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 27 December 2018

PaperArtsy Review of the Year Part 2

Hello all!  I hope you are enjoying a peaceful and merry festive season, and that there are plenty of happy smiles and twinkling eyes round your way.

You can probably tell from the post title that I'm back at PaperArtsy today with another Christmas treat... a second round of fantastic highlights to share.  They're all drawn from the wealth of inspirational projects shared on the PaperArtsy blog throughout 2018, both by the PaperArtsy design troupe and by the challenge entrants.   (You may well have missed the first of my review posts as it went live on Christmas Day - and the rest of the year's topics are being covered by others, so make sure you collect the full set!)

The themes I'm covering this time around are numbers 17 - 21, which took us from the end of September to the start of December.  So that includes the Box of Eggs colour challenge, the Stamping Platform techniques challenge, Tissue Paper, Foiling and Matchbox Art.

There are so many great projects to enjoy, whether you're seeing them for the first time, or reminding yourself of forgotten treats, so I hope you'll have time to hop over and check it all out.  And of course I hope you'll continue to enjoy the 12 Days of Christmas, whatever you're up to.

When I'm inspired I get excited, because I can't wait to see what I'll come up with next.
Dolly Parton

Tuesday 25 December 2018

PaperArtsy Review of the Year

Hello all, and a very merry Christmas to you all!  This is obviously a scheduled post - I hope I'm tucked up in front of the Christmas tree with a nice hot drink, the candles lit and some seasonal music playing.  And I hope you're encountering this post at a point when you're having a rest from all the festivities (and the clearing up).

It's only a quick post here at Words and Pictures to invite you over to PaperArtsy where it's time for the usual Christmas treat of a Review of the Year over several days.  Each day, one of the PaperArtsy team chooses projects which caught their eye from a selection of the challenge topics featured over the year on the PaperArtsy blog.  Today it's my turn, and I've gathered up a few highlights from some of the themes in 2018.

The ones I'm covering today are themes 6 - 9, from back in May, June and July, so that's Vintage Neutrals, Paper Dolls, Enshrined and Transfers.  There are some really fabulous projects to see, both from PaperArtsy designers and from the challenge entrants.

I've missed a great deal this year through being so busy, so this was a wonderful way to catch up with just some of the amazing work which has appeared on the PaperArtsy blog in 2018.   I enjoyed it so much that I'll be back in a couple of days to host again!  I hope you'll enjoy it too.  Seasons Greetings to all!

Twice and thrice over, as they say, good is it to repeat and review what is good.

Saturday 22 December 2018

Winter Journal XII

Hello all, and welcome to what is almost certainly the last winter journal page before Christmas.  There may be more afterwards, but I can't realistically see me making and/or blogging much before the 25th December!  So here's something bright with festive greenery to take us into the heart of the festive season.

This spread uses up the last of the page of design paper which has been hanging around for months.  Some of it already appeared on the wedding page.  But mainly this page is a partner piece to the happy woman from Winter Journal VIII.

Again, we have a confident, independent woman captured in a photobooth moment (and again, I think it's a Darkroom Door one, rather than Idea-ology, but I'm not sure).

The delicate fir fronds and branches surround her - echoing the fresh life and vigour which is clear in her expression.

The inks are the same as before (in fact, it's the same piece of card that I cut them from as before)... Peeled Paint, Evergreen Bough and Iced Spruce Distress Sprays.

The usual suspects from these pages are all in place... the torn washi tape, the acetate film strip...

... and the Tim Holtz Paper Snowflakes Mini Thinlits.

And of course there's lots of white spatter, and extra texture from those torn paper edges.

There's a double helping of Idea-ology metal on this page, celebrating the freedom to wander wherever you need to...

... in the pursuit of knowledge.  Life-long learning is an important thing for me.  I'm never happier than when I'm on a steep learning curve in pursuit of something that inspires me.

I hope I'll stay curious my whole life.  When you stop growing, seeking, learning, you're done, as far as I'm concerned.

New horizons are always out there... and sometimes out there means inside yourself too.  And the pursuit of those as-yet-undiscovered depths and possibilities is both a delight and a necessity for me.

It's one of the reasons I value quiet contemplation at this time of year - a retreat from the outside world which allows for reflection and a recruitment of energies for the journeys ahead.   I know that for many the festive season is a time for socialising and for big family occasions - and I'll have some of that too, but I also look forward to the hibernation.

I hope you find whatever time you need this Christmas to be with others and to be by yourself.  I hope your days will be merry and your nights peaceful, and I wish you all the joys of the season, however you choose to celebrate it.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
Norman Vincent Peale
... we can only hope he's right...

I'm playing along again at Art Journal Journey for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's themes of My Favourite Season/Tis the Season
And I'm hoping that at Stamps and Stencils they will find this festive enough for their last challenge It's Got to be Christmas

Thursday 20 December 2018

Winter Journal XI

Thank you for all your kind well-wishing... I'm starting to get on top of the cold, and am plunging into the final stages of the countdown to Christmas.  Off to collect the decorations from storage shortly, then the tree will go up on Saturday, maybe some baking on Sunday and present-wrapping, of course (always done with It's A Wonderful Life playing in the background).  But in between, there may still be a little crafting to be done.  I suppose it's no surprise that while I've been feeling unwell, I've mostly stuck to my blue/brown/white comfort zone, and this page continues the pattern.

Of course, since this is a winter journal rather than a Christmas journal, there's no reason I can't carry on during and after the 12 Days.  There's a page 12 ready to share too, when I have time to blog it.  And maybe there's more to come after that, or maybe it has played itself out now.  We'll see how we go!

I'd been thinking about getting the little Townscape On the Edge die involved in these pages.  I've always liked these quirky little houses.  And I was nudged into action by the moodboard at Mixed Media & Art (see the foot of the post).

I like that they have a slight look of gingerbread, some sugared or iced, some in plain form (a.k.a. various washes of either Ground Espresso or Vintage Photo Distress Stain, or watery white paint).

The Cosmos Blue Colorex ink had to come out again.  Its vivid tone really lifts the spirits, and it looks great over the heated gesso, falling into all the swirls and bubbles.

The boy is raring to go, ready to take his ice skates for a spin on the frozen river... and then maybe he'll just keep following it downstream in search of adventure. 

The metal typed token gives away the dreams in his heart... of leaving this little village and heading out into the world.

Sometimes you have to leave the safety of home to find out where you are meant to be going in life.

There's more of the torn washi tape in the background, lightly brayered over with some watery white paint.  And I stamped my little TH background stamp again, but this time in Snowflake Fresco.  I love the little Cosmos Blue spatters too.

Some tangled thread echoes that sense of movement infecting his dreams.  (Also, notice how the white paint stamped snowflakes have almost disappeared into the blue ink... I tried several times, but that strong pigment kept winning!)

There's a little bit of blue sky here at the moment, and that makes it easier to contemplate everything that needs doing... so I'd better get on with it.  Hope you're all doing okay, and I'll see you again soon.

I wondered about the explorers who'd sailed their ships to the end of the world. How terrified they must have been when they risked falling over the edge; how amazed to discover, instead, places they had seen only in their dreams.
From Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

I'm playing along again at Art Journal Journey for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's themes of My Favourite Season/Tis the Season - yes, I'm sticking with winter!
And I'd like to join in at That's Crafty Challenges where you'll be happy to hear that Anything Goes

I'd also like to share this at Mixed Media & Art where the moodboard in this month's Winter Melody challenge is right up my street, both in colour palette - the blues and whites and browns - the wintry atmosphere, especially the night sky, and those little houses

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Winter Journal X

Hello all!  Welcome back to another snowy day here at Words and Pictures.  If I can't have snow in real life, then I'll have it in the pages of my Winter Journal!  Unfortunately, thanks to the stinking cold I've caught, there's been a slight slowdown on the crafting front.  Rather than "almost every day", we're down to "most days", but I've made it to page number ten.

What with all the other Christmas things to do, I'm not going to pressure myself too much.  And when my cold goes away, I may well get right back into the swing and keep going right through the winter... we'll see.

For now though, these two independent, original women are ready to deal with anything which comes their way.  (Though in my current state of shiveriness, I do wish they'd put on some nice warm scarves.)

Talking of being ready, this was another page which started itself "the day before". 

Having cut the treeline for my babes in the wood in Winter Journal IX, I suddenly thought that the offcut from the die would make a good stencil, so out came the texture paste...

I'd already scraped the spare texture paste from the star stencil onto the page, and spritzed and "printed" the very last of it too, so in the morning, when I came to the craft table, lots of the work was already done.

Since they were just scrapings, the stars were pretty rough and ready, so I added some stamping to the background with one of my favourite TH festive stamps.

I love that with the Oxide (in Chipped Sapphire) you get to keep your lovely blue ink colour even over a kraft background.

I smeared some Oxide from the ink pad onto the craft mat and used a paintbrush to apply it around my snowy treeline.  This really helps the trees pop, as well as giving me another lovely night sky effect.

I also applied it around and between the intricate design of the Thinlits Snowflake which sets these two women apart from those around them.

They are ready to take on the world, and make the most of any opportunities which come their way.

You probably don't get to sit around at home if you want to make the most of your chances, so there are journeys of all sorts ahead of them...

I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.
From Persuasion by Jane Austen

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.
Coco Chanel

There we are, page ten.  We're within sight of twelve - which is a nice Christmassy sort of number - so I'm sure I'll get that far, at least.  Beyond that, let's just see what turns up on the craft table, eh?  I hope you're all avoiding the winter snuffles, and keeping warm... or else adventuring outside to see what possibilities await!  See you again soon.

I'm playing along again at Art Journal Journey for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's themes of My Favourite Season/Tis the Season
It's Anything Goes at That's Crafty Challenges so I'm joining in over there too
And with those snowy trees and billowing snowdrifts, I have to join in with Anything Goes with an Optional Twist of White over at More Mixed Media

Sunday 16 December 2018

Winter Journal IX

Hello all!  I hope you've been enjoying a lovely weekend, or at least a busily productive one.  I'm getting there on the Christmas-readiness stakes, but I'm still carving out time at the craft table.  In fact, I suspect it's the time at the craft table which is keeping me sane in the face of everything else.  This next page in the 8x8 kraft journal certainly took me on a journey away from reality and into fairy tale.  Yes, I count that as staying sane.

A couple of times, with these pages, I've spent just a few minutes before bedtime starting up the following day's page - particularly when I've had an idea involving some texture paste.  That way it can dry overnight...

Honestly... five or six minutes to glue down some TH tissue wrap, scrape on some gesso, with some texture paste snowdrifts over the top, and some more paste added through the TH Falling Stars stencil - and this is what awaited me the following morning, ready for the fairytale to begin.  "Once upon a time..."

There's a Hänsel and Gretel feeling about these two children for me.  (They also featured in my Star Light, Star Bright tags, in their slightly bigger version).

They may be wrapped up warm for the weather, but surely they're too young to be out alone at this time of night?

Those shadowy woods in the background look a little ominous.  Strange thing about woods... in the daylight, with sunlight dappling through the trees, they couldn't be more inviting; but come the night time - oh, so foreboding and eerie.

I think it's very little wonder that so many fairytales involve a journey through the forest - there's definitely a rite of passage about having the courage to go into the woods.

It is a starlit night, to be sure...

... and those might even be some shooting stars or the Milky Way you can see in the (superheated gesso + Chipped Sapphire) night sky.

Of course, the stars and the moonlight reflecting on the snow will make it all the brighter out in the open.

However, none of that will help you once you are under the shadow of the trees.

But if the path through the woods is the only one available, then that's where you have to go.  And it's best to be bold about it, turn it into an adventure.

And you just have to hope you're in a story with a happy ending.

I really hope that's not thin ice they're standing on, and I hope the stars will light their way home, even along the path through the woods.

Thank you so much for stopping by today.  It's time for a Sunday evening hot chocolate, and the lighting of the third Advent candle.  I hope you're wrapped up warm somewhere too, and not headed out into the dark woods.  Have a great week, everyone. 

Into the woods,
It's time to go,
I hate to leave,
I have to, though.
Into the woods-
It's time, and so
I must begin my journey.
From Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
From The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they are looking for Warm Winter Wishes
And of course I'm playing along again at Art Journal Journey for Bleubeard and Elizabeth's themes of My Favourite Season/Tis the Season - yup, it's still winter!

I'd also like to share this at Mixed Media & Art where the moodboard in this month's Winter Melody challenge is right up my street, both in colour palette - the blues and whites and browns - and the wintry atmosphere, especially the night sky

Friday 14 December 2018

Winter Journal VIII

Hello all!  I promised you some brighter colour tones after the last couple of neutral pages in my 8x8 kraft Winter Journal, so here you go...

And we've graduated from loving couples to a happily independent woman, wrapped up warm and ready to make things happen.

There's some loose gesso stencilling through one of my favourite festive stencils, as well as some more gesso slathered on with a palette knife.

The inky colours are a combination of Evergreen Bough, Iced Spruce and Peeled Paint Distress Sprays...

... with a splattering of some Colorex Oriental Blue.  I just love this close-up of those inky splashes.

The woman herself is either one of the Tim Holtz Photobooth pictures, or one of the Darkroom Door ones.  I'd already snipped her off, and she's been hanging around the craft table by herself, so I'm not sure which any longer.

But I'd say she's definitely happy!

The fir boughs and branches are cut from card spritzed with those same colours of Distress Spray.

They're layered up over the stencilling in the background...

... and of course they couldn't help but receive a good helping of splatter, both Colorex and white acrylic at various points - and sometimes a mix of the two.

I saved up the in-between-the-birches bits when I cut my forest of trunks for Winter Journal V.

And I really like them here as vertical accents - almost tree-like, but then not quite.   It works well to break up the greenery, I think.

The words are full of optimism and strength...

... looking ahead from the hibernation of winter to fresh adventures to come.

This page makes me happy - the zingy, fresh green colours, the happy woman at the heart of it, and the layers of inky and painty splatter over all that naturally festive greenery (my very favourite bit of all the Christmas decorations).

This will go out on Friday morning, and I think we've probably all earned some of the weekend off again, don't you?  I will be back on Sunday with a little something.  (Eeek! - that will already be the third Sunday of Advent.  When I say "a weekend off", I obviously mean a weekend doing all the other things I should be doing.)  Happy crafting, if you've time for it, and happy everything else if not.

"The evergreen!  How beautiful, how welcome, how wonderful the evergreen!"
From Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they are offering up some Warm Winter Wishes
I hope my festive greenery will work for the final ever Stamps & Stencils challenge (sad sigh), It's Got To Be Christmas
And of course I'm playing along again at Art Journal Journey for the double themes of My Favourite Season/Tis the Season