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 9 December 2012

Golden memories of home

Hello all... hope you're having a lovely Sunday, wherever you are in the world.  Despite a slightly sluggish sense of mojo, I've been at the craft table, and battled my way through to a tag which I'm finally happy to share!  And it's full of personal connections.

Shortly after Christmas, we'll be moving out of the family home of more than 40 years.  We'll be spending our last Christmas in this house full of golden memories.  Houses and homes, and what they mean to us, are very much uppermost in my mind at the moment, so I really wanted to play the Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge House Rules.  But every time an idea started to form, I'd be doing some catching up in Craftyblogland, and find that somebody had already done it - brilliantly... so at the same time as loving the projects I was visiting, I was getting slightly disheartened!

In the end, I decided to stop fretting and just let my fingers do the walking (Yellow Pages ads from the 1970s, anyone?!), and here's the jumbo tag which turned up:

The starting point was the little houses of Tim Holtz's Artful Dwellings die, which I cut out of some white corrugated cardboard from the Funkie Junkie Boutique.

I inked them with some Gathered Twigs, and stamped them in Coffee Archival with the text from TH's French Marketplace set.  You just get a bit of texture, rather than whole words, but I love the look of it spidering across the ridges.

So I had four pretty but fairly plain little houses and, at that point, I was thinking of hingeing them together somehow, or joining them with jump rings... but a jumbo tag that was lying on my craft desk had other ideas.

As I glanced down, I saw that it would be the perfect size to form a background for the houses, so I started to play with it.

I used the TH wrinkle-free distress technique, with some Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs and Frayed Burlap DIs on my craft mat, along with some powdered Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls dotted around amongst the inks.

I gave it all a good spritz of water and started smooshing the tag around, drying in between smooshes to give the layers a chance to build up.

I inked up the TH sun ray stamp with some Tarnished Brass distress stain, and then the text stamp in Coffee Archival again to add some more interest to the background.

It was already looking pretty tasty, but I wanted to zhuzh it all up a bit, and get some more texture going.

So I mixed some Vintage Photo distress embossing powder with some of the Stampendous Frantage Aged Gold embossing enamel.  I brushed clear embossing ink onto the edges of the tag and added my mixture and heated it... I loved the combination so I did it to the edges of the little houses too... Now we were cooking!

My subconscious had been at work and had already worked out that four houses matched four letters in the word HOME.  I've got the WordPlay die on my Christmas list (though more in hope than expectation - since it's pretty pricy here in the UK), but not in my stash.

I love using the AlphaParts, but the letters would be too small and get a bit lost on the Artful Dwellings.

I was starting to think I'd have to handcut myself some letters when, thanks to some twisted burlap lying on the desk, a better idea started to form (oh, the advantages of not tidying up the craft table!).

Each letter would be made out of something different... I had had one idea about a Three Little Pigs style project with a house of straw, a house of twigs and a house of bricks - so I think the remnants of that probably surfaced here too!!

It was quite a headache gluing the burlap so that it kept its lovely twistiness!

The clock stands for the years spent here, for the happy and sad times, for the layers and layers of memories built up over those years.

I had a lovely time playing with Gold and Ginger alcohol inks to colour the Idea-ology clock and game spinners to tone in with the background and all the yummy golden embossing.

A while ago I bought a mystery grab bag of stamps from the amazing Astrid and when it arrived she'd included a couple of extras - a beautiful tag of her own making, and some lovely moulded embellishments made - I think with either Fimo or some other form of modelling material.

I used to do a lot of work with Fimo and Das, making things for my mother's dollshouses - which I grew up surrounded by, and which have already made their journey to their new home in the Czech Republic where they will form a museum.  You can find out more about all of that over at my mother's blog!

But those little embellishments of Astrid's made me realise I should be thinking about incorporating those long-dormant skills and long-ignored materials into my new crafting obsession.

Then, even more recently, my sister-in-law gave me a further kick into action when she made these gorgeous "stone" hearts.

So, when it came to the M, I was ready for action.  I rolled some Das (air-drying clay) into a sausage, and formed my lower-case M.  I spritzed a little stamp with water and pressed it into the clay to form the impression.

Once it had dried out, I inked it with Frayed Burlap and Vintage Photo DIs, and finally smeared some Treasure Wax onto it with my finger.

This stuff is magic!  I got mine from PaperArtsy, and it's the White Fire colour.

I also used it on the twigs for my E.  These were cut from one of the rose bushes in the garden - incorporating part of this home into the tag - and trimmed to size, and then got the finger-smearing of White Fire to highlight them.

I realised that the tag was going to need some reinforcement, so I backed it onto some card from a hard-backed envelope - recycling too, you see - and then started to stick everything down.

The gluing wasn't the easiest thing in the world - curly burlap, knobbly twigs, fragile clay (didn't want to have to make that M all over again!).

The easiest was the clock, attached with a long attacher!  Gluing the houses to the tag also gave me a couple of tricky moments, when I thought I'd snapped something...

But finally it was time for the finishing touch: some DI-dyed seam binding, and my golden memories of home were all complete.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by today; I really appreciate it at this incredibly busy time of year, and I wish you all well in your festive preparations.  As you can probably tell, it will be bitter-sweet for me this year... enjoying one last Christmas in the house I grew up in.

I'm entering this in the following:
Simon Says Stamp and Show are playing by the House Rules
The Artistic Stamper challenge is Home for Christmas
The Do You Stack Up challenge is Silver & Gold - since White Fire is somewhere between the two, I'm hoping this will fit!
The Anything Goes challenge blog are looking for Tags
Little Red Wagon are playing Home for the Holidays
Allsorts are playing White + Gold + One other colour - mine is brown
The Fashionable Stamping Challenge this fortnight is To Die For (using die-cutting, in other words)
Addicted to Stamps have a great Bingo board to play - I'm playing the diagonal No Flowers, Embossing, Favourite Colours (obsessed with neutrals at the moment)
And just for good measure, with the white corrugated card and the burlap ribbon coming from The Funkie Junkie Boutique, I'm offering this up in the Sunday Share at Frilly and Funkie

You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right.
Maya Angelou

Where we love is home,
Home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr

I do come home at Christmas. We all do, or we all should. We all come home, or ought to come home, for a short holiday -- the longer, the better -- from the great boarding school where we are forever working at our arithmetical slates, to take, and give a rest.
Charles Dickens


maj. said...

Stunning work! I love the background ahn all details!!!

House of Bears said...

Oh my, now we need to buy that Tim Holtz die, what a wonderful job you've made of it. I love the way the challenge fits in with your circumstances at the moment to form an extra special keepsake for you.

As usual, your work is stunning. Another idea for our to try pile we think. Thank you for the constant inspiration provided by your art work. We love visiting your blog.

Unknown said...

That's a gorgeous tag! - love how you made all the letters

kitten - DYSU team

Ana K. said...

Again you did realy amazing work!!! So many fantastic details...great background, twigs, clay M .... I just can’t stop looking it!
P.S. Thanks for a tip for F&F challenge.

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

...amazing textures here Alison, loving the corrugated houses and their white washed exteriors, great techniques and love the embossing, a wonderfully visual piece...Melxx :)

Jenny Marples said...

Great job hun. SOOOO much texture - having visited Laura's stone hearts too modelling clay is now on the Christmas list! Love the background too, a feast of inkiness. Hugs, Jenny x

Inkypinkycraft said...

A truly wonderful make , love your corrugated house..great minds...the elements you have combined including Rose stems from your house ,make this extra special ..hugs trace x

Janny Jager said...

WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWW Alison tis is great.
What a beutiful tag and so manny details,
This is a really stunning piece of art.
Greetings Janny

Chris Stern / CS Designs said...

Alison This is a beautiful Art Tag. I love all the texture and the gorgeous background and enjoyed seeing the step by step.
:) Chris/ CS Designs

Karin said...

wow what a gorgeous tag, love the houses and all the texture on it!

Debi said...

you are so clever :-) this is another gorgeous creation I just love all that gold distressing, Debi x

Asia King (aka Joanna K) said...

OMW! This is gorgeous! What a fantastic project Alison and it looks very homely, too! Fantastic work as always! xx

Maura said...

So cool! Love your use of materials.

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

So leased you let your fingers do the walking Alson as your jumbo tag is gorgeous. The lettering is inspired , love them particularly the twigs and air dried clay pieces. Beautiful backdrop for your houses and such a perfect piece considering what is happening with your home of 40 years. Hope the new beginnings on the horizon are exciting ones. Thanks do much for joining in the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. Tracy x

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

So pleased even x x

Anna-Karin said...

This is amazing Alison. I love the houses, the background, the way you wrote 'home', even using branches from the garden. Amazing piece with so much meaning. I hope you will enjoy your last Christmas in the house. Leaving an important house/home is pretty hard.

Astrid Maclean said...

Wow what a great tag, at first I was really struck by the burlap letter H and then when I got more into the detail, I found I really loved all of the letters (like a lot). Love the background too and of course the whole idea of it. Wow, that must be something to move out after 40 years! We stayed in our family home for 33 years and to be honest, it took me about 5 years to get over it, so my thoughts will be with you. Oh and I am totally in love with that treasure gold white fire too, it lands up on everything at the moment!

Paper Profusion said...

Where to begin?? Stunning piece Alison. Ingenious really. Love all elements but if I had to choose one it would be the lettering - absolutely inspired (and yes 3 little pigs rock!). You have one emotional Christmas ahead of you all - but may it be the merriest ever!! Nicola x

May said...

So glad you did let your fingers do the walking... This is AmAzing work... The details Alison are Beautiful... The houses, the letters.. I would never have thought to make a letter from burlap & twigs from the Garden... Brilliant.. Love it all.. the frantage mixture is fantastic! I hope you & your family enjoy Christmas this year in the family home.. Remember your quote... "Home that our feet may leave, but NOT our hearts"... Hugs May x x x

Nan G said...

Yep you sure got to cooking alright! This is one fabulous tag! Your edge embossing is to die for! How do you get to look so ...splattered? It's fab!

sam21ski said...

Fabulous tag, great use of the corrugated, one of my fave backings to use, but I love how you've done the H out of the hessian.

Sam xxx

Netty said...

Loving your beautiful stylish tag, fab textures and design. Loving the natural feel to it and very touchable. Annette x

Redanne said...

Alison, you always take us on such an amazing journey when you describe how you make your fabulous pieces. This must have been really heartfelt for you and it is really beautiful. Just keep in your heart the quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr, I think it really suits your situation. Gorgeous tag. Hugs, Anne x

JoZart Designs said...

That is really lovely and so poignant considering your imminent move. Hope it goes well...
Jo x

Amanda said...

Love it Alison, I hope it remains a keepsake fro all your lovely memories

Laurart said...

Beautiful! Thanks for the link ;o) I am glad that post prompted you to use clay - The 'm' you made is gorgeous - stamps work well in Das don't they? xxxxxxxxxx

Cestina said...

My thanks too for the shout-out....

It won't be an easy Christmas for us but let's enjoy it - after all we started counting "our last Christmas" here a good few years ago so we have had many bonus years and so many wonderful memories :-)

Bonnie Irvine said...

What an amazing keepsake for you with bits of the rose bushes incorporated into the tag. It's absolutely stunning...so rich in texture, so natural, and heartfelt. I thoroughly enjoyed your post, your descritptions, and discoveries. Thanks Alison. It's been a lovely visit.

Unknown said...

So I was hopping around blogs, and I am not quite sure how I ended up on yours, but I am so glad I did, this tag is absolutely amazing!! wow!!!! Thanks for sharing your techniques. I am a new follower!
Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

This is really cool! Amazing texture :)

Candy C said...

Alison...you blow me away! I love your home piece. The deep browns and cream "houses" against it are so striking. The background; with all of it's ramdom stamping and mottled background is amazing! I really love the corrugated houses that are white washed and distressed. Love how you've spelled out "HOME" with various elements. You are so clever! Thanks for sharing your amazing talent with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

Unknown said...

I always love your posts Alison. There is usually some little gem of a technique in there and always some gorgeous eye candy. I just love how you use emboss mediums.

chrissie said...

This is just so inventive and beautiful. It has so many inspiring things going on I will be looking at it for hours :)

Love Chrissie xx

brenda said...

Oh yes I remember that add, well vaguely - had a lot of sleep since then !

Your fingers certainly walked very well and created a lovely piece of artwork and how nice that it's so meaningful to you.

Thanks so much and sharing with us at Allsorts challenge this week.

B x

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Oh this tag is amazing! Love the gilded gold border...AWESOME! Your homes rock...love the corrugated paper! You may think everybody has already done a design you have, but yours is still yours and will be different because of it, BUT I love this whole new thing!!! Now you will be the copied...lol! Awesome tag...a winner!!!!

Annie said...

Love this tag Alison. It is very inspiring and the inclusion of the twigs will make it one for you to cherish.
Love the look of the treasure gold now on my wish list x

Thanks for sharing and good luck in the challenges

Annie x

Claudia N. said...

This is pure poetry, Alison!
Love every detail!!! This is going to be one of my absolute favourites of your creations!!!!

Claudia xx

Andrea Small said...

How lovely. A wonderful idea to use different elements for each letter; especially lovely to use the rose twigs. Roses a combination of beauty and pain for me (thorns) and resonate with fairy tales - Sleeping Beauty. And I love the text fragments - years of stories sunk into the houses with only crests showing.

craftytrog said...

Brilliant, & so original Alison, I love those little corrugated dwellings! Good luck with your move!
Alison xx

Marjie Kemper said...

This is fabulous, Alison! Love those artful dwelling dies as base for your whimsical letters. Just wonderful!

catherine said...

Such a fabulous and creative project Alison and hope it holds your memories with it
x catherine

Nicecrane Designs said...

Wowwww Alison such a lot of details here, love it,,,,,

Bärbel said...

Wow, was für ein grandioses Projekt, die Umrandung des Tags allein finde ich schon spektakulär!

Martina said...

That really looks totally awesome, dear Alison! I love this creation with corrugated cardboard. So stunning!

Debs said...

WOW WOW WOW this is totally awesome - so many gorgeous details and fabulous techniques - you can feel the love that has gone into this amaazing project.
Thanks for sharing it with us at Allsorts this week.
Good luck.
Debs xx

Anonymous said...

The twisted burlap is a wonderful piece of serendipity as it is perfection in itself.
A wonderful piece brimming with textures and so many appealing aspects for the eye to travel over.
I am sure you are full of mixed emotions with the house move looming.

Anonymous said...

This time I return with my FSC cap on to say thank you for entering such a wonderful piece for the To Die For challenge.
Fabulous use of die-cuts to create a piece of art that has so much texture and so much meaning.
Thank you for sharing with us at FSC this fortnight.

Ellie Knol said...

What a lovely project! AGAIN !!

Thanks for sharing with us at FSC, but I would have left a comment personally as well... (I mean not as DT member) - so count this as 2 comments LOL

xxx Ellie xxx

Anonymous said...

Hunny this is another stunning project how the heck you think your mojo is sluggish I really don't know it looks as if its going full out to me! great job! xx

Cathy L. Calamas said...

This is so wonderful!! The background, how you formed your letters, the corrugated cardboard!! Makes me happy. Yes, I agree, sometimes we have to stop looking at everybody else's artwork and just create. I also wanted to let you know that I re-opened my blog. Missed her too much. :)) Hope your move goes smoothly.

Kate Yetter said...

So wonderful how you used all that corrigated cardboard and the creative way you spelled home! Love it.

Emma (metalicbutterfly) said...

Well it was definitely worth all the grafting your tag is fabulous i love the distressed first layer and the gold embossing looks amazing!

Thanks for joining us for our white, gold and one other challenge this week at Allsorts :)

Emma xxx

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Wow, such a fabulous tag with great texture an details. Thanks for joining us at FSC this fortnight.

toni said...

Fantastic work Alison, i love the way you document your thought processes it makes for a very interesting read. As well as many elements, i love the way you have mixed frantage and distress embossing it creates a wonderful texture. I know it will be hard to leave the family home,I have lived in the same house for the last 33 years and I find it hard to think about living anywhere else, Its a. Big victorian house which is starting to feel empty now that my boys have left, so i guess i will have to cross that bridge one day, I will have to start psyching myself up to it x

Sarah said...

This is just beautiful, love all the texture and details. Thank you for joining us at Allsorts this week x

Jo Channon said...

Wow a fantastic project with so much detail and so much to look at. Gorgeous and all the products that I love to play with too. Thankyou for joining in with Allsorts this week. Jo x

Gillian .... said...

OMG Alison how on earth did I miss this ... truly stunning composition & textures. LOVE LOVE LOVE this tag. x

Jo said...

Congrats on the 3rd place at Simon Says ... This project is stunning ... i love it!!!

Renee said...

I wish you well with your move. This project is stunning and deserved the recognition at Simon Says. Beautiful.

Geraldine said...

Gorgeous tag, love all the textures, best wishes with the move.

Anonymous said...

Love your ability to see possibilities to create something unique out of objects and items you have at hand. This is a delight of textues and techniques to make soemthing beautiful. I love a messy desk too!

Fliss said...

This is just gorgeous Alison. The most wonderful texture on here and the neutral colours are fabulous.
Thanks for joining in with our FSC to die for challenge.
Fliss xx
PS: I've just treated myself to that die too!

Maura said...


Teresa said...

Superb creation, thanks for joining our Bingo challenge at Addicted to stamps and Merry Christmas to you, hugs Teresa xx

Kjersti said...

Another gorgeous tag Alison! So beautiful colours and a fab design!
Wish you a merry Christmas!
Hugs Kjersti:)
And thanks for joining our bingo challenge at ATSC!

Margaret said...

It is so obvious that you were thinking of your own special home while creating this wonderful tag! I love the underlying meaning of each piece and that you will be taking those rose branches with you wherever you go!
I hope you had a wonderful Christmas soaking up all of the love and memories from your home and wish you the best for 2013!