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, 25 June 2012

Crafty Individuals Summer's Ball

Yes, I know, I still haven't shown you the end of the Rose Album yet... but I need to take a slight detour to meet a deadline!  Crafty Individuals, who make the most amazing stamp sets (amongst other things) have a June Challenge which closes at midnight tonight.  The theme is Summer's Ball, and the condition is that you need to use at least one Crafty Individuals' product.  

How fairytale appropriate that a Ball challenge should have a midnight deadline.  I came late to the party and, as is my wont with deadlines, I'm afraid I'm taking it right to the wire as usual - I can almost hear the clock striking! - but here's my contribution, a wall hanging... (there are some more detailed photos further on).  I hope you like it:

One of the wonderful things about Challenges is they encourage and inspire you to go in directions you otherwise might not.  For instance, I found this gorgeous sheet music cover for The Hippopotamus Polka ages ago online, and without this challenge, the chances are it would have languished in my Vintage Images folder for ever.  Occasionally, I'd flick through the folder, and it would raise the same smile it did the first time I found it, but it might not ever have come out to play.

But as soon as I read the words Summer's Ball, he popped into my head, and I started to plot how I might use him for the Challenge (bearing in mind I'd only 3 days to work it out!).

The choice of stamps was made for me - I have only one Crafty Individuals set so far, having succumbed to their gorgeous vintage perfume labels set.  I can remember being slightly disconcerted when I received it... 
In my newly-addicted crafting obsession, I hadn't realised that it would arrive with all the stamps on one red rubber sheet, and it took (a) some research to work out that I needed to back them on to foam (there are various options, but I used EZ Mount and found it really straightforward to use), and (b) some  courage to actually start snipping away at them.  

I gave myself a slight talking to: "Come on, do you call yourself a crafty individual or not, eh?" and made the first cut.    You can't rush it, as some are very close together (hurrah, say I, all the more room for more stamps!), but once you get going, it's really no problem.  And the stamps are utterly worth the extra effort.

I knew I wanted to use the four large labels.  My brain was still busy working out bottle-possibilities while I started stamping them on to smooth white cardstock.  I made the mistake of experimenting with colouring in the stamps with my Distress Markers, and once I'd done it once, there was no doubt in my mind that, again, it was worth the extra effort.  Here are a couple of comparisons for you... see what you think:  

The stamps are undoubtedly beautiful all in one colour, but it adds a little something when you mix and blend.

I say it was a mistake to try it - I only mean in terms of it taking longer, but what's lovely is  you become really intimately acquainted with the stamps as you do it.

And this one (probably my favourite) is splendid in Forest Moss, but when you add Bundled Sage, Dusty Concord and a hint of Black Soot, I think it really comes alive.

So, perfume bottles then.  I've been stashing little glass bottles at home for projects throughout the house clearing process, and had amassed a lovely selection (not all alcohol miniatures, since you ask, no).  Alas - they are all in the UK, and I'm in the Czech Republic!  When it came to making the cut for how much of my crafting stash and equipment I could ship over for the couple of months I'm here, the 3D collage stuff lost out.  So, now what...  I was going to have to go freestyle!  I decided I'd just have to (aagh!) draw myself some bottle shapes.

Firstly, I needed something to cut them out of.  Time to get messy!

I swiped some Bundled Sage and (a tiny bit of) Forest Moss from Distress Ink stamp pads onto my craft mat, and added a couple of drops of Peeled Paint Re-Inker (all Ranger/Tim Holtz - wow, I think that's the first time I've mentioned him today!), spritzed it all with lots of water and set about turning my white cardstock glassy.  

You can see the mess, and I think you can see the glorious sheen on the still-wet card.  Of course, as it dries some of that gloss disappears unless you're using glossy cardstock (again, not in my supplies here, bah humbug), so I gave it a couple of squirts of my homemade glimmer spray.  For more about that, have a look here.  I always have an extra bit of paper nearby to use up any leftover ink on the mat - waste not, want not.

Urgently in need of some sort of help, I focussed on the shapes of the labels to guide the bottle design.  In fact, I decided it would be best to do a trial run of the whole thing, so I deployed the discarded single-colour stamped images onto some plain card, and started sketching around them.  

It wasn't until I was done that I realised this tentative approach had a hidden advantage.  If we assume that I might want some bottles for the labels again at some point in the future (with some glossy cardstock to hand next time, please), I now have a complete set of templates to use, so I needn't go through all that drawing stress again!

Here are my templates on the left...

... and here they are on their respective "glass" bottles:

I did some shading down the right of each bottle to give a bit more dimensionality, and aged the labels themselves with some Old Paper Distress Ink.  It's got a greenish tinge, so tied in well with everything else that was going on.

As we're on colours, I should just point out that the whole colour scheme was dictated by my printer!  

The sharper-eyed amongst you will have noticed that my lovely Hippopotamus Polka was a beautifully aged sepia colour.  I'd probably have set off on another b+b scheme again were it not that the printer, in its infinite wisdom, decided to make the whole thing come out in a gentle shade of lilac.

After some gentle remonstration, couched in the kindest of terms, I decided that maybe the printer was right - this was for a 'Summer's Ball' after all... lavender and lilac might do very well.  Oh, the happy accidents of scrapping!

I knew music, flowers, leaves, ribbons and lace would all play a part, but as I started assembling the piece on my craft table, I felt it needed something more.  What could be more summery than a butterfly?  Sadly, the only 3D ones I had were in shocking pink, another cheapy bargain, but too big for the project with their double wings... time for some more altering.  

After my experiments with bookrings, I knew I could emboss onto metal, so I fished out my Wow Vanilla White and got to work with the Versamark Watermark stamp pad.

Pretty pleased with the results!  Though I was compelled to distress it with some Vintage Photo in the end, of course.

And here's the butterfly in situ, with my little music scroll (stamp - Pink Paislee, London Market; parchment - the leftover centre of the doily I used for the border)...

I was fairly happy with the thing overall, particularly how I was building dimension into it: the scroll working well, not only curled at the ends but also floating free in the middle; the butterfly's wings nice and perky; the smaller bottles on padded tape; the flowers sitting up nicely on the leaves (for more on how they're made, have a look here), but I was after something else.

I felt the need for some words to tie the thing together.  

Looking at the woman in the picture, she seemed so humorously resigned to the whole situation.  And he's so charmingly self-deprecating.  I toyed with a version of "If you could see him through my eyes...", but I wanted to bring in the perfume somehow too.  

In the end, I just let her speak to me, and put the result on to TH's Tattered Banners (I knew it wouldn't be long before he tipped up again): At least I know one of us smells lovely!

In this photo you can also get a closer look at the Memory Box treble clef die newly arrived from America (thank you, Simon Says Stamp, for your very reasonable European postage costs, and incredibly speedy transatlantic delivery to an addict needing her fix!).  

And finally, here are just a few close-ups so that you can get a really good look at those Crafty Individuals stamps:

So, that's it for now...

I hope you're all having a ball this summer, one way or another.  I'm really happy you've spent some time with me here, and I hope you've enjoyed the stages of this project.

It's always lovely to hear your comments.  In fact, why not join up and follow the site?  There's lots more to come, and some very unusual applications of scrapping supplies in the near future... Watch this space!

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust


Lynne Moncrieff said...

This is gorgeous, I am all for old style vintage romance (yes, even with hippos!). Your use of the CI stamps is beautiful and I actually assumed the perfume bottles were die-cuts.
Thank you for sharing with us at the Crafty Individuals challenge.
BTW - if you are looking to possibly add to your CI stamp collection then it might interest you to see the mini Blog Candy I have on offer.

Jean Hardy said...

I love this hanging - very unique and different! Also love your comments and instructions - I too am having fun playing with distress markers on our stamps at the moment, and getting some lovely results. Thanks for joining in the CI Challenge. Jean

Claudia N. said...

What a gorgeous couple they make, Alison!

And you really framed them with so much love and affection ;)

Love it!

Hugs, die amelie xx