Friday, 20 April 2012

Coffee any one?

I love the antique effect card and papers but what do you do when you don't have any to hand when you need it? Well you make your own don't you...
All you need is normal white card, a stamp and ink pad (I used memento, distress inks might bleed to much so you will lose most of the image) a spritzer bottle of water, and a pinch of coffee (instant any brand, but I find the granules better than the powder!) So simply stamp your image on to your card, I then spritz well with water, don't worry if the ink runs a little it adds to the effect. When the card is really wet, sprinkle a few grains of coffee on to it, let the coffee disolve and spread (you may find warm water helps the coffee spread) Let it all dry naturally (this adds to the effect with the real water marks)
It looks fabulous just left like this but if you want to take it further this lends itself to crackle glazing it. Although there are crackle glazes available on the market, I love to use my ultra thick embossing powder to do it, as it is so easy and it uses stuff I always have to hand! When fully dry apply versamark or similar clear ink all over the image, and apply a layer of clear embossing powder, heat and repeat for a couple of layers so you have a good even glaze finish. Then pop your topper in the freezer!! 10 mins should do the trick. This makes the surface brittle and you can then bend the card and cracks will appear. The background is a piece of industrial wrapping embossed and inked, then torn around the edges, then you carefully make small inward tears about every half ink, allowing you to roll them inwards. The more you fiddle with these edges the better they look, so I often will make up the card and then continue to ruffle them!
So why not wake up and smell the coffee, or even better craft with it!

Happy Crafting

Ali xxx

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Embossing Embossing...

We have all heard of triple embossing, and I do love it! But I am also enjoying the effects you can get with Embossing Embossing. This technique uses 2 different types of embossing to create a lovely effect. Embossing is such a varied craft, from heat embossing to dry embossing and even wet embossing, you can create so many different effects, all adding texture and raised detail to your work, so by combining 2 different embossing styles you can really make things pop! To add that extra touch simply emboss your card using a mask through your die cutting machine (I find the traditional stencil style masks are most effective for this technique), then keep the mask in place and ink through with your perfect medium, or versamark ink pad. Remove the the mask and apply fine embossing powder (I use clear but a coloured powder can also be used) Simply heat set.
Top tips to keep a crisp image, before starting dust your card with talc to avoid stray specks of powder, and also when heat setting your embossing powder, heat from behind for a super glossy finish. I liked the effect of this so much with our dandelion mask that instead of it being a background for a card it became the main feature!!So a bit of ribbon and a few self adhesive sparkles, matting on to glossy black card and you have an eye catching card that will be suitable for anyone.
I was unsure how an all black card would look but I have to say I really like it!

Well I have allocated myself a few weeks to play some serious catch up and work on some new products, so watch this space...

Happy Crafting

Ali xxx

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Making good use of the things that you find...

I have been called a womble and it is a name I am actually quite proud of. It is true that nothing is safe from crafting in our house, from things in the kitchen such as lemon juice, to old drinks cans which make great craft metal for die cutting and embossing.
On this simple card here I used an old coke can (simply cut up with a good pair of scissors, take care with the initial cutting but once flattened out it is just like the normal craft metal) and then embossed it through my big shot with the wonderful cogs mask, then I sanded the surface a little so it would take a little distress ink. It is then just a matter of  matting on to some embossed and sanded card, simple and quick. For a great pop art look why not use the printed side of the can, it looks fab!
But you can always take things a little further, on this frame here I die cut the can with my sizzix dies and then coloured the can with alcohol markers (I have to say the walnut spectrum noir is a great rust colour!) the more you dab the pen on the more texture and alcohol ink effect you get. The ink stays sticky for a few minutes which allows you time to sprinkle on a bit of clear ultra thick embossing powder and heat set it, I even dipped these into Mica Flakes to give them more details, or alternatively you can sprinkle salt on while the embossing powder is still melted and it adds great texture.
I love this kind of crafting, found art I think is the correct name but in the words of my Dad "I could always make something from nothing!" So if you can't find the right embellishment make your own!
Happy crafting

Ali xxx

Sunday, 8 April 2012

I don't have Skeletons in the Closet....

But I do have skeleton leaves. In fact I have hundreds of the things, but my quest to use up old crafting materials my have back fired a little! I love leaves on cards, I own many leaf die cutters, often buy paper leaves but sometimes I want something real on my cards, so I dug out my skeleton leaves. Now any one who has been crafting about 5 years probably like me has a good stash of these as they were popular, but they have faded in popularity in recent times (or so I had thought!)
But traditionally skeleton leaves are a little bland, odd colours and not quite what I wanted so I played with them and the only thing I can say is I pimped my skeleton leaves!
 I simply ink them with my versamark and then glaze them with ultra thick embossing powder. It is best to work on your non stick craft mat for this as the leaves are pourous so the embossing powder melts through and they can stick, so if you work on your craft mat you can simply peel them off when they are cool. Now the glazed alone looks lovely and does intensify the colour of them but you can go a little further and really make them something special, all you need to do is brush your choice of mica powder across the glazing (don't brush too hard as you don't want to brush off all the powder) Now the powder will not stay as it is, you will need to heat the surface again, this allows the mica powder to just sink below the surface and be captured in the clear embossing powder. This final touch give the leaves a beautiful lustre and a completly different look to the dated plain skeleton leaves that we all have hiding in the back of our crafting box! With a few of our crafting favourites you can breath new life into any of your old crafting stash, so give it a go.
Happy crafting


Sunday, 1 April 2012

What do you get if you mix Polyfilla.....

With PVA glue? Well amazing dimensional textural paste of course. I love to experiment and explore what you can create for crafting with any item I can lay my hands on!! So a box of polyfilla was not going to be safe was it? But I was concerned that mixing it normally would make it brittle and liable to crack (save that effect for another day!) so I decided to mix it with PVA glue instead, hoping that the flexiblity of the glue would work with the filler as well. I mixed it up and found that it appeared too dry at first but that it was just that the filler powder was clinging to the blob of glue, so just work it more and it will come together as s lovely paste. I worked with it plain but you can add colour at this stage if you wish. Now for the DIY stage, I simply laid a mask down on some lovely Graphic 45 paper and the only way to explain it is to say I grouted over the mask, then removed the mask and left it aside to dry. This only took an hour, and then I inked over the dry surface with distress ink, and brushed over with Mica and low and behold a beautiful steam punk, textured back ground was created. I then used it as a background for one of the stunning Pilkington Transport stamps and there you have it, simple but fun!!
So we are just about back on track after a mega busy couple of weeks, but the plans for the next few weeks are amazing. We have new products, new DVD's to film and soo much more, there really is no rest for the wicked (and I must have been soo naughty!!) Plus I have started to explore mixed media and have some amazing new things to try and can't wait, I just need to find some time, this sleep stuff is over rated isn't it?

Keep crafting

Ali xxx