Sunday 31 May 2009

July Craft Stamper is out now

.....and my article is on page 74. I really enjoyed doing this article, because it uses the new Viva paints for texture and colour, and I also covered the wooden IKEA frame with strips of copper embossed metal. Plus I managed to squeeze in some crowns and castle stamps. There are loads of step-out photos of how to do the painted background, so get your copy now!

As the Spring and Sprout papers are brand new, I managed to make a sample of those too using the same stamp (SICC7) which was in copper in the frame (above), but here I stamped it on some fo the different papers, then layered them, and put in the occasional copper turret roof as an accent.

There are loads of neat ideas in this issue of the mag. I adore Jo Capper Sandon's bird cage, and Isabelle Norris did a neat altered house (both these ladies are on our DT), and Sue Roddis had done a cool altered book using fabric. Very nice.

What a great weekend its been with fabulous hot weather. The kittens are now beggining to venture outside, but rather than guard the garden from birds, they figure it's the best litter box in the world, and they have taken a liking to eating our bean and leek baby plants. Oh dear! We managed to fit in a couple of BBQ's too.


Wednesday 27 May 2009

Metal Covered Books

It's half term break, so the kids are off for a week, but ours have been off for about 3 weeks now with the measles !! Actually it wasn't that bad, almost worse was that the washing machine died (and as sheets and towels were going through it daily this was a crisis!), quickly followed by a webiste malfunction where we lost pretty much all the images of products and art from our website. So it has been an interesting few weeks! Throughout this 3 of the 4 children had yr 6, 7 and 10 exams. Oh and Millie spent an afternoon in hospital with a suspected broken arm, so she had a scribe for her SATS, then on the last day she became full on measle city...good timing on her we have been in quarrantine here for about a month now! LOL

We have also been looking to add to our family for the last couple of don't panic...I don't have any big secret to spill......... we were thinking along feline lines.... I seriously do NOT need more than 4 kids in my life!!! So knowing the recuperating measley kids were in need of a little measle-distraction, we got serious about finding a cat. We have scoured Essex in the last 2 months looking to rehome an older, settled adult cat ( mainly because after 4 kids I wasn't keen to face toilet training that a kitten requires LOL), but after going to several open days, filling out numerous forms, and having to virtually sit an exam to qualify, we decided that a kitten was probably a lot less effort, and hopefully wouldn't have too many issues like some of the older cats we saw. We need a confident cat to chase the magpies, pigeons, ducks, morehens, rabbits, pheasants etc away from our flourishing vege patch! As we are on a farm, we think this location is a cat's paradise - cat rescue places don't seem so sure about that to our utter surprise!! So last weekend we found 2 lovely boys, Milo (black) and Otis (black and white) who are embarking upon our feline scarecrows-in-training programme.

The kids are all loving the kitten antics, and I'm thrilled because they are pretty onto it re kitty litter, so the toilet training thing is pretty much sorted, we just have to get them used to the outdoors now, every day they are exploring a little further, and they are hilarious to watch. Oh and they are good at catching (and eating ) bugs too - we have around quite a lot of spiders, ants, black beetles, bees...all kinds of crunchy wiggly things....I guess they have to learn that hard way about those that sting or aren't so good for them! So far so good!

Now that the chidlren are getting better, they have started crafting. There is stuff all over the kitchen table while they experiment with paints and metal! So I just thought I'd share with you what they have been up to.

Courtney had to cover her second art book with metal. Last time she used pink metal and sanded it back, but this time she decided to use aluminium metal, and she coloured the metal with the new Precious Metal Colour Paints from Viva in greens and copper. These paints seem quite durable on the metal showing no signs of scratching off although it is early days. I'm interested to see how well the paint copes with her handling of the book!

Ella then got involved. Now that Courtney was out of the way and back at school, she started using the supplies out on the table and the leftover metal scraps.Ella decided to cover a smaller book (pics above and below), and she also used the Viva Precious Metal Colour metallic paints, but she used 2 different colour combinations, mainly purples and greens to get a nice contrast. I think it turned out really good, and makes a nice sturdy notebook. The only help she got from me was how to stick it down with humungo tape, but once I showed her how to do the front, she did the back and spine all by herself, she's 12 (Year 7) and I think she really enjoyed this project. She often makes this kind of thing for birthday gifts for friends or teachers.
Not to be outdone, Hugo (8yrs) needed a little box to keep some flash cards in, so he made and decorated this one. First he drew his name on the front of the metal, then puffed that out from the back. Then around that he used a mould - that alphabet one is really fine detail and takes quite a bit of work to get it all defined nicely! That kept him quiet! Then for the sides he did a great job of ruling lines, using texture wheels, ball/ cup or sometimes he made up patterns himself. Once he was happy with it all he distressed it with espresso paint, and then fixed the metal to the box with humungo tape. All the other kids at school are most impressed with his box!Now that the weather is warmer, we are gradually getting the garden sorted out (well Mark is mainly - I just do the watering and occasional weeding). He planted leeks, courgettes and beans this week. The potatoes are flourishing in some cool barrels we are trying out this year - they have a window-slot to open up when you want to harvest the potatoes - I wonder if it will work?? The carrots are showing green tips already, we need to put in another row of seed this week, and the garlic we planted ages ago is well under way. Soon we'll get some tomatoes on the go. Last year the pigeons and ducks ate all the brocolli green leaves one early morning, so this year we have that under a plastic tunnel thing - sorry I'm not up with the lingo! Next we will need to make collars for them i believe. I'm still a beginner!! In New Zealand you just plant something and it grows, here there seems to be a lot of disease, bugs or adverse weather conditions to contend with, so I am sure that gardening skills of people here are far more attentive than what we are used to! My friend Diane is an avid gardener, and she pops over here once a week, so she is our chief consultant and advisor. I think we'd be a bit lost without her!

Can you believe June is around the corner?? We still have last years calendar on the wall! I'm still in denial that it's 2009 already. Next weekend I'll be demoing at the Craft Barn in Lingfield, so if you are down South, and need some inspiration do come along. They usually have about 20 people demoing so it's a fantastic way to learn lots of ideas, and see many products being demoed. I'll be using all the new stamps: Crowns and Castles, Metal Xtra, Spring and Sprout papers and Precious Metal Paints. Hope to see you there.


Saturday 9 May 2009

How cool are these?

Yes. I know, it's shocking that I haven't posted, but I have about a million excuses. Mostly I have been away teaching nearly every weekend since I last posted. I had Easter at home - a chance to see the family for some quality time!!

ArtsyCrafts was a highlight for me (and Lin) in March. We had 2 fun filled weekends with fabulous peope who each made a wonderfully unique cabinet full of all sorts of goodies, as well as a few other smaller altered art projects. I really enjoy these events, we put so much time into developing the proejcts, sourcing new supplies to work with, and sharing the techniques with all of you is the best bit.

The details for the new weekends in October later this year will be live at the end of this week, if you get a chance to come its going to be great, the theme is "time" and we already have many of the projects well under way in the planning.

Back to my travels, I was in Paris twice at SMAC, and then a few weeks later Version Scrap. Both events were very busy and my school girl French is coming along nicely! I also had a wonderful day teaching at Imagine That PaperCrafts in Upminster (close to us) a couple of weeks back, and a busy weekend demoing for Lin at Ally Pally here in London and lots of other bits and bobs in between. It's all been a blur!

So during all that going on, we also designed loads of new products. We have papers as seen on this paper spread, and also on the house book. They are called Squiggly Papers (Spring and Sprout) and there are 28 A5 sized papers in a pack, 4 of each double sided design. So that is 7 different double sided papers.

I am really loving these!! We used a different printer this time, so they are are different paper stock to previous papers we have printed, these have a matte finish, perfect for stamping on, the weight is 140gsm, and they are made from totally recycled paper, and printed with vegetable based inks. Very eco friendly!

We also got a bit carried away in the stamps department. We have created 9 "Crowns and Castle" Stamps joining the Squiggly Ink Collection. These I am enjoying loads! They are so versatile.

Here is a mini book I have made with them. I think I managed to use nearly every image!

Those hinges are stamped onto copper metal, then wrapped around the book. I can see these will get a lot of use! I like to crumple the metal, then smooth it out with a paper stump as best i can before stamping on it. This gives a great textural effect for the hinge.

For the base of the book, I started out with some large tags, covered them with Spring and Sprout papers, and then started decorating the papers. I stamped often onto metal, sometimes copper, and sometimes Pearl metal which I like to colour with dye spray like re-inker in a mini mister, or glimmer mists.

The Arch here is the new Mini 22 stamped onto pearl metal - it makes a great frame for a niche in an altered book, or here I used it as a peek-through to the next page.

The triangle shaped border is actually a diamond stamped several times to make a border. I also used the same diamond to either make page turners, or page numbers. On page 2 you can see another stamped border, this time square, it's from the same plate, Geometric Plate 6, from the new collection of Metal Xtra stamps. This collection is designed to be used with metal in mind, but its not necessary. I will have to show you more of this collection in another post

The birds on page 2 are not stamped, they are actually on one of the papers - they are slightly larger than the stamp from Tops and Tails plate 2. The little flowers dotted around are a variety of flower stamps from the Tops and Tails, or Egg and Nog collections, and are stamped onto shrink plastic - these make cute textural embellishments.

Here are a couple of the castle turrets. You can stamp them in such a way that the knobbly wall joins together, and then you add in a turret of your choice. Then you have side-walls to lengthen the turret , and you can add arches, windows, blockwork etc. I will also show you how this works more clearly in another post.

I am quite partial to a turret with a copper roof though!!

Another metal xtra border down the centre of this page, and these birds are stamped, and water coloured with distress ink.

You can see a sneak of the playing card symbols through on the next page. That stamp is actually a square, but i stamped them on pearl metal, distressed with black paint, and cut each one out individually.

Now the last page is my favourite.....

I adore this shield. I stamped it in metal, and embossed from the back to puff out the jewels at the top of the crown, and the swirls. If you make a pattern in the blank background and rub some black paint into the grooves, it leaves a wonderful pattern. The fleur de lys is a nice addition to the centre.

Well I hope that gives you a taste of what you might do with these stamps.
Whether is a little princess, a man, or a boy who like dragons, these stamps are sure to appeal.

There are some more ideas coming in the July issue of Craft Stamper.

And I promise, now that I am home and things settle down a bit, I shall blog more. Pease leave your comments and let me know what you've been up to!