Tuesday 7 October 2014

Try again tomorrow

I had intended to preceed this 'how to' with one of my random musings, you know something uplifting or insightful, possibly even vaguely interesting, but as soon as I put fingers to keyboard my thoughts turned to marshmallow and then 'foof' - nothing. Like any creative process really, sometimes it just doesn't happen.  So, rather than force yourself to make art, write poetry, sew, knit, take the next David Bailey style photograph just walk away. Don't try relentlessly for hours to create, don't punish yourself for what is not happening on the paper, with the material or in the camera, just accept that at this moment you are not in tune with your creative side. Walk away and do something else, remember the famous phrase from Gone with the Wind - 'Tomorrow is another day'.

At least I can share my step by step intructions for making the Pumpkin Bookmark featured over on the Chocolate Baroque Design Team blog.
  1. Trim a piece of kraft card to 25 x 5cm and round off the top corners using a corner rounder. Ink up the cobweb stamp from the Book of Spells set with Versafine Onyx Black and then randomly stamp over the whole piece of card, re-inking as necessary.
  2. Using Cut 'n Dry foam and Pitch Black Adirondack dye ink add shading around the edges of the card.
  3. Punch a hole at the top and add a paper hole re-inforcer which has been sponged with Pitch Black ink. Stamp the spider in place with Onyx Black and set aside.
  4. On thick white card stamp out the pumpkin from the Things that go Bump set three times. When dry paint the images with colour washes made from Brusho Crystal powders in Orange, Grey and Leaf Green. To make a colour wash put the tiniest amount of powder onto a palette and add water, a little at a time, until you achieve the shade you want.
  5. When completely dry add shading to each image with coloured pencils, then cut out all three pumpkins leaving only one on the stone base.
  6. Attach 3d foam pads to the first pumpkin, add one small pad at the right hand side of the second with double sided tape to the left and tape only to the third one. Stack on the card as shown and adhere one of the spare stone slab images underneath the stack.
  7. Ink up the words 'midnight dreary' from the full phrase and stamp onto a small piece of Kraft car. Ink up 'Once upon a' and stamp above. Ink the cobweb again and stamp off excess ink on spare paper then very lightly stamp over the words to give the faintest image and shade around the edge with Pitch Black. Attach to base of card using foam pads.
  8. Finish with some co-ordinating ribbon threaded through the top.
I won't promise to see you tomorrow, but I'll be back soon.

Monday 8 September 2014

When you need to find your wings (plus a little artwork)

Hi everyone, thanks for joining me. Today is all about getting back into the groove. You know what I mean, you've been on holiday, or had time away from the things you do because of other commitments, health problems or whatever. Getting your mojo back, whether it be creative or otherwise, is often a difficult path to find. And, depending on how long you've been 'missing', you may find your confidence has disappeared a little too. I have no magical solution to offer you except to say this. 

Sometimes you will have no control when you can return to your normal way of life, if you've had health issues for example. When you feel able you will start to build your way back in your own good time. However, if you have gone off the path completely for other reasons finding your direction again can be harder. Especially if the committee in your head have joined in (see my post I is for, to get a full explaination of the committee).  Sometimes the only way back is to jump off the cliff and free fall. It will be an interesting journey down, but it doesn't half make you fly again quicker! And soaring back upward is so rewarding. All you need to do is find your wings.

Now onto the real reason for my blog post today. If you liked the look of my postcard on the Chocolate Baroque Design Team blog then here is a tutorial for you to follow. It is a little lengthy so please make yourself comfortable.

  1. To create the beach/skyline background first take a piece of copy paper and tear it in two across the width, creating a series of 'hills and valleys'. Don't be too careful with this, the more random the better.
  2. Next take an A6 piece of silk card and lay it down portrait style in front of you. Now choose one of the torn edged pieces of paper and lay over the top of the card approximately half way across. You may want to tape down the top and bottom edge of the paper to your work space to stop it moving, but don't tape the card. 
  3. Now ink up your brayer with Adirondack Pool ink, run off some of the ink onto a piece of scrap paper (you want a pale covering on the brayer) then. holding the torn paper and card with your free hand, lightly begin to brayer up and won the exposed piece of card. Repeat until you have a shade of sky you are happy with (re-inking and running off the excess onto the scrap paper as often as necessary). Clean and dry your brayer.
  4. Now turn the card around 90 degrees and match up the other piece of torn paper over your sky. Leave the smallest amount of blue showing before taping in place as before (this will ensure you have no white gape between sky and sand). Ink up the brayer with Scattered Straw Distress ink and run off the excess as before. You will find that with distress ink you probably only need to run the brayer once over the spare paper as it doesn't coat a brayer as much as other dye based inks. Brayer over the card until you achieve the sand shade you require.
  5. To give both the sand and sky some depth use the torn paper pieces and either a brush, cut and dry foam or a small piece of makeup sponge. Choose a curvy part of the torn paper that resembles a cloud, place in the sky area and very lightly dust Pool ink across the edge where the paper meets your background. Lift the paper to see how your 'cloud' looks and repeat if nexcessary.  TIP: When inking up your brush, sponge or foam dab off the excess onto your spare paper until you think there is no ink left. You will be surprised how little is need to achieve this effect and you can always build up more colour if required. Repeat this technique in the sand area with the Scattered straw ink to give the effect of dunes.
  6. Stamp the beach huts from the Seaside Dreams set onto a self adhesive label with Memento Tuxedo Black ink and colour with pencils of your choice; I used watercolour pencils to give that seaside style washed look. Cut out the individual huts, the flag pole and the flag and set aside.
  7. Now stamp the beach huts over the sand background with Archival Jet Black ink and allow to dry thoroughly. You can always 'blot' with a piece of clean copier paper to ensure the image is completely dry. Remove the backing paper from your cut out huts and stick into position. Add the flag pole and flag.
  8. Finally ink up 'Dreaming of the beach' with Jet Black and stamp in position.
This is the first proper brayering I have done since my accident twenty months ago so I am a little out of practise. Getting back into this groove was certainly harder and I definitely jumped, but I really had fun making this postcard and am tempted to make a series using the rest of the Seaiside Dream set. Thanks for stopping by, see you all again soon