But then, of course, your brain starts to buzz with all the possibilities of the amazing stamps on offer - what to do, what to do? Well, here's my starter for ten... a mobile, and possibly one of the trickiest things to photograph that I've ever made! So I'm afraid there are quite a few pictures, trying to capture its essence... and it's well worth clicking on them for a larger view occasionally!
Now my "crafty" name of Butterfly was pretty much an accident - I've never really been much of a lepidopterist, but having adopted the name, I do seem to be drawn to them, craftily at least, quite often.
It all started with a little floristry frame I bought in the Czech Republic. I got three of them at the time, and last time I used one it gave me headaches, so I knew the chances were it would go that way again!
I also added some Perfect Pearls Mist both to the craft mat and onto the paper as I was drying it so that I could create lots of iridescence within the colours.
Then I got busy stamping... I used Archival inks, mainly in Cobalt, Olive and Library Green - either individually or blending them on the stamp - but occasionally I also zhuzhed it up with a bit of Aquamarine!
But others were too asymmetrical for that. I toyed with stamping on tissue and using the reverse, but in the end I decided to go for something more abstract. I used my Viva metallic paints - one in Turquoise and one in Golden Green - to paint the backs of the asymmetrical insects. These are some of the most beautiful iridescent paints I've ever seen!
Then I used one of the lovely Calligraphic Mats stamped in either Library Green or Cobalt Archival to provide some decoration across the gleaming paint.
Then it was UTEE time! And this was where I had one of my accidental brainwaves. As I was adding the UTEE - great for protecting vulnerable antennae, and adding beautiful glossiness, as well as having the effect of intensifying the colours - I realised that it made the wings mouldable. So once everything was safely coated on both sides, I went through again, heating lightly and shaping the wings for flight.
Let's skip over the part where I tried all sorts of ways to string'em up - raffia, twine, gold wire - and go straight to the elegantly simple solution: ribbon. Not only easier to thread onto than most of those others, but also they were all far more prepared to sit nice and perkily with just the folded ribbon holding them in flight... no need for knots beneath each insect, or glue.
Still fiddly - don't get me wrong! - to get them all threaded in the right order, the right way up, balancing the different insects and heights. But eventually I was pretty happy...
Cue lots of fun and swearing as I attempted to glue minute portions of glossy butterfly to a single twig within the frame at exactly the angle required.
And then a couple just balancing on the upright tower part at the centre... more angling, more bad words, and a bit of cheating by tucking bits of dragonfly into the weave of the twigs!
Thank you for sticking with me through one of my trademark lengthy posts. I've tried to give you some idea of the journey and some idea of the finished piece... Of course the real joy lies in the movement as the butterflies and dragonflies flutter in the breeze. (Not when you're trying to take photographs of it in a biting wind, though!) I'll have some more projects to share with you through the course of the month, but for now I'll wish you very happy crafting.
Viva Metallic Paints: Turquoise, Golden Green