Friday, 27 February 2015

"Life is not a Competition" Layout -
Prima Product Pick - February 2015
Plus advice on Inks, Backgrounds
& Choosing your Base Paper







You didn't think I had forgotten about the PPP now did you?!
I couldn't let that happen, despite February cheating us all out of
an extra half a week or so!!  So here it is - done last night!!!


LOVED the inspiration images & the colours BUT for me purples
 don't come so easy & I don't have a lot of purples in my stash.  
I don't think I have EVER bought purple flowers so had to 
settle on pink, blue & pale yellow (to represent the cream).


For colour challenges I always choose my photos first.
It's the ONLY time I do this as for product challenges
I choose photos to match the product & for sketch
challenges I choose either or first,


Believe it or not the base paper is actually "Marveilleux"from the Cartographer 
Collection.  It's a lovely pale cream base with a pale grey Damask print.
These "wallpaper prints" as I call them are ALWAYS the easiest ones
to work with for backgrounds as they regress rather than leap out,
that's why a pale base with ALWAYS look more sophisticated 
than a loud one & colours DON'T WORK for backgrounds.


I used the Finnabair doily stamp with grey ink for my stamping.  Staz-on ink
 pads are best for background stamping.  They are colourfast/archival
 & produce the crispest images.  Ranger should work just as well but doesn't. 
 Stone Grey is a great colour to own as black is sometimes just a bit too harsh.


That background technique may look thrown together in all of 5 minutes
 but it is not.  Achieving a "mild" mixed media background is something 
that takes months to perfect.  Gesso is a must as your initial layer then
 to achieve the pinks, purples, blues & browns I used Color Bloom 
Sprays along with a water brush & absorbent kitchen paper. 


 It's a delicate addition/subtraction process that should take you at least 
30 minutes :)  If you have no idea what I am talking about Christin 
Gronnslett demonstrates it very well on You-Tube HERE . 


I used layering papers from Prima Free Spirit & Evergreen & embellishments 
from Prima Epiphany, plus Prima flowers of course!  Also a crochet icon
 & a paperclip from the Seashore Collection.  I love the way that it is so
 easy to match Prima collections, unlike many other American 
companies, their prints are subtle & delicate enough to do it :)

  Take care & have a lovely weekend xo




Thursday, 26 February 2015

"You are Gold" Layout
{Studio 75 "Mr & Mrs Black" Collection}






Hello hello!!  I have a new layout up on the Studio 75 blog HERE!
There is also a great sketch challenge up on the blog - closing SOON - see it HERE!!


You can read all about exactly what products I used in the blog post 
I linked you up to.  They have some amazingly versatile paper 
collections. This one is called "Mr & Mrs. Black" &,being
 monotone, it is really easy to use, just add colour!


Being me, I couldn't stop at papers only so have added my beloved
 mists first, followed by a white doily, a gold doily, gold sequins
 & some hand-dyed gauze,


Of course I had a few girly touches even though it is still predominantly
a masculine page.  I added some glittered red tulle under there too :)


Some white gold bling from Prima, some amazing black lace, drywall tape
& my own handmade flower with microbeads & a double bow!


I hope you will join us in the challenge & you will take a look
 at the Studio 75 product offerings HERE as there are some
 truly amazing collections & other items on offer!  
THANKS SO MUCH FOR YOUR VISIT ♥





Wednesday, 25 February 2015

''Boundless & Infinite" Art Journal Page - 7 Dots Studio Thoughts Keeper Collection







Hello there!  Today I am sharing my February project for 7 Dots Studio.
As I had already created a layout for my Tutorial I decided to do an AJ page.


I used the new collection Thoughts Keeper collection which you can see HERE.


To create this page I used gel medium to collage together various off-cut pieces
 of paper & tags from the collection then used gesso, together with an old 
credit card, over the top, to add more texture & mute down all the colours.
  This always works well when you want to blend things together tastefully.


To make my title the focal point & draw the eye to the centre of the page
 I sprayed some ochre mist, let it settle deep into the texture 
(so don't use a heat gun or that will spread it around unless
 you are extremely careful & gentle).  

Lastly I adhered my hand-drawn & cut title & black inked butterflies
 from 2Crafty Chipboard, then splattered diagonally across the page
 with black ink, sealed everything with gel medium & sprinkled
 on some Prima MICA while it was still wet!  

I love the shine it gives, just like a bit of treasured fairy dust!!
It was a stress free bit of pure creative therapy!



Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Studio/Office/Craft Room Organization 101
Post ONE in a new MONTHLY SERIES!
Today's Topics - Mist Storage, HOW TO
Work with What you Have - Storage Crates
Paint Brush Storage & Scissor Info!





Hi everyone!  I've been busy in my office/studio every evening this week.
FOR HOURS.  That is how long it takes when you have a space as small
 as mine & as many things as I have, to try to squeeze into it!!

So, yes, I made a mist/spray/medium shelf {well truth be told I had
 a hand with it!} & have had several other items made too.  I plan
on selling them {not mine of course but ones just like 'em!} so
 anyone interested may leave a comment here as I don't like
 putting my email address online - my SPAM is reaching
 INSANE proportions!  They are good prices because I am 
using Pallet wood, which is also super-trendy right now!

Anyway, more on the sale aspect in another post...
This post is about me organizing my craft room, for the
 bazzillionth  time.  WHY does this happen?  Why can't  we just
 get it right first time??  Well, this is ENTIRELY normal!  

Organization is ALWAYS a work in progress, for as long as our style
 is evolving & our stash is growing & changing.  There will be new
 needs, new priorities, & new spaces will need to be created 
& old ones reshuffled.  So how do you go about creating the
craft space of your dreams {realistically, the craft space you 
can afford, that is going to be, most importantly, FUNCTIONAL &
 also, of course, as aesthetically pleasing as your budget will allow!}

Well firstly, you have to cut your coat according to your cloth...
in other words...
1.  Work with the space you have.

  If you are serious about crafting you HAVE to have a space. 
THAT is something I have learnt over the last 11 years,
along with this...{trial & error being a great teacher!}

MY SPACES - SPACE 1!

 My first space was a small desk I had made IN OUR PASSAGE!
 Yes that is how DESPERATE I WAS!  It had 2 shelves above it  
3 drawers!  It served my needs well for my first couple of years of crafting!!
{this is a simple solution for crafters "doing it" on a small scale}.

SPACE 2!!

In our next house I had NO SPACE - that was BAD!! 
 I had to buy 2 big pull-along craft totes & "live" out of those, 
at the dining room table (that sucked...)

I couldn't create "properly" under those circumstances & it was a 
waste of time taking things out, putting them back & if I didn't there
 was always a mess on show.  DOWN with that scenario, but sometimes
 you don't have a choice!  {only solution is to put up with it for as long
 as you have no choice then celebrate when you move house!!}

For us we were in a temporary home when we first emigrated
so my crafting was on the "down low" for a couple of years.
Sometimes "LIFE HAPPENS" & you have to take a crafting break
because there's just NO WAY to accommodate it - just go with it!

SPACE 3!!!

In our NEXT house I had a craft room! YAY!!  It was a square & that 
worked VERY WELL.  It was an okay size (about 4m square) but as
 it  was in a rented house (when we first arrived in South Africa, prior
 to buying our own home some 4 years later) & I faced a couple
 of problems -  I couldn't afford expensive storage & I wasn't 
allowed anything "fitted" ... so that kinda sucked too. 

SOLUTION -  I used what is readily available & relatively inexpensive here
 in South Africa.  Plastic drawers.  They are not great.  You assemble them 
yourself & "try move those things around"! ... they all start falling apart!!
 They are also see-through (not a good look for any storage space) 
& the drawers are WAY TOO DEEP.  Always a bad idea as 
digging becomes necessary & MESS results!!

I see that in other countries narrower plastic/"wooden" shelves are
available.  I would say that as long as they are not the "pull apart"
kind like you get here, but are actually glued or nailed together
(or inside a steel frame) those would work well, if they were not
clear (or pushed into an alcove or under a desk where only the
front of the shelves was visible).  I have seen people adding
patterned paper to the fronts & that looks sweet & is a 
practical way of hiding the contents.  SO THIS COULD WORK!

I did drill up some standard shelves with brackets (which obviously I took down
 when we left the house, after filling in the holes of course!) but it wasn't a very
 smart look as, again, too much was on show, & there is no IKEA here (or similar)
 where you can go & keep buying the SAME thing, so what happens is you
 get what you need at the time, then when you need more you go back,
they're sold out & you have to buy something else.  Result?

No uniformity.  Not a good look. BOXES OR BINS ON SHELVES 
LOOK GREAT!  IF THEY ARE ALL THE SAME!!  Solution - if you 
are faced with the problems we are here - of no consistency in
production, GET THEM MADE!!  Then, when you need more,
you can get them made/make them again!!


Please excuse the mismatched labelling.  I used the tags from my previous 
baskets but had no more left & had imported them, so have also added 
chalkboard labels.  My plan is to print & laminate more detailed labels
 in time, as at times I have maximized my space utilization by
putting more than one supply into a crate. 

 MAJOR MISTAKE  I MADE WHEN I HAD THE SHELF UNIT ABOVE MADE
5 years ago.  I {crazily} did not consider HOW ON EARTH I was going to
find baskets/bins that would miraculously FIT the space - & never did!

Hence, for 5 years I have had a mismatched motley crew of containers
up there, looking AWFUL!  This year I fortuitously {more like an answer
 to prayer} found a wonderful wood-worker to collaborate with, to get
 some custom-crates made, without paying the earth for them!

Last week I got my DREAM CRATES!!
Again, made of Pallet wood & available for sale according to your
space requirements :)  They have slatted sides & a solid base
so no worries about anything falling through the base.
Want some?  Contact me here on my blog for details!

SPACE 4!!!

My Current Space!

I was DETERMINED, when we moved into our  current home  5 years
 ago, to have a dedicated craft area THAT COULD BE CLOSED OFF
so my mess could stay "in situ" if I had to create in stages &
 couldn't clean up in between.  This is BRILLIANT & MOST IDEAL!!

To achieve this, I had to convert our entrance hall, so now we have to enter
 our house through our dining-room, which is not ideal, but it was the only 
appropriate place for a studio/office/scrap room so I had to work with it!
So here we are - back to point 1 - WORK WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!

Usually there is a little work involved in any studio "conversion."
Unfortunately, to get anything right in life, involves a bit of effort!
One also has to learn to trade off some things for other things...
{often you can't have EVERYTHING!}

I had to block in a lovely French door {what we call a metal & glass
double-door here} that opened out onto our driveway area} as I 
really needed the wall space, & already the space had 2 good
 sized windows that would provide sufficient light.  

So I got a dry-wall put in front of the door on the inside rather
than doing any structural alterations to the house, so that future
owners can remove it & have the door back if they prefer.
This is an African mentality.  No "forever homes" here!

Then I designed what I thought would function well & had some
custom units made & installed by a kitchen company.  And I 
made some mistakes!   They are IMPOSSIBLE to avoid I think, 
 because the only way you know if a space functions perfectly, 
is to be in that space, doing your thing, which you don't know 
beforehand, so - sigh...I've had to live with a non-perfect 
space I custom-designed myself, for 5 years!!

But stay tuned because this year I'm sprucing up my craft zone
& fixing up my errors!!  Now I know what works & what doesn't
I'm excited to be planning & customizing my space once again,
& hoping to inspire you to do the same - on the cheap cheap!!


PAINT BRUSH ORGANIZATION!

You DO NOT NEED THIS MANY PAINT BRUSHES!!
I have some type of obsessive compulsive Paint Brush disorder!

I have fine brushes for use with mists & water colours in one tub, on the front 
left, then some flat "painter-type" brushes in the tub on the front right.  I use
 these for  backgrounds as I like the look of the straight lines & edges that
 these create.  I also use them for painting bigger, off-the-page projects 
doing touch ups around the house!

Behind these 2 jars I have another 2 taller mason jars {that I just happened
to spray paint gold - I will show you in next month's post!).  The one on the
left stores medium-sized paint brushes plus both my rollers (one is missing
here as I was cleaning it - oops!) Rollers are a MUST for mixed-media work.
I love the SPEEDBALL brand for strength.  I have had even the Ranger
ones break on me as you need to apply some pressure when using them.

The jar on the back right contains all my large/thick long-handled paint 
brushes as well as my steel ruler (another must for all scrappers).
No matter how "free" you want your work to look, crooked 
(unless obviously intentional) is NOT A GOOD LOOK!!


And lastly, the shelf to the left of my scrapping counter.
Yes I stand & scrap & don't believe you can pour your soul
 into any art any other way...For me it's a full-body experience!
(This shelf is attached to a double-cupboard to the side of my
counter, that houses lotsa junk - off-the-page items waiting
to be made-over, canvases, the list goes on...)

TOP SHELF

Starting from the top left I have my water jar & my Benzine jar.  Both are essential
 for me.  I often need water for painting & I use Benzine for cleaning.  Toxic I know
 but I can't find anything that touches it for cleaning up my work area thoroughly,
& I'm a cleanerholic, I love cleaning up my messes as much as I love making them!  

I'm not sure if Benzine is a universal name, but it is like Turpentine, but slightly
 cheaper, & used here for heavy duty cleaning, mostly of paint. 

At the top right are all my waterproof ink pads.  Not that many.  I use mainly
black, grey & browns, but I do slowly add to the collection as I can afford to.
I have plenty more chalk/water-based inks in one of my storage tubs.

I know my labelling is messy!  I plan on smartening that up soon!!
I've also designed a cubby-shelf for them which I am getting
made - so look out for a mini-makeover there too...

BOTTOM SHELF

I have another area entirely for my journaling pens  so that is why this
area looks so sparse/neat LOL!  From left to right...

Pencil tub, Pen tub (ballpoint pens only - no fancy "art" pens) Small scissors,
Big Scissors.  Yes I am SCISSOR HAPPY!!  LOVE me some scissors!!

Seriously COOL metal tubs purchased recently from Mr. Price
 Home.  LOVE!!  Go get some before they sell out!!!

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SCISSORS!!!

1.  Don't buy ones with plastic blades!  Yes I'm talking about those rubbish
kids craft scissors with the different designs.  THEY DON'T WORK!!
Even the ones with the metal inserts.  Save your money & invest in
Martha Stewart/Fiskars punches instead.  Expensive indeed but 
you will get ALOT of easy, stress-free use out of them with
stunning results!

2.  Little embroidery scissors work great for fussy-cutting BUT once
you have invested in a pair of 2 inch Tim Holtz Tonic Scissors you
will wonder how you ever managed without them.  They have 
serrated blades so really GRIP what you are fussy-cutting
& the results are outstanding, plus they are ergonomic
& oh-so-comfortable {Ranger do feel free to compensate
me with the larger pair I am yet to afford if you read this!!}

3.  Large scissors - get some with spongy handles so they aren't
so hard on your hands.  

4.  Anything TOO big won't really come in handy - they're more for 
dressmaking, but sometimes I cut felt, etc, so one pair is a must.

5.  Pinking scissors & fringing scissors are fun & often used for
party decor so if you can get hold of those they're good to have.

I got my fringing scissors CHEAPLY FROM CLICKS because
they were designed for cutting herbs LOL!!  

IF YOU ENJOYED THIS POST & LEARNT SOMETHING FROM IT
You can show your appreciation for all my tips by signing up as
 an official follower of my blog on the gadget on the top left, 
if you haven't done so already.  It costs you nothing &
gives me the oomph I need to write the next, long
organizational post!  Thank you in advance ♥



Monday, 23 February 2015

"Love Your Life" Layout
{Prima BAP February 2015}
Plus some Chit Chat!






Hello {mostly} ladies!  I hope you have had a wonderful weekend.
Mine has been really great.  One really appreciates them more, the
 busier one's weeks get.  I wish I could slow things down in my life
 but I have a few bees in my bonnet this year that need sorting 
so now I am really the busiest I have EVER been I think! 


 Life is a juggle right now.  I have plans to drop some things but everything
takes time & experimentation so it's not easy to change course at the
drop of a hat - one has to try out new things - see if they work - THEN 
reassess priorities. Sorry that all sounds a little vague but I don't like to 
be more specific until things actually come about, because talk is cheap. 


 Rather I want to wait until things happen & become a reality before declaring
 anything as solid :) NOT so simple but I believe ultimately we are responsible
 for creating the life we want {with God's blessing of course!} 
 So right now I'm working hard to create some new avenues for myself.  


 Sorry if that all sounds like cryptic nonsense to you!
That's my waffling over for the week!!
Anyway, here is my version of the Prima BAP!!
I found this sketch OH SO CHALLENGING!
I put it off 'til I could put it off no longer!!


I actually created this page intuitively, in other words, as I went along,
having NO idea, when I began, of the direction I was going in!
I have to say though that I am BEYOND DELIGHTED with
the results.  This, to me, is the way I love my art to look.
Free, natural, naive, fun, playful...all that kinda stuff!!


I prefer to journal straight onto the layout but, due to the gesso, it didn't 
work out great.  There were lumps & bumps from slathering the gesso
 on with a credit card & palette knife, so I had to go over it using
 journaling strips of cardstock.  Hmmmm...still okay though...


I LOVE the layer - texture & dimension to me is the most important thing
 in this style of "collage art" so I have, as well as the background details,
 the additional textures of Prima lace flowers, Prima loose bling & Prima 
SIIC flourishes, plus torn papers, a feather!, & some lovely "Coffee 
Break" embellishments that I pulled apart & customised, 
along with some Prima packaging of course!


Almost everything I used on this page is PRIMA, as per the requirements
 for the challenge - to use 90% Prima.  Luckily for me I have a solid
 Prima stash.  I have been a fan for YEARS & it is
THE ONLY BIG US MANUFACTURER I BUY FROM!  

I just don't need to buy from anyone else as the Prima collections 
cover all bases.  I am partial to a little Pink Paislee now & then
, truth be told, & even a little Crate, but it REALLY has to call
 my name to make it into the cart these days!!




Sunday, 22 February 2015

"My Sister, My Friend" Canvas - 2Crafty Chipboard






Hi Everyone!  Today I have a few projects up on the 2Crafty Chipboard blog 
HEREincluding this little canvas I made for my younger daughter's bedroom.  


Please refer to the linked post at 2Crafty if you are after the names of all the chippie
 pieces.  The post will also give you more details on how I treated it all.  


Pink, purple, glitter, sequins & microbeads are what little girls dreams are made of.


I used a Prima "Printer's Tray" Packaging piece from their wood embellishments,
which I painted black before dry-brushing with white & adding photos & 
embellishments to.  So this is a fun, dimensional piece of wall art!




Friday, 20 February 2015

'Above All Else Guard Your Heart' Off-the-Page Project
for 7 Dots Studio {February Challenge}








Hello everyone!  
Today there is a new challenge up at 7 Dots Studio blog HERE.
The theme for February is - of course - LOVE!!  
Here is the inspiration circle & below are the rules.  





















- create any project along the HEART/S theme
- use at least one 7 Dots Studio product
- publish your project on you blog with a link to our challenge
- do not forget to include in your blog post our “inspirational circle” 
( you will find it at the top of this blog post)
- use inlinkz and please link directly to your blog post, not to whole blog
Challenge is open till February 19th midnight CET.

Winners announced by the end of the February.
 One lucky person, voted on by our Design Team, will win a package
filled with $50 USD worth of  OUR NEW COLLECTIONS, sent to you,
postage included!  Have fun!!



One of my 'resolutions' this year, as usual, is to make more Off-the-Page projects.
I tend to stick to layouts because I have photos to scrap & 4 kids albums, plus others,
& am always wanting to keep them moving & get them up to date.  But Off-the-Page 
projects can be fun & challenging.  Some I find easy & others difficult, so pushing
the boundaries is exciting & how we grow as artists & expand our repertoire, which
to me is more important than the humdrum boringness of keeping albums up to date!


I bought an inexpensive board at a local decor store & covered it with paper from one of the new 
7 Dots Collections, Thoughts Keeper, then layered up with some media, corrugated board, 
Thoughts Keeper tags, Maya Road embellishments & topped it all off with Prima wooden butterflies!  All this in 45 minutes.  I was definitely rolling!!


Supplies List for 'Guard your Heart' Off-the-Page project

Base Paper - Thoughts Keeper no. 3
Prima Color Bloom Spray - Lime Wedge & Precious Stone
Gesso & Glitter - Prima 
Dry wall tape - Hardware
Thoughts Keeper Tags - 7 Dots Studio
Bronze Ink - Versa Color 94
Corrugated board - stash
Clocks - Maya Road
Butterflies - Prima