Sunday, March 1, 2015

Junk In Your Trunk

Hi my name is Candice and I have to confess that I have a problem…..

I have a hard time throwing out junk because I am convinced that all things can be upcycled for art, craft and home projects. Besides all of that, I am sure that all of us have some kind of conscious desire to do our bit in leaving less of a carbon footprint.

So my challenge to you is to create something out of any kind of junk and re-fashion it either into something useful, functional or beautiful for the JUNK IN YOUR TRUNK challenge this month.

I am leaving the challenge open to your interpretation of what constitutes “Junk”

It may mean a set of hideously patterned china that you want to smash up and a make a mosaic...
It may mean reams of patterned paper you have lying around that you turn into a collage masterpiece...
It may mean doing something with skeins of wool that you intended to make a a sweater with...
It may mean doing something with rusty keys,nuts and bolts and random pieces of wire that you pick up off the street...

You can create whatever you want to, however you want to and with whatever you want to.
The only rules are that your project MUST contain something that you consider Junk that you have reclaimed or recycled.

Check out the fantastic, creative diversity and pure ingeniousness that the Design Team put together for this challenge.

Some leftover polystyrene/styrofoam ceiling tiles and mesh tape, a few twigs, bark, binding wire from the bi-monthly garden cleanup and feathers and quills from a bizarre mask thing got magically turned into a faux wood panel wall hanging.


From "junk" to treasured memories, I created this gift for my Dad's Birthday.


I re purposed this utilitarian paint can/tarnish can/stain can holder, into a stool that you can actually sit on!! 


I repurposed this 15 year old CD cupboard into a Steampunk cupboard to hold my Tim Holtz dies. I covered it with different textures and die cuts. I hope you are inspired!


I am always in need for a place to store my numerous brushes. I like it when altered projects can become useful. So for this challenge my "junk" was an empty yoghurt carton, a great shape for this purpose as it will hold many brushes, yet does not take up too much space on my craft table.


I chose an old book for my new favorite theme - Art Journal -

I think I can do nothing else, little joke on the edge ;-) 


Hoarding a lot of plastic packaging that came with crafting supplies, this challenge is perfect for me... I recycled round plastic container and made a small gift box...


An old zipper can open to new treasures... if we watch it differently!


Part of a Yale lock that wasn't needed looked too useful to be thrown away. 

I knew eventually I would find a use for this 'junk'....

This shiny new ring became a tarnished rusty clock on a miniature wall hanging


I used some pages from an old book, a piece of cardboard from an old box and two old music CD's to build this serene Floating Water Lily Garden wall hang for my Mom. A little reminder to her, to take time for herself once in a while!


Aren't they amazing transformations? Thanks so much everyone for your hard work!

So make like a "Junkie" and get busy with whatever floats you creative Junk Boat!

 If you want to know any further details about any of the creations you see here today, then please click the link on the designers name - they would love to have you visit! 


Our Sponsor this month is.....

Crafty Individuals

Watch out for two DT Spotlights this month featuring products from Crafty Individuals

One of the entries this month will be picked by and they will receive a generous donated gift from Crafty Individuals

You could be our winner chosen by the challenge host and be invited to be Our Top Talent!

If you are one of our Top Three you get a badge to display on your blog and the picture of your creation will be proudly displayed on the OCC Pinterest page

Come and join in the fun at OCC!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Make Your Own Bird Stamp!

Servus and welcome to my second appearance as Our Creative Corner's Resident Guest Designer! I hope you had fun with my January tutorial: "Umberto", the mighty moustache man!

Today I would like to show you how easy it is to carve your own bird stamp.

And when I say "easy" I really mean it....I know stamp carving (or lino carving) always looks quite intimidating and even a bit dangerous (hard lino, sharp knives, soft skin, fiddly detail to cut, transferring the design,...) and it can be, but it doesn't have to anymore as there are a lot of soft carving blocs out on the market now (and even if you decide to try lino carving there are some tricks that can help make it less laborious).

I recommend that for starters you try the Speedball "Speedy Carve" stamping blocs as they are really easy and effortless to use! They even offer a starter "Stamp Making Kit" that comes with a wooden handle,  two knives (one for fine detail and outlines and the other for taking off larger pieces), an easy to follow instruction, tracer paper and a carving block. Carving blocks can be bought separately in various sizes - from really small to rather large 6 by 12 inch size.

But the best carving equipment does not replace a good stamp design, right? So how achieve it? Search for good images you can use as a pattern with books or magazines!

Get some paper and a pencil and try some sketches until you find a pattern that you feel comfortable with drawing freehand. Don't care about the size of your drawing yet - draw the way and size you feel most comfortable with!

I found a lovely picture of a great tit and sketched it rather roughly. Avoid soft curved lines as the carving will give an "edgy" look to your design anyway.

Next get yourself some black acrylic (or water-) colour and a soft paint brush (for fine detail) and trace your design rather quickly. Don't waste time and energy on small detail - we want to create a design that will tell it is a hand carved one and not an industrially produced stamp made from a nature photograph. Honestly my shading in the bird's body wasn't necessary at all (but I got carried away a bit while

Using the black acrylic colour and making "drawing" more difficult by forcing your hand to draw with a paint brush, your design will be closer to being cut-able and you can already get an impression of where to add more black and where to leave more white space to make your design more striking.

Now's the time to define the size of your stamp! Measure your carving block (or the cut to size carving block) and divide the area into even squares. Then divide your drawn image into the same number of squares using a ruler and a pencil.

Next to your segmented drawing draw a smaller version of the grid - this time the exact size of your carving block. You will find that it is rather easy to transfer a drawn image by hand by using a scaled grid. And it is a good way to practice your drawing skills too (as it helps you learn focus on directions, proportions and shapes). (You can of course use your printer for this and scale the image on your computer or printer...but being an old school arts teacher I tend to prefer a method that I can also use when I am away from my pc). ;)

Well, your result doesn't have to be an exact copy of your first drawing of course - but you will find it will look pretty much the same. And that's all you need.

For fine detail use a black ink pen with a very fine tip - especially the eye will have to be done precisely so it will look naturally.

Finish the rest off with your fine detail brush and the black acrylic (or watercolour) paint. That will do the job well enough and help eliminate unnecessary detail that would get lost during cutting anyway.

Now take a piece of tracer paper and a soft pencil and thoroughly trace all the black lines and areas of your design.

Flip your image over and place the tracer paper face down on your carving block. Rub over the whole image with your fingernail (or the back of a spoon) to transfer the pencil drawing to the rubber of the carving block.


There it is!

As you can see I first transferred the image to my carving block and then cut it to the size of my stamp. 

Start with the fine detail V-knife...

...and cut all the outlines first. 

Then take away the larger areas using the wider knife. The already cut out outlines will help prevent your knife from "slipping" into areas that are meant to stay black when being stamped. Anyway - you should rather cut from the edge towards the center of an area you want to remove than the other way round. And only cut small pieces at a time...this will also help prevent "slipping" into places you want to remain raised and untouched.

The carved stamp will not cling to an acrylic bloc (unless you mount it onto some EZ mount), but as the material is rather bulky you can use the finished stamp right as it is without an acrylic bloc at all (and only use an acrylic bloc to add some pressure from the back if needed)  - so it's time to make your first print (just like you stamp with any other stamp).

You may find that the first print shows areas where you need to cut off some more. I marked these with a red pen:

Repeat this step (stamping - cutting - stamping) until you are content with the design. And then you're done!
I really encourage you to carve your own stamps - you will find that is a very rewarding thing to have your unique and personal stamp to use on your projects!

I used mine on an art journal card for starters (and I plan to use it for stamping on cloth soon....ah, so many ideas, so little

Oh, before I forget: if you want to carve lino and find it is rather sturdy, put your lino on your heater or in the oven (at about 40°C/104°F or slightly warmer) for a while - this will soften your lino and make cutting a lot easier. And remember: always cut away from your body and fingers! Never towards!

Have fun and share your own stamp designs soon! ;)

If you haven't already seen the makes for or joined in with the actual "Tic Tac Toe - challenge", hosted by our lovely and fabulously talented Julia, I highly recommend you do so! The team has also created an amazing bundle of inspiration for you and playing Tic Tac Toe always is great fun! 

Hugs and happy crafting,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Merry LITTLE Christmas Top Talent

Welcome back to another Top Talent spotlight at Our Creative Corner!

Today we are shining the spotlight on the winner of the 'Have yourself a Merry LITTLE Christmas' Challenge'

Julie was chosen as the winner and we are thrilled to be welcoming her as Our Creative Corner's Top Talent this month...

Before we show you Julie's amazing creation, let's just spend some time finding out a little bit more about this very talented lady.....

1) Where do you Live?

I live in the Pacific NW region of the US just a smidge north of Seattle.

2) How long have you been crafting and what made you start crafting?

That’s hard to answer. I think I came out of the womb crafting! As a child I always enjoyed art and creating things. There was a long lull in the years between high school and the birth of my daughter where I didn’t express myself creatively very often. A friend introduced me to scrapbooking when my daughter was born and I’ve been a goner ever since for all kinds of paper crafts.

3) What if anything, do you consistently draw inspiration from?

Almost the first thing I do every morning is turn on the computer and start perusing my favorite blogs. There are so many incredibly talented people out there. I am also fortunate to live in an area with spectacular views and Mother Nature never fails to inspire.

4) What is the most useless item that you have purchased for your craft?

Stickers. I have so many stickers that I purchased back in my early days of scrapbooking. They are gathering dust now. I should donate them.

5) What other hobbies or talents do you have that you'd like to share with us?

I love to bake and get my hands dirty in my garden. I don’t know if this is a talent but I can come up with a song for almost any comment (I can picture my kids rolling their eyes at this!).

6) Do you live by any motto or philosophy?

"What’s the one important thing today?”

My husband came home with this concept one evening after a work seminar. I have a tendency to (attempt to) multi-task to the n-th degree. When I pause to ask myself this question it really puts things in perspective for me.

7) What three things do you think of most each day?

My children (I have three wacky, funny, smart and challenging young people in my life – all teenagers) are at the top of the list.

Every day I try to do something arty – ATCs, cards, art journaling or something for my Etsy shop.

Lastly, what should I make for dinner?!


Thanks so much for being here Julie! It was great to find out more about you! We are so happy that you could are here today as our Top Talent....

....So now it is time to shine the spotlight on the Top Talent creation - let's see what Julie made for us!

Winters can be pretty soggy and grey where I live so for the ‘Anything Goes’ theme I decided to incorporate a little taste of spring (I am so ready for warmer weather!) into my project. Last spring I went through a brief birdhouse phase but didn’t get this one completed. This poor little thing has been sitting, neglected, on my desk since then begging to be turned into something.

Here is how it started. I had a vision for it at one point and had gessoed and painted it in preparation.

Here is my finished little fairy cottage. I would be enchanted to be working in my garden and uncovering a little dwelling such this. One of my favorite parts of it is the moss – it’s from my backyard!

This is so gorgeous Julie! It is so wonderful to see a bit of spring peeking in right now! - I am so glad that this lovely bird house got completed! It really has been such an honour to feature this beautiful creation at Our Creative Corner.
Thank you so much for being such a wonderful Top Talent!
If you want to see more photos and details of this wonderful creation and find out how it was made, then please go along to Julie's blog and say "Hello" - I am sure she would love to see you there!


Would you like to see your work here in the 'Our Creative Corner' Spotlight?
You could be here as our 'Top Talent' with the spotlight shining on something you have created! 

All you have to do is enter the Tic Tac Toe challenge that Julia is hosting this month. If you are chosen as the winner you will be invited to appear here as our Top Talent and have the spotlight shine on something you have made. We will also ask you some questions so that we can be nosey find out more about you....

Happy Crafting! 
Laura xxx