21 May 2015

A Pocket Full of Posies for IndigoBlu

Hi everyone and welcome. This month I've got the chance to provide a piece for the latest IndigoBlu challenge, the theme of which is 'Pocket Full of Posies'. Well, with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show getting us all ooohing and aaahing at the gorgeous blooms on show this was always going to be an easy task! I took inspiration from the unusual ways those clever designers have come up with to display the fruits (or rather flowers!) of their labours, including ageing things to give the impression the gardens have been in situ for decades (which of course they haven't).

(click on the images for a closer look)

Having picked up some cheap canvases recently I put one to good use, covering it a little stencilling and some bubbled metallic paint before adding layers and drips of English Cottage Artist's Acrylic Paints. Then I attacked it with a piece of sandpaper! I know! Having spent ages getting the paint right some of it was being rubbed away!!! At first I was a bit ginger about doing this (less is more sometimes) but then became rather violent and the results were much better (though maybe you should be the judge of that).

Now for those posies, well no, in this case poppies from the newly released 'Giant Poppy' and 'Poppycock' sets. I diluted the paints and water-coloured these before cutting them out, layered them up and grouping them together. They needed a bit of grounding so I used the grid pattern from the 'Rugged Edge' set and stamped it with White and Black Gee-Sso Good! to continue that aged structural look. Ta dah!!!

Right, that's it from me. Now I highly recommend a trip over to the IndigoBlu online shop to see what else is 'New In' before going over to the challenge to see more gorgeous inspiration. And then it's over to you to join in to be in with a chance to win a fabulous prize.

That's all for now folks. Thanks for joining me today and whatever you're up to today, take care of yourselves. Jenny xxx

16 May 2015

Create Art with IndigoBlu

Hi everyone and welcome! So another Saturday has arrived, and normally this has been my regular 'IndigoBlu slot' where you'll usually get a heads up to my posts over on the IndigoBlu blog. For now there's a bit of a hiatus as there is an International Design Team call out over there (if you haven't applied yet but are tempted the closing date is May 18th 2015!!! so get your skates on!!!)

In the meantime, IndigoBlu are thrilled to announce the imminent arrival of lots of new stamp sets, released officially on 1st June 2015!!! Kay and Alfie took the chance to preview these at the Happy Stampers show in Port Sunlight where they proved to be a huge hit. With this news now out I thought I'd share one of the preview cards made as a 'serving suggestion' for customers and retailers alike...

(click on the images for a closer look)

I went for a bold look with this one, having great fun brayering warm toned English Cottage Artist's Acrylic Paints on to a piece of card to get a somewhat rusty look. If you start with less diluted paint applied lightly and move on to more watery paint applied more generously you get that wonderful mix of pattern and colour without the need to blend over a large area. It's a great idea to grab other colours and repeat this exercise on several sheets of card so you always have custom backgrounds or pieces that can be die cut/stamped on.

I layered my torn 'rusty' piece of card over another piece covered simply in Townhouse Teal and got to work with the stamps from the new Limor Webber 'Plume' set, Limor Webber 'Rugged Edge' set and Limor Webber 'Ink Splats' set. Staying with the paints, I stamped and splattered using more Townhouse Teal, some Hot Cocoa and some Pantry White. After fussy cutting the feather and words, the latter were edged with some of the remaining Hot Cocoa on the Phat Foam (you'll see I did the same thing to the background). The words were then embossed with clear embossing powder. With the addition of simple lines of garden twine the card was done. 

Hope you've enjoyed this week's posts - what a mixed bag! From 'faux fresco' for the current Frilly and Funkie challenge to Marjie Kemper inspired stencilling and now an IndigoBlu Limor Webber teaser! Thank you so much to everyone who's already taken the time to leave me some lovely comments. It's fantastic to see how many of you have enrolled on Marjie's online course - you will definitely have some fun on that! As for me, I've got some essential domestic chores to fit in around a whole weekend of crafting (you'll notice it's not the other way around any more!!!)

Whatever you're up to have a great weekend and take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

14 May 2015

Be True...

Hi everyone and welcome. A few days ago, feeling in need of an injection of positivity I splashed out and enrolled on Marjie Kemper's online class 'Inventive Ink - Colorful Mixed Media Effects' - when I say 'splashed out' it was less than £10!!! I know, what a bargain!!! And I can't recommend it highly enough. To see a trailer and hear more about the course from the hugely talented Marjie herself hop on over to her blog HERE.

With the first few lessons still fresh in my mind I set to work. Apologies for the 'naval gazing' with this one - I've often seen people explain how journalling can 'release' inner thoughts/turmoil and figured I'd give it a go. Fantastic! It's almost as though the process of turning your doubts into something so visual clarifies where you are and where you want to go. I'd highly recommend it!

(click on the images for a closer look)

Marjie's first lessons involved tips and techniques for blending, stencilling, using papers and layering and I decided to 'go for it' with the colours. You'll see they've been added to a piece of paper from Tim Holtz 'Correspondence' collection as these never fail to work perfectly with Distress products. Marjie's projects always have a real depth and intensity and now I know why...

You'll need to take a closer look at the stamping on this page (I didn't want it to be too obvious). As a trained touch typist the querty keyboard image from the 'Documented' stamp set really appealed to me. Another thing I'm loving are the 'Small Talk' chit chat stickers; when you're at a loss for how to express your feelings there always seems to be the perfect thing in the collection.

I'll be off to watch a few more lessons and recharge those creative batteries and highly recommend you join Marjie for the same purpose.
Whatever you're up to take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

13 May 2015

Snap, Crackle, Crackle! at Frilly and Funkie

Hi everyone and welcome. I'm back with my contribution to the Funkie DT samples for the latest Frilly and Funkie challenge 'Snap, Crackle, Crackle!' Pamellia is our host for this one and here's how she introduces the latest theme;"Let's see some cracks on your creations! You can use crackle paint, crackle paste, crackle glaze, crackle accents, an old cracked image, a piece of cracked UTEE, a cracked pattern from a stencil or stamp, you can even doodle on your crackle design! Anything goes, as long as is cracks me up!!"

So, you know when you get a creative idea in your head (usually at the most inopportune moment!) about how you want something to look, but you're not sure how to accomplish it, finish it, or even whether it will work. Well that was definitely the case with this journal spread...

(click on the images for a closer look)

You won't believe what this started with - a covering of Aged Mahogany and Tarnished Brass Distress Paints smooshed around with a baby wipe! After that came a coat of white gesso to tone it all down and give a look of worn plaster. Before adding any paste I stamped 'Becca' to make sure her position on the page was clear, then out came the Crackle Paste and Crackle layering stencil. Once completely dry I added a thick layer of plain paste over 'Becca', let it partially dry, then pressed the stamp back into the paste. Now it was time to add a little colour...

I love how the Lindy's Stamp Gang Magicals and Starbursts develop a wonderful shimmer to them and are fixed when dry. The colours used over the gesso and paste come from the Industrial Chic set and enhance that aged plaster look that you get in old frescos. You can spritz them, paint with them and splatter them (all of which were done here). Time to own up now - I restamped into Becca using Black Archival Ink but it didn't come out as cleanly as I'd hoped (the more paste you use the less easy it is to restamp your image). So I stamped her onto a single ply of tissue with Archival Ink and adhered this over the stamped paste area to fix it. Job done - it worked!

With most of the design in place I needed to add some contrast colour. Using a mix of the green shades from the Industrials sets to colour a strip of paper, I then stamped on it using one of the images from the Tim Holtz Classics #3. The image worked so well I stamped it over the crackled paste areas on the rest of the spread. Having stuck these strips into place they were emphasised with a Distress Marker. You'll also spot copper filigree metal embellishments (with alcohol ink altered pearls) a wonderful Dream key, the stamped sentiment from Tim Holtz Life Quotes set and a couple of Idea-Ology rub ons. A final splattering of Picket Fence Distress Paint brought everything together.

It feels good to get this design out of my head and down on paper (making room for other stuff!) and I'm really pleased with how the crackle element worked. It's been really exciting to take a peak at what my Funkie team mates have come up with for this theme too, and I urge you to head on over to the Frilly and Funkie challenge blog to see for yourselves.

Thank you so much for dropping by today. I hope you feel inspired to join in with the 'Snap, Crackle, Crackle!' fun and even give journalling a go if you've been tempted but not yet tried it.
Whatever you're up to today, take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

8 May 2015

Paris in 'Abandoned Coral'?

Hi everyone and welcome. Thank you for the amazingly positive reaction to my first attempt at journalling HERE. Spurred on by the lovely comments and bitten by the bug I've been getting stuck in again, though sometimes it's a bit trial and error. Here's another spread - not quite Paris in Springtime (but then my DH and I visited this amazing city in the Summertime anyway, a good 20+ years ago!!!) It was a wonderful trip and I'm crossing fingers we can repeat the experience some time soon. In the meantime...

I was inspired by several things including: a photo of the place we stayed; the fact that the colour of the awning in the photo looks just like Abandoned Coral (so I made this a primary project colour); the need to get some ink onto one of the new Tim Holtz Cityscapes stamps; and one of Brenda Brown's journal pages HERE. There is also a new challenge theme over at Stamps and Stencils where they are looking for 'Three of a Kind'.

This took quite some time to complete (in fact I completely scrapped two earlier versions) as it just kept going wrong once the paper had been added and initial inking applied. What went wrong? Muddled ink splattering in the main really, which lead to a confused and over-complicated background - moral of the story is "keep it simple"! There were some techniques I wanted to 'log' for future use, like the mixing of embossing powders and ink for those rusted metallic parts, and paint blistering on the letters. And the Cityscapes stamps are brilliant for creating a border or horizon line, ideal if you are a scrapper or journaller. In amongst a busy composition I kept some 'visual triangles' going, including the repetition of the Eiffel Tower - so you should spot three of them - and the words picked out in Cracked Pistachio.

Well that's a second spread in the bag (and there's another to share soon) and I have to say I am enjoying the freedom this form of crafting gives you. This one will be entered into the following challenges;
Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - Don't abandon the Coral
Stamps and Stencils Challenge - Three of a Kind
Country View Challenges - Simply Scenic

Time to disappear again to get ready for an exciting day of demonstrating for IndigoBlu at Domino Crafts in Wolverhampton tomorrow. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone there! If you can't make it don't forget, there are a number of IndigoBlu shows currently being broadcast over at British Craft Network online tv (so you only need an internet connection to see them).
Whatever you're up to this coming weekend have a great one and take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

2 May 2015

Saturday Step by Step at Frilly and Funkie

Hi everyone and welcome! Well, I've resisted taking the plunge for far too long, but my good friend Brenda Brown's 'Visual Journey' has finally got to me. Having 'rediscovered' an old academic diary I'd decorated for a 'Top Talent Spotlight' some time ago it seemed the perfect opportunity to get started. Not only did my first journal spread get completed, there's a full step by step over at Frilly and Funkie today!!!
Hope you can join me over there to get the blow by blow account.

This journal spread will be entered into these challenges relating to flowers, scenes and journalling;
Country View Challenges - 'Simply Scenic'
Our Creative Corner - 'April Showers Bring May Flowers'
The Mixed Media Monthly Challenge - 'May Flowers'
The Artistic Stamper Creative Team Blog - 'Journalling your heART out'

Have a great weekend everyone and take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

29 April 2015

Stencil Mania at Frilly and Funkie

Hi everyone and welcome. We are moving into the second week of the current challenge over at Frilly and Funkie and our host, the lovely Sue Carrington, has picked one of her favourite tools to set the theme this time around. "Now if you know me, you'll know that stencils are a huge part of my crafting style; in fact I don't know what I would do if I couldn't use a stencil! So for this challenge we want to see your stencils taking centre stage, and the more you use the better!" The winner will earn a Guest DT spot at Frilly and Funkie, and everyone who enters will be entered into the draw to have the chance to win a $25 spending spree at The Funkie Junkie Boutique.

The vast majority of my stencil collection revolves around Tim Holtz' Layering Stencils and lots of gorgeous Studio 490 Wendy Vecchi stencils (all of which are available through The Funkie Junkie Boutique by the way!) I haven't had a 'Wendy fix' in a while and those stencils were definitely calling to me. I'd already got the beginnings of a background using Wendy's Archival Reinkers technique and a few stencils were just what was needed to get this DL card finished (I know, don't adjust your screens - it's not square!!!)
(click on the images for a closer look)

Wendy has a tutorial for this background technique on this month's Make ART Challenge Blog - Re-Inkers (into which this card will be entered) so I'll leave explaining that bit to the expert! The thing I love most about them is that outcome is always different and the patterns created can help to guide the final design. I grabbed my Archival Inks to work out which colours to use on top of the Cornflower Blue base and set to work play.

Orange Blossom Reinker mixed with more surgical spirit was dripped from either end of the card before I added the first of my stencils. The Spotlight Frames and Masks are fantastic for creating a focal point (hence that oval) and allowed me to use Old Ledger and Checkmate without fear of 'invading' that central space. Having added some ornate stamping I used the Hydrangea SiSi with Newsprint paper and Black Clearly for Art to make the dimensional flower. I know hydrangeas aren't usually this colour but the Tea Rose/Orange Blossom option was calling to me! A touch of Forget Me Not and Orange Blossom over the Fern Green leaves give them even more dimension. A 'faux graniteware' Mat Mini pitcher, a couple of Tim Holtz rub ons and a sentiment from his Life Quotes set completed the card.

I'm going to make this my second entry into the new 'Stamps and Stencils' challenge where the theme is 'Anything Goes'. Sue has assembled a fantastic DT line up and I highly recommend a visit if you haven't visited already.
With the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge having an 'Anything Goes' theme this will fit too.

Finally, please indulge me as I share a (somewhat blurry) photo of two of the 24 attendees at the Back2Craft workshop last Saturday... yes, it's Sandy and Toni (Artistic Craft Dabbler) who are fantastic crafters and lovely people, who will be joining those of us stalking attending Wendy's UK workshop in August! It's such a thrill to catch up with the people you get to 'know' online, and I can't wait to see them both again soon. And thank you to everyone who came along that day to try their hands at stamping, gilding and painting - as always it was great fun.

Now, there's a step by step to prepare for Saturday so I'll be off to the craft room again. Thanks for dropping by, and if you haven't seen it already, remember to check out the International Design Team Call over at IndigoBlu. Whatever you're up to today, take care of yourselves. Jenny xxx

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