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...

Monday 29 September 2014

Calico Joy

Hello all!  Thanks so much for stopping by - especially when I'm being a very bad blogger at the moment.  There just never seems to be enough time to do everything I want to do - especially with New York City beckoning on the doorstep!  

I will be back soon with some updates on what I've been up to in New York - including meeting up and bargain-hunting with the fabulous Marjie Kemper - but for now it's a quick sneak peek to tempt you over to Calico Crafts for my latest creation there.
 I'm actually ten days late with this project because my laptop collapsed on me - so I'm relieved finally to be able to share it with you today.

If you have time to pop over and check it out, that would be lovely.  
We're almost at October, so there'll be some new challenge projects very soon - watch this space!  Hope you're all thriving, and I hope you all have a wonderful week.

Joy is not in things; it is in us.
Richard Wagner

Friday 19 September 2014

Autumn Colours

Hello all!

Apologies for my complete disappearance - it's such a relief to be back.

My laptop collapsed on me and had to go away for repairs...  I'm afraid I missed a Calico date, but hope to fit that in some time soon - and now I'm back just in time for the new challenge at A Vintage Journey.

The fabulous Astrid is our host this fortnight and she's looking for The Colours of Autumn in your projects - with, of course, the usual requirement for a strong Tim influence.

You can find lots of beautiful inspiration from my team-mates over at A Vintage Journey, as well as all the challenge details and rules.

Here's my offering for you - a crackly tag full of glowing autumnal colours and the crunch of leaves underfoot.

I started with repeated stampings of one of Tim's Falling Leaves stamps in lots of different colours of Archival ink - Sepia, Sienna and Orange Blossom - as well as some clear embossed stampings.

I inked over and around the leaves with Distress Inks - Wild Honey, Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs and Walnut Stain - before coating the whole thing with Rock Candy Crackle Paint. 

The clear embossed leaves are still nice and present, but the colour versions have almost disappeared - shadowy echoes remain, like layers of leaf mulch under the surface.

For my background tag, I used some of the same Distress Ink colours and the fabulous Shatter stencil - here playing the role of cobwebs.

I layered the two together and added some metal accents.  I love the effect of the cobwebs peeking out around the edges of the crackle.

The clock measures those days ticking away, revealing your true colours as you head towards the autumn of your life.

Both the Idea-ology pieces and the metal skeleton leaves had a slight burnishing of Copper Treasure Gold for an added glow.

I found the quote online, and it seemed perfect!  I stamped the words onto one of my tea/coffee dyed tags, then cut them out and arranged them amongst the leaves.

There's no attribution - it seems to be by the very prolific Anonymous.

I'm already finding it hard to hide my true colours, and I think I could probably still claim high summer... it doesn't bode well!

The topping is some dyed crinkle ribbon, the same Distress colours again, and tied with some rustic raffia.

So those are my autumn colours.  I hope you like them...  Do hop over to A Vintage Journey for more inspiration, and I hope we'll see your Colours of Autumn this fortnight.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  Now that my precious laptop is back safe and sound I hope to do some catching up with you all in Craftyblogland soon.  I've missed you all!

I am having a great time in New York.  There's not much time for anything outside of work, but luckily I love my work too!!  If you're dying of curiosity, how about a taster of where I'm working: Theatre for a New Audience.  Tamburlaine is my show...  We rehearsed at the theatre for the first couple of weeks, but we're now in a rehearsal space right on Washington Square - lots of literary associations, and a fabulous Blick Art Supplies store right around the corner!

Don't you love New York in the fall?  It makes me want to buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.
Nora Ephron

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Luggage Label

Hello all, I'm back with my second offering of the month for Jennie's Nautical theme over at Country View Challenges.

You can find the challenge details and lots of inspiration there.  Do come and play to be in with a chance of winning the prize voucher generously sponsored by Country View Crafts.

I double-checked the definition of Nautical - "of or pertaining to sailors, ships or navigation" - to see what I could find in my stash to fit.

The map notations on my Nautical ATB fit the bill well but, given that shipwrecks and undersides of boats and barnacle-y rocks form part of one of my only phobias, I don't really have much else in the stash that is particularly nautically inclined.

Fortunately, I remembered that I do have the fabulous Tim Holtz ship stamp, part of the Artful Voyage set.

I thought I'd seen a similar image somewhere, and found it amongst the pieces in the Expedition Ephemera Pack.  I realised that these ephemera would be able to come to my rescue, along with some papers from one of the Tim paper stashes... and this layered tag is what I came up with. 

The main background is one that's been sitting around on my desk for months.  (In fact I seem to remember I made it in the Czech Republic, which would make it about April or so!)

Finally the ocean colours and swirls of the Distress Paint marbling seemed to come into their own.  At some point I'd added the alphabet stamping with another plan in mind, but I decided that the swirly font just added to the flow of the water!

The largest extra layer is an additional tag, gently inked and then stamped with the ocean liner and some of the travel documents from the same set.

That's when I started to gather some more ship-oriented ephemera to layer into position.

The photos are cut from an 8x8 sheet in Tim's Menagerie paper stash.

There was another photo from the same page on my recent Missing You Postcard - they're such great travel images.

They've been inked and distressed around the edges - mainly with Vintage Photo, but I think there's a touch of Gathered Twigs in there too.

And the labels, and tags, and globes are all from the Expedition Ephemera Pack, all distressed and inked on the edges too, of course.

I added some thin twine through all the luggage labels.  I like the slightly messy random look of it - adding a bit of life to something which is otherwise a bit flatter than I'm used to dealing with!

I couldn't resist using the same twine to attach one of the fabulous Word Bands.

I've always been a hoarder of travel tickets and mementos.  Somewhere there's a whole boxful of stuff from my trip to Egypt (nearly a decade ago now), still waiting to be formed into a travel journal.  So the word SOUVENIR seemed appropriate.

Once everything was stuck down, I roughed up the edges even more, trying to add a bit more dimension and movement.  I hope you like it - I think it captures something of the age when travel still had a touch of glamour and adventure, rather than the dehumanising drudgery it tends to be these days!

There's more nautical inspiration throughout the month over at Country View Challenges, so do pop over every now and then to take a look.  And we'd love to see what you come up with for the Nautical challenge this month, so come and play along.

I'll try to get around to sharing some of my current travels with you soon, but we're working pretty much flat out, so there's not a lot of spare time, sadly.  I hope to fit in some blog-travelling soon...  Until then, happy crafting all!

We travel, some of us forever, to discover other states, other lives, other souls.
Anaïs Nin

Supplies available at Country View Crafts:
Stampers Anonymous - Artful Voyage and Typography stamp sets
Distress Paints - Evergreen Bough, Chipped Sapphire, Picket Fence
Distress Inks - Stormy Sky, Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs
Tim Holtz Menagerie Paper Stash 8x8
Idea-ology Ephemera Pack - Expedition
Tim Holtz Paper Distresser
Manila Tags

Also, a quick dollshouse update... you can now finally see inside the "old house in Paris, that's covered in vines" over at Cestina's Dollshouses.

Monday 1 September 2014

The Spirits of Trees

Hello for the second time today!  If you're looking for my Country View Crafts Nautical make,just click the link, but now it's time for the September challenge theme at Our Creative Corner, and my inspiration offering for you.

The brilliant Claudia (die amelie) is offering us a beautiful photo grid of inspiration, and my team-mates have created the usual array of amazing work to get your Mojo flowing.

Do hop over and take a look, and you'll find all the challenge details and rules too.  Do read them carefully to qualify for the prize from our sponsor this month, Tando Creative.

The first thing that caught my eye was the fabulous glowing translucence of those leaves in the centre.

The attempt to capture something of that effect was the starting point for my little hanging.

My leaves are made from leftover packaging acetate which I tinted with a combination of alcohol ink and translucent acrylic paints.

Frescos and DecoArt paints were involved - I forget exactly what colours now...

Then I stamped one of Tim Holtz's Falling Leaves in Forest Green Staz-On several times, and cut them out.  Heating the acetate means you can shape and curl the leaves for extra interest.

The foundation for the hanging is some pieces of driftwood, courtesy of Calico Crafts.  They're picking up on the gnarly bark in the photo grid.

I gave all of them a wash of white paint to highlight some of the textures in my somewhat smoother wood.

The glossy blue-black berries also caught my attention.  I didn't have any dark berries, so I raided my jar of Christmas berries and gave some red ones a makeover.

As well as Little Black Dress, Eggplant and Pea Coat (the old translucent version) Frescos, I added a coat of Gloss Glaze to get a good shine on them.

I also loved the twisty twirly stems in the top left of the grid, so I used leftover flower stems to twine my hanging together.

I almost always use just the flower heads, so I have an envelope full of the green wired stems ready for their moment.

And that moment finally arrived...  The twirly wires not only hold the hanging up; they also curl in and out of the berry clusters.

The words are from another favourite e.e. cummings poem (you can see it in full below - and catch more e.e. cummings with my Beachcombing Printers Tray!).

That light in the leaves and the energy of the curling stems and the gloss of the berries all seem to be full of the spirits of trees, so the line was going around my head as I was making this.

The glossy blue-green cogs are actually stolen from a dismantled past creation.  They were made with lots of Distress Paint and have a thick coat of Gloss Glaze on them.

I guess it was that glossiness which made me think they'd be a good addition here - catching the light as the berries and leaves do.

So that's my little hanging for you.  Do hop over to see what Claudia's fabulous photo grid inspired the rest of the team to create, and we hope you'll be inspired to play too.

Don't forget there's also my Nautical Box for the new Country View Challenges theme to check out, and if you missed my Calico Woodcuts it would be lovely if you had a moment for them too!  Happy September Crafting everyone!

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 (all punctuation and spacing, or non-punctuation and non-spacing, is intentional)

A Nautical Box

Hello all!  It's the first of the month, so there's plenty going on today... I'll be back in almost no time with the new Our Creative Corner challenge (Update: now ready to be seen here), but first here's some inspiration for the new theme at Country View Challenges.

Our host is the wonderful Jennie, and she'd like to see your Nautical creations this month.

There's lots of inspiration from my fantastic team-mates over at Country View Challenges today, and as always we'll be offering up more ideas and projects over the course of the month.

Here's my first piece for you, a little nautical ATB.

I don't have very much in the way of nautical craft stash, but I remembered this lovely Legend stamp set by 7 Gypsies, full of markings from old nautical maps.

The background of the ATB was created just to use up the paint left over when I was making my dimensional dragonfly hanging.  I sponged it onto the surface with a natural sponge.

I stamped the nautical map markings in black archival.

There are measurements, and compasses, and labels for various seas and oceans.

I daubed on some Versamark ink and added a few grains of clear embossing powder in various places.

I like the effect you get of droplets of water.

The final touch was to line the edges with some thick white twine from my stash - the idea was to get the look of ships' ropes.

And that's your lot for now, but do hop over to Country View Challenges to see what my team-mates have been up to.

I'll be back later in the month with another Nautical offering, and later this morning with my Our Creative Corner offering, so I'll hope to see you again very soon!

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
André Gide