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 1 May 2013

Quite Contrary

Hello all!  I'm very excited to be here as a Guest Designer for Country View Crafts new challenge for May: How Does Your Garden Grow (a GD spot earned for me by my Glampunk Birdhouse).

I'm a busy bee today, there's also my Artistic Stamper DT post (it's my debut for them, so it would be lovely if you had a moment to take a look at it!).  

And don't forget today also sees the launch of the first challenge over at the all-new Our Creative Corner (thankfully I'm not on duty until half-way through the month, or else I'd be on a hat-trick of posts today!). 

But for now, let me show you the canvas which was sparked off by this lovely challenge theme.

The minute I saw the challenge theme, my head went to a traditional English country walled garden.  And this canvas ended up being all about the Decorative Strip Dies!

I recently got the Brick Wall Decorative Strip Die (mostly thinking it might be useful for dollshouse duties) and I decided to press it into action.  

And the other main feature of the garden is obviously the flowers - cut with the Tattered Flower Garland Decorative Strip Die.

I've always had a bit of a thing for old red brick walls - I love the warmth and variation of tone in the bricks, so I set about trying to recreate it.

I used Distress Stains in a number of colours to cover a whole sheet of A4, cut several strips of wall, and then pressed out all the bricks.

For the mortar, I mixed some Antique Linen Distress Stain into some texture paste and smoothed it onto the card that I'd cut to size.

Then I did my brick-laying... fiddly, yes, but great fun seeing it take shape.

You'll see that originally I had a whole different background planned for this.  I even got as far as having everything stuck down, but it just wasn't working for me.

So I had to carefully peel off all my painstakingly stuck down elements and start all over again.

I was much happier as soon as I'd taken it all off and had a look at it, even on a blank canvas.

So then I started afresh (luckily I'd picked up a bunch of canvases incredibly cheaply at Kik, which is kind of the Woolworths/Poundland of the Czech Republic).

I had a lovely time with Distress inks and stencils, keeping it very gentle and soft in look.

The Distorted Hive Mask from Tando is a great texture creator, and I combined it with the Crafter's Workshop chicken wire.

Obviously there's some stamping... the Tim Holtz Papillon script rolled on randomly in places; some delicious hedgerow plants from some of the TH smaller stamp sets; and a touch of my all time favourite script stamp from the Apothecary stamp plate.

I love the texture of the canvas through it all.

I was also pretty happy with my brainwave for the "flagstone" pathway... strips of torn tissue tape.

This is one of my favourite bits of the whole thing in the end!

The quote is a PaperArtsy sentiment, stamped on watercolour paper in Olive Archival.  I used Distress Inks to echo the colours of the canvas from the grass up to the sky, with some Wild Honey for added sunshine.

It's mounted on padded tape for extra dimension.

The flowers are all cut from a sheet out of Prima's Tea Thyme collection.

I had a lovely time layering them all up.

They've all had an edging of Antique Linen, and then just a touch of Wild Honey for extra warmth (not that it was needed when it came to photograph time - we went up to 39 degrees that day - but don't be envious, I'm back on the hot water bottles again now!).

The long attachers have been given little dabs of Distress Paint to tone in with the papers.

The little butterfly is also cut from the Tea Thyme papers, but he's had a good dose of Peeled Paint DI to differentiate him from the flowers.

He got a good coat of Rock Candy Distress Stickles too, but it doesn't seem to show up much in these photos, sadly.

The little fluffy clouds were almost an afterthought... it suddenly occurred to me that if we were in an English country garden, it's highly unlikely that there would be no clouds at all in the sky (it does happen occasionally, but really not that often!).

I pulled apart a cotton wool pad (for cleaning your face really) and added some of the wisps to my blue, blue sky.

As always, when I work with a canvas, I carried the creation over the edges, so I'll leave you with a couple of angled shots to show you that overflow, and some of the dimension of the piece.

I hope this canvas encourages you to join in with the How Does Your Garden Grow challenge over at Country View Crafts this month.  You'll find a lots more inspiration from the regular DT - as well as a special celebrity guest designer appearance - and all the challenge details right here.

Forgive me for adding just another little reminder about the other May 1st excitements: my debut DT piece for the new Artistic Stamper challenge, and the all-new Our Creative Corner challenge also beginning today.  You have a whole month for each of them (well - until the 28th for OCC), so why not play all three?!?  Hope to see you there.  Happy crafting!

Her heart was a secret garden, and the walls were very high.
From The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.
Walt Whitman

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.
From The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

I'd like to enter this in the following:
Fashionable Stamping Challenge's current Sentimental challenge
At Unruly Paper Arts, they are looking for Paper Flowers for RAQ2
At Pile It On the theme is April Showers bring May Flowers - well, we're in to May now, so here are the flowers
Simon Says Stamp are having an Anything Goes week, and I think I'm just in time to join the hordes!
At Kreativ-Scrapping they would like to see What Spring Means To You - it's the flowers coming out, and the long awaited blue skies and sunshine!


Sophie said...

Oh, mein Gott, Alison :-)
Ich bin eben fast vom Stuhl gefallen.
Das ist unglaublich, mir fehlen die Worte.
Ein Meisterwerk so schön, so bezaubernd.
Die Details, ich kann sie nicht alle aufzählen.
Ich bin total verliebt in diese schöne Arbeit.

Einen schönen 1. Mai
wünscht dir Sophie xx

chrissie said...

Looks like your garden grows very well Alison. The wall is very eye catching and love the way you added the arch in same texture.

Chrissie x

Astrid Maclean said...

Oh love your garden wall and gate, very creative, but what really caught my eye is the gorgeous background, love the combination of those two masks! Avery beautiful make!

Unknown said...

This is stunning Alison, what a great and creative idea! A fabulous make and we're so pleased to have you guesting with us at Country View Challenges this month. Thank you! Chris xxx

Debi said...

this is just so original Alison, love love love the bricks! Debi x

Jenny Marples said...

A wonderful canvas which heralds the start of a long-awaited spring in the UK! Yes, the sun is shining again!! Love the warmth of those bricks and the delicacy of the flowers. And I'm guessing you are the busy bee right now:) Take care, hugs Jenny x

Amanda said...

Super, just makes me think of the "Secret Garden" story which I loved as a child. Fabulous as always
Amanda x

Kelly said...

Gorgeous!! I love the brick wall and florals. The colors and painted background are so pretty. I love the torn tissue with the green stones, really nice together.
Very beautiful.

Helen said...

Wow, you are one busy lady!!! Beautiful garden you have....

Laurart said...

Amazing! This is so beautiful! Love from Laura xxxx

Inkypinkycraft said...

A really eautiful make, love the wall and those flowers are wonderful! Hugs trace. Xx

Redanne said...

Hi Alison, to my mind you are a celebrity guest too! You have created the most wonderful English cottage garden, the wall is fabulous and the flowers are so gentle and beautiful - the path is perfect too. Love the clouds! Hugs, Anne x

Anonymous said...

Absolutely stunning Alison ! The sun is shining here in the UK today and your project suits it perfectly ! You must have the patience of a Saint to lay all of those bricks ! Just off to check out your Artistic Stamper project !

Thanks for joining us at FSC too !
Sue C x
P.S. The AO referral isn't open yet for May so I can 't join you !

Fliss said...

Wow! My jaw just dropped in amazement! The most stunningly realistic brick wall! A really fabulous piece of artwork.
Hugs, Fliss xx

Bonnie Irvine said...

The background is stunning and adds such lovely depth and texture to the canvas. The stepping stones are a brilliant idea, beautifully embedded in the background so they look like they have been there forever. I love the brick wall and your gorgeous flowers. This canvas is delightful!

Jennie Atkinson said...

This is just so stunning Alison!! I love the whole piece but the way you have created the brick wall is amazing! Absolutely beautful. And congratulations on a busy week - I am just off to the Artistic Stamper x

Terry said...

Now you can add masonry to your list of accomplishments! What a brilliant use of that die, which I did not believe I needed! This is one gorgeous garden canvas! Hugs!

Netty said...

fabulous canvas Alison, you are turning out beautiful creations by the dozen, wow. Annette x

Anonymous said...

Totally gorgeous canvas! Love all the wonderful flowers. Thanks for questing with us at Unruly PaperArts!

froebelsternchen said...

That´s another fantastic piece Alison! Fab!
And congrats - I read that you have won over on the April Tag Challenge at tim holtz blog!


Lorraine A said...

Oh WOW !! what a fabulous canvas !! I LOVE how you made the brick wall and archway ,,, BRILLIANT and the flower garden and sentiment are lovely ! :-)

thanks for joining us on the Simon Says Stamp Challenge :-)
Lols x x x

catherine said...

This is just a stunning piece of art work Alison. So much beautiful detail in it. Congrats on a well deserved GDT spot
x catherine

Martina said...

Astounding! I absolutely adore this beautiful creation, Alison. Excellent work :-)

Janny Jager said...

Wowwwwwwwwwwwwww Alison this is realy an amzaing and great piece of art.
Great details and colors.

Greetings Janny

pearshapedcrafting said...

Wow! Aaah! and Wow! again! This is absolutely gorgeous - lots of things to take in! Chrisx

Kjersti said...

Gorgeous Alison, love how you did the brick wall, looks great! And the flowers are fabulous!
Wish you a nice week!
Hugs Kjersti:)

House of Bears said...

Simply stunning, one of our favourite makes of yours, the brick arch brings to mind The Secret Garden, one of our favourite cubhood books. We love how you turned the brick strip die into such a realistic looking wall. How clever.

maj. said...

A really gorgeous work, Alison!!!!The colours and textures are wonderful!!!!!!

May said...

Stunning work as always Alison... Love the colours & the amazing texture you have created...The effect of the wall is Brilliant... Hugs May x x x

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

Everything is so detailed and lovely Alison...great layering and such a great text.

We all need wise words, don't we?!

kind regards, Alie :-)

Lucy Edmondson said...

Terrific! Love the gate in the garden wall,

Lucy x

Chris said...

Really gorgeous Alison and I'm with you on old brick, yours looks so real, worth every minute of tHe laying! The flowers and soft background are wonderful, such a pretty backdrop. Chris x

Dianne said...

OHMYGOODNESS you blow me away, you are the BOMB!!!!!, I don't know but I think you're working for that Crown LOL. This is one of my favorites, shesh I don't know anymore all your work is just outstanding Miss Butterfly, Well thanks for spreading it around so the world can enjoy your talent.. Have a grrrreat day..

Nan G said...

Love love ... love it! I've been looking for a decent brick mask/template and here you are with this die cut! Wow thanks for the inspiration, butterfly!

Barb Cady said...

This is so beautiful, I love secret gardens and this is a stunner! Thank you for all the instructions so beautifully given, so much inspiration! Fabulous work.

Deborah said...

My perfect garden would be a walled garden - red brick of course - with espaliered fruit trees and a old fashioned lean-to hothouse against one wall. Your garden is a beauty, Alison, and that brick wall and arch is genius!

Sue said...

Beautiful Alison, lovely gentle colours, and the brick wall is wonderful xx

Gio said...

It's a canvas?? Never imaged, it's so 3 dimensional and all! I adore your sense of colour and your love for details, Alison!

Since it's coming...have a creative weekend!

Brenda Brown said...

I love this beautiful garden you have created Alison, such an array of beautiful flowers and I love the brick wall. Thanks for joining us as GDT member this month it's lovely having you share your gorgeous work with us at CVC.
Hugs Brenda xox

Anonymous said...

Your canvas is simply stunning Alison, & the wall looks fantastic!
Alison xx

PetraB said...

Fabulous creation, the garden just invites you to enter and stay!

AnyOldCraft said...

This really is amazing.
Absolutely worth the time it took.
The sentiment you have used is so beautiful.

Lisa Minckler said...

INCREDIBLE!!! The design is just sensational and warms the heart. By the way, we're building a new home and any chance I can hire you to do the brick work?? LOL Awesome job on this project!
hugs to you,
Lisa x

Silvia(Barnie) said...

Wow, wow, wow ... I'm missing words, such an outstanding piece of art. So many wonderful details. I really love love love it. Thanks for joining us at FSC this fortnight.

SandeeNC said...

Beautiful canvas, and I really love the brick work! Thanks for visiting my blog, waving hi from the hills of North Carolina ♥

Paper Profusion said...

Oh I just love all your stuff Alison. So glad you started again as this version is brilliant! I LOVE your comment "to join the hordes" LOL. Nicola x

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

What a fabulous canvas! Love the arched brick wall! That in itself is enough, but then the added flowers is icing on the cake! Awesome!

Chrissy said...

Incredibly beautiful Alison, just gorgeous. I love the bricks, the archway is beautiful, and then the flowers just bought it all to life...stunning.


Brenda Brown said...

Just popped back to say thanks for linking this to FSC this fortnight.
Hugs Brenda xox

cathylynn said...

Outstanding Alison! I love your canvas and your brick wall is totally awesome. Fabulous details all over. Great job!
Hugs, Cathy-Lynn

Ephemera said...

WOWSERS Alison this is absolutely amazing, such a beautiful project, and love the brickwall effect. Again thanks so much for sharing your gorgeous artwork with us at FSC. XX

Alexa said...

WOW - truly amazing Alison - the whole things is just beautiful! x

Chris said...

spectacular! I love the bricks and all your gorgeous layered flowers. This is just so beautiful.
thanks for playing with us at Pile It On.

Margaret said...

This is amazing! The detail of the brick wall is fabulous and well worth the effort, and the flowers are absolutely beautiful!

K Clark said...

wow!!! beautiful - Thanks for joining us at Pile it on - April showers bring May flowers challenge - hope you are able to join us this week for our mother's day challenge - Kimberly DT

Anke said...

WOW WOW WOW Alison absolutely stunning, fantastic work.


Bärbel said...

So ein traumhaft schönes Werk, liebe Alison, man glaubt sich direkt an diese Gartenmauer mit den wunderbaren Blüten versetzt. Ich bin schwer beeindruckt, es ist großartig!

Tincan Crafter said...

So love the brick wall. You are incredible!

Marjie Kemper said...

Well this is just plain fabulous!! Love your brick wall and arch, and the wonderful stacked flowers. Must pull out that die!

Nicecrane Designs said...

OMG, sooo original idea,,,,, so creative ,,,,so unique,,, I love your quote and these incredible flowers Alison.

Kezzy said...

Wowser Alison this is amazing and super gorgeous. I love how you have built the wall over the arch and the canvas background is awesome. I will seriously have to start searching the dictionary for new words to mean amazing as I feel that I say the same all the time lol, your work is so bloody good it is amazing all the time. Happy Crafting :-) hugs Kezzy xxx

Michele said...

absolutely gorgeous project! xo

Camilla said...

Love the background, the colors and the flowers! Thanx so much for sharing with us at Kreativ Scrapping:)