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...

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A Vintage Journey for Father Christmas

Hello all!  It's Secret Santa time over at A Vintage Journey.  Brilliant Brenda organised us all into exchanging cards and/or gifts amongst the Design Team, sending them off around the world, and today you can see what's been flying back and forth.  If you want a quick glimpse of all the creations, you'll find them over at A Vintage Journey today.  Prepare for a Tim Holtz-inspired festive feast, not to mention news of a Christmas Giveaway for you too!

I'm here to share what I created, and let you see what I received.  I'm afraid it's a rather long post - but this creation keeps on opening up to reveal more of itself.  I want to show you all that, and I want a record for myself of how I got there, so there are also some how-to details as we go.  And then you'll want to persevere to see the glorious things I received from my Secret Santa.  So, cups of coffee at the ready...




Right, first things first.  I drew the lovely Julia Aston of Create With Me out of the virtual hat so I knew I'd have to get my skates on to meet the deadline transatlantically (so to speak!).

Here's what she'll have found when she opened her packet...















And then you undo the twine and open it up...







... to reveal something completely different on the inside!


I honestly didn't have a plan when I began... I just sort of followed my fingers.






They started with a sheet of Ranger Manila A4 card to which I applied some Chalk Fresco paint with a palette knife, keeping it rough and uneven.




I built up some colour by sweeping the card through Distress Stains on my craft mat, and doing some wrinkle-free distress technique with them.

There's a layer of Broken China at the top for the sky, and then a layer of Iced Spruce creating some shading behind the Tim Holtz fir trees, which are also stamped in Iced Spruce.









I sponged and splattered on some Picket Fence Distress Stain for an extra snowy look.

Right, so there's a background... what now?  I thought it should be a bit more involved than just a card, since it was travelling all that way, so I decided to turn it into a wallet containing tags.  Okay... now I need some tags.









I grabbed a couple of the Prima Ledger tags, and did some stencilling in Broken China and Evergreen Bough through the Latticework stencil, flicking some water at it once it was done.








Already very happy with the delicate writing through the translucent colour!












I thought I'd carry on the fir trees from the background onto the tags themselves.  But here they're stamped in Coffee Archival.



I started adding snowflakes, stamped in Versamark and embossed in either Detail White or Clear powder.

And I rather love that where the Coffee Archival was still a bit wet, the trees have a dusting of snowy embossing powder too!











The deer are die-cut from some of the gorgeous Maja Designs It's Christmas Time 6x6 pad (hence the really tiny writing), backed onto card before cutting, and edged with some Vintage Photo Distress Ink afterwards.












Once they were in place, I used a couple of Big Brush Pens to create the shadows underneath them.














I used a water brush to give the soft watercolour effect to the shadows.  Now at least they are "rooted" in the landscape around them.










I added some of the fabulous Tim Holtz pine cone fir branches around the edges...













... and of course some Vintage Photo for the aged look.

Love it over the clear snowflake!





So that's the tags...


Now, how do I keep them in the wallet without covering up too much of either the tags or the background?



Leftovers to the rescue!

There was a tag sitting around on my desk - been there for months - on which I'd been playing with crackle and texture pastes and which I'd then used to mop up inky and painty messes. 





I added a bit of extra Evergreen Bough, and some DecoArt Patina Antiquing Cream to make the colours tone even better with the inside of my wallet, and then cut some strips to create the tag holders.














So I was very happy with the overall look of the inside, but the reverse was just plain (and now slightly messy) manila.

Onwards...






Since we're full of trees inside, I grabbed the woodgrain sheet from the Motif Resist Paper Stash and set to with some of the new Distress Spray Stains.






The sprays are such a quick way to add inky colour!  I think there's Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain and Rusty Hinge in here, and I blended on some extra Walnut Stain around the edges to really add depth.

I cut it to fit the A4 sheet as the outside of my wallet.











For the front cover, I created a crackled embossed panel, using the techniques learned at the Andy Skinner workshops I went to recently (more of that another day).


I love the crackle in between the embossing - such a cool effect.






There's added Quinacridone Gold for an aged rusty look...






... and some more of the rusty nail heads which regulars will be getting to know well (they're just cardboard, honestly), "nailing" the panel to the wooden background.













I used the same rusted cardboard to cut the large Noel, so that we'd have a nice festive focal point (well, a grungy festive focal point, at any rate).










There was just enough card-backed Maja paper left over from the deer to cut the 25 too.  I used PITT pens to shade around both the Noel and the numbers.

(Here 5's been done, 2 is yet to do.)

As you can see above, I then used a water brush to soften the look, bedding them into the background.









The panel is layered over some white-washed hessian (I just needed a touch more texture in there!) and I glued down some twine underneath it, so that there is a way to fasten the wallet closed.













So there you go - from a rusty, crackled, grungy, wooden exterior...











... to the snowy forest interior...













... with the deer leaping...














... and listening.













And of course it's only when you take the tags out that you find the greetings on the reverse, surrounded by lovely prickly fir boughs.











On the very back is the little butterfly I always add (as long as I remember!).  He had to be embossed this time to show up against the woodgrain.












I even zhuzhed up the rather dull brown envelope using some of the Postale Tissue Wrap...













... inked up and with a tag attached to write the address on.  I hope all those instructions didn't confuse the postmen!

Well, that's what I sent to Julia.  I hope it survived the journey, and I hope you like it, Julia.











And I was absolutely thrilled to find, when my Secret Santa packet arrived, that my "Santa" was the amazing Astrid.  And what a parcel of delights it was...





Not only a wonderful card, with one of my favourite ingredients - corrugated cardboard - at the centre of it...














... but also the most beautiful Christmas mini-album, based around the words of a poem and full of the most glorious textures and shimmering colours (again, my favourites - blues and browns!).





There was even an envelope full of lovely little bits and bobs to play with.  A completely enchanting gift - thank you so, so much, Astrid!

I'm only supposed to show you one picture (oops!) so hop over to Astrid's Artistic Efforts to see lots more gorgeous details.





If I haven't completely exhausted you, do head over to A Vintage Journey to see what other gifts have been exchanged.  And if you manage to hop around and leave some love for all of us by 21st December, and then link up to the Secret Santa linky at A Vintage Journey, there's a prize draw for a Christmas Giveaway for you too.  

Find all the details over at A Vintage Journey, and enjoy the ride!

Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being there was no more
than prettiness.
Mary Oliver

73 comments:

Julia Aston said...

I do absolutely LOVE the wonderful gift you sent me Alison! Each surface IS so different and beautiful! Thank you SO much for sharing your creativity with me!!

Rita said...

Absolutely Stunning creation Alison. Love your card and the little book of Christmas quotes from Astrid . Real treasures. Hugs Rita xxx

Karen Garrard said...

WOW! Alison this wallet for Julia is BEAUTIFUL! The tags are absolutely divine. I love the front cover with the rusty nails. Beautifully done! Lucky you receiving that beautiful Christmas Album from Astrid. Karen.x

Helen said...

What a stunning wallet and tags you made, thank you for sharing the steps. Astrid's gift to you is also fabulous,I am off to check out what else everyone received. xx

Maarit at Violets Corner said...

Such a fantastic project, so beautiful and inspiring.

Warm hugs
Maarit

Shirley Chillman said...

Wow these are such beautiful makes Alison. Jenny must be over the moon with your creation and how fabulous to receive such a gift from Astrid. Wahoo an early Christmas pressie.

Warm crafty hugs from Shirl x x x
ShirlsCards.

Shirley Chillman said...

What a clux am I, meant to say Julia ... not sure where Jenny came from!!!

Warm crafty hugs from Shirl x x x
ShirlsCards.

chrissies said...

Beautiful secret Santa gifts both ways. Love the layers on yours Alison and the idea of putting the tags inside.

Chrissie x

Buttons said...

As ever you are the master of layering up those stencils and stamps to create the most incredible snowy backdrops for the reindeer on these incredible tags Alison. And then you add on the beauty with a gorgeous textured tag holder too! What a very special gift. Jenny x

Brenda Brown said...

Beautiful art and a wonderful gift Alison, love those aged and distressed layers, the fabulous winter colours and the whole idea for such a precious keepsake. A fantastic Butterfly masterpiece. xxx

Rupa S said...

Just loved the pop of color when you open the twine! The texture on the tag is beautiful, lovely gift for your friend! Merry Christmas to you. Hugs.

Hazel Agnew said...

Wow, Alison, a total feast for the eyes. So many scrumptious textures and finishes. Love the watery shadows, rusty nails and muted colours. Exciting me to go and play. Thanks for the inspiration! X

Lucy Edmondson said...

Your gift to Julia is enchanting, Alison! So much work and thought has gone into it. And aren't you lucky to have Astrid as your secret Santa; she is so talented! It was great to finally get to meet you recently,

Lucy x

Julie Ann Lee said...

What a delight this post is, Alison! I love what you created for Julia! It is absolutely enchanting with so many textures and such lovely surprises! The shadows around the deer and the lovely dreamy effects inside are the icing on the Christmas cake! I love your signature butterfly detail on the back too. Astrid's gift to you is also truly lovely - such subtle colours and artistry. I hope you have a magical Christmas, full of beautiful words and pictures, Alison. xxx

Annie said...

Your Christmas Gift to Julia is absolutely gorgeous Alison. Wonderful details on every page.
Your gift from Astrid is also stunning and a wonderful keepsake.

Have a wonderful Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year

Hugs Annie xx

Marci said...

A wonderful gift. The tags are really beautiful. However, my very favorite part is the ghostly tree background behind the tags. Gorgeous!

Pamellia Johnson said...

Wow, I'm blown away! What an amazing tag holder! I just love the cool wintery colours and the front is spectacular with all the wonderful textures! Gorgeous gift to send, and boy oh boy did you ever receive a gorgeous gift too! Lucky you! holiday hugs :)

Deborah said...

I think Evergreen Bough is my all time favourite Tim Holtz colour, Alison, and it's just perfect here. I bet Julia was absolutely thrilled to receive it.

Dorthe said...

You created an amazing and beautiful gift for your friend ,Alison , how stunning, is both the cover and inside. I love the wonderful embossed snowflakes and all texture and the deers "dancing on the tags, just fantastic!!
And so is the gorgeous gift from Astrid- Lucky you, and lucky Julia - works of art, for both of you !!
Hugs,Dorthe

Redanne said...

What a gorgeous tag holder and tags Alison, they are so beautiful with the gorgeous deer....I am not surprised that Julia absolutely loved it. Your gift from Astrid is just superb, so perfect for you too! This really has been a wonderful Secret Santa exchange. Anne xx

Vicki Dutcher said...

How fun your team played secret Santa - your project is just fabulous

JackieP Neal said...

Alison! I am speechless- your special gift for your swap is completely and utterly breathtaking!!
Lucky is the person who receives such a gift! xo

crafty creations said...

wow what an amazing gift - so much to see - brilliant

Terry said...

Alison, the gift for Julia is gorgeous and a textural work of art. Love the inside as much as the outside! And of course Astrid's gift to you, is stunning! So much eye candy here! Hugs!

Mrs.B said...

Hi Alison, such a beautiful piece to send to Julia, love the inside as much as the cover.
Astrids gift to you looks wonderful, off for a closer look.
Avril xx

Astrid Maclean said...

Stunning gift you made for Julia Alison, absolutely adore the inside with those misty trees behind those wonderful deer tags. The front cover though is the bit that got me really excited!!! I would just love to know how you achieved that cracked embossed effect, it looks amazing aged with the quin. gold for antiquing!! Really, really stunning.

Glad you liked my little mini too, I had fun making it, - oh and thanks for the tip re the stupid Word Verification!

froebelsternchen Susi said...

This gift for Julia is simply GORGEOUS Alison - absolutely amazing!
The gift you received from Astrid is a dream as well!
I wish you a Very Merry Christmas my friend!
hugs
Susi

Ingrid Kristina V said...

Alison, your tag holder/card is woderful! Do many stunning elements.. The crackle and your rusty 'nails' are fab! Love the tags, the whole projects is stunning!
Astrid's mini is gorgeous too! You lucky girl! ;) xx

Deb~Paxton Valley Folk Art said...

Oh my gosh, your card is stunning Alison and your gift from Astrid is magical! Wonderful Christmas creations, thanks so much for sharing them with us. Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas!

Nikki C said...

This is just so pretty I love the colours it so much to look at I'd put that on my mantel for sure

Jools Robertson said...

So beautiful! Love the wood grain effect and totally vintage card
and the fabulous tags with the wonderful deer, great techniques and colours

A stunning gift from Astrid, beautiful words it must be lovely to see all of the gorgeous pages

Jools x

Nikki Acton said...

You won't be surprised to hear I love your gift! The textures, the colours, the vintageness (sorry I know that is not a word!). Just purchased broken china DI - it could be a favourite for a few months!
Nikki xxx

jasann said...


Alison, what a beautiful tag holder, all the lovely elements, love it all, and how lovely to receive the beautiful album from Astrid!!!!

Jane said...

Wow such a beautiful make and gift. I have loved all these Secret Santas, you are all so talented. Merry Christmas x

Fliss said...

Wow Alison! Looks like great minds think alike here as I just saw your comment on my leaping deer and popped over for a visit and saw your fabulous make - total stunner!
Fliss xx

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Gorgeous Alison, I love those Browns ans blues and the touches of rust are gorgeous. Beautiful piece with wonderful layers and texture. Tracy x

Netty said...

Beautiful gifts to give and receive Alison. Wishing you a magical Christmas and a brilliant New Year, hugs Annette x

http://nettysartadventures.blogspot.co.uk/

Monica Taylor said...

Beautiful project!
♥ Monica

Meggymay said...

You have both exchanged two gorgeous gifts, I'm sure they will be treasured by you both.
Yvonne x

Georgie C said...

Such a beautiful tags, those deer are just gorgeous and look divine with the beautiful winter woodland in the background. xx

Pam said...

What a wonderful gift you made! Those tags are fabulous and I adore the background. Stunning!

Maggie said...

Gorgeous project Alison love all the Tim gorgeousness you have used also you secret Santa gift is fab going over to take a closer look. sorry to have been an absent visitor life is hectic at the moment as I am looking after Mum after a fall, also thank you for visiting my very neglected blog recently. Merry Christmas
MaggieH

sally said...

Those tags have such a gorgeous wintry feel to them, fairly matches our frosty weather outside this morning (she says writing from the depths of a warm bed!)

Sally

Sara Barker said...

Oh, I'm gonna need a very large cup of coffe to write this comment! How do I start? Let me just say you had me at the rust! I so need to find out more about this. Then that jaw dropping front panel under all those deliciously done die cuts! I'm so going to have to figure that out and give it a try!
And then...into that lovely snowy scene...this is a wonderful piece of art in here, too! I'm speechless...sitting here shaking my head in awe! No words! Stunning sounds trite, but it will have to suffice, as I really cannot express myself today!
And then there are these two lovely tags, filled with so many techniques and such beauty! More art! Again, lifting my jaw up and trying to get my heart rhythm back to normal (is it the coffee, or could it just be that my heart skips a beat when I see something so beautiful?)
Alison, you always do such wonderful work, but this is truly one of my favorites, and so much love went into each and every bit of it! Even a wonderful package and tag for the postman to drool over!

As for this gift from Astrid, what goes around, comes around! Another stunner for sure, and I know you are loving it! Thank you for zooming in on that gorgeous work and sharing those few extras that we were not privy to through her post! A beautiful card and envelope!

Love it all! Merry Christmas, and thank you for sharing these gifts with all of us!

Gerrina said...

It is a great artwork you've made! Love the little details that make that it has a vintage feeling! And your treescene is stunning! Inky greetings, Gerrina

massofhair said...

STUNNING Alison and how fantastic to receive a secret Santa from the very talented Astrid :-) xxx

Ellie Knol said...

LOVE the surprise of the inner side: it's beautiful!

Paper Profusion said...

Goodness, Julia has been well blessed in the draw - what a magical make Alison - it really is beautiful. Im sure you absolutely love Astrid's book - it looks divine! Nicola x

S@ndy Diller said...

This was such great fun and hope we get to do it again. The gifts you sent and received are so beautiful. Love them both.

Shari Trumbull said...

Alison--First off, Thank You sooo much for stopping by my blog and leaving all of your very nice comments :) You simply make my day :) I'm playing catch-up on visiting myself :) Things move so fast in blogland (and behind the scenes, too!) ;) OMG!! :)
And now, look at these gorgeous gifts!! The card & mini album that Astrid created for you are stunning :) Did your face hurt from smiling so much? :) :) How lovely and what a fun gift exchange between you all :)
Your portfolio and tag set you created for Julia is sooo beautiful!! Love all of the wonderful layers of texture and fabric and rusty bits & pieces on the outside of the folder :) And then you create a gorgeous ghostly tree line background for the inside!! The background frames the tags wonderfully--you put the deers on the tags right into their own environment :) Simply love the two tags--both the front & backsides :) All of the stenciling and stamping is wonderful and I just love those die cut deers cut out of the decorative stock--so elegant :)
Thank you so much for sharing all of your techniques, Alison :) Merry Christmas!! XOXO-Shari

Pawsitively Creative said...

Thank goodness I found this post! I am working on improving my rusting techniques lol! Love the tags you have made and the backgrounds are amazing! TFS! ~Niki

cathylynn said...

Alison you never ever cease to amaze me with your talent! This post is a feast for the eyes. Your techniques and colors are outstanding and everything that you create is phenomenal. Love it all! Wishing you a Blessed Christmas and New Year!
Hugs, Cathy-Lynn

Jerrie said...

I love the pages and yourlittle book of Christmas. The colors are beautiful. What a fantastic job!!

Jan Hill said...

Hi the colours you used are so beautiful, wintery and pretty. I am in awe, thanks for the inspiration. However, missing the Santa butterflies x

Juliz Design Post said...

Wow Alison, I can clearly see why Julia would adore this gift from you. The background you created for your deer is one just to drool over...fantastic. I love how you brought this whole project together. Love everything about it. And your gift from Astrid looks amazing, a real treasure.
Julie x

Maarit at Violets Corner said...

I'm joining your give away too :)

Love
Maarit

Ruth L said...

Love the contrast of the inner and the outer side, that die of Noel 25 so long on my wish list and they are always out of it, lucky lucky you, just perfect for a Secret Santa :-)

pearshapedcrafting said...

Just caught a glimpse of this on Julia's blog - it really is stunning and I've enjoyed looking at all the little details! I just know I'll be coming back for another look! I'm quite jealous of your book from Astrid too! Hugs, Chrisx

Kelly Neis said...

One thing I see from your team A Vintage Journey is that you all create AMAZING vintage items and have a lot of affection for each other. You don't just create a simple item, they are gorgeous pieces from your hands and hearts. I love the gifts, both are divine! I wish I could create like you do as the end result is so gorgeous, a treasure. I look at the steps and you plainly state what to do, I will keep this post handy and give it a try. Thank you for sharing and have a Merry Christmas.
Hugs Kelly

Sue said...

Oh Alison, I love this, it's the perfect Christmas project! A very Merry Christmas to you xx

Matilde said...

I love all of your projects! I've no words to say what is the most beautiful! Lovely colours and textures!

stampdiva said...

A bounty of beautiful textures and the colours are so soothing. Gorgeous.
Then the lovely gift you received from Astrid. The card is special but then, that wonderful mini book. What treasures you both created.
Wishes
Lynne

Evelyn Walter said...

Only can say - WOOOOOW, dear Alison. So, so gorgeous with all this stunning detail, adorable!
I wish you a wonderful christmas time!
xxx Evelyn

Specs N Scissors said...

Oh my God! that rusted effect is so real. So many textures and techniques used. Excellent craft. Amazing!
Cheers :)

Neet said...

Another Beauty! I love the effect in the early photos of the Iced Spruce and the trees. The whole thing is a work of art indeed!
Hugs, Neet xx

Sandy said...

You have very talented fingers to say the least! I really was enthralled by the painting on the inside. Absolutely smashing! Now I have to run over to Astrid ' s and see her mini book. I love little books.
Merry Christmas Alison!
Sandy xx

Kathy/NorthCarolina said...

So much gorgeous texture...and such incredible composition...I am in love. The color palette, the design..every gorgeous detail makes my heart sing! I found you via Sara Emily's blog (saras closet) and I'm so glad I did! I'm adding you to my reader! Merry Christmas!!!

Jaya Raghuvanshi said...

Oh my word! What an incredible creation!

House of Bears said...

What an absolutely stunning creation, and a very very lucky recipient indeed.

Kimberly Cobb said...

Alison, Your gift to Julia is beautiful. The tags inside are a lovely surprise! I really like the color combination of Broken China and Iced Spruce. The crackle between the stencil is so cool! Thanks for the step by step...I enjoyed my cup of coffee:)

Coco said...

Wow!!!! Fabulous creations by both of you!!! I love everything, of course your make with the tags inside hidden as a secret story is absolutely exquisite, but also Astrid's offering to you are wonderful!!! Well done Alison, and thanks for sharing also Astrid's makes, so beautiful too. Hugs, Coco xxx

Kezzy said...

Oh wow wow wow your gift you gave is AMAZING, full of gorgeous texture with lots to see. And the gift you got back another wow wow wow. Both are truly awesome. Kezzy :-) xxx

Ruth said...

I so enjoyed seeing what everyone had made for each other in your AVJ secret santa, all such fabulous projects! Ruth x