Playing card book DONE!


The theme is all around a difficult decision I have to make on adding a rather nasty medication to my list, to try to keep my condition under control. I am still (perhaps foolishly) hoping that when I do my August bloodwork it will show that the upped dose of a medication I am already taking is working, but not massively optimistic. I have been considering this for a couple of months now and it’s coming down to crunch time. For now, till the test results, Indecision IS a decision, of sorts. I really like the way the book has an almost circular effect. Opening the cover and pulling on the right to open out each page reveals one side, with all the worry and confusion and emotions

And then, flipping to the back, it all circles around to the cover again, and the indecision decision cover that ends the book where it began.

Kinda fitting, I guess. Look back to yesterday for both the construction info and the link to download the no-so-positive words for printing and cutting to use yourself.

I am hoping for some play time over the weekend, but as Darling Daughter is now out of education, I suspect we will be doing a LOT of Mommy/Daughter time till September. Then it will be the replacement of the windows and that is going to require a LOT of prep work and a few weeks of chaos. Not sure at this point if I will try to blog on a reduced schedule or just skip a month. Time will tell….

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Progress on my little playing card book

I made a lot of progress on my little book, and it was a lot of fun to make. Let me do the construction, then when I finish it I can talk a bit more about the theme. I used a set of printables from Roben Marie, as I mentioned yesterday, and a method for making “washi tape” (i.e. not really) using Scor-tape from Robyn McClendon. The process is exactly as you would expect, just reading those words LOL!

The tape really has none of the properties of actual washi tape that make it so appealing but it is decorated and sticky, so it works. I covered the playing cards with some of my gel prints

and kinda ignored the little rounded corners. Each corner was covered with tape, in my version, so it didn’t matter. Also my cards were smaller than the decommissioned Vegas cards Robyn used and I had no reason to make them even smaller by cutting anything off! From there I only had to lay them out, decide on the tapes to us, and stick them together.

I did every join (rather than every other, like the original) and also the first and last pages so when the book was closed you can see the colourful tape on every edge.

I really love it – it’s so tiny and cute, and should be quick to decorate. I am delving into my pot of not-so-positive words (I shared these to download and print a while back) and I think they will be perfect for my planned theme.

With luck, finished book tomorrow!


WOYWW 686 – serendipity rules!

Happy WOYWW day. I am having a break this week from my knitting mates because so much else is going on. But I am still keeping busy in an arty way, just not with yarn for a day.

I should begin with my horrifying desk. There is just a ton of stuff all over it – lots that you might recall from my AJJ prompt page, with the weird stenciling tip using packaging debris. Page back a day and see.

Yeah. I work in chaos most of the time. Luckily I have the other desk. And this is where the serendipity comes in. Forgive me for all of the upcoming links (or maybe you will appreciate them?) I have a few things laid out, ready to begin a project birthed from such a wide variety of things I feel like the trail is interesting at least.

The gel printed papers are from a couple of days of playtime, trying to mimic a technique by Robyn McClendon that she calls Venetian Plaster. She uses a weird product called Stainz to get the effect, and these were from some of my attempts to get similar with none of that. The deck of cards was from a box of card decks I found while having a tidy before the in-laws visit and set aside in my craft room. While walking on the treadmill, up popped a 6-year-old video about making a little accordion book from playing cards and that included just a hint about making “washi tape” using Scor-tape. Which I have. Hearing that was enough, no need to watch. I had signed up for a small class (also by Roben Marie) called Urban Journal Remix. THAT came with a load of really lovely printables (you can see a sheet of what she calls washi strips there) that I thought went nicely with the papers. I have something like 23 pages of those and while not all go with my papers, a lot of them do. So there you go. All of those breadcrumbs led me to a creative trail I plan on following to the end.

But before I do, I have some desk hopping to do! Happy WOYWW once more!




I seem to be either in full experimental mode with my gel plates or fumbling about, unsure what to do. I have had a ton of fun playing with various things lately, but I am never seeming to get from paint to project, IYKWIM.

I was looking at my Roben Marie journal (you know I have mad love for that) and trying to decide what to do. I really really wanted to make a page in it. Life has been super crazy on many levels, none of which I am going to bore you with. I also signed up for a handful of free sessions and bought a couple of smaller classes, so keeping on top of all of that is difficult. I really hate that so many of the taster sessions are kinda all at the same time. ANYWAY, I had made a little journal for a freebie class called Flower Magic (more on that at some point) and I had my book-binding cradle out. I was looking at the squidgy foam and my brain went Huh. I mean don’t we ALL have what is, I think, technically known as a shit ton of this stuff hanging about? It comes in about 70% of the packaging we get.

I cut a bit off and used it to stencil thru a stencil previously used to do an alcohol ink technique. And I really liked the results:

It has a really textural effect on the paint, and the rough surface seems to catch and transfer the alcohol ink from the stencil. When you run your finger over it, you can really feel the nubbly effect in the paint.

I also had a bunch of stuff hanging about on my desk, so I decided to pull it all together into a page. I had printed out a bunch of gothic arches on my laser printer (from a free image I found) with the idea to maybe have a go at the Art Journal Journey prompt before we roll over into August.

and planned to have a go at transferring that onto the page, but instead I flipped forward to a B&W page, stenciled that same stencil on it in the background, cut a bit from the stencil and covered it with gold paint. I added a bit of stamping and some Stabilo black for a shadow (I think it really worked to make the arch look very dimensional) then grabbed my pot of printed quotes. I altered the quote with a one word exchange, and that got me where I wanted to be.

It was just good to finish something really, and while it won’t ever win any prizes for great colour choice or perfectly balanced composition, it really made me happy. The fluorescent red. The contrast of that with the gothic arch. The shiny gold. The Stabilo depth. The damask. The altered quote. It is all just very me, in all my weirdness.

I really love using the free resource for stenciling and really love the effect so much. I will play with this a lot more. I know. Will you? Better than buying make-up sponges right? Cause guess what? You can wash it!

me, doing the happy dance…

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Laser print Image Transfer with the Gel plate and WHITE paint? You BETCHA!

OK, so I am going to be honest with you right up front. If you thought image transfer with BLACK paint was tricky, this is no easier. Be warned.

I think there are lots of moving parts to something like this. You need:

  • the right paint
  • the right AMOUNT of paint
  • the right paper
  • the right printer/toner/amount of toner
  • the right pressure to transfer the image
  • the right timing to take it off
  • the right speed to get the pick-up sheet onto the damp paint…

Dear me. The first thing I solved was the toner. I went in to my printer setting and ramped up the black toner by A LOT. Your printer will be different so I won’t bother showing mine. I think it is also better if you move directly from the printer to the plate, so the toner is … not wet, cause it really never is, but let’s say fresh. I tried a few of the papers we had laying about and the best one was one from NAVIGATOR. You can get it in Tesco in the UK. The key phrases are, I think, Silky Touch and Ultra Bright.

The paint I used, which gave me the best success, was Pebeo White, High Viscosity Opaque paint. I tried a few others which did not work as well (for ME) like this massive bottle of so-called Thick White from Amazon (not thick at all, and not highly pigmented) and Daler Rowney White and one by Crawford & Black.

My first attempt went pretty well. I showed these last week:

I think you can see the image quite clearly on the plate. I suspect it might have been better on a darker print but I do love how old-wallpaper-y it looks.

I also tried a larger print of a scandi pattern from FreePik, I think, which was in B&W already as an SVG.

Wow. That was 100% one of the very best ones. Loved it. I had a few fails. Most of them were trying weird things, like using a vellum to print on for the transfer (the paper curled up as soon as I took it off the plate and while I wrestled with that the paint dried on the plate – BAH!) or trying to transfer the paint onto a background with alcohol ink and paint.

Except for the nose, that transferred really well! But I never could get the paint to move onto the background clearly. I mean, they are OK, but not great.

I’d say the first one is the best, and maybe if I outlined it with white gel pen it would be fine…maybe. I have to decide how much more to play with this. I think if I get an idea that seems to make sense, I might give it a go, but I suspect it more likely that I will only use the technique for very specific things.

I will say I did try a couple of magazine transfers using the white paint with again mixed success. I don’t think I even had the right image, and the “right” ones were too good to destroy on an experiment LOL!

I think in general, prints that are very stark B&W and patterned, like the scandi one above, would be the best ones. I think it is the smaller areas of black and white, evenly mixed on the page, with no large areas, that I had the most success with. I think I will create some repetitive patterns that I can use and see how it goes. I can’t really say what it is about the transfer, versus, for example, a stencil, that I like, but it really does have a different quality that I like.

I do love play time! But my mom’s birthday is today so only playing in the morning. Then tomorrow Darling Daughter “graduates” from Education. She already has a plan for Mom&Daughter movies thru August so who knows if I will be able to keep up? Wish me luck 😀


More gel plate experiments – old walls and plaster

I can’t tell you how I found Robyn McClendon, but all of a sudden she popped up in my YouTube feed and I was a bit mesmerized. She uses a weird product called STAINZ that she references as being quite hard to come by (or at least with crazy expensive shipping) in Europe. She uses it with various sprays (mostly Distress Stains) to make these wonderfully grungy and hightly textured gel prints that are wonderful. Check her out for sure.

So you know me. I will always have a bash at something that I think I can re-create with not the stuff that is hard to get, or with the stuff I have on hand. While I cannot get the exact same sort of results, I do rather like the results I did get. I played with the 8×10 (I think – frankly I forget the size and didn’t measure it, but there are now so many sizes it barely matters. Just let’s say the US Letter/A4 ish size) and .. the little one. 3×5 ish.

Love those. The smaller one is easier in the heat, cause stuff dries really fast if you are working to spread things across a larger plate. Or it does for me. The smaller plate ones:

This one was a favourite:

Then I made this one LOL!

This is what I did. Instead of the specialty Stainz stuff, I used clear gesso. It worked in two ways. First, it helped create the “cells” with the spray inks. And I ALSO do not have Distress Stains – but I do have very very old Adirondack Color Wash sprays – OMG. How old must they be? LOL! Secondly, the gesso seals the spray ink so it doesn’t run when it encounters liquid (water, gel medium, other sprays, etc) so the print works for collage. Here’s a funny side note – Robyn had a video up on one of the gel plate channels about using the plat with matte medium to seal photocopies. Like I did with pan pastels and ink jet prints, years and years ago. Everything old becomes new again LOL!

The process is not foolproof. But basically what I do is pull background prints, fairly light in colour, not super complex. One or two colours at most. Then, I roll the clear gesson onto the plate in a very very thin coat. Too much gesso won’t let the spray break into the cells/spatter-y pattern you want.

Spritz on the ink. Yes, it looks like you need to do no more, but using a clean dry brayer over the ink will split it more, break up any large patches, and mix up the gesso and the ink a little to seal it better. This its the tricky part for sure. Brayer too much and it all mixes into a uniform thing.

Pull the print over one of the plain paint backgrounds and….

One additional step you can take (which works a lot better in lower less drying temperatures) is to then take your clean dry brayer and brayer over the finished print. This can either add some really interesting distressed patches by moving the still wet ink+gesso about, or pulling some off. But it can also result in some less attractive bare patches or smearing.

I also tried using matte medium instead of the clear gesso and that worked less well. I also tried starting with a super thin coat of some cheap metallic paint instead and that worked pretty well too. This is not the best example but it’s the one I had to hand:

anyway, it certainly bears repeating. But like many gel printing sessions, it’s all a crap shoot. You never really can predict what will happen. Sometimes it’s a “happy accident” and sometimes it’s just a car crash. {wink}

I just have to sneak in this quick peek at another thing I have been playing with. Using a laser printed image and WHITE paint on the gel plate to make a transfer. It works….

More on that in another post.


My little Collage Fodder book

The Fodder Challenge freebie taster session is still going on, but not for much longer. This little pocket fodder book was one of the lessons and quite easy to make. I went off piste, as is my way, and sorted out a slightly different way to make it, to be able to use a full A4 gel plate pull (from the Quad of Collages lesson) and some bits, rather than the larger piece required from the class. This is your basic flutter book, with a fold-over that makes a pocket. I have seen this before, which is why I didn’t feel the need to follow the class precisely, to understand the process.

What is in it at the moment are some bits of text snipped from a magazine. I often see interesting bits in various places and I really like to save them. More often than not they get thrown in a pot with sentiments or printed and cut words and phrases, but now I have the perfect place to stash them and keep them nice. You won’t believe where I found them!

Yep. One of the freebie Waitrose mags had 4 or 5 pages of interesting phrases, mantras by “famous people” that I thought could be used in my Journal Petite or on another art journal page.

Not all of them fit perfectly, but they can all be trimmed into words or shorter phrases to fit. Cute, humm? I plan on making a larger version and if I can streamline the process and make it work (easily) for a variety of sizes I’ll share. I think a larger version would be handy for keeping little bits in one place. And I have some ideas for using some mop up sheets or making a collage of gel plate pulls that might be interesting. We’ll see. It’ll alllll depend on Mr. Sun and the temp in my room!


WOYWW 685 -hopefully cooler by today…

Happy WOYWW to all. Well. I am scheduling this from Sunday, when I have cleaned the chaos off my desk, shut down the Mac, closed the curtains and shut the door. All the not-needed rooms are treated the same, and the rest of them dark with fans. Can’t have the machine’s melt down because of the heat. It’s not good for computers and printers and the like.

All of my desk are fairly clear. My main desk is very tidy, with no hint of all my gel plate play of earlier.

My side desks are pretty darn tidy too!

Keeping the curtains closed on the side where the sun is streaming in def. keeps the heat at bay! Hard to see but my craft room sink got brand new lever taps and a new flex underneath, which is quite good, as it was getting harder to turn the taps off (drip, drip, drip) and always the fear of a leak from MY craft office right down into The Hubster’s office! Oh dear. Now that would be a disaster!!

Nothing else to show, really. No work of interest. Oh. Wait! I do have the little Collage Fodder book from one of the lessons. I’ll add a quick peek then share it more fully tomorrow. Maybe if it really IS cooler by today I will have some bits inside it to share as well. It is actually sitting on TOP of the small stack of collages from a previous lesson so don’t be fooled by the size.

OK, happy WOYWW and hope we all made it thru the record breaking heat. It might only be a day every so often, but when high heat comes…DAAAMN I miss air con.

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When will I learn? Or maybe it’s OK

Yes, I know, I have flitted back to something from a little while ago. But I thought it was worth sharing. I am so often wanting to push things past the point they look good and into a hot mess. It’s just my nature.

What if I do THIS?

What if I do THAT?

then, inevitably

Oh NO!

I had this one print (on the left) from my play last week. I liked it, but I felt it needed something. I had added the flower as a stenciled image over the alcohol ink+paint print, and it was all a bit pale.

My first misguided effort you can’t really see, but I tried sketching around it with a very fin black pen and it was rubbish. You can maybe faintly see it if I zoom in, although it is pretty blurry, sorry.

{sigh}. What to do, what to do? I needed something that would both outline the image and highlight it in some way. The black pen limited my options A LOT. But I did have one idea. I grabbed my Art Glitter Glue and some VERY old foil sheets

and it worked!

OK so maybe it isn’t perfect, but I sure like it a lot better than the black pen! I am currently waiting for some added small dots in the middle to dry to tacky then I will rub that on as well.

You see? THIS is why I try not to throw things out, even when I suspect I am not going to ever use them again and even when I say far too often I am not a “bling-Y” person who is very much NOT tempted by foiling… DOH!


Too hot, so…Crazy gel plate image transfers

I will be avoiding my upstairs office at all costs. In fact, we may be shutting down a few computers to reduce the heat (as well as keeping them from frying LOL!) so I’ll share my weekend play. It was still quite cool, even into Sunday morning, so…

I had never had any success with image transfer on the gel plate, until I tried it with Distress Ink. Once I did it, and reported about it, all of a sudden YouTube would pop up image transfer things all over the place. I also read a post in a gel printing FB group where the artist used Pebeo paints. hum. I have those, so I gave it a go. Success! So that sent me down an image transfer rabbit hole and I started trying all kinds of material. I mean, I NEVER buy Vogue, or really an high fashion magazine. Common knowledge is that it works best. I had bought one in 2020 (special price of like £2 so, yeah, fine with that) and tried it a lot. It never worked with the black paint I had. Which was annoying. Well. With the Pebeo I managed a lot of fun things. Some surprising.

National Trust Magazine/Pebeo Dyna paint

Waitrose Drinks freebie/Fluoro Pebeo

London A2Z map page/Pebeo opaque

Scrap 365/System 3 Fluoro then Pebeo opaque to pull

Wow. Everything worked but an old Ordnance Survey map, which seemed a bit glossy but just sucked up the paint. I also had a go with a lot of books. I have a ton of movie books, with nice heavy pages. Most of these would have been early to mid-80s publication dates, and they pretty much all worked to some degree. I have one called Jock And Nerds, which is all about representations of men in pop culture. I did a transfer with Pebeo opaque to transfer some text, then pulled it off with Winsor&Newton Quin Gold. So stunning IRL

Then I did a transfer of a cowboy with Pebeo Dyna Red. Wish I had done Opague, as it would have been more striking, but these are just experiments and I hadn’t done much with the Dyna ones. You can see my little “placement tool” made of Legos LOL! The plate is just about the height of the bottom tier and the paper fits into the corner of the 2nd tier so I can place things quite precisely.

This was SO much fun. It gave me a lot of ideas. And while I shed many of my old movie books to the charity shops, I still have a lot of them left. And we really truly are planing to buy a laser printer so I will be able to scan ones I really like rather than using them to experiment and losing them if it doesn’t work! Super excited.

So tomorrow is likely to also be an older experiment. My room get hots even on a mild day so yeah, not planning on much. I will carry on doing a tidy while it is still cool in the AM then prep my WOYWW post in advance. I still have desks to get to from last week! Everything went a bit crazy for a few days and I kept meaning to sit down and hop from desk to desk but didn’t manage it. I will do. Right now!

See you on the other side of the two miserable days of heat. Hope you are all staying cool…