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...

Wednesday 30 January 2013

Gather Ye Rosebuds...

Hello all, and welcome to Words and Pictures.  I'm very happy to have your company for a while.  

Today I'm sharing an Artistic Outpost design piece which has already made its debut over at the AO blog, but I know not everyone gets over there, and also I like to get everything under my own roof here at W&P so that I know what I've made!!

I've really enjoyed having the chance to play with a couple of new stamp sets, Generation Redux and Secretary Pool, as part of my DT work - work? hmm... who are we kidding?!

I've also thrown in a sentiment from my favourite Think and Wonder set.  One of the (many) things I love about the Artistic Outpost sets is that they mix together so well, making them really flexible.

The haunting stare of the woman from the Generation Redux set speaks to me of the spirit still flickering inside, despite a life spent in thankless work. So she seemed to belong with the beautiful letter block from Secretary Pool and the quote encouraging her to - for once in her life - break out and follow her dreams.

I started with a painty background, created with Fresco paints, including stamping the letter block with paint.  I think, for a paint-stamping, the clarity of the image is great.

I also love the blendability of the Frescos, and they leave a wonderful chalky finish, perfect for stamping on, should you wish to.

In fact, I stamped the woman onto tissue paper so that I could decide where best to place her on the tag without the headache of having to get it just right first time.

I used Coffee Archival ink to do it, incase there might be some spritzing or blending to be done later.

I smoothed her onto the surface with some multi-medium.  Love how the wrinkles in the paper have given her patterned hair! 

I used a pastel pencil to just lighten her skin slightly in places, and I also added some to gently highlight the flower heads behind her.

I put a light wash of paint on a separate piece of paper and stamped the sentiment, again in Archival.

I added an Idea-ology clock whose hands are set to point to the words YOU and SHOULD to emphasise them!

The flowers are two of several I made and have been using on a number of projects, so you'll see them around again.

They were created by sticking patterned paper to some acetate packaging, die-cut with the Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die, and then heating it to mould the petals.

And together with the clock, they are symbolic of the rosebuds she needs to get out there and gather before time runs out.

The tag was mounted onto some paper that I'd stamped the letter block all over - this time in Frayed Burlap DI for a softer look, and then the whole thing sits on some corrugated card which has had a coat of shabby white paint.  

I coloured the two eyelets with paint and alcohol inks to tone in with the painty background, and used some white string to hang it up by.

I don't know what it is about corrugated cardboard, but I love the look it gives to a project, adding texture and dimensionality.

And I'm pleased with the layer using the alphabet block stamp, which was frankly a bit of an afterthought!

So, off you go and seize the day everybody - whatever it is you never did, you really should...

Thanks so much for stopping by, I do so appreciate your company and your comments; and apologies that some of my visiting has been a bit sporadic of late...  I do hope to get round and see you again soon on my travels.

I'm entering this in the Clocks challenge at Out of a Hat Creations.

To the Virgins, to make much of time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, 
    Old time is still a-flying: 
And this same flower that smiles to-day 
    To-morrow will be dying.

That glorious lamp of heaven, the sun, 
    The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run, 
    And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first, 
    When youth and blood are warmer; 
But being spent, the worse, and worst 
    Times still succeeds the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time, 
    And while ye may go marry: 
For having lost but once your prime 
    You may for ever tarry.

Robert Herrick

Tuesday 29 January 2013

Time Travel

Hello - a very quick (second) post today (the new Fun With ATCs challenge is here), as I suddenly remembered that I really, really wanted to join in with the Time Travel challenge at the House of Bears this month.

Every month they offer some literary inspiration, and being as how I'm supposed to be about the Words and the Pictures and all...  

I didn't make it last month, but this month's book inspiration is The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (I expect she spells traveller with only one L but what the heck!), and as soon as I saw it - apart from having loved the book (I read it through in one night) - I knew I had the perfect quote.

But what with one thing and another, time slips away, and I realised this morning that I'd almost missed the deadline - so sorting of financial papers going back to 1998 went out of the window, and instead I went and created this tag...  So if I'm not ready to move out of the house when the time comes I'm blaming the bears!!

The quote is by Jeremy Irons who, as an actor, gets to engage in time travel - as well as leaping into other people's lives - more often than most.

But I think the quote is wonderful, and I kept the tag quite simple to allow the words to be at the centre of things.

The tag is embossed with the Tim Holtz Clocks folder, and then I blended Chipped Sapphire, Pumice Stone and Frayed Burlap DIs onto it.

I spritzed heavily with some Perfect Pearls Mist in Heirloom Gold and Blue Patina, before adding some Treasure Gold in White Fire to the raised areas.

I also blended some Chipped Sapphire onto a separate piece of cardstock and wrote out the quote, cut it out and edged the pieces with Frayed Burlap.

The words are attached to the tag using the tiny Idea-ology paperclips, and I've then added an clock and a mixture of cogs and gears, some from Idea-ology and some by 7 Gypsies.

A little piece of co-ordinating ribbon and we're all done... So there you go, bears!  Now you can come and help me clear out my filing cabinets...

If you feel suddenly inspired, you've got a couple more days to join in with the challenge.  If only we all had time machines and could go back for extra crafting time!!  Thanks for stopping by today, and I'll see you again soon either here, or elsewhere in Craftyblogland.

I'm entering this in the Time Travel challenge at The House of Bears
and in the Clocks challenge at Out of a Hat Creations

Gosh that takes me back... or is it forward? That's the trouble with time travel, you never can tell.
From Dr Who

My bed is a time machine... I lie down for five minutes and the next thing I know, it's five hours later.

Oh - almost forgot! - here's a sneak peek of a project you can see over at the Artistic Outpost blog today, and watch this space for another AO piece very soon...  It's all go round here at the moment!!

It's a project that's very apt for the time pressures at present!  See you soon...

With a flourish...

Hello all, delighted to have your company for a while today.  It's Tuesday and time for a new challenge at Fun With ATCs.

It was magnificent to have so many of you playing and hopping along with the birthday celebrations last time around, and the prize winners and our top 3 will be announced soon.

In the meantime, why not join in with the new challenge: Flourishes.

There's lots of inspiration from my amazing DT team-mates, and here's my offering.

As soon as I saw that Flourish was coming up as a theme, I knew that I wanted to use one of the gorgeous, delicate wooden flourishes from Crafty Emblies, even though I used one on my Ring in the New ATC only a couple of challenges ago - I didn't know then that this was on the cards!

This time, I've given the flourish the embossing powder treatment, using some of the Ranger Weathered White powder, so it has a lovely texture to it.

The background is done on one of my canvas ATCs from my eclectic Paperie DT stash.

I spritzed it with some Espresso Color Wash which I'd diluted with some water in a mini-mister, and then used Coffee Archival to stamp part of a Tattered Angels flourish I love.  

I stuck the canvas to some card for strength (it comes sticky-backed), and frayed the edges.  I was going for a sort of aged fabric look with the spritzing and fraying.

The words are stamped using my Hero Arts alphabet, and then trimmed with a pair of decorative scissors, so that there's a sort of flourish on the edges too.

The flower is one of several I made a week or so ago - some have appeared on an Artistic Outpost project which I hope to share here later today, and some made it on to my mother's birthday card - also not yet blogged.  

I stuck patterned and stamped paper onto acetate, then gently heated it until it was slightly pliable.  Since it was just old packaging, I had to be pretty quick with my moulding, as it doesn't stay soft for very long - don't burn your fingers if you try it!

So there's an actual 3D flourish, and there's also the metaphorical flourishing of growth - either of plants or of oneself... And I'm sure there are other ways you could also interpret the challenge.  

I do hope you'll play along - all the details, as well as lots more inspiration, can be found at Fun With ATCs. Can't wait to see what you come up with...

Poetry fettered, fetters the human race. Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting, and music are destroyed or flourish.
William Blake

Oh - almost forgot! - here's a sneak peek of a project you can see over at the Artistic Outpost blog today, and watch this space for another AO piece right here later today...  It's all go round here at the moment!!

It's a project that's very apt for the time pressures at present!  See you soon...

Saturday 26 January 2013

Baker's Dozen

Hello all, I've so been enjoying the retrospectives people have offered up either side of New Year, but I'd thought I probably shouldn't join in, as I hadn't got a full year under my belt.  But I've given in, inspired by one of my favourite crafters - Claudia (die amelie), who started blogging at about the same time as I did (June 2012).  She's just offered up her top 12 projects of last year (a-ma-zing!!) over at the Catered Crop Recipe Swap, so I decided to do the same.  Come and play too... you have until February 2nd.

It's quite a strange process looking back over the immense learning curve of the last eight months or so - but useful to look at how this journey is developing, and really interesting discovering which pieces make the shortlist, and which ones I scurry past in a hurry, trying to forget!  One thing is that it makes me feel quite strongly that I've taken (another) big learning leap of discovery as we headed into 2013 - I'm already looking forward to doing next year's list!!

Anyway, for what it's worth, here's what I've picked out as my 12 personal favourites (though there are a couple of others I do feel bad about leaving out!!), in no particular order as they say on those talent shows.  You can, of course, click the links for more details and photos of any that take your fancy...

Sonnet Mash-Up remains one of my all time favourites - Shakespeare plus crafting, and inspired by a glorious experience in my "regular" work.

Companion Piece is formed of a pair of tags which "speak to each other" - with opposing elements shifting from tag to tag.  Again it was inspired by Shakespeare and my, at that point, new Autumnal Distress colours.

A Gatherer of Simples is a little pocket spell book: all about the stamping really... with part of a spell I wrote in primary school and still remember!

And now for something completely different...  The Puppeteer: an altered steampunk bookmark (note to self - more steampunk in 2013 please), and an early encounter with the turquoises that now obsess me!

Anyone suffering from shock will be relieved by the return to vintage neutrals in this tag using an image of the glorious singer Lily Elsie, Musical Tic Tac Toe.

Permanent Ghosts arrived out of me playing with what is possibly my favourite stamp set of all - Artistic Outpost's Think and Wonder.  The quote was an unbelievably serendipitous find.  (This one is really worth visiting the original for - it comes to life in the close-ups which capture more of its real life impact, I think.)

Another tag now, A Heart Full of Love... the start of a love affair with PaperArtsy's crackle glaze, and also part of my enduring love of autumnal craftiness.

A Sense of Belonging is another heavily PaperArtsy influenced piece from around this time (November) - I'd just seen Leandra in action at the Hobbycrafts show at the NEC.  This one holds the seeds of much of my 2013 crafting so far - texture paste, turquoise and Fresco paints!

An altered book now, What the Dickens?: my mother's childhood copy of Great Expectations with the characters tumbling from its mildewed (fake mildewed, obviously - otherwise, yuck!) pages...

Golden Memories of Home is much more recent, so many of you may remember it.  Texture, lots of different materials, and an aching heart at the thought of leaving my family home...

Semi-controlled Mayhem is quite an early piece, and still one of my favourites.

A circus Big Top constructed as a mobile, using lots of handmade and altered papers, it predates a lot of my followers, so I really wanted to share it here, as many of you probably won't have seen it...

It's perhaps another one where a visit to the original post is the only way to really get the measure of it!

Another handmade book now, The Year in Poetry, using beautiful images from Nicecrane Designs, some inky distressing and stamping, stamping, stamping...

I couldn't really do an annual round-up post without mentioning Tim Holtz - and this photo of his amazing book cover stamp seems like as good a moment as any.  

He and his stamps and his Distress range of inks are the reason I arrived in Craftyblogland - they've transformed my whole life.

If you were to do a search on the Labels function on the blog, I don't think you'd find a single post that doesn't include his products or his influence!

And finally in my Baker's Dozen (yes, I know that's 13 really - I just couldn't get it down any further!) I'm offering up the Tint Tin - an altered sweet tin, plain white to start with and now transformed, inside and out... and possibly my worst ever blog title wordplay!

So there you have it... Did I leave out your favourite?  Is there one you're shocked to see here?  I'd love to know what you made of the selection...

And this seems like another good opportunity to thank my followers old and new for your amazing support.  If you'd told me a year ago that I'd be blogging, I'd have laughed in your face, but then it's only a year ago that I first discovered Tim Holtz and the wonder that is Distress so, you know... life changes!!

Thank you so much for your company today and on all the other occasions - it adds so much to this incredible journey to be able to share it with such extraordinarily generous and creatively inspirational people.

I'm offering this up in the Catered Crop Recipe Swap, sharing your top 12 for 2012.  Love to see what others come up with if you've not already shared your favourites.  The link is open for another week, until Saturday 2nd February... 

A Baker's Dozen: This consists of thirteen or fourteen; the surplus number, called the inbread, being thrown in for fear of incurring the penalty for short weight.
Hotten's Dictionary of Slang, 1864

I once sent a dozen of my friends a telegram saying 'flee at once - all is discovered.' They all left town immediately.
Mark Twain

Friday 25 January 2013

A Whiter Shade of Pale

Hello all, thank you so much for dropping in today... It's Friday, and time for a new challenge over at Fussy and Fancy.

I'm a little sad, as this will be my last project as part of the Design Team - it's been a fantastic six months (Six months?  Seriously?  Where did that time go?!) but both in real life and in crafting terms there's so much on my plate at the moment that something had to give.

But I'd like to thank everybody at F&F for the fun and friendship and inspiration, and lots of great challenges... I'll definitely be back to play along in future.

But enough of that... time to play!  We're looking for Circles from you this fortnight, and here's my offering for inspiration, using some papier-mâché hanging circles bought very cheaply at The Range.

Any WOYWW-ers out there may remember this trio of frames from my desk a couple of weeks back - I really went through the mill with this one.

The circles have been at least four different colours, and had several different stamped designs over them, then got covered in texture paste and repainted - each time pleasing me less and less.

Eventually I just lost patience and painted them white to give myself a whole fresh start.

At that point, Our Creative Corner offered up their latest challenge - to create something all White with a Decorative Edge... and at last I began to see a journey ahead.

Step number one was the brainwave of trying out some of the gorgeous Memory Box diecut Catalina Wreaths on top of the frames.

I don't actually own this die, but had bought some pre-cut ones from eBay.

To my delight, they were exactly the right size, so I started gathering other flowery bits and pieces.  I don't do flowery that often, so I thought I might as well do it properly while I was at it.

As well as the Catalina honeysuckle wreaths, there are some of the tiny mulberry paper roses, and some of the larger ones also bought for pennies at The Range.

As I looked at all the bits lying on my craft mat, it quickly became clear that "white" is a flexible term...  Even though all the flowers, the die-cuts and now the frames were "white" - they were all completely different shades.  I decided to paint everything to try to get them to match better.

So I tried a coat of gesso - still all completely different. I added a coat of Titanium White acrylic... still all looking pretty different, but now there was at least a sort of continuity of shade.  

I really like the look of the paint on the paper flowers and the rough brushstrokes visible on the delicate diecuts.

I decided to add some of the wooden flourishes from Crafty Emblies into the mix.  I love these, they're so delicate and intricate.  They look beautiful already in their dark wood finish, and of course you can also alter them, as here.

They got the same coat of gesso and paint as everything else, but I kept it only to the top surface so that you get the dimensional definition of the shape of the flourish.

So we were now pretty much all white - and according to the Our Creative Corner rules, the sentiment can be any colour you like.

At first, I stamped individual words on tissue paper so that I could try out the look of them in the circles, but they didn't have enough punch somehow.

So I turned to my favourite Idea-ology Alpha Parts, this time the Newsprint font.

Usually I mess around with them, altering with paints, and/or DIs, and/or alcohol inks to suit whatever project I'm working on (yup, those links all lead to projects I've used them on - and that's just some of them - I use them a lot!).

As I started to get the letters ready, I was thinking about painting their top surfaces white, as with the flourishes.  However, as I tried them out in the circles I decided I really liked the drama of the black.

So for once, I've left the Alpha Parts in their basic state!!

So there you have it, a shabby chic, romantic, all-white, circular extravaganza - probably about as flowery as you're going to see it get round here!

Be sure to pop by and see all the great projects my fellow DT-ers have created over at Fussy and Fancy - they're well worth a visit, and of course, we'd love to have you join in with our Circles challenge this fortnight - can't wait to see what you come up with!  For now, thank you so much for your company, and see you again soon.

Black and white are absolute... expressing the most delicate vibration, the most profound tranquility, and unlimited profundity.
Shiko Munakata

White covers a multitude of sins.  (After four different goes with these frames, I couldn't agree more!)
Jonathan Milne

I'm entering this in the following:
Our Creative Corner are playing White with a Decorative Edge
At Craft-room Challenge they are looking for Monochrome projects
Allsorts are having a Flower Power challenge