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!

Wednesday Stamper - Exotic Places

I made this piece today for the Exotic Places challenge at Wednesday Stamper. I created the background with joint compound (drywall mud) and a stamp from Jim Stephan. His stamps will always have a special place in my heart - they were the first unmounted stamps I ever bought. I still remember having to call him to order them. Back then (8 years ago??) a lot of companies didn't have web sites. I found his ad in the back of Somerset Studio.....fond memories. :-)

I photographed my steps when making this - I will probably post a tutorial later tonight if anyone is interested. If you've never tried it, it's a really fun technique!

Oh, and thanks to Michelle for reminding me - this is a picture of a Temple in Nepal, somewhere I've always wanted to go!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Created By Hand Challenge - Christmas Music Cards

Another fantastic theme over at Created Byhand. I used the same music piece that I used on my Gothic Arch a couple days ago. It's from an old children's hymnal I found at an estate sale (where else?). The little girls are a rubber stamp from Lost Coast Designs. They don't have much to do with the music, but I just got this stamp and couldn't wait to use it! The whole thing is tied up with a beautiful silk ribbon from RockCandy Studios.

Here's a treat for you! I hope you can use this music in your Christmas creations. Let me know if you make something cool! To download large size, click on image, then right click and save.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gothic Arches - Yuletide Blessings Contest

This is my entry for the Gothic Arches Yuletide Blessings Contest that is being sponsored by Sugar Lump Studios. I decided to flip the template so that I could get the music to fit, plus it gave me a perfect shape for hanging. The lovely angels stamp is from The Stampsmith. I outlined the arch with Antique Linen Stickles and also used it to highlight the 'Noel' letters. I used real feathers for their wings.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Which Came First?

Announcing: Egg! We finally have our first egg! I feel like a proud parent, it's kind of embarrassing really.....isn't it gorgeous though? We got our Ameraucana/Araucana chicks in June. I had given up hope that we would have any eggs before Spring. We keep checking those nest boxes though and lo and behold, today I found an egg! It is an absolutely beautiful shade of aqua. Now I'll be out there every hour - forgive me if this blog turns into nothing but egg pictures. I've never been a scrapbooker, despite having two lovely children and boxes of pictures, but I can see albums of eggs in my future.

Theme Thursday - Western

Another great theme for Theme Thursday! I love these challenges because they give me a reason to pull out stamps and other materials that I haven't used in awhile. I started out thinking I'd do a chunky ATC - I still haven't tried one of these and I thought this would be the perfect excuse. While I was pulling things together I came across this little house and totally changed my mind! The house is partially covered in a page from a vintage children's book and painted with acrylics. Stamps are all from the Oxford Impressions Cowgirl Blues plate.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Snowflake Kisses

I was so happy to see the theme for this week's Wednesday Stamper! After all, what better way to use my new glitter! I warned you - this is just the beginning! I have been wanting this little girl stamp for so long - I finally got her a couple days ago. She's from Lost Coast Designs and I think she's adorable. I made her a little skirt out of lace and gave her a crown from RockCandy Studios. For the background I went back to my old fave - the wrinkle free distress technique. I added snowflakes from Oxford Impressions that I stamped with white acrylic paint. Branches are punched out of watercolor paper w/my new favorite punch. Glitter is applied with a heavy hand. ;-)

Snow Day!

As I mentioned in my last post, I had a great time yesterday playing with glitter and styrofoam and all things winter-y with my friend Suzanne. Inspired by the latest issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, we went to town! Suzanne chose to do a traditional three-tiered glittery snowman, while I went with a bit more of a grungy guy. It's when I make things like this that I am so thankful I am a world-class pack rat! It's nice to be able to not just have vintage measuring tape - but to be able to have my pick of several sizes and shapes and finishes. The letters came from who knows where - those I scuffed up a bit with sandpaper and added Walnut Distress ink to give them an aged feel. The inside is filled with pearl beads and vintage glass beads that came from an old garland that fell apart. The scarf is some old seam tape. I wish it had photographed better - it's actually quite a bit darker than that. If you look closely you can see I used a bit of trim from RockCandy Studios on the hat. The best part of the whole thing tho.....the Martha glitter!! Oooh, that stuff is pretty awesome. Don't be surprised to see that on everything I make for the next month or two. ;-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Created Byhand Challenge - Christmas Tags

Well, this is what happens when you party it up all day! You post your challenge tag at 8:45, while your husband is hassling you because Fringe is on (I love my dvr!). I had a fab day w/my bud Suzanne - check out her blog and you can read all about it! I am going to post my glittery creation tomorrow. I still have a few bits here and there to complete. For now, here is my tag! I used all Oxford Impressions stamps - from both the Winter Snow and the Season of Giving plates. The background of the tag is done using one of Tim Holtz's new masks (nabbed the last one Saturday!). I punched a few branches using my new Martha punch and tied it with some vintage seam tape and I was done!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gothic Arch Challenge - Silhouette

Great theme this week on Gothic Arches! I don't have many silhouette stamps - the ones I do have are mostly birds. I loved the tag I made last week using Grungeboard and thought I'd incorporate that idea into my arch. The background was inspired by the Misty Mawn paper that's in the latest Somerset Studio. All stamps are from Time to Stamp/I Brake for Stamps.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Theme Thursday - Birds

My stamp club is thinking about doing a Skinny swap, so I used the Theme Thursday challenge to make a sample to show everyone. I did a back to it, thinking I could submit it to the new Simply Skinnies challenge, but the theme there is AIR travel, not just travel, duh. Guess I need to read things better! Oh well, I got to play around and it was fun.

Both pages use the peeled paper technique, but each goes a different direction after that. For the birds I added Shabby Shutters and Worn Lipstick Distress ink and gessoed over that. For the Venezia piece I did a lot of sanding, a bit of gesso, and inked it with Brushed Corduroy, Spiced Marmalade, and Fired Brick Distress ink.

Both the Bird stamps and Venezia stamps are from Oxford Impressions. Don't forget, you still have time to enter your artwork for the Design Team search!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wednesday Stamper - Telephone

This week, the Wednesday Stamper theme is telephone. When I first read that I was totally stumped! I was racking my brain, trying to remember if I had any stamps that had anything at all to do with phones. I thought that I had a photo stamp from The Stampsmith that was someone talking on the phone......a quick rifle thru the stacks and I found the perfect stamp! Then I ran into my next problem - I knew I was pretty much out of glossy paper to stamp on. More shuffling of piles and I found a scrap of paper, just big enough for one go at it. Now, the thing about photo stamps is, it sometimes takes a few tries to get a good impression. I had only one try! And I'd never even used this stamp before - I had no idea how well it stamped. Well, the stamping gods were looking down upon me. One shot and it came out perfect! Woo hoo! The background is a page from the telephone book that I practiced my peeled paper technique on. I've never tried that but it's a pretty cool tech! Add to that lots of gesso, Distress inks and sanding and I was almost done. I added a flourish stamp (Tim Holtz/Stampers Anonymous) which I stamped with gesso. A bit of stitching and some flowers and I was finished. Whew. Love these challenges!

Quick tip - if you are trying to scan artwork that you've used photo stamps in, you may notice it gets really pixel-y. To fix that, use the blur tool to slightly blur the image. It will smooth the pixels out and give you a great image!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

AI Float Cuttlebug Embossed Ornament

Whew, that's a long title, lol! This piece is a combination of several different things that have inspired me over the past few days. I found this ornament template recently while surfing some blogs - I have no idea where. If you recognize it, please let me know the blog addy so I can give proper credit. Then, someone posted a card recently using the AI Float technique from an old Technique Junkie newsletter. Again, have no clue who it was, but it stayed in the back of my mind.....mostly I keep seeing things and thinking, 'hmmm...that would look great Cuttlebugged and embossed!' I pulled out an AI Float piece I'd done back when that issue came out and thought it would be perfect for what I had in mind.

First, I covered the piece with Versamark and clear embossed. Then I ran it thru the Cuttlebug, hit the high spots with Versamark and gold embossed. I traced the shape onto the back of the piece and cut it out. More gold ep on the edges, some ribbon, a sentiment (Oxford Impressions) stamped on a scrap and - poof! AI Float Cuttlebug Embossed Ornament.

Check out the One Powerful Hour challenge blog for more beautiful ornaments!

UPDATE! I found the artist who posted the ornament template (thank goodness for Google Blog Search!) Here is a link - Eclectic Visions of an Altered Journey.

Created Byhand Challenge + UHU Card Sketch

This week's Created Byhand challenge is to use alcohol inks ink your artwork. I had come across this by Thealie while browsing through blogs and thought it was fantastic. Unfortunately, I don't speak or read French! A quick cut and paste into Babelfish gave me a general idea of what she'd done, so I hunkered down in my studio to see what I could come up with.

The translation basically said four things - gesso, Cuttlebug, alcohol ink, and embossing powder. I guess that's as good a launching point as any! Maybe that's how all challenges should start. Just list three or four things and let everyone figure it out, lol! For me that meant scraping gesso onto a piece of chipboard (more cereal box scraps) until it was well covered. Then I used my new Adirondack alcohol inks in Red Pepper, Butterscotch, and Meadow (part of my winnings from the Ranger group challenge!) over the top. When it was fairly inked up I spritzed it a few times with alcohol. It was seriously cool looking by that point! Next, I put it through the Cuttlebug, hit the high spots with Versamark and embossed with gold ep.

After I had my background, I decided I would use it for the Glue With UHU November challenge. If you haven't been to this blog yet - get over there! They generously offer free UHU products in exchange for participation in their monthly challenge. This month I chose the original UHU glue stick and Mary Anderson's card sketch. UHU glues sticks are a staple for me. I have tried everything out there and I always come back to my UHU! It seems to be the only glue stick that is long lasting and doesn't give out over time. It's always dismaying to come across a piece of art that has fallen apart a few months after you've made it. With UHU you know that your art will last for a long time!

Stamp credits: Innovative Stamp Creations.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Gothic Arch Challenge - Buttons

This week's theme at Gothic Arches is 'Buttons'. Perfect theme for me! I am a hoarder of vintage buttons. I buy up every tin I come across at estate sales or thrift stores. I'm sure there is a limit to how many a person can have - but I sure haven't found it yet!

For my base I used a piece of chipboard that I cut from a cereal box. I've been pulling apart and saving all the heavy cardboard packaging that I would usually throw away. It is perfect as a base for ATC's, etc. Sometimes it's pretty too! In this case, I liked the look of it so much I decided not to cover it, except for the bit of French text in the corner. After I glued that on I ran the arch through my Cuttlebug and highlighted the raised areas with Brushed Corduroy Distress ink. I way dying to use my new Sally stamp from Inka Stamps. I think she's adorable! Her wings are Grungeboard covered with more vintage paper. The bottom is trimmed with some vintage rickrack and buttons. The quote is from Time to Stamp/I Brake for Stamps.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Glue with UHU - Saunders Aluminum Box

I was lucky enough to get one of these Saunders Aluminum boxes from Alyssa, a designer on the Glue With UHU blog. I had so many ideas for what I wanted to do - I ended up setting it aside while I finished up a slew of design projects. I'm really glad I did because, in the interim I discovered stamping on Grungeboard! I pulled the box out today and immediately knew the direction I would go.

First, I covered the top with a piece from an old Algebra book I bought a couple weekends ago. After that, I inked the visible metal parts with Ranger alcohol inks in Espresso and Butterscotch. Next, I inked the top with Corduroy Distress ink. I stamped various images from I Brake For Stamps new Grunge sheet (LOVE these stamps!) using Black Soot and Corduroy Distress inks. I Stamped the two men (from an Oxford Impressions sheet that is no longer available), and the watch face (also from Oxford Impressions) on Grungeboard using black Archival ink. I inked them with Corduroy Distress ink and cut them out. I punched a hole in the clock face and added a idea-olgy gear and spinner. The key is also Grungeboard - it's painted with silver acrylic paint and tied with a piece of vintage twill tape. Vintage buttons and a strip of metal measuring tape finish it off. I really love doing masculine things like this - I plan on giving it to my husband for him to keep his pens, memory sticks, etc in.
Check out the UHU blog - they have lots of fun stuff going on!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tim's November Challenge

After seeing the tutorial on Tim's blog, I had to give this tag a try! Since I don't have any of his masks I used one from Tattered Angels. I also don't have any of the new Distress Stickles, but I am happy with what I ended up with. The stamps are all from I Brake for Stamps. I really love the idea of stamping on Grungeboard - it takes the ink very well and is much easier to cut out than tag board or chipboard. I will definitely use that idea a lot!

Wednesday Stamper - Angels

The theme for this week's Wednesday Stamper is Angels. I have some really gorgeous photo angel stamps from both Oxford Impressions and The Stampsmith. I was tempted to use one of my favorites - an adorable little girl angel. But I spotted this house that I had left over from a swap and really wanted to use it. I knew the cute girl would be a mismatch so I decided to try out an Oxford Impressions stamp I'd never used. When deciding on what else I would use, a piece of a Maya Angelou poem was running through my mind:

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out

And into your sister's eyes, into

Your brother's face, your country

And say simply

Very simply

With hope

Good morning.

It is a piece from her inaugural poem from 1993. It's a beautiful, uplifting poem and I am feeling particularly uplifted right now. I found her poem entitled Touched by an Angel which fit this theme perfectly. I've used the first portion of it in my piece. Again, it is an amazing poem that brings tears to my eyes. I hope you enjoy how I've used it.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Created Byhand Challenge - Black & Brown Tones

This week's Created Byhand Challenge is to use black and brown colors. Considering what an important day it is here in the US, I decided I would make something appropriate for how I'm feeling. I am so excited to vote today - my husband and I will be going with my daughter later this afternoon. It is her first time to vote and I am thrilled she will be participating in one of the most important elections of our lifetime.

Now, off my soapbox and onto the art! The base of this 4 x 4 is mat board that I've painted with black Distress Crackle paint. It cracked so perfectly! The 4 + piece is from a vintage flashcard - I have a bunch that, if I can ever get off my rear and get my Etsy store opened, I will be selling. I was thinking about using one in this way and finally had a reason to. The 'Vote' stamp is from Vickie Enkoff. I've always wanted to use this stamp and haven't had an opportunity to until now. It is part of a really cool set that Alluring Impressions is now selling. It's stamped on a wood circle that just happened to be the exact size. I love when that happens! The 'Hope' stamp is from Innovative Stamp Creations.

"The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men."
Lyndon B. Johnson