Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Summertime and the living is easy

Time for a summer project and maybe even some colour....

The base of this was one of the very cheap stretched canvases from the Works ( 4 for £4.99). I wouldn't want to use them for fine art but for this sort of thing they are fine.

The shapes are cut from Tim Holtz's grunge board. These were pre-cut  but they would be easily cut with a die cutter.

Having decided roughly what  I was going to use and where it was time to colour the background.

The canvas was coloured with the Ranger "Bubblegum" inks. Sprayed with water they were allowed to flow into each other  and the canvas left to dry.

The background was further decorated by stamping, both directly on to the canvas and also onto  thin white tissue paper which was then stuck to the canvas with gel medium.

The individual letters and motifs were decorated with a range of distress inks, decoupage and paint.

All that remained was to stick everything down and let it dry.

Amazing how much mess this all made!

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Configuration Time

I've been wanting to make up one of Tim Holtz's configuration boxes for a while - it''s been sitting around for a couple of months but too many projects and not enough time.

But tax season is over in the UK and time to celebrate ( and the skilled assistance of a friend who has done these before!)

I was planning on a woodland/nature theme so the papers and materials I planned to use were collected with this in mind.

So basically it's a box filled with lots of little boxes that you can move around and take out. I wanted to have a big space so I didn't use all of the little ones. Much moving around and head scratching later, this was  the configuration initially decided upon.

Then comes the time consuming task of lining each of the little boxes with paper.

No that big green space isn't working for me either and yes they are in a different order from the originally intended configuration. Oh well.

The back, sides and lid were also covered with paper.

So what is going in that big green space? At this point I'd better post a warning of graphic photos of dismemberment that might be distressing to any wooden manikins reading this.

This was a £1.99 wooden artist's  model from a discount shop. The question was what to do with it.

No idea where the idea for a tarot inspired hanged man came from but that took root. The main problem is that the model is attached with reasonably strong springs and the initial idea of gluing his hands to his hips to get the correct arm position didn't work. Attempts to nail them didn't work either.

In the end a pair of wire cutters were used to cut the arm springs and they were reconstructed using sellotape to mold and attach them to the body in the right place. The same method was used for the legs.

This now looked pretty awful as you might imagine but once bandaged together with tissue tape and coloured it was really working well.

The problem was that he really didn't work in the green box so he was put aside for another project. I'll think of something one day.

I was also starting to really hate that green  so a quick make over ensued. It would have been a lot easier to do it earlier but the results were definitely worth it.

 And here it is - a witches kitchen! Not quite what I'd set out to make but never mind.

It isn't quite finished, the feet are temporary awaiting inspiration and some of the boxes need to be filled - again I'm awaiting inspiration.

The hanging cauldron ( actually a small jam jar hung with a piece of chain from an old necklace) needs filling with something and I need a tall vertical object to go alongside it.

The pile of skulls is made from beads I had hanging around which have been glued together.

The little bottle is full of wood dust from my incense making supplies/

The  nest of eggs were from a £1 shop and I have 5 more of them to use up and the pottery Amanita Muscaria came from a garden centre many months ago.

I'm not sure what I'm going to put in the remaining three boxes - maybe another bottle with some herbs in next to the one already there but for  the last ones my mind is blank. Suggestions please!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Return to the DollsHouse

Time to get back to the long neglected dolls house.

I don't know why it's taken me so long but there it is. I had laid about 6 floor tiles and then it got put aside for one reason or another. I've been feeling guilty for a while so as it's a bank holiday and I'm home I thought I'd get it out again.

Sticking the flagstones down was a long job and although I did get the special grout, the PVC glue had dried long before I was ready to use it. I'll need to pick up some regular grout to use instead.

 This is going to be the "best" room.

This will be the kitchen.  The fireplace isn't quite done yet but I want to get the range in before finishing off the aperture.

I've also installed the ceiling beams ( carved from balsa wood and glued in place) in both the downstairs rooms. 

Spot the mistake - fortunately the front panels are not yet attached!  Oops.

Next job is to wire in the lights for the lower two rooms and add the electrics for the range and the fire in the two downstairs rooms. The question is of course is now where on earth did I put them?

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Olive Oil lamp

I get through far too many candles and especially tea lights - I do recycle the wax as far as possible but it's an expensive addiction and not terribly green. Most candles are made from petrochemicals but there are also ethical issues regarding soy wax and beeswax. These last two are also pretty pricey.

Someone mentioned on a forum I frequent that she used an olive oil lamp so, the seed having been planted, I went in search of some inspiration. I mentioned my plans on another forum and a member kindly posted her partner's method so thank you Connor.

This is simply a small glass jar with a metal lid. This one held harissa paste originally and it was the only small one I had to hand with a suitable lid - I hadn't realised how many small glass jars now have plastic ones!

I raided my candle making supplies for some wick and the kitchen for some olive oil. Then it was just a matter of making a hole in the lid, pulling some wick through and filling the jar with the oil.

I didn't colour the oil  although I will as "someone" seems to have borrowed all my food colouring . She knows who she is!

I will also add some essential oils to it  now I know it works   (and keep an eye open for a fancier bottle).

It's not the brightest light, the candles far outshine it but it works for what I want it to do.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Welsh Cakes

8 oz plain flour
1/2 level teaspoon Baking powder
3 oz butter
3 oz sugar
2 oz dried fruit ( currants traditionally but sultanas are fine - not the white sort though)
1/2 level teaspoon dried mixed spice
1 beaten egg

Rub the butter into the flour, spice and baking powder ( I do it the modern way and use the blender/food processor for this bit - much quicker)

Remove from blender and add the fruit, sugar and egg

Stir well and mix to a dough with a little milk. Don't let it get too soft or you'll have a sticky mess when you try and roll it out. Use as little milk as possible just so it doesn't crumble.

Roll out to about 1/8 th inch thick - you will need plenty of flour to stop it sticking if you were over generous with the milk. Generally the recipes say thicker than this but it is then much harder to cook them through without them burning. Burnt welsh cakes are not nice

Heat bakestone or heavy frying pan. Traditionally this would have been greased with lard but sunflower oil works as well.

Cook gently on both sides until done. Don't have the heat too high or they'll catch before cooking through. The sides should just look set and dry when they are ready.
Remove from heat, sprinkle with more sugar if you want to and eat! Some people have been known to add butter and jam too.
Nicest still warm from the bakestone but they will keep a few days in a tin. At least in theory. These didn't last long....

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Enchanted Realms

I can't take any credit for this one but having come across it on eBay from a search on tea light holders I couldn't resist it!

The seller - Enchanted Other Worldly  designs 

This is so not normally my sort of thing that I'm struggling to find somewhere to put it! I think it was the Amanita Muscaria  that sold it to me!

I couldn't resist a bit of personalisation though and added a raven and a nest to where the tea light is supposed to sit - perfect fit!

Now I just need to find a tea light holder......-

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Kept in the dark and covered with ....?

Something a bit different. I was given a pearl oyster mushroom kit and decided to make a photojournal of what happened.

For the first 7 days nothing happened at all. The following pictures were all taken 24 hours apart over the following 6 days.

 At last - something stirs
Same day but a close up shot - from nothing to this in 24 hours

Getting bigger
and bigger
Growing apace now

Almost ready for harvesting. The gills are well developed and the caps are flattening out.

Ready to cut. This is the last picture as 10 minutes later they were chopped up and in the pan ready to become part of a mushroom risotto.

And very nice it was too!
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