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...

Friday 30 September 2016

Believe that you can...

Hello all!  It's Tag Friday over at A Vintage Journey - that lovely extra Friday in the month when the Creative Guides get to come out and play.  Anything goes, as long as it's on a tag.

As you've probably worked out by now, my travelling stash has plenty of blues and browns and book pages, but I also decided to bring some as yet un-inked stamps (as well as a few favourites) so that I would be forced to finally bring them into play.

So this tag has my first inking of one of Dina Wakley's faces.  I have them in a mini version which I got on sale when I was in New York earlier this year, so I suppose it's only right that I should play with them back here in the US again.

Apart from the new stamp, it's pretty much business as usual!

There's an inky background, made by smooshing the tag onto some inks on the craft mat.  Then I added one of my new favourite stamps (having inked it up for the first time for my Come What May pages), these lovely branches by Memory Box.

I couldn't resist adding some swirling threads courtesy of my (also previously un-inked before this trip) 49 and Market stamps.  They give extra detail and movement to the background.

The Wakley woman is stamped onto a piece of torn book page which had already been gesso'd and inked.

I used a water brush to remove some of the inky blotches from her face so that she didn't look too diseased!

The words are a Unity stamp, embossed in Bark, a lovely rich dark brown.  As regulars here know, I like giving my words that extra touch of dimension and gloss to catch the eye.

The woman is layered up over some more book page scraps (some tea-stained) and ephemera.

I used an Idea-ology Nailhead for some metal detailing to "fasten" the twine.  I've got limited metal embellishments with me, but I couldn't bear to travel without any at all.

Some inky, distressed Linen Ribbon finishes the whole thing off.

Oh, and there's some painty splatter of course.

While I'm here, I thought I'd share a few more shots of what I'm travelling with stash-wise... just for the curious types, you know.

Stamps, stencils and ephemera (you can probably see the Photobooth packet) line up against the wall.  An art journal lies in front, along with the watercolour paints you saw in action in my Rainbow Wheels.

The Golden tubs I bought when I got here, and I've found an adoptive parent who will take them when I leave (my costume designer on Romeo and Juliet).

The media accessory bag has Archival inks, embossing powders, some tissue tapes and various embellishing odds and sods in it.

I also picked up some paints, crackle and glue at Michaels with a coupon - I've yet to decide whether I try to bring them home in a month or so (the airline website seems to be pretty sniffy about travelling with paint, even in hold luggage) or leave them to a happy home here.

No prizes for guessing which mini Distress Inks made the cut...

There's also a small brown paper bag with some ribbons and metal embellishments in it, but I don't seem to have a photo of that.

It's perfectly possible to make a nice crafty mess with what I have, though I have to make sure I clean up after myself properly (I don't think the hotel staff would be very impressed otherwise).

I know it's not the smallest of travelling stashes, but who needs clothes in the suitcase?!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Do hop over to A Vintage Journey to see what my fabulous team-mates have been getting up to with their tag playtime... it's definitely worth the trip!

To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
Anatole France

Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt

Monday 26 September 2016

Rainbow Wheels

Hello all!  I know, I know... I'm a shockingly poor blogger at the moment.  We're arriving at the sharp end of the production, the last few rehearsals before we head into technical rehearsals at the beginning of October, and then dress rehearsals, and then opening, so it's pretty full on.

It's still good for my soul to play craftily in my hours off, though, so here's just a quick peek at one of the main ingredients in my travelling stash, and how I've been entertaining myself in my hotel room in between times.

When I was staying with Cestina in the Czech Republic earlier this summer, we found some brilliant little watercolour sets made by Koh-i-Noor (a Czech company) for the equivalent of only a few pounds... so no need even to try to resist temptation!

There are four wheels with six colours each and they stack in a very neat and tidy little bundle, less than three inches across and 1.5 in height - so they were an easy pick for the travelling craft stash, along with some water brushes.

Obviously, the USA is a place where it's all too easy to augment my limited supplies.  I bought a large watercolour pad at Michaels in the first week, and then succumbed to some stamps designed by the very fabulous Andrea Ockey Parr of Snapping Monsters.

It was mainly the colour wheel which caught my eye, but I'm having great fun playing with the whole set - a delightful step sideways from my usual style of stamp (more of those games another time).

These colour mixing pages were just the results of me taking the colour wheel out for its first spin (sorry, couldn't resist that one!).  It's also a good way of testing out the Koh-i-Noors, and great practice for me in handling watercolour as a medium.

Each sheet uses just the colours from one layer of the watercolour set, mixing an intermediate colour at each stage to double my colour tones at a stroke.

The joys of having the colour wheel as a stamp are a) that I can stamp it straight onto watercolour paper to play with and b) I can stamp it as often as I like.

That means I can carry on mixing to my heart's content.

Obviously the next stage will be a page with some of the reds and oranges from different layers combined.

And then one with the blues and greens from different layers, and so on and so forth...  The variations will end up being almost endless.

The white has a pearlescent effect in it, and is also slightly opaque, so that will alter every colour it comes in contact with.

The rest of each page is just me cleaning the water brush between colours, while enjoying creating different strokes and pigment intensity.

So, nothing mind-bending for you today - just a touch of playtime and a little travelling stash reveal.  I'll share more some time of what I chose to bring along if you're interested, and we're heading for a Tag Friday over at A Vintage Journey at the end of this week, so I'll be back then with another tag created with my hotel supplies.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon.

I'll dip my brush into the sunrise, and the sunset, and the rainbow.
From The Barretts of Wimpole Street, a 1930s play by Rudolf Besier

Sunday 18 September 2016

Never Give Up

Hello all!  I know I keep promising you a tour of Shanghai, but somehow I don't seem to have the time or the inclination to write a post which is likely to be quite long, not to mention complicated to put together.

If I don't do it soon, I'll have forgotten what happened back in February, but for now it's still on hold.

Instead I'm here with an autumnal tag today, featuring a woman who is entering the autumn of her life determined not to give up on her dreams, even though they haven't shown much sign of coming true yet.

For the background, I used the gorgeous new Autumn layering stencil from Tim Holtz (another addition to my travelling craft stash here in Columbus).  I blended on Pumice Stone through the stencil, and then added shadings of Vintage Photo, all over a wrinkle-free distress background.

The next layer was a Potting Soil Archival stamping of the Memory Box leaves you saw in my Come What May journalling pages...

... and then some random stamping of the TH text in white acrylic paint.

I really love the depth created by the layers and if I'd been at home, I'd have worked out something which would have left more of the background exposed.

But with what I have with me, there are limited options for where to go next once I have my backgrounds (no die-cutting for starters!), so I at least tried to keep the collage elements pretty minimal.

I sorted through the Photobooth photos and as soon as I saw this woman, I knew she was the one for this tag.

The resolute set of her mouth coupled with the slightly wary look in her eyes told a story to me of a somewhat hard-lived life, always seeking but never quite finding success or happiness or maybe love.

I think she's been hurt along the way - perhaps she's had to buy an Admit One ticket by herself one too many times.

But there's a light in those eyes too - a clear sign of a strength of character, a sense of humour and self-knowledge.  She's not one to give up.

Regardless of age or past disappointments, she is heading into the autumn of her days with a sense of purpose.  She will carry on taking risks, exploring the paths on her own.

And if, at some point on that journey, someone should turn up to help carry the load, she will be ready to take flight into a whole new life adventure.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend, and I'll see you soon.

There is no failure except in no longer trying.
Elbert Hubbard

Courage doesn't always roar.  Sometimes it's the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering, "I will try again tomorrow".
Mary Anne Radmacher

Given my sombre colour palette, I'd like to play along with The Colours of Autumn at Stamps and Stencils

Saturday 10 September 2016

Come What May

Hello all!  So, as promised when I shared some of the pages from the France Papillon workshop, I'm back with the newest bit of playing done in that same art journal, and this one's all me.  This page spread was created here in Columbus, Ohio, with my travelling stash, and it really was just playtime for me.

I think I may have started with a thin coat of gesso.  Then I stuck down some book page strips and added some stencilled texture using a semi-gloss heavy gel.

Over that I added some blobs of DecoArt Deep Midnight Blue and used a water brush to spread the paint out in interesting directions.

You can't really see much of the gel texture at this point, but I do like how much texture there is from the paint where it is thickest...

... as well as the watery effect as it spreads out towards the edges of the pages.

That's pretty much it on the process photos, as I got into the swing of things and was enjoying myself too much to stop and keep walking over to the windowsill where the decent light is.

(I'm still missing my outdoor photo backgrounds.  There's nowhere to do it round the hotel where I'm staying.  Well, there is some greenery, but there are also busy roads all around and far too many people who will look at me strangely if I hover over a bush or a patch of grass trying to get a tag to sit at the right angle!)

As you can see, I've added plenty of stamping.

These lovely leafy branches are a Memory Box stamp called Windswept.

And the swirling threads are by Gabrielle Pollacco for 49 Market.

The leaves are stamped in Sepia and the threads in Potting Soil Archival Inks.

I used the water brush again, this time to add some Vintage Photo Distress Ink in light washes.

There's also just a touch of Rusty Hinge in places.

I just swirled the brush on the ink pads and then applied it to the page, sometimes with an extra squeeze of water.

This helps to pick out some of the leafy gel texture in relief.

And you can also spot it when it catches the light, of course.

Some Idea-ology Small Talk stickers provide the words...

... important ones I try to live by.

And finally, as an alternative to my usual spatter, I put some DecoArt Whitewash paint onto my craft mat and used a toothpick to add marks and squiggles.

I love the way the random markings add highlighting accents and draw the eye into all that lovely texture.

So, I had a lovely time with these pages... blue and brown again, you'll notice.  A crafting obsession in a year with not that much time for crafting!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  It's always a pleasure to hear from you, and I'm starting to do better with catching up with what all of you are getting up to.  I hope you're all enjoying a great weekend, and I'll see you again soon - maybe in Shanghai (if I get round to writing that post), or maybe just with some more blue and brown stuff!

Every great dream begins with a dreamer.  Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they are celebrating STAMPtember with a Stamp It theme this week, so I'd like to play along with that.
I don't usually play along at PaperArtsy - always felt a bit strange, given I'm one of the people who bobs up to provide inspiration now and then - but I haven't been able to do that for ages so I thought I might come at it from this direction for a change.  So with those toothpick squiggles, as well as all the brush work with the paints, I'd like to share this in the Making Marks challenge this fortnight.
And I'd like to make this my second entry in the Anything Creative/Mixed Media Goes at the Love To Create Challenge