Sunday, 1 March 2015

Anything But A Card

Shelagh Metselaar
Clarity Stamps Challenge 25 – Anything But a Card
A Passage Through India

Hi, Shelagh here.
My project for this month’s Clarity Challenge ‘Anything But a Card’ was only ever going one way although I have an alternative should time run out - but thankfully not! My friend from Brunei days - we first met over 35 years ago – has a birthday pending and is spending it visiting India. My idea - a Memory Book in which she can scrapbook her journey. The project has taken a few weeks to put together and as ever, my planning followed the old teaching path starting with:- a) what ? b) where ? c) how?
I selected a canvas - I wanted to trial some new techniques (for me) – and the rest took trial, error and plenty of mistakes and patience. (I'm sorry I don't have step-by-step this month but there is a photo for each 'chapter.')
(The tags and butterflies are purely to add interest and to hide the rings.)

·         Clarity Stamps:- Palm Leaf, Remountable Parakeets, Letterbox, Hot Air Balloon – medium and small; caravan, bird, small palm tree from Summer Shades Set, Speech Bubbles, Remountable Cheese Plant, Wild Flower Corner, Toucans, NDC Pocket, Ornate Church
·         Clarity Stencils:- Seed Heads
·         Cardstock:- Clarity- Theuva, Black Coated; Kraft card-card blanks
·         Canvas x 2
·         Pebeo:- Black Gesso, Gilding Wax - gold
·         Inkpads:-Distress Inks – variety; Versamark, Versafine Black Onyx
·         Embossing Powder – Gold Detail, Clear Detail
·         Grunge Paste
·         Mod Podge

I went ahead happily stamping, masking, blending until all areas chosen were covered. I used Kraft cards cut down to size for the pages and scrap pieces to create the tabs. The panels were stamped on Theuva card and mounted on Clarity Black Coated card. Pockets, frames, books were made as retainers for travel memorabilia.
Notes & Quotes 1
Stamps - Parakeets, Speech Bubbles from Remountable Elegant Ladies, Letterbox
Inkpads - Spiced Marmalade, Picked Raspberries, Seedless Preserves, Squeezed Lemonade
Notes & Quotes 2
Stamps - Palm Leaf
Inkpads - Mowed Lawn, Peacock Feathers, Salty Ocean
Notes & Quotes 2
This is a little notebook to record memorable conversations and quotes from the trip.
I cut some printable vellum, rounded the corners and made a note book with a pocket inside each of the back covers. The pages were stitched together, something I learnt to do at a SCEA summer school in Germany over 30 years ago and a technique I have had little opportunity to use since.
Notes & Quotes 3
Travel 1
Stamps - Small and Medium Hot Air Balloons, Remountable Christmas Banners (one of the blank ones)
Inkpads - Weathered Wood, Squeezed Lemonade, Mowed Lawn
Travel 2
These pockets are for ticket stubs and travel bits and pieces.
Accommodation 1
Stamps - Caravan from Summer Shades Set
Inkpads - Iced Spruce, Salty Ocean, Mowed Lawn, Squeezed Lemonade
Accommodation 2
These corners are doubled up to contain accommodation memorabilia.
Stamps - Wild Flower Corner
Inkpads - Picked Berries, Spiced Marmalade, Mowed Lawn, 
Distress Markers
Flora & Fauna 1
Stamps - Toucan, Cheese Plant
Inkpads - Weathered Wood, Mowed Lawn
Spectrum Noir Pens
Flora & Fauna 2
These little frames are for photographs.
Sights & Sounds 1
Stamps - Ornate Church, Small Palm Tree from Summer Shades
Inkpads - Squeezed Lemonade, Mowed Lawn,Pine Needles, Weathered Wood
As I don't have the Taj Mahal stamp and  wished to create a type of high edifice, I masked off part of the Ornate Church to create the towers.
                                                                  Sights & Sounds 2
These little pockets have extra room for USB sticks etc.
Stamps - NDC Pocket, Palm Tree as before, bird from Summer Shades
Inkpads - Spiced Marmalade

Front and back boards:-
Each canvas ‘Grunge Pasted’ over the ‘seed-head’ stencil. Once dry, black gesso was applied over all; and once this was dry, applied to the other side. Gilding wax was applied over the grunged area of each canvas, particularly around the edges. A Cropodile Big Bite was used to punch holes for the ring connectors.
                                                                      Outside Covers
Stencil, Grunge Paste, Black Gesso, Gilding Wax, Mod Podge
Inside Covers
Stencil, Black Gesso, Gilding Wax, Mod Podge
The seed-head stencil was then placed over this flat side of the canvas - front and back, then gold gilding wax sparingly applied. 
Finally, back and front of each canvas was painted with Mod Podge to offer some  resilience to wear and tear.
A few tags were cut, stamped, coloured and attached to the rings, along with butterflies from the Butterfly Tree set.
Et voila! Here we have one Indian Holiday Memory Book.

The Box
I had attempted to make a box using Kraft card but the A4 was too small to accommodate the book. Since I save all my gift boxes, I went on a search looking for one from a particular perfume brand which I thought would fit the bill; however instead I found a perfect match which had contained culinary spicy sauces.

Sorry - I omitted to photograph the before, but here we have the box top coated with black gesso, masked off equally on all four sides before being stencilled through with grunge paste.
The box was masked off then stenciled and grunge paste applied to four sides, painted with black gesso then gilding wax rubbed over the top. The base was painted with black gesso; when dry the stencil was placed over, first having masked off a border using very low tack masking tape then gilding wax applied through the stencil as before.
The final touch was to black gesso over the entire interior, gilding wax over the stencil (as before and above) on the inner lid, then Mod Podge applied to all areas inside and out.

This completes my memory book and matching box.
Thank you for visiting and I hope this gives you ideas to make your own Memory Book.
Shelagh  ;~}


  1. Oh Shelagh this is truly magnificent and so much work and the box is beautiful too I am sure your friend will fill it with all sorts of memories and it is a keepsake to treasure for life xx

    1. Thank you, Linda - it's one of those things I want to keep for myself but since I shan't be going to India any time soon ......... I guess it's got to go! ;~]

  2. What an absolute fantastic Memory Box. You can tell a lot of love went in to this with all the details. A fabulous make and it looks really lush too. Hugs xx

    1. Thanks, Emma. Yep - a labour of love, big time but hey, that's what friends are for and after a difficult year, she deserves it. ;~}

    2. I should have said earlier that I love all the techniques you have used and it is really hard to pick just one piece in it that would be a favourite...even your box is marvellous! I chose it all and in fact I will be making a box like yours in homage ( I do not think I would have the patience to do the book at the moment lol). Really marvellous work Shelagh xxxx

  3. Shelagh, this memory box and book is just amazing. So much detail... Your friend is a very lucky lady to receive such a beautiful gift: a keepsake in its own right, but filled with precious memories... priceless. Xxx

    1. Thank you kindly, Barbara. Yes, we shared a lot early on in our respective teaching careers some highs, some lows and these memories were the basis and also inspiration for the project. ;~}

  4. This is stunning like all your art work you do all I can say is it's lovely. Xx

    1. Thank you, Carol - and your comment is much appreciated as I look upon you as the canvas guru and aspire to achieving results like yours. ;~}

  5. Such a lovely gift and I'm sure your friend will fill it with memories of her travels. You must have spent hours making this which reflects your love of crafting xx

    1. Thank you - Sazzle; it was a bit of a love 'darg' but well worth it, although at times there was much pondering and wondering if I was going in the right direction and doing the right thing, particularly in light of all the other fantastic projects on display from the design team. I worked on some other projects but in the decided to stick my first instinct and from there the book's completion was comparatively plain sailing and finding the box to fit and alter was the icing. ;~}

  6. Shelagh this is gorgeous. What a wonderful gift for your friend, Which I've no doubt she'll treasure always. Hugs xx

    1. Thank you, Angela. We go back a long time and sometimes it's nice to acknowledge that; I know when Mike and I were working overseas, I was sometimes a bit remiss. ;~}

  7. Can I say what a wonderful book you have made if it was me I would be so over the moon to get a gift like this lot of work has gone I to it and was worth it xxxx

    1. Thank you, Julie. What's the saying? - 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration - or something along those lines anyway. This is one of those things that you have to have someone in mind at the heart of it, otherwise it wouldn't work.

  8. Such a work of love and an unbelievable present. She must be a very special friend indeed. Stunning.

    1. Thank you, Naomi. The best thing was I enjoyed doing it, it wasn't a chore and the project had a purpose which makes such a difference instead of the usual stuffing it away in a box. ;~}

  9. Simply stunning Shelagh. This was obviously a labour of love as you must have spent many many hours completing it, It is all wonderful but I especially love the stencil work on the cover and the box. x

    1. Thank you, Lesley. Stencilling and grunge paste are both new to me but I do like the effect that can be achieved by adding gesso and gilding wax, an easy way to start anyway! ;~}