Sunday, 25 March 2012

Project 14: Newsprint silhouettes

I wanted to make something a bit bigger this weekend as I’ve been making a lot of cards recently and my blog challenge was to try a variety of things. I saw this canvas project on Pinterest and thought I could make that. So I did.

I decided to try one first and then if I liked the technique I would do a bigger canvas or possibly a series of 2 or 3 to hang in a row.

All the materials were in my kit already, I just needed a canvas. I went to Wilkinsons to get one and found this one in the children’s art section for £1, about 20% of the price of the same canvas in the “adult” art section. Maybe I’ll get another one and colour in the lines for next week’s challenge. Does that count?

I followed the instructions on the site, covering the canvas in newspaper and then printing out a bird to get the silhouette, drawing on some branches and colouring everything in with a sharpie.

If I had some advice for next time (because I liked it enough to do a bigger one/series next time) it would be these points:

  • Use a razor to cut out the bird – I started with scissors but it was a bit too delicate once covered in marker
  • Use real Sharpies – not fakes – as the print-out colours on the bird came through and I had to go over the silhouette a few times
  • Use spray mount on the newspaper and not glue or ModgePodge. I used spray mount and it made my life so much easier. I touched up the edges with normal craft glue but the spray mount was a joy.
  • Use a fun part of the newspaper - I dug around until I found photos and maps to make ita bit more interesting. I should have used a different focal point than the Chancellor's budget briefcase.
  • Clearly the quality of your printer doesn't matter as you just colour it all in black. Though I really should get a new printer cartridge.

I’ll let you know what silhouettes I go for next. I saw this similar project as well so I might try this one next…

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Project 14: Basic Nail Design

This week I took a break from cards and I suspect it will carry on into Saturday. It may be my first card-free week all year since taking on this challenge. I will be back on the case by Sunday, undoubtedly.

My friend Beth (of pink and yellow card fame) gave me some tools that help you do detailed nail designs with a bit more ease. I used to be really into nail art and do complicated patterns that involved not just a rainbow coming out of a cloud but a pot of gold under it. This was circa 1998 but I think the love of it is still in me.

It’s been a crazy busy week and so I thought I’d take it slow and do some basic patterns.

I started with a plain green and bright pink so it’d have a feel of spring.

Following this I tried a few simple designs, stripes, spots and tiny hearts. For some reason I didn’t really think it through and I saved the more complicated designs for my right hand which wasn’t clever. Never mind.

The successes were the spots and stripes; the zebra pattern was the fail. The star, leopard print, butterfly and flowers fall somewhere in the middle.

The successes were the spots and stripes; the zebra pattern was the fail. The star, leopard print, butterfly and flowers fall somewhere in the middle. Patterns are worth exploring further as I have a nail polish problem/addiction/situation that is getting out of hand. Think I could try something like this?

I promise to start a bigger project soon, possibly Sunday. Will keep you posted as I’ve got a couple of good ideas…

Monday, 12 March 2012

Project 13: More citrus bright cards

This has been a hugely crafty weekend. In addition to the splatter paining for my friend Emra, I made a huge batch of macaroons, marble-painted my nails and made about 10 cards. It was insanely creative and I could live off these posts for at least a few weeks except
  • a) That would be cheating as this is meant to be a weekly blog with weekly crafts
  • b) I didn’t take photos of the marble nail treatment so I have no “how-to” and that’s sort of the whole point as the technique is trippy and weird (and seriously not worth the time as it’s a pain in the rear)
  • c) We ate all the macaroons (also see point b because I didn’t think to document the process)
  • d) I made some cards so I’ll just post those instead
So I made another “citrus” set of bright cards for the collection. Lots of personalized versions this week, which made things a bit more special as the layouts are all very simple (see points above for my excuses - I was getting my craft on to get bogged down with fancy layouts).
First up is Beth’s birthday card which had two requirements: pink (check) and butterflies (check). Sparkles/bling for extra points. She later showed me her sparkly pink butterfly phone cover. I know my friends.
Then a mother’s day card for my mother-in-law as its English mother’s day on Sunday. Her name is Joy so the greeting is a bit obvious but these are very “her” colours and a nice bold pattern makes this feel modern and retro at the same time.
New neighbours moved in upstairs so I welcomed them with a card and a small batch of macaroons. They haven’t been home all weekend so if they aren’t back by Tuesday, I’m keeping both.
Finally this one really breaks the series but I needed a get-well-soon card for a colleague and thought the bright colours might seem a bit too OTT and chipper for someone just out of a 4-day stint in the hospital. This had the most interesting layout, using an embossing folder, butterfly punches (stolen from Claire), coloured tape, bling and foamy squares to lift the butterflies. Shame the flash glared out the folder a bit.
Then I finished with some general greetings for the box of good-to-go cards. No pictures, this post is already long and getting out of hand.
PS: In case you’re curious this is what marble-effect nails look like. Awesome, but I’m not doing this again as the effort outweighs the effect by a long shot.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Project 12: Splatter painting

My friend Emra had a difficult year last year and decided to move to Spain to be closer to her mom. This means I obviously don’t get to see her very often so a mutual friend and I decided we would send her a care package. It has all sorts of random stuff (chocolates that have cows on them, tshirts with random things on them, cotton buds, etc) and naturally we needed to have a card or two included.

Emra is really arty and I thought my cards might be a bit too cutesy for her so I decided to shake things up a bit and get out the paints. I had this idea to do part of her nickname in one colour and then do the rest of the background in another and let the paint be the interesting feature of the card rather than a complex layout.

This was my result:

I first cut out a stencil of the letters in cardboard, keeping the original cardboard intact so I had the cut-outs and a stencil to work with.

Next I filled in the letters by putting the stencil over the card and then splattering navy and green acrylic paint over the card. Cleverly I thought to put it in an old wash bucket before I did it.

Still covered me in paint though.

Then I let it dry for about 4 hours before removing the stencil, blocking out the painted letters with the original cardboard cut-outs and repeated the process to splatter paint the background light blue.

It was dead easy and I’m pleased with the result. Took ages to dry but the actual painting took less than 5 minutes each time. Something different from my usual cards!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Project 11: Make me a macaroon

My friend Palo sent me on a baking course to perfect the art of making macaroons. And when I say perfect the art I mean stop being intimidated by how complicated they seem and actually try making them.

At the cooking schoo I teamed up with the only other 3 girls/ladies that were there on their own. The rest of the class were couples, mother/daughter duos and small groups of friends. My table of 4 was clearly the best because we all genuinely wanted to be there, as opposed to the other tables where you could easily identify which half of the pair had signed them up for the course and which half was there out of obligation.

The actual macaroon making was surprisingly easy – even the piping wasn’t too bad and that was the task I had anticipated being the most daunting. We were responsible for the purplish pink variety while the other two tables produced pistachio green and neon yellow. Once again I think this gave us the advantage. My table 2, rest of class 0.

The shells were all the same almond flavour but the fillings included spiced white chocolate, lemon cream, peanut butter and jam (these were actually pb and jam sauces rather than raw pb and plain jam) and salted caramel. The last filling was mistakenly abandoned on my table at the end of the lesson so my new friends Clara, Christina, Pria and I accidentally misplaced it (in our stomachs), straight from the piping bag. Cool table 3, rest of class 0.

Here’s a close up of the results:

The chef said the size didn’t matter as long as they were consistent within themselves to pair them up – obviously Team Purple were the greedy guts and made the biggest sets (4 – 0) but they all came out pretty well. Here’s to Palo for making it happen!

PS - I bought my way out of the shop, purchasing what I was missing at home to reproduce these results. 4 pieces of kit later I can totally do this again. Except for the minor details such as measuring my own ingredients, cleaning up after myself and the pastry chef not being there to swoop in and rescue an overworked mixture I see no reason it can't be as easy as it was today...