Mixed-media paper crafter; stamper, freelance craft tutor, designer of PaperArtsy JOFY stamps

29 June 2016

All taped up....

This blog post is about the gum tape that didn't make it into the 'perfect travel art kit' that I shared with you a few posts ago (here) - I thought it was only fair to give it a moment in the spotlight (and to get the ideas out of my head at the same time!)

My plan was to decorate the tape - creating a type of washi tape, and use on projects - and here it is:

and here's how I created it, really simple.....

The tape (Gum Tape) is made of kraft paper with glue on the underside (similar to the glue on envelope flaps) that is activated with water...

I tore strips, licked the ends to moisten the glue and stuck them to my craft sheet.. if you don't want to lick the tape you can moisten with water and a paint brush.  I only attached the ends of the strips NOT the whole length.

I decorated the strips as a whole panel - creating a sort of masterboard.. I used only 3-4 colours and simple motifs... layer 1 was the biggest stamp motif - mesh (from JOFY36)

Next layer was stenciling... in the gorgeous Caribbean Sea Fresco Finish paint.. I chose opaque Fresco paints for this project to ensure that it popped against the kraft background.

 then lines of open spots...(JOFY36) in

 then the mini alphabet stamp set stamped in black Archival ink...

Circles in neon pink acrylic paint - love the pop of this colour!

Black sketched circles were added ... (JOFY36, again!... its a useful stamp set!)

I added details to the strips - white pen (seen here as the dots on blue circle), black rings drawn around other circles and the gold paint spotted inside the white circles...

I'd planned to use it to bind a book so I've created a mini tag book to share how to do that - VERY simple:

Lay 2 tags bottom edge to bottom edge (without the string and hole) tear a piece of tape, moisten and stick down where the tags meet.

and a length of tape was laid on the front and around to the back to bind the spine.

 Here is the finished book.. the front cover has been covered in book text, with the pages stamped (2nd generation) with basic motifs ready for journaling, or photos, or whatever takes my fancy! :o)

I decorated a few tags:
... and of course I could use the tape to seal a parcel, and add these tags - all very coordinated! (the 'fun times' tag is created with text from JOFY28)

This card is created with the tape and die cuts (dies from Simply Graphic, a french company that makes lovely modern, delicate dies).

 and tape like this is great for using on journal pages (this journal is small - A6)- the lovely bluetext in the background is a Donna Downey stencil 'Scribble Script' (available from PaperArtsy at shows)...

So that is what I might've created with the tape if I'd taken it on holiday with me ... another time... and I'm adding it to my 'perfect travel art kit'.
Its so easy to create bespoke tape to use on projects - the tape is inexpensive and available from most stationery retailers.  It will take paint and ink - but you obviously don't want to add too much water to the tape otherwise it will become stuck to the worktop!

I hope this has inspired you to look at humble 'gum tape' in a new way!....


21 June 2016

Holiday makes..... Part 4: From cereal box to....

..... mini junk book

Every morning on holiday I try and eat healthily- I walk past the champagne bar "mimosa signora??", past the pastry counter (aaaaah the smell of hot croissants!!) and the sausages, eggs, waffles etc etc etc - you name it & its available - all very (too) tempting!!

Instead I have a box of one of these (which I like to jazz it up with fruit, nuts and... stuff...) ....and thank goodness for illustrations on boxes otherwise I wouldn't have a clue what they were! My Spanish vocabulary is very limited and the writing on those boxes is really small! and I mean really small!!

But, I'm not choosing these purely for their tastiness.. oh no.. I'm also choosing them for their packaging! Cardboard! Oh yes!! on a previous holiday I used it to make stencils but this time I had plans to make a book!!
I know this isn't groundbreaking or rocket science but I liked the challenge of making something out of nothing and with limited supplies...

I set up a creative station on one of the tables in the room - I chose this one because it had a glass top - now that was a revelation:  I NEED a glass top to my desk at home - great for use with paints, cutting on, easy to clean - why haven't I thought of this before!!

I cut up the boxes - discarding the narrow sides and cutting the remaining front and backs into 12x6.5cm panels, then scored and glued as the diagram below - easy way to create a book

I glued it together with Matte Medium and waited for it to dry. Then the decorating began... I limited myself to 3ish colours for the book - trying to makes sure these colour appeared on each spread working as a theme/scheme throughout the book.. Neon Pink (love!!), dark blue (I think its Baltic Blue), Gold, Aqua blue watercolour...

The front and back covers: made out of a piece of gelli printed paper I'd bought with me.. they were cut and glue on in separate pieces and where the pattern didn't cover  the page I stamped on the mini alphabet set as a block in neon pink acrylic paint... what is not to love about that colour!!  (neon pink circles were created with a bottle top)

The book pages that had cereal packet print on needed to be covered in paper to block out the bold colours - on this spread I used vintage music paper and another gelli print.  The doily came from one of the restaurants and the alphabet strip is a handwriting excercise book I have in my stash.  I doodled onto the gelli print on the right-hand page and the text strip is the title of the book pages I brought with me - considering the heat I was creating in it couldn't be more appropriate could it! lol
More paper covered pages, with stenciling - I brought 2 stencils with me - big number and an alphabet (Tim Holtz stencils)...I have neon paint and I am not afraid to use it!  The chevrons are a stamp (JOFY36) painted with Aqua watercolour.
NB a glue stick makes a great mini roller for spreading glue and getting rid of airbubbles after you've glued papers down (as above)

I really like this spread - the circles (stamped using a bottle top) and the chevrons - I like how they look dimensional - almost like bubbles.. 'happy' is cut from a magazine and the tag is one I brought with me they I washed with the watercolour paint... it flaps open to reveal the second page of this spread.

I've added this photo to show how shiny, metallic and pretty the Fresco Finish Gold paint is! and when used with the Neon and Aqua paint - LUSH!!

When you lift the tag (the added page in the previous diagram) it reveals a stenciled number 9 which is my 'magic' number so the clipping from a magazine was another apt addition....spots are from JOFY36

This is a top view of the book showing the spine and the added page - a really simple addition.

This is the final spreak - book text across the hinge are, another doily with doodling and a phrase cut from book text (again its a bit of a nod to the holiday).. the right hand page is the alphabet stencil and gold paint... more spots and neon paint.

That's all my holiday creations - not many from this holiday - I usually make more sitting at the pool but I couldn't on this holiday as there was a lovely breeze - papers would've been everywhere!

And when the temperature is upwards of 85degrees I'd rather have the breeze thank you!

Thanks for popping by.



20 June 2016

ALBOTAT: Happy Fathers' Day

Yesterday was Father's day here in the UK,  here is the card I made for my Dad... 

If you look closely you notice something unusual for me.. NO stamping!!  The lovely blue/brown splat (for want of a better word) on the back ground is PaperArtsy's new Infusions - I'm liking those very much!!

 (wood strip is Washi tape, 'happy' is die cut, sentiment banners are computer generated, stag head is from stash)


18 June 2016

ALBOTAT / Holiday makes..... Part 3

... so this post is less of a 'holiday make' & more of a 'holiday take' .... this is a picture of taken of me with Morgan the monkey who each week visits the hotel we stayed at to 'promote' the sanctuary where he lives...

So adorable!  He was so light! I hardly felt him sitting on me and his fur was really soft... an excellent ambassador for the sanctuary (& would do anything for snacks/treats).

I passed on having my photo taken with a HUGE iguana the next day, and the bird of prey the following day.... if its not cute & furry I'm not interested! lol


17 June 2016

Holiday makes..... Part 2

OK, I packed bits and pieces to use when making things on holiday but I can't resist using pieces I find in the room or collect from the restaurants... look at the pretty stationery! be a shame to leave that sitting in a drawer...

I really enjoyed creating with limited supplies - make you think a bit more, be resourceful with what you have and what you can find around you .... such as all these bits and pieces: I can't resist using pieces I find in the hotel room or collect from the restaurants... look at the pretty stationery! it'd be a shame to leave that sitting in a drawer...

 LtoR - the daily newsletter telling guests what's going on each day at the resort and what the weather is expected to be (in my experience of Mexico - that would be 'hot, hot & ... erm.. hotter!') - its useful for sketching onto or as underpaper or background paper; the lovely orange patterned pieces are all stationery (invites to evening events, envelopes, writing paper etc); the bottle tops are from water bottles that are readily available all the time; restaurant consumables: 'spice' packet held chopsticks & doily was under a cup; couple of bits from the complimentary toiletries pack - toothbrush (I've been known to come home with quite a few of those - great for cleaning jewellery, flicking paint etc..), ear bud (great for paint spots and rubbing paint along pages edges... and last but not least - the hero ball point pen!... I also had a very useful drink stirrer but that didn't make the trip home. :o)

Here's a page I made using a panel cut from a mini cereal box (more about those tomorrow) covered in papers I took with me.  I drew on a few simple flower heads and painted and doodled detail on them....
I glued a panel of the stationery - I think this was the flap of an envelope - into my 6x6 sketchbook after realising it coordinated almost perfectly with the my doodled flowers I glued the panel onto the page.  To finish I drew lines around the panel and the page.

Next up is a page that I started at 2am in the morning when I couldn't sleep!  I love hexagons (you may have noticed! lol) and had packed a hexagon drawing stencil - the type we had a school (there's a circle one shown in the 'perfect kit' blog post)... so I drew this at night...

... and painted it the following lunchtime (using the Winsor and Newton watercolour paints...)

One more 'holiday makes' blog post to come..  when maybe I'll also show you the photo of me with the monkey!! (I kid you not! lol)


15 June 2016

Holiday makes..... Part 1

... this is what I do when I go inside away from the sun at lunchtime to cool down and prevent myself looking like an overcooked lobster  :o)  and the reason I pack my 'perfect art kit' as blogged here...

These pages were created in a 6x6in Daler Rowney sketchbook which I had been working in at home - using some pages for clean up/ghost gelli prints, and other pages were finished journal pages... its an 'in progress' book...

NB some of these images have been posted on Instagram or Twitter so if you follow me on those, apologies if you've seen them already, I wanted to share them here too as my poor neglected blog needs some attention and prettiness on its pages... :o)

This page started out with a gelli ghost print across the top, I doodled a flower on top and blocked out the print with Snowflake Fresco Finish. The pencil sketched lines were overdrawn with an ink drawing pen and left to dry before adding colour....

Colour was added with Winsor & Newton water colour paints.. I haven't been using these paints for very long so each piece is a learning curve...  I like how 'juicy' it looks!

This double spread was another gelli clean up/ghost print that ended up being a weird mix of colours (not quite lilac, not quite aqua - it just wasn't nice! it had to go).. so I added Snowflake/Chalk gelli prints on top hoping to knock back some of the colour - Snowflake/Chalk came to the rescue!
(I liked the fold-out long page but reeeeeeaaalllly didn't like the colour)
I really liked how the sketch looked on the back ground and it stayed like this for days.... but then I decided I had to 'man-up' and paint it!
It looks great 'rough' painted with watercolour paint direct onto the background - on this page I didn't block out the background colour and I like that some of background pattern can be see - it give the flower head & leaves some texture.

I think I took this photo outside (the one above is inside under 'yellow' lights) the colours are much more 'true'... the black lines work so well to define everything without being too heavy, focuses everything - and these lines were drawn with both a biro and ink pen - hard to tell the difference isn't it!
After 'killing' two ink pens with wet paint the biro became my hero pen! draws on pretty much anything! :o)

A lesson learnt - keep working on a page until happy! (though I still have a slight urge to break out the white pen!)


14 June 2016

The perfect travel art kit...

.... is there even such a thing - I find what I want to pack depends on where I'm going, what the holiday plans are and what my favourite tool/ media is at the time of packing! 

While packing I try to be practical and stern with myself (listening to my little inner voice asking 'do you really need that? will you actually use it??')  This year in the lead up to our holiday I made a list of all the equipment I used when making something and kept it at the side of my desk, things I used repeatedly... it was quite a useful little list - really showed what is 'essential' and what isn't.. I'd recommend trying it, could also show what is actually needed on the desk.... (as opposed to all the 'stuff' that stays on the desk just in case..)
-  -  -  -  -
When putting this blog post together I looked for the photo of the kit I took the last time we had a holiday in Mexico (3 years ago)....


...and compared it to the kit I took this year.  It made me smile because 3 years on:
* I'm still using the same bag.
* I still pack: Archival Black ink, a diddy alphabet stamp set, craft sheet, Snowflake Fresco Finish paint, long rubber in pencil form, Tombow glue stick, Cut'n'Dry foam, and stencils....

There is much more in there that you can't see in the photo:
* Koh-i-noor paints - they've been replaced by Winsor & Newton watercolours
* Decorative tape - 2 rolls packed above- tape didn't make it at all this year and I missed it - I thought I'd packed tape but hadn't... gggrrrr (1 inch brown paper tape - the type you have to wet the back of to make it stick - I was quite disappointed because I had plans for that!!)... still packing double sided tape :o) (I remember thinking I don't need to pack tape because I can create tape with paper and glue... yeah right!)
* The flower stencil/mask was swapped for alphabet stencils

This year I think I'd planned more for journaling and painting, rather than packing with no plans as was the case last time....

Here's this year's kit:
Its all the things I would normally use at home but travel sized - an A5 cutting mat and craft sheet, a short metal ruler, very limited amount of stamps - I didn't take any of my motif stamps because that helpful little inner voice of mine was saying - 'you don't need to take stamps of images you've drawn, you can draw them - draw new ones'... lol the voice has quite a good point don't you think! (might have to give my little inner voice a name...)(suggestions welcomed)

I also pack a limited amount of other 'stuff' to use - stencils, papers to use as backgrounds (book text, captions from magazines, gelli printed pages (NB I liked the ones shown in the photo so much I couldn't bring myself to use them!), scrapbook pages.... and in the bottom left of the corner of the photo is the sketchbook I took with me - 6x6in spiral bound.... (most of this came back with me... but its better to pack it than not - see above re the paper tape!)

I planned ahead by creating a colour chart of my Winsor  & Newton watercolours in the back of my sketchbook - so glad I did this - it was really useful.  They worked really well with the Fresco Finish paints I'd packed.  I killed a couple of my drawing pens by writing on wet paint (I have limited patience, but in fairness to me Mexico is VERY humid this time of year and things were taking longer to dry)(no, I didn't pack a heat gun!)... and so I rediscovered biro pens.. aaaah the good old biro pen!

I'm not sure there is a 'perfect' travel kit but this one worked for me (this year!)... its all down to personal preference isn't it?

My major fail this year was not taking my everyday sketchbook - the 25x25cm sketchbook I 'think' in  (it also works as a good work surface because of its size..) I found it really hard to sketch and think in 6x6in sketchbook... sigh... I missed it.

I must remember the next time I pack the 'perfect' kit:
some things just can't be exchanged for 'travel size'

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