This is bat country


Gilding flakes on Modelling paste

Rather scatterbrained today – our mail server has been down for nearly 2 days and the US ISP isn’t addressing it as quickly as we’d like, so worried I am missing out on some critical mail. But I guess that just leaves me more time to get crafty LOL!

So the shot of my desk yesterday showed an experiment.  I got a set of the Inktense blocks.  Frankly I wasn’t super keen on them until I read you can grate them and mix with water to create inks that are permanent when dry.  Now THAT is something I am very interested in.  My plan had been to have a go at this over some modelling paste, but as I had JUST tidied up (massively) and stuff I hadn’t used in ages was still in my short-term memory, I thought  I wonder…?


and grabbed my pot of gilding flakes.  My feeling was that the modelling paste, while wet, would grab the flakes.  When it dried, the flakes would not only be stuck, they would be stuck strong. So while the paste was damp (ie maybe 5 mins or so after applying? )  It should still glisten on the surface but if you touch it, it should feel semi-solid


I scattered on some gilding flakes – this bag is one I got ages ago and the flakes are very large, almost like sheets, 2 or 3 inches square.  I laid them over gently, covering the surface on 1/2 of the modelling paste figure.


I left the paste to dry totally then whisked away the flakes with a brush.  Personally, I think that scrubbie thing that comes with the flakes dulls the shine so I don’t really use it.


I think the bare areas might have been down to me not pressing the flakes into the paste or, for the tiny areas, that bit being drier than the rest.  But overall I felt the coverage was good and I was able to whisk pretty briskly and the flakes stayed stuck.

So what I expected to work was to re-lay the stencil then sponge the FlitterGlu over the dried modelling paste then gild as usual.


I did that on the OTHER half.  And it worked as expected. So far so good.  I left it for a while to make sure the paste and glue was dry.  Then I grated up some of the Inktense block, mixed in a bit of water, and make a spray.  Easy Peasy.


I sprayed that over the gilded area, and let it dry.


Nice and watercolour-y – you can vary the vibrancy by adding more (or less) water. Now here is where it gets odd.  What I hoped to do was buff away the ink before it totally dried (’cause I keep hearing it is PERMANENT WHEN DRY) to reveal the gilded areas.

Yeah. Right.

So what I had read, and seen on videos, is that you can layer other wet mediums over he Inktense and it will not smear.  With this in mind I used a slightly damp baby wipe to wipe away the mist from the surface of the gilding flakes.  Two things to note – first, the flakes that were embedded in the modelling paste stayed put nicely.  The ones applied over the FlitterGlu?  Not so much.


The left is the FlitterGlu.  But I also noted that the Inktense spray DID wipe away, at least partially. Not so water-fast then.

I suspect I need to experiment a little more with this.  But overall, I like the application of the gilding flakes over the modelling paste idea.  It could be quite an interesting technique on an AJ page, certainly for a top layer.  Likewise, I suspect glitter would embed nicely – and if it were a top layer then the FlitterGlu method would work as well, but why add another consumable resource if you don’t need to IYKWIM?  As to the Inktense mists, again, more testing.  Maybe heat setting it for longer rather than just letting it dry might help it remain water-resistant , not sure.  I know it is easy to scribble with the block then blend with a baby wipe and not wipe it away totally so it is at least slightly water-resistant.  And the colour is rich and deep.  But I am glad I had a go at the idea on a piece of paper rather than in my AJ.  I think I’ll enjoy pushing these blocks to their artistic limits, trying out a few ideas I have, to see what works. And I’ll be sure to report back!



WOYWW 255 – so clean!

NOTE: Click the small sphere photos once to see them bigger, then click again to scroll to see far too much detail….

WOYWWers who visit me on other days may recall that last week after Wednesday I posted a photo sphere of my desk.  Well, I realized just how bad my room had gotten when looking at that shot so I decided to have a proper tidy up and take  another one of the WHOLE room.  Here is a repeat of last week’s messy shot.


Clicking it will bring up a bigger view. Just popping back to add that if you want to get the app that I used to create this (and I used DH’s Android phone and a Google app, but also link an untested iPhone app)  you can find both linked in the post here.

Now here is THIS week’s shot.  Brace yourselves.


Now, there are a few oddities, it wasn’t a completely smooth merge.  You can see the four corners of the room marked by the arrows, just to give you the basic idea.  At those points there are some stretched or squished bits but overall it’s a pretty accurate view.

What is on my DESK at the moment is a bit of an experiment that I will have to finish up and report back on tomorrow.


It looks interesting I’m sure but it’s actually two halves with a technique on each half.  One was a success and the other … wasn’t.  Interestingly the one that I EXPECTED to work, that SHOULD have worked, didn’t, and the one that I thought was a long shot worked better than I expected.  But I really need to try again with a longer drying time with the logical choice before I’m going to write it off.  Then I’ll share both.  Sorry to seem mysterious but I just would rather be sure.

Happy WOYWW y’all!


Project Life quote – an experiment

I fear I am in danger of littering my blog with polls!  I am finding the results of the one for the white-on-kraft printables quite exciting – so sad, I know.

Here is where the voting stands so far:


I have another set I’ve been dithering about for a bit.  I quite like it, and the idea of how to use it, and I am only barely restraining myself from making it a poll as well!  So I’m just going to add it and perhaps may poll on the usefulness of it at some later date, as I have a stack of these sorts of quotes that I think would work this way.

It’s a two page PDF with oriented one PORTRAIT and one LANDSCAPE – each page has:

  • the quote, split across 3 small cards
  • the quote, in full, on a matching 4 x 6 cards
  • a trio of small arrows

Like so:


My thought is they can be used in a few ways.

  • 1. Use all three to make the full quote, in a row of pockets
  • 2. Use card 2 and card 3 side-by-side for a more overtly positive quote
  • 3. Use just card 1 for a not-very-good day (I can see that working in a spread about some tearful episode, matched with a final smiling photo.  Kids tend to do that, don’t they?)
  • 4. Scatter the 2 or 3 cards and use the arrows to direct the eye OR use the arrows to direct to a photo that applies.  You can point them any way you need to.

There may be more but those were sort of what I had in mind.


Two things to note – I printed that before I adjusted the sun – it’s more like the image above, thinner so less in-your-face. Next, the background is a bit pale in the PHOTO but it PRINTS (depending on you colour profile, obviously) more like the traditional yellow-tablet colour, again more like the image.

I spent yesterday on a task that was LONG overdue.  You’ll have to check back tomorrow for WOYWW to see the results.  {wink}



Week cards – white on kraft? A poll

I am experimenting today.  I got a comment on the colourful weekly Project Life cards asking about them in white on kraft.  Had a bit of a play and I can’t seem to work out a way to do the textured strip that I am happy with.  But I did come up with a few alternatives that I like well enough.  It’s still a lot of work to convert them, so I went hunting for info to see if it’s possible to do a poll.  Turns out not only is it possible but it’s easy.  So I thought I would have a go.  Thing is, I know that a lot of people visit me but I also know that commenting on a WordPress blog defeats some people.  I’ve tried to make it easy but it still isn’t as easy as for a Blogger blogger to comment on another Blogger blog (say that 5 times fast!)

This is what I came up with:


Bearing in mind that view is zoomed in, so the Kraft card looks pixelated, even when printed.  But the ACTUAL cards won’t be cause they won’t be stretched to fill a page.

So what are the (subtle differences?

1. Plaster texture with a bold drop shadow


That is printed on linen photo paper.  Mistake, as it makes the texture harder to see but maybe you can see it at the arrow?

2. Flat white text, resting on a line, with a faint brown drop shadow


I may add the drop shadow to the LINE as well.  I’ll have to see how it looks.

3. Plaster texture, different drop shadow


The goal here was to make it look a bit like dimensional modelling paste.  I think the texture is more obvious here.

Of course all of this is going to be even LESS obvious one they get slipped into the photo sleeves, so to be honest it might just be a waste of time.  But I’m curious to know if people will bother.  I accept that perhaps a HOLIDAY may not be the best time to test this out LOL!

So here we go.  A poll!

I’ve left it open for a week.  I’ll be very curious to see what happens.

Happy Easter….

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As promised – weeks 33 to 52

Here are the rest.  Weeks 1 to 32 can be found in the previous post.  Here is the sample sheet for the remaining week cards:


You can grab them here. I’ll add a link to this post from the other one as well.

Now, DH successfully acquired the last two tubes of acrylic medium from my source store so I’ve lost a day to drying time.  I’m off to finish that journal up.

Happy Easter to all!


Weekly PL printable cards

What a frustrating day!  working on putting together my art journal and I ran out of acrylic medium.  Argh!  Luckily DH was in town and hopefully he’ll be coming home with a couple of tubes of it for me.  So as I was 90% done but dead in the water till I got more, I had to set that aside till tomorrow.  So I decided to wrap up a set of weekly card printables (week 1, week 2, etc, so a LOT of them…52 in fact {wink}) but  my design was more labour intensive than I thought it would be.  The decorative strip is actually two colours, a dark over a light, and the process even to change it from card to card is time-consuming.  Here is the screen grab of the first four:


Also the font – there was a lot of tweaking the kerning and the baseline, sometimes of individual numbers, to get it to look right.  I suppose I didn’t HAVE to do that, but I like them better because I did.

Then there was the colour choices.  I thought about going with a real mixture but I just couldn’t settle on a method and random wasn’t working.  So I picked a colour for every group of 4 and tried to go (sort of) from light to dark.  But then I was forever second guessing myself – should February be BLUE cause it’s a cold month (at least in my hemisphere) or RED cause of Valentines day?? Then I worried about months with 5 weeks in them – did I need to handle them differently?  Then I sort of kicked myself  and thought It’s not like I charge people for them – it doesn’t need to be this difficult! So I just regained a little focus and finished up to week 32.  It’s to late in the day to finish them now (dinner, family, etc etc) and the PDF would be ginormous, so I’ll split it in to two and do the rest tomorrow (before I even pop open the acrylic medium, I promise)

The colours are as seen here (well, depending on your monitor…)


You can click on that image and see them a little bit bigger, but not full size. It gives you enough of an idea, I hope, for you to know if you want to grab them or not!

If you do want them, here is the click.

NOTE: and the final weeks are in the post HERE. This is what they look like:


I am considering making the whole set in black and white (with the strip in shades of grey {no snickering – I’ve not read it but I don’t live under a rock so I know what some of you are thinking….} either all the same or light to dark, not sure, I’ll see when I play about what I like and how hard it is to do!) but I’ll see – comment if you want that but I can’t promise it’ll be tomorrow ….


So cool – the REAL WOYWW photo

OK, well really, I should have waited to add this next week for WOYWW as that way the people who care about seeing what’s on desks across the world will get to see it.  I’m not sure how many people who visit me then visit me on a regular basis.  ANYWAY, this Google camera app for creating a photo sphere is just the most fun. I have an iPhone but recently DH bought a job lot of android phones from China.  As an app developer he needs to be able to test things on a variety of platforms – we don’t really NEED 12 phones LOL! I suspect a little research into iPhone apps is in order to see if I can find similar or I’ll have to commandeer his phone on a regular basis…and indeed I found this one for the iPhone

Basically you pick the center of your sphere, then, standing in one spot you move the phone around, matching up little on-screen dots, till you fill the area.  Press the tick mark, and the app processes this series of photos into a photo sphere.  When viewing on the phone you can zoom in, rotate, shift up or down, side to side.  More complex than a standard panorama shot, which pans along a plane, side to side.  Photo spheres allow you to grab the floor and ceiling as well – Helen, take note!

SO, in the interest of full-disclosure, here is a shot of my WOYWW desk – The little area where you see the distress markers is the only area I often have to work in…eagle-eyed users will note that Julia’s blog appears on my left-hand monitor.  You will also see the Cricut is slightly warped (on the left there) and you can just see my UKS Blog Hop project, the photos surrounding my light fixture, hanging there at the top.


Usually I add a smaller version of a photo but I am trying adding the full version here – what I hope will happen is you will see the smaller size but if you click it you will see it bigger! It’s a monster – almost 6 mb.  Frightening, no?

I can see a whole new level of snooping for future WOYWW posts…nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide, the true state of my desk laid bare for all to see.  TMI? perhaps, but fun and clearly demonstrating that when I say my desk is a mess I am not lying


As to real projects, I have two sides of my envelope art journal to gesso then I can assemble it.  You can see the finished and dry pages there, just above my keyboard.  I’ve been dithering back and forth as to whether I should leave the flaps in place or cut them off.  I’m thinking cut them off at this point, creating a fold-over as part of the cover to hold any loose bits inside, rather than having a flap on every pocket page – that’ll make working on the pages easier….



Happy WOYWW.

What’s on my desk is not exciting. Chaotic, but not exciting….


There are some erasers, to be carved, including one that isn’t great, a bit of text and a couple of bits of  pattern


These are small erasers, about 3/4 inch x 2 and cheap (on sale at Staples) so perfect for experimentation,.  They carve well – any flaws are down to me.

On my ironing board are some of the large envelopes I am turning into an Art journal, drying


and a depressing sight, a totally empty pot of Gesso.


Best add that to my shopping list…

Stuck at home with no car for a couple more days but looking forward to getting it back repaired.  I’ve been ransacking the house for a crochet pattern I want to pass on to LLJ at the WOYWW crop in a few weeks time.  Can’t find it but found it online so turning that into a PDF.  It tempts me, as it’s a scrap yarn afghan and lord knows I have a lot of bits and pieces of yarn…I did find a couple of baby afghan books I think she will enjoy, one for the oddly named “pillowghan” – a baby-sized blankie than folds up to store inside a matching pillow case.

Toying with the idea of making one of the cards I brought back unmade from the Card Marathon too.  Might end up doing that while the envelopes dry.

Hope you are all having a good WOYWWednesday!



A new Art Journal from envelopes

My existing AJ is starting to get full. It wasn’t too big to begin with so that isn’t surprising – although *I* am surprised I’ve managed to make more than 2 pages and haven’t abandoned the process yet.   LOL!

Anyway, if you read here often you know I like making stuff from scratch.  I had an idea t make an AJ that shared some of the properties of a paper bag book, in that it included areas to stash stuff.  When at Staples, looking for something totally unrelated, I found these massive envelopes.


I thought there was an idea there.  I’ve started my folding each envelope in half, up to the edge of the fold-over flap


Note they are called “manilla” when in fact they are more like heavy paper bags.  That is what I keep banging on about – the UK manilla isn’t like the US manilla..oh would that it was.  I knew they paper was likely to allow bleed thru so I decided to gesso the pages before constructing the book.


Some of the pages got scraped gesso, some got brushed gesso, and some got either one, then folded together and pulled apart to produce texture, then left to dry.

But another serendipitous thing – while at the grocery store I grabbed a cheap kid’s dough modelling toolkit. It had a pizza cutter in it so I used that as a texture tool.  It is blunt so should also work fab on the Gelli plate!


See how simple, but cool, are the marks?


And there is a wavy scallop as well!


I think having the pages ready to go will mean no more fear of the blank page.

The whole toolkit was so cheap and in addition to the pizza cutter and the wavy cutter there are some other useful items – the paddle scraper is handy, the little hard brayer might be interesting with some wire or rubber bands wrapped around it, and the little interchangeable tools I’ve not yet thought much about, but I’m sure they will make some interesting marks. Check out that price…


So I’ll be Gesso-ing like made while the sun shines and the pages can dry outside with the laundry. I’m thinking that a series of sewn signatures (maybe two envelopes each, with the flaps one side, then reverse the envelope for the other side) with a hard matboard cover (maybe even stuck inside a folded envelope?  not sure of that) will make a nice sturdy book.  The size is good, and I imagine I could stash all manner of bits inside the open envelope (loose pages, written or even typed journaling, photos or magazine articles or newspaper clippings that have been annotated by me…) so long as they aren’t bulky.  It’ll be interesting to see how it works out/IF it works out…

LOL!  Probably doomed to failure, if I were superstitious, as this is my 1300th post….


AJ page – Storm in my head (stencil shift)

I was thinking about the fact that I so often make stencils Using my Cricut.  Not everyone has one, so I was thinking of stencils I could make with other tools.  I thought about windows, and my Nestabilities.

So I took a filmstrip die – now this die cuts as a rectangle, and I thought that would suit my purposes.


On a Gessoed page I sponged on dark green paint


Replacing the stencil but shifting it slightly (I know I saw this someplace – could have been a Stencil Girl video but it’s been a while so I’m not sure) I sponged some lighter lime green paint over it. They key here is that you need good coverage and heavy bodied paint.



It gives it a bit of a halo effect.  I added some olive-green Pitt pen, smudged along the join of the two paints for a little more depth, but given how much I layers over it, it was perhaps a wasted step!


I scribbled some purples onto the background


and blended them with a baby wipe, letting some of the purple skitter over the rough texture of the page


Then I carried on with the usual – some stencils, some stamps, some punchinella stenciling, some tiny scripty text, and some BIG stamps in black.  That gave me a nice complex background.  Over a particularly busy area, I stencilled a face that I cut (sorry, back to the Cricut, but this time with SCAL tracing the image.


I masked the lower compass so it (I hope) looks like it’s in front of the face. I stamped the “title” – do you call it a title when it’s and AJ page?  I do, but more as a way to call a particular page to mind,  less as a TITLE, IYKWIM.


Now off to file paperwork.  And maybe try to finish up the last two cards from the Marathon – although cause I have to photo of the sample and only the barest memory of what the cards actually looked like, that may all come to nothing…..


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