Friday, 30 April 2010

Better late than never! (posted by Lesley)

Righty Ho! How's this for boring, Lol ?!?

Well, at least I'm going to manage a sort of sneak peek on the last day of the month even if I can't manage my finished project. It's nearly there but I'm waiting for my man with a drill! I know I'm letting the side down all you ladies out there but drills terrify the life out of me. Too much time spent in the dentist's chair methinks, Lol. These look a bit more interesting don't you think?

Anyway, apart from the drill part, I'm really surprised at how quickly this project has come together for me. I didn't start it until last night apart from searching out the ironmongery last Monday but it won't take me long to assemble once I have two little holes drilled in the top. That might have to wait until Sunday though as Hubby is at work again tomorrow.

I think I'm going to be quite pleased with the end result especially as it will serve a purpose once it's finished. Please come back after the weekend as I hope to blog the final piece on Monday and in the meantime, have a lovely bank holiday everybody (even if the weather lets us down as usual).

Lesley Xx

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Colourful Cube

Judith: well this will probably come as a bit of a surprise to my fellow blog sisters, Lesley, Jo and Elaine, but here I am posting my project for April! We are approaching the end of what has been an incredibly busy month for all of us, and unfortunately not all of us will make the deadline this month. However, our blog is for our enjoyment, and crafting should be fun, not a chore, so no pressure girls.
I chose a cube shaped piece of wood for my project based on Helen Chilton's article in the April edition of Craft Stamper. When we went to Ally Pally, I bought a set of beautiful Tim Holtz box feet, and knew that I just had to use these on my cube. I knew exactly what I wanted for the top of my cube, and after chatting to my very helpful Husband, I had the bare bones for the finished article.

I had already decided to use Lavinia stamps for my images, building them up to make scenes for each side, using Adirondack ink pads as a colour base.I also used Inktense pencils to colour elements of the scenes, like the bridge, the tree trunk, the steps etc, and then blended them with a water brush. This meant that my sides would be very colourful and quite busy. I did not want to add any extra embellishments to detract from the images or the gorgeous box feet, so I left the sides quite plain. 

I made some shrink plastic dragonflies for the top of my cube, colouring them with Inktense pencils and blending the colours with a water brush before shrinking them. I placed them around the centre of the top of my cube. On the top of my cube is the piece of hardware that Terry made for me, isn't it lovely? He drilled holes into a hexagonal rod, and then coiled aluminium wire through the holes. I bent them to look like tree branches, and by a happy accident, found that some large silver plated beads I have fitted on the ends, echoing my feet. I didn't like how shiny they were, so I painted them with precious metal paint.I'm really happy with the end result. I will use it as a display for jewellery which I make and sell, so I may take it to Craft Fairs with me. I have coated the sides and top with Golden Gel Matte to help the durability of the piece. This is quite a 'pretty' piece for me, but I've enjoyed working on it, I hope you like it too. Judith x

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Cin ya till what it iz yit?

I was particularly inspired by the use of everyday bits of hardware Helen had used on her wooden piece in Craft Stamper so before I had any ideas for a theme for my project I ventured into 'Aladdin's Cave' on Nottingham market. It's a wonderful place, piled high with fantastic bits of ironmongery, kit(s)chenware and truly priceless pieces of traditional hardware that, having survived the 70s, you thought you might never see again. I knew I'd find something to inspire me there and I did. This is it.

Don't ask me how I'm going to fix it on!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Ally Pally and this month's project

On 10th and 11th of this month, the four of us went to Alexandra Palace for the Big Stamp and Scrapbooking Show. We decided to make a weekend of it, and stayed overnight in a lovely B&B which Jo found for us. We hardly ever meet up, in fact, Elaine and Lesley had never met. We email each other so often though, that we feel like old friends when we do get together, as if we've known each other for ages.
We all made our way to AP from different parts of the country, and met up throughout the morning on Saturday, which was so exciting. We'd been waiting for such a long time to get together. It was lovely to wander around the demos together, and watch such talented crafters as Linda Brown and Linda Elbourne from LB Crafts, Jennie and Hels from The Artistic Stamper and Bev Rochester at the Hobby House stand. We were able to split up and do some serious shopping too!
We spent Saturday evening chatting and planning our mini Retreat in June, which will be the next time that we see each other. We then turned in ready for another day of soaking up the atmosphere at AP. Because we had chosen to spend two days at the show, Sunday was a good day to linger at the demos, to ask questions and pick up some top tips. The demonstrators are such lovely people, they are so down to earth, and really want you to know how to be able to do what they are doing. I spent ages with Hels Sheridan, and then Linda Elbourne, learning about various new products out there, which will definitely be appearing in my work in the future.
It was a very sad time when we came to say goodbye to each other, but we have our next venture to look forward to, our mini Retreat, and that will come around quickly enough I'm sure. I have already started a circle journal in preparation for the Retreat. You can see what I've done here We will each make a journal for ourselves, and everyone will complete a page in each journal at the Retreat. This will give us a lovely memento of our time there. I only need to produce a double page spread which will act as a kind of mood board, giving the other three girls an idea of what colours I like, my style, and any themes that I might like incorporated into the journal. Personally, I love what the other three do, and whatever they choose to produce for me would make me happy.
We've all been quite busy this month, and so our thoughts are now turning to our project. I know what I am making based on Helen Chilton's basic idea. I don't want to show you too much at this stage, sorry! However, I bought these gorgeous box feet by Tim Holtz at Ally Pally that I am going to use. I had seen them used on a book on someone's blog, and they are fabulous. I love Art Nouveau, and the little swirls on these feet really suggest that style to me. I think that I may be buying more of these! I plan to use lots of ink pads in varying colours, and lots of stamping this month. However, I am not going to show you my stamps, yet. Hopefully, we'll get some more sneaky peeks in soon, thanks for looking, Judith.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

What wood you like to make?

Well the time has come for me to announce the project that I have chosen for us to tackle for April. I have opted for Helen Chilton's 'Wood you believe it?' on pages 16-18 of April's Craft Stamper magazine.
I first encountered Helen through Graphicus and the galleries on the website there. Her vivid use of colour immediately caught my eye. I have always loved what she does, and I enjoyed her projects in Craft Stamper magazine, and then became a follower of her blog. Her project in April's Craft Stamper magazine is more muted in colour than some of her work, but I love the colours that she has chosen. The homespun nature of the stamps are particularly appealing to me, and I really like the vintage feel to the embellishments of the lace and buttons.
I feel that this project gives the four of us lots of scope for diversity based on the piece of wood that we choose. For example, a cube could become a photo holder, an ATC holder, or a jewellery holder, depending on the hardware at the top. A piece of floorboard could become a key rack or a mirror, a piece of skirting board could become some little houses like the ones on Helen's blog here I love the Delft style of these, the colour is just great, reminding me of trips to Belgium when I was younger. I would love to make a few of these for the kitchen.
So, a trip to the local ironmongers and the wood yard to scrounge some offcuts if you fancy making something with a wooden theme girls, you just need to get your thinking caps on now!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

The Lost Princess

This month’s project ended up being a real challenge. At the outset I just had too many ideas and it took far too long to rule any out. But here, at last, is my doll.

Lesley will be familiar with me saying ‘separated at birth’ because so many times we have had the same thought or wanted the same set of stamps. Where craft is concerned we seem to anticipate each other’s next thought. We are like crafty twins. This time it is our girls. Do you spot a resemblance? After seeing Lesley’s Peacock Princess I started to think of my doll as The Lost Princess. Maybe the two were indeed twins but separated at birth. The common factor here is a very talented lady who designs stamps for Elusive Images and has created both of the face stamps Lesley and I have used. Glenda says this lady lives a private life away from the non stop party world we internet crafters sometimes seem to inhabit. So I’m not even going to mention her name. But she has a fantastic eye for images that make great rubber stamps and maybe if anyone reading this knows her you can let her know how much her artistry is appreciated. One of the things I love about Elusive Images stamps is the recurring motifs. So I think the faces of these two princesses are quite alike.

I wanted a grungy style of doll with a spare kind of look to it. I also wanted to use some unusual materials. I’ve not quite achieved that. The doll’s body is made of paper strips just as Sue Roddis showed in the original Craft Stamper article. I’ve also used acrylic paints applied with a baby wipe as she did. At that stage the body reminded me of an African or South American native and at that point I introduced the neck decoration which is actually an acrylic ‘bead’ available here. I tried to find a script I could use to develop this theme but in the end resorted to printing the word ‘native’ in the ‘Symbol’ font on my computer. The main motif on the body is a Stewart Gill stencil, which has been inked through in black and the red crystals were from a supplier specialising in wedding crafts.

The face I’ve used is a Pierrot stamp from Elusive Images. I’ve backed it with both large and small versions of a sunflower type flower from the EI Big Flowers plate. The face has been overstamped with A Stamp In The Hand’s Field of Sky. I removed the ink from the eye area and gave her a clear Stardust eyeliner which I think just about shows in the close up pic.

The wings were originally chipboard shapes from The Artistic Stamper but I traced these onto glossy card when I decided to use a wax paper resist technique using the Divine Swirls Cuttlebug folder. I inked over the wax using DIs which complimented the paints I’d used on the body. They needed a little more visual weight before they looked right so I added threads and feathers as a nod to yet another kind of ‘native’.

The reel came with the wire on and I hoped to incorporate it into the doll design, although I had already combined both gold and silver finishes. I’d planned to use a coffee stirrer like Sue’s and had been collecting them for a couple of weeks so I had practice ones too. But as I was assembling the doll I had a kebab stick on my craft mat and decided to try that out.

It may be because it's Easter but I can't help feeling with the 'crown', the tears and the spread wings that this has a feel of the crucifixion about it too. Completely unintended but I can't shake the impression.

I still want to use my other ideas and intend to make lots more dolls. The early stages of this project were very exciting and I was pleased with the way things came together at the end. But the week in between where nothing looked right was quite painful.

Looking forward now to Judith’s choice for our next project.