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...

Saturday 29 March 2014

Grow, Flourish

Hello everyone!  We really seem to be on a springtime nature kick this week at Words and Pictures.

From the birds in the wood block, via my versions of Tim's March tags, we've now arrived at today's sneak peek for my latest project over at Calico Crafts.

I would love it if you hopped over to take a look - this one gives me great joy... as indeed have all this week's projects.  I'm becoming more than ever sure that Shakespeare's line from King Lear should be my motto:  Thou, Nature, art my goddess.  (Sadly, Edmund, who says it, is dedicating himself to an altogether darker and more subversive world view, not springtime loveliness!)

I'm finally free for some proper catching-up over the next few days... can't wait to see what you've been getting up to.  Have a wonderful weekend all!

... and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?
Vincent Van Gogh

If you don't mind travelling to Calico to see the whole project, I would love to enter this in the Vintage theme this week over at the Stampotique Designers Challenge.

Update - since the Calico Crafts blog is no more, you can now see the whole of this project here at Words and Pictures.

Thursday 27 March 2014

Spring Quartet

Hello everyone, thanks so much for dropping in.  It's lovely to see you - well, you know what I mean!

I'm here with my creations inspired by the glorious March tags Tim Holtz offered us at the beginning of the month.  I was completely bowled over by his inspiration tags this month - so, so beautiful! - so I went for a pretty close version to start with, learning from the subtle techniques on offer.  Here they are...

But I had such fun doing it (plus I wasn't happy with my Distress Marker colouring on the nests) that I decided to do a whole other pair, and this time I stuck to a mainly neutral palette, with a touch of honey, just to see how that would be.  So here are those...

You don't need me to tell you how it's done - all of Tim's clear and detailed instructions are right here.  So I'm just going to do some compare and contrast photos of some of my favourite bits.

It was love at first sight for me for the new Wallflower vibe in all of the Holtz collections (across the Alterations, Paperie and Idea-ology).  

I'm afraid there's been some heavy spending (thank goodness for the discount earned at The Funkie Junkie Boutique by playing along with Linda's 12 Tags of Christmas!!), and this stamp set was right at the head of the list.  I was so happy to see it in action on Tim's tags.

The layered egg is beyond cool!  I love it.

I love that you can have any colour you want as the base layer.

And then speckle with other colours to your heart's content.

Not perfect over-stamping... but I'm thinking there'll be lots of practice in the future, and we all know what that makes!

I loved the multi-colour stamping on the feather...

Blending ink colours on one stamping is something I quite often do (did it on the eggs too!), and I love the effect of doing it with bolder colour contrasts than I would usually go for.

Though, of course, on my neutral tags, it was back to business pretty much as normal!

I'm one of the people Tim mentions when he's demoing the marker spritzer - the ones who picked one of them up, somewhere, at some point, and have had it hanging around for years, with very occasional use.  

Sadly mine's bright red rather than sexy black!

Not quite happy with the string on my "ghost" versions... 

I wanted to use a paler colour, but this is more heavy-duty than the regular twine, so the effect is a bit heftier than I'd like.

The Stormy Sky DP of the colour version of the word band becomes Antique Linen on the neutral tags.

And I picked the smaller fonts for the "ghost" tags, which have a lighter appearance than the larger letters of the single word Word Bands.

I used the matching twines at the top to secure some strands of raffia for a natural look.

So there you have it, my Spring Quartet (apologies for the abysmal pun, but I'm sure you'll understand that it was irresistible!).

These were such a joy to make - smudge-stamping, shadow-stamping, spritzing and all.

Thank you, Tim, for another outstanding month of inspiration and education - what a killer combination!

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.
Mahatma Gandhi

I'd like to enter these as my March tags in Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2014.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Birds in the Wood

Hi everybody!  

No Artistic Outpost bloghop this month, but we're all still creating away, so you'll find delights at all the DT blogs should you feel inclined to visit (links are all available on my Design Teams page just under the Words and Pictures heading).

I'm here with this week's AO creation, and I've been having lots of fun with a chunk of wood.

I've long been an admirer of the chunky ATC (the lovely Redanne, for instance, is always coming up with brilliant ones), but have never got around to getting any cut.  

This is not strictly a chunky ATC, as it's just an off-cut and not the right size (at around 5.5 x 2.75 x 1inch it's taller and less deep, I think), but having had such a lovely time playing with it, I'm definitely going to stock up soon!

All the stamping is done with the fabulous Birds of a Feather plate - it's become a springtime staple round here.

The base colour is a mixture of Sage and Honeydew Fresco Paints, and then the first step was to get the stamping in place.

I really enjoy getting things to go round corners and edges, and there's plenty of potential for that with a chunk of wood.

I did some inking through a stencil and clear embossed it for a touch of dewy shimmer.

Next, time for some texture paste. I mixed it with Peeled Paint Distress Stain on my craft mat, and then applied it through the leaf mask.

The two bird stamps are so deliciously detailed, and I love the texture you get from stamping directly onto the wood.

In many ways, the rougher the better, I'd say!

I also stamped the Gothic text from the same set anywhere I could find any spare space...

Final touches - some Idea-ology flowers and Finnabair brads altered with various paints...

... and a few tiny wooden butterflies, also painted and with a touch of iridescent shimmer added (not enough sunlight to really capture it, sadly).

There had to be some cogs and gears too, otherwise the flowers just looked too flowery, if you get me?  

Some twine wrapped around for that earthy, natural feel...

And finally, the sentiment, small in size but so important: Spring is here, attached as a tiny banner over the 7 Gypsies hardware.

Der spring is sprung 
Der grass is riz
I wonder where dem boidies is?

Der little boids is on der wing,
Ain't that absoid?
Der little wings is on der boid.

Known as Spring in Brooklyn - sadly, despite speculation, the author is unknown!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  It seems to be another busy week here at Words and Pictures... lots to get done before March goes out like a lamb (we hope!).  Plenty more to come before April Fool's Day!

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Being a Boy

Hello all!  So happy you enjoyed yesterday's melancholy musical creation.

I've a tag slightly out of my usual style for you today.  I've been really enjoying the Stampotique Designers Challenge themes lately, and am so honoured by being picked as a favourite too.

But I am slightly ashamed that none of my projects has used a Stampotique stamp (though it's not compulsory)... well, here's one that does!

The theme this week is Masculine.  I suppose this tag probably lies towards the gentle end of the testosterone spectrum, but I really wanted to take this little boy out for a spin.

I was so excited recently to win some fabulous blog candy from the brilliant and lovely Kay Wallace, and this Daniel Torrente stamp, Heart Boy, was part of it - so he needed inking!

For the background I spread some texture paste onto a tag, then laid another tag over the top and pressed them together firmly before peeling them apart to get this lovely textured look.

I inked over the top with various Distress Inks - Stormy Sky, Faded Jeans, Peeled Paint and Shabby Shutters, I think.

I love the variegated tones you get as the ink takes differently according to whether it's over the paste or direct onto the card.

Heart Boy was stamped on a separate piece of card, then stamped again and cut out as a mask.  I inked around him with the same colours, and used my (very few) Copic Markers to colour him in.

I stamped the "recipe", adapted from the nursery rhyme (it's down below, with some extra verses I never knew existed), on some more leftover card.

I inked the words, sky and grass, top and bottom, and mounted both them and Heart Boy on padded tape.

I used one of Darcy's new PaperArtsy border stamps around the edges - it seemed just right for this tag.

(Oh, and those tiny red spatters you can see... an oversight on my part.  He was lying too near something else that was going on!)

It's all topped off with some dyed seam binding and curled paper string - keeping things simple, for once.

As it's Tuesday, you'll find me over at Artistic Outpost today too... with my tag using real life fir fronds - so if you missed it last time around, do check it out.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you soon either here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland.

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Frogs and snails and puppy dogs' tails,
And that are little boys made of.

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice,
And that are little girls made of.

What are young men made of?
What are young men made of?
Sighs and leers, and crocodile tears,
And that are young men made of.

What are young women made of?
What are young women made of?
Ribbons and laces, and sweet pretty faces,
And that are young women made of.

Originally by Robert Southey, but with many alternative versions down the years, including some with even more verses!

I'm entering this highly Masculine tag (!) over at the Stampotique Designers Challenge

Monday 24 March 2014

No more flowers...

Not here at Words and Pictures, anyway... You'll have to hop over to The Artistic Stamper to see them, and even there, the flowers are in pretty short supply.

You'll see why... this sneak peek is here to tempt you over to a creation inspired by the song You Don't Bring Me Flowers - so, like I say, ain't no flowers round here today!

Hope you enjoy it...

In sympathy with the sentiment of the song, you may be wondering where I've disappeared to.  I'm finding it tricky to get out and about in Craftyblogland at the moment - but I will be back!!  

Thank you so much for all your lovely visits and comments in the meantime... they make me so happy.  I'm looking forward to being able to return the compliment soon.

If you come at four in the afternoon, I'll begin to be happy by three.
From The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Friday 21 March 2014

Dream, Play, Grow

Hello everyone.  I'm very excited to be hosting the second challenge at A Vintage Journey, and there's no big surprise about the theme I'm offering up.  I would like you to Say It With Words!

Tim Holtz makes it so easy to "say it with words".  You could use one of the many fantastic sentiment stamps, or ChitChat stickers, AlphaParts, Grungeboard lettering (either pre-cut, or using the fabulous WordPlay die), or any of the other alphabet stamps or dies you can think of, or all of them together!  Whatever you pick, let the words be at the heart of your project.

You can find all the challenge details and rules here at A Vintage Journey, along with lots of amazing inspiration from my fantastic team-mates... but before you go rushing off, here's my starter for ten for you.

Words have always been central to my life (at work and at play).

I love them for their meanings, their sounds and also for how decorative they can be.  

So there's decorative script stamping here, a sentiment which means a great deal to me, and the three large AlphaParts words on the tags which are there for their meanings, but also want to be said out loud!

There's even a bonus thought on the back - but we'll get to that!

I started with a jumbo tag... the size 12 (10.5 x 5.125 inches), and folded it to create a little wallet.

The inking on the outside is a combination of Scattered Straw, Wild Honey and Rusty Hinge, with some darker accents coming in later from Walnut Stain and Black Soot.

And I used my new favourite TH stencil - the latticework pattern.

I covered three small tags with old book pages and inked them up to match.  

The lettering is the Newsprint AlphaParts, and I've simply dabbed Antique Linen Distress Paint directly onto the surface - doing my best to leave the bases black, to give extra dimension.

The glorious Papillon text is stamped randomly in Sienna Archival ink, and the main recurring images along with the words are - again, no surprise - butterflies.

The horizontal Papillons appear here on the cover.

I've used a couple of Idea-ology Hitch Fasteners for the closure, with little metal tassels added to the end of some pale twine to fasten it.

Undo that, and you open up to the interior...

On the inside, I did some marbling and some wrinkle-free distress technique using Distress Paints in similar colours, but with Antique Linen added to the mix.  

And once it was all dry, I also did some inking and stencilling on the inside too.

The vertical Papillon butterflies take pride of place on the central panel.

They're stamped in a combination of Coffee and Black Archival, and clear embossed.

The largest was stamped a second time on acetate and cut out to add that little lift towards flight.

The sentiment is an absolute favourite - not least because it hits very close to home!  

Again it's stamped in the two colours, and clear embossed for extra definition and the "now you see it, now you don't" factor.

The other mini tags take their place on the left wing, with two of the other actions necessary to discovering who you want to be.

You need to dream, play, and grow, I'd say (all long, monosyllabic, open vowel sounds - full of space and time).

And there's no need to have any destination in mind on this particular journey.

As well as the Papillon text, echoing the outside cover, I've used my favourite script stamp here - from the Apothecary set - stamped in Antique Linen Distress Paint.

(Spot the tiny rub-on lettering too!)

And I simply couldn't resist adding some meadow flowers - layered in Rusty Hinge DI and Coffee Archival.

All done?  Well, not quite... there's one final bonus to this tag wallet.

On the back of the outside I've stamped another absolute favourite (one that doesn't get to come out and play very often, sadly). 

This is a Unity stamp by Christy Tomlinson, and you don't need me to tell you that these words are also central to my way of thinking.

Again it's the double ink stamping - I love the shading effect you get.

Some Antique Linen DP splatter and we're finally there...

I hope this will inspire you to Say It With Words at A Vintage Journey. You have a fortnight to play, and we'd love to see what you come up with.  Remember it's Vintage or Tim Holtz style, and with words at the heart of it.  See you there!

Words can light fires in the minds of men.  Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.
From The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

From one challenge to another - I'd like to enter this in A Splash of Colour at the Inspiration Journal challenge sponsored by the Inspiration Emporium.