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...

Monday 17 December 2012

The Holly and the Ivy

Welcome to Words and Pictures... I'm celebrating today!  

No, it's not Christmas yet, but I've got myself to the finishing line on the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas with time to spare.  

In fact, I finished this tag yesterday, but wanted to wait for daylight to photograph it... and patience paid off - we have sunshine!!

If you've no idea what I'm talking about, you can check it all out here, and it's worth going to have a look just to see the extraordinary inspiration tags Linda Coughlin (yup - she's the Funkie Junkie) has been offering up... and to check out the amazing entries too.  

As for qualifying for the prize draw, generously sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique - well, you have to have all 12 done and posted by midnight (U.S. Eastern time) tonight so, to be honest, unless you can manage one tag an hour...

So, it's my last tag, but it's not the 12th.  I did that one a couple of days ago... No, I'm finishing on number 11.  Check out Linda's original here - it's absolutely gorgeous and, although I've wandered wide and far with some of my tags, I wanted to stick quite close to this beauty.

So my background is done very similarly, but I've chosen to use a music stamp rather than text (and I don't have the same flourish stamp).  

And I've used lots of holly leaves, made like Linda's, but what I've done with them is slightly different.

I loved Linda's colour palette, and I seem to be having something of an obsession with neutrals just at the moment, so I stuck to it, inking the background with vintage photo over the clear embossed flourish (TH), and Black Archival music manuscript (Wow).

Most of the leaves, branches and flourishes are cut out of white card using the Tim Holtz Festive Greenery Decorative Strip Die.  

They've been edged with vintage photo, (fingertips still looking like those of a hardened smoker), and laid out in little festive bouquets around the tag.

But if you say holly to me, it automatically triggers "and the ivy" - not only because of the carol, but because ivy is my absolute favourite of the Christmas foliage choices - pretty much my favourite all year round, in fact.  

I love the long traily tiny-leaved sort; I love the big branches of more rounded leaves.

One of my tasks each year around this time is to create the Christmas vases - great branches of holly and ivy, decorated very minimally and stowed around the house to bring Christmas into as many corners as possible.  So I can't have holly without ivy...

When we were at The Range recently, I hesitated over whether to buy some Das, the air-drying clay (hadn't used it for literally decades), and what decided me was spotting - in the baking section - some little ivy punches, a set of 3 in various sizes, intended for decorating cakes.  

They not only cut out the leaves, but have a press which debosses the little lines onto them too.  Well, I don't really do cake-icing, but I couldn't see any reason why they wouldn't work with the Das - so it stayed in the basket, and they joined it.  And here's my first little go... and I LOVE them!!

I rolled out the clay - using a thick straw as my rolling pin! - and cut and punched to my heart's delight.  

I'd bought white Das, so once the leaves had dried (I did help it along with the heat tool - sheer impatience, and deadlines looming too, of course) I didn't need to do anything more than what I'd done with the card holly leaves: ink them with Vintage Photo DI.  To really get the debossing to show, I went darker with the ivy than with the holly - and I love the look of them together.

The final element in the arrangements was the holly berries.  These are also made of Das, inked in Vintage Photo and then given a coating of Treasure Wax, in White Fire.  

Because they were quite small, it turned out the easiest way to get the wax onto them was to put some on my thumb and forefinger, and roll the berries between.  My "smokers'" fingertips now have a very lustrous shimmer to them too... and you can see fingerprints on some of the berries!

By now it was clear that I wasn't going to have room to get the greeting onto the tag itself without covering up lots of loveliness that I wasn't willing to cover up.  

So I decided to make it into one of the hinged tags which I first met over at Redanne's fabulous blog - I've made them several times before, and love the extra movement and interest the extended part brings to the tag.

The greetings stamp is from the Graphic 45 Christmas sets, stamped onto one of my tea-stained tags, and it's attached with two of the Idea-ology jump rings.  

A couple of bits of crinkle ribbon, dyed with varying amounts of vintage photo, and I decided I was done... yup, done!  If you don't believe me, look...

And if you'd like to go visiting, all the links are at the foot of this post, and you'll get to see the full dozen in all their glory.  Sorry... can you tell I'm feeling quite un-Britishly pleased with myself?!  

And I know I'm only playing for the fun, as I couldn't quite bring myself to work on the Christmas theme way back in September, but it has been some of the most fun I've had crafting, not to mention visiting many of the other players and seeing how they've been inspired by Linda's amazing work.

Thank you so much for visiting today (and for putting up with me in jubilant mood), and I look forward to seeing you again soon, either here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland!

Here's to holly and ivy hanging up, And to something wet in every cup!
Traditional toast

I'm entering this in the following:
As Tag 11 (but did I mention it's my last one?) in the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas
At Top Tip Tuesday the theme is Christmas, and I'm offering a tip: if you're working with modelling clay of any sort, be sure to check the kitchen aisle for cake-decorating tools and equipment!
Simon Says Stamp are playing What's Your Favourite?  I'm sticking with stamping, embossing and neutrals
Anything But A Card are playing Celebrate the Light or Seasonal Holiday - well I celebrated the light last time around, so this time I'm going with the seasonal element
This is my third and final entry for Make a Tag at the Craft-room Challenge
Crafty Boots are also playing a Christmas theme
Out of a Hat Creations have Winter as their current challenge
ABC Challenges are on D for Deck the Halls... how about "with boughs of holly"?
At Pile It On they would like us to Pile on the Embellishments
And over at Ink on my Fingers (and how?!) Hels Sheridan has fortuitously selected Holly as the theme for the Sunday Stampers this week (with the very same post title as mine!!)

My versions of the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas;
Tag 1 - Love's Light Wings
Tag 2 - Work in Progress
Tag 3 - Dance in the Rain
Tag 4 - G is for Gingham
Tag 5 - Every leaf speaks
Tag 6 - Seeking Illumination
Tag 7 - Home Sweet Home
Tag 8 - A Romantic Postcard
Tag 9 - A heart full of love
Tag 10 - Toys, toys, toys!
Tag 11 - The Holly and the Ivy (you're already here)
Tag 12 - Star of Wonder


froebelsternchen said...

All your tags are fabulous Alison..and this special one with the DIY embellishment leaves is my special love! It is GORGEOUS and I love it ... there is so much love and Know How in all your pieces dear Alison!

Redanne said...

Hi Alison, this is my new favourite of the 12 tags, I love how you used the Das to make your stunning leaves, it adds so much dimension. I am liking your neutral phase very much too, it is so vintage and also very beautiful. Thanks for the mention too, you are very kind. Hugs, Anne x

Cestina said...

When you brought this downstairs last night all I could do was repeat over and over "It's so lovely, I want one!" And then you said I could have it :-)

Like you, I love ivy in all its incarnations and this tag is perfect - I think I may like it best of all the things you have done......

craft-roomjulia said...

Hi again Butterfly, you have made some awesome tags here, each and every one so lovely, yet so different from each other. You certainly have a beautiful crafting way when making tags. Thanks so much for joining us at Craft Room Challenge and good luck. Merry Christmas. Julia xxxxxx

Inkypinkycraft said...

Alisonthis is another great tag, love the colours,the clay leaves are fab...a wonderful setof tags! Trace x

Elaine Stark said...

A beautiful tag, I love the separate text, it works well. Great colours and texture. Thanks fro joining Top tip Tuesday. Elaine

chrissie said...

Alison all if your tags make an amazing set and I am so thrilled to have seen them all together. Thank you for sharing them with Out of Hat as well

Love Chrissie xxx

Anonymous said...

Those ivy leaves are sensational and I love your background also. This tag speaks of care and love put into its creation (and a dash of fun for good measure!)

pearshapedcrafting said...

Wow! some time since I used DAS too! Used to use it with my kids - tell you what though - I'm going to be going down a few cake decorating aisles in the future - a much better effect than shrink plastic! Oh! and this tag is simply wonderful! Love your picture of all of your tags- a fantastic collection! Love Chrisx

brenda said...

Stunning as always Alison, wait a delight to see your work.

B x

Astrid Maclean said...

Totally fab! The thing that struck me immediately were those super little ivy leaves, how cool is that with the Daz, LOVE THEM and the berries look wonderful too. T'was great to see all your 12 tags together too!

Unknown said...

Your tags are all beautiful and well designed. I love your style!

Happy Holidays

sam21ski said...

WOW Alison, this is absolutely stunning and I think it's my favourite one although it was very hard to choose, especially seeing them all line up together!!

Great job - well done

Sam xxx

Anonymous said...

Ich fall um!! Was für tolle tags! You are so creative and a great artist!
each work is so beautiful!

Lg siljan

Hels Sheridan said...

ooooh, LOVE this, that Das looks like something I need... like now! Thanks for joining in with the Sunday Stamper... wow at all those other tags too!

Linda Coughlin, the funkie junkie said...

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this tag, Alison! Beautiful color palette and embossing but what really blew me away were your ivy leaves. So very cool - sensational piece of work. Congrats on making it to the finish line! I'm so delighted to have you joining in the fun with us at the 12 Tags challenge this year!


Hettie said...

Fabulous Alison! Wow! I am waiting for the morning to photograph all mine together too. You really have created some beauties. I spotted the cake decoration Ivy as I have those cutters. I live at Ivy Cottage so tend to pick Ivy things up.
Please ensure that you get a fella to bring the Christmas greenery in as it is bad luck for a woman to...allegedly.
I am quite sad that this Challenge is finishing as I have had an absolute ball. Learnt so much and Linda is a fabulous inspiration.
Looking forward to 2013's 12 tags!

Netty said...

Congratulations on getting them all finished Alison and every one of them is beautiful and wonderfully made. Hugs Annette xx

Bärbel said...

So fabelhafte Kreationen, Alison, ganz großartige Tags!
Liebe Grüße.

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

Your tag is gorgeous Alison, again in my favourite tones. Love the holly leaves and foliage and music background. Striking layout and I love the sentiment attached to the bottom. Tracy x

Jenny Marples said...

Just getting chance to catch up on posts (been to see Take Flight and commenting on both here - soz) and both have blown me away as ever. You are getting so much scrummy texture into your work and it is so inspiring.
I am off to The Range tomorrow to get two sets of that ivy punch if its there - one for cupcakes (I have loads to make) and one for cards (I have loads of leaves to make)!!!
Well done on getting all 12 tags completed in time. They look fabulous together. I think your last one is my favourite of all (and boy did that take some thought). Hugs, Jenny x

Debi said...

Alison, this ones Divine!!!! love the holly and the ivy, pinning this to Pinterest :) Debi x

House of Bears said...

What wonderful tags, we love the detail on the leaves of the last tag. Well done on finishing.

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Congrats on crossing the finishing line :) Your newest tag looks WONDERFUL, I love every detail. All of your tags are fantastic, this was a great challenge - wasn't it ?!

Janet said...

Wow!!! fabulous set of tags.
Thanks for sharing with us at Out of a Hat.
Janet x

Sandra's Spot said...

Alison an awesome set of tags and I just love the last one. Thank you for joining us at Out of a hat. Hugs Sandra X

Kjersti said...

These are truly amazing Alison, every one of them! And this last tag is gorgeous too, beautiful colourscheme and lovely decorated!
Have a nice week!
Hugs Kjersti:)

Dorthe said...

Oh it is so beautiful, Alison,
I love the colours and the ivy leaves, too- such wonderful tags, all.

Liz McGuire, said...

Hi, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a lovely comment.

I have just had a nosey and your creations are gorgeous. Look at all those tags - every one a beaut!

Liz x

May said...

Gorgeous work Alison, what a feast on the eyes... Fabulous background, textures, colours, design, detail... I could go on & on... a masterpiece...Simply Wonderful.. Hugs May x x x

Bonnie Irvine said...

I have thoroughly enjoyed your journey to complete the 12 tags. Each one is unique and gorgeous. Love the design of this one and those ivy leaves and berries are quite amazing. Congrats on completing all 12, your way, and so beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Once again you have created a fabulous creation hunny! I adore it!
and thanks for a great top tip!
hugs me x

you know I wish you would think harder about what I said... :0)

Unknown said...

Awesome tags!!!! The double tag is a great idea!

Sarah said...

All of your tags are beyond compare but I'll have to say that today's is my favorite. The ivy leaves are quite the wow factor.

craftytrog said...

Another stunner Alison...the little ivy leaves are adorable! xx

Unknown said...

Wonderful tag and I'm so happy you shared a photo with all 12 too. Your collection is beautiful Alison, congrats!

Nicecrane Designs said...

OMG Alison,,,,,what a gorgeus,,and stunning tags....you did,,,,,I really love your very personal style, my friend,,,,,congratulations. I have just finished a new Bonne Anne CS`s to use,,,,,woww,woww,woww,,

Sandy said...

If I could not follow you I think I would go into the deepest depression ever!! You are truly gifted and I plan on studying every jot and tittle you do. Alison you are amazing and your artwork divine!!

Dee's Craft Room said...

Wow! What a fabulous set of tags, especially your Holly and Ivy one.

Thank you for sharing your work with all of us at Crafty Boots Challenges.


Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

A total PINNER!!!! GORGEOUS MAKE!!! Congrats on finishing all 12!

Dawny P said...

Gorgeous :) This is lovely. Thank you for joining us over at the Simon Says Stamp challenge, hugs, Dawny x

Marjie Kemper said...

What a beauty! I can get lost in all those layers of color and gorgeous stamping. Love the leaves, too. I'm so glad you took this shot of them all together... they are stunning, Alison. I've just pinned them so I can peek again and again.

Janny Jager said...

WOWWWWWWWWWW what a beautiful tag Alison.
So may details.
Love them all.
The other tags are also very very beautiful.

Greetings Janny

Christy said...

Seriously GORGEOUS! Thanks for joining us again at Anything But a Card this challenge!

Julia S-W said...

Not sure how I missed this one Alison - sorry! I've got my ABAC hat on and was checking I'd completed my comments.
For me this is completely perfect. Layers, texture, inky and wonderful sentiment. Oh, I love the gold wax too! This has to be my favourite piece of yours to date! I think you get the idea that I love this!
Thanks so much for joining in with Anything But A Card for this challenge.

Jess said...

Stunning tags! Thanks for joining us at Anything But a Card!

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

I am right there with Julia and thoes many other wonderful commenters. Perfect Tag- perfectly designed and executed. Thank you for joining us at Anything But A Card this time!

mark gould said...

What a beautiful Tag Alison, and a lovely collection as well. You work this colour pallet so well and I love the richness and depth you have achieved with the holly.
Hope Xmas was good.
Thanks for joining us at Anything But A Card

Margaret said...

Your final card is gorgeous in those wonderful neutral colors! I love that you added a picture of all of the finished tags! Such a marvelous collection!!

Unknown said...

lovely!!!! great idea to use das for making embellishments...!!!!
thanks for playing with us at ABC Challenge, happy holidays!!!

Helen said...

Thanks for playing at Pile It On!
Happy New Year!
Helen x

hazel said...

Another wonderful tag. Thank you for joining us again at the Craft-Room Challenge.
xxx Hazel.

BethieJ said...

Thank You for joining us at PIO! Happy New Year! Have a GREAT day!