I have a very lovely and very dear friend in Ireland, whom I find it difficult to buy gifts for. This is because she and her husband run their own stall on a market where they live, and whenever I see something I think I could get them I worry that they will already have it - on their stall!
If I can I try to make a little something for them, and this year I decided to make a kilt pin brooch for Tina, having made a couple for swaps and enjoyed it.
This was the last chunky ATC swap of the year, and of course is the one with a Christmas theme. I had to make one for Gill, and her chosen theme was Santa's Workshop. I thought this was a brilliant theme, and spent quite a bit of time planning how I would do it; I decided I wanted to hide Santa behind doors so you had to peek in and see him, so I decided to turn the chunky into a tiny little workshop, covered in frost and snow, with a ladder up the side to the roof where the finished toys could be stored waiting for their collection by the sleigh.
I made doors and a doorframe for the front, which sit over the top of a picture of Santa hard at work, which I covered in glossy accents to make it stand out better.
The sides were covered in fine texture paste with a good dollop of both silver and iridescent glitters mixed into it so it looked like sparkly snow. I had a minor disaster when I dropped the dish of paste onto my brand new purple jeans, but an emergency dash into the kitchen for a wet sponge sorted that out with no lasting damage!
I added a section of the same Santa image on the back of the chunky so it wasn't too plain, covered it in glossy accents and some crackle medium round the outside and then spread the past carefully around it, hoping to give the idea of a frosted window wiped clear of snow to look in.
I got a selection of dolls house toys, including a little sledge, plus a ladder and added these; the sledge was going to be glued against the blank side of the chunky but I decided it would be too fragile for posting and removed it. It went in the box loose together with two white 'bottle brush' type Christmas trees to set the scene - unfortunately I didn't take photos of the chunky with the trees!
I think Gill is happy with her chunky, which I am glad about as I really loved it myself and would have loved to keep it!
I had this mostly finished at the beginning of the week, but didn't want to put pictures up until it had the title on. Originally I wanted to do a really bright, richly coloured page for December, possibly with baubles or presents or crackers. For some reason though once I started I fell in love with the icy look of the background that appeared (Dylusions again) and just went with it by adding icicles for journaling; I even found a stamp with Santa on his sleigh, which went well, plus one of snowflakes that I used on the outsides of the pages in white; this doesn't show up on the photos though.
I bought a peg loom a couple of years ago, and quickly got started making the fabric for a bag. However, I wasn't happy with it and the loom got put away with the bag unfinished. Yesterday I saw a lovely scarf in town, but couldn't find it in the shop (it was the last one it turned out, and they didn't have the label for it)
I popped across the road and bought some lovely wool, came home and got the loom out, luckily I had enough unused pegs on it to be able to get started straight away, and in little more than an hour I had most of the scarf done. I stopped only when I ran out of wool. I have dashed into town today and bought more wool to finish this one and maybe make another, but here it is at the moment. Sorry for the blurry photo!
I was a little late getting my pages done for November, as it took me most of the month to decide how to do them. My son suggested rockets as it is Bonfire night on the 5th, and I figured he was right - a simple rocket shape would make a good journaling spot. Due to lack of time I didn't do anything fancy, they don't particularly look like rockets to me but the trail of stickle stars shooting out of them as they whoosh into the sky helps!
I did realise afterwards that the colour scheme is very similar to my October pages, I must make an effort to make December look different!
I have just finished October's Calendar Journal pages, a fairly simple background of dylusions sprays with the days a mix of pumpkins and maple leaves. The leaves cover the days I am visiting Gemma in Canada and I think they complement the pumpkins pretty well.
Over on the Secret Swappers part of UK Scrappers we are swapping kilt pins. I made one for Karen, who didn't have any specific preference for colour or theme, which is something that always panics me a bit!
I used a silver kilt pin and charms, with a mix of beads in shades of blue.
I can't believe it is time to make a Halloween chunky again already, it hardly seems any time at all since I made Bones and sent him on his way! This year I have Frances as my swappee, and she expressed an interest in vintage style images and nothing scary! This felt totally different to my usual Halloween ideas, and I did struggle a bit.
I ended up with a much simpler looking chunky than usual, although the paint finish on it took up quite a bit of time as there are 5 layers in total: gesso to seal, two coats of black acrylic for coverage, a thick coat of crackle paint and then orange acrylic rubbed well in to get into the cracks. I used some Graphic 45 paper for the front and back with digital downloads from http://www.alphastamps.com for the top and sides. I had a couple of buttons which suited the images quite well but as I didn't want to cover them up too much I didn't want to add too much more. I couldn't find anything suitable to sit on top either, so left this bare.
I have managed to squeeze in some more crafting for August, my calendar pages for September. I liked the background but it has been nearly lost behind the punched journaling circles. Themed around the Autumn Equinox, with info about it around the outside of the pages.
Back on the Secret Swappers, I am taking part in another swap, this time decorating and swapping a door hanger to the other person's theme or quote. I was making for Frances and her quote was "Please don't frighten the Mojo away"
The wording on this was always going to take up most of the space, but I wanted the Mojo to be a kind of fairy who was originally going to be trapped inside the birdcage but later I changed my mind and had him hovering outside instead. I hope she likes it!
This is the first swap on UK Scrappers that I have hosted, so a bit special for me. The brief was to decorate a mini canvas and easel in the theme of my swappee.
I had a lady called Joy, whose theme was dragons. I thought it would be easy, but these canvasses are tiny and it took me a lot of searching to find a small enough dragon for the main feature. I finally found I had the right one in my possession all along, and made a mould of it so I could remake it in Fimo.
I chose to decorate the back of the canvas as the main side, so I could put the dragon in the niche created by the frame, sleeping on a bed of treasure; I put a dragon image on the front too so Joy can display either side as the whim takes her.
Anyone who is paying attention may notice that July hasn't been posted, that's because I didn't finish it completely until after I had started writing in it, and I am not comfortable letting anyone read my diary entries I'm afraid! It was only a boring page anyway...
I have had August planned for months though, so I was able to get it finished and photographed before I had started writing in it, so here it is:
Once upon a time, quite a long time ago, a swap called Secret Vices was proposed and started among the Secret Swappers. I got the lovely Sian for my swappee, and had to make something of my choice to celebrate her little vices: Shopping, cake, craft, chocolate, stationery, Dylusions stamps and sprays.
This was quite a long list, so I concentrated on shopping, chocolate and cakes. Over the course of the time I was planning it, it changed quite a bit, and in the end to get it done I simplified it. It still gave me some difficulties, but I think it turned out ok and I hope that Sian likes it.
The black purse in the corner is held on with a tiny magnet, because it contains a chocolate lip gloss - I bought it quite a while ago and haven't seen it for sale since so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it's still ok! The chocolate squares on the top and sides are moulded from Fimo. The whole thing is actually a photo frame, the back unclips easily so Sian can change it to her own photo if she wants to. I enclosed a Hello Kitty notebook and a bar of chocolate just in case she doesn't like it though!
The end of May is just a few days away, so I've been very good and got my pages finished nice and early. On the left is a depiction of a Neolithic temple, Maltese style for our holiday while the rising sun on the right side represents the summer solstice or longest day. These are my favourite pages so far.
I took a break from Chunky ATC's and didn't do the sixth swap as I was busy, but couldn't resist coming back for number 7 even though I was even busier - they are soo addictive!
My swappee's idea of seventh heaven was being able to be selfish, but she left it open to interpretation. I happen to think that being selfish can be positive and healthy, after all you've got to take care of your own needs and be able to put your self first sometimes!
I used the four sides of the chunky for positive affirmations, and added a beautiful big resin flower on top to remind her that you have to 'take time to smell the flowers' sometimes. I just hope she likes it, as it didn't turn out quite the way I saw it in my head when I started, and I couldn't get my hands on some of the things I wanted so had to adapt a bit. It's also surprisingly pretty for something of mine, and I don't think pretty is particularly Rebecca's style either!
Back on UK Scrappers I am taking part in the Rock Gods swap, where the aim is to create a kind of fan club membership pack for my swappee's favourite rock band. I had to create a pack for Fall out Boy, who I was totoally unfamiliar with until my daughter Gemma played me some of their songs and I realised I did know them after all!
The pack could be made up of a mix of bought and made stuff, with at least two items being made. I made a membership card, and a minibook with photos of the band members, a potted history and a discography. I also bought some loose badges, printed off a larger picture on card which I laminated before sticking the badges to it with foam pads and sealing the whole thing in a cellophane card bag.
I also bought some stickers and a keyring and plectrum set plus a photo which has the band's autographs printed on it. I thought how to package them, and decided to use a free drawstring bag that came from a show. This had a logo printed on it which I covered with a photo printed on canvas fabric and stuck on. Unfortunately the fabric of the bag was thin and the logo could be seen on the inside so I added another piece of canvas to the inside - and then had to paint and stamp over it to hide the logo as it was still obvious!
My daughter Gemma liked the altered mini tins or tinchies I made and received in a swap on UK scrappers last year, and asked me to make one to take to Canada with her to remind her of home. She has a working visa to stay in Canada for 12 months, and all being well she plans to then move down to the USA for a few months too, so it may be a while before we see her this side of the Atlantic again.
The inside of the tin contains a photo of our house, and an old map of the part of Huntingdonshire where we live. The little black cat is made from Fimo and represents her 14 year old cat Willow (it even has a tiny bit of his fur baked inside it! The black bird is of course a crow, and the layered jar contains a pinch of earth from Glastonbury Tor (a 'holy' place) some sand from Great Yarmouth where we spent many happy holidays, and is topped off by a pinch of soil from our garden (for 'home')
I wasn't really happy with how the outside of the tin turned out, but it doesn't really matter.
The whole tin is a kind of protective and comforting spell, lets hope it works!
A long time ago I took part in a collage swap with other members of the Secret Swappers on UK Scrappers. I think my pieces should be here somewhere in an earlier post, but it was so long ago I'm not completely sure, and my memory ain't what it used to be!
I finally forced myself to add the pieces I got back from everyone to a 12 x 12 canvas, with a stamped image to fill in the planned gap. The finished canvas is hanging in my conservatory where I can look at it every day, and I am really pleased how it turned out.
I knew what I wanted to do for this one, but I had to fiddle about sketching it on scrap paper before transferring it into my journal. It's a bit different to my previous pages, as it was drawn on and then painted, before having stamped flower borders added to add interest; but at last, here it is!
As you can see, the journalling spaces are on the ribbons of the maypole, so some are a bit limited size-wise!
Another month has arrived, and again I was rushing at the last minute to prepare pages for the start of the month. At least this time I knew what I wanted to do: I wanted a bold and bright rainbow in the background, done with Dylusions sprays, with raindrops to journal on. I practised on a spare piece of paper, which gave me due warning how messy the rainbow was going to be, but I love it anyway even though some of the colours have run into each other too much!
I also wrote the month freehand onto a spare raindrop and coloured it in, I was pleased how it came out as I usually use stencils, stickers or die-cutting for titles.
The staff council at work held an Easter Craft competition last Thursday, to make an Easter bonnet, card, cake or decorate an egg; there was also a competition to guess the number of chocolate eggs in a jar (I didn't win that, which is probably a good thing!) and a cake stall plus a raffle of a beautiful cake.
I decided to make a papier mache egg using an Easter Egg mould, which I then painted and decorated. I was so pleased to be told I had won first prize, for which I got a lovely Thornton's Easter egg. As the winner I also got to choose the charity to which the proceeds of the day would be sent, and I asked for it to go to the Smile Train, a charity dear to my heart which arranges for the repair of cleft lips and palates in children in some of the poorest countries in the world. The £188.00 raised will pay for one lucky little one to have their surgery.
I have signed up for some more swaps on UK Scrappers, one was to make a set of ten Inchies which will be swapped with other crafters so I will get a set of ten back all different (Including one of mine) At the same time I made a set of Twinchies for the same swap.