Monday, December 17, 2012

Time to Fly Again!

Hello Dear Readers!

I know, I know I have been off the map!  Please feel free to read to the end of the post and I will let you in on a wonderful little secret that may help shed some light on my absence 

The reason for this post is to ask a favor, if you are so inclined.  You see back in February, I entered a Mixed Metals Design Challenge for Vintaj on a whim and I won.  Because of this, my piece Time To Fly, is entered into their End of the Year Design Contest along with all the other winners over the year.  Of course this event is determined by popular vote, so I would love your support!

VOTE FOR #2: Mixed Metals

Thank You all SO much!  I won!!!

And now for my little secret...I have totally fallen in love. This has left me artistically distracted at the moment.  Yes, it is wonderful and awe inspiring and so very special.  It has been a very long time and I am enjoying every minute of it.

The creativity can come back anytime though!

Thanks as always for your loyal readership.  I appreciate the time you took to vote for me and share in the joy of love!



Saturday, December 8, 2012

12 Days of Christmas: Nine Nymphs

My 12 Days of Christmas assignment from Alpha Stamps was the number nine, which traditionally is nine ladies dancing.  With a goal of using alliteration in my subject matter I chose to reinterpret my day and take my readers to a different place.  To keep a touch of winter in the piece I picked an icy palate, using lots of different layers of products to achieve various textures.  I will share a few tips and tricks with you in my post today.

I knew that this 8 x 8 Wooden Shadowbox and insert  were destined for this project, with nine perfect circles to showcase my ocean inspired imagery.  I had originally envisioned trying to make each of the openings into a porthole with washers or clay or something, but that thought never took shape.  Instead, I used layers of mica over my images, lending an underwater quality to my little harem of nymphs.

The outside of the box was treated with several layers of Gilders Paste in copper, white and patina.  I also used it on the display corners.  

Here is a close up where you can see a bit of the textures I achieved.  On the central background I started with a layer of stickels glitter glue.  Then, once dry, I used Picket Fence Distress Stain.  Now that dulled down the glitter quite a bit, but made for great texture.  To recapture a bit more glam, I added yet another layer of stickels in yet another icy color.  Also note all the wonderful mica flakes along the outside.  

My little drifts of mica were made by creating a paste.  I mixed my mica flakes directly into fluid matte medium and then piled it on the piece in selected areas with a small wooden stick.  Then follow with another pinch of flakes, sprinkling them over your paste mixture to get an extra layer of shimmer.

I used a large piece of mica tile that was cut to fit my openings.  I simply peeled it apart until I had my nine panels.  I used a touch of matte medium to glue these down.  I love how it kind of distorts the image and gives it such depth.  More stickles were added to act as grout, and fill in the area not covered by the mica.

To add to my icy ocean scene I used blue and white floral embellishments.  I especially like the new acrylic sprays.

I hope you enjoyed my take on day nine!



Saturday, November 24, 2012

Transforming your stash

I love to alter things.  I am not sure why, but I really love to watch something transform and come to be.  I decided to write a quick post about my most recent innovation with my supply stash.

As you know I design for Alpha Stamps, an amazing supplier of crafty goodness.  When a package comes for a design kit or special mission, it is like Christmas.  I am stalking the mailman for a package today with that same childlike excitement.  Anyway, one item I have fallen in love with are paper flowers.  I recently took these little guys to another level with the help of a melt pot and UTEE (ultra thick embossing powder.)

My favorite are the red ones.  I think they almost look like glass now that they are coated.  I bet you could take them a step further and add a bit of guilders paste and add more depth now that I think about it... Another trick I used on the red ones was to pull some of the petals back before dipping them.  This helped them to have some unique shapes. 

The black ones would be nice for spooky projects. White guilders paste on the tips is all I can think about now, I can't wait to try it!

These ones did not turn out the best.  I think it is because this is a thicker, more substantial flower. It is still fun to experiment.  I bet there are lots of other embellishments that would do well with an UTEE bath.

There are tons of ways to stretch your stash.  Think ink, glitter, sprays and mists.  So you don't have the right color item, change it up and see what happens!

With this as my inspiration, I am off to make a spooky cluster of charms for one of my altered bottles for Laura Carson's big event.



Saturday, November 17, 2012

Christmas Envelope Book

Not all that long ago I received a delightful parcel of Christmas crafty goodness from Alpha Stamps.  Inside I found lots of delicious Christmas paperephemera and trim which quickly took shape into this cute little envelope book.

I love the fancy latch, it works perfectly for this style of book.  A bit of patina coloring was added to the latch and the edges of the book with a little help from guilders paste. 

Each page of the book is made of a sturdy policy envelope.  I tucked some of my larger ephemera bits inside the book, but you could add tags, cards, personal notes etc.

I used lots of different trims throughout the book to add lots of depth and texture.  I got out the spray adhesive for the first time in a while.  I love the easy application, but I did find that it did not stick well in a few spots. 

I mixed in holiday imagery from many places.  I used Christmas Dresden and Christmas Collage Sheets as well as the ephemera I linked to earlier. 

In the envelope above I layered the trims.  This is another great way to stretch or transform your stash, and you know I am always trying to find ways to do that.

I love the moon on this page.  I have been using him over and over again in lots of spots, I have always been fascinated by the moon and the stars.  And yes, that is exactly where my blog title comes from!

Welcome to the holiday season folks!



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christmas Assemblage

I am amazed that I caught the holiday crafty bug as early as I did this year.  I think designing for Alpha Stamps really helped that along, since we have to get all the delicious eye candy ready for the crafty community.  Anyway, today I am going to show off (gasp) a holiday piece I made to show off all kinds of new Christmas charms that Leslie got in the shop.

I started with one of Tim Holtz's configuration boxes.  I really love these things!  You can change up the pattern of the box to suit your needs.  I chose to leave out a bunch of the smaller compartments to create a spot for a larger scene up top.  This gave me the perfect spot to showcase my Dresden Santa, deer, Santa sack and one of the new woodland trees.  These are really cool as they come white and you can color them however you want too.

I had an idea straight away to make some sort of Santa sack and have the charms spilling out.  Now I am not much of a "fabric-ey" person, but a crafty pal coached me.  Thanks Brittney!  I simply took a bit of her scrap fabric and stuffed it with some of that white fluffy stuff and tied it up.  I then manipulated it to get it to lean in a way that worked for me and got to gluing.  

Now my wise pal Brittney advised me that this may happen, but my sloppy crafting ways made this inevitable...lots of glue showed up on the fabric.  I simply covered up my mess with little bits of vintage mica snow. This subsequently added a bit of shimmer and a lot of texture, which I love.  

Here is a close up of the bottom compartments.  I am always on the search for tiny things.  The drum was found on a Christmas pick at a big box craft store.  The deer focal was scored in a giveaway I won last year.  I am happy to have found a great spot to show him off.  

Here is a shot so you can see how the outside of the box looks.  I covered it in paper from Tim Holtz that was colored with red stain.  I also used some really cute decorative tape to edge out the box.  To add more distress and depth copper guilders paste was buffed all over the piece.

I hope you all are embracing the upcoming holidays in your crafty world as well!



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sweet Sugar Skulls and Texture Tutorial

Recently I made some delightful replicas of sugar skulls.  The base of  these pieces has a really nice crackle texture, which was achieved with a fantastic product called Kroma Crackle. It is a product that is hard to find, but Alpha Stamps was able to source it.

In this post, I will break out each step to achieve the texture, once I have covered that, the decorating is on you.  Yes, I know it is hard to see the crackle effect, but with so much good stuff from Alpha Stamps, I could not help decking these gals out!  You will see some testure close ups later in the post.  There are lots of great supplies from this tutorial for your very own projects here.

And here are a few more cuties!

To start off, I gave my pieces a good thick coat of gesso.  This helped to give each piece a bit of tooth and made for a good white base to work off off.  Tip:  Use a good artist quality gesso.  There are some really affordable ones out there, but I would pass them by, because you just don't get good coverage with the cheap stuff.

Once you have your gesso down and it has dried, it is time to paint.  Choose the color you want to show through the crackle.  Again, here, white was the best choice for me.  Now the manufacture label advises to use high quality acrylic paint.  I followed suite and used Golden Titanium White, but I have to say I have used this stuff with cheap acrylics and it worked just fine.  

Of course I did not realize I missed painting a few spots on the teeth until I wrote this...  That is a good artistic tip by the way, if your wondering how composition is going on a project, take a picture and look at it.  You will be able to see right away if there are areas that need to be edited or spots that need a bit more embellishment. I can't tell you how many times I need to re-shoot images for my blog because the photos revealed scale issues, glue blobs and all kinds of errors. 

Now it is time to get crackling.  Add a layer of Kroma Crackle to your dry pieces.  The thicker you apply, the larger your cracks will be. You will notice in the picture above that the smaller skulls appear to have color changes.  I think that the product reacted with Masonite in some way.  I did not mind because I was going to be getting them all grungy anyway. 

Please note, this product does take a long time to dry.  There is an "instant" way to crackle that has been made famous my Michael deMeng as outlined here.  I have yet to try it out for a silly reason, I always forget to buy Elmer's school glue...

Here is a close up of the crackle texture on a different project I am working on.  This is a book and the only base I have on this is gesso, I totally forgot to put the acrylic paint on it...but it still worked!  You will notice in some areas, where it was perhaps too thick, the crackle is curling.  It is possible that some of the texture could come off, therefore no matter what, you need to use some sort of sealant at this point.  Use dry brushing with layers of paint to add color.  Or on the book below, I used spray inks.  Again, you would not want to use too much of anything thick as you would lose that yummy crackle.  

The next step is to seal with something pretty fluid as you don't want to lose all of your hard work.  The manufacturer advises to use acrylic fluid medium.  I watered down regular gel medium and it worked just fine.  I also got creative with sealing on the book pictured above as you will see below.   

It occurred to me that there had to be another way to seal the crackle.  I have been on such an UTEE (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel) kick, that I thought this may be the answer and indeed it was!  I added lots of layers of clear embossing powder with a bit of gold embossing powder sprinkled in as well.  Now I wonder what this little book is going to turn into...stay tuned in to find out.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial on texture.  My intent is to always inspire and share my love of good fun products with you.  I hope I achieved that goal today!



Friday, October 26, 2012

Altoid Tin Apothecary

This was another fun project completed for Alpha Stamps.  I started off with a blank Altoid tin.  I had a blast making it into a tiny apothecary, as inspired by Laura Carson and her Pretty Potions and Poisons Apothecary Event.  Laura also blessed me with a little surprise, so read on to see what she made just for me!    I am so lucky and blessed in the crafty world and I am so super grateful for all my artsy blessings.

The cover was really simple.  I used one of these really cool Halloween Die Cut Stickers as the main focal of the top.  I thought it went well with what is inside.  The edges were trimmed with decorative tape, flowers and a bit of trim for texture.

Inside I added all kinds of teeny tiny potions and bottles.  I really liked working with the Masonite Bottles which were flat and helped my project have lots of depth.  I lined the background with three of them before adding lots of other small bottles to the mix.

To achieve lots of texture I glued in two types of moss.  I think that these always add a spooky element.  It is amazing that you can cram so much art into a tiny tin!

Now for my fun news compliments of Miss Laura Carson, she made me a custom blog button! I just love how she created something just for me, it really suits my style.   You can even grab the button and show if off on your own blog, should you be inclined to do so!  The code is over there, on the right.... 

As always, I hope you enjoyed your stop to my little crafty corner of the universe!



Saturday, October 20, 2012

More Bird Song Bliss

Recently I made a really cool project using the new Birdsong Bliss paper from Graphic 45.  I was a bit surprised at how much I fell in love with this paper.  It is not a theme I have gravitated to in the past.  I think it is the rich color palate that really drew me in.  Anyway, I had so much fun with my first project that another one quickly followed.

The red Dresden borders worked out wonderful and really helped the outside of the project some cohesiveness.  It may be hard to pick up, but I also used a sheet of mica over the central image to add a layer of interest and dimension.  I know get what all the fuss is about in regards to mica! 

All the fun metal bits, beads and charms really make for some interesting embellishments.  The lions I adore, so I had to make sure I got a shot of them in my post.  They are on both sides of the box.  I have to say the embellishments are my favorite part of a project.  Since this is the theme over at SSSS, I am going to show this off over there too.   

Since this Graphic 45 box was on a smaller scale I was able to use the same background paper on each panel resulting in a tighter palate.  

Another way I kept things cohesive was by using similar embellishments throughout the project.  I cut out the lanterns from this wonderful sheet of paper and added them throughout the accordion book.  

These little resin birds are fab.  As you can guess, I distressed them up with a bit of guilders paste.  The flower embellishments were a bit too bright, so a little distress ink was added to grunge it up a bit.  

Here is another detail shot of one of the panels.  I had to make sure I used that dragon lantern!

I hope you were inspired or learned a little trick or two.  Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment if you choose.  All that feedback I get from you all is what keeps me going!



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Altered Potion Bottles

So the latest installment of swaps from Alpha Stamps proves to be intriguing as always for Halloween.  Inspired by Laura Carson's Pretty Potions and Poisons Apothecary event, this swap is a fun way to exchange bottles, yet have a more customer friendly mailing format. Please click the button on the right for more information on the swap.

My favorite part of making these was playing with Tim's new metallic stains.  They are seriously dreamy right on chip board.  Add a few splashes of water after a direct application to get the distressed look, then buff in some black ink and cardboard turns into metal.  And you all know how much I love metal...  These stains have become my new favorite, which is the theme of the challenge over at SSSS, so I am throwing this post in the mix!

I had fun using the black dazzle lines.  They are so simple, yet when combined creatively they really added great texture and borders on my bottles. 

Here you can really see a lot of the bare chipboard with the stain and ink.  Pretty nice metallic effects.

I used some of Graphic 45's Happy Haunting paper along with classic skulls from Alpha stamps to treat the backs of the bottles. 

I tried to make clever bottle toppers along the way.  I used filigree and trinkets to layer my tops. Layering is a great designers' trick by the way, it makes projects look more interesting and adds additional texture.

I added some funny little cat eyes to this guy and it changes up his look. 

Here I used lots of layering.  There are actually two die cut labels on this separated by a metal filigree piece.

I love the technique I used on the silver spider.  This was simply using a stencil and some stickels.  I can't believe the level of detail.

I hope you are inspired or perhaps learned something new!  I just adore the chance to share with you all. 

Thanks as always for stopping by and checking things out.