Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Behind The Scenes Tips From Wonderful Wall Art Creative Stamping

Have you seen the wonderful Summer Collection stamps that come with the current issue of Creative Stamping yet? When I first saw these stamps I was immediately transported to summer holidays and bright colours.

A sneak peek into Creative Stamping issue 25

I don't know if I am allowed to have favourites from the set but I really love the flamingo stamp (flamingos are SO hot right now!) and the bird of paradise. I mean the rest of the stamps are pretty gorgeous too but those popped out first for me.

My article was all mixed media wall art inspiration using the collection and you can see all the details and projects in Creative Stamping Issue 25. But I do have a picture that didn't make it into the magazine just for YOU.

Using mock ups to design wall art

It is a little peak into how I set about designing the Bird of Paradise project from the article and a couple of handy tips for your projects:

1. Mock It Up!
I often mock up my makes before glueing down to give me an idea about placement of the elements. I use the items themselves or, like in the case of the stamped bird, I stamp it on spare paper, roughly cut it out and use it to help decide where things need to go.

2.  Don't Freak Out!
Later in the process I stamped the bird of paradise on the canvas board then proceeded to cover it up with paint. It can be a bit scary to do this. But don't freak out about losing all the lovely stamp details. You will lose a bit of the detail but you will also add a bit of your own details that will make the final project unique to you.

Two general rules of thumb that can be applied to a lot of situations really, I use them a lot.  For pictures of the finished wall art and instructions on how to make them check Creative Stamping 25 and when you do come back and give me a shout as to which of the stamps from the Summer Collection are your favourites!


Kim

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Sunday, 5 July 2015

How Do You Start A Clean Sketch Book Or Art Journal?

Ok, so you have a lovely new art journal / sketch book / notebook and it is all shiny and new, you don't want to touch it, right? Don't tell me you don't know what I'm talking about because I KNOW you do!

Well you need some quick, go-to exercises to help you break into that lovely new book don't you?

Art journaling products

I'm sharing three of my favourite tips on the Blitsy Blog today and I would just love it if you popped over, had a look then shared your favourite tricks below the post, I'm so interested to see what everyone does! Thanks!

Also if you go over to Blitsy now they have 60% off any one regular price item to celebrate the 4th of July. So the next question is, what are you gonna buy?!

Catch you later Art-inators

Kim



ps. I do use affiliated links for my blog but only to things I buy myself and from shops that I love. There are some affiliated links in this blog post and if you want to know more about my affiliate policies then check out my Disclosures and Disclaimers.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Art It Friday - Show Your Face

Hey Facers, it is that time again. Let's get our share on shall we?


For anyone new here this is a regular place to come and inspire, be inspired, but above all to share our portrait progress week by week. Every Friday at 10 am (BST) a new Show Your Face blog post goes live with the linky to add your blog post or online gallery picture to with any portrait work you have been doing.  

Your face can be drawn, doodled, painted, stitched, be made using any materials and can be any style, all I ask is that it is your artwork. If you use templates, stencils or stamps to build the face anatomy, then they should be ones you have made yourself and not someone else's.  

Finished pieces, works in progress or retro posts (i.e. older works, not from this week) are all welcome, so come join in and spread the word on your blog/social media outlets. Use hashtag #ShowYourFace if you like! 


I will kick off this week's share with a shout out to Julie Ann Lee from Magpie Heaven. A couple of weeks or so ago I shared a little face drawing warm-up exercise with the doodling different faces in lots of boxes of colour on your page. Do you remember?

Well Julie Ann took that exercise, ran with it and made it entirely her own with this fabulous art that she shared with us on the 19th June 2015.

[Shown with kind permission of Julie Ann Lee]

Thanks Julie Ann! It is fabulous and if you haven't already then do go and give her some blog love she has a gorgeous blog.

Right, on with this week and here is my piece. This is a pencil sketch I actually made back in April.

Show Your Face pencil portrait 3rd July 2015

I liked her so much that I then went on to use her as the basis of this watercolour that I shared with you for the 24th April's Show Your Face. But I never actually showed the sketch that lead to her.

That's me, what about you?

Over To You...

Link your faces artwork and spread the word on your blog and/or social media, hashtag #ShowYourFace for those of you that use them. Please do let anyone you think would be interested in sharing their portraits know about our community here.

Can't wait to see what you have all been up to.

Catch you later Face-Artinators

Kim

PS. Some other places you might want to link your work to: Art journal pages link up with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Art Journal Everyday post.












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Thursday, 2 July 2015

How To Get Through The Chaos Jungle To The Land Of Creative Joy

I feel the need to come clean with you. It took me ages to write this blog post, at least a couple of days. Crazy, right? Why did it take me so long? Why was I angsting so much about it? Well, let me tell you of my dilemma at the moment.

As I am teaching myself to work creatively, I have come to realise that part of my process is to go through a period of time when I am unhappy with what I produce. I often think of it as a period of chaos or like walking through a Chaos Jungle.

art journal page in blue and purple

Quite often nothing I do whilst working through this chaos makes me entirely happy. It is more than the usual analysis of my work to see where I can improve. It feels like something inside me is trying to break out but I just don't know what. No analogies to the films Alien or the Thing please, I need to sleep at night!

But what I have found from working at this for a few years now is that these periods of making things that I don't like usually come just before I make some sort of a breakthrough in my skill level or in my understanding of a particular aspect of my practice.

Dark art journal page with teal and pink and black

You may very well have found this happening to you too, but perhaps you haven't recognised it? Or perhaps you have and felt that it was just something you alone went through? Or maybe you are fully in touch with this part of your creativity, in which case I congratulate you wholeheartedly on being so well attuned to yourself, well done!

Whatever the case, don't worry – going through a period of chaos before a breakthrough is not an uncommon part of the creative cycle.

In fact, rejoice! You are on the precipice of a new aspect of your creative life! 

Unfortunately, there is no time frame for this period and you could be on the precipice looking out to your future Land Of Creative Joy for the next 10 minutes or for several years to come. But, hey, it will be worth it!

Neon pink and blue art journal page


How Do You Get Through The Chaos Jungle?

1. Be kind to yourself! Foremost in this period of chaotic unknown is to acknowledge the self-doubt but don't allow it to take hold of you. So don't believe it. OK it is there, it is an aspect of you but it does not define you. This is important! Self-doubt is CRIPPLING and will stop you from reaching your next level, whatever that level is.

You may have your own coping mechanisms for self-doubt but for me personally I have found that I can not ignore it – telling it to shut up doesn't make it go away, it just makes it worse. It has taken me a while to get to this point but I have come to realise that I need to recognise the self-doubt, acknowledge it, then reason with it, explain to it why it is wrong, give it examples of how its view of the world is somewhat skewed.

Lots of art journal pages being made at once

It takes constant practise not to give in to self-doubt and there are no easy fixes for this one, I'm afraid, but you need to try because the next tip to making it through the jungle of creative chaos (sounds like an interesting holiday resort!) is:

2. Don't give up. Work through it however long it takes. Turn up at your workdesk and work, work, work work! If you want to jump off that precipice into your creative future, then do something towards it every day. Whatever your creative thing is, from art journaling to cardmaking, get something made, or at least partly made, every day even if you only have 10 minutes to spare.

3. Talk about it! Don't bottle it up inside. One thing about working as a creative, particularly a freelance one, is that you are often working on your own. This is where having someone you trust, who can understand the ups and downs, to talk to is invaluable. So grab a coffee, tea, glass of wine or whatever your favourite tipple is and talk, email, message your arty, crafty or other trusty friends and loved ones. No doubt they have been through it too.

There are times when it is easy and there are times when it is most definitely not but I can tell you, here and now that

YOU can do it!

Art journal page in pink with a diamond frame and writing

But why did it take me so long to write this blog post, what was my dilemma?

Well, I am going through my own personal Chaos Jungle right now, I bought a packed lunch, I might be here some time. But as an Artist, Crafter, Blogger (it is in my bio, it must be true), there is a constant pressure to provide quality content, beautiful things, or at least something inspirational that you as my reader will want to have a go at even if you don't like how I did it.

But this pressure to make beautiful things is even harder when you are traipsing through the Chaos Jungle. So as part of my being kind to myself strategy, I am owning up to the chaos, I'm embracing it and revelling in it and if you are going through a similar thing I want you to do the same.

Come with me on this trip and put our trust in the fact that on the other side there is a breakthrough to Creative Joy!

A collection of art mark making tools

Please do feel free to share any thoughts you have on Chaos Jungles or the land of Creative Joy, they are all welcome.

But please do not feel you need to give me an ego boost or leave positive comments about my work, I'm embracing my trip through the jungle. I just wanted to put to words something that many of us go through in the hope that it might help you, either now or at some later point, if you feel a bit lost and aren't sure why!

Catch you later Art-inators

Kim

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Friday, 26 June 2015

Art It Friday - Show Your Face

Hey Amazing Facers, it is Friday and time to #ShowYourFace!

For anyone new here this is a regular place to come and inspire, be inspired, but above all to share our portrait progress week by week. Every Friday at 10 am (BST) a new Show Your Face blog post goes live with the linky to add your blog post or online gallery picture to with any portrait work you have been doing. 

Your face can be drawn, doodled, painted, stitched, be made using any materials and can be any style, all I ask is that it is your artwork. If you use templates, stencils or stamps to build the face anatomy, then they should be ones you have made yourself and not someone else's. 

Finished pieces, works in progress or retro posts (i.e. older works, not from this week) are all welcome, so come join in and spread the word on your blog/social media outlets. Use hashtag #ShowYourFace if you like! 


Did any of you guys take up the 50% offer with Craftsy last week? If you did I hope you are enjoying the course.

This week I'm back to doodling again. I'm having a major clear up of my workspace and I just grabbed what I had to hand, an old monoprint and a white ink dropper.

Doodling faces with an ink dropper

'Ok,' I thought, 'let's see if I can make some faces with that. Yeah pretty doodly! But hey still fun.

So what have you been up to with your face this week?

I'm loving the addition of some animal faces in the share. If you missed them then check out Arnoldo L. Romero from A.L. Romero Art and Design with his link from last week and Jeanet from Creating A Fairly Fabulous Life from a couple of weeks ago.


Over To You... 

Link your faces artwork and spread the word on your blog and/or social media, hashtag #ShowYourFace for those of you that use them.

Catch you later Face-Artinators

Kim

PS. Some other places you might want to link your work to: Art journal pages link up with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Art Journal Everyday post. Paint work link it up at Paint Party Friday.

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Friday, 19 June 2015

Art It Friday - Show Your Face With A Surprise From Craftsy

Hey Gorgeous Facers – before you go rushing off to link your face at the bottom of this post, I have a little surprise for you! So read on.


First, let's get the reason why we are here sorted:

For anyone new here this is a regular place to come and inspire, be inspired, but above all to share our portrait progress week by week. Every Friday at 10 am (BST) a new Show Your Face blog post goes live with the linky to add your blog post or online gallery picture to with any portrait work you have been doing.    

Your face can be drawn, doodled, painted, stitched, be made using any materials and can be any style, all I ask is that it is your artwork. If you use templates, stencils or stamps to build the face anatomy, then they should be ones you have made yourself and not someone else's.    

Finished pieces, works in progress or retro posts (i.e. older works, not from this week) are all welcome, so come join in and spread the word on your blog/social media outlets. Use hashtag #ShowYourFace if you like!  


Surprise!
OK, that's done, now for the surprise: I'm an affiliate with Craftsy (and yes, I have some affiliate links in this post but I think you are going to like it!). If you don't know Craftsy, it is an online learning resource and they are offering you, my facers:

50% off the Simple Techniques for Better Portraits taught by Alisha Dall'Osto.

No code needed just click through using this link or the one above to get this class for £9.50 ($14.99) instead of £19.00 ($29.99). The discount is valid until 6.59 am BST (11.59 pm MT) Friday 26th June 2015.

Cool, right?

If you haven't got a Craftsy account, it is free to join and there are even some free classes you can try out too.

I'm in the middle of this class myself, which is why I thought you guys might appreciate it. I've been really enjoying it, so I hope you do too and find it useful.

A study of facial features in my art journal

That brings me neatly to my Show Your Face share for this week. I'm watching the chapter on Mass, Proportion and Features, which is lesson 2 in the course, and it breaks down the facial features into easy shapes, so that is what I've been practising this week.

I think I'm finding the nose the hardest to do, but eyes are fun to do aren't they? Practise, Practise, Practise!

Which reminds me, did you have fun with my little warm-up exercise from last week? How did you get on with it?


Over To You... Link your faces artwork and spread the word on your blog and/or social media, hashtag #ShowYourFace for those of you that use them.

Catch you later Face-Artinators and hope you enjoy the 50% off the Simple Techniques for Better Portraits. Massive thanks to Craftsy for this fab offer!

Kim

PS. Some other places you might want to link your work to: Art journal pages link up with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Art Journal Everyday post. I do use affiliate links to help me run this blog but only for things I use or think you will love. If you want to know more, please do check my Disclaimer and Disclosure page


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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Thursday Is A Fast News Day!

The news is out! I'm going to be on the Blitsy Creative Team for another term! Wahoo!

But things are a little different this time around, we all have a category and mine is Mixed Media! So you are going to see a lot more of this kind of stuff from me on the Blitsy blog:

Layering paint tutorial for Blitsy

I'm getting my art fix! If you hop on over to the blog you will see my first tutorial with some ideas and inspiration for getting your paint layering on!

But before you go, to celebrate the new creative team Blitsy is having an Instagram giveaway, but it closes today so be quick!

Catch you later Mixed-Mediators.

Kim

ps. to help me run this blog I do use affiliate links from time to time and there are some affiliate links in this blog post but you can find out more about them in my Disclaimers and Disclosures. Thanks for your support, it means a lot to me.

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Hillarys Craft Competition 2015: Under The Rayna Apple Tree

I do love a bit of stitching. It is one of my favourite things to do so when I heard about the Hillarys Craft Competition I jumped at it! Yay, an opportunity to get a bit stitchy!

Under The Rayna Apple Tree

The call went out and everyone who wanted to have a go could choose one of four lovely Hillarys fabrics – you can see them all on the competition call-out page.

Hillarys Craft Competition Rayna Apple

Out of all the designs, the Rayna Apple shouted out to me; I think it was the lovely lino-print-style flower design, I just love it! So what to do? Lots of ideas rattled around my head for a good long time but I could not narrow down on one that I was happy with. But I knew I wanted to match the fabric up with a wicker gift box that was lying around my room waiting desperately to be used for a project.

Finally the idea come to me – a mixed-media, three-dimensional tree scene that I'm calling 'Under The Rayna Apple Tree'. I wanted to keep true to the nature theme of the fabric so this felt right for my make. Yay! At last!

OK, but how do you make a 3D tree from fabric?

Making a 3D tree from fabric

Mmm? Good question!

I thought about it for a bit (picture a quizzical look on my face and a lot of head scratching) then decided that I would use a quilting technique I quite like to do from time to time. I wasn't sure if it would work but I thought I would give it a crack!

I layered up some rectangles of fabric such as the Rayna Apple Fabric itself with calico, a bit of Hessian, some muslin, just oddments of fabric and even a couple of old book pages for good measure. I added a little bit of wadding then added the Rayna Apple Fabric again for the top layer.

Free-motion quilting a 3D tree

Next it was a matter of stitching the layers together with some free-motion quilting. I 'drew' the lines of stitch in a vaguely bark-like fashion for a bit of extra tree texture. I then added several lines of stitch along the top and bottom areas of the trunk and trimmed the fabric to the lines, leaving some tails to turn into roots at the bottom.

When the stitching was finished, I roughly rolled the quilt into the tree trunk but I did not want the trunk to look like a uniform tube. It really needed to be more organic than that so I just used a single holding stitch in the middle of the back to give an uneven tree-like appearance to the quilted tube.

To make the quilt even more tree-like, I slashed a hole into the surface and through the layers to peel it back for the little tree trunk hidey hole. Now you can see way I used so many different layers in the quilt, can't you?

So far, so good! I love it when a plan comes together.

Making tree leaves from the Rayna Apple fabric

The Rayna Apple Fabric already has its own leaves. Perfect! So I used those leaves already in the surface design and a few from the flower heads too. I just added a craft felt fabric stabiliser to give the leaves a stiffness and cut them out and layered them on bigger leaf shapes cut from fabric, Hessian or book pages. I had some rusted wire in my stash that I thought would make great branches to attach the leaves to the trunk and I threaded each leaf with the wire and curled the ends with pliers.

The wires easily pushed down into the centre of the tree trunk and I added a little bit of Golden Heavy gel to keep them in place.

Making a swing from a lollipop stick

But before I placed the last branch in the trunk, I made a little swing to go under the Rayna Apple Tree using a wooden lollipop stick and some silver findings and chain. I gave the swing seat a touch of red paint and lightly distressed the silver chains with alcohol inks to give a more worn look to the swing. Then I threaded the swing onto a branch and stuck the branch in place in the tree.

The Swing under the Rayna Apple Tree

Once the leaves were vaguely in place, I rolled and stitched the tails left on the trunk to make the roots and used more Golden Heavy Gel to stick the tree into place in the wicker basket frame.

That's how my whimsical piece of art / home décor using the lovely Rayna Apple fabric came into being and what fun it was to make. I have hung it on my studio door and I just love the way the swing moves as the door moves.

Under The Rayna Apple Tree in place on my studio door

Everyone has been really busy with their Hillarys Craft Competition makes and you can see them on the Hillarys Pinterest board so do go take a look!

Have you been up to any stitching recently? Are you entering the Hillarys Craft Competition? I would love to know and take a peak at your make. Do drop me a line!

Catch you later Stitch-inators!

Kim


Friday, 12 June 2015

Art It Friday - Show Your Face

Ahh Friday, you are here again. Which means so is #ShowYourFace. Wahoo! Hope you facers have been busy!

For anyone new here this is a regular place to come and inspire, be inspired, but above all to share our portrait progress week by week. Every Friday at 10 am (BST) a new Show Your Face blog post goes live with the linky to add your blog post or online gallery picture to with any portrait work you have been doing.   

Your face can be drawn, doodled, painted, stitched, be made using any materials and can be any style, all I ask is that it is your artwork. If you use templates, stencils or stamps to build the face anatomy then they should be ones you have made yourself and not someone else's.   

Finished pieces, works in progress or retro posts (i.e. older works, not from this week) are all welcome, so come join in and spread the word on your blog/ social media outlets. Use hashtag #ShowYourFace if you like! 


As is now tradition I will kick off this week's face sharing with something I tried this week. It's a quick and fun exercise that you might like to try too. I gave myself the challenge to doodle a selection of faces, the only rule was to make each one different from the ones before.

Doodled faces in my art journal

I took a page in my art journal and used small watercolour washes to section off the page. Then I grabbed some ballpoint pens of all colours and doodled away.

Close up of the doodled faces

It is amazing how it doesn't take many lines to form a recognisable face does it?

If you fancy having a go at this little challenge to yourself then go ahead and let me know how it goes! I would love to see.

This would make a great warm up exercise don't you think? I shall definitely being do more of these, I can already see a couple of faces that I might work up into bigger studies for fun.

Right, so...

Over To You...

Link your faces artwork and spread the word on your blog and/or social media, hashtag #ShowYourFace for those of you that use them.

Catch you later Face-Artinators!

Kim

ps. Some other places you might want to link your work to: Art journal pages link up with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's Art Journal Everyday post. Paint work link it up at Paint Party Friday. For items using something Old, New and Digital then go link it up on the Old, New and Digital Too challenge.




Thursday, 11 June 2015

Say Hello To The Cricut Explore Air

Time for a technology update! Recently I was sent the latest model of the Cricut Explore - the Cricut Explore Air (BIG thank you Cricut!).

the new Cricut Explore Air in its box

I was hoping to have a full review post about the machine with some new makes but technical issues and time constraints threw a spanner in the works. So here is an intro to the new machine with some links to projects you can do with your new machine and some help if you are having problems with setting up your Cricut Explore Air.

I also have some pointers if you are having difficulty with the Cricut Design Space plugin on Chrome, so read on and bookmark this page for future reference!


Cricut Explore V Cricut Explore Air

If you need a full review of the Cricut Explore machine then check out this Cricut Explore Review blog post from last year.

Close up of the Cricut Explore material dial

The Cricut Explore Air differs from the the original Cricut Explore in that it now includes bluetooth in the machine itself so you are able to cut remotely/ wirelessly from your PC or from an iPad with the Cricut App. Yeah, no Android app at the moment - us Android folks are always the last to get the apps developed by the US craft companies *sigh*!

If you have the Cricut Explore and you want to go remote/wireless than get yourself the Cricut Explore Wireless Bluetooth Adaptor for your Cricut Explore. I don't think there is much else different between the new Air and the original Explore.

But if you have an older Cricut, you are a Cricut fan and you are looking for a new machine then it might be time to update to the Cricut Explore Air.

Cricut Design Space Software Insert image page

Having Problems With Chrome And Cricut Design Space Plugins?

The Cricut Explore Air uses the same cloud-based software as the original machine and if, like me, you had problems updating to the new software due to issues with your browser, then follow the Cricut instructions for your browser found on the Cricut Support page.

You will need this for both the Cricut Explore Air and the original Explore, but a little warning: I still had problems, even following the instructions. The Cricut plugin was not listed on Chrome (one of the later steps in the instructions), but I did a full system reboot (turned my computer off and on again!) and visited the plugin page again and it was listed after the reboot.

Using the Cricut Explore pen to draw

OK, Plugin Is Updated But It Can't See The Cricut Explore Air Via My PC!

I also had to do a little bit of troubleshooting to get the Cricut Design Space Software to recognise the new Cricut Explore Air. It wasn't too difficult to overcome but it isn't mentioned in the setup instructions.

In the Cricut setup instructions, they tell you to use the USB connection that comes with the machine to connect to your PC.

If you follow the instructions but can not get the Cricut Design Space Software to see your new Cricut Explore Air, then turn on the Bluetooth in your PC and link up that way. The four-digit pin you need for the Cricut Explore Air to communicate with your PC is in the iPad setup instructions!


YAY! At Last, The Projects!

Now that I am all systems go, I look forward to sharing some Cricut Explore Air projects with you. In the meantime check out these three Cricut Explore projects that you can do with your Cricut Explore Air or Explore machine:

Journaling Cards With the Cricut ExploreDIY Stamps With the Cricut ExploreDIY Notebooks made with the Cricut Explore

and don't forget the Cricut Explore review:

Cricut Explore review

Oh And A Twitter Party With Prizes!
If you are around from 7pm to 9pm BST tonight, 11th June 2015, then check out the CricutUK Twitter party. There will be prizes, hashtag #CricutEverywhere. See you there!

Kim

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