Saturday 31 August 2013

Darcy's Inspiration!

Welcome to Magpieheaven. Over at Paper Artsy the amazing Darcy has been creating so much! Her brain just teems with wonderful creative ideas. If you would like to be inspired just click HERE. This creative genius even designed her own range of stamps for Paper Artsy and they would grace any project. One of the great things about Darcy is that she is not afraid of building a project, so although my contribution this week may not be directly an interpretation of what she has been doing, I hope it is in the Darcy spirit! I need a new memo board to match the new Magpie kitchen - whenever it emerges, butterfly like from its chrysalis. Now, Darcy created a great chalk board. What I loved about it was the way the Paper Artsy stamped flowers arched around the board, softening and adding interest and perspective. I love Clarice Cliff ceramics, so I thought, 'What if I make a board that sweeps and swirls itself like a Clarice country cottage and arrange  flowers around the edge?'
I had some large pieces of MDF left over from the demolition of our old kitchen cupboards. I cut this into shape using a Jigsaw, cutting a rectangle out of the centre so that I could stick a piece of Whiteboard to the back. I also cut out some die-cut Tim Holtz Tattered Florals, which I painted with Fresco paints in Eggplant, Smoked Paprika, Baltic Blue and Tinned Peas. I also die-cut a Tim Holtz 'On the Edge' border to make a gate similar to that on my repro Clarice Cliff mug; but I eventually decided against using this when I arranged all my elements on my base.

I painted the whole frame for the board in Snowflake, after sanding it down. Later I drew round the flowers with a black pen to give the Clarice Cliff definition. I decided that I would Crackle Glaze the roof so I painted over my Snowflake base with a good coat of Little Black Dress.
I applied Grunge Paste through a Crafters' Workshop 'chicken wire' stencil to the sides of the house and painted the chimney with some Smoked Paprika. I planned to use some Paper Artsy stamps on my board and the ones that seemed to fit the project best turned out to be  HP1006, Ink and the Dog Petals Plate 3 and the new Mini 95. I stamped the images onto tissue (Sssh! I still have about 2 sheets of Crackly - I must have hoarded this like mad!) with Olympia Green Versafine ink, which I heat set. I painted my house in Guacamole with some streaks of Zesty Zing on the roof; Pumpkin Soup and Smoked Paprika on the walls and then Guacamole again along the bottom. I used the script from HP1006 to add to the Grunge look on the roof.
I made a little green ribbon loop which I hooked over the edge of my board for keeping the marker handy.
Here is a close-up of the Crackle, the tissue stamp and the script and just a little bit of the Grunge Paste chicken wire, which I touched with some Treasure Gold. I stamped the butterfly from HP1006 onto Smoothy card painted with Smoked Paprika and high-lighted with London Bus and some Treasure Gold, I finished the butterflies off with little pearls and antennae, which I think are intended for use as flower centres.
The sentiment is from the Petals plate 3. I put pearls at the centre of the flowers and this one is an Eggplant flower stuck over a Smoked Paprika one - you can just see the orange petals under the purple. The bricks on the roof are stamped straight on from the Mini using black Archival Ink.
Here you can see the little birds in the grasses that I used from the HP 1006 plate. Finally here is a picture of my board and the first message I've written on it. It comes with best wishes to Paper Artsy and Darcy for all the wonderful inspiration they provide! And a special 'Thank You' to Leandra for suggesting I try blogging in the first place! What great crafting companions I've found since April!
Here's to another great ten years of fun and creativity!

Friday 30 August 2013

Artful Reading Challenge - Owning Your Own Shadow

It's the last Friday of the month, which means Darcy's Artful Reading Challenge! Please click HERE to find out about this opportunity to discuss what you've read over the month and to make art inspired by it.  I had actually intended to review another Steven Amsterdam novel this month, but although I thought his novel, 'Things We Never Saw Coming' was interesting and well written, I was not inspired to create art on its post-apocalyptic theme which, despite the humour, I found depressing. Then I saw a book my husband had left lying around. It was called 'Owning Your Own Shadow' by Robert. A. Johnson and I really did just pick it up and start reading it and then found myself drawn in!
Johnson is a Jungian psychologist, but the book is really easy to read. Basically the author explores the idea that we all have a shadow self, a personality that the world does not see to which we consign those aspects of ourselves we are not happy revealing for different reasons. At first I thought this was going to be about how we hide our bad qualities and that we should confront what we do not like about ourselves. Well, there is an aspect of this, but the author also points out that we can sometimes consign perfectly good qualities to our shadow-self like courage or nobility! He calls this the golden part of our shadow. We might be able to show these sides of ourselves to the world if we were less timid or not so worried about what others thought of us, or if it were easier for us to do so culturally and so on.
Johnson does also point out that if we do not confront our less socially acceptable emotions like anger, greed, resentment and so on, and if we go into denial about our shadow, this can also have destructive consequences. He points out that parents who have not dealt with their darker side can then project a shadow onto their children or that whole nations or social groups can project a shadow onto ethnic groups and this can result in persecution and genocide, as with the Jewish people and Hitler during WW2. What whole nations are often seeing is a projection of their own fears about themselves - fascinating! I was reminded also of the Salem witch trials, when the fears and insecurities of a deeply conservative group, clinging to the traditions of the land they left behind were projected onto members of their own community who they turned into scapegoats. This book made me think a great deal about my feelings of guilt that gnaw away sometimes and how important it is to be aware of the shadow side of one's character. Johnson encourages us not to neglect those aspects of ourselves we fear to show the world because when ignored they can be destructive. I also began to think about wholeness and to meditate on what that truly means. Around this time I found a little wooden rocking horse and rider that I bought nearly 30 years ago! This 'find' brought back memories of a very sad time in my life, but I felt a strong compulsion to alter this hand-crafted toy.  Here is the rocking horse as it was when I found it.
I painted it with Snowflake Fresco paint first of all and as I was doing so and thinking about how I would decorate the rocking horse I had to start dealing with a great many memories that I had  buried. I also started to think about how the toy was difficult to paint with its two sides: as the little girl rocked she had to rock in perfect harmony with her shadow self! This was a light bulb moment - this would be my art for the challenge, I decided, and it would illustrate 'Owning your Own Shadow, understanding the dark side of the psyche' by Robert. A, Johnson.
I had to apply quite a few coats of paint to my horse and rider after I sanded them down. I used warm colours of Pumpkin Soup, Smoked Paprika and a touch of  London bus on the horse and I decorated him with butterflies from some tissue napkins my crafting friend Kezzy sent me. I love butterflies and use them as often as I can. As well as being so delicate and beautiful I love their association in art with the idea of resurrection and rebirth. Johnson talks a great deal about the possibility of new beginnings if we don't neglect or deny the shadow-shelf. He tells the story of how Marie-Antoinette so wanted to feel connected to the earth that she had a beautiful milking shed built and the finest cows imported to Versaille from Switzerland. Her plan was to really learn how to be a milkmaid! However, when the moment came for her to properly get her hands all milky she found the whole activity distasteful and commanded her servants to do it! The Queen of France passed up her moment of possible re-birth, of connection with nature and the people and - of course - we all know where her continued detachment from everyday people led!!! The guillotine!
I don't know if Johnson really believed that if Marie Antoinette had milked a real cow France would not have experienced all the bloodshed and horrors it did; but - like much in this book - this anecdote focuses our thoughts on seeing life differently. I was tempted to hide my horse and rider, but by getting them out and decorating them afresh it made me think about the girl I was and try to reconcile myself with some painful past issues. Here is the girl and her horse on one side. Her dress is Fresco Blood Orange and her top Snowflake. I dotted her sash with Posca pen dots. The rockers are Treasure Gold Classic and White Fire. I used pearl beads for the girl and the horse's eyes. As I worked, it occurred to me that once I had integrated both sides of the altered toy and there was a unity, the toy could represent freedom. I die cut a little Tim Holtz bird from shrink plastic and gave to the girl to hold so that there is the sense of it about to take flight as she rides along in perfect unison with her shadow partner. We can't see the other side but the golden haired girl knows she is there.

Here is the other side! I have my rocking horse on a little shelf above the dining table where I often work to remind me of the need now to attend to the shadow me so that I can fly free as a bird, unhindered by destructive emotions or deeply buried, neglected issues. Johnson says that we must constantly overhaul our shadow, as we can easily become complacent about it. This was a very short book, but - although I am not entirely convinced by Jungian psychology - I do find myself drawn to its use of story-telling and metaphors, which can often give insight into life's problems. Now I must hop over to read some other reviews of books and the art they have inspired/1

Wednesday 28 August 2013

WOYWW - Clarice!

Hello, my lovely followers and friends, it's that time of the week again! Crafters all over the globe offer you a chance to spy on what they have been up to - thanks to Julia who gathers us together and runs the best blog hop I know. Click Here if you want to find out more and join in!
What's on my work desk at Magpieheaven as we trundle into another week of wondering when Kevin will have crafted our kitchen doors; if and when my mum's house sale will go through; will I get round to commenting on all the wonderful blogs I want to and - most important - how can I sneak in some crafting time!? This reminds me of those Batman TV episodes in the sixties when they used to leave you with a whole heap of questions as to how Batman and Robin would get out of some impossible dilemma!!! Well, all things are possible in Magpieheaven! I finished making my little rocking horse, which I'm posting hopefully on Friday and the lovely card I received from Kezzy I'll post when she returns from her holiday. I've decided to have a go at a memo board for my new kitchen and I was inspired by a couple of artists (Suzz and Darcy) over at Paper Artsy - and also - well - is my coffee a clue?
It's the mug I usually have my crafting cuppa in. It's a Past-times - now no more - imitation of Clarice Cliff: I don't have the real thing. I know she isn't everyone's cup of tea - if you'll forgive the weak joke - but I rather like her quirky creations! I would like to use her colours and shapes as a theme in my new kitchen - OK, I can dream, can't I? I really do believe it's going to be finished before Christmas! Here's what's on my desk...
I've die cut some shapes and I'm playing and painting and positioning bits at the moment. Paper Artsy Frescos come in some colours that really do match up with those on the cup. The basic shape of the house is cut from MDF with a Jig-saw and I cut out a bit in the centre for my memo board to fit under. This piece of MDF was actually from the surround to our old kitchen cupboard doors. I hope it looks like a CC country cottage! When my daughter saw it she said 'What's it supposed to be?' I plan to Crackle it and add some stamps on tissue - tune in  to see how the caped crusader Magpie-woman takes on her arch nemesis - the Time-thief wielding only a large jug of lemonade! You might need to see earlier posts to make head or tail of that comment! In the meantime I'm hopping into the virtual Magpie-mobile and heading off to look at some other desks! I was hopeless at my plan of taking a look at everybody's last week - Time just caught up with me and clipped my wings! Will I fare better this week?

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Alpha Challenge - Now it's O!

Over at the Craft Barn it's Alpha/Dictionary Challenge and  the letter is 'O'. If you would like to find out more, please click HERE! I really did not think there would be time to play with this one, but I seized my journal and made a start and then it was impossible to stop. For my word I chose 'Orison', which is an archaic word for a prayer. In keeping with a word that came from Old French, I wanted to create pages that looked as if they are from a palimpsest, an old document that has been written over many times.
I started by painting my pages with Snowflake Fresco paint from Paper Artsy. I had some beautiful tissue decorated with musical notes from my dear friend Kezzy, which I tore and stuck on with Matte Medium by Claudine Hellmuth. The stamp you can see is just resting on the page - later I placed it somewhere quite different: behind the little door on the right hand page under the butterfly! I stamped it onto some Paper Artsy tissue paper that I still have, squirreled away! The stamp is one of the few wood block stamps I own. My son bought it for me as a Christmas present and the main image is of Saint Matilde! This is my daughter's name - not Saint - just Matilda!
I became so carried away, adding my layers of paint, stenciling Grunge Paste, stamping and adding tissue stamped with images that I then coloured and sketched over, that I forgot to take step by step photos! Some blog friends have suggested I make a video of my journaling. I should really try because I get so involved I forget everything! Please just click on the images if you would like to see in more detail.
I applied layers of Paper Artsy Frescos in Pumpkin Soup, Smoked Paprika, a touch of London Bus, Chocolate Pudding, Tinned Peas and Baltic Blue with Snowflake to 'knock back' colours and mute them a little, using a sanding block to scrape off layers in places! I also used for stamping, Black Archival and Coffee Archival. Here you can see how I mixed some Paper Artsy stamps - Hot Picks and Ink and the Dog (Petals) as well as one of  the latest PA minis with a Non Sequiteur image. I bought this set in a clearance sale: I don't think the brand exists any more, or if it does it has been taken over by another company. I do love finding unusual stamps in these sales as well as collecting stamps by my favourite designers.
I also applied Grunge Paste through a Crafters' Workshop harlequin stencil and picked it out in Treasure Gold White Fire. In this detail there is also a butterfly from some gorgeous tissue sent me by my dear crafting friend, Kezzy. The script is from the Non Sequiteur collection and is stamped in red Versafine.

I edged the doors in Green Amber Treasure Gold and used tiny green pearls for the door handles.

I used a white Posca pen to highlight the butterfly and to write the word 'Orisons' on my journal pages. Here is another of the Non Sequiteur images. I loved them and used them on Christmas cards last year, but I've never been able to incorporate them in anything since I became more 'into' craft - not until this journal page!
This close-up gives some idea of the colours and layers I built up.

Here is my dictionary definition made into a little scroll to go with my palimpsest page!I stuck on an actual dictionary page from my tatty old dictionary and then sketched around it with Posca and Sharpie pens.
You can just see a little bit of the music tissue here and my Saint Matilda stamp behind her door along with another of those Non Sequiteur images; a Paper Artsy mini of bricks and lots of script. I was quite pleased with how the whole thing blended and it did seem like a palimpsest to me. I am off now to look at some other contributions to the Alpha/Dictionary Challenge! Thank you for stopping by and taking a look.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Carol Inspires!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! Thank you followers old and new for stopping by! It is really lovely to have you around. Although I've been desperate to squeeze in more crafting time lately, I've made sure to pop over to Paper Artsy where Carol, one of my favourite designers since I started following the PA blog back in April, has been creating some wonderful projects. I loved her pencil-case transformed into an elegant jewel box and then - her piece de resistance - her wonderful pencil box! Click HERE and you will see what a talented artist she is. As anyone who follows me will know our kitchen is being transformed so slowly that it frequently comes to a full stop! We're back in one of those phases now as we wait for the cupboard doors to be made - well, I hope that's what we're waiting for! I took down my old spice rack to make way for a new cupboard and decided to transform it, hoping to work the same magic as Carol did on her objects. Here it is all yucky and faded blue like my old kitchen! We need a bigger spice rack so it's going to be used to store my Treasure Gold, I think.
I started by sanding it down and then giving it a coat of Snowflake Fresco all over as a kind of primer so I could get a nice coverage and build up layers on top of a good foundation. In places I slapped on a good layer of Little Black Dress, as I wanted to Crackle parts of my rack. I used mainly Sage and Mermaid on top when the crackle was well dried, with the odd hint of Hey Pesto and Chocolate Pudding in the edges and corners and this is the effect I got. 
I then Grunge Pasted the sides through a Harlequin stencil to add some dimension as Carol had done on her pencil case.
I painted over these, using the dry brush technique with just a touch of Baltic Blue and built up layers of Mermaid and Sage again. I will show the result of this later. But now for the fun! Carol awakened in me what can only be described as a love affair with Shrink Plastic! Sorry Helen - I know you don't like it - but I'm just crazy about playing with the stuff and experimenting! I decided to add SP medallions using die-cuts of hearts and  flowers and I really enjoyed playing around shaping the flower petals with a cocktail stick and tweezers while the SP was still pliable under the heat gun. I created multi-layered flowers by pressing the layers into each other as I heated and shrank them and they did stick! I'm sure this amount of fun shouldn't be legal! I'm still amazed I didn't burn myself!
I used alcohol ink and Treasure Gold to decorate my flowers, but I believe you can use Fresco paint on SP before heating - remember it darkens so go for pale shades.

Now it was time to bring all the elements together. As Carol said on her post about card design, it is important that everything works well as a whole and does not look like a jumble of different bits! Here is what I ended up with! I used pearl beads for accent and stamped with a Paper Artsy mini swirl. I also edged the rack with Treasure Gold in White Fire and Green Amber.

On the sides I stamped some script in Hey Pesto and Chocolate pudding and accented some of the Grunge Paste diamonds in White Fire. It is difficult to see the effect of the Treasure Gold in the photos, but - as ever - click on any image you might want to see in more detail! The images on my SP medallions are from Paper Artsy 'Ink and the Dog' plates - Buttons and Petals.
Well, thank you so much for staying with me and looking at all these pictures - hope it hasn't been too picture-heavy, but I just wanted to show the process a little bit. I was so excited at the transformation! Let's hope I'll some day be delighted with my new kitchen too! Thanks also to Carol who has been so very inspirational this week, showing the many original and beautiful effects possible with stamps and paint and Paper Artsy!

Wednesday 21 August 2013

WOYWW - Getting Painty!

Hello from Magpieheaven! Today being Wednesday it's time to show what's on my washing-machine top! Just in case you think I've gone crazy, well a bit crazier, I have to say that I'm not the only person who crafts on top of the washing-machine! How do I know? Well, nip over to Julia's 'Stamping Ground' HERE and find out where crafters all over the world like to Gesso their canvasses; whir their sewing machines or distress their substrates!!! All crafting life is there!
 Last week some lovely people left me really heart-warming comments. Thank you again. I treasured and took heart from every one. Although it's still been difficult to find crafting time, my mum had her offer on the flat she liked accepted, so her move nearer to us is 'all systems go'. Today I met with an ex-colleague of my DH whose auntie was an expert on Aspergers and she was able to give me some really positive thoughts on supporting my son! Also my dear crafting friend, Kezzy sent me a lovely little package of 'Happy Mail'. Suffering from a migraine I stumbled down the stairs on Saturday morning and there was a gorgeous card, some beautiful hand-made buttons and the prettiest tissue!
As you can see I've painted my little rocking horse girl and I'm sorting through these lovely designs to find the perfect butterfly and maybe some roses to add when the painting has progressed further. I haven't had time to photograph the lovely card she sent. I promise to show that next time. It has pride of place on my mantel-piece at the moment.
The other week I talked about Crafting being the sugar we can add to make delicious lemonade out of life's lemons. Well, the lemonade has been positively fizzing, as I've been having so much fun lately altering this old spice rack - my fingers seem permanently Sage and Mermaid! Our kitchen is just the same as it was on the lemonade post!!! But Kevin will return one day with cupboard doors and in the meantime I can dream! This spice rack had dulled to a really yucky faded blue and it's nowhere near big enough to hold all our spices so I took it down to make way for the new, bigger cupboards and I'm giving it a makeover. It's the perfect size for my Treasure Gold so when it's finished it will be a pretty piece of storage. I've been inspired by Carol over at Paper Artsy so when it's finished I hope to enter it in the Paper Artsy draw. I had the idea of making some Shrink Plastic flowers from the Tim Holtz tattered florals die and I was really pleased with how they turned out. I've totally fallen under the spell of SP and all the embellishments you can make with it!

I pressed the die-cut layers together while they were still hot and used tweezers to shape and mould the petals, which I coloured with alcohol ink and Treasure Gold adding a little pearl at the centre of each. Right now I'm off to take a look at some desks. Have a great WOYWW!

Saturday 17 August 2013

Inspired by France

Life has been so busy this week that it feels as if I've had to flap my wings furiously just to stay in one place!!! And in the snatched free minutes I've been sneaking over to the Paper Artsy blog to keep up with those 10th birthday celebrations. It's so exciting that I've hardly been able to absorb it all, what with all the other events going on at Magpie Heaven - the search for a flat for my mum and the continuing kitchen saga! However, I have seen that France has been creating some fabulous projects and Michelle has done amazing things with Crackle. I wish I could have built something really impressive to decorate like Liz Borer's lovely little chest of drawers or France's clock book, but I just tell myself one day I'll have the time and the space: today I was working away on the dining table, nipping in and out to check on supper. If you would like to find out more about the great Paper Artsy designers and how you can win some super prizes click HERE. I decided to use those moments before dinner to make a special card for my dear friend, Patsy to thank her for looking after my mum so well for a little while. France's hearts seemed the perfect theme.
Our friend Patsy loves all things Victorian and Edwardian, so I interpreted France's hearts in a more 'Old Fashioned girl' style! Please click on the images if you would like to see in more detail, especially the fine chain at the top of the card. I die cut a Tim Holtz tag and book plate. I Crackle Glazed the tag, using 'Little Black Dress' and Mermaid. In the corners I stamped with Archival using my lovely new Mini stamp that I won in the Paper Artsy draw - and these spirals are just lovely! I die-cut two Paper Artsy hearts, using Smoothy Card, painting them both with a mixture of Frescos in Sage, Mermaid and Vintage Lace. I stamped and clear embossed one with a lady from an 'Ink and the Dog', Buttons plate and the other I Grunge Pasted through a Crafters' Workshop stencil of swirls and spirals. I also die cut some hearts from Polyshrink and stamped them with images from the same 'Ink and the Dog' plate.
You can see the Grunge Paste and Crackle more clearly in this photo, as well as the shrink plastic heart, which I coloured with Adirondack alcohol ink and glazed with Glossy Accents. The gold wings are Dresden foil from Retro Cafe Art Gallery.
I finished off my shrink plastic hearts with a little pearl at the top and edged the card with some ribbon I bought the other day on my ramblings. It has a lovely design of trees - so appropriate as Patsy is a great nature lover! I finished off with some fine chain on the tag and some seam binding coloured with Peacock Feathers and Broken China Distress Inks. The background for the card is some canvas effect, grey 'Coredinations' paper. Now I must try to fit in a visit to Paper Artsy to catch up on the latest video and see all the lovely projects inspired by the great Paper Artsy designers.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

WOYWW - Rocking Damsels!

First things first, thank you, all the incredible 'deskers' who left such encouraging comments last week. Every single one was hugely appreciated: I've read and taken heart from all of them. I wish I had time to say what I took from each individual one, but I was heartened by them all. Some people who shared their own experience of parenting a child with Aspergers gave me such hope for my son's future, again I have to thank you all for your wonderful support  and I'd just like to say what a terrific lot you are. I feel truly blessed to know you all, even if it is from a distance at the moment. On a lighter note, if you don't yet know what the letters in my blog title mean or if you are unfamiliar with Julia and her amazing blog-hop then what on earth have you been doing all this time? Click HERE and enter a whole new world of fun and friendship plus a sneak peek into crafting desks all over the world! But what's on my work-desk/dining table/ washing machine top in the conservatory this week?
Well, it is the top of the washing-machine in my conservatory, as things are still pretty cramped indoors! We've seen some nice flats for my mum but prices are rising and there are usually several people offering for the same flat - the one she's rather set her mind on looks like it's probably been snapped up. Ah well, we'll find something just right in the end.. Kevin is still working on our cupboard doors so the kitchen is a muddle. Never mind, we still have the sink (the old one)  and - of course - the cooker and the fridge! And, as I keep saying - 'It'll be lovely when it's done!' As you can see, I opened the journal that was closed on my desk last week and I managed a journal spread for the Alpha Dictionary Challenge, which is the letter D this week. I chose the word damsel and she's only in distress in the crafty sense of the word!!! You can see her in more detail if you want to drop by the Craft Barn Alpha Barn Dictionary Challenge some time. I also did a long overdue 'organize' of my stamps, sorting out the folders and making sure everything was in logical order so I don't spend hours and hours searching for a particular stamp. Now, can you spot what's in the background of the photo above?
Here's a close up. It's a little wooden rocking horse and her rider. I bought this about thirty years ago and found it in the Magpie hoard a little while ago. Now that I've finished my journal pages these two just have to be altered. She's found her way downstairs onto my table and I'm putting my thinking cap on as to how to give horse and rider a brand new look. I know one person in particular who might be interested in how this project progresses! I'm not quite sure yet myself, but watch this space for news of rocking horses, kitchens and flat-hunting grannies! Last week I won some brand new Paper Artsy minis - hurrah; I ordered some Lost Coast Stamps and I'm waiting for the Postman to also bring me these and a new supply of E6000 glue. Maybe I'll get some inspiration from my new goodies and - of course - horse and rider are bound to be given more than one coat of Fresco paint! I'm off to check out some desks, then a walk with my son and some old friends. I'm always happy when he feels able to be with people! This week's been tough, as he's been putting his mind to trying to find work. We really need to access some support for him with this, but it's not proving easy. I'll try to get back again for more desk hopping before we have to collect my mum from her friend's house, where I hope they've been having a good old natter!

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Alpha Dictionary Challenge - D is for Damsel!

Life continues busy here in Magpieheaven. Today, however, I was determined to complete a spread for The Craft Barn Alpha/Dictionary Challenge. If you would like to see the other terrific words and illustrations, participants in the challenge came up with, just click HERE. I chose the word damsel from my dictionary. As some distressing of the page went on, I wonder if she qualifies as a 'damsel in distress'. Please excuse the awful joke and put it down to tiredness!
My damsel, who the dictionary tells me, is a young, unmarried woman, a maiden, is a Renaissance beauty from a  Retro Cafe Art Gallery Collage Sheet. To create the impression of Fresco paintings, I spread an uneven layer of Grunge Paste over my pages. I then painted them with Paper Artsy Frescos in Pumpkin Soup, Smoked Paprika and just a little South Pacific here and there when the GP was dry to complement the colours in my central image. I edged my pages with some Treasure Gold in Green Amber, Classic and a little White Fire. Just click on the images if you would like to see in more detail.
The playing cards, which my young Renaissance maiden may have been using to divine her future or merely to while away the long, hot afternoon are a digital download of vintage playing cards. The two windows behind her are die cut from Tim Holtz Coredinations paper and a Spellbinders die. The script in the background is from a 'Non Sequiteur' plate and I used Versafine red ink for this. The butterflies are cut from my beloved Graphic 45 paper, which I'm still finding it hard to put to the blade!!! Crawling up the page/wall is a black beetle from a set of Stampington Clearly Impressed stamps called 'Butterfly Girl'.
The damsel on the facing page is looking out from a die cut window made from some wrapping paper that resembled an illuminated book and torn pieces of this are also layered onto the page in other places. I also used some Dresden gold foil as a border along the top of my pages and under the window on this page.
 I used one of the die cut windows as a stencil and also Grunge Pasted through a chicken wire Crafters' Workshop stencil to give a honey-comb effect. As well as more butterflies, there are some dragon flies from a Paper Artsy 'Ink and the Dog', Wings plate. These are the kind that are sometimes known as Damsel Flies, I believe!
Here is a close-up of my definition in a Tim Holtz book plate, fastened down with some green pearls. I really enjoyed this opportunity to play for a few hours, even though I had to hurry to clear everything away for the family meal. I shall try to visit as many D words as I can over the next few days. Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting my damsels.

Friday 9 August 2013

Magpie Treasure

Hello there, Followers, Google+ friends and anyone else dropping by Magpieheaven. Anyone who dropped by last Wednesday will know, things are a tad crowded and busy in Magpieheaven! I didn't think I'd have time for crafting today; but dear Mr Magpie has been brilliant helping to sort out the kitchen as far as is possible atm. Right now he's in the garden listening to my mum take a trip down Memory Lane so I can write this! Kevin who is fitting the kitchen now has to make the cupboard doors - something tells me this is going to be quite a lengthy process! After two flat viewings for my mum this morning - I took time out to alter a little box, inspired by Sue's beautiful work on the Paper Artsy blog. Please click HERE to find out all the exciting things going on at Paper Artsy over the Month and then see Sue's stunning work with a gorgeous new stamp based on one of her photos of France! I am still playing with my Lynne Perrella stamps that I won in the PA draw a little while back and there was an image I particularly wanted to use.
I had a little box, just strong cardboard, that I've been keeping my vintage brooch collection in. I can't resist costume jewellery and buy it whenever I can! I painted the box with Concrete Fresco paint and then with Little Black Dress. I made a flower from the Tim Holtz Tattered Floral die, painted with a blend of Elephant, Egg Plant, London Night and just a touch of Butternut, edging with a little Peacock Feathers Distress Ink and finished off with some seam binding coloured with distress inks in Peacock Feathers and Broken China. I used the same colour combo on the card, which I die cut with a Tim Holtz Pocket Watch die and then stamped with the Lynne Perrella image in  Coffee Archival, Please just click on the images, if you would like to see in more detail.
I accented the image with tiny green pearls, a butterfly cut from Graphic 45 paper and edged with Green Amber Treasure Gold. I also tied around a narrow, ivory coloured ribbon. I used my new Posca pen I bought in a little craft shop I discovered on a walk to highlight the eyes.
Here is the lid Crackle-glazed and painted with Concrete and then dry brushed with Inky Pool and Baltic Blue. The second pocket watch is die cut in Shrink Plastic, coloured with Treasure Gold and decorated with a pearl and a larger Graphic 45 butterfly.
Here are the sides, decorated with some script from a Hot Picks plate and some flourishes from the same set, stamped without a block to give an aged, irregular look.
I lined the box with some distressed Bo Bunny paper stamped with a sentiment from an Ink and the Dog plate and some narrow ribbon. Some of the brooches have already found a home inside!
And they look much better than they did on the plain cardboard! Thanks to Paper Artsy and Sue Carrington for a really inspiring collection of projects for the Paper Artsy birthday month! If you would like to see some really fabulous projects take a look at what Sue has been doing and the great works she's inspired plus lots and lots more, including projects by Gillian pop over to the Paper Artsy blog.

Wednesday 7 August 2013

WOYWW - Sugar and Spice!

A Puzzle for you again. But this time I promise I'll give you the answer straight away! There's a big bag of sugar on my WOYWW work table, but you can't see it literally! If you don't know what I mean by WOYWW then click HERE. Julia, who is a saint, as far I'm concerned hosts this wonderful blog hop that has kept me sane over the last few months. Now, I won't keep you in suspense this time and I'll explain about the sugar you can't see! I know it's a cliche and I'm sorry, but like all cliches it has a lot of truth in it - if life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Last year my  wonderful son graduated with a first class degree and we were all delighted, but we soon realized all was not well. He was badly depressed. A course of therapy revealed he had Asperger Syndrome and had been struggling to mask and cope with the condition all his life! We started a new journey with him, to understand and help him to turn the lemons he'd been given into lemonade - something he'd been trying to do without us knowing for years! I discovered craft around that time and what a delicious sweetener for my jug of lemonade that has been! Terrific satisfaction, wonderful new friends and a place of sanctuary on my dining room table! Then yesterday on a day out I discovered a lovely little craft shop tucked away in a country village we passed through on our walk to the glorious Sissinghurst Castle gardens! Well, I couldn't pass by without  few purchases to use in my next journal page, could I? I loved the paper bag the goodies came in too! So here it is - my big bag of sugar, though whether I shall have time to add it to the mix today I don' know!!!
Here's my work table today with my journal on it ready to open. I don't know how much craft will get done because life's given me a bit of a lemon harvest again! The kitchen makeover!!! After the false start a while back (remember the jolly green giant of a fridge brought for us by the ice fairies?) - is actually beginning today! That'll be great when it's finished. My mum, whose eyesight is deteriorating has sold her house and we are picking her up to come and stay so we can show her the flats we've been looking at for her to live in close to Magpieheaven. With her nearby I can stop worrying about how she's coping. We will, for a short time, have five in the Magpie's Nest and our dear friend Kevin hammering away at the kitchen - ooh and I forgot, Daisy the cat who hates disruption so much it usually gives her cystitis - not quite sure how we're going to prevent that. Maybe factor in a visit to the vet now? We have no spare room so my mum will be sleeping on the sofa in the room where I craft and we all watch TV and my daughter likes to do keep-fit - you get the picture 'the living-room'! But I'm determined to make that jug of lemonade! Thank you, my followers and 'deskers', old and new - stick with me, please and see how things go! I'll try to get round to as many of you as time allows today and if I don't, please know that I tried! Lemonade anyone? It can be really refreshing! Happy WoYWW!