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, 17 September 2020

To walk beside you


Hello all!  I'm very behind on sharing tags with you here on the blog.  I've had a sudden rush of creative mojo while I've been here in the Czech Republic checking on the building work.  But now I'm heading back to (quarantine in) the UK to start packing up my stuff for the permanent move.  

So there might not be too much going on creatively in the next while - I'm not sure how I'm going to juggle it all.  But I've got plenty stored up to share - it's just a question of finding time to blog it all - so I'm back with a favourite trio today.  I notice I can no longer revert to Legacy Blogger, so this post may never see the light of day at all!  (No longer amused, as you'll see by the prologue at the top of the blog.)

These backgrounds are a combination of Distress Inks and Oxides smooshed on the craft mat - but the key ingredient (and the key element in my reawakenedmojo) is the addition of Speckled Egg to my favourite colour palettes.

It's a glorious colour by itself - veering from delicate blue tones to soft greens depending on context - but the joy for me has been in finding how it plays with the other colours I adore.  So there is Vintage Photo here, and some Rusty Hinge.  There's Stormy Sky and Wilted Violet.  And there had to be Pumice Stone too.

The tangled branches stamped to create the undergrowth are a Penny Black image.

And there's a Wendy Vecchi vintage text background embossed in white to echo the book page fragments behind the Paper Dolls.

I was feeling the lack of die-cutting ability, given I had only my travelling stash to work with... but the solution was these twig trees.

They were a fortuitous by-product of a weekend of hard work cutting, chopping and clearing overgrown plants and trees in the garden.

I wasn't doing it all by myself - a lovely young Czech friend came and spent one of his last weekends before starting his architecture degree doing most of the work... I was merely an assistant.  I think he thought I was a bit mad when I started hauling branches back out of the carload headed for the greenery skip which bobs up around the village at this time of year.  I now have a lovely collection of branches large and small to get creative with once I'm settled back here.

The Paper Dolls almost chose themselves.  The little guy in the hat is a constant favourite of mine - I could do with twice as many of him in each pack in every size!

And the toddler has also put in many an appearance on various tags and ATCs over time here at Words and Pictures.  He's carefully holding on to one of the branches to help with his balance.

I do like the seated girl too.  In fact, I glued on an extra branch for her to rest on.

The words are from Tim's Clippings stickers... found text without going to the trouble of finding it.

It's funny how, as you flick through the pages, the phrases you need just seem to appear.

You have to peer between the twiggy branches to catch all the words, which makes for a nice active engagement with the tags.

No need for anything fancy at the top - some simple fine twine finishes things off.

I hope you like them as much as I do.  And I hope you'll bear with me over the next few months.  It's been a busy six weeks dealing with builders and searching for flooring/showers etc where the chosen ones from 2018 were no longer available.  And it's going to be worse as I pack away my life's belongings and ship them across Europe.  

But sooner or later I'll be back in action properly... though maybe not on Blogger given New Blogger, which makes me desperately sad.  I'll have enough on my hands working out how life works in a new country, with a difficult language, and building new income streams given the theatre work is on hold for the foreseeable future, without struggling to deal with a platform which has been "improved" to make my life harder.

But looking on the bright side, it's a beautiful place I'm moving to.  I'm sharing some photos of South Bohemia on Instagram, so you can take a look if you would like to here... @b0hem1anh0me

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Take good care of yourselves as the second wave takes hold.  Stay safe, stay well, and stay creative.

I want to cultivate the seed that was placed in me until the last small twig has grown.
Käthe Kollwitz

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

A different kind of life

Hello all.  I hope you are doing well and staying safe.  Thank you so much for your lovely comments on my rusty cogs and gears - I'm glad you liked them.  I mentioned a couple of posts back that tags were mounting up as my mojo has kicked back into gear over the last few weeks, so I'm here with a pair of them today.

There's been an autumnal turn to most of the tags recently, but these are more of a "last of the summer sun" pair - still enjoying the bright greens and sunlight of August.

The main ingredient in my revived mojo has been the arrival of Speckled Egg Distress as a new colour, and it's here in force.

It's combined with some of my favourite greens and also, unusually for me, a touch of Scattered Straw.

There's some background stamping in Archival Olive with my much loved weeds from Rubber Dance's Weed Love set.

And there are also some light-catching insects from Tim's Entomology plate, embossed in Speckled Egg Distress Glaze.

This gives them that now-you-see-them, now-you-don't effect which I love.

The butterflies over the top come from a couple of Tim Holtz sets.

There are some from Papillon, a much older set but still brilliant.  And the smaller Papillon group are joined by a couple of the larger butterflies from the Entomology plate so that the tags have a balanced look.

The Paper Dolls, as usual, had strong opinions about whether they wanted to be involved or not.

These two were the clear top candidates... they just looked right when I tried them in place.

There's some more background stamping, white-embossed - postmarks and number stamps from the Field Notes stamp set.

I love the extra lift the tags get from the white details.

And it also matches the embossed words on the acetate strips.  This has become one of my favourite ways to add my quote stamps.

I love how you still get to see everything that's underneath, but still get the words hovering over it all.  These are from the recent EAB19 Life & Living, as well as from one of the oldest sets EAB03 Music & Silence.

I hope you like the summery feel of these, and I hope you're enjoying some of the late summer sun that we're getting here in the Czech Republic at the moment.  I'll be heading back to my full stash in the next week or so, but mainly in order to start packing it up for the permanent move.

But I'm looking forward to doing some playing with it all in between times nonetheless - I'm going to need stress relief through the sorting and packing process!!

For now, I'll love you and leave you, and hope to see you all again soon.

Well, I must endure the presence of a few caterpillars if I wish to become acquainted with the butterflies.
From The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Friday, 4 September 2020

Who you were made to be

Hello all!  I hope September is treating you well so far.  If you missed my Shades of White over at PaperArtsy a few hours ago, I hope you'll be able to check them out.  

But now it's time to start a new challenge theme over at A Vintage Journey and it's a good one!

Our lovely host, Ann, is looking for Cogs, Gears and Textures from us all - all the details are over at A Vintage Journey along with the usual amazing inspiration from my fellow Creative Guides.

Before you hurry off to check it all out, here's what I created for the challenge.  I think you'll agree there are plenty of cogs, gears and lots of scrumptious texture, both on the gears and behind them.

I took the chance to play with several techniques I've learned from Andy Skinner over the years, both in online courses and in-person workshops.

Since I'm working with a travelling stash (admittedly a large one - we travelled by car not by plane!) I had to adapt a couple of them a bit, but I'm pretty pleased with my rusty gears and eroded metal.

I wasn't sure how long I'd be away, but thankfully my packing-brain was intelligent enough to include some Tando chipboard cogs and gears - one of Andy's Industrial Elements kits along with an extra Bolts/Washers sheet.

These are so sturdy - ready for all the media you can throw at them - and you can layer them up in all sorts of different ways to create an interesting dimensional layout.

The background is an 18 x 24 canvas board (that's about 7 x not-quite-10 inches) which was already here in the Czech Republic.  (I've added to the CZ stash whenever I see canvases/boards/3D alterable objects in the shops here over the years.)

I lined it with some paper before using a palette knife to add Prima Plaster Paste, Andy's Strata Paste by Cosmic Shimmer, and Ranger Opaque Crackle Paste fairly randomly across the whole surface.

I left that all to dry while I started playing with Grit Paste, Resist Paste and Weathered Wood Crackle Glaze as well as lots of paint on the cogs.

The grit paste gives you a fabulous rusty texture to work with.  On some cogs I started with an undercoat of Paynes Grey and put the gritty paste over the top.

With some I started with grit paste and spattered with Paynes Grey, leaving some bare chipboard in between.

The main paints involved are Quinacridone Gold (both the DecoArt and the Cosmic Shimmer formulations), Raw Umber and Paynes Grey (Cosmic Shimmer) and Finnabair's Burnt Sienna.

I did some highlighting of the texture by scraping on some Speckled Egg Distress Paint with a palette knife, and there's a bit of Antiqued Bronze Distress Crayon in places catching the light too.

The reason for the Speckled Egg was that it was the main colour I wanted to have going on over the textured background, so let's head back to take a look at that now.

I used the Distress Paint along with some Weathered Wood DP too to create my first layer of soft colour over the crackles and layers of texture paste.

The Strata Paste has these amazing flat shale pieces, like a geological rock formation, and they look so cool when you give them a bit of shading and highlighting.

Obviously, I was never going to stop at just Speckled Egg in the background.  The rusty tones made their way into the cracks and crevices too.

I embraced imperfection, so where some crackle flakes came loose I took advantage and made that a worn away area with rust breaking through.

I added rusty drips and trickles around the bolts in the corners of the panel, trying to create a realistic look of decay and weathering across the whole piece.

And I also used a Tim Holtz  background stamp to add more creeping decay in places along the top and bottom edges.  It's from the Pine & Birch background set, but it has a great look of cracked paint, I think.

I couldn't resist adding some additional shading around the main elements, bedding them in.  I used mostly the Paynes Grey and Raw Umber...

... but there are also places where the shadows take on the beautiful purple tones of Daniel Smith's Moonglow watercolour stick.

And of course, centre stage, are the two fabulous Paper Dolls - I love their grit and determination.

Their direct, uncompromising expressions tell such a strong story about their character and strength.

The Quote Chip pretty much chose itself.  The Birch stamp in Sepia Archival creates some more creeping rust, along with a swipe of Quin Gold to warm the cold white.

I used pieces of the chipboard off-cuts to support the other end of the Quote Chip. and they also came in handy for giving the Paper Dolls support in their dimensional positions.  I love that they cast real shadows!

I haven't given any focus yet to one of my favourite elements - this decayed metal structure with its rusted paint surface and rusty bolts.

I'm really happy with the finished look of this - there's Resist Paste, Weathered Wood Crackle, Distress Paint and Dina Wakley acrylics all in the mix, as well as the grit paste and rusted paints already mentioned to create the rusted screws holding it all together.

And I used a similar decaying paint technique on the two circular panels supporting the large gears at the top.

Okay, I think that's more than enough from me!

There's still lots of lovely inspiration to enjoy over at A Vintage Journey and we hope you'll come and join us somewhere down the road on A Vintage Journey this month with your own Cogs, Gears and Textures.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.

I'm sorry I haven't been around much lately - liaising with Czech builders, trying to start creating some sort of order in the slightly neglected and overgrown garden here, as well as making the most of a resurgent mojo at the craft table has meant I haven't been online as much as usual.

I will try to make the rounds this weekend to see what you've all been up to.  I hope you're keeping well, staying safe and enjoying some creativity too.  Have a great weekend and happy crafting all!

I felt a strange delight in causing my decay.
Robert Browning

... and the rest is rust and stardust.
Vladimir Nabokov