Wednesday 28 May 2014

Artsy Stamping

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. Some of my favourite roses have burst into life at the end of the Magpie garden; but it's been raining all day so I haven't been able to take a photo to show you them clustering around my purple shed. I must add that they do look wonderful with the raindrops on their petals! I did manage to pluck one lovely bloom and use it as a table decoration on Monday and it's still looking radiant.
This has inspired me to create something for the Simon Says Monday Challenge - The Artsy Stamp. I love the way Nature has blended the colours on this flower and I wondered how I could convey something of the texture, colours and the way it makes me feel in a project that included some 'artsy stamping'. I wasn't quite sure what was meant by this term, but I checked with Tracy Evans who had created a superb piece of inspiration for the Challenge and I decided it was just the kind of stamping I like!
Because I love those roses so much, it seemed that a heart was the best place to begin as a surface for stamping! I used a wooden 'folk art' style one; as I prefer this shape. To make my heart fly just as the roses do, I took some wings, a gift from a great crafting friend, Kerry Ann. I painted both with some PaperArtsy Blush, Fresco Finish Paint.
Next step was to apply a thick coat or two of PaperArtsy Blood Orange. I wanted somehow to capture the radiance of these roses, which I think are known as 'Dawn'. The wings had feathery patterns embossed into them, so I made a mental note to accent these with some Treasure Gold eventually so that they would not be lost under all the paint!
After applying a thin layer of PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze to these, I put them to one side to dry. Now it was time for the first piece of artsy stamping. Another lovely, crafting friend, Lin had given me this little Frozen Charlotte she made from a mould. I painted her with PaperArtsy Bora Bora (The Frozen Charlotte - not Lin!) and then, with the leftover paint, covered some ordinary white tissue wrap. When the paint was dry, I stamped a script stamp, a PaperArtsy mini over it using Wendy Vecchi Cornflower blue Archival ink. I heat-set this and then covered Charlotte in tissue text, using PaperArtsy Satin Glaze. I placed the tissue onto the surface and then applied glaze underneath, pressing down carefully from the middle: a hint from my very dear friend, Lucy here.
Now a few more bits and pieces have been finished! You'll see I kept the flower nearby as my inspiration. I coloured some seam-binding with Frescos and Distress Inks (Fired Brick and Vintage Photo on one and Broken China and Peacock Feathers on the other.) I also painted a sheet of heavy card with Snowflake then Yellow Submarine and a little Tango. I stamped my script with Wendy Vecchi Red Geranium Archival. The circles were stamped by dipping a bottle cap into puddles of paint. You might be able to see in the background that I have applied a peach colour to the wings and the heart and they are drying nicely, ready for some Artsy Stamping! Here is the final piece! I have decided to call it 'Le Spectre de la Rose.' I dry-brushed the edges of everything with Blood Orange, a touch of Yellow Submarine and some French Roast Frescos.
As you can see, I die-cut my heavy card into wings for the Frozen Charlotte. It looks as if her wings have been tied on with that seam binding! The little blue butterflies are punched out from a Martha Stewart punch, painted with Bora Bora and then stamped with Wendy Vecchi Archival Cornflower Blue. I wanted those 'pops' of blue because my roses look so beautiful against a bright blue sky. I added a few touches of Sapphire Treasure Gold to my Frozen Charlotte.

When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a ballet dancer. There was no money for ballet lessons, but my mother would always buy me a ballet annual for Christmas, and I remember reading of one ballet, featuring, the Great Nijinsky. In it he danced as the spirit of a rose from the bouquet given to a young girl at her first ball. I should like my 'make' to symbolize the spirit of my rose.
I hope that this photo shows how the Treasure Gold (Rose Quartz) picked up the feathery embossing. To create the colour of the rose, I mixed Blush, Yellow Submarine and just a touch of Tango together. I was really pleased with the way the Blood Orange showed through the Crackle like the veining on the rose. I used a Lost Coast stamp of a butterfly girl for my focal stamped image! These are wonderfully, artsy and quirky stamps. I stamped her onto wrapping tissue with the Wendy Vecchi Red Geranium, heat-set her and then adhered her with Satin Glaze. I also added some script stamping in Potting Soil Archival and Red Geranium to the heart and wings respectively.
I was really pleased with the aged effect on the wings and how the stamped image on the heart blended in. Nothing can be as lovely as those flower petals, but I hope that when I look at this project I will remember their subtly tinted petals.
I didn't want the back of the project to be neglected, so there's some Crackle and  stamping on this too: a wash of Blush over the Blood Orange. You might have noticed I removed the string and replaced it with stamped seam binding.
Thank you so much for stopping by today and looking at my project. I should like to enter it for the Simon Says 'Artsy Stamp' Challenge. Have a great day wherever you are. I hope the sun is shining on you gently!

Friday 23 May 2014

Make a Little Bird-house!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. It's been rain interspersed with sunshine today in my Magpie Garden. These are some of my favourite roses - they fade so fast, I just wanted to share them with you before the wind and rain takes away their beauty!
I've been thinking a great deal about gardens now that the Summer approaches, and that combination of pinks and oranges and greens with the blue of the sky that always suggests summer days to me!
I'd wanted to decorate my own bird-house for some time so I was delighted when I picked up a  reasonably priced one at Ally Pally and I decided I wanted to re-create some of those garden colours on it. Also Fashionable Stamping Challenges were asking for 3D creations this time, so I wondered if I might be able to enter my bird-house in their current challenge here.
After sanding down, I applied a couple of coats of Little Black Dress as a foundation. At this stage my son asked if I was creating a funeral parlour for the birds! I had a plan, I told him, which included Crackle Glaze! Now I have to admit to being completely carried away and sadly no 'Work in progress pics' were taken. As I worked I found myself singing the old They Might be Giants song that was a favourite of my son when he was four years old: 'Build a little Birdhouse in Your Soul'. Do you remember it? You can find the lyrics here or see it on You tube. Surreal madness, or is there some method there? Maybe I'm going crazy, but I suggest the singer represents a little blue nightlight and he asks the child he protects to have a special place for him in his or her heart/soul: a metaphorical bird-house sanctuary for the blue 'canary' glowing nightlight that watches over the child while he sleeps! Anyway, I think I put something of my soul into my birdhouse and I tried to make it represent a magical haven!
I chose PaperArtsy Bora Bora Fresco Finish to give that blue sky feel to the roof - all that black now shows through the Crackle to create contrast! My butterflies are die-cut from a Sizzix die in thick card and then painted and stencilled with a mix of Cheesecake, Yellow Submarine and Tango Frescos with Inky Pool to edge them. I then stamped with Lynne Perrella images from the PaperArtsy LPC range before dipping them into Versamark, sprinkling with clear UTEE and Shabby Blue Frantage and melting them until they were glossy. Their centres are cocktail sticks coloured with Sapphire Treasure Gold. To give a weathered, shabby impression, I stamped over the roof with PaperArtsy script stamps from LPC028 and an Ink and the Dog mini script stamp. I was beginning to hope that little birdhouse would strike a chord with someone!

Here is the door into the soulful bird-house! It looks big and heavy, but the ancient keys are in the lock and it's easy to step inside - art unlocks everything! I used Grunge Paste coloured with a little Guacamole Fresco paint and then sprayed with Hey Pesto and Tinned Peas to create an impression of grasses around the edge of the building.

I cut the door from corrugated card, using a Tim Holtz arch die-cut. The sentiment from Lin Brown's PaperArtsy Eclectica range was stamped using Potting Soil Archival onto tissue and then fixed to the door with Satin Glaze by PaperArtsy. I used Grunge Paste for the tendrils about the door. The butterflies are punched out of card using a Martha Stewart punch.
I hoped this flower with its beautiful Lynne Perrella lady at the centre would echo my orange climbing roses as they stretch towards the sky!
From what exotic lands has my resting blue butterfly flown?
 I took what my son was now calling The Butterfly House into the Magpie Garden where the idea of the 'bird-house in your soul make' was born! Here you can see how I used Tim Holtz's trellis, painted with Yellow Submarine and embossed with Verdi-gris embossing powder. There are images of different Lynne Perrella ladies on this side. There are some Tattered Pine Cone Roses; some Retro Cafe Art Gallery toad stools and more butterflies - including one on a curly wire like a cuckoo from a clock! Just like the song, my bird-house was turning a plain wooden bird-house into a fantasy creation.
Pictured on my glass-topped table it could be a boat-house in the centre of a lake!

Another side view!

Back indoors to photograph this side, as the sun became so bright the shadows were making it difficult to get a clear photo!

Blue canary in the outlet by the light switch 
Who watches over you 
Make a little birdhouse in your soul 
Not to put too fine a point on it: 
Say I'm the only bee in your bonnet 
Make a little birdhouse in your soul

I had such fun creating this 3D piece, I should like to enter it in The Fashionable Stamping Challenge #73 to create a 3D make, which you can find out about here.

Thank you so much for stopping by the Magpie Garden today. Have a lovely weekend! If it's a Bank Holiday where you are, i do hope the sun shines brightly for you on Monday too!

Wednesday 21 May 2014

Music and the Letter 'R''

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! It's been great to see how folks interpreted the last recipe at Dragons' Dream. It was such fun getting to choose a combo to challenge you and you created some wonderful tags in response. We'll be announcing the Dreamboat 3 soon. Meanwhile, this fortnight it's the turn of the very talented Jax and she has chosen 'Music' and the letter 'R'. I have to confess I scratched my head over this one! I love listening to all kinds of music, but I don't have many stamps that evoke anything musical. Then I put my thinking cap on! I love world music and ever since I was a teenager I've been fascinated by the sound of Indian music. Now there's something that says India to me when I look at the new Lynne Perrella stamp L2PC028 and this is what I came up with. Click here to see the gifted Dragons' interpretations of Jacqui's recipe.
Raga is a kind of Hindu, religious music, which calls for great skill on the part of the musician and terrific improvisational powers. I think there is something of the Goddess about this LP lady. Maybe she is the musician's muse and she has inspired an incredibly complex Raga with as many twists and turns and intricate notes as the patterns on her elaborate headdress . I placed her right at the centre of my tag!
I created a painty background, using light Fresco colours like Cheesecake and Nougat to start with, then layering on translucents like Yellow Submarine, Hey Pesto and Inky Pool. I then stamped my LP goddess, straight onto the tag, using, Onyx Black Versafine Ink. When she was heat-set, I added circles using a fabric conditioner cap, dipped into Inky Pool, Bora Bora and Concrete Frescos. If you look closely you will see that I stamped some music notes from a Sara Nauman Eclectica plate in some of the circles.
I have a few tiny mirrors in my stash so i used one ot these to suggest Indian mirror work, at the centre of this Prima mechanical.
 The Tim Holtz trellis die, painted with Bora Bora and then frantaged with Shabby Blue was also given the mirror treatment with some pieces die-cut from metal card.
I created a loop from some Indian mirror-work braid in Peacock blue. The little gold necklace is a jewellery 'finding', painted and then accented in Classic Treasure Gold. The pediment dies top and bottom are created from corrugated packaging glued onto card. I apologize for the shadows in this last image; but I liked the way the light caught the mirrors in it. Please drop by the Dragons' Dream TIO blog here and see the delights the other team members have dreamed up and then why not add your own interpretation? Remember to include at least one real stamp on your tag as well as the letter 'R' and something musical. Good luck with the Challenge and thank you for popping into Magpieheaven today.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Lynne for all Seasons!

Hello Followers and Friends and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I've been feeling a bit under the weather this week with a virus I just can't shift. Nevertheless, I've been crafting away and it's taken my mind off feeling poorly! Focusing on 'Nature's Glories' on this canvas, which I've created to brighten up my Mum's flat, has lifted my spirits so I should like to enter it for the Country View Crafts, 'Nature's Glories' Challenge here.
 My plan is to see if I can eventually create my Mum four canvasses corresponding to the Four Seasons. This canvas is not exactly Keren Baker's CAS style, which is amazing and has to be checked out; but the lady at the window was inspired by Keren's wonderful 'cut out' technique featured over on the PaperArtsy blog here. This is where I began.
I took a very inexpensive, discount art shop canvas and added as many different textures as I could before covering it in a good coating of Gesso. Here you can see I used die-cuts; Grunge Paste through stencils; masking tape; a Prima topiary tree and some punched out leaves to create my background.
In this close-up you can see the effect of Gesso over masking tape - a tip from Gabi at Dusty Attic. Her incredible video is well worth viewing!  At the very top of the image, you can also see the effect of squeezing Grunge Paste through gauze.
I built up my canvas, adding a range of embellishments: Tattered Pine Cone Roses; Tattered Florals; Prima flowers and resin birds and a beautiful cherub given me by my good friend, Lucy. Everything was given a coat of Gesso!
I made sure the sides of the canvas had texture added too.
While everything was drying I painted my window die-cut with some PaperArtsy Little Black Dress. I didn't stick it down, but every so often I would place it onto the canvas to remind me of what I wanted the composition to look like eventually.
This is a huge jump, I know, but I think that photographing every step would have taken ages, so I apologize for a leap - or should I say 'a spring' - forward in time? I wanted to evoke the light of one of those evenings in late spring when it doesn't get dark until well after eight and summer is almost here. I mixed little mister bottles of PaperArtsy washes in Guacamole, Brown Shed, Hey Pesto and Inky Pool and thoroughly enjoyed myself spraying to my heart's content. I think that the spray painting technique gave a soft, twilight feel to the canvas. I then accented areas in paints and Treasure Golds in Sapphire, Green Amber and a limited edition purple.
I am indebted to the brilliant Keren Baker for my Edwardian lady gazing out at Nature's Glories in her garden of endless Springtime. I stamped her onto card first washed with PaperArtsy Vanilla. I used Versamark, Onyx Black and once this was heat set, I dabbed on Blush and Brown Shed with a baby-wipe to create her skin tones. Then it was time to take the scalpel and cut away her gilded cage! The top of the cage becomes a pretty lamp, only just lit for the evening and she gazes out of the window into a world of endless possibilities! The wall-paper is PaperArtsy Chatsworth and she has a curtain of a little tea-stained lace. The embellishments on the window include a painted resin flower arrangement; tiny punched out butterflies, a jump ring and some tiny rusted keys - I love this charm given me by Lucy: maybe they are the keys to the lady's studio where she has been creating with the sun streaming in.
The butterflies are painted and stencilled card or punched out of Chatsworth paper and the Tim Holtz trellis was embossed with Verdi Gris and Copper Frantage.
I continued my trellis over the edge of my canvas. I should like to have included a sentiment from one of Lin Brown's Eclectica ones, but those roses just went wild and left no room for anything else! Sorry, Keren, if this isn't quite in the spirit of CAS; but I did enjoy cutting that lady out of her cage and you were the inspiration! I should like to link my canvas to PaperArtsy and Country View Crafts Challenge for May. Thank you so much for stopping by to peep into the Magpie's Nest today. My next canvas is going to be Summer. I do hope you have a wonderful, creative week and that all your crafty projects flourish.

Friday 9 May 2014

Lucy's Tissue.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven Followers and Friends. Today I've been having so much fun in between tutoring my students that I had to share it with you! Over on the PaperArtsy blog this week there have been some incredibly inspirational GDs! First there was the wonderful, Liesbeth with her sewing tin. I was tempted to join in with this, as it involved burning. I would love to have created a tin in which I could see pictures of bearded old men and collie dogs with revolvers - or was it meerkats(?) - like Helen's. Alas we don't have a coal fire except at Christmas! Then there was Sara Nauman with her beautiful tissue covered journal! Oh dear, I'm already behind with the journals I'm supposed to be working on! In the end it was Lucy who lured me away from the housework and tutorial preparation, I just had to try her suggestion for stenciling with Grunge Paste onto tissue. I loved her beautiful little house with its Clarice Cliff colours and bright as a button roof, but I had nothing like it. Never mind, there was a tiny papier mache chest I had been meaning to alter for ages. I was put off because it is so tiny I couldn't imagine how I might add texture and dimension to it. I wondered if the technique Lucy had made work for her house might be adaptable to a curved lid.

     I began by painting my tiny chest on the inside with Little Black Dress Fresco to contrast with the outside of my box. I also painted some card with different Fresco paints and stencils, stamping some with the Ink and the Dog Mini 30 before using the Martha Stewart Butterfly Punch to turn them into spring butterflies. I then covered them with Versamark and dipped them into clear UTEE, heating them from below with a heat tool. I took great care holding the tiny butterflies with craft tweezers!
It's difficult to photograph, but the effect was to create what looked like tiny porcelain butterflies. After they were finished, I applied first two coats of Sage and then two coats of Guacamole to the tiny box, just touching the edges with Hey Pesto. The next step was to try Lucy's tissue technique! For this I used ordinary tissue wrap in white, stamping it first with Ink and the Dog Mini 84 in Wendy Vecchi Fern Green Archival ink. I won't explain exactly how Lucy's technique works. Just click here to find out. I used Satin Glaze to adhere my tissue to the lid and smoothed it down carefully over the curve. I used some Grunge Paste coloured with Hey Pesto and this is the effect!
I was so pleased because the tissue really does disappear! This is such a tiny box, I kept it simple using the Lin Brown leafy Eclectica stencil.
Here's another view of the lid! It really is so simple to do and it works a treat!

Just to show the scale, I have photographed the box next to my Grandma's afternoon tea cup! The finishing touch is a little metal flower, painted with Bora Bora Fresco with a pearl at the centre, given the Treasure Gold treatment with Sapphire, Green Amber and Florentine.
 I stamped the Ink and Dog Mini 84 straight on to the sides of the box. I would love to have included a sentiment like the beautiful William Blake one chosen by Lucy; but the box was so small I felt it was best to keep things simple.
And inside you will find a tiny blue bird's egg that I came across lying on the path on one of my country walks with Mr Magpie. I do hope that the bird to which it was once home is now flying as free as those butterflies on the lid! Thank you so much for stopping by to look today and Thank You, Lucy for a brilliant new way to use tissue! I shall definitely be re-visiting this one!

Thursday 8 May 2014

...And now for something completely different!

Hello my dear Followers and Friends! Do any of you remember the '70s? You're probably all far too young! But if - like me - you do, you'll remember 'The Monty Python Show' where one anarchic sketch would lead into another with the words, '...And now for something completely different'. Recently I was inspired by Trish from Trish Too to try something 'completely different' for a background. I started off by making ATCs and Moos and then I created a couple of cards for friends, which I posted here the day before yesterday. Here is a little more detail on how I created these backgrounds.
 I stuck strips of background paper and text from my piles of scraps which you can see under the big orange-handled scissors over the back. I also painted and sanded some card left over from another project. This was for me to stamp text onto. I knew I wanted an aged look so I painted with Vanilla, Caramel and Tikka Frescos, using my Prima tool to sand, and a baby wipe to blend.
This is the master board I created to cut my little cards from. Trish used crayons to cover her background so more of the text and paper strips showed through. I really want to make some more ATCs, but when I do, I might try a thinner application of paint so that more of the under layer does show through. You can see here I also dipped a fabric conditioner lid into little pools of paint to make circles and I did some stamping from a PaperArtsy script stamp on the Hot Picks plate 1006. My colours were Frescos by PaperArtsy in Antarctic, Mermaid, Inky Pool and Hey Pesto. I scrubbed away with a Baby Wipe to reveal different layers; but I didn't want to rip my papers underneath.
Here is a selection of some of the ATCs I created when I had cut my background into individual cards. I think they have a bit of a Monty Python look about them, as they are rather surreal! I used some Retro Cafe Art Gallery paper cuts left over from projects I had done in the past. It was great fun putting together heads, eggs, butterflies and birds and creating fantasy characters to inhabit the fantasy land I had created with my painty, scrappy background!
Is this lady the goddess of Story-telling, appearing out of the twilight grasses of Hot Picks 009 with a tiny pearl necklace? To create my text I cut up the words from sentiments to add a mysterious message to each card! I highlighted the edges with a white Posca pen.
In this one, Frida Kahlo has morphed into one of the parrots she loved to paint so that she can inspire us to bring colour into our lives. I wonder what inspiration is about to hatch out of that egg?
Making these ATCs was a real flashback to  the imaginative games I used to play as a little girl, creating new characters by cutting and pasting images and telling stories about them.
I used some Frantage on this Art fairy's wings!
I don't think this Edwardian 'super-hero' is a serious threat to Spider-man - I mean, Butterfly-man doesn't quite 'cut it', does it?
And here is some of the extraordinary flora and fauna of Horizon Land!
I had the most fun with working on the tiny moos!

I used lots of Satin Glaze to seal my ATCs and give them a nice shine.
The moos can be used as bookmarks! I highlighted the butterflies with a gold pen.
You might just be able to see a little of the background peeking through the paint on this one. I had so much fun playing with these I completely lost myself in the activity! I hope those people I have sent them to will like them and not think me too strange! Thank you so much for taking a look.  Have a wonderful Friday and a creative weekend!