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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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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.


A masterboard from crumpled prints? Now what?

I decided to tear up the bits from my crumpled deli paper experiments and cover an A3 sheet with them.

Interesting enough. But I began layering over it for more interest, and just to see what I would get. I tried not to think about it too much, doing more grab-n-go additions, IYKWIM.

You can never go wrong with a bit of text. An those little squares are from some smoked salmon packaging! Love that, but man I had to wash it like 100 times to get rid of the SMELL. LOL!

A couple of foam stamps I mad, then sequin waste and packing material stamps, and finally a bit of glitz with a swirly stencil.

I am not sure the photos really capture it, but it is pretty opulent looking for sure. And I finished it off with some purple splatters. I mean, 99% of the time people do white or black. Me too. Maybe 80%. I think I use gold spatters often enough to nudge it down?

I am of two minds, at least. It could easily become the cover for a journal of some kind. It could also easily be cut up into a variety of things – ATC bases, tags, card backgrounds, maybe post cards, although it is pretty dang textured so perhaps not best for mailing. It is pretty chaotic, but I don’t mind that. I am tempted to cut it all up into different sized tags and stash them away for future tag swaps! And DOH! I just realized I never snapped a proper photo of the tags I made for the PMAS swap. WHAT a dolt! Well luckily I think the swap person will take a good photo for me so all is not lost.

{sigh} It really is taking me a while to get into the swing of things with all the disruption of another person and a cat at home. We’ll all get there – probably just in time for the human half of that pairing to move out LOL!

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Pulling thru a stencil on crumpled deli paper

I watched a video from Elizabeth St Hilaire on pulling a gel print on crumpled deli paper, but thru a stencil. I liked the effect and wanted to give it a go. Sadly her own stencils aren’t easily found in the UK (nor her stamps) so I used some of the PMAS stencils. They actually do free shipping over $125 and I saved up to place a large order. I used similar colours, dark blues and purples, and metallics for a pop of brightness.

After pulling some basic solid backgrounds in a dark colour, I crumpled the deli paper into a tight ball then didn’t smooth it out fully before pulling thru a stencil. I did find that rolling over the deli paper wiht my soft rubber brayer gave me more from inside the stencil on my pull.

I did pull thru the stencil for some

but rather than waste the paint of pull it on something else, I pulled the metallic paint after removing the stencil as well, And I really liked those too.

All in all it was a bit of fun. And I have an idea how to use them – shocking!

Son + cat are settling in, slowly. I’ve had a few scratches and strokes accepted, but not yet had her leap onto my lap – Dear Son says that is good, because she needs her nails trimmed and he hasn’t done that yet. Ouch!

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2023 Half-Sheet printables to decorate yourself

Well. We are so close now that I am fairly vibrating with excitement. Litter trays ordered (that will be an adjustment for sure) and scratching posts and special diet cat food. Blimey. And yes, my mind is very much elsewhere. If I am honest, I feel like Dear Son is going to be so jet-lagged I might actually get plenty of time at my desk LOL! We shall see.

But here, briefly, is the larger Decorate-It-Yourself 2023 set to print. The calendar block is right down near the bottom so there is loads of space at the top for decoration.

My plan is to do gel prints on them, but really, you could add a photo, you could add stamping or pretty paper or any other thing that strikes your fancy. Let you kids draw pictures on the top even. Where the 3×4 versions are pretty small and don’t have room for much, these have a decent 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 area – give or take, depending on the number of weeks. I only managed one or two (and only really love one of them LOL!) but you can see what I mean!

As ever, I would be really pleased to see how you have used them!

Now, I must go over the final list of things for Darling Daughter’s birthday party tomorrow. Really, could se have any fuller a week? I doubt it and I am really hoping that MAYBE by the end of next week we can begin to exhale. At least until Thanksgiving, all the skating comps and the Christmas Ice show and the run up to that big holiday in December.

No rest for the wicked…


Working on deleting the calendars – but here are some new ones!

Dear Son + Cat arrive on MONDAY and there is likely to be a whole week of me sharing old projects or things I feel should maybe be dragged up from the depths of my blog and given some time in the light once again. But for today I have a new 2023 calendars for you.

As I have been deeply immersed in my gel plate play at the moment, I thought I would go back to an older idea and try to incorporate the gel plate and my calendar printables together. At first I began playing with my circles.

I had a go at decorating some of those by masking off the printed text area and pulling a print on the whole area. I got to use one of my favourite wallpaper texture plates from a very long time ago, and it still works.

I could have had a lighter touch withthe paint and the impression would have been much clearer I think. Some of the others:

And of course they fit nicely in a CD case – download the PDF here!

I have ALSO been looking at the DIY ones and thinking something more along the lines of the faux letterpress ones would be a better idea – more room to decorate!

I will share one of those for tomorrow!

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Too much to do!

As I mentioned, this week is pretty crammed with commitments. I managed a very short play session, because I just needed it. I really wanted to complete the sheets from last week. I finished one, and used it on the pop-up cube, but I really wanted to finish the final three in one go. I did, and am happy with the results, but I did a really poor job of capturing the process. My desk, floor and side-desk are a literal catastrophe.

I WILL tidy this up for WOYWW (late last week but I did visit every desk so feel like I did an OK job with that!) because I need to before I can do anything else! I am meant to be making some tags for a swap, but I have not yet heard back from my swap-mate. She has never posted on the group that I can see, other than to say she would participate in the swap, has not replied to my message asking to exchange addresses, and the stuff is meant to be sent by the end of the month. DOH! I think I will use what is left from the pop-up cube to make the tags, even if I never hear from her. Maybe someone else might be willing to trade, maybe even a UK person….

I really like it and the piece is pretty big (about 9 x 9 ish) so plenty to work with. Lucky I snapped a shot before my desk devolved into the chaos at the top. Yeesh. Bear with me, it’ll get cleaned for tomorrow.

Well, hopefully ….


One paper finished.

Yeah so the whole getting Son + Cat home thing seems to have kicked into high gear. Flights booked, exit tasks in progress, and we have a busy week leading up to his arrival. His room is clean and tidy, but there are three appointments for Darling Daughter (one a drive away) a mammogram for me, and endless daily Zooms for The Hubster (three to five a day) as well as DD’s birthday party.

Still need to rehang the curtains after washing and yeah, an American king-size bed is bigger than a UK super-king so it dominates the room. But there are two large wardrobes and a dresser behind that partially open door so hopefully not too cramped a space.

All that is by way of explaining why I’ve made so little progress on finishing the papers I shared on Friday. Shocking, really. While I had intended to work on all of them kinda at the same time, in the end I was most inspired by one of them so I focused on it instead.

There are three PM Artist Studio stencils here (gears, asemic writing and the blue bit at the top, I forget it’s name) and I really like them a lot. As the plan was always to cut the sheet up, I wasn’t too bothered at how it looked as a full sheet. I ended up making one of the pop-up cubes that I shared ages back. I printed the template on A3 heavy weight cardstock and used a proper rubber band rather than the linked loom bands like the smaller printer paper version, and it pops a treat. I do have a video of it but adding a video doesn’t really work here. This MIGHT work….

Anyway, the sides ended up looking pretty good, to my eye, although I might add more surface decoration to it. Making an “art cube” was from a You Tube video shared in a private group and this was how I chose to interpret that. Sadly, in my box o’blocks under my desk, cubes are in short supply.

    I still absolutely love that circle of numbers, a very old Banana Frog stamp set for making calendar embellishments for scrapbook pages, and I use it a LOT.

    Now, I still have three more sheets to complete. DOH!


    Revisiting DI and Stencils with Vaseline Resist

    I was playing with this the other day when it took me off in a new direction and I played with deli-paper to create translucent collage elements. But I made some sample with this play that I felt would maybe work for the cover of the double flag book. The process is the same as I did way back when but to refresh your memory, smudge Vaseline or other petroleum jelly product thru a stencil onto coated cardstock or photo paper. WARNING: HP photo paper DOES NOT WORK but virtually any other one I tried, including cheap £ store versions, work great

    In the past, I smeared the Distress Oxide inks on something slick like a page protector or a tile and spritzed with water then dragged the paper thru for a more mottled look. This sample is with vellum (which also works) but the effect is so pretty.

    For these samples, I smeared the inks on to a gel plate then spritzed that with water. It gave me more defined areas of colour, IYKWIM.

    Once you buff off the Vaseline the DI gets brighter and the piece is sealed.

    I think these will work very well as elements for the cover of my double-flag book and once I put that all together I am going to call it DONE and move on!

    But will I move back to the card-box? humm……

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    Deli paper, Vaseline + Distress Oxides for the win!

    You may recall me doing a play session using Distress Oxides, Vaseline and stencils over coated cardstock and photo paper.

    Tons of fun, lovely pieces in the end, and I then did it using stamping with Vaseline too. Well. I have been thinking of best ways to get the DI over the Vaseline and it occurred to me that the Gel plate might offer some interesting options. For example, previously I just smeared the DI on to my glass mat or a tile or something like that, then added the water and dragged the paper rhtu it. The effect was more … scattered ink, which was lovely, don’t get me wrong, but it was always pretty wet and took a while to dry so you could get to the buffing part. This was the same technique on tracing paper/vellum, which really highlights the scattered ink effect.

    I also had the idea, being that I seem to be playing with collage a lot, that deli paper might also work. I love the translucency of it and the collage options so…

    As the last time, Vaseline thru the stencil, but the DI added to a gel plate then the ink misted with water to get it moving

    Once the ink is more liquid, press the plate over the Vaseline from the stencil

    Without looking back, you may find it hard to tell that there is much less ink on the deli paper than what my past experiments with smeared-on-glass/time efforts. And it was OK to blot LIGHTLY with a piece of plain paper to remove some of the wet ink so you can buff off the Vaseline sooner.

    Another stencil:

    You can even add a bit more Vaseline (or any generic petroleum jelly product) and buff it but even if you don’t, the jelly you originally pushed thru the stencil will be enough to make the piece resist water and allow you to collage it, the matte medium will not smear it.

    I like the distinct line of colour with this method, just a different effect than the other. Two more tricks to add to your gel plate play and collage! I have been playing with this, trying to develop the cover focal points for my double flag book. A couple of samples speak to me. Not shown here, cause it was photo paper not deli paper, but, yeah, should work. Nearly done…