Sunday, 23 December 2012

The Craft Barn Calendar Challenge - Finished!!

My Craft Barn Calendar challenge has been lots of fun and I'm so glad I decided to join in. (This is my second post today so if you want to see the other one, click here). I have been asked by a few of you to post all the pieces together when they were complete so I couldn't possibly disappoint could I? The Craft Barn would also like to see the finished result so I'll link up there too.

I had to put the pages on the floor and stand on a chair to take this photo so hope you like it! My favourite is probably September. My least favourite is December because I felt rather stumped by the theme of felt (not good for a retired textiles teacher is it!).

Here is my calendar in full technicolour:

If you've missed each page and have endless time available (between everything else you have to do!!), here's a link to the individual posts:


I hope these links are correct! Thanks for sticking with me today and I wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and a peaceful and crafty 2013.

ABAC Anything Goes / Share Your Favourite Project From 2012

Two posts from me today and then that's it for 2012. The first is my DT post for Anything But A Card and the second is the post showing my Craft Barn Callendar challenge in full. They follow consecutively so bear with me or for speed, scroll down to the Craft Barn Full Calendar post. Due to a family get together, I'm having to post this early but the challenge will be up later over at the blog.

Don't forget to check out the other DT pieces today and next Sunday for some wonderful inspiration! Thanks to everyone who has supported our challenge blog since September - we have really enjoyed all your amazing creations.

The challenge at Anything But A Card for the next fortnight, has two wonderful themes that you may choose from:
                                      1. Anything Goes
                                      2. Share a favourite project from 2012

I have decided to combine the two really because I made this piece at an Andy Skinner class in October so it's a real favourite and it fits the 'anything goes' theme too.

I haven't previously blogged this piece because firstly, I had a terrible accident with it when I got home from the class. To cut a long story short, I had to sand off everything and start again from scratch. I then didn't have photos of it for a while but that is now done so I can share it with you. I'm not sure what the final piece is called but I have named it a wall plaque. Of course it is a very timeworn piece because that is just one of the many things Andy does so well (can you tell I'm a fan??).

Here's my wall plaque with a very timeworn angel staring into the infinity of time:

The pictures were taken outside because there was no light indoors - not much outside either!
The wonderful angel image is achieved by an image transfer technique.

Lots of wonderful crackle all over the plaque. This vintage girl is actually quite heavily inked with distress but the picture seems to have lost the colour. Next time I would use paint to age her.

Andy had a wonderful rusty key at the bottom of his plaque but in the absence of one, I chose to distress some beads and try to age them instead.

Another technique using paints helped to age this part of the project. Looks like rusted metal doesn't it?

The caption was printed and then aged with distress. I wondered whether burning might have achieved a better effect but I think the paper may have gone up in smoke, knowing my luck!

More of the wonderful timeworn effects at the top of the plaque.
I was a little worried that I'd gone overboard with crackle and the paint effects when I did this piece for the second time. On balance, I'm happy with the effects I've achieved and I hope you like it!

If you don't have time to look any further then I'll wish you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and creative 2013.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Craft Barn Calendar Challenge #12

Well, the final calendar challenge at the Craft Barn has arrived and the theme this week is 'Embossing'. If you've been here before, you will know that I love embossing of any variety so I was very pleased that this was the chosen theme.

I decided to just start with a coloured background, choose an embossing folder and go from there. I used brass metallic distress stain, distress ink and a quick burst of dylusion ink spray. I wanted to base my page on the textures achieved with embossing rather than a main image. Of course, I couldn't resist adding some stamping here and there with a little machine stitching thrown in for good measure too!

Here's my completed page:

The main page piece was embossed in a texture fade folder. Metallic distress stain was put on the folder and the card was sprayed lightly with dylusion ink and water, dried and then embossed in the inked folder. Distress ink was added to deepen the colour in some areas and walnut distress was used on the edges.

Two pieces of card were die cut for the top and bottom of the page. Each was inked with distress, and stamped with script in the same colour. Machine stitching was added using gold thread  to each piece.
This image gives a clearer view of the effect achieved with metallic distress stain.

Each die cut piece was stamped with a coffee ring image which was embossed with teal enamel (I love this colour!). The scalloped edge and the eyelet holes were embossed with aged gold enamel (another favourite!). Some rings were stamped and embossed onto left over embossed background card. Each ring was cut out, inked and embossed with aged gold on the edges. They were then arranged at the bottom of the calendar page in a scallop design to echo the die cut. Some jute twine was then added as a finishing touch.

This image shows the script stamping, embossed rings and gold embossing on the die cuts. The gold machining can also be clearly seen here too.
I've really enjoyed doing this calendar and apart from the 'felt' theme week, I have enjoyed all the page themes. At some point soon I'll try to take a picture of all the pages together - if I can! Thanks for looking at this busy time and if you've also found time to leave a comment, then I send you an even bigger thank you!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Craft Barn Challenge #11

Firstly, I'd like to apologise for being absent this week. I've been unwell and consequently have spent very little time on my laptop or at my desk. I'm feeling lots better and will come and visit you at sometime over the weekend and reply to the emails that I've received.

We have reached week 11 at the Craft Barn Calendar Challenge and the theme this week is circles. My brain managed to compute this into a stamped page with embossing and a little stencilling. I've chosen a recently used colour palette because I rather like it and I thought it would be a good choice to brighten up a dreary November day. . . . . .

Here's my completed page:

The first step was to create a background using distress inks in warm orange and yellow tones.

For the next step, circles were stamped with versamark then embossed with clear powder. The colour in the background was then deepened in different areas.

A border stamp was added at the bottom for interest. I like the way this stamp allows the background to shine through.

Here you can see the script stamping in the background to create depth. The top of the calendar stub was covered with Tim tissue tape then inked using sequin waste and archival ink. This method was also used around the edges to create a frame and again, more depth.

Only one more page to go now and then I'll attempt to take a picture of all the pages together - not sure how I'll manage that one though!

Once again, sorry for not being a good blogger but hopefully, the coming week will be better. Unfortunately, my Christmas preparations are now a week behind too!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Anything But A Card Challenge #8

Today sees a new challenge at Anything But A Card. This is #8 and our theme is 'Celebrating The Light or Seasonal Holiday'. I do hope you pop over to the blog and have a look at what the other team members have made and even more than that, I hope you may find time to put in a little entry. Our last theme didn't seem to be quite so popular with you all but I suspect that many of you will have already made something that's suitable for the current challenge! We'd love to see you there and you never know, you might be chosen as one of our winning artists!

For my pieces this time, I chose the second option which is 'Seasonal Holiday' mainly because I love Christmas crafting and by making these two little gift holders, it means I've produced much needed packaging for Christmas presents!

I've used the Tim matchbook die which you have probably spotted around blogland being used for the very same purpose which I've chosen to utilise it for today. I usually give my Neice and Nephew gift cards because they're in their twenties and can then select something far more appropriate than Auntie Julia could ever choose!

I've attempted to make one gift card holder very girlie and the other more masculine for obvious reasons! Here they are and I should warn you I've had to use quite a few photos:

The 'girlie' gift card holder.

The rose is made from tattered floral die cuts coloured with dylusion spray and Tim's glitter. Some gold cord and charity shop beads were added to complete the look.
The matchbook die cut was embossed with a Tim snowflake folder, painted with layers of acrylic, gold paste applied followed by two step crackle. The cracks were emphasised with acrylic paint.

More of the gold cord was used to make the ties to close the matchbook. Some gold lace was sandwiched between the outer and the inner lining card.

The gift card fits snuggly in the little pocket.

The lining was cut from kraft card. The surface was stamped with a free CS stamp using metallic distress stains and white acrylic paint. Walnut stain distress ink was used on all edges.

After the gift card has been spent, the holder could be used to hold post it notes - they will need to be firmly fixed in place.

The 'boy' version of the gift card holder. This was made exactly the same way as the first, but different colours were used, no gold paste and the holder was decorated with embossed snowflakes. Before applying the two step crackle, the embossed painted card was lightly sanded  to give a shabby look. Jute plaited braid was used to make the tie closure.

The embossed punched snowflake on the front of the gift holder.

Kraft card was used to die cut the edging for this holder. The edges were sponged with distress ink.

The gift card in position.

The lining was made in the same way for both holders. On the boy version, a snowflake was stamped and embossed.

The post it note pad in position.

Thank you so much for bearing with me and looking at my work. I love the 'girlie' holder the most but I'm very pleased with the shabby look of the 'boy' holder with the jute braid. Let's hope my Neice and Nephew are pleased with them too! Let me know what you think.

Your turn now! Get out those Christmas makes, take a photo and join us at Anything But A Card.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Craft Barn Calendar Challenge #10

Time for challenge #10 at the Craft Barn and this week their theme is 'Trees'. I thought about doing some kind of tree scene but that isn't really me so in the end I went for a stamped postcard style entry using glossy card. I don't use glossy card much but I really enjoyed playing with it - think I'll return to it soon!

Can't believe there are only two pages left to make - where has all the time gone?

Here's my entry for this week:

I used an Andy Skinner tree stamp which I love simply because it is a stark  silhouette which allows the background to shine through. The tree was stamped at different angles to allow the branches to meet in the centre of the piece.
The background was created with both archival and distress inks. Some images were stamped and others were achieved using a mask. The trees were last to be stamped using stazon ink.
The calendar stub was finished with Tissue Tape then inked through sequin waste followed by stamping. Distress ink was used for both.

The only problem I found with the glossy card is trying to take photos which don't show glare on the shiny surface.

Thanks so much for looking and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Andy Skinner Class At The Craft Barn

On sunday I had a great time doing an Andy Skinner workshop at the Craft Barn. The workshop was Industrial Mixed Media Stix 2. I had no idea what that was until I got there but knew it would be fun whatever it was! I met up with a few ladies that I know from blogland and met some others too.

The workshop used Stix 2 Texture Mounting Sheets. We were each given a sheet which Andy had printed with a variety of industrial images. This meant that we all had the same starting point but I have to say, we ended with very individual results.

We used a mix of different techniques including resist, stamping, stencilling, collage, paint, ink, pastels and probably some I can't remember as well! If you haven't been to an Andy Skinner class, check out his blog as he does workshops in various places as well as online courses. His blog and website are well worth a visit if you've never been before (I'm picking up my advertising fee later!!).

I'm not sure what I'm going to use my piece for but even my husband liked it and said why don't you frame it? - he normally says things like: 'very nice dear, but what does it do?'. I'm sure you know the type!!

Here's what I made:

Lots of layers make up this finished piece. It's now inside a heavy book to flatten it so excuse the curly look!

I find that different elements are still popping out at me despite making this and looking at it in various stages.

I love this image and made sure she remained very visible on the piece.

Think I forgot to mention die cuts in my long list of techniques! I want to work on the area around the letters a little more and perhaps soften the graphite which I started to add at the last minute.

Another wonderful image and the barbed wire stamp is one of Andy's fab images (as were all the stamps we used).

That's it for now. Hope you found the post interesting. Let me know what you think.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Craft Barn Calendar Challenge #9

Can't believe we're in week 9 of the Craft Barn Calendar Challenge already - and I'm up to date!! The challenge this week is to use three colours: Teal, Rust and White. I rather like this combination and I have the perfect embossing enamel called aged teal, so that became my start point.

Love rusting and anything that is rusty but this time I decided just to use a rust colour: the lovely rusty hinge distress shade. I felt that something steampunkish would go well with these colours so I used my Oxford Impressions stamps called Steampunk Works.

Here's my latest calendar page which some may find a little unusual so sorry if the eyes aren't quite your cup of tea:

Finished piece complete with calendar stub. I added the stamped eyes simply because it seemed right to have them peeking out through the 'glasses'!
The bird was stamped, inked with rusty hinge and cut out. A second bird was stamped and the 'wing' and neck 'label' were cut out. All bird pieces were then double embossed with clear powder.
The background was created by stamping the cogs with versamark then embossing with clear powder. Layers of distress ink and distress stamping were then built up. Some appropriate watch parts were added to parts of the design. The edges of the page were randomly embossed with aged teal enamel. I love the gold glints in this powder and it works well with the rusty hinge.
The 'glasses' were stamped, cut out and embossed with the aged teal enamel. Rust hinge was added to any gaps.The eyes were stamped from a Tim image using coffee archival then double embossed to lend a 'glassy' look.
The 'glasses' were linked together with rusty wire then the calendar stub was attached. The top of the stub was finished with tissue tape, edges were inked then some versamark was added through a mask followed by the aged teal embossing enamel.

Hope you like the page and that the eyes don't put you off!! Do let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Festive Sparkle In Vintage Fashion. . . . .

By the skin of my teeth (not sure where that saying comes from!), I've managed to finish a tag for the wonderful challenge over at Crafty Individuals. This is my first time entering there but I own a number of their stamps which give some of the crispest images you could wish for.

My entry is a modest tag (compared to the other projects over there!) based on their theme which is 'Festive Sparkle'. As it's nearly December I decided that Christmas Angels are acceptable! I love sparkly things although I don't often include it in my work but having bought Tim's wonderful dry glitter and the metallic distress stains, I knew what my starting point would be. I love the angel stamps by CI and have chosen to use three out of a set of four gorgeous little images.

I'm also going to enter my tag at the Sunday Stampers run by the lovely Hels. Her theme this week is Vintage and I think my tag falls into this category so will link up there too.

Here's my tag with quite a few pictures and an explanation of how I achieved my look:

The background was created on a kraft card tag using metallic distress stains. When dry, snowflake images were stamped with pewter and brass stains, white acrylic paint and versamark with aged rose embossing enamel to match in with the victorian velvet used on the little dresses.
The three angel images were stamped with coffee archival then coloured with distress markers and a waterbrush. Their wings were finished with dry glitter and they really sparkle in real life!
The lace is a gold sparkly piece which I've fallen in love with and have sneaked it onto a couple of projects now - it's lovely for autumnal and sparkle projects I think.
You can see the aged rose embossing enamel here. I'm not as keen on this shade as I am on some of the others as I find the lovely gold flecks are overshadowed by the black/pink finer powder particles.
The mulberry paper flowers and berries were given the dry glitter treatment after a light coat of gesso. The beads are part of a bracelet & earing set bought in a charity shop - the beads are opaqe glass and weighty.
The tag topper is something I cut from a project which was consigned to the bin but I liked the top and bottom so saved them! It's made from embossed grungeboard painted with gesso and distress stains. A coat of gold paste added extra sparkle.
The letters are die cuts which have been coloured with ordinary distress stain and brass metallic distress stain.

Hope you like this tag. I enjoyed making it as it's a style I love and hope to develop my skills in over time. Do let me know what you thing won't you?

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Anything But A Card Challenge #7: From The Seaside OR Picture Inspiration

A new challenge goes live today at Anything But A Card. The theme for this fortnight is the seaside or you can take inspiration from this picture:

For my DT piece, I chose to use the seaside theme but it was a close call because I think the picture is wonderful and it conjures up all kinds of inspiration.

We'd love to see your creative pieces over at Anything But A Card. Why not pop over and see what the other designers have come up with? I can promise you an amazing mix of styles and makes on offer and they are bound to spark those creative ideas.

I'm also going to enter my box at Artful Times. It's a lovely, friendly blog and they have some wonderful themes. Their theme this fortnight is anything goes - a real favourite with me! Von and Neet always leave such wonderfully encouraging comments and many of the other entrants will visit you too. Do go on over and have a look - you won't be disappointed!

So, onto what I made this time. In the summer, I picked up a rather sorry looking wooden cigar box of the cheap and cheerful variety and decided to give it a makeover:
As usual, I forgot to take a 'before' picture and only remembered when I'd moved to the inside with my gesso!
The inside of the lid was covered rapidly!

The completed box with stamped images and two step crackle finish. I tried to clean the catch up but couldn't do so without scratching off the gilt - I'll have to think about that for a little longer!
The images on the lid were stamped onto card coloured with water soluble wax crayons and embossed with aged teal enamel. Once cut out, a coat of glossy accents was applied before gluing the pieces into position. 
The inside was finished with two card panels. Each panel was coloured with water soluble crayons, stamped and embossed and two step crackle applied.
The narrow rim around the lid and base was coloured with gold paste and buffed to a shine.
Acrylic paint was rubbed over all the crackled areas and the excess removed with a baby wipe.
In this close up you can see the gorgeous tones in the teal enamel. Teal powder with gold and silver chunky crystals make this a real favourite of mine.
The stamping on the sides was applied straight to the box and the same embossing enamel was used. The stamp was a freebie from CS which I used to represent waves - hopefully you get the idea I aimed for!
Final photo so well done for getting to this point! This shows the wonderful crackle which I think looks like crazed porcelain. This crackle method really needs the final addition of the acrylic paint to make it work.

Thanks so much for looking at my box. Please leave a comment if you like it or you have any constructive criticism - all comments are gratefully received!

Why not pop over  now to Anything But A Card, have a look at the rest of the DT's pieces and start planning your entry. Remember: you can make anything, as long as it's NOT a card!