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Thursday, 17 January 2013

Beautiful things

Hello all and welcome to Words and Pictures... I'm so happy you've stopped by.  As promised, I'm following up with my second "lacy" altered box... and this is the one I'm really happy with.  The idea arrived as part of a DT project for which I needed to use particular papers, but even as I was making it I knew that this one had to happen, so here it is:

And for anyone who'd like a quick "before" shot...

This huge cigar box (13 x 8 x 2.5 inches) has been around for I don't know how many years, as you can probably see from its slightly battered state.  (Cuban cigars, and according to the label on the bottom it came from Selfridges - can you imagine how much that must have cost?!)

Anyway, as I said yesterday, I'd been mulling over ideas for the Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge which, this week, is Lace Love.  I'd already thought of using the Tim Holtz Vintage Lace Decorative Strip Die, which was one of the very first dies I bought, and is still one of my absolute favourites.

I was also working on a DT piece for the new eclectic Paperie challenge which is Altered Boxes, and the two just sort of collided.

And as soon as I'd finished the tiny box with coloured lace, I moved straight on to this.

I seem to be on a stash storage kick - not surprising, given the house clearing I'm really supposed to be doing at the moment - but honestly, this is helping!

After last week's altered tag tin, this week I've created storage for my "beautiful things" - lace, special ribons and flowers.

I already have great boxes that all my metal and wooden bits and pieces are sorted into, and I do have a small box for ribbon reels, but all the "soft" stuff has just been in various carrier bags and baskets, so it was time they had a home.

So here's how it came together.

I gathered some papers from the Kaisercraft Timeless collection with delicate motifs in neutral colours - text, music, flowers - as well as some plain white cardstock, and set to work with my trusty BigShot.  Here's the lacy chaos which ensued!

Then I had to painstakingly sit with my tweezers making sure that all the punched holes had been fully punched - for once, I actually had the television on whilst crafting... but this really didn't require much brainpower or mindfulness!

Next, it was out with the Vintage Photo DI and the blending tool.  Every strip got a touch of inky distressing.

Once that was done, I spent quite a long time arranging the strips in a sequence that worked to show them off to the best possible advantage.

(For anyone who cares about such things it's a strict rotation of the three lace patterns; alternating white/pattern; and making sure it's not the same pattern twice in a row.)

Obviously I then made sure they weren't going to get mixed up again while I got busy with the rest of the altering!

The first stage was a good coat of paint, of course, then I could start to play...

For the exterior walls of the box, I decided to use my "laciest" stencil to do some textured lace around the base.

So I started applying Ferro through the Crafty Individuals Beautiful Border mask, but I hadn't gone very far when it became clear that it was a bit too stiff and unwieldy for such a delicate design.  I switched to the DecoArt Decorating Paste, and that was much easier to apply.

I did two sides and then read the label to see how soon I could do the rest, and it said 4-12 hours drying time - well, blow that for a lark!  No patience, me, I'm afraid - so I very gently used the heat tool, and that seemed to do the trick with no problems.  I was careful not to overheat each area, so as not to get the puffy blistered effect - not what I wanted today!

Once it was dry, I went over the whole box with Snowflake Fresco paint.  You can't beat the shabby, chalky effect the Fresco paints give you, and it's also great for stamping on which, as anyone who knows me will tell you, is pretty likely to happen at some stage of a project!

Next up, Vintage Photo DI again... blended onto the textured areas, and around the corners and edges to distress them.  I love that the slightly battered, worn look of the box is accentuated by the inking.

And I did indeed do some stamping, using my favourite script stamp from the TH Apothecary set, stamped in Frayed Burlap DI.

Leftover strips of lace were pressed into action along the top edges, and that was that for the walls.

The most time-consuming part of the whole process was the sticking down of the lace strips on the lid... trying to keep them straight, trying to get them the perfect distance apart so that they overlap but are still showing off their best bits and so on.

I used the Studio Extra Time Slow-Drying multi medium - it gives you lots of time to lift and replace so that you can make sure your alignment and positioning is exactly how you want it.

I used it to give a couple of coats over the top of the whole lot to give it some durability, and a bit of protection to the lacy edges.  But the long drying time also meant that, even after those coats, I was able to run a knife under the tips to lift them for the dimensionality and movement I wanted to create.

And, I have to say, as you do the first few rows it doesn't look like anything very much, but in then end I think it's absolutely worth the hassle!

I added a twist of crinkle ribbon (uncrinkled), attached to the inside of the lid using some spare lace, so that there would be a tag to get the lid open easily.

Even though I didn't crinkle it, it got a little sweep of Vintage Photo DI, of course!

I wanted some dividers for the interior, so I took some more of the same Kaisercraft papers and covered pieces of cardboard (old packaging) which I'd measured and cut to the required sizes.

I decided not to repaint most of the inside, as it's already got a soft, weathered paper lining.

But I did add a bit of matching trim to the top of the back wall.  I thought of doing that to the side walls again, but realised that it might well interfere with the closing of the lid.

Then it was time to decide what to do with the inside of the lid...

This had an embossed label, like the one on top, and I was delighted to see that, even after my shabby chic coats of paint, there was still some of the embossing showing through - so I had to take advantage of it!

I buffed over the whole area with some Vintage Photo DI, and then used Treasure Gold in White Fire to highlight some of the raised areas.

I used the script stamp again, and added my favourite Stampology floral corner in Coffee Archival, but there was still something missing.

Ah... words... and it didn't take long to find the perfect Tim Holtz sentiment - what could be better for a box of beautiful things?!

And, of course, one of the best things is that I was able to provide very precisely for my storage needs... the right size and shape compartments.

I do realise it means I have to use some of it before I can buy any more, but I think that's probably all to the good!

For now, I'm just happy to have it all out of the random plastic bags and in one place where I can find it and access it easily.  That it all looks so pretty is simply a lovely bonus...

Do check out the Altered Boxes challenge at eclectic Paperie, hosted by Marjie Kemper, and with a great prize on offer!

Thank you so much for spending some time here today - I'm so grateful for your company and your feedback, and I look forward to seeing you again soon - either here, or elsewhere in Craftyblogland!

I'm entering this in the following:
Simon Says Stamp and Show who are playing Lace Love
Our Creative Corner have a Shabby Chic theme
At Happy Daze they would like us to Recycle It 
At the Allsorts Challenge they are asking to see Dies and Punches

Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.
William Morris


  1. I am speechless, Alison!

    There's so much thought and love put into this awesome lace treasure box.... love every detail and that there are so many to find and love!


    Claudia xx

  2. Spectacular Alison - truly truly beautiful! Love how you have put all the many elements togather. I adore the paste border (got to get me to Crafty Individuals)! Its fabulous the way the label stayed raised through the painting. The papers and stamping are beautifully co-ordinated. In the end I reckon its the stamping that then lifts it into the stratospere. FAB-U-LOUS! Nicola x

  3. OMG,,,,Alison,,,,,such a lot of details her,,, I love this treasure box,,,,,you are really talented.

  4. Another stunning piece of work Alison, I especially like the vintage colours and feel to this one.

    Thanks so much sharing with us at Allsorts challenge this week.

    B x

  5. This is beautiful Alison and the fact that you have breathed life into something that would otherwise have ended up in the fire or landfill. Utterly brilliant. Love it!

  6. You, my dear Alison, are brilliant! I so love all of your work. I really love this washed altered beauty! What a lovely shabby chic box to store laces or whatever in! It's beautifully crafted and I so love the stamped images you've chosen to use on this. All of Tim's vintage lace strips intermingled with the text background look so cool! I also wanted to thank you for your lovely comments left on my blog. They are much appreciated! Thanks for entering your box in Simon Says Stamp and Show's challenge this week! It's stunning! <3 Candy

  7. Just a-m-a-z-i-n-g! You must have some patience but WOW! it certainly paid off! You really are an inspiration!

  8. OMGOSH Alison! This is just beautiful! Love shabby chic and this is so awesome. Your thought and time spent shows in every detail of this box.

  9. This is just beautiful. Your photography is amazing too.

  10. wow, beautiful, and has given me some ideas for some of the cigar boxes I came back from vegas with. stunning techniques and attention to detail.
    mark x

  11. Oh, I really, really like this one, - more my colours than the last one and I love all the detail on the inside as well. Very clever also how you divided the inside of the cigar box (aren't they great, I have managed to get several ones over the years by just asking a tobacconist). Cool way to store your collection of "soft" stuff too(wished mine would fit in a modest space like that I own way too much stuff).... Really great make this!

  12. The lacy effect on this box is wonderful: I would never have thought of doing this. The die cut strips combined with the stencilling and sponging works so well, and flicking up the edges of the lace die cuts has really added to it. A wonderful box, Alison!

    Lucy x

  13. This is amazing. I, too, am speechless...which, believe me, doesn't happen often. It's such a detailed and charming piece and so cool that it holds such beauty. Each time you open it or look upon it, you can't help but feel inspired. Thanks for letting us enjoy it vicariously.

  14. Your boxes are wonderful, so much detail and such wonderful keepsakes. You've inspired us to paint our MDF storage box at last.

  15. Eine wunderschön gestaltete Box, in der Ihre Schätze ein festes Zuhause gefunden haben, Alison, der Shabby Chic passt hervorragend dazu und die schablonierte Bordüre ebenfalls. Meine Hochachtung vor diesem Projekt!
    Liebe Grüße.

  16. How inventive Alison...what a stunning result!!!!!
    Thanks for showing all the pictures from the creative process!
    A big compliment....again!!!! :-)

    greetings, Alie :-)

  17. Loving your lacey cigar box Alison, its beautiful. Annette x

  18. Wow, wow, wow, er did I mention WOW...? This is just amazing, so much gorgeous detail and so very useful too! Thank you so much for joining us at Allsorts this week for my Dies & Punches challenge, good luck x

  19. Wauwwwwwwwwwww this is great.
    Love them both very much.
    Greetings Janny

  20. A very lovely box and a really great way to use that lace die. Super creativity Alison, i'm loving your use of stencils and pastes. X

  21. I really have no words Alison - this is an amazing piece of art! And a huge punching job too - LOL:)
    Have a nice weekend!
    Hugs Kjersti:)

  22. Hi Alison, this is truly beautiful the care and attention to detail is amazing. It must have taken you forever to cut all those borders & layer them all up. You also made me giggle with the decoArt drying time why are we all so impatiant anyhow the result is stunning. Hugs Mox

  23. Beautifully crafted box Alison. Love the layered lace look and the pasted lace around the edges too. Pleased for you that the existing embossing still showed through too. This is a definite kick up the rear to those of us who need to get our trimmings organised! (oooops, that'd be me then!) Hugs, Jenny x

  24. WOW this sure is beautiful Alison. I don't know how you have the patience, but it looks stunning and well worth it!!

    Sam xxx

  25. Gorgeous creation, thanks for joining Allsorts challenge, good luck.
    Happy crafting
    Tracy x

  26. Absolutely stunning Alison ! I love the stencilled pattern and how it's so beautifully aged with the DI. The lace is just amazing ! You certainly have patience to put that together! Simply gorgeous ! Sue C x

  27. ohhh, this is one stunning lace box! So beautifully altered outside and inside! It's really gorgeous! Thank you so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. Hugs, Sandra

  28. This is just one stunning project Alison and so very very creative and beautiful looking
    x catherine

  29. Wow this looks fantastic. The border is fabulous!!!

  30. This project is simply amazing!!

  31. Beautiful and useful-how amazing is that. The idea is wonderful and has me thinking about using real lace and having a go at something similar -you are such an inspiration Alison.

    Love Chrissie xx

  32. This is truely beautiful Alison, I can see that it will have taken hours and hours, but the finished item is worth every second xx

  33. Oh dear heavens this is so pleasing...I actually whimpered when I saw the filled box. fab.u.lous.x

  34. I am in awe! This project is simply stunning Alison! Thank for sharing how it all came together, I love the embossed sides especially!
    Alison xx

  35. Stunning transformation Alison! I love the stencil you used and the border punched strips are brilliant. That's just the outside, inside is fab too lol. I happen to have a cigar box which I may have to alter soon. ;) Thanks for the wonderful inspiration & have a very happy day.

  36. Stunning! No other word for it. You did an amazing job and what a fabulous keepsake storage box. I am totally loving the stenciled embossing paste. Thanks so much for sharing your amazing talents with us, Alison!


  37. Very beautiful and delightful piece of art!!!

  38. There is something so deeply satisfying when an ordinary box because a thing of beauty and not only that, somewhere for those special little treasures that we tend to accumulate can be housed.
    I adore this so much.

  39. Dear Allison, what a piece of beauty and "hard" work. It is a most gorgeous box, you have made. The T.H. lace love is very ,very lovely ,and I also am facinated of how you used the
    stensil with Decorating paste, such a great result.
    The box is gorgeous.

  40. This is amazing. It's the best use I have ever seen of the Vintage Lace die. Such a wonderful idea. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!

  41. Love,love,love the way you used all the punched edges!! Such a great idea. Beautiful project!

  42. WOW Alison, this is really gorgeous, obviously a labour of love. Beautiful detail on the lace die cuts and a perfect inside.
    Smaller box looks lovely too, but the soft neutral colours is my favourite.
    Avril xx

  43. another fantastic project Alison... GORGEOUS!

    XXX Susi

  44. Wow, I'm missing words, your altered box is breathtaking.

  45. Absolutely gorgeous -- I am sitting her letting out big sighs of how in the world do you come up with this - what is your inspiration and my goodness I sure know that I get tons of inspiration from you --- beautiful, beautiful!!!!!!

  46. Well I thought yesterday's was so gorgeous and this lacy altered box is just as fabulous! Love all those layers! Such a great and inspirational idea! Have a beautiful weekend! Hugs!

  47. Hi Alison.............what a truly amazing piece of art. I love the effects you have created with the paints and the lace die cut is fabulous. I have to say thats one of my favourite sentiment stamps too.

    Beautiful storage and a box to treasure

    Annie x

  48. Wow, what an incredible piece of art this is! It's beautiful. I admire your style and your patience. xx

  49. Waving hello and bowing in awe!!! Oh my stars.... this is just mind blowingly beautiful. And thank you so much for the chuckle over teh 4-12 hours drying time. As if!!!

  50. Awesome project! Such a beautiful box :)

  51. Amazing!!! I want one! xxxxxx

  52. INCREDIBLE!!! WOZERS!!! AMAZING project, thanks for the step by step details! Thanks so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show :)

  53. what a labor of love! thank you for showing us your process, and I can't imagine how much time it took. but it looks absolutely fabulous! love your attention to detail and all the painting, pasting, punching, stamping and love you put into this altered cigar box!
    thank you for playing along with us @ OCC.
    i have a few cigar boxes and now i'm inspired to alter them {smile}

  54. You rock! This is shabby chic goodness to the max! Needs to always be displayed!!!

  55. Absolutely stunning Alison, so many wonderful details to look at! Fabulous alteration of the cigar box!

  56. Oh, this is absolutely gorgeous! LOVE it in the neutrals and the dividers were such a great idea! Such a wonderful place to keep all of your lovely materials!

  57. Alison...much congrats to you on your TOP THREE recognition on Simon Says Stamp and Show's Lace Challenge. Your box was so pretty and really deserved this recognition. All of your work is phenomenal! <3 Candy

  58. This was always going to be a winner! Huge well deserved congrats on your Top 3 at SSSandS. Hugs, Jenny x

  59. Congratulations on your top 3 over at SSSaS - beautiful box! Gorgeous with all th borders and the border mask, beautiful stamping inside!
    Have a wonderful weekend :o)

  60. omg this is gorgeous!
    Congrats being on the top3 over at SSSaS!

  61. Well done Alison on coming Top 3!! Worth it me thinks!

  62. Very cool idea! Congrats on the top 3 at SSS!

  63. I'm so sorry I missed this little beauty!! You know how much I love that lace die and I adore what you've done with it. I could go on and on but suffice to say, this is amazing.
    Congratulations on your top three too!

  64. I love, so much, what you have done with this box! The details are just extraordinary, Alison!
    Thank you for visiting my blog!


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