Thursday, 16 February 2017

Guest Designer - Rupa

Please say hello and give a warm welcome to our Guest Designer for this month, Rupa of Tofa (Together for Arts).

I am Rupa (45yrs) from Bangalore, India, married and blessed with 2 kids (a son and a daughter).

My interest in arts started when I got married and had to set up my own house. I had a flair for interior decoration but no formal training, which is when I started learning various forms of art and painting just to decorate “my home”! After the birth of my first son (a child with special needs) I was forced to be a stay at home mom and that’s when my passion and hobby became work too. I started taking art classes from home and have been doing so last 15 yrs and still do. My son now is 17 yrs and I have a 7yr old daughter too and my entire family is very supportive of my passion.

My entry into crafting was 4 years back. I discovered my style was Vintage with lots of textures and most importantly, altered art. My unique selling point is up cycling and have hoarded a lot of trash at home and they all get their time to get pampered and have a new lease of life. I see a canvas in any neglected item or house hold trash and love giving them a makeover. These not only serve as home decor items but also have a utilitarian value! Now that’s living your second life to the fullest! A deserving re birth, what say???

If you wish to see my works, do visit my blog at and my FB page link is

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Good morning!

I am glad to share with you my Guest design post with Stamps and Stencils. This is indeed a great honor for me and I enjoyed making this to suit their current challenge theme, PAINT, TEXTURE and CRACKLE. I love all the three things in the challenge and I had to of course use a recycled item to satisfy my creative soul and so used this empty detergent box .

I scraped the box a bit with sand paper and gave it 2 coats of Deco art chalky finish paint (Vintage). It’s a lovely color very rustic and vintage, not too bright just perfect for what I had in mind.

I did some dry brushing with black gesso just to highlight the texture and give it a weathered look.

Then came the crackle paint from Deco Art, to which I added some raw umber acrylic paint and then spread it on the sides of the box. I left is to dry naturally and then appeared the fine cracks.

I used the wood grain stamp and some brown ink to add more texture and character to the box.

I had a piece of coffee stained paper in my stash and using the individual alphabets stamp set, I stamped the words “SPICE GARDEN “ on it. I hope you get a hint on what I am making now, lol!

I also had this vintage post card image to which I attached the stamped paper. This is the front label on the box.

I fixed it to the box with a few brads and then applied some rust powder with vinegar on it to give it a rusty old look.

I have used paper artsy stencil and white paint to stencil this floral pattern on the sides of the box. The edges of the box have inked and distressed with archival brown ink and I have sealed it with Ultra matt varnish from Deco Art.

On the lid, I have this floral embellishment, a handmade flower using TH tattered florals die.

I also have used the alterations heart die cut which I have painted in black and dry brushed with white paint. The paper tassel too is handmade using old book page and some beads from the stash. The box is now complete.

This is what you see when the lid is opened….

A bunch of recipe cards tied together with a red synthetic bow! The idea was to create a vintage recipe box where I can store all my favorite recipes.

This project is a valentine gift to myself!

Until my next creative journey,

Happy crafting and recycling.



Thursday, 9 February 2017

Melted Textures

It is Cec here and I am bringing you some information on a different way of getting texture onto your project.   I am calling this Melted Textures and am showing you a variety of things that change and become really cool looking when you take a heat gun to them.  This is just a technique post and because I was running out of time, I don't have a project to go with it but promise I will use something from this in a future project.

Before I start, I need to remind you that you must have a heat resistant kraft sheet on your work surface to protect it and do not touch your media until it has cooled down.

When I started this project I really had only thought about doing something with TYVEK but then I got playing and tried melting lots of other things.

So this is TYVEK and it is available in sheets and envelopes.  I first painted one side with some metallic paints.  Then I turned it over on my kraft sheet and waved my heat gun over it.  As it melts, it forms craters on the side that you are heating, which become bubbles on the opposite side.  It is important to note how it melts in case you want to paint it.  TYVEK also accepts rubber stamps with Archival Ink so you must do that before you start melting.  In this case I decided I wanted bubbles, craters and holes on the painted side so I just kept turning it over and heating until I got the effect I wanted.

Next I decided to see what would happen to fabric.  I think the resulting fabrics would be great on a stitched collage or even a canvas collage.

I have used lining fabric to make flowers in the past but have just waved the petal edges above a flame and watched the edges curl.  This time I tried lining fabric with my heat gun.  This is polyester and comes in a ton of colours and is cheap.  As you can see melts beautifully to give lots of bubbles.  I waved the heat gun back and forth over the top of the fabric and at least an inch above.

Next I tried some lightweight woven interfacing (not the kind that is iron-on) and it made bigger bubbles.  Again, I waved the heat gun over it.  I don't really like it but it did work - sort of.

This is organza and I waved the heat gun over it.  It was successful and would be nice on something stitched.  I have layered this organza with some of the lining fabric to make flowers.

This is also organza from a package of two round tablecloths that I got for 25 cents at a wholesale warehouse on a visit to Fancy Gap, Virginia.  This time I not only waved the heat gun over it, I also moved the heat gun vertically up and down over it - DO NOT TOUCH IT WITH YOUR GUN OR HANDS.  I love the effect because it not only has bubbles, it has really great holes.

This is taffeta and look at the bubbles (and a few holes) I got with this one.  It reminds me of the Michelin Man.  Taffeta is stiff so it would work really well on a collage.  I didn't try stamping or stenciling on it but since it is such a tight weave, I bet it would work.

This is cheap craft felt, the kind that comes in small rectangles from the craft store or fabric store.  It does not give you lots of bubbles but when it melts, it shrivels up to become harder and wavy.  It also give lots of holes depending on how much you heat it.

Next I wondered what would happen if I painted it first.  These are my failures but keep reading because I had a really great result when I did it a bit differently.

I discovered that I liked it better when I painted it with colours that are close to the colour of the felt but you can paint it any colour(s) you want.  In the first photo I used some Espresso Metallic Paint on some brown felt.  Make sure when you paint that you have sections connected because the felt should melt away in the areas not covered with paint and if you have gaps, it will fall apart.

Next I decided to sprinkle on some gold and copper embossing powder and then I went at it with the heat gun.

DISCLAIMER:  I didn't have any brown craft felt and have no idea what the content of the felt I grabbed from my sewing cupboard was so it did not react quite the same way but it is cool and would have only had a few more holes with actual craft felt.  Where you see a brassy colour is where they would have been because that was the unpainted felt.  I suppose if I had kept heating it eventually would have made a hole but I was afraid of setting it on fire.

This result is quite stiff and I want to make a larger one because I have some ideas on how I would use it.

I hope I have inspired you to play with different fabrics and use the result in your creations.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Winners - Swirls, Whirls & Flourishes

It is time to announce the winners from our Swirls, Whirls & Flourishes challenge.

The Design Team chose this gorgeous key holder from Ioulia as their favourite.  It is full of wonderful texture and makes a beautiful, and practical, home decor item.

Ioulia - JulD Handmade

Congratulations Ioulia and Cec will be in touch with you shortly to discuss your Guest Designer spot.

And now on to the Top Three as chosen by Ruth, who was the hostess for the challenge:

Congratulation ladies.  Please email Cec at to claim your Top Three badges.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Texture, crackle and paint!

Hello all! Rachel here hosting the new challenge at stamps and stencils. The theme for this month is texture, crackle and paint - my play on the words snap crackle and pop!!!  I really hope you will enjoy joining in with us. Please remember as well as following the theme we are a mixed media challenge and you should try to include stamps, stencils or both of them within your project.

So here's some inspiration for you from my wonderful and talented colleagues.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Infusions...take 2

Hi everyone, Ruth here with my first inspiration post of the year. Last year you may remember that Rachel did a fabulous post about using infusions and brushos which you can revisit here, so I thought I'd experiment a bit further and use it with fabric. It's something I first tried at a workshop last year and thought I'd incorporate in a project. Here's my fabric plaque...still not sure if it's a WIP as I may add some stitching but hope you enjoy my experiments so far.

I have to be honest it's been a bit hit and miss and although I'm happy with the end result I think I've learnt quite a bit along the way and would do things slightly different next time...but then that's what an inspiration post should also show; firstly inspire you to have a go but also share the pitfalls along the way.
Last year I used some fabric as part of a wall hanging and it was a white printed cotton that we tinted from the back with infusions, only as with all things I couldn't remember how much water I'd added, did I spray before or after I put the infusions on etc etc? Anyway I found some printed cotton and used a mixture of pink and violet infusions on the back of the fabric ('are you cerise' and 'violet storms')

 ...but I think the pattern was busier than the one I'd used previously so you only see a little of the colour showing through but it will still make a pretty background fabric.

So the reason I wanted to show you that first was that if you can create a resist you could make your own printed fabric. To create a resist you could stencil or stamp with gel medium or paint of course.
Firstly I stencilled with snowflake fresco and of course as I hadn't cleaned my stencil properly there was a slight pink tinge to some of the 'swirls' which was my first mistake or is that a....learning opportunity?

Next I wanted to create a picture or design and although I could have used white again I used black fresco paint instead so it stood out and one of the new JOFY stamps (and second thing I'd do differently is leave the area free of white paint where I would be stamping the flower heads). You can stamp in archival but stamping with paint creates a resist and the images look bolder and stay black.

I then used the same infusions on the flower head and 'a bit jaded' on the stalks, I was really pleased how these areas have wicked out as it does give a very subtle effect.

What I then wanted was a very soft colour for the background but infusions aren't light because od the walnut stain in them so I chose 'limoncello' which is probably the lightest and watered it down a lot on the fabric. I wasn't totally happy with this colour as in how it contrasted with the others and in the end added some 'pine needles' distress ink around the edges to try and create a vignette effect.

Ooh and I almost forgot, where I'd stamped the image over the white swirls, I coloured a separate piece of cotton, restamped the flower head, cut out and glued in place.

Lastly I added some gold ink splashes, gold pen, buttons, micro beads and I also used some pitt artist brush pens just to emphasise the colours on the flower heads and stalks.  Finally I mounted it on some wadding and applied to a piece of fabric covered backing board.

Hope you might be inspired to try something new and don't forget there is still another week to join in with our current challenge of  'Swirls ,Whirls and Flourishes'. Ruth x

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Guest Designer - Leanne

It is time to introduce our Guest Designer for this month's challenge.  Please say hello and give a warm welcome to Leanne James of A Brush With A Stamper, who was the winner of our Tags, Bags and Boxes challenge.

Hi there, my name is Leanne Harris, I’ve been crafting for well over 15 years now, have won or been runner up in many different online challenges and design for Fashionable Stamping Challenges. I live in Northamptonshire, England, I have been married for 22 years and am Mum to two teenage daughters. I love rubber stamping and stencil work and my absolute passion is working with paints and inks (well really, anything that’s very messy!!!!!!). I live in a very busy household so my craft room is my “place for peace” and my go to room when I just need some therapy from all the madness that is going on around me!!! I bet there are lots of you out there that can sympathize with that?!!!!

I have a blog, “”, on which I post twice weekly the artwork that I have been creating - this can be anything from mdf work to mixed media to my passion of papercraft and card making. I love to read the kind comments that are left for me and to know that I am inspiring others - that’s what it’s all about for me.

I am really grateful to Cec and the team at Stamps and Stencils for asking me to be their Guest Designer for this challenge, I hope that I have inspired you to try something a little new with your stencils perhaps and I wish you all the very best of luck with the challenge.

I have completed this piece of artwork for the new challenge of Swirls, Whirls and Flourishes. As you can see I've got all three going on here.

Here are some of the supplies I used.

I have used a Stencil Girl stencil and inked through it with Watering Van Archival Ink on tissue paper.

I have attached the tissue paper to the canvas (this is a 12"x12" canvas so it is of some considerable size) with Mod Podge and allowed it to dry. I then put some modelling paste through a couple of different stencils to give me some swirls and whirls and then left it to dry completely.

Next I  sprayed it with some Powertex Bister spray to start the colour on the background.

I have now used the yellow and green Bister sprays and I've added some lace, which I've soaked in Mod Podge and sprayed too. A couple of flourishes from Sue Wilson dies and the sentiment of "Dream" from Clarity Stamps have been added. Now came the fun bit - I had to completely enhance her face as she was lost and buried deep in the artwork and I needed to bring her to the foreground.

As you can see in this photo of the finished product again, it worked a treat. This will show how you can use a stencil to not only ink through but to use the stencil to enhance a picture or piece of artwork and make it your own.  I went to town completely on her eyes.  They were "cold" on the original stencil and by changing her hair it brought her completely forward on the canvas.  Some further shading of the hair, which is modelling paste and the face itself to help bring out that nose and mouth.  I finally used some gesso and gold and silver gilding wax to highlight areas to show depth and then I was done.  That made her more beautiful in my eyes and the whole artwork began to sit around her now.

I hope everyone really enjoys playing with their swirls, whirls and flourishes - I most certainly have. Have fun and good luck everyone!