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, 12 October 2015

Autumn at Calico

Hi all!  I seem to be moving into full autumnal mode with the crafting lately.  I think it's maybe because I missed all the autumn crafting last year as I was working away from home at the time... I'm so happy to be playing with leaves and all the earthy colours in which autumn paints the world.

Today I'm over at the Calico Craft Parts blog with a lot of autumn leaves (and fungi) to share.  Just don't go crunching them under foot please!

I had a wonderful time with this creation - I've found a way to have my cake and eat it when it comes to choosing between altering the Craft Parts and leaving them "naked".  The secret?  Pan Pastels!  I hope you'll have time to hop across and see the full reveal.

Thanks for dropping in.  I'm mostly in airports and aeroplanes today, but I'll be hopping round to see you all soon!

Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn - that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness - that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.
From Persuasion by Jane Austen

As long as you don't mind hopping over to Calico to see the complete project, I'd like to share this...
Over at Frilly and Funkie in the Autumn Splendour challenge
At Stamps and Stencils where they'd like us to Make It 3D
They say Autumn is in the Air at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge
With all those Pan Pastels, it really has to go in to Anything Creative/Mixed Media at Love2Create
And at Try It On Tuesday they are also celebrating Autumn

Thursday, 8 October 2015

The Andy Skinner Magic!

Hello from a very grey, wet and windy Norway!  Still, I'm mostly indoors delivering workshops, so that's okay I suppose.

I'm just popping in here to share what we made at a brilliant Andy Skinner workshop in Cambridgeshire at the weekend - this is my take on the Book of Redemption.

The workshops were organised by the lovely Nina of It's Crafting Time and as well as Andy, Kate Crane and Michelle Webb were giving classes too, so there was lots of crafty activity in Harston Village Hall that day!

Nina also set up a pop-up shop, crammed with tempting crafty goodies.  The whole event was really great.

Since it's a taught class, I won't be sharing the ins and outs of how this was done, except maybe the bit on the back where we were allowed to go "freestyle"!  But if you can't get to an actual class with Andy, he does offer lots of fantastic online courses which are well worth investigating.

As always with Andy, we ended up with a very cool piece of work to take home, as well as lots of fabulous techniques and ideas to apply in our own crafting (and some leftover cogs too!).

As you can see, texture and distressing were well to the fore as usual, as well as lots of fab DecoArt paints and mediums.

Under all that fab texture, there's just some simple muslin, would you believe?!

All the cogs and gears and nuts and bolts come from Andy's new Industrial Elements release with Tando...

... a selection of cogs and gears and washers and screws of all shapes and sizes...

... not to mention the odd book plate too.  It's a big pack and should keep you going through several projects.

I really enjoyed stamping into the texture paste - something I'd been a bit wary of as I didn't want to coat my stamps in paste and not be able to get it off... but I feel confident in the technique now.

The words on the spine were done as a transfer - a technique I've played with briefly but keep meaning to do more of, so this was a great nudge.

For the back and spine I kept it simple with some spatter over a coat of Titan Buff, and then some very light washes of Raw Umber, Quinacridone Gold, Prussian Blue Hue and Payne's Gray until I was happy with how it balanced the colours on the front.

I'm very happy with the slightly mildewy look, though actual mildew on an actual book would give me conniptions!

And my favourite steampunky tissue tape forms the "pages"...

There was another optional layer to go on the cover but, even though it was text paper, I decided I didn't want to cover up my rippling sea of texture that much - I like how you can see the waves lapping behind the cogs too.

Please excuse the water droplets on some of the photos - it's not another technique, it's just rain.

When we did the class on Sunday the weather was absolutely glorious, but the next day at home there simply wasn't a break in the rain in which to get my pictures - and I had to set off to Norway at the crack of dawn the day after so I had no choice but to take some slightly damp photos!

Big thanks to Andy for another great hit of inspiration - I'm full of plans to apply all the knowledge gained as soon as I can get anywhere near my craft table again...

Thanks for stopping by today, and I'll see you soon out there in Craftyblogland.

The mediocre teacher tells.  The good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires.
William Arthur Ward
(I'm pretty sure I've used this one before, but it bears repeating!)

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Underneath the Undertaker's

Hello all!

Well, this is a post I didn't expect to be posting, but when I saw Tim's spooktacular October tag, inspiration struck and I had to act... immediately!

In fact, I made it on day one, in a fever of activity, as soon as I saw the post.  I delayed sharing this by a couple of days just to let my Vintage Journey journalling pages have a fair crack of the whip!

I don't have the 3D Halloween monsters which Tim used as the centrepiece for his tag, but my brain went straight to work on what I have that could be deployed three-dimensionally.  The answer it came up with even had a Halloween slant - the Rickety House of course.

And you can see where that got me... to a tag which even slightly spooked me out as I was creating it, when I discovered what the undertaker keeps under his floorboards!

It appears to be full of gloom, but also has a metallic shimmer, so in the sunlight it's slightly ghostly - definitely one to avoid when you're trick or treating.  But we'll get to the macabre secrets of the undertaker's house soon enough. 

I started, as Tim does (you'll find all the making-of details over at his blog) with some wrinkle-free distress technique.  My colours include Hickory Smoke, Blueprint Sketch, Wilted Violet, Stormy Sky and Black Soot, as well as some Brushed Pewter and a couple of spritzes of Pewter Perfect Pearls into the bargain.

I cut the Rickety House out of the paler inky sheet (it's done on Mixed Media cardstock) and then drew around it onto the dark inky sheet and handcut a solid version of the house, with no windows and doors.

I made a dimensional fold to form the corner of the house, and the reverse fold in the background house.

Before gluing the edges together, I thought the house needed some inhabitants...

Meet James Fallon, undertaker (a.k.a. Edgar Allan Poe) - a stern and sinister looking type, particularly when he catches you peering in through the window at him.

Upstairs is a rather sad and lonely looking woman.  His wife?  Is she imprisoned up there?  Or merely a prisoner of her marriage?  I have to say, I rather fear for her future, as will you when you've explored further.

I used some paper from the French Industrial stash which had gloomy clouds flitting across its surface.  I've added quite a lot of stamping as well as the inky blottings from the stencil.

There are the Deaths notices providing textured detail.

The spiders loom large, whether dangling on threads of gossamer...

... or waiting in ominous stillness on their cobwebs.

Oh, and I forgot to warn you - don't try sneaking around the back of the house either.

It's not only that the skull is keeping a beady eye on you from on top of his crossbones... 

... but you might just bump into something big and hairy round there!

Obviously I needed a floor for my little 3D house, so I cut up two wooden coffee stirrers, glued them together and stained them with Black Soot Distress Stain.

You may be thinking that the boards are a little uneven... small wonder when you realise that they must have been taken up and nailed down again more than once.

Just look what's buried underneath them!

I can only imagine that those jumbled bones are the relics of previous marriages...

Or perhaps Mr Fallon likes to keep a SOUVENIR of each burial he undertakes.  Either way, I think you would do best to steer well clear of this particular Rickety House, especially after dark.

A spidery jumble of black paper string winds its way around the crinkle ribbon, and we're done.

Another fantastic couple of hours of fun inspired by Tim Holtz - thank you for that, Tim.

And thank you to all of you for your company and your wonderful comments.  It's a joy reading them.  I'm off on my travels again this week - workshops in Norway which should be fun - but I hope I'll have some time to come visiting nonetheless.

Let us endeavour so to live so that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
Mark Twain (not this one Mark, I don't think so, no)

Houses are not haunted.  We are haunted, and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.
From Velocity by Dean Koontz

I'd like to enter this as my October tag in Tim Holtz's 12 Tags of 2015
There's stamping and stencilling and a 3D version of the Rickety House, so I'd also like to play along at Stamps and Stencils in their Make It 3D challenge

Friday, 2 October 2015

A Beautiful Adventure

Hello all!  It's my turn to host our challenge at A Vintage Journey, and I'm setting out to go Art Journalling with Tim.  As you'll know, Tim doesn't really do art journalling (or if he does, he keeps it to himself), so what we're really looking for is to see how you use Tim's techniques, products or vintage/grunge style in your own art journalling.

Do check out what my amazing team-mates have come up with to inspire you - what a joy to be on this journey with them - and here's my offering for you.

If you saw my first Wilted Violet playtime tags, you'll recognise the genesis of this journalling page.  And if you saw yesterday's Time to Fly tag for Country View Challenges, you'll know I'm in slightly melancholy autumnal mode.

But there's also tremendous beauty to this season, as well as the promise of journeying with all those migrating birds.  All this has come together, I think, in today's pages.

I started by putting some tissue tape on to create some textured earth.  Then I started smearing layers of colour onto my craft mat, direct from the ink pad.

From the top down it's Chipped Sapphire, Wilted Violet, Ground Espresso and Rusty Hinge.  I spritzed on plenty of water and then pressed my journal down onto the ink.

It's a medium sized book (this spread is 13 inches wide and 9 tall), and the pages seem to be slightly coated - they're certainly very smooth.  (I've no idea where it came from - I think it bobbed up in the house move a couple of years ago!)

This was the first "print", and you can see that the ink is pooling and spotting in really interesting ways.

I pressed down on to the ink a few more times, drying in between - basically it's wrinkle-free distressing on a large scale - and I love the end result.

I stamped the large Tim Holtz bare tree branches repeatedly in either Potting Soil or Jet Black, and sometimes in both, to create a canopy of trees at either side of the pages.

To give the "earth" some texture I blended on Ground Espresso and then stamped Tim's scratchy grunge stamp in Potting Soil (of course!) along under the tissue tape.

And from the soil, there are grasses and wildflowers growing, all Tim Holtz stamps, stamped mainly in Coffee and Sepia.

Well, it's me... of course there are grasses and wildflowers!  What did you expect?  (Click on the photos for a larger version.)

The birds, "at break of day arising from sullen earth", are setting off on their long journey southward.

The large Scratched Raven has been startled by the sudden flurry of sound and movement, but he's not going with them - just shaking his wings and settling down again to pass the long cold winter right where he is.

The words are cut out of cream card, and then I embossed them with Vanilla White.

This gives them more dimension, but also meant that they wouldn't soak up the ink as I shaded around them to bed them in to the page.

I've used the same colour shades, dipping a water brush into Distress Stains to add the shadows.

I toyed with adding other elements, trying out various bits of ephemera and embellishments, but in the end I just went with some subtle script stamping for a touch of extra detail.

I used my all-time favourite script from the Apothecary stamp set, and I stamped it in Rusty Hinge, Wilted Violet or Chipped Sapphire, according to where it was in the sky.

I'm really pleased with the tissue tape, given that I only really put it there initially to balance the necessary taping of the central spine to strengthen the pages. 

Whether travelling far to new horizons, or staying at home amongst friends and family...

... either way you can enjoy life's beautiful adventure.

I hope you like my journalling pages.  As you can see I've used Tim Holtz techniques and products, but I've also been inspired by the things I fell in love with when I first encountered Tim and his work - stamping and the Distress Inks - so I kept it fairly simple to let those elements shine.  And although I've been Art Journalling with Tim, I think I've also made it in my style.

I really hope you'll be inspired to come Art Journalling with Tim this month at A Vintage Journey.  Do remember to check out the journal pages from the rest of the team too.  As always, there's a prize voucher (drawn randomly) sponsored by Country View Crafts, and we'll be selecting our three Pinworthies to be displayed on our Vintage Journey Pinterest board.

I'm working away from home quite a lot over the next couple of weeks so it's likely to be quieter round here again, but I'll see you somewhere along the road!

The violets were past their prime,
Yet their departing breath
Was sweeter, in the blast of death,
Than all the lavish fragrance of the time.
From The Adventure of a Star by James Montgomery

I'd like to join in with the Ombre theme at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge.  I'm not completely sure whether Ombre has to be tones of one colour or whether you can move from colour to colour - I'm hoping it's the latter!
I'd like to offer up my migrating birds and autumnal colours in the Autumn challenge at Try It On Tuesday
And I'd like to share these pages with the Love to Create challenge in their regular Anything Mixed Media/Creative Goes theme
And I'd like to join in yet again at Anything Goes with Autumn Colours at Mixed Media World - can you tell I've got my Autumn Hat on?!

Just a quick reminder... we are seeking two new Creative Guides.
If you would like more information and details please email Brenda at
brenda_brown25@hotmail.com by Monday 5th October.