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...

Sunday 31 March 2013

A Nature Journal is Born

Hello everyone!  I  hope you're all enjoying a lovely Easter weekend, however you choose to celebrate it.  

I celebrated with a little Easter Giveaway yesterday, and just want to make sure you don't miss out - click on the link to get your freebie!

Today, I'm here to share a very simple journal page, inspired by some of my eclectic Paperie goodies.

The page uses my much-loved hedgerow flower stamps by Donna Downey at Unity.

If you're tempted by them, you'll find links at the foot of the post to take you straight to them. 

Although this is a simple page, I'm excited about it, because it's made it clear to me which direction this journal is going to go in. 

I'd only done one page in it, and that was months ago, and I was feeling a bit stuck as I didn't want to "spoil" it - I'm sure you know what I mean. But this second page that finally emerged has set up a sort of theme, and for now I'm going to run with it.

That's not to say it won't change as we progress!

But I've decided to find a way to incorporate my Hedgerow Tags I and II into pages of their own, as they'll fit right in.

The journal is made up of kraft pages, so I used Sepia and Coffee Archival inks to stamp the flower stems.  

They're such jumbo stamps that even with this medium sized journal, you still mainly get partial stampings!

Having layered up the flowers, I added a Tim Holtz sentiment stamp.

I blended Vintage Photo DI around the edges to give that gorgeous extra depth of colour to the kraft paper.

And then I had lots of fun flicking white paint around, trying to get decent globules so that there would be lots of dimension.

I love the effect of summer pollen and blossoms and seeds floating in the air around the plants.

You may not remember the first page in this album as it's so long since I've added to it... 

But if I show you this as a reminder (you can see it in more detail here), you'll see the way my thinking is going.

I'm so glad I waited for the right stamps and the right moment with the next page, and allowed it to reveal where it wanted to go.

It turns out it's a nature journal, I think!

I'm going to play with embedding these two hedgerow tags from previous eclectic Paperie posts (Hedgerow Tags I and II if you want to see more) into pages of their own - I'll keep you posted on how I get on - and there's another one coming up which may also get to play a part.

Ooh... and while I'm typing this, I've just had another idea for some pages... yay - time to play!

Thanks so much for stopping by... I hope you enjoy this Easter weekend, however you celebrate, or whatever you're up to, and I look forward to hopping round (Easter bunny-like) to see what's new out there in Craftyblogland.

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

And, finally, a poem I love, and which seems just right for a nature post on Easter Sunday.  If you don't know e.e. cummings's work, I promise all the punctuation and spacing (or lack of it) is as it's meant to be:

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings

Click on the link to go to the product:

I'd like to enter this in the Sunday Stampers challenge Nature, hosted by Hels over at Ink on my Fingers
And at Art Journal Journey, the theme for April is The Landscape Within Me

Saturday 30 March 2013

An Easter Giveaway

Hello everyone, and welcome to Words and Pictures, with an especially big welcome to the newest followers - so delighted to have you on board.

And today's a good day to be here, because I have a little Easter giveaway for you all.  But since gifts should be hidden at Easter, you're going to have to hunt all the way to the end of the post to find your reward!

It comes courtesy of the lovely Ignacio at Nicecrane Designs, who offered me the chance to give you all a little gift to celebrate Easter, as well as to thank you for all your lovely comments on Box of Delights - one of my Nicecrane DT pieces.

It seemed only right to give you the gift with a little gift tag, so I used another Nicecrane image to create this (extremely rapidly, so that I could catch the light to take the photographs - even so, it's suffering a little from dusky lighting - so I may update with a nice sunny one soon!).

This cutie is from one of Ignacio's new releases, Absolutely Incredible Kids.

It comes in a pre-coloured version and in a black and white version (click on the links to go to the sheets in the store), and there are five adorable images.

I have the images in b&w, and I used the Distress Stains with a water brush to "colour" her in... Since printer inks aren't necessarily "fast", you have to be handy with the paper towel if you get the paper too wet.

Probably you'd be better off with Copics or other markers, but I haven't embarked on that yet, and I do love painting with the Stains, so I'm willing to put up with the odd fuzzy line.

I allowed her green spotty dress to dictate the tag background, layering dotty stencils and stamps over some Tim Holtz wrinkle-free distress technique.

The wrinkle-free was done with Distress Stains, but after that there're Distress Inks, Stains and Paints involved in the layering.

I grabbed various pretty bits and pieces - some mulberry paper roses, some filigree corners, some cheesecloth - and started to assemble the tag.

I used a Movers and Shapers die to cut around the little girl, and added the lettering using the tiny Hero Arts alphabet.

Rather than dyeing my crinkle ribbon, I simply wet and dried it, so that it would echo her bow.

Okay, okay... so where's this Giveaway, I hear you cry!

It's right here...

Special Easter Giveaway

If you would like this sheet of delightful fairy images for your very own, all you need to do is click here, save it to your computer, and it's all yours!  And, of course, if you visit the store, you'll find lots more to play with.  

I hope you have as much fun playing with them as I had throwing together this gift tag.  Thank you so much for stopping by, and - however you celebrate it, and whatever you're up to - Happy Easter to you all!

I'd like to enter this tag in the following:
Simon Says Stamp are having an Anything Goes week
Live and Love Crafts are offering Easter as their theme for March
At Bunny Zoe's Crafts the March challenge is Girly

Well pleaseth me the sweet time of Easter
That maketh the leaf and the flower come out.
Bertran de Born

Friday 29 March 2013

Be Good

Hello everyone, just a quick tag to share with you today, using the wonderful Artistic Outpost stamps from the Generation Redux set.

There won't be much How-To-ing today since, to be perfectly honest, I've forgotten how I did most of it (even though it was only a couple of days ago).

I've been mixing and matching products and just generally playing about, so I can't be quite sure now, looking at it, exactly how that background came about!

Could be Distress Stains in there... could be some Fresco paints I think...

Who knows?!

I do know the number stamping was done with Hyde Park Fresco paint from PaperArtsy, and I know there's a mop up reverse side of the Harlequin stencil to use up leftover White Linen Dylusions spray in there.

The woman is stamped on tissue paper in Coffee Archival, and then I painted some white on the reverse side so that once she was stuck on, she would show up against the full-on action of the background colours.

There are some of the tiny little plant stamps added for extra texture around the tag - I love how they echo the huge meadow flower behind the woman.

The sentiment is from the Typography set (I think I'm right in saying it's the first time I've inked it up - shame on me!), and it's attached with one of the adorable Idea-ology paper clips.

The flowers are layered up using crunchy wax paper (PaperArtsy again) and Tim Holtz's Melange tissue wrap, then fastened with brads.

Some raffia and twine on the top completes the simple look.

This tag is ready for Spring with its fresh greens and flowers but, as you can see, I braved a very snowy garden to get my pictures.  Most of them were taken with the tag propped in the tree (you know how I love my trees as display areas) but I also loved how the bit of bare wall here completely matched the tag colours.

And if you think from that visible bit of wall that there maybe wasn't so much snow... here are my footprints where I stood to take the photos! (There are another few inches under where my feet sank down to...)

It has mostly thawed now; and I do hope any of you who are still stuck with it are keeping warm and safe.

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I'll see you again soon.

On the whole human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite all the time.
George Orwell

When I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better.
Mae West

Wednesday 27 March 2013

A Thousand Splendid Quotes

Hello everyone, and welcome (back, if you've already visited once today to see What's On My Workdesk this Wednesday)...  

Don't adjust your sets, you really are at Words and Pictures, and once again there's a break in our normal broadcasts to bring you some unscheduled programming in colour... yes, multi-colour!

When Simon Says Stamp and Show offered up Quotable as this week's challenge, it slightly sent me into a spin - how on earth to narrow down all the quotes I love and select one for a project?!  After all, I add quotes to the bottom of each post already, and I still haven't run out...

Then I remembered that I'd collected some new quotes at the beginning of March ready to enter the House of Bears' Literary Challenge.  This month they're offering as inspiration Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Now, for once I haven't read the inspiration book - but the bears always provide a detailed synopsis (they're highly literate bears), as well as suggested themes and ideas for creative inspiration based on the book.

As many of you will know, I often find my trigger in words, so I went in search of some to fit the bill.

As well as the Thousand Suns of the title, I took inspiration from the story they described as being all about despair, endurance and ultimately hope, and I found this particular quote which seemed just about perfect.

Then it all went on the back burner as travelling, dollshouses, and other stuff took over...

But the SSSaS challenge kicked me back into action, and so here we are.  And it really is the quote which controlled the making of this piece.

As anyone who knows my work will tell you, multi-coloured creations are pretty much the last direction I would think of going in... but there was the rainbow right at the centre of the quote - and it had to be at the centre of the project too.

Tim Holtz embossing folders play a major role in this piece.  Because of the Thousand Splendid Suns and the sun in the quote, it was the Rays embossing folder which kicked it all off...

Then I needed rain - and decided the Retro Circles would serve as the concentric ripples from lots of drops of water falling into puddles.

And then I do just seem to have a thing about triptyches: the rule of three - always works in rhetoric, and works for me in crafting too.  So then the rainbow had a bit more room to spread out.

I chose the lovely Springtime Background, with the leafy vines, since I knew by this time that the central panel would be where the greens would end up.

I loved my three pages, so it took some resolution to make the cuts with the Cabinet Card die.  But I figured I could always remake them if I hated them once cut!

At first, I thought Umbrella Man (cut from one of my WOYWW experimental tags: TH's wrinkle free distress technique done with Distress Paints, then inked for shading.  Love how the paint gives a resist effect with the ink!) would go at the rainy end, and the flowers with the sunshine...

But I realised it made the colours pop far more if I reversed it - and anyway, the whole point of the quote is that you need both sun and rain together...

And then I needed a die-cut for the central panel too - the flourish seemed ideal as a symbol of flourishing, colourful life...

Everything is mounted on padded tape to make it pop a little further, including all the words - some pretty fiddly tape cutting and sticking (especially under the flourish).

Some of the flowers are on double layers, to give three different levels of dimension over the embossing.  The attachers have had a little dose of Quinacridone Gold transparent acrylic paint for some added sunshine.

So, with the padded tape and popping contrasting colours, I'm also going to offer this up as another entry over at this month's Add a Little Pop challenge at the Inspiration Journal.

The final step was to dye some crinkle ribbon to fit in with the rainbow sweep across the panels... so the first pair are a combination of Scattered Straw and Shabby Shutters, and the second pair of Peacock Feathers, Broken China and Tumbled Glass - the colours either side of the divides.

There's still time to play along in the House of Bears challenge (as well as both the others of course!)... and as you can see, there's no need to have read the book to join in!!

Thanks so much for dropping by today (especially if you've been twice). Looking forward to hopping round to see what you've all been up to... Happy Crafting!

Then a woman said, "Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow." And he answered: Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears. And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
From The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

I'd like to enter this in the following:
The House of Bears literary challenge based on A Thousand Splendid Suns
Quotable at Simon Says Stamp and Show
Add a Little Pop at the Inspiration Journal
With its hint of April showers, I'd like to add it as a third and final entry to the current Vintage Stamping Challenge, sponsored by Flonzcraft which is Spring is in the Air
And with the quote leading how this project was created, it also goes into the current Rogue Redheads challenge which has a Sentimental Focus


Hello all... Yes, I know, I've been missing the WOYWW action for too many weeks, but I really, really wanted to make it along to share my current workdesk situation now that it's set up!  If the letters WOYWW mean nothing to you then hop along here for a taste of the best and nosiest bloghop around, hosted by the lovely Julia Dunnit at the Stamping Ground.

I'm back in the Czech Republic (where this whole Craftyblogland madness began for me), so longtime WOYWWers may remember the set up in my room in my mother's beautifully renovated farmhouse here... a plastic garden table (huge working area - so cool!)...

... and then my "shelves" made up of just some of the boxes which I used to transport my travelling stash (and no the sprays are not free, I'm afraid, and no, you can't help yourself - very sorry).

My paints live on the windowsill - pictures of them next time around perhaps.

As to what's on this workdesk... well, lots of tags, basically: experiments with Distress Paints, some playing with inks, some leftovers, a canvas for re-working, some mess.

But what I really want to show you is my other workdesk!!  And that's over in the museum...  The museum?  Yes, the museum!

I had to come with lots of boxes as I'm here for 10 weeks helping my mother (known to some of you as Cestina - and she's making her WOYWW debut today) prepare her large collection of dollshouses to open as a small museum here.  Many of them had been stored in the garage in the UK for over a decade, so you can imagine there's urgent work needed to make them fit for public consumption.

First, though, we had to create some kind of order out of the chaos of packing boxes, and there was much sorting of boxes of fairly haphazard collections of dollshouse paraphernalia, as well as all the random bits of assorted flotsam and jetsam awaiting transformation into some miniature accessory or piece of furniture.  Crafters - especially the alterers amongst you - will know exactly the kind of junk I mean!

(For a more detailed version of the whole journey, check out Cestina's blog - especially this post for the chaos!)

And now, I'm happy to say, not only is the vast majority of all that sorting done, but we also have two beautiful work stations set up, and a room divider with all the paints and tools we need to share sitting in between.  I had an absolute ball setting it all up!!

The double desk under the window is my area, and you can see Cestina's trestle table beyond the dividing shelves.

We each have our own sets of really vital tools on our own workdesks, so there'll be no fighting over craftknives, lollypop sticks, toothpicks and glue sticks.

And here's what's on the workdesk now - a dollshouse wall, being repapered (much easier when they come apart like this - sadly not the case with most of them - there's some fiddly work to come)...

... and 7 Gypsies fans might just recognise the papers being used!

That's not the final dado rail - just a piece so that I can judge how the proportions are going to look.

So a slightly long return post - apologies, Julia - but it is all about workdesks...

Hope to make it round to visit lots of you - it's been too long... but for now I'll wish you a very happy WOYWW!

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.