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, 20 March 2017

Found and Lost

Hello all!  Just a sneak peek today to carry you away to Destination Inspiration over at A Vintage Journey.  The slightly odd post title had to happen because I've already used Lost and Found at least once.  And that was a little boy too... odd how these things happen.

I've been having a lovely time playing with Seth Apter's Wood Chips again (check out the Windswept Grasses if you missed the first results).  And although that part was great fun, the background for this one took several goes to get started so it was quite a journey before I was happy.  I hope you'll have time to hop over and see where I ended up.

Have a great week, everybody!

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
Henry David Thoreau

If you don't mind hopping to see the whole thing, I'd love to enter this at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge where the theme is Layer It Up

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Oxide Meadow Flowers

Hello all!  After all that Skullduggery, we're back to more normal service with a quick meadow flower tag for you today.

You saw the background for this in the XOX Oxides post, and this tag came about just as a bit of playtime with those backgrounds.

This time we've gone in the direction of my favourite meadowgrasses, rather than the more masculine look of Hats Off to Distress Oxides.

The purple and brown combination has long been a favourite around here and I had such fun adding the chalky oxidisation of the new inks into the mix.

Again, this is a combination of Oxides and traditional Distress Inks, so that you get the mix of opacity and translucence.

For me, so far, that's the real joy of the new Distress Oxides... getting the interplay between their chalky softness and the more intense colour of the original versions.

And because the background is basically the point here, the rest of this tag is really very simple.

There are some of my favourite Tim Holtz grasses (from the Spring Sprung stamp set)...

... and some of the Wildflowers, all stamped in Potting Soil and clear-embossed to give them good strong definition against those complex inky effects.

I added some white pen accents to the heads of the flowers, as is my wont.

I felt it needed another white echo or two, so I added some doodled borders around the edges, as well, of course, as some delicate white spatter.

Some Small Talk stickers provide the words - excellent advice when you have new arty stash to play with, I think.

And a matted kraft background and some simple twine finish the whole thing off.

Thanks so much for dropping in today.  I hope you're all having a great week.  I'm at Destination Inspiration over at A Vintage Journey on Monday, so I'll hope to see you there!

I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.
Albert Einstein

There's some subtle white splatter here, and really that whole background is just smoosh and splatter, so I'd like to share this at Emerald Creek Dares, the March dare is to Splatter Some Fun

Sunday, 12 March 2017


Hello again!  After my little play with one of Seth Apter's woodchips - generously given to me by Seth himself at the big trade fair, Stitches, the other week (thank you, Seth!), I've got another Stitches-related project for you, this one made with Tando greyboard, and it could scarcely be more different from those Windswept Grasses.

I was so happy to get a last-minute place on one of Andy Skinner's classes at the NEC show (thank you, Andy!), and I thought I'd share what we made with you.

As usual, I went slightly off the track we were supposed to be beating, but Andy's used to that with me by now, as you'll see.

The substrates are greyboard by Tando - and we got some bits to take home and play with in addition to what we were working with in the class.

I delayed putting mine all together so that I could add some of the takeaway pieces into the design when I got home.  In fact, all these photos are from my playtime at home - I didn't take any while at the NEC.

We used DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics and Antiquing Creams to create the background, and it was lovely to play with some of Andy's new stamp releases.

This animal skull is not really my usual fare, but I do covet it... very cool, and so detailed.  I may have to indulge at some point..

 It works really well for a naturalist/collector/apothecary vibe, and that does crop up in my work every so often.

And the Specimen stamp is a must, I think (soon, soon).

I love these numerals too, but I do have some fairly similar ones (they've just been out to play in my Windswept Grasses, as it happens) so I really will try to exercise some willpower, at least temporarily.

The usual suspects - Transparent Yellow Oxide and Quinacridone Gold - give you the fabulous rusted look around the edges.

At home, I added some additional white to the image of the skull to make it stand out from the background.  Now you get a nice deep shadow in between his jaws!

Since the stamp set is called Skulldoggery, I'm guessing it's a dog's skull...

Andy was coming round showing people how to use Quinacridone Magenta to add colour to the white background.  I asked if that colour was compulsory and he said that he'd already been looking for some Prussian Blue for me to use instead... how well he knows me!

Since the Prussian Blue Hue seemed to have gone missing, I mixed some of the paints we had in front of us - Paynes Grey with some Cobalt Teal or Cobalt Turquoise (can't remember which of the two it was now) - to add the colour wash to my tag.

The small tag followed a similar process, but on both tags I went freelance again, adding fine vertical lines to give an impression of woodgrain somewhere underneath the paint layers.

We were given some rusty wire to attach the two tags but, as I say, I wasn't done yet, so I popped it all into my bag to carry on at home.

Once home, I used a wash of white to draw attention to the apothecary's skull.

And I also took one of the cogs from the takeaway bits and bobs and gave it the rusting treatment with some DecoArt Misters and some more Quinacridone Gold and dirty washes involving Payne's Grey and Raw Umber.

Then I cut the cog in half and used it to raise the smaller tag up nice and high to give me plenty of dimension.

I preferred the whole piece offset from centre, which meant the main tag hole got covered up.  Rather than try to thread anything through the smaller tag, I decided to "attach it" with one of the nail heads also included on our takeaway panel.

I thought the whole apothecary/specimen theme needed a little extra something, so I crackled up a brown glass jar and added it to the bottom of the tag.

There's another rusty bolt and screw for good measure.  See if you can spot the bonus skull, just slightly highlighted in white.

And of course there's plenty of white spatter to finish the whole thing off.

Huge thanks to Andy for another fabulous bit of inspiration and teaching, and my apologies for never sticking to the script!

Thanks to all of you for dropping in, and I hope you're all enjoying lovely weekends.

It is not my intention to be fulsome, but I confess that I covet your skull.
From The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they'd like us to Make Your Own Background
And at Emerald Creek Dares, the March dare is to Splatter Some Fun

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Windswept Grasses

Hello all!  I'm here with another grassy creation, this time playing with mostly PaperArtsy goodies - some of Lin Brown's gorgeous stamps, Fresco paints, and one of Seth Apter's Wood Chip shapes.

It was a pleasure to bump in to Seth himself at the PaperArtsy stand - lucky timing as I was heading off for the day and only stopped in a second time for a quick goodbye.

He wasn't demo-ing at that point but we did have a lovely chat (mainly about New York), and I was extremely happy to head home clutching a set of his Wood Chips to play with.

(There's another project coming up using some of the rest, but it's for a specific DT commitment, so I can't share it for a little while yet.)

We're photo-heavy today, so pull up a chair...

This is created on one of That's Crafty's MDF tags - a regular size #8, so it's 6.5 x 3.25 inches, or 16 x 8cm if you prefer. 

Having the hard surface means you can layer on paint and mediums to your heart's content, which is just as well, as this went through several mutations before I was happy!

There were a couple of layers of Fresco paint just to start with - French Roast underneath and then mostly using Green Patina, Midnight and Key Lime from Seth's paint sets (thought I should, since I had the wood chip to play with!).

Then I thought I'd use some PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze, so that was another couple of layers.

And then it was all a bit too bright so I softened it with some Snowflake and Buff washed on quite lightly.

In the end, I'm absolutely thrilled with the soft weathered crackle look, especially with the sanding around the edges to reveal some of the previous layers.

I've been aching to play with Lin Brown's fabulous grassy stems.  I've stamped this one in Olive Green Archival.

And I've combined it with some of Sara Naumann's detail images. 

I love the numerals stamped in Snowflake.

The Postcard lettering is done in Broken China, I think (I went through several stampings).

In the end, it has softened away into the background, but there's an echo remaining.

The chipboard grass stem - so delicate, and a lovely 3D echo of Lin's beautiful stamp - is by Polish company Scrapiniec.

They have many gorgeous designs, so be warned - temptation abounds if you visit.  (Many designs are also available at Noor Design and from the Mixed Media Place if you don't fancy tackling the Polish site.)

I've left it basically unaltered, though I did make sure it caught a touch of white spatter right at the end.

So, to Seth's wood chip circle frame... This also went through a number of layers but being wood, obviously, it can take it!

It had the Green Patina and the Midnight Frescos in the mix somewhere early on...

.... though I finally ended up with Snowflake and Buff with some DecoArt Crackle Glaze over the top...

... and then a touch of Antiquing Cream in Patina Green added, dried and wiped away to define the cracks even further.

You'll see that my favourite dried stems are providing a third version of meadow grasses to the piece.

I'm finding them hard to resist at the moment.  (They were clambering all over my Tiny Greenhouses too.)

Some fine twine echoes the circular frame in a loose, rustic way.

And some delicate buttons (also, I think, by Scrapiniec)...

... do the same in miniature.  The recurring circles create a pleasing harmony for the eye amidst all the windswept grasses.

The same fine twine adorns the top of the tag.

I did have an Idea-ology Word Band in place originally, but happily my lucky prize package from Simon Says Stamp arrived just in time for this Quote Chip to take its place... much more satisfactory for the lighter than air look of this windswept tag.

I hope you like it.  I certainly had a lovely time creating it, and working with MDF and wood gives the whole thing a lovely sense of permanence despite its ethereal appearance.

I did have real trouble trying to work out which photos to share though... I love it in the bright sunshine as you get lots of life and depth from the shadows.  But it's difficult for the eye to see what's going on if you're meeting it for the first time.

In the softer light, you get to see far more of the crackle detail on the hoop and in the background, as well as seeing each of the grasses more clearly.  I couldn't decide, so you're getting it both ways to finish off the post!!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope your week is going well, whatever you're up to.  I'll be back soon with something completely different!

When they would return to one another from their solitariness, they returned gently as dew comes to the morning grass.
From The Address of Happiness by David Paul Kirkpatrick

I'd like to play along at Frilly and Funkie where the aim is to "Welcome, Spring!"
At the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge they'd like us to Make Your Own Background
At Mixed Media World this month Anything Mixed Media Goes, so I'd like to share this there too

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Fungus Foray

Hello all!  I'm glad you enjoyed touring the Tiny Greenhouses.

I'm back today with one of my watercolour experiments... and it's of something you might just find tucked away in the mulch behind the greenhouse.

Cestina is always complaining there aren't enough mushrooms to be found here at Words and Pictures (as a Czech by blood, she's an avid fungi forayer), so this appears with the aim of keeping her quiet for a while!

As you know, I'm still playing with the watercolours - learning how to use them and exploring different styles, and I'm not entirely sure about these.

Even though I'm in two minds about them, I wanted to share these mushrooms in time to play along with the Handpainted theme at Moo-Mania and More.

This is a much more precise effort than my loose Watery Florals or the Two Tree Doodles.

It was fun making the attempt, but I'm not sure I'm ever going to be botanically accurate, especially as I made this species up out of my head!

I almost wish I'd left it at the earlier "sketch" stage.

There's a fresher look to it (though it was a duller day when I took these photos).  They do say one of the great risks with watercolour is overworking a painting...

... and I think I may have fallen into that trap here, losing some of the lightness of touch.

Though I must confess I like some of the detailing on the mushroom caps in the "finished" version.

I'm pleased with the stalks too - using a flat brush on its side to create the shaping and dimension, and taking those strokes down to create the first outline of the earth in which they're embedded.

I kept the background very soft and loose.  I like that the imagination fills in the gaps and shapes of what might be there.

used the other end of one of the paintbrushes to add some grassy texture amongst the stalks.

And a touch of splatter always makes me happy, as you know.

I think some of the shading works quite well in creating dimension and shadow.

I hope you like this little foray into the world of imaginary fungi, another watercolour adventure.

Let me know what you make of it - it's always great to hear your feedback, and every comment is very much appreciated, especially when I'm daring to share these handpainted creations.  I hope you're all enjoying a restorative weekend, however you are spending it.

Každá houba je jedlá, některé však jen jednou.
Every mushroom is edible, but some only once.
Czech proverb

I'd like to share this at Moo-Mania and More where they are asking to see something Handpainted