December 31, 2014

Polaroids


It's cold in many places this New Year's Eve--even at my house (in the desert southwest) where my frost tender plants have been tucked in for the night with a layer of blankets and I'll be celebrating in a quiet way with the cozy comfort of a space heater.

I'm sharing a journal page (linked to Art Journal Journey, where this month's theme is Collage) that I made today with left over paper scraps pasted randomly to fill every inch of the background. I washed it out some, applied color, added scrolls, visualized a carriage, image transferred a horse, and stamped the face and wheel spokes.

I added the lines of script just to see what it would look like and it's an interesting effect. In white are the lyrics from a song I discovered this year that's become a favorite. It was released in 1992 (I don't know how I missed it) by Shawn Colvin called Polaroids. I wrote some personal thoughts about the new year in black.

This holiday is another reminder of how quickly time passes and I've noticed a common thread among the bloggers I follow who wish they had more time to make their art.

So, as I express my thanks to you for stopping by to see my creations this year (I really do appreciate it) I'm also sending my wish that you find all the time you need to be creative in the new year.

December 30, 2014

Rose et Noir


As the year comes to a close, I've begun my annual clean-up of the many bits of paper left-over from art projects made during the last 12 months that were saved "just in case." Some will be tossed, a few will be kept but most will be pasted on journal pages to commemorate, I suppose, what amused me this year.


This page began by randomly pasting old calendar stickers and later, dabs of white paint onto a pink tinted background. I used an adhesive silkscreen for the first time (by Martha Stewart) and it worked really well (lower left corner). You'll also see a bit a random stamping (Lace by Anna Griffin) and script (made with a homemade stencil) along with lots of tiny dots (Zig paint pens).

One thing led to another (which is my favorite part about working in art journals) and even though the end result would look better cropped, I'm happy with the color scheme just the same. The are no rules in art but I seem to prefer abstract collages with a stronger focal point than this one has.

I'd be curious to know if others save their scraps like I do and how they manage them. I could easily keep everything but the risk of being buried alive forces me to purge now and then. Now all I have to figure out is where to keep the accumulation of art journals that stand in their place. Pity the poor relation that will have to toss it all when I am dead and gone.

(I'm linking this post to Art Journal Journey, a blog I've just discovered that offer's monthly challenges for artists worldwide and a most clever way of displaying the work via Pinterest.)

December 21, 2014

Snow

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Far from a traditional Christmas card, this one was made for my good friend Thelma who introduced me to card making. Over the years, we have traded creations and pushed the envelope in an almost "can you top this" fashion. So it will be no surprise when she receives this year's card from me.

The group photo came from Tim's Merriment paper stash and the background is a chalkboard line from The Paper Studio. I embellished it with strips of book paper, a white Gelly Roll pen, black and white Stickles, and silver Liquid Pearls.

It's hard to see but the children in front are sitting on a toboggan, a large sled that seats many. I grew up in Colorado and my family had one. I remember the great fun of cold winter days spent speeding down hills and the long hard walk to climb back up again. I feel very fortunate to have such good childhood memories and am grateful for my parents who made them possible.

I'm linking to this week's Monday blog challenge at Simon Says Stamp which is "anything goes."

December 18, 2014

Believe


Tim introduced a new product this month called "Frosted" during his December tag tutorial.  It looks interesting and I hope he demonstrates other uses for it in future posts.

I substituted old-fashioned drafting vellum for my background and text by using the Falling Snow stencil (Simon Says Stamp) and a section from Tim's Christmas Words stamp along with some embossing ink and powder to create a similar effect.

The reindeer was embellished with Perfect Pearls and you may recognize the leaves from Tim's Wallflower paper stash. The number 25 is an Idea-ology Plaquette.

I'd like to share an embossing technique seen on the leaves as it comes in handy when you want fine details and better control.

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I used a gel pen to draw in the areas I wanted to emboss. In this case, it was the veins on the leaves.

The ink stays wet long enough to apply embossing powder. I used various pen colors and clear powder in this example.

November 20, 2014

Murmuration


A flock of starlings is called a murmuration and they gather at dusk in great numbers to perform an incredible ballet before resting. I didn't know about this (starlings don't inhabit the Americas) until I saw a You Tube video (gone viral) and my tag made me think of it so I gave it this title.

I was inspired by Emma Williams' post over at Simon Says Stamp where she shared a technique for creating a moonlit sky as part of this week's Monday blog challenge which is To the Moon.

I got a bit hung up during the rendering of clouds so I improvised thanks to the painterly quality of distress inks. I used a stamp called Winter Ledge by Penny Black.

I thought I'd share my own tip for getting a mask to stay put while you are inking around it:  Martha Stewart's ballpoint tip glue pen creates a permanent bond when used wet but if you let it dry it creates a temporary bond (says so right on the pen). So I just dab a little on the back of the mask, let it dry, then stick it to my artwork knowing that it will be easy to peel off and will leave no residue behind.

Also, applying Antique Linen as a first layer helped a great deal with blending-in the Dusty Concord. It's probably because that first layer of ink (still somewhat wet) provides a slick surface for adding the second layer.

And now, if you've never seen a murmuration, prepared to be amazed!



November 13, 2014

Duchess

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My post is titled "Duchess" because it is the name of the scrapbook paper (by Kaiser Craft) that I used to make this greeting card. There's no sense providing a link to it as I bought it awhile ago and it is now out of production.

But I can show you what the paper originally looked like:


I cut out one of the design elements and pasted it to metallic bronze card stock after creating a border with a paper punch. Then I went to task embellishing it with colored pencils, Stickles and Scribbles (a 3-D paint). I mounted it to olive green card stock which was folded for use as a greeting card.



I plan to use it as a Christmas card and have linked it to the Monday blog challenge at SSS where the theme is ornaments.  I will admit, I'm getting excited about the upcoming holiday season because there's no better time to use my Stickles and I do love them so!

November 08, 2014

Good Old Days


Oh, how I wish for the good old days! If I'd been born 150 years ago--
I just may have been happier. I'd be a pioneer woman with lots of kids, have a rifle for hunting and a garden. I'd bake the best bread and pies, go to church every Sunday and sleep soundly at night. I would most certainly appreciate all the little things that make life sweet.

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So to commemorate my blissful thinking, I've linked this tag to the Monday blog challenge at Simon Says Stamp.

It was made with a variety of pasted papers including a Tim Holtz "found relative."  Washes of acrylic paint and swipes of distress ink provide the color.

I used stamps to fill in some blank spaces and the flowers were cut from Tim's Wallflower paper stash.

November 07, 2014

Remember Paris


Inspired by Tim's November tag, I created this one using some of his techniques and also everything but the kitchen sink.

Oh wait! I did use the sink to wash off some ink at one point...

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It all started when I hand-cut a flower shape from corrugated cardboard, filled it in with paste medium and after it dried, added an image transfer on top which was then covered with clear crackle paint.

Ink pens, acrylic paint, oil pastels, and colored pencils were used to add color along with some splatters of gold embossing. The letters were hand-cut and then distressed with paint and crackle.

Tim's tag reminded me of inlaid parquetry and I was inspired to experiment!

October 30, 2014

Treats


The image I used for this tag shows a little girl dressed up in costume and I'm pretty sure it wasn't for Halloween but instead, illustrates the Victorian obsession with fairies.

The following explanation came from a book review on Amazon:

Clap if you believe in fairies! The Victorians did, writes Carole Silver in Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness, but she's not exactly talking about Tinkerbell here. Silver prefers the more gruesome and treacherous species of fay: changelings and vampires, brownies and goblins. The Victorians took these creatures very seriously, indeed, and according to Silver, this belief tapped into some of their society's most fundamental anxieties. Fear of physical deformity, of women's sexual power, of racial or class difference: these were the true bogeymen that haunted the Victorian imagination, and they responded with a flood of art, literature, and theater that portrayed these imaginary creatures with equal measures of fascination and horror.

Now days, Halloween has become an extremely popular holiday and rivals Christmas or Easter with its enthusiastic decoration and celebration. Is it because we suffer from similar anxieties?

About my tag: A cutting from Tim's Wallflower paper stash was used for the background. I love the lithographic quality of this paper and brought out some of the details with Gelly Roll pens.

I further embellished with Stickles which I store upside down to keep the thick solution close to the tip and always ready for use.

A light touch with colored pencils helped to tint the little fairy's dress and provide a shadow for her to stand on.

I'm linking this post to the Monday blog challenge at Simon Says Stamp where this week's theme is treats. Happy Halloween, everyone--I hope it's full of sweets!

October 25, 2014

Splatters for Andrea


A recent post by Andrea Ockey Parr has inspired the creation of this tag made by stomping various Distress Ink stains on a piece of glossy paper. I used a black Gelly Roll pen to outline some of the splatters, turning them into shapes resembling flowers and added an image of my great Aunt Ada, some stamped dragonflies and a bit of washi tape to complete it.

I am always inspired by Andrea's creations--her work is full of whimsy and color and she often uses mediums in an unconventional way.

She never fails to make me smile and she leaves the BEST blog comments.

Thank you, Andrea!

October 17, 2014

O Karma, Darma

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O Karma, Darma, pudding and pie,
gimme a break before I die:
grant me wisdom, will and wit,
purity, probity, pluck and grit.

Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind,
gimme great abs and
a steel-trap mind, and forgive,
Ye Gods, some humble advice--
these little blessings would suffice
to beget an earthly paradise:

make the bad people good--
and the good people nice;
and before our world goes over the brink,
teach the believers how to think. 

This poem, by Philip Appleman, is what I inscribed on my journal page (in case you can't read my handwriting).


I started the background by using a variety of paint colors with a stencil by Simon Says Stamp called Gingham/Pure Sunshine. I added the bird cage, tree, bird and people then started filling-in blank areas with a variety of stencils and stamps.

I often use poetry as inspiration for a journal page. Sometimes I start with the poem and sometimes (as in this case) the poem comes at the end.

As I printed the lines on the page, I was thinking about how our schools no longer believe it necessary to teach penmanship and wondered when poetry will meet the same fate.

I'm linking to this week's challenge at SSS where the theme is "the letter O" which is the first word of this poem (from New and Selected Poems, 1956-1996, University of Arkansas Press).

October 15, 2014

White Orchids


daguerreotype was my inspiration for this tag which combines an image transfer and stamping over some Tim Holtz tissue paper and glazing with acrylic paints.

A fair amount of masking was required to accomplish this task and I painted behind the transfer to prevent the background from showing through the photo.

I also filled in the orchid stamp (Stampendous) with paint and couldn't have done it without my favorite paint brush, a number 0 sable. It was a pricey investment but this brush is several years old and has lasted much longer than any other tiny paint brush I have ever owned.

I'm linking to the Monday blog challenge at Simon Says Stamp where this week's theme is the letter "O" and I just have to say--the alphabet challenges are my favorite!

October 08, 2014

Nevermore...


Here's my contribution for the link-up to Tim's October tag. I used the standard techniques: stamping, masking, embossing and inking, and Tim's Lost and Found stamp set, which is kind of "edgy" and suitable for this occasion. The raven is one of my own, hand-carved stamps.

The frame was made with texture paste and a homemade stencil but an error in stamp alignment forced me to do a cut and paste instead of applying the texture directly on the tag. Oh well!

However, I did make a useful discovery that I'd like to share.

I rubbed a dryer sheet over the paper prior to embossing (it's supposed to keep the powder from sticking where it shouldn't).

I ripped a corner off the sheet and discovered that the loose fibers make a rather authentic looking cobweb.

Nothing beats a typewriter for creating text, so I rolled the tag into the platen and was sure I felt Mr. Poe looking over my shoulder as I typed the word nevermore...

October 06, 2014

Cowboy and Indian


If you were born before 1970, you may recognize that the image used in this journal page is the Indian-head test pattern which was shown on black and white TVs right before a broadcasting station signed off for the night.

If you've followed my blog for awhile, you may also recognize the little cowboy as an image used in a previous blog post.

In terms of technique, this two page journal spread was an exercise in trying out three new stencils and a new stamp that I purchased from SSS after winning the $50 prize drawing a few weeks back.

The first stencil used is by Prima called Pavers which I moved around the page to create a color wheel pattern then knocked-back a bit with off-white paint.

I applied a gel medium image transfer of the Indian-head test pattern next.

I followed with a stencil by My Favorite Things called Grid to add a black pattern to the corners and page borders. I added text with a stencil by Crafter's Workshop called Art Is to cover large parts of the page using mostly white and some black paint.

I was skeptical about how well the text stencil would work but I'm quite impressed and very happy with the results. This was a good investment and it is sure to get lots of use.

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I added tiny text from a stamp by Kaiser called Dictionary Meanings to create a border around the test pattern using black archival ink.

I used distress ink here and there to help unify the composition.

I created a background for the little cowboy with white paint before pasting him to the page and added a hand-written sentiment and a tiny pink heart.

I'm linking to this week's Monday blog challenge at SSS where the theme is "Falling in love with..." (my new stencils and stamp). And what better time to extend a great big thank you to SSS for the generosity of their $50 prize and to each and every design team member for all their hard work.

September 22, 2014

DIY Distress Ink Storage


About five years ago, I made a storage container for my distress inks with 20 available slots and was certain it would be large enough to accommodate any future purchases. Hah!

So I recently crafted a new container that is larger than the original with some minor modifications. I decided to document the process and pass it along via this post in case others might want to make one.

All my photos can be enlarged via the lightbox feature--just click on them for a close-up view.

You will need:

- One sheet of foam core board (20" x 28" - 3/16" thick)
- Utility knife and an extra blade or two
- White glue (I used Elmer's)
- Ruler and pencil

Measure and mark your pieces using a ruler and pencil:

I've provided measurements for a box that will hold 28 ink pads but you can modify the design (make it taller, add more columns, etc.) to create a container that fits your needs. Mine will sit upright on a shelf next to my craft table so I sized it accordingly.

Back = 6 - 9/16" x 13 - 7/16"
Top & Bottom = 3" x 6 - 9/16"
Left/Right Sides & Center = 3" x 13"
60 Strips = 1/4" x 3"

Cut out the pieces using a utility knife (don't forget to protect your table surface).

Cutting tips:  Make multiple SLOW passes with the knife (don't try to cut through the entire thickness at once). Keep your knife straight up and down (parallel to the edge) and the blades sharp. Don't worry if some of the center foam flakes out because you can turn the rough edges towards the inside when you assemble it.


Cutting the strips is pretty easy--just make longer lengths first and then shorten them into smaller pieces.




Mark guidelines on the left/right sides and center pieces:


It will be easier to attach the strips if you mark lines for them first. I left a 1/4" gap on each end, then made marks for a 1/4" strip followed by a line for the space in between which was 5/8". Make sure the measurements match on all the strips. Remember you will have to mark both sides of the center strip.

edge + 1/4" + 1/4" + 5/8" + 1/4" + 5/8" + 1/4" + 5/8" + 1/4 + 5/8"  etc.

Glue the strips to the side and center pieces:


Apply glue to the paper side of the strips and attach to just one side of left and right side pieces. Glue strips to both sides of one piece and this will be the center support.

As with all things glue--don't use more than you need. A light, thin covering is sufficient and will set more quickly.

Assemble the box:



Build your box by attaching the top and sides to the back in sections. Make sure the edges line up evenly and hold in place until the glue begins to set.

Install the center post:

Make a mark at the center of the top and bottom pieces to assist with guiding the center post into position. Apply glue to the back, top and bottom of the center post and slide it in place.


Insert your ink pads and you are done!




I printed a Ranger ink template on plain paper, cut out the strips of text and glued them to the front of the pads (I didn't have printer labels). Then I tinted the labels with ink.

I did attach a small wooden base to mine because of the uneven wire shelf it will sit on but that is optional and won't affect how the container itself functions.

If you like to build things and need better storage for your ink pads, you might want to consider this. The end result is a lightweight but sturdy, custom container that costs very little to make and can be modified easily to fit your needs.

If you have any questions or need some advice leave a comment or send an email and do share this post with others who may be interested.

Update: I modified this storage tower when I cleaned-up my craft room. If you'd like to see the new version, here's the link.

September 17, 2014

No. 6173


I'm posting the results of an experiment with gel pens that was driven by this week's SSS Monday blog challenge which is "rock the techniques."


Using the pens, I wrote directly on the rubber of small sections of various stamps and pressed them on to the tag. Then I filled in the blank background areas with distress ink. I was able to capture detail with accuracy and color changes were a snap, thanks to the small pen tips and slow drying time.

Would I use this technique again? Definitely, but just for small bits and only after planning for potential smearing when other inks are applied on top. My gel pens aren't waterproof/permanent but that can be an asset with other techniques (see previous post).

September 13, 2014

Sugar Crush


Another irresistible photo prompted the creation of this tag using a page from the French Industrial paper collection by Tim Holtz as the background.

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Sugar sprinkles were added with off-white paint using a stencil from Simon Says Stamp called Falling Snow (...sweet...)

Some of the larger sprinkles were made to look like peppermints by adding stripes with a gel pen (...delicious...)

The border was distressed with Walnut Stain and I've linked it to the Monday blog challenge at SSS (...sugar crush...)

Spending too much time playing a certain online arcade game may have also been a factor.

September 09, 2014

Rain


I live in the desert. We've had severe drought conditions for the last several years. If and when it rains, it usually comes in the summer and we call it the "monsoon season."

Yesterday half of all the rain we usually get in one year came down upon us in less than 24 hours. Streets were shut down, roofs collapsed, schools were closed. The season finally lived up to its name.

This helps to explain why I made this tag. Also, the only SSS product I own is the Falling Snow stencil and using one of their products was encouraged for this week's Monday blog challenge which celebrates "STAMPtember."

And the final reason for making it? I wanted to see what colored rain drops would look like. I expect the end result of all those colors dropping and mixing would be mud and we now have a lot of that here. But fear not, in just a few days it will all be hard as rock again.

Photo credit:  Ralph Morse

September 07, 2014

If Only...


I don't know what possessed me to purchase a face stamp (this one's by LaBlanche) because I've found them rather limited in use. But seeing Tim's September tag and the others who've posted links, has given me some new ideas.

I also admit that alcohol inks intimidate me so mine have gathered dust but it was good to get them out again for this project.  I do love the glossy paper because it takes ink so well, stamped images are super crisp and it may be a "must have" for any success with alcohol inks on paper.

I tried Tim's background technique, to no avail, so I just dripped the colors right from the bottle onto a tag cut from glossy paper. Then I randomly stamped off-white paint through some homemade and store-bought stencils and went over it with distress inks after the paint had dried. Some light stamping with script, borders cut from washi tape and a bit of Dymo tape text finished it off.

September 05, 2014

Going Back


Posting journal pages and using strong hues isn't in my comfort zone but the Monday blog challenge this week at SSS is "bold" so I just went for it.

Long ago, I found two images that, by coincidence, seemed to go together. I've wanted to connect them in a composition and was lucky to find a passage from a book by Pascal Mercier (Night Train to Lisbon) that helped to convey my thoughts.

No magic techniques here--just stamped deli paper and dictionary pages, a stencil, acrylic paint and a permanent black marker were used (script stamp by Dark Room Door, stencil by Crafter's Workshop, photos via Nordic Thoughts).



During difficult times, finding a muse can be a challenge but when I do, I'm grateful for the benefits. This time, the act of being "bold" was good medicine.

August 29, 2014

Aporia crataegi


I've never seen a Black-veined White Butterfly (except via You Tube) and I think they are quite nice.

Inspired by this this photo, I created a tag by printing it, cutting it out, pasting mulberry paper behind the wings, tinting it with paint, ink and colored pencils, and pasting it to a distressed background.


I'm linking it to the Monday blog challenge at Simon Says Stamp. This week's theme is "witch kraft" and while it may not be apparent that I used kraft paper--it's there, as a background, now covered with layers of paint and ink.

A happy accident caused by using too much Seedless Grape distress stain to darken the kraft paper compelled me to sand and rub at it with the hopes of making it lighter. When the top layer of the paper began to peel away, I gathered up the bits and pasted them back on and spread a layer of thin white paint on top.

And if you haven't seen a Black-veined White Butterfly either, here's a short-video for you to enjoy (beware of crickets in the background).