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!

Gelli Cats

May 14, 2015

In the Jan/Feb issue of Somerset Studio, there’s an article by Melissa Johnson explaining how she’d made a piece called “Jeweled Elephant.” You can see most of it here by clicking on the table of contents image near the bottom of the page.

I was so intrigued by the process that I wanted to try it right away. Some of the prettiest papers I have are those made with the Gelli Plate; I have a giant stack of them made on deli paper. I chose three of my favorites and glued them down to 7″x8″ pieces of manila file folders with Mod Podge.

Elephants are nice, but I’m a cat person, so I chose a silhouette of a cat from Google image search, traced around it on another piece of manila file folder, then cut it out and used it as a mask.

gelli cat 1

After brushing acrylic paint all over the folder, I removed the mask to reveal…a Gelli cat!

gelli cat 2

I added more color to each piece by applying and smearing Gelatos with my finger (actually, Gel Sticks, which are the “kids” version of Gelatos; I can discern no difference between them except the price). The deli paper crinkles and wrinkles nicely, which makes it easy to add texture. A few dots of acrylic paint at the bottom, swirls with a gel pen and stamped words completed each piece.

gelli cat 3

These were still a little curvy when I photographed them; a few hours under some heavy books flattened them nicely. They’re the perfect size to add to my art journal.

These were fun and fast experiments – all three took less than an hour total before the stamped words were added – and I’m quite happy to have this great technique in my repertoire!

Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #27

May 1, 2015

It’s time once again for the beautiful and talented Linda Ledbetter to challenge us with a technique from Tim Holtz’s Compendium of Curiosities III! This time we’re turning to page 61 in our Tim-nals and learning how to use the embossing diffusers. To be honest, I’ve had one sitting unopened in my studio for at least three months! The great thing about these challenges is that they get you motivated to make some art and discover all manner of fun new tools and media and techniques. The second great thing is that you always get inspiration in the form of amazing eye-candy artwork from The Curiosity Crew. The third great thing is that you can win prizes! This time the sponsor is The Inspiration Emporium, and wouldn’t it be grand to win a gift certificate so you can go on a wild shopping spree? I can tell you from experience – it is! :)

So, on to the challenge. I had a bit of a learning curve using the diffuser; the package directions are a bit inadequate, so it was very helpful to watch some videos on how to make this work. (This was after I made a couple of silly mistakes, one of which resulted in my Big Shot almost permanently acquiring a new part consisting of an embossing folder, a diffuser and two embossing plates instead of just one! Derp.)

Anyway, I finally got the technique down pat and just love it. I decided to make a card and since I went a little nuts and embossed not one, but ten (!) pieces, it’s likely I’ll make a few more! I started by making a card that I ended up really, really, REALLY disliking, and as it now sits in the bottom of my trash can, we will pretend that one never existed.

But then I buckled down and got serious and made a card I do like. This one uses Tim’s super fun BINGO embossing folder and the diffuser with the square opening. The window didn’t fall exactly where I needed it to, so I used some tape to hold it in place and also added a second diffuser at the bottom of the first one to cover the exposed area of the card. I inked the cardstock, which was manila colored, with Peacock Feathers Distress Ink, then highlighted the raised areas with Walnut Stain and colored each of the letters and numbers with acrylic paint.

bingo card side

The bird was stamped on white cardstock in Black Soot Distress Ink and colored with Prismacolor pencils. I mounted the piece on purple cardstock and a black card and then used a cotton swab to add dots of acrylic paint at the bottom.

I could have used this card a couple weeks ago when one of my co-workers left for another job – but as it turned out, he didn’t need “good luck” – he is quite happy where he is now!

bingo card front

So instead I’ll wish good luck to the rest of the challenge contenders. Keep those fingers crossed!  :)

Compendium of Curiosities Challenge #26

April 20, 2015

Have you been following along with the fun and exciting 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! The awesome part is that we’re doing this randomly, so you never know which project or technique will pop up next. This time we’re turning to page 42 and learning how to do “smudge stamping.”

This challenge is sponsored by The Funkie Junkie Boutique and wouldn’t it be great to win a $25 gift certificate? All you have to do is create something with the smudge stamping technique. Need inspiration? Check out the Curiosity Crew’s great examples on Linda’s blog. They always do amazing work; it’s worth a visit every two weeks just to check out the new Tim-inspired projects!

This technique is all about the stamping, so I decided to use only ink on my project and forego any other media.

tag upper tower

I used a large Tim Holtz Eiffel Tower stamp and four smaller “postmark” stamps from other companies.

tag lower tower

I stamped the postmarks and punched them into squares, then adhered them to the tag with foam tape for some nice dimension. I also used Tim’s harlequin stamp on the tag as an homage to Hels Sheridan, who uses it in every project!

tag harlequin

I used so many Distress Ink colors for this. Let me see if I can remember them all! Walnut Stain, Shabby Shutters, Worn Lipstick, Broken China, Spiced Marmalade, Rusty Hinge (which I used to stamp “speckles” all over), Old Paper and Spun Sugar. (Whew! That’s a lot of ink!)

smudge tag

The final touches were mini pom-pom trim and a couple lengths of seam binding dyed with Distress Ink.

There’s still time to try smudge stamping and join the challenge. If you miss this one, there’s another every two weeks and you can join in any time!


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