Monday, 26 April 2010

Mirror Frame ...... finished!

As promised, here is a photo of my completed mirror frame.  After creating several embellishments for the frame, using a variety of techniques, at Lindsay's workshop, I was determined not to let it lie around half-done for several months.  So I made a few more embellishments, using the acrylic fragments and the bottle top, plus added extras that I found in my stash (the "dream" key and sticker, a tree charm picked up at Aintree, an oriental dragon/coin charm and a brass disc with a palmistry hand on it - I found this at the bottom of one of my jewellery boxes). 

As you can see, I've ended up with quite an eclectic mix of pieces, but many of them are quite meaningful - there's an image of Whitby Abbey in the bottle top (DH and I lived there for a year many, many moons ago and the view from our house looked straight across the harbour to the Abbey).  I was born in a Water Dragon year, according to the Chinese "astrological" system, so it's appropriate to have one on my mirror.  The buddha figure (created from a mould Lindsay had, using a mix of UTEE and Perfect Pearls) reminds me of one of our best, kindest and most generous friends, who is a buddhist.  The palmistry disc represents the interest I've had in the past in learning about astrology and palm-reading.  And of course, a cat had to feature somewhere on the frame didn't it .... considering that we are a family of cat-lovers and have shared our home with cats throughout our married life?  *LOL*

The "madonna" embellishment was begun in Lindsay's class.  We transferred a picture of our choice (mine was from one of the Crafty Individuals books) onto some adhesive-backed canvas - the image turned out quite pale so Lindsay suggested Glossy Accents may brighten it up a bit.  I folded the canvas over some card, edged it with gold Krylon, and then used Crackle Glossy Accents over the top - I was quite pleased with the final effect once it dried as it has taken on a sort of "mosaic" finish in keeping with the Italian Renaissance image.  I finished the frame off by rubbing some Gold Metallic Rub-On around the edges and between some of the individual pieces.  It's now hanging up in the hallway of our house so I can see it every day. 

A quick reminder now to say that the April Fools ATC swap is nearing its deadline, I have the cards in for this swap now so will be swapping out at the end of the week.  There were only three players besides myself for this swap, but I'm sure everyone will be happy with the ATCs they receive back.  Don't forget to check my blog again on 1st May, as it'll be time to post details of the new monthly swap then ...... I hope this one will appeal to more of you and that you'll consider joining in.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

A Visit to Aintree

Yesterday I went with a friend to the Creative Stitches & Hobbycrafts Show at Aintree, Liverpool - it's not the biggest of shows, but I still picked up a few bargains (one stand was selling Tim Holtz distress inkpads, including all the new ones, for a very good price - so of course I couldn't resist - and I also spotted a reduced price pack of the Tim Holtz Idea-ology Fragments, hard to come by at the moment so I just had to buy them)!  There were several exhibitions at the Show and I remembered to take my camera this time, so I thought I'd share pics of some of the exhibitions with you ......

The Knitted Garden

"The Duchess" Collection
(costumes from the film)

A Day Dress worn by Keira Knightley

A Maternity Dress
(worn by Keira Knightley)

Costume worn by Ralph Fiennes

An Evening Dress (Keira Knightley's)

Dress worn by Charlotte Rampling

The costumes were absolutely exquisite and beautifully detailed, as you can see (in particular, the evening dress was breathtaking) - but the dresses were so small, tiny waists, and shorter than I imagined they'd be - these actresses must be so incredibly slim!  I haven't seen this film yet, but I'll try to catch it when it comes to TV as it'll be interesting to see all the costumes actually being worn.

"In Celebration of Stitch"

There was also an exibition entitled "In Celebration of Stitch", which displayed pieces of handstitched work by Dr Isabel Elliott, who was the Mistress of Embroidery at Gloucester Cathedral.  The amount of skill and detail in her work was wonderful to behold!

Dr Isabel Elliott
(don't you just love that wonderful whimsical gate)?

Neptune's Palace

A Seasonal Triptych

Button Box

Dinosaur Mad

I didn't manage to find any UTEE, let alone any Clear, at the Show, but undeterred, I have spent some time today finishing off the mirror frame that I began in Lindsay's workshop last week.  I'm quite pleased with the result, just letting the Glossy Accents dry off properly overnight, and I'll show you a pic of it in my next post.  Now I just need to find a suitable spot in the house to hang it.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

My Little Helper ..... and another Grunge page done!

I recently joined a round robin swap run by Ali Brandist, to create an altered book.  It's the first real book that I've actually had a go at altering ..... we each had to choose an old book, not too big, and it had to be stitch-bound rather than glued.  The first task was to pull out a lot of the pages (leaving about 30 double pages or so), to give enough room for adding embellishments later on.  We then had instructions for completing the first two pages in our own book, along with giving it a title/theme.  After a bit of pondering, mine is going to be "Flights of Imagination", which I hope will give everyone plenty of scope for creating their own style and ideas in my book.

Anyway, to begin with, I had to cover up some parts of the text with torn post-it notes, collage over the rest of the pages with scraps of different textured papers, then gesso over that.  I then painted over the top of the gesso, once it had dried, using some lush coloured Paint Dabbers - Pink Sherbet, Raspberry, Wild Plum, Citrus and Pool - followed by a wash of Twinkling H2O's - I absolutely adore the finished effect and as you can see, my little helper was on hand to help with the painting!

I blended some of the acrylic paints together using a baby wipe and as you can see it ended up very colourful indeed - once dried, it can be turned into a background for an ATC or card (I'm all for recycling where I can and not wasting anything that might come in useful - one day)!

The next step was to add a couple of torn strips of paper, with inked edges, one on each page, then choose two or three stamps and stamp them randomly all over.  (I chose a dragonfly, the word "imagine" and a swirly stamp).

Finally, I added an image to each page, plus a quote, all relating to the title I chose for my book (this quote is apparently one of Jane Austen's but it just seemed to fit perfectly for the theme of my book).  A few embellishments .... and my pages are complete, just waiting to be posted out to the next person in the swap next week.  We will receive more instructions from Ali after that about altering the pages in the next book we receive.

I definitely had a lot of fun making these pages - I wasn't worried about everything being perfect; I wanted everything to look a little messy and imperfect - a good lesson for me as I have a tendency to be 'picky' and want everything 'a particular way' ... so I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next.

Then today, I got on a roll and made another Grunge page for my chunky book swap - this one is "It's Only Words" - I spritzed Mustard Seed, Broken China and Denim distress inks onto my craft sheet, then rubbed the mountboard page into the ink, front and back, then heatset it.  I stamped a Tim Holtz alphabet stamp all over, using Versamark, then embossed with an aqua embossing powder.  I also coloured some Stampbord with acrylic inks, then stamped over with the PaperArtsy 'writing hand' stamp and edged with Krylon gold pen.  I glued this over an image of a man, which I had peeled from a rather torn and tatty carte de vue that I had.  I glued a strip of text from an old book to some paper, painted it lightly with acrylic paints, gessoed, stamped, tore off bits, added more stamps, and stuck it along one side of the page.  I rubbed in some Frayed Burlap distress ink around the edges, along with a border of gold Krylon ink.  Other embellishments included pen nibs, a German scrap nib, a Rangers Muse Token and tag.  (I may add a little something more yet before it's finally finished, not sure yet).  But I'm happy to have more or less completed another page.

Now I was going to have another go with the Meltpot, but when I looked in my box of embossing powders I realised that I only had a very small amount of Clear UTEE left, not enough to have a proper go with (honest ..... it's not an excuse so I don't have to use the Meltpot! ... LOL!).  However, I am going to the craft show at Aintree Liverpool on Saturday, so I shall keep an eye out in case there's any on sale there - if not, I'll have to check out the local craft shops next week.  (I really do want to finish my mirror frame)!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Lindsay's Mirror Frame Workshop

Yesterday I had a lovely day out ...... caught the train early on a sunshiney morning and travelled over to Oswaldtwistle, where Lindsay was running the Rangers Mirror Frame workshop at the Dawn Bibby Studio. 

I had a couple of hours to spare before the workshop began, so I had a wander round nearby Oswaldtwistle Mill (didn't buy anything), walked round the Mill's garden and pond and had some lunch. 

........Looking across the Pond to Oswaldtwistle Mill

and the ducks and beautiful daffodils in bloom .........

There were about 10 of us in Lindsay's workshop and we spent three hours learning new techniques and ideas with the aim of creating a beautiful mirror frame.  Several techniques involved using UTEE and a Meltpot, which I'd not dared use before, so I was really pleased to have a go with it and realise it wasn't quite so scary as I thought it might be!  We also melted down some beeswax in the Meltpot pan for coating a "scrap" image which we added to one corner of our frames.  We then scraped through the layer of beeswax to reveal a clearer image but with a translucent quality to it.

We began by painting a light colourwash (watered down acrylic paint) all over the wooden frame - I chose a purple colour, maybe a little darker than I'd intended it to be, but I did want a bright colour rather than my usual "vintage" choice!

Here is my frame with some of the pieces I made laid over it, nothing stuck down yet and I also want to create a few more items, using the techniques Lindsay showed us, before I assemble it all together (when I have the time!), but I think it will look lovely when it's completed.

Here are pictures of the two frame samples Lindsay had on display - aren't they beautiful?  The first one has an aqua coloured background and the second has a more "vintage" feel to it.  I like them both (of course)!

When I finally finish my frame, I'll post a photo of it then you can see how mine turned out too!

It was also very nice to meet up with Joanne and her husband, Terry, again (they popped in to say 'hello' as they were out that way) and to swap a couple of ATCs with Joanne as well.

Had a rather more noisy journey home though because at Blackburn our small train was boarded by a crowd of football supporters (standing room only all along the train) and some transport police to keep an eye on them.  They were Everton fans returning from a match against Blackburn - they'd obviously been victorious as they were all in a very loud(but good humoured) mood, singing at the top of their voices (using rather ripe language I'm afraid), until they left the train at Preston for their connection home to Liverpool.  But still - they didn't cause any trouble to anyone. 

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Butterfly ATCs - Pics

By now I think everyone will have received their butterflies and dragonflies from last month's swap, so I thought it was time to post pics of them all for everyone to see the lovely cards that were sent in.  Enjoy .....

Ali Brandist (Ali kindly sent an extra atc for me)

Joanne Parkin

June Benton

Lindsay Mason

Louise Baxter

Sandra Zengler

My Cards

I'm now looking forward to the cards coming in for this month's April Fools swap - still time to join in this one if you fancy having a go, deadline isn't till 30th April.

On Saturday I'm looking forward to going over to Oswaldtwistle (Dawn Bibby's Studio) to join a workshop being taken by my sister Lindsay - we're going to be creating a mirror frame (I know we're going to be using a melting pot at some stage for this one, so that's a new experience for me - would you believe I do have one, but I've not dared use it yet so it's just sitting gathering dust on a shelf)!  Does anyone else know that feeling - you acquire a new crafting tool or buy some beautiful paper, and then daren't use them either because you're scared of messing up or you just don't want to use the paper because you'd rather just look at it!?!  Anyway, must remember to take my camera with me then I can take some photos whilst I'm there.  I'll be taking my ATC stash too, so I might be able to do a bit of one-to-one swapping.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

A Little Bit of "Grunge" ..... and more Vintage Gentlemen

First of all, I hope everyone has had a lovely Easter break, whatever you've all been up to - mine has been fairly quiet and I was able to spend some time creating a few cards and another page for my "grunge" chunky book (so now I have two pages completed).  Here they are .....

"Vintage Journeys"

"Heavy Metal"

Here are a few more vintage gentlemen images for you to make use of - if you fancy joining the April Fools ATC swap (details in the sidebar), remember that you can use any of these images on your cards if you wish.  There's still plenty of time to take part in this swap - the closing date is not until 30th April. 

Here is a card I made for the April Fools swap, using one of these vintage images .......

Thank you to everyone who joined in the Butterflies and Dragonflies swap - I received some wonderful cards and I'm happy to say these have all been swapped out now and flew out to you all today.  I'll wait a few days, so as not to spoil the surprise element, and then post pics of all the cards that were created for this swap.

Mia has been causing havoc again! ..... she zaps around so fast, she can hardly keep up with herself.  One of her favourite things to do is to launch herself at top speed into the kitchen (it's a long narrow one), jump onto the wastebin and then onto the windowsill, still at lightning speed.  So last night, I was there in the kitchen, making a brew, when she tore past at what seemed like 100mph and the next thing I knew there was a tremendous crash and the sound of something(s) clattering down onto the stone floor - Mia had been unable to put her "brakes" on and had collided with a jar of marbles I have sitting on the windowsill - the jar amazingly was not broken but there was a shower of marbles spilling out all over the floor in every direction - of course, by now Mia had flown out the room and was hiding upstairs ("nothing to do with me, mum"!) - what a handful Mia is, the mischief she gets up to .... we just wonder what to expect next!