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Old blog posts and when they spark an idea

I had a comment and a flurry of hits on an old post about adding gilding flakes to embossing paste. You can read it here. Sometimes, I forget something I blogged about years ago, and follow a link back to my own blog to see what I said. Old age is creeping in, but at least I recognize it was ME that said it, so it could be worse!

That idea totally sparked the idea to use something else I realized I have quite a lot of an nearly never use. Embossing powders. I have a drawer full of them:

And I found it interesting that some of them still have a price tag on them!

MJD – or MJ Designs, was owned by one of some number of brothers (three, I think, one owned Micheal’s, maybe still does!) and went out of business in 2003 – the price tag is dated 1997! At least one of the other pots still had the shrinkwrap on it. DOH! I painted the page with some watery acrylic paint in pinks and blues, pale colours made paler by watering them down and NOT colours I would usually pick. Hummm. seems I added the blue after the modelling paste and embossing. Whatever. Here is a process shot – I didn’t do a very good job of capturing every step this page.

I picked two colours, a Claret Tapestry and a Worn Lipstick Distress powder – they work well together, I think

I found it a challenge to know when they had embossed, given they don’t go SHINY per se, but you can just see the change in a ray of light:

THEN I added the pale blue and lots of water. The embossing resists the paint but it pools a bit in the craters and valleys of the embossing.

More water spray, some drippage, and un-filmed steps of background stamping…. Will do better.

I found a stamp with a quote I liked (stamp by Teesha, quote by Andy Warhol) and stamped then embossed it (in for a penny….) and dulled the extreme shine slightly by brushing matte gel medium over it, which worked better than I thought it might.

I stamped another Teesha image, and puled together some of the black embellishments from my vintage box of yesterday and eventually got to here:

I love the double circle stamp, which is the roll from the tape I used when wrapping Christmas presents! Quite glad I noticed it’s uniqueness before I binned it LOL! A close up:

The attribution to Warhol was on the stamp but when embossed it turned into a block of shiny black. Oh well. I will go back and add a date stamp – I have one, I used to do it on every page, but lately I have been forgetting. I really love this page, despite it being in colours I wouldn’t normally use. I am totally going to figure out how to pry off that slightly wonky don’t and re-set it! It’s buggin’ me.

30 hours to go, give or take. WOYWW tomorrow!

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Unearthed art!

Another brain dump, I’m afraid. I’ll share the unearthed art first then you can skip the blather if you like.

I was working on a page, which I thought I had a clear vision for, but it went haywire. I pulled out a box marked VINTAGE on the side and flipped open the lid to find:

I suppose you might think that the little piece in the upper right corner of the box was also unearthed art, and I would agree. It has been set aside for a jump-start for another page! But the real surprise was this piece:

What a surprise it was! I don’t even remember when I made it – It would have had to have been for one of the Stampotique Challenges I am sure, and maybe even a cross-challenge with Graphics Fairy. I could go back and do the research, but won’t. Suffice it to say that it was a LONG time ago.

Once I got over the surprise of finding not one, but TWO completed pieces of art in a random box from my shelves, I started to delve a bit deeper. It was all just overwhelmingly…..brown.

Don’t get me wrong – there was a lot of nice stuff in there, some bits and pieces I 100% know I can use in my journal, but the brown-ness was not fitting my vision of the page. I also found some stuff that surprised me.

There was a fair bit of empty packaging. These are all the cardboard sheets that various embossing folders came packaged with. The colours of the top one and those pinks matched the page I was working on to a T. I wonder how many of the companies represented in this pile o’ stash are still in business? Sorting thru the box, I finally came to a pile of kinda-vintage but not-brown things that I think will work.

And how about that very cool Book Depository free bookmark? Love the imagery on that and I think it could also be a focal point on a new page too! But first I have to finish the page I am working on NOW. And then, if we can make it thru the next 55 hours or so, I can FINALLY finish my Good as Hell page. I really would have liked to add it on WOYWW day but I just cannot take the chance jumping the gun will call down bad karma on the whole thing. I just pray for, finally, a peaceful transfer of power, and look forward to waving BYE, DON! and HELLO JOE!


Painted Papers part 2

Finally. Sorry for the wait.

So, I have cleared my desk and begun by setting out all I need:

  • a large A3 sheet of sketch paper
  • gel medium
  • a brush
  • my painted papers

The first step is to tear all the papers into strips as you like. I began with strips this time, although I did more chunks last time. I’m interested to see the difference.

Also different, I added in some bits of the glitter-full tissue paper from my Twinchies. Love that stuff.

Begin to add the strips to fill the page. Use plenty of gel medium to make sure it is all stuck down well.

I left a few gaps where the white showed thru on the first pass, then filled those gaps the next pass. For the final pass I filled any remaining white spaces with the glitter tissue:

So that is the first sheet. And I MAY have over-produced. Look at all I have leftover from making sheet ONE using one sheet each of the six colours. Remember I have two more sets of six left!

I think I could ALMOST get another full sheet from the scraps – and I am pleased to see (maybe with the exception of the green) there is about the same amount of scraps for each colour. I have an idea of a variation that I will play with later and report back.

Th final step is adding additional surface colour and design. I’ll collect my tools and carry on. More tomorrow – and this time I do mean tomorrow, not with a two day detour into cleaning and organizing LOL! There is more work to be done in my craft room, for sure, but it can wait.


Will it be a masterboard? OR just lovely paper?

You might recall a while back I did an art journal page with (IMHO) a really stunning background. Here it is before the final sticking down into my journal:

Man, I LOVED that background so much I almost didn’t want to put ANYTHING over it, maybe just a tiny text sticker. I got a sheet of fairly sturdy, but also thin, art paper in the sales and I had a mind to create a few sheets of this so I could use them as the fancy struck me and not feel like I had to hoard them. And as I was doing it anyway I figured I might as well do a better job of documenting the process, step by step.

I planned to work on three sheets of deli paper at a time, creating all three with the same method. First, I made three sheets each of green, blue, purple, orange red and yellow.

Today, Layer ONE:

This was super simple – although, to be fair, the whole process is super simple. I took a selection of paints of three basic types. I used a dark-ish opaque paint, a transparent paint in the same or an analogous hue, and finally a Dyna paint.

In some cases, I didn’t HAVE one of the three options in the right type. Most often I was lacking the Dyna version, so I might mix something else in. The method was simply brayering the paint on to the deli paper. I aimed for a thin coating, leaving open areas in each layer, so the sheets maintained a bit of their transparency. Here is the RED version:

I worked my way thru each of the colours till I had a full compliment, three sheets of each, all yummy, although the blue ended up a little dark for my taste. I just didn’t have anything bu opaque blues and it was a challenge to get something close to what I had with the others.

The second layer is BLACK – this could be stamping or stenciling and I used a selection of mostly homemade stamps or things like bubble wrap, a hot pad, and some plastic canvas.

Love that pattern on that hot pad! I worked my way thru all of the sheets, adding the black layer

then moved on to the WHITE layer. Again I used a variety of tools:

These were also mostly homemade tools, like to texture plates made from embossing folder impressions, textured wallpaper, and some stamps. I also used some sheets made from embossing cardstock with a hand-cranked embosser. In a previous post I talked about making the texture plates by embossing heavy cardstock or this weird text-transfer film I had in my stash, then backing that with sticky-backed fun foam. They are still holding up and work great!

Once I got done with that, this is what I had! Sorry it is a little dark.

Here are some close-ups of each colour:

Oops. Missed out the purple. The next step is disassembly then re-combination. Lots of fun and this time, I have so many sheets to play with, I can experiment with recombining them in different ways. Once that is done there will be another surface embellishment layer and then, finally, I would hope for at LEAST six full sheets of yummy goodness. IS that a masterboard? Seen them on WOYWW desks, love them a lot, but not sure if this qualifies. I might ask on Wednesday if I finish by then!

Watch this space! If they turn out fabulous I might scan and share them – if there is interest. Do drop me a comment and let me know.


Not twinchies, not ATCS…

Cards, I think. The little twinchies from the Life Book taster will make sweet cards. They only need a stamped or die cut sentiment added. But first, how I finished them off. I had this tool that I must have bought back in the days when shabby chic was all the rage, and before I realized that the better tool was a scissor blade, scraped along the edge. But I found it while tidying up and thought why not give it a go?

I don’t think it was particularly effective, certainly not for a heavily scuffed edge, and I soon abandoned it. I did want to add more to the little squares so I stamped a bunch of stars, keeping them to the same colours and added some tiny gold dot hole-less sequins

Adding the sequins was a huge pain in the butt till I had an idea. I had been trying to use another old tool, the picker-upper thing with a bit of blutack at the tip. I never felt that thing worked very well, the blutack wasn’t sticky enough and stuff was always falling off it. So in my eye-line was a bottle of Tack It. I use this stuff all the time. Also in my eye-line was a pot full of scoring tools, some less useful than others, many of them up to 25 years old. I dipped one into the Tack it and viola! A picker-upper that actually picks stuff up and holds it.

The first few pick-ups have the opposite problem – the things stick almost too much. But that soon diminishes and I guess I prefer stuff to stick and need to be helped off a few times than for stuff to fall off as soon as you lift them off the desktop! I have had too many cases where I have just enough of something for a project and I drop it on the floor. Anyway, this worked a treat and I will use it a lot, I bet. And the twinchies look cute and will make sweet cards – definitely the way to go for me.

I have a stack of these slimline cards that I never seem to find a good way to use. This will be a nice way to quickly make a card for almost any occasion, with the right sentiment!

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Another Life Book taster – twinchies

I have been working thru the Life Book taster sessions that appeal to me, trying to decide if I want to enroll for the year-long session. I’m struggling to decide if I want to put the money towards a laser printer or spend it on a class that hopefully might inspire me for the year. If only it were not so heavy on the portraits. I just am not into that AT ALL. <sigh>

Anyway, I did the Laly Mille class on twinchies. Another thing that I am not super in to – I like making and occasionally trading, ATCs (to be fair, mostly for the annual WOYWW crops) but I am just not part of a group that does this sort of thing regularly. But the process was a bit of fun. The beginnings were usual art journal techniques – a bit of collage, a bit of stenciling, some daubs of watercolour…

and then I added a bit of some holiday tissue paper, full of little flecks of gold:

It just set off one edge nicely and even under matte medium, it stayed shiny!

They need a little more to finish them up. I have a few ideas….and then a decision on what to do with them! I COULD, I suppose, turn them into the focal point of an ATC. Or….


My Quirky Bird done!

Well he’s (she’s?) done and i like it a bit more than I thought I would.

and the lettering turned out far better than it had any right to. The quote is from George Eliot, with the Be Fearless added as advice to myself. You can maybe see I cheated a bit. And really, the irony is not lost on me. Had I been truly fearless I would have dived right in and lettered right on the page and been OK with it if it was rubbish. I’m not there yet. See my bin?


Anyway, the method I used was pretty useful. I did a sort of wash with very watery acrylic paint on a few pieces of heavy paper

and then just drew the curves and did the lettering in pencil. I went over it in waterproof pen and then cut the curves and attached them. THAT was the clever bit. If I screwed up any bit, I only had to re-do a line!

Maybe my shadowing isn’t perfect but I rather like it anyway. I also like the body decoration on the bird and I like those head tufts even better than I did before. So cute! Most of my embellishing is stamping or stenciling, but baby steps…

So there you have it – my very own little quirky bird and pretty much the first thing I have actually drawn in a very long time. What next?


Tired of waiting…inching towards GOOD

I am tired of waiting for the toddler-in-chief to stop his silly games. I decided I am going to inch towards Good as Hell. So I began a page. I had already done some collage and a little gesso and am slowly adding colour with a small brayer. Starting with warm tones. Yellow:



Then some neon orange that I made into a spray.

I just added a bit of the paint, some glaze medium and some matt gel medium. Threw in a few beads to the bottle to help mixing. It works OK.

I’ve got a few bottles that I mixed up like this and they all work pretty well. Over time they may clog but not there yet! I am keen to get on cause I have a plan and I think it is going to be a good page.

Just freakin’ CONCEDE already, will you? {sigh}


WOYWW 598 – little tag book giftie

Happy WOYWW y’all! STILL not Good as Hell but creeping closer every day….

Today I have a tiny little tag book on my desk, destined as a gift. There is a photo I will hide but I won’t hide some shockingly old throwback supplies there:

When was the last time you used Silkies or Smooch pearlized paints? I am using them on my Gelli plate and they work very well. Here’s the close-up:

The poem is by my favourite poet, E.E. Cummings and is called [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] . Yep. Weird, I know. You can click the link and read the whole thing if you like. Your should check out r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r as well. You have to read it carefully:

and when you do:

grasshopper who as we look up now gathering into the grasshopper leaps arriving grasshopper to become rearrangingly grasshopper.

Another throwback – remember when circle journals were a massive thing? One of my first spreads in a circle journal was of this poem. I wish I had a copy of it to share but I cast it into the wild and have no idea where it might be. Ah well….

Have a wonderful arty day, and I’ll be popping round to yours any minute now…


In limbo…

Well, the election results are still up in the air. Nothing else to say till they count all the votes.

To keep my mind and hands occupied, I made a little art journal. I have finished the basic construction of the Amazon packaging one, and made the signatures. The watercolour sheets I had were too big, but with careful planning, I was able to get the signatures for that larger journal (pages are 6×10 inches) AND signatures of 6 x just shy of 5 inches so I decided to make a smaller journal too. My plan is for this to be a use-it-up journal , where I can offload extra paint, stencil-stamp, roll off a brayer, etc.

The construction of the journal itself was prompted by some little 5×7 inch canvas-covered boards. I suspect I bought them eons ago for my daughter to paint on and I had a few unused ones. With a bit of canvas I was able to make a cover.

The canvas sheets I had were not big enough so I had to overlap them.

Lots of clamps of many different kinds held it in place – I used strong PVA as the adhesive. 

I used the bookbinding cradle I made for punching the signatures and I have to say I am super happy with how it worked. 

The cover ended up looking like this – really, there are no amazing techniques here, just paint and water and stencils and stamps.  OK, well there was ONE thing, my substitute for nickle Azo gold, which I don’t have, that worked out pretty well.  I’ll explain in another post.

The little skull beads are from knitting stitch marker making – I have loads of them. The inside looks like so – the first signatures is full of paint leftovers so I never have to begin with a blank page, and all the colours are the same as the cover.

The deli paper prints  on the inside of the covers are from that other page in my big journal.  Still love them! The back cover gives a hit that I am not yet successful in pushing the election out of my head!  The phrase is a riff on the thing they say at the end of campaign ads in the USA, My name is XXX and I approved this message. I thought it was pretty appropriate.

My stamping of single letters wasn’t too bad – ever so slightly wonky but overall pretty good. 

I guess I will have to make more of that deli paper – really, I can’t even say how much  love it and how many ideas I have for how to use it.  And it was so easy too! 

What I used up that was old or has been languishing in my stash:

  • the canvas boards
  • the canvas sheets
  • Pearl-ex in Aztec Gold
  • stamps bought on sale for about £3, never used
  • little skull beads
  • black baker’s twine
  • a Gelli print from at least 5 years ago
  • and used up the last of my deli paper prints from last week
  • needle tip bottle still filled with black paint, still flowing freely

All in all that was pretty good! I have managed to resurrect my bottle of crackle paint, and tested it – it still cracks!  I have four more bottles, all but one still factory sealed, and all dry as bones in the desert.  I will perform the same operation on them and then share how I did it.  I will def. use that on my next cover or page!