I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Monday 14 May 2018

Stencil It!

Hello all, and thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  I'm very excited to be back in the Designer Spotlight at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge again.

This week the theme is Stencil It!  Once again the amazing Design Team at SSS have knocked it out of the park.  It's an honour to be invited to create alongside them for this month.

You can check out all their stencilled inspiration over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge by clicking on any of the logos - it's well worth the trip! - but let me share my offering with you before you go.

For a while now, I've been irritated by the cover of one of my favourite journals.  It happens to be the one in which I created last week's Hold On, Be Strong spread for last week's SSS theme.

It was a bright red hardback book - left over from work - and, as regulars will know, red really isn't one of my go-to colours.

I thought it was about time I did something about it, and this challenge theme kicked me into action.  Here's what it looks like now...

And it also looks pretty good when you open the whole thing out flat too.  I used Tim Holtz's Layering Stencils, and put all sorts of different media through them - Distress Inks (used with embossing powder), PaperArtsy Fresco paints, and some Finnabair Plaster Paste...

... and they're all over a deeply crackled background.  So instead of bright red, I now have my favourite colours, textures and meadow flowers to inspire me every time I pick up this particular journal.

I'm afraid I haven't got a picture of the original red - I forgot to take a proper "before" photo.

This is when it had already had a coat of DecoArt chalk paint in the soft green Enchanted (already a big improvement - I can't imagine why I didn't do this ages ago).

I applied a layer of Crackle Glaze with a plastic palette knife, and then over that a combination of Stone and Chalk Fresco paints.  Look at that weathered crackle!

I used the Leafy Layering Stencil to lay down some Distress Inks across the crackled background.  It's Peeled Paint and Stormy Sky in action.

Since I know the book will be handled regularly and spend time on the craft table, I needed to "fix" the Distress Inks so that a) they won't rub off or fade, and b) they won't be vulnerable to water and wet media in the future.  So I added clear embossing powder over the inky patterning.

Now they have that lovely light-catching glossiness which makes me so happy.

The next stencil into action was Numeric.  Through this I sponged Fresco paints, combining Sky, Limelight and Green Patina in a fairly random manner.

The PaperArtsy paints have a chalky matte finish which contrasts really nicely with the sheen of the embossed inks.

The third and final stencilling medium was some texture paste.  I started with some Prima Light Texture Paste, but I wanted a little more from my meadow flowers.

So I re-positioned the stencil (not entirely precisely as it turned out, but we're embracing imperfection), and applied some of Finnabair's new Plaster Paste over the previous texture once it had set. 

It's a firm, opaque paste, so it gave the flowers just the pop of presence I was after.

So this is where we've got to so far... the V of Numeric going across the whole spread, the inverted V of the Leafy pattern going the other way, and the dimensional white flowers awaiting developments.  And I'm afraid that's where the process photos stop!

From there on, I was inking and painting, focussing entirely on how the journal looked, and the camera ceased to exist for me.

I couldn't resist starting to apply some brown inking to the edges of the covers - Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs, maybe some Walnut Stain in there.

Inky edges are almost inevitable round here.  This is the back cover, of course.

For a long time, the flowers stayed white, as I was enjoying them, but eventually I decided they might look good with some colour on.

I started by experimenting with Distress Inks, which meant I could spritz with water and lose pretty much all the colour if I decided I didn't like it.

But I enjoyed the change, so I made it permanent with the help of some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics. 

These have a lovely glow and translucence which means you can blend and layer them with great subtlety.

The warm tones of the Quinacridone Gold tempted me towards increasing the depth of the inking around the edges, and I shifted from using Distress to Archival inks to help with permanence.

I also decided to intensify the look by using clear embossing powder on the very edges.  As I continued to play, I also used Distress Crayons in darker colours - Walnut Stain, Ground Espresso - to deepen the shadows.

I love the gnarly textural effect of the crayons over the embossed areas - it's very cool.  (Click on this photo or, even better, the one above for a closer look.)

I sought out a couple of Idea-ology Quote Chips to provide additional inspiration.

I'm doing a lot of dwelling in possibility at the moment, and it seems that there's another major step in the journey in the offing - so these are important words just now.

The Quote Chips are inked with Coffee Archival ink so that they tone in with everything else that's going on.

There's spatter in both white acrylic and a touch of Quin Gold to echo the flowers.

I love the shine of the embossed leaves...

... contrasting with the matte chalkiness of the numbers.

And of course under it all there's that scrumptious crackle breaking through.

I hope my altered journal cover will inspire you to get out your stencils and Stencil It this week.  If you need a further nudge then do hop over to the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where there is plenty more inspiration on offer from the team.

As always, there's a $50 prize voucher on offer.  Who wouldn't want the chance of a Simon Says Stamp shopping spree?  Or the possible honour of being picked out by the DT as one of their favourites?  So do come along and play.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  It's always a delight to read your comments, and I'm even starting to get round to some more regular and long overdue visits in return!  See you again soon.

Isn't it mysterious to begin a new journal like this? I can run my fingers through the fresh clean pages but I cannot guess what the writing on them will be.
Maud Hart Lovelace

Find these products at Simon Says Stamp:

Tim Holtz Layering Stencils - Leafy, Numeric, Wildflower
Distress Inks - Stormy Sky, Peeled Paint
PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Paints - Stone, Chalk, Limelight, Sky, Green Patina
PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze
Prima Marketing Plaster Paste
Idea-ology - Quote Chips
Ranger Clear Embossing Powder
Archival Inks - Coffee, Sepia
Distress Crayons - Gathered Twigs, Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain, Ground Espresso


Lorraine A said...

WOW!! you totally transformed the cover of your journal Alison! I need to decorate mine now!! the colours and textures are fabulous and I love how you sealed them with embossing powders :-) Absolutely GORGEOUS!! :-)

Lols x x x

Dorthe said...

This is so very and absolutely amazing Alison.
Wow all the beauty you have created, I so love the use of embossing , on your stenciled pattern,and flowers- and the effect looks gorgeous on your edges, too- Together with crackings and wonderful colors used, this is a stunning cover, totally hiding the not too loved, red one. :-)
Hugs, Dorthe

froebelsternchen said...

This cover is unique and SIMPLY AMAZING!
Hugs, Susi

Redanne said...

Oh wow Alison, even though red IS my favourite colour I think this transformation was worth every minute you put into it, it really is so very beautiful. I love the textures you created and those wonderful colours. Your journal is stunning! Anne xx

Julia Aston said...

What a gorgeous transformation for your cover Alison! I just love the colors, the stencils and the textures on this! Julia xx

Helen said...

look at all that gorgeous texture you've created!

Amanda said...

What a transformation, love this
Amanda x

Chrissy said...

What a fabulous transformation Alison and I totally love the end result..I'm going to find some books to cover now..I really love this.


Valerie-Jael said...

Absolutely gorgeous, hugs, Valerie

Meggymay said...

It is hard to imagine that this book started out, red. It is a fabulous makeover and looks beautiful.
Yvonne xx

Monika Gulyas said...

Wonderful journal cover, Alison!!! I love your design!!! xx

Cestina said...

These flowers are just simply stunning. Now ranking very high amongst my favourite things that you have created...

Sue said...

I'm actually partial to a bit of red Alison, but even I can see that this is a fabulous transformation! It's now a very beautiful album cover, and totally inkeeping with the contents. Have a very happy week, Sue xx

Astrid Maclean said...

Fabulous Alison, what a great transformation! Love the combination of stencils and crackling! Great colours too and in my book much better than red :o)

A Pink said...

Absolutely fabulous transformation and so much more appealing and approachable for all those future entries than a plain red journal. Exceptional use of stencils and love how you have mixed up the mediums you have used with them to create some really striking contrasts. Always adore you choice of colour palette .
Fantastic .

My name is Erika. said...

That's a beautiful book cover! I love the details but how they don't overpower the book. Hugs-Erika

sarascloset said...

Fabulous transformation of this journal cover! You've used your stencils brilliantly by layering different media through and over them for this stunning effect! I am particularly drawn to your wildflowers with their chunky texture. Gorgeous work, Alison! Thank you for the inspiration! Hugs!

Cocofolies said...

This is gorgeous Alison!!!!!
I love your delicate textures and colours, what a great use and mix of your blue and green and grey Distress inks and chalk paints!!!
There's no need of more photos, you really give us the essential and the details we need to understand the whole process. Wonderful!
Hugs, and thank you so much for your continuous support my dear friend.
Corinne xxx

Paper Wishes said...

The flowers in the close ups are gorgious they look like tiny oil paintings. The journal looks great I love the two colours you used for the number stencils. Thanks for sharing your process.

suzyb said...

Great detail and I love the embossing powder effect. I am going to assume you sprinkled them on while the ink was still wet? I love that effect! All that crackle too, I really like it Alison! thanks for sharing this cover.

Words and Pictures said...

Hi Suzy, thank you... so glad you like it (and all of you, thank you!). Yes, you need to get the embossing powder onto the ink while it's still wet, but you have a reasonable amount of time with Distress Ink, so you can do a whole stencil's worth of inking and then put the powder on, and it should still "grab" it. If not, you can always re-ink over the top and try again!
Alison x

Andrea Ockey Parr said...

Wow, wow, wow! This is so full of yummy texture! It looks both rugged and elegant at the same time and I am so impressed with your use of color. Beautiful, beautiful work- which is no surprise to me!

Annie said...

A fabulous alteration with lots of amazing painted and sky layers.....love this Alison xx Thanks for sharing the step by step too

SEnding hugs
Annie xx

Jackie PN said...

What a gorgeous makeover Alison!! I cannot even imagine the red!ewe!!

I especially love how you added the color to the wildflowers- they look beautiful-really brings them together with the rest of the media. Your layers are fabulous and I am so happy you shared your steps-I love texture and you have just the right amount for this journal! Stunning!
Congratulations on again being a guest designer! I think they should make you permanent! ")
love & hugs,Jackie xx

Candy C said...

Alison, as always, you have created a masterpiece. I think you and I are kindred spirits when it comes to color palettes. This tutorial is fantastic. The transformation is incredible and the end result is stunning.

maj. said...

This project is simply stunning! The colours and textures are wonderful!!!

Diana Taylor said...

What a stunning transformation - It's been fascinating seeing all your steps and techniques - and I love the finished outcome (even though I'm a huge fan of red!). Absolutely beautiful and the flowers are perfect with that little dash of colour - you have me reaching for my inks now!
Diana x

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

I would have of course loved the red, but your signature blues and greens are a delight! Gorgeous cover and all the texture makes me want to touch it. LOVE!

Lucy said...

So many beautiful layers of stencils. And then the colors are so great as well. Very inspiring.

Kate Yetter said...

Those delicate pastel flowers and that crackle finish make a stunning cover. Beautiful, Alison!

Stephanie said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Love the crackled effects and the sentiment is perfect!

Simon Says Stamp!

Fliss said...

Totally amazing layered stencilling on your beautiful cover Alison. The colour hues and textures look so gorgeous.
Fliss xx

Meihsia Liu said...

Love this gorgeous creation, Alison. The color scheme and the texture you created are amazing. :)

Tracey@Hotchpotchcreations said...

Beautiful transformation, making your journal much more delightful to entice you into using it. I've recently been decorating some reduced price Dairies. I think we should do this with every blank canvas cover, much more pleasing to our eye! Every inspiring Alison.
Hugs Tracey xx

Maura said...

You have some amazing texture here, Alison! Love the subtle layers of stencils, and what a wonderful journal you now have! xx Maura

Craftyfield said...

Congrats for your spotlight at SSS, not that I'm surprised, I think you would be a great addition to their permanent team, if you ever wished it! I love your cover and your tutorial is excellent. Hope you are having a great weekend!

Emma Williams said...

What a wonderful piece...this is so beautiful Alison and I love the soft colour palette with those gorgeous stencilled wildflowers which look amazing on that stencilled background! Lovely work as always... xx

Kath Stewart said...

what an amazing transformation Alison, love all the stencilling and texture paste on top of that gorgeous crackle backgound, hugs kath xxx

Macarena said...

Absolutely lovely cover! The crackles and textures are so cool! I love how you matched all the colors of the background and flowers and the numbers are stunning here, too. Hugs, Macarena

Zoey | Scrapsaurus said...

This is a very lovely project! Love your background!

Sandra said...

Such a gorgeous cover, Alison! The crackle is amazing. It looks so very well aged, fabulous techniques and love the soft coloring! The stencilling is amazing! Hugs, Sandra

pearshapedcrafting said...

I didn't see the original but this new cover will have you journaling more surely! It really is a beauty - just to pick it up must feel fabulous! Hugs, Chrisx

Barbara said...

Wow what a wonderful piece! love the textures and the colors, your use of Tim's stencil is stunning! Barbara

Paper Profusion said...

Well this is one tour de force in stenciling, and more besides!!! Stunning transformation Alison. Nicola x

rachel said...

Awesome covers Alison - love the crackle - its absolutely brilliant! The colours are amazing! Beautiful work! Hugs rachel x