WOYWW 157 – art journaling

Now the hullabaloo of the third anniversary WOYWW has passed, I am playing with some art journaling.  I began my first page yesterday and it’s what’s on my desk today.  I am not sure I have the passion for art journaling, but I decided to give it a go.  The class on UKS has been popular and lots of people seem to be delving in to it, so I figured I might as well.  Not sure if I’ll continue, but I did make a little 12 page journal using watercolour paper from a pad that I had hanging around and I think even I can manage that.

It’s still in its infancy but so far I’m liking it well enough.  This page is about how I would think to myself that I would art journal when pigs fly – and look, here I am giving it a go.  I guess I’ve always been less inclined to share my thought on anything other than my kids, through my scrapbooking.  I’m not really one to lay it all out there, IYKWIM.  But I do enjoy the arty process so I may focus on that more than a core dump of my head.  But maybe the process will  be freeing, who knows.  I guess it’s one thing to make an art journal that only you see and a very different matter to make one that you share. But my first attempt is less likely to involve real deep truths so I feel ok about it.  As things develop, IF they develop, that may change.  Navel gazing isn’t really something that benefits from reaching a wide audience LOL! I suspect I would be too inclined to edit my thoughts if I know strangers are reading them.

I quite like the bright turquoise and  lime scheme and it was a great excuse to get out come rarely used stamps.  Mr. Pig got masked to add the wings and it actually worked out pretty OK.  My Sharpie paint pen burped out a dime (5p) sized blot over the dotty letters so I had to try to cove that with a quick swipe followed by a bit of Sharpie.  It’s OK, but I’ll always know it’s there.

Now the crushingly intimidating part – writing with my own hand!  Ugh.  I could chicken out and go for all stamps or snippets of text but this is just an experiment so I will be brave.

I would love to share my ATC but it was coming all the way from the Philippines care of Patsy and hasn’t arrived yet.  I’ll share it the first WOYWW after  I get it.  I’m hoping Neet got mine by now.  Fingers crossed the postie didn’t drop it in a puddle!

Stop by Julia’s place and you can find out all about WOYWW and if you hop the blogs you will likely see many of the ATCs exchanged.  I’m really looking forward to it myself.


Art Journal samples made digital

I was playing around with paints and made a small ATC sized art journal sample piece.  I am new to all this so I really was just having a play.  I just used a couple of colours, and some white, and a plasterers texture scraper – it’s a bit like a credit card on one edge but the other has some saw-tooth like notches.  The thing is, my craft mat was a bit messy and the scrapper, which I use a lot, had some residual ink and other muck on it, so scraping it across the sample left bits of other colours, of black ink, of all kinds of stuff.  This is what it looks like in its natural state:

And just a bit closer so maybe you can see the texture of it:

I was looking at it and really, really liked it.  But I know from experience there was no way I was ever going to be able to duplicate it, or even get close.  Sure, I might make another one, but it may not be as nice – it could be better, but chances are it won’t be,  ’cause life’s like that.  So I thought how might I capture it to make good use of it? It’s only 2.5 x 3.5 so nt a lot that can be done with it in that small size.  I thought about the printables that I make and thought what if I use my own sample to create something that uses the sample as the colour, rather than a flat colour fill?

I first scanned my small sample at 300 dpi.  I opened that in PSE, as well as a blank file.  Then I set about creating a number of border-y things – rows of triangles, scallops, banners (mostly by tiling the Shape Tool images to fit across the page) in black.  I dragged in my sample then did the  Create Clipping Mask thing to fill the black with my sample.  Cool.

I also did the more simple  Select>Paste for some plain circles.

I love the look of the checkerboard edges (I love them on my scrapbook pages too, and have lots of that sort of paper collected) so I also made a strip of solid black and solid white squares.  I aligned the squares. selected just the black, then just the white,  doing a Merge Visible on each group.  Then I filled the white ones with black too, and added the Texturizer on them, just so they didn’t look quite so flat.  Did the same clipping mask command to fill one set with my sample then staggered the two strips (one black, one with my sample) to create a checkerboard.

Here’s what they look like printed!

I can now print them and cut them out to use them on anything I like.  I did take the further step to copy over the two black box strips to another file and saved it as CHECKERBOARD.  That way I can drag over anything else I want, to create that pattern with ease.  I did the one, then duplicated it so I had three of them, but in future I think I would make different ones so the coloured areas aren’t the same on all three – the idea was to be able to create a longer strip, and I can still alter them a bit by copying over the strips and flipping them or overlapping bits so they a double-length strip isn’t just the same “pattern” side-by-side, but it would be easier to create different strips for more variety.

So from a small 2.5 x 3.5 sample. I now have a full sheet of collage clips – and one that I can mess about with, doing colour variations, for example, to create even more fun stuff.

It only took about an hour to do so no reason I wouldn’t do this for any sample that I make that I really like.  And I expect I will play about a bit more with the tools and techniques before I decide if the whole art journal thing is for me.  I am feeling too splintered at the moment, with scrapbooking, making printables, art journaling, even making cards and ATCs all fighting for dominance in my head space.  Something has to give, but in my heart of hearts I know scrapbooking is likely to win out.

It’s interesting.  I wonder if the art journaling thing is a more honest expression of who some of us scrapbookers are as (dare I say it? Yep.) artists?  MOST scrappers I know say they make their pages for their kids, for their family, as a record of their lives.  But as time goes on, some of them have also said to me, almost as if it is sacrilegious, that they really scrapbook for themselves, as an artistic expression that happens to use family photos.

Maybe it’s almost as an excuse for making time for art, as if they need to justify it with the higher purpose of doing it “for the kids.”  Now I am IN NO WAY saying that is true for every scrapbooker, but I do wonder if the progression of some scrappers from layouts to art journals (which tend to be by, for, about, the creator – I mean if there is  an art journaler out there who is journaling someone ELSES life, I’ve yet to stumble across them!) is because the kids grow up, move out, move on, and all of a sudden there is this gap where the reams of photos each month dwindle to a handful, the grandparents have enough mini-books to keep them happy, and there you are.  A scrapper with few photos to scrap (unless you are happy to live in the past and catch up on all the unscrapped photos from years back) and all this creative energy with no outlet.

It’s hard (at least it is for me) to make the shift to scrapping stuff I care about, or aspects of my life.  I am in awe of Shimelle because she does it so easily.  Is it because she started out scrapping her own life? Is it harder to go back and adjust your focus, and is art journaling easier because you are beginning fresh, with a new purpose?  I am just FULL of questions today! But that is enough.  I’m clearly in an introspective mood and maybe THAT has to do with considering art journaling as well!  I’ll leave it, but if you have thoughts on this, comment and let me know.

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BIG CARDS – 4 of Spades

I love crafting with household things.  After my play with waxed paper, I cast my eye across my stash and it fell upon my frequently-used box of freezer paper.  This is such a useful item.  I’ve used it to stabilize things to send thru my printer (like printing on paper towels) and for a few other things, but not as the actual “paper” before.  The plastic-y coating is shiny and what I thought was that would take alcohol inks pretty well.  It does, with a few surprises.

The first thing I did was grab a strip and crumple it up.  The crumpling, even when you iron it later, will still result in a slightly smaller end product so make sure your starting sheet is an inch or so bigger on all sides! I swiped a Staz-on ink pad across the ridges made by crumpling and let it dry.

This is a bit tricky.  I loaded up my ink applicator with a few blue Alcohol Inks and pounced that over the inked ridges.  Pressing too hard will remove too much of the Staz-on, being they are both solvent based products. Some of the AI will mix with the Staz-on but some of the ridges will remain very black.  The wetter the inks are the more they remove, so the first few pounces take more away, later ones, as the felt dries a bit, will remove less.

Iron it.  Use a non-stick craft mat against the shiny side as the iron will melt the plastic coating a bit.  Or don’t – I did one with a paper towel against the shiny side.  It adhered to the melted plastic, but gave an interesting texture from the towel!  Some bits did stick and were hard to get off, but that in itself may produce some interesting effects.

I used a template to sponge thru Staz-on, then outlined the inked areas with a Sharpie.

The Sharpie, also solvent based, did work well.  And while the template was a mess with the Staz-on all over it, a quick swipe with some Surgical Spirit took care of that! And gave me a further idea.

I started off using a stencil to draw on the letters with a Copic marker.  The Copic dissolved the inks and gave an interesting effect, but then I though more about the Surgical Spirit.   I used a Q-Tip (ear bud for my UK friends) dipped in Surgical spirit to make the ink fluid again then whisked it away with the a clean one.  This has to be done quickly as the spirit dries very fast so no step by step photos – I had my hands full, and moving fast. Once the area inside the stencil was very pale I filled in with a bright Copic.   I didn’t take it to the point of pure white, although it will get there, as I wanted some of the distressed looking quality to be in the letters as well.  But I can see just taking off the ink in the stencil areas rather than making it darker with pens as a neat alternative.

So here you go.

The colour on the close up isn’t great – too dark and dismal here this morning but here it is anyway:

I like how the darker ink pools around the edges of the letters, almost framing them. The freezer paper is quite sturdy so really takes a beating and still holds up.  It has a leather-like quality to it by the end.  I think you could make some pretty flowers by doing a sheet then punching and layering them up.  I would say punch thru from the paper side (or use dies) and you shouldn’t have any trouble.  I may give it a go myself later. Have fun with it and LMK if you try it.


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The chili cook-off is over and life returns to normal!  DH made a fine showing, but the judges were stymied by the rules as applied t0 his green New Mexico chili.  The guidance said that “reddish-brown is considered to be good” when it comes to colour and his was most assuredly NOT reddish-brown. What GREEN chili would be?  One judge stopped by to say that while his was tasty, delicious even, she just had no idea how to mark it on colour, given the guidelines. He didn’t win, or even place, but that was sort of expected.  And it was personally gratifying for him to hear comments from the public like “Where’s your restaurant?” and “Will you cater my birthday party?”and numerous requests for the recipe.  Where some entrants had 1/2 a pot of chili left after the public was able to buy a spoon and get a taster pot, within 10 minutes his entire gallon + pot was gone!  Some people came back for seconds – and thirds.  Many asked if there would be a public vote, like a taster’s choice award and said if so, his would win.  Personally, I think the stall looked great but then I did make most of the decor LOL! Not DH in the photo, but his mate Mike.

Will this be the end of his chili-cook off attempts?  No, probably not, but he may shift to a more “traditional” chili next time, although it will still be less smoky and sweet than perhaps suits the British palate, based on the winner in this comp.  To him, REAL chili has no tomatoes and no beans (although he will accept black beans on a good day) and the liquid added should be beer.  Beef, beer, onions and spices/chilies should be all.

Now, I have mentioned, many times, how much I admire the work of Kate Crane.  Her use of colour is fabulous and the text in her work always strikes a chord with me.

See what I mean?  Fab, isn’t it?

Anyway, almost a year ago I bought her DVD set at the Newbury stamp show.  I always try to get there to renew Craft Stamper, as I prefer picking the subscription gift to waiting for something to arrive in the mail, that may not be the thing you expected or wanted.  Last year I got the Cosmic Shimmer Chalk sprays.  Big thumbs up for them, except the stupid clogging nozzles – so no different to any other spray ink, no matter what their ads say, no matter how carefully I shake them, every one I have ever tried clogs eventually. I came home, popped DVD 1 in the Mac and….nothing.  The DVD didn’t even appear, the message said “Non-supported DVD detected”  and then the drawer just spit it back out.  When I upgraded my machine last month, the first thing I did was pop the DVD in to see if the newer DVD player might work, but it still considered the DVD to be unsupported.

Now, I really should have gotten back in touch with CS about it, but I kept meaning to try it in the regular DVD or the Mac mini hooked up to the TV,  but frankly that wasn’t where I wanted to watch it, rooms away from my desk, so I kept putting it off. Just last week I DID try it, and it worked, but  I still didn’t want to dash from room to room to try any techniques that might be new to me so having satisfied myself it wasn’t a global problem with the DVD, I popped it out and back in the case. But I had one more idea to try.

We have one very old iBook that seems to play any DVD we throw at it.  We’ve always kept it around for just that reason.  I dragged it out – the battery manager needs fixing, as it charges but loses the charge in like an hour, but I CAN use it if it’s plugged in (and now there is an Apple Store in the mall here the chances of it getting fixed are better than waiting for DH to pop in to London to the store there) so can finally have the DVD playing close to my desk!  Whoopie!   I can see it on the screen NOW and can finally watch it.  Yes, I know the “spinning beach ball of death” can be seen upper left of the screen in the photo, but I assure you by the time I have gotten to this point in typing this post the menu of DVD 1 is on show. Having satisfied myself that the laptop still boots and the DVD works fine, I may still need to wait for the right day to actually sit and soak it all in.  But at least I know I can.  My goal is to watch it before the NEXT Newbury show in July LOL!

So I have too many chili pots and dishes to wash, too much laundry to do, some UKS work to finish up, and much more.  Happy Jubilee weekend to all and hope you get time to craft.


It’s all about the Chilli

We did a test batch of the chilli yesterday and it was quite the process.  Then had a group of friends around for dinner for a taste testing.  There was much talk about the fore-burn, and the afterburn, perhaps because the 1/2 recipe contained these items as well as the better part of a full bag of fresh green chillies as well!

Not expecting a win, as the green chilli is certainly going to be a novelty, but he is enjoying the process.

what else is in the batch?  Not all the ingredients (that would be telling) but:

No, the plasters don’t go in the chilli, just in case of a nasty knife accident!

And as the crafty side of things, I had to work on the stall decor.

Just a bit f fun, really, but the foam stamps turned out pretty well.  My local fabric shop doesn’t sel Wonder Under any more, then sell a different brand, and it is made up of a sort of diamond pattern, where the Wonder Under is a fine, overall mesh.  The pattern is clearly visible but most noticeable behind the whites of the alien eyes so in a way that is OK as it makes them look like fly-eyes.  But the shop lady says it is for applique work – I wouldn’t use it for that, because you can “see” the pattern of the glue under the fabric.  Maybe it’s better under a floral or patterned material, but it is nowhere near as good as Wonder Under.  But it was what they had so I used it.

More test cooking today, and any allowed pre-chopping and measuring,  and with luck, some crafty time tomorrow!