Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Hearts and Words ATCs

I found a swap themed 'Hearts and Words' over at ATCsforAll.com. The example cards by the host looked great and some of the other participants had created amazing cards too. I thought it seemed like the perfect theme to continue to work on some of my new art journal skills so I whipped up these four cards.
I started by pasting down some scraps of book paper, then sponged some red Distress Ink over the whole background. I tried to apply some embossing ink through a stencil over the top of this but it didn't really go through, so then I sponged some gesso through the fish stencil and applied clear embossing powder of that while wet to create a resist.

Each card got a different colour spray over the top, then some red stamping to finish off the background. Four hearts were cut from another sheet of book paper, edged in black ink and stuck to the ATC. Top and bottom details were added to the cards with a pen.  

I used Gelatos to add colour to the bottom loops and also over the heart, blending this with water. The word sticker was added, along with some builder's tape. White details added with pen/gesso. Applied to backing card using polymer varnish.

And now, after a massive 17 projects in one month, I'm going to go a bit quiet. I need to work on a project I've been putting off for over 2 years! Wish me luck I finally get it done, please. :)

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Birds of the Alphabet: D-E-F ATCs

It is time for the second round of the Birds of the Alphabet ATC swap, this time we are using the letters D, E and F. I wasn't 100% happy with the results of my first set, which I completed in coloured pencil so I decided to give acrylic paints a try this time round. It's still been a long time since I painted anything too but when I was making ATCs regularly I was doing a lot in acrylics so I was kind of hoping it would come back to me a bit easier.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the results and remembered how much fun I have painting. It is a little bit harder to do than scrapbooking in between looking after a baby though. Harrison decided to wake up just after I'd squeezed out my paints one time. :(
Diamond Firetail
Eastern Rosella

Flame Robin

Friday, 23 January 2015

You & Me: Create Life

Whilst pregnant, I had a very fun maternity photoshoot with Rachael Wilson Photography. It is such a freeing experience to look at your body, which is bigger than it has ever been before and possibly covered in stretch marks and swelling yet still love it. I was amazed that I was growing a whole person inside me and wanted to capture the magic of that experience. Rachael certainly delivered and managed to walk the fine line between looking classy in lingerie/semi-nude and just looking cheap. I have chosen a fully clothed photo to photo on this layout though. :)
I showed this layout to Ben and he got a huge smile on his face. He said it could be one of his favourite layouts I've ever created. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out as well and enjoyed getting messy in the background.

Kaisercraft have changed the way their challenges are running this year. Rather than releasing weekly sketches they will be doing one challenge at the start of each month, with the specific type varying. This month they went with a colour challenge which also had to include paper blooms and a stamp. The colour palate just happens to match their new release XO range, which I had been eyeing off anyway so I used this as an excuse to head down to my local store and pick up some papers. The range is so crisp and clean in design, I couldn't resist messying it up a bit on my layout to create a different effect. Since the layout needs to be mainly Kaisercraft products I have used their: cardstock, patterned paper, paper blooms, clear stickers, mini-alphas, 2 texture stamps and pearls.
I told you I was loving the January Stuck?! sketch for my last layout, I've gone with their mid-month release for this one.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Growth LO

Wow, what a creative start to 2015 it has been for me! Between layouts, cards, ATCs, art journals and off the page projects this is my 14th post for the month. I'm even ahead on design team projects. I hope I can keep this up all year. This layout is a challenge layout rather than a project for a specific commitment, just because I could! :)
I keep alternating between thinking I like the clean look so it's done and wanting to add a bit more to it. Does it need some sewing, does it need some ink splashes? For now I'm just going to leave it like it is.

Challenge YOUrself has set their January topic as choosing your One Little Word. I think OLW is an interesting concept but have never previously taken part. I chose Growth as my word and journalled about why. I think it's important to not lose sight of all the components that make up me while I'm focusing on helping Harrison grow.

I thought Stuck?! Sketches didn't let you combine their sketch with other challenges, so it has been a while since I played with them. However, I was re-reading their rules and they do, so I used their January sketch as the basis for this layout.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Vintage Rose Garden Dreamcatcher - Couture Creations DT

So it's January - a new year, a time for new resolutions and best of all a great time to try a new project! This dream catcher is a surprisingly quick and easy project which looks great, in my opinion anyway. :)
1/ Take the inner circle of an embroidery hoop and pick a crochet doily which will fit inside. Using embroidery thread, loop through the doily and over the frame all the way around until it is securely attached in the centre.
2/ Adhere double sided tape over the outside of the hoop. This will secure the position of the thread and also secure the twine which now gets wrapped around the hoop, I found multiple shorter lengths are easier to wrap. Remember to include a loop at the top for hanging.
3/ Cut and emboss four feathers from neutral coloured Vintage Rose Garden papers. Punch a hole at the end of each of these. Run a brown inkpad around the edges and over the embossed areas to highlight these. Use more twine to hang each of the feathers from the hoop. I looped mine through itself to secure and hung a green bead at the other end of the twine.
4/ Tie an assortment of ribbons and laces to the bottom of the hoop, varied lengths and widths look best. Hang a couple of extra beads using embroidery thread
5/ Cut a small circle from spare cardstock to create a stable base to build your floral cluster upon and adhere to the hoop with hot-glue or double sided tape. Create a flower using the Roses nesting dies (I used two layers of the three smallest dies, inking the edges then wetting and scrunching each layer before assembly). Adhere the die-cut flower, a fussy-cut clock image and some smaller flowers to the base cardstock.
6/ Die cut the leaf frame and cut in half. Adhere the left side to the hoop using spray adhesive.

Couture Creations Materials List:
CO723218 Nesting Dies, Roses

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Journal Journey 2015 - January Driver's Ed Version 2

I gave the Kreative Koncepts January art journal page tutorial another go today. I didn't follow it exactly to the letter but rather as a basis to build my own style upon. I went with red and yellow as my two additional colours, which also let me sneak in some orange by pretending they had blended in together.
I used Distress Inks as my base rather than sprays. This provided a lighter coloured background to then build my layers up on so the stamping texture shows up more. I tried some yellow sprays through a stencil in the bottom left corner but the colour was a bit light and the water in it activated the Distress Ink so I got an interesting effect. I tried harder to keep by crayon resist circles showing and complemented these with paint circles in white and yellow. The embossing resist is used on the tag, as well as my first attempt at a gelly roll pen as a border around the edge of the red part of the tag. I had to add some flowers and bling to pretty up the page too. :)

Monday, 19 January 2015

Journal Journey 2015 - January Driver's Ed

The third week of the month in the Journal Journey 2015 program is the week where there is step-by-step instructions to complete a page using the techniques learnt in the first two weeks. January's theme was resist techniques, I've used crayon resist in the background and clear embossing resist on the tag.
The journaling is about how I'm finally taking the plunge by starting an art journal and how I'm learning so much already, hence the quote on the tag.
I learnt a lot from completing this page and think I could do a lot better if I gave it a second go, which I might depending on time requirements for other projects. The tag seems a bit simple but I'm otherwise happy with it. For the background though, I stamped my texture stamps with Distress Inks and I think the spray was still wet as the stamp images blended into the background and faded away. I sprayed too much blue ink onto the stencil so it all leaked under the design (and oversprayed the edges as I didn't mask off the rest of the page). I got lazy and stopped whipping off the areas with crayon resist so they didn't stay white. I think I want more contrast in my two colour choices next time too.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Birthday Cards - Scrapmatts DT

My second set of projects for the Scrapmatts DT this month are a couple of birthday cards. Chipboard is the perfect embellishment for cardmaking. It is relatively flat, light weight and can easily be coloured to match any colour scheme. I whipped up two quick birthday cards for family members in the past month and they were both very impressed with the results.
Chipboard for both my frame and sentiment in this earthy card. I used CB1198 Scrapwords 06 and CB6091 Ornate Frames 19. After creating my own patterned paper in this second card all I needed was some glitter alphas and some chipboard chevrons (CB5106 Chevrons 01).
If you've created a card, or any other project, using Scrapmatts chipboard please come share it with us in the gallery.

Friday, 16 January 2015

At The Beach - Scrapmatts DT

I live on the Gold Coast, which is known for being a coastal tourist attraction centre, so you would think that when Scrapmatts released a new Marine Life chipboard set I would be all over it, right? Wrong, I rarely head to the beach, largely due to my pale skin which goes from white to red in about 10 minutes flat regardless of the amount of sunscreen I slather on. The chipboard did look adorable though so I eventually remembered I had these photos from a morning stroll I did with friends sometime last year and set to work.

(Removed for publication)

All the chipboard comes from CB4067 Marine Life 02. I have used seven pieces on this layout and there are still fifteen left in the sheet!

I was inspired by the current sketch challenge over at Show Us Your Stuff for this layout. It's been ages since I played along with them. The pink/orange pieces have been coloured with Gelatos, the blue pieces with Glimmermist and the seaweed has been left natural in the white mist finish the sheet came in.


Scrapbook Boutique also have a sea themed challenge for January. Those cupcakes look amazing!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Just Be - Journal52

I know I said I would almost always go with a literal interpretation of the Journal52 prompts, but this week the prompt was 'Just Be' so I thought I should just be in the moment and create whatever feels right at the time. I forgot about what I like from other people's work and what I don't like about mine and just laid down a couple of quick layers. I have to say that I LOVE the resulting page!
If you're interested in how it came to be, I started by gluing some torn book pages to the page and then put gesso over the whole thing. I applied clear stamping ink through a stencil and then applied clear embossing powder over the top to heat set it. Distress inks in orange and yellow were applied over the page, with the ink wiping off from the emboss resist.

I roughly drew on some circles using a white crayon to preserve the yellow/orange colours, then hit the page with purple and blue spray mists. The blue blended with the background to create that green colour but I still like the result. Because I used Glimmermists the page has a magical sparkle too.

Lastly, I sponged black ink through another stencil for the swirls and used Thickers for my letters. Relatively quick and easy, just quite different to what and how I normally create. I love that art journaling is already getting me out of my comfort zone. I also love that I can already utilise some of the techniques I've learnt in Journal Journey 2015.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Journal Journey 2015 - January Stopover

So week two of each month in Journal Journey 2015 is another technique session. These tutorials are meant to be more advanced or focusing on a specific product. For January the techniques were clear embossing resist, dimensional magic resist and gelly roller pen resist. I felt a lot more comfortable with these techniques as I had used clear embossing and dimensional magic before, though not as a resist.

I again did my samples up on ATC bases. The first is the dimensional magic resist with pink and yellow mists. The result impressed me and I'd like to play around with it a bit more, especially letting the ink pool and dry more before wiping off. The second card I sprayed blue and yellow before clear embossing a stamped design over the top, then covering the card in black ink. The card looks better in real life and I quite like the effect, I think I need to use a different black ink though. Lastly is another clear embossing card. I don't have jelly pens so didn't do the last technique.
I decided to put some of my new knowledge to use and started a journal page using the clear embossing resist technique. This time though I stamped the clear ink through a stencil for this design. You can see the completed journal page on my blog tomorrow.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Pathways - Journal52

When my friend Amanda found out I was trying my hand at art journaling for the first time this year she suggested I join Journal52 on Facebook as well. They give a one word prompt every week and it seems pretty open. The first prompt was 'Pathways' so I've chosen to paint a forest scene and use one of my favourite quotes from Ralph Waldo Emerson: 'Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail'.
I found the perfect journal at my craft store today: A5, 80 sheets, 120gsm paper with canvas covers so I can easily alter them. I was so excited to be able to get started straight away. I learnt a lot from this first piece:
1/ I am likely to always go with literal interpretation of the prompts. I just don't do well with abstract execution, even though I love the look of it in other's journals.
2/ I probably need to update my paints and brushes. Most of these are years old.
3/ I don't like the look of my handwriting and it appears unlikely I will be able to make it a feature of my art like some people can. I had to re-paint the path as I didn't like my first attempt at writing the quote.
4/ This was fun and I really need to make sure I keep spending time in my craft room. It doesn't matter if I'm out of practice and they only way I'll get better is to keep creating.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Say Cheese LO

 After doing a mini-Christmas photo shoot at home in December I snapped a couple of candid shots of Harrison and myself before I packed everything up. I loved how this one turned out, with his eyes locked on the camera and such a cheeky smile. This is the smile I get so often but it's hard to catch on camera.

I wasn't happy with the first version of this layout but played with it again today to add the title (over the old journaling) and added some new journaling. I like it more now. Does anyone else do that? Think that you're done with a project, only to rework it when you look at it again a few days later.

This layout was inspired by the mood board over at D-lish Scraps for this month. The colours are so bright and cheerful I just couldn't resist them, plus I really liked the sketch. D-lish Scraps is an amazing online store, I love their range of flare buttons and they have just released fantastic monochrome mini-kits. They also have a huge range of very affordable flowers and cheap postage. My flowers on this layout (and most of my recent projects) are from the store.

Birds of the Alphabet: A-B-C ATCs

Way back in the day when I started this blog I originally used it to showcase my Artist Trading Cards (ATCs). I was a member of ATCsforAll.com and have created over 1000 ATCs in total (yes, I used to number each one). Eventually though I moved more into scrapbook and fell away from them. For some reason I decided the re-visit the forum last month and signed up for a bird themed swap. Eventually you will do one bird for each letter of the alphabet but for this swap I just had to create cards for A,B and C. After making these cards I realised to last time I had done hand-drawn cards was back in December 2011 so I'm a little out of practice.
Azure Kingfisher

Blue Headed Kingfisher

Crimson Rosella

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Journal Journey - January Detour

I have been interested in art journals for a while now, as some people manage to create such beautiful works of art in them. The idea of no rules, no 'wrong way', just the chance to try out a whole bunch of new techniques really appealed to me. The problem was I'm the kind of person who likes to follow a process and the unstructured format of art journaling left me not knowing where to start.
Kreative Koncepts changed that by running their Journal Journey 2015 free online program. This will run for the whole year, with time at the start of each month devoted to learning new techniques before walking you through creating a page using the new skills.
The theme for January is 'White with Two' and the technique for the first week was resists. I have spent the last two days playing with some different ideas in ATC size. To be honest, I'm not really happy with the results for most of them but it was fun trying out some new things and I might refine them a bit more later.
From left to right: Vaseline resist with acrylic paint (it stripped too much of the paint off while I was removing the Vaseline, this was also a bit too messy even for me), Vaseline resist with spray mists (happier with this result, still some minor smudging), polymer resin resist with spray mists (I think I needed to wipe the mists off the card while still wet, the resin also seeped under my mask).

From left to right: crayon resist with distress inks (I think I went over the images too many times and didn't allow it enough time to dry before using the crayon), polymer resin resist with spray mists (worked better getting the ink off sooner but I still had trouble with seepage), crayon resist with distress inks (this one I actually like the results).
Since I didn't want the time spent on these cards to go to waste, I added some extra detailing to a few of them to create simple ATCs.
I liked the colours I ended up with for this card but had lost the image in the resist as I smudged away too much paint too. I just re-positioned the stencil over the top once it was all dry, making sure it was slightly off-set from the original resist and applied black ink over the top.
This was probably my second favourite card but it seemed a bit plan. I had added some detailing with gold and pink metallic pens then added some rub-on phrases.

I was liking this one but them I think I applied too much ink and it started to bleed through the crayon resist and smudge the stamping. I wanted to add colours to the wings but can't because of the resist so this was stayed pretty plain.
I brought back the fish images with a fine nibbed pen and added eyes and details. It has a certain cuteness which appeals to me now. I am tossing up adding some 'fish in the sea' writing to it but I'm pretty sure I will ruin it if I do.

This is the card I was most happy with. Initially while applying the yellow I didn't think the resist had worked, but as I continued to apply the ink and moved to darked colours the resist became much clearer to see. I haven't added anything to this one.

I haven't done anything to the red/yellow polymer resist card but I'm thinking of maybe adding a stamped sentiment/quote to it. Otherwise, I think that is enough experimenting for this week. Let me know if you have any tips for improving my resist results.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Salt Dough Ornaments

I couldn't celebrate Harrison's first Christmas without doing something crafty to commemorate it. I thought salt dough ornaments would be a cute idea to record his foot and hand prints. I hadn't taken into consideration just how much of a giant my little man is at the moment though, so they ended up being much larger than I had originally anticipated.
They took quite a while to dry so I had to paint them down in Melbourne using a cheap travel acrylic paint set. I gave one hand and foot print each to each set of grandparents, they loved them. I have one hand and foot print here at home which I will paint and keep for us too. I can't wait to look back at them next year and see how much he has grown. :)

Monday, 5 January 2015

Grandson Photo Frame Gift

Hello and welcome to 2015! I spent Christmas and New Years down in Melbourne with family, which was quite lovely as we don't get to catch up that often. I made a few hand-made Christmas presents this year and had to wait until I got back home to be able to share them.
My mum came to stay with us when Harrison was born last year, so we took her along to his newborn photoshoot. I wanted to give her a copy of her photo in a nice frame, but couldn't find anything I liked. I ended up buying a pretty plain black frame with white matting and creating a display piece. 
It was a lot of fun getting elements to match her shirt and building up the clusters. As you can see in the close up, there are metal charms, chipboard with crackle paint, flowers, leaves and pearls in each corner.