Thursday, 30 April 2015

Altered Beermats for Rhedd's Creative Spirit

Hi, today I'm sharing some altered beermats that I turned into little wall hangings for a recent swap.

They started off as ordinary beermats (other makes of beer are available :o) ) and then I coated them with black gesso.

Then I took a couple of sheets of some designer paper, tore them in order to give a distressed edge, and, placing the beermats on the diagonal, covered one half with the papers in two layers.  On the uncovered half I attached a wooden key and lock which I had coloured with my Krylon copper leafing pen.

The swap was for a 4" x 4" square, and these mats were just under, so I glued a piece of black card to the back, before writing my sentiment, which I'd based on how I'd decorated the front:  'Peel back the layers and unlock your true inner beauty', I added a piece of filigree at the base and doodled a border around the edge.

I then used my crop-a-dile (love it!!) to add an eyelet to the top corner, and strung some ribbon through to create a hanging loop.

Turning back to the front, I realised that the extra piece of card had created a frame, so I used my Krylon on this too.

I wish I'd made more as I would have kept one for myself! 

Thanks for reading 
Steffi :o)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Starfire and Crystals (mid-month post for Rhedd's Creative Spirit DT)

Today I am sharing this little wall hanging, created on two 5" x 7" canvas boards. These are quite easy to find in various shops and are fairly inexpensive , I think these came from The Works but I have also seen them in The Range.  I have also shared this over on Rhedd's Creative Spirit as the mid-month tutorial - do pop along and see the other DT pieces and maybe enter it yourself?

It took me a while to work out just what I was going to make, and as usual the finished piece is totally different than what I started with in my minds eye!!

I was going to paint the boards with acrylics, but after I decided on the main image I was going to use I thought I would like to enter this in the Dylusion's Challenge page on Facebook - each month they set a challenge with different 'rules' for April it is to use Blue, Red and Stars.

Once I'd decided what my theme was going to be I applied DecoArt Texture Sand paste through a star stencil to one of the canvas boards, and then allowed it to dry overnight.   You can use a heat-gun to dry texture pastes, but sometimes this will give you a different finish effect. They can puff up, go extra smooth or crack a little - this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is worth being aware of. I found an interesting blog post where the blogger had compared the different results, here:

Next, colour. As the boards are already primed with double gesso I decided to go straight in with ink sprays. I used London Blue and Black Marble. I wet the boards first and then applied the inks, letting them merge into each other, I tried to keep the darker areas to the edges by spraying the black in this area, and the blue more to the middle, although on the 'star' board a little streak of the darker colours has run through the middle - I actually like this although I was trying to avoid it.

Once the inks had dried I applied some Rub'n'buff in Gold Leaf lightly to each of the textured stars.   This gave just a hint of a gleam and at first I was happy with this. As the rest of the piece evolved I decided to add a small amount of gold glitter glue on top. I crossed my fingers that I wouldn't have to start over, and when the glitter glue was dry in was relieved with the results - the two combined mediums gave a slightly muted appearance, with just a touch of glitter.

I typed out my chosen quote 'Until you are broken, you don't know what you are made of' in a Word document and played around with the size and font until I was happy, and then printed onto white card. I then stamped my image 'Survivor', one of Dyan Reaveley's newer stamps (and one I just had to have as soon as I saw it!!) using Archival Ink in black.

I coloured the stamped image with Dylusion's Cherry Pie in a water brush, this was on the body and parts of her hair, and when dry I used a couple of promarkers in oranges and yellows on the east. I fussy cut her, and cut the quote into individual words.  I used Tattered Rose Distress Ink to colour the words and then edged with Brushed Corduroy - this worked fine for me, but as they were printed not stamped they do bleed a little, this will either suit your project or ruin it completely, so do check you are happy, I know some people will seal printed pieces with hairspray, to stop this bleeding, but I haven't tried this - yet!!

I then tried to work out on my layout, so I placed 'Survivor' towards one edge on the lower board, and then played around with where the words of the quote would fit. Once I was happy with this I decided that it would use some tiny gemstone chips that I've had for ages, and arrange them in lines as if they were radiating from her. I used Finnabair's 3D gel to position them on the canvas boards. (In this picture the gel is showing up as white but it does dry clear and transparent)

Whilst the crystals were drying, I decided to use some sealer on the coloured image and the quote, but (stupidly!) placed them on some cardboard packable to do this. The sealant ran over the edges and, if I hadn't realised and moved them sooner it would have totally stuck the paper to the cardboard.   I usually do anything like that when the pieces being sealed are in their final position, or on some plastic or polythene that they won't stick to.  I hadn't done them in situ as I hadn't wanted to seal the whole board, just the stamped and printed bits.

I have used a Crop-a-dile to punch holes into the boards and then add eyelets, and then used some chain to fasten the two together, and to create a hanger.  The final touch was just to edge the boards with a little black Archival ink, and also a few glitter glue swirls alongside the crystals.

I loved this image from Dyan Reavely as soon as I saw it, with having Fibromyalgia, most days throw up their own challenges, and this reminds me of a strong woman who has come through a lot; teaming it with quote really spoke to me, and in the same way that little boys are made from slugs and snails in the nursery rhyme, I see this survivor as being made from Starfire and Crystals, but only realising when she has come out on the other side of her battles.

Thanks for reading,  I hope you like this as much as I do.

Steffi :o)

I would like to enter this into the following challenges :

A Creative Need - Collages - here

Mixed Media - Creative Gym Exercise 6 - Words and Letters - here

Stamp and Create - April Anything Goes - here


Artful Times - Challenge 78 Tattered and Torn - I interpret my 'Survivor' as having been tattered and torn with her battle scars - here

Monday, 13 April 2015

Andy Skinner Workshop at Art Workshops Wynyard

Oh my goodness, I just realised that I haven't shared details of the last workshop I attended, Andy Skinner's one organised by the lovely Sue of Art Workshops Wynyard.

When we arrived, we were greeted as usual by a layout of what we would be working with during the workshop.  So for this, we had some pre-cut greyboard in different shapes and sizes, all numbered with their eventual position on the finished project.

I won't share the individual steps we used to create all the pieces, as no-one can do this better than the man himself, Andy Skinner (take a look at his website here: , his YouTube channel, and his Facebook page) so here are just two photos of part of the process.

The second photo shows a stage of the amazing rusting technique Andy shared with us, I was totally blown away, and can't wait to use it again!!

And this is a photo of my finished mirror, with all the completed pieces in their correct places!! It was a great day, Andy shared many techniques with us, and we got to play with lots of the DecoArt mediums in different ways - this is really important as it helped me to see which I liked the best, making them a 'Need to Buy!!' item, and which I could put on my Wish List for later!  

If you ever get the opportunity to attend one of Andy's workshops, I definitely recommend it, I certainly hope I get the chance to go to one again!

Thanks for reading
Steffi xx

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Elemental Wands - for Altered Eclectics

For my Altered Eclectic DT post this month, I've decided to show some elemental wands that I've made, I think they come under the title of 'altered art' as they started of as twigs!  This is a photo of them all together.

Many spiritual traditions believe in the importance of different elements within daily life, health and balance.  These include traditions such as Ayuverdic (yoga and medicines), Ancient Chinese (with acupuncture), Buddhism and Paganism.

In some traditions the elements are considered to be Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, whereas in Paganism we recognise Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Spirit.  I have created a wand for each of these elements and have them on a display shelf in my front room.

When creating each of the wands, I focussed on my belief's and feelings about each element to ensure that this filtered through to the piece itself.  I simply used a sharp penknife and craft blade for tools and combined this with threads, wool and other fibres and jewellery components such as beads and metal wires and foils.


Some of the characteristics attributed to Earth are, strength, nuturing, stability and balance, and related colours include brown and green.

For this wand I used a twig that was of an equal shape - ie it had two straight pieces each coming from a central pivot.  I removed all the bark, apart from the middle section.  At each end I wrapped a mixture of brown and green embroidery threads, interspersed with some strands of copper foil.  I feel that I have created a piece that truly represents Earth.


Air is seen as the element of communication, freedom and of a clear mind.  Think of the phrase 'blowing away the cobwebs' and the belief that thoughts and wishes are carried away on the wind in the same way as dandelion seed.  There are many given colours for correspondence with Air, these include white, sky blue. pastels and yellow.


I treated the bark differently for this wand, removing some in directional lines which appear a little as dashes, leading to the sharpened point at the end, I wanted this to represent two-way communication, both talking and listening and reaching an agreeable conclusion.  I used blue and purple threads and then added various charms, some in moon shapes, feathers and a butterfly to show the movement through air and some heart shaped ones to convey loving communication.


Fire is seen as quick, passionate and creative, you can be said to have a 'fire in your belly' when you are determined to achieve something, or to 'burn with desire'.  There are also connotations of change, or of a new beginning, if you think of tales of the Phoenix bird. Obvious colour associations are reds and oranges.


I really liked the twisty shape of this twig, it reminded me of the way in which flames in a fire dance.  I simply chose a set of beautifully coloured fibres to wrap around one end of this wand, tying wooden beads on the ends, and I found this lovely red piece of suedette cloth, to me it represented warmth and so I added this to the other end.


Regarded as the element of emotion.  Fast flowing water is purifying, clear and pure whilst stagnant water is stale and murky - this is true of our emotions also, if we acknowledge them and let them out it is better for our health, whereas bottling them up inside can be damaging

For this I deliberately chose a straight stick, water always finds its' own path and will even find its' way through stone over time, so I wanted to represent this as straight and direct.  I used wool in greeny-blue tones and added small shells.  I wanted this to remind me to allow my emotions to flow free as I have a tendency to hold them in (my birthsign is Aquarius - the water carrier - which is probably why I keep them in).


Well I guess Spirit really speaks for itself, it is the one element that runs through all the rest, and connects everything to everything else.  Colours given as correspondences for Spirit are usually white black and purple.


I decided to use my intuition (which I think is always best in any case) when it came to the colours I used on this wand, when I think of Spirit I ususally see blues and flashes of silver so this is what I used to wrap the end of this wand. First though I removed all of the bark from this twig, I wanted to be able to connect deeply with the inner core and not a superficial surface.  The only other pieces added were a feather, long held by many traditions to represent Spirit, and a bead with the Yin-Yang symbol - I firmly belief that both the masculine and feminine energies need to be present to complete a perfect 'whole' and a state of harmony and balance.  I feel that this ancient symbol, originally Chinese represents this balance perfectly.

Many thanks for reading this blog-post which has included a little of my Pagan viewpoint, do remember though that I do not intend to impose this on anyone, I feel an individual knows their own truth and must find it themselves.


An Altered Book for Rhedd's Creative Spirit DT

Today I'm sharing photo's of an altered book I made for a dear friend, just because :o)

It started life as a hardback book that I'd bought from a charity shop.  I decided how many pages I wanted to create and then I split the books pages into even sections to match this number, I also removed some pages so that the finished book wouldn't be too bulky.

This is the front cover, I gessoed it first and then painted with brown acrylic.  The medallion squares made from craft foam, which I've heated and textured with some stamps and then aged with some rub'n'buff and added a brad to the center.  I've then added fleur de lis ribbon and a Zetter perfect closure with a padlock clasp.

This is inside the front cover, I've used a Mackintosh style paper as she really likes his roses, and I've added a couple of tags which are created from wallpaper samples and metal foil and coloured with various inky techniques.

The first double page spread was just a cheerful reminder of our friendship using various bits I had hiding in my stash.

For this spread I created a tag shaped window in the middle page so whichever side the book is open on the tag image on the other page can still be seen, I really liked the interest it created although it was really hard to photograph!!  This is the poen I used:

On The Wings of A Butterfly

by Christine McClimans Your friendship is special
Like the flowers that bloom,
Or when a butterfly emerges
From within its cocoon...

You remind me of that butterfly,
Loving and free,
Bright and colorful,
For the world to see...

We will share sunshine and rainbows;
Sometimes, the rain and the snow;
We'll stand together through it,
While the cold winds blow...

When the time is right,
We won't stop to ask "Why?"
Our friendship will take flight
On the wings of a butterfly...

Christine McClimans

And here is another of the double page spreads that I collaged to represent her family tree.

I hope you've enjoyed this little peek!

Thanks for reading
Steffi xx