Sunday, 26 September 2010

Tag! You're it!

I received my new Tim Holtz Alterations dies this week. The halloween dies are being released in a short burst and then, once sold out, won't reappear until after the turn of the year. I was worried that I was not going to be able to get hold of any but luckily one British company had them on pre-order. Yippee! So, when they arrived on Tuesday devoted the day to playing with them. I only ordered the Witching Hour and Raven/ Scaredy Cat dies (along with Reindeer Flight which I have to wait a little longer for) but guess who is regretting it now? I have already decided that I need the row of houses, the Once Upon a Time alphabet die and at least one of the Texture Fade embossing folders. It's just as well my birthday isn't too far away.

These are some of the tags I made this week. Lots of distress ink and alcohol ink - not to mention plenty of mess. But that's the fun of playing.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Challenge Gillian - August experiments

I'm very late posting my challenge efforts this month. It has been so busy that I kept forgetting. But while my challenge has been about producing a finished piece of work every week for a year (with the exception of the mid summer bust) this month has been about experimenting with new techniques I have read about. Each is a finished piece but to mind hideously ugly. But as they are experiments I'm not going to beat myself up about it - they are entitled to be ugly as a first time effort.

The first piece, of the robin, was to try and mix coloured pencil to produce realistic colours for birds. Birds often have multi tone feathers, e.g. those which look greenish or brownish. The British robin is one such bird so it was an idea subject.

The next piece is of a dog rose rosehip and was done using markers and coloured pencils. I read about a technique where you lay down a coating of solvent based marker (in my case, Promarkers) then shade over the top of it with the coloured pencil. While the colours are fantastic and vibrant the coloured pencil can lead to rubbing through the surface of the paper and spoiling the image. I think the paper I used might have something to do with it though. The article I read mentioned that it was done on smooth watercolour paper and I was using heavy drawing paper. There is also the problem of the markers bleeding outside the drawn outline. While you have the option to not draw right up to the outline with the marker it is still a bit hit and miss. Which is a pity as I LOVE the vibrancy of the technique. The brown outline was added at the end to disguise the bleeding of the edges.

The final piece is of a sprig of olive and began as a detailed pencil drawing. I wanted to see if I could add a watercolour wash to a detailed drawing and still have it look like I wanted it to. It didn't work too good so I added some black ink to the outline. Unfortunately it didn't improve things too much either. It seems that the watercolour just washes out the pencil even though the pencil was quite dark in places. However, I won't give up on that technique yet. I will try again with an animal drawing. The problem I have is that I love drawing in graphite and feel that it is a stronger point of mine that watercolour. Unfortunately, graphite drawings do not sell as well as watercolour so I am looking for a compromise.

However, I am one piece short. With all the buzz around the house finding time was not easy. Hopefully I will have the full four pieces to show next month.

Sunday, 19 September 2010


Polymer clay has been playing a big part in my creativity over the last week. Last weekend I made the beds shown below. The photo doesn't do them justice. They are sparkly and partially see through so you can see layers of clay through the translucent polymer clay. This weekend I made more beads, this time in the shape of birds, cakes and acorns. They still need an acrylic wash to pick out the details but I'm quite pleased with the shapes. Now I just have to decide what kind of project to use them on.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Birthday biz

There has been a flurry of big birthdays in my family recently with more to come so making birthday cards has been top of the agenda. My Gran was 91 at the end of August and my Uncle and Aunt will both be 70 this month. However, to top off the birthdays this year is my Grandfather's at the end of the year. He will be 100. It is hard for me to imagine what that would be like. He still lives by himself and is fiercely independent so it even more amazing. Anyway, I have added a couple of the birthdays cards here. The first uses K and Co papers but the photo doesn't show it off at its sparkly best. The papers are foiled and I added some glitter and a shiny blue peel off to match the foiling. The other card is made from a kit bought from QVC UK and designed by their resident craft expert, Dawn Bibby. It's a lovely kit, pale and soft but with foiling and lots of butterflies and dragonflies.

The other photos include some of my Halloween themed swaps - a ribbon fairy/witch swap and a recipe card swap. But, not content with paper crafts I have gone back to making some jewellery. The pictures here are some of the pieces I have uploaded to Etsy. I enjoy making jewellery very much but I don't wear jewellery very often. So I figured maybe I could make a little money selling it. We shall see if it works out that way. The final photos are of a couple of Halloween bookmarks made using Cosmo Cricket papers and some of my own zany skulls which were then laminated. One is for a swap buddy and the other is currently in my copy of The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle. You can never have too many bookmarks.