Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #33

July 21, 2015

Amazingly, this is the second-to-last challenge from Tim Holtz’s Compendium of Curiosities, Volume 3, and I will miss them so much! The lovely and talented Linda Ledbetter is our hostess for these challenges and has done an AMAAAAAZING job coordinating the projects and the equally lovely and talented “Curiosity Crew” of artists to inspire us. Great job, all of you!

We are turning to page 45 in our Compendiums and discovering the Altered Surfaces technique. This involves using the heat gun, and Tim specifically warns against using it for too long on plastic surfaces, lest they melt. So naturally, one of my plastic surfaces melted. It’s okay, though – I was able to twist it back into shape and it’s not even that noticeable! (Note: Please pretend not to notice.)

I had to hurry to get something done for this challenge, as we will be traveling for ten days starting tomorrow. Coincidentally, I hadn’t yet made a travel log for our trip, so that seemed like the perfect project! Dude and I always bring a travel log on our trips, into which we take turns writing entries about our adventures. (Mine are always like, “Hooray, we saw the world’s biggest ball of twine and it was awesome and I took a million pictures and can’t wait to get to the next city tomorrow morning!” whereas his lean towards, “Gas was $2.75 per gallon.”)

I started with a plain composition book and covered it with torn scrapbook papers. I did the “Altered Surfaces” technique on Tim’s plastic letters, using Mermaid Lagoon, Cracked Pistachio and Worn Lipstick Distress Paints. Fun! (And a little scary when the “S” melted).

travel journal letters

I used matching Distress inks, along with Wild Honey, to color the scrapbook papers, a stamped Tim compass, and a motor home die cut. I also stamped Tim’s flight of birds and added two Philosophy tags with tiny brads. Added a bit of black & white checkered ribbon and called it done!

travel journal

There is plenty of time to join in this challenge and oh-so-tempting prizes to be won! The sponsor is Inspiration Emporium, who are offering a very generous gift certificate to one lucky winner, and yet another will win a lovely box of Tim Holtz products – you certainly can’t beat that!

Bon Voyage!

A Colorist Never Forgets

July 19, 2015

I never thought I would try coloring as an adult, much less enjoy it so much. I just didn’t think it would be creatively satisfying enough to color an image that someone else had drawn. But then it occurred to me, I used to do that with rubber stamped images all the time – how is this different?

Coloring for adults is all the rage these days, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. It is so relaxing, so much fun to pick out the colors and decide where they go, and so satisfying to have a beautiful piece of art when you’re done!

I just finished reading a novel by Jodi Picoult called Leaving Time, which is about a woman who studies grief in elephants. She is found unconscious near a trampled body and later disappears from the hospital. It’s a really good read with a surprise twist ending, and also got me really interested in elephants. So I was quite excited to run across these beautiful – and free! – elephant coloring pages!


You can find them here – and the very generous artist is currently working on horse images in the same style!

I printed these out full size – they take up an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet of paper with a bit of a border – and spent an enjoyable few hours coloring them with Prisma colored pencils. I have about 55 pencils, which is far too many choices. I’ve found I get good results by picking about eight colors and putting the rest away; it makes for a cohesive result, even with very busy images.

For these elephants, I used orange, purple, teal, yellow, red, blue, pink and green. I use one color at a time and try to spread it out among all the spaces fairly evenly before moving on to the next color. I’ve also done several that are monochromatic (different shades of green and blue, for example), and those can be really stunning in their own right.

elephant left

There are so many things you can do with your filled-in coloring pages. Framing them, of course, is one possibility. But you can also scan them to create a digital file and then have the image printed onto all manner of wonderful items: tote bags, phone cases, laptop skins, pillows, T-shirts, etc. Wouldn’t one of these elephants be amazing on a shower curtain? (Yes – you can have a full-size shower curtain made with your art!)

elephant right

My next adventure in coloring? This gorgeous elephant, which I found here:


Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #32

July 17, 2015

We are getting SO CLOSE to the end of these exciting and inspiring challenges, and I for one will be very sad when they are over! We’ve been working our way, via Linda Ledbetter’s wonderful site, through Tim Holtz’s latest book, Compendium of Curiosities, Volume III. This time we are turning to page 59 and learning how to play with Frosted Film. There are prizes to be won – the sponsor of this challenge is the Funkie Junkie Boutique, and Tim has also generously donated some amazing products for one lucky artist!

I found this particular challenge…well, challenging. I’ve never worked with the Frosted Film before and was happy to learn it’s sparkly! Sparkly is right up my alley. Frosted Film is a self-adhesive thin sheet that can be applied to many surfaces and colored with alcohol inks and used with die cuts.

After some experimentation, I was able to create two beautiful rosettes using Tim’s die with the Frosted Film and one other “ingredient,” which I cannot name – but if you get your own copy of Tim’s book you’ll see exactly what it is! :)

The rosettes are sparkly and translucent and were made even more beautiful with the addition of some Platinum and Copper Stickles. There might also be a wispy cat hair or two, which is only fitting, given the theme of my project, and not at all surprising, given that I had considerable “help” from Taz in my studio today.

cat tags close

I decided to treat the rosettes like flowers and cut them some leaves from the Frosted Film as well. The rosettes were used on tags with images of flowery cat silhouettes. I made the tag backgrounds with alcohol inks using a technique I learned waaaaaay back in Compendium of Curiosities Volume 1!

cat tag blue

I added several layers of Tissue Tape to the bottom of the tag so the leaves would show up better and outlined them with a Sharpie fine-line pen. A butterfly die cut and my favorite translucent gold ribbon finished each tag.

cat tag gold

I wish the camera could show better the sparkly beauty of the Frosted Film elements; they are stunning in person! This was a fun challenge and I can’t wait to see what we’re doing next!

cat tags 1

Want more inspiration for using Frosted Film? Check out Linda’s site for amazingly beautiful projects from the Curiosity Crew!

Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #31

June 24, 2015

For a change, I got done early with my project for the next Compendium of Curiosities challenge, wherein we are turning to page 47 and learning the paint resist technique with layering stencils. The prize this time is a generous gift certificate from Inspiration Emporium, and I can tell you from experience it’s a great place to find almost any Tim Holtz product you can imagine!

Check out the site for some inspiration by the Curiosity Crew, who always hit it out of the park with their beautiful projects!

I made three backgrounds on tags using the techniques; I usually do more than one when trying something new so I can use the best one. But this technique is so awesome and fool-proof, they all turned out great! So I decided to make all three as a set, using images of sweet Fairy Babies, tissue tape, Tim Holtz stamps and pretty ribbon.

challenge 31 all three

I only have three Tim Holtz layering stencils (so far!): Burlap, Dot Fade and Honeycomb. But they work really well together and I love the results.

challenge 31 left

I used Worn Lipstick Distress Paint for the first step, then Peeled Paint, Spiced Marmalade and Broken China inks for the second and third steps. This technique makes such beautiful backgrounds!

challenge 31 center

I haven’t done the ruffled Tissue Tape technique for awhile and forgot how pretty it is. And I think Tim’s scribble heart is one of my new favorite stamps!

challenge 31 right

Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #30

June 17, 2015

Have we really done 30 of these? Wow. Actually, I can’t speak for myself, because I missed a few, either because I didn’t have the right supplies or LGITW (life got in the way – that should totally be an acronym if it’s not). But the time has really flown; seems like we just started this a couple of months ago!

This time we are coming up off the paper and creating faux cracked glass! Everyone turn to page 54 in your Tim Holtz Compendium of Curiosities, read the simple directions and then prepare for some fun! You’ll get plenty of beautiful inspiration from the Curiosity Crew over at Linda Ledbetter’s challenge blog, and once you post your fabulous creation, the chance to win a prize from the Funkie Junkie Boutique!

As soon as I read the instructions, my eye fell on a couple of pretty glass bottles with metal lids that once held paper flowers by Prima. Who could throw away something this cute?

prima jar

I decided to make them look like old bottles that had been sitting in the back room of an ancient, long-forgotten seller of medicines and tinctures and potions and lotions from the Victorian era. Maybe they even contained arsenic for that perfect complexion! I wanted these bottles to look like something that may have appealed to the lady of the manor in her quest for products to enhance her beauty.

After creating the crackled appearance via Tim’s instructions, I colored each bottle and its metal lid with alcohol inks. I dabbed the lids with bronze Distress Paint, sanded them and sponged on some permanent black ink to age them.Then applied printouts of pretty rose images, cotton lace, tiny tags colored with Distress Ink and prettied up with wee butterflies, and a sheer gold ribbon bow.

bottles side

I added Distress Ink to the edges of the label of the pink bottle so the color would coordinate with the amber one.

bottle pink

The amber is my favorite, because I think the color sets off the rose label better.

bottle amberI love the cracked glass technique! This was a ton of fun.

bottles above


June 11, 2015

Last week I started an online class with the lovely and talented Jane Davenport, creator of beautiful and whimsical faces, which is called “Supplies Me!” Jane encourages us to break out all those colorful art supplies we’ve collected and finally start using them! She refers to those of us who love colorful art supplies as being afflicted with “rainbowitis.” And that’s a good thing! I’m enjoying the class very much and learning to draw faces has been really fun.

So I knew I had a lot of art supplies. Honestly, I knew. I just didn’t quite know the extent. While gathering everything for a group shot (note of interest: there is no way it would all fit in one shot, unless I took it from 50 feet away), I found things I have no conscious memory of purchasing – or using. I think some of those came from contest prizes or were part of provided supplies for the many, many art classes I’ve taken over the years.

In any event, I now have a better handle on what I’ve got and am very excited to have a great reason to start using them!

Here’s a bit of an overview. I know – it’s crazy!

art supplies full

Whew. That’s a lot of stuff. Here are my Prismacolor pencils (which I’ve had at least 15 years), a few of my chalk sets, a small set of watercolor pencils (some are missing; hmmm…), a set of pastel Spectrum Noir alcohol markers and about a dozen Faber-Castell Gelatos and Gel Sticks.

art supplies left

Next, a 48-color set of tube acrylics, 96 Tombow markers, Twinkling H2O paints (which I keep in a cigar box), a set of 48 gel pens, Karat Aquarelle watercolor pencils and a huge set of oil pastels.

art supplies right

And finally, Faber-Castell colored pencils, Lyra watercolor crayons (I LURVE THESE) and my extensive collection of Stickles, which does not include Distress Stickles, of which I have at least 30.

art supplies back

Not pictured: Various brands of bottled acrylic paint (at least 75), large tubes of acrylics, a small set of Pan Pastels, loads of Distress Stains, Distress Paints and Distress Ink pads, multiple jars of Pearl-Ex and other powdered pigments, about 15 bottles of Ranger alcohol inks, at least 50 other random markers, about 40 additional ink pads and a couple sets of pan watercolors.

There might be more things I just haven’t found yet. Ridiculous, right? I won’t need to buy another art supply as long as I live! (Which will not preclude me from doing so, mind you…)

Coloring Book!

June 1, 2015

When my brother and I were kids, we would occasionally spend a few days staying with our maternal grandparents while our parents went off on business or took mini vacations (from us, presumably). Grandma’s idea of the perfect entertainment was activity books. My favorite kind were dot-to-dot. I loved seeing a picture come to life THAT I HAD DRAWN ALL BY MYSELF, WITH NO HELP AT ALL. Granted, my efforts would not have been nearly so impressive without those numbered dots, but I liked to think of them more as “guideposts.” (After all, we couldn’t have me drawing an elephant when the picture was supposed to be of a teacup.)

Of course, there was also coloring. We’d sit quietly for hours, wearing down crayons, occasionally fighting over who got to use the blue next (because sky) and filling books with layers of waxy color.

All this came back to me when I stopped in at Michael’s the other day and laid eyes on this beauty:

creative cats book

Flipping through it, I became thoroughly enchanted, instantly picturing these intricate line drawings bursting with gorgeous color. I had to have it! Yes, I am an adult! And yes, I want to color!

One of the reviewers of this book posted a picture she’d completed and, when asked, said she’d used gel pens. It looked amazing. I immediately ordered a 48-color gel pen set and then looked for images to practice with. Via Pinterest, I found this page, which has several images of cats to color, including this intricate face:

intricate cat face

It made a great practice piece! I used metallic and neon colors from the gel pen set and it turned out, oh, let’s say…vibrant. (Dude says he wants to see it under a black light.)

cat photographed

I discovered that gel pens don’t particularly lend themselves to blending, but you can layer them nicely and they do a great job of covering the color that was previously there. For instance, there used to be a smudge of pink where I’d put my hand in some wet ink and then transferred it to the image (very frustrating!), but the neon yellow was able to cover it up completely. So that’s a great advantage to the gel pens.

I had to photograph the image above. At first I tried scanning, but, interestingly, my scanner refused to pick up all the colors, no matter what settings I played with.The best I could get was when I put a sheet of black cardstock behind it; even then, it came out nothing like reality.

cat scanned

Still trying to figure out how it recognized the orange color in the corners of the eyes, but not the huge swaths of orange in the eyebrows and whisker area. Go figure!

Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #29!

May 31, 2015

Can’t believe we’re up to 29 challenges already over at Linda Ledbetter’s! It has been so much fun to follow along in Tim Holtz’s third Compendium of Curiosities book, and while I’ve missed a few due to not having the right supplies or life just getting in the way (as it tends to do!), I feel like I’ve gotten so much out of this book, thanks to Linda, and gotten to know so many great gals in the “Curiosity Crew” through their stories and artwork.

This time we’re turning to page 44 and learning the “Eroded Metallic” technique. There are several steps to the process, and the end result is awesome!

I did the technique on a tag using the new Cracked Pistachio Distress Paint, which is a gorgeous color. I had a wee bit of trouble with the final step in the process until I changed up the way I was using the “tool” and then I really loved the results. Want to know more? Check out the technique in Tim’s book!

The balloon image is from Stampington; it’s one of my favorites. I mounted it on corrugated cardboard which I’d painted and swiped with black ink. Then used my favorite metallic Distress Paint, Antiqued Bronze, on some black Dresden, and stained a bit of white lace with Mermaid Lagoon and Stormy Sky Distress inks and added this to the bottom along with some tissue tape. I stamped the background with a “fairy dust” stamp (which is basically just random dots in various sizes) and then finished it off with copper colored metal corners.

balloon tag

You can join in the challenges at any time and there’s always a ton of inspiration, as Linda’s “Curiosity Crew” each creates their own version of the technique. And prizes are waiting to be won! Wouldn’t you love a gift certificate to spend at The Inspiration Emporium? Of course you would. :)

Cirque du Soleil Party!

May 20, 2015

So over on, they’re having a contest sponsored by Ticketmaster to make something related to “live events” – such as concerts, plays, sporting events, etc. One of the highlights of my bucket list is to attend a performance by Cirque du Soleil, and I knew it would make a fun and colorful theme for my creation.

After much thought and the rejection of a dozen (fairly lame) ideas, I decided to create a birthday party for someone who loves Cirque du Soleil. Mostly because I love making party items, despite that I have never even once thrown a party. (I’ve also been known to make jewelry, though I almost never wear it. Go figure!)

The first order of business was to study images and videos of Cirque performers to get an idea for a color scheme. This ended up based on the most commonly used makeup colors: lime green, turquoise, hot pink, bright yellow and red-orange.

Every party needs a banner, so that’s where I started. I drew the faces in pencil, water-colored them and added final details with a black gel pen.

cirque party face 5

The faces were mounted with foam tape onto flags made from cardstock and edged with Stickles glitter glue.

cirque party banner

The items in the corner are pinwheels made of animal-print cardstock, buttons and painted dowels.

Tip: Pinwheels look very easy to make. They are not. They will fight you every step of the way. Most of the helpful on-line instructions will helpfully suggest you use a pin. A pin is not up to the job. I had to get serious and use a stapler.

(This has been my “what Pinterest doesn’t tell you” tip of the day. You’re welcome.)

A friend from work recently gave me some apothecary jars from an estate sale. I used one to make her a “captured fairy” jar, in which the fairy was her cat with glued-on wings. (And a crown, of course, because all cats are royalty.) One day I might remember to post a photo of it! Anyway, I decided to use a couple of the other jars to hold candy at the party. These were decorated with printouts of the Cirque du Soleil logo. I printed the largest one on a transparency so you can see the yummy candy inside the jar.

cirque party candy

Candy is expensive, y’all! It would have cost about $15 to buy enough brand name candy to fill these jars, and they aren’t even that big! So my party attendees will have to settle for cinnamon disks and “gourmet” jelly beans (yeah, not those jelly beans). The important part was that it looked pretty in the jar; also, my husband is not that fussy about candy.

So what’s a party without cupcakes? They are much less messy than cutting up a cake and with a lot less clean-up afterwards. I had some vintage ballerina cupcake toppers in my stash; it took only a bit of paint to transform them into Cirque performers.

cirque party cupcakes

These little gals did NOT want to hold their new flags! I had to convince them via torture by pliers. (Who knew ballerinas could be so uncooperative?) While it was fun to give them new faces, I had to wear glasses on glasses on a magnifying glass in order to get the details right. Their tiny faces are less than 1/2″ tall!

cirque party ballerina closeup

And finally, the piece de resistance, a centerpiece made from a (Mulan) Barbie doll, air-dry clay, lots of paint and glitter and, of all things, an old bathroom faucet handle!

cirque party centerpiece

Dude recently changed out our bathroom faucets, and I realized this old acrylic faceted handle would be perfect for my acrobat to stand on. She’s held on there with a mound of epoxy clay, which I disguised with Stickles “sea glass” glitter, and the handle was attached to a glass/silver sundae dish with E-6000 cement. I filled the dish with beads from a recently-intact necklace. (Have I mentioned I don’t wear jewelry?)

The flowers were a serendipitous find I picked up at the thrift store about a week ago. They were part of a “luau party” photo backdrop and the colors happened to go really well with my party scheme, so I strewed them around to add more pops of color.

cirque party whole

So there you have it – a Cirque du Soleil party in the making! One day I’ll actually get to see the show. Maybe I’ll bring Acrobat Mulan with me; it’s not like she’s gotten out much either.

(Want to see the rest of the entries? Lots of fun “live event” themed creations here; my favorites so far are the Monkees shrine and the Rocky Horror cake!)

Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #28

May 14, 2015

Have you been following along with the challenges over at Linda Ledbetter’s blog? We’ve been working our way through Tim Holtz’s Compendium of Curiosities III book; there is fun to be had and prizes to be won! This time we’re turning to page 57 and learning how to do Alcohol Ink Ombre.

This challenge is sponsored by The Funkie Junkie Boutique and wouldn’t it be great to win a gift certificate? All you have to do is create something with the Alcohol Ink Ombre technique. Check out the Curiosity Crew’s great examples on Linda’s blog for inspiration. They always do amazing work!

Admittedly I had some trouble with this technique at first. It came down to my reading the instructions and then, in my silly mind, replacing one simple three-letter word with another. Note to self: “tap” is NOT the same as “rub”!

Once I re-read the directions and figuratively slapped myself upside the head for doing it wrong, I was able to achieve a very nice ombre effect. I made three pieces; one brown, one teal, one orange, and decided to use them all in one project. I pulled out one of my favorite Tim Holtz stamp sets; stamped one image on each color and colored one of the images with markers.

tim butterfly 1

The brown piece was attached to a black card and the others were adhered on top with foam tape for added dimension. A couple of metal corners rubbed with Mermaid Lagoon Distress Paint completed the card.

tim butterfly 2

Once I figured out what I was doing, this was really fun and I love the ombre effect!


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