Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Been to the charity shops again....

It all started cos I needed a vase for some beady twiggy wirey things I bought in a sale last week at local garden centre.  I've got them stuck in this vase at the moment but I do use it for fresh flowers, so needed something else.  Charity shops were my first port of call.

I started at the YMCA charity shop in the town centre.  They don't go in so much for displaying items and most of the stuff is on the floor.  Thats where I spotted these 2 frames.  They were £2 for the pair and once I had them in my hands I knew they HAD to be mine. 

They have 2 panels of glass with the picture 'suspended' between them.  I've not seen anything like this before.

One of them is missing its hanger but that is easily rectified.  It looks like the glass has been glued onto the back using a hot glue gun and it easy to peel off and the picture looks like its stuck to the glass at the back,  but that won't matter once its on the wall.

I have no idea what I'm gonna do with them but something about them inspired me enough to buy them.

While I was in the shop I spotted a walking stick for £5.  As I use a stick all of the time (unless I'm on crutches), I decided to measure it against my own stick.  Its slightly taller than mine, but my Dad will be able to saw an inch off the bottom for me.  I just loved the grain / pattern of the wood on the shaft and its has the kind of handle I like.

The wooden hands came from The Childrens Society shop.  They were £1.99 for the pair.  I have a thing about hands.  They fascinate me and I love drawings and ornaments of them.  I'm not sure yet if I'll leave these as is, or alter them in some way.

All in all not a bad haul for £9!!!  And I saw loads of other things I may have to go and have another look at.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Another workshop (don't do many at all, really LOL!!!!)

A couple of weeks ago Jo and I did a workshop at Graphicus in Barnard Castle run by the wonderfully talented Lynn called 'Creative Frames'.

The workshop was based around 2 frames with recesses in the middle, a piece of grey board, some dictionary paper, Grungepaper, some die cuts from Sir Tim of Holtz range and LOTS of paints and stamps!!!

Of course, as is typical of me, I never even thought about taking my camera, but Lou came to the rescue and took a couple of photos for me during the day.  Thanks Lou!!

First we chose some paint and a Distress Crackle Paint to put over the top.  I chose a Lumiere called Halo Pink Gold and Broken China in the crackle.  I painted the Lumiere all over the frame and recess and allowed to dry before applying the crackle using the brush in the pot.  It depends on how thickly you apply the paint as to what size crackles you get.  Thinly is small crackles, thickly in large ones. 

Lynn had cut us a heart out of Grungebord and embossed it with swirls.  We all stuck these onto a piece of grey board, cut to the same size as the frames, with Golden Gel Medium and stuck dictionary paper over it again using the same medium.  Once it was dry we coloured them with Distress Inks.  I chose Spiced Marmalade for the outside and Broken China for the heart.

Lynn had die cut 3 Grungepaper flowers for each for us to make roses from.  I coloured mine with the same Lumiere paint and used Broken China DI just on the edges of the petals.  Once dry I stamped a Wendy Vecchi newspaper column stamp over it to add interest, before beginning to make the rose.  If you're interested in doing this, there are tutorials on YouTube.

Lynn had also given us a couple of swirls from Grungebord and the birdcage cut from a Tim Holtz die.  I again coloured these with the same Lumiere paint.  For the bird I used Viva Precious Metal paint in a blue, browny colour for the branch and finally gave it a golden beak.  I can't remember the exact colours I used.

I stamped a couple of phrases from Wendy Vecchi stamps in the recess of both frames and across the heart too and punched out some leaves using an EK Success Rock Fern paper punch, before the workshop ended.  It was over all too soon.  I was exhausted again, but it had been so worth it!!

A few days later I got to grips with finishing the frames.  I cut another couple of swirls from Grungepaper and painted them with the same colour Lumiere.  I'm really lucky to have some of Jo's crafting stash at my house at the moment as she is having a loft conversion and has had to move out of her house for a while, so I had the paint!  I made another flower from Grungepaper using a Nestability Peony die.  I again coloured it with the same Lumiere and DI I had used on the rose.

Lynn had given us some wire to hang the frames from.  I'm not particularly good at bending wire so I twisted it and used 2 swirls with leaves on the hide it.

Between us, Jo and I had managed to put the holes in the centre grey board using a Crop-a-dile Big Bite.  I lined it up while Jo pressed the lever for the punch.  I just don't have the strength now.  Before we left the workshop, Lynn had given each of us a key cut from grey board using another Tim Holtz die.  I had always planned on putting it onto the grey board with the heart on, but it just didn't look right, so I cut another Grungepaper swirl, painted it and 'dangled' the heart from it, although it is fixed in place with Glossy Accents.

I used the rose I'd made in the workshop (with Lynn's help) on the third frame with 2 swirls and more leaves.

I stuck the wing to the bird before sticking branch the bird is sitting on to the bird cage.  I tried to shape the cage a little first, but couldn't get the branch to balance on the cage, so I ended up sticking it on the back.  Not as pretty, but at least its stuck LOL!!!

I used some beads from one of Gran's necklaces to embellish the bottom of the cage.  My Gran had 2 of these necklaces that she used to wear regularly - one clear, one red.  She was wonderful crafter and could turn her hand to anything, so I think she'd be pleased that I'm using her beads for craft projects.

All of the frames and bird cage are linked together using Tim Holtz jump rings which are invaluable.  I now have it hanging on the wall in my living room.  It was quite difficult to find a place to hang it as it is so long, but it fits there really nicely.  And so to the complete piece...

I'm really pleased with it and its a lovely reminder of a great day spent with friends, new and old - Lynn, Jo, Lesley, Margaret, Bea, Joan, Rachel and not forgetting Lou who took the wonderful 'in progress' pics on the day.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Art and Counselling (part 2) - MS Canvas

The second canvas I did for counselling was around my feeling towards my MS. I feel like its a monster that is always behind me waiting for me to relax and it'll 'bite'.

I bought a black 12 x 12 canvas and dry brushed various Ferro metallic paints on to it. My Mam had torn a piece of cardboard from a box in a wonderful shape. I painted that with more Ferro paint in blue.

I had many ideas for the canvas, but none were working, so I left it for a while as I wanted to get it just right. I tore some pages from some MS magazines that I subscribe to and eventually came up with the idea of a hungry sea monster biting at a girl dangling above it. I used a citrus Paint Dabber to colour the monster and a Tippex pen to colour the teeth and put the spots on.

Next I took a picture of a model out of a magazine and glued it to a piece of card for strength before cutting it out.  I coloured her in grey with a wax crayon (the only thing to hand and I couldn't be bothered to stand up!) and gave her red shoes.  If I could, I'd wear red HIGH heels.  The shoe falling off represents the way that each time MS bites (in the form of a relapse) it takes a little of you away.  At the moment its just my red high heels!

I wanted it to seem like a fifties cartoon strip so I gave the monster and heroine speech bubbles cut from MS magazines.  I also did a little 'commentary' to bring it all together, again from MS magazines.

The whole canvas depicts totally how I feel about the MS.  I dangled the heroine string which I hammered into the top of the canvas with a decorative staple.  I say hammered because the speciality stapler it came from wouldn't work like a normal stapler when you can use just the top to staple, so I hammered it in instead!

Here is the front of the canvas.

The back of the canvas is also 'decorated'.  I used pictures cut from MS magazines again to show some of the symptoms I suffer from.  The left one shows how I can never know what is round the corner for me.  The middle is depression.  The right is fatigue.  Even looking at that photo gives me the wobbles.  I know I'd never manage those stairs!

I then wrote 'MS' in orange (the colour of the MS Society) and crossed it out in green, the colour of the MS Resource Centre (MSRC) who I support and sell cards at Christmas in aid of.  They have been a great help to me since I was diagnosed.

So there you have it, my MS Canvas and it was very, very cathartic to do.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Art and Counselling (part 1)

As I've already mentioned I'm seeing a counsellor at the moment to help with depression and also the wider aspects of my MS.

She'd been really interested in the crafting / artwork I do and she's asked me to take pieces along to the sessions.  During one session while I was feeling particularly irritated at life in general, but couldn't put my finger on what it was, she suggested I do a journal page around the feelings I had.  I went one better and did a canvas.

This is my 'Irritation Canvas'.  I really enjoyed making it and it really helped me get my frustrations and irritation out!

I started with a 30cm x 40cm canvas and painted it with and Ikea wax paint which is meant to be used on wood.  Then I scraped some it off with a spatula.

I used a Paint Dabber in citrus through some sequin waste (which took a lot of frustration out when I started hammering the dabber down on the canvas LOL!!!!).  Next I ripped a piece out of a magazine (the black piece to the left) which sort of felt like what was happening in my head and stuck it on with Golden gel medium.  I then went through my many pieces cut from magazines to find some words and I also found the cartoon image of the man tied up with string (bottom right).

The lines were created by accident.  I wanted to put some yellow on the canvas, but the paint dabber wouldn't dab, no matter how hard I hit it so I stirred it with a bamboo skewer.  In true crafting style I couldn't just waste the paint on the skewer so I dragged across the canvas and did the same with a Cranberry dabber and a skewer.

The canvas sits in my living room and is helping me to relax whenever I feel irritated!