Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Stars and Stripes...

Nocturnal or early bird greetings to you all...
A few hours ago I was engrossed in papery ponderings...convinced I had another day left to join in with the challenge at Simon says Stamp and Show. Agreed to work all week at the office and today was my first chance to get going with an idea that had been waltzing around my head... but after a quick peek at their blog I saw I had just five hours to come up with the goods. Major eeek! So, after a rather animated  "Oh flippin' heck" and a pep-talk with my tweakaholic side, time to get busy.

The challenge this week is Stripes and thoughts of the American flag immediately took up residency with me. I also have this great photo stamp of Clarke Gable and Vivien Leigh in a passionate moment. So I decided to pull it all together by recreating the mood of the film "Gone with the Wind". Hard times, around 1860, The Civil War, Georgia and on the plantation Scarlett O'Hara will get her man...

I started by doing a bit of research and then went on a hunt for my materials and ephemera. I have printed out the flag on canvas and then aged it with inks and fraying. I really wanted canvas for the texture, authenticity and to be able to create movement in the piece. I set it onto a piece of painted and distressed cardboard.

I found a pretty sassy excerpt from the book on-line and turned it into a book page by changing the font, layout and adding a page number. I applied a layer of gesso and then tore, distressed and inked the papers. I stamped over top with some florals to add contrast and layered it under the flag.

I am really pleased with the letter which I made from nothing. Just my printer, some white paper and a rubber stamp. I found out where Scarlett lived, typed the address and then spent ages looking for the right letter font to transform it into a love-letter from Mr. Rhett Butler! I printed it out onto paper, cut it to size, aged it with DI, added two collaged stamp images and then added the post mark by stamping to finish off. Don't mind the wrinkles and bumps - all part of it...See, if you really want something bad enough - create it!

I found the other images after a hefty on-line search for genuine ephemera images from that time. Again, chose the size and just printed out on normal paper. The change happens after lots of fine tuning with "the distress kit". I adore this green card. It is a remembrance card for the soldiers of the Civil War, the others are a song book cover and an ad for the Pony Express Mail!

The film is originally a book, so I wanted to add an image of the book cover too - next to the lovers... I then added a hand-made ribbon and lace flower. I used more lace and ribbons on the rest of the piece, going for a nice dark brown velvet one down the side, a fabric scrap and buttons and also added a double bow in the corner. I didn't go over the top with embellishments. I think the stamped photo and other images are strong enough.

Today it was really about recreating the mood and era of Gone with the Wind. Have you ever seen it? No...? A good way to spend a long, lazy Sunday afternoon...and frankly my dears, I do give a that is why I am here at this ungodly hour. Huge thanks to my brilliant hubby who helped with the fabulous photographs - whilst I fainted on the craft table...

I am entering it into a few challenges:
Simon says Stamp and Show
Creative Inspirations
Paper Romance Challenge
The Pink Elephant
Anything Goes Challenge

I think I will call it a day, even though it's morning. Thanks for calling by and taking the time to be here. Hope you enjoy it - I'm off up the wooden hill.. a soft pillow and a dream with my name written on it awaits...


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What's on your Workdesk and Less is More

Hello Wednesday !
Yes, the weekend had done a runner and here we are, mid week, on our way to March... the world is definitely spinning faster. Time to share some of the creative antics happening at HQ...
In reality the whole room is quite a mess but the photo makes things appear pretty orderly. Saturday I finished an intensive project and I have never been in such a chaotic state...the scraps started hitching a ride down the stairs into the kitchen...

Sunday night I fancied a dabble at something new and have always wanted to crochet mini-flowers. But I have never crocheted...So there I am at one in the morning following a You Tube tutorial. One hour, some iffy comments and 100 videos later - two little flowers. Not perfect, but I am well pleased with them and thought I could soon whip up a heart. No such luck - after several failed attempts I could only manage what looked like a pancreas. I don't think there's much call for them - not even in the realms of altered art...

Yesterday I indulged in the Less is More Challenge where the theme is spring. Once again enjoyed a different genre and method of working. It really is good for the old brain to go to the other extreme - precise, yet understated and pure.

I have made several variations using just one stamp. I enjoyed playing with the different compositions, colours and textures. I have stamped the image (Hero Arts), cut it into four pieces that are almost like mini-canvasses and then had fun.

Here we have blue on white with simple stitching, ribbon and sentiment. Played for a while before deciding to go for just three of the pieces.

So this little one was made from the orphan blue piece I had left over! Good to see that just one simple piece and some lace can be so lovely.

Number three - it is actually a lovely green but it was a bit dark ! Went for all four pieces this time which worked on this card shape.
 I stamped on white card using a random mix of red and green Distress Inks and really like the effect it gives.

And number four...
Here I stamped and embossed with clear powder and then applied several tones of Distress inks. This time I went for just two pieces and layered them up on a jute scrap and added some copper thread.

I decided to work with a range of background colours and not just white to see what happened and also to challenge myself to use a few different colours than I normally would. All in all - I think it worked out really well and it is good for me to venture into other styles. Had a great time.
So there you go...that's me all done with flowers, chat and cards for this week! Hope you enjoyed them.

Tomorrow I have a free day and I can finally do some desk-hopping again!
Thanks for all the visits, kind words, new followers and means a great deal. For those that wanted to know what happened to all those lovely tags last week...well, this did. Made the Top Three at Simon Says! Click here or see my previous post.

Next time I will be sharing about the four(!!!) lovely gifts I won in the One World One Heart Blog hop...amazing...! If you are going to be Holtzing it up this week - have a good bash and keep it together ladies.

See you all around out there,


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Weekend Nostalgia and All Tagged Out...

Bonsoir Monsieurs! (they are out there...)
I hope you are enjoying your weekend...A socialite I am not tonight, alas, as my Saturday evening finds me knee-high in the chaotic - but oh so satisfactory - aftermath of quite a crafty session. On Wednesday I showed you all a pile of tags in the making and a promise to show the out come. So after four days of stressed distressing and distressing stress and enough tweakamanic endeavours that would do even NASA proud, behold...mission accomplished.
My love of vintage has once again taken me captive and I went full out on a hanging with a background constructed from the tags. I have mounted them on an old hardback book cover which worked liked a dream. I plumped for earthy vintage tones using some Graphic 45 papers as a guide, then took each tag and just let them evolve...embossing on paper, and metal, paper to canvas transfer, corrugated card, gesso book page, collage, stamping - the full works!

Then I set to work on the decoration. I have used scans from my own collection of vintage postcards and photographs for all the images. I have aged them and set them on little pieces of wood.The two darling little girls are housed in a mini-frame coloured with alcohol ink covered by a mica scrap for a glass front effect. I love them to bits. The young lady is edged with Viva Gold...I say it every time - but it is wonder-stuff. I used DI's to age the smaller paper flowers and made all the others myself.

I have stamped the sentiment onto a scrap of linen and glued it to card ready to mount - but I discovered it fitted perfectly inside a memory frame! How cool is that? So I used alcohol inks again to colour the silver frame and get the right tone. The key was also silver but remedied that with a good dose of Distress powder and fire ( well, heat gun). The two glass fragments have been coloured with alcohol inks and then stamped on the other side with Stazon.
Here you can see more of the rose, key and metal tag. I used copper metal for the tag, embossed it and then altered it with three different alcohol inks. Finished it with an edging tool and a sanding block to reduce the shine and reveal more of the texture. I think I could make a mini work just with that tag, the rose and the girls...did I say I adore them...oh yes. The word Memories is stamped on a piece of mica - again with Stazon. I have found it works much better for me doing it the 'wrong way'. I lay my inked up stamp on my table and then press the mica onto the stamp. Less slipping and sliding around!
From then on I carried on added the finer details such as vintage lace, ribbon, beads, braid - all the goodies we so love to peruse. It turned out to be a real labour of love and took a fair bit of patience and energy. I knew exactly what I wanted and I could see my destination...but you have to walk the distance too. But it is that challenge that makes this creative art form so captivating and fulfilling. I just adore the whole creative process - the initial thought, then a concept, generating substance to work with, then selecting, filtering and finishing.

As said the book cover was just perfect. All I did was cut it off an old book from a charity shop and edge it with Viva Gold. It was dirt cheap, the perfect colour, size, strength and look I needed. Job done! So don't be afraid to rummage around in those boxes at Jumble Sales girls!

So that what how it was done and that is also me done for the weekend. Phew...need to go and restore some sense of sanity in my craft room and then - sofa, hubby and cuppa. I might not be out partying - but this is a pretty fine Saturday to me!

I am also entering my piece into a number of challenges:
Simon Says Stamp and Show - Tags
A Spoon Full of Sugar -  Not a Card
Fab 'n' Funky - Own Embellishment
C.R.A.F.T. - Not a Card

This is me clocking off...until whenever!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

One World One Heart 2011 - Winners Day !!!

Dear OWOHers,
Hope you have enjoyed the fun and frolics of  OWOH is the day of the draw and I am pleased to say that my mini-canvas and bag are respectively off to:
Elisabeth Waring at Luluiz  and...
Melissa at Primfixins 

Congratulations - looking forward to sending them off to you both. I had a lovely surprise at work. I was having a brain-dead mo and decided to peek at my e-mail and discovered I had won THREE ! wonderful gifts. .

I will be showing them off next month. I hope you have all enjoyed the whole experience - discovering, making new friends, being inspired and sharing your art.

A very big thank you to Lisa for all her time and effort - and take a look at her next big plan!!! Be there! Enjoy yourselves...wherever and whatever,


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What's on your Workdesk Wednesday...? Do tell...

Hello to all the Blogettes, Typee's and WordPressers, etc., and another Wednesday,
  Time to celebrate another nosey around - and the arrival of mid-week for all those desperate for the weekend. Thanks to Julia at Stamping Ground, we have the chance to share whatever is occurring on your crafty work-desk. All genres, rants, ramblings, states of chaos and insanity allowed. As you can see I am in mid-flow and would like to adopt the term "work in progress" to justify all the mess. Been busy doing quite a lot lately (see last two posts) and I am now up to my knees with a major tag project/challenge which must be done by Friday so that I can breathe, blog and get to bed before 3am...

Rather lurvely tags in the making - even if I do say so myself...(which I am). Bit of everything happening with these lovelies...
Starting on some adornments too with a flower. It is actually a lovely rust colour - but it looks like I have just dusted it with cocoa here. I have been baptised in the joys of a glue gun. Great gadget - saves loads of time - I am blessed to own the very rare "Fall over to the left and splodge Model". Hope to show the finished tag piece by the weekend. (Don't quote me on that one).

Short and Sweet today - a miracle indeed. Enjoy mooching around and see you out there.

Thanks for visiting - I know there's a lot of desks to get to - so a very big Thank you for calling by and taking the time to say something. It is always greatly appreciated and I read them all...

Farewell Fairest Folk, we'll meet again...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Just a few blooms - Less is more...

Hello again,
Sarah here again...enjoying a free Monday and the pleasures of some simple stamping and crafting. The weekend was an intensive session, so today was a chance to keep things simple and pure.
The new blog "Less is More" took off with a real bang last week and this weeks flowers or trees 'one layer' challenge is already in full swing. (I must add I ended up with as much mess on my craft table as ever - a place where more is more, and less is more!) Here is what I got up to...

 I decided to go for some stencilling to create the flower background. I used the cut-outs left from punching flowers as a stencil and used different shades of Distress Inks for the flowers. Just think how many punches we all have lying around doing nothing - the options are is a cheap and easy way to drum up lots of new designs!

I then stamped the sentiment in Coffee Archival and inked the edges of the card for that extra bit of focus. Just like last week - you need to be pretty darn clean and I used several stencils to keep things smudge free. I must admit that one or two little certain flower positions were determined by a speck of wayward ink!

Here is a second variation using Kraft card stock and blue paint rather than ink. I love working with paint as you get just that bit of extra texture. It is very important to heat set each flower before moving onto the next  - otherwise it can be a right old slippery ride! A card stencil is needed as paper gets too soggy - and you definitely need a fresh stencil each time with paint.

I stamped over the top with Sepia Archival. It adheres well but also gives a translucent quality to the sentiment. As you can see I was able to play with the tones by adding different degrees of white to the blue. Again - endless options and colour schemes to go for - which means you can always find the right colour! I distressed and inked the card edged as this one has a slightly Shabby feel.

And number three! Decided to go for a more modern look using white card with pink and purple distress inks. Ah yes, white - the most exposed, tell-tale surface of all. Patience, patience, patience ladies...and lots of clean stencils ready before you start to avoid the temptation of just hoping for the best.

Not normally a purple girl, but I do like this one and the quirky stamp. It is also good to think about the colour of the sentiment as it plays a big role in the whole look - so I did a few test runs on scrap paper to see if the contrast was right. Makes all the difference - really.

Here is a shot of the aftermath. You can see the stencils I used and an array of lovely shades left by all that paint and ink...Had a great time again. I really like the joint venture of simplicity and concentration. I also love it when a plan comes together...

So come on girls - get busy recycling all those punch-outs and unused punches. If you can punch it or cut it out - you got a stencil! Just think of all those die-cuts lying around...
Head on over to Less is More to see all the other great entries, and have a go too. It really does you good. Joining in with a few challenges too...
Totally Paper Crafts
Secret Crafter

Ciao for now,


Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Shabby Tea Room Design Team Call and Challenges...

Hello Everyone,

Hope you are enjoying your Sunday! Well, although it is normally known as the day of rest my Sunday (and Saturday) has been an intensive flurry of scissoring, tongue-biting, inking, and tweaking. Over at the Shabby Tea Room there is a call for new members for the DT. Seeing as I have a rather long love-affair with all things vintage, I decided to dive in at the deep end and have a go. She who dares wins - and all that.
The inspirational photograph was of a pink and black polka dot tea-set (see end of post). A yummy friendship of styles, colours and pattern - but still a challenge to think of something a bit different and not overly sweet. I was coming out of the girIy phase - but have been lured back in. I actually collect vintage porcelain and cannot resist the charm of a fine bone china, armed with tea-cupped thoughts and itchy fingers I decided to go for a canvas hanging and set up ye olde shoppe!

I painted a canvas with a mix of acrylic paints and stamped some background detail with pink archival ink and gesso. I then set about on my tea-cups - all lovingly hand cut by merry old me! I wanted that particular form of cup and you can't just magic a die out of fresh air - so - pencil, scissors and paper it was. I used many different techniques on the cups - stamping, dry and inked embossing, - I think I like the black and white embossed one in the centre best - I used gesso and an old book page!

I looked around for a great quote about tea and found this one. How true...can't beat a cuppa - as we say here! I printed it out on canvas for added texture and layered up the labels (more snip-work!)

 Then it was on to flowers galore, lovely lace and lots of serious fiddly-diddly!

It took a while to get all the elements, composition and spacing is not as simple as it looks! But I got there - with a wee bit of patience and lots of puffing! Knew what I wanted  - but had to find the right road.
Enough chit-chat as I must get this post up in time -  Blogger does like to be the boss when it comes to arranging my photos...know what I mean?

I am also entering enter it into a few challenges:
Simon Says Stamp - anything but a card
Fab 'n' Funky - textures
Paper Sundaes - Lace, pink and distressing
The Three Muses - a quotation
Our Creative Corner - Cut it out 
Pals Paper Arts - Vintage

But for now, I just hope you can enjoy a little silver spoon and a touch of pink ambience!

See you soon,

Inspiration - The Shabby Tea Room

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

WOYWW, mutterings and papery antics galore...

Aloah, Howdy, Welcome and Enchanté...
'Tis Wednesday, so one shall start with a shot of the old craft desk. Yes, "This is where the magic happens..." as they all seem to say on TV...just not about my craft room, alas.

Loitering in the bottle department... two "stay on my desk" tins hoarding left-overs, scraps, half-made thingamajigs and remnants - that I might just need today. All other available nooks and crannies inhabited by more containers, stuffed envelopes and folders of the same stuff - you never know.

My Embellie Deli, I suppose. A two-tier box full of countless goodies. I think I have enough to supply half the world - but nevertheless, I seem destined to scratch around every craft, sewing and hardware store, in the hope of just one more find...but we all know it's about the thrill of the hunt. So what I have done with it all recently? If you like a good nose about - head over to Julia's and join in the fun of virtual desk-hopping...

This is the final from "Three Little Maids are we..."  Those following my ramblings know I have had a very girly thing going on. Finished in true style with powder blue, buttons and, oh my, a butterfly. Liking the layered look of aged paper, lace, dry-embossed Kraft paper and some more stitching. It is a design idea for a future workshop and I am also entering into a few challenges:
Simon Says Stamp and Show
Creative Friday
Phindy's Friday
Dutch Dare

A close-up of the layering and yummy buttons...

And another of the embossed butterfly and sentiment stamped on canvas. Stamps from Crafty Individuals and Paper Artsy.

So, after that I was going to start on a Shabby Chic Challenge but a piece of scrap cardstock and some Distress ink stains on my craft sheet led to the following diversion. What a fab deviation that turned out to be...more wings - but three ATCS with a tad more attitude!
I have used a variety of bird and flourish stamps and just played around with the tones and composition. Had this unusual brad for ages - found a place for it at last. Stamped the word onto a Mica scrap...layers and translucency! 

I made the ATC a little smaller than needed so I could mount it onto some corrugated cardboard. Used thread and 3 brass eyelets here for variation. The little birds are just so simple and effortless.

Went a bit green here...Used wire, lace and a press-stud to add texture. Metal and lace do work well together in the right setting. This birdie is from Crafty Individuals. The stamp had a frame but I blanked that off to just get the bird.
This was really enjoyable, especially as it was really spontaneous and free. I must admit to also relishing in a little light grunge therapy after all the girly antics. Passing by the Take a Word Challenge, I saw the theme was blackbirds - so how great is that? She's on a roll...
If you are still awake and with last reminder. If you like WOYWW, you will adore the truly amazing international blog-hop with free giveways galore at One World, One Heart. You have until the 12th to sign up to take part and until the 17th to visit a huge crowd of fabulous bloggers and artists. Don't miss out - it's the last one!!!! My post and giveaway is at the top of my blog.
One World One Heart 2011

Now - it really is high time to sign off and return to the other world...

Loving and leaving you all,