Altered Art: Candy Cane Tree Decoration

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I’ve designed some hanging decorations for December’s workshop that slide onto a wooden split type peg. There are several designs, but this is one of the newer ones, and certainly the most complex to colour in… Using nothing more than five colours of ProMarker and a pencil, this candy cane tree decoration is ready to copy! There are spaces available, but please book in as soon as possible – I have a lot of cutting out to do…

I’ve also been playing with my Foldio360 bluetooth controlled turntable a little more. It’s recently had some new DSLR settings provided meaning that, finally, it remotely controls my proper camera for top notch pics, which I can then edit and stitch in Photoshop. Now to find a decent 360° viewer plug-in for WordPress so that I don’t have to save as a clunky animated GIF.

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Handmade Art Journal III

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I came across this wallet-type 4×6″ journal when I was looking through my Silhouette cut files. I have just been given a pile of kraft card file dividers, and thought they would be a perfect place to start. The mini album design is by Lori Whitlock and available via the Silhouette design store. I’ve added the band for the closure, and rather than six pages, I’ve added five due to the thickness of the card. The journal card inserts are a smidge smaller than 4×6″ and I’ve used a corner rounder so they slide in more easily.

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As for the decoration, this journal is a practice piece for one stroke folk art flowers. I watched how a friend’s mother painted her canal boat accessories when I was nine or ten, and the fascination with the way a shaded flower developed with so few brush strokes. These are my first attempts, with a little extra shading added with water-soluble pencils. The backgrounds are a mix of distress paints, whilst the flowers are painted with DecoArt Media fluid acrylics. I’ve edged the journaling cards with Frayed Burlap distress ink – and I’ve no idea at this stage what will go on them! There’s a few more pages to decorate, so stay tuned for updates 🙂

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As if that wasn’t enough… some typography & chalkboards

There’s just one day left before the Christmas Fayre (in case I hadn’t mentioned it recently). Though I have more items than I can fit on even a large table, the inspiration hasn’t stopped. I thought I would have a go at some mounted typography, so designed, cut out (ok, the Cameo did that bit), stuck together and mounted these two examples – which happened to be two verses from Sunday’s morning services (see the sermon sketchnote).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, I’m finishing off some MDF chalkboards – three down (one featured here), three almost done. The first is covered in old dictionary pages, and aged with a ‘dirty wash’ – a drop of DecoArt Media Raw Umber and a drop of Quinacridone Gold watered down, brushed over and splattered with water before drying and sealing with DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish. The second started with squidged Distress Paints, sprayed with water, then dried and I used DecoArt Media Phthalo Blue as my dirty wash, before glazing with a watered down metallic blue acrylic paint. I then sealed with a gloss varnish with a bit of DecoArt Media Interference Blue mixed in. And the last – I’ve tangled it in Sakura Micron 08 black pigment ink over Dylusions Linen White paint (which when completely dry doesn’t clog the nib), sealed with DecoArt Media Ultra Matte Varnish.

[Disclaimer: as part of the DecoArts Helping Artists Program,
I have been provided with samples of their products to use for projects]

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Make your own custom wax seal

Last weekend I went to a craft show, and amongst the ridiculous amounts of dies I noticed a dip pen and wax seal stand. Wax seals have a sense of class, of authenticity, of originality, even in the electronic age. And I’ve wanted my own for ages (my faux ones still didn’t quite hit the mark), along with some of the gorgeous pens. But where would be the originality be in a mass produced metal wax seal stamp? It was at that point I thought – I could make my own, couldn’t I? Thus started another steep learning curve (in between doing all the glass etching).

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Glass Etching with Armour Etch

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I have learnt three things on this little project:

  1. Etching glass with Armour Etch through a vinyl stencil that I cut on my Silhouette Cameo is quick, simple and delightfully effective. This inexpensive Ikea glass is now carrying the branding that I use for my studio.
  2. Photographing glass, like mirrors, is incredibly tricky! I spent roughly 15 minutes etching the glass, and then the next hour learning how to take the photograph! I ended up lighting it from beneath with a small LED push-light with a sheet of paper between it and the glass to dim it slightly. All of this was in a blackout tent, with a small amount of light from above, and poking my phone through a small slit in the tent. The first attempts had so much reflection of both the lighting and the surroundings, the etching wasn’t visible.
  3. Cleaning the glass digitally was so much more effective than in real life. I’d done my best using alcohol and non-shedding cloths, but the pesky dust specks really showed up despite my best efforts. The Spot Healing Brush in Photoshop really came to the fore to remove them. Though not perfect, I think as a bit of amateur product photography I can get away with it 😉

All that’s left to do is the rest of my glasses!

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Background Check: Day 4

BC_participantYesterday’s class was all about die cutting and how to use them in backgrounds. Now I’m not that much of a fan of die cuts, especially the confetti that covers everything with the really intricate ones. I decided to use a different approach, and cut out my cards using my Silhouette Cameo and designed my own shapes inspired by the dies used in the class.

The first is coloured with ProMarkers, and the second shaded with Picked Raspberry Distress Ink. The third is just the white cut out on a cream card – I think it’s a rather classy clean and simple design.

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Bunny Friends with Chameleons

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I’m not normally one to be grabbed by a ‘cutesy’ image, but this new rubber stamp from Penny Black / Margaret Sherry (dated 2009, so re-released?) definitely caught my eye. It’s one of those stamps that comes with a coloured image on the wooden block, which really helps those that need guidance on colouring in. I’ve used my Chameleon Pens to colour these in, which really came into their own for the shading on the pots. It took a couple of goes to find the right combination to get a good terracotta colour, which is why the pots are different colours between the two cards. The lettering is cut on my Silhouette Cameo – I found I need to set the cutter to ‘deep cut’ on the on-board screen, which meant the little serifs didn’t end up tearing.