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

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Patina Look Notebook Cover

Hello, Antony here! Well I've been busy once more. This post is all
about using Viva Decor's Inka Gold/Pinflair Buff-it craft polishes to give a
patina style finish to your projects! The polishes will work on any porous
surfaces such as paper, cardboard or even wood, so they can easily be
used for your home decor projects as well as your papercrafting ones.
I've also done a video on how to create the patina effect look, so if you
want to view that skip to the bottom of the page where
you will see the video I posted to Youtube.

For this project I've used Viva Decor Inka-Gold in various colours, but
you could also be using Pinflair Buff-it craft or Tonic Studios Nuvo
Embellishment Mousse. Dies from Crafters companion, Sheena
Creative Expressions, Ranger Glossy Accents and a clear water based
sealer and an A5 size wire bound notebook with hardback front
and back covers.

Step 1 I started by buying an A5 wire bound hardback notebook. The reason
I chose a wire bound notebook was because it would be easy to remove both
covers for decorating. Also look for a cover that doesn't have a shiny finish
because you'll find that the decorating pastes won't stick to it.

Step 2 Using loads of different dies, I used them to cut myself the shapes
using 1mm cardboard. Most standard die will cut 1mm cardboard, but you
may need to tease the cut shapes out of the more detailed dies.

Step 3 Carefully pull apart the wire from the notebook so that the front
and back covers as well as the paper can be removed.
Put the back cover and paper to one side.

Step 4 I had no real plan on laying the die cuts out, but simply played
round until I was happy with how things looked, then I stuck them
down using Pinflair Glue-it Bookbinding Glue. If any of the die cuts
covered any of the holes for the wire binding, I made sure to re-cut
them within the die cuts.

Step 5 For the key and padlock I cut them out about 5 times each
using the 1mm cardboard and glued them together to add some real
dimension to my project.

Step 6 Using Rangers Glossy Accents, I added rivet style elements to the
project and let them dry before painting.

Step 7 I painted over the entire surface of the notebook using Viva Decor
Inka-Gold (copper) As the paste is water based, simply take some out of
the tub and put it onto a non-stick craft sheets or a small palette. Add some
water to the paste and then start painting. Ensure you get into all the
detailed areas. The paint is very forgiving, so you don't need to be 
good painter. I found a soft wide brush is best to use.

Step 8 Once I had painted all of the front cover, I let it dry for about
15 minutes. Don't try and force dry it, as it may warp the hardback cover.

Step 9 I applied a gold colour Inka-Gold to a sponge brush and lightly
brushed it over the surface of the die cuts. The higher areas of the design
 just picked up the colour. Don't over do it with the gold... lightly does it!

Step 10 Another colour of Inka-Gold this time... turquoise. Again I just a
sponge brush, but this time I added a splash of water to it after I
had loaded it with the paste. I pounced the brush on lightly to selected
areas of the design. This sort of gives the effect of verdigris.

Step 11 I continued to pounce with sponge brushes over some
of the areas that I had already painted with all the colours, until no
one real colour stood out the most. I finally went over with copper
colour Inka-Gold using a wet sponge to give a sort of oxide look to the
finish. I then let the everything dry for about half an hour and then using
a soft kitchen cloth I polished over the surface to the paint a shiny finish.
Finally I then sealed the surface with a water based sealer.
I applied two coats, letting it dry in between.

Step 12 I used the same paint techniques for the back cover and then
sealed that with a water based sealer.

Step 13 Once both the front and back covers were dry it was time to add
the paper back in and redo the wire binding.... job done!

Hope you enjoyed this post. Please take a look at the video. In it I use
Pinflair Buff-it craft polish to achieve the same patina effect. You can
start with your base colour using either copper or gold, it just depends
on the sort of look you are after.
The main thing is, just experiment and have fun!

Until next time, Happy Crafting!

Samantha and Antony