Sunday, August 25, 2013

Tim Holtz Challenge August – wipeout, redraw and computer woes!

seasons full I held out for the longest time this month hoping that all the new dies and stamps would reach South Africa long before deadline week for August challenge.  In my head I already had an idea of what I was going to do for my tag with all the chemistry stamps.  But things didn’t work out the way I wanted it to so I decided to come up with a new plan. 

 I have been having computer issues.  The deal is that my laptop is old, old,old – it still runs XP and is completely overworked.  This puppy runs everything in my household – I work on it, I watch TV on it, I use it as a hi-fi (do people still say hi-fi – what do they say now …..Entertainment Centre???), I design on it, I even control certain systems in my house on it.  So it was inevitable that a day would come when it would start a global rebellion. 

It started gremlin-ing all the video file, then it moved onto the picture files, then it picked up speed and staged one of those sit-in type of protests where whichever programme you ran – it would work for about a few minutes and then BAM it would give you the pc equivalent of a bad swear word – total freeze.  Now even the on and off button is going nuts – and it wont shut off by “shut down” command.  Right now I am trying to speak very loving words of encouragement to it – the only thing that works on it is the internet browser.  So I am grateful that it still feels some kind of sorry for me and lets me keeps that.

Anyhow, back to the TH tag story.  So last week I learned that the new stamps and stuff wouldn’t be available for another week or so, and I began to formulate a new idea in my head for a tag, just in case there were other hold-ups and I wouldn’t make it in time, I figured I would try and make something else.  When I looked through my stamp collection - I thought I hit on a great plan.  In fact I thought this new vision was far better than the old one and I got really excited about making it. 
The poem “A Dry White Season For Don M – Banned” – has always had a moving and profound effect on me.  Within the last couple of weeks I found my mind returning to its aphorismic truth, like a chant.  There was no real trying circumstance that I can hold accountable for the return.  It was as if the poem itself was manifesting its way into my consciousness and reaching out to me to remind me of its message, just because of its message. 

It’s a poem written by a South African poet Mongane Wally Serote while he was in exile, to another banned South African poet and writer Don Materra, whom at the time was under house arrest.  It describes a dry white season that is painful and harsh, where leaves fall bitterly to the ground, but reminds the reader that even the harshest winter will eventually come to pass.  Even though the context of the poem is political, I have always interpreted it in a broader context of hope.  The message for me is universal – that life has its seasons, some of them may be harsh, brittle periods of pain and trying circumstance, but we can always take assurance that as natural as the seasons do change, grim, winter seasons of circumstance shall too come to pass:  seasons 018
A Dry White Season
For Don M Banned

It is a dry white season
dark leaves don’t last, their brief lives dry out
and with a broken heart they
dive down gently headed for the earth
not even bleeding.
it is a dry white season brother, only the trees know the pain as they still stand erect
dry like steel, their branches dry like wire,
indeed, it is a dry white season but seasons come to pass

Mongane Wally Serote

So naturally with those powerful images playing in my head I had reached for the Stamper’s Anonymous Falling Leaves (CMS097) collection of TH stamps.  I knew that my heart was asking me to highlight the idea:  “Seasons come to pass”.  My mind’s eye saw the artistic connection between falling leaves and turning gears – seasons come to pass.

Oh it was beautiful – I cut masks, I stamped, I layered mask upon mask, I stained, I spattered. I glossy accented, I “geared” up for the art that was unfolding directly from my heart.  Seriously I was having a really great time with my tag – I have had romances that I haven’t had as much fun with and paid so much attention to!  I had not managed to fix my pc issues and couldn’t upload my project to the TH blog.  I wasn’t too fussed though because I thought I would just upload the pics onto my work pc in the office and go from there.

The next morning I got my coffee and began my daily ritual of reading through the blogposts of the bloggers I follow – and then I saw Alison’s post and her entry ( See Alison's amazing project by clicking on this )for the Tim Holtz challenge.  It was so beautiful, I loved it but more importantly – we had both chosen the same stamps (apart from Skelly), DOH!!!!! DOH!!!! DOH!!!! Even the texted background and colour scheme was eerily similar. WIPEOUT!!!!!

  So then I thought that I wouldn’t post my tag because it was so similar in concept to hers, and this little virtual community is dedicated to sharing diversity of interpretation, I felt like I should do something different to hold that tradition.  Alas – I got so busy with stuff that I had to do for work etc – I didnt get around to doing another project. Today I finally gave up the dream of trying to make another tag.  The truth is – I just cant imagine what else I would want to do for this challenge.  I really have to have something move in my heart in order for it to be translated into mini pieces of art, and my heart I think was just so filled with this particular message that there was no room for much else.  I don’t know – perhaps the Universe is trying to reach someone and give them the message that seasons come to pass and it needs me to post this tag. 

So I am going to have to post the original tag that I came up with as I neither have the inspiration or time to come up with a new concept and make it before the Tim Holtz deadline.  Also, I really loved the tag when I made it and I wanted to share it, especially because of its meaning to me. 
But yes,  I am aware that it does look very similar to Alison’s – that was completely unintentional but I am also secretly pleased cos I hold her artistic talent in such high regard so the fact that we both independently of each other halfway across the world, thought up the same concept was totally cool for me.  I feel like I have broken into the Holy room of Inspiration or something.  Alison is so amazing at whatever she does – I’m in total awe of her.

My personal stamp on the Tim Holtz technique was to colour the masked bits (all the big leaves),  I used distress markers otherwise I kept to all the original technique instructions.
seasons 020seasons 021seasons 023
I also used the smaller stamps to create a sorta watercolour transparent leaf background under the text background.

If you’re wondering how I managed to get the smaller leaves all seperated like on there – I’ll tell you a horrible secret – I cut the long strip (rubber stamp) of small leaves  into pieces – but I confess that I like having the smaller individual ones and if I want them in a strip again – all I have to do is just line them up like that!

The supplies I used for this tag were:
#10 sized tag (though I just cut a #10 sized tag out of Ranger Specialty stamping paper)
Stampers Anonymous Falling Leaves CMS097 Tim Holtz Collection
Stampers Anonymous Curiosity small text stamp CMS124 Warehouse District
Stampers Anonymous “Horlogerie” typography stamp  CMS123 Attic Treasures
Ranger Archival ink:  Plum, Olive, Monarch Orange, Cobalt, Sienna, Vermillion
Ranger Distress Markers
Ranger Distress Stain Gathered Twigs
Stazon Timber Brown
Sizzix Tim Holtz Alterations:  
656917 Sizzix Sizzlits Decorative Strip Alphabet Die - Chip Block
657482 Sizzix Sizzlits Decorative Strip Alphabet Die – Alphabetical
Ranger Glossy Accents
Ranger Ideo-ology mini gears and regular gears
Thin Popsicle stick

Anyway – I hope that if there is indeed a hurting soul somewhere who is feeling overrun and overwhelmed – I hope that this tag brings you the comfort and hope that seasons do indeed come to pass, take heart – I have felt this for myself as well.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Distress Paint: Alchemy – turning cardstock into Vintage Gold

I have been busy in my apothecary creating a fast and dirty formula to create a vintage forged gold effect.  I am going to share that with you today.

Now you can watch me perform alchemy in the lightning speed video below,  however in solidarity with my people (since South Africans generally are inflicted with the curse of slow, expensive, data-capped internet) – I am also going to share my magical formula in the step by step picture tutorial underneath it.

(edited to add – something went wrong when I tried saving the video – it is cutting all the video frames in half – don't know why – you’re stuck with the pic tutorial then! 
2nd Edit - apparently this is a bug well common to Movie Maker 2.6 devotees like myself who try to run it on newer Operating Systems - boo - I think I have lost my favourite editing tool but more importantly I am going to have to reshoot this whole video)
momdadalicejosh 004
Cut out your pieces – I have used the Tim Holtz Alterations Clock Key and Pocket Watch die and a circle die from Spellbinders to cut out the window face with the intention of turning it into a pocket locket. 
  momdadalicejosh 001
Create the background Patina by covering the whole die-cut with an opaque coat of Black Soot Distress Paint (DP – from now on) – this is very important in crating that vintage feel - so don't skip it. 
momdadalicejosh 007
Choose the embossing folder pattern - I like to use something with a highly detailed pattern as it gives me more texture, and more texture makes the piece look more vintagey. So I chose the Sizzix Alterations Damask Folder.  Run it through your Embosser.
momdadalicejosh 030momdadalicejosh 008 
Dab a glob of Tarnished Brass DP on your work surface or craft sheet and using the blending tool with the the foam applicator, gently begin burnish the embossed bits.  The trick here is to apply very light pressure in a staccato or brisk up and down motion.  Keep building up layers .  I prefer to highlight the embossed bits heavily in the Tarnished Brass DP but leave the debossed bits, slightly less covered in paint so some of the Black soot shows through.  This is what is going to achieve the vintage patina effect.
 momdadalicejosh 030gilded1 
The next step is optional.  To create the gleaming glint of vintage gold – over the Tarnished Brass DP rub on some Gilder’s Paste or Perfect Pearls. This has a two-fold effect – it blends and evens out the sponged on paint and the gold particles settle into the debossed areas such that it matts everything out but at the same time adds more gleam to the “precious metal”
gilded2 blockprints trinkets 023

To finish it off or seal it – there are three things that you could do.
You can coat in Ranger’s Glossy Accents – this looks super shiny and slick.
blockprints trinkets 024

Or you can heat emboss it with CLEAR embossing powder. Don't use gold embossing powder because you will lose all the cool dry embossed detail.
locket locket back
Or you might just want to take the fast and dirty way out and either spray clear lacquer varnish or paint high-gloss varnish onto it.  Which is what I did for the pocket locket – The heat gun was a little too fiddly for me and I didn't want to leave my chair – and that is the primary reason why I chose this method over the other.

And there you have it – You’ll be turning pieces of paper into gold in no time at all.

A few other details about this project – the stamp is from a South African company called Heritage Stamps, though I have to admit that I did tweak her eyelashes and put on more eyeliner for her..  I stamped on Ranger’s Specialty Stamping paper and I coloured the image with Ranger Distress Markers.  To create the vintage glass feel – I gave the face window a generous coat of Glossy Accents.  Once that dried – I decided it would look cooler with deep cracks in the glass, so I overcoated that with crackle accents.
heritage stamp momdadalicejosh 026 POCKET LOCKET FINISH1
I still haven't decided what I am going to do with my paper gold pocket locket.  Maybe I could swing it off of the top of a tag and turn it into a bookmark.
In the end after all the tweaks this is what it turned out like.