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 30 August 2014

Layers of Calico

Hello all, I've just a sneak peek for you today, hoping to tempt you over to the Calico Crafts blog to see what I've been up to with the Calico Craft Parts this time!

Combined with book pages and crackle medium and a few others of my favourite things, I've created a layered ATC... I'd love to know what you make of it if you've time to hop over and take a look.

Follow your dreams.  They know the way.
Kobe Yamada

Oh, and for anyone who wanted to see more of the "old house in Paris, covered in vines" mentioned in my Dollshouse Gallimaufry, it's now available for viewing over at Cestina's dolls houses... or at least Chapter One is!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a fantastic weekend everybody.

Update: Since the Calico Crafts blog no longer exists, having upgraded to Calico Craft Parts, I've altered the links in this post so that you get to see the project in full detail here at Words and Pictures.

Friday 29 August 2014

The post is here!

Hello all!  Well, it's finally time for the proper postal delivery over at Country View Challenges.  You may remember that I delivered my postcard early (you can see it here if you missed it), and today is the day that you can see the fabulous postcard creations of my lovely team-mates.

I think I gave them all heart failure when mine bobbed up - so apologies again to all of them!  Do hop over to Country View Challenges and see what they've made... I promise you'll have a good time.

I'm starting to get to grips with New York, dealing with the subway, finding my way around, and settling in with the acting company.  It's a pretty full-on work schedule but I'm finding a bit of time to explore and play too.  We've had lovely sunshine and glorious blue skies so far, and the city looks amazing, so it's all good.  Thank you for all your kind thoughts and wishes.

I'm back with a Calico Crafts project tomorrow, and looking forward to some visiting over the weekend.  Happy Crafting all!

It is not easy writing
someone a postcard.
The size and shape
of the card cut you down 
to size...
From "Postcard" by Ron Padgett

Sunday 24 August 2014

Journey Journalling

Hello all!  Yes, the passport arrived with the visa in just in time, and so later today I should be on my way to the Big Apple!  If I remember to take some photos, I'll share my "minimal" travelling stash with you at some point. I couldn't get it down to less than about a quarter of the suitcase - but who needs clothes?!

It's been a pretty hectic time here, and I've been living on a bubble of anxiety for several weeks... but now it's time for that to change to bubbles of positivity.  The adventure begins.

Over at The Artistic Stamper today I'm sharing some journalling done in the midst of the chaos, when I just needed to be gentle with myself.

But looking at it today I can suddenly see that it's all about the butterfly taking flight, off into the wild blue yonder... so how appropriate that it turns out to be due for posting today!

I hope you'll have time to pop over and take a look.  I always love to hear what you think.  And once I'm safely landed and settled in, I'll be able to get back in the swing of some proper visiting in Craftyblogland.

Have a wonderful Sunday everybody!

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci

If God had really intended men to fly, he'd make it easier to get to the airport.
George Winters

Friday 22 August 2014

A little touch of Tim

Hello all!  I'm very excited that it's my turn to host over at A Vintage Journey this fortnight.

I'm looking for "A Little Touch of Tim" from you.  The challenge is to use Tim's products and/or inspiration to create ATCs (Artists Trading Cards), so they must be 3.5 x 2.5 inches in size.

You could create a single ATC or a pair or a set, but I'm being a purist here, and so your creation must be ATCs NOT chunky ATCs or ATBs to qualify for the prize or to be one of our Pinworthies.

There's a fabulous array of miniature masterpieces from my brilliant team-mates for you to admire over at A Vintage Journey, but before you hop off here's my offering for you.

It really started from the tiny book page scrolls and sort of grew from there... not much planning, just a bit of playing!

There's some Wallflower paper in the background, cut from one of the smaller scale pages to make it size appropriate for an ATC.

And I took my cue from the plants on the paper to add some die-cut ivy vines trailing around.  I like curling up the edges of the leaves for extra dimension.

The photo is from one of the Darkroom Door Photobooth sheets - you get an A4 size card full of great vintage photobooth photos... and these two just leapt out at me with their beaming smiles.

I added the file tab at the top - not much difficulty picking which word to put inside it!  

And the ChitChat stickers pretty much chose themselves too.  My closest friends are so important to me - I honestly don't know where I would be without them on this life journey.

I wanted something else metal to balance the file tab, and decided on one of the adorable heart charms.  Again, it had to be that sticker for the inside... no thinking required!

The scrolls couldn't be simpler - a few torn strips of book page, a touch of Vintage Photo and Gathered Twigs Distress Ink, and a bit of fine twine and you're there.

It needed just a little something else...

... so the final touch was to cut the tiny butterflies using the Butterfly Frenzy Decorative Strip Die.  

I cut some from book pages and some from another piece of the Wallflower stash, and then layered them up to create double winged butterflies with some extra dimension.

I did try taking some pictures of this not surrounded by ivy, in order to let the ivy on the ATC show up a bit better, but I just didn't like them.  So it was back to the ivy background... irresistible!

I hope you like my friendly ATC, and I hope you'll be inspired to play along with A Little Touch of Tim this fortnight.  If you're still not sure, just take a look at what my amazing team-mates have been creating over at A Vintage Journey, and I think you'll find yourself tempted to play too!

Thanks so much for stopping by... and I can't wait to see what tiny treasures you create.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
C.S. Lewis

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Missing you...

It's true... I am.  I'm missing being able to visit regularly and see all the marvellous things going on in Craftyblogland - though I did manage something of a catch up over the weekend.  But the countdown is well and truly on now, and pretty soon I hope to be sending postcards from New York.

In the meantime, we're having a bit of a Magpie Day over at Country View Challenges - with lots of postcard inspiration for you (postcards you might write from the beach, for instance!).  Here's mine to get you started...  UPDATE - Oops - I delivered mine early! My team-mates won't be sending theirs for another few days yet... Apologies all!!  I knew something would get messed up in the madness here…

UPDATE TWO - But now, at last, it's the right mailing day, and you can see my team-mates' fantastic postcards here!!

My team-mates have made some wonderful postcard-themed creations - and many of them have lovely words at the heart of them, so you could also count it as extra inspiration for the WordPlay challenge theme this month!

The Tim Holtz PostCard header was in one of the first stamp sets I bought when this whole thing kicked off two and a half years ago.

I should use it more often... it always gives me such pleasure when I do!  It's stamped in Jet Black Archival, and I drew the dividing line with a PITT pen.

I'm also a little bit stuck on the meadow grasses from the Spring Sprung stamp set, as you'll know if you saw my Busy Bee tag the other day.

This time they have a more autumnal look - stamped in Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain, applied direct to the stamp in "stripes" from top to bottom.

I used a photo cut from one of the Tim Holtz paper stacks, and a tag from a Prima set of ephemera.

Once I'd distressed and inked the edges, I layered them up to one side of my postcard.

The typical postcard greeting is from the Simple Sayings stamp set and, coupled with all these rusty fall colours, it's not just been put down without thought.  Somebody is definitely really missing someone!

It's mounted on padded tape so that it stands proud of the other layered elements.

The rusty heart is another sign of the heartache present here, and the cogs and gears churning away to keep things ticking over while the lovers are apart.

Over at the other side, the Lincoln stamp comes from the Idea-ology Ephemera packs, and some more cogs are working hard to bring our writer back together with the recipient.  And which direction are we going in?  Well, towards our heart's desire of course.

So that's my vintage postcard for you today.  Thanks so much for stopping by... the cogs are turning and the countdown is on, and once I've made it safely to the US, I hope to get back to visiting more regularly.

And don't forget you can now see some more fantastic postcards over at Country View Challenges Magpie Day!

No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth.
Robert Southey

Ingredients available at Country View Crafts:
Tim Holtz stamp sets - Spring Sprung and Simple Sayings
Idea-ology Ephemera Pack - Expedition
Idea-ology 8x8 Paper Stash - Menagerie
Idea-ology - Compass Coins
Idea-ology - Sprocket Gears
Distress Inks - Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs, Walnut Stain
Archival Ink - Jet Black
From my stash - Tim Holtz Postcards stamps, Prima tag, textured card, padded tape, rusty heart

Saturday 16 August 2014


Because the old Calico website closed down, you can see more of this project here.

Hello all!  Thanks for the lovely comments on my Busy Busy Bee.  I've definitely been a busy bee again this week, travelling all over for work.  Then I spent much of Friday at the US Embassy, and it looks as though we're good to go with the work visa (as long as the courier gets my passport back to me in time to fly... still touching wood!).  Now I'm actually at home for just over 48 hours before I rampage off up and down the country again.  I fully intend to spend some of those hours doing some catching up with you all!

In the meantime, you can relax with some beachcombing over at Calico Crafts today.  I've been playing with the fab new Calico Craft Parts Printers Trays again, as well as lots of paint, crackle mediums and lovely sun-bleached bits and bobs, as well as a quote from one of my favourite poems (see below!).

I hope you'll have time to pop over and check it out.  And I hope you all have a really wonderful weekend!

maggie and milly and molly and may 
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang 
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing 
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone 
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) 
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea


Friday 15 August 2014

Busy busy bee!

Hello all!

We're having another Tag Friday over at A Vintage Journey today, with lots of lovely tags to inspire you for some weekend crafting.

Do hop over to see what my fabulous team mates have been creating... and here's my little offering for you.

As you all know, life's busy round here at the moment.  I didn't even get to play along with the July Tim tag, but I did start out on the journey towards it by making this bee using his new Layered Bee die.

He was just buzzing around my craft table and needed a home, so when the Tag Friday callout came round, I decided it was time to create one for him.

There ended up being so many Distress Paint colours underneath the Rock Candy Crackle Paint that I'm not sure I can list them for you.

I do know that I used both Shaded Lilac and Evergreen Bough Distress Stains to highlight the crackles on the wings though.

He has some more of my leftover notebook bindings doing the job of creating curly antennae.

I used some Cloudy Blue alcohol ink and Aquamarine Treasure Gold to tint them slightly.

It's a very simple background, inked with Distress Inks to create grass and sky, and then I layered in some meadow grass stamping.

It's done in a combination of Distress and Archival inks, using stamps both from the small Visual Artistry set called Nature's Elements and from the large Spring Sprung set.

There's a little bit of extra texture stamping around the top, a lovely mottled effect courtesy of another stamp from the Nature's Elements set.

I used some rustic twine to bind the dyed crinkle ribbon strands.

I added what seemed an appropriate Word Band - he really is quite a specimen! - fastened on with some simple rustic twine.

This has also had a touch of the Cloudy Blue and Aquamarine combination, the same as the antennae.

And that's pretty much that.... a simple home for a busy bee.

I hope you enjoy checking out the other Tag Friday tags over at A Vintage Journey, and don't forget there's still a week to play along with Chris's fabulous Time Flies theme (it certainly does).  See you there!

Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it, so it goes on flying anyway.
Mary Kay Ash

A bee is never as busy as it seems; it's just that it can't buzz any slower.
Kin Hubbard

Sunday 10 August 2014

Tea Time Cards

Hello all!  Hope you're all enjoying a lovely weekend - however you choose to spend it.  I really hope to be able to catch up on a bit of visiting in Craftyblogland!  I've got a quick sneak peek for you today for some cards - yes, cards - over at The Artistic Stamper.

I've been at the tea and coffee again - purely for crafting purposes, you understand - so do hop over to see some of the results at Artistic Stamper.  Have a lovely Sunday!

Tea is quiet, and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty.
James Norwood Pratt

And another line from the same poem as yesterday's orchard thoughts...
I intend to learn how to make coffee, at least as well
As the Portuguese lay-sister in the kitchen
You can read the whole thing here - it's wonderful!

Friday 8 August 2014

PaperArtsy Playtime

Hello all!  Okay, you've had some hints, so here it is - the reason I've been missing in action lately...  The most amazing work opportunity has come up.  I'm heading to New York at the end of August to work on a show with my favourite director, and I'm going to be there for weeks at a time, and I'm going to get to meet up with the fabulous Marjie Kemper into the bargain (and if you're in the NY area and up for a rendezvous then do get in touch!) and it's all altogether beyond exciting.

I've been bouncing off the walls with the thrill of it... and also dealing with transatlantic negotiations and visa applications, trying to work out how to keep up with DT commitments (or not), not to mention an already busy August schedule.  It's been pretty full-on.

So when I was creating my piece for PaperArtsy this month, I went for some gentle, fun playtime... a little bit of whimsy and a little bit of watercolouring (with Fresco paints and Distress Stains at least) to calm my beating heart.

So hop over to the PaperArtsy blog if you'd like to see the results of that playtime in more detail.  I hope it'll leave you smiling too.  Somewhere in there is the desire for the quiet life and that orchard where the trees grow in straight lines... though obviously I don't want to retire just yet - the next few months are going to be too much fun!

New York does mean I have to take a break from some of my DT duties over the autumn, and it'll be quieter here at Words and Pictures for a while, but I won't be disappearing altogether, and there's plenty more still to come in August first...

I want to see an orchard where the trees grow in straight lines
And the yellow fox finds shelter between the navy-blue trunks,
Where it gets dark early in summer
And the apple-blossom is allowed to wither on the bough.

From Swineherd by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

Sunday 3 August 2014

Enjoying the Journey

Hi all!  So, we're pretty much straight back in with inspiration piece number two for my Word Play theme over at Country View Challenges this month.

You can find all the challenge details if you click the links, along with a wealth of inspiration from my amazing team-mates.

(There's been a flurry of posts here at Words and Pictures in the last couple of days, so do go for a scroll if you'd like to see what else I've been up to.  All the links are at the end of this post to make life easier!)

And here it is - blues, greens, crackle, and a glossy "enamelled" sentiment with dragonfly to match, just alighting or just taking off...

This was one of those pieces where I set out on the creative journey without a destination in mind.. but I certainly enjoyed myself along the way!

I started with an idea for using the Tim Holtz die of the same name as the challenge: WordPlay.

I cut myself lots of thick card letters and glued them down to a large wooden ticket shape (I think it's intended to be part of a wooden album - I got some of them really cheaply at a craft fair).

I coated the whole thing with matte medium to seal the cardboard so that it wouldn't go soggy and peel.

Next stage was to add lots of Distress Paint colours, marbling as I went.  I started out, in fact, thinking that this would be a much fierier affair - pinks and oranges galore.

But when push came to shove, my blues and greens resurfaced, and I just went over the whole thing with a whole different palette!  I also did a little bit of inking with Mowed Lawn Distress Ink to highlight some of the surfaces.

I next added a coat Rock Candy Distress Paint and left it to get on with crackling while I tried to work out what would go over the background I'd created.  

This is quite often the way with me... I play around and come up with a background I really like, and then have to work out how not to cover it up too much!

My first abortive attempts involved stamping a large sentiment on acetate to go over the top, but it wasn't quite working for me... so that's when I reached for my new Layered Dragonfly die and folder.

I cut and embossed him in plain white card, and then got busy with some powders and the heat tool (and all this in that steamy heatwave we were having)... 

I started with two layers of clear UTEE, and then did one coat of Wow Bright White powder over the top.  

I sprinkled a tiny bit of Ranger's Antiquities Verdigris powder onto that to tie in with the blue greens of my letter texture background.

The UTEE makes it easy to reheat and remould the wings, so I was able to get them dramatically poised for flight...

And the curly antennae were created out of some more notebook bindings, saved and hoarded for just this kind of thing!

Since this challenge is about keeping words at the centre of things, I needed a nice bold phrase or quote to go with all that wordplay in the background...

So I ran some more white card through with the Stacked Artful Words Decorative Strip Die and selected "enjoy the journey" as the one which worked best with my wandering dragonfly.

I gave it the same "enamelling" treatment as the dragonfly himself - two coats of UTEE, one of Bright White and a sprinkling of Verdigris.

I love the dimensional glossy look, and that shimmer of turquoise from the Verdigris powders.

By this time, the crackle was all crackled, and I used some of the new DecoArt Antiquing Cream in Titanium White to highlight the cracks.

It also had the effect of tying in with the fresh bold white of the words and the dragonfly.

I was enjoying the Verdigris so much, that I decided to try it on a couple of white paper roses...

It was pretty tricky getting the embossing ink down into all the crevices.  I used a Perfect Medium Brush Pen in places to help.

But I like the finished effect.  You certainly wouldn't know at first glance that the flowers are made of paper!

The flowers needed something to "root" them a bit - somewhere to rest - so I cut some pieces of Tim Holtz's Garden Greens out of thick white card, and did a bit of text stamping on them with one of my Unity stamps before inking around the edges.

Some strong white paper ribbon will do the job of hanging up my wordy wooden dragonfly ticket.

It definitely needs to hang somewhere in the sunlight to catch the sparkle on all that crackle and the glossy dragonfly wings!

So I hope this will inspire you to indulge in some Word Play of your own and join us this month over at Country View Challenges.  Thanks so much for dropping in.  As I mentioned, it's been a crazy few days here - so in case you want to catch up here are the links.

You'll find my Artistic Stamper art journalling here, and my first Country View Challenges tag here.  Oh, and there's also my farewell piece for Artistic Outpost here.  Not forgetting my Calico Roses yesterday.  See... busy, busy, busy.  At least it's all fun, though - I'm so grateful for a life which lets me play even when I'm working.

And this week I should finally, finally have a bit of breathing space (in between Shakespeare workshops) to catch up with all of you!

All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.
Ernest Hemingway

I'm entering this in Who's the Boss (looking for dry and/or heat embossing) over at Craft Hoarders Anonymous.  With all that powder, as well as the embossing folder in the Layered Dragonfly, I've got a bit of both!

And I'd like to pop it in over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where this time my J is for... journey.

Saturday 2 August 2014

Calico Rose

I've a sneak peek today, and a shorter than usual post to share once you get there, so if you've time to spare, you may want to catch up with all the new challenges which kicked off yesterday.  You'll find my Artistic Stamper art journalling here, and my Country View Challenges tag here.  Oh, and there's also my farewell piece for Artistic Outpost here.

But for now we're off to Calico Crafts for a celebration of the rose, and a celebration of one particular Rose - our extraordinary neighbour, who celebrates her 97th birthday today.  That deserves some Shakespeare, don't you think?

I hope you like what you find if you hop over to Calico, and I'll hope to be hopping round for some more visiting in the next few days.  I know, I know... promises, promises!!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful weekend!

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, is a rose.
From Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein