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...

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Photo Friendly

Hello all... I'm so glad you liked my vintage book board and enjoyed the story of the Russian bride and groom - though I fear it may not be a "happily ever after" ending.

I seem to be on a bit of a run of vintage photo-inspired creations.

I'm back today to tempt you over to The Artistic Stamper Creative Team Blog where I'm sharing an art journal page with another photo at its heart.

All the usual suspects are in place... blues, browns, crackle, book pages, butterflies, and some rusty accents - it's yet another variation on my favourite themes.

I hope you'll have time to hop over to The Artistic Stamper and check it out while I'm busy with my tax return.

And I also hope to be able to use my Sunday to return some of your generous visits... as long as it all goes smoothly!!

Everything has the potential to be extraordinary, whether an old photograph, a book, or a life.  If you find it ordinary, you simply need to take a closer look.
Claire Cameron

Friday, 23 January 2015

Love is in the air

... or is it?  Hello all and welcome.  It's challenge time.

The amazing Astrid is our host this fortnight at A Vintage Journey and, according to the challenge theme, Love Is In The Air!

As usual, my wonderful team-mates have come up with a wealth of inspiration for you, all with a Tim Holtz twist (we certainly all love Tim Holtz at any rate!), but before you hop off to check it out, here's my offering for you.

And love is in the air... but it's under considerable pressure, I'm afraid.

I thought I would use an old hardback book cover as my substrate.  I have a bunch of them, removed and preserved from disintegrating books during our big house move just over a year ago.

I happened to pull this one out of the shelf, and was delighted to find that, unusually, there was some ephemera on the inside leaf... and that inspired the direction I took with the piece.

The book was a copy of Six Months in Red Russia, by Louise Bryant, first published in 1918.  She was an American journalist who spent time in Russia before and during the revolution.  (If you've seen the film Reds, partly based on her writings, she's played by Diane Keaton.)

On the inside cover there's a Russian letter - a permit to travel, according to the blurb underneath - the perfect ephemera to provide a background for this pair from the Idea-ology Found Relatives (I've just re-appropriated it from Louise Bryant and re-written it in their names - in my head, that is, not actually!).

Suddenly they started to talk to me...

Here they are... a young Russian couple, caught up in the maelstrom of events.  The arranged marriage had to take place in a hurry to allow the two of them to travel together out of the country, to try to find a safe refuge from the turmoil.

The young man is filled with the excitement of the adventure, optimistic about the future and what it holds.  His slightly older bride looks considerably more wary, unsure about the wisdom of what they're doing.

The book page hearts echo the letters in the background, but the crackle and rusty wire perhaps show that all is not simple and straightforward between these two.

They have a long and dangerous journey ahead of them, even with the letters permitting them to travel through the country and across the border.

You have to wonder how much it cost their respective families to get those letters signed, and who they had to bribe for the travel tickets.

Although she has now committed her life to her new husband, and they must depend upon one another, obviously she still thinks about the family she has left behind.

Her thoughts are bound up in the letters she writes, never knowing if they will reach their destination.

She has brought mementos from home: a piece of her childhood bedroom wallpaper, snipped from behind the headboard of the bed, so nobody will notice it's gone; a portion of the lace her mother so carefully chose to adorn the wedding dress - already torn and stained with travel.

The dress itself had to be left behind - there's no room in the luggage they carry for anything but absolute necessities.

His constant urging is that she should look on the bright side, encourage her hopes not her fears.

He has promised to take care of her, to cherish her, and he will find a way to do that however far from home they have to travel.

I hope the distressed state of the book board is not a sign that their marriage is already fraying around the edges...

I hope that he is right to indulge in his high hopes for the days, months and years stretching out ahead of them...

I hope that love will strengthen them as they journey together through the world and through their lifetime together...

I hope...

(You may have noticed in the past that Valentine's Day is rarely pink and fluffy round here at Words and Pictures!!)

In any case, I do hope this hanging has offered you some inspiration for the challenge.  Do hop over to see what my team-mates have been creating for you, and we'd love to have you join us for this leg of the journey now that Love Is In The Air.

Check out all the challenge details as well as our Travelling Instructions to make sure you qualify for the prize voucher, generously sponsored by Country View Crafts.

Apologies that I'm somewhat missing in action again at the moment - it's a busy start to the year work-wise and crafting-wise, and there's the dreaded tax return still hovering.  I hope to be back visiting very soon.  Would so much rather come and see you all than do my tax return!!

We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word is spoken.
Fyodor Dostoevsky

Circumstances define us; they force us on to one road or another, and then they punish us for it.
Ivan Turgenev

All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.
Leo Tolstoy

I'm entering the lovely Choose Your Challenge at Craft Hoarders Anonymous - they have a chart and you need to include one ingredient from each list on your project. So I have Colouring Medium - Ink, Fibre - Lace, Technique - Die-cutting, Texture - Distressing and Wire, Embellishing - Eyelets and Ephemera
I'd also like to enter this at The Inspiration Journal where they are looking for A Fresh Start... a January anything goes, really.
And at Anything But A Card they are looking for New Beginnings, and since this Russian couple really are looking for a fresh start, it seems right!

Monday, 19 January 2015

A New Leaf

Hello all!

We're sharing a Tag Monday over at A Vintage Journey this week.  I love Tag Monday... an excuse to play with a tag, Tim-style, no pressure, no theme - just me, some inks and some stamping!

And given I'm in full-scale sample-creating mode at the moment it was lovely to take ten minutes out and just play.

Hop over to see what my lovely team-mates have shared, but before you go, here's my contribution.

This is not quite "a new leaf", though it sort of is.  Although I've used most of the stamps in the Daydream plate from last year's releases, I'd never inked up this lovely skeleton leaf before, so it needed to happen.

I started by blending ink directly onto a manila tag, then started layering in some detail with stencils.... first the Bubble and then my favourite Latticework.

I was using Broken China, Peeled Paint and Mowed Lawn... though in the end the greens rather took over from the turquoise (which is as it should be for leaves, I suppose).

I used DecoArt Chalk Paint to do my white stamping (a tip from Andy Skinner - if you haven't seen the things I made at his fabulous workshops, I'd love you to check them out).

You can't go wrong with the Papillon script...

I have lots of book page pieces left from carving out my Bell, Book and Candle niche.

They're handy to grab, so that's what I ran through the Trellis Frameworks and added as an extra layer.

Both the quote and the leaf are stamped in Potting Soil Archival.

I needed them to hold their own against the busy layered background, so I did my usual trick of clear embossing them.  It gives that lovely touch of gloss and dimension, as well as intensifying the colour because of the refraction of the light as it hits.

I used a blending tool to add some Rusty Hinge and Vintage Photo colour to the leaf very roughly.  I love that you can still see the layers even through the browns.

I added some golden pen nibs, arranging them in strong vertical lines to echo the quote and the leaf.

Well, what else are you going to use to write that gorgeous Papillon script?!

And the ribbons were actually dyed with Fresco paints for one of my samples (hmm... any guesses who the samples are being made for?!  Watch this space), but I ended up not using them for that.

But with a touch of Vintage Photo the ribbons were perfect here, tied with a bit of rustic twine.

I glued the whole tag onto some kraft card and trimmed it to size before attacking it with the distressing tool.

And we're all done.  I love how it warms up as the rays of winter sunshine (between snow showers) hit it.

Do hop over to A Vintage Journey to see the taggy delights created by my wonderful team-mates.  And you've still got time to play along with our current challenge to Use A Portrait on your Tim-style project.  Check out all the details and our Travelling Instructions - we'd love you to join us on the journey.

Thanks so much for stopping by and I'll see you again soon.  Now the samples are all done and ready for posting I might even get to come visiting...  Oops, no, tax return first!

I keep turning over new leaves, and spoiling them, as I used to spoil my copy-books; and I make so many beginnings there will never be an end.
Jo March in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Workshop Worship Part 1 - Andy Skinner

Hello all, and a warm welcome on this chilly January day.  Thank you for all your lovely comments on my illuminated book at PaperArtsy.  I promise I will get around to returning some visits very soon!

For now, I'm finally getting around to sharing some of what I made at the November workshop with Andy Skinner that I was lucky enough to go to.  We were at It's Crafting Time in Shepreth - a great space, and we had a fantastic time, Saturday and Sunday.

I won't let you in on the techniques - they're Andy's to share - but here are some photos of what we created.  Some of them I added my favourite rusty wire to after I got home!

We were working with the DecoArt Media Line both days.  On the Saturday, we created what Andy calls "Antiquated Appliques", layered panels made of foamboard.  Having given us the basic techniques for these panels, we were basically free to play and create what we wanted, with Andy offering expert tips and advice as we played.

I made two separate "Appliques" with the materials we were given...

... working in my favourite blues and browns.  Every time I did try to go in another colour direction, I ended up coming back again!

We were creating rusty effects...

 ... and crackle...

... and weathered looks.

Those are real nails, rusted up with some more DecoArt.

But the flat nail heads are just cardboard, as you've seen before.

I love all the textures and crackle on both pieces, with that lovely sheen from the colours.

And I love the layering of the elements to create loads of dimension.

I was rather pleased with the finish on this heart - and it got a word of praise from the master himself!

And the weathered edges to the crackle really make me happy, as do those "iron girders".

On the Sunday, we altered this wooden book box using different techniques on each of the mosaic panels.

Again, we played with a wealth of different techniques, but this time Andy took us all through it panel by panel.  Obviously we still had a free colour choice... hmmm, what should I choose?!

Love this silvery "metal" panel...  (Now there's a stamp I'll be buying as soon as it's available - watch out for Andy's new releases, they're amazing!)

Love this really cool scratched look - done (surprise, surprise) by scratching the panel!!

Such brilliant weathering and decay - Andy is a paint magician!

You've seen the rusty nail heads putting in an appearance on several projects here at Words and Pictures (like my Merry Little Christmas ATCs).

Best use of tissue tape ever!

You'll recognise techniques from both days - I used some of them on my Secret Santa offering for A Vintage Journey.

And on the back we used the same technique we used for our altered notebooks earlier in the year.  (That's where you also saw the rusty compass if it's bugging you!)

We got a chance to use some of the new stencils and stamps which are part of Andy's release at this CHA...

Let's just say I've been saving up to get hold of some of them as soon as I can!

Well, as you can see, I had the most fantastic weekend.  I think Andy's work is fabulous, his techniques are beyond brilliant, and the workshops were such fun.  A huge thank you to him for the inspiration, and to Nina at It's Crafting Time for the organisation.  Now all I need is more time to play...

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend.

The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.
William Arthur Ward