scrappystickyinkymess


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Artistic Flair Crafts – coupon code for YOU!

I got a lovely email from a new UK company called Artistic Flair Crafts.  They offered me a coupon code to try out a few products.  It was the perfect excuse to drag out my Gelli plate, as some of their main products are stencils!  I do love a good stencil.

I selected a range of them – 4×4 inch ones

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6×6 inch ones – and yes, either by me clicking wrong or by a glitch in the ordering (combined with me not double-checking) I ended up with two of the same design!  DOH!

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and A4 sized ones. And something they call TABS.  Loving them and wish I had more time to perfect the use of them.

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I tried scraping the pain thru the stencil, but was a bit careless cause I was rushing.  And scraping thru, without a bit of light adhesive to keep the stencil in place, was a bit silly.    I know they will be fab with sprays or sponging thru them, for art journal pages or layouts.

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Another unique item is the cake topper stencil.  I got small cupcake ones but they have a nice range of bigger ones (8 inches) too. And cake SIDE stencils are Coming Soon.

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So cute.  Obviously I don’t make cakes, but with a little surgery I converted one of these for Gelli plate use:

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I think they would work nicely with the round plate  – I like the fact that the stencil is designed as a circle, radiating out from the centre, so the effect is not just a regular stencil in a circle. IYKWIM.

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I only had a few minutes to play, so my samples are not hugely inspiring but everything is still all out all over my desk so I may try to find a bit more time and carry on.  It was fun!

They also have a range of cute little wooden shapes, if stencils aren’t your thing. Aren’t these adorable?

Most importantly, here is a code you can use at checkout to get 20% off for yourselves!

SCRAPPYSTICKY

Let me know what you buy!

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Some DIY samples (Decorate it Yourself calendars)

OK, well I had hoped I could get all 12 done, but we had a bit of a family day yesterday and I only managed a handful.  Some of them are things I already mentioned.

DIYcalendar

I have a few favourites.  The simple collage on March is one.

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I really like the wrapped baker’s twine with tag for November and the inking+stenciling+stamping on January (even if I worked on it with wet hair from the shower and I smudged a bit of the A.

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and the Washi-tape chaos on April and faux Letterpress with an inked embossing folder on February

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You can just see the MAY, with a chunk of patterned paper filling the gap, there at the back.

The point is it is pretty easy to tie your calendar blocks in with your PL page with not a lot of work.  So go ahead and grab them here and then show me what you do with them……

 


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Stencil storage – finally happy!

Just a handful of return visits for WOYWW, then more cleaning, food shopping, blah, blah, blah.  It’s just endless.

BUT I keep finding things I bought ages ago and always intended to use for one thing but now find them perfect for another.  This is one of those things.  It’s a fairly big (A2, so about 16.5 x 23.5 inches) with just a handful of sleeves and 4-hole ring binder set up.  Of course virtually all my 12 x 12 sleeves are 3-hole punched but I solved that easy enough by punching a template or the 4 holes

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clipped it securely to a stack of page protectors – matching up one of the holes seemed to be the best placement

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then used the Big Bite to punch new holes.  I found punching thru a stack of them (three to four) was actually better/easier/cleaner than punching thru ONE, and the Big Bite was better than the Cropadile.

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I kept most of the A4 size stencils, paper and report cover ones I cut with the Cricut, in an A4 binder in A4 sleeves.  There are too many of them and the binders and sleeves are cheap (free, in fact, cause I have so many of them kicking around!)

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and I found a cheap, thin, paper pad that I used between the back-to-back stencils so I can clearly see what they look like

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In the portfolio, I have the 4-6×6-to-a-page sleeves but to keep the centre from being too bulky I used only some of the holes – does that make sense? So some are towards the top, using maybe the top three rings, some in the middle and some at the bottom, using the bottom two rings.

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Then I have the 12×12 sleeves with all the standard stencils – some of the old Crafters Workshop ones that are punched for storing in a binder have been added without a sleeve.

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In the larger sleeves that came in the portfolio (annoyingly they are NOT 12 inches across) I have some of the oddball ones – plastic canvas sheets, teflon cooking mat, big letter and number stencils from the hardware store, and one sleeve full of crappy magazine freebies that I haven’t used yet, but MIGHT, someday …. LOL!  Not totally mended my wicked ways, have I?

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The front has a sort of flap/pocket area that fits the cardboard that has textured wallpaper on it, some of my favourite texture tools for Gelli printing.

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They are painty and hard to get into a sleeve sometimes so this is better, having them all grouped like this.

Now there are just these two places, rather than the Crop in Style binder, the A4 binder, a large file box, and a couple of book rings, to look thru when wanting a stencil.

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There is still room in the portfolio for more, so I have room to grow!

Now, back to those visits….

 

 


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Stencil letterpress

I saw this video late one night and fancied having a go, but I have very few wood veneer pieces.  A star from last year’s advent calendar and a couple of trees, I think, and that is about it.

The star worked, although I had the same problem she had with one area impressing too deeply and cracking:

star
 I was looking for other things that might work and decided to try some chipboard.

fauxletterpress

It worked too, although the pigment ink soaked in to the chipboard more than I would have liked on some pieces – and getting the pieces down on the cardstock in any sort of reasonable alignment was tricky,  The pigment ink is so wet and stays wet for so long, even the tiniest dot on a finger tip ends up on the final piece.

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But the emboss is quite deep, which is nice. Also some cracking…not so nice.  I did play around with the idea of coating the chipboard with gel medium to keep the surface from peeling away when you pull it off, but the brush strokes (and even the texture from the brayer, using my Gelli plate-to-coat trick) show.  Maybe the kind of chipboard that has a coating on it would be the best kind for this.

So I have done faux letterpress with embossing folders but the real problem with that is it’s so hard to skim the paint or ink on just the raised bits and not into the open areas.  But as I had the big shout out anyway, and a couple of new stencils, I thought why not try those?

stencilletterpress

Not bad – some darker areas along the lines where the ink was heavier, and the stencil has a border around it, like many stencils do.  I played around with cutting a mask, which helped, but you still get the embossing even if you don’t get the ink:

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I may play around with it a bit more, but the best plan seems to be just to trim it – which makes it less like letterpress!  But overall it looks better.

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Stencils without a border are clearly the best choice for this, but I only have maybe three like that so not ideal.

You can see on the back the emboss is decent – not as deep as the veneer but it doesn’t crack at all.

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Well work further play.  I must go back and watch a few more of her videos – I always liked her work in scrapbook mags and books and her cards are cute, but she seems to have a lot of technique videos.  I am ALWAYS on the look out for them!

Off to make falafel.  Should have bought some while I was out, then I could keep playing…. oh well….

 


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AJ page – Storm in my head (stencil shift)

I was thinking about the fact that I so often make stencils Using my Cricut.  Not everyone has one, so I was thinking of stencils I could make with other tools.  I thought about windows, and my Nestabilities.

So I took a filmstrip die – now this die cuts as a rectangle, and I thought that would suit my purposes.

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On a Gessoed page I sponged on dark green paint

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Replacing the stencil but shifting it slightly (I know I saw this someplace – could have been a Stencil Girl video but it’s been a while so I’m not sure) I sponged some lighter lime green paint over it. They key here is that you need good coverage and heavy bodied paint.

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It gives it a bit of a halo effect.  I added some olive-green Pitt pen, smudged along the join of the two paints for a little more depth, but given how much I layers over it, it was perhaps a wasted step!

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I scribbled some purples onto the background

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and blended them with a baby wipe, letting some of the purple skitter over the rough texture of the page

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Then I carried on with the usual – some stencils, some stamps, some punchinella stenciling, some tiny scripty text, and some BIG stamps in black.  That gave me a nice complex background.  Over a particularly busy area, I stencilled a face that I cut (sorry, back to the Cricut, but this time with SCAL tracing the image.

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I masked the lower compass so it (I hope) looks like it’s in front of the face. I stamped the “title” – do you call it a title when it’s and AJ page?  I do, but more as a way to call a particular page to mind,  less as a TITLE, IYKWIM.

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Now off to file paperwork.  And maybe try to finish up the last two cards from the Marathon – although cause I have to photo of the sample and only the barest memory of what the cards actually looked like, that may all come to nothing…..


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More about pencil eraser stamps and placement

I still have DS in town (and still a list of things to do for him before he heads back, mostly clothing repair – you see? I just KNEW there was sewing in my future, I just hoped it would be quilting!) and DD is home sick from school, so this is just another quickie.

Following on from yesterday, I did eventually find my larger size punchinella.   I just KNEW the size was perfect to use as a guide for stamping a uniform pattern with the tiny eraser stamps, and I was right.

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The width of my punchinella is about 3 1/2 inches, but it is very very easy to reposition and carry on.  Even so, just a 6 inch (measured from one full circle to another full circle) length produces a grid of 3 x 6, which would still work widthwise for many cards.

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LOL!  My eraser carving is not expert but some of them I quite like.  Remove the punchinella and…

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I must have gotten a smudge of brown on the side of my finger cause there are some smudges there, but as this is a sample it doesn’t really matter much.  But it does show you the idea. Personally I think it’s a lot easier than drawing a grid, and a lot more reliable than eyeballing it. And you could perhaps pick out different patterns – I can see how you might make an arrow, or a chevron or straight lines or triangles…

But not a circle.  But as I mentioned yesterday,  other stencils work as well.  Not sure who makes this one, but someone will recognize it, I’m sure.

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For the outermost ring of stamping, there is PLENTY of room.  For the next one in, it’s a close fit, so a stamp like I’ve used (the starburst one) works, but the other one wouldn’t – anything that depends on the full diameter of the eraser to show the pattern won’t work.  Maybe another similar stencil will?  Nothing I have carved fit the tiny holes of the smallest circle but just a dot from a bullet-tip marker works.

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I think I really need to store these pencils someplace where I won’t forget I have them.  I tend to do that.  Now back to laundry and sewing.

 

 


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Using Cricut Craft Room to design stencils

After I did the fairly extensive set of reviews of the Cricut Mini and Craft Room, I was told I could keep the machine.  That was a bit of a surprise, as I had already disconnected it and gone back to using my ancient original Cricut.  It’s pretty much stayed in the box till now.  But I wanted a stencil of a particular shape and I thought I remembered there was something suitable amongst the images so I dragged it out again and plugged it in.

I’m not going to lie – the process is a little fiddly, but as a few visitors commented they quite liked the resulting stencil I though I would take a moment to explain how I made it, what image I used (and what cart contains it) and maybe give others the idea of how they can create their own unique tools.

This is called DOILY 12 from the Cricut Alphabet cart – here you see it in its original form:

doily12

 

I know that text is small but at the bottom you can see the cart from the list and the image (circled in blue) and I’ll explain the red items as I go.

First, open your new file and add the original image – the big blue scalloped circle.

Click the double circles in the red box top left.  This is what locks the aspect ratio of the image so it doesn’t go oval as you try to scale it up or down.  That looks like this close up:

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Increase the size to as big as you want. Click on the box that says HIDE CONTOUR (in the red circle)

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That shows you the outline of the image.  Anything you click on will be hidden and will NOT cut. In this case I simply hid the scalloped circle . It grey’s out so you know it’s hidden.

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The darker lines are the cut lines and the greyed out lines will disappear when you Exit.

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One complaint I have about Craft Room is the couple of useful commands that don’t appear.  Maybe it’s there and I just don’t have it triggered in some TOOL menu or another, but it would be REALLY helpful to have a SCALE option, so you can scale things by a percent.  Instead I copy the cut-selection and duplicate it then scale it so the circles nest, by eye by dragging in the corner.  The + in the red circle denotes the exact centre of the image.  This is critical to line things up absolutely and keep your circle from looking wonky – although that might be the look you want and if so, just line it up off center how you want. This is where I would LOVE to have an ALIGN option to centre each circle at the absolute middle with a click.  Since I can’t do that, I instead make use of the grid of the mat.  I simply line up that + at a grid-intersection.  If you have it lined up exactly, the + will totally disappear, as the lines are thinner that the bold grid lines.  Can you get that from this shot?

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If you cut if from fairly heavy cardstock, as I did, you should be able to easily use it as a stencil, either for spray inks or modelling paste.  As it isn’t washable, with paste I just scrape it really well – so long a there is not clots of paste that harden on it, you should be able to use it again and again.  And if it does get ruined, just make sure you save the project in Craft Room and you can quickly cut another at a later date.

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Obviously you could easily group your selection and scale it back then scatter smaller circles across the entire sheet:

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And if you group the series of circles then SKEW the shape, using the corner than does that (top right maybe?) you can get a more oval shape, like so:

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And again, easy to repeat that and scatter the ovals across the page. The point is you can easily design unique-to-you tools for use in your mixed media projects.  It’s just a matter of looking at the images you have available to you and considering how you can adjust them to suit your purposes.  There are SO MANY images available via Craft Room and the ways you can alter them are endless.

I’m ALL about getting the most from stuff you already own AND about making things for MY work that is unique to me.  I do get that not everybody is willing to take the time to do this, but if it interests you, give it a go.  A side benefit might be that if the stencils you cut have a limited life you won’t be lazy (like me sometimes) or fall into a rut of using the SAME “favourite” images over and over again.  When one of my hand-cut stencils falls apart, there is at least the CHANCE I’ll create a totally new one rather than just cut the same one again LOL! Keeping it fresh…

 


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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!


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Stamp-thru on a Gelli print

I have some stuff I need to do so I just thought I would add this thing I’ve been playing with – limited success, until I approached it logically LOL!

I used a stencil over a Gelli print, and stippled the black thru it, but there is no reason you can’t do the same thing when you have used a stencil to PULL a print.

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Once I had the black in place and it was DRY, I used my homemade white acrylic ink stamp pad (I had to slightly refresh it with a bit more ink last week, but it is still working well) to stamp text thru the stencil so it only appeared on the black.

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My problem was that the clear stamp was very fine, and although it sort of worked on my home-cut stencil, the raised text might not be deep enough to work with a commercial (thicker) stencil.

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Some areas worked better than others.

So I thought how I might solve that – it’s a trade-off really.  The thin text looks better on the thin lines of this stencil, but the thicker foam stamps give a much bolder impression.

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But with the bigger letters you lose the detail to the point you can’t tell they are letters.

So the solution is to use a stencil that has a much bigger area.  Shame I used the wrong stamp, the one with the letters reversed to use on the Gelli plate to remove paint.

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With that much black, even the clear stamp showed up well. As I’d messed up the stamping already I figured I might as well give it a go over LOL!  I may still find a use for it, but even if  don’t it was worth having a go.

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I def. like the effect so will be playing around with this a bit more, I’m sure!

 


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AJ page and cool stencil

I said the other day that my talent is limited in certain areas, but how I make up for that is by finding something and bending it to my will.  I don’t even know the thought process that unearthed the image, but as soon as I saw it I knew it would be a fab and unique stencil.  It too a LOT of processing – the image lines were very pale and the file format not one I can easily work with, but a tweak or two and I managed to get it to something that was perfectly usable.

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While I usually prefer to cut things with some sort of seal over them (like contact paper) or from report plastic, this one I wanted to be able to use with modelling past so it is just cut from quite thick card.  With the contact paper on it my Cricut blade would have struggled and there is nothing I hate worse than peeling something off the cutting mat to find all the little bits won’t come out.  I have an idea but not had time to try it yet.

I used it with the Cosmic Shimmer Acrylic sprays and some chalk ink, on book pages.  I cut them out and sewed around them.  Looking at the waste of the book pages I rather liked them so I just added them as well.

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A little stamping and some drippy inks and the best quote I’ve seen in a long time – I also say, often, that I never know when to STOP.  The quote says 80% finished is better than 2% overworked and could have been written just for me!

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And a reminder to myself this is a skill I SO need to develop.  Like when I am scrapping, sometimes I just have to walk away and let a project sit for a moment then reassess it, rather than seeing a gap and thinking OMG!  I have to fill that with something! and grabbing the first thing I see on my desk.  It is almost always a mistake.

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I’ve also decided that the OTHER journal I made, from the leftover blank pages from DDs old school workbooks, is going to become my experimental playground.  It’s not going to be used for proper journaling but will contain notes and “recipes” and experiments.  That way on days when I just don’t have a burning desire to work something out or empty my head I can still play – and I won’t really care if it looks rubbish.  It’s work well as my own personal creative reference, and might help inspire me.  Colour, pattern, technique and practice will be what it is all about.  And as soon as my “magic pencil’s” get here (no luck finding the watercolour ones, except GREEN for some reason) I can have another watch and play with the face drawing.  It’s not that I feel a need to bring faces to my arty play, but as a personal challenge I do want at least draw one or two that I am happy with, to understand the process.  Then if I can cross that hurdle, if a time ever comes when I feel the need I can just do it.