Hello everyone. A little quickie post today. I made this small (10cm x 10cm) block canvas very quickly last weekend, when I was struggling to get my creative mojo to cooperate on some of my other pieces. I needed a distraction – so a wee little collage was done and dusted in record time. I can always rely on butterflies to inspire me (translation : save me when I can’t figure out what to do, or need to cover something up when I have made a boo-boo). Wings make everything better 🙂
This piece was just roughly torn pieces of text and patterned papers, a vintage image and some words cut out of book, outlined with a permanent pencil for a bit of definition. I added some wonky scalloping on the bottom and top too.
The world needs lots and lots of hope right now. It seems like it is all we have to hold on to some days, doesn’t it? And hold on we must. Otherwise we are lost. It does get rather hard to summon up even a tiny speck of hope though when you turn on the news or read the papers. Or watch reality TV. Ugh.
Nevertheless, I hope for great things. I wish them for you too 🙂
Confession : this collage did not have me thinking good thoughts at all. It had me swearing a lot and throwing things around. I must have repainted it a dozen times, recovered it in different papers, repainted it again, added washi tape, and generally worked on it for much longer than was necessary. I started off bravely, using bright colours and tones I would not normally go for. It messed with my head and I didn’t like the result at all. Hence all the repainting. Consequently, it is all a bit lumpy and out of whack. But it’s finished, at least. The lady on it looks like she is wishing it would all be over soon (as I was) and she is still a little bit bright and stark for my liking.
But my aim, these days, is to get over things and move on. Onwards and upwards!
I was glad to get this piece finished and off my desk.
Hope your mind is filled with good thoughts today 🙂
Hello everyone! I have been a little bit absent lately due to *cough, cough* a lurgy that left me feeling feeble and pathetic. I also hurt my back with all the coughing and so am walking around like a pale, decrepit, phlegmy old thing. I had time off work – my boss made me – and moped about the house, sleeping and complaining about life. My Mum has also been unwell (and also has some worrying back problems) and so I’ve been worrying about her as well. Lots happening – family dramas, work issues, health concerns – and all of it inevitably provokes the anxiety monster that resides in me. I want to poke it with a stick and make it go away but it laughs in my face and makes its presence known with various aches, pains and physical ailments. I even got pimples! I don’t get pimples!!! I am forty three years old, for crying out loud – I didn’t even have pimples when I was a teenager.
Anyway, what I am trying to say is that I haven’t had much time (or energy) to do any crafting. I’ve attempted a few things but mostly just moved stuff around, squinted a lot and sighed heavily at my lack of artistic ability. My craft room looks worse than normal – I have had to make a little path from the doorway to the desk so I don’t trip and break my neck, falling over the various boxes of papers and supplies. I could tidy up, yes, but that would take up precious squinting and sighing time.
In the midst of all this creative slumpery, I did manage to complete one little collage-canvas and it is OK. I will settle for ok at the moment. I don’t want to throw it out the window or set it on fire, so that’s a good sign. The little lady on it did give me some stress – I stupidly painted her with gouache paint, not realising you couldn’t put gel medium over that (without it smearing and making an unholy mess) – but I repainted her with the usual acrylics and, in the end, I quite like her and her simplicity. I tried not to muck about too much. I am still not very good at faces, but am trying to just DO them and not get bent out of shape if they are not perfect. Her lips are well wonky. Don’t look at them.
So, in essence, I tried to zen out and be “quiet and content” with this piece. The background actually looks like a single piece of text paper, but I actually collaged lots of torn pieces from different pages and then distressed / painted over it. That was the easy bit that required no swearing or nervous breakdowns (gouache – I am talking to you!).
Hope you are all well right now and having a happy week. Where is the year going?
I am a bit obsessed with notebooks. I have LOADS of them. If you ever need to get me a gift and are stuck for ideas, get me a notebook and I will be happy as Larry. Whoever Larry is…does anyone know?
I recently bought a lovely big notebook that would be just perfect for updating my *Book of Shadows, which had never been particularly well looked after or designed – it was just a bodgy little spiral-bound notepad that I had always meant to decorate / tizzy up but twenty years on had failed to do anything with – and really needed to be upgraded and given a bit more respect. So, this new notebook, with it’s large blank pages and hardcover, screamed out “Make me over!” I shall share my process with you now, dear readers, leaving out any details about how messy I got, and where I was finding black and copper paint, days later.
The first step is simple. You spread PVA glue all over the cover of your notebook, so that it is completely covered, and then lay tissue paper over the top of it, smoothing and rippling the paper as you go, to create a natural-looking surface. Be careful not to rip it as the tissue paper becomes quite fragile when wet. Do one cover at a time – ie do the front first, let that dry and then do the spine and back cover next. Fold any excess paper over to the inside – you will be covering that up later.
PVA glue takes a while to dry properly so go and do something else while you’re waiting. You can speed the process up by gently drying with a heat gun or hairdryer.
When all the sides are done, paint with your chosen background colour. I have used black acrylic paint, but it would look equally good with just about any dark-ish colour. Paint each side, including the spine, and allow to dry as before.
Using a sheet of paper, cut to size, cover the inside, back and front, making sure you cover up the excess tissue paper that was folded over. If you want to add some ribbon or binding to tie the book up with, now is the time to add it, before the paper is stuck down. Or, if you make a mistake like I did (and forget to add the ribbon), you can glue it on after the paper and use an extra square of paper to hide the ribbon. Hey, I am all about improvising! When it is all stuck down, paint over with your chosen colour. I used black again here, but you could use a contrasting colour if you like.
When everything is completely dry, you can start on the fun bit. Squeeze out some metallic acrylic paint (I used copper, but gold or silver etc would look great too) onto a palette or spare bit of cardboard. Don’t add water. Dip your finger lightly into the paint, dabbing off the excess (you only want a little bit of paint) and lightly wipe it over the covers of your book. This is like dry-brushing with a paint brush. You don’t want thick splodges of paint – just a light, barely-there contrast. It will highlight the textures and creases in the tissue paper and create a leathery/old look. Keep going until you are happy with the result – don’t forget to also do the spine.
Let this layer dry completely on all sides. Add an embellishment to the front cover if you wish, to add some interest. I used a copper, um, face-plate thingy (I have no idea what it is or where it came from) and, before sticking it down, created a little collage to fit underneath (flecked with a bit of copper paint), which was then sealed and enhanced with a layer of dimensional magic to give the effect of glass.
When the panel is slid open, the image is revealed. It looks all magical if you squint a bit and also don’t have very high standards or expectations ha ha.
An easy technique for updating a tired old notebook, that can also be used on metal, wood and other materials. It’s messy and fun and you basically get to finger-paint. And there are sadly few opportunities to do that these days.
Thank you for stopping by 🙂
PS I just want to say, I am not a witch, and do not mean to offend anyone who is.
I have “dabbled” in the Craft, as I think many women do at some stage in their life, but I certainly don’t claim to know all that I should know about it and would advise anyone who is thinking of casting a few random spells or hexing the neighbours to get some proper advice and guidance. Be careful of your intent and the energy you put out into the world, even if you are just “dabbling”.
My *Book of Shadows is my own personal book of “spells” (if you want to call them that), affirmations and wishes, important things I want to record and hold dear, and does not imply that I am in any way affiliated with any particular belief system, religion, or group.
Believe in magic, or don’t.
Each to his or her own. Blessed Be.
Sometimes I lose my words. Not just when I’m talking, but also when I am crafting and using actual words. Like, cut-out-of-books words, that I use for mixed-media projects. Teeny, tiny little scraps of paper with EXACTLY THE RIGHT WORDS ON THEM THAT SUDDENLY DISAPPEAR WHEN I COUGH OR SNEEZE OR START WHISTLING. Or, I cut them out and leave it on my desk where God only knows what could happen. Because once something ends up on my desk, it is lost in no man’s land, never to be found again (or, at least, not until I’ve given up and used a completely different word which changes the whole meaning of the piece).
So, my Mum, ever the organised and, let’s face it, more mature adult, suggested I make a little word book, with all those little-bitty scraps in them, all neatly set out and ready to use. Her idea is simple : stick the adhesive strip at the top of Post-It Notes onto a page in a photo album (the kind where you slip the photos in to little sleeves) and – voila! – you have created a perfect receptacle for your words, sentences and letters. You stick the adhesive strip (sticky side up) onto the pages with double sided tape and then just pop your words on top. They stay in place, the adhesive isn’t sticky enough to make the page get stuck inside the sleeve, and everything is hunky-dory, neat and tidy. Genius!
So, instead of losing those words, or having to hunt through piles of junk on your desk to find them, you have a perfectly organised little file, which saves you time and energy. So you can concentrate on finishing your crafty projects, word art, or collages, and feel good knowing you have created some order in your messy life. I don’t know about you, but I need all the order and calmness I can get right now.
Hope this has been helpful. You can thank my Mum 🙂
I have to be good today. I have to clean my house. I cannot sit in my pyjamas all day, drinking tea and making art. I can’t. I have to do laundry and wash the floors and find my bed under all the crap that is on top of it. I have to dust my shelves and do my dishes. I have to organise my wardrobes and attempt to make sense of my craft room.
I would rather be crafting, but today I have to be an adult. Which is boring and unfulfilling and doesn’t spark joy in me. But it will make me feel like less of a failure and perhaps enable me to get a fresh perspective on things. It is hard to be creative when your house looks like a tsunami has been through it and you’re embarrassed to have people over to visit. I don’t want to live that way.
So, no crafting for me this weekend, unless I get the cleaning out of the way early and can manage to fit in a few hours of happy creativity. I’m going to put the stereo on, get in the right frame of mind and clean. And tidy. And sort. And find my home again. My brain has been telling me I need to do that, and finally my heart has caught up and is in agreement. Begrudging agreement.
Here’s a little canvas I did a week or so ago. It will have to tide me over until I can make another. I was pretty pleased with it, to be honest. It came together really quickly and, although I hated it at first, it kinda grew on me. I’m hoping housework will do the same. It could happen, right?
Sometimes you work on a creative project that comes together like a dream. It all just WORKS. You are filled with inspiration and artistic amazingness. You are in awe of your own raw talent. Every brush stroke is a masterpiece, each element a triumph.*
Then other days you just screw everything up and make a million mistakes and can barely draw a stick figure, let alone create an artistic rendering of the human form.
Take this little lady, for instance. I have never sworn so much in all my life.**
Everything went wrong with this piece. First of all I did the design on the wrong side. That hole at the top? Shouldn’t be there. It should be on the side, so that when you thread ribbon or string or whatever it will hang from, the picture will be on the side facing out, instead of turned on its side. Duh.
Then, I stuffed up the face several times and had to keep painting over it. This meant that the paint underneath got lumpier and lumpier and, me being me, didn’t let it dry sufficiently before trying to repaint it so it ended up lifting off and making the lady look like she had some sort of pox.
Then I smudged her features (eyes etc) and had to repaint AGAIN. Then I tried doing blushed cheeks but made such a mess of it I had to stick a butterfly on her face to disguise what looked to be very bad acne. Whilst sticking the butterfly on, I tore it slightly in a couple of places, but had to still stick it down because it was the only little butterfly I had and part of it had already adhered.
THEN, I attempted to glue the text on. Positioned it perfectly. Then realised I’d put the words on in the wrong order. The original wording was “incredibly dear”, and I had glued “dear incredibly”. So, after having to scrape off what I could of the words, I had to find replacements, which took FOREVER. Eventually, I got the new phrase stuck on, in the right order and without too much fuss.
So, this little lady was a right madam and I was very glad to finish her. But I kinda liked her, in the end. So she was high-maintenance – who isn’t, sometimes? I’m really annoyed about the hole at the top being in the wrong place but can’t do much about it now! Each project is a learning process and that includes all the mistakes. I’m also learning (the hard way) to be more patient and not be in such a rush to get things finished, because that’s when I do silly things that end up costing me lots of time.
Hope you experience success in all your endeavours today – thanks for dropping by 🙂
* Granted, this doesn’t happen very often. Not to me, anyway.
** Probably not true. I am a bit of a potty mouth.