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 22 December 2012

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Let your heart be light...

Lyrics from one of my favourite Christmas songs (as opposed to carols, that is)... and the perfect version, for me, is Judy Garland's from Meet Me In St Louis.  As the film was made in 1944, the lyrics were altered slightly, making them very specific to families separated by the war.  I've got the originals at the foot of the post - but for sheer poignancy, you can't beat Judy!

When I arranged to do a Christmas tag swap with the fabulous Trace from inkypinkycraft, that lyric came straight into my head, as I know she loves to use and to see hearts in crafting.  So I made lots of differently textured hearts (some more on the back too, as you'll see) as the main feature of the tag.

Earlier today I showed you the exchange of tags in brief - check out the amazing tag Trace made me - and said I'd be around again with some more details about how I made mine, so here I am... and here's the tag I sent her.

I started with the tag background, building up layers of book text, gesso, and a bit of PaperArtsy crackle glaze with some Fresco paint to get a central streak of grungy texture.

I then used some texture paste with the Mini Antiquities stencil from Crafter's Workshop to add the raised text and key shapes in different areas on the jumbo tag.

Once the paste was dry, I built up layers of Fresco paint colour over and around it, using the techniques I'd seen Leandra of PaperArtsy demonstrating at the NEC recently.

You can see her in action on youtube - amazing videos, well worth checking out... just search PaperArtsy.

Once I was happy with the depth of colour and the layers, I applied some Treasure Gold to the lettering with my fingertips.  It's such fabulous stuff for adding that antique gilding look - this is the White Fire colour.

So, to the hearts.  They were cut from strong card using the Sizzix Primitive Hearts die.

Then I ran some of them through the Tim Holtz Cracked embossing folder and played with layers and washes of various paints until I got a burnished metallic look that pleased me.

Others I used the PaperArtsy crackle glaze on again, but this time I applied it with a foam pad rather than a brush.

As Leandra says, this gives you a much finer porcelain crackle effect.  Once dry, I UTEE'd them, and then cracked the hard, glossy surface to give extra texture over the top of the crackle.

The third set of hearts - okay, time to reveal the reverse side of the tag - had Andy Skinner's textured rust technique applied to them for some grungy texture.

On the back of the tag I used the Mini Antiquities stencil again, but this time just blended some Gathered Twigs DI through it, straight onto the manila surface of the tag.

And regulars will recognise my trusty little £1 alphabet stamp set being pressed into action yet again.  It's started to feel like my "crafty handwriting", so it's slightly weird for me to see it next to my actual handwriting!

And what would a tag be without some DI-dyed seam binding to top it off?  I used Vintage Photo and some of the metallic Distress Stains smooshed onto the craft mat to get the golden tones for this.  

So that's the tag, pretty much... I'll leave you with a couple of close-ups that please me, as they capture all the layers and textures colliding.  

I'm so happy that Trace loved it (see her swap post here)... I couldn't have been happier with mine from her!

I'd just like to say to anyone still out there hopping, thank you so much for dropping in today, and...

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light;
Next year all our troubles will be out of sight.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yuletide gay;
Next year all our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore,
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years we all will be together,
If the fates allow;
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough,
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Lyrics by Ralph Blane, Music by Hugh Martin

And for anyone who missed the previous post, this bears repeating:
This swap represents the tip of an enormous iceberg.  It's hard to express how much I value this extraordinary community of crafters - the generosity, creativity and inspiration I have found here in Craftyblogland in the six months I've been at this has been truly astounding, and I am so happy to have discovered this wonderful world.  I wish you and yours a peaceful and joyous festive season, and look forward to much, much more in 2013!


Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Gorgeous Alison, the texture in the background and on the hearts is gorgeous. Love how you decorated the reverse too. Beautiful. Have a fabulous Christmas and New Year Alison. Tracy x x

sam21ski said...

This is one of my favourite tags that you've made and I can't believe that you've given it away. I don't know how you could bear to part with it.

ALL that texture and all those different techniques - simply stunning and all on my favourite choice of material - a tag!!!

Happy Christmas to you and yours and all the very best for the coming year ahead.

Sam xxx

pearshapedcrafting said...

It was a truly beautiful tag (and atc) I just love all those textures and dreamy, creamy colours. Wishing you the Happiest Christmas, Chrisx

Paper Profusion said...

Alsion - stunning work and thank-you so much for sharing all the 'how-to'. All the layers of varying techniques of crackling work is superb. Inspired by you I have bought some PaperArtsy products and hope to remove those bottle caps in Jan and get to work! Your blog is an absolute joy to follow and I'm so glad to know you. Your (and Trace's) tags are BEAUTIFUL! I know that next month will be most emotional for you but I do hope it evolves into one of the best moves of your life! Enjoy it all for 'The Journey'. Big hug, Nicola x

Francesca said...

It good Strictly fashion, one word...Fab-U-lous. Love Francesca

toni said...

Fabulous tag Alison and love those christmas lyrics. It must be THE Christmas song of all time. I've really enjoyed seeing and being inspired by your work and reading your blog these last few months. So Alison Have yourself a merry little Christmas and as we say here in Walsall a bostin' new year.

Sarah said...

What's not to love about this tag. Every heart is a little work of art and I love the addition of the stenciled texture. Absolutely gorgeous!

http://blog.timetocreate.com.au/ said...

Truly delicious work with all that texture and hearts too. Beautiful!

Brenda Brown said...

A truly delightful and stunning tag Alison that would grace anyone's craft room. I love the inspiration song too with very poignant words. I wish for the same for you too.
Have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed new year.
Hugs Brenda xox

Andrea Small said...

ooh thanks for Judy :-) Love the many-textured hearts xx

Anonymous said...

This is fabulous Alison, so many wonderful techniques, all ones that I love, from watching Leandra many times myself. Lucky Trace, to own this tag of yours!
And, thanks for sharing the lovely Judy Garland, definitely my favourite version of the song, it's very poignant.
Alison xxx

Redanne said...

Hi Alison, thank you so much for sharing the techniques you used for your fabulous tag for Trace. Inspired by you, I will be opening up that jar of texture paste in the New Year and having a go!

Love the song, it brings back wonderful memories. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very special New Year. Hugs, Anne x

Astrid Maclean said...

Alison, this tag is out of this world, the textures on the tag itself and on the hearts is amazing!! Love them all but I think my favourite is the one were you achieved the fine crackle (with the sponge) and then the cracked UTEE over the top. Oh and the back is lovely too!!
P.S Hope one day we can do a swap???

Jenny Marples said...

I reckon you are going to have a queue of us lining up to do some swaps!!! So glad you've walked us through your masterpiece - so much to learn and be inspired by.
You have taught me so much and for that massive thank yous don't seem enough.
Like Nicola I am now armed with PaperArtsy goodies etc, and look forward to the point this week when I can stop cleaning/cooking/shopping long enough to play.
In the meantime, I hope you have the best Christmas ever and 2013 brings everything you wish for and have worked so hard to achieve. Huge hugs, Jenny xxx

Janny Jager said...

This is GREAT Alison.
Love the tag with the different hearts ad texture very very much,

Greetings Janny

Martina said...

What a gorgeous tag, Alison and the technique is so cool!

Thank you so much for the lovely greetings.
I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and a few nice days!
I look forward to more of your beautiful creations in 2013!
Hugs and wishes

Gio said...

So beautiful!! It's sa pleasure to indulge on every tiny detail.

I wish you a very festive season, Alison!:-)

May said...

Stunning tag Alison, WOW!! The background is amazing Love the textured hearts, A masterpiece.. Love it all.. Have a wonderful Merry Christmas... Hugs May x x x

Sue said...

What a gorgeous tag Alison, so full of marvelous techniques. No wonder Trace was thrilled to receive this! Hope you have a very merry Christmas, and a wonderful new year xx

Kjersti said...

So beautiful Alison! Hope you have a wonderful Christmastime!
Hugs Kjersti:)

Anonymous said...

Just beautiful, I love the texture and vintage tones, thanks for the inspiration
Hugs julie P

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

You two are fab trading partners! I love the tag...so many hearts and perfect with the sentiment! I wish you the merriest Christmas ever!!!

craftimamma said...

Hi Alison, Sorry I've not stopped by for a little while. Unfortunately, I been laid a bit low by one of the nasty bugs doing the rounds. Hopefully I'm on the mend now ;0).

I did want to make sure I wished you Merry Christmas before the day though and I hope you have a wonderful time over the next few days. Here's also wishing you a wonderful new year that brings all the best that life can offer ... and I'm not talking money (although a little of that is always nice, lol).

Now on to your gorgeous tag! What a lot of fabulous texture you have included with all the different techniques. Those hearts are stunning and i love the cracked and crackled ones. I bet Trace is over the moon with it!

Lesley Xx

Karen McAlpine said...

Beautiful project! Love the crackle glaze! Merry Christmas, Alison!!

Silvia(Barnie) said...

You've created an amazing tag.
A Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Terry said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous tag! Love those hearts! Wanted to stop by and wish you a Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year! Hugs!

Bärbel said...

Liebe Alison, das ist ein fabelhaftes Tag mit einem wunderbaren Hintergrund und den schön gestalteten Herzen, ich liebe Ihre Arbeit!

Ein wundervolles Weihnachtsfest für Sie und Ihre Familie.
Alles Liebe, Bärbel

Hettie said...

Gorgeous Alison and with hearts you get some extra brownie points from me!
Love all the texture and elegance too.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Anne-Elise said...

Gorgeous, Alison! I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!! Hugs

Anonymous said...

Beautiful work as always! Merry Christmas!!!

Anonymous said...

A most wonderful song so more than happy for it to be singing in my head, even at this time of the night.
Delectable layers Alison and worth the effort of doing so as your tag is fabulous.
Thank you for your warmest of festive wishes you sent my way.

Marjie Kemper said...

Oh my gosh, the textures are AMAZING.