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Friday, 29 March 2013

Easter Eggs

Hi Everyone
It's a much improved day today - sometimes blue sky but quickly changing to grey. However, there's an 'optimistic' feel to the weather.

It's Due Cut Friday today as well as Good Friday (and technically a holiday for me). I've chosen another Easter themed item for this weeks offer. This project is very simple and can be quite quick. Although, it could last all day if you get involved. If I have the time, I love to fiddle, trying out lots of little ideas with scraps of card. Simple stripes and spots always look good.

These are all very simple Easter eggs which can be decorated with anything. I've chosen a range of colours used with the chickens from last week. My reason for using the same card was to allow all the elements to be used as a whole decoration. I'm decorating an afternoon tea spread to take to a family celebration on Easter Sunday. I will take some photos of the spread to share. I'm hoping to put some of the eggs onto sticks (as per last week) but others will find themselves on the table and ? Not sure exactly what will happen but together with lots of chocolate eggs and other goodies to eat, they will look pretty.
The basic egg is a Quickcutz die - it comes with another die for using as decoration. The second die has a bit of a ribbon piece with dots. I have used both dies on a few of the eggs but I don't tend to use them as intended on the one egg. I've also used a couple of embossing dies again, from Quickcutz and its about the only time I need to use the Quickcutz machine to squeeze the embossing die. The thickness of the two thin plate is too thick to go through the Sizzix. I like the way the embossing dies changes the look of the simple egg. I think it makes it look very sophisticated and I use it often with the egg.

These eggs lend themselves to any small embellishments. I have cut quite a few more eggs to decorate. I think, I will paint or colour these using similar colours ? Not sure at the moment. I've also cut a few eggs in half and will sit some of the chickens in them.

As extra colour and interest Ive cut out some other Easter like items - tulips and bunnies and butterflies as well a a sign for an Easter message (not sure its butterfly weather but Im claiming artistic license) have crept in too.

The great thing about making these little things is using up all the scraps left over from other projects. All the card used today was from the bin.
There's plenty left for a few more bits too.

Hope you enjoyed today's offer. These eggs could be used for cards, bunting or glued onto cocktail sticks etc.

That's it for today and for a few weeks. We are off on a family holiday in a few days. I hope to blog a few photos while away to share. Have a great Easter.

Bye for today.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Creating with CLAY

Hi Everyone
Not sure what the weathers doing today ! More of the same I think !!! ie cold and snowy but sometimes bright - not much snow to be fair.

It's my birthday today and Im off out for the day. It's a surprise so Im not entirely sure how things will turn out but I will give an update tomorrow.

Today, is 'Thursday technique'. My technique of the moment is using clay in a variety of ways. I've recently been trying out silver clay and am very keen to develop my skills. I've also been trying out Fimo clay and have done some bead like embellishments for a painting as well as some little beads.

The raised elements on the tartan painting are Fimo. I used a translucent clay and painted them with acrylic after baking. My plan was to use the same design as the silver clay tartan jewellery items I made.

The Fimo was much more difficult to get the definition that Ive managed with the silver.

There's lots more potential for Fimo. I've used Fimo in the past but had big problems with baking it. I have a small oven recommended for the purpose but Ive not had much success. Several times the Fimo has burned. Usually the clay is not sufficiently baked. I've changed the location of the oven to a warmer place and the results are good so far. I have in mind, to develop a tartan cane. I shared this yesterday - see yesterday for links.

This is the kind of thing I'm after. I'd like to turn this type of thing into buttons. It's quite a big job - will keep you posted.
My other wish for the Fimo is to make a Miss Mitchell face. Again, I'm researching ideas for the moment.
I also have some PaperClay which Ive used for making buttons. I'm going to do this again and will add to my button flower collection to the new Miss Mitchell painting. Buttons will become flowers. I need lots for the garden so Im on a hunt for buttons.

Must go.

Bye for now

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Second Miss Mitchell

Hi Everyone
Another cold and winters day. I'm trying to find a positive in the weather - the 'swirling winds are keeping the snow from building up !! That's as good as it gets today !

Today it's 'Doll Day'. The doll of the day is Miss Mitchell again. She is having a new look and new colours and a new 'hair do'. I think her face is slightly more coloured and perhaps almost 'healthy' looking. Miss Mitchell original is very pale !

The new Miss Mitchell doll will be part of my March painting and is firmly in the 'tartan' series.
This is how she started. I decided I liked the style of the 'balloon' dress and will work with it. She has let her hair down too. I'm not sure how the hair will turn out but I will keep it brownish. Her eyes are distinctly green so the eye makeup stays too.

I've done some work on the dress and worked on the face. I had added and then removed the hair ribbon on the left of the face and have decided to bring the hair forward (eventually).

Much more to go on this but it's going OK so far. This painting is to be a part of a developing story involving Miss Mitchell and her new school teacher job. I have a childrens 'starter' reading/activity book. I'm being led by the story. The idea is to involve flowers and wildlife in her garden (the background). I hope to incorporate 'the' button flowers (in tartan) too. The garden is developing and will eventually be a place for learning and part of her school. I have grand plans !!

I want to go further with the face in this painting and use paints to better effect re the shape of the face with the hair. I'm not sure (at the moment) how I can do this with the current face ? Further experiments are needed.

An additional element to the dress would be some special buttons with the tartan theme. I'd like to make them from Fimo - from scratch ! I have a tutorial and although I understand the technique it looks tricky.
Take a look here

These look brilliant. I will try ! On that note ......

Bye for today.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Making Tartan Buttons

Hi Everyone
A very 'winters' scene today. A good covering of snow. I had hoped all visible snow would be gone for another year. I was looking forward to our daffodils - just peaking through.

The current 'mini' project is making buttons from egg boxes. Here's a quick look at the original project

If you look back to last Tuesday the details are there. I've made the actual base bead and given them a single coat of Golden Titan Buff. I used a small egg box and managed to get about 30 buttons of various sizes.

I created most of the buttons by simply cutting them out free hand with scissors although I do have a Sizzix die and tried that too. Both techniques worked fine but I wanted a greater range of sizes so I tended to cut them out.

After paining I decided to hang the buttons on toothpicks to allow drying.
I made the holes in the buttons from a simple hand punch (other than the dies which have holes)

They probably need another before decorating. The idea behind the project was to review the process and make embellishments for my own work. My aim is to make some and decorate them just like the picture. This is what attracted me to the project in the first place. However, I would like to use others, decorated in tartan as an addition to my latest painting. My idea is to make some flowers from the finished tartan buttons. I'm hopeful.
I was quite impressed with how many buttons I got from the one box, a larger box would be a better approach to make batches. The project is quite time consuming. It's the decorating which takes the time, especially the base coat. I think I spent about 3 hours in total. I liked the project and the end result - so far is great. The texture of the egg box gives a lovely feel to the buttons, they are strong and quite tactile and not to be overlooked, they are 'upcycled free packaging' - great ! To make my tartan buttons, Im inspired by some other buttons. I've seen these great tartan buttons made from polymer clay. You can buy them from Folksy. I do 'have a go' with polymer clay but Im not good enough (yet !) to make these buttons. I would like to. For this project, however, I will be painting the buttons.

My tartan palette is bright. - here is a quick peak at the progress. I hope my buttons will reflect elements of these images.

That's it for today.

Bye for now.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Inspiration TARTAN

Hi Everyone
It's a grey day and so cold but it's 'dryish' and we don't have the quantity of snow everyone else (in the UK) seems to be getting. There are little snow showers but not in any quantity. Still, not an inspiring day weather wise !

However, inspiration this week is to come from 'Tartan'. I know Ive been obsessed with tartan for a few weeks, so technically it's not a new thing for me to be inspired about but I thought it worth a 'fresh' look. I could ramble on for hours about the history of Tartan etc and of course, there are many books on the subject. If you are particularly interested there is a good summary in Wikipedia. My particular take is to do with the colour patterns and the textures I associate with Tartan. I do like this image of Scottish soldiers from around 1600 - it gives an almost 'doll like' link to the Tartan subject.

I also remember wearing red tartan trousers as a child and I often had tartan ribbons in my hair. So, tartans often had a place in my life for a while. My family also has a tartan (from our links with a Scottish clan) - the colours are not quite me but there we are ! Even though, the browns do not especially attract me, the patterns are quite attractive, especially the pattern of the 'weave' - it gives a 'depth'.

I've been working on producing some tartan inspired art recently and last week came up with a brighter range of colours as you can see. This is painted on wood. Again, I like the texture provided by the wood and think it adds to the visual impact of the colour combinations.

I'm quite drawn to the brighter coloured tartans.

You can make your own design by using this tool Go here Ive made several designs which I like.

Not sure which way I prefer the pattern to be.
Perhaps both at the same time ?

My various (current) jewellery projects are also linked to the tartan theme. The silver project and the brooches are both inspired by tartan. I have some new images to share here.

In addition, I've been experimenting with Fimo clay over the weekend and have created little tile designs to add to the wooden painting (the one mentioned above) which I hope to develop further this week. So all in all, Tartan seems to be THE inspiration of the week.
Hope you are inspired too. Look at the colours and patterns and see examples everywhere. It's amazing that everything I turn to has a tartan theme somewhere within. I hope to pick this up and run with tartan ideas all week.

Bye for today.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Cupcakes and Chicken Sticks for Easter

Hi Everyone
Today, the weather is not so bad - at the moment. We have heard about lots of snow on its way but for now it's quite windy but dry and a bit grey.

Yet again, I'm finding myself thinking 'I can't believe it's Friday' ! But it is definitely is !

Die Cut Friday this week is a nod to Easter with a little cupcake holder and a 'Chicken Stick'. I used to sell lots of these 'Chicken Sticks' but have not made them for a few years. I have used them for sticking in cakes or decorating a table or platter. I've seen them used as bunting or added to cards for extra decoration. I also had a mini mobile at one time. I guess they are just a pretty decorations.

The die Ive used for the cupcake case is from Lifestyle Crafts and is called 'Botanical Cupcake Liner'. It is a thin die and is one single cut. It should be an easy and reliable die but I find the size is a little too big for my cutting plates and although I can eventually get the shape, sometimes and it's difficult to get a clean cut. I tend to find it a struggle to position in my Big Shot. The Multipurpose platform is needed too. My last criticism is that the closure for the case is not as precise as I like - the photos show this in more detail. However, having said all that - when it goes right it's lovely and a large display of these cases makes a sensational display for not too much effort. That sounds like lots of contradictions. However, I think it's about preparing and positioning the materials and tools. Using a very light card or a strong paper is important. If a thick card is used the cases are rigid and fold creases appear as the case is formed. Just something to remember. For today, I've made a new little table to display my cupcake case in 'Spring like' patterns. The designs are from Pink Petticoat. Take a look at their range, lots of very pretty designs.

The chickens sticks use Quickcutz dies - the are two dies which make up the pieces. As they are very thin, the Sizzix Adapter is required to use with a Sissiz machine. I made all the chicken sticks with a SideKick. I've used different combinations of cardstock to make each chicken slightly different.

The chicken stick in the photo (on the green stick) has been mounted on a small piece of corrugated card. I like this effect and gives the Chicken some stability for handling (especially by little chocolate fingers).

All the little bits need sticking together. I use Anitas Tacky Glue. Having tweezers at hand can be helpful.

The photos show the development of the chickens and the whole process is very easy. All you need is lots of time to fiddle and somewhere cosy to sit with lots of coffee and nibbles. I ate several of my chocolate eggs during this little project. I will need to buy another bag of eggs for Easter.
Hope you enjoyed the project.
Have a great weekend. I'll be back next week.

Bye for now.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

All Will Be Well

Hi Everyone
The sun is shingling very bright today but there's a dusting of the 'white stuff'. The sun is 'warm' (relative to time of year !!) so Im hoping 'all will be well'.

Today, Im talking about paintings and painting 'techniques'. You may have noticed (or not ! ) that each day this week Ive got a bit of a 'structure' going on in my blogs. Here's a bit of background on this one.

It's always a mistake (I feel) to make big announcements (in public) ! So bear this in mind re the blog. Will I keep them going ? Can I remember what Ive announced etc. However, there is purpose on this occasion. My point of the blog structure is to help ME to keep on 'track'. I often get sidetracked by new and exciting ideas. I hope this weeks approach is flexible enough to accommodate these little diversions while keeping me disciplined to achieve my ultimate aims. Fingers crossed.

So, back to paintings.
A while ago, I decided I wanted to get a new painting finished each month. I've given it three months and its a bit of a struggle to get any of them finished. I could see this as a 'failure' or it could be something very different.

After consideration, Ive decided, its because of the way in which I work. Therefore, definitely a 'positive'. I feel liberated. I need to have these unfinished paintings around me to go back to and 'add to'. I like them displayed in a particular space near where I work and I like to look and look and look again.... I feel this is MY way, the way in which I can get exactly what Im trying to say in my paintings. I've resolved my angst about this by accepting the process is part of the way I work. It's OK. I like the incremental approach to working, it suits my 'home life' at the moment (along with my family commitments) and it seems to suit my search for a 'creative life'.

Having sorted all that out ... I'm happy to share the progress of my first quarter ie Jan to March ART. My priority in my creative life is 'painting' and when I talk about MY ART, that's what I mean. I do get into lots of other stuff (another huge positive) but its all in aid of developing my skills/techniques and creative awareness. Anyway, here are my three pieces to date.

February - MARY HAVERSHAM (temp. title)

ps - Mary's friends have arrived, eventually !

March - MISS MITCHELL @ HOME ( temp. title)

I will keep going each month with a new painting and will produce (I believe) a better collection by adding and revising etc. I like the way in which I can weave new ideas and skills or techniques into a piece of work as and when a particular painting 'speaks' to me, almost telling me what I need to do next. When is a painting 'finished' - another huge question. My only answer can be .... When the painting 'tells me' !

On that note, bye for today.