Silver Crow Project

Secret Santa & Stocking Swap

I know, I know. I said I wouldn't be back till January but how could I not update the Secret Santa? 

Each year I take part in two Secret Santa's. The one I run here on my blog and a Christmas Stocking Swap on UKScrappers. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without these now. I enjoy the stalking of my victim as much as I do unwrapping my own goodies and seeing how well the person 'got' me.

I'll show you my UKScrappers swap first because then I can put the links to the bloggy swap at the bottom of the post, easier to find.

My Swap Fairy on UKS was Gill aka Wisher. I received a gorgeous stocking overflowing with goodies and come Christmas day it really seemed tardis-like. I never thought I would reach the bottom. Talk about spoilt. And yes - she really, really got me spot on.  I had wanted a silicone spatula to use as a palette knife - I did a little "yay!" when I opened that. So many goodies from skull earphones, skully fairy lights (going in my shedio) a little skeleton to alter. Mini gel pens, metallic gel pens, a funky beaded writing pen, stamps, glues, fabrics, a beautiful scarf, vintage book pages, a mini journal, gorgeous ink splat stencil, mini canvas and easel, Mmmmaltesers...
Cosmic Shimmer! Beautiful moulded faces! And, AND a Senellier oil pastel to try out. There may have been a bit of boogying! OK, a lot of boogying!
Thank you again Gill, although thank you doesn't seem to cover it.

And then we came to the Whoopidoo...ings Secret Santa. 
My Santa was Laura. Oh my, when I opened the parcel there was a little, beautifully wrapped gift, for everyone else in the house - Laura is new to the swap and my blog so talk about good stalking skills! These little gifts contained sweeties for everyone. 

Then on Christmas day, I unwrapped all this. A beautiful canvas, so textured, so clever, of a crows feather. Some paintbrush cleaner and the most delicate and fine pointed paintbrush I ever saw (I was positive it was an incense stick when I was having a feely!) I've had to hide that as Craig has been eying it up - I lose all my thin brushes to the cause of feeding his baby birds that the hens reject. There was also a pad of postcard sized watercolour paper, some Hotel Chocolat goodies - oh, how I love Hotel Chocolat - we used to get the monthly tasting club box but had to stop a while back. And then - a beautiful bookmark and, can't get over this, a crow book I have been looking at on Amazon but hadn't mentioned to anyone! The woman is psychic!
Whoopidooings: Secret Santa
Close up of that gorgeous texture on the canvas.
Mixed Media crow feather by Laura Rumble
Thank you Laura - and again, thank you doesn't seem enough. I love it all so much!

So would you like to see who had who and what they got? I'll update this link as and when people let me know they've blogged :)

I posted to Virginia. Blogged here.
Susie - Posted to Suzy
Virginia - Posted to Kirsty. Blogged here.
Ally - Posted to Laura. Blogged here.
Suzy - Posted to Ally
Cam - Posted to Jaime and Debi
Laura - Posted to me. (Blogged above.)
Mariane - Posted to Cam
Suzanne - Posted to Mariane
Debi - Posted to Suzanne Blogged here.
Kirsty -  Posted to Susie.
Jaime - Posted to Cam

As it stands we have one parcel M.I.A but one way or another that will be remedied. We are waiting till the New Year is out of the way to see if Christmas post is holding things up. Otherwise, I hope everyone had a fab time with the swap. I  know I always enjoy hosting it - so what do you say? Same time next year?

As for me, well I'm looking forward to a quiet New Year at home with my family. Then the arting begins again. I've won a place on the Soul Food class and I've seen the timetable, it all looks such fun. Hectic - but such fun, the teachers look amazing. I'm going to try and keep up with Year in the Life of an Art Journal too. I've meant to join in for the past few years but never have -well they sound like they might be focussing on portraits this year and I like the sound of that. 

My word for 2014? Organisation. Of time, space, everything. Hopefully that will equal more time creatively. Gotta be worth a shot.

As for you - I really do hope 2014 brings you health & happiness. Everything after that is a bonus right? 

Happy New Year!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

I was going to do a big old rambly post about what a bad blogger I've been. How behind I've got with both my writing and my reading. How ill we've been (all better now... nasty tummy bugs. Most icky!) how no art has been done for ages... but then I thought "Ah, stuff it!"

Instead I want to wish you all a fabulous Christmas and a hope that 2014 brings you all that you wish for. 
I'll be back in January with more regular blogging, a food hangover and an armful of sketchbooks and paint. 

Have a good 'un!

Stay at Home CJ - Steampunk

Hello people,

It's the third month of the CollaborArt "Stay At Home CJ" where  all the participants make just one background and come up with a theme for that background. We then sent our background  to our host, Sarah. She photocopied them and then we all got a full set of backgrounds (and our originals) back to work on. We all work on the same background each month - to the theme set by the backgrounds creator. 

This month we worked on Pat's gorgeous background and her theme was Steampunk.
Whoopidooings: Stay at Home CJ - Pat's background
Pat's background
I don't know how Steampunk-y this actually is as although I admire the style I don't know all the rules. I just didn't want to go with my usual "stick a cog on it" fall back. I decided to try and do a machine-like face without actually being a machine if that makes sense.

Please ignore the dodgy handwriting - I need to find a nice pen that will write over paint, this was just a Sharpie...
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Stay at Home CJ - Steampunk (Pastels)
Oil Pastels
Neocolour II's
Graphite pencil
"Without self knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave.” – G.I. Gurdjieff 

Craig actually wants to laminate this one - he thinks the quote is very "Person of Interest". High praise indeed from him.

If you'd like to see what everyone else did with the background you can click here. Once again we all went very different routes - it's such an interesting and fun project to take part in.

This is also number 3 of my 40 portraits... just realised she is very similar to face 1 apart from having a clock for an eye! Maybe she's being "upgraded."  Hmm - wonder who she is from my sub-conscious...

Thank you, as always, for stopping by today :)

40 Portraits - 1 & 2

Greetings, lovely people. I've signed up to a new portrait challenge - Gritty Jane's 40 Portraits on Facebook. The challenge is to use any media, in your own time frame, to create 40 portraits. In Jane's own words: "Welcome! I challenge you to create 40 portraits. There is no time limit (although I suggest you try to work/play daily). Just number them and share them with the group. I also suggest you set up an album in the photo section to showcase your photos. All mediums welcome. WE CAN DO THIS! We will g-r-o-w! Can't wait to see what we make!!" I need a challenge or a deadline to keep me working daily, otherwise I find other things get prioritised and days, weeks go by without my getting creative. So this is perfect. I want to get better at the whole body too - so what better place to start than the face!

This first one is just from my imagination... which didn't stretch to hair!  This is done in my A5 Asda sketchbook which has lovely thick pages and usually takes lots of abuse when it comes to mixed media and pastels. However - I have realised it doesn't like watercolours much - it sucked that water right up, so my blending is not as good as it could be.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Face - Mixed Media #40Portraits
Lyra Aquacolour crayons, Neocolour II crayons, Graphite pencil, Acrylic paint
This second portrait, I used a picture from an online catalogue as a reference - here. I did this one on a card for my Pheebs who had her 13th birthday a couple of days ago. Much happier with this one.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Bear Hat girl - watercolour crayons #40Portraits
Neocolour II crayons, Watercolour pencils, Graphite pencil, Fineliner pen
Both these took about 45 minutes to an hour, doing 5 or 10 minutes at a time when I could during the day. So already I'm feeling the benefit of this challenge. Why don't you come join us?

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek today :)

Pass The Face & WOYWW

Hi everyone. Ooh look - two weeks in a row. Even with slower than dial-up broadband I really enjoyed getting round a few desks with What's On Your Workdesk? Wednesday last week. Thank you to all those who visited mine. 

I'm showing some art at the end of this post but will post my desk first in case you're in a hurry.

This week we're at my little PC desk. While my internet was not letting me load pictures very quickly and YouTube was totally banished - I decided to catch up on those classes I'd paid for and never completed. So here  I'm working on a face with the Suzi Blu class The Goddess & The Poet. Paid for at the end of 2010/beginning of 2011 or there abouts! I'm on a ban from buying any more classes till I finish these I've paid for... (Entering to win them is a different matter of course.)
Whoopidooings: What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday
We have the obligatory (empty) mug of tea, my sketchbook and headphones because the boy trashed my speakers. If I want a bit of peace and quite I sometimes put these on and pretend I'm listening to stuff - just to block out the noise from the rest of the house and so people will be put off bothering me. Ssssh. Don't tell ;)

You might also be able to see some Pan Pastels from a lovely friend, a bit of  radiator heater for some reason (probably rescued from the boy) Oh, and some bits I forgot to move that are meant for my Secret Santa - so don't scrutinise to closely.

Last week on my desk I was working on some faces in collaboration with three other people. A few people said they would like to see the finished pieces. I got mine home yesterday so thought I would share in this post rather than direct people off to a separate one.

On the 29 Faces group on Facebook, a few groups were set up to work on a collaboration project. Our Europe group had four people in it. Myself, Gina, Anita and Mariane. We each started a face and then it was sent on around the group for each participant to add to.

This is my start. It's watercolour on watercolour paper. The eye is acrylic paint, Sharpie pen and fineliner. This was posted on to Mariane in Denmark.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Face collaboration start.
I then received Gina's start (the blue spotted one) and Anita's. I forgot to take a 'before' picture but here I've added the skin colour and face shape to Anita's, fleshed out the nose and did the second eye with some decidedly  'Alice' make-up. I've used a combination of Lyra Aquacolour crayons, Neocolour II crayons and a dab of acrylic for the highlights in the eye. Anita had done the stylised eye and the mouth.
Whoopidooings: Face Collaboration
For Anita's face (The one with pink flowers)  I expanded on the eye and coloured it, did the mouth and started adding some shape to the nose. Again I used the Neocolour II's (the pinks in the mouth and around the eye) and Lyra Aquacolour crayons. Oh wow I'm in love with those Neocolours - I need to get me some more! I only have 3 pinks. These faces have now been sent on to Mariane. 

Yesterday, my completed face came home along with Mariane's which I get to finish off. Oh, how I love what the girls did with my face. 
Whoopidooings: Face Collaboration
Whoopidooings: Completed Face Collaboration
Whoopidooings: Completed Face Collaboration
My Fiery Vixen as Gina calls her - isn't she fab?

So that's the faces, I'll update with what I do to finish off Mariane's blue and green face in a later post.  Thanks for stopping by today :)

Linking up with:
Julia for What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday
Art Every Day at Creative Every Day

Secret Santa Update

HO! HO! HO! My little stalker Santa's. 

I have had word that Santa's sleigh has started to be loaded. Keep an eye on the original post to see if you need to watch for the jingling of reindeer bells (cleverly disguised as a knock from the postman/woman) Please keep letting me know when you have posted or received so I can update the list :)

Now, mince pies to sample and cookies to taste! As you were, lovely people.

What's On Your Workdesk Wednesday

Blimey it's been a while since I've played along.  But I do love a good snoop as much as the next person - here goes.

We're at my dining table today - it's raining and cold outside, so my shed is firmly locked up.
Here you can see my trusty tin of Lyra Aquacolour crayons, my pencil case and the only three Neocolour II crayons that I own. Love them, will be buying more. FYI - Jacksons sells them in singles ;)

The faces are part of a collaboration I'm part of with three other 29 Faces artists via the Facebook group. We each started a face and we pass it round until we get a completed face back. Here I am on step  3 with the blue dotted one and step 2 with the other.

I will try and get round as many of you WOYWWers as I can - internet connection permitting. (Don't ask!) I'll definitely return all visits if you leave me a link to follow in the comments... may just take me a few days.

Thanks for stopping by today :)

Linking up with Julia for WOYWW
And also with Art Every Day

Stay At Home CJ - Beastie

Hi all.

It's the second month of the CollaborArt "Stay At Home CJ" where  all the participants make just one background and come up with a theme for that background. We then sent our background  to our host, Sarah. She photocopied them and then we all got a full set of backgrounds (and our originals) back to work on. We all work on the same background each month - to the theme set by the backgrounds creator. 

This month was the turn of my background and I had set the theme as Beastie! Here is my original background which was mixed media using a bit of everything - bookpages, postal stamps, tissue paper, cardboard, acrylic paints... think I did it over the base of a Gelli print too. 

Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Mixed Media background
And here's what I did with it. I could see a figure in the background and also a crows head and beak. So that's what I went with. I've used oil pastels, HB pencil, gel pen and biro. The quote is perfect for how I've been feeling lately and it all just came together quite quickly. (At the last minute, last night!)
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - Mixed Media Crow & Watcher
Please go and check out what everyone else did. They've all done gorgeous pieces. Even though they are their own interpretaions of my theme - I can't get over how they are all so, well - me! Even the poem one has used is one of my favourites. Click here to take a look.

Next months theme is Steampunk. Going to have to start that one early. I always struggle with Steampunk!

I'm linking up with Art Every Day which I spotted Jez taking part in. It's a month long project to basically make some form of art every day in November. Seeing as I have been doing something every day so far this month, I thought it would be a good kick up the bum to keep going.

Thank you as always, for stopping by :)

Thermomorph Product Review

Recently I was sent a new product called Thermomorph to have a play with and review. I had never heard of the product but it did sound interesting...
The official product description on Amazon is:

Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Picture source - Thermomorph website
ThermoMorph - The amazing, instantly moldable plastic!

What on earth is ThermoMorph?

It's a revolutionary plastic that allows anyone with a kettle to make unique rock solid items in minutes.

Simply add some of the granules to a cup/bowl of recently boiled water and wait for them to turn clear. Scoop the plastic from the water and mold it into the desired shape using your hands or your tools. Once you have the desired shape leave it out in the air and watch as it sets ROCK hard in under 10 minutes.
This stuff is amazingly handy and can be used for a huge variety of projects:
  • - Instantly fix broken items. 
  • - Use it to "hack" items for amazing new uses. 
  • - Sculpt the perfect add-on to a halloween costume. 
  • - Mold the perfect costume ring.
Once you've molded the perfect shape, you can paint it, drill it, varnish it or whatever else you want to do. It really is amazingly versatile!

Once you've used this stuff you wont know what you did without it!

As with all my reviews, the following is my own personal and honest opinion.

I decided to get the girls involved and they are aged 6, (nearly) 13 and 16. We followed the instructions and spooned some of the pellets into a jug of slightly cooled boiling water. (Around 60°C but my thermometer only goes up to 50°C, so there was a bit of guess work.) 
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
While we waited a couple of minutes for the pellets to clump together and go clear, we scouted around for some things to make molds with. We'd already dug out my old duckie silicone ice-cube tray but as soon as I'd been offered this review I knew I wanted to try making my own molds. 
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
When ready the product goes clear, remove from the jug - we used barbecue tongs at first, don't go sticking your hand in a jug of not long boiled water! (Ahem!) When you pull it apart it's stringy like cheese. We found it easier in the end to cut chunks off of the blob of clear plastic. It didn't stick to the (bog standard) scissors we used.

Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
 We decided to make duckies first. We've only ever done this with melted crayons and UTEE. Both times were extremely messy and with differing results. When the Thermomorph was cool enough to handle we cut off chunks and squidged them into the molds.
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
We all said how much less messy this way was and we all liked the results. With our first few there was some ragged edges where we were misjudging the amount to use. We found that while the product is still pliable you can use a pair of scissors to snip round and tidy up the edges.

Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
My pictures don't really show the level of detail - it picked up all the wing and beak indentations just lovely. When the product dries it goes solid and white - this happens within a few minutes - you get used to working fast. I wondered whether you might have more working time on a warmer day - it was quite cold when we were doing this. We set Ruby (age 6) to work painting one up. She used no prep - acrylic paint straight on top of the plastic.
Next, I was chomping at the bit to try mold making. First we tried Barbie's face. I've wanted a face mold for a looong time. Top tip. Hot plastic onto plastic Barbie face... not a good idea. Barbie will recover in time, you will be pleased to know. 

We tried a big metal button that I've been hoarding for years - that took a nice impression...
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Then one of those Tim Holtz china things...
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Not such a success with that one - think it was to long and thin, was a job to release it and leave the impression.

Next, an ornament that used to belong to my Mum's own Mum. Something I treasure because she did...
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
So. The big question. Did they work? Well. I tried using the Thermomorph to take an impression off of the molds. No joy - it kept bonding with the mold as it cooled - I suppose because it is the same product. We scratched our heads a bit and then I remembered I had a small lump of Fimo and a slab of air drying clay in the shed...

No joy really with the Tim Holtz thingy as explained above. The button took a pretty cool, delicate impression with the clay which you can see here...
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
But the star of the show by far, I'm so chuffed with this... just look...
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Air drying clay.
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Air drying clay and original.
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Glittery Fimo 

Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review - molds.
I'm not ashamed to say - there was a fair amount of dancing round the kitchen! I love how the clay versions look kind of creepy and the Fimo, just so sweet. I love the amount of detail. So much detail has been captured - I don't see that detail in the original - it must be there obviously but I don't see it!

So then, after calming down a bit - it was tidy up time. There is absolutely zero waste with this product. Anything you do wrong, anything you snip off, chuck it back in the pot and it can be melted again and again. As a result and after a good couple of hours playing - my pot is still almost full. I'll show you that picture again. This is what's left.
Whoopidooings: Thermomorph Product Review

At the time of my receiving this product to test it was £19.95 on Amazon - on checking today it is £15.95. Do I think it's worth it? Going to be honest, gut reaction before I'd received the product would have been no. After having a play around? Hell yes! When I went to Ally Pally in April I stood dithering for a good 10 minutes over whether to buy this tiny, tiny tub of mold mixture - it was at least £20 as I recall. As it was I couldn't justify the cost for so little. I still have at least two thirds of a 500g tub of this stuff to make many more molds. I think it's going to last ages. I've already warned the family that I want to raid the charity shops for some ornaments with interesting looking faces! But this isn't a one trick product - I want to try making rings as suggested in the product description - I reckon carving it while pliable will be fun too! Such a unique product.

Love it. Just love it. And it was a pleasant surprise finding that out.

Many thanks to David at Thermomorph for sending me a tub to play with. And thank you for stopping by today.

Secret Santa Last Call & 29 faces

Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing: Secret Santa logo

Hi everyone :) First up, a quick reminder that today is the last day to sign up for the Secret Santa. I will be closing the list tonight (UK - time) So far we have people from the UK & one from the USA playing. If you are in the USA and maybe hesitating, if I can get even one more person from the USA I will keep you posting within your own country to keep postal costs down. Come play! 

Next up - way out of September now but determined to finish my 29 Faces. I've been brought up short by a teething bubba who just wants constant cuddles at the moment. Who can blame him - thank goodness we don't remember this time when we grow up.

Faces 19 and 20 are a couple more Scribblers. I do love that program.

Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing - 29 Faces

Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing: 29 Faces
Face 21... I was messing around with watercolour techniques last year and did this zombie kind of face. I wasn't totally happy with it then and a few people recommended printing it off and dabbling with a few techniques on the print out rather than over the top of the original. This is a print out - my colours are running out on the printer and it came up with this effect which I quite like. So this is my face 21 - I will be playing with the oil pastels over the top of it today.
Whoopidooings: Carmen Wing: Washed out zombie
Face 22 I'm not happy with at all. It started off  as a quickie scribble trying to emulate the Scribbler effect but with a biro. Unhappy with the outcome I went over it in green gouache and white acrylic. Still unhappy, I attacked it with a black Sharpie... and now I am just leaving it - maybe I'll come back when I have the oil pastels out later. Ah well, it's all practice eh?

Hopefully I'll be finished these faces before the next round starts! Thanks for stopping by today :)

Rocking My World Friday...

Oh I have missed so many Rocking Friday posts - I still think back on the week and pick out the good bits - once you get into the habit it just comes naturally. I just never seem to get a good chunk of time to sit and blog them. It's nice and quiet here at the moment - the girls have just gone to school, Logie Bear is quietly playing, not reached maximum capacity tornado force yet so lets see what I can quickly jot down.

Some lovely books have come into the house recently. I won two books on Twitter last week... or the week before... 
Whoopidooings: Twitter Book Wins
...and then my friend Sam gave me her copy of World War Z so am a very happy bunny.
Little Miss Monster turned 6. I can't believe it - she's looking so grown up lately and coming on in leaps and bounds at school. Doesn't seem so long ago I was putting up pictures of the house (and her) covered in sudocreme when she was about Logie's age!
Whoopidooings: Birthday Girl
My shed got a thorough clean out. After the Summer holidays (when I mistakenly let Little Miss Monster and her older sister out there unsupervised) it was a bit of a state to say the least.

I'm not a tidy person naturally, but my shed is the one place I do try and keep organised and I tidy up whenever I finish out there - it's such a small space, necessity rather than unnatural urges.
 It's so lovely to be able to pop out there and it feel like my space again :)
Devvie working so hard at school. I think the 6th form workload has come as a bit of a shock to the system but she's being very disciplined about working hard after school and making careers appointments off her own back. (Again, where has that time gone? Careers appointments? What?) So proud of her.
I restarted my Facebook Arty page and have been surprised at the lovely support over there. Thank you if you've followed me... and if you haven't.. *cough, cough, linky, cough*  I'm still keeping my blog going it's just if you want bit more of a chat or works in progress - pop on over.
This fella and his best buddy :) Honestly - these two just make me crack up when I'm watching them. Such a double act. Here they were passing a fridge magnet back and forth between them.
Whoopidooings: One boy and his dog
Whoopidooings? Spotted!
I had a few moles zapped recently. One had changed shape and I got scared. Doctor told me he would just remove them, nothing to worry about. He froze them off and they were supposed to just dry up and fall off, so he said. He didn't warn me about the inbetween bit. Needless to say I've been walking around feeling like an oozy, yucky, extra for The Walking Dead. The positive out of all this is that I'm finally reaching the bit where I feel like I can be seen in public without covering my face in plasters. Yay. Will I get any more moles zapped? Prolly not!
Some more quickies...
  • Unexpected stamp win - thanks Darcy :)
  • Secret Santa swaps starting up - I love these things!
  • Cooler temperatures and autumnal colours in the trees.
  • You Tube art tutorials
  • Morrissons cheese & onion muffins. Nom.
  • The local who keeps refilling the box of 'help yourself' conference pears from the tree in his garden. 
  • Italian night at our local Brewers Fayre pub. We turned up for what used to be 'pie night' on Ruby's birthday. She was even happier to find out it was now an all you can eat pizza, pasta, garlic bread, salad buffet. Guess where we're going for Logan's birthday!
And that will do I reckon - if you fancy joining in or wonder why I'm sharing bits from my week, please pop over to Virginia's for the feel good exercise that actually reprograms the way you think.
Thanks for stopping by - how has your week been? :)