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When in doubt, Craft It Out!

There actually wasn’t going to be a post today as nothing has really inspired me in the past few days and the only idea I had was resisting me today, but I will try to tackle it tomorrow.

I figured I might as well share what I’ve been doing and (unfortunately for some)  I’m still feeling crafty.

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As some of you may know, I’ve been trying out making cabochon and resin jewellery for some time, with mixed results.

I’ve been ordering elements from Beads.pl (a Polish online shop) and they’ve been accumulating at an alarming rate in my DIY basket (yup, that’s a thing!), so it was high time I rolled up my sleeves and got to it.

I decided to make a brooch that will be pinned into my new warn autumn coat, and who better to accompany me on my daily duties than Mr Thornton (I’m officially addicted to that image!).

I also opted for a ring with a Tamara Lempicka Art Deco image, a pair of Fairy Pin Up and Roy Lichtenstein earrings and other bits and bobs.

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I had a cabochon for the brooch, but the other pieces are covered with Diamond Glaze which is one tricky mother, let me tell you!

I’ve learned a lot from the last time I made jewellery for RA Vegas Week, so let me share some observations.

The process is quite simple so how can things go so wrong?:

I find the images I like, scale them and print them out on thicker paper.

During RA Vegas Week I used a cream cardboard with tiny ridges, thinking it’d look vintage,  but I think that was a bad idea, smooth is best.

Many sites recommend you seal the image with MicroGlaze before you tamper with it, however, it’s actually quite pricey and I question the necessity for it.

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Firstly, by applying it (I use my finger), you are already smudging the print a tad.

Secondly, fluff and dust cling to it, so you end up clearing it off with your finger.

Lastly, I don’t know how long it’s supposed to dry because after an hour (I am very impatient) it was still wet.

After the first batch I abandoned priming the image and there’s no difference, so I’d ditch this step.

Anyway, once the image is printed and primed, you can move on to the next step.

If you’re using a cabochon, glue it to your image, hold it down till it sticks and let it dry.

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If you will be covering your picture with resin, or in my case Diamond Glaze, it’s time for the ultimate mind f*ck, meaning cutting out the image to size.

I usually prepare a template beforehand and then draw out the rough size using a pencil.

It’s important to only trim little bits at a time, you can always shave off more if it doesn’t fit.

What’s important at this stage is to have a needle handy: once the size is almost perfect and just needs a tiny trim, it’s beyond annoying to pull the picture out again.

Once it’s perfect (or in my case, almost perfect) glue the image onto your jewellery.

I use Diamond Glaze, which is also quite expensive, but I heard that any glue that dries transparent will do.

If you’re making a ring, brooch, or anything else that doesn’t lay flat, make sure you think of a way to prop it up.

Seems like a logical idea, and yet last time I ended up applying the resin and THEN thinking how to keep it level (a lemon was the answer).

Now I usually make a tiny tube using cardboard and that holds things in place.

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Once your cabochon dries, it’s time to cut it out, although luckily the glass will cover up any rough edges.

Again, take your time carefully shaving off the edges.

Once that’s done, glue it to the jewellery and Voilà!! It’s done.

With the other jewellery the mind f*ck fun isn’t over.

Carefully pour the resin / Diamond Glaze onto your image, starting from the centre outwards in a circular motion.

You need to take it slow, but if some bubbles appear, pop them with a needle or, if they are stubborn, push them to the edge (and hope for the best).

Word of warning, bubbles may appear while the Diamond Glaze is drying.

I’d recommend not fiddling with it though, it’s easy to mess up the smooth surface at this stage and bubbles will be the least of your problems.

Once that is done, cover your pieces with a plastic cup so they protected from dust and fluff and wait 12 to 24 hours for them to dry and harden.

It really can be a fickle thing, but I guess that’s what makes it fun, but only if it works.

If it doesn’t it’s frustrating enough to make you tear your hair out!

My favourite from the bunch was the ring with a Tamara Lempicka image:

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On the whole, I think cabochon jewellery is a bit easier and the risk of messing up big time is much lower, having said that all my Thornton silhouette jewellery never comes out quite right.

There’s also something to be said about the glossy simplicity of Diamond Glaze, so it’s tough to call.

The earrings I made are adorable and came out quite well.

 I asked an old friend to model them for you 😉

I used a Roy Lichtenstein painting and cropped the image.

Remember that if you are sticking a cabochon onto a picture of a face, make sure it’s centred.

The cabochon edges are rounded and will distort even the prettiest features (I learned that on a picture of poor Thorin).

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I also have some other more RA/Thorin stuff done, but I’ll keep it a secret until closer to The Hobbit DOS première.

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BTW, while I was putting together this post, I actually got one more thing done from my crafty list.

I’ve always been frustrated at the quality of pictures I take to show stuff like jewellery on the blog, so I decided to make my very own DIY Photo light box.

I’ve been defending a cardboard box for over a month from getting binned, tried to get my hands on white tissue paper (for some unknown reason they seem to only sell it packed with all of the other colours of the bloody rainbow…), pulled out my craft knife (me and sharp objects don’t mesh).

Everything would be fine if it wasn’t a bloody gloomy day and there’s no natural light to speak of, so the images are either too bright (when I use the flash) or too dark.

Anyway, here are some other things I made:

The not quite right but good enough Thornton brooch:

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We’ve been reading more paper books recently, so a bookmark is very much needed:

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See, that’s why I always say that whenever I go DIYing, things turn out OK, but never perfect 😉

There may be not one decent picture for today, but one of these days, camera and photos, I’m going to have the upper hand!

23 hours till The Hobbit and Counting…

The Hobbit is so close I can almost taste it 🙂

As I write this post, the countdown on the sidebar says 23 hours before I see the film.

I’ll be heading over to London in a few hours, but before I get on the plane let me share with you some of the ways I’ve been expressing my excitement (besides jumping up and down and overusing the word Yahoooo!)..

Firstly, if you haven’t checked out the fruit of Seba‘s labour of sweet RA love, you simply have to.

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Get your Hobbit Cookies Here!

He answered my call for someone to test Hobbit cookie recipes, and went above and beyond.

They look super yummy, so head over there for the details and sweeten up your day!

By the way, Seba saw The Hobbit last night, so scoot over to his blog to read about his impressions.

NO SPOILERS, so not to worry!

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I’ve also ordered a few tops with images I’ve been fiddling with, I’m still waiting on them and time is running out.

I’ll be bummed not to have them before London, but not to worry, I still have the Polish film release to look forward to.

 I can only hope the T-shirts come out all rights.

The following image was created as a bit of a giggle.

It was inspired by a post about Hobbit merchandise and the My Little Pony Thorin Spa.

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I also printed this beautiful image created by Seba at GisbornesBoy on a white T-shirt.

If you head over there, Seba has created a number of versions of this stunning image to suit all tastes.

We’re so lucky that he shares his talent with us!

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Last but not least, I found this amazing image at adlpictures.

I love it on so many levels, least of which comparing the dwarf plight with the biblical story, but that’s best left for another day.

  I fiddled about with Thorin’s Last Supper by aging it a tad and adding crack and “Dirty Dwarves”.

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I’ve also mentioned wanting to use my non-existent skills and try making some Hobbity jewelery.

I  decided to make a brooch from Thorin’s Key to Erebor.

I used the key chain that is readily available, although it was a bit too silvery and cheap-looking for my taste.

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You have to admit it’s a bit tacky.

I ended attaching the rest of the key chain to my garage keys.

 The pin is attached using the playdough-like substance you use to stop a leaking pipe.

One might think that a  hot glue gun would be a better idea, and sure, you’d be right, that is of course if you can find it…

Anyway, my DIY plumbing material worked like a charm 😉DSC03091

Then I used some furniture varnish with golden coloured dust to cover the bright silver.

I tried not to pile it on because I already liked the darker elements of the key and wanted to keep the rustic feel.

I also used a regular crayon to add a bit of rusty looking depth, but I’m not sure it’s all that visible.

Anyway, here’s the final effect and I’m happy 🙂

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   Talking about visible representations of The Hobbit excitement, the last thing I’d like to mention is the heater in my sisters kitchen.

We use it for magnets and funny notes, so I decided to hang up my birthday card.DSC03098

I turn around and find a note left by my sister Magzy expressing her displeasure with my Armitage expansion tendencies.

That cracked me up, especially her choice of deity she calls upon!

Clearly she’s struggling to get into the Hobbit spirit 😉

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Have a wonderful weekend and I will see you on the other side of The Hobbit rainbow 😉

Happy Armitage Day! Make Your Own Armitage Goodie!

I’d like to start by saying a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who’s taken part in Operation Armitage!

Congrats to the winner from yeasterday’s competition!

Just a few words before I move on, though.

 First and foremost, Seba, from Gisborne’s Boy, my partner-in-crime!

You did a fab job, and it was such a fun process!

Thanks for sharing your talent with us, you’re a little creative ray of light 🙂

Thanks to my sister Magzy for her constant support, and for not looking at me funny when I get these ideas!

Thank You to the readers and people who commented!

Without you I’d just be an Armitage weirdo posting things online!

It’s the people who visit that breathe life into a blog!

Congrats to the winners!

I hope you enjoy your prize.

If you were not among the lucky ones, remember, you’re always a winner in my eyes!

Before I move on to the main topic of this post, I’d like to present an award.

This gift goes to my most loyal reader, as well as the person who’s left the most comments.

My special ” Friend to IWantTobeAPinUp” award goes to:

She’s long become a fixed feature over here, to the point where I really can’t imagine her not dropping by daily!

 This is my way of saying Thank You!

I have a confession to make.

Luciana was one of the winners during the week, however I knew I wanted to single her out individually at the end 🙂

Luciana, you get to choose an image out of the 8 featured during Operation Armitage, and a shopping bag with that picture will be sent to you.

Thank You to all my readers, I’m only sorry I don’t have the means to give each and every one of you a goodie.

So, I’ve settled for second best!

Seba created this stunning image, and I’ve decided to give everyone a chance to create their very own RA goodie!

I’ll be talking you through the process, based on pictures I took when I was creating the competition prizes!

Here is a step-by-step guide!

To transfer this image onto a T-shirt or bag, you will need:

A mirror reflection of the image you want.

This was a bit of a head-scratcher for Seba and me, until Magzy put us out of our misery.

In PSE, just go to Image, Rotate, Flip Horizontal!

A flat fabric surface, like a T-shirt

It’s important that it isn’t grainy or creased.

Iron-on paper for your printer

I got mine online, and an A4 sheet cost under Euro 0.50

I’ve tried different brands, and they are all the same.

What is important is to choose the paper based on the colour of fabric you are applying the image to.

There are 2 kinds I’ve encountered: for white / light and for black backgrounds.

Do yourself a favour and buy a few more than you need, just in case.

An iron, with the steam function switched off

Here’s the mirror reflection of Seba’s Hobbit Picnic:

First, print out your image on the iron-on paper.

Please set to the highest resolution on your printer.

It’s best to follow instructions, however let me give you some advice.

The paper has a blank side, and one that is patterned.

It’s important that you put the paper in the right way.

When you feed the paper in your printer, please check which side is printed on.

Do that by taking a regular blank page, putting a cross on the corner, and printing something tiny.

This will save you the bother of using up your cartridge on printing on the wrong side.

I’m not saying I’ve made that mistake before, but then I’m not saying I haven’t 😉

Let the printout dry.

In the meantime, iron the surface you will be applying the image on.

Let it cool.

Then place the printout in its designated place, and start ironing!

Start from the top and work your way down.

This will prevent any bubbling.

Depending on how large your image is, this can take a few seconds, or up to a few minutes.

Remember to iron the edges and corners well too!

With some brands the patterned side changes colour when the process is complete (check instructions), but ours didn’t, so we just played it by ear.

Let it cool down, and then remove the outer layer with one smooth motion, but be careful not to tear the edges.

There you have it!

It’s as easy as I LUV RA!

If you image is shiny, but you want a more matt finish, simply put a blank sheet of regular paper, and iron that on top of the image for a few seconds.

Remember that the image will fade in the wash, always wash inside out, in maximum 40 degrees, without spinning.

Do not iron the image.

Strong chemicals like bleach will also damage it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed Operation Armitage as much as I have!

It’s been a blast!

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