Friday 31 January 2014

Just a quick share today

showing one of my efforts from the Soul Food class (which I gave to myself to force me back into drawing and even painting which is way out of my comfort zone still).

Zorana did a wonderful tutorial over there using Golden Iridiscent Bronze acrylic paint, which produces awesome colour effects when you work with a lot of water! I loved it!

And I loved that it made me draw again. I haven't done this for years even though once I loved to sit for hours and fiddle even on the tiniest details to make it look as realistic as I could. Guess I am still not relaxed enough to get back to this...

This image of a crab (which I found on the beach while staying at Paradise Island in the Carribean) was a rather quick sketch following Zorana's tutorial mainly. I really enjoyed it. I hope you like my little image too :)

Thanks for stopping by,

Claudia x

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Meresanth's Awesome Blog Candy and New Shop!

Great news!
Meresanth has just opened her Retro Kraft Shop!
It's a shop (and online store) that offers mainly vintage and steampunk craft goodies! And to celebrate this wonderful event she has a terrific blog candy to give away to a lucky winner.

For more details check here or click the image to get to Meresanth's site!

Good luck with your wonderful shop, Meresanth!
Claudia x

Altered Clipboard

Servus and welcome to a short post today in which I want to share with you the clipboard I altered for my son, who needed it for a visit with his class at the Schönbrunner Zoo.

As some of you may already know he is a huge fan of everything sea-related...all species of fish and wales, but especially deep sea creatures. I had one grey clipboard made from heavy cardboard and it was the perfect occasion to use the lovely Oxford Impressions stamp set again :)

His soul is really longing for the secrets of the sea.... so when I translated the stamped quote to him, he said this stamp must have been made especially for him. And of course he needed a name plate on the clipboard too.

The background was made using a mix of DecoArt Americana acrylic colours and a quick spreading technique (which I never get tired of using obviosly ;) and then I stamped the images directly onto it using black jet archival ink from Ranger.

The center piece is a colour copy of a postcard I found at an Advent market. I glued it to the board using glossy Mod Podge and then I sealed the whole board with Mod Podge to make it more durable. Before doing so I drew some air bubbles with a white gel pen in some places. Done.

Sadly they did not have to use their clipboards at the zoo, but my son told me that he took it out of his bag anyway...."to show a bit off with it" as he said. Could I ask for a bigger laud? Guess not :)

Thanks for stopping by for this quick share.
Hugs and happy crafting,

Claudia x

Sunday 26 January 2014

Remembering 2013 the theme over at Catered Crop, where you can take a look back at all the favourite makes of a lot of awesomely talented crafters (DT members AND players)!
I decided to join in too...and browsing this years posts to find my personal favourites wasn't easy at all, but I finally have chosen a few (*giggle) which I really want to shine a light on once again (honestly it is really a try on narrowing down from about twenty five projects...*lol).

So let's start, right? If you want to know more about a certain project, just click the image and you will get to the post.
 this heavily heat embossed bird wall hanging made from corrugated card
 the metal die cut flourish ATC
 the altered book box for collecting shells
 an altered tray for displaying some found nature "treasures"
 the Morpheus Box made at the fab online class with Michael DeMeng
 a tag on which I used a self designed and cut stamp (the carriage)
 "Steampunk Cubism" - a fun play with altered matchboxes
 the cover of my very first art journal
 two wall hangings where I used found objects on
 a tag inspired by Creative Chemistry 102
 Yay, Halloween - one of my favourite seasons!
 a wall hanging designed for our Steampunk challenge blog

I hope you liked this short review. Can't wait to see yours!
Hugs and happy crafting!

Claudia x

Wednesday 22 January 2014

...But Only Hearts Can Build a Home

To be honest.... I tried to do some art journaling or mixed media painting during the last days but all I got was a lot of "stained paper" that went into the bin. But today I came up with a picture that I really like.

While browsing the net I stumbled upon the challenge over at Country View Challenges, where the theme is "Monochromatic"  and that inspired me to join in and focus on some of my favourites: earthtones. To be more precise: a lot of browns in all shades.

The DecoArt Americana palette offers a wide and lovely range of earth tones from "Light Buttermilk" to "Dark Chocolate". On my mixed media piece I used also "French Vanilla", "Antique White", "Yellow Ochre", "Cocoa", "Sable Brown", "Espresso" and "Charcoal Grey".

I started on a square piece of white heavy artists paper and applied droplets of all the colours all over it - from lightest to darkest -  and scraped it around using a scraper.  I did the same on a torn to size piece of brown kraft paper.

The technique for creating the background was mainly inspired by a lovely journal making workshop from wonderful Grace Howes from the "Soul Food" online class.

(I took some pictures of the various stages, but the artificial light at my craft desk made it all look yellow-sick-ish so I spare you the sight of this - I guess you can imagine well enough how acrylic paint looks like when being scraped from left to right, top to bottom and vice versa ;). So there are not step x step images this time. Sorry.

Anyway - this led to a wonderful inspiring background, on which I layered some torn pieces of the coloured brown kraft paper and also some strips of book pages.

I had those cut out kraft paper house shapes lying on my table (being left overs from one of the projects that went to the bin) and they were perfect for today's project :)

I used some of the left overs and tore some doors and windows to size, glued them on and drew the shapes using a black felt tip pen. To add more texture I stamped some numbers and script stamps on them. (I love especially the "fragments" quote stamp from Red Lead, but also the "Dictionary" and "Numbers" stamps from Kaisercraft work great when it comes to creating texture.

I also added two words using a Red Lead stencil and white decorating paste. The quote was stamped onto some white drawing paper, cut out and glued into place. Then I drew frames around the single word tiles.

I also went in with some "pumice stone" Distress ink and a trees stencil, but only lightly so the trees won't create too much structural "noise".

Some areas look rather busy anyway. ;)

I had a great time playing and messing around with colours, stencils, stamps, scissors and glue! I hope you love my "HOME" piece as much as I do :)

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you know that your comments are always very much appreciated (and are what keeps me going on my artful journey)! Thank you for taking the time and leaving me some nice words :)

Hugs and happy crafting!
Claudia xx

Monday 20 January 2014

Take Time Now!

Today I had some spare time left so I could sit down at my crafting desk to give my take on Tim's January tag for 12 Tags of 2014 a try.

I only have the small Movers and Shapers pocket watch die, but it worked beautifully too - and as I love to work in smaller scale anyway it was much fun to die cut and emboss, stamp, blend, layer and embellish.

On this tag I used:

 Distress inks "pumice stone",
"rusty hinge" and "black soot",

idea-ology "Alpha Tiles"(which I recently bought at a sale and like so much),
idea-ology cogs, gears and brads,
an idea-ology  "Custom fastener" (on which I used a fragment from a stamped Tim Holtz quote),
idea-ology "chit chat" stickers,
"Game Spinners" and  "Journaling Tickets",
stamps from the Tim Holtz stamp sheets "Numeric", "Way With Words" and "Worn Text"

and the Tim Holtz layering stencil with those awesome grunge stripes.

I had real fun creating a hanging from the clock key and some piece of wire! (Those who know me better know that I love using wire with my projects ;).

To tone down the copper foil I used instead of aluminium foil, I used some black acrylic paint which I dabbed on with my fingertip and whiped off the raised areas carefully.

To match the colour of the tag's background with the copper elements I used I
blended my tag with "rusty hinge" and only a little "pumice stone" DI.

I also love those Journaling Tickets and the idea of stamping a quote onto them is very much up my alley!

I am sure that it is up to us to "create our memories" right now and here. Don't wait for precious moments to "find us" or "occur", but to be open minded to anything that can be treasured - from small nature treasures to short moments of joy. The really "big ones" should remain the exceptions... so we can still acknowledge them as what they really are: rare moments we will be remembering for the rest of our lives.

I like the tiny cogs and clock spinners on my small pocket watch inlay and the warm earth tone look of my tag. At some point I just followed my gut instinct and let the goodies I used on this tag lead the way ;)

I hope you like my first Tim-Tag of this year. Can't wait to see your takes ;)

Hugs and happy crafting,

Claudia x

Saturday 18 January 2014

Pachyteria ameliensis - a Paper Bug Tutorial

Servus my dear crafting friends and followers,

time for a new DecoArt tutorial, isn't it?
Maybe some of you have already spotted that I am a great fan of bugs and insects in general... creating a "faux beetle collection" has been on my to do list for quite some time now...only until now I did not have the perfect idea for the how-to.

As this is going to be a quite long and picture-heavy tutorial post, you might wanna grab a cuppa something before you continue reading...

Actually my bug plate measures about 11x11" - so it's quite big...but as the bug's legs were the criteria for the size of the whole project it just turned out that big. How can a bug's legs become a criteria anyway I hear you ask....well.... I shopped at some sales shortly after X-mas and came across an awesome cutting die from X-cut with beautiful flourishes. I cut them from black card and laid them on a piece of white paper and then it hit my eyes: if I cut off some over here and there they would make perfect bugs' legs. (yep, that's me...having some strange thoughts from time to time...I just can't help it *lol).

So here comes the list of the materials you need and then a detailed stepXstep of course:

- a flourish die (plus die cutting machine of course)
- some embossing folders (to add some texture to the body, the wings and the wings'
- DecoArt Texture Fierro black
- DecoArt Decou-Page matte 
- DecoArt  Dazzling Metallics "Venetian Gold", "'Copper" and "Bronze"
- DecoArt Paper effects "Peacock Gold"
- DecoArt Metallic Lustre "Champagne Ice" and "Iced Espresso"

 as well as

- heavy black paper or card
- some corrugated card (from mail boxes e.g.)
- two short pieces of wire
- brown paper or Kraft Glasseine
- drawing paper, heavy card (for the template), scissors, a pencil, a rubber, some glue, a brush for applying the DecoArt media,  foam stick pads,
- a piece of paintboard or similar about 10 to 11" in square (to use as your plate)

- you also might want to have some close up images of beetles at hand for reference

Here we go:

Step 1

Die cut pairs of flourishes from heavy black card.

Step 2

Take a closer look at some beetles' legs (if you haven't already done so) - then search for possible legs' forms with the die cut flourishes:

The following images only show some of a lot of possibilities for getting bugs' legs by cutting off some pieces from your flourishes. 

See? We have our first bug's leg! Yay! Make a second of the same shape. Then go look for two more possible legs' shapes and cut these out (in pairs) too. 

This one might be perfect for a pair of forelegs for example!

Step 3

When you think you have three pairs of bugs' legs ready, lay them on some white drawing paper to find the perfect positions. 

Step 4

Get  a pencil and maybe a picture of your preferred bug and draw the bug's shape with the legs being incorporated:

It can be any shape of bug you want. Some bugs are long and thin, others are small and look like halves of ping pong balls with wings and legs (and more colourful of course ;).

Step 5

Once you are content with the shape you have drawn, make it symmetrical. 

The easiest way to get symmetrical shapes is by folding the paper in half at the center of your drawing and trace the lines through to the other side. Then cut out the shape before unfolding it again.

Trace your final lines with a marker or a felt tip pen - this is going to be your template for the single parts of your bug - so you need to define exact shapes for all the parts of the bug: the wings' covers, the lower body, the upper body and the head. 

As you can see I drew the wings' covers a bit shorter than the body. Mostly they do not cover the body's whole length. 

Step 6

Lay your paper template onto some piece of heavy card and trace it with your pencil. Do this twice. One of these is going to be the template you might want to use for some more bugs, the other one will become one of the body's layers. 

Step 7

Now you can cut the paper template into pieces along the marked lines:

That way you get the smaller templates for the single parts/layers of your bug.

Step 8

Cut several layers (you can make your bug as "thick" as you want) for the whole body - one of them has to be cut from corrugated card (so you can fix the tentacles later)! This is what you should at least come up with:

2 whole body plates (one being corrugated card), 2 lower body plates (one being from heavy black card to emboss later),2 to 3 upper body plates (the second and third should each be cut out a bit smaller than the one before so you get "steps" around the edges) and a pair of wings' covers from heavy black card.

Step 9 

Glue the legs onto the first layer of your bug. I use DecoArt Decou-Page matte for this as it dries incredibly fast and is perfect for glueing layers of card evenly.

Step 10

Glue the layer of corrugated card onto the first layer with the fixed legs. See to it that this layer dries evenly (maybe fix it with cloths' pins during drying time).

Step 11

Set the layers you cut from black card aside (!) and glue on the remaining layers. Once dry give these and the legs a thin coat of DecoArt black Texture Fierro . You will love the decent sparkle and texture this will add to your bug!
(sorry I forgot to do a picture of this step... all black honestly *lol)

Step 12

Dry emboss the lower and upper body layers and the wings' covers using embossing folders that add texture that helps defining the structure of the wings's covers and the body. I used some Sizzix harlequin and wood grain but you can use whatever you think looks good.

Step 13

Get yourself some Kraft Glasseine (or brown kraft paper), fold it and draw one wing shape. Cut out a pair of wings. As you can see I used the wings' covers for reference so the size of the wing would fit. Usually bugs' wings are much longer and thinner than the covers (once unfolded).

Dry emboss your pair of wings (I used a crackle texture embossing folder).

Step 14

Start painting the black wings' covers with DecoArt Dazzling Metallics of your choice (I used "Bronze"):

Then paint the upper body and the head of your bug with various tones of Dazzling Metallics too, once all the parts are glued on:

Add a pair of eyes by applying two droplets of "Peacock Gold" DecoArt paper effects in the right places.

Step 15

Rub some DecoArt Metallic Lustre "Iced Espresso" onto the lower body of your bug. 

Step 16

Give the wings a gentle rub with DecoArt Metallic Lustre "Champagne Ice":

Step 17

First glue on the wings, then glue the wings' covers onto these. You can gently bend them to give them some dimension before you do so.

 Apply two pieces of bent wire for the tentacles (use some drops of glue on the ends and stick them into the layer of corrugated card - then leave to dry). 

You're almost done! Yay!

Fix your finished bug onto your heavy paint board plate by using sticky foam pads in several layers (I used four layers).  Stamp a "scientific name plate" for your bug onto a piece of cut out card and  glue it in place. 

NOW your are really done! 

I so hope that you like my bug! I guess I will be doing some more in the future...with different legs and body shapes, different colours and textures... to have my very own bug collection XXL! I hope you will have a lot of fun creating one of your own!

Here come some more close ups as usual. Enjoy!

Hugs and happy crafting,
Claudia xx