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, 28 February 2014

A Vintage Journey begins...

Hello everyone!  I'm so, so excited to be able to share some news of a brand new challenge blog with you today.

It's called A Vintage Journey and it's all the brainchild of the brilliant Brenda Brown of Bumblebees and Butterflies (how's that for alliteration?!).  The challenge will centre around the vintage/shabby style and especially the inspiration, products and general all-round fabulousness of the one and only Tim Holtz.  I'm thrilled to be part of the Design Team on this brand new adventure.

It's a fortnightly challenge, and we'll be kicking off with the first theme on the 7th March, and every other Friday from then on.  You can find all the details here, as well as the roll-call of fabulous crafters alongside whom I'm proud to play.   

We've been generously sponsored by Country View Crafts, so there'll be a prize on offer every fortnight.  And keep an eye out on Mondays as well, as there'll be other excitements and offerings in store along the journey too.

I am happy to continue with my journey through time.
Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Reach for the Stars

Hello everyone, thanks so much for stopping by today.

It's time for the monthly Artistic Outpost bloghop and, with another Designer's Choice theme, you can be sure there'll be a whole variety of projects from my fantastic team-mates.  

Here's the full itinerary:
Linda Coughlin, Alison Bomber, 

I'm sharing a tag which lots of you will recognise as doubling as my response to Tim Holtz's inspirational February tag.

It all follows Tim's tutorial pretty closely - it's just colours and shapes which have shifted... and an Artistic Outpost stamp at the centre of it, of course.

Since I'm still awaiting my hearts stencil, and since Valentine's Day is now long gone, I decided that instead I would reach for the stars... all sorts of different stars!

Tim's star stencil echoes the hearts one pretty closely, so it seemed like a good choice to replace them for my version.  

And stars also seem to go perfectly with this positive sentiment from Artistic Outpost's Typography stamp plate.... be a star in whatever you do, go on!

I had a lovely time with the background - Tumbled Glass, Stormy Sky and Broken China Distress Stains, and then similar colours for the stencilled stars but with the deeper shades of Faded Jeans and Peacock Feathers added into the mix.

And clear embossing over Distress Inks is one of my favourite effects - I do it quite often, and I love it.

I did some extra chalking around the edges of the sentiment once it was done, and added one of the silver arrow stickers directly onto the chalkboard.

The stars are trimmed from the Star Cluster On the Edge die, cut out of Grungeboard.

They got a double dose of Distress Glitter colours - Broken China and Pumice Stone.

The topping is done very simply with Idea-ology linen ribbon, inked with Walnut Stain DI and frayed to within an inch of its life.

I added the trimmings from the linen ribbon at the top of the tag behind the clusters of stars for extra texture... I think it looks pretty cool!

Also cool is that the Industrious Stickers include a starry border... 

... to go with the arrows pointing out what you should be aiming for - perfect!!

So that's my offering for you today... 

I hope you'll take the time to visit the rest of the Artistic Outpost team - there are bound to be some real treats in store.  If you get lost along the way, you'll find all the details here.

Thanks so much for dropping in and I'll see you soon, either here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland!

I'd like to enter this as my February tag in Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2014, and I'd like to Show It With Words at the Inspiration Journal

Dwell on the beauty of life.  Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.
Marcus Aurelius

Oh, and I forgot to mention yesterday that there's another chance to receive some brotherly love over at the Artistic Outpost blog... worth a visit if you missed these dashing chaps!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Les Fleurs, Les Fleurs

Hello all!  Yet again I'm welcoming you here only to send you on your way almost at once...

It's sneak peek time for a project over at The Artistic Stamper, and we're in springtime mode again.  If you have time to pop over and take a look, that would be lovely.  I hope you enjoy the trip!

And speaking of Les Fleurs... I've a little extra floweriness for you today.

I don't usually do this, but you remember that sunny Sunday a week or so ago?

We went to Myddelton House, home to Edward Augustus Bowles (1865 - 1954), a.k.a. the Crocus King.

He was a renowned plant collector, artist and botanist, bringing back botanical specimens and then finding ways to keep them alive in the British climate.

His gardens - including a wonderful woodland rockery - are breathtakingly lovely, and the spring flowers were glorious... with absolute drifts of snowdrops.

It was magical in the sunshine, and I thought I'd just share a few of the hundreds of photographs I took.

They do hold the promise of spring, even though the sunshine's been pretty scarce since then.  We can only hope...  

And don't forget the floral tags over at The Artistic Stamper for your delectation!

The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size.
Gertrude S. Wister

Friday, 21 February 2014

The Changing of the Seasons

Hi all, as promised when I first showed you Darcy's new stamps for PaperArtsy, you can now check out one of my favourite makes over on the PaperArtsy blog.

When I started out, I only intended to make one tag but, as you'll see, it's one of those projects that had a mind of its own!

If you've time to hop over to PaperArtsy and take a look, that would be lovely.... and have a great weekend everyone.  I hope you get to spend some time doing whatever it is that brings you joy.  I hope to do some catching up in Craftyblogland, which always works for me!

Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance.
Yoko Ono

If you don't mind travelling to see it, I'd love to enter this over at Country View Challenges where the theme is Painty Pleasures - and all of this is pure Fresco paint - and was certainly a pleasure!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The road through the woods...

Hello everyone!  Though I'm off shortly to roam the north of England in Shakespeare workshop mode (well, north-ish - Manchester and Rotherham for the curious amongst you!), I've left this gentle post for you in the meantime.

It's a simple little journal page - just me having a play with my recently acquired Pan Pastels, starting to find out what they'll do.  (You'll be getting a sense of the colours I went for by now...)

The stamps are by Artistic Outpost - mainly from the Old Grist Mill plate - one of the first AO sets I got (Think and Wonder and Serenity were the others, in case you're curious).

The background was just several colours blended together, and then I stamped the beautiful Postcard stamp from the Ephemera Backgrounds in Versamark ink and swept the Pan Pastels (think I'm going with "PPs" from here on in) over it to bring out the image.

You get a perfectly clear, sharp image, and I love that it tones in completely because you're using exactly the same shades. 

The leaves (Old Grist Mill again) are done the same way, but they're done in just one colour rather than more than one blended over as for the Post Card.

I simply fell in love with this central image the first time I saw it, and it still has the ability to infuse my spirit with calm and soften my breath.

I added some strips of book page which had been painted with melted beeswax which gives a wonderful parchment look to the paper.

And of course the Spring Greenery ivy is putting in another appearance - inked up and then edged with some Burnt Umber PP.

The sentiment is stamped on paper inked with Antique Linen and Pumice Stone Distress Stains to soften the look of it.

I edged it with some more Burnt Umber, and that was pretty much that.

Hope you're all having a great week.  As I mentioned, I'm away working for a couple of days, so I'll have to do my catching up over the weekend... see you soon!

I'm afraid I haven't managed the extra twist, but I'd like to enter this in the Anything Goes theme at the Premium Craft Brand Challenge.
And with this sentiment which I absolutely love and agree with, I'd like to enter this in the Show It With Words theme over at the Inspiration Journal.

An old road always looks richer and more beautiful than a new road, because old roads have memories.
Mehmet Murat Ildan

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Big Bird, Little Bird

Hello all... Thank you so much for all the amazing feedback on the new PaperArtsy stamps.

There was certainly something for everyone amongst all the new goodies they've released.  I was so lucky to get two contrasting sets of stamps to work with, creating sample projects both for Darcy's new Eclectica designs and for Lynne Perrella's new stamps.

I promised at the time that I would share some of the creations in more detail over the coming days and weeks, and I'm here to pay up on the first part of that promise.  So here's a pair of avian projects... one ATC and one tag, each unique!

This flamboyant flamingo, from EDY05, demanded a flamboyant treatment!

I started with a Fresco paint/crackle glaze background, Nougat over a Baltic Blue undercoat.

I used paper towel to wipe the top coat away before it was dry in some places, so as to get larger smudges of blue coming through.

I used the fabulous flourish border from the same set to add detail at the top of the tag, and to give him something to stand on at the bottom!

Big Bird himself is stamped in Coffee Archival and clear embossed so that he'd hold his own against whatever I decided to do next.

Most of the tinting is done with washes of Fresco paint - Baltic Blue and Pea Coat (the old translucent version) - and then I added the caramel colours and the shading within the blue panels using Copics markers.

I wanted to add some metalware to accentuate all those cogs and gears amongst the panels making up his body.

So there's a mini Idea-ology cog, an Artemio brad, and then Idea-ology long fasteners and mini-fasteners dotted around the place.  They've all had a little touch of Treasure Gold White Fire.

Purely from not wanting to use up all my mini-fasteners, I looked around for another way to create dimension, and came up with a bottle of Liquid Pearl which I bought in a sale out of curiosity, but had only used once so far.

Very happy with the results...

I have some metallic twine that doesn't get to come out and play very often, but which was perfect to give my flamboyant flamingo the finish he deserved.

It's tied up with paper string, and the whole tag was mounted on kraft card, partly to give it more stability on its travels, but also for the nice finishing border it gives.

And there's a bit of White Fire Treasure Gold for added glamour!

The little bird (EM02) is so pleased with himself, bowling along on his little wheels.

I began with the same crackle background as for the flamingo, inking the edges with Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink.

The bird himself is stamped in Cobalt Archival, and then clear embossed for extra definition.

I stamped him again on tissue paper and cut it out to use as a mask while I stamped the bubbly texture from one of the large sets (EDY06) "behind" him, to echo his effervescent confidence.

I coloured the bubbles with Chipped Sapphire Distress Marker, giving it a soft look, so as not to detract from the bird himself.

I used Dylusions sprays to colour him, spritzing them onto the craft mat and using a water brush to apply them.  I love how you get to see the crackle through the translucent ink.

And the sentiment is stamped in Cobalt on a Dylusion'd bit of card, and mounted on padded tape to give just that little pop of dimension.

It's the same quote on both makes - a sentiment I'm fully behind... it is by being your own unique self, rather than trying to be anything else, that you are beautiful.

More Darcy project details soon, and Lynne Perrella ones to come too... but for now, if you prefer a more vintage look, there's another chance to catch Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer over at Artistic Outpost today!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I've a busy Shakespeare week this week (proper work!), but there are some posts planned.  I may have to save up my blog-visiting for the weekend though...

See you soon!

Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.
Stephen King

With the double whammy on those four important little words, I'd like to enter this in the Show It With Words theme over at the Inspiration Journal.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Spring Lovers

Hello everyone, and a warm welcome to Words and Pictures on yet another chilly grey day.  I've another sneak peek for you... sorry, I seem to be constantly sending you elsewhere at the moment!

I'm over at Calico Crafts again today with a project which has a little touch of Spring and a little touch of Shakespeare... and I rather like this one!

If you have time to pop over and take a look, that would be wonderful.

And just in case you missed the excitement of the latest PaperArtsy post (blog timing meant it was only here for a brief moment), why not take a look at some of my samples made with the new Lynne Perrella stamp release?  Yup, new Lynne Perrella stamps, right here at Words and Pictures - very excited!!

"Is the Spring coming?" he said.  "What is it like?"...
"It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine..."
From The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Friday, 14 February 2014

The Pleasures of Perrella

Hello all, and welcome back to Words and Pictures for a very exciting post!  It's time for PaperArtsy to reveal the new Lynne Perrella stamps - five amazing new sets to play with.  You can see the details of all of them over at PaperArtsy right now, along with inspiration created by some of my fantastic team-mates.

I was lucky enough to get to play with two of the sets, and today I'm sharing just a few quick looks at some of the projects I created.  I'll offer them up in more detail over the coming days.

We were given a brief for the show samples to use turquoise and orange.  Regulars will know that turquoise poses no difficulties round here... but orange is another matter.  I came to the conclusion that it helped to think of it as "bright rust"!!

So here are all the new stamp sets... 

I was playing with LP#26 and LP#28 here, and I had such a ball.  

I've been a bit shy of Lynne Perrella stamps in the past - they're such amazing images that I sometimes wonder what to do other than stamp them on plain paper and stand back and admire them!

But perhaps it was the colour challenge which kicked me into action, because once I started I couldn't stop!

There are a couple of jumbo tags.  One was created entirely with Fresco paints (plus Archival ink to stamp with).  I call her the Guardian of the Flowerpots!

I love these ornamental pot plants - so elegant - and the little script stamp has shot straight into my favourites list.

On the other jumbo tag, I played with my newly arrived Pan Pastels for the first time (yes, as you'll know if you were here yesterday, my willpower finally gave out... and I love them!).

I added some Treasure Gold for the shimmering highlights.  You have to catch'em in the right light!

There's a pair of regular tags which play with the colour contrast of the turquoise and orange, reversing their roles from tag to tag.

And these two are heading over to play at the Stampotique Designers Challenge.

I added metal embellishments on these... pen nibs and other bits and bobs, all altered to match the colour scheme.

There's an altered envelope (envelopes have somehow seemed to spring to hand with these PaperArtsy releases - you may remember the faerie houses from the Darcy release, stamped on cash envelopes).

It just seemed the perfect place for this little mail-art collage.

I can only give you a little sneak peek of this canvas. I'll be sharing it as a step-by-step over at PaperArtsy next month...

And then there's my favourite piece of all, which I'll definitely show you in lots more detail another day.

Corrugated cardboard?  Check.

Altered metal? Check.

Words...?  I was missing words, so I simply had to add one of the wordy stamps from last year's Sara Naumann Eclectica release.  It seemed perfect for Queen Nibs... Check!

So I hope I've whetted your appetite with that taster of just some of Lynne's brilliant stamps.

They'll be available at your local PaperArtsy stockists after the official launch at Stitches Trade Show, February 16th - 18th.  Do hop over to PaperArtsy for all the details, and to see what my fabulous team-mates got up to with these stamps.

Without leaps of imagination or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.  Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
Gloria Steinem

With the feeling that for the first time I really got inside a Lynne Perrella stamp (or two!) I'd like to enter these for the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge which is We Love Stamps.  Yes, we do!
And I'd like to offer up the pair of contrasting tags to the Perfect Pairs theme over at the Stampotique Designers Challenge.