Saturday, June 11, 2016

Chris's pages for our International swap

Today I have an extra long post.  I know I'm famous for long posts, but this one is extra long.

I'm going to share the pages I sent to my friend Chris at Pear Shaped Crafting.  Unlike the other players, whose packages are as beautiful as the swap pages they prepare, mine are dull and uninviting.  I like to believe the postage stamps will more than make up for it.  Some of you who live in the U.S. will note those liberty bell stamps were the first "forever" stamps issued.  I used them for a reason that will be obvious soon.

I suspect my International friends know this nursery rhyme and its purported interpretations better than we in the U.S. do. 

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

According to a web site called Nursery Rhymes:

The origins are steeped in history... Bloody Mary!The Mary alluded to in this traditional English nursery rhyme is reputed to be Mary Tudor, or Bloody Mary, who was the daughter of King Henry VIII. Queen Mary was a staunch Catholic and the garden referred to is an allusion to graveyards which were increasing in size with those who dared to continue to adhere to the Protestant faith - Protestant martyrs.
Instruments of Torture!The silver bells and cockle shells referred to in the Nursery Rhyme were colloquialisms for instruments of torture. The 'silver bells' were thumbscrews which crushed the thumb between two hard surfaces by the tightening of a screw. The 'cockleshells' were believed to be instruments of torture which were attached to the genitals!
The "Maids" or Maiden was the original guillotine!
The 'maids' were a device to behead people called the Maiden. Beheading a victim was fraught with problems. It could take up to 11 blows to actually sever the head, the victim often resisted and had to be chased around the scaffold.
Snopes has a slightly different, albeit quite similar take on it:
The origins are steeped in history...
The Mary alluded to in this traditional English nursery rhyme is Mary Tudor, or Bloody Mary, who was the daughter of King Henry VIII. Queen Mary was a staunch Catholic and the garden referred to is an allusion to graveyards which were increasing in size with those who dared to continue to adhere to the Protestant faith. The silver bells and cockle shells were colloquialisms for instruments of torture. The 'maids' were a device to behead people similar to the guillotine. 
Wikipedia offers yet a different explanation, along with various final lines:
Like many nursery rhymes, it has acquired various historical explanations. These include:
  • That it is a religious allegory of Catholicism, with bells representing the sanctus bells, the cockleshells the badges of the pilgrims to the shrine of Saint James in Spain (Santiago de Compostela) and pretty maids are nuns, but even within this strand of thought there are differences of opinion as to whether it is lament for the reinstatement of Catholicism or for its persecution.
  • Another theory sees the rhyme as connected to Mary, Queen of Scots, with "how does your garden grow" referring to her reign over her realm, "silver bells" referring to (Catholic) cathedral bells, "cockle shells" insinuating that her husband was not faithful to her, and "pretty maids all in a row" referring to her ladies-in-waiting – "The four Maries".
  • Mary has also been identified with Mary I of England with "How does your garden grow?" said to refer to her lack of heirs, or to the common idea that England had become a Catholic vassal or "branch" of Spain and the Habsburgs. It is also said to be a punning reference to her chief minister, Stephen Gardiner. "Quite contrary" is said to be a reference to her unsuccessful attempt to reverse ecclesiastical changes effected by her father Henry VIII and her brother Edward VI. The "pretty maids all in a row" is speculated to be a reference to miscarriages or her execution of Lady Jane Grey. "Rows and rows" is said to refer to her executions of Protestants.
  • No proof has been found that the rhyme was known before the eighteenth century, while Mary I of England and Mary, Queen of Scots, were contemporaries in the sixteenth century.
My Mary is a bit more loveable.

Of course, I had to change the nursery rhyme to fit the embellishments I was able to come up with.  Mary, Mary was created by first sewing a part of a cabinet card onto a background and ribbon.  Over that I added the words and dimensional flowers.  Because I thought it was a bit too bright, I sewed a piece of tulle over the top of the page, but I didn't do a very good job with  it, because I didn't realize tulle has a tendency to stretch in one direction.  Live and learn!

So far I've followed the original rhyme.

The die cut flowers were given to me by my friend Kathy.

The same goes for the butterfly.

I used tiny brads for each of the centers.  It was incredibly difficult to get them in a tiny hole I made using a straight pin.

Here's where I began deviating from the original because I had no silver bells and would never have been able to draw them.   Luckily I had several liberty bells left over from sheets of postage stamps.

I found some shells in my stash that I hoped looked a bit like cockle shells.   I added some flowers to the mix at the bottom because the page was too bare without them.

For the background, I used a large rubber stamp and stamped continuously until the page was filled.  Unfortunately, I already had the words and the bells on the page when it hit me I needed something for a background.  Unfortunately I hadn't thought this page through as well as I should have.

Of course I had no images of maids or maidens, but I had several images of flowers in bloom.  Chris should get a kick out of the fact I used the die cuts she sent me that reminded me of a lattice in the garden.

I dyed some cheesecloth and used three wood repair markers to color the swizzle stick.

So, Mary has her full garden now.

Somehow I forgot to take any photos of this page.  The scan doesn't do it justice, because I started with a page of small patterned paper, over which I added/sewed a sheet of glittery vellum flowers.   In fact, I purposely left this page sparse in order to call attention to the background papers.

I added two hearts made from burlap, or hessian as some know it, over which I added a popped up flower.   To complete the spread, I added two matching flowers and the word memories.  I hope these are sweet garden memories for Chris.  Again, I hope Chris takes a better photo of this because it's a beautiful page, but I forgot all about it after I scanned it.

This is what happens when you don't check your photos before you mail them.  There was no way to scan this because it was so very dimensional.  Believe it or not, this was the best image I had of the overall page.  I only show it so you can see the overall positions.

I guess you can tell these are zipper flowers (and a butterfly) I dyed in order to use them in this piece

Tiny buttons were used for a bit of diversion.

I was surprised how well the Staz-on reinker and alcohol dye took on some of the zippers and their pulls,

while other pulls didn't dye at all.

It's fairly obvious this one is called butterflies and blooms.

There was even a gecko.

I found these wonderful letters I was able to use that matched the background paper.

The butterflies were stickers I found in my stash and the idea to create this page took hold from there.

Because the letters didn't show well over the glittery background paper, I decided to outline them.  I can thank Dianne, another of the six international players for sharing that tip with me several years ago.

Here is a photo of the overall page showing all the glitter and glisten-y goodness.

My final page is called "Behind the garden gate."  This scan is probably the best because the photos are not as crisp.  I actually started with a transparency I created of the chair in the garden, then added the stamped bicycle, gifted me by Chris herself.  Small flower "handles" were added to the garden gate, which I created from card stock I dyed.  I also dyed and created what I laughingly call grasses in front of the garden gate.  The background was a napkin.

I stamped a bird as well as a butterfly which was also given me by Chris.  In fact, all the stamps of butterflies were given me by Chris.

The bird came from another napkin.

Because of the photo, it's hard to see this is a transparency, but if you actually look at it, you can see the napkin images behind it.

Here it is photographed, rather than scanned.  I see a BIG color difference.

I cut the tag a bit short, but once I did, I couldn't go back.  Talk about glitter.  The entire tag background has lots of glitter.  I used a technique I remembered where I pulled the sheet music score off the page using masking tape.  What was left was this transparent music.

These adorable flowers were sent me by Annette, another member of this international swap.  I think she picked them up in Saudi Arabia.

Chris's one request was NO FROGS, so I thought I would oblige her with this on the back of the tag.  The rest of the tag information was added after I photographed this.

I hope you enjoyed these tip-ins I created for Chris, because what I thought was going to be an easy theme (In my garden), turned out to be a bit of a nightmare for me.  I understand that Chris was not too disappointed with her frog, though!

Thanks for joining me for this voyage and Chris's pages.  I have one final person to create pages for, so hope to do that now that I have finished my second Thursday tutorial.  And of course, thanks for your continued support of my art.

13 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Oh my, you really made some wonderful pages here, and I am sure Chris will be over the moon with them. Nice touch with the frog, you naughty girl! Have a lovely day and thanks for sharing the photos and our thoughts on the process, hugs, Valerie

Helen said...

love the no frog at the end! Great pages, i am sure Chris will love them and the work you put into them.

Nancy said...

So much effort and so many different materials- you really went all out for this. Fun to see all the details. And a little froggy humor to top it all off.

Jeanie said...

Impressive,Elizabeth. I would think Chris will love this collection of wonderful pages. And I appreciate the history you shared with the post as well. Bravo on a beautiful job, well done!

Thanks for stopping by The Gypsy this morning!I loved your story about the lilypad lady. The first years of the ditch there were relatively few lily pads. I always thought they added more (sometimes you can hardly see the water!). But now I know they just spread like crazy!

froebelsternchen Susi said...

WOWSER pages did you make for lucky Chris!
Gorgeous... and the NO frog idea is just too funny!
Happy Sunday dear Elizabeth!
oxo Susi

Meggymay said...

Wow, Chris will be in love with these pages. They all look fabulous.
Yvonne xx

My name is Erika. said...

Great pages Elizabeth. I had no idea about the story behind that nursery rhyme. I knew about ring around the rosie and plague, so now I wonder about other nursery rhymes and the stories behind them. Glad to see that flower die has come to some good use. I love your Mary, she is so sweet, and all the flowers on all the pages is really inspiring. Chris will get a really nice stash in her mailbox. :) And when you posted about my Africa page you mentioned all the negative things going on that continent now, and I was actually thinking about a few of those when I wrote the page, and almost added them in, but then decided not to. I guess I wanted to keep it more like an Out of Africa feel, the simple better times (if they really ever existed). But there are some scary places in the world and some of those places are in Africa. Enjoy the rest of your weekend:) Erika

Let's Art Journal said...

Wow, the nursery rhyme theme really inspired you! I love your take on Liberty Bells and cockle shells, fabulous! "Behind the garden gate" and "Old Fashioned Flowers" are beautiful and such a contrast in styles, with one being very colourful and the other monochrome (with a pop of blue). Wonderful pages; a great swap and I'm sure they will be loved. Happy Sunday :-)

Sandra Cox said...

These were wonderful. I particularly liked the no frog:) and the Victorian style pages. I had no idea on the nursery rhyme. It always amazes and saddens me what we as 'humans' are willing to do to one another.

Halle said...

Fun pages. I really like the zipper creative.

I just popped in for a brief respite from yardwork...time to get back out there before I totally lose motivation. :)

Darla said...

Wonderful pages and I really enjoyed the history lesson. Funny how innocent sounding "nursery rhymes" often have dark meanings.

pearshapedcrafting said...

I don't know how I thought I had commented here - I clearly haven't! You do though, already know how much I love these pages! Your postage stamps are a real treat and are certainly destined for a number of journal pages!! I love how you researched the nursery rhyme(which, by the way is not only so apt but used to be one of my favourites!) So many nursery rhymes have a tale behind them - I have a book but darned if i can find it !! Of course…the No Frogs sign really made me roar with laughter you funny lady!! Big Hugs, Chrisxx
ps will post your pages on Tuesday!

~*~Patty S said...

Your Mary Mary page is stunning E with the addition of the tuille.
What a fine array of pages you created inspired by Chris' theme.
Those zipper flower are very original. I am really drawn to the pages where you included some fabric bits.
They all turned out great.
I bet Chris was tickled with them AND that bevy of postage stamps.
We got something from Japan today and I was so disappointed it didn't have any REAL postage stamps on it.
Had a giggle with your no frogs sign...hope Chris is not afraid of them.