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Red and Navy re-do, but STILL not happy!

Had another go and while I like this one better I am still not in love with it. It feels like this is a cursed colour combo. I took step by step photos of each layer and I can see where I went wrong. The thing is, I think it is kinda the same place as the last time.

The first layer is usually a bit of brayering of the main colours, just to get a background. Then I added some leafy fronds in a lighter blue. So far, so good! Then some layered buttermilk circles to further lighten it up.

Then I went for a bit more red, in small Xs. But I also did a wonky bit, and that annoyed me a LOT. I was trying to get the Xs to look more like + signs but that didn’t work out too well.

Still, I didn’t HATE it. I added some little wheel like circles from one of my first Cricut stencils in navy, slightly transparent, and some big white circles, also from an oldie but goodie.

at this point I am liking it pretty well. But I feel like it needs something dramatic, like black. Oh dear, It went off the rails at this point, but I think it was the CHOICE of stencils here, more so than the colour.

I wish I had used a different alpha stencil because this one is too much of a jumble if used in parts. Or maybe it is the placement? Not sure. I do think I kinda pulled it back from the edge with the addition of some bright gold circles. What do you think?

I mean, it is still pretty chaotic but I don’t despise it like the other one. Especially when I hold it up to catch the late afternoon sunlight coming in the window. I think it will work for one of my monthly journal covers for sure, and I think maybe third time lucky? A scan always helps me really SEE it, better than a photo. I have been trying to scan all of my transformed papers for later use and I do find the scans often hit me different than either seeing it on my desk or seeing it as a photo. Something to do with seeing it head on, fully flat, with no angle of distortion. Do you agree?

One more? Maybe using my new birthday 12×12 gel plate will change the dynamic? Shall we see?

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

May your turkey be tender and your mashed potatoes fluffy!


WOYWW 703 – Fat cat? Fast Cat!

Happy desk-hop day! Preparing for a day of celebration tomorrow, finally doing Turkey Day on the actual day. Must be the first time in years with the whole family in the same place. Not the extended family, mind, but at least our small nuclear one. We have a meal, a day with no work, a family film and some board games – relaxing and enjoying time together. Bliss.

My desk has my main birthday gift on it, a 12×12 gel plate. What fun that will be to play with. I dithered about getting the new A4 size, but really, I can mask of the unneeded part to achieve the same thing so going big was the best plan for me.

I shuffled stuff about to reveal better the things there. First is an insert and some possible cover choices for another monthly journal for my Traveler’s Notebook – I love the pink one and considering it for December. Can you see the No. 12 there? Not very traditionally festive, but I like it.

also playing with creating a stencil from a die cut, extending the area. I use one I cut previously a lot and really like it, but I wanted a bigger one. I think it will work. You can barely see the join!

And I did TRY to get a decent cat photo but she was pouncing on a toy that I used to tempt her into my office. Dang they are tricky to photo unless they are sleeping LOL! A bit blurry but still quite cute.

I have to sneak in a photo of my birthday gifties from the lovely Tracy. I am simply blown away by what a wonderful community we have here on WOYWW. A card would have been sublime, but a notebook? and a calendar full of the most gorgeous illustrations? AND a stamp set? Even the envelope is stunning. All those words to say I’m speechless LOL! WOYWW folk will know her blog for the whimsy, the colour, the emojis and the little drawings that flow from her pen or pencil like water from a tap. If you’ve never been, do treat yourself and pop round!

Have a fantastic WOYWW day desk hopping – I know I will, because tomorrow I plan to not touch my keyboard at all if I can help it!

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When a colour challenge goes bad…

I think I mentioned doing some colour challenges from a gel printing group I am part of. I have done a few and really enjoyed both the process and the results. But now…

The challenge was Red & Navy. Should have been simple, right? So many cases of those colours, not least the flags of BOTH my countries. But somehow it all went Pete Tong.

The first few layers were ok, ish. I was really bothered by that few slightly diagonal swipes. In a way I don’t think I really ever recovered from them LOL!

Can’t go wrong with letters or numbers, usually, and in this case, yeah, great added layer. But then, because it was an added bit of a challenge to use up, if possible, some bottles of very old Making Memories paints, I added in the colour that was closest to being finished. Lime Green!

There was no coming back from that!

I added in a few more layers, thinking each time it was going to help, but it just got worse and worse.

I cut the sheet up, added some bright green and some more stamping, and it just did not get any better

I wish I could show you some of the failed attempts to make them better, but they are all in the bin! Funny thing is, there were comments, when I shared the fails with that group, that said how much they liked it, and that I should walk away and come back and look at it with fresh eyes – all things I myself have said to people when they are weeping with despair over some bit of art (or knitting or whatever) and I am trying to help them feel better about it. And none of it DID help. It was a dog’s dinner from the jump.

On a more positive note, I grabbed another sheet of paper and on complete auto-pilot, I made a sheet that I like a lot and which will end up being another monthly journal cover. So not the worst day ever.

That sheet has a weird colour combo but I freaking love it. Now I just have to go back and make a Red & Navy one that I don’t hate, and maybe in the process try to analyze what the tipping point is. How does it go from ok, fine, kinda like it, to OMG I loathe every inch of this piece with every fiber of my being. And can you come back from that?

Maybe, but maybe not. And maybe that is OK.

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Scraps on a roll

I have been seeing something called a snippet roll around the internet, and I decided to have a go making one. The ones I’ve seen tend towards the shabby chic and/or vintage style and also often includes fabric and lace and ribbon. I wanted to create something more in keeping with my slightly chaotic gel prints. My idea is to see if I can bring it to play in my journaling project, as a quick sort of page embellishment.

Basically it’s just a collage on a long thin strip. One of the first ones I saw was on old adding machine paper rolls. I used the same amazon packaging paper for mine. I gathered up a load of colourful scraps, paper-weight or deli paper, nothing too thick, and collaged it along a 2 or 3 metre strip.

I used a glue stick to adhere the scraps, but not working too hard to cover every bit with adhesive cause the next step is some wavy, zig-zaggy sewing.

Then, you can embellish with whatever you like. Labels seem popular (hence my making labels last week) but again, too vintage. I uses some stamping and embossing and adhered some little punched elements (or their negative spaces)

In the end I rather liked it, but how well it will work in my junk journals I do not know. The whole thing is an experiment but I hope I’ll find a way to make it work!

And yes, thank you, I did have a lovely birthday!


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Just having a play with tea bags….

I have seen some really cool art using tea bags. The Hubster finished up his jug of iced tea so I made another one and kept the bags to test out something I saw on YouTube. Love that there are annotations in English.

You know I am very fond of image transfer using the gel plate so I had to give it a go.

As you would expect, I just added the paint to the plate in a thin layer. As the tea was Tumeric and Star Anise, the bags had a very yellow cast to them. I picked a red paint to work with that warm tone.

It really captured some great detail. The text was a bit too light to really read but I am ok with that. I had another image from the page I tore out so decided to try the mica-first technique. Even better results, I think.

Added bonus, the original book image coated with the mica and the paint, top of the right side photo? Still usable!

And just a side-by-side of the plain and mica-added images:

The text was much sharper this time. And final shot to show the mica shimmer, with a bit of a tilt. You know you can never quite capture how shimmery and golden it is in real life.

I am not sure what I would use this for. Like so many samples they may sit, untouched and unloved in a drawer for years before I finally drag them out and make use of them! Who knows? Maybe I will think of the perfect thing in a day or two….

…but probably not!


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Making the inserts

As I mentioned yesterday, I picked out some pairs (cover and lining) for my journal inserts. My plan is to have one per month. I will have 32 sides each month (28 for February) so I can fill a sheet or decorate to fill the space, and write as much or as little as I like. My first pairs:

For the pages, I had th idea to do a bit of upcycling and use some Amazon packing paper. In my heart of hearts, I fear it might be too thin and fragile in the end, but I am going to give it a go and see what happens. It comes in loooong pieces, perforated at just about the right size. I fold it along the scorelines then slice to the size I need and tear each sheet off then fold to create the signatures. You can see my little note of the measurements for each insert

I went back to my hand-made book cradle, and glad I printed a little image of the 5-hole pamphlet stitch – cause I always forget between bookbindings

The paper is thin, but I hope it will hold up. I also have some heavier paper so I can switch if Month One is really a disaster. The cover turned out nice too!

And it fits perfectly inside the cover of the holder. I can have two books in there (or even three if I want) and they will fit fine.

Happy so far! Let’s see if I am happy on February 1st!!


WOYWW 702 – time rolls onward!

Happy WOYWW to everyone! I don’t want to curse it, but I have been really good about getting around to every desk and commenting where I can. Whoop Whoop! I was really bad for a few hectic weeks but as we settle into a rhythm it is getting better. I will add a photo of Darling Daughter at her Skate London Synchronised Skating Competition at Ally Pally from early this week, as once again they won gold – to be fair, they were the only disability group competing, but one day they will hopefully have some competition.

And one day I may share a decent cat photo but not yet. I go looking for her when Dear Son is gone, and when I find her, it is like so:

She liked to slide between the bed topper and the duvet and hide from us. One day I hope she will be happy to come play. She dips into my craft room, has a little look around, then runs away. Ah well…some people say I should be happy about that, lest I find paw prints on my gel plate one day.

My desk is not amazing this week. I have a selection of papers, ready to create inserts for my traveller’s notebook that will house monthly journals next year.

and I think I have settled on this combo for the first one!

They go nicely together, I think, and while they are not super winter-y I do like them both a lot. And I have a tentative option for the second one as well. I have a lot of proper decent weight ones for the covers, but fewer light weight sheets for the inside backers. I might try pulling 2-sided prints at some point, we’ll see.

Hard to see but the cover one is an experiment from a YouTube for making a rusty effect. That was using a trowel on a canvas, and I was trying to convert it to something done using the gel plate. It wasn’t too bad in the end. I’ll share what it ends up like when I finish it!

So have a great desk-hop day. I’ll be celebrating my birthday in the middle of two WOYWWs and on a day I don’t usually blog. Lucky timing, that! LOL!

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Made my cover – Traveller’s Notebook stylee

Well. That was interesting. I made myself a cover for my journal for 2023. I used one of the paper, transformed sheets (the one created by making a Masterboard from the crumpled deli paper experiments.

and one of the paper transformed experiments as well that was lurking on my desk

The final cover looks like this!

There are loads of instructions for making a Traveller’s notebook, mostly using leather, and mine is exactly like those but gel printed card instead. The location of the holes are the only bit of info you really need.

The four holes top and bottom are where the elastic goes to create the holders for the inserts. The middle hole gets a look you use to hold the whole thing closed. Not exactly the same but this link is as good as any for how to make one.

For the inside, I am recycling Amazon packing paper, using both Amazon UK based paper and Amazon USA paper, compliments of Dear Son and his shipments. I am curious to see how they both hold up, because my firm belief is the UK stuff is thinner, less sturdy, and more grey than brown. We shall see. Cannot believe it is WOYWW again so soon. The weeks are flying by. Yikes!


Junk journal labels – an experiment and some thoughts

I am hoping to start with some sort of brief daily journaling in 2023. This might be the year I manage to follow thru LOL! I have been watching so many videos about Junk Journals. As you know I have made these before, and even started to work in they, managing a few months of very sporadic entries before abandoning it. I have been considering what I need to do to succeed. There are a few things.

  1. I need to have a journal I like and that is portable.
  2. I need to make it fuss-free
  3. I need to do it in a way that reflects my own style

One of the big issues is the style I see most often. It is all very vintage and botanical based, with lots of butterflies and the like. Not me at ALL. I keep forgetting this. I even spent WAY too much time playing about with a set of printables, labels, that I thought would be nice added to the embellishments. Just playing about really, but I do like how they turned out. Link to download via Dropbox.

Larger set, full page

So then I cut them and I thought maybe they needed to be a bit smaller, or at least have smaller options. I usually suggest you print the sheet 2 x per page but in this case I went ahead and just made an additional PDF of the smaller version.

Smaller set, 2x per page

And then, as I was cutting them out, I’m thinking Why? Theses are def. in the vintage arena, and that is not really me. I mean I can DO vintage, pretty well, I think, but it isn’t what I gravitate towards. So I feel like I really need to re-think this and consider making the sorts of embellishments that I will be inclined to use. I feel like I have given myself enough lead time that I can also come up with a reasonable storage solution and enough bits for a month or even two. I have ideas for the journal itself, maybe journals is a better description for how I plan it, and that needs doing too. So I expect between all the holiday stuff upcoming, and the adjustments of Dear Son+Cat, and just a crazy busy schedule, much crafting time is going to be consumed by this pre-new year project. Now off to watch a few more JJ videos and try to find some that are NOT vintage or shabby chic or floral or…not me. I wish I could think of a word that IS me, so I could increase my odds of success!

If you do grab the label sets, let me know what you think of them and if they are useful. Or not! always happy to have feedback…