Distress Stain Steampunk Bird

This week’s Monday Mojo email is all about Distress Stains so I thought I would share with you this tag that I made for the recently launched Chocolate Baroque Challenge Blog.

GWsteampunk-bird

I made this not long before we moved house, at a wonderful playday with Lesley, Judith and Debbie.  We were discussing the challenge blog at the time and finalising the details of how we would set it up, then we came up with the idea of picking some colours there and then to start the ball rolling.  From my distress tag swatch, if I remember rightly, we picked out Squeezed Lemonade, Mowed Lawn, Peacock Feathers and I think the red is either Festive Berries or Barn Door.

I started by swiping some Squeezed Lemonade Distress paint onto a couple of tags, then stamping the foliage frond with the same paint.  When dry, this acts as a resist to the more liquid stains.  I put Mowed Lawn and Peacock Feathers distress stain on the bottom of the tag and the red at the top.  I sprinkled some water on and dried it quickly with a heat tool to stop the colours blending too much into brown where they meet.

I stamped some Punky Flowers onto the tag, then stamped the bird and coloured the branch.  The bird was stamped twice onto the second tag and I cut one whole bird and an extra wing to decoupage on top.  I did add a nice green ribbon, but don’t have a photo and it is still packed away “somewhere”.

I do love playing with distress stains, so I dug them out this week and had a little play session.  Here are some of the backgrounds and tags I created.

distress stain bg

distress stain music

distress stain tags2

distress stain tags1

I just love having a stack of tags and backgrounds like this to hand, they’re great for the times when I don’t want to get all messy, but need some coloured backgrounds ready to go.

If you haven’t checked out our Challenge Blog yet, head over there and take a look, there’s some fab inspiration from the Design Team, plus some really super submissions coming along.  You still have time to play as it’s a monthly challenge, so you have until August 19th to play along and if your entry qualifies, you could be picked as our prize winner!

Happy stamping!

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Make a Wish

house journal tag

I am thoroughly enjoying the feeling of being settled that this new house has brought us.  Having been a home owner for most of my adult life, renting for four years was never very comfortable.  There was a constant awareness of the cream carpets that the cat was doing her best to shred, the lack of our treasured pictures on the walls, the inconvenience of not being able to put up shelves.  There was an up-side of course – we didn’t have to sort out or pay for the mouse gnawed burst pipes, the faulty plug bathroom leak, the cracked window or the new roof slates.  That aspect of renting was great!

The house we are now living in is one of two neighbouring houses that were both being sold.  Originally, back in February we wanted to buy number 8 and thought our offer had been accepted, only to find out a few weeks later that both properties had been taken off the market.  We found another property in the same village, but a survey revealed some expensive long term maintenance which we didn’t have the budget for, so we pulled out of that one.  I was pretty upset at the time, but something made me contact the estate agent dealing with the original two houses and my timing was perfect.  He told me they had just become available again and there was interest in number 8 already, but number 7 was a possibility.  It took another few weeks and ended up going to a nail biting closing date, but we were overjoyed to get number 7.

During the whole process, I generated a fair few journal pages that focused on the themes of homes, shelters, nesting, rootedness, etc.  This journal tag is one that I made when I first got myself some Gelatos.  I loved the creamy blending and made a few tags just playing with colour.  The Fantasy Castle symbolises the yearning I felt at the time to have a place of my own and I  journaled some of my thoughts around the edge of the tag.

Initially the tag just had the ‘make a wish’ sentiment (from Words and Birds) on it.  The ‘magic happens’ phrase just appeared all by itself one day, as if by magic!  Honestly I cannot remember going back and stamping that – weird?  But I made the wish, the wish came true, so it just shows, magic really does happen.

Wishing you lots of magic in your day,

Crafting comes in handy

So we’ve been here for two weeks now and its a personal record – we are unpacked!  Lots of things still need to find homes, but the Pickfords boxes are emptied and gone.  We’ve even done our first bit of remodelling (removed a loo and installed a washing machine in it’s place) and with all our familiar stuff around, it’s beginning to feel a little more homelike.

One of the challenges we faced here was the fact the house came furnished.  It has previously been a holiday let and was sold as seen with all contents.  Most of it is pretty tatty and just needs to go, but some of the good stuff is going to a social recycling scheme called The Furniture Project in Stranraer.  We are also waiting for family to come and pick up some other pieces they want, so it’s all feeling very tight and cluttered at the moment.

One of the challenges that other people have faced over the last two weeks is finding us – there is no number anywhere on the house.  I nearly bought one, then I thought, hang on a minute, I can make one!

number-7

I needed it in a hurry so this is a super simple, quick make.  I used one of our wooden plaques as I wanted something sturdy and I gave it two coats of gesso on both sides, then covered it with a wallpaper sample that looks like painted wooden boards.  I found a number 7 that I liked on the computer and scaled it up to the right size then printed it out, cut it out and painted it with Teal Golden fluid acrylic.  I glued the paper and number with Golden soft gel (gloss).  The paper wraps right round the back with about a two inch overlap.  I like the way you can just see the shape of the bevelled edge of the plaque through the paper.

At the moment, it’s sitting in the porch window, but once I find somewhere that sells yacht varnish, I will give it two or three coats to cope with the salty rain here and we’ll mount it to the outside of the house.  It somehow feels like a very appropriate ‘first project’ in our new house.

The little house shadow box behind the number is one I have had for a while.  I wasn’t happy with the original colours I had used so while I had the paints out, I gave that a freshen up and I love it now.  I’m planning on filling this with beach finds – shells, driftwood, sea glass, pebbles and anything else interesting that the sea washes up.

One of the things I am absolutely relishing is being able to put pictures up on the walls – it’s lovely to see my artwork up there instead of sitting in a box!

studio pics

glwsig-orange

PS – Lesley liked my house number so much, she featured it in this week’s Chocolate Baroque email newsletter and put the Golden fluid acrylics on special offer for ONE WEEK ONLY (that’s until July 17th 2014)

Affirmation Canvas

grounded

In this week’s Monday Mojo email, I encouraged you to step away from the computer and go do some crafting.  I also covered one or two practical tips, but I thought I’d share this canvas today as it is something that I have made myself as a response to some of the mental hurdles that we all face from time to time when it comes to creativity.

I started this canvas around the start of this year when I was thinking about whether I was going to have a ‘word of the year’ for 2014.  The birds (Steampunk Birds) are stamped onto tissue paper and coloured with coloursoft pencils.  These pencils are not water soluble which means I was able to glue the tissue down with no risk of the colours bleeding at all.

The canvases are painted and stencilled with Distress paints and I’ve collaged on some scraps of gelli printed papers and more stamped tissue.  I used Ranger’s Archival inks to stamp the tissue, again so they won’t bleed when wet gel medium is used to stick the tissue down.

The words themselves came from a journal page I had written – a page of writing resolved itself into three words that I want to be able to always say about myself.  They are affirmations, but also aspirations – I’m not sure I can call myself wise yet – but I’m working on it.

We all have mental blocks that get in the way sometimes – thinking you’re not good enough, comparing yourself to other people, always practising and never starting, feeling guilty about time spent on yourself – the list goes on and everyone has their own particular barrier to overcome.

One of the hurdles I have to deal with on a regular basis is completion.  I am not a natural finisher, I don’t often plan projects from start to finish.  I prefer to work intuitively, to experiment and I’m fine with having a studio full of unfinished ‘bits’ of work.  It is the process that gives me the ideas for completion.  So as colours or patterns start to emerge, I will get an idea for how I want to finish it off.

But I put off the finishing touches and find a million reasons not to finish something – I don’t want to spoil what I’ve done or I don’t have the right colour.  (That happens to be very convenient for my ego of course, because the inner critic can’t have a go at something that isn’t finished yet.)

I’m aware of it now though and that’s the key to getting out of your own way.  Nowadays I will sometimes have a deliberate ‘completion’ day where I will dig out a half finished project and refuse to be sidetracked into doing anything other than finishing that one thing.  There’s nothing quite like a completed project you are pleased with to give you a sense of satisfaction and achievement.  Crafting really is good for you!

So if you like the colour challenges – check out yesterday’s blog post for the (forgotten) challenge from last week, and here’s today’s.

mojo8-colour-challenge

glwsig-orange

 


 

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