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...

Monday, 13 August 2018

Encore - Magic Potion Bottles

Encore Posts
Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook while I'm away.
As always, the Encore Posts are formatted differently from the regular ones, so that you can easily spot them.  Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

These altered bottles were created back in August 2015 as a Guest Designer spot for Anything But Cute - a great mixed media challenge blog which sadly is no longer in operation.  These were the result of one of my "what if?" moments, inspired by their moodboard that month.  Here's what I wrote back then....
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Hello all!  I'm delighted to be here at Anything But Cute.  I was so excited when Pamellia invited me to be a guest, but also a little daunted since the amazing team here produce such outstanding creations.  Pamellia also said that I could make anything I liked - no limits - which is always slightly terrifying... but as soon as I saw the beautiful moodboard for this month's Making Magic theme, I knew that it would be inspiring my project.  So I offer you my mystical magic potion bottles - handed down from white witch to white witch along with the spells for making dreams come true and making time stand still.


It was very hard to get a decent photograph of these, especially since we've had so much horrible weather here in the UK - with all the shimmer they change in every different light angle - but I hope you'll be able to get the idea as we go along.


I started with some vintage glass bottles.  I managed to get a job lot on Ebay for a good price, working out at just less than £1 a bottle (well, I thought it was good).  


The first task was to give them a couple of coats of gesso so that any media I applied would take on the surface.  (I had a few on the go at once - I like that as it takes the pressure off, and I now have a number of very different looks ready to share soon over at Words and Pictures!).


I then wanted some crackle, so I applied DecoArt Media Crackle Paint in various thicknesses over the bottles.  I got some great cracks and, to be sure they wouldn't start flaking off, I sealed the whole thing with the DecoArt Ultra Matte Varnish before continuing.


I stamped one of my favourite branches and then got busy with some spritzing.  I thought I'd start with a layer of the DecoArt Media Sprays - they give good coverage and are permanent once dry.


After that I gathered some of my Silks Acrylic Glazes - various blues and greens as well as the Emperor Gold - and started applying them over the spritzed crackled bottles.  At some point I also did some glazing with a Tattered Angels Glimmer Glaze.


I'm afraid I wasn't paying too much attention... I was just layering up shimmering colours adding depth and shading.


I also used Treasure Gold in Florentine to highlight some of the texture - both the crackle and, of course, the fabulous embossed writing on the sides and reverse of the bottles.


The photo in the moodboard which really captured my heart is the tiny golden droplets of dew on the leaf, so I wanted to try to echo that.  I had the branch stamped, still visible under all the layers, since the Silks are highly translucent, so I thought that might be the key.


I mixed up some of the Emperor Gold Silks paint with DecoArt Liquid Glass in a fine tip applicator bottle and tested out the results on a spare bit of card.  As you can see, there were various mixtures - some with Glossy Accents, some with Wild Honey Distress Reinker, and all sorts.  (If you look closely, you'll see that there was more than one application on the bottles themselves too, but that's the joy of mixed media experimentation.)


I started by following the stamp with the fine tip applicator to create the branches.


And then I added "berries" where each of the flower heads had been, and sometimes several berries all in a cluster.  I'm sure they are also in the recipe for the magic potions!


I'm really happy with the dimension I ended up with, though I wish I'd managed to recapture the most translucent mixture - ah well, maybe next time.


The gold wire continues the look of the vines and branches, swirling up around the necks of the bottles and disappearing inside.


It's the last of my hoard of golden notebook rings, ripped out and preserved from some old reporters' notebooks.  I've only got plain metal and white ones left now...


I added the Remnant Rub-Ons words - can't have a project without words, can I now?


I washed over them with one of the lightest Silks colours so that they would blend into the background.  


A final dusting of Treasure Gold for extra gleam, and we're pretty much done.


I hope you've enjoyed seeing how my magic potion bottles came to life.


As you can see, there's plenty of experimenting, trial and error - it's always the great "what if?" for me... but when the sun finally came out to make those berries gleam, I thought it was worth it!


Thank you so much to Pamellia and the team for inviting me along this month.  I had so much fun with these, and thanks to the moodboard I went in lots of new directions I might otherwise never have travelled.


That's the whole fun of a challenge I suppose!  I hope you like them - it's always great to hear what you think.
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Thanks so much for dropping in today.  I'm in the midst of technical rehearsals leading up to Dress and First Previews, so not much time for anything else at present, hence these Encore posts... but there is something new on the way in just a few days, and there's light at the end of the tunnel coming up at the end of August, so I'll hope to see more of you all soon!  Happy crafting in the meantime.

There's no mistaking what kind of potion I need. Caffeine - for alertness and rejuvenation.
From Madly by Amy Alward

Friday, 10 August 2018

Encore Post - Irresistible Fossils

Encore Posts
Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook while I'm away.
As always, the Encore Posts are formatted differently from the regular ones, so that you can easily spot them.
Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

This is a post which appeared over on the PaperArtsy blog back in April 2016.  I'm reviving it now as it's a perfect fit for this month's How Can You Resist? challenge at A Vintage Journey, so I thought this could offer an extra bit of inspiration.  Inspiration from the past for a current challenge - not bad, eh?!   You can check out my actual inspiration for this month's challenge if you missed it... this time they were Irresistible Insects rather than fossils.  Here's what I wrote back then....
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Hello all, it's Alison here from Words and Pictures.  I've not been around much lately but I couldn't resist joining in with the Resists theme, and it gave me the excuse to get two of the PaperArtsy Minis I've coveted for ages - finally giving in to temptation (like Oscar Wilde, I can resist everything but temptation!).  Regular followers of mine will know that clear embossing is a favourite thing of mine - I love its glossy dimensionality - and it works brilliantly as a resist for the inkiness to follow.

I ended up creating a quartet of ATCs with these fabulously detailed stamps... one pair with the fossils lying in state in a fusty wooden drawer in some zoologist's collection...



... and one pair where they are in a kind of dream of the world they used to inhabit...



I started by cutting ATCs from some off-white card and stamping the fish fossils - PaperArtsy Ink & The Dog Minis 100 and 101 - in Versamark before embossing with clear embossing powder.

  (You'll see I created a spare pair in case of problems or other ideas!)


For the zoologist's pair, I applied Distress Inks to the ATCs with a blending tool - Antique Linen followed by Vintage Photo - keeping some damp paper towel nearby so that I could buff away any excess ink from the bones as I went.


Then I did some spritzing and flicking, and also sprayed some Distress Marker splatter to add to the aged look.


I added some vintage script - the zoologist's notes, taken from the Ink and the Dog Words Plate 4 - stamped in Distress Ink so that it could also easily be wiped away from the bones.


And finally I added the rub-ons to label the collected specimens, as well as the word stickers which I shaded around with more ink.


For the underwater pair, I applied my ink differently - pressing the chosen colours onto the craft mat, spritzing with some water...


... and then dipping and smooshing my ATCs until I liked the look of them.


I used the branches from Hot Picks 1008 as seaweed, again stamped in Distress Ink so that the paper towel could spring into action to remove any excess from the embossed fossil.


And I painted some Snowflake Fresco paint on to my craft mat and then used the top of a paintbrush cover and the other end of the paintbrush...


... to "stamp" my columns of bubbles.


I always enjoy the gleam of the clear embossing in sunlight, and it gave me great pleasure to fit in just a little bit of Resistance in my brief few days at home recently.








I hope you'll be inspired to play with some Resists too.










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And that hope is still true today in 2018, only this time the invitation is to share your resists at A Vintage Journey rather than at PaperArtsy!  

If we were fossils of two snails 
caught in a rock for millions of years.
Would we know we were together?
Natasha Tsakos

Friday, 3 August 2018

Irresistible Insects

Hello all!  After the July lull, it's a busy start to August here at Words and Pictures.  Do check out my Celebration of Friendship, if you missed it, particularly if you're in the mood for something pretty and summery.

But now things are taking a turn for the grungy here, with my pair of tags for this month's brand new challenge at A Vintage Journey.  Our host is the lovely Amanda, and she wants to know How Can You Resist?!  Obviously, we're looking for as many different resist techniques as you can come up with.  As ever, my fellow Creative Guides have been busily creating fabulous things to inspire you, but here's my offering before you hop off to check them out.


I used a gesso resist to create the background for these grungy tags, and simply had to ink up some of the fabulous insects from Tim's recent Entomology stamp set.  They've been waiting to see some action, and I couldn't resist any longer!





It's really all very simple... I used an old credit card to scrape some heavy gesso onto a couple of tags quite roughly - no particular design or plan at this stage... just get it on there.

(Sorry about the shadows - the recent sunny weather doesn't help at the craft table, mojo-wise or photo-wise!)











Then I used Distress Stains to add my first washes of colour - Pumice Stone and Vintage Photo, and maybe a darker brown too, Gathered Twigs or Ground Espresso, I suspect.














Next, it was out with the Broken China Distress Oxide to add another layer.















The gesso doesn't resist the Oxides, so you can break up those white areas with lovely splotches of colour.















I also used the Broken China Oxide to stamp a couple of postmarks here and there.














I still wasn't quite sure what my focal images might be, but you can't go wrong with a postmark or two.














Finally (after faffing around with a couple of die-cuts and some metal accents, and discarding several stamp choices), I worked out that it was the insects I wanted to use.














Not being in the craft room very much leads me to be very indecisive when I do get in there with a deadline to meet...














They're stamped in Jet Black Archival ink.  It's unusual for me to use black for stamping, but they're such good vintage illustrations that I felt the need for a conventional vintage look.














I prefer not to meet most of these in real life (butterflies excepted), but I love them in stamped form!














I stamped some of the tiny vintage script from the same set - this time reverting to my favoured brown ink.













I added some more gesso with the credit card, this time using the edge to make straight lines in various places around the edges of the tags.

I doodled some white pen frames around the edges too...











... and of course there's plenty of spatter, not only in white, but in a mixture of PaperArtsy Mermaid and Bora Bora paints, to tone in with the Broken China Oxide accents.














There had to be some words, naturally (look at the name of the blog!), so I selected some phrases from the Idea-ology Small Talk stickers for each tag.













They're all very apt for my world of creative planning/dreaming at the moment.  There are life changes afoot... and in the midst of a very busy work period, it's useful to remind myself of that.











Some simple twine finishes them off, and there you have it.  I hope you won't be able to resist coming along to join our How Can You Resist? challenge this month at A Vintage Journey.





Check out the inspiration from my wonderful fellow Creative Guides, and we hope to see you somewhere along the road.






Thanks so much for stopping by today.  If all this grunginess doesn't appeal, then remember there's a lovely summer meadow to go and relax in (with fragrant lavender to calm the nerves, no less), and there are no insects in my Celebration of Friendship either, I promise!

I hope you all have a wonderful August.  I'm away from home for work for most of it, but I'm aiming to line up some Encore Posts amongst the occasional new offerings, so hopefully it won't be quite as silent as July was round here.  For now, happy crafting all.


In summer the empire of insects spreads.
Adam Zagajewski




With all these creepy crawly insects hovering around, I'd like to play along at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, where they are looking for Wild Things