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, 10 November 2019

Happiness in Harmony

Hello again, and a very happy Sunday to you all.  After an extremely long post with Sunrise, Sunset and then a pretty long pause, I'm back with two short posts in quick succession.  If you thought A time and a place was a short post for me, just wait until you see this one!

It's another of my samples for the September launch of my latest quote sets at PaperArtsy, and we're enjoying ourselves again with EAB14 The Happiness Edition.

It's really the simplest of simple tags, but it makes me happy.

That's partly because it has one of my all time favourite stamps involved... Lin Brown's glorious grasses from ELB30.  In fact, this stamp appeared in samples for all three of my new word sets this time around!

They're stamped in a combination of Olive and Leaf Green Archival inks.

And this tag also uses one of my all-time favourite quotes too.  It's one I've loved for years, and I'm so happy now to have it available to stamp whenever I need it.

I'm not quite sure any longer whether it's stamped in Ground Espresso and clear-embossed, or stamped in some Archival or other and embossed with Wow Primary Bark.  Either way, you get the light-catching dimension which I love.

There's some watery brayering in the background again - the stripes of Aquamarine, Cheesecake (with a little touch of Haystack) and Summer Sky are warmed up with some blended Lawn around the edges.

There you go - I bet you didn't think I could write a post that short!  Happy Sunday all, and I'll see you again soon.

He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe.
Marcus Aurelius

I'd like to share this over at Tag Tuesday where Michele's theme this fortnight is Seeds and Plants.

Friday, 8 November 2019

A time and a place

Hello all!  Sorry it all went quiet again there for a week or so - life, you know!  Thank you for all your amazing comments about Sunrise, Sunset - I'm glad it made you as happy as it did me.  I'm back with a couple of quick shots of extra happiness for this weekend.  These happy tags are samples from my latest stamp launch with PaperArtsy in September, and use quotes from EAB14 The Happiness Edition.  I'll share one today and one on Sunday, all being well.

For the background here, I've been doing my watery brayering technique again and, as you can probably see, this one was done at a stage where the water was really the main ingredient on the craft mat, with just a hint of paint.  But still the Aquamarine, Sky Blue and Cheesecake colours create some lovely effects I think.

This lovely girl from Hot Picks 1008 popped straight into my head when I was thinking about stamps to use with the Happiness quotes.  Could there be a more joyful, contented expression on anyone's face?

And I've always loved the fact that within the collage around the girl, there's a tiny echo of one of my all-time favourite PaperArtsy stamps, these wonderful grassy stems from HP1005.  (I used it in one of my first ever projects as a designer for PaperArtsy, back in 2013!)

For the quote itself, I used a paintbrush to create an ombre of Aquamarine, Sky Blue and a touch of Lawn, and I embossed some Wow Vanilla White over an Archival stamping.

As I've mentioned before, I find that stamping with Archival gives me a finer imprint than an embossing ink, which is great for a detailed stamp.  You do have to be a little quicker about getting the powder onto the ink, but it's perfectly do-able.

Most of the rest of the stamping is done in Olive Archival, always a favourite of mine.  But for the girl I also added some Watering Can to part of the stamp for a slight ombre effect there too.

I sponged on some Lawn followed by Olive Archival around the edges to draw the eye inwards, mounted the tag on some white card for a nice framing border and some simple white twine finishes things off.

There... a nice short post for you.  I'll be back on Sunday with some more happy grasses, so I'll hope to see you then, but either way I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.
Joseph Addison

I'd like to share this over at Tag Tuesday where Michele's theme this fortnight is Seeds and Plants.

Friday, 1 November 2019

Sunrise, Sunset

Hello all, and a very happy November to you.  Yes, November - I don't really know how that happened!  Today we're starting a new theme at A Vintage Journey, but I'm still in my autumn crafting zone.

The lovely Deb's challenge to us is to create a Window on your World.

You can see exactly what she means by that over at A Vintage Journey, where you'll find all the challenge details along with lots of fabulous inspiration from my fellow Creative Guides.

I've carved my window out of some recycled packaging, and created two autumnal worlds either side of that window.

But it's not inside and outside that you'll find when you look through the window, but rather dawn and dusk - sunrise and sunset - and it also takes you from a cottage garden to a wild meadow.

Once again, it's one of those projects which you simply can't capture in one photograph.  There are too many angles and surfaces and details.

Be warned, this is a long post!

You may want to grab yourself a cup of coffee (pumpkin spice for the season, of course) and then sit back and enjoy the journey from dawn to dusk.

On one side of the window, we find ourselves at sunrise outside a little stone cottage, surrounded by a flower bed in its final decaying flourish before winter...

... with tangled strands of twigs and moss amidst the late-flowering blooms.  The colours have that wintry chill of an early morning in late autumn.

But if you peek through the weathered wooden frame of the window, you'll see there's a different kind of place on the other side.  Now we're out in a much wilder meadow, and we've arrived at sunset, with the last golden glow of the sun's rays lighting up the scene as night gathers.

(If this is reminding you of something, you might be thinking of my Autumnal Oxide Journal - no Oxides this time, DIs only.  Also I've done similar constructions with real book covers in the past (A Christmas Story Book and What Do You Wish For? for instance), but I knew this one would get covered up, so there was no point wasting nice vintage hardback book boards.)

I had a wonderful time smooshing Distress Inks for this project.  The same colours are in action both inside and outside, believe it or not.

We're in a world of Faded Jeans, Stormy Sky, Wilted Violet, Seedless Preserves, Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo and Gathered Twigs both for the flowers and for the vivid landscape outside.

All this started with a humble cardboard envelope, hoarded for exactly this kind of recycling.  I trimmed the edges to create an open wallet like a book cover.

And I cut up a thick cardboard box to make some reinforcing panels, so that my book cover would be able to stand up.

I knew I wanted an autumn landscape to be visible through my window, so I wrinkle-free-distressed a whole piece of A4 card with my inks (but no Seedless Preserves yet), before trimming it to fit my interior panels. 

I also cut my Tim Holtz window die out of some more packaging card (helpfully already white), and used the window to trace the outline to cut the hole from the front of the book cover with a craft knife.

Then I smeared texture sand paste through TH's Bricked Layering Stencil to start "building" my stone wall.  It was at this point that I realised that I was "outside" on both sides of my window. 

Rather than panicking, I decided to make that the heart of the design.

My window isn't a boring division between interior/exterior but between sunrise and sunset, garden and meadow. 

Having already done the landscape smooshing, I did another piece of A4 card with most of the same colours, but this time working with a lot more white space.  This became the basis for my cottage garden flowers, cut with TH's Wildflower Thinlits, sets 1 and 2. 

Behind the cut stems, you can see the bricks have had a coat of Fresco paints in Stone and Taupe, mixed on the wall as I went, and then I used Distress Crayons in Picket Fence and Pumice Stone to highlight some of the texture.

To create some continuity of colour between dawn and dusk, I used Stormy Sky and Faded Jeans with a water brush to deepen the colour of the flower stems...

... as well as adding some Vintage Photo to the brickwork in various ways (some stencilling, some printing and some blending), and eventually using it to edge all the wildflowers too.

Conversely, the dusky exterior got some splashes of Seedless Preserves so that the colours tone in more harmoniously when you peek through the window or open up the cover.

I'm in love with how the flowers turned out.

(Pink and purple, did you say?  No, I don't think I would call them pink and purple precisely... plum, berry, aubergine - autumn fruits, you know.  And orange too?  Well, okay, but it is autumn - or think of it as rust.)

There's a randomness about them which makes me happy...

... and plenty of variation and contrast in colour...

... yet they all work together beautifully.

The bluish stems capture the soft muted tones you get in the very early morning light.

And there's that slightly worn out, past-their-very-best feel to the colour palette... 

... with definite rusty hints of autumn.

I added just a touch of pen work to the daisy heads.

It gives that extra little touch of detail without getting too precise.

And I was so happy when I remembered I had a greyish-brown version of the mossy strands you've seen in action on my recent acorn tags.

It has just the right scraggly look for an end-of-season garden... 

I particularly love the strands clambering up the spine of the book.

It's all those twiggy stems which need clearing away at the end of the season...

... and perhaps disposing of on a nice big bonfire.   Ah, the smell of a bonfire... yes - that's autumn!

As you can see, I couldn't resist distressing my window frame with some good old crackle.

I used the DecoArt chalk paints and crackle glaze to get a really weathered look to the peeling paint - and some inking dirties it up nicely too.

The final touch of inking both to the brickwork and to the woodwork gives it a very realistic appearance I think.

I love the highly coloured flowers against the weathered neutrals of the brick and wood.

As you peer through the window, you see that someone is waiting out there in the meadow...

The wonderful Thinlits Scarecrow stands on duty out in the field.  

He has a nice firm base of shadowy tissue tape to keep him securely in place.

And he's surrounded by lots of wild and tangled meadow flowers and grasses.  Two of my all-time favourite stamps are in action here... one by Tim Holtz...

... and one by PaperArtsy.  They're embossed in Wow Primary Bark powder to give them a nice strong silhouette against the busy background.

But of course when you get them at the right angle, the last rays of the setting sun turn them to liquid silver.

There are a couple of distant tree branches visible against the darkening sky too.

One last crow is still foraging on the ground, and even he is looking skyward...

... ready to take wing with the rest of his murder and head to the rooky wood for the night.

All the die-cuts out here in the meadow are done with Shattered Kraft Core so you can sand back for lovely distressed edges.

Some gentle Vintage Photo inking is all I gave to the backs of the flowers visible through the window... like shadows or dried leaves.

On the spine of the "book" you'll have noticed I added some words.  Well, this is Words and Pictures after all.  These are from my PaperArtsy EAB04 Autumn Edition set.

I stamped them on some of the leftover scraps of inky card used for the flowers, and again the Primary Bark embossing powder has been in action, catching the chilly dawn sunlight beautifully.

I had to leave slight gaps between the panels on the inside so that the book cover can fold and stand easily.

But on the outside, the bricks, moss and flowers go all the way across, creating a beautiful, decaying autumn flower bed.

Okay, I think we're pretty much there!  It's been another project where it was really difficult to capture its essence with photographs.  It's very textural and tactile, so it's lovely to hold in your hands.

And it's so nice opening it and closing it at will, to see that contrast between the chilly morning of the garden at sunrise, and the glowing vividness of the sunset meadow on the other side.

I hope you've enjoyed going through the window to see both dawn and dusk and I really hope you'll be inspired to share a Window On Your World with us this month at A Vintage Journey.

There's plenty more inspiration from my fabulous fellow Creative Guides to start you on your way, and we hope to take a look through your windows somewhere further down the road.  Thanks so much for stopping by today, and happy crafting all!

Stray birds of summer come to my window to sing and fly away.  And yellow leaves of autumn, which have no song, flutter and fall there with a sigh.
Rabindranath Tagore

The Funkie Junkie Boutique Blog are playing a great theme of It Looks Real - I hope my stone walls and peeled paint window frame will fit the bill
I'm guesting there this month with my Glowing Acorns, but I'm hoping that Try It On Tuesday won't mind if I also join in with their lovely Colours of Autumn challenge
At More Mixed Media Challenge there's just time for one more go at the Anything Goes with Optional Orange theme
At the Mix It Up Challenge Blog they are playing Anything Goes with an optional twist of Watercolouring
At the Creative Artiste Challenge Blog they are starting a new month of Anything Mixed Media Goes
I'd also like to join in at the Craft Stamper Take It and Make It challenge for November

It's only the book cover rather than a whole journal, but I'm hoping they'll let me play along this month with some book arts at the Mini Album Makers Challenge