Sunday, 2 December 2012

T'is The Season ...

When I think I should get a head start on Christmas but always end up chasing my tail!

Oh well ... at least I have discovered that my Pazzles Inspiration paper cutting machine is a very good 'Mother's Little Christmas Helper'!

Christine has created the most wonderful little ornament gift box cutting file, available to members in the Pazzles Craft Room. If you aren't a member of the Craft Room I urge you to join! The number of excellent ideas, tutorials and cut files on offer is worth every penny of the monthly membership fee.

I initially tried out the cutting file using a lovely Graphics 45 paper called 'Exquisite Motif' from their 'Olde Curiosity Shoppe' collection. The ornament is the perfect size to hold four of the new little Lindt teddies - a lovely idea for teacher presents!

I spent this afternoon cutting and creating four more ornament boxes using a hybrid scrapbooking paper collection I printed off at work last week. I can't remember the name of the designer or the collection, which is terrible of me! If you recognise it let me know! I have only recently discovered digital and hybrid scrapbooking ... but that is a whole other story for another time.

These ornaments are for the four kids who live up the back from us. I found the Lindt Father Christmas and Reindeer collections at our local Woolworths store and there's enough room in each ornament for one entire set. Here are the ornaments made and filled, ready for their final decorations.

And here they are all finished, with their tags on ready for Christmas Day giving. I must say I have always been totally in love with wired-edge ribbon - especially at Christmas. it is SO EASY to make a present look a million dollars with a twist or two of lovely wired-edge ribbon and a sprig of fake holly!

I have to admit that these little ornament boxes have sparked my imagination, and I am going to make more to house the gifts I am planning for some of my friends.

Have you started your Christmas gifts yet? Let me know!

Friday, 10 August 2012

My First Katwise Coat!

Some of you who follow my Facebook page will know that I discovered and fell in love with Katwise coats a couple of months ago.

Kat O'Sullivan, the amazing talent behind Katwise coats, makes crazy colourful coats from recycled jumpers (sweaters for those in the northern hemisphere). Go to Kat's website to discover more about this amazing designer and her brilliant coats (and her wonderful house!)

So ... of course, as soon as I saw these coats I wanted one. The only problem is that whilst Kat makes these at lightening speed, they also sell out just as quickly when she puts them up on her etsy shop

Then I discovered that she also sells a tutorial on how to make the coats. Aha! So I bought it straight away and started on my adventure of finding enough woollen jumpers to make one of these amazing coats myself. 

The Renaissance Man (DH) and I acquainted ourselves with all the op shops around where we live, and visited them all over five weekends. Luckily it's Winter here in Perth, so it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be finding enough woollen jumpers to make my first coat. 

It took me ten days to make the coat from start to finish, after I had spent one weekend washing and drying all the jumpers - it took eight plus a pashmina shawl I already had - and I am thrilled with the results.

Here is the front

Here is the back with suitably long hood

Here it is with the hood up and tail wrapped around like a scarf

I really am pleased about how this turned out ... and I'm a little bit hooked on these coats. I've got enough jumpers for a couple more, and I've learnt a great deal about size, and fit and how to make the hood sit nicely with this first one - so I see making several more of these in my future!

Want to make one of these coats for yourself? Go buy Kat's tutorial - reading it was like having Kat there in my studio with me helping me make the coat!

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Paris With Love ... Again!

This post was originally part of a post I made in June about the Brisbane Papercraft Expo. So, you might have already read about my little Twiddleybitz chair. 

However, because I put it on the Twiddleybitz ning site and it got a bit of attention, I thought I'd give it it's own post so I could link it to my Tutorials page as well ... call it 'housekeeping' if you will :-)

Twiddleybitz is a Western Australian based company and they come up with the most delicious little things ... because I am very much a 3D off-the-page kinda gal I really do love their stuff. 

So, without and further carrying-on (I do tend to get a bit carried away and chat alot) ... here is my little chair and how I created it.


You will need a chair from Twiddleybitz - these come two to a packet, are laser cut from thin wood chipboard and come in pieces. I wanted to paint and then stamp the chair to give it some interest before adding other elements to it. 

And because I wanted to stamp the pieces, I I needed to paint the pieces first, then stamp, then put the chair together. And, as the chair is put together by slotting pieces into other pieces I knew I would be running the risk of the pieces swelling and not fitting properly if I painted them with a water-based paint prior to assembly.

After some consultation with the Renaissance Man (who knows lots of things about how wood and paint react with one another) I decided to spray paint the pieces with an oil-based matte white undercoat. This would reduce the risk of swelling, and give me a good base for stamping. So that's what I did.

I then stamped the painted pieces using Rangers Archival ink in 'Aquamarine', and Collections Elements 'Victorian Set 3' stamp, and assembled the chair when dry with very little effort. I then used Tim Holtz Distress Marker 'Broken China' to colour the edges of the chair pieces to match the stamping.

I had recently bought the Collections 1018 Natural Muslin Kit, so draped some of the more open weave muslin over the chair, cut out three butterflies from the 1026 Creative Butterflies sheet, and coloured them using my Broken China distress marker. I cut out the words from the 1042 Collections Mini Word Sheet, and the 'boutons et mercerie' poster from the 1041 ephemera collection kraft sheet. I inked the edges of everything with Walnut Stain distress ink and glued them into position with Glossy Accents. I added a few little buttons and some string used to tie the muslin pieces together in the kit.

I love how this little chair turned out. And I have another one patiently waiting in it's packet for me to decide what to do with it!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bonbon Gift Boxes

Bonbon gift boxes seem to be all the rage at the moment. Or perhaps it's just the 'Christmas in July' thing again ... who knows!

I love Christmas, and Christmas in July is one of my most favourite 'made-up' festivities, as in - it's a festive occasion for no other reason than a good excuse to eat Christmas food twice in one year.

Anyway - I decided that I wanted to create a cut file for a hexagon shaped bonbon gift holder to use in my Christmas in July table decorations this year ... and then realised that these cute little things could be used all year round. They could work equally as well for bonboniere gift boxes at a bridal shower or wedding, a baby shower or christening, or at themed children's parties or Halloween ... the list goes on, and on, and on!

Pretty Hexagonal Bonbon Gift Boxes
After a little experimentation I have decided that you will need to use a heavier weighted scrapbooking paper, or card for the bonbon parts, and then use a lighter weight paper for your decorative wrap etc.

Dress them up, leave them plain, add a glorious abundance of ribbons, include tags, flowers, holly leaves - the sky is the limit.

I've included .wpc files for the basic bonbon shapes here for those of you who own a Pazzles Inspiration cutting machine. But for those who don't, I have also included a .pdf file which you can import into your own cutting machine's software. I'll let you add your own twiddly bits!

And if you'd like a quick step through on how to cut and construct a bonbon gift box  ...

  • Load paper into your cutting machine.
  • Cut the dashed  'kiss-cut' lines first, which will create the fold lines.
  • Cut out the rest of the lines to make the two parts of the box.
  • Fold on the dashed cut lines.
  • Create a cylinder out of one side of the box, by gluing the front of the left-hand edge panels to the back of the right-hand edge panels, and repeat for the other side of the box.
  • Tie your choice of ribbon around the gusset of each part of the box, add your own choice of decorations to the barrel of the outer part of the box, fill with goodies and you are done!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

It's My Birthday :-)

And I made myself a little present. It's a perpetual calendar - I've always wanted to make one, and finally found just the right little cabinet to house it when I was in Brisbane at the Papercraft Expo.

Here is the front, closed. You can't see the calendar part yet ... 

And here is the back ...

And here it is the inside revealed!

The base cabinet is a Twiddleybitz ATC hinged cupboard, laser-cut from 2mm MDF board, which I spray painted black prior to assembly. 

The papers are from Pink Paislee's London Market (LOVE those papers) 6x6 petite paper pack. I used my black laser printer to overprint the quote from William James on the front of the calendar:

To change one's life
Start immediately
Do it flamboyantly
No exceptions!

Such a great saying in my opinion! I then overstamped with the crown, birdcage and butterfly stamps from the London Market stamp collection. 

It took me three nights of trial and error to work out the roller mechanism for the date and month bit in the calendar - but I finally figured it out! 

Would you like a little tutorial on how to make a perpetual calendar of your own? They are a bit fiddly but well worth the trouble to make.

I've set up downloadable files to help you make your own perpetual calendar to fit inside a Twiddleybitz ATC hinged cupboard. Click on the links and the files should automatically download to your computer.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

A Little Bit of French Fabulousness

I bought some gorgeous mini canvases when I was in Spotlight a couple of weeks ago. They come two to a packet, with little wooden easels, and cost $5 per packet. Bargain! Needless to say I bought two packets! (And will probably go back for more next week!)

Today I decided I would have a bit of a play and here is the result.

I painted the easel with one coat of white gesso. Whilst I was careful to cover all the the surfaces, I didn't get too carried away with the evenness of the painting as I wanted a slightly shabby, worn look. Once the gesso was dry I inked over the edges of the easel with Ranger Inks Spun Sugar Distress Ink to give a hint of pink blush to the white.

I used the Spun Sugar to ink around the edges of the canvas and dried it quickly with my heat tool. I then cut out a square of paper which had just the right pink vintage print on it, and glued it to the canvas face using Claudine Hellmuth's Studio Multi-Medium matte. Using multi-medium as a glue is a trick I learned from the ever-amazing Trisha Ladouceur. I then brushed a thin coat of the multi-medium over the entire paper square and set it aside to dry.

Once dry, I decided the background needed just a little something more (couldn't help myself) so I found my favourite sheet music stamp and inked it up with coffee-coloured archival ink. Interestingly, the centre of the canvas didn't stamp at all, because it was slightly concave, but happily it didn't matter one bit. In fact, it served to highlight the centre of the fleur-de-lis shape beautifully in the end. Happy accidents is what this afternoon was all about actually!

The negative space fleur-de-lis piece of cardboard comes from the left-overs from the printers tray class I took with Julie van Oosten at the Brisbane Papercraft Expo in June.

I had originally intended to just cover it with Adirondack 'Snow Cap' white acrylic paint dabber, but picked up the Pearl one instead, and only realised what I'd done once I started painting the shape. It looked so pretty I kept going. But because I had wanted a sort of distressed look, I decided to lightly brush over the dried Pearl with a dry brush dipped in white gesso. I am thrilled with the result. The shape now looks like tarnished white metal - brilliant! I then rang a Spun Sugar distress marker around the edges of the fleur-de-lis shape, and buffed a little Spun Sugar distress ink around the outside edges.

Once the shape was dry, I glued it to the centre of the canvas with multi-medium and voila! it was done.

This took half an hour from start to finish - and would make a gorgeous little gift ... if I could bring myself to give it away ... which I can't ... LOL!

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A Fabulous Class with Julie van Oosten

Whilst I was in Brisbane for the Scrapbook & Papercraft Expo a week ago I took a class with the wonderful Julie van Oosten of Collections Elements.

This was the first time Julie had taught at the Expo - and she did a brilliant job! The project she taught was her 'Mini Printers Tray' and we managed to construct, paint and fill the tray in the two hour class time slot, with Julie steering everyone gently and confidently through the project.

I had been struggling a bit with some of the other classes I had attended at the Expo where teachers had basically left everyone to follow the written directions for the class, without much input from them. Coming from the needlework world where it is expected that the teacher drives the class, I found this lack of input rather frustrating. Julie's class was a breath of fresh air! And, the proof was in the pudding - most people finished their project, whilst in other less driven classes, most students walked out of the class (like me) with unfinished projects.

I totally fell in love with the understated and muted colours of Julie's palette for this project, and enjoyed the challenge of making white and black and cream work without the addition of lots of colour to create something that grabs the eye.

So, this is my printers tray all finished and I am really thrilled with it. I had several little black plate stands left over from my days of exhibiting my needlework designs at shows, so I used one of them to hold the printers tray upright. I think it's black chunkiness works well and serves to make the dark parts of the tray 'pop' quite nicely.

One of the lovely things I have discovered about going to papercraft classes is the wonderful 'leftovers' that you end up with at the end of class. Often in a class project there is one image used in a sheet of images, and one or two words in a sheet of words - and the rest are left to play with at a later date!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Went to Class Today with Tim Holtz

I had the very best day today!

After meeting up with Chris, a lovely friend I have made on the Pazzles facebook page, and with whom I am attending classes at the Expo tomorrow, and having lunch with Chris, and Cecilia and Fran who we found reading the menu at a nearby cafe, Cecilia, Fran and I attended the afternoon session of  Tim Holtz's class 'Artful Flight'.

And take it from me - Tim is the most amazing teacher - and Mario, his business manager, must be the most organised person I've ever met.

We didn't have to take anything to class - everything we needed was sitting there on the desks waiting for us. (Such a great thing, considering all the other stuff I have had to bring from Perth to attend the other classes I am booked in for over the Expo weekend) And the project - Artful Flight - is just gorgeous. I've never used little canvases before - and everyone got their projects finished before we headed home due to quite a bit of prep work by Mario prior to class (God bless you Mario)

So ... here are the pics!

And so class begins ...

And here is my completed 'Artful Flight ' 
(sorry about the pic - had to take it in my hotel room and the lighting isn't very good!)

And a very excited me with Tim
(in my totally excellent Ranger Inks apron - everyone was given one - how wonderful is that!)

And me and Mario
(the guy who stays in the background, but who makes it all happen!)

Oh ... and guess what else we got!

Oh yes! A Tim Holtz satchel. And no ... you can't buy these anywhere - 
you have to have attended a Tim Holtz class to get one!

I'm SURE I'll be taking this little loveliness with me when I go to the Expo tomorrow - me, a showoff? no, surely not!

But seriously - Thank you so much Tim and Mario, and to Stamp-It Australia too for organising everything so beautifully. I had a blast.

Friday, 25 May 2012

A Commission!

I finished my first commission today!

Good friends of mine became grandparents for the first time a couple of days ago, and asked me to make  an exploding box as a congratulations card for their son and daughter-in-law.

I had a lovely time designing this box - using papers and chipboard tags from the 'Little Darlings' range designed by Graphic 45.

Here are the four sides and lid. I used Tim Holtz Alterations Sizzix Tattered Florals Die to create the shapes for the flower topper. Easy to do, and such a lovely result.

And here is the inside. It's a bit hard to see the central flowers which are on thin lengths of clear acetate sheeting which gives the illusion of the flowers floating over the centre of the box.

I included two journalling flat tags (they can be seen top and bottom of the first layer) slipped into ribbon holders for my friends to write special messages, plus a folded pocket (bottom left on second layer) which opens up to reveal another space to write a message.

This was a lovely project to work on - thank you Caroline and Richard for the opportunity. And congratulations on the birth of you first grandbaby. 

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Repurposed Bag

This morning I dug out my Mothers' Day present to my Mum from the bottom of my wardrobe and went to put it into the pretty carry bag I had bought especially for it. Disaster! The present didn't fit into the bag. What to do?

I have a cupboard in my craft studio which my family knows about, and delves into quite regularly, when they need to wrap a present. It's where I store second-hand boutique carry bags, spare wrapping paper and ribbon. I don't think my kids have had to buy wrapping paper or ribbon for years! I went into that cupboard this morning and found a black Thalgo bag which was just the right size for the present. But I didn't really want the Thalgo logo to show, so I quickly set about repurposing the bag.

I had made a sleeve for my Mothers' Day card from the yummy Graphic 45's Kraft Reflections 'Bed of Roses', so I found another sheet of this and cut two rectangles to cover the Thalgo logo on each side of the bag. To tie in the card and further embellish the bag I decided to make two flowers using up leftover bits of the polka dot paper I had used on the card, and bits of leftover 'Bed of Roses' paper.

I had planned to cut the petal layers for the flowers using a wonderful free download file from Birds Cards, but I am having a problem with my Pazzles Inspiration machine today. I think it's got to do with the mat, but because I was in such a hurry to get this done I resorted to my favourite Sizzix Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die and my Cuttlebug. I joined the layers altogether with a pearl-headed brad and voila! a beautiful bag in under an hour.

I am very happy with this bag - and will certainly be doing more repurposing of bags in the future - it's very satisfying!

Mothers' Day

Tomorrow is Mothers' Day in Australia.

I read a blog post the other day by a very talented papercrafter who admitted to hardly ever making her own Mother a Mothers' Day card. She said she doubts her own abilities sometimes, and feels that her Mum would think her efforts amateurish! She did in fact make a very beautiful card for her Mum this year - and I know her Mum will love it.

I read that blog entry whilst struggling with my own desire to just go and buy a card for my Mum this year, like I have done every other year. Except this year it's different because I'm now a fledgling papercrafter and my Mum is expecting something handmade by me. Oh, the pressure!

In order to take the pressure off a bit I decided to try a new technique I had just learned on my Pazzles Inspiration software where you set up the machine to cut around the shape of a stamp as part of the card. (I first saw this in the Pazzles Craftroom, but also noticed it's now available here.)  It was all in the name of experimenting rather than actually 'making a card for my Mum for Mothers' Day'. And so I tricked myself into making a card which I'm happy with and I hope my Mum will like.

I used the cutting technique to cut out the outer card edge, then used the other 'side' of the stamp shape to cut into the polka dot flower paper which I used to cover the outside of the card. Then I stamped the flower using coffee-coloured archival pigment ink and coloured in with the new Ranger Ink Distress markers.

My darling Mum is in hospital learning how to walk again after a terrible reaction to some drugs she had been taking caused her to become completely paralysed. She's on the mend, but it's a long, slow process. We are taking afternoon tea, complete with pretty tea cups, a dainty tea cloth and delicious apple tea cakes into the ward tomorrow in order to make the day special for her. 

If you are celebrating Mothers' Day tomorrow I wish you a very happy day.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Fingers crossed!

Arrived home from a quick twenty-four trip down to Busselton to discover that Tim Holtz is teaching class when he visits Australia next month! I am so excited - to attend class run by Tim in person is a dream that I thought just would not happen for me.

AND the Brisbane class dates fit in perfectly with when I am there for the Papercraft Expo.

I have no idea whether or not I'm going be able to get a space in the classes - the email feed from Tim's blog was 12 hours old when I read it after getting home, so fingers crossed there is still room! I have emailed and requested both classes ... hopefully I'll hear tomorrow.

The really funny thing about this is that I had thought I had mucked up my plane bookings totally when I bought them earlier this year. I hadn't read the dates for the Expo very carefully before I jumped on-line to book my flights and didn't realise until later that the timing of the Expo was Saturday, Sunday and Monday because it's a long weekend over there on that weekend. I had booked my flights to arrive on Thursday night and leave on Monday, assuming (wrongly) that the Expo would run Friday, Saturday and Sunday. When I did realise my mistake I decided not to try and change the booking, as it was way too much hassle, and thought I could take myself to the art gallery and museum on the Friday instead.

Imagine my delight when I realised that Tim's classes are scheduled for the Friday. Woo Hoo! Obivously the papercraft fairies had all of this totally under control waaaaaay before Stamp It Australia and Tim knew what was going on LOL!

So - keeping everything crossed until I hear if I've managed to jag positions in either or both classes. There will be one very happy little vegemite updating this particular blog post if she gets in :-)

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Happy Easter

Here's the Easter Card I have made for my Mum and Dad. This is the first card I've made since taking Tim Holtz's Creative Chemistry 101 class and I was anxious to play with my newly acquired distress inks and markers.

Inspiration For The Card
I was going through my ever-growing stack of papers and found a lovely Basic Grey paper 'Pinking Shears' which reminded me of an old fashioned Easter egg patterned paper. That helped me to decide on an 'egg shape'  card which I designed in Corel Draw and then imported into my Pazzles Inspiration software.

How I Constructed The Card
  • I cut the card base from manila cardstock and inked around the front and inside edges with Tim Holtz Distress Ink 'Frayed Burlap' and over-inked with 'Spiced Marmalade' (love that colour). 
  • Cut out four ovals from the 'Pinking Shears' paper, inked the edges with 'Frayed Burlap' and then ran two of them through my Cuttlebug using a polka dot embossing folder, just to give a little texture.
  • Glued a polka dot-embossed patterned paper oval to the front and back of the outside of the card. Cut the two slits on the back of the card for the ribbon to pass through, then glued the two patterned ovals to the inside of the card. 
  • Cut the slits again on the back of the card, then threaded the ribbon through the slits ready to tie up when the card is finished.

  • Cut a smaller oval out of 250gsm white cardstock for the inside and decorated around the edges with Tim Holtz' new Distress markers  in 'Wild Honey' and 'Spiced Marmalade' then centred and glued the shape over the patterned oval, covering the ribbon and slits.

  • Printed out the 'Happy Easter' words onto 100gsm white paper and cut out the shape. (You probably could write this using the pen tool on the Inspiration but I'm still a bit of novice when it comes to this particular tool so decided to just use my printer).
  • Then I cut out the frame for the words from C'oredination Craft paper and stained the front with Distress Stain 'Wild Honey'. Glued the frame and words together and glued to the front of the card.
  • Then I wrote in the card, and tied up the bow. 
  • I can't work out how to successfully link the .wpc file to this blog post (just end up with a page of code) but I have linked the .pdf file which you can then import into the Pazzles software.
Hope you all have a wonderful Easter, and manage to get a little papercrafting in during the holiday break.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Creative Chemistry 101 - Day 10

I must admit to feeling a bit sad that this is the last official techniques class.

I have learned so much over the past two weeks, and have enjoyed myself immensely. I am also very sure that the local scrapbooking shop I frequented over the past two weeks has thoroughly enjoyed my visits due to their vastly increased sales on those particular days LOL!

I have also 'met' lots of lovely fellow 'trainee chemists' and marveled at the talent that abounds in this wonderful world of papercraft. The generosity and enthusiasm of everyone I have encountered has been truly fabulous. The amazing talent that is the Master of Ink himself - Tim Holtz, the sharing of BHS and great food from Mario, and all those who have worked to bring this brilliant class to fruition, I thank you all. I have reveled in all this inky, sparkly, distressed goodness!

And ... as Tim said in his video - I've left the best to last!

  • Tag 25 - 'Rock Candy Distress Stickles' technique. Sparkly, sugary and just gorgeous.
And YES ... can you see them all to the left of the photo! Oh yes ... all 37 of them! I got them today. No time tonight to try them out, but you can bet I'm be playing with them tomorrow.

Creative Chemistry 101- Day 9

Ripped through the techniques in Day 9's lesson. Kind of. Well actually, if I tell the truth I had to have a couple of goes at getting one of the tags right - but that's because I'd watched Tim's video a couple of days ago and thought I'd remembered how to do the technique. Ha!

So, I watched the whole video through again, and whilst I HAD remembered two of the techniques correctly, I really hadn't remembered the third technique properly at all.

That's one of the beauties of this wonderful course. Once paid for, this course is available to it's participants for ever, so I can go back at any time if I forget a technique, or want to refresh my memory about a certain step or stage. I can conjure up Professor Tim at the click (or two) of a computer mouse and voila! he appears in my studio to help me out with a particularly tricky technique ;-)

So ... here are Day 9's little beauties!

  • Tag 22 - 'Perfect Distress Mist' technique. The light has caught the bronze Perfect Pearls and washed out the pic a bit - but it truly does shine in the light.
  • Tag 23 - 'Perfect Distress' technique. This was the tag that gave me grief initially. Second time round, after watching the video again, I tried again and am very pleased with the results. Up close and personal it looks really good and distressed wit ha bronze sheen.
  • Tag 24 - 'Perfect Splatter Distress' technique. This one is much nicer in person - you can't actually see the bronze Perfect Pearls in the the pic at all.
Considering I left my camera at work and have had to take tonight's pics with my phone, I'm actually surprised they turned out as well as they did.

Creative Chemistry 101 - Day 8

I'm playing catch up this evening.

I had to wait until I had a chance to get down to my local scrapbooking shop today to pick up the final supplies to complete Days 8-10 of Creative Chemistry 101.

Waiting worked out quite well. I had already bought Clear Rock Candy distress crackle paint on my last foray into the scrapbooking shop, so was able to get some ground work done for Day 8's homework. It meant I could set up the crackle tags and leave them to dry naturally ready for today's finishing.

So without any further waffling ... here are my Day 8 Tags!

  • Tag 19 - 'Paint Dabber Resist' technique. 
  • Tag 20 - 'Crackle Paint Resist' technique.
  • Tag 21 - 'Shattered Stains' technique.
I have to say I totally loved all three of these techniques. And was really pleased to be able to finish the crackle paint techniques that had been waiting so patiently for the past couple of days to be completed.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Up, Up and Away

If you lived through the sixties you might remember Up, Up and Away by the 5th Dimension

If you lived in Australia during the 1970's you would certainly remember this version of Up, Up and Away with TAA ...

(doncha just lurv the chef ... a little extra hmmmmmm)

And the reason I am getting all nostalgic? Well, I made a little hot air balloon over the past couple of nights (when I was supposed to be doing Chemistry homework, but didn't have the right 'stuff' to do it, so found something else to keep me off the streets). It stands about 17cm (6 3/4") high and is just the cutest! The Pazzles cutting file was gifted to me by the wonderful Elizabeth Allison of Phlumpets Creative Cuts and I added the half rosettes and buttons. 

The small polkadot paper is Graphic 45's Rock-a-Bye Baby, the pink rosettes are cut from an old 7 Gypsies paper I can't find a link to, and I used Ranger Ink/Tim Holtz Peeled Paint stain on a C'oredinations Signature series Heritage Craft cardstock.

Now that I've tried out the file, I'm going to delve into my Graphic 45 papers and do a vintage, steampunky version this weekend.

I can also see this particular idea as the centrepiece for an exploding box ... oh the possibilities are endless!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Creative Chemistry 101 - Day 7

Ooooh I do love a bit of embossing!

However, after watching Tim this morning I realised that the powder I bought last weekend was probably a poor choice. I bought 'fine detail' embossing powder which might be a bit fine for most applications. Never mind though - that's why I am taking this wonderful course of classes. I'm learning so much every day and every discovery is helping me to make better purchasing decisions when I walk into a craft shop these days :-)

So - let's look at today's tags.

  • Tag 16 - 'Nostalgic Batik' technique. Pretty, pretty, pretty. 
  • Tag 17 - 'Rusted Enamel' technique. This is very clever (and so easy to achieve once you know how) and really does look like rusted enamel.
  • Tag 18 - 'Distress Powder Resist' technique. Well, actually I've cheated a bit on this tag. This technique calls for Distress Embossing powder which I don't have (although that will be rectified this weekend LOL) so I used a white Versa Colour ink and clear embossing powder which stands out brilliantly when inked afterwards. 
So, I've caught up with my homework again, and now I'm off to add them to the gallery! Can't wait for tomorrow - I've never looked forward to homework quite so much in my whole life LOL!

Creative Chemistry 101 - Day 6

Initially I thought I probably wouldn't be able to complete the homework for this particular lesson.

I don't have any of these wonderful Distress Markers from Ranger Ink. And from all accounts it's not the easiest of tasks to get them anywhere (but particularly hard in Western Australia). So, I planned to watch Tim's videos and download the lesson and wait it out until Day 7.

However, after looking at what I had in my studio I decided I could certainly try out my normal water-based markers with the techniques explored in class. And, I'm quite chuffed with the results!

  • Tag 13 - 'Watercolour with Markers' techniques. 
  • Tag 14 - 'Blending with Markers' technique. 
  • Tag 15 - 'Stamping with Markers' technique. Love this one - will have to explore this technique further!
I will still buy some distress markers though - just as soon as I can find them in a craft shop here in Perth!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Creative Chemistry 101 - Day 5

Because it's the weekend I've also completed Day 5's homework.

Of course, nothing else has been done around the house (apart from the laundry which has to happen or we don't have work clothes for next week) - but then, the dirt isn't going anywhere so it will still be there when I finally decide to finish in my studio.

I really very much enjoyed Day 5's techniques. I had to have a couple of goes with 2 of them, but am very happy with the final results.

Here are my Day 5 tags.

I think they are extremely pretty, even though I say so myself LOL!
  • Tag 10 - 'Stained Kraft Resist' technique. I didn't have any Kraft Resist paper in my studio so when I was down at the craft shop I grabbed a stack. This was whilst I was talking to another shopper who I discovered was also taking Creative Chemistry 101, so didn't really look at what I was buying. When I got home I realised I had bought the Halloween Haunts stack. Darn it - I had really wanted the lovely stack Tim used in his video. However, I found some script on one of the pages and used it for the tag. It's a bit hard to see the stamping over the top in the photo, but it's a totally delicious technique which I will use over and over again.
  • Tag 11 - 'Stamping with Stains' technique. Love, love, love. Actually when you look at Tags 10 and 11 they look rather similar because of the script on the background. But up close and personal you realise they are two different techniques. The stains I bought weren't really dark enough, but remembering what Tim said about distress stain colour intensifing if you work over them several times, my 'Tattered Rose' and 'Weathered Wood' actually did finally stand out enough for the layering to work.
  • Tag 12 - 'Marbled Stains' technique. First time I tried this I made mud! Mainly because my stain colour choices were too light for this method. I then decide to use re-inkers, spritzed with water instead of stains. I'm rather pleased with the result although it probably doesn't look terribly 'marble-like'.
I think one of the best things about taking this class is that I am now not as afraid to experiment and try different ways of achieving a background with inks and stains. Learning about different ink properties has certainly helped me to experiment 'intelligently' and to understand why something didn't work and how to make it work next time. Thanks Tim!

Creative Chemistry 101 - Day 4

Had to go to the craft shop again yesterday to stock up on extra 'stuff' in order to finish my homework for Days 4 and 5.

Now, I have to say at the outset here that this isn't really much of a hardship for me to go shopping at a craft shop. Having said that though, I think the most difficult part of being quite new to the stamping world is that I needed to buy lots of things, and had to stop myself from buying every one of the various inks and stamps and pads in the Ranger Ink and Stampers Anomymous range - because it's ALL SO DAMN WONDERFUL!

So I tried my hardest to be conservative, and bought basic colours in the various types of inks in order to complete the class homework. I got it mostly right, but chose stains that perhaps weren't really the right colours. But I guess that is what participating in a class is all about - learn from your mistakes and be pleased when a choice which you thought wrong in the beginning works out anyway once you've done a bit of experimenting!

OK so here are my three technique tags from Day 4's class.

  • Tag 7 - 'Watercolouring with Re-inkers' - Excellent fun, but time consuming.
  • Tag 8 - 'Layered Misting' - This is not my favourite technique. It actually looks better in this photo than in real life. Because it's a technique tag I haven't embellished, but if I was doing a tag like this again, I'd be stamping over the top of it for sure!
  • Tag 9 - 'Custom Stamp Pad' - Oh this is great fun! Will be doing more of these in future!
I had occasion to make a friend a birthday card yesterday - so I decided to put my newly acquired knowledge to the test. It turned out really well (and the recipient was mightly impressed). Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo of it before I took it to the birthday boy last night. Duh!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Creative Chemistry 101 - Day 3

And so I beavered on into the night with Day 3's homework.

Day 3 was all about archival ink (pigment) and alcohol ink. These techniques were a little more challenging for me. But I'm still happy with the results.

I do find glossy paper hard to stamp on with big, beautiful, red rubber mounted onto wood stamps. I discovered that stamps inked up with archival ink have a habit of sliding around on glossy paper if you let them. So I gave my stamps a good talking to, and concentrated hard, and I think I have a much better 'stamping' technique now than when I started out last night!

So ... here are my three homework tags for Day 3.

  • Tag 4 - 'Alcohol Ink Agates' technique. I had to have a couple of goes to get this right. And the camera's flash flared out the top left hand corner. And the archival inked stamp at the bottom slipped a bit during application ... but all in all I do like how this one turned out.
  • Tag 5 - 'Reflections Stamping' technique. Probably not my most favourite technique. I do totally love how the embossing worked, and how the archival inks worked on this tag. Don't really like how the archival ink reacted but then, I guess you can't always love every single technique in a class!
  • Tag 6 - 'Archival Resist' technique. OK so this looks totally different to the wonderful 'vintage' look sample Tim did in class. But I really, really do like this technique and how this particular tag turned out.
I cannot work out how Tim does not get his hands totally covered in ink in his demo videos. (I guess that's why he is the Master and I am the Novice!) And how his work area remains so tidy and clean. I am finally remembering to put the lids back on my stamp pads, and to wipe my stamps after I use them. However, this is how my studio desk looked after I had finished my homework last night.

And my hands were covered in black archival ink. I'm thinking perhaps rubber gloves might be a good idea this evening!

Creative Chemistry 101 - Day 2

Let The Fun Begin!

I finally managed to get down to my favourite craft store on Wednesday afternoon and picked up lots of distress and alcohol inks and some stamps. I wasn't overly thrilled with the selection of stamps - particularly after watching Tim's video which included a reveal of the 'Stamp Wall' in his studio. Oh, that is one amazing wall! However, I now know what kinds of stamps to look out for in future!

So, yesterday evening I sat down to complete both Day 2 and Day 3's homework.

Day Two's Tim Lesson was all about how to create some amazing effects with water-based dye inks. All of the techniques we learn on this course can be archived on tags - such a clever idea for quick referencing - so without further ado I reveal my three homework tags for Day 2!

  • Tag 1 - 'Blended Spritz and Flick' technique onto manila cardstock
  • Tag 2 - 'Brushless Watercolour' technique onto watercolour paper (love how this turned out)
  • Tag 3 - 'Wrinkle Free Distress' technique onto manila cardstock (although, out of the three tags this was the one that 'wrinkled' the most LOL)
I love how these turned out. Being so new to inks and stamping in general, I thoroughly enjoyed learning the processes involved, and feel confident I can use them on future projects.

I think I'll put metal eyelets on each of the tags once I have finished the set. That way I can put the whole lot on a ring of some sort to hang in my studio as a wonderful reference tool down the track a bit.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Setting Up A New Blog

OK, so I might be completely mad, but I decided that because I am embarking on this amazing papercraft journey of mine I needed a new blog to keep the records straight.

I'm also taking a couple of wonderful new on-line courses at the moment - May Flaum's  A Curious Scrapbooker's Field Guide' and the Master himself - Mr Tim Holtz's  Creative Chemistry 101 - and I needed somewhere to upload my homework so I could link it to their 'homework galleries'.

I'm not sure if you can still sign up for these classes ... but if, like me, you want some amazing inspiration - both these teachers and their classes are awesome - so it's worth enquiring whether you can still join!

Having said all that, I'm actually rather behind on my homework BECAUSE I've been getting this blog set up AND because I don't have all the 'stuff' I need to do my homework.

Being so new to this wonder-world I have discovered that I really do need to go shopping to amp up my meager supply of all things inky and stampy ... not really a bad situation to be in ... just need to find the time to make it happen. I'm hoping tomorrow will dawn bright and shiny and less busy than it is today so I can go stock up my studio with lots of new things!

Meanwhile I will continue to tinker with this new blog site until I get it 'just right'.

Oh, and a shout-out here to the wonderful Karen of The Graphics Fairy fame - that's where I found the wonderful circus girl image for my header. Karen's blog site is a wonderful resource for all sorts of amazing images. Thanks so much Karen.