Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Rusty Encaustic...

I've been exploring encaustic a little more.  The other day, while out walking with Dime, I found a few interesting rusty bits.  Since I have lots of rust dyed fabric and some rust dyed paper towels in my stash, I thought I'd use them for a small encaustic piece.  I started with another of those recycled art boards (see here). My first layer was a rusted paper towel, and then I layered on some strips of rusted cotton and added the found objects and a dried cedar 'tree'.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Repurposing a Quilt...

Many years ago, I designed and made a quilt that was used for the quilt guild's block of the month.  Although I liked the idea of the blocks, I never really liked the little quilt I had made with them.  So, this weekend I decided to repurpose it into an organizational system.

I could have just used it as a dog bed, since as soon as I put it on the floor to snap this picture so I could show you the 'before', Dime walked right over and lay down on it! Silly puppy!

Anyway, the original blocks were 12" blocks so I cut them down to 11.5".  The four blocks used for the outer panels of the bags were trimmed to get rid of any binding, but the four blocks that I used for inner pockets were trimmed so that the binding became the open edge of the pocket.

Since becoming a foster 'mom' for future dog guides, I've been carrying a lot of ziploc bags with puppy needs (paper towels, a collapsible water dish, water bottle, training treats, etc.) as well as the usual contents of a purse.  Now I can organize all of the puppy things into one bag...the pockets are great for finding things quickly, and the second one holds my other 'purse' items.

The final block (the quilt had 9 blocks) became the water bottle holder and a little change purse (which fits nicely inside the larger 'purse' bag).  All of this fits into the larger bag I carry so that now instead of riffling through a bunch of ziploc bags to try to find my wallet or whatever, I can get my hands on things really quickly!

The idea of cutting up a quilt and repurposing it took some getting over, but I'm going to enjoy this quilt so much more now that I'll see it daily and know that it'll keep me organized!

Friday, April 11, 2014

I'm Featured on StencilGirl Talk Today...

Please come visit me over on StencilGirl Talk today where I'm using Julie Snidle's Curvy Ladder stencil as I play with some more drywall compound and encaustic medium...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Exploring Encaustic Medium...

I've been wanting to try encaustic for a long time, but for some reason I just kept putting it off.  I think I was a little intimidated by some of the technical 'stuff' even though I've used similar tools and heat for resists, batik, etc.  Anyway, I've got Daniella Woolf's fabulous book and DVD, The Encaustic Studio so I finally pulled them off the shelf, spent time reading and watching and then I felt ready to jump in!

For my substrates, I'm recycling some picture boards (not sure what to call them but you can see them in the picture).  I get them for pennies at a recycling depot in town, so they're perfect.  I sand them, cover them with gesso* and then I'm ready to go (research gesso vs. encaustic gesso if you're planning to do this).

I wanted some heavy texture in this piece, so I pulled out the drywall compound again, and using a stencil I applied a thick layer of compound with my fingers, making it easy to control where I was applying it without having to mask off the stencil.

Needless to say, this needs a bit of time to dry, especially because of the fairly thick application.

I'm now ready to add some collage elements and start playing with the wax medium!
I'd say I still need to work on my use of this medium...a lot!...but, here's my first attempt at encaustic. It's a very interesting medium to explore, but as you can see, I have a ways to go before I get a handle on this. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

April's Calendar...

I can't believe it's already well into April! And fortunately, although it's still quite cold, the snow is slowly melting and there are some definite signs of Spring.

I'm a little behind in my art journal calendar, but I finally got the spread done and coloured in, following the awesome idea from Joanne Sharpe in her online course Draw Your Awesome Year.  This is a fun idea for journalling, and luckily I write very small so I can still document a fair bit inside these fun number spaces.

The transition from black and white to colour is always fun.  Once those bright colours are on the page it just seems to pop.
(sorry for the 'black out' suggests I might lead a more exciting life than I really do, LOL. I just can't reveal a secret that's not mine to tell!)
 We've had a lot of rain one would expect in April, and my purple crocuses have peeked out among the dirty snow drifts so I just had to add them to the page.  And with Easter coming there just has to be a cute, fluffy little chick.

I used my Caran d'Ache Neocolor II to colour this page. Since a lot of the areas were small, I found it easier to scribble on my craft mat, and then use my water brush to activate and pick up the pigment for 'painting' on the page.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Embellishing the Text...

I last posted about this piece here, when I had added the text using painted fusible web. Well, I've finally found my way back to it (life's been getting in the way!) and I've now finished another step in the process. I've layered the batting under the top (no backing yet), and free motion stitched around all of the text to outline it.

As you can see, I've also begun the hand stitching on the text to add a little more texture and interest.  So far I've just finished the first word, but I'll catch up on some TV listening and hopefully get all of this stitching done in the next few days.  I'm using one of my hand dyed cotton threads for the stitching. Once all of the hand stitching is done, I'll add the backing and then finish the machine quilting.  By doing it this way, any 'messiness' that may result on the back from my hand stitching will be covered!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Dog's Life...

Today's post is a look back at the life of a wonderfully special family pet, our beautiful Golden Retriever, Casey. Sadly, she left us a couple of weeks ago, but as I looked through all of my photos of her, I just had to share a few (okay, more than a few...but you can stop looking any time).

Casey was an adorable puppy who loved to play hard, get dirty, and thankfully swim (which cleaned her up nicely).

She was a wonderfully gentle, loving soul and great companion to all her friends, two legged and four legged!

Her favourite place was at our cottage, where she conveniently forgot how to drink from a bowl in favour of walking chest deep into the lake for her drinks, and a bit of a swim!  She loved boat rides and snoozing on the dock or the deck!

And she'd even car sit when my friend Heather came up to the cottage!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Another StencilGirl Blog Hop Featuring Newly Released Designs by Andrea Matus deMeng...

I'm excited to be participating in this blog hop in which we're featuring these newly released stencils from the talented Andrea Matus deMeng. I first saw these stunning designs a couple of weeks ago, and it's been really hard to keep them a secret until today's unveiling!

I'm lucky enough to be able to use this beautiful design, called Precocious Peony today. 

I'm experimenting with a technique, based on a piece of art I saw a couple of years ago.  Sadly, I can't remember where I saw it and I don't really know how it was made, but I know the final piece had Silks Acrylic Glaze painted onto black gesso.  Based on what I remembered, and some things I found in my husbands workshop, I decided to experiment and see what I could come up with.  Happily the end result turned out alright so I'm able to share it with you!

If you want to try this, you'll need:

-drywall compound
-a piece of wood (or other sturdy material) cut to the finished size you desire. 
-a putty knife
-something pointy with which to 'draw' (I'm using a seam ripper, but a ballpoint pen, an awl or a stiff piece of wire will work.)
-black gesso
-Silks Acrylic Glaze
-paint brushes (a sponge brush for the gesso and smaller paintbrushes for the Silks)
-a water jar for cleaning brushes
-Golden Self Levelling Clear Gel
-patience...because this has to be done over a couple of days!

Step 1:

Sand the surface of your wood to roughen it up a bit so the drywall compound with stick well.

Step 2:

Read this whole step before starting...Mix up a small amount of drywall compound to a nice spreadable consistency, but not too runny. (I only mix enough for each thin layer each time). Using the putty knife, spread a thin layer of the drywall compound onto the piece of wood, keeping it as smooth and even as you can so that the entire surface is covered. Let dry completely-my drywall compound says it is dry in 45 minutes but some take longer so read the package (this is where the patience comes in...not my strong suit!). 

While that's drying, scrape any excess compound into the garbage and wash the container and putty knife with water. 

Repeat this step several times until you have about a 1/4" - 3/8" layer of compound. It is better to add thin layers many times to avoid cracking. (See what I mean about needing patience!). 

Step 3: 

Using sandpaper, sand* the final dry surface of the drywall compound until it is completely flat and smooth. Sand the sides of the block too, to get any little bits of drywall compound that may have got on them. (You can see from the image on the left that my 'before' was not terribly smooth but it still sanded up beautifully).

*Drywall dust is messy, so do this outside if possible.

Step 4:

Position your stencil onto the surface, and using your pointy 'drawing' tool etch the design into the surface of the drywall compound. Consider flipping your stencil over to give you another variation of the design. You can add any additional drawing/doodling you wish by etching into the surface.  

Step 5:

Paint the entire surface and the sides with black gesso, ensuring you get into the grooves you created while 'drawing' but without filling those grooves up with excess gesso.  A sponge brush works great for this because you can dip the pointy edge into the groove to soak up the excess gesso. Let dry completely (there's that need for patience again...)

Step 6:

Using the small paintbrushes and the Silks, paint your design however you like. Notice I took the design over the edge with the paint.

Step 7:

Wait...more patience...According to the jar, Silks required 48hrs to fully cure so go find something else to do for the next couple of days!

Step 8:

Add a layer of the Golden Self Levelling Gel to the top and sides of the painting.  I set mine up on another jar of Golden product to elevate it up off the table while I added the layer of gel and let it dry.

Step 9:

Sit back and admire your handiwork!  

Great news...StencilGirl has a giveaway! 

Two winners: one will receive a set of the new 6"x 6" stencils 
and one will receive a set of the new 9" x 12"

All comments left on the hop are eligible for the giveaway so 
the more blogs you comment on, the more chances you will have to win. 
Have fun and GOOD LUCK!

The giveaway will close on Sunday, April 6th at 11:59PM Central Time. 

Please Note: Although this is considered a one day hop, 
you have the ENTIRE week to comment to win the prize.

Note about replies during blog hops: Blogger seems to cut me off at a certain number of replies (no sure how many) and then stops letting me post comments from you. Since I want anyone to have a chance to win the giveaway prizes,  I have decided to only reply if someone asks a direct question.  
Please know that all of your comments are much appreciated.  I do read them all, and I thank you for all of your kind and thoughtful words!

Blog Hop Order

Linda Kittmer- You are here
Carolyn Dube-Your next stop...

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm Featured on StencilGirl Talk Today...

I'm featured over on StencilGirl Talk today.  I'm creating a journal page using Carolyn Dube's Use Your Words stencil.  Here's a bit of a peak at what I'm doing...come on over to see more!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Variation On A Theme...

On Monday, during the StencilGirl / Lost Coast Designs blog hop I created a somewhat silly spread in my journal.  (BTW, it's not too late to get in on the fun or the prizes in that blog hop!)

Today I've decided to pull out a few other materials, namely this wonderful little coloured 'paper pocket' and a tag so that I could create a cute little variation yesterday's theme.  It's all really quick funny, since I've never been concerned about birthdays or my age, but I know some people are and so the idea was born.

I had this newsprint on which I had cleaned the dictionary stamp I used in the blog hop post while I was doing the background Gelli print.  I tore a couple of pieces from it to glue to the pocket and the tag.  Then using Inktense pencils, a stencil, the little black insert from doggie poo bags, and some acrylic paint I added some additional colour and texture.

Notice the drippage...drippage makes me happy!

Since all the additions resulted in the backgrounds not being totally flat, I stamped the two bird stamps on to deli paper, tore the images out, and adhered them using matte medium.

Add some magazine cut outs for the text, some fun tassels to the tag using yarns or whatever you have on hand and you've got a cute little birthday 'card' for that special friend who's celebrating the --th anniversary of their 29th birthday!

The message says, "A little bird told me it was your birthday...-but don't worry...I put an end the THAT!"

Here are the two pieces separate:


And what they look like with the tag tucked into the pocket ready to be presented to your friend!