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AJ technique – a twofer

Perplexed by that title?  Don’t be.  I’ll explain….

Sort of a Buy one, Get one free technique.  I was looking at my last page, at the bits of book paper I used as the base, and wondering about the waste when I trim off the overhang.  Silly, I know, but it came to me that I could intentionally leave MORE overhang, and use it for the next page.

It take a little thought – only in the sense that you need to plan if for a page that has nothing already on the flip side.  what I did was prep a LEFT hand page that was blank on the back and not intended to be part of a two page spread, with Gesso. My thoughts are that with the book paper base on the reverse, I don’t really need to cover BOTH sides with book paper. Nor did I need to coat both sides with Gesso…

AJtwofer

Once that was totally dry I flipped back to the reverse and started layering on the book paper.

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I thought I would leave the white border on the book pages and make sure THAT was the overhang bit, cause I had an idea for THAT too – but I’ll save that for another day…

Once the reverse of the Gessoed page was covered and dry…

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all I did was flip to the reverse and folded the overhang onto the page.

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Rather than stick those flaps down around the edges, I thought it might work better if I complete THAT page and THEN stick them down.  That leaves me the option, if I stop here, of sticking them, and adding gesso over them to incorporate them into the background of the page OR of completing the page then sticking them for a stronger “border” statement, IYKWIM.

Thinking I might find the loose flappy bits annoying I took the extra step to tape them down with artists tape, for easy removal

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and leaving me with a flat page to work on while completing the reverse page.

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I suppose a third option might be to work on the page with the flaps as applied, decorating the whole thing, flaps and all, so you wind up with a decorated border when you eventually DO flip them to the reverse, but then you have to consider if they will “match” the reverse page too, or plan for that page at the same time.  Frankly that takes too much forward thought for a Monday morning…


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WOYWW 252 – art journal page mostly done

Hello WOYWWers! I really should be starting my ATCs but instead I made a page for my art journal.  You may have seen the beginnings of it yesterday, and will have to wait to se it fully finished, but it’s nearly there!  I got to use my needle tip bottle and my too-long ignored Neocolor crayons and am liking it. 1WOYWW252 It still needs a few bits stuck down and some journaling but it’s very close to being done, so that is what is on my workdesk today.

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And the test router came in the mail from the ISP so with luck that will install just fine and I’ll be able to get online and they’ll be able to assess what the problems are by communicating with it.  Fingers crossed!  And Happy Wednesday!


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Art Journal experiment

{sigh}  DS is rolling back to Uni this morning, with a full belly, a backpack full of clean and repaired clothes, and his ears surely ringing from the Ugly Duckling concert last night.  He missed a perfect chance to wear his gift from Aunt and Uncle – we each got one, with a request for a Duck family portrait from Auntie but with time short and DD feeling not very well, we had to give it a miss this time.  Maybe on his next visit home.

duck

I am sad he had to go, but still carrying the warm glow of a lovely and stress-free visit.  So I waved him off and decided to have a play.  Usual medium and torn book paper start, followed by a scrape of Gesso.

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I wanted to use something I had that I haven;t made much use of – my  Neocolor watercolour crayons. I’ve used them so little I was a bit stumped how to start.  So I just marked around the rough squares of book paper

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and blended with a slightly moist brush tip.

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Liked it, and for another sort of page maybe would have stopped at the soft, barely-there colour.  But instead I went over some of the squares again, picking out colours, adding a few more shades

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and blended again. Now that’s more what I was looking for.

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I added a bit of modelling paste, some spray inks, a bit of stamping…

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but now have to put it aside to dry fully before I move on with it. I have an inkling of where I want to take it, but perhaps letting it brew a bit will clarify my thoughts. I have one thing in mind I need to find, and MAY need to install a new router if it arrives, but with luck I’ll finish it up today.  If not, it may still be on my WOYWW desk…


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another one of THOSE posts….

Happy Mother’s Day to the UK Mum’s.  Lucky me – I get TWO days ’cause I make the family treat me as both a UK and then as a USA Mom for THAT Mother’s day LOL! Funnily enough when DS came home from Uni for the weekend, with his backpack crammed full of a weeks worth of dirty laundry, I commented to him that the last thing I wanted to do on Mother’s Day was sorting out his laundry. He retorted quickly that he knew nothing would give me greater pleasure, which did make me laugh. And he’s probably right – I do love tending to my family. The cooking, the cleaning, the ministering to them when they are ill (as, actually, DD is at the moment, poor little sausage) is something I want to do for them ’cause I love them.

But then I do love my blogging too, so I took a moment during the current wash cycle to snap a few photos of stuff that happens to be on my desk at the moment.  Maybe there will be something useful here for you, even if the photos aren’t wildly exciting.

First, I was looking at an article in Craft Stamper about pencil eraser carved stamps.  A few months back I saw an Interweave video about making stamps (maybe it was an E-book free download, I really can’t recall at the moment) and had carved a super simple stamp from one of the many UK pencils with useless erasers (I don’t know why but they are so hard and not fit for purpose, not like the US #2 pencils I recall from my childhood) we have kicking around.  It was handy in my pen pot on my desk so I grabbed it.  The article suggests drawing a grid, which you then erase, in order to stamp the tiny images in an orderly fashion.  I had a quick little stamp of the +/x that I had carved (I thought I could use it to mimic cross-stitch stitching but never really used it) and saw that with this design the problem wasn’t just with laying out the stamped images neatly, but keeping the round pencil properly oriented.

See on the right?  The +/x goes every which way

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Just adding a thin strip of Washi tape to the barrel of the pencil allows me to line it up to get the + or the X and keep them straight. A Sharpie line would work as well. The I thought about the whole grid thing – well, I hate drawing then erasing.  Even light pencil lines show up sometimes.  But then I spied a stencil off to the side.  Bingo.  I just stamped the little image thru the stencil.

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Depending on the stencil and how you oriented it you could get straight lines or staggered ones or even a circle.  But you can see it works well.

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I also have been itching to get some needle-tip bottles, for writing with acrylic paint.  I wanted some that were small, and a lot of them. I wanted proper needle-tip bottles, not just fine-tip ones.  I found them for what I thought was a pretty good price, and they are quite small, so if I wanted to change colours and rinse one out I wouldn’t be wasting a lot of paint.

 

I tried both filling with plain old craft paint, which is nice and thin and flows perfectly, and mixing heavy-bodies paint with water.  That worked less well, but I think I need to play with the ratio of paint to water.

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The paint and water mix gives an interesting effect.

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Slightly more blotchy, less defined, but I like it.  As you can see each little bottle comes with a tight-fitting airtight silicone capper that is attached right to the bottle.  I’m wondering if Liquid Pearls are thin enough to work in a bottle like this. …

But those are all thing to play with more on another day.  I can hear the washer spin cycle has just stopped so ….

{wink}


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AJ page done

Well, I expect by now you are pretty tired of seeing this page, but it’s done (should that be “done for now?”  I don’t know…) so I’ll add it:

UBdone

I was already leaning towards the left side alignment so it was nice to see that most people who commented picked that version.  I did re-do the tiny text so it showed a better contrast to the background, and added some tiny circles and stamped dots, just to tie the title in with the background better.  Funny, I wanted BOTH – greater contrast and better unification.  A precarious line to walk, don’tcha know?

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Again, cause I sing it in my head, it makes sense for SHALL to be highlighted as she sings it with emphasis, what shall we do? what SHALL we do?…

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DS may come home for the weekend so I suspect I will work on a stray set of printables today for adding sometime over the weekend – if he DOES come home I fear it’ll be all about cooking and laundry.  What Mom with a kid at a far-away Uni doesn’t both dread and relish those trips home? At least I know he’ll be well-fed and clean for a few days…. {wink}


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Art Journal page – Useless Beauty

As I was driving, and considering the art journal page sitting on my desk, a song came on my shuffle.  The title of the song by June Tabor, All this Useless Beauty, seemed the perfect title for an art journal.  If you fancy hearing the song, I found it on YouTube.

I’ve actually used another lyric from this song …when legends and history collide… for the title of a layout, so it clearly it’s a song that resonates with me. I dashed home to create the text, then came to a point where I was of two minds for how to place it.  thinking back to a quilting video I sam many months ago, I recalled a trick that the quilter used (but not WHO it was LOL!) when working on freestyle quilts – she snapped photos of different arrangements, both to remember them as she shuffled things around, and to use the visuals to help her really SEE the differences the altered arrangements made to the final piece.  So I figured why not try that?

I thought maybe a left alignment might be interesting:

uselessbeauty

That seems to show off the background a little better, with more areas available for further additions.  Then I thought more maybe centred might be better:

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THAT makes the doily background look more starburst-y  but the random stamping isn’t in exactly the places I would have put it if the title had already been there, IYKWIM. The tiny text repeats a bit of the lyric, cause when I look at it I can’t help but sing it in my head.

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Still not sure, so I might have to look at the photos a little bit more before I stick it al down and do the final bits. What do YOU think?  Can’t promise I’ll pay any attention to opinion, but it’s always interesting to know what people prefer and more importantly WHY they prefer one over the other. Feel free to wade in….

Just a shot of the big letters.  I still love these stamps possible 10 years on since I got them…

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Spent way too much time yesterday trying to sort out my internet connection.  Why is it an upgrade has felt more like a downgrade?  {sigh}

 


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The Distress Spritzer? well, not REALLY…..

This is one of those posts that is a weird confluence of events.  Someone once asked me Where do your ideas come from?  I thought for fun I would document it – the steps may be unique, but the process isn’t. It’s just the way my mind works and the benefit of a messy desk  Feel free to just look at the photos – they should tell you all you REALLY need to know.

1. I got an email from a UKS sponsor announcing they had received the new Tim Holtz Distress Marker Spritzer.  

The more I looked at it the more I was convinced I had one.  Not that exact thing, but something pretty similar. So I had a bit of a hunt and sure enough, in with my stamping markers (a drawer not opened since I got my Copics) there it was.

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This has to be 15-20 years old – I know I got it while in the USA so it would have to be.  I had a check for the name and while I see the odd reference to it they no longer sell it that I can find.

2. I popped a few random markers in to it.  One thing I can see is that mine seems to be lacking the inner liner for the pen-holder.  Not a big deal, it works well enough without it but I could always as one of those rubber pencil grips to super thin pens and I bet that would do the trick.

3.  As I was looking across my desk, my eye landed on one of my watercolour brush pens.  I thought, I wonder….

Now, I only have maybe two watercolour brush pens.  I’ve meant to buy some, after seeing Dyan from Art from the Heart show how she has as many water brush pens as she has colours of Dylusions and she uses them to colour with.  But I just never got around to it.  Deep in the back of my mind I had a tickle.  I KNEW that somewhere, probably in DDs “art cupboard” I had some kids version of the waterbrushes.  And guess what? Not only did I have them, I found them.

waterbrush

I know we got them maybe 8-10 years ago at Costco. Some of them are fairly empty.  I deconstructed one of them, thinking I could just replace the cheap ink with good ink, although I thought as the Dylusions aren’t waterproof either, I might as well just pick one or two of the near-empty ones to play with and use up the rest of the ink with mixed media stuff rather than just empty them.

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There is no seal on the pens, which surprises me as it’s for the kids market.  I would expect them to be sealed and you would need to buy new ones once these ran out. But no, they disassemble just fine.

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I tossed out the cartridge and the little slim tube.  For use with the spritzer you don’t WANT to slow the flow, like you would with a potentially messy pen, with kids, so I binned the cartridge and the tube.

4.  What to fill it with?  Obviously ink is going to be pretty much the same as using a marker, but then…

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Perfect.  Acrylic liquid ink. This gives me something, a matte and almost chalky look, that I am not going to get from a marker (I only have ONE Distress marker, the Picket fence one, so I don’t really know if that would be similar to using acrylic ink) and is waterproof. Note:

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And wipe over it with a baby wipe

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The ink on the wipe is not from the acrylic ink, it’s from rubbing the paint off the stencil.  It give a nice watercolour-y effect.  I also did the flip-and-stamp you might normally do with an ink loaded stencil. The acrylic ink dries really fast so the stamping part has to be done after a spritz of water  on the slick surface of the stencil, and you can also then smear the acrylic ink thru the stencil with a wipe. Kinda both on the same area here

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5.  And then, of course, there is WHITE.

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Using the spritzer gives you a way more controlled spray than the spray bottle does, so you would use this for either the Acrylic ink OR the Dylusions for this sort of scatter.

So there you go.  I’m still in my jammies and my hands are covered with ink and paint, and my stamp-storage tower (with the wood-mount stamps, where the Blitzer was hiding) is pretty much dumped out on the floor, but now I have a new toy to play with, a whole heap of waterbrushes, a bunch of ink to use up, and it’s only just after 9 AM.  Or was when I started typing….

And Texas Flood is playing from my playlist, the accident payment has been sent, DH is back from his conference, so no school run, and the house is pretty tidy (well, downstairs, anyway) and the laundry done.  Where can the day go from here?  Downhill, probably, but I can always hope ….

{grin}


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Title for my page

Yesterday turned into the day from hell.  I made the mistake of trying to clear a bit more space on my desk, which lead me to look at my super-messy stencils and stamps and think they needed cleaning.  And that led me to the chaos of my stamps in general, then to the pile of need-to-mount stamps, and…you get the picture.  Add shopping and skating and some time with DD and it was a fairly non-productive, craft-wise, day.

I DID do the title for the last page.  I love how it turned out.  I first picked the word from a bag of random chipboard letters and stuck them to a bit of paper.

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I smeared on some modelling paste then pressed a grid into it.

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I picked off the letters and shifted them to a clear spot – I didn’t want the overspill paste to dry and the letters to stick…

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Propping them up I sprayed with spray ink, dripped on some acrylic ink, etc and let them dry

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and stuck them on.  Yummy. I think it really balances and finishes the page off nicely.

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It MIGHT benefit from a bit more ink or spray ink under the title but I’m not sure.  I may think on it….

Now a few WOYWW return visits to finish up then on to the next one.

 


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A new project – mixed media scrapbook

So I have been hunting for US-style manilla folders for YEARS.  The only ones I’ve found are at Amazon and the shipping is from the USA (about £60!) Recently we totally reorganized out home filing and I found a ton of old, tatty at the edges but mostly OK manilla folders mixed in with the hanging folders.  I collected ALL of them up – I am quite happy to us the UK version to replace them, even if I have to trim each one to make them fit the US file cabinet.

Now I finally have them I can play with an idea I had ages ago. Thinking about the things I love, and at the moment that is mixed-media, scrapbooking (now and always!), printables and book-binding, I sort of wanted to combine them all in one project. Here is what I plan to do:

I am starting with a file folder.  Each one will get one side covered with random papers, then gessoed to prep the surface.  This will make the base more able to take all I will add to it.

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I am using a combination of printed sheets and bits from my stash

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and at least one photo

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All the photos are ones I’ve done a proper scrapbooking layout for already, so I am not bothered about the longevity of the work or the fact there will be no page protectors.

The base gets the full mixed media treatment, with paint, inks, texture, etc.

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Andin the end will look more like an AJ page than a traditional layout

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My plan is to create a “scrapbook” by using the back-to-back binding method to join them all.  I’ll then perhaps work out some sort of cover and sewn binding decoration for that. I’m planing on keeping the embellishments mostly flat (well -ish anyway) and some might be 1/2 the folder and some will cover the whole  surface (this is a 1/2 one.)

It’s just a bit of fun for me, slightly experimental but I don’t mind that at all.  And if it ends up as a disaster (which I think I will know within the first 4 to 6 surfaces) well then, so be it.  But more often than not it’s about the process for me, not always the end result.  I’m willing to spend the time just to see if it will work.

For a start, unlike my traditional scrapbooking style, for this project I feel I MAY need to rein in the grunge…..

{wink}


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Handwriting stencil

So I was working on an AJ page and when I got to the “title” part I considered and discarded a number or ideas – stamps, printed text, a lettering stencil, magazine letters.  I tried a few lettering options on scraps, to see if I would be happy with just writing it, and I really wasn’t.

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I have one handwritten letter stencil and I really like it, but it is someone else’s handwriting.

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Much as I hate my own, I am TRYING to get more comfortable with it.  I had a bit of a flash and thought, well, why can’t I make one from my OWN handwriting?  and of course the answer was, I CAN.  And so can YOU LOL!

The first thing I did was write the phrase I had in mind on white paper.  I used three different types of pens: a fat Sharpie, a brush tip Pitt pen, and a chisel tip marker.

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I scanned that.  No reason to scan it at a supper-high resolution.  Frankly you don’t WANT every little stray brush mark.  I did 150 DPI but I suspect 72 dpi is fine.

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Once I had that, I cropped the scan to create three .jpgs, one for each version.  I imported each one into SCAL and used the TRACE option.  Once I had traced it I selected the BLACKOUT option – the effect is pretty much the same in the end, but there is no need to cut both the letter and the opening as cutting makes all the letters that have an enclosed white area (like the O, the a, the l, etc.) end up as just an opening, like the stencil.

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Why cut both when it’s just going to fall out anyway?

I was being lazy so I lined up all three so I could cut them from one sheet

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I can just mask off the ones I don’t want to use. It’s heavy card, covered both sides with contact paper and it wipes clean (but I wouldn’t try to wash it LOL!)

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Cool!  I tested them with spray ink and paint with a stencil brush.

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Not bad – it’s more my technique that needs work – I never press the stencil flat to the page, and I never move my hand back and forth like I should.  And with the paint I used paint that was perhaps a little too liquid.  A thicker, more heavy bodied paint and a sponge and I think it would have been crisper. But the real win for me was using my homemade modelling paste!  That worked out perfectly.

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You can sort of see the commercial stencil sample I showed when I did the post. My handwriting is not so lovely but my STENCIL works equally as well.  So then it’s just a matter of deciding what phrases are worth doing, or, like the original, just writing out the alphabet in my own hand.  COOL!