Tuesday 30 September 2014

Inspired by Lailenia - An Autumn Handbag Charm,

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven, Followers and Friends! Over at PaperArtsy, there have been some spectacular autumn creations this month, and last night - September 29th, Leilania shared her Shrink Plastic experiments with a beautiful result. She made a great Halloween pendant. I've loved the possibilities of Shrink Plastic since I discovered it a while back. I decided that I would use it to create a quick gift in the form of a handbag charm. Instead of a Halloween Theme like Leilania, I went for an Autumn one; as this was to be a little October birthday gift for a friend's daughter.
First I painted a sheet of Polyshrink with some water-diluted Fresco. I used Butternut, which is now no longer available, but there are other lovely autumnal shades in Frescos: Autumn Fire springs to mind! I had a little Eiffel Tower charm from a broken pendant and a dog tag, given me by friend, Lucy and some jump rings. These I painted with Guacamole Fresco.

My next step was to die-cut my plastic into leaf shapes, using Tim Holtz's Tattered Leaves die. I then punched a hole at the tip of each leaf with a Cropodile!
Before melting my leaves, I stamped them with these images from Lynne Perrella's PaperArtsy Collection 028 in Jet Black Archival. To both steady the plastic in the blast from the heat tool and to keep that hole open, I anchored my leaves with a pair of craft tweezers.
Treasure Gold in Rose Quartz, Green Amber and Classic gave a nice antique look to the painted dog tag, jump rings and charm.
I also gave the backs a good coating of Treasure Gold. You could glaze your leaves with Glossy Accents or a couple of coats of clear UTEE, but I decided to keep them matte. This was such a quick gift to make, I couldn't believe how soon it was finished! Paris is, I suppose, considered most beautiful in the Springtime; but I love the city in the light of an autumn afternoon. I first visited Paris with a dear friend thirty-five years ago in late September and it was just magical. As we were wandering through the steep cobbled streets of Montmartre the incredible voice of Edith Piaf singing 'La Vie en Rose' rang out from the window of a tall apartment building. My friend and I felt as if we were part of a Francois Truffaut film! I should like to link my handbag chain to PaperArtsy's September Challenge here and thank you for taking the time to drop by Magpieheaven today.

Saturday 27 September 2014

Thank You!

A very photo-heavy blog today and a huge 'Thank you' for the birthday 'Happy Mail' and wishes on Facebook from my crafty friends! I feel like a curator of a very special art gallery with this blog post because the goodies that the Postie brought me today are such masterpieces I really wanted to share them with my followers and friends. I feel privileged to know such talented and generous people.
Even the envelopes were little works of art! These are from Denise Phillips and Hazel Agnew. 
Lesley Ebdon decorated not only the gorgeous envelope but also the back of the card!
There was so much to see on Lesley's card. I loved the little wren in the frame...
and all those lovely butterflies!
Denise sent me lapel badges and a fabulous portrait of her dog - the wonderful Oliver Howard of whom I have long been a fan!
She sent me some beautiful altered art bits too.
Look at this incredible card from Lucy Edmondson!  Those blooms are made from clay! I love the background on this one too - a really superb use of stencils! If I'm not mistaken, I think you can find out from Lucy's blog True Colours how she made this really original card.
I wish you could see Helen Lindfield's  card irl because the textures and colours are so subtle and gorgeous!
Kirsten Alicia's had such a lovely autumn feel and it was another of the wonderful, painty textured variety!
Linda Jones' looked distinctly Fairy Goth Mother to me! I loved her use of feathers, layers and tiny charms.
I loved the colours on Sam's and the use of Stampbord  mounted on that lovely black background - wonderful stamping!
A wonderful flowery creation from Hazel. I love her use of book text, the crocheted lace and the depth in that background.
Finally a beautiful, nostalgic card from Lin Shields: just the kind of design I really love! I had to put on my Sherlock Holmes hat for this one because Lin must have been so exhausted when she finished all the work on this lovely card, she forgot to sign her name! I worked out that it was her by the post-code on the back of the envelope! Ha ha!
Well, many, many thanks all of you for such lovely cards and thoughts. I don't think I've ever had such an exciting birthday! I'm off to get ready in a minute for a meal out with my family in our favourite restaurant. Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Wednesday 24 September 2014

The Dragons' Dream - Lace and Wonder

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I'm dreaming with the Dragons again and this time the very talented Helen has chosen our theme. Please do take a look at the amazing collection of tags the Dragon design team, including our lovely GD, Deborah, have created  here! I was really excited and eager to play when I saw Helen's challenge this fortnight and her interpretation of it is gorgeous! She would like us to use lace on our tags; the letter 'W' and - of course - at least one stamped image. Here is my take on 'Lace and W'.
I started with a jumbo manila tag, painted with PaperArtsy Fresco in Chalk and a little Haystack. I then swiped three different colours of distress ink over my craft mat: Broken China, Peacock Feathers and Evergreen Bough - and spritzed with water. Normally I would have dragged my tag through the misted colours, but I decided to try a little something new that I had seen somewhere in Blogland. I like to credit my inspiration, but this time I can't remember where I saw this technique, so if it was you, please put up your hand! And forgive me for not acknowledging your technique! I pressed a Prima flourish stencil into the inks and then transferred to my tag. This is the background it gave me.
I loved the marbled effect so whoever you are Thank You, Thank You, Thank You! You can probably see that I distressed the edges using a Prima tool and some Walnut Stain Distress Ink. Now it was time to add more layers - Script from PaperArtsy LPC028 in Wendy Vecchi Cornflower Blue Archival and some gold embossing.
Crafty Individuals have a lovely plate of different lace designs, which is great for backgrounds. I stamped this onto the tag, using Wendy Vecchi's Potting Shed Archival to give a vintage look. As I created the tag, I began to think about my chosen word, 'Wonder', and how childhood is a time of wonder at the smallest everyday things.
I stamped the little girl from Artistic Outpost's Think and Wonder plate onto spritzed and lightly stamped and stencilled card. I had also stamped the back and coloured it for interest when the corners were curled. After painting the tiny Prima wooden scissors I added a miniature pearl as a faux hinge.
 I wanted to give the impression of stamped lace becoming real so I added some scraps of lace stiffened with Heavy Gel Medium. Is that a butterfly or a lace bow in the little girl's hair? Tickets to shows, the cinema and the panto were so much a part of childhood wonder and excitement! I die-cut these with a Spell-binder metal die and used Inky Pool and Chalk Frescos with a little Florentine Treasure Gold stencilling over the top. They are fastened with an eyelet and ribbon.
A happy childhood memory for me is being curled up small under my Grandma's chair, listening to the steady clatter of the treadle of her ancient Singer sewing machine. She made bridal dresses and I loved to play with the scraps of lace and silk and tiny covered buttons, and wonder at the intricate metal work on the treadle. Above my head was the dangerous part of the machine, which I must never play with. My mum had hurt her finger on the needle when she was a little girl so BE CAREFUL! Somehow this long ago accident mingled in my imagination with the story of Sleeping Beautiful, a fairy tale that I found both enchanting and very, very scary!
Our thoughts in childhood are so often woven with wonder and - however difficult, however happy - that is what makes a childhood magical. Thank you for dropping by Magpieheaven today. I hope that in the coming days you will find something wondrous in the world around you and that you will want to make a tag including lace and a letter W and link it up HERE.

Tuesday 23 September 2014

An Autumn Notebook, inspired by Lucy Edmondson

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! Over at PaperArtsy this month there have been a host of incredibly inspiring designers. As always the blog has been a feast of colours, textures and new ideas! One 'experimental' project that really caught my imagination was Lucy Edmondson's image transfer idea here. She used the lovely Chatsworth papers to create fabulous effects on canvas and I was really impressed. I always carry a notebook around in my handbag and I love to make them personal by creating them from the mini flat canvases available, which are great to work on and make good sturdy covers. I sometimes use coptic stitching and signatures, but if I've used up a book and I need a quick replacement, I attach my canvases with decorated tape and stick in a pad of 'Post-its' to save time.
I chose the Chatsworth sheet that complements Lin Brown's leafy stencil and gathered my supplies of adhesive sheets, wet rag and spritzer and the canvases. Lucy's very clear step by step can be found here I had read it, but I needed to go back and follow the steps. To my dismay, the Internet was down and remained so for the next three hours! I needed my notebook, so I carried on using my memory of Lucy's instructions. For this reason, I think my image transfer was rather faint and patchy.
Can you just make out the ghostly Chatsworth leaf at the top? Although this was not the ideal outcome, undeterred and inspired by the lovely Helen Chilton who I once remember referred to a beautiful project she had rescued as initially 'A Dog's Dinner', I decided to go with the 'ghostliness' and use it as the basis for the theme of my project. I love Lin Brown's flower sentiment. Autumn is indeed an embodiment of all the seasons. The skeleton leaves on the path remind us of the frost fronds of winter; there might be the solitary green leaf on the tree to remind us of the long departed spring and the burning gold and orange of the falling leaves recall the sizzling days of high summer. I used this very adaptable Lin Brown stencil on the background of my sentiment and on my Washi tape along the edges too.
Using my ghostly Chatsworth background as frosty inspiration, I sprayed with some Hey Pesto Fresco diluted with water and when this was dry, I created a slightly coloured glaze using Satin Glaze, tinted with just a touch of Inky Pool. I didn't want my faint background to disappear, but to remain a subtle suggestion. I stamped leaves from Darcy's EDY8 in Evergreen, Autumn Fire and Hint of Mint. I wanted to create the stillness there is on some Autumn days when the leaves fall silently so I added some stamping of the mini feather in black Archival. I wanted to evoke frost fronds and skeleton leaves in my embellishments, which I painted first with Honeydew and then accented with Treasure Golds.
These little MDF hearts are painted with Guacamole, Autumn Fire and Honeydew and then edged with Potting Soil Archival and a little Rose Quartz Treasure Gold. The script is from Sara Nauman's ESN11. I used a white Posca pen to highlight the edge of my sentiment and that of the notebook and I thought this was reminiscent of the snow flurries in store!
Here is the inside of my notebook with its supply of Post-its!
This is a close-up of the back of the note-book. I have book-marked Lucy's instructions and I will definitely practise this technique some more with her very detailed step-by-steps in front of me! I'm going to link my experiment up to PaperArtsy this week with a big Thank You to Lucy for her inspiration! Have a lovely creative Autumn everyone!

Tuesday 16 September 2014

A Birthday Card

Hello and a warm welcome to Magpieheaven. Autumn for the Magpies of Magpieheaven is just full of birthdays: my son, my daughter and my brother-in-law all celebrate birthdays at this time. As I've no doubt said before on this blog, greetings cards don't come easily to me these days.Nevertheless, I wanted to make something special for my son Isaac that worked in the small space available on a card. Recently I won some blog candy from the lovely Lesley Ebdon, so I took a beautiful red card blank that had been part of this. I really liked the idea of a coloured card blank rather than the usual cream or white, so things were starting well. I gathered together some bits and pieces I had created as experiments over the last few months. There was an experiment with an alphabet decorative strip, both the letters and what was left behind. I rejected these eventually, but I'm sure I'll be able to use them on another project.
I liked the scraps of master-board and hand-made paper, which I thought would look good layered. The corners of the card were embossed, so I decided to accent this with some Treasure Gold. I painted a Prima Mechanical with Turquoise Fresco and then added a touch of Sapphire Treasure Gold and a red gem at the centre.
The Lynne Perrella image on the top layer was stamped onto painted tissue. Tearing her down the middle seemed right, matching the fragments of Artistic Outpost quotes on my master-board.
As I worked, a line from T. S. Eliot's poem, 'The Wasteland' kept running through my brain:
'These fragments I have shored against my ruins...'
Although The Wasteland is a difficult and - at times - bleak poem it does have an unusual  beauty about it, the way Eliot uses language and quotes from so many sources: mysticism, literature and popular culture creates hope and order out of the chaos, I feel. He created out of the 'ruins' a new kind of art and re-kindled interest  in almost forgotten dramatists like Webster and Thomas Kyd.
The moth in her frame is a piece of Tim Holtz tissue with a Glossy Accents glaze and the little leaves are fragments of my master-board. I wanted the card to create the impression of a gallery! Eliot becomes in a sense a curator of an art gallery or museum, displaying through the rich descriptions of his poem, scraps of parchment, lengths of tapestry and even some curious stone carving. 'The Wasteland', first published in 1922, beautiful and strange, grew out of the ruins of post World War 1 Europe and it was in a sense the beginning of Eliot's quest for understanding of a world recovering from the terrible ravages of war.

 My card for Isaac grows out of little treasured scraps that I could not bear to throw away and I've created it at a time when once again our news media carries stories of wars and rumours of wars, but all around us there is still great natural beauty and incredible courage and human kindness. This card comes with loving wishes for my son's  birthday on the 24th when he will be 24 and  with appreciation of his companionship and kindliness. Thank you for dropping by Magpieheaven today. May you find beauty, peace and poetry all around you this week wherever you are.

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Die Cuts and the Letter 'J' - Time to Dream with the Dragons again!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. It's once again time to dream with the Dragons, as we prepare for the shorter Autumn days and all the challenges and new beginnings that come with this season. Our daughter is flying the nest to live with her student friends and I have new students myself starting their tuition in English Literature 'A' level with the new school year. The Dragon recipe this time is chosen by the very talented Elizabeth and she would like us to use die-cuts and to include a letter 'J' on our tags. As always she would like to see at least one stamped image on your tag. Please do take a look at all the inspiration over at The Dragons' Dream TIO here.
I've been playing with Autumn colours recently, but for this tag I left them behind and went for the idea of flight, probably those thoughts about Matilda starting out independently. With the end of summer birds migrate to warmer climes and these little Artistic Outpost girls look to me as if the smaller one is being taken to school for the first time by her older sister. I love these little Artistic Outpost girls and I should like to link up with the Artistic Outpost Challenge here. I love Artistic Outpost and this month the design team would like us to show them our artwork created with Artistic Outpost stamps.
With this tag I knew that I wanted to explore the idea of spreading our wings and heading off into the wide, blue yonder! This gave me the perfect excuse to create a master-board with lots of PaperArtsy Fresco Finish Blues that I could then die-cut with my decorative strip dies. I used a Tim Holtz die of swallows and also his chipboard alphabet. The arch is also a Tim Holtz die and the two little girls are from Artistic Outpost. I also used the sentiment from this plate: 'A person's a person no matter how small.'
I coloured the stamped image with Inktense pencils, stencilling my background with a Rebekkah Meir doily stencil and accenting my blue-birds with Treasure Gold.
My choice of word for the letter 'J' is Joy, die-cut from my master-board. Autumn is a season of mingled joy and sadness, but possibly the greatest joy for me is that it is the season when both our children came into the world. I love the poetry of William Blake, especially this from his 'Songs of Innocence' -

Infant Joy

I have no name 
I am but two days old.— 
What shall I call thee?
I happy am 
Joy is my name,— 
Sweet joy befall thee!

Pretty joy!
Sweet joy but two days old,
Sweet joy I call thee; 
Thou dost smile. 
I sing the while 
Sweet joy befall thee

Thank you for stopping by Magpieheaven today. May 'Sweet joy' befall you as we enter this Autumn season and may you rise to meet every challenge! Do link up with the Dragons' Dream TIO here too. Remember all you have to do is to create a tag using die-cuts; include the letter 'J' and at least one stamped image.

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Queen of the Night!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! Today I would like to share a project that I have over on Unruly Paper Arts' as inspiration for the Readers' Art Quest, The Dark of Night. Please do pop over to Unruly Paper Arts here. We'd love you to join in with this month's challenge: there are some truly beautiful inspirational creations from the columnists.
This project was quite  a challenge for me. I began with a drawing of a profile I had been experimenting with for Mary Jane Chadbourne's Anthology of an Art Doll class. I used Inktense pencils as water-colours and some metallic dimensional paint to create a queenly face. It's years since I spent so long painting faces and I've been really loving this opportunity to let my imagination go and create characters!
My queen fitted onto an MDF butterfly, which I painted with Fresco paints by PaperArtsy in Space Cadet, Inky Pool and London Night. For a little more dimension, I added some die-cut card with stencilled Lin Brown leaves in Grunge Paste. The addition of Treasure Gold helped to accent these 'tiles' - a tip I learned earlier this summer from one of Lin's own workshops. A paper-cut of butterfly wings from Retro Cafe Art Gallery accented by gold dimensional paint and I was ready to add the final embellishments on my Queen of the Night and to cover the back with some beautiful fashion plate paper from The House of Zandra.
And what is the identity of my Queen of the Night? Is she the character from Mozart's opera, The Magic Flute? Is she a goddess from Mesopotamia or an elegant and fashionable lady who sports the latest fashions by day and presides over her elegant and fashionable salon by night. gathering artists, poets, musicians and thinkers together for sparkling conversations? I'll leave that up to you to decide.
   Thank you for stopping by Magpieheaven today. it's always a pleasure and a privilege to have your company. Please do remember to have a go at our Readers' Art Quest over at Unruly Paper Arts, as you could win yourself a mystery goodies bag including items from our sponsor this month The Eyelet Outlet!

Monday 1 September 2014

A Creative Blog Hop

Welcome to Magpieheaven! Today I'm spreading my wings and doing something a bit different! My good friend, Kerry from Kezzy Art asked me to join her and other craft bloggers in sharing what inspires us to create in a creative blog hop! Please check out Kerry's blog here. She has been a great inspiration to me since I started craft blogging: she's wonderfully experimental and bold with texture and colour and she'll have a go at making just about anything!
First she asked me to say a little bit about myself.
 I used to teach English Literature in schools and colleges and I've always loved books - I like to weave stories into my blog posts whenever I can.
 I now tutor 'A' level students. I started crafting seriously, by which I mean really immersing myself in mixed media projects, about two years ago. I had made cards for friends, but after buying some PaperArtsy stamps from a little shop near the British Museum, I visited the PA blog and - wow - I discovered textures and paint! Now my family - Matilda 20 and Isaac 23 and long-suffering Mr Magpie have to wait until I've cleared  Frescos, Distress Stains and teetering piles of corrugated card from the table before we can eat. Our 15 yr old cat Daisy likes to help me with projects, especially anything involving ribbons and fibres!
You can see here that Daisy is so eager to begin the next project, Matilda has to restrain her!
What am I working on now?     
I can't show that, as it's a design piece and top secret, but my most recent project has been a little family of art dolls for Mary Jane Chadbourne's online class The Imaginarium, The Anthology of an Art Doll. What a great time we've all had over at The Artful Gathering creating dolls! I used power tools to create my own shapes.

Why do I create what I do?    
That's such a difficult question! I think my creating is a bit like my Magpie's Nest! I love to gather all kinds of things that give me joy and put them together to make something new! I love songs and stories too. I hoard them in my imagination and then sometimes express them in what I create. This is an ATC inspired by Joanna Newsom's song Cosmia.
How does my Creative Process Work?   
 I suppose sometimes I start with an idea inspired by a story, a book or a song and other times I start to mess about with some paint and texture, and a song, story or book comes into my head and things just take off!

How do I stay Focussed and Motivated?   
I would say that inspirational artists like Lynne Perrella -
The Natural World -

My Family -
The one on the left is my son -

and the inspiration of stories and plays keep me motivated. I also love to visit other blogs and see what my crafting friends are up to. I've tagged these amazing bloggers who will be telling you all about their creative process and hopefully providing you with lots of inspiration. Why not stop by the blogs of these really creative friends of mine on September 8th and find out all about what and why they craft?
                                              Deborah Wainwright - Lylac Spark Creations
                                               Dianne Marcoux - Magpiedi Magpiedi