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 7 July 2012

Why do birds sing?

Because music is an unstoppable life force - they can't help themselves!  Hello again, and welcome (back) to Words and Pictures.  I've been playing with my brand new Artistic Outpost stamps, just arrived in CZ from the good old US of A, and I'm in love!  With the stamps, that is (in case that wasn't clear)...

I bought several sets because, let's face it, if you're going to pay the postage, you might as well get your money's worth.  And, besides, I couldn't decide between them all.  I'll be going back for more as soon as the next pay check comes in.  

I was just playing around with them to see what arose, and I found myself (you'll never guess) working my way towards the browns and blues.  I guess I start from where I'm comfortable and then, as I find out more about the stamps, I'll begin to explore more adventurously!  But here's where they've taken me so far...
Those who've been attending closely may remember that I've already altered one of these nasty plastic white frames for an earlier project. A quick before and after:

The Artistic Outpost stamps come as unmounted red rubber sheets.  I've mentioned these kinds of stamps before, and this time I kept a little photo diary of the process, so I'll post that some time soon for those who've no idea what all that's about.  

Again, those who are old hands at this are free to ignore that day's nonsense!  

The sets I chose will make absolute sense to anyone who's been following my journey so far.  They centre around music, the search for serenity, rural images of solitude and peace, and lots of words, quotes and phrases.  

This project uses stamps from the sets Whimsical Melange, Serenity and Old Grist Mill, and really grew very organically out of my explorations with the stamps, trying them out in different colours and inks on different surfaces.  I pretty quickly realised things were gathering towards something three-dimensional.  So I grabbed another frame...

The external walls are covered with a paper from DCWV's Tattered Time Mat Stack, and it's edged with the lovely rich Walnut Stain Distress Ink. 

For quite a long time I was playing with the notion that the same paper would be on the front edge of the frame, but - as you'll see - things change of their own accord when you're crafting!

The internal walls, floor and 'ceiling' are covered using a sheet taken from an old music book.  I've covered it with a wash of Picket Fence Distress Ink which gives a lovely muted, whitewash effect, and added the little criss-cross checkered stamp from Whimsical Melange for additional texture.

Let's get a proper look at that Songbird stamp and quote, instead of all these oblique angles!  It's simply glorious.

It was always destined to be love at first sight with this stamp.  It's incredibly beautiful.  It's stamped here onto a lovely text-based patterned paper from K&Co's Best Of selection.  

I've used my much-loved combination of Stormy Sky and Chipped Sapphire Distress Inks blended on the stamp. 

And just look at these twirling vines, birds and butterfly - so pretty... and the sentiment obviously strikes a strong and beautiful chord with me.

For the background, I wanted to have a go at combining some of the techniques I'd been learning (Tim Holtz tutorials here, and his Compendium of Curiosities book - so great; as well as loads of great crafting tutorials on youtube) and playing with one by one.

So, using the lovely leaf stamp from the AO Old Grist Mill set (just wait til you see the Mill itself!), I stamped randomly over a piece of A4 kraft paper using acrylic paint.  

I kept them well-spaced because I knew there'd be other versions to come.

I then blended various ink colours over the top (you can probably list them yourselves by now) with a blending tool.  

The acrylic paint provides a resist effect, so that with a spritz of water on some paper towel, you can wipe the ink away to reveal the leaf beneath.

I tried some water-stamping - Versamark or embossing ink onto the stamp, then a spritz of water, then stamp it onto the inks - and if you look closely you'll see a couple of very ghostly images, but either my ink colours weren't dark enough or they'd soaked into the paper too much for this to work terribly well.  I've had much more success on a smoother surfaced cardstock.  

Then there are some clear-embossed leaves, and some simply stamped in Chipped Sapphire.  The whole thing then got a few spritzes of Perfect Pearls Mist in Pearl to give it the shimmery gleam.  I'm deliriously happy with the result - hence all the pictures you're getting to look at!!

This one, going across from left to right, has the paint leaf, embossed leaf, and stamped leaf in close-up.

In the end, as well as using this as the background, I decided it deserved a foreground position too, and so now it adorns the front edges of the whole piece.  

The little house-shaped stamp is another early favourite - so adorable, with another couple of favourite motifs: the ruler and the butterfly.  

It's printed, like the main quote, on the K&Co paper.  In keeping with the musical theme of the sentiment, I've added my lovely Memory Box treble clef die, this time cut in scrunched wax paper, giving it a lovely textural quality.

The whole thing's backed on to chipboard to give it some body.  I found I wanted a little extra something, so gave it the wax paper 'fringe' down the inside edge.

I added a little Weathered Wood to the bunting using a TH Distress Marker, and then got up to my old tricks with the Stormy Sky, Chipped Sapphire and then a Versamark/UTEE re-stamping of the leaf. 

I'm still in love with the enamel effect this gives.  Don't expect it to disappear as a combination any time soon!

The Harmony stamp from the AO Serenity set is stamped in Walnut Stain on to another piece of the music sheet, then clear-embossed.  I attached it to a bit of 'tattered faux-leather' I had hanging around.  I learned this technique from a great tutorial from J Ann B Designs.  

It's brilliantly messy fun to do, and you go around looking like a terminal smoker with horridly stained fingertips, but I do like the end result.

And the little twig heart was from one of my 'silly' bargains on ebay: a bag of 25 hearts in several sizes for 1 penny (with free p+p!)... now that's my kind of shopping!  I made the tiny scroll out of the K&Co paper, and ripped and distressed the edges with the help of a bit Walnut Stain.  The scroll is tied with a little strip of wax paper.  

You can get another look at the stamped music paper here too.

Mulberry paper roses add the final touch to the piece.

Well, so far I'm deeply enamoured of these stamps - they're everything I hoped they'd be when I held my breath and crossed my fingers that they would reach me here in the Czech Republic!  

I'm entering this in Artistic Outpost's July challenge which is 'Anything Goes' (as long as you use AO stamps, of course!).  And given you can enter as many times as you like, I'm guessing that - as I continue playing - there may be more to come!

I'm also entering it for Frilly and Funkie's challenge to Show Some Texture (I'm taking them at their word that the added twist of using material is optional, unless faux leather counts!), and the current challenge, Make It Sentimental at Moving Along With The Times, where they'd like the sentiment to take centre stage.

Thanks so much for spending some time here at Words and Pictures.  It's always great to hear your comments, and if you'd like to join up, it would be lovely to have you on board.  Enjoy the rest of your day, whatever it may bring, and see you again soon.

Use those talents you have. You will make it. You will give joy to the world. Take this tip from nature: the woods would be a very silent place if no birds sang except those who sang best.
Bernard Meltzer


Rika said...

This is wonderful!

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

...this is a stunning piece of work, so much thought has been put into every last detail, loVe how you've made your own background paper too, very special...beautiful colours in the brown & blue a perfect marriage!...LOVE this altered frame...Mel :)

Rosanne said...

this is gorgeous!

Chrissy said...

Fantastic project Butterfly..[as I know no other name]..I'm now inspired to create using an artist canvas I picked up for $1..reversed it looks like your plastic frame..so going to attempt to make a shadow box..but not in a million years will it have the colours and depth and gorgeouness of yours..but inspired I am...beautiful work..


Kate Yetter said...

Love your rustic box! The effects with the stamping and ink is fabulous. I must try!

Sarah said...

I am so glad to find your blog and have been enjoying a morning stroll around all of it's beauty. Your background work is perfection!

Ana K. said...


Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Super super gorgeous here!!! Love the background, and these AO images are some of my fav. You need to enter it in the AO monthly challenge.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous project, love the colours you've used and the background you made is fabulous ! Thanks for joining us at Frilly and Funkie. Sue C x

Lisa Somerville said...

Fabulous altered frame! Thanks for playing along with us at Artistis Outpost.

DesignerDiva said...

WOW and WOW! this is just beautiful!
Thanks for getting 'Sentimental' with us at MAWTT this week for Debs challenge and I hope you will join us again
Hugs Laurie xx

Kaylene said...

Lovely work

Debs said...

WOW WOW WOW Stunning work - so much detail with a gorgeous outcome.
Thank you so much for playing along with my challenge at MAWTT this time.
Good luck.
Debs xx

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

It's amazing how you transformed that frame. Blessings!

Terry said...

Breathtaking!!! Your altered frame is filled with so much detail and of course "texture." Love, love it! Thank you for joining us at Frilly and Funkie!

Renee said...

This is amazing!