Friday, 10 January 2014

My Books of Ruination

What is the best that you can do when your creativity needs a bit of a push (due to a nasty cold that just won't go away and makes your head dizzy)? Yes - you do yourself something good and follow one of all those awesome online workshop tutorials out there :)

Seems I started my creative journey exactly one year too late to be among the first ones who do those workshops live and with interaction and all the Q&A stuff... but the good thing when doing them later is: you don't have to wait for the next lessons to come online - they are all just there.

So I was able to get myself the "Book of Ruination" Online Workshop from Andy Skinner two days ago and watch all the videos at once and start my book(s) as soon as I was ready to go - and finish them off within two days. Tadaah! :)

I really had a lot of fun doing all the preparations, creating that "alien skin"-lice surface, adding colour washes and dry-brushing until my arm almost fell off!

That texture has been amazing me to bits since I ever first saw it! And with the embossed and softly highlighted structures underneath popping through here and there this is one truly awesome project to make!

I used a lot of DecoArt products in the making: DecoArt Americana and Traditions Acrylic Colours, Decou-Page matte medium (which is one of my favourites as it is so very versatile) and the awesome DecoArt Metallic Lustre!

Having known the dry-brushing technique already I really enjoy that I now can incorporate it into my mixed media projects. I first learned dry brushing for model making. When I met my husband, he and his friends had been playing table top strategy games with tiny painted tin model armies of dwarves, elves, orcs, skeletons and other fantasy creatures for quite some time and I made him some landscape models for X-mas during our first years.

With these games dry brushing is used to create stone like surfaces, bark of trees or for highlighting the tiny details of the figurines.

We haven't been playing table top strategy games for ages, but this year I used one of my selfmade hills for our nativity scene - the perfect place for the tired sheep and shepherd *lol.

But back to my Books of Ruination ;)
As I accidentally (if a hoarder like me may even say a word like that) had two paper mache books at hand, I decided to make two in one go (which is often a good idea, as you don't have any unused drying times).

I really love the colour scheme Andy suggests in his workshop, so I followed it rather closely.

Sadly the Spellbinders embossing folder did not make the same deep impression as
the Sizzix did, so the gears and cogs structures are really "decent" on the first book.
As you can also see I became more courageous with the surface technique on the second book - which I really like as it looks even more like a layer of rotten skin that covers something "mysterious".

I don't have the Sizzix die Andy used in his workshop, so I cut my own gears border from heavy cardstock and painted it with his awesome quick rusting technique he shows in his workshop too.

Then the borders were stamped on and dry embossed. The embossed areas were highlighted with DecoArt Metallic Lustre. (Honestly I could do this with almost all of my makes - this stuff is absolutely awesome ;)

The sides of the book box were covered with Tim Holtz Tissue Tape and given a light wash with acrylic colours to tone them down a bit.

The spines and back covers of my books were painted with acrylic colours I had also used on the covers, but this time I dabbed them onto the surface with a piece of cut to size kitchen sponge and blended the colours while they were still wet.

I did not want to use the same border for both books (as I was too lazy to cut another gears border by hand honestly), so I cut a strip of card and distressed it heavily around the edges, which led to this:

Actually I love these torn edges as they look like crooked metal.

For a finishing touch I added two metal corner embellishments with the left book and three metal screw brads with the right. Done! Phew - I loooooved these hours of messy fun!

I leave you with some more close-ups and highly recommend you give Andy's Workshop a try (if you haven't already). No - I don't get paid for this *lol...but I think giving credit to those out there who put a lot of creativity, thought and effort into providing us with awesome workshops like for example this one, is necessary sometimes and the least I can do to show my gratitude for a lot of inspiration.

Sometimes I think we take things for granted too much without giving it any further thougth and thus forget about saying "Thank you" or giving credit to those who add to this crafty world of inspiration.

I am sure this feels at least a bit rewarding to most of them. It definitely would to me...

Remember: by clicking on the images you can see them enlarged.
Thank you for stopping by and hugs and happy crafting!

Claudia xx


  1. How weird, I was playing with this technique last night. love how the book has come out. x hope the cold goes x

  2. What a fantastic way to get your creative mojo humming again. I love how you've used Andy's lessons to produce to stunning books. The colours work so well and the addition of the embossed metal makes a real difference. Hope you are feeling really good very soon. Jenny x

  3. sagenhaft! allein diese Farbe ist ja schon zum Dahinschmelzen ganz abgesehen von den genialen Texturen und gekonnten Accessoires.. meine Güte...

  4. WOW!!! Those books are fantastic, love the second one a little bit more because of the torn edges. I shall go over and take a look, thanks for the link.

  5. wow wow wow - die Textur ist sooooooooooo genial - ich muss das noch mal ganz in Ruhe lesen um bei meinem eher begrenzten Englisch zu verstehen wie du sie gemacht hast - so ein Buch ist eine traumhafte Schatzkiste für Lieblingsstücke . Spitzenklasse!!!!!
    Ganz liebe grüße, Dagmar

  6. Oh, wow! These books are fantastic! I just love them and your handcut gears are great! I'm going to check out these classes.

  7. Great idea. I'm really curious how you did it, step by step. :)

  8. Gorgeous bppks. Elegant and beautiful. Love the colour, too.

  9. Oh I love your book of ruinations..I have an unfinished one, so you have inspired me to finished it off! I'm glad you had so much fun making it, it really is an interesting class. I think the torn edges looks great!!!
    Dot x

  10. For once, I am totally stuck for words! These books are incredible, I am in total awe of your work on these. Your work is fabulous. I think I need to take a leaf out of your book (no pun intended) and look online to see if I can kick-start my mojo. In the meantime, I hope your hasty cold goes away and you feel well soon. Big healing hugs, Anne x

  11. Absolutely fabulous Claudia and I LOVE those colours!!! You are so lucky you have all these Decoart products available! I have been sitting on the fence with this workshop for ages, you may just have persuaded me to finally take the plunge. These two look amazing and I have to say, I can well do with a bit of mojo stimulation too.... Hope you feel better soon!!

  12. Your books have turned out fab! Love the texture intrigued how you did that might gave to check it out. Hope your feeling better soon.
    Amanda x

  13. Wow, two awesome books, the textures are fantastic as are all the details.
    Yvonne x

  14. They look completely amazing, Claudia - beautiful work from Andy's inspiration. Total showstoppers! Hope you forgot your cold for a while as you played, and I hope it goes soon (the cough just seems to linger and linger...). I'm ashamed to say I signed up for the class months ago, and STILL haven't done it - eek!
    Alison xx

  15. Wow! These are soo cool! Love how your alien skin turned out. I found that part to be most difficult for me given my impaired hands. So in the meantime, I'll just enjoy your books of ruination!

  16. 2 masterpieces! How lucky you were to be doing the online workshop from Andy! They're up your street I can see!

  17. Love the covers. Are you going to show us the insides when you get them done as well? thanks as always for sharing.

  18. Wow! Such an interesting technique! Love the depth in your background!

  19. die bücher sind grenzgenial, liebe claudia! wow-wow-wow.....da werde ich bei dir einen workshop machen!!
    ausserdem hoffe ich, dass du wieder ganz am damm bist und du dich wohl fühlst.
    bis bald (skypen?) und ganz liebe grüße

  20. I can’t believe I almost missed such awesome post....these are really something Claudia!!! I love them both very, very much!
    Hugs from Slovenia

  21. Wunderschön! Ich bin ganz hin und weg von diesen Farben und den fantastischen Strukturen. Amazing!
    Alles Liebe, manus

  22. einfach fantastisch, auch die Farben sind ganz meins!

  23. Seriously ... that dry-brushed "alien skin" is phenomenal!!! (Love the creche, by the way!) Worth the time and effort. Andy Skinner's workshop is on a very long "to-do" list. This is amazing! -- Mary Elizabeth

  24. Beautiful work. Love the surface technique on the second book. Is there any tutorial how to do it? I can definitely use it in some of my projects.
    Cheers from Canada.

  25. I love BLUE and Brown . These books are fantastic!!!!


Thank you so much for your visit and especially for taking the time to leave me a short comment! This is highly appreciated! xxx