October 15, 2019

This Happy Life

Thanks to Columbus, I had the day off yesterday and an opportunity to make something for Simon's Monday challenge (this week's theme is "Pink").

Nothing says pink like a coneflower so I made this tag by stamping on watercolor paper (Tim Holtz Flower Garden), the text is an old Remnant Rub, and the border was machine-stitched and dotted with Nuvo Crystal Drops.

Just a few things, technique-wise, that you might appreciate:

I'm sure you've seen the "no-line" technique when it comes to stamping an image that you plan to watercolor using a light shade of dye (water-based) ink so the lines disappear. But I like the lines! So for this tag, I stamped with archival inks using a pink, a tea stain, and a brown shade. The lines darkened somewhat after the watercoloring was applied.

Obviously, I had to do some masking to stamp this arrangement. But I didn't use the stems that come with the set and drew them on instead.

The photo above shows how I painted the background first (using a juicy puddle of cobalt blue).

The bee was an after-thought. It was stamped onto a piece of tissue paper, cut-out, pasted on and then I dabbed a tiny bit of yellow paint on to its body.

It's also worth mentioning that I prefer to use a "hot-press" version of watercolor paper when I plan to stamp on it. Cold-press has bumps that I think make it harder to get a crisp image.

If you haven't tried watercoloring with rubber stamps, I can tell you it really is a lot of fun and very rewarding. Go for it!

October 09, 2019

Purple Martin

Autumn is Simon's Monday challenge this week and was the inspiration for this greeting card. I dug out an older (but favorite) paper stash by Tim Holtz called Wallflower and the bird (a Purple Martin), leaves and feathers were cut from it.

The background paper is this year's Halloween release from Tim called Abandoned. Run, don't walk to purchase (before it's all gone) if you like dark-colored, jewel-toned distress-looking paper.

I couldn't resist adding the book text. It accidentally showed up on my desk while working and it just seemed like karma to add it. I expect to use the card as a kind of "get well" greeting to provide words of encouragement.

The border was made with Copper Scribbles and Olive Branch Nuvo Crystal Drops.

To prevent warping, I pasted the various cut-out bits using tiny drops of a quick dry adhesive only where needed (on the floppy bits, etc.).

I also tinted the leaves ever so lightly with colored pencils and a bit of ink to alter their original neutral appearance.

October 01, 2019

Happy Birthday Thelma

Thelma (my good friend who got me started stamping) has a BIG milestone birthday coming up and this is the card I made for her.

Nothing ground-breaking to talk about technique-wise but I would like to mention the flower garland because it was hand-drawn by me after a few simple lessons from the queen of coloring books--Johanna Basford. She has a new book coming out this month that teaches her drawing methods.

I gave the garland some color with my Polychromos then cut it out and pasted it onto scrapbook paper.

The cardstock I mounted it on couldn't be a standard card size so I found some really great instructions here for how to make an envelope in ONE MINUTE. Really!

Then I decorated the envelope using inspiration from Kristina Werner and realize I need more interesting postage stamps for the next time I do this. (No pics for privacy reasons.)

I wonder if the post office would mind if I used a real stamp along with some fake ones like these? I'll have to try it and then let you know.

September 25, 2019

Fortune Cookies

What have I been up to lately? Making Asian-inspired paper-folded Christmas box ornaments that can hold a treat--of course!

It was the project idea I came up with after being invited to a guest spot on the The Funky Junkie Boutique blog. The challenge is "Treats Not Tricks" and here's the description:
  • Choose a theme and make something that will hold a treat for someone.  It could be a Halloween treat bag, a Valentine's candy box, a birthday card for a special person that holds a treat (could be a gift card "treat" or a bite of chocolate), anything that can hold a treat.
To make my box ornaments, I found some patterns here and used the Oriental Garden paper collection by Stamperia and lots of different glitter glues for decoration.

I used tracing paper and a scoring tool to transfer the patterns and quick-dry adhesive to hold them together after folding.

They looked rather plain in the beginning, but the real fun comes when you get out the glitter glue to decorate them. Nothing says Christmas like a little bling ☺!

Ornaments before decorating - click to enlarge

For gift-giving, I can tuck a treat inside or perhaps a note with a special wish or promise (kind of like a fortune cookie). Here are a couple examples of how the boxes open.

I look forward to seeing everyone's projects and encourage you enter the challenge--you might win a guest spot like I did and it's been a lot a fun. Thanks for stopping by!

September 24, 2019

Summer Mind

While yesterday was the first day of fall, my mind and my heart will stay in summer for many months to come.

Living in the desert means hibernating during the heat of June through September but when the temperature breaks in the fall, activity-wise it's more like the summer everyone else was having. Festivals begin, strolls through the neighborhood are possible again and sitting out on the porch--a long-lost luxury.

So yes, I'm in a "summer state of mind" and that was my inspiration for this tag.

I'll describe the layers:

  • Calligraphic scrapbook paper (Authentique Classique: Pretty) cut in the shape of a tag was tinted with Distress Oxides.
  • Botanical collage paper was pasted over the top and the flower petals and leaves were filled-in with gesso.
  • The bug is from the Stampers Anonymous Entomology set and was stamped with black archival ink. The wings were also filled-in with gesso using a tiny brush.
  • The gessoed areas were painted with inks. Besides helping with adhesion, the gesso makes the colors more vibrant.
  • The text was cut from an old book.
  • I think most tags need a border to frame it and machine stitching around the edges was used for that purpose here.
I'm linking up to Simon's Monday challenge--the theme this week is stitching and also to The Funkie Junkie Boutique whose challenge is to make a tag.

Look for me on TFJB later this week where I'll have a guest spot and a fun project to share. Thanks for stopping by!

August 25, 2019

ATC Writers

Today I'm sharing some "artist trading cards" and the inspiration came from this week's challenge at Simon Says Stamp. Making multiples might have been implied so there are nine of them.

Many times, I'll thumb through books I've collected that were saved from dumpsters to get ideas and use for collages. A page from a history book captured my eye.

I trimmed each picture to standard ATC size, pasted them on thick cardboard, encased them with clear medium, used gesso to bring out the details and tinted them with markers.

I stamped the backgrounds by masking the faces and the text came from the same book which offered up a summary of the author's style.

The feature that really represents my style is the use of dimensional dots along the border. If you trade cards like these and would like one just let me know--my email is in the sidebar.

August 19, 2019

Most Noble

I discovered some wonderful paper over the weekend made by Stamperia called Oriental Garden. I found an image of a woman to transfer with gel medium (thanks, British Library), then stamped postal and architectural images onto tissue paper and pasted together a collage tag.

I'm excited to see what other things I can make using this paper!

August 16, 2019


I'm celebrating summer with this project, prompted by two blog challenges: Simon's Midsummer Blues and Frilly Funkie Junkie's Let's Do It Again. The blue part is self-explanatory and doing it again meant revisiting an old project and creating a remake.

You may know that I do love fussy-cutting and especially the flowers from the Tim Holtz Wallflower paper stash. So that, along with a Baseboard Doll and Lace Baseboard Frame, was what I used to assemble this project.

It was mounted inside the back of a wooden panel that I covered with paper. The doll's left arm was originally bent up high and was altered by slicing and dicing and piecing together some baseboard from another doll.

Here's the original project that inspired the "do-over." It is a Configurations Box I made for CHA 2015. Paper dolls hadn't been invented yet so I cut the girls from a Found Relative photo. It was the year the Wallflower paper stash came out and I assembled a garden for them to sit in.

So, it is still mid-summer here in the desert and we'll have at least two and a half more months of high temps. There hasn't been any monsoons that bring rain so the dry spell weather-wise coincides with my own personal artistic dry spell and lack of posts. I'm thankful for the prompts this week and it feels so good to be working again!

Update: So proud this post became a Top Pick on the TFJB blog--thank you!

July 20, 2019

Moon Landing

I can't let this day pass without sharing my thoughts about the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

I remember the day vividly--family and friends gathered in the kitchen, watching a tiny, black and white television perched atop the refrigerator so everyone could see.

I was too young to really appreciate the significance of this event as much as I could have.

But today, I am reminded that this was one of those rare times in history when the world came together, if only for a day, to marvel at the tremendous accomplishments the human race is capable of.

The photo is of a patch I saved from that era and the symbolism seemed appropriate for today.

July 13, 2019

Ghost Crab

Remember me? I've never gone this long before without posting to my blog. I created multiple journal pages and tags during this absence but couldn't pull anything together that seemed "blog-worthy." I guess my heart just wasn't in it.

But now I have a journal page to share, inspired by:
  • a lifelong desire to live by the sea in spite of my land-locked status
  • a birthday month, my astrological sign is Cancer the Crab
  • a prompt from Simon's Monday challenge called "Life on the Ocean Waves"
  • a beautiful photo by Sican123 of a crab with a name that describes my absence
  • and, last but not least, Sara and Patti Dee who recently reminded me of why I blog in the first place. Thank you, ladies ♥.
I worked on one side of a page in a large Ranger Dylusions journal with a plan to experiment with stamped tissue paper.

I rubbed graphite on the back of my printed photo to trace an outline, used acrylic paint to lay down some color and establish values, stamped on tissue paper (packing material from a shoe box) then pasted it over the painting.

The title was made with text stickers (they appear curved because my page wasn't flat when photographed) and some stamp embossed letters on more tissue paper.

So here's what I know now:
  • The tissue paper that new shoes come wrapped in works just fine for stamping and pasting. But even with plenty of glue it will be somewhat opaque and doesn't disappear completely though not as bad on a lighter background. This is true of every tissue paper I've ever used so I'm not surprised or disappointed.
  • Painting tumbling waves is seriously scary and a realistic portrayal would require a ton of patience!! I have new respect for this skill and the artists who can do this.
It's good to be back--I do hope my next post will come more quickly than the last and, as always, I thank you very much for stopping by!

May 29, 2019

Perfectly Happy

I was inspired by a post at Vintage Everyday that featured wedding photos during WWII and I used one of them for this tag.

It was framed for Simon's Monday challenge this week and also features a Hero Arts stamp from 2007 called Lace Flower Cluster which I used especially for their 45th anniversary Show & Tell Celebration.

After stamping, the lace flower was cut out and embellished with lines from a white Gelly Roll pen. I altered a Tim Holtz lace frame by peeling it from its baseboard backing, trimmed its shape a little and applied dots of Liquid Pearls to the edges. The background was made with Collage Paper.

May 22, 2019

Miss Trudy

I'd sure like to know the story behind this lovely little girl but for now, I'm calling her Miss Trudy. She's a Tim Holtz Paper Doll and I stained her clothing with the ink from gel pens (scratching the darker areas a bit to lighten and texturize).

The background was stenciled (Tim Holtz Dot Fade) and I stamp embossed the border using a vintage rubber stamp (1996) by Hero Arts called Violet Border. I am featuring this stamp as part of the company's 45th anniversary Show & Tell celebration for a chance to win their monthly kits.

I am so glad I dusted it off and set about putting it to work as I'd forgotten just how useful this stamp can be!

My tag was colored with Distress Oxides, some gel pen ink and a bit of colored pencil. The bench was made out of washi tape.

I had a lot of fun with it so it's no coincidence that I chose this particular Remnant Rub for the text!

I'm linking up to the Hero Arts Show & Tell Celebration and also to Simon's Monday challenge because this week's theme is Use Stencils.

May 20, 2019

A Fortunate Find

I fussed with a tag over the weekend by altering a photo of a vintage road sign. I knew it needed something else and this morning's announcement of the stencil theme at Simon's Monday challenge gave me the ah-hah moment I needed.

I used the Tim Holtz dot fade stencil in the background but instead of dabbing ink through the holes, I swiped my ink pad over the entire surface of the stencil and then pressed it on to the tag.

May 12, 2019

The Way

During an evening walk a few weeks back, I found a rusty, gold painted piece of metal (shaped like a wing?) which someone had tucked into a street sign in my neighborhood.

It was happenstance that I glanced-up at just the right time with just the right light to see it's shiny reflection and to know it was there.

And so I used it for a small plaque made with various papers (vintage book, Tim Holtz collage and butterflies cut from Prima scrapbook paper). The flowers are from the new Idea-ology Botanical Layers and the girl is a Baseboard Doll.

I used a bit of crackle medium around the edges, drew some lines and added shading to create a faux border, and trimmed the plaque edges with gold paint. The text was an image transfer.

I began work on this Monday when I discovered the Simon Monday challenge was "Add Something Metallic." Since this metal piece had been laying around my studio for awhile (with no idea of how or what to use it for), this challenge was just the push I needed.

I didn't think I'd get it done in time to enter but sure enough, I did!

Happy Mother's Day

This is the card I made for my Mom this year. I am so grateful to have her still (she's a nonagenarian) and these days, our roles are reversed somewhat but more than a mom, she's my truest friend.

That's washi tape around the outside (pink polka dots), the scalloped border was hand-drawn and embellished with white paint and glitter glue.

The stamped pieces (Simon's Delicate Flower set) were cut from transparent paper that I tinted with inks and pasted onto book paper along with some more washi.

I used white and black gel pens to make lines in the background, on the borders and to further emphasize the line quality on the flowers.

I'm linking to the Monday challenge at Simon, the theme is "Add Something Metallic" and I think my glitter glue may qualify.

If you are a Mom, I hope your day is as special as you are!

May 04, 2019

Beautiful to Me

Let's just say you don't see these greeting card techniques everyday so I thought they might be worthy of a share. I made this card for my stamping sister, Thelma, using the new bottle of glitter that she had gifted me.

I stamped my images (Simon's new Delicate Flowers set) on purple cardstock, outlined the edges with Nuvo Glitter Drops, used bleach with a paint brush to lighten the colored paper, tinted the space with colored pencils (orange and green), and finishing up with a big ol' fussy-cut.

I mounted my cut-out on some Prima cardstock (Ephipany), used black Scribbles to bring out the stamens, and edged the card with thin dark grey paper and more Glitter Drops.

I've used Nuvo Crystal Drops before but this was a first for the glitter drops and I must say they are very useful for a number of reasons. First, the are very easy to apply--the fine tip and soft-sided bottle allow for good precision. Second, this stuff is tough! Even after using the bleach, rubbing in the tints, and cutting right next to it, the glitter never came off the paper. It reminds me of Glossy Accents with glitter in it.

May 02, 2019


Craft nerd (and big fan of tags) that I am, when I heard the Monday challenge at Simon this week was "Tag It" I jumped right in. I grabbed a scrap of Tim Holtz paper (Memoranda) and a couple of his stamps and boom--a tag was born!

After stamping, I machine stitched, drew lines, tinted with markers and colored pencils, added some tissue tape, ephemera (the cigar ring and buttons), and even a touch of Glossy Accents.

No plan, no rules, just spontaneous play and when my head is in this kind of zone I am happiest. Thank-you, Simon!