Hello all, and a very warm welcome to Words and Pictures on a very chilly evening (well, it is where I am, at any rate).
Everywhere you look at the moment in Craftyblogland, there seem to be Thanksgiving projects and themes and challenges. It isn't, of course, a holiday that we celebrate in the UK, but what an incredibly worthwhile thought - to spend a day in the exercise of gratitude, of thankfulness and of counting one's blessings.
I watched a TED talk the other day by Brene Brown, and enjoyed it so much that I bought one of her books. In it, there was a section about gratitude, with the recommendation that it really is something one has to practise, daily; and she talks about how that practice can have a profound effect on how you walk through life.
I passed this on to my brother and his family, and the kids have really embraced the idea of saying out loud at dinnertime each day something that they are thankful for. It's a secular form of saying Grace, I suppose.
I'm a regular counter of my blessings - of which there are many - and I try to stay mindful of bearing a thankful heart. So I'm more than happy to turn my crafting to the cause of thankfulness, with this rustic altered heart.
I had such a lovely time making it, playing with some of my new toys from my trip to the NEC last week (jeepers... only a week ago - it's been a long one!).
The heart itself is one of the 35p ones I got from the MDF Man; it started out like this. (It's about 6 inches wide and 4 inches tall.)
I had a wonderful time experimenting with the paints and crackle glaze I got from PaperArtsy, and I'm completely thrilled with the end results you get - perfectly weathered, and right up my distress/shabby chic alley!
I'd also decided to play along with Simon Says Stamp and Show's current challenge which is Stamping Without Ink.
So none of the stamping on this project is done with inks... mainly it's paint instead, but there is also a bit of Distress Stain stamping.
I used the gorgeous Tattered Angels flourish - which appeals to me because it's already in a state of distress even when perfectly stamped - to stamp at the edges of my peeled paint heart.
I applied PaperArtsy's French Roast Fresco paint to the stamp with a little make-up sponge (bag of 20 for £1), and found it gave exactly the right coverage for a good stamping.
I sanded the edges with an emery board, and I did use some Vintage Photo DI to edge the heart, and to boost the crackle in places for extra weathering. Very pleased with it!
The leaves are also stamped in Fresco paint; two are stamped onto my favourite recycled bread wrappers (lovely crinkly wax paper basically), and two onto watercolour paper.
I then coloured the ones on watercolour paper using a water brush and various inks, Versamagic (chalky ones) and Distress Inks (because it's simply not possible for me to manage without them).
The central heart I cut freehand to echo the shape of the main heart. I'm away from home, so there's no access to die-cutting even if I wanted to! I used a piece of kraft card I'd been experimenting with a while back.
I'd stamped Tim Holtz's Papillon script stamp on it in Picket Fence Distress Stain, and loved the watercolour look of it, but hadn't found the right project for it until now.
I love the skeleton veins running across behind the text (stamped in the paint again, with my trusty little alphabet), reminiscent of the veins in dried leaves. It's mounted on some of my favourite white mesh from the Funkie Junkie Boutique.
There's a collection of twine and raffia and white raffia at the top, finished with a bow, and all given an extra bit of definition with some Vintage Photo DI, and that's pretty much it!
I'm thankful for so many things, and I simply have to say that right now I'm so grateful to all of you for your visits, comments and the inspiration I find visiting you all in Craftyblogland. Thank you!
You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
I'm entering this in the following:
Simon Says Stamp and Show who would like us to Stamp Without Ink
At Sugar Creek Hollow, the challenge is Kraft
Simon Says Stamp's challenge this week is Thanksgiving/Thank You
The Inspiration Journal is asking us to create small gifts or table decorations to show we are Thankful
Pile It On are also encouraging us with the challenge Let's Be Thankful
Unruly Paper Arts are having a Reader Art Quest for items of Home Decor - if you like this, it would be wonderful if you'd pop over there and vote...