Monday, April 14, 2014

Rebekah Meier Stencils by Crafter's Workshop Blog Hop

What a pleasure to participate in this challenge with a very talented group of designers chosen by Rebekah to showcase her new stencil designs by Crafters Workshop.

The Crafter Workshop Stencils can be purchased from Bluemoon Scrapbooking.  We were sent four  6" x 6" stencils from this new line: Ring Doily Stencil,  Stain Glass Stencil, Byzantine Stencil and Rosetta Stencil.

Once receiving the stencils,  the hard choice was - "what should I do"?

Though all the stencils can be used together, I chose to showcase two stencils individually in two different projects.

Some time ago I was lucky enough to take part in a week-end workshop with Magdalena Muldoon.  I became interested in metal embossing.  During the two day workshop we were shown several ideas in working with metal.  One process was embossing with stencils.  After seeing the designs in Rebekah's stencils I thought it would be fun to work one of the stencils into a metal embossed design.     I chose the Stain Glass Stencil to work with for this project.  The metal piece I created was then used for a cover on a simple album.  The stencil design was traced onto a piece of metal with a metal tracing tool.  The design was refined by using a variety of metal embossing tools.  Once the design was embossed into the metal, I filled in the raised designs on the backside.  This is done with spackling paste or anything that will harden to hold the raised part of the design in place.  Because I had a small area to fill, I used Plaid® Royal Coat Dimensional Magic™.

To give the piece an antique look, the embossed image was cover with Black Soot Distress Paint and then wipe off with a paper towel.  The paint will embed itself into the embossed areas.  If needed, more paint can be added and rewiped.  To add a little accent, some Perfect Pearls was brushed over the image. The use of the stencil did not end with the metal cover.  I took a piece of solid fabric and used the stencil, along with Tim Holtz Distress Stain Bundled Sage.  I simply took the stencil and while holding it in place, I rubbed the Distress Stain over it.  The process was repeated over and over across the piece of fabric by overlaying the stencil and applying the Distress Stain.   The result of this process gave the fabric the look of batik that looked amazing on the fabric.  The fabric was than used to cover corrugated and chip board to create the album.  Add some binder rings to hold the album together and embellish with a variety of ribbons or cords tied to the rings for a finishing touch.

So I just couldn't stop and wanted to play with the stencils and paints.

Finding a canvas bag in my stash of items I thought it would make a great surface to repurpose.  The image on the bag was coated with two coats of white gesso.

For the bag, I used the Byzantine Stencil.  I began in the center of the bag by applying a layer of  US ArtQUest Heavy Artist's Cement.  Spread a layer over the stencil with a palette knife.  It is alright for it to be an uneven layer.  Lift and clean the stencil off with water.   Allow this to dry very well before continuing.  Using two colors and acrylic paints of choice, the stencil was held in place in the four corners and paint is applied over the stencils.  To add a bit more texture, the stencil was partially placed in any open areas and more heavy artist cement is added.  Once this dries, brush or sponge additional paints to add more color.  Black fabric was die-cut using Tim Holtz Wordplay die by Sizzix.  The letters were glued to the bag and the entire stenciled area was coated with a Sealer.  This repurposed canvas bag will now be added to the collection of reusable bags that I use for all my shopping needs.

I thank Rebekah for asking me to be a part of this blog hop and having the chance to work with her stencils.  I also look forward to seeing all the other projects the others will be sharing here.  I'm sure there will be inspiring and creative ideas flowing here.

Follow all the links to all the other blog posts to get inspired.   Answer Rebekah's question by leaving your comment on her post - you may be lucky enough to win her new stencils.


    An InLinkz Link-up

Arnold Grummer Blog - Creating Shapes with Paper Pulp

Spring finally seems to showing itself here in our area.  Along with signs of the season popping and blossoming here and there, the robin's and other feathered friends are singing and building their nests for more new life.

Many will be celebrating Easter next Sunday.  My little family will be gathering here to celebrate both the holiday and the five Spring birthday's we have within one month.

While working on making seed papers for my last post I also had the idea to make paper pulp and work with casting shapes with other forms that I have within my supplies.  I found an egg shaped mold that was used to make chocolate or sugar shaped eggs.  I had to try to use this mold to form a large egg shape using paper pulp.

I wanted to experiment with the pulp and find a way to make the shape stiffer.  I feel my experiment was succesful.  After making several batches of pulp I strained as much of the water out as possible.I placed the entire  amount into a bowl and added approximately 1/4 cup of Stiffen Stuff by Beacon Adhesive and mixed it into the pulp.  By hand, I began to pat the pulp into the egg mold bringing the pulp up over the top edge slightly and then repeated the process with the other half of the mold.  I used small pieces of sponges to try to remove as much of the moisture from the pulp as possible.  To help the drying process along, I placed the molds into the microwave and set it at short intervals of 40 seconds several times, beginning at 50% power and working to 100% power for 30 seconds.  After this process the shapes were left to dry completely overnight.  Once dry, the shapes were carefully removed from the molds.  To make the shapes stronger, I brushed several light coats of Stiffen Stuff onto the shapes.  NOTE:  I did several coats on the outside of each form, allowing them to completely dry between coats then repeated the same process on the inside.

From one half of the egg shape I created a candy holder.  The outside was painted with white pearl acrylic paint finish and the inside was painted with a yellow glitter paint.  A handle was fashioned from a strip of handmade paper.  NOTE:  To stiffen the handle, Stiffen Stuff was brushed onto the strip following the same process mentioned above.  A length of decorative ribbon was glued to the handle.  Two paper brads are used to attach the handle to the base.  Fill with "grass" and your favorite candy.

The second half was finished to hold a little chick and some paper flowers for a sweet Spring decoration.  This half was painted with white paint and the covered with glue and sprinkled with white glitter to give it the look of sugar coating.   In the bottom of the egg Icut a piece of styrafoam and glued it to the inside.  Folded green rice paper was cut into thing strips to create paper grass.  Paper punched flowers with leaves were created with a piece of wire placed between to flower punch shapes and placed into the foam.

This project will more then likely lead to more experiments with using pulp to form three-dimensional shapes in the future.

Visit the Arnold Grummer website and when placing an order for product use the code MOM20 this month to receive 20% off your order.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Designer Craft Connection - April Showers Bring May Flowers

Spring has "officially" arrived by the calendar, but Mother Nature is being a bit difficult in our area in getting Spring started after a very tough Winter.  Times like this call for one to bring on our own "Spring"!

Last month I missed posting for the DCC blog, though I had a couple of posts up from another blog that I am posting to each month.  It has been fun creating for this months theme.  Once again I went to my favorites!  Out came the Big Shot and those Sizzix dies.  Instead of working with papers I went to my scraps of fabrics and felt and used those to make some "blossoms".

The inspiration for the planter of flowers started with an old wooden cheese box that sits on the mantel and my love of daffodils.  With the changing seasons, this cheese box holds a variety of different things.

Using the largest of Eileen Hull's XL Scoreboard dies, the Box, Square, I made two  boxes, from some chipboard pieces in my stash of stuff, for the base of the planter.  Using a lighter weight chipboard and a Tim Holtz Impression Folder, a wood pattern was created for the outside of the planter.  A variety of Distress Inks and Stains were applied to color the chipboard to look like wood.  The two panels were then adhered to the box base.  Two cubes of foam were cut to place inside each box to hold the finished flowers.  NOTE: Some moss was added to cover the foam.

To make the flowers I first chose a selection of print and solid fabrics that would coordinate.  All the fabrics were fused with an iron-on adhesive.  Each of the fabrics were then die-cut using a variety of Sizzix dies.  Here is a list of the dies that I used for the flowers:  Flower, Petal Power (tulips), Flower Layers #1(blue posies), Flower Layers #4 (white coreopsis), Flowers, 3D (orange roses), Flower Layers #6/ Tattered Florals ( daffodils) and Border & Hydrangeas (violets).  NOTE: Here is were need to look beyond the orginal use of a die. Most can be altered in many ways to create a whole new look.

Beacon Fabri Tac glue was used to form the flowers.  Buttons or beads were used for the centers of the flowers.  The centers all have wire attached to make the stems.  Once all the flowers were made the wire stems were covered with green floral tape.

Leaves were hand-cut and die-cut from six different colors of felt then added to the stems.  I made my own template for the tulip and daffodil leaves and cut them from the felt.  The remaining leaves were die-cut.  Dies used for leaves were: Eileen Hull - Leaves (roses/the smallest leaf), Eileen Hull - Flower, Petal Power (violet/small petal) and  Brenda Pinnick - Flower, Wedding Foliage (coreopsis/ posies).  The leaves were then glued to the stems of the flowers with Fabri Tac glue.

The flowers were then arranged into the planter.  A simple thin skewer became a plant poke. The word "blossoms" is die-cut from colored card stock and placed onto the white pennent, using double-sided Adtech Crafter's Tape.  A bit of fine glitter is added to cover the tape.  The pennent is backed with a dark green card stock and glued onto the skewer.  Add a little raffia bow to finish.

The finished planter has found a spot for Spring on the mantel but it would also make a nice centerpiece on any Spring table by arranging the flowers differently.

A few more blossoms to share with you -

Here is a banner I made a while back once again using  Sizzix dies by Eileen Hull.  The flowers are made with the Flower, Petal Power die and the Bigz Leaves die.  Solid cardstock was die-cut and embossed with large and small dot impression plates.  The petals were shaded with Distress Inks to add some contrast before assembling.  Each center circle spells out "Spring Has Sprung" with alphabet stickers.

If the flowers are not blooming outside, make your own and fill your house!

Now check out all the other ideas this month by continuing through the other blogs - just click the Designer Craft Connection button to the right of this post.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Arnold Grummer's Blog - Making Seed Papers

A suggested theme for this month was making seed papers.  Since this is one thing that I had never tried before I decided to give it a whirl!

The results are these seed packets using the seeded sheets of paper.  Along with those I included a paper casting "plant poke" to add in a garden or a flower pot.

I did a bit of research on making seed papers and found a couple different approaches. The process began just as if making any sheet of paper.  Create the pulp and add it into a vat for dipping.  Choose a mold to form your paper.  NOTE: Either use the dip method or the pour method.  Add a template before proceeding if desired for a shape.  Use cookie cutters for creating unique shapes.

The samples of the finished papers show two different methods for adding the seeds.  The sheet on the left had the seeds added as the paper was lifted from the water vat.  Most of the seeds stay on the top of the sheet.  The opposite side is fairly smooth.  The sheet on the right has the seeds added to the mold of pulp before lifting.  They are mostly embedded into the pulp.  I used a mixture of seeds that are meant to attract butterflies and are of various colors.  Larger seeds are more difficult to embed into the papers.

Use the packet from the seeds to create a template to form the "seed paper packets" or draw your own. The sheet on the left was used to make the larger packet.  NOTE: Any seeds that became loose from the sheet were placed inside once the packet was formed.
Inside of Packet
Outside of  Packet
The seeded paper sheet on the right was used to make the smaller version of the seed packet.

To finish off the packages, I used an image from the original seed packet that was scanned and printed from the computer to create bands, plus the band describing the seeds.  A small label was placed on the back with directions.  Just a small ribbon and a punched paper butterfly finishes the look.

Make these as shower favors for a wedding or baby.  Think of using "baby's breath" for a baby shower.  Use them for wedding favors with flower seeds that the bride likes.  Make them for sending to friends and use "forget-me-nots" seeds.

Along with making the papers, I found some molds in my crafting room that are used for other various mediums.  It was time to experiment a little more.  From a mold that was made for making plaster casts, I made the coordinating butterfly shape from paper pulp, to create the plant poke.  A bit of paint and a coating of varnish is all that's needed before placing on a "Sticky Stick" to finish the plant poke.

For my first attempt at making seed paper I was pleased at the results.  This process would be fun to do with kids.  Make several sheets and allow them to cut it in various shapes, by hand or using a simple die-cutting machine.  Then plant some paper that grows!

Earlier this month there was another post on this process.  Refer to this previous post about making wedding favors from seeded papers for another example:

For savings this month at the Arnold Grummer website here is a link and use the code - EARTH20 for savings.  There you can find a fun kit for kids (or any one wanting to have some fun) on how to make paper that grows.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Arnold Grummer's Blog - Papers With Texture

All handmade papers have something special about them.  Any piece can be distinct by what is blended together to create the papers.  This time around I was inspired to play with textures for the sheets I created.

Looking through the various crafting tools I have available in my workroom I found several forms of "texture" plates that can have a variety of uses.

To create this little booklet, a sheet of paper was made from a pile of scraps saved from several prior papermaking projects.

Once they were blended together with some cotton linter squares and a torn sheet of copy paper it was poured into the deckle and then formed into a sheet following the usually instructions.  Before the drying process, the sheet was placed onto the plastic texture sheet, covered with a couching sheet and pressed with pressing block, applying as much pressure as possible to add the texture from the plastic sheet to the paper.  The textured piece was then left to dry on its own without ironing.

The sheet was folded in half and torn into two pieces for the booklet covers.  Add pages using any papers of choice.  A length of ribbon is threaded through holes to hold covers and pages together.  Decorative leaf ribbon is place on the front cover.  Letters are die-cut from a handmade piece of paper that has been coated with epoxy resin.

This same idea could create booklets for wedding programs, memory books or any type of keepsake books for any purpose and theme.
NOTE: Thin applications of decoupage finish was brushed lightly onto the surface of the cover pieces to strengthen the paper.  Apply finish in a few thin coats as not to lose the texture in the paper.

Another example of a textured piece is here:

To make the texture stand out, rub the surface with chalk or mica powders.

For savings on your order go to the website  and use coupon code - EARTH20 for 20% off.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Arnold Grummer's Blog - Just a Little Bit of Luck

Hearts shapes are so last month, with March just a few days away it time to think of "Shamrocks" and GREEN.

From the last post I wrote, I mentioned how I was playing around with paper pulp.  After making several sheets of handmade paper to be used in cards for embellishments, I decided to use paper pulp to form thicker shapes and thicker pieces of paper to be used for other projects.

The idea of making thick shapes and paper sheets was to show how hamdmade paper pieces like these can be used several other ways.  The texture of handmade paper and shapes adds to any element you can make.

After forming a thick shamrock shape, with a cookie cutter as a deckle, it became a perfect base for a necklace.  It was colored using thinned acryrlic paints of various green hues.  It was applied by tapping the colors onto the surface using a brush or sponge applicator.  NOTE: Do not use too much water in this process. Allow the piece to dry between applications as not to saturate the paper too much.  When the coloring is to your liking, allow the piece to dry very well and it will become very firm once again.

Punch a small hole near the top where desired and add a eyelet. Add a large jump ring for the necklace. I used two different size and colors of crystals to apply to the shape.  Using a thin beading wire, transfer each set of crystals onto length of wire.  Begin wrapping the crystals around the shape, keeping the crystals only on the front of the surface.  NOTE: I began with the smaller sized crystals on the bottom and overlapping the larger ones on top.  I left a small length of wire on the back side from each strand of beading wire to twist and connect the two to hold them in place.

At the bottom of the shamrock a small hole was made with a piercing tool and a wishbone charm on a jump ring was added.

Three different strands cord or ribbon became the necklace.  Cut the same length from a jute cording, and two different ribbons.  Find the middle and lace through the large jump ring.  Each side was braided and then knotted to from the necklace.

After finishing the necklace I thought why not add something else.  So a pair of earrings were created, again with only papers.  To make the base discs and the small shamrocks, I used scraps of other handmade papers that were left from the previous projects.  Punch two round circles for each earring from the paper, punch three flower shapes for each earring from the paper.  NOTE: It may be helpful to place the paper to be punched between two pieces of waxed paper.  This aids in the process of punching the handmade papers.   I trimmed one of the flower petals with small scissors to form the stem of the shamrock.  The flower shapes are glued together to give them a little more stability.  NOTE: As each is glued, I trimmed it to make the stem.  The finished shamrocks are colored using the same process as above. 

 I created two discs for the background using handmade paper scraps also.  I made them to look similar to the metal discs that could have been used.  This was done to show how paper can replicate other mediums.  Again, I glued two layers of the punched circles together for each earring.  Two more circles were punched from a gold cardstock I had on hand for the backside.  NOTE:  Three layers of the paper circles would work fine too.  This was just a preference.   These circles are glued to  the others with the gold facing out.  The front surface was colored with a bronze paint and when dry, I inked over the discs with Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain Distress Inks.  The results looked very similar to the copper metal discs.  Pierce a hole into the top of each disc for a jump ring and attach.  Add a smaller ring to the earring wire, then attach to the the earring disc.  I coated the discs with Ranger  Glossy Enamel to give them a resin look.

These ideas that I have shared so far are created to show the various ways handmade paper can be used.  It is a fun process to create your own papers or castings.  Paper can be used for many things besides writing on!

This is the COUPON CODE: STPAT20 for the month of February.  Save some "green", 20%, on an order at the Arnold Grummer website.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Arnold Grummer Blog - Shades of Green

The winter weather here has been pretty brutal this year.  Though I normally love the snow and can deal with the cold without much of a problem, I have to say I am getting a bit tired of seeing "white" everywhere for this long.  When Spring arrives it will be truly welcomed.  Looking forward to the sight of tiny purple and yellow crocus' and the bursts of green everywhere.  Green, the color of new life.  Here are three cards that I created from a handmade sheet of paper and extra pulp. Shades of green to express "Thanks", Happy St. Patrick's Day and a Celtic note.

The first card above with the Celtic Heart design began with a small square of handmade paper.  I used a brass stencil with the design to transfer the image to the paper.  Hold the stencil in place tightly.  NOTE: It can also be taped down carefully using a low tack masking tape.  Using a small foam applicator, ink over the stencil with a dye based green ink.  I small amount of Peeled Paint Distress Stickles™was carefully spread by a fine paint brush onto the stenciled image.  Carefully  tear the four edges of the square.  The torn square image is layered onto a light green square, cut with decorative scissors, then layered onto a gold square that was textured with a Sizzix Embossing Folder, finally onto a blank card. NOTE: A length of ribbon with a small tailored bow was added for embellishment.

The second card used two shamrock shapes that were first colored by applying one or two inks.  Both are embossed using a Sizzix Embossing Folder.  The embossed shapes get one more ink added to the raised areas.  The shamrocks are glued onto a gold piece of card stock. These two layers are placed onto a coordinating card stock that is edged using a decorative border punch.  The card is finished with a length of "St. Patrick's Day ribbon over the layers after being attached to a blank card.

The final card starts with a piece of handmade paper being stenciled with the word "thanks" using a brass stencil.  Both edges are punched with a border punch.  NOTE: A piece of waxed paper is folded over the edges before punching the decorative design. The waxed paper helps with this edge punching.  This piece is glued onto a gold square that has an embossed design on half the piece and corners rounded, then onto a colored piece of card stock with the two edges cut with the same border punch.  Add ribbon onto the three layers (refer to photo), tie a bow and glue the entire piece to a blank card.

NOTE: I used Tim Holtz Distress Inks for the stenciling on two cards and to color the two shamrock shapes.

After making a few sheets of simple plain white paper (one can never have enough of these on hand), I felt like playing around with extra pulp. I made three blender containers of extra pulp.  After transferring all the pulp into a different container, I began adding the pulp into two shamrock shaped cookie cutters that act as a deckle.  Place chosen deckles onto the white grid and screening to allow the water to drain from the pulp.  To add the pulp into the shapes I used an old fashioned baster to collect the pulp and then squeeze into the shapes.  I was able to make several shamrock shapes from the pulp.  I cut a narrow strip from a sponge and used it to remove as much of the water from the deckle shape before removing it.  Once the deckle can be removed follow the steps for more water removal and pressing as you would to create a sheet of paper.  NOTE:  Refer to the card above where a set of these were used as an embellishment.

The last large shamrock I made was fairly thick and this was done by adding several layers more of pulp.  Again I removed as much of the water as possible with the use of the strip of sponge and then continued the process.  An iron was used to start the drying process and then left to dry overnight. The thickness of this shape will find its way into a piece I hope to share with you at a later date.  Any thoughts of how I will use it?

This is the COUPON CODE: STPAT20 for the month of February.  Save some "green", 20%, on an order at the Arnold Grummer website.