Zombie Revolution

For SPA this week – zombies…

Texture layers courtesy of Kim Klassen;

Che-zombie courtesy of an image from “Zombie shirts”;

Original background layer – me!!

I converted the Che Zombie image into a brush as the complete image was a bit too OTT for the purpose!! Fun all the way today! The sun is shining brightly and would probably sear the rags off a zombie, but hey, it’s only a theme, innit? 😉


Of fabric ATCs and Millie

I have been busy sewing ATCs for the Summer Camp swap. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it has been quite a while since I made ATCs for pleasure, with just a theme, and not for a challenge. I thought I’d share a few things that I do with these, as it’s such a labour-intensive process.

I use craft or pelmet (heavy-duty) vilene, or interfacing, for the base of ALL my fabric cards. This enables me to “lay down” initial designs without having them slide around a table or cutting mat. I don’t use Misty Fuse, I just stick a couple of pins in and start machine-stitching! I like to cut some fabrics and rip others, for extra texture.  If I’m making a batch of ATCs, for example, this is an example of how it begins:

The piece on the top is a triple ATC, waiting to be cut into 3. It consists of base, fabric scraps attached with white zig-zag stitching and a rectangle of stamped linen in the centre. That bit has been ironed to heat-set the stamped words. On the top is more ripped fabric strips, attached by machine-stitching and a bit of turquoise netting for texture. It all adds to the “touch-factor”. My pieces are always untidy but I do try for a tactile end-product!!

Two things and two people I have to credit here – Belinda Spiwak (Crazy Art Girl) was the initial inspiration a couple of years ago when I first saw some of her wonderful, mixed media, textile artworks. Then, if you apply the same recipe of paper, layers, colour and textures to a card base – no fabric – you get Lisa Vollrath’s “serendipity” backgrounds for ATCs – check out the Ten Two Studios – Projects – website for ideas and tutorials, because she never stops coming up with ideas!!

I did say these were labour-intensive, didn’t I? But, they can be made in stages. The bases for half of these were stitched a few months ago… Above are 6 ATCs awaiting the faux leather, seaside embellishments I have made for each one!!!

I won a set of collage stamps from Shelia Oliver a few years ago (she was decluttering to raise money for a worthy cause) and they happened to be seashore-themed. That fits perfectly for me with the Summer Camp theme – I always equate summer with the seaside! And I chose the colours of my scraps for the sun (golden yellow), sand (oatmeal linen base), and sea (vivid shiny blue fabric) to fit that theme.

The embellishments were stamped onto heated up fun foam, pressed down hard and removed when cooled. I then cut round them and attached them to each ATC (or I will do…!!). I have another issue with neat fabric ATCs – the backing! This time, instead of hunting for yet more fabric and having  to cut bits up, I decided to back them with old book pages. Some of my old books are quite small in page size, little more than a large postcard, so they will make 2 backs per page. They are thick soft paper, stitched into the book-blocks, so they tear really easily…

You can see the serrations in this pic where I have stitched an ATC to the page and then gently torn it out afterwards!! Finally, I print out my ATC labels using a Dymo (address) label printer and stick them to the back. It means that

  • no-one has to struggle to read my writing if they want to get in touch;
  • I can include all the info I want up to about 6 lines
  • I don’t have to write out 14 labels
  • they all have the same info on them!!
Here are a couple that are finished, waiting to be labelled and posted!
Hopefully, you’ll find some of my process useful if not exactly “interesting”!! All the steps I take are the result of research and mistakes. Truly! I never undo anything or unpick stuff – life’s too short. I either add another layer or paint over it! 😉
Speaking of “trial and error”, I took this pic of Millie to remind myself of how she should look after I have clipped her:

Bubbles… and water!

For TMTA this week… using the bubble-icious backgrounds made at summer camp!

The rest is my own artwork – the lovely queen from an original illustration and the two collage pieces are from my own digital collage sheets (available in my Etsy shop!)… 😉

At last! Bubbling!

At (Marit’s Creative) Summer camp we are exploring simple pleasures, like marshmallows, camp fires, ghost stories, techniques and prompts. Here’s the result of me happily playing with food colourings, baby shampoo and a straw!

A girl can never have too many colourful backgrounds for ATCs, postcards, etc. 😉

Thinking happy thoughts!

I’m trying hard to, although I admit to still being quite uncomfortable and in a little pain… I had my first ever mammogram today and to be quite honest, it was far more distressing, uncomfortable and downright painful, than I had expected. I knew what was going to happen because I watched a short documentary about  breast screening last year, but I am just thankful it’s over. Now to wait for the results and hope all is well.  One of those necessary evils I suppose.

So, I am glad that Wednesday Stamper’s theme – “think happy thoughts” and show what makes us happy came to lift my spirits. It’s been such a busy few days that I haven’t spent much time with hands on creating, more a quick sketch here and there in the odd waiting room!

There are lots of things that make me happy – art, stamping, paints, etc. are the obvious ones, but combining them is joyful too! I spent a while today messing about with walnut ink crystals. I bought them well over a year ago and had never even opened the tub, so my backgrounds are a lovely deep brown in places and I did some stuff in my art journal too (but that’s for another day!).

This would be my first choice – poppies! There are few sights that delight me more than a field of poppies, nodding their pretty heads in the breeze! I passed a clump of huge California poppies in a garden this afternoon and that was how I came to embellish my poppy-head stamped image with the red paints! That fits nicely with Theme Thursday too – gardens… 😉

And, this little character also makes me smile happily! I have stickers in my fat pencil case and they “fell” into my hand whilst I was rummaging for my Inktense pencils…

I know, it’s Hello Kitty! I can’t help it – I love these stickers!! 🙂

Amor, Amor!

By Cacharel, from Cacharel, is my favourite (affordable) perfume. It’s a birthday or Christmas (or Mother’s Day) treat and I wear it when I’m going out – wherever I go! I don’t do “best” anymore – life’s too short, seriously…

So, in honour of TMTA – “Perfume” – this week, here’s my puffed hearts ATC:

It’s a tad misshapen, because I was busy poking wadding into it as I was stitching round it and one side’s a bit fatter than the other! No worries, it was fun!

It’s been a busy day, creatively speaking. I started and finished a 16″ x 20″ oil on canvas abstract; I watched the first of Roz Stendahl’s Workshop 3 videos – courtesy of those lovely people at Strathmore and then went up and laid down colour on 6 journal spread pages and created this ATC. I’m a bit tired but there are still quite a few ideas running round in my head – some already committed to paper post-its and clipped into my little “everything” journal.

The painting – originally called “Ebb and Flow” – is the product of one of my post-it ideas, so that worked out really well and has convinced me that I must continue to make notes and stick them in the EJ. It’s a bit busy for “ebb and flow” now, so I am considering running a “Name that painting” competition here on my blog… We’ll see! I’ll take some photos when the light’s better and blog it! 😉


I created these ATCs from backgrounds I had on my desk… They were already painted and coloured to a degree but I decided to use strips of masking tape before painting them black and wiping that off, to “expose” the layers beneath… For Take a Word this week!

However, I also laid down PVA glue (white glue which dries clear), to see what would happen then!! So, I got layers that peeled off and some that peeled back!! I then added a few of my colourful inchies from my 2nd Inchy Sheet (in my Etsy!) and a word, under a piece of book film, leaving half of each ATC “exposed”.

So, thanks to Ann’s description, I was able to join in the challenge by taking the “abstract” route as opposed to showing my knickers! 😉


Not my fave beverage, that would be tea! TMTA this week has coffee as its theme and my Spring Green character has suddenly become Miss Java! I think she looks like a “Miss Java” should though, with her stylised face and cap…

"Miss Java"

and I have been using up scrap ATCs (again!). Trouble is, I can never just make one!


The small dragonfly stamp is by Personal Impressions – love it!! 😉

“Ethnic” and very colourful post!

I liked the theme at TMTA this week – Ethnic… and I have used some great Tribal-style stamps for this ATC. The background is brayered paint and I stitched the tribal figure to the ATC and added a few strands of suitably ethnic fibres to frame the ATC. By twisting the fibres slightly, I was able to “couch” them more easily (Scatter, are you listening? For when you dust off your sewing machine!!!)

suitably ethnic and full of fibre 'o)

The stamps are from Home Impressions. Love ’em! And also from The Netherlands today, the most delightful, nay, colourful, envelope and collaged card… from my good (blogging) friend Marit!

The front

The back

The wondrous collage...

I am such a lucky teddy!! All I did was send her a pair of “wristies” because she’s such a chilly-bird! 🙂

By the way, Marit’s also got a 2-month online workshop called Summer Camp coming soon (registration’s already open) and as soon as I have my 15 Euros put to one side, I am signing on! It’s even multi-lingual – a Dutch speakers room and an English speakers room, but a joint gallery, so we can all share the art-love! I think it’ll be a great summer camp – and there won’t even be any insects to worry about! 😉

Structure and Beauty.

I realised today that I am becoming very “authentic”… Alisa Burke said (in a CPS video clip I saw a few days ago),  that if you can make all your own elements, tools, backgrounds, surfaces, etc. that makes your art more authentic. Hmmmm… well all I can say is that I really enjoy the “uniqueness” of carving and using my own stamps – however basic they are! I am enjoying an ongoing love affair with watercolour paper and drawing imaginary friends’ faces. I still love the feel of torn papers and combinations of such, to which you add paints, glazes, pencil, inks, etc. to create small artworks like ATCs.

I think I treat blog challenges/themes very much the same as journal prompts. They push me to work within a frame and also, when I work on a small scale, I find I become more creative in my quest to use what’s in front of me, or at least within arm’s reach. It’s possible, of course, that my ATCs may all look very similar. To that end, I am considering setting myself “an ATC a day for 30 days” challenge… Meanwhile, here are a pair of blue, architecturally-themed ATCs for Take a Word and TMTA this week:

Small pictures – Crafty Individuals Miniatures – people and places;