Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Make Your Own Faux Washi Tape!

Morning all and welcome to Tuesday!!

I have been playing around with some effects on tape to create a homemade faux washi tape and it occurred to me that I may not be the only person interested in it!

But why on earth would you bother??? Well, for one, you can customise it to any project. When you buy a roll of real washi tape, you may only need a little bit and then the roll goes in the box (with the other 47) and you wait for the day when you might need it again.

Secondly, we are not going to use inks! No really. This technique uses acrylic paint. The reason for this is that not only are the colours endless and endlessly mixable to create new ones but they are inexpensive, last forever (practically), they come in different effects - think metallics and you can also layer up light over dark. Today's project looks at white over the colours. Bliss! We will turn to the wonderful DecoArt range for today and you will see what I mean by easy and beautiful!

Take a look...

Very easy to do too and here's how....
First, gather your supplies. You will need some tape. I chose some really cheap masking tape from a discount store. Have a look around for this tape in other places too and see if you can find it in different widths. I am using a reasonably regular one. You can cut it too.
Next, grab some acrylic paints. I am using the following colours by DecoArt Americana:
Lamp Black
Cool White
Blue Harbour
Mint Julep

Now look in your stamp stash for some small scale stamps to suit the mood that you are in. Small scale is necessary because if they are too big, you will not be able to see what they are when you use them. I chose flowers, little birds, flourishes, borders and butterflies.

Finally, you need some tools - something to put water in, a paper plate as a palette, a sea sponge, #12 flat brush, nappy (wet) wipes and one of those tricky non-stick sheets.

So, here we go! Firstly, lay the tape onto the non-stick sheet.

Then put the Mint Julep paint onto the paper plate and wet the sponge. wring all of the water out and sponge the green onto the tape at random.

Wash the sponge and repeat with the Harbour Blue.

Go over again a couple of times with each colour to make the effect more subtle.

When you have the background in place, dry it and get busy with the stamps! Firstly though, prepare yourself a little 'ink pad' from the black paint. Do this directly onto the non-stick sheet and spread the paint out with the #12 flat brush. You will need to work quickly because acrylic paint dries very fast - this is both a good and a bad thing!

Simply press your chosen stamp into the paint and stamp as you would normally. You will need to wipe the paint off and refresh it occasionally. Use a wet wipe for this.

As you can see, I have made some stamps off the side of the tape and some straight, angled and so on. Now put some white paint onto the sheet and stamp right over the top....

This adds dimension, depth and interest to the piece. It looks a bit of a mess at this point but hang in there! Oh, and a word of warning, wash your stamps in cold water IMMEDIATELY as the paint will dry and ruin them!

Finally, take the tape away and wipe the sheet.  They look neater now!

Store them on a non-stick surface like a bottle. Or make them as you need them for a project. This will open up a whole new world of possibility, you will look at your stamps differently too!

Happy stamping and thanks for stopping by!

Love Debs

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Yay! The New Book is Live!

Hi all - Exciting day! Finally my latest book is available from Amazon Kindle today.

Whew - let me back up a little here! Have a look at the cover first of all....

Thia book is all about how to turn your favourite craft - whatever that might be into a rewarding and paying business.

When I lived in Australia, I taught craft from my home for around 12 years and I found it a wonderful experience. I met new friends through it, learned a lot about myself and made money. When my husband's job started to look a bit less than healthy, I supported us too. Teaching gave us security in more ways than one.

And now it is your turn! I have put everything that I have learned into this book so that you can benefit too. I take the reader through everything that you need to know to set up your space, advertise, attract students, deal with the practical issues and problems which arise when you invite strangers into your space, planning a curriculum and, above all, the Debbie von Grabler-Crozier method of teaching.

Visit Amazon and have a look inside - my style of writing is plain English, straightforward and I tell it exactly as I found it from experience. You will have the benefit of all the things that I learned the hard way.

I do hope that you like it and that you can get some benefit from it as I did - craft is undergoing a wonderful surge in popularity at the moment - teaching it to others can be the beginning of the rest of your life!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Stamping and Book Pages

Hello all and welcome once again to by blog.

I was wandering through my library not so long ago and I came across an old French dictionary which I never use - I hasten to add here  that this book is too old to be useful in the normal sense but it is not so old as to be valuable and do make that distinction when you are searching for a book to use in craft projects. If it is a first edition, make sure that it isn't worth more than the house!

I am loving stamping and colouring the images with Tim Holtz Distress markers at the moment and I thought that I would show you a few examples.

These are so easy to do as well, simply choose a book which is slightly older - one with a bit of age and the older style papers look lovely and mellow and they are useful for so many crafts.

Tear out the page and get stamping! I chose a couple of birds for this first one and a branch from a completely different stamp set. Think of your stamps as individuals rather than a set which comes together. as individuals you can break them up and use them anywhere. I have had a few which were, strictly speaking, joined together. They looked better when cut up and I have used them constantly since.

The images are all stamped with Ranger Archival Ink in black. This is a more serious type of ink and it is permanent. This is good in this setting because it means that the ink will not smudge and it will not come off onto the markers.

I have used the Distress Markers here to colour and shade the images  and then make a shadow effect around the bird too. To achieve this, make a line with the thick (brush) end and immediately smudge it out with your finger. You have to work like lightening because it dries really quickly but the results are worth it.

Here are some ladybugs made the same way....

I have been a little creative with the colours too. One is traditional red but I have gone for a green and a blue one to see what they would look like.

When you are using this technique, choose three values of each colour marker. A colour value means the lightness or darkness of the colour. It doesn't matter which colours are used, go through your stash and use what you have. The main thing is to use the colours and then to remember the rule of thirds.

The rule of thirds means that the first layer of colour is to be 3/3 - total coverage. The next layer is 2/3 - some of layer one showing through and the last layer is 1/3 - highlighting. Imagine if you coloured something completely each time. No point to that!

With most paints, you can leave the highlighting layer to the last one - think acrylics. With Distress Markers however, because they are transparent, you will do it all in reverse, like water colour. Layer one is the lightest shade (3/3), layer two is the medium (2/3) and layer three (1/3) is the darkest one and is used the least.

Have a look at what I mean with the little girl in the rain above. You can see on the jacket how the shading effect works out. Once it is learned and practised, it will work out every time. Bliss!

Finally for this series are the butterflies to show you another application of the technique. Have a go and see what you can come up with. Then use these images in your cards and layouts. They are money in the bank for Mixed Media projects too.

Thanks for stopping by and happy crafting
love Debs

Monday, 13 January 2014

Cupids For Valentine's Day

Well hey there again!

I know that I am a little early for Valentine's Day but trust me, it is looming and I thought that I would create some different ideas for you to use on cards and papercraft layouts.

Enter three different cupids - actually it is the one cupid three ways but I reckon that you have that one sorted out....

The first one has been painted and stamped.

The second one is burnished with glod and polished. I added a paper flower and a drape for modesty.

The third one is my favourite - bronze with patina.

Lovely. But how is it done? Well firstly, begin with the Tim Holtz Alterations die, Cupid, Arrow and Hearts and your Big Shot die cutter. then you will need some chipboard. Cut out a cupid and an arrow. You will need this first step for any of the three.

Chipboard is just that little bit more substantial  than paper and it paints up really well. If you haven't got access to this equipment have a look on eBay - I have lit on the mad idea to sell these cutouts in a pack of three. I will post a link when I get sorted out.

Okay, Let's begin with the stamped one. You will neeed DecoArt acrylic paint in Light Mocha and a #12 flat brush. You will also need Dew Drop ink in Espresso Truffle. Finally, grab a stamp which grabs you (interesting mental image there) and some black ink. I have used Ranger Archival in Jet Black.

Basecoat the cupid with the paint and allow it to dry. Ink the edges with Espresso Truffle. It should look something like this....

You will notice that the inking is not perfect. It isn't supposed to be. Now ink with your chosen stamp. I have used a sheet music one abut I am not utterly convinced that it is a good idea. The horizontal lines are a little too pronounced. A more subtle choice may have been better.

When you ink with the black ink, it makes a really nice bright and crisp image. Soften it a little to make it look older by sanding it VERY CAREFULLY. Remember that you are working with card. Repeat all of these steps on the arrow if you haven't done that already and then glue the arrow into place.

Cupid number two is the one with the fabric wrap. Go with the DecoArt paint - Light Mocha again and allow to dry. now use another great decoArt product, Metallic Lustre in Iced Espresso. This is a grand product which brushes on, dries and then you can polish it to a lustre with a soft cloth. I used a Kleenex! The paint washes up in water too.

I wrapped a small scrap of tulle around this cupid in the style of any of the old masters. You can stop there or add a bow, some ribbon and a flower. The pearl in the centre finishes it off nicely. I used my hot glue gun for all of this. Quick and professional looking.

Here he is again.

Right, this next one is my favourite at the moment. I am loving bronze with a patina of age.

This one is the most work but it is still really easy and you can make this even if you have never even SEEN a paint brush. You do need to be able to spread butter onto bread though - you will see what I mean in a mo.

Firstly, what will we need? DecoArt products are Paintable Stucco, Acrylic Paints in Soft Black and Colonial Green, Dazzling Metallics (Glorious Gold) and (Worn Penny) and Metallic Lustre in Copper Kettle. Add a #12 flat brush and a #12 blender mop too. You will need your hot glue gun and a small palette knife too.

Glue the arrow on first this time and begin painting  by spreading the Paintable Stucco onto the card like spreading butter onto bread. Use the palette knife and make it rough.

Allow to dry and basecoat all over with the Soft Black paint using the #12 flat brush. Mix Worn Penny and Glorious Gold together (1:1) and paint this all over next.

Now take  the blender mop brush and paint in a stippling motion (bouncing up and down) - the brush, not you.....with Colonial Green. Allow some of the metallic layer to show through.

Finally, and with a very dry brush, burnish with Copper Kettle very sparingly and mainly over the high ridges of texture. Now you can see why you needed to roughen up this surface a bit. The good news is, if you hate what you are doing, basecoat over it and start again - usually from the first metallic layer. The burnishing and patina needs a little more practice but it is still easy. have a go and surprise yourself!

When the Metallic Lustre is dry, polish it with a soft cloth and you will see a beautiful glow.

You can use these little guys on cards and scrapbook layouts or anything else which takes your fancy. Consider wedding things and papier mache gift boxes. And you can use them either way around if you want the classically symmetrical look.

Have fun and let me know how you do!

Thanks for stopping by
Love and hugs

Friday, 10 January 2014

Daisy, Daisy

Well morning all!

Here I am AGAIN! Two days in a row! I am actually loving this now - those of you who have been with me from the beginning may remember that I said once (or twice) that I am not good at keeping up with things. Well I am a new woman! So many ideas and I am delighted with the responses that I have been getting.

There are a lot of blogs floating around of varying quality and style and whenI started this one I made a decision to not post so many projects...there are a fair few of those already. No, my decision was to post techniques so that crafters could learn and add to their already considerable know how. That way, people can take what I have to give and use it anywhere at all.

Flowers are the thing of the moment and today I thought that I would show you how to make a classic English Daisy from paper. Here is the sort of thing that I mean......

Readers in the UK will be very familiar with these sweet little lawn dwellers and they make a cottage a cottage. Readers elsewhere though may not be so familiar with them. Their botanical name is Bellis Perennis and they are really good fillers for cards and scrapbooking and all sorts of other  paper projects.

I am not going to go into detail about the leaves, they are just cut from green paper and inked with Ranger Distress in in Mowed Lawn. Look out for a 2013 post about colouring leaves to go with the ribbon roses and you will see what I mean. Choose a longer, lobular leaf to make the flowers look realistic.

Before we begin, you will see a mystery ingredient in the needs list. It is a very fine flocking powder as used by nail artists. I got it easily and cheaply on eBay after experimenting a lot looking for the perfect and most realistic flower centre for daisies! Who knew!

Right. Firstly you will need a 'daisy kit'.

This consists of the things that you see in the photo; Ranger Distress ink in Victorian Velvet, an ink applicator tool, a daisy punch in at least one size and some bright yellow flocking powder. Any white paper of half decent quality will make the flowers themselves. A hot glue gun and the ubiquitous ball tool completes the needs list. Begin by cutting out daisies. As a rule (and you know how I feel about layering) you will need three layers of petals per flower.

Now ink up the applicator tool and softly ink the edges of the petals only.

Even better is a detailed close up...

I think that you can see the idea from this. Now take the hot glue gun and glue three layers together. And alternate the petals as you do so that they look fuller.

In the last two posts, I recommended a ball tool (a bit like an overgrown stylus) and it is used again here for shaping the daisies.

What we have to do now is to make the centres. Open the flock jar in preparation. you do have to work quite quickly once the glue goes on. Basically, what you are trying to achieve is a dab of hot glue and then dip it straight into the flocking powder while it is still wet. The powder will quite magically round off the glue and the centre looks really realistic!
Bend the daisy back over the ball tool like this...

This ensures that you can dip with precision! Now place a small dob of hot glue right into the centre and then go straight into the flocking powder which obligingly comes in a wide mouthed container.
When the daisy centre is dry, ruffle the petals up to give them dimension.

I have another side shot to show you more. See how good those centres look!

Regular readers will know that I don't go in much for flat flowers. I like the dimensional, 'meatier' kind. You can curl the petals around a needle if you want curl or else just use them as they are there. Let's have a look at the finished article again.

This is from a mixed media canvas and the daisies really made the project. Make  heaps and store them for projects, they are like money in the bank and they are also one of the flowers that we can put onto a man's project. They are not aggressively feminine and made in a few sizes, they are super useful.

Well thanks for stopping by and have fun making daisies! See you next time....

More Flowers For Your Garden!

Morning dear friends!

I had a really big response to the last post of paper flowers - I would like to thank everyone who supported me and I am so happy that my fellow crafters found something that was inspiring and useful. With this in mind, I have made some more flowers and I have taken some more photos aso that you can see the versatility.

My favourite thing from which to make paper flowers is mulberry paper. It has great structure and texture to boot and it comes in a lovely variety of muted shades, really nice for any sort of paper craft.

However, it is not mandatory. I have made some flowers in this grouping from other things including normal scrapbooking paper and pages from an old french dictionary for variety! There is a purple textured one made from a really fibrous paper too which was interesting. That one is on the left.

Take a look....

The one from the scrapbooking paper is the blue and white gingham one. It holds its shape really well. Here is a closer picture.

And another...

The one made from dictionary pages is the printed one (and take a look at the baby one in the middle). That's a dictionary one too.

Old books have a lovely antiquely muted look about them. They are never gaudy and they have a history of their own. They smell like old books which is even better!

By the way, you can make your flowers smell like flowers with some essential oil. Make roses and pit a tiny drop of rose essential oil on to satisfy all of your senses! Make sure that it doesn't creep and stain the paper though. Stick it right on the back.

All you really need to have to make lovely flowers is a wonderful collection of dies and punches in various shapes and sizes. Keep an eye out for them in sales (Sizzix has one on right now) and gradually build a selection which inspires you. Keep paper scraps then and use the scraps which fit each die or punch and layer them up. You need at least three layers of thicker paper and with the dictionary page, tissue or crepe which is thinner, you will need about ten to twelve. My dictionary page flower has twelve layers!

Before I go for now, here is a photo of Sally (not the best shot in the world) but she is sitting at the top of the stairs waiting. Can any animal in the world look as disgruntled as a cocker spaniel? She doesn't really do waiting but I had to go down stairs where the light was better for the photography. Talk about bossy!

And I thought human colleagues could be a bit of a trial!

Well thank you so much for stopping by and I feel a little more creativity so stand by for another blog today!

Love Debs

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Have Scraps? Make Flowers!

Hi all and a very Happy New Year to you!

Well it is the time of year (for me at least) where I look at my significant stash and wonder how to make sense of it all - actually I am a neat freak and I need order. So this time, I spent some time in the plastic box named paper scraps. Yes, plastic box and, yes, labelled.

Flowers are one of the most useful and popular elements for any sort of papercraft project and they are really easy to make.

But you will need a few basic things. Firstly, some sort of die cutter really cuts down time as well as paper....oh dear, let me continue. I love my Big Shot from Sizzix and the dies are great too. Tim Holtz's Tattered Florals die is always pressed into service but I have collected a huge range (as you do) of other dies and punches too. Find the ones that you like and build a collection which works for you.

Next, you need a ball tool. This is an oversized stylus with two different shaped balls, one at each end and it is a tool beloved of suger crafters and polymer clay artists. It is also great for shaping paper flowers.

A hot glue gun is the next must have. My Dremel has made the job of making flowers a breeze. Get plenty of glue sticks in too. Running out is awful!

Finally, save your paper bits. There is no such thing as waste in a proper craft room. Increasingly smaller pieces of paper or fabric can be used for all sorts of things. Buy yourself a plastic box.....

Okay, how do we make flowers? The first thing is to cut out the shapes in whatever colours you have and whichever shapes take your fancy.

Now glue them together in various ways. Please note that although single coloured flowers are needed in many cases, it is quite alright to create your own colours and textures. Look at what is left over and try stuff. If it doesn't work, try other stuff.

Although a flat layer of progressively smaller flower shapes will look a bit like a flower, it is actually boring. Have a look and see what I mean.....

Flat and boring. This is where the shaping tool comes into its own. Place the flower in the palm of your hand and push the ball tool into the middle. Scrunch the petals around the tool and crease the petals up a bit.
Now look at the difference!

Seee what I mean? Here is another from a slightly different angle....

Now good results are obtained by shaping the whole flower at the one time but even better is to scrunch a petal layer at a time. And try this too - wet the petals with a fine water mister, scrunch them and leave to dry. Now open  them out again and you will have some really great textures. One caveat however, please remember that you are dealing with paper here and it is very fragile, especially when wet so treat it gently.

Go mad! Make fantasy flowers - they are not meant to be immediately recognisable by a botanist. They are flowers and they are all beautiful. Take a look at my garden.

As you see, variety is beautiful and these are like money in the bank when you are crafting. Remember to make different sizes too and try out some buds here and there. Put them in their own plastic box....labelled paper flowers and use them with impunity when crafting - they sell on eBay too.

Well happy crafting and thank you for stopping by.