Monday 31 December 2012

In the deep midwinter at Happy Daze

Wow - I've just scraped in by the skin of my teeth for this months challenge over on Happy Daze

Had a very busy month with hospital appointments for dear Mr Lottie - so not much time to get to grips with December's theme - but I've done it!!!!!

I absolutely adore Jo Capper Sandon's stamps for Stampotique don't you?

This 'tiny owl' stamp sits on my shelf right in front of me above my computer.

 He always looks decidedly 'grumpy' to me in a cute way - and why shouldn't he,  he has been rather neglected of late.

I stamped him into polymer clay, and once baked, I painted him with water colours and tried to make the shape look like a thick slice of wood.

(You can buy Jo's Stampotique range of joyous stamps from Happy Daze of course!)
 Then on the reverse, I stamped him onto the baked clay, and then give little owl something to look grumpy about in the deep midwinter
 He looks especially cold in 'real life' as the snowy branch he is destined to sit on in cold days has a thick layer of snow, and both sides of the pendant have been preserved with Renaiisance Wax which give a really cold glistening shine to the  deep midwinter owl, but a lovely warm shiny glow to the autumn owl.

I am looking forward to see what the Happy Daze designers have in store for the January challenge.

Last night if December tonight  so I'll take this opportunity to wish you all a very healthy, and happy new year.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

What to do with a bit of wire and an hour of time


Mr Lottie can't go out on his own at the moment, so I went with him to another bowls match last night - in the freezing fog, through dark twisty country lanes.  Last week I took a thick book to read - but this week I took a book - plus 'emergency distractions'.  It's just as well I did.  Watching men playing bowls is just marginally more interesting than watching paint dry! 

I tried imaging them as the  Chippendales but it was just too difficult with men aged from their 70's to 80's - even though my dear husband did look rather similar to the chap on the far right of the photo on the link when he was in his prime!

The book I dashed to the village library to get yesterday afternoon wasn't much of a distraction either - especially as the chaps did like to stop and have a natter inbetween bowling - must be a bit boring even for them?  Or maybe it was because I was the only woman there. One cheeky old man even asked me if I was reading "50 Shades of Grey"  - I told him to wash his mouth with soap - and that was I reading a murder mystery!

Luckily I took a box with some jewellery tools, wire, and beads to have a go at making a bird's nest.

It takes 5 feet of wire for each nest, and three beads, and a lot of patience!

 Each nest is slightly smaller than the tiny English one penny!
They took an hour each to make.  The one is this photo is five to six times the size of the actual nest I made!
 I didn't have egg shaped beads only these tiny little pearls.  

I am not sure if I like the woven loop on this one - I might chop it off - I'll wait and see what it looks like on a chain or ribbon first.  You wouldn't believe that the background is a white sheet of paper would you - goodness knows why it turns blue when photographed

Mr L says that they don't look like birds eggs because they are shiny and need painting - he's not quite got the concept of imagination and jewellery.

Oh, I nearly forgot - I am sure that you are all on the edge of your seats to know how the bowls match went.
Hmm.  I wasn't the most favourite 'lady' as my mobile phone rang during the matches.  It never rings as it's only for emergency.  It's very very loud as I have a hearing loss and it's made especially for that.

40 grey heads swivelled towards me as I rummaged in my bag, grabbed my phone and dashed out!  It was my eldest son phoning as he'd been phoning home and there wasn't any answer and he was worried about MrL as one of us is always at home.  Bless him.  I did make him giggle when he asked why I was whispering and told him where I was and what happened!  

Mr L's team wasn't faring very well, the other team had some lucky breaks apparently so there were crossed arms and glum faces as he bowled the last wood (He's the Skip). to my end of the green.

And he worked a miracle - he whacked the others woods out of the way and got 5 points which won the game.  I forgot where I was, and did an involuntary impersonations of Andy Murray's mum at the Olympics.  I shook both clenched fists, jumped out of my seat, punched the air and shouted "Yessssss - Atta boy "  'That's my man!!!" And jumped up and down!!!   

I think that the man who asked me if I was reading "50 Shades of Grey" might have thought that I had been after all.  I got a few frowns and a lot of smiles and the very reserved players were rather shocked that the sedate game of bowls had an excited cheer leader at the end.   After the shaking of hands all round - there were big smiles from the winners, and Mr L - who's a bit deaf bless him - said, "Did you say anything when I bowled the winning shot?"   "Just a bit"  I replied - and told him on the way home of that and all the converastions  the old boys had had with me whilst waiting their turns to bowl.  From the techicalities of the match, to wives hobbies, crochet, childrens and grandchildrens hobbies and careers, the phone interluide, and my rather  over exuberant  out pouring of joy of my conquering hero.  His next match, God willing, is at the end of January, and they'll all have forgetten me by then!

I'll not posting until after the weekend - hope you all have a good one

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Fiddling around

Well I braved the freezing weather, and crunched through an inch of hailstones that had settled like snow on the paths - which still hasn't thawed out all day - and made it to the end of rhe garden to clean and tidy up my craft table in the studio after yesterday's play with my visitor.

I forgot to take photos of the lovely Japanese style tiles she made from polymer clay which she finished off by painting and experimenting with rub and buff - in gold and silver - which was a big hit!

Whilst clearing up I came across a few things I made some weeks ago - from scrap clay - just playing really, without any preconceived intention of creating anything.

 I made three tiny bird houses - I had to take these photos through my magnifer!
 I painted two of them today and varnished them.
 And turned them into little charms for a necklace or bracelet.
 It's such a dark day again today, that even under the magnifier light the photos are rubbish
 As I have mentioned before  - my creations are pure therapy so if anything turns out useable it's a bonus - but mostly it doesn't - it the relaxation of just messing around and day-dreaming - whilst looking out onto the garden and watching the birds and chickens playing around!
 These birds haven't been sanded or anything yet and I am not even sure that I'll ever use them.
They are the size of my thumbnail and I couldn't really see what I was doing when I made them, they are so tiny.  I might sand and paint this one - they've both got holes in through their backs to their tummies so will take a pin to make a bead.  If you could see how tiny the scrap of brown clay was you would have laughed!

Sunday 9 December 2012

Chilling out with polymer clay in cold weather

Another freezing and windy day - so  late afternoon,  I took myself off to the end of my garden for another relaxing play.
I have been clearing out my craft shed/studio and filled up boxes and boxes and bags and bags of arty crafty things, and toys and clothes (now that I have lost  a stone and a half in wieight - pause for applause LOL.)
And whilst clearing out shelves of books - I dare not say how many - I got distracted whilst deciding whether or not to send my hard back book of English Birds to Dr Barnardo's charity shop.

This is the result - both birds are exactly the same size even though the Bull Finch might look bigger!
 A male Red Backed Shrike - only a little bit of his back is red -the rest is coloured as above.  They are found in Norfolk, where I live.  I was rather pleased with his shiny eye and beak which I glossed before matt sealing the rest of his head and neck.
And this is a male Bull Finch I managed to get his colouring 'spot on' after several layers of painting and shading. He too is seen in many british gardens, especially if you put out nut feeders.  Again he has the most wonderful glossy eye which really looks like he's looking at you - and a great shiny beak.  Sadly the females of the bird species are remarkably dull - the opposite in the human species of course.

I can't decide whether to mount each one on a circle of polymer clay to turn them into pendants - or to make and paint a collection of them to mount and frame.

Saturday 8 December 2012

Creating Calm

There is quite a bit going on here at the momemt - and my head is spinning with all sorts of things, so I thought I would 'calm my mind' by going to the end of my garden (it's freezing cold) into my studio shed, whack up the heaters and try to 'get lost'.in play.

These are by no means works of art of any worth - but playing with polymer clay I find very  theraputic.  There is something about it that distracts me - the working of it with my hands, the soothing feel of it squishing it into a mould - a bit like dough, or real clay.
This is a Sculpy moulded face from a set I have, and 'she' has been squished about a bit,  stamped on with rubber leaf stamps to make impressions around her face.  Not sure how successful it's been - it looks like she is giving me the 'evil' eye - but that is the result of too much paint pooling under it!  The white dot is a pool of dried varnishing fluid - a hole for hanging her on something - but I might add a gem and use her flat. 
This is the result of another 'lost in play' piece.  I might just trim off all the surrounding clay just leaving the silver ingot in the middle.
Here is how he looks under a light bulb - very shiny - which I achieved by using rub on silver, then added a coat of wax.  The wax does give it a 'dulled down' kind of shine and adds more depth to it which I quite like.

It's a one off so I can't make another.  

I just might cut away the backing and add him to a thick piece of polymer clay and bake him again - then I can add a chunky bale at the back to turn him into a necklace.

Or I might not!

Thursday 6 December 2012

Pink Poppy Pendant

Today I finally managed to make the time to turn the lovely ceramic poppy in the previous post, into a pendant.
 It was so easy to create.  I just glued a silver bale onto the back.
Added some recycled vintage beads, and a leather thong and silver clasp.

It has such a vintage feel to it - and is the same colour of a Papaver Poppy  which I grew in my garden
this year - and the colour works perfectly with almost anything I wear.

Thank you so much Kay for the ceramic poppy - I'll treasure it!


Friday 30 November 2012

Button Floozies

 I recently joined in a 'button' swap on UK Stampers Forum

The above were made by Kay of Toddles & Binks. which are made from ceramic clay
 She also made these poppies
 Aren't they amazing?  As they are large I am turning them into pendants.
 This one is big too - so that's destined to be another pendant.
It is made by  Christine from polymer clay as are all the rest
 I adore these dinkie little flower buttons by Sam - I think they might work on a bracelet.
And look at all these  from Lynn (I love the stamped and metallic look and Pat - aren't they lovely!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

More present ideas from Happy Daze

Have you seen these fabulous aprons on the Happy Daze website?

 I was looking for some ideas for birthday and Christmas presents and found this apron.
Just the thing for an adult - male or female - who's into crafting or baking etc.  I bought one and was absolutely amazed at the super quality - really thick and strong and very well made.
Apologies for having to photograph this on a blanket but it was the best way to get a photo.

Looking down on it, I thought how nice it would be to decorate it in some way and turn it into an original!   I hunted through my old books and came across a large paper back which I have  had for over 40 years.  It's a book on how to paint Chinese Style, and has some wonderful step by step images in it.  "Ping" a lightbulb moment - instead of painting on the apron I decided to do an image transfer.  Image transfer papers are easy to find on the web.  You need one for transferring an image onto material that you can wash.

 I chose this example of one of the paintings - printed it onto the A4 transfer paper, then trimmed out the parts I wanted.
 You print on the plain side of the paper (obviously) then choose where on the apron you want the image and then iron on the hot setting for a short time  (you will get the exact timing instructions with the paper) over the back of it.  In this case just a minute, then peel off the backing paper.  (I have peeled back a corner to show you.)
 I chose to have the image across the pocket - so the little bird in peeking into it.
 The apron is just brilliant -  there are no chunky seams where the apron strings are attached - just one long strip that is threaded through either side and right around the neck - so you can adjust the length to fit every height!
Sorry about the model, she hung the apron loose so that you can see what it looks like on!

The texture of the image is smooth feeling, like those you get on tee shirts - so you get a perfect reproduction of the image you choose.

Think of all the possibilities.  You could personalise it, by stamping on the image transfer paper directly, or why not scan some of your artwork you've made and print it out on the paper, or even a favourite photo.

Go on  - give it a try and create a totally original gift for someone special.

Thank  you so very much for visiting and commenting on my 'efforts' for this months' theme.
I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the challenge.

I have been looking at your blogs seeing your brilliant 'Brighten up the month' entries, and apologise for not leaving comments as I would normally do - due to a family health emergency - but rest assured I'll keep visiting.

Good luck in the draw!

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Back to beads

It's been dull and wet and cold for a couple of days, so I had a go at doing some beading.
 The hearts are really beautiful amber glass.
 With whirls of shades of green and orange and gold
 Some of which are reflected in the shades of green glass beads each side.
It's such a dark day that I just can't get any decent photos.
Never mind.

Today I made  a pair of earrings and a bracelet to make a complete set.

They do look nice on, and will go with any outfit.

Tomorrow I have  booked myself a 'wiring' lesson for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

I'll be back to show you the results.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Sneak preview of my last project for Happy Daze

My last project for Happy Daze Guest Designer of the month slot

Another very easy present idea  - no glue, no paint, no mess!
It is so easy to do - and you can't fail to produce a very very professional result!

I hope that you'll pop over on Wednesday 21st November to have a look.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Brighten up the month with Verday for Happy Daze

Going with this month's Happy Daze theme of 'Brighten up the month', I decided to do it with Verday paints and Patina which you can buy here.

I have Paula Whittaker to thank for the inspiration which I took from a card I received from her which is featured in the frame.  It is Roman inspired.  Unfortunately I couldn't get a frame to fit the   6"x6" card which was a bit wider - but I could fit most of it in this frame.  I loved her vintage colouring and tried to replicate it.

I made my own mould of Roman relics from polymer clay which you can buy here.  I don't think air dry polymer clay will work for this - purely for the durability you need for this project.
As you can see (I hope) this is a fragment showing a Roman ladies head.

After baking the moulded fragments, they had a coat of Verday paint (I'll just show you one)
 I painted one coat of Verday paint on the outer fragment
 Then the next day I painted another and whilst wet added the Verday patina coat to the outside.
Then painted the roman head.

I left the heads to dry for a couple of days, then buffed them up, glueing them to the frame once I had finished it.

A plain wooden picture frame was first painted with texture paint.  When dry I painted a layer of pale blues.  The darker blues are Verday paint that has had the patina treatment, and of course the metallic colours not only mirror those of the 'metal fragments' but also the colour of Paula's framed card.

Sorry for the differences in the lighting and colours - it's my photography.  I bought a photo tent to try and get a better picture - the bottom image - but it really didn't work as it bleached out the colours somewhat.  The true colours are those of the other photos.

I hope that I have inspired you to have a go with the magical Verday paints - they are great fun and you can let your imagination run riot and create truly one off original works of art.

Sunday 11 November 2012

A sneak peek of what's coming on Happy Daze

I thought I would give you a sneaky peek on what I have created for the Happy Daze blog for Wednesday 14th on my guest designer spot!
I hope that you will pay a visit to see the whole project.
I'd really appreciate it.
Thank  you.

Thursday 8 November 2012

Just a box......

I have been getting back into the crafting mode lately - spurred on by the need to make some things for this month's challenge on Happy Daze.

After another rummage around in long forgotten stash under my desk, I discovered a box.
It's about 6"x 6" and it had a sale sticker on it - so it must have been a bargain as I wouldn't have normally bought it.  But it obviously has come in handy as I thought it might!

It is really strong and sturdy and seamless, making it easy to work with.

I painted it with blue metallic acrylic paint - just a cheap tube from a supermarket - and just had enough left to cover the complete box, as it's my grandson's favourite colour!

It took two coats to cover it but I felt that it needed a bit of oomph so I found some silver rub and buff which hasn't seen daylight for years, and did just that - put some on my finger and rubbed, then buffed it.   Silly me didn't take photos of the sides, but as they looked plain, I used silver paint to stamp a swirl on each side and rub and buffed silver on all the corners and edges.

The image is one from a Crafty Individuals book - again something I have had for years, and it was the perfect fit for the aperture in the lid.  I sandwiched the glossy image between transparent plastic sheets cut to size - just to finish it off.

What do you think - would it be good enough to use to put some goodies in for a birthday present?

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Paint Brush Bucket for Happy Daze

I am this months guest 'Designer' for Happy Daze
I know what you are thinking, and I thought that too when they asked me.
But it's great to be invited to create three items to brighten up the month - and it just proves that someone like me, who can't make a card for toffee, and who is definitely not a designer in any way can be picked.  They really do look at your blogs when you join in the challenges.

 I have been 'rummaging around' the Happy Daze shop looking for something different for Christmas presents, and I was not disappointed.
I've found something that will be great for children and adults.
It's lined with plastic so it can hold water,  
It packs flat so it's cheap to post!
It's  brilliant - so much so you'll want to buy one for yourself too!
It's a collapsable Paint Brush Bucket!
I've found different uses for mine - but first I decided to personalise it.
I stamped on two of the sides using brown acrylic paint.
 I've never tried doing that before so I was a bit apprehensive - but it was easy.
I spread brown paint on a washable flat surface, then just gently tapped the stamps on it, checking that the stamps have an even covering.  If you put too much paint on your stamp on your first attempt, don't be tempted to use it - just wipe the stamp clean, and try again; if it is too thick and gloopy you won't get a clear image, and clean your stamp/s as soon as you have stamped  your images as paint dries quickly and  you might not get it properly clean if you leave it.
 Leave the bag to dry properly, then colour you image in. 
 I have multi uses for mine.  As you can see, its holds lots of paintbrushes.  I have a number of very tall ones too, so decided to make the most of the bag by storing everything in one place.
This is one of those big chilli con carne tins which I have covered.
 I was looking through my old ATC collection for inspiration, and realised that those little works of art hardly ever see daylight!
 So I scanned some into the computer and printed them off and used them to decorate the tin, which fits nicely into the middle of the Paint Brush Bucket
 This is great as it holds my watercolour pencils too! All neat and in one place.  I'll be getting another for my colouring pencils, Promarker pens, and water colour crayons.
When I am ready to paint I just lift out the pot of paintbrushes, and pop in a lidded jam jar full of water or a big yoghurt pot!  There are so many other uses: for all my polymer clay tools - they'll be near to hand and tidy on my desk ready to use,  instead of hidden away in a drawer, ditto my jewellery making tools, colouring pencils etc

More ideas...... decorate one very girly with pretty stamped images, add embellishments, flowers etc. and do the same for a boy with another colour.  Add a name tag too to presonalise it.  If you don't have time to personalise one - just buy some for presents.  They are so cool and great for arty crafty friends and children
Am I allowed to say how much they are?
£3.80  I'm not being a 'cheapskate' but they do make really lovely presents - for adults and children alike!  What a bargain!

Yes, with Happy Daze, you sure can brighten up the month, and make birthday and Christmas presents at the same time!

Go on, give it a go, and do send me a link as I would love to see what you create.

And thanks so much for looking - and if I can do something anyone can - so all my three 'makes' are easy peasy.