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 26 April 2014

French Calico

Hello all!  

Thank you so much for your company in this busy week of daily postings... I've been on the road almost throughout, but should - all being well - be safely in the Czech Republic by the time you read this.

Today it's another sneak peek, this time to tempt you over to Calico Crafts where I've got a French-y, chalky, rusty, vintage plaque to share with you.

Cups of coffee at the ready, and off we go!

A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tzu

If you're catching up (as I may well be - internet access has been patchy en route), here's what you've missed: 
- a Wonderful Life tag just for fun
- a springtime bird tag for Artistic Outpost
- the melancholy, musically inspired Cry Me A River hanging board for Artistic Stamper
- the multi-media Time to Bloom canvas over at Our Creative Corner 

I think Time to Bloom and this Calico plaque are probably my two favourites of the week... or maybe Cry Me A River.  But you can see what I mean about busy?!  I'll leave you in peace for a few days now!!  Hope you enjoy yourselves over at Calico.

Update:  I'm completely thrilled to be honoured by Tim Holtz again as a Blogworthy Link, this time for my Dream Play Grow wallet.  And it's all the sweeter because I'm alongside some of my favourite crafters (and team-mates!).  Thank you, Tim.  Oh yes, and safely arrived in CZ too, thank you all for asking!!

Friday 25 April 2014

Tando Time

Hi all - thanks so much for dropping in.  I'm over at Our Creative Corner today offering up a Sponsor Spotlight - a canvas created using products from our generous sponsor of this month's prize package, Tando Creative.

And those of you who you liked yesterday's crackled piece will be happy to see the Croco Crackling put in another appearance today.  I hope you'll be able to hop over to take a look... cups of coffee at the ready though, as there are loads of photos to pore over!

It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.
From The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Thursday 24 April 2014

Cry me a river...

Hello everyone, and thank you for stopping by.  It's another of those busy weeks here at Words and Pictures (as well as my birthday today!)...

Today, I'm over at The Artistic Stamper with a song-inspired creation for you.  

So, if you like, you could consider it extra inspiration to play along with my musical words challenge this month at Our Creative Corner - With a Song in Your Heart.  You still have until the 28th to create a piece inspired by and including a song title or lyrics.

Of course, being me, there's also lots of texture on this creation, so I hope it might also kick you into action for the Artistic Stamper challenge this month - Embossing and Texture.  For that you have until the end of the month.

In either case - or if you want to combine both - you'll need to hop over to The Artistic Stamper to get your inspirational fix... sneak peeks only here.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Believe it or not, I'll be back tomorrow (and the day after...), so I hope to see you soon!

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
Dr Seuss

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Thinking of Spring

Hello all, and welcome to Words and Pictures.

You've arrived just in time for the April Artistic Outpost bloghop, so do hop around and see what my fabulous Design Team-mates have been up to with their Artistic Outpost stamps.  Here's the full itinerary...

Linda Coughlin, Alison Bomber,

And if you haven't yet heard the big AO news, do take a look here, or at the press release.

But before you go anywhere, here's my offering for you today.

It'll come as no surprise to the regulars that I've been in Springtime mode, and playing with the wonderful Birds of a Feather plate again.  As usual with these brilliant stamps, I've been mixing and matching, so there are guest appearances from a couple of other sets too!

I started with one of the PaperArtsy Heavy Grey Boards.  They're 2mm thick, with a lovely smooth white surface on one side, so great for layering and stamping onto.  I inked very gently with Bundled Sage, Iced Spruce and Peeled Paint.

Next, I did some stencilling with the same colours, layering the Tim Holtz Honeycomb and Dot Fade, and adding some browns into the mix too.

I stamped the beautiful robin pretty much centre stage.  It's either Coffee or Potting Soil - sorry, I've forgotten which!

And the nest seemed to look just right nestled at the foot of the board.  

The adorable birds on a wire are from the Bluebird set... 

... they're ready to take off from the top or the bottom of the piece!

And a couple of little birds are also perched part way up, surrounded by the leafy vines from the Hayride plate, which are stamped in my new Leaf Green Archival ink.

There's also some lovely Gothic book text, which is another stamp from Birds of a Feather.

The wooden banners I think came from Unity Stamps - they're deliciously chunky, about 5mm deep.  

I stamped the two phrases direct onto the wood (Spring is here from Birds of a Feather, Thinking of you from Bluebird).

Although the ink has run slightly along the grain of the wood, I rather like the softening effect.

A little touch of frayed twine on each of them, and we're pretty much done.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and do hop along to see what the rest of the team have been up to... there are many delights awaiting you!  If you get lost along the way, you can find all the details here at Artistic Outpost.

The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off.  Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off - and they are nearly always doing it.
From The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
(She's writing about a British robin, of course!)

Plenty of my favourite things here... Artistic Outpost stamps, nature images - especially that vine stamp!, wood and twine, so I'd like to pop this into A Few of My Favourite Things over at the Inspiration Journal sponsored by the Inspiration Emporium.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

It's a Wonderful Life

Hello all, thank you for all the lovely feedback on my PaperArtsy Summer Lantern - so much appreciated.

I've just a quick tag to share today - and it's one I made just for fun, playing with some of the new Tim Holtz stamps.

I particularly wanted to ink up this beautiful bird...  

Every other stamp in the set has had an outing (most of them in one go on my Tim Holtz March tags!), and I didn't want him to feel left out.

It's been pretty full on round here lately, but it seems I thrive on being busy.  The more I do, the more I do!  So I found myself fitting this in around other projects.

The blue green springtime look seems to have a firm hold of my creative imagination at the moment... and regulars will know I never miss a chance to include some meadow flowers and grasses!

The bird is stamped in Coffee Archival, and then I used a light wash of Nougat Fresco paint for his paler areas, where the blue sky was showing through otherwise.

In the background - Distress Inks and some Latticework stencilling mainly - I also inked up the Distress Damask flourishes for the first time.  

They add a touch of ornate detailing to the "sky".

The meadow grasses I mentioned are from the Spring Sprung set, a recent bargain buy, and looking set to become one of my most-used stamps very quickly!

The sentiment is - as is a bit of a habit round here - stamped in multiple colours and clear-embossed.  So when the sun catches it, the wonderful becomes even a little more wonderful!

I added a Muse Token - unaltered, so that the coppery tone would balance the bird swooping overhead.

And the whole thing is finished with my usual crinkle-ribbon and paper string combination.

There you go... short but - I hope - sweet.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  There's a busy week coming up here at Words and Pictures, so I'll leave you in peace for now!

Oh wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful, wonderful!  And yet again wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!
Celia in As You Like It by William Shakespeare

Oh, sorry, almost forgot... just in case you missed it, there's another chance to catch up with my daring, dreamy tag over at Artistic Outpost today.

There's a whole lotta stuff coming up in the next few days here at Words and Pictures, so I'll see you again soon...

Friday 18 April 2014

Summer Lantern

Hello everyone for the second time today!  First of all, if you're in search of today's earlier post, my creation for the new Vintage Journey challenge, Spring Flowers, just click the link.

Right now, though, I'm delighted to be over at PaperArtsy with another Guest Spot creation... I do hope you'll hop over and take a look.  It may light up your evening!

I'll leave you in peace for a bit now.  We're on the midnight boat across the Channel tonight... and spending a few days with friends as we drive across Europe to the Czech Republic.  There should be some online time en route, so I'll hope to see you out there in Craftyblogland very soon.

How far that little candle throws his beams;
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
From The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Spring Flowering

Hello everyone - time for a new challenge at A Vintage Journey, and it's the lovely Jennie of Live the Dream who is our host this time.  Anyone who has seen her extraordinarily beautiful handmade flowers will be unsurprised to hear that her theme for us is Spring Flowers!

You can find all the details of what she's looking for here at A Vintage Journey, but please, please make sure to read the challenge requirements carefully, as well as the Travelling Directions (the challenge rules!).  

We've so enjoyed your creations in all the challenges so far, but too many of them have had to be left out of the prize deliberations for one reason or another.  And we have to be fair to those who have hit the mark.

Anyway, here are my Spring Flowers to get you started, and do hop over to see what the rest of my amazing team-mates have created to inspire you.

I was inspired by watching an old video of Tim's, introducing the Idea-ology Fragments.  At one point, he shows a metal case completely covered with a patchwork of them... so I decided to play with a similar idea.  

Since the Fragments are quite heavy, I worked on a pre-cut wooden tag (sorry, no idea any more where I got them from!) so that I'd have a solid base for my patchwork.

And of course, that gave me two sides to play with... so I couldn't resist creating another Spring Flower scenario on the reverse!

The first step was to cover the wooden tag with Distress Paints... I think I used Scattered Straw, Stormy Sky and Picket Fence, but there are possibly some others involved too - Antique Linen?

I spritzed lots of water over to allow them to "marble-ize".

Once the paints were dry, I edged the tag with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.

I had a little play with laying out my pieces so that I could add some rub-ons.  Creating the Fragments reminded me of using microscope slides, so the botanical labelling seemed appropriate!

I finally broke into some of my new Tim Holtz papers for this... consider yourself honoured, Jennie!!

Some are from the Wallflower collection, and some from the 8x8 Menagerie, so as to get the smaller images.

If I was ever going to stop stroking and start using these papers, it needed a project which was really going to highlight them properly.

Now I've broken in, it'll be easier the next time!

On the other side, I also began with paint, but this time with some Frescos and Crackle Glaze to create a slightly different background.

I added some Distress Ink stencilling through my favourite TH Latticework mask.

(Okay - confession time... this was actually the first side, but then the background was just too busy for the Fragments to work against, so I started again with the Distress Paints!)

I absolutely love this Tim Holtz hedgerow flowers stamp (from the Spring Sprung set) - could it be more up my street?!

And the sentiment is a PaperArtsy one, stamped in my favourite method of blending different ink colours onto the stamp and then clear-embossing them once stamped.

Since the whole thing is pretty streamlined (for me!) I kept the topping fairly simple too - some frayed linen ribbon bound together with some curly white wire (the ring binding from a discarded notebook).

So those are my Spring Flowers with Tim Holtz products and techniques galore.

If you're not already inspired to come and play along this fortnight, do go and see what my team-mates have been up to - you won't regret it!  

Thanks so much for stopping by... I'm back later on today with a PaperArtsy appearance, but for now I'll hope to see you joining us on A Vintage Journey with bouquets of flowers very soon.

... always
                          Spring and everyone's
in love and flowers pick themselves

From who knows if the moon's by e.e.cummings (with a missing punctuation mark - apologies e.e.! - but it didn't make sense out of context)

With all these spring flowers, I'd like to enter this in Eileen Hull's Art With Heart challenge which is an April Showers theme
And with crackle glaze, meadow flowers and the clear-embossed sentiment, I'd also like to offer up A Few of My Favourite Things at the Inspiration Journal, sponsored by the Inspiration Emporium

Tuesday 15 April 2014

Butterfly Blues

Hello all, thanks so much for dropping in.

And no, it's fine, it's not me suffering the blues (except at the thought of attempting to pack up my crafty stash for my travels), just the butterflies.

It seemed the right title for a bluesy version of last week's tags.  I'm glad you're enjoying the pink excursions, but this one feels closer to home for me.

I played again with the idea of the shadow stamping in triplicate, and this time ended up with a rather magical, almost invisible third butterfly!

But since I was making merry with the clear embossing powder, you'll see he takes flight once the sun's rays hit him...

We're in a world of Faded Jeans, Stormy Sky, Pumice Stone and, I think, maybe some Antique Linen.  They're blended on, and spritzed and flicked for texture.

There's a hint of the Prima Lace Trim Background stencilled in.

As with the pink tags, all the stamps are by Artistic Outpost.  This tiny, delicate flourish is from the Serenity plate.  

Be sure to click here for an important announcement about Artistic Outpost - you won't want to miss it.

And the butterfly is from one of my spring favourites this year, the Flower Market set.

He's stamped in Cobalt and Cornflower Blue Archival inks.

It's because I used Archival rather than Distress Inks that he barely made it to his third incarnation.

(He's pretty subtle even here in his second stamping!)

But clearly there was still moisture if not much pigment...

... because when I did the clear embossing, there he was, shimmering away.

The sentiment is from the Quote & Quotables plate.  Again it's in Cobalt and clear-embossed for that glossy dimensionality.

The topping is some lacy ribbon, tied with fine, pale twine, a frothy, lighter-than-air finish for the tag.

So it's an altogether subtler affair than the bold pink versions, but it can still catch the eye when the sunlight sparkles off the embossing...  

Thank you for dropping in.  It's always a delight to read your thoughts and comments - and I'm so grateful for your visits and support.  They make the journey even more of a joy!

Sunlight is painting.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

I'd like to enter this in the following:

At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, they are looking for Winged Things

At the Inspiration Journal, sponsored by the Inspiration Emporium, the theme is A Few of my Favourite Things.  Okay: butterflies, clear-embossing, Artistic Outpost stamps, blue, tags, Distress Inks... is that enough yet?!

Peeking and Packing!

Hi all, thank you for dropping in.  It's been all go round here, so I will be quick about it - a sneak peek only today - for another chance to catch my hunk of wood over at Artistic Outpost!

I've been doing some mad full-on crafting in between work assignments, but it has paid off.  I now have more than 25 DT projects ready and awaiting their moment here at Words and Pictures.

That makes the crafty stash packing much simpler for when I go away to the Czech Republic.  No need to take lots of DT supplies, I just need to take everything I might conceivably want to play with over the next six or seven weeks, plus anything which might be useful for dollshouse purposes... easy peasy then!

Once the packing's done (departure date Good Friday, 18th April) I really will have some more time to come visiting again... see you soon!

Up 5.15 a.m. thinking, packpackpack.  I appear to have accumulated more things.  How did this happen?  I haven't shopped.  Think my bath oils have bred.
From the Sense and Sensibility Diaries by Emma Thompson
(For bath oils read Distress Paints, Stains, Inks or indeed any other crafty product.  May not be true that I haven't shopped, of course!)

Sunday 13 April 2014

Dare to Live!

Hello all!  Well, I'm back from Ally Pally, and not quite bankrupt, though I have invested in some more DecoArt chalk paints after the fun I had with my chalky spice rack.  Met up with lots of lovely people too, of course!

The tags I'm sharing with you today are the results of a quick bit of playtime with Artistic Outpost stamps and some new Distress Paint colours - Tattered Rose, Dried Marigold and Worn Lipstick.... yup, pink, basically.  Seems to be featuring more regularly these days...

I decided to do a compare and contrast using the same colours in Distress Stains too... so after some wrinkle-free distress technique I ended up with four tags.

Two are Distress Paints (on the left) and two are Distress Stains (on the right).  I always end up with at least two tags to play with when I do the wrinkle-free game.  Mopping up always creates an extra one!

So I took one D.P. and one D.S. to play with and Artistic Outpost's Flower Market stamp set.

I did some Distress Ink stencilling using the Crafter's Workshop Specimen mask and Prima's Lace Trim Background.

The butterflies are done using Sienna and Plum Archival inks.  These are the ones on the Distress Paint background.

I blended both inks onto the stamp, and then stamped three times in succession on each tag...

... following the shadow stamping idea set by Tim Holtz with his March tags.  I've become a bit addicted to it!

These three individual photos are of the Distress Stain versions.

I added some extra background texture with the gorgeous Gothic typescript from the Birds of a Feather plate, stamped in Potting Soil.

And the sentiment comes from the Kudzu Kafe set, again stamped in Potting Soil and clear-embossed for extra definition and glossiness.

I've added some of the lavender from the Flower Market plate around the foot of the tags - it's such a pretty, delicate stamp.

Natural raffia and some curled paper string finish the tags off...

I like the subtle differences between the two finishes (D.P.s left, D.S.s right).  The Gathered Twigs used to ink around the edges takes much better on the Distress Stains than on the inks, so you get a more strongly defined brown tinge.

And the stencilling and stamping have a touch more clarity against the Stains, but a rather nice soft subtle look to them on the Paint version.

These are all things I know at the back of my mind, but it was nice to have them side by side and really take note of the variations.

These tags have now made their way to my best friend who is in the midst of daring to change her life and head towards her dream...

Used as bookmarks over the next few months, I hope they'll help to keep that dream in focus.

Thanks so much for stopping by today... I know I keep promising I'll be catching up with visiting - it really will happen one day very soon!

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.
Walt Disney

A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.
Colin Powell