Monday, 24 August 2015

Something Else I Did at the Weekend

This is a continuation of my last post. A part two if you please.

Whilst on Saturday, we made a clock. On Sunday, it was a book cover. Again using a laser cut board kit. This time from Neelz Expressions.  Now mine isn't up to the standard of everyone else nor is it the complete class which Mark taught. As I mentioned, I had to leave half way through the workshop, so had to finish it off back home. Those who take the class in full, will walk away with extra techniques and two book covers, front & back.

However, in just the first half, I think I learnt a million techniques and was again crafting faster than I ever have, cramming in as much as I could before I left. More cutting, gluing, painting, glazing, dripping, texturising, rusting and a rather cool and effective transfer technique. Yup, that rather gorgeous image of cogs started life as a black and white photocopy, which was transferred to the backing board. The most successful one I've ever managed. My tip? Glue, then take on a train for three hours to dry. Leave overnight in the bag you took it home in, then peel away to reveal the image.

And if you fancy making a better job of it than me? Take the whole day's class :D

Something I Haven't Done in a While

You will probably have noticed that I've taken a short break from blogging.  It was a conscious decision to just make stuff and dabble over the summer but not upload anything. I made a rule with myself, not to post again until September. But hey, I see a rule and it's not long before I break it.

And with good cause. I have done something this weekend, that I haven't done in a long while. Taken a crafty retreat. Yes, I have just come back from spending a few days oop north in Whitley Bay.

And it's all thanks to Shirley at Papercuts Ltd and Mark Gould, who was teaching two full day workshops. And if you ever get the chance to take a class with Mark, don't think twice. Sign yourself up straight away. If you like paint, mixed media and learning arty techniques, He's your man.

Saturday's project was a double-sided clock using a kit made from laser cut board. And boy we were worked hard. We had to slice, chop, paint, wax, paint, sand, stamp and so on, 24 pizza sliced shapes and two bases. Believe me, 24 triangular pieces is A LOT! Not only that but for some, there was the added pressure of choosing the colours to work with.  I have to say though that everyone's project looked superb and they were all very different. From my dark and graphic piece shown here, to the pale, white, French Shabby Chic designs of others and everything in between.

Come the time the workshop was supposed to end, we were feverishly brushing a coat of varnish onto our finished creations. Actually, some of us were returning Sunday to add the finishing touches, me included.

Sunday, I chose to leave around mid day to catch my train home so worked double time to create painted book covers. And I've yet to finish them. When I do, I will hopefully share.

So I have breathed fresh sea air, been soaked to the skin in heavy rain, spent a night watching lightning flashing above my bed, eaten the most delicious food, met the friendliest bunch of arty ladies, made to feel warmly welcomed by Shirley, and painted like a demon thanks to Mark.

Can't wait to do it all again next year!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Getting Inky with Banksy

Look at me being all inky for a change lol.

This is another Street Art stamp I bought from Stempelbar. And for a change, I decided to create an inky background. It's been so long, I'd almost forgotten how much hard work it is to add this much ink to a piece, without any hard lines showing. Frankly, after all that swooshing and swirling of ink, with a small round sponge, it came as a relief to simply stamp the image of the girl and balloon over it, using Archival black ink.

I trimmed out a banner shape using a die and stamped the sentiment within the gap. That's two inky cards in as many days. I have to say, it feels good to put my ink pads to use again.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Spraying a Little Rainbow Happiness Card

I've recently bought a few Street Art styled stamps from a wonderful company in Germany called Stempelbar. One of which was this spray can design. After stamping the design onto white card, using Archival black ink, I added rainbow stripes with Promarkers. The flourish is an old die from Spellbinders which I cut from white card and sponged on various bright inks from the Distress range. A quick sentiment stamp to finish and that's this card put to bed.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Lip Play No. 2

Thought I'd have another play with the lip stamp from my previous post. It's a bit of an experimental idea and I'm not sure whether it entirely works or not. I keep feeling it's not quite there yet. There's a playful design sitting somewhere in the depths of my mind that I just haven't quite tapped into yet. It may take a couple more tries until I hit it on the head. The inspiration will come, I'm sure. I just need to shake my rusty brain up a bit. Or maybe I need to let my fingers become inkier and dabble in more stamping? All I can say is, watch this space and don't be surprised if I dig this stamp out again.

Friday, 3 July 2015

CAS(E) this Sketch #130 - Bite Me!

It's a warm, sunny day so I will be quick. I made this card last night so that I could join in with this week's CAS(E) this Sketch challenge. It also gave me a chance to try out one of a new set of stamps, Bite Me, which I recently purchased from Visible Image. I just adore the snarky sentiment :D

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Holiday Roundup

Hey There Peeps!

You may or may not have noticed that I've been MIA around the blogosphere these last couple of weeks. With good reason. I've been recharging the ol' batteries over in France, taking a jolly little holiday with Nick.

Brittany may typically have the weather we normally associate with the UK (i.e. prone to torrential rain and bracing winds) but in the coastal area of La Turballe, we were lucky once again to have had great weather. I say "once again" as for the first time, Nick & I have returned to exactly the same spot as the previous year, staying in the very same gite.

Despite my attire, it was incredibly hot. I'm wearing my thick lumberjack shirt because I forgot to pack many long-sleeved shirts this time around. I'm fair skinned, burn easily, even with sun cream and prefer to keep myself covered up when out in direct sun. I love the warmth but I'm pragmatic about reducing my risk of skin cancer. I mostly lounge around in the heat, in shade. However, when taking a stroll along the tide line, I cover up.

And this is why I LOVE walking along the tides. That wonderful feeling around your toes, when the waves lap around your ankles as they crash onto the shore.

However, even though there were brave souls venturing out into the sea to swim or snorkel, I waded in no further than my ankles. Mainly because there were hundreds of jellyfish floating around. They were mostly the smaller, purplish variety. But then there are these big buggers which you could have the misfortune to bump into. Their sting may be mild but I'd still prefer not to come in contact with a stray glutinous tentacle.

Now this is what I prefer to discover and photograph when taking in a coastal stroll. The joy of rock pooling is in that moment you come across a living creature other than a crab or shrimp. Especially when it's one which displays a gorgeous bright orange red colour.

We turned up to this particular beach when the tide was out. In the distance, you can see people with buckets raking the sand and collecting shellfish. We'd been to this spot several times before and this was the first time the sea was out enough to reveal a path to the island. Excited at seeing somewhere new, we strolled out. Halfway down, Nick remembered with alarm that he'd left his mobile phone in the car, in full view. Whilst he rushed back for it, I carried on down to island to sit and wait.

When I finally saw Nick approaching me again, I could see him waving his arms in a gesture to get moving. Furthermore, as he came closer, I could here him shouting to me that the tide was quickly moving in. I'd only been sat there a few minutes.

Yup, the stretch of water between the beach & the island was quickly coming in. We were the last two to make our way back. You can just about make out that the guys ahead of us are already up to their knees. If we had been 5 minutes later, we would have been stranded until the tide went out the following day. Unless we swam. Oops!

Away from coastal adventures, we took a trip to a Bonsai & cacti centre. Inside the greenhouses are displays of incredible bonsai trees (at incredible prices) and succulents, including rare specimens. Outside, they have a labyrinthine trail of plants and trees to snake around. Between us, we took hundreds of photos. I'll share just two. This is Nick squatting beside a young bonsai oak tree. Yes it's a thing.

And then there's this. It may only be Nick & I who have never come across them before. You may have seen them and think they're common, wondering as to why I found them fascinating. They're wild strawberries. Which is not unusual, I grant you. After all, we have them growing in our own garden. It's that this variety has the fruit growing upwards and out, looking like the central bud of a flower. Not, as I'm used to seeing them, dangling down from a stalk.

I couldn't do a round up without mentioning food, especially as I indulged in two of my favourites. If you know me of old, you already are aware that I'm a huge fan of the delicious french treats, Macarons. Well this beauty was served up as an eclair version when we dined out one evening.

My other favourite is to have a Fruit de Mer, which is a large dish of freshly prepared shellfish topped off with either a crab or lobster. It's a hands on meal, where you get down and dirty. You have to break, pull apart, smash and scoop your way through the many varieties of (some of them live) shellfish. It is not for the squeamish. But if you love the taste of the sea, it's amazing.

And finally. This photo is one I took especially for my friend Neet. These fabulous socks, decorated in macarons were a fun Xmas gift from her last year. I saved them especially for this trip where I gave them their first outing!!!! Thanks Neet :D

Now that I'm back in the UK, I should be feeling fully recharged and invigorated. In truth, it feels like another lifetime ago. A distant memory. I'm back into the full swing of normal home life, as if I never went away. And I know it's the stereotype but the one thing I definitely missed and headed straight for when I returned home was a proper cup of tea. In fact I'm sipping on an orange & cinnamon flavoured one now, as I type. Bliss!