Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Christmas Canvas

Here is a fun project that there's still plenty of time to make for Christmas. I do like having things other than tree ornaments and tinsel that I can bring out each year to adorn my walls over the festive period.
Even if you are nervous of painting this is a very achievable canvas so I hope you'll give it a try!
The snowman is created using my "Winter Wonderland Snowman" stamp set (PICSA6451) available from stockists of Personal Impressions products. I stamped him onto white card and carefully cut him out. Note that if you don't want to include the word blocks on his body, stick strips of masking tape over them, ink up the stamp then remove the tape before stamping the image. (Clever eh? Not really!)
I placed the cut out image onto an 8" x 8" canvas and drew around the shape and then applied DecoArt Media Line white Gesso over the canvas, leaving the snowman shape clear. I find it best to smooth the gesso into the snowman outline so that there isn't a harsh stop line. I used DecoArt products throughout except for a black Archival ink pad.
I then applied DA Crackle Paint over various areas of the canvas, some thin and some thick - the thicker the application, the heavier the crackling will be. Set aside the canvas to dry and, whatever you do, don't use a heat tool to try and speed up the process or the gesso will bubble and the crackle paint will not work. I usually place mine in a warm spot and keep checking...patience!

Meanwhile, we can turn our attention to the snowman. Using the Translucent White Fluid Acrylic, paint over the snowman's face and body - I use a soft brush that is just damp.There's no need to add water to the paint as it's very fluid as the name suggests. You will still be able to see the stamped details through the paint so you are effectively just colouring in the image - easy! Here are the colours of Media Fluid Acrylics that I used for the whole project...
Continue painting the snowman in your choice of colours. I like to use ball ended tools in various sizes when I add the facial details in black as this gives a nice round shape - you can use the end of a paintbrush too. Remember to paint the edges of the image to cover any white card that may show otherwise.
Once the canvas is dry and has nicely crackled, you can start to paint it...I added a row of simple trees and a sunrise to mine. Just have fun with the colours! I also smoothed Metallic Silver over the crackled areas and immediately removed the paint with a baby wipe which just leaves the silver in the cracks.
I painted on the words and extra snowflakes using Titanium White and a fine brush.
Once you are happy with the background, glue the snowman to the space that you left on the canvas - DA Matte Medium is ideal for this. Make sure it is well stuck, especially around the edges. I like to add some shadow around the image so that it looks grounded...simply blend colour that is slightly darker than the background around the snowman's outline. 
Next, apply a couple of coats of Soft Touch Varnish over the snowman, allowing it to just go over the edge of the cut out image which will nicely seal it to the canvas. Whilst still wet, sprinkle in a little Glamour Dust for extra sparkle!
Use a spatula to apply Snowtex to the base of the canvas to give a really snowy, textured surface for the snowman to stand in. Again, a little Glamour Dust looks very festive. I then mix Snowtex with gesso to let it down a little before using a small brush to add snowy details to his hat and the trees.
I really hope you'll give this canvas a try...using the stamped image separately in this way really does make it much easier!


Hello strangers! I'm hoping that some of you will have been catching up with me on my Facebook page (which isn't one that you have to join) but apologies for my absence. This has been a combination of being run off my feet, a flagging keyboard that means typing takes about seven times longer than it should  and a very annoying page that keeps dropping down whenever I am trying to post...IQ Options, whatever that is, but I cannot get rid of it and it prevents me from using my page properly.
I really will try to get back on here as much as I can, but please bear with me and do pop over to my FB page if you can!

Friday, 10 July 2015

Christmas hanger

Morning everyone, just a quick post with details about my workshop at Samuel Taylor's in Leeds on Saturday 18th July. We'll be making a card and triple hanger with a Christmassy theme.....
.....something like the ones shown here....
We'll be using my gilded layering technique and a range of lovely products.
If you would like to join in with the creative fun, the cost is £30.00 for the day.You can book directly by clicking the link to Samuel Taylor's workshop page here.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Winging it!

I have another step by step project on the DecoArt Mixed Media blog....this time a winged goblet. I'd had a rather nicely shaped glass sitting on my shelf for a while and knew that I wanted to give it a makeover. It was after watching a Harry Potter film on TV that this idea came to me!
Hope you like it....you can find full instructions and a materials list here.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Colour therapy

After feeling rather glum, I felt in need of some colour therapy and created a very simple journal page last night to cheer myself up a bit! I was given the kick start I needed by Mel who created  these pieces ...they just shouted at me to go bold and bright!
I stuck some book paper into my Moleskine journal before applying white gesso over the two pages. Once   dry I brushed on DecoArt Media Line Fluid Acrylics in Quiacridone Magenta, Cobalt Teal Hue and Diarylide Yellow, just allowing the colours to merge and create whatever fresh shades they would!
I quickly added some Titanium White circles (the old bottle lid trick) and quickly flicked water over the surface before dabbing with a paper towel which removed some of the colour intensity in certain areas. The Fluid Acrylics are waterproof when dry, so you can't hang about!
I added some handwritten words and lines in black and some extra detail around the page edges with my white pen. I use my dictionary pages quite a lot....
So, just a very simple journal spread but one that gave me a much needed lift.
A little different to the page that I created a few days ago, which was full of crackles, more muted shades and allusions to pressure and depression. I feel I may go back to this page yet, but am leaving it for a while to see where it decides to take me!
On Saturday 25th July I'll be teaching a full days workshop at Craft Range in Burnley, where we'll be creating two Mixed Media projects, concentrating on using Deco Art Media Line products. We'll be creating some aged and distressed finishes and here are some sneaky peeks of what we'll be up to....
 ....not giving too much away! Various mediums and paints will be involved though....
.....to create two different projects....
If you fancy coming along, the cost is £25 for the day, including materials and lunch. Please contact the shop directly to book - 2, Boran Court, Network 65 Business Park, Burnley BB11 5TH tel: 01282 833091.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

A Brief Encounter with creativity!

If you have a romantic nature, along with a love of creating, then you might enjoy my workshop next Saturday which is being hosted by Rowan Tree Crafts at the Heritage Centre in Carnforth Railway station....setting of course, to some of the scenes in Brief Encounter....arguably the most romantic film ever made!
We'll be making a triple hanging plaque something like this.....
 ....using my Gilded Layering Technique. The cost of this workshop is £35 which includes lunch. If you fancy joining me, please contact the shop directly to book at Rowan Tree Crafts, 3, Ashtrees Way , Carnforth, Lancashire or telephone 07590605078. Hope to see you there!
Meanwhile, I'm busy with various projects and watching the odd Wimbledon game here and there when I can - I don't think I've managed to see a full match yet! I shall be glued to the men's final a week on Sunday though!
I guess almost everyone enjoyed, or endured (depending on how you feel about it) the thunderstorms over the last few nights. I've enjoyed them but Tara has most definitely endured them....running under a very low cupboard that she can hardly squeeze beneath every time the rumbles start - bless her.
 I had to lie on the floor beside the cupboard so I could try and keep her calm. Thomas isn't bothered by it all really, in fact,he was pestering to go out in at last night....silly thing!
Here are a couple of shots that I managed of the storms - much better with the sound effects though! All viewed through the safety of my conservatory windows!

This was when the whole sky lit up last night...quite eerie considering it was about half past midnight!
Well, I am hoping that the crackle paste I have been using will now be dry, so I shall carry on with my creating!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Normal service is resumed...I hope!

Many apologies for the looooooong time since I last posted on my blog. Unfortunately it's been nigh on impossible due to some sort of ad page that has been coming down over the screen whenever I've tried to add anything here. Gggrrr! No matter what I've tried it has just kept blocking my view of my page and made it a nightmare to try and post. Fingers crossed though (sshhhh...) it seems to have righted itself at the moment so I am hoping that I can resume normal service.
Well, lots has been going on here since my last post of course! So, as it would take way too long to give a detailed round up of the last three months (!) I will share some photos and just a few highlights....
I've been busy with my Studio Workshops...those of you who know how often I travel long distances, lugging heavy bags around, will guess what a nice change it is for me to be teaching from home! Above are Karen and Sandra during a recent class - getting messy with DecoArt Media Misters...my studio walls have been getting the odd spritz too!
Below are Linda and Cindie sanding back Chalky Finish for Glass which they had painted onto textured glass candle jars...just one of the projects they completed during the day.
More details of my Studio Workshops can be found in the sidebar on the left.
Back in April I was confirmed in Church. Although baptised (both as a baby and then again as a teenager!) I had never been confirmed so this meant a great deal to me. It was a very moving experience and one I shall always treasure. As well as the children, there were four other ladies and here we are with Bishop Geoff...
....we feel we have a real bond of friendship now.
The Summer seems to have taken a while to get going doesn't it? I haven't had many chances to sit in the garden, or even to do any gardening really...in fact, I'm ashamed to say that I haven't even had time to grow any vegetables this year and there are more weeds than flowers at the moment. Oh well, I can't fit everything in and there's always next Spring to think about. I think that will be a New Year's Resolution that I might be able to keep! There have been a few chances to enjoy the sunshine though...the garden bench is a lovely spot to sit and draw....
It's also Thomas's favourite sun spot and he loves nothing more that sitting beside me there. Here he is guarding my knitting for me!
Unfortunately, just as I got into knitting, I had that nasty bump to my head at Stitches trade show and, since then, I've found that I can't knit without it bringing on vertigo and nausea! Weird. However, I have taught myself to crochet (which is a minor miracle) and this doesn't have the same ill effects. Here's my first completed project....
....I'm only up to simple shapes, but that's okay...scarves, cushions, shawls and throws will do! Talking of throws, I did manage to finish the one I was knitting, and decided that it would look just right on the back of the sofa. Tara agreed and also assumed that I had put it there just for her! Needless to say, it is looking more like a felted blanket every day as she delights in paddling her claws up and down in it....never mind!
....How could you resist her charms? You could? What if she threw this look at you.....
......see what I mean?!?
As well as my usual work, I've been busy doing more with DecoArt products as I'm on the International Design Team. This is the latest project that I created for the Mixed Media Blog which has step by step photographs that you can find here. It's a great blog which is well worth bookmarking - regular projects with great instructions from a range of designers.
These are a couple more pieces that I created recently using DecoArt products. This card features Media Misters, Interference Fluid Acrylics and an Andy Skinner stencil....
This is a canvas that I recently added to my Etsy shop - also featuring the brilliant Media Misters.
I really loved the way the colours came together on this one.
I've been enjoying watching the local wildlife of course. The birds, bats and other creatures that I'm lucky enough to have a wide range of in the surrounding area. I was happy to see this big, healthy hedgehog a couple of weeks ago. He is obviously doing well on slugs, snails and worms as he ignored the cat food that I put down for him. Thomas was rather interested in him too, as you can see....
....Mr Hedgie was quite unworried by either me or Thomas and just snuffled on his way into the garden!
Well, this is a very random post I know! I've just picked a selection of photos and moments from the last few weeks, but there have been lots of other things happening too. I was the after dinner speaker at a local Tangent ladies group a couple of weeks ago, which was great fun...a few funny reminiscences as well as some simple demonstrations....it seemed to go down well! Design work has been ongoing of course, as well as demonstrations and workshops around the country.
A friend asked me to create a card for her to give to a male relative and I came up with this one....
...it's a card within a folded frame which allows it to be free standing. I used a Tim Holtz paper for the frame and then realised that the word "poison" was very obviously plastered across the top! Some Tim Holtz random rubs came to the rescue and did the job of disguising the offending word - you can see them at the top right above the aperture!
I was at Samuel Taylor's in Leeds a couple of weeks ago, teaching a mixed media workshop, This was the project that we created....
....a really lovely day and I'll be there again teaching another workshop on the 18th July - again, details of what I'm up to can be found on the left.
Well, this has taken a while but the blocking ad thing seems to have left me alone. I basically had to stay away from the blog so that whatever it was assumed that it was no longer worth pestering me I think! Hopefully it's done the trick and I shall resume normal service.Meanwhile,I do also have a Facebook page which is a public one, so you can always check that if I go missing again!