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...

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Birthday Blog Candy

This is a sticky post until 31st July.
Please scroll down for the latest crafting posts.

Hello all!  I can hardly believe it, but Words and Pictures is four years old today, 19th June.  And although it's a tricky year crafting-wise, I can't let the anniversary pass without offering a little "thank you candy" to my fantastic followers.

You make this whole journey so much richer.  I'm grateful for every visit, and so happy when I read each comment - especially when I'm being a pretty poor blogger myself. 

Since I can't post the prize out until the beginning of August anyway, I'm giving this a nice long deadline.  You have until 31st July to leave a comment here saying you would like to be included in the draw.  It would be lovely if you'd like to join up as a follower if you haven't already, and it'd be great if you would share the photo and link on your blog, but neither of them is compulsory.  Good luck everyone, and thank you for an incredible four years!

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy.
Marcel Proust

Monday, 20 June 2016

Wallflower Dreams for Simon Says Stamp

Hello all!  Monday again, and time for another project in my month in the Designer Spotlight at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge.

I'm afraid there's not much going on other than these Designer Spotlight projects, though I do hope you'll come and celebrate my fourth blog birthday with me.  But now it's time for the new theme for this week...

We're playing with Patterned Paper this week.  Like many crafters, I have a large stash of beautiful papers - much-loved, often-stroked and sighed over, but seldom used in my crafting.  Last week's Travel Journal was the exception rather than the rule.  But it's great to be nudged into using them so I got out my Tim Holtz Wallflower Paper Stash - one of my absolute favourites - and created this mini-album.

You've seen variations on this construction here at Words and Pictures before (you may remember The Business of Men).  All those lovely pocket pages are less glamorous than they might appear... the basic structure is made out of empty toilet rolls.

I did have a "before" of them all squashed flat and ready to be covered but it seems to have disappeared so you're just going to have to believe me!  And I'm sorry but you'll need your cups of coffee/glasses of wine at the ready for another photo-heavy journey I'm afraid.

I had to create the binding and covers for my toilet roll pages, and I did that using strong kraft card folded to hold the pages with another piece of the same card folded around that as the base of the covers.

I then cut some really sturdy card for the front and back and glued it all together to give the album some real strength and heft.

Then came the lovely business of choosing papers to cover it all.  Since each toilet roll pocket has a tab cut to go inside it, you have lots and lots of surfaces to deal with.  Here are the inserts - one side...

... and the other.  These papers are from the brilliant pages at the back of the stash where there are ATC-sized pieces ready to go.  Since the inserts are pretty much exactly ATC-sized, that made life pretty simple!

Since I wanted each open page spread to have some continuity I had to pay attention to my fronts and backs.  And the inner covers needed to match the respective first and last pages.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.  First, I'll show you the cover, and then we'll make our way through the album.

The cover has one of Tim Holtz's Idea-ology Timepieces, altered with Pitch Black alcohol ink and Treasure Gold in Florentine.

I also added one of my much-loved WordBands and a vintage pen nib over some sticky-backed linen ribbon (I think the new Textile Surfaces would probably be very similar), which I think has the right sort of elegance to go with this beautiful paper.

That linen ribbon goes all the way around to the back.

It's all one piece of paper, it's just that the design on that particular page changes around here which I rather love.

Now, to the inside...

So let us meet the first of our women, chosen for their "off-camera" looks - not a direct gaze, but each looking at or towards something out of our sight.

You can probably guess how much the continuity from the inside front cover pleases me here!

The dreamy look in her eye seemed to fit the words.

The collages are essentially very simple - there's the Photobooth photo, a punched butterfly or two, a couple of paper snippets, and various love letters, postcards or envelopes cut from the incredibly useful Idea-ology Pocket Cards.

Next page has the butterfly motif in the backing paper, and a slightly different atmosphere though the collaging follows the same pattern.

And since we now have a double page spread, there's a small echoing collage on the opposite side.

There's a slightly forced quality to this woman's smile, I think.  Those teeth look slightly gritted... perhaps with determination to keep moving forward, or perhaps she just shares my wariness of photographs being taken.

The next page is warmer and more colourful, with an optimistic young woman looking forward to whatever is ahead.

I even yielded to pink(ish) butterflies.   (Well, I have been embracing pink lately...)

Oh, each collage has a couple of metal elements too... I forgot about those in the list above.

There's the odd Philosophy Tag or Muse Token, some skeleton leaves.  Most of the metal was in the Antique Brass finish, the golden toned one, but I added some Florentine Treasure Gold for an extra warm glow.

I love this woman with the gentle gaze in her eye and the determined look to her lips!

The papers here were in very delicate neutral tones, but you'll see I did a bit of Peeled Paint Distress Stain shading around the elements.  I think it helps draw the eye in, and it also ties the pages together.

She's clearly been receiving a lot of love letters lately, and I think she's definitely ready to follow her heart.

I'm particularly fond of the woman on the final page - there's a light in her eyes which makes me think she'd be fun to have a conversation with.

She's got a keyhole from the Locket Keys set as her metal element, and a Purchaser's Receipt tucked away - what's she keeping hidden?

Here she is with the inside back cover opened out, also with a bit of Peeled Paint added to make it tone in better.

Another thing I forgot... each page has a strip of "lace", cut with the Lace Thinlits dies out of other papers from the Wallflower stash.

Oh, except one of them is cut with the Vintage Lace Decorative Strip Die.  The snippet had been sitting around on my craft table for months so I thought it was time it was pressed into service.

The words for each woman are Small Talk stickers, of course... strong affirmations to go with these strong women.

Can you tell I'm not up to my usual post-writing self? .  Sorry I keep forgetting things, and I'm sorry if it's not as coherent as usual... there's just too much going on at the moment!

All the page and insert edges are inked with Frayed Burlap - a colour which tones with these papers just perfectly.

I didn't particularly pay attention to which insert went with which page...

It's only on this one that I made a conscious effort to get the pink tab inside the pinkish-toned page.

It's a happy accident that we discover what (or should I say who) might have put the smile on the face of our final woman!

The File Tabs on each of the inserts come in a nickel silver finish originally, so I spent some time with PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Paints in Old Gold, White Fire and Little Black Dress to change them to a more brass/gold look.

The final touch was to add some Florentine Treasure Gold, helping them tone in with the other metal accents in the album.

So I think I've covered everything... though given how much I forgot on the way, there's bound to be something I've left out.  I know they're very long posts at the moment, but since it's only one a week, I'm hoping you'll forgive me.

I hope my Patterned Paper mini-album will inspire you to come along and play this week at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge.  If you're in need of more inspiration just check out the amazing projects from the Design Team, and the usual generous prize voucher from Simon Says Stamp should add the final nudge if you're still reluctant to break into that paper stash!

Simon Says Stamp

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Believe it or not, I'm back in NYC this week, so I'll try to do some visiting in between workshops.  Hope to see you soon!

Maybe she was a wallflower.  There was no shame in that.  Especially if one enjoyed being a wallflower.
From The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn

Monday, 13 June 2016

Travelling the World with Simon Says Stamp

Hello all (for the second time today, and after the quietest week on Words and Pictures since I started the whole shebang four years ago)!  If you didn't catch me at Destination Inspiration over at A Vintage Journey, I'd love you to stop by (it's pink, if that's any temptation!), but right now I'm delighted to be back In the Spotlight at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge this month.

It's a thrill to be their Guest Designer for the month of June, playing alongside the fantastic team there.  And the theme for this week is World Traveller, which is pretty apt for me this year!  I've just been able to fit this guest spot in between work trips - it's a bit of a squeeze but I couldn't bear to turn it down!

So here's what I came up with for my World Traveller.  It's a document case and journal all in one... securely fastened on the outside...

... but opening up to reveal a sketchbook of journalling pages with a large pocket at the back to keep important documents or collected ephemera in.

I'm afraid this is the second photo-heavy post of the day.  My World Traveller has already been to many places and she has tales to tell, so this is one of my War and Peace-length affairs... or should that be À la Recherche du Temps Perdu?!

So what's lurking underneath this glamorous travel folder?  A simple piece of Amazon packaging...

I covered the outside with these fabulous vintage rulers from the Tim Holtz Dapper Paper Stash, inking the edges with Vintage Photo and then Ground Espresso for a weathered look.

I'd been coveting the gorgeous Globe Thinlits die for some time, so this seemed like the perfect excuse to indulge.

It's cut from plain card which I then embossed with Frantage Aged Silver.  

I added Distress Paint in Stormy Sky and Evergreen Bough, spritzed with water to blend, and heated it to cause a texture reaction with the embossing enamel beneath.

A touch of highlighting with some White Fire Treasure Gold brings that texture to the fore.

I also used the Treasure Gold on my metal embellishments.  (They all started out in the nickel silver finish.)

The Quote Band, Muse Token and Philosophy Tags had a simple touch of the White Fire gilding wax with a little fingertip full of Quinacridone Gold...

... whereas the Compass Coin got Treasure Gold plus the Distress Paints layered in.

The words, cut with the Adventure Words Script Thinlits, have had the same treatment as the globe.

They shimmer nicely in the sunlight (when it deigns to put in an appearance!).

Hitch Fasteners provide the simple closure, with dyed crinkle ribbon wrapped round to keep the wallet closed...

... weighted down with some more Idea-ology bits and bobs (including a Tag Label), plus a key to lock away anything particularly precious.  (Click the photos for a larger view if you would like one.)

Time to open up...

The construction of the inside was slightly more complicated as I wanted to add my journalling pages.  To create those pages I tore some sheets of 9x12 watercolour paper in half and distressed the edges.  (These Canson papers are very similar to what I used.)

I stamped the Tim Holtz Cityscapes in Sepia Archival, front and back.  There are five pages, so one for each city in the set - luck, not judgement!

I used my favourite inky smooshing to add some ageing to them.  I think it was just Pumice Stone DI on the mat.  Then I inked around the shabby edges with Vintage Photo.

You'll see in the finished pages that I also added some shading with Stormy Sky Distress Stain and a water brush, taking the soft blue from the cover through into the inside of the wallet.

You can also see that one side of the paper is much more textured than the other, creating lovely inky variations.

I needed a way to bind the pages into the wallet, so I scored and folded some stiff card to create my binding and glued it firmly into the fold of the packaging.

You can see the great pocket flaps at the back here, and that I'd already been using the packaging to spritz the flowers from last week's Summer Garden.

Then I simply put a thin line of glue down in the depths of each crease and pressed the pages into place, giving them some support as the glue dried!

I covered most of the interior background with the lovely U.S. states map from the Correspondence Paper Stash, all apart from the pocket flaps at the back.

There's not much of the paper left visible as, unlike me, my glamorous world traveller is sorting out her photos and ephemera as she goes (rather than leaving it all until months - or sometimes years - afterwards and trusting that she'll remember what's what and from where).

She's got some of her favourite photos scattered around, in the midst of deciding which ones to stick down onto the journalling pages.

They're from the Found Relatives Occasions pack, as you probably already know.  I've tried to choose ones which have that summer holiday happiness about them.

This one's my own favourite.  There's something so perfect about how it captures the golden age of travel, when it was still an unusual, romantic, glamorous thing to do (hmm, and only for the wealthy of course - so perhaps not that golden).

Around the photos and ephemera I added those colours again - the Stormy Sky and Evergreen Bough - first in watery Distress Paint and then the same colour Distress Stains layered over the top.

I like how it echoes the look of sea/land on a map, and again we're bringing the blue-green tones into the interior of the wallet.

She's started sorting out which bits of ephemera - tickets, leaflets and snapshots - belong to each visit, and is clipping them to each page as reminders for when she comes to write her experiences down later.

I'm imagining she's done the little sketches of each city at the foot of the pages herself, by the way.

The ephemera are mainly from the Expedition Ephemera Packs, either plain or vellum.

The gathered elements are attached with Idea-ology Mini Paper Clips...

... or with Hinge Clips.  Since it's on the New York page, I'm pretending that's the Coney Island Ferris Wheel (I know it's not)...

... and still in the States over the page, I was very pleased that the Minnesota Avenue ticket matches up with an advertisement for trips to Minnesota and Michigan on the leaflet (from my beloved Pocket Cards) underneath - small things please me!

From New York to London, and thence onwards.

You'll notice that her relatives in England, despite having come to see her off on the next leg of her voyage, are very disapproving of this young woman gallivanting off around the world on her own.

Yes, she's headed right around the world.  And the sea voyage to Australia is still a long and arduous one - about six weeks at sea - usually attempted mainly by families looking for a new life in the 1950s post-war migration...

... or by hardy groups of men, keen to make their mark in a continent still relatively unexplored.  A woman alone is unusual to say the least.

But our adventuress is full of courage and curiosity (as well as being wealthy), and she's not going to let society's conventional expectations stand in her way.

(I'm simply ignoring the fact that lots of the city landmarks in the sketches wouldn't have been there for my 1950s world traveller.  I hope you will too!)

Besides, she feels safe and well-prepared.  At the back of her travel wallet is a sturdy security pocket, allowing her to carry documents, travel tickets and visas with safety.

There are some more of those lovely wooden rulers, and some fabulous travel luggage advertisements which she may need to study if she's to have room for all the souvenirs she's been buying en route.

There's a simple clasp to keep it secure, and more Adventure Words to sum up the whole idea of her journey.

And I'm pretty sure she's enjoying it all from beginning to end!

So that's my recycled packaging project for you.  Apologies for the mammoth post, but there's not much else going on this week at Words and Pictures (aside from the small matter of a blogaversary!), so I hope it'll keep you going for a while.

I hope it's inspired you to come and play along with the World Traveller theme this week.


There's lots more inspiration from the amazing Simon Design Team over at the blog and, as always, there's that generous $50 voucher to be won, so happy travels all!

The traveller sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see.
G.K. Chesterton

I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.
Mary Anne Radmacher

It's a whole journal rather than one set of journalling pages, but I'd like to link up at Art Journal Journey where they are playing with Maps this month.