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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Make Your Own Scrapbook Paper 4

I wanted to create a rather natural looking page that would remind of nature and the great outdoors. I had a couple of leftover pieces from other crafts and projects that I thought would work well with the project and I was thrilled to use these in the final assemblage. Get ready to paint, paste, decoupage and much more in today's blog!

I start by gathering the materials I envision could work with this project. I have a 12" x 12" paper that has been prepared with gesso to strengthen it to take paint. I also have an off-cut piece of fabric with a beautiful image of a bird in it and some off-cut zippers. Add to that an off-cut patterned paper, I am set to go.

I paint Acrylic Gel Medium to the back of the patterned paper so that I can decoupage it to the white paper. I use an old wide flat brush for this.

Lay the paper flat on the base paper and rub out any air bubbles that may have been trapped underneath.

I now mix about equal amounts of Acrylic Gel Medium and Acrylic Sap Green. The Acrylic Gel Medium will make the paint more transparent which is essential in this project. It will also help to seal the decoupaged patterned paper.

I use a palette knife to mix the paint and gel medium and I then use the same palette knife to spread the paint onto the paper.

I spread the paint on one side of the paper horizontally, while spreading the other side vertically. This adds a bit of interest to the design.

While the paint is still wet, I stick the bird onto the paper. The paint will serve as a fixative or glue, keeping the fabric cut-out in place.

I decide that I want the bird's presence to be more subtle and use my palette knife to spread the paint mixture over the bird as well.

Once the paint has dried, I use wood glue to adhere the zippers to the paper.

I also add a length of corresponding ribbon where all the elements are joined, hiding the join in the design and adding a feature at the same time.

I now set my sewing machine to a longer stitch length so that when I sew on the paper, I do not create a perforation that will cause the paper to tear.

I sew down the length of the ribbon as well as both sides of the zippers.

I love the washi tape I have that looks like measuring tape and find that the yellowish one will go very well with my layout.

I stick the tape on the layout very randomly, trying to break the monotonous geometry.

I use my craft knife to crop the tape away where it overlapped some of the elements.

I now use a metallic marker to add detail to the bird which now seem to have become too obscured!

I decide at this stage that I have added quite enough elements. Time to leave it be so that there will be space enough left for photos and embellishments.

For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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Monday, 29 June 2015

Derwent Tinted Charcoal Pencils

I love working in charcoal! So when I discovered Derwent had a set of Tinted Charcoal there was no doubt in my mind that I would get myself a set of these. This was a couple of years ago and I am still as in love with the pencils, as I was when I first tested them. Let me share my enthusiasm with you.

The only products I am going to use are my set of Dewent Tinted Charcoal Pencils and an A4 sheet of Fabriano Elle Erre 220 gsm pastel paper in pale pink.

I draw the outline of the bear in Burnt Earth. When working with charcoal it is very important that you remember never to rest your hand or arm on the paper or you will smudge your own lines.

I use Thistle to add the patch.

I use Lavender to color the patch using hatching and cross-hatching lines.

I use Ocean Deep to color the nose, making sure to leave a small spot uncovered for the glistening reflection of light.

I use Dark Moss to draw clumps of hair on the outline of the Tatty Teddy. Hair should always be drawn in clumps to appear more natural. Also make sure that they lie over each other in disarray sticking out in all directions.

Detail of the hair.

I use Burnt Embers to add the deep shadows on the teddy.

The majority of the bear's body is colored with Glowing Embers. Make sure to leave large patches of the paper uncolored. These will serve as natural highlights. We will blend the charcoal shortly to get a more even spread of color.
By the way, can you see the three-holed sharpener in the background? It is a product of Faber-Castell's and I love using it with the Tinted Charcoal pencils which are a tad too thick to fit in a normal sharpener.

The tail and snout is colored with Forest Pine

With color added to the whole bear, all that remains to do is to blend the colors. I use a clean paint brush for this, gently brushing over the charcoal and spreading it as desired, leaving deeper color in the shadowy bits and lighter colors towards the highlights.

Once I am satisfied that I am finished, I spray a fix-it over the charcoal to keep it from smudging.

This is the end result.

For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Derwent Inktense and a splash of Derwent Watercolour Pencils

I recently had a conversation with a friend about which product would be the best to buy, Derwent Watercolour pencils, or Derwent Inktense pencils. I stated unequivocally that I would save up and buy both rather than have to choose between the two. That conversation inspired today's blog. Most of the painting is done in Inktense pencils, but I did use two watercolour pencils as well. I'll explain my choices as we go along.

I laid out all the products I might use, but in the end used only the pencils, and mainly the Inktense pencils. Both the Watercolour pencils, as well as the Inktense pencils are water-soluble. The main difference is that Inktense colors are set once dry, while Watercolour colors can be lifted and mixed when wetted again. Inktense colors are also more intense in color.

I also gathered a range of brushes that I might need, but in the end I used only the Pentel Aquash Brush. For a surface my choice fell upon Fabriano Elle Erre 220 gsm paper in sky blue.

I made a few quick shapes using an HB pencil. In no time I had a little tatty teddy sitting with his back to me. Note that this bear consists mainly of circles grouped together.

 I used Iris Blue Inktense on the tip of the bear's nose. Be sure to leave a space unpainted to reflect the gloss on the nose.

I then used Ink Black to add detail to the bear. I used the same color to define the lines, taking care not to draw solid lines, but keeping them broken. This immediately creates the impression of light and shadow.

I painted the colors I laid down with water and allowed them to dry. I wanted to make sure that these colors were fixed and would not lift and mix with the colors that followed.

In a side note, I want to mention that I love this three-holed sharpener by Faber-Castell for sharpening the Inktense pencils. They are thicker than most pencils and won't fit in an ordinary sharpener.

I wanted to make the patch on the bear a check pattern and started off with some Poppy Red lines which I painted and allowed to dry, once again fixing the color so it would not mix with the colors that would criss-cross it later on.

I added clumps of straggly hair to the outline of the bear in Charcoal Grey. Make sure to always draw hair in clumps and crossing each other in disarray for a more natural look. The hair also was painted with water.

I added Teal Green to the patch and painted it with water.

I added bright blue in loose strokes to the bear, leaving large sections uncolored. These will become natural highlights. I will also blend and smooth the paint when wet to spread it more evenly.

I colored the snout and the tail in Turqoise Green using the watercolour pencils. I want to mix a third color here and will do it on the paper, instead of on a palette.

I painted the tail and snout with water, allowing it to dry.

In the meantime I added Sun Yellow to the patch and painted it. Can you see how the colors do not mix, but remain fixed despite my wetting the colors again and again?

I now added Lemon Cadmium to the tail and snout.

When I painted the tail and snout with water, I wanted to retain the integrity of the first two colors in places, while mixing a third color from the two in others. Can you see how I managed to lift the original Turquoise Green and mix it with the Lemon Cadmium to get a deeper green in this close-up?

I even managed to lift the mixed color and add it to other parts of the tail. Are the nuances in the colors not lovely? I could achieve something similar to this if I used the Inktense wet on wet. In other words, you can mix a third color from the Inktense while it is still wet, but not after it has dried. However, the Inktense are too intense in color and I would struggle to get the subtle colors that I achieved here without much difficulty.

I now added Apple Green to the patch and painted it with water.

I do not know who the artist behind the Tatty Teddies are, or I would give credit where it belongs. This is merely a copy of someone else's genius, painted by myself.

For more crafty ideas and great products, visit
Remember to keep nurturing your TALENT for making PRETTY things.
You can subscribe to this blog and receive regular updates by email by simply registering your email address at the top of the current blog.