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, 16 January 2017

2016 Baker's Dozen (and a half)

Hi all!  I thought I ought to get this retrospective post done before we get to February (though there was one of these Favourites posts which was a whole year late!).   It's been considerably quieter here at Words and Picures in 2016, so you would think it would be an easier task to select my Baker's Dozen this time around... no such luck.   In fact, I pretty much gave up on the dozen and just allowed the selection to take its course.

Despite being away from my craft stash for the majority of the year, I think it's still important to reflect on the journey - perhaps even more important to keep track of where I'm going if I want to make the most of the crafting time I have.  So here are some of my favourite things from 2016... some chosen for significant elements they contributed to the journey, some just for the love of them.

(If you click on the titles, you can go and see them in detail - close-up photos always seem to capture a piece better than the "all-in-one" - and with a couple that means hopping onward to catch them elsewhere, if they appeared as part of my DT duties.)

So, one thing I notice is how many of my choices are book-related, either handmade or altered books/journals or art journalling within books.  Well, it is Words and Pictures... I suppose with my love of words and, by extension, books, it was inevitable that books and book pages would come to be a central part of this visual creative journey (check out last week's Harlequin Infusion for a good example, if you missed it).

Art journalling has definitely played a bigger part in the journey this year (if only because an art journal is a relatively simple thing to take with you on an actual journey!). And there's evidence of my journey into my own mark-making - a significant development this year - from scribbles to doodles to sketching and painting to allowing my own handwriting to put in an appearance. 

But looking at this post I'm also very conscious of the back and forth between simplicity and complexity.  I wrote about this conflict in the post for the Imagine Simplicity tag which you saw above.  I'm not saying it has to be an "either/or" but I think it's definitely an ongoing negotiation in my crafting style.

Thank you for indulging me in this reflective mode... we're heading forwards into brand new stamps next, so that will give you something completely fresh to enjoy!

Learning without reflection is a waste. Reflection without learning is dangerous.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

A Harlequin Infusion

Hello all!  I really don't like January... you have to take all the decorations down on the 6th, and there's the ever-present looming chore of the tax return, and all this grim, grey, damp weather.  Now is when we need the fairy lights to cheer us up!  Some crafting time also helps of course.  These pages came about because I needed to have a play with the PaperArtsy Infusions.

You'll have already seen from the sneak peeks at the PaperArtsy blog that there are some new Infusions colours coming, and Leandra wanted us to use them for samples of some of the new stamps (oooooh!).

Now I do have some Infusions, but I really haven't explored them much so, before the new stamps and the new powders arrived, I thought I'd better have a play with the ones I had to get some idea of how they and I would work together.

I used the Violet Storms Infusions for this layout, and started with the Harlequin stencil on some A4 card.  I've got no making-of photos, I'm afraid - I just set off to explore without really thinking there was any kind of project ahead.

But once I'd started, it seemed a waste not to use the results of my experiments.

Having shaken on some powders and spritzed water through at one side of the page, I flipped the stencil over and "printed" the surface inkiness onto the other half of the page.  This side has the original stencilling as its background...

... and this side is the flipped over print.  I pressed down some more of the extra ink on both halves to fill up the spaces around the 6x6 patterning made by the stencil.

There are still many book page tags left over from the excavated niche for my Hidden In A Book project from this time last year, so I grabbed some of those.

Some have been used to soak up excess inks at various points, so I layered up pairs of inky and non-inky tags on each half of the page.

And you'll see I did some white pen scribbling, from my story at the moment, as well as adding some fine twine through the tops. 

The Photobooth woman has been lying on the craft desk for months too - she somehow didn't make it back into the packet when I was clearing up.  Well, now she'll never get back into the packet... she has a story to tell.

Look at her eyes, full of intense excitement and determination, burning with what she wants to say.

Maybe some of her story is revealed in the book text, or just in the drifting autumnal colours of the whole spread.

I cut oodles of book page leaves for my best friend's wedding in November, some of which were scattered on tables, but some of which came home with me.

So now those leaves are making their way into projects and pages too.  I smooshed these in some Vintage Photo Distress Ink before glueing them down.

I only glued along the spines so that I could wrinkle up the edges for some dimensional movement.

The rings are cut with the Seth Apter Coffee Rings die, just out of white card.

I used a combination of the Violet Storms Infusions and Distress Inks in Hickory Smoke, Wilted Violet and Chipped Sapphire to create the shading around the rings which makes them pop that bit more.

I just put some of the powder and a scraping of each ink onto the craft mat and used a water brush to apply them.

There's also plenty of shading around the word stickers (these are from a sheet called Tiny Text by Cosmo Cricket - one of the unexpected discoveries as I sorted through the craft room before Christmas).

I've added Vintage Photo into the mix for this shading, picking up the autumnal tones of the leaves and book page tags.

There's some text stamping in the background - a Bo Bunny stamp I think.

I can't remember at what point in the process I cut the A4 page in half but, once I had, it was only a matter of time...

... before I decided that the 49&Market shabby stitching would be perfect to "attach" the pages into my kraft art journal.

Until I manage to make friends with a sewing machine, I'm just going to have to live with the stamped version of the stitching look I like so much!

So there you have it.  It was really useful to start to get the measure of the Infusions a bit, as I've now been immersed in sample-making with some of the new colours for the last few days.

The new PaperArtsy stamps I've been playing with have absolutely blown my socks off!  You'll see and hear more about that in about a week's time...

I'm hoping to squeeze in a retrospective of 2016 before then - anything rather than sit down and do my tax! - so perhaps I'll see you back here in a few days.  In the meantime, happy crafting all!

It's like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.
From The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

I'd like to share this at Art Journal Journey where the theme for January is Tell Me A Story

With my Coffee Rings, I'll add this as another entry for Swirls, Whirls and Flourishes at Stamps and Stencils

And at Mixed Media Monthly they would like us to Put A Stencil On It

Monday, 9 January 2017

Dippy Wooden Diptych

Hello all and happy Monday!

I'm here with a sneak peek to tempt you to join me at Destination Inspiration over at A Vintage Journey today.

I've been playing with wood and the dip and smoosh of the wrinkle-free distress technique to create, yes, a "dippy diptych".

Wood, if you stop to think of it, has been man’s best friend in the world. It held him in his cradle, went to war as the gunstock in his hand, was the frame of the bed he came to rejoicing, the log upon his hearth when he was cold, and will make him his last long home. It was the murmuring bough above his childhood play, and the roof over the first house he called his own. It is the page he is reading at this moment; it is the forest where he seeks sanctuary from a stony world.
From American Heartwood by Donald Culross Peattie

I hope you'll be able to hop over and take a look, and I hope you all have a great week.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Going Around In Circles

Hello all and happy New Year!  It's time for the first challenge of the year at A Vintage Journey, and this month we are Going Round In Circles with our wonderful host, Brenda.  Circles, bubbles and dots are always lovely to play with, and I ended up exploring the idea in my small journal.

Going around in circles is something I try to avoid in life - I like to be heading somewhere new, with a learning curve for sure, and not stuck in straight lines either, but certainly not going around over the same old ground time and again.

But then there are definitely cycles in life, energy which swoops you upwards and onwards at times, and then other periods where you swing back down again into hibernation and recovery.

That was the theme of some of my turn-of-the-year journalling pages at almost exactly this time last year, and funnily enough circles played a major part in some of those spreads too, like The Depths of Winter.

There's something about the enclosed, protected shape which somehow connects to hibernation, preserving resources.

But there's also a positive energy, an uplifting buoyancy to the bubble shape; the circles rising and moving around the space of the page.

And as long as your circles continue to expand, to orbit new territory, perhaps there's power in going over that ground again, making it your own and then growing your experiences from that secure centre.

For this spread, I used my Movers and Shapers Sized Circles to cut some book page bubbles and hoops (by cutting the smallest circle out of an already cut medium circle).

I glued some of them onto my roughly gesso'd pages (this is the tiny Moleskine journal, 5.5 x 3.5 inches when it's closed) and added more gesso over the top.

Next step was some stamping including some Bo Bunny postmarks and the lovely musical advertisement from Pink Paislee's London Market set (spot the accidental upside-down one!).

Then I tried out Andy Skinner's page-ageing technique shared in his Quick and Easy Media Techniques video.

Over that, I added another round of book page bubbles on which I used Distress Crayons to create some dimensional shading.  (We're working by lamplight now, it was such a gloomy day).

From there, I just followed my fingers...

... adding accents and splatter...

... and shading around the edges of the pages.

Oh, and of course there are some words for the New Year..

... a positive message to take forwards into 2017.

The word stickers are by 7 Dots Studio (just for a change from the Idea-ology word stickers!).

I used pastel pencils and the Distress Crayons again to add the watercolour shading drifting around each phrase.

Around the edges at various points, I added some straight lines of Titanium White with a plastic card.

There was something not quite working until I added them.

I think it needed them to echo the straight lines of the phrases amidst all the swirls and circles.

And I love the texture they add.

These are some circles I wouldn't mind going around in again.  It's such a pleasing shape to work with, and it holds so many meanings and possibilities.

I hope you'll hop over to A Vintage Journey to see the brilliant inspiration on offer from my lovely team-mates.  We'd love to see how you end up Going Round In Circles too this month.

And on Monday I'll be making the first stop at Destination Inspiration for 2017.  I hope you'll be able to join me then but, for now, have a wonderful weekend everybody.

Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.
Albert Einstein

Ich lebe mein Leben in wachsenden Ringen,
die sich über die Dinge ziehn.
Ich werde den letzten vielleicht nicht vollbringen,
aber versuchen will ich ihn.

Ich kreise um Gott, um den uralten Turm,
und ich kreise jahrtausendelang;
und ich weiß noch nicht: bin ich ein Falke, ein Sturm
oder ein großer Gesang.
Rainer Maria Rilke

I live my life in ever-widening circles
which spread themselves out over all things.
I may not complete the final one
but I will make the attempt.

I am circling around God, around the ancient tower,
and I have been circling for thousands of years;
and still I don't know: am I a falcon, or a storm
or a mighty song.
(translation - Alison Bomber)

I'd like to share these pages at Art Journal Journey where the guest host Erika has chosen Every Journal Page Tells A Story as her theme.  This story doesn't have a beginning, middle and an end - it's about the cyclical journey I'm on, travelling, I hope, in ever-widening circles.
And at Stamps and Stencils the theme is Swirls, Whirls and Flourishes - what could be better?!