Saturday 29 March 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! As you may know life has been quite hectic in the Magpies' Nest lately. I realized - thanks to my daughter - that Mother's Day is tomorrow! My mother always joins us for Sunday Lunch so, thanks to Matilda reminding me, I have created a card for this special day, which we can spend together as a family now that my Mum is only just down the road. One of the 'ingredients' on the card is a little unusual this time! My lovely crafting friend, Lesley Ebdon who I chat with on Twitter and who I hope to meet soon at Ally Pally on April 12th sent me a mystery package last week with some material left over from a City and Guilds Fashion Course she once did. I think it is the kind of 'iron-on' gauzy fabric used to reinforce collars, although she no doubt would be able to enlighten me on this. The translucence of it really appealed and suggested butterflies to me! My mum is losing her sight, but if she holds the card up close I hope she will be able to see that unmistakable butterfly shape. I always feel that Spring has well and truly come when the butterflies appear, so ethereal in the hedgerows - and there was something rather ethereal about that fabric Lesley sent when it was cut into a butterfly shape!
 I ran the fabric through my 'Big Shot' with a Sizzix butterfly die and then played around with painting it and adding it as layers. I've edged this layer in the foreground with some French Roast PaperArtsy Fresco. The other two butterflies are Smoothy card painted with Antarctic and Mermaid and then stamped with an Ink and the Dog Mini Script stamp in Versafine Vintage Sepia and a lady from LPC028, one of the new Lynne Perrella stamps from PaperArtsy. You can also see some pieces of cocktail stick painted with Fresco. I used these for the butterflies' bodies, adding some flower centres I had in my stash as antennae.
 Here is the finished card! I got so carried away experimenting with effects on the gauzy material combined with paint, Frantage and other layers, I had no time to take step by step photos, but I have taken some detail shots to show how I built up the butterflies. My background is a sheet of card, Crackle Glazed over Little Black dress with Sage Fresco. I love this shade and I've used so much of it, I now need to replenish my supplies! I edged the card with Hey Pesto and stamped some script from LPC028 and a border from LPC012 in Wendy Vecchi, Fern Green Archival ink. The sentiment is from Lin Brown's new Flower Sentiments in the PaperArtsy Eclectica range and the label comes with the butterfly die. I painted it with Vanilla Fresco and edged and stamped it with Fern Green Archival.
The Sizzix die has two sizes of butterfly so I was able to add a second layer that really focused on the lady's eyes. This one is rather like a surreal version of a Peacock butterfly. When you see Peacock butterflies settled in large numbers on a Buddleia their wings always remind me of hosts of bright glittering eyes. I added gems and Frantage in Shabby Blue to the wing tips.
 It is difficult to convey in a photograph, but the Frantage worked really well with the gauzy layer. I also did some stenciling over the dress-making gauze on the left-hand butterfly. The bunting floating in the breeze is Wendy Vecchi Fern Green Archival ink stamped on Mermaid Fresco painted card and then 'fussy cut' and attached to the card. The stamp is from LPC005.
I do hope that all the Mums in Crafty Blogland will have a lovely day tomorrow; that those of us whose Mums can spend the day with us will have a really special day and that those whose Mums cannot be with them for whatever reason will have happy memories to celebrate.

Wednesday 26 March 2014

A Zany Tag!

Hello from Magpieheaven! Things have been all aflutter in the nest and consequently a little quiet on the blogging front. I've had a close friend from overseas staying, new students to tutor and several projects to catch up with on my washing-machine work-desk! Now it's time for a new challenge at the Dragons' Dream TIO and I think things might just be back to normal. Please click here to see the fabulous 'Dragons' Dream' inspiration from my team-mates this week! The recipe is chosen by the highly imaginative and creative Sylvia this time and it's to use the letter 'Z'; at least one real, stamped image on your tag - and the twist - a face! Here is my take on Sylvia's challenge.
I must admit I scratched my head a bit over this one! I have quite a few faces in my stamp collection, but I wanted to feature a word beginning with 'Z' and connect it with that face. Then it came to me: zany! In Renaissance, Italian comedy the 'Zannies' were clownish 'fools', there to mimic the other characters in the improvised Commedia dell'arte ! Humour changes so with time that I wonder if we would find their antics funny today? Now, of course, we've taken the word into the English language to mean any quirky or eccentric kind of humour. I collaged my own Zany character, using Lynne Perrella's Collection 003 for the hat and 013 for the face: these are both PaperArtsy stamps.
For my background I sponged with Fresco paints in Mermaid, Bora Bora and South Pacific. I then stenciled with a Prima stencil in Beach Hut. I edged my tag with some dry brushed Chocolate Pudding and French Roast. I then coloured some Grunge Paste with Spanish Mulberry and pushed it through a Crafters' Workshop harlequin stencil. I highlighted my diamonds with some Limited Edition Treasure Gold of a similar shade to the Spanish Mulberry and stamped the script from LPC0028 in Versafine Vintage Sepia randomly without a block. Now it was time for some zaniness.
I painted some card with Spanish Mulberry and stenciled using the flourish stencil and some Mermaid Fresco before stamping the LP hat on it. What could be more bizarre than a hat tilted up to reveal tiny shrink plastic leaves with faces floating up from the clown's empty head? I cut the SP using a Tim Holtz Tattered Leaves die, painted them with a thin wash of Guacamole and then stamped with Black Onyx Versafine. The image is from LPC0028. I rather liked the way the leaf at the top comes to a point and makes the image appear as if she too is wearing a clown's hat! I finished off with some text, painted with Mermaid Fresco and punched out into a lacy pattern.
And it is quite outlandish to encounter a butterfly with wings covered in script! This giant butterfly was cut with a Sizzix die, a blend of Vanilla and Yellow Submarine Fresco. The script is from a PaperArtsy Mini stamp. I used the Tim Holtz Worn Alphabet to stamp my word onto a curled paper banner. The ribbon is dyed seam-binding stamped with a Lynne Perrella sun. The clown looks as if he or she might just break into a smile, or is he or she about to sing 'Give me sunshine in your smile'?  I can't wait to see your takes on the recipe this time. The tags that you link are always such an inspiration and the last challenge included a great variety of styles.  Wherever you are and whatever you're doing though, whether it be quirky, unconventional or fairly normal, I wish you sunshine - singing in the rain if you prefer that - and lots of smiles! 

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Tea with Lucy.

Hello from Magpieheaven! It feels like ages since I last blogged! Life has been hectic here in the Magpies' Nest with visitors to entertain and tutoring to be done - not to mention all the catching up on projects I've had to do - still not sure when I'm going to fit in the housework! Yesterday, though, I took time out to meet up with a lovely crafting friend, Lucy Edmondson of 'True Colours'. We first met at Ally Pally last September. Yesterday we met in Richmond mid-morning and spent the day together, laughing, drinking tea and coffee and - you'll no doubt be surprised to hear - talking! I really thought my eyes were playing tricks when Lucy checked on the time and it was 4.00pm! There wasn't a moment to spare to take any photos, but what I have photographed are the beautiful gifts Lucy gave me! I was so moved by her generosity. I hope I have done justice to these gorgeous things.
 Isn't that the loveliest shape? The flowers are a fabulous texture too and I loved the effect of the centres! I was lost for words as I opened it - very unusual for me - as Lucy was probably beginning to discover - if she hadn't worked that out already, of course! I hope she realized how much I loved it!
Just look at the treasures inside! One thing I never seem to have enough of are embellishments. Lucy made this exquisite little cherub and the flowers and charms are fabulous!
I can't wait to use them!
But loveliest of all, Lucy very generously gave me her artwork for Crafty Individuals Fine Romance Challenge! I shall really treasure this!
Those flowers are incredible and the crackle is stunning! If only you could see the Mica in real life!
I can't wait to create something especially for Lucy now to say a big 'Thank You' for her friendship.
Thank you too for stopping by Magpieheaven today. April 4th will see the very first anniversary of my blog and I have to say that entering the wonderful world of Craft Blogging has opened my eyes to so much beauty all around me and introduced me to so many amazing, talented and generous new friends. Thank you so much, Lucy and Crafty Bloggers all!

Sunday 16 March 2014

A Tim Holtz Amazon!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! It's been a busy week for me, full of little Green Men! No, we haven't had a Martian invasion, I've been lucky enough to be guesting over at PaperArtsy and my theme has been The Green Man! It's been such fun looking at the beautiful interpretations people have come up with! I've also been dying to enter a new challenge and I seriously began to doubt that I would have time, as I've also been very busy with my English tutoring. Then I grabbed some time and this is what I created. Can you guess the new Challenge I'd like to link it up with?
 There's quite a bit of Tim Holtz influence on this, so that should be a clue! Yes, it's the wonderful brand new Vintage Journey Challenge, which you can find out about here! Do pop over and take a look! They have a wonderful team with some great vintage inspiration on offer. This challenge is to create something in a Vintage style with a strong Tim Holtz content! I've been a huge fan of Tim's style and the creative journey he encourages us to take ever since I started blogging about a year ago. I thought I had the exact idea of where I wanted to go with this tag, but - like all the best journeys - this one changed direction along the way!
I started out with a picture of myself in the '60s, two tags and an embossing folder!

I loved the pattern on those stage curtains and my feather headdress that said 'Woman Warrior' but didn't really 'go' with the girly party dress! I was small and quiet as a little girl, but I felt like a hero inside; it always annoyed me that the boys in stories got to do all the interesting things and I was always on the side of the Native Americans when I watched Westerns on Sunday afternoon TV. I intended to make this picture the focal point of my Tim Tag until the creative process took over and I began to think about my journey into adulthood and how it was like learning to be a Woman Warrior! The little girl with the feathers might be behind this tag, but should she take centre stage?

I put her to one side and started to make a little 'purse' for her to carry on her journey. I swiped a #7 tag through distress inks - Vintage Photo, a little Fired Brick, Squeezed Lemonade and stamped with Tim Holtz's Como19 Photograph in Black Archival Ink. I added some Idealogy details, a gem clip and a 'Destiny' tag along with a little feather. That purse was going to carry all I needed for my journey: Courage, Honesty and Adaptability! Sometimes I remembered to dip into the purse and use them, sometimes it would feel like they were all used up!
 Here is my tag that I would attach the purse to. It soon seemed to resemble a dark forest. The leaves from those curtains were forming themselves into real leaves and branches, closing in on winding paths I must navigate my way through! I swiped through Vintage Photo, Peeled Paint and Peacock Feathers and edged with Walnut Stain. The Leaf is one of Tim Holtz's Tattered Leaves dies, cut from Shrink Plastic painted with a wash of PaperArtsy Fresco in Guacamole and edged with Walnut Stain Distress Ink. The rose at the centre of the 'Forest' is made from card die-cut with Tim's Tattered Pinecone and then stamped with Tim's Como19 again and edged in Peacock Feathers Distress.  I accented the swirls with some Treasure Gold in Aquamarine, White Fire and Classic.
 Then came the Change of Direction! That little girl wasn't right. I needed an image that emerged from the leaves of the Forest, strong and Amazonian! I took up one of my favourite Tim stamps! SCF005.
I stamped the face, which I think looks pensive but strong onto cream fabric and painted it with layers of Frescos blended with Fabric Medium and Distress Inks, glazing with Satin Glaze and - when it was dry - touches of Treasure Gold. I also die-cut some Tattered Leaves from yellow fabric and treated these in the same way!
 I knew just the sentiment I wanted that happens to go with the image I had chosen in SCF005. I stamped this onto an oval piece of card, spritzed and flicked with Broken China and Vintage Photo and edged with Walnut Stain and a little Treasure Gold. The words are stamped in Black Ranger Archival and then embossed with clear EP. I added some Tim jump rings around two red pearls.
The little leaf peeping from the purse was punched from painted card then coated with Versamark and clear UTEE and heated.
Some dyed seam-binding with an Idealogy pin completed the tag.
I touched areas where the embossing showed through the fabric with Treasure Gold to create the impression of dappled Forest light and shadow. Here is my tag hanging in my 'Tag Vase' in the Magpieheaven living room. I should like to link this to the Vintage Journey Anything Tim Challenge . Thank you so much for patiently looking at all these images and listening to the story of a tag!

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Dreaming with the Dragons - it's metal and the letter C!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven where it's time to dream with the Dragons again. This week it's the turn of the very talented Helen to challenge us with the combination of metal and the letter 'C'. The usual rule of at least one real stamped image still applies, so why not take a look here and see what great ideas the rest of the Team have come up with as inspiration? The first thing that sprang into my mind when I read this fortnight's challenge was the word 'crown'. Then I thought of metal frames and looking-glasses, little houses deep in the woods and beautiful but insecure Queens with magic powers, who can turn very nasty!
Is the beautiful lady gazing out at us, Snow-white or the Queen herself, once the fairest in the Land soon to be eclipsed by her young step-daughter's loveliness? Is the tiny metal crown above her head a prediction of Snow-white's marriage to a prince, or a memory of when the Wicked Queen was once the unchallenged Beauty Queen of the Realm? I'll leave it to you to decide, while I explain how I made my tag!
 I love the idea of how fairy-tales often have their roots in the forest. I read a fascinating book about this by Sara Maitland called 'Gossip from the Forest', which always makes me imagine the trees whispering stories to each other. I chose a range of Fresco greens and some Inky Pool Fresco which I have been using in a spray,
I fell in love with this gorgeous stencil of birch woods by Clear Scraps back in December but I haven't used it since Christmas. I decided to create a forest just on the eve of Spring, like now!
I sponged Hey Pesto through my stencil onto my blended background of Honey Dew with  Guacamole over it.
 The next step, after I'd built up layers of different translucent greens, was to die cut a frame from metal covered card and emboss it.
The layers I chose were Chartreuse, Limelight and a touch of Hyde Park around the edge, spraying with blue. I then used Grunge Paste through my stencil, washing it quickly afterwards. When this was dry, I applied Treasure Gold in Green Amber, Aquamarine and White Fire.
For my focal image I die-cut an oval of card that fits with my frame and painted it with the same background and stencil as my tag. I then stamped this Lynne Perrella lady on it in Black Onyx Versafine, heat-set and added some more colour to give depth: Tikka around the contours of the lady's head and some Antarctic over Lake Wanaka on her collar and a little Lake Wanaka around the edge of her face. I added script stamped in Olympia Green and some tiny punched out leaves.
The little metal crown is from Retro Cafe Art Gallery. I embedded it in Grunge Paste and Heavy Gel Medium and then stuck the punched out leaves over the top so that it seems to be appearing out of the leaves above the frame . The little tag is one I made from card I had painted and stenciled with Lin Brown's new leafy stencil and stamped with Lynne Perrella crowns, edged with some gold UTEE and finished off with a verdi-gris embossed 'C' from the Tim Holtz Worn Alphabet, which I love.
A Prima Mechanical with an amber gem, painted with some Green Amber Treasure Gold suggested a brooch from the Wicked Queen's treasures.
Thank you so much for stopping by to look at my tag for Dragons Dream TIO. Do pop over and take a look at the great tags the other DTs came up with and see if you can find some metal in your stash and a letter 'C' - you don't even have to think of a word - and play along with the Dragons by adding your link. Maybe your tag will be chosen as one of the Dreamboat Three. Have fun and be careful who you accept apples from!

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Green Man Number 3

Welcome to Magpieheaven and 'Hello' to my new followers. Thank you so much for joining me. Tonight is my last Green Man over at PaperArtsy. Having burgeoned in the Spring and the Summer, he's in Autumnal mood tonight.
Now what might Darcy's toadstools be doing on this project? I do hope you'll pop over here and see! Thank you so very much to Hazel and Deborah who have leaped in and created canvases inspired by the first post! They've created totally contrasting projects, both amazing and beautiful in their own way! You have until Sunday at 5.00pm (UK time) to link up so there's lots of time to create something. Have a great evening everyone! If you are not inclined to play along with my Green Men, then do have a go at joining the other designers who'll be along from tomorrow. Of course you could play along with them and me, if you're feeling inspired!

Monday 10 March 2014

Sneak Peek for Green Man number 2

Hello and thank you for dropping by Magpieheaven. Many thanks to those of you who visited me yesterday and left comments, it means such a lot. I'm really more than thrilled that a couple of friends are playing along already! It's my second night over at PaperArtsy tonight, so if you would like to see where my imagination led me and my Frescos, please hop over to the blog here! And here's a sneaky peek!
It includes corrugated card, but what have I been doing with it? Hope you like what you see and many thanks to all my followers for joining me! Have a lovely evening wherever you are and whatever you're doing! Remember playing along can be just taking a technique that you like from the project and going with that -  you don't have to invite the Green Man over your threshold if you'd rather not!

Sunday 9 March 2014

PaperArtsy Sneak Peek

Hello Friends and Followers and welcome to Magpieheaven for just a short, sneak peek post tonight. Spring is in the air and for the next three nights I'm lucky enough to be over at PaperArtsy again. I'm still a quivering jelly come 7.15pm on my Sunday night spots!!! Please click here if you would like a better look at how the shrink plastic flowers below found their way onto a Green Man - mysterious, eh! I do hope you like what I did! I hope you'll stop by. link up and play along with some lovely spring inspired projects of your own.

Tuesday 4 March 2014

An Altered Cheese Box!

Hello and welcome friends and followers to Magpieheaven where I've been lifting my spirits by playing with some altering! Over at Frilly and Funkie they have a challenge to use stencils and texture on a project. You can find out all about the F&F Challenge here. I had so much fun making a textured card a few days ago, I wanted to explore stencils and texture more on an altered box. Here is what I created! I do hope it's OK to enter two projects. I should also like to enter my box for the Fashionable Stamping Challenge where the theme is Anything Goes as long as there's stamping on your project. My focal stamps are from the new Lynne Perrella Collection at PaperArtsy LPC30 and the script stamp is from LPC28. With this challenge there is a maximum of three projects allowed. Then over at Altered Eclectics there is also an Anything Goes Challenge, so I'm setting sail with my altered box in three challenges this week!
I began with a box that my daughter gave Mr Magpie for Christmas - full of delicious cheese! Obviously it was all eaten long ago! I knew that I wanted to use some corrugated cardboard with my stencils and Grunge Paste. I gathered together all kinds of bits and pieces to fill my altered box. You can see here they were threatening to slide off the edge of the table and in the end I had to reject some my favourite textured pieces to keep for another time!
You can see the cheese box at the back of the picture. I loved the star cut-outs along the side and the way that the sunlight beams in through them.
I got so involved with this project there was no time to take step by steps, but I hope these details will help to explain what I did. I painted my piece of corrugated card, having cut it to fit my box. Then I had a wonderful time adding layers of Fresco Paints! I kept mainly to a variety of PaperArtsy Fresco blues and greens, including the new Lin Brown Translucent Chartreuse, but I did also add some Tikka and some Caramel Fresco. I Grunge Pasted through a Prima Flourish Stencil, having coloured my PaperArtsy Grunge Paste first with Bora Bora. I then spray painted with diluted Fresco in Inky Pool. When all this was dry, I sanded lightly with a block and added Treasure Gold in Rose Quartz, Aquamarine and Green Amber. You can see that I went for another kind of texture on the sides of my box by painting them first with Little Black Dress Fresco, then a think layer of Crackle Glaze and finally when this was dry nice thick strokes of Antarctic.
Here you can see the effect in another place higher on my box. I love the effect of Treasure Gold on corrugated cardboard. The beautiful tissue was a gift from a dear crafting friend, Kerry Hickton of Kezzy's Crafty Journey. I painted the back with Bora Bora and die cut pieces to use as flowers with lots of leftover scraps of card and paper I had coloured and stenciled as backgrounds for previous projects. The envelope is from the Funkie Junkie boutique and contained goodies bought from the shop including the lovely little paper heart. I love it so much I had to use it on a project. The tiny cards inside are stamped with script one side and the new Lynne Perrella images for PaperArtsy on the other, which you can also see dotted over the box. The feather is one I found on my wanderings!
I loved creating the layers of texture here, using some Tim Holtz paper from my stash, a decorative corner I had rusted using vinegar and salt and some honey-comb stencils from Crafters' Workshop used with Grunge Paste. The little glass pebbles are stuck over book text, an idea I love and discovered from Alison Bomber aka Butterfly from Words and Pictures. The stamp here is from LP30 stamped in Onyx Black Versafine on painted card. I used the script from LP28 on the sides of my box, my envelope and on the backs of the cards inside the envelope.
I bought these little Tim Holtz tags when I first started crafting and I haven't used them often, but I loved the message of this one. So often we go about with music from ipods and radios to block out the sounds of the world. It's nice sometimes just to listen to the birds singing, water flowing, rain drops on the roof and - of course - on roses! I made lots of roses using card I had painted for backgrounds and did not use for other projects and it was such fun to see how the stenciled and stamped and painted papers transformed into all kinds of extraordinary roses!
I used garden twigs painted gold and some corrugated card twirled around a pencil as a vine!
Tiny punched out leaves made from painted and stenciled card formed a trail along the floor of the box.
I was quite pleased with the peeling look of the textures on the project that echoed the shape of the leaves and petals. the rose in the foreground below is stamped with a Hot Picks steampunk flower.
Thank you dear, patient friends if you've stayed with me for all these photos. It was just so lovely to feel well again yesterday that I crafted to my heart's content and got thoroughly carried away!
I hope that wherever you are you are feeling fit and well and that your week is a creative one!