Saturday, 28 February 2009

Needle felting

My needle felting supplies came yesterday. I'd had a long couple of days was too tired to concentrate enough to craft, so was slobbing out in front of coronation street and had a little play with it.

I bought my colour co-ordinated 'kit' from Crafty Notions,

and this is what came in the plastic box:

A fairly dense sponge block - about 4 x 6 x 1.5 inches.
Felt and muslin
several shimmery nylon fibres
2 different colours of wool
a length of wrapped wool fancy fibre
some silk or imitation silk fibres
a bit of organza ribbon
5 felting needles
1 tool

I laid my 'backing material' (felt for my first go, the instructions say you can use the muslin the end effect would be different.)

I laid fibres of various kinds randomly across the felt and started stabbing with 4 needles in the tool. I also tried using one needle without the tools, as the instructions suggested, and discovered that I liked that much better! It gave me more control over what I was doing and my 'inner control freak' was much happier about that!

There is a lot of repetitive stabbing, but the fibres felt together quite quickly and you have a great deal of control over which elements
and colours go where (unlike traditional 'wet' felting).
I think this is a great way of creating small embellishments - you can make a patch of 4 x 4 inches of felt in half an hour or so, and you could cut or die cut (or maybe even punch?) shapes out of it, to add to other projects. Or you could easily make enough to turn into a little evening bag.

I think the kit is probably OK in terms of value for money, but if I had understood the process and requirements better, I'd just have bought 5 medium felting needles and the foam - because I already have
felt and lots of fibres in my stash!

I did like the fact that this is something you could take with you and do anywhere - doctors waiting room, train, bus etc and the results are
fast enough to satisfy my 'instant gratification' needs.

Masking ATC

I am in a swap where we are required to use 'masking' as part of the process. I had fun with these. I had bought lots of distress inks when they first came out, but they never really inspired me. They seemed a bit dull. I did watch a couple of demonstrations by Time Holtz and realised that the blending, layering and activting the inks with water were important steps , but even armed with that knowledge I never managed to make anything I liked so they have been sitting in a box for some time now!

Annie showed me a new (to me) way of using them - I finally tried it out last night and now I am in love with distress inks!!! I took a craft sheet, dabbed the ink pads onto it (colours next to each other, not on top of each other), spritzed with water, and dabbed my white cardstock onto it. Repeat as often as you need to cover your card. I used Spiced Marmalade and Broken China. I ended up with the most beautiful combination of blues, bluey greens and rusty colours blended into each other. I cut the ATCs from this using the Wizard - so much easiert o get perfect ATC size and shape than knife and ruler, or paper cutter!

I stamped my image with Stazon, then stamped it onto a 'post-it' sticky note, and cut that out. I laid the mask I'd made over my stamped image, and added more Spiced Marmalade to the background around the mask, then lightly spritzed with water to blend the inks. I dried it with my heat gun before stamping a numbers background using Brilliance Coffee Bean, and the words in the window in Ranger's Snowcap pigment ink. I finished the ATC with a few white dots around the edges, using a Ranger Inkessentials white pen.

The interesting swap results

Here are the first sets of the interesting swap ATCs. 4 stampers, the same stamp, and all the freedom in the world. Don't they look different? Mine are always bottom left, Rosie's are top left, Carol's are top right, and Annie's are bottom right.

Notice how Rosie has reversed the image - great idea!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

An interesting swap

I've been involved in an interesting swap over the last 2 weeks or so. We were divided into groups of 4 players. The idea is that each player made 4 ATCs using their own stamp, then mailed the stamp onto the next player, who made 4 ATCs then mailed the stamp on to the next player, and so on. Once we had worked with all 4 stamps, we mailed a set of the 4 ATCs we had made to the other players. I was in 2 groups, and here are the ATCs I made.

This was made using a Home Impressions stamp provided by Rosie - I used half of the stamp, rotated and stamped 3 times. The background was 4 Radiant Rain interference colours sprayed onto black card stock. I stamped with versamark and embossed with Moonlight Bronze Obsidian embossing powder from Lindy's Stamp Gang, and punched some small flowers from plain black card and glued them on. I mounted the image onto a striped silver metallic background, which I coloured with Brilliance Pearlescent Crimson ink.

This was Mawgan's stamp - made by Paper Artsy - background was made from Amaeretti de Soronno biscuit wrappers glued onto cardstock and coated with gesso, then stamped with Ranger archival ink in sepia. The 'ribbon' down the side is self adhesive paper ribbon, which I coloured with distress ink. The heart was punched form a hand made background paper, embossed in a cuttlebug folder, and highlighted with Teasure Gold. A few tiny copper coloured peel offs finished it off.

The background for this ATC is stamped with Brilliance Coffee Bean ink onto some glossy cardstock coloured with alcohol inks, using a Madjac stamp. Liz's stamp was the inkspot and text stamp, which I stamped onto shrink plastic, texturised while still hot, and attached with a brad. There is a face behind the shrink plastic 'door'.

This was Carol's stamp. I struggle with Victorian images, and had trouble with this stamp, which didn't 'grab' me. Eventually I stamped it onto a Twelve x 12 paper using purple ink and green iridescent embossing powder, then stamped some faint scrolls in the corners with a chalk ink. I added a polymer clay butterfly to finish, and mounted it onto purple pearlescent cardstock.

Annie was mean to me, she knows I love this stamp by Cory Celaya, but find it hard to use. Well, I had to use it this time LOL. I stamped the background by stamping the stamp 3 times in 3 colours, offsetting it each time. I stamped the image onto 'mother of pearl' fantasy film using blue Stazon ink, and cut round the image and used this as the focal point. I made a sheet of 'paper' by fusing angelina fibres together with inclusions of fantasy film, and cut small squares out and added them to the ATC with wire, threading small beads onto the wire to add interest. Finally, I mounted it onto dark purple pearlescent card.

This was an interesting stamp, by Queen's Dresser Drawers, again from Annie. I had some 'wrap around' cardboard ATC holders, so daubed them with several colours of Radiant Rain, then embossed them inside and out with 2 texture stamps and Moonglow Bronze Obsidian embossing powder. I made polymer clay embellishments as 'closures'. These were black clay pushed into home made silicone moulds which had been brushed with PearlEx, and 'cooked' for 15 minutes in the Melt Pot. The ATC inside was stamped onto 'waste' paper which has overspray of Radiant Rain from other projects, and embossed with the same embossing powder. I punched holes down the left hand side and mounted onto deep red cardstock.

This was my own stamp. I stamped it onto a hand made background, layered some of the paper 'ribbon' which I'd coloured to match on top, and mounted it all onto some dark green textured card stock.

This was also my stamp, by Queens Dresser Drawers, stamped onto a background paper made by spraying gold colourwash spray from Outside the Margins onto watercolour paper, then stamping the image and embossing with Moonglow Bronze embossing powder, and adding a black Hearty air dry clay shell moulded piece coloured with Treasure Gold.

I will ask the other players in the swap if I can add their ATCs to this post so that you can see how we each used the same stamps. Watch this space!

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Shrink plastic discovery

I was making some shrink plastic embellishments for an ATC swap, and I wanted them to co-ordinate with the background paper I'd made.

So, I used 3 colours of ink from a Colorbox queue to stamp my image, overlapping and offsetting it as I went along. Then I shrank the plastic, as per usual, and texturised each piece by stamping into it using the same stamp (uninked) before it cooled.

When I touched the pieces, the ink felt a little tacky, which struck me as odd, as I've used Colorbox inks on shrink plastic before and they had always heat set perfectly. When I looked at the packaging I realised the queue was 'classic pigment ink', rather than the chalk ink I thought I'd been using. Perhaps it doesn't work in the same way.

I left the pieces overnight, and when I touched them they still felt tacky, so I decided to seal them. I painted one with Diamond Glaze, and watched, horrified, as the ink dissolved before my eyes. I quickly wiped the diamond glaze off, thinking that I may be able to salvage the shrink plastic for another project if it wasn't shiny. I tried other products on the remaining pieces,and the ink dissolved on all of them. I had no more shrink plastic in my stash, so made alternative embellishments for the ATCs.

Then I decided to look at the shrink plastic pieces I'd made, to see if they could be turned into something useful.

The one on the left is how they all looked after the ink dissolved
(remember to click on the image to enlarge it)

I rubbed Sapphire Treasure Gold over the shrink plastic, and it brought the texture out beautifully (2nd from left).

I rubbed the Treasure Gold off with a baby wipe for a more subtle effect (3rd from left).

The final piece (far right) hadn't texturised very well in the original process, so I decided to try re-heating it and stamping into it.

Nothing seemed to happen, it didn't seem to soften with heat, and although I stamped into it again, I couldn't see any texture. And then I added the Treasure Gold, and realised the second stamping had given a rough sandpapery effect where the stamp touched the plastic. Cool....

I will play with this again, on purpose, next time!!!

Saturday, 7 February 2009

A gift for Sweetpea

It's Sweetpea's turn to get gifts from all the Art Venturers, and she wanted something 'funky, with bright colours and black & white checkerboards'. This is not my usual style or colour palette, and I'm not sure my colours are quite as bright as I intended, but this was my fifth attempt at a gift, and the only one I've managed to get finished - I binned the previous attempts half way through!

I took some mount board, and painted it with gesso. I stamped a harlequin design into it whilst the gesso was wet - the gesso doesn't need to be thick, even thin gesso will show an impression form the stamp. I washed the stamp quickly, and let the gesso dry. I added colour by applying blue, green, red and orange acrylic paints thinly, using a baby wipe. I added a second coat of some colours. A kind friend sent me a zettiology stamp recently, and I decided this was the perfect project for it, so I stamped it onto white watercolour paper, using Stazon permanent ink, and carefully cut it out. I glued it onto the background, then glued black & white chequered tissue paper to the edges of the piece. I gave the whole panel a couple of layers of glossy glaze, then added the four flower embellishments. I added a hanger to finish it off. I hope Sweetpea likes it.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Gesso on photographs ATCs

These 3 ATCs began life as photographs in a gardening magazine. I painted them with a thin layer of white gesso, then used a Versamark pen to draw dots and lines on the images. Finally, I sprinkled gold embossing powder and heated. Thye remind me of Cloisonne work, but in chalky pastels!



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