Posts Tagged ‘mixed media’

Only a Year Early

July 5, 2017

I am an art retreat freak. I love the excitement generated when you’re among like-minded people, learning new techniques straight from the artists, creating and trading artful trinkets, shopping for unique supplies…all that added to the thrill of packing a bag and heading somewhere new. Really gets you out of that daily rut, and you come home refreshed and creatively recharged!

Back when rubber stamping and scrapbooking were reaching their peak of popularity, mixed media conventions and art retreats were seemingly everywhere. I could easily attend two or three a year and not have to drive more than 100 miles. Now it seems there are only a handful left, but those that survived are the best of the best. Art Unraveled, held every summer in Phoenix, has been on my “wish I may, wish I might” list for years. Unfortunately, I could never justify the cost; something else always had priority at the time, and I couldn’t justify spending that much all at once.

They say the definition of crazy is performing the same action over and over again and expecting different results. Hoping and dreaming wasn’t getting me anywhere. Planning and saving are what will make this happen! Starting this month, I’m going to put money into the savings account specifically to be used for attending Art Unraveled in 2018. I added up the cost of travel, accommodations, workshop fees and miscellaneous expenses and have worked out how much I need to save to make this happen. At this time next year, I’ll be ready on Day One to sign up, and it won’t be just wishful thinking!

I’m using a small notebook to keep track of deposits and for travel checklists, resources, ideas for trades, etc. One page is devoted to ideas I jotted down for creating a travel journal. True to form (see my yearly journals that I started in the middle of the year before), I got a bee in my bonnet and made it already! I decided to go with a fabric book so it will travel well. (Easily squished into a suitcase and no sharp corners.)

art unraveled front

Art Unraveled doesn’t seem to have a logo of any kind (not one I could find, anyway), so I made up my own! I combined a beautiful watercolor of the Phoenix skyline with clipart of a large half sun, and typed “Art Unraveled” in the space between them. This was printed onto fabric and sewed onto the cover.

art unraveled back

I sewed a heart on the back because I put hearts on pretty much everything – and because I’m going to love being there! Canson heavy mixed media paper comprises the inside pages, so I’ll be able to paint, draw, etc. I have a small photo printer to bring along so I can journal daily and have it completed by the time my plane lands back in Florida!

art unraveled open

Is This Meta?

June 17, 2017

So I’ve been wanting a sewing machine cover for a very long time. Dude asked me, “Why, is your sewing machine too dusty?” I told him I’d read that dust is fatal to sewing machines, so it was, of course, a purely practical desire. Secretly, though, I wanted to make something for my studio that would be unique, colorful and awesome, and because I already have too many impractical things stuffed in there, a sewing machine cover seemed like the perfect project.

Also, it will keep the dust off.

sewing cover front

(I had to take photos on the front porch because it’s too dark in the studio and my outdoor photo booth isn’t big enough!)

The idea was planted a couple of months ago, when I watched a video about using a Gelli plate to print on muslin. The ultimate project in the video was a book cover, but I got to thinking, why couldn’t I make any fabric item I wanted to with Gelli prints?

sewing cover back

After spending a couple of hours happily Gelli printing a yard of muslin, I used several different rubber stamps to add more detail to the designs. I had measured my sewing machine and added an inch on each side for good measure; this came to 11″ wide, 13″ high and 17″ long. (This allowed space to keep the thread spool on the top, as I didn’t want to keep removing and replacing it.) Using those measurements, I cut five panels from Pellon fusible Flex Foam interfacing; this stuff is great for making sturdy fabric items that will hold their shape.

sewing cover front 1

The printed muslin was torn into smaller “patches” and ironed onto the Flex Foam, then I sewed various decorative stitches along the edges of each patch. Because I love hearts, I also used leftover printed muslin to create layered heart patches to sew on at random spots.

Black and white fabric with a tiny flower design was cut into one-inch strips, wrapped and stitched around the edge of each Flex Foam panel, then the panels were sewn together to form the cover. It fits perfectly, pops right off when I need to use the machine, adds a fun splash of color to my sewing area, and, the best part: it’s unique!

sewing cover back 2

So, is it meta that I used the sewing machine to make a cover for the sewing machine?

Scrappy Tag Books

June 14, 2017

What a thrill it was to open my mailbox today to find an advanced artist’s copy of my favorite magazine, Somerset Studio! They had put out a call for tag art a few months ago, and, because I have approximately 900 tags (this is no exaggeration), I thought it would be fun to make a few tag books to send along. I hadn’t sent anything for publication in a very long time, and I missed the excitement of being published.

som studio jul aug 2017

They did a great job editing my article and the photography is breathtaking (as always). One thing did disappoint me a teeny bit: I had sent three books in, and you can see all three stacked up in one photo, but they did not show the cover of the third book, which happens to be my favorite.

bird-tag-book-1

But as Dude very practically pointed out, “They liked the other two best.” And he’s right; I can’t complain. I love how the article turned out. I’ve always said, it’s wonderful – and essential – that everyone is different with their unique likes and dislikes. Thank you, Stampington!

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!

Two Worlds Collide: Compendium Challenge #12

October 10, 2014

I’ve been taking part in the bi-weekly challenges over at Linda Ledbetter’s blog, where we’ve been working our way through Tim Holtz’s third installment of Compendium of Curiosities book. Unfortunately I couldn’t participate last time because the challenge was to use one of the current colors of Distress Embossing Powder, and I only had a few of the discontinued ones. (I’m going to hoard those until retirement and then sell ’em for a million bucks on Ebay!)

Even though I didn’t take part in that challenge, I was very busy with creative work. It all started when my bestest gal pal, Terri, decided she wanted to try quilting. She and I are paper artists, for the most part, so this was quite a departure! Also, I am not a “precision and perfection” kinda gal by any means, nor do I have the patience for any project that takes weeks or months. Hours to completion is more my speed, so the idea of quilting didn’t really appeal at all. But then I discovered the wonderful, fun and highly satisfying world of rag quilts! What is a rag quilt? Only the best way for a beginner (or impatient, non-perfect, non-sewer) to make a beautiful and useful quilt in hours instead of days! The quilt is constructed by sewing squares or strips together, seam side out, then snipping the seams so they’ll fray in the wash. The end result has a lovely, soft, shabby-chic look, and the best part is that you can be a little “wonky” with the construction and it won’t even be noticeable!

When I get into any new creative endeavor, I tend to go nuts and make zillions of them.  Happened with book making, soaping, knitting, felted handbags, gelli plate printing…the list goes on. Rag quilts are no exception; I have made five of them in the last two weeks and have plans for at least five more. I think they’re going to make amazing holiday gifts; suitable for both genders and all ages. The creativity and fun are in picking out fabrics and laying them out together, and the construction is so easy and quick.

Here are four of the rag quilts I’ve made so far. I have given each of them a name; it seemed appropriate to name them instead of having to refer to “that one with the orange-y fabrics” or whatever. The first one was made with flannel fabric donated to me by a lovely gal I met on Etsy. When she heard I wanted to try rag quilting, she insisted on sending me a box full of pre-cut squares! She had made her first quilt with donated fabric and wanted to “pay it forward.”  Thank you, Deb! I will remember your kindness every time I snuggle up under “Kiddy Pool.” Isn’t it cute and fun?

kiddy pool

My husband named it “Kiddy Pool” because it’s mostly blue and because of the rubber duckies swimming in one of the squares!

My husband also named the next one, which is almost big enough to fit a queen-sized bed. (I got ambitious after making a small one and wanted to go big this time!) I told him it had a vibrant, tropical vibe and he immediately said “Hawaiian Punch.”  (Sure, why not?) I made it from fabric gotten for a song from an Etsy seller who had long strips left over from other projects.

hawaiian punch

My favorite so far is a little throw made from pre-cut squares from yet another Etsy seller. (It’s so convenient to use pre-cut squares; it saves a lot of time and my cutting skills are still very amateurish!) This one is called “Manitou Blue,” named after the street my friend Terri lives on. This one is for her.  🙂

manitou blue

Finally, the rag quilt I made for my niece’s Sweet Sixteen birthday earlier this week. It took a LONG time to cut, sew and clip all those hearts (and the letters spelling her name), but it was so worth it. I love this so much I decided to make a similar quilt (without the name) in a size to cover the bed in our guest room, which is decorated in the shabby-chic style.

i heart muffins front

So what does all this have to do with the Compendium of Curiosities challenge? Mixed media, baby! The challenge this time is hand-tinting photographs with Distress ink products. I LOVE hand-tinting photographs; I learned how to do this back in 2005 at a convention from Tim himself. The method described in the Compendium is slightly different now in that it uses updated products, but the technique is much the same. I had forgotten just how enjoyable the process is and I hand-tinted many, many photos in the last few days.

Because I’ve been so into rag quilting, it occurred to me that it would be fun to make a mixed-media project using a rag quilted piece as the base of a wall hanging, and then add all my “usual” fun stuff to that. Two worlds colliding!

hanging 1 girl 1

hanging 2 flower

hanging 1 girl 2

hanging 1 key

hanging 2 girl

hanging 2 butterfly

I picked up four coordinating fat quarters from Joann’s, pieced together the hanging and sewed it “rag quilt” style, with the lovely, shabby-chic frayed edges. Then it was just a matter of adding the tinted photos and some pretty embellishments, like a flower, lace, beaded hat pins, metal key and a paper butterfly colored with chalk.

hanging 1 close

It turned out so pretty and was so much fun to make and I still had more tinted photos.  Soooo…

hanging 2 girl 2

…I made a second one! This time I added some Stickles flourishes. Can’t go long without getting out the Stickles!

hanging 2

Won’t you join us at Linda’s? We’re having a wonderful time creating our way through Tim’s Compendium; there’s so much inspiration from the design team and the possibility of winning a fabulous prize package during each challenge! The sponsor of Challenge 12 is The Funky Junky Boutique, for all your “frilly and funky” projects!

hanging 2 close

Spooky Time

September 7, 2014

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been enjoying the very first online art retreat sponsored by the Art Is…You folks. I had been reading about their retreats for a few years now and always wanted to attend one, but they’ve just been a little too far away. Now there’s an online retreat, and it’s been really fun! We’re learning via video, chatting in a forum and taking part in challenges and swaps. One of the best parts was a box that arrived ahead of time filled with all manner of artsy goodies!

The swap is for Halloween or fall themed tags. We were sent tags in our box to use, if we wished, but were also allowed to use larger ones for the swap. I decided on the larger size and made two sets of three. They’re all similar, design-wise, but I used different images and color combinations for each.

owl tag 1

The background was made by covering the tag with either Spiced Marmalade or Dried Marigold Distress ink, then splashing with water droplets to create a mottled effect. I used an “ink blot” stamp and black Memories ink to create a nice overall texture.

owl tag 2

The images are mounted on corrugated cardboard from which I tore the top layer, then painted either purple with forest green highlights, or forest green with purple highlights.

owl tag 3

The black with white swirls layer is washi tape, and below I’ve added black Dresden which I covered with Versamark ink and then dusted with either Interference Blue or Interference Purple Pearl-Ex powder. The effect, which is difficult to see in a photo, is a soft metallic glow.

owl tag 4

Amazingly, I did not use Stickles on these, given that I use Stickles at the slightest opportunity, but I made up for it by die-cutting the letters from glitter cardstock using a Tim Holtz alphabet die. Seam binding ribbon and a couple of steel grey eyelets in the top corners were the finishing touch. These were so much fun to make and I’m excited to see the spooky creations I receive in return!

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!  😉