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.


  1. Another gorgeous tag, those holly leaves are beautiful! Really great tag! Hugs x

  2. Gorgeous tag Julie Ann. I am seriously behind with mine. That is what tonight is for!
    P.S. Thanks for visiting earlier. The three I have shared today are pre-Saturday's marathon! I had limited stash and just loads of Snippets - amazing how you get creative when you have to improvise! xx

  3. This is beautiful, Julie Ann!

    Lucy x

  4. Ooh! I love the stamped holly! Gorgeous tag Julie Ann!
    Alison xxx

  5. Another stunning tag! It's really gorgeous.

  6. This is a delight, Julie Ann. I don't know which I like more - your poignant and uplifting meaning for the various facets of your project or the actual project itself with its many layers and lovely embellishments. I especially love the holly leaves stamped with Fr. Christmas on shrink plastic - brilliant! Thanks so much for joining in with the challenge. I'm happy to hear that you are enjoying it!


  7. I can tell you are enjoying this challenge - you are making wonderful tags. I do hate getting so far behind with my blog snooping but it is always so much fun to catch up too!

  8. Fantastic - I love the traditional reds and greens in those slightly more subtle tones - this works just beautifully.
    Alison xx

  9. Wow wow wow oh Julie Ann your tag is truly amazing, I love traditional reds and greens, the background is beautiful but the big wow is santa on the shrink plastic wow absolutely awesome. Hugs Kezzy :-) xxx


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