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 23 December 2016

Our lovely invited guest this week is ......

..... Toni Burrows - a very talented and lovely lady who is joining us as our Christmas guest and with a beautiful wintry reverse canvas.


I am absolutely delighted to be hopping on board as a guest here, on A Vintage Journey. It's truly an honour to be featuring alongside this very talented team. Some of you may know me from my blog, The Artistic Craft Dabbler or from the Stamps and Stencils blog, where I am part of the design team. I love working with mixed media and would describe my style as 'eclectic', in other words a bit of this with a little bit of that! This year, I have had the great fortune to have attended workshops by Kate Crane, Andy Skinner, Mark Gould, Finnabair, and AVJ's very own, and wonderfully talented, Brenda Brown. I've tried to bring a little of what I have learnt, from each of these artist's, into this piece of work. I love the theme of  'Winter Magic', and felt inspired to create a project featuring lots of frosty colours, textures and of course a touch of sparkle.

My project  is a reversed canvas, measuring 20 x 25 cm. The inside, has been worked onto a separate piece of board, as in this instance it was much easier to stencil onto a flat surface than to try and manipulate the stencils inside the frame.

I used Andy Skinner's 'mega crackle' technique as a foundation, and stenciled the frosty branches on top using crackle paste. I loved the effect this produced and felt a little hesitant about covering it up. However, as Brenda taught us, layering is all about 'covering over, in order to reveal'.

Here, I'm trialing the panel inside the canvas. You can also see the layers of fabric and lace, I used to add texture to the frame. I then gathered together a small pile of embellishments, consisting of Tando chip board snowflakes,  metal flowers and glass 'stones'. I painted these with white gesso, before attaching them with a hot glue gun.

The next part was a little scary, as it obliterated all my lovely crackling. I sprayed the surface with patches of Glimmer Mist, a la Finnabair and with Brenda's words ringing in my ears, 'cover to reveal.......cover to reveal....' I proceeded to dry brush the surface with white gesso. This has an amazing effect.....

With each layer of dry brushing, the crackles and texture started to reappear. It's important to dry the canvas between each layer of brushing. It can be a slow process but it really is worth taking that extra bit of time, as every tiny bit of texture comes to life. Once I'd achieved the shade I wanted, I added a sprinkling of glitter, a few gems and a metal, die cut, crown for my frosty angel.

A little typed label in the bottom corner, was my final addition to this project. It was great fun to put into practice some of the techniques I have learned this year. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of those designers, who put in a great deal of time and energy and generously share their techniques and ideas with us all. It has been an absolute pleasure to be an AVJ guest. May I thank the whole team, for another great year of fabulous challenges and inspiration. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with next year. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone! x


This is utterly gorgeous Toni and very much a magical winter project. It is fascinating to watch how you built up the background with all those wonderful layers and did I really say 'cover to reveal'? I honestly don't remember it lol, it's funny what we pick up from different workshops!!!!

Thank you so much for joining us and being a fantastic Guest Creative Guide this week and at such a busy time of the year.  Thank you also to all our readers for popping by and leaving some love for Toni. 

We will be back Monday with another Destination Inspiration post and in between we wish you all a very Merry Christmas from each and every one of us here at A Vintage Journey. Have a wonderful festive weekend whatever you have planned and in whatever way you celebrate this special time of year. I hope that you get a visit from this special person who has his own vintage journey tomorrow night.

hugs from
 Brenda, Alison, Amanda, Anne, Annie, Astrid, 
Deb, Jennie, Jenny, Julia, Nikki, Sandy and Tracy.
Your Creative Guides.



  1. Toni, your beautiful angel reminds me of a Snow Queen, she is wonderful! The snowflake background is gorgeous and I love how you layered the branches against the crackled background on your stunning canvas!!

    Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you too, along with all of our readers and followers! Hugs, Anne xx

  2. Oh Toni this is truly a magical winter piece! The background looks amazing, and yes, that dry brushing really has brought the magic out! Great to see you apply all those cool techniques! Your angel is the perfect addition to it ll, - just stunning!! The depth and beauty of this piece is wonderful, - thank you so much for guesting with us!!

  3. Ah I am in texture heaven - Toni - a magical creation! Nikki xx

  4. Fabulous! Loving all the wonderful texture. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2017.
    Linda xxx

  5. This piece is brilliant! Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your creative process!

    Merry Christmas and a very Happy Healthy New Year to you and all your loved ones.

    Gabx xo

  6. Love, Love, Love your canvas, so inspiring and so "cool". Thanks for sharing with us. Hugs, Sandy xx

  7. What a beautiful wintery reverse canvas Toni! I can feel the chill right through my computer monitor! Wonderful layering and texture! Thanks for joining us as our invited guest at AVJ! Julia xx

  8. Oh Toni this is tremendous!!! I love the way you've brought all the textures to life with the wonderful Wintery tones. Thank you so much for sharing this with us at A Vintage Journey xx

  9. Beautiful canvas! Gorgeous blues and texture. Merry Christmas to the AVJ design team! Thank you for the inspiration all year long!

  10. Welcome Toni. What a gorgeous Winter Magic canvas full of fab texture ,layers and wintery tones . Thanks for sharing your talent with us and for all the great close up shots.
    Merry Christmas Everyone x

  11. Lovely to see you here Toni and your project is absolutely stunning x Love all the wonderful details you have incorporated and the textures look like something from Narnia xx

    Sending my best wishes
    Annie xx

  12. Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments. It has been a pleasure being a guest of this fabulous team. Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and creative new year ! Toni xxx