Thursday, 21 September 2017

Fairy House using Katy Sue Designs moulds

Hi, Antony here, with what has proved to be my longest project yet, but also
the most enjoyable. For this mixed media project I turned a coffee jar into a
Fairy House.... the magic came from Katy Sue Designs. Most crafters
probably know them for Flower Soft®, which is a fine decorative embellishment
that you sprinkle onto your projects to replicate tiny flowers. Well a few years
back they started to produce the most amazingly detailed moulds...
what's more they are actually designed and made right here in the UK
at their factory in South Sheilds!
Although most people use these to create decorations for cakes, they can be
used to great effect within mixed media and card making projects too!

For this project I have used: An old Douwe Egberts coffee jar, A door
cutting die from Tonic Studios a petal cutting die from Studio Lights,
various moulds from Katy Sue Designs, Polyfilla,
Viva Decor Inka Gold craft polish
Fimo clay in various colours decorative pebbles, Flower Soft® (Sweet Pea)
from Katy Sue Designs, gilding wax and a string of tiny lights.

Step 1 Firstly I cleaned a coffee and then made a hole in it using a drill.
I stuck some masking tape over the place I wanted to drill the hole, to
to prevent the drill from sliding. I turned set the drill on to a slow
speed and started drill into the glass.

Step 2 I placed the string of lights inside the jar and then pull through
all but 2 of the lights and the battery pack with the on off switch on.
This will make the process of turning the lights on and off a lot easier.

Step 3 The next step was to cut myself a door using a die from Tonic Studios.
I then stuck this to the jar using a thin coat of silicone glue and held it
in place using masking tape. I used some decorative pebbles and
formed an arch round the door, I used Polyfilla to stick these to the jar.

Step 3 Working with the string of lights, I placed them round the
jar, keeping them in place with masking tape to start with and applying
Polyfilla to hold them in place. This process took quite a while, as you
can only really work on small sections at a time, because you have
to allow the Polyfilla to dry.

Step 4 Next step was to start working with the moulds from
Katy Sue Designs. For my project I have used
For my project I used a polymer oven bake clay such as Fimo.

To use the moulds I rolled up a small amount of the Fimo clay and
then pressed it into the moulds using a round ended metal tool.
I then pressed the clay flush to the level of the outer part
of the mould and then gently eased the clay out. Once I had made
a large amount of the leaves and flowers, I baked them in the
oven at 110°c for about 5 to 10 minutes.
For the clock and hands, I left the clay in the moulds and baked
them. After about 10 minutes I took them out of the oven and let
them cool down before removing the moulded Fimo pieces. As you
can see from the close up photos the detail on them is amazing!

Step 5 To make the roof I used some 1mm thick cardboard, old
cereal boxes are perfect for this. I used a petal die, with embossing
detail for the tiles. Firstly I drew round a plate and then made a flat
cone out of it. I then started to add the petal tiles, starting at the
bottom and working my way up the roof.
To cover the top part I used a circular die and again made a fairly
flat cone and stuck it in place.
Once all the glue was dry, I painted it using Viva Decor
Inka Gold craft polish. I used three colours, a deep pink base coat,
followed by a light brushing of gold and finally a dark slate colour.

Step 5 As it was the middle of summer I decided to craft in the garden,
Not that often you can do that in the UK! I used Inka Gold craft polish to
paint the outside of the jar, over the Polyfilla. I used a purple colour and
then lightly brushed over with a gold and a slate colour to help bring out
the texture I had created with the Polyfilla. I also used a sponge with Inka
Gold on to add a bit of extra colour to the stones.
Once dry, I sealed the Inka Gold with a water based sealer.

Step 6 Using silicone glue I went round certain areas of my project
and then sprinkled Flower Soft® from Katy Sue Designs over it.
This added a bit of colour and further texture, whilst giving the effect
of tiny flowers growing.

Step 7 Back to the moulds and a bit more baking!

Step 8 After all the baking, I started to arrange the moulded clay,
making sure not to cover up any of the tiny lights.
The great thing about using Fimo clay, is that after baking you can
reheat with a craft heat tool and bend the moulded clay to
shape and then place in cold water to set it's new shape.
Once I had shaped all the moulded clay, I then stuck them onto
the jar using silicone glue.

Step 9 I stuck the roof onto the lid of the jar, firstly by using silicone glue
and then once that had set I filled in the space using Polyfilla.
Using the leaf moulded clay, I stuck them round to cover up the
Polyfilla. Once that had set I then used silicone glue and filled in
the remaining gaps and sprinkled some more Flower Soft® on.

Step 10 The finishing touches included adding a touch of gilding
wax over the clay to help bring out the amazing detail. I also filled
some gaps here and there with silicone glue and Flower Soft®.

Step 11 With the main jar decorated it was time to add a few clay
flowers and leaves to the roof. Once again I used silicone glue to
hold the clay moulded pieces in place and finished off with some
gilding wax.

Last thing to do was to turn on the lights!

I hope you've enjoyed my Fairy House post and that it's inspired
you to have a go using some of the moulds available from
Katy Sue Desings.
Just a quick mention... as well as polymer clay such as Fimo
you can also use paper air dry clay such as Hearty Clay
or as I did concrete and of course icing to decorate your cakes!
Just be sure that if you're going to use moulds to help decorate
cake then I recommend you have a mould just for that use.

Until next time, Happy Crafting!

Samantha and Antony

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Creating with Mockingbird Hill perfect partners and Aquapen/glycerine technique

Hello to all our crafting friends, Antony here to introduce Samantha in
her first video, right here on our blog. As some of you may know Sam is
part of not one, but two design teams. She creates amazing samples
for both Crafters Companion and Sheena.
In this video she shows you what sort of thing you could be creating
with a new range from Sheena, called Mockingbird Hill,
which is a beautiful collection of both dies and stamps...
Perfect Partners in fact.
As well as making a z-card, Samantha... or Sammy as she likes
to be know also shows you a fantastic technique using Aquapens
from Crafters Companion and glycerine... yep you heard right,
glycerine! Sammy will explain all, enjoy watching!

I hope Samantha has more time to do another video feel soon
showing you yet more amazing techniques.

Just also like to wish my blog partner a very...

Until next time, Happy Crafting!

Samantha and Antony

Wednesday, 26 July 2017


Hello to all of our crafting friends, Antony here on behalf of 2 Crafting Minds.
Well both myself and Samantha are pleased once again to share our blog
with another fellow crafter. This time we have the very talented
Amanda Mcleod. Amanda loves crafting as well as writing poetry and
runs her own Facebook craft group page as well... I'll hand over to her to introduce
herself and her beautiful canvas. Thanks for letting us share your
work Amanda!
HI everyone, My name is Amanda and arts and
crafts are my absolute passion. I am a member of
Sheena's Ink-ettes group and regularly show cards
and crafts using Sheena's amazing products and
I also write poetry pieces based on Sheena's new
collections which I love doing. I was so excited when
one was read out on Hochanda!
I have always crafted in some way since I was a
child and really enjoy making cards and journals.
I have a small website where I sell my crafts and
cards ( and a Facebook
page called The Attic Rooms. I also set up a
Christmas card making group on Facebook called Make One
Christmas Card Every Week Throughout 2017 which I love running,
along with a team of 5 other ladies. I have just started trying out
canvases having been inspired by Samantha's amazing art pieces.
Samantha has given me so much confidence since I met her over
on the Sheena page and she has really helped me to progress
and push myself to develop new ideas and new techniques.
This is only my second canvas and it's one of the few times when
the image I saw in my head was able to be transferred onto the artwork.
Not often it happens that way!  Thank you to Antony and to Samantha for
allowing me to share their space for this blog!

Products used to make this project - 16" x 12" pre-primed canvas from eBay
A selection of paints including -
Pebeo deco creme in 32 Matt Fir Green 
Pebeo deco creme in 34 Matt Olive Green, Reeves acrylic in Terracotta
White Pebeo paint for snow splatter effect,
as well as Flowersoft Polar White
A wide selection of Tim Holtz distress inks for colouring the foliage
Pinflair Glue Gel for affixing all the elements to the canvas
Spectrum Noir Colourblend pencils and blending solution
Sheena's white card 300gsm for die cutting

The vision and idea behind 'Solstice'

The original seed for the idea of the Solstice piece was started after I
had made this card for my Christmas card making group, 'Make One
Christmas Card Every Week Throughout 2017' - (MOCCEWT) for short!
I've always loved the whole solstice mythology story and the cyclical
battle between the Oak and the Holly King and their endless struggle
to dominate the seasons and wrestle power one away from the other
at Midwinter and Midsummer. So making this card really sparked the
whole idea for a more substantial piece of art.

Step 1 I started out with a plain, white canvas which
measured 16" x 12" and which was primed with a coat of Gesso.

Step 2 I then coated the entire canvas with a sponged
background of green and brown paints. I intended to cover
th entire canvas with foliage but wanted a 'forest green'
background should any small areas of canvas remain visible.
These are the three paints which I applied, very roughly and
completely randomly over the whole canvas.

Step 3 The Oak King and The Holly King faces were made
from air dry clay by hand. I wanted to give the impression of
faces growing from within a living tree so they are both surrounded
by twisting branches. I applied bark like texture to The Oak King's
face to further this impression. Here are the clay pieces in their
early stages.

Here are the masks after being painted with Pebeo paints.
I purposely wanted the Oak King to have sleepy looking eyes.
Is he just awakening to rule the Spring and Summer or just
going to sleep and handing over his dominance to the Holly King?
I wanted the viewer to decide! 

Step 4 I then began the process of a HUGE amount of
die cutting, stamping, colouring and shaping for a whole
variety of foliage, flora and fauna. I used Sheena Douglass's
Perfect Partners ranges which included, ivy, oak leaves,
holly, pine branches, brown twig branches, berries and
brambles, florist's friends, snowdrops, bluebells, a squirrel,
a Kingfisher and a Robin and mushrooms. I also added
some dragonflies, butterflies, maple seeds (helicopters!)
frogs, a spider, a handmade web!, some mistletoe, and other
natural elements which were foraged from Golden Acre Park in
Leeds such as the acorns and pine cones.

Step 5 The pieces were then layered really thickly and
built up slowly, to create a really lush foliage covering. I wanted
to create a Spring/Summer side for the Oak King and an
Autumn/Winter side for the Holly King so created two very
separate sides which blend and merge in the centre.

A close up of the Oak King's side.

 A close up of the Holly King's side.

 Step 6 My favourite part of the whole piece, the
butterfly on the Oak King's nose! You can really see the
texture on his nose in this photo,' and his sleepy eyes.
The Bluebells are also a favourite part too. I love the splash of
blue in amongst all the green foliage.
One side of the Oak King has fresher green/yellow leaves and
I aged them down into a more brownish hue where he meets his
rival, the Holly King. Can you see the little brown frog?

Step 7 A close up on the Holly King. I really like how his
eyes appear to be gazing off to the left and upwards as this
was a complete accident but I like how this looks! I added
berries for a splash of colour as this side is more Wintery and
has a much darker feel. There is also a touch of white
flower soft added very sparingly to suggest the
beginnings of the Winter frosts.

Step 8 A closer zoom into the Oak King's domain.
Here you can see the dragonflies which I cut from vellum
to suggest the gauzy feel of their delicate wings. The
Kingfisher was coloured with Spectrum Noir Colourblend
pencils and I used blending solution to get a lovely smooth
finish. The little squirrel can just be seen peeping through
the foliage and the lovely fresh leaves of the brambles.

Step 9 A close up of the squirrel. He was coloured using
the same pencils as the Kingfisher. He appears to be studying
the butterfly intently! You can also see the lovely, purple
berries and a red mushroom in this shot and the maple
seed heads which I can remember throwing up into the
air when I was a child. We used to call them helicopters
because of the way they spun as they came hurtling
back down! I overlapped the foliage across the edges
of the canvas to keep the look softened at the edges. 

Step 10 Up above the Holly King's head, the Robin
is perched in bare branches that are laced with a touch
of frosts, foraged pine cones and pine branches. This
part represents the coming of the Winter time.
The Robin was also coloured with Spectrum Noir
Colourblend pencils. You can see the mistletoe closer
here too. One of my favourite elements of the Winter side.

Step 11 A close up of the mistletoe and the spider, who
is just beginning to spin his web. I made the strands for
the web using white embroidery thread and then used
Glossy Accents to create 'dew drops' on them. The
plastic spider was donated to the art work by my son, Ben,
aged 8, who kindly raided his Halloween supplies for me!
The spider was just perfect!

Step 12 A close up of the mushrooms. These were from
the Sheena Douglass set, 'A little bit magical' and were
coloured using the same pencils as before.

Super close up of the Oak King! 

Super close up of the Holly King!
Super close up of the Kingfisher and a dragonfly. 

A super close up of the Robin. I added a tiny splattering of
white Pebeo paint to this area to suggest the coming of Winter snows.
The frost was created with Flower Soft. 

 A super close up of the mushrooms, snowdrops and
the 'dew drops' on the spider's web. 

A super close up of the green frogs and the snowdrops. 

A super close up on the bluebells and the brambles. 

Two more close ups. The vellum dragonfly at the top and a wider angle of the bluebell area at the bottom. The acorn which is nestled into the Oak King's face is made from clay.

 Thank you so much for the post Amanda, our jaws are still
on the floor. What a wonderful story behind the canvas too.
If you have time, please take a look at the short music video I created,
which shows the canvas up even closer. 

Since Amanda did this blog post for us, Sheena has invited her
onto her Design Team known as the Inkoids! Well done and
Hope you've all enjoyed Amanda's post and tour of her amazing
canvas as much as we did!

Until next time, Happy Crafting!
Samantha, Antony
and our Guest Blogger Amanda