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, 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.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Time to fly...

Hello all, and welcome to October!  It's time for a new theme at Country View Challenges, and the Add Some Texture.
wonderful Jennie would like us to

Well, to be honest, it's a rare project for me which doesn't involve some texture, so I was very happy to see this one come up, even if my tag today has a slightly melancholy air.

I was influenced by that autumnal gathering of the birds, ready to make their way south to warmer climes, leaving behind them only a memory of summer (personally, I'd've gone several months ago if I were a bird).

If you'd like some less sombre inspiration, do hop over to Country View Challenges and see the delights my team-mates have served up for you there.  And don't forget, there's ongoing inspiration throughout the month, so do drop in there occasionally.  For now, let me take you through some of my layers of texture.

I started by putting bright Distress Paints onto a jumbo tag - my colours of the summer, Mermaid Lagoon and Twisted Citron.

I spritzed with water and used my fingers to move the paints around to create some texture even in this first layer (the same process as for the background under my hand-drawn face earlier this week).

But it's no longer summer, so we have to soften those colours into a background memory.  The first cover-up was to brayer on some Chalk Fresco Paint.

Then I did some stamping using the alphabet stamp from Tim's cool Documented set, some in ink and some using the Distress Paints in Mermaid Lagoon and Twisted Citron.

Over that, I stencilled some DecoArt Crackle Paint through the Flourish Layering Stencil and left it to crackle... well, of course there had to be some crackled texture!

We're starting to get a nice decayed look now... the faded grandeur of days gone by.

I did some wrinkle-free distressing with Distress Stains onto a sheet of the Ranger Mixed Media cardstock - there's Ground Espresso in there, Gathered Twigs, some Vintage Photo maybe.

I'm not sure any longer, but I put the result through the BigShot with the wonderful Bird Silhouette.

I had a vibrant red inky tag left over from my Autumn Collection so I cut a couple of maple leaves with the Fall Foliage Thinlits and added them to the mix.

The leaves are starting to turn and fall, so it's time for the bird to be on his way.

Do you think the young birds, making the journey for the first time, have the slightest idea of the extraordinary physical effort which they're about to need to make?  How incredible that instinct keeps them flying thousands of miles twice a year.

He's mounted on padded tape (as are the leaves), and I gave him some Ground Espresso earth so that he has some firm ground for take off.

The Small Talk stickers are providing a bit of a pep talk before the off... a strong piece of advice for life's journey too.

There are a couple of rub-ons... As the bright colours of summer fade into the background, so the musical memory of abundant summer bird song echoes across the tag.

I was trying to get some wide burlap ribbon out of its packet, but it was fraying at the edges.  As I pulled all I got was masses of skinny twine edging…

The wonderful Tracy Evans (now a fellow Creative Guide on the Vintage Journey, lovely to be back on a team with her after all that time at Artistic Outpost!) often tops her tags with extravagant twine bows, so I took a leaf out of her book and decided I might as well just use that.

So that's my textured tag for you - full of the melancholy of an autumnal farewell, but also ready for the journey ahead.

We hope you'll find time to Add Some Texture this month and come and play along with us at Country View Challenges.  As always, there's a randomly drawn prize voucher from our lovely sponsors Country View Crafts on offer, so you might get to stock up for the winter too!

Thanks so much for dropping in today.  I'll be back before you know it… and the migration continues!

Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.
Lyndon B. Johnson

I'd like to offer up my migrating bird and falling leaves in the Autumn challenge at Try It On Tuesday
And I'd like to join in again at Anything Goes with Autumn Colours at Mixed Media World