Monday, 5 March 2018

Winter Garden

Morning all

How are you bearing up with the Winter weather, or to be more specific - Spring weather?

We’ve had several days of not being able to move due to the amount of snow on the rather steep hill on which we live. That’s fine by me, more time to spend in my work room. Today, I've finally got my youngest son back to school, they were closed the majority of last week due to heavy snowfall, he's less than impressed and hoped the snow would stick around for a little longer!

The garden has looked so peaceful and clean under it's thick blanket of pure white snow. I do hope my poor little snowdrops and narcissus have survived all that weight! The birds have been busy, flitting in and out to my feeding station, they need all the help they can get at this time of year and I love to sit and watch them.

This week I’ve played along with ‘Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge  - My Garden' and originally planned to do a colourful piece, resembling the colourful Spring which is hopefully just around the corner but then chose to celebrate my monochrome Winter garden in all its frozen splendour. Here is my submission...

I chose to work on a large MDF tag which I covered in coordination’s  dark grey cardstock. I then cut a piece of Bo-Bunny paper slightly smaller than the tag. I inked the edges using iced spruce and hickory smoke distress inks to darken the edges before adding texture gel through a flower stencil. In my mind this represents the flowers hid just below the surface, not taking centre stage but waiting patiently. I opted for texture gel rather than paste for its transparent finish, giving the appearing of frozen flowers in the background. Splashes of white and silver acrylic paints were added to the background along with a few random pearls.

While that dried I dug through my stash of fabrics and pulled out some synthetic crushed velvet in ivory. Using an old favourite Paperbag studios stamp, I heated my craft iron and applied the velvet over the versamarked stamp, placing the fabric textured side face down and covering it with kitchen paper before applying direct heat. Don’t move the iron around as this will potentially blur the image and make sure the hot iron doesn’t come into direct contact as it will melt the synthetic fabric.
Once your content that enough energy has been spent, a couple of intense minutes should get the job done, carefully remove the layers and peel the fabric off the stamp. The image should be etched into the fabric, the iron almost melts the texture on the raised bits of fabric leaving a lovely embossed image.

Stamp the flower image onto water soluble fabric using an archival ink pad and cut out. Don’t leave a huge border as it’s wasting the fabric and also you’ll have more to wash away later! Insert a layer of tutu netting in between the embossed velvet and the water soluble paper. Try to match the stamped image to the embossed image on the fabric and tack in place (I used straight pins to match up the corners of the frame and hoped for the best).
Try to avoid the areas where you’ll machine stitch. Load your machine with thread, I opted for grey to reflect my monochromatic palette. Begin to randomly stitch the lines of the image using a combination of straight and zigzag stitch. Sew the outside frame before switching thread to a contrasting colour. I opted for a metallic silver thread to lift the colour and to give the shimmering impression of snow and ice.

Once you’re content with the stitching you can wash the paper away using warm water and a gentle rub. I found the paper didn’t dissolve as well in the middle of the straight stitched frame but I liked the look it left me so didn't worry too much. Allow to dry naturally as the fabric will shrivel under direct heat.

Once the panel is dry take glass and clear beads and add a little detail to the flower head . I also took three beads and added them to a thin silver wire for added effect.

A length of broad white cotton lace and a scrap of pale green crash were added along side the flower panel. The tag was finished off with a leaf of subtle grey/ green floral lace and a pearl flower button. All the flowers are there but subtle in their frozen majesty. A crystal droplet, snowflake and muse token were added and a few words reflecting the serenity which the garden represents to me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed and understood the thought processes behind the making of this tag? What does your Winter garden look like? Are you enjoying this late winter weather or looking forward the warming sunshine of spring?

Creative hugs, Julie xx