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Monday, 27 September 2010

The Bay of Naples

This is the start of a big week for me - I am setting the UK Scrappers challenge this week, I am a guest designer at Banana Frog for October, and a new challenge goes live at Scrapology this week!  Oh - plus, I have a sketch challenge layout due on 1st October also.  Phew!  No wonder it's been quiet in here lately - not so quiet behind the scenes. 

First things first - the UKS challenge - September Week 4.  With all that activity, I decided it was essential to multi-task.  One of the lovely sets of stamps Bev sent me was Swirls and Butterflies.  What's not to love about this set? 

I used it perhaps differently to the way a lot of people would - a girly layout springs to mind immediately, but instead I used the set to embellish a panoramic view.  Here's my layout!

I really wanted to use some kind of glimmer mist or shimmery wash, but I only own two mists, neither in the colours I wanted.  So I mixed up some pastel Jo Sonja acrylic paint to a watery wash, and used the Ranger mini-mister to squirt onto the background. 

A very difficult layout to photograph, being a double, and full of painty effects.  However, I have done some close-ups: 

I used the largest swirl in the set to emulate the water.  I embossed the swirl with pink translucent embossing powder and painted over the top with a pinky yellowy wash, some Jo Sonja Opal Dust (which are the glittering holographic particles) and a shimmery orangy/pinky wash which glimmers.  It looks a bit of a mess in the close-up, but the effect is beautiful (in my opinion!) from normal viewing distance. 

I used a Rebekka Erickson "Fancy" Box Board alphabet, which I then painted with a wash of Jo Sonja pink and peach acrylic paints, to which I added a dollop of violet iridescent.  I then embossed over the top with pink translucent embossing powder, which gives a lovely lustre.  Straight on, the letters are a pearly pale yellowy/pinky cream, and at an angle, they are quite reddish!  Perfect for a sun setting. 

I couldn't complete the layout without using some of those beautiful butterflies!  I embossed the butterfly straight onto the cardstock for no reason apart from working out my placement, and then I washed over the immediate area with some of those glimmer paints.  I then stamped out the butterflies in a pigment blue ink, heat dried and set, and then washed over the surface with some washed out glimmer pastel colours.  I stamped and embossed the butterfly "trails" onto recycled packaging, and attached everything onto the layout with acid free silicone glue.  I love the dimensionality of that stuff! 

To sum up, this week's challenge on UK Scrappers is to use panoramic photos (no people or pets allowed!) of nature/landscapes etc.  Use stamping, and also to alter an alphabet using techniques, a mix of colours/fonts, etc.  I shall be checking to see what people come up with! 

Back later in the week to share another Banana Frog project. 

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Miscellaneous ...

Firstly - it's a gorgeous Saturday morning here, and I have jumped out of bed, with a long list in my head!  That rhymed, but it wasn't necessarily meant to  ...

I am going to be clearing LOADS of stuff today and putting bits on Ebay.  Free listing and all that!  So before I get on with it, a link to Scrapology, where you can win a fabulous haul of Christmas treasure!  You've got to see it to believe it!

I am a big fan of Jennifer McGuire - today, she put a link to a stunning canvas on Sherri Carroll's blog.  See it here!  That makes me want to go out and do a similar project immediately. 

I've been very busy in the background, beavering away on lots of upcoming projects.  Something will be going live Monday morning, so thank goodness Blogger can schedule that post! 

Happy weekend, cyberworld.  :)

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Scrapology September Challenge

Have you taken a look at the September challenge over at the Scrapology blog yet?  There's a lovely prize of an American Crafts D ring album to be won, courtesy of Cardinal Colours

It's all about stitching!  Well, not only - lots of other very interesting elements going on too.    Here's my original layout, which I lifted from the very talented Crafty Stash on UK Scrappers. 

Here's a few tips on the layout - Promarkers/Copic Markers are very useful for changing colours of chipboard letters if you want to customise them.  The colour changes very easily over a glossy surface.  Applying a layer of Glossy Accents over the top gives them a lovely lush, and professional finish. 

The original layout had a pleated circle.  I made it a bit easier by cutting the circle up into smaller segments and then inking around each piece. 

I freehanded the curve on both stitched edges and inked each part to add definition before compiling the layout.  What made the stitching uniform in distance was the use of a Bazzill stitching template - very useful!  Shaped scissors are indispensible for little fine details like the serrated edges on the circles on top of the stitching. 

The papers I used were bits of leftovers from the Fancy Pants "Delight" range, and We R Memory Keepers "White Out".  Why don't you have a go and potentially win a prize? 

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

The Start of Sorrento

We have just been fortunate enough to return from a week's holiday to Sorrento in Italy.  The main driver for the trip was a family wedding, but it was a great time to further lean on my husband to try and persuade him to attend. 

The persuasion worked - along with the fact that the rest of his small family were going too - so it seemed to cover a lot of bases. 

I left my car at my parents-in-law, and we proceeded to Gatwick on Friday, 27th August on a bank holiday weekend.  Fortunately, that didn't cause us any problem - what did make the journey very unpleasant was a gastric-vomiting bug that made me suddenly violently ill.  Very luckily, it had passed by the time I stepped off the plane, and we were able to navigate those steep and winding roads in a coach from Naples to Sorrento without further incident. 

Despite the flight only being two hours, travelling had taken all day, and we didn't arrive at the hotel until nearly 9pm.  The vast majority of the wedding party was also staying at the Grand Hotel Flora, so we were greeted by quite a few people when we arrived. 

We were quickly ushered into the dining room to choose our meal for the evening.  I was very pleased to enjoy my meal, after not keeping anything down all day!  It did seem strange to eat roast chicken, asparagus and roast potatoes in Italy, but I was ravenous. 

After unpacking and settling in a little, we met Paul's extended family in the bar by the pool, and chatted for quite a while.  After the autumnal, rainy weather we left, it was glorious to sit out in the evening in balmy conditions by the pool!  The Flora was not luxurious by any stretch of the imagination, but the food was okay most nights, being half board, and the main benefit was a terrific sized swimming pool, in which I enjoyed swimming laps when I could. 

This was the view from the dining room balcony - the lovely blue pool, with the Bay of Naples above.  My parents-in-law were lucky to have an even better view than this - their room balcony was directly above.  They enjoyed sitting out most evenings with a glass of wine. 

Being a package holiday, I decided to go to the welcome meeting the next morning, which was followed by a walking tour of Sorrento.  An internal debate ensued - do you want to be one of the sheep, and follow the crowd, or go off and do your own thing?  Better to do something than not, so Paul and I, with a group of about 30 others, set off for Sorrento towards the late morning.  It was, in fact, very useful to find out where the train station and other amenities were.  Sorrento all runs off one main narrow street, Corso Italia, which is always noisy and busy with the hustle and bustle of coaches, scooters and cars all competing with each other to get to their destinations first. A horse and cart also comes into the equation!

Apart from the benefits of finding out where things were located, the tour was very much a marketing tool, and we were taken in and out of various shops to experience the local craft work and specialities of the area.  The liminchello and limon creme would both be delicious in the right context, but liminchello (the lemon liquer) is very strong and too much at before midday!  Sorrento is famous for its wooden inlaid work (which I didn't actually see) and jewellery made from coral, which is both watermelon red and a bright turquoise in colour.  I found the jewellery very gaudy and it didn't appeal at all.  Neither did the cameos, though the workmanship, all being tooled from shell, is very delicate, precise and fascinating. 

I loved how the main street grew fruit trees along its length - this was so typical of the area.  Every spare bit of space was devoted to the growing of lemon trees and other fruit, and the tomatoes were divine! The soil of the area is very rich in minerals, being a volcanic area, and the local produce really benefits.  I imagine this scene, portrayed with tiles, to really typify the historical context of the region.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Our Little Duckling

One of the last things I did before going on holiday was to choose the photos and ingredients for this sketch challenge. 

Some of the other girls' interpretations are just terrific and they used great imagination  to jump from the above to the final result.  Here is my effort:

I would usually prefer to go with harmonious colour schemes that really tie in with the photos, but I found this paper from Kaisercraft and figured that I could make it work.  I am so keen to use up some of my older lettering, so the title was a combination of MAMBI pink glitters cut and reworked together, the Scrapworks yellow rub-ons, and the K & Co letter tiles from a kit from years ago.  The three words were punched from an ancient bit of Doodlebug paper, and the duckling is October Afternoon, which I remembered I had left over from my niece's baby album.  I used the fancy edge strip from a piece of Sassafras paper, which tied in the blue to the rest of the colour scheme. 

Here's the supply list:

Patterned paper:  Kaisercraft, Doodlebug, Sassafras
Sticker:  October Afternoon
Chipboard journal tag:  Autumn Leaves/Rhonna Farrer French Twist
Lettering: MAMBI Pink Glitter stickers, Scrapworks yellow rub-ons, K & Co, Making Memories tiny alphas (on the chipboard)
Bazzill:  Just the Edge strip (yellow)

Photos are of my sister, Roslyn, and my niece, Asha, swimming in the public pool at Everton Park, last New Year's Eve, in Brisbane, Australia.  It has loads of extra for the kids and is almost like a theme park!  So much fun.  :)