Tuesday 28 April 2009

Stop me if I'm boring you, but...

If you're getting tired of hearing me drone on about how much I love colour I suggest you find something else to do for the next few minutes while I drone on about how much I love colour, which will probably include a sentence or two about me and colour and how much I love it. OK then, if you're still with me, here I go ...

I've spent the last few days decorating a canvas for my wall and on Saturday I opened up my box of paints and found this:
It's the spatula I use to scrape and drag paint around and it still bears the colours of the last canvas I worked on. [Not sure what it says about my crafting vs domestic priorities, but James said that this one is in a better state than the one in the cutlery drawer!]

Call me [senti]mental, but I couldn't bear the thought of covering over this little random, work of serendipitous art without first grabbing the camera and capturing its technicolour loveliness.

I then went on to thoroughly abuse it, drowning it in an ocean of PVA, crackle varnish and cerulean blue acrylic and I didn't exactly leave the activity unblemished myself. For instance, I stood in a blob of PVA which I rubbed into my sock so as not to have to stop mid-creative-flow and I'm still trying to coax a streak of clear silicon from the left-click on my laptop key-pad! In fact, even after my last dangerous venture into colloquial terms [remember the dick-dicks debacle in my previous post?], I will take the risk and describe the whole activity as being an entirely 'clarty' one.

I haven't included any photos of my clarty adventure here as I think I'll post them sometime on the new blog I'm setting up with Kirsty Neale ... I'll let you know the when and where of it all very soon-ish. :)

Sooner than that though, is this:

It's the second colour guide from Kevin McCloud and it's out on Friday May 1st and I'm just about to pre-order it for £6.99 on Amazon.

Excited? Me? Just a tad. You might remember me extolling the virtues of his first colour guide in my 'Colour Collecting' blog post last month when I had no idea he was bringing out another one. I practically laid an egg when I found out! What? Don't look at me like that! There's worse things to be addicted to than men who know a lot about colour palettes! Speaking of colour palettes .... I saw these Bobbi Brown eyeshadows in a magazine on Saturday.

I don't imagine I'd actually wear all those colours, well, not all in one go at least, but it is quite spectacular don't you think?

Last but not least in my colour-indulgence-update is the latest Gauche Alchemy post . It not only features the April/May full size kit: 'Happy Housewives' [a retro wonder of new papers and vintage elements] but Amy's included lots of photos of their new mini, colour-themed ephemera kits. Quite apart from being yummy packets of colour-matched crafting confectionary - they're amazingly mini in price at $4.00 or at today's exchange rate, a rather tiddly £2.75!!

So, I hope there's something in all this which may tempt you into having a glorious colour-filled day. My advice? Go heavy on the paint, the book and the kits ... but retain a lighter touch on the eyeshadow front. I mean, it's all very lovely an' all, but you don't want to look like you've been punched in the face by an angry rainbow do you??


Wednesday 22 April 2009

Let's agree to just call them 'birds' shall we?

A few weeks ago I bought this pack of iron-on transfers from Forty Four, one of my favourite shops in Lincoln. There are 30 sheets in the booklet, each one filled with designs, by the artist Mike Perry. They include things like alphabets; houses; pencils; thumb tacks; gems; trees; abstract [weird!] doodles; patterns and even a tank! After much [much] deliberation I decided to make a little scene featuring the cute patterned birds and a few of the many speech bubbles included in the pack.
Once I was happy with the arrangement of the pieces I did the scary bit: the ironing-on bit. I'll admit that my technique was a bit erratic and I the final result was a little imperfect here and there where I moved the iron and the design moved too! But I like it ... what do you reckon? Now you've seen it, allow me to get something off my chest regarding the positioning of the little birds ...

... the positioning of the little birds over particular parts of my anatomy was entirely unintentional and yet, with hindsight it has been noted as somewhat appropriate . However, to save you the effort, all the jokes and comparisons with my aformentioned body parts and any small birds whose names begin with 't' and rhyme with 'bits' have already been made ... mainly by me! You can rest your grubby mind for the time being!

Anyway ...here are some close-ups - of the birds!!! [Although if you are of a nervous disposition - yes, that means you Jo - be warned that they are also close-ups of my chests too!]

The t-shirt was a £3:00 bargain so I didn't mind experimenting with it. I cut around around the neck, sleeves and bottom edge, trimming away a strip of fabric to get that nice rolled effect that that raw-edged jersey has. I then hand-stitched some lengths of it back on using gold thread, [which always makes me think of the tale of Rumpelstiltskin!] to give the birdies something to sit on while they have a natter. I was going to stitch words on to their speech bubbles only I couldn't think of what gingham and polka dot birds would be discussing!Considering that the whole pack of tranfers was only £6.95 and I've barely used 2 sheets I'm really pleased that I could create a unique item for less than £10:00 and still have 28 sheets left to play with. As if I ever needed an excuse to buy any more t-shirts I've been wandering round the shops fro a fortnight assessing new ones for their iron-on worthiness and am now even considering titivating some light coloured underwear with the odd transfer here and there!

Sorry, have I brought the tone down again? Yes? OK, then I might as well tell you this ...

While talking about my t-shirt to James I referred to the little feathered folk on it as 'my dick-dicks', to which he replied 'Your what?'. But 'dick-dicks' is a term for 'birds' [like 'dickie birds'??] which I remember my grandmothers and great aunts using when I was little. I've even heard it used since, mainly by Gail, who runs the crop I attend, who is often producing incredible craft items featuring one of her favourite subjects : birds. In fact, they even feature in her cover project on the latest Craft Stamper magazine here, although, I note, that they've called them 'birdies' ... not 'dick-dicks'.

And, perhaps it's safer that way.

Because, when I wanted to double check that other people did indeed use the colloquial term 'dick-dicks' for our winged friends , I did what I always do when I want a quick answer to a specific question ... I Googled it. Yep. I. Googled. The. Term. 'Dick-Dicks'!!!!

And, one day very soon I'll recover from what that search returned to me. Any day now ...

Saturday 18 April 2009

Mission Creep: scrapper-style

The general definition of 'mission creep':

1. mis·sion creep
noun: a tendency of military operations in foreign countries to increase gradually in scope and demand further commitment of personnel and resources as the situation develops.

My definition of 'mission creep' as it is currently effecting my household:

2. mis·sion creep
noun: a tendency of crafting operations at home to increase gradually in scope and demand further commitment of personnel, resources, shelving, cupboards, baskets, wall space and all available surfaces as the hobby develops.

Tell me you know what I mean. And tell me now ... before I start feeling guilty.

The thing is, the more time I spend scrapping; the greater the need to store my raw materials and the fruits of my papery labours in some sort of organised manner. Until quite recently I'd succeeded in keeping all my scrapping paraphenalia within one cupboard and one set of boxes in our craft room and then ...

... then we bought a chest of drawers merely to sit a printer on and yet, just as water finds its own level, very soon my expanding collection of stamps, inks and adhesives flowed into it, filling the top drawer. Drawers two and three swiftly followed suit, housing my collections of: brads; eyelets; gems; decorative sticky tapes; Dymo tapes; camera equipment; photo-papers and bars of dark chocolate. You know ... just the essentials.

And then? Then I became seduced into the dark art of the mini-book and had a growing brood of them plus a new CJ to share and I began thinking it would be nice to have somewhere to store them all. By which I mean somewhere other than in a box in my cupboard ... by which I mean somewhere where someone other than me would know they existed. By which I mean: somewhere I could show them off to anyone in the vicinity whether they wanted to see them ...or not! I'd seen how people like Ali Edwards stored all theirs in beautiful boxes and baskets and how visitors could leaf through them at their leisure ...and I wanted me some of that action.

Before I came to this conclusion, if you'd stood on our landing, this would have been your vista:
[From top to bottom] A photograph of a typical sky on the North Yorkshire Moors; a hammered-iron keep [from the Harding House gallery ]which we mounted onto clear acrylic; a photograph of a tatooed arm by Matt Schwartz [from his etsy shop] and a convex mirror.

Each piece you see was either a gift to James or something he bought for himself. Each piece something clean, graphic and bold in style. Each piece now finding itself sharing this once entirely masculine stretch of wall with this:

A pink glass vase. Pink albums. Pink magazine storage [magazines which may, or may not, feature my work ;)]. Pink ribbons dangling from shiny, twinkly, pretty mini-books [the total of which has grown even since this photo was taken]. Then, opposite hangs this:
And, while it may house some black and white elements, it does also bear evidence of the hand of a crafter who likes using pink.

If all this roseate girliness has come as something of a shock to the chic, monochromatic objets d'art which were there originally [or even to James, for that matter] ... imagine how I felt when I realised that despite all my self-delusions to the contrary ... it appears I am indeed one of those Barbie-lovin-little-girls who grew into a woman-who-never-really-grew-out-of liking pink.

So, there's no point in resisting it much longer ...I'm just going to say it ... you heard it here first: My name's Julie and I like pink. OK? In fact while I may have been a grubby, clambering girl-child at times I did have a 'Pink & Pretty' Barbie when I was little and, what's more goddammit, ... I loved her!

[Not so much that I'd actually kept my original Pink & Pretty, no, I found this photo online ... I don't like pink that much!].

So my friends, beware of 'mission creep' in you own home or you too may end up with a revelation about your personality displayed for all to see at the top of your stairs.

It's like the crafting equivalent of a Freudian slip and it will reveal your deepest, 'pink'est, secrets without you having any control over it.

In my defence ... I do seem to remember my friend Lori once saying to me that "technically it doesn't really count as pink if its kitsch" so, until I come to terms fully with the exposure of this long-supressed personality trait ... for the time being I'm going to refer to everything I do as kitsch ... and there's nothing you can do to stop me!

Wednesday 8 April 2009

Red and yellow and pink and green ...

... purple and orange and blue. [Join in ... you know you want to] - I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too.

Forgive me for bragging but, not only can I sing a rainbow; I can daydream; doodle; scrap; wear; covet and [perhaps my favourite] arrange a rainbow. Hence No.7 in my '25 Things About Me' series of pages:
And I'm not alone.
The lovely Gauche Alchemy ladies are putting together some new kits which, according to Amy are full of of "found objects and tiny doo-dads", and are going to be offered in bundles of colour-themed glory. Like this:


To feast your eyes on the full technicolour details see Amy's full blog post.

Enjoy your Thursday - my 'To Do' today includes 'take photos of weird layout', 'eat the homemade soup you didn't have yesterday because you bought a steak pie instead' and 'for goodness sake get that article finished' .. so I'll best be getting on with it ...


Thursday 2 April 2009

Glamour girls and alchemy herein.

If the thought of 'Glamour girls and alchemy' made you want to take a closer look at this post ... and you've now paused to read this ... and you now realise that the kits which I design with over at Gauche Alchemy -the 'Acme Kits' - are now on sale at etsy .... and you pop over there and have a peek ... and you then decide that they are so amazingly cool and filled with unending crafting potential that you've recognised an 'Acme Kit'-shaped hole in your life which can only be filled by one thing ... which results in you treating yourself to one ....

... then I guess I might be in the running for 'DT Member of the Month' over at Gauche Alchemy ... if there was such a thing... which there isn't. [I could always make myself a badge with it on I suppose].

Until then, I'll satisfy myself with showing you a page I made using my latest Acme kit:
Everything above came from an Acme kit. Well, that is everything apart from:
  • the handmade-paper stars;
  • the golden glass dew drops from 3DJean;
  • the 'It's all about Circles' stamps from Banana Frog;
  • and the photograph of Jo. It would have been both vastly weird and a huge coincidence if the Gauche girls had, by chance, sent me a photograph of my own sister! ;)

Whether or not you buy an Acme kit - enjoy your day - it's absolutely beautiful here today. It's bright and spring-like and warm. Warm enough for me to even take my coat off on the way home ... and me + no coat = it must be warm.

Julie :)