Wednesday 28 November 2007

A Work in Progress

Not much to report at the moment - I have been very busy with my non-creative (but still very fulfilling!) domestic responsibilities this week so have been doing more baking than sewing or stamping! I have also lost myself late at night when I should be sleeping in reading Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy which I originally bought for Zach but which I have lost myself in (on Zach's extremely insistent recommendation!). I don't normally read fantasy but these books are intriguing.

Anyway, I have good news to share - I received an email from Somerset Studio yesterday saying that I am being published in the Jan/Feb issue. That email is making me reconsider making something for submission on the current "Heroes" theme!

The scan at the top of this post is a "work in progress" picture of the silk fusion postcards I am making for an exchange with Sue Smith and Jhodi Bennett. Jhodi chose the theme silk so of course I had to use some silk fusion paper I had made in lovely autumnal colours. I have stamped in turquoise Neopaque ink using a very large Fancy Pants swirl/flourish image and added a vintage image printed on inkjet fabric sheets. I have washed the image with diluted Antique Linen Distress Ink and done some free motion stitching on the postcard. I am now awaiting inspiration for the finishing touches...

Monday 26 November 2007

Inching Artists - All That Glitters (& Wonderful Mail)

I think I am becoming addicted to inchies - they are such a good way of using up some of those small strips of cardstock and fabric (trimmings!) that I just cannot throw out!!

This week's theme is "All that glitters" on the Inching Artists Challenge Blog (we need more players - come on, join in - inchies are easy and quick - and you even just do ONE!). I mean, how easy is that?

I have used gold webbing spray on black cardstock (pulled already sprayed from one of many "trimmings" boxes) with a large gold sequin topped by a smaller but still big pink sequin with iridescent gold flakes (what on earth did I buy them for anyway?) glued on top. I have outlined the edges with a pale gold Krylon pen. They will look good mounted together in a strip (instead of the crooked line-up above). They are very glittery although of course this doesn't show up very well in the scan.

And today I received a wonderful envelope in the mail from Andrea - she had enjoyed receiving an envelope from Australia and she very rightly guessed that I would love one from France! Andrea has sent me a wonderful 2008 Marc Chagall calendar and the sweetest knitted brooch which will look just perfect on a fabric journal I have been planning to make for myself. And look at those wonderful French stamps - they caused me as much excitement as the contents, especially that amazing large Bibliotheque one! Thanks so much for everything Andrea.

Wednesday Stamper - Diamonds

Just a quick post - this is my "Diamonds" piece for the latest Wednesday Stamper challenge. The diamond background stamp is one I love but don't seem to use that often. The little girl is of course an image from the new Oxford Impressions Winter Snow plate - she is so cute!

Sunday 25 November 2007

Mixed Media Monday - Buttons

In between art commitments today I have managed to do a little canvas for the Mixed Media Monday theme of "Buttons" (which I have just discovered has closed today already!). The canvas was painted with a beautiful green-gold (Goldens) and then dry-brushed with gesso. I have used a bigger version of the little girl image I used on my "house ATC" a couple of days ago. She is surrounded her with torn edge lace paper and a whole pile of white buttons (and a single green paper flower for a bit of colour!)

I have had a lovely day - it was extremely hot again (41 degrees) but apart from trips to the clothes line and some late afternoon re-potting of a couple of palms, I have pretty well stayed inside in the cool all day, mostly in my craft and sewing rooms. Such bliss - I got to work on lots of different projects, most of which are not finished yet.

Gothic Arch - Friends (& New Stamps!)

I am only just going to make the deadline for this week's Gothic Arch theme of "friends". It was a relaxing way to start my creative day - nice decorative paper, some stamping (favourite text and swirl stamps using ink and that wonderfully rich coloured Neopaque Turquoise paint) and a black and white decoupage image that I have coloured with diluted Antique Linen Distress Ink. It was a bit fiddly to cut out though - I really like straightforward images without those little gap bits!

On Friday I received the new Oxford Impressions stamp plate - Winter Snow (pictured above and with uncut rubber below). As with all of Suzanne's plates, this one is wonderful - full of interesting images with a great mix of large and small, photo images and text with a nice sprinkling of versatile detail stamps. While it is a Christmas themed plate there are heaps of images that I can see I will be using all year round. I've cut them out this morning and I am hoping to get some time to use them this afternoon. Audrey Hernandez who is also on the OI Design Team received hers a bit sooner than me so if you want to look at some beautiful pieces she has made with these stamps, check out her blog. Her blog is always beautiful and well worth regular visits!

Friday 23 November 2007

Think Monday - Think ATC - Houses

Here's my Friday night effort for the current theme of "Houses" for Think Monday - Think ATC. Great theme - it has given me an opportunity to use one of my chipboard houses from Julie van Oosten's "Collections". Actually I have just realized that the "cherish" strip, typewriter number and also the tiny writing image that is stamped on the house are also from Collections.

I love mini black ric rac (is that spelt right??) and I am running out of it. This sort of shopping has to be done online (or at least it does where I live) so why don't I write down where I buy it so that the next time I need it, I can easily order it???? I don't understand why such easy organizational things are such a problem for me in my away-from-work life!

I have a very full weekend ahead but I am hopeful that I will get a couple of decent chunks of creative time as I have so many things I either want to work on or need to work on!

Thursday 22 November 2007

Fabric Paper Postcards

Life is incredibly busy at the moment and I am getting minimal computer time - I feel quite deprived as I haven't been able to do my normal blog-reading this week! I'll have to get some catch-up time on the weekend to make sure I stay sane(ish).

I have some mixed feelings about the whole informal blog protocol thing about not posting pictures of postcards, ATCs, cards, quilts etc until the recipients receive them as I personally don't really think it matters much - if I am the recipient I am always thrilled when I see the item "for real" regardless of whether I have seen a picture or not. In some ways I think it adds to the anticipation. So that was a long-winded rationalization of the fact that the picture at the top is one of a set of fabric paper postcards that I have just completed but not yet mailed for a small group exchange that has been running this year.

The fabric paper was made "a la Beryl Taylor" with stamping added. I am loving having a machine that has some nice fancy stitches - this one made a nice frame for the vintage image that was printed out on paper and then fused to strong interfacing before being stitched to the postcard.

I've made seven of these (they are all basically the same) so I have one spare if anyone wants to do a postcard trade with me (first in basis - just leave a comment).

Tuesday 20 November 2007

Wednesday Stamper - Chair

This week's Wednesday Stamper theme (which of course changes tomorrow) is "Chair". I found that, in my thousands of rubber stamps, I was chair-free apart from this wonderful Non Sequitur Egyptian image (which, while not chair-focused, at least includes a chair of sorts!).

The background is a piece of Basic Grey paper which has been painted with diluted Distress Ink and then stamped with a very large hieroglyphics image. The triangle metal embellishment has been "coloured" with Krylon Pale Gold and is meant to create a visual association with pyramids! My scan looks a bit darker than the real thing.

I got back this afternoon from my trip out past Meekatharra - two very busy days of glorious sunshine and a lot of dirt-road kilometres! Only one eagle, but 8 goannas (man, they were big ones!), lots of kangaroos, one emu and lots and lots of wild goats. Too may ants to mention!!

Sunday 18 November 2007

Think Monday - Think ATC - Hollywood

I had a bit of trouble with this theme but I didn't want to skip it so I have made my very simple ATC using a movie star photo stamp and a text stamp from a Stampsmith plate. It is mounted on a green "Wizz Bang" paint chip - love this colour but can't imagine having the guts to paint a wall with it!! Or perhaps I can't imagine living with that wall day in day out!! I'll settle for my neutral walls and green couches..

NB - Sorry about the horrible rainbow effect on the scan - why does that happen??? Because of the semi-gloss card, maybe?

I'm off on a work trip to a community out of Meekatharra tomorrow morning but it is a relatively quick trip (only 14 or so hours driving there and back for a 4 hour meeting) so I will be back Tuesday afternoon. Hope it isn't too hot - I like warm but not hot, so of course I live where it is incredibly hot.

Inching Artists - Monotone

This week Linda of Inching Artists set the theme of "Monotone". I love monochromatic art and had a lot of fun last night making my inchies in cream and white with a touch of gold. They are all based on a photocopy of a collage I made some time ago that was constructed totally of small pieces of decorative paper and ephemera in this cream and white colourway. I had to look for very small embellishments as an inch square can look crowded very quickly!

Today I am trying to focus on the abundance in my life as I have had a very "flat" week and I am tired of my own thoughts. Two beautiful sources of abundance in my life - one big and one small - my son Josh is on his way home today for the summer as the uni year has finished (I love it when we are all together!) and the look of the double hanging basket full of ivy, trailing geraniums and chain of hearts outside my back door. The simplicity of cheerful pink flowers amongst masses of green leaves really appeals to me. The photo below is the side on view.

Saturday 17 November 2007

Metallic Inchies & More Rusted Fabric

(Clockwise from top left - Diana Hess, Jenni Strachan, Sally Ambrose,
Charron Trainor, Kathryn Robertson & Kali Neel)

Yesterday's mail was wonderful again - I received (finally) my copy of the Nov/Dec Somerset Studio and the metallic inchies from the latest Inchie Swap coordinated by Kathryn Robertson. It was very hard to get a good photo of these inchies as the metallic bits are so reflective but I am sure you will get a good idea of how wonderful they are. Such variety and so many interesting ideas. They are going to look fantastic once they are all mounted and framed - a future project for when I have time to really fiddle around!

I also participated in the associated goodie swap bag and these are the contents of the terrific bag of fabrics, trims, sequins and bits and pieces that I received from Diana Hess. They will all be very useful and I especially love the fabrics - I love having lots of interesting bits and pieces of fabric.

Earlier this week I had a "serious" go at doing some more rusting of fabric. I was much more particular this time and wrapped the vinegary/salty package up in plastic , weighted it down and left it in the sun for several days. It may have helped that we have had absolutely stinking hot weather all week (in the high 30s or in the lands of Fahrenheit between 100 and 102). I used a lot of quite large rusted items including an old saw. This morning I unwrapped the package and I am really pleased with the results. All of the fabrics worked really well included sheers, cottons, silky synthetics etc. Some of them had been previously rusted so the additional rust has just made them so much more complex in the patterns/shapes that have developed. The first photo was taken as I unwrapped the fabrics.

This is the collection of metal bits I used this time.

This the fabrics on the line after they had been soaked and then washed. Gorgeous,hey?

This is a close up of a couple of the results.

And this is a picture of the rusty pieces I am planning on using next!! (Old metal bands from wooden cart wheels found in the outback by Joseph who thought I might like them!)

Thursday 15 November 2007

Gothic Arch - Text (& Some More Great Mail!)

You might not realize it (from looking at my arch this week) but the theme at the Gothic Arch challenge site this week is "text". I love text and script images and I used them extensively on my arch this week but somehow my background layered colouring techniques have overtaken the text images and you can't easily see them in the scan (they are slightly more visible in real life!) The actual arch is last week's arch failure recycled with a layer of gesso, some stamping, some inks and sprays for colouring etc etc. It was good quality paper - Fabriano print making paper - so I wasn't about to waste it! I also used decoupage paper for the images, a very old novel for the words and three star "nailheads".

Today I received a fabulous embellisher fabric postcard trade from Jane Pisan and she also included a beautiful dream catcher. I love them Jane!

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Mixed Media Monday - Numbers (& Some ATCs)

I didn't end up doing a piece for last week's Mixed Media Monday challenge (crowns) so for this week's theme of "Numbers" I thought I would post a couple of pieces I made some time ago. They were both published in Somerset Studio for the Lingerie theme. I might still get a piece specially made before the theme changes next Monday but I am playing safe this week just in case.

The first piece is a large canvas board, painted and stamped with Oxford Impressions text images. The female shape is cut from paper. The whole board is covered with a spotty netting and the lingerie is of course lace. The large numbers are from those DIY clock sets.

This is a much smaller piece, again on a canvas board that has been painted with a pink glaze and partially stamped with a favourite checkerboard image. The tape measure is a cheap plastic one - I liked the red numbers.

And these two ATCs are the ones I have made as trades for Nadia. The Buddha one is decorator napkin glued to walnut ink-sprayed cream felt. The flowery one is purple felt that has been layered with synthetic organza fabrics, randomly stitched, burnt back, painted with Twinkling H20s and Starburst Stains and put through the embellisher a little. It is nice and textural.

Tuesday 13 November 2007

A New Blog & Some Great Mail!

My very very talented friend Sue Smith (who lives wayyyyyyyy toooooo far from me) has finally given in and started a blog!! Sue has a really special touch - her paper arts creations are regularly in Stamping & Papercraft and she is also getting published (more and more!) in Stampington's Stamper's Sampler. Did I mention she is also a gorgeous person and I am so lucky to be her friend! Keep an eye on this blog - you'll love it!

Today I also received these two lovely fibre ATCs from Nadia Bekker in the Netherlands - Nadia doesn't have a blog but she found me via the net and we agreed to trade ATCs. Hers have arrived very fast and I haven't even finished mine! Blame the jigsaw pieces which I am still working on!! I haven't finished them either so I can't show them yet but I am "getting there"! Instead I am posting a scan of a spread I did for a lovely white on white deco a while back. Looking at this makes me realize how much I like "simple"!

Monday 12 November 2007

Inching Artists - Eye Spy

I had trouble with the theme at Inching Artists this week - "Eye Spy". But I was determined to participate before the theme changes tomorrow so decided to stop obsessing about doing something interesting and just get on with doing something! Originally I was going to do the keyhole thing but couldn't find a stamp (or image) small enough to fit on the one inch square. Then I was going to do a set of four different eyes but I smudged most of the others. You know what it is like when you decide to just casually wipe a spot and then you realise you have just transferred the entire image onto your finger! What is even worse is doing it repeatedly...

The image is one of four eyes on the Postmodern Design cube and it is stamped in black on dark blue cardstock that has been coloured with Moon Glow's Starburst Stain in Tibetan Poppy Teal - a beautiful colour, if very smudgeable!

Sunday 11 November 2007

Wednesday Stamper - Leaves

I love stamping with images of leaves and usually use chalk inks as I love their softness and blend-ability so for this week's Wednesday Stamper theme of "Leaves" I have dug out my Burnt Sienna and Charcoal Chalk Ink-pads. The leaf is by Amazing Creations, the tiny text by Collections and the crackle is one of four images on an "aging block" by Lucy's Stamps. Scrap of scrapbook paper (very appropriate, hey?), some gold sticker strips and a recycled op shop button to finish.
And while I am writing a post I thought I'd load a scan of a piece of fabric I have decorated with Shiva Sticks (green, black and gold). I think it will make interesting backgrounds for some fabric postcards and ATCs. I used the swirl and circle rubbing boards that I posted about a few weeks back. They worked a treat so I am going to make up some more with different shapes. It is a great way to use up old dimensional paint and I have heaps of it left from my T Shirt decorating days.

Saturday 10 November 2007

Gothic Arch - Birds

I've missed the last two Gothic Arch themes so I was determined to make one for this week's theme of "Birds" before the next theme is announced tomorrow!

Once again this is made mostly with images from Oxford Impressions although there are some others in the background, including one of my favourite calligraphy images from Alphabetique. Colouring is Adirondack Colour Washes and Moon Shadow Mists and I have used the beautiful Versafine Spanish Moss and Adirondack Butterscotch ink pads for the background stamping. I have included two scans of my arch as I am amazed how much difference the background paper I have used on the scanner makes to the look of the actual arch!! The green paper really has a dulling effect compared to the orange painted canvas.

And now back to working on my giant jigsaw pieces!

Friday 9 November 2007


This is a picture of the fabric inspiration pack I bought yesterday in Esperance - beautiful fabrics, lemon angelina (the colour is a lot more intense than the photo shows), threads, silk ribbons, prima flowers, orange gutta, braid, sequins, fibre etc - just stunning vibrant colours that call to me (deeply!) You can't really see it in the photo but the top and bottom fabrics are just beautiful in terms of the embellishment on them.

This is a photo of some of the extras I bought - some more paper of course (necessity didn't enter into the equation) and these gorgeous puffy heart and star trims!

And this is the photo side of my "Stamping & Papercraft" article on using the Oxford Impressions Birds Nest stamps as unconventional Christmas stamps. I am really thrilled with the way the cards were photographed together. My long distance friend Sue Smith also has a great article in the same issue (actually she is in virtually every issue!!) - her Christmas card article is just stunning - stamping with paper patchwork, stitching , bead trimming, velvet ribbons...

And now I am off to dinner for a work colleague who is moving across to the other side (Canberra!). We'll eat out on the balcony of a historic goldfields pub enjoying a lovely warm dusk/evening...

Thursday 8 November 2007

I'm back & Esperance was BEAUTIFUL!

I got back tonight an hour and a half ago and while I am a bit tired from the drive I am still exhilarated from the two walks I managed to get on the beach - dusk yesterday and again early this morning! I know this is nothing to get excited about for those of you that live on the coast but living a long way inland for the last 14 years has really made me appreciate any coastal time that comes my way!!Just a short post tonight with a few pictures from last night's walk. There was lightning and rain and a magnificent rainbow a half an hour later so it was just as well we went walking as soon as we arrived! You can see from the light that a storm was imminent. It had all blown over by morning so the beach and jetty had that lovely just washed "look" for our walk this morning.

Esperance (which is only a small town but which services a harbour and a significant agricultural region) has a great craft shop (Create & Sew) so of course I had to do a quick ten minute shop there once we finished our business and before we hit the road again. I bought a few odds and ends and an absolutely beautiful fabric inspiration pack which I will photograph for my next post. And I have come home to the latest Stamping & Papercraft magazine and also Cloth Paper Scissors so I am off to bed for a good read.

Tuesday 6 November 2007

Think Monday - Think ATC - Birds

I missed last week's Think Monday - Think ATC challenge because I was away, so I was very pleased to see that this week's theme is "Birds" - a nice easy challenge! Once again I pulled out my Oxford Impressions stamps - this time "The Birds' Nest" collection. Another great plate of unmounted images that I have used so much. Apart from stamping this ATC uses Adirondack Color Washes and some Moon Shadow Mist (which of course doesn't show up on the scan but which adds a lovely golden glow in real life). The bird image is a bit spotty (speckled?) as I used quite textured water colour paper - not a great stamping surface but so nice to colour!

I'm off to Esperance for a quick work trip today and will be back tomorrow evening. Esperance is a four hour drive away but it is our closest beach so it will be lovely to look at the ocean and breathe some sea air. Hopefully I'll manage a walk on the beach as well - nothing quite like beautiful white beach sand between your toes.

Wednesday Stamper - Wild West

The week's theme at Wednesday Stamper (until tomorrow at least!) is Wild West. This gave me another great opportunity to make an ATC using the Oxford Impressions Cowgirl Blues stamps. I had to include a lasso again too! And the cowgirl doesn't have a tattoo - although the walnut ink spray gives that impression.

If you haven't already checked out the just released Winter Snow collection of stamps from Oxford Impressions I suggest you do! They are lovely and very versatile for Christmas stamping.

Monday 5 November 2007

Inchies - Housies (& Some Bleach Experiments too)

The current challenge at Inching Artists is little "housies" (I mean to say, how can you call anything so small "houses"!) When I first started stamping I fell in love with a little set of house themed Inkum's but at that stage I bought images without really thinking about how I would use them, so of course they never got used beyond the first trial stamping. I also used to buy stamps that needed detailed colouring, and once again I have to admit that I hardly ever did or do detailed colouring... Anyway when I saw the "housies" theme, I immediately thought of my little pocket set of Inkum's and sure enough, there they were sitting (looking at me very reproachfully) at the back of one of my drawers of mounted stamps (these are sort of mounted in that they are foam backed).

These stamps were perfect for this theme and fitted nicely on one inch squares! I have stamped them on a collage paper background, added some small text (Collections) and a rub-on number, rubbed the edges with sepia ink and sprayed them with my favourite Gold Moon Shadow Mist. I love the idea that every house has a story to tell...

I had quite a productive weekend although nothing was actually finished! I also did some playing with bleach (using a barrel type waterbrush) on various types of cardstock - you can see a little of each of the results below. You can easily see I was having a swirly sort of day! For once all of the cardstock reacted to the bleach!

I also tried an eye dropper with concentrated bleach on black fabric and ended up with something that makes me think of Halloween (which I don't relate to at all being an Aussie) or glow in the dark effects. This is the same fabric that went quite brown using a spray bleach a couple of weeks ago...amazing really. This was a really small piece of fabric so it doesn't matter that it is so weird a result. I also worked on my jigsaw puzzle pieces (involved a lot of looking for small images of vintage women, nudes, bathing beauties etc), did some printing onto fabric in readiness for some ATCs, postcards and small art quilts, worked on some experiments with the embellisher etc etc. All in all it was a lovely weekend and it was quite hard to go back to work this morning with so many works in progress.