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...

Monday, 29 August 2016

Adventure Awaits

Hello all!  I'm on another continent, but travelling with supplies this time, and even though I've had all sorts of settling in to do (including horrid form-filling and financial shenanigans - I hadn't reckoned on having to open a US bank account!) as well as starting on my next round of creative adventures in my "other life", I've still found time for a bit of crafting.

I have to confess that on my first free afternoon I made my way to Michaels to augment my little stash, and I started on a few tags and panels as well as a journal page spread just to kick things off.

This is one of the panels, made out of a third of a sheet of 9x12 watercolour card (there are two more to come at some point therefore), and I seem still to be on the blue/brown streak.

The delicate pale hues of my Vintage Journey bird tag have become slightly grungier.

I like the collaging but, really, this one's all about the textured background.  (No outdoor photos, I'm afraid, which feels a bit weird to me, but it's only for a few months, I suppose.)

I put a rough coat of gesso onto the paper and, while it was still wet, I added streaks of Raw Umber and Deep Midnight Blue DecoArt Americana acrylic paint.

When the paint was dry, I stamped the Tim Holtz stamp randomly in Potting Soil Archival.  Stamping in Archival means it won't disappear on me as I add more layers.

Next, I stencilled on some gesso Harlequins and, once they was dry, added a layer of DecoArt One Step crackle through the same stencil.  I also added crackle paste randomly in other places with my palette knife.

When the crackle had done its work, I rubbed Raw Umber over the white Harlequins...

... and White Wash paint over the other areas against the blue.  I wiped off the excess while it was still wet, leaving the crackles nicely highlighted in each area.

A while back I ordered some 49 and Market stamps, including these rather cool stitching lines by Gabrielle Polacco.  I stamped this one in Black Archival around the corners of my grungy panel.

In the end I added a couple of trios of tiny brads, bought on sale in Michaels.

Love the effect in the opposite corners.

And the grungy Harlequins have a pleasing distressed look...

... which I think works really well with the messy "stitching".

Then it was time for some collaging.  There are strips of tissue tape, torn book pages, both tea-stained and non-tea-stained - I brought some of each with me.

There's a length of burlap ribbon with some narrow crocheted lace over it behind the Photobooth photo.

I've used some Thrift Shop Ephemera as well as a number brad.  I hadn't put any metal elements in my stash, so I couldn't resist grabbing these in Michaels too on a coupon.

The wooden tag was also a Michaels purchase.  I thought the tags would work well with the Small Talk phrases... I love it when a plan comes together!

I roughened the edges all around and inked them with Walnut Stain (I have a dozen mini Distress Inks with me - I wonder if you can guess which colours made the cut!).

And that's your lot for now.  Auditions, callbacks and casting are all done now, and I'll be starting rehearsals this week, so I hope to be a more regular visitor once I've settled into the rhythm of things.  In the meantime, thank you - as always - for your visits and lovely comments.  Each and every one is so much appreciated.  Happy Crafting all

A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.
Eugene Ionesco

The theme at That's Crafty Challenge is Get Cracking, so I'd love to play along with them there
I'd like to add this to Time to Take Flight over at Stamps and Stencils
And they are playing Anything Creative/Mixed Media over at the Love to Create Challenge

Monday, 22 August 2016

Live Gently

Hello all!  I'm over at A Vintage Journey today, stopping at Destination Inspiration.  If you have a moment, do hop over and take a look at what I created with the contents of this month's travel bags.  I'm afraid it's another tag full of my favourite colours and things - when I do have some crafting time, I can't resist them.  But even limited crafting time is good for the soul and so too, I think, is this tag.   I hope you like it.

Thanks so much for stopping by and for hopping too.  For those who are curious, I did in the end pack a small(ish) travelling craft kit to bring with me to Columbus, Ohio, so there may even be a few more new things to share in the coming months.  We'll see how time pans out.  I hope to be a better blog visitor too, but we all know about good intentions and where that path leads...  Happy Crafting all!

In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
Mahatma Gandhi

If you don't mind hopping to see the full project...
I'd like to enter this in Time to Take Flight over at Stamps and Stencils
And it's also perfect for the Resist Stamping theme at Fashionable Stamping Challenges

Monday, 15 August 2016

Watercolouring in...

Hello all, I've something slightly different to share with you today.  One of my favourite activities as a child (after reading) was colouring in, so I've been quietly amused by the adult colouring fad which seems to have swept the world lately.

I've always known how relaxing it was, and I was delighted to discover some colouring books printed on watercolour paper so that now, as an adult, I can practise using watercolour paints without having to worry about drawing (a bit too scary to share just yet!).

Travelling as I am this year, I'm having to think very carefully about what supplies to take along for the ride.  In my recent month-long jaunt around Europe - work and play - I had to really keep it down as I was changing country often, and the simplest thing seemed to me to be to take some watercolour paints, a Painterly Days watercolouring book by Kristy Rice, and my much-loved Pentel water brushes.

Here are just a few photos of my first encounters.

The outlines are in a pale grey tone, so they are very subtle.

Obviously I started in my blue-green comfort zone...

I'm not really particularly interested in the flowers, it turns out.

I'd just as happily stick to painting leaves all day long!

I do think the colouring helps with learning the brush sweeps required for shaping a leaf... I'll be braver about my own freehand leaves in future, I think.

I went for a fairly delicate peachy look for the blooms...

... with the occasional bit of bindweed in between.

Mostly, I was using a set of White Nights watercolour pans, but there are also some Ecoline inks involved in places.

The blue sky, for instance, is mainly Ecoline if I remember rightly.  I do like how the leaves look against the early summer sky.

In any case, it was tremendously soothing to do, and I do recommend the Painterly Days books for anyone wanting to play with watercolours but feeling unready with their drawing.

I'm still trying to decide whether to take a more substantial craft kit with me on the next trip, or whether I can bear to stick purely to the watercolours.   Packing is imminent.  Hmmm...

Thanks so much for stopping by.  There'll be a new creation along soon and then, depending on what I decide to take with me in terms of crafting kit, there may be a few more, or we may be back on the Encores... we'll see!  Happy crafting all!

Now this relaxation of the mind from work consists on playful words or deeds. Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times.
Thomas Aquinas
To answer Yvonne's question below... you can get these books in the UK via Amazon (and maybe elsewhere too), but click to the other sellers, not the main Amazon price.  You'll find the cheapest ones despatched by Wordery.  Here's the link to the flower one, but there are different editions so make sure you find the one you prefer.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Candy Winner

Hello all and welcome.  Yes, I've finally found time to draw the winner of my blogaversary candy.  My apologies for the delay - regulars will know I'm having a bit of a mad year!  My warmest thanks go to all of you who left such lovely comments - Craftyblogland really is a special place - but there can only be one winner of this little haul...

I'm afraid in the interests of saving time I've forsaken my time-honoured names in the hat for this year and borrowed some assistance from technology.  So without further ado, here is the randomly generated winner.

That's the always hilarious Princess Judy Palmer of Blog This!  Congratulations, Judy!  If you get in touch with me via the link in the sidebar to let me know your postal address, I'll try to get the package in the post before I set off on my travels again.

Love and thanks to all.  I am missing crafting and blogging now that they've become occasional rather than obsessional, but whenever I can drop in I will.  In the meantime, I'm off to be creative in other spheres again.  Happy crafting all!

To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Lost and Found

Hello all!  I seem to be constantly under time pressure these days, and I know I'm missing lots of amazing work all over Craftyblogland.  My apologies...

But there are still deadlines to meet, and today it's time for a new challenge over at A Vintage Journey.  The wonderful Amanda would like us to Stencil It.

It's a rare project here at Words and Pictures which doesn't include the use of a stencil so this was a lovely theme for me.

And though the stencilling here is in the background, I've tried to leave as much of it visible as possible.  And the title of the tag - Lost and Found - is also taken from the stencilled text.

I'm squeezing the writing of this post in just a couple of hours before the deadline, though I'm writing about a tag I actually made over a month ago - the last time I was at home with my craft supplies.  Given I don't remember too much about the making, I'll stick mainly to the lost-and-found story bubbling up from within.

As with the Carte Postale, the story was triggered by the Photobooth photo, though this one took me in a less cheerful direction.  If you'd prefer simply to look at the pictures, do feel free!

I was riveted by this little boy's gaze, and the look in his eyes - somewhere between bewilderment and determination.

Coupled with the crackled lost and found wording, and with the sombre colour combination, he became for me one of the Kindertransport children, rescued in the nick of time before war broke out across Europe.

But although he found his way to safety, he also lost so much on the way...

The first Kindertransport rescued 196 children from a Berlin Jewish orphanage burned down by the Nazis in November 1938.

But thousands more followed, and many of these were children whose parents leapt at the chance to get at least their children out of harm's way.

The children were separated from their families, the vast majority of whom went on to die in the concentration camps.

They were brought to Britain by train and boat, usually with only a few precious belongings in a single bag, and were welcomed in to British foster homes, hostels, schools and farms.

It's hard to be exact about numbers, but around 10,000 predominantly Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland made the difficult journeys away from family and friends into the unknown, but also away from almost certain death to a new life.

Not all of them made it... some were still in Holland and Belgium when those countries were invaded, and were unable to make the further escape across the channel.

And, of course, after the war it took great efforts to ascertain whether there were any family members left with whom to reunite the displaced child refugees.

For most, the answer was a tragic no, and many remained in Britain, some going on to achieve great things, others simply living long and happy lives and building new generations of children and grandchildren.

None of that would have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of individuals like Nicholas Winton and Rabbi Solomon Schonfeld...

But it's also well worth noting that the British government of the day passed legislation to allow for the immigration of unaccompanied minors, as well as simplifying the immigration process in order to help the rescuers and the refugees.

Out of the horror of persecution and war come these stories of courage and compassion... Children fleeing for their lives, children who had lost their homes and their families, found new homes and a welcome from new families - lost and found.

It makes my heart ache that you see this same look in the eyes of all too many children in photos in our newspapers today... bewilderment at the changes they are undergoing, a desperate determination not to howl in despair, a quiet strength and dignity beyond their years.

I hope we can find the compassion and courage needed now that there are thousands more children displaced by war and terror, so that they too can find their way to a new home.  I refuse to believe that we have lost those qualities.

Thank you for stopping by today.  Even if you've skipped the words, I hope the pictures will inspire you to have a play with your stencils.  You'll find lots more inspiration from my fabulous team-mates over at A Vintage Journey, so do come and Stencil It with us this month.

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Birthday Blog Candy

The candy is now closed.  Thank you so much for all your lovely comments.
I'll be drawing a winner as soon as I've drawn breath!

Hello all!  I can hardly believe it, but Words and Pictures is four years old today, 19th June.  And although it's a tricky year crafting-wise, I can't let the anniversary pass without offering a little "thank you candy" to my fantastic followers.

You make this whole journey so much richer.  I'm grateful for every visit, and so happy when I read each comment - especially when I'm being a pretty poor blogger myself. 

Since I can't post the prize out until the beginning of August anyway, I'm giving this a nice long deadline.  You have until 31st July to leave a comment here saying you would like to be included in the draw.  It would be lovely if you'd like to join up as a follower if you haven't already, and it'd be great if you would share the photo and link on your blog, but neither of them is compulsory.  Good luck everyone, and thank you for an incredible four years!

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy.
Marcel Proust

Friday, 29 July 2016

Carte Postale

Hello all!  Before we start, just a quick shout-out... There are just two more days to get your name in the hat for my Birthday Blog Candy so don't miss out on your chance to win!

Okay, back to business. It's one of those months with an extra Friday in it so over at A Vintage Journey it's time to play with tags.

Our Tag Friday posts are a chance for the Creative Guides to just have fun getting some ideas together on a tag, and there's always a fabulous variety on offer.  Do hop over to see what my lovely team-mates have been creating but, before you go, here's my Tag Friday offering for you.

It's a pretty simple affair, in one of my favourite colour combinations.  With my crafting time severely limited this year, I've found myself sticking to what I know and love when I have managed to get to the craft table.

And of course, as I was creating, stories started bubbling up.

I started with an Andy Skinner stencil and some texture paste.

And then moved on to a Tim Holtz stencil and some Distress Inks, and a TH stamp too.

The young woman is from the Photobooth strips.  I love searching through the faces until I find one that "speaks" to me.

Here, she is full of the joys of life, having just received a 'carte postale' from the man she loves.  He just wanted her to know he's thinking of her.

On their most recent weekend together, spent wandering the streets of Paris, he bought this small doll for her when she saw it in an antique shop window.

He said the doll looked as she must have done when she was a child, before he knew her.

(I should mention that the gorgeous flourishes are, of course, Calico Craft Parts.)

And now he's asked for a photograph so that he has a memento to hold on to when he can't be with her.

See how carefully she's dressed for this special photo, and the light in her eyes is that of a young woman who knows she is loved.

She'd like to hold on to the feeling of this moment and keep it forever - a happy memory to keep her warm when she is old.

Do hop over to A Vintage Journey and see what delights my fantastic team-mates have created for this Tag Friday, and we'll be back very soon for the beginning of a new challenge.  Have a great weekend, everybody!

The world before us is a postcard, and I imagine the story we are writing on it.
From The Miles Between by Mary E. Pearson

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Encore It takes two... for PaperArtsy

Hi!  I've got an Encore post for you again today - still gathering in the projects which have only had a sneak peek here at Words and Pictures.  This one is from July 2014, and it's nice and summery, so I thought July would be a good time to share it again.  It was created for one of my regular (irregular these days!) guest appearances at PaperArtsy, and here's what I wrote back then...

Hello everyone, Alison here from Words and Pictures, and I'm delighted to be back at PaperArtsy to share a little something with you that didn't really go as expected!

I set myself the challenge of using only two Fresco paints to create my little reversed canvas, and had a wonderful time playing with one of the Hot Pick Plates, number 1301.

I turned the canvas round to use the recessed space as a shadow box, and started by layering my two paints onto it.  I used Pea Coat (but mine is still the old translucent version) and Limelight - also a translucent - double the challenge!

I stamped the gorgeous butterfly and text from HP1301 onto some tissue paper.  I'm lucky enough (or hoarder enough) to still have a few sheets of the original Crackly stock.  I stamped in a combination of Potting Soil and Coffee Archival inks for a dark but not too dark look. I then used the same paints to layer washes of colour over my butterfly and the little flowers in the corner.

Once that was done, I glued the tissue paper into the canvas using lots of Satin Glaze under and over it, as well as all over the edges of the canvas for a nice sheen.  Rather than spend time tinting Grunge Paste, I decided to use up some leftover Ferro paste that I had to add stencilled vines and butterflies around the edges of the canvas.

At this point I was planning to leave the metallic look to go with the brown stamping and my metallic embellishments.  It was going to be all nice and golden brown in look, with just some blue and greens in the background... that was the early thinking as you can see below, but that all changed in the end!

The reason it changed is that I decided to alter all the metal using my two paint colours.  I allowed myself some Gesso in the mix so that I could pre-coat the metal before adding colour.  I did lots of layers and washes and dry-brushings of my two paint colours over the various Finnabair Mechanicals Flowers and Numerals.

Once the embellishments were all painty, the textured leaves looked wrong in gold, so I started to build up layers of washes and dry-brushing over those too - still only using the same two colours, mixed in various proportions for different colour shades and finishing with some pure Limelight dry-brushing, and Treasure Gold in the end too.

I sanded back the flowers with one of the fabulous PaperArtsy sanding blocks to create some metallic accents.  I liked the look so much that I decided to accentuate it with some Treasure Gold.  I used both White Fire and Florentine to gild the metal and the vines...

... even adding some shimmer to the main butterfly with a brush...

...as well as the little textured ones on the frame, which I also decorated and outlined with a PITT pen to add definition.

So, there you go... just two paint colours (plus some Gesso for the occasional touch of opacity), lots of altered metal, and some tissue paper stamping in my reverse canvas.  I hope there's something in all that to get your creative juices flowing!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  There's a new creation on the way next (in fact, two in a row), so I'll hope to see you again soon.  In the meantime, happy crafting all!

And finally, another twosome from Albert Einstein (almost certainly my most quoted individual):

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

Only two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the former.
Albert Einstein