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 May 2016

Our Invited Guest is Zoe

Welcome to our Friday guest post and it is the ever amazingly talented Zoe Hillman who has designed and created a very special project for us today whilst in the throes of moving house.
Just scroll through and see what exciting materials and layers Zoe has used to create her 'Sew Special' mini clipboard.


Hello! Zoe here! I am delighted to be a guest at A Vintage Journey today.

I am British and currently living in Geneva, Switzerland with my husband Neil, (for another 4 days anyway)! I moved here 8 years ago and we are now off to Copenhagen, Denmark to start a new adventure together.

It was shortly after moving to Switzerland that I picked up Tim Holtz’s Compendium of Curiosities book and was instantly hooked! I love Tim's style, he's such a talented designer and great educator. I am utterly obsessed with distress and never happier than when I have inky fingers.

I really enjoy being part of the online craft community and love social media. I have “met” so many lovely people through a mutual love of craft, who provide such encouragement and inspiration. Crafting is definitely my happy!

Today I am sharing a project inspired by the Sew Special challenge.

I had to improvise slightly on the “sewing” and “fabric” elements to this project as half my stash was already packed away ready to move! Part of what I love about the creative process is improvising, so here’s what I did…

This tape measure ribbon covered the "stitched" part of the challenge! I then created a faux vintage pattern tissue using the new substrate material by Tim Holtz.

To make the substrate thinner and more tissue like, split the substrate by peeling the front and back layer apart. Next, stamp with sewing themed stamp sets, (both by Tim Holtz), using various archival inks, (by Wendy Vecchi). To make the substrate look distressed, screw up gently until supple.

Next, remove the clip from a Tim Holtz mini clipboard and adhere the substrate, wrapping it around the back. The linen tape measure ribbon covered the bottom of the board where the substrate didn't reach.

To alter the clip, cover with picket fence distress paint and rub away when almost dry. Rub evergreen bough distress ink between your thumb and forefinger until almost dry, then rub onto parts of the clip. Finally rub on some gold gilders paste to highlight. I added a singers sewing machine charm from my stash.

Collect together some sewing themed ephemera, mine was from the vellum thrift shop ephemera pack, (by Tim Holtz) and a photograph I picked up whilst junking recently. It was top of the pile and PERFECT for this project.

I created a dress shop receipt using a stamp from the Tim Holtz Curiosities set. Adding remnant rubs to give detail to the receipt and indicate a dress shop alteration. Tear and ink the edges with walnut stain distress ink to give an aged look. 

Thanks for taking a look at my project and to the team at A Vintage Journey for having me.


Oh wow Zoe what a fabulously creative make for our Sew Special challenge and what an amazing vintage feel you have created with the stamp sets and your wonderful photo. Every step you took to bring this project together is brilliant but the part that excites me the most is the dress shop receipt, it's perfect. Thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule to make this delightful and inspirational work of art and for sharing it with us at A Vintage Journey.

Thanks to you our readers for popping in today and if you haven't yet joined us in the challenge I hope you are inspired to give it a go and share your own inspiration with us. You have until next Thursday evening to link up and then midnight (UK time) on Friday morning we will be starting the next theme. We will also be back on Monday with the fourth Destination Inspiration post for May, we look forward to catching up with you then.

Have a great weekend and enjoy whatever you have planned.

hugs Brenda and the Creative Guides. xxx


  1. Zoe, your project is fabulous, I love the substrate material in the background, the receipt looks so authentic and I just love how the clip has been 'aged'. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to share this lovely project with us! Anne x

  2. Welcome Zoe . Your altered mini clipboard is fabulous and just perfect for this months challenge theme. Loving the look of the substrate material and what a fantastic background you have created with all that stamping. Wonderful junk find photo and can see why it was top of your 'to use' pile . Love the singer sewing machine charm too.
    Thank you so much forsharing your creativity with us today and especially so given it is a very busy time for you right now . Good luck with the move . Amanda x

  3. A fantastic project Zoe, love how you improvised and came up with this fabulous result! So many brilliant details, I just love your faux receipt for instance and the way you altered the clip is genius, rubbing Distress inks between your fingers, - how clever is that! A brilliant make and all the very best with your move!!! (You are the second person I heard of in blogland this week who is moving from Switzerland to Denmark)....

  4. A fantastic creation, Zoe - and wonderful to have you here as our guest this month. Gorgeous altering of the metal file clip - the paint/ink/gilding works a treat for that vintage look - and it's all the more impressive given your stash is already part-packed for the move. Good luck with it all - I'm sure you'll love Denmark!
    Alison x

  5. I love this project Zoe!! I have some of that substrate material (hoarding it I am!).. must dig it out to play!

  6. Oh my goodness! Young Zoe looks just like a blonde version of my Mom! Wow.

  7. What a fun clipboard project - Love your stamped background and wonderful treatment of the metal clip! Thanks for sharing your talent with us and good luck with your move (sounds like an exciting life adventure!) Julia xx

  8. Vintage elegance Zoe. A wonderful project with super techniques and detail. Love it !
    Julie x

  9. Love everything about your project Zoe. Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us. S@ndy

  10. A fabulous project by Zoe. Lots of wonderful details and layers. Safe journey and best wishes on your new adventure in Denmark

    Tfs Annie x

  11. Wow, Zoe! You sure did pull a rabbit out of a hat with this amazing make! To think most of your creative stash was packed away, you still managed to make this detailed sewing clipboard appear as if every product were made especially for it! (I do hope that made sense!) Love the stamped substrate the best--pure brilliance on your part! Just an amazing project start to finish and you wrote a wonderful and informative tutorial! Thank you for sharing this in the midst of your tremendously busy schedule! Best of everything with your new adventure and the move in getting there! Hugs! PS Your photo is just delightful!

  12. What a wonderful project Zoe, love how you used the Substrate and the finish on the clip is fabulous, wonderful patina! The picture and your receipt are perfect for the challenge, thanks so much for sharing your beautiful creation and wishing you much joy in your new Danish home! Deb xo

  13. Improvisation at it's glorious best Zoe - this is genius. Thanks for sharing with us and best wishes for the move and in your new home. Nikki xx

  14. Hi Zoe, hope,your move goes ok and everything runs smoothly for you. Lovely to have you a s a guest. I love how,you altered the metal clip , lovely touch as is the little sewing machine embellishment. Love the layers you added to,the clipboard, wonderful imagery and perfect for the theme. Hugs. Tracy x

  15. SO inspired by this am I that those substrate sheets have been ordered and are on their way! LOVE what you've done to each and every part of this clever project Zoe xx