Saturday 25 May 2013

An Oriental Magpie

I seem to say this every week, but not only did I play along with the Paper Artsy challenge this week when I thought I really wouldn't be able to, I was so inspired by Carol's projects, I played along twice!!! I thought the tag she created from Lynn Perrella's Asian collection was stunning. Please do look over at . Here we are then, here is my guilty pleasure, another entry for the Paper Artsy Challenge! I have some of the Asian stamps, although not the same plate as this one was taken from. I haven't yet seen anyone interpret these images so I was keen to have a go. I love tags, but I can easily play away making them and then find I have loads that I don't know what to do with, so I decided to create a tag but incorporate it into a design for a card. Here is what I came up with.
I took some Smoothy card from Paper Artsy and sponged and dabbed at it with layers of Bora Bora, Mermaid, South Pacific and Limelight and I think there might be a bit of Hey Pesto in there too, possibly some Hyde Park - I got a bit carried away! I then swirled some very watered down Snowflake over the card to try to get a marbled effect. I used a Tim Holtz die to cut out my tag and - boo - I should have been more meticulous because the best marbling was left behind when the tag was cut out!! I so wanted to use this that I made it into a little tile, which I stamped with an LP border and added at the side of my card, accenting with some tiny green gems.
Years ago we had a shop nearby that sold those lovely little Chinese coins, but the proprietor retired and I used up my store so I covered a Tim Holtz die cut of a button with Treasure Gold and threaded through some black ribbon. I was really proud of my fish which I embossed onto some of the blue painted card. I used black glitter embossing powder and I love the way his scales sparkle in the sun - impossible to get the effect in a photo! Thanks so much, Carol for suggesting glittery fish and to stick them on with those little 3D spongy things!
I used a Tim Holtz swirly On the Edge die to suggest a wave and as my borders I improvised by using layers of punched out card. Talking about improvisation that brings us onto UTEE!!! I've never used this and it looked amazing on Carol's tag and on Sam's and Helen's! I had the idea that you always have to melt it in a pot and it's really technical and difficult to do. I must have been wrong and I'm now thinking of investing in some. Instead of this product, for now, I dabbed Versamark on the edge of my tag and embossed with ordinary gold embossing powder.
I then stamped my lady with Versafine Onyx Black and painted her with Frescos, Blood Orange, Snowflake and Vintage Lace with Hyde Park and Limelight. There are topaz coloured gems at the centre of the flowers.
I used some Core- dinations canvas effect backing paper, which I edged with Peacock Feathers Distress Ink. I embossed some characters in Detail Gold and added some seam binding distressed with Squeezed Lemonade and Peacock Feathers and Broken China. Inside the little frame is a detail of a Chinese lantern from some Graphic 45 paper.
Well, next week is half-term and I'm fluttering away to Stratford-on-Avon to catch some plays and be a tourist! How will I resist the temptation of grabbing strangers' lap-tops in cafes to catch up with what's going on in the land of Paper Artsy? Have a lovely weekend with - fingers crossed - glorious sunshine!

Thursday 23 May 2013

A Magpie says Thank You

I've been blogging for nearly two months now and I don't think I've ever had so much fun! It's thanks to Leandra Franich from Paper Artsy that I got into this so I'd like to say a special 'thank you' to her! She got me hooked on craft with her fantastic products and then she got me blogging! I'm grateful, but I'm not so sure about how the rest of the family feel about my addiction!
This is also a special post to say a huge 'thank you' to those people who have stopped by over the last two months and a special thank you to those who are following me. It really means a lot to me to have your friendly support. Thank you for sharing what you create and for dropping by to look in the Magpie's Nest. Hello to the wondrous Helen with all her creative energy, who I think was my first follower back in April; to my lovely magpie cousin Dianne from Canada; to Carmen who shares my love of black and white spooky movies and who has been helping me with email problems; to Toni who just joined and who I would love to swap ATCs with but I can't find a way of emailing her; to May who sends inspiring comments; to Chris and Natty who I'd like to get to know better; Sandy whose K for Kremlin scrap-book page really knocked my socks off; the talented Janet who is part of ARC hosted by the talented Darcy; Lin who creates such beautiful things; Kezzy whose beautiful work radiates such enthusiasm and joy; Kristin at Retro Cafe Art Gallery who has honoured me with her support and encouragement; Jez who creates really original art-work; the wonderful creative Mo at Almo crafts who happened by Magpieheaven in the earliest days has been so encouraging and who introduced me to WOYWW - of course many, many thanks to Julia Dunnit who runs that terrific blog hop - and Mary from Alabama. Thank you too the Twitter followers who create lovely work and drop by to share a love of crafting and the WOYWW ladies who have agreed to swap ATCs with me. Thanks to those who added me to their Google circles! You've made Blogland an enchanted place. Thank you. Here is a 'thank you' card from Magpieheaven for everyone who stops or stopped by, all the comments and the wonderfully helpful blogging and photography hints you've given over the last two months.

Open it up and the bird inside is to express the joy it has given me to share with all of you! You've given me a chance to spread my wings and fly free as a bird!
 Hope you will too!

Wednesday 22 May 2013

WOYWW - A Mess! Courtesy of Daisy!

Hello everyone stopping by from WOYWW. Other visitors do take a look at Julia's blog where you can link up to crafters here, there and everywhere every Wednesday and have a nose at what's on their desks/tables etc. Many thanks to Julia at who makes the Wednesday fun possible! Last week I was working on a kitten tag for the Craft Barn Alpha Dictionary Challenge and I made the mistake of saying that kittens give me a warm glow! As Dianne, my magpie cousin pointed out they can ruffle your feathers, and this is what my cat Daisy just did! OK at twelve she's no kitten and she doesn't show that much interest in ruffling the feathers of many birds these days; but this is the magpie ribbon box after she 'helped' sort it for me while I was getting the camera set up! I'd had the ribbons out so I could find some suitable trim for a canvas I'd been working on for the Paper Artsy Challenge inspired by Carol Quance this week.
Here's another view of the muddle Miss Daisy created with her tiny, creative paws!
I always wondered I'd done with that vintage photo I'd printed onto fabric - still not sure what I'll do with it! Now when I've finished tidying that all up, I can get on with the ATCs I'm making for the WOYWW Anniversary. There's a big pile of blanks waiting to be done too! I won't be here next week, as I have to go to Stratford on Avon. I'm so sad that I won't be near a lap-top on this special day, but as soon as I get back on Thursday I'll send ATCs to anyone who would like me to. I am already swapping with Kezzy and Annie, but if anyone else would like to swap I'd be happy to. I'll just have to keep crafting away!
Magpie daughter, Matilda has now broken up from art college and I can hear the whoops and thumps of her doing her exercise video as I work on the ATCs. So much energy first thing in the morning! How long will it last? I have been making tiny, little envelopes to fit into slots in the ATCS. The lovely Alice images are paper cuts from Retro Cafe Art Gallery and I've been painting my backgrounds with Paper Artsy Frescos.
As you may be able to see the theme of the cards is Alice in WOYWW Land, a place where anything can happen. Have a great week and thanks for stopping by. I want to try to get round to as many people as possible today so I'm just fluttering off to check out some desks. See you Soon! 

Tuesday 21 May 2013

A Magpie Icon

Hello, those who've dropped by Magpie Heaven where the roses are all coming into bud, but where the Spring seems to have decided to go A.W. O. L. As a very new craft blogger in April I saw some of Carol Quance's work via the Paper Artsy Blog and I was completely blown away by her flair and her imagination. I was so inspired by her project on Sunday night at I wanted to start playing along straight away. I was interested to hear that Carol doesn't have an exact idea of what she wants to create when she begins because I usually start playing and then see where the colours and the textures lead me too. I didn't have a little hanging like Carol so I started with a small canvas. I knew I wanted to use Lynne Perrella stamps as Carol had done; Treasure Gold and Grunge Paste, which I've just bought and love!

I love this lady with the clowny face and an amazing tower on her head and I mixed and matched her with some more Architecture themed Lynne Perrella stamps.
 I stamped the lady onto tissue (You might not believe this, but I still have a little Crackly tissue left!) I painted her on the reverse side, using Snowflake so that her face would stand out. I put her aside and started some experimentation!
 I smoothed some Grunge Paste over my canvas and stamped into it with the Lynne Perrella stamps of buildings. Now, I'm sure this works much better on a surface that you can press down on like the tags in Leandra's video and a canvas was probably not the best choice, but actually some hazy shapes of towers and roofs did appear and I liked the effect when I painted over them with South Pacific, Bora Bora and little streaks of Pumpkin Soup to highlight. Also I found that sticking stamped tissue images with Satin glaze over them worked quite well too. I then got out my stencils and played around with stenciling through them with the Grunge Paste, allowing to dry and then brushing on the Treasure Gold - very satisfying for a magpie who loves bling! What fun I had with shiny things!!!

I had intended to create a city somewhere between Venice and St Petersburg all around the lady, but as I worked, the colours and images began to remind me of an icon like those I had seen in Russia when I visited about twenty-five years ago. I added tiny gems to complete this effect and some butterflies made from 'Ink and the Dog' wings with some little broken fairy lights as bodies, an idea I first played around with for The Dragons Dream TIO Challenge: Yellow, Bulb, Wire, inspired by Elizabeth R: she used old LED bulbs on a tag.  I gave my lady Blood Orange cheeks with a layer of Glossy Accents to give shine and dimension.
Carol had trimmed her hanging with beading and made a beaded string.
 I had some beaded trim which I loved when I saw it on Dennis' haberdashery stall, but I've never been quite sure what to do with it, so I edged my canvas with it. I decided to keep my diamond Grunge Paste stencils white instead of painting the Grunge Paste, as they provided a contrast and went with the white of the lady's face. For the final touch I added some ribbon trim, again from Dennis' stall, which had a kind of icon look to it.
This is the most textured piece I've ever done. It was a bit difficult to capture the effect in the photos, but they are more representative of the encrusted look if you click on them. Thank you so much for dropping by today and thank you, Carol for your inspiration and your generosity in sharing it with us. Have a happy week and let's hope some of that Spring sunshine returns!

Saturday 18 May 2013

Yellow, Light-bulb and Wire!

Wow - do those dragons know how to challenge! Looking at the Design Team's terrific ideas, I was inspired by their 'Yellow, light-bulb and wire' recipe interpretations. I loved Elizabeth's and I was convinced that the little bulbs she had used on it must have been specially created for crafters! Until she kindly replied that they were rusty LED fairy-light bulbs. Well, that was a light-bulb moment for me! Off I went to raid the garden shed! While I was in the shed I also found an old Christmas decoration made from wire and I used this as a loop to hang the tag from. I used Portfolio Pastels for this project because they are second to none for creating a special yellowy glow. I used an image from one of my Paper Artsy Lynne Perrella stamps and the wings of the butterflies are Archival ink stamped on card and then cut out for 3D effect; they are from a Paper Artsy 'Ink and the Dog' plate, called 'Wings'.
I  had some yellow tissue over from a present, which I crinkled and distressed with some Tim Holtz Peacock Feathers Distress Ink and stamped the butterfly wings from the Paper Artsy set on it too. I then cut these out and attached them with Claudine Helmuth, matte medium. The ribbon is seam binding distressed with Squeezed Lemonade and Peacock Feathers DI. I used a little bit of Snowflake Fresco to highlight. 
When I had finished I realized that I had thoroughly enjoyed this challenge, although I would never have dreamed of using light-bulbs on a tag if it hadn't been suggested. It had made me step outside my comfort zone and re-cycle some of the Magpie hoard, so many thanks, Dragons for letting me dream with you!

Friday 17 May 2013

K is for Kittens

Greetings from Magpie Heaven this bright Friday morning (well, the sun is shining at the moment but for how long?) Thank you for stopping by. Hello too to all the Alpha Challengers at the Craft Barn. Thank you, not only for running this challenge, but also for making it possible for 'newbies' to join in! Having only just started blogging  I was really excited when I discovered the challenge and learned that I would be able to participate without having been in right at the start. I dug out a discarded and rather tattered dictionary from our Magpie loft, which is brimming over with all our 'useful' but abandoned bits and pieces and I was ready to go! Here is my contribution to the Craft Barn Alpha challenge at
'K' is indeed a challenging letter; but being a cat-lover it had to be 'K' for kitten!

Kittens just give me a warm glow, so I decided on a warm, vintage look. I used a tag made from a Tim Holtz 'Movers and Shapers' die and Paper Artsy Smoothy card and coloured it by swiping it through Tim Holtz Distress Inks: Dried Marigold, Aged Mahogany and Squeezed Lemonade spritzed with  water on my craft mat. I dried with my heat tool and then embossed a design from an old 'Non Sequiteur' stamp set, which echoed the globe on the kitten illustration I wanted to use on my tag, with copper embossing powder. I then collaged the vintage images of kittens onto the tag with Claudine Helmuth mat medium.
 The Tim Holtz tag comes with a little frame, which I used to frame the adorable kitty on the bottom right. She is Queen of Kittens with a tiny gold crown from Retro Cafe Art Gallery. I distressed my dictionary definition with Squeezed Lemonade and Walnut Stain Distress Inks. I embellished the frame a little more by painting it initially with Butternut Fresco paint and distressing the edges with Aged Mahogany, embossing with some copper lettering and then rubbing some Treasure Gold (Green Amber) over it in places.
 I also used small punched out circles with the letter 'k'; Spell-binders dividers and a  punched stamp coloured with Distress Inks and die-cut from warm brown Bo-Bunny paper. The rose is a Tim Holtz tattered pine cone die made from Smoothy card painted with Frescos in Smoked Paprika and tipped with Blood Orange. I finished off with seam binder coloured with matching Distress Inks and tiny topaz gems and Dresden foil trim. My daughter - now nineteen and a life-time cat-lover- has her eye on this tag on its little easel for her room, so I'd better post this blog without further ado!
 My camellia has been so glorious that I just had to include a bloom in the picture - the purrfect complement to Princess Kitty's charms. Thank you for stopping by and Thank you Craft Barn for the Alpha/Dictionary Challenge Challenge! Have a creative Friday everybody!

Wednesday 15 May 2013

WOYWW - Kittens!

Hello Everyone at WOYWW! This is now officially my favourite day of the week, when I get to spend time seeing what's being created on the work-tables of the world without having so much as to flutter a wing. Thank you so much Julia at for giving us all so much fun. I am miserable to discover that I won't be able to join everyone for the anniversary because I will be on holiday on the 29th May; I couldn't believe it when I looked it up in my diary! I really wanted so much to join in the ATC swap because many many moons ago, long long before I started blogging I used to look longingly at the ATCs on the internet for hours, wishing I could be part of something like that and join in a swap. Anyway, Julia has very kindly said I can swap with her so many thanks for that, Julia - can't tell you how happy that's made me.
I can't wait to see what people have been up to this week. I finished my exploding box - hurray - some of you said you would be interested to see how it turned out; if you have the time to go to you can see. I actually managed better photos of this than I thought possible from a photographically challenged magpie because I took them in our conservatory and learned how to use the zoom!
 This week I've got all my stuff out to first finish off a tag for the Craft Barn Alpha Challenge which is the letter K. This is the first time I've entered. I am what is called a 'newbie'. At the same time I can't wait to start some ATCs. I am playing with the idea of the madness of Alice in WOYWWland, but I won't say any more than that for now except it includes cups of tea, rabbits worried they're going to be late and magpies perched on top of towers!
Again it was really grey this morning when I took this photo. Kelly sent me some fantastic hints about photography on grey days but so far I've not been able to buy the kind of foam she suggested to make a light box. I'll keep looking and meanwhile pray for sunny days! Anyway, here is my kitten label waiting for me to work on it, on its little easel so I can get an idea of how it looks. In the background are my ATCs. My Frescos are out and my distress inks and blender and I may just have time to do a little something before the world descends on me! Have a great day everyone. I'll try to fly by as many of you as I can when I can snatch minutes during the day!

Monday 13 May 2013

Magpie's Midnight Crafting!

Hello to anyone who has stopped by Magpie Heaven today and I hope you're having a happy Monday! Once again I thought I might not play along with Paper Artsy this week - much too busy...then over at France Papillon had created a fantastic, vintage journal cover.
 I spent the post Christmas period working on a 'winter journal' inspired by Lynne Perrella's wonderful work and now I needed a cover so how could I resist the temptation to play, even though it was nearly 11-00pm when I decided to start?
I had done my journal in a hard-bound A4 size W. H. Smith sketch book with a smooth, black cover; not as nice for altering as the Paper Artsy journal France used. However, I found that rubbing with one of the sanding blocks from Paper Artsy made it much easier to paint with Frescos and to stick on embellishments. I had intended to simply play around to see if it was possible to punch holes in the journal cover with the Crop-o-dile. Discovering how easy it was to do this I just had to play on and on, altering the journal cover! Mr Magpie was on his lap-top ordering a new 'hands-free' phone so that I can receive calls and craft on (!)  but he went off to bed long before I finished. I had no Paper Artsy waxy paper, but I did have some ordinary brown waxed paper that I used for protecting  altered book pages, so I stamped this with a Tim Holtz background stamp of vintage script, clocks, a camera and film. Believe it or not - I don't have a brayer - always wanted one; but never got round to buying! I crinkled and distressed and painted and edged with Treasure Gold and - although the effect was not as good as France's - I quite liked it. I found lots of Tim Holtz grunge bits and pieces: hinges, key etc in my craft cupboard and altered these with Crackle Glaze.
My Grunge Paste had also arrived and I was excited to start using this! At 1.30 a.m there I was stencilling, painting and gilding and distressing to my heart's content. I distressed a torn label; stamped with the same T.H background stamp as on the waxed paper and added washi tape clocks and a torn collage piece from a Retro Cafe Art sheet. I also added a tiny shrink plastic doll head from a Lynne Perrrella winter stamp plate. If you click on the photo above you might just be able to see it attached to the label.
Just lately lots of the guest designers have been using corrugated cardboard in their projects so round about 2.00am, I decided to give that a go too! This is probably why 'Winter' looks a bit like it's had one too many hot toddies! I loved playing with the corrugated card, though!
I was determined to use my new Paper Artsy paint Guacamole which I combined with my favourites: Butternut, Sky, Smoked Paprika, Chocolate Pudding and Beach Hut with Snowflake to 'knock back'. The distress inks are Walnut Stain and  Aged Mahogany. My cover is not as understated as France's tasteful creation. Because winter is a time for fairy-tales, I always feel, I had wanted my journal to capture the idea of fairy stories and treasure hoards and - being a magpie - I must have my shiny bling! I added blue gems to the hinges, key and lock, which symbolizes the way that winter locks secrets and treasures into the ice. I enjoyed this project so much. Thanks to France for introducing some great ideas and getting me inspired! I wish I could have added some sewing, but the machine belongs to my daughter and I dared not sneak into her room to snaffle it and disturb her sleep at that hour - she's a very scary 19 year old who guards her sewing machine with her life
. I can't wait to see what's next over at Paper Artsy! Before that, though, I must go and prepare for this evening's students. Thanks so much for taking a peek at my midnight crafting in Magpie Heaven! I photographed this midday today, by the way! I didn't stay up until dawn to do it!

Saturday 11 May 2013

Shadow Dance, Arty Review

This is my first attempt at joining Darcy in her Arty Book Review Club on! I'm really new to blogging, as anyone who has read this blog before will be aware, so I just hope this is OK!
I have chosen to read, Angela Carter's novel 'Shadowdance'. I've always loved Carter's writing. She is a magpie writer, I feel, because she has absorbed all kinds of treasures in her vocabulary and her references and she then spills her hoard across the page in glorious baroque, glittering sentences. I had never read 'Shadowdance', although - or maybe because - it was her first; I didn't want to be disappointed. Well, I did enjoy the novel. You can see that she has found her voice; but she's not always quite sure where she wants to go with her characters. Unlike her later novels where the characters take flight - in the case of 'Nights at the Circus' literally - in 'Shadowdance' they seem trapped in a mundane urban setting and I was never sure if they really belonged there. Nevertheless they are memorable and her writing is vivid. Honeybuzzard, the evil and charismatic central character stands out and there is a marvellous description of him and the timid Morris doing a bizarre dance in a once opulent, now abandoned old house beneath a chandelier. I also liked the character of Emily who travelled with her cat, sedated with an aspirin. Emily reminded me of all those late sixties girls just on the brink of liberation: quirky, independent and bohemian. As with all Carter, the novel is a dark chocolate with a dash of poison in its creamy, sweet centre. The horrible scarred and disfigured face of Ghislaine the once beautiful girl 'like moonlight' 'like dasies' leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth; as it is clearly the fascinating Honeybuzzard, her erstwhile lover who did this. The murder that Morris thinks he may have committed and the murder of Ghislaine rather blur the focus of the narrative for me. It was, however, really interesting to see Angela Carter stepping out for the first time in the novel.
Carter's novels always make me feel I want to create something that somehow embodies that unique atmosphere she creates. This time I created a Victorian box with a tiny house at the centre. I wanted to evoke the obsession I and my schoolfriends in the sixties all had with everything old and Victorian. Honeybuzzard owns a junk shop in the novel and we spent most of our weekends nosing around the Kings Road looking for what our parents regarded as junk. Our girlish dream was to have a boyfriend who wore an old military jacket!
For the lid I had a tiny skull with a crown appearing out of a rose. This is the idea of darkness and death at the heart of this novel - just when you're enjoying the beautiful sentences and poetry of it all, something comes out to bite you!
I painted my box with Fresco paints from Paper Artsy and used collage materials from Cafe Retro Art Gallery to create that Antique Market feel. I think the novel would have been pre-decimal so I added a price ticket in old money. The characters seemed drawn to Honeybuzzard like moths to a flame so I used images of moths to convey this.
In this view the clown is visible. Honeybuzzard is like an evil clown capering through the novel.

Here is the box opening to reveal the secrets  of the novel and the word 'shadow'. I am going to add a little scroll to this with my review on it. I made shrink plastic charms to create the impression of clocks, pictures etc.
These sections represent the blend of the gothic and the baroque in the novel;
I'm not a great photographer, but this is an attempt to show the little shop at the centre.
 There is a tiny doll's house chair and a dice. Behind it is a shrink plastic poison bottle and in front is a warped canvas of the once beautiful Ghislaine.
A dark novel to begin with! If I've done this OK, I'd like next time to write about a novel I'm reading at the moment called 'What the Family Needed' by Steven Amsterdam. Thanks for stopping by and looking at my art and review. Have a creative week.
I used:
Paper Artsy Fresco Paints (South Pacific, Hyde Park, Haystack, Butternut, Snowflake and London Bus)
Retro Cafe Art Gallery - Exploding box, mini-house shrine, skull, crown, chair, mini dice, Debrina Pratt  collage sheets, paper cuts, washi tape and tiny gold crown
Paper Artsy Lynne Perrella stamps
Shrink plastic
Crafters' Workshop Stencils.
Ranger Alcohol Inks
Seam binding distressed with Tim Holtz distressing inks

Wednesday 8 May 2013

WOYWW? Tiny Things!

Hello and welcome to Magpie's muddle again! Thank you so much to those who stopped by the chaos for the first time last week. It was also really fun meeting some of you and being allowed to peek at your beautiful, creative work spaces; I even discovered a magpie cousin far, far away in the US! Hello Dianne, if you've fluttered by!
Well it's a dull, grey day here and so my photos are bit shadowy - appropriate as I'm still working on the 'Shadow Dance' shrine for the ARC! Sorry about the quality of this, but I hope you get some idea of what it will look like inside an exploding box!
Here is  the outside of the exploding box. I'm planning to crackle glaze those black sections.

 I got up before everyone else today so I could get some work done on it. Things have been so busy here with my teaching really hotting up due to the approach of exams; various magpie brood crises and being distracted from my original plan by wanting to play along with the Paper Artsy Challenge.
Here is the canvas I did waiting to have some braid attached - not sure if this is the right shade - any ideas?

This might seem rather bewildering, but for the ARC I decided on a shrine within a shrine, if you see what I mean. I kept thinking of so many new elements to add that a mini-shrine was not large enough, so I thought - what about a house in a box? There so many sections to these Victorian Exploding Boxes from Retro Cafe Art Gallery - just like the intricate descriptions and layers of Angela Carter's novel. It's fun working on this, but I can see it's going to take me ages. I am really experimenting with the effects of Fresco Finish paints too, trying to go for a Victorian look. Maybe I'll have to join the challenge next month instead!!!
Well, have a great day everyone and thank you for sharing what's on your work tables this Wednesday; I can't wait to see.

Tuesday 7 May 2013

Magpie Goes Green!

It's been a hectic time in Magpie Heaven today! I tutor A level students in English and once May comes along panic sets in, as they realize how little time there is left before the big day! I had planned not to take on any craft projects from May to June and then I started blogging and I saw the wonderful Sue Carrington's work on the Paper Artsy blog and I weakened! I had to play along. I think I may be becoming seriously addicted to craft - does anyone know of a crafters' rehab? Forget that - I'm too hopelessly hooked!
 The trouble is at the moment, as well as having no time, I haven't yet bought any Grunge Paste and I am seriously challenged in the texture area. I decided to use Sue's green palette; to add texture with Crackle Glaze and some embossed card and this is what I produced between marking essays on 'Northanger Abbey' and 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner'!

I stamped the face from a Stampers' Anonymous plate onto my precious Crackly Tissue of which I have an ever dwindling supply - the leaves she is peeping through are Hyde Park stamped onto card painted with Limelight. I crackled glazed a key-hole and growing from inside is a Tim Holtz, tattered pine-cone rose, painted with Smoked Paprika and stamped with script. I also stamped some script onto the canvas with Snowflake, removing the paint as quickly as I could. I used Green Amber Treasure Gold on the embossed card and swirls of Snowflake through a Crafters' Workshop stencil.

 Here is the border of the canvas - once again photographed on my potting table.

Here is a close-up of the rose growing out of the keyhole, the swirls and the crackle glaze. This felt like crafting against the clock, but it was so much fun! Now my hungry brood await their dinner! Have a great evening and thank you for dropping by.

Saturday 4 May 2013

In a Magpie's Garden

Hello from Magpie Heaven on this Bank Holiday weekend! I have just finished a canvas for the Country View Crafts Challenge, which this time is on the theme of 'How does your Garden Grow?' I was really inspired by all the wonderful examples created by the Country View Crafts Team and after looking at these, I dashed off to evoke the mood of my Magpie Heaven garden! I really enjoyed combining Magpie treasures to evoke the bright blue skies and subtle peach of my favourite flag irises and roses. No roses out yet in the Magpie's garden, but I look every day for buds and there are irises and pansies that look so vivid when the sun glitters on their dewy petals!
I sponged my canvas with cut and dry foam dipped in Fresco Finish paints: Sky, Bora Bora, Mermaid and South Pacific. For the grass, ferns and leaves, I used Hyde Park, Limelight, Hey Pesto. I stamped a Lynne Perrella stamp LPCO21, available from Country View Crafts along with lots of other beautiful LP images -   I'm completely obsessed with her amazing plates and my dream is to possess them all - onto tissue, painted it and adhered with Satin Glaze. The border of leaves around the Geisha image are stamped on tissue with Versafine Olympia Green. I used a Tim Holtz birdcage die, turning the cage into a hanging basket (there's a vintage one of these hanging in the Magpie Heaven garden) with two Tim Holtz roses of card painted with Butternut and Smoked Paprika. Both the cage, the 'On the Edge' die fence and the bird are painted with Fresco 'Little Black Dress', crackle glazed, painted with Bora Bora and then finished off with Treasure Gold 'Spanish Topaz'. I gave my little bird a sparkling blue gem eye. The butterflies are embossed acetate painted with Adirondack alcohol inks.

Polly Garter in Dylan Thomas' Under Milkwood said, 'Nothing grows in my garden, except babies and washing.' I know what she means about the washing, but the Magpie Brood are all grown now and when I look at my canvas I think of my springtime visitors; the flash of a jay's blue wing, dainty butterflies, the dramatic black and white of the magpie's wings, the bright-eyed blue-tits and the grass - that always wants cutting!!! Thank you for stopping by and have a really relaxing and enjoyable holiday weekend with hopefully some special crafting time.

Thursday 2 May 2013

Magpie takes on another challenge!

Welcome to Magpie Heaven on another heavenly day here. Still blushing from revealing the chaos in which I work on WOYWW yesterday, today I decided to have a go at another tag for the Dragons Dream TIO challenge and what a challenge it was! I don't use vellum much these days; I don't possess any stamps of literal hands and brown is not a magpie's favourite colour - not shiny enough!
But one thing there's loads of in the Magpie Heaven garden at the moment are dandelions (there is a point to this, honestly!) and because they look so cheery and dandelion clocks are so magical I can never quite bring myself to pull them up! Now one thing a dandelion clock does not have is a hand and because in the wonderful world of craft you can do anything you like, on this tag I've given it one! Hands, vellum, brown: is that allowed, Dragons?
I used Bora Bora Fresco finish paint by Paper Artsy on a tag from a Tim Holtz die cut from Paper Artsy shiny card and Walnut stain through a Crafters' Workshop stencil. I created a vellum pocket which I stamped over with script in Walnut Stain and attached with eyelets. The rose is a Tim Holtz tattered pine cone painted with Fresco Brown Shed and edged with Treasure Gold, which doesn't show up so well in my photos, but looks effective in the real world. My stamp is of some languorous ladies waiting for the hands to pass round the clock so they can receive their beaux! This is a really old 'Non Sequiteur' stamp I had, stamped on Butternut edged with Chocolate Pudding with Victorian Lace near the centre.
When I remove the card with the ladies and the tiny billet doux, you can see washi tape of clocks. I secured the billet doux with a gem echoed in the centre of the clock and the card. The brown ribbon is from Dennis' market stall - my favourite treasure trove.
The wings are Dresden foil from Retro Cafe Art Gallery. I was in the garden photographing this and - oh those dandelions were taking over...maybe I should just get a trowel and...
Have a great day everyone and thank you for taking a look in Magpie Heaven today.

Wednesday 1 May 2013

WOYWW Magpie?

This is probably the messiest, most cluttered work space you will ever have seen! So sorry, as it's my first visit to WOYWW. I have this corner of the dining table but I have to clear away for meal-times or when I tutor 'A' level students. My aim this week is to create a piece of craft that is a response to what I'm reading for Darcy's April ARC challenge. I was going to do a journal page but then I thought that a shrine might be more appropriate to the book I've been reading - 'Shadow Dance' by Angela Carter. I've just completed making some shrink plastic charms for the outside of the shrine and painted a die-cut birdcage and railing which I'm going to crackle glaze. My aim is to create a mini-junk shop which is the centre of the action in Carter's novel. I haven't much time to do this post because any minute my family will be arriving and wanting feeding!
 In my Lynne Perrella book on journaling it seems you can make a journal out of I thought what about a collection of mini-shrines, one for each book? Mmmn, now where will I put them eventually?
There are so many things I want to try out since I've been blogging. Other bloggers are so inspirational that I've been fluttering round in circles and my bird-brain is threatening to explode with all the new ideas! And as for the ever-expanding hoard of art materials - let's not go there! Anyway, these shrink plastic attempts are lying in wait to become part of my art shrine - when it arrives from Retro Cafe Art Gallery! I've been experimenting with colouring them with alcohol inks.
Here's another view of the debris! I just hope nothing permanent found its way off the mat and onto the table! Always a problem, that!

Anyway, do hope you can flutter by Magpie Heaven and take a peek at the chaos! Hope I can transform it into something worthwhile in snatched minutes during the next few days!