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Tuesday 18 December 2012

In the bleak midwinter

Hello and welcome all... with an especially big welcome to the new followers!

It's Tuesday, and time for a brand new challenge over at Fun With ATCs.  It's been absolutely brilliant to have so many of you play along recently.  There were so many fabulous entries over the last fortnight, and I hope we've got another theme that will tempt you this time around.  It's Choose a Song.  We'd like you to create an ATC inspired by a favourite song - just share your ATC with us, and let us know which song you've used as inspiration.

Mine was inevitably influenced by the time of year, and I've created an ATC inspired by the beautiful carol In the Bleak Midwinter.

I'm pretty fussy about the version though... it has to be this arrangement by Harold Darke, not the Holst one which more often gets done at carol services.    I've always loved the words, and it wasn't until I'd been singing it in choirs for some time, that I realised that it was no wonder: they're by a poet I love, Christina Rossetti.

I had a lovely time making this - singing the thing to myself much of the time - and though it's relatively simple, I'm really pleased with the end result.

The base is a piece of manila card cut to ATC size (2.5 x 3.5 inches for anyone new to the format), and stamped with my Wow music manuscript stamp in Coffee Archival.

I edged it with Gathered Twigs DI, then brushed gesso (with not too much on the brush) from the edges inwards to get the windswept look.

The words and picture are both from the gorgeous Midwinter set by Artistic Outpost.

I stamped the cottage onto kraft card, using Coffee Archival again, and then used the PaperArtsy Fresco paint called, appropriately, Snowflake to "colour" the image (not sure if that's quite the word when you're adding white to a kraft background!)

I tried to create a sense of the billowing snowdrifts around the house in the brushwork, and then used very fine strokes around the eaves to give a suggestion of icicles.

The lyrics are also stamped in Snowflake (though I played with a Coffee version too, before deciding in favour of the white) onto a kraft background.

And then Gathered Twigs also came into play to edge both the pieces of kraft to give it some more definition against the musical background.

I don't know whether it was partly using the Gathered Twigs Distress Ink which gave me the idea to add the actual twig.

It was mainly because there were some twiggy bits still lying around leftover from my Golden Memories of Home.  It just seemed the inevitable next step to highlight one of the bits of twig with a bit more paint, and lie it along the foot of the ATC.

When I was out taking the pictures for this post, we'd just had the most extraordinary hoar frost overnight (it went on to last for another 36 hours), and the whole garden looked unutterably beautiful - so I just wanted to share a couple of those photographs with you too...

Apparently it's to do with the moisture levels in the air at the point when the temperature hits freezing, and that causes the formation of these glorious crystalline structures.

Could it have been any better timed for a post inspired by a song about midwinter - though this was far from bleak?!

So there's my ATC for you, with that little frosty bonus.  Do hop over to Fun With ATCs to see what the rest of the Design Team have been up to; my amazing team-mates have created some wonderful, inspirational work.  And we'd love it if you have time to play along in amongst all the frantic last minute shopping, wrapping, decorating and cooking - go on, just one little ATC!!

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show.
Andrew Wyeth (painter of some extraordinary winter paintings - Google Image search him!)

I'm entering this in the following:
The Stampman's challenge for December is In the Bleak Midwinter, and they're especially looking for us think snow/ice and to use white
Happy Daze are playing In the Deep Midwinter for December too
Out of a Hat Creations also have a Winter theme
And I'd like to add it to the December Referral at Artistic Outpost which is Anything Goes with an AO stamp


Astrid Maclean said...

Love your ATC, the effect of the paint with the stamp and the twig looking all frosty too, surely spell midwinter, though not very bleak really, to me it looks warm and cozy and somehow very Christmassy. Fantastic idea though.
The hoar frost pictures are incredible!! Funny the weather across the UK can be so varied, - we had non of it.

chrissie said...

So much in such a small space Alison and all very beautiful.

A good song to chose for the time of year, 'bleak' always says so many thing and all of them a bit negative. I'm sure with your knowledge of words you would be able to say I am wrong on that score lol.

Thank you for sharing this terrific ATC with the Hatters this week

Love Chrissie xx

Sophie said...

Oh, Alison, was für eine herrliche Karte.
Mir gefällt der ganze Stil, die rustikalen Farben und diese feinen Stempel-Abdrücke.
Und der kleine Ast ist eine geniale Idee und sieht super schön aus.
Ich bin ganz verliebt in dein Werk.

Grüße im Advent

Dorthe said...

I love your little cosy house, decked in snow, and beauty.Love you added the twig.
And the photoes are amazing,-here in DK it is plus grades again, and almost all winthe has gone,for now!
Wish you a lovely day Alison.

Chrissy said...

Gorgeous ATC Alison..I love the image and the beautiful snowy scene..beautiful photos....amazing actually, never seen anything like that here in NZ..


froebelsternchen said...

this ATC is hauntingly beautiful Alison! I love the natural material you used and the scenic composition ..looks so romantic and beautiful rustically!

Redanne said...

Your ATC is gorgeous Alison, I love the way you achieved the snow on the roof of the house, it looks so realistic. The pictures of the hoar frost are stunning - another one of nature's miracles.... Hugs, Anne x

Inkypinkycraft said...

a beautiful winter wonderland, love the use of the wood and the snow looks amazing
wonderful photos too! trace x

Francesca said...

Very Choc box, but beautiful as usual. i have brillant sunshine at the mo, so the washing is out. Have a good Christmas. Love Francesca

JoZart Designs said...

Super card and those photos of the frost are amazing.
Jo x

Unknown said...

I love this ATC and the little branch adds such an authentic touch Alison. The frosty bonus is fab too! Have a great day, hugs.

Nicecrane Designs said...

Amzaing ATC Alison,,,,,I lovbe the snow effect,,,and 3D,,,,,,a true treasure.

Abbeybufo said...

Another fan of the Darke version of ITBM here :)

...and love the ATC!

Sandi McLean said...

Beautiful! Your ATC absolutely captures the theme..and your pics are amazing...quietly winter wonderful.

Netty said...

Loving your beautifully made ATC with its terrific design Alison. Thank you for joining in the fun with us at Happy Daze, Annette x

Anonymous said...

Oh, schon wieder ein neues Werk!
A beautiful ATC is this! so much details on this little size...great!
And your garden looks wonderful. In germany it´s raining and raining...
Thanks for your answer on my blog!

LG siljan

Janet said...

Stunning winter ATC,Alison.
thanks for joining us at Out of a Hat
Janet x

Mrs.B said...

Hi Alison, have just spent an enjoyable few minutes (longer than that really) catching up. As usual some fabulous creations. Loved seeing the full set of tags and the folded tag card is delightful.
Avril xx

Mrs.B said...

Hi Alison, have just spent an enjoyable few minutes (longer than that really) catching up. As usual some fabulous creations. Loved seeing the full set of tags and the folded tag card is delightful.
Avril xx

gayle said...

Completely gorgeous Christmas piece :) I could get lost in this quite happily!

sam21ski said...

Great atc and fab photos of the crisp frost.

Love the addition of the twig in your wonderful arrangement.

Sam xx

Julia S-W said...

Wonderful ATC Alison. I love the effect you achieved with the 'snow'. This hymn / carol has always been one of my favourites so you were always onto a winner with me! Your garden pictures are truly fabulous - so lucky to catch the hoar frost in your photos.
You really are an inspiration Alison.

Sue said...

I love this Alison, the snow on the roof is amazing, and kraft is one of my favourite backgrounds. Thank you so much for sharing your ATC and wonderful frosty photographs with us at The Stamp Man challenge. Sue xx

Bonnie Irvine said...

Lovely little piece of art, Alison. The twig is inspired and your snow contrasts beautifully with the kraft. Your photographs are stunning. I love the magic of hoar frost.

toni said...

Very atmospheric and sums up the theme perfectly, a lovely piece of work . It's one of my all time favourite carols must have a listen. Love your photos as well Alison that frost is amazing x

Jenny Marples said...

Love the level of care and attention to detail you've taken with applying the 'snow' and 'icicles'. As ever an atmospheric little gem from you again. Hugs, Jenny x

Marjie Kemper said...

Wow! You've sure fit a ton of beauty onto such a small surface. Love the snowy look and the twig. And what incredible photos... thanks so much for sharing them, Alison. I've never seen anything like that!

craftytrog said...

A stunning Winter scene, & thanks for sharing your wonderful photos of the frost - beautiful!!
Alison xx

Lunch Lady Jan said...

What a gorgeous post - great minds, eh? I'm torn between the versions actually, but sorry, prefer the Holst. Your card is a visual realisation of the words though, it's amazing :)

Sending hugs and love for a Happy Christmas!
LLJ #25 xx

Bärbel said...

Alison, das ist ein großartiges ATC, der Schnee sieht so echt aus!

Wunderbare stimmungsvolle Fotos haben Sie gemacht.

Janny Jager said...

This is really great Alison.
Love every detail.

greetings Janny

Sandra's Spot said...

Fantastic ATC love all the detail. Thanks for joining us at Out of a hat. Hugs Sandra X

Anonymous said...

Love the scene you've created with the gorgeous vintage feel, beautifully done
Hugs Julie P

Patti P. said...

Alison, thanks for sharing this beauty. I love how you have perfectly captured the theme in your ATC, I love the neutrals and your stamps are so beautiful. Love the hoar frost...I have read and heard of this but never seen it, so glad you shared.

Nan G said...

The hoar frost is so beautiful! The ATC image reminds me of where I'm from in the northern US. That's why I live in the warm south now! Anyway, another beautiful ATC, butterfly!

mark gould said...

Beautiful photos. It was a stunning 36 hours. Great ATC. I love how the elements hang over the edge. Beautiful images.

Keren Tamir said...

Amazing mixed media effects on all your cards!!

found your blog and now I'm a follower!!
Would love for you to visit me too!!

Brenda Brown said...

Wonderful ATC and stunning photos.
Hugs Brenda xox

maj. said...

This is awesome - truly beautiful ATC!

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Absolutely stunning!!!! I love your snow on the roof!!! Your photos are amazing of your garden!!! What a gift!

Lisa Somerville said...

Beautiful monochromatic ATC - love all the added snowy touches! Lovely photos too! Thanks so much for your continued support of Artistic Outpost! Have a Merry Christmas!

Margaret said...

Your ATC captures the theme of the song perfectly! Your snow is amazing and adds to the chilly feeling, and I love the texture of the twig at the base! Beautiful!

I love the pictures you shared of the frost! I have never seen anything like this! Nature at it's finest!