Friday, April 29, 2016

Embossing texture paste

This month's Mad Scientist Lab was about texture pastes and mediums.  What a fun excuse to get messy hands!

Some of our samples began with gesso, others with gel medium. Do you have supplies that you bought for a specific project but never learned how else to use them or how one product differs from another? This class was extremely helpful.

Some of my samples were completed in class and some were finished at home with additional or different touches due to availability of what I had at home. I didn't think I would like the image transfer (the raspberry photo) but the more I look at it (especially in person), the more I think I might use this procedure again.
I like both of these, especially the one on the left. That was a heavy texture paste dried, then spritzed with glycerin and water to hold silver embossing powder. I know I will repeat that technique. I have Wow embossing powder in silver that I really like.
This one was probably the biggest surprise of all to me. It has a bit of everything going on and to be honest, there is no pattern or flow to my sample, but that is okay. The manila paper was textured in areas with a stencil and texture medium. There are gold smears along with a clear medium that had fine glass beads in it. Oddest of all for me was the mix of paper flowers, metal findings, buttons and rhinestones.
I didn't take a photo of the piece as it came home from class. Areas were still drying and I wasn't sure I was ever going to like it. From past experience, I knew to keep on going with additional embellishments. Either the corner would be turned and I would like it, or I would be certain of what I wouldn't repeat.

The above photo was taken indoors on a cloudy day. The gold looks dark and rather flat in color. The rhinestones and other dimensionals don't really show the spritzes of gold, pearl and pink that I lightly layered over areas.

The two photos below were taken outside and the shimmer is now visible.

This piece is definitely a practice piece and won't become something else, but the process led to the mixed media clipboard project (here) which I really enjoyed.

Don't fall into the rut I was in. Experiment with what you already own and use some of your least favorite embellishments and papers. If your experiment works, hooray! If you hate it, you're not out anything but some time since you weren't using those supplies anyway, at least not in all the ways they might be applied.

Have fun!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Mixed media on a mini clipboard

Earlier this week I attended a Mad Scientist class at Remember When? Scrapbooking taught by Amy (Vanilla Arts) where we worked with texture pastes and various mediums. I will return to this subject soon with photos. Today I had every intention of working strictly on watercolors but I was distracted by a post at Simon Says Stamp (here) and cut my watercolor time short to do this:
It isn't quite done yet, but I'm so jazzed by it, I'm writing this while contemplating if those roses are going to be used or not.

The project began with this clipboard, the metal quote tag (I stopped adding white distress crayon to show you the tag as it came from the package) and a photo frame, all Tim Holtz products. 

I auditioned papers, tags and embellishments that I had on hand. The tags and beige medallions were packaged together with twine. I opted for the larger tag and some of the twine in the almost finished project. The papers were from a 6" x 6" pad. The clipboard is taller than 6" so I chose to split the lighter colored paper to use at the top and bottom and cut a section of the plaid for the center of this project.
After removing the hardware, I used Faber Castell gel medium to adhere the paper to the clipboard and then added a coat of the gel medium to the top surface. Here is that step finished.
Using a paper piercer, I poked holes through the dry paper for the clipboard screws. The smudges seen here were done by finger painting some walnut distress crayon and water (mixed on a craft mat) but I didn't like how that turned out so I wiped most of it off.
Still using Tim Holtz Distress Crayons, I mixed Vintage Photo with Peacock Feathers and daubed it over this stencil, one large image on the upper right and a smaller one on the lower left.
In class this week we used a crackle medium which would have been nice to use on the photo (as it was in the directions at Simon Says Stamp) but I didn't have any at home. I used a clear glaze to protect the photo which was printed on standard printer paper with a laser printer, then smudged it up a bit with distress crayons in Walnut and Vintage Photo. On the back of the frame I adhered Sookwang double sided tape, then adhered the frame to the photo, and lastly, I cut away the excess paper before using gel medium to adhere this to the clipboard.
The metal quote tag was one of six in a package and was the most appropriate for my intended recipient. Distress crayons are extremely soft. The first pass filled most of the letter recesses but a second pass and wiping away the excess was the best look. As you can see in the first photo, the color used was Picket Fence.

Now it was time to play with embellishment placement. 

I added some twine to one end of the quote tag but still needed more dimension. In the Mad Scientist class we used paper flowers on one project. I liked that idea but not only would an ivory rose be too stark against this, I wondered if a flower would suit this since it is going to my son. Flowers aren't only for women, but something about a white rose just wasn't working for me. Time to get out my elaborate spray booth....a big box.
These are were spayed with various inks in dull gold, teal and a pearl mist. That wasn't pleasing me so I attempted to use Shimmer Mist but the spray's nozzle is clogged. I poured some in a cup, dipped the roses in the liquid and then sprinkled glow in the dark glitter on them. Go figure...a simple ivory rose is too girly for my taste but one with glow in the dark glitter pleases me!
Not a great picture, but proof that the glitter does glow in the dark!
As I contemplate how to finish this, I'm trying roses in various locations and thinking that the twine on the clip either needs to go or needs to be beefed up with more twine. My husband is going to check his junk drawer for discarded keys tomorrow and other small bits of metal that might be an interesting addition. Even the simple addition of one more gear, elevated on the trio to the right, made me happier.

I'm close, but not quite done, and liking where this is going. The little guy in the photo is my younger son. I predict his reaction will be "Awww.....Mom" with a big grin.

Following Day Update.....

The roses are going to be used elsewhere although they might be a decoration on the presentation tonight or tomorrow.

I added a key, a copper washer, a few more Tim Holtz gear-type embellishments and a 1980 penny. It took my husband and I at least twenty minutes of going through drawers, containers of loose change and a penny jar to find one. 

My fingers may never be free of ink stains or gel medium again! 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Smocked dress for my little sweetheart

My granddaughter, the Princess of Sparkle, will be turning one in a few weeks. This isn't specifically a birthday dress, it is just something I've wanted to do for a while. I learned to smock 30 years ago from a woman in an adult ed class. She and I became great friends, an unexpected bonus to learning how to smock a snowflake Christmas ornament.

I no longer smock often for various reasons. The last few items I've smocked have been purchased as "ready to smock", meaning the garment is complete except for hemming. The pleats where the smocked stitches go are held in place on gathering threads which are removed after the smocking is completed.

An explanation of the process and my source for ready to smock garments (Meredith's Closet) is here on my previous blog.  This dress has fewer lines (rows) of smocking so I decided to keep it all one color, using a pink that nearly matches the fabric.
Once again, I look at my photography skills and find them lacking. I was rushing to get this photographed before guests arrive and didn't notice that I should have straightened this up a bit. Some pleats look popped but could have been taken care of with a gentle tug. Oh well, once this is on a child in motion, it will become a blur anyway.
If the Princess of Sparkle is like her brother, the Prince of Sweetness, garment tags will annoy here. I stitched her name, a heart and my name onto the placket of the dress.
My husband asked what  if she doesn't like dresses when she is old enough to express an opinion. That is fine with me. I can paint a tiara on a football helmet if that is her desire. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Another double gate fold card

I had so much fun making this card yesterday afternoon, I made a second anniversary card in this manner last night.

Directions are the same, materials used included miscellaneous papers, Art Impression stamps and Tombow markers. The man and woman are from Ai/Hampton Arts Camper Set #0651. The script "Love is the the Air" on the front of the card is from Love is the Air set #4753, the block letter version inside is from the Val set #4214. "It's a Love Thing" is from Love Thing set #4752. The "Happy Anniversary" stamp is from Birds and Bells by Inky Antics, #11106 which I believe is no longer available.

Once again, sorry about the ruler in these pics but I haven't mastered getting the card to stay flat while taking a picture without my left hand covering up too much of the subject.

I got carried away punching out the blue scalloped frames and had two extra which became part of the card's front. Neither of the prints looked right on the cover of the card even though I liked them inside. The green card stock that I used in the mat on the front was all that was left of that color. I used a Stampin' Up heart punch to get three hearts from the center of that, layering the pink and white papers over those holes.

I started out with three hearts, two frames and the Love is in the Air sentiment mounted on pink. I kept playing with the arrangement, finally making more frames, cutting one heart in two (but not equal halves), using a small punch for flowers out of one the design papers and small hole punch to make the pink and blue dots filling in some of the white spaces. The sentiment was mounted on the blue punched scallop circle (entire circle, not just a frame) and elevated with dimensional adhesive. The design is not perfectly balanced, but hey....neither am I!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A double gate fold Anniversary card

This was a fun card to put together. The dimensions and directions came from Dawn Griffith's video (here) but I changed the front just a bit and will explain that as I go along. For my friends that exclusively use Stampin' Up products, I decided to limit myself to those papers, inks and stamps. The hardest part of this card was making decisions and since I wanted this to be an anniversary card, finding images and words that apply and also fit in specific spaces was a bit of a challenge.

Here is the card closed, opened half way, and opened fully:

Please ignore the ruler. I have it here to hold the card closed.

I'm already thinking of other shaped openings and treatments for this style card, but first things first. Here are the dimensions and directions. 

The main part of the card begins with an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper, in this case, Watermelon Wonder. Score that sheet at 4.25", turn and score again at 2.75" from each end (2.75" and 8.25")

Fold on the score lines and use the bone folder to give all those lines a good crease. 
Most likely you will have an uneven bit showing on the open side of your card.
This can be easily trimmed off with scissors. Next you will in from the short sides of your paper as shown.
Cut an additional bit off of each side of that cut, mitering the cut toward the intersection of folds. This is done to make the card fold more neatly. Those slivers of paper beneath the card are what I trimmed off.
The other papers and dimensions you will need are shown here. I will explain what I changed on the front of the card when I get to that part of construction. 
The above photo shows white cardstock (2 pieces) cut at 4" x 5.25" for the inside of the card where the sentiment will go. In the upper right corner are DSP (Designer Series Papers), each cut at 2.25" x 4", a total of 8 pieces. The original directions called for all of them to be the same paper but I didn't have enough of one design. My papers came from a well used (nearly gone) 6" square pad.

Lower left in the above photo has Old Olive cut at 4" x 5.25", Watermelon Wonder cut at 3.25" x 4" and DSP cut at 3" x 3.75". Those three pieces will be used on the front of the card, but changes will follow. ***

The eight pieces of DSP are glued to both sides of  the outer panels of the card base. I neglected to get a photo of just that step, but here they are in place with the peek-a-boo holes punched in them. This was done with a 1 3/8" circle punch. 

In order to make scalloped frames for both sides of these holes, I punched four holes with the 1 3/8" punch on Old Olive paper, leaving room to punch around these holes with a 1.75" scalloped punch. The green circles will go in my odds and ends stash for use on some future project. Here are the frames in place around the holes. In the second photo I've adhered the white papers in place. 

I have many Stampin' Up stamps, but not a good variety to fit within these small windows that go with an anniversary theme. I stamped Best Wishes (from Petite Pairs stamp set),  Happy Anniversary (from Teeny Tiny Wishes) in Old Olive, and two flowers (from Stippled Blossoms) in Watermelon Wonder. The Happy Anniversary stamped image would be too wide to fit on the 1 3/8" circle, so I used scotch tape to cover the word anniversary and stamped the word Happy in green, then covered happy and stamped Anniversary under it. I had to do this a few times to get an image that I liked. 

The stippled blossom stamps are layered stamps but I did not care for how the second detailed layer was turning out. I stamped the base flower and used a darker marker to add some of the detail that would have appeared with the second stamp. I added yellow centers with a marker and green leaves also.  

After these images and phrases were punched, I used a 1.5" circle punch with Watermelon Wonder paper to create a base or mat for these items. The two on the DSP don't align with anything, but the two on the white need to be visible through the windows on the side panels. Place a bit of adhesive or a glue dot on the back side and hold it in place over the white paper as you close the flap with the DSP to check for placement. You could also mark the area lightly with pencil if eyeballing this makes you nervous. 

There is plenty of room on both white papers for handwritten sentiments or more stamps if you have something that fits your theme. 

*** On to the front of the card.The original plan had the three papers described above to be layered with the Watermelon Wonder and DSP to the left side of the Old Olive rectangle. A large greeting stamped in a circle would be placed on the right side of this. Dawn neglected to give the size circle she used in her directions, but I didn't have a sentiment for that anyway. I layered the green, pink and lighter toned DSP on the front of the folded card. I didn't like it. I introduced white which meant I had to re-cut the green layer. 

The white is cut at 4" x 5.25" and the green was trimmed down to 3.74" x 5".  Here is that assembly.
I wanted to use the Bloomin' Heart die and experimented first with a different designer paper in the same color. That didn't please me.
Next I tried good old white. I adhered double sided adhesive to the back of the white paper before running this through my Big Shot.  I liked this, but it needed something more.
 A strip of DSP in the lighter tones was not the answer.
Cutting smaller flowers from the same die set was a good idea, but not enough contrast to suit me.
Switching to the darker tones was something I liked but I need balance on the left side.
 A strip of the same paper was the answer. I just needed do decide how long and how wide.
 The length would be 3.75", the height of the green paper. This width was almost 1/2".
After trimming the width to 1/4", I was finally ready to call this card done.