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, 21 May 2018

Inspired by a Song

Hello all!  I'm delighted to be in the Spotlight for my third guest designer spot this month at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge.

And how about this as a coincidence?  The new theme this week is Inspired by a Song.  I could hardly believe my luck.

As you probably already know, we're hosting a Words and Music theme at A Vintage Journey this month, looking for you to get inspired by some song lyrics.  So why not do the double and join in with both challenges?!

As always, the regular team at Simon Says have created wonders to inspire you, and here's my jumbo layered tag to get you singing along.

My inspiration is the bitter-sweet ballad, I Won't Send Roses, from the musical, Mack and Mabel.  It's not the first time this song has inspired me in creating tags.

I've known and loved it for years, ever since it formed part of Torvill and Dean's gold medal-winning ice dance routine in 1982.

They used the whole Mack & Mabel overture for the competition, but did a beautiful, sad, sweet exhibition dance to this song once the competition was over.

Last time around I ended up with two tags to tell the story.  This time it's also produced two tags but they're combined into one jumbo panel.

Grab yourself some coffee ready for a trademark long post here at Words and Pictures!

The standard #8 tag was made all the way back in NYC when I was playing with the new Oxide colours, but failing to get very much further than a background ever, though this one did get as far as some stamping, mainly because I wanted to try the new Archival ink colour, Peat Moss.

I stamped the beautiful PaperArtsy Lin Brown grasses with the Peat Moss - a beautiful dusky grey-green, perfect with the soft, muted colours of the inky background.

I'd never have thought that Shaded Violet would please me this much, but its gentle softness when combined with Hickory Smoke and Weathered Wood makes me very happy.

There's some tiny script stamping also done in Shaded Violet Oxide - I think this is the script from Tim's new Entomology set.

The second tag is one of the Dylusions giant #12 journalling tags, backed onto packing cardboard (waste not, want not) to create a sturdy panel of weathered crackle.

The crackle is done with the PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze, layered in between French Roast and Chalk Fresco Finish Paints.

I stamped the new Tim Holtz Botanical Background, using the Peat Moss again... it's so deliciously distressed, like old wallpaper - I love it.

I inked the edges of my crackled tag with various browns and added some clear embossing powder for a touch of dewy shine.

The Idea-ology Metal Mini Fasteners give the impression of screws in a wooden panel.  I burnished them with a sweep of Sepia Archival ink.

There are more touches of metal in amongst the flower clusters.

Alongside the paper flowers (various sources - it's possible some of them are Prima?) are nestled some Idea-ology Foliage leaves, also burnished with Sepia Archival ink.

And also a little typed token down in one cluster, again altered with Sepia Archival ink and a touch of splatter.

The words of the song may be bitter-sweet and hard to hear, but at least he's telling her the truth.

The leafy die-cuts are done with Tim Holtz's Garden Greens Thinlits.

They were cut from some card which I'd wrinkle-free-distress-inked with Bundled Sage...

... and once they were cut I added touches of Peeled Paint and a little of the Peat Moss around the edges to make sure they echoed the other leafy elements in the tags.

I couldn't resist adding some of my much loved tiny dried flower buds to the mix too.

There's fine twine in the top of the smaller tag, twirling into the flowers there.

And some more of the same twine as the topping for the whole piece.

Now on to those song lyrics...  I typed them and printed them out.

I had to try a couple of font sizes before I found the one that worked.

There's a slight cut to the lyrics, but I think it works.  (The full lyrics are down below if you haven't already listened to the Youtube clip.)

And who's the target of the warning?  Well, this Paper Doll with the slightly sad expression in her eyes seemed ideal for the role of Mabel - and her dress is the right sort of period for Mabel Normand too.

There's a slightly forced casual calmness about her body language, and a haunted look in her eyes as she braces herself to listen to the uncomfortable truth.  Those lips are firmly held to prevent them quivering.

She needed something to stand on, so I broke off a bit of coffee stirrer and dyed it with some brown ink before positioning it under her feet.

Final touches include some lid-stamping over that crackled background.

The white circles are little bubbles of hoping against hope that Mack Sennett might change his ways.

And once I had those I decided to go even further and get myself some dew drops to go with those bubbles.

Clearly, she's up at dawn, pacing restlessly in the garden.  If he won't send her roses, she'll go and find her own...

These dew drops are done with the DecoArt Liquid Glass, but you can get a similar effect with Glossy Accents.

I love how they catch the sunlight as you move the tag.

I added some extra green shading to the edges of the crackled tag, so that the garden in which she's standing became a little more verdant. 

And there's a tiny bit of padded tape to support the words extended from the layered tag, just to keep them from flapping around!

I hope you like the wild rose garden I've created around these song lyrics, and I hope you'll be inspired to come and play along at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge this week (and A Vintage Journey too while you're at it!).

If you need more inspiration, do check out what the Simon Design Team have created.  As always there's a $50 prize voucher on offer.

Who wouldn't want to win a shopping spree at Simon Says Stamp?  That should be enough to get anyone singing along!  Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you all have a lovely week.

I won't send roses or hold the door
I won't remember which dress you wore
My heart is too much in control
The lack of romance in my soul
Will turn you gray, kid, so stay away, kid

Forget my shoulder when you're in need
Forgetting birthdays is guaranteed
And should I love you, you would be the last to know
I won't send roses and roses suit you so

My pace is frantic, my temper's cross
With words romantic, I'm at a loss
I'd be the first one to agree
That I'm preoccupied with me
And it's inbred, kid, so keep your head, kid

In me you'll find things like guts and nerve
But not the kind of things that you deserve
And so while there's a fighting chance, just turn and go
I won't send roses and roses suit you so
From Mack and Mabel, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman

Find these products at Simon Says Stamp

Tim Holtz Garden Greens Thinlits
Tim Holtz Botanical & Batik
Tim Holtz Entomology
Idea-ology Paper Dolls
PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze
PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Acrylic Chalk Paints - French Roast, Chalk, Hey Pesto, Zucchini
Distress Inks and Oxides - Hickory Smoke, Shaded Violet, Weathered Wood
Archival Ink - Peat Moss, Sepia, Coffee
Idea-ology Mini Metal Fasteners
Idea-ology Foliage
Ranger Clear Embossing Powder
Ranger Manila Tags #8
Ranger Journalling Tags #12


Hello all!  There seems to be some confusion over the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into action on May 25th and whether individual bloggers are part of the deal.  To be on the safe side, this quick post is to let you know that I have created a Privacy Policy which you can now see at any time by clicking the link at the very foot of the website home page.

The data held by Blogger is very limited, and I assure you I do not and never will use your data for anything but sending you notification of a new blogpost, or for clicking through to your blog for a return visit.  As stated in the Privacy Policy, all Blogger blogs use cookies, and these can be disabled in your internet settings if you choose.

If you are a follower by email, you are of course entitled to unsubscribe at any time of your choosing, but I hope you will continue to follow my crafting journey here at Words and Pictures.

Okay, boring business over.  I'll be back with some proper crafting later today.  I'll hope to see you then.

In the kingdom of glass everything is transparent, and there is no place to hide a dark heart.
Vera Nazarian

Friday, 18 May 2018

A few extra notes of music...

Hello all!  I'm so glad you enjoyed my Stencil It altered journal cover - it's one of my favourite recent creations for sure.

It's the third Friday of our challenge month at A Vintage Journey, and in our new itinerary that means it's time for the host to add a little something extra to the trip.  It might be a tutorial for their challenge project, or an extra little bit of inspiration.  I've gone for the latter, and here's a little sneak peek...

I'll admit I was on autopilot writing the post for my Under the Greenwood Tree page spread, and I covered the step-by-step here at Words and Pictures, so I really had no choice about going for the extra inspiration version.  To be honest, though, it's probably what I'd have chosen to do in any case, if I had remembered earlier!

The theme I'm hosting is Words and Music, so you'll find a few extra notes of music if you hop over and take a look.  We hope you'll come and sing along with us at A Vintage Journey this month.

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
Lao Tzu

Monday, 14 May 2018

Stencil It!

Hello all, and thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  I'm very excited to be back in the Designer Spotlight at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge again.

This week the theme is Stencil It!  Once again the amazing Design Team at SSS have knocked it out of the park.  It's an honour to be invited to create alongside them for this month.

You can check out all their stencilled inspiration over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge by clicking on any of the logos - it's well worth the trip! - but let me share my offering with you before you go.

For a while now, I've been irritated by the cover of one of my favourite journals.  It happens to be the one in which I created last week's Hold On, Be Strong spread for last week's SSS theme.

It was a bright red hardback book - left over from work - and, as regulars will know, red really isn't one of my go-to colours.

I thought it was about time I did something about it, and this challenge theme kicked me into action.  Here's what it looks like now...

And it also looks pretty good when you open the whole thing out flat too.  I used Tim Holtz's Layering Stencils, and put all sorts of different media through them - Distress Inks (used with embossing powder), PaperArtsy Fresco paints, and some Finnabair Plaster Paste...

... and they're all over a deeply crackled background.  So instead of bright red, I now have my favourite colours, textures and meadow flowers to inspire me every time I pick up this particular journal.

I'm afraid I haven't got a picture of the original red - I forgot to take a proper "before" photo.

This is when it had already had a coat of DecoArt chalk paint in the soft green Enchanted (already a big improvement - I can't imagine why I didn't do this ages ago).

I applied a layer of Crackle Glaze with a plastic palette knife, and then over that a combination of Stone and Chalk Fresco paints.  Look at that weathered crackle!

I used the Leafy Layering Stencil to lay down some Distress Inks across the crackled background.  It's Peeled Paint and Stormy Sky in action.

Since I know the book will be handled regularly and spend time on the craft table, I needed to "fix" the Distress Inks so that a) they won't rub off or fade, and b) they won't be vulnerable to water and wet media in the future.  So I added clear embossing powder over the inky patterning.

Now they have that lovely light-catching glossiness which makes me so happy.

The next stencil into action was Numeric.  Through this I sponged Fresco paints, combining Sky, Limelight and Green Patina in a fairly random manner.

The PaperArtsy paints have a chalky matte finish which contrasts really nicely with the sheen of the embossed inks.

The third and final stencilling medium was some texture paste.  I started with some Prima Light Texture Paste, but I wanted a little more from my meadow flowers.

So I re-positioned the stencil (not entirely precisely as it turned out, but we're embracing imperfection), and applied some of Finnabair's new Plaster Paste over the previous texture once it had set. 

It's a firm, opaque paste, so it gave the flowers just the pop of presence I was after.

So this is where we've got to so far... the V of Numeric going across the whole spread, the inverted V of the Leafy pattern going the other way, and the dimensional white flowers awaiting developments.  And I'm afraid that's where the process photos stop!

From there on, I was inking and painting, focussing entirely on how the journal looked, and the camera ceased to exist for me.

I couldn't resist starting to apply some brown inking to the edges of the covers - Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs, maybe some Walnut Stain in there.

Inky edges are almost inevitable round here.  This is the back cover, of course.

For a long time, the flowers stayed white, as I was enjoying them, but eventually I decided they might look good with some colour on.

I started by experimenting with Distress Inks, which meant I could spritz with water and lose pretty much all the colour if I decided I didn't like it.

But I enjoyed the change, so I made it permanent with the help of some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics. 

These have a lovely glow and translucence which means you can blend and layer them with great subtlety.

The warm tones of the Quinacridone Gold tempted me towards increasing the depth of the inking around the edges, and I shifted from using Distress to Archival inks to help with permanence.

I also decided to intensify the look by using clear embossing powder on the very edges.  As I continued to play, I also used Distress Crayons in darker colours - Walnut Stain, Ground Espresso - to deepen the shadows.

I love the gnarly textural effect of the crayons over the embossed areas - it's very cool.  (Click on this photo or, even better, the one above for a closer look.)

I sought out a couple of Idea-ology Quote Chips to provide additional inspiration.

I'm doing a lot of dwelling in possibility at the moment, and it seems that there's another major step in the journey in the offing - so these are important words just now.

The Quote Chips are inked with Coffee Archival ink so that they tone in with everything else that's going on.

There's spatter in both white acrylic and a touch of Quin Gold to echo the flowers.

I love the shine of the embossed leaves...

... contrasting with the matte chalkiness of the numbers.

And of course under it all there's that scrumptious crackle breaking through.

I hope my altered journal cover will inspire you to get out your stencils and Stencil It this week.  If you need a further nudge then do hop over to the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where there is plenty more inspiration on offer from the team.

As always, there's a $50 prize voucher on offer.  Who wouldn't want the chance of a Simon Says Stamp shopping spree?  Or the possible honour of being picked out by the DT as one of their favourites?  So do come along and play.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  It's always a delight to read your comments, and I'm even starting to get round to some more regular and long overdue visits in return!  See you again soon.

Isn't it mysterious to begin a new journal like this? I can run my fingers through the fresh clean pages but I cannot guess what the writing on them will be.
Maud Hart Lovelace

Find these products at Simon Says Stamp:

Tim Holtz Layering Stencils - Leafy, Numeric, Wildflower
Distress Inks - Stormy Sky, Peeled Paint
PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Paints - Stone, Chalk, Limelight, Sky, Green Patina
PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze
Prima Marketing Plaster Paste
Idea-ology - Quote Chips
Ranger Clear Embossing Powder
Archival Inks - Coffee, Sepia
Distress Crayons - Gathered Twigs, Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain, Ground Espresso