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, 1 September 2014

The Spirits of Trees

Hello for the second time today!  If you're looking for my Country View Crafts Nautical make,just click the link, but now it's time for the September challenge theme at Our Creative Corner, and my inspiration offering for you.


The brilliant Claudia (die amelie) is offering us a beautiful photo grid of inspiration, and my team-mates have created the usual array of amazing work to get your Mojo flowing.



Do hop over and take a look, and you'll find all the challenge details and rules too.





The first thing that caught my eye was the fabulous glowing translucence of those leaves in the centre.

The attempt to capture something of that effect was the starting point for my little hanging.











My leaves are made from leftover packaging acetate which I tinted with a combination of alcohol ink and translucent acrylic paints.

Frescos and DecoArt paints were involved - I forget exactly what colours now...











Then I stamped one of Tim Holtz's Falling Leaves in Forest Green Staz-On several times, and cut them out.  Heating the acetate means you can shape and curl the leaves for extra interest.









The foundation for the hanging is some pieces of driftwood, courtesy of Calico Crafts.  They're picking up on the gnarly bark in the photo grid.

I gave all of them a wash of white paint to highlight some of the textures in my somewhat smoother wood.











The glossy blue-black berries also caught my attention.  I didn't have any dark berries, so I raided my jar of Christmas berries and gave some red ones a makeover.













As well as Little Black Dress, Eggplant and Pea Coat (the old translucent version) Frescos, I added a coat of Gloss Glaze to get a good shine on them.













I also loved the twisty twirly stems in the top left of the grid, so I used leftover flower stems to twine my hanging together.









I almost always use just the flower heads, so I have an envelope full of the green wired stems ready for their moment.

And that moment finally arrived...  The twirly wires not only hold the hanging up; they also curl in and out of the berry clusters.












The words are from another favourite e.e. cummings poem (you can see it in full below - and catch more e.e. cummings with my Beachcombing Printers Tray!).

That light in the leaves and the energy of the curling stems and the gloss of the berries all seem to be full of the spirits of trees, so the line was going around my head as I was making this.







The glossy blue-green cogs are actually stolen from a dismantled past creation.  They were made with lots of Distress Paint and have a thick coat of Gloss Glaze on them.

I guess it was that glossiness which made me think they'd be a good addition here - catching the light as the berries and leaves do.





So that's my little hanging for you.  Do hop over to see what Claudia's fabulous photo grid inspired the rest of the team to create, and we hope you'll be inspired to play too.


Don't forget there's also my Nautical Box for the new Country View Challenges theme to check out, and if you missed my Calico Woodcuts it would be lovely if you had a moment for them too!  Happy September Crafting everyone!

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

e.e. cummings (all punctuation and spacing, or non-punctuation and non-spacing, is intentional)

A Nautical Box

Hello all!  It's the first of the month, so there's plenty going on today... I'll be back in almost no time with the new Our Creative Corner challenge (Update: now ready to be seen here), but first here's some inspiration for the new theme at Country View Challenges.




Our host is the wonderful Jennie, and she'd like to see your Nautical creations this month.

There's lots of inspiration from my fantastic team-mates over at Country View Challenges today, and as always we'll be offering up more ideas and projects over the course of the month.

Here's my first piece for you, a little nautical ATB.







I don't have very much in the way of nautical craft stash, but I remembered this lovely Legend stamp set by 7 Gypsies, full of markings from old nautical maps.

The background of the ATB was created just to use up the paint left over when I was making my dimensional dragonfly hanging.  I sponged it onto the surface with a natural sponge.








I stamped the nautical map markings in black archival.




There are measurements, and compasses, and labels for various seas and oceans.






I daubed on some Versamark ink and added a few grains of clear embossing powder in various places.

I like the effect you get of droplets of water.












The final touch was to line the edges with some thick white twine from my stash - the idea was to get the look of ships' ropes.











And that's your lot for now, but do hop over to Country View Challenges to see what my team-mates have been up to.

I'll be back later in the month with another Nautical offering, and later this morning with my Our Creative Corner offering, so I'll hope to see you again very soon!




Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
AndrĂ© Gide 

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Layers of Calico

Hello all, I've just a sneak peek for you today, hoping to tempt you over to the Calico Crafts blog to see what I've been up to with the Calico Craft Parts this time!


Combined with book pages and crackle medium and a few others of my favourite things, I've created a layered ATC... I'd love to know what you make of it if you've time to hop over and take a look.

Follow your dreams.  They know the way.
Kobe Yamada




Oh, and for anyone who wanted to see more of the "old house in Paris, covered in vines" mentioned in my Dollshouse Gallimaufry, it's now available for viewing over at Cestina's dolls houses... or at least Chapter One is!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a fantastic weekend everybody.

Friday, 29 August 2014

The post is here!


Hello all!  Well, it's finally time for the proper postal delivery over at Country View Challenges.  You may remember that I delivered my postcard early (you can see it here if you missed it), and today is the day that you can see the fabulous postcard creations of my lovely team-mates.

I think I gave them all heart failure when mine bobbed up - so apologies again to all of them!  Do hop over to Country View Challenges and see what they've made... I promise you'll have a good time.

I'm starting to get to grips with New York, dealing with the subway, finding my way around, and settling in with the acting company.  It's a pretty full-on work schedule but I'm finding a bit of time to explore and play too.  We've had lovely sunshine and glorious blue skies so far, and the city looks amazing, so it's all good.  Thank you for all your kind thoughts and wishes.

I'm back with a Calico Crafts project tomorrow, and looking forward to some visiting over the weekend.  Happy Crafting all!


It is not easy writing
someone a postcard.
The size and shape
of the card cut you down 
to size...
From "Postcard" by Ron Padgett

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Journey Journalling

Hello all!  Yes, the passport arrived with the visa in just in time, and so later today I should be on my way to the Big Apple!  If I remember to take some photos, I'll share my "minimal" travelling stash with you at some point. I couldn't get it down to less than about a quarter of the suitcase - but who needs clothes?!


It's been a pretty hectic time here, and I've been living on a bubble of anxiety for several weeks... but now it's time for that to change to bubbles of positivity.  The adventure begins.

Over at The Artistic Stamper today I'm sharing some journalling done in the midst of the chaos, when I just needed to be gentle with myself.

But looking at it today I can suddenly see that it's all about the butterfly taking flight, off into the wild blue yonder... so how appropriate that it turns out to be due for posting today!

I hope you'll have time to pop over and take a look.  I always love to hear what you think.  And once I'm safely landed and settled in, I'll be able to get back in the swing of some proper visiting in Craftyblogland.

Have a wonderful Sunday everybody!


Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci

If God had really intended men to fly, he'd make it easier to get to the airport.
George Winters

Friday, 22 August 2014

A little touch of Tim






Hello all!  I'm very excited that it's my turn to host over at A Vintage Journey this fortnight.

I'm looking for "A Little Touch of Tim" from you.  The challenge is to use Tim's products and/or inspiration to create ATCs (Artists Trading Cards), so they must be 3.5 x 2.5 inches in size.

You could create a single ATC or a pair or a set, but I'm being a purist here, and so your creation must be ATCs NOT chunky ATCs or ATBs to qualify for the prize or to be one of our Pinworthies.

There's a fabulous array of miniature masterpieces from my brilliant team-mates for you to admire over at A Vintage Journey, but before you hop off here's my offering for you.









It really started from the tiny book page scrolls and sort of grew from there... not much planning, just a bit of playing!

There's some Wallflower paper in the background, cut from one of the smaller scale pages to make it size appropriate for an ATC.











And I took my cue from the plants on the paper to add some die-cut ivy vines trailing around.  I like curling up the edges of the leaves for extra dimension.











The photo is from one of the Darkroom Door Photobooth sheets - you get an A4 size card full of great vintage photobooth photos... and these two just leapt out at me with their beaming smiles.













I added the file tab at the top - not much difficulty picking which word to put inside it!  












And the ChitChat stickers pretty much chose themselves too.  My closest friends are so important to me - I honestly don't know where I would be without them on this life journey.












I wanted something else metal to balance the file tab, and decided on one of the adorable heart charms.  Again, it had to be that sticker for the inside... no thinking required!












The scrolls couldn't be simpler - a few torn strips of book page, a touch of Vintage Photo and Gathered Twigs Distress Ink, and a bit of fine twine and you're there.








It needed just a little something else...

... so the final touch was to cut the tiny butterflies using the Butterfly Frenzy Decorative Strip Die.  












I cut some from book pages and some from another piece of the Wallflower stash, and then layered them up to create double winged butterflies with some extra dimension.







I did try taking some pictures of this not surrounded by ivy, in order to let the ivy on the ATC show up a bit better, but I just didn't like them.  So it was back to the ivy background... irresistible!


I hope you like my friendly ATC, and I hope you'll be inspired to play along with A Little Touch of Tim this fortnight.  If you're still not sure, just take a look at what my amazing team-mates have been creating over at A Vintage Journey, and I think you'll find yourself tempted to play too!

Thanks so much for stopping by... and I can't wait to see what tiny treasures you create.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.
C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Missing you...

It's true... I am.  I'm missing being able to visit regularly and see all the marvellous things going on in Craftyblogland - though I did manage something of a catch up over the weekend.  But the countdown is well and truly on now, and pretty soon I hope to be sending postcards from New York.

In the meantime, we're having a bit of a Magpie Day over at Country View Challenges - with lots of postcard inspiration for you (postcards you might write from the beach, for instance!).  Here's mine to get you started...  UPDATE - Oops - I delivered mine early! My team-mates won't be sending theirs for another few days yet... Apologies all!!  I knew something would get messed up in the madness here…

UPDATE TWO - But now, at last, it's the right mailing day, and you can see my team-mates' fantastic postcards here!!


My team-mates have made some wonderful postcard-themed creations - and many of them have lovely words at the heart of them, so you could also count it as extra inspiration for the WordPlay challenge theme this month!





The Tim Holtz PostCard header was in one of the first stamp sets I bought when this whole thing kicked off two and a half years ago.

I should use it more often... it always gives me such pleasure when I do!  It's stamped in Jet Black Archival, and I drew the dividing line with a PITT pen.








I'm also a little bit stuck on the meadow grasses from the Spring Sprung stamp set, as you'll know if you saw my Busy Bee tag the other day.

This time they have a more autumnal look - stamped in Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain, applied direct to the stamp in "stripes" from top to bottom.





I used a photo cut from one of the Tim Holtz paper stacks, and a tag from a Prima set of ephemera.

Once I'd distressed and inked the edges, I layered them up to one side of my postcard.








The typical postcard greeting is from the Simple Sayings stamp set and, coupled with all these rusty fall colours, it's not just been put down without thought.  Somebody is definitely really missing someone!

It's mounted on padded tape so that it stands proud of the other layered elements.









The rusty heart is another sign of the heartache present here, and the cogs and gears churning away to keep things ticking over while the lovers are apart.





Over at the other side, the Lincoln stamp comes from the Idea-ology Ephemera packs, and some more cogs are working hard to bring our writer back together with the recipient.  And which direction are we going in?  Well, towards our heart's desire of course.

So that's my vintage postcard for you today.  Thanks so much for stopping by... the cogs are turning and the countdown is on, and once I've made it safely to the US, I hope to get back to visiting more regularly.

And don't forget you can now see some more fantastic postcards over at Country View Challenges Magpie Day!







No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth.
Robert Southey

Ingredients available at Country View Crafts:
Tim Holtz stamp sets - Spring Sprung and Simple Sayings
Idea-ology Ephemera Pack - Expedition
Idea-ology 8x8 Paper Stash - Menagerie
Idea-ology - Compass Coins
Idea-ology - Sprocket Gears
Distress Inks - Rusty Hinge, Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs, Walnut Stain
Archival Ink - Jet Black
From my stash - Tim Holtz Postcards stamps, Prima tag, textured card, padded tape, rusty heart

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Beachcombing...

Hello all!  Thanks for the lovely comments on my Busy Busy Bee.  I've definitely been a busy bee again this week, travelling all over for work.  Then I spent much of Friday at the US Embassy, and it looks as though we're good to go with the work visa (as long as the courier gets my passport back to me in time to fly... still touching wood!).  Now I'm actually at home for just over 48 hours before I rampage off up and down the country again.  I fully intend to spend some of those hours doing some catching up with you all!

In the meantime, you can relax with some beachcombing over at Calico Crafts today.  I've been playing with the fab new Calico Craft Parts Printers Trays again, as well as lots of paint, crackle mediums and lovely sun-bleached bits and bobs, as well as a quote from one of my favourite poems (see below!).


I hope you'll have time to pop over and check it out.  And I hope you all have a really wonderful weekend!

maggie and milly and molly and may 
went down to the beach(to play one day)

and maggie discovered a shell that sang 
so sweetly she couldn’t remember her troubles,and

milly befriended a stranded star
whose rays five languid fingers were;

and molly was chased by a horrible thing 
which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and

may came home with a smooth round stone 
as small as a world and as large as alone.

For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) 
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea

e.e.cummings

Friday, 15 August 2014

Busy busy bee!





Hello all!

We're having another Tag Friday over at A Vintage Journey today, with lots of lovely tags to inspire you for some weekend crafting.

Do hop over to see what my fabulous team mates have been creating... and here's my little offering for you.

As you all know, life's busy round here at the moment.  I didn't even get to play along with the July Tim tag, but I did start out on the journey towards it by making this bee using his new Layered Bee die.

He was just buzzing around my craft table and needed a home, so when the Tag Friday callout came round, I decided it was time to create one for him.





There ended up being so many Distress Paint colours underneath the Rock Candy Crackle Paint that I'm not sure I can list them for you.

I do know that I used both Shaded Lilac and Evergreen Bough Distress Stains to highlight the crackles on the wings though.









He has some more of my leftover notebook bindings doing the job of creating curly antennae.

I used some Cloudy Blue alcohol ink and Aquamarine Treasure Gold to tint them slightly.









It's a very simple background, inked with Distress Inks to create grass and sky, and then I layered in some meadow grass stamping.


It's done in a combination of Distress and Archival inks, using stamps both from the small Visual Artistry set called Nature's Elements and from the large Spring Sprung set.










There's a little bit of extra texture stamping around the top, a lovely mottled effect courtesy of another stamp from the Nature's Elements set.

I used some rustic twine to bind the dyed crinkle ribbon strands.









I added what seemed an appropriate Word Band - he really is quite a specimen! - fastened on with some simple rustic twine.

This has also had a touch of the Cloudy Blue and Aquamarine combination, the same as the antennae.











And that's pretty much that.... a simple home for a busy bee.

I hope you enjoy checking out the other Tag Friday tags over at A Vintage Journey, and don't forget there's still a week to play along with Chris's fabulous Time Flies theme (it certainly does).  See you there!





Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it, so it goes on flying anyway.
Mary Kay Ash

A bee is never as busy as it seems; it's just that it can't buzz any slower.
Kin Hubbard