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, 25 March 2017

Encore - You don't bring me flowers...

Encore Posts
Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook.  I'm calling them "Encore" posts and they're formatted differently (all the way down the centre), so you can spot them easily.
Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

Hello all!  I'm back with one of my Encore posts.  They'll be bobbing up now and then when life is too busy or too complicated for regular projects and posting.  I've still got watercolour experiments to share, but just haven't got time to write the posts at the moment, so an Encore it is.

This one was for the Artistic Stamper and it's from almost exactly three years ago... 23rd March, 2014.  Funnily enough, I've just recently been playing with some moulds again, so it seems like the right time to post this particular project.  Here's what I wrote back then...

Hello all, Alison (butterfly) here again, with a musically-inspired hanging for you today.  (Click on the photos for close-ups if you'd like to see more.)

This happens to me a lot... a phrase or song lyric will go round and round in my head until I'm pretty much forced to allow it to play along.  If you want to listen while you look, You Don't Bring Me Flowers is the song that invaded this creation!

I know this song was triggered by the new toy I was playing with to create the stone urn on this piece... there's something very melancholy about old stone planters in my head, and that dictated how this piece took shape.

Jennie has just added these fabulous Katy Sue Designs silicone moulds to The Artistic Stamper shelves.  There are some really lovely and intricate moulds - and I thought this little trio might have dollshouse potential as well as crafty applications.

UPDATE I'm afraid The Artistic Stamper doesn't stock these any longer, but they do have other moulds to play with here.

I had meant to use some air-drying clay, but when push came to shove I wasn't patient enough to wait for it to dry, so instead I melted some beeswax in a tart tin, using my heat tool, and poured that into the moulds.

I sealed it with multi-medium, and then painted it with various colours, including the marvellous Stone Fresco.  The little mulberry paper flowers are from my stash.

Regulars will know that when I need melancholy, I usually reach for the Gibson Girls, and this woman was perfect for my purposes.

I stamped her in Potting Soil Archival onto some Distress Watercolour Cardstock, and then used a mask to allow me to ink and stamp around her.

I stencilled around her using the new Tim Holtz Doily mask, and stamped with my favourite Calligraphy Mat, but lots of the layers have almost disappeared under the final spritzing of Perfect Pearls Mist in Pearl.

Worth it for the shimmer - though it's hard to capture in a photo.

The book page ivy strands had been sitting around on my desk for ages (created for this art journal page at the beginning of February, but then that needed something darker).

Despite the layer of beeswax covering them, they're pretty fragile, so it's a miracle they've survived this long!

The watercolour panel is layered up over some distressed book pages...

... with some die-cut paper lace tucked under the edges.

Another crack at that shimmer here... with lace and book page and corrugated card and all!

The words are stamped on another piece of watercolour cardstock...

... torn...

... and inked around the edges.

And I used gesso and some Picket Fence Crackle Paint on the corrugated background to create a shabby chic look.

I rather like all the layers of distressed elements, and the masking of the main image which I think really makes her pop.

A couple of eyelets and some pale twine, and it's ready for hanging.


So another blast from the past for you - delivered as close to its third birthday as possible!  I hope I'll be sharing some of my more-recent mould-making with you soon, but first I'm supposed to try to make some dollshouse dolls for the Tudor Tavern... it's been empty long enough.  I haven't decided exactly how to go about it yet, so that will be taking up most of my time and creative energy over the next few weeks.  I'll keep you posted if I have any success, but in the meantime, happy crafting all!

You don't say you need me
And you don't sing me love songs
You don't bring me flowers anymore
From You Don't Bring Me Flowers by Alan Bergman, Marilyn Bergman & Neil Diamond

Monday, 20 March 2017

Found and Lost

Hello all!  Just a sneak peek today to carry you away to Destination Inspiration over at A Vintage Journey.  The slightly odd post title had to happen because I've already used Lost and Found at least once.  And that was a little boy too... odd how these things happen.

I've been having a lovely time playing with Seth Apter's Wood Chips again (check out the Windswept Grasses if you missed the first results).  And although that part was great fun, the background for this one took several goes to get started so it was quite a journey before I was happy.  I hope you'll have time to hop over and see where I ended up.

Have a great week, everybody!

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
Henry David Thoreau

If you don't mind hopping to see the whole thing, I'd love to enter this at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where the theme is Layer It Up

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Oxide Meadow Flowers

Hello all!  After all that Skullduggery, we're back to more normal service with a quick meadow flower tag for you today.

You saw the background for this in the XOX Oxides post, and this tag came about just as a bit of playtime with those backgrounds.

This time we've gone in the direction of my favourite meadowgrasses, rather than the more masculine look of Hats Off to Distress Oxides.

The purple and brown combination has long been a favourite around here and I had such fun adding the chalky oxidisation of the new inks into the mix.

Again, this is a combination of Oxides and traditional Distress Inks, so that you get the mix of opacity and translucence.

For me, so far, that's the real joy of the new Distress Oxides... getting the interplay between their chalky softness and the more intense colour of the original versions.

And because the background is basically the point here, the rest of this tag is really very simple.

There are some of my favourite Tim Holtz grasses (from the Spring Sprung stamp set)...

... and some of the Wildflowers, all stamped in Potting Soil and clear-embossed to give them good strong definition against those complex inky effects.

I added some white pen accents to the heads of the flowers, as is my wont.

I felt it needed another white echo or two, so I added some doodled borders around the edges, as well, of course, as some delicate white spatter.

Some Small Talk stickers provide the words - excellent advice when you have new arty stash to play with, I think.

And a matted kraft background and some simple twine finish the whole thing off.

Thanks so much for dropping in today.  I hope you're all having a great week.  I'm at Destination Inspiration over at A Vintage Journey on Monday, so I'll hope to see you there!

I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.
Albert Einstein

There's some subtle white splatter here, and really that whole background is just smoosh and splatter, so I'd like to share this at Emerald Creek Dares, the March dare is to Splatter Some Fun

Sunday, 12 March 2017


Hello again!  After my little play with one of Seth Apter's woodchips - generously given to me by Seth himself at the big trade fair, Stitches, the other week (thank you, Seth!), I've got another Stitches-related project for you, this one made with Tando greyboard, and it could scarcely be more different from those Windswept Grasses.

I was so happy to get a last-minute place on one of Andy Skinner's classes at the NEC show (thank you, Andy!), and I thought I'd share what we made with you.

As usual, I went slightly off the track we were supposed to be beating, but Andy's used to that with me by now, as you'll see.

The substrates are greyboard by Tando - and we got some bits to take home and play with in addition to what we were working with in the class.

I delayed putting mine all together so that I could add some of the takeaway pieces into the design when I got home.  In fact, all these photos are from my playtime at home - I didn't take any while at the NEC.

We used DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics and Antiquing Creams to create the background, and it was lovely to play with some of Andy's new stamp releases.

This animal skull is not really my usual fare, but I do covet it... very cool, and so detailed.  I may have to indulge at some point..

 It works really well for a naturalist/collector/apothecary vibe, and that does crop up in my work every so often.

And the Specimen stamp is a must, I think (soon, soon).

I love these numerals too, but I do have some fairly similar ones (they've just been out to play in my Windswept Grasses, as it happens) so I really will try to exercise some willpower, at least temporarily.

The usual suspects - Transparent Yellow Oxide and Quinacridone Gold - give you the fabulous rusted look around the edges.

At home, I added some additional white to the image of the skull to make it stand out from the background.  Now you get a nice deep shadow in between his jaws!

Since the stamp set is called Skulldoggery, I'm guessing it's a dog's skull...

Andy was coming round showing people how to use Quinacridone Magenta to add colour to the white background.  I asked if that colour was compulsory and he said that he'd already been looking for some Prussian Blue for me to use instead... how well he knows me!

Since the Prussian Blue Hue seemed to have gone missing, I mixed some of the paints we had in front of us - Paynes Grey with some Cobalt Teal or Cobalt Turquoise (can't remember which of the two it was now) - to add the colour wash to my tag.

The small tag followed a similar process, but on both tags I went freelance again, adding fine vertical lines to give an impression of woodgrain somewhere underneath the paint layers.

We were given some rusty wire to attach the two tags but, as I say, I wasn't done yet, so I popped it all into my bag to carry on at home.

Once home, I used a wash of white to draw attention to the apothecary's skull.

And I also took one of the cogs from the takeaway bits and bobs and gave it the rusting treatment with some DecoArt Misters and some more Quinacridone Gold and dirty washes involving Payne's Grey and Raw Umber.

Then I cut the cog in half and used it to raise the smaller tag up nice and high to give me plenty of dimension.

I preferred the whole piece offset from centre, which meant the main tag hole got covered up.  Rather than try to thread anything through the smaller tag, I decided to "attach it" with one of the nail heads also included on our takeaway panel.

I thought the whole apothecary/specimen theme needed a little extra something, so I crackled up a brown glass jar and added it to the bottom of the tag.

There's another rusty bolt and screw for good measure.  See if you can spot the bonus skull, just slightly highlighted in white.

And of course there's plenty of white spatter to finish the whole thing off.

Huge thanks to Andy for another fabulous bit of inspiration and teaching, and my apologies for never sticking to the script!

Thanks to all of you for dropping in, and I hope you're all enjoying lovely weekends.

It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull.
From The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they'd like us to Make Your Own Background
And at Emerald Creek Dares, the March dare is to Splatter Some Fun

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Windswept Grasses

Hello all!  I'm here with another grassy creation, this time playing with mostly PaperArtsy goodies - some of Lin Brown's gorgeous stamps, Fresco paints, and one of Seth Apter's Wood Chip shapes.

It was a pleasure to bump in to Seth himself at the PaperArtsy stand - lucky timing as I was heading off for the day and only stopped in a second time for a quick goodbye.

He wasn't demo-ing at that point but we did have a lovely chat (mainly about New York), and I was extremely happy to head home clutching a set of his Wood Chips to play with.

(There's another project coming up using some of the rest, but it's for a specific DT commitment, so I can't share it for a little while yet.)

We're photo-heavy today, so pull up a chair...

This is created on one of That's Crafty's MDF tags - a regular size #8, so it's 6.5 x 3.25 inches, or 16 x 8cm if you prefer. 

Having the hard surface means you can layer on paint and mediums to your heart's content, which is just as well, as this went through several mutations before I was happy!

There were a couple of layers of Fresco paint just to start with - French Roast underneath and then mostly using Green Patina, Midnight and Key Lime from Seth's paint sets (thought I should, since I had the wood chip to play with!).

Then I thought I'd use some PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze, so that was another couple of layers.

And then it was all a bit too bright so I softened it with some Snowflake and Buff washed on quite lightly.

In the end, I'm absolutely thrilled with the soft weathered crackle look, especially with the sanding around the edges to reveal some of the previous layers.

I've been aching to play with Lin Brown's fabulous grassy stems.  I've stamped this one in Olive Green Archival.

And I've combined it with some of Sara Naumann's detail images. 

I love the numerals stamped in Snowflake.

The Postcard lettering is done in Broken China, I think (I went through several stampings).

In the end, it has softened away into the background, but there's an echo remaining.

The chipboard grass stem - so delicate, and a lovely 3D echo of Lin's beautiful stamp - is by Polish company Scrapiniec.

They have many gorgeous designs, so be warned - temptation abounds if you visit.  (Many designs are also available at Noor Design and from the Mixed Media Place if you don't fancy tackling the Polish site.)

I've left it basically unaltered, though I did make sure it caught a touch of white spatter right at the end.

So, to Seth's wood chip circle frame... This also went through a number of layers but being wood, obviously, it can take it!

It had the Green Patina and the Midnight Frescos in the mix somewhere early on...

.... though I finally ended up with Snowflake and Buff with some DecoArt Crackle Glaze over the top...

... and then a touch of Antiquing Cream in Patina Green added, dried and wiped away to define the cracks even further.

You'll see that my favourite dried stems are providing a third version of meadow grasses to the piece.

I'm finding them hard to resist at the moment.  (They were clambering all over my Tiny Greenhouses too.)

Some fine twine echoes the circular frame in a loose, rustic way.

And some delicate buttons (also, I think, by Scrapiniec)...

... do the same in miniature.  The recurring circles create a pleasing harmony for the eye amidst all the windswept grasses.

The same fine twine adorns the top of the tag.

I did have an Idea-ology Word Band in place originally, but happily my lucky prize package from Simon Says Stamp arrived just in time for this Quote Chip to take its place... much more satisfactory for the lighter than air look of this windswept tag.

I hope you like it.  I certainly had a lovely time creating it, and working with MDF and wood gives the whole thing a lovely sense of permanence despite its ethereal appearance.

I did have real trouble trying to work out which photos to share though... I love it in the bright sunshine as you get lots of life and depth from the shadows.  But it's difficult for the eye to see what's going on if you're meeting it for the first time.

In the softer light, you get to see far more of the crackle detail on the hoop and in the background, as well as seeing each of the grasses more clearly.  I couldn't decide, so you're getting it both ways to finish off the post!!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope your week is going well, whatever you're up to.  I'll be back soon with something completely different!

When they would return to one another from their solitariness, they returned gently as dew comes to the morning grass.
From The Address of Happiness by David Paul Kirkpatrick

I'd like to play along at Frilly and Funkie where the aim is to "Welcome, Spring!"
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they'd like us to Make Your Own Background
At Mixed Media World this month Anything Mixed Media Goes, so I'd like to share this there too