Thursday, 31 August 2017

Pink Panther Fold & Mail Stationery

Another fold & mail bargain from Ebay. Mmmmm... Stationery. Sweet, sweet stationery.
I was a bit worried as the listing for this did not have a picture of the actual item, instead using a generic photo. The description was 'good' but that doesn't necessarily mean much as I've ordered books on Ebay that have been listed as 'good' that I would have been hard-pressed to describe as 'okay'. In the end, aside from a few pages being missing, this pad is fine.

As with the Wonder Woman fold & mail, there are  five designs. Here's what they look like. Typically, after saying I couldn't find any pictures of the WW envelopes on the internet, I found them within five minutes of publishing that blog post on Pinterest

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Wonder Woman Fold & Mail stationery

Behold, a bargain purchase from Ebay!

These are now out of print and tend to go for Silly Money so was very chuffed I got this set for £5.

There are 40 envelope sheets and five designs. As I have found it impossible to get a clear picture of all the designs elsewhere on the interwebs I have taken a picture of them to share here for the benefit of any future searchers.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Snailmail: A ship a-sailing

Stamps - postage and other
This Canadian rooster one is so simple, and so effective. The four below are from a UK penpal - and one who also puts in orders to Philatelink! The second stamp in is my favourite - reminding me of Christmas at my Gran's where she would festoon the ceiling with streamers and decorations.
A piece of envelope embellishment from someone who loves a nautical (well, mostly mermaid) theme.

Writing paper
More La Papierre writing paper . . . lustful sigh . . . :)

Washi tape
Don't know if the photo shows it but the world globes are on gold pedestals.

Love that fat racoon sticker.
The HG Wells postcard would have been a pleasure in it's own right, but the Jane Austen one is so cute.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Arty August (Days 3-9)

This is my favourite piece from the last four days:
But now in a chronological order:
Day 3
Flowers etc - guess who put a bit too much magenta paint in their tray . . .
The flowers on the left were modelled on this pin. This is the tutorial I used for the round flowers in the middle. The watermelon was an experiment without a picture to go by. It was the one piece on the page I sketched out in light pencil first so I'd have the guidance of lines.
Day 4
Penguin form this pin and I think if I tried it again I would try for a light pencil sketch first as I didn't get the shape quite right. Believe it or not, the succulent was based on one of the examples here. I was worried I would run in to the other lines so used too much spacing between the individual 'leaves' so don't think this one is very effective, though I did get a bit more experience blending colours.

Day 5
Jellyfish - my first Instagram inspiration piece! I did the blue for the sea in the morning and then did the jellyfish in the evening. This one was a lot of fun to do and I really like the finished piece, even if it isn't as detailed and delicate as the original one that inspired me. I've realised that even my finest brush does not create a fine line so if I get the opportunity I will be investing in a much finer paintbrush.
Day 6
Cactus - another Instagram inspired one. The aim was to do a simple watercolour piece, then add detail with pen afterwards. I changed the colour of the flowers to orange for my piece as last year at the Suffolk show I saw a cactus with the most amazing orange flowers, and it has left an impression on me.

Day 7
Shit, shit and shit! So shit I have torn out the page, removed the cactus from yesterday and stuck it on a new page, binning the rest. To add insult to injury, as I was gathering up my materials to wash them I managed to get dark indigo paint all over my cream canvas trousers. KHAAAAAN!
Day 8
The previous day showed me that perhaps I need to be picking up skills from actual people rather than making guestimates on how this or that effect was done. So - my first YouTube tutorial from the Frugal Crafter showing me how to do lupins. You will note, if you watch the tutorial yourself, that she did a lot more in terms of background with her lupins but I was still wary after my Artwork of Shite from Day 7 so I thought it best to leave it as it was.

Day 9
First day this month where I have done zero watercolour practice - because someone had a huge back and a bin full of fabric scraps that I was welcome to plunder. Plunder it I did and spent an hour when I got home ironing the pieces, and turning the smaller scraps into pieces that are the right size for 1 inch hexie English Paper Piecing. I will aim to be extra productive this weekend to make up for the lapse.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Gift tags that keep on giving

Round 1 of the gift tag making has been a success! With the Vaginal Fantasy Book Club ensemble rambling on in the background and a selection of donor books and gift tags crafted from craft card, my friend and I set to work.
The weather outside was typical for an English August summer day - i.e. piddling it down with rain with a grey slate sky. Socks and jumpers were the order of the day. 

I really enjoyed making these! I don't think they have quite the polished effect of the ones which inspired this crafting session but they have their own charm. I might have used card that was too busy in the background pattern wise. Whatever, it was as always lovely to spend time with a chum, crafting and finding out what Bonnie Burton from VFBC thought of Taken by the T-Rex
And knowing that gifts I give out in future will be, ahem, enhanced, by these unique gift tags!

Monday, 7 August 2017

Monday Mishmash

Fragments in Time
Image from Pixabay
If you have a spare half hour, this BBC Radio programme is well worth a listen, especially for those interested in WW2 history. Christopher Morris found the fragments of a torn up diary in a hedge in Sussex and was so fascinated by the scraps he was able to put together that he set off in search of the name of the writer. Written by a British woman in France in 1944, Fragments in Time contains an insight into life in an occupied land. Does Mr Morris succeed in his quest and discover who the diary belonged to? You'll just have to find out for yourself.

A one-sentence Journal
A full list of the 15 journals can be found at Dark Tea
Like the idea of keeping a journal but find the idea of writing page after page too daunting? There's an option you may not have considered - the one sentence journal! Gretchen Rubin has even created a five-year journal for you to keep your one sentence entries in. The majority of us would have time to write a single line each day so if you want to give journalling a go and feel blocked this could be an easy intro into getting in to the habit.

Pen Collection Envy
I'm going through the archives of the Missive Maven blog and came across this beauty. This is a lady who seriously loves her pens, enjoying the cheapie ones as well as the expensive ones as long as they are a pleasure to write with. In a post a few months ago I talked about a desire to have a small collection of good fountain pens. While I can admire the quantity depicted above, if I'm honest I'd want one about a quarter of the size. It is lovely to look at and sigh over though...

Ha ha ha!
Lion-O's action Thundercat grimace acquires a whole new meaning in this setting.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Fold and Mail Tutorial

What to do when you love the idea of sending out fold and mail stationery, but the only stuff you can see in the shops and online is a bit too rich for your blood? Make some of your own of course!

I pick up a secondhand book with lots of piccies of polar animals in it along with a load of trite quotations. It was the animals I wanted rather than the words, and rather than tear out a page at a time I found the central pages that had binding and snipped through the strings so I could pull out the pages as double page spreads. They seemed to me to be perfect fodder for a fold and mail experiment.

You will need:
A ruler of some description (I used a quilter's ruler)
Card for the template (your preference of thickness, I used 1mm thick card as it makes a robust template)
Glue like pritt stick, or double sided tape
Scissors and/or a paper trimmer
Writing paper for the inside of the envelope (I used sheets from an A4 refill pad)
Sheets from the book/ wrapping paper/ magazine/ comic you want to use
This tutorial is about how to make a fold and mail to the specifications of the book sheets/etc you want to use so I won't be giving any exact measurements. 

1.) Cut your piece of card to the shape of the paper you are using, and draw a line down the middle to indicate the halfway point. My book pages came with a readymade fold down the centre but if yours don't you might want to fold them so you have a reference point for later.
2.) I drew 1/2 inch lines down the longer sides of the card, and on the half that would make up the back of the envelope I also drew a line 1 inch from the bottom, marking the spaces drawn so I'd know they needed to be cut off.
3.) For the top half of the template, the front of the envelope, I used a quilting ruler to draw angles for where to cut the envelope sides and top.
Like so:
And when I cut off all the bits of card I no longer needed this is the template I was left with:
4.) Remember that fold you made in your piece of envelope paper? Place your template over the paper, matching the line in the centre of the cardboard template with the fold. Draw round the template and cut out. You should end up with something like this: 
5.) Cut a piece of paper to size and stick in the inside of the envelope using either glue or double-sided tape. If using glue, something like pritt stick would be better than a wetter glue that is likely to warp the paper.
6.) If you have an envelope maker board, use it to score the lines for the envelope flaps to make folding easier. If you don't have an envelope maker it's easy enough to fold the paper over.
And you are done! Front view:
Back view:
All you need to do now is make some more . . . and remember to write some letters of course! You can just write on the one sheet you have in your envelope but I would always add a couple more. If you have a specific set of writing paper you want to use, cut that to size to fit your envelope. If you have writing paper you don't want to cut down, adapt your envelope template to fit your writing paper.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Something New: Collage Gift Tags

Aren't these gift tags groovy? As far as I can make out, they are patterned card with an image taken from somewhere else placed on top for collage. 

I've posted before about how I like to make my own wrapping paper, using plain brown sheets and embellishing them someway or using pages from books rather than buying pre-printed stuff from the shops. I'm also liking the idea of making my own gift tags to add another touch to a gift. 

The tags above comes from a picture I originally saw on Pinterest and have tracked down to here. The original link doesn't appear to be working so the Eat Drink Chic link is the closest I can give you.

What to use for the front images? If I decide to keep with the vintage theme I have the perfect source for the figures to go on the card.
I picked up this book from TK Maxx a little while ago. It's another item from Pepin Press. I'd intended to use the papers for home made envelopes but they could be useful for this project too.
I think my first collage gift tags will be on the cheesy/ surreal side though. As always, I'll share any makes in future posts. I'm meeting up next week with the friend who joined me for crazy cat lady collage cards and I think we could make some WTF tags together 😝

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Arty August (Days 1 & 2)

After writing yesterday's post it occurred to me how often I think of something new I'd like to try and add it to a list. Do I set aside an exact time to do it, thereby dramatically increasing the chance of it getting done? For the most part - nope!

So I decided I was going to set myself a challenge for the month of August and aim to work on something arty every day related to watercolour painting. I'm not saying I necessarily have to finish something every day but I intend to do something.

I will be consulting my Pinterest board, Waffling in Watercolour, for inspiration in the coming weeks.

Here's what I've done so far as part of my Arty August challenge:

Day 1

This piece was inspired by this pin. A very simple place to start. I liked the idea of using a limited number of colours in a simple pattern to create something that was visually appealing. The eyes I added with a sharpie as I didn't trust myself to make small enough blobs with a paintbrush and I didn't want to spoil it.

I also did the shape for a feather (see picture below) and put in the black lines today with a stabilo sensor fine pen. This was another very simple beginner piece, an exercise in blending which went okay but showed me I have a lot to learn.

Day 2

The panda was modeled on this pin. Apologies if the nose looks a bit big - I thought it needed a liiiittle bit extra after I had finished the piece and then I fluffed it with a big splodge. See all these technical watercolour artist terms I am using? Oh yeah. The leaves look NOTHING like bamboo. I was trying to get the correct shape with swishing movements but what my brain wanted to conjure my hand turned into a curve in execution. I think this is an example of how I need to learn which brushes work best for which shapes, and how much pressure to apply.

Page one of my watercolour book now looks like this:
Quite excited to see what the rest of the month will bring.