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, 22 April 2016

Invited Guest Designer - Mo Stokes - Almo Craft

Today we welcome a wonderful crafter and lovely lady as our invited guest to share a project with us based on this month's challenge theme - Spring is in the Air. Welcome to Mo from Almo Craft.
Hi everyone, my name is Mo and I live in a beautiful part of Norfolk, England near the coast having recently moved from the North West of the country with my husband Alan who has finally retired after several years contemplating the matter, and our (cavalier king Charles/Pomeranian X) dog ‘Georgie’.

I have always enjoyed making things since I was a little girl, my brother and sister were the academic ones, I was the creative one in the family. I have always admired the work of Tim Holtz and I have been very honoured to have attended two of his amazing classes in recent years. I love learning new techniques and adding many different layers and textures to my projects, I need dimension and have great difficulty these days producing anything that is ‘flat’! My style tends to lean towards the Vintage/Shabby Chic side of things and I don't really plan my projects in advance, I just like to go with the flow and see where my imagination takes me.

I am so excited and honoured to be asked by Brenda to do a guest design piece for their latest fabulous challenge. I love all things botanical, animals, birds and the seaside - these themes tend to show up somewhere in nearly everything I create so the theme Sandy chose for this months challenge ‘Spring is in the Air’ was just perfect for me. I was inspired to make this shadow box following one of our daily walks with Georgie by Blackbirds singing away in the blossoming Hawthorn hedges.
I started by wrapping crushed tissue paper around my canvas to get some texture and when dry brushed gesso over it. I wanted the frame fairly simple so as to frame the inner detail better but I wrapped the twine around the frame and added the letters using tissue tape for added interest.
The background was created using firstly postal tissue wrap, followed by crackle texture paste through stencils, distress inks various stamping and die-cuts. The main hawthorn branch is a real one if you look hard you will see the thorns! but the flowers and flower buds are hand made using die-cut watercolour paper, a paper punch and painted stamen. Parts of the nest are also die-cut onto a real branch for dimension.

The star of the show ie the blackbird and the nest are of course from Tim's Bird Feather stamp set. The photo below shows you how I have fussy cut his claws to grip the branches. 
The eggs were also made from flower stamen, originally pink they were painted blue with tumbled glass distress paint and given a few dark speckles.
The photo below gives you a closer view of the shadow box, but for more photos and the full tutorial please visit my blog.

Thank you Mo! What a fabulously composed piece of art - your background is superb with all it's texture, the fussy cutting brilliant and all those details with the stamen! I am rather envious of your walks with Georgie in a part of the UK I haven't spent much time since a child, but I know to be gorgeous.

We do hope you have enjoyed Mo's wonderful creation and maybe feel inspired to play along with our Spring is in the Air challenge.

Many thanks for stopping by.
Nikki on behalf of the AVJ Creative Guides.


  1. What a springtime treat of a project from Mo - the gorgeous soft colours in the background over the subtle crackle, and the brilliant dimensional work with the branches, nest and bird - it's just wonderful.
    Alison x

  2. What a lovely framed springtime scene Mo! Your blackbird is beautiful - perched on the pretty flowering branch hovering near the eggs in the nest - such wonderful dimension! Thank you for sharing your inspired spring project as the AVJ guest designer today! Julia xx

  3. Oh my goodness Mo you've recreated Spring here perfectly! The clever use of stamping, die cuts, texture and beautiful design make this a real treasure. Thank you so much for sharing xxx

  4. What a beautiful shadow just sings Spring. Lovely work Mo x

  5. OMG Mo, this is unbelievable!!! What an absolutely amazing Springtime piece, from the wonderful background, through to the amazing blossoms (they look so real) the real branches and the wonderful nest, to that fantastic bird, the whole shadow box just sings to me! Even the way you have done the stamen gets me excited. I just love this whole project, - stunning, stunning work!!!!

  6. Mo, you really have captured Spring so beautifully in this canvas - the Hawthorn flowers are so realistic looking and the Blackbird is stunning! Your work is always impressive and this piece is no exception - gorgeous work my lovely friend! Hugs, Anne xxx

  7. Hi Mo, gorgeous Soring shadow box, which depicts Spring oerfectky. I love how you used real twigs and the bird sits oerfectky . Gorgeous backdrop too and the flowers are just like spring blossom, love them. Tracy x

  8. Hi Mo and welcome . You really have captured the essence of spring with your beautiful shadow box. So much attention to detail and wonderful touches . Those flowers and your bird look so real and I love the addition of the twine to the frame .
    thanks so much for sharing such an inspiring piece of art .

  9. Beautiful beautiful Shadow box!! Lovely creation Mo

  10. Wow, beautiful creation. Love the layout and the beautiful colors.
    Gr, Elly

  11. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments on my spring shadow box, really appreciate them. Thank yo for having me guest design for you it has been an honour. Hugs Mo x

  12. Oh how absolutely lovely this is! Wonderful work, Mo!

    I so enjoy visiting this blog, Nikki!

  13. Simply wonderful Mo - thanks for sharing your lovely talent with us.

  14. So fresh and lovely! A wonderful tribute to Spring!


  15. hi great job.

  16. Absolutely gorgeous Mo! Such a beautiful scene (similar to one Im working on at the moment) and I love how you used a real branch and lots of yummy textures. All the little flowers are so pretty too. Congratulations on your guest spot. Nicola x

  17. What a fabulous shadow box Mo, love all the amazing textures on your frame and background and the beautiful colour palette, Your bird and nest are perfect representations of this wonderful time of year and how inventive to use the stamens for your eggs, love it! Thanks so much for joining us here at A Vintage Journey, Deb xo

  18. Late, of course, but so happy I made it! this is a feast for the eyes! Love that layered bird's nest and lovely butterfly! And your branch with those blossoms is just a wonderful element! Gorgeous!


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From Brenda and the Creative Guides. xxx