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...

Thursday 31 December 2015

What do you wish for?

Hello all!  I'm absolutely thrilled to be a guest over at Frilly and Funkie as part of their new challenge theme, Holiday Hues.  You can select any holiday to play with - Christmas, Valentine's, Easter - up to you... and create something in your favourite colours for that holiday.

Well, I know there are people who rip down the Christmas decorations the day after Boxing Day (well, you would if you've had them up since November, wouldn't you?!), but round here we're Twelve Days of Christmas types - so the tree goes up as close to Christmas Eve as possible and stays up until 6th January... that means I'm still deep in the festive season, so I've stuck with Christmas as my chosen Holiday.

I'm afraid I'm pretty much CASEing one of my own creations - is that allowed?!  I was so pleased with my altered book covers that I wanted to play again, and I dare say this won't be the last variation on the theme.  The previous one, A Christmas Story Book burst out into some very traditional holiday hues, which were an unusual sight around here.  (Do check out the story of Josef and Luigi if you missed it - it's a tale for the festive fireside.)

But I thought for this one I'd stick to my own personal favourite Christmas palette (you'll find it all over my Christmas Pinterest board as well as in my December Tim tag, not to mention many of the actual decorations at home)... so my Holiday Hues are whites and neutrals with the absolutely essential holiday greenery.

This altered book started with the sweet Found Relatives Occasions image, which echoes this utterly wonderful video clip which turned up this year - 40 seconds which are enough to restore anyone's belief in the magic of Christmas.

Because of all the storytelling, I didn't get to tell you much about the making of the last one, and I think these are going to become a regular feature around here (as long as I can source enough dilapidated books!), so I'll add a couple of details this time.

The book was already on its last legs - I still can't quite get my head around ripping apart a perfectly good old book.  (The new mass-produced hardbacks are another matter, but it takes more work to give them a sense of character).

I removed all the pages which obviously weakens the binding if it doesn't destroy it altogether.  So tissue tape is the first step to constructing my book window.

Next a bit of measuring and a craft knife to cut the aperture to fit the die-cut Tim Holtz window frame.  I think this one was cut out of Grungeboard, so it was more than capable of coping with the DecoArt Chalk Crackle process.

I gathered pieces of ephemera that the little girl has been collecting... obviously the one that matters most is the Perfect Attendance certificate, necessary to prove to Father Christmas that she has been a good girl!

So good, in fact, that she was asked to sing the first verse of Silent Night as a solo in the school Christmas concert.

Of course, she's been writing letters to F.C. and hoping for replies...

.... and counting the days off in her calendar until the big day.

(Again I've been using some of the leftover negatives from my December Tim tag to provide the touch of festive greenery, just as I did with my romantic Holiday Greenery tags at CVC.) 

I think now she can hardly believe she's sitting here with the man himself.

She's a quiet child - a collector (too early to say yet whether it will turn in to a hoarding habit).

But she always keeps her parent's theatre and cinema tickets...

...and their Christmas party invitations, even though she didn't get to go herself (so it's not looking good!).

The "negative" pine branches on the collaged interior are an echo of the front cover.

Even though the book boards themselves are green, I still wanted plenty of holiday greenery to decorate them.

I cut Kraft Core in a couple of shades of green with the Holiday Greens Thinlits, then distressed the branches with a sander, and added touches of glue to adhere a frosting of Rock Candy Dry Glitter.

The holly leaves were an afterthought really.  They're from Calico Craft Parts, one holly bough cut in two, and they'd been sitting on my desk since the autumn.  (They'd had a sweep of dark Pan Pastels, but then didn't make the cut on my tower of Autumnal ATBs.)

All I did was add a couple of spritzes of DecoArt Mister in White Shimmer and I got this magical antique silvery effect... hard to capture in a photo as usual, but I really love it.

The word is made with the large Bigz die, cut in Grungeboard again, painted in DecoArt Titan Buff, sanded back and inked.  Then it was out with the Rock Candy Dry Glitter again - I'm not generally much for glitter, but this stuff I'll make an exception for!

And it was some Calico Craft Parts which came to the rescue when I needed some supports to glue the word in place with a pop of dimension.

The tiny "innards" (pressed out from cogs and gears and snowflakes, and carefully preserved in a little pot) were perfect to lift the "wish" clear of all the greenery underneath.  So there are times when the hoarding tendency comes in handy!

As well as greenery, whether die-cut, punched or stamped, the outside and inside have other things in common...

... the tiny stars...

... and lots of snowy splatter.

I'm afraid we've only been able to dream of a White Christmas where I am - and far from dream weather, so many people have suffered nightmarish flooding over the Christmas period... my heart goes out to them with wishes that 2016 will be altogether kinder.

So that's the combination that makes up my Holiday Hues - neutrals, whites and greens.  When you stand the book cover by a light, the glow lights up the inside just perfectly... I hope you like it.

You'll find lots more colourful holiday inspiration over at Frilly and Funkie where the Frillies have already shared their beautiful creations, and the Funkies will be long next week with more.  It's been an absolute pleasure to contribute to Pamellia's lovely theme as a Guest Designer, so a big thank you to the team for having me.

I hope the next year will bring you what you wish for.
Happy New Year everyone, and I'll see you in 2016!

It seems to me that we can never give up longing and wishing while we are still alive.  There are certain things we believe to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them.
George Eliot

As a partner to the Christmas Story Book, I'd like to enter this at the Craft Stamper Take It and Make It, Sharing the Season
I'd like to enter this at Love to Create where, as usual, it's Anything Creative/Mixed Media Goes
And a final fling for the year at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge for their Winter Wonderland

Tuesday 29 December 2015

PaperArtsy Parade

Hello again... I don't mean to keep sending you away, honestly!

I know, it's been sneak peeks galore round here (first off to CVC for the romantic Holiday Greenery tags, then off to A Vintage Journey for my Festive Berries and Robins), and now I just wanted to let you know that I'm over at the PaperArtsy blog this evening with a look back at some of the parade of projects inspired by this year's fortnightly themes.

And there's even a brand new creation from me combining all three themes I've been looking back over - can you guess which they are from this sneak peek?!

I hope you're tempted to hop over and check it all out, and I'll be back in a couple of days with one final project for 2015 - a very exciting Guest Designer post (exciting to me anyway), and I'll even let you stay here to look at it!  I hope you'll be able to drop by again then.  In the meantime, happy fifth day of Christmas, and happy crafting!

To be able to look back upon one's life in satisfaction is to live twice.
Kahlil Gibran

Monday 28 December 2015

Merry Berries on A Vintage Journey

Hello all, I hope you're enjoying a peaceful and joyful festive season.  This is one of my favourite times - when the major chaos is out of the way, and now the 12 Days can unfold in cosy calm with a good book, a crackling fire, and the odd Whisky Mac!

I'm unpacking my bags at Terminal 4 of Destination Inspiration today at A Vintage Journey.  It was a bit of a shock to the system as the colour I had to use was Festive Berries... what, red?  But once I worked out I could use it to make some actual festive berries, I felt a bit merrier.

I hope you'll be able to hop over to A Vintage Journey and see what I got up to with the rest of what was in my luggage.  It's your chance to see where those little birds came from who were perched in my Snowflake ATC the other day!

For now I'll wish you a continuing merry Yuletide, and see you at New Year!

On the motionless branches of some trees, berries hung like clusters of coral beads, as in those fabled orchards where the fruits were jewels...
From Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens

Saturday 26 December 2015

Holiday Greenery at Country View Crafts

Hello all!  I'm not here for long today, just long enough to hope you all survived "the big day".  Oh, and long enough to share a quick sneak peek...

We're now heading in to my favourite part of the Christmas season - twelve days of peace and quiet, enjoying the lights of the tree, some festive music, a warm fire, and a good book or three.  Still it's good to get out occasionally, so I'm here to invite you to go hopping over to Country View Crafts Projects to see some holiday greenery.

I found a way to use some of the leftovers from my final Tim tag... and the pair of tags you'll find over at CVC almost made themselves.  If you'd like to see why these two are made for each other, you'll have to hop over and check them out.  By all means take your drinks along with you!  Have fun...

Here's to holly and ivy hanging up
And to something wet in every cup!
Traditional toast

If you don't mind hopping to see the background details, I'd love to share this at Fashionable Stamping Challenges where they would like us to Make Your Own Background

Wednesday 23 December 2015

The Twelfth Tag - To Wish You Peace And Joy

We're almost at the start of the 12 Days of Christmas and I'm here with the 12th Tim Holtz Tag for 2015, so I'm going to use it to wish you all a peaceful and joyous festive season, however you celebrate it (or not).

Season's Greetings to all my lovely followers - thank you so much for your company on this crafty journey.  Who knew, when I started this, that I would find so many kindred spirits around the world?  It's a joy.

But to the tag... I went off-piste colour-wise, but other than that it's pretty much according to the word of the master, so you can find all the how-to details by checking out his fabulous tag and tutorial.

Despite my recent foray into traditional reds and greens with my Christmas Story Book, I couldn't quite bring myself to go with red... so instead of spray ink, I used heavy gesso through my stencil for the background.

I have a couple of the punches, but I added in some of the Holiday Greens Thinlits to zhuzh up my wreath.

I chose quite soft bluish greens from amongst the Kraft-Core papers, and helped them along in places with some Evergreen Bough ink.  I added some Rock Candy Dry Glitter for a bit of sparkle, and also brushed on some white paint in the end for an even frostier look.

The wreath-building may be fiddly, but I think it's so worth the effort.  I've already had a play with one kind of door garland earlier in the festive season, so I resisted the temptation to build a door for this one to go on.

I actually ended up with my garland greenery going the wrong way, but once I'd started it was too late too stop!  I quite like the energy of it all springing upward, so I embraced the imperfection (and repositioned the bow to deal with it!).

And I'm embracing the imperfection of the glue gun cobwebs too - I think they're rather magical.

My bow is not red either, obviously, just a nice bit of white crinkle ribbon, with a white-washed snowflake to fasten it.

Rather than decorating with bells, I went all starry-eyed... little white-washed wooden ones amongst the greenery...

... as well as a few of the pewter Idea-ology Star Fasteners scattered around the surrounding burlap in place of the large star Tim used.

And I couldn't resist exchanging the Small Talk stickers for one of my beloved Word Bands, burnished for a slightly more silvery look.

So here are the rest of those 2015 tags all lined up.  Yes, I know it's a Baker's Dozen - that's because I created double trouble in January!  (If you want to revisit any of these posts, just click on the "Tim Holtz 12 Tags" label at the foot of the post just before the comments start, and they should all appear for you.) 

And finally we're here in December with the last of them.  What an incredible year of inspiration!  It's the first time I've managed to complete all the tags, and I can't tell you how much fun I've had with them.

I really hope that Tim will offer up some more of his 12 Tag creativity next year, even though I already know that I'll only be able to play catch-up with quite a few of them, owing to travelling for work.  But one of the other great joys is seeing what everyone playing along comes up with - so I'd still be able to enjoy it all that way.  Fingers crossed!

I'd like to enter this as my December tag in Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2015

Merry Christmas all!

Now I'm going to leave you in peace now to enjoy your Yuletide festivities.
I hope you find some time for the things that matter to you,
and that the season will be kind to us all.

As long as we know in our hearts what Christmas ought to be, Christmas is.
Eric Sevaraid