Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentines Day with Tim ... Holtz February 2014 Tag

Happy Valentines Day to you all.  I hope the day is filled with people that you love.  My take on Tim's February 2014 tag is also filled with love, along with hugs and kisses, hearts, lots of red and even Cupid and his arrow.  If you haven't done so already, go take a look at Tim's blog and his February tag tutorial for all the details.  Gorgeous!  This month's tag has stenciling, embossing, and that amazing chalkboard effect ...  just loads of inspiration to get your hands inky.

I'm including a few closeups of my February tag.  At the top, I've included my "x" and "o" kisses and hugs from some of Tim's Idea-ology cirque alphabet stickers (part of my January win prize pack -- thanks Tim!!).  I also had a red gem brad that I absolutely had to include with this tag tie.  I thought it really went well with the sheen given off by the clear embossing over the stenciled harlequin pattern.

 I love the stamp that Tim used for his sentiment.  While waiting to purchase that stamp, I decided just to go with the simplicity of "love" for my chalkboard sentiment.  I added some flourishes for detail.

 However, I just couldn't leave well enough alone.  I wanted to add something to the chalkboard.  I went for some hearts cut out of dictionary pages and then drew some hearts on them with my Distress Markers.  After adhering them to my "chalkboard", I outlined them with a black archival pen.

 At the bottom of the page, Cupid is (die cut out of some romantic music score) is pointing to love.  His silver arrow charm has pierced through my Distress glittered grungeboard heart.

I need to get back to work.  Hugs to you all on this wonderful day.  Mary Elizabeth

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Remembering a Paris Romance

Instead of your traditional Valentine's Day card, I'm opting for something a little different to celebrate all things heart and love.   I started to think about how interesting it might be to buy an old book at a flea market and find someone's pressed memories of a long-ago romance.  That's the inspiration for this piece.

I started the project by taking a piece of Tim Holtz Distress Core'Dinations CardStock in pink and embossed it with Tim Holtz's Eiffel Tower Texture Fade by Sizzix.  I used a Seedless Preserves Distress Marker and a water brush to add a darker "purple" color in the recesses.  Then I took a thin black pen and added some shading.  It didn't give me deep enough "shadows", so I went back and added some thicker shading with the Seedless Preserves Distress Marker.  I lightly sanded the raised surfaces and distressed the edges.  I went over those edges with Vintage Photo Distress Ink using a blending tool. The embossed cardstock was adhered to a piece of printed paper with music on it. 

Now to add all of the fun memories.  There's a necklace charm, hung lovingly on an open heart (that has been distressed with sandpaper and Vintage Photo Distress Ink).

We have a vintage description of the Eiffel Tower (also distressed with sandpaper and Vintage Photo Distress Ink) paper clipped with an old paper clip.

A piece of rosette trim from a very special dress (from Tim Holtz trim colored with Victorian Velvet and Old Paper Distress ink) was added to the top of the cardstock.  The top and bottom of the music printed paper was trimmed with some velvet ribbon that I distressed with sandpaper to make it look like it has been taken out and handled several times.  At the top, a metal medallion was added to the velvet ribbon. 

 At the bottom of the music printed paper, we have more velvet ribbon.  It's topped with a chipboard embellishment that I painted with Antique Linen Distress Paint and spritzed with water to give the element a sort of white-washed look.  I sanded the raised elements and edges.  Then I stamped center with "amour" in Coffee archival ink.  I gave the entire thing a light coat of Walnut Stain Distress Ink using a blending tool.

I stamped Paris with the same coffee ink on some printed paper that I distressed and some tassels that I distressed by pulling some strings (as if the tassels had been caught on something during the many times the piece was handled).

Then there is the letter that has been folded and unfolded and some pressed pansies from underneath the Eiffel Tower.  All of these pieces are backed by floral vintage paper to showcase all of the memories.  With all of this distressing, I'm entering this into the Artistic Stamper "use Distress" Challenge.

And that is how I saw this very special Paris romance remembered.  I hope you have some special Valentine memories this week to chronicle and save for years to come!  -- Mary Elizabeth

Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Small Slice of Home

Welcome to my newest followers and thanks to all my friends for your kind comments.  It's so good to be back in the creative loop.  I have found some time to play in my craftroom and loving every minute of it! 

This latest piece comes with a story.  For some time now, I've been interested in the genre of "primitive crafts".  They harken back to days when people made crafts to bring beauty and enjoyment to a home of meager beginnings.  When you don't have much, things that we typically discard today were kept, reused, re-purposed, and rarely thrown away until there wasn't anything left to throw away. These craft pieces have an organic feel to them simply because they are made with found objects, pieces of someone's life (that could no longer be used for its intended purpose, like a burlap bag that ended up with too many holes), scraps of this and that leftover from a sewing project (a handmade dress created from fabric purchased with nickels saved over months and months), and free objects found in nature.

The reason I resonate so much primitive crafts and the history behind them is because my father grew up in this sort of environment.  My Dad's family were caretakers of a mountain in hills of North Carolina.  They were given a small cabin on the top of the mountain where they took care of live stock and made sure that no one else trespassed on the mountain.  My grandparents, great-grandmother, and three children (my Dad and his older brother and sister) lived in a house with no electricity and no running water.  They lived hand-to-mouth and appreciated the gifts that nature provided them.

My grandmother, a Godly woman who loved providing for her family, worked hard to make this cabin a home.  I thought of her a great deal as I worked on this project.  My family still has the teddy bear that she made out of scraps for my Dad when he was a child.  She tried to teach me to sew and always had some sort of hand-crafted "play pretties" (or toys) for me to play with as I grew up.  She made me one of my first dolls (which I still have), a stuffed clown named "Sammy".

Anyway, here is my first attempt at some sort of primitive craft.  I thought about some of the things that my grandmother may have had for such a craft as I chose things from my stash.  I started with some burlap (from a small gift bag that I had) and some paint.  Now I confess, I used some of Tim Holtz's paint (Granny never had anything that good to work with!) and some of Tim's stamps to create my design.  But she would have had several buttons, threads and pins hanging around to embellish such a project.  I added some lace around the edges to soften the burlap.  This could have come from an old slip that was too worn to wear anymore or left over from a dress that she made for someone else.

I thought about the format of this project and decided to do a framed wall-hanging. To give a more rustic feel, I used the back side of the frame. Then I was left with the question of what to put in the background.  I remember my Dad talking to me about using newspaper to stuff in the holes of the cabin walls to keep the wind from blowing in on cold winter days.  So, I took some vintage newsprint, covered it with paper circle masks (a primitive shape), and roughly painted it with Walnut Stain Distress Paint.  After I took the circle masks off the newsprint,  I used some Antique Linen Distress paint to wash over and soften the newsprint circles.

To continue the circle theme, I grabbed more buttons, the top of a spool, and a pop bottle cap (topped with some of Tim's vintage paper) for embellishments.  I used some threads that I pulled from the burlap, brown rope, some muslin fabric (from an old laundry bag) that I stamped with a TH checkerboard stamp and  Walnut Stain Distress Paint, and a vintage safety pin that used to finish off the above corner embellishment. 

Simple house shapes and stars are also popular in primitive crafts.  A hand-cut star adorns this Sizzix Tim Holtz Artful Dwelling house that I die-cut out of Core'Dinations card stock and then backed with cardboard.  Each of my houses were painted with Distress Paint (Walnut Stain above, Broken China and Seedless Preserves), sanded, and then edged with Walnut Stain Distress Ink.  You may notice some vines connecting my button embellishment down to the houses in piece.  The mountain that my Dad grew up on had several wild grape vines that they would swing and play on.  I didn't have any wild grape vines handy, so I went out and grabbed some cuttings off my Wisteria vine.  I love the movement it gives.

I decorated the vine cuttings on the right side of my hanging with more scraps of stamped muslin.  I really love this look.

I used some Tim Holtz Idea-ology grungeboard elements to spell out the word "Home".  I actually cut the letters a little to make them a bit more stream-lined and rustic.

 My granny made that cabin a home for her family.  I hope I can contribute to a sense of home for my family with my crafts as well.  I have to thank Jenny (Buttons) for her "Just Three Colors" challenge over at Our Creative Corner.  The color choice blue, brown and purple really gave me the impetus for my primitive crafts project.  This has been such a great stroll down memory lane and a time to be thankful for my family and what they've taught me.  -- Mary Elizabeth