#248

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HEXAGONS!
Shopping day, as you may have noticed. I didn’t get a lot. Half because they didn’t have what I wanted, half because I got tired, half because there’s a craft market this weekend, and half because my fractions are wrong…
So, I bought my replacement big shot cutting plates. I haven’t used them yet, mainly because I heard that it’s better to use your more worn ones with the bigz dies, and save your nice, straight ones for thin metal dies. I’m not sure it matters, but it might keep them nicer for longer.
I’ve been looking online for some nice and small stamps, things that I can’t make myself, or print easily. I’ve had a hard time picking any, even in the shop, I saw some, but they were quite expensive for the few stamps that I liked in the pack. I ended up finding a stamp set in a completely different aisle to the one with the stamps in it, which was half the price, and twice as nice. It seems to be designed as a marriage set, but aren’t so strongly themed, that they could be used for a lot of things. There’s a dress that I tried colouring in red, which turned out lovely, and the diamonds will make great embellishments. There’s a bike leaning against a lamp post, which would be lovely to colour in with water colours, and banners and flourishes which I love to use.
When I went out today, I had dedication that I wanted to buy a die set. They had nothing of my interest in the die section and not even many punches to choose from. I’d given up looking, when in the fabric section of the store had the dies designed for fabric. When I first received my big shot, these weren’t released, but I was looking for a bigz die with a hexagon for making a quilt. Today I found exactly what I had been looking for. Apparently, the technique of making a quilt with hexagons is called English Paper Piecing, which I didn’t know. I’ve never been great at quilting, and hexagons might not be a great place to start, but I like a challenge.
Plus, hexagons 🙂

#247

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While not-sleeping last night in bed, I was thinking about stamping and getting ideas. One of them was that the hexagon silicon pot holder that I use as a resin doming mat would probably work nicely as a stamp. Turns out, I was right, and with my glorious infatuation with hexagons lately, this will be very useful. Imagine some golden honeycomb pattern embossed in gold on a caramel brown background, or a light airy feel with yellow on a white base as a background for spring flowers. Even a green hexagonal design on black would make for an awesome card for the many computer geeks that I know.
These mats don’t only come in hexagons either, I’ve seen ones with squares, too, which would be fun.
Seems like I’ll be looking for stamps in everyday objects now.

#246

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I was browsing the internet, adding to my wish list of craft supplies, when I was thinking how awesome stamps with matching punches are. Due to lack of availability, cost and the fact I like making things, I decided I could do this myself. I’ve been wanting to carve some stamps and I definitely need to practice more, but I like the rough style that came out of it.
I began by punching the shape I wanted, from card, and traced it onto the carving rubber. I then cut the shape out using a blade, and began carving away. The grooves don’t need to be too deep, just check if it needs to be deeper by inking it on an ink pad. Anywhere the colour touches will likely stamp onto the paper, so cut these unwanted parts off. White erasers can be used to do this, but I find the rubber from the art store carves much easier and cleaner, and it’s cheap.
The only thing to be wary of is make sure you carve within the line that you traced, as it will be slightly larger than the punch itself, and it won’t match well. Don’t forget you can make negative and positive patterns, have multiple stamps matching each punch and die, or even have two step stamping.

#245

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The other day, when I was playing with the water colour pencils, I created a few blobs of colour. I had seen a picture on pinterest and a blog showing chicks, bunnies, piggies and mousies using a blob of watercolour and a pen. They are so cute and so simple, I had to try. By using the watercolour pencils, the shapes weren’t too random, so I had to add a lot of water. I ended up with two birds, a frog, a pig, a blue pokemon (?) and a three year olds representation of a human. All turned out pretty cute. I added some white pen to some things for dots or patterns. I’d like to do this again with tube watercolours and a larger soft brush for random splodges. This would be perfect as a diy paper pattern. Either on cards, down a bookmark, as wrapping paper or make a scene with the critters like they did in the blog. This could also help to create simple cartoon characters or creatures. You could wet your page, if you want, put on some colour, then find a figure in the resulting shape. Try it out, you can adjust it to your skill level, making it as simple or elaborate as you want. Just have fun!

#244

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Back when I bought my masking fluid, I masked out this piece on a small piece of watercolour paper, and it’s been at the top of my craft to do list, but I didn’t really have room to get out my paints out. So while watching youtube, I realised I have watercolour pencils and a water brush (brush with water in the barrel, negating the need of a water pot.) This is a rather clean way of water colouring, as there is next to no clean up, as all you need to clean the brush is wipe it on a tissue until it runs clear. Because the yellow was too light, I decided I needed to add shadows, which I made with copic markers. I could have used a warm grey, but decided it’ll stay brighter if I used colours that matched. Finally, I went over the letters in white gel pen, to brighten it and cover and mistakes or pencil lines that didn’t erase properly.
In hindsight, it would probably been easier and look better if I used an embossing pen and covered it in white heat embossing powder to create a resist, instead of bothering with the masking fluid, but it was interesting to try and it looks nice. If it was less bright, it would be perfect for a phone wallpaper.

#243

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I needed to draw something last night, and this ended up on the back of some cardboard packaging. It’s a nice midtone, and a hell of a lot cheaper than buying grey or brown paper. I was cutting up food boxes that I had collected, so I could use them for die cutting and things. Layering three to five pieces of card die cuts together make a rather sturdy piece, which can be used as pendants and embellishments. When using packaging, you can layer so the plain side is outwards, then paint and seal the piece. You can use nail polish to paint it, put a coat glossy accents, make a layer of paper using the same die, punch a hole in each layer before gluing them together (make sure they line up) or even bend the piece while the glue is wet and make it keep a curved shape. Luckily, I have plenty of cardboard boxes, to craft with, that I’ve been hoarding, but slowly getting through.
My craft room is coming along slowly. I’ve got both bookshelves up now, but that involved moving a whole lot out of the way, which is taking up a lot of room in the middle somewhere. My cat thinks it’s a fun game to climb out of reach (knocking down boxes as she does,) and meow for pats all the time. The other cat like standing behind me when I’m moving boxes. The problem mainly with the room is I’ve spent a few years throwing things into boxes, without properly sorting or organising. That’s the problem with inspections every three months. By the time you get to the stage of it looking worse before it looks better, you need to rush to put things out of sight, not minding which box its in. So today I finally wound all my embroidery thread onto the cardboard holders (not sure why they aren’t sold on them) and began untangling the mess of my ribbon boxes. I know I’ll find more of these while sorting through, but if I leave it, I’ll run out of time again. I need to do this right. It will be more functional, and I will find things I never knew I had or have been looking for. It will be like going to the craft store without spending money!