CCC3, Challenge #7

July 24, 2014

Another two weeks has flown by and we’re on challenge #7 over at lovely Linda Ledbetter’s! We are making our way through Tim Holtz’s third Compendium of Curiosities book and having a wonderful time.  Join us, won’t you? There are prizes to be won and discounts to enjoy; this time the sponsor is Inspiration Emporium. Lots of fun goodies there and the discount makes it even more fun!

We have turned to page 46 in the Compendium and are learning the Painted Industrial technique. This lends itself so beautifully to Steampunk themes, and Steampunk was my initial plan. But as we all know, sometimes the best-laid plans go sideways during the process!

I started by making two pieces using Tim’s Painted Industrial technique, but added my own little twist. I decided that, rather than the cool tones of pewter or steel, I’d like to warm things up a bit.  So after the initial steps, I added a layer of Bronze Metallic Distress Paint and a few splatters of pale minty green acrylic paint to mimic copper with a rusty patina. I used one of Tim’s Texture Fades embossing folders to add some Victorian-style flair.

metal tape panel

The bottom piece was made with a different embossing folder; I don’t remember who makes that one. In any event, I didn’t end up using it in the final project, but it will be ready for another one. I just love this technique!

Instead of a tag this time, I decided to make a book, since that’s my favorite thing to do and I love practical items.  (Also, the tags were starting to take over every available space!) I had planned to hand-bind one from scratch, but while looking for something to use as book boards, I ran across a burlap-covered ring-bound journal I found a few weeks ago at Joann Fabrics. Burlap seemed like a great background for the metallic piece, and instantly I decided to switch from Steampunk to what I like to call “Boho Rustic.” (Is there such a thing? If not, there should be!)

I found a piece of corrugated cardboard I’d already peeled the top layer off of; it was just a matter of painting and trimming it to coordinate with my chosen image, a beautiful butterfly collage. The painted industrial panel became the perfect layer behind it, and after adding my usual girly embellishments (flowers and ribbon and lace, oh my!), it was just a matter of choosing fun papers for the inside of the book.  I distressed the edges of the book and added Walnut Stain Distress Ink to darken it up a little.

burlap bfly 1


The design team gals at Linda’s have really stepped up to this challenge and done amazing work! Even if you don’t join the challenges (and why wouldn’t you?), it’s worth a visit to the blog for the eye candy alone. Hope to see you there!

burlap bfly 2

Altered Angel

July 24, 2014

So I stopped in at one of my favorite thrift stores this past Monday and discovered there was an ongoing “Christmas in July” sale in which the discount increased at the beginning of each week.  I happened to show up on the first day every holiday item was 75% off and the selection was quite nice!

The first thing I picked up was this mixed-media angel ornament, which, after the discount, cost $1.00.  It was still in the original package, from a designer line at Department 56.  I didn’t recognize the artist’s name, but I thought the ornament itself had some nice lines, even if the colors and embellishments were a bit ho-hum.

angel before

I had no idea what I was going to do with this even as I started to alter it, but I knew for certain that crazy tinsel had to go!  I first cut the strands off the feet, which improved the look of it immediately, and then wrestled that star and tinsel “puff” out of its wire arms.

angel legs


Crazy tinsel feet!  Those had to go.

angel arms

And what is this mess?!  It was a nice surprise to find, under all that tinsel, the angel does have actual arms.

angel has arms

Next thing that had to go were the wings.  They were made of wire onto which double-sided tape had been attached and then dipped into micro-beads.  At first I tried to pull the tape and beads off in order to keep the wire structure, but it was such a gooey mess I finally just took a wire cutters to it.  Snip!  Gooey wings gone.

I had thought of putting some kind of image on the skirt, so I started looking through my (considerable) stash of images.  I happened to run across a baggie full of K&Company nature themed embellishments in aqua, purple and yellow, and one of them was a transparent pair of butterfly wings.  Perfect!  This decision set the color scheme.  I first painted the legs purple and decided the skirt should be aqua.  Glancing up, I noticed my big pile of colored tissue on a shelf above me.  One of the choices was aqua with tiny silver dot confetti.  Festive!  I tore the tissue into small pieces to decoupage onto the skirt.  It took about five layers to cover the “peace” words sufficiently, but it was a matter of less than ten minutes as the skirt is only three inches wide.

angel tissue wings

As I waited for that to dry, I kept searching through my images, but nothing really stood out.  Then I thought, what if I just put a big flower on her skirt instead?  I pulled out my silk flower drawer (which is getting dangerously full) and tried a few different combinations until I decided on yellow with an aqua layer, and a tiny metal lavender flower as the center.  I had a package of six metal flowers, and decided they would also be cute on her little shoes.  (I had to cover a little hole on each shoe where the tinsel had been glued in.)  To provide some contrast, I tied black and white ribbons onto some of the beads at the bottom of her skirt.

She still didn’t feel quite “done,” and looking at her outstretched arms, I thought she’d do well to be holding a banner.  I wanted the banner to match the metal flowers, but didn’t have quite the right color cardstock.  How to lighten up cardstock that’s too dark?  By rubbing white paint on it with your finger, of course!  (Because I was feeling too lazy to get up and go wash a paintbrush!)

angel paint

I tied some black cording to her wire hands, added stamped triangles for the pennants, and outlined part of her wings in black glitter glue to tie in the colors of the ribbon and cord.  (Rule of three!)  And voila; Christmas angel becomes summertime fairy!

fairy done


But wait, there’s more!  Because the Christmas in July sale yielded more than one future alteration project.  How could I resist this treetop angel for a mere $2.50?

treetop angel

She’s about 12″ tall and in absolutely wonderful condition.  Maybe she has a glimmer of what’s in store for her; she does look slightly alarmed.  But I think she’ll be okay with her new look once I’ve performed some Steampunk magic!  ;)

CC3 Challenge 6

July 10, 2014

Where does the time go? Seems like we just started the Compendium of Curiosities Challenge over at Linda Ledbetter’s and here we are on week 12 already! This time we’re turning to page 37 and altering one of Tim Holtz’s cool new burlap panels.  Burlap is super hot right now, and I’ve been intrigued by its possibilities for quite a little while.  Although I do have to repress memories of being in a play when I was a child and being forced to wear a costume made of burlap!  Not the most easy to wear (or the most flattering!), but wonderful for vintage, shabby chic art.

I had shabby and chic in mind when I picked out this pretty image of two little girls.  I think they must be sisters, so that is the title of my burlap collage.

burlap closeup

Yes, they are wearing crowns!  I have a love affair with crowns, and I think they added just the right touch to this sweet pastel portrait.  They are punched from washi tape on cardstock with a Martha Stewart punch.  I altered the crowns slightly to fit the girls’ heads; they are normally larger and have more points.

I started by adhering a torn piece of Tim’s tissue wrap (sheet music pattern) and a couple scraps of patterned tissue.  The edges of the burlap panel were colored with Broken China Distress Ink and a white charcoal pencil.

burlap panel

After picking the main image, it was just a matter of adding my usual girly embellishments!  A sweet layered flower (made with parts from different silk flowers pulled apart), a bit of lace lightly colored with Broken China Distress Ink, a thin ribbon of Worn Lipstick Distress Stickles and a bow tied from twine to mimic the roughness and color of the burlap background.  Final touches were a couple strips of clock-themed washi tape and a length of silky ribbon as a hanger.

We are happily making our way through Tim Holtz’s Compendium of Curiosities, Volume 3, and it’s been quite a fun adventure so far!  Want to join us?  You’ll get chances to win amazing prizes and discounts at the sponsor stores; this time around it’s the Funky Junky Boutique.  It’s also really fun to see how different artists interpret each challenge.  So what are you waiting for?

CC3 Challenge 5

June 27, 2014

The Compendium of Curiosities challenge over at Linda Ledbetter’s continues!  (We will be doing this for a very long time.)  This time we’re turning to page 39 and learning to watercolor with Distress Markers.  How fun is that?  I can answer that right now: TONS of fun.  Tons of it.

I thought it would be fun to use the technique on one small part of the overall composition, so that it would really stand out against mostly neutral other colors.

watercolor tag closeup

I like the way the wing turned out, but decided to make it even more interesting by adding a thick layer of Rock Candy crackle paint.  Not only does it make the wing look more organic, but it made the paper more flexible so I could shape the wing and pop it off the tag with some foam dots.

Now can’t you just imagine this pretty lady at about 3″ tall, flitting about in the summer flowers?

watercolor tag

The challenge sponsor this time is Inspiration Emporium, and a visit to Linda’s blog (linked above) will garner you a 10% discount!  Go crazy, go shopping, join the challenges and win prizes!  Doesn’t get much more fun than that.

CCC3 Challenge 4

June 16, 2014

Over at the lovely Linda Ledbetter’s awesome artistic blog, as we follow along in Tim Holtz’s Compendium of Curiosities III, we are turning to page 49 and breaking out our stencils.

How much fun are stencils, anyway?  Tim has come up with some fabulous designs that make amazing backgrounds.

honey tag closeup

I recently purchased three of Tim’s stencils and it was hard to pick just one for the challenge, but I went with my favorite, the honeycomb.  I’m quite a fan of honey and bees – as should we all! Without bees, we would soon have nothing to eat.

During the last challenge, when we made tea roses from Tim’s pine cone Sizzix die, I made a few pine cones just for practice.  I decided to put them on my bee-inspired tag, along with some leaves made with a Martha Stewart punch, a scrap of burlap, a stamped sentiment (Tim’s, of course!) and a little bottle of “honey” held on with waxed thread.

honey tag down

The honey is actually water with about a quarter drop of Rusty Hinge Distress Ink reinker added. I couldn’t decide whether I liked the honey effect more with the bottle lying down or sitting up, so I took pics of both ways.

honey tag up

Love Tim Holtz and challenges? Stop in at Linda’s and join us! There’s plenty of time and tons of motivation. All you need is a copy of Compendium of Curiosities III and a desire to have a great time. And don’t forget, every challenge has a sponsor; this time it’s Funky Junky Boutique. Craft supplies for your frilly and funky projects – how fun is that?!

CCC 3 Challenge 3

June 6, 2014

Tea roses!  I’m running a little late in this challenge because, perhaps foolishly, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I wasn’t going to “peek ahead” at any of the challenges before we came to them.  Well, here came Challenge 3, Tea Roses, and I was totally unprepared, because I didn’t have Tim’s pine cone die!

Well, the gauntlet had been thrown and so my plans changed 180 degrees.  I went through the Compendium with a fine-tooth comb, wrote down everything we would be using that I didn’t already have, and made a little richer.  Fortunately they were having a really great sale and a shipping deal, so I didn’t have to mortgage the farm.  Unfortunately, I had to order the die from a separate vendor and it didn’t arrive until yesterday. Yikes, totally last minute!  So I spent part of the night learning how to make adorable tea roses (there’s a bit of a learning curve). As I was cutting various papers during my experiments, I noticed that the leftover paper from the cutout would make a really cute frame. This one was made with a paper napkin adhered to cardstock.

ccc pinecone tag close

I made a tag with this pretty girl in the frame on a background of Broken China Distress Ink that I’d squirted with water to texturize, and layered on a torn bit of Tim Holtz’s sheet music tissue. Because I’m apparently a bit of a masochist, I decided to make the tea rose using one of the more difficult materials to manipulate: vellum. Remember vellum? Back in the late 90′s, this stuff was ALL the rage. I have a giant stash of it that almost never gets used. Well, why the heck not? It’s pretty and versatile and adds a touch of softness and femininity to any project.

ccc pinecone tag

The leaves were created with a Martha Stewart punch, and I added some dots of Worn Lipstick Distress Stickles to the lace. I dyed seam binding for the top hole with Worn Lipstick and Vintage Photo Distress Stains.

Challenge #3 is being sponsored by Inspiration Emporium, and you can get a nice discount just by visiting the lovely Linda Ledbetter’s challenge blog! Why not stick around and join the challenges; we are having so much fun!

CC3 Challenge 2

May 20, 2014

Much excitement today with the second Compendium of Curiosities challenge over at Linda’s excellent Studio L3 blog, as we are using glitter, one of my favorite embellishments!  As we follow along in Tim’s book, I have decided not to “peek ahead” to see what other techniques we’re going to do; I want to be surprised and approach each challenge with fresh eyes and no prior expectations.

I was stumped for awhile on how to theme my tag this time, but then ran across a small photo printout of one of my favorite images, which I like to call “Steampunk Sally.”  (I have always loved her – wait for it – headgear!)


I know, sorry.

ccc 2

This tag is a veritable Tim Holtz Tribute Wonderland!  I started by applying Frayed Burlap Distress Ink to the tag, then ran it through the Sizzix to add the cool embossed texture using his “Regal” texture fade. Used Rusty Hinge Distress Ink to highlight the texture and inked the edges with Vintage Photo.  The gears were cut from black cardstock using a Tim die (but of course!), inked with Versamark and covered with Pearl-Ex interference colors: gold, red, blue and green.  The gears were then covered with Brushed Pewter Distress Paint and sanded to reveal some of the metallic powder color beneath.

ccc 2 closeup

The wing is a grungeboard piece painted with Brushed Pewter; when that was dry, I added a layer of Broken China Distress Stain and then used Peeled Paint Distress Glitter on the raised areas.  When that was dry, some areas were antiqued with Vintage Photo Distress Ink. I highlighted some of the areas of the “headgear” with other glitters, notably Broken China, Tarnished Brass and Rusty Hinge.  Finally, the ribbon was made with plain white seam binding dyed with Vintage Photo Distress Stain. Steampunk to the max!

We’re having way too much fun over at Linda’s place; stop in if you get a chance, as there are two full weeks allotted to complete each challenge and plenty of time to get caught up.  You can also find a coupon code to use at the Funky Junky Boutique, a great online shop that is co-sponsoring the challenge, and you also get to see how lots of other artists interpret each of the challenges.  What’s not to love?

Crowning Glory

May 12, 2014

So I’ve been looking at the 2015 smash book I made a few days ago (see previous post) and it kept nagging me that it needed something more. Couldn’t put my finger on exactly what for awhile, which is amazing considering how much I love crowns. For indeed, that is ultimately what I decided it was missing.

I like it much better now.

Because, clearly, it did not have enough bling before.

Problem solved.

smash with crown side

The crown is made of chipboard by Maya Road.  I have a little tin full of them and they are one of my favorite things (when I remember they exist)! I painted the crown white and then added four colors of Stickles. Because you can never have too many Stickles.  This is one of my catchphrases.

smash book front


May 6, 2014

It’s been a long time since I made something for myself and I’ve been at loose ends the last few days, so I decided to make a smash book for next year.  (Dude says, “It’s a little early, isn’t it?”  Well, yeah, but I might be too busy later.)

I usually purchase a yearly desk calendar to use as a smash book (this year it’s a wire-bound beauty from Papaya), but it occurred to me that it would be even more special and meaningful if I made my own.  I started by shopping my gigantic stash of 12″ papers.  I only needed 26 (to make 52 weekly spreads), but decided to use 28 so there would be room for an intro and an epilogue.

bingo book pages

Lots of pink, green, aqua, florals, hearts and dots!  I don’t know why the dots; they just happened to appeal to me at the time.

While looking for a suitable cover, I came across a padded wedding guest book that I’d found at a thrift store awhile back. Turned on its side, it was the perfect size to hold 6″ wide pages.  I cut the papers down to 8-1/2″ tall and folded them in half. This part always takes a little while!

About a week ago, I had run across some inexpensive muslin in my stash and got the brilliant idea to see how fabric worked with my Gelli plate.  I made eight pieces and they turned out beautifully! The printed muslin was wrapped around the guest book covers and glued with Fabri-Tac. This print, which I used for the back cover of the book, was made using big bubble wrap.  (I LOVE bubble wrap for Gelli prints!)

bingo book back

The front cover was made by rolling paint onto the Gelli plate and blending the colors slightly; I didn’t use any mark-making tools to inscribe it.  Because it was so “plain,” I added a piece of deli wrap paper that had been printed with small bubble wrap as the background for a pretty Bingo card printout.

bingo book front

Naturally there had to be a butterfly, too.  And bling!

It took about an hour to do the hole-punching of papers and sewing of the book, as there were 14 separate signatures.  I folded 14 narrow sheets to use as inserts that fatten the spine, ensuring that the book won’t become fan-shaped as I add ephemera to it throughout the year.

bingo book spine

But just in case the book does become super-fat (it’s already pretty thick!), I added a ribbon closure so I can tie it shut (or at least try).  The pages weren’t quite as wide as the covers, so I used green floral washi tape to line the inside edges.

bingo book tied


Now the hard part: waiting seven months before I can use it!  :)

Compendium of Curiosities III

April 30, 2014

Wow, there’s a third Compendium of Curiosities book by Tim Holtz already!  (How did I miss the second one?  Seriously.)

Linda Ledbetter hosts Compendium challenges for each book; I took part in the first one and it was super, super fun, plus I ended up with a whole slew of tags demonstrating each technique.  Unfortunately I missed the second challenge, but the third one is just getting started and I am raring to go!

In this challenge there are prizes galore and a discount at Inspiration Emporium for anyone who participates (visit Linda’s page for the code). I’m very much looking forward to learning new techniques and decided to make tags again this time so I can add them to the original ones.

The first technique we are doing is called Paint Marbling, which is on page 43 of the Compendium of Curiosities III.  It is WAY too much fun, and I used WAY too much paint, which turned out to be a good thing, because I now have six tags to use in future projects!  Each tag ended up just a little lighter than the previous ones, which is great; you get to choose bold OR pastel colors, whichever goes best with your chosen elements.

painted marble


I put little blobs of Distress Stickles in the holes of the cotton lace and they hadn’t yet dried when I took the photo, but they’ll eventually be flatter and less glossy looking.  (I use Stickles on about 95% of my projects.  Note: I do NOT have a Stickles addiction!  I can quit anytime!)


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