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AJ pages

You may recall the Cinquain Art Journal I began a couple of weeks back.  See the menu item at the top for more detail.  I thought I would share a couple of pages that use the coin envelopes.

Was a time when the Nick Bantock books were all the rage.  Remember them?The  Griffin and Sabine series is perhaps the most well-known.   Anyway, the point is that I was always captivated by the little envelopes and cards within the book, and that you had to open them up and take them out to read the story.  That was what I had in mind when I decided to add the coin envelopes.  That, and the fact that with the envelopes, the only text on show was the little poem, but where I wanted to say more I could, without having it all out there for everyone to see.

So here are a couple of the pages.  I’m just flirting with the whole AJ thing.  And I’m not one of those hugely inspiring artists whose pages make you go WOW.  I can’t make myself do a page every day.  When I have a thought, when there is something weighing on my mind, I can sit and make a page, work thru it, letting the art-part (the images that spring to mind, why I’m choosing them, not from a VISUAL POV but from a symbolic one) and the focusing  (rather than letting my mind scuttle here there and everywhere like it seems to most of the time) maybe help me work it out.

This one uses the small bit of the coin envelope that extends thru the sewn spine from elsewhere. It allows me to create a little flap to hold a tag. There is a fair bit of writing on the back, so I am not worried the visual text is printed and stamped.


This page is also built on one of the Deli paper pages,  and they actually work better than I expected they might.





All the bits are Gelli printed – I have a huge stash of prints so best use them or they will take over my space.

This one uses the OTHER part of the same envelope.  I decided I could use the same envelope for both the LEFT and the RIGHT pages, simply by decorating them front and back and adding two tags or whatever inside.



I used another one of the Stencil Republic stencils for this one.



Perhaps not the most optimistic of pages, but then you don’t really have to work out how you feel about being joyful!  I just tend to bask in it, not rush off to my desk to make a page about how happy I am.  If something is bugging me I want to take the time to consider it.  If I’m feeling content I just want to enjoy it.  Maybe that’s part of why the whole AJ thing is less natural for me.  Maybe partly because I’m about as deep as a puddle most of the time.  I’m happy or I’m not, but neither lasts and I know that.  I get stressed, then something makes me smile  – deep as a SHALLOW puddle LOL!

Today I should do a page about my stupid wrenched back…..


Interesting medium for the Gelli plate

For the last two years I have had Silkies in the gift bag when renewing my subscription to Craft Stamper.  These little bottles of opalescent paint have sat on my shelf untouched.  But the other day, when playing with the round prints, they caught my eye and I grabbed one to see how it would work out.  I think it worked out well!  One difference is in the FEEL of them.  Unlike metallic or pearl acrylic paint, they have a very smooth feel.  They are also a bit more sheer, which I like.

Since  the bottles are quite small I worried that it would take quite a lot of the paint to cover the plate – although as I said I haven’t found any other application for them in TWO YEARS so just why that even worried me I do not know! But this is just a small bit of the paint, basically one well-loaded brush full daubed around a bit and brayered on:



I printed over an acrylic layer and I like how the paint shows thru.



That was the ghost pull done by loading the plate, laying on the stencil, pulling a print THRU the stencil, removing the stencil and then pulling THAT over another paint print. Another shot:



I have maybe 4 or 5 bottles of this (two the same colour – meh!) but I can see some fun playtime with them later.  Working on a massive craft room tidy up, aiming to re-arrange my window sill a bit to let in more light, now the days are drawing in and darkness comes quicker every afternoon.  The other day I was just playing and playing and before I realized it I was literally crafting in the dark.  You’d have thought I’d have turned on a darn light, but honestly I was so engrossed I just carried on.  DOH!  I d dread the end of BST and darkness at 4 pm.


I also spend too much time yesterday playing around with a label for DHs recent hot sauce efforts.  This is not the one chosen but it’s my favourite.  It seems to capture the effect of the sauce perfectly.  I imagine we will use it for some later version, but I’ll have to add the CAUTION: Extremely HOT! warning to it.  He passed out a couple of bottles yesterday and already heard back from two people – one used it both n his Saturday night stew (just his – no other family members were injured in the tasting)  AND a late night cheese toastie, while the other mate and his son had a taste upon their late night return from the pub.  The 1 AM text pretty much said WTF!?

The whole house reeks of peppers, and the capsicum molecules are floating around in the air.  Until we took out the rubbish, I couldn’t go into the kitchen without coughing.  Not sure what I think about this hot sauce making lark of his.  Chili is altogether safer and tolerable.



More round Gelli masking!

Oh poo.  My camera batteries have died and they take HOURS to recharge so apologies for the not-many, not-great photos but I think the process is a good one so I’ll share them anyway and hope to have another play later.

While working on the circles yesterday it occurred to me that the surrounding cardstock (where the circle had been cut out) works perfectly for a reverse mask to pull a round print on a larger piece.  I would say it is important to cut it from very heavy cardstock so it can stand up to the repeated applying and removing you will be doing.

My goal was to get something like the sample from Gelli Arts.  Of course I don’t have any plant-type stencils or masks, so for my first experiment I went with simple geometric patterns, which I like.  Since I don’t have the Open Acrylics either, getting the sheerness to the prints also took a little doing.  I first squeezed out a small dab of paint on the plate then added another similar sized dot of Glaze Medium.


I mixed up the paint and glaze right on the plate, using a plastic palette knife.  Metal might damage the place, but an old credit card would work just as well.


Then I did the Gelli pattern, laid over the open mask and pulled the print.



I believe the sample was pulled on smooth card, but as far as BIG, I only had a 12.5 x 16 inch watercolour paper pad, which is very textured.  The prints were still OK but maybe slightly less defined.

Lots of photos that COULD go here but one thing about low batteries on my camera is that sometimes I take a photo and it doesn’t get saved.  So you can only se the final piece.  It has issues LOL!



I can see I had the stencil not perfectly aligned and got that thin line right in the middle, from the edge of the plate.  Also, somehow I managed to get the two smaller circles almost perfectly aligned when I didn’t WANT to.

While I can appreciate the whole organic process, I think I might at least plan my print a bit next time.  I think it would really help to maybe draw circles on the back as I want them placed on the front, and maybe even number them, or at least mark the first layer and the next layers,  or note LIGHT v DARK.  As I have said before, if you get  a print you are not over the moon with on plain paper or card, no biggie.  You can always use it for something else and it’s no real loss.  BUT if you get a HUGE print on a more expensive piece of paper or a canvas, for example, not so cheap or easy to reuse, except maybe as a collage background.

One advantage of doing it this way is the ability to vary the size of the circles.  Of course if you have the round plate there is no reason you can’t pull full-plate ones, then use a mask over the outside edges so you then get a smaller circle!  But this way you can actually pick the area of the plate you like best, rather than having to pull the full-plate print.  If there is a bit that you don’t like, or a bit you REALLY want to highlight, just mask around that!

And of course you can expand this to other shapes – stars, hexagons, chevrons … I hanker after a print that is a long line of massive chevrons down one side.

And sorry my post yesterday wasn’t as clear as it could have been about the stencil.  It’s from Stencil Republic, a book that comes with 20 stencils from various graffiti artists.  I saw it first on Marit’s blog during a WOYWW hop (and yes, that was Weds, and I had it in my hands by Friday noon, thanks to Amazon Prime!) and loved the couple she showed.  Here is the back cover so you can see all that it contains:


Round prints on a rectangle Gelli Plate

Of course I love the idea of a round Gelli plate, Who wouldn’t? But there is very little chance I will get one for a number of reasons. But I do like the round print idea so I just had a go with some circles I cut.



I have no idea where the cutting pod is for that big EK Success circle cutter but I found that the biggest of the CM pods (the blue one) works perfectly to the inside of the larger template and cuts a circle perfect for the 8 x 10 inch plate.  Woo hoo!

So it is not rocket science.  Really the only issue is that you would struggle to keep your fingers clean unless you do hat I did which is paint up the plate and lay on the circle


but cover that with a full sheet of copy paper then press all over.


Interesting effect in the corners.  Had I thought about it for two seconds I would have been more careful about the placement.  Easy enough to layer another design



For that I pulled onto the circle thru the stencil then pulled the ghost print to fill the gap on the first one.  Again, still taking no care with placement DOH! And THAT (and a knock at the door) sent me off in another direction, cause I got this in the mail!



I just had to go for it.  The stencils are heavy card, but with no coating on them.  I imagine if you use them with spray paint they probably will be fine, but the super fine lines might not survive Gelli play.  And I just got them so not keen to risk it just yet.  In the end I used a stiff brush and paint and…



The circle worked perfectly to frame the image.

Now, I’ve had another idea I want to play with and a little bookkeeping to do.



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Christmas quote chalkboard printables

Just something I was playing with the other day.  I’m not totally pleased with the chalkboard effect – it’s OK but not as sophisticated as some I’ve seen – but I like them well enough to share.  I think it was a compromise between having the text very readable while having a chalkboard FEEL and having it look a lot more like chalk IYKWIM.

Can you place all the quotes?  I did toy with “You’ll shoot your eye out”  but it seemed a little less useful, even though it is certainly one of my most notable Christmas movie quotes!  I think they are all immediately identifiable except the Yes! Yes! one, from the 1938 film of A Christmas Carol. It may be in other film versions, or maybe as a variation, don’t know.  I could have gone with God bless us everyone! of Bah! Humbug! but … didn’t.

You can grab the PDF here – it’s larger than usual (about 4 mb) so be warned! Although they are 3×4 for Project Life size pockets The would work on a scrapbook page and might also work well as card toppers.  Must dash off to the store but I may play around with a card sample or two later.


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Gelli print on iPad cover

Another oddball attempt.  Only time will tell what the longevity of this is.

DH is an app developer.  The result of that is that we have LOTS of iPads.  LOTS.  Six? more if you count the various android tablets.  He was happy for me to experiment on one of his old covers (it was actually the one I doodled on with Sharpies.  It was a bit bet up, hard use and all, so I started by carefully wiping off as much of the doodling as I could, using Blending Solution.  Not a perfectly clean slate but not too bad.



Once it was a good as it was going to get, I wiped it down then masked off the channels that are meant to fold with some very thing washi tape – this is the stuff that he bought me at Christmas last year and got 5 sets all the same.  I can’t really think of a use for thin, lime green washi tape (certainly not 5 rolls of it!) so I didn’t mind using it.



I added of coat of Gesso to the surface.  Not sure if it gives any benefit.  I thought it would help the paint adhere but it didn’t – more on that in a bit. I also carefully swiped away the paint from the channels and off the Washi tape.  The first time I did it, when the paint overlapped the tape, when I pulled off the tap, the paint simple peeled off the surface of the pad.  So back to square one.  Worth it, as it tells me if you mess up you can easily get the cover back to what it was with little or no damage.



I prepped the Gelli plate and pulled a print.

Do cover the back of the pad with paper, as this is a surface that will come n contact with your iPad and you don’t want mucky fingers full of paint smearing it all over that!



It wasn’t perfect but it was interesting and I liked it well enough to carry on.  I ended up messing up panel 3 and you can see later that panel has a different print on it.  I tried, for the re-do, just brushing on red paint and using a stencil on it then a stamp over it, rather than doing the Gesso layer and a Gelli print.  I’m curious to see if it makes any difference to the stability of the print.



I added to that – mostly stamping or stencils. See panel 3 here?



After that was dry (took a long time) I added a coupe of coats of Mod Podge, making sure the y covered the channels as well – there needs to be no area where the paint can be loosened or it will peel off, I’m sure.

gellipadcover9Dry between coats.  I’ve done three so far but am considering doing the suggested 5 coats they having a go at wet sanding it VERY LIGHTLY to see if I can get a smooth, no brush-stroke finish. In truth, it may compromise the seal and the paint may peel off, but it’s only an experiment so I don;t really mind if that happens.  I’m not going to get another cover to play with so making this one a few times is OK by me! The Mod Podge is matte, so it’s less shiny than the tape.



Here it is so far.

On the plus side, DH has been using the iPad mini cover with the packing tape addition and it seems remarkably stable.  No peeling at all.  I do wonder what the effect might be of lightly sanding the tape to knock back the shine?

I’ll let you know how the sanding goes, and how it performs in use.  These covers are not cheap, so it isn’t something to do as a lark, IYKWIM.  But if it holds up, and works in situ as a stand, like it should, and the Mod Podge doesn’t crack, or keep the cover from folding then I’ll let you know.

Another thought I had was using something like Plasti-coat spray on it as the base layer.  That COULD work, although I will probably have to either ruin this cover during the wet sanding step OR wait for DH to beat the heck out of another cover before I get to try that!

Now I have to take a  photo of the SHOCKING state of my desk for WOYWW…




Two layouts!

This must be a record, at least for recent years.  I’ve managed to make a total of 6 layouts in the two crops I got to this month.  Woo hoo. Perhaps more shocking is the fact I also managed to use, at least for these two, CURRENT photos, rather than ones from when the kids were little.

First, yo may recall me mentioning DH and his constant chili-cookoffs over the summer.  That would have been the prime reason I missed a few of the crops.  Here is the layout.  I thought about doing this as a two-page spread, but in the end I felt it worked fine with 4 photos on one page. I went all the way back to that Wordfetti – still love it.



Oops.  I forgot to re-stick the dot over the first i.  And I will ALWAYS spell CHILI in the American way – despite the fact my Mac, set to UK English will insist on asking me to “correct” it to CHILLI. Bah!

The next one uses Louise’s fab school printables from the UKS Blog Hop.  I printed them and spent a week pushing them and the tiny polaroid-style photos from the Fuji camera DH brought back from Japan around on the basic background.  Finally settled on the arrangement here.



Both seem to use the little file folders, decorated on the front, which flip open to reveal journaling.  The Chili one, the back half is stuck UNDER the blue paper (I’ll photo the trophy, print it small, and add that to the surface of the big photo, then journal to the right, on the reverse of the flap, while on the bottom layout the back of the folder is stuck to the background and just opens, leaving me more room for my thoughts.

A bit annoyed because for months now iPhoto will NOT open a photo to be edited in PSE.  Well, it WILL, but only in the older PS 6, not 10.  I’ve changed it in the preferences, so it SHOULD work, but all it does is open PSE 10 but refuses to open the photo.  Grrr.  The reason I am annoyed by this is that there was a discussion on UKS about photographing layouts, with a nifty little trick for getting them square and in perspective. Wanted to try it, couldn’t, so I just took the photo and slightly cropped it.  Lucky I’m tall so even the top one , which I couldn’t crop as easily as the bottom one, looks OK just by using the iPhoto tool.  But still…I need to hunt up an answer.  Likely as not I will have to uninstall iPhoto (or PSE) and re-install it, or something stupid like that.


iPhone (and iPad) Gelli covers

This is a strange one.  To be fair, I only just made them (in the dark last night and this AM) and we haven’t had much chance to really see how they perform in daily use, but certainly for the iPhone case I have no reason to believe they won’t withstand reasonable use – only time will tell.  But the real beauty is that they are fairly quick to make, cheap, and if it gets wrecked you can quickly and easily make another or simply revert to your shiny plain back.

Fair warning – LOTS of photos!

You will need:

  • a shiny, one-colour snap-on phone cover
  • a piece of freezer paper bigger than your Gelli Plate
  • a piece of contact paper (packing tape is not wide enough!) I used clear contact paper but I wonder about using one with a pattern?
  • a craft knife

First measure the surface of your phone case.  You want to measure JUST the flat surface, one tiny smidge inside where the phone begins t curve around the sides and just below the camera lens cut out and up from the bottom edge just above the rounded corner.  The contact paper will not smoothly navigate the corner and I feel you get a more visually pleasing result with a rectangular piece than if you try to match the rounded corners.  MY iPhone 5 case is 2 1/4 x 4 inches

1. Measure out the area on the paper side of the freezer paper.  Draw lines just inside these lines (about 1/8  inch) measuring from the INSIDE of the line.  Better it be slightly smaller than too big.   Cut out the centre with a craft knife.



2.  Cut your contact paper at least say 3 by 4 1/2 inches.  Flip the freezer paper over an  loosen the top edge of the contact paper. Stick the top edge to the shiny side of the freezer paper and smooth the contact paper down over the hole, like so:



Now you will have the STICKY side of the contact paper (stuck in place to the shiny side of the freezer paper) showing thru the PAPER side of the freezer paper.  This means the extra paint on the Gelli plate has someplace friendly to go (the surrounding paper back of the freezer paper) when you pull your print onto the sticky window and the contact paper will  easily peel off the shiny side.


3. Select a mask.

When selecting your mask, there are a couple of things to keep in mind – I’ve added some photos of other attempts,  to illustrate:

It should be a plastic mask rather than paper.  I did use paper but the paper will stick harder to the contact paper, sometimes ripping and leaving little hazy shreds stuck to it.  You should be able to faintly see the bits of white at the far left in the vine, and on a couple of the larger leaves.  It’s not massively annoying but it could be….

18 iPhonegelli

The paint-covered contact paper will NOT stick to the phone cover.  Make sure there is enough masked area so that, combined with the thin edges surrounding the print, it WILL stick to the phone cover.

Make sure your mask is clean! If the mask has any paint on it, that paint will transfer to the contact paper and keep it from good adhesion.  It may not be a problem for you if it is only stuck at the sides but you will end up with air bubbles under the middle if you don’t get the sides stuck ABSOLUTELY perfectly flat.

19 iPhonegelli


That mask was well covered with blue paint.  You can clearly see how it transferred to the contact paper.  I do like how it looks, and it certainly seemed to stick well enough because the paint from the mask was patchy and there were still bare areas.

4. Stick your chosen mask to the contact paper inside the window.



Can you see how my mask is tucked away at the top?  Placing it, there was just a bit of the that hung down into the window and I didn’t want that masking the print.

5. Do your paint design on the Gelli plate.  Not too much paint, and a fairly simple design. Pull the print onto the sticky side of the contact paper.

Keep in mind the colour of the cover.  I have a black one.  Light paint looks muddy,  dark paint sort of disappears.  It will be different on say a WHITE cover.  You can pull a few packing tape prints and when dry, hold them over the cover you have to check how they look before going to the trouble of doing the contact paper version. I’ll show you what I did to solve the problem in a second.

10 iPhonegelli


You can see the design better on the freezer paper surround at this point.

6. Pull a thin layer of white paint behind the colour layer.  This will “back” the colour and keep the phone cover colour from showing thru quite so strong.

12 iPhonegelli


7.  LET IT TOTALLY DRY.  Peel off the  mask.  Trim away along the OUTER lines on the freezer paper.  This will leave you with your contact paper window and a thin edge of freezer paper stuck to the frame. Can you see that although my mask was pretty clean, the tiniest bit of blue paint transferred to the contact paper?  That stuff grips everything! Can you see the frame of paper?

13 iPhonegelli

This paper should peel away very easily as it is stuck to the shiny side of the freezer paper.

15 iPhonegelli


8. Carefully stick the piece to the phone cover.  You can re-position easily – it will cling but not stick.  Once you are happy with your positioning, burnish it down.  You can do this with a bone folder or the back of your fingernail, and if you cover either with something like an eye-glass cleaning cloth you will minimize the lines you can see in the open areas.

16 iPhonegelli


Check it out!

17 iPhonegelli


This is just the beginning of my experiments, using stuff I had.  I have a stencil in mind that I think would be PERFECT for this, but I need to buy it.  I can also think of two I cut on the Cricut that I would love to try but the ones I’ve already cut are too big, so I would need to cut them again but smaller.

There is a lot of playing to be done with colour and pattern, to maybe devise some rules about what works best from an adhesion POV.  What about gilding flakes or metallic paint??

As you can see from the photos I made three different ones.  They peel off absolutely cleanly from the cover, and what’s more, I was able to stick them to the scrap of release paper the contact paper came off of, and was able to re-attach them.  So maybe you could make a whole little wardrobe of cover stickers and change them at will.  The tricky part is keeping the corner where you start to peel-back from getting totally ragged, but with care it’s not too bad.

And now a bonus shot.  As I was playing with this, DH wandered past and said Well that’s nice but when are you going to do my iPad mini cover?? You may recall I did his iPads (one stamped with Staz-on, one doodled with Sharpies) but I’ve not had a go on his mini iPad cover yet.  So I did.  For that, I found the packing tape was the perfect size.  It was all a bit experimental, so the sizing isn’t perfect on those rounded raised panels, and again my stencil was so mucky it all transferred to the tape.  But even so, the packing tape DOES stick well enough to the cover material.  I’ll know later today how well it sticks as his iPads get a lot of use, getting tossed in his backpack and briefcase, tossed on the desk and counter, propped up by the side of his chair…if it stays stuck thru all that, I’m thinking it’ll stay stuck unless it gets dropped in a puddle or caught out in the rain.

He isn’t convinced that the contrast of the shiny tape over the matte cover material is ideal – certainly better cutting of the tape so it covers the entire raised panel, leaving only the thin grooves between then matte, will help A LOT, but even so, I think it looks pretty cool….



Again the tape peels off easily once you get it started, we could see no transfer of paint to the cover (granted, only a short time installed – maybe tomorrow, after say 48 hours, it’ll be different?) and it seems pretty well stuck.  Tempted?  If you have a go let me see the results.







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More Distress Ink on the Gelli and Ink + Paint

Oh now I am having fun.

Two experiments today.  First, I have been combining the press-on and brayering of Distress ink.  Interesting.  I love the deep, dark ink application and the weird secondary pattern I get if I press the pad to the plate


but I found if I then brayer over that it totally smooths out the ink without removing too much of it.  It still seems to me to give much deeper coverage than simply brayering on the ink.



And it is QUICK.  You can cover as large an area as the Gelli plate in a flash, and using less ink than you would if you were to laboriously sponge and blend the DI.  I’m curious to try pressing on different colours of ink then brayering to see what effect I get as they “mix” on the plate.

Just a quick card background – I ran the ink-filled brayer over a foam stamp and then pressed that on, and ditto a grid texture plate.

DIgelli3A ribbon and a topper and card done.  Took literally two minutes to do.

So then I was thinking of ways to combine ink and paint in one pull.  The obvious choice was to load the plate with paint and lay on a stencil and pull thru it to remove the paint


fill the gaps with ink – and as there will be paint left on the plate use the brayer rather than pressing the ink pad to the plate or you will get paint on your ink pad – not good!


Then pull.  Mine shifted a bit due to too vigorous pressing to clear out as much of the paint thru the stencil gaps as I could. even so, you get the idea.

Had another go




This time I decided to see if I could both clean off the brayer and get a second piece by laying the reverse side of the first pull on to the paint+ink pull and using the inky brayer on the back.  It cleaned the brayer of ink and filled the gaps around the first pull.  Where this would be useful is if you needed a double-sided print, like for a mini book, or if you wanted to cover both sides of an envelope with a similar colour/pattern!


Now this is cool.  I didn’t clean off my stencil from when I pressed on the DI in one of yesterdays samples.  So although the ink was DRY on the stencil, pressing it to the paint reactivated it somehow to give me a really pretty effect.





I REALLY like that one.  I like the fact that the inky part if both textured looking and has the little halo around it.  That is a happy accident, and better that just pulling a paint print with open areas and smudging on DI over it IYKWIM.

What might make it even more interesting is to now try some sort of next layer that capitalizes on the properties of Distress Ink – like the fact it is reactive with water.  So you could, for example, write with a water brush on the DI areas then heat it let the ghostly writing emerge (neat for an AJ page, I think, but perhaps not with this particular print as maybe the areas are too small) or stamp over it with water so the inked part gets the bleached out image but the PAINT areas stay solid.  Or even flicking on water droplets to make the inky part even more splotchy.  Maybe stamping over it with dye ink then wiping off the ink from the paint, which should resist the ink, so you get a sort of masked effect….

SO many things to try, so little time.  If you try them do let me see your results.