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, 4 September 2015

What makes a house a home?

Hello all, and a warm welcome on yet another chilly day.  I hope you're all wrapped up and safe at home!  It's time for a new challenge at A Vintage Journey and the theme chosen by the wonderful Jennie of Live the Dream is Home Sweet Home.  She's asked us to create projects according to whatever home means to us.

Well, with my dollshouse connections (Small Worlds, anyone?) I knew right away I wanted to make some little houses with the Artful Dwellings die.  But it wasn't until I was cutting, covering and stamping them that I started to think about what home means, or what turns a house into a home.

Gradually the project started to take shape as I allowed those ideas to make their way down on to the craft table.  And assembling the thing became part pleasure, part jigsaw puzzle!

So the first idea was that really it's the people who make a home.  The huge wrench of leaving the family home of 40 years recently was made far more bearable because we remain a very close family.  Where they are is home.

And along with family, there are important things like being accepted for who you are...

... being able to share troubles...

... love, generosity, kindness, forgiveness...

There are some pretty explosive tempers round our way so that last one's definitely important!

And there are the shared memories which build up within the walls of any house... 

I've also done my share of sharing houses with friends and other folk, and the same things apply.

As well as all those things though, there are certain physical elements which I like to have around me if possible...

... plants being one, indoors and/or out - hence the branches stamped on the papers...

... colours which make me feel at peace - blue is always around (and often green - anybody surprised?!), and neutrals too (papers from the new Regions Beyond stash with added branches, blueprints and stitching in places)...

(I used Stormy Sky, Faded Jeans, Pumice Stone and Hickory Smoke on Ranger Mixed Media paper to create my inky backgrounds.)

... and it's definitely desirable that the architecture of the house is "right".  I'm partial to high ceilings and large windows, otherwise I feel very claustrophobic, and I've been lucky enough in my life so far mainly to have had those desires indulged.

So the architectural plans stamp is the other one I've used to add detailing to my little houses.

Some of the photos are from the Photobooth collection.

Others are cut from one of the Lost and Found papers because they needed to be quite small for the smaller houses. 

And the additional panels behind each picture are from my trusty Pocket Cards. 

I even had some fun with my new paper punches!

I hope you've enjoyed this little tour of my tiny houses - no, my tiny homes.  It's all about the place where you spend your everyday life... the place you call home.

If you need more inspiration, you'll definitely find it over at A Vintage Journey where my team-mates have been creating their usual wealth of fantastic projects.  We hope you'll be inspired to share your Home Sweet Home with us this month.  You could be the lucky winner of our prize draw, sponsored by Country View Crafts, or be picked as one of our three Pinworthies.

Thanks so much for stopping by today and coping with this picture-heavy post, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend, crafting or otherwise.

Home is not where you live, but where they understand you.
Christian Morgenstern

You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it's all right.
Maya Angelou

Home is where you can say anything you like because nobody listens to you anyway.

I'd like to enter this in the Anything Mixed Media/Creative Goes at the We Love 2 Create Challenge.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Cracklin' Chap(lin)

Hello all!  I'm back to share some more details of my Crackle Tag at Tag Along where I'm the guest host this fortnight, challenging you to a theme of Crackle.  I hope this will also serve as a nudge to any of you who had planned to play along…

This is the half way mark, so you've still got a week.  All you need to do is create a tag with any kind of crackle - stamped, pasted, painted - and leave a comment with a link to your tag here at Tag Along.  It would be lovely to see you there.  For now, here's how I came up with my Cracklin' Chap or Chaplin (yes, Julie Ann, it's definitely Charlie!).

I used Andy Skinner's fabulous Old Film stencil and applied DecoArt Crackle Paste on to the whole tag through it.  Once that had dried and crackled, I applied various layers of Antiquing Cream - putting it on, allowing it to dry, and then wiping back with a damp cloth.

I liked the depth this gave it, but I decided I wanted something a bit brighter, so I started adding DecoArt Media Acrylics in blues, greens and turquoises until I had a look which made me happy!

Given that crackle is the theme, I really didn't want to cover it up too much.  I found a Photobooth photo with a suitably 1920s dapper chap - someone who might well have been a minor matinee idol working in the shadow of the great comedian…

… he's only a small star in the Hollywood firmament!

There's a little bit of ephemera layered around him, including my beloved book pages.

The word "explore" is cut from the same paper as I've used snippets from in the collaging.

And then in the opposite corner the crackled butterfly (he's a Calico Craft Part) warns of the short career span of most silent film stars in the 1920s.  With sound just around the corner, many of them wouldn't survive the transition, so they needed to flutter as brightly as they could while they were still loved.

My current favourite topping is back in action (in fact this is becoming a bit of a "set", colours and style-wise).

And nothing could get in the way of Chaplin's legacy, especially with crackle like that!

I hope you like the tag, and I really hope you'll be able to come and play along with me at Tag Along.  You have until Wednesday 9th September.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I've just got one of those stupid summer colds (summer, what summer? I hear you cry), so that's slightly cramping my style, and I'm feeling pretty sorry for myself if truth be told!

But it always cheers me up to hear from you, and to spend some time wandering around Craftyblogland seeing what you're up to... so that's my plan for the next few days, all being well.  Happy crafting all!

A day without laughter is a day wasted.

We think too much and feel too little.

Failure is unimportant.  It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.
All quotes by Charlie Chaplin

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Make Today Count

Hello all and welcome to September... I know, the year seems to be flying, doesn't it?  Well, there's nothing wrong with that as long as you make each day count.  And this month at Country View Challenges we're definitely trying to do that as the theme this month is Numbers, chosen by the wonderful Nikki.

There are lots of fabulous numerical projects from my team-mates over at the blog, and as usual there will be more creations to inspire you throughout the month there, so do pop in every now and then.

My first offering this month is a tag which continues my obsession with a particular trio of the new Distress colours - Twisted Citron, Mermaid Lagoon and Hickory Smoke.  (It was made before the arrival of the Ground Espresso - my new top favourite!)  I used them on my August Tim tag, and for Tag Friday at A Vintage Journey, and now they're back again...

I'd smeared some leftover crackle paint randomly onto a tag, so I applied my three colours over that - just blending and smooshing them on - and did a bit of number stamping with a Tim stamp and the Mermaid Lagoon too.

I added more crackle paste through the numbers of the Cargo layering stencil and let it dry.

And then it was just a question of gathering lots of highly numerical ephemera to collage together.

The odds and snippets are mainly from the Idea-ology Pocket Cards (I was singing their praises recently, and I've not changed my tune yet).

I tried to find as many number-related pieces as I could, including the clock (with added metal hands)...

... ticket stubs and calendars and price lists...

... and there's also some of the tape measure tissue tape underneath it all.

I'm sure the young woman here is doing her very best to make every day count, determined to meet each new challenge with a smile on her face.

There are some little spritzed Calico Craft Parts butterflies - not sure why, but then why not?!  I think there was a little echo in my brain of that wonderful Rabindranath Tagore quote: The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.

The topping is another current favourite - crinkle ribbon, linen ribbon and some wired thread to finish it off.

With all the calendar references, times and dates, I think the 31 is probably signifying the longest months of the year, of which August certainly seemed to be one for me - horrid weather and heavy work schedules.

I was certainly counting the hours by the end of it, whilst still trying to make each of them count.  I have to say I'm delighted finally to be kicking off a new month now - and one where I should have a bit more time to myself.

I hope you'll find time to check out what my team-mates have been up to, and to come and count Numbers along with us at Country View Challenges.  You'll be in with a chance at the prize voucher from our generous sponsor, Country View Crafts.

My Steampipe Glampunk Plaque over at Calico Crafts didn't get much of a look-in time-wise, so I just wanted to put in a quick shout out for it again here…  and now I'll leave you in peace, I promise - except for hopefully managing to do some visiting this week once all the crafty deadlines are met!

I'll see you out there....

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.
Albert Einstein

With my obsessive trio of Hickory Smoke, Twisted Citron and Mermaid Lagoon, I'd like to enter this into the Trio of Colours at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Calico Steampipe Glampunk

Hello all!  After all the Guest Designing (Magic Potion Bottles for Anything But Cute) and Guest Hosting (Crackle Tag for Tag Along - do come and play with me!), I'm back with a sneak peek today... and I'm happy to say I've been at the Glampunk again over at Calico Craft Parts.

At the time I was working with them, these were prototypes, but I'm delighted to say they are now available in the Calico Craft Parts shop.  Do check out the fabulous new Steampunk designs there, including this wonderful steam pipe collection, the Pipework Maze set.

If you want to see them in action properly, please hop over to the Calico Craft Parts blog and check out my Steam Pipe Trunk Distribution Venue (calling all West Wing fans... those mystified by the reference will find enlightenment here).

I hope you all have a fabulous week. Here's hoping September will usher in some better weather for poor damp Great Britain!  Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again very soon.

No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined.  No Niagara is turned into light and power until it is tunnelled.  No life ever grows until it is focussed, dedicated, disciplined.
Henry Emerson Fosdick

With oodles of Heirloom Gold Perfect Pearls in the background and on the pipes themselves, and with those little touches of old gold from the gears and the bulbs, I'd like to add this to the Touch of Gold theme at Frilly and Funkie, if you're willing to travel to see the whole thing!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Tag Along With Some Crackle

Hello all!  I've got another exciting post today...  I'm absolutely delighted to be a guest host at Tag Along and the theme I've chosen to challenge you all with is Crackle (okay, no huge surprises there!).  Because it's summer, and people are coming and going from holidays, you'll have a whole fortnight to play rather than the usual week.

I'm just sharing a sneak peek of my Crackle tag today.  You can see the whole thing over at Tag Along to inspire you, and I'll be back in a few days with the making-of details.

If you'd like to take me up on the challenge, all you have to do is create a tag which involves some form of crackle - whether that's stamping or stencilling or a glaze or a paste or good old glue-crackle or indeed any other crackle you can come up with - post it on your blog, and leave a comment over at Tag Along which includes a link to your post.

I do hope you'll be able to come and play Crackle with me at Tag Along this fortnight!

It is a happy talent to know how to play.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I'm also putting in a special guest appearance at Anything But Cute this week... and there's lots of crackle going on there too.  Do check out my magic potion bottles if you missed them.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Making Magic at Anything But Cute

Hello all!  I'm very excited today to be able to invite you over to Anything But Cute to see my Guest Designer project for them.

I was delighted when Pamellia contacted me, but also a little daunted as the team there create such amazing work.  It was up to me to choose what to create, but I couldn't resist the beautiful moodboard for the Making Magic theme this month, and so that's what inspired my altered bottles.

They became green and gilded magic potion bottles... 

I'm only sharing a quick look here at Words and Pictures today, so f you'd like to see how they came to life, please hop over to Anything But Cute for the full details.  And I hope they might inspire you to play along there this month if you haven't already.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I've got some more exciting guest duties to share with you tomorrow, so I hope you'll be back soon!

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
W.B. Yeats

In a bit of serendipitous timing, I'd like to offer these up at Frilly and Funkie with A Touch of Gold.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Simply because...

Hello all!  Well, it's raining again... grim.  And there are many many things I'm supposed to be doing, but my Ground Espresso Distress Ink arrived, and I needed to play with it.  So here are a couple of quick tags, simply because...

It's not just Ground Espresso - love, love, love it! - but also Blueprint Sketch and some good old Stormy Sky in the mix.

First of all I used Distress Sprays, spritzed onto the mat and wrinkle-free distressed up again onto the tags.  And then some inks blended on and spritzed and flicked.

Very happy with the backgrounds, so I needed to not cover them up too much.

I also needed to make sure whatever I stamped would show up against the dark mysterious depths, so it was out with the Vanilla White embossing powder and the delicate daisy stamp.

I cracked open my new Ledger Script stamps to add some detailing in the background.

Some of the text is stamped in Stormy Sky and clear embossed so that it shimmers.

And some of it is stamped in Picket Fence Distress Paint to add lighter highlights.

I used just a hint of watered down Faded Jeans Distress Paint to shade the petals and leaves.

Just love the ghostly look it gives the flowers.

Since there was a bit of paint left on the mat, I splattered the rest around the tag surfaces.

A couple of very simple phrases from the Small Talk stickers...

... softened with Stormy Sky and Antique Linens DIs, and with a shading of Ground Espresso around the edges to bed them in to the tags.

It's so lovely to have new blues and browns to play with!  Of all the new colours so far, Ground Espresso has shot to the very top of the favourites list - and it's challenging the original browns too.

There's just a wonderful, wonderful depth and richness of colour to it.  You can see why I had to put other crafty deadlines and dull administrative chores on hold (though at some point I'll need to do some invoicing so that I can be paid!) in order to play with it.

Simple toppings - lightly dyed seam binding and some twine - and we're pretty much done.

It had to be indoor photos since there'd be an almighty spritz and flick disaster if I tried to take these outside to photograph in the pouring rain!

And now I'd really better get on with some of the stuff I'm really supposed to be doing today.

Hope to be round to visit soon, and I hope your Sunday is sunnier than mine!

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Albert Einstein
(I think I may have used this quite recently, but I don't care - he's brilliant!)

I'd like to share these in the following:
Anything Mixed Media/Creative/Inky Goes theme at the Love to Create Challenge
Get Texty at the Mixed Media Monthly Challenge
Repeat Yourself at the Stampotique Designers Challenge - as so often, I have created in double - mirror images and repetitions are built into my creative process!
Sending You Flowers at Try It On Tuesday - so long since I've managed to play along there!!