Wednesday, 22 November 2017

WOYWW #442: WIPs, wooden houses and RoboFish

Having missed last week's WOYWW, I was adamant that I was going to take part this week, despite not having much to show for it. I've been flittering between projects, not really committing to any of them. This is what my desk looked like earlier today:

I've been working on the-flip side of my paper bag journal, making slow progress. There are also three altered clothes tags in the top left corner with an experimental crackle texture. In the top right corner is a wooden box that had I painted and varnished and found that the varnish wasn't compatible with the paint and started to peel off. Not to worry - I'll cover the whole thing with book paper and start afresh. There also some TPRs (toilet paper rolls) waiting to be turned into a journal of sorts, and an empty paint can and a glass jar to be altered, amongst other things. So, I've been quite busy making plans without much actual action taking place. Have you ever felt though that sometimes just looking forward to doing things fills you with joy and excitement in anticipation - perhaps even more than actually doing them? That's exactly how I feel about my little projects in the pipeline.

Here are a few closer shots of things on my desk, keeping in mind that they are only work in progress and subject to change:

And just so I can put something aesthetically pleasing as the feature image of my blog post, let me show you these two little wooden constructions I bought at The Works over the weekend. I'm not sure if I will alter them in any way - they're painted white and look lovely just as they are. Perhaps it would have been better if they had come as a kit instead of ready painted and assembled, but I couldn't just leave them behind! 

Another thing I bought is this RoboFish for Oreo to play with. As you can see in the video below, he's more interested in lapping up the water than playing with his new toy! We had our two-year anniversary with Oreo yesterday - it was a big commitment for us to decide to adopt a cat back in 2015, but I can honestly say we never regretted it. He brings us so much fun and joy - along with the inevitable aggro, worry and expense - but considering everything it's all worth it in the end! I'm sure all you pet owners will agree!

Thanks for stopping by today - I'll be over visiting later! 
Happy WOYWW and Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends for tomorrow!

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

WOYWW #440: Journal from a paper bag

Good morning lovely crafty people around the world! Another Wednesday, another chance to snoop around each other's messy desks courtesy of WOYWW.

My first desk shot was taken on Friday night and the second on Sunday morning. I was very busy in-between working on a journal I made from a brown paper bag. This project was originally inspired by Renata Loree on Facebook. I have several of these paper bags saved, but never knew what to do with them - even though the idea is blindingly obvious: you just remove the handles and open up the seams to lay it flat, then gesso, paint and stencil both sides for a colourful background. There are different ways to fold this sheet into a journal. I chose to cut it along the length and made a simple accordion journal by sticking the two pieces together with masking tape.

Even though the paper bag was all scrunched up and wrinkly to start with, all those layers of paint made it lie flat and smooth in the end. Here's a photo of the painted background with the colours I used: yellow ochre, titanium buff, and quinacridone nickel azo gold. 

After folding my journal, I added different collage pieces: imagery from napkins and printouts, palette paper, stained doilies, drywall tape, printed tissue paper, raffle tickets, etc - whatever I could find in my scrap box and tied it all together with more paint. Each page is completed with some found poetry that I randomly cut out of a novel. It was just pure play - you can see that my pages became more colourful and varied towards the end as I left my inhibitions behind and decided that a journal doesn't necessarily need to be themed or follow a strict colour scheme.

Here are photos of all the pages and I also made a short video flip-through. Of course, there's also a flip-side to this journal, but that will be the subject of another post.

In other news: Oreo now goes out of the house for short periods, but he never stays out for longer than 10-15 minutes. We definitely don't have to worry about him running away now - he knows this is his new home and he's just exploring his new territories outside. He was out long enough this morning to catch a mouse! I made sure he didn't bring it in the house. I think a cat flap is out of the question - otherwise we would be inundated with unwanted presents!  Here he is showing that he's well and truly settled in his new surroundings. 

I hope I managed to get back to everyone who left comments last week. I didn't have a chance to visit until later in the week. Hopefully, I will be able to do my rounds on time today. 
Happy WOYWW! 

I'm also linking this post to the Mini Album Makers Challenge blog, which is a monthly event hosted by the one and only Autumn Clark. Check out the link above if you want to see some amazing handmade journals!  There's still time to take part in the November challenge

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

WOYWW #439: Mixed-Media House

Morning Deskers! It's not as chilly as it was on Monday - brrr, that really got me! It was the first touch of Winter without the heating on! It's nice and toasty inside the house now, but we don't know how much it will cost to keep the house warm - we've never had oil heating before. We'll have to keep an eye on the consumption and find a sweet spot where it's still comfortable and affordable. The 14C on Monday was NOT comfortable! I felt like a Michelin man wrapped in layers and layers of clothing - I could hardly move, LOL!

I'm sharing a shot of my desk for WOYWW again today. It was taken at the weekend as that's the only time I have for crafting these days. Do you recognise this packaging? It's a new product that my son loves as a snack. I was about to chuck the empty box in the recycling bin when I had this sudden realisation: it looks just like a house! So I abandoned my plans to make washi tapes and I made a mixed media house instead!

I started out by sealing the box with some masking tape and then applied a layer of gesso. I then stuck on some wooden window shapes. At this point, it looked something like this, already very much resembling a house:

In the following steps, I added a layer of burnt umber paint, followed by crackle glaze and another layer of gesso and waited for the crackles to appear. When it was dry, I coloured the walls and the roof with distress inks. I used Broken China for the walls and Rusty Hinge for the roof. Later, I repainted the roof with Quinacridone Gold fluid acrylics, as the distress ink went a bit pale over the gesso, which was fine for the walls but I wanted something more vivid for the roof.

As a final touch, I added a few bits of ribbon and some wooden numbers to jazz it all up a bit and voila - it was ready! Here's the final look:

It was Halloween last night and we carved this pumpkin - I was planning to make pumpkin soup from the flesh, but I don't think this pumpkin was meant to be eaten. The flesh looked very pale and unappetizing - perhaps another time. However, I did save the seeds and roasted them, so it didn't all go to waste.

Happy WOYWW! I'll be doing my rounds later today!

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

WOYWW #438: The Distant Hours

Hello Deskers all over the world! Are you ready for another round of WOYWW? Without further ado, I'll just jump right in and show you what my desk looked like earlier this week:

I was working on a tag/bookmark for my journal when I took this photo, right after I'd finished a new spread that you can see on the left hand side. I used some of the printouts I showed you last week. I borrowed the title from Kate Morton, whose novel I used for collage and poetic inspiration. Here's a closer look at the journal spread:

Along with the printouts, I also used a stained doily from a previous session and some home made washi tape, which will be the subject of a future post, perhaps next week. I do like to show off what I create from the bits and pieces that I experiment with, just to prove that they serve a higher purpose!

Onto the tag now: I adhered a piece of inky paper towel to watercolour paper as the background and again used one of the printouts from last week. A bit more paint and a couple of 3D butterfly stickers completed the look. Super quick and easy!

We had a special visitor on our grounds yesterday. Look at this guy casually walking across the field! I took this photo with a small camera from a distance and through glass, so it's not brilliant, but I'll be on the look-out for a repeat visit armed with my DSLR and a telephoto lens for a better shot! 

And just so Oreo doesn't feel upstaged by a fellow predator, here he is lazing in the sunshine on Sunday morning. What can I say, he's got a tough life! 

 Thanks for dropping by today - I'll be around to take a look at your creative desks soon!

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

WOYWW #437: Playing with my inkjet printer

Another Wednesday has come around at the speed of light, so here I am for yet another WOYWW post to show you my work desk. However, today I have a different desk to share. This is my computer desk in the small study downstairs, which also doubles up as our classroom where I homeschool my son for the time being, hence the map on the wall. Hubby has his own study upstairs, so this is mostly mine to use!

One thing I've been wanting for ages was an inkjet printer, but we didn't have any space for it in the old house because our fat-ass laser printer took up all the space. There are a lot of things you can do with a cheapo inkjet that you can't do with a laser printer and I was dying to get one. This one cost me the grand total of £29 from Tesco's and I paid for it with vouchers, so it was technically free. It's the Epson XP-245, bottom of the range model, cheapest you can get, but it does the job brilliantly. 

It's small, relatively quick and works pretty well - so far, anyway. It's also wireless, so I don't have a load of cables to contend with. Just perfect for my purposes! Here are a few things I managed to print on with the help of some freezer paper used as a carrier sheet. (note: the tissue paper didn't come off the freezer paper, so I had to tape it to a sheet of ordinary printer paper instead.)  Artwork by Leonardo da Vinci, who continues to amaze me with his genius! Just imagine what he would have achieved in today's technologically advanced world!

I also experimented with printing directly on different surfaces: textured handmade Khadi paper (light grey), book paper and paper tinted with distress oxides. I was even able to print on top of acrylic gelli prints, which would be impossible with a laser jet as the heat would melt the polymers in the paint. 

I'm so happy with my cheapo little printer and will continue to experiment with different surfaces. It's been a long time since I felt the buzz of excitement doing experiments, which got me into blogging in the first place! I know it's a cliche, but the possibilities are truly endless! Next, I will try to print on different types of tape, which again would be impossible with a laser jet. 

I also took a shot of my regular work desk earlier in the week, so I might as well show it to you. It just happens to feature Oreo, who was lounging in my scrap box. I even found him sleeping in there one morning. He's been a lot happier since we let him roam the house at night. 

Just one last shot and I promise I'll let you go! I took this of the sunset last night - I love those pink and purple tones and it wasn't even photoshopped - it came out of the camera like this.

Thanks for making a pit stop on my blog - I'll be visiting later today as right now I have to get back to my homeschooling duties. Happy WOYWW!