The RETIFORM technique - some cards for men

GOOD TIMES - I've used a metal die to cut the shape after doing all the artwork, then kept the die in place to add extra shading at the edges, which results in a lighter border. I rather like this effect!
Men's cards are always a major headache, so I thought you might enjoy seeing some Retiform cards I've made.
GOOD TIMES - detail of corner, with satin ribbon.
 I just finished these samples last night, ready for my class at Blade Rubber on 5th October.

The binoculars have a heavy layer of Ranger's Crackle Glaze, which I rather like. I watercoloured the face and hands to add a very light tint.
I love the way the colours blend together, making new shades.
The main images are stamped in Ranger's Archival Ink in black, and the actual Retiform shading is all done with Distress inks.
Images by Paper Artsy, swirl by Stampington
I've cut the die shape first (from vintage sheet music) then worked on that, stamping the main images with Archival ink in black. The numbers and phrase are in Archival ink in plum.
I love these brads - they look like screws!
This technique has been around for a while: a simplified version is the Grid technique. I think this is just as easy to do, but the results are much more sophisticated - and unpredictable. You never know what you're going to get, which is half the fun.

BOY - I created the artwork first, on dark red card. I die cut it, then ran it through an embossing folder.
This one's a bit different in that I used bleach on the boy's face (the card is dark red) and highlighted the embossed text with gilt cream. I also used some red lace on the left-hand edge.

Detail of the little bottles and the lace
I added tiny glass bottles, encased them with a strip of torn, stamped and inked paper (using plenty of silicon glue) as an extra element.

Detail of the soldered glass slide holding a vintage photo

In the Old Days, we used to scuff the actual pad along to create the shading. All I can say is, God bless Tim Holtz, Ranger Inks and their wonderful Blending Tool! You can use it (or a piece of Cut'N'Dry) with vitually any ink, and it really makes the job a pleasure rather than a chore. I used to get cramped hands trying to guide full sized ink pads.

This one I did around a year ago
Having looked at a couple of my old cards, I'd say my style has certainly changed. And I think you'll agree the shading on the new ones is way superior to the dragged ink pad effect of this older one!

I'd forgotten how much fun this technique is - I'll certainly be doing more - I'm addicted now.

Pink Saturday - RAIN journal spread

The background is a wash of pink, red and yellow acrylics over vintage book pages, and I've stamped over the top with a foam stamp. The word RAIN is in white pen, with 'snow' Stickles glue added on top. Far right, I've added ric rac braid on the page edge.
This time, I thought I'd share this 'Rain' spead - nice & bright and a bit of fun... I've used just the one stamp - first with red acrylic as a background, and then over that with gesso. Once the gesso was dry, I overpainted wiht watercolours, then added a little glitter.

Closeup showing the glitter, and the multi layering of the pinks and reds of the stamped image built up as a background.
I hand-lettered with white poster paint pen (Posca) then added a drop shadow in black. I added dots of turquoise Lumiere acrylic paint, dotting it on from a fine-tip plastic bottle then more dots of white acrylic (also decanted into a fine-tip plastic bottle).

And a closeup from a different angle, showing the background stamped in pinks and reds over a pink and yellow background wash.
And another view. I do love being able to read the background text - I think it adds a whole other dimension. Interestingly, it also strengthens a fragile and porous vintage book page (this is one of my handmade journals using a mix of watercolour, vintage text, sheet music and other papers).


pink saturday Finally, please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see all the other wonderful Pink Saturday posts!

DARK DAYS journal spread

DARK DAYS journal spread
DARK DAYS, another spread in my Spelling Bee journal - this one has a pocket at the side for a tag. The main image (right) is a gel transfer of a magazine image, which I've then drawn and painted back into. The residue was strong enough that I was able to glue it to the left-hand page, so I've got a virtual mirror image. I love 'two-fers', lol.

Detail of pocket - the upper page is actually two pages stuck together for strength, with about a third of the page cut off. I glued lace behind, and torn vintage text behind that as well. Below that is another set of two pages stuck together, and painted (acrylic). I then glued the upper page at top and bottom edges to the one beneath, to form the pocket.
Some days I just want to wear black, and disappear into the background. These are Dark Days, dull grey skies, totally miserable weather, when my hair's a mess and I don't really feel like dressing up (I'm only going to the supermarket or library). So it's on with the Basic Black (Tshirt and trousers). This also necessitates a quick coffee break somewhere nice, with a book (and possibly a Danish pastry or a cup cake). Then I do the shopping, and go home feeling tons better, able to face the world again.

Phrases cut from magazine pages, plus hand lettering in white, outlined in black for emphasis.
The black tag matches the black page. I've hand lettered the phrase, added a strip of torn vintage sheet music and vintage braid on top, plus lace round the collar of the face I drew. I decided to leave the black card showing through, and painted a very thin layer of flesh tone on top to give some definition.

Gel transfer image on a crackle-finish page (base layer of black acrylic, then a layer of PVA glue and a layer of yellow acrylic - I have a tutorial in my Etsy shop). Again, phrases from magazine pages, which I've outlined for a strong contrast, plus my own lettering in white with black outlines.
The right-hand page is the brighter page - when I'm in an 'up' mood: a good night's sleep, the sun is shining and I have money in my pocket for some guilt-free spending. The hair is behaving, the scales say I'm a little lighter, so all is right in my little world, lol. Today I feel 'fierce', as Mally Beauty would say.

WINGS - concertina journal

I've frazzled the ends of some of the organza ribbon ties, using a heat gun, which adds a nice bit of texture plus a little change of pace... I've also used Sari ribbon, double faced satin ribbon and grosgrain. The little pocket is a journalling block with one my own stamped tickets (I designed this stamp for BladeRubber Stamps and this is part of the Paris UM sheet)
Here's another Vintage Concertina Journal I've made - virtually finished (I just want to add a bit more art lettering to some of the pages before I post them).

Inside back cover, using vintage pix, Tim Holtz journalling ticket, paper flowers, Washi tape etc etc, plus some stamping.
These pages are simply pieces of very stiff card (around 280gsm) which I've edge with black distress ink.

Closeup of vintage image, also showing mica tile sandwiching glitter and vintage bird image. Lots of dimension here!

The Baby Page
Here's the full spread, using an Indigo Blu stamp for the quotation. The bird paper is a scrapbooking paper with glitter (wish I could remember the manufacturer as I'd like to buy more) and I've added real lace to the bottom of the baby's chest so the cut doesn't look too brutal! Such a sweet face.

Inside the front cover - real lace, a 7Gypsies journalling blogk, a vintage postcard, postage stamp, some Washi tape and a strip of tickets stamped with my lady from my own Paris set of UM stamps for BladeRubber Stamps.

As I mentioned in my previous post, anyone interested in making one of these for themselves might be interested in my new bookbinding tutorial: Vintage Concertina Journal (now in my Etsy shop and available as an instant download).This one comprises 5 sheets of card, which is 10 pages (work on both sides and stand up for display) which is a great journal/scrapbook size as it takes no time at all to fill up!

Hope you like it.

ROSE JOURNAL - some pages

Front cover of Rose Journal - I hand-drew the 'Rose' lettering then filled in with Lumiere paint for a raised surface. The 'name' word was filled in with Glossy Accents and covered in glitter!
Here are some pages from my Rose Journal - all hand-lettered and hand drawn, too. It's a little on the cute side as, for some reason, I seem to draw cute although I tend to collage more in the vintage style.

Pages 2 and 3
 Two of the centre pages. This is a concertina journal, with each page linked separately, so I've used a variety of ribbons, tape, string etc to tie the pages together.

Closeup of the Girlie page - I drew the head, hands and feet on watercolour paper and painted them - then drew a dress shape onto vintage sheet music. I painted everything with watercolours, then drew over the flower centres with a liner pen, giving a raised edge. The lace on the hem of the dress is real. I also added diamante 'gem' flowers down the right edge, and added some silk flowers too.
This was a really fun journal - very quick to finish, very easy to make (no complicated stitching etc) which I recycled from a single cereal packet. The front and back panels made 4 pages, which linked up into a little concertina book of 8 pages. (More pix to follow).

For anyone interested in having a go themselves, I have just finished a new bookbinding tutorial: Vintage Concertina Journal (now in my Etsy shop and available as an instant download). This is one book you can make and finish in a couple of afternoons!

Hope you like it.

Art Blog for Creative Living: What is Art Journaling? (and 10 art journaling prompts!)

Crackle cover on my 'Caprices' book
I've been mentioned in this blog post by Emmy Hirst on SchulmanArt blog! Wow!

Art Blog for Creative Living: What is Art Journaling? (and 10 art journaling prompts!)

I'm thrilled to link this - my crackle finish tutorial has been featured on this blog. Plus it's a great article!

How nice, huh? Do go and take a look.


Bottom of scarf, with appliqued flowers and leaves, and showing fringe detail
I haven't contributed to the Pink Saturday meme for months due to the foot op, and not being able to sit comfortably at the computer due to lack of leg room.

Full length view
Closeup of middle row flowers

So I thought it was about time I joined in again, and also show you what I was up to while I was laid up: crochet! I used to crochet a lot when younger, and now with the resurgence of interest in the craft, dusted off my hooks and got going again.

Another view, showing the scarf draped a little better

This is a scarf I designed myself - basically, it's one row of double crochet, 1 row treble (UK instructions - I think it's half double crochet and double in the US???) and I crocheted the flowers and leaves separately then appliqued them on. I'm pretty sure the patterns for those are in my Pinterest folder.

Scarf laid flat

I just did the scarf as wide as I thought it needed to be, and carried on till I ran out of wool - hope you like it! I will be making more, although I seem to wobble a bit at the side edges (lack of practice, lol).

I've also done two Granny Square bolster covers!

pink saturday Finally, please visit Beverly at How Sweet the Sound to see all the other wonderful Pink Saturday posts!


Journal spread - pocket page on the left with a tag tucked inside, and a cut window on the right.

I thought you'd like to see some more progress in one of my journals. This one has a window cut into the page on the right (with the button fastening) which I'll show in the next post (camera ran out of battery!)

Napkin tissue (single layer) glued directly to a text page which in turn is glued to a painted page, to create the pocket.
The pocket page minus the tag. This is a smaller page, collaged with a napkin tissue background, mounted to a full size page which is painted and stamped. I've done some hand lettering with a dip pen and India ink.
This is a photo torn out of a Sunday supplement - I think it was The Mail On Sunday magazine...
Here's a closeup of the window page - two buttons, the small one layered on top of the big one, which acts as a handle to open the page. The shape is cut round the actual shaped niche in the magazine photo, and I've edged the page top and bottom with some vintage Guipure lace. (I love using real lace in my books).

I've drawn the letters in black, added some scribble - and drawn over again in white. I've also added some glitter (can't help it!)
The tag - front view, using a Lynne Perella stamp. I've lettered by hand using a black Zig pen. The image is stamped with Ranger's Archival Ink in Plum over a tag I've sprayed with pale and dark blues and a little green for an accent colour.

The back of the tag - I drew inside and around the stencil to echo the curve of the clock face, and added scribbled lines for texture.
The back of the tag has a lot of texture - I used a Tim Holtz clock stencil and transparent stencil paste over a sprayed background (blues and green) and then rubbed on some copper gilding cream to accent. The lettering is drawn with a black Zig pen, and I've then added a drop shadow in white.

I seem to really be dwelling on the passage of time at the moment - probably because I've just turned 61 (still feel around 25 in my head, though). Have you noticed the older you are, how the weeks seem to just fly by? Spooky.

Next post, I promise to show you what's inside that window....