Monday, April 26, 2010

Old Fence Tutorial.

I love these little fences. They are a tiny bit fiddly to make, but heaps of fun and look really effective wherever you use them. I’ve used them on cards and layouts. Your material should be a medium weight chipboard, something thin enough that you can cut with scissors but thick enough that it’s rigid. Cardstock is too thin and will curl if you are using crackle medium for your finish.

Measure the desired length of your fence. In this case I am making fences 25 cm long. For each section of fence, cut 2 strips x 1cm wide and the length of your fence – in my case 2 x 1cm x 25 cm. Decide how high your fence needs to be for your project. Mine are 10cm high. The pickets are 1cm wide and there will be a 1cm gap between each picket so you only need half as many pickets as the length of your fence. ie 25 cm fence = 12 pickets.

I snipped the tops of each picket so there was a spike on the top, but you can make them any shape you want – square, rounded, or some other fancy way depending on how much work you want to do to them. Then I use fast drying craft glue to attach the pickets to the rails, and place it on my cutting mat as I go, as a guide to get the pickets and rails straight and evenly spaced.

Put enough glue to hold well and make sure the pickets are well attached. There is your raw fence.

I should mention at this time, if you are not using a crackle medium, you need to be careful about the glue you use. Whatever you do use, remember that if you get glue on the area you plan to paint, it will likely discolour the paint and you may find yourself doing a number of coats to get an even finish. If you are using crackle medium like I did, then it isn’t going to matter as you will be painting over it anyway.

The other option would be to attach your pickets with small brads which can also look effective, like large nails, as seen below.

Next paint the base coat for the fence. Deciding what colours you will use will largely depend on the colours in your project. For me – a brown or black background with a white/cream coating probably looks best, but whatever works for you.

I have used the same “Raw Umber” paint that was my base coat on the clock this is going on so I have consistency in colours. Make sure you give a good even coat and pay attention to corners and the sides of the pickets and rails as you want good paint cover all over and won’t want to be touching it up once the crackle medium goes on. Allow the paint to dry completely. Whether you do a second coat largely depends on how porous your chipboard is. If you do a second coat, you can apply it once the first coat is touch dry. Just make sure that the last coat you do is allowed to dry completely.

I’m using Jo Sonjas Crackle Medium. I have tried others but dislike 2 things mainly. 1. The size of the bottle, and 2. The fact that they dry up so quickly in the bottle even with the cap firmly screwed on.

With this product you need to spread it rather than paint it on. Working in small areas at a time, put a good coverage of drops and push the liquid around until it covers the area you want to be cracked. As with most of these products, the thicker you apply it, the larger the cracks. No particular way is right, and for me, the variance in the size of the cracks just adds to the unique look so I don’t fuss too much about an even coverage.

As can be seen from the photo below, the medium starts to dry quickly and is tacky within a couple of minutes, so ensure you work only a small area at a time and that you don’t try to reapply to any area of your project as you will not be able to blend the medium evenly over partly dried areas.

As the medium starts to dry you will see the cracks appearing (see photo below) and it’s likely that your fence will start to curl up a bit. Unless it’s really at risk of folding over on itself don’t worry about trying to flatten it out. This will be where the importance of using a heavy material will become apparent. The thicker the card, the less it will curl.

The photo above shows the Crackle coat after just a couple of hours. However it still has a milky appearance until it is completely dry. DO NOT TRY TO HURRY THE DRYING PROCESS by using a heating tool. You need to allow it to dry naturally.

Once the crackle medium is completely dry, you can flatten out the piece by gently flexing it back into shape. You will hear some cracking as the coating gives way, don’t worry about that. Just work gently to flex the piece flat.

Now it’s time to apply your top coat. You will need to do this carefully otherwise the top coat will fill in the cracks and you will lose the effect.

I’m using Kaiser’s White paint over the top and I will only use one coat so it has that weathered, see through effect. I use a very small brush and only a little bit of paint at a time – dab your brush in the paint and then wipe off most of it. Use very light feathery strokes over the top of the crackle. You will see how little you need after the first few strokes of the brush. Work in one direction only and slowly. I work on the facing area first, allow that to dry and then touch up the edges.

You can see in the photo above where I’ve had too much paint on the brush and it has filled in some of the cracks.

And here is my finished fence!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My new project.

Anyone who has been to visit our home over the past few weeks (read months) will attest to the fact that there has been a clock sitting there for quite a long period of time now. I can't remember when I bought it, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I have been walking past it, looking at it, and waiting for some inspiration to hit me as to what to do with it. The sheer size of the thing was a little daunting to begin with given it's about 60cm wide. Not your average scrapbooking project.

But then the other night as I was lying awake at about 3:00 am (as happens from time to time) I had a picture idea pop into my mind and I really liked the idea. It is still a vivid picture in my mind and so I've started the process. As is usually the case though - the picture in my mind rarely ends up being the finished product as the project has a way of developing a mind of it's own and taking itself where it's meant to be, not always where I expect it to be. I guess that's called art and the moment you try to steer it, it seems to lose a great deal in it's appeal.

And so as Clock and I commence our journey together, I thought it would be an interesting idea to share it with you too, through photos of the process. None of us really know how this journey will end and for me that's the exciting part. I've created a "slide" show which will be permanently in the right hand column of this blog to show the progress Clock and I are making. I hope you enjoy our journey too.

Friday, April 09, 2010

A little bit of fun....

Found this on Facebook - Avatarize yourself. So here is Shane and myself as Avatars. A bit scary if you ask me, but a bit of fun none the less...

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Over emotional (or Hormonal Sunday...)

I'm not sure where it came from, but a rush of emotion today has me a little perplexed. Although I must admit, over the past few weeks there have been so many thoughts and emotions running through my head, I have been having trouble keeping up or making much sense of most of them.

Something happened when we were in Sydney. I'm not quite sure exactly what it was, but whatever it was, it hit both of us so I know it's not just me. Ever since I left Melbourne way back about 15 years ago, I must admit there have been parts of the city I have missed. There have been parts of it I haven't missed either. But I guess there have been other parts of it I have fallen in love with as my life and priorities have changed. I know that we've both fantasised about what it would be like moving back to the city - Shane has always been a "bright lights boy" and in some ways I think it's been calling him for a long while. For me I think I could be happy anywhere so long as he was by my side. But certainly lately I have been feeling very emotional and lost and feeling like I'm not doing what it is I am meant to be doing with my life.

Both of us came back from that trip very unsettled and with a number of ideas about how we wanted to make some changes. I'm still not sure what it is I want to do and in many ways I know that is holding me back from pursuing the future. I know I want to move forward but I have no idea in what direction. It's very frustrating. But it's even more frustrating to continue living a life that is unfulfilled creatively. My frustration is in my work and the fact that I am essentially walking a balance beam. I have no permanent job, just doing a job that right at the moment someone else chooses not to do but who could at any given moment change their mind. But I guess it's even more than that if I am honest. While I enjoy it, I'm not really getting the satisfaction I know you CAN have from your work. Like say the enjoyment I got during my days at the radio station. I really do long to have a job that I feel that way about again, the feeling that even though your alarm is going off at 4:30 in the morning and the work is challenging and unknown - that you love every moment of it.

On the other side, I know that there are big changes coming. There are a number of factors that I see pushing us into the next phase of our lives. I still can't see the direction... but I know it's coming. As much as I want to embrace it because I know in my heart it's going to be a good transition to better things, I can't help but be afraid and a little sad all at the same time. We know that, given the house we are living in has been placed on the market, we want to move once the lease is up in July. We know that there will be decisions made over the next couple of months that will influence my work scenario. Almost everything at the moment points to the month of June and it's as tangible within my heart as tickets to a concert or the words printed in your daily newspaper. Trouble is, I can't read the act or the story.

Today I visited the Scrap Therapy site and one of the threads was in conjunction with this month's "theme" of "Change". The question asked was "Have there been any significant changes in your life and how has it affected you". My life over the past 3 years has been full of significant changes and I can honestly say that right now in my personal life I have never been happier, but even though I wanted to write about them, I felt the tears well in my eyes thinking about the changes to come that are likely to make the last 3 years look like they were routine. And for the life of me - I can't explain why.

I do know that I will be OK as I have always felt that with Shane by my side I can do anything. He is my rock and he gives me the courage to stretch my wings and fly higher than I can ever dream of doing by myself. It's amazing the difference having a partner who is supportive in every way possible, can make to your life in every aspect. I guess it's just that fear of the unknown, knowing change is coming but not having a clue what/where/how, and that "not being in control" feeling (which I have worked so hard to let go of and embrace the concept that sometimes you simply can't control things) that strikes a little fear in my heart.