Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Wednesday Love: Love to Learn

This week I am loving online classes. O.K., so maybe just a little too much as I have a few waiting to be completed and I've just signed up for a couple more. Online classes are the best! They can be squeezed in around the everyday stuff and can be very inexpensive. Having said that, I stumbled across some super expensive ones too this week, but I won't be signing up for those.

So the classes I have yet to complete are "Artsy Bangles" and "Bless this Mess" from Christy Tomlinson (and Junelle Jacobson). These classes are time sensitive and so I really need to get on and have a go. I've done a couple of classes with Christy before and they are always packed with ideas.

I've also signed up for "Finding your Photo Style" over on Big Picture Classes. I've done quite a few Big Picture Classes in the past and I would recommend them. There's a great choice of scrapbooking/photography classes to choose from and no expiry date to the class materials. Some are only open for class registration at certain times but other short classes are available permanently. They also have their own e-books.

And finally I've signed up for two classes on the Skillshare website. This is a new one for me but my friend Faye is teaching the first one - "The Art of Typography" . I couldn't resist signing up for this one too - "Reign Repeats - create perfect repeat patterns", even though I'm not really expecting to have a go at it until Autumn (I'll miss the competition that's attached to the class, but these are skills I really want to learn).

As you can see, that's quite a range of classes! My head is a bit all over the place at the moment as the Boy starts school in September and so I am trying to work out which way to take my freelance work. The workplace I entered 15 years ago as a freelance artist/crafter has changed enormously. I didn't even own a computer for the first three years I was self employed. I am going to have to go back to basics, with drawing skills and computer skills too.

There are more classes on my wish list too... Alisa Burke's classes "Sketchbook Delight" and "Anti Scrapbooking" and also "Drawing and Painting for Textile Design" which is an online 8 week class run by Central St Martins University.

( I have also taken classes with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, Shimelle Laine and Donna Downey - and I would recommend them all too)

Does anyone know any good online classes for learning Photoshop!?

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Getting unstuck

I don't scrapbook chronologically but I keep my photos in folders with the year written on the front. I only have 6 photos left in the 2010 folder and so I decided I wanted to make an effort to get them all scrapped. I had these two photos of the girls on the beach and I know my husband loves these pictures so I wanted them in my album. They were taken on quite grey day (no surprise for our summer holidays) and so I had struggled to scrap them in the past.

I started off with a piece of cardstock where I had been experimenting with oil pastels, mists and embossing folder ( like this previous page) and added some lines drawn with the tube inside some mists. I chose colours that matched the colourful cardigan in the photo. I stuck down some washi tape and then I got stuck.

Do you ever get part way through a page and think  "I don't like this" or "I can't see where this is going"? This is how I felt at this point. So I went back to my first love - pattern. I dug out some patterned papers and placed the layout on the top to see what happened.

First this one...

...then this one...

...and finally this one.

I went for the middle one which seemed to bring the layout to life, even though it is only a small border on the finished page. I was particularly pleased to use this paper up as I've had it for ages (on the back it says 2004). Once I had added the patterned paper I felt able to move forward  - I was unstuck!

I added these black words cut from a die-cut cardstock sheet.

Here's a close look at the embossing folder resist bit.

Do you have a technique for getting unstuck?

Thursday, 23 May 2013

A pirate quilt

I have finished a cot quilt for a little boy (who is now 6 months old- oops!) who has a pirate themed bedroom. I had fun putting this quilt together. There are some great pirate fabrics around. I chose a pirate print, a skull and cross bones pattern, along with waves and pirate treasure ( and a map fabric for the back). I had the woodgrain fabric in my stash from years ago.

I continued with my idea of keeping it simple so I can get it finished and appliqued a big pirate ship for the middle. I made my own paper piecing pattern for three little boats, which I am really pleased with.

I mostly quilted following the straight lines but then I also added a little free-motion quilting by sewing some waves in the sea...

... and some clouds in the sky.

Here's the treasure map on the back. I think this might be my favourite bit!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Wednesday love : Yarn bombing strikes again

Guerilla knitting has appeared in our town again! I love it! The Boy and I had a trip to the pier in our town and when we got to the end we found this woolly lovely-ness at the end. You can see it's quite a long piece of knitting and it was difficult to get it all in the photo.

I love the colours in this and there's a textured fluffy wool in there too. It's such a fabulous way to make the world a bit of a happier, woollier place to be.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Too much chocolate - a sketch challenge

Time for another sketch challenge over at Sketchbook365 and this time the sketch is based on a layout by Birgit Koopsen (check out her gorgeous blog)...

 I rotated the sketch by 90 degrees and went from there. I love these new camera sheers by Maya Road.

I am gradually rediscovering my stamps, particularly inspired by fellow design team member Emilie Chamel's stamp only layouts - they are fabulous. These are some circle stamps by Basic Grey, from their Lime Rickey collection, which is my all time favourite collection from them.

Now I have a huge collection of washi tape I am looking for ways to use it. Here pieces of tape made up the borders.

Check out the Sketchbook365 blog for more fantastic interpretations of this sketch and if you play along there's a chance to win a great prize from Pink Paislee. The deadline to submit your page is 20th June 2013.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

A stencil and some embossing powder

I had an idea to try to use a stencil with a Versamark inkpad and embossing powder. For my stencil I used an old piece of die-cut card stock. This was my first attempt. It hasn't come out particularly clearly as I meant to put white embossing powder on the page but sprinkled clear powder on instead - oops! So I wiped it off and started again but the page was still a little sticky and the design didn't come out completely clearly. Fortunately for this page, with a seaside theme, I think it has worked rather well (a bit reminiscent of breaking waves).

I finished off the page with a bit of machine stitching. I have a confession... I was really impatient and didn't swap in the old needle I use for sewing on paper, I just used the new one already in there - naughty me!
I really like the fine detail that the stitching adds to the page.

I think I will definitely try again with the stencil and embossing powder.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Wednesday Love : Live Music

Time for a little mid-week happiness and this week it's all about live music. Last Friday my friend and I went to Cardiff to see Mcfly. It was so brilliant! I love going to see bands play live and I have a vast collection of tickets, and memorabilia from the various shows I've been over the years. O.K., so here comes the strange bit - I have never scrapbooked any of it.

I love being at a gig, with that all-encompassing experience of the music and the lights and the people , with the bass and drums thumping in your chest and beams of light streaming over the audience. I can't begin to get my head around capturing that on a scrapbook page. My friend took this great photo above, which would be a fantastic start to a page but then I stall and can't imagine what to put with it. Maybe a Project life style page with loads of photos would work??

Have you ever scrapped photos/tickets from a gig? I'd love to see your pages.

For more midweek happiness, here's my favourite Mcfly song at the moment, which hasn't been released yet but sounds amazing live...RED

Monday, 13 May 2013

That yellow coat

Buying this yellow coat for the Boy was one of my best purchases of the past year. It makes him so easy to find when he goes charging off away from us. When I saw him standing by those yellow leaves I knew I had to take a picture!

I love using yellow patterned paper for a background this one is by American Crafts from their Shoreline collection.

I'm also continuing to use up my stash of Sassafras Lass products, with a border strip and large arrow sticker on this layout. And continuing my love of button badges, here's another one from Paperchase. I always remove the pin from the back of a badge to help it stick on to a page better and sometimes the front of the badge will pop off from the back. Sticky foam pads work well to stick the badge top down.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

A new skirt

I have really enjoyed the recent TV series "The Great British Sewing Bee". It made me remember how I am not very good at dressmaking. I usually get in a flap over patterns followed up by a phone call to my Mum to help decipher the instructions. (All this from someone who studied Costume Production  at college - oops!).

I made myself a skirt last year from a kit I bought at a big craft fair at the NEC. It was a bustle skirt kit from Clothkits and I fell in love with this fabric with the viewmaster reels on - It's so lush (as we say round here!). It was also on special offer for the fair (Clothkits are quite pricey). This fabric is a cotton linen fabric so it has a really nice weight to it.

I followed the instructions and made myself a bustle skirt which got lots of lovely comments when I wore it to a party, but I didn't find it particularly comfortable (probably due to my own dressmaking skills rather than the design). The bustle skirt is made from sewing two straight rectangles together so it was easy to unpick and be left with two large pieces of fabric. 

I found a great pattern for a reversible A-line skirt in the March issue of Sewing World , which is the one with my fabric eggs on the front cover. I had just enough fabric to cut out the pattern for the skirt. It was supposed to be reversible but I used a white polycotton as the lining instead so I had enough fabric to complete the under skirt layer too. 

This skirt is much more practical to wear and, as I am getting a bit fed up with jeans, I think it could get a lot of use this summer - and later in winter with tights and boots. It fact I like this so much I have already bought some more fabric for my next skirt. You can see a sneak preview of the fabric here - it's quite quirky!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Love that smile - a multi photo layout

I had a go at a multi photo layout following a sketch as part of the Creative Crop for National Scrapbooking Day over on Big Picture Classes. This was the sketch from the challenge by Donna Jannuzzi.

I had a selection of photos of the Boy from different days out last year which I really liked but didn't have a particular story to tell for each one. Putting them together on one layout has worked really well.

This was a fairly simple layout to put together, mostly using papers and stickers from Amy Tangerine's collection by American Crafts. I added some "you are awesome" stamps amonst the text in the background using my new American Crafts Dear Lizzie roller stamp.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Wednesday Love: A sunny bank holiday

We had a fantastic sunny day out at our local Agricultural Show on Monday. It's a family tradition that we go to the show every May Day bank holiday and we have been when it has poured with rain and when it was so cold we all had to buy woolly hats, so it was a rare treat to be there in hot sunshine - along with nearly everyone else in the county!

We saw lots of different farm animals - the Boy thought it was really funny that they seemed to all be staring at him! The kids went on a bouncy castle and we won some cheap prizes on the Hook a Duck stall...

We had lots of sweet treats to keep us going - smoothies, ice-cream, doughnuts and candy floss.

We had a "wheely" good time!

Monday, 6 May 2013

From embossing folder to rubbing plate

After trying out the embossing folder as a rubbing plate I had an idea for experimenting with a resist technique which was inspired by an evening with the Brownies who were painting flowers using various different art materials. This time I rubbed over the embossing plate with an oil pastel and then sprayed over the top with a mist.

This was how it turned out...

I am loving the stitched look on layouts at the moment so I underlined my title with some lines of stitching.

This page really is a mix of the old with the new. The new part is this new doily stamp (Doily circle cling stamp from Hero Arts) with my lovely new Neon Pink ink pad (also Hero Arts).

And the old part is using up some old brads and a button badge and patterned paper and a decorative strip from Sassafras Lass.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Live life in full colour

Happy National Scrapbooking Day! I have been fortunate to be able to spend today with my friends at my local crop. It's so great to be with people who get as excited by pretty paper, paint and stamps as I do! I usually take the opportunity at a crop to have a bit of a play and I've had a couple of ideas bouncing around in my head - mostly about embossing folders with different mediums. My day didn't start out so well as when I got to the crop I discovered I had left one of my (many) bags at home which had all my paints, glue etc in it. After a phone call home to my lovely family they were soon all in the car bringing me my supplies!

So this was the result of one of my ideas - using an embossing folder (Tim Holtz texture fades - rays) as a rubbing plate with my Neocolor crayons. I used these crayons without using water afterwards, but I'm thinking that would be the next thing to try with this technique.

I love this effect...

I carried on the lines of the design with some stitching...

With a few kisses in the corner and a multicoloured line of stitches too.

I think this photo of my girls makes them look a bit like they are holding lightsabres and so it's very appropriate that I scrapped this photo today. To all my fellow Sci-Fi fans - Happy Star Wars day!!

There are loads of online crops and challenges going on this weekend. Some of my favourites are on Big Picture Classes, and Shimelle's blog. I am hoping to make the most of this burst of online inspiration and join in with some challenges so look out for more layouts coming up this week :)

Thursday, 2 May 2013

A new Fimo bead necklace

When I run Fimo demonstrations and workshops I end up with quite a few single beads or maybe 2 or 3 that match. I have a large bag of these beads now and I fancied making myself a new necklace.

This is my everyday necklace. I get lots of lovely comments about it and it works as a permanent advert for what I can make. I find it particularly handy when I am explaining my job to people to just take it off and hand it over and say "I make these"! There are four different types of beads on here from a workshop and a demonstration.

I am feeling bright and sunny now I can see blue skies again and so I decided I wanted a more colourful necklace to wear. I chose lots of different beads from the bag and strung them together with some metal spacers beads.

As all the beads are different, I found the spacer beads that match make the non-matching beads look more intentional.

Happy bead face!