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...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Alas, poor Yorick!

Hello all, and a happy weekend to you.  Welcome to Words and Pictures - with an especially big welcome to the new followers... it's great to have your company.

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

47 comments:

sam21ski said...

WOW Alison fabulous tags but I love those bottles. Very spooky indeed.

Sam xxx

chrissies said...

Fantastic tags Alison both very atmospheric.

Love Chrissie xxx

froebelsternchen Susi said...

spooky... and the style and colors are AWESOME Alison!

Shelby said...

Now those are some creepy and cool tags. love the embossing and the pops of purple and green look amazing.

Shelby

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

I had to smile Alison when you mention about gluing your bottles up to you tag, I have had one of those days making things and not realising just hw difficult they're to adhere lol. Love your tags, the colours work fabu,ouslt for Halloween. I am loving the Oxford Imressions images, particularly that bird. You should wor out of your comfort zone more often, these are fabulous Alison. Thanks so much for joining in the Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. Tracy x

die amelie said...

So, being away from your comfort zone is being in your comfort zone, I see ;)

How can you do this to me and show Dr. Coffin's Apothecary in such an adorable manner?!! It has been on my wish-list for quite some time now and I always had something more important to get...at least that's what I thought...

Now I have to wait until next year to buy this stamp set, because I ordered myself a temporary shopping-break....

Gorgeous spookylicous artwork, Alison. As usual - naah, not always spooky, to be correct. *lol

Hugs,
Claudia xxxx

Izzy said...

Wonderful work :)x

Candy C said...

Alison...love your two Halloween tags. You always have such a way of creating such dramatic pieces! Love them! Thanks for sharing your art with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

Janny Jager 't Hooft said...

Great spooky tags Alison
Love the colors and bottles
They look fantastic.

Greetings Janny

Redanne said...

Well I love Halloween so these are perfect in my eyes, love how you have done the front and back, the colours are gorgeous, have those TH stamps but now must have the others - oh dear.... love the cat and the raven particularly. Crafty hugs, Anne x

Cestina said...

Love the Shaw quote - may we have a dancing skeleton next please? Or a couple of them?

I wonder what tune they would dance to...?

butterfly said...

My alternate post-title... Dem Bones, Dem Bones, obviously!
Alison x

Gez said...

WOW!! Amazing tags with so much detail. What lovely stamps to work with.. & your bottles look fantastic! You ROCKED these colours! So glad you joined us over at Tando this month. Thanks, Gez xx

mandy said...

fabulous, love it thankyou for shareing at heck of a challengexxx

Julia S-W said...

I too have been following the wonderful Lynne and have nearly been tempted by these very same stamps! I adore what you've done with the tags and the colours work so perfectly (I would have dismissed them immediately too!). Wonderful images, superb stamping and so loving that cat image - well, loving ALL of them I shouls say. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Juliaxx

House of Bears said...

Fab stamps, and those bottles, wow, you are very talented. These could have made an entry into the bears challenge too really, a bit of death and scary images...

Lisa S. said...

Alison, what fab Halloween tags you've created. I love the stamps and spooky touches plus that wonderful ribbon. :) These are awesome!

Brenda Brown said...

Love the outcomes of your playing Alison and the stamps are fabulous.
hugs {brenda} xox

Kate said...

A gorgeous pair of tags! Love the backgrounds and all the stamping.I will be scrutinizing your photos carefully to try and figure out how you did it all! Love them!
Kate

Chrissy said...

Fantastic Alison, I just love all the colours and the spooky images...gorgeous tags.Those bottles are brilliant...."How did you stick them down"..lol...sorry couldn't resist.

Luv CHRISSYxx

inkypinkycraft said...

Another wonderful make Alison, the stamps look fab!!!!trace x

Kylie said...

You are really amazing, Alison. Such inspirational work xx

Andrea Small said...

ooh - those bottles are very clever. What do you do with your finished products? Can't bear to think they are stored in a box...x

...the yorkshire fox... said...

...I'm so pleased you set yourself this colour challenge Alison, it just goes to show stepping from your comfort zone yeilds treasure!, these two tags are simply fabulous, what I loVe most is your background, the colours the technique the murky eerie-ness, great stamping too...a superb posting, it's always a delight to see your creations Alison...Mel :)

Anna-Karin said...

Fabulous tags! I love the bottles! And all the stamping is wonderful. The backs of the tags look so cool. Thank you for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show!!

Cestina said...

Don't you know that absolutely everything in our house is now stored in a box Andrea? ;-)

Actually, it was lovely to arrive in the Czech Republic and find butterfly's carousel hanging up on display and to come across other things she made here......

Lisa M said...

LOL..the one thing I really wanted to know was how you glued them down..hahahaha..simply from personal frustration I'm seeking the answers. :) Alison these tags are fantastic. I love seeing the newer color use and you should be over joyed at their outcome. Especially enjoyed seeing the textures and the "bruising." Absolutely Halloweeny and thank you so much for the very descriptive tutorial on how these were made. Terrific tags!! :)
hugs to you,
Lisa xx
Thank you also for joining us at Heck Of a Challenge this month.

Carol Q said...

wonderful tags Alison. there are some great hallowe'en stamps around this year.

Sandra said...

Those spooky tags are amazing! Very brave of you to step out of your color comfort zone! And you did it with succes! Gorgeous! Thank you so much for joining us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. Hugs, Sandra

May said...

Fabulous tags Alison, the backgrounds are AmAzing!!! I love oxford impression stamps.... Boy I am so glad you stepped out of your comfort zone as these are Brilliant creations... a feast of spookyness!! Hugs May x x x

sarah-Jane said...

Brilliant tags. I love them! I love your style of crafting, all the fab little details, so creative.
Sarah-Jane xx

Sarah said...

I love your style!!!!

Buttons said...

Just catching up and found these two beauties. Loving the colours!!! and the bottles. Know exactly what you mean about sticking these things down. Cosmic Shimmer dries clear glue works a treat. Hugs, Buttons x

WendyK said...

Fabulous tags, just love the stamps and your bottles. The colours are great as well.

Sarah Carrington said...

Great project. Thanks for joining in with Crafty Bloggers Network monthly challenge

Sarah (CBN DT)

lynne said...

Alison
Those are sensational in their detail, in the texture achieved and the menacing nature of it all. I do so like that hint of purple.
The bottles, oh my goodness they are amazing.
I am so sorry I placed temptation in your path, in future I will make sure I am not nearly so naughty!!!
Wishes
Lynne

Von said...

It's all going on on your tags alison :) fur, feathers, Halloween and amazing colours :)
Terific tags and thank you for sharing them with us at Artful Times
Von ♥

Anita Houston said...

Fabulous to go out of your comfort zone, isn't? Nicely done! These are both uber cool...love the bottles!

Gio said...

I love them , Alison. But ..but.. I still see some brown! ;-)

Silvia(Barnie) said...

I'm so happy that my new computer works and I'm able to visit all my friends in blogland again. You've been very busy and creative during the last time. So many wonderful works to see.
This one is really breathtaking, fantastic use of the Dr Coffins Apothecary plate :)

Kaz said...

These tags are just fabulous. I love all the details and your bravery over using new colours!
Thanks for joining us at Tando this month.

Bärbel said...

Zwei großartige Tag, es ist erstaunlich, welchen Effekt Sie mit den Stempeln erzielen!

Mrs.B said...

WOW Alison, Love all the masking and stmaping on these tags and those bottles look amazing
Avril x

Dana Tatar {datatar} said...

Amazing tags! Your bottles are awesome! Thanks for joining the Tando Challenge! =)

lena-dailyscrap said...

WOW! Great tags! Beautiful stamps and that bottle is really stunning! Well done!

karen said...

beautiful tags

Sandi McLean said...

Fabulous stamps and you have certainly done more than justice to them...delightedly creepsome!