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, 6 May 2017

We're in the money!

Hello all!  Thank you so much for the lovely comments on my Eileen Hull Nature Journal.

I'm sorry I'm not managing many return visits at the moment... not only am I in the throes of packing for another stint away from home (travelling today, in fact) but my computer keyboard is having severe migraines, so I'm having to limit my time working on it.

Happily, I persuaded it to cooperate for long enough to write this post and schedule it.

You'll only understand today's title if you look very closely...

Underneath all those layers are some extremely mundane money envelopes - a pack of 250 bought for £1 in a Pound Shop at some point in the dim and distant past.  Nothing much to look at initially, but oh, how I enjoyed altering them.

I'm sharing both of these photos of the complete set as I've been flicking back and forth between them, unable to decide which I prefer, for long enough now, and there's still packing to be done, so you can decide for yourselves.

We've shifted from my actual dolls (see them at Pastime With Good Company) to Tim Holtz's new Paper Dolls... there's considerably less time and stress involved with these dolls!

I'm always inspired by the fantastic sets of ATCs created by Maj at m-1309, and these almost-ATC-sized money envelopes (they're actually 4 x 2 and 5/8) arose out of many happy visits to her blog, though they're not specifically based on any one ATC set of hers.

I've just been to take a quick photo of some of the unaltered envelopes, so that you can see the humble beginnings...

I think it's probably around a year since I created the backgrounds - paper scraps, gesso and Ecoline inks dotted on and spritzed with water.

Whatever I had in mind at the time didn't quite come together (I can't remember what or why), so they sat around near the craft table and waited patiently for me to come back and play with them.

When Tim Holtz's Paper Dolls and new Design Tapes turned up, I thought they'd be the perfect addition.

The little strips of Design Tape add lovely detail without being too in-your-face.

I had a joyous time selecting my characters and adding the simple extra layers of embellishments.

It took a while to sort through the hundreds of dolls to find the ones I wanted at matching sizes.

Almost all of the images in the pack of Paper Dolls are there in multiple sizes, so you can pick just the right dimensions to suit your project.

I love the selection of children I've ended up with, so full of character...

... the serious expressions of some of them, even to the point of definite anxiety in the case of the little girl on the left...

... and then this confident chap, happy to look you straight in the eye from his comfortable perch.

I find that the characters tell you stories as you work with them...

... so that choosing the individual Big Chat word stickers to accompany each of them was pretty easy.

I just listened to what they were saying to me...

... and selected the word which seemed to correspond.

I used some bundled thread on each envelope (something Maj often does).  I have quite often done it myself in the past, and always enjoy the effect, but I seem to forget about it.

I've now put a roll of thread in the little box which sits the middle of the craft table right in front of me, and I've got another in the craft supplies ready to go in the suitcase.  Hopefully I'll remember to use it more often in future!

I kept the embellishments simple - a button and a number brad for each of them...

... and an inky butterfly each.

The butterflies were punched with Tim's large butterfly punch out of a wrinkle-free distress tag.

I used various Distress Inks, chosen to complement the Ecoline inks already in place from a year ago.

It's great fun varying the positioning, so that each one of the set is slightly differently arranged, but balanced in itself.

And it really doesn't take much more time to make four than it would to make one.

(It does require more photos though, in my world...)

I often work in series and sets with tags, but I can't remember doing it at this size before.

I can see this becoming addictive!

You have to look pretty closely now to see the printing from the money envelopes now, but I promise you it is still there.  (Quite why they won't sit all in a straight line is beyond me, but that's children for you.)

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  As soon as I've arrived, settled in and got stuck in to rehearsals in NYC, I hope to be round for some long-neglected visiting.

If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
Dorothy Parker

I'd like to play along at Frilly and Funkie where the challenge is to Put Your Inking Cap On - making anything without using designer paper.  Quite apart from anything else, that's my favourite challenge theme title ever!
This makes entry number three at Mixed Media World for their Anything Goes with an optional twist of Watercolour theme - and finally, third time lucky, there are Ecoline Watercolour Inks involved
And I hope they're bright enough for That's Crafty Challenges where the theme is Bright!


Helen said...

what wonderful altered money envelopes (Must look out for those, fab idea) they are all gorgeous. I couldn't pick a favourite (you mustn't have favourites amongst children, must you!)
Enjoy New York and hope rehearsals go well.

Brenda Brown said...

Just utterly delightful, incredibly wonderful and fabulously designed works of art. There is no choosing favourites from these, each one is part of the collective family and deserves its own recognition. A masterful collection of altered envelopes, great colours and clever simple embellishing to keep the continuity and yet individuality across the set. I'm definitely in love.... safe trip xxxx

Amanda said...

What a wonderful collection you've created, love these
Amanda x

chrissie said...

These are worth more than any money now Alison. An amazing set with so much work on each

The words today are terrific as well.

You take care and enjoy your trip to where ever land.

Love Chrissie xx

froebelsternchen said...

You amaze me every time I come see what you are up to.Wonderful altered money envelopes! I love every little detail here! Fantastic are they!
oxo Susi

Kirsten said...

They are just gorgeous. I love all the different layers and the images work perfectly. Hope you had a good journey and have arrived safely by now.

Julie Lee said...

How beautifully these came together, Alison and how lovely they look!I keep coming back and gazing into those little worlds you have created. It looks as if you had so much fun creating your little characters and allowing them to talk to you. I always find this with 'dolls' too - they are so very chatty most of the time and even the quiet ones give up their stories in subtle but eloquent ways! You have inspired me to go out and seek some wage envelopes now. I remember using some in an altered book when I first started crafting. xx

craftytrog said...

Such beautiful compositions Alison, I think you've inspired us all to go and buy some money envelopes. The Kraft background works so well with your collage, colours and the paper dolls. I enjoyed working with those dolls at the Dina Wakley class I recently attended, such wonderful characters.
Hope your current trip goes well.
Alison xx

Suzanne C said...

Beautiful! I loved seeing the layering you built into your lovely altered money bags! Thanks for playing along in the Frilly and Funkie "Put on your Inking Cap!" challenge.

Lys said...

Great idea these envelopes! I have to think about that... From the background to the final effect I love how you brought life to these scenes (they are similar but never the same, and the children give their personality). So no choice to do. Just keep the thread, and have a safe trip to NYC!

Fliss said...

These are all so beautiful Alison, such a gorgeous background for your added details.
Think you've inspired to dig out mine as I know I have a stack in a drawer somewhere!
Can't wait for mu paper dolls either as I missed out first time due to the stock all disappearing in the blink of any eye!
Fliss xx

Meggymay said...

Adorable alterations, the figures are a delight to see against those fabulous backgrounds.. Hope you had a safe journey and enjoy your free time when you are away.
Yvonne xx

Dorthe said...

Alison, they are gorgeous, these kids now living there, on the money envelopes, altered to perfection, and each with such wonderful details. I would not be able to choose which one is better than the others, they are all fantastic, Love the colors, the spritzing of white and the buttons added, -beautiful !!
Have a wonderful travel ! xoxo

Hazel Agnew said...

What a great use for old stash Alison. The characters sit so beautifully and at home amongst the regalia! Love everything! Xx

Marci said...

Charming little atcs(well almost). Love the colors and personalities. Adore today's quote. Welcome back to the U.S.

Inky and Quirky Designs said...

Stunning creations Alison and each one tells their own little story, beautifully laid out too
Donna xx

maria's knutselplezier said...

Your cards are amazing, great colours and images !!I love them all!!


Sandy said...

Your creations are always a joy - now you have me singing that song -"Im in the money"!
sandy xx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Wow Alison! I bought some of those envelopes many moons ago too but have never made anything quite as wonderful as these! I really must try to find some of these Paper Dolls - last I time I looked they seemed to out of stock everywhere! Sorry that your being away from home is for work purposes - we always seem to be away too, but for much nicer reasons!! Hugs, Chrisx

pearshapedcrafting said...

Forgot to say - Thanks for the link to Maj's blog - a real treat!

Redanne said...

I could never possibly choose a favourite, they are all fantastic, the paper dolls fit so beautifully on your designs. The buttons are such a lovely touch too. Hope your trip goes well. Anne xx

sarascloset said...

Alison, I can't tell you how I was looking forward to paying your lovely blog a long overdue visit this morning, and you did not disappoint! These altered envelopes are lovely! What tiny treasures these bits of artwork are! I so wish I had snatched up the paper dolls and those words right out of the starting gate, since I seem to not be able to find them any more. You have truly brought them to life in your words and your pictures! Thank you for the inspiration, and I hope to visit all of the posts I've missed soon! Hugs and wishes for safe travels!

Sue said...

These are wonderful Alison, the colour really pop out against the brown envelopes. Have fun in NYC xx

Julia Aston said...

These little envelopes are just SO fun and delightful How nice that you saved the original start of the decorating. I love the splatter, buttons and butterflies and of course - the lovely children! Julia xx

maj. said...

Oh, Alison, thank you sooo much!!!!
I love the great idea whit envelopes! They are all fabulous!!!!!!
Love all the wonderful details!
Totally adorable artwork!

Kathy/NorthCarolina said...

These are so much fun, Alison! I love that you used green as a primary color on these coin envelopes; clever you! Such a sense of whimsy and humor here. I just love them! Thanks for sharing with us at the Frilly and Funkie "Put on Your Inking Cap" Challenge!

Jenny Marples said...

Simply superb! Love that you've used those money envelopes which of course will now fit beautifully inside your journal! A beautiful mix of media on which to sit your little characters. Thank you so much for joining us at Frilly and Funkie xx

Paper Profusion said...

What a breath of fresh air these are Alison! They seem almost alive!! Love your inky butterflies and all the yummy ingredients... The paper dolls look fantastic... I shall have to purchase when I get my act together! I hope your travels are going well. Nicola x
(ps made it to the play I mentioned, it didnt work for cast at all, at all!

Mrs.B said...

Just on a catch up - these are adorable little works of art. Love the layered backgrounds and perfect for these little characters.
Hope you had a good journey and hope you have some time to enjoy New York.
Avril xx

rachel said...

these are fabulous Alison - I really need to get those paper dolls! Gorgeous use of colour! Hugs rachel x

Cocofolies said...

These are all wonderful!!!
Exquisite result starting from cheap enveloppes, loving your idea of assembing several strips of different nature to start on your background, well done Alison. And the colours are gorgeous too, what a lovely set of four!
I wish you a good trip where you are (if still away from home at the time I'm writing to you! :-)
Coco xx

Jackie PN said...

Alison, your small found family pieces are just too wonderful! You take such ordinary items and turn them extraordinary!! I just Adore these, little tykes with their expressions and your signature palette!
Safe travels and looking forward to hearing of your journeys- hugs,Jackie xx

Matilde said...

OMG, they're awesome! I love your creativity!

A Pink said...

Absolutely fabulous! Alison . Love x4 .
Running short of time so hope to pop by again later to indulge and admire a little more