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, 10 December 2017

A song of Christmas cheer

Hello all!

I'm glad you enjoyed my adventures with Invisible Ink Insects over at PaperArtsy, but now it's time to get back to the serious business of the season... the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas.  I'm on to Tag 4 now.

Music is at or near the top of the list of what makes Christmas for me, so I loved making this one.

I'm always happy to have an excuse for a musical tag, and an excuse to get out the wonderful Victorian Carollers die (sorry, I'm going to spell it the English way with two lls). 

The basic layout follows Linda's charming Tag 4, but I've borrowed one of the techniques from Tag 2 to create my version and gone my own way for the embellishing.

I really loved the stencilled crackled stars from Tag 2, so I decided to create my background that way rather than use an embossing folder as Linda did.

Once they were all crackled, I was able to lay the stencil over the top again and add some colour with Distress Paints and Inks, mixing Iced Spruce and Evergreen Bough.

There's a little bit of text stamping in the background too, following Linda's lead.

I also went with stencilling to add my snowfall.

I used Tim's Speckles stencil and applied DecoArt Snowtex through it.  It's nicely chunky and has a good dash of frosty sparkle to it.

And I added some more snow underfoot with a palette knife.

I cut my silhouettes in brown card and edged them with some Black Soot DI.

I added shadowy shading on the snow under their feet to ground them.  I hope they've got nice warm woolly socks on!

Some Idea-ology ephemera sheet music is there to remind them in case they lose their way in the carol.  

I couldn't resist some more greenery and pinecones for my decoration at the top of the tag... I seem to be completely hooked this year!

There's a festive Muse Token too, and some more of the frosted berries.

Finally, some more of the wonderful Idea-ology Christmas Clippings capture the musical mood.

This was another delight to make - thank you, Linda, for reminding me about the Victorian Carollers... I really enjoy these Dickensian figures - they seem full of character to me.

I hope you've enjoyed singing along with my carollers.  I'll be back with the next tag in the series very soon, and in the meantime I'll try to squeeze in some blog-visiting too.  Happy Christmas-crafting all!

Oh, by the way, for those who enjoy a theatrical extravaganza you might want to pop over to Cestina's Dollshouses - quick now, it's almost time for curtain up!

Christmas now surrounds us,
Happiness is everywhere
Our hands are busy with many tasks
As carols fill the air.
Shirley Sallay

I'd like to enter this as Tag 4 in the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas, sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique

Friday, 8 December 2017

Invisible Ink Insects

Hello all!  I'm delighted to be over at the PaperArtsy blog this evening with some experimenting for this fortnight's Torn, Ripped, Burnt challenge theme.  Like some seventeenth century conspirator, I've been playing with invisible ink!

I hope you'll have time to hop over to PaperArtsy to find out how my invisible insects came to life.  And then I'll be back with some more Funkie Junkie tags very soon, all being well!

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

The paper burns, but the words fly free.
Akiva ben Josef (a first and second century Rabbi)

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Joyous Noel

Hello all!  We're moving on to Tag 3 of the Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas today, and for this one I've travelled quite a long way from Linda's funky inspiration tag.

I've pretty much followed the layout but I've gone in a different direction with style and colour.

As Linda says, red is her favourite colour, but it's one I'm really not used to working with.  The red of the holly berries, both in the paper and the actual berries, is about as much as I can take!

I used design paper for my background, and it does sort of have stripes (the major feature of Linda's tag) in the shape of the staves of music.  It's from the 8x8 Anna Marie Designs Christmas Jingle pad.

I don't have the transparent tiles, but I had a lovely time making my own little tiny tags for the word J-O-Y-O-U-S.  I used another paper from the same stash, this one a lovely soft green with a subtle woodgrain pattern.

I cut the tags using one of the tiny dies from the Tim Holtz Framelits Tag Collection, and then inked up my Christmas Alpha foam stamps for the first time (also Tim Holtz) to create the lettering.  They're stamped in Archival Library Green - a good match for the holly.

More dies in action to cut the word NOEL (from the Vintage Tidings Thinlits)...

... and some more of the gorgeous Holiday Greens Thinlits too.  I have them in the regular and the mini-size, so you can always find something which works for what you're making.

So far, they've featured on each of the Funkie Junkie tags I've made this year, and I'm really enjoying them so I decided they would appear instead of the tinsel at the top of this tag.

And there's some more greenery tucked in behind the NOEL too.  The pale ones are cut from the same paper as the tiny tags (but un-inked) so that it all ties together nicely.

I also couldn't resist adding some extra words - well, this is Words and Pictures, after all - so I got out the Christmas Clippings again to find some suitable phrases.

The little frosted berries are from my stash.  I love that they're exactly the right colour to work with the holly berries on the papers.

And they provide just that tiny touch of festive sparkle.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  There's a non-12-Tags-of-Christmas project coming up next - I know, weird, huh?! - so I hope you'll be able to check that out, and then we'll be back on the Funkie Junkie trail.

Look forward to seeing you soon, either here or elsewhere in Craftyblogland.

And as, when all the summer trees are seen
So bright and green,
The Holly leaves a sober hue display
Less bright than they,
But when the bare and wintry woods we see,
What then so cheerful as the Holly-tree?
Robert Southey

I'd like to enter this as Tag 3 in the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas, sponsored by The Funkie Junkie Boutique

Monday, 4 December 2017

Happy smiles, twinkling eyes

Hello all... well, after a quiet November of encores and echoes, it's a bit of a snow flurry of projects here at the start of December.

We've already had the Winter Woodland Wonderland (for the Winter Wonderland challenge at A Vintage Journey, as well as being the first of my Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas), and a Wood Look Yule Book for the new Mini Album Makers challenge.

And now we're already on to Tag 2 of the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas.

Linda started sharing her inspiration tags at the beginning of September but, what with one thing and another, in addition to my constitutional dislike of crafting for Christmas before December (I guess that whole handmade Christmas card thing is never going to happen!), I'm now aiming to get all twelve done in just 28 days.  That should be fine, no?  It's not like there's anything else going on at this time of year...

Linda's Tag 2 is a neutral delight, and I've followed along pretty closely.

But for once the pure neutrals weren't quite working for me on my own tag, and I couldn't resist adding a touch of winter greenery.

I absolutely loved the starry crackly background of Linda's tag, so I copied that but with a couple of product variations according to what I had in the stash.

So it's DecoArt Crackle Paint through the stencil and Treasure Gold for the gilded waxing, but otherwise we're pretty much on the same page so far.

It's particularly good with a golden glow of winter sunlight...

I've been sorely tempted by the new Tim Holtz Classic Christmas stamps, but so far I've managed to resist, so this is an older one of his Father Christmas images.

I've followed the postage theme too, but as well as Tim stamps, there are some Darkroom Door ones here to fill in the gaps.

I love the little aeroplane stamp stamp (yes, I do mean two stamps in that sentence).

My snowflakes are pure white rather than white-washed kraft.  Somehow I needed the lift... 

Maybe because it was a very grey morning when I was making this tag.  I waited for a bit more light for some of these photos.

It was an overnight idea to add the greenery.

I like having a touch of continuity from tag to tag, and I really liked the fir branches on the Winter Woodland Wonderland so I decided to echo that here.

And I've gone for nestling the words amongst the fronds again - more of the Christmas Clippings by Idea-ology.

This tag provided some respite amidst calamitous computer meltdowns, so I was very grateful for the gentle time at the craft table without too much thinking involved - thank you, Linda!

Santa Clause has the right idea - visit people only once a year.
Victor Borge

I'd like to enter this as Tag 2 in the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas, sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique

Friday, 1 December 2017

Wood Look Yule Book

Hello all, and welcome to December... proper countdown time!  It's the first of the month, so it's time to begin a new challenge over at Mini Album Makers.  But not only at Mini Album Makers...  This is already my second post of the month because there's also a new challenge at A Vintage Journey which happens to fall today.  I hope you'll have time to visit my Winter Woodland Wonderland and check out all the details. 

But back to the Mini Album Makers.  Your handmade books were glorious all through November, and we're looking forward to this month's creations too.  Before you hop over and check out what my fabulous team-mates have made, here's my inspiration offering for you this month.  It's a Wood Look Yule Book (which is really fun to say out loud!).

This is a simple, rustic mini album, made from those small money envelopes you can get in cheap shops - 250 of them for about £1 usually.

I started by giving my envelopes a rough swipe of gesso.  I didn't want complete coverage, as I wanted some of the envelope markings to show through.

The construction is pretty simple.  You fold the envelope flap in the wrong direction, all the way over to the front side of the envelope, apply glue and just keep going until you have the book pages all in place.

It's easier to watch than to describe.  I used this great little how-to on youtube by the wonderful Ruth of Love to Create... she gets it all done in the first two minutes of the video, and it makes it all very simple and straightforward.

I cut my covers to fit from some heavy greyboard...

...and used some strong canvas ribbon to create the spine. This is just before gluing the greyboard pieces in place, hence all the squiggly glue!

At this point I went in with a second layer of gesso for a whiter background...

... and then started smooshing on some Distress Ink in Weathered Wood, Stormy Sky and Iced Spruce.

I added some snowflake/starlight stamping, also done in Weathered Wood.

Some of it got a touch of clear-embossing powder so there's a bit of subtle sparkle around.

And I added some of my favourite winter greenery stamps in places... this Tim Holtz fir branch...

... and these wonderful tall trees (though this is the small stamp version, so they're not quite so tall!).

I was happy to keep it all quite rough and soft.

If you're going to be adding lists with paperclips, or gluing in photos or ephemera, or writing over these pages in pen, then this all needs to stay pretty much in the background.

I added the same Distress colours to a sheet of the Ranger woodgrain paper, and used that to cut some cover papers which I stuck on to the greyboard.

Again, just a simple, rustic look.

I cut lots of these adorable tiny deer, using the new Thinlits die from Tim Holtz...

(If you've visited my Winter Woodland Wonderland, you'll know I'm rather fond of them!)

... and started to glue them in various places through the book.

They turn up in different positions as you turn the pages.

The final pair take their place on the cover along with lots of die-cut greenery.

There's also a Muse Token and some frosted berries to zhuzh things up just a little bit.

I wound some twine vertically around the spine and the page creases.  It's for decoration - the book doesn't need it, but I like the rustic finishing touch of it.

I like that you get the twine on the inside as well as the outside - it's only on alternating page spreads, so not everywhere.

Some of those wonderful greenery die-cuts found their way inside too!

And of course there's plenty of white spatter to finish things off... even on the back cover.

So that's my winter mini for you.  I hope you like my Wood Look Yule Book.  My fantastic team-mates are offering up lots more inspiration for you if you hop over to the Mini Album Makers blog.

Our sponsor this month is the fabulous Eileen Hull.  She's offering up one of her amazing dies as the prize, so do come and play along.  Check out just some of her designs here

And don't forget the Winter Wonderland challenge starting at a Vintage Journey too.  Perhaps, as I seem to have done completely accidentally with this mini album here, you could combine the two!

I hope this sneak peek will tempt you to check out my inspiration for that challenge too.

Thanks so much for stopping by.  As you can see, December is about new creations rather than Encores, and I also hope I'll have some time for repaying your generous visits.  Good luck with the Christmas countdown everyone!

Winter giveth the fields, and the trees so old,
Their beards of icicles and snow...
Charles duc d’OrlĂ©ans, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow