Thursday, 28 August 2014

Making JellyDots

The other day I ordered some enamel dots for a project I was working on. I waited and waited for them to arrive so I could finish the journal page I was working on.
When they arrived, they were lovely, but were missing one of the colours I needed.
You can see the 'real' enamel dots at the top, my handmade ones at the bottom.
This was my first attempt to make some, using 150gsm card, a plain old ordinary paper punch, my Copic markers and Glossy Accents.

While these were quite pretty, and definitely in the colours I wanted, you can see that the drop of Glossy Accents didn't spread to the edges.
So, back to the old drawing board.

I decided to make more, and use a headpin to work the Glossy Accents to the edges of the tiny circles of card. My largest hole punch is a quarter-inch, and a bigger one would definitely be better. Three-eighths maybe?

This worked REALLY WELL!
HOWEVER ... trying to get the headpin out, even using a second pin to free it from the GA was like playing a game of CRAZY CHOPSTICKS!
I was a step closer though.

Finally, I laid a strip of double-sided tape down onto a thick plastic bag, and laid just the very edge of the dot onto this. This holds it still while you
a) colour it with your markers in the colour you want, and
b) add the Glossy Accents drop and spread it to the edges using the sharp end of a headpin.
I left these to dry overnight and they are ready to use. However, a little longer might be better as I can push my thumbnail into them and leave a groove.
All up this took about five/ten minutes!

While these don't look exactly like the enamel dots you buy, they are cute, you can make them in any colour and size [limited only by the size hole punch you have], and finally, they cost NEXT TO NOTHING!
I thought while I was making them, they would look really nice with a few of the tiny glassbeads, or a seed bead pushed into them ... kind of like a mini-mini-paperweight!!

I will call them JellyDots, as they have a layer of clear over them and look like tiny little dots of jelly!

PS: Have now tried the 'adding beads' bit ... no, I don't think this all that good.
Here's a photo of my 'mass production' line ... laughing here ... all in all, including punching the circles, this lot took about 90-minutes.
Until the Glossy Accents dries, they may look a little milky, but this will totally disappear overnight.
One thing worth mentioning ... don't use High Tack double-sided tape ... just cheap old K-Mart special is good, and tap your hands over it before you place the dots ... just to remove some of the stickiness. This makes the dots easier to get off the next day!!

Have fun!

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Simple Watercolour Cards

I thought I'd post today, a simple technique for making very simple watercolour cards.

There are many posts on Youtube for this technique, as it's really popular.
This is what works for me, and allows me to make quick and easy cards to donate to my local vet, at a relatively little cost.

As someone who has received, and kept, cards from my vet after having sweet old Ellie put to sleep a few years ago, and beautiful Baxter in 2012, I wanted to come up with something quiet and peaceful and hopefully calming.

This technique seems to work well for this on-going project, and I choose the stamps and colours somewhat randomly, but always trying to keep in mind what these cards are for, and the feelings of the person who might receive one.

A little white in the background sometimes looks nice, and fits the image quite well.

Paper and Cards :
Just because something is inexpensive, it doesn't have to be 'nasty'. My local Scrapbook Store in York Rd, has a lovely range of rectangular cards, and I also buy from my local 'cheap' shop ... the square ones ...but in both cases the cards are die-cut and well matched up on the edges.

I mostly use mauve and white. Also pale blue and pale green look nice.

The Watercolour paper is Creativ brand, and I bought mine in K-Mart. An A3 pad will give six 12.5mm card panels from one page, which fit a 13cm x 13cm card base perfectly.

I have tried thicker papers, but found they were too thick for the cards, so I like this one ... it's only 180gsm, but has a well-textured side  which soaks up the water and colour well. You can also re-dip this a couple of times if you miss a spot.

Colour :
This is so simple ... simply scribble your chosen colours on an acrylic block ... or the edge of a plastic box [I marked out a square frame for this on the corner of a marker storage box] ... or an acetate sheet will also work well.

Every thing you need : A panel of watercolour paper cut a tiny bit smaller than your card-base, an acrylic block, watercolour markers [these are Marvy markers and Memento markers. Both work well. The Ranger Distress inkpads and markers also work well.

Here, I've added a mauve centre and an aqua surround. This is how it looks after a spray.

After  you've added the colour, give it a spray and dip your paper. When you lift it, you will see if there are any spots that need to be dipped again. Sometimes you can get a second panel done from the one colouring.
Let these dry, then stamp them.

A couple of these don't look the best ... if I don't like them after I've stamped them, I will bin them.

I really love the pelican stamp from Cherrypie on Ebay.  [See above in top photo and here].

It has lovely detail and seems to fit well with what I need.
I also use flower stamps, grass, and seabirds.
The seabirds and the grass stamps used here are from Stampscapes.
There are also lovely seabird stamps in the Beach set the pelican belongs with from Cherry Pie.
Sometimes I need to reinforce the horizon ... I do this with a brush dipped in a tiny bit of sprayed marker scribble in the colours I need. I don't often do this, but sometimes in a sea scene you do need to.

This card [below], was made using the top right panel in the photo two above. It was pretty randomly grey, but turned out to be a nice background for this peony stamp by Tonic Stamps.

To stamp, I use Archival Ink by Ranger, in Jet Black. This lets me use watercolour again to colour.
I coloured this panel, the peony using watered down Gelatos.

I used Gelatos in  this one too, but ended up tossing it as I messed up the stem and leaf I added. The gelatos worked really well though, in adding the colour. It was my hand drawing that bombed this one!

If I want to use Copics, I stamp using Memento Tuxedo Black.

Archival [or Versafine], work better with the watercolours though, and don't smear or bleed.

Finishing the Cards:
To finish these cards, I add an insert on the inside. This is just a full-sized leaf cut to a slightly smaller size than the card, using 80gms computer paper. Nothing fancy at all, but I add white with a white card and mauve with a mauve card.

Distressing the Edges :

I distress the edges of my panels with a Tim Holtz distresser ~ [you can see this distinctive little tool in the photos], and I add an extra layer of colour, by inking around the edges carefully.

I like this way to finish off these particular cards, as it gives a nice 'layer' of colour without the weight of an added panel.

I add the panel to the card-base using X-PressIt High Tack double-sided tape, and it's done.
I never add a sentiment, as these cards fill a different niche than what's usually  and the vet nurses write their personal messages inside.

I really love making these cards. This watercolour technique is one of my favourites, and it allows you to try new things, while working to a 'plan'. For this last set I made, I tried out some new stamps, practised using my Gelatos as a watercolouring medium, and tested out some new cardbases.

Thanks so much for visiting Seadragon Song, and I hope you might return in the future.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Mixed Media Journal Cover ~ Sea Theme

My Second Journal Cover :
After finishing my first Journal Cover ~ [separate post] ~

This first one was a straight out copy of a beautiful creation of Gabrielle Pollacco's : [Such a Pretty Mess blogspot], ~ I decided to have another go and try to be a bit more original.

Although she was very complimentary, and shared how she did hers on her blog, posting a great step-by-step tutorial and video as well, I still feel really weird about copying someone else's work.

So this venture will be my own ... however, if you're a follower of Gabrielle's, you'll see that I have copied her use of the Dusty Attic Seagrass chippie. She used this in a canvas she made of a mermaid.
I love Dusty Attic cut-outs. So beautifully detailed!

Problems : ARRGGHH!
I couldn't believe it ... when I unwrapped this Strathmore Journal, [bought on Blitsy a few weeks ago], it didn't have a cover! How can you make a journal cover, if the journal HAS NO COVER?!
Well, you make the cover.
This yellow front page is thicker than paper, but certainly not card! It didn't even have a plastic cover.

I use a lot of this watercolour paper, below.

It's a Reno brand, A3 pad, from my local dollar store and these are great value at around $10! The pages are lovely and thick and they make great card-bases! I was so glad I'd kept the empty pad ...

See the bumps at the top?

I cut it with my Craft knife, but it took a few goes to get through the thickness. The holes even matched. BUT, it was about a centimetre too short. At first I just thought "What the heck!" but then decided to have a go at extending it.
I drilled five holes into the edge, then again in the strip, just  using my Dremel that I use for drilling seaglass. The Dremel HATED the cardboard.
Eventually I got there, and glued in tiny pieces of toothpick ... then Gesso-ed over everything a few times. You can see the marks here even though everything's glued and seems strong, but this will be covered by Texture Paste on the outside and strong paper on the inside of the cover, so it shouldn't matter.
I'll use the hard, strong back that came on the Strathmore Journal as the front cover, and the homemade cover on the back where it's less noticeable.

First Steps :
I covered both sides of the front and back covers with Gesso. When you do this on an art journal, don't forget the edges. Stuff ~ sprays and water, paints and texture paste ~ gets everywhere, so you don't want to allow anything to soak into your covers, destroying all the work you've done making them special.

I gave this overnight to dry, as I'd applied two/three coats.

Adding Texture Paste :
I use homemade texture paste. Thank you Gabrielle, for adding this great recipe to your blog. I'm on my third lot now and it always makes up brilliantly! It mixes well, spreads easily and dries pretty fast on the project. It takes colour really well, and doesn't chip or peel away. You can also sand it, but I think it's easier if you remove any little mistakes before it dries ... just scrape anything you don't want away with a palette knife.

I used the following stencils for this journal cover :
'Shine', by Memory Box

Stencil Girl : S133 'Mayne'

Ranger Dylusions : Dyan Reaveley : 'Bubbles" Large

This little set is lovely. Bought from Ebay, very low priced ... not sure of seller.
First Layers :
I started with the 'Shine' stencil, and placed it up in the top left ... hoping to give the impression of sunrays slanting through the water.

This 'light ray effect' maybe needs extending down further into the water, but will do this with light acrylic near the end ... if I need to.
Next was the shell/paving pattern which I added at the bottom, leaving the middle space because I'm not clever enough to fill the whole section at once. I did the left, then the right ... waited till it dried then added a little more in the middle.

They make it look so easy on Youtube ... but I can't do it! Better to wait!

Then I added the bubbles, again in a couple of lots, because I always catch the edge of the stencil on the wet texture paste if I try to do it all at once!

I scraped away a few sections that didn't make the complete round shape, or weren't where I wanted them.

Next I added the seahorse, and then some scallop shells [really pretty, like a fan!], and a conch.
I hadn't intended to use the seahorse .. .was planning to use a die-cut turtle ... remembered the seahorse and it was perfect. Really happy with this, but will probably add the turtle as well, it's only small!

Now I'm leaving the whole lot to dry overnight!

                                                 *  *  *  *  *

I Needed Another Hole ...
When I made the back cover, and added the strip to get the right size, I was one hole out for when I'd have to reattach the spring. Wide awake at 1.30am, it hit me ...
Four tiny holes drilled at the corners of the square, then with the drill sliding sideways, it took five minutes ... a quick  file, a coating with gesso and it was done.

Don't know why it took me so long to figure it out ... it's a classic jewellery technique for getting into the middle of a piece of metal without sawing in from the edge, and dead easy! Not the neatest, but none of the other holes are either, and IT WORKED!!

I've also now added some small turtles, using dies-cuts from a Memory Box die called Honu. Also a fish ... and a few more bubbles ...

I think the back is pretty well finished ... apart from colour and a little stencilling perhaps.
The front too ...
I've added some small turtles, heading for the light, and a Dusty Attic 'Seagrass' in small size. I love  this ... it's so graceful!

I went over the seahorse on the front with another application of Texture Paste, just to get him to stand out a little more. Not hard, and it works fine ... just be careful to line up the stencil perfectly.

Adding the Colour :
Finally ~ this is the fun part, and I must say, the tones of pale sea-blue and silver that I'd had in my mind just didn't happen.

For the basic colours I used, from the bottom ... Smooch Spritz 'Copper', Flat Fabio [Lindy's Stamp Gang] in an olivey green, and lots of Glimmer Mist at the top in 'Seaglass'.

You can see here [above], that I've started adding gold for the rays of light. I used two pots of different Inklingz for this ~ both gold, but "Blue My Mind' has a blue sheen, so I used this for the seahorse and the turtles, and part of the seagrass.
I used the 'Miner, Miner' for the bubbles and the rays of light.

Inklingz "Miner Miner' is a pale, cool gold.

You can see the difference in the two golds in this next photo ... the turtles and seahorse have been coloured with 'Blue My Mind' and the bubbles and rays are 'Miner Miner'.

I've darkened the scallops with a mix of Twinkling H2O's ... a red one and one called Cedar, which toned down the bright red. I've also painted a little gold between paving patterns at the bottom. Mainly because I spilled it on my craft mat and could only soak up so much with a syringe! Wow, so handy to have one on the table! But I didn't want to waste the rest so I added it at the bottom. I was pleased that I did.

AND NOW MY FAVOURITE BIT ...  adding gems ... I love this bit ...
Most likely I added too many ... but I have control problems where this is concerned!
I used BoBunny gems from a couple of different packets I had open.

And now a few photos of the details :

And FINALLY, I put it all back together. The cover I made fits perfectly and I'm really happy that I went to the extra trouble of extending the piece that was too short. I don't think the section will come off, it seems really strong.

So now I can say I've made a Journal Cover, start to finish, by myself without needing to copy anyone.
I would like to say a huge Thank You though, to Gabrielle Pollacco, whose Steampunk Journal cover gave me the inspiration and the knowledge to be able to create something like this myself!

And here is the full Journal cover, all put back together, showing the front and back.

Thank you SO MUCH to anyone who manages to wade through this ... it's very long and not all that well put together. This is the first time I've added a detailed 'How to make something' kind of blog post, so again, thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you may want to return!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Cards for our Wonderful Vet!

Our wonderful vets, at the Penrith Vet Hospital, are kind and caring! I guess all vets would have to be, to do the job they do.
And when the saddest time of all comes, the time to say goodbye, our vets send a card afterwards. The nurses and girls in  the office write personal messages on them, and they are really lovely to get.

Not many vets do this it seems, and I've kept the two cards that have come to me. I always will keep these in memory of Ellie and Baxter, two sweet pooches who lived long and happy lives as part of out family.

A friend in England tells me her vet just sends the bill.

AS I got further into this card-making hobby, I learned that quite a few of the ladies in my group make cards for good causes ... some go to cancer clinics, others overseas to soldiers, so that they might have something to send home to loved ones, and another girl makes them for bereaved parents of newborns.

I thought I would make some so that my vet would have a supply to send out when needed.

I chose to do these on watercolour paper and using a technique that's really simple.

All you do is scribble/smudge some water colours onto an acrylic block, spray with water and gently lay the watercolour paper onto the block. As the paper soaks up the colour, beautiful patterns form.
Each and every one is different.

You can use any water-based ink pad or marker for this technique. I use my Distress ink pads, and also Marvy Markers.

It's taken me a while to get the colour combinations I'm really happy with, but I think I'm there now, with the pelicans. I was aiming for quiet and peaceful.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you can return another time.