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, 30 November 2012

A Christmas Postcard

Hello all, and welcome to Words and Pictures.  It's Friday, and it's time for a new challenge over at Fussy and Fancy... and this fortnight it's I Love Christmas.  So, to fulfil my DT duties, I've finally had to abandon my "No Christmas Crafting Before December" policy... but only by a day (though obviously I had to make this a few days ago, in all honesty).

Here's the card I'd like to share with you, made with a Jumbo Size 10 tag as the base.

The stamps are nearly all by Graphic 45, except for the white embossed snowflakes which are from an Artistic Outpost set (which you'll be seeing a lot more of as December progresses...).

I love the vintage feel of the images, and they're lovely to stamp with.

I know Graphic 45 are best known for their papers, but the stamps (made by Hampton Art) are a real delight too.

I folded the tag in half, and used the postcard stamp both on the front and the back.  I did some distressing with Frayed Burlap DI, and also some brushes of gesso.

I stamped the two little girls (and the inside image, actually) and then had to leave the thing sitting there for a couple of days while I tried to work out what to do with the space in front of them!

Finally, light dawned - by a happy coincidence, Father Christmas was just behind that empty space so, by creating an aperture, I could have him as they thing they are looking at so eagerly!

I cut the hole and rolled the the edges, and used the holly stamp to create a border around it.

Inside you have the family dancing - or are they putting up decorations? - hard to tell!  In any case, they certainly look as though they love Christmas!

There are some more embossed snowflakes, the holly stamp again, and the distressing as on the outside of the card, but a little more gently applied.

I think the little girl is adorable!

I love the Glad Tidings greeting... and there's room, I hope, for some fairly neat signatures underneath.

The ribbons are dyed using Distress Inks, and tied so that you only have to undo the little white bow.  Once open, you then have one ribbon still on each side as you are looking at the card, and if you want, you could leave it open and add the white ribbon back on to one side or the other.

So that's my little vintage offering... Do visit Fussy and Fancy and have a look at the amazing work done by my Design Team colleagues - I'm sure you'll find lots of inspiration, and we really hope you'll be able to play along with us this fortnight.  Thanks so much for your visit, and see you again soon!

The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree:  the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.
Burton Hillis

One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day.  Don't clean it up too quickly.
Andy Rooney

I'm entering this in the following:
At Sugar Creek Hollow they are playing a Vintage Christmas challenge
The Shabby Tea Room are looking for Just Neutrals - and my sentiment is on the inside
Hels Sheridan's Sunday Stampers are playing with Vintage this week
Simon Says Stamp are on an Anything Goes week
They would like to see Christmas cards in non-traditional colours over at Elke Kaart Een Feestje! (Every card a party!)

Wednesday, 28 November 2012


No, no, no... it's simply not possible that it's Wednesday again!  Someone's been stealing my days...

Ah well, the good thing about it is it means that it's time for another bloghop around the crafty workdesks of the world, courtesy of our lovely hostess, Julia Dunnit, over at the Stamping Ground.  So here's What's On My Workdesk this Wednesday... What's On Yours?!

It's my last week in my temporary accommodation while I'm working away from home, so all this really will have to be packed up by Friday morning.  I battled my way here on the train with too many bags plus the cargo case, but I'm so relieved to say that my lovely and long-suffering brother is coming up with the car to take stuff home for me... it'll make packing less painful, not to mention the journey!

There are a couple of finished projects still lying around - the thank you card, Much Relief, and the tag, A heart full of love (click on either - or indeed both - of those for a closer look), and I've covered up a DT piece which you're not allowed to see until Friday.

There's also an MDF heart I'm about to have a play with, and a tin I've just started altering (under the stamps at the left).  A thin coat of gesso on the lid, so far, is all I've done... and it's going to need plenty more to cover up the bright primary colours!  That's going to have to wait until I get home I think.  For now, it's doing a good job of storing the things I've made whilst here, ready for transporting.  And this time next week, I'll be home.

Thanks so much for taking the time to drop in...  If you leave a comment, I'll be sure to come round and have a nose around at your place!!  Happy WOYWW everyone...

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.
Charles Dickens

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

A heart full of love

Hello all, lovely to have your company here at Words and Pictures for a while.

I'm adding another of my Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas to the mix today... This is a wonderful inspiration challenge, sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique, with Linda Coughlin - the Funkie Junkie herself - providing weekly tags of inspiration for us to play with.

Complete all 12 by the 17th December, and you'll be entered in the prize draw.  Linda's already onto Number 11, but this is my take on her Tag 9.

There's so much beautiful work on this tag that inspired me... the hanging shapes, echoed lower down the tag, the lovely stripes on her stars, the beautiful woodgrain background.

But, partly for fun, and partly because I'm working away from home at the moment, and so don't have access to my full stash, I've made a number of adaptations.

To be honest, I was a bit stuck for a while on this one... I went through a number of backgrounds, shapes, colours and variations, none of which really pleased me.  It took a little bubble of fun in my heart to break through the barriers, and I love where it's ended up.


I don't have my BigShot with me (there were limits to what I could fit in the suitcase) so rather than an embossed woodgrain, I've worked with my current favourite toys, the PaperArtsy Fresco paints and crackle glaze for my background.

And with no die-cutting potential, I decided to forego the decorative flourish at the top and, since I had to do my cutting by hand, I picked the shape I find easiest to cut - hearts!

I used the template I cut when I created my Thankful Heart, and then cut an even smaller version to echo it.  If you look at the back, some of you will immediately spot that I used the corrugated cup holder from a well known coffee outlet!  They're painted and inked to highlight the ridges.

The little wooden cogs I found on ebay - very cute, and they come in lots of sizes.

I'm also entering this for the Frilly and Funkie challenge Chipboard and Metal - close to the deadline, but I should make it.

So the little hearts at the top are cut from chipboard, painted with the Old Gold Fresco paint, stamped with part of a flourish, and then distressed with some gesso.

And they're attached with one of my metal elements - the lovely Idea-ology pin.

Another substitution: instead of the word ticket "Hope" on Linda's tag, I've gone with a metal Idea-ology Wordstick "Love" to go with the hearts.  I added some French Roast (dark brown) paint down into the letters, and a fingerful of Old Gold to the surface to tone in with the rest of the tag.

The leaf is a leftover from the Thankful Heart, stamped in paint onto some waxy bread paper, and it seemed a perfect alternative to the holly leaves Linda used.  But I wanted some extra substance, so I added some frayed ribbon "leaves" too.

The mesh ribbon is a straight lift from the Funkie Junkie tag, as well as actually coming from the Funkie Junkie Boutique!

The ribbon leaves and the ribbons at the top are all seam binding that I've dyed with Distress Inks, crinkled up and left to dry for the lovely effect it gives.

So that's about that... just to say that I do have a heart full of love at the moment - in a very good place, so yet another thing to be thankful for.

Also, as always, I'm deeply thankful for your visits, support and feedback - so grateful for finding this community full of such generous, creative, inspirational people...  I love it here!

I'm entering this in the following:
As Tag 9 in the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas
At Frilly and Funkie for the Chipboard and Metal challenge
At The Shabby Tea Room, where they're asking us to play with Just Neutrals
Simon Says Stamp and Show are looking for A Project With Heart

A heart full of love
A heart full of song
Song lyrics from Les Miserables

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Much relief...

Hello and welcome, with an especially big welcome to the new followers... I'm so happy to have your company today, and I hope your Sunday is restful and restorative, whatever it is you're up to.

A quick share today of a card I've just made as a thank you for the gift of sleep.

Regular readers will know I'm working away from home at the moment (one more week...), and staying in temporary accommodation.  

It's a perfectly decent little flat (owned by the theatre company I'm working for), with an amazing view right onto the river, but the one major problem was the bedding.

As I get older, I'm getting more and more particular about my bed, duvet and pillows, and this was just your cheap-as-chips basic fare, so for the first few nights I got barely any sleep, and also developed a very stiff neck.  

One of the actors - with whom I'm also good friends (we've worked together almost continuously for more than six years now) - came magnificently to the rescue by lending me the spare pillows he'd brought up for his partner, who's not due to come and stay until the end of this week - perfect timing!

So thanks to him, I've slept beautifully, and am so relieved to say all stiffness has retreated... he saved my neck, literally!

I wanted to create a card that had something of a historical feel, given that we've worked mainly on Shakespeare together.

The lettering is done using Ferro paste with the gorgeous Mini Antiquities template by Crafter's Workshop.  

I used PaperArtsy Fresco paints in Nougat, Old Gold and French Roast to build up layers of colour on the kraft card I used. 

With my finger, I smeared some more Old Gold onto the raised lettering (also a form of relief, I suppose!) to highlight it.

I left a paler area for the lettering - a Shakespeare quotation seemed appropriate, given that he's the house playwright, and the pen nib also seemed right as an addition.  

The edges of the card have been given some rough texture with the Tim Holtz Paper Distresser and some Gathered Twigs DI.

The little corner stamp is by BoBunny.

On the inside of the card it's stamped in Coffee Archival over some rough brushwork, like an old plaster wall.  

I've now written inside it my grateful thanks to him, along with the line about him saving my neck!  Now all I have to do is make an envelope the right size...

Thanks for dropping in today.  I'm so grateful, as always, for your visits and your amazingly generous comments.  Have a wonderful week, and see you soon!

For this relief, much thanks.
Hamlet I.i

I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.
Twelfth Night III.iii
Both by William Shakespeare

I'm entering this in the following:
Simon Says Stamp and Show's challenge Thank You
At Pile It On they would like to see Anything but a Christmas Card

Friday, 23 November 2012

I don't know

Hi all, and welcome.  Just a quick share today of another result of last weekend's playing around with the paints, paste and inspiration found at PaperArtsy's stand at the Hobbycrafts show a couple of weeks ago.

As I said before, I saw the amazing Leandra demo-ing using Ferro paste and the fabulous Fresco paints, and I've been having great fun following her lead.

You can see the details of how the textured leaves were created in the previous post, so I won't bore you with it all over again - just slightly different colour combinations this time, though I'm still definitely having a bit of a turquoise thing, which is pretty new for me!

This was done on a regular size 8 tag, and I really just kept messing about until it felt like it was done...

The background has layers of paint, stamping, tissue tape, stencilling and blended ink.

I love the texture you get on the leaves with the Ferro paste - and Leandra's tip about heating them to get a raised effect from the blistering is great (though it advises you on the pot not to use a heat tool).

I had some more fun dying seam binding ribbons with Distress Inks and Stains - I love how they glow in the sunshine.

(There was half an hour of it so I rapidly leapt outside to take the photos, literally leapt... out of my ground floor window).

I made good use of my impulse buy of a tiny Versamagic chalk ink in Sea Breeze - that's what kick-started this whole colour thing, I think.  It was 70p in somebody's sale, so you can't really go wrong!

I used it to edge the words in the sentiment, and to give the lovely chalky effect along the edges of the tag too.

And as with the previous post, the words have come straight out of some of the work frustrations I'm in the midst of!

Thanks so much for stopping by - great to have your company for a while, and it's lovely when you take the time to let me know what you think.  If I know you've been, I'll do my very best to return the visit.  In the meantime, have a lovely crafty weekend (or however you like to spend your time, of course - crafting's not compulsory... just inevitable round here!), and I'll see you again soon.

I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did.  I said I didn't know.
Mark Twain 

There ain't no answer.  There ain't gonna be any answer.  There never has been an answer.  That is the answer.
Gertrude Stein

I am not bound to please thee with my answer.
William Shakespeare

I'm entering this in this week's Sketchy Colours challenge which is White, Green and Turquoise
The Happy Daze challenge for November is to Brighten up the Month - you can buy the lovely Versamagic Dewdrop ink pads at the Happy Daze shop, as well as Peeled Paint DI, Tim Holtz tissue tape and Ferro paste

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A sense of belonging

Hello all!  It's lovely to have your company for a while, and I'd like to say an especially big welcome to the new followers - thank you for jumping on board!

I'm going to try to be shorter in my post today - have to be at work, but I had such crafty fun at the weekend that I still haven't had a chance to share with you.

Regulars will remember me saying that I saw the amazing Leandra of PaperArtsy demo-ing at the Hobbycrafts show recently. I already knew when I went that I wanted to get some of the amazing PaperArtsy Fresco paints, and watching her playing with them (and some Ferro texture paste) really inspired me to have a play at the first opportunity.

That wasn't until the Sunday, so when it came I put on some "Sunday music", and this is one of the projects which "arrived" on the table in front of me...

Leandra was using this same mask with the Ferro to create the dimensional leaves, and then showing how to build layers of paint around the texture.

I hadn't planned on getting the Ferro, but you'll see - I think - why I couldn't resist it.

I started with a PaperArtsy hanging board - 8x4 and about half an inch deep.

I applied the Ferro through the mask, and dried it with a heat tool, which gives you that raised blistering on some of the leaves - lovely extra dimension.

The background is built up with various Fresco paints, layering and deepening the colours.

Then I used my tiny Versamagic chalk inkpad to highlight the leaves.

I also had a play with my new WOW music stamp - since I use music on at least half of what I make, it seemed like a good investment.

It's been stamped randomly for texture, just rolled on and off the surface, rather than stamped in full using an acrylic block.  

So that it wouldn't get altered by anything else I might decide to do, I stamped in Archival Ink using Library Green and Aquamarine.

I blended Peeled Paint DI through a Tando mask for the circle textures, as well as using it to distress the edges of the block.

Given I'm back doing a freelance stint with the company I left earlier this year in order to have more time for a life for myself, I'll leave you to determine where the words arose from...  But I'd guess they speak to anyone struggling to find the time and space to explore their own creativity in a world which makes so many demands on us all the time.

But this really felt like a Sunday well spent (and there's more to share with you soon), so perhaps there's something to be said for not being able to get to the craft table for a few days... it was clearly all building up inside!!

But once I'd had a chance to play, my mood started to lift, and the world looked brighter again.

The board has a simple piece of twine to hang it up by, so I think I'll make sure that it hangs somewhere in my eyeline - a useful thought to glance up and see just at the moment.

Thank you so much for taking the time to drop in today... It would be lovely to hear what you make of my playing with paint; to me it feels like having found a new voice to speak with - I loved putting brush to board and seeing what the paint created there.  

Another revelation provided by this crafting journey.  I suspect you'll be seeing quite a lot more of it in the near future!

Be aware of wonder.  Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Robert Fulghum

I'm entering this for the following:
The Artistic Stamper are having an Anything Goes challenge this month
Sketchy Colours - by a happy coincidence - are looking for White, Green and Turquoise
The Happy Daze challenge for November is to Brighten up the Month - you can buy the lovely Versamagic Dewdrop ink pads at the Happy Daze shop, as well as Peeled Paint DI and Ferro paste
Out of a Hat Creations have a Music challenge this week

Wednesday, 21 November 2012


I think I managed a full house last week!  At least, there were one or two links I couldn't make work, but other than that... so I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself!  I can't promise the same this week, but I'll do my best.

Anyone baffled by my opening statement has clearly never played along with What's on Your Workdesk Wednesday, hosted each week by the lovely Julia Dunnit over at the Stamping Ground.  

Make your way there as fast as possible for every Nosy-Parker's favourite blog hop as we ogle the craft desks of the world...

I'm still in my temporary accommodation with my travelling stash.  Last week you saw my lovely early Christmas present - the fabulous Tim Holtz cargo case.  
What you didn't see was some of the stuff which replaced clothes in the suitcase (got to get your priorities right, you know).  So I've included these two pictures of the shelves just by the work table.

Lots of lace, and ribbons, and spare sponges, and tapes, and string, and masks, and doilies, and die-cuts bought from ebay, and even an old book for tearing up on one shelf (no, I didn't bring the glass decanter)...

... and lots of stamps on another shelf (nor did I bring the telephone!).

And on the table itself - well, I've just cleared up all the mess from the projects I completed at the weekend, which you'll see over the next couple of days (even later today, perhaps, if I get my act together).  

There are a couple of tags where I've been experimenting with the PaperArtsy crackle glaze, and my Thankful Heart which some of you will already have seen in close-up. And the turquoise tag was just where I used up some leftover paint (which gives you a clue to the colours you'll be seeing in the next couple of posts), and tried out a new music stamp.  Just trying on the flower wreath for size...

Lovely to have you stop by today, and I'll be using my lunch and supper breaks again to try to visit as many desks as possible.  For now, happy crafting and happy WOYWW!

You want to be a bit compulsive in your art or craft or whatever you do.
Steve Martin

Yes, I daresay... but compulsive crafting leads to complicated packing!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Face Up To It

Hello all, lovely to have you stop by today.  It's the start of a new challenge at Fun With ATCs, and the theme for this fortnight is Faces.  There's some amazing inspiration from my fellow Design Team members, so do pop over and have a look... and then, why not play along?  Here's my starter for ten...

I ended up with quite a simple ATC in the end, as I felt the amazing Think and Wonder stamps from Artistic Outpost stamps could really speak for themselves.

I haven't used the whole of the stamps, of course... to isolate the faces, I inked up the stamp and then used a cloth to wipe away the areas I didn't want to have on the ATC.  

They're stamped in the blue from the ColorBox Archival set called Coffee House, with - in places - a hint of Seedless Preserves DI dotted onto the stamp too.

There's also some Seedless Preserves blended into the background of the ATC.  And once done, I spritzed some water into my fingers and flicked it onto the ATC, in the Tim Holtz spritz and flick (can you see why it's called that?!) technique.  I like the gentle mottled aging you get in the main image from the water spots.

The embossing round the edge is done with Stampendous Frantage Aged Silver embossing powder.  I love the slightly variegated colours within it.

I also added the same powder to the Idea-ology Foliage to create a flower that would really blend in with the rest.

So, come and have some Fun With ATCs with us... even if you've never tried the ATC format before. Just take a card 2.5 by 3.5 inches, and start to play!

That's me for today (except for the quotations of course), so for now I'll love you and leave you, and look forward to meeting you again, whether here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland!

I think your whole life shows in your face, and you should be proud of that.
Lauren Bacall

Strangers are exciting, their mystery never ends. But, there's nothing like looking at your own history in the faces of your friends.
Ani DiFranco

I'm entering this in Hels Sheridan's Sunday Stampers over at Ink On My Fingers, which by a fortunate coincidence, also has the theme Faces this week
And also in the Artistic Outpost November Referral programme: Anything Goes, using at least one AO stamp

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A thankful heart

Hello all, and a very warm welcome to Words and Pictures on a very chilly evening (well, it is where I am, at any rate). 

Everywhere you look at the moment in Craftyblogland, there seem to be Thanksgiving projects and themes and challenges.  It isn't, of course, a holiday that we celebrate in the UK, but what an incredibly worthwhile thought - to spend a day in the exercise of gratitude, of thankfulness and of counting one's blessings.

I watched a TED talk the other day by Brene Brown, and enjoyed it so much that I bought one of her books.  In it, there was a section about gratitude, with the recommendation that it really is something one has to practise, daily; and she talks about how that practice can have a profound effect on how you walk through life. 

I passed this on to my brother and his family, and the kids have really embraced the idea of saying out loud at dinnertime each day something that they are thankful for.  It's a secular form of saying Grace, I suppose.

I'm a regular counter of my blessings - of which there are many - and I try to stay mindful of bearing a thankful heart.  So I'm more than happy to turn my crafting to the cause of thankfulness, with this rustic altered heart.

I had such a lovely time making it, playing with some of my new toys from my trip to the NEC last week (jeepers... only a week ago - it's been a long one!).

The heart itself is one of the 35p ones I got from the MDF Man; it started out like this. (It's about 6 inches wide and 4 inches tall.)

I had a wonderful time experimenting with the paints and crackle glaze I got from PaperArtsy, and I'm completely thrilled with the end results you get - perfectly weathered, and right up my distress/shabby chic alley!

I'd also decided to play along with Simon Says Stamp and Show's current challenge which is Stamping Without Ink.

So none of the stamping on this project is done with inks... mainly it's paint instead, but there is also a bit of Distress Stain stamping.

I used the gorgeous Tattered Angels flourish - which appeals to me because it's already in a state of distress even when perfectly stamped - to stamp at the edges of my peeled paint heart. 

I applied PaperArtsy's French Roast Fresco paint to the stamp with a little make-up sponge (bag of 20 for £1), and found it gave exactly the right coverage for a good stamping. 

I sanded the edges with an emery board, and I did use some Vintage Photo DI to edge the heart, and to boost the crackle in places for extra weathering.  Very pleased with it!

The leaves are also stamped in Fresco paint; two are stamped onto my favourite recycled bread wrappers (lovely crinkly wax paper basically), and two onto watercolour paper. 

I then coloured the ones on watercolour paper using a water brush and various inks, Versamagic (chalky ones) and Distress Inks (because it's simply not possible for me to manage without them).

The central heart I cut freehand to echo the shape of the main heart.  I'm away from home, so there's no access to die-cutting even if I wanted to!  I used a piece of kraft card I'd been experimenting with a while back.  

I'd stamped Tim Holtz's Papillon script stamp on it in Picket Fence Distress Stain, and loved the watercolour look of it, but hadn't found the right project for it until now.

I love the skeleton veins running across behind the text (stamped in the paint again, with my trusty little alphabet), reminiscent of the veins in dried leaves.  It's mounted on some of my favourite white mesh from the Funkie Junkie Boutique.

There's a collection of twine and raffia and white raffia at the top, finished with a bow, and all given an extra bit of definition with some Vintage Photo DI, and that's pretty much it!

I'm thankful for so many things, and I simply have to say that right now I'm so grateful to all of you for your visits, comments and the inspiration I find visiting you all in Craftyblogland. Thank you!

You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
G.K. Chesterton

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

I'm entering this in the following:
Simon Says Stamp and Show who would like us to Stamp Without Ink
At Sugar Creek Hollow, the challenge is Kraft
Simon Says Stamp's challenge this week is Thanksgiving/Thank You
The Inspiration Journal is asking us to create small gifts or table decorations to show we are Thankful
Pile It On are also encouraging us with the challenge Let's Be Thankful
Unruly Paper Arts are having a Reader Art Quest for items of Home Decor - if you like this, it would be wonderful if you'd pop over there and vote...