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Welcome Back

Just wanted to share a Christmas card I designed using Serif Craft Artist and Hears and Roses digikit collection. Simple but elegant :)

Created using Serif Craft Artist software and Hearts & Roses Digikit

Created using Serif Craft Artist software and Hearts & Roses Digikit

Best wishes and see you soon

Billie :)

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Last month I started a sew along to create an advent calendar, did you make one too? I’d love to see your pictures. Here’s how mine turned out.

Finished advent calendar project 2013

Finished advent calendar project 2013

I started by ironing on lightweight interfacing onto the back of the panel (well DH ironed it on for me) We did this as there was so little fabric on the turn ins that I was worried it would fray.

Makower Advent calendar Panel.

Makower Advent calendar Panel.

Advent calendar panel: Backed with interfacing

Advent calendar panel: Backed with interfacing

DH had the idea of putting a thin strip of iron on interfacing on to the top and bottom edges again resisting any fraying and to stop things catching on the edges of the pockets. Thanks to my crocked hands DH put this on for me too. Turned into a joint project ;)

Advent calendar panel: Pockets ironed into shape and ready to sew on. (Backs of the pockets)

Advent calendar panel: Pockets ironed into shape and ready to sew on. (Backs of the pockets)

Advent calendar panel: Pockets ironed into shape and ready to sew on.

Advent calendar panel: Pockets ironed into shape and ready to sew on.

Any pockets that spread over more than one square had box pleats. First I placed the pockets in place and sewed along the dotted line between the pockets. Next I pinned the two side edges in place and sewed the other edges in place. This has made for a nice secure pocket that should stand up to a few years use.

Advent calendar panel: Pockets ironed into shape and ready to sew on. Match them with the squares on the panel.

Advent calendar panel: Pockets ironed into shape and ready to sew on. Match them with the squares on the panel.

Advent calendar panel: Pockets with box pleats pinned in place and sewn along dotted line to form center of pleat first, this makes them secure.

Advent calendar panel: Pockets with box pleats pinned in place and sewn along dotted line to form center of pleat first, this makes them secure.

To hang the panel I made some tabs using the same fabric that was going on the back and I sewed those across the top inside the seam allowance and pointing down towards the bottom of the panel, so that when it’s turned through they will point up.

Advent calendar panel: Tabs to hang panel, pockets sewn in place and top stitched the edges to firm up the result.

Advent calendar panel: Tabs to hang panel, pockets sewn in place and top stitched the edges to firm up the result.

Not convinced that sewing into wadding would be a good plan without getting LOTS of fluff into the machine. I pinned the tabs in place so they didn’t get in the way, pinned the backing fabric on to the panel, right sides together and sewed around three and a half edges. I clipped the corners and turned everything right side out. Next I put the wadding into the ‘envelope’ of fabric and DH pinned it in place using curved safety pins. Then I sewed around the inner side of the decorative edge and finally it was finished.

I sewed around the fireplace area of the design and around the clock to highlight that. If I’d thought in advance I’d have sewed some blue ribbon under the pocket but I didn’t think of that till the pockets were already in place. DH pinned the bottom edge in and I top stitched around all the edges. This looks nice and holds things firmer.

Can’t say I loved the process, it took ages coz I over thought the whole thing made worse by never having quilted anything before and I was scared of getting wadding jammed in my machine. Change your needle as you go through the project it helps a lot. I am very pleased that I went with the interfacing, it has given a nice sturdy result and having now seen a few of these made up in a shop, I like the result the interfacing gave and would do it that way again.

Did you make an advent calendar for the sew along? I’d love to see your results.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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They often say that art imitates life don’t they? Well unintentionally the exact thing happened when I painted this.

Art Journal Page; Hope

Art Journal Page; Hope

PIC

It started out as a play with texture paste, and my favorite colours of blues and paynes grey which is a lovely grey with blue tones in it. I added layers of paste, and colours and the finished piece was definitely an experimental journey rather than a planned trip! The last 4 years have been tough and this year I’ve been feeling pretty low thanks to having a lot of pain and little use of my hands to take my mind off things. This piece was  one of the early pieces I created, when I finally had enough use of my hands for my first afternoon in the studio this year.

I liked the look the texture pasted gave and just added some quinacridone Nickel azo gold to highlight it. With the ‘layer love’ style of layers of paint and drips, the finished piece reminded me of a phrase, ‘The light at the end of the tunnel.’ I’ve put a second picture in as its so hard to get the real colours of the piece to show in photographs.

Art Journal Page; Hope

Art Journal Page; Hope

Who knows how much use of my hands I’ll get back, will I ever be pain free? Its not looking likely any time soon but when the going gets tough I can look at this piece and remind myself that there are better days too, sometimes I get to play, if only for a short time.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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A little off topic today but 50 years ago today at 5.15 Doctor Who was shown for the very first time. This evening there is an anniversary special to celebrate the fact called ‘The Day of the Doctor’. The Doctor travels time & space in a TARDIS, I saw one last year and it was fantastic.

Close up of a TARDIS

Close up of a TARDIS

‘My Doctor was Tom Baker and he did indeed have me cowering, not so much behind the sofa but certainly behind a cushion for my younger years. I was gutted when he left and sulked for most of Peter Davisons years. I returned in time to see Colin Baker and Silvester Mc Coy.

Highly enjoyed the regeneration of the series in the last few years and adored Rose Tyler and David Tennant combination. Matt Smith has done a sterling job as the Doctor but once again its time to brace ourselves for another regeneration of the lead actor in the Christmas special.

If you have never heard of Doctor Who and wonder what its all about nip over to the BBC website dedicated to the series, if you are a long term fan, have a go at the quizes on the fun & games page.

Close up of a TARDIS

Close up of a TARDIS

Happy 50th Birthday Doctor Who

Links

Tune into BBC one tonight at 7.50 to see The Day of the Doctor.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share another mixed media project with you. This is one of those happy accident turned favorite pieces. Lots of texture and layers went into this piece.

Mixed Media art: 'Autumn Days'

Mixed Media art: ‘Autumn Days’

After a layer of gesso had dried I used thick acrylic paint to add more texture. Layered over that are two shades of brown applied with the brayer. Love the texturing the brayer creates, it’s a speedball brayer of the soft rubber, smell like school plimsolls but works oh so well.

The white is gesso or texture paste, both were around and not sure  which I used now as you can probably guess that was added using bubble wrap. Great texture from the plastic in the bubbles :)

This is another one that I like too much to add more too right now. It has joined others in the pile which may later be used as a base for further development with text or images but I’m enjoying it as it is right now.

Have you tried brayer meets acrylic paint yet? I highly recommend it, lots of messy fun play.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Do you ever start a creative experiment, just trowing things on the page to see what happens? Then find a result you like so much you just have to stop as you like it too much to add more? Here is the piece where that happened to me. This piece reminds me of a documentary I saw where they showed a diver swimming though kelp, lots of long strands of kelp with the sunlight twinkling though the half-light beneath the water.

Mixed Media art: 'Under the sea'

Mixed Media art: ‘Under the sea’

I had applied gesso to  the base board, then applied heavy body acrylic thickly with a sponge, then I heated it. (Best done in a well ventilated room as O. M days did it whiff!) The result looked a bit like crackled wood. Loving it too much to continue I left it aside for a few weeks. I do this as I frequently seem to make things I love too much to cover. I do this too with stuff I think doesn’t work as with a few weeks wait, you come back to a project with new eyes.

So I came back to the crackly paint, and applied a layer of green paint with the brayer (my new but now covered with acrylic paint so it gives good textures brayer).  This gave an even better look, once dry I have added more layers of washes and sponged on more texture.

This piece is likely to evolve further in the future so it will get perhaps text or imagery, but for right now, I love it just as it is.

How about you, what do you do if you get a piece you don’t like? Do you hide it in a box for a while and come back to it later? Maybe you gesso over it and hide all the evidence it ever existed? Do you feel the need to add lettering, images to every piece or are you happy to have a beautiful piece that you may once have thought of as a background, a place to start but now love just for its own right? Would love to hear your thoughts?

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share an experimental piece of mixed media art. If any of you are following me on Twitter or are members of the UK Stampers forum, you will know I’ve been very tempted by a Geli Plate but not having the funds to buy one I’ve been trying alternative ways to create a similar effect.

Mixed Media art: 'Beneath'

Mixed Media art: ‘Beneath’

To try to replicate the geli plate I put some thick funky foam under my craft mat, spread on acrylic paint to the mat using a brayer, then pounced on it with bubble wrap. I pressed the piece of card that had a layer of acrylic paint on it, the result was very faint but now my brayer had a layer of dried acrylic paint on it was giving a lovely textured finish.

I applied more paint to the craft sheet, removing the mat, it hadn’t achieved what I’d hoped. Love the ripple look the brayer now gives and using paint still on the sheet I pounced onto that with the bubble wrap to pick up paint. Love the texture that gave too.

Call me converted. I love acrylic paint + brayers :) :) :) MUCH fun. A word of warning for the folks that like to keep stuff clean, this will leave paint on the brayer that dries. If you like using your brayer with ink, get a separate one for paint, as it won’t be the same again.  So far I haven’t tried removing the paint on the brayer, I’m enjoying the textures its creating. If it gets too clunked up and I feel the need to clean it, I’ll let you know how I do so. (OM Days did I really just say that! Yes I am a card carrying ‘won’t use Stayz on coz I can’t get it off the stamps and I’m happy not cleaning my brayer!!!!!)

If you haven’t tried it yet, rush over to Joanna Sheen who has brayers for great prices, grab a craft sheet ( I use the  Magic Non Stick liners from Lakeland) and give this a go, its so much fun. Like the geli you can’t ‘control’ it too much but that’s all part of the excitement.

Have fun playing, hope you give this a try.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

PS: As you probably guessed, I am saving for a geli plate ;)

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