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, 13 April 2019

Borrowing the Dream

Hello all!  I'm here with a CASEing today - not something I do very often.

The moment I saw the glorious tag created by my fellow Creative Guide, Jennie of Live the Dream, for the most recent Tag Friday over at A Vintage Journey, I fell in love with it.  So today, I'm "borrowing the dream". 

Seeing the tag made me want to play right away, and I then checked in with the lovely Jennie to make sure she was okay with me sharing the result here on the blog.

If you want to see the beautiful original, it's right here, and you'll also be able to see how to make your own version.

Mine's really very close to Jennie's - not quite the same Infusions colour, and slightly different finishing touches, but other than that I'm deeply indebted to her for the inspiration and for the lovely time I had at my craft table playing.

I adored the light, ethereal quality of the tag - so typical of Jennie's work - and that wonderful background crackle, as well as the tall, elegant shape.  I'm sure I did order some of those long thin tags before I went to NYC, but I'm blowed if I can find them in my somewhat chaotic craft room.  So I grabbed a jumbo MDF tag and off I went.

I wasn't very successful with keeping my design tape strips showing through, but it gives such a great texture to the crackle - all sealed in with DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish, so it's going nowhere - that I really don't mind.

Instead, I used some script stamping for additional detail.  (It's a PaperArtsy stamp which came as a freebie extra and has become a firm favourite.)

In any case, some more design tapes get pride of place as backing to the quote I've used from my PaperArtsy EAB09 Love Edition stamp set.

That was probably one of my main reasons for wanting to re-create Jennie's look... I really wanted to combine it with this particular quote.

My love for her tag certainly blossomed suddenly and unexpectedly!

The flower stems are coloured with Indigo Infusions powder - the same powder which provides the shaded colour in the background over the white crackle.

Some Idea-ology accents add a touch of metal...

... accented with just a sweep of white acrylic paint.

And I've dotted around some of my ivory sequins.

They catch the light beautifully.

Some linen ribbon at the top, and that's pretty much that. 

Creating my own version of an inspiration tag reminded me how much I've missed Tim's fabulous 12 Tags challenge.  It's so lovely not to have to do your own thinking sometimes! 

So thank you, Jennie, for providing me with a carefree hour or so at the craft table, and also for reminding me that I really should play with the Infusions powders more often.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you're all having a great weekend, and I'll be round for a catch up soon.

I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.
Herman Hesse

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Love, Friends and Flying with the Paper Dolls

Hello all, and welcome.  Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my Neutral Zone tag - they made me very happy.  Today we're back into a more colourful world - the colour-coded samples I created for my three new stamp sets launched with PaperArtsy back in February.  You've already seen the "red collection" for EAB09 The Love Edition, along with the samples for all three sets created with the Zinski characters in Love, Friends and Flying with the Zinskis.  Today I'm here with a snapshot of the "green collection" for EAB10 Friends & Friendship...

I love them all laid out together like that.  It reminds me of the fun I had putting them all together.  For the remainder of this post, we'll take a closer look at how the Idea-ology Paper Dolls fall in love, make friends and take flight!

I love combining these quotations with the Paper Dolls - as I'm playing, they quite often "speak" to me, and let me know the kinds of things they want to say.  So in each of my colour-coded collections, there had to be some Paper Dolls.

In fact, this first tag was the one which kicked off the whole shebang as far as these samples went.  Leandra needed something eye-catching early on, just one project, and I thought that a nice vivid red heart would be striking, and would also capture the essence of The Love Edition stamp set in one go.

But it was a tight deadline and, if I'm creating in a hurry, then vintage neutrals are my go-to choice.  I combined the two ideas - the red heart, the vintage neutrals - and off we went...

I used some Tim Holtz paper in the background and to create the collage strips and panels.

And what could be better than a wedding as simple shorthand to get the idea behind the love-themed stamp set across.  So choosing these two as the focal point was a no-brainer.

The Thoreau quote is stamped and embossed in Wow Earthtone Pepper - the perfect colour to tone with the beige-greys of the papers, while giving that extra touch of texture.

Once I'd created that tag, I knew I could create the rest of the samples with neutrals too, making my life easier in my comfort zone.  But I didn't want to be stuck with red for absolutely all of them (it's not a colour I find very easy).

I suddenly realised I could stick with my neutrals but shift my accent colour for each stamp set, making it easy to see which quotes came from which sets.  Perfect!  

And because I already had this wonderful Coleridge quote floating in my head, it was pretty clear that green would be the Friends & Friendship colour.

The mother and daughter friendship pairs are sheltering beneath the lovely tree from the Urban Snapshots Nature 1 set, embossed in black over a sponged background of Granny Smith and Magic Moss Fresco paints.

I love the texture you can get with a natural sponge, and it's so easy to do.

The quote itself is very simply stamped in black, to match the tree and the washi tape "ground" they are all standing on.

A little metal accent, and some off-white seam binding - to match the ribbon on the wedding tag - and we're done.

This fabulous flapper pair are on a tag made in exactly the same way as the wedding tag was.  Some TH design paper as background and collage elements...

... and then the other matching elements to tie things together across the collections - the Idea-ology token, the white ribbon, the tangled thread...

... and of course the quote, embossed in Earthtone Pepper again.  Plautus may have been writing two hundred years B.C., but he knew what he was talking about!

These two get some extra greenery in the shape of some die-cut wildflower stems.  The card they're cut from was painted with the same Granny Smith and Magic Moss combination - and it's the same stuff the quote is matted onto as well.

Finally, we head to EAB11 Wings & Flight.  And you'll remember that we're taking flight into the wild blue yonder... otherwise known as the Smurf and China Fresco paint colours.

(You'll get a shot of the whole "blue collection" in the next samples post, whenever I manage to get that written!)

Here I used pretty much the tiniest of the Paper Dolls to create a pair of ATCs, using the same method as for two of the tags above...

Tim's paper again forms the background as well as some (very small) strips and panels of collaging.  

Rather than die-cutting, the little bird and the butterfly are done with the TH punches, out of card painted with a combination of the two blue paints.

These two quotes are the shortest on the plate, so they work beautifully for smaller projects.

But they're not small thoughts, far from it...  In fact, they are huge ideas, full of longing and dreams.

That's one of the things I love about language, that in just a few short words you can open up the mind to whole universes.  That's why words so often inspire me to create visually, I think - to explore the ideas they trigger in me.  It really is about "words and pictures" feeding one another.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing these samples in a little more detail.  There's one more batch to come but, before that appears, I've got something new for you using some words from one of these new sets.  I hope to be back with that some time this weekend.

In the meantime, thank you so much for stopping by, and I hope you have a lovely rest-of-the-week.  See you again soon!

But words are things, and a small drop of ink,
Falling like dew, upon a thought, produces
That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
George Gordon, Lord Byron

By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life.
Jean Baptiste Girard

Friday, 5 April 2019

A Need for Neutrals

Hello all, and welcome.  It's time for the start of a new challenge over at A Vintage Journey and the fabulous Nikki is inviting us to enter The Neutral Zone.

Not much persuasion needed here at Words and Pictures, of course - I'm in the neutral zone as often as not!

But I've been playing with quite a lot of colour while away in NYC - watercolour that you'll get a glimpse of later in the post - so it was lovely to get back to my own craft table and play with all the neutral goodies waiting there for me.

This jumbo tag also fulfils a (nearly) year-old promise.  You may remember this Celebration of Friendship, created to celebrate the 60 years of friendship between my mother and her friend, Inge.

The lavender accordion card went to Inge, and I've been on a promise to create something similar for Cestina to keep.

I'm not very good at REmaking a project... once that initial inspiration has been played out, it always feels a little stale to make a direct copy.  Happily, Cestina loves this tag, a variation on the friendship theme, with lots of elements in common with that original accordion card.

And you'll see at the end of the post that I've made sure that she has some lavender too!

When I say there were neutral goodies "waiting for me", I really mean it.  These two girls and the frame almost made an appearance on my Becoming More tag.  You may remember I shared a photo of their brief stay on the half-made tag.

But back in February, I changed direction and went with the butterflies instead, so they were there on the craft table, ready and waiting.  I started by grabbing an MDF tag, 8.5 x 4 inches, and layering them onto it with some other unused/leftover bits and bobs which were lying around.

My first thought these days when I hear "neutrals" is probably grey - soft greys, warm greys, beige greys - and of course white, my favourite neutral of all.

For the background, I gave the tag the DecoArt chalky crackle treatment.  Artefact, the darkest of these three colours formed the base coat, and then I applied the lighter two (but mostly the white Everlasting) over the top of the Crackle Glaze.

I stamped the lovely Rubber Dance wildflower weeds over the resulting weathered crackle, and I love the look of it at this stage.

It's stamped in Potting Soil Archival (brown being the other neutral which obsesses me), and there's some inking around the sanded edges too.

In the end, I did add a wash of white paint over the whole thing to knock it back, as the background was in danger of upstaging the collaged elements.

When I made the Celebration of Friendship, I had to print out the quotes myself, but now of course I have many of them available as rubber stamps as part of my new PaperArtsy EAB10 collection Friends & Friendship.

This wonderful Kahlil Gibran quote appeared on the accordion.  Here it is stamped in Hickory Smoke, and layered up over some of my favourite wire mesh.

The die-cut wildflower didn't make it onto the recent Yellow Wallflowers journalling page spread, because I decided to go with all daisies for that one.

There's some very delicate Hickory Smoke shading done with Distress Stain, inking around the edges and lots of white splatter adding texture.

The frame and the panel have had some washes of white paint too, as well as getting in the splatter firing line.  And I added some tiny dandelion stamping to the frame, also from the Rubber Dance Weed Love set.

The large panel is "screwed down" with some of the useful flat-backed Idea-ology Hardware Heads.  A couple of drops of Mushroom alcohol ink soften the silvery finish to an aged rusty look.

The punched butterfly has some more of the Hickory Smoke Distress Stain shading, and some tiny wire antennae so he knows where he's going.

These two girls narrowly missed out on being one of the pairs on the Celebration of Friendship accordion, so I'm very happy they are now getting to be part of the fun, though in a larger size.

At the top of the tag, there's a file clip, weathered with some white acrylic paint.

And there's plenty of wild tangled thread adding a sense of movement to the whole thing.

I love how the Idea-ology Layers give everything so much dimension with their sturdy thickness, and they make it so easy to create a dynamic composition with lots of lovely vintage style.

Oops, I almost forgot... I was going to show you how Cestina is getting the lavender bit of her commemorative artwork, so that she matches Inge's collection - but we will have to step out of the Neutral Zone temporarily.

She'll get one of these small lavender field paintings (four pictures on a side of A4 paper) to frame.  I'll show them to you in more detail some time soon, along with some of the other (obsessive) watercolouring I've been doing.

But back to the neutrals now.  Thank you so much for stopping by today.  I hope you like this gentle tag as much as I do.

As always, there's lots of glorious inspiration from my fellow Creative Guides over at A Vintage Journey, so do check it all out.  And we do hope you'll come and join us in The Neutral Zone this month.  Happy neutral crafting everybody!

The fundamental grey, which differentiates the masters, expresses them, is the soul of all colour. 
Odilon Redon

If I see everything in grey, and in grey all the colours which I experience and which I would like to reproduce, then why should I use any other colour? I've tried doing so, for it was never my intention to paint only with grey. But in the course of my work I have eliminated one colour after another, and what has remained is grey, grey, grey!
Alberto Giacometti

The Simply Neutrals Tuesday party over at Apple Apricot is going to be taking a break, so I'm delighted that I just managed to squeeze something into this final month before the pause
I'd like to play along at the Bleeding Art Challenge where, this month, Anything Goes
Anything Mixed Media Goes too, as always, at the Creative Artiste Mixed Media Challenge