Saturday 10 January 2015

An autumnal wreath (posted by Elaine)

It's my turn to follow Lesley's lovely Christmas themed wreath. I think I must have had some idea that I would be behind as usual when I decided not to make a Christmas wreath for our shared project! I love leaves and I know quite a few of my CSQ projects have featured them, so I decided to go for an autumn themed project this time.

In the run up to Christmas I saved a couple of pieces of thin brown kraft type card used in the middle of rolls of Christmas wrapping paper to keep them rigid. I knew they would come in handy for a craft project and this material formed the basis of nearly all the leaves on my wreath. First of all I die cut leaves using the Tim Holtz Tattered Leaf die.

I added colour with Distress Inks in Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade, Vintage Photo, Forest Moss and Aged Mahogany and then ran the leaves through the Big Shot with the matching Tattered Leaf embossing folder. I added highlights on the leaves with Treasure Gold gilding wax in Florentine and Onyxite.

Next I used the Penny Black Filigree Foliage cling stamps, stamping in Coffee Archival ink on 300 gsm smooth watercolour paper. I fussy cut the leaves and added colour with the same Distress Inks. Remind me not to use such thick paper in future if I plan to fussy cut so much - ouch!

Next I cut more leaves from the recycled brown card using a Prima Bigz Arbour die. I again added ink and gilding wax to highlight.

The base for my wreath was a wire ring. I don't think I had really thought through how I was going to attach my leaves to the ring, although I had wondered about wiring everything on.

I decided to add a touch of green to lift it all from too much dull brown and I used a lovely olivey green wired ribbon which I fixed into position with some florists wire.

From then on, I decided the best way to fix my leaves into place was to use red line tape around the wire and onto the back of each leaf, leaving one side of the backing tape in place. This gave me a base to stick other leaves onto and I worked to build up the layers.

My finishing touch was to add some twigs cut from chocolate brown card using a Memory Box die, some artificial berries and Chinese Lanterns and some little pine cones that had been lurking in my Christmas decoration box for about a hundred years!

This is the final wreath completed and I have to say I am delighted with it and pleased it has turned out to be a good alternative to all the Christmassy colours that have adorned our house in recent weeks. It has been hard taking a good pic of the whole wreath so here are a couple, anyway, you get the idea!

I really enjoyed making this wreath and now feel like I might try to make a similar project for each season in suitable colours and designs. This was a really enjoyable project so thank you to Judith for choosing it! We are looking forward to seeing what design you come up with in due course.
I am being cheeky using our shared blog to enter this project for the Christmas Leftovers challenge at Our Creative Corner. I rarely get time to enter challenges, but when I saw this one and realised that my developing wreath was largely made from the left overs of the rolls of wrapping paper and the little cones from my decorations box and has been assembled since Christmas, I thought it would qualify for inclusion!
Thank you for popping by. Your ongoing support for our rather neglected blog is so much appreciated.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

A Belated Happy Christmas! (from Craftymamma)

At last ........Hello, welcome and I hope anyone who is kind enough to drop by (after all the time that has elapsed since our last post) has had a wonderful Christmas spent in whatever way you enjoy the most.

Way back when we were posting our last project Judith made the fab suggestion of making wreaths for our next one.  I don't think any of us anticipated it would take us quite so long to get round to them but I actually managed to make mine by the end of November.  My problem was finding time to take decent photos but I got there in the end and I have to say I'm really pleased with my first ever wreath.  We didn't have to stick to a Christmas theme (and I don't know if my buddies decided to take a different route) but as it's my favourite time of year for decorations I'm glad I did as my wreath has been on display for several weeks now ;-).

 I totally forgot to take any photos of various stages so my apologies.  There weren't any really complicated techniques though and I found this such a relaxing project to do.  I bought the lovely rustic twig wreath from Hobbycraft and the two cute cherubs were just 25p each from my local supermarket. Originally they were a garish bright gold with awful glittered wings as you can see below but after a PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paint treatment and some touches of Treasure Gold paste they looked beautiful!

 this was before the Treasure Gold was added

 and this was after and I liked them so much I went back a got a couple more, lol!

 I then plucked up courage to raid my stash of gorgeous Christmas papers, which I lovingly stroke every year but rarely use and put my Tim Holtz poinsettia die to hard work cutting out lots of flowers.  I cut a few extra of the largest layer and cut them into individual 'leaves' to fill out my arrangement then inked the edges of every leaf and petal with Black Archival ink.  I then shaped each one by using a round ended tool on the reverse before layering them to make the flowers.  I used some black seed beads for the centres.

 I arranged them all on my wreath and adhered them with Liquitex heavy duty gel.  I tied on some strips of hessian and some twists of paper covered wire which I  also used to attach the vintage looking glass bauble.  .
Finally, I painted 2 small MDF tags with PaperArtsy FF, added some stamped scrolls, a sentiment and some hessian threads and attached them with the gel.  I didn't tie them on because I wanted them to stay in position.  I used a piece of hessian cord  which I'd saved from somewhere (as you do ;D) with which to hand my wreath.  Ooh, nearly forgot, when everything was stuck down and dry I hung it outside and sprayed it with a Tattered Angels mica spray.  I think it was Dewdrop but it was so long ago I'm not sure, lol!  I think the subtle sparkle shows best on the close up of the cherub & flowers if you click one the pic.

I hope you all enjoyed my little touch of Christmas decor and I'd like to take this opportunity of thanking you all for your visits, especially if you have time to leave a comment and for sticking with us through our infrequent blogging habits.  We must try to do better in the new year!

My good wishes to everyone and may 2015 bring you all happiness and good health.

Lesley  Xx

Friday 13 June 2014

Fabric and Flowers (posted by Judith)

Hi Folks, well it's my turn to post my little accordian style book, as suggested by Elaine, and inspired by Kate Crane.

I decided very early on that I wanted to use fabric as the basis for my book inspired by the work of Lin Brown whose work I admire so much. I was very lucky to attend one of her workshops recently covering this very subject, so it helped my project along enormously!

I started by cutting out some watercolour pages to 5" x 5", as this was the size that I wanted to work on. I covered all of the pages with fabric, using Bondaweb, and gave them a wash of colour using Paper Artsy paints. I added stencilling, stamping, and in some cases, some texture paste through stencils as well. I coloured some of the texture paste before I used it with paint for my front and back covers, saving time colouring the paste afterwards.

I stamped several images onto sparkly acetate, and also onto spare watercolour paper, which I painted with the paints to co-ordinate with my backgrounds. I then stuck the acetate to the painted images before I added them to the backgrounds.

I have used a couple of Lin Brown stencils on this page, which is the front cover of my book, and a Paper Artsy butterfly.

On these two pages, I have added some lace painted with paint to tie into my colour scheme, and some stamps by Jo Capper-Sandon join the Paper Artsy stamps.

I have watercoloured some stamped flowers directly onto the fabric on these pages, and added more stencilling. This time I have added script to the stencilling as well. The words are stamped onto painted fabric.

I have added a flower stamped onto black card to this page and another little Jo Capper-Sandon butterfly on sparkly acetate. The foliage was stamped in white, and given a colourwash of yellow and orange.

I have added fabric tags to these two pages, stapling the fibres to the tags instead of tying them in the traditional way.

Finally on my back cover, I have added scraps of tinted lace along with the Jo Capper-Sandon stamps. More textured stencilling completes the background.  I have dry brushed the edges of all of my pages with paint, using a variety of colours to tone in with each page. I also added some fabric tabs between the pages for interest.

My construction is not the same as Kate's, I have hidden the ends of my pages within the concertina folds, preferring an edge to edge look inside the book. I went for black card, like Elaine, as I felt that it complimented my bright colours and black stamping.

I have enjoyed the process of making my little book, and hope that you like the end result. Thanks for stopping by, Judith xx

Wednesday 28 May 2014

If I had wings (posted by Elaine)

Elaine here, posting the second of our book projects after our decision to re-launch our shared blog here, just when everyone had given up on us!

I have to confess, this project is Mark 2 for me. I started off well with my initial idea, but it went a bit pear shaped! That one may appear in due course on my own blog. Anyway, here is my take on the accordian book.

I recently purchased the Hardwood stamp from Stampin' Up. I love wood effect backgrounds so I knew this would be well used in my collection. The shape of the stamp guided me to a rectangular format for my book, and I stamped each page in Cobalt Blue archival ink on grey card. I added shading around the edges in Stormy Sky and Frayed Burlap Distress Inks to give an aged effect.  I knew I wanted continuity through the pages, so chose the same colour background throughout and added the same leaves - using a Dylusions stamp. I fussy cut the leaves and added colour with Distress Markers.

I love insects, (unless they are the biting kind!!!) and my stamp collection has many different variations. I have recently been index stamping my collection (it is still a work in progress), but it has made choosing and finding stamps so much easier when I have a theme in mind. My various insect stamp choices are stamped in Cobalt archival and unusually (for me) coloured with chalks. This really suited the muted colour palette I was looking for. The butterflies for my cover come from Stamp Camp and Crafty Individuals. The postmark used on the cover and throughout the book comes from the Mail Art set from Chocolate Baroque and the sentiment is from a Sam Poole set from Creative Expressions.
The first set of inside pages uses butterfly stamps from Indigo Blu (one of which was a freebie on Craft Stamper magazine). The silhouette butterfly is from a Martha Stewart set. The sentiment comes from a Lindsay Mason Doo Lally Pip set I purchased from the last Ally Pally show from AliCraft and I used the same set for the rest of the book.

The second set of pages uses the beautiful Stampotique bee stamps designed by Jo Capper Sandon. These stamps have been shamefully underinked since joining my collection and I am delighted to have given them an outing! The silhouette bees come from a Quietfire set.

The final set of pages uses dragonfly stamps from Visible Image and a clear stamp I have forgotten the brand of! The tiny dragonfly which is virtually invisible is from Crafty Individuals.

I mounted my book pages into black card for contrast. I puzzled about the construction after Lesley's experience and in the end decided to completely "internalise" my concertina, by sticking it between folded sets of pages. I made a little trial version to make sure it worked like me head told me it should!!! You can sort of see how it is put together in this pic.

It has been great to have the push of getting a project together for our shared blog again after all this time. I have really enjoyed making this book with some of my favourite subjects, images and colours. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and having a look and do be sure to pop back later to see the projects from other girls.


Friday 16 May 2014

And We're Off!


Long time, no see on this poor neglected little blog!  First of all many thanks to anyone who drops by to see the first project post in a blooming long time but there you go, life gets in the way sometimes doesn't it.

Elaine liked a little book of Kate Crane's which you can see here and suggested it as inspiration for our return round of projects so today I have my version to show you.  Now confession time!  I started this several months ago and made some very basic mistakes and almost binned it but I kept it on one side and decided to have a faff last week to see if I could make it presentable.  Having learned from my mistakes I could do a much better job on another one but thought it only fair to show my gaffs, lol!

Unfortunately, I forgot to take step by step photos and because most of it was done a while ago I have almost forgotten what I did but I'll tell you what I can remember.

First of all I created a concertina 'spine' from black card.  I chose to have 3 pages plus front & back covers so needed a total of 5 valley folds.

I then cut 5 pieces of black card 4" x 8".  I decided to colour my backgrounds with PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paints so I put puddles of paint on my craft mat one colour at a time, spritzed quite liberally with water and then dragged my pieces of card through.  I dried with my heat gun between each colour and kept adding colour until I had an effect I liked and good coverage.  I then used various stencils and Fresco Finish Snowflake paint to create the next layer.

Next, I used a selection of PaperArtsy's JoFYstamps to stamp on each page with black Archival Ink. I also stamped the flower heads onto white card and heat embossed with clear EP before dragging out my much neglected Twinkling H2Os to colour them with.  I also added some of this colour to the stamping on the pages.

I folded each of my pages in half and stuck the blank sides together with double sided tape so that I had five 4" x 4" pages. I cut out the separate flower heads and decoupaged them onto the pages with dimensional glue.  I also decided to add a few highlights with a white Posca Pen.

Then came the assembly ...... and this was where I realised my mistake!  It's glaringly obvious now, lol, but have  you guessed it yet?  I had forgotten to allow for sticking the pages to the concertina and had stamped over the whole page and even some of the raised elements and wording ended up being slightly covered by the black 'mountain' folds. Never mind, we learn by our mistakes and I don't think I'll make that one again ;D.

I cut some strips of fairly thin black paper and used a border punch to decorate the edges before folding them in half and sticking them over each concertina fold to give a more finished appearance.  Finally I used some 7Gypsies sticky backed fabric tape to hold the spine together.

In the end my little book didn't turn out too badly I don't think.  The part I was most pleased with was the paint & stencil layers in the background.

Well, that's the end of my post for today.  I have no idea which of my lovely buddies will finish their project next or exactly when but as we all have different commitments now our posts will be as and when we can fit them in.  I do hope you'll keep an eye open for when they pop up and let us know you dropped in by leaving a comment if you have time.

Lesley Xx

Monday 14 April 2014

We're coming Back!

It's been a long time since there has been any activity on our joint blog. We have had lots of ups and downs in our lives and so we have been unable to devote any time to our shared crafting space. However, after some discussion, we have decided that we want to try to reactivate the Craft Stamping Quartet.

I hope that you will keep an eye out for the posts that will follow in the next few days and join us again on our joint journey. We have a lovely project to start with. We will not be following the same format as we did in the past, in that we mainly stuck to projects from Craft Stamper magazine for our inspiration. We are going to use lots of other sources that are available to us as crafters these days like Pinterest, for example, but that will just make things a bit more interesting!

Elaine Jo Judith Lesley xx

Monday 18 June 2012

In the blink of an eye....(posted by Judith)

Well, it seems an age since the girls came to stay for a few days, but I wanted to let you know how we all got on, and post one or two pictures of our time together.

The weather was absolutely atrocious for most of the few days that we spent together, so sadly, we didn't manage to spend our afternoons drinking tea outside in the garden. My OH had spent a considerable amount of time trying to get the garden looking just so, in time for the arrival of our VIP guests.

We have lots of little areas around the house for sitting and relaxing, but not in a downpour! So we stayed inside, and made the best of the bad weather. We still ate plenty of cakes......

Elaine was our cake maker extraordinaire for the trip and she made some Apple Scones. Chocolate and Orange cupcakes, and my personal favourite, Lemon Drizzle cake.
She got to grips with my range cooker and knew where everything was in the kitchen by the time she was ready to leave!
One of the days the girls were here, Linda Elbourne came to see us, and taught a class for us. We made a great project incorporating an altered suitcase and a mini book. It was lovely to see Linda, and to catch up with her. We took a class with her when we had our last holiday together, so this was a little bit of history repeating itself.
This is my suitcase all finished with its little labels and the paint job all done. My book is almost finished as well, but it need the holes for the book rings. My Big Bite just can't quite manage the job, so my OH is going to make the holes for me. Linda had a fabulous tool that makes holes in leather belts that made her holes. This is her book:
We spent far too much time chatting as per usual, and didn't get our project finished during the class. That's always the way I'm afraid! Linda was telling us that she is hanging up her crafting hat for a while, and becoming a pub landlady, you may have seen the announcement on her blog. She will be crafting again once she is settled, but she will be busy getting herself sorted out to start with. Happily for me, she will still be within driving distance of where I live, so I may have to stop in for a Pimm's!

We had another visitor the next day, Paula Whittaker. She lives not that far from me, and she came and had a crafting session with us as well. We were very honoured to see some of her fabulous creations that she had brought with her. It is lovely to get to know crafters online, but even more special when you get to meet them face to face.

So after all the weeks of planning, and emails flying backwards and forwards, our time together has been and gone. I hardly dare tell my OH that we'd like to do it all again next year......!

Judith xx