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 1 August 2012


Hello to followers old and new, and also to any occasional visitors who happen to be dropping in.  It's great to have your company for as long as you care to stay...

As I packed up my temporary crafting area for transportation across Europe, May Flaum posted a piece about using up leftovers so, although I still have three large folders full of scraps in my luggage, I did make an effort, as I was clearing up, to start putting the 'using it up immediately' into practice.  Here are some ATCs (my first go at them) I put together out of the leftovers lying on and around the craft table.   Last minute crafting, when I should really have been packing...

The sharper-eyed followers among can run your own little test trying to spot the projects of which they're the remnants... click the links for the answers!

Since I know there are a few non-crafters following, I should probably do a little explanation of ATCs.  It stands for Artist Trading Cards - cards measuring about 2½ by 3½ inches, on which you can create a piece of work which can then be swapped or traded (or hoarded for oneself!).  

As they're the same size as collectors' cards, such as baseball cards, they can be stored and displayed in similar ways, and have become a big way of sharing work in the artworld and in craftland.  Wikipedia has more here if you're interested...

My little selection, as I say, are made out of what was around on my desk, with some extra stamping and embellishing, obviously.  Since lots of stuff I've been playing with recently has been in a vintage monochrome world, I think they sort of work as a set.  

And since my favourite game is combining Words and Pictures, they are each built around their own sentiment.  The choice of sentiments comes straight from the life project and life events I'm in the midst of at the moment.  Here is what I have to say for myself at present...

The first sentiment is one I love (it's a Tim Holtz stamp, inked with Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain onto a scrap of BoBunny's Timepiece paper) - and something I'm trying very hard to work with in re-creating my life.  There hadn't been very much time for pausing in the job I was in, and I was starting to feel that life outside of work (for all that it was hugely stimulating and rewarding work) was slightly passing me by.

I couldn't even, when in the thick of things, spare any mental energy for reading (apart from things related to the work)... which is one of my havens of escape.

So, I loved this photograph I found when on a vintage image crawl.  Two pictures from the same haul found their way on to a favourite card of mine, and this library lovely was left on the sheet I'd printed out.  She got the Vintage Photo and Paper Distresser treatment!

The stamped clock is from BoBunny's Timepiece stamp set - it's a gorgeous pocket watch, and a gorgeous stamp.  

And there's one of the little metal clock charms I got from the Bead Shop (you've seen one before... here).  This one got a coat of dark brown acrylic, then I dabbed on some white acrylic very roughly using the end of the bristles on a very firm paintbrush.  Finally I sanded it in places with an emery board to get some of the dull gold to show through again.

The 'lace' on the bottom is leftover from yet another project.  It's cut with Tim Holtz's Decorative Strip Die called Vintage Lace, from delicate paper ribbon, so it has a lovely fragility...  There are three different laces on the Die, so unless you trim the paper first, you get three bits of lace whenever you use it - and it's great to have the spares around, until you come to packing away your whole craft area, of course!  This has had a bit of distressing with Antique Linen and Walnut Stain Distress Inks.

You don't have to look very far back in the posts for the next place things are left over from... This was in fact a leftover idea rather than a scrap.  The Renaissance Men challenge over at Frilly and Funkie asked us to use one of four great master artists as inspiration.  

I went straight for Leonardo da Vinci, and my first thought was that I would use something from his Notebooks where all his plans, inventions and engineering ideas are (as well as preparatory sketches), including the infamous helicopter.

I got this grinding mill image from a Google search, and for a while was playing with the idea of combining it with cogs and gears from the TH Idea-ology range.  

In the end I went a completely different way, but I'm so pleased to have found a small way to honour that first idea... And, as you can see, I've also deployed some of the mesh ribbon I used in that same project.  It started out plain cream, but Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain soon put an end to that!

I love this sentiment (again a TH stamp - embossed in copper over Versamark Watermark) - and it's so apt right now, at a point when I'm not only reinventing myself as a freelance, and exploring an emigration to a whole new country, but also having so recently discovered this whole new world of crafting and expressing my creativity through visual means - quite new to me.  

The last one of the three comes straight from the heart - and that's probably why it ended up with a heart as its focal point!

I claimed I was making these ATCs to use stuff up so as to reduce how many tiny little scraps of this, that and the other I would be packing up and transporting.  The truth is that I was making them to delay having to start the packing, as I was so reluctant to do it!!  

I was doing my utmost to stay in a state of denial about having to leave the Czech Republic and head back to a chaotic month of busy-ness in the UK... so I certainly did not want to 'speak of parting'!

You'll have seen the sheet music appearing in many projects - it's from an actual old music book.  Music is one of the great joys of my life, and I'm lucky enough to be able to include it in my work quite often, and so it is only appropriate that I also include it in my craftwork quite often.  

Besides, I find manuscript music beautiful in itself.  I think the treble clef is one of the most beautiful symbols there is, and I love sharps and flats too... This piece being in E flat, you get three flats next to the clef in the key signature!

The background was created using the TH tissue tape, covered with Picket Fence Distress Stain; and I used Antique Linen and Walnut Stain Distress Inks to edge and colour it.  The tissue tape is also backed onto tissue paper to make the ribbon (leftover from this).

The heart, meanwhile, is leftover from a project which is still in the making, and which is travelling back to England as yet unfinished... you'll get to see it in a future post. 

That project is based around kraft paper with clear embossing of various flourishes to create a homemade Kraft Resist.  Then there's gesso and white acrylic applied and wiped away to get the shabby chic look you see here.

This was a whole spare 5x5 inch piece, so once I knew I wanted a heart, I drew one on the back and cut it out.  It's edged with some more of the leftover paper lace, this time trimmed to change the shapes, and stuck onto some padded tape to lift it away from the background.

So, my last minute crafting, procrastinating, ATCs of denial speak out loud and clear about what's going on with me at the moment... but I hope you can also take pleasure in them on a surface level.  I can see I'm going to become slightly obsessed with the browns/kraft/creams and weathered whites... they please me greatly - in lots of amazing projects I've seen by others, I hasten to add, not just here!

A big thank you  for joining me here today for some more Words and Pictures, and have a wonderful time doing whatever it is that gives you joy, until we meet again.

I'm entering this set of ATCs in the following:
Simon Says Stamp and Show's challenge based on words: What do you say?
Try It On Tuesday's current challenge Anything Goes
Fussy and Fancy would like to see Vintage with Distressing and Lace
Make It Monday's 100th (!!) Linky Party
Incy Wincy Designs are having an Anything but a Card challenge

Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say goodnight til it be morrow.
Romeo and Juliet II.ii, William Shakespeare

A wandering minstrel I, a thing of shreds and patches, of ballads, songs and snatches...
from The Mikado, Gilbert & Sullivan

The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for 30 years she served the family nothing but leftovers.  The original meal has never been found.
Calvin Trillin


Sarah said...

Beautiful ATCs. Safe travels for you.

Anonymous said...

What gorgeous ATC's and what a wonderful story to go with each one of them. Hope your travels are safe. Congrats on your win at Artisitc Outpost too ! Sue C x

Terry said...

Well these are most lovely ATC's! Great use of leftovers! So much beauty and great details! Noticed you were the winner at AO, enjoy! Thank you for joining us at Frilly and Funkie!

Janny Jager said...

WOWWWWWWWWWW what beautiful the Atc's
Love them very very much.

Greetings Janny

Sazzle said...

What a great way to use up your scrap pieces and such gorgeous projects too :-)

Thanks for joining us over at Fussy and Fancy for our Vintage challenge - good luck!

xx Happy crafting and glittery hugs xx


Pia S said...

These are beautiful! I love the sentiments - such words of wisdom!

House of Bears said...

Crafting is much more fun than packing, although not as productive when moving. Your ATCs are stunning.

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Fabulous way to use up your scraps and so beautifully executed. I love the heart and love the vintage tones on all three. Gorgeous layouts and wonderful text. Thanks so much for joining in the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. Tracy x

Claudia N. said...

The loveliest ATCs I have ever seen, Alison!!!

"Leftover-treasures" you made them!
Wanna trade? *wink


die amelie x x

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

What a great vintage atc's, the style is so lovely...good job.
Good luck with the challenges!

greetings, Alie :-)

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

...three gorgeous little beauties Alison...so much vintage detail from colour through to sentiment, stunning work as ever...Mel :)

Lynn said...

Simply stunning!! Love the beautiful vintage detail:)
Thank you for joining us at Fussy and Fancy Challenges!
Lynn xx

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness, where to start Alison. First, these little treasures are wonderful. The fact that their crafted out of scraps, even better. I love how unafraid you are in your creativity! Between that wonderful trait and the gift you have for words and pictures I find myself loving this blog more every time I visit.
Hope the U.K. won't be too chaotic and that your other crafty goodies get to come out and play soon. ;) As always, thank you for the sweet comment and visit. Be safe and thanks so much for sharing these vintage miniature masterpieces with us.
Lisa xx

Candy C said...

Your first go at ATCs...no way! These are amazing! Loved reading your post about how these little beauties came into being. and how smart you are to use up leftovers...and in such a productive artistic way! I love your sentiments and vintage photographs, too. Beautifully done ATCs. Thanks for sharing them with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

Meihsia Liu said...

Gorgeous creations!!! Love all the details!

Shelby said...

These are just amazingly beautiful vintage designs! Love how you've put so much of yourself and your passions into your work...it definitely shows. Have a safe return back to the UK


Peanut said...

These are lovely! They certainly don't look like they've been made out of scraps. Glad I saw your creation on MIM#100 and thanks for dropping by my blog.

Shirley-Anne said...

Hi Alison .WOW these ATCs are amazing .Your post so interesting and well written .Loved them all but if I had to pick one , then the lady with the books would be
" it".

Neet said...

You do such beautiful work and I adore these ATC's. As how I try i do not seem to achieve this shabby chic look. Each one is a work of art in its own right. Beautiful!
I do hope that you soon settle back in the UK, depending on where you are going the weather can be good or bad - hope you are relocating where it is good.
Have a safe journey home.
Hugs, Neet xx

Marjorie said...

Fabulous ATC's hunnie, lovely vintage look and such lovely sentiments..love your little stories with each one too...just stunning...
Thank you for sharing them with us at Make it Monday this week....

Karen McAlpine said...

Lovely little works of art. Fantastic job using your left overs!! Beautiful original projects ..I took a look at them too. Hope you have a great trip.

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

So special to make your first atc's with extra meaning in them! They are all wonderful! Safe travels, and thanks for letting us inside your world for a bit.

Lisa Minckler said...

Cripes! Alison, these are just outstanding. I actually got goosebumps looking at them. The images alone are stunning but the sentiments REALLY hit home. Gorgeous work as always!!!

Lisa xx
Oh, and thank you so much for linking up with us at Make It Monday.

coconut said...

Your three ATCs are all lovely and very original!... Love it all three! I will look at your two remaining artworks tomorrow only, as I want take time to read you as well.. Have a good evening. Coco

Anjas-Artefaktotum said...

All threes are really beauties, love your style!
Hugs Anja from germany

debby4000 said...

Wish I could make such beautiful ATC with just scraps they're gorgeous.

Mrs.B said...

Hi Alison, Such fabulous ATC's and out of leftovers, and so many stunning details.
Thanks for sharing with us at TioT
Avril xx

Anonymous said...

Hi Alison. Stunning ATCs love them all. Happy and safe travels.
Regards Florence x

Evil Edna said...

beautiful detailed creations, really like the stuble texture.thank you for joining us at TIOT.EE

Anna-Karin said...

These ATCs are absolutely wonderful! Great use of your scraps. I love all the sentiments you used. Very much good luck with the move! Thank you for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!

Julia said...

I saw your beautiful creation on Make It Monday and had to visit and take a closer look. Gorgeous! TFS! My entries are: #84, #129, #157, #159 and #277.
I would love to have you visit my blog!

Ellie Knol said...

Beautiful!!! Especially that old little clock is so awesome!

Sue said...

I think I have become a stalker! I am in total awe of your work, your love of pictures and words & your art. I can totally appreciate your love of words even though I am useless with language myself & can never seem to use the right words. I hope you find the stamp you were interested in, it reads: "Listen and you will hear a Symphony". It is quite old but beautiful. I am now a follower. Sx

Kezzy said...

Sounds like your really feeling the pressure at the moment, I really do feel for you, it's so hard when you feel everything is getting on top of you, or that your being pulled in so many directions, that hiding seems the best response. Your ATC's are gorgeous, I have started doing them as well, but I haven't found anywhere to swap them yet :-(. Keep positive, read, I am a lover of reading, but found I hadn't read for 8 months then recently I started and it's really helped me relax and gives me ME time to help make me feel calmer to cope what life is throwing our way. Lots of supporting hugs sent your way Kerry xxx

Sazzle said...

Congratulations you've been chosen as our next guest designer. Please pop over to the Fussy and Fancy blog to get all of the details and of course pick up your badge too :-)

xx Happy crafting and glittery hugs xx