Thursday, 27 March 2014

A change of direction!

I'm sorry I haven't blogged here for ages - I've been doing more jewellery-making than stamping recently, and I have been considering starting a new blog for my jewellery, as I can't make Blogger do what I want on here.

I've finally got my act together and started my new blog For Love of Copper, which I have so named because I love copper (wire, metal clay, copper sheet etc).  I hope you will click on the link and have a look!

I am aiming to continue blogging on The Sailing Stamper, as and when I have time and something good enough to blog about!  Thank you to all my followers for your interest in my ramblings!

Thursday, 23 May 2013

A bit of a "catch-up"!

I haven't blogged for ages, and I apologise!  Life just gets in the way sometimes.

Here are three projects that I have completed recently but not had time to blog about:

I started decorating this little shadow-box house last Autumn, during a workshop at Redditch Craft Club.  I went with a "sewing" theme, which isn't really relevant to me these days, but I wanted it to be quite generic, as I thought I might eventually sell the thing.  The paper I used is from an old pad called "Nostalgia Warm" from Papermania.

I've had this Kaiserkraft 9-drawer chest for ages!  I bought it to house my 36 Distress Inks and their foams, but I didn't have a proper place to keep it, so I left decorating it until I had cleared a crafting-space in the spare bedroom.  I've used the same paper as I used for the shadow-box house, also book-pages, Distress Inks, Archival inks and my Tattered Florals and Tattered Leaves dies.  I up-cycled some old beads for the centres of the small flowers and for the knobs, and for that special "something" I have used 4 buttons from last Autumn's Button Swap on UK Stampers for the centres of the largest flowers. The two at the top were made by Pat Beaumont (out of polymer clay?), and the bottom two were made by Kay (Galaxy Girl) and are ceramic.  My thanks to both ladies!  I haven't decorated the top of the unit, as I thought I might buy a second one to stack on top. Currently the shadow-box house is sitting on top, accompanied by an Art Parts UFO, part-decorated with the same paint and paper.

My crafting stash is in a chaotic mess at the moment, as I am part-way through the process of moving it all upstairs and into the spare bedroom.  I keep mislaying things that turn up months later, and usually in the wrong box!  One of the stamps that turned up was Paper Artsy "Kids 6", which was very handy, as it was the stamp I needed for my postcard for the May swap on UK Stampers.  There isn't a theme this month, but we were asked to make something "that made us smile".  These little children's cheery faces remind my of the "Sunny Smiles" photos we used to buy at school back in the 1950s. They definitely make me smile!

I used a piece of coated card from Clarity Stamps.  I masked off a border, then made a background of "Soothing Sunset" Big&Juicy ink, which I brayered onto my Splodge Mat. I brayered the pink end of the inkpad, cleaned my brayer, brayered the yellow end of the inkpad, cleaned my brayer, then brayered over the middle on the mat to re-blend the colours.  This gave me an area on my Splodge mat that was the same length as the inkpad and had exactly the same blend of colours, so I could brayer it onto the card without making streaks and without wasting ink.  Whoever thought of the Splodge Mat was a genius!!

I stamped the main image as a second-generation with black Versafine ink, which took forever to dry, even after using my heat tool! I bleached the Big&Juicy out of some areas of three little portraits, using thin bleach in a water-pen.  I had intending stopping at this stage, but the postcard looked too plain, so I stamped two of the boys in sepia Versafine onto ordinary card tinted with "Old Paper" Distress Ink, and tore round the edges of both portraits.  I stuck them onto the card with multi-medium.  The Versafine was still slightly wet, so I blotted the postcard umpteen times with copy paper, then I gave the whole thing a good blast of aerosol fixative.  That finally cured it!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

A Change of Direction!

I started making jewellery in September 2012, and now I think I'm obsessed!  I have made loads already, but I never remember to take pictures!

This necklace is my own design, and I'm rather pleased with it!  I made it with bright aluminium jumprings from Beadsisters and gorgeous labradorite beads from Jewellery Maker.  The chainmail "weave" I have used is called "4-1", and I used 842 rings.

Friday, 30 November 2012

Lots of lovely buttons!

If you have read my previous post, you will know that I took part in a swap on UK Stampers organised by Galaxy Girl.  We made buttons out of clay (polymer, air-dried or whatever), some with holes and some without, and decorated them in different ways.  I found out too late that we were supposed to make 36 rather than the 6 that I had made, so I sent them in (with some embarrassment!), and these are what I received in return:

Wow!  What treasure!  Now I’m planning all sorts of projects to use them on.

I know Galaxy Girl’s buttons are ceramic, and Lottie made hers out of polymer clay.  It looks like Sam and Lynn (Rusticus) made theirs out of air-dried clay, like I did.  I’m not sure what Pat Beamont used, but I think it is probably polymer.  Galaxy Girl sent me a lovely ceramic bead as well, and I made a macramé bracelet with it, as you can see in the picture.

I'm sorry my photo isn't very good - my camera had trouble with the gorgeous shininess of Galaxy Girl's creations!

Button Swap

Galaxy Girl on UK Stampers organised a rather different swap for November.  We were to make 6 round buttons out of clay (polymer, air-dried or whatever), and decorate them with stamping, paint or whatever, and make half the number with holes (1 or 2) and half without.  This sounded very interesting and, from my point-of-view, achievable, so I decided to join in.

I tried polymer clay years and years ago, but I couldn’t condition it properly, because my hands are not strong enough, so the pieces I made had cracks in them.  In those days I had never heard of putting the clay through a pasta machine to soften it!  I also had serious trouble with the fumes, when I baked the clay.  It gave me terrible asthma, even with the fan on and the back door wide open, so the remaining clay went back into the packet and eventually, the bin.

This time I decided to try using air-drying clay.  I did a “make and take” at a craft show some time ago, coming home with a small textured butterfly charm that I just needed to let dry.  It seemed ok, so I decided to use the same method for my buttons.  I squished a lump of clay in my hands, until it was as smooth as I could make it, then rolled it out to roughly half an inch thick, laid it on an open embossing folder, rolled it to its finished thickness, peeled it off the folder, laid it flat-side down on the table and cut it into a round with a metal cutter.  At this point the edge looked really messy, with a “fringe” of fibres sticking out all round.  I thought this would leave me with a very difficult sanding job, so I tried pushing the fibres back into the clay, by nudging them with my fingernail, held vertically against the side of the button.  It worked, and I had very little sanding to do, once the buttons had dried (I left them for about 3 days).  The clay made an appalling mess of the cutter, and I had to keep washing it!  Yuk!!!!  I pierced holes in some of the buttons, as required for the swap, using my pokey tool.  I made the holes fairly large, hoping that jump-rings or bails would fit through them.

To decorate the buttons, I painted each one all over with the background colour (I used acrylic paint), let it dry thoroughly, then picked out the raised texture with a contrasting colour, using a tiny paintbrush.  (The metallic paints I used were from Ranger paint dabbers).  When the paint was thoroughly dry, I covered the top surface of each button entirely with Glossy Accents, starting with the dips first, then the outside edge, then filling in the rest, pricking any bubbles with a pin as I went along.  That was when things started to go wrong!!!  On some of the buttons, I must have put the GA too close to the edge or the holes, because it flowed off the edge of some and down the holes of others!  I tried to sort things out before the GA dried, but only succeeded in making a worse mess, so I just had to abandon some of the buttons.  When the GA was finally hard and clear (about 3-4 days), I painted a very thin coat of it on the backs and edges, to seal them.  The thick layer of GA on the front made a lovely effect as it dried.  It shrank down slightly in the dips, so you can feel the texture as well as see it.  Very nice!

These are my buttons in their “raw” state:

These are the 6 buttons that I sent for the swap:

And I used this button to make a necklace for my younger daughter:

I put the largest jump-ring I could find through the hole of the button, then through the hole of a spider charm, then round a length of thin chain.  I hope she will like it!

Having finished my 6 buttons, I waited for instructions for posting them off, and got on with the rest of my life.  Imagine my dismay, when one of the swap participants pointed out that the wording of the swap instructions meant we had to make 6 per person (ie 36!) and not just 6 altogether!  Oh dear!  Bearing in mind the 50% failure rate and the fact that I only have enough space to make 12 buttons at one time, I decided that there simply wasn’t enough time to make another 30, so I just sent in my 6 buttons and hoped no-one would mind too much.  Very embarrassing!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A Craft Stamper inspired card

I was intrigued by the background that Elaine Hughes made for her article in the August edition of the Craft Stamper magazine, and I decided to have a go with my promarkers.  This card is the result.

The fairy stamp and the sentiment are by Linda Mason of Personal Impressions, and the twigs are from one of my old Paper Artsy Hotpick sets.  The flowers were cut using my new Memory Box die called (I think!) “Winterberry” .  I slapped the flowers on to cover stamping “glitches”, and didn’t think to shape them!  All the stamping was done with black Memento, and the Promarkers I used were Cyan, Arctic Blue and Sky Blue.  I put Stickles on the wings.

Friday, 14 September 2012

First Time Stamp

This is the theme for the September ATC swap over on UK Stampers.  We were supposed to use stamps that we had never inked before, but that isn’t strictly possible for me, as I always try out any stamp immediately I get it.  I like to check whether its going to give a good image, whether I like it (or hate it!) and whether parts of it could be used for something else.  So for these ATCs, I decided to use stamps that I have never used on a project before.

Apart from the alphabet, all the stamps are freebies from Craft Stamper magazine.

I stamped the cockerel in black Memento and coloured it with Promarkers.  I hung the word part of the stamp off the edge of my acrylic block, and covered the words with paper while I inked it, but I still had to try 5 times to get a decent image without a ghost of the words!  I doubt if I shall use this stamp again, except for the tail feathers.  To cap it all, I dropped a Promarker on the card when everything was complete, so I had to put dots all over the background to hide the mistake.  Grrrrh!!

I don’t “do” cute, so the rabbit stamp will probably also never see ink again.  It is too small, so I cheated on the theme a bit and used my old alphabet stamps to fill in the space.  I used the Octopode castle stamp to make the bunting – another cheat, as I have used it this way before, but I have never used the stamp as a whole image.  I did the stamping with black Memento and coloured with Promarkers.

The “Visage” ATC is an extension of an experiment I have been doing, based on the “Art de Fleur” article by Helen Chilton, in the October issue of Craft Stamper.  After 1 utter failure, I managed to make 2 fairly successful tags, so I decided to use the technique on this ATC.  Helen's words “let the ink dry” led to hours of frustration and to finding out that Stazon is not permanent on top of my oil pastels!  The stamping wiped right off my first attempt!!  In trying to do the embossing, the card kept moving inside the folder, so the Stazon and the pastel transferred onto the plastic, which took a lot of cleaning.  I found it very difficult to do the partial embossing, as my Bigshot is electric, and I couldn’t stop it in the right place.  Frustration led me to putting the whole of the 2nd tag into my “wood-grain” embossing folder, which rubbed off almost all the Stazon!  Grrrrh again!!!!  And more cleaning!  The ATC was easier to make, being so much smaller, but the Bigshot still bent the edges, and I managed to mar the stamping slightly before I remembered my can of fixative spray.  When it came to the final embellishments, I don’t have any Fran-tage, so I dripped ink onto some silver-coloured mica flakes on my craft mat, mopped up the excess with kitchen towel, then zapped the flakes with my heat gun.  It worked quite well, as the ink stuck the flakes to the mat, and very few blew away.  I shall have to remember that trick!  I stuck the flakes onto the ATC with PVA glue.

As usual, getting the photo right was a nightmare, as the adjustments that suited the white ATCs didn’t suit the pink one.  The white is too green and the pink is too purple.  I suppose I should have photographed them separately, but everything is easier in hindsight, isn’t it?