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 29 September 2017

Winter Light

Hello all!  It's Tag Friday at A Vintage Journey... that extra Friday in the challenge month where the Creative Guides get to take a tag out for a spin and see where they end up.  I've found myself at a rather wintry destination, partly because I've been so embedded in my new quote stamp sets, and EAB05 The Winter Edition grabbed my mojo with these words.

Yes, there's a chill wintry air blowing across these tags, and that magical winter light which lays bare the bones of the natural world so that they can shine with their own particular beauty.

To be honest, I'm not really certain exactly what went on here.  I'm pretty sure that's some gesso, or it could be white acrylic, scraped on to the tags with a palette knife.  And I think it's Weathered Wood Distress Spray dribbled on from the sides, though it does look very dark.

There are layers of stamping - the Gothic book text background stamp by Wendy Vecchi, one of Seth's fabulous new large word stamps from Impression Obsession, and the glorious grasses are by Penny Black (a lucky Ebay win).

And I'm pretty sure everything is stamped in either Watering Can Archival or Hickory Smoke Distress Ink.

Last but not least, I blended on some Weathered Wood Distress Ink, so you have that lovely icy tint in the air, and I decided the pair of tags needed to live the other way around for a more balanced look.

There's plenty of spatter, both Weathered Wood Spray, flicked from the end of the inner tube, and white paint, spattered with my preferred spattering paintbrush.

And that's really almost the full picture... apart from the words of course.

They're almost all about magical winter light, so the choice of large word from Seth's set was pretty easy!

These are words by L.M. Montgomery, but from The Blue Castle rather than the much better known Anne of Green Gables books.

I love that you could use any one of these phrases by itself, or put them together in any order you like.

I've kept things very loose and informal here.

They're stamped in Watering Can Archival, and I used a grey pen to add the doodled frames.

Then I played with the arrangement of the phrases until I was happy with how they carried my eye across the tags.

I used the grey pen to add some subtle frames around the tag edges (you can probably tell that I was still slightly under the influence of my Singing Zinskis!).

And I finished things off very simply with some cheesecloth and rustic twine for the toppings.

You can probably guess that the phrase about the moonlight on the birches will get to come out and play soon with the beautiful Tim Holtz birch stencil, which is one of my favourites to use.

And I'm looking forward to experimenting with creating some icy ferns too - maybe on a dollshouse window or two - we'll see how that goes!

For now, I'll wish you a happy Tag Friday (do hop over to A Vintage Journey and see the tag trips my fabulous team-mates have been on) and a wonderful weekend.

Can you believe October is almost upon us?  Happy autumnal crafting all!

Nothing can match the crystal clear silence of a winter morning or the sea smoke rising off a bay in soft tendrils. There is a special quality, not only to the scenery, but also to the quieter pace of life. Winter's peace is incomparable.
From Maine's DownEast & Acadia Regional Tourism information - they've snagged a decent writer there!

With lots of layered stamping, and some of them being inked for the first time, I'd like to share this at Frilly and Funkie where the theme is Show Us Your Stamps

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Singing Zinskis

Hello all!  A fairly quick post today - as well as a bit of a hop out of kin - just to say hello to the Singing Zinskis.  I called this pair of tags "Happy When I Sing" for the launch post of my new stamp sets (here at PaperArtsy if you missed it) - but this new post title was irresistible!  These are definitely on the Music side of EAB03's Music & Silence theme...

It's part of Leandra's introduction to the stamps, as well as my suggestion, that these quote stamps will play nicely with all styles and genres, so these tags partly came about from me wanting to make sure that was true... and partly because I just wanted to play with the adorable little rag doll from ZA03.

I already knew I wanted to give her a paper-pieced dress of musical notes, and had originally thought I'd use some old manuscript music paper.

But the book was buried under rather a big pile of stuff, and as I looked at the job of uncovering it I suddenly remembered that there's a musical Tim Holtz tissue tape, so I grabbed that instead.

If her dress is going to be musical against a plain background, in my head that immediately leads to the opposite version - a plain dress against a musical background - and so we're off into a pair of tags before you know it.

So that's how I started - one white-washed tag, and one tissue-tape-covered, white-washed tag. 

I did some subtle sponging for the background - Fresco paints in Hey Pesto and Blueberry mostly - and kept it very light and delicate.

The flower is one of Kay Carley's - it was a freebie in one of my PaperArtsy orders, and the bluebell heads seemed just right to provide some extra musical input on the tags.  More Blueberry paint for the bluebells, of course.

I used one of the doodly stamps from the same ZA03 set to give her some grassy support underfoot.

And you might be able to see some of the bubbles, stamped in Snowflake Fresco, adding a little extra buoyancy to the mood.

Of course it all started with this wonderful William James quote - so full of joy, and very much how I feel about singing (as well as crafting).

But now I had two tags, so I needed a second set of words... 

Roll up, Friedrich Nietzsche, with another thought full of truth for me (and equally applicable to crafting - I find it hard now to remember that there was a time-before-crafting for me!).

I know these Zinski images are quite a long way from my usual fare, but I did have a lovely relaxing time "colouring them in" with the Fresco paints (in the midst of some fairly frantic sample-making).

There's a lot of Cherry Red and some London Bus in the mix.

And it's either Captain Peacock or South Pacific for the button eyes - I can't quite remember now.

There's a bit of white penwork to create the polka dots on the dress, and the accents on the flowers, and some brown penwork for the doodled frames and her tiny freckles.

And that's really pretty much it.  In the end, there was only a tiny bit of music visible on the dress, so I'm really pleased I had a second tag with lots of music hovering in the air!

It's such a joy to me to hear that these new stamps are going down well, and amazing to see them already bobbing up in action around Craftyblogland.  I love seeing how they inspire other people.  Since I'm a pretty poor visitor at the moment, do feel free to give me a nudge if you've been playing with any of my word stamps - I really wouldn't want to miss any of it!

There are some more Autumn and Winter Edition samples to come, as well as one last trip into Music and Silence, but there are some other projects on the way first over the next few days so, for now, happy midweek to you, and I'll see you again soon. 

The only thing better than singing is more singing.
Ella Fitzgerald

Sunday 24 September 2017

Metallic Secrets

Hello all!  There's a break in the quote stamp samples as instead I'm very happy to be sharing a project over at the PaperArtsy blog tonight as part of this fortnight's Metallics theme.  I've a trio of money envelopes (almost exactly ATC-size, but not quite) on display, with lots of gleaming White Gold Fresco and Liquid Platinum embossing powder.  And to counter all that shininess, I couldn't resist adding just a touch of rust.

I hope you'll be able to hop over to PaperArtsy to see what I've been up to.  And although it's true that this is a break in the quote stamp samples, I've still managed to involve one of my new word stamps from EAB03 Music and Silence - I just can't put them down!

Thanks for stopping by and hopping and I'll see you again soon.

More gold has been mined from the thoughts of men than has been taken from the earth.
Napoleon Hill

If you don't mind hopping to see the full set, I'd love to share this with the Metallics theme also going on at Stamps and Stencils
And I'm just in time to let it Shimmer and Shine at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, again, if you're happy to hop to see the full creation

Friday 22 September 2017

The Fire of the Frost

Hello all!  We've made it to the first of the EAB05 Winter Edition samples, and I thought I'd kick off with a double.  Both of these samples use the longer quotes from the set, but you could easily just use a line or two at a time if you didn't want all the words at once.  One of the two pieces was a CASEing of a card I made over a year ago... it's a rarity around here, as it's basically a Clean and Simple creation.

The other took the same basic idea and added a coat of frosted sparkle.  For the full launch post over at PaperArtsy (here if you missed it) I shared a 20-second snippet of video because it was really the only way to show the full effect of the frosted stamping.  You'll get a look at it later in this post too.

Lots of people have already been asking how the icy sparkle was done, so now's your chance to find out.

Both cards start with really the simplest of backgrounds... just some gesso or white acrylic dabbed onto the craft mat, then spritzed with water and smooshed around with a large brush... and then you simply press some kraft card down onto the mess and lift it away.  If you want you can go in for repeated pressings, or you may be perfectly happy with the first.

I love that it gives a wonderful look of whirling snowstorms, or of a snowy landscape glimpsed through a mist of snowflakes.

For the first card I paired Christina Rossetti's beautiful words with Sara Naumann's solitary bird from ESN18 - simply meant to be.

It's probably my favourite Christmas carol of all (though, as I've said before, for me it has to be the Harold Darke setting - no need to listen now if, like me, you can't handle Christmas this early... these are "winter cards" not Cxxxxxmas ones!).

The bare twigs from the same set add a little vertical dimension to the composition.

This is an absolutely straightforward stamping in Jet Black Archival (another rarity around here), no embossing, no nothing special.  About the quickest thing I've ever made I think!

Oh, some white splatter, of course.  Never forget the white splatter...

I created the same background ready for the glorious Lynne Perrella snowflake woman (that's just what she's called in my head, nowhere else) from LP016.

I think this quote by John Burroughs is extraordinary - so poetic in its multi-sensory sounds and colours and images and temperatures, and from the moment of finding it, the intricacies of the thinking felt as though they would work well with the intricacies of a Lynne Perrella stamp.

To echo the power of those images - the "fire of the frost", the "life of the crystal" (all phrases that you could use by themselves if you don't want to use the quote in its entirety) - I thought I'd push the boat out and go for some sparkle.

I tried a couple of methods on a piece of scrap card.  I had high hopes of the Frosted Crystal embossing powder by Ranger, but it didn't make quite the impact I wanted.  It does look like a sort of icy coating, but it's not really sparkling.  Maybe I overheated it?

So I tried something else.  I stamped her in Jet Black and then used Sticky Embossing Powder over the stamping.

You heat it to melting point (but don't go on too long), and then you can add particles, whether glitter or fluff or mica, depending on your look.  I used Tim's Distress Dry Glitter in Rock Candy (magical stuff which isn't really like real glitter at all), and that was much more like it.

Once I had that worked out, I stamped directly onto my snowy kraft (using the Stamping Platform - fantastic for a detailed image like these Lynne Perrella ones, especially a large stamp like this one - you can always go for another stamping if you don't quite get it all first time), and proceeded with my sparkle addition.

I love that you get a properly thick, crunchy coat of frost...

... but you can still see all the magical detail of the image beneath.

I did the same for the words themselves, which has quite a magical effect too, I think.

Of course none of these photos really shows you the full effect, so here's that snippet of video I promised you.

There's really no other way to catch that sparkle in the light as it moves!

I added a couple of Calico Craft Parts snowflakes, to which I'd given a coat of white gesso and one of matte medium to adhere some more of the Dry Glitter.

And again, once I knew how to get my sparkle, a really quick card to make, and easily repeatable if you're making many cards for sending.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I'll be back soon with some more samples - back to Music and Silence for some singing Zinskis I think - but before that there's something brand new to see, which you can catch on Sunday evening.  Until then, have a great weekend everybody.

They say that every snowflake is different. If that were true, how could the world go on? How could we ever get up off our knees? How could we ever recover from the wonder of it?
Jeanette Winterson

EAB05 The Winter Edition available now from Country View Crafts, That's Crafty, The Artistic Stamper and many more...

Sunday 17 September 2017

Fabulous Fungi

Hi, I'm back with the second follow-up post of samples for my new word stamps.  (Once again, the full launch post, in case you missed it, is here at PaperArtsy.)  This time we're hitting EAB04 The Autumn Edition.  Autumn is maybe my favourite crafting season - those incredible colours which take over the trees as well as craft rooms everywhere.  It's the only time of the year when orange starts to appear regularly on my craft mat, though it's rarely called by that name!

And there are so many good autumnal quotes, too... it was tough to whittle it down to the selection on the stamp plate, but I was trying to think how the words would work on projects as well as just how much I loved them.  So here are the first of my Autumn Edition samples... a coaster trio of fabulous fungi (with a bonus ATC into the bargain).

I started with a sheet of A4 cardstock and did some wrinkle-free distressing with various autumnal Distress Inks.  It's a while back now, but I'm guessing Vintage Photo, Rusty Hinge, maybe some Wild Honey and/or Gathered Twigs?

This sheet came into play on some of my other samples too, but at least half of it was available to cover these three beer mats and leave enough over for an ATC.

I used images from the wonderful Scrapcosy plate ESC05 and stamped them in various positions on the coasters, clear-embossing for a little extra oomph.  I then "watercoloured" the images using Fresco paints.

I simply add a dot of paint to my craft mat, spritz with water, and then use a water brush to apply the paint.

This means you get a nice translucent medium - even from the opaque Fresco colours like Chalk and Stone - which you can build up in layers without obscuring the stamp detail too much. 

I'm really pleased with how this turned out as an effect.  I was worried the busy ink splotches of the background would be too overwhelming, but I love how the subtle tinting brings the images to life.

I stamped my chosen quotes on some separate card stock, trying out a few Archival colours to see which would work best.  As you can see, depending on the juiciness of your ink pad, you get different degrees of sharpness and clarity in the stamping.

I believe you can see Sepia, Sienna and Leaf Branch in action here...

Once I'd decided - my trusty Sepia won out - I trimmed the quotes and started to arrange them on the coasters.

I really hadn't planned ahead so it was quite lucky that the positioning worked out okay in the end...

... or maybe it's that with the quotes being of different shapes and sizes, it was always going to be possible to work out a satisfactory arrangement.

I hope you can see what I mean about there being some really good autumn quotes.  It seems it's a season which inspires writers as well as artists.

You can always count on L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables in the middle there for a nice positive slant on the fact that summer is over for another year...

I also used the quote stamps to add a little more detail to those backgrounds again.  I just really like having the thought hovering there too.

I do like the off-green tinting of the leaves just on the turn...

... and the sanded edges revealing a hint of white to reflect the quote panels.

And the overall richness of the final effect...

... seems to me to work really well for this most vivid of seasons.

The ATC is really a very simple affair... the same ESC05 stamp set, this time adding in the lovely sycamore pod and the acorn.

I like that the images have their botanical references attached in the same way as my quotes have their authorial references attached...

It pleases me as a little echo.  It doesn't take much to please my brain!

And rather than keeping the quote "solid", for the ATC I've chopped it up.

That way you can position your phrases to suit both the layout of the image design, and to intensify the phrasing of the thought.

So that's a little taste of autumn for you.  I hope you'll forgive all the photos.  Since all these samples have all gone off to live at PaperArtsy on the display boards, these posts will be my only record of them so I'm indulging myself with plenty of photos.  But it's great to have your company for the ride too.

Next up, we'll start to work through some EAB05 The Winter Edition samples, so do come back soon if you'd like to know the secret of the Frosted Lynne Perrella Woman!   Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a great week.

Fungi are the grand recyclers of the planet and the vanguard species in habitat restoration.
Paul Stamets

Falling in love is like eating mushrooms, you never know if it's the real thing until it's too late.
Bill Balance

EAB04 The Autumn Edition available at Country View CraftsThat's CraftyThe Artistic Stamper and many more...