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 14 November 2021

Monarchs of the Ice

Hello all!  I'd like to invite you to go hopping over to the PaperArtsy blog where I've been busy playing with the current Stamp Mash Up theme.  This fortnight we've all been combining stamps by Lynne Perrella, Ellen Vargo, Gwen Lafleur and me, Alison Bomber!  Here's a sneak peek of what I came up with... may I introduce you to the Monarchs of the Ice?

You can see stamps from all the designers in the mash-up except me in this sneak peek... To find the words, you'll just have to hop over to PaperArtsy.

Of course, there are also lots more photos and plenty of information about the making-of process - it wasn't all smooth skating! - as well as some more close-up angles.  And it's really worth having a scroll around while you're there to see the different projects this combination of designers' stamps has inspired.  There are even a couple more to come after this one.  

In any case, I hope you enjoy your visit to the sparkling kingdom of ice shards and snowflakes, and that it inspires you to combine your stamps in new ways too.

Thanks so much for stopping (and for hopping), and I'll see you again soon... or not, given that my laptop may be about to die on me as I write this - which is a week before you're reading it.  Please keep your fingers crossed for me!!  Either way, happy crafting all!

It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.
John Burroughs

Friday 12 November 2021

Encore - Let there be Light

Hello all!  I’m here with a seasonal encore post. Others call them throwbacks, but I’m of a theatrical mindset, so  “Encore!” it is. I created these sparkling candle jars, decked with winter foliage, for the Destination Inspiration post at A Vintage Journey seven years ago (yup, seven!), when I was on the design team there.

Sadly, the challenge blog is no longer active, but that’s no reason not to enjoy the transformation here at Words and Pictures, where they’ve never been shared in full. I hope you enjoy them. Here’s what I wrote all those years ago, back in December 2014...

Hello all, Alison (butterfly) here with you at Destination Inspiration today.  And, as befits a staging post on the journey, it's a chance to pause and put your feet up with a cup of coffee.  I hope you'll find my offering inspiring somewhere along the line... either from the basic simple idea at the root or from the festive experimenting that went on from there.  It's not really so much a lightbulb moment as the gentle glow of candlelight, spreading its beams on a wintry night!

I've ended up with three new additions to the candlelight fiesta we celebrate with round our way (we always have many, many candles lit at Christmas) each one with a slightly different finish and texture if you look closely.

So that's where I ended up, but I started with the simple idea of covering jam jars with Idea-ology Tissue Wrap.  I love the tissue wrap but, often when I use it, it ends up under layers of stuff, not really getting to strut its stuff.  So I started from wanting to put it front and centre and, what's more, give it an inner glow.

I took various jars from the hoard I've collected, cut pieces of tissue wrap approximately to size, and used slightly watered down multi-medium to glue them to the jars.  (The added moisture just helped with moulding the wrap.)

At the bottom I left enough tissue wrap to spare...

... so that I could fold it inwards.  It pretty much took care of that nice neat pleating effect by itself as I pressed it down.

And at the top I left another spare centimetre (ish) so that I could fold it down into the jar rim for a nice neat finish.

I tied twine tightly around the top while the glue was drying, just to hold it all in place.

For all that my crafty creations are layered and textured, my tastes in home decor are fairly simple and minimal so - for my money - that's pretty much a done deal.  I love how the tea light candles glow, lighting up the tissue wrap, and the twine gives a rustic finish.  A really easy, decorative candle holder, with the tissue wrap taking centre stage.

But it's nearly Christmas, and I felt I should pop a bit more inspiration into your stockings!  So I decided to experiment with zhuzhing them up a bit, each in their own individual way.

Here we go...

Jar 1 got a coat of Rock Candy Crackle Paint to start with, quite a thin layer in places so that the crackle would be quite subtle.  I left that to dry and set off into the next experiment.  (Not much point in a picture which would literally be watching paint dry, so on we go...)

Jar 2 got another coat of multi-medium over the top of the tissue wrap, and then I poured Rock Candy Dry Glitter all over it.

And again, as far as I'm concerned, you could stop right there if you wanted to!

Jar 3 got the Ranger Texture Paste option, applied through the wonderful Holly Bough Layering Stencil.  I used some tissue tape just to secure the stencil while I did it, though I also held on quite firmly at the same time (oh, for a third hand...).

Since it didn't quite meet all the way round the circumference of my jar, I had to wait for that first application to dry before filling in the gap.

So far so good... now for some colour.  I grabbed some of my new Distress Stain Sprays (how happy I am they exist!).  Evergreen Bough, Iced Spruce, Tumbled Glass, Broken China and the fabulous Brushed Pewter all play a part here (as well as a not-pizza box from a crafty delivery!).

Since tissue wrap has a pretty non-porous coating, you sometimes have to help it along when applying colour.

I was expecting a sort of Cracked Stains (Tim's technique) effect with the crackle paint, and that's what I got.  After all, these are Distress Stains, just being applied differently.  And it was great fun letting the inks run and blend into and over the cracks.

Gotta love the gleam of that Brushed Pewter.

The Dry Glitter was also fine.  It takes colour well itself and, with the coat of multi-medium holding it in place, the sprays took really well.  In fact, they sank in really quickly - unlike with the crackle, you don't get much drippage/blending play.  But again, it's a wow when the light hits it.

But for Jar 3, I knew I might need to give the tissue wrap a bit of extra tooth before spritzing, so I coated the whole thing - texture paste and all - with Clear Gesso before applying the colour.  I didn't try without the Clear Gesso, so I can't tell you what that would have done - but having it there certainly seemed to do the trick.

Again there was lots of drippage and blending play as I applied the layers of colour and of course the Ranger Texture Paste is specifically designed to play nicely with Distress Inks, so that was fine.

Of course with all that spritzing and dripping there was quite a lot of leftover ink going spare so I quickly grabbed a few Manila Tags and did some mopping up, as you saw in the not-pizza box photo.  So now I have some ready-to-play backgrounds awaiting more attention, though I knew I had a use for the really inky three.  With all that co-ordinating colour and beautiful silvery sheen, these had to play a part here.

I ran them through the BigShot with the fabulous Holiday Greens Thinlits - so in love with the delicate fir fronds.

I used some of the wax paper kindly sent me by Marci from the States - before they started stocking it around the place over here.  It really helps to make it easier to get delicate die-cuts out of the dies.  But of course you also end up with really gorgeous additional die-cuts - very delicate, deliciously frosted - and so they also got pressed into service!

I tied the bunches of greenery onto my jars with Crinkle Ribbon, and did a bit of gentle additional spritzing (adding Bundled Sage into the mix this time).

I didn't want too much colour on the ribbons - a touch of white never hurts at Christmas - and the sprays also gave the greenery a bit of extra detail too.

The final touch was to add a few frosted berries, clustered around the ribbon knot, and I decided I was done.

I'm very happy with the results (even though I will definitely be making myself a few more of the very simple first versions for use throughout the year!)...

The crackle is subtle, but pretty cool I think...

The shimmer of the Dry Glitter delights me far more than I expected - not being much of a glitter type in the general way of things!

And I just love that Holly Bough texture - such a great stencil, and the texture really benefits from a little extra dusting of Silver Treasure Gold wax.

It's never easy to capture the effect of candlelight on camera.  You always get a really intense light from the candle flame, and never really see the diffuse glow filling the whole of the jars that you get in real life.

But I've tried to share a little of the effect you get with these, whether through the crackle...

Or candlelight on glitter...

Or through the texture...

And always with the lovely text and images of the tissue wrap coming through from underneath.

They also look great lit by candlelight from the outside, so I gave a little spritz of Brushed Pewter to an already teal-green coloured nightlight holder, and added that to the collection for a really festive look.

I hope that's given you lots of ideas to play with, and that you'll have candlelight glowing in your homes this festive season. 


Thanks so much for stopping by today - I'm so grateful to have my laptop back, repaired and ready to play again.  Maybe I'll even manage some of that long-promised visiting!  Happy crafting all.

The pine tree seems to listen, the fir tree to wait: and both without impatience: - they give no thought to the little people beneath them devoured by their impatience and their curiosity.
Friedrich Nietzsche