Saturday, May 31, 2008

no Friday Fiver this week....but the hlog girls came through

1.) Are you allergic to anything?
Yup - lots of things - most notably cats (aatchoooo!!!), pollen (although my hay fever isn't as bad as it was when I was a kiddie), lanolin (hence my nasty reaction to the cream my tattooist gave me for my orcas - I stupidly didn't check the ingredients), and the Philadelphia Flyers

2.) What do you like on toast?
Honey, or cottage cheese and pineapple, or cheese and barbecue sauce. Not all at the same time, obviously.

3.) Which stuffed animal was your favorite as a child?
I had a dog, called Ginger, that my great aunt (I think) made for me when I was a baby. He was a bit rock hard, and his fur was everso wiry, so he wasn't really the definition of cuddly - but I loved him anyway :)

4.) Do you have a pencil cup? What does it look like?
Nope, I have LOTS of pens and pencils - so I keep them all in a drawer, not a cup

5.) What is one thing you never leave your house without?

ummm....I can't think of anything I NEVER leave behind. I guess I usually have my phone, but not always. And if there's nobody else home I'd take my keys, because otherwise I wouldn't be able to get back in :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

Tattoo themed altered book....

Last night was weird.

After I heard the news about Luc, I kind of just sat there staring into space for hours. And cried a lot. And wondered why it had hit me so hard (I still can't really answer that one). But the upshot was, I didn't move off the sofa for hours and hours.

It got to about half past one and I got up and stretched, and figured I ought to go to bed.

But then I caught my half finished altered book (to be used for a tattoo themed circle journal round robin) out of the corner of my eye.... and decided I didn't want to go to bed having achieved nothing but a lot of weeping and wailing.

So I stayed up half the night and got it finished. And here it is :)

This started life as a book on the Life of Wellington, dated 1885. Don't worry - I did check with the antiquarian book dealer I bought it from that it isn't in the slightest bit valuable. The fact he sold it to me for £2.50 was a big hint that it doesn't belong in the Smithsonian. So I don't feel too guilty for covering up the tatty but pretty cover with pictures torn out of tattoo magazines :)

Once the book was totally covered with magazine images, I put on a thin layer of gesso (scraped on with an old credit card), gave the gesso a bit of colour with distress inks, and then sprayed the whole thing with matte acrylic sealer.

A couple more magazine images were added (not gesso'd over this time) - and some swallows (Hambly rub ons).

Next, a niche was cut in the cover of the book. And behind the niche, the title was added (freehanded in sharpie onto a gesso'd book page). The niche borders were covered with a stitched black leather frame (and matching corners were added to the corners of the front and back book covers).

Finally, I added some tattoo themed charms to the spine, hung on black leather cord:
A swallow to represent old school tattoos ; a tribal charm for, well, tribal :) ; a skull and crossbones for the whole skulls and demons badass biker type style ; an angel's wing for religious and fantasy tats ; and a piece of celtic knotwork for the whole celtic style which sadly doesn't seem to be as popular as it was when I first started getting inked 20 odd years ago...

That's it. Oh - apart from the 7 Gypsies book belt. I bought this as I figured the book will end up pretty fat by the time everyone has finished playing in it - and the book belt will help it stay closed-ish. And it matches the leather embellishments used on the book cover, which is a lucky coincidence :)

You were quite the dancer, kid

I can't stop crying

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I don't know what to say :(

I took this photo at GM Place in March. And now he's gone. Only 21. Unbelieveable.


edited to add:

a number of us have each donated $28 to Canuck Place Children's Hospice in Luc's memory.

If you would like to join us, here's the link:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We went to Marwell Zoo on Saturday

and I took lots of piccies.

These are the ones that turned out best.

Wouldn't you just kill for eyelashes like that baby giraffe??

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Why is mum blendering bog roll????"

(is blendering even a word???)

This month over at the Green Pepper Press street team, the Crusade topic is paper casting.

This is something I have never tried before, but I will definitely be doing it again. It's fun of the highest order.

And it's hard work, but worth it, to keep a straight face as your teenage son and three of his friends look on incredulously as you merrily tear a toilet roll into little strips and run it through the blender :)

(My smoothies have tasted a bit odd ever since.... :D)

I made this huge job lot of casts in one night - some were made with moulds, the rest by pushing the pulp onto an upturned rubber stamp (I think the harlequin stamp could have done with a clean first!).

They took about 48 hours to dry, but once dry they were rock hard and ready to use. And a great thing about these paper casts is that they are really lightweight - so this is a great alternative to clay for projects that you don't want to be too weighed down.

And use them I have - on Little Boxes, of course :)

By the way - that one with the heart and wing? See the background? That is proof positive that you don't need a die cutting machine to use the Cuttlebug embossing folders - I did that with a rolling pin and good old fashioned muscle power :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

I is for Inked

I'm a bit behind with my A-Z journal - we're supposed to be doing 'K' at the moment, and I was only up to 'H'... so I thought I'd better play a bit of catch up today.

I'm a bit stuck on what to do for 'J' - but 'I' was a no brainer, seeing as I'm in the middle of getting my backpiece done...

You look at my skin
Outside not what's inside you will see
That I'll never change for authority
'Cause my ink's my mark on society
Read between these lines and you'll understand
That my ink is with me 'till the end
I'm inked 'till the end.

(I LOVE that show!)

This page came together nice and easy. The main photo is me getting my orcas started off, printed just on plain copier paper and cut out.

The main part of the background is a photo of a backpiece I liked torn out of a tattoo magazine - if you look carefully, it says hardcore, which is kind of cool. Not that I am very. Hardcore that is :)

The music is sheet music for a hymn that goes:
Wash me in the blood of the Lamb And I shall be whiter than snow
Which seemed appropriate in a wholly inappropriate kind of way

Oh and up in the top right there is a little bit of old book page - just because I had a gap there.

The background was lightly gessoed, and coloured with yellow and orange distress inks and then left to dry

Then I stuck my photo over the top, and sprayed the whole thing with matt acrylic sealant.

Over the top of that went the scroll and 'forever' rub ons (Hambly and Creative Imaginations respectively) - the forever rub on was open text so I coloured it in with a red sharpie just to add a bit of colour.

The barbed wire in the bottom right is a Viva Las Vegas stamp, embossed in silver.

And the letters for the title were stamped onto clear shrink plastic, then shrunk and glued on. I wanted to use the same lettering that I had used on letters 'A' through 'H', but they were too big to fit in the scroll - hence the shrinky.

I think that's everything. Still no idea what to do for 'J'... I might have to do 'K is for Kes' first :)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Blimey, I haven't blogged all week, at least here's my Friday Fivers.....

Been busy busy busy busy!!!!

hlog's five:

1.) What is the best summer job/internship you've ever had?

Well, I only really had one... I worked during my gap year, and all my university breaks, for IBM. I really enjoyed working for them, they taught me so much - and the pay was good too :)

2.) Who did you look up to as a kid?
My dad, John Lennon, Tony Benn

3.) Thoughts on a Dancing With the Stars dancer becoming a recording artist?
No idea what this one is about - I guess it's America-specific

4.) Do you collect anything?
I used to collect snails - pottery ones, ones made of glass, toy ones etc etc. I have quite a collection, but they still live at my Dad's house as I left them behind when I went to Uni and have never gotten around to collecting them. My poor mum had to dust them for years!

5.) What was your first car?

The world's cutest bright orange VW beetle. It had a black bonnet with a Hawkwind logo on it (hand painted by me), and one green wing. I loved that car - at least until it tried to kill me by rolling itself on the motorway on the way home from Glasto one year.

the Fiver:

1. Last laugh?
This evening when I was discussing with my 16 year old my plans to become a pony and move to Ponyville. The conversation got quite silly and we both had a giggle. (I still want to do it though - does anyone know where I can get any pony hormones? I figure I should start taking them...and live as a pony for a while....before I go under the knife...)

2. What do you love?
My family and my ratty girls, chocolate, crackle paint, music, Inked on ITV4, my new tattoo, my Canucks and my Wildcats

3. Gold or silver?

Definitely silver. I have never been keen on gold. Always preferred silver and copper. But then again, I adore my orca ring, and that's gold....

4. Who do you hold hands with?

Connor, because he's still young enough to want to hold hands with his old mum. Long may it last. And Ian, whenever I see him, because we are still at that lovely lovey-dovey touchy-feely stage - and long may that last too :)

5. Friday fill-in:
There's no time to ____.
do even a fraction of the stuff I want to do.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

and they're all made out of ticky tacky

It was raining this afternoon, so I took Connor to the local soft play centre, and while he ran around for a couple of hours, I made my first Little Boxes.

3 down, 18 to go :)

The three were all made roughly the same way. For each one, I cut a house shape out of a thin piece of mica. You can't see the mica at all on the pics unfortunately - but it has that lovely sepia tone and shimmery finish as you move it's one of my favourite things to use.

I stamped an image on the front of the mica house with black Stazon (all three are Stampotique stamps), and then painted them with acrylics on the it didn't matter if I went over the lines a bit :)

Then I cut the same shape from a background piece of card - the boy's background is a spin-art piece made with Daler Rowney fluid acrylics, and then sponged over the top with distress inks - and the girl and the spider are over an old piece of sheet music stuck onto plain cardstock, with mica flakes added, which has been coloured with pink and green Stazon.

I made a window for each house out of an old postage stamp - the windows are cut right through the background card, so all that is covering them is the transparent mica.

And finally I stuck the 2 houses - mica and background - together, and then finished off with a border of thin copper tape.

These were a lot of fun to make - and I'm looking forward to making my next batch when I get the time.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Fivers - 16th May 2008

Traditional Fiver:

1. Are you a good worker?
Well, I always thought I was. But I got a bit of a bollocking at work the other week for not working hard enough, so maybe I’ve started to slack off a bit in my old age......meh....

2. What do you carry?
Plenty of excess flubber. But not enough, it seems, for me to motivate myself to do anything about it. Cake is just way too nice to give up in pursuit of the body beautiful.

3. Do you know your neighbors?
Only one one side – a nice couple who breed Bengal cats - but I don’t know them that well, just enough to have a brief chat every now and then and swap Christmas cards.

4. Where do you like to go for a day trip?
I’m a bit of a roller coaster fiend – so somewhere like Alton Towers is right up my street – but only on a non busy day, otherwise you spend more time queuing than riding, and that’s no fun

5. What is at your feet?
At the moment, my Canucks messenger bag (and if you want to know what’s in it, see last week’s Fiver :))

hlog five - which actually is five this week :

1.) Do you wear sunscreen?
Very rarely – I don’t tend to burn in the sun, I’m more likely to go straight to tan. I’m not usually outdoors for long stretches anyway, and I don’t take sunbathing holidays

2.) What is your favorite thing to BBQ?
I’m not much of one for barbecues, being veggie and all, but I have done veg kebabs on skewers before, and bananas wrapped in tin foil are nice on the barbie too

3.) Do you find yourself driving less with higher gas prices?
Nope – I have to get to work, and there is zero public transport out here in Deliverance country. And I also visit a lot of friends who are far enough away, yet not on an easy train route, that driving is the only option really

4.) If this coming weekend were magically to be a three day weekend, what would you do?
Oh, I wish! I’d set aside a day just for arty pursuits and make 2 t-shirts, the journal for my upcoming tattoo CJ, and all 21 of my Little Boxes

5.) What kind of computer do you have?
At home, a Dell Inspiron 9300 laptop. At work, also a Dell, but a desktop.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rally call - do you like making ATCs? do you love house shaped stuff? read on....

I am chuffed to have been given the go ahead by the lovely Angela Cartwright to run a (primarily) UK-based version of the Skylines and Skyscrapers swap that you may have seen featured in Somerset Studio magazine.

Our version is called Little Boxes (on the hillside).

Read all about it, and sign up to join us if you wish, here.

Now playing: Pendulum - Mutiny
via FoxyTunes

3 and three quarter hours of agony...and it ain't even finished yet :)

But boy it’s going to be fab when it is.

Yes, yesterday was tattoo day.

And my post title isn’t really accurate, the first 2-3 hours were actually surprisingly bearable, but by the last hour or so, I was really feeling it, ow ow ow ow ow ow!!!

Before you read any further, I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that the dark shadow in the bottom left of the main photo of the tattoo below is just spare ink which I have since washed off. It’s not dirt :) Or fat shadow :P But that’s what it looks like at first glance, ewwwwww.

Once finished, my tattoo will look like this:

So far, Mike (Hervin, from Skin Graffiti in Swindon, who is a very nice and very talented chappy) has done the first coat of the majority of the blackwork. I’m going back in 5 weeks time for him to finish off the black, and add the red and blue.

He had a hell of a job getting everything positioned right to avoid all my moles :) Which is why the baby orca is a little lower down on my back than in the original picture. But he sorted it out perfectly in the end - even capturing one of the moles in the baby's blowhole lol

Despite having signs up everywhere promising all sorts of devilish punishments for anyone caught using a camera on the premises, Al the piercer was kind enough to take a couple of pics for me of Mike at work on my back, it’s the ex-scrapbooker in me – I might not scrapbook any more but I still have an over-riding need to record everything in photographs :)

I must admit, a long tattoo sitting like that is a whole lot different to a quick one-hour jobbie. I have never felt disoriented after a tattoo before. But after this one I was all over the place. I was attempting to chat to Mike about cameras / photography etc – he has a Canon EOS 400D and wanted a few tips on best use of all the different settings – and I just couldn’t get my words out. I couldn’t even remember the words for aperture and shutter speed etc. Total brain freeze. I guess it’s the brain’s response to that low level but constant pain over a long period – it must release funny chemicals that stop you functioning normally.

I wasn’t ready to drive home straight away – but a quick walk around town in the sunshine – and a trip to Boots to get my bepanthen cream – cleared my head and I felt all normal again.

And now I feel fine – my bra strap was a bit annoying this morning (felt like wearing a bra over a sunburnt back, a bit) – but I seem to have got used to it now.

Roll on June 24th – I can’t WAIT to see it all finished :)

Rhomany you are a genius :)

So, there I was yesterday morning.... in a total panic..... due at the tattoo studio at 11am for work to start on my backpiece....

….got to have a bath, don’t want to be all smelly for the nice man….check
…. bottle of water….need bottle of water, going to get thirsty….check
…. scrunchy to hold my hair up out of the way…. check
…. what else……???

aaarrghhhhhh – what am I going to wear??????!!!!

It’s an open plan studio with big windows – I can’t wear a top, obviously, as the tattoo is taking up my whole back, near enough. I can’t even wear a bra! The straps would get in the way…. What do I doooooo?????

Then I remembered this blog post from just a couple of days before…. The lovely Kat Von D merrily chopping up t shirts, brought to my attention by Rho…..

At the time I watched the Kat vid, and commented on Rho’s blog, something to the effect that the stringy sleeves were a nostalgia trip, as I used to do that to all my t-shirts back in the 80s – but that I had never done the tie back thing as I was never brave enough to go backless & bra-less :)

But as I sat there – with about 10 minutes to go before I had to leave for my appointment – I remembered there was a link on Rho’s post to make a halter neck. A halter neck – perfect!

So I got out an old Buffy t shirt (see before pic above) and some sharp scissors, and set to work. The bottom of the t was a little on the baggy side once it was done so I threw in a bit of Kat-style tie backs for good measure. And in less than 5 minutes, I had a perfect top to wear while I was being backpieced :)

So thanks Rho – your immaculately timed post saved me showing the whole of Swindon my boobies :)

And this is the last ever photo of my naked ink-free back.

See the next post for what it looks like now :)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

One for sorrow

Sometimes it's time to take a break from all the CJs and swaps and challenges and make something to keep.

That's what this is.

It's to remind me that everything gets better eventually, no matter how bad it feels at the time.

I'm putting last year to rest. Good riddance 2007.

[Background canvas washed over with Ecoline inks and stamped all over with GPP corrugated cardboard stamp. Drybrushed around the border with black gesso. Three torn sections of loose canvas were also coated with black gesso, and once this had dried, white absorbent ground was applied with fingers to cover most of each canvas piece. The AG once dry, was coloured with water soluble crayons and more ecolines. On each piece a bird image was embossed in black, and pale blue pearlescent ink was sponged around a mask to frame the bird(s). Words were added using a Dymo labeller (and at the bottom of the canvas, handwritten with a brush pen)]

Friday, May 09, 2008

Friday Fivers - 9th May 2008

hlog's five is 4 again this week:

1.) Beach or mountains?
Ummmm – tough one. I love to swim in the sea, and walk by the coast, especially along a cliff top. But I can’t stand just sunbathing on the beach, lying there on a towel for hours, bores me rigid. And the sand gets everywhere. And mountains are beautiful. And they overlook my boys in Vancouver. Yup – seems I have made my mind up - mountains please.

2.) Which newspaper(s) do you read? (Either online or in print)
I only really read a real printed newspaper when I go to visit my Dad, I haven’t bought one in years. I’m not good with distressing news (murders, wars….) which, along with the indiscretions of celebrities, is all the papers seem to report anyway. So I tend to limit my news-gathering to what I hear on the radio on the drive into work. I do read lots of sports news, though (which can also be pretty distressing at times!) – I subscribe to Powerplay magazine which is the UK version of the Hockey News, and I regularly read the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers online.

3.) What do you plan to do during the hockey off season to keep yourself occupied?
Sulk. Sigh. I’ll survive it, I always have a to do list longer than my arm anyway, so keeping busy isn’t really a problem. But I do miss my hockey so badly already. I am utterly lost on Saturday evenings without a trip up to the Link to cheer on my Wildcats. And I haven’t really been able to get excited about the Stanley Cup playoffs since the Flames and Caps went out, because there’s nobody left in it that I have that much affinity to. I’m still watching, but I have this sinking feeling that the Flyers are actually in with a chance, and I tell you, if they win, I shall cry me a river :(

4.) Favorite form of procrastination?
Faffing about on the net, the devil’s own tool for ensuring that nobody actually gets anything done anymore.

And here's the original:

1. Who do you adore?
Strong word, that. Going to take the fifth.

2. Who adores you?
I'm not convinced anyone does. There are lots of people who love me though. And that'll do me.

3. What's in your pockets?
Right now, I'm wearing something pocket-free. I could do my bag instead...let's have a look (god knows what's in there).....wallet, car keys, tissues, pay slip, neurofen, a postcard that says "I wish I was in Canada, eh", a little Canucks keyring that I haven't put on my keys yet, a Flames zipper pull that fell off Connor's hoody, a lovely old book from 1914 that is due to be altered for an upcoming round robin, flyers for local amusement parks that I have zero recollection of picking up, 4 sharpies, a comb, and a tutorial on CSS (cascading style sheets, a web design thang) that I downloaded from the net and printed out. All vital stuff :)

4. Who can you talk with for hours?
Anyone, really, I'm a chatterbox - the other person always runs out of steam before I do :) I prefer to do my chatting online than on the phone, though. I can multi-task better that way. I really miss MSNing with my best friend for hours every day - we never ever ran out of things to say - she has been in hospital for months now, and can't easily be contacted. I see her for a couple of hours every other week, but that is nowhere near enough. We will have SO much to catch up on when she is home....

5. What sounds great today?
On my way to work this morning the one song that had me whipping the volume up was Propane Nightmares by Pendulum. Looking forward to seeing them at Bestival.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I won! I won! I won!

Ooh ooh oooooh!!!!

I am this months Top Hat pick at the GPP Crusades!!!


*dances around the room with gay abandon* :)

I even get my very own Michelle Ward graphic, as she would say, HOW COOL IS THAT???

Seriously - I have enjoyed this month's crusade so much that it's been a prize in itself. I LOVED the stencil making and can't wait to cut more. The whole house has got into it - my eldest son has already made a couple of t-shirts and they came out great.

In fact the stencil burner has fast become the most fought over tool in the house :)

So to win the draw too is just fab - a wonderful cherry on top of an already delicious cake :)

Looking forward to Crusade #20....

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Yes!!!! it worked!!! check out my t-shirt!!! :)

Oh wow this was so nervewracking!

I had to wait for the paint to dry completely before I could peel off the stencil - and I really had no idea if any paint might have bled under and ruined the design completely.

It felt like forever.

But when I took off that stencil and saw the PERFECT result, I whooped out loud :)

Ignore the shiny bits you can see around the design - that's residue from the temp glue I used to hold the stencil down tight on the shirt while I was painting through it. That will just rub off but I want to wait till the morning to make absolutely sure I won't smudge the paint.

Can't wait to wear it :)

(and yes, it's supposed to be off-centre!)

Inge asked for a tutorial.... but there isn't much to tell really. It was amazingly simple.

I lightly coated the back of the mylar stencil with zig glue and let it dry completely for a few hours.

Then I ironed the shirt (which was an interesting experience, I don't think I have used an iron in over a year - apart from the little craft iron I use for ironing distressed tags!! :)) - and laid it flat on the table with a big bit of cardboard inside, just in case the paint leeched through onto the back of the shirt.

Next it was just a case of sticking the stencil onto the front of the shirt, being extra careful with the little detail bits. And then I used a sponge brush with a dabbing motion to apply Lumiere fabric paint all over the design.

I waited an hour or so till the paint was dry, and then peeled off the stencil. And whooped :)

Tomorrow I'll need to iron it to heat set it, and then it will be washable and all finished.

This is the first of many t-shirts for me, that's for sure. I already have a couple more stencils cut, but they are for pressies, so I can't show them on here....

Oh, and on a completely different subject - here's Cons yesterday when we went caching in Chiseldon: