Saturday 28 March 2015

A Little Piece of my Heart!

Welcome to Magpieheaven! Over at PaperArtsy the challenge is currently to use Grunge Paste and to try to move away from the obvious stencils technique. Leandra has found some incredible inspiration for us with dramatic and unexpected ideas for using this very adaptable medium. I loved Liesbeth Fidder's incredible stained glass effect, which has to be seen to believed. Please do take a look here  if you haven't marvelled at it already. And Lou Collins wood grain effect - not to mention Wanda's lovely textured use of spring colour have been so inspiring! Unfortunately life has been presenting quite a few challenges of its own recently, so creating has been squeezed into tiny time slots and I'm going to have to leave the really 'heavy-duty' experimenting for when I have more time. I have played along with Grunge Paste a little bit this time, though, because I needed to make a card for a special friend. I've used an idea I learned on a workshop with the wonderful Lin Brown!

I started with some scraps I had from previous projects, including some basic, Treasure Gold Grunge Paste stencils of Lin Brown's leaves; a little Lynne Perrella heart and a Sara Nauman sentiment stamped onto some 'mop-up' card. I printed out some of my own art-work, which I use for creating little peg-dolls. I started to play straight away, giving her a pierrot hat from triangle cut out of a Lin Brown bird. I liked the way that tiny heart was now a different feature. A theme was beginning to emerge!

I then cut my Grunge Paste scraps into tiles of slightly different shapes and sizes, arranging them onto a piece of card.

Next step was to paint my card, so that the little Grunge Paste tiles become integrated into the background.

I do hope it won't be too tedious to look at the different stages my background went through before I was satisfied with it and ready to add my feature images! This is a layer of Caribbean Blue and one of Guacamole - gorgeous colours, but they needed to be toned down.

Here they are with a wash of Blue Oyster. Eventually I planned to sand the card too so that colours over the Grunge Paste would be varied.

I added some stamping in Snowflake - Sara Nauman's script and little circles.

Finally, I added two Sara stars, stamped in Fresco paint then clear embossed and a wash of Blue Glass and some dabs of Hey Pesto and just sanded. Adding Treasure Gold in Sapphire, Green Amber and White Fire and rubbing and sanding is the final effect. It is so difficult to photograph how the Grunge Paste looks, but it does really shimmer.

Now all that remained was to add my foreground detail and sentiment. I used some Glossy Accents on the heart and fixed my art work with dimensional pads. I hope something of the effect of the GP Treasure Gold tiles; the glossy heart and the Treasure Gold scrap of lace shows through on this picture.

 My friend has such a generous and loving heart that I thought the theme suited her perfectly. The idea for the blog title just occurred to me because this card is created from little pieces and also a little piece of my heart goes with it. The Janis Joplin song, of course, deals with heart-ache, but the support of good friends is so welcome when we feel low and the very best antidote to heart-break! Thank You so much for stopping by today and looking at my Grunge Paste background which I should like to link up to PaperArtsy here.

Monday 23 March 2015

Things with Wings - Weed Wide Enough to Wrap a Fairy in.

Hello and a warm welcome to Magpieheaven, Followers and Friends. I have never entered a journal challenge before, but over the weekend I started a journal page that was something of a new departure for me and that just took over! Every available minute I returned to it to add a detail or some colour. I have done a journal page here and there before, but never anything that really was as therapeutic or - dare I say - as addictive as this! Because it is about 'things with wings' I should like to enter it in the Art Journal Journey, Things with Wings challenge here.

I hope it is acceptable as an entry because really it is just a huge doodle! When I was a teenager I would fill books with these doodles and they gave me such a sense of release. Last week had been tough so I started to doodle in my journal and I got so much pleasure from exploring this enchanted land of my own making! It's just black Pitt Pen and Inktense pencils with some stamped Red Lead labels clear embossed and tiny paper butterflies punched from card coloured with Distress Inks and misters, and some little hands I had drawn and scanned into my computer for doll making, collaged on.

Two things inspired me: A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare and the art of Richard Dadd, the famous painter of the fairy world. You can see examples here His life was such a sad one, touched by mental illness, which was so little understood during his lifetime. A talented artist and reputed to be a kind and gentle person. he became mentally ill on a return from a drawing trip to the Middle East and in 1844, murdered his father. He spent a number of years in Broadmoor, painting and drawing. I was intrigued by his work when I first saw it in the 1970s and then when we moved to our present house, we discovered one of our neighbours had written a book on his work.

I don't possess the incredible skill of Dadd who can create the shape-changing world of 'things with wings' so that as we gaze through the undergrowth we start to discover that a whole culture of tiny folk exists under our noses: mischievous, not always benign and camouflaged by nature. 

Shakespeare, of course, creates just such a world in 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' where after dark a forest becomes an enchanted place, where Queens can fall in love with donkeys and a tiny red flower squeezed on your eyes can make you fall hopelessly in love. I hope you can see that there are more things with wings than just the butterflies that have settled on the journal page.

But by the time my page was completed and the cardboard butterflies had settled down, I had so lost myself in the world of Fairy that my problems seemed far away. I had spent some time with the winged things on the Fairy Queen's grassy bank where
... sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.
And there the snake throws her enameled skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in...

Thank you for stopping by Magpieheaven today and looking at my journal page. I hope your week will be one full of creative enchantment.

Wednesday 18 March 2015

Toffee and Lace.

Hello and welcome to my friends and followers, old and new. The time has once again flown by and it's another challenge at the Dragons Dream Tag it on Challenge here. This time it's my turn to choose the recipe and I decided on whatever colour you might have in your stash that resembles toffee, and the opportunity to use those treasured scraps of lace that we all squirrel away. Please pop across and take a look at the great inspiration from the Dragon Design Team.

I began by covering a Jumbo tag with Vanilla Fresco Finish paint by PaperArtsy and then pasted on some tea-stained lace, using Soft Gel Medium by Prima.

When this was dry I stenciled with a Rebekkah Meier doily stencil in Toffee Fresco and the new Blue Oyster. The script is Sara Nauman from one of her new plates for PaperArtsy and  I stamped it with Frescos in Vanilla and Toffee. I really like the effect of stamping with paint.

Next I Painted some tissue with translucent Frescos to create the impression of stained glass, stamping over them with the Elizabethan lady from Lynne Perrella, LPC031. Crafty Individuals' Lovely Lace, provided the background for my sentiment. I stamped the lace onto Toffee card using PaperArtsy Vanilla. I then delved into my stash to find some embellishments that could look antique with a little help.

A Prima Mechanical seemed to echo the lacy circles of the lady's ruff and I placed this painted rose at the centre of another little metal shape, touching both with Florentine Treasure Gold.

And a lacy butterfly lands on the lady's curls. I love the intricacy of this fine lady's ruff. She certainly looks grand enough to be Queen Elizabeth the First herself! Each time I come back and use this stamp, I see something else to focus on and this time it has been that incredible lace. What skill it must have taken to create something so complex and beautiful.

A little paper ribbon added the finishing touch with some Sara Nauman script printed on it in Jet Black Archival. I added Florentine and Blue Sapphire Treasure Golds to the lace in places too.

Finally, a white lace border echoes the ruff, while the curled corners of the tissue are edged with Florentine Treasure Gold. Thank You so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I do hope you will have a go at your own version of Toffee and Lace for the Dragons Dream TIO this fortnight. We can't wait to see what you come up with.

Thursday 12 March 2015

Card Making

Hello and a warm welcome to Magpieheaven. It's a little while since I joined in with a challenge, so I'd like to link up to 'Country View Crafts' this month, where the theme is 'Anything Goes'. My entry is a simple birthday card. It seems that many Crafters start their crafting adventures with card-making. Then, judging from my own experience and from what I've seen in Blogland, creating a card that you're happy with becomes a challenge! Each time that I embark on a card now, I wonder, will this work? You don't want too many layers of embellishments if you're mailing the card, but you want it to look special and individual; you want the colours to be eye-catching and well chosen; you want to choose a technique that will be enjoyable to do and sometimes - if you're like me - you're disorganized and you didn't realize how close that special person's birthday was! I had a crafty friend with an imminent birthday and I sat for ages thinking. Then - a spark! It wasn't even an expensive piece of crafty equipment that inspired me, but a sheet of Old Gold tissue I had been saving and an old copy of Shakespeare's sonnets!

I scrunched up the tissue and then flattened it again, smoothing it out. I then dampened the edges with a paint brush and tore them so that they were quite ragged and frayed-looking. I stamped some PaperArtsy text in Stazon from a PaperArtsy mini script stamp onto the tissue. I chose Stazon for this, as the tissue had a slightly shiny coating to it and I thought the Stazon would stamp better on that surface. I gave the sonnet torn edges too and a wash of watered-down white Gesso. I was going to use a square Kraft card so I stamped this with some Onyx Black Versafine, embossing it with Clear EP.

As you can see, I used one of the new Lynne Perrella PaperArtsy plates, which have the look of stained glass. I used PaperArtsy Fresco Translucents: Hey Pesto, Beach Hut and Cherry Red and coloured between the embossing. I then stuck down my golden tissue using some Ranger Glue 'n Seal. I painted the torn sonnet with Translucent Frescos in Banana, Tangerine Twist and Toffee and a wash of Snowflake, very diluted just to tone it all down. I also painted the back of the sonnet, sprayed with some water and curled the edges.

I stencilled and stamped over the Kraft card to the right before sticking down my sonnet and edging it with Florentine Treasure Gold. Next I took some Smoothy Card and stamped it with a Lynne Perrella design that resembles a long window: this would be too long to use as it was, but I intended to cut it into sections. I used Versafine Black Onyx, which I then clear embossed. For this part of the card I used Frescos with Glossy Accents, as I wanted the glimmer and gleam of stained glass.

I created my own washi tape to trim the card, painting masking tape with a blend of Beach Hut and Hey Pesto. When I was at Stevenage, I bought some dial hands in a pack and I painted one of these with Blue Oyster Fresco and then - when it was dry - gave it a coat of Blue Sapphire Fresco. The little butterfly resting on the dial hand is painted with Tangerine Twist and then coated with UTEE. A few strips of black ribbon and some pearl pen blobs complete the card.

And - I almost forgot - a tiny sun face at the centre of a Prima embellishment with some more Glossy Accents to give it the gleam of glass.

The sentiment is taken from a Red Lead dictionary stamp that defines the word 'Artist', clear embossed over Onyx Black Versafine again. When we make art, however small our offering, it's so satisfying not only for ourselves; but it is always a way of sharing those things we find beautiful. In Sonnet 104, Shakespeare exhorts the young man to whom the poem is dedicated to marry and have children so that his beauty might live on.  I prefer to interpret this as an encouragement to create 'Art Children' so that the beauty in the world is increased and we have had a hand in spreading happiness, colour and delight and be an inspiration to others: this my crafty friend definitely is with her projects. Happy Birthday to my crafting friend and also a Happy Blogaversary to Country View Crafts who celebrate their second year of blogging this month!
Thank You so much for stopping by Magpieheaven today. I hope your week is a really happy and creative one.

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Rusty Shrine at PaperArtsy

Welcome to Magpieheaven. Tonight I'm delighted to be over at PaperArtsy with a Cafe Retro Art Gallery shrine, aged with rust. Please pop across and do take a look at Leandra's video on deconstruction for lots of inspiration. It would be great if you could join with something rusty. You could win a fabulous prize of PaperArtsy goodies in the draw.

Saturday 7 March 2015

A Sneak Peek of Trash to Treasure

Welcome to Magpieheaven. It's just a brief Hello today and a sneak peek! Please hop over to Unruly Paper Arts to see how I turned CDs bound for the bin into - well, treasure - hopefully - using Rubber Dance stamps!

I should be really interested to hear what you think.

Wednesday 4 March 2015

Our House - Dragon's Dream TIO, White and a Number.

Hello and welcome to Magpieheaven, where it's time for a brand new challenge to 'Dream with the Dragons'. What we are dreaming about this fortnight is White and a Number. This interesting recipe has been chosen for us by the lovely Gabrielle so get your thinking caps on and decide on the numbers that matter to you. We were so impressed with the tags you created for our last challenge chosen by Catherine, Pink and Hearts. The entries were creative, original and vivid. If you would like to join us at the Dragon's Dream, it's easy! All you have to do is to take a look at the inspiration here. Then. before you link up, make sure you've created a tag in which white is an important element, with at least one real stamped image on it and a number.

For the background to this jumbo tag, I used Fresco Finish paints in Guacamole, Blue Oyster and just a touch of Wisteria. I then stamped Tim Holtz's  Worn Alphabet letters over it in Snowflake. Next I cut some book text into a house shape, which I covered first in a wash of Snowflake and then a wash of Caribbean Sea edged with Inky Pool and Hey Pesto: I also stenciled the roof with flourishes by Prima in Hey Pesto and added some little white polka dots with the end of a paint brush dipped in Snowflake. I masked my house design and then created Snowflake circles around it, using a fabric conditioner lid, heat embossing my circles with clear embossing powder to give them texture. I also stamped some text from a Sara Nauman stamp plate by PaperArtsy and created some smaller circles using the tip of a cork dipped in Snowflake!

The choice of the number is significant: I expect you can guess why. It is our house number at Magpieheaven. My daughter has asserted since her childhood it's her favourite number! I used a combination of stamps for this project: Some Darcy Wilkinson stamps from PaperArtsy; some Artistic Outpost for the little houses and the sentiment.

I wanted to create the idea of the warmth of home on this tag so I painted the background to the little houses with a blend of PaperArtsy Frescos in Tangerine Twist, Banana and Cherry Red translucents over book text. I love Darcy Wilkinson's stamps, but I don't get to use them nearly enough on projects. On this tag, I stamped her steam-punk toad-stool in Jet Black Archival, clear embossed it and coloured it in with Hey Pesto, Tango and Banana, highlighting with white pen.

I used some Darcy foliage around the top of the house, again embossing to create depth. The Prima flower at the tip of the roof, has a silver bead painted white at the centre and there is a circle of little white pen dots around the hole in the tag.

The number 22 is such a special one to me, as it signifies 'Home'. What is an important number in your life? At the Dragons' Dream we'd love to see it on a tag this fortnight.