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...

Thursday 28 February 2013

Final GD Artistic Stamper Project

Hello all, thanks so much for stopping by today - I won't keep you long (well, not here at Words and Pictures at any rate).  

It's time to share my final piece as February Guest Designer for The Artistic Stamper.  I've had such fun, and would like to send a big thank you to Jennie for having me, and to Emma for looking after me so well, and to all of you for being so hugely supportive with your visits and comments.

So here's today's sneak peek... If you head over to The Artistic Stamper blog, you'll be able to see the complete project(s).

Hope you have a great day, crafting or otherwise!

It's fun to peek into other people's worlds and see how they go about doing things.
Norah Jones

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Extra! Extra!

Welcome, welcome!  I think you'll be happy you stopped by today...  I'm so excited to be able to share with you the new Artistic Outpost release Paperboy.  The whole team has been creating projects to tempt you - and you'll find links to them all here at the Artistic Outpost blog - though for my part I think the stamps speak pretty much for themselves: it's a gorgeous set!

I've got several pieces to share with you and I'll spread them out over the next few posts, but I thought I'd give you a quick glimpse of them all to whet your appetites.

So, without more ado, I give you: Paperboy...

Here's what Robyn, designer and owner of Artistic Outpost has to say about them:

Amazing vintage photographs of "newsies" were used as the inspiration for Artistic Outpost's newest release, Paperboy.

This collection features iconic newsboys and girls from the early 1900's when children hocked the latest news on the street corners of America's busiest cities. Also included are a newsprint collage, a megaphone for announcing the latest and greatest, and sentiments professing that "you are the hero in your own story".

The collection is available in both unmounted sheets of red rubber for $14 or mounted on EZ Mount cling foam and pre-cut for you for $22.99. Mounted version comes with a cling card for easy storage.

Find the set here.

These stamps have such a fantastic vintage feel to them, and the characters have the trademark direct gaze of some of my favourite Artistic Outpost sets (Think and Wonder, Generation Redux).  These children capture you and hold you with their eyes, challenging you to engage, to look again.

I found myself drawn to a neutral palette with these stamps (with the occasional blue invasion) - probably influenced by the fact that old photographs and newspapers live in that colour world, so the stamps inhabit it very comfortably.

And I mostly kept it pretty simple to let the stamps do the work.

So the first one I'm going to share in detail is the one that sprang to mind immediately when I received the set.

The 3D frame structure seemed like a great "period" way to display the images, reminiscent of a turn of the century diorama. It was the first thing that came to me, since there seemed to be a natural progression of distances given the relative sizes of the images.  

(And if you saw yesterday's tiny "theatre", you'll see that the 3D thing infected me a little!)

I stuck Tim Holtz text tissue wrap onto some strong chipboard and cut several frames and plaques using the Vintage Cabinet Card and mini-Cabinet card dies.  (These were to form the basis of a couple of my pieces.)

So the fabulous cityscape goes right in the background, the girls are in the middle-ground, and one of our two paperboys comes right into the foreground.

They're stamped in Archival Black.  I added some gentle shading with Antique Linen Distress Stain, applied with a waterbrush.

And what did I use to separate the frames, I hear you cry... the distance between them is far more than just some padded tape.

Yup, you're right.  Well, you know those bits of white foam that come in the bottom of the packaging when you buy a Texture Fade embossing folder... it's those, sliced in half lengthwise.  

I always knew they had to be useful for something, and I've finally found out what!

I added a few metal accents - including one of the lovely new Papermania Chronology clocks, and that was pretty much that.

I hope you'll be able to visit the rest of the team if you haven't already; they've really created some amazing projects... I think we've all been inspired by this great new stamp set.  See more by visiting...

Gerrie     Lisa     Suzanne    Tracy    Linda    Terry    Kate

For now, thanks so much for dropping in and I'll see you out there somewhere in Craftyblogland soon!

If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.
Mark Twain

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.
Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Waiting in the wings...

Hello everyone, it's Tuesday and time for a new challenge at Fun With ATCs.  Our theme for this fortnight is Vintage - can't wait to see what you come up with.

There's loads of inspiration from my amazing team mates along with all the challenge details right here.

I've pushed the boundary a bit with my ATC this time around... It is 2.5 by 3.5 inches in size, as required, but it does also have a little roof on - I hope you'll forgive me!

I used the delightful little house frame from the Artistic Outpost set called Whimsical Melange.  I stamped it three times on plain manila card using Coffee Archival Ink, and inked it a little with some Vintage Photo.

I also gave it a coat of Rock Candy crackle paint in places, and let it dry.

Then I inked again, wiping away the surface ink to leave it highlighting the cracks for an aged look.

I hand cut the centres out of two of the images to create frames and layered up my three little arches with some padded tape in between.

To my mind (with its twin obsessions of theatre and crafting), it has the look of a tiny stage.

There's music at the top and footlights at the bottom... definitely a theatre.  Come on, surely it's not just me?!

There are the flats at the side ready to slide new scenery between, in front of the backdrop.

Ah, yes... the backdrop.

Originally, I had a watercoloured version of the station from the AO SteamPunk plate as my background, but I decided it all looked a bit too wishy-washy, so I decided to use up some leftovers instead.

I still had, lying in one of the piles on my workdesk, a spare image left over from one of the fabulous 12 Tags of Christmas.  Linda Coughlin, a.k.a. the Funkie Junkie, offered up a gorgeous vintage freebie image along with one of her inspirational tags.

I had printed it up in several sizes as I wasn't sure how big I needed it for my Toys, Toys, Toys tag at the time.

Now it was time for the understudy to take centre stage...

I could hardly believe it when I found it was exactly the right size!

I recoloured the bunting slightly, using Distress Markers, so that it would tone in with the children's coats, and added a couple of the mulberry paper roses as accents.

So there's my tiny vintage Victorian theatre ATC.  We had a huge turnout for the Red theme last time around, and I'm guessing Vintage might also tickle your fancy... so I do hope you'll be able to play along with us at Fun With ATCs, and at the very least check out the great projects from the rest of the team.

Just before I go, I hope you won't mind if I share a little sneak peek of a project I have over at Artistic Outpost today too... if you have the time to pop over for a quick look, that would be wonderful.

Have a lovely day and see you again soon, either here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland!

Theatres are curious places, magician's trick-boxes where the golden memories of dramatic triumphs linger like nostalgic ghosts, and where the unexplainable, the fantastic, the tragic, the comic and the absurd are routine occurrences on and off the stage. Murders, mayhem, political intrigue, lucrative business, secret assignations, and of course, dinner.
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

Monday 25 February 2013

Just in case...

... you're interested:

Over at eclectic Paperie today I'm sharing a step-by-step for the little beermat book I created recently.  Visits are in no way compulsory!!

And while I'm here, I'd just like to say a very big welcome to the new followers - so delighted to have you with us.

Happy Crafting all!

One step at a time is good walking.
Chinese Proverb

Saturday 23 February 2013

Don't eat the daisies

Hello all, hope you're having a wonderful weekend. 

Here we are, and back with the turquoises after yesterday's hit of vivid colour with the Dragon Butterflies

I seem to remember that I promised, during all the excitement of the PaperArtsy releases, to share some of my samples with you in more detail over the next couple of weeks... well, somewhat tardily, here's the first batch: a series of six co-ordinating pieces.

When I saw the new JOFY stamps, they sang to me of what we might do together... yeah, I know - but that's what happened.

And though I would in no way count myself a watercolourist, when you're using Distress Stains, it doesn't feel like watercolouring, so I don't have to stress about skills or whether-I'm-good-enough at it... I just get to play with pretty colours.

I immediately saw them as tall and elegant, so I sliced my watercolour card (well, it feels like thick watercolour paper, it looks like thick watercolour paper, I've no idea how long it's been on my bookshelves, but I happened upon it in the search for the cheap watercolour pad I could've sworn I'd bought from The Works but either I didn't or it's just disappeared in the way things seem to in this house) in half lengthwise and started stamping.

Everything is stamped in Olive Archival by Ranger, and if you want to know which stamps are from which sets, have a look at my release post - all the information is there.

I daubed the Distress Stains onto my craft sheet a few colours at a time, and used my Pentel water brushes to apply them.  (I'm oh so in love with this butterfly stamp!)

The Distress Stains blend beautifully, and there was plenty of "play" from the paper (making me all the more sure it's some sort of watercolour paper), giving me time to move colour around, or dab it away with paper towel or lighten it with water.

I mostly used combinations of blues: Chipped Sapphire, Faded Jeans, Stormy Sky, Weathered Wood; turquoises: Peacock Feathers, Broken China, Tumbled Glass; and greens: Mowed Lawn, Peeled Paint, Bundled Sage, and the odd touch of Pine Needles... so the palette always co-ordinated.  

I haven't worked my way to adding the contrasting colours to make things "pop" yet - but I'll get there soon!

One of the delights of the stamps is that you can encourage the slender stalks to bend slightly, so that you can have a flower leaning the way you want it, or alter the same stamp so that it can be used next to itself without looking completely identical.

One of my favourite brainwaves here was using the sentiments as blades of grass, growing up out of the ground with the rest of the stamps.  Of course, it partly arose because with my long slender "canvas" some of the longer phrases simply weren't going to fit straight across them!

There is a "grass" stamp in one set, but for the most part I used strokes of stain to create a grassy base to the picture and then added some scribbly grass freehand using the fine end of the Forest Moss Distress Marker.  Great fun to play with some freehand next to these deliciously drawn pieces.

And then I decided to highlight the delicious scribblyness a bit further using my Inkssentials white gel pen.

I think it gives a twist of freshness and modernity to what might otherwise be fairly traditional looking watercolours - not that there's anything traditional about these flowers!

I tore corrugated card from some packaging boxes to create backing frames for my watercolours, and used some Versamagic White Chalk ink to shabby the backgrounds up (shabby them down?).

And rather than struggle with glue (let me spill the beans here... these were created from about 4.30am to about 7.30am after I woke early full of ideas and plans for how to use the stamps which had arrived the day before and which I was aiming to post samples for to Leandra the following day, so struggling with glue really wasn't an option at that hour!) I used double sided tape to stick them down.

Another little insight there into how I get everything done!

I've done lots of watercolouring with Distress Stains since; it's become one of my favourite things to do - so pleasurable - but this really was only my second proper go at it, and I'm so pleased with how they turned out.  

(I was also dead chuffed to see they made it onto the display boards at Stitches where all the new PaperArtsy products were revealed in real life - take a look!)

These stamps really took me by surprise.  They aren't in my usual style, but whenever I saw the early release of JOFY 9 in action on other blogs, they really appealed to me, and they turned out to be an absolute delight to work with  - they're beautiful, fresh, quirky, and give you a fantastically sharp image every time.  Save your pennies - they're worth it!

Thanks so much for stopping by today...  I'll aim to share some close-up details of some more of the samples soon, and I've also been creating new things with the stamps, so some of that will be making its way on here quite soon, I'm sure.  For now I'll wish you very happy crafting, and a lovely rest-of-weekend!

The earth laughs in flowers.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. 
Iris Murdoch

I must have flowers, always, and always. 
Claude Monet

Friday 22 February 2013

Dragon Butterflies

Hello all, and a warm welcome to Words and Pictures on this chilly (where I am, at any rate) February day.  After yesterday's Tin Can Insect Tag, I've got some more insects to share with you today.

I'm here to share two unintentional, accidental tags with you today...  As most of you know, there's been a lot going on here this February.  You've been loyally supporting me through all of it, and I'm so grateful, especially as I've been getting a bit behind with my own visiting - sorry! 

And we're not done with the month yet, so I really wasn't planning on any extra-curricular activity outside of my DT and GDT duties (pleasures, really).

But then the DragonsDream Tag It On recipe bobbed up - Orange, Purple, Butterflies - and I couldn't resist it.  Okay, they're not my usual colours, but I did have a brief but passionate fling with the Fall Distress colours when they got released as full members of the Distress palette, so it was a real pleasure to rekindle an old flame - Seedless Preserves and Ripe Persimmon (and sunglasses) at the ready.

The other requirements are that the project be a tag, and that you use at least one real stamp.

Well, I'm afraid I ended up with two tags by mistake, partners in crime and colour (this happened before when I used these colours in my Companion Piece - odd that they seem to travel in pairs!). And my stamping is subtle, but I promise you it's there...

I always had the plan for a layered tag, on which I would use the Movers and Shapers butterflies to cut apertures through from tag A to tag B.

So I started with some wrinkle-free distress technique à la M. Holtz eemself...  Seedless Preserves and Ripe Persimmon on the craft mat, along with a couple of spritzes of Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Flower Power.

The first tag ended up with pretty full on colour and, after a spritz of water onto the mat, I used the second tag to mop up the rest creating a much lighter version.  I knew that from the Companion Piece and was ready for it.

The accidental second tag arose when I realised that the butterflies cut from the pale tag A really looked best against dark tag B, but that's not what they would be sitting on.

Really, I needed a new tag C for them to perch on... but then if you make a new dark tag C, you'll also end up with a lighter tag D once you've mopped up your inks, so why not do another whole layered tag with the reverse colour-way?

That way you'd get light and dark butterflies, light and dark foreground tags AND light and dark background tags... and therefore two projects.  Clear as mud, eh?!  Well, that's where I ended up in any case.

I also, at some point in the wrinkle-free process, used both a book page and a piece of white corrugated card to mop up some of the ink - they were both sitting there within reach.

And then I thought, well - why not create some extra butterflies with those too?!

The original dark tag was done on a piece of paper cut from Tim's Vintage Shabby paper stash, so it had a flourish built into it.

But my new light tag D needed one as well so I stamped Tim's lovely flourish on in a mixture of the two DIs.

I also stamped it onto the main bodies of my butterflies, front and back.  To further highlight the flourishes throughout the two pieces, I added some doodling with the Inkssentials white pen.

I layered up the card butterflies with the bookpage versions and used the tiny stapler to attach them.

They're glued onto the tags with Glossy Accents and some patience!

The corrugated card obviously only got ink on its ridges when I used it to mop up, so I spritzed it with the Glimmer Mist to get some orange down into the valleys - makes them nice and sparkly as a happy side effect.

I could really have done with some sunshine to show you the full effect...

I had some problems with filling the butterfly apertures...  Initially, I handwrote some words using the white pen, and doodled an inner frame to echo the butterfly shape.

But I decided I didn't like the look of the writing.  So I used some white acrylic paint to fill in the butterfly shape I'd drawn, thinking that would link in with the white highlighting elsewhere.

However, it picked up colour from the tag beneath, creating two new pastel shades of purple and orange, which ended up completely delighting me.  I'd never have thought of doing it myself!

I used the Hero Arts alphabet to stamp my words - fly high, fly free - rather than risk the writing again, and added a couple more doodled flourishes to the wings.

As I was layering the tags up, I found I couldn't really see enough of my background tags (B and D, were they?  I don't know, I've lost count).

I think you'll see why I didn't want to lose sight of them completely...

I contemplated tearing the edges - that would be my usual go-to method but, hey, we're in a whole new colour world, let's go for a whole new way of trimming a tag.

So I used the X-Cut edge punch I got at The Range at Christmas.

I had some trouble negotiating the corners - my inner perfectionist has had to obey TH and "embrace imperfection".

I'll just have to deal with the fact that not all the corners are as neat as they might be!

Anyway, with a bit of tweaking, there's a lovely extra view of the tags underneath, and some more dimensionality to the structure, which I always enjoy.

I used the same DIs and mist to dye some bits of seam binding so that I could have co-ordinating ribbons to top the tags off.

They're tied, of course, in bows to give just a hint of a couple of extra butterflies.

So, I hope you've been able to cope with this abrupt departure from my usual colours... Don't worry - normal service will be resumed shortly!

Thanks so much for stopping by - it's an honour to have your company, and a delight to read your comments - every single one is greatly appreciated.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend with plenty of time for whatever makes you happy!

I'm entering this in the DragonsDream Tag It On challenge recipe: Orange, Purple, Butterflies

Butterflies are not insects,' Captain John Sterling said soberly. 'They are self-propelled flowers.
From The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein

A fallen blossom
returning to the bough, I thought --
But no, a butterfly.
Arakida Moritake

In my world, everyone's a pony and they all eat rainbows and poop butterflies!
Dr. Seuss