Wednesday, 24 May 2017

WOYWW 416

A general view of my desk this week.

WOYWW 416 24-5-17 Gen View

Far left, on my cutting machine: my ongoing Infusions mini-album project, and beside it, the gorgeous little pincushion Lunch Lady Jan made for me one year. In front of the cutting machine, the spares and rejects from the Infusions project. Some spare flowers on top of my black gesso, and the little purple thing beside that is the wrist band I had to wear for the two-day conference I went on last week – I thought it was paper till I tried to rip it, and then realised it must be Tyvek so it’s up on my desk waiting to be melted experimentally! Working along the back of the desk, some toilet roll centres painted with black gesso (spares from the Infusions project) and two glass bowls with coffee and tea in them which were used for the card in the centre of the desk. The usual detritus of inky/painty kitchen roll, scissors, glue, heat gun, paintbrushes, my signature dirty paint water etc. etc.

Here’s a detail shot of the desk.

WOYWW 416 Desk

Today is our 31st wedding anniversary and I made my hubby and this the card I made for my hubby last night. You can read all about it and see the photos on my previous post below this.

26 Completed Card

In case you didn’t see it last week (I only just snuck into WOYWW last week before I turned into a pumpkin), this is the card I made for his birthday last week.

17 Finished Card

Last week was incredibly busy and I really overdid things, but everything I did was tremendous fun (apart from the blood test and the scan) so it was worth all the payback I got – I had 2 very bad ME days as a result, crashed out on the recliner on Saturday and again on Monday, when I couldn’t do anything except watch TV and Youtube, but the latter inspired me to make my hubby’s anniversary card! I am much better now, and trying to catch up. My apologies for taking so long to reply to all your lovely comments last week – I am still working on these! – and for not visiting many desks.

I attended a two-day Christian conference on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, all day and evening, and then on Thursday we went to the County Show – I haven’t had a chance to edit my photos of that day yet, but once I do, I shall do my usual annual post about one of my most enjoyable days out each year! We had great fun and I did some nice shopping too, and we had a lovely Chinese takeaway with family afterwards – a great day! I was very busy the following day, which was my hubby’s birthday, so we treated Thursday as his birthday celebration instead. Last Sunday I sang a solo in church and am due to do another one this coming Sunday. All last week I had a cold which really didn’t help things much, but at least it didn’t stop me singing!!

Kitchen

At last things are progressing on the kitchen front. I have got the carpenter coming to see me this evening to decide what to do about the walk-in pantry. Our neighbour Gary has finished fitting the ventilator and blocking up the old one, and plastered everything over. I was amused that two people reading my blog said they wanted to use the photos of the work as a basis for art work – here are some more!! Fun patterns and textures in the plaster work.

10 Top Ventilator Plaster Detail

12 Top Ventilator Plaster Drying

13 Small Pits Plastered Detail

Here is the new ventilator.

11 Bottom Ventilator Detail

Hopefully the carpenter won’t be too booked up for weeks ahead, and will be able to make a start soon. I can’t wait to get back into my kitchen.

Phoebe

Phoebe in Fruit Basket 10 Mar 04

Very sad news. Yesterday my hubby took her to the vet for the last time, and brought back her little body and buried it in the garden. She had had bowel cancer for a while, and we’d been keeping her going as best as possible, knowing that the time would come eventually. She had been eating fairly well lately but continuing to lose weight and it seemed that she was unable to absorb the nutrients from her food. She started to be sick again on and off, and then for the last couple of days she was clearly fading, just flopping around and seeming very subdued. She was very clingy and needing lots of love. She spent her last day on the concrete path outside the back door with Beatrice, lying in the warm sun, what she enjoyed doing the most.

We are going to miss this sweet kitty so much. Like all of them, she had her own unique little foibles and ways, and endearing habits. She lived with us for nearly 14 years and we gave her a very good life with a happy home, good food, lots of love, and good care through all her health problems which included epilepsy over the past couple of years.

Here is my favourite picture of her with her sister Chloe, who was killed on the road outside our old house.

Phoebe and Chloe Vignette 2-7-04

Mixed Media Anniversary Card

Today is our 31st wedding anniversary. Goodness, is it really that long? What a lot has happened since we got married!

Last night, still catching up with myself after my busy week last week, and then having to rest a lot, I finally sat down in my studio and got a card made for my lovely hubby. I originally planned on making something quite simple because of time, but while I was resting, I came across Marta Lapkowska, a brilliant Polish mixed media artist, on Youtube, and some of her fabulous video tutorials on creating texture from anything you could think of – an absolute gift to a complete texture junkie like Yours Truly. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAOJwdQqokQ and this inspired me to do something a little more challenging.

What fun I had!

26 Completed Card

Here’s what I did, step by step.

First of all, I selected one of my sheets of watercolour paper with stains on it from drying teabags, and tore one out.

01 Teabag Stains

In my stash I’ve got quite a few sheets of hand-made paper which I think were originally part of some wedding service sheets that I collected up after a wedding service once. I knew they’d come in useful for art – they are gorgeously soft and textured. Again, I tore out a piece, to give a nice uneven edge, and I was delighted to find that the tearing gave almost the same edge as the natural deckle edge of the hand-made paper.

02 Handmade Paper

Next came the teabags. I selected a few from my stash.

03 Teabags

I cut them open and put some of the tea on my palette. The rest was thrown away. I should really have a blitz and empty all my stash of teabags (I’ve got hundreds!) and save the tea to put on the garden! Also, the teabags would take up a lot less room without the tea in them. One day, one day…

04 Preparing the Teabags

I mixed the tea with some Polyfilla One Fill, my preferred (cheap) texture paste. It was pretty dry so I added some water.

05 Tea and Polyfilla

I opened up the teabags by tearing them, and saved the cut off strips which were interestingly textured.

06 Opening the Teabags

I applied a few of the teabags to the bottom half of the hand-made paper piece, using soft matte gel medium.

07 Attaching the Teabags

I then applied the tea/Polyfilla mixture in places, to add texture, being careful not to obscure the more interesting part of the teabag layer. I wished I had screwed the teabags up more, instead of laying them down flat, as I would have got more interesting texture that way.

08 Adding the Tea and Polyfilla

After drying this, I thought it needed a bit more texture added, so out came the coarse pumice gel medium – I love this oh-so-gritty stuff!

09 Adding the Pumice Gel Medium

Using soft matte gel medium, I stuck down the teabag stain piece to the top of the hand-made paper, and also added a bit of this gel medium over the textured part, to make sure that it didn’t flake off.

10 Adding the Teabag Stain and Soft Gel Medium

Time for stamping. I am soooo glad I bought my wonderful Tonic Stamp Platform! I’ve never been very good at stamping and this tool makes it so easy. Also, I was able to do several test pieces (e.g. on the left of the picture) to experiment with the layout of the grasses stamps – this set is from Inkylicious, and is “Create a Collage – Meadow.” I did the stamping in several stages so that I could get the layout I wanted, using sepia archival ink.

11 Prepaing the Stamps

I stamped so that the stems of the grasses extended below the bottom of the teabag stain piece, and extended them, and filled any gaps, with my fine sepia marker.

12 Stamping

Here’s a detail shot of the stamping.

13 Stamping Complete

Painting with tea and coffee! I made up some strong tea and coffee for this.

14 Preparing to Paint with Tea and Coffee

Painting with the tea. I used a wide fan brush for this and dabbed it on more or less all over the background piece.

15 Painting with Tea

Using a finer brush, I painted the coffee around the edges and to emphasise some of the texture a bit more. I had to do this several times, drying in between with my heat gun – I don’t think I made the coffee quite strong enough.

16 Painting with Coffee

At this stage I also painted a bit of tea over the teabag stain behind the grasses to emphasise it, as this was getting a bit lost in the design.

I thought the background needed a bit of colour variation, so I used some Infusions. To the bottom left I added some Lemoncello from set 1, and to the right, some Rusty Car from set 2, and these certainly added a bit of richness and depth.

17 Adding Infusions

I felt a distinct need to add a bit of complimentary colour to all this brownness, so I dug out my Crushed Grape Dylusions spray ink and spattered some of that on, and I think it improved it a lot.

18 Adding Dylusions Spray Ink

The edges needed darkening, so I did this with some black acrylic paint. I also added some of this around the texture to emphasise it more.

19 Adding Black Acrylic Paint

I thought the whole thing needed lightening a bit, so I masked off the teabag stain piece at the top, and spattered the rest with white acrylic paint.

20 White Acrylic Paint Spatters Detail

This was the result.

21 Topper Almost Complete

Originally I wasn’t going to put a sentiment on the outside of the card, but there needed to be something to balance the design, so I decided to add one. I went through my pile of rejects and spares from my Infusions mini-album project and found this one that exactly complemented my design. I tore off the bottom and wrote the text using my Uniball white Signo marker pen, and then darkened the edges, especially along the white torn top edge, with tea. I stuck this to the front of the card with regular matte gel medium, dabbing carefully over the text to prevent the water-soluble white from smudging, and afterwards touching this up where necessary.

22 Making the Sentiment for the Outside

To create the card base, I cut a piece of heavy white card and softened the edges with some more tea.

23 Painting the Card Base with Tea

Inside, again using my wonderful stamp platform, I stamped the sentiment with sepia archival ink, using the “Memorable Moments” stamp set from Stampin’ Up.

24 Stamping the Sentiment Inside

To add a bit of interest, I made a couple of wide brush strokes across this sentiment with tea, using the fan brush.

25 Painting the Inside with Tea

I assembled the card using Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive which is a really good strong wet glue.

The finished card.

26 Completed Card

My hubby loves it!

Here it is, side by side with the other card I made recently, for his birthday last week.

2 Cards for N - May 2017

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

WOYWW 415

An extremely busy week and I’ve been out all day today, so only had time to snap a photo of my desk and get it on the computer, but I think 11.30 p.m. still qualifies to enter a Wednesday blog hop! Unfortunately I’m not going to have time to visit any desks, and it may be a while before any visitors to my blog get a reply, but I’ll do my best!

WOYWW 415 17-5-17

It’s not a very interesting desk this week, I’m afraid. On the left are the info sheets about the Infusions Mini-Album page order. Details here. To the right are the three bundles of pages which are now in order to make three separate books, which will be bound together into one cover. There’s still quite a bit to do on them as I have to make title pages for each section, and the tags to go into the loo roll centres. There are some reject pages on the far left of the picture – some of these are failures and others are ones I decided to omit from the album, which will go in my stash to be used for other projects.

Talking of which, a couple of days ago I used one to make a birthday card for my hubby, as it’s his birthday on Friday. Full details here.

17 Finished Card

Busy busy busy this week with something on all day most days! Yesterday and today I attended a Christian conference which ran all day, with evening sessions too. Quite brilliant and my head is still buzzing with it all. Plenty of new material to incorporate into my teaching sessions, and a lot to think about. Dashing home at tea time and getting a simple meal on, and then dashing out again!

Tomorrow we are off to the Devon County Show, which is one of my favourite days out in the whole year. It will be another long day, with a meal out at the end of it. We are more or less celebrating my hubby’s birthday tomorrow because I’m busy again on Friday with the Cancer Cakeathon meeting in the afternoon – our regular monthly get-together of friends who have met through our cancer. We sit about and chat and laugh and eat a lot of cake! I am quite relieved that my Bible study group has been cancelled in the evening because by then I shall need a long rest, I think! However, it’s not to be, because I’m singing at church this coming Sunday and the next, so have practising to do – having been busy with a lot of other things recently, my guitar playing needs brushing up a bit.

Health Update

On Sunday we went to the private hospital in Torquay which takes NHS overflow, for my CT scan to see if my hernia has returned. Details here. It was in the mobile scanning unit, which I’ve never been in before – I’ve had MRI scans in the past in the mobile unit but not a CT scan. It went smoothly and I was in and out pretty quickly – a lot more quickly than previous scans at Torbay Hospital where you are sitting around for hours! Not sure when I shall get the result but soon, I hope. It will confirm whether or not I require further surgery to do a more permanent repair on the hernia, to prevent any further obstructions.

On Monday we had to go to the GP’s surgery for a blood test in advance of my oncology appointment next week. Having had the cannula in the vein in my arm the day before, she went in slightly above, and because I’m on rivaroxaban (an anticoagulant) I’m a terrible little bleeder and I’ve now got a lovely red wheal on my arm! Pretty.

In the middle of all this busyness I was not best pleased when my hubby came home with a cold. I tried to keep away from him, but unfortunately I have caught it. Fortunately it’s not too bad and I’ve managed to keep going, but it’s inconvenient and a huge bore.

Kitty Health Update

Phoebe still up and down. She had a very subdued day a couple of days ago and didn’t eat, and was very clingy, but the next day she was better again and eating well. We continue to keep a close eye on her.

Same with Beatrice really – some days she walks as if drunk, and then the next day she’s rushing about like a crazy kitten! She’s no good at jumping up on things any more as she seems to have lost the spring in her back legs, and she falls off things. If she was a person, she’d probably have a granny frame by now.

They both seem contented enough and neither seems to be in pain, so we will keep them going as long as we can, our two old ladies!

Have a great week, everyone, and I’ll try and catch up with you later.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Infusions Mini-Album Organisation and Other Matters

I’ve got a very busy schedule this week, as I’m out all day today and tomorrow at a Christian gathering (not sure how else to describe it because I’ve no idea what’s going to happen and all I’ve been told is that it is going to be quite unlike anything I’ve attended before!), and we are off to the County Show on Thursday. Friday is always a pretty busy day for me, and this week we’ve got our monthly Cancer Cakeathon at the cancer support centre – this is an informal get-together where we sit around for a couple of hours chatting, laughing a lot, and eating loads of cake!! Can’t be bad. I am relieved that the Bible Study group on Friday night has had to be cancelled because by that time I expect I shall be fit for nothing!! It’s my hubby’s birthday on Friday but he’s not going to see much of me, I’m afraid. We’ll have to celebrate on another day. Also, yesterday we had to go to the GP’s surgery for me to have a blood test in advance of my oncology appointment on 25th May, and I had my CT scan on Sunday, too. Phew… I shall need a rest next week!

Anyway I thought I’d just post about the latest on the Infusions Mini-Album. I was getting completely bogged down with my scrappy notes on organising the pages and writing down what I did on each sample. This is how it ended up looking.

01 Original Instructions

The night before last I put it all on the computer in tabulated form, and this should be a lot easier to follow.

02 Typed Instructions

I’ve got room to make amendments if I need to. By the time I’ve finished, I expect this list will be ink-spattered and covered with glue and who knows what!

The pages are now all in order, and separated into the three books, and held together with elastic bands.

06 Pages for Three Books

I’ve still got to decide what extra pages to do for Book 2 which isn’t as thick as the others, but I shall do the title pages for each section and the tags first, so that I get a realistic idea of how thick everything is going to be.

I haven’t been able to do any more work on the album because yesterday I had to work on my hubby’ birthday card, if he was going to end up with anything on his birthday on Friday! Fortunately I had plenty of bits in my stash to assemble together. I think it’s a good idea when making anything, to make extra bits while you are doing it, and save them for projects like this – you never know when you’ve got to come up with something in a hurry. I’ve got quite a few card toppers now, and I should be able to rustle up something fairly quickly if it’s just a case of making a card base and adding a sentiment. My new stamp platform is going to make a big difference too.

I’m really keen to get the Infusions album finished quickly now, because my new Distress Oxide inks have been sitting on my desk for several weeks, still unopened! I am dying to play with those.

Kitties

Beatrice has on and off days with her legs. Today she’s been quite wobbly again, but on other days she rushes about with her tail in the air like a kitten. She’s not good at jumping up and usually fails in the attempt, resorting to climbing up with the aid of her claws as if our legs are tree trunks. Ouch. She will be 17 at the end of next month.

Phoebe is not doing so well now. Over the past couple of weeks she’s seemed OK, and has been very hungry, but still very thin. We think that she is unable to absorb much nourishment from what she’s eating. She has been looking after herself and her fur is soft and healthy, and she spends quite a bit of time (weather permitting) in the garden, coming in smelling of fresh air, and when it’s not so warm, lying in the sun indoors. Yesterday, however, she didn’t eat and seemed very listless. She is also quite clingy and wants to be with us as much as possible, and seems pretty subdued. We are keeping a very close eye on her and know that the day looms ever nearer when we are going to have to take her to the vet for the last time.

Pantry

I’m still waiting for the kitchen fitter and the carpenter to come and see me to discuss what I want, and how they are going to do it. They were supposed to come last Thursday but the kitchen fitter had forgotten all about it… I managed to get through to him today and he’s been trying to get in touch with the carpenter. I told him I’d be out all this week except Friday and asked if he could arrange to come then. I really want to get this work started because they will both be continuing to get booked up weeks ahead. I am coping OK in the tiny kitchen in the flat, but I can’t do any serious cooking because there’s so little space to put anything – it’s like being in a caravan or a boat! Still, I am very grateful that we’ve got that. I could move back into my big kitchen but there’s nowhere to store the food at the moment, and it would mean going between the kitchen and the flat all the time. Also, I can’t find half my stuff at the moment, and it’s very irritating when you’re at a critical moment, not to be able to lay your hand on something when you need it! I wasted about 10 minutes the other day in the middle of cooking a meal, because I couldn’t find the soy sauce. I am so looking forward to having my new pantry, and bringing all the stuff back in, and getting organised again. It will be like having a new kitchen all over again! In the meantime, I am very, very relieved and happy that the dry rot problem has been dealt with, at any rate.

I shall try and upload a WOYWW post on Wednesday but probably won’t be able to visit many desks.

How time marches on. All the primroses have finished in the garden, and the Clematis montana is losing its flowers fast. The spring seems such a short season. I don’t know where this year is going – we’re nearly half-way through already. I can’t believe it is two years ago this month that I started my chemo.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Infusions Birthday Card for my Hubby

Panic stations! Suddenly remembered I hadn’t made a card for my hubby’s birthday at the end of this week, and I’ve got a very busy week ahead. I thought I’d better get my skates on.

17 Finished Card

My Infusions mini-album, that I have been working on for the past few weeks, has generated quite a few reject pages, and some perfectly good ones which I decided on balance not to include. These are still hanging around on my workdesk and will eventually find their way into my stash for future use, and I chose one today that I thought might make a nice card – it was one of the ones I made with Polyfilla through my own brick stencil, as I only needed one for the album.

10 Red Stencil Sheets

I have a few tiny scraps left from my Infusions mask and spray 12 x 12 sheets that I made last year, most of which were used up on the Mamhead mini-album for the end-papers and cover. I have a few of the flowers and leaves left, and also a few of the Heartfelt Creations stamp/die cut combos I made some time ago, so rootling around in that little lot, I came up with enough materials to put together quite a nice card.

I began by looking out the pack of jute fibre I bought from Ebay ages ago. This is very fine and wasn’t quite what I wanted when it first arrived, but I thought with a bit of persuasion I could coil it up and make it do more what I wanted! Being a natural fibre, it absorbs ink pretty well, so I began by colouring a few strands, using Distress Stains in Walnut Stain and Vintage photo. I stuck the ends together with Scotch Quick Dry adhesive to make the whole thing a bit more manageable.

01 Colouring the Jute Fibre

Once they were coloured, I wrapped them around the handle of a fat paintbrush and spritzed them with water. I held them there for a few minutes and gently dried them with my heat gun – a bit like setting hair!

02 Wrapping Jute around Paintbrush Handle

When I pulled them off, they looked like this:

03 Jute Removed from Paintbrush Handle

I was quite pleased that they had held their shape so well. All that was required was to tease them out a bit, ready for use.

04 Jute Fibres Teased Out

I stuck the bundle onto the card with a little strip of masking tape.

05 Jute Taped to Card

I selected two of the Heartfelt Creations flowers which I’d already hand-embossed, and stuck them down onto the card with Pinflair gel glue, covering up the masking tape on the jute fibres.

06 Flowers Stuck to Card

I had cut a few leaf trails for the Mamhead album and I coloured these with two Distress stains, Forest Moss and Bundled Sage.

07 Colouring the Leaf Trails 1

08 Colouring the Leaf Trails 2

This gave a nice mottled effect which was a bit more natural-looking than a flat dark green.

09 The Leaf Trails Coloured

I ended up needing another of the large ones, but this didn’t take long to do afterwards.

Assembling the piece.

10 Leaf Trails Stuck to Card and Stickles on Flowers

I attached the leaf trails using soft matte gel medium, and added some Orange Peel Stickles (glitter glue) to the centres of the flowers. This was how it looked at this stage.

11 Completed Topper Drying

The Stickles and Pinflair glue take ages to dry, so I left the piece out overnight.

Next day it was dry, so I could complete the project. I folded a piece of white A4 card in half and inked the edges with Antique Linen Distress Ink – the white card was far too stark and bright. I found the last of some mottled brown card that I had in my stash which I’ve been anxious to use up, and cut it to size to mat and layer. The cut edges were very white so I inked those with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

12 Matting and Layering the Card Base

I also distressed the edges of the inside of the card with Antique Linen Distress Ink.

Time to use my wonderful new Tonic stamp platform for the sentiment inside! I tried it out the other day when I made my copper and sepia card. This time I used it side-to-side so I could put my card in. I did a few trial runs with scrap paper to make sure the stamps were correctly positioned.

13 Stamping Sentiment Inside

The materials for stamping the sentiment. I used the Stampin’ Up “Memorable Moments” stamp set which is useful because you can mix and match the stamps. I used Pumice Stone Distress Ink, and as this is fairly pale, I stamped it three times. One of the great things about the stamp platform is the ability to stamp again in exactly the same place – very useful if you get an incomplete impression first time. I’ve never been that great at stamping, and I’m so glad I bought this new gadget!

14 Stamps and Ink for Sentiment Inside

I thought the inside of the card looked a bit bare, so I got out my bricks stencil and taped it in place, and used an Inkylicious Ink Duster and Antique Linen Distress Ink to create a bit of interest.

15 Stencilling the Inside

The finished result. The brickwork nicely echoes the theme of the front of the card.

16 The Inside Stencilled

The finished card.

17 Finished Card

The little strips forming a partial frame were in the box of scraps left from the Infusions 12 x 12 pages and I thought I might as well use them up! There’s not much left of that paper now. The Happy Birthday sentiment was in my stash – I think it was part of a pack of odds and ends I received as a gift from a friend some time ago.

A detail shot of the topper. My hubby loves his garden so I hope he will like this floral card. I don’t think it’s too girlie!

18 Card Topper Detail

Phew! What a relief! Completed it in time!

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