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...

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Butterflies for me!

Hello all and welcome back to the second post of the day.  Yes, it's the first of the month and it's challenge time!  If you're looking for my Christmas is Coming offering for Artistic Stamper, just click to visit it.

But now it's over to the new theme over at Country View Challenges.  This month we're looking for  Bugs, Bees and Butterflies.  You can use any or all of them on your project… no prizes for guessing which way I decided to go!

For this tag, I reached for something old, something new and something blue.  If there's anything borrowed, then I'm afraid the owner can't have it back!

The blue obviously is there in the colour palette - blues and browns, probably my all time favourite combination, though one can always ring the changes with the precise shades used.

The "something old" is one of the tag backgrounds I made using Tim's June tag technique.  At the time I made four or five different colour variations as I was having such fun with the technique.  It was finally time for this one to take centre stage.

The "something new" are the French Flight Framelits butterflies… my first time of using the stamp-and-cut die set.

I love the inky stencilled print effect on the watercolour paper, but since you can read all about the background technique in the words of the master himself, I'll just fill you in on a couple of the additional details.

For the butterflies, I inked up a separate piece of card and stamped them in a combination of Cornflower Blue and Aquamarine Archival inks, blended the inks on the stamp.

When you cut them, you lose the labels and the antennae, so before gluing them down, I also stamped them directly onto my lettering background in Cobalt Archival.

So once they were stuck down, they had their bits and pieces back in place!

I edged the wings with Florentine Treasure Gold, as the metallic glow was becoming a bit of a feature elsewhere…

Here, for instance, in the couple of pen nibs attached as embellishments.

And on the altered Muse Token at the top of the tag… just a touch of Treasure Gold can really zhuzh something up!

I used some Chitchat Stickers to create my sentiment, outlining with a fine PITT pen to bed them into the background.

And because I stuck down the watercolour panel a bit too high up the tag, it needed something extra at the bottom.

I used some Idea-ology Long Fasteners to create a row of studs.  A burnishing of Treasure Gold to make them tone in, and we're pretty much there.

Oh, not forgetting the Distress Ink-dyed ribbons of the topping, of course!

So there are my first Bugs, Bees and Butterflies.  Do hop over to Country View Challenges and see what my fantastic team-mates have been up to, and don't forget there's ongoing inspiration there throughout the month.

I'll be here in a few days with my second Bugs, Bees and Butterflies offering, but I'm off to the theatre again now.  As well as new challenge day, the 1st November is also our first Preview, so today we find out how the show goes down with an audience… fingers crossed.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I've just over a week left in New York now, so I should be able to visit Craftyblogland more regularly again soon.  Happy crafting all.

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust

If you're after seasonal inspiration do check out the new Artistic Stamper challenge too.  Christmas doesn't usually start this early at Words and Pictures!

Christmas is coming...

…. though not quite yet!  However, Christmas is Coming is the theme of the challenge over at The Artistic Stamper this month, so you can start getting in the mood.

I always seem to end up going for neutrals with my Christmas makes and, since it's such a busy time of year, it seems sensible to keep things fairly simple (and repeatable).  So I've got a quick set of tags for you today using some of the fantastic Christmas stamps available at The Artistic Stamper (just click the product links to go shopping!).

I started with some tea and coffee stained tags (and I do mean that - I usually use a mixture of the two when I'm staining).

All the stamping is done in Archival Coffee.

The stamps are a mixture from Victorian Christmas #2...

... and from Christmas Plate #3.

The fine detail of the images is just lovely.

The Kate Greenaway lettering is especially enchanting, I think.

As you can see, I've done a bit of extra inking around the edges with Distress Inks to draw the eye into the centre.

I added some tiny wooden stars - just a simple embellishment, but I love the pale pop of dimension against the rustic backgrounds.

I'm back with my favourite tiny pine cones - simple and natural.

And some pale rustic string finishes them off - perfect for attaching to parcels.

Come and share with us at The Artistic Stamper how you're getting ready for the festive season with your Christmas is Coming creations.

Hope all's well with everyone - I'm missing visiting you all!  It's been all go at the theatre - more than 12 hours a day in technical and dress rehearsals over the last two weeks.  Tonight we have our first preview in front of an audience, so we'll get to find out how well we're telling the story.  Then we can refine and tweak and hopefully end up with something that knocks their socks off!

Since it's the first of the month, I'll be back with another post later this morning - hope to see you then.

Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.
Charles M. Schulz

Saturday, 18 October 2014

A Funkie Creative Corner

Hello all and welcome, with an especially big welcome to the newest followers - fabulous to have you on board!

After my hugely long sparkly post I've just got a quick sneak peek for you today.  I'm delighted to be presenting a Sponsor Spotlight over at Our Creative Corner in honour of our fabulous sponsor this month, The Funkie Junkie Boutique.

I'm a huge fan of the amazing Linda Coughlin - a.k.a. the Funkie Junkie herself.  She was one of my earliest supporters in Craftyblogland, and I've been so honoured to serve alongside her on Design Teams.  As a great lover of her Funkie Junkie Boutique, I had a ball with today's offering.

I hope you will hop over to Our Creative Corner and see what I've been up to.

Don't forget the Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas are now under way… I hope to be along to play once I'm back from the States (I didn't pack any Christmas stash!).

I love old, funky things.  And colour just makes me happy.
Bobbi Brown

Oh, and if you missed my trio of sparkly tags, I'd love it if you had time to check them out - I think they're one of my favourite makes lately!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Sparkle and Shine

Hello all!  I'm back with my second sparkly and shiny offering of the month to inspire you to play along with Doreen's Sparkle and Shine theme over at Country View Challenges.  It's a tag trio full of mixed media textures.  We're photo-heavy today, so grab a cup of coffee!

I cannot tell you how much fun I had with these tags! I may have trouble remembering the ins and outs of their creation though, as it's quite a long time since I made them - late July, I think.

I had to get them done before setting off for New York the first time.  I tried to take photos as I went, to remind myself as much as anything else, so here goes…

I was inspired by these fabulous tags by Aida - owner of the very cool Polish 13Arts store.

I suppose mine are a combination of the two sets in the post I've linked to, but since there was no step-by-step, I had to sort of "reverse-engineer" my version - pretty much making it up as I went along to create something similar.

I started with three standard tag backgrounds, stamped with some of my favourite Tim Holtz meadow grasses and a flourish, and then inked with Distress Inks.

Over that I painted a thick coat of multi-medium and then pressed the tags against one another to create waves of texture in the medium.

As well as the texture, the medium "seals" in the Distress Ink colours, so they won't run during any of what follows.

While the medium was still tacky, the next step was to add some more dimensional textural elements.

So at this point I glued down some cheesecloth, some tiny beads, and also some white paper roses as I knew they'd take the inky sprays well once I got going.

I added some glass bead gel medium too for extra sparkle.

While the tags were drying, I stuck some green glass pebbles to some book text.

I was quite precise about picking the words to highlight - I wanted lots of sparkling positivity!

Once dry, the medium gives you these fabulous transparent ridges over the inked, stamped background.

Time to glue down some more embellishments.

I added some buttons and some wooden ornaments, and I also tried out the positioning of my glass pebbles.

I quite liked the arrangements even in the "naked" version, but I was after some more shimmer and sparkle, so it was time for some spritzing.

(I hadn't glued the pebbles down yet, though everything else was stuck in place.  I took them away during the spritzing so that their surfaces would stay free of any inky splatter, keeping the words clearly visible.)

As well as Dylusions and Ranger ColorWash for intense colour, there are various sprays involved: Perfect Pearls Mists, Tattered Angels and Cosmic Shimmer - basically anything that was to hand which would add a touch of mica sparkle.

I was really pleased with the effect of the ridges of texture… 

… so I highlighted it by rubbing some Silks Acrylic Glaze and some Treasure Gold over the top.

And I love how the glass beads took the colour differently from the background so that they stand out.

The last step was to add the ChitChat stickers - again lots of positive thoughts about the adventures to come (New York being still ahead of me at that point).  So there's hope…


and possibility…

… to go with the positive glass pebbles: remember (which I'm not good at - I definitely live in the moment!)…


and amazement.

See - I knew those roses would look good all inked up - and the glitter still works through the new colours!

The loose woven ribbon at the top was something I picked up somewhere along the line - it was already a vivid shade of lime green so I added some Distress Stains to give it a multi-shaded tint.  I like how it echoes the cheesecloth on the tags.

I'm really pleased with how the colours of the cheesecloth vary so widely, from a bold vivid green to the softer blues.

And I'm very happy to finally have pressed those beads into action!

The same goes for the wooden ornaments which soak in the ink for a matte finish.  I considered glossing them up with a coat of glossy accents, but I decided we had enough sparkle on the go...

… though I will admit there are touches of Treasure Gold just about everywhere, giving a gilded finish.

So that's my sparkly trio for you - I hope you like them.  I certainly had a ball getting really inky and messy, and even getting into the swing of Sparkle and Shine.

I hope you'll come and play along with us at Country View Challenges this month.  There's a prize generously sponsored by Country View Crafts, and you still have two weeks to get sparkly!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon.

Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hopes shine to the stars.  Enthusiasm is the sparkle in your eyes, the swing in your gait.  The grip of your hand, the irresistible surge of will and energy to execute your ideas.
Henry Ford