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, 13 January 2019

Ivy Girl

Hello all, and welcome.  Thanks for stopping by today.  After the retrospective, we're moving forwards again, if a little slowly.

I'm in that weird January hibernation phase... sluggish mojo, general sleepiness, and procrastination over the tax return which needs doing.

But I forced myself into the craft room today, which resulted in one complete failure and then there's this tag which I wasn't sure about, but seems to be growing on me.

I was going to call the post "Be fearless" or "Adventure Awaits", but the photo folder is called simply "Ivy Girl", and I decided I liked the simplicity of that better to go with this simple tag.

The background is a piece of Tim Holtz paper which I softened with some white chalk paint.  You can see the lovely stony effect this gave me compared to the original.

Ivy has always played a big part here at Words and Pictures - very often as the real, living background to my photos.

Sadly, in the dull and damp weather of these winter months I haven't managed as many outdoor photos as I'd like, so I've had to put the ivy on the tag instead.

The Distress Stain-dyed card was left over from some of the pages in my Winter Journal (VIII and XII if you're curious).

According to my notes in those posts, it's a combination of Peeled Paint, Iced Spruce and Evergreen Bough - lots of holiday greenery names, but it'll do for ivy too.  You can still just see some of the background script through the layers.

The girl is from a new packet of Christmas Paper Dolls.  I used up a lot of the wintry dolls in my Winter Journal, so I grabbed some fresh supplies in the sales, and this new selection has some I've not seen before.  I love her!

The words are a continuation of the positivity from the journal - preparing me for the changes ahead in the coming year.

I borrowed some of the other journal ingredients too - the tangled thread and the dark washi tape for her to stand on.

In fact, I may stick her in to the journal on a page of her own... I'll see how that feels.

There's some Vintage Photo-dyed crinkle ribbon tied up with fine twine at the top...

... and a paint-altered Muse Token at the foot of the tag.  And there are also some butterflies' wings - the butterfly being a symbol of transformation - stamped in Watering Can Archival.

And that's pretty much your lot for now.  I simply must knuckle down to the tax return next, so you won't see me for a couple of days.  Wish me luck!  Thanks so much for your visit, and I'll see you again soon.

The purpose of life, after all, is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
Eleanor Roosevelt

I'd like to join in at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where they'd like us to Use Something New - my Paper Doll is part of a new (to me) collection, and this is also the first inking up for any of the butterflies from Tim's Flutter stamp set
At Try It On Tuesday they're looking for Something Old, Something New - so the new things are as above, the Paper Doll and the Flutter butterfly, and there's also plenty that's old - the ivy die, the crinkle ribbon and the design paper which, like all my paper, has been waiting to be used forever!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Hello all!  I often start the new year by looking back over the journey from the year before.  I find it it really useful to chart the ideas, obsessions and possibilities which have travelled across my craft mat.  Reflecting on the pieces which gave me most joy in the making (and it almost always aligns that if I've enjoyed the process, then I'll like the finished project) allows me to see where the journey is taking me, and that helps with moving forward into the next year.

So here are some of my favourites from 2018... in chronological order - it's way too hard to put them in order of preference!  If you want to revisit any of them in detail, just click the project titles.

This ATC, made for Destination Inspiration over at A Vintage Journey is an easy pick for the list.  It may be tiny, but it has my favourite colours, some crackle, meadow flowers and ivy.  And words that very much hit the mark for what's been going on with me this year.

From a tiny ATC, we move to a pair of jumbo tags.  But they have the blues and browns in common, and those words again - the sense of potential and possibility, with the need to be strong.  And I so loved playing with the die-cut circles and the offcuts from the cutting.

You can tell I like something when I give it a Shakespearean title... even if it is a slight adaptation!  These rusty bubbles of glassy UTEE were one of my favourite experiments of the year - and the words take us on a thought experiment about finding a new place to live.

I released some new quote stamps with PaperArtsy early in the year, and these tags were part of my launch samples.  It was so interesting to work with the colour palette required - a fresh combination for me, and it worked so well for some of my favourite words - in this case from EAB07 Dreaming & Doing.

There are more of my words - these from an earlier set, EAB03 Music & Silence, and by one of my favourite poets, Rilke - on this simple, springtime tag.  The Idea-ology Paper Dolls seem to have made their way into this favourites post quite a lot.  I love how they tell me stories as I'm creating with them.

A whole bunch of quotes appear on these salty bookmarks.  And I get double points from William Morris ("Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."), since these are definitely useful - I have them tucked inside all the books I have on the go - and they make me happy each time I open the pages and see them there.

This album was created as part of my design team duties for the Mini Album Makers Challenge.  Sadly, I've had to pull out of the team now, but along the way I made some of my all-time favourite things.

I love the natural elements here - first of all used to create the Gelli prints inside, and then they made their way onto the cover, preserved forever(ish).

This second album is a companion piece to the first and I couldn't pick between them, so you get both!  This time it's all about the stencils - printing inside, and used with texture paste on the cover.

And this time I used the Gelli plate to print my inky backgrounds before letting loose with stamps and stencils and some more of my quote stamps.  When I turn the pages of this book, I feel calm and serene, and the words on each page allow my thoughts to follow fresh ideas.  It really is a meditative piece.

This concertina tag album was created to celebrate 60 years of friendship between my mother and one of her oldest friends.  It makes me happy front and back, inside and out - and it's just as well I had a lovely time making it as, having given this to her friend, Cestina demanded one for herself too.  I've yet to make it - but hope to get round to it soon!

These "engraved" panels were a PaperArtsy project for the Baked Texture theme - using Seth Apter's Baked Texture powders and my quote stamps.  I was thrilled with the outcome.  The technique has so much potential and I'd forgotten all about it... see, that's what a retrospective is for!

The vintage neutrals are pretty standard round here, as is the fact that whenever romance puts in an appearance it tends to have a melancholy twist to it.   To be honest, I'm not quite sure why this tag appeals to me quite so much - it just does, and it definitely had to be in this list.  Maybe it's those lavender sprigs?

This tag trio is definitely competing for top favourite of 2018.  Again, it may be those dried flower sprigs, or something about the spare simplicity.  Of course the meadow flowers are always going to make me happy, but there's also something about not piling too much on, and knowing when to stop.

Having said that, this giant tag is also vying for top place, and this has got plenty piled on to it!  It was made in a joint Skype crafting session, with Brenda and Nikki - each of us taking turns to suggest the next step in the process.  I'd been nervous about working on such a large substrate, but oh how I loved it once we started!

Having got over my jumbo tag fear with the Skype session, this one sprang to life almost without my help.  In fact, I started preparing the basics before we even got to the Skype session.  Autumn is the one time of year when bright colours fly across my craft desk without a second thought... where nature leads, I follow.

After a sluggish time creatively, I set myself the challenge of journalling as often as possible through December, and I had a ball.  For me, it's a tough call between Pages I, V, VIII and IX for my favourite, but you can choose for yourself by clicking the link above the photo, which should allow you to scroll through all twelve.

I'm finishing with another tag trio.  I do like sets and pairs and trios and series, something I'll definitely take forward into next year.  These came about from another Skype crafting session - something I also hope to squeeze in again, though it may be tough to schedule.  There's something very freeing about not being in charge of every step of the process!

It was a relatively quiet year here on the blog (busy with lots of theatre work) and 2019 is going to be just as complicated, involving - amongst other things - a move to another country.  But a chief reason for that move is to rebalance so that the artwork can play a larger part in life from here on.  So, although it may be another quiet-ish year here on the blog, I hope it will be a pull back in order to spring forward by 2020.  Watch this space!

Thank you so much for stopping by today, and for your company on this crafting journey.  Oh, and thank you for the lovely comments on my Winter Sun tag.  Although it's simple, I can see it making its way onto next year's list - it does make my heart sing along with the birds!  I wish you all lots of luck and joy with your journeys this year, wherever they may be taking you.  Happy Crafting all!

We pass through the present with our eyes blindfolded. We are permitted merely to sense and guess at what we are actually experiencing. Only later when the cloth is untied can we glance at the past and find out what we have experienced and what meaning it has.
From Laughable Loves by Milan Kundera

Friday, 4 January 2019

Winter Sun

Hello all, and a very happy New Year to you!  I had planned to be here before now for some slightly more timely well-wishing, but it didn't work out.  But today it's time to start a new challenge at A Vintage Journey, so I'm here with some inspiration for you.

The lovely Deb is our host this month, and her theme is all very straightforward... she'd simply like you to Put Your Stamp On It.

All the details are over at A Vintage Journey, along with some brilliant inspiration from my wonderful fellow Creative Guides.

I decided to keep things as simple as possible, and let one magnificent stamp take centre stage.

Actually, I lie - there are two stamps involved because, of course, there are also the words, taken from one of my own PaperArtsy quote sets.

But either way, this tag is pretty much all about the stamping.

Of course, that's not really true either because if I'm going to "put my stamp on it", I need something to put my stamp on.

I created the background with some PaperArtsy Fresco paints and a natural sponge - one of my favourite ways to apply paint for a soft, blended look which still has some texture to it.

There's Snowflake for the brightest sunlit part of the sky...

... a touch of Sky (of course! but sadly discontinued, I think) blending out to the richer Turquoise, for that vivid winter blue sky.

Down amongst the undergrowth there's the rusty Cinnamon (also discontinued) and the darker shadows of French Roast (which I hope and pray they never discontinue!), with just some specks of Snowflake sponged lightly on top for a frosted look.

The birds perched on their branches are just one side of a 6x6 inch stamp by Impression Obsession. 

It has made the occasional appearance before, but I really must ink it up more often - it's gorgeous.  Here, I've stamped it and then embossed with the wonderful Primary Bark embossing powder by Wow.

There's some worn rusty mesh framing the quote in the bottom corner.  It's from EAB05 The Winter Edition.  I cut off poor Henry David Thoreau's name from underneath, as I wanted a smaller panel so as not to cover up too many branches.

And some bare rusted wire forms the topping - bleak and spare like the branches stamped below it.

And that's your lot... unless of course you head over to A Vintage Journey to check out the fabulous projects there, created for your delectation.  We hope you'll decide to Put Your Stamp On It and join us on the Vintage Journey some time this month.  We'd love to see you there.

In the meantime, happy crafting all, and I hope 2019 will be kind to us all.

And now we welcome the new year.  Full of things that have never been.
Rainer Maria Rilke

"You can't get too much winter in the winter."
From Snow by Robert Frost

UPDATE - For all those coveting this stamp, it's Impression Obsession Birds On Trees CC102.  Thanks for the lovely comments so far, and happy shopping all!