Tuesday, 30 July 2013

August Calendar

Can you believe it's that time of the month again?  If you haven't already done it, now is the time to get your calendar done for August.

If you want to know more about the idea behind the monthly calendar please look on Kate Crane's blog as the whole thing is her idea.

Here's mine ready.  This is the pastel background.  I used Dylusions Inks which are really bright but the gesso soaked them up.

I used Sepia Archival Ink to stamp the sunflowers.  I cut up some scrapbooking cardstock for the squares.  I painted the sunflowers with Sunshine Yellow but the gesso and the colours already on the page makes them look brown.

Not to worry.  I could always go over them with my Inktense pencils.

Do share your calendar with us all.  It is such an inspiration to see what other people do.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Art Challenge

Happy Flowers

I found this video on YouTube and thought it would be lovely to try this technique.   The background needs to be done with acrylic paints or waterproof ink.

Have fun.

Don't forget to share your work via the linky.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Summer Tag

Here are some fantastic tags from Nicky.

This quarter I decided to get out some distress paints and have a play:

Firstly put some paints on your mat – I used Salty Ocean, Mustard Seed, Weathered Wood and Brushed Pewter:

Then I spritzed the paints with some water and dragged a tag through it:

Then I sprayed the tag with water to mix the colours even more:

Then I dried the paint using a heat tool:

Look at the fabulous effect!

Next don’t waste the leftout paint on the mat, instead run a piece of muslin or ribbon through it so that you can have a matching tie:

If you have any paint left then give it another spritz with water and drag another tag through – here you will get a completely different colour scheme:

Here are my two backgrounds together:

And yes they are made from exactly the same colours! Cool eh.

Now we just need to finish off the backgrounds:

Place a mask over the tag and gently sponge over using Stormy Sky Distress ink:

Don’t over do this stage as the ink will show up really well even if it looks like you haven’t put a lot on.

Here is the second tag – I used a double mask using Stormy Sky ink for the background of the buildings and then Chipped Sapphire for the building outlines:

The two finished backgrounds:

I then decided to use the second tag as my piece for the summer tag.  Firstly I stamped out some travel images onto white cardstock:

Then I cut out and inked the various pieces with Broken China and Mustard seed inks.  I then attached to them to the tag with staples.  To finish the tag I stamped out a aeroplane and banner and mounted this on using 3d foam:

I hope you like my take on the summer travel theme using yellow and blue.  Distress Paints are lovely to use and, as you can see from the above, you can get great results really quickly.

Thank you so much Nicky.

Don't forget to link your work below using the linky tool.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Creative Date for July

Julia Cameron in The Artists Way suggested the idea of making time for a regular creative date.   This idea is also picked up by Matt Tommey in Unlocking the Heart of the Artist.   

Last month Judy shared this page with us: 101 Artist's Date Ideas.

I am suggesting that we should each make time for a creative date each month.  Ideally we will go out.  Go to a local museum, a local art gallery, go for a walk!  Whatever idea you have that will feed your creativity.

However sometimes it's not possible to physically visit those places.  So here's my idea for July.

Click on this blog link and read the blog post.
Scroll down through Mary's blog and you will come to posts she calls Friday Favourites.   In these Friday posts she introduces us to other artists.  Click through to that artist's work.  Keep coming back to Mary's blog and find another artist to look at, repeating this for as long as you wish.  Make notes of things that inspire you.  Make a list of the links to the blogs you went to and share them with the rest of us.

Of course blog surfing can use up time like nothing else can.  So you may want to set yourself a time limit - say an hour - or a number limit of blogs - say 6.  Choose what suits you best and 
have fun!

Monday, 15 July 2013

Hospitality: Summer Cook Out

Judy is back with some super ideas for fun evenings with friends.

Hey y’all! I’m back to share a couple of fun ways you can get together with friends and family and extend a little hospitality and love during the summer months.
Remember, my ‘rules’:

  • I like to keep it simple.
  • I like whimsy.
  • I like time with my friends, and
  • I like for others to feel ‘at home’ when they visit us.

This month I want to share a recent Concert in the Park / picnic we had with friends, as well as a family fish fry – Both are fun Summer time activities –

First off – Concert in the Park

Our local Art League sponsors these free events weekly – all summer long. We usually try to get together with friends for at least a couple of them. First I texted everyone to see who could make it on the chosen night [gotta love modern technology!] and what they wanted to contribute to our picnic, then I made some quick and easy reminder cards to hang on the fridge – [I used some blank invites I’d picked up at a discount store a few years ago --]

What I did to Prepare: We gathered up our folding tables and picnic basket [almost always stocked with plastic table coverings, candles, and plastic-ware.] We also bought a couple of balloons to mark our spot. We also filled a cooler with water and soda…

Welcome: We got to the park early and set up two tables and lit the candles…

Menu: This was another very simple gathering – we made baked spaghetti and the others brought salad, bread, and dessert. Yum. Everyone brought their own drinks and lawn chairs.

Table / Centerpiece: The tables were pretty simple and held the food to serve from.

Game / Ice Breaker: No game or ice/breaker for this event since it was just good friends getting together to visit, catch-up and enjoy some beach music [yes! The bands the week were there were so fun!]

Photo Op: We asked a sweet by-stander to snap a photo of us to remember the evening – and that was that. - A great evening of just ‘being’ together. Always fun with this group of friends that have known each other for over 20 [dare I say, 25?] years…

A couple of weeks later we had our Family Fish Fry

If you know me or follow my blog at all then you know that my sweet husband is a GREAT fisherman – truly we have a freezer full of crappie, a freshwater fish that he catches almost daily during ‘the season.’ It’s been far too long since my family got together to JUST VISIT, so, again, I texted / talked and settled on a date when all come make it to our house for the day [we live at least two hours apart] – Then I sent out little reminder cards for the fridge. 

What I did to Prepare: I won’t lie – the back yard / patio area needed some sprucing up – [remember one of the reason we like to entertain is to make ourselves finish up some projects – lol] So a few weeks beforehand we got to it and cleaned things up – put down mulch in the flowerbeds, finished up the little deck for hubs’ outside fish cleaning station / aka sink [I use it for gardening too!] I also prepped / made food ahead, and hung a cute garland on the patio cover… we’d already outfitted the candelabra with solar lights.

Welcome: We had candy sushi [rice krispie treats / Swedish fish / fruit roll ups,] s’mores baskets, and a bubble station to welcome everyone – and had some yummy Capri skewers for starters. Delish. [Gotta love our little table made out of buckets – ha.]

Menu: This was another very simple gathering – we had the tomato –mozzarella skewers, salad, fish and hushpuppies. For desert we had frozen banana pudding cups [and a real banana pudding trifle – a favorite in our family – Quick recipe: Make sugar free pudding add half a tub of cool whip, layer in bowl with ‘nilla wafers and bananas – cover with the rest of the cool whip. Everyone also enjoyed s’mores later on when we gathered ‘round the firepit.

Table / Centerpiece: I had planned to eat outside, but it was close to 90* outside so we opted to eat inside at the dining room table – I set up a card table for the overflow – we’ve done this before so I had matching tablecloths.

Game / Ice Breaker: I cut out little fish and put them on poles and gathered them in a jar. Each fish had a question about your first fish, funny fish memories, or campfire tales.

Photo Op: Between us we took a ton of photos – and we also set up the tri-pod to get a group photo – love that my sister-in-law’s camera will take multiple photos at one time – we had fun playing tilt-a-head for it so that we could get some fun ones.  

So that’s it – a couple of fun ways to gather with friends and family and extend some hospitality – Have fun this summer!

Thank you so much Judy.  I feel that in the UK we might have to have one of those hosepipe ban summers to be able to do this.

If you do something fun with friends this summer do share it with us.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Technique Challenge

Alcohol Dripping

Here's a couple of videos about dripping rubbing alcohol onto paint.  In the UK use Surgical Spirit.  Choose one or the other technique to try or you could do both.

With acrylic paint

or with spray inks.  You can fast forward this video to 3 minutes in.  You will need to gesso your page before doing this technique with spray inks.

I suggest you experiment on paper before you work in your journal.
Hope you enjoy these techniques.

Don't forget to share your work with us all.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Recycling with Joanna

A welcome return by Joanna to show us how to make a journal.

Vacation/Travel Art Journal Made With Recycled Materials

It’s always fun to have a portable art project to take with you when you are travelling.  If you’re like me you can’t go very long without doing something creative and the prospect of being on holidays, however fun they are, without a creative outlet is not always something to look forward to.  With that in mind, and of course with my eye always on recycling something long-forgotten, here’s a project you’ll find fun. 

This time we are recycling old office supplies.  Who doesn’t have a bunch of this stuff lying around, taking up space and collecting dust?  The cool thing about recycling office supplies is that they lend themselves very well to art journal projects.  Today, we are going to turn old file folders, file hardware, index cards, library book pockets and other stuff into a beautiful handmade travel/vacation journal.

Please note that in the photos you’ll see here I am NOWHERE near completing all the embellishing on the journal I plan to do.  I had to stop at some point in order to get this blog post done!  I expect to continue to add decorative components over time.  It was just time to stop all that fun stuff in order to get the basics of the making of the journal itself outlined here for you.

So, let’s get started.  Our themes for this month include the dandelion and the colors sky blue and sunshine yellow, so I’ve incorporated them into this project.

I began with two standard manila file folders for the covers of the journal.  I chose to use two for added stability.  Because this journal was potentially going to be on the move and subject to some wear and tear, I figured two folders would be better than one.

I used some of my Adirondack Spray Wash inks in blue tones along with stencils to coat both sides of both folders.  When dry, I covered all sides with a very light coat of gesso.  The spray inks tend to bleed through lightly applied gesso and that was a look I was deliberately looking for in this project.  I like how the hint of the blue-toned sprays peeks through the gesso.  And the gesso also gives the folders a bit more substance and durability.

Next I layered on some more spray inks and acrylic paints with stencils and assorted sizes of sponge spouncers in shades of blue and yellow.

To fit with our theme, I used a small sunburst-shaped stencil with white acrylic paint to do a stylized dandelion.  I then used a permanent black marker to make the stems.

The next few photos show the folders with some more paint treatment in our theme colors.  I used a white gel pen to add some dimension to the stylized dandelions, and also used it to make the funky stems.  When I return to the journal to do more decorating and embellishing, I am planning on turning some of the dots into other funky flowers.

At this point, I decided to stop decorating the folders (for the sake of time) and started planning out the other elements that would make up this journal.  I knew I wanted some pockets or envelopes or something that would hold travel mementos, tickets, photos and other things gathered on one’s travel.

I took a couple of reclaimed library book pockets, carefully pulled them apart and covered them with a decorative papers (which happen to be made with those free images from the 12 Months In View April post).  The color of those images worked well with this theme.

I also gathered some index cards, old envelopes, and some handmade gift bags I’d made a long time ago with reclaimed wallpaper.  I thought all of these elements would be great to incorporate into the journal to hold things.

To hold all of this stuff in place, I decided to use those two-hole punched file folder hardware thingys.  Every office has some of them lying around unused and I liked the idea that using them would allow for additional pages and elements to be added to the journal over time.  Anything that makes a journal more flexible to use is a good thing!

So now, I had to plan out where to put the file folder hardware in relation to the pockets, envelopes, etc.  I also wanted to incorporate a couple of pages of watercolor paper and Bristol paper so that the journaler would have a variety of surfaces on which to write or create art with either markers or paints.

I decided that some of the hardware needed to be placed on the top edge of the journal and that this hardware would hold the larger sheets of watercolor paper.  I also decided to run some of the hardware close to the center fold of the journal so that some elements could be held in place horizontally.  My thought was that combining both vertical and horizontal elements in this journal, would make it more interesting visually.

Using a simple two-hole punch, the file folder hardware was put into place.

Before adding the pockets and envelopes, I decided I’d better stick the folders together while it was still fairly simple to handle them.  I measured out and marked the center fold of both folders as well as 1.5 inches in from the top and bottom edges of the folders.  Then, using an awl, I poked three holes in each folder.  I then bound the folders together using dark blue embroidery thread, leaving the ends on the outside of the journal (they will be covered later on).  I have not included binding details here but you can find all kinds of tutorials online for a variety of bookbinding techniques for journals.

Now it was time to start adding the pockets, envelopes and papers to the folders.  I used the two-hole punch again to make holes in the bottoms of the wallpaper gift bags so that they could hang from the top edges of the folder.  They already had holes punched in them on their open end, so a bit of coordinating decorative ribbon works well to hold them closed when they are filled with travel mementos.

On top of one of the envelopes, I mounted a couple of sheets of Bristol paper.

Next, on the back inside page, I mounted the recycled envelope that holds the yellow index cards to the bottom of the page with double-sided tape.  Several sheets of watercolor paper are mounted over top of the envelope.

On the inside front cover, I added the recycled library book pockets so that they could be a home for some small tags or ticket stubs or other vacation memorabilia.  You’ll note that the right-hand page has file hardware mounted to it so that additional elements can be added to the journal.

And that is about it for the basics of putting together the journal.  I added some funky checkerboard duct tape to the outside spine to cover up the embroidery thread.  I love how that tape coordinates with the stems of the dandelions.

To hold the folders together when travelling, I’ll adhere some sticky-backed Velcro dots in strategic spots.

Now the best part can start!  I can get back to embellishing the journal more with added elements and doodling and who knows what else!  Can’t wait!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this project and that it’s given you some ideas on how to take ordinary office supplies and turn them into a one-of-a-kind treasured keepsake.

Wishing you an artful day!


You can find Joanna here:

Thank you so much Joanna. I hope you enjoy following Joanna's tutorial and I look forward to see your work linked with the linky below.