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...

Monday, 23 November 2015

Calico Christmas Crackle Plaques

Hello everyone!  Oh dear, I'm not doing very well on the whole blog-visiting thing again.  I've been having a great time with the workshops in Norway but did end up very tired in between so apologies, and I hope to be round soon.  I'm mainly in trains, planes and automobiles again today!

In the meantime it's sneak peek time here at Words and Pictures.  I'm over at the Calico Craft Parts blog today with some crackled Christmas plaques.  After the dimensional filigree verdigris baubles last time, I've been playing with the two dimensional versions.

After the fun I had with my Tim tag, I've been back at the gilding again - and I think it rather suits the Christmas baubles.  I hope you'll have time to hop over and check them out, and I hope you're all enjoying some crafty time, whether it's Christmassy or not.  See you soon!

Three phrases that sum up Christmas are: Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men and Batteries Not Included.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Winter Blues

Hello all and a warm welcome to a chilly Words and Pictures.

I'm here (or rather not here - scheduled posts are a wonderful thing!) with my second inspiration offering for Doreen's theme at Country View Challenges - and The Colour Blue has become colder than ever!

As you may remember from my first blue tag earlier this month, I gave myself the additional challenge of trying to keep things a bit simpler and, while the first one was a "yes-and-no" on that front, I think I've fulfilled the brief this time.

(Hopefully it makes for shorter posts too - much needed after the Mixology extravaganzas of recent days!)

I started with a tag cut from ivory card and the background was as simple as a couple of spritzes of Distress Spray.

It's Chipped Sapphire and Blueprint Sketch if I remember rightly... sprayed from the top left corner downwards.

Then I stamped the beautiful bird from the recent Sara Naumann set for PaperArtsy.

I love the bleak, spare image, so that's why I wanted to stick to a bleak, spare background.

I wanted a little more tree going on, so I stamped the bare branch too.

Both of them were embossed with fine black embossing powder, and you can see a few grains of powder escaped and attached themselves to bits of spritz that weren't yet dry.

I don't mind at all... embrace that happy accident, I say!

For a bold contrast, I stamped the words in Versamark over the dark inky sky and embossed them in white.

And I finished up with some fine spatters of white (and Weathered Wood I think) "snow" in the sky, and the simplest of toppings.

There you go... simply blue!  I hope you'll be inspired to come and play along with The Colour Blue over at Country View Challenges.  Thanks so much for stopping by today and I hope you all have a great weekend.

Oh, "darkly, deeply, beautifully blue",
As someone somewhere sings about the sky.
from Don Juan by George, Lord Byron (he's quoting Robert Southey who was actually talking about the dolphins in the sea!)

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Mixology II - Andy Skinner

Hello all, I'm back again to share what I made in Andy Skinner's fabulous class on the second day of the Ministry of Mixology workshops the weekend before last.  I did mean to share all this before, but things got a bit busy blog-wise as well as in the real world!  You can check out the results of Saturday's class here at Mixology I - Michelle Webb if you missed it.

With Andy we got rusty and industrial...

... and I loved it - no surprises anywhere there, I suppose.

We altered some notebook covers which must have been specially designed for the Mixology weekend, judging by the words pre-cut into their edges!

Again, I'm not going to share all the ins and outs of how it was done - though Andy has Youtube videos available of quite a few of these techniques...

For instance, here's how to do the Mega-Crackle which forms the main background effect.  And there are lots more great DecoArt tutorials by Andy if you take a look.

I'm really excited that he's going to be one of the teachers on Wanderlust 2016 next year... looking forward to seeing what he comes up with for that!

I was a bit of a naughty child again about colours, opting out of the bright red and yellow he was encouraging us to use for the undercoat and sticking to my blue and green guns.

But both Andy and Michelle (see yesterday's colour-naughtiness!) are fantastic teachers who, as well as sharing their in-depth knowledge and amazing techniques, want to encourage your individual creativity - so I think they welcome the maverick approach (within reason!!).

When it came to adding the colour washes at the end, blue/green/brown was also where I ended up.  I know... one day I might push the boat out, but at the moment what makes me happy is what makes me happy, so I'm sticking with it.

We had lots of fun altering cogs and nuts and bolts from the new Andy Skinner Industrial Elements kit from Tando using DecoArt paints and mediums.

You can hardly believe all of this started out as plain old chipboard, can you?





And all done with paint (and a bit of Andy knowhow!).

You end up with something that could have been retrieved from a forgotten attic or that's been sitting neglected out in the garden for an age.

I do love the font of the pre-cut words.

I hope Tando will produce something similar to this for sale.  Or maybe they already do - must check.  UPDATE: They do now!!

I spent quite a lot of time adding shading to bed the cogs and other elements into the background, and still had time to seal the whole thing with the Ultra Matte Medium, so none of that crackle is going anywhere, I'm happy to say!

Huge thanks to Andy for another inspiring day and another brilliant project.  And of course to Di and Tando for organising the whole event.  Hopefully there'll be many more Ministries of Mixology to come!

Thanks to all of you too for stopping by, and for your always much-appreciated comments.  I'm still in Norway, but hope to do some more visiting in between workshops (voice/text work, not craft).  Happy Crafting all!

We travel to ancient times by reading history books.
Lailah Gifty Akita

Monday, 16 November 2015

Mixology I - Michelle Webb

Hello everyone.  I hope you all had a good weekend doing something you love doing.  I did some things I love doing, and some that I don't particularly but they are necessary!

The weekend before, though, was full of crafting fun as I was lucky enough to be at the inaugural Ministry of Mixology weekend.  They're hoping to make it a regular occurrence, and aiming to vary the geographical location too.  The event was brilliantly organised by Di of Tando-Creative.  As well as fantastic day workshops with Michelle Webb and Andy Skinner, there were demos, a pop-up shop, great food, and a "play area" equipped with lots of supplies for when we were off-duty.

I also had the joy of meeting up with lots of my Vintage Journey team-mates - Brenda, Anne, Jennie and Julie (and a delightful bonus rendezvous with Jenny at the NEC on Friday) - as well as bumping in to Sue the Iron, Jools, Dee Adams, Nina from It's Crafting Time, and more... and in many cases it was the first time of real-life meeting up.  So lovely to spend time with you all!

Today I'm sharing what we made on the Saturday with the brilliant and lovely Michelle Webb... and it's a bit of a break from Autumn, Winter and Christmas creations!

We were playing with the great Beach Hut kit from Tando, as well as lots of fabulous DecoArt paints and mediums.

I dashed out to take these photos in the only smattering of sunshine we've had in the week since the workshops, but with a deep shadow box like this, you obviously get deep shade when you try to take pictures.

Some of these are at slightly odd angles to try to compensate for the shadows!

The beach huts are actually made out of several layers glued together so, if you were to buy the kit, you could make many more scenes by not gluing them together, or gluing fewer of them at a time and having shallower huts.  But I love this chunky look.

I'm a slight maverick on workshops (or a naughty schoolchild perhaps, not doing quite what teacher tells you) so although I followed Michelle's guidelines I went freestyle with some of the colour choices.  I'm pretty sure she forgave me!

Yup, my ocean blues and greens took the place of the bright colours of Michelle's project.

I did concede the yellow sunshine (painted freehand, and such a cool idea of Michelle's to add the clock stamp).

It's always a difficult one for me, yellow... I'll do orange - though I think of it as rust or autumn leaves! - pink, even red on occasion but almost never yellow.  But having painted the sun, I found myself quite enjoying the colour.

So I dived in and used yellow for a couple of the beach huts, and I do like it - something about sunshine and sand and it therefore being natural and necessary in a beach setting (though one of them did get a touch of green shading).

I even went as far as a touch of red and orange for the life belt and the seagull's beak!

I won't spill all the secrets, as they're Michelle's to share, but I loved building up her layers to give the beach huts a really weathered look...

... and adding the cute doodled doors.

I was really pleased with the effect I got on the stencilled lettering.

That'd be me at the beach - my thoughts drifting among the clouds in the sky...

... and letting my imagination roam as I lie there.  You can also see some of the Texture Sand Paste here - perfect texture for a sandy beach of course!

All the extra elements also come in the kit - the lighthouse...

the sandcastle...

the shell...

the flags (painted to tie them in with everything else - I like harmonious colour work, as if you didn't know)... 

and not forgetting the seagull, of course - brilliant tips from Michelle on getting the right look for him.

I'm so thankful the sun came out long enough to light this one up... Life really is better at the beach!

Of course there's loads of fabulous crackle around the frame which makes me very happy...

... inside and out!

Huge thanks to Michelle for a really happy-making day and a happy-making end project.

I hope you like it too, and I'll be back later in the week to share what I created in Andy's class on the Sunday.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I'm off working in Norway again this week.  Since I'm away from my craft table I'll be getting my crafty fix by doing some blog-visiting I hope.  See you out there soon!

My dream is to have a house on the beach, even just a little shack somewhere so I can wake up, have coffee, look at dolphins, be quiet, and breathe the air.
Christina Applegate

A beach is not only a sweep of sand, but shells of sea creatures, the sea glass, the seaweed, the incongruous objects washed up by the ocean.
Henry Grunwald

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Meet the Snowcrow!

Hello all and welcome, with an especially big welcome to the newest followers - it's so lovely to have you here.

And thank you all so much for the lovely comments on my ballooning Tim tag!  It's always great to hear what you think... the journey wouldn't be the same without you.

I'm here with a sneak peek today (you'll get used to those, there are many of them!) and it's sending you in a brand new direction for me.  I'm posting on the Country View Crafts Project Blog for the first time, and I'm sharing a tag using JOFY's snowman/scarecrow - I can never decide quite which he is, hence the "snowcrow".

I hope you'll have time to hop over and keep him company for a short time - it's lonely work out there in the chilly winter fields.  Stay warm and dry yourselves and I hope you'll be enjoying some crafty time this weekend... or whatever else it is that makes you happy.  See you again soon!

"It was a lonely life to lead, for I had nothing to think of, having been made such a little while before."
Said by the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz by L.Frank Baum

It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.
From A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Just a little reminder... you have one month left to catch the bargain price for next year's online workshops Wanderlust 2016.

If you book before December 15th you'll get the twice-weekly videos from some amazing teachers (more than 50 hours worth of inspiration), plus challenges, giveaways and retailer discounts all year for just £65 (about $100/€89).

After that date the price goes up to £99 for the year.  You can find out more about the course here, or simply... 

Just to clear up any confusion - I'm not teaching on the course, but I'm along for the ride as a participant and helping to promote the course as an affiliate.  I can't wait for it all to start in January.  Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Art Adventure

Hello all... busier and busier here at Words and Pictures - it's been daily this week so far, and even then I've held this post over for two days!

When I saw Tim's cool November tag I felt a little stymied again as I have very few Blueprint stamps, and the pumpkin is not amongst them.

So I let my subconscious go to work and it woke me up in the middle of the night on Saturday with the answer.

Unfortunately I was away from home at the time.  Well, it wan't so unfortunate... I was having a lovely crafty time on the Mixology workshops in Coventry - more of that another time - but it meant I had to wait until Monday to put the plan into action.

And here you see it... No pumpkin, but a vertical equivalent - almost the same shape and it ended up (unintentionally) almost the same colours.

Well you never know where one of Tim's Art Adventures is going to take you.

So yes, the balloon was the solution my mind came up with - perfect to get the debossing effect which looks so great with the pumpkin.  I even have the same segments to play with.

And it was also a bright idea because there are parts of the image which had to be stamped direct to the tag - no way I could fussy cut all those ropes.

I started with the background though, and oh my word I love this look!  I don't have the simple crosshatch stamp Tim used, but I do love this fabulously grungy cracked alternative.

Over the Picket Fence stamping I added spritzes of Stormy Sky, Weathered Wood and Pumice Stone and then inked with Blueprint Sketch, Frayed Burlap and a little edging of Walnut Stain.

The gilding was enormous fun.  I've had some gilding sheets sitting around almost since I started crafting.  I picked up some cheap ones in The Range or somewhere, thinking they looked useful, and of course I haven't even opened them until now.  So thank you, Tim, for making me explore my stash!

And given my love of things catching the light, once I started gilding I couldn't stop.

So as well as the gilding around the edges...

... I also used it to create my word panel.  I applied quite a lot of foil to a tag and then inked over and in between the die-cut letters, which gave quite a leathery look to the background.

It's a bit like a worn, gilded book cover.

And I loved that effect so much that I couldn't resist using some of the leftover letters too... 

I started with True Adventure as my wording, but then decided that I should reflect the inspirational journeys Tim's tags always take me on, so I changed it to Art Adventure.

I even added some weathered gilding to the Game Spinner pointing the way forward.

I gave the balloon itself a gilded touch too.

(And although there's no Blueprint stamp, I did use the Blueprint Sketch Distress Marker to add deeper shadows and colour the webbing.)

The Rusty Hinge, Spiced Marmalade, Wild Honey colouring was golden (a colour choice inspired by the gilding - I'd originally planned a green balloon... well, of course I had!), but not quite golden enough.

I cut the basket, sandbags and flag from the watercoloured image and glued those on.

And the banner needed some gilding - it's flashing gold in the sunlight (sunlight, what sunlight? - there's none around here at the moment).

I added a bit of background stamping using the Correspondence set, to take the place of the text surrounding the blueprints images.

And the piece of blue-dyed crinkle ribbon which had been floating around the craft table for a couple of weeks finally found a home, wrapped around with some rusty wire to echo the tarnished gilding on the rest of the tag.

I had a grand time on this little adventure.  Thanks go to Tim Holtz yet again for triggering another brainstorm and a great crafty journey.  Thanks to all of you too for your lovely comments and feedback.  It's a joy to be on the journey with you, and I hope my balloon will carry me around Craftyblogland for some visiting in the very near future.

Suddenly the wind ceased.  The air seemed motionless around us.  We were off, going at the speed of the air current in which we now lived and moved.  Indeed, for us there was no more wind; and this is the first great fact of spherical ballooning.  Infinitely gentle is this unfelt motion forward and upward.  The illusion is complete: it seems not to be the balloon that moves, but the earth that sinks down and away...
From My Air-Ships, 1904, by Alberto Santos-Dumont

I have known today a magnificent intoxication.  I have learnt how it feels to be a bird.  I have flown.  Yes, I have flown.  I am still astonished at it, still deeply moved.
From Le Figaro, 1908

I'd like to enter this as my November tag in Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2015

Answers to questions in the comments: both stamps are by Tim... the balloon is from the Remnants set, and the scratches are from the fabulously grungy set called Slight Alterations.