Hello all... hope you're having a lovely Sunday, wherever you are in the world. Despite a slightly sluggish sense of mojo, I've been at the craft table, and battled my way through to a tag which I'm finally happy to share! And it's full of personal connections.
Shortly after Christmas, we'll be moving out of the family home of more than 40 years. We'll be spending our last Christmas in this house full of golden memories. Houses and homes, and what they mean to us, are very much uppermost in my mind at the moment, so I really wanted to play the Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge House Rules. But every time an idea started to form, I'd be doing some catching up in Craftyblogland, and find that somebody had already done it - brilliantly... so at the same time as loving the projects I was visiting, I was getting slightly disheartened!
In the end, I decided to stop fretting and just let my fingers do the walking (Yellow Pages ads from the 1970s, anyone?!), and here's the jumbo tag which turned up:
The starting point was the little houses of Tim Holtz's Artful Dwellings die, which I cut out of some white corrugated cardboard from the Funkie Junkie Boutique.
I inked them with some Gathered Twigs, and stamped them in Coffee Archival with the text from TH's French Marketplace set. You just get a bit of texture, rather than whole words, but I love the look of it spidering across the ridges.
So I had four pretty but fairly plain little houses and, at that point, I was thinking of hingeing them together somehow, or joining them with jump rings... but a jumbo tag that was lying on my craft desk had other ideas.
As I glanced down, I saw that it would be the perfect size to form a background for the houses, so I started to play with it.
I used the TH wrinkle-free distress technique, with some Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs and Frayed Burlap DIs on my craft mat, along with some powdered Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls dotted around amongst the inks.
I gave it all a good spritz of water and started smooshing the tag around, drying in between smooshes to give the layers a chance to build up.
I inked up the TH sun ray stamp with some Tarnished Brass distress stain, and then the text stamp in Coffee Archival again to add some more interest to the background.
It was already looking pretty tasty, but I wanted to zhuzh it all up a bit, and get some more texture going.
So I mixed some Vintage Photo distress embossing powder with some of the Stampendous Frantage Aged Gold embossing enamel. I brushed clear embossing ink onto the edges of the tag and added my mixture and heated it... I loved the combination so I did it to the edges of the little houses too... Now we were cooking!
My subconscious had been at work and had already worked out that four houses matched four letters in the word HOME. I've got the WordPlay die on my Christmas list (though more in hope than expectation - since it's pretty pricy here in the UK), but not in my stash.
I love using the AlphaParts, but the letters would be too small and get a bit lost on the Artful Dwellings.
I was starting to think I'd have to handcut myself some letters when, thanks to some twisted burlap lying on the desk, a better idea started to form (oh, the advantages of not tidying up the craft table!).
Each letter would be made out of something different... I had had one idea about a Three Little Pigs style project with a house of straw, a house of twigs and a house of bricks - so I think the remnants of that probably surfaced here too!!
It was quite a headache gluing the burlap so that it kept its lovely twistiness!
The clock stands for the years spent here, for the happy and sad times, for the layers and layers of memories built up over those years.
I had a lovely time playing with Gold and Ginger alcohol inks to colour the Idea-ology clock and game spinners to tone in with the background and all the yummy golden embossing.
A while ago I bought a mystery grab bag of stamps from the amazing Astrid and when it arrived she'd included a couple of extras - a beautiful tag of her own making, and some lovely moulded embellishments made - I think with either Fimo or some other form of modelling material.
I used to do a lot of work with Fimo and Das, making things for my mother's dollshouses - which I grew up surrounded by, and which have already made their journey to their new home in the Czech Republic where they will form a museum. You can find out more about all of that over at my mother's blog!
But those little embellishments of Astrid's made me realise I should be thinking about incorporating those long-dormant skills and long-ignored materials into my new crafting obsession.
Then, even more recently, my sister-in-law gave me a further kick into action when she made these gorgeous "stone" hearts.
So, when it came to the M, I was ready for action. I rolled some Das (air-drying clay) into a sausage, and formed my lower-case M. I spritzed a little stamp with water and pressed it into the clay to form the impression.
Once it had dried out, I inked it with Frayed Burlap and Vintage Photo DIs, and finally smeared some Treasure Wax onto it with my finger.
This stuff is magic! I got mine from PaperArtsy, and it's the White Fire colour.
I also used it on the twigs for my E. These were cut from one of the rose bushes in the garden - incorporating part of this home into the tag - and trimmed to size, and then got the finger-smearing of White Fire to highlight them.
I realised that the tag was going to need some reinforcement, so I backed it onto some card from a hard-backed envelope - recycling too, you see - and then started to stick everything down.
The gluing wasn't the easiest thing in the world - curly burlap, knobbly twigs, fragile clay (didn't want to have to make that M all over again!).
The easiest was the clock, attached with a long attacher! Gluing the houses to the tag also gave me a couple of tricky moments, when I thought I'd snapped something...
But finally it was time for the finishing touch: some DI-dyed seam binding, and my golden memories of home were all complete.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today; I really appreciate it at this incredibly busy time of year, and I wish you all well in your festive preparations. As you can probably tell, it will be bitter-sweet for me this year... enjoying one last Christmas in the house I grew up in.
I'm entering this in the following:
Simon Says Stamp and Show are playing by the House Rules
The Artistic Stamper challenge is Home for Christmas
The Do You Stack Up challenge is Silver & Gold - since White Fire is somewhere between the two, I'm hoping this will fit!
The Anything Goes challenge blog are looking for Tags
Little Red Wagon are playing Home for the Holidays
Allsorts are playing White + Gold + One other colour - mine is brown
The Fashionable Stamping Challenge this fortnight is To Die For (using die-cutting, in other words)
Addicted to Stamps have a great Bingo board to play - I'm playing the diagonal No Flowers, Embossing, Favourite Colours (obsessed with neutrals at the moment)
And just for good measure, with the white corrugated card and the burlap ribbon coming from The Funkie Junkie Boutique, I'm offering this up in the Sunday Share at Frilly and Funkie
You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right.
Where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr
I do come home at Christmas. We all do, or we all should. We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday -- the longer, the better -- from the great boarding school where we are forever working at our arithmetical slates, to take, and give a rest.