Friday, May 29, 2015

J is for Justice

Hello Hello
How are you doing this fine day? Fabulous I hope.
Me, myself, and I are trying to get caught up on some things that have taken a back seat for far to long but now that summer has officially begun hopefully I can get back to where I left off.
So before I jump into anything to crazy I did want to share with you this second altered letter that I did for my youngest daughter several years ago for Easter. For hers I used a softer color palette because she has a quieter disposition than her older sister.
So the paper collection I used I have no doubt is retired but it's by Die Cuts With a View and the name is The Linen Closet, probably one of my favorite lines as far as color goes. I did another project with this line several years ago that is still one of my favorites to date and I am hoping later this year to compliment each of my daughter's altered letters with a name banner using the same paper lines that I did for each of their first initials.
For this letter, as I did with the letter L, I started out using a dark colored acrylic paint first on the back and both sides then covered that with a coat of crackle medium; once that dried completely I covered that layer with an acrylic paint in a cream color - one that matches the base color of my paper collection. Afterwards I set out to 'quilt' my pattern paper to the letter J
Really all that means is that I rough cut some squares and then deciphered where they would go, once I had all my blocks cut out and mapped out I adhered them to the letter. For the stitching of my 'quilt' pieces I used a cream colored ribbon and at each joint where paper edges met, I covered it with a piece of the ribbon, adhering it with a double sided tape.

Now for the outside edges I needed something more than just the ribbon, the ribbon worked awesome on the joints inside but I needed something with a little bit more finish off the outer edges so I rummaged through my stash and found a beaded pearl strand and lucky for me it just so happened to match the entire piece so I grabbed my hot glue gun and very patiently glued it onto the outside edge of my piece, and I have to tell ya, it looks superb! 
Once I had all my pieces stitched and the finished edge glued on, I gathered up some embellishments and played around with those for a bit deciding again where everything would go. As with the letter L that I did for my older daughter, this piece is also quite large and so I decided to do several embellished spots of interest just to keep the eye moving. Not sure what the design principles are nor whether or not I achieved any of them but at the time I did not care about that and quite honestly I still don't. For me this piece 'works' and that is what I care about.
As you'll notice I have two main spots and then several single pieces throughout. My first spot is the bottom left corner or rather halfway into the first curve of the letter where I included a large inked cream paper rose with a few smaller roses snuggle in next to it, added in a couple of silk leaves and then a Muse Token that says Journey.
Then as we move along the bottom of the letter along the right side coming out of the second curve is where I added in my second embellishment spot. Again I have a bunch of paper and silk flowers all gathered together nicely with a few that are inked up just slightly. Within this bunch I also include a Memo Pin in which I added a journal spot that says what I wanted to convey to my daughter...
I love you
you make my heart smile

Now from this point on there are only single bits here and there. I used mostly paper flowers - some roses and cherry blossoms that I ordered a few months back from Wild Orchid Crafts, I kept them in the cream color scheme because I didn't want them to distract from the 'quilted' look and also because my one bit of color I had already added to the opposite side to act as a leader. To finish off the piece I included one more embellishment in the top right hand corner of the letter - the cream colored butterfly - because I love how she just fits right there.
 So there you have it, hopefully my pictures do it justice and you can grasp the full effect, it really is beautiful in how it turned out. Hope you like and if you have any questions feel free to ask. Thanks for stopping in and I hope you have a great weekend...
just B

Thursday, May 14, 2015

L is for Liberty

Hello Hello
and Good Morning!
How is everyone this fine day?
I am finally back up and running (not with scissors though I assure you) so without further ado I have something to share. I was needing to get some better photos of this one so I decided to try hanging it up on our living room wall and that seemed to work so this is where I will start for today.
This piece is a paper mache letter 'L' that I did for my oldest daughter for Easter 3 years ago. I had been wanting to do an altered letter for each of my girls for awhile but never knew which direction I wanted to day I finally just decided to go and not worry about it. Turns out - there was nothing to worry about they each have their letters hanging in their room and whether it matches the rest of their stuff doesn't seem to matter to them, as it is this one still matches my oldest daughter's room.
so how I started my process was to paint the back and both sides with a black acrylic paint and it doesn't have to be perfect one coat should be fine - once dry go over it with a second coat of crackle medium this one definitely needs lots of dry time - after that I added a 3rd coat of white acrylic which by this point you have to work quickly because it activates the crackle medium and if you don't move fast it'll end up to thick to make the cracked effect (at least this has been my experience in the past) - for the last step I used my black soot distress ink and lightly inked all the edges.
 The next step was to cover the front of the letter so I grabbed the stack of papers that I had already planned to use ahead of time and started to tear them...yes tear them...the look I was going for was shabby chic...this is definitely that. Once I got the pieces I needed to cover the entire front I started laying them in place, not adhering them yet mind you, just placing them to double check my amount and to make sure that my placement would make since as a whole.
When I was happy with what I had I took a close up shot of it with my camera so that I would have a reference point - took all my pieces off and began adhering everything down, now my pieces weren't super small so that certainly helped because otherwise it would have taken forever being that this letter is about 2 feet tall.
When I had all the pieces adhered down I went back over the whole and added one more layer of mat gel just to be sure I had it down super good, then I let it all dry overnight. My next step was to add the white paint around all the facing edges, so I took a dry paint brush just barely dipped it into my white paint, brushed most of it off onto a paper towel and then did a messy dab to the edges of my letter, this adds another shabby chic layer and if you do it extremely light the first time and it's not enough for you, you can repeat the process - the key is to use a 'dry' brush with very little paint.
 Okay so now comes the fun part which is decorating it, I used a random supply of things in my stash. I tried to get lots of older products in here just to use them knowing full well that neither of my girls would care if they even realized it.
 Being that this was such a large letter I decided to do several embellishment clusters instead of one large embellished spot and I am happy with the way it turned out I wasn't sure if it would look funny but as it happens it looks just fine.
So for one cluster I used my label maker and created a couple of keywords then finished that with a small bunch of flowers and a pearl button.
For the second and third embellishment spots I used mesh tape to define the space. On the mid-left spot I used a ribbon to define the top edge of the mesh and then on the bottom edge I added a string of black sequins then directly underneath that I added in my flower bunch with a word token and a fabric label. At the top of this embellishment spot I included the butterfly - I wanted the butterfly to appear as if it were about to take flight which is why I placed him at the top edge verses the bottom. 
For the third and final embellishment spot I again used the mesh tape to define the main space and for the right edge I went ahead and finished it with a ribbon piece as well but on the left edge I decided to leave it open so that when you look at the whole piece it's almost as if the bottom of the letter has created it's own embellished space, having not closed off the left side leaves a gradual flow within that space without disrupting the whole piece. I did add in a few other decorative bits...of course the flower bunch was a must in order to keep the continuity and the pearl gems helps tie this spot into the other spot on the top left but the journal card was certainly new, lucky for my girl it hides a private message to her.
Here's my final piece
thanks for stoppin' by and I hope you have a fabulous day!
just B