Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Dreaming with the Dragons - Transport and the letter 'Y'

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! August has been a busy month! As some of you may know, I've been working at my family of art dolls for Mary Jane Chadbourne's workshop for a lot of the month. Now, to my amazement, it's time to dream with the Dragons again! Last time it was my turn to choose the recipe and we had some highly original interpretations of Rust and the letter 'O'. We'll be announcing the Dreamboat 3 and Guest Designer very soon. Now for this fortnight's challenge! It's been chosen by the lovely Jax and she would like to see the letter 'Y' and the theme of 'Transport' on your tags! Please click here to see some of the fabulous ideas the Dragons have come up with! This is my take on the challenge!
I know this sounds weird, but I started with a couple of tea-bags, lovingly dried by my dear friend, Sue's daughter Dominique. Sue and her family live in Brussels and when she stopped off in London recently she handed over a collection of tea-bags and cardboard, courtesy of Nicky. The tea bags resemble tiny sepia leaves of tissue and they are great to stamp on. I stamped two images - one of the Artistic Stamper Gibson Girl and the other from a Hot Picks plate HP1206. As I looked at the result I thought how vintage they seemed on the tea-bag paper and my 'Y' word came to me - Yesterday!

This vintage car from PaperArtsy Hot Picks HP1206 seemed perfect for the theme of Transport. It reminds me of Jay Gatsby's car in 'The Great Gatsby' : so glittering and modern it is transformed from status symbol to a literal vehicle of tragedy in the novel. The transport of yesterday always seems so much more romantic than that of our own era, yet in Scott-Fitzgerald's novel there is a real sense of concern at the world of the nineteen-twenties hurtling out of control: fast cars, air travel, speed boats - where exactly are Gatsby and those who congregate at his fashionable parties rushing to and what are they running from?
I liked this Gibson Girl image, as she seems to be dreaming, contemplating 'Yesterday'. I stuck the tea-bags onto my tag with Satin Glaze and coloured them with Inktense. The safety pin is a rusted Tim Holtz one and I dyed some seam-binding with Distress Inks in Fired Brick and Vintage Photo before stamping the script from the new PaperArtsy Sara Nauman plate on it. The script on the tag itself is from Hot Picks HP1006. I had lots of fun using Grunge Paste through a stencil of bricks for my background and then scraping through Grunge Paste with a Catalyst tool to create a change of pattern too. Treasure Golds in rosy and copper tones helped bring a bit of warmth to the tag. I love the way that Fresco colours can have a vintage glow about them. For this tag I coloured my Grunge Paste with Caramel Fresco and then blended Brown Shed, Chocolate Pudding and Tikka Frescos with just a touch of Yellow Submarine in places. The little heart is a paper one from the Funkie Junkie Boutique with a fleur de lys charm and a faux chain created with Grunge Paste and Treasure Gold. There's also a sprinkling of Frantage in Copper and Aged Green and some little card tiles cut from a master-board and coated in Clear UTEE, edged with gold UTEE.

Thank you so much for dropping by today. I do hope you will get out those stamps, inks, paints and tags and join us in this fortnight's challenge. Remember your work should be some kind of tag and remember also to use at one real stamp and to incorporate the letter 'Y' and some kind of transport. Have a wonderful creative day whether you're in the sunshine or the rain!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

A Warm Welcom from Ms Homebody!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, where I'm still sawing and sanding away at the Art Dolls for Mary Jane Chadbourne's class at The Artful Gathering. Today 'Ms Homebody' would like to introduce herself. Sorry she's headless in the first photo! I wanted to show you her body first  because it took shape after I had the idea of her head, if that makes any sense! I had cut my wood shapes and I wanted to create a little house head-dress. Ms Homebody 'just grew' after that! She tells a simple story of the pleasures of home.
While I was creating her, I looked up so many quotes on the internet about 'home sweet home'. Many were fascinating and quite a revelation: I never knew that Jean Cocteau considered cats to be the visible expression of the soul of one's home or that 'Home is where the heart is' is as ancient as Aristotle - well according to one site Aristotle said it! In the end I didn't feel exactly 'right' about using any of them. Although I loved the idea of 'Home is where the story begins...' I wasn't sure about where to place those words on Ms Homebody. Eventually, she told me herself that what she wanted was for the viewer to read her story in the elements she asked me to include on her.
Just how did that tiny lady get up into the tower - and how is she going to get down to join the little partner inviting her into the house below? 
What is Ms Homebody's world like?
And how does she make you feel when you call round for tea?

She's far too polite and kind to turn her back on anyone, but if she did, this is what you would see.
Ms Homebody would like you to join her for a nice cup of tea in a bone china rose tea cup. Your stay can be as long, or as brief as you wish. She is ready to listen to your stories be they happy or sad. She'd just love you to spend some time with her and - make yourself at home! Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today and meeting Ms Homebody. Have a great day wherever you are.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Inspired by Helen Chiltern at PaperArtsy

Good Morning and welcome to Magpieheaven! This post has to be a quick one, as the greengages have ripened in the Magpie Garden and today has to be spent in cooking greengage tarts! I've been so busy creating art dolls for Mary Jane Chadbourne's wonderful workshop over at The Artful Gathering that I'd lost all track of time. However, I just had to have a go at Helen's lovely, quick make at PaperArtsy, which I would like to link up today: you can find out all about it here. I think these little Stampbord handbag danglies would make brilliant gifts! I wish I'd had time to create more, but the greengages were demanding my attention! Anyway, tomorrow is another day! I decided to back mine with some scraps of paper from my stash. All my Chatsworth is gone, but I think it would make the perfect backing, if you have it.
I glued my Stampbord to some House of Zandra paper and then trimmed and sanded the edges to give a clean edge.
I then gave an aged appearance to my stampbord pieces, using Vintage Photo, Walnut Stain, Fired Brick, Squeezed Lemonade and a little Victorian Velvet. I stamped over the paper with some beautiful Sara Nauman script from her new PaperArtsy stamps, using Stazon.
I just had time to make two before getting started on the pastry! Here are the backs!
Here are the fronts. It was fun rummaging through my bits and pieces to find embellishments, even if it was against the clock! I really want to do some more of these when I have more time! I chose the Lynne Perrella images that she collected on an exploration of a Paris market, so I carried through the Parisian theme on my second one, using part of a broken pendant bought by me from another market - Spitalfields in London's East End. This was the first time I'd ever used Stampbord and I really loved it! Scraping away was great fun! In the future I'd like to experiment with borders and bolder scraping away; as I really was hurrying to finish these! I used distressed seam-binding instead of chain, but I would definitely make some more with chain.
These ladies of letters will remind me to 'Live my Dream' as they jingle and turn on my handbag! I wonder if they were able to live their dreams back in nineteenth century France? Thank you Helen and PaperArtsy for such a fun, quick and beautiful little project. These are going to find their way into some stockings come Christmas! Thank you so much for stopping by today! I'll be back with my fourth art doll soon, so please do try and visit and meet her, as she has quite a story to tell!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Dreaming with the Dragons, Rust and the letter 'O'!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! I probably say this every fortnight, so I apologize in advance and - off I go again - 'I can't believe it's once again time to dream with the Dragons!' We had some beautiful entries for the recipe chosen by Gabrielle of 'Cogs and the letter P' and the Dreamboat 3 will be announced soon. This time I'm very excited because it's my turn to choose the letter and colour for your tags! If you pop over to the Dragons' Dream TIO here, you'll see the great designs my 'teamies' and lovely guest designer, Rein have come up with. I decided to 'christen' my new Darcy and Sara Nauman stamps that I bought at Stamperama and some of the new PaperArtsy colours by Lin Brown and Jofy as well as adding some rust: this is what I came up with.
Oh, yes, and I managed to get some Lynne Perrella in there too! As always I wove a story around my tag. The lady in the rusted wooden frame looks like a beautiful and haughty Parisienne, I think! A young man from the country has fallen for her, but does he dare to hope she will even cast a glance in his direction - never mind utter the word 'Oui'? The wooden dragon fly and little Darcy tissue flower with pearl accents symbolize the country boy's hopes and aspirations! Have you ever read Proust's 'Remembrance of things Past'? I kept thinking of this beautiful collection of writings as I crafted this tag and the way Proust captures so vividly the sense of place and the difference between town and country.
I bought a little brayer when I was at Stamperama, Stevenage recently and used it to create the background on this tag with the new PaperArtsy colours, Slate, Plum, Chalk and Turquoise, stamping the Sara Nauman text on in Chalk, as I was so impressed when I saw Leandra and Courtney of PaperArtsy demonstrate this simple technique at Stevenage. I love the effect of these little Darcy birds, as they create a dreamy and floating impression. I used some Inktense pencils to add highlights and gold and transparent UTEE in places. The tiles are card painted with Nougat, stamped with coffee Archival Sara Nauman script and then stamped over in black and coated with transparent and flecks of gold UTEE.
 I also did some dimensional highlights with a gold 3D pen.

The rusty key to the box of old love letters; a fragment from a letter; the curled and rusted edges of a tiny tissue flower and the rusted corner of an old chest - did she ever say, 'Oui'? I will leave that to you to decide, Dear Reader! While you're pondering, why not link up your tag to the Dragons Dream Tio? Remember to use at least one real stamp on a tag and have something rusty and the letter 'O' on there somewhere. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Monday, 11 August 2014

The Bunk Beds Spoke to Me!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! Well, I expect my Followers and Friends know by now that I'm a little crazy! And - if you've seen the last couple of blog posts - you'll know something about my children's old bunk beds 'speaking' to me! I'll try to explain! Mary Jane Chadbourne, a wonderful teacher and a fantastic artist, was running a class for The Artful Gathering called 'Anthology of an Art Doll'. I loved the name she chose, 'The Imaginarium' - I wanted to be part of something with a name like that! I'm so glad I signed up because it really has been an Imaginarium full of the most creative and sharing artists making incredible dolls. I've been fascinated by art dolls ever since I first discovered Crafty Blogland, and this course has really been a wonderful experience. Mary Jane offered kits, crafted in wood by her husband and graphics to help create the dolls. I couldn't wait for these to make their way to me all the way from the US, so I took the plunge and learned to use power tools! I also plucked up courage to use some of my own artwork. Mad as this seems, my bunk beds brought down from the loft, began to take on an identity of their own and to convey a message about living and growing! First there was Perdita on her way home from a masked ball in the early hours, dreaming of romance!
Dream-time is such an important part of all our lives. I would like my children to know that time spent dreaming is not time wasted; but time exploring what we might become. For Perdita, who reminded me of the importance of dreams, I used a combination of rubber stamping and my own art work on her face. Here she stands in the garden that was a magical kingdom for young wizards when the children were growing up! But the next character to step out of the bunk beds was a far more imperious lady! She was a Queen and she reminded me that dreams are no use if we don't reflect on them and make them a reality! She tells us that dreams can come true and it's down to us to make that happen!
I tried out cutting a profile face for this doll and used my own artwork and image transfer on her face.
It was great working on the backs of the dolls too!
For Perdita I was able to use lots of moody Paper Artsy Fresco Finish blues and translucent greens.
Then a third doll beckoned! She has grown out of the bunk beds and a hazel tree from our back garden and she completes this trilogy dedicated to my children, Isaac and Matilda. They are both starting along the path to adult life, equipped with dreams and - I hope - the ability to reflect: now Hazel wants them to FLOURISH!
Her face is my first attempt at paper clay modelling and I hope it conveys the warmth and kindness we can meet as we go out into the world. When life is a tempest may my children find those who will comfort them like a tree shelters a bird in a storm.

May there always be a friend to stretch out a nurturing and loving arm. Hazel is extending her twiggy arms and asking us to dance with her! Her back also celebrates the joys and restoring power of nature.
From the side I think she really does look as if she is asking us to dance with her as her branches sway in the wind.

Thank you, Mary Jane, for giving your students the chance to dream and create within the Imaginarium!
 I haven't finished yet - there are more dolls to come; but this trilogy is dedicated to Isaac and Matilda - may they always dream, reflect and flourish! Thank you,Friends and Followers for patiently reading about my trio made from Bunk Beds that talk! I hope your lives will be full of dreams that come true and that your creativity will reflect the joy of living and flourishing!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Meeting the Queen!

Welcome to Magpieheaven! Just a quick mention that yesterday I spent a lovely day at Stamperama, Stevenage meeting up with old and new friends: Helen, Lin, Deborah, Kirsten, Margaret, Jo Jo and Jo Myhill. It was great to see Leandra and her daughter, Courtney demoing the new and beautiful PaperArtsy stamps and paint colours and Liz Borer in person demoing her new stamp collection. I hope I haven't left anybody out 
The title today doesn't refer to HRH Queen Elizabeth the Second, who I have never met  and who did not make an appearance at Stamperama! It refers to my second doll who stepped out of the bunk beds to meet me! She is based on the Queen of Hearts from Lewis Carroll's Alice adventures. I can't express how rewarding Mary Jane Chadbourne's online course has been. This is just a picture post today with a few glimpses of Queenie, as I call her!
She holds a looking-glass in which Alice is reflected and tells us to 'Reflect' - 'commands' perhaps would be the more appropriate word!
If you click on the image you might be able to see the little White Rabbit charm at the corner of the looking glass.
I wanted to make the base resemble a nice fat book! There is nothing like the feel of a book in your hand, the smell of the pages and the excitement as those pages stack up.
Some of my happiest memories are of reading stories to our children as they snuggled up in their bunk beds, and I reckon those beds have absorbed many, many tales! The back of the Queen shows her sleeping and the book firmly shut and waiting for another day.
 When we turn her around her face tells something of Alice's adventures!
She's a formidable lady, but as I painted her face, she refused to be as terrifying as Carroll portrayed her! Maybe Queenie has a soft side and puts on a bit of a ferocious show for the courtiers!
Here she is on the Magpie mantle-piece, having a chat with her companion, Perdita and a little distracted by the tiny Mad Hatter at their feet, who will keep interrupting! She loves her new home in front of the looking glass too! Two dolls finished now! Today I hope to spend some time working on the third bunk-bed girl. I wonder what her character will be? Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today! Have a lovely creative week!

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Princess Steampunk dreams with the Dragons

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, friends and followers! It's been a busy time here at the Magpie's Nest with our daughter's internship taking her off to Azerbaijan next week and our son settling into a new job! Also I've been creating art dolls with Mary Chadbourne over at Artful Gathering. Time moves on, though, and once again it's time to dream with the Dragons over at Dragons' Dream TIO. I'm still loving the beautiful tags people created for brown and the letter 'h'. Soon we will be announcing the Dreamboat 3. Right now it's time for the new recipe, which is brought to us this week by the amazing and talented Gabrielle who has chosen 'Cogs and the letter P'. Please do join us by linking your tags to the Dragons' Dream and remember to include at least one real stamp on your tag. For inspiration hop across to see what the talented Dragons and this week's guest designer have created. I found this challenge incredibly - well - challenging!!! I thought I didn't really have any cogs! Then I remembered a Lynne Perrella stamp I have in which the lady has very unusual hair that might just be comprised of cogs! Here is the tag I came up with! What an amazing brain that cog hairdo and phrenological head must be covering!
 Talking of incredible brains, I was really inspired by Liesbeth Fidder who is guest designer over at PaperArtsy this week. I love her techniques and this time I was keen to try out her 'peeled paint' effect. This along with the cogs seemed to say 'Steam Punk' to me - a genre which I like very much, but which I've never really felt was in my 'comfort zone'. The letter 'P' just had to be Princess, but with a difference, Princess Steam Punk!
I started with a Jumbo tag and a blend of these three colours: Mermaid, Bora Bora and Elephant. I went with the same colour for my top coat as Liesbeth - Cinnamon. She explains the technique over on the PA blog here.
My tiles are created from card painted with Stone Opaque Fresco and then the Translucent Yellow Submarine. They are covered in Clear UTEE and edged with Aged Copper Frantage. I added a little resin bird painted and accented in Sapphire Treasure Gold. He holds some blue painted wire in his beak - no doubt bringing it to help the Steam Punk Princess in her next invention in which curly wire is a most important component!
The rusted Prima mechanicals also serve as cogs in the Princess Steampunk's remarkable invention. I imagine the Princess rather like the brilliant Ada Lovelace, daughter of Annabella Milbanke and the mad, bad and dangerous to know, Lord Byron. She was not allowed to specialize in Poetry lest she turn out to be as 'wicked' as her father, but she did become a nineteenth century mathematical genius instead and she is often referred to as The First Computer Programmer because of her work with Charles Babbage on his 'Analytical Engine', the very first computer! Compared to our laptops, Ipads and Smart Phones it probably does seem like Steam Punk; but to think none of the cutting edge technology we enjoy today would have been possible without it! The Grunge Paste writing - from a ledger stencil could represent the Princess Ada's  jottings as she works on her latest invention! I should like to link my tag to the PaperArtsy Challenge here this week. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking a look at my Steam Punk dream. I shall be back soon, I hope, with my next Art Doll. And she is also a dreamer!