Tuesday 25 November 2014

Gift inspired by Lucy at PaperArtsy

Welcome to Magpieheaven, where I'm trying to be well-organized for Christmas this year! I want to make some of my Christmas presents, so when I saw the highly experimental Lucy's idea for marbling with PaperArtsy Frescos and Shaving Foam here, I was so inspired, I decided to adapt it to a gift I had in mind!
 A while back I re-cycled an Amazon folder, giving it a new life as gift-packaging for a book. This time I wanted to use Lucy's technique along with Lynne Perrella stamps to create a stationery wallet. I began by painting my folder with Gesso.
I then wanted to try a little experiment of my own! How would Lucy's marbling work over Grunge Paste?
I used a harlequin stencil and a Prima stencil. I coloured the Grunge Paste so that it would show through the marbling and create a  more colourful effect. I've also added a coat of PaperArtsy Fresco in Irish Cream.
 I used drops of Plum, Autumn Fire, Yellow Submarine, Inky Pool, a blob of Pearl Glaze and Hey Pesto. Sara Nauman text in Snowflake; a decorative corner and a blend of Treasure Gold in White Fire, Green Amber and Aquamarine all contribute.
 You can see the different ways Lucy used to apply the Frescos and Shaving foam here. I used the cling-film and the brayer on my folder and on a piece of Smoothy card.
I haven't used Pearl Glaze very much in the past, but I was very pleased with the effect. After die-cutting this oval, I edged it with gold flakes of Frantage.
Here is the back of my folder. For the front, I used a square of Stampbord and trimmed the edges with die-cut Chatsworth paper. A wooden Prima word completes the cover.
I wonder what the lady on the front of my folder writes and what kind of mail she receives? Does she engage in witty discourse with companions; is she a writer of passionate love letters, or do her epistles give a vivid glimpse of her daily life? I sometimes think that it's sad that the art of letter writing has such a small place in our modern world of texts, emails, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
When we open the folder, it's lined with Chatsworth papers, which I painted with a wash of Inky Pool. I've used the motif of pens on the folder, which kept reminding me of the phrase 'The pen is mightier than the sword'. If you look this phrase up you'll find that it can possibly be traced right back to 1621 and Burton's 'Anatomy of Melancholy' in which he says '..it is clear how much more cruel the pen can be than the sword.' Well, let's hope this lady has sent out no cruel missives! As you can see I edged the Stampbord with a touch of White Fire Treasure Gold.
I will be putting a writing-pad on the right hand side, I have slipped some cream envelopes under the flaps.
I stamped the Lynne Perrella pen onto a slip of Chatsworth, adding some faux stitching in white pen. The great thing about this technique is that a large surface like this can be covered with relatively small quantities of paint and glaze.
Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I do hope your Christmas preparations are going well. I am linking up this project to PaperArtsy here  before the month of November ends! Have a great day, wherever you are.

Monday 24 November 2014

The Frost Maiden.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven on a dark and rainy day! Back in the glorious days of Summer, I saw an image online that I can only describe as 'entrancing'! It was of an art doll created by the incredible Mary Jane Chadbourne. To my delight, I saw that she was offering an online course in making these dolls, so I joined up. The skills she shared, and the inspiration Mary Jane so generously brought to this course made such an impact not only on me, but on all the other students. I dared to make my very first Paper Clay face for one of the dolls - Hazel!
 I recycled our old bunk beds to make four art dolls in all while the course was running; but there was still wood left so while the weather was fine and dry I cut myself more girls that I planned to decorate over the winter.
Perdita, Queenie and Hazel like to chat, but Miss Homebody, my fourth doll, has to have a shelf all her own!
Now I have completed my fifth doll who I call, The Frost Maiden.
She is to form part of my Russian themed Christmas decorations this year. Twenty-eight years ago Mr Magpie and I were married and we chose to go to Russia for our honeymoon! We were there over the Christmas period and I think it was the most magical time I've ever known! Glittering icons, snow-capped cupolas - and everywhere pictures of Father Frost and the mysterious Frost Maiden!
I created a face for my Frost Maiden very early on in the process of making her. I wanted her to have sad, grey eyes and the lovely high cheekbones that so many beautiful, Russian women have. Her kerchief under her 'little house in the woods' head-piece is inspired by the vivid floral head-scarves I remember from our Russian stay.
Another memory of Russia is the array of beautifully decorated, colourful Matryoshka dolls - the one above is a charm from Retro Cafe Art Gallery - that were on sale as souvenirs - and the tiny lacquer boxes that illustrated folk and fairy tales on their lids. I wanted my doll to reflect these jewel-like colours. I used scraps of paper - gifts from my good friends, Etsuko from Japan and Sue and Dominique Wild. My Frost Maiden does glitter, but this is difficult to capture in a photo.
As you can see, the snow-flakes dance about her stockings made from Shaved Ice Frantage!  The Russian story tells of an elderly couple who lived deep in the woods and longed for a child. Father Frost took pity on them and created a daughter for them, fashioned from the ice and snow and left her near their humble cottage.
The Frost Maiden came to love her 'foster' parents as much as her poor, cold little icicle heart could, but when she saw lovers riding through the woods, she longed to know what real human love would be like!
Every day she grew more lovely: her dresses were made from blue-grey clouds, and diamond snow-flakes glinted in the folds. One day a shepherd lad saw her and declared his love for the Frost Maiden. She so wanted to return it. She called on the Spring Goddess and asked how she might acquire a warm heart. If she wanted to love, the Spring Goddess said, she would need courage! She could grant her wish; but it would mean that she would eventually melt away to nothing: a human heart would make her mortal.
The Frost Maiden felt that no sacrifice could be too great to make for love, so she agreed to have her icicle heart replaced with a warm human heart. She knew a brief period of love with her shepherd; but as the Spring burst into life and the small birds began to sing in the trees she melted away in her lover's arms. Father Frost is not entirely cruel, though, he granted that every year the Frost Maiden should be allowed to return to the human world in all her icy beauty to spend a little while with the kind parents and the shepherd who had loved her.
Thank you so much for stopping by Magpieheaven as we make our way into winter. May you stay warm and safe and creative whatever the weather.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Purple and the Letter 'X'

A warm welcome to Magpieheaven! I hope those friends experiencing wintry weather at the moment are managing to stay warm while crafting to keep their spirits up! This week it's time to dream with the Dragons again and we're nearing the end of the alphabet challenge. It's my turn to choose the recipe this fortnight - it's to use the colour purple and the letter 'X'. Do take a look at the great inspiration over at the Dragons' Dream TIO, including the lovely work of our Guest Designer for this fortnight, Deborah Wainwright! I don't often find myself reaching for purple so I decided to challenge myself to use this dramatic colour!
I wanted to see what purple would look like used with lots of different texture, so I started by adding Prima, clear Crackle Paste and PaperArtsy Grunge Paste to a manila tag!
This what the clear Crackle Paste looks like before it is dry. The Grunge Paste was pushed through a Prima stencil of flourishes that I use lots! I had an idea forming of what my 'X' word would be. As the tag only has to feature the letter, I decided to to go for a word that has an 'X' in it; as words beginning with that letter are rare! Mind you, my ingenious 'teamies' have come up with some brilliant 'X' words! My word was to be 'Text', as words on the page have played such an important part in my life.
I used a blend of different shades of PaperArtsy Fresco paints in various purples: London Night, Pansy, Very Berry, Plum and Eggplant! For somebody who didn't use purple shades often I seemed to have acquired quite a few purples! I even had some purple Treasure Gold, which I rubbed into the cracks along with White Fire!
This image, stamped on tissue is one of the few wood mounted stamps I own and it's a Wendy Vecchi design. I bought it when I first started to gather a collection of rubber stamps, before I had really discovered the huge range of unmounted stamps. I love the face and the way that it appears on a background of text. My word is made using the Tim Holtz 'Worn Alphabet' and embossed with Verdi-gris EP. For detail I added a glass nugget over book text, a shrink plastic leaf with some Lynne Perrella text on it and resin roses.
The reflection makes it difficult to see, but it does say 'text' under the nugget!
 I used some script from a PaperArtsy 'Hot Picks' plate and an 'Ink and the Dog' mini over the Crackle and on the word tiles.
When I am lost in a good book it seems as if the text takes flight! On this tag I used a Karen Burniston butterfly die, using the bigger butterfly as wings and the smaller one as an embellishment on the tag. It has a covering of clear UTEE and Frantage  and the antennae are little flower centres with a blob of purple at the tip.
Thank you so much for stopping by today. Please do link up with the Dragons this fortnight and see what you can create with purple and the letter 'X'. You could make something Christmassy or take a break from the Christmas rush: the choice is yours. Remember that your project must be a tag of some kind and that there must be at least one stamped image on it. Happy Creating!

Saturday 15 November 2014

Making Mini26 Festive!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, where I'm still busy with Christmas makes! I promise that next week I'll be taking a bit of a break from Christmas, as I don't want to overdo the festive spirit too much before the actual festive season begins! Over at the Craft Stamper Blog Here they have a challenge that my crafting friend, Chris of the blog Pearshaped Chris thought might interest me! I've been challenging myself to create cards with non-Christmas stamps and that is what Craft Stamper would like to see so I should like to link up this pair of Christmas cards to the challenge. The stamp I chose for these cards in PaperArtsy Mini26 - a really versatile little script stamp, which is not specifically Christmas themed.

I began with a new Masterboard: lots of brayering, stencilled birds and branches from a big stencil by StencilGirl and some stamping with my chosen non-Christmas stamp, Mini26. With its medieval look...
It reminds me of illuminated manuscripts in vibrant colours with gold lettering. If you click on the image, you might be able to see how the text blends in with the winter woods. There's a JOFY Mini snowflake Christmas stamp to create the wintry atmosphere.
After die-cutting some Tim Holtz deer, I painted them with PaperArtsy Fresco paint, then stamped them with some paint sponged onto the Mini26, embossing with clear embossing powder and then covering with Treasure Gold. The arch I'm experimenting with in the picture is also a Tim Holtz die-cut. I spread it thickly with Prima Crackle Paste and left it to dry.
In this close-up, I hope you can see the effect of the crackle on the arch and the raised embossing on the deer. I stamped the script on the arch too - without a block to give an aged, worn away look. I sponged the edge of the arch with some Fern Green Wendy Vecchi Archival ink to give the look of lichen.
The deer are fixed with little foam pads to give a 3D effect. Although the script is not intended for Christmas projects, I think it gives an impression of a medieval manuscript coming to life and it reminds me of one of my favourite carols:
The rising of the sun and the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ sweet singing in the choir.
I used the text from Artistic Outpost's 'Snowy Woods' plate to give a context...
and fixed all my elements to Kraft card. Thank you for stopping by Magpieheaven today. Have a lovely weekend full of creativity!

Friday 14 November 2014

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven! I do seem to be getting very caught up in Christmas projects now that November is here! Over at Unruly Paper Arts I have a little Christmas house featured as part of this month's Readers' Art Quest. I do hope you will feel inspired to take a look at what all the very talented columnists have come up with and join in with something Santa themed too.
I decided to decorate this little wooden house. I painted it first with Gesso and then had fun adding Tim Holtz clear Distress Glitter, tiny red gems, charms, a scrap of hessian mesh and an MDF heart. There are some Robin's Nest paper leaves in nice Christmassy tartan too. Earlier in the year I gathered these tiny pine-cones while I was on a country walk and this seemed the perfect project to use them on. I do wish you could see how the whole project really glistens like sunlight on snow when the light shines on it!
I painted some shrink plastic with Fresco Finish in Guacamole and then stamped with my favourite Aritistic Outpost Snowy Woods Image so that I was able to fit this onto my little Christmas tree decoration. One of the shrink plastic leaves at the top features a Sandra Evertson Petite Whimsy too - a quirky version of the fairy on the Christmas tree!
For a Christmas stocking, I took a little Eyelet Outlet brad, which was meant to be a Wellington Boot and transformed it with some Gesso and gold dimensional paint!
Because I plan to hang my little house on our tree, I decided that it needed an interesting back so that it can be viewed from all angles!
The Robin's Nest paper I used had a really good texture and the tartan is traditional without being a predictable Christmas choice. 
Thank you so much for stopping by today. I do hope you will be able to share a Readers' Art quest 'make' that features Father Christmas and possibly win the lovely prize from Amazing Crafting Products. 
I was petrified of the Department Store Santa I was taken to see by my parents as a tiny girl. My mother still has a photo of me with the trace of a tear on my cheek, reluctantly sitting on Santa's knee in my little matching hat and coat!  He is imagined in so many different ways now, though, and over the years I've come to love these images of the kindly saint who, according to legend rescued the young and vulnerable from horrible fates. When our son stopped believing in Father Christmas he said, 'I shan't stop believing in the spirit of Christmas, though.' Santa, whether you believe in him or not, remains the embodiment of magic, sharing and joy, which is the spirit of Christmas!

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Cracking on with Christmas!

Hello and Welcome to Magpieheaven! I've surprised myself over the last two days! I've been really enjoying using a Master-board as a basis for creating Christmas cards - and - guess what, I think I might actually manage to complete more than six this year! I have set myself the challenge of using the same stamp for a session and seeing how many different ways I can use it! First things first, though: here is my Masterboard for today's makes.
I love 'bumping' with the Rebekkah Meier doily stencil and  creating 3D effects. I saw Leandra of PaperArtsy demo this technique back in September and I've been 'hooked' ever since! I'm also challenging myself to adapt one or two die-cuts per session.
For my today's project, I used a Tim Holtz arch with a little snowflake at the centre. The stamp I chose was a 'Lost Coast' one which I bought last year. It's not Christmassy at all, so I challenged myself even further to make it festive!
Here is my card. I stamped the 'Lost Coast' image onto tissue, using Wendy Vecchi Cobalt Archival ink and then stuck it onto the top of my arch with PaperArtsy Satin Glaze. The cut-out in the centre opens onto some vintage lace. I've been having such fun using Jo Firth Young's Mini snowflake both with ink and Snowflake paint. It is such a lovely, simple design; but you can create fabulous effects with it. I've used it on the hand-made Washi tape and on the arch.
Here is the same 'Lost Coast' stamp, but this time I've stamped it straight onto the background, using Inky Pool, Fresco Paint and then sprinkled with Clear Embossing powder and heated. The 'Winter' sentiment is torn from some of my own Washi again and it's from a Lynne Perrella set.
Finally I stamped onto to tissue again, but this time with Jet Black Archival. These cards are my 'take' on Christmas angels. I have to say, though, that in life the angels I've met have not had wings or drifted down from the sky! They have come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they have all had in common is that they have appeared when life was hard and their kindness has given me wings! Tomorrow I'm going to see how differently I can use a Tim Holtz window die-cut. Thank you for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I shall try not to get too carried away with Christmas cards and try to create some non- Christmas makes in the coming weeks too. I should like to link this post to The Artistic Stamper Challenge here, where they are having a 'Christmas is Coming' Challenge for the month of November! Have a lovely week one and all!:

Sunday 9 November 2014

Dreaming of a Magical Christmas!

Welcome to Magpieheaven, where I've been getting into the Christmas spirit early for once! I'm not usually the most organized of Magpies and I don't know how long this will last - but - I think it's the discovery of how much fun making master-boards can be that has changed my life! Today I'd like to share a Christmas ATC I've created for a swap and which I am linking to the Artistic Stamper Challenge here. I started with some sheets of card which I painted with Stone PaperArtsy Fresco paint.
I then had so much fun just stencilling and brayering and stamping with inks and paints! I've been enjoying using Jo Firth Young's delightful little mini snowflake stamp for PaperArtsy. It looks magical when used with Snowflake Fresco and enclosed in circles created by lids dipped into puddles of paint!
Stamping with paint creates great effects, but you do have to clean the stamp immediately, as paint dries on very quickly! I also stamped some script from Sara Nauman's Eclectica plate in Snowflake and Archival ink. These sheets are going to be so useful for Christmas card and tag backgrounds and each one will be different so I can feel that each recipient will be getting a unique card.
I had just as much fun creating my own Washi Tape with masking tape painted with Stone Fresco, stencils and stamping. Again Jo's snowflake was really useful and I used different colours of Archival ink to stamp some Lynne Perrella crowns and her 'Winter Wonderland' text. I didn't want to stop! Lin Brown's stencil with little circles looks so Christmasy when you use Snowflake Fresco. The idea for using this stencil on a Christmas make came from Lucy Edmondson at True Colours. But which stamp to use for my focal image on my Christmas ATC?
I recently invested in the beautiful Oxford Impressions Halloween plate 'Trick or Treat' because I had fallen for the two little pierrots! Now this couple look far more like characters from a long ago Christmas entertainment to me so I decided to use them for this ATC. They are stamped onto tissue and adhered to the card with Satin Glaze. I liked the idea of the background of Stone, Lake Wanaka, Antarctic and Snowflake Frescos not being lost behind the images so I did not paint them. I used white pen to highlight them and sprinkled their ruffs with Tim Holtz clear Distress Glitter. The taller little reveller has tiny blue and white glass beads on his costume and I punched a snowflake out of card spritzed with Vintage Photo and Frayed Burlap Distress Inks, decorated with Shabby Blue Frantage, White Pen and Pearlen Pen at the centre.
 Is this a couple of siblings all ready to head off for a Christmas party, or a pair of entertainers in a traditional panto? If they are 'Theatricals', they will be enchanting parents and children night after night in the plush red and gold interiors of crowded theatres . Enchanted by the fairy-tale before their eyes, the middle-class boys and girls in the audience will be unaware of the cold and shabby backstage world; the hard grind of being a child performer and the poor homes from which these 'magical' children came.   Now I have completed my first Christmas ATC, which I should like to link to the Artistic Stamper Christmas is Coming Challenge. I expect lots of you have already got well underway with card-making: I hope you have just as much fun as I've had creating your Christmas makes in the coming weeks!

Wednesday 5 November 2014

Dragons' Dream - Letter 'U' and a Quotation.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, where it's time to dream with the Dragons again! It was a privilege to see the beautiful tags you created for the last challenge - so much imagination with the colour 'red'. This time it's the turn of the very original and creative Gabrielle to come up with the recipe and she's chosen the letter 'U' and a quotation! Take a look here at the Dragon DT inspiration. There are some really inspirational quotations out there and I'm sure you'll find some that will be uplifting or thought-provoking. I apologize for a rather early Christmas themed tag this time, but I just had to start sometime - and this Christmas quote is definitely one of my favourites!
Robert Frost is one of my favourite poets and his words go well with this lovely Santa from the Artistic Outpost plate, 'Snowy Woods'. He seems both magical and human too as he trudges through the snow with his pack. This tag is in more muted colours after quite a brightly coloured canvas in my last post, but let's start at the beginning!
I began by sticking text torn from an old book about Christmas traditions. Now this always happens with me: I became very interested in what I was reading and spent a while taking in the text, then I ended up pretty much covering it completely with paint so that not a word was visible! Ah well, I know that it's there and I think that some of the facts about Santa influenced my creation!
I got completely carried away with brayering and stencilling in PaperArtsy blues and greens. I used a Clearsnap stencil of birch woods and then topped and tailed my tag with some scraps of die-cut master-board from my previous wintry project. I loved the effect, although I was sad that so little of the text was now UNSEEN!
And how often after falling asleep on a perfectly ordinary winter's night would I awaken to the magic of quiet, snowy streets. While I dreamed in bed, unseen by me, the snowflakes had clothed the dull houses and shops in glittery splendour and for a while all was enchantment! Similarly, however hard I tried to stay awake, Santa's visits were always mysterious. How did he manage to deliver all those presents unseen by eager children? To add dimension to my tag, I stamped snowflakes from card and used what was left behind to make a stencil for plain, white Grunge Paste. The shimmery effect of the Frantage is quite effective, but difficult to capture in a photo. I used a white Posca pen to create the effect of my letter tiles strung across the winter sky.
I stamped my AO Santa and quote onto white tissue with Jet Black Archival Ink, heat-set and tore and frayed the edges before adhering it to the tag with Satin Glaze so that it would blend into the background. I didn't paint the tissue at all, as I wanted the delicate colours of the tag to show through. I just used my Posca pen to highlight Santa; to create a little, rising crescent moon; bare, white trees and snowy roof-tops. This tag will eventually be for my old friend, Alison who loves the subtle colours of winter skies. Thank you so much for dropping by Magpieheaven today as we drift into November. I do hope you will be able to join in the challenge. Remember to include at least one real stamp on your tag and a letter 'U' along with a favourite quotation. You can use this as an opportunity to start your Christmas crafting if you like, but feel free to interpret the recipe any way you would like.