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...

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Blog Candy Alert

This is a sticky post until 19th July.

If you'd like to be included in my Five Year Anniversary Candy, just click on the link and comment there.
If you're just here to look around, then scroll on down and enjoy your visit!

Once again... welcome to my house.
Come freely.  Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring.
Bram Stoker

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Natural Oxides

Hello all!  It's been quiet here again at Words and Pictures, but I'm coming to the end of my New York work stint now - exciting and stimulating, but full-on and pretty exhausting - so hopefully things will be back on a more even keel soon.

I'm stopping in today to share a quick pair of tags using a couple of the new Oxide colours... mainly the lovely new natural neutrals so far - the Antique Linen and the Frayed Burlap (already in love), mixed with some Peeled Paint Oxide and a couple of others, as well as a few original Distress Inks.

I was just playing around on my one day off, and ended up with this pair of nature tags.

The leafy one came first.  I started with a dipped and dabbed background using the Antique Linen and Frayed Burlap DOXs and some Walnut Stain DI.

There's endless delight in the effects you can achieve with a few layers and spritzes of water.

I stamped the leafy branch from the latest PaperArtsy Scrapcosy releases, using Wow Bark powder to emboss it, and coloured it in using the DOXs and a waterbrush.

I mixed Peeled Paint on my craft mat with some Iced Spruce and some of the new Lucky Clover to get my various greens on the leaves.

The acorn had layers of Vintage Photo, Wild Honey, Abandoned Coral and Antique Linen until I liked the look of it.  And the branch has some Walnut Stain, Vintage Photo and Antique Linen.

Because of the opaque pigment ink in the magic Oxide formula, you get good coverage even over quite a busy background, as I had here.  And the Bark embossing of the stamping means the detail of the images survives the colouring in.

I used one of my own new PaperArtsy word stamps from EAB01 Trees and Flowers, stamped in black and embossed with Wow Bark embossing powder.

The gloss and dimension of the embossing helps the words stand out against the ink whirls and splotches.

This next one wasn't really intended as a partner tag when I started out, but it travelled in that direction as I went.  I don't seem to have any making-of photos - I was just messing around, really.

This started with a much paler background, mainly Antique Linen DOX, over which I stencilled the brickwork in Frayed Burlap DOX, using Scrapcosy's new stencils.  

You can also see the Scrapcosy stencils in action with Walnut Stain DOX in this lovely PostCard lettering...

... as well as the stamp-edge frames.

The Tim Holtz flower is stamped partly in Peeled Paint DOX, clear-embossed...

... and partly in Antique Linen DOX, which I then embossed in Wow Vanilla White for more definition.

I used a waterbrush to add some Wild Honey DOX to the flower heads...

... and the same waterbrush and Peeled Paint DOX worked well to add some soft mossy/lichen effects to the brickwork.

The sentiment - again one of mine from EAB01 Trees and Flowers - is stamped in Peeled Paint DOX and clear-embossed.

If I were at home, I'd probably have added some die-cut ivy to the wallflower tag to echo the words, and maybe some minimal metalwork to both of them, but that will just have to wait a few more days!

Both tags are finished off with some Idea-ology Linen Ribbon, stained with Walnut Stain DI, and have had some Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain and/or Ground Espresso DI inking around the edges for a more aged look.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you all have a lovely weekend.  I'm working all the way through it and then packing and flying home on Monday, but I hope to be able to do some visiting (and some more crafting) once I've landed and caught up on some much-needed sleep!

Happy crafting all!

There is new life in the soil for every man. There is healing in the trees for tired minds and for our overburdened spirits, there is strength in the hills, if only we will lift up our eyes. Remember that nature is your great restorer.
Calvin Coolidge

Friday, 30 June 2017

A Single Flower

Hello all!  Thank you so much for your lovely response to my new stamps at PaperArtsy.  If you missed the announcement, you can catch up with the exciting news here.

It's Tag Friday at A Vintage Journey today, and I've pressed another of my quote stamps into action for my tag.

Tag Friday happens when we have an extra Friday in the challenge month, and the Creative Guides get to simply play however they like, as long as it's on a tag.  

I've been playing with Oxides as well as the word stamps to create a summery tag, full of dappled sunshine through leaves.

I thought we could all do with the leafy shade after the steaming weather (we had the same thing here in New York, though it's now settled into slightly gentler temperatures for a while, thankfully).

For the background I carried on with my explorations mixing Distress Inks and Distress Oxides.  It's a constant delight seeing how they play together.

The first sweep laid down the blues for the sky.  I think it's Faded Jeans and Broken China in both DI and Oxide formulations, with maybe some Salty Ocean DI thrown in.

Then I added a layer of leafy greens... Peeled Paint Oxide and Mowed Lawn DI, dipping and dabbing and spritzing with water.

I think I then went back in with touches of Broken China again, but by this point my memory's a bit fuzzy as I was just in the moment, playing.

What I do remember is really enjoying stamping with the Broken China Oxide.  This is the vintage ledger from Tim's recent Etcetera set.  And you can see I've added some scraps of tissue tape too.

Next step was the stamping.  First of all the quote at the foot of the tag, stamped in Versamark and embossed with Wow Bright White SuperFine powder.

There's a simplicity and clarity to the idea expressed in these words which meant I just had to have it in the EAB01 Trees and Flowers stamp set.

I love this vintage typewriter font, with just that touch of imperfection about it.

I stamped one of Tim's Illustrated Garden flowers the same way.  It has many flower heads, but all on one stem, so I think it works for the "single flower" of the quote!

I considered colouring in the petals, but in the end I decided I liked seeing the dappled background as much as possible.

I rather like how the tissue tape caught and held some of the embossing powder.  I did notice before I heated it, but decided against brushing it away, and I'm so glad I didn't.

There's some white paint spatter, and a simple topping of cheesecloth and fine twine.

And I mounted the whole tag onto some white card to frame it, all nicely distressed around the edges, of course.

So that's your lot from me today.  I hope you'll hop over to A Vintage Journey see the wonderful tags created by my lovely team-mates.

I'm not the only Creative Guide using my PaperArtsy quotes for this Tag Friday, so keep your eyes peeled!

And if I've tempted you with the word stamp, you can find out much more over at PaperArtsy...

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon.

Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time.
Georgia O'Keeffe

I'd like to enter this tag at Stamps and Stencils where they are looking for Words with Meaning.  These ones mean a lot to me - the need to clear away the complications of life and find simplicity and clarity.  It's ongoing work...

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

My New PaperArtsy Word Stamps

Okay, I've been teasing you long enough... the day is finally here when I can reveal all.  I'm completely thrilled to be able to announce the release of my own stamp sets at PaperArtsy under the Eclectica banner.  And no prizes for guessing they're all about the words.

I've gathered together some of the quotes I love from artists, writers and thinkers from across the centuries and now, thanks to Leandra and Mark at PaperArtsy, I can stamp them on any projects I want!

I hope you'll be able to hop over to the PaperArtsy blog to see more of the samples I've been creating with my stamp sets.  We're starting with two themed collections in this release - EAB01 Trees and Flowers and EAB02 Darkness and Light.

I'm at PaperArtsy tonight, sharing the thinking behind these stamp plates, and over the following two nights you can see the stamps in the hands of two other PaperArtsy team members who have cooked up some beautiful quote inspiration for you.

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing in my day of joy.  I think you can probably understand now why I've been so excited!

Old words are reborn with new faces.
Criss Jami

Friday, 23 June 2017

PaperArtsy - New Scrapcosy Stamps

Hello all!  I'm delighted to be here this evening with a sneak peek of some of the newest stamps available from PaperArtsy.  The gorgeous vintage illustrations of these Scrapcosy designs are right up my alley, and I've been having a wonderful time playing with them.

I hope you'll have time to hop over to the PaperArtsy blog to catch all the details of my collection of "vintage" postcards.  There are some that are perfect for these summery days, and some looking ahead to the spookier times to come!

If you missed my birthday blog candy, just pop a comment here to be included in the draw - there are two prizes on offer this year so you've double the chance of winning.

And keep your eyes peeled in a few days time for one of my most exciting bits of crafting news ever!!  There's more than one reason it's been quiet around here lately...

The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.
Norman Rockwell

Monday, 19 June 2017

Five Year Anniversary Candy

Thank you all for your lovely comments and good wishes.
This candy is now closed, and I'll be drawing the winner and runner-up very soon.

Hello all!  Five years... five years?  Yes, Words and Pictures is five years old today.  I still can't quite believe it.  This utterly unexpected journey into the world of arts & crafts has been such an uplifting experience.  I've learned so much, not least about myself, and done things I had no idea I could do.  And there are exciting things in the offing...

All of that has been made more intense, more joyful and more extraordinary by the friends and travelling companions I've discovered in Craftyblogland.

The nourishment, inspiration and happiness you have all provided to me in those years is immeasurable - whether in your lovely comments here, or in my visits to your own blogs.

So, as is traditional, here is an offering of gratitude.  You all receive my thanks, with a full heart.

But there is also a blog candy to be won.

And, although I can't send each and every one of you the prize, this year I've decided to have both a winner and a runner up.  Well, it is five years!

The first name out of the hat will receive the treasure trove you can see here (not the little wooden tray, I'm afraid - that's just to make it easier to see everything).

There are laces, fabrics and papers, including some of the rice paper I brought back from China; tags, postcards and buttons of various sorts and sizes; wood and metal embellishments; some paper flowers and seashells; and, of course, the PaperArtsy Hot Picks stamps.

The second name out will receive a slightly smaller selection of almost exactly the same goodies, but without the stamps.  (And the runner up can't have the tray either, sorry!)

All you have to do to be in with a chance of winning is leave a comment below telling me that you'd like to be included in the draw.

If you would like to share the main photo and link in your sidebar, and/or join up as a follower if you aren't one already, then that would be lovely, but it's not compulsory in order to be a winner.

I'm going to give you a whole month to comment, since I'm not back in the UK to post it before then in any case!  So the deadline is 19th July, 23.59 British Summer Time.  And yes, I will post worldwide.

I know I've used it for Blogaversary posts before but I don't mind repeating things that matter so, once again, I return to the Shakespeare quote which is the only one which can do justice to the occasion...

I can no other answer make but thanks,
And thanks, and ever thanks.
From Twelfth Night, by William Shakespeare

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Breaking the silence...

Hello all!  I know, I'm sorry.  It's been vanishingly quiet here at Words and Pictures.  Three weeks without posting... unheard of!!

I'm afraid I've been thoroughly immersed in my other creative world, working on a production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure here in New York, and that's been taking up my time and my energy.   (I'm writing this at midnight, having just got in from work, because I can't bear to leave it any longer.)

But there is a flurry of blog activity due shortly, starting with a celebratory post on Monday and getting more exciting from there on.  That's another reason it's been quiet here...  There's been lots in preparation which couldn't be revealed, but the time is coming soon!

I keep promising to catch you up on my watercolour journey so, for now, I'm going to share a few sneak peeks and tasters of some of where that's been taking me.  Shock, horror, I'm finding myself in florals quite often!!

The watercolouring really started to take hold earlier this year, partly because the equipment is relatively easy to travel with.

I've already shared some flowers, some fungi, wild meadow grasses, some trees, and some general messing about.  (There are more watercolour posts if you've missed them and are curious.)

And I've carried on with the nature theme quite often, unsurprisingly.

There's a sort of tree series, varying according to the season or my mood on any given day...

... and playing on different kinds of paper (sometimes with added white acrylic splatter).

It's still amazing to me how much difference the surface you're working on makes to the play of the paints.

Some of what I'm sharing today was done months ago, back at the beginning of the year, or through February and March.

I had a whimsical turn at one point...

... all very pastel and pink.  An interesting excursion but not very me, probably!

And I got obsessed with faces for a while...

... full of rainbow colours.

I'm still fascinated by how changing the colours will change the mood.

Some of them turned out to be whole figures.  I never in my life thought I'd end up with little girls appearing in front of me on the page.

There are also some sketchy figures in action.  I've doodled active figures for a while in the margins of my scripts (inspired by the stage action going on in front of me during technical rehearsals, when there are often long periods with not much happening that I have to pay close attention to).

I started with rough sketches in watercolour pencil, and used a water brush to add more shading.

I suppose it's no coincidence that I got hooked on faces and figures whilst I was in the midst of making my Elizabethan dollshouse dolls.

I even took a little sideways journey into some whimsical birds - this little chap is one of many.  I suppose they're still part of that exploration of expressive faces in a way.

I had a glorious time combining the watercolours with my much-loved mixed media texture during a brief window of time in my actual craft room.

As always, the exploring and the learning are the main excitements for me... 

... finding out what the paints will do, and trying to work out how they and I fit together best.

These pages feel like a really exciting part of the journey, and I know there's more to explore here.  Trees feature again, you'll notice.

Then there are these florals which keep cropping up.

I guess it's partly the wonderful Tim Holtz coneflower stamp which inspired me to head towards daisies.

But they're also a relatively simple thing to draw, and drawing is an area where I need lots of practice.

It's nice to start with something which gives you pleasing results fairly early on.

I really enjoyed this version done over some watercolour ground applied quite roughly to the page.  The scrumptious texture took all the pressure out of trying to get my drawing "right".

And the flowers have continued to come alive right here in New York.... some more daisies, in varying hues!

I got some fabulous decorative thistles to put in the large mason jars in my apartment...

... so I thought I'd have a go at trying to capture them on paper.

And then there's the relaxation of just mixing colours for fun...

I'm so glad I thought of bringing the wonderful colour wheel stamp from this fabulous stamp set by Andrea Ockey Parr with me.

It's great when you just want to clear your head by playing with colour.

And sometimes that inevitably leads on to yet more florals...!

I'm not going into details with any of this right now, partly because when I do have a spare hour I find I want to play with the watercolours rather than write a blogpost.  As you know, my blogposts tend to be rather lengthy, so they eat up time!

But it's also partly because I've got plans for some of these, and I'll share the work in more detail if and when I get the ball rolling with those plans later in the year.  In the meantime, I hope this post will have whetted your appetite for more.

And I do hope you'll be able to pop back and visit again between now and the end of June... I promise it will be worth your while.  For now - given that it's 1.30am, I'll just say thank you so much for stopping by, have a lovely day, and happy crafting, all.

You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
Maya Angelou
(Yes, thank you, Maya - but what about the time needed to play with it all?!)