Sunday 19 January 2014

Hearts and Flowers

Welcome to Magpieheaven! January can be seen as a dreary month, but I think it has a lot to recommend it! It's a lovely time for fresh starts and new beginnings.  I'll try not to go all soppy and sentimental - I did say try -  but twenty-seven years ago Mr Magpie and I started married life together on a beautiful, sunny winter's day: our anniversary is on January 31st! Mr Magpie bought me  a huge bunch of flowers when we started going out - so many that I couldn't find enough vases for them! This was not because he was the world's most romantic man, but because the man with the flower stall outside the station was closing up to go home and needed to off-load all his 'daffs'! When he arrived at my front door you could hardly see little Mr Magpie for flowers! At Fashionable Stamping Challenges the theme is 'Hearts and Flowers' so I have created a box within a box for this challenge and as an anniversary present for Mr Magpie who, although he 'insulates' our loft with stuff that 'might come in useful', still has my heart! Flowers have been an important part of our lives together, especially when we became parents and moved to Magpieheaven. Our daughter loved the story of 'Beauty and the Beast' and asked that we plant roses when we began to make our garden together. Also, over at Country View Challenges the theme is 'Monochromatic', so I have chosen to create using different hues of cream that I hope evoke the season - monochromatic, but hopefully never dull. Finally, because I always find the DT work on Simon Says Challenges so inspiring in its eclecticism and I really let my imagination run free on this make, I should also like to enter this for the Simon Says Monday, Anything Goes Challenge.
Where did I begin? With a box that had contained specialty cheeses: a Christmas gift to Mr Magpie from our daughter!
I gave this a good coat of Gesso inside and out. Then I painted the outside with first Paper Artsy Fresco Finish, French Roast and then, when it was dry, a thin layer of Crackle and the inside with Fresco Finish Cheesecake. Once the Crackle Glaze was dry, I applied thick strokes of Nougat Fresco to the outside, leaving the Crackle to work its magic!
 While this was happening I worked on some bits and pieces to go inside my box. Mr Magpie had found me this tiny little box! I don't know where it came from and I have to say this was an occasion when I he really won my heart with his hoarding! On the right you can see I created a 'back-drop' to fit into the box. I painted with Vanilla Fresco and dabbed with hints of Caramel to give an appearance of parchment. I then stamped an image from Paper Artsy Lynne Perrella 015 Collection in Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival and some script from a Paper Artsy Mini. 
I painted the tiny wooden box with some Nougat before lining it with handmade paper given my by my dear, crafting friend and Magpie Cousin Dianne. Another lovely friend, Kezzy sent me some gorgeous Magpie bits a while ago towards a challenge we were doing so I hope she doesn't mind that I used these too: a beautiful bark heart and a tiny rose which I painted Nougat to match. I used some of the wood shavings that came as the cheese packaging and to begin with I was going to include a little glass heart. This never seemed quite right, so I changed it for something else, which I will show you later. I used sketch book paper coloured with Vanilla Fresco and streaks of Caramel and just a touch of Toffee. This became roses and petals thanks to a Tim Holtz Tattered Florals die and a tutorial by Jennie Atkinson at 'Live the Dream'. I also painted a branch from our garden and twined it with some of the wood shavings and some cream hemp. The stamping on the right is in Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil, clear embossed and I used a sentiment from Lin Brown's Eclectica Range for Paper Artsy and a rose cut from a Lynne Perrella Paper Artsy stamp 008.
I used a resin rose or two, painted to match my colour scheme. This one finally came to rest on top of the box fixed to this little frame, which I distressed using Gesso over painted with French Roast - also a gift from Kezzy. I also stamped some of the sketch paper with a Paper Artsy mini  26 and used this as petals.
I painted and stamped the back of my 'parchment'  with Paper Artsy Mini 26 so that when I curled the edges over there would be something interesting to see.
With all my embellishments made, it was time to start arranging and then sticking! I don't know about other crafters, but I have found getting the adhesive right a bit of a problem for projects like this. I ended up using quite a range of stickies! For this branch from our garden - sticking wood to wood - I found Dovecraft Silicone glue worked really well. This also stuck the Shrink Plastic, which I used eventually to add detail, well. For my 'parchment' I used Claudine Hellmuth Multi Medium.
To create more hearts, I painted some Shrink Plastic with Nougat on one sheet and Cheesecake on the other, cut them using a Paper Artsy heart die and then stamped with Potting Soil. When these were shrunk and cool, I edged the Cheesecake ones with a little Toffee using the Dry Brush technique to give definition.

My little scrolls were made from the sketch book paper. I found that if I sprayed the paper very lightly with a mister of water, it became quite mouldable. The trick is not to let it get too soggy or easy to tear. I secured these with hemp twine and the middle one with some seam-binding coloured with a touch of Squeezed Lemonade and Frayed Burlap Distress Inks. I added Rose Quartz Treasure Gold to petals and curled edges all over the project! I also edged the box itself with it, just a touch here and there.
Here is what I replaced the glass heart with - the words, 'My Heart' from a Sara Nauman Paper Artsy Eclectica plate printed onto Shrink Plastic. The #2 tag was swiped through watery Nougat, Caramel and Toffee then Frantaged with Shabby Pink and then swiped again. On this project, I played around with painting over Frantage, so that some of the colour is lost, but the texture remained. I played around with this on the branch too. The flowers are stamped from Paper Artsy Hot Picks 1009.

I stamped a little script Mini 84 over the top of the box...
So sorry for such a photo heavy post! Thank you so much if you've stayed with me to the end! Have a lovely creative January wherever you are and whatever you're doing!
I should like to enter this project for Fashionable Stamping Challenges - Hearts and Flowers, Country View Crafts - Monochrome and Simon Says Monday 'Anything Goes Challenge'.


  1. Super amazing as always. The detail when you enlarge the photo and those flowers are so exquisite.
    Julie x

  2. Julie Ann, this is stunning (when is a project of yours ever not!) and so is the story behind it - Mr Magpie sounds a lovely man, and I applaud his hoarding tendencies, having plenty of my own!! The box is just gorgeous - and happy anniversary for later this month!

  3. Fabulous project Julie Ann ! I love the story about the flowers :-) Happy Anniversary for later this month too ! Thanks for joining us at Country View Crafts.Sue C x

  4. What a lovely piece, full of such detail! Thank you so much for joining us at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog! - Ashli :)

  5. Hey Julie Anne - very clever and well down. I am going to have to go back and re-read everything. Love the flower story and so glad you live in Magpie Heaven.

  6. What a glorious creation - a wonderful celebration of 27 years (congratulations ahead of time!)... and beautifully done. The crackle, the scrolled and distressed papers, of course the wonderful stamping - it's so carefully thought out and so romantic because of that.
    Alison xx

  7. Well Miss Magpie the love is humming all over, this post, your magnificent creation, a box within a box, fabulous, your attention to detail is awesome, your flowers gorgeous, looooove the crackling, those tiny scrolls are adorable, all the lovely hearts made into your signature pieces, you two belong in Magpie Heaven, this creation is DIVINE a perfect make for your Mister. Thanks for sharing this it makes my heart sing, and the Magpie Parliament is standing, cheering...I hope you have a fabulous anniversary you two deserve it.. (((( BIG HUGS )))) my dear Magpie Cuz... PS. love all the photos..Wishing you a wonderful creative week..

  8. Gorgeous creation Julie Ann, the detail is amazing... Loved the story of the flowers with Mr Magpie.. Such a romantic piece... Have a happy week ahead... Hugs May x x x

  9. Well I did go back and re-read which I will probably do again. The more I look at it the more I love it. What a wonderful keepsake you have made and I am most fond of the little scrolls. Beautifully created and made.
    Sandy xx

  10. A wonderful and very romantic post. Your creation is FANTASTIC.

  11. That is so very beautiful, I love all of it, the little scrolls are great.

  12. This is really lovely Julie Ann! Such beautiful embellishment you made and such attention to details as always. Love the heart in the little box your hubby found. Is this your 'Valentine' gift to him ;-)? He deserves it!

    Lesley Xx

  13. Another wonderful and well put together project Julie Ann! Love the colours you have chosen and all the little items you have made especially for your Love, beautiful story and am so glad you are celebrating 27 years together very soon.

    So glad you share your creations :-) xxx

  14. Wow what a gorgeous project, with so many pretty details. Its full of love and perfect for your anniversary. Congratulations to you and Mr Magpie and thank you for joining us at Fashionable Stamping Challenges
    Claire xx

  15. Hi Julie Ann,

    For one reason or another, I haven't been able to get by and, boy, did I pick a good day to come and catch up with you! This was such a sweet and loving post, so well written! Love was on every line and it shows in every tiny beautiful detail of your wonderful work of art!!

    Just in case I'm not back before then, I wish you and Mr. Magpie the happiest of anniversaries (you know I agree January is the best month to get married, LOL) and many, many more!! Big hugs and bouquets of flowers! Darnell

  16. The texture and compo is wonderful, but it's the subtle colors that send me...

  17. Fabulous project Julie Ann! Love all the detail you've added. Thanks for joining us at Country View Crafts. Sue Cx

  18. Wow wow wow absolutely gorgeous stunning box, love the story of you and Mr Magpie, and I know he will love this. I think the colours of neutral worked really well. I love all that you did with the embellishments. You also manage to alter them beautifully. Lots of hugs Kerry Ann xxxxxxxx


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