Friday, 12 August 2022

Making my own paper

I recently treated myself to a paper making kit (from Stamps Away/CleverCut here in the UK here.)  I used scraps of copy paper from various printing projects and cut them down to make very small squares.  I added warm water to the scraps and mixed them up to create a pulp. The kit has a hand-held paddle to which you attach a piece of netting with clips. You then pour the watery paper pulp over it (making sure it is over a bowl or the sink) and then flip it onto some woollen material and remove the clips. You press the water out using a sponge, then carefully remove the paper from the netting and let it dry.  It is certainly easier than having a netting in a frame which you dip into a vat of paper pulp.  The paper has come out quite thick in places, but I like the rustic effect!  Above was one of my first attempts.   

I have tried again, incorporating dried hydrangea flowers and gilding flakes.  I was pleased with this one.
Then I added gilding flakes and words which I had cut out of a book page.  This one is my favourite so far.  
I have used some of the paper which I inked up and added some gilding polish to make an anniversary card for my sister and brother-in-law.  The texture comes through beautifully.  I am looking forward to more experiments using junk envelopes etc.  Watch this space... 

Thursday, 4 August 2022

Index-Card-A-Day (ICAD) challenge 2022 - final Weeks 8 and 9

Here are the last cards from this year's challenge.  Above are: Detour; Space and Together.
Above are: Dawn or Dusk; Wander; Snowflake and Forest.
Here are: Luminous; Ultramarine (using watercolour) and Briolette.
Finally there are: Happiness and Prism.  Again, I used lots of Distress inks, stamps, stencils and some watercolour for these cards.  I found some of these prompts quite tricky (as I usually do), but managed to muddle my way through and enjoyed the creative processes.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Index Card-A-Day (ICAD) challenge 2022 - Week 7

It's the penultimate post for this year's ICAD challenge.  Above are: Scrabble; Whimsical; Travel.
Here are: Orange; Spin or Spinner; Chevrons and Wallpaper (my favourite William Morris Willow Bough design).

The last ICAD post will have all the remaining cards as the challenge ends on 31st July.

Thursday, 28 July 2022

Plants in July

Although it has been really dry (we have had showers this week and they have refreshed things, but haven't really got down into the soil), the plants in the garden seem to be managing.  Above is the oregano which the bees have been enjoying.
The hydrangeas are flowering too - this is Coco.
I do like the white hydrangeas in particular and whatever soil they are in, they stay white, so are slightly easier to manage. This is a small white macrophylla. 
I have just one flower spike on agapanthus Silver Baby.  This means it probably needs potting on for next year.  I like the pale blue edges to the petals.
Hibiscus Oiseau Bleu is flowering much earlier this year (it usually flowers in August) but is looking beautiful. I always feature this plant and I love its exotic flowers.
Rose Kew Gardens is a delight and has kept going through everything this summer has thrown at it. Pale creamy yellow flowers which fade to cream and then white.  It is one of my favourite roses.
This is an ornament I bought at RHS Chatsworth and which had been leaning against the wall waiting for me to find a good place.  It has ended up in a rather dark corner but I think it looks good there, especially with the clematis behind it.
More hydrangeas - Dark Angel...
..Magical Revolution Blue (I am not adding colorant to this one so it is gradually changing to a purply pink, but that's fine)...
...and Endless Summer The Bride.  Another white hydrangea which adds some lightness to the end of the garden.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

Wanderlust 2022 - weeks twenty-two to twenty-eight - Craft Acrylics

I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about Craft Acrylics.  These are found in many different brands, usually in little flip top bottles, are cheaper than artist acrylics and have names such as rose, ruby, teal.  Week 22 was not my favourite.  Paint abstract flowers from the garden or a bouquet - it seemed simple enough but I had three goes and the one above was the best.  Not my forte.
Week 23 was so much fun - we worked on a big scale (the image above is an English A2 - poster size) and I laid it on the floor in the kitchen to paint.  It was about being free, using big brushes and enjoying what we were doing.  Funnily enough, despite the disaster of the previous week, I chose flowers as my theme! However, this time they were imagined flowers.
We could cut the image up to add a section to our art journals, so I did that.  I may well try another bigger painting as I really loved creating it. 
Week 24 was about using the craft acrylic to pour onto the page and create a galaxy kind of background with magazine images added.  
Week 25 was my absolute favourite.  Bright, bold, happy and colourful. We created collage papers using lots of different types of paper including tissue paper, tracing paper, book pages and packaging paper.  I used some of my own stamps on top as well as some stencilling and adding glitter mixed with gel medium.  I then built up a frame of collage pieces around the image of the lady.  It has a definite exotic look - possibly Indian. 
I enjoyed it so much I made another version in my cardboard journal.  I really like this one too!
Week 26 was about painting whimsical faces which sort of represented us.  This page took a long time to make as I had to let the layers dry in between.  I like the end result and the busy background.
Week 27 was just fun. Lots of layers again, using watered down craft acrylic paints so that they behaved a bit like watercolours.  Adding coloured pencils and oil pastels and finishing with lots of doodling made this a really lovely page to create.  I like the contrast between the black background and the white - the same colours were used on each side but they look quite different. 
Finally, a page inspired by Andy Warhol.  The background was craft acrylics applied with a sponge and masking off areas to try to get some sharp lines.  The images are flowers and leaves out of the garden, dipped into black paint and printed onto the gel plate, then a print taken of that.  I used salvia leaves, an osteospermum flower, hardy geranium leaves and a fern frond.

A hugely enjoyable few weeks.  I have added to my stash of craft acrylics by a few bottles, but I think I will be revisiting some of these techniques.  On to Watercolours next...

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

Index-Card-A-Day Challenge (ICAD) 2022 - week 6

In the hope that you aren't bored with this challenge yet (!), here are the cards from week 6.  Above there is Mysterious; Gelato (collaged seed plant catalogue pages) and Turquoise (inks and Tim Holtz stamps).
Top left there is Geometric; Ink (using a brush and ink to create the patterns); Bottom left: Verdant (magazine image collage) and Ombre.

The challenge finishes at the end of July, so we're nearly there!

Monday, 11 July 2022

Some cards

Some of these cards were from much earlier in the year, but I have only just got round to sharing them with you.  Above was a mixed media card with stamping on book pages.
These were collage cards, based on a Wanderlust page from 2021.
This one was turned into a Mothering Sunday card.
Blue and orange are my Mum's favourite colours.
Here's the card for my Mum-in-Law...
...and the inside.
This one was for my eldest sister...'s the inside.
Finally for now, here's the card for my niece.  Lots of nice bright colours.
I have recently got a papermaking kit and made my first paper yesterday.  A post will follow...

Index-Card-a-Day Challenge (ICAD) 2022 - Week 5

Week Five of the challenge brought: Neon; Magical (a 'Galaxy' background with distress inks, white splatters and sparkly Stickles); Postmark...
...Sky (watercolour sparkle inks and a stamped image); Quatrefoil or Ogee; Rooster (collage made using some of my clean up sheets) and Yellow (using alcohol inks).

On to Week Six...

Sunday, 3 July 2022

Index-Card-A-Day challenge (ICAD) 2022 - Week 4

The ICAD challenge is speeding along nicely this year.  Above from top left there is: Pineapple; Purple; Print (a ghost print from a recent gel plate session - I always seem to like the ghost prints more than the actual prints!)
From top left: Portmanteau (I chose the section in Alice Through the Looking Glass where Humpty Dumpty is explaining what the words in Jabberwocky mean and uses the word 'portmanteau'); Poem which is The Way through the Woods by Rudyard Kipling.  This poem left a big impression on me when I first read it at school and I have featured it before on my blog. It is a bit melancholy, remembering times past and seeing nature taking hold again but also has a slightly mysterious feel. I love the rhythm of the words too, "You can hear the beat of a horse's feet, And the swish of a skirt in the dew".  At the bottom is: Plaid (using two dies cuts layered up) and Parachute.

Lots more to come - we are nearly half way through.

Sunday, 26 June 2022

More stars of the garden in June

While the roses are always the stars of the June garden, here are some others which are bringing me joy at the moment.  Above is osteospermum Erato Purple Glow which is such a splash of colour.
Astrantia Burgundy Manor...
Clematis Perle D'Azur which has grown over the arch and is rapidly approaching the bathroom roof, in an attempt at garden domination. This clematis took a while to get going but is absolutely stunning this year.  
There is a rose under there too - New Dawn.
Here's the view from the other side.  The pink striped rose in the foreground is Ferdinand Pichard.
A 'new to me this year' salvia, Cerro Potosi, which has cerise flowers that are almost neon.  
This foxglove 'Apricot' was planted in the shadier border and has been beautiful.  I grew it from seed and am so pleased to see it looking so good.
I have enjoyed watching the flowers open and the bees have certainly liked it too. I need more of these in the garden next year...definitely.