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...

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Encore Post - Live Gently

Encore Post - see the foot of the post if you don't know what I'm talking about!

Hello all and happy Sunday!  I had hoped to share some more of my new stamp samples with you, but there just hasn't been time to write the blogpost.  I'm still busy with Julius Caesar here in New York - full days in the theatre, with the first audience preview this evening (yes, Sunday - theatres here play on Sundays, with Monday as the day off, unlike in the UK).  But I didn't want to neglect the blog completely, so here's an Encore tag with a little touch of springtime for you in the meantime.  It's something of a favourite of mine, I must confess, so I'm happy to be sharing the full post here at Words and Pictures at last.

It was made back in August 2016 for one of the Vintage Journey Destination Inspiration posts, so there were certain elements which had to be included.  But, as you'll see, this list really wasn't a stretch for me!  Here's what I wrote back then...

Hello all, it's Alison here arriving at Terminal 3 of Destination Inspiration.  We've already seen wonderful projects from Anne and Deb, and now it's my turn to create with the contents of the travel bag this month.  Just as a reminder, this is what's in the suitcase:

Product - Paint
Substrate - Tag
Colour - Smoky Grey Blue (think Stormy Sky and Weathered Wood)
Technique - Resist (paint, embossing or mediums)

And here's the tag I came up with...

I started by putting a coat of PaperArtsy Chalk Fresco Paint onto a plain manila tag, and then stamping Tim Holtz's Cracks background in Versamark and clear-embossing it.

So that was my paint and my resist - now for something for it to resist!  I used Distress Stains in Stormy Sky, Weathered Wood and Hickory Smoke to create the almost stained glass look.

Having the coat of paint underneath means the Stains don't soak into the tag in the same way - they sit on the surface a little and create lovely effects as you dry them.  And you can see the grain of the paint brush strokes too, which I really like.

By now I'd covered all the travel bag contents requirements, so I was free to go in any direction with what to put over my background.  Whatever I did next, I would still have my lovely light-catching resist mosaic.

The gorgeous Bird Silhouette is a favourite die of mine so I cut him from some Tim Holtz paper and inked the edges with Ground Espresso DI.

Some more paper scraps provide the "ground" for him to stand on.  He's mounted on padded tape, by the way, to get a touch more dimension.

I was in a gentle frame of mind, so I cut some soft neutral Wildflower die-cuts to go behind him (also inked with Ground Espresso)...

... and I added some actual dried Wildflower stems to the mix.  I love the fragile dimensionality - not one for sending through the post, this!

Adding the lower parts of the stems was an afterthought.  They're just tucked in, but I think they're positioned about right to create the illusion that they're all attached somewhere behind his back.

Obviously I needed some words - Small Talk stickers to the rescue, as so often.  I can't think what I did before these little phrases were released.

So that's my Destination Inspiration tag for you.  I hope you like it.

Thanks so much for stopping at Destination Inspiration with me today.  See you again soon.

I'm happy to say that there is finally a touch of spring in the air here, so this seemed like the right time for this tag.  I hope you're all enjoying a gentle weekend full of things which give you joy, and I'll hope to be back soon with something a little newer to share.  Many thanks for stopping by and happy crafting all!

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!

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Spring Melancholy

Hello all and happy Sunday!  I've managed some intermittent blog-visiting this week - apologies if I haven't made it round to you yet, I'm doing my best.  And I've been squeezing in some art and craft playtime too (we had our one and only two-day-weekend last week - albeit Sunday/Monday - so it felt like a luxuriously long time!).   So in between sharing the new stamp samples, I'm here with something new for you today... a journalling spread to say hello to Spring.

Not that there's much sign of Spring here in New York at the moment... we keep getting snow overnight, though it mostly vanishes through the next day - though we are enjoying fairly frequent blue skies and sunshine, but c-o-o-o-l-d!

The tag which forms the main focal point here has been sitting on my NYC craft table since almost the first day I arrived.

To crack open my travelling stash, I did some Distress Ink blending and then dipping and spritzing with some of my favourite springtime colours.

I then added the meadow flower stamp in Olive Archival, and then got stuck.  I really wanted to add some of the new TH die-cut flowers, but I have neither dies nor a die-cutting machine with me, so that was really a non-starter.

On another day, I'd stuck a couple of torn pieces of book page into the kraft journal I have with me, and gesso'd them, and happened to add the same meadow flower stamp (not with any idea then of connecting the two... it's just I have only limited stamp selections with me).  I didn't take a picture of that stage, but you can imagine it I'm sure.

Cut forward a few weeks, and the new theme of "Hello Spring" popped up at Art Journal Journey, and suddenly inspiration struck... to combine the tag and the pages together, and off we went.

Though I don't have the dies with me, I do have Tim's Wildflower stamp set, so that became the next layer of stamping, both on the pages as wild background stamping...

... and on the tag in a more "finished" version.  I've used white paint pen to add flower head detailing.

I wanted to echo the intense DI colours of the tag over on the facing page, so Dina Wakley's acrylic paints came into play for the vivid wash of the sky.  It's a combination of Turquoise and Peacock, applied with plenty of water.

I love that, being opaque and highly pigmented, it works over the kraft as well as over the whitewashed book page.

I liked it so much that I did some spattering with it too, as well as adding some around the foot of the page to bring even more colour to the grassy hedgerows.  There's some olive green watercolour paint going on at the feet of the flower stems too, to add more depth.

All the lid-stamping, in various sizes, is also done with Dina's paint, the trusty White.

I love the bubbles of light dancing around the page, almost a Bokeh effect.

The Idea-ology Paper Dolls always bring an air of nostalgia to any project, and I think that's particularly true of this grouping.

I'm sure they partly prompted the words I later added, scribbled in white pen across both pages.

For all the joys that spring brings, I find that there's also a touch of melancholy about it... maybe something about knowing how short the spring will be, or memories of springtimes past, or lost youth or whatever. 

The Germans have a word for the feeling of weariness and sadness which can overcome you at this time of year - Frühjahrsmüdigkeit (literally early year weariness or spring fatigue).

So there's something about the combination of the childhood smiles in the photo with the bright springtime feel which actually makes me a little melancholy.  It seems topsy turvy, but there it is.

If you'd rather just say hello to spring in a nice cheerful way, then look away now, but if you're curious, here's what is scrawled across the page spread in white pen:

When I look back, it seems to me that it was always spring or summer, and that there was always laughter.  But that can't be true, can it?  So when the spring sunshine arrives, along with the joy I find I am filled with an aching melancholy, for the lost springs which have gone and for the winters to come.

It's usually a sort of pleasurable melancholy - a wistfulness - full of memories and hopefulness along with the sadness, so don't worry about me too much!

The butterflies, unbelievably, have made several trips back and forth across the Atlantic - strong wings! - in my travelling stash envelope of ephemera.  They were here last year and the year before without being used.

They're made with the Tim Holtz punch and were left over from some project years ago, so I tucked them into the envelope, thinking that one day they might come in handy.

Now, finally, they get to take their place on a project!  It's a sign of how often I return to the same colour zones that they match perfectly in their new setting. 

Some simple twine through the top of the tag finishes everything off.

I hope you enjoyed taking a walk in my springtime meadow, and I hope you'll be filled with the joys of spring in due course (the proper kind, not the sad kind!).

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope to see you again soon.  We're about to head in to the technical rehearsals for Julius Caesar , and then Dress Rehearsal and Previews, so the days get even longer and more intense... so when I say "soon", that may turn out to be a somewhat elastic term!  But happy crafting in the meantime, and I'll see you on the other side.

The word "happy" would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
Carl Jung

I'd like to share this at Art Journal Journey where Jo's theme this month is Hello Spring
And I hope they enjoy the spring sunshine over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where the challenge is Whatever the Weather
At Moo Mania this fortnight, they are inviting us to get Close to Nature, so this should fit right in

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Love, Friends and Flying with the Zinskis

Hello all!  Thank you so much for your lovely response to my latest stamp launch with PaperArtsy.  The new collections are full of positive thoughts and ideas, which I hope you'll enjoy using on all sorts of projects.  When I was creating my samples for the new collections, I thought I would "colour code" them.  They all started from a neutral base, but then each set was assigned an accent colour.  Then across the sets there were "matching" styles, hopefully showing how the quotes will work in all sorts of crafting genres.

When it came to sharing more details here, I couldn't decide whether to divide up the posts by colour/collection or by shape/style, so I'm doing a bit of both in each post!  To start with, here's the full collection of samples for EAB09 The Love Collection, with its accent colour of red (well, of course, if you're dealing with love and hearts - though red is a pretty rare sighting around here!)...

And now I'm going to pull out one of those samples, and look at the matching ones from the other new collections, EAB10 Friends & Friendship and EAB11 Wings & Flight.

Let's start with those whimsical Zinski characters...  They're a hop out of kin from my usual crafting style, but it's fun to stretch one's wings in new directions occasionally (see, wings... even in my thinking I'm mixing and matching my quote collections!).

I started with some neutral Tim Holtz design paper, and used the stamping platform to stamp the Zinski girl. 

I'll confess this particular rag doll does make me very happy for some reason - it's that carefree, childlike exuberance, I think.

She's painted with Fresco paints - Cherry Red and London Bus to create the vibrant red tones, and some Chalk, Snowflake, China, Magic Moss and Granny Smith for accents.

The quote is stamped and embossed with Wow Earthtone Pepper embossing powder, and mounted on some card painted with the same bold red Fresco paints. 

That's Friedrich Nietzsche hitting the nail on the head with the words, as he so often does.

I did all the painting while the stamp and the card were still in their stamping platform positions, so that I could then stamp over the top to get all the details nice and sharp again.

The techniques are exactly the same for the "matching" Zinski cards using the other word stamps - keeping things very simple.  Now we move into EAB10 Friends & Friendship, and the colour accent is green.

There's some more of that large script paper in the background.  (I think it may be from the French Industrial paper stash, if memory serves.)

Pairing these two made me smile... look at the tolerant affection in the expression on this chap's face.

I hope he knows how good a friend he has in his tall pal.  The greens are a combination of Magic Moss and Granny Smith Fresco paints.

And the red, blue and white accents use the same paints as mentioned above.

The words are by Baltasar Gracián, a seventeenth century Spanish writer and philosopher... again, all too true.

Again, the Earthtone Pepper is in action on the quote.  I love the subtle shimmer and peppery texture of it.

And finally for this "mini collection", we're off into the wild blue yonder with EAB11 Wings & Flight.  Blue really was the obvious choice for this selection of quotes, and this is one of those magical pairings of words and pictures where it all just fits!

This Zinski girl is paired with what may be my favourite words out of this whole new release.  (I say that, but then I see another quote and think, "no, that one's my favourite... no, or this one...)

I love the mischief and daring in her eyes as she considers the possibility for flight.  And with those little wings made real by sheer force of her imagination and desire, she's already ready to take to the skies.

The blues are China and Smurf, with accent colours as already listed.

Some slightly different background paper this time, but still Tim Holtz, and still in those gentle neutral tones.  And again the stamping platform came in to its own to allow the painting and re-stamping to keep all the details fresh and sharp.

So there they are... the mini Zinski collection celebrating Love, Friends and Flying.  I'll be back soon with some close ups of some of the other samples, just so that I have them all collected together here at Words and Pictures.

The samples themselves have gone off to grace the PaperArtsy boards for shows, so this is the only place I'll have a record of what I created.  I hope you'll enjoy seeing them all gathered together.  I've even got pictures of the WHOLE group together - but you'll just have to wait for the final post for that!

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I'll see you again soon.  Happy Crafting all!

You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.
From Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

Friday, 1 March 2019

Journeying together

Hello all!  Quite a short post today (for me), as I've not got much spare time on my hands at present, but I couldn't bear not to be a part of the celebrations over at A Vintage Journey.  It's our birthday - the challenge blog is five years old today - I can hardly believe it!  What a milestone... and Brenda is inviting us all to Celebrate the Journey for this month's theme.  As always, there is a wealth of inspiration from my fellow Creative Guides, so do check it all out, and come and join us on this leg of the journey too.

I've got some art journalling pages to share with you, celebrating the people we make our journeys with.  The friendships which have grown out of this design team are so strong, and they've seen us through some bad times as well as good ones - and that's what these pages, using one of my new PaperArtsy quote stamps, are all about.

I'm working with limited supplies here in New York.  My travelling stash has most of my necessary staples, but in limited colour variations, and I managed to come without any metal embellishments... foolish of me!  (And apologies that the pictures aren't up to the usual standard - there's really nowhere with particularly good light in my Brooklyn apartment.)

I did bring this metal bound kraft journal with me.  The pages are very thin, so mostly I glue them together or, as here, do my journalling on a separate piece of watercolour or mixed media card and then glue that in to the book.

There are some torn book pages, lots of tissue tape, gesso and layered stamping in the background.

The Tim Holtz script is stamped in Watering Can Archival, and my own word stamp is done in Coffee.

That's true of the background detail stamping as well as the main quote.

I used Dina Wakley's paint in the beautiful dark blue Night to provide some washes and splatters of colour, as well as to do some lid-stamping in the background.

There's some frayed cheesecloth for added texture up in the top corner...

... and some more behind the Paper Dolls on the left hand page to echo it.

These friends have seen each other through thick and thin - they stand by one another in good times and bad.

And each of them knows how true the words by Helen Keller are. 

They're from my new Friends & Friendship stamp set, EAB10 from PaperArtsy.

I inked around the torn page edges before gluing them down, and decided that (in the absence of a nice metal Muse Token or similar) I was done.

I hope you'll find time to check out the amazing projects over at A Vintage Journey, and we hope you'll come and Celebrate the Journey with us this month.  Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I'll see you again soon.


I've been inspired by some of my fellow Creative Guides to look back over some of the last five years' worth of projects I've created for A Vintage Journey.  If you'd like to do the same, then just click here and have a scroll!

A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.
Tim Cahill

I'd like to share these pages over at Moo-Mania where the theme is Women
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge it's all about Vintage/Past Times, so this should fit right in