Tuesday, July 23, 2013

12 Tags of 2013 – July Tag – 67 minutes

TH0621023 327  I didn’t think I was going to enter the challenge this month.   I was really stuck for inspiration – we don’t celebrate the 4th of July (being South African and all) and I have been saving all my tags with the intention of eventually installing them onto a collage of sorts to hang on my bedroom wall.  So I reckoned a “ US Independence Day/freedom” type tag would be a little lame and weird if its going to hang on the wall of this  “makhoti”  in Kwazulu right?  

Anyway I went about my business, messing around with all kinds of other projects, but I think if I don’t do something Holtzy I get a bit anxious and fidgety.  I swear I think I’m Holtz junkie. 

So then the 13th of July rolled around which is my birthday and I got a sweet horde of Holtz-aphenalia….which I generously gave myself as a birthday present,everybody should save up all year to do one big bank-busting Tim Holtz buy for their birthdays right?  In addition to that – I received an order from Inspiration Emporium.  And you know how that goes – once you get your stash, it takes an extreme amount of self-control and pleasure delaying to stop yourself from wanting to play with your goodies….

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Inspite of the haul and the intense desire to cut, copy the July theme, and paste ideology charms and adornments I was still stuck for an idea that would fit somewhat with the theme. 

Then the 18th rolled around which in my country is celebrated as Mandela Day as it is his birthday.  This year he turned 95.  The celebrations were less pomp and festive than usual as he currently lays gravely ill in hospital.  As we collectively held our breath for news of his wellbeing, an idea started forming in my head.  Yes we don’t celebrate American Independence Day but we do have a new and very worthy July tradition  - the 67 MINUTES tradition.  The concept of 67 MINUTES is a pay-it-forward sort of deal.  

In recognition and honour of the 67 years that Nelson Mandela (known affectionately in my country as Tata or by his clan name Madiba) selflessly served in the aim of greater good, we give 67 minutes of our own time to do something good, charitable, courageous or gracious.  Madiba being such a genuine example of humility, benevolence and grace – asks that the day be marked not by some kind of reverent worship or adoration of him, but instead be marked by your own 67 minutes of good deeds on this day.  I think this is an awesome way to honour a man that I have utmost respect and gratitude for.  And that is what jump-started my idea for the July entry into 12 Tags of 2013 challenge.

The concept was “freedom” in a sense.  The idea is that doing something good frees your soul.  I also wanted to share the idea of the 67 minutes challenge.  One of the other great gifts I received this yeas for my birthday (from someone else this time) was a copy of a book called “The Secret”.  The ideas contained in this book speaks to the power you have within you to attract that which you desire if you are in alignment with the Universe (It is lot less hocus-pocus-chant-Aum-gaze-into-my-crystal-ball-New-Age-magic-sparkle-unicorny than I am making it sound).  

The basic premise of the movement is that within the universe there exists a law of attraction – like attracts like.  It espouses that the Law of attraction enables you to call goodness into your life by just focussing on it, wanting it and envisioning it.  

If you persist in negative thought patterns, you by default invite negativity, if you dwell on positivity you by default attract positivity.  Your thoughts are your intentions.  You cannot change the outlook of others but you can change your outlook.  

I thought about what I most wanted in my life (I always thought it would be unlimited credit at Ranger)  but it turns out that what I want more than anything else is to love unreservedly, be good and be surrounded by love and goodness.  I want to challenge myself to spend at least 67 minutes of each week doing something constructive, positive and benevolent.  

The book offers a tip on how to bring this into conscious awareness and thereby into conscious manifestation by advising that that you should try putting visible reminders of what you want up where you can see them.  What better visible representation of what I want and hope to be than a pretty tag that reminds me of the 67 MINUTES challenge?

If you know my style at all – you will see that I have deviated from my usual style which is often dark, moody colours with jarring eye-poking contrast.  This month’s tag is a little lighter and softer – I worked a colour palette that I have never felt at home with before – a kind of sorbet,pastel palette.  This already might be the effect of the law of attraction in operation.  I am starting to feel lighter, my heart is starting to feel softer, less anxious and not so at odds with the world and I think it is starting to reflect in my every day life, including my choice of colour palette.

Back to the tag - as always – here’s a blow by blow photo show of my whole process – even though it is not as super detailed as I usually do it. 


I brayered on Distress Stain – in various colours and then over that in the opposite direction I brayered on White Picket Fence Distress Stain, Loved how it it toned down the eye-pokey.  Following Tim’s instructions, I random stamped incomplete images all over to make a pretty collaged background.
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I used a couple of Alterations dies for this tag – Fanciful Flight, Sewing Room and the leaves were from the Tattered Florals Strip die.  I crackle-painted and baked in the Walnut Distress Stain on the wings – loved that porcelain look.  I also put some glow in the dark paint on the outer wings – this is both cool and a little creepy when you turn the lights off. 

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The flower on the bottom left is a tissue tape flower. I used a variety of different tissue tape on this tag. TH0621023 329 

The quote comes from one of the Visual Artistry Clear Stamp sets.  I thought it was perfect – Madiba himself achieved the somewhat impossible by his dream of being more.  I stamped on Vellum, heat embossed and then used Distress Ink and Stain to colour the vellum.  I Distress Stained the little strips behind the sentiment.  Those cool strips are so awesome, they used to be a window blind, I cut it up, cos I am a rebel like that.

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I attached the wings to the dress-form with brads, added the INSPIRE token – I kinda wanted it to look like a medal as if  your 67 minutes that you give frees your soul, you “win” by inspiring kindness in others as well.  

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When I was little we got “stars” if we did something right or good, they represent the same concept – I crackle-painted and glossy accented those.  They were so tiny though, your fingers get a little crampy, and you get a headache from trying to get your aging eyes to focus so while the awesome grungy end might justify the physical trauma of method - I am going to have to admit that it took effort and supreme determination to stay committed to that effect. 

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I ought really to go to bed now cos it is 3am and I have two classes to teach tomorrow.  I hope that you were inspired to act on your 67 MINUTES as well.  I love this quote by Marianne Williamson (often erroneously attributed to Nelson Mandela’s Inaugral Address btw) – I am going to end this post with it.

"...Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

- Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love -1992

Monday, July 8, 2013

Distress Paint Rust Effects - First Technique – TRUSTY RUSTY

  For the last month or so I have been trawling through all the TH0621023 123“Rust” pins on Pinterest.  It makes me feel good that other people also think Rust is beautiful.  I love how rust looks and when I started expressing this little fetish publically – I always got skewed looks.  So finding rust-loving pinners made me feel wonderfully accepted. 

  Of course for a paper-crafter – if something is beautiful, you have to find a way to emulate that on paper.  That is what I am attempting here to show today.  I have experimented with a variety of techniques, but this technique that I am sharing today is my favourite.TH0621023 284  I will be sharing the others at later dates on different posts.

  If you have Distress Paint, glue and some grit – it is almost too easy to do this effect as shown on the frame, accents and hinges card on the right. 

Today you have two options of getting the handle on this technique.  You can just click on the video below the text-tutorial and watch me demonstrate the process - or you can skip the video and just read the shortened cheat-sheet post right here with bonus pics and talk-throughs after it!

 Step one
Figure out what you want to “rust”. 
Even though I had that nice picture of a rusty pediment on the top there to show you how cool the rust effect is - for the purposes of this tutorial I am going to “rust” the posts from TIM HOLTZ ALTERATION’s Hardware Findings Die. 

Step two
If you want to – you can sponge on Rusty Hinge Distress Ink to create a rusty colour

Step  three
When tin or iron corrodes its starts to flake and bubble and get real gritty. 

To create the uneven surface of rusty metal - I put some glue down on the item – in the video the tube says Paint Appeal – but I just recycled the tube cos it has a nice pointy tip, and I have filled it heavy duty cold wood-glue. 

Now you’re going to need grit.  I bet you can use anything gritty – art sand, regular fine sand, even glitter flakes.  I took some fine table salt – blasted it in a coffee grinder to make it finer and then added Rusty Hinge Distress Ink (the refill ink not the stamp-pad if anyone is wondering how to do that).  I blended that in until I got a nice orangey hue.  This is optional because you will be painting over it anyway, but it is kinda fun to dye the salt.

The next step is to rub that on the piece that you have covered in glue. It doesn't have to be uniform and you dont even need to cover the whole piece in a layer of grit.  You just need enough to create some corrosion texture.

Step Four
Gather up all the Distress Paints you have with the colours that you want in your rust.  Usually rust has patches of ochre and red, orange and browns, sometimes a little blue-grey, sometimes even green.

For my piece I gathered up Barn Door, Rusty Hinge, Spiced Marmalade, Mustard Seed, Walnut Stain  and Tarnished Bronze.  I also got out the Weathered Wood for the oxidising finish.  I think Bundled Sage Distress Paint would be better but I dont have that yet.

Using your finger or cottonbud (Q-tip) or the “Tincan Tool” start creating your patches of corrosion by dotting/spotting/tapping the paint on and lightly blending it together.  Do this until you are happy with your rust pattern.

Step Five
The last step is giving it an oxidised look.  Rust that is outside in the elements sometimes develop a chalky blue-grey or green-grey oxidation, like how patina forms on brass statues or figures.  

To do that you just need a tiny amount of Weathered wood mixed with a bit Peeled Paint Distress Stain (If you dont have Bundled Sage Distress Paint like me)  or Bundled Sage Distress Paint.  Use your finger again to just dab on the tiniest amount here and there.  This step is optional but I really like how that constrasts with orange and ochre.

Step Six
This is another optional Step – but to keep the grit from eventually falling off etc, you might want to hit it with a blast of matt finish fixing spray.  I dont think its too big a deal though and you can skip this step.

So that concludes the technique bits – now let me show you the other cool bits of the card.

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To get the metalworked Rusty effect –as in on the frame of the card – I ran Rusty Hinge Distress Ink all over a piece of cardstock and then embossed it with the sizzix alterations Regal Flourishes texture fade.  I applied a “rooibos” rust to the frame. Rooibos (literally translates into “Red Bush” in English) is a type of tea in South Africa that brews to a gorgeous red colour, I cut open a teabag, poured the contents into a coffee-grinder and mixed some of it into clear matt glaze medium.  The dye in the tea starts to migrate a little and this I thought creates a pretty cool effect.  I think you could use ground up Hibiscus Tea for this as well – it might yield a very pinky-red stain though.

The next cool thing I loved doing was faux pyrography.
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If you dont know what pyrogaphy is – it is the art of burning designs into wood with a heating unit.  I tried to do this with that soldering iron I spoke about in my last post but I couldnt steady my hand enough to write legibly on the popsicle stick so I did the next best thing.  First I stained the popsicle stick with Rusty Hinge Distress Ink.  I wrote on it with an embossing stylus using as much pressure as I could to create an indentation without actually breaking the stylus.  Then I traced in the indentations with the fine tip of the Walnut Stain Distress Marker, I might hace also gone over with Black soot – I cant really remember – but defo on the Walnut Stain.
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This card is for a sweet old guy who had an accident on his farm while working and he was beat up pretty painfully, so he was in need of a get well card. I loved the idea of a fuse to fire up recovery. I go around looking for all kinds of things that people usually throw away.  This fuse came from the rubbish bin of a mechanic, one of my best random-scavenger-days ever. The Heart was originally a pastel pink button that I painted with Fired Brick, Barn Door and I crackled that and then rubbed Tarnished Brass Distress Paint all over it.  I painted White Picket Fence on the glass bit of the burnt out fuse and then tried to write:  “Love is the best medicine” on it – that was hard cos I had to write so microscopically – I am going to have to practise my fairy-sized writing skills.

I was really looking forward to using the map stamps that I have – they are pieces from a bunch of different sets.  I gave them the ol’ Distress Marker and waterbrush blending treatment.  So loved how it turned out. 

Alright, time to wrap up this post.  Like I mentioned earlier – I have experimented with other techniques to create rust, I will be posting other rust effect tutorials on these techniques as well.  I am also super keen on following through with my promise to deliver the forged-gold tutorial and the Stone-texture tutorial – all totally possible with just a few colours of incredible Distress Paint – bookmark this blog, follow by email or through an RSS feedburner to make sure that you get in on it first.

Thanks for checking this out.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Solder Soldier and other exploratory items!

Just a random post today because I wanted to show my first soldering project.  I was at Asia Market (that really is the name of the store - its like a gigantic warehouse of stuff imported from China) and I saw a dirt cheap soldering iron - for R20 - that is like $2 or a pound and a half UK.  I have always wanted to try it so I got it.                                                                                                            
I watched a gazillion soldering for crafting videos and learned that you couldnt just solder wire onto anything - you need copper tape and flux.  So I spent like half a day trying to find copper tape, thin pieces of glass and flux.  Apparently no one in Richards Bay does stained glasswork, so I wasnt able to find anywhere that sold copper tape and thin glass.  The glass shop that does windsceens and windows only had really thick glass and they wanted R90 per cut - so if you wanted something that was as tiny as I wanted - you would not only have to buy a sheet of glass which was well over R100, and then you had to pay R360 for every piece that you wanted cut on top of that.  Its crazy - and I think the glass cutting industry is the way to go if you want to make a fast buck in Richards Bay.  
I looked for flux at the hardware store and they only had something called Isoarc Brazing Flux GP which was in powder form.  It was expensive too - but I got it because that was the only thing they had that they that was called Flux.  Bad buy - I couldn't work out how to get it on.  Mixing it with water was a disaster, it hardened like Caustic Soda does - and it fumed like that too.  
Another long story short was that I was not able to find the copper tape or the 1mm glass anywhere in R/Bay so I was left with no choice but to order online - the fancy- schmancy craft kind that is packaged all cute-like and stuff but more importantly, the kind that you have to wait 2 days for (and craftaholics know that this is a form of craft waterboarding) from the Scrap-a-doodles Online store. I like this place that I order craft crap from though because the service is quick and you literally will get your stuff the next day if you choose the courier option.  So this is what I ordered for soldering (for all us Saffa's - they didn't have the craft soldering flux gel paste either - should we do something about that?  Maybe Dragon Glass or Jimnette's has it - I didn't look into that because I had a I-want it-now-attack and I have Scrap-a-D on speed-click on my Net-banking thingie).

Inkssentials™  - Memory Glass - 2" x 2" (24 pieces)Inkssentials™  - Memory Glass - 1" x 3" (24 pieces)Inkssentials™ - Memory Foil Tape - Copper

I had a hard time opening the square 1'5" box of glass, the microscope one pops right open when you press on the red tab blah blah, but the other one had issues, I opened and closed multiple times too - think I am going to file off the the red tab on that box.  Another heads up - I was kinda surprised at how small the roll of copper foil tape was  - I had expected it to be 1/4" wide but diametrically akin to terrifically tacky tape or office dispenser sellotape looks - but this is teeny tiny, just a little bit biggger than pencilbox sized sticky tape.

Anyhow -  didn't have the energy to take nice photos so I just shot hardcore right off my grainy webcam like that.  Please do excuse the passion killer sweater and garb.  The lime green polar fleece is the result of the war between warmth/comfort and style.  It is super cold today for me - I live in a very warm, tropical part of South Africa right next to the ocean, where it almost never goes below 23 degrees Celsius (73F) so today is like hypothermic freezing for me at 18 C. My house is tiled to keep the heat down and is not insulated at all to keep heat in, and because I almost never would need a heater - the aircon units only do cool to frigid here.  The limey sweater is hugging me like a warm body right now.  That makes me happy.  In lieu of the warm body natuurlik!

Here's the show and tell 

I also ordered American Art Clay Brass tape - I am going to try and make brass paper beads out of that - I think that that would be cool. 

 But the most exciting part of my order was Jax Wax gilding paste in Sandalwood and Foundry Bronze.  I dry emboss both with folders and manually with a stylus on a bunch of different things - and I have always battled to find a highlighter or lowlighter that would stick and stay permanent  to the debossed/embossed part of the piece.  

This stuff is awesome - the colour is nice and rich - it dries in less than half a minute and it sticks to just about anything - I initially rubbed a test-swipe on wax paper and a non-stick craft mat.  It is still stuck to that with zero smudging.  Gonna haftato bust out the ol' surgical spirit to get this off....secretly I love the smell of surgical spirit, so I am excited in more ways than one.  I really do wish though, that Scrap-a-doodles stocked all the colours - the verdigris and and patina and african bronze were really cool looking patina colours.  Can you imagine that patina-smudging fun you would have?