Tuesday, 24 December 2013
First of all, some news!
I have finally moved house and acquired my very own craft room--- studio--- whatever we're all calling them nowadays. I'm so excited to have the space set aside to do whatever I want and not worry about having to tidy it away for dinnertime. It means I can let paint dry, which in turn means I can actually paint!
Secondly, how are you fixed for inspiration in the coming year?
I was lucky to experience Creative JumpStart 2013 in January of this year. It was an inspiring experience and in the end I was so happy with what was given to us all for free that I decided to make a donation.
In my weekly Skype chat with fellow crafter Wendy, I found out that Creative JumpStart 2014 was open for registration. This year they are asking for a modest fee to offset costs and I was perfectly happy to pay up front because I know the quality of what is on offer. Roll on 1st January! I am going to finally stretch out my creative muscles in my new arty-crafty space!!!
Would you like to join in with me and do CJS 2014? There is a forum for all participants. I'm sure that many of us will become fast friends through this creative journey. Click the photo above for details, or if that doesn't work, here's the link again: http://www.nathaliesstudio.com/cjs/creative-jumpstart-2014/
I have been up to quite a bit craft-wise but I'm not sure I remembered to photograph much of it. It's Christmastime and a lot of it is much of a Christmas muchness. I may take some snaps and get posting later on.
Oh, have I mentioned I'm on Instagram? My username is HapAxStudios, as it is on Twitter and Pinterest as well. If you're reading this and you'd like to add me on any of these apps, I'd be delighted and will add you back! :)
HapAxStudios is short for Happy Accident Studios and is my business name. I am also planning some vlogs (video blogs) as well. It's all happening now that I'm actually in a studio! Come join me all over the internet and hopefully at Natalie's Studio for CJS 2014. :)
Sunday, 22 September 2013
I'm nearly done with one of my daughter's decorative cushions. I thought I'd share with you my solution for cleaning up the look of the Suffolk Puffs (yo-yos).
My initial idea was to sew a button in the centre of each one. I didn't have enough buttons in the right size. In fact, I didn't have any buttons the right size! The larger ones covered up to much of the puff and the smaller ones got lost inside. After trying and failing to use sequins, I settled on small beads that I got at the 99p shop! Success!
I perfected my technique quite far down the cushion, so I do need to go back and fix a few mistakes.
I was so glad to finish my last Suffolk puff that I swore I'd done my last one, but I'm so pleased with these results that I'm already thinking about what to do next!
Monday, 26 August 2013
I haven't been hibernating, I promise! This weather has been so lovely that the sun has knocked the craft out of my brain! I have recently picked up a project that had been hidden away in a bag. It contained two projects in one: a spiral square and a linked-rings square. I finished four of the latter, sewing two of them to each end of the spiral square and adding some filler rows. Hopefully this will make up the front of an oblong cushion cover. I'm not sure yet.
Wednesday, 17 July 2013
Thursday, 11 July 2013
I have completed all the squares for the throw and I am now putting it together. It's more complicated to assemble than the first one because the squares are in three different sizes. It is challenging but not so much so that I don't look forward to doing it. I can't believe it went so quickly!
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Tuesday, 9 July 2013
Here she is, lending a hand in stamping her goodie bags, using the envelope trick as always. :) She stamped three cupcakes in blue on both sides and I folded the top over and made toppers to match the invitations.
That's another family birthday in the bag for this year! I wonder what next year will bring.
Fancy making your own occasional stationery? I am brimming with ideas. If you're in the Medway, Kent area or willing to travel there, keep an eye on Happy Accident Studios for classes, my Folksy shop and more!
Monday, 8 July 2013
I love to use acrylic paint on my wooden mirrors and other useful items for around the house, but I haven't until recently started painting on canvas.
I live in a rented house at the moment and there are lots of nails on the walls that have been left behind and painted over. I have been slowly using them up over the ten-or-so months I've been there. It's starting to look a bit like a museum now!
These two canvases were made during half-term holiday when my friend Crafty Frank (not her real name) came to stay. We enjoy having our child-free time to create.
The one on the right was made using Crafters Workshop stencils and the plastic netting that fruit and vegetables sometimes come in. I love the variety of colours and textures in this piece. I'm not quite ready to let go of it. Besides, it matches my curtains perfectly!
The one on the left was inspired by a piece I saw on Pinterest. By the time I had finished it, however, it had taken on a life of its own and barely resembles my inspiration piece. I showed a friend at my regular Wednesday Crafty Cafe. She was impressed with it and said, "Are you going to sell it?" I jokingly put a price out there and she said, "We have a deal!" Totally blindsided me. Okay, so... I'm selling now!
Sunday, 7 July 2013
I have applied the Viva Decor Croco paint generously through a Crafters Workshop stencil called Mini Pebbles. I used a palette knife and skimmed the paint thickly over the top, carefully lifting the stencil straight up to reveal quite thick shapes. I worked in sections and came back to it after days, if not weeks. I used a mix of Azure and Turqoise for this mirror.
The great thing about Croco is that the thicker you apply it, the more pronounced the crackle effect will be.
This lovely specimen is not yet finished. Once it is, if you're in love with it, you may purchase it on my Folksy Shop. I will be putting all of my mirrors on there eventually. Just look for the tag "Arty Farty" for the rest of them.
(As I blog this, Folksy is down for maintenance and I can't get the direct link on here. I think it may be http://www.folksy.com/shops/HapAxStudios -- but don't quote me on that.)
Saturday, 6 July 2013
I was squealing with delight over what happened in this book. I used only two colours of Dylusions spray inks by Ranger and out comes this fantastic landscape, complete with alien tree trunks ripe for doodling!
I love these summery colours. I'm not quite sure yet what I'll use the scraps for, but believe me, they will be used!
Friday, 5 July 2013
This one was made entirely with scraps, stickers and a single sheet of basic grey. I believe the collection is called Wisteria, but I have a touch of crafty amnesia. The title is hand-drawn.
My son played the violin for a couple of years and then quit. Here he is playing in the Olympiad of Sweet Sounds in 2011. Violinists will notice that he is holding the instrument wrong!
First Day of School. Self-explanatory really. This was the first time that my babies were in the same school. I made three of these pages: one for my son, one for my daughter and one for me. By the end of their school career they will have albums to take away with them when they fly the nest.
This page was made with Basic Grey Wisteria too. It's such a lovely collection. The larger words of the title were cut in a font called Elephants in Cherry Trees.
I've been looking enviously at my friends' blogs, loving their work and at the same time wanting-- no, needing-- to do the same. Perhaps it is time to dust off my scrapping stash!
Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Monday, 29 April 2013
Sunday, 28 April 2013
Saturday, 27 April 2013
Monday, 8 April 2013
Hmm.... it didn't photograph too well... but here it is!
On Friday night, I watched Karen Ellis on Ustream as I usually do. She took a bit of MDF and worked her magic on it and it was very cool. :) She thickly applied structure gel to the wood through a stencil, applied colour to it in her special arty way when the gel dried... then painted a coat of white on and proceeded to remove the white from areas that were raised. The result was fantastic. A lot more fantastic, I must say, than what you are seeing here.
I used a 6x6 stencil, repositioned repeatedly to get the entire frame covered, and I think the pattern is way too intricate to be effective, but lesson learned. :) I still really like the look of it. I might dry-brush a bit to try and catch the design a bit more, but I'm going to leave it a while and think about it. :)
Sunday, 24 March 2013
Friday, 22 March 2013
A month or two ago, I was messing around with paint, stencils and chipboard and made a scrapbook page that was ready to go bar a photo and title. I stashed it in one of my crop boxes and I found it when I unpacked at the crop. I had just done a print run of photos and one of them just looked great with the page, so on it went!
Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Here's my little Vixie using the computer. What's that on her head though?
It's a crochet bow! The pattern was in Simply Crochet issue 2, designed by Cara Medus. It called for 4-ply yarn doubled, but I just used some DK I had lying around. It is pink but variegated with bits of magenta into pink into grey. It's a very interesting one that LK picked up for me one day. Thanks!!
Vixie has already worn it twice, and that's saying something.
Monday, 11 March 2013
I live in a 1930's house that has the stained glass windows in the front hall. I decided to take these motifs as inspiration for my next mirror.
I wanted a little bit of the text effect, so I wrote some random French and English things about flowers and roses and friends etc and painted over it.
And here it is in situ:
I'm happy with that, although that's all I did this weekend. :)
Saturday, 9 March 2013
Broomstick Lace is the crochet technique shown here. There are four rows of four broomstick lace stitches in stripes of colour.
I learned Broomstick Lace from Naztazia on YouTube. Check her tutorial out and you'll be making these in no time!
I did alter the technique slightly to accommodate my needs. In Naztazia's instructions the stitch is a cluster of five loops held together by five stitches, but as my square was only to be 16 stitches in length, I clustered four loops and held them together with four stitches. This enabled me to keep to the scale of the project. When I was finished with the rows of loops, I continued around the border with chains to help with future assembly.
Squares of this colour combination are going into a special project that I'm doing with my mom. She lives in the USA and I live in the UK. We are crocheting different squares with the same yarn. When we make a square of a certain type, we make two of them. We keep one and send one out. We will each have the same exact squares, half made by each of us, and we will each be able to keep it.
I've done more squares. I'll post these too eventually. You have been warned!
Friday, 8 March 2013
I used three new items on this card:
1. Panpastel for the background. I bought a few pans from Ally Pally last year, but I never really got into them until I bought the Mixed Media 2 set from Oyster Stamps.
2. Also from Oyster, the Funny Bones sentiment stamp that I thought would work so well with-
3. My wool and knit set of Marianne D Craftables dies from Crafts-u-Love.
I'll be making more of these for my yarn-obsessed friends and anyone who wants to give one!
Thursday, 28 February 2013
Wednesday, 27 February 2013
And it's good-bye to the white! I used some ancient spray inks for this one: Moon Glow sprays in Wild Iris and Endless Sky with added distress ink in Faded Jeans.
Now to pop the letters and frames out a bit, I made up just enough paint out of my Primary Elements powders and Simple Solutions (Luminarte) paint what I needed in toning shades. I sprinkled some of the pigment powder in Kiwi around the other green elements to add more interest and sprayed with water.
I wasn't satisfied with that though. I thought it needed one last touch, so I added Sunset Gold Pearl-Ex to bring up some of the texture.
After applying some additional gel medium to the glass microbeads with a pallet knife and adding a bit of spray varnish, I have finally finished the mirror! Whew.... :)
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Have I mentioned how I detest taking pictures of square things?
Now before you cringe too much, it's not done. furthermore, it is in what Karen Ellis would call an "Ugly Stage." But I'm showing you because I'm just that honest.
If you haven't checked out The Art House Studio on Ustream, you're missing a giggle and lots of inspiration. It's actually broadcast live from Karen Ellis's shop/studio in Canada at 6:30pm her time, which makes it 11:30pm local time here in England. (Until they start changing the clocks, then it gets weird for a week or two) This past Friday she was working on a canvas with some dimensional elements and it was really inspiring. I decided that I'd have a go with the techniques myself.
This mirror (yet another bargain from ikea) was covered in texture paste and some gel medium. I stuck on some Tim Holtz Grungeboard letters and some chipboard frames. I sprinkled on some glass microbeads and added some oddly-shaped sequins and some flat-back gems. This is where I left it to allow the texture paste to dry.
I'm thinking of making more "motivational mirrors." I need some more good quotes to put on them though. Any ideas would be most welcome!
Next stop.... colour!
Monday, 25 February 2013
Please forgive the odd angle on this one. It is now hanging on a wall and I detest pictures of mirrors with cameras in them. Strange pet peeve, I know... but... that's me. :P)
Scroll down to see another picture of this mirror from the "before-time." Before what? Before Micaceous Iron Oxide. That's the black stuff you can see in two corners of the mirror. I decided after much thought that this mirror needed some overlay on the corners that didn't have the texture paste on it. There's enough space in the design that you can still see all the lovely crackling effects, plus the black stuff has a lovely sparkle to it that you can't see in this photograph.
Close ups and more mirrors to come. :) This was a Friday Night Craft-a-Palooza job I got done. I dearly wish I had more to show for four whole days at home without the kids. So far, I have blogged this, the waistcoat (now finished but probably awaiting customisation, knowing me...) and my art journal page.
There hasn't been nearly enough crafting, but there has been a bit more, which you will see tomorrow.
Sunday, 24 February 2013
Brighton Model World is going on this weekend. I know it's a bit too late by the time you read this to go down there, but I'm pleased to say that my kids are there, and have been since Thursday! I specifically ring-fenced this time for Craft-a-Palooza, my own personal time to craft and do whatever I want to. I have been trying to divide my time responsibly (there is still the dreaded housework to be done, after all!) and I think I've cracked it.
For some reason, the lights aren't working in the kitchen. They stopped working Friday night sometime. All I know is I came downstairs from a cat-nap (preparation to stay up late watching The Art House Studio on Ustream) and I had no lights in the kitchen. Not likely to be a bulb problem as there are three bulbs. The couldn't all have gone out, could they? It didn't pop the circuit breaker either, so it wasn't that. Mystery!
What this has forced me to do is take into account daylight. I must crochet with daylight coming in through the window over my shoulder. If I attempt to crochet with the room light on in front of me I will get eye strain and later on a focal migraine. I found that natural light from behind me allows me to crochet for a longer time with no eye strain. Natural daylight is also required for me to use (and clean) the kitchen, so I had to do that before I settled down to craft. After sunset, I can focus on crafts that I can do with interior lights on, which is pretty much everything else.
In the photo above is a waistcoat I have been making bit by bit since August. All I have left to do is sew up the shoulder seams and crochet borders around the armholes and neckline. It can be done!! I live in hope.
Saturday, 23 February 2013
Our family is in home limbo at the moment. Sometimes my thoughts can become plagued by "when will this all be over?" or, "Will the house we like still be on the market when our old house sells?" It's stressful to think of these things, and it's been causing the horrible "hurry up and wait" situation.
In an effort to stay calm about it all, I decided that when I start thinking too much about it, I need to reassure myself that the right house will come along at the right time, in the right place and at the right price. I shortened this to, "Right House, Right Place, Right Time, Right Price." Then I can let go of the stressful thoughts, replace them with some vague positivity and leave it at that.
Art journals can be good for focusing thoughts. I knew I wanted to make some kind of arty/crafty expression of this mantra so that I can picture it in my head as well. So here it is.
The inspiration for this page came from Joanne Sharpe's Art House which she made for The Art House Studio while she was there teaching some classes.
My Art Journal is a Kraft paper one, which generally means I either need to stick things into it, or prepare the paper first. My chosen medium for colour was PanPastels. This determined that I needed to prep the surface. I experimented on a previous art journal page with gesso and white/cream acrylic paint and decided on the latter. In my experience, gesso doesn't make a good surface for PanPastel, probably because it is made with chalk to begin with. It also picks up all the oil from fingerprints or anything else and areas coloured with PanPastel will highlight the oil. it was an interesting effect, and probably one to keep in mind if I ever want that to happen on purpose. but for the most part, the PanPastel seemed to prefer the acrylic, so that's what I used.
I made a background full of my mantra, in my own handwriting, using a variety of pens. I need to play some more and find greater variety in my writing styles, something that I'm sure a class with Joanne Sharpe will enable me to do.
The colour was added over the top of the writing with the PanPastels. I bought the starter kit Mixed Media 2. it has some beautiful colours in it and I have used pretty much all of them in this page. The colours are so vibrant in real life. The photo really doesn't do it justice. I sealed it with Pastel Fixative poured into a mini-mister bottle. I can't get hold of the spray verion at the moment, but this will do and furthermore, it will be cheaper every time I need to refill. The liquid fixative in a bottle costs less than the spray cans. Result!
Sunday, 10 February 2013
I'm not sure whether this one is done or not. There's a lot of fine detail in the non-textured sections that you might not be able to see, such as fine crackling. I didn't want to cover it all with the texture paste though, so I might have to be finished with it.
On this and yesterday's mirrors, the first coat of paint was a bright colour that I didn't want to see much of in the final product. Yesterdays was red at first. Todays was yellow. This time, I ended up scrubbing some of the paint back to reveal more of the yellow.