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...

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Krafty Butterflies

Hello all!  It's time for a new theme at Country View Challenges, and this month the lovely Sue would like us all to Use Kraft Card.

Regulars will notice I've been playing with variations on a theme of springtime butterflies with my tags lately, and this is definitely part of the pattern.  (You can see all three tags together later in the post.)

But, in fact, this was the one that kicked it off (unless you count my Destination Inspiration tag over at A Vintage Journey which was really the first one in the series, only that one featured Umbrella Man rather than a butterfly)... it's just it had to wait for the first of the month to be revealed.

So I knew I wanted to use the Mixed Media thinlits to cut the kraft card.  And I love how that looks over the Distress Inked background.

It's not just Distress Inked, of course.  As you can see from this photo, there are also stamping and stencilling layers.

My favourite Lattice stencil is there, as well as the Splatters stencil.

The meadow grasses are from the Tim Holtz Spring Sprung set, layered in Leaf and Olive Archival inks.

And I even started with the idea of using one of the new Tim Holtz Watercolour butterflies.  But the kraft card took over!

The little tag had been sitting around on the kraft table for a while, after being used to mop up some Distress Stains.  And I thought it made a lovely home for the fabulous Handwritten Thoughts.

As I often do, I clear-embossed the lettering after stamping it with Coffee Archival.  You get such a lovely gleam in the right light.

I used the tiny words from the Stuff to Say set on both the large and small tags.  It just adds some extra detail and interest... and you know how I love my words!

I also love how the delicate thinlits pop against the lush springtime greenery (completely by chance lining up almost exactly with the stencilled lattice underneath)... and it was that that sent me off to make some krafty butterflies...

The Bigz/Texture Fades Butterfly Duo have been getting a real workout around here lately.

Here they are cut from kraft card (stamped first with the Stuff to Say words), and then embossed, and then given a good splattering to bring them to life.

Dyed crinkle ribbon (what else?) at the top, and a layer of kraft card to frame the whole thing, and the tag is pretty much done.

Butterflies ready for lift off!

And, as promised, here's the trio together.  You can see how the ideas and off-cuts and leftovers migrate from tag to tag.  It was a very happy few days at the craft table, grabbing time when I could to change, add or alter each of them until I was happy that they worked.  (Visit Harlequinade and Harlequin's Other Half if you need to see more.)

So, we hope you'll come and Use Kraft Card with us at Country View Challenges this month.  As always, there's a generous prize voucher from Country View Crafts, and we always love to see what you create.

Since it's April 1st (no fooling!), there's also a new challenge over at The Artistic Stamper.
 We're looking for Flora and Fauna (so this CVC tag would also qualify!) - and if you missed my offering for that at midnight last night, it would be lovely if you have a moment to check it out too!

I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days - three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.
John Keats (in a letter to Fanny Brawne)

Flora and Fauna

Hello all!  It's the first of the month, and time for some new challenges.  I'll be back later in the morning with the new Country View Challenges theme, but right now we'd like to invite you to come and share your Flora and Fauna with us at The Artistic Stamper this month.

I don't need much excuse to get out the Encyclopaedia Botanica stamps designed by Katy Leitch, so there was never much doubt what I'd be reaching for with that theme... and here's the tag I created.

The metallic background is created with my10 Seconds Verday paints - the Copper colour.

You paint on one layer and let it dry, then paint on a second layer.  While that's still wet you spritz it with the patina solution and let the magic happen.

The real copper and verdigris in the background means you have to give the stamped images some oomph to make them pop against it.

I think this angle gives you an idea of the sheen of the copper as well as of the solution to how you get the images to zing.

It's my usual solution... they're stamped in Coffee Archival and then clear-embossed.

(I never tire of this stunning flower.)

That gives them the extra clarity and visibility amidst the coppery accents of the background.

And with the shine you also get my favourite "now you see'em, now you don't" effect!

I also stamped some of the dictionary text from the same set in Evergreen Bough - a shade which echoes the decayed coppery tones of the verdigris - but left that un-embossed.

I used the Verday paints on the Idea-ology WordBand too, as well as on the wire which attaches it.

The metal skeleton leaves have had a touch of Viva Decor 3D Stamp Paint in various colours to match the verdigris look.

It has a really cool shimmer, I think.

More of the wire is wrapped around the dyed seam binding at the top of the tag.  And I added an Idea-ology Muse Token altered with a hint of Treasure Gold.

So that's my Flora and Fauna for you.  I hope you'll come and play along with us at The Artistic Stamper this month.

Remember, we do need to see some stamping on your creation.  You don't have to use Artistic Stamper stamps but if you do you automatically get two entries into the prize draw.

Hope to see you there... and perhaps here again in a few hours too, when I'll be back with the Country View Challenges theme for April.

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.

Animals are such agreeable friends; they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.
George Eliot

Friday, 27 March 2015

Putting Pen to Paper

Hello all!  Thanks so much for stopping by.  I've something a little different today... I'm taking a deep breath and sharing some of my first experiments with dipping pen and ink drawings.

It's all very doodly at the moment - the start of a journey - and a long journey, I suspect, since I know daily practice is the key to developing new skills, and it's a good month and a half since I last managed to put pen to paper!  Must do better at carving out a few minutes each day despite busy rehearsal schedules.

So, here are some spring flower tags that came about as a result of my first playtime...

These were done way back in February (you can see the ivy's only just starting to get eaten - it's pretty much completely gone now, very sad).

The nib on the dipping pen I got is very fine so that you get a really delicate line.

I thought I'd try out some meadow grasses, since they're my favourite things amongst my stamps, and somehow that led to flowers (not botanically accurate, I hasten to add - just figments of my imagination!).

I used Distress Stains and Gelatos to add my colour.  That sheen on the red flowers is all Gelato!

With the pink flowers the colour came first and I added pen work afterwards.

For the golden ones, the pen work mostly came first and then the colour.

I tried to keep things loose and fluid - no colouring inside the lines here - in a deliberate attempt not to freeze up by trying to get things "right".

And it's all on watercolour paper tags (by Prima), so you get a lovely softness in the colours to balance the fine, scratchy lines.

I even tried out some green drawing ink for some of the stems and leaves - rather like that!

I've got quite a few drawing inks for messing around with in Mixed Media work, but I usually forget they're there.

Hopefully using them for this will move them nearer the front of my brain, and I'll remember to reach for them when I'm playing with other mediums too.

I was just experimenting, so I could have left off once I'd done the drawing and colouring, but I thought I'd be kinder to my first poor efforts.  So I added some background stamping, some spatter and hints of Treasure Gold, doodled some frames around the edges of the tags and mounted them on cardboard packaging (an Amazon envelope, if memory serves).

I dyed some crinkle ribbons to create co-ordinating toppings.

Got to have some words of course.  My own writing... eek!

I also added some Idea-ology Muse Tokens, attached with rusty wire, naturally.

And while we're on the pen and ink, here are just a few doodlings from my "pen and ink journal" - the place where I'm supposed to be doing at least something daily, though these are again from back in February.  I'm hoping that by sharing the intention of daily work here, I'll maybe actually put it into practice (like when you tell people your resolutions to try to encourage yourself to actually do them!).

It was hard to break the virgin beauty of the page, so I started with words - my comfort zone - "The tiniest steps in mark making," and a command: "Begin...", then literally some mark-making - cross-hatch work to stop the page being so bare.  Then I set off again with the meadow grasses, and a slightly fantastical woodland dwelling.

Trees, of course... (these were inspired by the ones outside my window at a song weekend I went on - which is how come I know when all this arrived on the pages).

This tree happened as a bit of an accident - too much ink on the nib blotting onto the paper, so I turned the nib over and used the back to start spreading it into a tree shape.  As so often with accidents, I think this might be my favourite little sketch.

And faces...  I've doodled faces like this in the margins of scripts for years, always in pencil though (and only while discussions turned to fight/dance considerations so that my attention wasn't required!).  Feels a lot more committed in ink...

So, just the tiniest steps in putting pen to paper, and it's bizarre how much scarier this feels than most of what I share on here. And even more scary because I'll be out of internet reach for much of the weekend, so I won't even know what you're making of it all.

But if I'm sticking to Words and Pictures as a record of this journey, then here is where they need to be.

Now all I have to do is convince my fingers to hit the Publish button!!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone.

The very first step towards success in any occupation is to become interested in it.
William Osler

The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.
Lee Iacocca

He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom.
James Huneker

I'd like to enter my floral tags into the Spring Blooms challenge at the Inspiration Journal, sponsored by the Inspiration Emporium
And as another entry in the Anything Goes theme at A Sprinkle of Imagination

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

An Artistic (Stamper) Flourish!

Hello all!  So glad you've been enjoying the Harlequin tags, and thank you so much for your visits and lovely comments.  Hoping to get round to repay the generosity soon...

For now though, it's sneak peek time again here at Words and Pictures.  I'm over at The Artistic Stamper Creative Team Blog today with an altered jar... yes, it's time for more candlelight!

I hope you'll be tempted to hop over and take a proper look, and I hope you're all having a great week.

Poetry fettered, fetters the human race.  Nations are destroyed or flourish in proportion as their poetry, painting and music are destroyed or flourish.
William Blake

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Harlequin's Other Half!

Hello all!  Thank you for all the lovely comments on the Harlequinade tag.  I'm back to share the tag which grew up alongside it... Harlequin's other half, as it were - so no, not Columbine!

This one was created with the extras and leftovers from Harlequinade, plus a little touch of something new.

As you can see, we're still very much in a springtime colour mode - despite the still somewhat grey March day outside as I write this - and you'll see all the echoes which make this a very close partner tag to the Harlequinade.

The background was created when I mopped up some of the spare ink from the watercolour page spritzing (the page used to cut the butterflies and the spare diamonds from last time).  I just grabbed a manila tag and splodged it around the base of the not-pizza box so that I didn't waste the lovely Distress Spray colours.

Obviously when I cut my coloured Harlequins for the first tag, the outer parts were left sitting waiting for something to do.

It didn't take long for me to try out how they looked sitting over my mop-up background... sold!  I'm having so much fun playing with these Mixed Media Thinlits.

Plus that spare butterfly was hovering...

First I added some extra layers to the background.

There's some stamping using the same tiny text from Stuff to Say as on the first tag.  The first layer was stamped in Antique Linen Distress Paint...

... and I added another layer of text stamped in Broken China Distress Ink.

There are also lots of splattered layers of both Antique Linen and Picket Fence building up a soft textured look.

I stuck down the two bits of spare Harlequin outers, and also echoed the idea from the Harlequinade of adding Glossy Accents to some random diamonds to give a touch of glossy dimension to catch the light.

The top half of the butterfly is cut from the same piece of spritzed watercolour paper (I cut four altogether so, yes, there's still one flitting around the craft table!), and has had a dusting of Ivory Frantage on the raised parts of the emboss.  It has a lovely delicate sparkle in the sunlight.

The lower layer is the butterfly which fluttered over from Harlequinade, Rock Candy crackle paint and all, having been surplus to requirements over there.

Double-layered butterflies have been around since very early in my crafting history - this new Butterfly Duo makes it such fun to create elaborate versions without much effort!

For the words, I cracked open my Handwritten Thoughts stamp set.  It's stamped in Cornflower Blue, believe it or not...

Something seems to happen when you clear-emboss the blue - probably to do with refraction of light - and you get this lovely ocean green effect.

I have had it happen to me before with the Cornflower Blue, but had forgotten until I was heating it, so it's a happy coincidence that the end result tones so well with the rest of the tag!

More splatter adds a little more textural detail.  Where it's splattered over the Glossy Accents it looks as though it's floating slightly above the rest of the paint - an unexpected bonus!

And of course we're all topped off with some dyed crinkle ribbon, fastened with Idea-ology Paper String which I curled around a slender paintbrush end.

And that's that for this one.  It's another tag which puts a smile on my face, especially since it came together without any effort from me at all - just mop-ups, extras and leftovers from the Harlequinade which all fell into place very happily.  As you can see, they are definitely related!

Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you're all having a lovely weekend.  See you soon.

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.

Nothing is more precious than being in the present moment.  Fully alive, fully aware.
Thích Nhất Hạnh

I'd like to enter this in the following:
Wings'n'Things at the That's Crafty Challenge Blog - making up my hatrick there!
And as another offering in the Anything Goes theme at A Sprinkle of Imagination