Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Open Theme

I was going to title this Open Mic, then I didn't know if anyone would get it. :tap: :tap: :tap: Is this thing on? Sigh....I'm strange, I know. :-)

Ok, here I present my most favorite thing I've done. Ever. It's a double-sided ATC I did for the Oxford Impressions swap. I am not sure where the idea came from - it's mostly an embodiment of everything I love. Masculine - check. Feminine - check. Vintage - check. Cool gears - check and check. Photo stamps - got it. Old French and Algebra paper - done. Commentary on how weird men are - doublecheck.

All stamps are from various Oxford Impressions plates.

Who wants another clock freebie???? You do! To download, click on image then right click and choose 'save image as'. You could also copy and paste it into a program like Word.

Happy New Year to all of my wonderful artist friends! I hope 2009 will be a great year for us all.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Believe Arch

I am really missing my Gothic Arch challenge - I'll be glad when we get back to them. I made another Faux Designer paper background (Technique Junkies)and it wasn't working with this stamp.....until I cut it into an arch shape! Lots of bits and pieces and plenty of Oxford Impressions stamps and I had myself a pretty little arch!

Created Byhand Challenge - Chalks/Pastels

This is my contribution for this week's Created Byhand Challenge. I am not a big user of chalks - that's what I love about challenges, they really force you to try something new.

For my background I scraped soft pastel crayons on an old piece of ledger paper that I adhered to a piece of cardstock for strength. After rubbing them in I was like, huh, this is really not very exciting. Then I noticed that, in one little spot, the chalks had adhered to a bit of glue that had got on the front (I'm a sloppy gluer, that's why everything I do has to be grunge/vintage, lol!). Anyway, it looked really neat so I dragged my glue stick over the paper in several places and scraped more pastel over that and rubbed it in. Ooooh, very cool! I did this several times until I was happy with it. I will definitely be using these crayons more often now.

I also used the pastels to color my little fairy, who is from the new Fairy Sweets collection by Oxford Impressions.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Stamps From Oxford Impressions + Faux Designer Paper

Ahhhhh.....I love combining three of my favorite things into one piece. Actually, I think this uses just about everything I love!

First we have brand new stamps from the Fairy Sweets plate just released by Oxford Impressions. These are just about the sweetest stamps I own! I just got them today and can't wait to play with them some more.

Next we have a Faux Designer Paper background. I cannot get enough of this technique! I bought some paper at Archivers on Saturday. Do you know why?? So I could copy it using this technique! LOL! I will never buy premade paper again. This technique has really made me look at stamping in a whole new light. Ok, what was the next favorite thing? Hmmmm.....vintage lace? Things with wings? Velvet ribbon? Oh, I know, Technique Junkies! That's where I learned the fantastic technique I used to make my background.

Click on the picture to see the larger image - it looks so much better and more true to life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Open Theme

Merry Christmas!

This is my contribution for today's Wednesday Stamper. The stamps on my arch are all from Oxford Impression's Winter Snow collection. For a special treat, check out Suzanne's blog!

I wish you all peace a joy and lots and lots of presents under your tree!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Created Byhand Challenge - Pattern Paper

After shopping all day (yes Kat, I am just now finishing my shopping!) I thought I would be too weary to participate in the Created Byhand challenge, but I decided some art time was just what I needed to liven me up after all that shopping!

When I saw we were to use patterned paper, I knew I had to find something to go with my new Fortune Teller stamps from Artistic Outpost. I found some sheets of Basic Grey (I think?) that I've had forever. They seemed to be a perfect complement to these stamps. As I was making it I kept thinking - am I channeling Kelly Burton or what? lol! To me it has a very 'Kelly Burton-esque' feel. I love the richness of her work so I was pretty happy with it! My favorite bits (in addition to the fab stamps) are the little jewel in his turban and the pretty black embellishment on the bottom, which is from my friends at RockCandy Studios.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Technique Junkies - Feathered Tye Dye

I've tried this technqiue before, but Pat @ Technique Junkies put a fabulous twist on it that makes it really special! I actually wanted to make something just so I could use one of these poinsettia flowers I found at the Dollar Tree. I think there are 20 to a stem - a nickle apiece, what a deal! The gold embossing is an idea I borrowed from Evelyn Spikes who was playing around with the original technique at the same time I was. Mine tended to kind of absorb back into the paper towel, but I still like the look of it. This wonderful woman image is from Art Creations Friday. I didn't get a chance to use it when they first posted it, but I knew the time would come when I would find the perfect piece to use it on. Joyeux Noel stamp is from Artistic Outpost's Snowy Woods collection, and the corner stamp is from Prima.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Theme Thursday - Green & Brown

I have been wanting to try the new Faux Designer Paper technique from Technique Junkies with a different color combination and when I saw the challenge on Theme Thursday today, I thought - perfect!

I used Christmas stamps from Autumn Leaves that I won playing Dirty Santa at our annual stamp club Christmas party. Oh, I love these stamps! I knew they would be great with this technique. Sorry for the thievery Marguerite! Maybe I should send her this card. ;-) I couldn't bear to cover it up when I was done so I tied it with this lovely silk ribbon from RockCandy Studios and I was done.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Quick Tag Ornament

I've been looking at all the pretty pictures from Silver Bella and felt the urge to glitter something up! I absolutely love this little angel stamp from Oxford Impressions. She is one of my all time faves. All the other elements are vintage bits and pieces from my stash. Glitter is from Martha Stewart.

Hope you're having a great day!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Technique Junkies - Oil Pastel Chic

I have become totally addicted to the Oil Pastel Chic technique from Technique Junkies! It is such a forgiving and fun can work with so many different art styles too. I love how it looks with this beautiful woman image from ARTchix Studio. I was very sad to learn today that they are discontinuing their stamp line. It's really a shame because they had some gorgeous stamps that were some of the easiest photo stamps I've ever used. Helga said she will be redesigning them some time in the future - I'm hoping it's soon!

The actual color on the stamped image is a much darker brown in real life. Blech, I hate scans! The lovely trim is from RockCandy Studios and the 'Femme' stamp is from Oxford Impressions' Beloved stamp collection. The bird punch is from Martha Stewart.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Grungeboard Stencils

This is just a quick tip for those of you who hate throwing things away! I love Grungeboard and awhile back I noticed that the 'waste' (the piece that was left after all the flourishes had been punched out) seemed like it would be a perfect stencil. I went to work with my cranberry Adirondack Color Wash and came up with this card. There are some Grungeboard designs that probably wouldn't work as welll, but it's definitely something worth experimenting with!

Angels are from Oxford Impressions.

Tim's Tag - Day 12's all over! No more tags. I thought he ended on a very good note. Today's was one of my favorites. In creating this tag I again used Christmas stamps from Artistic Outpost's Snowy Woods collection. This is such a fantastic group of stamps! For the clock I used this clock face image from my personal collection (feel free to download it!).

I've had a great time following along with Tim's tags - I hope you've enjoyed my interpretations. Sometimes I haven't wanted to post them because I didn't feel like it was my best work, but I did it anyway. You never know when something you dislike will appeal to someone else!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tim's Tag - Day 11

It's almost over! One more day of Tim Tags. I will be sad when it's done - I've really had fun trying new techniques and experimenting with different ideas. I am not super thrilled with my latest tag. I think if I'd been more in the mood I could have made it work, but I am just not in a big stamping mood today.

For my frosted pieces, I used some plexiglass that I cut ages ago. Plexiglass is not easy to cut! The friction from the saw blade melts it and you get all kinds of burrs. Someone told me later you should use a wet saw. Well, at the time I didn't have that helpful hint! The burrs sand off pretty easily though, so I was able to salvage most of them. I wanted to find a way to glue these down since they didn't have a hole for a brad to go through. I decided to wrap them in silver tape to give them a soldered look and also give a place to hide the glue. It worked reasonably well. I do love this frosted technique - that's a very cool idea.

Tim's Tag - Day 10 + Wednesday Stamper

A bit behind on my Tim tags! I thought this was a really nice one - very rich and lovely. Instead of using Grungeboard, I used this wonderful stamp from the Divine Glory collection from Oxford Impressions. The alpha set is also from OI. I found these cute little Christmas embellishments at Walmart yesterday and thought they would be perfect for this tag. They also fit the Wednesday Stamper Bows challenge! The bulkiness of it makes it hard to scan the tag straight, but it is in real life, I promise. ;-)

Theme Thursday - Circus!

This is my contribution for Theme Thursday's Circus challenge. Very tough since I don't have much in my stamping arsenal that's circus-y. This tag is actually from a swap I did with my stamp club awhile ago. I love the ball fringe! My clown girl is from Oxford Impression's Playful stamp set - one of my favorites.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Created Byhand Challenge - Tree Trio + Crazy Amigo - Keeping Warm

Today's Created Byhand Challenge was to use a trio of tree templates in our creations. As I cast my eye about it landed on a nice big bottle of Martha's glitter and an idea was born! I combined my glittery trees with the Faux Designer Paper technique from the latest Technique Junkie newsletter. This technique, created by Nancy Judd, should go into some kind of TJ Hall of Fame! It's just the coolest technique. The little girl stamp from Oxford Impressions finishes off the piece perfectly. Oh, and the tiny bird is from Lisa's Altered Art.

This also fits the Crazy Amigo Keeping Warm theme challenge. Thanks, Joanne, for mentioning that!

Tim's Tag - Day 9

I absolutely LOVE today's tag! I really don't know what I would do without my Artistic Outpost Christmas stamps - they have been perfect to use for the various Santa tags.

I don't have much to add as far as any 'MacGyver' moments, lol! I was pretty proud of my lock - it's Grungeboard that I embossed with various metallic powders. I wanted to get as close to the color of my key as possible and I think it came out pretty good! I have had the Distress ep for ages and never really understood how to use it. I'm really glad Tim included it in his tag today.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Technique Junkies - Oil Pastel Chic

A couple months ago I was very flattered to have Pat Huntoon, who publishes the Technique Junkie newsletter, ask if I would be a guest designer for the Dec/Jan issue. This is one of the cards I made using Robin Caldwell's Oil Pastel Chic technique. I absolutely fell in love with this technique! It is one of those that you just can't do wrong - it comes out fantastic every time.

I was again surprised and flattered when Pat recently asked me to become a regular designer for the newsletter! I have been a subscriber for a few years now and it is the one subscription I will never let lapse. I get so much from every issue (including all the back issues you get if you become an Ultimate Subscriber!). It's very exciting to be part of such a wonderful design team!

The stamps I used for this card are all from Artistic Outpost's wonderful Snowy Woods collection.

Tim's Tag - Day 8

Ok, another day of 'not my favorite tag.' I almost didn't post it, but I did want to share a couple ideas that I used. I cut the ornament shape (you can find the template here) out of an old cereal box. I didn't have the silver crackle paint, but I did have an idea! I used Vintage Linen crackle paint first and then painted over it with silver craft paint. Woo hoo! Worked pretty dang well. The background stamps are both from Oxford Impressions. The gorgeous holly trim is from RockCandy Studios. My embossing looks much better in real life - the scanner just doesn't capture it well.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tim's Tag - Day 7

Not sure what I think of this one - definitely more 'crafty' than artsy! It kinda took me back to my early crafting days. I got a little nostalgic thinking back to living in Texas w/my babies, making all kinds of crafty things. Now my babies are 16 and 19 and roll their eyes when I ask them if they want to stamp! Can't imagine why......

For this tag I just couldn't get into Tim's colors. Cool is always hard for me, so I just went with what felt right. No, red and green isn't very snowy, but I love the look of this. Part of my decision was that I only had Antique Linen crackle paint. I thought it would look much better with a vintage-y color palette. All the snowman pieces were improvised and cut from a large sheet of Grungeboard. My little arms are made from rusted twisted wire from RockCandy Studios. My snow...sigh. More improvisation that went a little awry. Suffice it to say that crumbled styrofoam doesn't really make great snow. ;-)

Looking forward to tomorrow's tag......

Gothic Arches - Trees

Here is my arch for the trees challenge on Gothic Arches. I buy a lot of small silk flowers to use in my artwork. After I'd pulled them all off the stems one time, I noticed that the little plastic stem has a nice tree shape. I set them aside figuring the time would come one day when I could use them. After considering and discarding a few ideas using tree stamps, I remembered these! Covered in Martha Stewart's glitter, they become part of a lovely magical forest.

Again, can't stop using this little fairy stamp from Lost Coast. There is just something about her that I love. It's hard to see from the pic, but her wings are made of mica. I found this moss at the Pottery Barn outlet of all places - on clearance on top of clearance so I got it for next to nothing. I'm kicking myself for not buying all they had. The 'Joy' is made up of vintage anagram tiles.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tims's Tag - Day 6

Well, how's this for a reversal? Today's tag is my least favorite of Tim's (I know, heresy) and my most favorite of mine! Today's tutorial was something that I've been wanting to try and just have never gotten around to it. It is so fun!

Of course, I didn't have the Prima Paintables. I've thought about getting them before and again, just have never picked one up. So......I thinks to myself, what is really fun to stamp on acetate? Photo stamps! Immediately I knew my whole color scheme, the stamps I would use, everything.

I pulled out my favorite little girl from Lost Coast Designs. She is just the cutest! First time I stamped her she came out perfectly. Here's a tip if you're not used to stamping on acetate - it can be tricky. Ok, that's not the tip. Here's the tip: instead of stamping onto the acetate, lay your stamp face up and lay the acetate onto it. Rub lightly to make sure the stamp transfers the ink and you don't have any blank spaces. Also make sure you use Stazon and it is on the dry side. That helps a lot with the slipping/sliding. After I stamped the girl I stamped flowers from Prima's clear stamp line onto the acetate. Then I remembered you're not supposed to use Stazon and clear stamps. Ooop! I wiped it off really good tho.....

Ok, more heresy. Tim says you can't do the alcohol ink painting unless you have the blending solution. Well, I don't have it! But I do have a bottle of alcohol and a pointy Q-tip. It worked just fine. I'm sure the blending solution would be better somehow, but don't let not having it prevent you from trying this tech because it's really fun!

Green tip #1! My friend Cyndi and I had the same idea. We don't have metal snowflakes like he used - but we have empty soda cans and snowflake punches. I also tried the foil tape from RockCandy Studios. It's shinier, but my punch is so delicate it ends up a bit flimsy. If I was sticking it directly down it would be perfect. Try both! I highlighted my snowflake with a little gem.

Green tip#2! Recently I taught a class where we used tons of Tim's Idea-ology metal pieces. After I'd taken everything out of the packaging I had a MOUNTAIN of plastic. Ugh, I was queasy! I have been following this blog and consequently have been trying hard to be aware of how much plastic I use, throw away, etc. Packaging like this is one of the worst offenders. Ok, the tip. The recessed plastic makes a perfect palette! I used the one from the Tokens for my alcohol inks and a large piece from the same package for my paint. I know it's not much, but it did make me feel a bit better. Let me know if you'd like a picture to see exactly what I'm talking about and I'll post one.

Speaking of trash - I have been toying with the idea of starting a 'Green' challenge blog. Is anyone interested? I was thinking of something like Trashy Tuesday. You could combine it with lots of other challenges....I know there are lots out there, but I thought this would be something fun and also raise awareness. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tim's Tag Day 5 + A Dozen Beauties

Well, I must say I'm a bit disappointed with my Tim Tag today. :( It's my most favorite of his and my least favorite of mine! When I first saw the Grungeboard reindeer he used I knew right away I was in trouble! That's a pretty tough piece to improvise. I did find a decent template for my reindeer, but it just isn't the same. I had plain Grungeboard, but I decided to trace it onto tagboard that I'd cut from an old cereal box to show that you can still do this technique even if you don't have the Grungeboard. I embossed it w/my Cuttlebug and pretty much did the rest like he shows. Instead of the rub-on, I stamped 'Joy' with Versamark and embossed it with white ep. For my snowflakes I used a Martha Stewart punch (on clearance at Michaels today!) to punch them out of cardstock. I painted them gold and added Antique Linen Distress Stickles. I do love the resist technique that he used for the background and will definitely be trying all of these ideas in the future.

When I got home from my big trip into Memphis today, what was waiting for me? Two eggs! We had two yesterday too. Then this afternoon, two more! That brought us up to our first dozen eggs (we've been saving them for the past few days). Do you see something amiss in this picture? Yes, one of our ladies is not who she's supposed to be! We've only had this one brown egg, so we'll see what the future holds. I kinda like having a little variety though!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Theme Thursday - Children ATCs

A quickie for the Theme Thursday challenge. The image of the children is from Oxford Impressions' Season of Giving stamp collection. Speaking of Oxford Impressions - did you know that the deadline for their Design Competition has been extended? You have until December 15th to get your artwork in! Check out all the details here.

Tim's Tag Day 4

Well, today's Tim Tag was another challenging one! I didn't have a similar picture or the sticky canvas. If I had, I would have taken some regular canvas, fused it to a piece of cardstock and run in thru my printer. My printer hates strange things tho, so it might not have worked anyway!

Instead, I was lucky enough to have this stamp from Oxford Impressions' Season of Giving plate. Since I didn't have the same kind of coverage as the canvas would have given, I used Fired Brick Distress crackle paint to cover the top half of my tag. The bottom is Frayed Burlap dtp'd onto the tag, followed by Black Soot.

I bought a Dymo label maker at an estate sale awhile ago, once I spotted it, I couldn't pass it up. It's an awesomely awesome 60s-70s lime green edition. Check it out!

Dang! How cool is that? I love that it says 'Peace'. Anyone who grew up in the 70s remembers writing/putting 'Peace' on everything! I'm thinking Candy did not excel at Spelling however.....

Ok, back to the tag. I found my label maker, but thought it was out of black tape. I had red and green, but really wanted the black. I was all set to improvise - there is a free font that looks exactly like a label maker tape. I downloaded it, typed out my words, and then glanced at my label maker and realized it was loaded with black tape. Arrrrgh! But, now I have a nice font and maybe you need this font too! We all win.

Just one wee MacGyver moment today. Instead of the washer that Tim uses, I punched (again) a small circle from aluminum tape. Punch another hole in the middle and you have yourself a washer! Ink, etc like the Philosophy tag I did in my last post.

Oh, and the calendar page is from Oxford Impressions' Winter Snow stamp set. Perfect!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Metal + Tim Tag #3 + Tutorial!

Whew! Lots of stuff going on in this one little post! The Wednesday Stamper theme this week is metal. Ordinarily that would mean me digging out some crusty piece of junk and making something, but I really wanted to do my Tim tag and didn't have time for both. So, I decided that wee bit of metal on his tag would work for WS too!

Most of the stamps on my tag are from Artistic Outpost's Snowy Woods sheet. Really perfect stamps for this tag! Here is my MacGyver moment for today's tag. I have no Philosophy tags. :( But, I do have aluminum tape from my friends at RockCandy Studios and metal stamps! So, faux Phi (Fo fi?) tags was born. Here is a quick tut in case you have the same problem!

First, punch out circles from aluminum tape and chipboard. Sand aluminum circle lightly horizontally and vertically. Peel off the backing and apply aluminum circle to chipboard circle.

Next, apply India ink to darken.

Using a metal stamp set, stamp JOY into circle.

Finally, cover with white paint, making sure it gets caught in the letters. Wipe off. Add more ink if necessary and punch hole in top.

Hope that helps some of you who might be like me - wanting to do the tag, but lacking the materials!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Created By Hand Challenge - Red & Green

I got so caught up in my Tim tag that I almost forgot about the Created By Hand Challenge! This week the theme is Red & Green. I kinda wanted to cheat and use the tag I made yesterday, but I decided I would give myself a quick hour to get something made.

I chose a Christmas collage image from Lisa's Altered Art as my focal point. Isn't she a cutie? I thought about doing a 4 x 4, then came across a rectangular wood plank that I thought would be fun to use. Inspired by Audrey Hernandez's article in the latest Somerset Studio, I created a long skinny plaque. I need to add some eye screws and ribbon to the top for a hanger and then it will be done!

Tim's Tag Day 2

Here is my version of Tim's Day 2 Tag. This was very challenging since I had very little of what he used. I will give you my version just in case you are having the same problems, but want to achieve a look similar to his.

First, Tim uses various shades of alcohol inks for his background. I only had Denim and Eggplant. I tried it with those, but really wanted the lighter blue look. I tried it again, but this time I sponged Broken China Distress ink on my paper before I did the AI 'smoosh'. AHA! That did the trick! I sponged more on after it was dry until I got the color I wanted. I really wish I had the tree stamp he used, but I had nothing remotely close to it - I thought this feathery plant stamp from Oxford Impressions would be a great substitute and it was! Ok, next problem - I had no white flourish rub ons. But, I did have a pretty awesome flourish stamp and white embossing powder! It worked perfectly.

Then I was faced with one of my biggest problems - no bird charm. No charm at all that would work! Well, again, necessity is the mother of invention. To make my own 'charm' I stamp a bird from Oxford Impression on Grungeboard and embossed it with silver ep. I cut it out and sponged Black Soot Distress ink all over and then wiped it off. The scan isn't the came out so great! Very close to the real thing. Finally, I had no Grungeboard book plate, but one from my Stampin' Up hardware set worked just fine. It even matched my bird!

I'm thinking I should change my blog name to Hillbilly Stamping or something. ;-) I do love the challenge of using what I have on hand instead of buying more stuff (not that I don't love buying the stuff!). Sometimes it just brings out the MacGyver in me I guess.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tim's Tag + Cyber Monday Sale!!

I'm sure everyone knows by now that Tim Holtz is doing another 12 Tags of Christmas this year. Yay! I love all the ideas I get from these tutorials - it's probably the closest I'll ever get to taking a class with him!

I had to improvise a bit since I didn't have everything to duplicate his. Plus, how is it really mine if I just copy him, right? Also, when you live in the boonies, you have to be a pro at making things work. The closest stamp store is 40 minutes away and I when I see something I want to try, I want to do it NOW (yes, I'm just like Veruca in Willy Wonka)!

For my tag I used stamps from Lasting Impression with Panache. They are having a HUGE Cyber Monday sale today. 30% off all their stamps. What a deal! I used one of my favorite stamps - the Eiffel Tower - as a substitute for the lamp post that Tim used on his tag. Since it's a smaller dimension I had to downsize my tag, so I had to do everything on a smaller scale. I used a flourish mask from Tattered Angels and Grungeboard letters. I really wanted the red Distress Stickles (I need to just order the whole set!), but my LSS was out of them when I was there. I devised a fairly decent workaround for it - I inked the letters with Fired Brick Distress Ink and then covered them with Martha Stewart fine crystal glitter. After it dried, I sponged more ink over the top which colored the glitter perfectly! I found the perfect color of vintage rayon bias tape to tie it with in my big box 'o sewing stuff.

Don't forget to head over to Lasting Impressions with Panache and load up while the sale is going on! Here is a list of the stamps I used for my tag:
Moon Writing 879-102J
Paris Postage 841-102C
Eiffel Tower 004-005I

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Gothic Arch - Snow

Since Thanksgiving threw me off for almost a whole week, I decided to combine as many challenges as I could in one piece! First, we have the Gothic Arches snow theme, next we have Theme Thursday which was Santa. Hmmmm...I guess that's just two. But, I also combined it with one of the new techniques from the latest Technique Junkies newsletter - Faux Designer Paper. All of these wonderful themes/techniques are combined with great stamps from Artistic Outpost and fabulous trim from RockCandy Studios. You need to hustle over to RockCandy - today is the last day of their Black Friday specials! They have the most fantastic European Dresden Foil, German Die Cuts, collage sheets, and one of a kind finds. You will be like a kid in a candy store!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ancient Fragments Tutorial

First off, let me say that I am certainly not the originator of this idea - I think it's been around forever. But, I've looked all over the place and I can't find any tutorial/instructions/name for this technique, so I am showing you how I did my Nepal piece and calling it Ancient Fragments, which is what I wanted my "exotic" artwork to look like. Okay, let's get started!

First of all you will need a firm base. I used a 5" x 7" piece of mat board. Color doesn't matter since you'll be covering this up. I cut my edges roughly so it wouldn't look too perfect.

Next, you will need Joint Compound/Drywall 'Mud'. This is the stuff that they use to cover the seams when they put Sheetrock/drywall up. You can find it at the hardware store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc) and even at places like Walmart. We've been remodeling so we have a fairly large bucket of it, but you can buy smaller tubs too.

Begin by applying a fairly even coat of mud to your mat board, using a scraper or palette knife. You want it thick enough so your stamp will make a nice impression, but no so thick that it will take forever to dry or squish all over the place when you stamp into it.

The next step is the most important! You need to let your mud dry until it's just the right consistency to stamp into. If it's too wet, you'll end up with an unrecognizable blob, too dry and you won't get an impression at all. Because I have no patience, I use my heat gun to speed up the process. Just keep checking until you think it's ready. *This will take a very short time - don't leave it overnight and expect to be able to stamp into it!

Take a bold image stamp (this one is from Jim Stephen) and press evenly into the mud. Pull up and check your impression. If it looks good, continue to stamp, covering the entire surface. If it's too wet, smooth it with your knife and wait a bit. If it's too dry, you'll either need to add another layer of mud or start over again. You might try re-wetting it, I haven't done that, but it might work.

Let dry - you can use your heat gun to speed this up!

When dry cover the entire surface with slightly watered down acrylic paint. I used burnt umber craft paint.

Wipe/blot off with paper towel. Oooh, how cool does that look now? Your paint will catch in all the little cracks and crevices. I was tempted to stop here!

The next part is entirely up to you and your creative muse! I can't tell you what feels right for what you're trying to achieve, you have to experiment for yourself. For mine, I painted the depressions with red acrylic paint, added Brushed Corduroy Distress ink, more brown paint, gold and copper rub on paint (from RockCandy Studios), oil crayon, and black acrylic paint. You just have to play with it until you're happy! I also sealed mine with an acrylic sealer when I was done.

I hope you've enjoyed this - please let me know if you try it and send a link to your artwork!