Tuesday 30 April 2013

Magpie's Face, Pink, Fabric Challenge!

Hello, on what has been a glorious sunny day in Magpie Heaven! As you may know I'm really new to blogging and this is my first attempt at the Dragons Dream Tag it on; it's certainly been lots of fun! So here goes my entry to

Inspired by the words, Face, Pink and Fabric, I decided to give my tag a real vintage look so I used Tim Holtz distress inks in Walnut Stain, Broken China and Peacock Feathers, stroked them onto my craft mat and spritzed, then dragged a giant sized manila tag through. I then stained some cream linen with the same colours and stamped a Stampington 'Clearly Impressed' butterfly from the plate 'Butterfly Girl' in Ranger Archival ink and heat-set I also stamped this linen with some script from a Crafty Individuals script stamp. I printed a lovely vintage girl onto the linen from an image scanned into my computer and printed some playing card people, digital downloads onto linen too,

I embellished with Prima buttons, ribbon and pink lace as well as tiny tags, distressed with Tim Holtz inks and printed with Crafty Individuals script. Magpies are not noted for their sewing skills, but I did stitch on the buttons and lace on this project! I hope it's been a sunny day wherever you've been today and all the magpies you've seen have been in pairs. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Madam Butterfly in Magpie Heaven!

Last week , to my great excitement, the Lynne Perrella Asian stamps I ordered from Country View Crafts arrived - hurray! I love all Lynne Perrella's stamps and these sheets she has designed for Paper Artsy are just so inspirational I couldn't wait to start a project. I then spotted the Country View Crafts Challenge quite by chance while shopping on their site for shrink plastic. I had until the end of April to enter (!!!) That didn't give me much time, but I've only just started blogging and I wanted to give it a shot. The theme was butterflies and I thought - those wonderful Asian themed stamps and who else but
 'Madam Butterfly'! Here is my butterfly project for http://countryviewchallenges.blogspot.co.uk/

 I had a supply of Paper Artsy Fresco paints, a little pyramid box from Retro Cafe Arts, some Graphic 45 paper with parasols and some tiny cocktail umbrellas - I was ready to go!
I sponged Snowflake Fresco paint by Paper Artsy onto the two sections of the pyramid. I then layered with Beach Hut on the larger section and stenciled with Beach Hut on the smaller piece that forms the centre.
I stamped the Lynne Perrella images with Ranger Archival ink, heat set and coloured them with Frescos: Haystack, London Bus and Victorian Velvet. I stuck triangles of Graphic 45 on alternative sections.

Then it was time to flip over and paint what would be the outside of my oriental pyramid - or should that be a pagoda? Actually when I had finished I thought the box looked rather like a lotus flower!
I decorated my stamped images with paper cut butterflies from Retro Cafe Art Gallery.
I then embossed with detail gold on acetate using the butterfly from Butterfly Girl by Stampington 'Clearly Impressed' and attached these to a cocktail umbrella which I eventually slipped into the top of the box.
When I added some butterflies cut from Graphic 45 'Steampunk' design paper and combined the two sections of the pyramid my Madam Butterfly box was beginning to resemble the lotus flower. I then stamped in black 'Versafine' ink on tissue, heat set and painted the faces only of the images on the reverse side in Snowflake Fresco, attaching them to the box with Satin Glaze from Fresco and a coating of the glaze over the top. I wanted the faces to stand out, but the images to appear to emerge from out of the flowery stencils.
I finished off with a ribbon, an acetate butterfly and some detail picked out in Fresco Old Gold.
I cut out lanterns from Graphic 45 and punched out some Lynne Perrella small flower images decorating them with a small blue gem. I drew on a tassel and a cord in black fine pen (so the lanterns appeared to be suspended from something) on a background of Ice Blue Fresco.
I tried to use colours from the Graphic 45 that would complement the Fresco paints.

It was so much fun using these beautiful images by Lynne Perrella to create this box for my first Country Crafts Challenge. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to look at what has been going on in Magpie Heaven this week!

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Spring Trio Canvas

Hello and welcome to Magpie Heaven!
 There have been some wonderful green and golden days since my last post and Suzanne over @ Paper Artsy has so far created projects brimming over with all the joys of spring - fresh colours, shiny things and flowers and butterflies! I really wanted to play along this week, but I was worried at first - I didn't have anything like the Hot Picks she used (memo to self: you need more Hot Picks!) Also I feared I lacked her bold confident touch!
I did have a canvas though so I said to myself, 'Why not adapt what you have?' Should I be talking to myself so much, I wonder? Magpie Heaven is a bit of a squeeze these days, as, along with my stash, there are the brood - one at Art College, the other come home to roost from university - and a long-suffering husband to fit in. I have to do my craft projects on a corner of the dining-room table. Here is my canvas battling it out with the pepper mill, place mats and a candelabra!

 I sponged the canvas with layers of Frescos: Ice blue, Sky, Mermaid, Haystack and Beach hut with, around the edges, Hyde Park with Zesty Zing and Limelight to suggest grasses. I then stamped on more leaves and grasses from an old set of clear stamps I have. I don't know where they came from, but they're so useful. I dabbed them with Hyde Park and made sure I sponged this off quickly. Here is the canvas before I had done very much to it. It's on my little potting table in the garden to get me in the mood for planting and springtime.

 I remember being taught the same sort of effect that Suzanne created with her cogs at a class years ago. I had great fun in the class, but then never used the technique because it didn't seem to fit in with my style. This time I had an idea brewing! I 'Versamarked' a piece of 'Smoothy' card, melted Verdi-gris and Copper embossing powders with my trusty heat gun and then inked up a Lynne Perrella coin stamp and stamped into the molten embossing powder. I didn't want to cover up the result, which looked to me like ancient coins you might stumble across in the grass so I just rubbed them with some Green Amber Treasure Gold and stuck them in the corners of my canvas. I think that was where the idea of 3 being the theme of this canvas was born - 3 coins, 3 leaves, 3 butterflies. I also rubbed on some Treasure Gold around the corners of the canvas.

On Lynne Perrella's website she describes going out with some colourful banners she had created and hanging them in the trees and this gave me an idea. I stamped these three LP images on Crackly tissue (what will become of me now this is no longer available?) with Versafine ink and painted them on the reverse side. I then used lots and lots of Satin Glaze to fix them and to make the colours on the canvas glow. I then finished off with my take on the butterflies. I embossed on acetate with the same powder mix I'd used for the coins and I used, instead of a die cut butterfly, a Stampington one from the 'Butterfly Girl' sheet. I then added some little leaves, stamped on Crackly and coloured on the reverse side with Limelight. I then drew on in black marker the strings attaching the banners to the trees and added some Old Gold to make them look like fine chains. When my daughter got home she at first thought they were windows so I hope they really do look like banners fluttering in the light spring breeze. What would it be like, I wonder, to come upon some Lynne Perrella banners glittering in the morning sun in some secluded dell?

Here is a full view of the finished canvas.

Here is a photo without the shadows of the garden plants! You can also see more clearly the strings from which the 'banners' are suspended.

Does anyone else ever have moments during a project when they think - help - this isn't going to work? I know I do and I was not very confident about this one because it was not quite like anything I've done before.

 By the time I had finished, the sky was beginning to darken behind the glass plate I painted so long ago the colour is wearing away now!  Although I did this at the end of a tiring day tutoring my English students (Grrr - springtime is also pre-exam time) in the end I really enjoyed challenging myself to do something new and unexpected!

 Thanks Suzanne for sharing your wonderful ideas and thank you to anyone who has dropped by to read this.

Monday 22 April 2013

Magpie Morning!

Hello to anyone passing by and welcome to Magpie Heaven! I feel like singing a rousing chorus of 'O what a beautiful morning!' today not just because it is nice and sunny-ish but also...because last night I was lucky enough to win the @Paper Artsy draw!!! It was so inspiring to take a peek at all the amazing projects inspired by Linda Cain, so many thanks to Leandra and Gillian for running these great challenges.
This is one of the Magpie Brood emerging! Well, no we don't all go round in masks looking like something out of V for Vendetta! This is one of the brood posing for his sister's photography project for her art foundation! I can't take credit for the photo, but the mask is part of my magpie gathering. I love the colours which have stayed so bright for over twenty years and all the memories it has of holidays in Venice.
That's what I wanted to evoke in this journal spread really.
I sponged on Fresco paints: Beach hut, Mermaid, a little bit of Inky Pool and a touch of London Bus here and there to add contrast. I think this kind of suggested a sunset. I used some of my favourite Lynne Perrella stamps from @Paper Artsy (LPC009, 011, 012) with black Archival ink - I love the way LP stamps seem to tell a story. The little figure crops up on two different sheets and really intrigues me. As I worked, the colours and images suggested memories and travels. The little frames suggested a locket.
I sponged over doilies from the Pound shop to create a lacy effect! The leaves are clear stamps I've had for years - so long I don't even know who the designer is - sorry! I stamped them on to @Paper Artsy crackly tissue and then embossed in silver detail embossing powder. It's difficult to see in the photo, but the blue and silver went quite well. The sphere in the corners is from another old, Non Sequiter set of stamps used with a Lynne Perrella flower. I embossed again with detail bronze straight on to the page, taking care not to set the whole journal alight ha ha!
I stamped the Lynne Perrella lady on to Crackly and coloured her on the back. I think Leandra's tutorial on U tube on doing this possibly changed my life! I thought the image looked a little like the fancy draw string purses I remember back in the 'seventies so I made a pocket and slipped a tag into it.
I like to use the journal to gather and keep snippets of poetry I like, so I wrote out an anonymous haiku type poem from an old collection I have on the back of this label, which is created using a mixture of  spritzed distress inks (especially Peacock feathers - my favourite), Portfolio Pastels and @Paper Artsy Frescos. I also like to make my own stencils using what's left behind when you've punched out little leaves, hearts etc. I shifted my stencil over a bit after sponging with Claret then dabbed on Snowflake. Again, thanks to Leandra for this tip! I attached my label with eyelets.
The tag and the little picture frames are a Tim Holtz die. I stained the lace (from dear Dennis' stall in the market) with distress inks. I know lots of people have been busy working on the TH April tag. Mo at http://almocraft.blogspot.co.uk/ has created a gorgeous one. I love tags, but a little too much, so I find I've made loads and don't know quite what to do with them. Added to a journal page you can flip them over to read a secret message! If you strain your eyes you can see torn pieces of vintage book stuck to the page.
This little haiku poem is a bit sad. I just doodled around this and added gems, but I'll probably return and add more stamping.  The story behind this page (entirely the product of my sentimental imaginings) seems to be two lovers separated by time and space who set out to find each other - in Venice maybe? And I have to give the romance a happy ending...
She kept his picture over twenty years and they're reunited in a cafe overlooking St Marks Square - shamelessly romantic! I think I shall return to this page and add to it when the mood takes me, when I'm feeling nostalgic and sentimental! I have a Stampington Clearly Impressed stamp of a Venetian ticket so I stamped this on to Crackly and whacked that on too!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a look. Thanks too for all the fun I've had since I started blogging, looking at the lovely inspirational work on other people's blogs. It's opened up a whole new world of creativity - there's some beautiful work out there! Thanks for sharing!

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Magpie Pyramid Challenge!

Blogging has been proving a bit of a puzzle for my bird-brain, I'm afraid! Three kind people have tried to 'follow' me (in a blogging way - not in the street, you understand!) and I just can't find out how to enable the 'followers'' button. Ah well, I shall have to turn to superior brains for some help. To cheer myself up I thought I would play along with the @Paper Artsy challenge this week. Linda Cain has been doing some amazing work with Fresco paints, modelling paste and crackle glaze. Her bird-house and tag look so beautiful and professional, like all her work, really creative and a visual feast! I have no Grunge paste (yet) -I'm saving my shiny pennies for that plus the new Lynne Perrella Asian themed stamps. For my project I used Fresco paints: Rose, Victorian Lace, Claret, Sky, Ice Blue and a touch of Beach Hut and Old Gold. I played with Crackle glaze, some Spanish Topaze Treasure Gold, Paper Artsy and Lynne Perrella stamps and some collage sheets and Dresden foil and butterfly cut-outs from @Retro Cafe Art Gallery. I had one of the Retro Cafe pyramid exploding boxes and somehow that said 'Harlequin' to me so I set about decorating it with a Venetian theme.

 I painted the outside triangles in Snowflake Fresco as a base and then two with Claret and the other two with Sky. I then used the Harlequin stencil on the Sky ones, dabbing Claret on with a Sponge then shifting the stencil slightly over to one side and dabbing with Ice Blue. I embellished these with blue Retro Cafe cut-out butterflies. Then I edged the Claret triangles with Treasure Gold. I used a couple of frames that come with the Tim Holtz tag die, painting them with a layer of Claret, a thin layer of Crackle glaze applied with an old knife and a layer of Ice Blue. I dabbed just a little Treasure Gold on the edges. The masked ladies and butterflies are again Retro Cafe Art collages and cut-outs. I accented the frames with tiny topaz stones.
 For the inner section I harlequin stencilled again, this time using Ice Blue, Beach-hut and Victorian Lace. The other two triangles are Rose and Claret with little cut-out playing cards (digital downloads) and script in Distress Ink in mahogany.

I then flipped over the pyramids and decorated with Claret stamped with Archival ink, the label from the Ink and the Dog pierrot set, some script using Rose Fresco (immediately washed off the stamp, of course!) and a Stampington ticket stamp from the Butterfly Girl set. The other two sides are pierrots from Paper Artsy Ink and the /Dog, stamped on Crackly tissue and painted and stuck on to the Sky background with Satin Glaze.
The centre is painted with a mixture of Sky and Victorian Velvet. The script is in Peacock Feathers Distress Ink and the butterfly, roses and crown are Retro Cafe Art Gallery. The two postage stamp cut-outs are Lynne Perrella stamps which I drew my own masks on in black fineline pen.
I loved drawing on those masks! The little leaves are made by punching out Fresco painted card with a Woodware punch.

To attach the corners I made a Tim Holtz rose from Claret and Rose on Shiny Paper Artsy card. I stuck this to a cocktail stick painted with Old Gold and finished with narrow claret ribbon. This ribbon is part of a vast magpie hoard of ribbon and lace I buy from Dennis who has a wonderful haberdashery stall in my local market!
Here it is semi-finished!
I was really pleased with the way the Lynne Perrella stamps worked with the whole thing that I took a detail shot.
Here is the box all ready to open with a surprise inside maybe?
Ooh yes, and I forgot - I lined the base with some Graphic 45 paper before I stuck down the inner part of the pyramid!
Here is the rather mysterious, witchy lady on the other side!
And what was Daisy, the cat up to while all this activity was going on?
And she's usually so eager to help too! Well, all this sun we've been having has no doubt worn her out!
This pyramid was such fun to make I completely lost the headache I'd developed from frustration over that Followers' button. Have a lovely day anyone who might be reading this and thanks for stopping by.

Friday 12 April 2013

A Winter Journal

My son bought me a beautiful Lynne Perella book for Christmas on creating an art journal. I was so inspired by it I started journaling and I said that if I ever got a blog off the ground I would post some of the pages. Here is the first one. My inspiration for the theme of this page was my all-time favourite of pierrots and carnival, of course, but also going into the garden in the depths of winter and hearing the song of one bird in the bitter chill. I have used Fresco paints in Inky Pool, Beach Hut, Limelight and London Bus and @Paper Artsy stamps - Ink and the Dog and Lynne Perella as well as @Retro Cafe Art parrot, harlequin stencils, a Wendy Vecchi mounted rubber stamp and some lace and gems.
I made pockets by folding back and under and then sticking down with tape, the two top pages on each side of the sketch book. The pockets contain little cards with my thoughts about the bird-song written on them. That experience of hearing the bird singing in the wintry sky did seem to fit quite well with the idea of pierrots and harlequins - I can never decide if they're incredibly joyous or really poignant .
When I looked at the @Paper Artsy Helen Chilton challenge this week, I noticed that she too had used Ink and the Dog stamps with Lynne Perella. I had used Snowflake for highlights and black outlining too, so I felt I was in good company. I can't enter this page for the draw because it is not a new project and I did not photograph it step by step. However, as I become a better blogger I hope to be able to create more step by step posts.
Here is a close-up of one of the pierrots. His hat is made from a painted vintage book page - I was pleased that the lettering happened to say 'the twin', as there are 2 pierrots on the double page! I love these Lynne Perella images because they are so adaptable. I am so excited at the prospect of the new LP stamps launched this weekend, I just wish I could get to Ally Pally!
This is one of the little cards. On one side was a Lynne Perella image, on the reverse side was the Tim Holz bird outside its cage and a message written on it. The little ribbon loops can be pulled to remove the card from the pockets.
This last picture focuses on the twin pierrots! This page will always remind me of hearing exquisite bird song on a cold January day.
If there is anyone out there, thank you for looking and have a great weekend.

Tuesday 9 April 2013

Flutters of Excitement in the Magpie's Nest!

There was a great flurry of wings and feathers everywhere this morning! To my delight, Kristin Hubick had posted my exploding boxes on the @Retro Cafe Art Facebook fan page! There were some really nice comments so thank you, Kristin and those people who 'liked' and commented. It was fascinating to take a look at all the beautiful shrines and art dolls other people had created too - so much inspiration! I am creating a massive list of all the treasures I now need! I have my eye on a mini-house shrine. Thank you to Kristin too for having a look at this blog. I still feel rather strange writing it, as if I'm sending messages into Space and only the occasional earthling is receiving them!
 An old friend's birthday is fast approaching (22nd April) so here is the box I made for him, using some of Retro Cafe's lovely collage sheets; when I go on the site I always see so many that look just right for the next project I don't know which to choose! My one problem with this friend's gift is, what do I put in the box? Any ideas?
This box has a Venetian masquerade theme with some cut-out butterflies - I believe a symbol of 'good luck' to Venetians - and some tiny postage stamps of masked figures punched out of collage sheets. Anyone who has visited the Magpie's Nest will know that the walls are covered in masks of all shapes and sizes and that I am a a lover of Venetian Carnival! I have now finished off the box with some golden Dresden trim.
Well, I think I'm becoming dangerously addicted to these exploding boxes! I'm off to ice a Red Velvet Cake before my family report me missing from the kitchen, to photograph some Art Journal pages and to have a go at creating a 'Faces' collage project - so I'll try to post something on the blog about these or maybe that triangular exploding box next time???

Sunday 7 April 2013

Digging into the Magpie's Hoard

The sun actually made an appearance and - hey presto - I had cards to make! First there was a friend who needed our telephone number so out came my hoard of magpie treasures and I set to work! I used the parrot from @Retro Cafe Art's pack of cut-out birds to add humour and I provided her with a glamorous golden wing from one of Retro Cafe Art's Dresden foil swallows.
The 'retro' prince on the telephone is from one of my Oxfam, vintage knitwear patterns. The tags are made using a Tim Holtz 'Movers and Shapers' die; the papers are from 'Bo Bunny' and the antique clock tape is from Retro Cafe Art. I stamped some script in Peacock distress ink across the tags. The colours and images give a nineteen fifties feel to this card, I feel. It is quite different to my usual style so it was really fun to make and quick too. For a friend's birthday I indulged my love of serene blues (Pacific Blue) and greens (Hyde Park) in Fresco paint from @Paper Artsy and collaged Debrina Pratt fashion images and birds against stamped script and a stencilled background.
The card was three-fold so I was able to create three different mini collages.

Here is the card folded out to display the different images and backgrounds inside.
Finally, I needed to say 'Thank you' for a day spent with a friend at her home in Saint Margaret's Bay near Dover. It was the first almost Spring day we'd had and her garden has such a fairy-tale quality I wanted to capture it in the card: there was a really glossy blackbird with a bright orange beak just like this one, drinking from her fountain too! I created some window cards like this a few Christmases ago and then I was reminded of this idea again when looking at Suzanne Csozek's 'Bluebell Wood' contribution to the Paper Artsy blog, where she had used a Paper Artsy window stamp to open out onto an image inside the card.
The window is a stamp by 'Crafty Individuals'. I used Fresco Paints - Ice blue, Pacific Blue and Sky, Hyde Park and Zesty Zing. The Black-bird and collage picture inside the card of the 'Mad tea-party' are both from Retro Cafe Art. Below is a view of inside the card. There are two cut-out eggs hidden in the grass!
The last image is of the view through the window!

Thanks for looking!