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 1 October 2018

Blue Steel

Hello all, and welcome to October (no, I don't believe it either)!  As it's the first of the month, it's time to start a new challenge at Mini Album Makers.

Sadly, given how busy life is at the moment, this will be my last contribution there as a Design Team member.

I was honoured to be chosen by Autumn to be part of her new challenge just over a year ago, and I've had a wonderful time on the team.

It's been amazing watching Mini Album Makers grow each month, with incredible entries from around the world, and I know it will continue to go from strength to strength.  

So here, for my final offering, is a little journal made with Eileen Hull's Wrapped Journal die and some of Seth Apter's paint colours for PaperArtsy.

Seth is our sponsor this month, so it seemed only right to include him!  For reasons which will quickly become apparent, I've entitled it "Blue Steel".

It's a fairly simple make - constructed along the same lines as my Gentle Journal or the Wrapped Meadow Journal (the Eileen Hull makes it all so easy)... but I'll take you through the steps I followed to create that patchwork of distressed metal.

The die is cut out of plain matboard, and I embossed three panels of white card with Tim's Foundry 3D Texture Fade, to fit the main three panels of the journal cover.  For the spines, I used strips of Design Tape.

These have the advantage of reinforcing the spine, but staying flexible for opening and closing.

Next, I gave the whole thing a coat of Seth's Steel Grey (it's from Set 4 of his PaperArtsy paints).  Here it is once dry.

(While it was still wet, I had wiped the paint back a little with some damp paper towel over the Design Tape so that the design would still show through.)

Over that, I applied a wash of Glacier Ice (the palest colour from the same set).  I applied it with a sponge so that it would have a slight texture.

To create the patchwork of different blues, I used combinations of Double Denim (Set 3), Steel Grey and Venice Blue (both Set 4) in layers.

Then it was time for some dry-brushing with Glacier Ice (Set 4 again) to bring all that lovely embossed texture to life.  You can also see the texture from the sponging now.

So we've got Tim and Seth... time for third male designer to put in an appearance.  I used the DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic in Metallic Silver to stamp Andy Skinner's fabulous scratchy stamp randomly over the "metal", and also added some of it to the tips of the bolts with my fingertips.

I used a "dirty wash" of Payne's Gray and Raw Umber (thanks, Andy) to add some deeper shadows around the edges of the panels, and around the binding holes.

And finally, I used an Archival ink pad - Coffee, I think it was - to discolour the edges of the cover, and also swept it across the face of the blue steel to catch in certain places for more weathering.

I knew I wanted to use the Idea-ology Hitch Fasteners for my fastening, and I found some black chain in my stash which I altered with the silver paint, with a plan to wrap it around the "doorknobs".  In the long run, it didn't quite work - it was a bit too bulky, and it was hiding my lovely 'doorknobs'.

Instead I used my much-loved fine twine, and fastened on the Idea-ology charms.  It needed something good and weighty to keep it in place, so the key and the Muse Token worked well.

But I did also spritz the twine with water and let it dry in place to encourage it to stay put.  It now holds the necessary position very well, even after wrapping and unwrapping several times.

The Hitch Fasteners got a little touch of Mushroom alcohol ink and a sweep of Archival Coffee.  I love the burnished look it gives them.

I had a journal when I was young which had a tiny lock and key, so you could keep your secret thoughts private... adding the key brought that rushing back all of a sudden.

As you unfasten it and open it up...

... the secrets locked away inside are revealed.

The interior is covered with some of the blueprint paper from Tim's Dapper stash.

I really like that you can see the industrial bolts holding the Hitch Fasteners in place.

I've made my standard watercolour paper signatures, held in place by the fine twine.  As always, the signatures are unstitched, so that I can remove pages to work on them if I want to.

This time I edged the paper with some Archival ink - it just worked better for the look of it on the outside.

And it means the pages are ready-inked for action when I'm ready to use them.

I do love how subtle the twine is against the metal on the exterior of the spine.  And it echoes the twine fastening on the front too - I like the harmony of that.

Oh, and there have to be words, so there's an Idea-ology Word Band to provide extra inspiration whenever I come to open up my journal to write or play.

The back, of course, is just pure blue steel panelling, where you can see all that distressed metal without any interruption.

There are some final sweeps of Treasure Gold wax in Pewter along the edges...

... and across some of the bolts, for that final gleam of old metal.

So there you have it... my final contribution for the Mini Album Makers.  I hope you'll be inspired to come and play along this month.  As always, all handmade books and journals are welcome, in any style or genre.

As I mentioned, our sponsor this month is the amazing Seth Apter, and he's offering a complete set of his brilliant Baked Texture powders to one lucky winner.

There's lots more inspiration from my wonderful team-mates over at Mini Album Makers, so do check it out.

Oh, and just in case you missed the exciting Lynne Perrella launch news a couple of days ago, you can catch the Egyptian fever right here...

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and happy October crafting all!

There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self.
Benjamin Franklin

I'd like to play along at the Mix It Up Challenge Blog where they are playing Anything Goes with an optional twist of Monochrome
And let's make this a third and final entry for It's Been A While, the Anything Goes theme over at Stamps and Stencils - those stamped metallic scratches are subtle, but important, so there's my stamping


Monika Gulyas said...

I love your cover with the texture fades and distressed blue colour!!! The word band was a great choice for a book cover too!!! Fantastic design and making!!! Big hugs

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful little journal, very elegant. Enjoy October. Hugs, Valerie

Anneke said...

Your cover of this book is amazing! Ik looks like you have used metal to create
your book! Thankyou for all your effort to show how you did it. It makes me feel
I want to start right away to give it a try!

Jennie Atkinson said...

We shall so miss you Alison! and your final book is, as all your others, a stunner. The metal embossing is fabulous in itself but then painted in different colours with the dry brushing over the top just amazing. I can see this little journal becoming a real favourite! Jennie x

Nancy Wethington said...

Allison! This is amazing! You've created a wonderful authentic looking metal cover. I love this technique and the metal charms you've combined with it.

Gio said...

This is stunning, Alison!! Such a brilliant design. You created a 'soft' industrial chic style! I like it :-)

Redanne said...

You had me hooked with the title of Blue Steel! Your paint layers and stamping bring the embossing to life and your extra touches really do make this look like real metal! The closure is just a perfect balance and I love the twine binding and closure. How lovely that this brought back childhood memories for you too! I love this journal!! Anne xxx

Nan G said...

Yep, me too...intrigued with “blue steel” so I had to come and see. Wow! What an amazing little journal, butterfly! For your last submission you’ve knocked our socks off.

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Simple you say, yet so cool! Blue Steel should be the name of a rock song! LOVE the embossing you choose to use, and of course love that you made it blue...so you!

hazel said...

An amazing journal Alison, the colour's so lovely.
xxx Hazel.

Dorthe said...

What a fantastic book, love the view from inside, too- Alison, and how you managed to make plain white card stock look metallic, in the end. A wonderful make , - you will surely be missed on the team.
Hugs, Dorthe

Roosterhead Designs said...

Be still my heart! This is a gorgeous journal Alison; I really enjoyed my visit. I appreciate the way you've shared your 'processes' with us. It helps me so much to both 'see' and 'read' it; the effects of which are authentic and so appealing! It's very cool~
You have encouraged me! (I have some old blue prints [my father and brother are machinists by trade] I have always wanted to use.) Your creation is an inspiration~ Hugs to you, karen o

Sue said...

What a beautiful album Alison, the blue steel covers are perfect and they go so well with the blueprint paper inside. Thank you so much for the step by step, there are some great tips there. You will definitely be missed over at mini album makers. Have a very happy October, Sue xx

Chrissy said...

WoW..Fantastic Alison..love the metal look on your journal and all the addded details.The colours are fabulous too..wonderful work.


Craftyfield said...

Fab cover, Alison, this folder's embossing is awesome and the colours you've chosen are so delicate! Your leaving the DT will be great loss for the Mini album team, but it does take a lot of time!

Lys said...

Blue steel... still blue, Alison! This colour is amazing, I can't decide if it's vellum or metal... strange! fabulous journal!

Meggymay said...

Its a gorgeous journal Alison the texture and colours look amazing.
Yvonne xx

Mac Mable said...

I so enjoyed reading your post and the process of how you made your wonderful mini album. The colours of the acrylics look fabulous and love all your attention to detail. Great idea to wet the twine to help it keep in place and the key and lock brought back memories for me too. Such a unique and glorious project and thank you for the amazing inspiration x.

Margaret Mifsud said...

My goodness!! This cover looks amazing Alison! I was fascinated by the process you used to create the steel look and it really does look so realistic!! Absolutely brilliant!! Loving the inside as well .. so gorgeous!!
So sorry to hear you are leaving the team Alison, but I do hope we will still be seeing your fabulous creations here on your blog. hugs x

Karen Davis said...

This is such a gorgeous colour and texture, I love the look. It is great to see your process too, very inspiring.

sally said...

What a beautiful journal journey to sign out on! I wish I had a little beauty like that on my shelf πŸ’—πŸ’—πŸ’—

Sally xx

Jackie PN said...

Wow What a way to go out of a group! This journal is amazing!! Looking at it, it surely does not look as though it was made with papers! You truly have a gift of bringing out the finest points of products Alison!
We will miss you at Mini makers, but I totally get how busy you are! I get exhausted just thinking about your busy schedule! lol
Sending best wishes and hugs,Jackie xx

Fliss said...

An absolutely stunning journal Alison and the cover is awesome with the steel panel look and the cool blue grey shades. I'm sure you'll be missed at Mini Album Makers too.
Sorry not to visit as much lately, time constraints here too with my in law issues which take up quite a bit of time.
Fliss xx

craftytrog said...

Just gorgeous Alison! xx

Helen said...

how did I miss this?! must have been because I was off work and out enjoying the autumn sunshine. gorgeous mini album. shame to see you won't be joining them again.

froebelsternchen said...

This is a gorgeous piece of art - a wonderful journal - it doesn't look like it is our of paper! You are so talented!
You will be missed at Mini Album Makers!
Big hugs and LOVE

Diana Taylor said...

This is so gorgeous Alison - I love the metallic 'scratches' on the surface and the beautiful shades of blue. And I well remember having a diary with a key - you've just reignited some childhood memories!
Diana x

Paper Profusion said...

The team will be so sorry to lose you Alison. Fantastic project to depart on - those metallic effects are superb. Nicola x

pearshapedcrafting said...

You really have created fabulous album with some amazing steelwork! Hugs, Chrisx

A Pink said...

Absolutely Adore this journal , Alison. You have brought together so many of my favourites executing them superbly. Its Love with a capital 'L' from me .

Sorry to hear you are leaving the team . I am sure you will be missed greatly. Good to hear life is busy for you though .
Thank you for sharing your fabulous album creativity with us over the past year.
Take Care and wherever your creative life takes you next be sure to enjoy .
Hugs x

Seth said...

I am in love with this Alison. You knocked it out of the park with your combination of colors and textures. It is a favorite for sure!

Art By Wanda said...

What a fabulous journal!!! I love the blue, metal, twine mix!!!!!!!!! Really, really wonderful!!!!!!!!!