Friday 24 October 2014

Dance Among the Shadows!

Welcome to Magpieheaven! Today I have a spooky little house to share, which I would like to link to the 'That's Crafty' challenge here. This make was inspired by so many things I'm not sure where to begin!
 Chiefly I think I have to thank Lynne Moncrieff, an amazing artist who always produces work that takes my breath away: I loved a Halloween card by her for That's Crafty called 'Boo cry the Children!' You can see it here. It captured my imagination so much I just had to have the stamp plate she used - Oxford Impressions' 'Trick or Treat'! Halloween is not far off, when local children with parents in tow; but unrecognizable as witches, wizards, little demons and even a sprinkling of fairies and Disney Princesses, will be knocking at the Magpie's Nest. We always have a basket of treats by the door. I love that our street is friendly and safe enough to share this community evening with its blend of excitement, tradition and fun! I suppose the sense of community we feel living here has also inspired this make. It reminds me of all the fun our own children had dressing up for Halloween parties; baking and decorating spooky treats and devising games. I remember one year they transformed our little cottage into a 'haunted house' and took guests on a tour of displays they had created in each room!
 I started by giving this little house from 'Tiger' a good couple of coats of Gesso! Those 1970s style flowers take some hiding! I also got out the rusting powder. The bare tree you can see in this image is from a broken Christmas earring and it aged very nicely with rusting!
When the flowers had sufficiently faded, I painted the outside of my house with PaperArtsy Fresco Little Black Dress. Inside I painted with Fresco Stone and blended in places with a touch of Toffee Fresco. This was very roughly painted, as I was going to add peeling paper - thin card, coloured with spritzed Distress Inks in Walnut Stain, Frayed Burlap and Spiced Marmalade. Can you see the palette knife? I used this to apply a thin layer of PaperArtsy Crackle Glaze to my house. When this was quite dry, I painted with thick, singe brush strokes of Turquoise Fresco and then stamped with a PaperArtsy mini flourish in Potting Soil Archival ink by Wendy Vecchi.
You can see how the rough painting gave an aged appearance to the floors! I filled in the little rusted frame with some Glossy Accents to create the appearance of a looking glass.
I combined two sets of Halloween Stamps in the end - both available from 'That's Crafty'! I had to include my favourite little Artistic Outpost witch! Later I gave her a spare broom, which I created from a tiny twig.

 The Gothic house from Artistic Outpost is stamped onto tissue and then fixed with Satin Glaze. It reminds me of a house where I had a flat before I was married - the rather gothically named Greystoke Court! I stencilled the peeling paper with a Prima flourish stencil and spritzed both sides so that the reverse, curled over side would have some interest.
Here are the little pierrots who stole my heart! I stamped them onto some of the spritzed card and then coloured them with Inktense pencils to create chalky white faces and hints of shadowy colour! I created the little midnight clock with a painted Prima wooden frame; Pewter mixed with Turquoise; a tiny watch part and a black permanent marker to create the hands fixed at the witching hour!
I used a white pen and Inktense pencils to add depth to the Moon's face and dimension to the sign on my house.
Treasure Gold also helped to age the house.
I added some details - a couple of autumn leaves cut from Shrink Plastic painted with Frescos and stamped with text and a tiny lantern!
A couple of found objects - a tiny pine cone and a bird's egg, both discovered on a walk earlier in the year. Now the Halloween House is finished and ready to stand next to the 'Treat Basket' in the hall.
May all my lovely followers and friends have a wonderful time next Friday! May Halloween be a time when you 'Dance among the shadows', chasing the darkness away as you celebrate warmth, light, love and friendship.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Red and the letter 'D'

Hello again from Magpieheaven! Today it's time to dream with the Dragons. This fortnight our lovely teamie, May has chosen our theme and it's to use red and the letter 'D' - on a tag, of course! As always we would like you to include at least one real stamped image too. Please take a look at some of the team's fabulous inspiration here. I often use a Jumbo Manila tag for the TIO project; but this time I thought I would make my own tag from some corrugated cardboard packaging. Some of my followers and friends will remember that I had lots of fun playing with a cardboard folder recently. I just love the texture that you can create with this humble material.
I love to combine brayering and Treasure Gold because both of these help to create depth. This time I also stencilled on my tag, using a Prima Flourish stencil and some Sapphire Treasure Gold. I cut my tag with my Tim Holtz die and brayered it with layers of Marlin, Inky Pool, Cherry and London Bus PaperArtsy Fresco paints. I used the Sara Nauman script stamp in Chalk and then brayered over it in Inky Pool, which is translucent and allows the white to glimmer through. I also stamped some script in Cobalt blue Wendy Vecchi Archival ink so that the tag would give the impression of many layers.
I chose one Artistic Stampers' Gibson Girls as my focal image, stamping her onto tissue and fixing her with Satin Glaze. I think the Gibson Girl images are beautifully drawn. I love the profile on this one. Because I didn't want the effect of a head 'floating' in space on my tag, I gave her the suggestion of a body and added a little gold Frantage. Often Charles Gibson's supremely self-possessed young women appear to be the epitome of fun-loving confidence; but he seems to have captured this fashionable young socialite in a moment of reflection.
What does a Gibson Girl dream of? Does she lock those dreams away in her heart? She cannot be aware that a European War is on the horizon and events in lands far away from her will have undreamed of implications for women - everywhere. There is such beautiful innocence in the Gibson Girls that I am reminded of a poem by Thomas Gray. It's about schoolboys at play yet I think it applies to all innocent youth really:
The thoughtless day, the easy night,
The spirits pure, the slumbers light... 
I do hope that your dreams will inspire you to join with the Dragons this fortnight and link up your tags here. Have a great week full of the joys of creativity!

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Coordinating Card and Gift.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. Today I have a card to show you and a little coordinating gift I created to go with it. I don't often make cards, but with this one I wanted to do two things. To begin with, I wanted to use some of the vast hoards of scraps I've been accumulating! I also wanted to use my Lynne Perrella Asian Collection Stamps because I'm always forgetting how lovely they are. I had so much fun gathering together colours that complemented each other and that - I hoped - would go with the stamp designs. The Magpie in me just loved hunting and gathering lots of bright little details and combining them on this card.
I have to thank Julie Short of 'Time to Create' for inspiring me to use my scraps. She says  that composing something new from scraps can be really 'freeing' and I must say that I really enjoyed making this card! I arranged all my elements and kept arranging and re-arranging until I liked what I had. The focal image was to be this Lynne Perrella lady. I stamped her onto tissue and then fixed her with Satin Glaze, onto some card I had sprayed with Inky Pool and Hey Pesto Frescos. I also added the tiniest scrap of text stamped onto tissue! I really don't throw anything away!
I highlighted the image with white pen and added some Shabby Blue Frantage. I stamped images from the stamp plate onto the card blank and onto some card stock, which I had Crackle Glazed ages ago to make roses from. The butterflies are from a huge supply I have acquired from punching them out of discarded stamped images.
Here is my finished card. My friends and followers know that I've been creating little handbag charms using Shrink Plastic recently and that this activity has also been appealing to my Magpie love for bright and shiny charms and miniatures.
 I decided to create one of these handbag charms and slip it in as a gift. I gathered together charms, beads, shrink plastic die-cuts and a dog tag in colours that I hoped would coordinate with the card.
This is part of my favourite quote from the Lin Brown Flower Sentiments, PaperArtsy's Eclectica range.You can read the full poem here.
William Blake is a poet who has always inspired me, as I think it is in life's tiny details that we catch a glimpse of infinity - a whole world really is contained in that one grain of sand!  I hope that wherever you are and whatever you are doing today you will feel inspired by the tiny details that go to make up this beautiful universe.
And thank you so much for taking the time to drop by Magpieheaven! It's always lovely to have your visits and comments!

Friday 17 October 2014

Memories - Gibson Girls Handbag Charms.

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven. I might not yet have started my Christmas cards, but I have made a start on Christmas tree gifts for female family and friends - handbag charms .
 I have boxes and boxes of broken jewellery, stashed away for that time when it will provide the perfect 'finishing touch' on a project! The other day I decided to empty out my hoard and - while I was about it - to use up all the scraps of shrink plastic left behind after die-cutting! As anyone who knows me will tell you, I just love stamping on Shrink Plastic. It's always so exciting to watch that image grow smaller and smaller while retaining the clarity and crispness of the original stamp. This project really appealed to my Magpie nature, as it gave me the excuse to 'play' with lots of bright, shiny embellishments and to create a little story around the handbag charms. I should like to enter my project in the Artistic Stamper Challenge this month, which has the theme of memories and requires that you include some rubber stamping on your project.
Here you can see the collection of shrink plastic shapes I began with. I  took little left-over painted pieces and, using PaperArtsy thin dies and a Spell-binder oval, cut these shapes, which I then punched with the hole before heating so that they could be fixed onto a dog-tag with 'jump rings'. I didn't use all the shapes on this project; some I have set aside for another day.
Recently I was lucky enough to receive the gift of the Artistic Stamper Gibson Girls stamp plate. I decided to use this image as the focal point of my charm. She is, in a sense, my main character on both these charms. Here you can see how she looks before and after shrinking! I stamped her in jet black Archival on the side of the SP painted with watered down Fresco.
The fun part for a Magpie like me was gathering together all my bits and pieces and deciding on combinations! It was quite a while before I was satisfied with the arrangements. I edged this little flower with a Pearlen  Pen,
I used Glossy Accents on my oval image, selecting a tiny frame; an envelope and a pack of cards. Before fixing everything with jeweller's  pliers and jump rings, I painted the charms and dog-tag with PaperArtsy Frescos and rubbed them with some Treasure Gold when the paint was dry. You can see another Gibson Girl and charms all lined up above this one - quite a few friends are going to find these in their stockings this Christmas, I think, as they are such fun to create!
The Glossy Accents and Antarctic, along with the skeleton leaf, gave this charm a wintry feel. I was reminded of one of my favourite  songs:

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold

Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

The charm could be made up of tiny souvenirs of a summer love remembered on chilly winter days.

The same image takes on a completely different mood when it's stamped onto a wider surface and used with different colours and charms. The little green high-heeled slipper is from an old earring and suggested Cinderella to me! Could this charm represent Prince Charming's memories of the mysterious and beautiful young woman he danced with at the ball? All that remains are a slipper, her invitation and maybe a golden leaf and a flower from a pretty wreath in her hair. The little playing card suggests that the Prince's fate lies in her hands and he cannot erase the memory of her lovely face! 
Thank you so much to all of you who continue to drop by Magpieheaven and leave your kind comments on what I create. I hope that all the memories that come to you this week will be happy ones!

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Happiness was Born a Twin!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! Today I've been packing the money-boxes I created for our neighbours, Loretta and Scott, who are expecting twins later this month. I wanted a quote about twins and I remembered this lovely line from Byron's 'Don Juan', which took me right back to my 'A' level English when I fell in love with poetry.
 I found just the basket I was looking for and made a little nest of tissue for the boxes.
Now it was time to create two little tags for the sides of the basket. I sprayed two small tags with diluted Hey Pesto and Inky Pool Frescos.
I then spritzed three shades of Distress Inks: Peacock Feathers, Broken China and Evergreen Bough on my craft mat. I dipped a doily stencil by Rebekah Meier into the spritzed ink and then pressed it into the tags.
Using jet black Archival ink, I stamped two of the little characters from Sandra Evertson's 'Petite Whimsies' and the butterfly from Stampington's 'Butterfly Girl' onto the tags.
I highlighted the tags with a white pen and Inktense pencils. I added a little sun charm to each tag, painting it with Antarctic Fresco and then touching with a little Sapphire Treasure Gold.
Here is the reverse side of the tags. Lynne Perrella's sun motif is echoed on the ribbons and I used PaperArtsy's Mini alphabet stamp on the background too.
Copper and Blue Frantage brings a little sparkle to the edges!
This gift for the twins is a complete surprise, as Scott and Loretta have no idea that I've been working on these. I do hope that they will be happy with the Daydream Boxes. The twins could not have chosen two lovelier parents, so I have no doubt of the wisdom of Lord Byron's words in this case, even though he has a reputation for being 'Mad, bad and dangerous to know.' If there's one thing he knew about, it was love and there will be no shortage of that in the twins' lives, I'm sure.
Thank you so much for dropping by Magpieheaven today. May your week be full of sharing and of joy!

Thursday 9 October 2014

The Gift of Reading for PaperArtsy!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! Tonight I'm happy to be back over at the PaperArtsy blog with a recycling project using Jofy and Lin Brown's new Frescos, Lin Brown stencils and lovely stamps by Sara Nauman and Darcy Wilkinson! This blog post is just to give anyone who would like it, a little more detail on how I created a gift folder from corrugated packaging courtesy of a famous internet supplier of books!
Anyone who stops by Magpieheaven regularly will know how much I love books! Next to craft materials, I just can't resist them and I love to give books as gifts to my friends and family, carefully selecting stories I hope they will enjoy. 
I usually like to buy my books from independent book shops or charity shops; so my friend Dominique in Belgium has been collecting corrugated wallets for me! Here is the first stage of my project. The cardboard is gessoed ready to add some of these beautiful new PaperArtsy colours. As you can see, some of the top layer of the card peeled off with the postage labels. This was great, as it really creates texture!
Here is a close-up of my background. I began by painting the whole wallet with Chalk Fresco. I then brayered with Slate, Marlin, Plum and Turquoise, drying with a heat-tool after each layer. I stamped the script from Sara Nauman's plate in Hint of Mint and stencilled Lin Brown's flowers in Chalk with Turquoise shifted over to the side a little to create just a hint of 'bumping'. I created the circles by dipping a fabric conditioner lid into little puddles of paint: Chalk, Turquoise and Inky Pool. Finally I gave everything a wash of Cherry Red. I also stamped another Sara Nauman design in Turquoise. I loved this because it really echoed the corrugated card patterns. Treasure Gold in Rose Quartz and Sapphire plus a little White Fire really accented the texture.
For interest on the cover of my package I stamped Sara's hearts on card and on tea bag paper, coloured with Inktense pencils.
I stuck the tea-bag paper over the card and then cut out the hearts, accenting them with Sapphire Treasure Gold and Aged Copper Frantage.The leaf was stamped in Turquoise paint and sprinkled with Clear UTEE then tipped with Aged Copper EP and it's another one of Darcy's from EDY08. The wooden word is from Prima.

 Sara's Charles Dickens sentiment seemed the perfect words to go with the gift of a book. I stamped it onto painted card using Wendi Vecchi  Red Geranium Archival and sealed with several coats of PaperArtsy Satin Glaze.

I edged the folder with my own Washi tape  created from masking tape painted with Turquoise, stamped with Darcy's leaf and stencilled  with Lin Brown's poppy heads in Slate and Chalk. I slightly varied the design on the Washi tape inside the folder, using Darcy's lovely little birds in flight. As you can see, I also stamped Sara's corners out with Versamark and  embossed them with Aged Copper: I really liked the effect of this.
The little tag is attached with a white eyelet and a greeting can be written on the back. 
I created the circles by dipping the fabric conditioner lid in Versamark,  pressing into the tag and then sprinkling with Aged Copper Embossing Enamel.
Here you can see the book under the flaps. I used some PaperArtsy tissue with script on it to line this part of the folder.
It was not easy to photograph the inside of the folder, but I hope this gives some idea of how everything fits in! I lined under the flaps with some of the lovely tissue available from PaperArtsy, stuck down with Satin Glaze. When it was all ready to have the book popped in, I fixed it in place with a little low-tack sticky pad. Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today and looking at my book gift folder. It would be lovely if you could have a go yourself at using some of these techniques and linking them up with PaperArtsy this month! There's the chance to win a voucher to spend on beautiful PaperArtsy products! Have a lovely day and a really creative month.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Ventures we Remember at Dragons' Dream TIO

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven. Once again the weeks have flown by here at the Magpies' Nest and it's time to 'dream with the Dragons'! This fortnight's recipe has been chosen by the lovely Sylvia and she would like us to include a feather, the letter 'V' and at least one stamped image on our tags. Those prompts really captured my imagination. What I created eventually had a nostalgic feel to it and suggested to me two friends, now old ladies, looking back fondly on their childhood adventures. For this reason, I should like to also link to The Artistic Stamper this month where the theme is 'Memories.'
We'd love you to link up your tags to the Dragons' Dream this fortnight too. Please check out the blog for all the wonderful interpretations The Design Team have come up with here.
I start at the beginning - with the background of my tag. I used a top layer of a napkin that's been in my stash for ages.
I fixed it with Satin Glaze by PaperArtsy and gave it a very thin wash of Stone Fresco. I liked the way the pansies took on the appearance of real pressed flowers.
My dear crafting friend, Etsuko sent me some wonderful paper all the way from Japan. I chose some that had a canvas texture. painted it with some Mermaid Fresco and then sprayed with half water, half Hey Pesto and edged it with some Chocolate pudding. I also aged my tag further by adding a border of Chocolate Pudding.
Next I took a Stencil Girl stencil of birds and added these here and there in Hey Pesto with just a tiny hint of Green Amber Treasure Gold for accent. My spray painted canvas paper reminded me of the delicate hue of birds' eggs so I stamped it with the text and images from the Birds of a Feather Artistic Outpost Plate and a single feather from a Lynne Perrella stamp Plate. I added tiny gingham leaves punched from some Robin's Nest paper. I chose Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival ink for my text and little girls and Cobalt blue for the feather and curled and Treasure Golded the edges of the paper. I added a tiny fluttering bird painted blue and touched with Sapphire Treasure Gold. The glass nugget is magnifying the word 'Venture' on a French dictionary page.
What is the story of my two little 'Birds of a Feather'? As children they were inseparable and what their despairing families described as 'Venturesome'! They loved nothing better than to be out exploring the woods, wading into brooks and streams in search of minnows; peeping into birds' nests to spy the delicate speckled eggs, but never stealing them; catching a glimpse of their first bright blue Polyommatus Icarus butterfly and taking home tiny wild flowers to press, or feathers to wonder at. As I said, their parents despaired as they returned with muddy and torn petticoats and holes in their stockings and asked for microscopes for birthdays instead of dolls' prams! And then they grew up and the birds of a feather were inseparable no more. Each had to venture forth on her own. One went off to explore the Amazon rain forest and discover new species of flora and fauna. The other stayed home and became a famous ornithologist, illustrating her own books on British birds. Eventually they were reunited as old ladies with so many memories to share. 
Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today and reading all about the Birds of a Feather. I do hope you will create your own tags and link them to this fortnight's Dragons' Dream TIO Challenge. I can't wait to see what you come up with!