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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Thanks to everyone

I wrote this back in May, but I didn't realise I hadn't posted it back then:

I wanted to say thanks for all the well wishes and prayers for my daughter.
God was listening. She came out of the coma late on 29th March - Good Friday (a very good day). She still has a long way to go yet, but thank God she has survived, despite the odds, amazing the hospital staff, who didn't think she'd make it.
She'll need to work hard with physio to get back on her feet, and speech therapy to help her recover her voice, but she is for now, free from tubes and lines etc.

Our beautiful girl has been given back to us.

Since writing this, she has improved and though she remained in hospital, for what seemed like forever, we have had her home now for just over 2 months. Her mobility is slow but improving and her voice is getting better. She is still working hard to get stronger with lots of help from therapists.

Thanks for all your kind words, these were comforting to read during this very difficult time.

I hope to get back into doing what I love, creating, soon.

Alexandra xx

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Pencil pot make over

Hello all, sorry I've not been around and missed blogging for a few weeks.  
I had this project saved in draft for a few weeks but haven't gotten around to posting it here. 

Added today:
To briefly let you know my heart and head have been elsewhere as my daughter is just now on life support in hospital. We almost lost her. I have been there every day since she was admitted a week past Monday. She is stable now but still in a coma. 
We did get a wee flutter of her eyelids, and she tried to open her eyes when we said her name yesterday. Baby steps in the right direction. Say a prayer for her please.

Welcome to new visitors and new followers and thank you to older blog friends for your loyalty and coming back to see what I've been up to. Your visits and comments mean a lot to me.
Anyway here's the latest venture into creativity. Inspiration struck when I was in my local Tesco's grocery store when this bargain 40p pencil pot
caught my eye (and my imagination) for a make over. (They also had a wee matching lidded box with flamingo note-let/cards in it with which I plan another re-do later...watch this space!)

I started by painting the full box with a couple of coats of white Gesso. Then using the silver embossing paste generously given to me by Anne last month. I stencilled through a V&A brass stencil I've had for "yonks" but never used. As it had such tiny fine detail, I wanted to see how precise the paste would work. I was impressed, as I'd never tried embossing paste before this. I think my first attempt turned out not too bad.
I then used Pebeo paints in two blues, and pink at random occasionally wiping back to soften the look with a baby wipe and using a dry brush to change it where I felt the need. I love the soft colours this produced. I cut and glued 3 x 33/4"square layers of card for a lid then 4 layers 3" square to fit inside the box top. I painted the lid the same way to match the box. I used various Indigo Blu stamps throughout and around this pencil pot project, 

I stamped the flourishes from Indigo Blu "Discover your passion" set on the lid, and added Tim Holtz tattered florals made into roses stamped first with Wendy Vecchi ledger numbers and a couple of her make mine mini art flowers covered with tissue tape, cut out and coloured with DI's. The bead in the centre of these wee flowers was shiny silver, so I coloured them with alchohol inks. the leaves were from Indigo Blu "Live Laugh Love" set as were the words I used. 

"Laugh as much as you breath" was stamped in blended blue-green and pink chalk ink colours which I then found didn't dry too well on acrylic paint... even after blasting with the heat gun, arrrgh! so not giving up, I used a fixative spray that I use for pastel painting, well pastels are chalky too! (hairspray does this job too with pastels, if you need to use this and don't have it) this seemed to do the trick, so I then over stamped this in Rangers white archival. 

I tried same idea using white acrylic paint stamped over (playing safe now) black archival with "Love to Create" from Indigo Blu "Discover your passion" wording stamp set. I like the shadow effect it produced with the lettering. I stamped the flourish in black here too to balance the corners.
The wee dragon fly here is from the "Live Laugh Love" set too, stamped with chalk inks before I discovered it didn't fully dry well and set with fixative as before. It is so pretty and highly detailed, even the tiny veins stamp with such detail. 

The last face of this box started off life very different. I originally had a stamped butterfly on Clearly for art stuck on this side but I bumped the edge of it's wing which damaged it,so when I took it off the underlying paint was well glued to it and peeled off too. I could have cried, but they say there are no mistakes in art so I then had another idea using this "hole" in the paint I peeled back more to create a faux hole in the back of the box then painted inside and around it to create the trompe l'oeil (artistic optical illusion) .
The wee bird "hiding inside" is from the Indigo Blu Clematis flourish stamp. I painted in the shape of the bird with Pebeo paint, then over stamped it in black Stazon to bring back the details of her feathers, I added white Sakura for highlight but didn't like it so colouring carefully in tiny dots and dashes of alcohol pens over this and on the wings and tail to deepen colour between the stamped image. In hindsight I should have picked a different stamp pad to over stamp the bird, but managed okay (holding my breath, lol).  The flowers were painted in alcohol ink from pens then blended with blending solution on felt, to suggest something else tucked inside but to leave the tiny wee bird as the focal point inside.

Thanks for visiting and for taking the time to look.

hugs Alexandra x

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Metal Valentine Wall Hanging

Today I wanted to share a wall hanging I created.

I made this for my DH for Valentine's day instead of a card, it's also my entry for the Everything Wendy Vecchi Group Mac #3 challenge. This time we've to use Wendy's stamp or stamps and also to use a (nice) 4 letter word, mine is "love".

For this project I used scraps of metal foil in various square and rectangle sizes which I glued onto chipboard hearts cut using my Cricut, (my Cricut machine is so handy for these type of projects, cutting whatever shape for my base in whatever size I need)
then I embossed the hearts using a Sizzix embossing folder and my bug. I only used the A plate and one B plate along with the "No more shims" embossing mat to protect my bug from thick depth of chipboard and foil layers. It worked a treat. I painted the whole metal surface with black acrylic paint then while it was wet "brushed" it in one direction with a paper towel to give it an industrial, old brushed metal look, as inspired by Sam Poole on her TV demo on C&C using adhesive backed aluminium foil from a DIY store (or her partners tool box).
I wanted a slight patina on the hearts so over-layered this with some green, blue and copper acrylic paint, then removed most of this with a brush and paper towel again to leave just a hint of colour, I sanded a bit too, to highlight the base metal in places.

I stamped Wendy Vecchi's bird on grunge paper and cut this out and coloured it using Radiant rain colours in Key lime, Blue flame, Pewter and Copper to keep the metalic look. Embossed this using TH's cracked glass embossing folder. I made the faux screw using tiny circles die cut from card glued 2 together then run this through an embossing folder with lined journalling note effect to make the grove this was painted black then I applied a tiny bit of forgotten gold gilding powder with my finger, that I've have had for "yonks" but only came across recently during a tidy up (the gold powder that is... not my finger, which is probably one of the few things I don't misplace in my crafty hovel, lol). I distressed it a bit by hitting it with the edge of my scissors. The metalic shape at the bottom was cut from my Cricut then given the same treatment for colouring as the screw (I didn't hit this though), then shaped it with a ball tool in my hand to give it a 3D metal feel. I used a wee metal heart heated with red/gold embossing powder again this powder was in goody bundle from Lori. 

The medium size heart started life the same, only bigger. I used the chipboard letters from Lori for the words and the embossed metal crown was from same foil run through another TH embossing folder, cut out & coloured with same paints for background and distressed as before.

Next, (sorry this photo is a bit out of focus) the largest sized heart, same base, just bigger again, I used the same background technique. I  bet you knew that was coming, lol. embellished this one with TH tattered flowers made into roses from a printed leafy foliage scrapbook paper. This was too clean and pretty, so I used the same Radiant Rain sprays and Radiant Rain dabber in Copper again to make them a bit more metalicy (is this a word?) 

The sentiment is stamped using Vintage Photo DI, and using words from a Wendy Vecchi stamp set which I die cut using an Xcut die, and I made a faux die cut, for backing it to frame this by drawing around the die and cutting it out of black card. The screws "attaching" it are made same way as the first one.

BOY! Do I talk or what?
 Sorry this was so long, and well done if you managed to stay with me.

Thanks for looking.

Alexandra x

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Happy New Year

We're more than half way through January now, but better late than never to wish you all a very Happy New year, and good health in 2013.

Thanks so much for joining me through my tentative steps into Blog land since the summer of 2012.  

I’m looking forward with great anticipation to 2013 and all the possibilities it may hold. 
New year resolutions? Well...
I will try to be more positive in life and more active, (my exercise classes start on Tuesday, I need to get rid of my "Christmas pudding" tum, lol)
I hope to be more creative this year too, I need to make time for this, as it always cheers me up I find myself smiling more...seemingly for no reason, people must wonder what I've been up to... lol
... but in my head I'm thinking through ideas, projects, art, design, colours, stamps, inks, paints, texture etc.
when an idea comes to my mind and I smile until it comes to life as a finished project, then I'm truly happy.
I'm hooked on the good feeling I get through being creative.
Anyway, enough waffling. I wanted to share this frugal crafting  project I made using mainly Wendy Vecchi stamps, paint, ink, some recycled card from packaging from scrapbook paper packs I had, large frozen pizza boxes & cereal boxes.

I've not played much with stencils so didn't have embossing paste to play with or many pennies left to buy some after Christmas. I wondered if decorating filler would work, and was curious to see what happened. 
 So I used plastic packaging to create a stencil and a tube of DIY wall repair filler for texture.I wanted a raised leafy design which I don't have, so I used Wendy's leaf stamps on flat plastic packaging then cut away the image with a craft knife to create a stencil. 

This proved to be tricky cutting, and I didn't manage without mistakes but hay-ho I wasn't aiming for pretty perfection as I knew the messy stuff was to follow.
I made my no glue drawers first, I used the centre of the scallop rectangle thick cut sizzix die as my starting point then halved it for the side depth to make my template as below. 
By drawing around these the template turns out very slightly larger than the original shape so when decorating with the original die cut shape, it fits better both outside and inside the drawers.
The long sides have the folding tabs attached to tuck under shorter ends then fold the long sides down to secure the base... and no messy gluing, they hold together firmly just tucking the sides down. Amazing!

I then made a wrap around to complete the drawer, match box style.     I used glue to secure this bit though. I made 4 each of these using card from recycling bin. Then came the good fun and messy bit.....

I die cut 4 Sizzix rectangles to stick to the drawer fronts and sides and cut a Spellbinders grand lable to add to the top, then had fun decorating these with the stencil and filler which I found out puffed up when I speeded up drying with my heat gun, yaay! I like surprises! lol. 
I applied layers of blue, green, bronze and white acrylic paint along with a navy blue emulsion tester pot I had that I liked the colour of and a bit of white emulsion too, these were repeatedly painted over, blended, knocked back with wet wipes, dried and sanded until my heart was content. 
I added metal gilding wax to the raised stencilled leaves, then stamped the finished pieces with Wendy Vecchi stamps and black archival ink when I was happy with the background and inked over with vintage photo to warm it up a bit. The drawer knobs are game pieces which Lori sent me in my lovely bingo prize I told you about in a previous post. These were given a coat of paint then I gilded the fronts to put back the detail.

You can see the raised leaf design on the drawer fronts and a bit under the grunge paper roses. 

I lined the drawers with same Sizzix die cut paper which I stamped again with Wendy's wild flowers stamp.

If you want, please leave me a comment I love reading what you think and knowing you dropped by. 

Thanks for visiting.

Alexandra x

Edited after reading comments;
 Thanks for all your lovely comments and 
Thanks Marjie for suggesting entering the eclectic paperie challenge "altered boxes" with this. 
So I've been, gone and done it now.
Marjie Kemper is hosting the challenge here.
Very cool idea.