Thursday, 28 February 2013

It's a small world

    Hello everyone!

   I have always been in awe of the ladies over at Our Creative Corner and I was so honoured to be chosen as the winner for their 'Woody with a button' challenge. I was invited to create something for their Top Talent Thursday post and answer a few questions....So if you fancy reading an interview and finding out a bit about me, then head over to Our Creative Corner and have a peek -

    If you have come here after visiting Top Talent Thursday, then first of all I would like to thank you so much for clicking the link! - I hope you will grab a cup of tea and spend a while here as I let you know all about the shadow box I made.....

    The questions were the very easy part! Believe me...If talking were an Olympic event I would be covered in gold medals right now! I also needed to make something to feature as part of the Top Talent Thursday spot....Sue said to me that I could make anything.......Anything?......Oh my!.....what to do?

    I really struggled to decide what to make. When I am given the chance to do something a bit special, a one off project, with no limits - then my mind goes into overdrive and all my efforts go whizzing past the usual 'Give it 100%'. I always feel I have to take it to the next level, push myself further, most of the time attempting something I have never done before.

    I began to search the Internet and found a shadow box...Now, I had seen these before and had always adored them. These beauties are just my kind of thing, full of miniature goodies, lots of tiny detail, delicate, feminine....well, not always feminine - there are grunge style ones out there and they are just as fantastic. I loved them.

   As usual my ideas went into the mode of trying to bump this project up another gear...How do I make it special, unique, original?......"I will make my own box"! (What am I getting myself into?!)

   One of my craft hobbies is making dolls house furniture and the way I saw it - If I can work in 1/12th scale, then I can certainly make my own shadow box. I have even made a 2" square dolls house before! Ok, it didn't actually open and have furniture in it - but it was tiny! I can work with wood - I do know what I am doing (Yes, I really was trying to convince myself!)....Well, It took a lot more planning and work than I originally had thought - But I LOVED every second of it!!!

    I needed to plan how big I wanted the box to be and how many compartments it needed. I marked out some rough lines on paper and began to place some embellishments on there and drew around them to give a very rough idea of space. Then I began to work out measurements, switch things around and eventually the plans began to form. Now I had a sheet of paper filled with measurements (double checked, crossed out, redrawn - all made worse by the fact that numbers and I are not friends) and I could finally begin to make the box.

   The box was made from Balsa wood. I always work with this because it is so easy to cut. The problems with making miniatures is that that this wood is also very fragile, but I don't find that to be a problem unless the kids start playing with the dolls house. As this box was to be quite large, it would be quite sturdy.

The base was made out of three narrow pieces glued together to make a large square. Once the edges were glued in place I had the frame of my shadow box.

 Now I had to fill in the separate boxes. This was quite time consuming as I had to be very careful with getting the measurements exact.

Once everything was glued together and dry, I applied some texture paste around the edges through a damask stencil. I am learning how to use the texture paste...first few times it went a bit wonky but I just scraped it off and began again.

     I painted the box with two coats of gesso which gave the wood a lovely rustic whitewashed look.

I had bought some beautiful Melissa Frances papers recently...They are so breathtakingly pretty...I am new to Melissa Frances but her style is totally in my comfort zone and were perfect for this box....In fact this whole project has been my comfort zone...I was so happy and relaxed while doing this!!! - I might as well have been making this box in a reclining position (that would be tricky!) with slippers and Jammie's on, drinking a cup of cocoa with my favourite music playing in the background!

The background papers were cut to size and glued into place...I don't know how everyone else works but I cannot cut, glue, cut, glue, cut, glue....I have to do one job at a time! So when doing this I sat measuring and cutting all the pieces out. You can see here I placed all the pieces in the right boxes to prevent what would be guaranteed muddle up! When the cutting was done then the gluing can begin!

    All glued in and ready to decorate.......

There were a few embellishments I had to make. I didn't have a dressmaker mannequin die-cut so I had to make my own. I drew the mannequin and sewing machine by hand on card and then cut them out. I stuck them onto Balsa wood and when they were dry, I cut around the card with a craft knife.

     I stained the mannequin with Antique Linen distress stain and Gathered Twigs DI. I blended Old Paper DI all over the sewing machine and then blended the edges of the sewing machine with Pumice Stone DI. I stamped a flourish stamp on the corners with the Pumice Stone ink and painted on a band with Bundled Sage DI along the bottom.

    Dressing the mannequin was fun! I gathered some scraps of material and the idea occurred to me at this point that the contents of the boxes seemed to represent my life....So I began to go with that theme. This is My world in a box. It is a small world but that suits me best.

     The mannequin was dressed in my wedding colours. I got married last year and the colours were Lilac and Sage and for me, a huge part of the preparations were dealing with the task of making 100m of bunting....I had never made any before, hadn't used a sewing machine in years and, to put an even bigger hurdle in the way, I didn't even own a sewing machine - I was really facing quite a challenge. I think you might have guessed that this doesn't ever scare me though and in fact I embraced it totally! A dear friend gave me her sewing machine - a lovely sturdy vintage one that works brilliantly and two of my wonderful friends Amy and Carol sat with me for several days as we cut, pinned and sewed.

     So the mannequin and sewing machine box represents my our wedding - Including, of course the important bunting decoration. If you fancy seeing our vintage handmade wedding, then please pop over to my fantastically talented sister-in-law Alison's (Butterfly) blog and take a peek at the tremendous work she did for us.

        So before I show you too many more individual little boxes of my life let me show you the finished shadow box -

The textured sides of the box were dabbed with Antique Linen and Gathered Twigs DI's to highlight the damask pattern.

Here is a close up picture of the 'vintage themed wedding box' showing the bunting and the sewing machine.

I had to include a framed picture of my children

          The clock represents the fact that, like many people, I never have enough time!

The 'Inspire' box contains the main features of most of my work - Flourishes and Flowers. And the word inspire is also my hope that perhaps I might just inspire somebody at some time!

The crochet flower is for my love of crochet and also linked in there my love of nature with the butterfly and the flowers

The cracked vase is perhaps one of the most symbolic features...I adore plants but they lose the will to live in my the cracks represent my flawed ability to care for the flowers I love. The vase was originally a plain terracotta vase - I applied a couple of coats of sky blue acrylic paint. This was followed with some crackle glaze and then I applied some Gathered Twigs DI before wiping clean leaving brown crackled effect.

The hearts are self explanatory - Love

And of course with Love should go Peace 

My daughter has been going to Ballet lessons for 6 years now - This is to show how proud I am of her

I love sewing...from basic mending to creative embroidery

The tiny beads in the jar are to represent my 'collecting' habit - One of my favourite books about star signs mentions about mine " She'll seldom throw away pieces of string, buttons, jars, cans, broken fuses and old dress patterns. Who are you to say she won't find a purpose in those torn theatre stubs, faded love letters or used teas bags?" - Ok...maybe I draw the line at used tea bags but everything else is correct. 

The shell represents the fact that I was born in Weymouth on the southern coast of England. The beach has always been a place I feel happiest...the wonderful beaches on the Isle of Purbeck were just a few minutes walk from my home. My husband made me cry (happy tears) when doing a speech at my birthday party he told everyone that I still consider that part of England to be my 'spiritual home'. 

The 'Antiques' box is there to show my love of history

The centre focal point represents my love of art. The music background shows how proud I am of the two wonderful boys in my life. My husband who is a drummer and our son who already shows a remarkable talent for music and singing.

So there it is....My World!

I really enjoyed making this and in fact I am sad to see that it is finished. I wanted to carry on adding little bits and pieces. It might have got a bit overcrowded though! I do hope you like it and if you are still here I applaud you and thank you for having waded through a very long post.

Thank you for visiting - I'd love to know you were here so please leave a comment for me. Your comments always mean so much to me.

Take care!

I am entering this into the following challenge -

Divas by design challenge - Anything goes

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The canvas crack'd

     Hello everyone - Thanks for peeking in today!

       I was at the 'Stamperama' on Sunday and got some Fresco acrylic paints and crackle glaze. I had wanted for a long time to do the amazing crackle effects I see on other blogs. I had already got the Ranger Crackle paint but what I really wanted was the huge weathered cracks - like painted furniture left to the elements. The Ranger crackle, in my opinion, is neat and tidy crackles.....It is great and I do use it, but sometimes you want another type of crackle - now I have!

      Fashionable Stamping Challenges is one of my favourite blogs...I love their challenges and usually it sets me on a path of learning and fun. Their new challenge 'Red, Brown and Black' didn't sound like one for me....I do like those colours and to be honest it forms most of my wardrobe - despite my family's pleadings with me to wear other colours!

     But those colours are not the ones I reach for in projects. Then again, what is a challenge for? To give you inspiration...reach for colours that you might previously have feared to use. You know I could just take the easy path and be on the lookout for vintage pastel challenges forever - but what would I learn?. What's to lose if it doesn't work? I really wanted to practise using the Fresco paints anyway....and so all of a sudden there are ideas floating around...I may as well grab one and get started ;o)

    I got an 8" x 8" canvas, applied some texture paste to the ledger stencil in opposite corners. Left to dry and then applied Gesso all over.

After that was dry I applied a coat of brown Fresco paint to the untextured corners. Then I applied the crackle glaze with a palette knife over the brown paint. Once dry I applied Taupe paint thickly and quickly over the brown.

I hate doing things at speed when I am unsure of them, but the video demos I watched all mentioned the need to work very quickly, confidently and don't repaint over painted areas. So with a large brush I loaded up some paint and swept the paint in long smooth strokes along the canvas and sat back to watch the gorgeous crackles appear.

     After the taupe paint was dry it looked far too grey for the project. I had thought it would be fine and I am sure grey is allowed but I wasn't liking it very much...the other paint colour I had was Vintage Lace. That wasn't suitable as it had a very slightly pink colour, and besides I LOVED the crackles on the canvas and how it looked, so I didn't want to paint over it. I decided to go over the taupe paint with Vintage Photo DI to add a richer brown colour. Sadly the photo makes it look like it is still very grey...In real life it is actually much more of a warmer brown tone (and I also think the whole thing looks much better IRL too) - Sometimes the photos capture the colours and effects really well but in my eyes this time it hasn't.....I do wish you could all see it for real....but I am afraid the photos will have to give you a hint of it instead.......

     I originally had covered four squares of card with my brand new Frayed Burlap DI and then added various stamps and planned to place them on the canvas with some flowers....This canvas underwent some changes in ideas...I decided three looked better, but still wasn't great - something wasn't right about the squares of card.....then it went down to two....then one central square....but it still didn't look right....Out that last remaining square went and in came some crochet lace and tartan ribbon along with some leaves that I covered with Frayed Burlap DI and some Ranger Crackle Glaze to go with the crackles on the canvas.

     I coloured the flowers with a mix of Fired Brick, Walnut Stain, Frayed Burlap and Antique Linen DI's and fixed them with shiny black brads in the centre.

Once the four squares were out I began arranging the flowers. I added in a pendant which had a round piece of card covered in Antique Linen stain and was stamped with script in Vintage Photo DI. It was covered with glossy accents glue and a red rose was placed in the centre.

The word ADORE was cut out of an embossed sheet of words, stained with Antique Linen Stain. I drew around the word in very fine liner permanent pen. Then I covered the word with Vintage Photo DI and dabbed along it with water. When it was dry I blended Pumice Stone DI over it to tone down the brown and make it look more vintage. It was then placed onto card inked with Black Soot DI and sprayed with copper glimmer spray and then that was glued onto card that had been inked with Frayed Burlap DI and stamped with a flourish stamp.

     Hope you like it!...I certainly has made me braver about tackling other colours. Now to get going on Broken China, Shabby Shutters and Scattered Straw! And add more Fresco paints to my ever growing wishlist ;o)

     It would be lovely to hear from you if you read this post and like what you see....Perhaps you could also join my blog and come back another time? Would be great to have you on board my craft journey.


I am entering this into the following challenge -

Fashionable Stamping Challenges - Red/Black/Brown
Crafty ribbons challenge  - Button up
Stampavie  - Lots of layers

Monday, 25 February 2013

Love is like a Butterfly

    There it is - the second country song title. One of my favourites from my childhood and I think when you see the tag you will realise why I had to have that title!

     I must admit I adore the layered challenge from Frilly and Funkie. I have to restrain myself a bit because I love it so much I would make an item daily for it - Thanks so much for picking that challenge! I won't sit here declaring I am good at it, I really have always loved layering card. It is a beautiful effect and I won't ever tire of it.

    So anyway - I had to make one more item.

    I used a tag this time and covered it in a piece of the Tim Holtz Melange Tissue paper...I LOVE this paper!. I then covered that in Gesso and once dry I swirled it in a mix of Old Paper, Weathered Wood and Tarnished Brass DI's. It was a lovely effect and after a few more dabs and drying in between I had a turquoise distress effect.

    I then began making layers of card -

  • Old Paper DI blended onto card and then covered in script stamp in Gathered Twigs.
  • A strip of card covered in Antique Linen Stain and then stamped with a flourish stamp in Tarnished Brass.
  • A piece of card coloured using wrinkle free distress in Weathered Wood, Old Paper and Tarnished Brass
  • A sheet of card covered in Weathered Wood stain and stamped with Weathered Wood DI with a flourish stamp.

     The word 'LOVE' was cut out from an embossed sheet and covered in Antique Linen Stain. I cut hearts out of several of the prepared sheets of card.
A butterfly was cut out from the 'Melange' tissue and stuck to card before being stained with Weathered Wood and Antique Linen, brushed with some Fresco Chalk acrylic paint (Only bought this yesterday at Stamperama and after some very fun experimenting I am now a huge fan!) and edged with Gathered Twigs. Rust wire formed the antennae.

    A piece of rusty wire was twisted into a swirl shape and placed on the tag with some hearts attached.

 Some flowers were stained with Weathered Wood and Antique Linen DI's and attached to the tag.

I must admit I like this tag...not only has it got the lovely layers there is also the wonderful dimensional effect from the butterfly and the wire swirl coming away from the tag....It was a joy to make.

    I do hope you like my second 'layered' creation.....Please leave a comment if you are passing by this blog as I would love to know you were here.Take care and see you next time!

I am entering this in the following challenges -

Frilly and Funkie - Layer it up and add a word
Anything challenge  - Vintage shabby chic
Vintage stamping challenges  - Blues, Browns and Beige
Stampavie  - Lots of layers
Top tip tuesday  - Tag