24 December 2014

A Merry Christmas to All My Blog Friends

Hi everyone and welcome back to the last of my posts before Christmas. Thank you so much for bearing with me over the past month+ - it's been so incredibly busy here, but with the last of the projects completed for now I'm hoping to get some time to catch up with all those wonderful comments and spend some precious time with the family! As previously promised I'm finishing up with my take on Tim Holtz December 2014 Tag.

This card needed to be special as it was created for and with my crafting bestie in mind - the wonderful Anne. I followed Tim's instructions for the base layer (using Weathered Wood rather than Faded Jeans) adding extra drips of Picket Fence Distress Spray Stain and a little Frayed Burlap Ink around the edges. The Watering Can Archival Stamping used the spruce sprigs stamp from the Christmas Blueprints 4 set.

I LOVED messing with the Distress Spray Stains on Specialty Paper. The mottled effects are quite something and die cut beautifully. And as this was made for Anne it was the perfect opportunity to use the Friends die with kraft core card. To make the words work I cut 'best' using the Lowercase Block Talk die - that seemed like the ideal thing to use the Distress Glitter on in the way Tim described.

Then it came to trying out Frosted sheets. If I'd used a patterned Texture Fades folder the detail of the holiday greenery would have been lost. Bring on one of the debossing folders! Boy it was all easy to use and no horrible lines from the edge of the folder either. By adding another piece of kraft core card below the debossing it not only made it stand out more, it also provided the place to attach the Frosted sheet to the card.

I know Tim added Pine Twine and various other embellishments to his tag but I just didn't want to detract from what was already in place, so I went with a sprig of holly leaves and berries and some of those gorgeous Mirrored Stars to complete the design. Even I'm thrilled with how this turned out, especially as it was for such an important friend.

I think the words on this card sum up beautifully what I've discovered since beginning this creative journey - I have found some of the best and most genuine friends ever along the way and even have the luck to work alongside so many of them.

To all of you out there who are lovely enough to stop by and visit my little part of blogland I wish you the happiest Christmas ever and hope the New Year brings you health and happiness. Take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

23 December 2014

Sew Rusty

Hi everyone and welcome. I'm back with the penultimate pre-Christmas post to share a card inspired by the wonderful Shelly Hickox. Having used her 'galvanised metal' technique on a previous card I was intrigued by another of her faux finishes - 'rusted paint' - and decided to give it a go too.

Rather than use the technique over the whole background I opted for the now familiar trick of applying it to a tag to form the basis of the design. I followed Shelly's tutorial verbatim apart from using the Holiday Knit Layering Stencil to emboss the tag prior to painting it. That gave the surface a slightly raised texture which was enhanced when sanded. I highlighted the design even further by applying the Potting Soil Archival Ink and some Tarnished Brass Distress Paint through the stencil.

With the tag complete I piled it up with some vintage ephemera from one of Tim Holtz' packs, adding hand stitching and buttons to the button card and pin holes to the safety pin card. The glossy candy cane was stamped using one of the Mini Blueprint stamps before being coloured with Distress Markers, and I blended Festive Berries Distress Ink over the dress form.

The background combined more stencilling and (of course) splatters of stain along with a little washi tape and machine sewing. Adding a watery ink shadow around the main elements really helps them pop off the page too.

I hope you get chance to go on over to Shelly Hickox' blog to take a look at her fabulous array of Christmas ornaments - her creative imagination takes us to some fantastic places and will have you buzzing with ideas.

One more post from me tomorrow - my final Tim tag of the year. For now I'm off to make more mince pies and get those festive preparations finished off. Whatever you're up to take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

22 December 2014

Back to Hometown

Hi everyone and welcome. Back in November you may remember I mentioned the excitement of meeting Ken Oliver, designer of the Hometown collection of papers, at the NEC where they were being released for the first time.
You can see the moment I got my hands on these gorgeous designs and two of the cards made with them HERE.

So I'm back with two more festive cards created with the same papers. Here's the first;

Layering a crackle painted window frame over the 'postcard' section that matched this Antique shop portion of one sheet was intended to set the scene for this card. I echoed the ripped brown paper included within the paper design with more of the same at the bottom before applying a little white gesso and gold paint over the background. The rest was just a case of layering up some painted die cut holly leaves, paint stencilled festive foliage and stamped holly gilded with Yorkshire Dales Mega Flakes embellished with a selection of gems.

Now for card number two;

I used the ATC die to cut out the portion of the 'postcard' that I wanted to layer over it's matching background. To draw the eye inwards I added white gesso to the edges and blended a little brown ink over that. The bauble flourish was heat embossed with Verdigris embossing powder and provided the guide for the placement of the remaining elements. Having gilded the teardrop baubles and holly leaves as for the previous card I added Distress Stain to ramp up that verdigris look. Finally some matching chain was glued in place and I die cut a corner flourish from some card which had been painted with my 'verdigris recipe'.

I have to say I love the designs in this collection and look forward to adding a different seasonal twist to the others next year. If you want to get a closer look at the unaltered collection you can find them at Craft Obsessions.

I have two more cards to share with you before 'the big day' arrives. Tomorrow, another Shelly Hickox technique in action and on Christmas Eve my Tim tag entry for December. Hope you can join me for those.
As you get those last minute preparations sorted remember to take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

21 December 2014

Last but not least...

Hi everyone and welcome. As ever I'm making a mad scramble for the finishing line on The Funkie Junkie's 12 Tags of Christmas 2014 challenge sponsored by The Funkie Junkie Boutique. It's been great fun taking inspiration from each of the weekly tags posted by Linda and if you've missed out on any of them there's a full list of my versions at the end of this post. So now a drumroll please for my take on Tag #12...

If you've seen Linda's original version HERE you'll already have spotted the things I've copied; that wooden window frame and box were a great idea, but as I didn't have the Texture Fades embossing folder I used the Woodgrain Layering Stencil both for embossing and stencilling through with Walnut Stain Distress Ink. Linda' wreath was also adorable and for mine I opted for adding drops of Glossy Accents on top of punched red card as berries. If you use a heat gun on the berries part way through drying it produces a slight dimple on them.

I was thrilled when Linda used my 'faux weathered wood' technique for her background. It worked well on the tag for this card too and I was over the moon when my friends Anne and Mo used it for their own gorgeous projects HERE and HERE

As well as a sentiment, ribbon and die cut greenery, the card was finished with some Paper Lace Doily (stocked by The Funkie Junkie Boutique) in the window, and stencilling/splattering with Distress Inks - notice how those Distress Spray Stains have quickly become a crafting staple?!

So that's it, all 12 done (and a fair few of the required Christmas cards for this year finished as a result). I hope you've enjoyed seeing them as much as I've loved making them. There are a couple of cards still to share with you before 'the big day' arrives.
For now take care of yourselves and have a great week. Jenny xxx

20 December 2014

At The Gate it's Uncle Ben!

Hi everyone and welcome back to my second post of the day (the first was HERE). You are probably wondering what on earth that post title is all about (unless you are a keen bingo player); well it's my way of introducing two more entries for 'The Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas 2014' challenge, namely takes on Tag #8 and Tag #10. Before I share them with you a quick bit of 'admin'; this is an annual challenge being hosted by Linda Coughlin, the Funkie Junkie herself and has been very generously sponsored by The Funkie Junkie Boutique. The idea is that you take inspiration from each of Linda's weekly tags and create your own version, linking all 12 before December 21st to be in with a chance to win.

So first up here's my version of Tag #8...

Hopefully the similarities with the original are obvious - a 'Holiday Knit' stencilled Christmas stocking and the inclusion of snowflakes. I took that 'deconstruction' route again, adding the background stencilling to a tag and layering the various elements up. It was fun to echo the larger stocking with the mini stocking stamp from the Tim Holtz 'Mini Blueprints 5' set. And don't forget, you can cut up the filigree metal embellishments available from The Funkie Junkie Boutique so they fit with your design as I did here.

And now here's my version of Tag #10...

The similarities with Linda's original are far less obvious with this one. In fact I went with the principles rather than the look. The whole point to this was to get layers of media going in a way my awesome crafty friend Astrid (Astrid's Artistic Efforts) does. All my efforts were concentrated on the tag element; having stencilled holly leaves onto the base with Pine Needles Distress Paint I added a thin layer of gesso over the top. Next came more stencilling with Texture Paste and the Dots Fade Layering Stencil a mix mix of Distress Spray Stains. This had the inevitable consequence of making the dots blend into the background so I popped the stencil back on and dabbed the raised areas with Picket Fence Distress Paint.

Keeping that layering going the tag was placed on top of a background which had die cut holly leaves, a spritz of Evergreen Bough Distress Spray Stain and some gesso highlighting. To complete the look, kraft core festive greenery (with gold painted holly), a Distress Glittered reindeer 'a la Tim Holtz' and the heat embossed lettering - an idea pinched from the fabulous Sue Carrington!

Thank you for bearing with the frenetic pace of posts from me recently and humble apologies that my visits around blogland have all but dried up - CHA samples and DT work have kept me super duper busy for the past few weeks and there are still a few more things to finish before I have to pack away my craft room for a little while. I'll be back tomorrow with the final Funkie Junkie tag and hope you can join me for that.

Have a great weekend and remember to take care of yourselves even at this time of year, Jenny xxx

Krafty 'n' Quick at IndigoBlu

Hi everyone and welcome. Well, the days are positively flying by right now! It's my turn to host the final post of the year over at IndigoBlu today and I'm sharing a quick card idea for those last minute festive cards.

I hope you can join me over there to see what I've come up with. I'll be back with more to share later today. Until then and whatever you're up to this weekend take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

18 December 2014


Hi everyone and welcome. The flurry of posts continues as the race is now on to publish all my entries for 'The Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas 2014'. Before showing you my take on #Tag 11 some happy news from yesterday to share with you; 

Yes, that's right! My 'Three Little Soldiers' card was singled out to win challenge #16 by the Curiosity Crew at Linda Ledbetter's awesome 'Compendium of Curiosities III challenge'!!! The squeals of delight that followed the realisation of this amazing news had my dog running for cover, and was probably heard across the Atlantic! A huge thank you to the Curiosity Crew for bestowing this huge honour- I'm thrilled.

And so now on to today's festive offering...

In case you haven't heard about it, 'The Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas 2014' is an annual challenge being hosted by Linda Coughlin, the Funkie Junkie herself and has been very generously sponsored by The Funkie Junkie Boutique. The idea is that you take inspiration from each of Linda's weekly tags and create your own version, linking all 12 before December 21st to be in with a chance to win. This is my take on Linda's #Tag 11 and features the results of an awesome 'faux galvanised metal' tutorial from Shelly Hickox.

As you can see I followed Shelly's instructions by applying the Distress Paint to an embossed metal foil  tag - add extra dabs of Brushed Steel and heat it with a heat gun to make it bubble for an even more aged look. The lettering was done in the same way and everything was edged with Coffee Archival Ink. For an extra touch of glamour I added some 'verdigris' Tinsel Twine, altered in accordance with Tim's instructions in the Compendium of Curiosities III, page 60. That makes it eligible for the next instalment of the 'Compendium of Curiosities III challenge #17'! This time the challenge is generously sponsored by Inspiration Emporium.

You'll spot a collection of Tim Holtz Ephemera in use again - I've ordered more of this as it's just so useful for layering. And of course there's stencilling, splattering and shadowing with Tumbled Glass, Tattered Rose and Pumice Stone Distress Inks/Spray Stains. Extra flakes have been stamped/heat embossed in silver and die cut before being covered in Tumbled Glass Distress Glitter.

Finally there's an Anything Goes challenge over at the Simon Says Monday challenge and it's been a while since I've been able to enter!

With three more tag interpretations left to share and a final IndigoBlu post to share on Saturday my posts will be coming thick and fast for the next couple of days, so until the next instalment, take care of yourselves! Jenny xxx

16 December 2014

Late Night Crafting...

Hi everyone and welcome. There's been a lot of late night crafting going on here recently in my attempt to stay on top of various commitments. Anyone else out there ever start a project late evening and motor through only to look at it in the morning and think "what was I doing?!!"

Whilst trying to get through the Christmas card list and tackle another challenge entry I did just that the other night. It should have been straight forward as I was looking to recreate Linda's #Tag 7 from The Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas 2014. However, in thinking about techniques and execution rather than design I forgot the 'big picture'. Rather than abandon my first effort I finished it and then made a second version with the layout in mind this time. So which do you prefer?

Version 1

 Version 2

If you haven't seen my previous 'Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas posts', this annual challenge is being hosted by Linda Coughlin, the Funkie Junkie herself and has been very generously sponsored by The Funkie Junkie Boutique. The idea is that you take inspiration from each of Linda's weekly tags and create your own version, linking all 12 before December 21st to be in with a chance to win.

I really did pretty much follow Linda step by step with Gothic stencilling, Distress Spray Stain spritzing, stencilled glitter baubles, embossed holly leaves and shimmer berries. I did take on board Linda's problem with getting the Distress Glitter to stick to the paste and opted for Gold Embossing Paste which takes longer to dry but is super tacky. My berries are Melissa Frances pearls coloured with alcohol ink and some DIY store chain and sheer ribbon worked on both. There's also some shadowing around all the baubles using an Aged Mahogany Distress Marker and Detailer Water Brush - as the baubles were so similar to the backgrounds it needed something to highlight them. And some splatters of Picket Fence Distress Spray Stain completed the look on both.

Thank you for joining me again and for bearing with me at this busy time of year. When life calms down a little I'll be able to get round to visiting Blogland properly. In the meantime take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

15 December 2014

Hand Krafted

Hi everyone and welcome. Yesterday you got to see all the wonderful Secret Santa gifts the Creative Guides at A Vintage Journey shared with each other. If you haven't stopped by I recommend you do as there's a very special blog hop going on... 

Today I'm sharing the accompanying Christmas card that Jennie received alongside her altered journal. It's my interpretation of #Tag 6 from The Funkie Junkie 12 Tags of Christmas 2014.

First the all important details - this annual challenge is being hosted by Linda Coughlin, the Funkie Junkie herself and has been very generously sponsored by The Funkie Junkie Boutique. The idea is that you take inspiration from each of Linda's weekly tags and create your own version, linking all 12 before December 21st to be in with a chance to win.

Linda's version of #Tag 6 was vintage monochromatic with embossed snowflakes and doily in the background. Rather than blend ink on plain card I opted for kraft paper and added a stencilled monoprint pattern with Picket Fence Distress Paint and the Gothic Layering Stencil. Having added pieces of doily and edging with ink I stitched this layer to a kraft card backing. Finally an ATC sized piece of card was blended with Vintage Photo Distress Ink to replicate Linda's original.

To finish the card I just had to follow Linda's lead as the flower on top of the snowflake looked superb. With and embossed corrugated card/tissue wrap snowflake left over from my take on Tim's November Tag it seemed a pity to waste it. Topping it with a book page flower, an alcohol ink dyed gumdrop and some kraft core holly leaves worked a treat. This was teamed with some little die cut corrugated snowflakes splattered with Picket Fence Distress Spray Stain. And finally the sentiment; cut from kraft card again, I stamped the outer edge first in Picket Fence Distress Paint and then in Jet Black Archival Ink to get a shadow look.

So that's No. 6 completed. In truth 'behind the scenes' I've got them all done (bar today's last instalment) so if you can bear it I'll bombard you with the rest over the coming week. For now it's back to the craft room for me - there's paint, flakes and ink all over the place in there and a tonne of samples to create! For now take care of yourselves as we hurtle towards Christmas. Jenny xxx

14 December 2014

Secret Santa at A Vintage Journey

Hi everyone and welcome. If you've joined me from A Vintage Journey or from Nikki's blog you'll already know that today's the day when we reveal the Secret Santa projects each of us created for a fellow Creative Guide.

You'll see on the main blog post over at A Vintage Journey that this is a blog hop with a very special Give-Away twist.
Find the other Creative Guides' blogs here;
Brenda - Bumblebees and Butterflies
Astrid - Astrid's Artistic Efforts
Jennie - Live The Dream
Nikki - Addicted To Art
Jenny - you are here!!!
Jools - Creative Journey
Julie - Juliz Design Post
Anne - Redanne
Julia - Create With Me
Chris - My Corner of Heaven
Alison - Words and Pictures
S@andy - My Crafty Life on the Internet
Annie - Curious & Crafty Treasures
You'll find out more about our special blog hop at the end of this post.

And now to the gift I created...

It was a privilege to be chosen to create a present for my lovely teamie Jennie Atkinson (Live The Dream), but it also filled me with trepidation - well have you SEEN the incredible works of art she creates?!! I settled on altering a journal with the idea that she could take it with her on one of her sailing holidays for doodling, drawing, making notes or whatever else takes her fancy.

To make it easier to pack the umpteen layers I wanted to include needed to be relatively flat! When you're faced with a huge blank kraft coloured space it can be hard to know where to start but it occurred to me that adding an initial layer of tissue wrap would help to define where things should be placed. After applying a thin coat of gesso, some texture paste stencilling and a couple of strips of lace it was time to have fun with Distress Spray Stains. By sticking to a very neutral 'Jennie style' colour palette with drips and light misting I knew it wouldn't detract from the top layers.

You'll recognise items from Tim Holtz ephemera packs and a fun Found Relative behind the tag window. Some stamping, stitching and rub-ons added detail whilst Idea-Ology can always be relied upon to heap on industrial style interest.

And to top it all off the lettering, spelling out the name of Jennie's aptly entitled blog. Cut from grungepaper it had a combination of Walnut Stain, Peeled Paint and Brushed Pewter Distress Spray Stains added which marbled together to create a fabulous aged metal look. I've not included photos of the back of the journal here as that was left relatively plain; the tissue, gesso layer but stencilled with paint before being spritzed with Distress Spray Stains to help reduce the overall thickness.

So that was Jennie's Secret Santa gift and I'm pleased to report that she liked it!
As for me, I was BEYOND excited to receive this INCREDIBLE perpetual calendar from the wonderful Anne (Redanne)!!! She seriously got it spot on with this and I now have it sat proudly on display in my craft room helping me to keep track of those deadlines. Thank you Anne xxx

And now, I mentioned at the top of this post that this is part of a very special blog hop. We would like to give each and every one of you who enter our challenges and who read our blog posts a Christmas gift and the nearest we could think of doing this is to offer our Christmas Give-Away. Over at A Vintage Journey blog you'll see a lovely present for one lucky person.

Now just to be friendly we would like you to -
1. Visit all the blogs of the Creative Guides (listed at the beginning of this post) and leave them a comment.
2. Go back to the A Vintage Journey blog and leave a link up on the Linky below to a post on your blog where you have mentioned our Give-Away and linked it back - this might be a new post just with the Give-Away info in it or you could include it in a post you are writing for something else (just like you would if you were entering a challenge).

If we have more than 30 links there will be a second Give-away added and if we get more than 50 links there will be a third..

Make sure you have linked by 23.55 on Sunday 21st December (when the Linky closes). The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on our next challenge post on 26th December.

Good luck everyone, enjoy the hop and thank you in advance for taking part.
Jenny xxx

13 December 2014

Have Yourself A... for IndigoBlu

Hi everyone and welcome. And so another Saturday rolls around and we speed ever closer to Christmas. Today I'm sharing another Christmas card over at IndigoBlu made from gilded bits and bobs. 

It would be great if you could join me over there and let me know what you think.
Tomorrow I'll be back with a very special post for A Vintage Journey.
Until then, and whatever you're up to this weekend, have a great one and take care of yourselves. Jenny xxx

12 December 2014

Let's Celebrate at A Vintage Journey

Hi everyone and welcome. Today sees the launch of the latest challenge over at A Vintage Journey. Our host Nikki has chosen to ask us to share celebratory projects. "You can make something to celebrate Christmas if you wish but lets not forget about those December birthdays, anniversaries, Hanukkah and New Years. It may be fun to focus on celebrations other than Christmas, it's up to you." Of course given that this is a Tim Holtz focussed challenge we need to see/know what Tim has inspired in your project. And remember, as this challenge is generously sponsored by Country View Crafts there's a gift voucher for the overall winner. Three 'Pinworthies' will also be featured on our dedicated Pinterest board.

Never one to swerve a challenge in the midst of all the build up to Christmas, I've created a card to celebrate a family birthday. Can you spot the theme? And I think the Tim Holtz influence stands out on this one too.

Those linguists amongst you will already have spotted the wording. My French speaking son rather enjoyed getting something a little different this year! And of course the colour scheme for this was heavily influenced by the French Tricolore.

The main basis of this design was a square of paper from the Tim Holtz French Industrial - the one with the 3" square panels. Taking the lead from my March Tim Holtz Tag I emphasised the squares with some simple hand sewing, adding ink to create extra faux dimension. Using the reverse of the same paper for stamping the little elements on (before fussy cutting/edge blending) ensured they blended perfectly.

Didn't you just love the debossing on Tim's May Tag? As a way of replicating the look in reverse I used the Lowercase Block Talk lettering and added some shadows with a Frayed Burlap Distress Pen. And of course there's those magnificent splatters (do this in a well covered area or you WILL get ink EVERYWHERE!!!) Tim's July 2012 Tag used alcohol inks to achieve a similar look and that was in the back of my mind as this came together.

I hope you will join in with the 'Let's Celebrate' challenge over at A Vintage Journey and urge you to take a look at the amazing makes from my fellow Creative Guides for lots more inspiration.

I'm back again tomorrow with the regular Saturday IndigoBlu post.
For now take care of yourselves, Jenny xxx

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