Thursday 28 September 2017

Inspirational Post ~ Permission to play !

'Play- engage in an activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than serious or practical purpose.'

Hi everybody! It's Toni here and I'm here to encourage you to play. Every now and again it's fun to grab some supplies and spend a little time just playing. You don't have  to have a purpose in mind or any clue about a 'finished' piece. I want to encourage you to spend a little time and just enjoy using your chosen materials by making marks and exploring colour. Today I'm sharing what I did on a recent play time session. I used a small Dylusions journal, some children's gel crayons and some of my hand carved stamps. I wrote a blog post about carving your own stamps from erasers, which you can refer to by clicking on this link . My collection has grown a little since that post.....
 The gel crayons I used for my session, were a lucky find in our local Lidl supermarket. I also used some children's 'Play Color' crayons in flouro and metallic, which I bought from an online store. I can't say whether any of these crayons are better or as good as Gelatos, as I don't have any to compare them with, however the gel crayons I have, were much cheaper and this kind of makes me feel that I can be more generous when using them....
Now a playtime session needs to be just as it sounds, a time set aside to play!  Here are a few tips to get yourself ready...
  • Clear a space, by that I don't mean tidy up, as this will eat into your play time. Just push everything to one side.
  • Grab some tea, coffee or depending on the time of day your favourite tipple!
  • Select your chosen materials and have everything close to hand. You don't want to spend time looking for things.
  •  Keep it simple both in process and in choice of materials.  Restrict yourself to just a few items. Preferably use materials that don't require any lengthy drying time, so that your flow is not interrupted. 
  • Use a journal or gather together a selection of papers by diving into your off cuts pile. 
  • When you're ready to start, put on your favourite album. This is a good way of setting yourself an amount of play time, when your time is limited.
  • If music is not your thing, then how about a talking book or radio play, just in the background. Sometimes I like to turn everything off and just listen to the sound of birdsong. Definitely turn off the telly though. Those craft channels are way too distracting for precious play times! 
Once you have everything in place, just go for it. Resist the temptation to think too much. The only purpose is to enjoy what you're doing. These are the journal pages I created during my play time......
I started by choosing one gel crayon, and scribbled  it in three areas across the pages. I then chose another colour and scribbled a patch next each patch of the first colour. I continued with my patches of three, until he pages were covered. I used my finger to smudge the colours and smooth out any thick blobs of crayon. I gave the pages a quick blast with my heat tool in order to set the colours. I then used the largest stamp I had, and stamped it several times using black Staz On ink. I repeated the stamping with each stamp getting progressively smaller filling in the gaps. I later added the sentiment 'Make Art Everyday' with some Dymo tape. All of the pages were similarly constructed. Here is one using more muted colours.....
I think this looks quite tribal. I also blended black ink around the edges of the pages.
I found myself getting back to the bright colours with these next pages.
With these pages , I found myself creating more order, by stamping in rows across the pages
I used the metallic gel crayons for he background of these final pages. With all of the pages, I tried not to think too much about what I was doing. I was aware that I wanted to create balance both with colour and stamping but this seemed to be more as a result of  what I was doing, rather than a planned action. Like all good things, my playtime session had to come to an end but it was great fun while it lasted. I have also used the journal as a reference for other pieces of art. Here is a recent canvas I completed for the AALL-and-Create Challenge. If I hadn't thumbed through the journal, I'm sure I'd have forgotten about one of the stamps I'd made.......
Well, I hope you'll set aside some time for a little bit of  play and just really enjoy yourself,ithout pressure or purpose. Believe me it really is fun ! x 

Thursday 21 September 2017

Meet today's guest, Nate !

Hello ! Welcome back, today we have a little something different for you. We've changed the format of the Guest Designer post to more of an interview format so you get to know a little more about our guest and what really makes them tick ! Our first guest to use this format is Nate who was the winner of the Colour, Texture, Shape challenge. So, let's move on to learn a little more about our guest ....

Hello everyone ! 
I am Nate, I live in France and I am passionate about crafting ! 
Thanks to all the Stamps and Stencils team for inviting me to be their guest. 
It's a great opportunity for me to show you the world I've created through my blog. 
I discovered crafting 15 years ago and fell in love when I discovered the craft shops in Paris, the magazines that were published and the blogs that I saw. This is when my blog started in 2007, Le Scrap de Nate.  
I quickly found my style and with time this took on another dimension. I began by creating pages, cards, mini albums, frames  - keepsakes for my family. I took part in challenges on various blogs that motivated me and eventually became a DT member for a French team - Infiniment Scrap, also Scrapsanctuary and currently Sandee and Amelie's.
During this period of discovery I've tested various techniques and products: inks, hot and cold embossing, various papers including G45, pastes, paints, masks and stamps. I am currently also on the Decoart program. 
After trying different styles I must say, with time, my inspiration has moved towards recycling objects to transform and pat ! I moved on to Steampunk and also vintage, which I love. 
I have some projects to share with you that I have entered into some of the Stamps and Stencils challenges:

Thank you everyone for the invitation to join you for today ! 

Thank you so much Nate for sharing your crafty journey with us, it's really interesting to see how you got started and the direction you've travelled in. If you would like to join us and share your crafty journey then all you need to do is join in with the current challenge which is Metallics and is open until the 4 October.

Thursday 14 September 2017

Metallic Blooms !

Hello everyone it's Sue here and it's my turn to share an inspirational post with you. I decided to indulge my love of metal for this post so grab a cuppa and get comfy !

The magic of seeing embossing powder melt for the first time is almost on an equal with the first time I was introduced to using metal in my art work at a PaperArtsy Artsy Craft weekend many years ago. There are so many techniques you can use with metal and it adds that different element to your projects. I've covered some of them but there's loads more, so, without further ado, I'll get started !

 I've used the reverse side of a framed canvas for my substrate, before I knew what I wanted to do I taped the top of the sides to cover the staples, but after I'd applied the Texture Paste you wouldn't have seen them anyway !

The tape lifted off the frame in places as the paste dried but I actually quite liked this as it made it look more rustic and shabby.

I glued small square pieces of mountboard onto the canvas, having in mind the sort of pattern I would go for if I were having paving put down in a garden. This piece is in part inspired by an old UK gardening programme called Ground Force. They've been showing re-runs recently and I've been hooked, I love to see the transformation of the gardens and the process is not disimilar to designing a craft project, get all your hard landscaping in first before you plant any flowers ! 

I used Prima Art Alchemy metallic acrylic paints to paint the background canvas, these blend beautifully and have a lovely, subtle metallic sheen.

Now that my hard landscaping was done it's time to turn my attention to the flowers. I've used the Tim Holtz Tattered Flowers die and cut the flowers from my dwindling stash of Ten Seconds Studio metal.

Metal is great for creating texture so I wanted the flowers to have lots, so used a technique by Lin Brown. I was very fortunate to attend a metal masterclass workshop by Lin before her shop closed and I still refer to the piece we made as a reminder. The tools you can see above are a ball and cup and one of the many different wheels.

When working with metal it's really important to work on the correct surface for the technique. I'm using the ball end on the ball and cup tool above and because I need it to make an impression into the metal I'm working on a thick piece of cardboard. This has some give so allows the tool to press into the metal. You'll also have noticed the metal has changed colour ! This is because I wanted to use the silver side and all of the pieces I have left are all coloured on one side.

You can see on the above the impression made by the ball, now it's time to use the cup. The surface to use for this end of the tool needs to be hard as you don't want it to make an impression into the metal only refine the ball effect, which is why I'm using an acrylic block.

To create detail on the petals I've flipped the flower over again and using the wheel I'm drawing lines out from the centre using the cardboard underneath so the wheel will make an impression into the metal.

The above is the finished effect !

For the next size flower I'm using the cardboard as my platform and using the Teflon tool which is a plastic, pointed tool. If it was metal the tool would puncture your metal and you'd be left with holey flowers ! This technique is just scribbling in to the metal, easy !

The above is what you end up with !

Time to add some colour and Alcohol Inks work really well on metal.

I've knocked the colours back slightly by using some of the Prima paint and dabbing it around the edge of the petals. I love this colour which is Blackberry.

I've trimmed the smallest flowers petals and given them the same treatment with the Alcohol Inks and dabbing more paint onto the petals.

If you're still with me you'll be relieved that I've jumped ahead to the finished piece !

 Being able to photograph metal effectively is something I've never mastered so I've taken a second finished shot.

 The metal flowers were all layered up and I've shaped the petals around my fingers to get the shape I wanted.

The leaves are also a Tim Holtz die and I've used the Teflon tool to draw the leaf veins on the reverse side of the metal before using Pesto and Oregano Alcohol Inks. 

The ink pot and quill is another die by Tim Holtz, I've used a metal wheel on the ink pot and then Alcohol Ink but on the coloured side of the metal this time. The ink removes some of the colour but leaves it looking worn. I used the Teflon tool on the quill and then Slate Alcohol Ink. A few splatters of Bombay ink around it to reflect it's use. On the Ground Force programme the presenter, Alan Titchmarsh, would always present a beautifully painted and elegantly written design of what the garden would be transformed into and I thought the quill and ink pot could be a tool of choice.
The tiny metal flowers have had the same treatment as the largest flower but I've used the coloured side of the metal.

Last, but not least, is the stamped sentiment which is by Yvonne Blair. It's stamped onto Smoothy card then with a baby wipe I've wiped some Prima paint over it to give a subtle metallic sheen. I also did this over the crackle frame to age it but not cover the crackles.

I hope you've enjoyed my indulgence today and hope you find time to join our current challenge Metallics.

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Winners - Technique School

Hello everyone ! It's time to share the winner and the top 3 of the Technique School challenge. There were some absolutely amazing projects and techniques of course ! The team found it really tough to pick just one winner but we got there in the end......

Congratulations Pawsitively Creative !

We thought your project was really stunning and the impact of the black on red fabulous ! Please email for the details of your guest post and winners badge.

Now on to the top 3:


Congratulations everyone, please email for your top 3 badge.

The current challenge is Metallics and you still have plenty of time to join in.

Thursday 7 September 2017


Good Morning all! It's Rachel here and I'm your host for this month ! I have gone for the theme of metallics - I'd love to see you create something, mixed media, using metallics in any form. That could be metallic paint, rusted metal techniques, actual metals, foils, anything that takes your fancy really as long as it has metals in it somewhere. The team have created some amazing pieces -


Wow great work everyone! 

I do hope you can join us!

Big hugs

Rachel x