May 27, 2018

Thanks ...

After working on this card, I now have new respect for the challenges that this art form presents and for the artisans who make it look so effortless.

Mixed-media? No problem--you can just paint over a part you don't like. Card making requires more planning and if you make a mistake sometimes you just have to start over.

But practice makes perfect, right? So I plan to do just that and purchased the June Card Kit from Simon Says Stamp. It features a lovely stamp set called Beautiful Flowers and I have used it for this card.

The kit came with three dots (red, yellow, blue) of an artist-grade watercolor paint from Daniel Smith and this was the only paint I used to tint this stamping.

Using the science of complimentary colors becomes critical in this scenario because you must tone down the primary pigments for the colors to look more natural.

The border was made with kraft paper using the new Tim Holtz 3D embossing folder called Botanical (also included in the kit) and machine-stitching provided some accent.

Otherwise, it's a bit of a plain jane but I didn't think it needed anything else since the flower image is such a show stopper. Thanks to this new stamp set, I now have some sentiment stamps that I was sorely lacking which will help me with my new quest in card-making.

May 24, 2018

My Sweetheart

Inspired by a song (this week's Monday challenge at SSS), here's a tag that celebrates the turn of the last century when everyone was waltzing to a popular tune called "Let Me Call You Sweetheart."

The background reminds me of a vintage tin ceiling tile. It was made using bronze metallic cardstock and the new Sizzix 3D texture fade (Tim Holtz) called Botanical.

The portrait is an image transfer using this photo. Because the original background was dark, I used the tip of an Exacto knife to scratch in lines to lighten it and create better definition.

The frame border was made with dots of 3D fabric paint called Scribbles.

The flowers and perfume label (Tim Holtz) were thinned-out and then fussy-cut to create a more delicate appearance.

I pasted a ribbon along the right hand side using fabric glue (works great and doesn't soak through) and my strip of text is from the Idea-ology Clippings Stickers collection.

And for anyone out there who's not familiar with the song that inspired me here's a link--take a listen!

May 17, 2018

Choose Joy

After playing with numerous stencils to create this journal page, it became apparent that I must get them better organized. I've ordered some clear vinyl sleeves and plan to place them all in a 3-ring binder.

This way, I'll know what I've got and use them more often as they really are a "joy" to work with.

Stencil It is this week's theme at Simon's Monday Challenge Blog and except for the red stamped script, washi tape and minor line work, everything you see on the page was made with a stencil (some store-bought, some hand made).

After applying the stencils, I gave the page a light coat of gesso then began to bring out the lines in the large lotus flower with a Pitt pen.

The next view shows additional line work and the beginning of value adjustments to put back some color. The nice thing about stencils is you can line them up with the original printing to finesse them as needed.

I added additional stencils of tiny leaves and the large text, some washi tape and a bit more line work to balance out the page.

Here are some close-ups you might enjoy--the last one shows how I used a stencil to mask the original printing and went over it with a text stamp.

May 05, 2018

Moments in Time

Time. Oh what a topic and such a precious commodity! It's the theme at Simon this week and here's what I made.

Crafted from some Idea-ology bits (pocket watch, flowers) and the new Worn Wallpaper, it was assembled with a homemade box and basswood strips. The support for the pocket watch is a small wooden tag turned upside down.

A vintage image was placed under the dome of the watch and I embellished it with a ball chain. The quote is an image transfer.

April 26, 2018

Polyommatus Theo

This moth was clipped from some vintage Tim Holtz kraft paper and it was labeled as a "Polyommatus Theo." Now you know.

It became a decoration for this greeting card made from other Tim papers as well as an old book page. I seldom add sentiments so I can use the card for any occasion.

The flowers (Stampers Anonymous Flower Garden set) had another life before they became a part of this card. When a tag I was working on turned south, I cut them off the tag and reused them.

I used a transparent white paint to fill-in the flowers and the Distress inks underneath bled through. This explains the coloring you see in the final piece.

The text stamp is Stamper's Anonymous Ledger Script and the dots are Perfect Pearls and there's also a bit of machine stitching (something you don't see on a store-bought card).

I'm linking to Simon's Monday Challenge blog for this week's theme which is Flower Power.

April 23, 2018


I've made a greeting card to thank the hostess for a party my husband and I were invited to over the weekend.

It's nothing out of the ordinary but I used a few less common techniques that I thought would be fun to share.

The main ingredients are the Flower Garden stamp set, a page from the Etcetera paper stash, some Tissue Tape, and a Dot Fade stencil (Tim Holtz).

I stamped then embossed the flower, tinted it with Distress inks then used super-cheap kid's construction paper as blotting paper and a hot craft iron to remove the embossing. Newsprint also works great for this technique. To learn more about this process, see this post.

I know there are a set of die-cuts available for this stamp set but mine was cut-out by hand using an Exacto knife and self-healing cutting mat.

Here's a tip you might find useful: Cut as close to the image as you can but don't worry about the irregular edges. Then go back and make the tiny cuts later and you'll find it a lot less intimidating.

And finally I'll share a tip I've blogged about in the past (see this post) that helps you decide where to crop your scrapbook paper when designing a layout.

This template is nothing more than a sheet of transparency that I made lines on with a permanent marker. I put masking tape around the edges to mask the background. I lay this template over my paper and move it around until I find a spot that I like and mark the corners with a pencil dot to guide my cutting lines.

This week's theme at Simon's Monday Challenge Blog is "Flower Power" so I'm linking up. I haven't made a card in ever so long and it was such a pleasure that I plan to make some more for this week's challenge (I have lots of flower stamps 😉).

April 20, 2018

Lemony Snicket

doo·dle ˈ/ do͞odl /
scribble absentmindedly "he was only doodling in the margin"
a rough drawing made absentmindedly

There's not much doodling here. It's a stretch for linking to Simon's Monday Challenge Blog this week but perhaps it counts that the first step I took was to make a border of circles around the tag.

The chair was stamped (Claudine Hellmuth) and then I drew the table. The globe and the hot air balloon were stamped (Tim Holtz Tiny Things); the books, shelves, windows, wall and floor were drawn.

I would argue that drawing and doodling are not the same. But if you consider the definition, I guess this was absentminded in the sense that I have no idea where the idea came from but once I decided to add the books, I thought the quote by Lemony Snicket was a good fit.

April 15, 2018

The Phoenix

Just under the wire today, linking up to Simon's Monday Challenge Blog--this week's theme is Mythology.

My idea came from the namesake of my current residence and a little research turned up an interesting story of how the city got it's name, who knew dipsomania played a part in it.

In mythology the Phoenix represents rebirth which is exactly what I did with the wooden support for this piece which was originally an Idea-ology burlap panel (6" x 4").

I removed the burlap, applied an image transfer and then colored it with paint and inks and also stamped some text in the background (Stamper's Anonymous Ledger Script).

The technique was similar to this project which became a favorite of mine and I thought I'd have another go at it. I appreciate how it's possible to take advantage of the brown of the support board and convert the positives shapes into negative ones.

April 11, 2018

Ada Again

I have modified a recent collage (see previous post, Ada 1916) by scraping off the photo of my great Aunt Ada and replacing the image with one I like better.

Because the original photograph was a bit thicker than the other collage papers I used, it was pretty easy to get underneath it and carefully peel/scrape it off.

Then I used this image as a transfer and created a mask of the hands and face. I used the mask to apply off-white paint on the background where the image was placed. Since image transfers are inherently transparent, this technique keeps the background from showing through.

The image transfer's darker undertones made it necessary to adjust values throughout the collage using transparent paint (glazing) and I also colored the collage paper flowers.

And finally, I felt the need to contain the composition by adding a border which was made using dots of Scribbles. I think the addition of the black accents helped to emphasize the other black elements in the collage.

April 08, 2018

Ada 1916

My great Aunt Esther wrote on the back of this photo, "Ada, June 1916." I suspect it is a photograph to commemorate her sister's graduation from high school as I have several copies and the year would be appropriate.

I used a wooden panel (10" x 10"), the new Idea-ology collage paper (Botanical), some Memoranda paper stash and an Idea-ology Collector Layer. All the paper bits were made thinner by rubbing the back side with water and I also used damask patterned tissue paper along with some light pink. The circle scroll design was an image transfer.

(Click on the photos to see a larger, lightbox view.)

The wooden support was gessoed, I pasted on a crinkled sheet of light pink tissue paper, added crackle medium, then rubbed on brown wax to bring out the cracks.

At this stage I was thinking I should have waited to crackle the board AFTER I arranged the collage but in the end it may have been the right approach even though most of the surface was covered up.

Here are some close-ups that show how I layered the collage paper.

Working with the collage paper I learned that, if you don't want the white of the tissue to show, it's important that the glue underneath covers the entire surface. In the photo above, the hand-written name has fewer missed areas of glue underneath than the section of tissue just above it.

My glue of choice for this piece was fluid matt medium. I like that you have a longer working time than a gel medium and that it moistens the paper slightly so it lays down easier. You can get all the bubbles out without using much pressure (which might tear a delicate paper).

March 31, 2018

Erasable Memoranda


The paper used for this tag was cut from a vintage (1916) portrait cover (a graduation photo of my great aunt Ada). It's a light mustard color with an embossed stripe texture and because of its age, it's a bit friable and easy to distress.

I built a collection of boxes filled with various bits and mounted it on top of ephemera from the Tim Holtz Collector Layers. The ruler came from the Dapper paper stash and I embossed the end with metallic powders.

I tinted the metal star and index clip (Tim Holtz) with metallic white and butterscotch alcohol inks and that's a distressed Remnant Rub on top of the clip. 

I made it for this week's Monday Challenge Blog at Simon Says Stamp which prompted crafters to do something "Inside the Box." I enjoy working with the prompts because it gets me creating things I've always wanted to try but might not have otherwise.

My little boxes are not an original idea and I must give credit where credit is do. Rebecca Sower is an artist I've been following since I discovered this magazine article (Somerset Studio) in December, 2009. I didn't realize until just this moment that an altered book I made recently may have been inspired by her too!

March 14, 2018

Limited Edition

Inspired by a mood board for Simon's Monday challenge this week, I have created a tag that is a very literal translation. But I just couldn't help myself as something about a cracked egg as a vase for flowers resting inside a tea cup really spoke to me.

I didn't have a tea cup stamp so I printed an image of one and the flowers were cut from the Wallflower paper stash. The background stamp is by Heidi Swapp, the tinting is Walnut Stain Distress Oxide and regular Distress Bundled Sage (on watercolor paper) and the text is a Remnant Rub.

March 11, 2018

Cool in the Shade

My favorite teachers? The passing of time, experience, practice, experimentation, mistakes. Case in point this tag (made for Simon's Monday theme "Whatever the Weather"):

  1. Learning how to use Photoshop's recompose tool to crop this photo without losing the photograph's border frame.
  2. Experimenting with Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Ink technique on glossy paper with mixed results (too much water, not enough ink?).
  3. Applying crackle medium to paper, the product I use has to be applied really thick--it was too thin this time to show up.
  4. The benefit of delaminating some Idea-ology paper stash to reduce bulk when collaging (text piece is full thickness, report card area was made thinner). Each time I try this, I get better at it. The trick is to gently rub off the back with a little water after peeling away as much as you can.
  5. The flowers (Idea-ology ephemera) were also delaminated because they are easier to refine with cutting when the paper's not so thick.
  6. Proved again that for me, the best way to tint a photo is still using a dab of ink from a gel pen with a little water (the turquoise in the wallpaper behind the teacher, for example).
  7. Appreciating that without adding a little whimsy to the piece an observer might think it too serious and wonder about my mental state. (Perhaps you should anyway.)
The weather connection is in the Idea-ology text from the Memorandum paper stash. I do believe this teacher is cool in her shades. Also note the Red Precipitate Ointment which is a nice touch--don't you think?

By the way, my favorite human teacher was Mrs. Jennings who had the patience to work with me in the 5th grade when I refused to learn multiplication tables and provided comfort from bullies.

March 05, 2018

Realistic Watercolor for Beginners

 Watercolor Workshop

Just a quick post to let you know about a free workshop that starts today for Beginning Watercolor sponsored by Strathmore.

I'll be following along (and perhaps post something from the lessons), I've taken these free workshops in the past (and I love the price), and I can't wait for the Robert Burridge session that starts in September.

Have a great week!

March 03, 2018

Sketchbook Project

Six years ago, I completed several collages for The Sketchbook Project. The theme was "A Record Year for Rainfall" which resonated with me since I live in a desert (an area with extremely low rainfall amounts).

I've been cleaning-up/reorganizing my studio, came across remnants from this project and decided to post the work here on my blog for perpetuity.

The book was titled, Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall, and I included the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The images were cut from various magazines and books and pasted with a glue stick.

If you click on an image to load the lightbox you'll have a better viewing experience.