Sunday, 22 November 2015

WELCOME CHRISTMAS - Design Team Project

I love Christmas, it is a time to decorate the house and bring some light and fun indoors during the wintery months. So I decided to make a row of houses that was inspired by a picture on Pinterest. I asked my husband to cut some shapes out of wood and then I started to play:

First I covered the four sides with pages torn from an old text book using matt medium.

Usually I like to use PaperArtsy Fresco chalk paints, but I didn't have colours I had in mind for this project. So I used acrylic paint instead, and roughly brushed the edges with grey to create a distressed effect.  

I then diluted red acrylic paint to create a translucent effect so that the text would show through once it was applied to all sides.

 Next I added some random stamping, using grey Memento ink.

I then got carried away and forgot to take photos of the next stages but the following photos will show how I added an letter to each of the houses. For this I used transfers that have been in my stash for some time as it seemed a good way to use them, but of course you can also stencil or stamp letters to make the words too. Another idea I had was to paint chipboard letters, this would be a great way of using ones up that have the wrong colour or pattern.

Talking of using things up.... I wanted texture on the roof of the houses and found some corrugated card.  I removed the paper off one side, measured and cut strips to fit, and then painted them with grey acrylic. Once glued into position and dry, coat of matt medium helped to seal everything.

Finally I decided the houses needed a sprinkle of sparkle. Working on one area at a time I stamped small dots onto areas of the front and sides of the houses using a glue stamp pad, then sprinkled with fine glitter and let it dry.
I decided it needed a bit more, so I painted small wooden stars in dark grey acrylic. Once dry I added patches of silver embossing powder; and did the same on the bottom edge of each house and the roof, to give more lift.

And here is the finished result.  The glitter does not show well in the photos but these houses will make a cheerful welcome to Christmas and to our visitors.

I'm lucky that my husband cut these house shapes for me but there are lots of pre-cut MDF projects including stars available from That Craft Place. That's where you can also buy all materials needed to complete this project or others like it. 

Here is what I used:

Wooden house shapes (see note above)
small wooden stars
Acrylic Paint in black, white, red and green
DecoArt Matt Medium
Page of text (from an old book)
Memento ink Grey Flannel
Small frost, scroll and dot stamps
Alpha transfers - but you could use a stencil or pre-cut shapes

Embossing pad
Silver embossing powder

To see more Design Team projects do pop over to TCP Blog and why not enter this months Mixed Media challenge?  You'll find details how to take part and lots more ideas too.  

And if you would like to know any other details about how I made the Welcome houses please leave a comment, I am happy to help where I can. Thank you for popping by and I hope you have lots of fun making your own Christmas projects.

Thursday, 19 November 2015


'Have you been blogged out?' a friend asked.
She'd noticed the lack of posts since the finish of my 30 Day Blogging Challenge. 

Not blogged out... no. 

I have a lot of drafts part written, ideas jostling for attention,
and my mind has been restless wanting to get these out. But I have tried to quieten these thoughts because I also have a design team project to make, a Christmas workshop to plan and prepare, and a host of other pressing things. So when my plans changed at the last minute and I found myself with a day I didn't expect, I thought 'GREAT'!  And I started to play...

Only it didn't happen. Not in the way I hoped. Somehow my mojo didn't get the message. Or rather, I had SO MANY ideas I didn't know where to start!  I adapted the attitude that ideas will come through the process rather than the other way round. But still I found myself flitting from one to another, overwhelmed by so many ideas and materials. I should count myself lucky, I know. And I do. It is wonderful when an idea pops and I can follow through, but gradually the table, chairs, floor, and every workspace around me gets covered. It not only looks chaotic, I feel it too.

I tried pushing though this. When ideas or projects did not turn out as I hope I carried on rather than abandon. Let's face it, sometimes happy accidents can result. Other times I learn from the experience and accept that not every thing will have the outcome I hoped for. And truly, as I write this, a sudden thought comes to me!

A realisation... 

This past month I have spent more hours blogging than ever before, and the 30 day challenge involved many hours of analytical thinking and thought processing. It's important to say that I see blogging as a creative activity because I love writing and connecting in this way with others. I do it for entirely for pleasure, but blogging every day occupied much of my thoughts even when I wasn't in front of the computer, and this involved a lot of left brain activity.

No wonder my mojo is missing! It wants to play, not perform! I feel under pressure to create, so why would my creativity want to come out if I am tense and impatient?

So yesterday I stopped what I was doing and went to the cinema.
Being spontaneous can add excitement to life, so while this wasn't exactly adventurous I've never been to the cinema in the afternoon before, so it was not the kind of thing I usually do. It was a great film by the way - A lady with a van. A true story of a lady who lived in a campervan in the driveway of Alan Bennett. I hoped this break might shift something. And today I got back to 'working' on ideas for the workshop and my  design team piece. But still my mojo wasn't there.

Now I see why!

My mojo doesn't want to 'work'. I have been too long in left brain and need to reconnect with my right! Sometimes having too much art supplies can be a hindrance and cause overwhelm.  Yes!  So in an effort to reduce this feeling I will go back and clear away much of what I got out, and just have fun.

Less is more, right?!

And this reminds me of a post I read the other day, where Lain Ehmann said 'inspiration is not enough, its too much'. Right now her words are inspiring me to keep going. 

'Instead of piling more into an already clogged conduit when
we're feeling stuck, we need to take the counterintuitive
approach and STOP the input and START the output'.
Lain Ehmann

I'm already doing this, and it's not feeling good. But Lain reminded me that it is important to keep at it, to shut down the inspirational flow and stop looking for ideas.
To just create.  At some point after all the false starts she says that the good things will start to emerge. I hope so. I am trusting my intuition and need to stop putting barriers in the way.
So, blogged out? No. Just trying to change gear and find my creativity. What do you do when you can't find yours?
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