I set myself a challenge today... to break away from my comfort zone of blues and browns! I've not had a lot of craft table time recently, so when I have had a chance, I've mostly been playing with my favourite colours. If you don't want to click the links, just scroll down to some previous posts, and you'll see what I mean!
So when the Tando challenge was announced for October - to use Purple, Orange, Green and Black - I wrote it off immediately (I may even have snorted with laughter). But clearly something was bubbling deep down in the subconscious because when my new stamp set arrived (I gave in to temptation on the amazing Oxford Impressions stamps - largely under the influence of the amazing Lynne over at Adorn) I found myself playing in exactly those colours. And a couple of tag experiments later, this pair arose:
Of course, the colours are also influenced by the Halloween-y nature of the set, called Dr Coffin's Apothecary.
I've been avoiding getting too seasonal so far (though I'm finding it harder and harder to put my foot down about restricting Christmas to December - it's going to leave me a lot of catching up to do, very rapidly, on the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags for instance!), but this set appeals to my vintage inclinations, and I can see wider applications for the stamps than just Halloween in the future.
The tags are also decorated on the back - another experiment with Rustification for Simon Says Stamp and Show, simpler than the last, but still pleasurably textural... and the decay of rustiness seems a really appropriate texture for Halloween.
The stamps are largely from the Oxford Impressions set, but there are also some Tim Holtz ones mixed in - the large skull, the handwriting in the background behind it, and the embossed Happy Halloween on the reverse sides.
The ribbon is from some packaging - I forget what - deliberately frayed and decayed at the ends!
I'm very happy with my little bottles... they're stamped in Staz-On black onto some acetate packaging (from some TH Idea-ology as far as I can remember). I then used Pesto and Oregano alcohol inks to colour it, heated it to make it pliable, and curled it into 3D.
And this meant that they had to be a "pair" of tags - it was the only way to get the whole of the lovely Witch Hazel label on display. And, you know, it says Witch Hazel on the bottle, but I'm not sure I'd be entirely comfortable using it...
We won't talk about trying to get them glued down if you don't mind!!
Some time ago, I picked up a bagful of copper clasps for £1. I'm not sure, but I think they're probably some sort of bead or jewellery clasp - but they were perfect for an extra little metallic rustiness on each corner of the tags. I squeezed them together using my eyelet fastener.
These close-ups also give you a chance to get a closer look at some of these amazing stamps and the backgrounds I inked and painted in various ways. There are skulls galore - hence my reluctance to sample the Witch Hazel - with a name like Dr Coffin, this apothecary may just be hiding some dark secrets, it seems to me!.
At the top of this tag (right), you can see the streaks of paint I brushed on. After painting the reverse with its first coat of acrylic paint, I basically dried the brush in rough strokes in the corners of one of the tags.
I love the murky texture of it under the blended Dried Marigold Distress Ink.
And I also like the bruising of the colours around the cat below... the handwritten script you can see is the TH stamp, and may be my new favourite writing to put onto a project. I cut and used a mask of the large skull, so that I could get the writing all the way round him.
Down near the foot of each tag, you have the witch's familiars - the black cat and the raven - one with fur, and one with feathers, and each guarding their respective bottle.
See... see! Why does it need to be guarded if it's just plain old witch hazel?!?
A quick look at the textures of the rusty background, and then I'll leave you in peace for today!
I painted the tag with various layers of paint, and then gave them a good scratching in lots of directions for some texture before applying a wash of Transparent Iron Oxide acrylic.
I stamped the Happy Halloween in clear embossing ink, and used some Stampendous Detail embossing powder in black to heat emboss it. I love the glossy dimension you get - and it needed something strong to show up against the dark rust background.
Then I swept embossing ink over the tag surface very roughly, and applied Vintage Photo Distress embossing powder - which retains its lovely scrubbly texture even after heating.
Once embossed, you rub over it lightly and that releases more particles to give an even rougher texture, so it's perfect for this kind of rusty effect.
So that's me for today... I can see I've probably started out at the top of a very slippery slope with the whole Halloween thing. Quite apart from anything else, I think skulls and skeletons are extraordinarily attractive objects - fascinating and uncanny at the same time.
Thanks so much for taking the time to drop in today. It's always great to feel you're not just typing away to the empty ether! Every comment is so much appreciated, and I'll always do my best to return the compliment... Happy crafting (or whatever else-ing, obviously)!
I'm entering this in the following:
The Tando Creative colour challenge to use Purple, Orange, Green and Black
Artful Times are playing with Fur and Feathers this fortnight
Simon Says Stamp and Show are still looking for signs of Rustification
The Crafty Bloggers Network are playing Anything Goes this month
Heck of a Challenge are having a Spooktacular challenge
If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance.
George Bernard Shaw