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, 21 May 2018


Hello all!  There seems to be some confusion over the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which come into action on May 25th and whether individual bloggers are part of the deal.  To be on the safe side, this quick post is to let you know that I have created a Privacy Policy which you can now see at any time by clicking the link at the very foot of the website home page.

The data held by Blogger is very limited, and I assure you I do not and never will use your data for anything but sending you notification of a new blogpost, or for clicking through to your blog for a return visit.  As stated in the Privacy Policy, all Blogger blogs use cookies, and these can be disabled in your internet settings if you choose.

If you are a follower by email, you are of course entitled to unsubscribe at any time of your choosing, but I hope you will continue to follow my crafting journey here at Words and Pictures.

Okay, boring business over.  I'll be back with some proper crafting later today.  I'll hope to see you then.

In the kingdom of glass everything is transparent, and there is no place to hide a dark heart.
Vera Nazarian

Friday, 18 May 2018

A few extra notes of music...

Hello all!  I'm so glad you enjoyed my Stencil It altered journal cover - it's one of my favourite recent creations for sure.

It's the third Friday of our challenge month at A Vintage Journey, and in our new itinerary that means it's time for the host to add a little something extra to the trip.  It might be a tutorial for their challenge project, or an extra little bit of inspiration.  I've gone for the latter, and here's a little sneak peek...

I'll admit I was on autopilot writing the post for my Under the Greenwood Tree page spread, and I covered the step-by-step here at Words and Pictures, so I really had no choice about going for the extra inspiration version.  To be honest, though, it's probably what I'd have chosen to do in any case, if I had remembered earlier!

The theme I'm hosting is Words and Music, so you'll find a few extra notes of music if you hop over and take a look.  We hope you'll come and sing along with us at A Vintage Journey this month.

Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.
Lao Tzu

Monday, 14 May 2018

Stencil It!

Hello all, and thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you all had a lovely weekend.  I'm very excited to be back in the Designer Spotlight at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge again.

This week the theme is Stencil It!  Once again the amazing Design Team at SSS have knocked it out of the park.  It's an honour to be invited to create alongside them for this month.

You can check out all their stencilled inspiration over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge by clicking on any of the logos - it's well worth the trip! - but let me share my offering with you before you go.

For a while now, I've been irritated by the cover of one of my favourite journals.  It happens to be the one in which I created last week's Hold On, Be Strong spread for last week's SSS theme.

It was a bright red hardback book - left over from work - and, as regulars will know, red really isn't one of my go-to colours.

I thought it was about time I did something about it, and this challenge theme kicked me into action.  Here's what it looks like now...

And it also looks pretty good when you open the whole thing out flat too.  I used Tim Holtz's Layering Stencils, and put all sorts of different media through them - Distress Inks (used with embossing powder), PaperArtsy Fresco paints, and some Finnabair Plaster Paste...

... and they're all over a deeply crackled background.  So instead of bright red, I now have my favourite colours, textures and meadow flowers to inspire me every time I pick up this particular journal.

I'm afraid I haven't got a picture of the original red - I forgot to take a proper "before" photo.

This is when it had already had a coat of DecoArt chalk paint in the soft green Enchanted (already a big improvement - I can't imagine why I didn't do this ages ago).

I applied a layer of Crackle Glaze with a plastic palette knife, and then over that a combination of Stone and Chalk Fresco paints.  Look at that weathered crackle!

I used the Leafy Layering Stencil to lay down some Distress Inks across the crackled background.  It's Peeled Paint and Stormy Sky in action.

Since I know the book will be handled regularly and spend time on the craft table, I needed to "fix" the Distress Inks so that a) they won't rub off or fade, and b) they won't be vulnerable to water and wet media in the future.  So I added clear embossing powder over the inky patterning.

Now they have that lovely light-catching glossiness which makes me so happy.

The next stencil into action was Numeric.  Through this I sponged Fresco paints, combining Sky, Limelight and Green Patina in a fairly random manner.

The PaperArtsy paints have a chalky matte finish which contrasts really nicely with the sheen of the embossed inks.

The third and final stencilling medium was some texture paste.  I started with some Prima Light Texture Paste, but I wanted a little more from my meadow flowers.

So I re-positioned the stencil (not entirely precisely as it turned out, but we're embracing imperfection), and applied some of Finnabair's new Plaster Paste over the previous texture once it had set. 

It's a firm, opaque paste, so it gave the flowers just the pop of presence I was after.

So this is where we've got to so far... the V of Numeric going across the whole spread, the inverted V of the Leafy pattern going the other way, and the dimensional white flowers awaiting developments.  And I'm afraid that's where the process photos stop!

From there on, I was inking and painting, focussing entirely on how the journal looked, and the camera ceased to exist for me.

I couldn't resist starting to apply some brown inking to the edges of the covers - Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs, maybe some Walnut Stain in there.

Inky edges are almost inevitable round here.  This is the back cover, of course.

For a long time, the flowers stayed white, as I was enjoying them, but eventually I decided they might look good with some colour on.

I started by experimenting with Distress Inks, which meant I could spritz with water and lose pretty much all the colour if I decided I didn't like it.

But I enjoyed the change, so I made it permanent with the help of some DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics. 

These have a lovely glow and translucence which means you can blend and layer them with great subtlety.

The warm tones of the Quinacridone Gold tempted me towards increasing the depth of the inking around the edges, and I shifted from using Distress to Archival inks to help with permanence.

I also decided to intensify the look by using clear embossing powder on the very edges.  As I continued to play, I also used Distress Crayons in darker colours - Walnut Stain, Ground Espresso - to deepen the shadows.

I love the gnarly textural effect of the crayons over the embossed areas - it's very cool.  (Click on this photo or, even better, the one above for a closer look.)

I sought out a couple of Idea-ology Quote Chips to provide additional inspiration.

I'm doing a lot of dwelling in possibility at the moment, and it seems that there's another major step in the journey in the offing - so these are important words just now.

The Quote Chips are inked with Coffee Archival ink so that they tone in with everything else that's going on.

There's spatter in both white acrylic and a touch of Quin Gold to echo the flowers.

I love the shine of the embossed leaves...

... contrasting with the matte chalkiness of the numbers.

And of course under it all there's that scrumptious crackle breaking through.

I hope my altered journal cover will inspire you to get out your stencils and Stencil It this week.  If you need a further nudge then do hop over to the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where there is plenty more inspiration on offer from the team.

As always, there's a $50 prize voucher on offer.  Who wouldn't want the chance of a Simon Says Stamp shopping spree?  Or the possible honour of being picked out by the DT as one of their favourites?  So do come along and play.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  It's always a delight to read your comments, and I'm even starting to get round to some more regular and long overdue visits in return!  See you again soon.

Isn't it mysterious to begin a new journal like this? I can run my fingers through the fresh clean pages but I cannot guess what the writing on them will be.
Maud Hart Lovelace

Find these products at Simon Says Stamp:

Tim Holtz Layering Stencils - Leafy, Numeric, Wildflower
Distress Inks - Stormy Sky, Peeled Paint
PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Chalk Paints - Stone, Chalk, Limelight, Sky, Green Patina
PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze
Prima Marketing Plaster Paste
Idea-ology - Quote Chips
Ranger Clear Embossing Powder
Archival Inks - Coffee, Sepia
Distress Crayons - Gathered Twigs, Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain, Ground Espresso

Monday, 7 May 2018

Hold on, be strong

Hello all!  I'm thrilled to have been invited back into the Designer Spotlight at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge this month.

It's such a pleasure to be invited to create alongside the incredible Design Team there, and we've got a wonderful challenge theme for this week.

The theme is Ombré... the gradual blending of one colour hue to another, often moving tints and shades from light to dark.  The team are also playing with Dina Wakley products (though that's not compulsory to join in with the challenge) and here's the journalling page spread I've created for your inspiration.

I was inspired by both the artistic definition of Ombré and also the underlying meaning in French - shadow or shaded.

So the young Scribbly Girls have the shadows of their future selves hovering over them, offering advice.

Or maybe it is the older women who are looking back at the shadows of their former selves, and wishing they could share their accumulated wisdom with them as they face life's challenges.

I started with my main ombre effect.  I added stripes of Distress Ink to the craft mat - from the bottom up it goes Pumice Stone, Weathered Wood, Stormy Sky, Faded Jeans, Chipped Sapphire - and spritzed with water.

I placed my open journal down on top of the inks and pressed it down.  This is the effect after that first "print" was dried with a heat tool.

This particular journal has quite a sheeny coating on the pages, so the inky effects are really pretty.

I then did several more dippings and dryings until I had a wrinkle-free distress look that I liked.

I stamped Dina's Scribbly Girlies in Pumice Stone on a separate piece of watercolour paper and clear embossed the images before tinting them with Distress Inks and a water brush.

I added some Design Tape to the page to give the girls something to stand on.  I was aiming for an Ombré effect with the tapes to echo the main one in the background.

It was at this point that I had the idea of using Dina's Words in Faces stamps in the sky.  My instinct was to have them in white, so they'd hover like wispy white clouds in the blue.

But I wasn't quite sure about it, so I stamped them onto some acetate in white paint so that I could get an idea of how they would look.

That's a yes!  But before adding the faces in a more permanent form, I decided on a bit more background stamping.  Again, I've echoed the Ombré idea.

So the leafy stems are stamped in Frayed Burlap Oxide ink, and the hearts (also from the Scribbly Girlies set) graduate from Stormy Sky via Faded Jeans to Chipped Sapphire.  (And I think later on I also added some Pumice Stone ones near the bottom of the pages.)

The pages also needed something more solid in the background to create depth, so I grabbed Tim Holtz's On the Edge Townscape die.

Once I'd decided they would work, the houses also got the Ombré treatment.  (The cloud faces are still on acetate at this point.)

Time to take the leap and stamp the faces in the sky directly onto the page.

I stamped in Versamark and embossed with Wow white embossing powder.  I love how they look.

The scribbled words in their hair are echoed by the main sentiment panels.

These individual words are also part of the Words in Faces stamp set.

I thought about adding them direct to the page, but decided I wanted them to have a more substantial presence...

... so they're stamped on watercolour paper in Ground Espresso Archival ink.

And, at the risk of Ombré overload, they've also had a touch of shaded inking at top and bottom to echo the colours of the rest of the page.

As I was gluing things in place, I felt the girls needed a little more definition, so I used my fine-tipped Sharpie to enhance their facial features as well as to give them a darker edging to make them pop.

Since the Sharpie is a permanent marker, it will work even over the glossy embossing.

And I used a black watercolour pencil to add shadows beneath their feet.  It beds them into the page and makes them more solid.

Oh yes, look - there are the Pumice Stone hearts.  I knew I'd added them at some point!

I didn't have a particularly clear idea of where I was going at the start of this, but I do like where I've ended up.

The shadowy ideas underlying the pages are reflected in the slightly sombre colour tones, but I don't think that overall it's a melancholy spread.

The words being shared between the younger and older women are full of hope and strength.

And it does warm up when you catch it in the sunlight, so I'm sure the message is getting through!  What do you think?

The amazing team of designers have created some spectacular Ombré inspiration for you over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, so do hop over and check it out.

As always, there's a $50 gift voucher on offer for the randomly chosen winner, as well as the chance of being selected by the team as one of their top picks. 

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you've found some shaded and shadowy inspiration to encourage you to join in with the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge this week.  Happy Crafting all!

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Find these products at Simon Says Stamp:

Dina Wakley Scribbly Girlies
Distress Inks - Pumice Stone, Weathered Wood, Stormy Sky, Faded Jeans, Chipped Sapphire
Wow White embossing powder
Tim Holtz Design Tape 
Archival Ink - Ground Espresso
Custom Archival Ink Pad (to use with the Ground Espresso re-inker)