Friday, 26 August 2016

Big things happening - new website etc

Big changes afoot!

I have finally FINALLY thrown in the towel! NO MORE WORDPRESS. I have tried and tried to get on with it, and have decided that it's OK that I hate it. Never mind that 'Everyone Says' this is the blog and the website platform to go for - that it's better than the rest, and if you don't use it, you're an unprofessional amateur!

I hate WordPress. I find it difficult, finicky, things need updating all the time... it's just too much of a struggle, and I have more important things going on in my life than beat myself up for failing to master a programme I don't actually feel comfortable using.

I have rented books from the library. I have bought 'bookazines'. I bought a very lovely WordPress template. I also enrolled on two online courses (one I got a third of the way with, and one I never even started.) THAT'S how much I hate WordPress!

So I've decided to do away with the elephant in the corner blocking my creativity, and cancelled the hosting service, deleted the website (still with only a landing and an About Me page - after nearly a year!) and I'm cutting my losses. Although I will keep the domain name, and transfer my old website to the new name.


All done this afternoon, and my word, I feel better for it already!

I've read several posts on the theme it's OK to admit failure - and sometimes it isn't even failure, just a grim determination not to be beaten at something. I'm my own worst competitor! But as Shirley Conran says, 'Life's too short to stuff a mushroom' and life is certainly too short for me, at age 64, to keep knocking my head against a brick wall trying to succeed at something I don't enjoy because 'They' said so!

I'll keep you posted and let you know as soon as the website goes live!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

CD STORAGE HOLDER/PALETTE FOR TWINKLING H2Os & COSMIC SHIMMER PAINTS

I've worked out the perfect storage for those little Twinkling H2O and Cosmic Shimmer watercolour paints. They're difficult to store because they're tiny, and to use them you need to take the lids off.

The CD case closed, with all the paint inside
Case open, with the 1st layer lifted out, showing the second layer as well

A plus is that the lids are interchangeable, and fit either brand, although the Twinkling H2Os are see-through and the Cosmic Shimmer lids are black. It's just as well the lids fit either paint, as I can never remember which is which!

The case with all 3 layers taken out

I've use a short CD stack for my storage. This comfortably takes 2 layers of paint, and I've fitted 15 paints in here. One layer is my 'brights' and the other my 'darks' (to keep it very simple) and these little palettes sit on a desk comfortably.


HOW IT'S ALL PUT TOGETHER
Very bottom layer has tape glued underneath, forming handles

I arranged my paints on top of blank CD discs, those totally transparent ones you find at the bottom of the package, which are unusable (just for storage).


I then attached each paint with a good amount of Diamond Glaze underneath (Glossy Accents would work just as well). These are dimensional glues, dry totally transparent, so you can see the names of the colours - and not only does the glue fill in the lip under the case of the paint (meaning no gaps between it and the CD disc) it also allows enough drying time to adjust the positioning.


I attached both layers this way.

Very bottom layer. The 'handles' will tuck inside the outer case when it's all put together

The bottom-most layer is totally blank, with a piece of tape glued underneath, forming 'handles' to lift it out (and the bottom layer of paints with it). I've done it this way as there's always a rim on the case, to screw the lid onto - which sticks up just that little bit too far to be able to get your nails underneath that bottom layer. Which means you'd have to pick the layer up by one of the paints, and the danger it might become unglued.

TIPS

When using this type of paint - a solid cake, highly pigmented with mica added for the shimmer, there's a trick to using it.Spritz with water, and allow this to sit for at least 10 seconds - this activates the paint much quicker.

When you've finished, wait until the paint is completely dry before putting the lids back on, or the cake will liquify, and if it's on a tilted surface, you'll find it will have all flowed to one side of the container!

Both types of paint will adhere to pretty much anything (MDF, Kraft and chipboard, leather, fabric and of course paper).

Hope you found this idea useful.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

GRANNY SQUARES & PLAIN SQUARES

I thought you might like to see how the squares are made for these cushions.


The colourful squares below are the traditional Granny Square, although I've changed the border of  one (2nd from right at top in the photo). The plain squares are just one stitch: Double Crochet (UK) or Single Crochet (US) worked in rows rather that a round.

TOP RIGHT: I crocheted two rows of Double Crochet (UK) or Single Crochet (USA), one blue and the other white. As you can see, it gives a very firm edge as well as a bit of a different look but without changing the size or shape.
Here's a really easy-to-follow YouTube video by Navy Louise (UK instructions)




And here's a great YouTube video from Fibre Flux (US instructions)



Text and stepped photographs for Granny Squares

Here's my blog post for my huge Granny Square cushions, if you'd like to see them.

PLAIN SQUARES

Simple and straightforward Double Crochet (UK) or Single Crochet (US).

Here is the UK version on YouTube by Crochet Hooks You:



and the US version by TLC Inspirations:




Text and stepped photographs:
UK and US instructions are on this blog post by The Stitch Sharer


Crochet terms are different in the UK and USA, so I've given links for the squares in both UK and US terminology, so you can follow the tutorial that best suits you. Here's a good post by About Home, which explains the difference and gives you both sets of terminology.



Tuesday, 21 June 2016

SHABBY CHIC PAINTED WOODEN CRAFT or CD STORAGE SPINNER - MAKEOVER

This was a really boring and slightly ugly wooden CD/storage spinner ... till I got my hands on it!

Here's how I did it...

Step 1 - removed the shelves
Step 2 - unscrewed the turntable mechanism
Step 3 - gave it a really good wash and a light sanding, to provide a key for the paint

I used Rust-o-leum Chalk Paint, two coats overall, including under the shelves
Done! Two coats of chalk paint, then stamping with a foam stamp and Artist Quality acrylic paints by PaperArtsy in several colours: Ice Blue, Guacamole, Lime and Chalk White
The inside of the shelves - I painted them top and underneath, and stamped on top, as well as the sides and back of the inside.
The top

This takes CDs, Prima sprays, Dylusions sprays etc - and it spins around! Great space saver.
Plenty of room for PaperArtsy paint bottles - also fits Martha Stewart paints etc.

I think it's a whole lot prettier than the original brown varnished wood. And the more beat up it gets, over time, the more Shabby Chic it's going to look!

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

UP-cycled MDF paper&card holder No 2

Here's my other MDF paper holder, all painted and crackle glazed and hand stamped. I used artist quality acrylics throughout.


This is my second paper/card holder - prepped and painted the same way as the first - but stamped completely differently.


I've used the same stamp, but applied slightly differently so that they match but aren't identical. After all, these are both hand-decorated, not mass produced! So each is one of a kind, but they still go together.


The little drawer is a useful addition for bits & pieces, and can be moved to any shelf as needed.


I really love this stamp, had it a few years and went to buy another one in case this one wears out (it's foam) only to find it's been discontinued! Don't you just hate that?


The top pic showed the drawer in the middle; this one shows the drawer at the bottom.


And of course I had to decorate the back as well! This kind of DIY is really addictive...

See my post below for the other little unit.