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, 22 November 2017

Remember, remember again!

Hello all - not quite an Encore post today, but a look back in time taking place elsewhere!  The fabulous Marjie Kemper invited me to be part of her blog series of friends selecting a favourite project to revisit, so I'm delighted to be featured over at her blog today, along with one of my closest blogging friends - whom most of you will know.

I was honoured to be asked, and then realised it was actually an almost impossible task she'd set... choose my favourite project?!

My Baker's Dozen of favourite projects each year gets more and more generous, and that's only a year's worth each time.

How to pick a favourite from more than five years of posts?  Generally my favourite is whatever I've just made, the latest step in the journey.

Obviously there are projects which represent a leap in learning, or a moment of "oh, yes, that's me there", but there have been quite a few of those along the way, so it's still no good for trying to pick just one.

So, instead of trying to pick an out and out favourite, in the end I changed tack slightly.  Rather than trying to pick a favourite project, I chose a favourite blogpost, choosing a project which I think is very typical of my process...

I get an idea, just a spark, and then I have to work out how on earth to make that idea into a reality, and while I wrangle with that central idea, all sorts of other things just fall into place without me really noticing.

And it is also a project where I really like the end result too! 

I hope you'll hop over to Marjie's to take a look at what I ended up sharing. It's none of the ones pictured here, though they were all high on the list.

The title of this post will give you a clue if you've got a very good memory...

Thanks for stopping by today.  I know I've been pretty quiet lately.  I've been busy creating in new directions, so I've been trying not to get too distracted by online influences.  But I'll be home soon with more time to come visiting again. In the meantime, happy crafting all!

We don't need to have just one favourite. We keep adding favourites. Our favourite book is always the book that speaks most directly to us at a particular stage in our lives. And our lives change. We have other favourites that give us what we most need at that particular time. But we never lose the old favourites. They're always with us. We just sort of accumulate them.
Lloyd Alexander

Monday, 20 November 2017

Calico Tree ATC

Encore Posts
I'm away again for a month or so.  There are some scheduled posts with new creations coming your way, but I'm also taking the chance to do some catching up here at Words and Pictures.   Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook.  I'm calling them "Encore" posts and they're formatted differently (all the way down the centre), so you can spot them easily.
Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

After that bit of fairly ancient history in Take a leaf out of my book, I've a slightly more recent Encore for you today.  This one appeared over at the Calico Craft Parts blog on October 23rd, 2015.  At the time, I was in the throes of an obsession with Wilted Violet, the then new-on-the-block Distress colour.  As an addition to my favourite blues and browns, it was making soul sing.  For this ATC I found some DecoArt paint colours to give me that same feeling with the perfect late autumn sky for this fabulous laser-cut tree.

I'm playing mainly with watercolours just now (November 2017) and funnily enough there's a similar colour love affair going on.  More of that another time... Oh, and since it's an ATC, consider it a little more inspiration for Anne's wonderful Mini Marvels challenge over at A Vintage Journey.  Here's what I wrote back in 2015.

Hello all, Alison here from Words and Pictures with a crackly ATC for you today.  It's no secret that I love trees at all times of the year.  I love the young spring leaves so fresh and vivid, the luscious summer growth at its height, the glorious array of colour as the leaves turn in autumn (there have been plenty of creations celebrating that lately), but I also love the bare branches, stark against the winter skies.  This ATC celebrates that particular beauty.

I love working with these ATC blanks.  They are sturdy and beautifully dimensional in themselves, and so lend a much more substance to a small piece like an ATC.  I've used the Plain ATC but there are lots of designs to choose from.

I started by applying a coat of DecoArt Media Crackle Paste in varying thicknesses across the ATC.  Once that had dried, I wanted a bit more crackle around the edges so I added some Media Crackle Glaze (which also has a glossier finish) and waited for that to crackle too.

Regulars at Words and Pictures will know I've been having a bit of a purple phase... adding Wilted Violet to my autumn colours with great joy.  I've played with a similar autumnal range of colours here, but using DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics, applying them in washes to build the layers of colour.  The paints involved are Dioxazine Purple, Cobalt Blue Hue and Phthalo Blue coming down from the top, and Raw Umber, Burnt Sienna, English Red Oxide and Quinacridone Gold coming up from the bottom.

The gorgeous Skeleton Tree Style 3 has also had a touch of colour - a wash of Quin Gold and then some Dioxazine Purple to add the darker shadows.

I wanted some scraggy meadow grasses, so I stamped them in Sepia and Black Archival inks around the foot of the tree.

And up in the sky the affirmation of the eternal beauty of trees - some ChitChat stickers with the same paints creating shadows around them to bed them in to the wintry sky.

I love the dimension of the Craft Parts - they give this little ATC a real presence - and the delicate cutting is so intricate and detailed.  I hope you like my Winter Branches - as you can probably tell, I'm rather fond of this one myself!

If you're tempted to go shopping, you can click on the links in the text to go straight to the Craft Parts I've used.  Do go browsing while you're there - there are always new treats on offer.  Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll see you again soon.

So I suppose this one is definitely heading for the end of autumn and into more of a wintry vibe.  I'm still not quite ready for the full winter look yet, but we'll get there soon.  Thanks for sticking with me while I'm missing in action - but at least there's a little bit of action here on the blog.  Hope you're all thriving and happy crafting all!

As soon as one leaves, one sees: wet bare branches, fog which floats over fields, trees, homes. Sky. Early dusk. And it all tells an incredibly simple truth.
Alexander Schmemann

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Take a leaf out of my book...

Encore Posts
I'm away again for a month or so.  There are some scheduled posts with new creations coming your way, but I'm also taking the chance to do some catching up here at Words and Pictures.   Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook.  I'm calling them "Encore" posts and they're formatted differently (all the way down the centre), so you can spot them easily.
Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

Thanks for your comments on my Toilet Roll Tutorial over at the Mini Album Makers blog, as well as my White on White Mobile at PaperArtsy - it's always a joy to hear what you think.

Still on the Encores, and I've got a real blast from the past for you today.  This project goes all the way back to November 2013, but it's just right for the time of year.  It was created for the Artistic Stamper Creative Team blog, where I was on the Design Team at the time.

You could consider it extra inspiration for the Mini Album Makers Challenge, as it's a handmade book, and since the interior pages are only ATC sized, the whole thing is definitely smaller than four inches, so it could also count as inspiration for the current Mini Marvels theme at A Vintage Journey.  How's that for serendipity?!  Here's what I wrote all those years ago over at Artistic Stamper...

Hello all, Alison (butterfly) here with an autumn mini-journal for you.  There's time for a last breath of autumn before we kick into gear for Christmas, isn't there?!

I had great fun altering this little papier mâché book (8 x 11cm, and there's an even tinier one still to come), and creating a mini-album to go inside.

I started by covering it with some Tim Holtz tissue wrap, leaving the "edges of the pages" just with a coat of gesso (thick enough and on a hard bristled brush, so you get some "pages" showing - I'll see if I can find a picture showing that later).

Next step was to stamp the new Leaves Background onto the front and back covers.  I used lots of Archival inks on the stamp: Sepia, Sienna, Coffee and Plum, all blended on there.

Distress Inks next: Vintage Photo, Gathered Twigs, and probably some Rusty Hinge if I remember correctly.

I ended up giving it a coat of medium to seal it, which meant some of the Distress Inks faded a bit with the brush strokes, but I'm fine with that, as it brought the leaves to the fore again.

Time to create what's going inside.  I cut some pages to size (pretty much ATC-size) and did some wrinkle-free distress technique with lots of warm golden brown inks and stains.  I also added a couple of spritzes of Perfect Pearls Heirloom Gold to the craft mat before smooshing through with the pages, so you get a lovely golden shimmer in places.

I used the gorgeous new Journalling Words #5, one per page - it's the US version of "journaling" with one "l", but I guess I can work with that!  Just love all those fonts.

On the reverse sides I used some of the new Katy Fox stamps - the Leaves...

... and the Dates, again stamped in Archival inks, mainly Coffee and Sepia.  Apologies, this was all done after dark - how early is it getting dark already?! - so these are flash photos.

So, enough of the process, let's see some photos of the finished thing by daylight, shall we?

I love that the spine looks like a real old leather volume, burnished with age.

I added some Tim Holtz Remnant Rubs to the cover.

And look how the mini-album nestles just inside the book.

Here's a close-up of that cover, also using the leaves background and some Rock Candy crackle paint.

More crackle paint inside the cover of the box, with layers of autumnal paint shades.

And here are some of the internal pages.  I interleaved them with some hand-made paper pages, and added some stamping using my all-time favourite Calligraphy Mat, number 19!

Oh, almost forgot... here's the promised shot of the "pages" - click for a close-up if you need to!

So that's probably my farewell to autumnal crafting for this year - it's always a sheer pleasure to play with these colours and images, but with the temperature dropping rapidly and Advent Sunday almost upon us, it's probably time to let go soon!

Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed taking a leaf out of my book (sorry, appalling pun, but it tickled me!).  

See, I told you it was a perfect project for the time of year.  I'm glad to finally have it safely gathered in here at Words and Pictures.  And it's well-timed as additional inspiration for the Mini Album Makers as well as the Mini Marvels at A Vintage Journey (all the links are in the introduction if you're inspired to play along with either challenge)..

Contrary to what it says in the old text, it's not the last of the autumn crafting for this year.  There are, at least, some more Encores on their way to you, as well as a special look back into the past coming soon.  Thanks so much for stopping by today, and I hope you have a great weekend.

Two sounds of autumn are unmistakable...the hurrying rustle of crisp leaves blown along the street...by a gusty wind, and the gabble of a flock of migrating geese.
Hal Borland

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Mini Album Makers Tutorial

Hello all!  Just a quick sneak peek to tempt you over to the Mini Album Makers Challenge blog.  I'm over there today with one of the tutorials the Design Team members are sharing each month.

Mine is a full step-by-step for creating one of the toilet-roll mini albums you've seen around here occasionally... though I have, of course, created a whole new one for this tutorial.  I hope you'll have a chance to hop over to Mini Album Makers and check it out.

And you may have missed last night's sneak peek for my PaperArtsy Shades of White Mobile - it was a bit of a blink-and-you've-missed-it post.  If so, I hope you'll have time to take a look at that too - it's also got some pretty nifty recycling going on.  

Sorry I'm not around much at the moment.  I'm trying to take a bit of an internet holiday along with my sunshine and peace and quiet!  I hope you're all thriving and I'll be back to play soon.

Thanks to my mother, not a single cardboard box has found its way back into society. We receive gifts in boxes from stores that went out of business twenty years ago.
Erma Bombeck

Monday, 13 November 2017

Shades of White

Hello all!  I've something new for you tonight, in between all those Encore posts... just a sneak peek here for a project over on the PaperArtsy blog tonight.

The theme for this fortnight is Shades of White, and I've been playing with light and movement again.  I hope you'll have a chance to pop over and take a look at what I've been up to.  Short and sweet, but I'll be back again before you know it!  Thanks for stopping by and I'll see you soon.

White... is not a mere absence of colour; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black... 
Gilbert K. Chesterton

Friday, 10 November 2017

Calico Autumnal ATBs

Encore Posts
I'm away again for a month or so.  There are some scheduled posts with new creations coming your way, but I'm also taking the chance to do some catching up here at Words and Pictures.   Projects which made their first appearances elsewhere for Design Team duties or Guest Designer opportunities, but which only had a sneak peek here, are being gathered together in the pages of my virtual scrapbook.  I'm calling them "Encore" posts and they're formatted differently (all the way down the centre), so you can spot them easily.
Please don't feel that you have to comment all over again!

Hello all!  I've another scheduled Encore post for you, so that things don't go completely silent here at Words and Pictures while I'm away.  It's an autumnal creation made for Calico Craft Parts, and it's definitely one of my favourite autumn projects I've made.  Here's what I wrote about it on the Calico blog back in October 2015.

Hello all, Alison here with some Autumnal ATBs (and a very alliterative post title) for you today.

One of my (pleasurable) problems with the Craft Parts is I'm always torn between altering them and not altering them.  There are so many options for altering, and it's great fun, and they look fantastic... but then they also look so completely beautiful "naked" too.

With this project I think I've found a medium which gives me some of the best of both worlds - Pan Pastels.  By shading only partially, you get the colour but you can also keep some of the natural earthiness of the Craft Parts surface too.

I've used a complete set of all three sizes of the Plain ATBs (they also come with various apertures) and a just some of the wide range of glorious Leaf & Twig Shapes, and Fungi & Mushroom Shapes to create my autumn tower.

Putting the ATBs together is made very easy by the labelling and letters engraved onto the inside surfaces - just match them up and glue.

There's some full-on altering on the ATBs themselves.  I've used the DecoArt Americana Chalky Finish paints and crackle medium.  The base coat is a combination of Relic and Rustic, then I applied the crackle glaze - quite thickly so that I would get a good chunky crackle with lots of texture - and then some of the warm-white Lace colour over that once it was dry.

I shaded an autumnal sky downwards on each side using various pastels, and an earthy mulch upwards, leaving some white space available to give a cool light to the autumn day.

I combined more greens, browns and purples onto the leaves, starting with one layer of colour...

... and building up the layers until I liked the look of them.

And, as I said, I tried to make sure I didn't "colour" the whole piece each time, so that there would still be some "naked" Craft Part visible too.  It's such a lovely warm brown that it doesn't need covering up.

Since the leaves come in all sorts of sizes, you can get them to fit every size of ATB (or layout or card or tag, or whatever project you're working on).

The large ATB is 10x10x10cm, and so I've used the larger sizes - the Sugar Maple Leaf & Twig in large...

... the large version of the Mushrooms Style 9 (this little clump of fungi puts in an appearance in all three sizes)...

... the large Red Oak Leaf & Twig...

... and the Maple Leaf & Twig.  Since most of these are about 12cm at their largest point in the large size, they extend over the edges of the ATB in a way that really pleases me, but meant I had to be a bit careful about juggling them so that the ATBs could still stack properly.

The Ivy Leaf Garland puts in an appearance in its small, medium and large versions, draped across the top of each ATB.  There's also an Extra Large which, at 15cm, is too big for my ATBs but would be brilliant for a layout or large journal page.

The medium ATB (7.5x7.5x7.5cm) has the Maple Leaf & Twig,

and the Mushrooms Style 9 again, all in medium size this time...

... but also has the Chestnut Leaf & Twig for a bit of variation.

And on the smallest ATB (5x5x5cm) you can see the Mushrooms,

... and, to ring the changes just a little once again, the Pin Oak Leaf & Twig in its smallest size.

Some tiny pine cones sit on the very top (having just tumbled off the tree and landed serendipitously!).

And I added some words (of course) to tickle the brain and heart into action as you revolve the tower.

I'm not going to lie... this creation makes me very happy!

I hope you like it too.  (If you love these leaves and fungi as much as I do, you may want to hop over and go shopping - no problem, just click on the links in the text!)  Thanks so much for stopping by today and I'll see you again soon.


Thanks so much for stopping by today - I hope you enjoyed the trip down memory lane.  There's something new up next, so I hope you'll be able to drop in again soon.  In the meantime, happy crafting all and have a great weekend!

Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art a mushroom.
Thomas Carlyle