Thursday, 24 April 2014

Our Creative Corner - With a Song in your Heart.

Hello from Magpieheaven, where today I've a song in my heart! When I saw Alison's Challenge over at 'Our Creative Corner' , I had to join in! My problem - apart from time, of course - was choosing one song as my inspiration! Finally I opted for Stephen Sondheim's touching 'Send in the Clowns' from the musical, A Little Night Music. Sondheim, I think, has reached lyrical perfection with this incredible little song. I sang it all the time I was crafting, cleaning, cooking, going around the supermarket - I just managed not to while I was tutoring! I expect I am now known locally as 'that mad lady who sings about clowns!' Clowns scared me as a child, but discovering Pierrot and Harlequin as a teenager sparked a fascination and it's these theatrical, rather romantic clowns I imagine as I listen to this song! I heard so many versions on YouTube, but ultimately  I found Barbra Steisand's the most moving.What do you think? This is a link to the lyrics and Judi Dench's version  http://artists.letssingit.com/stephen-sondheim-lyrics-send-in-the-clowns-ms8d5sh. And these are the lyrics from it that I included on my project...
Sondheim uses a series of simple questions to convey a heart-breaking situation. Desiree, a beautiful actress once had an affair with Fredrik. Years later she meets him again and he is in an unconsummated relationship with a young woman. Desiree proposes to him, but he rejects her offer, too in love with his young wife to leave her. The song is a blend of regret, anger and love. Desiree's wounded pride and disappointment are conveyed through the simplest of words and within quite a limited musical range: the result is just divine. Here is what I made inspired by this song.
My intention was to make a diptych, with a purpose that I will reveal later. I took two thin canvases from 'The Works.' I painted them with a couple of coats of 'Little Black Dress', PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paint and then some Crackle Glaze. While this was drying, I made my own Washi tape with masking tape, painted and stencilled then stamped with Ink and the Dog Mini 30.
I painted over my crackled boards with PaperArtsy Mermaid Fresco, used some Grunge Paste coloured with a little Spanish Mulberry through a Crafters Workshop Harlequin stencil and stamped in Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival, again using the PaperArtsy Ink and the Dog Mini 30. The masking tape was then used to attach the canvasses so that they looked like the covers of a book.
Now it was time for some fun adding clownish elements. This was my initial layout, but I always spend lots of time arranging the pieces before I finally come up with a composition I like. For Fredrik and Desiree I used Lynne Perrella Collection 004 and 006 stamps by PaperArtsy. I die cut arched windows from linen, using a Tim Holtz die. I then painted these with layers of Fresco in Mermaid, Antarctic and Inky Pool edged with French Roast. Mixing the paint with some Fabric Medium really helped it to flow smoothly and enabled me to get some shaded effects. The Harlequin ribbon had been in my stash for a long time and I'd never quite known what to do with it. I love this bare tree ribbon and on this project I thought it could symbolize that it is now too late for Desiree and Fredrik: that old relationship will not bear fruit. The little hats are also painted on fabric and they come from LPC003.
As you can see, I finally changed my layout considerably and added some new elements including a tiny Shrink Plastic clown hat! The black and white seemed rather stark, so I stamped it with the medieval script from PaperArtsy Mini 26 in Potting Soil Archival ink. I changed the position of the Tim Holtz flower with the resin rose at its centre, accented in Treasure Gold in Sapphire and Florentine. The butterfly on the left is made from interfacing courtesy of Lesley Ebdon, painted and stamped and Frantaged! The sentiments on the theme of 'clowning' are from PaperArtsy Ink and the Dog stamped onto some beautiful tea-stained fabric all the way from my lovely Magpie Cousin, Dianne in Canada! I combined needlework with the other techniques on this project and here are some details - sorry for so many pictures!
I decided to leave Desiree with the hat she already had!
The fabric pieces in the top left-hand corner are the love-letters Fredrik might have written Desiree long ago! I used die-cut left-over baby wipes covered in Frantage for one layer of petals on the rose over to the right! I also over-stitched some gold mesh onto Desiree's gown.

Fredrik's hat had some wadding stitched under it to give dimension!
...And I almost forgot - a bunch of rusted keys, a lovely charm given me by my dear friend Lucy. Poor Desiree, just as she was ready to unlock the door to Fredrik, she found 'nobody there'. 
The diptych stands like an open book...
 and inside are Desiree's keepsakes and...
A home for Post-it notes that can stand on our dresser. The fairy Pierrette is one of Sandra Evertson's beautiful 'Petite Whimsy' stamps.
 An image transfer of a Picasso Harlequin from Altered Pages onto fabric; lots of stamped and painty layers and some Indian Mirror Work braid were added before the finishing touch - the lyrics!

Isn't it rich?
Are we a pair?
Me here at last on the ground,
You in mid-air.
Send in the clowns...


Isn't it rich?
Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing this late
In my career?
And where are the clowns?
Quick, send in the clowns.
Don't bother - they're here.



So if you're still around, waiting for them to send in the clowns, thank you so much for your patience in looking at all those pictures. I should like to enter my diptych for the 'With a Song in your Heart' Our Creative Corner Challenge. Have a great week, full of music and songs!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Dragons' Dream - A flower and the letter 'B'.

Hello Followers and Friends! I do hope that you had a wonderful Easter break and that if you don't celebrate Easter, you have been happy and enjoying some glorious Spring weather. I so appreciate the kindness of my followers in stopping by to take a look at my 'Magpie Makes' and I hope that you will find something of interest in the Magpie's Nest. Today it's time to dream with the Dragons again, and this week the amazing Gabrielle has set the recipe! She had so many ideas whirring around in her imagination, in the end she asked her son, Tom to decide and he came up with 'The letter 'b' and a flower'. Of course I was up and away with that recipe, so eager to play around with creating flowers that it wasn't until it was too late that I realized Tom's instruction had been 'A flower' - not a whole bunch of them! I do hope he and Gabrielle will forgive me for getting 'carried away' and featuring not one, but four flowers in all! Sadly Magpies are not renowned for arithmetic! If you want to see some great takes on this recipe by people who can read and count (!) then please click here. We love to see your beautiful tags so do link up with the Dragons' Dream too!
'B' is for blue - my favourite colour so I began by covering a Jumbo tag with some Ice Blue, Fresco Finish paint. I then went over with some Antarctic and some Mermaid, using my new Prima sanding tool that I bought at Ally Pally to rub off some of the top coat to reveal the different shades beneath. Next it was time to play with the gorgeous doily stencil by Rebekah Meier for the Crafters Workshop that I also bought from AP. I used Leandra at PaperArtsy's 'bumping' technique for this, sponging through the stencil first in Chocolate Pudding, then shifting it a little and sponging over with Mermaid.
After adding some text from a PaperArtsy mini in Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil archival, I gave it a good sand with my Prima tool for an aged look and edged it with Inky Pool and then French Roast. The Prima too also has an edge for distressing the sides of the tag.
As you can see, I played with all sorts of ideas for creating different layered flowers. I had to put aside some of my fantasy flowers for another project in the end. I also found a Tim Holtz medallion in my stash with the word, 'Breathe' engraved into it. My tag was beginning to have a message: flowers, birds and blue all symbolize part of what it is to breathe and to feel alive for me! Blue skies, the scent of flowers and the sound of birdsong combine to make my Magpieheaven!
 Eventually, after much shifting around of elements, I came up with this composition. The blue eye at the centre of the flower on the right was painted with some Glossy Accents over Beach Hut Fresco to give the effect of a bright blue eye! The eye is part of an 'Inkylicious' stamp of a face. Over on the left is the beautiful Lynne Perrella lady stamped with Wendy Vecchi, Potting Soil onto Shrink Plastic, painted with Antarctic Fresco. I just had to include her, as she seemed so perfectly to complement the circles on the doily stencil.
I used a Crop-o-dile to punch a hole through the plastic, threading a little blue waxed thread through to make her into a medallion too. The Tim Holtz disc was painted with Antarctic and touched with some Sapphire Treasure Gold.
This is my favourite in the flower garden: a brown gauze flower sent by my crafting friend, Kerry Ann Hickton; some Tim Holtz die-cut petals; a rusted Prima flower courtesy of Lucy another of my dear crafting friends and a little blue resin bird, covered in Sapphire and Indigo Treasure Gold. Thank you so much for dreaming with me today in my blue tag garden. I wish you all blue skies, blue flowers and birdsong in your own gardens this Springtime!

Mail Art at Unruly Paper Arts!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I hope my lovely followers old and new are all feeling on top of the world this April morning! I do appreciate having you along and I hope that you will find something to interest you. Have you received any 'Happy Mail' to brighten your day?This is just a sneak peek of an article I have over on 'Unruly Paper Arts' where the theme is 'Mail Art and Moos'. Please do take a look at my very first Unruly project as a columnist as well as what my team-mates  have been creating here!
We all love our laptops, our emails, Twitter and Facebook, but it's always a thrill to receive something personal and hand-crafted through the letter-box rather than the usual 'junk mail', so why not make something to send to a friend or loved one today? It doesn't have to be a birthday or Christmas to make someone's day special and you might even cheer up the postie with a bright, decorated envelope too.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Make and Take!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven on a wonderful spring day! Just to prove that it really is a blissful day here - a picture of my make in the Magpie Garden!
With Easter on the horizon and lots of visitors expected, along with my English students beginning to panic about the upcoming Summer exams, I've had so little time to create. However, I was determined to do some crafting and I created this simple plaque for my daughter. I enjoyed doing this so much I would like to create some more with different embellishments and colour combos.
It started life as a 'make and take' from Ally Pally. The lady on the MDF man's stand had us covering little MDF hearts with this gorgeous paper. Unfortunately I didn't remember the name of the designer and I would so like to buy some more of her paper. If there is anyone who knows her or can remember the designer's name, please could you leave me a comment so I can order some? Also the lady who was demo-ing was a brilliant teacher! I think she was waiting on the station with me as we took the train up to London and I had no idea we were both bound for the same place, or that I would learn something from her later on that day! She told us to cover our hearts with PVA glue right to the edges, using our finger. We then lay the hearts face down on the paper, gave them a little wiggle to dispel air bubbles and cut roughly around the edges. She then showed us how to simply sand down the edges so that we had a really professional look. My family could not believe this was paper stuck onto the surface! We then threaded through a nice piece of shabby chic string.
When I got my heart out again to play with it, I painted the edge and the back with Bora Bora Fresco Finish followed by just a touch of dry brush Chocolate Pudding. I also stamped over the paper with the script stamp from Paper Artsy Lynne Perrella Collection 028 in Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival Ink. Here is the reverse side of the MDF heart with a couple of coats of Fresco.


I also sponged a little Hey Pesto around the edges. The heart needed some more embellishment so I decided to try out my brand new rusting powder. I have been so longing to have some of this! Words cannot describe the excitement I felt as I approached that little tub of wonder!
My very dear, crafting friend, Lucy had given me a lovely collection of flowers, so I took one of these, covered it with some PaperArtsy Matte Medium, sprinkled it with the magic grey powder and spritzed with vinegar. In this shot, you might be able to see the grey powder and how the flower is gradually changing colour as the vinegar activates a chemical process!
While the rusting powder was working its magic, I selected a  crochet flower from one of these little beauties sent all the way from Canada by my dear Magpie Cousing, Dianne. I chose a coffee coloured one and matched it up with a single gold skeleton leaf.

Three Prima wooden butterflies provided the finishing touch. I painted them with some Bora Bora and a touch of Hey Pesto, edging the wings with Old Gold. Finally I stamped them with the Lynne Perrella script again, in Wendy Vecchi 'Watering Can' this time.
 There it is -  a heart for my daughter. It was the simplest 'make' I've done in a long time, but I was happy creating it and I fashioned it with love. As I worked I thought of one of my favourite poems, 'The Good Morrow' by John Donne. It's a poem about true love, the kind built on mutual understanding and maturity that I hope that my daughter will know some day:
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres,
Without sharp north, without declining west?

As the Spring begins to work its magic and Easter approaches, may your creativity increase; may you create with love in your heart and may you discover all kinds of  new and lovely delights!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

My Second Ally Pally Adventure!

A big welcome to Magpieheaven! Last September I was lucky enough to go to Alexandra Palace for the first time and to get to know some of the lovely Crafters I had only ever tweeted with or met through the Magpieheaven blog. Yesterday I went up to this great venue for Stamping and Scrap-booking and I was able to catch up with friends old and new as well as add to my stash! Here are some of my purchases arranged on top of my washing machine where I craft and take photos!
 The very talented Helen Lindfield was my travelling companion from Victoria, which was lots of fun and I was able to 'catch up' with Lin Shields, Jo Myhill, Leandra and Mark @ PaperArtsy and Minxy all of whom I met for the first time last September. It was lovely to speak in person with Lesley Ebdon, Brenda of Bumblebees and Butterflies and Gabrielle who is one of my 'teamies' at Dragons Dream Tio. These ladies are all super-talented and it was really a thrill to meet with them and have a chat. This is such a great event because we don't just get to buy lots of 'goodies', it's a wonderful opportunity to meet with like-minded people; see fabulous demos; swap tips and just 'Ooh' and 'Ahh' with other crafters about all the beautiful new products on sale! It was inspirational to see Jo Myhill demo-ing on the PaperArtsy stand when Leandra needed to help out on the till! Both Leandra and Lin Brown created some truly gorgeous tags too, really sending us away inspired and ready to try out new things. All in all it was a truly uplifting day out! Here are some more purchases I can't wait to play with. If only I didn't need to cook or clean!
This heart on the right is from a 'Take and Make' on the MDF stand. I am going to add some more decoration and give it to my daughter. I did this when I was having a little wander with Lin. She is a great person to wander the stands with, as she's a real Ally Pally veteran (no reflection on Lin's age of course - I just mean she's been to AP many times!) and so encouraging - she is full of fun and always makes you want to 'have a go'!
One thing I can't wait to try out is this beautiful doily stencil, which Leandra demo'd on the PaperArtsy stall. I can foresee it doing great service with those Lynne Perrella stamsp! The results looked fantastic and Jo Myhill just added the finishing touches to the tag on which it featured before going on to demo and create some more great tags. The day was finished off perfectly with a relaxing drink in the bar with Jo, Minxy, Leandra and Family, Helen and Lin. Have a lovely evening wherever you and whatever you are doing. Have a creative week!

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Dragon's Dream - Blue and the letter S

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven, Friends and Followers. Thank you so much to my new followers for joining me, it's really lovely to have your company too. It's been a busy week with Guest Designing for the last time at PaperArtsy. Now it's time for another Dragons' Dream Challenge: do click here and see what the talented Design Team have come up with to inspire you.  I love the recipe that May has chosen, she creates such beautiful projects. Her recipe this time is to create a tag that features the colour blue and the letter 'S'. As usual the design should include at least one stamped image. The entries for last time's letter 'Z' and a face were fabulous so I can't wait to see what you come up with.
Blue said 'water' to me and the soft, sibilant sound of the letter 'S' suggested gazing deep into still waters to 'see' who knows what? I  worked with a Jumbo tag this time, tearing some pages from a vintage dictionary and a book of Longfellow's poetry and sticking them to the tag with Matte Medium. The background was painted first with PaperArtsy Fresco in Antarctic, then Mermaid, and birds were stencilled through a Stencil Girl stencil with Beach Hut before I stamped some script from a PaperArtsy mini in Cornflower Archival. For depth I added some Hey Pesto translucent Fresco Finish. I wanted to create the idea of seeing the birds on their branches as if they were reflected in water. Water plays so many tricks on our eyes that we begin to wonder exactly what is reflection and what is reality!
You might just be able to see here how the text shows through. I first saw these glass nuggets used by Alison Bomber on her 'Words and Pictures' blog. I stuck them over some of the Hiawatha poem - a section where the young Hiawatha goes fishing, so the watery theme continues! I love the way that the glass looks like water droplets. The eye is from a Tim Holtz, 'Stampers Anonymous' plate. I stamped it over some card painted with Antarctic and then sprayed with Inky Pool and the corners are curled and accented with Treasure Gold. In Green Amber. The tiny frame was Gessoed then given a touch of Green Amber Treasure Gold too. I also sprinkled lots of Shabby Blue Frantage and Gold UTEE to add to the impression of gazing into the watery depths. The Frantage and tiny gem inside the frame might be minute pebbles or jewels from an ancient treasure chest. And, of course, there had to be pearls!
For my central image I stamped this Lynne Perrella lady onto Smoothy Card painted with a blend of Mermaid and Tinned Peas. I painted the circles so that they resembled bubbles. The feathers are stamped with Watering Can Archival by Wendy Vecchi. With the addition of tiny gems and the golden skeleton leaves my tag reminded me of the treasure from some galleon that has been hidden in the depths of the ocean for hundreds of years. Is it an illusion down there, a trick of the light and shadows or precious treasure?
Seam binding dyed with Distress Inks in Peacock Feathers and Broken China and some blue waxed thread to attach the Lynne Perrella banner complete my watery tag. Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I do hope you'll return soon and that you'll be linking your own tags on the theme of Blue and the letter S over at the Dragons' Dream Tio.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Thank You

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. It's so lovely to have you stop by. Thank You, Followers and Friends  old and new for all the support you give. Hello to any new followers, thank you for joining me, I do appreciate it. I will try hard to return the visits you have paid me and flutter by your blogs as often as I can.
 Well, all things must come to an end. I've had a great Semester of fun at Paper Artsy and now the curtain must come down on the final act. I've only just begun to work in the journal, though, so watch this space for more pages to be added as the weeks go by. Here is a sneak peek for the final post. How will it end?!
I do hope you'll pop over to PaperArtsy to see the finale of my project here. Thank You for all the lovely comments you have left over the last three nights. I have appreciated and valued every single one. I can't wait to see the projects you create this week! Julie Ann x.