Tuesday 31 December 2013

Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas - Bonus Tag#1

Hello Friends and Followers. I do hope that however you spent it, your Christmas was a joyful one. How quickly Christmas came and went! Now it's almost time for New Year's Resolutions and I realize that it's six days since I last blogged! And there are all those 'Thank Yous' to send out. Over at Linda's Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas Challenge - click HERE for the details of this fabulous challenge, which has been extended until January 8th - Linda has now created the two promised 'Thank You Tags'. Please click HERE to see Linda's Tag #1 which has inspired my post today. Linda's Funkie Junkie Boutique is offering fantastic discounts and a prize draw too, so please click Here to take a look at what is available in the store.
I was so inspired by Linda's Tag #1 and the way that she created such a neat little envelope from her tag, so I decided to adopt this style of tag or something similar. I took a jumbo-sized manila tag and used a Crafter's Companion Multi-board to fold it.
I sponged my tag with some Paper Artsy Fresco paint in Antarctic and then blended in a little Hey Pesto, using some Ranger Cut and Dry foam.
I mixed some Antarctic and some Inky Pool Frescos with half a mister of water and sprayed my tag.
I used a Stencil Girl stencil of little birds and grasses with Shabby Shutters Tim Holtz Distress Ink to create one side of my tag. While this was drying, I dyed some beige seam binding with Broken China, Shabby Shutters and Evergreen Bough. This tag was to be a Thank You for some old friends of my husband's, Bob and Hazel who always remember our family with a little gift at Christmas. When he was a boy my husband helped in their garden and it was Bob and Hazel who introduced him to footpath walks and inspired his lifelong interest in the Natural World. For this reason, I wanted the tag to have a Nature theme. The little birds in the grass remind me of one of my son's favourite folk songs sung by Shirley Collins - 'Hares on the Mountain' - one line goes, 'If all the young men were black-birds and thrushes...' If you have a minute do give it a listen, as Shirley has a beautiful voice and it's a lovely, light-hearted song that makes me think of Spring around the corner when the hares are leaping, the birds singing and the fish teem in the brooks.
Linda's use of film on her tag and her wonderful snowy effects really inspired me. I had no film so I die-cut a Tim Holtz tattered leaf from Acetate and coloured it with alcohol ink.. Before fixing it to my tag with Glossy Accents, I stamped three Paper Artsy Mini feathers in Wendy Vecchi Fern Green Archival ink; a small punched out leaf and just a hint of script from Paper Artsy Mini 75. I distressed the edges of my tag with some Shabby Shutters, Broken China and Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil.
 I was also inspired by the way Linda edged her tag. I had nothing similar to her metal effect, so instead I sprinkled UTEE gold along the edges of my tag, having Versamarked them first to prevent the EP from fluttering free as a bird from my birdie tag! I melted some Gold UTEE over my leaf too. I'm sorry about the shine in the photo, as Acetate is really difficult to photograph without this effect.

On the reverse side of my tag, where I planned to write my message, I sponged and spritzed with Antarctic and Hey Pesto, creating the suggestion of a landscape with water and reeds and then stencilled my birds over this, this time in Potting Soil. Some of the Manila tag shows through and I like the effect of this, as I think it gives something of the gleam of wintry sunshine at this time of year. I wanted to add a sentiment, but I didn't feel I had one that would go with images. I didn't even have one that just says 'Thank You' - something else for the Wish List, I think!
Here is the tag in envelope form, I was so pleased with the way the seam-binding had worked.

I should like to enter my tag for Linda Coughlin's Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas Challenge. Thank you if you have stopped by today on this New Year's Eve. I wish all my friends and followers every happiness and Creative Joy in 2014. Thank you for all the support and kind comments over 2013 and for being such great and inspiring friends to me!

Thursday 26 December 2013

Christmas Riches!

Hello to anyone in Blogland who might be popping by on this Boxing Day morning! I know this is a day late, so I don't know if it is OK, but I just wanted to link up with WOYWW at Julia's Stamping Ground. Click Here to find out more! Wow, Julia is amazing and dedicated to post on Christmas Day and what a difference her brainchild, WOYWW has made to my life! It was not possible yesterday - so hectic! Last week vanished somehow and I just wanted to send wishes and thank yous to all the friends and followers I have made over this last amazing year of blogging! This last year has been an incredible experience. I have learned so many crafting techniques from so many lovely new friends and the world has become a richer and a more beautiful place thanks to all of you! I wanted to share some of my precious Christmas treasures with you so I nipped out to my little conservatory and arranged my most prized Christmas goodies on the trusty washing-machine top, which is still my work bench!
 Would you believe I didn't have a craft mat until now?! This was a gift from my lovely son. You can also see a beautiful snowflake decoration from Kezzy and a lovely little hanging from her with a Henna design in the centre. This looks incredible irl. There is also a lovely little chest of drawers to keep embellies in from my dear Auntie Rene. The lovely vintage fabric faery hanging is from my dear Magpie Cousin, Dianne all the way from Canada. Both Kezzy and Dianne have been 'under the weather' lately so I really, really appreciate these little treasures.
Here is a close-up of the gift from my DH. Leandra from Paper Artsy mentioned this fabulous book on Twitter and he ordered it for me. All kinds of stunning journal pages by my favourite artists, including the very gifted Lynne Perrella nestle between those covers - it's a delight!

My Auntie Rene who spent Christmas Day with us, gave me this Victorian Year Book. When I have finished using it to write down my tutorials with my students in 2014 I can use the glorious images in projects. I love these pages so much I just had to share another one with you!
 I can't wait to clear a space between the Christmas nuts and chocs and the mountains of wrapping paper (loads of lovely bits to alter seem to have found their way into Magpieheaven disguised as packaging too!) and CRAFT to my heart's content! I have a very important couple of projects I have to work on! Have a wonderful holiday season wherever you are and whatever you are doing and have a great, creative 2014!

Sunday 22 December 2013

One Last Card.

Welcome to Magpieheaven! Tomorrow has to be mince-pie day, as the mince-meat is now made and just awaits the little pastry cases! All in all tomorrow looks like it's going to be a day of frenzied preparations so I don't see myself getting very much crafting done! No doubt everyone in Blogland is very busy preparing for the big day, but I just wanted to share one last card before the 25th. I have not made 'batches' of cards, preferring to concentrate on making them just for special friends and family members. This is the one I made to go on the mantelpiece in my mum's new flat close to our home. I should like to enter it for The Artistic Stamper December 'Anything Goes' Challenge.
My mum is 84 years old and she has found moving and settling into a new home very challenging. Mr Magpie and I have been decorating her flat with fairy lights and sparkly winter branches over the past few days to make it cosy and festive for her. I shall take over this card tomorrow to put on her mantel-piece. I wanted to create a card with restful colours and an appealing image and I hope that my mum, who is a great animal lover, will like the little deer die-cut, which has certainly won my heart this Christmas.
 I covered a card blank from some I bought at The Range with some handmade paper sent to me by my dear Magpie Cousin, Dianne. This paper has all kinds of glints and textures and little leaves embedded in it and I can hardly bear to cut it up and use it! For my next layer I used some Bo Bunny double-sided paper with a beautiful holly design, then a golden holly patterned paper also by Bo Bunny from their Silver and Gold Range and finally a layer of Bo Bunny with a tree design on it. I stamped the corners with some script from the Paper Artsy Mini   26, which I've used a lot this Christmas, using Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival Ink. Then it was time for some die-cutting and punching.
I had a die-cut of a little frame from a Tim Holtz tag die and I painted this with Paper Artsy Fresco in Tinned Peas. I then added a little green gem. Next I found all my scraps of painted and stamped papers left over from other projects and stamped out leaves with a little leaf punch. There are some stamped with script, some that are Crackle Glazed - Antarctic over Baltic Blue and I can see a little brown crunchy waxed paper one there too. I also punched out some snowflakes from my scraps and placed pearls at the centre.
My die-cut deer has a necklace of leaves too. For the deer's body, I painted her with Fresco Nougat and edged this with Fresco Cinnamon. I then sprinkled with Shabby Rose Frantage and a little Gesso blobbed in places. A little green gem for an eye finished off this simple card. I was very pleased with the way that the deer's coat turned out. I hope that my mum will feel settled and happy in her flat and that this Christmas will be a time when she begins to feel truly at home there and a little more confident and happy.  Thank you for stopping by at this busy time. I hope you will have some lovely crafty presents for Christmas and time to do some crafty activities too!

Saturday 21 December 2013

A Very Vintage Christmas

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. Christmas is drawing ever closer, and I just wanted to share a card I made for my old friend, Helen. We became friends when our children were small and we still meet to go for woodland walks from time to time. I decided to use a neutral colour scheme for this card to evoke the winter woods where we take our walks and I should like to enter it for the current Our Creative Corner Challenge.
I have not made batches of cards this year, although I know many crafters find a 'production line' satisfying and fun. I have just felt more inclined to create a few cards for special friends and use the time spent crafting them as a meditation. For Helen's card I chose Bo Bunny paper for the background, distressing it around the edges with some Frayed Burlap Distress Ink. This paper has a beautiful design of bare branches appearing through the mist.This reminded me of winter walks shared with Helen and our children, especially one year when there had been a heavy snowfall and the sun glistened on the snowy branches and seemed to create diamonds as we looked. I then took the Paper Artsy Mini 26 stamp, inked it up with Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival Ink and stamped random script without a block to suggest a worn manuscript.
I had some card left over from stamping out snowflakes for another project, so I used this as a stencil and sponged snowflakes through in Potting Soil. I also painted some of the Bo Bunny paper with Paper Artsy Fresco paint in Caramel blended with Toffee and touched it with some Rose Quartz Treasure Gold. I punched some tiny leaves out of this and also stamped it with some of the script and then curled and Treasure Golded the edges. The leaves and scrap of what looked like a torn page, I put aside to use later, but again I used the card left behind as a stencil. The tiny brown leaves reminded me of the few last leaves that remain on the trees in the woods at this time of year.
I then got out my Big Shot and die-cut one of Tim Holtz's tags which comes with two book plates. I used the one that resembles a little frame, painting it with Paper Artsy Nougat edged with Cinnamon and decorating it with some little pearls and some of my punched out leaves. I coloured the tag with a blend of Nougat, Caramel and Toffee Frescos and a little Vintage Photo Distress ink around the edge and I then stamped it with the Lynne Perrella Christmas label stamp from LPC017 in Potting Soil and finished it off with some Gesso, an Old Gold Skeleton leaf and some pearls, after which I sprinkled it with some UTEE and just melted it to give texture. I stamped a rectangle of card coloured with the same blend of Frescos and  edged with Shabby Rose Frantage and Gesso with the wonderful Santa from Artistic Outpost's Snowy Woods plate stamped on it in Potting Soil. I found a die-cut leaf left over from another project and painted this with some Nougat and Chocolate pudding and then melted some of the Shabby Rose Frantage over it before applying some Rose Quartz Treasure Gold.
I added some cream hemp to my tag with a little Gesso and Rock Candy Distress Glitter to add a frosty touch and Frantaged the top corners of my card. I really enjoyed putting together the elements that went to make up this simple card, which suggested to me a Very Vintage Christmas. The wind was howling down my chimney as I made this and I could imagine those last few leaves swirling and dancing with flurries of snow-flakes as Santa passes by muffled against the bitter blast with his sack full of traditional toys. Thank you if you have stopped by Magpieheaven so near to Christmas. I have appreciated your visits so much since I began blogging back in April 2013. A Very Merry Christmas to my visitors and to quote Tiny Tim from Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' that so defined a traditional Christmas, 'May God Bless [you] Every One' in 2014!

Thursday 19 December 2013

Funkie Junkie Twelve Tags of Christmas - Tag#12

Hello visitors to Magpieheaven and welcome! I so appreciate you popping by today because life must be getting as busy for you as it is for us here at Magpieheaven. Today, however, I reached Tag #12 in Linda's 12 Tags of Christmas Challenge! Please click here to find out all about it and what you have to do to be in with a chance of gaining super discounts at Linda's Funkie Junkie Boutique here! Yay! I caught up in the end and I couldn't wait to see what inspiration Linda had in store for her final tag. She most certainly did not disappoint. The tag is here and it is just stunning! I was inspired by Linda turning the tag and creating a landscape design so I decided to have a play with this arrangement. I loved the Tim Holtz stamp Linda used and the gold effects, but as I didn't have this image I decided to use the sledge from the Snowy Woods Artistic Outpost plate and this suggested a colder colour palette: I decided to go for a frosty, snowy effect. In fact I used all Artistic Outpost stamps on this tag, so I would like to enter it for the Artistic Outpost December Referral here too.
I painted my die-cut tag with Paper Artsy Fresco paint in Snowflake. I then stencilled a flower design in the corners using Paper Artsy Grunge Paste and a Crafters' Workshop stencil. When this was dry, I painted over it in Paper Artsy Fresco in Nougat and Antarctic, and, while it was still wet, I sprinkled the tag with Distress Glitter. It is difficult to pick this up on the photo, but the tag does glitter frostily. I sponged the edge of the tag with Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival and Frayed Burlap then applied Treasure Gold White Fire for a silvery sheen..
Shabby Blue Frantage and more White Fire Treasure Gold and a selection of little gems added texture and the impression of snow crunching as the sledge wound its way down a snowy hill.. I painted some card with Paper Artsy Fresco in Antarctic and punched out an oval and a snowflake. The word, 'Snowy' is embossed in white Wow embossing powder and the snowflake is frantaged then fixed with a sticky foam pad. I stamped the sledge onto the tag with Potting Soil Archival, which I then clear embossed so that it had shiny, woody appearance. The fir bough is embossed in detail silver EP.
The Tim Holtz 'On the Edge' die was painted with Antarctic and sprinkled with some of the Shabby Blue Frantage then edged with Potting Soil and decorated with a little pearl. I edged this tag with some text from my Christmas book: it is the chapter about snow and white Christmases. I used my X-cut lace punch and painted the text with a watered down wash of Antarctic.
I dyed some cream seam-binding with Frayed Burlap and a little Vintage Photo and flicked the tag in places with Gesso and Frantage to resemble snowfall. As I created this snowy tag, I thought about curling up in front of old movies at Christmas time and the sledge reminded me of Citizen Kane's prized possession, Rosebud. I have watched Orson Wells' movie so many times, but I am still impressed with that amazing shot of the snow globe and the way that the camera leads us into the snowy world, the story's beginning coming full circle to Charles Foster Kane's dying word 'Rosebud' as the snow-globe falls from his lifeless hand. Now the 12 tags are completed. I shall try to return and have a play at the two thank you tags, but thank you Linda for such a brilliant challenge and all your wonderful inspiration. Happy Christmas to you and to all the visitors to Magpieheaven. It's been so lovely having you along for the 12 Tags of Christmas.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas - Tag#4 - Enchanted Forest

Today Mr Magpie and I have been out and about delivering presents and cards to old friends. Christmas has sneaked up on us so quickly this year that we are having to play Christmas postman ourselves or cards and pressies will never arrive in time! This Christmas has been so special because I discovered the Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas! Linda's challenge and the rules for playing along can be found here, you still have until the 8th January so do join in if you can. The Funkie Junkie Boutique, which can be found here is offering a prize and also great discounts to anyone who manages to follow Linda's inspiration and complete all twelve tags. There are a bonus two due to be published on December 23rd and the 30th so watch out for these posts! For my tag today I was inspired by Linda's Tag#4 which you can see here. Now what exactly did I take as my inspiration from Linda's creation?
This time it was the way Linda had used designer papers so imaginatively on her tag. I had in a supply of Bo Bunny papers from the Silver and Gold range. I loved the colours and the images on these papers and how the stags seemed to emerge from misty woods. I always feel a little bit guilty about using papers like this. They are so very beautiful to begin with, it feels like cheating! However, Linda had made the Maja papers look really individual and special, so I was inspired to have a go at working with designer papers too.
I liked the idea of starting with strips of paper and working from there. Linda had text at the centre of her tag. I chose to showcase this mysterious and beautiful stag all bedecked with holly and snowflakes. I didn't have the embossing paste used by Linda, which sounded so much fun and which I'm adding to my ever growing list of 'must haves'. To create even more of a misty look, I distressed the edge of my central strip of paper with Tim Holtz Distress Inks in Walnut Stain, Frayed Burlap and just a hint of Peeled Paint. I then stamped some medieval script from the Paper Artsy Mini 26, which I find I've been using a lot this Christmas. I used Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival. This paper is double sided so on one side I flipped over to the design of golden holly and on the other used another strip from the same design as my central image. Because the paper co-ordinates across the range I used some complementary strips of holly on the top and bottom pediments of the tag.
I used some Dresden Foil strips, which I aged by brushing the rather bright gold with Green Amber Treasure Gold. For the top pediment I painted with some Paper Artsy Fresco Nougat, a coat of Paper Artsy Old Gold and then a thin coat of Green Amber Treasure Gold. I punched out two little leaves stamped with the Medieval script on a Nougat base and finished with a little red pearl to serve as a berry. I was also inspired by the gingham fabric used on Linda's tag. I had some green gingham ribbon so I used this to form my loop.

For the lower pediment I used, not one of the Tim Holtz pediment dies but the lower part of the window die by Tim Holtz. I made a tattered floral flower from some of the background paper and one of the pages from my old Christmas book. It is on the theme of Christmas Roses. I painted the petals with some Fresco in Vanilla and Caramel and edged with Festive Berries Distress Ink and some White Fire Treasure Gold. I then added the sentiment from Artistic Outpost's Snowy Woods on a die-cut shape painted with Nougat, Cinnamon and Chocolate Pudding.

Some Frantage, a tiny leaf and some miniature bells completed my tag#4. The more I worked on the strips and elements that made up this tag, the more it came to resemble a decorated pillar. I imagined the mysterious stag as a kind of guide, part animal, part mythological creature who leads pilgrims through the misty woods to an enchanted castle. Ever since primary school, when I first heard it, I have been fascinated by the Christmas Carol known as The Falcon or Corpus Christi Carol. It begins with the words, 'Down in yon forest there stands a hall.' Apparently the first versions of this carol date from around the year 1400 and it describes a hall 'hung all with purple' in which a knight lies wounded, watched over by a maiden. The singer says 'I heard the bells of paradise ring...'so I was glad that I had my tiny bells in my stash. The carol has links with the legend of the holy grail, the cup used at the last supper; the knight lying wounded is Jesus and the maiden is his mother, Mary.  Whatever its origins it really embodies the mystery and wonder of Christmas. Thank you again for dropping by for a peek at my 12 Tags. I should like to enter this - my version of Tag#4 for the Funkie Junkie Challenge. Tomorrow I will be posting Tag#12. I can't believe I have now competed eleven tags! Thank you Linda for running such a brilliant challenge. I am so glad I found out about it and had the opportunity to link up my tags.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas # 7 - Christmas Joy!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. The tree is decorated and some of the presents are wrapped, but - most important - I think I might be able to finish the 12 Tags of Christmas, especially as Linda has extended the deadline! I hope I will find some time to complete the two thank you tags, which she is adding on the 23rd and 30th of December too. If you don't know about this brilliant challenge, and I can't believe that you wouldn't by now, click here to find out what you need to do to be in with a chance of winning the great prizes on offer from the Funkie Junkie Boutique, which you can view here. Today I've been inspired by Linda's beautiful tag 7, which you can view here. The theme of this tag is most certainly 'Joy'. I was inspired by Linda's mini tags spelling out this word and the die-cut 'Joy to the World' at the top of the tag. Throughout the Challenge I've had to play around with my stash to find new ways to interpret Linda's tags, as I have no die-cut or rubber stamp alphabets. Now that's something to spend my Christmas money on! I wanted to express the idea of joy at Christmas so out came my Artistic Outpost Snowy Woods plate again, which has served me so well for this challenge and this is what I created. I cut my card from corrugated card this time, painted with Paper Artsy Antarctic and Mermaid and edged with White Fire Treasure Gold, which highlighted the corrugations. I love playing with corrugated card and since I discovered the great textures you can create with it I've been hoarding enough of the stuff to construct a small bungalow!
I was inspired by Linda's use of three small tags, but I went with just one and instead of spelling out
 'J-O-Y' it displayed the sentiment 'Joyeux Noel'. I love the idea of three - three tags on Linda's card, three letters in the word joy, but I went for three glittering leaves. These are all cut from the Tim Holtz Tattered Leaves die, but the top leaf is made from Shrink Plastic painted with Paper Artsy Fresco Hey Pesto and tipped with Gesso and sprinkled with Frantage. The other two leaves are die-cut from card and painted with Fresco Antarctic, Mermaid and a little Inky Pool around the edge.
I added a skeleton leaf, which I sprinkled with Distress Glitter. This delicate skeleton reminded me of a book my children both loved when they were young and which we took them to see performed at the Young Vic one magical Christmas. The book was 'Skellig' by David Almond and the wonderful David Threlfall played the title character. The story takes place when a young boy called Michael and his parents move, and he finds a strange, arthritic homeless man in the cluttered and tumble-down garage of the new house. This man is more than he seems, however. As the novel unfolds he emerges as a rich and strange being, part owl, part human and part angel and Michael and a new friend Mina name him Skellig. In a dream Michael sees Skellig watching over the cot in which his baby sister is lying ill in hospital. She has a heart condition and it is uncertain whether she will live or die, but after this dream she 'pulls through' and Michael names her 'Joy' after the poem by William Blake, a poet whose writing his new friend Mina loves. Both the novel and the play convey a sense of wonder and hope: perfect for Christmas - and, of course, this is another interpretation of the idea of angels, who or what they might be.
Linda's tag featured a beautiful die-cut poinsettia. I don't have one of these, so I used my Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die to create a Christmas rose from the pages of my old book of Christmas lore. I sponged it with Distress Inks in Evergreen Bough and Broken China blended, edged it with White Fire Treasure Gold over some Vintage Photo and gave it a little pearl centre. I placed my flower on a die-cut oval fixed on with dimensional pads. A sprinkling of Frantage on my label and leaves and the tag was complete. I hope you like my tag number 7, which I should like to enter for Linda's 12 Tags of Christmas Challenge. We are moving ever closer to the 25th now so I really appreciate any visits. Have a joyful and productive day.

Monday 16 December 2013

Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas, Tag #10 - A Language of Trees

Hello and thank you if you're still dropping by and taking a peek at my twelve tags of Christmas. I've been loving this Challenge. If you would still like to join in, there might just be time, especially as Linda has extended the deadline to January 8 and added two extra tags. Please click here for all the details of the Challenge. The Funkie Junkie Boutique is offering discounts if you complete the challenge correctly,so do read all the directions very carefully and check out the Funkie Junkie boutique here to see the fabulous products Linda used on her tag. Today I completed Tag #10. Linda's version can be seen here and it is absolutely stunning! I think it might be one of my favourites of all Linda's creations, although they are all so beautiful it is hard to decide. I was inspired by the Linda's wonderful use of texture and colour on this tag and the central frame enclosing a gorgeous oval of holly leaves. I have wanted each of my tags to convey a story or something that signifies Christmas to me and this one is no exception. I am  fascinated by symbolism in art and I have mountains of books on the subject, which I can lose myself in! I was reminded with Linda's tag of how, before Christianity gave a new meaning to the symbolism of the plants and trees in the green-wood, our pagan ancestors delighted in the holly and ivy because they seemed to speak of new birth even in the depths of winter: the forest trees and plants had a language and if you looked and listened the rustling leaves would speak to you.With the coming of Christianity new stories were layered over the old: the holly came to symbolize the crown of thorns and the ivy everlasting life. Once again I was challenged by this tag, as I had no holly leaf stencils or embellishments. I decided I would just have to make my own festive greenery and 'give birth' to something a bit different out of Linda's inspiration.
 For my background I sponged my die-cut tag with Paper Artsy Fresco in Nougat and stamped it with ivy leaves in Wendy Vecchi, Fern Green Archival ink. I also made a stencil using what remained after cutting out some Tim Holtz Tattered Leaves and then inked over with music script from a Sara Nauman Eclectica plate for Paper Artsy in Wendy Vecchi Geranium Archival. Ultimately most of this background became hidden, but I did enjoy doing it and I gain a certain satisfaction from knowing it's there. I arranged two of my Tim Holtz leaves at the top and bottom of my tag and, to give them a wintry look, I attached a skeleton leaf to each using Claudine Hellmuth Multi-medium. I then sprinkled them with dry distress glitter to further create a frosty look. I have also used Gesso on this tag to add a snowy texture to the tips of my leaves and to the coils of wire entwining the frame.
I had this red mesh you can see in the top corner since last Christmas and I never knew quite what to do with it so I added it with some more Multi-medium. It really glints in the light and provides texture, especially with the Shabby Rose Frantage melted around it. Linda's frame inspired me, so I took a Spellbinders die-cut and added Grunge Paste through a Crafters' Workshop stencil of flourishes. Over on her blog, 'Laurart', Laura Bomber painted her frame with Old Gold and a layer of French Roast Fresco. I tried this out and also added some Rose Quartz Treasure Gold. I added this because I love the way it highlights any raised surface: I really wanted the Grunge Paste swirls to stand out.
Then for my home-made holly! I sanded some shrink plastic and painted with Tinned Peas. I then drew some holly shapes with a Sharpie. I love the effect of stamping on Shrink Plastic so I stamped my favourite Santas from the Artistic Outpost Snowy Woods Plate and the Lynne Perrella Santa from her Russian Doll Plate 016 . I punched out tiny leaves from card painted with Tin Peas and some stamped with script and frosted over these with dry distress. I thought about how even though the woods can seem dead at this time of year, really nature is sleeping ready to spring into life with the Spring. One of my favourite poems of all time in Thomas Hardy's 'Darkling Thrush'. The poet has lost his religious faith and the world seems gripped by hopeless winter when he hears the song of a bedraggled thrush that seems to speak of hope in a cold world. Does the bird, a messenger from the world of nature, know something Hardy does not?
Frantage, Gesso and Distress Glitter gave a snowy look. If you click on the images you can see the tiny flakes of frantage that give the impression of falling snow. I loved constructing this tag, building up layers of leaves, berries and tendrils and contrasting living greens and reds with the colder frosty tones.
I added some tea-dyed lace and coloured it with some Festive Berries Distress Ink. I finished off my tag with a tiny Prima brad with a robin - another courageous winter bird - on it and a piece of seam-binding dyed with Festive Berries distress stain.
There it is, my take on Tag #10. I have just two more of the 12 tags to go now! I can hardly believe I've got this far, but I've loved every minute of it and every tag has been a voyage of discovery for me. I do hope that this Christmas and New Year you will find joy and a message of hope in the natural world, creativity and the love of family and friends.

Sunday 15 December 2013

Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas Number 3 - Take 3 Kings

Welcome to Magpieheaven! I am still enjoying my journey through Linda Coughlin's 12 Tags of Christmas, the details of which you can find here. There is still time to enter, as Linda has extended the deadline to January 8 and adding two extra 'thank you' tags: if you complete the Challenge you could win the draw, or discounts on products from the Funkie Junkie Boutique - click here for details of all the goodies on sale. The tag that inspired me today can be found here and it's Linda's #3. Before I entered the Challenge I admired this beautiful tag and some of the superb interpretations of it. I loved the billowing robes of the angel and the silhouette of the Magi , and Linda's starry background, which must have been even more gorgeous in real life! But I have no Wise Men in my small collection of stamps; only one very tiny angel and - I thought - no stars! This was going to be quite a challenge! What I do have, though, is a 'Lost Coast' image that suggests 'angel' to me.
We don't know, for sure, how the Angel who appeared to the Wise Men in their dreams might have looked. In Wim Wenders' beautiful movie, 'Wings of Desire' the angels watch over the city of Berlin, passing by unnoticed in their dark overcoats, listening to the thoughts of the commuters on the metro as they go about their daily lives. In every age ideas of angels have changed:  maybe angels pass through the crowds in busy cities with messages to share if we are willing to listen, or step in to lend a hand when life is tough! Here are my winged messengers and my take on Linda's tag.
I wanted to create the idea of the sweep of the Angel as it fluttered down to intervene in the human world, so I painted some card with Paper Artsy Fresco Finish in Antarctic and Mermaid and then stamped the same Lost Coast image on it with different inks and paint: Cornflower Wendy Vecchi Archival Ink, South Pacific Fresco clear embossed and silver embossing. I frantaged over parts of the wings to suggest a touch of snow  as the Angel flutters down. For my background I used Baltic Blue Fresco with three snowflakes from the Snowy Woods plate embossed with Wow white embossing powder. and a sprinkling of Wow to suggest snow.
There are also three punched out snowflakes. On each of my card snowflakes there is a sprinkling of a little embossing powder to symbolize gold, frankincense and myrrh, the gifts the Wise Men brought. The white snowflakes are to suggest the Magi themselves. If you remember I said that 'I thought' I had no stars...but right at the bottom of my box of bits I found these little blue and silver stars.
Finally I added this sentiment from the 'Snowy Woods' plate. I stamped in Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival onto my card painted with Antarctic and Mermaid. I would like to have used the beautiful 'Noel' from Linda's tag, but I had nothing remotely like this. This quote from Frost's poem reminded me of the long journey the Magi took just to see a tiny child born of obscure parents. They kept their promise to the Angel too, returning a different way so as to avoid disclosing the child's whereabouts to Herod. My tag, then, looks very different to Linda's yet the same inspiration, the Journey of the Magi has led me on a quite different visual journey. Thank you, once again, Linda for this challenge, which has me digging deep into my stash and into my imagination! And thank you, my visitors for dropping by at this busy time. 

Saturday 14 December 2013

Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas - Leaping forward to #11

As visitors to Magpieheaven may already know, I am playing along with Linda Coughlin's beautiful and inspiring 12 Tags of Christmas. Please click Here if you would like to find out all about it. There's time to join in, as you now have until January 8 to play and there are discounts at the Funkie Junkie Boutique here for those who complete the challenge and there's a prize draw. Many thanks to those of you who have stopped by to see my offerings at this very busy time of year. It's so inspiring to stop by and take a peek at the other interpretations of Linda's tags too. I'm doing the tags randomly because I started fairly late in the day and for this tag I'm leaping forward to Linda's Tag #11, which you can see here. Here is my take on her beautiful deer, which really inspired me to think 'medieval heraldry'.
I so fell in love with this die when I saw it on Linda's Tag #2 that I had to buy it and I have had so much pleasure from using it. This time, though, instead of the standing deer, which looked full of enchanting anticipation on Linda's tag, I wanted to use the one that appears to be leaping. This reminds me of my favourite carol 'The Holly and the Ivy' and the chorus 'The rising of the sun and the running of the deer.'
 I added some medieval script from the Paper Artsy mini 26 because this carol always reminds me of a medieval Christmas. I loved Linda's pine tree background, but as I didn't have this kind of forest to place my 'white hart' in,  I painted the background with Paper Artsy, Fresco Antarctic and then used my Clear Snaps mascil which is part stencil part mask with some Peeled Paint Distress Ink, Broken China and a little Snowflake Fresco to 'Knock Back'. I added two podium dies top and bottom and the 'On the Edge' Snowflake die painted with Baltic Blue.
I added Mica Flakes in Shaved Ice; Frantage and extra snowflakes punched out of card painted with Baltic Blue and embossed with white musical notes to symbolize 'The Singing of the Choir'.
Although the carol speaks of 'the rising of the sun' my deer seems to be frolicking in the moonlight. I painted him with white Fresco paint which I then clear-embossed, adding a little Shabby Blue Frantage. He has a speck of Arctic Ice Stickles for an eye. I think he looks like a creature from a tapestry in a fine lady's bed-chamber, caught in the light of the moon while she sleeps in her frosty castle on Christmas night. Thank you Linda for another truly inspirational tag. I would like to enter this version for the 12 Tags of Christmas Funkie Junkie Challenge.

Thursday 12 December 2013

Another Funkie Junkie Tag - Number 9 and Frost Fairs!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven where I'm busily working on Linda Coughlin's 12 tags of Christmas. The times they are a-changing, though. Linda has extended the deadline from December 22nd to January 8 and added two extra tags to the challenge. Find out about it here. Take a look at The Funkie Junkie Boutique too, as there is a prize on offer and a 10% discount on products if you meet all the requirements with the 12 tags and  15% discount from the Funkie Junkie shop if you complete the two extra tags that Linda is creating and posting later in December. The tag that has inspired me today is Linda's tag #9, which you can see here. I loved the silky-looking blue roses and the silvery blue background. As I looked and admired the silver snowflakes, I was reminded of the Frost Fairs that used to be held on the River Thames. It's amazing to think that once the River used to freeze over so hard people were able to walk across quite safely. Apparently Queen Elizabeth 1 spent Christmas Day 1564 practising archery on the icy Thames!
As I worked I imagined a story centred on the idea of the Frost Fair. I decided my tag was going to be another two-in-one because at its heart there was going to be a Frost Fair Romance involving two lovers. I cut one tag with die-cut snowflakes. I spritzed it with Distress Stains in Picket Fence, Faded Jeans and Spun Sugar. I embossed silver snowflakes from the Snowy Woods plate by Artistic Outpost and used Shabby Blue Frantage around the edges. I stamped some script from a Crafty Individuals stamp in Wendy Vecchi Cornflower Blue. I dyed some lace with Faded Jeans and Spun Sugar too. For my lower tag I painted with Paper Artsy Fresco in Antarctic, embossing it with silver musical notes from Sara Nauman's Eclectica Paper Artsy plate. The Paper Artsy hearts and Spellbinders label are also painted with Antarctic, edged with Peeled Paint distress and Shabby Blue Frantage. The podium is Baltic Blue.
Time to embellish and create a story around my two-in-one tag, which I joined with a white eyelet and a Tim Holtz Tattered Pine Cone Rose. In 1607 the Thames froze over from 5th December-February 14th, which resulted in those resourceful Elizabethans creating a fair consisting of all kinds of stalls, activities and entertainment, including cats so musical they played dulcimers! Shakespeare would have been in Southwark then, did he visit the Frost Fair, I wonder? What if he had written a comedy not set in Illyria but on the Thames and concerning two young lovers who meet at a Frost Fair? I wonder what kind of a masterpiece we would have had? I can only imagine a wonderful combination of A Winter's Tale and Twelfth Night with a hint of As You Like it. One of the lovers would definitely be a maiden disguised as a page who gavottes effortlessly across the ice on silver skates and wins the heart of a young English Countess! But what, oh dear - she's not really a boy, what will she do?  Never fear her long-lost twin brother returns from a sea journey to claim the hand of the Countess and the Countess has a noble cousin who falls head over heels for our heroine. For my lovers I used Lynne Perrella's amazing faces from Paper Artsy LPC 012 and 013 stamped in Coffee Archival.
I painted some card with Baltic Blue on one side and embossed it with musical notes in white Wow Embossing powder and then painted the reverse side with Antarctic fresco, which I then glazed with Paper Artsy Metallic Glaze. I was then able to die-cut the rose from this and the sprig on the left as well as punching the snowflakes from it and mixing and matching. I also added a silver skeleton leaf. You can see Linda's influence in the colour scheme, the hearts, the rose and the scattering of diamonds.
I edged the rose with some White Fire Treasure Gold.
Here is the tag closed with the other lover hidden.
Thank you so much for stopping by today and looking at my tag#9, which I should like to enter for The Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas Challenge. This is my sixth offering for the Challenge, so I'm half way through. I wonder how easy I will find it to create a tag with a story that suggests Christmas to me inspired by each of Linda's beautiful tags? And my two 'Thank You' tags, of course! If I complete all twelve pre- Christmas tags, I shall be photographing them in their vases hanging from my Christmas twigs, so I hope you will be able to drop by for that.