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...

Friday, 2 April 2021

Springing back into action

Hello all, and a very happy spring and a happy Easter and whatever else you celebrate at this time of year!  I can only apologise for my long absence.  It's been difficult to find the time to create blogposts alongside everything else that has been going on.

There have been turbulent waters along the way, but my floors are finally down, so any day now the unpacking can begin, so it's not going to be any less busy.  But I have found time for a bit of creative play along the way and I wanted to share these spring tags with you.

Spring arrives late in the Czech Republic - in fact, it's still likely we'll get flurries of snow and possible frosts well into April, but we also get lovely sunny days in between, and it's been quite warm sometimes too.  I expect you can guess which kind of weather it was when I made these a few days ago!

In essence, they're very simple, but I really enjoy looking at them - I see different details and different colour blends each time I gaze.

The backgrounds are done with Distress Spray Stains and Oxide Sprays - mainly Bundled Sage and Speckled Egg, with some other springtime blues and greens thrown in there.

It's the Tim Holtz Mosaic stencil (though I have to say I've always thought of it as cobble stones - that's the dollshouse bit of my brain talking!) - and after spritzing through it, I turned it over and printed onto the other tags.

Where I wanted some more patterning, I then did small areas of spritzing and turning and printing again.

The daisies are from the newest Wildflower Stems Thinlits set (number 3) which I couldn't resist.  And it nudged me into digging out the BigShot from the packing boxes.

(None of the other dies are unpacked yet, though, so you'll be seeing a lot of this and one other die and one embossing folder which I also ordered.)

I dipped the stems in Bundled Sage and Peeled Paint on the craft mat, and then used Picket Fence Distress Paint, a couple of Distress Crayons (Speckled Egg, Scattered Straw, Wild Honey), and a PITT pen to colour the flower heads and add dimension and shading.

I'm really pleased with the effect.  I put the paint on in quite thick strokes (not easy with fluid Distress Paint) and it's given the petals a lovely sense of texture and movement I think.

I'm also pleased with the dotted PITT pen markings just adding a bit of depth and dimension to the centre of the flowers.

And I love the little leaves growing over the edge of the lace trim.

The three quotes are all from my PaperArtsy EAB06 Spring Edition - and I'm embracing the imperfections of the embossing!

It's Vanilla White Wow powder, and I'm usually much better at getting a really crisp imprint.  But clearly I'm out of practice - and had to re-stamp with a couple of them, trying to get the words in the right place to fill up gaps left from the first time!!

So in case you can't make out every single letter, they're all down at the bottom of the post in full as today's quotes.

I hope you like them.  After a pretty rough couple of weeks, they give me a sense of lightness and hope which is something of a relief.  And although spring comes slowly here in the Czech Republic, there are finally signs that life is stirring.

I hope wherever you are that you are enjoying some light, some warmth and the return of hope.  Stay safe, stay well, and I'll see you again soon.

Spring has returned.  The earth is like a child that knows poems.
Rainer Maria Rilke

In spring, everything is full of promise.
Charles Lanman

The sun has come out and the air is vivid with spring light.
Byron Caldwell Smith

I'd like to share these at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where the theme this week is Spring/Easter

At Try It On Tuesday they are saying Hello Spring! - spring is all about the spring flowers for me, so this fits right in

I don't know whether I'll get away with joining in at Tag Tuesday where they are looking for Mostly Monochrome - my blue/turquoise/greens are very crowded together in one part of the spectrum, so hopefully it will work.  Having been away for so long, I'd love to play!

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

More backgrounds in progress

 Hello all... it's still slow-going here.  As soon as the floors go down and there are some unpacking/organising the craft room pictures, I'll be sharing those, but for now here are some more inky backgrounds in progress.  

They're a combination of springtime colours and an ongoing wintry feel... They were made before Christmas (sorry - see I told you it was slow-going around here!) but this is exactly what the weather is doing here at the moment.

We had a wonderful week of sunshine and warm temperatures, but now we're back to freezing fog this morning and there's snow forecast again later in the week.

Ah well, I did know that spring would be later coming here in Central Europe, but it's still a little sad to experience it for real.

Still, the fog adds a touch of mystery to the landscape, and the birds are extra grateful for the food I'm putting out.

For those who want to know a bit about what I used here... one tag has a PaperArtsy crackle background (Snowflake over Crackle Glaze over something dark... don't know what any longer I'm afraid!) and some inky splodges of Stormy Sky and Chipped Sapphire Distress Oxide (and maybe other Inks and Oxides too).

The other has a soft smooshing of, I think, Speckled Egg and Rustic Wilderness over a white painted background, with Stormy Sky and Faded Jeans splodges over the top (there may be some Faded Jeans in both tags, come to think of it).

Then all the stamping is greenery from Tim Holtz's Sketch Greenery stamp plate - which I was lucky enough to win as part of a wonderful goody package from Tim and Mario.

The greens involved are Olive and Leaf Green Archival, tinted with Rustic Wilderness and Peeled Paint Inks and Oxides, and I think there's some Faded Jeans and Speckled Egg stamping too.

I hope you like them.  One has already made its way onto a card, and I'm sure I took some pictures, but at the moment I can't find a photograph of it.  The other is still waiting for some finishing inspiration to strike (and has joined the pile of backgrounds waiting for the same thing!).

I hope you're all doing okay, and I'm looking forward to spending a bit of time catching up with you again soon.

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.
Anne Bradstreet

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.
George Santayana

Monday, 22 February 2021

Winter Pinecones

Hello all!  I'm sorry for the long silence... I'm still waiting on floors to go down before I can unpack everything, so I'm feeling a little stuck.  But there are a few things going on on my temporary craft table with the supplies I have available.  Mostly all I'm managing are some inky backgrounds, but occasionally a couple of them get a bit further.  Here's a pair of finished wintry tags which do make me happy.

The backgrounds are a combination of Distress Inks and Distress Oxides pressed onto the mat, spritzed with water and then smooshed into with the tags.  I'm no longer sure on all the colours, but I'd say Pumice Stone, Broken China, Stormy Sky and Speckled Egg are all in there somewhere, along with some Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain.  There may be others!

Then I layered on some background stamping...

... weathered text and postmarks for the most part.

I picked up the tiny pinecones (they aren't really pinecones as such - they're the flowers of the alder tree) on one of my winter walks.

That must be the best kind of embellishment, just lying on the ground for free!

And these Paper Dolls, wrapped up warm against the cold, were the two that wanted to come for a walk in the wintry backgrounds.

I usually try out quite a few characters, and there will be some that just seem to say, "yes please, use me!", and for these tags they were very clearly the ones.

The words are all about that winter chill... wonderful snippets from the Clippings stickers.  

Again, the right words somehow seem to appear.  Even though you've never spotted those particular phrases before, suddenly there they are!

At the top of the tags, some simple white twine adds another frosty white accent.

I really like the dimensionality the pinecones give to these tags.  I managed to transport a number of fragile creations much like this across the continent, but I hope I don't have to do it again!

I did some pen-doodled frames around the edges of the tags, just to draw the eye inward.

Not much gets as far as completion at the moment... I'm gathering backgrounds in large bunches but mostly they're going to be waiting for the unpacking, I think.

(I'm especially missing being able to die-cut focal points or extra layers.)  So it's a relief when I do finally manage to get something to go the next step.   And it's a bonus when they make me as happy as these two do. 

I know lots of us are struggling with creative mojo in these dull winter days of lockdown and ongoing crisis.  I think it's also partly just my usual winter hibernation habit, but it's hard to tell how much to blame on what!

Whatever the reasons behind the blocks, those moments when the mojo starts to flow, for however short a time, feel extra valuable.  We have to cherish them.  Wishing you a safe, warm, creative week - in whatever ways you can manage it - and I'll see you again soon.

Winter is a season of recovery and preparation.
Paul Theroux

It might be stretching things just slightly, but I'd like to share this at Tag Tuesday where the theme is Black and White and One Other Colour... my whites are white and off-white, and my blacks are black and off-black, and my colour is shades of turquoise - but it's been so long since I've played along anywhere, that I wanted to join in!

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Rustiness in Progress

Hello all, I'm back with some more tag backgrounds.  Inky smooshing and splotching is pretty much all I'm getting up to at the moment, but I am really enjoying it when I do!

I've particularly been enjoying playing with creating rusty effects using Crackling Campfire along with various browns in Oxide and Inks.

These were over a background wash of Pumice Stone and Frayed Burlap, with some Stormy Sky thrown in for contrast.

There's definitely Vintage Photo and Gathered Twigs in there, and I think there may have been just a touch of Walnut Stain.

I just enjoy the dipping and dabbing and seeing what happens as you layer up the inks, Oxides and water.

I've got no idea what, if anything, will ever go over the top of these backgrounds - that step just doesn't seem to be happening at the moment.

I'm hoping to find a bit more mojo somewhere once I start unpacking (still waiting on floors for those who are curious), though then of course there will be less time!

Ah well... it's all a process working towards getting the work/life/admin/creativity balances right.

There will be more rusty splotches and patina games on their way to you soon.  In the meantime stay safe, stay well, stay creative, and I'll see you soon.

Inking is meditation in liquid form.
J.H. Everett