Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Purple and the Letter 'X'

A warm welcome to Magpieheaven! I hope those friends experiencing wintry weather at the moment are managing to stay warm while crafting to keep their spirits up! This week it's time to dream with the Dragons again and we're nearing the end of the alphabet challenge. It's my turn to choose the recipe this fortnight - it's to use the colour purple and the letter 'X'. Do take a look at the great inspiration over at the Dragons' Dream TIO, including the lovely work of our Guest Designer for this fortnight, Deborah Wainwright! I don't often find myself reaching for purple so I decided to challenge myself to use this dramatic colour!
I wanted to see what purple would look like used with lots of different texture, so I started by adding Prima, clear Crackle Paste and PaperArtsy Grunge Paste to a manila tag!
This what the clear Crackle Paste looks like before it is dry. The Grunge Paste was pushed through a Prima stencil of flourishes that I use lots! I had an idea forming of what my 'X' word would be. As the tag only has to feature the letter, I decided to to go for a word that has an 'X' in it; as words beginning with that letter are rare! Mind you, my ingenious 'teamies' have come up with some brilliant 'X' words! My word was to be 'Text', as words on the page have played such an important part in my life.
I used a blend of different shades of PaperArtsy Fresco paints in various purples: London Night, Pansy, Very Berry, Plum and Eggplant! For somebody who didn't use purple shades often I seemed to have acquired quite a few purples! I even had some purple Treasure Gold, which I rubbed into the cracks along with White Fire!
This image, stamped on tissue is one of the few wood mounted stamps I own and it's a Wendy Vecchi design. I bought it when I first started to gather a collection of rubber stamps, before I had really discovered the huge range of unmounted stamps. I love the face and the way that it appears on a background of text. My word is made using the Tim Holtz 'Worn Alphabet' and embossed with Verdi-gris EP. For detail I added a glass nugget over book text, a shrink plastic leaf with some Lynne Perrella text on it and resin roses.
The reflection makes it difficult to see, but it does say 'text' under the nugget!
 I used some script from a PaperArtsy 'Hot Picks' plate and an 'Ink and the Dog' mini over the Crackle and on the word tiles.
When I am lost in a good book it seems as if the text takes flight! On this tag I used a Karen Burniston butterfly die, using the bigger butterfly as wings and the smaller one as an embellishment on the tag. It has a covering of clear UTEE and Frantage  and the antennae are little flower centres with a blob of purple at the tip.
Thank you so much for stopping by today. Please do link up with the Dragons this fortnight and see what you can create with purple and the letter 'X'. You could make something Christmassy or take a break from the Christmas rush: the choice is yours. Remember that your project must be a tag of some kind and that there must be at least one stamped image on it. Happy Creating!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Making Mini26 Festive!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, where I'm still busy with Christmas makes! I promise that next week I'll be taking a bit of a break from Christmas, as I don't want to overdo the festive spirit too much before the actual festive season begins! Over at the Craft Stamper Blog Here they have a challenge that my crafting friend, Chris of the blog Pearshaped Chris thought might interest me! I've been challenging myself to create cards with non-Christmas stamps and that is what Craft Stamper would like to see so I should like to link up this pair of Christmas cards to the challenge. The stamp I chose for these cards in PaperArtsy Mini26 - a really versatile little script stamp, which is not specifically Christmas themed.


I began with a new Masterboard: lots of brayering, stencilled birds and branches from a big stencil by StencilGirl and some stamping with my chosen non-Christmas stamp, Mini26. With its medieval look...
It reminds me of illuminated manuscripts in vibrant colours with gold lettering. If you click on the image, you might be able to see how the text blends in with the winter woods. There's a JOFY Mini snowflake Christmas stamp to create the wintry atmosphere.
After die-cutting some Tim Holtz deer, I painted them with PaperArtsy Fresco paint, then stamped them with some paint sponged onto the Mini26, embossing with clear embossing powder and then covering with Treasure Gold. The arch I'm experimenting with in the picture is also a Tim Holtz die-cut. I spread it thickly with Prima Crackle Paste and left it to dry.
In this close-up, I hope you can see the effect of the crackle on the arch and the raised embossing on the deer. I stamped the script on the arch too - without a block to give an aged, worn away look. I sponged the edge of the arch with some Fern Green Wendy Vecchi Archival ink to give the look of lichen.
The deer are fixed with little foam pads to give a 3D effect. Although the script is not intended for Christmas projects, I think it gives an impression of a medieval manuscript coming to life and it reminds me of one of my favourite carols:
The rising of the sun and the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ sweet singing in the choir.
I used the text from Artistic Outpost's 'Snowy Woods' plate to give a context...
and fixed all my elements to Kraft card. Thank you for stopping by Magpieheaven today. Have a lovely weekend full of creativity!

Friday, 14 November 2014

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! I do seem to be getting very caught up in Christmas projects now that November is here! Over at Unruly Paper Arts I have a little Christmas house featured as part of this month's Readers' Art Quest. I do hope you will feel inspired to take a look at what all the very talented columnists have come up with and join in with something Santa themed too.
I decided to decorate this little wooden house. I painted it first with Gesso and then had fun adding Tim Holtz clear Distress Glitter, tiny red gems, charms, a scrap of hessian mesh and an MDF heart. There are some Robin's Nest paper leaves in nice Christmassy tartan too. Earlier in the year I gathered these tiny pine-cones while I was on a country walk and this seemed the perfect project to use them on. I do wish you could see how the whole project really glistens like sunlight on snow when the light shines on it!
I painted some shrink plastic with Fresco Finish in Guacamole and then stamped with my favourite Aritistic Outpost Snowy Woods Image so that I was able to fit this onto my little Christmas tree decoration. One of the shrink plastic leaves at the top features a Sandra Evertson Petite Whimsy too - a quirky version of the fairy on the Christmas tree!
For a Christmas stocking, I took a little Eyelet Outlet brad, which was meant to be a Wellington Boot and transformed it with some Gesso and gold dimensional paint!
Because I plan to hang my little house on our tree, I decided that it needed an interesting back so that it can be viewed from all angles!
The Robin's Nest paper I used had a really good texture and the tartan is traditional without being a predictable Christmas choice. 
Thank you so much for stopping by today. I do hope you will be able to share a Readers' Art quest 'make' that features Father Christmas and possibly win the lovely prize from Amazing Crafting Products. 
I was petrified of the Department Store Santa I was taken to see by my parents as a tiny girl. My mother still has a photo of me with the trace of a tear on my cheek, reluctantly sitting on Santa's knee in my little matching hat and coat!  He is imagined in so many different ways now, though, and over the years I've come to love these images of the kindly saint who, according to legend rescued the young and vulnerable from horrible fates. When our son stopped believing in Father Christmas he said, 'I shan't stop believing in the spirit of Christmas, though.' Santa, whether you believe in him or not, remains the embodiment of magic, sharing and joy, which is the spirit of Christmas!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Cracking on with Christmas!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I've surprised myself over the last two days! I've been really enjoying using a Master-board as a basis for creating Christmas cards - and - guess what, I think I might actually manage to complete more than six this year! I have set myself the challenge of using the same stamp for a session and seeing how many different ways I can use it! First things first, though: here is my Masterboard for today's makes.
I love 'bumping' with the Rebekkah Meier doily stencil and  creating 3D effects. I saw Leandra of PaperArtsy demo this technique back in September and I've been 'hooked' ever since! I'm also challenging myself to adapt one or two die-cuts per session.
For my today's project, I used a Tim Holtz arch with a little snowflake at the centre. The stamp I chose was a 'Lost Coast' one which I bought last year. It's not Christmassy at all, so I challenged myself even further to make it festive!
Here is my card. I stamped the 'Lost Coast' image onto tissue, using Wendy Vecchi Cobalt Archival ink and then stuck it onto the top of my arch with PaperArtsy Satin Glaze. The cut-out in the centre opens onto some vintage lace. I've been having such fun using Jo Firth Young's Mini snowflake both with ink and Snowflake paint. It is such a lovely, simple design; but you can create fabulous effects with it. I've used it on the hand-made Washi tape and on the arch.
Here is the same 'Lost Coast' stamp, but this time I've stamped it straight onto the background, using Inky Pool, Fresco Paint and then sprinkled with Clear Embossing powder and heated. The 'Winter' sentiment is torn from some of my own Washi again and it's from a Lynne Perrella set.
Finally I stamped onto to tissue again, but this time with Jet Black Archival. These cards are my 'take' on Christmas angels. I have to say, though, that in life the angels I've met have not had wings or drifted down from the sky! They have come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they have all had in common is that they have appeared when life was hard and their kindness has given me wings! Tomorrow I'm going to see how differently I can use a Tim Holtz window die-cut. Thank you for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I shall try not to get too carried away with Christmas cards and try to create some non- Christmas makes in the coming weeks too. I should like to link this post to The Artistic Stamper Challenge here, where they are having a 'Christmas is Coming' Challenge for the month of November! Have a lovely week one and all!:

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Dreaming of a Magical Christmas!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, where I've been getting into the Christmas spirit early for once! I'm not usually the most organized of Magpies and I don't know how long this will last - but - I think it's the discovery of how much fun making master-boards can be that has changed my life! Today I'd like to share a Christmas ATC I've created for a swap and which I am linking to the Artistic Stamper Challenge here. I started with some sheets of card which I painted with Stone PaperArtsy Fresco paint.
I then had so much fun just stencilling and brayering and stamping with inks and paints! I've been enjoying using Jo Firth Young's delightful little mini snowflake stamp for PaperArtsy. It looks magical when used with Snowflake Fresco and enclosed in circles created by lids dipped into puddles of paint!
Stamping with paint creates great effects, but you do have to clean the stamp immediately, as paint dries on very quickly! I also stamped some script from Sara Nauman's Eclectica plate in Snowflake and Archival ink. These sheets are going to be so useful for Christmas card and tag backgrounds and each one will be different so I can feel that each recipient will be getting a unique card.
I had just as much fun creating my own Washi Tape with masking tape painted with Stone Fresco, stencils and stamping. Again Jo's snowflake was really useful and I used different colours of Archival ink to stamp some Lynne Perrella crowns and her 'Winter Wonderland' text. I didn't want to stop! Lin Brown's stencil with little circles looks so Christmasy when you use Snowflake Fresco. The idea for using this stencil on a Christmas make came from Lucy Edmondson at True Colours. But which stamp to use for my focal image on my Christmas ATC?
I recently invested in the beautiful Oxford Impressions Halloween plate 'Trick or Treat' because I had fallen for the two little pierrots! Now this couple look far more like characters from a long ago Christmas entertainment to me so I decided to use them for this ATC. They are stamped onto tissue and adhered to the card with Satin Glaze. I liked the idea of the background of Stone, Lake Wanaka, Antarctic and Snowflake Frescos not being lost behind the images so I did not paint them. I used white pen to highlight them and sprinkled their ruffs with Tim Holtz clear Distress Glitter. The taller little reveller has tiny blue and white glass beads on his costume and I punched a snowflake out of card spritzed with Vintage Photo and Frayed Burlap Distress Inks, decorated with Shabby Blue Frantage, White Pen and Pearlen Pen at the centre.
 Is this a couple of siblings all ready to head off for a Christmas party, or a pair of entertainers in a traditional panto? If they are 'Theatricals', they will be enchanting parents and children night after night in the plush red and gold interiors of crowded theatres . Enchanted by the fairy-tale before their eyes, the middle-class boys and girls in the audience will be unaware of the cold and shabby backstage world; the hard grind of being a child performer and the poor homes from which these 'magical' children came.   Now I have completed my first Christmas ATC, which I should like to link to the Artistic Stamper Christmas is Coming Challenge. I expect lots of you have already got well underway with card-making: I hope you have just as much fun as I've had creating your Christmas makes in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Dragons' Dream - Letter 'U' and a Quotation.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, where it's time to dream with the Dragons again! It was a privilege to see the beautiful tags you created for the last challenge - so much imagination with the colour 'red'. This time it's the turn of the very original and creative Gabrielle to come up with the recipe and she's chosen the letter 'U' and a quotation! Take a look here at the Dragon DT inspiration. There are some really inspirational quotations out there and I'm sure you'll find some that will be uplifting or thought-provoking. I apologize for a rather early Christmas themed tag this time, but I just had to start sometime - and this Christmas quote is definitely one of my favourites!
Robert Frost is one of my favourite poets and his words go well with this lovely Santa from the Artistic Outpost plate, 'Snowy Woods'. He seems both magical and human too as he trudges through the snow with his pack. This tag is in more muted colours after quite a brightly coloured canvas in my last post, but let's start at the beginning!
I began by sticking text torn from an old book about Christmas traditions. Now this always happens with me: I became very interested in what I was reading and spent a while taking in the text, then I ended up pretty much covering it completely with paint so that not a word was visible! Ah well, I know that it's there and I think that some of the facts about Santa influenced my creation!
I got completely carried away with brayering and stencilling in PaperArtsy blues and greens. I used a Clearsnap stencil of birch woods and then topped and tailed my tag with some scraps of die-cut master-board from my previous wintry project. I loved the effect, although I was sad that so little of the text was now UNSEEN!
And how often after falling asleep on a perfectly ordinary winter's night would I awaken to the magic of quiet, snowy streets. While I dreamed in bed, unseen by me, the snowflakes had clothed the dull houses and shops in glittery splendour and for a while all was enchantment! Similarly, however hard I tried to stay awake, Santa's visits were always mysterious. How did he manage to deliver all those presents unseen by eager children? To add dimension to my tag, I stamped snowflakes from card and used what was left behind to make a stencil for plain, white Grunge Paste. The shimmery effect of the Frantage is quite effective, but difficult to capture in a photo. I used a white Posca pen to create the effect of my letter tiles strung across the winter sky.
I stamped my AO Santa and quote onto white tissue with Jet Black Archival Ink, heat-set and tore and frayed the edges before adhering it to the tag with Satin Glaze so that it would blend into the background. I didn't paint the tissue at all, as I wanted the delicate colours of the tag to show through. I just used my Posca pen to highlight Santa; to create a little, rising crescent moon; bare, white trees and snowy roof-tops. This tag will eventually be for my old friend, Alison who loves the subtle colours of winter skies. Thank you so much for dropping by Magpieheaven today as we drift into November. I do hope you will be able to join in the challenge. Remember to include at least one real stamp on your tag and a letter 'U' along with a favourite quotation. You can use this as an opportunity to start your Christmas crafting if you like, but feel free to interpret the recipe any way you would like.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Cosy Challenge - A Book of Hours.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! It's been unusually warm here for the end of October; but I suspect now that November is here we'll be feeling the chill and looking for ways to keep cosy! Over at Finnabair's blog there's a fabulous Cosy blog hop and challenge with some stunning projects to see from Finnabair and the Design Team. Click here to find out all about it. I just had to join in, so I've waved a sad farewell to autumn and started to think about the coming winter with its glittering frosts; snow flurries and roaring fires. An image that suggests 'cosy' to me is this page from the medieval book of hours Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.
I loved the contrast between the chilly outdoors with its bare trees and snowy landscape and the cosy little house where the Lady is warming her feet by the fire. I decided to adapt this image for a canvas: the final one in a series I've been making for my Mum. Here are spring, autumn and summer, which I have now completed.,,
For the main part of my canvas, I blended layers of PaperArtsy  Frescos in Snowflake, Antarctic and Mermaid - and here is my Winter's Tale.
I decided to create a Master Board to cut up for trim and I had great fun with this, layering and brayering  (unintentional poetry there!); stencilling and stamping. I used a Jofy stamp of snow flakes and a Rebekkah Meier doily stencil. 
It's always such a shame to cut up backgrounds, but I did have fun playing around with Sizzix dies - 'On the edge' snow flakes and the decorative strip lace die. I used an arch die cut from cardboard packaging to suggest a window into my lady's cosy house.
 I painted both the border of my arch and the inside with Little Black Dress and then Crackle Glazed over them with Turquoise for the border and Tango for the interior. The dome is created by snipping off the top of the arch and placing it above the lacy die-cuts. I then used Grunge Paste, tinted with Antarctic pushed through a Prima flourish stencil to create the relief pattern on the frame. I used Prima Mechanicals, rusted and painted with Snowflake and or highlighted with Sapphire Treasure Gold.
 The portrait in the red and gold Prima frame was stamped onto Shrink Plastic, painted with Blush Fresco and then heated to fit the frame.
 The little Prima metal nut is painted and then Treasure Golded with Sapphire, and it nestles among resin roses painted with Snowflake and then sprinkled with Tim Holtz glitter. I used Heavy Gel Medium to stick down the lace and then painted over it, doodling a border with a Posca pen. I am saving up for some Finnabair basic materials, as I think these will make such a difference to future products, but until then I'm improvising with what I have!
 I also added some snow-dusted Shrink Plastic leaves, and punched out snowflakes with a sprinkling of Frantage  in Shabby Blue. A tissue snowflake floats past the lady's cheek. My final touch was to give her a necklace of a golden charm, maybe an angel or the god of Love!


Winter is not an easy time for birds, but if this lady is warm-hearted - and  I'm sure she is - she will share some crumbs of freshly baked bread with this little blue shrink plastic bird and the Prima robin who is singing his winter song for her.
All the leaves are frosted over and turning to skeletons in the bitter weather. I used leaf charms painted and highlighted with Treasure Gold and some leaves stamped onto the background with Snowflake paint.  But my cosy canvas needed something more! We still have not lost that love of a cheery fire, even though most of us now enjoy the luxury of central heating. For years my Mum lived in a cottage where she made up a coal fire each day during the Winter months. At Christmas my family love the open fire that we light especially on Christmas Day, so I decided to add one word to my canvas...
And, although the wintry weather does it best to freeze everything in sight, the sun still shines bravely on some beautiful winter days, making the snow glitter and reminding us of past summer days!
I used Paper Clay to mould a sun and then hand-painted a face. He's doing his best to melt the ice on the leaf close by: the droplet is a 'glass' nugget. This post has been so picture heavy, but I had so much fun creating this canvas for my mum and I really hope it will make her feel cosy as the winter approaches. I should like to link it to the Warm and Cosy Blog Hop at Finnabair here. Thank you for your patience, if you've stayed the course! I hope you have a lovely, cosy week surrounded by family and friends!