April 20, 2018

Lemony Snicket

doo·dle ˈ/ do͞odl /
scribble absentmindedly "he was only doodling in the margin"
a rough drawing made absentmindedly

There's not much doodling here. It's a stretch for linking to Simon's Monday Challenge Blog this week but perhaps it counts that the first step I took was to make a border of circles around the tag.

The chair was stamped (Claudine Hellmuth) and then I drew the table. The globe and the hot air balloon were stamped (Tim Holtz Tiny Things); the books, shelves, windows, wall and floor were drawn.

I would argue that drawing and doodling are not the same. But if you consider the definition, I guess this was absentminded in the sense that I have no idea where the idea came from but once I decided to add the books, I thought the quote by Lemony Snicket was a good fit.

April 15, 2018

The Phoenix

Just under the wire today, linking up to Simon's Monday Challenge Blog--this week's theme is Mythology.

My idea came from the namesake of my current residence and a little research turned up an interesting story of how the city got it's name, who knew dipsomania played a part in it.

In mythology the Phoenix represents rebirth which is exactly what I did with the wooden support for this piece which was originally an Idea-ology burlap panel (6" x 4").

I removed the burlap, applied an image transfer and then colored it with paint and inks and also stamped some text in the background (Stamper's Anonymous Ledger Script).

The technique was similar to this project which became a favorite of mine and I thought I'd have another go at it. I appreciate how it's possible to take advantage of the brown of the support board and convert the positives shapes into negative ones.

April 11, 2018

Ada Again

I have modified a recent collage (see previous post, Ada 1916) by scraping off the photo of my great Aunt Ada and replacing the image with one I like better.

Because the original photograph was a bit thicker than the other collage papers I used, it was pretty easy to get underneath it and carefully peel/scrape it off.

Then I used this image as a transfer and created a mask of the hands and face. I used the mask to apply off-white paint on the background where the image was placed. Since image transfers are inherently transparent, this technique keeps the background from showing through.

The image transfer's darker undertones made it necessary to adjust values throughout the collage using transparent paint (glazing) and I also colored the collage paper flowers.

And finally, I felt the need to contain the composition by adding a border which was made using dots of Scribbles. I think the addition of the black accents helped to emphasize the other black elements in the collage.

April 08, 2018

Ada 1916

My great Aunt Esther wrote on the back of this photo, "Ada, June 1916." I suspect it is a photograph to commemorate her sister's graduation from high school as I have several copies and the year would be appropriate.

I used a wooden panel (10" x 10"), the new Idea-ology collage paper (Botanical), some Memoranda paper stash and an Idea-ology Collector Layer. All the paper bits were made thinner by rubbing the back side with water and I also used damask patterned tissue paper along with some light pink. The circle scroll design was an image transfer.

(Click on the photos to see a larger, lightbox view.)

The wooden support was gessoed, I pasted on a crinkled sheet of light pink tissue paper, added crackle medium, then rubbed on brown wax to bring out the cracks.

At this stage I was thinking I should have waited to crackle the board AFTER I arranged the collage but in the end it may have been the right approach even though most of the surface was covered up.

Here are some close-ups that show how I layered the collage paper.

Working with the collage paper I learned that, if you don't want the white of the tissue to show, it's important that the glue underneath covers the entire surface. In the photo above, the hand-written name has fewer missed areas of glue underneath than the section of tissue just above it.

My glue of choice for this piece was fluid matt medium. I like that you have a longer working time than a gel medium and that it moistens the paper slightly so it lays down easier. You can get all the bubbles out without using much pressure (which might tear a delicate paper).

March 31, 2018

Erasable Memoranda


The paper used for this tag was cut from a vintage (1916) portrait cover (a graduation photo of my great aunt Ada). It's a light mustard color with an embossed stripe texture and because of its age, it's a bit friable and easy to distress.

I built a collection of boxes filled with various bits and mounted it on top of ephemera from the Tim Holtz Collector Layers. The ruler came from the Dapper paper stash and I embossed the end with metallic powders.

I tinted the metal star and index clip (Tim Holtz) with metallic white and butterscotch alcohol inks and that's a distressed Remnant Rub on top of the clip. 

I made it for this week's Monday Challenge Blog at Simon Says Stamp which prompted crafters to do something "Inside the Box." I enjoy working with the prompts because it gets me creating things I've always wanted to try but might not have otherwise.

My little boxes are not an original idea and I must give credit where credit is do. Rebecca Sower is an artist I've been following since I discovered this magazine article (Somerset Studio) in December, 2009. I didn't realize until just this moment that an altered book I made recently may have been inspired by her too!

March 14, 2018

Limited Edition

Inspired by a mood board for Simon's Monday challenge this week, I have created a tag that is a very literal translation. But I just couldn't help myself as something about a cracked egg as a vase for flowers resting inside a tea cup really spoke to me.

I didn't have a tea cup stamp so I printed an image of one and the flowers were cut from the Wallflower paper stash. The background stamp is by Heidi Swapp, the tinting is Walnut Stain Distress Oxide and regular Distress Bundled Sage (on watercolor paper) and the text is a Remnant Rub.

March 11, 2018

Cool in the Shade

My favorite teachers? The passing of time, experience, practice, experimentation, mistakes. Case in point this tag (made for Simon's Monday theme "Whatever the Weather"):

  1. Learning how to use Photoshop's recompose tool to crop this photo without losing the photograph's border frame.
  2. Experimenting with Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Ink technique on glossy paper with mixed results (too much water, not enough ink?).
  3. Applying crackle medium to paper, the product I use has to be applied really thick--it was too thin this time to show up.
  4. The benefit of delaminating some Idea-ology paper stash to reduce bulk when collaging (text piece is full thickness, report card area was made thinner). Each time I try this, I get better at it. The trick is to gently rub off the back with a little water after peeling away as much as you can.
  5. The flowers (Idea-ology ephemera) were also delaminated because they are easier to refine with cutting when the paper's not so thick.
  6. Proved again that for me, the best way to tint a photo is still using a dab of ink from a gel pen with a little water (the turquoise in the wallpaper behind the teacher, for example).
  7. Appreciating that without adding a little whimsy to the piece an observer might think it too serious and wonder about my mental state. (Perhaps you should anyway.)
The weather connection is in the Idea-ology text from the Memorandum paper stash. I do believe this teacher is cool in her shades. Also note the Red Precipitate Ointment which is a nice touch--don't you think?

By the way, my favorite human teacher was Mrs. Jennings who had the patience to work with me in the 5th grade when I refused to learn multiplication tables and provided comfort from bullies.

March 05, 2018

Realistic Watercolor for Beginners

 Watercolor Workshop

Just a quick post to let you know about a free workshop that starts today for Beginning Watercolor sponsored by Strathmore.

I'll be following along (and perhaps post something from the lessons), I've taken these free workshops in the past (and I love the price), and I can't wait for the Robert Burridge session that starts in September.

Have a great week!

March 03, 2018

Sketchbook Project

Six years ago, I completed several collages for The Sketchbook Project. The theme was "A Record Year for Rainfall" which resonated with me since I live in a desert (an area with extremely low rainfall amounts).

I've been cleaning-up/reorganizing my studio, came across remnants from this project and decided to post the work here on my blog for perpetuity.

The book was titled, Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, and I included the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The images were cut from various magazines and books and pasted with a glue stick.

If you click on an image to load the lightbox you'll have a better viewing experience.

February 26, 2018

I Know

Love this little miss and those doe-eyes--she's included in the latest release of Tim Holtz Paper Dolls. She's sitting inside a Mini Cabinet Card that I fussy-cut and behind it is the backside of the card that I tinted to provide a darker backdrop.

The frame's scrollwork was embellished with a Picket Fence Distress Marker and Glossy Accents along with dots made with Scribbles. The butterfly was stamped, cut-out, tinted and crackled.

My starting point for this tag was trying out the new Idea-ology Worn Wallpaper and an attempt to achieve a peeling effect. That's cardboard as the base filled in with texture paste to simulate the look of wooden laths and plaster.

A Clippings Sticker, more dots of Scribbles and a piece of Lace Trimming were also used.

February 22, 2018

That Was My Boy

Sad, sad times--we must do better and I pray that we will. Hope is everything. How can we continue without it?

A Sideshow stamp, Clipping Stickers and various inks were used for this tag linked to Simon's Monday Challenge Blog. The theme this week is Grunge It Up.

February 13, 2018

Heartfelt Friendship

A Valentine's Day tag? Sure! Why not? I'll be sending this to my dear friend, Thelma, who got me started in paper crafting and always makes her Valentine's Day cards special with a commemorative postmark from Loveland.

I'm linking this to a special Simon Says Stamp blog post, Send a Card to a Friend Day (for a chance to win a $100 gift card--whoo-hoo!).

Supplies used: Authentique Classique "Pretty" paper, tinted paper doilies, washi tape, Scribbles, a white Gelly Roll pen and Idea-ology design tape (Chatter).

February 07, 2018

Feeling Noteworthy

The bird's crown is a Remnant Rub. Many of the older rubs have been discontinued. I am unhappy about that because I find them so useful. So I have no other choice but to hoard them.

Anyway, today my intention was to make a valentine-themed tag but I veered off-course (a good excuse to try again later) and made this tag instead.

The botanical bits came from an older 7 Gypsies paper collection called Conservatory. A vintage Germania postage stamp, scraps from a book page and yes, more Remnant Rubs (don't get me started) were also used.

I thought I'd speak a bit about my dotted border. As I use this decorative element quite often, I have a few tips in case you want to give it a go. I prefer Scribbles which is a dimensional fabric paint but also use Liquid Pearls.

When applying, don't touch the applicator tip to the paper as you will get a splotch instead of a dot. Rather, gently squeeze some out from the tip and delicately touch only the drop/paint to the paper then pull it away. Don't worry if it peaks a little, it will settle as it dries.

If you goof-up (and you will, it's inevitable)--fear not. Just keep a toothpick handy and scrap off the mistake as best you can. Then move on. Keep dotting ahead. Afterwards, you can go back to the boo-boo and use a knife to scrape away the dried bits that might still be there. Then put your new dots back in. I had two areas on this tag that I had to re-do and no one (except you) will ever know.

February 02, 2018


Hello and welcome to this stop in the
Creativation 2018 Tim Holtz Blog Hop and Give Away!

Here are three mini-framed panel collages made for the masculine side of the Idea-ology booth. They feature the new collage paper (Botanical), paper dolls, clippings stickers, design tape, paper stash, hinge clips, star adornments and ephemera.

The backgrounds are vintage postcards.

CHA 2018
CHA 2018

If you are interested in the construction details or want to see the other pieces I made for the show, I've posted about them here.

How grateful I am to be included in an event with so many talented and creative artists--all thanks to the wonderful world of Tim Holtz!

Blog Hop Road Map:




*Give Away Details
There will be PRIZES, PRIZES, PRIZES to give away! Just leave a comment on the blog hop posts for a chance to win (the more blogs you comment on the better your chances). Comments must be posted by midnight PST on Tuesday, February 6. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, February 7 on Richele's blog.(californiaARTgirl.blogspot.com)

January 25, 2018

Find Away

I like challenge blogs and my favorite is the Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge Blog. And I really, really like challenge blogs when the theme is to create a tag or something with a tag attached.

As I am rather fond of the format :) for this week's Tag It challenge, I used both suggestions and made a tag with tags.

Tim's tiny stamps, washi, tissue wrap, remnant rubs, found relatives and fabric bits were used to create my, dare I say? unconventional masterpiece. No matter what you might think of this tag--you gotta love that faucet (so much detail in such a tiny stamp)!

January 24, 2018

Creativation 2018 - Idea-ology Show Samples

CHA 2018
Photo by Paula Cheney

The best Christmas present I got this year? An invitation to make samples for the masculine side of the Tim Holtz Idea-ology booth at this year's CHA convention. Thank you, Tim and Paula!

Now called "Creativation," this annual gathering is sponsored by the Association for Creative Industries and gives designers like Tim an opportunity to introduce and demonstrate new products.

Photo by Paula Cheney

I expect Tim's booths are the highlight for many that attend and this year's fare is every bit as exciting as in years past. I'm sharing the pieces I made for this event so you can learn more about his products and how they can be used.

Click on the photos below for a link to the

construction details and additional views.

CHA 2018
Trilogy featuring Collage Paper

CHA 2018
Ordinary Story

January 21, 2018

Never Change

I used the back page from some vintage sheet music for this tag's background--MCMXIX (or 1919) means the song is 99 years old and I suspect that the paper is nearly the same age.

I didn't encase it (coat with clear medium to protect) so I had to be really careful as I worked with it but I wanted to preserve the softness of the paper and it's natural vintage tone. I didn't have to rub very hard to apply the Distress inks I used to tint it which was a good thing!

The birds were stamped then cut from more vintage paper (a book page) and that's some Small Talk (Idea-ology) text.

I'm linking to the Birds of a Feather theme at Simon's Monday Challenge Blog. I won the $50 gift card last week which proves the old saying, if you don't play you can't win. Thanks Simon!!

Now I'm off to buy a lottery ticket.

January 14, 2018

According to Value

Value is defined as the relative lightness or darkness of a color. It is an important tool for the designer/artist, in the way that it defines form and creates spatial illusions. Contrast of value separates objects in space, while gradation of value suggests mass and contour of a contiguous surface. (Read more, here.)

Of all the things I learned in art classes, the concept of value has been the most significant and perhaps the most challenging to fully understand and implement. I work at it constantly and it can make a big difference when you get it right.

I thought I'd use this tag (my first for 2018), to explain some steps I took to adjust the values which you might find interesting or useful.
  1. The lady's dress was bright orange and this warm, strong color was too dominant. To adjust the value, I tinted it with transparent blue (Tumbled Glass Distress Marker). Blue is the complimentary color to orange and when you mix compliments, they cancel each other out. So the bright orange now has a more muted value and settles better into the background.
  2. The flowers were very neutral. I wanted them to stand-out more and appear closer (plus they needed some detail) so I tinted them with lines of pink, orange and turquoise gel pens (Gelly Roll Soufflé). Warm colors appear closer, cool colors recede.
  3. The lady was grounded by using a dark tint under her feet (otherwise, she would appear to be floating). It's subtle, but you may also notice that the grey background is lighter near her feet than higher up. This is a way to create a sense of depth. Distance (like on the horizon of a landscape) is imitated with lighter, cooler colors.
  4. And finally, most compositions are best when there is a mix of bright, dark and medium values. Here, it's the dark greys and black text combined with the bright white dots (extra-fine DecoColor paint pen). The remaining elements fall into the medium range.
If this information was helpful or interesting and you'd like to see similar posts in the future, let me know by leaving a comment.

January 11, 2018

Raised by Wolves

Correction: Photo is by Bernd Heyden

Collage is an interesting art form. Disparate images pieced together that hopefully, speak to the viewer in some way. Sometimes, the hardest part for me is knowing when to quit so I just go with my gut. I guess that's what everyone does.

A lot of my collages are dependent on what I have lying around at the moment that I grab and decide to include. It is a game of sorts and play has a lot to do with it. "I wonder what this will look like if I put it here?" is the ongoing conversation I have with myself.

So today, may I share another journal page/collage that started from a photo by Bernd Heyden that I was compelled to use. Raised by wolves? You may guess what band I was listening to while making it.

I'm linking to Simon's Monday Challenge Blog, this week's theme is "Winter Blues."