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...

Sunday 15 July 2012

A room of one's own

A Room of One's Own - it's a quote by Virginia Woolf - in fact the title of an essay extended from a speech she gave at the women's colleges at Cambridge - which has always resounded for me:  A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.  Not just to write fiction of course, but to be creative on any front (and not just women either - it's just that men have, in the past, had far more access to exactly that).  It hits me every Wednesday as I catch some of the WOYWW hop, and it hit me again as I browsed around the fourth annual Where Bloggers Create party: to have a space (mental and emotional as well as physical and geographical) is so utterly vital, and people's craft spaces are endlessly fascinating in what they reveal of the individual artist.

That's all by way of introduction to 'A room of one's own', a project inspired by The Shabby Tea Room's glorious challenge this week, Elegance and Lace, and particularly by the photo prompt provided...

It's also something at the centre of things for me at the moment because (alongside the trauma of preparing to clear and leave the family house which has been the only constant in my somewhat peripatetic life for the last forty years) there is the positive path towards somewhere new to live and make my space.

Part of that new life will be here in the Czech Republic, and this week we were looking at the plans for the attic room I aim to create here above the barn of my mother's brilliantly rescued and restored village house.

So this picture really took off for me.  The architectural features and materials (I'll definitely be on a blond or white wood trail!) went straight to my heart; and whilst the main requirements were to include White/Cream + Pink + Kraft + Lace, these elements in the photo have also seeped into my project.

Okay, time for a picture.  (Sorry, there are LOADS of photos today, but it's a complicated piece!)

But, "hold on a cotton-pickin' minute!" I hear you cry... "where are all these architectural elements she promised us?".

Ah, well, you see - the whole thing opens up to this, with the sentiment right at the heart of the home:

This project was hard-fought: things wouldn't stay where they were put; bits kept not turning out as I planned; the lace wouldn't behave!  But overall I'm reasonably happy with where it ended up.  I would have loved to include some of the soft, wide fabric ribbon I've seen adorning projects on my blog trawls for some added opulence, but I haven't managed to locate any here.

Let me take you through some of the details, starting again from the outside and working our way in.

The paper for the outside is from Prima's gorgeous Botanical collection, which I have in the A4 version.  I think this particular paper is just lovely.  The subtle colouring appeals to my current Shabby Chic obsession.

(By the way, there's a project under construction which will give us all a break from the S.C., so do bear with me if you're utterly sick of the hearts and flowers!)

Obviously I needed some lace for the Shabby Tea Room challenge, but by now I'd also decided to play a couple of the lovely Bingo challenges around.  Nine elements to be included in a project are placed in a bingo grid, and you can 'play' a vertical, horizontal or diagonal line, four corners, or - for some - a full house of all nine elements!

Try it on Tuesday's Bingo had a vertical line of Flower, Two Background Papers, Lace with an extra twist of adding a butterfly - well, I already had two of those elements on the go, I'm never averse to adding a flower, and with my nickname...  

Creative Inspirations had a Bingo line of Pink, Charms, Ribbon - so it wasn't hard to see that this project could also qualify for that.

Hels Sheridan's Sunday Stampers this week is looking for Embellishments, and there are plenty of those in one form or another!

The butterfly is cut out from one of the papers in Tim Holtz's Crowded Attic Paper Stash, inked with some Antique Linen and Bundled Sage blended together, and then UTEE'd both for the gloss of it, and to provide some protection for the very delicate antennae (get that fussy-cutting!).  

The rustic heart is reminiscent of the wall hanging at the back of the photograph room.

The charms came from The Works (fab place to pick up crafty stuff on the cheap every now and then).  I love the little heart shape in the key!

Since Kraft was also required for the Elegance and Lace challenge, the whole thing is made out of a piece of 12x12 Kraft Cardstock, and I made sure to leave parts of that on show as frames and borders throughout the card.  I wanted to draw attention to it, so used the great little wood texture stamp from the Tattered Angels Architectural set in Vintage Photo wherever the Kraft was visible.

When you lift up the first flap, you can get a better look at some of the lace, bought in brilliant white from a Czech department store and attacked with some Antique Linen Distress Ink and a blending tool!

The next stage of unfolding reveals a set of 'double doors' as well as your first glimpse of the floor and ceiling:

The ceiling paper is from K&Company's Best Of collection, a glorious shabby moulding captured for our scrapping use.

The floor (close-up follows soon) I created myself.  I loved the ceiling in the photograph, and had great fun remembering from junior school how to make sure lines of perspective had the right angle on them.  Because I hand-painted the floor in my real room at home (another attic space) to look like weathered white wooden planks, I wanted to have my wood on the floor rather than the ceiling.

I fussy-cut one of the birdcages from Prima's Nature Garden collection and UTEE'd it (again to protect the extremely fragile bit, the handle).

I added a loop of ribbon to open the door with... it also adds a touch of teasing suspense, as you realise there's more to discover.

I had to put an extra bit of cardstock in to strengthen the top folding hinge which opens the ceiling so that it would stay upright once opened.  You do have to give it a bit of a tweak as you open it so that it will stay put.

And finally you arrive in the 'room'.

You can open it so that the walls form an enclosed space, as here, or open it right up as in the main photo near the top of the page.

I do quite like the enclosed view, but it means you have to get an angle on it to see the corners and side walls:

The quote by William Morris is one I try very hard to live by (although I'm a crafting newbie, I've had a crafter's hoarding tendencies most of my life), and certainly my surroundings are very important to me.

It's done on the computer (none of my stamping alphabets were 'elegant' enough), and then distressed with Antique Linen and a hint of Tattered Rose, and the Stampology Silhouettes branches are stamped in Bundled Sage.

I've let rip with the TH Paper Distresser and the tearing and rolling again on my layers of backing papers (from the quote: my own, K&Co, Prima, my own, K&Co).  

To return to the sentiment - I believe it to be beautiful!

The other prominent architectural features in the photograph are obviously the columns and the glorious light-providing door and window at the back. 

I played for a while with the idea of cutting the holes for the windows right through these flaps, but decided I really didn't like the effect it would create on my 'outer' doors.  

While it would be magic to have a room with a view once it's completely open, sadly the 'view' in the folded state would have been of partial words and bits of quote... not so good.  So in the end I went with an abstract view, using the Prima paper again - the leaves and flowers of the 'outdoors' of the project rather than the actual outdoors.

The blinds are K&Company paper, with another of the bits of lace bought at the Haberdashery counter of the Czech department store.  (My mother made me ask for the two metres of each I wanted - scary - but the woman serving was thrilled with my "beautiful Czech" - hmm, 10 words does not a fluent speaker make!)  This one is slightly more delicate, and was also white.  I figured if it's white, I can always alter it to suit whatever I'm working on, as I've done here with the Antique Linen Distress Ink.

The metal 'lacy' corners were originally bright white too, but I've embossed them with some Ranger Weathered White and then sponged on some Tattered Rose.

The columns are made of quite thick card strips (which came out of a packet of new clothes pegs; all the pegs were clipped on to them within the packaging), gessoed for texture, then painted with acrylic white to which I've added weathering marks using the Distress Markers in Weathered Wood, Pumice Stone and Antique Linen.  I then used a water brush to soften the edges of the pen/brush strokes.

I'm not sure whether you can really see on the picture, but the 'mouldings' at top and bottom are covered with some textured modelling paste, which feels really like stone to the touch.  (I bought it to play with some of the stencilling techniques I've been admiring on various blogs, but - what the heck! - I'm making stone, why not try using some 'stone-effect' material to do it?)

There's another of the Nature Garden birdcages fussy-cut and UTEE'd inside the room - one of the 'beautiful' things from the quote... serendipitous that that is the word it sits right next to.

And, lastly, the floor, with which I'm very pleased.  As I mentioned, it's something of a recreation of the actual floor I painstakingly hand-painted (back and forth on my knees across the 20 square metres FIVE times for the various layers of paint, fake planks, wood effect and varnishes) back at home in the UK.

Deliciously, the appropriate perspective point for my lines turned out to be the very peak of the 'roof'.  An enjoyable coincidence, or maybe it's one of those geometrical 'truths' I never really got to grips with!

However much I like my wood effect (Pumice Stone, Weathered Wood, Antique Linen Distress Markers again, and the water brush), it still needed some adornment.

So the UTEE'd hearts left over from 'Only You' got their day in the sun - glossy!

And I cut the Memory Box Madera Corner into some kraft cardstock and stamped it with the wood-effect stamp again in Vintage Photo for extra texture.  

So, yes, the floor pleases me, whatever reservations I may have about some other bits!

Well... as promised/threatened, that was a very long post with A LOT of pictures.  Thank you so much if you've stuck with me this far, and if you've any time left, I'd love it if you left a comment to let me know what you made of it all.

I'd also like to say a big thank you to everyone who has joined up as a follower so far - it's so lovely to have your support, your visits and your valuable feedback.  

I hope to see you here at Words and Pictures again soon, whether as a follower or not (but, you know, why not?!), and in the meanwhile I hope you all have a peaceful, joyous time doing whatever it is you love to do.

I'm entering this for:
The Shabby Tea Room's challenge Elegance and Lace
The Sunday Stamper over at Ink On My Fingers who'd like to see our Bits and Pieces
Try It On Tuesday's Bingo Challenge playing vertically Flower, Two Papers, Lace
Bingo over at Creative Inspirations playing vertically Pink, Charms, Ribbon
Gingerloft's current challenge which is Fancy Folds
Although my sentiment is not on the front, it's certainly the centre of the piece, so I'm also entering this for The Corrosive Challenge which this fortnight is Sentimentally Yours
And one more for the Anything Goes July challenge at The Crafty Bloggers

He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.

A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.
Benjamin Franklin


Inkypinkycraft said...

i love the soft colours and the beautiful details ..they all go to make this a beautiful piece! trace x

Elizabeth Hart said...

Gorgeous - really lovely details and embellishments on this "stand out" card- love it. Thanks so much for joining us this week at the Gingerloft Challenge.

Lisa Minckler said...

Now THAT is outstanding!!! Completely brilliant Alison. You've whisked me away to the most inviting and welcoming home and all done with a masterfully minded card. I've truly enjoyed reading the thought process on this as well. What a superb sentiment!
Thank you so much for the very kind words you left on my blog that led me here to yours!
Have a great one and I hope you're working on another masterpiece for the OCC challenge ;)
Lisa xx

Candy C said...

Alison, I totally loved reading your blog piece. I love how you've made your project feel like a room in a home! Love the sentiment. Love the shabby chic-ness of it! Love the colors and the delicate laces and washed effects. Love the butterflies! Love the little hearts tucked inside. Love the little heart and key lock that "unlocks" the opening to such a beautiful little fold out room...complete with windows and lace "curtains". Thank you, too, for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment about my layered piece for Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

Angela Weimer said...

Alison, what a beautiful project. Love all the details you put into it. I am looking forward to following your work and blog now that I have found it. thanks for sharing and have a wonderful day. Angela

...the yorkshire fox... said...

...incredible work Alison, the time it must of taken to get this piece together, and as you say things just not playing ball too just shows your attention to detail...this really is a masterpiece, loVe your gorgeous shabby papers and the beautiful embellishments...you are very inspiring and your work has the wow factor...Mel :)

Berit Synnøve said...

Wow, this is stunning ! Love everything about it, colors, details and folds.
Thanks for joining Gingerloft Challenge.
Hugs Berit

Hels Sheridan said...

WOW, now that is completely AMAZING and STUNNING... love all those details, layers, elements and gorgeous stuff to look at... thanks for joining in with the Sunday Stamper x

Ink Art Designs said...

This is an amazing piece of work Alison...I love the soft shabby colours and all the incredible detail and thought that has gone into it. Beautiful!!!
Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog...the stamp you like is an inkadinkado one ~ called Her Sunday Best Rubber Stamp (93544) and can still be found!
Dot x

Redanne said...

This is such a beautiful piece, love it, love your post with all the details and really like your blog too. A x

Anonymous said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment and LOVE your creation too! WOW so much to look at and fabulous texture and style! hugs me xx

Suzanne C said...

This is stunning! I love the layout and all the thought you put into the details. Brilliant!

Kathy said...

Well, since all the superlatives have already been said, I'll just say this one again...WOW!!! This is so very beautiful!!

Shelby said...

What an intricate and beautiful piece of art! I love all of the elements and the delicacy and femininity you've created...awesome work


Silvia(Barnie) said...

Wow, this is an outstanding project, so many wonderful details. It must have taken hours and hours. Really fabulous.

Neet said...

So much detail and so utterly fabulous in every way. This is a gorgeous piece of artwork that you have produced - again!
Love the picture of the room you are using. How I would love one like that - hope you manage to recreate and look forward to seeing it when you do. That attic room sounds as if it will be perfect.
Hugs, Neet x

Bee and Dee said...

A brilliant piece love it, great colours, construction etc, and I really enjoyed reading the blog post. Thank you for joining us on the TIOT challenge. Hugs Bee

Jasmine said...

What a gorgeous creation, Alison. It's really more of a work of art than a card. Every little detail is so beautiful and lovely, and well thought out. It's really outstanding. Best of luck with your move, I hope you can make a space for yourself as pretty as your project. Thanks so much for joining us at The Corrosive Challenge!

Elaine said...

This is stunningly beautiful - love the pale colours, the detail you've achieved and the design!!

Asia King (aka Joanna K) said...

What a stunning project, Alison! Love the lovely shabby chic look ;). Thank you for playing the stamp hunt and entering the candy - I've addded 2 more entries for you! Big hugs, Asia xx

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Love how this opens and the inside is marvelous!!! So shabby chic yummy!!!

Cathy L. Calamas said...

oh my goodness. STUNNING!! Really lovely. thx for stopping by my blog, too.

Anna-Karin said...

Wow, this is so lovely, what an amazing piece. Gorgeous details, design and message. Love the quote you started the post with two, and funnily enough, I am right now working on a project using home quotes too. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog!

Sue said...

Wow this is absolutely gorgeous, so many stunning details - I love it x

Maria Matter said...

absolutely stunning!!

Victoria said...

What an amazingly beautiful project! There are so many stunning details that it's hard to pick out a few but I shall try: the lace blinds, that wonderful quotation, beautiful papers, the bird cage, and of course the sheer lovely 3D-ness!

Aunty Sue said...

Oh wow such detail just love it and so pleased you joined s at Creative inspirations

Chrissy said...

This is just stunning Alison, gorgoeus papers and such a clever design...love all the beautiful details, now that is room I could live in...gorgeous.


Moshie said...

BEAUTIFUL!!! I am astounded as I browse your blog. Your work is just gorgeous! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and commenting. I would have never found your blog if you had not done that! Hugs, Diana

Unknown said...

Gorgeous project, thanks for joining our challenge on Crafty Bloggers Network.