Welcome to the land of Shiny

The home of exuberant amateurism.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Alter It Monthly Challenge. July 2010, Home Sweet Home - Flora's Round House

I recently found a new altered art challenge site that is monthly - whoohoo!
You can find it here. They also have a prize up for grabs, which always helps as an incentive.

I made another round house for a very special friend's birthday, the fantabulous card making Sylvia.
Happy birthday to you!

This is Flora by Evelyn De Morgan which is Sylvia's favourite Pre Raphaelite painting.

Now by my reckoning Flora has been standing barefoot in the garden for 116 years so I thought it was about time someone let her in a house to warm up her toes and maybe take a bath.

Click on the picture to make it bigger so you can see some of the glamour dust sparkle.

The interior and shutters are a gentle antique red not the raging RED that appears in the above photo.
I have got the colour better in this next photo. (I couldn't improve it in photo shop any further not with my limited skills anyway, oh dear.)

The house started out life as a 500 gram container of coffeemate.
Dimensions are:
Diameter 4".
Height of container 5.5", roof is extra on top.

I got the idea for the shutters from an article by Gail Milburn on page 72 of February 2009 Edition of Craft Stamper.

How to make it.

The first thing to consider is that it is much easier to gesso and then decorate by painting one of these.
If you want to wallpaper one, then you must be prepared to measure accurately in order to get a nice finish and expect a fair amount of cursing whilst you're doing it.
Once you've made your first one and made all your mistakes with that one it'll be plain sailing on all future ones! I'll show you my first one in a minute so you can laugh at it.

First of all decide what image (if any) is going to lean out of your window.
Size the image by measuring the height of your tin and allow for an inch or so of headroom in the container otherwise your head will get partially hidden under the overhang of the roof.
Once you have printed out your image, then you can decide on the width and the height of the window and how far up the tin the windowsill needs to start to suit your image.
(Next time I make one I'll take photos as I go along, because it is much easier to see how this goes together that way.)
Cut out your window and divided it into two shutters.
Decide whether you want the shutters to sit concave or convex against the sides of the house.
Mine sit concave because it is easier to glue the shutters open that way .
There is another way to do this that I use and I'll explain later.
Then label each shutter Left and Right so you don't get in a muddle with them.

To attach the shutter to the house cut a rectangular piece of card  that measures the height of the shutters and is about 1.5" wide.
Fold in half lengthways.
Glue one half of the rectangle to the side of the shutter that will sit  flush with the house.
Then wallpaper and decorate the shutter completely before you stick it onto the house.
I used the strong double sided tape (red backed) for all my wallpapering.
Your wallpaper can be designer card or paper, either will work fine.
Alternatively you could use gel medium as a glue.
Or if you want a bit of wiggle room then use white PVA but this would be my last chioce of glues for this project.

Then wallpaper the inside of the house.
When you have a window you don't need to glue the wallpaper down, if you have cut it accurately it will stay in place all on it's own as if by shiny magic.
You then stick the shutters onto the side of the house and then wallpaper the outside of the house.
I glued the shutters back in place with strong white PVA and used pegs to hold the shutters open while the glue dried.
For instructions on how to measure everything and how to glue the beads on and make the roof see this post that gave instructions for making this shell house.

The only difference is that on Flora's roof I glued punched out flowers around the bottom of the roof and if you decide to do this you need to make a circular band of card that will sit on the lip of the tin to raise the roof up enough to allow for the roof decorations to sit correctly.

I also used Tim Holtz grungeboard flourishes that I first painted in a bright green acrylic then I used my finger to apply two different shades of metallic green in a random way. Glued them on with glossy accents.
I also added some pearls and bling, lots and lots of glamour dust to the flowers using a Sakura Quickie glue pen.

The butterflies are Anita's Fairy Wings dimensional butterflies with the awful fugly silver holographic edge cut off.
Now as you know I am partial to a bit of shiny, but these butterflies are delicate woodland shades of brown and the very last thing they need is cheap and ugly silver holographic crap on them. So I used my tiny scissors and cut it all off. Off with the shiny! Never thought I would be saying that. Ever.

So onto my very first piece of 3 dimensional art and my first round house.
I did this one with two windows, one front and one back as it were.
I held the shutters open by tying the two shutters, one from each window, together with fancy yarn.
This is a T Rex shrine that I made for Himself as a Valentines present in 2009.
Okay you can start laughing now,
it's very heartening to me to see how I've improved in just over a year.
The photo's are abysmal quality as well which make matters worse.

Okay stop laughing now or I'll cry.

I am behind on visiting everyone and will try and remedy that shortly.

Happy creating!

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Dress Up 2010 July. Here comes the bride all Spankified.

The deliciously delightful Margaret is hosting the Dress Up 2010 here.

Here comes the bride all Spankified.

Click on any of the pictures to make them bigger.

Ever since Evangeline set eyes on Hauwt Hottie Guy here, Spanky has been preparing her wedding dress.
Nothing like a bit of forward planning.
Just in case you can't remember what Hauwt Hottie Guy looks like, here's a reminder.

First rule of being a girl scout is never pass up the chance to ogle a Stud Muffin.
I was and still am a very diligent student of this rule.
Steadfastness is a virtue.

Spanky has let me tell you how she made this one.
Firstly using this template cut a dress out of white felt.

Now about the sewing thread I use.
If you've never heard of this thread before you are either going to love me or hate me for telling you about it, because once you've seen the finish it gives you there will be no going back; a bit like flirting with the dark side :-)

It's quilter's invisible nylon thread and it's designed for use in sewing machines to do the stitching that holds the three layers of quilt together; the backing, the padding and the quilted front panel.
You can also use it for overlocking, appliqué, bobbin work etc.
I would imagine it will make a fabulous job of invisibly machine sewing that pleated paper/ribbon technique that is so popular on cards at the moment.

The total brilliance of this thread is that it is invisible so if you hand sew ribbons, beads etc onto a fabric you cannot see any of the holding stitches at all.  Also it doesn't matter how untidy your stitches are because you can't see them.
Now for someone like me who has always hand sewn with more exuberance than skill, it is simply a modern day miracle.

For hand sewing the down side of it is also it's strength; the invisibility, which means threading your needle is a pain even using a needle threader and as it is nylon it is harder to fasten on the back to start with.
Also, it is very difficult to use in artificial light and even in daylight I use the position of my thumb on my non sewing hand to let me know where the next stitch needs to go.
Top Tip: If you are feeling friendly you could always use someone else's thumb.
BUT you can't get a better finish and personally speaking that makes it totally worth it.

This is what the thread looks like.

I use the .004 thread size as it will sew through even the tiniest of seed beads.
I use a tiny 3.1cm sewing needle. (I must be doolally.)

Back to the dress.

1. Start with the ribbons. This is what we are aiming for.

Using 1cm wide pale pink ribbon.

Do the side ribbons first starting at the waistband.
Use running stitch.
Sew across the top of the ribbon at one side of the waist band.
Fold a pleat and then sew across the top of the pleat. Repeat until you get to the bottom of the skirt.
Use a ruler to measure the spaces and the pleat length if it helps you, I did.
Fold the ribbon around the back of the bottom of the skirt and sew it down and cut off the rest of the ribbon.

                                                                       The front

                                                                      The back

Do the other side ribbon next.

Then do the centre ribbon. Do the centre ribbon last because it is shorter than the side ribbons and you need to judge by eye where the folds need to go, measuring isn't going to help on this one and I don't know about your relationship with God and whether he will help you or not.
Need a stiff drink yet? Don't worry, you soon will.

2. Sew the white lace across the bottom hem inbetween the bottom pale pink pleats.

3. Next sew the two 4mm wide cherry purple ribbons inbetween the pale pink ribbons.
Sew using running stitch from the waistband downwards to the bottom of the skirt.

4. Then using running stitch sew the 1.5cm wide eyelet lace over the top of the cherry purple ribbon.
Sew down one side of the lace and up the other side so it is properly attached and you need not fear that a rogue elephant can rip it off the dress.Very important that. Remember safety first.

5. For the waistband, sew pink heart shiny embellishments one by one across the top of the skirt ribbons. See second picture below.
Then sew a white pearl shiny embellishment on top of each of the pink hearts and sew a tiny pink seed bead into the middle of each white pearl.

6. Sew white pearls around the neckline again including a little pink seed bead in the middle of the button.
Sew some more across the bottom of the skirt. See finished dress picture at the top of this post.
You will probably need a lot of alcohol by now, so finish the rest of it later.

7. You back then? Got a hangover? Well tough, lets finish this sucker.
Pick up the invisible thread again, go on you know you want to.
Just think of the immaculate finish you get or just think of the Queen and England instead.
You owe it to your country, you know you do.

In fact it's a bit like sewing the Emperor's new clothes and we all know what happened to him don't we?

Nehked in the streets.

8. Finish by sewing pearl torpedo/Guinea Pig Pooh shaped beads and pink seed beads to the edge of the sleeves.
Now I had had quite enough by then but you could go on and sew teeny tiny white pearl seed beads down the skirt ribbons if you feel like it or you might like to go and find more drink.
Tricky choice for you to make there.

I will leave the photo's of the dresses altogether until next month as I need to buy a bit of dowel (sp? rhymes with towel) to hang them on and this post is already very long.

The thought of going shopping makes me shudder with horror and not shiver with delight unfortunately.
I know; how weird for a girl.

Happy creating!
Gini xx

Monday, 5 July 2010

Opus Gluei Challenge # 59 I scream, you scream even Spanky screams ICE CREAM!!

The lovely ladies over at Opus Gluei had this sweet challenge whilst I was under the weather.
So I'm a bit late.
Click on the picture to make it much bigger so you can see the words. 

My advice to the Knight Errant in the picture is to let Spanky style his hair.
It's the mullet and pudding basin combination from hell.

You know the expression if you have to explain a joke it isn't funny?
Well, I need to explain this one.
Hang on a minute, I need to explain because it is in fact a logical process from the challenge to this picture but it's not necessarily an obvious one.
Aaw who am I trying to kid?
I'll let you draw your own conclusions...

So anyway it goes like this.

You have to know what a Mr Whippy is as it might not be called this in other countries.
It's a soft ice cream that comes out of a special ice cream machine and looks like this.

I have just finished reading Reckless by Amanda Quick (which is Jayne Ann Krentz's pen name for historicals).
In her many pseudonyms she is a prolific author and of the few of her novels I have read, most are misses but this one is a big hit.
It has some very clever and funny dialogue.
It is set at some point in the past before cars and probably in the 1800's somewhere. Hey, no flies on me.
A naive woman tries to get a man she believes to have the chivalrous principles associated with knights from mediaeval times to pursue a quest for her to find a mediaeval manuscript and thereby track down the murderer of her dead paramour.

So Mediaeval women wore ice cream cone shaped head dresses didn't they?
And if we take Mr Whippy literally he is a man and could therefore potentially have been a Knight Errant.
Something like Sir Galahad, Sir Lancelot and Mr Whippy went out riding one day to rescue the fair maiden from the evil clutches of Ben and Jerry of olde London Town....
And if you then put some of the dialogue from the book with the characters from The Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton.
Then you have an Ice cream challenge sorted.

Making the picture.
I cut the figures out of Leighton's picture and then I made a pathetic attempt to anchor my characters in the picture.
Normally my central images float magically on air but I hoped to improve on that this time.
Unfortunately not even reading most of an art book on perspective (which apparently isn't a treatment for constipation) has helped.
My eyes kind of glazed over by the time we got to the renaissance section of the history of art perspective.
I have most in common with the ancient Egyptian artists, bless there little papyrus socks.
This post is turning into War and Peace and I'm not nearly finished yet.
Are your eyes glazing over now?

As I was saying I have tried to add some steps to give perspective to my characters but got the angles of my floor tiles hopelessly wrong. I knew the flat tiles needed horizontal lines but the pattern on the paper distracted me and now they slant completely the wrong way. It was at this point I decided to quit while I was ahead.
I got out my sequin ribbon to cheer myself up after the perspective disaster.
Oh shiny shiny, that's much better, so I put on double shiny to compensate.

Happy creating everyone!