Sunday, 24 October 2010

The Sewing Box (posted by Elaine)

Well here is project three from this month's selection of a little decorated box, inspired by Isa Norris. I was really looking forward to making this project as I love working on miniature projects. I have been a bit naughty as I wanted to work with two boxes. I decided to mount the boxes onto a little wooden triptych screen that I had been itching to use for some time, so I have been working in and out of the box like Jo. 

I decided to make a project with a sewing theme when I saw a set of needlework themed stamps made by Mirkwood Designs on E Bay! It took three attempts by my OH  staying up until the early hours to successfully bid for this set from a seller in the US!  I have wanted to make a needlework themed project for ages since I saw the gorgeous Grandma's Sewing Book project by Helen Chilton in the August 2008 issue of Craft Stamper. So this project was actually inspired by two designers. 

I painted my boxes and screen various shades of mushroom, pale yellow and finally cream until I was happy with the colour. The intial idea was to cover the screen with dressmakers' pattern tissue, which I did, but the tissue didn't really go transparent to show the colour through and looked a muddy colour, so I sanded it back and repainted it again!!

I used some twill measuring tape to edge the boxes that I bought some time ago from The Stamp Connection stand at Alexandra Palace. The little boxes are lined with Life's Journey paper by K & Co. The Time's is a Dressmaker stamp on the left hand panel is from Paper Artsy, as is the squiggle I used as the stand for the dummy. Originally I planned to use the words to top the project, but they were too big, but then I got the idea to use the dummy from this card on Suzanne Czosek's blog that I was browsing on the other day. I didn't realise at the time that Suzz is a blogging pal of Lesley. Thanks for the inspiration Suzz! If you haven't visited Suzz's blog, it is full of inspiration! I got the template for the dummy on the Stampington website, reduced it to the right size on the photocopier and cut it out of Webster's Pages paper and coloured the edge with Frayed Burlap Distress Ink. I stamped the stamp onto tissue paper and stuck it on with gel medium. The large scissors on the right hand panel are from the Mirkwood plate, the needle packet and the cotton label on the top are from a pack of rub ons.

I decorated inside the compartments with cream cotton lace, various stamps from the Mirkwood set, The ruler and some of the buttons are Lost Coast stamps from Happy Daze. The little cotton reel is another purchase from the Stamp Connection, with gold coloured embroidery thread added. I also used the button and zig zag stitched design are narrow Cuttlebug folders from the Just my Type set. I added some real needles, a safety pin and some eyes.

I wanted to include a little pin cushion, so I stamped onto some calico fabric and gathered it into a little pin cushion, adding some tiny lace making pins. I added some more stamping, a little thimble that I coloured with Butterscotch alchol ink, which I used on all the slivery metal elements to make them golden coloured to match the rest of the colour scheme. I finally added some little wooden scrabble tiles and some vintage buttons that I think may have come from my grandmother's sewing box.

I really enjoyed making this project, I want to thank Isa for the original inspiration and for her generosity in sharing her skills and knowledge with us crafters and thanks to Judith for choosing this project for us to tackle.

Elaine x

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

My Little Feathered Friends.

Well, I have to admit I really struggled with this project.  I have come to realise that I don't do miniature very well at all and that only increases my admiration for people who can, like Isabelle Norris whose project was the inspiration for our efforts this month and Jean Hardy of Crafty Individuals whose products feature in Isa's lovely little creation.  Unlike my lovely pal Jo, I never thought to 'think outside the box' and I was so stunned by her wonderful project that I almost chickened out on posting mine.  However,  I thought our wonderful visitors deserved to see the not so good side of the coin as well as the lovely stuff so here goes.

I have had a bit of a 'bird thing' going on in several of my efforts this summer and so I based this project on 'My Little Feathered Friends' also.

I painted my box with StudioTraditional Tan semi gloss paint but then decided to cover it with some Precious Metal Paints.  I mixed two colours (and I can't remember what they were now, Doh!) to get the minky shade for the outside.  The inside was dabbed with a stiffish brush and another Precious Metal colour.  I used a Cuttlebug embossing folder to emboss the grass and bird onto a piece of pearl Ten Seconds Studio metal, lightly sanded it and then rubbed it with black and some deep golden yellow acrylic paint.  Finally I used a Ranger Metallic Gold Dabber on certain areas of the metal before sprinkling Gold EP and heat embossing.  This metal was then used to fill two of the sections.
I used a selection of images from a new Crafty Individuals set which I bought from their stand at the Artisan Show at the beginning of October, a few Elusive Images stamps and a Clarity stamp for the other two sections and the small amount of stamping on the outside of the box and after sticking these in place, I dabbed Ranger Rock Candy on the inside bottom 'ledge' of each section.  I made a little bird's nest from a button with fibre and coarse twine stuck to it and then made some little eggs from Friendly Plastic to put in the nest.  I covered a little bird (again from Crafty Individuals) with Viva Ferro (again, two colours mixed together) and then stamped into it with one of the CI folliage stamps.  I left it to dry overnight and then touched the raised surface with a little Precious Metal Paint to show up the texture more and attached it to the top edge of the box.  Finally, I added the strip of lace.

I have to be honest and say that this wasn't my favourite project to do simply because I found it so difficult working with the restrictions of such a small area but it was a very good test for me.  I'm looking forward to seeing what our other two quartet members come up with now.

Thanks as always for your visit and especially if you find time to leave a comment.

Lesley  Xx

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Echoes of summer (by Jo)

When Judith chose our project this month I knew straight away that my piece would feature trees. The tree pictures in the Crafty Individuals Nature’s Beauty book are some of my favourites and I had used winter trees in the piece I made in Jean Hardy’s class at the Graphicus retreat last month. I thought an autumn theme would be good and prepared my collection of bare trees for this box. But my mind was still on another jaunt from the end of the summer and some of you will spot that straight away. That is how my box became a little ‘cottage’. Crafty Individuals also make chipboard trees, houses and fences but these were a bit too small for what I wanted so I made my own larger tree and fence in the style of the CI ones.

I covered them in papers I received as part of my Graphicus Guild membership. These might possibly be on the latest Essence of Nature CD but I can’t be sure as I don’t have that one yet. At this point the bare tree images were cast aside as this tree is most definitely not a autumn one. I replaced the pictures with another echo of my summer - the bluebells.

 It took a very long time to choose a colour for my box. I toyed with the idea of making it lilac as there is purple in the tree. But I wanted something that looked like part of the woodland. It started out beige but I didn’t like that so I repainted it in sage green.

I dressed my cottage with some pieces of ribbon edged with tiny leaves. I bought this ribbon with Elaine in mind really and it comes in several colours. I had expected to be using the autumn coloured one but here it is in glorious summer green!

You have to look very hard to spot the stamping on my cottage. But it is there. It’s a beautiful leaf stamp from the Elusive Images Fantasy Floral plate. I have used a tiny version of the same stamp in the background of the text (computer generated) and it also ties in with the leaves on the tree.

In her original, Isabelle Norris used Cuttlebug embossing on some of her backgrounds. I love my Cuttlebug and didn’t wanted to miss the chance to use it here so I used the script folder to make a background for the bluebells and also for my roof tiles. Like Isa’s these are made with Pearl TSS metal which has been aged with Terracotta and Gold alcohol inks. The metal was too delicate (and probably too sharp) to use on its own for the roof so each piece is backed with corrugated card which I left exposed at the edges as I think it makes it look more rustic. The eaves are made with bronze pearl card cut with a Fiskars embossing border punch (Punched Lace, I think). I was worried that with all the extra weight of the roof, the cottage wouldn’t stand up on its own as I’d originally intended so I was delighted it still works as a free-standing piece.

The fence was made in two pieces. I coloured it with Antique Linen DI and overstamped with the CI crackle stamp (CI – 116) in Vintage Photo DI. I couldn’t resist adding a butterfly. This is another CI image from the Nature’s Beauty Book. I deliberately chose one with quite neutral colours. The punched fern leaves at the base of the fence came about just because I thought they helped make the words look more at home on the fence.

The summer was not at all sad for me this year but I felt compelled to include the word as that is how I feel looking back at the summer in autumn time. I have come to a point in my crafting where the things I make evoke memories of places, people or events. I have high hopes of getting some journalling off the ground but in the meantime, this cottage on my mantelpiece will hold my memories of summer places.