Monday 13 May 2019

Top Hat...

Hello friends...

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and you're ready for the new week ahead and a brand new Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge! This week our theme is called HAPPY HOUR and is all about cocktails and drinks. So, it's time to put your thinking cap on and be creative because we hope you will join us and play along with this fun challenge theme...

My happy hour was inspired by my love of black and white movies and I decided to create an Art Deco style piece, celebrating this era and a style that I absolutely love. As a child I was always surrounded by jazz music and Saturday afternoons were always spent watching black and white movies ~ for days after, I would dance around the house pretending to be Ginger Rogers in Top Hat, which is still one of my favourite films to this day. I was just hooked on every single detail, from the beautiful sets and clothes to the wonderful music and dance routines ~ I was in my element! So with this in mind, I wanted to capture the glamour of the jazz age and collected some of my favourite Tim Holtz products to bring the story to life!
So, let's get started, it's time to put on my top hat and take you through how this piece was created!

To begin with I took a 24 x 18cm pre-gessoed canvas board and began by adding a layer of Hickory Smoke Distress Paint to the surface. It's important to heat dry each paint layer as you don't want the paint to become muddy in appearance. The next layer is Picket Fence, which I dry brushed over the top, concentrating on the central section, so that it would leave a darker border around the outside. I then added a layer of Weathered Wood.

Once happy with the colour of the background, I started to create some more layers, and used tissue tape as a base, tearing pieces of the tape and applying it to the central area. I applied some gesso over the top, scraping the paint onto the canvas with an old credit card before adding some more depth of colour using Distress Crayons ~ Weathered Wood, Black Soot and Pumice Stone.

For the next layer, I inked up the Newsprint stamp with Black Soot Archival Ink and randomly stamped the text onto the central area, placing it over the top of the taped area.
Give the ink a quick blast with a heat gun to set it and then taking the Gradient Layering Stencil and a dry paint brush, apply Picket Fence through the stencil, moving it around and placing it onto different areas of the background. Allow for the paint to dry.
I now have a background and it's time to let my imagination run wild and take you on a journey to the roaring twenties...

...and we'll start by using the Cityscape Skyline die to cut black Classic Kraft cardstock, which is lightly sanded. I then cut a second skyline from gold metallic kraft stash and layered the black cityscape over the top of the gold, slightly offsetting the top layer to reveal a shadow.
I placed one of the layered die cuts onto foam pads, which creates a really nice dimension to the piece.
To ground my skyline, I used two of the longest length of Etcetera pinked trims, various widths. I primed the surface of the trims with gesso and then to create the wood grain effect, I applied a layer of Black Soot Distress Paint. Heat dry the paint before dry brushing Antiqued Bronze paint over the top. Heat dry again and then dry brush Ground Espresso over the top. This technique gives a wonderful look the striations of wood.
Attach the smaller trim over the top of the wider trim using Collage Medium and then attach to the board, placing the cityscape above it, so that it sits on the 'shelf'.
To create the Manhattan Cocktail wording, I used the Deco Alpha die and die cut my lettering from rose gold metallic kraft stash and a second layer from black card. For this I really do recommend adhesive sheets applied to the back of each layer of card, they are your best friend when it comes to smaller die cuts and save so much time.
I layered my rose gold lettering over the top of the black and then attached it to my canvas panel, Manhattan across the top and 'cocktail' placed along the bottom, attaching it to the trim so that it will stand away from the cityscape die and add even more dimension.

Now for the final part of this piece, it's time for me to put on my top hat...

I started by stamping the top hat and the jacket and tie from the Distinguished stamp set and coloured each piece with Distress Marker Pens. I then cut them out and set them aside whilst I created my circular section.

The first layer is cut from white card using the Stitched Circles die and coloured with the same Distress Paints as I used on the trims, as I wanted to create that wood grain effect for this layer.
I then cut a smaller circle and covered this with some Typography Collage Tissue. The tissue is adhered using Matte Collage Medium before I inked the edges with Walnut Stain Distress Ink.
I matted this layer onto gold metallic kraft stash and then matted it onto the larger circle before mounting my panel onto the canvas board, using foam pads.

I attached the stamped images with foam pads and then added a Foundry piece, complete with Hardware Findings, attached between the hat and suit jacket. The Foundry piece was coloured with Evergreen Bough Distress Paint and a touch of Antiqued Bronze.
Now, all that has to be added are all those finishing details. A large vintage clip at the top (I LOVE these so much)....
...and then some Hardware Heads, rusted with a little Distress Paint added to either side of the trims.
Stars cut from gold metallic kraft stash using the Crescent Moon and Stars die are placed directly onto the background...

...and finally, I added a snarky sticker, 'Why Limit Happy To An Hour' as the finishing touch to complete the panel.
So, I hope you've enjoyed this step back in time and that you've been inspired by the techniques I've used and the piece I've created ~ it sure was fun!

Have fun creating your projects and don't forget, you can find more inspiration from my talented teamies over on the challenge blog and every week, one lucky random participant has the chance to win a $50 gift voucher from Simon Says StampYou have until Monday 8am Ohio time. 1pm UK time, 2 pm CET to join in and good luck....

Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by today and hope to see you again soon, love Emma xxx

Recipe for project:


  1. Fabulous panel Emma and I love the whole story behind it :-)

    The Manhattan skyline and the Deco font for the lettering are brilliant and I just love the whole design of this ,,, totally AWESOME!! :-)

    hope you have a great week!
    Lols x x x

  2. Gorgeous project, Emma! I love reading about your inspiration for this, and I think you really emulated those feelings here. So fun to think about you watching the old movies and then dancing for days...imagination is so much fun! hugs, Maura

  3. Masterpiece! It's the only word I can say! Deatils are stunning! Barbara

  4. Love this a lot, Emma! But honestly you never fail to amaze me when putting together loads of Tim Holtz goodness in your very unique and inspiring style! Wow! Thanks for oodles of inspiration!

    Claudia x

  5. WOW! This is so pretty! The background seems a cloudy sky over the Manhattan buildings and I love the wy you made the title of this panel. This are my fave fonts. Hugs, Marzena

  6. Oh wow, Emma, that project is spectacular!! I too love retro-inspired pieces, especially when they still look modern. This is done perfectly and I love every single detail on it.

    I'm going through your blog and finding so much that I like. Gold mine of inspiration! :D


Thank you for all your comments and messages, they are all appreciated and I hope you'll come back and visit again soon...
Emma ~xx

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