Sunday, 3 February 2013

Share The Love. . . . . . Challenge 12 At Anything But A Card

Hello everyone. I'm hopefully back full time now and I can't wait to see what you've all been up to. This fortnight sees a new challenge at Anything But A Card and we are asking you to 'Share The Love'. I don't really have much interest in Valentines Day but I love the colours and images associated with it - as long as they aren't too 'fluffy'! (I'm sure you know what I mean!).

For my 'Share The Love' piece, I've chosen to lean rather towards the gothic. You will be forgiven if you think it's Halloween time here again but I just couldn't resist giving a little brown paper skull a makeover for this challenge. The skull has been hanging around since last year because I never got round to doing anything with it. I knew I wanted to make a 'dark' valentine offering and had the skull in mind. My sister came to visit last weekend and we discussed this challenge and she said 'what about your skull?' and that confirmed the idea in my mind. (Thanks Sandie!!).

Rather than just a decorated skull, I wanted it to have some use so it's now a holder for a battery tealight (no danger with those!) and the first step was to chop off the top of his skull. . . . . .

Here's how he turned out:

My skull tea light holder. I've chosen to use traditional Valentine colours red and black because I felt they fitted my chosen theme perfectly.I haven't added any words but there are stamped hearts on the flowers if you look for them.

Side view of the holder. You can see where the skull has been opened to allow access for the tea light. I made a hinge from paper fasteners and wire under the flowers and this helps to keep the skull 'flap' in position.
The skull flap allowing access to the tealight.
Top and rear view of the skull.
Not the clearest of images but this was taken in a blacked out room whilst the tealight was lit to show the effect. (I had to use a flash setting otherwise the photo just showed the facial features as ghostly white orifices!)
After opening up, the whole skull was painted with gesso followed by coats of acrylic paint to make it watertight. Some dry brushing was added around the facial features and crackle was applied - not to the skull cap at this point though.
The skull cap was given two coats of stencil work using black and gold inks just to add interest. The crackle medium was then applied.
Various die cut flowers were used to decorate the skull. Those used on the skull cap were coloured, stamped and the inked again before construction. Small black gems were used for the centres. You may spot the odd heart here and there amongst the stamping.
For the front of the skull, I made a headband out of wire, rose trim (thanks to my lovely blog friend Trace for this!) stained black and die cut roses. The roses were coloured red, constructed and the edges were inked and some black distress EP was used randonmly for interest.
Not the clearest image (again!) but you can just make out one of the rusty wire spirals I made the for the ends of the headband on the lower right of the picture. Each of the rusty spirals have a double sided die cut flower attached to the ends. The black rose trim  is to the right of the rose and extends across the forehead and over to the other ear position.

I had lots of trouble taking these photos for various reasons but I hope you can get the idea of what has been done.

I seem to be constantly apologising for my absence but the last four weeks or so have seen me laid low with sinus infections and, as I now know, bronchitis. I feel so much better and hope to see you more often. Thank you so much for sticking with me and for the well wishes.

Over to you now - what type of Valentine offering are you going to make? Will it be pink, fluffy and beautiful or will you choose the darker side and produce a more gothic feeling piece like me? Any of these are most welcome at Anything But A Card but remember, the choice of what you make is yours as long as it fits the challenge and it isn't a card! Need more inspiration? Why not pop over to the blog and see what the first half of the design time have produced? Be sure to have another look next Sunday when the second half of the team show their makes too.


  1. As a Halloween fan I love this - gruesome but gorgeous! Valerie

  2. Lordy Julia, what are you trying to do to us on a Sunday morning - nearly jumped out of my skin - quite appropriate really for this wonderful creation! Your thinking has really gone outside the box this time - it must have taken you ages to make this - it's truly fabulous. Now what am I going to do?? Take good care. Suze xx

  3. I don't know what to say ... words fail me. I've completely fallen in love with your adorable skull ♥
    Hugs, Suzanne xx

  4. I'm hoping that because you are back full time that means you've fully recovered and are feeling much better.

    Great mask, love the roses on the front, they look very evil, if that's the right word, but in a good way!!!

    The whole thing looks fabulous and a great colour combination.

    Sam xxx

  5. Wow Julia, this really is outside your usual box!! Amazing though. I love all the little details, the flowers are brilliant with their black edges, and thank you for the close up photos of the crackle glaze. I am not having much luck with my efforts, but I think I will try some darker colours. A brilliant take on this challenge. Thinking cap now on!

    Glad to hear you are feeling better x

  6. Bet I'd look the same if I had jumped out of my skin lol a wonderful ghoulishly valentines creation Julia :) so much attention to detail !
    Von ♥
    Glad your back on track :)

  7. Hi Julia, good to hear that you are feeling much better (I hope!) and getting back on track. This is unusual but brilliant all at the same time. I do love skulls and it looks great with the crackling and the roses of course. Hugs, Anne x

  8. A very different tea light Julia!!! What a creativity on surprise me time after time! Amazing result!!!

    Stay well...greetings, Alie :-)

  9. Wow, that's just amazing Julia! I always think of Grateful Dead record sleeves when I see skulls and roses, but this glossy red one in a league of it's own.

  10. Wow , you know when you click on the title and get something far more than you bargained for!! Well that just happened to me here.that was totally not whati was expecting and yet it is amazingly accomplished and very very clever!! What an amazing make!! Hugs trace x
    Thanks for all the lovely comments ..looks like your mojo is well and truly found! Hugs xxx

  11. Good grief... now that I wasn't expecting!! What a stunning make... the crackle effect over the skull is amazing, and the flowers are fabulous... and then it lights up!!!
    Alison xx

  12. Glad to hear that you are picking up. This is amazing, but also disturbing in equal measure.

    Cassidy xx

  13. Wow, wow, wow and wow again. That is one seriously amazing project Julia! Lol my idea entirely of a valentine piece too, I totally get where you're coming from on the 'fluffy' thing tee hee. Hope you are OK sweetie??
    Huge huggles x x x x

  14. Hi Julia, glad to hear your feeling better now. The skull is really different - totally unique! It must have taken you ages to paint and crackle it all and to create that fab headband too! I'm hoping to join in with the challenge again this fortnight xx

  15. This is the prettiest, scariest most fascnating thing ever! lol You did a crafting lobotomy!! lol Glad you are feeling better! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina ♥

  16. It is just amazing-a real work of art. It looks awesome with a light in it.

    Love Chrissie xx

  17. Wow Julia, this is fantastic, I love it soooo much....

  18. Wowza!!! I say with great confidence I am sure Anything but a Card has never seen something like this before! What an amazing creation. Cool, creepy and fun. The flowers are stunning!!

  19. Gosh Julia!!!! There is NO WAY anyone will come up with anything remotely like this for the challenge!! Love the crackled colouring, your superb flowers, and the stencilling. What a dramatic piece. You are amazing. Hugs, Jenny x

  20. This is amazing. What an original idea for Valentines and I just love the red. I fell in love with this when I saw it on the ABAC blog then I come here and find it's a t-light holder - the icing on the cake. Fabulous!

  21. Absolutely fabulous Julia - an amazing piece.
    xxx Hazel.

  22. Wohow, that rocks - so fantastic.

  23. totally fantastic cool! I love it! I hope you are feeling better...being sick is no fun. I am now feeling somewhat human again after having cold/sinus/walking pneumonia since November. NOT Fun!

  24. Wow Julia! I have never done anything like that. I am loving the vibrant colors and the texture and when you showed it lit up, It really rocked! I hope to try my hand at making pieces, not sure cards (that is currently all I do....) Thank you for the inspiration!

  25. Amazing project Julia.
    very very beautiful.
    Greetings Janny

  26. What rich colours you used Julia! The roses are gorgeous. I put some love on my ABAC blog post for you this week!

  27. So cool. The red is so creepy. I love it. The crackle looks fantastic.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Juliax