Finding the Glitter

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

First things first, I hope you all enjoyed Norine’s packaging as much as I did. Sooo much inspiration! Today I have something quite different though, and rather abstract. This week my crafting became intense art therapy. I picked up a bunch of mixed media supplies from Love is in the Details and couldn’t wait to get started. I began creating some texture on a canvas with texture paste and Tim Holtz’ “hickory smoke” distress ink.

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Unfortunately I didn’t take any step by step photos, but will make sure to do that for Sunday! I didn’t plan too much for this piece, but rather let my hand swirl the texture paste and distress ink in a soul soothing way. This last week we had a death in my husband’s extended family (and the extended family is very close) so the news hit hard. Death never asks when the time is right and we got to feel how immensely people’s lives get disrupted, especially around Christmas (sending love to all of you who have and are experiencing this!). Sitting down, mixing, swirling product, and  sprinkling glitter and mica flakes has been extremely therapeutic.

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I ended up adding more black after we heard the news of our cousins death (the family had lost their 16 year old son, less than two years earlier, and now their second, and last son passed away at 15), but still added more glitter and flakes. I don’t have the entire ‘interpretation’ of the final piece, but came to the conclusion that perhaps this is what our hearts may look like, opened up.

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The black may be fear, confusion, anger or even despair. But amongst the black, if we look hard enough, we will find glimmers of hope—glitter and pearly mica flakes. We’ve spend a lot of time with family the last several days and to see this family grow closer and closer, cousins are more like siblings, the words ‘in-law’ don’t exist, and instead, everyone becomes like immediate family. If you knew this family, you would understand how brilliant those sparkles shine in the midst of utter despair. This family is far from perfect…families are torn apart, children pass before parents, all the ugly stuff you can imagine, and yet they always pull together. On our way home from the Christmas gathering yesterday, I mentioned how insanely close this family is, and the response I got was that we are this close because of everything we have been through together (most of which has happened in less than two years).

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The darker the ink splotches, the brighter the glitter.

To all those who have suffered a loss this Christmas, my heart goes out to you. I hope that in this dark and utterly confusing season, that you may find even the slightest glimmer of hope. May peace and love fill all of your homes!

Thanks for letting me share a more personal side of a project. I’ll make sure to have photos of the products I used and more step by step photos next time.

Lots of love,

Natalja

Posted under Design Team Inspiration

This post was written by Natalja on December 27, 2017

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Stencil this…

Good morning friends!

So I was playing again with my Oxide inks and this is what was produced!  I only intended to make one card, but you know how it is, you need to practice with new materials to know exactly how they’ll perform.  And when you practice, sometimes you end up with some extra samples that are quite usable! And these layered stencils by Stamper’s Anonymous and Tim Holtz are ones I’ve been waiting a long time to play with.

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So, d’you want to know how I made these?  The white card is a successful experiment with Gel Medium but the three blue cards above are made mostly the same way, with small variations as you’ll see in the following stepped out photos.  As well as a step-by-step instructional, I’ve posted these cards AND a time-lapse video on Instagram where you can watch me actually make one of these card fronts.

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I started by sponging ink onto smooth white cardstock paper.  Blending ink like this, is where the new Distress Oxide inks shine the brightest. Something about their chemical make up, makes them SO agreeable to use and work with.  And using the smoothest cardstock you can find makes the blending even more magical!

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Once I was finished blending the color on, the next step was to sponge some of the same color ink (faded jeans, in this case) onto one side of a stencil.  I used the Stamper’s Anonymous Honeycomb stencil.

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Next, I sprayed the stencil with a water spritzer…

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…then flipped the stencil face down onto the card front.  I covered it quickly with a sheet of paper towel to absorb what might seep out from under the stencil, then picked it up to let it dry.  So what’s going on here is two things.  Where I had sponged color, and misted it, the stencil laid down a pattern in a darker pigmented color.  But where there was no color, only water from misting, the effect is the oxidizing that the ink is named for.  You can see this on the finished cards at the end of this post, where the honeycomb design has dried lighter.

step6The ink dries very quickly, and you can immediately move on to the next step, which is to smoosh more ink down on your mat.  Then, using a palette knife, scoop out some light molding paste and smear it down onto the ink, spreading back and forth to blend the color in completely.  If the result isn’t dark enough for your liking, scrape up the paste to one side, smoosh more ink down on the mat and repeat the blending process.

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Now you’re ready to smear this through the stencil.  You don’t want to go for lunch after you’ve mixed the paste, and before spreading it over the stencil.  Nope.  Nyet.  Non.  It’ll dry up to a completely useless chunk of ….. something.

step9Spread the paste over the surface as smoothly as possible trying to not leave ridges or uneven patches.

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Lift off the stencil and let the paste dry.  It won’t take long.  Now you have a card base you can build a card from.

Now, before I show you the finished card designs, I want to show you the difference between mixing the Oxide ink with molding paste, where you get a grittier, matte finish, that’s actually quite soft to the touch when dry….

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….to the shinier, smoother, clearer finish you get when you mix the ink with Heavy Gel Medium.  I discovered this by accident.  Usually I use the gel medium as more of an adhesive for sticking down larger, heavier items on mixed medium projects.  It has the body to support bigger pieces, and dries pretty quickly.  But it also blends quite nicely with ink, and can be spread through a stencil.

Here are some close-ups of each of the cards I created from this design.

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I really love the monochromatic, fully textured look of this card above.  It was accomplished by adding lots of ink to the molding paste to make it dark enough to perfectly match the blended cardstock.

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On the above card you can see from the color of the honeycomb design, where it’s lighter than the blended background, that the stencil was mostly just wet with water, and very little ink pigment.

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Whereas, the above card shows the honeycomb design dried darker than the blended background.  That’s where I’d sponged more ink onto the stencil before misting it with water.

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This is the card made from the practice sample using the Gel Medium with the Oxide ink.

And then there’s this card.

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It was totally a practice sample sheet where I was trying out several different techniques.  But with some judicious trimming, I thought it made a lovely background for the paper doily, washi tape and sentiment.

So, there you go, several different looks from trying something different and practicing with some new product!

Have a great day!

Posted under Design Team Inspiration

This post was written by Norine on May 28, 2017

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