Thursday, 28 February 2013

Something a little different.....

I usually post about things that are paper related but today I thought I'd write a bit about something a little different, a fab online shop I have discovered which has a wonderfully eclectic range of products including accessories and clothing.
I stumbled upon House of Wonderland via Facebook after taking part in a networking ladder and something about their quirky style caught my eye. I was looking for something to symbolise my word of the year (my annual word to inspire and motivate) and I was drawn to their range of bespoke accessories. The 'tattoo hearts' grabbed me instantly and I loved that I was able to choose any colour for the heart and any word for the tattoo banner - this was something that would be made for me, a one of a kind piece and that was perfect!  I opted for a traditional and simple red heart with no embellishment but I could have had turquoise tiger stripes or a crystal encrusted heart if I had preferred, the options were only limited by my imagination! To make it even better, this unique piece was only £12 including a silver chain so it would be ready to wear as soon as it arrived.  I was so excited and decided to order a second piece with my sister's word as well.
I know how time consuming it can be to make pieces but hand but I received my order within 3 days and they were wrapped in really pretty paper, perfect to give as a gift as they were.
Of course this is not the only item that House of Wonderland create, they have gorgeous handmade funky fabric bags, retro coin purses, fab jewellery pieces with retro tattoo images, Betty Page earrings and necklaces, made-to-measure high waisted skirts.  In fact they have more than I could even attempt to list and the prices start at crazy low pocket money levels.  If you're after even better deals then check out their Facebook page as there are regular discount days where for example you can nab a bespoke heart like mine for just a tenner!!
With Mother's Day looming it might be worth leaving their website open on your computer, it beats a bunch of wilting daffs any day :o)
You can find House of Wonderland here - its a fun and fresh website to browse through and its crammed with unique and unusual pieces for those of us with personalities to match! LOL!!

PS....I'm not associated with House of Wonderland in any way, I just like to share when I find a great company with great products and great customer service!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Total Papercrafts kit 2 for February

Here we go with the 2nd kit for this month. I was inspired by the art journal page I recently created as part of a course I am taking. The theme was 'The game of Life' and I loved the end result. I got so much great feedback from my page that I decided to create a scrapbook page from it and this is the result.
The idea is to create a game board type background which starts or ends with a single photo of someone. This would be perfect for a photo of you!!
The kits clouded 12 sheets of 7gypsies double sided paper, cardstock, a sheet of butterflies, watercolour paper, 2 watercolour crayons and an envelope for hidden journaling.

The sample uses a 3" x 4" portrait photo.

For those attending my clubs you will be able to use my background and text stamps. You will need a 1" paintbrush and water to activate the crayons and a crystal or brad for the flower centre.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Life Book week 8 - Courage

This week's class was from Jane Davenport and I was itching to get going as week 7 had no class. Instead we had a fab interview with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. If you're a fan of templates and stencils then you probably own something designed by Julie as she produces gorgeous templates for The Crafters Workshop.
Anyway, in the class this week we were shown a very cool and surprisingly simple way to draw a complete body. Jane called it 'unstumpifying' as all to often the end result of figure drawing can be short and stumpy looking! I found it super easy to create a longer leaner looking shape and was really pleased with the end result. The journaling theme for this week was courage and I found a great quote online that resonated with where I am right now in life.
My journal pages ended up very different to the class sample (again) as I started off with a collaged background. I glued down scraps of brown paper, scrapbook papers and even a tag to create the base. I painted out an area with white gesso for the figure which I painted with a combination of Claudine Helmuth acrylics and watercolour crayons. I stamped my journaling using Archival ink and then realised that the layers of the collaged background added a lot to the meaning behind the words - it was just one of those happy accidents that wasn't planned, it just evolved. I enjoyed this process so much I may draw another figure just for the joy of it!
I'm happy with the end result and was glad to have something to get my teeth into this week. I must be one of the few people who actually looks forward to a Monday!!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Prima's Friday freebie

Every Friday you can download a free printable from the Prima Marketing Facebook page. This week they have a fab ATC printable which you can use in so many ways, it's well worth downloading.

To get this and each freebie you just need to 'like' their Facebook page. You'll also get info on the weekly ustream broadcast and competitions.

Monday, 18 February 2013

CHSI trade show review

It's trade show season which is great for seeing all of the new products that will be released over the coming months. It's not so great for getting deliveries arranged from suppliers who are jetting all over the place though!
The Craft, Hobby & Stitch International trade show is held at the NEC Birmingham once a year and showcases a range of suppliers and products. We go every year to order new goodies for the kits and to catch up with friends from the craft industry, it's such a small community we always bump into loads of people we know. This year the show was very significantly larger than I can remember it for quite a few years. We can usually do the show floor twice in the day but this year we barely managed it once!
We visited the show with two of my girlfriends who were so excited to get to see a trade exhibition. They were gutted to hear that Tim Holtz wasn't going to be demoing this time, he's done every other year I've attended so it was such a shame that they missed out. We had a VERY early start but arrived not long after the doors opened. Our first stop was at the workshop registration as we had two places booked for a Fimo class and I really wanted us all to do it. We were lucky and got the extra two places and the girls also got seats in the Sizzix and Spellbinders classes respectively.
The Fimo class was very interesting but not really my cup of tea so I was quite happy when it finished and we could get on with the show. We had a drama right away when Michele's tote went missing from the very first stand we looked at. I quickly found it next to a couple at the end of the aisle but they denied all knowledge of it. Thank goodness we reunited the tote and Michele very quickly and we could all calm down.
There were quite a few gorgeous things to see at the show, the DCVW stand was stunning with paper dresses and even a paper peacock!! We stopped for a make & take at a book publisher where we created fabulous funky pin cushions in vintage tea cups complete with their saucers. Even Dave made one and put us to shame with his crafty skills!
So what did we order? Lots of gorgeous Prima papers for kits, some Teresa Collins, some stunning flowers hand made in Bangalore, Gelli Plates, loads of mixed media book titles and Pan Pastels. We have earmarked loads more to order soon as well, it was overwhelming!
We learned how to create felt and some cute tricks with Stix2 products. We laughed till we began to hurt and walked till our feet nearly dropped off! We were given a personal show by Paula Pascual of her new dies and stamps for Sizzix and got a sneaky peek at the new dies coming in collaboration with Prima. We just about squeezed everything into the day and then we were invited to the Craft Awards. Dave was fabulous and said we should go. The lure of free drinks and nibbles was too much for one member of our little group! We had such a laugh at the awards and bonded with the other guests at our table over a fun quiz with a hamper as a prize. Even the assistance of Google couldn't help us to win - cheaters never win!! I have to confess that I didn't know many of the award winners and was a little surprised that the 'paper range of the year' was won by a company I'd never heard of in light of the stunning scrapbook lines available. I think it was more of a card making line - oh well, I wish them the best and ill be campaigning for a scrapbook line next year.
We were very sensible and took the day off today - we all needed it!! Sore feet and heads full of wonderful new goodies don't make for a good nights sleep. We'll be bouncing back tomorrow!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Total Papercrafts February kit 1

Our double page kit for February is chock full of goodies, lots of bits and bobs for you to play with and a new tool for your stash!  We have combined 7Gypsies papers with a fabulous key template/stencil which also includes three key embellishments to alter and include on your layout - loads of fun to be had with this I can assure you!!

This is another kit that will work with all sorts of different types of photos, the maps papers cry out for travel or holiday snaps or you could play with the key idea and include photos of your home or a holiday cottage (or your dream home!!).  There's lots of scope here and you aren't restricted to just these ideas.  I loved the idea of creating a 'washing line' of memories, its an idea from a Masterclass I taught last year and I thought that it had so much scope scope as a double page.  You can include loads of smaller photos - I think that the largest one in the sample is 3" x 3" but you could go larger and include fewer embellishments if you prefer.  Its such an adaptable idea!

The kit includes; cardstock, 4 double sided patterned papers, a key template, string, pegs, envelopes, tickets, tags, paperclips, a Tim Holtz flash card and a Tim Holtz game piece.

To create the sample design you will need brown and black inkpads, a border punch, white acrylic paint or gesso, assorted stamps, alcohol inks or permanent inkpads such as Stazon or Archival.

For those of you who are attending the clubs, I will have the stamps, gesso and alcohol inks available for you to use.

Take care, TP :o)

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Life Book week 6 - Courage

The Life Book project for this week was about creating an image to celebrate your courage. This is a positive process and not about focussing on the reasons you may have had to brave. The class was about creating a full figure drawing of a person in a brave pose with a fab technique involving masking out with both masking fluid and a stencil.

As usual, I didn't do the class exactly as the sample and chose to draw my figure swimming through the hard times. I saw her as refusing to sink regardless of what life throws at her! I used the stencil masking technique to create the seaweed. I used Dylusions and Tattered Angels sprays for the background which was a bit of a challenge as they can be so unpredictable. The hard thing was not knowing how they might be affecting my figure under the masking fluid. Looks like I have some underlying control issues!

After all was revealed I added some shimmer paint and stamps and was reasonably happy with the result. It's brighter than I'm usually comfortable with and not my normal sort of thing but its a successful drawing of a figure. Time to start listening to my fairy art mother who is telling me to stop being critical of my work and just enjoy it!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Life book week 5 - Game of Life

The idea behind the project for this week was to use the idea of a game board to represent the goals and challenges of the coming year. I originally imagined a game of snakes and ladders with achieving a goal moving you up a ladder and life's challenges bring the snakes. While this was a fun idea there was no way I could draw all of that!!
After a bit of thought I decided upon a siding 'Game of Life' style board and cut a piece of chipboard to create a firm base. I adhered watercolour paper and taped all of the edges. The background colour was simply a wash of watercolour crayon with gesso and then the technical challenge began. I drew up a grid of 1" squares on white card and then created a meandering path with lots of twists and turns. I cut away all of the squares outside the path to create a base and then covered this with 1" squares of patterned paper. I attached it to my base and added watercolour shading to create depth and dimension.
The board was embellished with words and phrases from Tim Holtz stamps together with printed butterflies.
The final touch was a pocket full of altered playing cards featuring goals for the year. I picked 5 things that I know I'll have to deal with this year and created a card for each one. I added a dictionary definition of the word on each card. It was interesting to read the different ways in which a word can be interpreted and I realised that the one reason I had picked the word wasn't the only way of looking at it. The other definitions were also goals and challenges that I wanted to address. I popped my cards into a decorated small pocket and added this to the top of my game board do that the cards will always be readily accessible.
I am so pleased with the finished piece and looking at it makes me happy to work towards my goals this year - bring it on!!