Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Life Book week 4 - Scales of Light

This class by Dion Dior really challenged me as we were asked to draw with white onto black. I had two issues 1) drawing and 2) no colour. The idea was that we gain an understanding of light and shade together with the power and emotion that light can add to a project.

Dion offered an easy option for those who find drawing a challenge by suggesting we draw around our hands. In discussing this idea with my sister, she came up with the idea of us each creating half of a double page where our hands form a heart in the centre of the page. I thought that was a terrific way to approach this project and to collaborate. I created one hand held in such a way that it forms half of a heart at the edge. Nikki will create her own right hand page to match mine with the second half of the heart and vice versa. It'll be a lovely way to keep connected and I will cherish having a piece of her art in my journal.

In the top left of the page I created a bird flying free. I then added a really positive and inspirational quote to the background. The bird really struck a chord with me and I really wanted to do something more with this concept so I created a larger bird. I filled the bird with lyrics from a song that had meaning for me.

So one class has inspired two layouts in my art journal and I've learnt so much about shading, light and using pencils. I am discovering so many art materials and how to use them. Watch this space for more to come....

Monday, 28 January 2013

Tunbridge Wells masterclass this evening

Following the awful weather earlier this month we had to reschedule the Tunbridge Wells masterclass to this evening, thankfully the weather has decided to co-operate today!  We will be creating a canvas wall piece which incorporates an album and shadow boxes, all created from scratch.  This is one of my favourite projects from the past year and it has seen a couple of incarnations including as a Christmas themed piece.  This version is much more adaptable to every day living and can be added to throughout the year.  The Tim Holtz ring binder mechanism means that its a snap to add more pages or to move things around in the album to suit your taste.

The kit includes; masses of cardstock, loads of patterned paper, a 12" x 18" canvas, chipboard, a whole pack of diecuts, lace, a Tim Holtz cash key carm, a Tim Holtz clip, a jump ring and full instructions.

You will not complete the project in the class so please don't worry about photographs!

To complete the sample design you will need; narrow double sided tape, strong wet adhesive, pokey tool, a bone folder/stylus for scoring and folding, black inkpad, black paint & brush (or paint dabber bottle), hole punch (cropodile or similar), circle punch (about 1" but size doesn't have to be exact), washi tape, Tim Holtz tissue tape or similar (not essential), decorative border punch.

If you have a score board or similar you will find it very helpful but don't worry if you don't own one.

I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone at TW again tonight, it seems like ages since we last had a masterclass!!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Total Papercrafts kit 2 for January

Our kit deliveries have been plagued by the recent snowy weather and so this design came together at the very last minute!  We are using the Miss Match range from Kaisercraft this time, four fabulous double sided patterned papers, a Tsukineko ink pad and pearls for a really versatile page for the every day occasions in our lives.

We were talking at the Essex club last week about how we all have loads of snaps of nothing really special but of the every day.  They aren't the studio shots that are beautifully lit, not special birthdays or weddings but just pics of family together.  These photos don't need or even work well on themed papers and so I thought that this kit would be ideal.  The main colours are green, beige and peach (for anyone who hates peach, the reverse of that main sheet has a fab cream pattern).  The pops of black keep it looking modern and fresh.  There are title cards to cut out from the papers which include sayings about 'smile'. 'enjoy' and 'friends', just your normal every day titles that you can over and over again.

The kit includes; cardstock, 4 double sided patterned papers, Tsukineko ink pad in Willow, pack of pearl beads, white paper roses, a swirl template

The sample design uses a 6" x 4" portrait photo and a smaller snap trimmed to fit inside a Polaroid-style frame.  To complete the sample you will need a border punch, a text or other background stamp, needle and thread.  I also used a few scraps of ribbon for the tags.

I hope that you like the kit, dig out the 'ordinary' photos that you have and make them something special with this gorgeous kit!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A huge milestone!

Yesterday was a very special day for us as it was Jack's 18th birthday. I didn't factor in just how emotional it would be to reach this milestone!
I am so fortunate to have such a loving and kind young man in my life and he makes me so proud in all he achieves. He's worked hard through school and did well in his GCSEs, he was selected as a prefect, he has won awards for outstanding achievement and also for outstanding contribution to school life. Jack is a shining beacon of hope for the future and I am so very proud of him.
As it was a special day, I was allowed to take some photos - I'm usually expressly barred from using the camera in his presence!! It's important to mark the important events and they don't get more important than this!!
Where did that sweet chunky bubba go? What happened to the hilarious toddler? When did I lose my chatterbox preschooler? Who is this young man of 6 foot 4" with the boomingly deep voice and chin stubble? How did 18 years go by so quickly? Crikey, it's scary!!
Well my darling Jack, you are an adult now. There are a whole new load of adventures and challenges waiting out there for you. Go and grab your life darling, squeeze the juice out of each moment and enjoy!! Love you Spud!!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Life book 2013 - week 3

This week's lesson was by Christy Tomlinson of 'SheArt' fame and continued the theme of new beginnings that seems to have run through the projects so far. She showed us how she creates a collaged background and I had great fun sticking down scraps of patterned paper, stickers, diecuts and ephemera including my Asda shopping receipt. It a great way to recycle stuff and I'm looking at junk mail in a whole new light!
The key to bringing everything together into one cohesive background is to scrape gesso over the whole page. This highlights the layers, mutes colours and adds texture. Once the gesso was dry I added smears acrylic paints, shimmer mediums and inks using my fingers. It felt really great to get my hands messy but I couldn't quite use my palm as a palette as Christy does! I stamped words and added swirls of alcohol ink and splotches of Glimmer Glam, anything goes with art journaling and its incredibly free. I just decided to keep my colour palette limited to yellow/orange/red with touches of green.
The main focus of this week was 'new blooms', creating new growth to take us into the new year. Christy talked about taking lessons we have learned over the past year into the new year to help us grow but become something slightly different. Like a dandelion sends its seeds out with all it's genetic code from its past but it still grows into something slightly different and unique. I don't tend to dwell on all of the personal growth aspects of the classes but I thought that this was a cool concept and so I wanted to incorporate a dandelion into my page somehow.
The video showed us how to create flowers using tissue paper and foil plus a few paints, sprays, stamps and stencils. The result was a fabulous sheet of foil covered with layers of colour and texture that we could use to die cut, mould or tear flowers from. I created shapes that evoked dandelion seeds to me and added fluffy fibres to add lightness. I made a main flower at the bottom of the page and then added three seeds blowing away in the wind and taking my dreams with them. It was so easy and fun to make these flowers and I can definitely see me making more in a range of shapes and sizes - I have three more sheets of foil ready to use! This week's class was refreshing and what's more, I'm still keeping up!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Life Book 2013 - catching up week 1

I'm quite surprised at how compelling I am finding the Life Book class.  I came to a bit of an impasse with the second project for week 1 which was about creating a journal page about your journey into 2013.  It was to include your hopes and aspirations for the coming year and also celebrate your current blessings.  Tam drew a road with herself in a car and her hair blowing free in the wind and she drove towards the sun.  The concept made sense to me but I really didn't 'feel' the whole road idea!  It stopped me in my tracks and so I decided to skip past it and carry on with the week 2 project.

While I was stuck I got on with creating a background for the page using the fabulous vintage sheet music my wonderful father-in-law found for me at an auction.  I covered the page with the sheet music torn into pieces and then scrape gesso over the surface to soften and blend the pieces together.  I played then by adding smears of shimmery paints in white, gold, red and green.  I rubbed peach and cream acrylic paints on with my fingers which was very therapeutic!  In the meantime I kept ruminating on the whole journey idea and was drawn to a ladder or a staircase but also wanted it to have a natural feel.  This evolved into a tree with a spiral staircase leading up into its branches.

I cut leaves from watercolour paper, painted them and then wrote my hopes and dreams onto them.  To make them less prominent on the page I smeared shimmer paint over each leaf to create a cloudy shimmery group of leaves.  I found a Tim Holtz 'journey' stamp in my stash (another one I didn't know that I had!) and stamped it onto a scrap of painted watercolour paper which I cut freehand into a heart.  I punched flowers out of the remaining scrap paper and wrote my blessings onto them.  I added these to the bottom of the page, grounded at the start of my journey into this new year.  A bit of doodling and I was done, as soon as I was in the zone I couldn't stop and I'm so pleased with the finished piece.

The new lesson was released yesterday and I'm already itching to get going on it!  I have a feeling that this is going to be a very creative year!!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Free Prima notecards

Have you become a regular on the Prima Marketing Facebook page yet?  If not I can highly recommend you get into the habit of popping by their page regularly as they offer free printables on a very regular basis.  This week they have a mixed set with cards from quite a few of their paper ranges.  The mix of designs means that there is sure to be something for everyone on in this set.  Just search for Prima Marketing on Facebook, like their page and you will see a tab at the top of the page for the current freebie.  Have fun!!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Life Book - week 2 project

The second week's lesson in the Life Book course was about creating an art doll symbolising our true intentions for the coming year.  The video for the lesson was fun and easy to follow and it encouraged us to use our stamps and combine them in different ways to create a doll.

I have never created anything like this before because quite frankly I have never had the time or seen the point! However, going through the process made me realise a few things - I have waaaaay more stamps than I had realised, I have some pretty cool stamps that I have NEVER used and I tend to use the same stamps over and over but in the same way!  Creating this art doll made me stop and think about what I want for the year and part of that is to just enjoy the process of being creative.  When craft is your work there is a real danger of the fun being sucked out of it and I really don't want that to happen.  I find it hard to find the time to craft for myself and something like this would usually be way outside of my comfort zone but thats exactly why I need to do it.  So I am celebrating the process of being arty and creative as my intention for the year.

I broke out my Dylusions sprays for the background in yellow and red but they were so intense they dominated everything and so I decided to add gesso over the top.  One of the cool attributes of these sprays is that they reactivate when wet so adding the gesso meant that they blended into it to become a much softer version of the initial colours.  I much preferred the soft background and the gesso gave a great 'tooth' for other mediums later on.  I stamped my images onto plain copy paper and cut out each one.  I then had loads of fun combining things, turning them upside down and coming up with something that I liked.  I glued them with Matte Medium and when they were dry I added colour with watercolour pencils and crayons.  I printed a couple of quotes out and added the cut-out words around the edges of the page - the theme of the quotes was 'change' which is my word of the year and it felt apt to add that here.  The final touches were made with fine pens to add little details that made the design my own and then I had to stop or I would have tinkered for ages as I was having so much fun!

If you just want to have some fun, play freely with your supplies or want a warm-up exercise to get your mojo going, I can highly recommend that you give creating an art doll a go!  It doesn't need to take very long and its so satisfying, no need to be Da Vinci or Damien Hirst!!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Total Papercrafts kit 1 for January

Being away for a long break over Christmas and New Year really put things behind and having limited craft materials and no internet made life very tricky.  We are back now and have hit the ground running!!  Our first kit for this month and for 2013 is a double page that is one for the boys.  We all have men in our lives whether its sons, brothers, fathers, husbands or boyfriends and if they are honest they would probably admit that they never really grow out of the 'boy' phase!  We have a joke in our house that most guys never really mature beyond the age of 7 - not sure how true that is but its certainly funny!!

The kit uses the 'Attitude' line from Kaisercraft which is grungy and masculine - perfect for the guys.  We chose four of the double sided papers together with a 12 x 12 printed transparency and a pack of rub-ons.  We also have a fabulous technique to create riveted metal stars as embellishments, after all not all guys are comfortable with flowers on their scrapbook layouts!

The sample design uses three 6" x 4" and two 4" x 4" photos (cut down from 6" x 4" prints).  You could easily adjust the number and orientation of the photos on this design to incorporate what you have.  Don't have lots of photos from the same event?  Don't worry, you could opt to make this as a single page or you could replace one or more photos for journaling blocks - there is a white grid paper in the kit that would work beautifully.

The kit contains; cardstock, 4 sheets of double sided patterned paper, 12x12 printed transparency, pack of rub-ons, adhesive metal tape, 2013 calendar, star template and full step-by-step instructions.

To complete this sample design you will also need; a black inkpad, assorted stamps (splats/text/swirls etc), blending tool, 3d foam, a length of black ribbon or string, assorted border punches (postage stamp/notebook, bracket).

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Art Journaling

I have decided to treat myself to something very special - a year long art journaling class!! It feels very indulgent to do something that is entirely for me, not work but I decided that I needed to treat myself. When I say treat myself I don't mean anything wildly expensive, the entire year of weekly classes was just £60 - talk about a bargain!!
I've been attracted by the world of art journaling for quite some time for both its the fabulous range io techniques used and for its therapeutic aspects. There's been a lot going on in my life and it will be good to have a place to vent. Think old school diary meets art class and you'll get an idea of what it's all about.
There are masses of online courses available right now, some of them are free. If you are looking for a free course try 'Creative Jump Start 2013' hosted by Natalie Kalbach. Running throughout January this course offers daily classes to kick off your creativity. Obviously it's already running but you can access all of the previous classes at any time and the group of designers involved is really great.
If you're up for something longer term then you really can't go wrong with 'Life Book 2013' run by Tamara Laporte at www.willowing.ning.com  The weekly classes are created by a terrific collection of designers - over 20 in total! There's a great mix of styles and techniques with videos and PDFs supporting each class. There's also a forum, a Facebook group and a Flickr group for the course - all this for £60, now that really is a great deal!!
Our first class was to create a 'fairy art mother', someone to watch over you and support you while you create. The key was to make her look kind and compassionate which is not easy when you flunked art classes at school!! I pushed through the pain of drawing a face that I could tolerate and ended up with something I really like. Here she is...... be gentle with me, it's the first class!! Lol x

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Random Acts of Kindness

I first heard of random acts of kindness (RAKs) about 10 years ago on a scrapbook forum. Members just did something nice for another person, it could be something very small like sending them a small packet of embellishments but it was about the thought behind it.

Yesterday one of my friends posted on Facebook that as she will be turning 50 during 2013 she wants to mark this by promising to do 50 random acts of kindness. A little while later she posted again and said that she thought it would be amazing if 49 people could join her to make 50 and a total of 2,500 kindnesses. I signed up right away and so did quite a few of us. In the space of a few hours there were 39 of us taking part.

I reckoned that it would be one small thing each week and that would be such an easy thing to do. Kind acts can be so powerful and let's be honest, we can all do with more kindness in our lives. It doesn't have to cost anything financially, it can be as small as holding a door open for someone or giving up a seat. I can absolutely do that and I do that sort of thing anyway but making a conscious effort to do something nice can only be a good thing.

If you'd like to join in with the group then feel free to drop me a text/email and I can add you to the Facebook group. Lets start the year off with some good stuff!!

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

One word for 2013

Each year, rather than make a single resolution I pick a word to focus on for the coming year. Sometimes it has been something specific that I really want to focus on and other times it has been more general. In recent years I chose 'organise' and really put my mind to getting my calendar and design work better planned. I've also picked 'connect' with the goal to get better connected to family and friends. The funny thing is that these words have ways of creeping into other aspects of my life and creating positive change. 'Organise' didn't just crop up in my business life, I found myself organising other parts of my life - planning redecoration and getting back to driving again. These one little words have been very powerful things to focus on and so it's something I'm going to continue!

So what about this year? In the past my words have come to me easily but I struggled a bit this time. I know that there are some big things coming up in 2013, my son becomes an adult, is due to finish 6th form and we are going to be moving home. I'm ready to move forward and embrace all of these things and also want to leave some tough stuff behind. When I spoke to my sister about my search for my word she started talking about how she saw me as a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis (don't ask, it did make sense in the context of our chat!!). She suggested 'transform' but that didn't sit comfortably. After a bit more thought I realised that the word I was looking for was 'change'.

There is a lot of change due to come our way over the course of the next 12 months, some of it exciting and some a little scary! There are things I'd like to change about myself, my business and my relationships. I see change as a force for good whether its forced upon us or we choose it and it seems a really good choice for the coming year.

So what about you? If you were to pick a word for 2013 for yourself what would it be? Would you rather make a resolution? I'd be really interested to see what words or resolutions you pick xxx