This is a unique challenge blog where we are inspired by and focus on the Vintage; shabby; mixed-media; art journaling; industrial, timeworn and steampunk genres and encompass the talent, flair, expertise and ideas of many artists that we are inspired by. We welcome all types of projects - cards, journaling, assemblage, layouts, albums, atcs, altered art in fact whatever you want to share (as long as it is in good taste).

Friday 27 February 2015

Welcome Sarah Emily and who are the latest winners?

Hello, my fellow Vintage Journeyers! My name is Sara Emily, and otherwise known as sarascloset. I was totally floored when my Gentlemen’s Club project was picked by the Creative Guides as winner of Sandy’s challenge “Use a Portrait” back in January. It is because of that I was invited back to be a Guest Creative guide for the second time, and I can say it is quite an honor! I was thrilled not only to be invited by A Vintage Journey, but not long after I found out the theme was to be “Special Numbers”, I was invited to a friend’s 90th birthday party. I knew then just what direction my numbers would take me!

Let me tell you a little bit about myself for those that are curious. I hail from northern NJ, where I was raised on a fairly large dairy farm with my 5 brothers and sisters and a menagerie of animals including horses, cows, bunnies (hundreds of them!), various cats and dogs and an occasional wild sickly bird my Dad would bring in from the fields for us to nurse back to health. After a short stint in Texas, I now live in Wilmington, NC, just minutes from the beach. I am married and have 16 year old twins who keep me quite busy. I am a “retired” Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, and have been working as a gardener and Personal Assistant for over 7 years. That makes me 35 years old! Ha! Ha!

My vintage journey started with one Tim Holtz Distress ink which I still use daily—Vintage Photo. When I learned of this wonderful crafty resource known as the Internet, I quickly became a huge fan of Tim’s vintage grungy style and his wide variety of products. My favorite thing about Tim’s products is their adaptability to many different styles.

Let’s get started! Brenda has chosen the theme “Special Numbers”, and I chose to use a few of Tim’s numerals to help celebrate a very special birthday of a family friend. Our friend is turning 90 on March 2, and I wanted to make her something she could use, and that would commemorate her life. I got a few inside tidbits of information from Martha’s daughter such as her past accomplishments, her favorites, special dates and milestones in her life, and got to work transforming this book style box I rescued from the ordinary. (For a before photo and other photos, please be sure to visit my blog. I chose a style for this vintage book/box which marries grunge with shabby through color choices and textures.

Tim Holtz has so many wonderful techniques to use, and I chose a few in making my background including, but not limited to Paint Marbling, Layering Stencil: Texture Paste, a version of Faded Layers and Effect Powders and my favorite—spritz and flick!

After completing the painted background, I chose and tore paper from Tim’s Wallpaper stash—another personal favorite-- to make the background paper layer.

I used some numbers from his old Lost and Found Salvage Stickers—the number 19 game piece and license plates. The “19” pairs up with the “25” from his new ephemera to signify Martha’s birth year. When you reach such a milestone you just want to shout out your date of birth! I’ve used the license plates along the spine of the book to represent the states that she has lived in.

I’ve added a few new products to my stash just for this project—Framed Alpha Parts and Thrift Shop and Expedition Ephemera. Good words, useful numbers and lovely butterflies I inked up to match my palette. A number 3 Flash Card with a bit of musical note Tissue tape stands in as a nod to her role in a musical trio she once sang and traveled with.

I used Tim’s rub-ons for the 90 on the spine and for the sentiment on the back cover. Also included on the spine are an Industrious frame and some lines I made using a string and Distress paint to give it that old volume look. A Simple Sayings stamp stands in for the title.

The back cover remains somewhat bare, save for the paint, stenciling and powdering as I wanted a flat surface for the book to sit on (this is meant to sit on a table), and I am waiting for a photo from Martha’s daughter to complete a short bio like you might see on the back of a novel. The bio also contains some personal information I thought she might not want published on the Internet.

I’ve chosen a few of Tim’s dies to create some dimension on the front cover, including Ornate Frame, Tattered Florals and Spring Greenery. I added a sprinkle of micro beads from my stash to the handmade roses and used a sunburst punch to make the center of the blue flower.

I gave the edges of the “book” the look of pages using Distress paint and a dry brush. Crinkle ribbon was dyed with Distress stains, ink and paint to match the roses and twirled up for a little closure and a shabby bow. Although I’ve used seam binding in the past, there really is no substitute for Tim’s Crinkle ribbon for coloring and shaping.

To finish it off, I gave the entire book a shabby white wash treatment using Picket Fence and a tiny bit of Broken China Distress paints and my finger. A final spritz here and there with Tim’s marker spritzer and Walnut Stain Distress marker give it one last final touch.

The only thing I did to the inside of the box was to give it a quick coat of gesso, since the inside was pretty enough, but the color needed to be taken back just a bit.

Martha has made many friends in her lifetime, and her daughter is asking them to send a little warm birthday wish if they are unable to attend her party. We will fill this memory box with them so she can read them at her leisure.

I’m so thankful to Brenda and the Creative Guides for giving me this opportunity to be a Guest Creative Guide today. I hope you have enjoyed my interpretation of “Special Numbers” and that you will stop by my blog ( for more details and to have a poke around.

A huge thank you Sarah Emily for sharing this wonderful box, you have put so much thought into it and paid attention to the most tiniest of details, it is indeed a fabulous idea for a gift to a friend, I am sure she will treasure it.


I am now handing over to Annie for the news about who is the winner of the Tic-Tac-Toe challenge and the Pinworthy Mentions.

It was lovely to see so many amazing entries for the Tic Tac Toe Challenge.
Deciding on a winner was no easy task, but without further ado, our winner is

Zoe’s Matchbox Collage is stunning with so many wonderful
details and embellishments.

Congratulations Zoe, your badge and voucher from Country View Crafts will be on its way very soon.

The Pinworthies are as follows:

#15 Branka

Wonderful background textures and layout on Branka’s canvas

#29 Suzanne

This really caught my eye with fabulous textures, rub ons and sprays.

#38 Hilda

Hilda’s canvas was inspired by Tim’s quilting technique on his February tag and I love the layout she has created.

Huge Congratulations to all of you for sharing your amazing projects. Your Pinworthy badges will be winging their way to you soon

Today sees the beginning of the second week of Brenda’s challenge, “Special Numbers” so there is still time for you to join in with us and to be in with a chance of winning a voucher from Country View Crafts, our regular sponsor. As always you can view the inspiring projects created by the Creative Guides, who share their step by step details on their own blogs, which can be viewed by clicking on their names.

Have a great weekend and remember to pop back on the 6th March, when we will be 'Celebrating our First Anniversary’.

Hugs Annie and Brenda x

Monday 23 February 2015

Destination Inspiration - Can You Feel It?

Hello Vintage Journey enthusiasts!  Julia here with my very first Destination Inspiration post.  Today I'm playing with felt - seeing how Tim Holtz products work with it. I'm always looking to use my stamping supplies in new ways.  So let me show you how I've played with felt and several things "Tim"!  I also have a few felt projects to share at the end of my post.  
 NOTE:  I decided on the topic for this post in January and started working on it then - I had never seen Tim use felt so I was a little nervous doing this post - and then, Lo and Behold!!  Tim used a die cut felt heart on his Feb 2015 tag - then I felt  much better!!
First off - I decided to experiment on little pieces of felt so I didn't ruin a project if something didn't work out.  Here I've used Peacock Feathers Spray Stain through Lattice Work Stencil onto tan felt.  I love this result! (and used it on a project below!)
Next I sponged Spiced Marmalade Distress Ink through the Dot Fade Stencil onto orange felt.  This came out nicely as well!
For my third experiment I used Wendy Vecchi's White Embossing Paste through the Gothic Stencil onto maroon felt.  I was surprised the stenciling came out so clear on this - and the texture is wonderful!
Next up is embossing onto felt -  this came out much better than I thought it would- but the embossing powder sort of stuck everywhere not just on the inked image - so the text isn't really clear.  I used Wendy Vecchi Watering Can Archival Ink and Embossing Powder and a Dina Wakley stamp - Create with Abandon.  The felt also shrinks up a bit when you heat it.
The next two photos show how you can get different results depending on the color of the product (in this example - Distress Paint) and the color of the felt.  Using Rusty Hinge Distress Paint on maroon felt did not produce a clear image.
 The image showed much cleaner using Fired Brick Distress Paint on grey felt.  The bird is from Classics #16 set.  (ALWAYS clean off your stamps right away after 'inking' them with paint!)
So then I tried Distress Paints through Stencils onto felt.   Here is Picket Fence with the Harlequin Stencil on orange felt -  I was surprised that the white paint showed yellow on the felt - another outcome you wouldn't know until you tried it.
My next photo shows how the Picket Fence Distress paint shows true on tan felt as does the Fired Brick on orange felt.
So then I wanted to try using felt with some of Tim's dies.  My first experiment was with his Tattered Pine Cone die. The felt cut easily with the die and I put it together pretty much the same way as when using paper (accept you can't bend over the edges to shape! - see Tim's Tattered Pine Cone tutorial with paper here.) 
I hot glued the center piece to the tip of a toothpick and wrapped it around adjusting it until I liked the shape.
I added hot glue to the bottom.  Then I had to add some hot glue on a few of the layers to hold them together.  I cut off the exposed end of toothpick.
Since this felt pine cone was so successful - I moved right into making a project with them.  I made several pine cones in tan and dark brown felt and also cut out the fern on the same die in two different colors of green.  I added dots of white Embossing Paste with my finger to look like snow.
I embossed Letter Press letters with Wendy Vecchi Fern Green and Tree Branch inks and  Fern and Tree Branch embossing powders.
Wendy suggests that after you have the embossing powder on the letters - to rub some off of the edges so that when you heat emboss them it looks like some edges of color have worn off - here you can see how I've rubbed some of the powder off (and below you will see them embossed on my finished project)
 The felt seemed a little bit too clean to me (!) - so I sprayed them with Tea Dye Distress Spray Stain
and did the same to the pine cones.
I made a base for my project using a 4" x 6"  Burlap Panel.  I laid a piece of  Melange Tissue Wrap over the top and covered it with Gesso.  When dry I sprayed it with Brushed Pewter Distress Spray Stain  (effectively removing any hint of the pattern of the tissue wrap under it!)  And then I used white embossing paste through the Lattice Work Stencil along the top half.
After that dried - I adhered my pine cones and branches around the edges and the Letter Press words in the open space.
I proceeded to make 2 more projects using felt - I'm just going to show you photos since I've kept you SO LONG already! (are you still here?!)
They are pretty straight forward.
I decorated an 8" x 4 1/4" felt purse that I purchased at Joann's, using tan felt, the Winter Wonder Die, Lattice Work and Dot Fade Stencils, Snowflake Adornment, Linen Ribbon, Mini Fasteners (the eye) Mini GearsPeacock Feathers Distress Spray Stain and Picket Fence Distress Paint. I adhered the felt to the bag with Scotch Quick Dry Adhesive.
And finally, I decorated a 5" x 7" burlap bag.  I used Tim's Frayed Fabric Technique for the base of this project - found on page 66 of Compendium of Curiosities Vol III - the Ornate Frame die, an old Sizzix Heart die, Heart Charm, Ring Fastener, Arrow, Stripes Stencil and Picket Fence Spray Stain.
I hope I have inspired you to try new ways to use all of your stamping/crafting supplies (including felt!) . As Tim wrote in my copy of Compendium of Curiosities Vol I - "Stay Curious!"
Thanks so much for stopping by at A Vintage Journey today!

And don't forget the AVJ Special Numbers challenge going on right now!

Hugs XX -  Julia

Friday 20 February 2015

Special Numbers

What are the significant numbers in your life? For me it's birthdates and anniversaries although I always say my lucky number is 13. To be honest though I love seeing and using numbers in art and I often use them in my projects.
So thinking about your project to enter - although you do not have to use Tim products so many of the things he produces have numbers on - papers, stamps, remnant rubs, stencils and idea-ology to name a few. Choose how to incorporate your significant numbers,  it could be birthdays, age, anniversary or the lucky ones! Use them on any project you wish and tell us how they are important to you; we would like to see one of those vintage, shabby, mixed media, journaling projects that has a Tim Holtz influence. Please let us know what that influence is, if it's not evident, so that we can consider you for the winner and pinworthies mentions.

Here are the amazing samples from the ever talented Creative Guides to help inspire you.

For this fun challenge I decided to create a wallet to hold a size 10 tag and of course I made a tag to fit inside. If you want to know what my special number are and why and how I put this together, well just visit my blog

For this great challenge I made an 8 by 8 card, incorporating Tim Holtz ( TH) Kraft CO'Ordinations,
TH embossing folder, TH Wallpaper Flower Stash, TH Idea-Ology numbers and metal tag, scraps of torn papers from TH's Found Relatives, Ephemera and of course Distress Ink. I also used TH's scissors, sanding and distressing tools as well as a Ranger heat mat. For more details please visit my blog by clicking HERE

I am very lucky to have four very special friends and when we are together we refer to ourselves as the Famous Five - poor Enid Blyton would not recognise this new adventurous bunch! I have used the new Cracked Pistachio Distress Ink (I love it!) and loads of number rub ons. My tag is quite simply inspired by all the Tim products which contain a number and of course the five of us.  Join me over at Live the Dream if you want to see more details.

The timing on this challenge couldn't have been better.  I have a very special number, which is 70.  A few days ago we celebrated my parents 70th wedding anniversary.
You can see Tim's influence here with the Vintage Photo edging, his twine and heart charm.  Hope you will stop by my blog to see more details.

The sun is out and I'm in a good mood, so this burlap panel celebrates my own personal special numbers with a big smile courtesy of one of the new Photobooth photos and the perfect phrase from the new Small Talk stickers.  Come over to Words and Pictures to discover the significance of my chosen numbers and see some close-ups!

I have incorporated some of the newly released Tim Holtz products in my lucky tag today including the gorgeous cracked pistachio distress ink. Do hop over to Addicted to Art to see the details.

It's Brenda's birthday on the 19th of March and so I've taken the liberty of making her card and choosing the number '19' as my special number. [g]
My 'Tim inspiration' is his wonderful new 'Runway' stamps although you'll see other products and techniques of his used too. As I love to mix contemporary and vintage together I couldn't be more pleased to see these and other new stamp designs - nice one Tim and nice one Bren!! Step x step pic's can be found here. Chris xxx

My eldest Daughter recently relocated to London to follow her dream working as Long Haul Cabin Crew. With this in mind I decided to make her Birthday card incorporating Tim's style of background from his February tag along with techniques she admires when I make something. Please pop over HERE to my blog for full tutorial.


I have made a lucky number plaque for today's challenge - you can see which one it is. This started life at the 'Stitches' trade show last weekend in Birmingham using DecoArt products (it was disappointing there was no-one there this year using Tim's products) but I came home inspired to add my Tim things which totally transformed it. Some added die-cuts, distress paints and idea-ology elements and I'm happy. I did in fact create a fabulous effect on the oval die-cut that I am calling layered marble using distress paints, so keep your eye open for a tutorial coming soon.


Well it's almost the end of our first challenge year - can you believe it? I don't know where the year has gone, but we say sorry goodbyes to Jools and to Trace and wish them both the best of luck as they progress their personal journeys in different directions. In two weeks time it will be our first birthday and we are starting the new AVJ year with some changes and a special challenge. There will be four prizes to be won including some special donated prizes as well as a £20 voucher from our ever generous sponsor Country View Crafts. Do keep the date in mind - the 6th March and pop over then to see what surprises we have in store for you.

In the mean time we look forward to seeing you join us over the next two weeks.

Have a great weekend.

hugs Brenda and the Team. xxx