Thursday 21 January 2016

"Valentines is not in the air" - Emerald Creek Dares

So good to see you back! I hope you are all doing well and being creative!

With our "Valentines is not in the air" challenge Emerald Creek Dares are catering to the single people.

"This challenge is about hearts being done less lovey Dovey, red being used to represent something other then a significant other. And if you dare try going grey and see where it takes you."


So the challenge still IS about love - as our hearts never stop beating for someone or something we love - a child, a dearly loved pet, our art or any other passion we love to follow. 


Psychology states that you have to be able to love yourself first before you are really able to truly love others. And I believe this is true! To love yourself means you are not dependent on any judgement or thankfulness of an opposite and that the love you give is free of any "bargain thinking"...if you know what I mean. You are then able to give love - no matter how much love you get back at that very moment. Simply because you feel like "lovin'" and because it makes you feel good.

But why is it so much harder to love ourselves than to love others? Why can we for example be so much more forgiving towards others than towards ourselves? Why are we our own and worst critics but accept (or even love) the imperfections and little flaws of others?

I believe that it mostly depends on how we were brought up and what we were "trained" to think of ourselves. And on how our own parents or models behaved towards themselves. Were they proud of what they did or did they always apologize and make themselves smaller and less "good" than their opposites (as my mom did for example)? Were you loved for who you were and at any time (like I was loved by my grandma) or for your accomplishments, specific behaviour or good marks only? Were you criticised for dressing, talking, thinking, behaving,...differently than "one should behave"?

It is all of that and a lot more that makes you who you are. And what makes you love yourself - or being constantly insecure or even displeased with yourself. I have a lot of dear friends and know a lot of people (including myself) who are so well trained to only look at their own mistakes and deficits that they have become real masters at it, without having to spend any efforts on disliking themselves.

So all of these were my thoughts that evolved from this "non-Valentines" theme - and my make (hopefully) resembles some of them - and a reminder to finally start loving yourself to be happier:

So this does not mean you should be more selfish of course! But a good kind-of "selfish" would do great for a start ;)
The kind of "selfish" where you pay attention to your own needs in the first place instead of always putting them behind the needs of others! (guess I don't have to mention that "helping others" can be such a need too).

But enough of that psychological blurb! Let's move on to the how-to for my mixed media heart panel! This time I want to show you how you can use Emerald Creek embossing powders alongside your Distress paints, stains and spray stains to create mixed media art. I hope you like my approach to using Distress differently (I always love to get back to my Distress products and use them in new ways - they are so versatile, it never gets boring to play with them and they always encourage and inspire me to experiment with them and try out new ways of using them - more than any other media!)

I started with applying Distress paints barn door, picked raspberry and antiqued bronze directly onto the wood heart and spraying it with water to get that awesome marbling effect the distress paints create.

While the paint was still wet I sprinkled some of Emerald Creek's awesome embossing powders Iron Stone Red and Pastel Mint on some spots and heated them with a heat tool.

I also applied some strokes of picket fence Distress crackle paint (yes, I still have some in my stash and it still works ;) here and there and while that was still wet sprinkled on some Stampendous Fran-tage "Bronze Glass Glitter".

Once the first tiny cracks started to appear I speeded up drying with the heat tool.

To make the cracks more visible I sprayed on some gathered twigs Distress spray stain and wiped off the excess with a baby wipe once the stain had seeped into the cracks.

Next I inked the heart's edges with a piece of cut'n dry foam and Ranger jet black archival ink.

After that I stamped on some crackle texture for more interest before I glued on my metal "1".

The metal number was a fleamarket find. I covered it with "antiqued bronze" Distress paint (as I did with the nails). The nails were easy to push in as the heart shape is made of balsa wood which is very soft.

To make the nails look more aged I added some black archival ink with a sponge.

I die cut a little crown from cardboard (using the Sizzix Tim Holtz Alterations "Mini Crown" Movers&Shapers die) and painted it with brushed pewter Distress stain onto which I dabbed some antiqued bronze Distress paint with my fingertip. The edges were inked with black archival stamping ink too.

I needed a background panel for my heart so I used one from Tando and glued some old book page to it using Ranger matte Multi Medium. I quickly applied some ground espresso Distress stain around the edges and sprayed with water...that made the stain create this watercolour like effect:

Once I had heat dried my panel I added some picket fence Distress crackle paint with a palette knife.

As the Distress stain stays reactive to moisture (unless it has been thoroughly sealed) it tinted the white crackle paint where I had layered it on top - an effect I really like!

I drew a thin frame with a black soot Distress marker and used the brush tip to also darken the edges of the panel.

Finally I dabbed on some tarnished bronze Distress paint here and there and sprayed with water:

Now my background was ready to have the heart be mounted to it! I used matte medium for that (and for glueing the crown and my printed out and cut to size word tiles to my project).

Some final touches of picked raspberry here and there to make it all blend together. Voilá!

I hope you like my Distress mixed media project and forgive me my long blurb (but as you might have noticed this is one of the concerns of the heart of mine).

Please, hop over to Emerald Creek Dares to find out about the makes of my talented teamies and/or to find out about the winner and top bloggers of our last challenge! Hope to see you over there!

Hugs and happy crafting!
Claudia xxx

Tuesday 19 January 2016

Winter Wonderland Challenge at DecoArt Media

Servus and welcome to my little creative spot! I'm happy that you have taken some time to stop by and take a look around!

Today it is my pleasure to share with you a project done for DecoArt Media's lovely Winter Wonderland Challenge!

Don't miss it - there's a prize pack to be won that contains DecoArt Media products worth over $120! The challenge is open until 29th January!!! So there's still enough time to create and play along to get eligible!

"Winter Wonderland"

- that theme evoked in me images of snow glistening in sunlight, soft hills covered with traces of merry sleigh riders and tracks of winter animals in the I decided to create a shadowbox capturing all of it.


To create all the typical glittering and glimmering on snow I used some of DecoArt's lovely Glamour Dust in "Turquoise Sparkle" and "Ice Crystal" - which are hard to photograph but add wonderfully subtle glitter to your paintings!

The "Turquoise Sparkle" was easier to capture than the "Ice Crystal" on the birch trees, but you can see a bit of it on the above photograph I hope. The effect works really well when you move the shadow box a bit though!

It's the same with DecoArt Media's Interference paints - you will see that I added some "Violet" to the hills to make it look a bit like sundown in know...when the snow reflects all the colours of the sundown - from pale blue to dark pink.

But let's begin at the start! First I die cut the lovely Sizzix Birch Trees and used only part of the die cut. I sealed the white card with matte Decou-Page first, then I applied a thin coat of white Crackle Paint and let it dry naturally.

For my box I used an emptied chocolate box (again!) and trimmed off one side to make the frame fit with the die cut birch trees.

As you can see I simply cut off the original side of the box and folded a new side from what was originally part of the back. Don't forget to leave side flaps to glue the new side onto! And no worries - everything will get covered up with old book pages anyway. ;)

As soon as my crackle paint had dried I applied a coat of "Raw Umber" Antiquing Cream and let it cure for some minutes. 

Then I wiped off the excess with a soft, damp cloth. That made all the lovely cracks pop! I just love this effect and never tire of using it!

 The background of my box was then covered with the old dictionary pages and afterwards I stamped on some snowflakes using white Gesso which I applied to my stamp with a brayer (using my non stick craft sheet as a palette to spread the paint on).

After the paint had dried I applied a thin wash of "Cerulean Blue". The Gesso worked as a resist - so my snowflakes became visible.

Then I applied a thin coat of the "Turquoise Sparkle" Glamour Dust.

I decided to add some white heat embossed snowflakes for more contrast.

I created my hills from white cut into shape cardboard which I glued onto some old book pages to make them sturdier.

To tone down the yellowed old book page I added a layer of  "Translucent White" - it makes such a difference but still leaves the print visible!

After the Translucent White had dried I applied a coat of Violet Interference Paint. You can see the effect where the light reflects on the bend of the hill I am holding:

To create a lot of texture on my hills (=the tracks of the sleigh riders and animals) I used more white Gesso and some of DecoArt's lovely stencils! (detailed info on stencils and products used see product list at the bottom of this post)

 Once the texture on my hills had dried they were toned down using a wash of "Raw Umber" Antiquing Cream, which I only wiped back a little this time.

I let some snow fall on my birch trees, applying some Snow Tex with a small flat brush.

You can also see the folded back flaps that will later be used to glue the birch trees to the box.

I die cut a little fox and painted it with  a mix of "Charcoal Grey" and "Georgia Clay". Once the paint was dry I added some clear crackle glaze and let it air dry.

The face and ears were painted afterwards, using white Gesso and a black permanent marker for the finer details.

I love this special sentiment and wrote it onto some left over scraps from the old book pages I had used for the background and hills. Then I cut it into single word tiles and glued those to my box. The shading around the words was done with a "Ground Espresso" Distress ink marker that I smudged around with my fingertip while it was still wet.

The hanging was made from black wire which I bent in shape and just curled at the ends.

The finished hills (that were also given hints of "Brilliant Turquoise" and "Lavish Green" Metallic Lustre here and there) and fox were glued to the background using stacked sticky foam pads.

Once all was in place I added some more Snow Tex to the hills' tops and to the bottom of the shadow box.
For a finish the birch trees were glued in place.


I hope you like my Winter Wonderland shadow box and that it has inspired you to create something for our challenge too!

Products used:

- DecoArt matte Decou-Page
- DecoArt Glamour Dust: Turquoise Sparkle, Ice Crystal
- DecoArt Snow Tex
- DecoArt Americana Stencils: Scribble, Doily, Pixelated
- DecoArt Metallic Lustres: Brilliant Turquoise, Lavish Green
- DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paints: Charcoal Grey, Georgia Clay
- DecoArt Media white Crackle Paint
- DecoArt Media clear Crackle Glaze
- DecoArt Media white Gesso
- DecoArt Media fluid acrylics: Translucent White, Cerulean Blue
- DecoArt Media Antiquing Cream: Raw Umber
- DecoArt Media Interference fluid acrylic: Violet

- chocolate box
- palette knife
- brushes
- snowflake stamps
- brayer
- old book pages
- non stick craft sheet
- heat tool
- wire and pliers
- black permanent marker
- tree die (Sizzix Tim Holtz "Birch Trees")
- soft cloth
- white embossing powder

I can't wait to see your wintery mixed media projects!

Hugs and happy crafting,