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Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Some more...

...recycling.

The desk at work where I sit for part of the time is on the sunny side of the building and as such, the blinds are closed when the weather is nice otherwise you can't see the screen of the PC because of the glare.

This makes things very miserable as we are either shut off from the world to stop the glare or can only look out when it is dull or after dark.

I decided to cheer my desk up with a visit to the silk flower section in Poundland.

As I don't have any vases at work, I rescued an empty one of these from the bag that was...
 ...destined for the plastic recycling and went to work armed with...
...my bow maker, scissors and some ribbon.
This was the result...
...and as you can see - the background is still a glare nightmare even with the blinds closed.

The 'vase' was easy to make - if you look at the first photo above...I measured about an inch above the label on the bottle and cut the top off. I then removed the label and wrapped some plain white copier paper around the bottle keeping the bottom edge level with the desk and folding the excess over to the inside of the bottle to give a smoother edge around the top. Some ribbon to decorate and make a bow, then it was just a case of arranging the flowers.

Some of the flowers had stems that were way too long but rather than throw away the off cut, I made some ribbon picks to add to the arrangement.

Flowers - £6, Ribbon - £1(for a 50m roll of parcel ribbon), bottle & paper - free.

I used to use these 2litre bottle a lot for this kind of thing - a piece of pretty wrapping paper can help to colour co-ordinate and they are also great for real flowers as they will hold water.

Not a bad waay to spend 10 mins of my lunch break..................................................................

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Do you get the most...

...out of your craft equipment?

I'm probably as guilty as the next person - I buy something and only ever use it the way it says on the box/tin/pack.

If you are busy (and who isn't these days) the time you have available for crafting is limited and you don't always have the luxury of playing around with pieces of equipment to see if they can do more...this is a shame because craft equipment can be expensive and in this current financial climate, who can afford to buy things that will only be used occasionally when there is the possibility that they could be in use on a regular basis.

Take the We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch board...

Would you have thought that you could make this cute gift box...
...isn't it great and you can even add apertures if you want the contents to be seen.
Andy Pearson (Pinnacle Crafts) held a demo day above the shop yesterday...
 ...and he shared a lot of his ideas and those that he had found on places like YouTube. These boxes were one of the favourites of the day...
 ...and the samples got a lot of handling. Andy said these boxes were not his idea but he had found some videos by a lady called Deb Valder. I only look at YouTube occasionally so I probably would not have found these - thank you Andy for bringing this idea to my attention and thank you for another great demo day.

So of course, when I got home I had to have a go...
 ...out came my Envelope Punch board...
 ...a paper cutter and a scoreboard...
 ...some pretty CS, ribbon & DST.
In next to no time I had this...
...my own little gift box (I didn't put a window in mine)...
...as I was in a hurry to get it done...
...these boxes are adorable and even have a lid to help keep the contents secure.

With Easter coming up, I thought this CS would be perfect because of the Spring-time colours - just imagine one of these full of tiny chocolate eggs.

Change the colour scheme and you have favour boxes for the wedding table or gift boxes for the bridesmaids.

You can get 3 of these out of 2 sheets of 12x12 or one out of a sheet of A4. This is an ideal way to make a dent in that mountain of PP & CS.

So an envelope maker can do so much more - I made cutlery holders at Christmas. I've made bon-bons (crackers) and a wrap over box that will hold two crème eggs. Now I know I can make these cuties as well..........................................................................

Saturday, 28 February 2015

If you saw one of these...

...would you know what it was?

I certainly didn't have a clue but I saw it, loved all the carving and at the back of my mind I had a purpose in mind. It was sitting on the end of the shelf in one of my local charity shops and it caught my eye. When I took it to the cash-desk, the sales assistant asked if I knew what it was and what was I intending to do with it. I said that I didn't know what it was originally for but I was going to use it to store craft glues.

If you don't already know - it is a pipe rack. Pipes as in the smoking kind.

My idea was for the top row to hold some of my Cosmic Shimmer Twinkles...
 ...as you can see and the bottom shelf...
...holds pots of Creative Expressions Gilding wax.

I need to sand the holes a little so that the bottles sit in a little more securely but I'm really happy with my charity shop find.

I'm not sure whether to leave the wood as it is or perhaps give it a coat of white chalk paint...or just highlight some areas with some gilding wax. I'm thinking perhaps a coat of chalk paint, rubbing back areas that would have worn and then adding a touch of gilding wax to the high points of the design.

I don't know.

Perhaps I'll live with it for a while and see where my thoughts take me - or perhaps you have some ideas?..................................................................

Monday, 23 February 2015

So what was the end result...

...of Andy's "Snap, Crackle & Pop" workshop".

Two decorative boxes.

We started with a nesting pair of hinged wooden boxes...
 ...and the first task was to unscrew the hinges...
 ...the larger of the two boxes was given a good coat of white acrylic chalk effect paint...
...inside & out before the PVA was applied and then the silver paint...
 ...I love this "Pop" or blistered effect that was created with the heat gun.
Gleam Patina blue and Creative Expressions Graceful mint wax...
 ...were applied to the outside of the box and given a good buffing...
...the whole thing was then given a swipe of Teal Stazon before the hinges were screwed back on.
 The smaller box was dismantled before being given a coat of matt black acrylic...
 ...inside & out. The lid was given a coat of PVA and then the white chalk paint...
 ...dried with a heat gun and then waxed with Creative Expressions...
 ...Graceful Peach & Graceful Mustard.
Once home, the metal looking box...
 ...was put to use...
...another hiding place for sweeties.
I love the way the two boxes have turned out...
 ...and I am going to keep the bottom of the small box plain black...
...as this gives it a chalkboard look. I have some embellishment ideas for this box but those are for sharing another day.

Saturday's workshop was a fabulous day of play/experimenting/getting messy and having lots of fun.

Thank you so much Andy - Hilary & I had a wonderful time........................................................




Sunday, 22 February 2015

I think it's time...

...you were introduced to Andy Pearson.

Andy & his family own and run Pinnacle Crafts which is located within the Barleylands Craft Village in Essex. This is Andy...
 ...demonstrating a technique that formed part of yesterday's "Snap, Crackle & Pop" workshop.

Andy holds a number of Saturday, all day workshops throughout the year and they are always fun and a great place to try new techniques or have a play with ones you may not have used for a while. Andy also does a number of Demo Days each year where he will take some crafting items and show you how to think outside the box so that you get even more use from your products - the next demo day is on 28 Feb 2015 and will be showing how to get the most out of your WeRMemory Keepers Punch & Score boards.

Andy was on the design team for Cuttlebug but is now a member of the DT for Creative Expressions and you can see his work over on their blog every Wednesday. A day they keep for the boys on their DT (some other Creative Expressions names you may be familiar with...John Lockwood,Sue Wilson, Phill Martin). Andy has a blog linked to the shop and a crafting Facebook page - details can be found on the Pinnacles site here.

So now you have met Andy, this is what we did yesterday (lots of photos so you might want to grab a cuppa)...

Starting off with some 4x4 squares of greyboard...
 ...these were to be our practice pieces...
...the first square was given a coat of black acrylic paint and dried off with a heat gun...
 ...the square was then given a good coat of PVA glue (we used Cosmic Shimmer but any brand would give the same results). This coat was given a quick blast with the heat gun just to create a 'skin' before a coat of white acrylic Chalk paint was brushed carefully over the top...
 ...this was dried with the heat gun and as you can see - lots of lovely cracks and texture.
Creative Expressions gilding wax in Graceful blue and Graceful Mustard was applied...
 ...and buffed to a sheen before some Stazon in Azure...
 ...was swiped over the top. We were then left to play experiment...
 ...different coloured paints. Gilding wax colours applied in different orders...
 ...mixtures of Stazon colours...
 ...all created some very...
 ...different looks...
 ...even though the base coat had been black.
I then tried some pieces where the base was white...
 ...and also wanted to try some metallic acrylic paints...
...the top coat on these was silver...
 ...and as you can see. Instead of 'crackle' this is where the 'pop' came into things. The panels bubbled and created a fabulous texture.
This square was white base with Sea Spray (light mint green) as a top coat...
 ...it cracked beautifully but wasn't easily noticeable...
 ...so I tried the same top colour over a black base - much more dramatic.
Once the silver painted panels had cooled...
...one was waxed with Gleam Patina Blue and Creative Expressions Graceful Mint before being swiped with Teal Stazon. The other panel...
...was waxed with Gleam Cerise and Rich Copper. I used two colours of Stazon on this one...
...Black and Cherry Red.
These are all the panels photographed together once I got them home...



...I'm not sure what I'm going to do with these. I may make a canvas display to show them off or I might use them as backgrounds for some mini hangings. Something I need to give some thought to.

That was all the experimenting but if you pop back tomorrow, I'll show you what I did with the techniques.........................................................