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by Julie Brooks

Polite notice. All designs are copyright protected. I hope you will be inspired by my designs but please do not copy them. Thank you.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Fun with Mix Media Ink Sprays and Sparkle Medium

Hi again everyone

I just wanted to share a little playtime I had with Imagination Crafts' Mix Media Ink Sprays and Sparkle Medium. The sprays were launched quite recently and are proving very popular, as you can imagine, because of their versatility. Sparkle Medium has been around a while now, but it's a great product and adds instant bling to any projects and is really coming into its own now!

I chose four colours of Mix Media Ink Spray: Light Blue, Blue, Orange and Light Fuchia, plus Amber Sparkle Medium. I've been using Sparkle Medium for a little while, but the ink sprays are new to me so I decided to give them a test drive! I also used a couple of Imagination Crafts stencils.

For my first little project a took a canvas board and randomly sprayed on the Light Fuchia and Light Blue ink sprays until I was happy with how it looked.

The colours really pop don't they? I love pink and blue together, and these bright colours really hit the spot for me. They dry very quickly, but where I had a slightly heavier ink application I used my heat tool to just dry it off quicker, because I'm an impatient crafter sometimes!

I stamped some words around the sides and in the centre of the board to give it some kind of focal point using Archival Ink and another product I have yet to get to grips with - Imagination Crafts Silkies Water-Based Stamping Paint. Where I stamped the text with the stamping paint, the letters weren't very well defined because I had quite a thick coating of paint on the stamp, so that was a fault with the user (aka me!) and certainly not a criticism of the product, but as it happened the look I ended up with was perfect because it became a beautiful golden highlight when I stamped again using the black Archival. For the wording in the centre I stamped twice in the black Archival, with the second stamping being much heavier with ink and offset slightly, so that the initial light stamping formed a shadow - a nice effect to add the illusion of dimension to projects.

Lastly, I took an Imagination Crafts stencil and, after carefully masking off all the other areas with pieces of paper, sprayed through a section of it onto the strongest pink section with the light blue ink spray and then on the lightest area of light blue on the canvas with the light fuchia ink spray.

I love how the light blue on the strong pink section appears to be a different colour, whereas in fact it is the same blue I used on the rest of the canvas - magic! And here is the end result!

For my next two pieces I switched to the Blue and Orange Mix Media Spray Inks. I love blues and oranges together as well, for a really dramatic effect.

For the first little project I took a piece of watercolour cardstock and randomly sprayed with the two inks to get something I was happy with. I also sprayed some of the orange ink through a stencil to get the little stars, but I forgot to tape the stencil down so didn't get perfectly formed stars in some areas. However, I still loved how it looked. I used my heat tool to dry it quickly.

I decided to use this piece for a card and so after gathering together the other bits I needed, here is what I ended up with:

I love this card! It's so different from the run-of-the-mill baby cards I see everywhere, but for me that's the point of making cards, to create something different from everything else!

My final bit of playtime was another canvas.

Again, I used the blue and orange mix media ink sprays, and I also used some of the light blue. And this is also where the Sparkle Medium came in.

I sprayed the inks until I had a look I was happy with. Left it to dry - yes, I was patient this time, but honestly, it was a matter of seconds for it to dry naturally as I had only sprayed quite lightly, although you wouldn't think that given the density of colour on there - love it! I again used my star stencil with the orange ink, and I dabbed dry with a piece of kitchen towelling where the ink had landed more heavily. I didn't get perfect stars in some areas because once again, in my excitement, I forgot to tape the stencil down! But for me it still works perfectly.

I used some Sparkle Medium in Amber to add some sparkly stars to the project. Sparkle Medium is a fabulous product, a clear gel packed full of sparkly glitter, so it's oozing bling, and it goes on so easily. I applied it through the stencil using a palette knife. It also dries quite quickly, but I just used my heat tool briefly to make sure it was fully dry before finishing off the piece. The other thing to mention about Sparkle Medium is that it keeps its dimension when dry. It doesn't dry flat like some other products might. I added some die-cut banners, button stars (which I'd had in my stash for a few years) and my son's name to finish. He loves it, by the way!

So, a fun play session, with three lovely pieces at the end of it, and using only a few products. It took me no more than about 20 minutes to create each of these pieces, which is perfect if you're short on time but still want great results and visual impact.

I love these products from Imagination Crafts, and I will be sharing more projects using them to demonstrate their versatility over the coming weeks.

You can buy a good selection of these and other Imagination Crafts products here: www.beebaab.co.uk

See you soon!
Julie x

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Silver Bells and Cockle Shells and Pretty Maids all in a row

Hi folks, hope you're all managing to keep dry in this damp and miserable weather. June? Feels more like April to me! Mind you, if it keeps on like this I will have no problem at all starting my Christmas makes next month!

Anyway, onto today's make, and I'd like to share another canvas piece I finished a couple of days ago. Perhaps the title of this post gives it away a little! This is quite a lengthy post (when are they not!) so you might like to grab a cuppa and a biscuit, get yourself comfy and enjoy the story!

I wanted to use fabric somehow, and I wanted to use bright colours and had recently bought some lovely bright colours of acrylic paints. I had no plan in my head at all and it really was one of those creations that kind of evolved as time went by.

I tore some strips from an old cotton sheet and played with them until I was happy with how they looked, then glued them onto the canvas board. (The fabric strips are the three horizontal lines you can see dividing the bottom half of the picture, plus the two trees.)

I then tore up some sheets of kitchen towelling and placed pieces on the board and glued them down. This was to add more texture and interest. I also added a length of ric rac. So, so far I've got three dividing lines, some kitchen towelling, a strip of ric rac, and two tree-like objects on there.

What to do next? Hmmm. Well, I painted it all with white gesso - I think it had two coats. The gesso stiffened the fabric really well which meant it would be easy to paint later. Now I just had to figure the rest of it out! And I had to leave it for quite some time before all the ideas finally came flooding in - life doesn't half get in the way of creativity sometimes I can tell you! My head is so full of so much stuff all the time - my autistic son's needs, my husband's erratic work schedule, chores all queueing up to be done, meals to plan, sourcing products for our on-line shop, and so on, that I often find it quite hard to actually focus on the things I want to create and indeed get any time to myself to be in my creative space. There are hundreds of ideas all jostling for space, time and attention in my head all the time - it's never quiet up there! And so I have to sort of flick through them all, a bit like looking at lots of photos in a huge album, and try to work out what of those ideas I can actually use to make something! I bet you're all the same too, aren't you?!

Anyway, I digress. I finally got an idea of where I was going with this piece and set to gathering all the other bits and pieces I needed, which were all in my stash already - the biggest benefit of having built up a stash of crafting goodies over several years and using very little of it LOL!

I placed the apples, cherries, foliage and flowers (all laser cut wooden shapes) and once happy glued them all down.

At this point I decided the sky needed more texture and so randomly added some texture paste to it, but I really wasn't happy with how it looked when finished and so had a quick rethink on that. I'd been looking at some impasto technique paintings and loved the effect and so decided to do my sky this way instead, using heavy gel medium with my acrylic paints to give them more body and keep them fluid for longer for playing around with, and just daubing it on with my palette knife until I was happy with it. I did an ombre effect sky, starting light at the bottom and gradually getting darker as I went further up. For this I only used one shade of blue paint and just mixed in varying amounts of white to get the graduated colours. I was really pleased with the effect once it was dry and will use the impasto technique for something else at some point in the future. It actually took on the appearance of oil paint - fab!

Once the sky was dry I painted on the sunshine and used a finger to do the sun's rays and felt like a kid again! Fun!

Next I added some texture at the base of the picture to represent soil. For this I used Finnabair Mini Art Stones. If you haven't seen these or yet bought any for your stash, they are TINY! I'm not kidding you. They're like micro beads, so small and they get everywhere, under your nails, they roll all over the place! But they work to great effect and are well worth fiddling about with!

Tip: Have a creased piece of paper underneath your project to catch any art stones that escape and so that once you're art stones are glued in place and set you can carefully tip your piece over so any loose art stones fall onto the paper, then you can pour them back into the jar.

Once they'd set in place I mixed red and green acrylic paints together to get brown (great fun and saves the cost of a bottle of brown paint too!) and then painted the "soil" and the tree trunks. Next I painted the apples and cherries, and once the paint was dry I gave them a thin coat of the gel medium for a glossy finish, since apples and cherries have lovely shiny skin. Then I painted all the flowers and foliage and finished painting the two trees, and then I had the fiddly task of painting all the background! (Yes, I know, I should have painted that first, but really I didn't know where I was going with my colours until I'd got all the other bits in place because it was only really at this point that I could "see" the whole finished thing in my head! What am I like?) I used lovely greens and yellows for the background sections, with a tiny bit of dry brushing with white and brown here and there.

The birds were some I'd bought years ago and which can be purchased in all the craft shops. I think they're designed more for use on wedding stationery and I probably bought them originally thinking that's what I'd use them for, but they'd sat in a little draw ever since. Anyway, I decided they were perfect for my piece and I gave them a thin coat of white acrylic paint followed by a very light brushing with a dry brush and the tiniest amount of my brown paint to bring out the embossed detail. I made the nests in the trees from some garden jute string split into its strands and messed up, fixed my birds in place (one is cheekily eating one of the fallen apples), added black micro beads to the centres of my "pretty maids" and then fixed the shells and bells in place. Finito!

Here are some close-ups.

And here's the whole piece again to save you scrolling back up to the top!

I really love how this came together in the end. Working with fabric and trying the impasto technique with my paints was fun and I will definitely do it again. I think it's nice to have something different in the mix from time to time, don't you?

I hope you like it!

Bye for now
Julie xx

Friday, 10 June 2016

Watercolour birthday card

Hello everyone

I can't believe I haven't blogged since March! Where does the time go? It was still cold, grey and not much sign of spring when I was last here talking to you and now we're almost midway through June, we've had two tastes of summer a few weeks apart, blossoms and flowers bursting into colour everywhere I look and today, torrential rain, thunder and lightning!

So, how is your year going? I must catch up with all of your blogs this evening so look out for a friendly comment or two from me later!

Now, for the card I'd like to share today. It was my sister's birthday last month. I love her dearly and don't know where I would be without her, so I wanted to do something a bit different and special for her card and decided to try a watercolour type design. I haven't done much watercolour work so I wasn't sure how it would turn out, but I was very pleased with the end result.

I took a piece of watercolour cardstock and glued on part of a doily and some small die cut shapes, plus a strip of ribbon. Then I dripped various distress inks onto the card and spritzed it liberally with my mister and allowed the colours to travel wherever they chose. Then I carefully dried it with my heat tool, making sure I didn't get too much heat near the ribbon because I didn't want it to melt!

I continue adding ink and re spritzing and drying until I was happy with it. then I decided to add some cotton crochet ribbon across the bottom and add ink to that, again making sure it was well moistened so the ink would become more dilute and would spread.

I already had the cupcake outline shape die-cut left over from another project, so I used the die to cut the cake case and topping/candle and pieced it all together, which took an age to do but was well worth it. Next I added the flowers, coloured in the candle with a distress marker and added some coloured gems to the cake topping.

It was looking a little un-done still, so I stamped the little butterflies onto the little die cut shapes and then added a couple of part splats of ink using another stamp. I stamped the "Happy Birthday" sentiment and added some sequins. Then I went in with another stamp and very lightly stamped a few hexagons here and there. Then I chose two colours of papers to matt it onto and the whole lot was fixed to the front of a white card.

Finally I went over it lightly with pumice stone distress ink to pull out some of the design on the doily and to just lift things away from the coloured background a little.

So, that was the front done. Now for the inside!

For this I gathered ink pads in the same colours as I'd used on the front and using a blending tool, applied and blended patches of the different inks all over the inside of the card. I kept adding colour and blending until I was happy with it. Then I stamped the sentiment, butterflies, splats and hexagons, glued a few sequins here and there, and that was it, card finished!

My sister absolutely loved it.

So, I hope you like this creation and would love to hear from you in the comments box.

And finally, I have some very exciting news to share with you. My new website is now up and running, where I sell crafting materials. Currently there are only a couple of manufacturers' products on there, but it is growing and more will be added within the next week! I'd love it if you would take a look ..... here's a link: www.beebaab.co.uk.

OK, that's all from me for today.

Take care and I'll be back to share another card soon.

Love from Julie x