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28 November 2015

A sticky variation...

.... but in a good way.

Its my turn over on the PA blog this evening you can go HERE to read it.

I wanted to talk about the above panel.. and the perils of using book text.. I used one of the stickers - painted the flowers and added text.. I painted the text in Dusty Teal to tie in with the Gelli® printed pattern on the background.
When I was finished I covered the back panel of the frame in book text (a 1950/60s book) and attached the sticker.  I smudged around the edge to help it pop off the surface slightly.
I also added a kraft die cut flower and gem to add a bit of sparkle.

This is how I planned for the finished piece to look - without the strip of painted masking tape...

It was all assembled, attached, embellished and ready to be 'admired'... and then I had a final quick read/scan of the text to make sure there was nothing inappropriate before I uploaded it to the blog/web.... and there RIGHT UNDER THE PANEL - was a reeeeeally unacceptable word (imho)!
It  was an 'o m g I'm so glad I spotted that!!' moment. (and don't look for it - I've smudged it out! lol on each photo!)

I looked at it and thought I've invested too much time in the project to just throw it away, so looked around for a rescue.... the masking tape!!  What a happy accident - the tape that was printed/painted as part of the gelli printing process was the perfect addition to hide the word - and of course it matched!
Taaaadaaaa & phew!

So my live and learn lesson from this is:   always remember to have a quick read/scan of a book page before you use it... this is something I always suggest to people in my classes when we're using old books (which, hands up, I totally forgot to do!) - what might've been and an acceptable phrase/term 50/60/70 years ago might not be acceptable now.

It all turned out well in the end.. I hope this has inspired you to gelli print, stamp, paint and use book pages - but always check your book text first!


13 November 2015

ALBOTAT: A little festive something.....

.... to brighten your day!

This has to be the BEST christmas advert in the UK so far this year - its going to take some beating!..
Its adorable, schmaltzy, & funny in just the right amounts!


Though I may be biaised because I have a chubby tabby similar to the one in the film lol

(not sponsored by Sainsburys (unfortunately), other supermarkets are available! lol)

5 November 2015

Tusen takk Haugesund, Norway..

... I had an even more enjoyable time in Haugesund at Scrap4Fun...

I've been talking to Jorunn Elin, one of the organisers of the crop, on email for awhile and so it was nice to meet her again at the airport and travel with her to the hotel and crop.

The weekend long crop is held in a sports hall and the whole event has a really nice relaxed comfortable feel to it.  There is a kitchen in the building that people can use whenever they want - eating/drinking as a group or on their own.
The classroom doubled as a bedroom for people who wanted to stay overnight.. it really did have a nice welcoming atmosphere.

Everyone takes their shoes off at the door to keep the floor of the hall clean..

and wears indoor shoes, socks, slippers:..  (a double whammy - keeps the hall clean and adds the relaxed atmosphere..)

Inside the hall there are two shops, & everyone has their own table where they sit and craft all weekend - I thought with 50+ women in a room crafting the noise would be BIG but no, everyone was too busy crafting to be noisy - just a gentle sound of chatter.

What made me smile was the sheer amount of 'stuff' people brought with them - and the amount of Ikea trollies there were (seen above, in the centre of the photo) and one very organised person had a collapsible shelving unit!! They, like me, pack a lot of things 'just in case'.
I had packed my suitcase with all the products we needed for the workshops - can't tell you how relieved I was to open it after the two flights to find nothing had leaked or been broken! (thanks in part to lots of bubblewrap and clingfilm).

I taught two workshops - thankfully everyone spoke English for which I was very grateful and relieved! lol

Here is the first group busy at work on their 'mushroom panels'..

... and here with the finished work..

And here some of the second group painting, stenciling and stamping their 'monogram box' canvasses..

and again with their finished work..

 The classes took place on Halloween which Jorunn Elin and Berit embraced fully lol..

The language barrier was not a problem - the only confusion came because the Norwegian word for brush is pensel.... lol

Thank you to everyone who came to my classes: it was lovely to meet you and spend creative time with you; and to the organisers - especially Jorunn Elin and Berit who looked after me (and Matt) so well and made us feel so welcome...
It was a pleasure, thank you for inviting me... and I hope you all enjoy working/playing/creating with the JOFY stamps.

So while I was working Berit's husband Alf took Matt on a site seeing ramble of Haugesund & up to the Lighthouse and surrounding rocks.. he really enjoyed.. & he saw more of Haugesund than I did! lol

.. and then it was over too soon - back to the UK.. taking longer than expected due to the fog that had settled over the UK airports on sunday... but that didn't spoil a lovely trip.

NB  Before the trip everyone we spoke to warned us that Norway "is expensive", and yes we found it to be a little pricey but not eye-wateringly so.. and it certainly hasn't put us off visiting again.

Tusen takk Oslo, Norway...

... last weekend was a lot of fun!

I was approached and invited to teach workshops at Scrap4Fun in Haugesund, Norway.. and so because M & I have never been to Norway we took the opportunity to combine it with a trip to Oslo...
We LOVED Norway!  Everyone is so friendly, it's beautiful, clean and quiet!.. oh, and almost everyone speaks English! - which is good for me because my Norwegian is very limited - but has grown by at least 2-3 words since my trip! :o)

So here are some highlights - its going to be a photo heavy post!

We spent the first 2 days in Oslo before moving onto Haugesund on Friday - two half days in the city (after and before flights) and so it was a taster visit of the city.

Our Oslo hotel was lovely - relaxed, welcoming and so comfortable. It was the first time we were introduced to the single-duvets-on-a-double-bed layout!!  well in my humble opinion that is a genius idea!:
* no more fighting for duvet
* you could have different weight duvets on each side of the bed to suit the sleepers
* easier to wash and iron!

Oslo seemed really quiet, busy but quiet - lots of electric cars which lessened the traffic noise, and the town has a tram system which lessens the amount of car traffic around the city.
On the first day, armed with our trusty map, we strolled around the redeveloped dock area of the city (taking it easy due to our VERY early start from Heathrow - 5am check in - OUCH)..

Dock buildings have been redeveloped into restaurants, shops and offices - as has happened in lots of cities - including London

The Norweigans are a hardy bunch - their idea of cold is different to the English idea of cold - here I am sitting OUTSIDE a restaurant in the Aker Brygge area of the city in just a cardigan - no coat!

OK, so I was only able to do so because there were heaters all around us (thats why I'm so red!) - but it was lovely to sit outside and have lunch.

I wish I'd been able to see this 'christmas tree' lit up - looks fab unlit so must've been sooo pretty lit - all those little 'spikes' are fairy lights :o)

EDIT at 14.30:  I just googled 'christmas tree oslo' to see if there was a photo of the above tree lit (or similar).... google never fails... here it is in all its festive fparkliness!  lovely

On the second day we walked up to the Royal Palace and down the main strip into the shopping area of the city..

I really liked this avenue of trees - evidence of the landscape history of the city - at one time there must have been a road or path there but now it just leads down to metal railings and the main road... look how perfectly straight they are!

You can walk right up to the Royal Palace (obviously there are a couple of guards to stop you getting in but you can get quite close - closer than you'd get to Buckingham Palace!).  It sits right on the top of the hill overlooking the city..

Down the hill past the University with a very nice paved forecourt... loving the circles..

In the main shopping area lots of department stores with lovely architecture.. (& lots of H&M shops! lol)

And this proud looking chap was in the middle of a square holding a flower market..

... where I saw these,  I LOVE ornamental cabbages - all those frilly layers of colour...

.. and all these interesting pumpkins!  (well it is the day before Halloween!)

Quick look at the Parliament...

... and then it was time to head to the airport for our flight to Haugesund...

I think thats enough for one blog post - the Haugesund leg of the trip will follow in the next blog post...

(one last thing - Panduro has shops in Norway - in the UK its only online so to look around a shop was a treat!!  (and it would've been rude not to!) (I'm easily pleased! lol)

23 October 2015

The freedom of going LARGE!!

Recently I had the urge to make something BIG!  Usually my projects using my stamps are quite small - and I always lean towards making small things (my C&G tutor would testify to that) but I just wanted - no, needed, to make something big.. or lets say bigger - going really LARGE is something I will have to build up to.

So I attacked the stash and pulled out some 6x6in patterned paper and cut 3 circles of different sizes - yes I cut them.. by hand.. with scissors.. not die cut.  You might wonder what the big deal is but for me if its a circle I like it to be accurate and round so normally I would die cut it  - but not this time!! This time I was liberating myself from neat and accurate - the piece would be 'better' if it things are not 'accurate'.. more organic...
I didn't have a plan - I was just going with the flow... making BIG JoFY flowers - they're my flowers so they can be any shape I choose - in the same way as if you were cutting out flowers/shapes they would be any shape you choose!

So three lovely circles, and 3 leaves later (I drew the leaves before I cut them out... I can only improvise so far! lol) I chose a board canvas to work on - 12 x 9 in - might not sound big to you but it is for me... all that white space.. but I embraced the space lol - painted it in shades of blue - Lake Wanaka, Inky pool and Blue Oyster.  Then I stuck on the 3 circles, shaded around the edges, drew stems, added the leaves.. a bit more shading and voila:

At this point (without any of the white pen work you can see) I liked it but kept thinking it was missing something - needed something 'more'.. but not too much.... (JoFY-ing it up as my OH calls it)... so I got busy with the white pen....

Now I love it - the simplicity, its joyful and the colours make me smile - luscious and ... well, juicy! ... especially the deep pink flower on left..

and now I want to go even bigger!!  which is good because I 'need' to make a firescreen for the new fireplace in lounge.. (40x90cm!)..... watch this space...


21 October 2015

Masterboard = Cards

I really enjoy using the 3x5in Gelli® plate - especially to make 'masterboards' such as the one I created here - there are lots of tutorials out on the web so go take a look at how to make one.  (Anneke de Clerck did a lovely vibrant project HERE on the PaperArtsy blog).

One of the best tips I've read/seen is to put the 3x5in Gelli® plate onto an acrylic block - it makes it easy to pick the plate up and take it to the journal/paper rather than bring the journal/paper to the plate (if you see what I mean)... much easier to get 'accurate' print placement.

This is the masterboard I made - I know Gelli printing is a process (building layers etc) but at this point I was not overly happy with it (did I carry on or stop and start afresh) - I knew as soon as I put the yellow on that it was wrong (I'm still not feeling/loving yellow!)... but I persevered.. sort of... 
I reached for the bubble wrap - large bubble version - brayered it with pale yellow/cream and printed all over the page.. here's the result:
(bubble wrap fixes everything!) The bubble wrap print has knocked back/obscures the original pattern and the yellow..but I still wasn't happy so, not to be beaten, I cut it up - thinking it might look better that way - in smaller pieces - it would break up the blocks of yellow even more and highlight the good bits of the masterboard...(accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative!!).. once it was cut into pieces - I loved it!!  All these interesting little panels...

 Here are the cards I made with them:

I love how they look like a group, but are all individual - that's whats interesting about masterboards.

Die cut flower, stamped scallop border (JOFY13), and drawn lines around the masterboard panel to frame. (the flower die cut is the one I used on the masterboard to create a resist - its the white flower on pink rectangle you can see on the left hand side of the sheet - perfect colour match!)
 Panel has been stitched on a Kraft card, yellow bakers twine wrapped around and a swing tag tied on (JOFY34), the sentiment is from JOFY14.
I really like these 10x15cm cards that open on the short edge rather than the usual long edge (hinge here is on the left hand side by the twine), the twigs are a die cut (memory box), and the panel has been sewn on to the card

I like the simplicity of this card, even with the coloured patterned panel it is still quite 'less is more'/ 'clean & simple'. (Flower stem is from JOFY38)

and then 'less is more' went out of the window!  Bring on the glitter!!  This card has been splashed with water and gold embossing powder... distressed & glitzy! love it!

Gelli prints, stamps, stenclils & masterboards - a whole lot of fun!


(Gelli® used with permission. Owned by Gelli Arts® LLC)

19 October 2015

ALBOTAT: Gelli prints meet doodles...

I have a backlog of little projects to share - little bits and pieces that I created over the summer when I was taking a break.. and here is the first:

These are basic prints I made with the Gelli® Plate, and when playing around with a Gelli® plate I end up with lots of prints (as I'm sure we all do) so I decided to doodle onto a few of them...

In the centre is the first print taken of a gelli plate with a stencil laid on (using pink & orange (fresco finish) paints). On the left is the 2nd print, and on the right is a print of the stencil itself... sometimes I find the second print more interesting as the paint is less solid so more texture is created.

The print below was created by pressing a stamp onto the Gelli® plate (thats how the white lines you can see were created) and doodling on top and around that print/ image when dry (the black lines).. I like the white & black lines - a shadow and/or a highlight??  Its similar to a screen print where the registration is a little 'off'.

(Gelli® used with permission. Owned by Gelli Arts® LLC)

ALBOTAT: Last minute decisions....

...are sometimes the best.... 

The National Theatre screened a live performance of Hamlet last week on Thursday night to thousands of cinemas across the country and around the world - no pressure on the cast & crew... eeek
I knew that the National Theatre has a program of streaming performances across the country/world and I was curious to see a performance shown in this way... and I liked the idea that across the country there were lots of people sitting down to watch this same live performance, sharing the experience.  (our cinema has 8 screens and 4 of them were showing Hamlet.)

The performance was Thursday evening and I booked the tickets on Thursday morning (the last minute decision of this post title), and I'm soooo glad I did

I've never seen, or studied, Hamlet (I have a basic knowledge of the plot).. It was a brilliant production - Benedict Cumberbatch was amazing in the lead role... the set design was clever, interesting and beautiful (and made me want to repaint our lounge wall dark blue).

It was interesting to watch- the production was soooooo slick that you forgot that you were watching a LIVE theatre performance - but I suppose that is the point.

(image: National Theatre)

If you have tickets to see it at the theatre you are in for a brilliant night - but if you can't get to a theatre (ticket are like gold dust) check cinema listings because this coming Thursday (22nd) lots of cinemas are showing it again ('Encore' NT Live)... I'm tempted to go again!


18 October 2015

Doodling inside the lines...

... My stamp designs lend themselves to all sort of treatments - watercolour, Copic/Promarkers, paint and paper piecing (naming just a few) but one day I wanted to play around with doodling into the designs - a sort of zentangle?? I stamped the same image/motif (from JOFY38) over and over & started doodling - I used the same design/motif because then I can compare the doodles not be swayed by different motifs.
Filling in the spaces with different pen marks or black&white print/pattern... this was a lot of fun and a good way or experimenting with ways of space filling & doodling.... who doesn't love a bit of doodling??
There's no wrong or right -its just pen on paper..

I encourage you to give it a go... pen on paper.... one doodle leads to another.. a little bit addictive.. :o (next step - colour!?!)