fragment with Ranger Glossy Accents and left to dry. I shall back it with some of the dark brown metal once I’ve embossed it. I love the way the Charm Fragment almost magnifies the image underneath.

03 Numbers Charm WIP

This is a fun technique! Thanks Christie!

Being relatively new to all this, one thing I am impressed with is how the whole of the Tim Holtz range of products is designed to work together. The Charm Fragments, for example, are just the right size to fit exactly over the various sized images in the paper stacks, and there are rubber stamps to correspond exactly with the Texture Fades embossing folders, so that you can mix and match, and co-ordinate the various products and techniques, knowing that everything will fit. It’s always a pleasure to use materials and equipment that have been designed with care, and into which a great deal of thought has been put.

I am intending to make more charms, and add some of the beads I got at our recent village fete, and use these to decorate some of the steampunk items I am making for our forthcoming church exhibition and sale.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Altered Mirrors and Frames–Completed Flower Paintings on Mirrors

Here are the mirrors ready for painting, with the outlines of the designs drawn with pencil as a guide to where to apply the paint.

On this green one, you can just make out the daisies.

15 Daisies Drawing on Mirror

This is the Harvest one.

14 Harvest Drawing on Mirror

This is the Poppies one.

13 Poppies Drawing on Mirror

Before I started painting, I meant to apply some acrylic varnish or gel medium to seal the surface, but I forgot. When I splashed any water onto the frame, it did make the distress ink run, so I had to be very careful.

Here are the completed paintings.

18 Finished Daisies Mirror

17 Finished Harvest Mirror

16 Finished Poppies Mirror

At this point I decided to add the acrylic varnish. Silly me. It’s water based, isn’t it, and as soon as I ran the brush over the surface, the distress ink all ran! Panic panic!!! On the particular painting I was working on, I had to get a damp cloth and rub off all the distress ink and redo it! Time for Shoshi to put her thinking cap on. I haven’t got any spray acrylic varnish, so I sprayed on some inkjet fixative instead, and it worked a treat! I just sprayed on a thin layer (it smelt awful) and left it to dry, after which I could paint on the acrylic varnish with impunity. It might have been OK just to rely on the fixative, but I wanted to be sure.

The mirrors now have an almost matt finish which is quite pleasing.

I have got six more mirrors coming from Ebay, in addition to the three that I’ve painted with black gesso which I am going to do with a steampunk theme. I’ve also got six small wooden frames for my original ATC-sized flower paintings, and today I won a nesting set of twelve round Ikea gift boxes on Ebay – my hubby bought some of these once and I loved them and wished I’d bought some too, and they’ve subsequently discontinued them, which is a shame. (He hasn’t got many left, and when I asked him if he still wanted them, unfortunately he said he did!!) The person I got them from on Ebay has apparently had them, unused, for many years! I am delighted to be getting these, as they will be fun to alter too.

I am off to a craft show on Friday, and hopefully will come back with some papier mache boxes in different shapes to alter, and maybe some wall plaques. I am hoping that these items will sell at the upcoming church exhibition, as I think they would make nice Christmas presents.

Watch this space for progress on all these projects!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Altered Mirrors and Frames–Preparing the Backgrounds

After my first attempt in April, I am now going to do some more painted Ikea mirrors, and also some small Ikea frames which I’ve got from Ebay. We have got a harvest/flower show coming up at our church, and various people will be exhibiting and selling their work, and each artist has been asked to donate one piece to be auctioned to raise funds. I thought this was something I could do, and if they do not sell, I’ve got some ready-made Christmas presents! I originally bought the mirrors for Christmas presents anyway. I’ve got some more coming from Ebay, so I will have plenty in hand if these ones do sell.

I am intending to frame some of my small ATC-sized flower paintings that I did recently, in the small wooden Ikea frames, and I am going to paint those frames to co-ordinate with each flower painting. I’ve got 6 of these, and if they are successful, I shall look out for further packs of these frames on Ebay. It’s brilliant that so many people are selling Ikea stuff on Ebay, because we don’t have an Ikea anywhere near us, and it does mean we have access to the stuff!

These first three mirrors have been painted on the front and the back with white primer/undercoat.

01 Mirrors with Primer-Undercoat

They will be painted with black gesso and then grunged up and painted with my new rust effect, and some nice steampunk embellishments added.

I painted the other three mirrors with white gesso in the spring when I did my first painted mirror – I have since discovered that primer is a lot cheaper and will be using that in future, unless the subsequent treatment requires a gesso substrate. Here they are with two coats of dark-coloured emulsion paint, in readiness for a layer of crackle glaze and then a top coat of light-coloured emulsion.

02 Mirrors with Base Colour

I shall probably do daisies and/or ivy on the green one, harvest on the brown one and poppies on the blue one (that blue is actually a lot darker than it’s come out in the photo), adapting the flower designs I made for the ATC-sized cards.

03 Paints for Backgrounds of Mirrors

These are the tins of emulsion that I bought to do the backgrounds with. I was thrilled that my hubby found a Dulux centre on a local industrial estate where they mix up any colour for you, in nice small pots (250 ml). When I had them mixed, he asked what I was doing with them, and when I explained they were for art, he was very interested. He told me that a customer had ordered two pots to be mixed and then had never come back to collect them, and he couldn’t sell them, so he gave them to me free! One is a lovely grey, and the other a very pale green, just perfect for my backgrounds!

The brown mirror is having cream as the top coat; the green one is having the pale green, and the blue mirror one is having grey.

On the extra mirrors coming from Ebay, I am going to do some textured gesso effects, and painting them with acrylics – a more abstract effect.

This is the brown mirror, with the addition of the crackle glaze, which is still wet at this point. If you spread it on nice and thickly like this (I used a foam brush and didn’t over-brush it) and going in one direction only, you get nice big cracks. You can see where the cracks will form, from this picture.

04 Wet Crackle Glaze

This is the dark green mirror with its top coat of pale green. I am very pleased with the large cracks that have formed, and I love the two colours together.

06 Mirror with Dark Green and Pale Green Crackle

This is the brown one, with the addition of cream emulsion. Again, the cracks are very satisfactory.

07 Mirror with Brown and Cream Crackle

Finally, the grey one. This grey is darker than I thought it would be, and if it hadn’t been a free one thrown in, I might have chosen a slightly lighter shade, but I think it’s come out OK with the dark blue cracks. It’s perhaps a more subtle effect than the first two.

08 Mirror with Blue and Grey Crackle

When I was doing my flower paintings, I was delighted to discover that distress inks work really well on acrylic paints! I had thought that they wouldn’t, having experimented with them over gesso, which acts as a resist. The distress inks over the crackle glaze give a lovely subtle effect which really lifts the frames from the ordinary! I am so pleased with this effect! This is the green frame, to which I have added some Peeled Paint and Wild Honey fairly randomly over the surface, and then distressed the edges with Forest Moss. I used my Inkylicious Ink Dusters which worked brilliantly – you have to go carefully so as not to overdo the effect.

10 Green Mirror with Distress Inks

This is what I did with the brown and cream mirror. In this case, I added Wild Honey, and distressed the edges with Walnut Stain.

11 Brown and Cream Mirror with Distress Inks

For the blue and grey one, I used Dusty Concord, and a very small amount of Wild Honey, and distressed the edges with Chipped Sapphire.

12 Blue and Grey Mirror with Distress Inks

I am very pleased with how these three mirrors have turned out so far. As they have got water-based inks added, I think I shall seal them with some matt acrylic gel medium before doing the flower paintings.

As for the grunge mirrors, here they are with their coating of black gesso as a substrate for the rust effect which I shall be doing.

05 Mirrors with Black Gesso

So far, I have only started working on one of these.

09 Mirror with Black Gesso and Verdigris Effect

When I did my rust effect, I used some blue pearlescent liquid acrylic, which came out much too blue, and I decided I’d make up my own mix to resemble a verdigris effect. I achieved this using my Pebeo Deco Matt fluid acrylic paints in the following proportions, with the addition of some iridescent acrylic gel medium:

Cretan Blue: 2 parts

Antique Green: 2 parts

Lemon: 1/2 part

Iridescent acrylic gel medium: 3 parts

So far, I think this works pretty well, but I shan’t know until I progress a bit further with the effect, so I’m going to complete the first mirror before moving on to the others.

I have also made a few more moulds, using up the last of my Mold-n-Pour, using some nuts and bolts and screw heads, and a couple of clock hands that my dad lent me. When I manage to get some more mould-making material, I shall complete this with the remaining steampunk bits and pieces I’ve got, get them cast, and apply them to the frame before adding the rust effect, so that part of the project is on hold for the moment.

The next step is to start the flower paintings on the first three mirrors, and also to prepare the backgrounds on the small frames, which arrived this morning, and I haven’t yet photographed them.

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