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 26 May 2017

Something different - A spotlight on .........

Welcome everyone to what is normally our usual guest post but today we are adding something new and different into the mix - we are introducing a 'Spotlight' post and beginning today with one of our newest Creative Guides. Sara Emily is a very talented artist who loves being on the blogging circuit enjoying making many wonderful and varied projects and joining in challenges. When she joined us here at A Vintage Journey she sent over her bio and this is what she said.

I am delighted to be joining this talented group of Creative Guides! I have been crafting on and off most of my life starting with the dried macaroni, paper and homemade glue my Mom would entertain us with as toddlers. As a small child I remember spending countless hours drawing "rooms" with grand architecture full of fancy furniture. My love of art grew in high school where I took every art class I could fit in my schedule and spent hours before and after school in the art room. It's there where I befriended identical twins Mike and Doug Starn. While they went the path of becoming world renown photographers and artists (always doing their works jointly), I pursued a career in Physical Therapy, which I have taken an early retirement from. My love for all things vintage and discovering Distress products leads me to where I am now...happily creating in my little Closet! Occasionally, I venture out to the garage to refurbish furniture and other finds or to the garden to pull weeds.

I am going to hand over to her now to tell us a little more about herself and for her to share one of her AVJ projects.

What a sweet and generous intro, Brenda! I love being on this wonderful team! One of my favorite thing to do when I craft is to make something from nothing, and I often use "trash" in my makes. You'll see how I used my "trash" on this tag.

 Besides crafting, I love gardening and just being outdoors. A little known fact you might not know about me is I worked as a professional gardener when I started blogging, and this is where most of my crafting inspiration comes from. I'm sharing a photo of the private garden I worked in--it's on the Intracoastal Waterway. If you look hard you might see the water in the background--yuck--it was low tide! One of my jobs was to feed the swans--lucky me! The less grand garden is my own, but it keeps me busy.  Well, that and my husband and two 18 year old kids.

Ever since the 12 Tags factory shut down over at Tim's blog, I've not made many tags, so I was super excited to make this one!

For the background, I painted gesso on a Ranger manila tag.  I blended DOX Broken China around edges and dried with my heat tool.  Next I spritzed a script stamp with water and made an impression over the top and bottom of the tag and again dried with the heat tool. Originally I had plans to add something to the center, but changed my mind and embossed with my Tim Holtz doily (yet unused) Texture Fade. I first inked the raised portion of the folder with DOX Broken China directly from the pad. I spritzed lightly with water to activate the ink and ran it through my Big Kick. I allowed the ink to puddle in the recesses by moving the tag around and then drying. I blended Frayed Burlap ink around the edges and over the raised doily. I very lightly dipped the tag into beads of activated Wilted Violet DOX , just enough to pick up the beads of color. I dried and then splattered with Blueprint Sketch Distress ink and watered down DecoArt  Everlasting Chalky paint .

The two purple strips started out baby blue. I found the strip on my worktop, and I have no idea where it came from. (Closet Fairy)  It looks to be some sort of packing material. I needed a vertical element, and I thought it would be perfect. I colored the strip with Wilted Violet DOX  and Blueprint Sketch Distress ink to pick up some of the colors on the butterfly wings and from my splattering. I cut it in half vertically, offsetting the strips. I think it gives a fun contrast to the otherwise vintage look of my tag. Tags are like journal pages, right? Just for fun! The die cut clock (Momenta)was also on my worktop; I inked the edges with Frayed Burlap DI.  The butterflies and sentiment (Tim Holtz  Botanical Layers and Clippings Stickers) were Mother's Day gifts from my sweet daughter. I scuffed the butterflies up a little to take some of the shine off them and inked them with Frayed Burlap and just a bit of Wilted Violet DOX around the edges. I matted the clippings  sticker with card to give it stability, and mounted it on a scrap of thin chipboard to elevate it a little. To finish off the tag, I cut a backing out of chipboard from Roger's canned cat food box and edged it in Everlasting paint. I used Tim's Linen ribbon for the topper.

What a fun time I had making this little tag and it took no time at all!

Thanks for looking!
Hugs and Blessings!
Sara Emily


How lovely to learn a little more about Sara Emily and to find out she was a professional gardener and what beautiful gardens she creates; I often find that artists and crafters have a natural affinity with nature in some form or another. It's also great to see a tag from her too, she's right we do seem to see fewer of them these days but they are the perfect size for creating small pieces of art. Thank you Sara Emily for sharing your post and gorgeous tag with us today and for bringing this wonderful combination of the natural world and the artistic world together.

Have a wonderful weekend and if you are reading this from the UK have a great Bank Holiday Monday and we'll see you for a new Destination Inspiration post on Monday and a new challenge next Friday when we will be in the month of June - Really?

Hugs Brenda and Sara Emily xxx


  1. What an absolutely stunning tag, Sara Emily!! The colors and texture are gorgeous!! I love the purple strips and the beautiful butterflies!! And wow!! The garden pictures are spectacular!!

    A Mermaid's Crafts

  2. What a great tag design Sara Emily! Love the DOX colors and the beautiful butterflies! So nice to learn a little bit more about you as well! Julia xx

  3. This is gorgeous Sara Emily. I love the colour mix and thank you for sharing how you created that lovely background!!
    Absolutely stunning tag and I love the garden pics .. so beautiful!! xx

  4. First up, I love the idea of Spotlight posts! And what a fantastic first spotlight this is!! Great to find out a bit more about you Sara Emily, your garden photos, both of them look spectacular. As to your tag? Wow, that doily background looks amazing and such a clever technique and I adore how you finished it. A wonderful post from you both!!!

  5. Ah wonderful tag from a wonderful lady! So lovely to hear more about you ... And didn't know about your gardening expertise! Both gardens look stunning.... I am not a gardener, you would be horrified by my sparse little garden! Xxx

  6. Love the spotlight post and how interesting to hear of your art/career journey Sara xx your tag is stunning and I love the background, doilly and stunning butterflies

    Tfs and have a lovely weekend xxx

  7. So lovely to read more about you Sara Emily. I am a very keen gardener, although not professional lol. My first passion is gardening and like you , often find inspiration from the garden. Love your tag and what a lovely idea to have a spotlight . Love the doily background. Tracy x

  8. Sara EmilyI love your tag. I liked the small details in the close up photos. You have inspired me to get out those DOX and have another play! The gardens you tended looked beautiful, Echinacea is one of my favourite flowers. The colours on your tag a lovely. Hugs Jan x

  9. Gosh Sara Emily, you just have to come do something with my horrifying flower beds! ROTFL! I have only successfully kept alive a couple of ivy plants that you literally CANNOT kill. You are truly filled to the brim with talent and I love learning something new about you. Your embossed doily is tremendous and so so cool! What a lovely tag, so much more special with the gifted butterflies from your DD. Hugs, Autumn

  10. What a delightful post - I love Sara Emily - such a gem and so talented!
    sandy xx

  11. Happy to know more about you, Sara Emily, what a beautiful post! Your garden is delicious and your tag just perfect to go with!

  12. It has been lovely to get to know a bit more about you Sara and wow!, what a skilled operator you are in the garden as well as the craft closet!! Love your photos and love your beautiful tag, the doily impression looks fabulous and the butterflies from your daughter are gorgeous! Hugs, Anne xx

  13. This is wonderful and to learn more about you. Gorgeous tag and love the layers too.
    Linda xxx

  14. So good to learn more about you Sara and to see your wonderful garden. And I absolutely love the tag - great to find out how it came together xx

  15. lovely to learn a little more about you Sara - imagine you being a gardener! Great stuff! Love your tag too! Hugs rachel x

  16. How lovely to read this about you Sara Emily... I too have retired from physiotherapy and although not a paid gardener adore my little piece of heaven which is my garden! Your garden is stunning and your tag is gorgeous. Enjoy the weekend xxx

  17. Thank you for all of your kind comments! Have a great weekend! Hugs!

  18. Such a lovely post ..... such a lovely tag you are sharing with us today Sara and also lovely to learn more about you. Have a great weekend x

  19. How lovely to spend some time with Sara Emily, wandering in those beautiful gardens (what a way to make a living!). And a really pretty tag too - such a great idea to incorporate the packing strips for a completely different element to keep the eye interested. Delightful!
    Alison x

  20. What a lovely bio, Sara!!! I enjoyed reading it!!! I love your garden!!! Beautiful!!! And of course, your tag is fabulous too!!! xx

  21. I enjoyed reading your bio, Sara Emily, I had no idea PT was your career - interesting! You refurbish furniture, too, and have a gorgeous garden (Coneflowers are my favorites!!) - is there anything you don't do??? I love your beautiful tag and enjoyed reading how you pulled it together. The doily embossing folder is beautiful!! Love your special butterflies and how you altered them just a bit. I met Tim recently and told him how much I missed his 12 Tags and learning the techniques. He said he has something else in the works...looking forward to that! Beautiful tag, Sara Emily...hugs!!

  22. thank you Jennie, Alison, Monika, and Marty! Wait a minute, Marty! You met Tim???! Did you give him a hug from me? Wink, Wink!

  23. Loving the idea of spotlight posts and Sara Emily yours has been wonderful to read and learn about the multitude of talents you have - art, crafting , gardening, physio therapy and not forgetting of course one of the biggest talents of all -being a great Mum.
    Thanks for sharing your 'inside story' lovely lady and your beautiful tag.
    hugs x

  24. ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL SPOTLIGHT and I must admit - Sara is one of my very favorite folks in artsy blogland - so this was just DELIGHTFUL for me! A Vintage Journey is very blessed to have this talent. WONDERFUL tag Sara!! Xj.

    1. Joi, you are so kind! Thank you--you made my day!