And I may finally have worked out a way for me to make cards... start them as tags!
I was tempted into buying the Tim Holtz flower stamps largely by the beautiful work Jennie at Live the Dream has been doing with them (including one of my favourite tags of all time).
And so I suppose it's no accident that my first play with them echoes her delicate style and colour palette.
It was also my first chance to try out the new Hickory Smoke colour, and I paired it with Pumice Stone and Frayed Burlap. (I would love to call them shades of grey, but I don't dare to any more.)
What can I say? I've been feeling a little grey recently (which is at least partly to do with not being able to get to the craft table as often as I'd like), and also the weather keeps returning to a grey drizzle which really doesn't feel very summery... so I think the greys were inside and outside of me, and so they turned up on the craft mat.
I started by gluing some leftover book page pieces to manila tags and painting the whole lot with a wash of white paint.
Then I did some wrinkle-free distressing with the three grey tones. The result is certainly downbeat, but it gives me great delight.
I stamped the flower stems and heads in Watering Can Archival with a hint of Olive tapped onto the stamps too, and then clear embossed them.
I used Hickory Smoke and Frayed Burlap to watercolour them - plenty of imperfections in terms of extra embossed bits creating a resist as well as extra bubbles of light, but I'm definitely embracing the effect.
In a brief moment of sunlight I was able to capture the magical effect of the light on the embossing - like faerie dust!
I used the end of the stem to add some extra grass stamping around the base of the flower, as well as stroking some blades of grass into existence using a water brush and some Frayed Burlap Distress Stain from the craft mat.
Taking a deep breath, I snipped off the top edges of the tags, and set about mounting the resulting panels onto cards. With one of them, I kept it very simple - just distressing the edges and gluing it to a tall, slim piece of folded card.
For the other, I added a couple of extra distressed layers - one of the same card as the base, and one made from one of the Tim Holtz papers that toned in with the flower panel.
And it's a happy accident that such a lovely word turned up right in one corner.
Small Talk stickers next... and once I'd chosen my wordings and stuck them in place, I added shading around them with pastel pencils and with some more Distress Stain.
I created puddled shadows above and below the words by applying soft layers of the Hickory Smoke with a water brush. It has an almost pinkish tone at times - or at least my bottle does!
And that's really that. I know that's quite a lot of photos for some simple cards, but the chances are - since they are cards - that they'll disappear in an envelope some time, so this will be my only record of them.
Since they're so delicate in hue, these cards didn't respond well to being photographed in the window of sunshine which appeared.
They prefer to be slightly in the gloom it seems, and so for once most of this photography is done indoors against this lovely music paper.
I hope you like them, and that they don't leave you feeling too grey! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you out there somewhere in Craftyblogland.
Louise Nevelson (Russian-born American assemblage artist and sculptor)
In case you haven't heard, the wonderful Sue Carrington had her blog hacked, and it's all gone... I can't even imagine how awful that must be (am now backing up maniacally in the hopes of avoiding complete disaster). She's started over, so do hop over to the all new Stamping Sue Style and follow or re-follow her brilliant work.