Thursday, 16 May 2013

Mail art challenges

Hello everyone,

I am in love with mail art at the moment and when some challenges rolled around on Swap Bot I was intrigued to say the least.

For the first challenge, we had to create a decorated envelope with the following things on them: an animal, something blue, something with stripes, some type of text and deco / washi tape.  Here is how I fulfilled the criteria:

- The bird is an animal. So is the butterfly ;)
- Something blue is the airmail sticker and I sprayed the envelope with blue spray ink
- The striped washi is the something with stripes
- I used an alphabet washi tape to be the type of text
- The green graph washi is the extra washi tape

Mail art envelope - front (address blurred)

Mail art envelope back

For the second challenge the list was a little complicated. Here's the list:
* A rodent or similar sized critter
* A ticket or ticket stub (travel, concert, sporting event, or any other ticket)
* A candy wrapper or piece of a candy wrapper
* A game piece or playing card (includes monopoly cards/money, yahtzee papers, bingo cards, etc)
* Something round
* Something yellow
* A rubber stamped image or design ( can be in ink or paint )
* Something cut from a magazine
* 3 of the same thing

I decided to just go for it and let loose. I dove into my junk journal stuff and went for it. Very little planning, a whole lot of glue and this is the result.

Mail art envelope - back

Mail art envelope - front

Isn't that so much better than receiving a bill? ;)


Monday, 13 May 2013

A spoonful of sugar - altered spoon project

Hiya peeps,

So as you might have noticed, I have been on an altering art kick lately. This time around I decided to see what I can make with a spoon.

I went to a charity store and found a decorative spoon. You know the kind that you buy as a tourist keepsake? Charity shops are full of those. It's a great base to use as you already have some textures to work with.

I thought it would be an interesting challenge to stick to a limited colour palette. I decided to stick to whites, creams, tans , soft ice cream colours etc. I aged the spoon with acrylic paints and distress ink.

Altered spoon

For the base I used some findings to create a collection of vintage-inspired items. From top to bottom there is an old fountain pen nib, wood veneer bird, some craft gems, a key charm, a leaf charm, a faux pearl bead and a metal "home" panel. This is all glued onto a lace bow.

Altered spoon - close-up of base

For the top I wanted to keep it more simple to showcase the decorative handle and elements the spoon had already. I cut half a flower diecut out and used it as a backdrop for a tiny bow and button (underneath the green gem).

Altered spoon - close-up of the top

Here's the spoon from another angle. This one shows off the colours a little better.

Altered spoon - alternative angle

Off course I believe that a beautiful piece needs a beautiful container. I took an old reading glasses tin and painted it in the same colours as the spoon. Some lace, ribbon, gems, buttons, flower diecut and a metal offcut rounded it off nicely.

Altered spoon container

This was a great project and I have two more spoons calling for some altering fun.

Happy Monday

Friday, 10 May 2013

Carding around

Hello, hi, howzit,

I try and make as many handmade cards as I can to give away for different occasions. Not that I think store-bought is bad or anything - there is a place for everything in this life - but it does keep me on my toes and gives me a creative outlet.

So here is a showcase of some cards I made recently. I do not sit down and have a clear idea of what I want to make. I do a rough sketch and give myself a bit of playroom. I find that takes some stress away for me and I can truly fiddle to see if the card works or not. I do not have the energy to follow 'card recipes'.

Oh so happy today card

This card I made for someone as a combination birthday and thank you card. She was quite generous to our household recently and it just so happen to be her birthday close to the day of her generosity.

I love how the stamped background gets muted out by the velum. This gives space for the bright colours of the sentiment really stand out.

Oh happy day card

This was a congratulations card. The floral prints really stood up well against the watercolour background. I love the little cluster of gems in the corner.

Make a big wish card

This  was a card for a friend who was facing the big 30. I tried to give the suggestion of a cake ad love how Stickles made the flame of the candle really come to life. Jip, that is sequin kids. It's one if the big trends in card making at the moment and I love them.

Congrats card

Okay, so I think this one is pretty obvious. It was a card for a new baby boy that dear friends of ours were blessed with. It was my first attempt at a shaker card and I can tell you it had a steep learning curve - hahaha. Do not go fancy on your first try...

I hope these inspired you to make some cards of your own.


Tuesday, 7 May 2013

A whole bunch of ATC's

Hi everyone,

I make ATC's. They are truly a fun way to experiment and create art pieces.

So what are ATC's? Well, they are Artist Trading Cards that measure 2.3 x 2.5". The only rules in making ATC's is the size and that you trade them. If you want to sell them, they are called ACEO's. I stick to trading them via Swap-bot, so they are ATC's for me :)

So with that said you can basically look at an ATC as a blank canvas that you build up from. I have seen them made from cloth (like a mini quilt), I have seen them in thread (like Cross-stitching), metal, plastic, recycled material etc. I love sticking to paper. I get to try out different techniques and the shipping cost is low. For the blog I will look beyond paper and try some mixed media fun.

So here are some I have made over the last little while. I'll do one of these 'batch' updates every now and then on here to capture a load of them in one go. Who doesn't like eye candy anyway?

Postage stamp ATC's - flower and butterfly

A bunch of balloons for the dark-at-heart ;)

Giving Zentangling a go

Watercolour on yellow ATC

Book page ATC - Love letter

Book page ATC - butterfly stories. The little book even flips!

Stamped woodlands ATC
Mail art ATC

Do you have a favourite amongst them? Mine is the woodlands one - shhh.


Monday, 6 May 2013

Close enough...

Hello lovelies,

So if you are into paper and crafting, you have come across scrapbooking or journalling in some form or another.

I have tried both ad neither really stuck, but I do love the idea of putting elements together on a page and just playing with textures / colours etc.

For this little play-session in my craft room, I had a bunch of bits and pieces that I really loved, but didn't really know what to do with, so I just did a few pages of randomness.

Mixed media page with pockets

I created two pockets on the page. The one was from some pretty packaging (it was a stamp set if I can remember correctly) and I simply just put red washi tape along the edges to secure it to the page. The other was made with an old calendar page from a small diary with a frame stuck over it. The frame has cellophane in it to serve as a window.


I made these tags to put into the pockets. I love how the colours correspond to the page.

Mixed media page with old letter as pocket

Here is another page I made with random pretty things. I found this old letter in a secondhand bookshop and just love how pretty it is. The bird at the top of the page is also a tag that is tucked into a cellophane-window pocket.

Mixed media page - highlighting the pockets

Here you can clearly see the letter pocket as it is flipped open and the bird tag removed from it's pocket.
Page insert with pocket

The thing I love about crafting is that there really is very few hard and fast rules. Here is a bit of graph paper that I turned into a small page between pages. It has a pocket and some pretties, but truly, it's just a piece of paper secured with some washi tape to the previous page. A great way to add more oomph to a little experimental craft book.

Tag with tinsel

I got some really pretty tinsel lying around and I was looking for something unique to do with it. I made this tag by punching a circle in heavy cardstock and then placing cellophane over it. I inserted the tinsel in between and used decorative staples to secure everything together.

Page insert - other side

So to make the graph paper page more study, I pasted some scrapbooking paper to the back. I wanted a space to write tiny little notes, so I used tags and just used washi tape to stick them down. The washi tape also serves as the fold to fold them over with.

So if you have a few treasured paper bits lying around that you are not sure what to do with, why not put them together in a book? Give yourself permission to play around and you might just surprise yourself.

Have fun :)

Friday, 3 May 2013

The ticking of time - a mail art project

Hello guys and gals,

So not too long ago I was tempted into yet another mail art project and this time the theme was... well, it was actually Time.

Time themed envelope - front

For this one I kept it simple and broke out my stamps, inks and watercolour pencils. A little bit of decorative tape along some graph paper makes up the address label.

Time themed envelope - back

The back is done in pretty much the same way, except that it's all stamped and watercoloured. I love this decorative frame stamp and have made a mental note to make use of it more often.

A collection of time theme notecards and matching envelopes

We had to include a little gift inside the envelope, so opted to make a set of blank notecards and matching envelopes for my partner. I used the same elements (stamping, watercolour), but had to add this gold gel medium to round it all off. It fit perfectly.

I've had the time stamps for quite a while and was happy to break them out for such a great swap.

Time to say goodbye ;)


Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Spring Matchbox

Hello lovelies,

On this beautiful sunny day I thought I'd share a recent project that was a load of fun to put together. It was for a filled matchbox swap in a Spring theme.

The idea of a matchbox swap is to decorate a normal size matchbox in the given theme as well as filling it up with a number of goodies. I love Spring, so it wasn't too hard to let my imagination soar with this one.

Matchbox top
 I chose watercolours and white to be the main colour palette for the matchbox. I used a watercolour butterfly and flower as the main images and added sparklies in the form of glitter pens and craft gems. the butterfly on the button was stamped with Stayz-on ink and it's a great way of embellishing your projects if you need that little something different.  Some pink twine tied together the whole look quite nicely (haha).

Open matchbox with content

The content of the box was a mixture of various Spring themed items that included tiny diecuts, small notepad sheets, charms, brads, beads, stickers and a tiny little plate from a children's tea set.

Happiness and sunshine to you

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

A bunch of fun - altered key experiment

Hello everyone,

So 2013 is my year to explore crafting beyond the norms of paper. I have been seeing some fantastic things on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a go. Here are the results of the experiment.

For the motivation and the fun of sharing art, I participated in a swap for an altered key. It had to be a standard sized key and you could basically decorate it any way you want to.

Sparkly altered key

I had an old necklace with a pretty big decorative key on it that kept on getting in the way, so it was taking up space in my jewellery box. This project was a great way of making it useful again.

I painted the base with metallic craft paints, distressed it and then assembled old jewellery titbits around it. I added craft gems to round off the piece.

Bright sparkly key

Overexposure in photos is a killer. I'm still getting used to this "taking photos for the blog" business, so please excuse the eye-assault. At least you get to really see the diamante pieces now ;)

Altered key - details

Here is a close up of the tail pendanty bits. It was incredibly fiddly to work with that chain as the links were super tiny, but with effort, patience and loads of "counting to 10" it all came together nicely.

I had so much fun making the first key that I went sniffing around for another one to attack alter. I had recently finished a book based on nautical themes and oceans and such. Off course playing in my favourite colours was a blast as well.

Altered oceanic key

Once again I had a necklace that fell short of being practical. I love the colours and finishes on it though, so it became the main focus of the piece.

I played with paints and had this great charm of fish that I de-assembled and used to bring out the nautical theme more.

Altered key - detail shot

Here is a close up of the gems around the opening of the key. the little gold fish is on the left hand side swimming towards you. The bigger school of fish is on the head of the key at the back.

Altered key - shiny shot

I'm not sure how this photo effect happened, but I love how shimmery the sequins are in this shot. Quite dreamy.

 So there you have it. Trying new things aren't all that bad after all :)


Friday, 26 April 2013

Feathered Mail Art

Hello lovelies,

I recently had the opportunity to indulge my love of birds in art. A swap came rolling my way for a bird-themed mail art project. I opted for making a decorated envelope.

I had a couple of pages lying around from an old encyclopedia that had gorgeous bird images on it. I had a general idea that the birds should have their attention focused around the receiver's address.

I made the envelope out of an old music sheet and used gesso on it to fade it out. Next I splashed some watercolour droplets on it before sticking down the bird images. I also stamped the images surrounding the address area and used my watercolour pencils to add some colour to them. I outlined the birds with a yellow marker to make them stand out more.

Bird mail art envelope - front

For the back of the envelope I did pretty much the same thing.

Bird mail art envelope - back (address blurred)

I really love how this project turned out. It's not like I have a thing for feathers or anything like that (wink, wink).

Thank you for stopping by

Friday, 19 April 2013

Watercolour fun - a first try

As someone who has never done an art course before I have been very intimidated by the traditional art mediums.

As I grow older and more confident in my craft room, I've decided to dive into watercolours and see what I can come up with. I have no training in perspective etc, so please forgive wonkiness (is that even a word?), imbalances and general not-perfectness. I wasn't trying to for perfection, I was simply giving it a shot ;)

I decided to play with ATC size canvasses (2.5" x 3.5") to have some familiar ground to start from. I found this great tutorial series online that gets you to think outside the box. It's called the 10-minute ATC's series by Art Trader magazine and I went for the Watercolour faces one.

Once I got going, I just played around to see where this little experiment would take me. I would highly recommend not only the tutorials from them, but having a look at their (free!) magazine. Your inner artist will sing.

This is the result of the experiment. Seven ATC's of random things done in my favourite colour combinations.

The whole collection

Here is the faces experiment ATC's. I swished paint around, saturating here and subtracting there until I could make out a general face shape. I then used a black fine art pen to fill in the details. I'm sure years from now I'll have a good giggle at the attempt, but for now I am glad I gave it a try. I'll certainly try it again in the future.

Watercolour faces ATC's

For the hot air balloon ATC I had an image to reference from and although the balance is all wrong, I do like the feathery and light feel of the final ATC. 

Hot air balloon ATC

The floral one was done after seeing the 10-minute ATC: Acrylic Impressionism tutorial and wanting to see if I could emulate it with watercolours. I blobbed paint around and roughly formed the flowers and then added the details with a black fine tipped pen. I think it's quite dreamlike.

Impressionism watercolour flower ATC

The next ATC is a good example of the end result being very far from the idea in mind. I was trying to do a cupcake, but as the painting went along, it formed more of a bowl with something in it, so that's what I ended concentrating on. Sometimes you just have to go with the flow (haha). I think the pink stuff could be candy floss. Or strawberry ice cream.

A bowl full of pink stuff watercolour ATC

This ATC was a fun experiment in seeing the shapes in a standard mess of colour. I took some paint and just dragged it along the page in random patterns. As I looked at it, I kept seeing a map emerge. So who was I to deny it from coming out? The coastline was pretty much set, so I just  played with how watercolours can be lightened and darkened. Looking at it now I would probably have done less roads and let the watercolour take the main stage, but these are the lessons we learn right?

Map in watercolour ATC

The flowers one is a clear indication that I am very far off with balance, relationships and perspective in this journey. For now though, I am happy that it does somehow look like flowers, if you squint and twist your head just right ;)

Watercolour flower ATC - wonky and all

Here are some of the final ATC's that I made up with the imagery. I sent them along on Swap Bot, my favourite place to swap.

The hot air balloon got a trim and was stuck to some harder carton. The watercolour paper is not sturdy enough to travel safely in the mail. Distressing the edges gave it a nice vintage feel and made the colours pop. The bird ATC is a separate project. Watch the blog for a Silhouette update coming soon (wink, wink).

Sender's choice ATC's for a Swap Bot swap

The flowers and map also got a trim and was mounted on some sturdier card for mailing. I distressed the decorative edges in complementing colours.

Watercolour ATC's

I hope you are inspired to try something new today.