I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Saturday, 16 December 2017

A Merry Little Christmas

Hello all!  And so it gets closer... and things are starting to shape up preparations-wise.

Here at Words and Pictures we're into the second half of the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas, sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique, so the countdown really is well under way.

This one takes just one main design feature from Linda's inspiration Tag 7 - the quote in the Ornate Frame - and then carried on playing with the elements which have danced from one tag to another in my own collection of tags so far.

So for a background, rather than stencilled plaid, I've used another of the Christmas Jingle papers by Anna Marie Designs.  I just love these fir branches over the music.

As you can probably guess if you've seen almost any of my tags so far, the winter greenery is a huge part of Christmas for me.

Decking the house with ivy and holly, not to mention, of course, the tree itself, is the activity which tells me the time is almost on us.  

We're late decorators compared to many - as close to the 24th as we can, and then it all stays up until 12th Night, January 6th.

So it's nice to play with all these Holiday Greens on the tags in advance of the actual decorating.

My Ornate Frame, cut from quite thick card, is painted, crackled and antiqued in all sorts of ways.

I used DecoArt Crackle Glaze over Fresco Chalk paint, and then once it had crackled I used ink and paint and Antiquing Creams to create my weathered finish.

And inside the frame, I've got some kraft card, inked with Walnut Stain and spritzed.

Over that I embossed the sentiment in Wow Vanilla White powder.  I don't have the Minis of these stamps, so my sentiment fills the frame and then some!

Almost forgot... I must have the annual link to one of the finest Christmas songs of all time (songs rather than carols - that's a whole other ballgame!).

I do love the glossy embossing against the rich brown.

Rather than a poinsettia (I never have really got on with poinsettias - even real ones) I've embellished with pinecones and some berries.

They're resting on some of those wonderful boughs and branches which have featured so prominently on my tags this year (and most tags in other years, truth be told) - some die-cut and some punched.

Down in the corner there's a little deer - he was lying on the craft table and he just wanted to go there, so I let him.

And some snowflake die-cuts which were also lying nearby decided they'd like to be involved too.  I layered them with padded tape so it's a pleasingly dimensional snowflake.

So far there have been Christmas Clippings on each of my tags so, although there's already a perfectly good sentiment here, I added some more of the tiny strips to the mix.

Some simple white twine tops us off again and we're done.  From wondering what on earth I was going to do, this one became one of my favourites as I was making it.  Thank you as always, Linda, for a lovely couple of hours at the craft table.

Down at the end of a winding path
Is a group of evergreen trees,
Pine and hemlock, and spruce and fir,
With their resinous fragrances;
And truest picture of calm content
That mortal ever saw...
Elizabeth Anne Chase Akers Allen

I would like to share this as my Tag 7 in the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas, sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique
I'd also like to join in at That's Crafty Challenges where Tis the Season is the theme

Thursday, 14 December 2017

The Snowflakes Come Down

Hello all!

I hope all your Christmas preparations are going well.  I'm squeezing some Christmas shopping and decorating in between the main task of the moment, completing the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas!

We're motoring on through, and we've made it as far as Tag 6 - halfway, yay!

There are some more tags done and dusted and awaiting blogging, so it's feeling good at the moment (Christmas shopping and decorating not quite so under control yet).

For this tag, I've taken just one main element of inspiration from Linda's elegant Tag 6 - the decorative pocket, perfect for a gift card or token.

Other than that, I've pretty much gone my own way... oh, with some snowflakes borrowed from Linda's version too, I guess, though mine sparkle in a different way.

I'm back on the patterned papers - this time one from my Jingle Christmas pad and one that I created myself.

I'm not usually much of a one for using design paper - don't get me wrong, I've got piles of the stuff, but it's mainly for stroking, it seems! - but when you're under time pressure it doesn't half help!

The soft green wood look paper has been cut with the On the Edge Tattered Doily to create my decorative edging - a lovely effect, I think.

And I altered it further with some more of the wonderful crackled stencilled stars used for Tag 2 - partly following Linda's method and partly following my fingers.

Again, I've used DecoArt Crackle Paint and, once it was dry, I laid the stencil down again and sponged on some PaperArtsy White Fire Fresco paint.

I used the same paint to stamp Tim's little starry snowflakes (I can never decide whether they are starry snowflakes or snowy stars) onto some plain white cardstock for my background layer.  I meant to take a photo before I covered it all up, but it didn't happen.

I did some very delicate inking with Bundled Sage DI, blended in from the edges, to help tie it in to the colour of the doily pocket.

I had this NOEL left over from an earlier tag when it went unused.  It's cut in the same soft green paper as the pocket, so I decided its turn had come.

My snowflakes are all just slightly inked around the edges with Walnut Stain, and then I brushed on some matte medium and dipped them into the fabulous Distress Dry Glitter.

I always forget how much I love the delicate shimmering crystals of Dry Glitter.  As far as I'm concerned, it really is a vast improvement on the traditional stuff we used to use as kids, both in appearance and in handling.

Some Christmas Clippings words, of course - where would Words and Pictures be without its words? - and that's really pretty much it...

... apart from some gentle Walnut Stain inking around all my edges, and the simple white twine to top it all off.

I think this would be such a lovely way to hand over a gift voucher or some money - making it that bit more special - a wonderful design, Linda, thank you.

Christmas; magnificent snowflakes snowing in your hope.
Kristian Goldmund Aumann

I'd like to share this as my Tag 6 for the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas, sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique
I'd also like to play along at Stamps and Stencils where the theme is Festive Stamps AND Stencils - so for once you need to use both stamps and stencils - I've used a stencil for the crackled stars and the lovely starry snowflakes on my own decorative paper in the background

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Off to the North Pole

Hello all!

I'm back again with the next of the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas - Tag 5 if you're trying to keep count.  I'm going in the right order this year so far.

I had an absolutely lovely time with this one.  From Linda's lovely inspiration Tag 5, I took the "wooden" background and the positioning of a Father Christmas portrait, and apart from that I just followed my fingers.

That's what's so lovely about this Funkie Junkie challenge - you can follow Linda's creation as closely as you like.

There's no need to have all the same ingredients, and it might just be one element which fires your creative juices and then off you go.

My wooden background is again from the Anna Marie Design pad, Christmas Jingle.  It matches my first tag, the Winter Woodland Wonderland.

(I do love the stamp set which has that fabulous sliced log stamp that Linda used - I particularly "need" the scraggly trees - but it's going to have to wait at least until I've done the Christmas shopping for other people's presents!)

My Father Christmas comes from the wonderful Artistic Outpost set called Snowy Woods.  He's stamped in Potting Soil on another piece of the paper pad.

I'm sad I forgot to add some metal brads at the corners - but there you go.

And the rest is really very simple...

... some more of the Holiday Greens die-cuts in regular and mini sizes...

... some snowflakes, cut with the Snowflakes Mini Thinlits.

I love the intricate designs - pure delight in pure white, or any other way you choose to make them.

There's even one nestled somewhere under all that greenery.

There are some words courtesy of the Christmas Clippings - very much in love with these.

And some simple white twine tops the whole thing off... that's something all my tags have in common so far, so I'm aiming to keep it that way, unless one of the tags really demands something else.

There's plenty of snowy white spatter of course.

So off he goes to the North Pole, off to the land of dreams... and off I go back to the craft table.  It's going well, but there are still another seven tags to get done by 29th December.  I bet you could still do it if you started today... go on!!  Happy crafting all!

In a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer.

I'd like to share this as Tag 5 for the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas, sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique
I'd also like to join in at That's Crafty Challenges where Tis the Season is the theme

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A song of Christmas cheer

Hello all!

I'm glad you enjoyed my adventures with Invisible Ink Insects over at PaperArtsy, but now it's time to get back to the serious business of the season... the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas.  I'm on to Tag 4 now.

Music is at or near the top of the list of what makes Christmas for me, so I loved making this one.

I'm always happy to have an excuse for a musical tag, and an excuse to get out the wonderful Victorian Carollers die (sorry, I'm going to spell it the English way with two lls). 

The basic layout follows Linda's charming Tag 4, but I've borrowed one of the techniques from Tag 2 to create my version and gone my own way for the embellishing.

I really loved the stencilled crackled stars from Tag 2, so I decided to create my background that way rather than use an embossing folder as Linda did.

Once they were all crackled, I was able to lay the stencil over the top again and add some colour with Distress Paints and Inks, mixing Iced Spruce and Evergreen Bough.

There's a little bit of text stamping in the background too, following Linda's lead.

I also went with stencilling to add my snowfall.

I used Tim's Speckles stencil and applied DecoArt Snowtex through it.  It's nicely chunky and has a good dash of frosty sparkle to it.

And I added some more snow underfoot with a palette knife.

I cut my silhouettes in brown card and edged them with some Black Soot DI.

I added shadowy shading on the snow under their feet to ground them.  I hope they've got nice warm woolly socks on!

Some Idea-ology ephemera sheet music is there to remind them in case they lose their way in the carol.  

I couldn't resist some more greenery and pinecones for my decoration at the top of the tag... I seem to be completely hooked this year!

There's a festive Muse Token too, and some more of the frosted berries.

Finally, some more of the wonderful Idea-ology Christmas Clippings capture the musical mood.

This was another delight to make - thank you, Linda, for reminding me about the Victorian Carollers... I really enjoy these Dickensian figures - they seem full of character to me.

I hope you've enjoyed singing along with my carollers.  I'll be back with the next tag in the series very soon, and in the meantime I'll try to squeeze in some blog-visiting too.  Happy Christmas-crafting all!

Oh, by the way, for those who enjoy a theatrical extravaganza you might want to pop over to Cestina's Dollshouses - quick now, it's almost time for curtain up!

Christmas now surrounds us,
Happiness is everywhere
Our hands are busy with many tasks
As carols fill the air.
Shirley Sallay

I'd like to enter this as Tag 4 in the Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas, sponsored by the Funkie Junkie Boutique
I'd also like to play along at Stamps and Stencils where the theme is Festive Stamps AND Stencils - so for once you need to use both stamps and stencils - I've used a stencil for the crackled holly and the lovely Gothic text stamp with its seasonal font
And I'd like to share it with That's Crafty Challenges where Tis the Season is the theme