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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.

Monday, 16 January 2017

totally tropical ....

Good morning everyone

At the start of what apparently is going to be a very grey and dull week here in the UK, with conditions that are far from "totally tropical", I thought I'd brighten your day with something I made a couple of weeks ago.

Materials used: Tando Heart-Shaped Mini Printer Tray
                        First Edition Tropical dies set
                        white acrylic paint
                        DecoArt Media Texture Sand Paste
                        Starlights Metallics Platinum paint
                        Distress Inks: Abandoned Coral and Mermaid Lagoon
                        papers from my stash
                        beads from my stash

The Tando printer trays come in four sturdy chipboard layers - a solid base layer and three layers with apertures, and you glue it all together to make a kind of shadow box with compartments. You could use less layers if you wanted something with less depth.

The first step was to glue a sheet of paper from my stash to the base layer to provide a background, and I then painted and glued together the layers. I used a couple of coats of white acrylic paint to give a good white base to work from.

Next I wanted to add sand. I used the texture sand paste on most of the piece and left it to dry. Once it was completely dry I painted it with the Starlights platinum paint.

Using the dies from the First Edition Tropical set I cut my various embellishments out of assorted papers. This die set includes a flower, a cocktail, sunglasses, surf boards, palm trees, a pineapple and a fish. The only one I didn't use in this piece was the fish. They cut really well, even through thicker card and papers. They mostly require two lots of cutting because they are designed in such a way that various parts create either a second layer or fill-ins in a different colour or pattern of your choosing to create a more dimensional appearance.

Once assembled I figured out my placement, which took a bit of time because I couldn't make my mind up on some things - typical me really, half my time on any make is the time I take making up my mind where to place embellishments! Anyway, once I had a clear idea of where I was going to put things I fixed them in place with glue and foam pads. The papers I chose were from a DCWV paper pad I've had for a while, called Safari Kids. I hadn't used any of it, which is not unusual as I'm a typical paper hoarder! The papers included one covered in a tropical leaf print, which was perfect for the base, and another had some little palm trees in two sizes on it, which was very lucky and perfect for this piece so I cut a few out to add in some of the apertures.

I painted three beads to look like coconuts on the desert island. Fortunately they have holes through the centre so I threaded each one onto a pin, painted them then rested the pins on one of the apertures in my piece to hold them up off the desk so that the beads could dry. Once completely dry I glued them in place.

I left it like that for a while, thinking I was happy with it as it was, but it was lacking warmth, and I was going for a tropical sunset kind of feel, so then I carefully inked around the embellishments, frame and inside the compartments with the two distress inks to give the appearance of a beautiful tropical sunset.

Finally I added the words totally tropical which were computer generated.

Each time I look at this piece it cheers me up no end on these grey dismal winter days and I can almost feel the warmth of that gentle tropical breeze blowing through the palm trees as I sip my cocktail on the beach. I hope you like it too.

All the products listed, except papers and beads, can be found at our shop here, so do pop over and pick up this little bundle and make your own totally tropical scene.

Bye for now,
Julie x

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Mixed Media canvas

Hi everyone, welcome to 2017! Whether you were eager for 2016 to be over or have found yourself dragged kicking and screaming into 2017, it's here! A new year, a new chapter in that wonderful journey called life. I wonder what this year has in store for us all? And that was the thought behind my little mixed media canvas.

It's only a small piece, 7 x 5 or something like that, because I didn't want that gorgeous face getting lost or overwhelmed.

I used Andy Skinner's 6x6 Baroque Stencil and his Typeface stencil (8x8)DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics and Tando Creative embellishments, amongst other things, to create a pretty little canvas heralding the arrival of 2017. Full of questions as to which direction I will go in with respect to various aspects of my life and what 2017 holds in store for me, I knew I wanted that gorgeous face looking towards 2017 and what it will bring.

First off I laid down my texture using the two stencils and white texture paste. Once the texture paste was dry I gave the whole thing a thin coat of white gesso and left that to dry.

The next step was to start laying down colour and I chose Prussian Blue Hue, Cobalt Teal Hue, Quinacridone Gold and Vermillion. Some of it was applied "neat" and some was slightly watered down, to achieve different degrees of shading. I kept applying and reapplying with the various colours until I was happy with the overall look of the piece. Fortunately the paints dry quite quickly so I didn't have to wait long.

Then I took a few Tando Creative embellishments, gave them a coat of white gesso, and once that was dried, a couple of coats of the Vermillion Media Fluid paint. I found one of my rubber stamps and applied some Prussian Blue Hue using my finger and stamped the design onto the flowers and butterfly. The arrows were painted with several layers of colour - Vermillion, Cobalt Teal Hue and a "dusting" of Prussian Blue Hue. I fixed them in place once dry.

I wanted the suggestion of more texture in the larger "clear" areas on the piece so I took a piece of black card and tapped the edge into the paints and also into jet black archival ink and added lines here and there, including a few on the face, and I think they really make a difference to how the piece looks.

Finally I added a few little orange seed beads here and there for a bit of extra texture.

I love this little piece and I hope you like it too.

All the products I used can be found on our website so hop over and fill your basket - we currently have a sale on everything with a massive 40% off - just use coupon code SALE40 at the checkout!

Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you all again soon.

Julie x