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 November 2018

Silent, soft and slow

Hello all!  Thank you for bearing with me through a few Encore Posts, collecting together my Design Team projects into the fold here at Words and Pictures.  But, as promised, I'm finally here with something new again, because it's Tag Friday at A Vintage Journey, and I've never missed a Tag Friday - so by hook or by crook I had to join in.  And as so often happens around here, whilst aiming for one tag, I ended up with two.

Nothing complicated about these.  They started out with me just having a play with one of the new Oxide colours - one of my favourites, which I've been (im)patiently waiting for, and it finally arrived in this last batch... Chipped Sapphire.

So I did some dipping, smooshing and spritzing using the Chipped Sapphire in Oxide and traditional Distress Ink forms.  And once I was done with the inks, I spattered on some white paint.

Chipped Sapphire must be very pigment-heavy because, as often happens when using it, the paint soaked up some of the inky colour.  The white spatter became a sort of pale Chipped Sapphire too...

Those backgrounds hung around for a while until suddenly I realised I needed a Tag Friday tag, and decided to have a play with my new snowflake Flurry Thinlits dies.  I played around with the positioning for a little while, with a couple of my PaperArtsy EAB05 Winter Edition quotes in play too.

But then thought I'd like somewhere for the snowflakes to land, rather than have them just floating in the sky.  I stamped one of the Tim Holtz tree stamps in embossing ink and used some Wow Bright White to get some nice snowy treelines.

I also spattered some more white paint and added the Bright White powder to the spots and dots.

That gave me a slightly snowier look than the earlier Chipped Sapphire-infected spatter, and I adore the texture of it.

The snowflakes themselves also got a coat of the Wow Bright White.  The plain card was fine, but the embossed texture gives them just a little more interest.

I didn't want to cover up the trees too much, so I ended up with a more formal composition of snowflakes and quotes.

It meant trimming the second quote too, but I'm fine with that.

This really was mainly about the backgrounds for me, and so it's no accident that my favourite part about these tags is the look of the treeline against that snowy night sky.

Do hop over to A Vintage Journey to see what sort of tags my fabulous fellow Creative Guides have been creating.

And we'd love you to join in and share any tags you've made through the month of November.  Just link them up to the Tag Friday Linky, and you might win a spot on our Pinterest board.  

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, whatever you're up to.  I'll be mostly singing, a Winter Songfeast workshop on Saturday; and then, on Advent Sunday, we sit down by candlelight and write and decorate our Christmas lists... so a festive weekend all round.  I hope it stops raining - we could do with some snow instead for extra atmosphere.

Oh, by the way, I'm not the only one starting to feel the winter chill... there's a family of bears getting wrapped up warm for the winter weather over at Cestina's Dolls Houses at the moment.  You'll get to see the renovations of the house they've moved into, as well as their new winter outfits.  Hop over there for some ursine entertainment.  See you soon, and happy crafting all!

The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event.  You go to bed in one kind of world, and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?
J.B. Priestley

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Encore Post - Take a leaf out of my book

Encore Posts
Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook while I'm away.
As always, the Encore Posts are formatted differently from the regular ones, so that you can easily spot them.  Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

Hello again.  As promised (threatened?), I'm back with another Encore post to fill the deafening silence around here.   This autumnal altered notebook was created for A Vintage Journey's Destination Inspiration series back in November 2016.  Over the course of a month, each of four Creative Guides would play with the same set of products/colours/techniques, and come up with their own individual creation.  Here's what I wrote back then...

Hello all, it's Alison here, arriving at Destination Inspiration.  I hope you saw Tracy's fantastic creation last Monday, and now's your chance to see what I got up to with the contents of this month's luggage.  Just to remind you, here's what's in the travel bag:

Substrate - Journal/Notebook cover
Product - Patterned Paper
Technique - Altered paper techniques
Colour - Orange/Rust

Well, regulars at Words and Pictures will guess that I went for the rusty end of that colour spectrum.  I did some basic paper tearing and distressing for my altered papers, and here's what I ended up with...

It started out as one of those basic black notebooks you can pick up almost anywhere.

I used one of my favourite Andy Skinner techniques to get the rusted look - spritzes of the DecoArt white Media Mister with Quinacridone Gold over it.  (It's part way through the process here.)

Quin Gold was probably my most-missed product while I was away, so I had to use it for this first project back in the craft room!

I generally add a dirty wash for a grungier, darker edge to the rusty look.

As I said, I kept my paper altering on a fairly simple level.  They're all Tim Holtz papers, and all from the subtler end of the colour spectrum.

I tore and inked the edges, and then ruffled them up at the edges once they were stuck down.

I also added the lovely thorny stamp in Sepia (as close to orange as I'm generally willing to go with my stamping).

I also used Quinacridone Gold and some Paynes Grey in layers on my Idea-ology Quote Band, and secured it in place with some rusty wire.

The leaves were actually a bit of an afterthought, but I'm very glad my brain went on thinking, as I really like the result.

They're Calico Craft Parts, and they've just had a touch of the Quin Gold for that burnished autumnal look.

It's rusted on the back cover too, but otherwise unadorned on the other side.  You have to be able to use the thing, after all!

And that's my altered notebook cover for you.  Thanks so much for dropping in today.


Just catching the last of the autumn glows for you there... winter seems to be setting in with a grey, damp grimness round here at the moment.  I hope you enjoyed another trip down memory lane with me.  There'll be something new to enjoy on Friday... promise!  Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon.

Rebellious leaves
going out
in a blaze of glory,
setting trees aflame
in riotous colour.
Reluctant surrender
to rumours
of coming winter.
Taste the Wild Wonder by John Mark Green

Saturday 24 November 2018

Encore Post - The time of the falling leaves

Encore Posts
Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook while I'm away.
As always, the Encore Posts are formatted differently from the regular ones, so that you can easily spot them.  Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

Hello all.  We're in the middle of a collection of autumnal Encore Posts.  (Check out Thrice Blasted, Thrice Infected if you missed it.)  I've been charging up and down the country for work - Cheltenham, Bath, Stratford upon Avon in the last ten days or so - so the craft desk is still waiting patiently for me to get back to play.

This is the first of two Destination Inspiration posts, created for A Vintage Journey - this one was posted there back in October of last year, 2017.  This somewhat cobbled together hanging ended up being one of my favourite creations of the year... go figure!  Here's what I wrote back then...

Hello all!  It's Alison here, ready to share what I've created with this month's travel bag contents.  In case you need a reminder, here's what we packed this month:
Substrate - Corrugated Cardboard
Colour - Any Fall Colours You Fancy
Product - Crackle Paint/Paste
Technique - Die-cutting

And here's what arrived at my Destination Inspiration...

... a rustic hanging full of texture, autumnal colour and dimensional embellishing.

I started with some corrugated cardboard torn from some packaging, and roughly applied both some gesso and some DecoArt crackle paint with a palette knife.

I let that dry and crackle thoroughly before applying some colour to it with Distress Sprays and Infusions powders.

While it was drying, I took a piece of A4 kraft card and spritzed it with some more Distress Sprays - Vintage Photo, Rusty Hinge and Gathered Twigs are certainly all involved, and maybe some others.  I sprayed and flicked some water droplets at it as I dried it to get a nice mottled effect.

From that kraft card, I cut all my leaves - some with the Layered Leaf and some with the small Movers and Shapers Mini Tattered Leaves.

All of them then went back through the BigShot inside the embossing folder which comes as part of the Texture Fades Layered Leaf set, giving them that textured veining.

I grabbed some pinecones to add to my autumn gatherings, and started playing around with the arrangement on the corrugated cardboard panel.

As you can see, I decided it needed another layer, so I inserted some book page tags, carved from one of my altered book projects ages ago.  I'm still working my way through the pile of leftover pieces.

With all these autumn leaves, it wasn't long before I reached for my Autumn Edition quote stamps (PaperArtsy EAB04).

I stamped the quote on some separate cardstock, tore it out and inked it with Distress Inks (Antique Linen and Vintage Photo mainly), and positioned it in the centre of the panel.  It then became much simpler to work out the composition of the other elements around it.

Some berries add extra autumnal colour to the clusters of pinecones.

Natural fibres create extra movement and catch the light.

A good inking of the edges of the corrugated cardboard gives it an extra weathered look.

You can still just about see those book pages in the layers of falling leaves...

... and all that crackle is still tucked away underneath.

There's some rusty wire at the top to hang the panel up by...

... and plenty of white spatter... 

... gives the whole thing a dusting of extra life...

... like a frosty autumnal morning.

This was one of those projects which I really didn't think much about - it just seemed to take shape on the table in front of me, and I love the end result.

I hope you like it too.

So there you have it.  It's really just a collection of lovely objects arranged to please the eye... assemblage is a wonderful thing!  Thanks so much for stopping by.  I'm hoping I'll get some catching up done over the weekend - I'm looking forward to seeing what you've been up to lately.  Happy crafting all!

The last dead leaves of fall crackled underfoot, winter-crisp.
From American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I'd like to share this in the Simply Neutrals gathering over at Apple Apricot - I hope it's neutral enough!

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Encore Post - Thrice Blasted, Thrice Infected

Encore Posts
Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook while I'm away.
As always, the Encore Posts are formatted differently from the regular ones, so that you can easily spot them.  Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

Hello all!  I'm not going to apologise again for the ongoing silence here at Words and Pictures... you'll be getting bored!  I've finally managed to put together a few Encore Posts, at least, over the next ten days or so, before something new turns up next Friday.

I'm aware I'm a bit late for all the Halloween spookiness, but with the nights drawing in, I think it's still worth sharing this particular eerie project now.  It's not specifically intended for Halloween, just for those dark nights around the fire telling stories.  It was created back in October 2015 for PaperArtsy, and here's what I wrote back then....

I've got a triptych of frosted glass bottles for you today, together with the plants from which their contents have been distilled.  I very often seem to end up working in triplicate, sometimes by accident, but also sometimes by design.  I like panels that have an element or two in common, and then variations on a theme as the eye moves across them.  This one all started from an idea of trying to recreate those lovely vintage chemist's bottles you find, with embossed writing; so each panel has a bottle, but then the labels and flowers vary.

I wanted to use the HPHW05 Halloween labels, and I knew I wanted the flowers in the background, as a reminder of where so many potions and poisons come from.  The perfect quote popped in to my head from Hamlet: "thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected" -  all about potions made from plants collected at midnight, and then - get this for a triptych - "thrice blasted, thrice infected"!

I created a brayered background rather than a crackled one for once - layering up Purple Rain, Lavender, Wisteria, Mud Splat, Taupe, Stone and Chalk - and then used Distress Inks with the Clocks stencil to deepen the midnight blues.

I used leftover acetate packaging for my bottles.  I used the DANGER stamp from the fantastic recent HPHW05 release, stamping it in Versamark and then clear embossing it.  I draped the bottles over shallow oval bottle as I heated them (some hair stuff, don't ask me what!) so that I could get the same curvature on all of them.

Once the embossing was done, I gave the bottles two coats of Frosted Glaze, allowing them to dry in between.  To make the bottles tall enough to make the most of the Hot Picks Halloween labels, I had to hand cut them, based on the Tim Holtz Apothecary Bottles die - but I made sure I left the necks of the bottles the same width, so that I could use the die for the stoppers at least!  I painted the labels very simply with washes of Stone and Brown Shed, and I shaded the edges of the bottle with some Cobalt Archival to give them even more dimension.

I stamped flowers from HP1505, HP1507 and HP1009 and used Purple Rain, Stone and Chalk to shade them.  The Brown Shed made its way onto the bluesy backgrounds too, giving some colour to the foliage, and I added misty book page clouds drifting across the moonlit sky, as well as some lid-stamping for accents and highlights.  Of course there's another clock telling the time in the gorgeous tulip stamp, making sure it's midnight so that the plants are at full potency when they're collected.

I've created some rusty, leathery hinges to hold the whole thing together at the back (Brown Shed with shadings of Purple Rain straight on to Grungeboard so they're flexible, and then some Distress Embossing Powders in Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain), but I'm guessing nobody will really be looking at that side, so I didn't do much else...

I'm really pleased with my frosted embossed wording - it's got real dimension... though it's nigh on impossible to get a good photo of!  A slight shame that the central bottle covers the butterflies, but they wouldn't be out and about at midnight anyway.  And if you peer very closely in the right lighting, maybe you can see them inside, their essence captured and distilled as an extra ingredient in the poison!

Oh, and speaking of the right lighting, this is another triptych which responds rather well to candlelight.  Now you might catch a glimpse of the butterflies in the bottle...

And the shadows finally allow that embossed writing to pop a little more.

I hope you like my poison triptych, and that you'll be inspired to come up with some three-parters of your own!  Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I'll see you again soon.

So there you go... I hope you enjoyed this little post-Halloween poison pick-me-up - it's always worth a trip down memory lane for a little candlelight!  Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I'll be back with another Encore soon.

Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing;
Confederate season, else no creature seeing;
Thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
With Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
Thy natural magic and dire property,
On wholesome life usurp immediately.
From Hamlet by William Shakespeare