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...

Sunday 31 July 2016

Birthday Blog Candy

The candy is now closed.  Thank you so much for all your lovely comments.
I'll be drawing a winner as soon as I've drawn breath!

Hello all!  I can hardly believe it, but Words and Pictures is four years old today, 19th June.  And although it's a tricky year crafting-wise, I can't let the anniversary pass without offering a little "thank you candy" to my fantastic followers.

You make this whole journey so much richer.  I'm grateful for every visit, and so happy when I read each comment - especially when I'm being a pretty poor blogger myself. 

Since I can't post the prize out until the beginning of August anyway, I'm giving this a nice long deadline.  You have until 31st July to leave a comment here saying you would like to be included in the draw.  It would be lovely if you'd like to join up as a follower if you haven't already, and it'd be great if you would share the photo and link on your blog, but neither of them is compulsory.  Good luck everyone, and thank you for an incredible four years!

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy.
Marcel Proust

Friday 29 July 2016

Carte Postale

Hello all!  Before we start, just a quick shout-out... There are just two more days to get your name in the hat for my Birthday Blog Candy so don't miss out on your chance to win!

Okay, back to business. It's one of those months with an extra Friday in it so over at A Vintage Journey it's time to play with tags.

Our Tag Friday posts are a chance for the Creative Guides to just have fun getting some ideas together on a tag, and there's always a fabulous variety on offer.  Do hop over to see what my lovely team-mates have been creating but, before you go, here's my Tag Friday offering for you.

It's a pretty simple affair, in one of my favourite colour combinations.  With my crafting time severely limited this year, I've found myself sticking to what I know and love when I have managed to get to the craft table.

And of course, as I was creating, stories started bubbling up.

I started with an Andy Skinner stencil and some texture paste.

And then moved on to a Tim Holtz stencil and some Distress Inks, and a TH stamp too.

The young woman is from the Photobooth strips.  I love searching through the faces until I find one that "speaks" to me.

Here, she is full of the joys of life, having just received a 'carte postale' from the man she loves.  He just wanted her to know he's thinking of her.

On their most recent weekend together, spent wandering the streets of Paris, he bought this small doll for her when she saw it in an antique shop window.

He said the doll looked as she must have done when she was a child, before he knew her.

(I should mention that the gorgeous flourishes are, of course, Calico Craft Parts.)

And now he's asked for a photograph so that he has a memento to hold on to when he can't be with her.

See how carefully she's dressed for this special photo, and the light in her eyes is that of a young woman who knows she is loved.

She'd like to hold on to the feeling of this moment and keep it forever - a happy memory to keep her warm when she is old.

Do hop over to A Vintage Journey and see what delights my fantastic team-mates have created for this Tag Friday, and we'll be back very soon for the beginning of a new challenge.  Have a great weekend, everybody!

The world before us is a postcard, and I imagine the story we are writing on it.
From The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson

Saturday 23 July 2016

Encore It takes two... for PaperArtsy

Hi!  I've got an Encore post for you again today - still gathering in the projects which have only had a sneak peek here at Words and Pictures.  This one is from July 2014, and it's nice and summery, so I thought July would be a good time to share it again.  It was created for one of my regular (irregular these days!) guest appearances at PaperArtsy, and here's what I wrote back then...

Hello everyone, Alison here from Words and Pictures, and I'm delighted to be back at PaperArtsy to share a little something with you that didn't really go as expected!

I set myself the challenge of using only two Fresco paints to create my little reversed canvas, and had a wonderful time playing with one of the Hot Pick Plates, number 1301.

I turned the canvas round to use the recessed space as a shadow box, and started by layering my two paints onto it.  I used Pea Coat (but mine is still the old translucent version) and Limelight - also a translucent - double the challenge!

I stamped the gorgeous butterfly and text from HP1301 onto some tissue paper.  I'm lucky enough (or hoarder enough) to still have a few sheets of the original Crackly stock.  I stamped in a combination of Potting Soil and Coffee Archival inks for a dark but not too dark look. I then used the same paints to layer washes of colour over my butterfly and the little flowers in the corner.

Once that was done, I glued the tissue paper into the canvas using lots of Satin Glaze under and over it, as well as all over the edges of the canvas for a nice sheen.  Rather than spend time tinting Grunge Paste, I decided to use up some leftover Ferro paste that I had to add stencilled vines and butterflies around the edges of the canvas.

At this point I was planning to leave the metallic look to go with the brown stamping and my metallic embellishments.  It was going to be all nice and golden brown in look, with just some blue and greens in the background... that was the early thinking as you can see below, but that all changed in the end!

The reason it changed is that I decided to alter all the metal using my two paint colours.  I allowed myself some Gesso in the mix so that I could pre-coat the metal before adding colour.  I did lots of layers and washes and dry-brushings of my two paint colours over the various Finnabair Mechanicals Flowers and Numerals.

Once the embellishments were all painty, the textured leaves looked wrong in gold, so I started to build up layers of washes and dry-brushing over those too - still only using the same two colours, mixed in various proportions for different colour shades and finishing with some pure Limelight dry-brushing, and Treasure Gold in the end too.

I sanded back the flowers with one of the fabulous PaperArtsy sanding blocks to create some metallic accents.  I liked the look so much that I decided to accentuate it with some Treasure Gold.  I used both White Fire and Florentine to gild the metal and the vines...

... even adding some shimmer to the main butterfly with a brush...

...as well as the little textured ones on the frame, which I also decorated and outlined with a PITT pen to add definition.

So, there you go... just two paint colours (plus some Gesso for the occasional touch of opacity), lots of altered metal, and some tissue paper stamping in my reverse canvas.  I hope there's something in all that to get your creative juices flowing!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  There's a new creation on the way next (in fact, two in a row), so I'll hope to see you again soon.  In the meantime, happy crafting all!

And finally, another twosome from Albert Einstein (almost certainly my most quoted individual):

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein

Saturday 16 July 2016

Even More Ancient History

Having finally got around to sharing one lot of Ancient History with my France Papillon altered book, here's another piece made in a class from ages ago.  This 8x8 canvas was made in a fantastic day exploring Gelatos at the Craft Barn (when it was still in its former home) with the wonderful Chris Dark of Sketching Stamper.  This was way back in November 2013 - yup, even longer ago than the France workshops!

It's a bit of a hop out of kin for me, but it would have been even more of a hop if I hadn't done my usual classroom thing of going slightly my own way with it!

The finished workshop piece was meant to be much brighter in colour, and with bolder black outlines to everything, but I couldn't resist softening to these more natural tones and subtle shading.

It was brilliant fun though, and of course I meant to come straight home and make something along similar lines.  Funny how that never quite happens, eh?!

As you can probably guess, I loved creating the texture and dimension, with the tissue wrap background complete with stencilled texture amidst the wrinkles.

Though I don't go for girl figures much, I do enjoy the light carefree attitude she has...

... wandering through the poppy fields, garlanded with flowers!

Chris's idea for the pleated skirt was great fun to follow - again all that lovely dimension.

I surprised myself by really enjoying creating her hair (not dissimilar to my own frizzed curls, though not the same colour!).

I love how we created such a dimensional look just with simple card die-cuts and some shading.

I think it may have been this workshop which started me off on shading around things a lot.  That's definitely continued into my onward crafting.  And though red puts in only a very occasional appearance around here, it feels fine on this occasion because it's poppies...

Well, at least they're poppies in my head (though I'm aware they're not quite the right shape) and I do love my wild meadow flowers after all!  (Click on the photos if you'd like a larger view.)

Can't do without some words of course.  ChitChat stickers fit the bill nicely (these were the days before the Small Talk phrases).

And what would a summer meadow be without some butterflies, large...

... and small?!

So that's another piece of Ancient History dug up for you to examine.  

What with these projects from workshops long ago and all the Encore posts, it's quite a "historical" year here at Words and Pictures.  

It's all because I'm spending so much time out of reach of my craft desk, busy with other things in other countries so there are very few current projects.  Not to complain, but I do miss both my crafting and being able to visit all of you regularly.  Ah well, you can't have everything, can you?!

Just a quick reminder about my blog candy... There's just over a week left to put your name in the hat by leaving a comment here - my way of saying thank you for your company over the last four years as well as today.  Hope you're all enjoying a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you again soon.

Through the dancing poppies stole
A breeze most softly lulling to my soul.
From Endymion by John Keats

Friday 8 July 2016

Ancient History

Hello all!  When I shared my final GD piece for the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - the Tic Tac Toe journalling pages - I mentioned that the spread was done in an art journal made in a class with the awe-inspiring France Papillon, and I realised I'd never shared any pictures of the altered book itself (or any of the other things made at the class come to that), so now it's time...

I actually took this weekend workshop back in November 2014, France's first teaching visit to the UK.

I've always loved her work, especially her art journalling and the great videos she shares, so I was thrilled to get a place on the workshop.

We were up in Middlesbrough, brilliantly hosted by the fantastic Sue Tucker, and we did all sorts of things over the two days.  I'm just sharing photos of the altered book art journal today, but I'll try to track down some of the rest at some point too.

Obviously, I won't be giving away the techniques France shared with us on the workshop, but if you ever get the chance to take part in one of her classes, then do!

The rusted, worn look of the cover really gives me great pleasure...

... especially with the rusty metal additions of the bolts...

... and the fabulous metal plate on which the WordBand is mounted.

These were all real metal pieces which France had pre-rusted on her balcony for everybody taking part in the workshop!

The process we used to add the soft focus to the image gives it a lovely waxy look.

It'll be no surprise to regulars that, given a choice of colours to go with the rust, I went with teal blue tones!

I love the additions dangling down the spine of the book.

And the worn page edges are just so cool.

This started as an absolutely bog-standard hardback book, in almost-new condition.

You'd never know to look at it now but, in fact, it's Terry Wogan's autobiography!

The rusted file tabs in amongst the scuffed edges and frayed lace are another great touch, I think.

I've always loved how France uses eyelets in her journalling pages and altered projects, so this one allowing the ribbon to loop through the cover is great in my eyes.

And the teal-dyed ribbon runs all the way around the back to fasten the book closed - that will become more important as I fill more pages and the book starts to bulge!

For now, there are only a few page spreads inside.  (If you'd like to know which ones feature in this book, then just click the "France Papillon book" label at the foot of the post and it will call up all the posts with those spreads.)

So I'm only a year and a half behind with posting this, not quite Ancient History I suppose, but it feels like aeons ago.

I've some more ancient history coming up - a project from a workshop even longer ago which I never got around to sharing, and I'm hoping I might manage to catch my travel posts up to Shanghai or even Hong Kong in the near(ish) future.

There might be some more Encores too, as I'm away from my own craft desk for another month at the moment.  I sometimes get a bit sad knowing all those exciting supplies are sitting gathering dust - but mostly there's too much nice stuff going on to be too upset about it!

For now, my thanks for your company today, and I wish you all happy crafting.

Does progress mean that we dissolve our ancient myths?  If we forget our legends, I fear that we shall close an important door to the imagination.
James Christensen