Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Let it Snow...


What's the weather like? I predicted a cold and snowy winter but didn't expect 4 inches of the white stuff! And it's started again...

I'm enjoying the company of my 14 year old son, that's when he can drag himself away from the Xbox. My older one is supposedly away at University but today he's sledging with his highly intellectual friends on a baking tray!!! Honestly, I am worried, he's studying Geo Politics - scary thought that one day he could have a job of real responsibility. My grandchildren are out building snowmen and snow angels while their parents freeze - it's amazing how you forget that youthful enthusiasm for snow as the years tick by. Meanwhile, my eldest sun is currently in Florida - he's in for such a shock when he gets home Friday, provided his flight can land!

My blog needed a few updates and in between I'm playing nicely in my workroom. Despite living in a relatively new house, my upstairs is considerably warmer than downstairs - my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

Today I have some exciting news to share. I've kept a lid on it for a couple of weeks now - since Stitches to be honest. I bumped into an old friend, Kay Halliwell-Sutton of Indigo Blu. I originally designed and demonstrated for Indigo Blu when they first started their business. Now I'm  a lady of leisure and feeling a little more stable health wise, she has asked me to join her design team. I'm rather excited at the prospect and look forward to the motivation to create on a regular basis and being part of a highly creative team.

In the past I have taught, professionally and also mixed media art as a hobby/ part-time business.  After suffering a major adrenal crisis (Addison's Disease) I had little choice but to finish work and so far it has taken four years to recover partially. Part of this adjustment has been struggling with loosing my sense of identity. I loved my job and the motivation it presented. So, designing may not sound like a big deal but it presents so much more to me. Thank you Kay and Alfie for this opportunity.

Right, I think I may go and turn the thermostat up a little higher as it's currently -4 outside and feeling a little nippy inside. Whatever you're doing, stay safe and warm.

Hugs, J xx

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

How to create...

Hello again

I recently created a small alternative Valentine's wooden plaque. As I mentioned, I'm not a fan of Valentine's day, I honestly feel that love and care should be shown everyday but I decided to do a little something for that particular day.

It wasn't a long process, the football was on so I had a couple of hours peace in which to create.

The base is a wooden icon, approximately 9.5cm squared and the stamp is 'Bubble Hearts' (JGCL549) by Woodware
  • Cover the front with old book paper, covered with a thin layer of white acrylic paint - wipe back with a baby wipe to reveal some of the text
  • Once dried,  randomly stamp a music script using black archival
  • Once again, using black archival, stamp the wing of a butterfly off to one side, apply the ink sparingly to the stamps to avoid the images being too dark
  • Once the ink is dry, apply a few coats of soya wax, fusing with a heat tool in between each coat
  • Using oil pastels or distress crayons, distress the edges, massaging the colour into the wax surface with your finger
  • Add a bold colour through a stencil to add a little interest. Knock back with a darker colour if you feel it is too bold
  • Using a heavy weight cardstock or greyboard, stamp your heart image using archival ink. Apply Versamark all over the surface and cover with Platinum UTEE. Heat with your heat tool, this first layer may look pitted but the levels will even out with further layers
  • Allow the UTEE to cool and reapply Versamark and the UTEE. Heat again, this layer should self level
  • Ink up you heart stamp with Black Archival before repeating the last step of Versamark and UTEE. Once this final layer is melted and still hot (take care as this layer will burn if it touches your skin) stamp the heart stamp into the melted UTEE. Allow to cool before removing the stamp
  • Once cooled you can decorate the heart with gems, pearls, glossy accents or glitter - the choice is yours. Stick to the wooden plaque using a strong glue
  • Take a small glass vial and add large flake vintage glitter before adding cork to seal
  • Print a few words to add to the front - I added 'Be Mine'
  • Stick the words to the front and wind a little wire around the bottle neck. Use Glossy Accents or Pinflair Glue to stick it to the front of your plaque
  • TO finish, use Alcohol Inks in Rust and Espresso to colour a small knob and a Tim Holtz Arrow Embellishment and stick in place using Glossy Accents

I'm sorry I don't have pictures to go along with this quick tutorial but I hope it all makes sense?

Enjoy the rest of your day, creative hugs xxx


Good morning everyone

I hope this post finds you all well and if you're here in the UK, wrapped up against the Arctic blast which we're experiencing? Here in Yorkshire, we keep experiencing heavy falls of snow, fortunately it isn't sticking around for very long as it melts before the next fall comes along.

It's been a busy few weeks here including my annual trip to Stitches Trade Show at Birmingham NEC. There were many lovely stands and everyone had worked so hard to bring us all new and exciting products to delight our creative senses. Needless to say, I've been itching to get back to my workroom and create!

The highlight of the trip was meeting a long time idol of mine - Kim Thittichai. If you're not familiar with Kim, she is an exceptional textile artist who has inspired many students over her exciting career. You can find her blog here - Kim's Hot Textile's - it's certainly worth a look if you're inspired by anything shiny, textured or textile and have an interest in burning and heating materials!!! We played  with heavy weight Lutrador and Xpandaprint. You can purchase all these materials and more, plus many inspirational, educational books from Art Van Go if you'd like to give them a try.

Basically, Lutrador is a synthetic fabric originally used as an interfacing. It comes in a variety of weights, the most popular being 30, 70 & 105 gsm. It is easily coloured with acrylic paints, dyes and inks but it will take a while to dry, blotting with kitchen towel will remove the colour and heat will create holes so bare this in mind. Furthermore, it can be stitched, stamped and embossed using puff paste to add extra texture and interest. Add heat with an iron, heat gun or soldering iron to create holes - basically experiment as the sky is the limit!

The samples above were started at the show, the blue nautilus shell sample was coloured using spray inks and beaded at home. It isn't finished yet but I'm toying with the idea of including this into a sampler? The cream, green panel hasn't been touched other than adding colour. I'm planning on creating a book cover with this piece eventually. Both panels are on the heavy weight Lutrador with Xpandaprint which will bubble and take on a life of it's own once heat is applied while the Lutrador takes on a lacy effect as the heat creates holes - all very exciting. I found spray inks worked better but watered down acrylics or dyes would work equally well. If you add paint too thickly prior to heating, the Lutrador will not react as well as the paint acts as a barrier to the fabric below. I can't stress enough how necessary experimentation is with these fabrics and techniques. So many variables are possible dependent on the thickness of paint, paste, where the heat gun is positioned and how intense the heat is.... why not give it a try for yourself?

Okidokee... I'm off to do a few chores before coming back as I've been asked if I could explain how the UTEE heart was created in my previous post.

Stay warm, Julie xx

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Creative hugs...

Hello my lovelies

It has been such a long time since I posted last, life and poor health have just got in the way somewhat! I’ve still been dabbling here and there, experimenting and planning a few workshop ideas for a special creative friend. More of that to follow shortly...

I hope you were all shown a little love yesterday? Personally, I feel commercialism has got in the way of it's true meaning. Sooo, we agreed not to bother and enjoyed a nice meal for three with a lovely bottle of red (for two)!

Here is a little something I created while the men in my life watched and yelled at yet more football! It didn’t take very long at all and is quite basic compared to my usual makes but I gave it in place of a valentines card.

To give myself a creative push, I would like to enter my ‘little bit of loving’ into the following challenges...

                 That's Crafty - 'I Heart You' Challenge

I’ve been working on more 'creative love' projects so I hope to get them completed shortly. However, Josef is on half-term and his room requires a little make-over so it will depend on time but I hope to be back soon.

Creative hugs to you all, Julie xx