July 30, 2014

Joe-Pye Weed


Eupatorium purpureum, commonly known as Joe-Pye Weed, was named after a native American who used it to treat fevers in the 17th century.

Attracted by the interesting name, it's no coincidence that I created this tag for the Monday blog challenge at SSS. This week's theme is the letter J.

Made with an image transfer of text taken from a vintage botanical guide and a variety of distress inks and acrylic paint, the background was stamped with cursive text (Heidi Swapp) and a fussy-cut image of a Joe-Pye specimen was applied.

This is a very beneficial plant and attracts lots of butterflies. Left to dry in the garden over the winter, it's seed will nourish birds. Its gets tall and will spread (hence the "weed" designation) but what a splendid plant for an old-fashioned garden!

July 28, 2014

Wallflowers

Click to Enlarge
wall·flow·er

[wawl-flou-er], noun

1. a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance.

2. any of several related plants of the genera Cheiranthus and Erysimum.

3. paper designed by Tim Holtz

This tag was made from a book page background covered with an image transfer of a "found relative" and greenery cut from the Wallflower paper stash, embellished with flowers from scrapbook paper and tinted with acrylic paints.

July 24, 2014

Sweet Summer Dreams


When you live in the desert as I do, Summer ain't so sweet. Dreaming becomes essential to survival and, prompted by this week's Monday blog challenge at Simon Says Stamp, I've created this tag.

Working on it was good medicine. My disposition improved and I'm sending a shout-out to the design team for the mid-summer dream theme, it was a great suggestion!


I used a variety of ink colors to stamp the leaves, some were outlined with a fine-tip marker, the background tints were made with colored pencils, and the sleeping kitty is from Stampendous.

July 18, 2014

Washi Woman


Awash in the world of absurdity, I have gone too far with this "washi woman."  It's foundation was a contour drawing which by definition lacks precision and accuracy. Then I attempted a mosaic with magazine clippings and later opted for washi tape when it became tedious.

I'm posting it to prove that I embrace my imperfections (it's a self-portrait) and that I have a twisted sense of humor. No, the moon isn't full and I haven't been drinking. If you decide never to return here, I completely understand.

I'm linking to the Monday blog challenge at SSS where the theme is "faces."

July 16, 2014

Esther, Magda and Ada


From left to right, allow me to introduce Esther, Magda and Ada. Esther and Ada are my great aunts and Magda was their friend. The original photo had them standing in front of a train, ready to depart on their next great adventure.

They were all spinsters who worked full-time, saved their money to take nice vacations, and they went everywhere! I have inherited all their photos and postcards of places they visited and know they were very well traveled.

Born at the turn of the last century, they lived far away from me and I only had the chance to meet one briefly (Esther). Whenever I go through my collection, I always wish I had known more about them.

I chose to use this particular photo for the Monday blog challenge at SSS where this week's theme is faces.


It's just a simple cut and paste, with some ink and paint markings to embellish. The background paper was distressed with sand paper and Picket Fence stain.

As I post this I can't help but wonder if they would appreciate me sharing their faces on the internet. I think not.

July 12, 2014

Sancta Fides


We've all seen collages made in mosaic fashion from bits of colored paper and I thought I'd give it a go (granted on a small scale) using a manila tag for the base.

Because pages from inexpensive magazines are printed on very thin paper, I'd decided to use that as my source for the colored papers.

I traced the outline of a bird, then cut my shapes and pasted away. The hardest part was not the cutting but instead, choosing what colors to use and where. I now have a new found respect for collage mosaic artists because of this exercise.



I finished it off by masking, then stamping a strip from a Tim Holtz stamp (Math Border) which was embossed with a copper color. I added some book text and tinted the background with colored pencils.

I'm linking it to the Monday blog challenge at SSS for another chance to with the $50 random draw. This week's theme is "start from scratch."

July 10, 2014

Gary Bunt


Today, I'm sharing of video of a painter whose work I admire.  Born in Kent, England in 1957, Gary paints personal memories and everyday impressions with wit and cheerful nostalgia. He channels his life experiences and emotions into engaging images and creates uplifting poetry to complement each piece.



His story is inspiring and reminds me that the art I find most appealing is honest and personal. I hope someday to embrace those qualities in my own work.

Thanks Aputsiaq, for your blog post where I discovered him.

July 08, 2014

Mon Paris

Click to Enlarge
Artist and designer, Joel Henriques, has devoted himself to making arts and crafts both accessible and meaningful. His website, Made by Joel, encourages everyone, regardless of economic means, skill level or age to participate in the collective, creative process.

When he created Paper City of Paris, I knew I had to make something--I found it irresistible!

And since the Monday blog challenge at Simon Says Stamp is start from scratch, it was just the push I needed.


I started with a 4.5" x 8.25" basswood tray found in the clearance aisle at my local crafts store. I used an online image of an old Paris postcard that I cropped and printed to fit the tray. I cut-out Joel's paper city (the travel-size version) and used craft foam on the back of a few pieces to give it dimension. The garland, bird and border were cut from scrapbook papers.

I encourage you to visit Joel's website (especially if you have young children). If you use this paper city, there's a Facebook page where you can post your creation. Other cities are also available including Sidney and he has future plans for London and Barcelona.

July 04, 2014

Sea Spell


I had so much fun making this tag! Inspired by Tim's tag for July, I can't believe how many products I used to complete it. I dusted off crackle paint, glitter, and embossing powders that haven't been used since Christmas. The background was splattered and spritzed and wiped-off so many times I lost count. I knew getting it right would be a challenge so I coated the tag with gesso beforehand.

It was also the perfect time to use some sea-themed papers that I picked up several year's ago and never used. The sea horse and sand dollars came from a release by Graphic 45 called Botanicabella. The shells and greenery are Calambour decoupage paper bought at a craft fair.

Instead of using a shrink plastic background, I used the Falling Snow stencil by Simon Says Stamp and embossing powder to create a resist. The sandy area is a variety of embossing powders sprinkled onto tissue paper then cut out and pasted to the tag.


There's a bit of clear rock candy Distress glitter over a few shells and leaf edges and I completed the tag with a quote by Jacques Cousteau that was printed and aged with inks.

Tim suggested that if you can't go to the beach then let your creativity take you there. Maybe that's the biggest reason this tag was so appealing to me. I've been land-locked all my life and yet my astrological sign is Cancer the Crab. Every time I've visited the ocean I have had such a connection! Maybe some day I'll make it there again and be part of it's wonder, forever.

July 01, 2014

Miss Henrietta Strong

Click to Enlarge
I always begin a collage by using an image with strong personal appeal and when I stumbled upon the image that inspired this tag, I was awestruck!

I'm not a youngster (I've been around the block a few times, so to speak), but I had no idea that poppy seed heads could, under the right circumstances, dry to reveal such a mesmerizing, skeleton-like structure.

I also liked this image of Miss Henrietta Strong (found here). Her all-white court costume gives her the eerie (and intentional) look of a living porcelain doll.

The butterfly was cut from a magazine and altered by cutting down it's size and adding some white paint. I liked that it's structure resembled that of the poppy seed head.

The background paper is from Idea-ology (Destinations Paper Stash) and the edges were embellished with a 3D paint called Scribbles.


I'll close by sharing a quick tip when working with collage elements that I find quite helpful--it's called encasing.

To protect your paper elements (like Henrietta or the butterfly), it's a good idea to cover the front and back with a clear medium before adding them to your composition. That way, they are protected from later abuse when using image transfers (poppy seed head) or further tinting. It's also much easier to paste down delicate pieces because the medium strengthens them.

My inspiration came from this week's SSS Monday blog challenge where the theme is white and I'm linking it there.