Mixed media canvas for DS

and not a Gelli print in sight for a change.  I am pleased with how this turned out.  The idea was to document DS’s obsessions.  They come and go but there are a few that seem to carry on – sushi, cards and magic tricks, and League of Legends (a big online game) – so those were the main elements to incorporate.

The cards, as you may have seen, form the base of the piece, on top of the canvas.


Only barest hints of them show thru


The sushi is represented by some napkins, a gift from DH on one of his trips to Japan:



and again, only a few glimpses survive



If I would have had a stash of metal gears I might have used them but I didn’t so used tarted up card ones – some rust and Distress embossing powder gave them texture, and gold leafing pen provided some shimmer.  The single diamond gem is because he’s achieved a goal – Diamond status in the game (apparently something like the top .2% of players from what I can find but I’m sure he’ll correct me if it’s wrong )



There is some black modelling paste, squidged thru a screen, with metal leaf over it in a few places and a bit of stamping.


When DS is playing his game, he often streams the feed on Twitch (like YouTube for gamers) and I drop in every so often to see if he’s broadcasting.  If so I can watch the live gameplay and listen to him chatting with his team.  Always interesting.  Sometimes we’ll have a Skype chat running at the same time so I can make the odd comment.  After watching perhaps too many hours of games I have my favourite “champions” he plays.  That brings me to the focal point – a desktop wallpaper graphic I found at a LoL site and printed.


Most of the graphic are very colourful but this B&W one appealed to DS a lot.  I considered and discarded a number of methods to get a print onto the canvas but while hunting up a possible solution (tee-shirt transfer on fabric) I found this ancient pack of specialty paper:


DS saw it on my desk and his first comment was “Jeez.  How old is that? Look at that FONT!” The apple does not fall far from the tree….

Anyway, it’s a bit of a faff, as you have to print the graphic on special film, stick a sheet over it, peel off the backing and stick THAT to cardstock, burnish it for a while, then carefully peel away the film, leaving you with the ink-jet print now waterproof and with a sort of canvas-like texture. I stuck THAT to a piece of board and the board to an embossed scrap of metal.

Here is an OK overall shot – in a lot of ways the covering of the old obsessions, with the current one taking pride of place, makes symbolic sense:


DS has seen it and pronounced it “good”

So that may end up completing my foray into mixed media – unless you are so talented that you can sell your work, or such a brilliant teacher you can do classes or workshops, or you have a large family that loves getting your art as a gift, or you have seriously large and very bare walls, there really are only so many pieces like this you can make before you end up with a storage problem.  I love doing it but I have to be a bit sensible about it.  As I say that I am looking into the wall behind my monitors and can see a very empty corner that could easily take maybe four canvases so…..



Last one and an interesting technique

Remember I said DH saw the canvas I made for DH and wanted one of his own? Here it is.  He is a bit more interested in grungy so this one is very much in that style:



Given his love of all things card-related I wanted to add an actual playing card to the surface as a focal point but e had trouble imagining it.  He thought it would stand out too much.  My solution was to trace the basic idea of the card with a Pitt pen on to Deli paper then collage that on the top.  I think it worked, and the wrinkly paper added some more texture.



I also used a sort of version of the “skins” I mentioned but rather than create the scribbles on clear plastic then coat the whole thing with acrylic medium to make a truly clear version I simply scribbled the Slick paints onto Deli paper then collaged it right on, Deli paper and all!



You can barely see the paper and it was both a lot easier and a lot “cheaper” – I was running low on medium (of the gloss kind – I seem to have a lot of Matte medium in my stash but no more gloss) so not using a ton of that to create the totally clear skin while still getting the effect, was a great resource-saving variation.

In the end it was LIKE the other canvas but not THE SAME.

Interestingly, I find from my stats that this is my 1199th post!  How funny  that it should work out that I will end 2013 at 1200 posts – providing I say SOMETHING in a post tomorrow LOL! What are the odds?



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.


WOYWW106 – serendipity squares?

I made a post on UKS this week, musing on the top 10 things that changed scrapbooking in a big way – you can see it here a few days back as well, but the replies on UKS are interesting.  It got me thinking about a lot of things, like stuff I had bought and never used (see yesterday’s post on making my own spray inks with some MM Scrapbook Dyes!) and old techniques that have fallen out of favour.

One thing that I have done once or twice is take my scraps and make “serendipity squares” – little patchworks of small pieces of paper that you can use as a background, punch out a shape, whatever.  They always look a bit cheesy (or at least mine do LOL!) and as I had a pile of mostly little strips of paper trimmed off various projects on my desk I went trolling the internet for updated ideas.  Well, I didn’t really find much of use, but at some point I stumbled on the SEI blog and this adorable project.  Well I’ll be darned! Serendipity circles!

OK, so I was NEVER going to sew down little tiny pieces of paper, but the idea got me going so this is what is on my W today!

Basically, I am taking my little strips, sticking then to some cheap white cardstock, lining some up, overlapping some, then putting my punch or Nestie circles over the different areas till I find one or two I like. Cut them out and stick them to a metal-edged tag (oh my but there was once I couldn’t seem to do a page without a coupe of them on there – and I still love them) then add … well anything really.  I am making use of some old Wordfetti and some book pages, a tiny butterfly punch (well it was on my W from last week’s birdcage so why not?) and various other bits and bobs.  I think they turned out very sweet, little tiny collages that could be a card topper or embellishment, and make good use of the smallest of scraps.  I feel very virtuous!

Frankly, with the amount of scraps that I have I could make enough to cover the house and still not finish them off, so these are just the beginning of it.

I fancy making a few with kraft or black paper as the base, instead of the metal from the tags as I think they will look sweet.  I can see them all in a line on a card (and so long as I make my starting collage big enough to punch multiple circles from it they will perfectly coordinate)  or as a single or a cluster of embellies on a layout.  And since my desk scraps all tend to be from a colour coordinated project, it seem like making the little collage is something I can do and tuck into a bag, ready for punching anytime I need them – rather than stuffing the smallest of scraps in my scrap bags, I’ll be 1/2 way there to something I can actually use. Yay!

So there you have it – a productive and frugal WOYWW.  Be sure to dash over to Julia‘s and see what everyone else is doing! You’ll be inspired I promise!

Oh, and do let me know how the extra stuff in my sidebar looks on your device!  I don’t know why it puts things in different places on my iPad than my desktop, with the Stampotique projects in the wrong place, so I’d be interested if it looks OK for everyone.  I spent the time to organize my PDFs and some of my videos, and most of my Stampotique things so people can see what they are clicking on before they do it – most important for the PDFs! Who wants to download a huge file and have the project be something you don’t want?

If you managed to read all of this well done! If not, I completely understand LOL!

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Oddball post – not remotely Christmas related!

I got a few movies, finally, from LOVEFilm – one of them was American – the Bill Hicks Story.  Bill Hicks was a comedian who died at 32 of pancreatic cancer.  He was more popular here than he was in the States, which at once makes complete sense and no sense at all.  The thing that struck me was the stop-action animation that comprised most of the film, and which was done very much in the collage style.  The filmmakers took still images from photos and captured from video, and animated them to create movement.

It was such an amazing visual, interesting to watch, although having read the book American Scream and seen other documentaries on Bill before I can’t say it was a COMPLETE picture of the man, although it was, perhaps, the most intimate.  The film interviewed the 10 people who were closest to him. I love that something like altered art has been used like this, and so effectively.  Sometimes I got carried away by the visuals to the extent that I had to reverse to catch the audio!

Here is a trailer that has some clips that that showcase the style:

That clip also has two of my favourite bits – the “positive” LSD story and the Christians.

My favourite quote:

Folks, it’s time to evolve. That’s why we’re troubled. You know why our institutions are failing us, the church, the state, everything’s failing? It’s because, um – they’re no longer relevant. We’re supposed to keep evolving. Evolution did not end with us growing opposable thumbs. You do know that, right? There’s another 90 percent of our brains that we have to illuminate.