Saturday 4 December 2021

2021 Topic 15: Journaling Gratitude with ESN {by Keren Baker}

2021 Topic 15: Journaling Gratitude

Hi everyone, it's Keren Baker with you today, and I'm here to share with you a marble experiment.
It wasn't something that I chose to do- I was looking at my Sara Naumann sets and couldn't get the twig image out of my head and for some reason it just looked like a vein in a piece of marble. I'm not the greatest experimenter in the world, but my curiosity was piqued and I wondered how hard it was to create a faux marble finish with Fresco Finish Chalk Acrylics. Turns out it was a reasonable challenge...which I loved. This is what I ended up with, trying hard not to cover up all the marble completely!

So to begin with I pulled several supplies, which turned out NOT be all the correct supplies, so here is my adjusted supply picture (with the exception of Drying Retarder (which turned out to be very important).

Please excuse the lack of colour on the following step by step photos. Honestly I struggled with it so much as I love colour, but rainbow marble really isn't a thing so I persevered. I was really helped by a video by Amy Howard. I didn't have the same supplies but learned a tonne from her and just fiddled with what I had until I ended up with something resembling marble.

So you need to paint some Heavyweight Smoothy with two layers of Snowflake (and with the amount of paint you're going to throw at this, you really want the Heavyweight!). You have to create a 'scumble' with paint, water and a glaze. It's an equal parts combo for all three of them. So I dabbed the paint on and tried to drag it with my fake 'natural sponge' and despite having 2 layers of Snowflake on the Smoothy it literally drank it up instantly. You can see that in the centre with the blue gray paint; the paint just didn't stay wet long enough to be moved around.

I needed more open time. The glaze is to make the paint more transparent without losing colour but it was drying too quickly, so I got out my bottle of Drying Retarder. I did one part water, one part Matt Glaze, one part paint and a drop of Drying Retarder. Oh, and if you like Hotel Chocolat Super Thin Mint Truffles, their leftover layers make awesome paint palettes!!

You're literally dabbing the paint mix with a sponge (but directionally diagonally) and then supposed to soften the edges with a lint free cloth. I just used baby wipes as I needed something that would help the paint to move and it seemed to work.

The idea is to create layers. I added in some White Fire and a little Elephant to make a different toned scumble and continued the sponging and blending.

Now you need to add a layer of Snowflake scumble- exactly the same proportions. You're making a softer, more homogenous layer of paint effect.

Literally dabble, dab and sponge. Until you're happy and now it's time for veining. Forget the recommended turkey feathers- I had my secret Sara Naumann stamp from ESN18

I presumed that you'd use a more neat paint mix as the veining is more obvious- but no, you just use a scumble of a darker colour, and blend it with a dry brush. I'd say move reasonably quickly when you've stamped your image onto some scumble mix on your craft mat, but the Drying Retarder does an awesome job of buying you time!

Don't like what you've done? No worries, add another layer of Snowflake and then more veining. A few videos I saw recommended that veining is kept to one direction and not to have lots of branching off it. But I reckon it's your project, so who cares?! You can see below I've added some more neat Snowflake if I really wanted to erase a dodgy area.

Here came the surprising part of the experiment. I had really given my piece of Smoothy a battering and it was pretty warped. I couldn't be bothered to wait overnight placing it under some weights, so I just stuck it between cutting plates and rolled it through my die cutting machine twice. I opened it up, and it suddenly had the loveliest sheen (which I struggled to capture in this photo). If your plates are marked, don't worry, it just gives more texture to the piece. I ran it through a few more times and the piece transformed into having a soft sheeny effect which really astonished me.

Here was the challenging part..creating something to fit in with the topic!! A few years back I made gratitude journals for friends and family so I thought something similar might be useful. I had chosen Sara's ESN49 set as it fitted perfectly with journalling gratitude.

I needed another alphabet to spell out gratitude - keeping the 'gr' a lighter colour I wanted to spell attitude out correctly (even though grattitude is obviously not spelled like that) as isn't it all about our attitude to our circumstances that results in our gratitude and thankfulness? I used Words 2 from Ink & The Dog which I normally use as a complete stamp but I had to chop it up to make it spell the sentiment (I'm now going to have to buy the stamp again so I can keep one as a background stamp!).
I cut out an aperture, stamped some of the brackets from the set above and set about creating a front cover for my journal.

You can see several of the details; the sewn edging (which if I'd realised, I'd have sewn after I punched the holes for the ring binding, and notice the Grunge Paste I added through stencil PS247.

It still looked a little bare, so I added a spray of leaves from ESN17 by colouring with Copic Markers, trimming out, adding highlights, beads and wire spirals!

To encourage people to write down what they were thankful for, I wanted to add lines and numbers. The more things we feel thankful for, the better. This page would be seen through the front aperture so after stamping on Duralar Matt, I added a turquoise page to give a hint of colour that you can just see through the front cover.

The pages were simple to construct, just using stamps from Sara's different set and using the original I&D Words 2 Alphabet to spell 'thankful'. All of the images are from ESN01, ESN17 and ESN18.

I just had to remember to stamp the right way when turning over the pages so the book 'read' the right's a shame I didn't take more care when stamping the musical notes image at the bottom!! Absolutely love the post card stamp from ESN17; sooo useful!

Gratitude is a practice, it's a way of life, it's a discipline and it makes everything else seem more in focus and balanced. I find it easy to slump into criticism or negativity if I'm not careful and something like this book really helps me to count my blessings. Commit to 28 days of gratitude and see how your mindset changes by the end of it- that's my challenge to you! I am also glad of chance to experiment and play with paint as I feel that it's an area I really to need to improve and work on, so this project gave me a chance to try something new. Paint effects are not needing to be stuck in the 1980's - I reckon this one is fine being dragged into today (although maybe not on my lounge walls!!)

Lovely to be with you again, have a thankful day.
Keren x

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Words and Pictures said...

Fabulous marble effect, Keren - such a clever use of Sara's twiggy branch (love the part way photo where you see the tree in the mist too). A wonderful book to encapsulate your philosophy of grat(t)itude!
Alison x

SewPaperPaint said...

I am totally in love with this project Keren! The contrast is stunning! I love the way you developed the gray background and love that you chose these stamps. Such a gorgeous book. xx, Autumn

Ellie Knol said...

Gorgeous Keren.. LOVE the inside pages too.. so clever!