Wednesday 30 July 2014

Princess Steampunk dreams with the Dragons

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, friends and followers! It's been a busy time here at the Magpie's Nest with our daughter's internship taking her off to Azerbaijan next week and our son settling into a new job! Also I've been creating art dolls with Mary Chadbourne over at Artful Gathering. Time moves on, though, and once again it's time to dream with the Dragons over at Dragons' Dream TIO. I'm still loving the beautiful tags people created for brown and the letter 'h'. Soon we will be announcing the Dreamboat 3. Right now it's time for the new recipe, which is brought to us this week by the amazing and talented Gabrielle who has chosen 'Cogs and the letter P'. Please do join us by linking your tags to the Dragons' Dream and remember to include at least one real stamp on your tag. For inspiration hop across to see what the talented Dragons and this week's guest designer have created. I found this challenge incredibly - well - challenging!!! I thought I didn't really have any cogs! Then I remembered a Lynne Perrella stamp I have in which the lady has very unusual hair that might just be comprised of cogs! Here is the tag I came up with! What an amazing brain that cog hairdo and phrenological head must be covering!
 Talking of incredible brains, I was really inspired by Liesbeth Fidder who is guest designer over at PaperArtsy this week. I love her techniques and this time I was keen to try out her 'peeled paint' effect. This along with the cogs seemed to say 'Steam Punk' to me - a genre which I like very much, but which I've never really felt was in my 'comfort zone'. The letter 'P' just had to be Princess, but with a difference, Princess Steam Punk!
I started with a Jumbo tag and a blend of these three colours: Mermaid, Bora Bora and Elephant. I went with the same colour for my top coat as Liesbeth - Cinnamon. She explains the technique over on the PA blog here.
My tiles are created from card painted with Stone Opaque Fresco and then the Translucent Yellow Submarine. They are covered in Clear UTEE and edged with Aged Copper Frantage. I added a little resin bird painted and accented in Sapphire Treasure Gold. He holds some blue painted wire in his beak - no doubt bringing it to help the Steam Punk Princess in her next invention in which curly wire is a most important component!
The rusted Prima mechanicals also serve as cogs in the Princess Steampunk's remarkable invention. I imagine the Princess rather like the brilliant Ada Lovelace, daughter of Annabella Milbanke and the mad, bad and dangerous to know, Lord Byron. She was not allowed to specialize in Poetry lest she turn out to be as 'wicked' as her father, but she did become a nineteenth century mathematical genius instead and she is often referred to as The First Computer Programmer because of her work with Charles Babbage on his 'Analytical Engine', the very first computer! Compared to our laptops, Ipads and Smart Phones it probably does seem like Steam Punk; but to think none of the cutting edge technology we enjoy today would have been possible without it! The Grunge Paste writing - from a ledger stencil could represent the Princess Ada's  jottings as she works on her latest invention! I should like to link my tag to the PaperArtsy Challenge here this week. Thank you so much for stopping by and taking a look at my Steam Punk dream. I shall be back soon, I hope, with my next Art Doll. And she is also a dreamer!

Sunday 27 July 2014

Meet the Girls!

Hello and welcome to my much valued followers and crafty friends! A couple of weeks ago I  take my very first online course! I signed up for a six weeks of classes with Mary Jane Chadbourne at the Artful Gathering. I was apprehensive - would it be difficult to learn online; would I feel isolated and uninspired? I need not have worried! The classes have been so much fun. I've learned lots and met some incredibly creative and talented people online. Some names I've recognized from comments on popular blogs and others are fast becoming new, crafty friends. One thing we all seem to have in common is that we are now addicted to creating art dolls: we just can't stop! Here is my first girl, on her way to Venetian Carnival. I am now working on two others!
Mary Jane's videos are superb and she also offers graphics and wooden kits for the dolls. However, living in the UK and joining the course not long before the start, I felt it would be a long wait with postage from the States being what it is! We had the kids' old bunk beds in the loft, so I decided to put them to a crafty use! I've now learned how to use a jig-saw and an electric sander to cut my own shapes! About a year ago I made a memo board from MDF this way, but this has been a real adventure! It would not be fair to give step by steps which are on Mary Jane's videos, but my dear Magpie Cousin, Dianne has asked for some detail shots of my first doll so here goes. Here is her fan,
Here is her face...
A side view...
I used a Wendy Vecchi stamp for her mask and then painted on the rest of the face myself. This course has really inspired me to start painting faces again! Here is the dress in a little more detail...
 Creating this doll has really taken me back to wonderful holidays in the past, dreaming by the canals of Venice and reading Jan Morris' beautiful book about this magical city! Mary Jane is a truly inspirational teacher, so if you have the opportunity, I would strongly recommend taking a course with her! What I have loved is that each doll seems to weave her own story as you make her! I have called this one Perdita because she looks a little lost and dreamy as befits a Venetian! Thank you so much for stopping by today. I hope you have enjoyed meeting the first of my girls! Have a lovely weekend wherever you are and whatever you are doing!

Monday 21 July 2014

A Layered Underwater Kingdom!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! It's just a sneak peek today, of something I have to share with you over at Unruly Paper Arts. The theme this month is 'Layer on Layer', so please do pop across and look - not just at my project for today, but also at all the beautiful layered works of art by my fellow columnists!
 I do hope you'll have lots of fun experimenting with layering paints, papers, stencils and textures and why not join in with our Reader Art Quest too for the chance to win a fabulous prize from The Robin's Nest? There are 11 days left to enter and the theme is Summer Fiesta - you can find out all about it here. Have a great day wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

Wednesday 16 July 2014

Dragons' Dream TIO - Brown and the letter H.

Hello and a special welcome to my followers. Many thanks to the three ladies who have just started following Magpieheaven: it's lovely to have you drop by. I think I say this every fortnight; but time seems to fly by and that special Dragon Dreaming Wednesday is here again! This time it's the turn of the very talented and creative, May to choose the recipe and she has come up with 'Brown' and the letter 'H'. If you take a trip over to the Dragons' Dream TIO here, you can see the superb interpretations the Dragon Design Team came up with. Do please join us, if you can. All you have to do is to create a tag using brown and featuring the letter 'h'. Remember - as always - to use one real stamped image and then just let your imagination take flight. I've always loved the warm range of browns that can be found in sun-baked bricks and this is what inspired my tag this time.
I began by pushing some Grunge Paste through a Crafters' Workshop stencil to create my 'brick wall'. Down in the left-hand corner I used the same technique with a beautiful, Lin Brown poppy head stencil. When the stencilling was all dry, I painted the whole tag with some PaperArtsy Fresco Finish in Nougat. I then blended Chocolate Pudding, Toffee and Caramel Frescos onto the tag, leaving the centre as light as possible, as I planned to stamp my focal image there.
After stamping my focal image in Onyx Black Versafine, I used Yellow Submarine Fresco to highlight it. This Lynne Perrella image has always intrigued me. I love the idea of the lady with a tower as her hat and the combination of  stone and drapery. On my tag, I wanted to create the impression of her seeming to step out from her sunny wall. Years ago I was captivated by Jean Cocteau's black and white film of 'Beauty and the Beast', which I believe influenced the Disney version. In Cocteau's movie, garden statues come alive; stone hands appear from within walls, holding torches to guide Beauty through the Beast's castle and smoke billows through the nostrils of the stone faces around an ornate mantel-piece!  My brick-wall lady's face is highlighted with Inktense pencil. I touched some of the bricks with a little Florentine Treasure Gold too. The 'H' in the top right hand corner is edged with gold UTEE and embossed with copper embossing enamel.
The sentiment is from an Ink and the Dog Pierrot plate by PaperArtsy. I also used a PaperArtsy mini with tiny letter 'H's. I added some stencilling in Orange Blossom and Potting Soil Archival of extra bricks.

The seam-binding was dyed with avocado skins and then stamped with some of the Mini Script. Avocado skins make a lovely brown shade, which you can see in the lace edging the tag too.
Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I do hope it's sunny and warm wherever you are, but that you will be tempted indoors to play in your craft rooms and studios for this challenge. Have a great week!

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Country View Crafts - Butterfly Lady!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, followers and friends - and a very special welcome to my newest follower. I'm really excited today, as Country View Crafts are featuring a project I made using some beautiful Lin Brown stencils designed by her for the PaperArtsy Eclectica Range. Please click here if you would like to flutter over to CVC. If you're visiting from there, it's lovely to have your company today! The theme this month at Country View Crafts is Stencils, so I hope you'll be inspired to get out your stencils and create something for the Challenge.
It was a class with Lin Brown that inspired me to create something using this butterfly shape. Lin had us making canvases using a technique creating little tiles from stencils and squares of paper or card. It had worked a treat on a canvas, why not on an MDF shape?.

I Gessoed my Butterfly and a little widow shape. I then stencilled Grunge Paste through Lin's leafy stencil on to PaperArtsy Chatsworth paper. In Lin's class we had snipped our stencils into little square or rectangular tiles, but I decided to experiment and to run the stencilled paper through my Big Shot and use the Tim Holtz trellis die.
I kept the trellis for another project, but I used the little tiles, sticking them onto the butterfly with Claudine Hellmuth multi-medium.

I became a little too caught up in the process to take any photos of the next steps, but I'll explain and hope that the detail pictures will help. Using stencils and Grunge Paste straight onto the butterfly this time, I created some texture at the top of the wings with a Crafters' Workshop ledger stencil and at the bottom, the Lin Brown leaves again. As soon as all this was dry, I painted the whole thing with PaperArtsy Antarctic. I then added darker blues: Bora Bora and a touch of Inky Pool, translucent around the edge. When this was dry, I placed the stencil back over the leaves and sponged through with some Fern Green Wendy Vecchi Archival Ink. Classic Treasure Gold lightly rubbed over the raised stencil areas really brings it all to life!
At the centre in her little arched window is a Lynne Perrella lady stamped onto painted tissue using Versafine Onyx Black ink. The window was Crackle Glazed using PaperArtsy Little Black Dress with a thin layer of Crackle Glaze and then a think coat of Mermaid. A wooden Prima butterfly and a resin bird and rose  painted and highlighted in Treasure Gold, along with some leafy charms finish off my butterfly lady. I like to imagine that she is about to start on her first novel and that she is dreaming of a million imaginative possibilities as she gazes from her butterfly window. 
Prima Mechanicals with tiny pearls at their centre and a touch of Green amber Treasure Gold, add the final touch to the wing tips! Thank you for stopping by Magpieheaven today and Thank You to Country View Crafts for having me over on their Challenge Blog and for choosing my project as one of the Top 3 for 'Nature's Glories'.

Thursday 10 July 2014

Our Creative Corner - Flowers, Ribbons and Illuminations!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! One of my favourite blogs is Our Creative Corner. I love to see what the Design Team come up with each month! They set such fun challenges too! This month it's to create a project using hand-made flowers and hand-dyed ribbons! I couldn't wait to join in because lately my cooker has been bubbling away with red cabbages, purple onions and avocado skins. These 'witch's' potions are very innocent compared with Macbeth's Weird Sisters' brew! I've had all manner of laces and ribbons drying. My daughter thought something nasty had crawled from out of the shower head the other day when a length of lace drying over the shower curtain flicked across her face during her morning shower! Here they are, put to use on a project for Our Creative Corner's Challenge!
I've used some Lynne Perrella stamps and a PaperArtsy mini, which resembles Gothic Script. For a long time now I've been fascinated by Medieval illuminated manuscripts and some of Lynne's designs remind me of these beautiful creations. I love all the activity that takes place in the margins: birds, flowers, animals and people become so vivid it is as if they could fly off the page into our world! I wanted to create the idea of manuscripts blossoming into life on this project.
 I decided I wanted to work with blues and browns. I was going to create flowers, but I wanted them to give the impression of parchment, vellum and ink. The ribbons in this picture were dyed with avocado to create one shade of brown and red onion skins for another. I die-cut some fabric dyed with avocado skins and some gauze. I also stamped over the fabric and the ribbon, using Stazon and the PaperArtsy mini. The lace, which I decided not to use in the final project was dyed with red cabbage. I created lots of die-cuts and shrink plastic shapes before playing around with different flower combinations!
I also got busy with the rusting powder!
This is the little house of illuminations! I bought it when I was in the Danish store, 'Tiger' with my friend, Lucy. It took several coats of Gesso then PapertArtsy Stone, Chocolate Pudding, Crackle Glaze and a nice thick coat of Nougat before those rather 1970s style shiny flowers vanished!
I created an arched window with a die-cut wrapped in a mop-up baby-wipe stamped with some PaperArtsy Mini script and touched with some Florentine Treasure Gold. The decoration at the top is a rusted 'corner'.
The flowers were created using Tim Holtz Tattered Florals with my own hand-dyed fabrics, Shrink Plastic and Smoothy Card painted with PaperArtsy Caramel, Toffee, Chocolate Pudding, Vanilla and Nougat - all very yummy colours! The Lynne Perrella images inside are coloured with Frescos and Inktense pencils.
The birds are die-cut using a TH Sizzlits decorative strip and they are painted with Antarctic and Elephant Fresco Finish paints.
Another close-up showing the manuscript flowers I created. The Fleur de Lys on this one is from Stampington's 'Clearly Impressed' 'Butterfly Girl' plate. I used a Prima Stencil of flourishes and coloured Grunge Paste onto tissue to get into those awkward little sections inside the house.- a tip I learned from Lucy Edmondson at True Colours. My rose stands in a half cotton reel covered in stamped tissue and that little resin bird also perches on a toadstool from Retro Cafe Art Gallery covered in stamped tissue.
Hand-dyed gauze, stamped with Stazon forms part of this flower.

Sorry if this is a little blurred! It's a tiny peek inside to look at a little flower with a tiny shrink plastic sun at its centre.

The feather shape is Lynne Perrella stamped onto a Tando chipboard feather shape and the text is from Sara Nauman's Eclectica range for PaperArtsy, stamped onto stacked card.
These tiny scrolls are tied with avocado dyed seam-binding.
Here is the Crackle on the outside of the house. I used that wonderful Mini again to create the impression of worn calligraphy.
Thank you so much for your patience, if you've stayed around for the whole of this rather lengthy post! I should like to enter this little house for the Our Creative Corner Challenge here.

Saturday 5 July 2014

Flower Fairies! Inspired by Liesbeth. at PaperArtsy.

Hello and Welcome. Thank you so much for dropping by! Last week was busy with Mum's 85th birthday and Kevin, our kitchen fitter friend turning up unexpectedly and actually started tearing down our old kitchen! Things are moving after quite a long hiatus! This is great but it means our shabby kitchen is just a little more chaotic! Ah, well it will have to get worse before it gets better. I was determined to play along with Liesbeth over at PaperArtsy here! She is so very inspirational and I love the way she uses Lynne Perrella's amazing stamps. I was really excited when I saw that she had been playing with the idea of a face at the centre of a flower; as I've played around with this idea myself. Just for fun last weekend I created this little canvas on the left. I decided to create two more inspired by some of Liesbeth's ideas and have a Fairy Trio!
I didn't exactly 'case' Liesbeth's original. The canvas was quite mini so it needed fewer background features if the focal image was to stand out. I wanted to include  some of the motifs from my first canvas. I had used stamped and painted Baby Wipes, which I used again, but I also included some of the new tissue from PaperArtsy.
Here you can see the size of the canvas. I used some of the tissue with script on it and some plain sheets and - there in the background - is my trusty dried-out Baby Wipe! I gave my two new surfaces a coat of PaperArtsy Antarctic. I wanted a very light blue to show through the translucents I planned to use.
Three stages! The first one, on the left is Antarctic with some tissue added. Here is a closer look. I rather like this one before the paint is added and I think I might re-visit this and create something in Black and White one day: that would be a first!
In my first canvas I created a clearing in the forest where a knight dreams that he sees his lady in the form of a flower. This one, I thought, would be a magical city rising from the mists, perhaps a fairy kingdom.

Here is my third canvas with some Translucent colour added. I used Chartreuse, Inky Pool, Hey Pesto and Zesty Zing and a little Beach Hut. I stencilled some leaves in Grunge Paste and in Beach Hut. The music notes are from Sara Nauman's Eclectica Collection and I used my favourite mini with its lovely Medieval script on both.
A Fairy Kingdom with its flowery Queen! She reminds me of the very majestic, Titania in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. You can see how the feathers have been misted over, but I loved that central one so much I didn't want to obscure it as much as the others. I used Liesbeth's idea of applying blobs of paint to card for my central image, but for this one I die cut my fairy from a PaperArtsy Eclectica flower die and applied some Frantage for extra texture. Liesbeth added interest with tiny cut outs from the sunflowers on the stamp. I went for butterflies punched out of what was left over from my stamping.
With the next canvas I had a go at creating my flower using those Lynne Perrella houses as Liesbeth did. I fixed the small flower at the centre with dimensional pads, keeping my petals flatter, although if I did another of these I might fix the petals more in the style of Liesbeth.
With all three canvasses I used Tim Holtz Garden Greens for foliage. I do have some chipboard PaperArtsy Eclectica stems, which are lovely and I can't wait to use them, but these canvasses were just too small!
As this is a canvas, I wanted to extend the decoration over onto the edges.
We've past Midsummer Night now, but with these fairy-sized canvasses, I was still dreaming in the enchanted wood - and no - I hadn't taken a bite out of that pretty little mushroom!
Thank you for stopping by today and Thank You, Liesbeth for providing such fabulous inspiration this week at PaperArtsy. If the canvasses had not been quite so tiny I might have added this lovely quote from the ending of Midsummer Night's Dream somewhere on them:

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream...

Wednesday 2 July 2014

Dragons Dream - The King of Hearts!

The weeks fly by here at Magpieheaven and once again it's time to dream with the Dragons! We so loved the great tags you created with stencils and the letter 'N' and the Dream Boats will soon be announced. This week it's the turn of the highly creative Sylvia to set the recipe and she's chosen 'K' and a heart! Do hop over to The Dragons' Dream TIO here and take a look at all the great inspiration the Dragons have dreamed up for you! Then please join us with your own take on the recipe. Remember to include a letter 'K' somewhere on your tag; a heart and at least one real stamped image. I love the shape of hearts, although I'm not a huge fan of the pink, girly variety! For years I've been fascinated by the design of playing cards and the role they play in 'Alice in Wonderland', so for my tag this fortnight I've chosen 'K' for the King of Hearts!
As a child I would hide away in the attic reading  'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Alice Through the Looking Glass'. I loved the humour and the description of an absurd world ruled by a King and Queen who were just part of a pack of cards and where anything might happen. Often the adult world - so logical to the grown-ups around me - seemed every bit as daft as Alice's dream world! Edward Lear and his nonsense poetry also appealed to me. I liked the idea of fantasy creatures who talked and married and sailed off to have adventures. I think what I've created on my tag this time is a kind of blend of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. After walking into a shady wood on a hot day, our heroine hears singing. She looks up to see a curious bird above her  with a heavy, jewel-studded crown upon his human head. Has he been put under a spell; is the wood full of his subjects chirping away or is he just the result of our heroine having eaten too much trifle at lunch and fallen into a disturbed sleep? You, dear Reader, must decide!
I had so much fun with this project! I had a little bird over from my die-cutting for 'Flight from the Dolls' House', so I stamped over it with a PaperArtsy mini and drew stripy socks and little buckle shoes! For the head I used a face from a Lynne Perrella plate. With a doodled mustache and beard he cuts a slightly more masculine figure, although my son reckoned he resembled that rather feminine type of male fashionable at the court of Queen Elizabeth 1! I used my supply of Garden Greens given to me by Lucy Edmondson to create a forest for the King of Hearts who looks a little sad. Could it be that his heart is broken?

The ribbon with its tiny red hearts and cupids might be a clue! I bought this years ago from a gorgeous shop in Marylebone, devoted entirely to ribbon, trims, buttons and feathers. I wasn't crafting then, but I loved the shop so much I just had to buy something! Grunge Paste through a stencil of diamonds reminds me of a pack of cards and that red rose, made from a Tim Holtz tattered pine cone die hints at Alice again and the red roses in the Royal Garden.
The big red heart is die-cut from a PaperArtsy die, painted with London Bus and Brown Shed and edged with Gold UTEE.
It's such a long time since I played with Shrink Plastic, it was really fun to create this little winged 'locket', die-cutting the plastic, stamping on it and then watching the magic as it changed size under my heat-tool! Curiouser and Curiouser! A sprinkling of Aged Green Frantage along the edge of my tag and little spatters of it here and there completed a great afternoon spent going back in time and visiting Wonderland. Thank you for taking a look at my Dragons' Dream tag today! Please do play along if you have the time and enjoy your Summer!