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Monday 20 August 2012

Sherlock Holtz

Hello all, and welcome (back) to Words and Pictures on this sunny (here at least!) day...

I'm participating in the Tim Holtz 12 tags of 2012 for the first time.  Each month, the great TH (I may have mentioned him once or twice..!) produces a tag full of gorgeous ideas, techniques and possibilities and invites us all to play around with the inspiration provided.  It seems that you can stick quite close to the brief, or you can take the idea and run with it...  Well, I found myself LOVING the August tag, but without lots of the equipment to reproduce it, so improvisation became the name of the game.

Let me give you a quick look at TH's tag - it was inspired by the silhouette artists at DisneyLand, so the central silhouette is the main feature.  With my love of Vintage, you can see why I was pretty smitten from the off. 

But I have a confession - I'm not that wild about using flowers in my projects... controversial, I know, and maybe it's just because I'm not very good at them yet!  The challenges were piling up thick and fast!!

The first thing was to locate a silhouette which made my heart dance.  This stamp TH is using is just gorgeous - but I haven't got it, so I went on one of my Google Image trawls... and something slightly different caught my eye.  Let me show you what I ended up with and then, if you're interested, you can stick around while I take you through some of the alterations and adaptations I found myself having to make, and in the end wanting to make, to add to the story of the tag... (Oh, and if you do nothing else, I'd love you to have a look at my magnifying glass before you go!)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Mr Sherlock Holmes... or should that be Sherlock Holtz?!

I'm completely in love with the latest TV adaptation of the Holmes stories, Sherlock,  created by Steven Moffat (creator of new Dr Who amongst many other things) and Mark Gatiss (of The League of Gentlemen fame), and starring a supremely fine double act at the helm: Benedict Cumberbatch (there's a name to conjure with) as SH, and Martin Freeman as Dr. Watson.

It's updated to present day London yet sticks to the stories, riffing off them, and adapting, with genius, elements within the stories.  If you haven't seen it, I urge you to seek it out.  (Two series on DVD so far...)

Anyway, once I'd spotted the Sherlock Holmes silhouette, it wouldn't leave me in peace, and the other elements of the tag started to work their way into my mind and onto my craft table - combining SH and TH!

Improvising round the lack of certain products became a positive pleasure... can you spot the SH references?

No Mini Leaf and Branch die... so I used the keys from the TH Hardware Findings die, because SH is always seeking the key to the mystery.  I still used the Kraft Core cardstock, as TH has... sanding the edges of the brown card to reveal the paler Kraft within.

For the leaves, I traced round some Tattered Leaves die-cuts I got ready cut off ebay... I coloured them with Bundled Sage and Peeled Paint Distress Markers and stamped them with the little music manuscript stamp out of the Pink Paislee London Market set. Voilà - the leaves of sheet music from which SH learns his violin pieces (though he prefers to play from memory once learned of course).

I didn't have the lovely frame stamp, so instead I used the one from TH's Urban Grunge set.  Now, some of you will know that it's really a horizontal frame and not the same top and bottom.  You're right - so instead of inking the whole thing with Ranger Embossing Ink, I just did two thirds of it, and then the same two thirds again the other way up, to complete a symmetrical frame around my printed silhouette.

And having embossed once with Detail Black embossing powder, I then threw some UTEE at it while still hot, to get a really thick glossy frame.

No Book Covers embossing folder, but by now I wanted to represent the brick-built houses of Baker Street, so it had to be the TH Bricked embossing folder instead.  

One problem with that is that it doesn't have a natural flat area in the centre, so I tried an experiment, creating a shim frame (extra layer when cutting) that should have protected my central area.  It did to a certain extent... the embossing is not nearly as deep in the middle, but I didn't quite pull it off as I'd've liked.

I used sand-coloured acrylic as my resist layer, then inked with Tea Dye, Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain towards the edges, wiping some away to reveal more of the opaque acrylic again.  I played with inking and wiping for a while until I got a brick look that pleased me.

I have cut the bottom of the tag with an On the Edge die, but mine's the Brackets one, and added the little 221b reference to the house number in Baker Street where Holmes and Watson share rooms.

No Tattered Pinecone die to make the flowers with, but I do have the TH Vintage Lace Decorative Strip die.  I wanted another SH element, so I decided to cut them out of vintage newsprint from The London Times of the 1890s (Google Image Search again - I love you!).

Rolling them around the toothpicks as TH suggests with his pinecone made life a bit easier (and I even tweaked each 'petal' before starting as the video tutorial recommends), but since it's not a flower-specific die, I have got slightly tighter rosebuds, rather than open flower heads. Still, I rather like what I've ended up with. 

The paper was aged with Old Paper Distress Ink and Vintage Photo on the edges, using a blending tool.  And they benefited, of course, from the final spritz of Perfect Pearls in Heirloom Gold which the whole tag received...

I like to "read" them as crumpled balls of newspaper that SH has hurled across the room in frustration when one of the adverts he has placed to flush out Moriarty has somehow gone astray!

I had some brown and cream ribbon, which I coloured with TH's Bundled Sage Distress Stain, and then used the Peeled Paint Distress Marker too for a slightly richer green, to hint at the tweed material of SH's famous hat, the Deerstalker.

The initials are pretty obvious; they're littering this post, infact!  They're taken from a set of fridge magnets shaped like old-fashioned typewriter keys.  Perhaps in preparing the stories for publication, Dr Watson might have used the still relatively new-fangled technology of a typewriter (invented 1867 - for the nerds amongst you...).

And the pearls, prompted by the TH inspiration tag, can also be read as referencing the SH story: The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, in which a pearl has been secreted inside a plaster bust of Napoleon, and subsequently mislaid!

The fabulous TH Chitchat stickers don't include the particular words I needed for my tag, so I had to print them from the computer myself.  The font?  Baskerville.  If you spotted that you get double points!!

Finally, my last little touch was to create another extra little 'twig', or branch of detection - the magnifying glass.  It's made out of one of those very cute, bulbous, pear-shaped safety pins, slightly squeezed together.  

I wrapped some leftover brick-embossed card, inked with Walnut Stain for a slightly leathery look, around the fastening end as the handle.  Then I dolloped some Glossy Accents onto a piece of card and scooped it into the circular end to create a 'bubble' of glass.  

It took a couple of attempts before I did it at the right moment of the Glossy Accents being liquid enough still to spread across the gap, and on the way to drying enough to stay there.  Rotating it like a spit-roast helped a bit.  

Okay, so it doesn't magnify very much, but I'm dead chuffed with it, nonetheless...  And I even quite enjoyed making the flowers too!

So glad you could join me on the case here at Words and Pictures today.  If you head over to Tim Holtz's blog, specifically August where I'm entering this, you can see amazingly creative versions of this tag from all over the world - reinvented, reinterpreted, recreated and really special!  I love seeing the variations on a theme as they arrive throughout the month.  Thanks so much for dropping in, and I hope to see you again soon - here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland!

I'm also going to throw it into the ring at Simon Says Stamp and Show: since I've broken almost every rule in creating it, it should fit well in their No Rules challenge this week!

It has long been an axiom of mine that the littlest things are infinitely the most important.
Sherlock Holmes

Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers.  All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance.  But this rose is an extra.  Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it.  It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.
Sherlock Holmes

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.
Sherlock Holmes

All taken from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Carol Q said...

lol - you got sucked in like I did too! love your variation on a theme. the brick wall looks fab, obviously the quotes are perfect and your roses look just great.

Victoria said...

I'd say elementary My Dear Butterfly, but it's a myth that SH actually said it! Beautiful colours, beautiful style.

Chrissy said...

Fantastic creation Alison..I love the brick wall and magnifying glass, gorgeous vintagey flowers,and the silhouette with frame is brilliant.What a wonderful creation..fabulous.


Candy C said...

Very cool Tim Holtz-ish style tag. Love the background bricks and the silhouette of Sherlock Holmes (Holtz). Thanks for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

Candy C said...

Alison, you will LOVE the Andy Skinner techniques. They are so much fun. Be sure you print out all of the instructions he gives on the videos and the blog; when you get access to it. That site only lasts for like 8 weeks. But...the PDFs are awesome and you'll have them forever. I even added some of my own notes on the PDFs. <3 Candy

Anonymous said...

The game is afoot, Alison! Fabulous!! Love all of the detail, especially the little magnifying glass.
Regards Florence x

Asia King (aka Joanna K) said...

OH MY WORLD! I absolutely loooove your Sherlock Holtz tag and the title is super cool too! Beautifully done, bravo!!! xx

Bb said...

Really nice!

Redanne said...

I love, love, love your take on Tim's tag, it is a truly brilliant piece of deduction - I mean piece of art. Love the wall and how you brought each of the elements into your design - it really is a genius idea and extremely well executed....... Crafty hugs, Anne x

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

Oh this is great Alison, not only the superbtext: Sherlock Holtz hahaha, but the tag is gorgeous in every detail!

greetings, Alie :-)

Patti P. said...

So,so clever Alison....I was captivated by your descriptions and I know SH would be very proud indeed. Fabulous job and by the way congrats on your win at Frilly and Funkie.

Kate Yetter said...

A absolutly Gorgeous tag! Love your background and the theme you chose. Quite the stunner!

Sarah said...

I love your little magnifying glass as well as all of the improvising that you had to do. The results are fabulous.

Brenda Brown said...

The way you have created this and your final piece is truly inspirational Alison. You did great girl in making this, I love it.
Hugs Brenda xox

Deborah said...

Love yout take on this month's tag. Inpsired!

Andrea Small said...

A triumph of detail - I laughed out loud with delight when I got to the font - and no, I hadn't spotted it. Splendid x

Kim Dellow said...

Brilliant Alison! I love your theme and title too! Right up my Baker's street! Kim

Gio said...

Such a G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S piece!!
You would have to catch up with the last months :-)
Oh that magnifying glass, pure genius.

By the way, that new series is amazing.

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Love this...love your take and all your improvisations! That's what it's all about! So cool!!!!

Anna-Karin said...

Such a great take on the August tag! Love your Sherlock theme, so clever and that little magnifying glass is so clever. Love the flowers too and how you stamped the frame. Thank you for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!

Inkypinkycraft said...

A stunning take on the tag for this month! Great ideas and perfect execution! I lve it! Wow the magnifying glass is pure genius!
Thanks for all the lovely comments you have left while we have been away ...am slowly catching up! Trace. X
Ae youndoing timeworn?! If so , so am I !!! X

Minxy said...

WOW Your tag is so cool, I love all the attention to detail, the flowers from the border dies and the mini magnifying glass, Bravo x
Hugz Minxy

Shelby said...

You could be the vintage design queen! Very inspirational. Love the rolled flowers and all of the other amazing details.


cotnob said...

This is a stunning tag, I love your attention to detail, your rolled roses are amazing.

Julia S-W said...

Stunning and I so LOVE those lace die cut flowers!! Inspirational idea and I'm rushing to get my TH die out now!

Manu said...

You are a GENIOUS!
I love your tag: is full of creativity and I bet TH will be impressed by your interpretation!
Hugs and creativity from Italy

Bärbel said...

Wow, was für ein grandioses Tag! Die Idee ist so toll und ich bewundere die vielen schönen Sachen auf dem Projekt.

Suzanne C said...

WOw! Love what you did with the Sherlock Holmes. Fabulous take on Tim's tag! Beautiful design and the details are phenomenal! Glad you joined us at Simon Says Stamp and Show.

Sophie said...

Ein fantastisches Tag, mit so vielen verschiedenen Embellishments.
Ich bin ganz verliebt darin :-)

Ana K. said...

Fantastic tag! You are really great artist, with a lot of imagination!
Hugs from Slovenia

Barb Cady said...

This is such a lovely take on Tim's tag, I laughed at the Sherlock Holtz, so clever and I love the flowers. x

Marjie Kemper said...

Holy Mackerel, Woman! This tag iis awesome and so unique. Love your Sherlock take on Tim's tag, the wonderful rolled flowers from the lace die, and that very creative magnifying glass!