27 February 2016

Stitches 2016 Part Two - The Show

Hi everyone and welcome to the second instalment of my weekend at the recent UK trade show (if you missed the first instalment it can be found HERE). I was lucky enough to spend my time demoing on the IndigoBlu stand (find out more about that HERE) and on the Craft Stamper stand. The amazing force of nature that is Trish Latimer had worked her boots off to arrange for a few of the Design Team to demonstrate on the stand whilst she took the opportunity to talk to the assembled buyers, retailers, suppliers and designers. It was an absolute joy to finally get to meet my 'cyber boss' and (though it looks like she's ready to murder me here) she was in fact the sweetest and kindest person ever.

I set up camp on Monday morning for a few hours of playtime right next to the fabulous Kay Carley. We also got to see the lovely Georgina Ford and several other crafty buddies (Anne Redfern, Brenda Brown, Nikki Acton and Cathryn Perkins) stopped by to say hi which was so fantastic.

With limited stash (no craft mat and a borrowed heat tool) to hand I put together this canvas...

The base of the canvas had been covered and stencilled in texture paste in advance so I set to work with the new Distress Crayons. To date I only have the neutrals set (the others are in the post!!!) so this was always going to be something of a monochromatic creation. I stamped with Archival Inks and scribbled over the top with the crayons, smudging them with my fingers before spritzing them with water to create the most fantastic splodges and runs. The crayons are pure pigment and non-waxy/oily so you get the most awesome coverage which can also be diluted, since they are water reactive. With lace, tape and a couple of cheap frames attached to the background I set to work on the focal image.

I worked with the IndigoBlu stamps that were to hand (in this case the gorgeous A6 Valerie) and again used the Distress Crayons to watercolour on plain white card. There were a few things I've learned about this process that I'll share in another post as there have been so many questions already. With some gentle stencilling in the background and a decent layer of the new Distress Collage Crazing Medium over the top I was able to go back in again with the crayons to help frame and define the delicate cracks. Previously I've found adding shading on top of any form of glaze or medium to be tricky (Distress Markers can be paler and pencils/markers too harsh) so the crayons are ideal for this.

Can't even begin to describe how much fun it was to be given license to just play for a few hours with absolutely no expectations or deadlines!
Thank you so much for this opportunity Trish.

Other highlights included getting to spend a little quality time with the amazing Ken Oliver and his fabulous Color Bursts, seeing the beautiful Ink Buds, Pauline Wheeler and Hels Sheridan, saying hi as I rushed passed to the lovely Katy Leitch, catching up with the incredible Julia Stratford-Wright (and her sidekick Andy Skinner!) and seeing that man Tim in action again! I've probably forgotten to mention people but it became such a blur rushing from stand to stand and waving like a nutcase as I spotted people from afar so humble apologies if that's the case here.

Right, I'm off again. Deadlines, deadlines, and the small matter of a Tim tag still to do! I will definitely share my experiments, hints and tips on the Distress Crayons soon, but for now have a great weekend!

Take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

26 February 2016

Stitches 2016 Part One - The Tim Holtz Experience

Hi everyone and welcome! Oh boy it's been a fast and furious weekend (well I say weekend - make that early Saturday through to late Tuesday!) as the annual UK trade show affectionately known as 'Stitches' got under way at the NEC in Birmingham.

The weekend started with a retailer workshop with the awesome Tim Holtz, a chance for us to get the low down on the new products launched by Ranger so we can share them with everyone and spread the love. These things are always done at a break-neck speed as there's a lot of ground to cover in a short space of time with tons of product knowledge to absorb and test along the way. This experience was made extra special by the fact that I got to share it with two of my crafty besties Anne and Kath - special memories I'll treasure.

We got to use the new Framed Panel, which could as easily form the basis of a journal or scrapbook cover as well as the more obvious framed collage or picture. The Collage Medium is brilliant with 'a drying time of NOW' so if you're not one for waiting around this is definitely for you! We also got to play with the 'Crazing' version, fabulous for adding the finest of cracks to projects (depending on how thickly you layer it). And of course the star of the show, the product everyone has been clamouring for - Distress Crayons -  they certainly lived up to the hype and I may just have to get these on permanent order so I never run out!!!!

Tim took time to answer every question, share more product knowledge, get feedback from us on these and other products and praise our newly emerging creations (Anne and Kath got bucket loads for theirs of course!)

Having 'known' the virtual version for so long I finally got to meet the super-talented Kassa Haylesden! and the lovely Sandra Botham who'd sped down from Art from the Heart to join the class. Tim even persuaded his bosses to get involved (see them working away in the corner!) There was a ripple of hysterical hilarity in the room when we were tasked with using the Splatter Brushes with Distress Paint but there were no major dramas and as the lovely Kath demonstrates beautifully here, a few baby wipes can do wonders for those mucky paws!!!

And of course there was chance to take photos with the lovely Mario and Tim, always so patient and generous with their time. Feel free to add your own captions but please, be gentle (and clean)!!! Thank you so much to Tim, Mario and the Notions team for all their hard work and effort.

So at the end of it all what did I create? Here it is, my Framed Collage Panel! I would have loved to have phaffed for longer with the background collaging (instant crafting is not the norm 'chez Marples') but I did get to learn so much more about the Collage Mediums and Distress Crayons which was, after all, the whole point of the exercise. And my honest reaction to the crayons? I'M IN LOVE!!!!!!!!! There's pretty much nothing they can't tackle and achieve, apart from make a cup of tea!

So that's if for the first instalment of catch ups. Over on the IndigoBlu blog later this morning I'm sharing lots of photos of what affectionately became known as 'home' for three days. Then later I'll have instalment number two here, with news of the Craft Stamper stand and so much more.

For now, have a great Friday and take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

18 February 2016

Lilac Dreams for IndigoBlu...

Hi everyone and welcome! During this week the IndigoBlu International DT each get the chance to share a second project with you on their own blogs and here's my canvas - a nightmare to take decent photos of but another learning journey...

(click on each image for a closer look)

I played with the IndigoBlu Floral Fantasy Mixed Media Papers and A5 stamp set, brand new IndigoBlu products (Slap It On Gloss and Diamond Resin) experimented with using more familiar products for the background (Kroma Crackle, Modelling Paste, etc.) and pushed a few boundaries creatively; having watched videos from the awesome Shawn Petite who uses black and white (amongst other things!) with such dramatic effect on her pieces, I employed similar techniques to emphasise and enhance the layering and individual elements on this canvas.

Recently I discovered a new 'challenge' blog called Creative Carte Blanche; it's all about pushing boundaries and discovering your own artistic style, and has the most incredible line up of talent in the Design Team. It got me thinking; for me 'developing your own style' is all about finding which techniques you enjoy using most and what excites you visually. I enjoy using textures, layers, mixing in different media, a narrow colour scheme and clear composition, but there's also a need to keep growing and learning (that'll be the teacher in me!!!)

What about you? I'd love to know what pushes your creative buttons.

Here are some close ups of the finished results...

I urge you to hop on over to the IndigoBlu blog today and throughout the week to take a look at what a few of my fellow team mates have created as they've risen to the task supremely once again! Lots of the new stamps and papers are featured too so they will give you ideas for using yours.

Having drawn inspiration from their whole ethos I'm going to enter this into the inaugural Creative Carte Blanche challenge;
'Try Something Artistic You've Never Done Before'.

I'm also entering this canvas into the following challenges;
Country View Challenges - Make your own Background
Creative Artiste Challenge #11 - Anything Goes with Mixed Media

It's going to be a busy weekend with the trade show at the NEC in Birmingham (I'm there for four days this time demoing for IndigoBlu and Craft Stamper). If you're going make sure you stop by and say hi as it's always great to catch up with cyber friends in person!

Whatever you're up to this weekend take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

17 February 2016

Love is in the Air at Frilly and Funkie

Hi everyone and welcome. Over at Frilly and Funkie we are feeling romantic as 'Love is in the Air!' Our host for this challenge is the supremely talented Zoe Hillman. Here's what she has to say; "With Valentines this weekend I've chosen "LOVE IS IN THE AIR" as the challenge theme. Create a vintage or shabby chic project with love as the central theme. Think hearts, cupid, love and romance in whatever colour palette your heart desires."

The Design Team will vote for their top four picks, the winner being invited to join us in a Guest DT spot at Frilly and Funkie and the next three receiving badges to display on their blogs. Everyone who enters and follows the rules will go into a draw to have the chance to win a $25 spending spree at The Funkie Junkie Boutique. So plenty of reasons to enter! And there's still time, with the challenge being open for another week.

And so to my Funkie DT project for this challenge. As mentioned previously here on my blog the lovely Linda Coughlin was kind enough to stamp out some of Wendy Vecchi's brand new releases for the Frilly and Funkie team so we'd get chance to play and give everyone ideas for using them. Talk about kid in a sweetshop! What was planned as being a 'play day' turned into a 'play weekend +' and I'm still a long way from being done! So much fun and so many possibilities, I could do with an extra week!...

(click on each image for a closer look)

Genuinely, first on my pre-order list this year was been the bundle of Wendy Vecchi background stamps which, if you're a card maker, are ready to go for quick and layered creations. The 'Just Say It' one can be cut up but here it provided the base for an easy card. I spritzed the stamped card with Fired Brick Distress Spray Stain, flicked water over it, and blended the edges with Walnut Stain Distress Ink. There's also a little stencilling across it using Wendy's new 'Lots of Dots' stencil. You'll see it's been framed by two further backgrounds; the black layer has been embossed with the Tim Holtz 'Quilted' Texture Fades embossing folder and the kraft base swiped with Studio 490 Gold embossing paste before being stitched.

Now for all those hearts. I used the Wendy Vecchi 'Never Enough Hearts' stencil to draw heart shapes onto the background, to stencil through with more Gold embossing paste, and to cut out hearts from other materials. You'll spot fabric, stencilled with those dots again, Tattered Rose card embossed with the 'Quilted' folder and some from a piece of card stamped with the Ticking Background stamp, coloured with Antique Linen Distress Spray Stain. The sentiment comes from Wendy's 'Bird for Art' stamp set and can be cut with a die from Tim's Tag Collection. Remnant Rubs and an Idea-Ology Heart Charm added vintage style finishing touches.

That's it for my 'Love is in the Air' project. Please check out what my Frilly and Funkie team mates have created HERE and then it's over to you!

I'll be back with more Wendy Vecchi playtime projects soon, but for now thank you for joining me and take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

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