August 14, 2018


Splatters and Sprinkles is the theme this week at Simon's Monday Challenge Blog. The paper I used for this greeting card (Modascrap Fly & Scrap) already had splatters which is good because I am somewhat (very) splatter-phobic.

I married it with a snail (Un Escagrot by Carabelle) cut-out and tinted to match the foreground and some washi tape.

The sentiment came from Simon (Beautiful Flowers) and the keyboard stamping is by Tim Holtz (Documented).

August 11, 2018

It's Tape

This is made with tape--washi/design tape, whatever you want to call it, placed in strips or torn into pieces and, where there were windows, covered over with tissue paper.

What could possibly have inspired me to do this?! It started with a photo found on the net (thanks, Vintage Everyday).

After printing, I began to cut away sections and then set it away for awhile, not sure where to go with it but I knew collage would be a part of it.

Then along came a prompt from Simon's Monday Challenge Blog where this week's theme was to add some tape to whatever you make.

Okay, so I went a bit overboard but it was an interesting personal challenge and if I ever use this technique again in a more serious way, I did learn how to best manage the properties of the tape (slick surfaces, sealing, etc.).

I won't share them with you as I doubt anyone would ever do something as crazy as this.

August 02, 2018

Colibri de Costa

Wild thing, you make my heart sing...

I have a hummingbird feeder right outside my window that I keep filled year-round. The most frequent visitors are Costas. They are very small (less than 3 inches) and I am amazed how they can survive the extreme temperatures and monsoon storms during this time of year.

So this is the "wild thing" I chose for this week's theme at Simon's Monday Challenge Blog.

I traced the outline from a photograph and used watercolors on a blank watercolor postcard.

The male hummingbird has an iridescent purple gorget (throat patch) that flares out along the sides of the neck like a mustache. I wish I'd had iridescent paint but I could go over it with some Perfect Pearls if I wanted to duplicate this effect.

If you are shy about watercolors, you might be more comfortable working with a small format as I find it easier to manage. All you need is a tiny brush.

July 28, 2018

Christmas in July

Simon's Monday challenge was prompted by a special blog hop and a chance to win some crafting goodies, but Christmas in July--really?

While it was hard to "get in the spirit" when we've had record-breaking high temps this week, I accepted the challenge and here's my entry.

My card may be a little unconventional so I thought you'd appreciate a peek at the main ingredients before I applied a wash of gesso and then Distress Oxide (Peeled Paint) to create the background.

It would be difficult to pull this off without using a strong backing so I pasted the collage onto some thin packaging material which would be cut to size near the end.

Some Liquid Pearls (Ranger) were dotted around the oval, the backing was trimmed and then I pasted brown mulberry paper (because it's thin) on the back to frame it. Before mounting on folded cardstock, I stitched around the border.

The poinsettas were cut out of Graphic 45 Winter Wonderland, the bird is from Wallflower and the calendar page is from Tidings (Tim Holtz Paper Stash).

I used a glue stick for everything except the poinsetta (attached using spray adhesive) and the final mounting (double-sided cellophane tape).

July 27, 2018

Minnie Nolan's Boarding House

My grandmother had a habit of writing on photographs of family members. While maybe not great for the appearance, I do appreciate the documentation.

This photo was the kind that is printed on a postcard. It was identified as "Minnie Nolan's first boarding house in Kansas City."

I used the actual photo (rather than a copy) with its wrinkles, writing and a missing corner and applied a thin wash of off-white acrylic paint to block out the background.

It was mounted behind an Idea-ology Collage Frame dressed up with various pieces of Tim Holtz paper stash (the vines were cut from Wallflower).

The polka dots (Tim Holtz Dots & Floral) were stamped on his new Plain Collage Paper and layered over the upper left corner. I made dots around the oval with Scribbles (3D fabric paint) and distressed some metallic numbers to blend in with the overall color scheme.

I cut a piece of book board to cover the back and painted the edges. I trimmed the frame's border with lines of black and gold metallic inks.

The butterflies are some digital clipart that I printed on vellum and cut-out. The word "legacy" is a Remnant Rub.

I don't think Grandma Nell would mind what I did with her photo, it's better preserved now and her notes have been transferred to the back of the frame.

July 16, 2018

Tell Your Story

Hours have gone by with no end in sight. A work in progress just won't come together and I needed a break. So, I made a tag with random bits from previous pieces and I feel better now.

It's a lesson in remembering to let go of control, to trust your instincts and to embrace the process instead of the end result.

July 08, 2018


A recent purchase (Beautiful Flowers stamp set by Simon Says Stamp) has captured my interest more than most these days. The main flower grouping is really fun to experiment with and the detail is exceptional.

This time, I've stamped the image onto old book paper using brown ink. After it was fussy-cut, I mounted it on a background made with papers from the Wallflower Paper Stash and trimmed it with washi tape.

I filled in the embossed text with white Perfect Pearls and also dabbed it on the flower centers and some of the stamen.

July 05, 2018

Stamp Conversion

I recently purchased a stamping platform and I am over the moon about it! Stamps I avoided in the past because they were difficult to use no longer scare me. And because I want to use ALL my stamps with this new tool, I have converted my collection of wood-mounted stamps to cling-mount.

I want to share some things I learned during the process to help others who might also want to do this. There is already a lot of information on the web but it didn't really prepare me for what I was up against.

You will need to purchase the cling mount sheets. I used a brand called EZMount and buyer beware, there are two sizes: Regular which is 1/8" thick and thin which is 1/16" thick. Go to the manufacturer's website (Crafter's Companion) and the product descriptions will explain the difference. I used 1/8" thick foam for all my stamps but your needs may be different.

This was a good time for me to purge some of my inventory and donate stamps I no longer care for, giving me a better idea of how much cling mount to buy. I only converted my favorites and didn't convert really tiny ones.

Make sure to measure out your stamps on the printed side with the stamp facing up and give yourself some wiggle-room with the margins. This is because it's tricky to lay the stamp down exactly where you want it during the final mounting and you'll be able to trim it more cleanly if you leave a little more room.

I didn't use scissors to trim the stamps. I used a utility knife instead and think it was MUCH MUCH easier. When I came to some curvy parts, I just made tiny stabs around it with the knife--no problem.

You may get some "sticky-stuff" on your knife blade or your fingers. I used paper towels to wipe off the knife blade and gel hand-sanitizer for my fingers. You don't want to transfer any of it to the image-side of your stamp so keeping things clean is kind of important.

Okay, that was the easy-part. The hard part?

Nothing I read on the web prepared me for the challenge of cleaning the stamp's backside once it was removed from the wood base. Each and every stamp came off differently and presented new challenges.

A few peeled off perfectly and required no additional effort--they were ready to remount. Most peeled off the wood base pretty easy but no matter how carefully I worked, remnants of either foam or dried glue or really tacky glue remained on the backside.

The cling-mount instructions state that this side should be clean before mounting and I accepted the challenge. Here are some examples:

In the photo above, the original glue (still VERY tacky) remained on this stamp and I only had to pick away at the few bits of foam, left the glue intact and it was re-mounted.

In this example, the stamp peeled fairly cleanly except for some foam areas and the glue holding it on was dried out and very hard. I used a grout saw which has a sandpaper like edge to scrape away the remaining bits.

Here's another example of what remained after a peel from the block only this time, the remnants (glue and foam) were still somewhat sticky and would be difficult to try to rub off (think price tag on plastic).

So I used a strip of high-adhesion masking tape, rubbed it down over the remaining bits and voila! It pulled off the glue and the foam easy-peasy (wish I'd thought of this sooner).

In my last example, the foam and glue that remained on the stamp was roughed up with my scraper first and then I used masking tape to pull off the loose material.

If you are still reading along, I'll end this post with a couple more tips/suggestions that you might consider:
  • It will be tempting but don’t use "Goo-Gone" or "Goof-Off" or similar solvent-based products as they are not recommended for use on rubber and could damage your stamp.
  • If your stamp is of a ruler or similar image where having a really straight edge is important, don't forget to mount it on the foam as straight as you can. The rubber is flexible and kind of floppy and that could work against you during your placement.
  • Before remounting, it's a good time to give the image-side of the stamps a good cleaning and also to re-trim problem areas that the manufacturer may have missed.
  • Do the easy, least favorite stamps first until you get the hang of it.
In the end, I am SO GLAD I tackled this and I can't wait to give new life to stamps that will shine under the control of my stamping platform.

My storage needs have changed and I plan to blog about a rather unique solution at a future date that you may enjoy reading about as well.

Until next time, Happy Stamping!!

July 04, 2018

June 24, 2018

Penny Farthing

A journal page to share with you today made for Simon's Monday challenge--this week's theme is "Transport It." It was a chance to embrace my passion for collage and to try out a new addition to my craft stash--Idea-ology Plain Collage Paper (Tim Holtz).

Over the years, I have amassed a sizeable collection of images taken from old picture books (no worries--they were destined for the trash) and it was a pleasure to find the material I used for the background.

I also used an image from the net that was fussy cut and pasted over the top. The foreground paper is from Tim's French Industrial paper stash. The text is a Tim Holtz Clippings Sticker.

The Plain Collage Paper was used to stamp the typewriter keys (Tim Holtz Documented) and also the postage stamp (Hampton Art 2010).

Here's a close-up view and you can see how transparent this collage paper can be. I find it superior to other tissue papers I have used in the past and know I will get a lot of use out of it. There are also printed versions with flowers, birds, and script.

In case you are wondering, a penny farthing is a high-wheeled bike and I suspect the driver of the motorcycle with sidecar may have been the photographer.

That's the Hammersmith Bridge, London in 1900. The city skyline is Florence, Italy, and the postage stamp and the stamped script (Inkadinkado) are French. Now that's traveling!

June 22, 2018

Lina Cavalieri

Click on photo for larger, lightbox view

Someday I should start saving all my tag experiments gone bad so that you can see how this format is really meant to be my chance to try new things and to learn from my mistakes.

Occasionally, I get it right (in my mind, anyway) and those are the tags I blog about. This one, in particular, is a good example of what I'm talking about.

I wanted to try a variation of this Tim Holtz technique using a new stamp called Beautiful Flowers by Simon Says Stamp. It's a process of embossing, painting in the areas with acrylics, and then wiping the lines clean.

The paint I used was initially transparent so variations in flower color are due to the background (an image transfer over a book page) showing through. I applied another layer of a more opaque color on the flowers near the top to achieve more uniformity.

It was easy to lift paint off the embossed areas even after the paint was dry and I'll definitely try this technique again.

I thought the play of text and page margin under the face would be interesting but it was too severe so I applied a strip of Tim Holtz Tissue Wrap along the edge to soften the contrast.

To balance out the bottom I added text with texture paste and a homemade stencil. The paste was white. I've learned from experience that it's almost impossible to tint the paste black before you apply it because the best you can expect is maybe a dark gray.

So I took a teeny-tiny paintbrush dipped in black ink and painted the texture paste after it had dried. I've never tried tinting the paste with ink instead of paint so maybe I'll give that a go on a future tag. I also wonder if there's a black texture medium that you can buy?

June 13, 2018

Precious Things

What to do, what to do...

I can't bring myself to use the papers included in this month's Simon card kit because they are just too pretty! Seriously.

And I couldn't bear to cover up the background of a tag made with a new embossing folder (Tim Holtz 3D Botanical) because it was just too pretty, too!

So I tried to think of a design where I could leave most of it showing and here's what I came up with.

I really played around with distressing the background. I embossed a rather thin piece of pink paper (after slightly damping it first) and then I gave it a coat of Krylon clear matt finish to seal and protect it.

Then I went crazy with gesso, inks, and paints--brushing on, wiping off (and even a little bit of sanding), just to see what worked the best to bring out those glorious embossed details.

Who could blame me for not wanting to cover this beauty up?!

The girls are Paper Dolls (Tim Holtz) and the butterflies came from the Graphics Fairy which I printed in miniature on vellum and then cut out.

Some tiny jewels (tinted with alcohol ink), a scrap of vintage sheet music, a Remnant Rub (text) and a border made with dots of Liquid Pearls were also used.

I tinted the Paper Dolls with transparent acrylic paint and the white of the pearls and lace were made with a Gelly Roll pen. I had a tiny butterfly that was just the right size for sitting atop the little girl's hair bow.

I'm linking this up to Simon's Monday Challenge Blog, this week's theme is Anything But A Card.

Now, what to do about those pretty papers...

June 07, 2018

Bright & Beautiful

This week I learned that "all things bright and beautiful" is the first line of a poem/hymn written in 1848 by Mrs. Cecil Alexander whose published work was called Hymns for Little Children.

I've also spent the week converting wood stamps to cling mount and testing them (a project not for the faint of heart).

So to take a break and to link up with Simon's Monday challenge, I used various stamped "test" remnants along with an old book page, a vintage photo and some washi tape to create a collaged journal page.

I also had to try a technique I discovered this week where you stamp with Distress Oxide ink and then smear it just a bit with a blending tool. The page border was created this way and I have Stacy Hutchinson (via Tim Holtz) to thank for sharing this tip.

Stamp credits: Inkadinkado, Tim Holtz, Penny Black

May 29, 2018

Extra Ordinary Joy

Embracing the old and the new and some extra-ordinary joy with this tag, made on-the-fly today because I could and I did.

I have a lot of side-projects going on related to reorganizing my crafting space. Like converting some favorite wooden stamps to cling now that I have a stamping platform. I tested one of them today (French Collage) using a Big & Juicy stamp pad (remember these?) on a manila tag. And I just couldn't leave well enough alone. So....

I curated a Found Relative (the latest release has new images) and fussy-cut it like I used to before there were Paper Dolls.

I cut out some images from a newly purchased stamp set called Stamp Collector, then foraged around for more paper bits and found the leaf/vine cutting and the polka dot paper (I save most of my scraps).

Put it all together with a glue stick, add some Remnant Rubs and Scribbles (the dotted border) and there you have it. Extra Ordinary Joy!

May 27, 2018

Thanks ...

After working on this card, I now have new respect for the challenges that this art form presents and for the artisans who make it look so effortless.

Mixed-media? No problem--you can just paint over a part you don't like. Card making requires more planning and if you make a mistake sometimes you just have to start over.

But practice makes perfect, right? So I plan to do just that and purchased the June Card Kit from Simon Says Stamp. It features a lovely stamp set called Beautiful Flowers and I have used it for this card.

The kit came with three dots (red, yellow, blue) of an artist-grade watercolor paint from Daniel Smith and this was the only paint I used to tint this stamping.

Using the science of complimentary colors becomes critical in this scenario because you must tone down the primary pigments for the colors to look more natural.

The border was made with kraft paper using the new Tim Holtz 3D embossing folder called Botanical (also included in the kit) and machine-stitching provided some accent.

Otherwise, it's a bit of a plain jane but I didn't think it needed anything else since the flower image is such a show stopper. Thanks to this new stamp set, I now have some sentiment stamps that I was sorely lacking which will help me with my new quest in card-making.

May 24, 2018

My Sweetheart

Inspired by a song (this week's Monday challenge at SSS), here's a tag that celebrates the turn of the last century when everyone was waltzing to a popular tune called "Let Me Call You Sweetheart."

The background reminds me of a vintage tin ceiling tile. It was made using bronze metallic cardstock and the new Sizzix 3D texture fade (Tim Holtz) called Botanical.

The portrait is an image transfer using this photo. Because the original background was dark, I used the tip of an Exacto knife to scratch in lines to lighten it and create better definition.

The frame border was made with dots of 3D fabric paint called Scribbles.

The flowers and perfume label (Tim Holtz) were thinned-out and then fussy-cut to create a more delicate appearance.

I pasted a ribbon along the right hand side using fabric glue (works great and doesn't soak through) and my strip of text is from the Idea-ology Clippings Stickers collection.

And for anyone out there who's not familiar with the song that inspired me here's a link--take a listen!