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...

Saturday 31 October 2020

Secrets in a country churchyard

Hello all, and greetings to you on All Hallows' Eve.  There's a dark tale for you here today despite the surface beauty of the tags.  This post will probably still be up on All Saints' Day, but I'm fine with that because the story does takes place in a graveyard, so for those visiting on Sunday just don't look too closely and you can simply enjoy an unsuspecting sun-dappled walk in the country churchyard.

However, if you are paying attention, you'll see that the ivy hasn't quite covered up the evidence of something rather unpleasant going on, and definitely better fitted to All Souls' than All Saints'.

These tags are all about the layers... layers of ink and stamping and ephemera and die-cuts, of course, but also layers of time and evidence and hidden secrets under cover of the creeping ivy tendrils.

There's the sun-dappled greenery of a country churchyard on a sunny autumn day in the backgrounds of Distress Ink and Oxide smooshing.

There are the stony arches of the small country church (the test cut from the die packaging, smooshed in some Pumice Stone). There are ancient clerical texts and filigree wrought iron gates hovering in the layers.

But dig a little further down and you find the bony remnants of certain parishioners, buried in the undergrowth.

How many of them?  It's hard to tell, they're mostly parts and pieces, not in proper graves.

And what are these labels hiding under the ivy leaves?  Could they be evidence of foul play?

How exactly did those parishioners meet their respective ends?  We need a Miss Marple in the village to find the clues and uncover these dastardly crimes.

But these voices calling from the grave can't make themselves heard above the tolling of the church bells.

If only someone would take heed and dig in the cemetery, they might find some of these objects and start putting two and two together.

But no, the breeze whispers through the leaves of the ivy and carries the voices of the dead away on the wind.  Spooked yet?  I hope so... that is rather the point.    

As with the Fungi Poisoners, it's my favourite kind of eeriness - something which looks fine at first glance, and in fact even rather lovely, but then you look more closely and the cracks start to appear revealing something dark and horrible at the heart of things.

I wish you a good Samhain, and I hope the darker months whose arrival it heralds don't prove to be too dark.  Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great weekend all.

Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.
Edgar Allan Poe

Villainy wears many masks, none so dangerous as the mask of virtue.
From Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

So it's one final entry for the Country View Challenges October theme, Halloween - Make a Scene

And for All Hallows' Eve at Tag Tuesday

And my bony skeletons are Embossed so I'd love to share these at Try It On Tuesday where that's their theme this fortnight


It's been a busy Halloween week here, which is unusual, so if you missed anything do check them out...

Fungi Poisoners

More Skull Distraction

Distracted by Skulls

or get your spook on with some Rusty Tin by Candlelight

Happy Halloween everyone!

Friday 30 October 2020

Fungi Poisoners

Happy All Hallows' Eve Eve all!  The night before Halloween, and we've been having a very eerie week here at Words and Pictures.  Even better, it's Tag Friday at A Vintage Journey - that extra Friday in a month where we all get to play however we want, as long as it's on a tag.  I'm here with some dangerous women, with far too much knowledge about the toxic properties of the fungi they've been gathering in the autumn woods...

They say that poison is a woman's weapon, and I think I'd probably be watching my step if anyone looked at me the way these two women are glaring!

I've been back at the autumn leaves too, experimenting with creating them on several different cardstocks to create even more tonal variations.  I was partly inspired by Tim Holtz's demo last Saturday where he was talking about the new cardstocks becoming available.

I don't have any of those, but I had a play with applying my ink on my usual manila tags, and on some unbranded white and kraft cardstocks.

You definitely get different tonal qualities, and Tim's also right (of course) that the kraft soaks up a lot more ink - though I do also have some which is slightly coated so works differently with the inks.

The backgrounds make me so happy - there's Speckled Egg in there along with some soft blues and greens in the first layer, and then I wanted to create a sort of rusted effect over the top.

Crackling Campfire and Vintage Photo together (mixing and matching Ink and Oxide formulations) make such an amazing rusty glow.  I really adore this effect - it won't be the last time you see it!

I'm so glad I rediscovered my love of Distress Inks when I was in CZ recently (because of having only a limited stash with me).  The ink splotches never fail to make me happy, even when I'm pretty stressed with everything going on... a bit of inky play will sort me out.  I'm making sure I leave myself some to play with until the very last minute of packing!!

But of course the main attractions here are the fungi and the fungi gatherers.

The Field Notes ephemera packs have become absolute necessities round here - and there are elements for spring, summer and autumn.  And the poison labels are some of the ones I hand-stamped the other day (see More Skull Distraction for those).

The fungi come in all shapes and sizes so amongst them I'm sure there are some highly toxic ones.  I always think it's a danger sign for food to be blue!!

And the women from the Ancestors Paper Dolls pack are brilliant.  I love it when a woman refuses to be smiley and happy and amenable just to suit others - there's a strength of character in that which really appeals to me.

These two really do not suffer fools gladly.  I'm not saying that one should immediately reach for the poison cabinet when surrounded by fools, but I can definitely see the temptation at times!

The words are from the Clippings stickers - found text is a wonderful thing, but it definitely helps if someone else has spent the time finding it for you.

I hear it's Paula Cheney who does most of that - grateful thanks, if so!  There always seems to be something that is just right to serve whatever story the Paper Dolls are telling me as I create.

I love where the white card peeks through - it looks as though that leaf is catching the light more than the others.  It's an effect I use quite often... not getting everything covered in ink.

The twiggy bits providing structure underneath were left over from my Rusty Tin by Candlelight altered jars.  It seemed a shame not to make use of them rather than throw them in the bin.

And that's pretty much your lot.  I hope you like this pair of tags... I love the combination of beauty and eerieness, of gorgeous glowing colour with an ominous undertow.  At first glance, you might think oh, how pretty - but then you look closer and realise that things are not as lovely as they might seem!

Do hop over to A Vintage Journey and see what my lovely fellow Creative Guides have been doing with their tags for Tag Friday.  It's always fun to see what happens on that tag-shaped creative space.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you are staying safe, well and creative in these tricky times.  Happy crafting all!

Belladonna, n.: In Italian a beautiful lady; in English a deadly poison. A striking example of the essential identity of the two tongues.
Ambrose Bierce

I think there's time to squeeze in a couple more tags for All Hallow's Eve over at Tag Tuesday

And at Country View Challenges they should fit in well for Halloween - Make A Scene

I've now got plenty of orange for the Anything Mixed Media with Optional Orange challenge over at  More Mixed Media


Wednesday 28 October 2020

More Skull Distraction

Hello all.  I hope you're all doing okay.  Here's another eerie tag which was thrown together in between packing stints.  Again, almost all the bits were already done - the backgrounds, the leaves.  All I did was stamp and cut out the skull and the skeleton and then a bit of arranging and gluing.

The backgrounds were some of the ones I made while I was in the Czech Republic recently, and which flew back with me on the plane because there was nothing in the travelling stash that worked well enough with them for me to want to go ahead and finish them.  You know how blue and brown always makes me happy, and I wanted to find the right topping.

I love the Oxide stamping - so cool how such a pale blue can hold its own against the earthy browns underneath.

And the delicate cobwebs add another bit of extra textural detail to the look.

The poison labels were lying around because I'd snatched a few minutes to stamp them on some ink-smooshed paper a few days earlier.

And there are always autumn leaves hanging around on my craft table at this time of year.

These, if I remember rightly, were done on kraft paper for a nice dark, earthy look.

This skull has always been a favourite stamp - it was in one of the very first Tim Holtz stamp sets I ever bought, and as I was saying about the "Yorick" die yesterday in Distracted Skulls, he's been used far more often than just for Halloween.

The tall skinny skeleton wasn't as easy to fussy-cut as the skull sadly, but every now and then the fiddly cutting is worth the effort, and I think this was probably one of those times.

I layered up a few of the stamped ephemera poison labels... 

... and added a couple of contrasting stickers from the Idea-ology Halloween sticker book.

And I added a couple of Halloween Typed Tokens to the mix...

... with the words highlighted with white acrylic, as is my wont.

And I think that'll just about do for now.  I've got one more set of spooky tags to share with you, so I'll be back tomorrow - this time at the witching hour, so really it's not officially until Friday that I'll see you again here... 

... but I may catch you elsewhere in Craftyblogland in the meantime (packing permitting).  In the meantime, stay safe, stay well, and stay creative in this scary world.

There are certain persons for whom pure Truth is a poison.
Andre Maurois
Hmmm... I can't think of anybody like that, can you?!

I'd like to join in at Tag Tuesday where they are playing All Hallow's Eve as the theme

At More Mixed Media it's Anything Goes with Optional Orange - not taking up the option this time, sorry!


Tuesday 27 October 2020

Distracted by skulls

Hello all!  I suddenly realised Halloween is almost upon us and I've got a number of eerie/spooky/uncanny tags which need sharing before we get there.  So I'm going to be quick with these, as they were quick in the making too.  They had to be - I was in the middle of packing up ready for the move, so I really wasn't supposed to be playing at all.

The thing is I was packing my dies, and I came across some that I'd picked up dirt-cheap in the Sizzix sale months ago and hadn't had a chance to use.  In fact, they were still in their packaging.  So when I opened them to pack them (keeping the acetate for future crafting purposes), the plain white test cuts which are always included fell out.  

So there I was with these two paper skulls staring at me, and Halloween just a week away... what was I supposed to do?! The backgrounds were already under way - just layers of Distress Ink and Oxide, with even a bit of Oxide leaf print stamping somewhere in there.

All I had to do was add some stencilling, done with Walnut Stain Distress Ink and embossed with Hickory Smoke Distress Embossing Glaze, and the Tangled Webs, embossed in Seafoam White (the Vanilla which I would usually use had gone walkabout, and there was no time to look for it).

I smooshed the skulls in a bit of Pumice Stone (I think the paper they used for each test cut may have been slightly different, as the colour tones and ink soakage was different on each)...

... and did a bit of extra distressing with an ink-blender and whatever colour ink was on the sponge (somewhere between brown and grey!).

There had to be some words, of course, and who better than William Shakespeare to provide them?

The quote is on my EAB04 Autumn Edition for PaperArtsy and is embossed in my much-loved Wow Pepper powder.

I mounted the skulls on padded tape so that you would get some shadowy hollows in those eye-sockets.

I love this "alas, poor Yorick" skull so much.

A couple of Typed Tokens add a little touch of metal.

The words are highlighted with some acrylic paint.

And I've only just noticed that I forgot to add the twine at the top of the tags before photographing them.  Ah well!

For me skulls aren't merely "spooky" - they have a beauty... they are after all the protective shell which houses our brains - our minds, our imaginations.  What could be more beautiful than that?  So Yorick will have more than just seasonal use. (The other one might have to stick to Halloween - he's really a bit scary-looking!)

I hope you're geared up for however you might celebrate All Hallow's Eve - whether that's the full-on US version or the simpler apple-bobbing and toffee apples I associate with the Halloweens of my childhood (seems quite apple-based that, now that I look at it!).

Take care out there - it really is a scary world at the moment.  Stay safe, stay well, stay creative and I'll be back with some more eeriness very soon.

Alas, poor Yorick!  I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it.  Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft.  Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table on a roar?  Not one now to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen.  Now get you to my lady's chamber and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that.

From Hamlet by William Shakespeare

I'd like to join in at Tag Tuesday where they are playing All Hallow's Eve as the theme
Over at Try It On Tuesday they're playing Embossed - both the webs and the Gothic stencilling are embossed, so this should fit right in