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...

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Winter Journal VII

Well, I wasn't sure I'd make it even this far... but I'm still happily spending my December playing in my 8x8 kraft journal, and allowing what arrives on the page to arrive, even if (as seems to be happening) it takes me to a more romantic place than Words and Pictures is accustomed to.  And we're not just in a loving frame of mind for today's page... we've even got as far as a wedding!

It wasn't a conscious choice.  I had my background on the go, and I was trying out various Paper Dolls against it to see which one(s) wanted to come out to play, and it was these two.

So it's definitely a white wedding.  A heavy fall of brayered snow covers most of the kraft page, along with some handwritten script white washi tape scraps.

There are some textured stars hovering subtly in the background too. 

I'm working hard not to be too perfect with any of the stencilling, so you get a rough and ready, artsy look.

Another paper scrap finds a home as the doorway for the couple to stand in front of, for their first photo as a married couple.

And I'm sure that, as well as photos, there will be somebody there taking cine film, hence the film strip.  (Excellent, a real reason for it to be there this time!)

More snow is falling in the shape of the Tim Holtz Thinlits dies, but it can't dampen the bride's enthusiasm or dim her smile.  

I'm not quite sure about the expression on his face though.  As I mentioned in the previous lovey-dovey post, my take on romance is rarely all happiness all the time, so maybe it's just me that sees trouble ahead in that rather fixed gaze.

But I do think there's good advice and a strong element of truth in the words here.

I can't be sure, but I hope the road ahead for this couple will be wonderful.

Well, now that the wedding's done, maybe I've scratched the sentimental itch as far as this winter journal is concerned... or maybe there'll be more romance to come in future pages.  At the moment, I'm open to whatever comes when I grab my hour at the craft table.  And I can certainly promise you some brighter colours on the next one!

Thanks so much for stopping by, especially when I know how busy everyone is at this time of year.  I'm very happy you're enjoying these little journalling excursions as much as I am.  I think it's nice to take a break from Christmassing now and then.

Winter, a lingering season, is a time to gather golden moments, embark upon a sentimental journey, and enjoy every idle hour.
John Boswell

I'd like to play along again at Art Journal Journey for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's themes of My Favourite Season/Tis the Season
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they are looking for some Warm Winter Wishes 
And with the white wedding as well as the snow, I have to join in with Anything Goes with an Optional Twist of White over at More Mixed Media
I'd also like to share this page at the Simply Neutrals party over at Apple Apricot

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Winter Journal VI

Hello again!  Romance seems to be hidden in the snow of this winter journal.  Winter Journal IV dwelt in the heady joys of the early days of an affair, and here's another page which celebrates love (and I know that there's another one on the way... the pages are ahead of the blogposts!).

It's not a common topic around here, or at least not usually an uncomplicatedly positive one.  There's more often a touch of heartache or melancholy attached.  But maybe I'm getting sentimental in my old age...  No, that's not quite right - I've always been a romantic at heart, just all too aware of the down sides too.

In any case, in the hard cold of winter, I'm finding lots of warm hearts appearing in the artwork arriving on my craft desk.  Today's page celebrates a lifetime of love.

Again, I've been using up leftovers.  This tag with the ovals cut out has been sitting around ever since August, when I made my engraved enamel word plaques for PaperArtsy.

At the time, I thought I should try to cut the ovals out centrally, so that the outline would be of use at some point further down the line.  And that day has finally come.

The tag got a rough, thick coating of gesso, applied with a palette knife and then super-heated.  At first, I kept it plain white, and I liked the look of billowing snowdrifts.

But later, as I started to apply ink, it took on the look of toasted marshmallow - which is also quite a good look!

This is one page where I'm still not quite sure whether I shouldn't have stopped earlier.  Here it is in its pristine whiteness, which I really like... but it does have an unfinished look.

The distressing - with walnut ink splatters and a touch of Vintage Photo Distress Ink blended on - has given everything a much warmer tone.  I don't know... what do you think?

I have to say, I do love the extra texture and detail around the snowflakes post-browning.

They've had a helping of white embossing powder, as well as some inky splatters and washes around them.

There's plenty of thread swirling in the snowstorm...

... and the walnut ink splatters beautifully.

Of course, at the heart of it all are the lovers themselves - first, in their young and carefree days...

... and then after many years together, having weathered the storms, sharing the burdens and the joys.

It's odd working with those frames at the centre - I'm used to off-setting my focal points to one side or another.  But with the tag at the centre, the two sets of words have to balance each other out...

... just like the man and woman have had to balance one another out, in order to achieve always and forever.

(And not just the words to be balanced, but the film strip and washi tape too.)

I think these two word sections and the snowflakes work best for me on this page.  I'm not sure about the photo frames, after all that!

I hope you're enjoying the winter love stories finding their way into some of these pages.  I'm not sure where they're coming from, but sometimes it's best not to enquire too deeply into these things, I find.  I'll be back with more soon (not only love stories, you'll be happy to hear), so I hope to bump into you again, either here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland.

A good marriage isn't something you find; it's something you make.
From A Lifelong Love by Gary L. Thomas

At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they are offering up some Warm Winter Wishes
I'd like to play along again at Art Journal Journey for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's themes of My Favourite Season/Tis the Season
At the Creative Artiste Challenge Blog they are playing, as always, Anything Mixed Media Goes

Monday, 10 December 2018

Winter Journal V

It's time for page number five in my Winter Journal, and I'm playing the blues again this time, as I did with Winter Journal I.

So far, I think this blue/brown/white is probably my favourite of the colour combinations - and no, there are no prizes for guessing that... it's all too obvious given my longtime colour palette preferences!

This glorious vivid blue is courtesy of the Colorex ink again - Cosmos Blue - same as for the first page.  Clearly, I will have to look in to the rest of their colour palette.

The Tim Holtz Thinlits birch trees are cut from some of the Pion Design paper still hanging around after my Star Light, Star Bright tags.  I'm still making use of things which are to hand - it saves both thinking and searching time to just use whatever is there!

Some more of the Idea-ology Small Talk stickers capture the mood of optimism and the hard work ahead which is part of my world at the moment...

... as well as clearly being key ingredients in the personality of this young man.  Look at his jaunty posture, leaning on the words themselves, and ready for anything. 

I love him!

He's definitely ready to take on the world, despite the fact that he may have to make his way through the forest and the drifts of gesso snow to get there!

The film strip highlights some of the background handwriting washi tape, as well as being framed by some of the darker tape.  I'm enjoying the film strip a lot on these pages, and this page is probably my favourite so far (up against the first one for competition).

I'm also enjoying these shorter blogposts... so quick to write!  I'll be back before you know it and, whether you have time to visit or not, I hope you all have a great week.

You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.
From Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

I'd like to play along again at Art Journal Journey for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's themes of My Favourite Season/Tis the Season
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they are offering up some Warm Winter Wishes - setting off through the forest in search of adventure should keep him warm!
And I'm joining in with Anything Goes with an Optional Twist of White over at More Mixed Media
At the Creative Artiste Challenge Blog they are playing, as always, Anything Mixed Media Goes

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Winter Journal IV

Hello again!   Although there's been a short break in the blogposts here (I gave you most of the weekend off, isn't that kind of me?!) I've managed to squeeze in a bit of playtime in my Winter Journal most days so far, so I'll probably have a double helping for you at some point to make up for it.

Not today though... I thought we'd go for something shorter after the detailed Star Light, Star Bright post.  (I hope you've had a chance to check out my tag trio for A Vintage Journey - we'd love it if you can find the time to play along with us there this month.)  So it's just page 4 today...

We're still in the 8x8 kraft journal (information for those who've missed the pages so far), and still playing with that lovely kraft/white combination.  But for this page I've stuck to my beloved neutrals with no additional colours interfering.

There's music in the air and a touch of romance on this page...  no romance is complete without musical accompaniment, even if it's just you hearing singing when there's no-one there.

This couple are selected from the Darkroom Door Photobooth sheets (they don't seem to be available any longer, sadly).  I love the golden glow of her picture. With her direct gaze, she captures the viewer's attention, which means she becomes our focus, our heroine in the story.

There's some more of the wide washi tape in the background, and over that I stamped and embossed one of Tim's new Christmas backgrounds.

I love the look of the musical notes, echoing the joyous carol printed on one of the pieces of ephemera.

I also love the bubbles of texture in the snowy gesso.  They were initially created by blasting the gesso with the heatgun, and then I added some of the embossing powder and reheated to create even more texture.

That's not just imaginary music in the air... someone's been writing love letters.

There are swirls of thread, and some more acetate film strip ribbon...

... as well as a few more die-cut snowflakes whisking through the air.

Maybe they've just been to see a film, and now they're walking home hand in hand through the snowy streets.

The Idea-ology Small Talk stickers continue to provide the necessary words to fit my pages, and they also keep echoing deeply held thoughts of mine too.

Well, we all have dreams and wishes, don't we?  A winter romance with walks in the in the frosted countryside, a love song lilting in the air, the sparkle of the snow as stars dot the night sky and moonlight lights up the scene... 

Things are making reasonable progress on the Christmas preparation front here, and I'm still managing to fit in my crafting time (as well as my Czech language learning)... so far, so good.  We'll see how we go as December gets into its stride.  For now, thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you've all been enjoying a lovely weekend. 

Never are voices so beautiful as on a winter's evening, when dusk almost hides the body, and they seem to issue from nothingness with a note of intimacy seldom heard by day.
From Night and Day by Virginia Woolf

I'd like to play along again at Art Journal Journey for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's themes of My Favourite Season/Tis the Season
And it's another Winter Wonderland to share at Try It On Tuesday
Since this page has no added colour, unlike the others so far, I'd like to join in with the Simply Neutrals party over at Apple Apricot
I'd also like to play along at Bastel Traum where the theme is Winter/Christmas
This should be the perfect fit for Anything Goes with an Optional Twist of White over at More Mixed Media

Friday, 7 December 2018

Star Light, Star Bright

Hello all!  Time for a new challenge over at A Vintage Journey, and the lovely Julia is looking for us all to get starstruck with her theme Star Light, Star Bright.  As always, there's lots of beautiful inspiration from my fellow Creative Guides, and here's my offering.  Grab a cup of warming grog and come for a starlit stroll with me.

This trio of starry tags came about as a result of another joyful Skype crafting session with Brenda of Bumblebees and Butterflies and Nikki of Addicted to Art.  Last time we all worked on a giant tag or MDF surface, but this time we each started with a different substrate.  I chose three jumbo MDF tags (though not quite as jumbo as my Curiouser and Curiouser tag from before - these are each 4x8 inches).

Almost by accident, we ended up aiming for something involving stars, so you might recognise some elements when you see their offerings at A Vintage Journey though, again, we each ended up with very different projects.

We took it in turns to deliver instructions, and the first was mine:
Alison (A) - Use paper to start the layers

I have lots of lovely design paper, but I often forget to take advantage of it, so I thought I'd kick off with something off my usual beaten track.  I covered each tag with a different paper - one with a glamorous advertisement (TH), one with music (7 Dots Studio), and one with Old German font (Pion).

Brenda was next:
B - Use the monoprint method to add any colour medium of your choice

This is something Seth Apter does a lot.  You put the the paint (or other medium) on one piece of card (or other surface) and press it down onto your main surface to get a cool textured look.  I stuck in the neutral zone with some Chalk White.

And then Nikki:
N - Add a wash or washes of a colour medium

I worked with watery mixes of DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylic in Payne's Gray and Raw Umber to get a really shadowy aged look that I loved.  I applied the washes with a soft brush and then spritzed with water to get even more movement, dripping down from the top of the external two tags and up from the bottom of the middle one.

Shorthand instructions and details from now on... !

A - Use a stencil any way you wish

I used one of Tim Holtz's stencils and sponged some more of the same two paint colours through it.

I was really enjoying the old manuscript look of the tags by this point.

B - Use asemic or dynamic writing to add a layer of visual texture

Essentially this means do some scribbling - so I did, using a white gel pen.  It's another effect which I really like - though mine's probably not quite asemic as there are some real words and little bits of meaning hidden in there.

N - Add a bit of physical texture

This is where I grabbed my chance to add my stars.

I applied Watercolour Ground through the new Tim Holtz Falling Stars stencil.

Already in love with this stencil - I love the varied sizes of the stars and the random falling pattern.

A - Choose and prepare the focal point of the design

I needed some thinking time to work out how to progress.  I loved my backgrounds and was actually rather unwilling to cover them up, so it took a few goes to work out where I was going next.

The Paper Dolls were pretty much a given, but the real breakthrough came when I popped outside into the garden to find my bare twiggy tree stems.

B - Find elements to bring the composition together

This was a useful follow on - a chance to gather some more bits and bobs which would serve the stories starting to appear.

I grabbed the pinecones and the little leaves, and found a couple of coffee stirrers to make my "ground" under the dolls' feet.

N - On one or more of the elements use two different mediums of the same colour

Another great next step - a chance to alter and adapt the chosen embellishments.  I stayed all white.

I'd already painted my coffee stirrers white with acrylic paint.  (Later I added a bit of Rock Candy Dry Glitter to them for a frosted snowy surface.)

I drybrushed some more white paint onto the edges of the pinecones. 

And I used Weathered White embossing powder on the Idea-ology metal leaves.

A - Add some words or lettering

Well, obviously... For me it's a given that there have to be words, but I also added "lettering" so that the others could choose something a bit more abstract if they wanted.

My three quotes are drawn from my own PaperArtsy Eclectica quote stamps.  One from EAB02 Darkness & Light...

... and the other two adapted from longer quotes on EAB07 Dreaming & Doing...

... chopped about to varying degrees in order to focus on the bits about the stars!

B - Add some sparkle

 I sort of knew this was coming... it's a starry theme, it's coming up for Christmas - someone was bound to want to get sparkly!

It's not something I do very often, but the Clear Rock Candy Dry Glitter is usually my saviour when I do need a touch of sparkle.

I applied matte medium with a soft brush over and around the stars, and poured on the Rock Candy glitter.  This is when I added it to the coffee stirrers underfoot too.

It's a subtle shimmer, with a chunky icy look, and very lovely when it catches the light - so yes, I'm happy there is some sparkle.

N - Assemble and add whatever you need to finish off your design

A generously flexible final offer from Nikki... allowing each of us to do whatever was necessary.

I needed to re-punch my tag holes through the paper, and then I added some crinkle ribbon, very lightly brushed with Vintage Photo Distress Ink for a slightly more distressed look.

I also did a bit more inking around the edges of the tags, and - as an afterthought - added the little crystal berries to the leaf clusters.  (I could have counted that as part of the sparkle-adding instruction, I suppose...)

There was a final shared instruction... Resist.  Not to use a resist technique, but to resist adding more or continuing to fiddle!  It's always hard knowing when to stop, don't you think?

By sheer chance, when we came to hold up our projects to the cameras so that we could see a bit of what the others had done, we found that Brenda and I had used almost exactly the same Paper Dolls - even though nobody said we had to use Paper Dolls at all!  (Click the photos for a larger version.)

I'm very happy with my bare, spare, wintry tag set.  You can see how Brenda and Nikki's projects turned out by hopping direct to their blogs from the links at the start of this post, but why not go via A Vintage Journey and catch even more starry inspiration there?

We're looking forward to seeing what you're inspired to create for our Star Light, Star Bright theme this month, and hope to see you somewhere down the snowy December road.  Oh, and by all means feel free to borrow our step by step instructions and see what they do for you! 

Happy Crafting all!

Look up at the stars and not down at your feet.  Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist.  Be curious.
Stephen Hawking

I'd like to share these tags at the Simply Neutrals party over at Apple Apricot
And I'm hoping the sparkly frosted look will qualify them for It's Got To Be Christmas over at Stamps and Stencils... it's their final ever challenge and I can't bear not to join in - I'm going to miss their lovely challenge blog a lot
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge the theme is "B is for..." and my B is for branches, real ones from the garden, and brown berries (not real!)
There's an Anything Goes theme at That's Crafty Challenges for the last month of the year
I've just got time to play along again at Try It On Tuesday where they are walking in a Winter Wonderland