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, 18 April 2015

Book of the Flowers

Hello everyone.  If you haven't heard the wonderful news that Calico Craft Parts are back... well, where have you been?!  Although I'll always miss Calico Crafts as it was, I'm thrilled that the Craft Parts have arisen from the ashes to live again.  I've been celebrating the wonderful news by sharing some of my Calico Crafts Design Team pieces which used the Craft Parts.

If you're tempted to play with any of these great wood and MDF laser-cut designs, click on the links and you can head straight to the brand new website and start shopping!

I'm adding this altered book box to my crafty scrapbook here at Words and Pictures today but, as always, if you saw this post over at Calico Crafts the last time round, please don't feel you have to comment again.

So, on the outside of the chipboard book (the large one of the Chipboard Book Box Set  - so it's 22.5 x 18 x 6cm) I played with lots of layers of paint and texture.

I knew from the start that I wanted to use the large Wildflower Corner Flourish (knowing what's inside, I know it will complement what's there!).  It's already so beautiful that I did very little to alter it.

There are lots of different Corner Wood Shapes available, and they all come in various sizes, so there's bound to be something perfect for your project.

I just gave it a coat of the DecoArt One-Step Crackle, and once that had worked its magic, I inked it with dark brown ink to highlight those fabulous crackles.

I put some DecoArt Decorating Paste through a stencil from my stash which seemed to work well with the Wildflower Corner, and once that had set, I started adding my layers of paint.

I can't say for sure what colours are involved... I'm pretty sure Warm White, Driftwood, and Raw Umber were in the mix, built up in layers and washes, knocked back and dry-brushed until I was happy with the look.

I thought it would be nice to have a cobwebby look across the "ancient tome", so I pressed the Kaisercraft Crackle Texture stamp into action.

It's stamped in Coffee Archival and then clear-embossed so that there's a dewy shimmer as it catches the light.

I stamped "les fleurs" onto the smallest size of Plaque Shape 1, painted with more DecoArt Americana Acrylics, and I added some flourish stamping before giving that a coat of the One-Step Crackle too.

Again, there are many different Birch Plywood Plaques, all in lots of sizes.

On the spine I added a label using one of my favourite Tim Holtz sentiments: In dreams we catch glimpses of life larger than our own.

And around the edges, there's another Kaisercraft stamp on duty, this time the Woodgrain, which I thought made rather good "pages"!

So, we come to the inside, and some of my absolute favourites of the Calico Craft Parts lines... these gorgeous Wild Grass Shapes.

They've had the same treatment as the Wildflower corner on the cover, with crackle and stain.

I love that the gloss of the crackle intensifies the colour and darkened edges of the laser-cuts, as well as giving a gorgeous shimmer in the sunlight.

For the background I used a natural sponge to add another bunch of DecoArt Americana colours - Indian Turquoise, Spa Blue, Hauser Light Green and Citron Green - so that you travel up the page from grasses to sky.

For some extra detail, I stamped some lovely TH text in WhiteWash, and did some additional script stamping as well as some inking using toning inks through the Tando warped honeycomb mask.

Here you can see the stages of adding the crackle to the meadowgrasses, from left to right - the "raw" shape, easily beautiful enough to use as it is, then with a coat of One-Step Crackle, and finally with the inking to intensify the look of the crackles.

I've used several different grasses: Wild Grass Shape 3 gets its own spotlight inside the front cover...

... while Wild Grass Shape 2, Wild Grass Shape 4 and the Bulrush Grass Shape 8 are all inside the box.

To create the dimensional depth between the flowers I deployed a couple of those incredibly useful little sponges that come as part of the packaging when you buy TH embossing folders.

I cut them to the size I wanted, and gave them a coat of paint too, so that if you catch sight of them it won't look too out of place.  They gave me both the ability to create the dimension and some stability for gluing the stems in place.

Around the bottom I added some lovely Icelandic Moss, a mixture of light and dark green, I think.

The quote is by Ralph Waldo Emerson and bobbed up on a Google search.  It seemed to work well with my beloved meadow grasses: many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers.

It's stamped according to my usual habit, in multiple ink colours, and inked to echo the sponged paint in the background from grass below to sky above.

So there you go.  As you'll have noticed, this wasn't the easiest thing to photograph, but I hope you get the idea.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you've been enjoying re-visiting some of these Calico Crafts projects this week (check out the Garden Tray and Woodcuts ATC if you missed them) but - as I've said - there's no need to re-comment too!

There are more to come over the next days and weeks, and I hope somewhere along the line you'll be tempted over to the new Calico Craft Parts website to see the delights awaiting you there.

Happy Crafting all!

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.
Henry Miller

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Woodcuts ATC

Hello all, I'm celebrating the fantastic return of Calico Craft Parts again today.  (If you missed the Garden Tray, do check it out.)

Although Calico Crafts suffered a terrible fire last year and had to close down, I'm thrilled that this fantastic line of wood and MDF shapes is now available again, with a brand new website which you can find here.

This Woodcuts ATC was created for the Calico Crafts Design Team using some of the Calico Craft Parts designs, and I thought it was about time I added it to my crafty scrapbook here.

Please don't feel you have to comment again if you saw last time around!

The fabulous laser-cut MDF Wood Mini Plaques come in sheets, so you also get brilliantly useful "leftovers" - there's stencilling potential, or you could use the frames in all sorts of other ways too (and they're only £1.99 for a sheet - bargain!).

I'd had the idea to create a dimensional ATC - layering up the Mini Plaques onto a thick piece of card cut to 2.5 x 3.5 inches in size.  Fantastically, the new-look Calico Craft Parts includes a wide range of ATC blanks - including a plain one.  I'll definitely be stocking up on some of those great designs!

I took six of the Mini Squares, and applied DecoArt One-Step Crackle to them.  Once it had done it's magic, I inked over the top to highlight the crackles.

The other plaques I used were the Primitive Stars...

... the Primitive Hearts...

... and the Ovals.

I stuck them to an old book page with Mod Podge Matte from my little Mod Podge Starter Set.

When the glue was fully dry, I pressed down hard around the edges, and then used an emery board to trim away the excess paper.

You need always to stroke downwards with the emery board so as not to risk the edges of the paper getting caught and peeling up.

I inked the edges just for extra shading, and once I was happy with the layout I added a couple of Chitchat stickers to the ovals.

My base was just some thick card I had hanging around.  I covered it with pages from the same book as before, and used some Raw Umber paint to make the edges a rich dark brown to match the edges of the laser cut Craft Parts.

I won't have to do most of that now that I can just get one of the Calico Craft Parts ATC blanks to fit the bill!

So, a simple enough make, but I think the fantastic Craft Parts make it look pretty cool.  I hope you like it too.

Head over to Calico Craft Parts and check out these and many, many more designs now available... with new ones arriving all the time.  I'm so happy they're back!

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon.

We all come in different shapes and sizes, and that's fine by me.
Kristin Scott Thomas

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Long Live Calico Craft Parts!

Hello all!  I'm absolutely thrilled to share some fantastic news with you... After the awful fire which put the much-loved Calico Crafts out of business last year, I'm delighted to say that the Calico Craft Parts have arisen from the ashes.  This brilliant line of gorgeous laser-cut wood and MDF shapes is now available again, with an ever-expanding range of even more designs to choose from.  Check out the brand new website here.

To celebrate the wonderful news, I thought I'd share some of my Calico Crafts Design Team posts which used the Craft Parts - posts which hadn't yet made it over here to Words and Pictures and need to be added to the crafty scrapbook - starting with one of my favourites, this Garden Tray.  (If you commented last time, please don't feel you have to again!)

The tray itself is part of a range of self-assembly Printers' Trays - they're being re-designed at present and should be available very soon.  It's so cool that you put them together yourself, because it means you can decorate them beforehand, which makes painting and papering much easier.  So here's what I came up with for my first tray - it's a country garden, moving through the seasons, in a tray!  And it uses other wonderful Calico Craft Parts available now.

I'm afraid I forgot to take photos at the early stages... but I started with the DecoArt Chalky Finish Paints.

I gave the walls of the tray a coat of Enchanted - an earthy garden green, then a coat of the Decor Crackle Medium (specially formulated for the Chalk Paints), and then the white Everlasting over the top.

Eventually they had added shading using all sorts of colours, which you'll find out about further down the post.

On the back wall, I glued a piece of the Tim Holtz Menagerie 8x8 paper using the matte Mod Podge from my Mod Podge Starter Set.  Because the pattern on the paper varies, it looks as though I've carefully chosen different papers for different sections of the tray... nope, it's just one piece! 

I decided it was time to glue the tray together.  Because I had added both paper and some quite thick paint layers, I had to do a bit of sanding around the "teeth" where the pieces join to get them to fit snugly.

You might be better not gluing the paper right over the teeth, but just up to the edges of them - that's what I'll be trying next time - you live, you learn! - or maybe that's what they're working on in the redesign!

I added some shading with green paint, a wash of DecoArt Hauser Light Green, on the corners, both external and internal, adding a bit of colour to the background paper too.

Next, I started filling my compartments with lots of rustic goodies.

I altered some Buttons with paint - the Enchanted and Everlasting chalk paints again, a little touch of DecoArt Forest Green - and a tiny touch of Florentine Gold Treasure Gold.

I threaded Rusty Tin Wire through the buttonholes, and layered some of them up over different sizes of the Rusty Tin Hearts. 

The smaller heart is mounted on a cork from a glass vial which smashed.  Naturally I saved the cork, and now it's doing good service creating great dimension in this little section of the tray.

The smallest rusty heart is mounted over one of my favourite Punched Metal Heart Danglies, which has had the same painty treatment as the buttons.  And I curled a bit of rusty tin wire through the hole at the top.

In the tall segment at the top, with the largest rusty heart (mounted on some padded tape), I added one of these fabulous shiny yellow pears, so that became a sort of autumnal section, especially with those pods looking like sycamore wings, of which more later.

Just below that, it's Spring!  I created a little nest of green jungle moss and someone clearly took advantage as there are now some miniature speckled eggs nestled in it.  I also added some of lovely Sun Daisies in Golden Yellow, Yellow, and White and Yellow.

And there are some more daisies up in the summery corner, top left.  These I left with longer stems, rather than chopping them off as I usually do, and I used some masking tape to stick them into a UTEE moulded pot I'd made a while back and which had been sitting on my craft table, waiting for a chance to come out and play.  

The moulded UTEE is painted with DecoArt paints in Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber with a little dark shadow of Raw Umber at the edges and some highlights of Florentine Gold Treasure Gold.

The final touches include some more of the wonderful Calico Craft Parts - one of the grasses, Wild Grass Shape 2...

... and a snippet of seed pods, cut off from the Maple Leaf and Twig shape that I used in the orchard frame which I'll be sharing with you soon.  It's playing the role of autumn sycamore seeds here!

Both of them had a coat of DecoArt One Step Crackle, and then I inked with Vintage Photo Distress Stain to intensify the crackles.  You may also spot little shimmers of the Treasure Gold too (as well as the button hiding in the dappled sunlight behind!).

I used lots of Rusty Tin Wire to attach an Idea-ology Word Band which I'd altered with the Hauser Light Green and Forest Green paints, as well as some Quinacridone Gold paint and Florentine Gold Treasure Gold.

I almost forgot to tell you the paints for the shading on the outside!  I used the Quinacridone Gold and some Raw Umber around the corners of the tray, so that the edges also have a good rustic feel to them.

So that's my rustic garden Printer's Tray for you... From what I hear, various styles of tray will be available at Calico Craft Parts soon - definitely worth keeping an eye out for, and great fun to play with.

In the meantime, I can only recommend that you head over to Calico Craft Parts and see what fabulous bits and bobs are available, and all for temptingly reasonable prices.  You have been warned!

Thanks so much for dropping in, and I'll see you again soon.

Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.

Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes.